Story Archive January 30 2013

Northeast’s Williams proving to be quite the find

— Ever since being inserted into the starting lineup, DeAndre Williams has Northeast flying high.

Millennium Club

Being a student-athlete at MaST Community Charter School is all Maria Farrell has ever known. Now, with graduation looming in a few months, she’ll be forced to move on to the next stage of her life and subsist on the memories she’s made.

End of an era

— After 33 years, Dave Greenman has retired from the iconic Greenman’s Deli in Mayfair.

Nativity B.V.M. rally of support this weekend

Continuing with their widespread acts of support of the proposed income-qualified senior housing at the vacant Nativity B.V.M. School, Port Richmond neighbors have scheduled a support rally on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 3 p.m., at the school, Belgrade and E. Madison streets, on Campbell Square.

Gun Rush

— For the first time since the massacre in Connecticut, the National Guard Armory hosts a gun show, and it attracts the masses.

Murder charges added in Tacony dungeon case

Federal prosecutors have charged the purported “mom” of the Tacony “House of Horrors” with two counts of murder and numerous hate crimes as part of a 150-page grand jury indictment released last Wednesday.

Jury mulls fate of pair in priest sex case

— The jury asked the judge to see transcripts of trial and grand jury testimonies, but she denied the requests.

River Ward events for the week of Jan. 30

Notice of public meeting in 191252666 Amber St. and 2063-69 E. Letterly St. in the 19125 zip code, a.k.a. “Letterly Green,” which are city-owned properties, are being considered for sale. The office of Councilman Mark Squilla (D-1st dist.) has asked for community input – a public meeting will be held on Thursday, Feb. 7 at Coral Street Arts House, 2446 Coral St., to discuss if the community supports this sale. Email with questions. ••

NE man on trial on murder charge in dog droppings case

Tyrirk Harris, 28, is accused of murdering a neighbor in a dispute over dog droppings. Police allege Harris shot Franklin Santana after Santana complained that Harris had allowed his dog to mess on Santana's lawn.

