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After video of man dragged off bus goes viral, SEPTA reverses mask mandate

After video of man dragged off bus goes viral, SEPTA reverses mask mandate

Support WHYY with a donation and share your haiku for a chance to hear Jennifer Lynn read your poetry on the radio.After a video of police dragging an unmasked man off a SEPTA bus went viral, the agency has reversed a requirement that riders wear face masks and only make essential trips on the system.“Today’s incident involving the [Philadelphia Police Department] … may be more than just a  face-covering enforcement, but it has caused SEPTA to reevaluate whether riders should be required to wear a face covering,” SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel said in an email sent Friday to the transit...

April 11, 2020
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Philly bike courier acquitted of manslaughter now faces suit for wrongful death

Philly bike courier acquitted of manslaughter now faces suit for wrongful death

Support WHYY with a donation and share your haiku for a chance to hear Jennifer Lynn read your poetry on the radio.The family of Sean Schellenger, the developer who was fatally stabbed during a racially charged confrontation near Rittenhouse Square in July 2018, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Michael White, the food courier who was acquitted of voluntary manslaughter after telling a jury he used his knife in self-defense.The civil complaint, quietly filed in Delaware County Common Pleas Court in late January, also names Uber Eats as a defendant. White, who is Black, was...

April 17, 2020
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PGW wants a rate hike; average bills would increase by $11 a month

PGW wants a rate hike; average bills would increase by $11 a month

Updated 12:50 p.m. April 18Philadelphia Gas Works wants to increase rates by 11.2%. The utility said the rate hike is needed to help replace old pipes.The original cast-iron mains, some installed almost 100 years ago, are at risk of leaking. A 92-year-old pipe led to an explosion last year.The proposal would raise the average customer’s bill by $11.16 each month. That would generate an additional $70 million a year the utility said is needed to help with pipe replacement.PGW at the end of February, and this week the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission voted to consider the plan.“Natural...

April 18, 2020
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We talked to people in Philly’s coronavirus-filled jails — they’re scared for their lives

We talked to people in Philly’s coronavirus-filled jails — they’re scared for their lives

The last thing Andre Coach saw before he left jail was a riot.It was April 3 at the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center, one of four city jails. Over 120 incarcerated people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in these county detention centers to date — more than in Pennsylvania combined.Coach says life had been untenable for weeks under the Philadelphia Department of Prisons’ pandemic lockdown to quell the spread of the virus. City officials maintain all inmates are taken out of their cells once per day, but Coach and others said they sometimes went two or more days without...

April 19, 2020
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How ‘Filthydelphia’ made Earth Day a thing

How ‘Filthydelphia’ made Earth Day a thing

Exactly 50 years ago today, 20 million Americans gathered in public parks, streets and on college campuses to protest environmental destruction.April 22, 1970 — the first Earth Day — marks the birth of the environmental movement responsible for getting lead out of our homes, raw sewage out of our drinking water and toxins out of our air.The annual celebration and political action it inspired helped Philadelphia become a city where it’s possible to run on the river without choking on smog and drink tap water without fear. But what many people don’t know is that without the work of...

April 22, 2020
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Pedestrian deaths on the rise in Philadelphia

Pedestrian deaths on the rise in Philadelphia

Seventeen people were killed by motor vehicles while walking on Philadelphia streets in the first three months of 2020, an shows.The 17 deaths represent a startling 88% spike over the same period last year when traffic accidents killed eight pedestrians, according to the analysis done by the .The advocacy group — using the Philadelphia Police Department’s Accident Investigation Unit’s — found that the pedestrian deaths amount to more than half of 2020’s traffic fatalities so far.Crash summaries include details that show all the ways in which city traffic can become deadly. Some reports...

April 23, 2020
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Philly students will not be penalized for absences or missed work during virtual school

Philly students will not be penalized for absences or missed work during virtual school

Public school students in Philadelphia will soon begin a more official version of online school — and the details of that experiment are taking shape.Starting May 4, teachers will be expected to hold three hours of “daily instruction,” according to a School District of Philadelphia “continuity of education” plan sent to staffers and shared with WHYY. That daily instruction is supposed to include live video chats between students and teachers as well as “small group instruction.”Students are expected to participate in these daily lessons “to the extent possible,” according to the plan. The...

April 21, 2020
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Philly DA charges parents in shooting death of 4-year-old

Philly DA charges parents in shooting death of 4-year-old

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has filed charges in the shooting death of a 4-year-old girl, which took place late Monday in the child’s home in the far Northeast section of the city.Though police can’t say who was responsible for Kastari Nunez’s shooting, they have filed charges against three of the four adults in the home at the time, including the girl’s parents.Anthony Voci, the district attorney’s homicide unit chief, said Kastari’s parents Alhakim Nunez and Iris Rodriguez have been arrested and arraigned.The couple faces several charges including involuntary manslaughter,...

April 23, 2020
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Researchers at MIT’s Biobot use fecal matter to track coronavirus in Delaware

Researchers at MIT’s Biobot use fecal matter to track coronavirus in Delaware

Researchers at MIT start-up Biobot have a high-minded assignment for the waste that ends up in the sewer system after being flushed down the toilet. “Our mission is to transform wastewater infrastructure into public health observatories,” says the group’s website.Based on copies of the coronavirus found in samples from the sewer system in New Castle County and in Wilmington, Biobot estimates there were 15,200 cases of the virus in the county as of April 15. The total number of cases confirmed by the state Division of Public Health was 974 on April 15.The Division of Public Health did not...

April 24, 2020
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Amid billions owed in student loans, U.S. taps law firms to recoup small debts from long ago - WHYY

Amid billions owed in student loans, U.S. taps law firms to recoup small debts from long ago - WHYY

Support WHYY with a donation and share your haiku for a chance to hear Jennifer Lynn read your poetry on the radio.Adriene McNally received an unwanted gift on her 49th birthday in January: a notice that the federal government had placed a lien on her modest row home in Northeast Philadelphia.“They actually paid someone to come out and serve me papers on a Saturday afternoon,” McNally said. “I came to the door, and he said, ‘Sorry,’ and handed me the papers.”Back in 1984, McNally took out a federal student loan to attend beauty school. But when her mother got sick, providing care proved to...

March 28, 2017
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