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NEWS
October 17, 2014 | By Claudia Vargas, Inquirer Staff Writer
Smokers who figured they could escape Philadelphia's recently enacted $2-per-pack cigarette tax by switching to e-cigarettes could be in for a letdown. City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown said Thursday that she would introduce legislation that would put a $2 tax on e-cigarettes and a tax on the liquid nicotine they use - with the levy going directly to the underfunded Philadelphia school district. "When we know our school district is starving for revenue," Brown said Wednesday, "every penny counts.
NEWS
October 17, 2014 | By Chris Hepp, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia's Board of Ethics approved a series of amendments to the city's campaign-finance rules Wednesday, the most significant aimed at tightening restrictions on what constitutes a third party's support of a candidate. Specifically, the board approved an amendment to address the reuse of campaign materials produced by a candidate, but then picked up and distributed by an individual or political action committee independent of the candidate. Under the new rule, such reuse would be considered an in-kind campaign contribution and thus would fall under the city's campaign rules that limit such contributions to $2,900 for individuals and $11,900 for political action committees, or PACs.
NEWS
October 16, 2014 | By Aubrey Whelan, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Northeast Philadelphia barbershop owner who was shot four times at his store Monday night told police the man who shot him had first asked for a haircut, police said. Just before 9 p.m. Monday, police arrived at Castor's Finest Barbershop on the 7100 block of Castor Avenue, where they found the shop's owner suffering from gunshot wounds to the chest, thigh, and shoulder, and a graze wound to the head. The victim, 33, told police a man had come into the store and asked for a haircut, police said.
NEWS
October 16, 2014 | By Aubrey Whelan, Inquirer Staff Writer
Update: Philadelphia police found J.J. Pierce's stolen car Tuesday night, but her dog, Louie, is still missing. The car was found on the 3600 block of N. Darien Street, near Rising Sun Avenue in North Philadelphia, police said. Louie, who has been missing since Thursday, was nowhere to be seen, police said. Pierce wrote on her Facebook page, Help Louie Get Home, that she plans to hand out fliers in the area in the hopes of finding the 2-year-old black Labrador mix. Earlier Story: A Philadelphia high school teacher is searching for her beloved black Labrador mix after her car was stolen last week - with the dog inside.
NEWS
October 16, 2014 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration has awarded $4 million to a Philadelphia jobs-training organization as part of its efforts to help the long-term unemployed in a sluggish economic recovery. The grant will go toward creating a program that offers health-care workers apprenticeships with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Nationwide Healthcare Services, and several local nursing homes. The program will be led by the labor union-backed District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund. "The earn-while-you-learn model of workforce development is a tried-and-true method of allowing people to get the skills they need to punch their ticket to the middle class," said Labor Secretary Thomas Perez.
BUSINESS
October 15, 2014 | By Alan J. Heavens, Inquirer Real Estate Writer
Home sales continued to rebound in Philadelphia in the third quarter, although price increases were lower than in the previous three months. An analysis of data from the Recorder of Deeds Office by economist Kevin Gillen showed that sales volume, well below normal since the real estate downturn began in 2007's third quarter, rose significantly in this year's third quarter from the second, especially in lower-priced neighborhoods. Just under 4,000 transactions were recorded in the July-September period - the first time since 2010 that sales have exceeded their historic quarterly average of 3,800, Gillen said.
NEWS
October 14, 2014 | By Susan Snyder, Inquirer Staff Writer
Pennsylvania's secretary of education on Friday asked Commonwealth Court to dismiss a lawsuit against her that accuses her of failing to investigate complaints from Philadelphia school parents over poor conditions in schools. The complaints, Carolyn Dumaresq contends in court filings, do not constitute "curriculum deficiencies," so she is not compelled to investigate. "The petition fails to state a claim of violation of that regulation," the response said in part. "It is outrageous for the state to disclaim any responsibility for these problems," Benjamin Geffen, staff attorney at the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, said in a statement issued in response and published on the group's website.
NEWS
October 11, 2014 | By Thomas Fitzgerald and Robert Moran, Inquirer Staff Writers
Democrat Tom Wolf said Thursday he would push, if elected governor, to abolish the School Reform Commission and transfer state control of Philadelphia schools to a locally elected school board. Wolf took exception to the dramatic step the SRC took last week when it canceled its contract with the teachers' union and imposed terms requiring members to pay 10 percent to 13 percent of the cost of their health-care benefits; currently they pay nothing. "I'm against what [the SRC] did," Wolf said.
NEWS
October 11, 2014 | By Susan Snyder, Inquirer Staff Writer
When he became principal of Lingelbach School this year, Marc Gosselin was stunned to learn that the 374-student school's budget for supplies this year was a meager $160. "As a new principal, I couldn't even send a letter to parents introducing myself," he said, "because I couldn't buy stamps. " On Tuesday, Gosselin and other principals around the district learned that his school was in line for a cash infusion - and right away - as a result of the district's decision Monday to cancel the teachers union contract and require teachers to pay more toward their health insurance.
NEWS
October 10, 2014 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
Two days after the Philadelphia School Reform Commission unilaterally canceled its teachers' contract and announced it would impose changes, hundreds of high school students went on "strike" Wednesday to support their teachers. Dozens of students from Science Leadership Academy in Center City and as many as 175 from the High School for Creative and Performing Arts in South Philadelphia boycotted classes. They held peaceful, upbeat demonstrations outside the two magnet schools. Twenty-five students from the Franklin Learning Center in Spring Garden demonstrated outside district headquarters at 440 N. Broad St. "There's a lot of talk about teachers going on strike," said Cy Wolfe, a theater major at CAPA who helped organize what he called the "Philadelphia Student Strike.
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