Letters to the editor Jan. 30, 2013

Just go after the tax dodgers, Mr. MayorMayor Nutter continues to cry that he does not have money for the schools and that our city is broken. He continues to gouge the homeowners for taxes for three years. It’s the same old story: Tax the homeowner.Mr. Nutter should stop the tax abatements and go after the tax dodgers who owe the city millions. Last year, I read our state made a billion dollars from the casinos. Go after that money, Mr. Mayor. Quit gouging the homeowners.I could suggest where it’s possible to get a few bucks. City Council does not need three months vacation. Cut it down to a month. Case closed.Jerry FogliaRhawnhurstEducation for the millionairesDuring the past 15 years, Harrisburg has decided to change the patterns of education in the state by allowing charter schools, creating corporate education tax credits, etc., which takes money away from the traditional public schools.If someone is looking to get an advanced degree in education, I thought that this might be a good topic for them: “Have the state’s education policies made more proficient students or more millionaires?”Mayer KrainModena ParkA firefighter’s dream blown up in smokeIt is a very sad day for more than 100 senior firefighters and especially for my wonderful husband, Mike. Monday was the last night he would spend at his station, Ladder 22, Engine 55, at Front and Luzerne.In 1976 at the young age of 22, he joined the Philadelphia Fire Department. After fire school he was sent to this station as a rookie. He gave his heart and soul and learned everything there was to learn about firefighting. He loved this station so much, he never took an officer’s test  because he didn’t want to leave this firehouse of brotherhood.As the years went by, he took every rookie who came through those doors under his wing and showed them the honor of firefighting. Thirty-seven years fighting fires, knowing every street in the neighborhood, where every fire hydrant was located, and knowing the best routes to get to a fire faster. These were the things my husband gave up his life for, to protect and help the people of the neighborhood.Now the city of Philadelphia, Commissioner Ayers, Mayor Nutter and his cronies decide to have a mass transfer of senior firefighters!! Why? No one knows. Just something to get back at our firefighters because they want a contract that they haven’t received in the past four years. This is the only city that has ever done this act of transferring. They are destroying the act of brotherhood our firefighters have. More than 100 senior firefighters have been transferred.Thank you, commissioner and mayor, for breaking my husband’s dream and the dreams of many other senior firefighters who thought they would retire from the station they loved!Donna GallagherPine ValleyCrying foul over letter from basketball coachIn a letter to the editor in the Jan. 9 edition, I was disappointed the Northeast Times chose to run the headline of a letter from a parent across the entire page and in large print, thereby appearing to give legitimacy to the content of the letter. So in the spirit of equal time I am requesting this correspondence be given just as prominent a headline across the top of the page. The header should proclaim Little Flower coach runs a great program.The tone of the Jan. 9 letter (Little Flower coach should get with program) seems to be that of a parent with an ax to grind. The writer attacks Mr. Buchter by stating, “[he] is almost blaming the girls for his dismal 5-16 record and lack of coaching skills.”The critic also portrays a notion Mr. Buchter was making comments for the entire sports program as the athletic director. The fact of the matter is he was being interviewed about the upcoming basketball season, as the coach of the basketball team, NOT as athletic director, NOT about softball and NOT about swimming. The statements he made were not reflective of any other program at Little Flower, they were about basketball.I truly believe when any student athlete who has ever experienced the special feeling that exists at Little Flower reflects back on their high school years, they will come to realize that Adam Buchter was a man of extraordinary character whose only concern was they had a place to play ball and obtain a great education. Some of those athletes may not have played at another school.Mr. Buchter has devoted way too many hours for thousands of kids at Little Flower to be depicted in such a negative light. I for one believe he does things the right way and runs a great basketball program.John BatesBustletonIntrigued by the case of the torn papersOne of the highlights of my week is reading the letters to the editor section of the Northeast Times. As a resident of the Great Northeast I see a lot of my own thoughts echoed in those rants and raves: The recycle police only ticket taxpayers? Yeah, probably. Residents get too many delivery menus in their doors? Totally. Some people don’t mow their lawns and it looks ugly? Absolutely. But let’s face it, most of these issues are just first-world complaints that pepper an otherwise mundane and cushy existence. So when I read John Murphy’s letter last week about the bags of shredded copies of Northeast Times, I couldn’t help but laugh.As a resident of Bustleton, this complaint hit close to home. I have cleaned up this particular mess on numerous occasions and believe me, it is a job in itself. I often wondered how it keeps happening. I just imagine some lazy guy shredding paper for whatever reason and spilling a lot of it on his commute to wherever he is going. The result: a tedious cleanup, especially if it’s wet out.However, the notion of a guy intentionally shredding copies of the Times and maliciously leaving them to blow away in the wind is way more interesting than my boring theory.It’s the kind of situation that makes you want to organize a Town Watch and scan the crime scenes for evidence. I imagine neighbors speculating