City Official Fired for Accepting Gifts

Plus: what's in your drinking water, a cockfighting ring and more of what Philly is chatting about today

Division of Technology Official Fired for Accepting Gifts. Joseph James Sr.—the deputy chief information officer for communication and operations in the city’s Division of Technology—got canned yesterday for accepting meals and gifts from Verizon. He also secretly started a rewards account with the company—a move that landed him and the others involved with nearly $50,000 in free stuff. In doing so, James and the others involved ignored an executive order from former mayor John Street. Can you hear him now? [Inquirer]

Drinking Water Tainted by Urine of Cancer Patients. Philly’s water supply still meets all of the usual health standards, but there are small amounts of iodine-131 in the water caused by the urine of cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment. [Inquirer]

Drexel University Gets the OK to Build on Chestnut’s 3200 Block. Three large buildings will go up at 32nd and Chesnut streets after the City Planning Commission gave Drexel University the green light to erect large-scale residential towers. The buildings will be eight or nine stories each and will tout a bunch of first-floor retail and office space. [Plan Philly]

Artists Build Floating Sculptures for the Schuylkill. The Miss Rockaway Armada—a group of bohemian Huckleberry Finns—are in the process of building a fleet of floats out of recycled and repurposed items. The group got some press in 2006 when they built a similar group of floating islands on the Mississippi and proceeded to live on them for almost two years. This time around, they’re working in cooperation with the Philadelphia Art Alliance and the Pew Center for the Arts & Heritage. The Schuylkill will don the floats for the next two months or so before they’re dismantled and used to create an exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Alliance on Rittenhouse. [Inquirer]

Kids Arrested for Throwing Rocks at Cars on the A.C. Expressway. Over the course of the past few weeks, nearly 20 incidents involving rocks and other debris being tossed into traffic have been reported on the Atlantic City Expressway. One instance saw a rock shatter a Greyhound windshield and injure a little girl. Now, police have nabbed two 12-year-old boys after witnessing them throw a piece of wood off of an overpass. Sounds like some people have already earned themselves some coal for Christmas. Let’s just hope they don’t repurpose it. [CBS 3]

Cops Bust a Cockfighting Ring. After an undercover operation, Philadelphia police had enough for a warrant and raided a home on North Reese Street to find 25 roosters and other birds. They also raided another house—just five doors down—in connection with the ring. [FOX 29]