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EACH YEAR Pennsylvania hands out $5.5 billion in subsidies for basic education that follows a formula which is outdated and ignores the realities of local school districts.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.
April 7, 2014 |
In a move it said would "increase transparency" in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management opened a 30-day public comment period on an important hazard mitigation plan - a full week after it had already submitted the plan to the federal government for approval. The state emergency management office - which regulates everything from dispatch of personnel and equipment to mandatory evacuations during a disaster - on March 11 opened a 30-day public comment period, which it heralded as the first time the agency had ever sought input for the plan from "civilians.
February 8, 2014 |
(Updated at 12:00 p.m.) The White House on Thursday made the obvious official: The region's epochal ice storm that darkened entire communities, shut down businesses, and turned schools into emergency shelters was, indeed, a certified disaster. With the presidential declaration, Philadelphia and the four suburban Pennsylvania counties became eligible to apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency aid. York and Lancaster Counties also were included. In all, 715,000 Peco Energy customers lost power as a result of the storm - the second-highest total for any one event, said Peco spokesman Ben Armstrong.
January 22, 2014 |
UNIONDALE, N.Y. - For the last 3 weeks, the Flyers have flirted with fire. For the most part, they have remained unscathed. Yes, the Flyers gained at least one point in each of their last four games. But they are 5-3-2 in 2014, relying more or less on smoke and mirrors - dangerous games on a wire that can't be tightwalked for an entire half-season. The Flyers' crap blizzard that has been brewing for weeks unleashed an ugly fury on Long Island yesterday afternoon - with a track following the team back home.