Kathleen Kane Investigating Donation Made by IBEW 98 to Reading Mayor

AP Photo | Bradley C. Bower

AP Photo | Bradley C. Bower

WFMZ in Allentown reports that Attorney General Kathleen Kane is investigating alleged campaign finance violations from 2011 involving Philadelphia’s powerful IBEW 98 union, two Philadelphia politicians, and Vaughn D. Spencer, now the mayor of Reading.

Kane’s office is picking up on a report filed last November by the Berks County Board of Elections. At issue are two $10,000 donations made by Friends of Vaughn D. Spencer in the days just before the November election to the campaigns of then-Councilman Bill Green and Bill Rubin, who was trying to unseat Councilman Brian O’Neill. According to campaign finance reports filed by all three candidates, the donations to Green and Rubin were made the same day Friends of Vaughn Spencer received a $30,000 donation from IBEW. The Berks County Board of Elections wondered why, noting that IBEW 98 had not previously contributed to the Spencer campaign, which itself had not previously contributed to the campaigns of Green or Rubin.

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Eastern Pennsylvania Casinos Are Raking It In at the Tables


While there’s been a good deal of doom and gloom about the gaming industry around these parts in the last month, here’s some evidence that not all area gaming establishments are rolling snake eyes. The Morning Call reports on new data released by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board that says the state’s 12 casinos took in $731.8 million at table games in the most recent fiscal year, up 2.6 percent over the previous:

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Police Have Arrested Jeremiah Jakson for the Murder of Laura Araujo

Jeremiah_Jakson[UPDATE: 5:54 p.m.] Police have released a photo of the man they have arrested for the murder of 23-year-old recent Art Institute graduate Laura Araujo. Araujo’s body was found Monday morning with her hands and feet bound, wrapped in a blanket and stuffed in a duffel bag on the 2200 block of North Third Street. According to a police statement, Jeremiah Jakson (left) from the 800 block of North 40th Street was arrested today and charged with murder, robbery, theft and related offenses.

[UPDATE] Police have reportedly arrested a man in the killing. Law enforcement sources tell the Inquirer that the suspect is Jerry Jackson, 22, and that he confessed to police. Police Public Affairs has not yet confirmed this.

[UPDATE] Police Public Affairs just issued a statement: “There is a person of interest in custody for the murder of Laura Araujo.  Charges are expected later today. When additional information becomes available you will be updated.”

[ORIGINAL] Yesterday police released information in the grisly case of a woman found dead in a duffel bag, surrounded by her belongings, on North 3rd Street on Monday. Read more »

Joel Embiid’s Foot Surgeon: It’s Possible He Could Play for Sixers This Season


The Inquirer‘s Mike Sielski has an interview with surgeon Richard Ferkel, aka the guy who operated on Sixers’ No. 3 pick Joel Embiid’s balky foot, in which Ferkel is quite optimistic not only about the talented big man’s career prospects, but about the possibility that he could play next season. Not, y’know, that the Sixers appear to be in any hurry to get their first round picks onto the court.

Why the optimism, other than the fact that Ferkel’s like the go-to man for ballers with foot ouchies? It’s that Embiid is so darned responsible:

Embiid sustained what Ferkel called a “clean break” of the navicular — a weight-bearing bone in the middle of the foot — “without any major separation, which is important.”

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City Council Study of PGW Sale to Cost Nearly $100K More Than Expected

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

On the eve of a deadline that would allow Connecticut-based UIL Holdingsto back out of an agreement to purchase PGW for $1.86 billion, the Inquirer reports that the studies commissioned by City Council to evaluate the deal will end up costing $522,750. That’s nearly $100,000 more than the $425,000 Council had previously announced it was going to be paying Concentric Energy Advisors. The reason? Council modified its original RFP:

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Report: Superstorm Sandy Second-Costliest Weather Event Since 1970

Yes, still. Compared to the absolute destruction on many North Jersey beaches, where homes are still empty and entire blocks have been bulldozed, our South Jersey shores fared relatively well (and I say relatively because some people here lost everything). Still, climate change isn't going away, and neither are issues of flood zones and flood insurance, nor the debate of whether or not our barrier island beach towns will be here for the long haul, and what we can do to protect them (i.e. dunes — the Margate resistance to dunes should continue to be nasty). We'll hit the two-year anniversary in October, but expect this to be affecting policy for a long time. I still hear people talking about the Storm of '62. Sandy will be on our lips more than 50 years from now, too.

According to a new report published by the World Meteorological Organization, the $50 billion in economic damage inflicted by Superstorm Sandy ranks second only to Hurricane Katrina’s nearly $147 billion among the costliest weather events since 1970. Storms in the U.S. took five of the top 10 slots (above), while the events with the most fatalities tended to occur in less-developed countries.

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Is Michael Nutter Too Honest?

Philadelphia Schools

Over at Politico as part of the magazine’s “What Works” series on innovative ideas and urban reinvention, WHYY’s Holly Otterbein takes a look back at the Michael Nutter-mania that swept Philadelphia back in 2007 and wonders, as we prepare to select our next mayor, if it’s possible for a Philadelphia government to be “honest and effective”:
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Christie in Nashville: Smacks Obama on Middle East Policy, Calls for Obamacare Repeal

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks with reporters at the National Governors Association convention Saturday, July 12, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo | Mark Humphrey)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie talks with reporters at the National Governors Association convention Saturday, July 12, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo | Mark Humphrey)

Speaking to reporters Saturday at a conference of the National Governors Association in Nashville, Tennessee, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie continued to talk like a man with plans for a 2016 presidential run while finding new ways to be coy about actually committing to said presidential run. 

For starters, NJ.com reports that Christie took former BFF President Barack Obama to task for his foreign policy in the Middle East:
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The Phillie Phanatic Is an Ass


Sorry to be the one to break this to you, but the Phillie Phanatic is a dick.

I know. You’re very angry right now. You really love the Phanatic. Honestly, I do, too.

But sit with it for a minute: The Phillie Phanatic is a raging, first-class asshole.

I know, it stings. It’s hard when you love someone who’s no good for you. Who triggers all your bad reflexes. Who enables all the dark impulses that keep you from reaching your full potential. Philadelphia, your love affair with the Phanatic is what Lady Gaga calls a bad romance.

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Flash Flood Watch Through Late Tonight in Philly, Surrounding Counties, Tri-State Area

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 4.14.04 PMProceed with caution as you make your way home this evening, as the National Weather Service in Mount Holly has issued a flash flood watch in Southeastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey and Northern Delaware (full list of affected areas below) through late tonight.

“Variable rainfall overnight between one half and 2.5 inches in a large portion of the watch area along with flooding in Southeastern Pennsylvania and far Northwest New Jersey this morning has set the stage for the potential for new flooding,” says the NWS.

“The flash flood threat in Eastern Pennsylvania and far Northern Delaware is mostly this afternoon and evening while in New Jersey the primary risk for flash flooding is between 3 p.m. and midnight”

How to proceed? “Do not drive your vehicle into areas where the water covers the roadway. The water depth may be too great to allow your car to cross safely. Move to higher ground,” advised the NWS about an earlier flood advisory.

About the flash flood watch, it adds, “conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation. You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should flash flood warnings be issued.”

Be alert.

Full report after the jump »

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