River Wards news in brief for the week of Sept. 4

Coun­cil­wo­man Joan Kra­jew­ski, formerly of Port Rich­mond, passes away; NoLibs club own­er sues sev­er­al groups and in­di­vidu­als, crime up­dates and more.

Coun­cil­wo­man Joan Kra­jew­ski passes 

Former City Coun­cil­wo­man Joan Kra­jew­ski, ori­gin­ally from Agate Street in Port Rich­mond, passed away at age 79 on Thursday, Au­gust 29, of chron­ic lung dis­ease. Her suc­cessor in Coun­cil, Bobby Hen­on, re­leased this state­ment last week: 

“I was deeply saddened to learn that Phil­adelphia lost Joan Kra­jew­ski. I’ve had the good for­tune of call­ing Joan a friend for more than two dec­ades. I’ll miss our late-night con­ver­sa­tions and her con­stant ad­vice. She taught me to keep a sense of hu­mor about this job.

Her feisty nature and sharp polit­ic­al acu­men made her equal parts le­gendary and ap­proach­able as a polit­ic­al lead­er in the North­east. You’d be hard-pressed to find any­one at the Ara­mingo Diner, May­fair Diner or The Din­ing Car that didn’t re­mem­ber Joan passing through at one time or an­oth­er. 

She was as an un­yield­ing voice for her con­stitu­ents – a pub­lic ser­vice mod­el that many have tried to emu­late. We should all reex­am­ine our ded­ic­a­tion to the pub­lic good in Joan’s memory today.

My thoughts and pray­ers will re­main with the Kra­jew­ski fam­ily – Tommy, Mi­chael and Cass, and every­one who was for­tu­nate to have known her.” ••

Clubown­er sues NLNA, city, blogs and po­lice

Marc Stein, the own­er of Club Aura in North­ern Liber­ties, has filed a law­suit in fed­er­al court claim­ing that his First and Four­teenth Amend­ment rights were de­prived by a con­spir­acy in­volving the North­ern Liber­ties Neigh­bor­hood As­so­ci­ation (NLNA), a Phil­adelphia po­lice cap­tain and ser­geant, two blogs and over 10 in­di­vidu­als named as de­fend­ants.

Club Aura is a nightclub loc­ated at 628 Fair­mount Ave, at the corner of Fair­mount Ave and Front Street. In June 2012, the club’s ap­plic­a­tion for a Spe­cial As­sembly and Amuse­ment Li­cense was denied by the city.

Stein claims in his law­suit that the club has lost much of the busi­ness it was ex­pec­ted to have due to the lack of this li­cense and states that he is be­ing “per­se­cuted” by mem­bers of the com­munity who com­plained about ex­cess­ive noise and il­leg­al activ­ity around the club.

Stein’s law­suit states that the NLNA and its mem­bers in­ten­tion­ally sought to shut Club Aura down by pho­to­graph­ing their cus­tom­ers, dir­ect­ing neg­at­ive com­ments to cus­tom­ers and club staff, at­tack­ing the club on “so­cial net­work­ing and blog­ging” sites, and fil­ing “scores of un­foun­ded com­plaints” with the city and po­lice de­part­ment.

Club Aura “is the only bar, res­taur­ant, or nightclub in North­ern Liber­ties that has been per­se­cuted in this fash­ion, and not co­in­cid­ent­ally, is the only such es­tab­lish­ment that caters to the ‘up­scale urb­an’ demo­graph­ic,” Stein’s law­suit states. 

Sev­er­al de­fend­ants are also ac­cused of “de­fam­a­tion” in the law­suit, in­clud­ing for com­plaints about the club that were made in per­son­al e-mails.

In re­sponse, the de­fend­ants are law­yer­ing up.

Matt Ruben, pres­id­ent of the NLNA, de­clined to com­ment. Larry Freed­man, chair of the NLNA zon­ing com­mit­tee, said they have hired an at­tor­ney but de­clined to com­ment fur­ther.

