Philadelphia Weather: More Severe Storms And Maybe Even A Tornado Thursday

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Thursday morning will begin with a few lingering showers from the front moving through the night before. Highs will be in the 80s and a lot of moisture in the air will cause it to feel oppressive outside.

By the afternoon, Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware will be under a slight risk of severe weather. Strong to severe storms will occur after 2 p.m. into the evening hours.

Credit: CBS3

The greatest threat is damaging winds, but heavy rainfall, frequent lightening and the chance for an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out.

Wet roads and heavy rainfall will impact your commute home tomorrow evening, so make sure to plan accordingly and drive safe.

By Friday, expect a mix of sun and clouds as temperatures near 80 degrees. Dew points will be lower than Thursday, initiating comfortable conditions.

Credit: CBS3

Starting Friday, we will have a dry, sunny weekend, which is a perfect start to summer.

‘The Tiki Gods Will Come After You’: Police Searching For Suspect Who Stole Tiki Totem From Bucks County Man

WARRINGTON, Pa. (CBS) — A Bucks County homeowner is angry after a brazen theft from his front lawn. Somebody stole his 120-pound tiki head statue.

The owner says he is not holding his breath that he’ll ever get it back but police are hopeful someone may know where the totem is located.

“Within the first three years and my first one I built, it just took off,” Tiki Kev said.

He goes by Tiki Kev and building tiki bars is not just his job, it’s his passion.

“I love doing this. I don’t know why I’m tearing up,” Tiki Kev said.

He’s the owner of Tiki Kev’s Tiki Bars but sometime Thursday night into Friday morning, someone left him and his wife felling violated.

Credit: CBS2

“She just started cursing, she goes, ‘Somebody stole our tiki’ and I looked out there and it was gone,” Tiki Kev said.

Tiki Kev started off with two tiki totems but he’s now left with one. He says the totems were custom-made and cost him $600 a piece.

“Patty put this one here on Sunday and I said, ‘This isn’t going to last, either,’” Tiki Kev said.

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He believes someone pulled over in Chalfont and made off with his 120-pound tiki totem.

“Tiki is a weird thing. The tiki gods will come after you for doing something that bad,” Tiki Kev said.

But Warrington Police are hoping to catch whoever is responsible for the theft first.

“I would love to get my tiki back, but do I think I’m going to get it back? No,” Tiki Kev said.

Police are investigating the misdemeanor theft, but if you know who may be responsible, investigators are asking you to give them a call.

Wawa Bringing Sounds Of Hoagiefest To Your Phone With Spotify Playlist, Music Videos

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Summertime, summer, summertime is the time to sit back and unwind, but it’s also time to enjoy Philadelphian’s favorite holiday, Hoagiefest. While summer officially begins Friday, Wawa’s Hoagiefest starts on Monday – with a musical twist.

Wawa is introducing a Spotify playlist and Hoagiefest music videos to accompany their annual summer hoagie sale in 2019. Hoagiefest fans can now take some Wawa jingles on the road to the shore or the gym with a four-song playlist featuring “H.O.A.G.I.E.F.E.S.T,” “Love at the Wawa,” “Ya Ya” and “I95.”

The artists include The Meatball Mann, Shorti K, Prov-Alone, The Secret Menus and T-Junior.

From June 24 to July 18, Wawa is offering customers an opportunity to win Hoagiefest-themed prize packs and a chance to appear in the company’s final Hoagiefest music video by sharing their own take on the Hoagiefest “Ya Ya” video signature dance.

The company says the songs are made for “hoagie lovers of all ages but with a warning to consumers – the touch screen ‘Extra Cheese’ button was purposely pushed while making some of these fun summertime songs.”

Hoagiefest begins Monday and runs through Aug. 11. During Hoagiefest, a junior hoagie will cost $3, $4 for a shorti and $5 for a classic.

You can watch the music videos here and listen to the full Spotify playlist (and save it to your library) below.

Philadelphia police ask for public’s help searching for missing person

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia police have asked the public for help finding a missing endangered person. 

Jacques Rice, 67, lives on the unit block of East Baltimore Avenue in Media. He suffers from Schizophrenia.

Police say he was last seen Wednesday afternoon with a group, visiting from Media on the 700 block of Arch Street.

He is 6 feet tall, 180 lbs. He has brown eyes, black hair and was last seen wearing a navy blue hooded sweatshirt, tan pants, a blue walking boot on his left foot and a black shoe on his right foot.

If anyone has information, they are asked to Central Detectives at 215-686-3093 or call 911. 

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Montgomery County High School Students Send Beloved Retiring Teacher Off In Style

LANSDALE, Pa. (CBS) – Students sent a retiring Montgomery County teacher off with style and song. North Penn High School students in Lansdale wanted to show their appreciation to Sue Cassel.

