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NEWS
July 1, 2014 | By Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer
On one of the hottest days of the year, David Hodo was deep inside the George Washington Carver Community Center pool in Norristown, and he wasn't cooling off. Quite the opposite. He was standing on the empty pool bottom and scraping loose siding off the concrete walls. County budget cuts, mounting bills, and the harsh winter all have conspired to drain resources from the center. The 54-year-old pool - where children who don't have the $3 full-day admission can earn their way in by pulling weeds or picking up trash - has not been able to reopen, leaving many children on the east side of town without a place to swim.
NEWS
June 30, 2014 | BY CHRIS BRENNAN, Daily News Staff Writer brennac@phillynews.com, 215-854-5973
A FRIEND and political supporter of state Sen. LeAnna Washington is asking people to contribute at least $100 each to help pay "mounting legal bills" in her criminal case. Dr. J. Louis Felton, pastor at Mount Airy Church of God in Christ, wrote in a letter last week that Washington's "character is unblemished and her reputation untarnished, though she has practically been tried and convicted in the press on unfounded charges. " Washington, charged in March with using state resources to pay for political fundraisers, "vehemently denies the allegations and is fighting the charges," Felton wrote.
NEWS
June 30, 2014 | By Amy Worden, INQUIRER HARRISBURG BUREAU
HARRISBURG - The down-to-the-wire battle over the 2014-15 state budget was overshadowed Sunday by a firefight that erupted over funding for the Philadelphia school district. Without enough GOP votes for a pension-overhaul plan, Gov. Corbett and House Republican leaders gave Philadelphia Democrats a Hobson's choice: Vote for the GOP pension plan in return for Republican support for an increase to the cigarette tax in the city. Philadelphia wants legislative approval of the tax to help plug a hole in the school budget.
NEWS
June 29, 2014 | By Sandy Bauers, Inquirer Staff Writer
Southeastern Pennsylvania's recreational trail network - already the envy of many other metro areas - is getting a $7.5 million infusion through a federal program aimed at providing alternatives to vehicle-based transportation. The money will fund 11 projects in all five counties, closing a gap in a Central Bucks trail, building a multiuse trail in Lansdale, putting sidewalks in Swarthmore, and adding $1.25 million to the city's bike share program, launching next spring. Completion may be several years off, but ultimately, "what this will do is help get people out of their cars and onto sidewalks and multiuse trails," said Joseph Banks, a project implementation coordinator at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.
NEWS
June 27, 2014 | By Rachel Zamzow, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is getting a makeover. It wants new health ideas to go viral. It wants partners in business and government, to magnify its impact. And it seeks game-changing ideas from inventors to improve doctor visits and reshape medicine into a "culture of health. " The nation's largest health philanthropy has long been focused on discrete health problems such as smoking and obesity. But in a major policy shift publicly discussed Wednesday for the first time, the Princeton-based foundation is seeking to up its game and inspire mass movements.
NEWS
June 26, 2014 | By Amy Worden, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - A House panel on Tuesday advanced a $29.1 billion budget, setting the stage for final negotiations with the Senate and Gov. Corbett on the 2014-15 spending plan. The Appropriations Committee voted, 21-14, along party lines to move the proposal to the House floor, but it is likely to undergo significant changes before reaching Corbett's desk. The bill proposes to close a $1.5 billion budget gap by transferring funds from other sources, including the sale of state liquor stores - a plan that hasn't materialized.
NEWS
June 25, 2014
ISSUE | SCHOOL FUNDING As Phila. goes, so goes the state The tragedy of the Philadelphia public schools is the result of the failure of the government of the commonwealth to perform one of its basic functions: to provide for quality education for all of its residents. With a scandalous 25 percent poverty rate and resulting weak tax base, Philadelphia is clearly incapable of raising all of the money necessary to provide for a successful School District and at the same time meet all the other needs of the city.
NEWS
June 20, 2014 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
THE PHILADELPHIA School District is a step closer to avoiding devastating cuts, thanks to a surprising move by City Council yesterday, although the district is not out of the woods yet. Council authorized the city to borrow $27 million on behalf of the district for this fiscal year. It also introduced a last-minute bill that would authorize the city to borrow another $30 million for the district next fiscal year to help close a $96 million deficit. The second piece of borrowing legislation comes a week after city lawmakers vowed not to borrow more than $27 million to aid the distressed district.
NEWS
June 19, 2014 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
WITH ABOUT two weeks left until they must pass a budget, Philadelphia School District officials continued a full-court press yesterday for more funding, urging city lawmakers to approve a short-term loan that would help narrow a massive deficit. The district needs an additional $96 million to maintain the status quo for next year, or an extra $320 million to put schools in good working condition, officials said. Last week, City Council gave its preliminary OK to a $27 million loan, instead of $55 million the district requested.
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