Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf renewed his call Sunday for state Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin to resign, but an attorney for the judge said he has no plans to step down. Wolf said Eakin showed poor judgement by voting to fill a vacancy on the disciplinary tribunal that will weigh misconduct allegations against him in the Porngate email scandal. "That Justice Eakin saw fit to participate in appointing someone he knew could soon be involved in reviewing his own behavior demonstrates a remarkable lack of judgment," the governor said. "Given the nature of Justice Eakin's conduct, and the real concern that he could not be impartial in presiding over cases involving the groups of people disparaged in his emails, he should resign." But William Costopoulos, Eakin's attorney, said Sunday night that Eakin "is not going to resign" and Wolf's call for him to do so was "unfair." Read more
In the weeks after the terror attacks in Paris, Arab Americans and Muslism in Philadelphia and other places say they are experiencing more episodes of bias. Maher Khalil, 28, was temporarily barred from boarding a plane for speaking Arabic. "It's like a nightmare," said the Northeast Philadelphia resident, who owns a Feltonville pizza shop. "I feel I'm not free to speak my language." The Council on American-Islamic Relations has reported an "unprecedented backlash" against Muslims to an extent not seen since the days after Sept. 11, 2001. Jacob Bender, head of CAIR's Philadelphia branch, said there is "a marked increase in the Muslim community's fear." Meanwhile, Philadelphia police say more people have been reporting suspicious activity since the Paris attacks, and often describe the individuals as Middle Eastern or Arabic men. Read more
A new study from Penn Medicine indicates that where people go and how they get there can raise or lower the risks of being exposed to violence by guns and other weapons. The Penn researchers interviewed 10- to 24-year-old males just after they were treated for gunshot wounds and other injuries from violence at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Gun-assault risks were higher for men who were alone or recently acquired a gun, while non-gun assault victims were likelier to be near recreation centers or among those who had consumed alcohol. Both had higher risks in areas near vacant buildings, overall violence and vandalism. "Even once risks are pinpointed, it may be hard to get people to change behavior - to have them not walk down a certain street or not carry a gun, for instance," epidemiology professor Douglas Wiebe said. "But if we can change urban environments to make them safer, we can protect all people who come into contact with those places." Read more
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia plans to close two suburban churches, saying maintenance costs are too steep. Immaculate Conception B.V.M. Church in Levittown and St. Gertrude Church in West Conshohocken will shut down. Both will no longer serve as worship sites for their parent parishes. The cost of maintaining the two churches was more than $215,000, according to the archdiocese. Read more
For the handful of surviving Philadelphia-area veterans who witnessed the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, memories of that day that would "live in infamy" are still clear. Holmesburg Alex Horanzy, 93, had just finished a week of combat training as an Army private when he was awakened by blasts and gunfire from the first wave of the attack: "They were like a bunch of hornets. It was scary." Horanzy is now the president of the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Association, which is planning a memorial service in Valley Forge this morning. Another veteran, Navy Seaman Second Class Benjamin Lichtman, was called back to Pearl Harbor from weekend leave after his battleship, the USS West Virginia, was hit by seven torpedoes and sank. "My ship was burning," the 93-year-old Marlton resident said. "With all the smoke, I couldn't see half of it. I lost several I was close to." Read more