Someone Stole Froggy Carr’s Costumes

With just weeks to go until the Mummers Parade, someone has stolen Froggy Carr’s costumes! (Excellent “Rat steals Frogs costumes” headline, Daily News. The paper also quotes Sixers beat writer Ed Barkowitz, who has marched with the Frogs for 20 years.)

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Stolen Viola Smashed to Pieces in West Philly

While it didn’t reach the level of a stolen $6 million Stradivarius, the viola Nancy Drye had stolen from her house was valuable: $9,000. And it was a prized possession of the Powelton Village resident, who plays in the Penn orchestra.

Well, it was found smashed in a vacant lot earlier this week. Yes, instead of attempting to fence the viola, the thieves just smashed it and left it at 39th and Haverford.

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D.A. Drops Forfeiture Cases That Drew National Attention

Christos Sourovelis and the house he'll get to keep.

Christos Sourovelis and the house his family will get to keep.

The district attorney’s office has ended its attempts to seize the homes of two Philadelphia families who had sued over the city’s aggressive civil forfeiture practices.

The Institute for Justice, which had sued on behalf of Christos Sourovelis and Doila Welch to shut down the program, announced Thursday that the D.A. had dropped its forfeiture cases against the two.

“We are pleased that Christos and Doila’s families will be able to enjoy their homes for the holidays,” said Darpana Sheth, an attorney with the institute, in a press release.

Philadelphia’s civil forfeiture practices came under scrutiny in late 2012, when City Paper’s Isaiah Thompson wrote that the program brought $6 million a year in assets to the city’s law enforcement community. He explained that the law is intended to seize the assets of drug dealers to prevent the property from being used in crime.

The problem? The government doesn’t actually have to prove the property was used in a crime. And in many cases, it was only tangentially related to an alleged crime.
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Report: Leaky Philly Gas Pipes Pose Climate Hazard

A report from StateImpact Pennsylvania says that leaking gas pipes in Philadelphia are a massive problem. Those old pipes leak enough methane to cause changes to the climate.

It’s not just Philadelphia, of course, but Philly is an obvious example of a place where the problem is worst: An old, large city. Philadelphia has some of the leakiest pipes in the nation. It’s a long, interesting piece.

In Philadelphia, the city gates feed natural gas into 6,000 miles of pipe that run beneath city streets. The “mains” are the pipelines that run along streets, while the “service lines” connect to houses and businesses. About 1,500 miles of main – a quarter of the total – are made of cast iron, some of it dating back to the 1890’s. Cast iron is problematic. It’s strong but inflexible. Joints leak. Countless freeze-thaw cycles cause the cast iron to crack. Heavy trucks rumbling on top can make a pipe give way.

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Union: Icahn Backs Out of Deal to Save Trump Taj Mahal

Last night, it seemed the Trump Taj Mahal had been saved with a last-minute deal. Carl Icahn, the lender for most of the Taj’s debt, agreed to a deal with the union to keep the casino running. Trump Entertainment Resorts CEO Robert Griffin signed off on the deal as well.

Well, not anymore. Local 54 Unite HERE said today Carl Icahn has backed out of the deal. The union released a statement:

We thought that we had come to an agreement with all parties that would resolve all of the issues with the Taj Mahal. We signed it, and the Trump CEO signed as well. At noon today, we were told that Carl Icahn had gone back on his commitment and would not enter into the agreement. This is what we have been dealing with for some time now at this property. We are disappointed that Mr. Icahn’s whims are going to add to the feelings of uncertainty and instability that the workers have had to live with and have to endure during this holiday season and beyond.

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The Jimmy Rollins Trade May Need to Be Reworked

We were all sad when reports surfaced last week that the Phillies would be trading Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers. We even mourned him in animated GIF format!

But it’s now been a week. And the trade hasn’t gone through yet. In the deal, the Phillies would send Rollins to the Dodgers for two minor league pitchers, Zach Eflin and Tom Windle.

The holdup is due to a related Dodgers-Padres trade the teams are attempting to finalize. The Dodgers don’t actually have Zach Eflin yet; he’s on the Padres. Those two teams are attempting to complete a deal that would send the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp (as well as catcher Tim Federowicz and a cool $32 million) to the Padres for Elfin, catcher Yasmani Grandal pitching prospect Joe Wieland.

So many names! But why the hold up? Before trades can be consummated, players have to take physicals. Today, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports the Padres are concerned with Kemp’s health: A medical exam found evidence of two severely arthritic hips.

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Philadelphia Citizen Plans Green Bay Packers–Style Stock Offering

In a move Larry Platt says is inspired by the Green Bay Packers, the Philadelphia Citizen will soon be selling shares in itself.

The site, run by former Philadelphia magazine and Daily News editor Larry Platt, quietly began posting articles in September. Now Platt tells Technical.ly Philly the site will begin selling shares. It won’t be traditional stock, as it won’t go up and down and it won’t pay dividends.

“We want the citizens of Philadelphia to own this civic entity,” Platt wrote in an email to Technical.ly. He didn’t say what, exactly, Citizen stock buyers would be getting in return. Green Bay Packers stockholders get a certificate to frame and put on the wall (or leave in a drawer, et cetera).

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Will the Christmas Eve Storm Bring Rain or Snow?

Are we getting a Christmas Eve snowstorm? The short answer is “probably not.”

The long answer (because one sentence isn’t enough for a story, silly): There is an outside chance. The good people at Phillywx posted the latest model, which shows a storm system moving through on Christmas Eve.

But we probably won’t be getting any snow, because temperatures on Christmas Eve could be in the 50s. Classic Christmas weather! Colder temperatures should move in after the precipitation leaves. One Canadian model shows colder air coming in sooner — which could lead to a Christmas Eve snow — but that is an outlier.

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