Saturday, September 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 12:25 AM

At Tuesday night's Neshaminy School Board meeting, superintendent Robert Copeland delivered a statement about the dispute over whether the student editors of the Playwickian can enforce a ban on the word Redskin in the school newspaper.

In it, he confirmed that Neshaminy High School Rob McGee had confiscated copies of the Playwickian last week after the student editors printed the paper without approval, and said the confiscation was proper given the circumstances. Copeland, who praised the students passion and maturity, also said district administrators expect "respect for school district authority and the rules that govern," and that the students' decision to print the paper is being investigated.

The editors of the paper unanimously agreed to send the school year's final edition to the printer, according to editor-in-chief Gillian McGoldrick, because McGee had told the students the issue would only be approved if they reversed their decision to edit the word Redskin out of an op-ed that had been submitted by another student. The editors responded by removing the op-ed altogether, replacing it with a note explaining the situation, and sending the issue to print, McGoldrick said.

Chris Palmer @ 12:25 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, June 9, 2014, 6:07 PM

Jury selection began Monday for the trial of a man accused of beating to death a Bucks County native last year near the university he attended in West Virginia.

Kevin Figaniak, 21, who grew up in Perkasie and attended Pennridge High School, was a business major at Wheeling Jesuit University. In September, he and a friend were walking near the school when they encountered a group of other men and a fight ensued, police said.

Figaniak, who was a senior at the university, later died at a nearby hospital. Prosecutors charged Craig Peacock, 22, of Clewiston, Fla., and Jarrett Chandler, 24, of Winnfield, La., in the death.

Ben Finley @ 6:07 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, June 3, 2014, 12:39 PM
PHOTO COURTESY OF DENISE KENT Bear spotted in the back yard of a Montgomery County home eating out of a bird feeder.

The black bear that was euthanized in Horsham last week after wandering through Bucks County apparently encountered some unfriendly residents in the suburbs.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission reported Tuesday that a wildlife conservation officer determined during a postmortem examination that the bear had been shot with a shotgun and a BB gun.

"There were hundreds of pellets from shotgun wounds under its skin," officer Chris Heil said in a statement.

Chris Palmer @ 12:39 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, May 30, 2014, 6:56 PM

Even in the 1980s, there was still an Italian-speaking priest at St. Ann parish in Bristol, Father John DiMatteo, who made house calls to the elderly, offering confession in their native language.

And even now, parishioners tell stories of discrimination against their ancestors in the borough at the turn of the century.

Back then, the borough's Catholics only had St. Mark, a church built by Irish and German immigrants, groups well established by the time the Italians started to arrive. And at least one anecdote has the Italians forced to stand outside the church in bad weather during Mass.    

Ben Finley @ 6:56 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, May 29, 2014, 10:00 AM
The bear in a Bensalem yard. It climbed a fence and eluded authorities at first, but then was struck by a vehicle and had to be euthanized. Authorities are now in search of a second bear that's been spotted in Bucks. (Courtesy of Rick Voran Jr.)

State and local officials had a close encounter Wednesday night with Bucks County's second roaming bear of the year - but it's still afoot after a failed capture attempt.

According to Cheryl Trewella, information and education supervisor for the Pennsylvania Game Commission's southeast region, New Britain Township Police spotted the black bear around 8:30 p.m. and called a state wildlife conservation officer to the scene.

The conservation officer, Trewella said, attempted to hit the bear with a tranquilizer dart so that authorities could safely transport it back to the wilderness.

Chris Palmer @ 10:00 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 1:53 PM
The Neshaminy school board has postponed a vote on a proposed policy that would reverse the student newspaper's current ban of the word Redskin, which some of the student editors deemed offensive.

The wait goes on.

The Neshaminy School Board’s policy committee on Tuesday tabled any further action on a proposed policy that would reverse the student newspaper’s ban on the word “Redskin,” according to student editor Gillian McGoldrick.

Students and district administrators agreed to discuss the issue further after tempers flared at a public meeting Tuesday, McGoldrick said.

Chris Palmer @ 1:53 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 11:17 AM
The bear in a Bensalem yard. It climbed a fence and eluded authorities. Courtesy of Rick Voran Jr.

A week after a black bear was spotted - and reportedly euthanized - in Bensalem, police in New Britain Township are saying another black bear may be roaming Bucks County.

According to a post on the department's Facebook page, there were several reported sightings of a black bear Tuesday morning. Police said the latest sighting was around 11 a.m. on Cedar Hill Road.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has been notified, and police are urging residents to steer clear of the bear and call 215-348-3524 if they see it.

Chris Palmer @ 11:17 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, May 15, 2014, 5:40 PM

The Neshaminy School Board has postponed a vote on a proposed policy that would reverse the student newspaper’s current ban of the word “Redskin,” which some of the student editors have deemed offensive.

The vote was scheduled for Wednesday’s board meeting. But the matter will be discussed further at a board policy meeting on May 27 because of lingering questions from board members and the public. The earliest possible vote on the policy would be in June.

Some school board members, such as Steve Pirritano, have said the current ban infringes on the rights of students who are proud of the term, which is the namesake of the district’s sports teams, and might want to use it in an article for the student newspaper, The Playwickian.              

Ben Finley @ 5:40 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog
Chris Palmer covers Bucks County for the Philadelphia Inquirer. His previous work has appeared in the New York Times and on several Times blogs, including City Room, the Local East Village and SchoolBook (which has since been taken over by WNYC). Contact him at, 610 313 8212 or on Twitter, @cs_palmer.

Ben Finley covers Bucks County for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He previously worked for The Associated Press, and the Bucks County Courier Times, where he won more than a dozen journalism awards from organizations including the Education Writers Association, the Society for Features Journalism and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio and graduated with honors from The Ohio State University with a degree in journalism. Contact him at, 610-313-8118 or on Twitter, @Ben_Finley.

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