Cassel has been an avid supporter of the school’s theater department.

A big surprise for Cassel, who is a huge ABBA fan as the students belted out songs from the school’s musical “Mamma Mia.”

They say they wanted to congratulate her and “thank her for the music.”

Watch the video above to see Cassel’s sendoff.

It’s National Pollinator Week and the buzz isn’t just about bees

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It’s National Pollinator Week, a time to focus on the creatures that do some heavy lifting and help plants reproduce. They’re in trouble and need our help.

Matthew Shepherd of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation says that without pollinators, a lot of our favorite things would vanish.

“Something like one out of every three mouthfuls of food and drink that we consume, we get thanks to a pollinator,” Shepherd said. 

The job of moving pollen within and between flowers is done by flies, butterflies, beetles, bats, birds, even lizards. And of course, bees. Not just honey and bumble bees, but flashy little native ones, too.

“There are these amazing bright metallic green sweat bees, they’re just this glimmering emerald flying around. I just love them, because not only are they beautiful, but they just challenge everybody’s image of what a bee should look like,” he added. 

Human activity is rapidly shrinking the pollinator population, with pesticide and herbicide use, habitat destruction, and climate change all playing a part. 

But Shepherd says you can help pollinators survive and thrive, no matter where you live. A square foot of flowers is better than none.

“If all you’ve got room for is space to grow a couple of plants, then that’s great. That’s two more plants that weren’t there, and some insects and some pollinators will find those and benefit from them,” he said. 

For more information, click here.

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Uber Eats Delivery Driver Arrested After Caught Masturbating Outside Woman’s House In New Jersey, Police Say

HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBS) – An Uber Eats delivery driver has been arrested after police say he was caught masturbating while making a food delivery. The incident happened around 4:45 p.m. last Thursday, June 13, in Hackensack.

Police say 31-year-old Vinicius Porto was observed masturbating in the front seat of his 2016 black Ford Explorer after making a delivery to a 23-year-old woman.

The woman received an unstapled bag from Porto, which she found as odd, and approached him while he was in his car parked outside of her home, police say.

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According to police, when she approached Porto she saw him masturbating. She then used her cellphone to record the incident before he left the neighborhood.

Authorities were able to identify Porto from the video and then arrested him on Friday.

He has been charged with lewdness and released on summons.

Sixers May Find These Five At No. 24 In NBA Draft

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The percentages say that the Philadelphia 76ers aren’t going to be getting a game-changing player with the No. 24 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft on Thursday. But the Sixers could come up with a player available there that may be able to help them during the 2019-20 season.

Here’s a thumbnail look at five possibilities:

Matisse Thybulle: 6-foot-5 forward, Washington

Thybulle is a role player extraordinaire that could fit nicely into the Sixers’ needs. He’s not much of a scorer, but scouting reports say that he’s very good on defense. He had 82 blocked shots and 126 steals last season. He has a 7-foot wingspan and possesses the kind of athleticism where he can cover large areas of the court. Thybulle is a two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. He finished his college career breaking Gary Payton’s age-old record for most career steals in Pac-12 history (331).

Cameron Johnson: 6-foot-8 forward, North Carolina

Johnson appears to be mentioned as often as Thybulle at 24 for the Sixers. He’s a 6-8 shooter who uses an economy of motion to get his shots off. He can either pull up or can shoot while guarded. He not only possesses a good shot, but also a quick release. The problem the Sixers face is whether or not he’ll fall to 24.

Kevin Porter Jr.: 6-foot-6 guard, USC

He could be the most intriguing player in the first round. He also may have the most polarizing projection: Turn into a major star, or fizzle out like so many other promising talents with dubious histories. Porter has been compared to James Harden for his stepback jumper. But there is something that may keep him around for the Sixers at 24 and that’s the label of “off-court issues.” He was suspended this past season at USC for an undisclosed conduct issue. He can be an All-Star, or he can be a bust. Or, another team selecting earlier may be willing to take a chance on him.

KZ Okpala: 6-foot-8 forward, Stanford

Many mock drafts have Okpala going sooner than 24. For someone 6-foot-8, he possesses a great handle and can create his own shot. He needs work, however. His game is not complete, with added work on his outside shot and there are some questions about his defensive ability at the NBA level.

Luguentz Dort: 6-foot-4 guard, Arizona State

Canada is the basketball capital of the world these days, and Dort is more proof that hoops is a big deal up north. Actually, Dort comes from a little further up north than Toronto. The Montreal native is a bundle of energy, and he loves playing defense. He’s considered one of the better defensive guards in the draft. He has the same problem a few other Sixers have—he has no outside shot. If he’s taken by the Sixers, he may be asked to shoot. Brett Brown can give him the task of being the team’s designated shut-down defender off the bench. Dort may be available at 24.

