Pa. to Establish Felony Statute for Animal Cruelty

animal cruelty, tom wolf

Photo Courtesy of Commonwealth Media Services

Pennsylvania is strengthening its laws against animal cruelty.

Gov. Tom Wolf will sign legislation passed unanimously by the state Senate yesterday that will increase penalties for animal cruelty and neglect.

The bill, called Libre’s Law, will establish grades of violations up to a felony for those found guilty of intentionally torturing neglecting an animal to the point of severe injury or death. Pennsylvania is one of only three states that does not have a felony statute for severe animal abuse.

“I applaud the sponsors and advocates who have fought for too long to improve Pennsylvania’s protections for animals,” Wolf said in a statement yesterday. “We are long overdue to join the rest of the country in having higher standards of care for our pets and other animals.”

Libre’s Law is named after a Boston Terrier who was found in critical condition in a Lancaster County dog breeding facility last year. Veterinarians at the Dillsburg Veterinary Center, where Libre recovered, said he was just hours from death when he was rescued.

The bill will establish that a person can be convicted of felony of the third degree if “he for amusement or gain, causes, allows or permits any animal to engage in animal fighting … owns, possesses, keeps, trains, promotes, purchases, steals or acquires in any manner or knowingly sells any animal for fighting.”

It also subjects dog owners to punishment if they leave their dog tethered for longer than 30 minutes in extreme temperatures.

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Here Are Pa.’s First Permitted Medical Marijuana Growers

medical marijuana growers


The Department of Health announced the recipients of the state’s first 12 permits for medical marijuana growers this afternoon.

Two permits were awarded in each of the state’s 12 regions. In the Southeastern region, recipients are Franklin Labs LLC and Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania. Both organizations will operate out of Berks County.

Franklin Labs, which has proposed a facility in Reading, owns one of the largest medical cannabis operations in Colorado and is affiliated with Garden State Dispensary, a major medical marijuana producer in New Jersey.

Among Franklin Labs’ executives is John Hanger, who served as Gov. Tom Wolf‘s former secretary of Policy and Planning, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and commissioner of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. The organization’s chief security officer, Paul Higdon, worked for the Drug Enforcement Agency and INTERPOL, the world’s largest police organization.

Little information was immediately available on the other permit recipient, Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania – except that the organization is looking to operate out of an industrial park in Sinking Spring and reportedly has branches in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

The Pa. Office of Medical Marijuana received 177 applications for growers/processors, which were reviewed by an evaluation team comprised of members from various commonwealth agencies.

The state will have to inspect and deem the various facilities as operational before permittees will be able to grow and process medical marijuana. John Collins, director of the Pa. Office of Medical Marijuana, said the department is on track to fulfill the Wolf Administration’s promise to deliver medical marijuana to patients in 2018.

The state will also issue 27 dispensary permits; those will be announced next week. Additional grower permits will be issued in the future, which will bring the total to 25.

State law allows patients with one or more of 17 qualified medical conditions (including epilepsy, cancer, seizure disorders or multiple sclerosis) to apply for a medical marijuana card.

Here is the full list of permitted medical marijuana growers announced today:

Southeast Region
Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania, LLC
Franklin Labs, LLC

Northeast Region
Pennsylvania Medical Solutions, LLC
Standard Farms, LLC

Southcentral Region
Ilera Healthcare, LLC
AES Compassionate Care, LLC

Northcentral Region
Terrapin Investment Fund 1, LLC
GTI Pennsylvania, LLC

Southwest Region
AGRiMED Industries of PA, LLC
PurePenn, LLC

Northwest Region
Holistic Farms, LLC
Cresco Yeltrah, LLC

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What We Learned From Dario Saric’s Epic Twitter Takeover

Photo by NBAE.

When thinking about personality and the 76ers, the first player to immediately come to mind is center Joel Embiid. With the big man’s exploits already legendary, that’s natural. But Croatian sensation Dario Saric is right there with his fellow finalist for the 2017 Rookie of the Year award, endearing himself to the Philadelphia faithful with his own unique brand of humor and zest for the game. Read more »

WATCH: Eagles Running Back Darren Sproles’s Awesome Pop Warner Highlights

A young Darren Sproles before feasting on an outmatched Pop Warner defense.

If you think Eagles running back Darren Sproles still has all the right moves at the ripe old age of 34, you should see how he embarrassed kids while playing Pop Warner in Olathe, Kansas way back when.

