April 2, 2016 |
Get out in the garden. If you haven't done anything in the garden since my last column, you have a lot of catching up to do. Start by cleaning out the non-garden stuff - broken pots, plastic bags, old labels - so you can do an assessment. Gently rake away the winter mulch to see what's coming up. Take note of what's already blooming, what's budding out, and what's probably dead. Resist the temptation to prune for at least a week or two, but still get rid of loose, dead branches, and dried and withered plants so you can get an idea of what's underneath.
February 28, 2016
* Do cats dream? Well, we know they remember things - think of the cat who avoids plastic bags after getting one stuck on his head while playing - so it makes sense that they may share our ability to dream, as well. Dreaming is a normal part of organizing or reorganizing memories - sort of a subconscious filing system. Like humans, cats have two kinds of sleep. The deeper kind - characterized by rapid eye movements - is known as REM sleep, and that's when dreams occur in humans. When cats twitch their limbs and whiskers during sleep, they are in the REM stage.
June 20, 2015 |
Consumers who just can't get behind reusing grocery bags may have sighed with relief last week when an effort to charge Philadelphia shoppers a nickel each for plastic bags couldn't even get a hearing before City Council. So for now, at least, single-use plastic bags remain free at Philadelphia cash registers. But that doesn't mean they are cost-free. Obviously, the bags cost merchants something, which is passed on to consumers. But depending on where discarded bags land, taxpayer-funded programs are often responsible for cleanup efforts.
April 25, 2015 |
City Council has tried to ban them and tax them, but plastic bags have continued to flutter out of Philadelphia's reach. Now one member of Council is targeting them anew - with a bill to impose a five-cent fee on all shopping bags, paper and plastic. "People go into convenience stores and come out with a bag that they really didn't need and toss it onto the streets," said Councilman Mark Squilla, who introduced the bill Thursday. About a dozen states and scores of municipalities - including Washington, Chicago, and San Francisco - have passed laws to regulate plastic bags.
April 24, 2015 |
HOW MUCH WOULD you pay for the plastic and paper bags used by grocery stores and other retailers? A penny? Maybe for your thoughts, but City Councilman Mark Squilla thinks you should pay five cents for each bag. A bill he introduced yesterday calls for the tax as a way to discourage littering while helping to fund the city's anti-littering campaign. Two cents from each nickel collected would go to the city and could generate as much as $150,000 a month, said Squilla, a Democrat who represents the 1st District, which includes parts of South Philadelphia, Center City and Port Richmond.
April 20, 2015 |
Three readers have come to the rescue of our neighborhood, which has been dodging the slings and arrows of an outrageous robin on the make since the cold weather began easing up a bit. Maybe not slings and arrows, but enough birdie poop to leave our cars looking rather yucky. We, of course, realize the robin is looking for love, but our cars qualify as all the wrong places. Readers Eleanor Yodis, Jerry Christie, and Karen Giordano merit gratitude for their suggestions. From Christie: "As someone abused over several years by a robin, and the subject of family jokes and humor, I have found the solution to the robin sitting on my mirrors and leaving deposits this time of year.
April 11, 2015 |
A Center City man who was going to nursing school while working as a pimp pleaded guilty Thursday to third-degree murder in the 2013 death and dismemberment of a john he had set up to be robbed. With five jurors selected for his trial in Common Pleas Court and two prostitutes prepared to testify against him, Keith "King" Tolbert decided to take a plea deal that will put him in prison for 22 to 44 years. Tolbert, 35, will be sentenced Friday by Judge J. Scott O'Keefe. His attorney, Mary T. Maran, said Tolbert wants to express his remorse to the family of Francis Zarzycki, 40, and tell authorities where he dumped the victim's missing body parts.
March 5, 2015 |
Plastic bags, bike-sharing programs, and Philadelphia City Council powers have not been big issues thus far in this year's mayoral race, but Tuesday night, they offered unexpected opportunities for candidates to stand apart. Those opportunities, along with some rather quirky personal questions, enlivened a mayoral forum at the Convention Center held by the Next Great City Coalition, a broad collection of unions, community groups, businesses, churches, and nonprofits. The forum drew candidates Lynne M. Abraham, Nelson Diaz, the Rev. Keith Goodman, James F. Kenney, Doug Oliver, and State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams.
August 23, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - An area lawmaker wants Pennsylvania shoppers to BYOB (bring your own bag) or pay a fee. Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery) has introduced a bill aimed at reducing the volume of plastic bags in the trash by imposing a two-cent fee on each new bag used by shoppers. One penny of the fee would go to state recycling programs, and the other would go to the retailer to help with its recycling. Leach said his bill - like those already enacted in Seattle, Los Angeles, and Washington - would encourage customers to shop with reusable bags while reducing landfill waste.
August 15, 2013 |
Artist Ruth Miller was going to give Leslie Kelly - homeless for 14 years and who still sees herself as a likeness to Botticelli's Birth of Venus - an early birthday present. The plan was to meet at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at a coffee shop at Fourth and Gaskill, where Kelly likes to read. But it was pouring rain. So Miller called Kelly on her cellphone - yes, she has a phone - and they agreed to meet at Kelly's current residence, under the canopy at Headhouse Square. Kelly went over to Xochitl, a Mexican restaurant, grabbed a cardboard box from the trash, and folded it nicely as a seat for her guest.