May 15, 2015 |
TUESDAY NIGHT'S fatal derailment was the worst Philadelphia train disaster in decades. The timing seemed chillingly prophetic: Just one day before the crash, the city's Office of Emergency Management had held a "mass casualty workshop" with police, fire and health personnel. Moments after Train 188 careened off the tracks, emergency calls went out across the city and scores of first responders rushed to the scene to find the mangled bodies of those killed and more than 200 injured and bloodied passengers.
February 13, 2015 |
TODAY AT Citizens Bank Park, 7 weeks and 3 days before the Phillies' season begins at the 12-year-old ballpark, an equipment truck filled with everything from baseballs and batting helmets to bubblegum and sunflower seeds will begin its annual trek south. It will arrive at the Carpenter Complex in Clearwater, Fla., at some point this weekend. The truck will empty and all of the pieces will be properly put into place before pitchers and catchers take part in their first official workout on Thursday.
January 6, 2015 |
WHEN AN early-December fire consumed their kitchen and filled their North Philadelphia house with smoke, Sharon McCurdy and her adult son, Wilson Washington, fled onto 27th Street near Somerset. Their beloved gray-and-white cat, Tigger, was missing. Once the fire scene was secure, former firefighter Jennifer Leary and her Red Paw Emergency Relief Team responded to Tigger's absence as intensely as the Red Cross responds to families displaced by disaster. Leary found Tigger at the scene of the fire, boarded him in her house, took him to a veterinarian and placed him in Red Paw's network of temporary foster homes until he could return to his. After staying with relatives, McCurdy and Washington were able to move back home just before Christmas.
November 26, 2014
EACH YEAR Pennsylvania hands out $5.5 billion in subsidies for basic education that follows a formula which is outdated and ignores the realities of local school districts. To use just one example: districts that have lost students in recent years get the same amount of state subsidy, even though they are educating fewer children. And don't even talk about making allowances for such factors as poverty. In fact, in 2007, a "costing-out" study commissioned by the legislature concluded that the state's public schools were underfunded by $4.38 billion.
October 27, 2014 |
It was a disaster waiting to happen. At 10 a.m. Saturday - as scheduled - a startling bang and a few puffs of multicolored smoke kicked off a carefully planned emergency-preparedness exercise at Philadelphia International Airport. Strewn across the runway were more than 100 volunteer victims and an American Airlines jet. "I can't feel my leg!" one victim called out. The live drill, required every three years by the Federal Aviation Administration, had begun. As the airport's Engine 78 arrived first on scene, the air-traffic control tower declared a major aircraft incident at the highest level.
August 4, 2014 |
ATLANTIC CITY - The fallout over mass layoffs from three potential casino closings next month could have a severe impact on the Shore economy, as those whose livelihoods depend on a thriving casino industry brace for the worst. Local retailers, restaurants, and other businesses that rely on casino workers are expecting a hit. Experts say the region could also see an exodus of laid-off workers, especially among those who live in Atlantic City, as they seek jobs and futures elsewhere. About 6,500 workers from Showboat, Trump Plaza, and possibly Revel could all lose their jobs from Aug. 31 to Sept.
June 15, 2014 |
Randall Bell and I crossed paths about 11 years ago in San Diego, when he was a guest speaker for breakfast at a real estate conference I was attending. If the name - forgive me - doesn't ring a bell, this is the man known as the "Master of Disaster," called in by owners of properties where terrible events have occurred to determine their effects on the properties' value. According to Bell, he has a nuclear pellet in a bookcase at his Laguna Beach, Calif., office that makes his secretary nervous, and a photo of his children flanked by pictures of a pipeline explosion and the Chernobyl disaster.
June 10, 2014 |
PINEHURST, N.C. - It will be an exercise in tongue-biting, a lesson in lip-gnawing this week and next. When the men of the PGA descend on the new planet called Pinehurst No. 2, they will find themselves faced with an unfamiliar game for the second consecutive U.S. Open. The women, who play their Open on the same course the next week, might never return to North Carolina. Last year, short little Merion with its tight boundaries and its jungles of rough stressed club selection, commitment to uncomfortable lines and deciphering diabolical greens that most of the men had never seen before.
June 6, 2014
WHEN people get old, accidents and ailments become riskier. A cold can turn to pneumonia. A broken hip can lead to an early demise. It's not pretty, but with proper care the indignities of aging don't have to be lethal. When cities get old, the risks and dangers also increase. Aging pipes and gas mains, crumbling buildings and buckled roads can all take their toll on a city's health - and the safety of its citizens. Ours is certainly not the only old city coping with age, but, as the city marks the year anniversary of one building disaster, it's time to assess how prepared we are. The collapse at 22nd and Market streets was clearly not a simple case of an old building collapsing with age, but a bad mix of a derelict property owner, a demolition crew whose questionable work on the site has led to criminal charges including third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, and a city that often operates like an antique machine.
May 13, 2014 |
* INDEPENDENT LENS: LET THE FIRE BURN. 10 tonight, WHYY12 JASON OSDER was a fifth-grader living just outside Philadelphia on May 13, 1985, the day police firebombed the MOVE house on Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia, igniting a fire in which 11 people, including five children, died, and the surrounding neighborhood was destroyed. He never forgot. Now an assistant professor at George Washington University, Osder's first documentary, "Let the Fire Burn," winner of the best local feature award at last year's Philadelphia Film Festival, makes its TV debut tonight on PBS' "Independent Lens.