September 10, 2014 |
AS 130,000 CHILDREN marked the first day of classes in the city's public schools yesterday, many brought with them the usual sense of hope and excitement. But in many cases, those feelings were tempered by frustration about constant budget cuts and the dark cloud of potentially massive layoffs if lawmakers in Harrisburg do not approve a cigarette tax to help the beleaguered district close an $81 million gap. "So, budget notwithstanding, we're excited," Superintendent William Hite said at the LINC - one of three new district high schools open to all students - where he and Mayor Nutter welcomed students and staff.
September 9, 2014 |
When he heard about nurses in Africa dying from the Ebola virus, Leo Geain of Delaware County called his mother in Liberia. "I speak with her every day, but she works with TB patients," he said with a nervous smile. As a nurse in the local hospital in Liberia's capital city, Monrovia, Geain's mother, Martha, also treats patients with leprosy in a Ministry of Health hospital ward; his father works in a drugstore. Both his parents could easily be exposed to the deadly virus. Luckily, Geain's parents are fine.
September 2, 2014 |
Incredibly, New Jersey does not publish the multimillion-dollar fees it pays to the private investment contractors it hires to manage billions in state pension funds - unlike Pennsylvania and other states, which list those charges in annual reports and post the data online. When I asked for the list of what New Jersey has paid each investment manager since it started hiring them a few years back, the state Treasury Department spokesman at first said it wasn't public information.
August 31, 2014 |
The West Philly Tool Library has launched a $10,000 crowdfunding campaign to keep its membership fees low and buy new tools. Since 2007, the Tool Library has helped homeowners save thousands of dollars on tools they would otherwise have to buy; instead they borrow. The Tool Library lends 1,200 tools to members every month, a 35 percent increase over last year, said director Peter Foreman-Murray. Since its founding, the library has grown to 1,700 members. "Trouble is, we can't meet the demand," said Foreman-Murray.
August 25, 2014
ISSUE | SCHOOLS Earth to Harrisburg State Rep. Kate Harper's letter (Aug. 21) criticized an editorial that correctly described the legislature's lack of interest in helping schools ("It isn't just city schools," Aug. 17). She claimed that there is strong support for passing a city-only cigarette tax, as if that would be some huge favor. She didn't mention that the tax was a last-ditch proposal by city officials to make up for lackluster state funding. Harper claims Philadelphia gets more money from the state each year without any accountability.
August 25, 2014 |
HARVINDER KAUR worked as a nurse in her home country of India. After she moved to Upper Darby with her husband, she hoped to work in the same field. "I was very scared when I came here," Kaur, 35, said yesterday. She didn't want to work in a store. "I thought if I do any other job [other than nursing], I would lose my skills," she said. With the help of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, a Center City-based nonprofit economic-development organization, Kaur was able to get her certified-nursing-assistant license and land her first job here.
August 22, 2014 |
Temple University raised nearly $68 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30, a record for a second consecutive year, the school announced. The total was up about $2 million from the previous year, officials said. The largest gift - nearly $7 million - came from the estate of Vera Goodfriend, a 1940 graduate who was a mathematician and lived in the Washington area. Those funds were targeted for Temple's School of Medicine. "There's general momentum here," said James Dicker, vice president for institutional advancement, who came to Temple in June from Lafayette College in Easton.
August 22, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - When it comes to sticky policy issues, none quite matches the perennial debate over school funding. Few, if any, school districts think state funding is adequate, and many poorer school districts - including Philadelphia - believe their allocations fail to match their special needs, and thus cuts end up being even more harmful. A new, 15-member commission is charged with finding a way to solve that vexing problem, despite limited revenue and the general aversion to statewide tax hikes.
August 16, 2014 |
The self-deprecating comedy whiz from Upper Darby Township probably didn't think of herself as the cool girl. In her youthful days, Tina Fey was the theater nerd embraced by the Broadway geeks, she writes in Bossypants , her best-selling 2011 memoir. But to Bethany Paxson, Fey was the coolest. As a young teacher and director at the Upper Darby Summer Stage community theater program, Fey made theater so much fun that Paxson, a member of the chorus in Fey's Pippi Longstocking , was inspired to go pro. For that, Paxson, now an actress based in Orlando, Fla., has long wanted to say thanks.
August 11, 2014 |
Tony Burke was an energetic 2-year-old who loved drawing purple pictures of Barney and jumping on trampolines. But then his parents began to notice how he would grunt instead of talk, and couldn't look anyone in the eye. Before his third birthday, in 2005, he was diagnosed with autism. "It felt like my heart had been ripped out," said his mother, Suzanne Burke of Philadelphia. Seeking the best care, his parents found applied behavior analysis (ABA), a one-on-one therapy considered the most effective treatment to date for autism.