HomeNewsNeighborhood news in brief for the week of Dec. 18

Neighborhood news in brief for the week of Dec. 18

Triple shooting in Kensington leaves one dead

One man was killed and two others are in critical condition after a triple shooting on the 3300 block of Jasper Street on Sunday, Dec. 15.

According to 6ABC, authorities arrived at the scene just before 4 p.m. to find a 19-year-old victim shot once in the back of the head. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Two others were brought to Temple University Hospital and are listed in critical condition.

Chief Inspector Scott Small said that there were several others who were inside the house at the time of the shooting. They have been taken to homicide to be interviewed by detectives.

Small said a small amount of narcotics and narcotic paraphernalia was found at the scene, which leads authorities to believe that drugs were involved.

Police said the motive and details surrounding the shooting are unclear. No arrests have been made. The incident is currently under investigation.

Sinkhole opens up on Northern Liberties street

A sinkhole swallowed up a pickup truck on the 900 block of N. Randolph St. earlier this month.

Resident Benjamin Rodriguez told KYW Newsradio he received a call on the morning of Dec. 5 saying that the street was sinking around his Dodge Ram pickup truck.

A tow truck was needed to retrieve the vehicle from the hole.

According to 6ABC, after some neighbors’ water stopped working, residents said they contacted the Philadelphia Water Department, who said residents are responsible for paying for repairs to lateral lines, which run from the water main to the house.

This is not the first time this has happened in the area, neighbors told ABC. They said there was a similar occurrence on the same block in May.

The Water Department was on the scene on Dec. 5 to assess problems.

Police looking for robbery suspects

Investigators are reaching out to the public, hoping someone can identify two armed suspects who robbed Ariel Grocery, 2090 Pacific St. on the afternoon of Dec. 9, according to 6ABC.

The two hooded men approached the counter as if making a purchased and pointed a handgun at the employee. The suspect was given cash from the register and also demanded the employee’s gold engagement and wedding rings.

The suspects fled the scene when a customer entered the store, heading south on Amber Street towards Castor Avenue.

The first suspect is described as a black male, 20–25 years-of-age, 5’7”, dark complexion, thin build, wearing a black scarf covering his nose and mouth, black Nike hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, tattoo of “AP” on his right hand and armed with a handgun.

The second suspect is described as a black male, 20–25 years-of-age, 5’7”, dark complexion, thin build, wearing a red or orange hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and black gloves.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Philadelphia Police at 215–686-TIPS (8477), text a tip to PPD TIP (773847) or by visiting www.phillypolice.com.

Standard Tap to donate to Philabundance

Standard Tap, 901 N. 2nd St., has taken to opentable.com to allow reservations for lunch and dinner in its second-floor dining room and porch, according to philly.com.

Both bars and the first floor will remain first come, first served.

For every online reservation received now through Christmas Day, Standard Tap will donate $2 to Philabundance. Type the word “Philabundance” in the “Special Requests” field.

The local landmark, which helped launch the city’s gastropub movement when it opened 14 years ago, allowed reservations in the past, but only for parties of 20 or more, co-owner William Reed told philly.com.

Fire in Fishtown displaces two from home

A fire was reported at 1657 E. Berks St., an occupied corner property, last Thursday afternoon, Dec. 12.

The fire department was dispatched at 1:20 p.m., and arrived at the scene to heavy flames coming from the house. By 1:47 p.m., the fire was reported under control.

One adult male and one adult female were displaced from the home, according to executive chief Richard Davison. The Red Cross has been notified by the fire department.

No injuries or medical transports were reported from the fire, Davison said. The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the Fire Marshal.

Cut your 2014 taxes with LOOP program

Longtime residents who this year saw their homes’ assessments more than triple are being invited to participate in a program that could cut their 2014 taxes by hundreds of dollars.

Last week, the city began mailing information about the Longtime Owner Occupants Program, or LOOP, to about 80,000 homeowners, said Mark McDonald, Mayor Michael Nutter’s spokesman.

If they’re eligible, those homeowners could see tax savings from a few dollars to thousands of dollars, McDonald said. Those tax decreases should average out at about $700, he added.

However, not all 80,000 will be eligible, he said.

Those who haven’t lived in their homes for 10 or more years (since July 1, 2003) won’t qualify, and neither will those whose household incomes are higher than the fairly liberal levels the city has set.

For example, a single-person household can have an income of $83,200, and a four-person household can have an income of $118,800.

There are a few other qualifiers:

— Your home is either a single-family property or one that has no more than three residential units and one commercial unit.

— Your property has not received a tax abatement.

— Your real estate taxes are paid in full, you are current with a payment plan or have an application for a payment plan pending.

The deadline to apply is Jan. 15, said City Councilman Mark Squilla (D-1st dist.), but he added council wants to extend that to Feb. 15.

