Pa. Senate Votes to Block Syrian Refugees

State Capitol in Harrisburg

The Pennsylvania Senate passed a resolution today that calls for a ban on Syrian refugees in the state. This is a rebuke to Gov. Tom Wolf, who said after the attacks in Paris that refugees fleeing war-torn Syria were welcome in Pennsylvania.

The vote, which passed by an overwhelming 37-13 margin, is completely symbolic: It requires no action. And since immigration law is federal —according to the Refugee Act of 1980 states do not have the power to reject refugees — even Wolf’s welcoming gesture is symbolic.

Several local lawmakers, including state senators Anthony Williams and Daylin Leach, spoke out against the measure. Williams attempted to table the resolution today, but it failed. “The Home of the Brave should lead the world in accepting refugees,” Leach said. Read more »

Pa. State Trooper in Good Condition After Vine Street Shootout

Captain James P. Raykovitz, Pennsylvania State Police

Captain James P. Raykovitz, commanding officer of Philadelphia’s Troop K of the Pennsylvania State Police, speaks with reporters outside Hahnemann University Hospital. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

A traffic stop on the Schuylkill Expressway Tuesday led to a wild shootout on I-676 that left a state trooper wounded by gunfire, a school bus charred to bits, and the alleged shooter in custody.

Patrick R. Casey, the wounded trooper, is in good condition after being shot in the left shoulder. Captain James P. Raykovitz, commanding officer of Philadelphia’s Troop K barracks, said during a Tuesday afternoon press conference that the 31-year-old trooper from Bucks County is with his parents, sibling and fiancée and will remain in the hospital overnight. He could be home by Thanksgiving. The bullet remains lodged in his shoulder; no surgery is currently scheduled. (See videos and pictures from the scene.) Read more »

Philly Fans Finally See a Home Win as Rookie Scores in OT for Flyers


Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, we mentioned that a Philadelphia sports team hadn’t won a home game all month. There were only two more chances for a home victory in November, and last night it looked like the Flyers would win this one easily. They were up 2-0 seven minutes into the third period. A home win was just more than 10 minutes away.

Naturally, the Flyers gave up two goals in the third and the game went to overtime. The chance for a home win was in doubt, especially because the Flyers came into the game just 2-4 after being tied at the end of regulation. But Philly caught a break when the Carolina Hurricanes’ Victor Rask was called for holding just 11 seconds into the period. The Flyers would get a 4-on-3 advantage for two minutes. (NHL overtimes are now 3-on-3, with teams going to 4-on-3 when a penalty is called.

Then Shayne Gostisbehere, the Flyers rookie defenseman, flicked one into the net just 13 seconds later to give the Flyers the 3-2 overtime win. Finally, a win in Philadelphia! It was the most recent victory for a Philly team since the Flyers beat the Rangers in OT at the Wells Fargo Center on October 24th. (The last regulation home win for a Philly team was on October 19th, when the Eagles beat the Giants on Monday Night Football.) Read more »

Williams Revamps Senior Leadership in D.A.’s Office

Seth Williams

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams created a new position in his office today: Chief of Staff, General Counsel and Chief Integrity Officer. He appointed Kathleen Martin to the new position, in addition to promoting George D. Mosee, Jr. to first assistant district attorney.

“Ms. Martin brings experience in Pennsylvania criminal law as well as a deep knowledge of the history and unique facets of Philadelphia courts and criminal practice,” Williams said in a release. “I am very proud of the work we have accomplished in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office so far and am excited about the opportunity to strengthen the office and to help the 600 men and women of the office make a difference in our city.”

The District Attorney’s office has been rocked in recent months by the Porngate scandal, with everyone from state senators to Senate candidates to City Council members calling for the firing of three city prosecutors who sent or received pornographic and/or offensive emails while working for the state. Read more »

A Thanksgiving Meal in Philly? $46.60



You’re going to pay more for that turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie this year.

That’s according to Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz, who said in a report today that the price of Thanksgiving dinner is up 18 cents in the city this year, to $46.60.

But the news isn’t all bad: We pay $3.51 less than the average Thanksgiving dinner price in the United States. Read more »

Ed Rendell Wears Plastic Bag on Head After Eagles’ Loss

Ed Rendell - plastic bag

Image via Comcast SportsNet

Former Philadelphia mayor and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has been a post-game Eagles analyst on Comcast SportsNet for 17 years now. (Really!) But he never seemed as embarrassed as he did yesterday, after the Eagles lost 45-17 to the Buccaneers.

Everyone was kind of angry and embarrassed. Defensive coordinator Billy Davis said “the whole thing was awful.” Mark Sanchez and Darren Sproles argued on the field after a fourth-quarter pick-six. A Birds 24/7 headlined summed it up: “The Eagles’ Humiliating Defeat.”

But while everyone was angry, no one went as far as Rendell. He wore a plastic bag on his head when Eagles Post Game Live came on after the game, and kept it on through a segment. Read more »

PHL’s K9 Beagles: The Adorable Faces of National Security

From left: K9s Mattie, Auburn and Yoshi. Photo | Dan McQuade

From left: PHL K9s Mattie, Auburn and Yoshi. Photo | Dan McQuade

If you step off the plane at PHL after a long international flight this holiday season, there’ll be someone there waiting for you when you walk into baggage claim: An adorable, cuddly beagle.

While you’re waiting for your luggage, as many as three of these little guys could be wandering around baggage claim looking impossibly cute. But these dogs are not here to cheer you up after a weary trip. The beagles are working. They’re sniffing your luggage to see if you brought any food from overseas.

The beagles at PHL are part of Customs and Border Protection. They’re agriculture K9s. While other dogs hunt for explosives and drugs, the beagles at baggage claim are only trained to sniff out food. Travelers coming in from foreign countries are banned from bringing many foods into the U.S. Those who have food must declare it to a CBP officer. Read more »

Philly’s “Isis” Radio Station Considers Changing Its Name

iRadioPhilly logo

iRadioPhilly is a group of Internet radio stations local to the city. The streaming radio site broadcast the pope’s visit and the World Meeting of Families, and has a channel dedicated to Philly artists and talk radio.

It also has one dedicated to pop hits, aimed at women. Five years ago, iRadioPhilly came up with a name for that station. It chose Isis. Whoops. Read more »

Lehigh Professor, Wife Convicted of Defrauding NASA

A federal jury convicted a Lehigh Valley couple of defrauding the the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Yujie Ding, 53, and Yuliya Zotova, 41, are both from Center Valley, about 20 minutes south of Allentown. Ding is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Lehigh. About a year ago, Ding was first charged with wire fraud and accused of stealing $300,000 from NASA.

His wife, Zotova, was also charged. A grand jury indictment was unsealed in February. Read more »

Philly Pizza Shop Owner, Friend Told They Can’t Fly After Speaking Arabic

Photo | Facebook

Photo | Facebook

Two Philadelphians were delayed on a flight back from Chicago’s Midway Airport because a passenger was uncomfortable with them speaking Arabic, they said.

“We’re American citizens just like everybody else,” Maher Khalil told NBC 10 last night. He couldn’t be reached today at Pizza Point, the Feltonville pizza shop he owns.

Khalil, 29, and Anas Ayyad, 28, said they were profiled while attempting to board a Southwest Airlines flight back from Chicago to PHL on Wednesday night. A gate agent told them they wouldn’t be allowed to board after another passenger said she was uncomfortable flying with them after hearing the pair speaking Arabic. Khalil and Ayyad moved to Philadelphia from Palestine 15 years ago, they told NBC 10. Kahlil told Fox 29 he is a U.S. citizen. Read more »

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