Portions of Girard and Ridge Avenues to Close for Construction

girard, septa, trolley tracks

Photo courtesy CodyJung via Creative Commons

SEPTA will close portions of Girard and Ridge avenues next week for construction.

The closures are part of a trolley track replacement project.

Here are the work schedules for each street, per the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation:

Girard Avenue
  • Starting at 7 a.m. on Thursday, July 27th, Girard Avenue will close between 17th Street and 20th Street. Eastbound drivers will be detoured over Poplar Street and Broad Street. Westbound drivers will be detoured over 13th Street, Master Street, Ridge Avenue and College Avenue.
Ridge Avenue
  • Starting at 8 a.m. on Thursday, July 27th, Ridge Avenue will close between Thompson Street and Poplar Street. Northbound drivers will be detoured over 16th Street and Master Street. Southbound drivers will be detoured over Thompson Street and 17th Street.

Closures for both streets will last through Saturday, August 5th. Local access will be maintained outside the construction zone.

Slowdowns on neighboring streets are expected. SEPTA advises drivers to allow extra time when traveling near the work areas.

 Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.

AG Jeff Sessions Will Speak in Philly Friday Morning

jeff sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a file photo. (Alex Brandon/AP)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will speak about sanctuary cities and violent crime in Philly Friday morning.

Sessions is scheduled to address law enforcement agencies at 11 a.m. at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, near Sixth and Chestnut streets.  Read more »

Bring Back the Fairmount Park Guard

Stereoscopic image of Fairmount Park guards, circa 1880.

When the neighbors in expensive homes near Fairmount Park’s Devil’s Pool recently complained of trash, debris, and decadent behavior from the many visitors to Philadelphia’s rare geologic wonder, my first thought was, “Bring back the Fairmount Park Guard.”

The Park Guard, an elite troupe of policemen whose job it was to patrol the park on horseback, was subsumed into the Philadelphia Police Department in 1972 by then-Mayor Frank Rizzo. Since then the park has never been the same. Read more »

Trump’s ICE Chief Promises to Crack Down on “Sanctuary Cities”

immigrants, ice

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The acting director of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement wants to further crack down on so-called sanctuary cities.

In a recent interview with the Washington ExaminerThomas Homan said the agency plans to use a portion of the 10,000 new hires recommended in an executive order by President Donald Trump earlier this year in a crackdown on what he called “ludicrous” sanctuary cities.

“In the America I grew up in, cities didn’t shield people who violated the law,” Homan told the publication. “What I want to get to is a clear understanding from everybody, from the congressmen to the politicians to law enforcement to those who enter the country illegally, that ICE is open for business.”

In Philadelphia and across the nation, ICE arrests – including arrests of noncriminals – have risen notably under Trump. In its war on “sanctuary cities,” the Trump Administration has repeatedly threatened to strip Department of Justice funding from municipalities in defiance of 8 U.S. Code § 1373, which mandates that all jurisdictions must communicate with federal agencies and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. A federal judge has since blocked that attempt for several reasons.

At this time, it’s unclear how the funding threat or Homan’s crackdown on sanctuary cities would actually affect Philly.

A ICE spokesperson said there is no specific operational plan in place yet for the 10,000 impending hires, which haven’t yet been authorized by Congress. But the agency plans to allocate resources toward jurisdictions that don’t cooperate with detainer requests, the spokesperson said.

An ICE detainer is a written request that a local jail or law enforcement agency detain a person who has been arrested on local criminal charges past that person’s release date. The request gives ICE time to decide whether or not to take the person into federal custody for removal purposes.

Philly only responds to detainer requests if ICE has a judicial warrant, which is issued for people with prior felony convictions, including violence. The city does not honor “administrative warrants,” which officials with the Office of Immigrant Affairs claim are “a more formal way for ICE to say, ‘please hold onto the person because we want you to.'”

Lauren Hitt, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office, said the city has no plans to change its immigration policies. In response to Homan’s pledge to crack down on sanctuary cities, Hitt said the city’s “policies make Philadelphia safer, not less.”

“If victims and witnesses are afraid to report crimes to the police that allows the bad guys to stay on the streets,” she added. “If ICE targets so called sanctuary jurisdictions, they will be endangering all the residents of those cities.”

A recent study from the Pew Research Center claims that Philadelphia is home to about 50,000 undocumented immigrants. Though city officials sometimes reject the title, Philly is often referred to as a sanctuary city, a term that has not been officially defined outside of the DOJ’s interpretation.

Mayor Jim Kenney and other officials have vocally support immigrants’ rights prior to and throughout Trump’s presidency. In April, City Council passed a resolution “recognizing every person’s fundamental right to earn a living, regardless of immigration status, and affirming the City of Philadelphia’s commitment to protect and secure a safe and dignified workplace for all.”

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.

St. Joe’s University Receives $50M Donation From Alum

St. Joe’s University’s coffers just got a whole lot deeper thanks to a wealthy alum who made his fortune in the insurance industry.

James J. Maguire, class of 1958, and his wife Frances generously donated $50 million to the Main Line school – the largest gift in SJU’s 166-year history on Hawk Hill, the university announced in a release on Thursday. The donation will “significantly raise the University’s endowment, supporting scholarships and financial assistance to students and enabling the expansion of signature and mission-centered programs.” Read more »

Bartenders at Pink Show in A.C. Believe Thousands in Tips Went Missing

The crowd at last week’s Pink concert on the beach in Atlantic City. (Photo courtesy atlanticcitydesign.com)

Last week, tens of thousands of Pink fans crammed onto the Atlantic City beach for a concert by the Grammy-winning singer. With tickets priced at $72 for general admission and way higher for VIP access, Pink and the concert producers no doubt walked away with a ton of money. But the bartenders who worked the concert say they didn’t make out quite so well. Read more »

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