about a blue-collar villain whose sole existence is making life slightly more inconvenient for the working class of the 19115 ZIP code.I’m intrigued by the concept of a guy so scorned by the Times that he is compelled to destroy hundreds of copies and discard them throughout Bustleton in some psychologically twisted way of “giving back to the community.” By comparison, this Bustleton Bag Shredder would make the Mayfair Tire Slasher look like a hack.So, this is either a case of boring neglect and cleanup or this could be the beginning of an epic story of a neighborhood vs. vandalism, or at the very least some interesting fodder for the letters section of the Times. I only hope that the conspiracy theory is true. It’ll be worth the cleanup.Michael KennyAmericans are armed to the teethThe traditional reasons that Americans own firearms are sport, hunting, target shooting and self-defense, either carried on our persons or in the home. Collectors also are a large segment of the gun-owning public.I learned to shoot from my father, and hunted for about 30 years, off and on. In recent new stories, gun shops are shown well-stocked with tactical rifles like the Bushmaster and boxy automatics like the Glock. No sign of bolt-action hunting rifles or old-style six shooters.Autoloaders are not allowed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. I suppose the NRA could argue that one needs a Bushmaster AR15 with a 30-round clip in case one stumbles upon a whole herd of deer and wants to fill up their walk-in freezer.I find the current perceived need to be armed to the teeth somewhat disturbing. Only the military and police SWAT teams need these tactical weapons. As the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. has shown, having these things around is often a bad idea. I still can’t get my head around the fact that 20 first-graders were murdered by a kid who got one of these things from his mom’s stash. Go figure.Chris MarkFrankfordNutter “talks the talk” on gunsMayor Nutter said the NRA’s message “was an insult to the lives of those children” killed in Newtown, Conn. Michael sure can talk the talk. Does he have the courage to walk the walk that our defenseless school children walk every day? Does he have the courage to get rid of the armed security detail assigned to protect him? NO. He is not at all concerned with the “ prospects of shootouts” in City Hall, nor is he concerned about using “precious and declining resources” when it comes to his personal safety.Buddy SchmidtBustletonMan has become his own worst enemyAfter reading last week’s letter Gun rights are God’s will, I did a bit of research into the Holy Scriptures. I found the following weapons: Swords, daggers, slings for hurling stones, bows for propelling arrows and the jawbone of a donkey. Where in the Holy Scriptures does it mention assault rifles, etc?What man has done over the ages is create more ways of killing his fellow man. What next — downsizing nukes so each and every person has his own personal nuclear device?D.J. CampbellSomertonHillary needs to visit the no-spin zoneOn the Benghazi hearing, with Mrs. Clinton testifying: Yes, it does matter, Mrs. Clinton, and it does make a difference.  It’s called accountability and taking responsibility for your actions. Stop covering up and making excuses. Who are you protecting? Just try telling the truth for once and stop spinning your answers. I’m getting dizzy already.Remember, there are families that lost their sons (and what have you) that deserve answers, as you pointed out. These people deserve the truth, not some runaround and a pool of crocodile tears.By the way, whatever happened to that infamous video that the president on down was blaming for why four of our men lost their lives? This went on for over two weeks, so I figured I would ask, since no one in that bogus hearing bothered to. I personally believe if they want to get to the bottom of this whole thing and get to the “why,” they need to start asking the right questions and stop the sugar coating. The American people deserve answers, as do the loved ones of those four men.Diane McDowellParkwoodIt’s not too late to winterize your carThe last thing any driver needs is a vehicle that breaks down in cold, harsh winter weather. It’s not too late to have your vehicle checked, saving you from the cost and hassle of unexpected emergency repairs when severe weather strikes. • Battery: Keep the battery connections clean, tight and corrosion-free. Batteries don’t always give warning signs before they fail completely, so it’s wise to replace batteries that are more than 3 years old.• Antifreeze: Antifreeze (coolant) should be flushed and refilled at least every two years in most vehicles. As a reminder, do not add 100 percent antifreeze, as full-strength antifreeze actually has a lower freeze point than when it’s mixed with water.• Brakes: Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item and is key while driving on icy or snow-covered roads.• Tires: Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly as tires will lose pressure when temperatures drop.• Oil: Be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to low-viscosity oil in winter, as it will flow more easily between moving parts when cold.• Wiper blades: Cold weather can affect the life of windshield wipers. Wiper blades that are cracked or torn, or that chatter, streak and don’t properly clean your windshield, should be changed. Check the windshield washer reservoir in case it needs fluid.Be sure to keep your vehicle’s gas tank at least half-full, as that decreases the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing. If you’re due for a tuneup, consider having it done, as winter weather magnifies existing problems such as pings, hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling.To help you drive smart and save money, visit and check out the free digital Car Care Guide.Rich WhiteExecutive director, Car Care Council, Bethesda, Md.