The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 25, 1995 · Page 32
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The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania · Page 32

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Thursday, May 25, 1995
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B2 THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER Thursday, May 25, 1995 - Rendell blasts national GOP on bill to cut welfare Metropolitan Area mm m mm m m He told Council a House bill would cost Philadelphia $182 million. That would devastate the city, he said. By Dianna Mardcr INQUIRER STAFF WRITER Mayor Rendell took center stage in City Council yesterday and, in his harshest words yet, blasted the GOP Contract With America, warning that it will knock the city back into financial crisis. "We'll be left with the choice of funding programs ourselves or eliminating services," Rendell said. "We'll have a choice of paying for shelters or letting families freeze to death on our streets. . . . It's just going to be a horror show." The city's cost is estimated at S182 million minimum, Rendell said during his testimony before the City Council Committee on Public Health, Human Services and Recreation convened to discuss how Philadelphia can cope with the Contract. Rendell focused primarily on U.S. Nigro's vote lead increases t As counties certify their totals, the Phila. judge's margin grows in the high court primary race. By Robert Zausner INQUIRER STAFF WRITER HARRISBURG Russell Nigro's lead in the still-unfinished Democratic primary for the state Supreme Court got a few hundred votes larger yesterday because of a retabulation in Delaware County. While the Philadelphia judge led James Munley by 288 votes in the unofficial vote totals provided by the state elections bureau last week, all 67 counties are conducting final, official vote counts over the next month. Nigro and Munley are vying for the second spot on the Democratic ballot for two openings on the court. Allegheny County Judge John Mus-manno was the top vote-getter. In Delaware County, Josephine Laird, acting elections director, said that in the county's latest, official tally, Nigro gained 39 votes while Munley's total fell by 276, a net increase of 315 for Nigro. Laird said errors apparently occurred "somewhere along the line with the different precincts" and were discovered during the official count. She said that the latest vote totals hadn't yet been "certified" for the state but that there were "no more errors, no more to be done with it." On Tuesday, an official in Northumberland County reported a net gain for Nigro of about 171 votes. Those changes would seem at least to offset expected gains by Munley of 216 votes in Lackawanna County, where Munley is a judge though his lead there could continue to increase as more precincts are checked and some additional absentee ballots are opened. Nigro said yesterday that his campaign had gotten official results from 31 counties and that he had added about 240 votes, which would give him a lead of better than 500 votes overall. That includes the change from Northumberland County, but not the new figures from Delaware County. According to the state's unofficial figures last week, Nigro had 313,292 votes to Munley's 313,004, with all precincts reporting. Musmanno had 447,628. Adding to the confusion was an unofficial total compiled by the Associated Press that differed with the state's. The AP, with just four precincts missing from the 9,453 statewide, yesterday reported Nigro leading in the unofficial tally by nearly 1,600 votes, 313,629 to 312,038. There were discrepancies between the state elections bureau tally and the AP's in eight counties, some differing by just a few votes and others by several hundred. Boy, 11, has successful surgery Gerald Nolts' arm was ripped off by farm equipment. He quietly lay on a kitchen floor while awaiting rescuers. ASSOCIATED PRESS HERSIIEY, Pa. After a conveyor belt ripped off Gerald Nolts' arm at the shoulder, the 11-year-old calmly walked with his father into their Perry County farmhouse and lay on the kitchen floor to wait for help. The frantic time came at the hospital. Dr. Donald Mackay said the race at Her-shey Medical Center to reattach the boy's arm met with success. The arm "won't be the same as before, but it should be a lot better than having no House Bill 1214, which is now heading for debate in the Senate. But much of Rendell's anger may have been superfluous. The Senate Finance Committee right now is in the midst of gutting the House proposal. Rendell said the House bill would cost Pennsylvania S2.1 billion in cash assistance and social service reimbursements over the next five years. And the state, he said, would pass along most of that burden. "The state will likely provide some supplemental funding, but only some," he said. "And then they will buck the problem. The buck stops with us because we have no one else to pass it to." The Rendell administration said the S182 million figure is the mayor's minimum estimate of the cost to the city. "It's where we stopped counting," said Kevin Feeley, the mayor's press pirn f .? u The Philadelphia Inquirer PAUL HU Senior William Blagmon leads the choir in prayer. Tonight, the choir will sing