Thursday, August 24, 2006

Other Thursday news

  • The Inquirer reports the reopening of a Fairmont Park playground featuring novel design -- the piece also talks about planned renovations to the neighboring playhouse -- of the kid's play kind, not the theatrical kind. Now *I* wanna go!

  • A proposed Philadelphia-Reading rail line will not receive federal funding, causing pessimism about the larger Schuylkill Valley Metro project (see here).

  • Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky draws attention to the large number of grandparents raising their grandchildren in the Philadelphia area, in particular, and to the financial, legal, and logistical obstacles that can make their jobs even harder.

  • Philadelphia's city budget apparently posted a substantial surplus this year, with a good chunk of the revenues coming from the hot real estate market (which generates hefty transfer taxes with every sale). Best cranky quote goes to Brett Mandel:
    Had City Council known last spring that so much extra money would be available now, I don't know that it would have made good decisions about spending, but they certainly would have been different.
    Some discussions are underway about setting up a city "rainy day fund" to keep such surplus for unexpected future outlays, and to put it under Council control (rather than the Mayor's back pocket).

  • The Daily News opinion page brings our attention to a below-radar debate in the US Senate over a bill that would slash federal funding for a number of local housing-related programs, suggesting that Pennsylvanians should let their Senators know their thoughts.

  • The new CityPaper raises the spectre of hundreds of death-defying deliverymen descending on Fairmont Park when a courier bike "race" comes to Philadelphia next weekend; it involves a number of job-related events. Sounds fun (to watch.

  • Folks interested in keeping mercury emission regulations strong should see this link about upcoming hearings and the chance to put in your two cents.

  • State Rep. Mark Cohen writes the Daily News to rebut John Baer's (frankly weird) suggestion that slashing welfare would help lower violence rates (see prev. here).

  • I just gotta point to these three reader letters to the DN, all of which seem to express an intense dislike of fellow Philadelphians -- from those who aren't as nice as small-town folk, to the onetime sex-slaves who should get out of town. Boy, it sure makes you proud, don't it?

  • cameraAnd finally, two neat features from one of my favorite Philadelphia photographers: PhillySkyline offers an updated view of the Comcast Center's construction, in both film and diagram (and I gotta say it's the first time I've really understood how that skinny cement core was going to become a substantial building), and photo junkies may now download photo wallpaper featuring Philadelphia sights and patterns. Oh, and check out the site's cool new flash header, in which each building of the famous skyline is a link to photos and more about that location. Great stuff!


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