Eagles expected to start Nick Foles in opener

– Nick Foles is expected to be the Philadelphia Eagles’ starter in the team’s season opener Thursday against the Atlanta Falcons, ESPN’s Tim McManus reports.

Wentz has been recovering from surgery last December to repair a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee. He is practicing, but hasn’t been medically cleared for contact.

“I’ve made comments that his arm was live and throwing some really, really nice throws and very strong,” Pederson said Tuesday. “Then when he came back into the 11-on-11, one of the noticeable changes again, or differences, was just his lower body strength and how well he’s progressed through his rehab and conditioning.”

MORE: Eagles have tough task trying to repeat in NFC East and NFL

Pederson previously indicated that he doesn’t plan to disclose which quarterback will line up when Philadelphia hosts the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 6 until game day.

“This is still preseason and we’re giving all our quarterbacks reps at this time,” Pederson said. “When you get into the regular season and start game planning, then you want whoever that gentlemen is going to be, to take the full complement of reps.”

Report: Nick Foles to start Week 1 vs. Falcons

According to a report from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Carson Wentz will be on the sidelines for Week 1 of the regular season, as Nick Foles will get the start against the Atlanta Falcons.

The Eagles will be missing several starters for that Week 1 game, including (reportedly) Alshon Jeffery (shoulder), Nigel Bradham (suspension), and Timmy Jernigan (back).

Foles beat the Falcons in the divisional round of the playoffs last season, though the Eagles were only able to muster 15 points offensively in that game.t

Now the question becomes, “How long will Wentz be out?” 

The saga continues.


MORE: Philadelphia Eagles 2019 draft picks | Grocery shopping: Five college players to watch who could interest the Eagles in the 2019 NFL Draft | Smart Money with The Philly Godfather: Eagles’ season opener and 2018 win total


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End of temporary FEMA housing for Puerto Rican evacuees won’t be catastrophic in Philly

When Charlie Pérez and wife Daisy Rivera Pérez arrived in Philadelphia with their three teenage daughters last December, leaving behind their two sons and everything they knew, they felt completely disoriented. Hurricane Maria had just destroyed most of what they had in their hometown in Puerto Rico, and they had nothing here.

“I didn’t even know where Pennsylvania was, to be honest,” Charlie Pérez said in Spanish. “We jumped with our eyes closed.”

The first four months were hard. They stayed in a one-room hotel in Center City paid for by FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance program, and found jobs cleaning shoes and cleaning in a thrift store while their daughters went to school. But then, with the help of a coalition of organizations created to help Puerto Rican evacuees, the Pérezes found resources, friends, better jobs, and, finally, a three-bedroom house to live in near Lancaster Avenue, in West Philadelphia.

“Nonprofit organizations here helped us enormously — they gave us clothes, they guided us, and they helped us to move forward,” said Perez, a retired Puerto Rican policeman now working as a social worker for Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM).  “Little by little, we feel more adapted, and at home.”

The Perez family is one of about 184 in Pennsylvania that benefited from FEMA’s short-term housing assistance, a program that started last Oct. 31 and has been extended four times — the last deadline was Friday, Aug. 31. But on Thursday in Massachusetts, U.S. District Judge Timothy Hillman extended the program for two more weeks, setting a definitive checkout end date of Sept. 14.

“It’s not going to be a dire situation for us that the program is ending, we have been anticipating this for months,” said Julia Menzo, who leads the Greater Philadelphia Long-Term Recovery Committee.

According to FEMA spokesman Juan A. Rosado-Reynes, as of Friday there were still 1,032 families living in hotels under the TSA’s hotel-voucher program in 27 states and Puerto Rico. In Pennsylvania, only 21 families are still in hotels. Menzo said they know of three in Philadelphia.

The long-term recovery group has been able to secure funding and housing from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and the Philadelphia Housing Authority. According to Menzo, PHA has provided housing for 25 families so far. Latino and faith organizations have provided assistance for other families, giving them resources to pay for first and last months’ rent and security deposits, furniture and more. The recovery group is processing 35 more cases.

“Housing stability is still a major issue,” Menzo said. “But as far as the TSA program ending —  that’s not going to be catastrophic for Philadelphia.”

Pennsylvania is in better shape than other states that received similar or even smaller numbers of evacuees. In New York, 42 families are still in hotels; there are 38 in Connecticut, 135 in Massachusetts, and 322 in Florida. Menzo said that’s a result of the work done by the Long-Term Recovery Committee, which has been working with TSA families since February.

“Outreach really made a difference,” Menzo said.

