Which Philly-Area Municipalities Are Growing The Fastest?

Municipalities in Chester and Montgomery counties saw the biggest growth last year, while just four places in Camden County – including Camden City – added any residents at all.

That’s according to new Census Bureau data, released Thursday, that shows population gains and losses in communities across the country for the one-year period ending in July 2014.

Population figures for counties – including Philadelphia, which saw its population grow 0.27 percent to 1,560,297 residents during that time – were released earlier this spring.

The new data set lets every town, from the smallest boroughs to the largest cities, see how many residents it gained or lost.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150522_Which_Philly-area_municipalities_are_growing_the_fastest_.html#CHc0iHBrbYeXs16r.99

Kenney Stayed Confident As Williams Floundered And Flailed In Philadelphia Mayoral Race

Jim Kenney started 2015 eager to run for mayor but uneasy about leaving the at-large City Council seat he held for six terms.

Then the city’s political landscape shifted swiftly and sharply in his favor.

Kenney, who handily won the Democratic primary election Tuesday night, became a candidate at the end of January, due largely to factors over which he had no control.

First, City Council President Darrell Clarke – the first choice for most of the city’s labor unions – ruled out a run on Jan. 12. That labor support soon migrated to Kenney’s campaign.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/mayor/20150519_Kenney_stayed_confident_as_Williams_floundered_and_flailed.html#v1dgYBCSl5w4bb2K.99

Amtrak Train Sped Up Before Frankford Curve

In the seconds before Amtrak train No. 188 derailed at Frankford Junction, the train’s speed surged from 70 m.p.h. to 102 m.p.h. – more than twice the speed limit on the dangerous curve, the National Transportation Safety Board announced Thursday.

Just before the crash, with the train traveling at 106 m.p.h., the train’s engineer, Brandon Bostian, hit his emergency brakes, NTSB officials said. But it was too late.

Two days after the deadliest train crash on the Northeast Corridor in three decades, the revelations on the train’s acceleration – while providing the most detailed account yet of the moments before the derailment – raised new questions about the 32-year-old engineer’s actions.

Officials involved in the investigation told The Inquirer that Philadelphia police earlier Thursday had obtained a search warrant for Bostian’s cellphone records. Those records would help investigators determine whether he could have been distracted – whether the phone had registered any activity in the moments before the crash.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150515_Sources__Investigators_get_warrant_for_Amtrak_engineer_s_cellphone_records.html#yp1F7IXGDQrK35MJ.99

SEPTA, Amtrak Trains Hit By Projectiles Minutes Before Fatal Crash

Just before Tuesday’s deadly Amtrak derailment, both a SEPTA commuter train and another Amtrak train in the same corridor were hit by projectiles, one which crashed through the engineer’s window.

An Amtrak spokesman could not be reached regarding Amtrak Acela Train 2173, which passengers said was struck at about 9:05 p.m. A SEPTA train was struck by a projectile at about 9:10 p.m., according to a SEPTA spokeswoman, who said there is no indication the incident is connected to the derailment, which happened at about 9:30 p.m.

Mayor Nutter, at a news conference Wednesday afternoon, reiterated that the incident with the SEPTA train had “nothing to do” with the derailment.

Amtrak’s Acela 2173 was traveling southbound when it was hit on the left side between 9:05 and 9:10 p.m., about five minutes before it entered 30th Street Station, according to 29-year-old passenger Madison Calvert.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150514_SEPTA_train_hit_by_projectile_before_Amtrak_crash.html#kXmYL8tAOGVUFPJS.99

Amtrak Derailment Death Toll Rises In Phildelphia

The death toll in the derailment of an Amtrak train in Port Richmond rose to seven Wednesday and could go higher as a team of federal rail experts begins an investigation to determine what caused the engine and all seven passenger cars to jump the tracks at a curve.

People close to the investigation in the meantime tell the Inquirer the train apparently was traveling well above the speed limit when it entered the sharp curve at Frankford Junction Tuesday night.

Officials said Wednesday more than 200 people were injured in the crash and taken to city hospitals and at least eight of them remained in critical condition.

The seventh fatality was found in the wreckage late Wednesday morning. No other details were immediately available.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20150514_Investigators_headed_to_Port_Richmond_to_probe_deadly_derailment.html#XFCsue8rITcXdqvA.99

Philadelphia Moving Forward On Reading Viaduct Rail Park

The city is moving to purchase a portion of the Reading Viaduct in anticipation of the development of an elevated park there.

Councilman Mark Squilla introduced a bill last week that would authorize the purchase of the portion of the viaduct curving from 13th Street southeast to Callowhill between 11th and 12th. The 0.8-acre property is currently owned by SEPTA. It rises from ground-level up to the elevated portion of the viaduct to the east, a former rail line that’s been out of use for 30 years.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/City_moving_forward_on_Reading_Viaduct_Rail_Park.html#sXIKjDdC2uEUsBCG.99

Apartment Tower With 164 Units Approved Near Drexel University

A new apartment tower is scheduled to rise at 32nd and Race streets near the campus of Drexel University after receiving approval from the Zoning Board of Adjustment on Wednesday.

