The Onion reports: According to the results of a comprehensive, year-long study published Tuesday, researchers have confirmed that there are some people who live in Pennsylvania. ‘A careful examination of the evidence we collected has led us to conclude that certain people—some male, some female—make their home in the state of Pennsylvania,’ said the report’s lead author, Ryan Armstrong, noting that such individuals may be adults or children, and may reside in northern Pennsylvania, southern Pennsylvania, eastern Pennsylvania, or western Pennsylvania. ‘When directly asked where they live, many people we spoke with told us Pennsylvania. However, there were others who, when asked the same question, named completely different places, such as Ohio, New Hampshire, or Buffalo. This would seem to indicate that while some people do indeed live in Pennsylvania, not everyone lives in Pennsylvania.’”
In what is probably very bad news for Gov. Tom Corbett, a new study suggests that Pennsylvania’s economy is … not good.
Looking for a townhouse in Society Hill to call home? Or maybe a house on the bay in Brigantine is more your cup of tea. Check out those properties and more at these weekend open houses.
926 Merion Square Road, Gladwyne
A three-story French Colonial with large windows and high ceilings.
Open House: 4/21, 2-4 p.m.
5,502 sq. ft.
1411 Parsons Lane, Lower Gwynedd
13 year-old custom colonial located on a cul de sac.
Open House: 4/21 1-3 p.m.
7,365 sq. ft.
4 Golf Course Drive, Brigantine
Bayfront home with panoramic views, golf course access and top-of-the-line amenities.
Open House: 4/21, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
4 Treble Lane, Malvern
Four-acre home with in-ground pool.
Open House: 4/21 2-4 p.m.
4,560 sq. ft.
333 Lawrence Ct, Philadelphia
Nestled in Society Hill with 7 fireplaces and original hardwood floors.
Open House: 4/21 1-3 p.m.
2,624, Sq. ft.
Anyone who watches HGTV knows that the list of demands for any House Hunter will most definitely include granite countertops. Granite counters give a home’s value a bit of a boost in the eyes of most buyers—they stand up to heat and cutting well, and don’t typically chip or crack. But granite isn’t the only option when looking for a high-end impact in your kitchen. Learn how to choose the right countertop material for your needs. Other options to consider include:
Limestone: This granite alternative is a nice option if you aren’t a fan of veining. But while it’s heat-resistant, limestone is also soft, meaning it’s easy to scratch and nick.
Marble: Marble comes with a bit of cache, and while a pretty patterned stone that’s heat-resistant, it comes with a few cons. For starters, it’s not very durable, scratching and staining pretty easily.
Soapstone: Although a softer stone, soapstone can be a bit resilient. If you’re looking for a lighter counter color, this option isn’t for you—it’s always a dark, almost black shade.
Butcher Block: This material is great for food prep, but it shows burns, spills and scratches pretty easily, so it might not be ideal for folks who dislike worn looks in their home.
Stainless Steel: Shiny stainless steel will have you feeling like a Top Chef and is stainproof, spill proof and easy to clean. However, if the fingerprints on your stainless steel appliances drive you crazy, you may want to reconsider this option.
Looking for a Rittenhouse rooftop deck or a renovated historical residence? Mark your calendar with these upcoming Open Houses in the city and suburbs.
(Visit virtual listings on the Prudential Fox & Roach site for more details, photos and virtual tours.
Sensational Rittenhouse home on a charming block.
255 S Van Pelt St., Philadelphia 19103
Open House: 3/17, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Bedrooms : 3
Baths : Full: 3 Half: 1
MLS # : 6175689
Charming stone colonial in desirable Orchard Way.
1410 Orchard Way, Bryn Mawr 19010
Open house: 3/17, 2-4 p.m.
Bedrooms : 4
Baths : Full: 3 Half: 1
MLS # : 6180184
Spacious stone colonial in a quiet neighborhood with pool and perennial garden.
304 Mallwyd Rd.,
Merion Station 19066
Open House: 3/17, 1-3 p.m.
Bedrooms : 6
Baths : Full: 4 Half: 1
MLS # : 6164377
Looking for a condo with great city views or a refinished basement with extra bedroom and full bathroom? Mark your calendar with these upcoming Open Houses.
