Jersey Lawmakers Support Increased Safety for Rail Cars Carrying Oil

Perhaps spurred by memories of last year’s oil car derailment over the Schuylkill — or maybe a scarier 2012 incident in Jersey’s own Mantua Creek near the Philadelphia airport — some New Jersey lawmakers are urging federal officials to adopt tougher safety standards for rail cars that carry oil.

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Groups to Share $65,000 in Swim Club Settlement

Can’t believe it’s been five years already: You might remember the once-infamous story of The Valley Swim Club, which in 2009 canceled the swimming privileges of a nearby day care center whose clients were mostly black  — sparking charges and denials of racism, and drawing national attention.

The club is now defunct, but the fallout continues. Officials announced this week that a half-dozen area youth groups will share in a $65,000 settlement stemming from a Justice Department investigation that concluded the club had been racially hostile to minority children in the incident.

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Ramsey Makes Right Call on Body Cameras. But …

Well-done, Commissioner Ramsey.

No, that’s not patronizing or sarcastic. I’m genuinely excited that the commissioner has announced his support for outfitting Philadelphia Police officers with so-called “body cameras” — like the dash cams attached to police cars, only attached to the officers themselves.

The cameras can only aid the cause of justice in Philadelphia. They’ll aid police, backing up their descriptions of crimes and crime scenes that they witness, giving prosecutors and juries confidence that they’re getting the full story. (See the Wolfcon commercial above, compiled of clips officers apparently believed help back their stories.) But they might also restrain the worst impulses of the department’s rogue officers: In Rialto, California, use of force fell by 60 percent — and citizen complaints by 88 percent — in the first year. That’s astonishing.

And that’s why Ramsey wants to start a pilot program, testing the cameras, by year’s end.

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Garces to Operate Rosa Blanca Cafe at New Dilworth Park

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A rendering of the forthcoming Rosa Blanca cafe.

Philadelphia super-chef Jose Garces will operate a new Rosa Blanca Cafe on the north end of the renovated Dilworth Park when that spot — on the west side of City Hall — re-opens next month.

Garces was on hand for a press conference Tuesday morning describing the renovations. He said the cafe will offer “Cuban-inspired” cuisine and be open in time for the breakfast crowd.

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Dilworth Plaza to Reopen With 3 Days of Celebrations, Jose Garces

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An artist’s rendering of the Dilworth Park lawn.

The newly renovated and re-christened Dilworth Park will re-open September 4th with three days of celebrations to inaugurate the $55 million makeover of the once-drab space on the west side of City Hall.

Paul Levy, director of the Center City District, described the renovations during a Tuesday morning press conference across the street from the plaza. The aim, he said, was to create a “link space” that connects the Avenue of the Arts on the south to the remodeled Pennsylvania Convention Center on the east to Temple University to the north to University City on the west — in other words, to make Dilworth the city center, both from a transit perspective and “life of the city” perspective.

Levy said Center City officials have been in talks with City Hall about renaming the property from “Dilworth Plaza” to “Dilworth Park.”

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Officer Wounded, Suspect Dead in Overnight Shootout

Stephen_Korpalski-400x400[UPDATE, 2:00 p.m.] Police released the name of the deceased suspect, David Ellis, along with his mugshot (at the bottom of this post). Ellis had a history of arrests, and was reportedly released after serving 6 years of a 4 to 10 year sentence.

[UPDATE, 12:20 p.m.] Police have announced that Stephen Korpalski, the Philadelphia Police officer shot during an overnight altercation, has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home. The identity of the suspect, who was pronounced dead after being struck by return fire, is still being confirmed. The suspect’s gun was recovered at the scene of the shooting.

[ORIGINAL]

A Philly Police officer was hospitalized overnight after a shootout left him with a deep graze wound to the side of the head. A suspect in the shootout was killed during the exchange.

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