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.