The people who care for Philly’s gunshot victims

The people who care for Philly’s gunshot victims

On average, Kenneth Dupree of Dupree Funeral Home at 28th and Diamond streets sees one to two victims of gun violence a year. Bruce Talbert says Talbert Funeral Parlor at 22nd near Lehigh has received 10 so far. The services for the victims that both men preside over have all been young people, usually in their early 20s. Talbert says he’s not surprised when gunshot victims come through the door, but it doesn’t get any easier. “It’s not an everyday occurrence, but it’s not something that alarms us when it happens,” the Chester native said. “When I was growing up, you handled things with your hands. [Young people now] handle things with guns, so it’s not something that catches you off guard to get a call from a family that someone has passed from a shooting incident.” With anyone who has passed — but specifically with those of gun violence — the family conferences that follow with funeral directors can be highly emotional....
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Our sidewalks suck. What can the City do about it?

Our sidewalks suck. What can the City do about it?

The 1900 block of Ringgold Street appears as many other blocks in North Philadelphia. A few people stand on the corner or lean against rowhomes and talk. Many of the houses are abandoned. And the street itself is empty, cracked and jagged. In some places, the sidewalk almost seems to disappear before your eyes. Yet here, and in neighborhoods across the city, locals have grown complacent at the poor condition of their streets. Sometimes, the cracks only become noticeable when you stumble and fall, or see a stroller wheel jam up, or watch as wheelchair-bound neighbors try to navigate their way home. A few sections of Ringgold Street are cordoned off with yellow tape, indicating that the City is at least trying to fix the sidewalks. But what can be done for a community with so many more pressing problems, in a part of town that often goes overlooked? In Philadelphia, sidewalks are the responsibility of the property owner, not the City....
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Connecting young minds through code

Connecting young minds through code

Returning Home When Sylvester Mobley returned from Iraq he wanted to find a way to make a community impact in his city. He really didn’t know what that would be, but when he began to really look at the issues of diversity in technology, something became apparent. Most of the tech industry did not look like him or come from the same upbringing as he did. “When I was really looking into why it there was such a lack of diversity in the tech industry, one of the things I kept landing on was education,” Mobley said. Before joining the Army National Guard in 2006, Mobley was in the Air Force Reserves where he became a computer, network, cryptographic switching systems specialist. In this field of work some of Mobley’s responsibilities included setting up, troubleshooting and fixing computer systems. He also setup networks, servers and software among other things. Mobley had the technical training and experience, but he was also college educated. He attended Temple...
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Looking forward to better days

Looking forward to better days

The last image that I saw of my dad, was when he was laying in his casket. He looked so peaceful and it was at that moment that I realized I would never hear from him again. Prior to that I had only seen him twice before, when he was being pushed into an ambulance with a bloody patch covering his forehead and when I had given him my last hug on Father’s Day 1999. It’s a story that I’ve told a few times and each time I tell it, it feels as if the terrible events happened just yesterday. It’s a common scene and an unfortunate story that is told too often while trying to live and thrive in the city of Philadelphia. The amount of gun violence that Philadelphians experience is nothing new, but the question that keeps coming up at each crime scene and each vigil is what will be done to address the ongoing problem? The situation is dire...
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A one-stop resource fair for Latinos at CCP

A one-stop resource fair for Latinos at CCP

Roxanna Encarnación, a Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) came to the U.S. in her early teens and went straight to CCP to obtain her education. An alumni of the 2010 class, Encarnación now works as a loan servicer at Finanta in Philadelphia. “It was really eye opening,” Encarnación said of her time attending classes for the first time at the Philadelphia college. “I had to make a foundation here, learn a new language and learn a new culture. It’s the most affordable school and you take your education anywhere that you want, it’s not like you can get stuck.” Encarnación is part of a larger population of students who once believed the thought of attending college to be out of reach. There are many hurdles and challenges for those who might not have the funds for tuition or have come to the U.S. undocumented. According to the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s Roadmap for Growth report, the city’s population in 2013 was 44 percent African-American; 13 percent Hispanic or...
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Uber PA’s general manager calls PPA ‘a broken system’

Uber PA’s general manager calls PPA ‘a broken system’