Carlos Torres, a single Puerto Rican father, spent six months in a hotel with his 16-year-old son, Carlos Jr. He suffered with every TSA deadline, thinking he would have to live in the streets. Finally, by the end of June, APM helped him pay the first three months of rent for an apartment in North Philadelphia.

“We are much less stressed now,” Torres said in Spanish. “We’re still starting, but God will help us.”

Torres works part time as a security guard at the Lillian Marrero branch of Philadelphia’s Free Library, and he’s applying for a cleaning job in the same Center City hotel he stayed in during his first months in Philly. His son studies at Congreso and hopes to become a nurse.

“I’m more than grateful for these opportunities, and I feel happy,” Torres said. “Philadelphia is my second home now — Puerto Rico is always going to be my home, but here I have a roof to live under. In Puerto Rico, I don’t.”

Camden police seek shooter of restaurateur

– CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — Prosecutors in New Jersey are seeking help from the public in locating someone in connection with the slaying of a man gunned down near the Camden eatery he ran last week.

Thirty-eight-year-old Miguel Rodriguez-Zavala was found shortly before 2 a.m. Tuesday with a gunshot wound near El Taco Loco, which he ran. A 60-year-old man identified as a friend of his was found beaten nearby.

Camden County prosecutors on Friday released surveillance video of a person they say may have been involved. An unidentified figure in the video appears to be pointing a handgun.

Prosecutors say people shouldn’t approach the person being sought. Anyone with information is asked to call county prosecutors or detectives.
 

Cedars, one of Philly's oldest Lebanese restaurants, is calling it quits on 2nd & South

Co-owner Ghassan Sawan said simply that he and his four brothers had opted to lease the space to a New York operator of sushi restaurants, who would be renovating. The move is the second major closing on the block this summer, following the shutdown in July of Hikaru after 35 years.

Warrior Sisters aim to free women from violence

– A national organization is making its way to Philadelphia this weekend to host a self-defense workshop by and for women.

Warrior Sisters, a nonprofit self-defense organization, came to fruition in 2013 thanks to a small group of women who believe that free, empowerment-based, women-centered self-defense education should be available to every woman.

On Sunday, the group will offer its first free self-defense training in Center City.

The two hour workshop will include an introductory warm up and session of striking techniques, followed by reality-based verbal and physical self-defense techniques, including setting boundaries, claiming space and physical escapes.

“Women are often taught to be quiet to be silent and not to take up much space,” Mandi Bompensa, a Warrior Sisters volunteer, told FOX 29. “Warrior Sisters is empowerment-based in that they go directly against that.”

The organization continues to grow across the country, with the prevalence of the #MeToo Movement adding to an already burgeoning class of empowered women learning to hone its voice.

While other self-defense trainings may focus exclusively on the physical aspect of self-defense, Warrior Sisters’ seminars aim to integrate a more comprehensive range of skills—including verbal skills, awareness training, confidence-building and de-escalation—Bompensa said.

The seminar will be held from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at Stay Fly Muay Thai. All women are welcome and encouraged to attend free of charge.

To support Warrior Sisters or learn more about the organization, see here.

Officials say synthetic drug spike not limited to prisons

The still-ongoing lockdown of Pennsylvania’s 25 state prisons has suddenly cast attention on the synthetic drugs thought to be causing a rash of illnesses among guards and staff.

But, officials say, the drugs are an issue outside the prisons, too.

The Department of Corrections said police are still testing samples to see which drugs have made dozens of prison staff sick — but Secretary John Wetzel has said synthetic cannabinoids are the most likely culprit.

Department of Drug and Alcohol Secretary Jennifer Smith said those incidents correspond with an upswell in synthetic drug use generally.

The department doesn’t yet have hard numbers on how many people have overdosed or become ill from the substances. But in a press conference Thursday, Smith said the problem has actually gotten worse during the crackdown on opioid use.

“[Cracking down on opioids] doesn’t change the number of people who are addicted,” she said. “So now that those substances that they had been using are harder and harder to get ahold of, it makes sense that we’re starting to see an increase in synthetics.”

She added, synthetics can be even more dangerous.

“We really don’t know what substances are out there. Things are being mixed together, things are being made — we don’t know what these substances are,” she said.

This isn’t the first uptick in synthetic drug overdoses the state has seen. Smith pointed to a rash of overdoses related to synthetic cannabinoid K2 in Lancaster this spring. But, she said, this round seems more widespread.

The move to shut down all 25 state correctional institutions over drug concerns is unprecedented in recent memory, according to officials.

However, the Department of Corrections said the problem has been brewing for a while.

