November 1, 2013 |
WHEN MY phone rang first thing Tuesday morning, I naturally assumed someone was dead. Not sure if you've noticed, but I'm one of those glass-half-cracked types. And when I heard Lorraine Falligan on the other end, I was certain it was bad news. "It's coming down! It's coming down!" she said. When I first wrote about Falligan and the other women of North Sydenham Street in North Philly, they were worried about a list of longstanding issues on their block. But they were most concerned about a crumbling vacant home they feared would collapse before the city did anything about it. "Had it finally happened?"
October 18, 2013
MOST neighborhood activists will tell you that the longer a vacant property sits unoccupied, the more vulnerable it becomes to vandalism and decay - and the more likely that surrounding properties will experience similar decay and destruction. It's a fact that left unchecked, blight will spread block by block until the whole neighborhood is engulfed and eventually destroyed. Long-term uncollected property tax delinquencies are a major factor in creating blight that leads to property abandonment - never mind the impact on the city's finances when an estimated $300 million in delinquent taxes remain uncollected for the past five years.
October 10, 2013 |
NEWS FLASH: Philadelphians do not want more taxes. That might seem obvious, but it really is news. According to a poll released yesterday by the Pew Charitable Trusts, Philly residents have shifted in their belief about a fundamental question regarding government: Would you rather have more taxes and more services, or less taxes and less services? Last year, 49 percent of respondents asked for more taxes and services, while 42 percent favored less. This year, 41 percent wanted more, and 50 percent wanted less.
October 3, 2013 |
WITH ASTHMA, arthritis and heart problems, Altonya Sheppard is unquestionably someone who needs doctors and drugs. But with no health insurance, the 37-year-old Southwest Philadelphia woman has become a pro at minimizing her medical needs. Her house has no carpets that could trap irritants, and she often sleeps in her living room to avoid overexerting herself on the stairs and triggering an asthma attack. Unable to afford the $600 in medication she needs monthly, she usually buys only the drugs that will fix whatever bothers her most.
October 2, 2013 |
NEW YORK - Another "phoenix moment" for the Philadelphia Orchestra? That's how Carnegie Hall's director of artistic planning, Jeremy Geffen, describes the orchestra's arrival Wednesday to open the 2013-14 season in New York City's august concert venue, whose audiences and management cheered the orchestra through its bankruptcy. Slots don't come any more prestigious than opening night. The concert promises guaranteed star power with violinist Joshua Bell and music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, now in his second season with the Philadelphians.
September 9, 2013 |
NEW YORK - Hours before Nicole Miller's spring collection hit the Lincoln Center runways Friday evening, Debbie Cenci was shopping it at the designer's Garment District showroom. Nicole Miller sales specialists curated a group of dresses and trousers just for Cenci, including a floral sheath fashioned from spongy neoprene. Thick, white lines break up the saturated florals, creating a shattered-glass pattern. This is Miller's signature spring 2014 print, and at 3 p.m., Cenci had purchased the dress - and a few other 2014 pieces - before the fashion editors, bloggers, retailers, and thousands of Fashion Week attendees have seen it, before the clothes have even been made . Cenci slipped on the model-size sample.
September 3, 2013 |
At 1:01 p.m. on March 13, 2008, David Thomsen gained either a passion or a problem. He isn't sure which. That day, Thomsen made a single Wikipedia edit on the page for the expression "Holy cow," then walked away from editing for two months. Fast-forward five years, and on March 13, Thomsen spent the day editing discussion pages on the soccer players, pairs skaters, and other celebrities of Estonia while occasionally turning his attention to the neglected Wikipedia pages for some antebellum Maryland congressional elections and a Korean pop song.
August 23, 2013 |
THEY ARE old now, those still living who were among the hundreds of thousands on the National Mall that August afternoon in 1963 when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. energized a movement. But they do not forget. Here are memories from three Philadelphians who attended the March on Washington. Henry Nicholas The president of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees was a 27-year-old attendant at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City in 1963. He led the charge to bring 5,000 members of his hospital workers union, AFSCME's District 1199C, by train to Washington, the largest turnout of any single group.
July 15, 2013 |
When we talk about poverty in Philadelphia, let's keep one basic concept in mind: We are all in this together. The effects of poverty ripple out beyond those directly affected to everyone who lives and works in this city. Poverty means fewer people have money to spend on goods and services in local businesses, and therefore fewer dollars flow through the economy. It means an increased burden on city services, and therefore a higher burden on city homeowners and taxpayers. But this isn't all about dollars and cents.
July 10, 2013 |
TWO PHILADELPHIA residents will receive the 2012 National Medal of Arts from President Obama tomorrow. Joan Myers Brown and Laurie Olin are among the 12 honorees who will receive the award during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House. First lady Michelle Obama is also expected to attend. Brown, founder of Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco), is being recognized for her contributions as a dancer, choreographer and artistic director. She is a past recipient of the distinguished Philadelphia Award.