River Wards news at-a-glance
Updates and brief reports on River Wards news.
Seniors receive free Thanksgiving turkeys
Yesterday morning, Council President Darrell L. Clarke (D-5th dist.) and Walmart teamed up to make sure older Philadelphians in need had essential Thanksgiving food items — turkeys.
Lutheran Settlement House, 1340 Frankford Ave. in Fishtown, was one of three locations at which 500 turkeys were distributed to seniors.
The Fishtown Neighbors Association also announced earlier this month that it was able to sponsor 10 food baskets — complete with turkeys —which were provided by LSH to low-income seniors, homeless women and children, survivors of domestic violence and neighbors in need. ••
Officer who punched woman faces assault charge
Former Philadelphia Police Lt. Jonathan Josey will be charged with simple assault for punching a woman in the face in September.
John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #5, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that the charge is “insane” and only a result of media coverage. The FOP had organized a benefit Oct. 28 in support of Josey.
A video that quickly went viral earlier in the fall showed Josey punch Aida Guzman, 39, of Chester, twice in the head. The incident occurred during a street party at 5th Street and Lehigh Avenue, following the city’s annual Puerto Rican Day parade.
Days later, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsay announced a direct-action dismissal against Josey, 39, a 19-year veteran of the department. Guzman had been charged with disorderly conduct — she admitted that she was spraying silly string at the celebration.
Those charges were later dropped, and Mayor Michael Nutter apologized to Guzman at a news conference following the incident. The District Attorney’s Office declined comment. ••
Wynn proposes casino in Fishtown
Las Vegas hotel magnate Steve Wynn is one of the five contenders hoping to land the city’s second casino license. The deadline for application to the Pennsylvania Gaming Board was 5 p.m. Thursday.
His company, Wynn Resorts Ltd., turned over to the Nutter administration a required report on the local impact of his project, which would be constructed in Fishtown.
The project would be Wynn Philadelphia, a 300-room hotel with a 150,000-square foot casino. The Fishtown land, owned by New Hope builder James Anderson, stretches on North Beach Street from Palmer to Cumberland streets.
Wynn said the proximity to the city’s first casino, SugarHouse, would be a positive thing, because it would give locals a choice in casino.
Now that the applications are in, the gaming board will schedule hearings and begin reviewing hundreds of pages of project information. For a project to be granted a license, it must receive the votes of five of the seven commissioners. It’s possible, then, that no project receives the necessary votes. ••
‘Pharmacy bandit’ suspect held on $1.6 million bail
A 50-year-old man suspected of being the “pharmacy bandit” who robbed 16 pharmacies — including Fishtown’s York Street Pharmacy Oct. 30 — was held on bail Wednesday. The crime spree ran from Dec. 10, 2011 until Nov. 12 of this year.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, William Webb is charged with aggravated assault, robbery, possession of drugs with intent to distribute, violation of the Uniform Firearms Act and related offenses in the robberies. A judge on Wednesday morning set his bail at $100,000 per robbery.
Webb and his alleged accomplice, 19-year-old Edward Schaeffer, were caught a Tacony home Monday after stealing a prescription bottle implanted with a GPS tracking device that led authorities to their location. Schaeffer was expected to be arraigned Wednesday. ••
New rules — and fines — for bikers and drivers approved by Council
On Thursday at a public hearing of the Streets and Service Committee, City Council approved of Bill 120532, which sets new guidelines and fines for both bicyclists and drivers.
The bill, introduced in May, outlines the following:
Drivers would be required to check for cyclists before opening street-side doors and prohibited from stopping or parking a vehicle in a designated bike lane. Fines for blocking a bike lane could be $50 to $75.
Cyclists, on the other hand, will be prohibited from parking in a way that blocks pedestrians, and will see fines up to $75 for non-parking violations (such as riding on sidewalks and running red lights). They’ll also be allowed to ride “two abreast” as long as they don’t “impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic.” Cyclists already are required to adhere to the same guidelines as operators of motor vehicles.
Councilman Mark Squilla (D-1st dist.) said the bill intends to make motorists more aware that bicyclists are sharing the road with them.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia has called the bill “a big win for Philadelphia’s ability to walk and bike safely.” ••