Friday, July 31, 2015

POSTED: Thursday, April 12, 2012, 8:19 AM

My column today about Kensington film-maker Jamie Moffett mentions the seven-alarm 2007 warehouse fire that devastated his neighborhood. To see video footage of that fire, shot & edited (with Moffett) by neighbors who lost their homes in the conflagration that day, click the image below. And then try not to cry when you realize that all the hope neighbors had for a gorgeous green space to grow from the ashes of that fire has been for nothing. The lot sits trashy and vacant, as neighbors' pleas for help from the city have fallen on deaf ears.

POSTED: Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 5:10 PM

I didn't have space in my column today to include some comments by John Curtis, director of research and public policy for the American Association of University Professors.  I'd called to ask him whether the $274,000 salary of Stephen Curtis (no relation, I presume ...), president of Community College of Philadelphia, was out of whack with what other community-college presidents earn.

I asked because AFT Local 2026, which represents faculty and some blue- and white-collar staffers at CCP, have made the point that Curtis makes more than Mayor Nutter ($170,935) and Gov. Corbett ($174,900) earn.

Researcher John Curtis said that, according to a recent survey conducted by his organization, the compensation of public community-college presidents range from $81,000 to $390,000, not including extra benefits for housing and car expenses.  The size of the salary is influenced by the size of the school, its location and the number of its students and employees.

POSTED: Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 3:01 PM

Call me an art rube, but the breathy fuss over the "fabulous" new Barnes Totem makes me giggle. Really? That bent stick is an inspiration? Help me, people. What am I missing here?

POSTED: Thursday, March 29, 2012, 6:35 AM

My column today mentions Upper Darby teen Nadin Khoury, who was brutally attacked by bullies in January 2011. A video of the assault went viral, and Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson came to Nadin's rescue. Here's how it went down, on "The View." Makes me smile every time I see it.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 3:10 PM

Best of luck on Thurs., Mar 28, to Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks), chairman of the House Human Services Committee, and Rep. Thomas Murt (R-Montgomery/Philadelphia), who will join Self Advocates and Family Alliance (SAFA) and 18 families for a press conference and hearing in Harrisburgh to scream bloody murder about the impact that proposed state budget cuts will have on those with disabilities and on the loved ones who care for them.

Also attending will be Dee Coccia, co-executive director of Vison For Equality Inc., who shared wrenching stories with me last week about how desperate families are for services - especially elderly parents caring for their disabled adult children.  Dee told me about a middle-aged, mentally impaired man who lived with his caregiver mom, who was in her 80s. One day, as he was helping her on the stairs, she fell, suffered for three days from her injuries and then died at the foot of the stairs. The son didn't know what to do. Finally, he knocked on a neighbor's door and said his mother was sick. The neighbor came over and found the body.

The irony? The son had been on a waiting list for services from the state, which would've been a help to both him and his mom. Now that the mom is gone, guess what? There are plans to place the son in an institution - which will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Why in God's name wasn't it possible for the son to receive services in the home prior to his mother's passing, at a fraction of what it will now cost to institutionalize him?

POSTED: Sunday, March 25, 2012, 10:00 AM

Many thanks to Gedaliah Lowenstein, rabbi at the Jewish Center of Northern Liberties, for sharing the lovely essay, below, about how his congregation helped save the lives of three neighbors whose house caught fire on St. Patrick's Day.

(When you're done reading the piece, click here to read a wonderful profile of Lowenstein that appears on - it's about how Lowenstein decided that the perfect place to open the Jewish Center is inside an old beer-bottling plant.)  

Here's the essay:

POSTED: Friday, March 23, 2012, 11:52 AM

If I had any suggestion to give the planners of this important annual men's health fair at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, it would be to hold it on Father's Day.  It could be nicknamed "Test For The Cure," because, the medical screening tests find sneaky illnesses  - like heart disease, prostate cancer and the like - that , if found early, would keep more of our beloved men with us much longer.

Having said that: Fellas, get thee to this important event on Saturday, March 24! It's free and - yes! - even includes massages ...

Here's the press release, from sponsor Einstein Healthcare Network:

POSTED: Friday, March 23, 2012, 11:15 AM
Dee Coccia, co-executive director of Vision For Equality Inc., during an interview last year on WHYY's "Radio Times." (Photo courtesy of Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane/WHYY).

My column on Thursday, 3/22, allowed Dee Coccia to tell stories of how the state's already miserable supports for adults with disabilites is impacting vulnerable lives in Pennsylvania. Below are additional stories Dee has heard, in her capacity as co-executive director of Vision For Equality Inc. Space constraints kept me from including them in my column, so I am running them here because these tales need to be heard.

Some of them are written in the first person, culled from letters Dee has received. Others are in the third person, written by advocates for the disabled folks/families whose stories are chronicled.

How I wish Dee were making them up.

About this blog

When my phone rings here at the Daily News, nine times out of ten the caller begins the conversation with, “Yeah, so what happened was…”.

Because this is Philly, the caller doesn’t say, “My name is Bob” – or Mary – “and I wonder if I could have a moment of your time?” Philadelphians are too direct for that. They just say, “Yeah, so what happened was…”, and then tumble into a tale they think oughta be shared with a wider audience. I love getting these calls (even the ones where it becomes clear, after 30 seconds, where the caller sowed the seeds of his own misery), because they give me chance to connect with fellow citizens in a way that no other job allows. Well, okay, no other job for which I’m remotely qualified.

That’s why my blog is titled “So What Happened Was…”. To me, it’s the quintessentially Philly way of saying, “Once upon a time.” When I hear it, I know a good story is coming. And I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Ronnie Polaneczky has been an award-winning columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News since 1999, offering a front-steps perspective on every aspect of city life, from the sublime to the stupid. In her past life, she was the editor-in-chief of Atlantic City Magazine, associate editor at Philadelphia Magazine and a fulltime freelancer published in Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, MarieClaire and others. She lives with her husband, daughter and various pets in the city's Fairmount section, where she dreams of one day singing The National Anthem at an Eagles game. In addition to her column and blog, you can enjoy Ronnie's musings in podcast form here.

Read more from Ronnie Polaneczky at Earth to Philly, the Daily News blog on anything and everything "Green Reach Ronnie at

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