Another hitch for Mummers

City officials will meet with Mummers representatives today over another New Year's Day stumbling block.

Mummers' attorney George Badey said that the city now refuses to pay an estimated $70,000 to cover the cost of police and sanitation services for the traditional post-parade march that string bands make down 2nd Street in South Philly. Badey said that the string bands don't have the funds, but their members are convinced that thousands will flock to 2nd Street regardless.

"They want to work with the city on this public-safety issue," Badey said.

Vigil Masses at cathedral

Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, will celebrate Christmas vigil Masses at 5 and 7:30 p.m. today in the Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul in Center City. The Archdiocesan Boys Choir will sing at 7.

Beginning at 11 p.m., the Cathedral Basilica Choir and the Cathedral Basilica Brass Quartet will provide prelude music. Mass will be celebrated at midnight. At 8 and 10 a.m. and at noon tomorrow, Masses will be celebrated in the cathedral.

Comcast joins in toy-giving

Comcast has donated more than 800 toys and books to the Toys for Tots campaign and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia as part of the company's "Comcast Cares" initiative. The items were collected between Thanksgiving and Christmas and were donated by people from throughout the region.

Insurance wait list hits record

Pennsylvania's Insurance Department says that the waiting list for a state-subsidized health-insurance program for adults has reached an all-time high.

A department spokeswoman said yesterday that 145,800 adults were on the waiting list for the adult basic-insurance program, which helps uninsured adults whose incomes are too high to qualify them for Medicaid.

N.J. man charged in tot death

Meredith Rogers, 29, of Evesham, Burlington County, was charged with murder yesterday in the killing of his girlfriend's 17-month old son last month.

Authorities said that Rogers was caring for little Daniel Cruz Jr. in Palmyra on Nov. 25 while the boy's mother slept, and that he apparently beat the boy to death. Rogers is being held on $500,000 bail in the Burlington County Jail.

Phones headed to GIs stolen

More than 40 donated cell phones destined for U.S. soldiers serving overseas were stolen over the weekend from the offices of two New Jersey lawmakers.

The phones, part of the Cell Phones for Soldiers, a program that gives active-duty troops free air time to call loved ones on the holidays, were stolen from the legislative offices shared by Assembly Democratic Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman and Assemblyman Reed Gusciora in Trenton. *

- Staff and wire reports