April 22, 2009
A reverse-discrimination case involving Connecticut firefighters being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court today may show just how out of sync this court is with the nation's first African American president. Chief Justice John G. Roberts calls affirmative action the "sordid business" of "divvying us up by race. " He prefers to declare the playing field level for everyone, while blithely turning a blind eye to vestiges of discrimination that perpetuate inequality. Racial bias is perhaps nowhere more evident than within some of this nation's municipal fire departments.
April 2, 2009 |
Center City's Engine Company 4 handled hundreds of hot situations before the city shut it down in 1984. Nowadays, fires are blazing in the kitchen and in two fireplaces at the new pub Ladder 15 (1528 Sansom St., 215-964-9755). The owners, who have the more downscale Mad River locations in Old City and Manayunk, have added a balcony to the 35-foot ceilings and given the place an industrial look, with two fireplaces (more fire), lots of steel, and stone-and-mesh walls. A private room is due on the third floor.
September 12, 2008 |
Montgomery County prosecutors will not charge the mother who left her hour-old newborn outside a Plymouth Township fire station Sunday. The mother, who is 29 and from the township, learned on the Internet two months before giving birth that safe-haven laws in some states allow babies to be dropped off at police stations and firehouses, but apparently did not realize Pennsylvania requires that infants be left at hospitals, District Attorney Risa...
September 4, 2008 |
In For the Love of Grace, a Hallmark Channel original movie premiering this month, a firefighter who happens to be his station's best cook finds love and redemption in the arms of a cookbook author. The movie is fictional, but the fact remains: Cooking and firefighting go together like linguine and clam sauce (a staple in firehouse kitchens). Philadelphia firefighters in particular have a long, proud tradition of breaking bread together. So when the Hallmark folks decided to create a cookbook of firehouse recipes in conjunction with the movie, they turned to our hometown men and women, at the ready with pasta salads and potato soups, as well as grilled citrus/maple salmon with asparagus and sesame mayonnaise.
July 8, 2008 |
Starting in a few weeks, the Bryn Mawr Fire Company may not be responding to calls from its historic Lancaster Avenue firehouse for the first time in more than 100 years. If Lower Merion Township commissioners give the go-ahead at a public meeting tomorrow night, the company will relocate to nearby Ashbridge Park for 10 to 12 weeks while repairs are made to the firehouse's structurally inadequate first floor. The firefighters would set up shop under a fenced-in tent in a typically unused section of the park beside the tennis courts.
May 29, 2008 |
John Tull always knew where his father went. He could tell by the yellow index card hanging from a magnet on the metal backdoor of his Media home. It said one word: Fire. That meant Bob Tull had trudged off to risk his life again as a volunteer firefighter for Middletown Township. It's a social consciousness and sacrifice that apparently doesn't skip a generation, because his son John - a 6-1, 260-pound, 2-year starter at center on Archbishop Carroll High's football team - has followed his father's path to the firehouse and into harm's way. That's why playing in the 32nd annual Delaware County Hero Bowl at 7:30 tonight at Widener University probably means a little more to Tull than to anyone else on the field.
May 6, 2008 |
Flags flew at half-staff at Police Headquarters and police stations throughout Philadelphia yesterday in memory of slain Police Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski. But at the Fire Administration Building, 240 Spring Garden St., and some fire stations around the city, the American flag flew at full staff. "It's a disgrace," said one fireman who asked not to be identified. "It doesn't make sense. " Call it a battle of tradition versus protocol. Or a tempest in a teapot. In a move that angered rank-and-file police and firefighters, Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers issued what he said was a standard directive pointing out that American flags at all fire stations should be flown at full staff despite the 30-day period of mourning called for by Mayor Nutter.
February 14, 2008 |
March is mid-Atlantic mud season, when thawing farm fields are too squishy to be plowed well. So, across Lancaster County, volunteer fire companies hold annual "mud sales" of home furnishings and farm animals and equipment, taking commissions to help pay firehouse bills. Though it's mainly a March Lancaster County phenomenon, the first sale of the season takes place this Saturday in northwestern Chester County. The Honey Brook Fire Company is holding its annual consignment sale at the Romano 4-H Center on Route 322, across from the fuel storage tank farm.
January 6, 2008 |
To those who haven't been properly introduced, or who've only seen it on the fly, the stretch of Baltimore Avenue that approaches 50th Street in West Philadelphia is not quick to reveal its quirky charm. Rosemarie Certo admits to being guilty on both counts. Offered space to open a brewpub at this western edge of Cedar Park, she balked: "It was too far. " Too far from what? "Too far from 46th and Baltimore," which was about as far as she saw commercial possibility. She has come to adjust her view since, saying she has discovered profound value in the racial mix, arts scene, and political consciousness (ranging from prisoner-advocate vegan anarchists to establishmentarian Penn profs)
December 21, 2007 |
The branding of Broad Street as the Avenue of the Arts is one of those hokey marketing ploys that actually seems to have paid off. In the last decade, the blocks immediately south of City Hall have been transformed into Philadelphia's twinkling theater row. The cultural chain was extended another link in October, with the opening of the Suzanne Roberts Theatre at Lombard Street. Continue walking south, however, and the Avenue of the Arts doesn't seem so bright. The only lights you see emanate from gas stations and fast-food places.