Special masonry program in Philadelphia is helping build careers

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Members of a trade training program for young adults are celebrating after completing a significant masonry project at one of Philadelphia’s most popular historic sites.   

At Eastern State Penitentiary Historic site eight participants, ages of 18 and 26, from PowerCorpsPHL received recognition for a job well done.

They’ve spent the past couple of weeks working alongside masonry professionals building a wall to a cell block.  

Among them was 23-year-old Tanisha Gray of West Philadelphia.

“So what we did, you see the mortar that was on the wall, we broke that down we chipped it out we took it out,  then we came back, it with a Portland mortar, which is like a concrete,” she explained. “It’s really hard, so we came back in with a Lyme mortar. The Portland mortar that they used back in the day, when it rained the water would come through the wall and everything.”

Liz Trumbull is the manager of Historic Preservation and Architectural Conservation at Eastern State.

“Every time that we deal with historic materials here we are always cautious about how we approach them.  Making sure that we are using materials that preserve the integrity of the building but also when we are training people we are so sensitive to are historic materials that would not damage the historic building.”

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Reward reaches over $32,000 after Officer Robert Wilson III mural is defaced

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Strawberry Mansion community and members of Philadelphia police are outraged after a mural dedicated to the memory of an officer, killed in the line of duty, is defaced. Now, after multiple donations the reward towards an arrest has reach over $32,000.

On one side of pastor Denise Hooks’ restaurant at 29th Street and Ridge Avenue is a large, colorful mural of Officer Robert Wilson III.

However, Hook explained how she found the mural when she got to work Thursday.

“I pulled up and one of my neighbors told me, ‘Look what they did to your wall,’ and that it was like a racial slur,” she explained.

The writing was scribbled across Officer Wilson’s face. Hooks told CBS3 this is a major blow to the community

Related: Mural honoring fallen Sgt. Robert Wilson unveiled in North Philadelphia

“We loved Officer Wilson, he was a hero,” she said. “He died for all those people at the GameStop on 22nd Street, and I had this mural put up here.”

Wilson was killed while attempting to stop a 2015 robbery at a North Philadelphia GameStop, while trying to buy his son a gift.

“I’m just devastated. I can’t believe they did that, I really can’t,” Hooks said. “It’s terrible because his mother has to see this, his son has to see this, his sister has to see this. And they already buried their son and their father and their brother”

Officer Wilson’s sister, Shaki’ra Wilson-Burroughs statement:

“The ignorance and disrespect shown toward Police is at an all time high. Learning of the blatant disrespect that has been repeatedly shown toward my brother has resulted in an indescribable emotional reaction. In other words, WE ARE LIVID!

One year ago, the DA of this city set this tone of disrespect for the city by slighting Sgt. Wilson, III by offering a backdoor plea and denying him a trial.

If the DA, top persecutor of this city, can tarnish the efforts and life of a slain officer while backing criminals then, why should any other layman warrant any real respect and keep their memory alive? Stating this is not to take away from the shaming and defacement of Sgt. Wilson’s mural. It has enhanced the ignorance and disrespect shown toward our officers as the consequences of such are as minuscule as a slap on the wrist.

Yes, my brother was an officer of the Philadelphia Police Department. He was also a man who put his life on the line to protect and save the lives of those in that Game Stop. He lost his life and, in any capacity, that should be enough to warrant respect.”

Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby feels the same way, he issued a statement saying, “It’s sickening and disgusting that some low-life would deface the mural of hero and fallen-officer, Robert Wilson III.”

Numerous residents and organizations have contributed to the reward, which is now at $32,500.

“The reward will be paid immediately to an individual who offers a tip or information that leads to an arrest,” McNesby said Friday.

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Reward reaches over $22,000 after Officer Robert Wilson III mural is defaced

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Strawberry Mansion community and members of Philadelphia police are outraged after a mural dedicated to the memory of an officer, killed in the line of duty, is defaced. Now, after multiple donations the reward towards an arrest has reach over $22,000.

On one side of pastor Denise Hooks’ restaurant at 29th Street and Ridge Avenue is a large, colorful mural of Officer Robert Wilson III.

However, Hook explained how she found the mural when she got to work Thursday.

