Philly Jesus Arrested at Apple Store

It may not be Holy Thursday, but Jesus got locked up today.

Michael Grant — aka Philly Jesus, the former heroin addict-turned-quasi-street preacher — frequently checks his email and Twitter at the Apple Store on Walnut Street.

Philly Jesus has been a constant presence in Center City for more than two years now. He shows up at city events, walks the streets during the workday — usually while carrying a cross. He brought that cross in with him at the Apple Store today, which may have been what caused all the trouble. Read more »

Almost All of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Now Has a 70 MPH Speed Limit

70 mph map - Pennsylvania

Map via PennDOT

Gather ’round, children, for this tale of yore: Time was, the maximum speed for Pennsylvanians was 55 miles per hour. You’d head out in a Pontiac or a Saturn or an Oldsmobile, and cruise the interstate highways. But if you went more than 55 miles per hour, you were speeding.

Okay, it wasn’t really that long ago — even though those three makes of cars are long gone. But not only is the 55 miles per hour speed limit gone from Pennsylvania, you don’t even have to drive 65 miles per hour on some roads. After a successful pilot program, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced today that the speed limit has been raised to 70 miles per hour on most of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

“Before moving ahead, we looked very closely at a number of factors, such as speed and traffic data and the physical characteristics of the highways, in deciding where 70 mph limits could be safely permitted,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said in a release. Read more »

WATCH: 100-Year-Old Woman Sets 100m Dash Record in Philly

Ida Keeling (age 100) runs in the mixed masters age 80 and over 100m during the 122nd Penn Relays at Franklin Field on April 30, 2016.

Ida Keeling (age 100) runs in the mixed masters age 80 and over 100m during the 122nd Penn Relays at Franklin Field on April 30, 2016.

There are many great events at the Penn Relays, but one of the most fun is the mixed masters 100-meter dash. On Saturday, the 80-and-up division featured three runners who broke 20 seconds.

But it was the runner in last place who got the most applause over the weekend. Ida Keeling, 100 years old, set a new world record for women over 100 years old by finishing her 100 meters in 1:17.33. Video after the jump »

WATCH: 100-Year-Old Woman Sets 100m Dash Record in Philly

Ida Keeling (age 100) runs in the mixed masters age 80 and over 100m during the 122nd Penn Relays at Franklin Field on April 30, 2016.

Ida Keeling (age 100) runs in the mixed masters age 80 and over 100m during the 122nd Penn Relays at Franklin Field on April 30, 2016.

There are many great events at the Penn Relays, but one of the most fun is the mixed masters 100-meter dash. On Saturday, the 80-and-up division featured three runners who broke 20 seconds.

But it was the runner in last place who got the most applause over the weekend. Ida Keeling, 100 years old, set a new world record for women over 100 years old by finishing her 100 meters in 1:17.33. Video after the jump »

Atlantic City Makes Bond Payments, Avoids Default (For Now)

Photo | Dan McQuade

Photo | Dan McQuade

Atlantic City made a $1.8 million bond payment this morning, but Mayor Don Guardian could not guarantee at this point the city would make its bond payment next month.

“I wanted to make sure I didn’t put the bonds before payroll, before schools, before anyone else,” Guardian said. “But if we didn’t make our bond payment, it would be detrimental to everyone, including us.” The mayor said the city would be able to meet payroll this month, and expected to make a payment to the school district on May 15th.

Atlantic City had considered skipping the bond interest payment in order to make payroll, which would make it the first New Jersey municipality since the 1930s to default on a bond payment. Read more »

The Red-Hot Phillies Are Five(!) Games Over .500

The Philadelphia Phillies celebrate after a 2-1 win against the Cleveland Indians at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday, May 1, 2016.

The Philadelphia Phillies celebrate after a 2-1 win against the Cleveland Indians at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday, May 1, 2016.

In late December, ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote that baseball had a tanking problem. He singled out the Phillies, Braves and Brewers as three teams that weren’t really trying to be good in 2016. “This practice is a growing source of conversation and controversy in front offices,” he wrote, “with some executives believing that MLB and the players’ association need to step in and do something to reduce or eliminate the incentive to lose.”

He ended up writing a follow-up column singling out the Phillies — some local writers didn’t like Olney’s first column — and adding that “the concern about this kind of thing among some club executives is growing.”

Those club executives were right to be angry at the Phillies, but for the wrong reasons: It’s May 2nd. The Phillies have won six straight games and are 15-10. If the season ended today, the Phillies would be in a play-in game for the final Wild Card spot. (It would be really weird if the season ended after 25 games, however.)

Bringing up Olney’s columns isn’t done to pick on him. It’s to point out that the Phillies were expected to be so bad this season they were accused of being like the Sixers. But 15 percent of the way into the season, only three teams in baseball have more wins than the Phillies. Read more »

WATCH: Eagles Fans Already Booing QB Carson Wentz

The Eagles selected Carson Wentz with the second overall pick in the NFL Draft last night, and Birds 24/7 has exhaustive analysis. (We even sent Josh Panuil to Bismark, North Dakota!)

