Thursday, October 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Thursday, May 15, 2014, 11:15 AM

Thoroughbred horses may not be able to speak, but filmmaker Joe'l Ludovich gives them a voice in her new documentary.

"Scratched: The Epidemic of Drugs in Horseracing," will be screened for the public at 6 p.m. Friday, May 16 at the Collingswood Public Library, 771 Haddon Avenue. The event is free; any donations will benefit South Jersey Thoroughbred Rescue & Adoption.

"I've been volunteering with (the organization) for four years," says Ludovich, 44, of Collingswood. "I see first-hand how the horses come in, with injuries...and they are still so young."

POSTED: Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 4:54 PM
Friends Al (left) and Brian, as crews continued to clear the 'bowl' in Camden where they;ve been living for the past year. Photo by Kevin Riordan

Al and Brian gazed at the ruins of the only home they've known for a year -- the woodsy patch of Camden known as the "bowl."

The two pals, both 50, from the suburbs, and (they insist) no longer using drugs, were among nearly 20  homeless adults whom Camden County authorities chased out of the ragtag encampment Tuesday. They had inhabited a sunken area just east of where the 10th Street bridge carries traffic over Admiral Wilson Boulevard, not far from the Linden Street "back woods" and several other other homeless encampments downtown.

On Wednesday, public works crews continued to cut brush, fell trees and fill dumpsters as Al and Brian  salvaged a few items --  including a boom box on which "Head Like a Hole" by Nine Inch Nails blasted:

POSTED: Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 10:22 AM
Democratic primary candidates for governor Tom Wolf (from right), Allyson Schwartz, Katie McGinty and Rob McCord during a taping of a debate earlier this month. The primary is May 20. (Akira Suwa/File photo) (AKIRA SUWA / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

With less than a week until primary day, first-time candidate Tom Wolf continues to lead the pack of four Democratic contenders hoping to unseat Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, according to the latest Franklin & Marshall poll.

The first-time candidate has a commanding double-digit lead over U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a 24-year political veteran in Washington and Harrisburg, and long presumed to be the frontrunner. The poll shows that 33 percent of likely voters support Wolf, while 14 percent favor Schwartz. Treasurer Rob McCord, who decided to go nuclear in attacks against Wolf, has 9 percent of likely voters, and former environmental secretary Katie McGinty attracted only 3 percent. 

That old favorite, Undecided, leads all candidates with 39 percent.

POSTED: Monday, May 12, 2014, 2:34 PM

Better late and more. 

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett famously turned down the Medicaid expansion, unlike all of our neighboring states, including those also helmed by Republicans. The commonwelath lost an estimated $2.2 billion dollars in aid this year that we already paid  through federal taxes that would have helped half a million Pennsylvanians. Instead, your tax dollars are helping Americans be healthier elsewhere.

The Corbett administration devised its own plan, scheduled to launch next year. However, as The Inquirer’s Don Sapatkin reports, it will require far more people to administer the program, an estimated 723 additional state employees, while other states hired none.

POSTED: Friday, May 9, 2014, 7:27 AM
Holly Austin Smith (photo provided)

Author and activist Holly Austin Smith, who as a child was forced into prostitution in Atlantic City, will speak Friday in Barrington, NJ. The event is sponsored by Dining for Dignity, a Collingswood-based group that fights human trafficking.

Smith, whose new book is  Walking Prey, will speak at 7 p.m. Friday (May 9) at GNFWC, 501 Commerce Drive, Barrington. 

The appearance is particularly timely in light of the kidnapping of nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls, says Kelly Master, founder of Dining for Dignity.

POSTED: Thursday, May 8, 2014, 3:07 PM
Celia Pretter stands on her street in Mt Airy where she did her best to clean up the whole block one day. Unforunately the uhaul she rented tot take the trash away was turned away at the Streets Dept. City's Convenience Center. ( THE TRASH HAS SINCE BEEN TAKEN AWAY BY ANOTHER TRUCK ) Celia Pretter of Mt. Airy wanted to do something nice do her block, so she organized a street cleanup and rented a U-Haul truck to make several trips to one of the Streets Dept. City's Convenience Center. The U-Haul truck was the first mistake. "They left the 'in' off the Convenience," she said. She called her City Councilwoman, the Streets Dept., the Inquirer but she's still out $110, lost two days of trying to be a good citizen, and the trash is back where it started. 05/06/2014 ( Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer )

Celia Pretter’s attempt to help neighbors and clean up her Mt. Airy block failed due to city regulations. In a recent column, I wrote about her renting a U-Haul, taking the trash to the Northwest Sanitation Convenience Center only to be turned away for using a commercial vehicle.

When I asked the Streets Department deputy commissioner what vehicle would have been allowed, he said her personal car, which happens to be a Subaru Outback with limited space. Meanwhile, Pretter told me she saw plenty of trucks drive onto the space with trash. All of them looked like they were being used for commercial purposes.

How readers responded to Pretter's tale of trash and woe! One reader wrote that many commercial trucks have removable magnetic signage, so their owners can drive onto sites designated for personal use.

POSTED: Thursday, May 8, 2014, 11:09 AM
Mother's Day gift basket recipients at Ronald McDonald House in 2012. Photo courtesy of Mothers Matter

As Mother's Day approaches, Susan Rose and her volunteers are delivering exquisitely prepared gift baskets across South Jersey and in Philadelphia.

The Mothers Matter program has distributed a total of 25,000 baskets since 2001, says Rose, an old friend of mine whose daughter Lauren's accidental death inspired the annual Mother's Day effort, as well as the foundation that bears her name.

The baskets contain a colorful variety of donated personal care, cosmetics and gift items. They are filled and wrapped at the foundation's headquarters in Washington Township, and handed out during the week before Mother's Day.

POSTED: Thursday, May 8, 2014, 7:53 AM
Monica Lewinsky, in Philadelphia on April 6, 1998. (AP photo)

Monica Lewinsky's return to the public eye after a decade of near-invisibility brings back memories for my old friend Dan Cirucci, who once shared a table with her in Philadelphia.

It was April 6, 1998, and reports of the former White House intern's intimate relationship with then-President Bill Clinton had the media in a frenzy.  "She was trying to be as natural and normal as possible," says Cirucci, a blogger and public relations professional who lives in Cherry Hill. "I felt sorry for her. I wanted to give her a hug."

Lewinsky, then 24, was in town with her attorney, William Ginsburg. He was speaking to the Philadelphia Bar Association, and Cirucci was its director of communications.  "I was next to her on the escalator, and there were I don't know how many TV crews and still cameras waiting at the bottom," Cirucci recalls. "I said, 'Monica, how do you deal with this?'

About this blog
Blinq is a news commentary blog featuring contributions from Inquirer Metro columnists Kevin Riordan and Daniel Rubin.

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