Wind Chill Will Be “Dangerous to People and Pets” This Weekend

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From left: The wind chill forecast for Sunday morning, the low temperature forecast for Sunday morning, and storm potential for Monday afternoon (NWS Philadelphia/Mt. Holly)

The National Weather Service is projecting temperatures in the single digits at sunrise on Sunday.

Philadelphia, Burlington and Camden Counties are operating under a Code Blue as of Thursday to keep residents out of the painfully cold temperatures that have already invaded the region and look likely to stay throughout the weekend.

Issuance of a Code Blue aims to protect those at risk, like the homeless, by getting them inside when temperatures drop to unbearable lows. In Philadelphia, a Code Blue takes effect “when the temperature, wind chill and precipitation combined together result in ‘real feel’ temperatures near or below 20 degrees Fahrenheit,” according to Phila.gov. Predictions have this weekend’s temperatures falling far below 20 degrees.

“The first priority will continue to be the use of outreach-designated resources for the homeless, including Somerset and Our Brother’s Place,” according to Philadelphia Code Blue protocol. “If necessary, police stations and/or other public buildings may also be made available for homeless persons during Code Blue conditions.”

To report an instance of a homeless person in need of assistance, you can call Project HOME at 215-232-1984. Read more »

PennDOT Is Eliminating License Plate Registration Stickers

Pennsylvania sample license plate

Say goodbye to license plate registration stickers.

Well, if you’re in Pennsylvania. PennDOT announced earlier this week it was eliminating registration stickers at the end the year, saving about $3.1 million in the process. Drivers will be able to register their cars online and print out their registrations forms.

“Without the registration sticker, the future of Pennsylvania vehicle owners certainly looks brighter with respect to the registration renewal process,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards said in a release. “By further leveraging technology, we can make renewing your vehicle’s registration and having an immediate, permanent registration credential in hand as easy as spending a few minutes online from your home computer.”

The last license plate registration sticker will be issued on December 30th of this year. The day after, drivers will no longer be required to display their registration sticker in the corner of their license plate. Starting on January 1st of next year, drivers who renew their car’s registration will be able to print out a copy — lessening the need for PennDOT to mail drivers registration cards.

Forty percent of Pennsylvania drivers currently renew their registrations online. PennDOT says it will save $2 million in mailing costs by offering the ability to print out registration cards; in the future, the agency says it plans to allow drivers to keep copies of their registration cars on their smart phones to eliminate the need for even printing out a copy. Getting rid of registration stickers will save another million bucks. Read more »

We Call B.S. on the Cell Phone Incident at B2 Cafe

The verdict is in.

The verdict is in.

On Thursday, we told you about The Cell Phone Incident at B2 Cafe in South Philadelphia. In short, B2 Cafe customer Francesca Depasquale took to Facebook to complain that a female B2 employee snatched a cell phone from the hands of her 3-year-old daughter, who was listening to Pink on it without headphones while other customers were in the cafe.

The mom’s post was shared hundreds of times, and an irate vigilante squad went on Yelp and other sites in an effort to tank B2’s ratings. One concerned citizen even showed up at the cafe, grabbed a bottle of spray cleaner, and threatened to bleach the barista’s eyes out. The enraged, bleach-toting woman seemed to say that the barista punched the girl, an accusation that was alluded to in some of the social media posts. But now that we’ve secured video footage of the mom’s entire visit to B2 Cafe, we can safely say that this was blown way out of proportion. Read more »

A Snake Was Discovered at a University City Regional Rail Station

The Snakes on a Plane jokes would be too easy. They’d also be inaccurate, because this slithery serpent wasn’t even spotted on a train, but instead was found inside a trash can at a SEPTA station in University City around 4:30 a.m. Friday morning.

You read that right, SEPTA police were alerted to the reptile’s whereabouts after a passerby uncovered the snake, which was inside a brown bag in a trash can.

Ed Fritz, Director of Operations for the Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia, said animal control could not confirm whether the snake had been alive at the time it was discovered, but did say that the snake was dead when it arrived at a shelter. Regardless, a sizable snake is certainly not what you’d expect to find when you go rifling through garbage. Read more »

Harry Reid: There Could Be a Brokered Convention in Philly This Summer

Candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton at the October 13, 2015, Democratic debate.

Candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton at the October 13, 2015, Democratic debate.

The Democratic National Convention will be in Philly this summer. The city will have some nice new things for the attendees, but so far the announced plans have been limited to fiberglass donkeys.

But! Speaking on CNN yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) gave us a preview of what could be political intrigue this summer: He predicted there could be a brokered convention! Read more »

Morning Headlines: Underground Transformer Fire Knocked Out Power in Center City

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Photo | Philly 311

Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know:

An underground transformer fire plunged parts of Rittenhouse into darkness. What city officials called an underground transformer explosion caused a fire at the evening rush hour in the 2100 block of Walnut Street. According to a story on Philly.com, the fire knocked out power to about 400 customers in the 2000 and 2100 blocks of Walnut Street; 6ABC reports that the outage even affected last night’s performance of Rain at the Merriam Theater. Several buildings surrounding the site of the fire were evacuated for about two hours. As of this morning, PECO’s outage map reports the probable cause as an “underground cable problem”; 91 customers remain without power, which the utility expects to restore by noon. Read more »

Bridge Inspections to Cause Slowdowns on Philly Roads Starting Next Week

I-95 at Columbus Blvd

Bridge inspections will cause lane closures on I-95 in Center City and other area roads from Feb. 19 through Feb. 28. Photo | Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

If you’re driving during the middle of the day in and around Philadelphia between February 16th and February 25th, be prepared to slow down at the following locations, as PennDOT will be closing lanes on several area roads for routine bridge inspections.

Here’s when and where there will be lane closures, day by day: Read more »

25 Signs From the Anti-UberX Protest That Shut Down Center City

Anti UberX Protest - February 11th

Photo | Mike Meech

About 100 cab and Uber Black drivers shut down traffic in Center City today with a protest against Lyft and UberX outside City Hall. The drivers, who last time circled City Hall for a few hours, parked their cars in the surrounding streets this time for about three hours.

The drivers demanded a meeting with Mayor Jim Kenney, and several signs chastised Uber CEO Travis Kalanick for not paying drivers enough. At one point, the drivers chanted, “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Justice!” (They eventually got the “Now!” part right.) Read more »

Detective: Philly Police Retaliated Against Me for Whistleblowing

Philadelphia Police Headquarters, aka "The Roundhouse." | Beyond My Ken | Wikimedia Commons

Philadelphia Police Headquarters, aka “The Roundhouse.” | Beyond My Ken | Wikimedia Commons

The city has settled a lawsuit with a Philadelphia Police detective who claims his superiors retaliated against him for blowing the whistle on civil rights violations within the department.

Detective Matthew Maurizio filed the suit in spring 2014, claiming he had been punished because he told his superiors about the practice of “icing” — holding arrestees in jail without the probable cause or charges required to do so, in violation of their rights.

The practice is used to shake loose information from the arrestees, Maurizio said in his suit. (See the complaint below.)

“Icing is to induce the held person to speak, to make the person provide a statement about matters the police are criminally investigating, to coerce the held person to speak when the person did not wish to speak to police or would not fully speak with police,” Maurizio’s lawyer, Brian Puricelli, wrote in the lawsuit.

The department, in a written statement to Philly Mag, denied the icing allegations. Read more »

A Toddler, a Cell Phone, and One Big South Philly-Style Brouhaha

A scolding server (left arrow) and troublesome toddler (right arrow) clash at South Philadelphia's B2 Cafe.

A scolding server (left arrow) and troublesome toddler (right arrow) clash at South Philadelphia’s B2 Cafe.

UPDATE 2/12/2016 1:50pm: We watched the entire surveillance video of Francesca Depasquale’s 45-minute visit to B2 Cafe, and we call bullshit. For our full report on that video, click here.

ORIGINAL:

In most places in these United States of America, an unpleasant experience in a restaurant is forgotten by the next morning. Maybe it leads to a bad Yelp review. Maybe. But in South Philadelphia, where shoveled-out parking spots are protected by an unspoken promise of bodily harm and where conflicts sometimes take the form of the “I’m funny how … like I’m a clown?” argument in Goodfellas, things are handled much, much differently. And so we bring you the story of what heretofore will be known as The Cell Phone Incident at B2 Cafe. Read more »

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