Survey of the homeless

Mayor Nutter and federal officials have announced the results of Philadelphia's Homeless Outreach Week survey, the first ever citywide report on homelessness, as well as new efforts to move 50 people into permanent housing by the end of the year.

A total of 250 volunteers participated in Outreach Week, a local partnership with the national 100,000 Homes Campaign.

The volunteers surveyed 528 people living on city streets, identifying 51 percent as physically vulnerable and at increased risk of death. Most suffered from either or both mental-health issues or substance abuse.

Big casino winner

Don Johnson, of Bensalem, claims he's the high-rolling blackjack player who has won about $15 million overall at three Atlantic City casinos over the past six months. Casino officials have previously confirmed that one player had recently won millions of dollars playing high-stakes blackjack but declined to identify the person, citing privacy concerns.

The Press of Atlantic City reported yesterday that it had confirmed Johnson's accounts with multiple sources within the casino industry.

Malpractice lawsuits

The number of medical-malpractice lawsuits filed against doctors and hospitals in Pennsylvania dropped last year for the sixth year in a row.

A total of 1,491 malpractice lawsuits were filed in 2010, according to a report released last week by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

Court officials reported that 163 cases reached a jury, and 133 verdicts - 81 percent - favored the defense.

Chief Justice Ronald Castille said there has been a 45 percent decline in cases since the early 2000s, when the state made legal changes intended to weed out frivolous cases.

Rules for coal plants

Federal environmental officials will be in Philadelphia tomorrow to gather reaction to proposed rules to force coal plants in the state to clean up their stacks.

The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking public comment on a rule that would curb emissions of mercury, arsenic, lead, nickel, chromium and acid gases from coal plants.

Other rules in the works would limit ozone, particulates, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.

Coal provides 45 percent of the nation's electricity, and the output of Pennsylvania's 40 plants puts it in the front ranks of coal-burning states. But officials estimate that half of Pennsylvania's aging coal plants will have to make major investments to reduce emissions.

Or switch to cleaner fuels, as PPL did with the 1950s-era Martins Creek plant in Northampton County that now burns natural gas.

Or shut down, as Exelon Corp. says it plans for aged plants in Eddystone and Phoenixville.

- Staff and wire reports