“I pulled up and one of my neighbors told me, ‘Look what they did to your wall,’ and that it was like a racial slur,” she explained.

The writing was scribbled across Officer Wilson’s face. Hooks told CBS3 this is a major blow to the community

Related: Mural honoring fallen Sgt. Robert Wilson unveiled in North Philadelphia

“We loved Officer Wilson, he was a hero,” she said. “He died for all those people at the GameStop on 22nd Street, and I had this mural put up here.”

Wilson was killed while attempting to stop a 2015 robbery at a North Philadelphia GameStop, while trying to buy his son a gift.

“I’m just devastated. I can’t believe they did that, I really can’t,” Hooks said. “It’s terrible because his mother has to see this, his son has to see this, his sister has to see this. And they already buried their son and their father and their brother”

Officer Wilson’s sister, Shaki’ra Wilson-Burroughs statement:

“The ignorance and disrespect shown toward Police is at an all time high. Learning of the blatant disrespect that has been repeatedly shown toward my brother has resulted in an indescribable emotional reaction. In other words, WE ARE LIVID!

One year ago, the DA of this city set this tone of disrespect for the city by slighting Sgt. Wilson, III by offering a backdoor plea and denying him a trial.

If the DA, top persecutor of this city, can tarnish the efforts and life of a slain officer while backing criminals then, why should any other layman warrant any real respect and keep their memory alive? Stating this is not to take away from the shaming and defacement of Sgt. Wilson’s mural. It has enhanced the ignorance and disrespect shown toward our officers as the consequences of such are as minuscule as a slap on the wrist.

Yes, my brother was an officer of the Philadelphia Police Department. He was also a man who put his life on the line to protect and save the lives of those in that Game Stop. He lost his life and, in any capacity, that should be enough to warrant respect.”

Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby feels the same way, he issued a statement saying, “It’s sickening and disgusting that some low-life would deface the mural of hero and fallen-officer, Robert Wilson III.”

Numerous residents and organizations have contributed to the reward, which is now at $22,500.

“The reward will be paid immediately to an individual who offers a tip or information that leads to an arrest,” McNesby said Friday.

more Philly News (For Your Information)

Gone Cold: The only unsolved murder of a Philadelphia police officer

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia Police Officer Frederick Cione was riding in his patrol car late on the night of Jan. 30, 1970, on Oxford Street, near 17th Street.

Moments later, a woman called 911, saying she heard gunshots in the area. Cop cars came racing, lights flashing and sirens blaring. 

When they arrived, 25-year-old Cione was lying in the street near the curb, with three bullets in his body. He was scooped up and rushed to Saint Joseph’s Hospital.

Across the city, a priest and Philadelphia detective walked up the steps to Cione’s family’s home, and knocked on the door. A small Italian woman answered. With just a few words uttered, she raced upstairs to get her husband and younger son, Nick.  

They had to get to the hospital.

“I remember (the detective) turning off the radio,” Nick Cione, now a retired Philadelphia detective, recalled as he poured over pictures, articles, and mementos of the tragedy that would change his life forever.

The two brothers were nearly inseparable as kids. Fred graduated from Frankford High School; Nick followed. They both played on the recreation center sports teams, which their father coached. 

Fred went to Vietnam; so did Nick. Fred went into the police academy; so did Nick. The pair drove to school together, stayed with their grandmother at night together, and hung out with friends, together.

Nick said he doesn’t remember the last conversation he had with Fred, just as he doesn’t remember the moment Commissioner Frank Rizzo told his family their beloved son and brother was dead.

“I remember seeing his jacket just sitting there, and I thought I saw mud on it, and I couldn’t figure out what happened,” he said.

The murder captivated headlines for months. Fred’s picture even landed in Life magazine later that year, for remaining an unsolved murder.

Detectives scoured North Philadelphia, knocking on doors, pulling in potential witnesses for questioning, and visiting speakeasies to hear what neighbors may say.  

Decades later, in 1994, a former homicide detective sent a letter to Nick, saying he never forgot the man who would later become the only unsolved case of a police officer murdered in Philadelphia.

His name was Gerald Ross Jr. He was one of the first to respond to the scene.