“There’s something out there that’s making its way into our prisons,” Spokeswoman Susan McNaughton said soon after the lockdown.

McNaughton said it’s not unheard of for prison staff to fall ill from suspected drug exposure. But this month, the numbers started climbing.

To date, the prison system has had nearly 40 employees complain of potentially drug-related illnesses, though some toxicology reports did come back negative.

Staff are in safety training sessions for the duration of the indefinite lockdown.

Meanwhile, prisoners are essentially spending 24 hours a day in their cells — and that can come with its own challenges for officers.

Prison protocols vary, but when a facility goes into lockdown, it usually means the few freedoms inmates have go away, like time in the yard or access to a gym.

Bill DeWeese — Pennsylvania’s onetime Speaker of the House — said when he did 23 months at the State Correctional Institution at Retreat on corruption charges, there were several one or two-day lockdowns

“I would think after two or three days, people would become somewhat agitated,” he said.

James Barnacle directs the state Corrections Department’s Bureau of Investigations and Intelligence. He said DeWeese is right — long lockdowns can lead to bad behavior.

“It’s difficult for me to elaborate on how inmates are going to react to being locked down, especially in this hot weather,” he said. “We’re just going to take it day by day and try to deal with it as it happens.”

But, Barnacle added, he thinks the department has the situation under control.

Asked about precedents for the lockdown’s length and scope, a spokeswoman for the DOC pointed to a time last year when Florida locked down its prisons for four days over concerns about potential riots.

Zach Ertz stopped by Kensington High School yesterday with $10,000 in new football gear

MISSING: Endangered missing man with dementia

– Police are asking for the public’s help locating an endangered missing person from North Philadelphia.

Daniel Alvarado Nadal, 65, was last seen on the 2900 block of Lawrence Street around 6 p.m. on Friday.

Police describe Nadal as a 5’6” Hispanic man who weighs 140 pounds. He has a thin build, light complexion, white hair and brown eyes.

He was last seen wearing a long-sleeve burgundy shirt with gray shorts, black socks and sandals.

Nadal reportedly suffers from dementia and has numerous physical ailments.

According to police, Nadal has been reported missing previously and was found on the 100 block of West Laurel Street in Northern Liberties.

Anyone with information concerning Nadal’s whereabouts is urged to contact East Division Detectives at 215-686-3243 or call 911.

Man killed after car strikes tree, catches fire

– Police are investigating after a man was killed in a one-car accident in Rhawnhurst early Saturday morning.

The incident took place around 6:15 a.m. on the 7600 block of Roosevelt Boulevard.

Investigators say a driver was traveling westbound when his vehicle drifted and struck a tree. The car caught fire as a result of the impact.

The victim, later identified as Martin Fabry of Rhawnhurst, was pronounced dead at the scene.

This is an ongoing investigation.

How to get kids to do chores: Does the Maya method work?

If hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it. But there it was, right in front of me: A preteen voluntarily doing chores around the house. There was no fuss. No nagging or whining. And there were no visible rewards.

I was visiting Maya families in the Yucatan, reporting for NPR’s special parenting series #HowToRaiseAHuman. While I was interviewing one mom her 12-year-old daughter went over to the dishes and started washing away — without being asked.

“She is old enough to understand what needs to be done around the house,” Maria de los Angeles Tun Burgos told me through a translator. “Sometime I go away from the house, and when I come back, I find the house cleaned and everything picked up.”

At a neighbor’s home, I saw the phenomenon again. A 12-year-old daughter started mopping the floor, without being asked. Her younger sister helped her mom feed the chickens, water the plants and happily ran to the corner store to pick up meat for dinner.

What in the heck was going on? Was there something in the Yucatan water or did these Maya moms know the secret to raising helpful kids?

Turns out the latter is likely true. Researchers have documented that kids in Mexico with ties to indigenous communities tend to be more helpful — and more likely to help voluntarily — than children without indigenous ancestry. And scientists have started to figure out how these supermoms do it.

As we reported back in June, the moms harness the power of toddlers — and their zest for being helpful. They encourage kids from ages 1 to 3 to watch and participate in chores, even though the toddlers aren’t really competent. Over time, the moms say, children will become more capable while maintaining their eagerness to be helpful.

But does this method work in an urban home in the U.S.?

To find out, I tested it out with my 2-year-old daughter, Rosemary, who was showing great interest in all sorts of household chores. From washing the dishes to cooking breakfast, Rosy wanted in.