gospel songs including one that members see as particularly appropriate, "Look Where You Brought Me From." Gospel choir returns triumphant for performance at Central High CHOIR from B1 according to choir director Wilma Safford, but one the students considered well worth it. "I can kind of feel victory in the air," Safford told the choir at a pep talk before its Tuesday rehearsal. A piano played in the background and students interrupted her remarks with shouts of "Amen!" "We're still holding on. . . . Thank you, Jesus . . . We've come from singing on the corner. . . . You all didn't get discouraged. . . . We're still singing for the Lord," she said. With that, she added, "Everybody who thinks we're going to fill the Central High School Auditorium, get on your feet." The members stood and cheered, then took their places, removed their gum and began their rehearsal inside La Salle University Chapel. Tonight, the group that was once asked to make its repertoire more secular will sing a selection of gospel songs including one that members see as particularly appropriate, "Look Where You Brought Me From." "It's like a miracle," said Safford of the return to Central. "No, it is a miracle." Although Safford never has been paid for directing the choir, her involvement was one of the factors that led school officials to question whether the choir was in violation of the federal Equal Access Act, which allows religious groups to use school space but forbids any school sponsorship. The act, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 1990, prohibits school personnel from tak arm or having the best mechanical arm on the market," Mackay said. Gerald will regain feeling in the arm within a couple of months, Mackay said, but doctors will not know how much use of it he will have for about two years. Gerald's arm was ripped off Monday when he got it caught in the conveyor belt his father was using to load hay into a silo at the family's dairy farm in Centre Township. The skin was torn from his armpit across a third of his chest, Mackay said. secretary. The number includes cuts to housing and welfare programs, but does not include cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, or to Community Development Block Grants, which are slated to be cut in half. Here's how Rendell's figure is calculated: House Bill 1214 dramatically changes Aid to Families with Dependent Children the program known as welfare. Families who have received welfare for five years or more would be eliminated from the welfare rolls entirely and forever. For Philadelphia, that means 16,500 adults and 33,000 children would be affected as early as Oct. 1. If 30 percent of those individuals, a conservative estimate, says Rendell became homeless as a result of being cut from the welfare rolls, the city's cost for food, shelter and minimal services to them would be $93 million. Add to that $89 million being cut from services to abused, neglected ! ' 1 1 k it ' u . i h . - s I fl I I' i Mi IIIIM Ill I III! ing part in student religious activities. School officials first informed the choir in December 1990 that Saf-ford's participation was a problem. The choir and a parents' group sued the district after that, arguing that the choir was an African American cultural group and not subject to restrictions against religious groups. The judge disagreed and gave the choir three options basically the same choices the school district had proposed. Choir members met after school and voted, opting to keep Safford as their director. Some choir members remain a little bitter about it all. "It's not like we shamed the high school," said Keshia Davis, 17, a senior and the choir's secretary. "We weren't out robbing people, we were praising the Lord." The school district had viewed the choir as a religious group. "It was after school. No one had to hear us," said Michelle Scott, 17, the president of the choir. "No one was forced to join the choir." Scott, a senior, said she saw no reason gospel singing or prayer, for that matter shouldn't be part of a public high school. Safford also thinks the school district should have supported the choir, in light of the positive influence it has on members, and the success it had achieved even if students of other religions were offended by its music. "Some rap music offends me, but I either remove myself or tolerate it," she said. The choir has raised about $85,000 Gerald walked with his father into the family's house. As rescuers cared for the boy, others returned to the field to get the arm, which was still stuck in the belt. He never cried, his family said. Gerald was flown by helicopter to Her-shey, where Mackay was waiting with a team of surgeons. "When I first heard about it and how it had occurred, I wasn't optimistic at all," said Mackay, a specialist in plastic and reconstructive surgery and pediatrics. "A whole lot of things go through your mind," he said. "If it's a clean cut, that's a good sign. But when the arm is virtually ripped off by a machine, that's a bad sign" because of severe nerve damage. and dependent children, and you have $182 million or what Rendell calls a financial disaster. The mayor vowed that no one would freeze or starve. "We could not hold our heads up if we let that happen." However, he