The Philadelphia Inquirer from ,  on September 15, 2008 · Page A01
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The Philadelphia Inquirer from , · Page A01

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Monday, September 15, 2008
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TIMEIY SWEEP Phils bash Brewers, even wild-card race. Firefighter retires with 36 years of memories. WILUAMSTOWN WELL SERVED Q & A with volleyball's Amanda Smith Wit IPftilaklpftia jhtqmrer SEPT. 15, 2008 $1 in some locations outside the metropolitan area phillycom 180th Year, No. 107 A drastic makeover for Wall Street Bank of America will pay $50 billion for Merrill Lynch; Lehman appears to be nearing its end. LM OTERO Associated Press Boats and debris from Hurricane Ike litter Interstate 45 leading to Galveston, Texas. Houston, the nation's fourth-largest city, was reduced to near-paralysis in some places, and the death toll rose to 1 7 from the hurricane. Many deaths were outside of Texas as the storm traveled north. 2,000 rescued from Ike As waters recede, millions face power, food, water and gas shortages. By Andrew Ross Sorkin NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE NEW YORK On one of the most dramatic days in Wall Street's history, Merrill Lynch agreed last night to sell itself to Bank of America for roughly $50 billion to avert a deepening financial crisis while another prominent securities firm, Lehman Bros., hurtled toward liquidation after it failed to find a buyer, people briefed on the deals said. Inside Insurance giant AIG looks for ways to stabilize its finances. A8. The humbling moves, which reshape the landscape of American finance, mark the latest Leaders in the hardest-hit communities along the coast and on Galveston Bay increasingly desperate at the lack of basic supplies and utilities warned it could be weeks before the 1.2 million residents who fled inland could return home. The Associated Press reported last night that the death toll had risen to 17. Three of the deaths were in the hard-hit barrier island city of Galveston, Texas, including one body found in a vehicle submerged in floodwater at the airport. Many deaths, however, were outside of See IKE on A10 By James C. McKinley Jr. NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE HOUSTON State officials mounted the largest rescue operation in Texas history yesterday, taking nearly 2,000 people by boat and helicopter out of flood-ravaged towns on the Texas coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. At the same time, millions of others coped without electricity and faced shortages of food, water and gasoline. Rescue workers expressed fears, however, that more bodies were still to be found in unexplored areas swamped by the hurricane's storm surge, including the Bolivar Peninsula, a spit of land just east of Galveston, where the storm surge was at its most intense and many houses were reduced to rubble. Local officials said rescuers had been unable to get to at least several dozen people who had precariously escaped floodwaters on rooftops and water tanks in the peninsula since Friday. One middle-aged man was washed from his home on Crystal Beach on the peninsula all the way to the mainland, where he was spotted by National Guard troops in a helicopter and picked up. chapter in a tumultuous year in which once-proud financial institutions have been brought to their knees as a result of tens of billions of dollars in losses because of bad mortgage finance and real estate investments. They culminated a weekend of frantic around-the-clock negotiations, as Wall Street bankers huddled in meetings at the behest of Bush administration officials to avoid a downward spiral in the markets stemming from a crisis of confidence. "My goodness. I've been in the business 35 years, and these are the most extraordinary events I've ever seen," said Peter G. Peterson, co-founder of the private equity See WALL STREET on A8 After 36 years, no more alarms for Cherry Hill firefighter. His trademark: Keeping his cool INSIDE Getting energy from the sea The ocean offers hope for green energy. A N.J. company is among those developing technology to harness that power. Dl. High 85, Low 63 DUfe Not as hot today. Even cooler By Karen Langley INQUIRER STAFF WRITER When the alarm came in that bright April afternoon in 1977, Dan DiRenzo wasn't supposed to be at the Erlton Fire Company in Cherry Hill. But after a day teaching social studies, he stopped by to trade stories with the one full-time firefighter and a handful of other volunteers. Then the bell sounded: A building fire at the Garden State Park racetrack. As the seven men jumped for Engine 1323, spotting the light gray smoke wafting from the site, they realized there were 10,000-plus fans gathered for the afternoon's race. "We looked at each other with a little concern," DiRenzo said last week, just days after his retirement from the fire department. "We anticipated ... something of consequence." It would be by far the largest fire in DiRenzo's career, one that could See RETIREMENT on A12 tomorrow with a high of 75. Air quality: Moderate. NBC10 forecast, Bll. Classifieds D9 Comics D6 Editorials A16 Express Lotteries E12 Obituaries B9 SideShow D8 Television D5 MICHAEL BRYANT Inquirer Staff Photographer Hanging up his helmet: Dan DiRenzo's wealth of firefighting experience started in 1972. He was on the scene when the Cherry Hill racetrack burned in 77. ADVERTISEMENT McCain's Phila. story Courtship, tragedy, divorce and lots of lobster. Long hours at throttle cost SEPTA Retaining train crews may get even more costly with law change heading down tracks. By Paul Nussbaum INQUIRER STAFF WRITER SEPTA has 525 engineers, conductors and assistant conductors to run its railroad. Not one works a 40-hour week. Because of a shortage of qualified workers, the complex nature of rush-hour scheduling, and SEPTA'S desire to limit costs for employee benefits, all engineers and conductors work overtime every week, and are paid accordingly. The typical engineer or conductor is paid for 67 hours a week. The typical engineer earned $85,450 in 2007, SEPTA records show. Forty-three made more than $100,000 last year, and the top-earning engineer made $140,917. The typical conductor earned $70,766 last year, and the highest-paid conductor made $133,179. And SEPTA's crews make less than many of their counterparts on other commuter lines, as SEPTA's hourly wages are among the lowest in the northeastern United States: $27.55 an hour for its most-senior engineers, $25.22 an hour for most-senior conductors, and $21.22 for top-paid assistant conductors. The costs for SEPTA and other rail operators may soon rise considerably, as a proposed change in federal law would reduce the consecutive hours that railroaders are permitted to work. That could See SEPTA on A12 By Amy S. Rosenberg INQUIRER STAFF WRITER In John McCain's Philadelphia story, there is a wedding and a car crash, a downed trainer jet, and a lot of Army-Navy games. There is his first wife, Carol Shepp McCain, a former swimsuit model, English major and secretary who grew up in Lansdowne and lived in Philadelphia while she was dating McCain, who flew in on weekends. There is his mother, Roberta, who briefly lived at the Walnut Plaza hotel when he was 5. And then there are the Bookbinders, Connie and Sam. Yes, those Bookbinders, of the Seafood House restaurant fame. Connie Cunningham Bookbinder was Carol McCain's best friend from Centenary College, in Hack-ettstown, N.J. and remains the confidante of "Sheppie," as she still calls her friend, who lives in Virginia Beach and is said to sport a bumper sticker in support of her ex-husband. Even as the Philadelphia region looks to See McCAIN on A4 The McCains, 1965: The future GOP nominee for president married Carol Shepp in Phila. A Lucrative Month Barack Obama raised $66 million in August, and John McCain took in $47 million. A4. ll I 97910"00101,,M1 i 2008 Philadelphia Newspapers L.L.C. Call 215-665-1234 or 1-800-222-2765 for home delivery.

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