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The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania • Page 1
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The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania • Page 1

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Flocking back to lamb Getting reacquainted with the traditional Easter dish. Food. (wlaktoiia Jnoutrer City Edition Wednesday, April 7, 1993 BO cents outside the eight-county Philadelphia metropolitan area Grants of up to $10,000 are available for home improvements. Not everyone got the word. Minorities have missed out on Upper Darby housing funds Phillies make it 2-0 Dykstra gets the big hit, Schilling gets the win. Sports. By Mark Fazlollah INQUIRER STAFF WRITER Over the last decade, Upper Darby has handed out $4.3 million in federal and state money to help lower-income homeowners fix up their properties. An Inquirer review of federal records shows that of the 873 grants the township awarded, 870 went to whites. Two grants went to Hispanics. One to an American Indian. None to Asians. None to blacks. This in a township of 81,177 residents, of which nearly 6,500 are minorities: 4 percent Asian, 3 percent black, and 1 percent Hispanic. This despite federal regulations that bar discrimination in the use of federal money for housing rehabilitation regulations that require that towns distributing federal housing money make an effort to recruit minority applicants. investigation, many records are not public. A review of available local, state and federal documents and interviews with participants in the program showed: At least 20 of the HIP grants made over the last decade went to employees of the township or the county or their relatives. They included Delaware County's deputy director qf personnel, an Upper Darby police offl-See UPPER DARBY on A 14 There is little evidence that Upper Darby has tried. Or that the federal agency that oversees the program has used its clout to make it try. For those who meet the income qualifications about $30,000 per family of four these grants are a very good deal. In Upper Darby, a homeowner can get up to $10,000 in what amounts to free money. It never has to be repaid. Out of the $4.3 million in grants the township has made in the last decade, only about $15,000 has gone to minority applicants. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees the program, is well aware of the problem. Year after year, HUD has warned Upper Darby that the low minority participation in its Home Improvement Program (HIP) might violate federal rules, which could lead to the township's being barred from getting the money. But, year after year, HUD has renewed the township's annual application for housing rehab money, awarding $3.6 million since 1982. During the same period, the state Department of Community Affairs chipped in $700,000. An Upper Darby official said the township could not provide any information. The HIP grants and several other government-funded township programs are under scrutiny by a federal grand jury. Because of the A revered Eagle departs It A vfi- 1 vp-- 1 -J i VK 4 i Associated Press JOHN ROBB White still will be wearing a green jersey bearing the No. 92 next season, but the shade of green will be different. White displayed it last night at a news conference held in Green Bay to announce his agreement to sign with the Packers as a free agent. Reggie White settles on Green Bay for anymore. It's the city Reggie to play for. Nothing is going to same again." leaders of the community and clergy had dreaded the day that pack up and go. that day came, White called who had implored him to promised to visit Philadelphia See WHITE on A 10 defensive end opens a gaping hole in the front four and creates a huge leadership vacuum. And for the city of Philadelphia, which has frequently reveled in White's work with the church and the poor, the loss cuts deeper than just the departure of a sports superstar. "Reggie was an icon around here," defensive-line mate Clyde Simmons said. "People recognize Reggie White, recognize the faith he has, the man he is. You see a Reggie White leave a city and he takes a part of the city with him. It's not gonna be the same place without Reggie. This isn't the city Reggie By S.A. Paolantonio INQUIRER STAFF WRITER A Philadelphia sports institution skipped town yesterday. Reggie White, the ordained minister who is the most prolific pass-rusher in National Football League history and the biggest prize in the free-agent market, agreed to a $17 million, four-year contract to play in pro football's smallest city Green Bay, Wis. For the once-proud Packers, there is the hope that White will lead them back to glory. For the Eagles, the loss of the NFL's premier Medicare outlook worsens The hospital insurance fund will run out within seven years, officials said. That's grimmer than last year's report. By Charles Green IN()t'IKER WASHINGTON BUREAU WASHINGTON Medicare, the federal program that provides hospital insurance for 35 million elderly and disabled Americans, will go broke within five to seven years unless costs are cut or taxes are increased, the government predicted yesterday. In its annual report, Medicare's five-member board of trustees estimated that its hospital insurance trust fund would run out of money as early as 1998 and no later than 2000. Last year, the trustees predicted that the fund would go in the red no earlier than 2000 and might stay solvent until 2009. The gloomier report, based -on revised assumptions by government actuaries about costs and tax revenues, provides new ammunition for the Clinton administration to revamp the nation's health-care system. The report could be used to justify proposed cost-saving measures such as price controls on doctors and hospitals. "These new estimates show a significant worsening in the economic health of the Medicare program," said Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala, one of the trustees. "They reflect many of the problems that we see across the board in our health-care system today, and they are another demonstration of the need for systemwide change." It is not yet clear whether Clinton will recommend that Medicare remain a separate program or be integrated into a national health-care plan that would provide basic health benefits for every American. In their report, the trustees also See MEDICARE on A10 Radioactive explosion in Russia A wide area was reportedly contaminated. Firefighters faced dangerous exposures. By Alan Cooperman ASSOCIATED FRKSS MOSCOW A tank of radioactive waste exploded and burned yesterday at a weapons plant in the Siberian city of Tomsk-7, contaminating a vast area and exposing firefighters to dangerous levels of radiation, Russian officials said. The Interfax news agency reported that about 2,500 acres were contaminated with radiation from the explosion. It said