But how did Wentz’s first trip to Philadelphia as a member of the Eagles go? Well …

The scene: Wentz arrives at PHL Airport earlier this afternoon. A pack of reporters was there to greet him, including CBS 3 Sports Director Don Bell, who broadcast the above video live on Facebook. Also in attendance were a few Eagles fans, who immediately went up to the 23-year-old Eagles QB of the future and asked him for an autograph.

Then things got, um, silly. Read more »

Comcast Helps Future-Proof Itself with Dreamworks Purchase

Comcast - Dreamworks mashup

Photo illustration | Dan McQuade

Time was, Comcast made its money by selling you cable television. They’d bundle you a package of channels, try to sell you a premium movie channel or two, tack on fees for box and remote rental, and reap the rewards. Cable was almost the only way you could see every Sixers game or the latest Tales from the Crypt episode.

This model is going away. 2013 was the first year the pay-TV industry lost subscribers. You can buy HBO separately from any cable package with HBO Now. You can watch a massive library of TV shows with subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu or other services. You can buy TV show episodes à la carte from various services. Comcast says it will soon allow you go to sans cable box and just use a forthcoming app. Comcast still makes a bulk of its money off selling people cable (and Internet and, for some reason, landline phones). But one day, cord-cutters are going to significantly cut into that business.

Comcast didn’t get to build the tallest building in Philadelphia by being stupid: The Roberts family has recognized this. It was one of the prime reasons the company purchased NBC Universal in 2011; becoming more of a content provider was so important to Comcast that the company bought the remaining 49 percent of NBCUniversal (the company dropped the space in its name under Comcast ownership) just two years later.

Along with NBC, owned-and-operated local networks, cable channels, production and movie companies, Comcast also acquired several theme parks in the NBCU acquisition. As the cable model slowly whittles away, Comcast will need more ways to get you to fork over your hard-earned cash.

As such, yesterday Comcast announced its intention to buy DreamWorks Animation, the studio behind the hit movie franchises Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar. Read more »

New Poll: Chris Christie More Unpopular Than Ever in N.J.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, gives a thumbs up to the crowd as he is introduced by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, right, at a rally at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C., Monday, March 14, 2016.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, gives a thumbs up to the crowd as he is introduced by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, right, at a rally at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C., Monday, March 14, 2016.

Donald Trump may be on the verge of capturing the Republican nomination for president. But his chief campaign surrogate continues to drop in popularity in his home state.

Per a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll, the governor’s approval rating has hit a new low. Only 26 percent of New Jersey voters have a favorable opinion of Chris Christie, down three points from February and a huge drop from the soaring popularity Christie enjoyed after Hurricane Sandy.

“Among the New Jersey politicians we poll, Governor Christie continues to generate the most negativity among voters, even more so than the state’s currently indicted senator [Robert Menendez,” Ashley Koning, assistant director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP) at Rutgers University, said in a release. “Not even Christie’s backing of Donald Trump has helped him with New Jersey Republicans, who give Trump higher ratings than Christie and are now more likely than ever to vote for Trump come June.” Read more »

What’s Next for John Fetterman?

John Fetterman, Braddock mayor

Photo | Dan McQuade

I texted my girlfriend while working on an election story Tuesday night. “Who’d you vote for in the Senate race?” I asked her. Her reply was quick: “John Fetterman, because you slept over his house.”

An unconventional reason to vote for a candidate for senate, but a real one: Last year, I hung out with Fetterman for a profile I did of the Braddock mayor. He’d recently launched a longshot Senate campaign, and I spent more than a day with him. We loaded up on candy for the town’s upcoming Halloween party, picked up food at Costco to deliver to needy people in town and, at night, schmoozed at a swanky political fundraiser an hour away. And, yes, I slept over his house — an old car dealership in Braddock that now houses Mayor John, his wife Gisele and their three children. Fetterman was a gracious host, and gave me more access than pretty much anyone I’d ever profiled. (To be fair, I did help him out a bit with shopping and food delivery. “I joked after you left,” Fetterman told me today, “man, we really put his ass to work!”)

I figured the mayor of a small steel town in western Pennsylvania didn’t have much of a chance in the race for U.S. Senate. Indeed, he didn’t win the Democratic primary on Tuesday: Katie McGinty did. But he put up a good fight: McGinty won with 43 percent of the vote, Joe Sestak got 33 percent and Fetterman ended up with 20 percent.

That’s not bad for a guy running his first statewide campaign, a guy with very little name recognition outside political wonk circles when he launched his bid for mayor in September, a guy who didn’t have the same amount of money to spend on TV ads the top two candidates did.

I chatted with Fetterman, back home in Braddock, today on the phone to get a sense of the campaign, what’s next for him, and if he was disappointed he didn’t get to campaign with Bernie Sanders. Read more »

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