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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: February, 2012

POSTED: Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 1:03 PM

Bucks County’s oldest bridge, linking Newtown Borough and Township, is facing reconstruction, and local groups are worried the project will scar the 216-year-old stone span.

The Newtown Historic Association, the Newtown Creek Coalition, and First National Bank will discuss PennDOT’s plans to rebuild the two-lane Centre Avenue bridge at 7 p.m., Wednesday, at the bank’s offices at 9 W. Centre Ave. The meeting is open to the public.

The project, scheduled to go out for bid this spring, will include dismantling the stone walls, which date to 1796, and erecting concrete walls that will use some of the original stones. The work on the bridge -- the fourth oldest in the state – will not affect its place on the National Register of Historic Places, PennDOT officials have said.

Bill Reed @ 1:03 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 1:27 PM
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Rebecca Kiefer outside county courtroom after being sentenced to house arrest. (Bill Reed/Staff)

Rebecca Kiefer, the fourth Bucks County official charged in the political corruption case that has rocked the Register of Wills office, was sentenced Tuesday to six- to 12 months of house arrest.

The sentence was less severe than the three- to six-month prison term that Candace Quinn received, although the two women pleaded guilty to the same offenses of forcing employees to work Election Day polls for Republican candidates, paying them with unauthorized comp time, and trying to cover up the practice.  

“I’m glad this is over and I can move on with my life,” Kiefer, 65, of Warrington, said after hugging and kissing supporters following the verdict. “This had encompassed every minute of the day. I feel fortunate to move on.”

Bill Reed @ 1:27 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 9:47 AM

Rebecca Kiefer, the fourth Bucks County official charged in the political corruption case that rocked the Register of Wills office last year, was expected to be sentenced Tuesday to three to six months in county prison.

Kiefer, the second deputy to longtime Register of Wills Barbara Reilly, admitted last year that she had forced office employees to work the polls on Election Day for Republican candidates, paid them with unauthorized comp time, tried to cover it up, and stole cash from copying.

Third Assistant Candace Quinn received the same sentence for carrying out the system of political conscription that Reilly instituted during her 35-year reign. Quinn also was ordered to serve a year's probation, complete 500 hours of community service, and repay the county $6,533 for the illegal comp time.

Bill Reed @ 9:47 AM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Monday, February 27, 2012, 11:21 AM
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"The Annunciation" (circa. 1670), an oil on canvas by Pietro Liberi. (Uffizi Gallery)

Tickets will go on sale Thursday for Offering of the Angels, an exhibit from the renowned Uffizi Gallery of Florence, Italy, that is expected to draw 250,000 visitors to the James A. Michener Museum in Doylestown.

The exhibit of 45 paintings and tapestries by Renaissance and Baroque masters such as Sandro Botticelli, Il Parmigianino, and Lorenzo Monaco will run April 21 through Aug. 10. The works, spanning nearly 400 years, are being shown outside Europe for the first time, with the Michener Museum the only stop in the Northeast on the four-city U.S. tour.

The paintings include Madonna and Child (circa 1466-67), which reveals the spirit and lyricism that Botticelli is known for. One of the earliest works is Monaco’s The Crucifixion with the Virgin, Saint John and Mary Magdalene (circa 1395-1400), with its pious figures and gilt background that are a hallmark of the Late Gothic style.  Luca Giordano (1634-1705), a leading figure of the Late Baroque period, is represented by Climb to Calvary (1685-1686), depicting an emotional encounter on Christ’s ascent to his crucifixion. 

Bill Reed @ 11:21 AM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Friday, February 24, 2012, 4:12 PM
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Senior-class president Emily Gilmour. (Bill Reed/Staff)

At Conwell-Egan High School, about 220 students, hushed in the gym Friday for the archdiocese’s announcement of their fate, leapt to their feet, cheering and hugging, at the news that the school will stay open.

The streaming video of the news conference quickly switched to the soundtrack of "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. Then the students streamed out of the gym to ring the bell in the friary.

By the time alumnus Lt. Gov. James Cawley announced, "Conwell Egan, we won," at the Center City news conference, his old gym was nearly empty.

Bill Reed @ 4:12 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Thursday, February 23, 2012, 5:17 PM

A knife-wielding Langhorne man who lured police to his home with a burglary call was fatally shot early Thursday, Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler said.

Michael Devine, 64, a retired custodian for the Neshaminy School District and the father of Bristol Borough Councilman Tony Devine, was shot once in the chest shortly after calling 911 at 3:36 a.m., Heckler said.

Devine died soon afterwards at St. Mary Medical Center, Heckler said.

Bill Reed @ 5:17 PM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Tuesday, February 21, 2012, 11:26 AM
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Maggie Whelan with her prize-winning cabbage.

Talk about growing money.

Maggie Whelan, now a 4th-grader at Pine Run Elementary School in New Britain, turned a tiny cabbage seedling into a $1,000 scholarship.

Maggie was one of about 85 third-graders in her school and more than 1.5 million in 48 states who participated in the National Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program. The program, which Bonnie Plants started in 2002 to teach children the basics of gardening, awards a $1,000 savings bond to one student in each participating state.

Bill Reed @ 11:26 AM  Permalink | 0
POSTED: Tuesday, February 21, 2012, 6:38 PM
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Mateen Johnson

Mateen Johnson couldn’t lose at Parx Casino’s blackjack tables, winning $2,500 Friday night.

But the 34-year-old Altoona man’s luck ran out Saturday morning, when a Bensalem Township police officer “came across him” and arrested him on outstanding drug charges.

Now, Johnson and his winnings are being held in Blair County Prison.

Bill Reed @ 6:38 PM  Permalink | 0
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 cpalmer@phillynews.com, 610 313 8212 or on Twitter, @cs_palmer.

Ben Finley covers Bucks County for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He previously worked for The Associated Press, FactCheck.org 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 bfinley@phillynews.com, 610-313-8118 or on Twitter, @Ben_Finley.

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