Morning Headlines: Fattah Has New Legal Team
Good morning, Philadelphia. Some problems on the Paoli-Thorndale line this morning. Here’s what else you need to know today:
Congressman Chaka Fattah’s new lawyers want federal charges against him dismissed.
The congressman’s original lawyers, you’ll remember, asked to exit the case when he stopped paying them. The Associated Press reports Fattah has a new team of attorneys from Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, and that they’ve immediately gotten down to business — expected to ask that the charges of misusing campaign funds and charitable grants be dropped. The new team is expected to appear in court today.
Every Philly public school could have a full-time nurse and counselor next year, if….
Philly Mag’s Mariam Dembele reports: Superintendent William Hite made a surprise announcement Thursday that every school in Philadelphia will have a full-time nurse and counselor next year — if, that is, the state’s GOP-controlled General Assembly passes Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget. That’s a very big if. Pennsylvania still lacks a complete budget for this year. Fernando Gallard, a spokesman for the school district, said it will need to hire 61 nurses and 42.5 school counselors (.5 because some are part-time) in order to make up for the current holes. He said this will cost a total of $12.9 million — $5 million for counselors and $7.9 million for nurses.
Police say a woman was abducted from a SEPTA bus early this morning.
CBS3 reports the incident happened around 2 a.m. at Roosevelt Boulevard near Adams Avenue. A silver or gray Pontiac cut off the bus; a man got out and attacked a woman exiting the bus, punching her in the face and apparently forcing her into his vehicle. Investigators say the vehicle had temporary Delaware tag. The investigation continues.
Councilman Alan Domb wants to double some of the city’s real estate tax abatements to 20 years.
But only for properties valued at $250,000 or less, he tells the Inquirer, so as to kickstart development in neighborhoods that don’t often use the incentive. “We want to give them a better benefit than everyone else is getting and help their neighborhoods even more,” said Domb, a real estate developer. He has also introduced a bill requiring abated properties to connect to Philadelphia Gas Works. Says Domb: “If we as a city are giving an abatement, we’d like you to use our utility company.”
Next season, the Palestra will host the Ivy League’s first-ever postseason basketball tournament.
The Ivy League is the last Division One league in America not to hold a tournament, the New York Times reports. The new event will be held on a Saturday and a Sunday in March of next year. “The structure of our basketball tournaments is consistent with our model of college athletics, and the format allows us to preserve the significance of the regular season,” said the Ivy League’s executive director, Robin Harris. Each league team will reduce its regular-season schedule by one game.
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