said, Philadelphians must join with the business community and the surrounding counties to fight now in the form of demonstrations, letter writing and other lobbying efforts, or pay later in cash. "We can just curse the darkness or we can get out there and light as many candles as we can. . . . Every rally in Philadelphia has been woefully attended. We need help." "It seems to me everyone is sitting around docilely while a big freight train is barreling down the tracks." Philadelphia, he said, worked hard to pull back from the brink of bankruptcy to the point of having a budget surplus. This year, he said, the surplus is estimated at $20 million to $40 million. since it was formed in 1987, Safford said, through fund-raising events and performances at the Academy of Music, churches, colleges and mental health centers. Once a year it puts together a spring concert. Until the choir separated from the school, the show was always held at Central. The last two years, the performances were at Drexel University and at a Baptist church. The spring concert raises money for scholarships for the choir's graduating seniors about 25 this year who are going on to " college. The choir is also planning a trip to Los Angeles, with five performances, in late June for about 75 of its members. Members have been soliciting money on the streets and are putting together a benefit concert to cover costs. The choir not only gets no funding from the school district, but members also are not allowed to post notices or conduct business at Central. They hand out fliers outside school at the beginning of fall semester, inviting new students to attend practices. "It's sad that we actually have to rent the auditorium to use the school, but I'm glad we're doing it," said Shellie-Ann Francis, 17, a senior and featured soloist in the choir. "It's showing them they have not defeated us. "I will never stop singing gospel music," she added. "It's a part of me." to reattach . "And just one provision of the so-called welfare reform act could wipe out that entire surplus," Rendell said. "The other provisions will debilitate us. The total price tag will run into the hundreds of millions of dollars." Now is not the time to stay silent, the mayor said. For his part, Rendell said he is giving up his only free Saturday from now until September to travel to Atlanta this weekend to address a conference on this issue. And on Monday, a recently formed group known as Youth Against Poverty will demonstrate and dance to rock bands in J.F.K. Plaza (Love Park). Organizer Sarah Yip said young people who are on welfare will speak out against the Contract and its cuts in welfare at the 1 p.m. program. "No one is against true welfare reform or a balanced budget," Rendell said. "We are in favor of those goals, but it has to be done in the right way." Doctored resume ends in arrest A Drexel dropout is accused of altering computer records to give himself a degree. By Joseph A. Slobodzian INQUIRER STAFF WRITER His grade point average of 1.28 on a 4.0 scale may have forced Brian J. Michalovic to drop out of Drexel University. But he didn't let it stop him from getting a good job. Using the computer skills he acquired working at Drexel, federal prosecutors say, Michalovic created the degree he never earned and used it get a job as an asbestos building inspector with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Michalovic, 29, of the 5500 block of Wissahickon Avenue in German-town, was charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office yesterday in a criminal information with one count of making a false statement to a federal agency on a resume to get the $23.50-an-hour government job. Michalovic's attorney, Mario J. Driggs, declined comment on the charges. A criminal information means a defendant has waived indictment by a federal grand jury and is usually considered the prelude to a guilty plea. According to the criminal information, Michalovic, after dropping out of Drexel in 1986, worked for the university for several years as a receptionist and a clerk-typist. In 1993, he started a job as a senior database specialist with Drexel's Office of Development and Information Services, creating computerized records for alumni and donors. In November 1993, the information alleges, Michalovic went into Drexel's alumni computer records and gave himself a false background and resume. Michalovic erased the name of an actual Drexel graduate and assumed the alumnus' record for himself, creating a resume showing he had earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering in 1991, the criminal information says. In August, using his new resume, he applied for a job at HHS. In October, he quit his job with Drexel and began work as a government asbestos building inspector. The criminal information says Michalovic earned about $25,700 before quitting his HHS job on March 29. