February 3, 2015 |
IF ONE WORD could describe the character of Doris Harris it's "selfless. " That was the first word that came to the mind of her daughter Takada when asked to describe her mother. "Selfless. " Doris seemed to spend much of her time in service to others. She had seven children of her own, but she believed that all the children in her North Philadelphia neighborhood were hers. She was determined to see to it that all the children in what was perceived as an "underserved" neighborhood had clothing.
June 19, 2014 |
Marvae Dunn had no business being in prison. He is severely mentally ill. At age 64, he can barely speak or follow simple instructions. How could he stand trial on first-degree murder charges of shooting his sister-in-law? He never did, yet Dunn's home for seven years was a Philadelphia prison infirmary, until advocates intervened. He was transferred Monday to a state nursing home in Franklin County. "We're subsidizing failure," said his prison chaplain, Phyllis Taylor. The legal system failed Dunn and the taxpayers who bore the cost of his imprisonment.
April 5, 2014 |
This is a column for those who believe Philadelphia's historic, but decrepit, white elephants aren't worth keeping around. It concerns two large boardinghouses on the Mount Airy-Germantown border built more than a century ago, in an era when seniors lived out their days taking in the air on Victorian porches and staging music recitals in the parlor. A decade ago, this architectural odd couple on West Johnson Street resembled the ruins of the European countryside after World War II. At the Nugent Home for Baptist Ministers, modeled on a French château, the gracious front porch had collapsed in a heap.
November 19, 2013 |
Bancroft, the Haddonfield nonprofit that provides group homes and outpatient services for 1,500 people with autism, brain injuries, and developmental disabilities, had come perilously close to closing when Toni Pergolin, 50, chief executive officer, was hired in 2004. These days, Bancroft is on more solid financial footing and is outgrowing its Haddonfield campus. Whether Bancroft will move and what will happen to its campus is unresolved, and controversial. Question: So, is it still an open question - whether Bancroft stays or goes?
March 26, 2013 |
People don't adopt children like Ethan. A long-term foster-care child who has been in seven homes, who at 17 is almost an adult, about to age out of the system. When some people looked at Ethan, they saw heartbreak. When Karen and John Pascucci looked, they saw their son. It was the thoughtful questions he asked, the way his 6-foot-3 frame sheltered a gentle personality, his maturity and resilience, his desire for a permanent family. "He said he wanted to put down roots with us," Karen said.
March 8, 2013 |
Three armed men broke into an East Greenwich Township residence for developmentally disabled people at 3 a.m. Thursday and stole two safes, East Greenwich Police said. The men, each carrying a handgun, tied up caretakers with duct tape. No one was injured, police said. As many as 10 disabled adults live in the facility, located on Whiskey Mill Road in Clarksboro, Lt. Charles Barone said. It was not immediately clear what the residents were doing at the time of the robbery, he said, but they were not touched by the robbers.
February 1, 2013 |
With the number of private group homes rising across New Jersey, more adults with developmental or intellectual disabilities can live in their communities with relative independence. Many do well in the supervised settings, which typically house four adults. But the emotional displays, unusual behavior, and communication difficulty sometimes associated with autism and other conditions can lead to confrontations between residents and the public - and with police. Officers are learning how to handle "these individuals when they come into the criminal justice system," Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton says.
January 28, 2013 |
When the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced it planned to close Don Guanella Village, a residential campus for the intellectually disabled it has operated for more than 50 years, it said it was acting in the best interests of the residents by moving them into community-based care. But to families of the men who live on the Marple campus - some have been there most of their lives - the plans were anything but welcome. They say they feel as let down and worried about their relatives' futures as they are grateful for the care given over the years.
January 25, 2013 |
The Bancroft School has sought since 2005 to sell its Haddonfield campus, with plans to buy land elsewhere and build a facility more suited to its needs. Now, eight years and several failed sale attempts later, with borough voters Tuesday rejecting a $12.5 million referendum to purchase the property, Bancroft officials say they will instead move quickly to renovate the campus. "We need to begin modernizing our facility," Toni Pergolin, Bancroft's president and chief executive officer, said after the vote.
January 12, 2013 |
Don Guanella Village, a longtime residence in Marple Township for developmentally disabled men, may close in 2015, and its clients may be moved to new community-based housing, an official with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said. The proposed changes were prompted by the concerns of state and archdiocesan program staff going back over a year that the facility was not in line with "best practices" of caring for the intellectually disabled in a less-institutional setting, according to James Amato, deputy secretary for the archdiocesan office of Catholic Social Services.