Joey Mc­Sweeney, founder and ed­it­or of Philebrity.com, said via email that he has hired an at­tor­ney and can­not com­ment on the law­suit.

Chris­toph­er Saw­yer, founder and au­thor of Phil­adeli­quency.com, wrote on the blog on Aug. 28 that he has re­tained rep­res­ent­a­tion of two at­tor­neys to rep­res­ent him­self and Phil­ade­lin­quency. 

Capt. Bri­an Korn, a named de­fend­ant and cap­tain of the Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment’s 6th Dis­trict, was on va­ca­tion last week, ac­cord­ing to of­ficers at the dis­trict of­fice, and could not be reached for com­ment by press-time.

Club Aura is cur­rently still open and op­er­a­tion­al Fri­day and Sat­urday nights. ••

Man in­dicted for May Brides­burg rob­ber­ies

A fed­er­al grand jury in­dicted a Phil­adelphia man on Aug. 22 for the rob­ber­ies of two banks in the North­east and Brides­burg in May.

Harry Mi­chael Schiech, 30, al­legedly tar­geted the Cit­izens Bank at 2702 Kirk­bride St. on May 18, as well as the Bank of Amer­ica at 2439 Welsh Road on May 24, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. At­tor­ney’s Of­fice in Phil­adelphia. The fed­er­al pro­sec­utor did not dis­close Schiech’s home ad­dress. The grand jury charged Schiech with rob­bery and at­temp­ted rob­bery. If con­victed on all counts, he could face up to 40 years in pris­on.

Ac­cord­ing to the char­ging doc­u­ment, Schiech made off with $1,702 from the Kirk­bride Street bank, but fled the Welsh Road bank empty-handed. Schiech used de­mand notes in the heists, but did not dis­play a weapon, ac­cord­ing to the FBI.

In­vest­ig­at­ors did not re­veal how they iden­ti­fied the al­leged rob­ber. With­in days of the crimes, the FBI re­leased sur­veil­lance pho­tos of the then-un­known crook. A tri­al date has not been set. ••

Can­cer be­ne­fit for Port Rich­mond man

Di­vi­sion 87 of the An­cient Or­der of Hi­ber­ni­ans in­vites all fam­ily and friends of Mike “Rags” Rad to an af­ter­noon of mu­sic, food and adult bever­ages to be­ne­fit his battle with ill­ness. The Rally for Rags beef ’n’ beer will be on Sat­urday, Sept. 7, from 3 to 7 p.m., at Di­vi­sion 87, 2171 Wakeling St., just north of Har­bison Av­en­ue.

Many folks may know Rags from the “old neigh­bor­hood” in Port Rich­mond, where he was a part of the Penn Tav­ern and Kelly’s Sun­oco soft­ball teams in the 1970s and ’80s. Rags used to coach the base­ball team at Nativ­ity BVM Church on Al­legheny Av­en­ue and is still a mem­ber of the par­ish. Three months ago, he was dia­gnosed with lung can­cer.

Pro­ceeds from the be­ne­fit will go dir­ectly to Rags and his fam­ily. The AOH is a non­profit or­gan­iz­a­tion, so all con­tri­bu­tions are tax de­duct­ible.

Ad­mis­sion costs $30 and in­cludes a buf­fet, draft beer and mu­sic­al en­ter­tain­ment. There will be raffle draw­ings, in­clud­ing a bas­ket of cheer. Park­ing is avail­able in the rear and on the street.

For ad­vance tick­ets, call Obie at 215-300-6332. If you can’t make the event and wish to donate on­line, vis­it www.go­fundme.com/3z821s.

For more in­form­a­tion, vis­it the “RALLY FOR RAGS” Face­book page. ••

Po­lice seek Fishtown theif

The Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment re­leased se­cur­ity foot­age last week of the theft of a Phil­adelphia Wa­ter De­part­ment vehicle at 1400 Frank­ford Ave.