Nick kept that letter, not knowing that years later, it would be the thing that forever connected the two men.

For the full story, listen to the KYW Newsradio original podcast Gone Cold: Philadelphia Unsolved Murders, by Kristen Johanson and Tom Rickert. Subscribe to Gone Cold wherever you get your podcasts.

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City seeks court order to keep Hahnemann University Hospital — and its emergency services — open

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The city of Philadelphia is seeking an injunction to prevent Hahnemann University Hospital from closing without notice. 

The city filed a motion to join Drexel University’s lawsuit against Hahnemann’s owners — American Academic Health Systems and its CEO, Joel Freedman — so it can quickly ask a judge to order them to keep the hospital open. 

The injunction request cites Fourth of July festivities, which attract thousands, as one of the reasons the city needs urgent action — especially since the celebrations are just six blocks from Hahnemann.

“Attendees would be required to travel or be transported to more distant facilities” in case of an emergency, the motion states, creating “a significant risk (of) … harm to their health and safety.” 

The city also argues that it’s not just Drexel, but all of Philadelphia that would suffer irreparable harm if the hospital shuts its emergency room without notice. It’s the only hospital in the city that offers special nursing assistance for sexual assault victims. 

Related:

The city’s motion states it has not received a response to its written request from Wednesday, in which Mayor Jim Kenney asked the hospital owners for assurances, within 24 hours, that the hospital will not go through with a plan to cease emergency room services on Monday. 

In response to a cease and desist order from the state, the hospital owners issued a statement saying it intends to conduct the closure in an orderly manner that prioritizes the health care needs of patients, though it has not specifically said it will keep the emergency room open.

The company has said Hahnemann will close in an orderly manner around Sept. 6.

Drexel has also requested a preliminary injunction. A court session on that request is set for Monday.

more Philly News (For Your Information)

Philadelphia VA Medical Center offers lifeline to staff, residents displaced by Hahnemann University Hospital closure

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — While employees of Hahnemann University Hospital face an uncertain future, another major medical provider in Philadelphia is offering a lifeline. 

Related:

Karen Flaherty-Oxler, the new director of the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, said Hahnemann is a cornerstone for health care in the city, and she’s saddened to hear about plans to close the hospital.

“That being said, I would welcome the opportunity to have some of those colleagues join this important mission at Philadelphia VA,” she said, which has about 2,700 employees.

Although the state issued a cease and desist order to the hospital — noting it must submit a closure plan at least 90 days in advance, which it did not do — employees are still left in limbo.

“At any point in time, we could have 200 to 300 openings, and that’s just based on retirements, based on transitions,” she added. 

And there is a wide array of job opportunities, from nursing and clinical staff to health information specialists and environmental services.

“Their clinical skills and talent can’t and should not be defined by a closure. It should be defined by what they can contribute,” she said. “I absolutely would welcome with open arms qualified individuals to give us a call.”

The city is also offering support for staff and residents of Hahnemann, providing resources to help them find new jobs through career fairs and Philadelphia Works. Cooper University Health Care is also offering Hahnemann residents displaced by the abrupt closure the chance to smoothly transition to the Camden hospital.

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Hahnemann University Hospital employees march to CEO’s home in protest

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As Hahnemann employees and patients wait to find out what’s next in the effort to keep the hospital open, the nurse’s union led a march to the CEO’s home near Rittenhouse Square. 

One of the chants from the dozens who marched from the park to an address connected to the Hahnemann CEO was, “Joel Freedman, you can’t hide. We can see your greedy side.”

By all accounts, Freedman wasn’t there, but someone dressed as the Monopoly Man, “Uncle Pennybags,” with a Freedman name tag, marched with the Hahnemann employees.

Ashley Padula has been a nurse at the hospital for five years. She says the announcement that the place would close was a big blow and she may be changing her career path.

“Probably won’t work in bedside nursing anymore,” she said. “Probably do like homecare or something, and I know a lot of people are considering changes like that.”

Nurse Julia Guzzi said, “They’re taking our job, they’re taking our hospital. We just don’t understand what to do. We need help.”

Nurse Jenna Mechalas is also concerned about her career, but she said she wanted to focus on those who rely on Hahnemann for their care.

