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NEWS
March 19, 2015 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
After four hours of deliberation, a federal jury Tuesday night said a former Philadelphia School District official was wrongfully suspended and lost his job for exposing a $7.5 million no-bid surveillance camera contract. The jury found that the district, former Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman, and a former top lieutenant had retaliated against Francis X. Dougherty because he told The Inquirer and federal and state authorities that Ackerman steered the no-bid contract to a small minority firm, IBS Communications Inc., that had not been approved for emergency work.
NEWS
March 19, 2015 | By Walter F. Naedele, Inquirer Staff Writer
James A. Woods, 74, of Mullica Hill, who retired in 1992 as a Philadelphia police sergeant, died Saturday, March 14, of pneumonia at home. Mr. Woods joined the department in September 1967 and was promoted to sergeant in April 1990, a police spokeswoman said. Born in Philadelphia, he grew up near 29th and Dickinson Streets in Grays Ferry and attended Edward E. Bok Technical High School. Mr. Woods helped prepare bread for a South Philadelphia bakery at the same time that he worked for one of the Philadelphia sites of the Horn & Hardart Automat chain.
NEWS
March 19, 2015 | By Walter F. Naedele, Inquirer Staff Writer
A memorial service and concert have been set to honor former Philadelphia Orchestra principal cellist William Stokking, 81, of Medford. The service is to be at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 12, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 401 Kings Highway N., Cherry Hill. The concert is to be at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 9, at Field Concert Hall of the Curtis Institute of Music, 1726 Locust St. His wife, Nancy, said both events are open to the public. Mr. Stokking, who retired from the orchestra in 2005, died Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, at a Moorestown nursing home of complications from a stroke.
NEWS
March 19, 2015 | By Sarah Smith, Inquirer Staff Writer
Peter Woodall's favorite places in Philadelphia are the buildings most people drive by. Take an abandoned factory on North Broad Street that's been turned into loft apartments. Untouched by a modernizing city, the old machinery was left to collect dust, and a sign stayed for years on the wall warning the long-gone workers that they weren't allowed to take any work home when they left for the day. Pinups from another era hung in the locker rooms. "It's the places that were abandoned that you can imagine what might have happened.
NEWS
March 18, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Education is the most important issue to Philadelphians - more important than crime, jobs, and the economy, according to a new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts. City residents favor eliminating the School Reform Commission, want an elected school board, and "have an extremely low opinion of the performance of the public school system," according to a research study released Monday. Philadelphians were mixed on charter schools in the poll - they view them generally positively, but most back the idea of spending more money on traditional public schools rather than creating new charter schools.
NEWS
March 17, 2015 | By Sarah Smith, Inquirer Staff Writer
Just three days before its grand opening, the Stephen Klein Wellness Center had patients sitting in the waiting room even as workmen washed the windows and scraped the last bits of tape off the high ceiling with a pole. "It's a little crazy getting ready," Monica Medina McCurdy of Project HOME said Friday morning. She and everyone involved with the Wellness Center had plenty to do before Monday's grand opening: They had to turn a brand-new, one-story, 28,000-square-foot building into one-stop shopping for low-income and homeless patients in one of North Philadelphia's poorest regions.
BUSINESS
March 15, 2015 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
Philip Rinaldi, the city's refinery titan, offered Philadelphia City Council a lesson in business terminology Friday when he introduced a new phrase into council's vocabulary: "idiot insurance. " During testimony on whether the city-owned Philadelphia Gas Works should engage in a public-private partnership, Rinaldi suggested Council could consider protecting its interests by maintaining an ownership stake in any private venture. "I live in a world of mergers and acquisitions," said Rinaldi, chief executive of Philadelphia Energy Solutions.
NEWS
March 15, 2015 | By Robert Moran, Inquirer Staff Writer
Hundreds of Philadelphia police officers in dress uniforms and white gloves marched solemnly in formation Friday afternoon up Whitby Avenue past the Francis Funeral Home to 52d Street, where the family of fallen Officer Robert Wilson III waited in folding chairs arranged on the opposite side of the intersection. The officers, led by Wilson's colleagues in the 22d District, then stood at attention under the hazy late-winter sky and saluted his family, including his sister, Shakíra Wilson-Burroughs, and grandmother, Constance Wilson.
FOOD
March 13, 2015 | By Natalie Pompilio, For The Inquirer
If diners leave a tip at the just opened William Street Common in West Philadelphia, servers are supposed to return it, saying "You left something behind," said owner Avram Hornik. A 20 percent service charge has already been added to each check, and that money - plus a match from the owners - first goes toward paying salaries: All employees earn at least $15 an hour. Hornik, who also owns Drinker's, Union Transfer, and Morgan's Pier, admits that this model might not work for every restaurant or bar, but he is trying to create a different model here, a space where patrons can linger without feeling pressure to leave and all employees are fairly paid, even if the tables don't turn over quickly.
NEWS
March 13, 2015 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
For the second time in 12 months, a Philadelphia jury was unable to reach a verdict in the trial of a Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy almost 18 years ago in a Bridesburg parish. The Common Pleas Court jury of 10 women and two men hearing the trial of the Rev. Andrew McCormick, 58, announced Wednesday that it was hung. The mistrial came one day shy of a year since the last mistrial. McCormick's face reddened as he heard the foreman respond "no verdict" to each of the five counts against him: involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, child endangerment, corruption of a minor, and indecent assault of a minor under 13. But afterward, the priest of 33 years seemed upbeat, wishing court staff a happy Easter as he signed a subpoena to appear at an April 10 hearing.
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