At first, the Maya method was catastrophic in my hands. Rosy and I broke dishes, flooded the kitchen floor while washing dishes and ruined a load of laundry. She also ended up with a tiny burn on her wrist — about the size of a ladybug — when I let her help me fry meatballs one evening. (There’s a reason why they don’t make hot mitts in toddler sizes — although I am still on the lookout for a pair).

But over time, I figured out how to modify the Maya method to work in our tiny San Francisco apartment. And the results have been incredibly gratifying.

While I was folding laundry last weekend, she came up and asked, “Mom, can I help you?” (And my heart melted.)

She now voluntarily feeds the dog on a regular basis, rinses the dishes for the dishwasher, sweeps the floor with me and holds the door for me when I take the garbage out. She loves to crack eggs for pancakes, start the dishwasher, put the soap in the washing machine and walk the dog with me in the morning. (“Mom, can I pick up the poop?” she asked one morning. “You just have to wait a few more years for that privilege, honey,” I told her.)

Such contributions are tiny — and don’t really help me. But I can tell she is learning something golden: To love collaborative activities and working together.

When we do a chore together, she gets this slight grin on her face that says: “Yeah, I’m kind of a big deal, Mom.”

So how did I turn a tantrum-fueled toddler into a chore-loving cherub (as if). To be honest, I needed to revamp the way I parent. I changed the way I interact with Rosy and the way I view her position in the family.

Here’s what I mean:

1. Make chores the fun activity of the day.

Before I learned from the Maya moms, I would try to do all the chores — laundry, dishes, sweeping, cooking — while Rosy napped or was asleep for the night. That way, I would maximize “play time” while she was wake.

No longer.

Now I relax, read and enjoy myself while she’s sleeping — and save all the chores to do with Rosy.

This makes Rosy feel like a full-fledged, contributing member of the family. And to be honest, it’s way more rewarding.

I get to teach her how to cook real food in a real kitchen instead of watching her pretend to cook fake food on a fake stove in our living room.

Instead of teaching her that “chores are for mom and play is for Rosy,” I’m showing her that chores are for the whole family.

2. Welcome the 30-pound troll trying to stop you from finishing the chore.

When Rosy wants to help with chores, my knee-jerk reaction is to shoo her away. I want to say something like, “Can you just leave me alone for a few minutes so I can finish these darn dishes!”

But no longer.

Now I embrace her desire to help. I even ask her to come over. If she doesn’t come, I sometimes will pick her up — if she wants — and bring her over. (If she runs away, I let her go. A key Maya strategy is to encourage but never force.)

My goal is to have her participate in the “action” as often as she can, even if that means simply watching me make pancakes for the umptenth time. That’s all you need for her to learn that she is part of team. And one of these days, she will be able to make pancakes for me.

And here’s one of the best parts: You don’t even have to explain what you’re doing. Kids will learn just by watching. Who knew!

3. Take your time with the chores.

Before visiting the Maya families, I would rush through chores. Why linger on folding the laundry?

But now, I relish a relaxed pace.

If I rush, Rosemary has a hard time participating. Sometimes I finish the chore before she even realizes we started it.

So I decided that chores are going to take two to three times longer than if I did them alone. I realize it usually doesn’t matter how long it takes. And yes, sometimes we are time restrained and then I have to do most of the chore, but many times, we really don’t need to rush.

Plus, I’ve realized that Rosemary responds to requests for help about three-to five times slower than my husband and I do. Having her help takes a huge amount of patience! One time I asked her to run outside and pick me some basil for dinner. First she said, “No.” Then she screamed, “No!” Then two minutes later is she rushed out of kitchen to grab the herbs (toddler logic at its best!).

4. Find a toddler-sized chunk of the task she can complete.

The Maya moms made me realize that toddlers get excitement — and great pride — from the smallest contributions to housework.

For instance, when we take the garbage out, there is always one milk jug or soda can that doesn’t fit in the bag — or falls out when I pick up the bag. That’s a perfect way for Rosy to help. She can carry the “extra” items and open the door when my hands are full.

For the laundry, she loves pouring the soap in the machine and pressing start. And toddlers are great at rinsing dishes before putting them into the dishwasher.

For sweeping the floor, I just bought two brooms. Then I put some music on and we “dance” while we sweep together! Sometimes we sing: “Together, together always together,” because I’ve learned that a huge part of the fun is just being together.

Finally, I’m letting the perfectionist in me fade away. I thought the dishes must be loaded in the dishwasher properly, the laundry folded neatly and the floor swept to perfection. But really who’s keeping track? Maybe in the end, the pride Rosemary takes in folding a T-shirt is way more important than a perfect fold.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Man shot, killed while sitting in car in W. Philly

– Police are investigating after a 55-year-old man was shot and killed while sitting inside a vehicle in West Philadelphia.

