October 2, 2012 |
Bert Collins loaded his ATV into his pick-up truck in July, hauled it all the way to North Philly from rural Maryland, and pretty much lost his faith in humanity on West Huntingdon Street. Collins unwittingly delivered his ATV to thieves he met on Craigslist. "I remember he asked if he could run it down the end of the block. He went down the end of the block, hung a right and disappeared," Collins, of Frederick, Md., told the Daily News about the man he thought he was selling his ATV to. "Ever the optimist, I thought he was just going around the block, but I never saw the quad again.
August 14, 2012
An aggressive crackdown on illegal all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes by Philadelphia police means there's a bit more peace and quiet in several inner-city neighborhoods. Police recently seized 37 ATVs and dirt bikes across a swath of North Philadelphia and in the Cobbs Creek area of West Philadelphia. The Police Department's promise of a proactive push to rid city streets and parks of more illegal riders is welcome. At stake is the safety of motorists and pedestrians, who often have to dodge off-road vehicles driven recklessly on roads and even on sidewalks.
July 13, 2012 |
Mayor Nutter's plan to take distribution of free food to homeless people out of the parks to the front of City Hall and, ultimately, indoors was blocked this morning by a federal judge. Ruling from the bench after two days of testimony and an hour of oral argument, U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn said he saw no evidence feeding homeless people outside City Hall was any better or more dignified than on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. "It seems to me that . . . the parks provide more dignity than the concrete apron outside City Hall," Yohn said.
July 11, 2012 |
After two days of testimony from witnesses ranging from homeless advocates to Mayor Nutter, a federal judge has set oral arguments for Thursday on the constitutionality of a new city ordinance that bans the public feeding of groups of homeless people in city parks. "We're ready to go now," said civil rights lawyer Paul M. Messing, who represents four religious groups challenging the feeding ban, after testimony ended Tuesday afternoon. U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn Jr. smiled and told Messing and lawyers for the city to return Thursday.
June 28, 2012 |
A CRIMINAL-COURT judge didn't believe James Harris when he claimed in 2007 that Philadelphia Police Officer Michael Paige forced him to perform oral sex on him in his police cruiser in Fairmount Park. But Wednesday, eight jurors did. In a three-day civil trial in federal court, a jury found Harris so believable that it declared Paige liable for violating Harris' civil rights and ordered Paige to pay Harris $165,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. The jury of four men and four women deliberated for five hours before deciding that Paige, 45, unlawfully detained Harris and subjected him to "invasions of his bodily integrity" in the March 16, 2007, incident in a remote pocket on the Belmont Plateau.
June 26, 2012 |
James Harris told a jury at his federal civil trial Monday that a Philadelphia police officer forced him to perform oral sex on him in his police cruiser in Fairmount Park in 2007. Harris told jurors that the incident still traumatizes him: "I wake up in the middle of the night, gagging," as if he were reliving a nightmare. "I just don't know who I am ... I feel weird," he said, explaining how he lived "like a hermit" and wanted to "kill himself" in the months and years following his encounter with the cop, Michael Paige.
June 20, 2012 |
Considering how little Philadelphia spends compared with other big cities, it's a wonder that much of Fairmount Park and other recreation facilities look as good they do. Park advocates attribute that to the "high-performing department" run by Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael DiBerardinis, who's the first to acknowledge that his challenge in these years of flat funding has been to do more with less. While the city has benefited from high-profile projects that were aided, in part, by private funds — including the recent transformation of Sister Cities Park on Logan Square, the addition of Café Cret along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and more — Philadelphia still trails most major cities in park spending.
June 11, 2012 |
Blocked by industrial buildings, the Schuylkill has long lived up to its Dutch name — hidden river — for the communities that border it. Monday, one segment of the river officially comes out of hiding with the new Grays Ferry Crescent park, opening up a once-polluted tract to walkers, bicyclers, fishermen, and wildlife enthusiasts. The park has cost city and state agencies and private donors $2.85 million to construct. It is the latest phase of an ongoing effort to line the length of the Schuylkill in Philadelphia, from Fairmount Park to Fort Mifflin by Philadelphia International Airport, with trails.
June 3, 2012 |
Boats and bikes will mean traffic detours for automobiles this weekend along Kelly Drive and elsewhere in Philadelphia. On Saturday, from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., traffic will be detoured away from Kelly Drive because of the Independence Dragon Boat Regatta. Signs will be posted, and delays are expected to be minimal, according to police. On Sunday, the TD Bank Championship Bike Race will take over a slew of streets from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. According to police, the following roads will be closed: • The length of Kelly Drive (no trolleys, no parking)