When Philabundance truck driver Jackie Cooley Jr. drives through West Philadelphia, crowds cheer. "I feel like I'm Moses coming through here," the 56-year-old said. "I can't take nobody to the Promised Land, but I can feed them." Glenn Bergman, Philabundance's executive director, calls the 11 drivers who pick up goods from vendors and deliver them to more than 400 agencies "ambassadors" for the nonprofit food bank. "They see the back of the grocery stores, they deal with the people at the Acmes and ShopRites, then they go to the agencies and drop the food right off," Bergman said. "These truck drivers could work at other places and make more money, but the thing is, they do it for the mission." When Cooley arrived at the Church of Christian Compassion at 62nd and Cedar on a December day, more than 100 people were lining the street, waving and cheering, as he unloaded food just six blocks from his own home. "The people that I'm feeding here I know, because they live in my neighborhood," he said. Read more
Comcast Corp. will spend $10 million to wire more than 300 recreation centers, health clinics, police stations and other buildings with high-speed fiber-optic lines, but will also get $32 million fees over 15 years to manage the network. Verizon now provides data services for city agencies and buildings, but Philadelphia officials say the company rejected the idea of building out a new network. "The goal is to transfer connectivity to Comcast," said Adel Ebid, Philadelphia's chief information officer. "We always had the need [for a network], and we were agnostic as to who provided it." The new "institutional network" deepens Comcast's economic interests in Philadelphia. Read more
Two syndicated strips well known to Philadelphia readers are ending their lengthy runs, reflecting the declining state of newspaper comic pages. Edge City, a comic about a suburban Jewish American family that has run in the Inquirer since its beginning 15 years ago, will soon cease to exist. And Evil Inc., which has run in the Daily News for 15 years, is set to disappear from print as its creator focuses on a not-safe-for-work online comic. "When I was a kid, comic strips were like TV: It was something that everyone read and knew," Edge City cocreator Terry LaBan said. Read more
A PoliticalFest during this summer's Democratic National Convention will let visitors experience a political museum and fair, modeled on some professional sports festivals. PoliticalFest is slated to be the only large convention event open to the public when the DNC convenes in Philadelphia. It will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center a few days before and during the event. The first PoliticalFest was held during the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. "It's a great way of integrating people with the convention," said former mayor and governor Ed Rendell, who is helping organize the 2016 convention. "It's like Alice in Wonderland for anyone interested in politics." Read more
Winterlike weather will be making a brief appearance in the Philadelphia area Monday, with high temperatures expected to reach just the low 40s. Some parts of the Lehigh Valley are even under a winter weather advisory due to the threat of snow, sleet and freezing rain. The seasonable weather comes after a warm stretch in which record highs were set in three of the past four days. Read more