Philadelphia Daily News from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 1, 1995 · Page 8
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Philadelphia Daily News from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania · Page 8

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Wednesday, March 1, 1995
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Page 8
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PAGE 8 THE PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1, 1995 esidents, bicyclists cSasii over -W; River -Drive - closing Park Coirimission to rule next week by Scott Flander Daily News Staff Writer A greenhouse-turned-meeting room in Fairmount Park exploded with emotion last night as 700 people generally split along racial lines gathered to debate whether West River Drive should be closed to traffic on weekends. Most of those who argued that the drive should be closed so it can be used by cyclists, skaters and others were whites from around the city. Most of those who wanted the drive open to traffic were blacks who live in West Philadelphia. They complained that closing the road was an unfair inconvenience. On one level, the debate before a committee of the Fair-mount Park Commission was about how the park should be used for recreation. On another level, it was about who the park is for. "We're not going to let out-of-town people take our community away from us," yelled one West Philadelphia man. "Go back to Cherry Hill where you came from." No decision on West River Drive was made last night. The committee will make a recom mendation to the full commission, which is expected to resolve the matter March 8. Current plans call for the drive to be closed to traffic from the Falls Bridge to the Art.Museum from 7 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and Sundays from April through October. From noon until 5 p.m., cars could get on the road at Montgomery Drive to reach parking areas only. Both sides came out in force. The bicyclists were organized through faxes and the computer Internet. Many of those opposed to the closing were urged to attend by Mary Mason. Mason, the talk-show host on WHAT-AM, is a Fairmount Park commissioner " who sits on the Park Use Review Committee. Last night's meeting intended to gather public comment was held at Mason's request. During her radio show yesterday, she encouraged listeners to attend the meeting. Mason said she doesn't oppose closing the drive in the mornings, but is opposed to an all-day traffic ban. Speaking on the radio yesterday, she asked of cyclists, "Why should you have privileges over me?" One of those who spoke last night was Leon Williams, of Wyn-nefield, who said that "people are willing to suffer inconvenience." However, he added, if West River Drive is closed, and "you're driving on the Schuylkill Expressway where drivers are tense and angry, and you look over onto the drivel and see people jogging and skateboarding and riding bikes, the inconvenience is not worth the benefit." Those in favor of closing the drive to traffic were just as vocal- "It should never be an issue who uses the park we all own it," said Juan Levy, of South Philadelphia. Said Noel Weyrich, head of a coalition of area cyclists, "There are 3,000 miles of streets in Philadelphia can't we set aside four for recreation?" Paul Winkfield, a cyclist and one of only several African-Americans to speak in favor the closing the drive, called opposition to the closing "very mean-spirited and bigoted. If we want to be considered a world-class city, we must look beyond the noses of our neighborhoods." City Councilman Michael Nutter, who couldn't attend the meeting because his wife was having a baby, said yesterday afternoon that the commission's challenge will be to find a solution that meets everyone's needs. LrLAxLsLs 5)111 tmuvu INSTALLED IN YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS This Offer Is Limited To The First 300 Subscribers With 5 Year Monitoring Agreement. RJ 3 1 X Telephone Jack Required. Home Alert Is The Registered Trademark Of HOME ALERT ALARM COMPANY The Nation's Choice for Security PhilaPride soliciting volunteer cleaners Glad Bag-a-Thon begins this month by Ramona Smith Daily News Staff Writer What makes people litter? Some think it's OK to add to a trash pile that's already there. And others just like to have somebody to clean up after them, according to a survey by Keep America Beautiful. Well, Philadelphia, it's our annual time to clean up after those slobs. PhilaPride, the clean-city booster organization, is looking for volunteers for this spring's litter-pickup, lot-cleanup and clothing-collection program. It wants to recruit 5,000 cleanup projects citywide for the annual Glad Bag-a-Thon that runs from March 25 to May 13. School and community organizations, businesses and other groups can stage cleanup events at any time during that period. Last year residents picked up 556 tons of trash, said PhilaPride chief Mark Viggiano. And school children recycled 15 tons of used clothing as part of an annual Kids for Clothes campaign. Schools that want to collect clothing this year can call PhilaPride at 215-575-2210. Groups that want to stage cleanups can call the same number or the Bag-a-Thon Hot Line at 800-262-GLAD (800-262-4523). Trial set in robbery, killing of woman, 64 Suspect: I haven't been able to sleep since by Dave Racher Daily News Staff Writer Aaron Johnson said he decided to confess to the killing of a 64-year-old retired nurse last January because he could no longer live with himself. "I haven't been able to sleep since it happened," Johnson said in a statement to Homicide Detective Albert Maahs. "It was not intentional. I didn't want anything like this to happen. I am truly sorry." Yesterday, after Maahs read the confession during a preliminary hearing, Municipal Judge Meyer C. Rose ordered Johnson to stand trial on murder, robbery, burglary and theft charges. The body of Helen Bernstein was found in the bathtub of her apartment in the Hill Tower Apartments, Stenton Avenue near Mermaid Lane, Chestnut Hill on Jan. 14. Assistant District Attorney John J. Doyle said an autopsy disclosed that Bernstein had been beaten and strangled. He said the killer used his hands and some type of cord to commit the crime. Johnson, 38, who had been fired as a maintenance man at the apartment building but still lived there, said he used to sneak into Bernstein's apartment when she wasn't home and steal cash. This time, he said, he saw her apparently asleep in the tub. "I wanted some cash," he said. "I was drunk and high. I had been drinking and snorting cocaine." He said when he bent over the woman, she screamed and began to struggle with him. He said he grabbed her around the neck. "Then she fell back and that's it. I left her in the tub," the suspect said. Johnson said he stole Bernstein's gold watch and bracelet, which he sold for $20. Priest jailed in Brinks heist Reuters ROCHESTER, N.Y. A federal judge has sentenced a Catholic priest to four years in jail for his role in a 1993 multimillion dollar robbery, despite appeals for mercy from more than 100 clerics and friends. The Rev. Patrick Maloney, 62, of New York City, who was caught with $2 million of $7.1 million stolen from a Brink's security depot in Rochester, could have been sentenced to five years, said assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Buscaglia, who prosecuted the case for the government. More than $5 million stolen from Brink's, which transports money under armed guard, is missing. Investigators suspect the missing money was funneled to the Irish Republican Army. In pleading for leniency, the priest, who ran a New York city shelter for troubled teen-agers and illegal immigrants, said he couldn't believe he was convicted. He said he was "sorry" the crime had occurred, Buscaglia said. Maloney bowed his head when U.S. District Judge David Larimer called him a thief in the sentencing Monday in a Rochester federal court, according to newspaper reports.

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