Cooper CEO Was “Distraught” Over Critical Report

John Sheridan was troubled by a report criticizing the hospital on the day he died, witnesses say, but family members say work woes wouldn’t have spurred the CEO of the Cooper University Health System to commit murder-suicide.

John and Joyce Sheridan were found dead in their New Jersey home last fall. On Friday, the Somerset County prosecutor officially ruled their deaths a murder-suicide, a conclusion family members vigorously dispute. Read more »

Trial Starts Today for Accused Cops


After a week of preliminaries, trial is expected to get under way today for six Philadelphia narcotics officers accused of robbing and shaking down the drug dealers they were supposed to be putting behind bars.

Defense attorneys for the officers — Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Perry Betts, Linwood Norman, Perry Betts, John Speiser and Michael Spicer — are expected to attack the credibility of federal prosecutors’ witnesses, many of whom are convicted or accused drug dealers. More than 160 drug cases involving the officers have been thrown of criminal court. Read more »

New Joe’s Steaks Wouldn’t Be Possible With Racist Old Name


To this day, I’m not entirely certain whether Joe Groh was trying to be a good man or simply a good businessman when he chose to change the name of his Tacony cheesesteak shop to “Joe’s Steaks.”

What I do know that it made his life a lot more difficult for a long time. Fans of the shop’s old name, “Chink’s,” were enraged at the switch — convinced Joe had knuckled under to the forces of political correctness. They offered responses that ranged from taking their cheesesteak business elsewhere to outright displays of ugly hostility.

The reaction left Groh wondering if his business would survive.

“It’s the scariest thing in the world to look at an empty store,” he said in the summer of 2013.  Read more »

How Trauma Overwhelms Philly Schoolkids

Photo illustration | Alyse Moyer. Photos |

Photo illustration | Alyse Moyer. Photos |

During the 18 years he was a counselor at Barratt Middle School in South Philadelphia, Steven Hymans became accustomed to seeing students arrive for classes traumatized beyond their years.

“There were so many homicides in the neighborhood,” Hymans said recently. “In my 18 years at the middle school, I saw a lot of trauma, a lot of neglect. I did so much grief counseling while I was there.” Read more »

Report: Deaths of Cooper CEO, Wife Ruled a Murder-Suicide

John Sheridan, then-CEO of the Cooper Health System, died with his wife in September.

John Sheridan, then-CEO of the Cooper Health System, died with his wife in September.

The deaths of Cooper CEO John Sheridan and his wife, Joyce, has been ruled a murder suicide, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Prior to his death, John Cooper had led the Camden-based Cooper Health System.

Further details were not immediately available.

But that ruling by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office in New Jersey may not be the final word in the matter. The Inquirer also reports also that the couple’s sons are disputing the findings, as well as aspects of the investigation that led to today’s conclusion.

“The disagreement between the Sheridans’ sons – Mark, Matt, Dan, and Tim – and investigators has centered on whether John Sheridan killed Joyce and then himself, as authorities have long suspected, or whether their deaths were a double-murder by a third party, as the family believes,” the Inquirer reports. The family says “investigators did not process doors to the house for fingerprints and ‘left weapons at the scene for more than a month’ – specifically a fire poker in the couple’s bedroom.”

The Sheridans were found in September by firefighters responding to a blaze at their home. Since the, the case has trickled out in series of details without investigators announcing any firm conclusions until today. The family in November hired its own pathologist to investigate and monitor the official investigation.

Washington Man Will Sell Home Because of Comcast Goof

It’s been weeks since a Comcast customer service story went viral — but don’t worry. It’s usually just a matter of time. And sure enough, a new story has emerged.

Here’s the short version: Guy works from home. Guy wants to buy a house. House doesn’t have broadband Internet service. Guy asks Comcast — the biggest local provider — if he could be hooked up at the new house. Comcast says yes. Guy buys house. Turns out Comcast doesn’t have a ready connection to the house after all. Now guy must sell the house he bought three months ago.

It’s a sad story. Consumerist reports on the plight of “Seth,” a Washington state man who has endured the above tale over the last few months: Read more »

Women Come Forward in Facebook Frat Scandal


Women who say they were pictured on the secret Facebook page maintained by a Penn State fraternity have come forward to talk to investigators, officials say.

“Some female Penn State students have been interviewed by State College police, and a few were able to identify themselves from screen shots taken from the Kappa Delta Rho Facebook page, Lt. Keith Robb said,” the Centre Daily Times reports. “Members of the fraternity have also stepped forward and are assisting with the investigation, he said.” Read more »

SRC Aims for $2.86 Billion Budget in 2016

The School Reform Commission on Thursday adopted a $2.86 billion “lump sum” budget for the 2015-16 school year, providing the fiscal outlines for leaders as they begin to work on the details of that budget.

The outline — approved unanimously by the commission — assumes that the state and city will step forward with a combined $264 million in new revenues for the year, officials said — subtract an $80 million deficit now expected during the school year and the city’s public schools would still be left $180 million with which to make new investments. But individual schools are being told for now to create a “status quo” budget in case those funds don’t materialize. Read more »

The Best Five Parts of Frank Keel’s Amazing Lawsuit Against David Axelrod

John Street, David Axelrod,gle at Bochetto's  and Frank Keel.

John Street (Jeff Fusco), David Axelrod (Twitter) and Frank Keel (Facebook).

Whatever else you think of Frank Keel’s lawsuit against David Axelrod over who came up with the idea to blame Republicans in then-Philly Mayor John Street’s FBI bugging scandal, we want you to know this: It’s one heck of an entertaining read.

Keel’s attorney — George Bochetto — has a flair for the written word, and a kind of noir sensibility. If you’re tempted to giggle at Bochetto’s slightly over-the-top description of Keel as a man’s man, getting things done with brashness and style in the dirty world of Philadelphia politics, well, the overall description of behind-the-scenes power struggles during 2003 feels just a bit cinematic. Who is going to make this into a movie?

You can read the whole lawsuit. Or you can let us do the hard very fun work for you — here are our five favorite passages: Read more »

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