Meet Mike Whiter, Recipient of Philly’s First Marijuana Citation

mike-whiter-marijuana-citation-940x540

As of this morning, Philadelphia is the largest city in the country to decriminalize marijuana. You’ll now receive a $100 fine for smoking in public and a $25 for possession of up to 30 grams — but you will not be arrested. Pot advocate Mike Whiter called dibs on the first marijuana citation weeks ago, and today, he promptly lit up a joint in City Hall’s courtyard at 8 a.m. with police by his side. One quick puff and one handwritten ticket later, Whiter was the happiest man to pay a municipal fine I’ve ever seen.

On the eve of his marijuana citation, I sat down with Whiter to understand the motivation behind the ceremony, what led to him founding Pennsylvania Veterans for Medical Marijuana, and why he thinks marijuana can help millions with PTSD.

Read more »

Officials Prepare for Oil Train Fire

Railroad crews work on one of five derailed tank cars on a bridge over the Schuylkill River, January in Philadelphia. The accident Monday followed a series of derailments involving Bakken Shale crude from North Dakota including one that exploded in Canada, killing 47 people. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Railroad crews work on one of five derailed tank cars on a bridge over the Schuylkill River, January in Philadelphia. The accident followed a series of derailments involving Bakken Shale crude from North Dakota including one that exploded in Canada, killing 47 people. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Philadelphia emergency officials are preparing for a fiery oil train disaster, NBC Philadelphia reports.

An oil train derailment on the Schuylkill River bridge earlier this year spurred local authorities into action, including a recent training exercise that included seven government agencies, CSX railroad, and the South Philly refinery.

Read more »

I Went to a Nazi Concentration Camp on Saturday

majdanek-concentration-camp-near-lublin-poland

Crematorium at Majdanek concentration camp.

I really didn’t want to visit Majdanek, a former Nazi concentration camp in Lublin, Poland. Like most people, I found Schindler’s List pretty difficult to watch; I couldn’t finish my tour of the Holocaust Memorial in Washington D.C. And so, when I wound up in Poland for a very short visit with my band this past weekend, I was thinking more about beer and pierogi — not about confronting the worst evil that mankind has to offer. Read more »

Report: Philly Paid Out $40 Million for Police Misconduct

police-money-940x540

MuckRock, an investigative website that specializes in open-records requests, says Philadelphia has paid more than $40 million to settle nearly 600 police misconduct suits since 2009.

Sound like a lot? The folks at MuckRock think so.

“The numbers dwarf comparable statistics in other major cities for which MuckRock obtained the same data,” MuckRock reported. “For example, the cities of Indianapolis, San Francisco, San Jose, and Austin settled or lost a combined 122 police misconduct cases — compared to 586 cases in Philadelphia.”

Read more »

What Happened to 93,000 Pennsylvania Workers?

Let us first acknowledge the good news: There are more people employed in Pennsylvania than there were a year ago. There are fewer unemployed. The unemployment rate, as a result, is 5.7 percent — a number that sounds almost normal for a normal economy.

If Gov. Corbett wants to take a victory lap, we can’t blame him.

But….

There’s one number in today’s labor statistics that is really bothersome, and it’s this: There are 93,000 fewer Pennsylvanians seeking work now than there were a year ago.

Read more »

This Halloween, Can We All Just Ghost?

shutterstock_goodbye-ghosting-940x540

I committed a grievous etiquette sin last weekend. I pulled a Halloween ghost.

Let me explain, and see if you wouldn’t have been tempted to, too.

We were invited to the wedding of a friend of our daughter Marcy. Marcy was in the wedding party, so I had gone to the wedding shower as well. I’d dutifully bought gifts for both occasions. My husband Doug and I got dressed up on a Saturday and got to the venue on time. We’ve had the happy couple over to our house for a couple of parties. We’re not close, exactly, but we like them and wish them the best.

We enjoyed the ceremony (I cried), and chatted with acquaintances and strangers at the hour-plus cocktail hour. Then we found our seats for dinner, introduced ourselves to our table-mates, and made quite enjoyable conversation with them for a couple of hours while the meal was served. It was lengthy because it was interspersed with speeches and first dances. By the time the floor was opened to general dancing, we’d been there for four-plus hours, and frankly, we were beat.

Read more »

« Older Posts  |  Newer Posts »