Last year, Raymond Reyes, a 25 year veteran in the army, retired. Searching for something new to hold him over he was first introduced to Uber when visiting his brother in New York City when he was traveling from the JFK airport. He recalled his story earlier at a Uber press conference in response to the targeting of ridesharing by the Philadelphia Parking Association (PPA). Mostly brought to light after yesterday’s Philadelphia Daily News article. “I realized that for me, driving for Uber would be the perfect way to get out of the house to see the city and meet new people,” Reyes said. Reyes signed up to join the popular ridesharing service and everything seemed to be going well, he said, until one day in Center City he received a trick request. Two riders, wearing plain clothes, jumped into the back seat making Reyes suspicious. The riders, Reyes said, were seemingly staging a conversation that centered around bashing the PPA and making sure Reyes...
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A Conversation with Black Hood’s Duane Swierczynski

A Conversation with Black Hood’s Duane Swierczynski

Not sure if comic book fans know, but we have our very own superhero set here in Philly! How exciting is that? I’m disappointed in myself for not perusing the shelves of my local comic book stores a little better. And I hope I do not get punished by the staff of Geekadelphia for such a thing. The Black Hood is Philly’s answer to the comic book vigilante problem that we currently do not have. Although we have been visited by some of the more famous of super heroes, Superman did stop here in Philly for a “Cheese Steak sandwich” at one point. The Punisher stopped by once as well, and Thomas Elliot (Hush from Batman) resided in Philly for a time. Duane Swierczynski, the current writer for the Black Hood series, took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to me about what he has planned next for the hero Philadelphians deserve and what got him interested in the comic book...
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Butkovitz unveils plans for potential drone usage

Butkovitz unveils plans for potential drone usage

As part of an ongoing effort to explore how technology can be utilized to improve government function, City Controller Alan Butkovitz announced Wednesday that the city has been using drones to inspect dangerous buildings in neighborhoods across Philadelphia. Butkovitz and his team selected four locations around the city to test the drone's capacity to make visual inspections. The drone was utilized to gain a broader view of collapsing buildings in Hunting Park, West Philadelphia, Point Breeze and South Philadelphia on Manton Street. “Our latest project joins our record of technology initiatives since I first took office 10 years ago, including transparency over campaign finance reporting through our website and developing a mobile application that allows citizens to report fraud directly to our office,” Butkovitz said. “The immediate advantage of utilizing a drone was realized with the ability to cover more ground in less time, making the process more efficient and effective. We found a visual inspection of one block consisting of 56...
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Councilman wants kids on hoverboards to wear helmets, knee pads

Councilman wants kids on hoverboards to wear helmets, knee pads

Councilman William Greenlee wants to do something about the young users of the popular electric scooter balance board, nicknamed the hoverboard. Greenlee introduced the legislation Thursday and is hopeful that it will get passed. If successful, the bill would require parents to pay a $25 fine if their children are not wearing any type of protection when riding on the hoverboard. “It is pretty simple, children 12 and under must wear protective equipment which includes helmet, wrist pads, elbow pads and knee pads,” Greenlee said. “The reason for this, there’s been lots and lots of reports of injuries on hoverboards, adults and children, and we think it’s particularly important to protect younger children and these things are very popular. They were maybe the top Christmas gift this past year and you know there are clearly problems.” The hoverboard has become very popular among millennials, despite being banned in certain places and catching on fire on some occasions. Some hoverboards have even been the...
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Who is Philly’s first digital director?

Who is Philly’s first digital director?

Under Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration, the city of Philadelphia has its first digital director. Stephanie Waters, the former digital director for Kenney’s campaign, officially took the reins of her new title just last week. She’s still getting used to her new position, learning the ins and outs of City Hall — and getting use to working with a PC after using Mac computers for so long. So far, she says, other City Hallers have been very helpful. As digital director, Waters is primarily tasked with assisting Kenney on his social media accounts, but she’ll also be a resource to other departments within City Hall that lack a social media presence. “I saw the opportunity in government to be able to engage with citizens as incredibly important and a really valuable way that we could improve what was currently happening on the existing social accounts,” Waters said. “It wasn’t a role that existed before and I thought that if we showed that we were...
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