To celebrate the NFL’s active leader in all-purpose yards, the Birds posted a hysterical video on Twitter of young Sproles breaking ankles and making plays out of nothing, per usual: Read more »

Coca-Cola Somehow Manages to Confuse Philly and Pittsburgh

How quickly can you spot the mistake?

Probably faster than the Coca-Cola employee (or intern) who sent this tweet out into the unforgiving world this past weekend.

Coca-Cola tried to use the recent post-heatwave thunderstorms as a Twitter marketing ploy, posting a nifty weather map with a coke bottle launching across, leaving a trail of ice cubes in its path. It was almost clever – except for the fact that it’s a map of Philly, and the company said it was Pittsburgh‘s forecast.

Maybe they just couldn’t find Pittsburgh on a map? Who knows. But Pittsburgh’s bitter.

The company apologized for the confusion in a statement posted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

“We sincerely apologize to our loyal fans in Pittsburgh for using a Philly map in our recent tweet. To our fans in both cities, we promise this error has been corrected.

“This summer we are exploring innovative, adaptive technologies to serve up personalized content to our fans when the weather heats up, and remind them there’s nothing better than sharing an ice-cold Coke. In this case, our map accidentally missed the mark — literally.”

At least it wasn’t as big of a flop as Pepsi’s infamous Kendall Jenner commercial.

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Last Chance to Vote for Philly Mag’s Best Teacher Award

Back in April, Philly Mag asked for nominations in our first-ever Best Teacher Award, dedicated to recognizing the most outstanding K-8 educators in the Philadelphia region. After being inundated with nominations, we narrowed down the field to five finalists.

And now it’s your last chance to help us choose the winner — voting ends on Tuesday night at 11:59 p.m. Read about each finalist, then vote now for the teacher you think is most deserving. The winner will receive a $5,000 gift for their school, along with a book donation, both courtesy of Subaru.

Sorry, New Fans – the Sixers Bandwagon Is Full

Photo courtesy of the 76ers.

I’ve paid my dues as a 76ers fan these past few years, and I know I wasn’t alone. We might not have met personally, but I know you were there in the nosebleeds too. I saw you sitting among the sea of empty red seats, wearing an Andrew Bynum t-shirt both out of spite for that hack and for the humor in how he came to usher in a new era of Sixers basketball without ever stepping on the floor.

I was just a section over in my Jerry Stackhouse jersey, hopelessly cheering on the likes of K.J. McDaniels, JaKarr Sampson and Royal Ivey. (If you haven’t heard of them, it’s because you probably shouldn’t). The atmosphere at Wells Fargo Center during those tanking seasons that followed Bynum’s medical redshirt year was still full of passion, even at times bordering on electric. This is still Philadelphia, after all. Read more »

When and Where (and How) to Avoid I-76 This Week

Here’s the good news: I-76 is getting repaved!

If you use the highway to travel through Montgomery County between I-476 and City Avenue, expect a smoother commute (literally, at least) this fall, thanks to a major improvement project.

And now for the bad news: Until then, construction could make driving through that stretch the Schuylkill Expressway a nightmare. Starting this week, PennDOT will begin the process of milling, overlaying and rehabilitating existing pavement (as well as installing new guide rails and rumble strips and repairing and replacing damaged traffic signs).

That means delays and congestion are even more inevitable than usual. PennDOT is advising commuters to use alternate routes or allow extra time when traveling through work areas.

Preliminary operations kicked off today. Here’s what to expect throughout the rest of the week:

  • From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., intermittent lane closures are scheduled on the eastbound lanes between I-476 and U.S. 1 (City Avenue).
Wednesday and Thursday
  • From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. intermittent lane closures are scheduled on the westbound lanes between U.S. 1 (City Avenue) and I-476.
  • From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. intermittent lane closures are scheduled on the eastbound and westbound lanes at the I-476 Interchange

Starting June 26th, motorists can expect daily overnight lane closures from 9 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays. On Fridays and Saturdays, expect lane closures between 9 p.m. and midmorning the next day.

The construction project is expected to wrap up this October. Until then, you might want to consider some alternate routes – including Conshohocken State Road (Rte. 23), Ridge Avenue or Henry Avenue (which connect to I-476 via Ridge Pike).

Best of luck out there!

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