December 31, 2015 |
As head of the city's prisons, Louis Giorla does not get much fan mail, especially from inmates. But last week, a man in jail wrote to Giorla, thanking him for the holiday commissary bag of treats and toiletries given each inmate. "I just wanted to thank you," the handwritten letter said. "It's difficult being incarcerated this time of year. " Giorla, 59, who will retire as commissioner next week, still has the note on his desk, in a nearly empty office where awards and pictures sit on the floor or in boxes.
December 30, 2015 |
Joseph A. Hasara Jr., 64, of Lower Gwynedd, a retired Philadelphia police officer, died of cancer Saturday, Dec. 26, at home. Born in Hazleton, Pa., Mr. Hasara was reared in the Juniata Park section of Philadelphia and graduated from Northeast Catholic High School for Boys. He served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War era - he was stationed in Thailand and at bases in the United States - and rose to the rank of sergeant. After leaving the military, Mr. Hasara joined the Philadelphia police force, where he spent five years as a patrol officer and 15 years as a detective.
December 28, 2015
As Pig Beach in the Bahamas proves, the flat-snouted, thick-bodied mammals it's named after can, indeed, swim. So perhaps it's not that much of a stretch that Stu Gelbord went from selling pork products to selling swimming lessons. "It's a very natural progression," he said, not joking. Then again, when you're 66 and investing $100,000-plus in retirement savings to bring a new business to the Philadelphia area, there's more worry than laughter. "Instead of thinking about retirement, I used my retirement fund to kind of fund my future," said Gelbord, of Jamison, Bucks County.
December 18, 2015 |
John Craven Williams, 91, of Wayne, a retired stockbroker, died Sunday, Dec. 13, of pneumonia at Waverly Heights in Gladwyne. Mr. Williams started out in the brokerage business with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith in 1948. He then became one of the youngest partners at Goodbody & Co. on Wall Street. In a third move, Mr. Williams became business partners with Robin Roberts, the Hall of Fame Phillies pitcher, at Cannon & Co. After making one more move to UBS Financial Services Inc. in Radnor, Mr. Williams retired in 2005.
December 16, 2015 |
Jim O'Neill was the go-to guy in his family for anybody with a problem. "You could go to him with any problem and he would always have a solution," said his son, Jim Jr. And it was not hard to imagine that his father would fulfill the same role for the police officers he worked with for 30 years on the force. You can picture Jim as he popped an El Producto in his mouth and leaned back to listen to whatever was on the mind of the troubled one. To say Jim was devoted to his family would be a gross understatement.
December 12, 2015 |
Kenny Rogers, the platinum-plated force of nature, is hanging up his microphone. For what looks like his last show in the area, Rogers returns to Valley Forge Casino Resorts. Nineteen years ago, Rogers performed the farewell concert for the original Valley Forge Music Fair. "I remember the venue being a wonderful place, lots of sentiment attached to it," said Rogers when the subject of the Music Fair comes up. "I'm looking forward to coming back and helping to be part of the revival.
December 2, 2015 |
Mark E. Gale, CEO of the Philadelphia International Airport for seven of his nearly 28 years working at the airport, will retire early in 2016. For more than 20 of those years, Gale worked a variety of jobs overseeing airport operations and facilities. Mayor Nutter, who appointed Gale to the CEO post in 2009, made the retirement announcement Monday and called him "an outstanding leader. " "As the city has grown into a world-class destination, Mark has kept Philadelphia International on pace to address the needs of today's air travelers," Nutter said.
December 1, 2015 |
Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco will be the guest of honor at a going-away gala next month in celebration of her seven terms on City Council. But the event is not just a farewell party. It's also a fund-raiser, with $100 tickets, $10,000 sponsorship slots, and a star-studded lineup of cochairs. The proceeds, Tasco said, will benefit a scholarship in her name, not a political action committee. Yet as hundreds of Philadelphia's political class prepare to say thank you with a party and a parting check, it's clear Tasco's political influence has staying power.
November 24, 2015 |
You might expect to see some new faces on your favorite news channel. Two local TV people bid adieu late last week. After an exhilarating 29-year run, reporter David Henry said goodbye to 6ABC on Thursday. He told me he has no immediate plans other than decompressing with his wife, Sara , for a few months, then on to some R&R in the form of skiing, sailing and traveling around the world. "I'm trading the big story on 'Action News' for the little things you miss while zipping along in the fast lane," Henry said.
October 30, 2015 |
PRISONS Commissioner Louis Giorla, who has spent 33 years working in Philly prisons including nearly eight in the top post, will retire in January. The son of a correctional officer, Giorla started his prisons career in 1982, as a correctional officer at the House of Correction, and has held every rank since then except deputy commissioner. He has presided over the city's six prisons through plenty of highs and lows. Among the lows: An ongoing class-action lawsuit over crowding and prison conditions and calls for outside oversight after several controversial inmate deaths and excessive force incidents.