“I’m scared, obviously, for my patients but also my co-workers. I’ve had co-workers work there for 40 plus years and I don’t know how they’re gonna adjust to a new environment,” she said. 

“We have patients who are plagued by chronic disease, opioid abuse and also mental illness. So, I don’t know how the city is going to absorb our patients.”

The protesters gave credit to the state health department for stepping in to, at least buy time. And, whatever happens next, this worker named Selena says they have to stick together.

“We need to act and we need to act as a family. Hahnemann is a family,” she said.

more Philly News (For Your Information)

Delco man shot, killed outside his preliminary arraignment after struggle with police

UPDATED: 3:45 p.m.

LINWOOD, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — A Delaware County man, who was suspected of being high on PCP, was shot and killed by police in the parking lot outside of his preliminary arraignment.

Delaware County District Attorney Kat Copeland held press conference Friday on the shooting death of 34-year-old Darren L. Williams.

Copeland says this all began last night when Williams was taken into custody by the Trainer Boro Police Department.

Williams, Copeland says, was placed under arrest Thursday night after he was pulled over for reckless driving, failed a sobriety test and then attempted to flee.

She says those officers didn’t know that Williams girlfriend in Delaware had called police, saying Williams was dangerous and high on PCP.

“He had stolen her vehicle, the same vehicle he was stopped in and he had threatened to kill her and other individuals,” Copeland said.

Trainer officers also located controlled substances inside Williams’s vehicle, Copeland says. The substance, which has not yet been tested according to Copeland, was a “white powdery substance.”

Williams would then be taken to a Chester police station where he would put in a holding cell for the night.

Copeland says a detainer was placed on Williams and on Friday morning he would be transferred to a holding cell at the Linwood District Court House.

About 20 minutes after he was arraigned, Copeland says a Trainer police officer and a constable returned to Williams’s cell. She says when they opened the cell door Williams shoved the door open, pushed past the two authorities and made his way into the court house parking lot.

While in the parking lot with the authorities in pursuit, Copeland says, Williams stopped and took a swing at the police officer. Both the officer and Williams would square up and Williams pushed the officer to the ground, Copeland said.

As the two were rolling around on the ground, the district attorney says, the constable “tased” Williams. At that time Williams gained control of the officer’s handgun, Copeland says, the officer grabbed the barrel of the weapon and while the two were rolling around on the ground the officer’s gun was fired and Williams was shot.

According to Copeland, just before the gun was shot Williams was on top of the officer, the gun was fired and then the constable shot Williams.

Williams would be pronounced dead in the parking lot of the court house.

DA Copeland says, “Numerous witnesses were interviewed, and the matter is also on video.”

She says her office will take control of this investigation.

more Philly News (For Your Information)

Shooting at district courthouse in Delaware County

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Authorities say someone was shot at the district courthouse in Linwood, Delaware County, on Friady morning. The county medical examiner has been called to the scene. 

It was first reported around 10:30 a.m. according to county police dispatchers.

It happened at the district courthouse along West Ridge Road at Blue Ball Avenue.

___

Stay with KYW Newsradio for the latest on this developing story.

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A big name in news helps honor 5 inspiring women in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — KYW Newsradio celebrated the accomplishments of five women Thursday night who have made a positive impact in the region, at the Women’s Achievement Awards.

When Bensalem Police captain Michelle Kott found out she was one of this year’s honorees, she said, “I thought it was a joke. I didn’t believe it was true. I thought it was a prank. But then I realized it was real.”

And now that she got to share the stage with the other four women being honored, who she calls trailblazers, “it’s unbelievable,” she says. “I’m still in shock. I’m so blessed to be here. It’s like a fairytale.”

Kott worked her way to the top of a predominantly male profession. At 37, she is the first-ever female captain of the City of Bethlehem Police Department. Before that, she was the first female lieutenant in the department’s history.

She says she didn’t strive to be the best female officer. “I wanted to be the best officer,” she said.

CBS’s Margaret Brennan of “Face the Nation” says the women’s stories are inspiring. She was this year’s Women’s Achievement Awards moderator.