Just before 6:30 a.m., officers responded to the 7400 block of Malvern Avenue, where the victim was found suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

No arrests have been made at this time.

This is an ongoing investigation.

K2, a synthetic cannabinoid, is thought to be the mysterious liquid that "sickened" Pa. prison workers

Pennsylvania officials say a substance that has sickened more than two dozen corrections employees in the past month and led to an ongoing statewide prison lockdown is believed to be a clear, odorless chemical known as synthetic marijuana.

Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said Thursday the liquefied drug, also known as K2, is thought to be coming into facilities soaked into the paper of letters or books. Inmates then eat or smoke it. Synthetic marijuana refers to a class of chemicals that trigger responses in the brain receptors that also respond to the active ingredient in marijuana.

Wetzel told reporters at an unrelated event in Lawrenceville about the investigative findings hours before at least five more workers at two prisons required hospital treatment after falling ill.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Sue McNaughton said three workers at Somerset State Prison reported feeling sick Thursday night after catching inmates smoking something. Two others later became sick at Greene State Prison. Similar incidents have also occurred in recent weeks at the Albion, Fayette and Mercer state prisons, and at the Butler County Jail.

Forging a sense of Hopewell Furnace’s history through its citizens and visitors

It’s Labor Day weekend, the last chance for a summer road trip this year.

Eight decades ago, in August of 1938, families piled into cars to visit America’s newest national site, the historic Hopewell iron furnace near Reading, Pennsylvania.

For some, it may not have been easy.

Imagine an African-American family in 1938, itching to take a summer vacation. Suppose dad had a factory job in Cleveland and got a good deal on a Hudson Terraplane, the kind with a radio built into the dash.

A 1938 Terraplane with Mullins Red Cap Trailer (anonymous, Hudson mullins 1938, CC BY-SA 4.0)

It would be nothing fancy, factory black, an affordable car but one that he really loves. He wants to get the family out of the city for a couple days, so the wife makes some sandwiches, he piles the kids in the back, and points the nose of that Terraplane toward Pennsylvania, about 10 hours away.

They fight over the radio. The kids want to hear a station that will play that new Big Joe Turner recording with the heavy backbeat, “Roll ‘Em Pete.” But dad usually wins these kinds of arguments; he prefers the station that plays the big bands and that new Ella Fitzgerald song, “A-Tisket A-Tasket.”

The 1938 edition of the Negro Motorist Green Book (New York Public Library Digital Collections)

This family has a copy of the new Negro Motorist Green Book, updated every year between 1936 and 1964 as an annual atlas for African-Americans to navigate the sometimes dangerous midcentury American landscape. It listed — by state — all the black-friendly gas stations, restaurants, taverns, and hotels where a person of color could safely stop without (hopefully) being harassed.

It’s a long drive to Pennsylvania, and they need to stop somewhere for the night. The nearest city to the Hopewell Furnace is Reading. The 1938 Green Book listed only one place in Reading: a tourist house at 441 Buttonwood Road, run by Mrs. C Dawson.

A gracious hostess

Mrs. Dawson – Elizabeth – is a woman now nearly lost to history.

“I had not heard of Elizabeth Dawson,” said Bradley Smith, a curator at the Berks County History Center in downtown Reading, about a half mile from 441 Buttonwood Road.

I asked him to hunt for any record of Dawson. Aside from census data and property records – she sold the house in 1977 when she was in her 90s, and died in 1986 – there wasn’t much.

Bradley Smith, curator at the Berks History Museum, takes down a bound collection of Reading Eagle newspaper issues. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

“Unfortunately we’ve never found — so far — anything she’d written that we could know what her thoughts were,” he said. “But we found a lot about the activities in which she was engaged.”

Dawson seems to have been quite prominent in Reading’s African-American community. For 50 years, she volunteered at the hospital. She organized community picnics, inviting everyone — black, white, upper class, lower class. Even people from Scranton and Indiana would show up.

She not only sang soprano in the choir of the Washington Street Presbyterian Church, she also sang in the Reading Community Choir.

“It was not an African-American group. It was just a singing group,” said Smith. “It was a desegregated singing group, to the best of my knowledge. I found that interesting. That was, I believe, the 1930s.”

The rowhome on Buttonwood Street in Reading that Elizabeth Dawson owned in the 1930s was listed in the Negro Motorist Green Book as a safe place to stay. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

For the entire 28-year run of the Green Book, Elizabeth Dawson’s home was listed as a safe, friendly place to stay. The rowhome is still there with a peaked roof, distinctive brickwork, and inviting porch. It appears to have a recent coat of red paint.

