July 19, 2012 |
Frank Pettinato's telemarketing company has ridden the Affordable Care Act like the Cyclone roller coaster on Coney Island. Whoosh, the provision in the health-care act that cut Medicare's selling period in half, meant that his business, the Corporate Call Center in Blue Bell, had to chop its permanent staff in half, from 200 to 100, in 2011. Then it had to recruit more temporary operators to work less time, with a net loss of 30 percent of the hours. Now the health-care roller coaster is climbing up the track — and Pettinato said he needs to hire hundreds — 800 temporary workers and 70 full-time staffers — to keep up. "It's a challenge," he said.
April 23, 2012 |
WILKES-BARRE - At one time, several amusement parks were within a short drive for Wyoming Valley residents. Now, it takes at least an hour to reach a roller coaster, and the local parks are just memories. Local enthusiasts and historians are working to make sure those memories - of days spent at Angela Park in southern Luzerne County, Hanson's Amusement Park in Harveys Lake, and others - are preserved. Jim Fichter has mint-condition Angela Park memorabilia that he sells to those looking to hold on to a piece of history.
March 9, 2012 |
This isn't easy to write, but it must be written: Philadelphia's comedy sweethearts, Jennifer Childs and Tony Braithwaite, with their newest cabaret for 1812 Productions, Let's Pretend We're Famous , may have jumped the shark once and for all. If you have a firsthand recollection of that last reference, you'll get every other reference in the show, and will still wonder if Childs or Braithwaite has turned on a television in the last 30 years....
December 8, 2011 |
The box of family heirlooms sat for six years in Susan Cadwalader Johnson's basement, untouched. Over the summer, her husband wanted to claim some space for exercise machines, so Johnson sifted through what she had been unable to face since her mother's death. The cardboard box's contents spanned five generations: the deed to the Arkansas farm, her great-great grandmother's flax apron, her grandmother's wedding dress, white, crinkly, and made of voile or organdy. "What am I going to do with all this?"
October 8, 2011
On Canaan's Side By Sebastian Barry Viking. 256 pp. $25.95 Reviewed by John Brumfield Lilly Bere has decided to end her life after the violent death of her Army veteran grandson, recently returned from the first Gulf War. At 89, after a life whose leitmotif has been unremitting loss, she reasons, "It is only one last bit of life that I undo. Lord, it is nothing, absolutely nothing. A year or two. " But before doing so, she decides on a final bit of stock-taking - what she refers to as her "strange confession" - that takes the form of 17 daily journal entries of richly detailed, often cinematic, reminiscence that jump cuts with the present and her dwindling number of friends.
September 10, 2011 |
ERICH MAERZ: DIED IN SOUTH TOWER Even now, 10 years later, people ask Erich Maerz, "How do you feel?" As if his grief over losing his older brother, his best friend, could have lessened since. "What's the difference if it's been two years and two months or nine years and two days? You think I don't think about him just as much now as I did then?" asked Maerz, 37. "A lot of things in the world have changed since that day. I still don't have my brother here anymore. " Noell Maerz was 29, the oldest of three Maerz brothers who grew up in the Lansdale area.
August 24, 2011 |
It was brief enough to be ignored or misinterpreted - an overzealous demolition crew, perhaps, or a plumbing snafu - and left little evidence in its wake. But in that 1:51 p.m. quake that lasted for more than 30 seconds Tuesday, the tremor that rumbled beneath the Eastern Seaboard transformed the day. Businesses closed. Trains and planes screeched to a halt. Rescue workers went on alert. And as much as anything, the historic quake rattled millions of nerves across a dozen states.
August 21, 2011
Joe Blanton was like a fifth Beatle at the made-for-TV Four Aces news conference down in Clearwater in mid-February, and a mysterious elbow injury that has limited him to six starts this season has only accentuated his forgotten status. As the Phillies have soared toward a franchise record for regular-season wins behind the best pitching staff in baseball, Blanton has spent two additional months in Clearwater dealing with the first arm ailment of his life. Even now, more than two months into his second stint of the season on the disabled list, Blanton is not exactly sure what is wrong with his elbow.
August 6, 2011 |
Many financial advisers have the same advice for nervous investors unhinged by the stock market's wild mood swings in recent days: Take a deep breath. Come in off the ledge. Don't panic. "The worst thing somebody can do is to sell into a panic," said Alexander F. Cabot, an analyst for the Wiley Group, a Conshohocken wealth-advisory firm. Thursday's 500-point Dow plunge, followed by Friday's whipsaw ride between positive and negative territory, might induce the risk-averse to head for the exits.
August 5, 2011 |
JACKSON, N.J. - Robb and Alissa Alvey always dreamed of globetrotting, but neither expected to be traveling by roller coaster. Since 2005, the couple have been organizing group vacation packages centered on amusement-park tours and reviews. Now they twist, loop, and roll their way through six trips per year that have taken participants from theme-park-saturated Florida to Scandinavia and Japan. On Thursday, the Alveys, accompanied by 120 hard-core coaster enthusiasts, swung through Jackson to try out the attractions at Six Flags Great Adventure.