“One of the reasons I think an event like this is important is recognizing the achievements of these people as amazing individuals,” she said. “Their gender is sort of secondary to the achievements they’ve been able to accomplish, and I think it’s important to be able to recognize publicly when we see that.”

And she said it’s not just important for women.

“It is redefining, not just for other young women who want to strive, but for other young men, who may have to deal with authority figures who look different from them,” she said. “And that is important for the next generations, and that is societal change, how it happens.”

Honoree Neha Gupta, inspired by visiting her parents’ homeland in India, decided at the age of 9 to start a nonprofit to help disadvantaged kids get education, health care and mentorship programs. 

“It was something that I felt like I needed to do — raise my voice so all these other kids could have them, too,” she said.

Empower Orphans, which she started as a project to help 360 kids in one Indian orphanage, has expanded to reach now 30,000 kids across four countries: India, the United States, Haiti and Uganda. 

Honoree Anna Payne is packing a lifetime of goals in, one day at a time. She has cystic fibrosis, a rare, deadly lung disease.

“When I was born, my parents were told I probably wouldn’t even make it out of elementary school, let alone graduate from high school,” she said. 

Defying the odds, the 32-year-old has held various public positions, currently as auditor of Middletown Township in Bucks County. She was an elected delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. And she is one of only two patients to serve on the Pennsylvania Rare Disease Advisory Council, where she advocates for others with rare diseases and offers a real-life perspective to the council.

Brigid Jensen, honored Thursday for her fight against neuro-degenerative diseases, lost her grandfather to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and her boss and mentor to ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gherig’s disease.

The 32-year-old is doing what she can to help those who need it most in the best way she knows how: through science.

And honoree Dr. Sheena Howard has distinguished herself as an author, teacher, academic, and comic book game-changer. 

While working toward her Ph.D. at historically black college Howard University, she established her identity as a Black, queer woman.

She says she wrote her first book, “Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation,” because the texts she needed most when writing her dissertation on Black comic strips did not exist.

“It was really upsetting to not have a book that really delved into the history of Black people in the comic industry,” she said.

Filling that void paid off for her: The book won her an award at San Diego Comic-Con, making her the first Black woman to receive an Eisner Award — the equivalent of an Oscar in that industry.

Brennan delivered a keynote speech that touched on the emergence of women in leadership roles, and how that affects society and government. She also discussed the responsibility of those delivering news — to highlight the facts, tackle the complicated issues and to not chase the “shiny object” just because it will get the most reaction, the most clicks or retweets.

She called meeting the five honorees “an inspiration.”

“Looking at their achievements and the decision that they made to get involved at the community level is something that actually gives me a lot of inspiration and optimism, a reason for it right now, when, at the national level, we’re only talking about the inability to get things done,” Brennan said.

___

KYW Newsradio’s Cherri Gregg, Lynne Adkins, Shara Dae Howard, Hadas Kuznits, Antionette Lee and Dan Fein contributed to this report.

more Philly News (For Your Information)

A big name in news helps honor five inspiring women in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — KYW Newsradio celebrated the accomplishments of five women Thursday night who have made a positive impact in the region, at the Women’s Achievement Awards.

When Bensalem Police captain Michelle Kott found out she was one of this year’s honorees, she said, “I thought it was a joke. I didn’t believe it was true. I thought it was a prank. But then I realized it was real.”

And now that she got to share the stage with the other four women being honored, who she calls trailblazers, “it’s unbelievable,” she says. “I’m still in shock. I’m so blessed to be here. It’s like a fairytale.”

Kott worked her way to the top of a predominantly male profession. At 37, she is the first-ever female captain of the City of Bethlehem Police Department. Before that, she was the first female lieutenant in the department’s history.

She says she didn’t strive to be the best female officer. “I wanted to be the best officer,” she said.

CBS’s Margaret Brennan of “Face the Nation” says the women’s stories are inspiring. She was this year’s Women’s Achievement Awards moderator.

“One of the reasons I think an event like this is important is recognizing the achievements of these people as amazing individuals,” she said. “Their gender is sort of secondary to the achievements they’ve been able to accomplish, and I think it’s important to be able to recognize publicly when we see that.”

And she said it’s not just important for women.

