Mayor Nutter Likes Car-Free Streets, Too
Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know today:
• Mayor Nutter wants to repeat Popeadelphia’s car-free streets, too — and soon.
One of the clear successes of the papal visit was how Philadelphians — and our visitors — embraced the car-free streets of the “Francis Festival Grounds” as a place to jog, play football, and generally saunter in relaxed, neighborly fashion. An “Open Streets PHL” campaign had gotten under way to persuade the next mayor to create a car-free weekend next year. Mayor Nutter is way ahead of that: PhillyVoice.com reports he wants to repeat the experiment this year, before he leaves office.
“Mayor Nutter is excited about the possibilities for creating an innovative Urban Commons on a section of Center City,” a spokesman told the website. The commons area would be “considerably smaller than the Francis Festival Grounds, for biking, walking, running, skateboarding, rollerblading and a range of programming.” The administration will be contacting “impacted stakeholders” soon to figure out how to pull it off.
• The lead contractor in 2013’s Salvation Army collapse is on trial for murder.
Griffin Campbell faces six counts of third-degree murder for his alleged role in the collapse of the building at 22nd and Market streets, which killed six and injured 13 others. Opening statements were heard Wednesday as his trial got underway.
Prosecutors accused Campbell of taking shortcuts on a demolition project that led to the neighboring building’s unexpected collapse, Reuters reports. “It’s money over lives,” prosecutor Jennifer Selber told jurors. “He was not willful,” defense attorney William Hobson countered. “He did not commit these crimes. He is not a murderer.”
• Guess who else is angry about grand jury leaks? Jerry Sandusky.
Yes, Attorney General Kathleen Kane faces criminal charges for leaking grand jury secrets, but the truth is that grand juries leak all the time and almost nobody — except Kane — gets in trouble for it. Will her case change that? It seems to have inspired Jerry Sandusky, who now wants to know why news of the grand jury investigating him on child molestation charges appeared eight months before his arrest in 2011. AP reports Sandusky’s attorney wants to investigate the matter. A hearing on that question and other “post-trial” issues is scheduled for Oct. 29.
• Hurricane Joaquin could make a big mess in South Jersey this weekend.
The storm has been upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane as it approaches the Bahamas. The Courier-Post reports that New Jersey “may endure major to record coastal flooding if Joaquin, … directly affects the region.” Local governments, including Camden County, are preparing for the blow. That might not happen: Forecasters say the models show a range of possibilities — anything from the storm entirely missing the East Coast to it making landfall in the Carolinas. But yes: It’s probably going to get wet in Philadelphia, too.
• The Philadelphia Free Library wants everybody in town to read Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain.
It’s the library’s selection for 2016’s “One Book, One Philadelphia” program, scheduled to start in February. And if you’re not much interested in the story of a Confederate soldier trying to return home to his family? NewsWorks reports the library is offering a list of additional books with similar themes but alternate viewpoints, like 12 Years a Slave.
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