Morning Headlines: Dranoff Encourages New Schuylkill Corridor Development

Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Carl Dranoff was present at yesterday’s Urban Land Institute meeting, where real estate professionals gathered to address current and future plans for the flourishing Schuylkill River area connecting Center City and University City.

The Dranoff Properties president held up Boston’s MIT as an example of a higher education campus with a significant private sector (thanks to their research facility) and encouraged something akin to this in Philadelphia. From NewsWorks:

“He [Dranoff] pointed out that Philly needs to attract new jobs and research facilities and new start-ups, instead of just shifting around the current players.

“Up to now we’ve attracted too few new jobs. I hope that changes,” he said. “But new exciting plans, more modern facilities — that will attract new companies. And I hope that begets new housing and new retail.”

On that note, it seems the Pennovation Center appears to be on the road to doing just that.

Bigger plans for developing both sides of Schuylkill [NewsWorks]

In the meantime, more news this way…

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Smart, Attractive Couple Walks on (Frozen) Water

Our friend HughE Dillon sends us these pics of Oliver and Jenny from Love Story  a lovely couple walking onto the frozen Schuylkill River this week—right next to parts that, given then apparent presence of standing water instead of ice (though that might just be ice without snow on it) suggests the support might’ve been a little thin. Did they get great pics? Yes. We’re just glad neither one of them drowned.

photos (Large)

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5 Questions: Iris Marie Bloom on Philly’s Dangerous Train Derailment

 

Iris Marie Bloom makes no bones about it: Oil-carrying trains like the one that derailed over the Schuylkill River this week are a threat to the health and safety of nearly every Philadelphian. (If you think she sounds alarmist, consider this: U.S. and Canadian regulators on Thursday warned a “major loss of life” could occur if rail shipments of oil continue from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana.) Her solution? It’s time to conserve and convert — use less energy, and use more renewable energy in place of fossil fuels.

The director of Protecting Our Waters talked with Philly Mag this week about the dangers posed by the trains, and how America’s greener future can possibly make us safer. Some excerpts:

This week a train carrying shale oil derailed over the Schuylkill River. Environmentalists have been sounding the alarm since. Why is shale oil of particular concern in incidents like these?

Well the Bakken shale oil has caused five trains carrying Bakken shale oil to blow up sky high in just the past seven months. So that is an extremely bad track record. And it’s caused 47 people to be vaporized, I mean killed, in Lac-Megantic, Canada. That was kind of the real warning bell. But instead of heeding the warning bell and stopping the trains, they’ve been allowed to continue, and that’s resulted in massive explosions and fires in Alabama, in North Dakota, two more explosions and fires in Canada, and all of those involved derailments.

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WATCH: Jeopardy! Contestants Don’t Know Where the Schuylkill Is

valleyforge.2

Jeopardy! contestants are among the smartest people on television. And, once qualifying for Jeopardy! — something I failed to do — these incredibly smart people study beforehand and brush up on weaknesses.

But, despite recently being named Pennsylvania’s River of the Year for consecutive years, the Schuylkill River remains a mystery to these very smart people. The Jeopardy! Clue Crew did a whole round from Valley Forge on Monday night, and one clue was a triple-stumper.

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Holler! Schuylkill Is PA’s 2014 River of the Year

Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Get ready for some bragging rights, Philly. Last month, I told you about a contest on the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers website, in which our own Schuylkill River was named a contender for 2014 Pennsylvania River of the Year. After five weeks of voting, which saw 5,527 total votes cast, the Schuylkill was declared winner, with 43 percent of the vote. Good job, guys!

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Vote Now: Schuylkill in Running for Pennsylvania River of the Year

Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Photograph by Jeff Fusco

I’m not entirely sure how much of an honor it is for a river to be named “Pennsylvania River of the Year,” but for what its worth: Our westerly waterway is up for the honor, as one of five statewide nominees in the running for the 2014 title. The others are Brodhead Creek and Watershed in the Poconos, West Branch of the Susquenhanna River in north-central PA, the Kiskiminetas-Conemaugh Rivers in southwest PA, and the Ohio River (blasphemy!) in the far western part of the state. The winner is determined by online voting.

The Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, a nonprofit organization HQ’d in Harrisburg, runs the award process in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. They’ve been doling out River of the Year awards since 1983, an honor the Schuylkill has won only one time in 1999 (the nerve!). Last year, our fair Schuylkill lost to Southwestern PA’s Monongahela River by just 146 votes. Seriously, guys, we’re due for a home-turf win.

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Why Tom Corbett and Mike Nutter Held Hands Yesterday

Sch Banks

Click on this State Impact story and you’ll see a photo of Michael Nutter and Tom Corbett, awkwardly trying to cut a ribbon with the same pair of oversized scissors. Why? To celebrate the opening of a new rail yard that will facilitate the import of crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken shale to the massive refinery that sits on the banks of the Schuylkill.

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