Earthquake Shakes Chester County

earthquake

A 2.7-magnitude earthquake hit Chester County on Saturday, and a few people even noticed.

“A number of people in Downingtown,  Exton, West Chester and surrounding towns posted on social media that they felt the quake in their homes,” NBC10 reports. “But for most residents, the event was completely unnoticed.”

It really happened though, and was confirmed by the United States Geological Survey.

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In Pa. House, a Fresh Push for Liquor Privatization

liquorshelves-940x540

A fresh push to privatize the state’s liquor store system is brewing in the Pennsylvania House, NewsWorks reports.

Republican House Majority Leader Dave Reed told NewsWorks that his chamber may revive a privatization bill that passed the House and failed the Senate two years ago.  The Senate’s Republican majority has gotten larger and more conservative since then.

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Snowpocalypse? Not Now.

So much for Snowmageddon. In Philadelphia, at least, the latest “storm of the century” is turning out to be a big dud.

One revised forecast this morning put expected accumulation at 1 to 3 inches of snow in Philadelphia. As late as 10 p.m. Monday, Mayor Nutter said forecasters were still expecting 6 to 10 inches for the city. It appears they were wrong.
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Here’s the Latest on What You’re Going to Wake Up To Tomorrow

Photo by Shutterstock

Photo by Shutterstock

Update 10:15 p.m.: Mayor Nutter just held the day’s final press conference, saying that all city government offices will be closed Tuesday; Philadelphia’s public and parochial schools will also be shut down for the day.

“There will be no activity on the city side, as well as the school side, for tomorrow,” Nutter said.

The call was made on the National Weather Service’s most recent forecast — “as of about 10 minutes ago,” Nutter said — that the city would receive 6 to 10 inches of snow starting during the overnight hours from Monday into Tuesday.

“We are still anticipating very heavy (snowfall) activity from midnight to 7 a.m.,” Nutter said.

He asked Philadelphia residents to look out for and assist senior citizens and homeless residents. He also urged drivers to stay off the road Tuesday morning, giving snow plows a chance to do their work before traffic resumes. “If you don’t need to be out in the morning, do your best to stay in,” Nutter said.

As previously announced, trash and recycling pickup for Tuesday has been canceled.

[Original] All of the meteorologists that we’ve talked to agree: This particular winter storm has been a very hard one to predict. But here’s what we do know as of 9:30 p.m. Monday.

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Will District Slap Anti-Testing Teachers?

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

Teachers at a Philadelphia school say they face discipline from the school district for helping parents opt their children out of standardized tests.

Kelley Collings, a teacher at Feltonville School of Arts & Sciences, said Monday she is one of a half-dozen teachers called to an “investigatory conference” on the matter, scheduled for Thursday. Collings is also on the steering committee of the Caucus of Working Educators, which helped organize the effort to help students and their families opt out of the tests.

The nature of the accusation against the teachers is unclear, Collings said, but she said the district is attempting to “instill fear” in educators who resist the testing regime. “I’ve never been written up, and I’ve been doing this 15 years,” she said.

Officials at the Philadelphia School District did not respond to inquiries on the topic.

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What’s Ed Rendell Up To?

Just a few minutes ago, Ed Rendell tweeted — or, more precisely, re-tweeted — this:

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 1.17.47 PM

That links to our piece last week about how Rendell leads incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey in a hypothetical 2016 election matchup for Toomey’s seat.

So. What’s Rendell up to? Sending a signal? Or having a little fun at Toomey’s expense? The kids call it “trolling,” Ed. And you’re still the Pennsylvania politician who does it best.

Study: In Pennsylvania, Very Rich Getting Richer, Everybody Else Getting Poorer

Updated with comment from the governor’s office.

In Pennsylvania, it really is true that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

Actually, strike that: The very rich are getting richer — and everybody else is is getting poorer.

A new study shows that the average income of the state’s families grew between 2009 and 2013, but only because the top 1 percent earned so much more than the other 99 percent of Pennsylvania residents: Everybody else — the bottom 99 percent of Pennsylvania families — saw their collective income decline by 1.1 percent.

The widening income gap was found across the country, but was particularly pronounced in Pennsylvania.

“The pattern is the same across all the states, which is the income is increasingly flowing up,” said Mark Price, an analyst with Pennsylvania’s Keystone Research Center. “It’s worse some places than others.”

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Did Comcast Ghostwrite Politicians’ Letters of Support?

A report at The Verge’s website today suggests Comcast has been ghostwriting letters of support that politicians have filed to back the company’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable.

On August 21st, 2014, Mayor Jere Wood of Roswell, Georgia, sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission expressing emphatic support for Comcast’s controversial effort to merge with Time Warner Cable. Not only did the mayor’s letter express personal excitement for the gargantuan deal — which critics say will create a monopoly that will harm millions of consumers — but it also claimed that the entire town of Roswell adored Comcast. “When Comcast makes a promise to act, it is comforting to know that they will always follow through,” Wood’s letter explained. “This is the type of attitude that makes Roswell proud to be involved with such a company,” the letter asserts, “our residents are happy with the services it has provided and continues to provide each day.”

Yet Wood’s letter made one key omission: Neither Wood nor anyone representing Roswell’s residents wrote his letter to the FCC. Instead, a vice president of external affairs at Comcast authored the missive word for word in Mayor Wood’s voice. According to email correspondence obtained through a public records request, the Republican mayor’s office apparently added one sign-off sentence and his signature to the corporate PR document, then sent it to federal regulators on the official letterhead of Roswell, Georgia.

The report goes on to cite a number of instances where officials — including then-Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett — submitted letters of support for the merger, letters that barely differed in wording from information provided by Comcast.
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