The in­cid­ent oc­curred around 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 13. The vehicle was dis­covered aban­doned two hours later at Broad and Thompson streets.

The sus­pect is de­scribed as a black male, between 30 and 32 years old, with a goat­ee and close cut hair, wear­ing a dark colored shirt and light colored pants.

To see the sur­veil­lance foot­age, vis­it philly­po­lice.com. ••

NoLibs drug murders sus­pect sen­tenced

Katoya Jones, 27, was sen­tenced to time served and two years pro­ba­tion last week for her role in a double murder at the Piazza at Schmidt’s in 2009, NBC re­por­ted.

Jones was sen­tenced for two counts of third-de­gree murder. She already served three years in pris­on while await­ing sen­tence.

Jones al­legedly gave three men ac­cess to the apart­ment build­ing be­fore the murders took place, be­liev­ing they were there for a drug rob­bery.

In­stead, Ri­an Th­al, 34, and Timothy Gilmore, 40, were both shot to death out­side Th­al’s apart­ment.

Po­lice later dis­covered more than eight pounds of co­caine and $100,000 in cash from Th­al’s apart­ment.

Jones re­portedly test­i­fied against three men, Will “Pooh” Hook, Ed­ward Daniels, and Ant­o­nio Wright, who were all con­victed of first-de­gree murder after a jury tri­al and sen­tenced to life in pris­on.

Caesar Hol­lo­way, who re­portedly helped re­cruit the rob­bers and drove some of them to the scene of the crime, was sen­tenced in Ju­ly to 20 to 40 years in pris­on. ••

Hen­on pro­motes fun, fit­ness

To pro­mote fun, ac­cess­ible fit­ness and well­ness in Phil­adelphia’s 6th City Coun­cil­man­ic Dis­trict, Coun­cil­man Bobby Hen­on is launch­ing Philly Play! The pro­gram will high­light the im­port­ance of phys­ic­al activ­ity and play as pre­vent­at­ive health meas­ures to ele­ment­ary-age chil­dren. It will also look to im­prove ac­cess­ib­il­ity to free and low-cost health and well­ness re­sources for fam­il­ies in the 6th dis­trict.

“The best way for chil­dren to learn the im­port­ance of a phys­ic­ally act­ive and healthy life­style and set the tone for a healthy fu­ture is to do so to­geth­er with their fam­il­ies,” Hen­on said. “There are a vari­ety of city re­sources avail­able for fam­il­ies that Philly Play! brings to­geth­er. And I want every­one to see that phys­ic­al fit­ness is fun, too.”

Coun­cil­man Hen­on will host the in­aug­ur­al Fall Fest on Sept. 28 on the 6700 and 6800 blocks of Tor­res­dale Ave. In ad­di­tion to tra­di­tion­al street fair activ­it­ies, Fall Fest will in­clude free healthy fam­ily checkups, in­form­a­tion on new health in­sur­ance en­roll­ment from re­gion­al health part­ners, a farm­ers’ mar­ket, a Zoom­Dance sta­tion, a gi­ant obstacle course and oth­er fun activ­it­ies for kids and fam­il­ies.

Philly­Play! will co­ordin­ate free city re­sources already avail­able, such as play spaces, rec cen­ters and walk­ing paths, with events such as Fall Fest! and Bik­ing with Bobby. The pro­gram will of­fer user-friendly maps show­ing the closest play areas and bike routes; in­form­a­tion about how dis­trict res­id­ents use cur­rent re­sources; and the Make the North­east Your Play­ground cam­paign to en­cour­age users to share their fa­vor­ite workout and play areas in the 6th dis­trict.

In­form­a­tion about all of these pro­gram fea­tures is avail­able at www.philly­play.org. ••

—Com­piled by Star and North­east Times staff.

You can reach at mjamison@bsmphilly.com.

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