Philly’s Murder Count About to Exceed Last Year’s, With a Whole Month to Go

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[Update 4:30 p.m.] Since we posted the story, two more homicides have been reported:

[Original 3 pm] It has been quite a year so far here in Philadelphia. From the Pope Francis visit to the election of a progressive new mayor to an influx of new businesses, ideas, investments and millennials, Philadelphia seems better and more poised for greatness than ever. But then you get to the bad news, which is never in short supply. Among those less-reassuring facts: Our homicide numbers are climbing. Read more »

Bad Bar People #1: The Jukebox Violator

A Budweiser swilling (and Budweiser/Phillies t-shirt wearing!) jukebox violator.

A Budweiser swilling (and Budweiser/Phillies t-shirt wearing!) jukebox violator.

We give you the latest Foobooz series: Bad Bar People, in which we’ll bring you the worst customers, bartenders, and other contributors to dreadful drinking experiences. Enjoy.

The worst thing to happen to the bar scene over the last decade has got to be whipped cream vodka. But the second worst thing is undoubtedly those you-can-play-virtually-anything TouchTunes jukeboxes and the people who use them to make everyone else miserable. These evolutionary mistakes make up the inaugural category of Bad Bar People: The Jukebox Violator. Read more »

High Art: Q&A with Rooftopping Photographer Christopher Olstein

Rooftopping photographer Christopher Olstein (right) enjoys the view.

Rooftopping photographer Christopher Olstein (right) enjoys the view.

Most of us spend our days looking up at the skyline of Philadelphia, but what if we could get on top of some of the city’s most iconic buildings and structures and have a look around? That is the goal of the “rooftopper,” a type of urban explorer that has been in the news recently thanks to nauseating feats like this one atop the world’s second tallest building and also some attempts that, tragically, didn’t turn out quite as well. We caught up with Philadelphia rooftopper Christopher Olstein, who publishes the photographs from his elevated missions on Instagram. (A gallery of his photos appears after the interview.)

What possessed you to start rooftopping?

Instagram, actually. I was seeing a lot of people doing it in Manhattan, which is such a dense, tall city with so many different places to go and capture different views. And so I thought it would be interesting to see what kinds of views I get in a city like Philadelphia. Read more »

Meet the Crazy Guys Who Are Starting a Newspaper In Philadelphia

Matthew Albasi (left) and max Pulcini (right)

Max Pulcini (left) and Matthew Albasi (right)

Last year, a pair of 2013 Temple University journalism graduates took over Fishtown’s Spirit newspaper, transforming it from your average print-only community newspaper to a modern publication and online presence that does hard-hitting, hyperlocal reporting. Now they’re poised to do the same thing in a section of Philadelphia that they’re calling Penn’s Garden, which includes the neighborhoods of Brewerytown, Fairmount, Francisville, Spring Garden, Strawberry Mansion, North Central, Ludlow and Poplar. Read more »

Dispatch From a Philly Church: Trying to Make Sense of the Paris Killings

Overbrook Presbyterian Church (photo via Google Maps)

Overbrook Presbyterian Church (photo via Google Maps)

Other than during summer, when the Jersey Shore tempts even the most God-fearing families to its surf and sand, the parking lot at Overbrook Presbyterian Church is generally pretty full; a couple of times each year — Easter Sunday and Christmas — it is positively overflowing.

Yesterday’s service had no official significance, but less than 48 hours after ISIS-sponsored militants took to the streets of Paris, committing cold-blooded murder at least 129 times, the parking lot was more reminiscent of one of those holy days than your average Sunday morning. Read more »

WXPN Volunteer Photographer Charged With Child Pornography

WXPN volunteer photographer Mark Wilkens.

WXPN volunteer photographer Mark Wilkens.

A 57-year-old Philadelphia man, Mark Wilkens, has been charged with manufacturing and possessing child pornography. According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia, he captured sexually explicit images of prepubescent children at WXPN events where he was a volunteer photographer. Read more »

Cecily Tynan Beats Hurricane Schwartz in Long-Range Winter Forecast Battle


Thursday was pretty much the Super Bowl of the local weather wars, with 6 ABC gale force goddess Cecily Tynan delivering her yearly Winter Weather Outlook and NBC 10 El Nino nerd Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz with his 19th Annual Long-Range Winter Forecast. Schwartz was the guy who brought the idea to the Philly market, back when Tynan was cutting her pearly whites as the station’s first weekend meteorologist, picking up some general assignment reporting on the side.

Though they could never admit it, we’re going to take a wild guess and assume that both of these bona fide meteorologists hate doing these ridiculous predictions about as much as people love to take to Facebook to chide them for doing so. But ratings are ratings and year after year the stations turn on their hype machines and yell “GO!”  Read more »

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