And now it’s here. Just like last year, our writer-at-large Dan McQuade is on the scene. He’s commandeered the Philly Mag Twitter account and will be live-tweeting the the atrocities at Wing Bowl 23. Follow along as he documents the floats, the spectacle, the gluttony and the unspeakably fowl carnage.
[Update: 7 a.m., January 30th] Details continue to drip out about the reported investigation that may have prompted the abrupt resignation of State Treasurer Rob McCord. The Morning Call reports that the investigation into McCord is being run by the FBI’s Harrisburg office and, according to their source, “it’s been [going on] a while.”
[Update: 5:45 p.m.] Gary Tuma, Rob McCord’s spokesman, says, “This is not a matter on which the Treasury Department can comment. Treasury routinely receives investigatory subpoenas or requests for documents from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. It has been the department’s policy to cooperate with and fully respond to all law enforcement inquiries, and to honor the confidentiality of any such inquiry. We defer to the law enforcement authorities on whether to comment on, or even confirm, any such inquiry.”
[Update: 3:45 p.m.] 6ABC reports that McCord is facing a federal investigation:
Action News confirms that Pennsylvania State Treasurer Rob McCord, who announced Thursday he is stepping down from the job, is currently under federal investigation.
Sources tell Action News that the wide-spread probe is examining the alleged theft of campaign and other funds.
A call to Governor Wolf’s office for comment was not immediately returned.
[Original] Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord will resign, he announced today. He sent Gov. Tom Wolf a resignation letter saying he will return to the private sector; his last day will be February 12th.
Chief counsel Christopher Craig will handle the state treasurer’s duties until a replacement is found. McCord’s resignation means the governor gets to appoint a new state treasurer, who then must be approved by a majority of the State Senate.
A company has won preliminary approval to operate a new casino in New Jersey — and it has a license for more than just Atlantic City.
Today the New Jersey Casino Control Commission gave Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment a “statement of compliance,” paving the way for the company to open a Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City. The company also received preliminary OK for a casino at the Meadowlands in North Jersey, if a market there ever emerges.
Prosecutors today announced the indictment of two Philadelphians, a doctor and a clinic receptionist, for running a “pill mill” scheme out of offices in Philly and Levittown, Bucks County. Federal authorities charged William O’Brien III, 49, and Angela Rongione, 29, with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
If convicted, both could face a 20 year sentence on the conspiracy charge.
O’Brien, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, is also charged with 26 counts of illegally prescribing oxycodone and Xanax without a legitimate medical purpose. Each of those charges carries with it a five-year term and “substantial fines and criminal forfeiture,” per the federal government. In one example from the indictment, the government alleges an FBI agent received prescription slips for 1,080 pills over several visits.
The indictment says O’Brien wrote prescriptions for oxycodone and Xanax for a fee without referrals or medical examinations. The government alleges O’Brien charged $250 for the first visit and prescription and $200 for each additional visit to get refills. Oxycodone is a Schedule II substance under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, which means the government classifies it as having a currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Xanax, the brand name for alprazolam, is a Schedule IV drug (legitimate medical use; low potential for abuse and dependence).
New Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is continuing to undo moves former Gov. Tom Corbett made during his last year in office.
Wolf appeared at Benjamin Rush State Park in Far Northeast Philadelphia today to sign an order banning fracking in state parkland, reversing a move Corbett made last May. In his first week in office, Wolf voided two dozen “pending executive nominations” Corbett made late in his term. Today’s moratorium, effective immediately, forbids fracking leases on parks and forests owned or managed by the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
They said it couldn’t be done. In December, one sports book moved the over/under on the Sixers to 9.5. But it is only the end of January, and the Sixers now have nine wins on their own. They will, at worst, tie the 9-73 Sixers for futility in an 82-game season, and that’s only if they lose their final 36 games. That’s probably not going to happen. This Sixers season will not be the most embarrassing NBA season ever, record-wise.
The Sixers jumped out to a 24-4 lead on the Detroit Pistons at the Wells Fargo Center and didn’t really have to look back. They held the Pistons to just 69 points — including just 32 in the second half.
The Phillies announced today that David Montgomery has returned to the team as chairman. Pat Gillick, who had been interim president in Montgomery’s absence, will now assume the job full-time. Montgomery took a leave of absence this summer while recovering from cancer surgery. Bill Giles moves from chairman to chairman emeritus.
Although Gillick has had the interim removed from his designation as Phillies president, the team says he is only staying on as president “in the short term.”
“I am fortunate to be healthy enough now to resume some of my previous responsibilities,” Montgomery said in a statement. “I am very appreciative that Pat Gillick is willing and available to remain as the club’s President.”
Today the Mural Arts Program announced the artists who will be participating in the new “Open Source” project, which it says is Philadelphia’s biggest site-specific art exhibition ever. The project includes such names as JR, Shepard Fairey, Sterling Ruby, SWOON, Michelle Angela Ortiz, and is scheduled for 2015.
“’Open Source’ will position Mural Arts as an organization on the leading edge of cultural conversation, harnessing our strengths as well as the strengths of the participating artists,” Mural Arts Program executive director Jane Golden said in a release. “Mural Arts has already put our city on the map as a world-renowned hub for public art and this project takes that to the next level. The project will advance Philadelphia’s reputation for cultural innovation and further situate it as a global city.”
The 12 international artists contributing are SWOON, The Dufala Brothers (of Funeral for a Home fame), the team of Ernel Martinez & Keir Johnston, Sam Durant, Shepard Fairey (who did a mural/liquor ad, Lotus Diamond, in Fishtown last year), JR, MOMO, Jonathan Monk, Odili Donald Odita, Michelle Angela Ortiz, Sterling Ruby, Shinique Smith, Jennie Shanker and Heeseop Yoon. The Dufala Brothers are natives of the Philadelphia area. Martinez and Johnston, Odita and Shanker are Philadelphia-based.
A resolution introduced yesterday by State Rep. John Lawrence, who represents the 13th legislative district, honors the Lord.
Okay, it’s not a resolution praising God for creating life and/or not flooding the world again. But it is a one that directly praises the Lord for His work though the Lighthouse Youth Center in Oxford, Chester County. Lighthouse was founded after community members in Oxford met in 1986 and decided the area needed a youth center. It officially opened on Super Bowl Sunday in 1988 (XXII, Washington beat Denver 42-10). It is “a para-church organization that reaches youth with the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ” and serves 9- to 18-year-olds.
The “noncontroversial resolution” was introduced yesterday, one of scores honoring community groups, sports teams and the like that get passed in the House every session. But the language of this resolution is especially interesting (and, well, cute and funny) because it also directly honors God:
The threat of snow gave many workers in Philadelphia Tuesday off. It also had another benefit: It caused SEPTA to run the Market-Frankford El and Broad Street Line all night.
“When the weather is really bad or bus and trains are suspended,” explains SEPTA spokesperson Jerri Williams, “the subway and elevated lines… can continue to operate and serve riders during the worst conditions.”
Though SEPTA now operates trains 24 hours on weekend nights, the winter weather service is unrelated to that rollout. Williams says SEPTA has run overnight trains during certain snow storms in all her six years with the transit agency. Overnight, trains ran every 20 minutes.
SEPTA made several service alterations yesterday due to the snow forecast. Currently, all El trains are making all stops. It dispatched additional track inspectors, maintenance crews, signal maintainers and power crews to deal with any problems caused by the snow. Regional rail trains today are operating on a Saturday schedule. The Cynwyd Line is not operating. Additional Regional Rail info is on SEPTA’s website.