City Council Might Ban Waving Inflatable Tube Men

City Council will soon consider sealing the fate of Philly’s inflatable tube men – you know, the bright, blown-up guys that flop and flail all over car dealerships and other desolate-looking parking lots in the city.

Sixth-district Councilman Bobby Henon has introduced a bill that would amend the city’s zoning code to enact new regulations on signs – but the only change that really matters (to us, at least) is that inflatable tube men would be no more.  Read more »

2013 Collapse Victim Who Suffered “Guillotine Amputation” Awarded $95.6 Million

building collapse

A woman who lost the lower half of her body in the 2013 Center City building collapse that left seven dead and a dozen injured has been awarded $95.6 million.

Mariya Plekan, a 52-year-old Ukranian immigrant, was trapped in rubble for 13 hours on June 5, 2013, the day a half-demolished building fell and crushed the Salvation Army store where she was shopping.  Read more »

SEPTA’s About to Get More Expensive

septa

Pretty soon, you’re going to have to fish a little more dough from your pocket if you want to take SEPTA.

The transportation agency just approved system-wide fare hikes that will kick in on July 1st. The increases were first proposed in March, just before SEPTA unveiled its budget plan.

Changes include a 20 cent increase in the price of a SEPTA token (from $1.80 to $2) and a 25 cent increase in cash/quick trips (from $2.25 to $2.50). Regional Rail passes will rise by as much as $13.

Before you get too frustrated, know that fare increases are typical every three years, and we’re overdue – the last occurred in 2013, and price hikes were delayed in 2016 because of the SEPTA key rollout (which went so smoothly).

Here’s a summary of the fare increases, per SEPTA’s website:
  • Cash Fare/Quick Trip: Increase from $2.25 to $2.50
  • Discounted single ride with SEPTA Key Travel Wallet/Token: From $1.80 to $2
  • Disabled Fare: From $1 to $1.25
  • Paratransit/Shared Ride: $4 to $4.25
  • Weekly TransPass: From $24 to $25.50 (up to 56 trips for one customer)
  • Monthly TransPass: From $91 to $96 (up to 240 trips for one customer)
  • Weekly TrailPasses: Currently $27.25-$53, depending on zone; Increase to $28.25-$55.75 (up to 56 trips for one customer)
  • Monthly TrailPasses: Currently $101-$191, depending on zone; Increase to $105-$204 (up to 240 trips for one customer)
  • Convenience Pass: From $8 to $9
  • Independence Pass: Individual – $12 to $13; Family – $29 to $30
  • Ten Trip Discounted Fares for Regional Rail: Currently $38-80 depending on zone; Increase to $40-$82.50. (Please note: Ten-Trip Tickets will be replaced upon implementation of the SEPTA Key)
  • Parking: Regional Rail surface lot daily parking fee will increase from $1 to $1.25 with implementation of the SEPTA Key. Surface lot monthly permits will increase from $20 to $25.
Here are hikes by railroad division:
Railroad Division Current Proposed SEPTA Key Fare Kiosk
Weekly TrailPass Zone 1 $27.25 $28.25 $28.25 $28.25
Weekly TrailPass Zone 2 $36.50 $39.00 $39.00 $39.00
Weekly TrailPass Zone 3 $44.00 $47.00 $47.00 $47.00
Weekly TrailPass Zone Anywhere $53.00 $55.75 $55.75 $55.75
Monthly TrailPass Zone 1 $101.00 $105.00 $105.00 $105.00
Monthly TrailPass Zone 2 $135.00 $144.00 $144.00 $144.00
Monthly TrailPass Zone 3 $163.00 $174.00 $174.00 $174.00
Monthly TrailPass Zone Anywhere $191.00 $204.00 $204.00 $204.00

The full details of the fare hikes are posted online.

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.

Sweet! Public Sunscreen Dispensers Will Soon Pop Up All Over Philly

Good news for the skin-sensitive (or the forgetful): Philly wants to help keep you protected from the sun.

The city’s getting 20 sunscreen dispensers (think sanitizer dispensers — but with sunscreen!) installed near parks and other popular hangout/workout spots, like Kelly Drive, City Hall, the Citizens Bank Park — and pools, of course. They should be in place before the summer is in full swing.

Read more »

Philly Groups Plan Toomey Town Hall – “With or Without” Toomey

Several activist groups in Philadelphia are planning to hold a town hall for Sen. Pat Toomey – with or without the senator himself.

Indivisible Philadelphia – the city’s chapter of the national nonprofit looking to “hold members of Congress accountable” – has planned the town hall for 6:30 to 8 p.m. on June 1st at the Church of the Holy Trinity, located at 1904 Walnut St. in Rittenhouse Square.  Read more »

Drexel Frat Suspended for Five Years

Drexel’s Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity house via Google Maps

A Drexel University fraternity has been suspended for five years.

Tau Kappa Epsilon, located at 3421 Powelton Ave., was already temporarily suspended earlier this month amidst a sexual assault investigation. Drexel officials say the five-year suspension is unrelated to the sexual abuse allegations and is instead a result of the fraternity’s disregard of the school’s alcohol policy. Read more »

Pa. House Committee: Um, Ed, About That DNC Surplus …

rendell, harrisburg, capitol

The state House Appropriations Committee would like former Gov. Ed Rendell to testify about how the 2016 Democratic National Convention Host Committee spent $10 million in taxpayer money.

Rendell, who chaired the host committee, has reportedly agreed to answer legislators’ questions. The DNC host committee’s spending is already subject to an investigation by Pa. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, who said he would probe the committee’s spending after Gov. Tom Wolf asked him to do so earlier this month.  Read more »

Good News Pennsylvanians: Looks Like You’ll Be Able to Keep Flying

PA drivers license

The state House approved legislation yesterday that is expected to bring Pennsylvania up to date with federal identification standards.

In a 190-1 vote, legislators passed a bill that would allow residents to upgrade state IDs to comply with the REAL ID Act, which, passed in the wake of 9/11, requires state driver’s licenses to meet federal safety and validation requirements.  Read more »

“Clerks” Actress Lisa Spoonauer, 44, Dies in New Jersey

Lisa Spoonauer, the actress who played Caitlin Bree in the 1994 black-and-white cult classic “Clerks,” died Sunday in New Jersey. She was 44 years old.

The cause of death was not immediately clear.

According to her obituary, Spoonauer was born in Rahway, New Jersey and had lived in Jackson Township for the past six years, where she worked as a restaurant manager and event planner. Spoonauer maintained a low profile outside “Clerks,” only appearing in one other independent film – Gabe Torres‘s “Bartender.”

In a tribute to Spoonauer, “Clerks” director Kevin Smith said on Instagram that he was “captivated” when he first saw her acting.

“Lisa was easily the most natural and authentic voice in the room,” Smith said. “She didn’t sound like she was acting at all; she delivered scripted dialogue as if she was inventing her conversation in the moment, like people do in real life.”

Several of Spoonauer’s co-stars voiced their grief on social media this week.

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.

Guess How Much Penn President Amy Gutmann Makes Now

UPenn.edu

University of Pennsylvania president Amy Gutmann made more than $3.5 million in 2015.

According to Internal Revenue Service records filed by Penn (and obtained by the student-run Daily Pennsylvanian), Gutmann received $3,537,020 in 2015 – reflecting a 6 percent salary increase compared to 2014, when The Chronicle of Higher Education found Gutmann to be the fourth highest-paid university president in the country.  Read more »

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