The morning after their stay, our imagined family of travelers would have thanked Dawson for her hospitality and set out on the last 15 miles to Hopewell.

Blasts from the past

The Hopewell Furnace was established in 1771 by Mark Bird. It made iron for the Revolutionary War and continued blasting – under a series of different owners – until 1883.

It operated by redirecting water out of French Creek into headraces – hand-dug trenches stretching for miles – which carry water to a wheel. The 21-foot wooden wheel cranks a giant bellows blowing air into a furnace, heating charcoal to about 2,800 degrees.

It’s the main attraction of the site.

A water wheel 22 feet in diameter operates the massive bellows that supply the blast of air needed by the furnace. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

“For a boy — or girl — to see the giant wheel turning, just by the weight of the water, to provide a blast of air to the furnace, to make it hot enough to melt rocks like a man-made volcano, that is exciting,” said park ranger Frank Hebblethwaite.

Our imagined African-American family visiting the Hopewell Furnace in 1938 would have learned a lot about the vast history of iron forging in Southeast Pennsylvania.

“It’s not just Hopewell,” said Hebblethwaite, pointing in all directions. “Joanna Furnace, 10 miles that way; Reading Furnace, four miles in that direction; Warwick Furnace, eight miles over there; and Coventry Iron Works, about 10 miles around the corner there. There were a lot of forges and furnaces in this immediate area.”

Visitors on that 1938 inaugural year of the Hopewell National Historic Site would not have been told that the furnace, in its first few decades, operated in part with slave labor.

A stop on the way to freedom

“We know Mark Bird had 17 or 18 slaves here at the furnace,” said Hebblethwaite, citing records mandated by Pennsylvania’s Gradual Abolition Act of 1780. “That made him the single largest slave owner in Berks County.”

Hebblethwaite is part of an effort to discover the African-American history of Hopewell, which is more than slavery. Eighty years after it was founded, the furnace did a complete turnaround and became a site of emancipation.

National Park Ranger Frank Hebblethwaite researched the history of African Americans at Hopewell Furnace. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

By 1850 – the year of the Fugitive Slave Act — it had become a prominent stop on the Underground Railroad. Runaway slaves fleeing north could get a job temporarily, cutting wood for charcoal to burn in the many furnaces in the area.

“What better place to hide?” said Hebblethwaite. “If you’re a runaway, heading north, you could very easily find a job, and find a job that’s going to keep you in the woods, until the threat passes, and you can keep heading north.”

Roving gangs of slave catchers made money by returning black people to the South – born free or enslaved didn’t matter to them. Working as a woodcutter made capture less likely.

The owners of Hopewell knew this was happening. The historic accounting ledgers show some workers were hired for very short terms, sometimes just a few weeks. It’s very likely the owners abetted the passage of fugitive slaves by putting some money in their pockets and sending them on their way.

A lot of those runaway slaves came through Six Penny Creek, a tiny community near Hopewell where furnace workers built homes out in the woods.

“Very thick. Always was,” said John Cole, 77, who has lived here all his life. A natural horticulturalist, Cole spends most of his days walking the woods, tending plants both wild and cultivated. “You gotta have heavy pants, something that stickers won’t go through.”

In retirement, John Cole spends much of his time maintaining his 12 acres on Geigertown Road, which includes the Mt. Frisby church and cemetery. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Cole’s family has owned this land for about 150 years, a legacy of his great-grandfather, Isaac Cole. Isaac — who was black, as is John — was a woodcutter for the Hopewell Furnace from 1858 to 1883. He bought land with his wages. In 1856 he built an African Methodist Episcopalian Church, Mount Frisby, which had a small congregation until the 1880s.

Cole served in the Civil War, enlisting with a Union troop in 1864 when he was 40 years old.

Remains to be seen

The church still stands, albeit with only three walls now. John’s father, George Cole, owned a trucking company in the early 20th century and used the then-dilapidated building as a garage.

The church shades what is now the oldest African-American graveyard in Berks County, hosting about 30 souls. Isaac Cole has a tombstone carved with details of his military service. Most of the other grave markers are raw stones with no names or decorations.

Mt. Frisby A.M.E. Church still stands on the property passed down to John Cole by his great-grandfather. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

“This was something our parents instilled in us,” said Cole, who grew up the youngest of six brothers a few yards from the cemetery. “This is where you live, this is where you were born. It was like going to school.”

