Philadelphia's first piece of abstract public art - a 1957 wall-mounted sculpture -now sits in storage at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. But that Sculpture for a Large Wall, retrieved from Philadelphia by Ellsworth Kelly and his agent in 1996, after years of neglect, is not the abstract artist's only legacy in the city. More than a dozen of works by Kelly, who died Sunday at age 92, are on prominent and permanent display, with one sculpture on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. "Philadelphia, early on, recognized Kelly for the artist he was and would become," said Timothy Rub, director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. "We gave him the opportunity to do something great." Read more
SEPTA officials say the long-awaited SEPTA Key smart card, which will eliminate the need for exact change, tokens and monthly passes, is coming next year. For sure this time, the transit agency insists. "I know we've been saying, 'It's coming, it's coming,'" said Richard Burnfield, SEPTA's deputy general manager. "It is coming." Gray kiosks with signs reading, "Testing, Testing" now sit at subway stations; in March, they're slated to go live as the Key card starts to offer monthly and weekly passes. Cards with more options, including single rides, are expected by the end of summer. If that timetable holds, the card will debut about three years later than planned. Read more
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is holding a news conference today for a "budget-related announcement." The governor has remained quiet about whether he will sign or veto the spending plan from the Republican-led legislature that could end the state's six-month budget stalemate. Wolf has offered no clues about his plans, though a top aide on Monday criticized the $30.2 billion GOP budget and said it underfunded schools. "The Republican budget is another display of fiscal irresponsibility," John Hanger, the policy secretary, said in a statement. Read more
A retired man from Philadelphia is calling himself "the No. 1 beach bum in the whole world." Earl Paul, 80, goes to the beach in Ocean City pretty much every day. "When you get the chance to retire, you retire," the former Local 420 pipe fitter said. "I get a good pension. I make good money just sitting on the beach every day - but I did my time." Now, he does his time by the sand and water, in all four seasons. After his wife's death, Paul looked for solace in church, but found it at the beach. "I knew when I got there that it was the answer," he said. "The beach was my savior. This is a whole new life, different than the life I had." Read more
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump unleashed attacks on rival Chris Christie on Monday, criticizing the New Jersey governor on everything from the state's economy to the George Washington Bridge scandal. Trump's remarks came after an editorial in the New Hampshire Union Leader, which has endorsed Christie, called the real estate mogul's campaign "an insult to the intelligence of Republican voters." Publisher Joseph W. McQuaid is "backing Chris Christie, and it's ridiculous to back Chris," Trump said. Trump also said Christie "can't win because of his past" and "there's no way he didn't know" about the bridge lane closures. Read more