Had they unveiled it a day earlier we might have thought it was a prank. Drexel and the Free Library — spurred on by the success of the school’s MacBook dispensing unit — announced yesterday that an iPad vending machine of sorts at the Dana and David Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships will make a cool dozen Apple tablets available, free of charge and for four-hour stretches, to Drexel ID-brandishing students and library card-carrying residents of the neighboring Manuta and Powelton Village neighborhoods. Read more »
Embattled New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez went on the offensive last night in the wake of news that he’d been indicted on federal corruption charges related to his dealings with Florida ophthalmologist/campaign donor Salomon Melgen.
The Department of Justice alleges that Menendez accepted gifts worth nearly $1 million — including flights on private jets, Caribbean and Parisian vacations, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions — in exchange for using his office to promote Melgen’s interests, including influencing visa proceedings for Melgen’s foreign girlfriends as well as contractual and Medicare billing disputes worth tens of millions.
Menendez, in a blustery statement last night, says it’s a load of bull. Read more »
Reports of a hostage standoff in Montgomery County started coming in a little before 11 this morning.
Now NBC 10 is reporting that a former volunteer firefighter, approximately 30 years old, is in custody after taking four firefighters hostage at the LaMott Fire House in Elkins Park this morning. According to Cheltenham Township police chief John Norris, the as-yet-unidentified suspect had been in a dispute with the fire company that had led to his dismissal. He’d reportedly taken four hostages initially, though one was let go fairly quickly.
Philly photographer Adam Wallacavage (the guy who lives in this amazing house) posted a couple of videos of people sledding down the Art Museum steps to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram tonight. No, there’s not quite enough snow on the steps for what you’d call smooth sliding, but that didn’t stop the nuts in the below video from trying it while riding, of all things, a folding table: Read more »
UPDATE, 8:15 p.m.: Mayor Nutter, Commissioner Ramsey, and D.A. Seth Williams finished a press conference at 13th and Ontario streets a short while ago (video from Fox29 below). Officer Robert Wilson III, an eight-year veteran of the force working out of the 22nd District, died at 6:25 p.m. from injuries sustained after exchanging gunfire at close range with two men attempting to rob a GameStop in North Philadelphia. Officer Damian Stephenson, Wilson’s partner, and other officers responding to the shooting were able to apprehend the two suspects, who have yet to be named.
Office Wilson is survived by two children, ages nine and one.
Governor Tom Wolf issued the following statement:
“My deepest condolences are with Officer Robert Wilson’s family tonight and his colleagues at the Philadelphia Police Department, especially the officers of the 22nd District. This senseless act is devastating and a stark reminder of the danger faced everyday by our brave men and women in uniform. Across Pennsylvania, members of law enforcement and our first responders put their lives on the line to protect our families and our communities. We can never forget their selfless service and sacrifice.”
UPDATE, 6:23 p.m.: The Inquirer is reporting the officer, identified as Robert Wilson, has died.
[Original 5:56 p.m.] Philadelphia Police are confirming that an officer was shot in an incident just before 5 p.m. at the GameStop at 2101 West Lehigh Avenue. Read more »
Anyone who commutes into or out of Philly on a daily basis knows that the term rush hour is something of a misnomer. Everyone may be in a rush, but just ask John Butterworth: Nobody’s getting anywhere fast.
Ryan Godfrey of West Philadelphia commutes to Hybrid Software in Langhorne a couple of times a week. (Full disclosure: I’ve known Ryan for years.) As part of a program at Penn’s Kelly Writers House in which presenters were invited to explore the concept of “Rush,” he decided to play with his own rush hour by recording his normally one-hour-or-so drive to work with his iPhone, condensing it to seven minutes, adding some wry text commentary in the editing room, and setting it all to John Coltrane’s frenetic “Mr. P.C.” The results are at turns mesmerizing, humorous and, for anyone who’s completely lost their head in an I-95 gaper delay, crazy-making.
We asked Godfrey to tell us a little bit about the project. Read more »
WATCH: Democrats Announce Philadelphia Convention With Cheesesteak Joke, Busted Rendition of “Eye of the Tiger”
Mere moments after the news started leaking that the Democratic Party had chosen Philadelphia as the location for its 2016 Democratic National Convention, the party made it “official” with the above video featuring Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chair of DNC Committee, yes, going to the refrigerator, grabbing a (cold!) cheesesteak, closing the door and slapping a Philadelphia magnet beneath those of Denver and Charlotte. The slapping of the magnet, naturally, kicks off a song that sounds enough like “Eye of the Tiger” so that you know what they’re going for, but enough not like it that they probably didn’t need to license it.
Get ready for lots of this, Philly. Everything’s coming up Philly, which means everything’s also going to be coming up Rocky jokes.
Lyft — lauded just yesterday in a unanimous resolution by Philadelphia City Council — is scheduled to launch at 6 p.m. today, and, like UberX before it, over protestations and promises of impoundment from the Philadelphia Parking Authority.
Which is no doubt why we just received this rather ominous statement/warning to Lyft drivers from Dave Sutton of Who’s Driving You, a “public safety initiative of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association”:
With ride-hailing service Lyft scheduled to launch today at 6 p.m. to compete with UberX, City Council yesterday passed a resolution that states in no uncertain terms that the city would like to see such services legal in Philadelphia.
When UberX launched here in October, chaos ensued, as the Philadelphia Parking Authority, which regulates taxi and limousine service in the city and considers such services illegal, impounded several cars of UberX drivers. The mayor urged peace; the president of the Pennsylvania Taxi Association compared UberX to Isis; the PPA suggested that drivers for the sanctioned Uber black-car service rat out UberX drivers; and things have been uneasy ever since.