“It is redefining, not just for other young women who want to strive, but for other young men, who may have to deal with authority figures who look different from them,” she said. “And that is important for the next generations, and that is societal change, how it happens.”

Honoree Neha Gupta, inspired by visiting her parents’ homeland in India, decided at the age of 9 to start a nonprofit to help disadvantaged kids get education, health care and mentorship programs. 

“It was something that I felt like I needed to do — raise my voice so all these other kids could have them, too,” she said.

Empower Orphans, which she started as a project to help 360 kids in one Indian orphanage, has expanded to reach now 30,000 kids across four countries: India, the United States, Haiti and Uganda. 

Honoree Anna Payne is packing a lifetime of goals in, one day at a time. She has cystic fibrosis, a rare, deadly lung disease.

“When I was born, my parents were told I probably wouldn’t even make it out of elementary school, let alone graduate from high school,” she said. 

Defying the odds, the 32-year-old has held various public positions, currently as auditor of Middletown Township in Bucks County. She was an elected delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. And she is one of only two patients to serve on the Pennsylvania Rare Disease Advisory Council, where she advocates for others with rare diseases and offers a real-life perspective to the council.

Brigid Jensen, honored Thursday for her fight against neuro-degenerative diseases, lost her grandfather to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and her boss and mentor to ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gherig’s disease.

The 32-year-old is doing what she can to help those who need it most in the best way she knows how: through science.

And honoree Dr. Sheena Howard has distinguished herself as an author, teacher, academic, and comic book game-changer. 

While working toward her Ph.D. at historically black college Howard University, she established her identity as a Black, queer woman.

She says she wrote her first book, “Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation,” because the texts she needed most when writing her dissertation on Black comic strips did not exist.

“It was really upsetting to not have a book that really delved into the history of Black people in the comic industry,” she said.

Filling that void paid off for her: The book won her an award at San Diego Comic-Con, making her the first Black woman to receive an Eisner Award — the equivalent of an Oscar in that industry.

Brennan delivered a keynote speech that touched on the emergence of women in leadership roles, and how that affects society and government. She also discussed the responsibility of those delivering news — to highlight the facts, tackle the complicated issues and to not chase the “shiny object” just because it will get the most reaction, the most clicks or retweets.

She called meeting the five honorees “an inspiration.”

“Looking at their achievements and the decision that they made to get involved at the community level is something that actually gives me a lot of inspiration and optimism, a reason for it right now, when, at the national level, we’re only talking about the inability to get things done,” Brennan said.

___

KYW Newsradio’s Cherri Gregg, Lynne Adkins, Shara Dae Howard, Hadas Kuznits, Antionette Lee and Dan Fein contributed to this report.

more Philly News (For Your Information)

Montco strip mall fire leaves shop owners feeling devastated

CHELTENHAM TWP., Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Fire ripped through a strip mall at about 8 p.m. Thursday, giving firefighters all they could handle for a few hours.

A tattered sign partially covers the charred remains of a beauty supply store at 19th Street and Cheltenham Avenue, where the fire was first reported. It quickly spread and reached three alarms.

Fire chief Kevin Lynch says this took nearly three hours to get under control, and they are sticking around to make sure it stays that way.

“There are still hot spots located in the basement in the original storefront, where the fire originated. We’re waiting for heave machinery to show up,” he said. “Crews are still on scene monitoring, on standby, in the event that it does flare up, for extinguishment.”

He says the wig store is a total loss and at least four other stores were damaged. The good news is nobody was hurt.

The owner of the smoke shop next door to the wig store was picking up some belongings that weren’t destroyed and said the fire is just devastating.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

more Philly News (For Your Information)

What’s Cooking on 1060: ‘Largest’ ice cream festival in country kicks off at Reading Terminal Market

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Reading Terminal Market pays homage to summer on Saturday with the second annual Philly Ice Cream Scoop festival. 

Billed the largest ice cream festival in the country, the day is dedicated to honoring a staple summer snack.

“The entire market will be focused on ice cream for the day,” said Alex Bassett Strange, ice cream virtuoso and festival organizer.

Bassett Strange is the vice president of distribution for Bassetts Ice Cream Company — and the great-great-great-grandson of the company’s founder, so he definitely knows a thing or two about frozen desserts.