Staggering drug bust shows traffickers turning to East Coast

(AP) — If drug interdiction can be compared to a giant game of whack-a-mole, federal law enforcement officials delivered one mighty wallop this week when they raided a container ship at Philadelphia’s port and discovered a staggering amount of cocaine.

Hidden inside seven shipping containers were 33,000 pounds (15,000 kilograms) of the illicit drug, one of the largest caches ever intercepted on U.S. shores and a quantity that’s almost “beyond comprehension,” as Patrick Trainor, a spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in Philadelphia, put it Wednesday. Federal officials estimated the seized drugs had a street value of more than $1 billion.

The feds’ find was another sign that traffickers are turning to East Coast seaports as a result of increased law enforcement pressure along the country’s southwest border, a development cited by the drug enforcement agency in its latest national threat assessment. It was at least the third major bust in Philadelphia and New York since February.

“As soon as interdiction puts pressure on one place, it just pops up somewhere else. We’ve continually seen that,” said Nicholas Magliocca, a University of Alabama researcher who studies how traffickers adapt to interdiction. “As long as the demand is there, and there’s money to be made, traffickers are going to find a way.”

Cocaine use and overdose deaths are on the rise in the U.S. after years of decline as production has surged to record levels in Colombia, the source of about 90% of the U.S. supply.

Related: Feds seize $1B worth of cocaine docked at Philly port

Agents were doing another sweep Wednesday through thousands of containers on MSC Gayane, a cargo ship owned by Swiss firm MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co., but had not found any cocaine since their initial search on Monday, according to Stephen Sapp of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Philadelphia.

Two crew members have been charged and both men confessed to hiding the bundles on the ship.

Homeland Security agents say Ivan Durasevic, the ship’s second mate, told them he personally operated the crane to load the drugs after departing Peru.

The first mate allegedly asked Durasevic to pluck nets full of sealed packages from the ocean. Durasevic says he loaded even more packages from boats driven by men in ski masks that pulled alongside the tanker in the middle of the night near Panama.

Fonofaave Tiasaga is also charged. He told federal agents he helped conceal the drugs within other merchandise on the ship, and he was expecting to be paid $50,000 for helping each of the first mate, second mate, the electrician and engineer cadet – $200,000 total. 

He says all of them allegedly coordinated their own individual load of coke.

Authorities say this wasn’t their first time doing a drug run.

So far, none of the other crew members have been charged. 

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KYW Newsradio’s Mike Dougherty contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Secret Service hosts Safe Schools training program in Delaware County

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Thousands of school administrators, police and first responders from up and down the East Coast were at Neumann University in Delaware County for a school safety program hosted by the United States Secret Service. 

A primary goal of the Secret Service’s Safe Schools Initiative is to prevent a school shooting or attack by identifying a potential threat beforehand.

“And that’s something the Secret Service is always interested in. Obviously it’s directly correlated to our protective mission. We want to prevent an attack certainly on anybody in our protection,” said James Henry, special agent in charge of the Philadelphia office. 

He says the Secret Service has been studying targeted school violence for 20 years since they partnered with the Department of Education after the Columbine shooting.

The Secret Service says their research finds there’s no profile of a student attacker. They could be male or female, a loner or popular, so it’s important to have a climate where other students are comfortable coming forward with concerns.

Bill Gleason is the safety and security program administrator for the Berks County Intermediate Unit. 

“Oh, it’s spot on. I think there’s too much emphasis on the response to school shooting with target hardening or run-hide-fight training. Not that it’s not important, but you assume something is taking place in the building when this type of training shows you just about all of that can be prevented if you have certain measures in place,” Gleason said.  

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Palmyra Borough Police Department Evacuated After Letter Containing White Powder Found, Officials Say

PALMYRA BOROUGH, N.J. (CBS) – The Palmyra Borough Police Department has been evacuated after a letter containing white powder was opened. The incident happened at approximately 3:30 p.m. at the police station, located at 20 W. Broad St., in Burlington County on Wednesday.

Hazmat technicians are on the scene evaluating the substance.

Chopper 3 was over the scene as crews were investigating.

(Credit: CBS3)

There are no reports of injuries or anyone being transported to the hospital.

Stay with CBSPhilly.com for this developing story.

72 Philly police officers placed on leave during racist Facebook posts investigation

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross confirmed 72 police officers have been placed on desk duty as officials continue to investigate racist Facebook posts allegedly made by those officers in question.

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Ross said he is “equally disgusted” by the racist posts, and he plans to implement additional training measures from outside experts, like the Anti-Defamation League, who will come in this fall to go through additional anti-bias and anti-racist training. 

Because of the acts of a few, Ross noted this has deeply impacted and tarnished their relationship with the community, but he said they will work tirelessly to improve it. 