(Visit virtual listings on the Prudential Fox & Roach site for more details, photos and virtual tours.)
Stunning views of Center City from this 2-bedroom condo at Symphony House.
Open House: 1-2 p.m.
400-440 S Broad St #2001 , Philadelphia, PA 19146
Baths: 2 full
A 6-bedroom home in the community of Whitegate, with a 1,200-square-foot finish basement with an additional bedroom and bathroom.
Open house: 2-4 p.m.
360 Trillium Lane, Wayne 19087
Bath: 5 full, 1 half
French colonial “chateau” style home in excellent condition.
Open House: 11 a.m.-1p.m.
160 Abrahams Lane, Villanova 19085
Bathrooms: 5 full, 1 half
State Representative-Elect Brian Sims, the Commonwealth’s first openly gay member of the legislature, made two key staff appointments. He named Mason Lane as his chief of staff and Anna Aagenes as the district office director.
“Philadelphia is full of really strong, progressive professionals and I knew I had an opportunity to recruit some of the best for these new positions,” says Sims. “Mason and Anna will be fully integrated in every part of the work that I do to represent Center City. I’m pleased to work with them, but I’m also very excited by the talents that each will bring to the District and to Harrisburg.”
In his new role, Lane will develop and implement legislative initiatives, advise on policy matters, and oversee office operations. Currently a third-year law student at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, he’s been serving as Sims’ transition director since the April 24 primary victory over longtime incumbent Representative Babette Josephs. Lane previously served as the Eastern Pennsylvania Field Organizer and Policy Coordinator for Equality Pennsylvania, the state’s LGBT political advocacy organization fro which Sims served as president.
The LGBT community may be making gains on Capitol Hill, but HRC reports that not all of government is in step with the issues. HRC released its Congressional Scorecard for the 112th Congress that tells us what members of Congress really think (and do) about LGBT equality. And it’s not always pretty.
“While we continue to make advancements toward equality in Washington, the 112th Congress has more anti-equality members set on halting our progress,” says HRC President Chad Griffin. “Still, we continued pushing the envelope and made history with the first ever hearing and Senate Judiciary Committee approval of the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation repealing the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. And for the second time, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act.”
As the trial is about to begin this Wednesday in Harrisburg over whether Pennsylvania’s voter ID law is discriminatory, there have been a few recent developments that remind us just how dangerous a decision to keep citizens away from the polls could be come November.
The case has been brought to the courts by the ACLU and other civil rights groups in defense of plaintiffs who say they’ll be denied the right to vote in the next election. All along the GOP in the state have claimed that the new law would protect against voter fraud. But defendants in the case made a major concession this week: They admitted there’s no in-person voter fraud on record in the Commonwealth, nor is there likely to be come the November election.
So what’s the real reason for the law?
Civil rights groups oppose voter IDs, saying that many elderly and low-income voters (including racial and transgender minorities) will have a tough time casting their vote if they head to the polls without the approved identification. As many as 750,000 registered voters in Pennsylvania do not have IDs from the Transportation Department – it’s an especially big problem in cities like Philly. The number of voters without identification is greater than the margin by which Obama could win the state – a figure that is definitely not being ignored by conservatives who have supported the law from the beginning.
The line that’s drawn now is a partisan one – and for good reason.
Beginning July 1, the University of Pennsylvania will provide a tax offset program for same-sex couples who work for the university. The program offers as much as $125 per month for employees who are covering same-sex domestic partners under their current Penn medical plans, with a maximum of $1,500 per year. This offset will appear in employees’ paychecks as additional taxable income — minus applicable state and federal taxes — starting in late July.
Many faculty and staff at the university already enjoy these pre-tax health-insurance premiums for themselves and their dependents. But up until now, employees covering same-sex domestic partners under Penn’s benefit plans have had to pay federal and state taxes on the value of their partner’s coverage. This is largely because federal and Pennsylvania tax codes do not recognize domestic partners as dependents.
“At Penn, this tax inequality is being addressed,” says Jack Heuer, vice president of the Division of Human Resources. ”Penn has a long history of supporting our LGBT community. We were the first Ivy League institution and among the first local employers to include same-sex domestic partners in our benefits coverage, and now we’re among the first universities to provide this tax offset.”