Most Northeast residents aren’t going to see this city mailing. Few saw the market values of their homes go up more than three times their 2013 assessments. The program, McDonald said, will have most of its impact in Kensington, Fishtown, South Philly, University City, Fairmount and Brewerytown.

Those are the neighborhoods that got hit hardest by the citywide property reassessment completed this year.

Squilla, whose district runs from South Philly to Port Richmond, includes many of the properties whose assessments more than tripled this year.

“I believe this is a necessary safeguard,” he said of LOOP. The program will mitigate the effects of the high assessments, he said. Also, seniors whose incomes made them ineligible for other tax-relief programs will be able to take advantage of LOOP.

For more information, call 215–686–9200 or visit www.phila.gov/loop.

Local priest deemed ‘unsuitable for ministry’

The city’s Roman Catholic archdiocese on Sunday announced it had resolved the sexual misconduct investigations of seven priests that have been on administrative leave since a Philadelphia grand jury report on sexual abuse by clergy was released in February 2011.

Among the five priests found “unsuitable for ministry” was the Rev. Stephen Perzan, 75, who served twice at Visitation B.V.M. in Kensington. Perzan, who served in many city and suburban parishes since his ordination in 1973, was found to have violated the Church’s Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries. However, an allegation he sexually abused a minor was not substantiated by archdiocesan investigators.

While on administrative leave, Perzan is not permitted to administer the sacraments, have an active ministry or even wear clerical clothes.

No details of the misconduct allegations made against Perzan were released Sunday. Archbishop Charles Chaput will make a final determination on Perzan’s case.

The other priests all had served in and around Philadelphia since their ordinations.

Taylor Hosts Annual Toy Drive

Rep. John Taylor (R-177th dist.) is sponsoring his annual toy drive for needy children in his district.

“Christmas is the season for sharing and giving,” Taylor said. “Each year, people throughout my district come together for this worthy toy drive.”

Toys and gifts are needed for children from birth to 10 years old. Each donation, no matter how small, helps another family experience the meaning of Christmas.

Items need be new and unwrapped. Gifts can be dropped off at Taylor’s offices at 2901 E. Thompson St. and Richmond Street. The toys collected will be distributed to families in time for Christmas.

“Please help us help the families in need throughout my district experience a more joyful Christmas,” Taylor said.

This is the 20th annual Christmas toy drive that Taylor has sponsored for his district. ••

PGW work update

Below is the construction update for the week ending Dec. 22, 2013, for PGW’s Service Improvement Program: Frankford Avenue.

A main crew will be in action on Allegheny Avenue between Collins and Amber Street. A restoration crew will be in action running north on Frankford Avenue between Elkhart and Clearfield streets.

As a reminder the work hours assigned to PGW for this project are between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

If you have questions about the project; call our project hotline at: 215–684–6767 and leave a message.

You can also visit www.pgworks.com/worksites to see where PGW is working around Philadelphia. ••

Local crime study released

The Philadelphia Police Department has commissioned a Temple University study of crime in and around the Kensington and Allegheny mass transit hub.

Chief Inspector Dennis Wilson of the Philadelphia PD’s Regional Operations Command North, said K&A is only part of the study’s focus. Transportation hubs at the Frankford terminal and Broad and Olney are others. Temple University professor Jerry Ratcliffe is working with police commanders in those areas to analyze crime statistics. The goal of this “work in progress,” Wilson said, is to help the captains better deploy their resources.

“We’ve always had issues in these three areas,” Wilson said.

Each captain as well as SEPTA’s force has an analyst “drilling down into the crime in these areas,” he said.

Philly police do that every day, Wilson said during a Dec. 12 interview, but police do it better and faster now than they previously did. Wilson pointed to a sophisticated computer mapping system in which he can look at every crime committed in Philadelphia.

This new Temple University study, which began three months ago, is expected to go deeper.

“We’re looking at each offender, where he is from and what he was doing in the area,” Wilson said, and “we’re looking at the same information for the victims.”

He said analysts also are looking into which days the crimes were committed and the times as well as environmental factors around the crime scenes.

Each of the analysts who are going over these factors are encouraged to come up with his or her own hypothesis, Wilson said, which they then are expected to back up.

Land bank approved

City Council last week approved a measure that would create a land bank of abandoned properties that the city could quickly take over and sell. The bill, sponsored by Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez (D-7th dist.), passed unanimously.

Philadelphia’s land bank would have the authority to acquire vacant, tax-delinquent properties through sheriff’s sale and begin the process of consolidating title of and making available for sale the 9,082 vacant properties currently owned by the City of Philadelphia, according to City Council President Darrell Clarke (D-5th dist.). Philadelphia’s land bank would be the largest municipal land bank in the nation.

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