During his walks in the woods, Cole forages for history. Remnants of the old Six Penny Creek community occasionally reveal themselves on the forest floor, mostly as broken tools. He collects and cleans them – pieces of a wood-burning cookstove, a pitchfork, obscure gears from the days of his father’s trucks, a gas lamp, a cast-iron roasting pan.

The rusty objects pile up.

John Cole saves the artifacts he finds while rambling on his 12-acre property. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

“I find it. What do you do with them?” he said. He cleans them up as decorative antiques, but his wife, Barbara, doesn’t let him bring any more inside.

Barbara, who grew up in nearby Chester County, married John 38 years ago and delved into his family story.

“I’m very proud of my husband’s history,” she said. “When I got here from Chester, it was, like, “Oh, you’re a Cole. You’re OK.’”

John Cole and his wife, Barbara, visit the tiny graveyard where his great-grandfather Isaac Cole, is buried. Isaac Cole was a Civil War veteran and worked as a woodsman for the nearby Hopewell Furnace. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

John and Barbara have spent years helping the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site get its history straight. John even posed as his great-grandfather Isaac for a Hopewell museum cardboard cutout figure.

The tiny community of Six Penny Creek — which doesn’t exist anymore — was more than a place to harbor fugitives. It was a place where workers of all races and nationalities lived together.

“The people who came here, whether to work three days and continue north or if they came and settled, they were looking for the same thing,” she said. “They were looking for freedom, to raise their children and get them educated. That’s all they wanted. Some folks felt they could find that here and stayed, [said] we’re going to make a home here.”

Our imagined African-American family taking their road trip to the Hopewell Furnace in 1938 would not have been told any of this. But they might have felt the legacy of the Cole family.

After a hot, dusty day of touring the historic iron furnace – in late August of a wet summer the bugs are overwhelming — they might have taken the kids to French Creek for a swim.

George Cole, John’s father who owned a trucking company, sold a bulk of the family property — 70 acres — to the government so it could establish the French Creek State Park.

Scotts Run Lake in French Creek State Park.. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Synthetic pot exposure sickened Pa. prison workers

SOMERSET, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania officials say a substance that has sickened more than two dozen corrections employees in the past month and led to an ongoing statewide prison lockdown is believed to be a clear, odorless chemical known as synthetic marijuana.

Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said Thursday the liquefied drug, also known as K2, is thought to be coming into facilities soaked into the paper of letters or books. Inmates then eat or smoke it. Synthetic marijuana refers to a class of chemicals that trigger responses in the brain receptors that also respond to the active ingredient in marijuana.

Wetzel told reporters at an unrelated event in Lawrenceville about the investigative findings hours before at least five more workers at two prisons required hospital treatment after falling ill.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Sue McNaughton said three workers at Somerset State Prison reported feeling sick Thursday night after catching inmates smoking something. Two others later became sick at Greene State Prison. Similar incidents have also occurred in recent weeks at the Albion, Benner, Rockview, Camp Hill, Houtzdale, Fayette and Mercer state prisons, and at the Butler County Prison.

The agency says at least 33 employees have been sickened, starting Aug. 6. Symptoms include dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea and skin tingling. In at least two cases, hospital toxicology tests were negative for drug exposure, a prison spokeswoman said.

MORE: Pennsylvania prisons on lockdown as mystery illnesses probed

he prison system remains on indefinite lockdown, with inmates confined to their cells. Visitors are not allowed and inmate mail is limited to legal correspondence.

Wetzel said the long-term solution will be to scan all mail, and they are working with a vendor about converting to a scanned-mail system.

“We’re really just trying to make sure everybody’s safe and calm everybody down until we come out of this,” Wetzel said. “We don’t want to take a chance. We don’t want to put our staff at risk and, frankly, we don’t want to put our inmates at risk.”

He said guards and all other employees will be trained to protect themselves against hazardous materials, and each prison is getting its own team to handle dangerous substances.

“We just can’t have a situation where we think there’s an issue and we’re just sending staff in there and putting them at risk,” Wetzel said.

In Ohio, nearly 30 people at Ross Correctional Institution in Chillicothe were treated this week for exposure to a heroin and fentanyl mixture. One inmate was found unconscious, while most others experienced nausea, sweating, numbness, and drowsiness. Staff members fell ill after attending to the unconscious inmate.

JoEllen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said the cell where the incident occurred was decontaminated Thursday. Health officials also delivered protective equipment and other safety materials to prison employees, and will offer related trainings.

The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services has rescinded its decision to temporarily suspend prison visits. Maryland conducted extensive searches, prompted by concerns about the Pennsylvania and Ohio incidents. The Delaware prison system has also taken security steps.

