No raises for city's senators

The Philadelphia delegation in the state Senate will not accept a 1.7 percent cost-of-living raise, state Sen. Shirley Kitchen said in a news release yesterday.

Kitchen, speaking as the leader of the seven-member delegation, said that accepting the automatic increase would not be appropriate in a tough economic time when Social Security recipients aren't getting an increase.

The cost-of-living increase went into effect Dec. 1 for the state Legislature and will kick in Jan. 1 for those in the executive and judicial branches. Cost-of-living increases were made automatic under a 1995 law.

Fire in Kensington warehouse

A fire ripped through a vacant warehouse in Kensington early yesterday, less than 24 hours after a man died in a similar fire in Kingsessing.

Shortly after 4 a.m., firefighters responded to a vacant two-story warehouse on American Street near Cambria. The fire raged for more than an hour before it was placed under control at 5:22 a.m., fire officials said. No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Kraft suspect arraigned

Yvonne Hiller, a Kraft Foods employee who police say fatally shot two co-workers and seriously injured a third during a September workplace rampage, was formally arraigned yesterday.

During a brief hearing in Common Pleas Court, which Hiller did not attend, Trial Commissioner Linda Mariani ordered that Hiller would have a pretrial conference Jan. 19.

Hiller, 43, is accused of fatally shooting LaTonya Brown, 36, and Tanya Wilson, 47, and critically wounding Bryant Dalton, 39, on Sept. 9 at the Kraft plant on Roosevelt Boulevard near Byberry Road, in the Northeast.

Hiller, a single mother of an adult son, told police that she attacked her co-workers with a .357 Magnum handgun after suffering years of harassment at their hands.

New Year's Eve trains

Revelers heading to Penn's Landing or to New York City's Times Square to ring in 2011 can take advantage of extended SEPTA late-night Regional Rail service to get home from the celebrations.

SEPTA has added late-night trains to Trenton, Elwyn, Marcus Hook, Malvern, Chestnut Hill West, Warminster, West Trenton, Lansdale, Norristown, Fox Chase and Chestnut Hill East, scheduled to leave Center City after the midnight fireworks at Penn's Landing.

$3M settlement for St. Mary

St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne has agreed to pay the U.S. government $3,283,725 to resolve claims raised by St. Mary's voluntary disclosure that it had improperly billed Medicare, U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said.

The improper billings, resulting in higher reimbursement for the hospital, were for one-day inpatient admissions between Oct. 1, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2007, that should have been coded as observations or outpatient visits.

St. Mary brought the case to the government's attention by voluntarily disclosing the improper billing, Memeger said.

- Staff and wire reports