January 26, 2016 |
Brad Kenney opens a door at the Moorestown Community House that reads "Authorized Personnel Only," and immediately comes the smell of smoke, a stark contrast from the hallway and ballroom on the other side that were spared damage during a November fire. Past the door, in a dim kitchen, the vinyl flooring has been pulled to reveal the original hardwood from when the building opened in 1926. In the adjacent club room, a sheet covers a water-damaged Steinway piano - 103 years old - that Kenney is trying to salvage.
January 25, 2016 |
Ernie Wyatt, who is from near Macon, Ga., sends the following question: "I have discovered that water has been standing in a corner of my basement in a crawl space and there is a bit of mildew in the area. "A contractor has informed me that a permanent solution to the problem would be to treat the mildew and then haul in some sand, level the crawl space, and encapsulate the basement, sealing it from the outside. "I have heard, however, that encapsulation can promote dry rot. Would it be wise to leave some of the vents open?"
December 28, 2015 |
I answered an insulation question in this column not too long ago, and Joe Ponessa sent me an email in late November about it. "I don't think you gave enough attention to the issue of combustion [makeup] air," said Ponessa, professor emeritus of housing, indoor environment, and health at Rutgers Cooperative Extension. Ponessa agreed that the limited work I described did not sound as if it would cause a problem for "atmospheric" combustion appliances, which derive their air from the surrounding environment.
December 1, 2015 |
A WOMAN dressed in black from top to bottom appeared between a crack in the front door of a Bustleton townhouse, and when she heard her husband's name spoken she placed her hand over her mouth, shuffled backward and sat down on a foyer step, repeating it over and over. "Oh, Grigory. Grigory," Valentina Klokishner said yesterday, tears running down beneath dark sunglasses. "Such a sweet, beautiful man. Everyone loved him, but I loved him the most. " On Black Friday, Grigory Klokishner, 74, and Alex Osadchy, 66, also of Philadelphia, were among seven men tossed into frigid waters near the Manasquan Inlet separating Monmouth and Ocean counties when a large swell capsized their pontoon boat.
November 22, 2015 |
I've been reinsulating some spaces around our house that the very cold winters of recent years have shown are not as tight as they should be. One thing I've been doing - thanks to helpful advice over the years from Hap Haven, the Germantown-based energy expert - is taking this important preliminary step: Closing any gaps before insulating. Use foams and sealants to eliminate any penetration to the outside, such as at the ends of joists at the front and back of the house. Sealing the gaps - you can tuck white or black plastic bags into the cracks (clear ones decompose)
November 6, 2015 |
IMAGINE BEING locked in a dank, dark basement. Starved. Forced to defecate and urinate in a shared bucket. Beaten. Imagine having your two children, whom you had with a person you cared about, snatched away from you. Imagine being moved from state to state, held captive - all because you are mentally disabled and your captor wants your Social Security benefits. This happened to Tamara Breeden, of Philadelphia. For 10 years. From 2001 to 2011. Yesterday, after her captor, Linda Ann Weston, was sentenced to life in prison plus 80 years, Breeden, 33, happily told reporters: "I'm free!"
October 26, 2015 |
The old bandleader spends most days in his basement now, alone among his memories, his black-and-white photographs. The ones from Palumbo's, the legendary Italian Market restaurant and nightclub that burned down in 1994, and where the bandleader went from a teenage sax player to a man whose name was no longer singular. Where Carmen DiPipi of South Clarion Street became Carmen Dee and His Orchestra. But now the photos are all that's left. The last member of the original lineup died last winter.
October 7, 2015 |
The woman who pleaded guilty to enslaving and torturing disabled adults in a Tacony basement now wants to change her plea to not guilty, according to a handwritten motion filed with the court. Linda Weston agreed last month to accept a life term plus 80 years after admitting to all 196 federal counts filed against her, including charges of murder, kidnapping, sex trafficking, hate crimes, forced labor, and benefits fraud. The deal spared her a potential death sentence. Now she has asked the court to change her plea and to hold a competency hearing to evaluate her mental health.
September 11, 2015 |
Linda Weston - the Philadelphia woman charged with enslaving and torturing disabled adults for years in a Tacony basement so she could steal their benefit checks - pleaded guilty Wednesday in a deal that spared her a potential death sentence. Instead, she agreed to accept a life term plus 80 years after admitting to all 196 federal counts filed against her including charges of murder, kidnapping, sex trafficking, hate crimes, forced labor, and benefits fraud. Weston, 55, appeared addled and confused through much of Wednesday's hearing, at one point loudly proclaiming she wanted to enter a "not-guilty plea" before quietly reversing herself.