Philadelphia Eagles 2019 draft picks

We’re really far away from the 2019 NFL Draft, but the Eagles have made three trades that affect their picks that year, and will likely be awarded four compensatory picks. 

First, they traded Allen Barbre to the Denver Broncos for a conditional seventh round pick, and later they traded Jon Dorenbos to the New Orleans Saints for additional seventh round pick. That pick then reverted back to the Saints after it was discovered that Dorenbos needed heart surgery.

Then they traded down from the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, landing a second round pick in 2019 in the process.

And finally, they traded up in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft for Jordan Mailata. The cost was a 2019 seventh round pick.

Here is a look at the Eagles’ 2019 draft picks, which we’ll update anytime it changes:

 Round How acquired 
 1 Eagles’ own pick 
 2 Eagles’ own pick 
 2 Acquired from Ravens during 2018 NFL Draft 
 3 Eagles’ own pick
 4 Eagles’ own pick 
 5 (projected) Compensatory pick 
 5 Eagles’ own pick 
 6 Eagles’ own pick 
 6 (projected) Compensatory pick 
6 (projected) Compensatory pick 
 7 Either the Eagles’ own pick, or the pick acquired from Broncos for Allen Barbre, depending on which one they traded during the 2018 NFL Draft (for Mailata), which has yet to be determined.
 7 (projected) Compensatory pick 

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4th man charged in stray bullet death of 9-yr-old

BRIDGETON, N.J. (AP) – The man suspected of firing a stray shot that killed a 9-year-old New Jersey girl as she slept in her bed has been charged with murder.

Cumberland County prosecutors say Zahmere McKoy also faces counts of conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and weapons offenses. He’s the fourth person charged in the July 17 shooting in Bridgeton that killed Jennifer Trejo.

Prosecutors say the 19-year-old Bridgeton man fired a handgun at a group of people but missed them. The shots were fired about a block away from Trejo’s home, and a stray bullet went through the home’s rear wall and struck her.

MORE: 3 men charged after stray bullet kills 9-year-old girl sleeping in NJ home

Michael L. Elliott, 25, Leroy Frazier 3rd, 20, and Charles Gamble, 18, are also facing charges that include murder, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and weapons offenses in the case, according to the Cumberland County Prosecutor. All three suspects were processed at Bridgeton police headquarters Friday afternoon and remanded to the Cumberland County Jail without bail.

Authorities have not disclosed a possible motive for the shooting.

It wasn’t known Friday if McKoy has retained an attorney.

Teen charged in store fire that caused $3M damage

SEAFORD, Del. (AP) – A Delaware teen is accused of starting a fire at a Family Dollar store that caused an estimated $3 million in damages.

Harry Miller with the State Fire Marshal’s Office said that the 16-year-old boy was charged Wednesday in connection with Monday’s arson. Miller says the evening fire at the Seaford store destroyed the entire building and everything inside.

One employee was treated for smoke inhalation, but no other injuries have been reported.

The teen is charged with one count of felony arson and four counts of felony reckless endangering. Investigators haven’t said how he was identified.

He was released to his parents. The fire is still under investigation, and more charges may be added.

As Philly ends ICE deal, immigrant advocacy group works to monitor law enforcement

It’s been more than a month since Mayor Jim Kenney announced that the city would not renew its contract with U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement.

The preliminary arraignment reporting system, or PARS, agreement granted ICE access to a real-time database that local activists and community members said was being used to target  unauthorized immigrants.

After pressure from Abolish ICE protesters and meetings with activists, Kenney decided to end the arrangement.

Erika Almiron, the executive director of immigrant advocacy group Juntos, credited the change in policy to people who shared their negative experiences with city officials.

“I think that it was a lot of the leadership from this community actually being brave about telling what’s happening and what they want that led to that moment,” she said.

Juntos has been one of the leading organizations pushing for immigration changes, and ending the PARS agreement has been a fixture on its agenda.

With that resolution in the rear-view, the nonprofit plans to continue developing its initiative for monitoring law enforcement.

Starting in South Philadelphia, Juntos’ Community Resistance Zones program is a door-to-door effort to get city residents involved in alerting others when authorities target the unauthorized and, at times, interacting with law enforcement.

Well over 500 people have signed up, and 1,300 have had “know-your-rights” training since the program’s launch in November. The effort also will feature a hotline and app to send out real-time alerts.

The initiative is part of Juntos work in overarching criminal justice reform, Almiron said.

“We have an unaccountable police force,” she said. “We have an unaccountable ICE machine. We have a system that cages people that doesn’t work, both for deportation purposes and mass incarceration,” she said. “What’s the world that we want to see that is different?”

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