City officials and an outside law firm — reported to be Ballard Spahr — are reviewing each post on a case-by-case basis to determine if the posts were made by those alleged officers and verify their identities.

The posts were first brought to light by watchdog research group The Plain View Project. It compiled the comments in a database, which includes thousands of posts from police officers, active and retired, in eight cities. About 320 Philly officers posted problematic content, according to authorities.

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This is a developing story. Stay with KYW Newsradio for updates.

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72 Philadelphia Police Officers On Administrative Leave Over Alleged Racist And Violent Social Media Posts, Commissioner Says

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross announced Wednesday that 72 officers are on administrative duty, and that some of them might be terminated, for alleged racist and violent social media posts. Hundreds of Philadelphia police officers have been accused of these type of social media posts.

Ross spoke after meeting with organizers of the Rally for Justice protest on Wednesday afternoon.

“We’ve talked about from the outset how disturbing, how disappointing and upsetting these posts are and how they will undeniably impact police-community relations and we’re not naïve to that fact and nor are we dismissive of it,” Ross said.

The protest organizers want all of the nearly 330 officers accused of racist and violent posts on social media assigned to desk duty, pending an investigation.

The commissioner says the independent law firm helping to conduct the investigation is continuing to do its work.

Plain View Project, a watchdog group, discovered the controversial posts of police officers who work in Philadelphia and in other cities around the country.

Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby said in a statement, “The FOP will continue to represent members in this overly-broad social-media investigation. We’ve been informed that those officers under investigation will be interviewed within days of being notified and will be returned to duty shortly thereafter. The FOP and our members utilize social media on a regular basis to bring people together and support one another. It is sad that the investigators with the ‘social justice’ group chose to ignore all the good work done regularly by our officers. During this difficult climate in which police officers are constantly under attack, the FOP will continue to support you.”

People and businesses get used to life in spotted lanternfly quarantine zones

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is closely monitoring a spotted lanternfly quarantine that covers the entire Delaware Valley and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. 

State agriculture secretary Russell Redding says the quarantine has grown as the spotted lanternfly expands its territory.  

“We’ve gone from a municipality to a county to three, nine, to, this year, 14 counties.” Redding said. 

That includes Philadelphia and all surrounding counties.

Here’s how it works: any business that moves products within and out of a quarantine zone must have a permit.  

Redding says the state has issued about 800,000 permits so far.  

“We have authority to ask business, ‘have you done the permitting, are you moving product across state lines, were you moving it with the appropriate sort of oversight,'” he added. 

The lanternfly has a tendency to latch onto vehicles, so people living in or traveling to quarantine zones (that would be most of us) are supposed to inspect their cars, trucks and trailers and kill any lanternflies they find. 

Related:

The department offers a checklist for residents to go through before heading out that includes recreational or outdoor items such as balls, backpacks and tents; outdoor household items like firewood, propane tanks and shutters; building materials, yard and garden items and children’s playthings. 

The spotted lanternfly has caused a lot of damage since migrating to Pennsylvania from Asia around five years ago. It goes after a variety of plants and trees but poses a major threat to vineyards, fruit trees and lumber.     

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‘Unusual’ Amtrak power outages impede travelers for hours

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Travelers between New York state and Philadelphia were stop-and-go Wednesday morning, as Amtrak reported suspended service over nearly a three-hour span along the Northeast Corridor.

According to Amtrak, overhead power line issues in North Jersey disrupted its trains for several hours. It has since restored service, but thousands of commuters at 30th Street Station were forced to endure long delays — some longer than the train ride itself.

Passengers like Rebecca Rampp from Wilkes-Barre simply had to wait it out.

“I’m not super stressed out about it,” she admitted. “But I do have my son here, who’s not the most patient person. He’s 14, but he’s a little bit cranky about it.”

Power was restored and trains were rolling again by 12:30 p.m. — but not before Californian Leslie Falbo scrapped her trip to New York.

“I was just talking to my bosses and letting them know that unfortunately I probably won’t make it to the conference,” she said, “because by he time I get up there, I’ll miss half of it, and it’s just not really worth it. I actually just called my mom and I asked her to come and pick me up.”

Others like Laura McKeever from Conshohocken were scrambling for alternatives.

“I haven’t come up with a plan B yet,” she said. “I might be driving myself down to Virginia tonight.”

McKeever had to get to Alexandria to lead a publishing conference. “We’ll see. I have to get there some way,” she added. “I take Amtrak about once a month and it’s generally pretty reliable. So this, to me, is kind of an unusual situation.”

The outage also disrupted Regional Rail trains on SEPTA’s Trenton Line on and off for some time, as well as NJ Transit service.

There’s no word yet on what caused the disruption in the first place.

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