Three Philly Election Officials Face Voter Fraud Charges

(Derek Hatfield/Shutterstock)

(Derek Hatfield/Shutterstock)

Three people have been charged with voter fraud in two separate cases stemming from the 2015 and 2014 Philadelphia primary elections.

Robin Trainor and Laura Murtaugh are both charged in a 2015 incident in which Trainor allegedly guided her husband’s vote, voted in her son’s place, and received Murtaugh’s help doing so. Read more »

PATCO Restores Service

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After being totally knocked out by Tuesday’s severe thunderstorm, PATCO resumed service just after noon today.

“Trains will run every 20 minutes until midnight when the regular schedule/timetable resumes,” the agency said on its website. “NJTransit will continue to honor PATCO FREEDOM Cards and tickets until 8 p.m. tonight.” Read more »

In Rome, Pope and Mayor Nutter Share a Moment

The Philadelphia delegation to the Vatican this week didn’t really expect to get face time with Pope Francis, even though he’ll be visiting the city in September.

They got a moment — but apparently just a moment, as the pope visited the crowds outside the Vatican today.

Read more »

WATCH: Lightning Strikes Billy Penn

This is making its way around the social media rounds today, and for good reason: Lightning appears to have struck Billy Penn during Tuesday’s storm.

I caught Billy Penn snoozing before he got zapped. Check it out!

A video posted by Jennifer Finley (@time_hump_chronicles) on

We checked with Mayor Nutter’s office to see if Billy Penn was damaged by the strike. They didn’t have immediate information, but said they’d get back to us.

[Update]: Jen Crandall from the mayor’s office called back. Billy Penn, she said, has a lightning rod in him — so lightning strikes aren’t that unusual, though pictures of it happening are less so. “He’s fine,” she said.

Storm Effects Disrupt Morning Rush

Pictures by Victor Fiorillo.

Pictures by Victor Fiorillo.

Good morning. Your commute may be interfered with by service disruptions caused by last night’s severe storms. Here is what we know:

PATCO service remains suspended. “PATCO remains without power from Tuesday evening’s storm and PSE&G has advised electricity will not be restored until at least after mid-morning on Wednesday, 6/24. Crews are working hard to restore service as quickly and safely as possible.”

So are some SEPTA regional rail lines: Paoli/Thorndale is suspended between Thorndale and Malvern, though service remains between Malvern and Center City. Service remains suspended on the Fox Chase and Media/Elwyn lines. The Norristown High Speed Line has service to Radnor Station only. For updates on all routes, check SEPTA’s system status.

PECO is reporting widespread outages, still: At least 50,000 customers in both Chester and Delaware counties, as well as at least 1,000 customers each in Montgomery, Philadelphia, and York counties.

Similarly, PSE&G estimates more than 45,000 customers are without power in South Jersey. Read more »

SEPTA Service Is Revived With Delays

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Photo | Patrick Kerkstra

Update 9 p.m. SEPTA reports: “RRD: All regional rail service is operating with delays of up to 2 hours due to severe weather conditions and power problems.”

[Update 7:34 p.m.] The storm has also knocked out power throughout the region, and created a bunch of messes all over the place:

[Original] Tonight’s severe thunderstorm has made a mess of the evening commute.

To wit: Service across SEPTA’s regional rail network has been pretty much knocked out. The Airport, Chestnut Hill East, Chestnut Hill West, Cynwyd, Fox Chase, Glenside Combined, Lansdale/Doylestown, Media/Elwyn, Manayunk/Norristown, Trenton, Warminster, Wilmington/Newark,  and West Trenton are all suspended until further notice. (Emphasis ours.) You can use SEPTA’s website to find alternate service.

PATCO was also having problems: Read more »

SEPTA Trains Temporarily More Crowded As Safety Upgrade Installed

Septa regional rail train

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Here’s the good news, commuters: Over the next few months, SEPTA will install equipment on its trains to make your ride safer than ever.

The bad news? Until that work is done, trains on SEPTA’s regional rail network are likely to be crowded and unpleasant.

“We know that you’ve noticed and are annoyed by the shortages and crowding,” the transit agency said in a message to riders this month, “but we ask you to please bear with us while we complete this life-saving safety improvement work.” Read more »

Report: Frankford Junction Is Curviest Stretch of Rail Between New York and Washington

Emergency personnel work the scene of a deadly train wreck, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Philadelphia. An Amtrak train headed to New York City derailed and crashed in Philadelphia.

Emergency personnel work the scene of a deadly train wreck, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Philadelphia. An Amtrak train headed to New York City derailed and crashed in Philadelphia.

Frankford Junction — where an Amtrak train derailed in May, killing eight — is the one curviest sections of rail in the Northeast Corridor, the New York Times reports today.

The Times arrives at its conclusion by splitting the corridor — which runs from Washington D.C. to Boston — into mile-long segments of track and ranking each for straightness. “Frankford Junction emerges as the most curved stretch between Washington and New York,” excluding areas near stations, the Times reports. Read more »

Lenfest to Journalists: Newspapers Aren’t A Charity

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Gerry Lenfest may be one of Philly’s foremost philanthropists, but he’s not going to treat the newspapers he owns like a charity.

That was the message Lenfest, owner of Philadelphia Media Network — which owns the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com — sent to employees this morning as negotiations continue between PMN and the Newspaper Guild race toward this weekend’s expiration of the contract between the two.

“I have given substantial donations over the years to charitable institutions,” Lenfest wrote in a memo emailed to all of the company’s employees. “PMN is not a charity but rather it is a business, and as such it must be self-sustainable.”

The Guild’s leadership shot back in a memo of its own:

“For us, this company has been a charity. We have lost our pension. We haven’t had a raise in six years. In fact, we have given back raises. We have paid more for health care because the company has not increased its contribution in 15 years,” they wrote, and added: “The company negotiators do not appreciate these sacrifices. They won’t even acknowledge them.”

Read more »

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