March 7, 2010 |
Just when you thought it might be safe to put your house on the market comes this little bombshell from the federal government: The Federal Housing Administration has revised its guidelines for borrowers. Responding to concerns about its capital-reserve ratio, which fell below the 2 percent threshold Congress requires, the FHA is raising mortgage-insurance fees and down payments for borrowers with lower credit scores. It also is cutting the percentage of the sale amount that sellers can pay to help ease the transaction.
February 19, 2010 |
A top New Jersey official ordered an inquiry yesterday into why no Amber Alert was issued in the alleged abduction of a three-month-old infant by her father, who told police he tossed her into the Raritan River on Tuesday night. According to police, Shamsid-Din Abdur-Raheem snatched his daughter from her grandmother in East Orange, N.J., around 4 p.m. Tuesday and told authorities four hours later that he threw the baby off the Driscoll Bridge on the Garden State Parkway in Sayreville.
December 17, 2009 |
Despite a fierce recession and record unemployment, far fewer Philadelphia Gas Works customers have received low-income heating grants this year, and the municipal utility says it is facing a multimillion-dollar shortfall. About 11,523 PGW households have received federal heating grants this year, about a third as many as last year. The utility says it had received $2.8 million in grant income so far this heating season, about $9 million less than it had at the same time last year.
December 11, 2009 |
Brian Westbrook was asked about the doctors. In the time since he suffered a first concussion this season, quickly followed by another, he has learned a lot about brain injuries and recovery rates, and about the NFL guidelines on the subject. But he might have learned even more about doctors. "Every doctor," he said, "sees things a little bit different. " So, it's hard to know what to do. Each bit of advice and assurance that he can safely play football again is offset by warnings that he will be running through a large red stop sign if he attempts to run through a line.
December 1, 2009
It's been almost five years since the Philadelphia Police Department's own integrity officer called for establishing a foot-pursuit policy for when suspects flee. Despite deaths, shootings, and a lawsuit, there are still no guidelines. The inaction may result in a steep price paid in lives - to both civilians and police officers - and legal judgments against the city when foot chases go wrong. Indeed, a federal lawsuit on behalf of a man shot and killed following a foot chase in 2006 contends that a pursuit policy could have helped avoid the incident.
November 16, 2009 |
Raymond Pelzer was playing dice on a known West Philadelphia drug corner when two police officers approached him. Pelzer, 25, handed over his identification but ran off before the officers learned that he was wanted for a probation violation. Moments later, an officer cornered Pelzer in a yard. Pelzer refused to show his hands, appeared to be searching in his waistband, and eventually thrust out his hand while holding a cell phone, according to court records. Officer Marvin Burton fired once, killing Pelzer, who was not armed.
October 28, 2009 |
Andy Reid said last night that he was "counting on" Brian Westbrook to be ready when the Eagles play the New York Giants in an NFC East showdown Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. Based on medical guidelines for dealing with a concussion, however, that scenario seemed unlikely. "Right now, I'm counting on he'll be there, and I know he'll want to be there, so there is a fine line there because this guy is so competitive that he wants to be out there every minute," Reid said during his radio show on WIP-AM (610)
October 5, 2009
LAST WEEK, the Census Bureau released new data on poverty. Not surprisingly, the news is grim: the number of people living in poverty has risen a full percentage point over last year. (The region has remained fairly steady, but food-stamp applications are up 3 percent over last year in the city.) Today, 13.2 percent of people in the country are living below the poverty line - about 40 million in all. Obviously, this is a big problem. But that's not even the half of it. The last time 40 million people lived below the poverty line was in 1960.
September 18, 2009 |
Philadelphia's congressional delegation worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently to save the Universal Feeding Program, which makes it easier for Philadelphia students to receive free school meals. Given the importance of those school meals to the health of children, it doesn't make sense to sell soda and junk food from the vending machines in the hallway leading to the cafeteria. We need to increase participation in school breakfast and lunch programs while getting rid of the junk food that competes with school meals.
August 11, 2009 |
Christopher Wright, who served two Republican members of City Council over a 20-year career in city government, was sentenced yesterday to four years in prison for favors he accepted from developers while he promoted their interests in City Hall. U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno said the need to deter public corruption demanded "substantial" prison time for Wright - and declined to drastically depart from sentencing guidelines, as was done in the case of former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo.