March 24, 2014 |
TWO YOUNG MEN were shot dead on the streets of Southwest Philadelphia a few blocks away from each other on a cold Friday in January. They died minutes apart. "This is insane," City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson recalled thinking when he heard the news. The deaths of Jahmeer Jett and Benjamin Collier on Jan. 17 prompted community leaders from the area to reach out to Johnson to discuss the ongoing problem of youth and guns that plagues their neighborhoods, he said. Johnson, who had already established a gun task force in South Philadelphia, decided to spin off the idea in Southwest.
March 18, 2014 |
THE SOUTH PHILLY home of homicide victim Amber Long was the backdrop yesterday for a rally to end gun violence. About 20 members of the advocacy group Heeding God's Call and a handful of other local activists staged the rally on Ritner Street near Bouvier. It included Philadelphia choir the Healing Presence Singers and remarks by Long's neighbor Gene Foschini. "First time I met her, she gave me a big hug when she came to look at the apartment," Foschini told the crowd. "I loved her. She was a great girl.
March 5, 2014 |
WHEN Kerlis Moncion and her family were looking to move to a bigger house in 2007, they settled on a home in Lawndale, on a quiet, residential street called Martins Mill Road. The area had everything Moncion was looking for: a Shop-Rite at the end of her street, friendly, helpful neighbors, a nearby bus stop for easy access to other parts of the city. Then, she started to notice some changes. She heard stories about muggings in the surrounding area. During the closing months of last year, her husband's trailer was stolen out of their back yard.
February 28, 2014 |
LAWNSIDEGrowing up gay in Jamaica, Jason Latty-Travis was "one of those boys who were supposed to be beaten. " He's referring to four young men whom fellow Northern Caribbean University students believed to be battyboys and bashed with wooden planks in February 2001. Had he not stopped to talk politics with an acquaintance on the street that night, Latty-Travis recalls, he might have been among the victims. Not long after that incident, which made international headlines, he fled his beloved homeland.
February 25, 2014 |
After his Chestnut Hill Quaker meetinghouse construction site was torched in December 2012, builder Robert Reeves Jr. immediately knew whom to blame. Weeks of aggressive confrontation with members of the Philadelphia ironworkers' union had led up to the attack. But despite his confidence in their involvement, he remained reluctant to pursue a criminal case. "This type of retaliation has been going on all of my lifetime, my entire career," he said. "What was going to change here?"
February 22, 2014
One person's harassment is another person's free-speech exercise. Thus sayeth Pat Gillespie, business manager for the Philadelphia Building and Trades Council, which may help to explain the indictment of 10 Ironworkers Local 401 members for allegedly ordering various acts of violent harassment to protect union jobs. Gillespie's statement last year wasn't about the federal indictment announced Wednesday, but the issue is the same. He believes unions must do whatever it takes to get their members work.
February 21, 2014 |
When the ironworkers saw a wall of union pickets blocking entry to a King of Prussia construction site early one morning in June 2010, it seemed like the latest speed bump in a project that had already suffered several acts of vandalism. But then, as the five ironworkers waited in a nearby parking lot, the scene turned into something out of a gangster movie. A dark car pulled up and three men jumped out, wielding baseball bats they used to shatter the back windows of the workers' trucks.
February 20, 2014 |
THEIR TARGETS of violence, according to a federal indictment unsealed yesterday, included a Quaker meetinghouse site and workers building a kids' toy store. Yes, those peaceful Quakers. Yes, a kids' store. Ten members of Ironworkers Local Union 401, including its leaders, were arrested yesterday and charged with conspiring to commit acts of violence to force contractors to hire union members. The alleged crimes include a 2012 arson at the site for a new Chestnut Hill Friends meetinghouse and a 2010 baseball-bat whacking that seriously injured nonunion workers at a Toys R Us under construction near the King of Prussia Mall.
January 31, 2014 |
JENNIFER SERRANO knows how backward Pennsylvania's laws protecting domestic violence victims can be. She's been fighting off her abuser at home and in court for 10 years now. Like the times she'd hand-delivered stay-away orders with a police escort - only to be attacked by her ex after the police officers drove away. Or the other times her ex would stand outside her workplace and call 50 to 60 times to berate her on the phone. She'd call the cops, only to watch them shrug, saying he wasn't violating his restraining order because he wasn't physically abusing her. In 2007, she grew so desperate to escape the torment that when she saw a "How can we help you?"
January 24, 2014 |
HARRISBURG Gov. Corbett said Wednesday that he wants to boost funding for domestic violence and rape crisis programs by $2.2 million in the 2014-15 budget. "I'm calling for an increase because I understand these programs are not simple line items - they change and save lives," said Corbett at a news conference. Corbett, who is set to make his budget address Feb. 4, said additional funding would bring the total to $15.3 million, a 10 percent increase over the current year. The money will support emergency services, such as a 24/7 hotline, emergency shelter, and financial aid and victim advocacy programs.