the wind was carrying the radiation toward unpopulated areas. It was unclear how much radiation was released and how many people might be affected. No efforts to evacuate the region were reported. The international environmental group Greenpeace said the explosion took place in a plutonium separation factory, part of a secret nuclear weapons complex in Tomsk-7. But, Greenpeace said, the explosion apparently did not involve plutonium, which is fatal if inhaled in even microscopic amounts. It said its information came from a- unidentified Russian group member who had See EXPLOSION on A4 Clinton: Bosnia options limited He said the U.S. would not take unilateral action. Serbs may well complete their conquest in Bosnia, he conceded. By Norman Kempster LOS ANUKLES TIMES WASHINGTON Declaring the United States will. not act alone in the former Yugoslavia, President Clinton said yesterday that as long as European nations reject tough measures, nothing can be done to prevent a Serbian conquest of all of Bosnia-Herzegovina. At a White House news conference with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Clinton said there is no way "that the United States should or could successfully take unilateral action" to stop Bosnian Serbs from completing their bloody campaign of ethnic cleansing. He said Washington would act only with the authorization of the U.N. Security Council. But other members of the council, including Mubarak spoke with Clinton about the Trade Center blast." He said Egypt had no early; warning. Russia and Britain which have veto power over council actions are opposed to international military action, sharp escalation of existing sanctions, or even relaxation of the arms embargo. The embargo has made it difficult for the Muslim-led Bosnian government to defend itself. "The United States has got to work through the United Nations, and all of our views may not always prevail," Clinton said. When a questioner suggested the President was conceding that "if there is no change in the position of European governments, (and if the Serbs) can withstand sanctions, the Serbians will essentially be able to get what they want," Clinton replied: "You got it! That's about as good a statement as I could have made myself." Clinton's comments seemed to wipe away the Bosnian Muslims' last hope that the United States, as the world's only superpower, would come to their rescue. The remarks also undercut U.S. rhetorical support See CLINTON on A4 More peace talks and evacuation efforts fail in Bosnia. In besieged Srebrenica, desperate refugees scrounge for air-dropped food. A4. "I never envisioned myself going through this," said Simmons, 44, who spent part of last weekend fingen printing children at the Frankford YMCA. For nearly five just felt I might find him alive." Police yesterday were trying to determine whether John was killed where he was found, or whether he was murdered elsewhere and then dumped in the park, said Chief Inspector Richard Zappile, head of the Detective Bureau. The only wounds on the remains were the bullet holes, apparently caused by a single gunshot, he said. See SON on A 10 Free agency Sports Extra, Pennsylvania's request for automatic annual rate increases in basic phone rates. Bell is seeking increases that could add up to 25 cents to monthly bills every year indefinitely. Instead, it says a one-time increase of 30 cents per month for every state phone line would, in 37 years, pay enough to generate the revenues necessary to install the network by 2015. i Z- While plays White used ever be the For months, the black White would And when Mayor Rendell, stay. White Study says Pa. fiber-optic system need not require big rate rises is passing the Eagles by. Section C. That money "would cover the funding gap," PUC Chairman David W. Rolka told a news conference packed with four times as many lobbyists and government employees as reporters. The study, he added, shows that local phone companies "require comparatively little revenue" to recover the amount they need to spend to speed up placement of the network. The study did not say how the cost of accelerating a statewide network should be paid. Rolka said later that See PUC on A5 Accountants say Bell of Pa. could wire the state with a single fee of just 30 cents per phone line. Inside You might think all the new technology had put a finish to feuding about the phone. You would be wrong. Magazine, Gl. President Clinton, with Senate Democrats unable to overcome a Republican filibuster, says he will change his $16.3 billion jobs bill to answer Republican complaints. A3. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Harry Conde is convicted of aggravated assault and assault with a dangerous weapon for shooting two Somali teenagers. A3. Sections Nationallnt'l Metro Sports Entertainment. Business Food Magazine Features Movies Classified Comics Crossword. Editorials Newsmakers. Obituaries Television D2 Fll G6 G7 A12 G2 06 Vol. 327, No. 97 1 1993, Philadelphia Newspapers Inc. Call 215-666-1P34 or 1-800-3-9088 for home delivery. Weather Mostly sunny today, high 60. Moonlit tonight, low 42. Sunny tomorrow, high 66. Full report, B7. Mother's quest for son ends sadly She worked for missing children. She hopes other parents are luckier. By Michael L. Rozansky INQUIRER STAFF WHITKR Pennsylvania's phone companies could wire the entire state with a fiber-optic network by 2015 without requiring any hefty rate increases, according to an exhaustive report rolled out yesterday. The study, commissioned by the state's phone regulators, suggests that there's no need to grant Bell of John Benjamin Simmons, 15, disappeared on the first day of school in 1988. His remains were found Sunday in Fairmount Park. their families and started a program to fingerprint children. This week, Simmons had planned to write letters to local politicians promoting a forthcoming National Missing Children's Day. Instead, she'll decide how to lay to rest her middle child, 15-year-old John Benjamin Simmons, who disappeared on the first day of school in 1988. Children playing in Fairmount Park found John's skeletal remains on Sunday. A bullet had pierced his skull. Forensic experts yesterday positively identified his body using dental records. A set of keys to his mother's and grandmother's houses was nearby. I By Dcnisc-Mario Santiago and Jeff Gammase INUUIHER STAFF WRITERS In her West Philadelphia home, where the posters of missing children include one offering a reward for information leading to the return of her own, Jacqui Simmons sat in her dimly lit living room yesterday. For nearly five years, Simmons had wondered what happened to her only son, the boy who kept 12 garter snakes in his room and made her laugh by wiggling his ears. For nearly five years, she worked on the cause of missing children. She helped form a support group for I

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