January 18, 2014 |
HARRISBURG Politics, not good policy, fueled the controversial push by Republicans in Harrisburg in 2011 to change the way Pennsylvania awards its electoral votes in presidential elections, according to a Washington-based ethics group. The Pennsylvania nonprofit All Votes Matter spent tens of thousands of dollars lobbying elected officials to push the change. It was largely funded by out-of-state groups with ties to Charles and David H. Koch, the billionaire brothers who bankroll conservative causes.
January 16, 2014 |
MORE THAN 6,000 petition signatures are serving as the impetus for a new committee seeking a permanent memorial at the site of June's Market Street building collapse. The 22nd & Market Memorial Committee is made up of friends and family of those who died last year, including City Treasurer Nancy Winkler, whose 24-year-old daughter was among the six killed. Members also include local civic and business leaders and urban planning and design professionals who hope to erect a temporary memorial at the site by June 5, the first anniversary of the collapse.
January 9, 2014 |
JUSTICE RESCUE, a team of brawny, tattooed dog-lovers, has finally gotten some justice over an ordeal with a Northeast Philly pit bull, the group's lawyer said. Two members of the animal-rescue group, Russell Wayne "Wolf" Harper and Robert John "House" Lewis, were arrested in February and charged with impersonating a law-enforcement officer, theft, receiving stolen property and conspiracy for allegedly taking a pit bull in November 2012 from a property near Frankford Avenue and Orthodox Street.
January 7, 2014 |
Pennsylvania will keep its minimum wage the lowest among large Northeastern states, if the commonwealth's leading business lobby gets its way. Gene Barr, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, liked my use of the phrase "brute force" to describe the role of government in trying to use a higher minimum wage to spread a little prosperity. But that's about all the chamber chief liked in my Dec. 22 column noting some politicians here want to copy Maryland, New York, New Jersey, and other adjoining states that have started boosting base pay significantly above the federal $7.25 an hour.
January 6, 2014 |
Just in time for Christmas, Gov. Corbett's administration posted the names of 58 developers, industrial plants, corporate and nonprofit hospitals, museums, private colleges, and other institutions that will share $133 million in state matching grants for favored projects across the commonwealth. It's the latest installment of the Redevelopment Authority Capital Program grants, a program that has been popular with lawmakers and developers since the 1980s, defended by local construction interests, and denounced from the left and the right as corporate welfare.
January 3, 2014 |
Several area religious organizations and businesses appeared to be happier Wednesday after an order by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor temporarily blocked a requirement that some religious-affiliated employers provide health insurance that includes birth control. Sotomayor's two-sentence order came about two hours before the policies of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act were to go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. The order applies only to this issue, but adds to the debate about the law. She gave the Obama administration until Friday to respond to a bid by the Denver and Baltimore chapters of the Little Sisters of the Poor for an exemption from the mandate.
December 30, 2013 |
AS MEMBERS of Mothers in Charge filed into their annual As We Remember vigil last night, they were greeted with a familiar sight - the faces of their lost sons and daughters. Lifelike painted portraits of the children depicted the victims as they're best remembered: Smiling, at ease, happy. "When you see them together at once, it has an overwhelming impact," said Judy Ringold, the founder of Lost Dreams on Canvas. "It underscores how terrible this issue really is. " For 20 years, Ringold has organized artists to paint these portraits, and has been a close collaborator with Mothers in Charge, a community organization that provides support services to the families of victims of urban violence.
December 22, 2013 |
Jones Group, the women's clothing wholesaler and retailer started by Philadelphia investor Sidney Kimmel in the late 1960s, has agreed to be bought by Sycamore Partners, a New York buyout firm, for $15 per share in cash. The sale values Jones stock at $1.2 billion. Sycamore will also take on Jones' $1 billion in debt. The company was run from offices in New York and warehouses in Bristol, Bucks County. Jones employs about 6,000 people. In a note from Sycamore Thursday night, Jones workers were told there were no plans to close facilities or cut jobs.
December 21, 2013 |
CHESTER Over the last 15 years, Chester Community Charter School has grown so rapidly that it educates more students - about 3,000 - than the cash-strapped traditional classrooms in the surrounding Chester Upland School District. But a group of residents troubled by the charter's rapid growth are questioning whether the privately managed, taxpayer-funded school, which runs from kindergarten through eighth grade, has the legal authority to teach children beyond fourth grade. The seeds of the dispute emerged in August, when the state auditor general reported that there was no evidence that Chester Community's original charter had been updated since being authorized in 1998 for grades K-4. The school and the district dispute the assertion.
December 21, 2013 |
Known as a kind and gentle man, William T. Walsh had to be tough to help manage a household with 15 children, which is how he became known to family and friends as "Sarge. " "My father served time in the Navy, but the name comes from my brother Andrew, who goes by 'Bucky,' " Paul "Chet" Walsh said Thursday. "Bucky was quite the character, but he always kind of found a way to a soft spot in my father. "To keep 15 kids in line, obviously you had to be strict and a disciplinarian. Bucky used to kid him that he was like a sergeant in the Army barking out orders at us. So he became Sarge, and everybody knew that, even his nurse at the nursing home.