The project includes 164 apartment units in a 192-foot tower, along with 12 three-story townhomes serving as a buffer between the tower and the lower-density Powelton Village neighborhood. It will have underground parking space to serve the apartment tower and a small surface lot serving the townhomes. The apartment tower will also include a child-care center that will be open to the public, serving around 150 children and employing 20 adults (presumably).

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/classifieds/real_estate/Apartment_tower_with_164_units_approved_near_Drexel_University.html#hRXQ8FGr0ziz38a3.99

Three Pop-Up Beer Gardens This Year From PHS

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Pop-Up Garden has been annual warm-weather hit – what with the transformation of a vacant lot into an urban oasis, complete with beer and great food.

Why not do three of them this year?

PHS plans to set up in new spots in East Passyunk and Logan Square and to return to 1438 South St., starting the first week of June. The closing date for each beer garden is October 1.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/the-insider/Three-pop-up-beer-gardens-from-PHS.html#eLQfqpkxFaEqp1Mz.99

Money-Saving Consultants Have Cost SEPTA $2.8 Million, Invoices Show

Looking for ways to save money, SEPTA has paid about $2.8 million to a Boston-based consulting firm, including payments of more than $500 an hour to some specialists.

In the process, FTI Consulting Inc. has used 24 of its staffers, some of whom have collected more from SEPTA than the transit agency’s highest-paid official, general manager Joseph Casey, who makes $273,000 a year.

The meter is still running, with additional payments expected to continue through the end of the year.

SEPTA hired FTI in February 2013 through a no-bid contract to help the transit agency reduce legal costs arising from injury claims.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20150423_Money-saving_consultants_have_cost_SEPTA__2_8_million__invoices_show.html#pWCMMI87sB0IAZoX.99

Phila. Roofs Are Sprouting Greenery

When Esta Schwartz moved into her sixth-floor condominium at the Philadelphian, the view was not its best selling point.

The condos in the front of the building look out onto the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the Art Museum, but her balcony, at the back, offered views of a black roof studded with large air-conditioning units.

Not anymore. Last week, workers began spreading dirt atop the roof, then planting it with sedum and other greenery that will be pink in June, ocher come November. Tall grasses will hide the air handlers.

“In some ways, it’s like a view out of a suburban window,” she said. Perhaps a third of the building’s condos now overlook, in effect, a huge lawn.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/science/20150422_Phila__roofs_are_sprouting_greenery.html#HmDdVpIU2KkOq5jx.99

Bolaris: Possible Frost By Week’s End

Thunderstorms swept into the area Monday night, bringing with them gusty winds, small hail and always dangerous cloud-to-ground lightening. All showers and leftover storms will slip off the coast Tuesday, allowing for a return to sunshine and pleasantly mild temperatures.

The return of the Big Chill

On Wednesday, a modified polar front will lead to afternoon showers and scattered storms. Temperatures will still be in the 60s, however unseasonably cold air will greet you Thursday as temperatures by day hover in the middle 50s.

Some parts of the Philadelphia region could be hit with frost either Friday or Saturday morning as the thermometer falls back into the winter-like 30s. How widespread will the frost be? It will depend on the amount of cloud cover and a light or near calm wind. Clear and calm conditions are the best case scenario for widespread frost.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Bolaris_Severe_threat_then_possible_frost.html#ukgWoqRM6Cd28mRL.99

(Greater) Center City Philadelphia’s Population Now Second Only To Midtown Manhattan’s

An expanded Center City Philadelphia has grown so much that it now ranks second only to Midtown Manhattan when it comes to people who live in the heart of the city.

That’s according to the Center City District, which released its annual report Monday – and which is defining the area as extending from Girard Avenue to Tasker Street.

Over the past 15 years, population grew 16 percent in the district that is also bounded by the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers, bringing the population to 183,240, according to latest State of Center City report.

Brisk redevelopment also continued last year in that area, the CCD reported, with 1,983 new residential units completed by developers in that area.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150421__Greater__Center_City_s_population_now_second_only_to_Midtown_Manhattan_s.html#8uGCG8AyUkPxSytk.99

Source: Eagles To Sign Tim Tebow

Chip Kelly isn’t through with adding quarterbacks this offseason.

The Eagles are expected to sign Tim Tebow on Monday for the start of spring workouts, a NFL source said.

Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer was first with the report.