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald H. Levine said there was no evidence that Michalovic performed his building inspections improperly. Richard Jones is ill. His column, The Scene, will resume when he returns. his arm Gerald's arm, however, "was in pretty good shape" when it arrived, Mackay said, and the boy was rushed into surgery within an hour of the accident. The operation took about eight hours. Plastic surgeons needed two hours to clean the arm while a team of orthopedic doctors cleaned the stump and reattached the bone, Mackay said. The plastic surgeons then used a medical microscope and magnifying glass to reconnect the major artery, along with veins, nerves and muscles. They had blood flowing back into the arm within four hours. "He's an incredible little kid, a pretty brave kid," Mackay said. news in onei : . Boy, 6, struck and killed by passing cab in W. Phila. A six-year-old boy was fatally Injured last night in West Philadelphia ; when he darted in tront ot a passing , cab at 56th and Sansom Streets, po-: lice said. ; Tyrell Bledsoe, who lived in the area of the accident, was pronounced . dead at Children's Hospital of Phila- HplnhiA at n m nf miiltinlp. iniilr i - i - ...--I j ries, police said. The privately owned rah driven hv Normal Sineh. 37. was 6:05 p.m. when the boy ran into the , street from the west navement and was struck, police said. J 1 No charges were ti ed aeainst Sinffh fnllnwina nnpstinnirm hv nv O D M " O J I . lice accident investigators. An inves-, tigation is continuing, police said. ; Deliberations to resume in Drexel murder case The jury charged with deciding the fate of David Dickson, the former. Drexel University security guard accused in the 1984 slaying of a Drexel student, deliberated for a second day yesterday without reaching a verdict 4 and will resume today. The jury sent two notes at noon asking Judge Juanita Kidd Stout for a le-uuinuuuu ui uiai-uegiee muiuui,. second-degree murder and third-de-' gree murder. The judge read the law. Then, at 3:35 p.m., the jury foreman sent a request to adjourn for the day and reconvene deliberations today. ; The request was granted. uicKson, 35, who authorities saia naa a toot letisn, is cnargea witn beating and strangling Deborah Lynn Wilson, 20, for her white Reebok sneakers in November 1984. Phila. gets state grant of $300,000 for recycling Philadelphia has received a state grant of $300,000 to purchase vehicles for its curbside recycling program and for containers for all city offices. The grant was one of 96 awards luianug minion aiiiiuuuctu yesterday by Gov. Ridge to support local recycling throughout Pennsylvania.;, The money will be used for municipal recycling start-up costs, improvements to existing recycling centers, or recycling education. ' ' ' ' ;- Trump to be honored for working with youths , Donald Trump will be the first rev cipient of an award established by the rreeuoms rounaanon io nonor Dullness leaders artivp in vnnth nrncrrams - j r o The President's Medal will be given to the billionaire entrepreneur at a 1 dinner June 6 at the Twelve Caesars on city Avenue m raiaaeipma. Trump has supported a variety of ' youth programs, is a director of . the Police Athletic League, and participates in a program for inner-city youth at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. . ' ' ' Defendant gets life term in slaying of store owner ' iyie Kainey, convicted oi nrst-ae-gree murder Monday in the June 1994 shooting death of a German- ' town jewelry store owner, was sen tenced to life in prison yesterday., - Common Pleas Court Judge John J. Poserina Jr. imposed a mandatory lifp cpntpnrp nftpr thp inrnrc rp-' -1 i - j ii ... i i j k pui ieu nicy weie iiupeiussiy uuau-locked on whether to sentence' Rainey, 27, to death or life imprisonment. Sun Yoo Kang, 46, was fatally shot June 1 during a robbery of his' store, Sun Jewelers, in the 100 block of West Chelten Avenue. An accom- nlirp Hnrrpll Wnllnrp 3d urac pin. r ' , ' victcd of second-degree murder for driving the getaway car. Another co-defendant, Nathan Riley, now 16, was convicted of first-degree murder as the triggerman. Because Riley was only 15 at the time of the killing, he ; was spared the death penalty. Judsre refuses to denv ' 0- j hearing for AIDS activist Common Pleas Court Judge Anthony J. DeFino has turned down a motion by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office to deny a preliminary hearine for Francis J. Stoffa Jrr '. tne tormer neaa ot the Philadelphia . AIDS Task Force. In a three-nape rnlin? maHp niihlir yesterday, DeFino said the district attorney had failed to prove that spe- -cial circumstances called for denial of a preliminary hearing. In fact, DeFino said, "it is quite possible", that some of the charges against Stoffa could be thrown out after the preliminary hearing. , , Stoffa was charged March 23 with stealing more than $200,000 from the organization he once headed. He has denied the charges. , Cheyney U. vice president , appointed as interim head The executive committee of the board of governors for the State System of Higher Education yesterday appointed Dr. Donald L. Mullett as interim president of Cheyney University, effective June 1. Mullett replaces H. Douglas Covington, who accepted the presidency" at Radford University in Virginia. . Mullett has been vice president of business affairs at Cheyney since 1993. He previously had been a vice president at Jarvis Christian College in Texas, and at Texas Southern University. He served Lincoln University, in from 1985 to 1987 and vice president for fiscal affairs and treasurer from 1973 to 1989.

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