July 1, 2008 |
A Dauphin County judge yesterday convened a hearing ordered by the state Supreme Court on whether grand jury secrecy rules were violated during the investigation of casino owner Louis DeNaples. Common Pleas Court Judge Todd A. Hoover ordered the hearing closed to the public in spite of objections raised by attorneys for DeNaples that it should be conducted in open court. "This is a very serious matter, and Judge Hoover is proceeding accordingly," said attorney William C. Costopoulos, a member of the DeNaples defense team, during a break.
October 12, 2007 |
Jerome Latham's face clouded as the hearing proceeded, threatening to turn as red as the likeness of the ball of fire on the front of his white T-shirt, as a phalanx of lawyers maneuvered to defend their clients, caught up in a stolen-body-parts scandal. "I better get out of here before I go off!" the 46-year-old New Jersey resident declared during the proceedings in the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center. His sister, Debra Brown, 49, of Philadelphia, managed to calm him. More than a year ago, their deceased mother was cremated by the McCafferty Funeral Home, one of three businesses involved in a case that has shocked and outraged Philadelphia and the nation.
September 21, 2007
Steve is a 50-something married man who's been around the block. Mia is a 20-something single immersed in the Center City dating scene. They may not agree, but they have plenty of answers. If you'd like an answer to your romantic troubles, e-mail them at S&M@phillynews.com or write: S&M c/o Daily News, Box 7788, Philadelphia, PA 19101. Q: I'm good friends with both halves of a couple. The guy recently confided in me that he plans to propose to her soon and swore me to secrecy.
April 6, 2007
Solving the Philadelphia Department of Human Services' problems requires as much openness and public attention as possible. The Inquirer reported last year that 20 children died of abuse or neglect between 2003 and 2005 after they or their families had contact with DHS. The cases pointed out weak and inconsistently applied DHS policies, a poor system for evaluating the risk a child faces, and too little training for too few caseworkers....
March 27, 2007
Host Iraqi children Back in the 1970s, a program was put into place for both Protestant and Catholic children from Ireland to come to America during the summer months and live with host families in the hope of learning to accept each other's differences. Although Ireland still has some religious tolerance issues today, abductions, shootings, car bombs and other such outright displays of hatred have disappeared. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could offer the same type of program for both Sunni and Shiite Iraqi children to come here in an effort for them to live peaceably one day in Iraq?
December 7, 2006 |
Two years ago, debris in the Delaware River punctured the hull of the Athos I as the oil tanker headed for Citgo's asphalt refinery in Paulsboro. The vessel spilled 265,000 gallons of heavy crude into the river, fouling 115 miles of shoreline, killing wildlife, and leaving unknown consequences for the river's health. A few months after the spill, we at the Work Environment Council asked the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection whether we could review the refinery's required spill-prevention and cleanup plan.
November 28, 2006
Trust us. That's essentially the response of Philadelphia officials more than a month after The Inquirer reported on the deaths of children whose families at one time had cases with the city's Department of Human Services. Trust us, they say as they work within a fortress of secrecy, to fix what went so fatally wrong in DHS. The reality is this: Government agencies love secrecy because it can help them hide their mistakes. But the consequences of DHS's mistakes make it essential for City Hall to release records dealing with child-abuse and -neglect fatalities.
October 24, 2006 |
Children die from horrific abuse. Heads roll at the child welfare agency. Fingers are pointed and blame is cast. This is a sad, but usual scenario in the world of social services when the lives of innocent children are lost while supposedly under the watch of government agencies. This is what is happening in Philadelphia after reports that 20 children died dreadful deaths at the hands of abusers from 2003 through 2005. In all 20 cases, the children's families had some prior contact with the Philadelphia Department of Human Services.
October 23, 2006
LAST WEEK'S shake-up at DHS is good news, for many reasons. Mayor Street acted swiftly: less than a week after the Inquirer reported that 20 children had died in a two-year period after DHS had interacted with their families, the director and her deputy were gone. Recently, places like New York and New Jersey have uncovered similar system crises that have been mitigated by elected officials' quick responses. Friday's shake-up is encouraging because it also suggests there is a way to do this right.
October 17, 2006 |
State and local elected officials called yesterday for hearings into the conduct of Philadelphia's Department of Human Services (DHS), the $600 million agency that investigates child abuse. Rep. George Kenney (R., Phila.), who chairs the Health and Human Services Committee, said he was not satisfied with how DHS responded in an article in Sunday's Inquirer examining recent child-abuse deaths. He said he was considering legislative oversight hearings and subpoenas to demand documents from the department, which is funded largely with federal and state dollars.