January 22, 2014 |
IN OCTOBER 2011, Philadelphia police rescued four mentally disabled people from a filthy Tacony basement, where Linda Ann Weston and four codefendants allegedly held them captive in a scheme to steal their Social Security benefits. In the wake of the Tacony dungeon case, outraged congressional leaders called for swift changes to how the Social Security Administration screens and monitors people who receive benefits on behalf of the elderly and disabled. But more than two years later, advocates for senior citizens and those with disabilities say that Social Security has taken minimal steps to root out fraud and abuse within the "Representative Payee Program.
January 8, 2014 |
STACEY Newkirk-Smalls, the Tacony mother charged with the May 2012 murders of her 18-month-old twins, Adam and Eve, was convicted yesterday and sentenced to life in prison without parole. The verdict and sentence were handed down by Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart following a one-day nonjury trial. Newkirk-Smalls, 42, was convicted of third-degree murder in both deaths. Minehart sentenced her to 20 to 40 years in prison for one murder and to life for the other because having two murder convictions automatically triggers a life sentence under state law. Police and prosecutors said that on May 24, 2012, Newkirk-Smalls poisoned both twins before drowning one and suffocating the other at the Ditman Street home she shared with her husband, who worked as a city correctional officer at the time.
December 3, 2013 |
JOE GROGAN rushed out of his apartment above the Scarlett O'Hara Pub on Torresdale Avenue near Levick Street on Saturday night when he heard the sirens of converging squad cars and police officers shouting at two suspects they had up against the outside wall of the bar. "They were yelling, 'I told you not to take your hands off the f---ing wall!' and 'Don't go putting your f---ing hands in your pockets!' " Grogan, 57, said in the smoky Tacony bar yesterday afternoon, watching the Eagles on TV, gutting out the final minutes of a 24-21 nail-biter over the Cardinals.
October 28, 2013 |
Beatrice Weston's mother claims her daughter was held captive and tortured by her aunt Linda Ann Weston because the City of Philadelphia failed to keep her safe. In a lawsuit filed last week in federal court, the latest installment in the horrific abuse case out of Tacony, Vickie Weston says the Department of Human Services knew her sister was a convicted murderer, but nevertheless gave her custody of 10-year-old Beatrice Weston. Then, social workers failed to check on the girl for a decade as her aunt forced her into prostitution, beat and starved her, kept her out of school, and even made her drink and bathe in her own urine, the suit alleges.
October 25, 2013 |
THE CITY IS to blame for years of torture endured by Beatrice Weston at the hands of her aunt, Linda Ann Weston, according to a civil lawsuit stemming from the nightmarish Tacony dungeon case. The lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia on behalf of Beatrice's mother, Vickie Weston, claims that the Department of Human Services took custody of Beatrice, then 10, let the court place her with a convicted murderer and then failed to check up on her. The lawsuit, however, does not mention that Vickie Weston knew about her sister's criminal history and agreed to the placement during a Family Court proceeding in 2002.
October 17, 2013
A column in Sunday's Real Estate section misidentified a parochial school that has closed in Tacony. It was Our Lady of Consolation school. A story Friday about the reopening of two public-school libraries incorrectly reported what the librarian at Masterman School did while she was transferred during the closure. She performed library-related work. A caption for a photo Monday with an obituary for former City Councilwoman Augusta Clark contained an incorrect date.
October 14, 2013 |
Tacony isn't on my list of locales to visit for Town by Town features this year, but thanks to a recent e-mail from This Old House magazine, I think it deserves attention here. The Northeast neighborhood once known worldwide as the place where saws were made is one of the magazine's 61 "Best Old House" neighborhoods in the United States and Canada for 2013. "Best values" and "easy commute" led Tacony past other city contenders, according to the magazine. The designation is just one more positive sign of change in a neighborhood that seems to be making considerable progress in turning itself around, especially in the last three years, improving the Torresdale Avenue commercial corridor.
August 26, 2013 |
AS HURRICANE IRENE blew toward Philadelphia on Aug. 27, 2011, bringing floods, power outages and property devastation, hundreds of people hurried to the Max Myers Recreation Center in Castor Gardens for the first Northeast Celebration. It was then that Jared Solomon, president of the Take Back Your Neighborhood community association that organized the celebration of all things Northeast Philadelphia, knew he had created something stronger than the approaching storm. No such natural disaster threatens the third annual Northeast Celebration today at Max Myers Rec, on Hellerman Street near Horrocks.
August 19, 2013 |
A body was found in the Delaware River around 8 a.m. Saturday morning, police said, in front of the Quaker City Yacht Club in Tacony. Police have not yet identified the deceased, whom they described as a black man weighing around 200 pounds. The body was retrieved by the marine unit and taken to the Medical Examiner's office to be identified. Richard Wallace, a club member, found the body when he was storing a small, communal boat used to ferry people to their boats. A worker at Philadelphia International Airport, Wallace, 52, had gotten off work at 7 a.m. and had just tied up the "tender boat" when he spotted the body, hooked on a large tree that had washed up under the dock.