While Tebow has had looks at other positions during his brief NFL career, he will be brought in as a quarterback. The Eagles already have four quarterbacks on the roster with Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley and G.J. Kinne. Bradford, who is rehabbing a torn ACL in his knee, isn’t likely to be ready for practices on Monday.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/eagles/Report_Eagles_reach_agreement_with_Tim_Tebow.html#XFfbfpcZUqyT1pS0.99

New ‘Flagship’ Wawa In Center City To Have Seating

Wawa will open its first store with interior seating in Center City Philadelphia this year, the company announced Thursday as it celebrated its 51st anniversary by giving away free coffee.

Work on the store at South Broad and Walnut Streets should begin in May and be finished in time for a Thanksgiving opening, said Lori Bruce, a Wawa spokeswoman.

Wawas in Florida and several other locations have outside seating, but not indoors.

Bruce said besides the seating the “new flagship store … will feature many new design concepts.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150417_Wawa_celebrates_anniversary_with_free_coffee.html#L3Rq2Z2yXVzmS5Lj.99

PREIT Reveals The Gallery’s New Look

Everything about the decrepit Gallery at Market East may be about to change.

Under an intended top-to-bottom renovation, one of Center City’s most notorious dead spots would be reborn as a gleaming glass-and-steel emporium – brimming with brand-name discount fashion shops, destination restaurants, and lively sidewalk cafés.

Even the name would be new. Welcome, shoppers, to the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia.

Details of the plan were provided exclusively to The Inquirer in advance of a series of meetings by government agencies whose support is vital to the project. The news marks a grand unveiling of plans for the Gallery following years of uncertainty and speculation.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150415_PREIT_reveals_the_Gallery_s_new_look.html#ZjuIZxyXWmB7TTV1.99

Bolaris: Where The Heck Is Spring?

This is the time of the year when your throw your arms up and yell, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!!!” (That’s the famous quote from the 1976 movie Network about a former anchor’s ravings over the media’s quest for profits.) Hmm, I think director Sidney Lumet was on to something.

Back to weather. Yes, we do have a chance of some wet snow this evening, but this will be solely confined across the distant northern and western suburbs. The Lehigh Valley and the Poconos could pick up an inch or two in the highest elevations.

Most of the region, including the city, will see a cold rain arriving during the afternoon and continuing through the evening rush. I’m also including a few scattered thunderstorms across extreme South Jersey and Delaware.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/Bolaris_Where_the_heck_is_Spring.html#3ptEI0p3wEt6rQig.99

Aldi To Reopen 30 Of 66 Shut Bottom Dollar Stores

Discount grocer Aldi said Friday that it will reopen 30 of the 66 former Bottom Dollar stores it took over in Pennsylvania, South Jersey, and northeast Ohio after the previous owner, the Delhaize Group, shut Bottom Dollar last year.

Five ex-Bottom Dollar stores in Philadelphia and 14 in the suburbs will reopen. Four Philadelphia stores will stay shut, along with 13 in the suburbs.

Aldi, an Illinois-based U.S. arm of Germany’s Albrecht family grocery conglomerate, said in 2013 it planned a $3 billion expansion, and Friday’s announcement is part of that effort.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150328_Aldi_to_reopen_30_of_66_shut_Bottom_Dollar_stores.html#PzL7PW1CHTgYrswX.99

Additional article about Lehigh Valley locations:

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2015/03/aldi_to_convert_2_of_8_bottom.html

Creepy ‘Spies’ Killing Live Music At Local Venues?

THREE-FIFTHS OF Chris Aschman’s jazz quintet managed to fit onto the tiny stage upstairs at Jose Pistola’s, where the crimson glow makes musicians look like they’re playing in Amsterdam’s red-light district.

Aschman, a 29-year-old trumpet player, stayed on the floor, next to the saxophonist.

Then, the bassist reached overhead and turned off the TV and the audience of 20-somethings switched their attention from NCAA basketball to a funky, odd-time-signature groove driven by a young drummer in a Phillies cap who stomps on the kick drum like he’s got something to prove.

The song, called “UCB,” short for “Undercover Brother,” is an Aschman original, as were nine of the 11 songs his group played at the Center City bar earlier this month.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150329_The_day_the_music_____spied.html#ys60mkcLZjZ5hOTi.99

Four Plans For Philly’s Iconic LOVE Park Presented

LOVE Park is getting a new fountain, lots of lawn space, gardens, and a food-truck area. The question is, What goes where?

The design team working on the $15 million renovation of JFK Plaza presented four designs to the community at a meeting Tuesday at the Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

The four plans, presented by Mary Margaret Jones, president of the project’s lead architectural firm, Hargreaves Associates, include all the same elements but vary in layout.

The two greener proposals feature square-shaped lawns and sitting areas within the rectangle-shaped park. A third and fourth proposal involve slightly smaller lawns but more walking space and a pathway cutting through the park that would align with the LOVE statue and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Jones said the plans combined feedback from more than 1,000 people who attended meetings, e-mailed, or tweeted.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150325_Four_plans_for_LOVE_Park_presented.html#z5JxfZG7uwgvRAMl.99