“Bassetts Ice Cream started in 1861 — that was the year that Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as president,” he said. “It was my great-great-great-grandfather that started this company, making me the sixth generation in my family to work for the business.”

The festival will incorporate 14 ice cream vendors — like Sweet Charlie’s, The Franklin Fountain and Weckerly’s Ice Cream — in the Center Court of Reading Terminal, plus a variety of menu items.

“We’ve got a purveyor who will be offering a mushroom-flavored ice cream,” he added. “This year, we’re also going to have Thai rolled ice cream.”

But Bassett Strange said he’s most excited about the games.

“We’re going to do an ice cream sandwich tower-stacking contest, the blindfolded sundae-making contest, the eating contest.”

You’ll also be able to learn a lot about the history of ice cream at the festival; one of the first-ever flavors developed by the Bassetts founder was Jersey green tomato.

“He experimented with that flavor and we’ve since tried to replicate it to not the greatest success,” Bassett Strange admitted.

Vanilla reigns supreme nowadays as the most popular flavor.

The Philly Ice Cream Scoop festival kicks off Wawa Welcome America as one of many activities celebrating the nation’s birthday during the week surrounding the Fourth of July.

For a full sample of this story plus the cherry on top, subscribe to the What’s Cooking podcast on the RADIO.COM app.

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Pa. prosecutor to decide if charges should be filed in deadly 2018 hit-and-run

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A state prosecutor will now review whether charges should be filed against a driver accused of hitting and killing an 11-year-old boy more than a year ago. The move comes after the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office declined to charge the woman.

Homicide Supervisor Anthony Voci with the District Attorney’s office told Judge Ben Lerner they thoroughly investigated the crash that killed Julian Angelucci.

Voci says Julian was riding his bike at 10th and Shunk Streets, in May of last year, when he was hit.

“All of his internal organs were twisted and every bone in his body was broken,” Julian’s grandfather, Daniel Angelucci, said.

He says they have video showing the woman blowing a stop sign and running into Julian.

“We had to file a private criminal complaint and handle it on our own,” Angelucci said.

Related: Nearly $20K raised for boy killed on bicycle in hit-and-run

Judge Marsha Neifield ordered charges to be filed.

Neifield is the same judge who ordered charges be filed against Brandon Bostian, the engineer for ill-fated Amtrak train 188, after the DA’s office declined to charge him.

Defense attorney Lewis Small, who represents the driver, says the DA’s office made the right choice.

“I mean, she feels very sorry and terrible about everything, but it was not her fault,” Small said. “This is not a criminal case; it’s an unfortunate incident on both sides.”

Judge Lerner appointed a prosecutor within the state’s Attorney General Office to review the case, and they will have a hearing on the matter next month.

more Philly News (For Your Information)

Feds say vapor leak contributed to Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery fire; investigation is ongoing

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A vapor leak at Philadelphia Energy Solutions started a chain of events that sparked a fire and several explosions last week, according to preliminary findings by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB). 

Dr. Kristen Kulinowski, CSB interim executive authority, said the site is still too dangerous for investigators to physically enter. Many questions remain, but based on interviews with plant management and staff, they’ve concluded vapor that leaked from the alkylation unit “found an ignition source.”

“There’s an adage in the industry that a flammable vapor outside its container will find an ignition source,” she explained. “It’s axiomatic that you can’t control your ignition sources, so you have to control the vapors.”

Kulinowski said that’s why the basic rule at any refinery is “to keep the product in the pipe.”

“Safety management systems are developed and implemented to ensure this. On the morning of June 21, there was a fundamental failure in this system, and the result was catastrophic,” she said.

A large explosion also occurred about 22 minutes after the initial release.

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Currently, the site is described as “deeply compromised,” as there is still a lot of “twisted metal and debris scattered across a large area.”

The plant’s closure won’t affect the investigation, Kulinowski noted, which could take more than a year. The aim is to keep it from happening anywhere again. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), EPA, ATF, and the fire marshal are each conducting their own investigations. Those, Kulinowski says, may result in fines or even prosecutions.

The city has announced plans to help laid-off workers with career fairs, job searches and other services.

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