November 3, 2006
PHILADELPHIA IS a city of neighborhoods. Is that always a good thing? That's just one of the questions that arose this week during a City Council zoning hearing on Bridgeman's View Tower, a 915-foot tall residential facility destined for Delaware Avenue and Lewellen Street. The tower will loom over most every other building in town; it will be shorter only than the new Comcast headquarters. Last June, Council OK'd the necessary zoning for the tower. Wednesday's hearing was on a zoning change needed for the proposed 15-story garage on site.
October 1, 2006 |
Between closed roads and floating cars, swamped houses and hysterical homeowners, life hasn't been easy for community officials in the flood-plagued Pennypack Creek watershed. On Friday, it got considerably harder. And there was barely a rain cloud in sight. This tempest was indoors, swirling around a set of floodplain maps newly produced by a team of Temple University scientists. When the winds died down in the meeting room at the school's Fort Washington campus, municipal leaders went home to fret over a choice they'd rather not have to make: To adopt Temple's unprecedentedly detailed floodplain maps as a guide to development and land use in their communities?
September 26, 2006 |
The Fort Washington Office Park is an enviable business address, most of the time. Home to nearly 100 companies with 14,000 workers, the complex sits at the crossroads of two major highways - the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Route 309 - in one of Montgomery County's most affluent areas. Something else intersects there, too: four streams, each about three feet wide, that need little provocation to overflow. Then, the Fort Washington Office Park can look more like Six Flags Great Adventure's Congo Rapids.
November 13, 2005 |
As mallards swam on the far edge of the pond and horses grazed in a nearby field, a group of middle school students scrambled down to the pond to test the water quality. Darryl Smack, a student at Drexel Hill Middle School, stuck a thermometer into the water as other students collected samples in test tubes. Huddled together, they soon were evaluating the pond's pH, or level of acidity, and checking the level of nitrates and phosphates, possibly from fertilizers. The outdoor experiments are part of a watershed awareness program offered by the Pennsylvania Resources Council, the state's oldest nonprofit environmental education organization, which makes its home at Ridley Creek State Park in Edgmont.
October 21, 2005 |
State environmental regulators are expected to announce today that they will fast-track permits for a proposal to build a town center on the site of a shuttered Chester County steel mill. Kathleen A. McGinty, secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection, is expected to make the announcement at the old Worthington Steel site in East Whiteland Township. A department spokesman said the brownfield site will join a group of about 24 similar ones statewide, including the Philadelphia Naval Business Center.
July 27, 2005 |
Gov. Rendell's $625 million Growing Greener II program, recently passed by the state legislature, includes money to protect open space, preserve farmland, and restore the health of our watersheds, the land areas drained by specific streams and rivers. There is a rich menu of restoration projects designed to improve watershed health. They include planting trees to cut stream-bank erosion, removing obsolete dams that block fish migrations, and instituting better farming practices to decrease fertilizer runoff.
April 24, 2005 |
The national debate over Social Security is approaching a pivotal moment. On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee opens hearings on overhauling the federal retirement system. Early next month, the clock runs out on the White House's seemingly ineffectual 60-day campaign to make the case for personal accounts. Faced with unified Democratic opposition, lukewarm Republican backing, and dwindling public support in the polls, the Bush administration has some decisions to make.
December 5, 2004 |
Wintry forests and old trees are some of the landscape themes in American painting. But what about landscape paintings combined with silkscreen that capture a longtime fascination with geology, topographical maps, uplifted geologic plates, and the changing natural world? Philadelphia artist Rebecca Rutstein has pursued new research on the history of a particular Delaware County watershed area. The Crum Woods and watershed are the focus in her current exhibit at Swarthmore College.
September 25, 2004 |
"Look at all the work you did," David Bower tells a dozen or so volunteers, ending a morning's hard labor on the eroded trail by the washed-out creek. He swings his arm expansively, pointing out boulders moved, brush cleared, ruts filled, a stream freed, at least a little. "I hope you'll come back," he says, setting up the deal, "and see this" - he starts the closer - "go back to nature. " Then Bower - volunteer coordinator extraordinaire and Fairmount Park's man in the Wissahickon - seals it by leading the group on a surprise, fun walk to the historic Indian statue a few minutes up the path.
September 21, 2004 |
The Darby Creek Watershed is a ribbon of green flowing through some of the most built-up sections of Southeast Pennsylvania. Along with its tributaries, it connects four counties and 31 municipalities in a natural web of interdependence, heedless of political divisions. Birthplace of Pennsylvania industry and quintessential urban forest, the creek and its watershed are endangered jewels and untapped assets. Virtually unnoticed except when it floods, the creek begins in a pond in Daylesford near Paoli and flows into the Delaware River 33 miles away at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum.