Report: Leaky Philly Gas Pipes Pose Climate Hazard

A report from StateImpact Pennsylvania says that leaking gas pipes in Philadelphia are a massive problem. Those old pipes leak enough methane to cause changes to the climate.

It’s not just Philadelphia, of course, but Philly is an obvious example of a place where the problem is worst: An old, large city. Philadelphia has some of the leakiest pipes in the nation. It’s a long, interesting piece.

In Philadelphia, the city gates feed natural gas into 6,000 miles of pipe that run beneath city streets. The “mains” are the pipelines that run along streets, while the “service lines” connect to houses and businesses. About 1,500 miles of main – a quarter of the total – are made of cast iron, some of it dating back to the 1890’s. Cast iron is problematic. It’s strong but inflexible. Joints leak. Countless freeze-thaw cycles cause the cast iron to crack. Heavy trucks rumbling on top can make a pipe give way.

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Union: Icahn Backs Out of Deal to Save Trump Taj Mahal

Last night, it seemed the Trump Taj Mahal had been saved with a last-minute deal. Carl Icahn, the lender for most of the Taj’s debt, agreed to a deal with the union to keep the casino running. Trump Entertainment Resorts CEO Robert Griffin signed off on the deal as well.

Well, not anymore. Local 54 Unite HERE said today Carl Icahn has backed out of the deal. The union released a statement:

We thought that we had come to an agreement with all parties that would resolve all of the issues with the Taj Mahal. We signed it, and the Trump CEO signed as well. At noon today, we were told that Carl Icahn had gone back on his commitment and would not enter into the agreement. This is what we have been dealing with for some time now at this property. We are disappointed that Mr. Icahn’s whims are going to add to the feelings of uncertainty and instability that the workers have had to live with and have to endure during this holiday season and beyond.

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The Jimmy Rollins Trade May Need to Be Reworked

We were all sad when reports surfaced last week that the Phillies would be trading Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers. We even mourned him in animated GIF format!

But it’s now been a week. And the trade hasn’t gone through yet. In the deal, the Phillies would send Rollins to the Dodgers for two minor league pitchers, Zach Eflin and Tom Windle.

The holdup is due to a related Dodgers-Padres trade the teams are attempting to finalize. The Dodgers don’t actually have Zach Eflin yet; he’s on the Padres. Those two teams are attempting to complete a deal that would send the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp (as well as catcher Tim Federowicz and a cool $32 million) to the Padres for Elfin, catcher Yasmani Grandal pitching prospect Joe Wieland.

So many names! But why the hold up? Before trades can be consummated, players have to take physicals. Today, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports the Padres are concerned with Kemp’s health: A medical exam found evidence of two severely arthritic hips.

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Philadelphia Citizen Plans Green Bay Packers–Style Stock Offering

In a move Larry Platt says is inspired by the Green Bay Packers, the Philadelphia Citizen will soon be selling shares in itself.

The site, run by former Philadelphia magazine and Daily News editor Larry Platt, quietly began posting articles in September. Now Platt tells Technical.ly Philly the site will begin selling shares. It won’t be traditional stock, as it won’t go up and down and it won’t pay dividends.

“We want the citizens of Philadelphia to own this civic entity,” Platt wrote in an email to Technical.ly. He didn’t say what, exactly, Citizen stock buyers would be getting in return. Green Bay Packers stockholders get a certificate to frame and put on the wall (or leave in a drawer, et cetera).

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Will the Christmas Eve Storm Bring Rain or Snow?

Are we getting a Christmas Eve snowstorm? The short answer is “probably not.”

The long answer (because one sentence isn’t enough for a story, silly): There is an outside chance. The good people at Phillywx posted the latest model, which shows a storm system moving through on Christmas Eve.

But we probably won’t be getting any snow, because temperatures on Christmas Eve could be in the 50s. Classic Christmas weather! Colder temperatures should move in after the precipitation leaves. One Canadian model shows colder air coming in sooner — which could lead to a Christmas Eve snow — but that is an outlier.

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Sex Video with Minors Being Passed Around at Bristol Middle School

A sex video involving minors is being passed around at FDR Middle School in Bristol Township. The clip, of two juveniles engaged in a sex act, has been circulated among students.

Police are investigating, and confiscated several students’ cell phones. (A commenter on the Bristol Township Police Facebook page is furious about that: “Why were their phones confiscated and why were they forced to write statements without contacting their parents first?! What in the world were you officers thinking?! You can’t do that shit!”

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First Philadelphia Mayoral Forum Set for March

Yesterday, Philadelphia’s Next Great City Coalition announced the first mayoral forum for the 2015 race. It’s being held on March 3 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in conjunction with the Philadelphia Flower Show. Hopefully, there will be a consensus reached on the hottest floral arrangements of 2015.

“As the convener of the Next Great City Coalition, PennFuture is excited to welcome our mayoral candidates to this quadrennial forum,” Katie Bartolotta, southeast Pennsylvania outreach coordinator for PennFuture, said in a statement. “To be truly great, Philadelphia needs a new mayor who will lead Philadelphia forward with Next Great City 2015’s key initiatives, and get us to the finish line on some key initiatives already underway.”

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Auditor: Cheyney University in Dire Financial Straits

The nation’s oldest black college is on the verge of financial collapse.

Cheyney University, which straddles the border of Delaware and Chester counties, has run a deficit four out of the last five years and has a $12.3 million shortfall. Another $5.5 million shortfall is expected this year. Enrollment is declining. Revenue is down 12.2 percent since 2009, due to declining state funding for education. The university received $2.8 million more in funding from Pennsylvania in 2009 than it did last year.

All this comes form a dire report from Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DiPasquale, released yesterday.

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Coroner: Bradley Stone Didn’t Die of Self-Inflicted Stab Wound

The coroner has ruled Bradley Stone did not die of self-inflicted wounds to the center of his body. After Stone was found dead Tuesday, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said Stone appeared to have died of “self-inflicted cutting wounds to the center of his body.” Another news report suggested Stone committed seppuku.

The coroner, Dr. Walter Hoffman, did say Stone had a deep wound on his left leg, but it wasn’t a major blood vessel and it didn’t cause his death.

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