School kids still eat free

Bowing to heavy lobbying from local lawmakers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture yesterday dropped plans to alter the city program that provides free breakfast and lunch to 120,000 low-income children each school day.

The Bush and Obama administrations had both initially ordered an end to the paperless meal program provided at 200 schools where the majority of the children live in poverty - but a USDA spokeswoman now says the program will remain as is, pending a congressional vote on the Child Nutrition Act later this year.

2009 homicide count: 119

Police recorded this year's 118th and 119th homicide on Thursday night when two men were killed within less than an hour of each other in separate incidents. Police found Hasan McKinney, 29, with a gunshot wound to the head on Passmore Street near Algon Avenue in Lawndale at about 10:30 p.m. after responding to a radio call for a person with a gun. McKinney was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police found Martin Mateo, 36, inside his home on Fanshawe Street near Castor Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia shot multiple times at about 11:15. Mateo was pronounced dead at Aria Health shortly after. Police had no suspects and knew of no motive in either incident. Tipsters can contact 215-686-TIPS.

He's again ruled incompetent

Steven Taliver, 49, accused of stalking Jamie Foxx and trying to force his way into the actor's room at the AKA Rittenhouse Square hotel in March, is still incompetent to face a preliminary hearing. At a previous court proceeding, a judge ordered Taliver committed to Norristown State Hospital.

Flo Messier, a public defender in the mental-health unit, told Municipal Court Judge Thomas Nocella yesterday that Taliver has not yet been sent to Norristown from county prison because of hospital space issues. The judge ordered Taliver to be committed to Norristown, and an Aug. 5 date was set for a status on his mental health.

Delco to elect GOP leader

Delaware County Republican Party Chairman Thomas Judge Sr. has set Nov. 10 as the election date for a new party leader. Former county council Chairman Andrew Reilly is his most likely successor.

2 charged in A.C. election

Two workers for a candidate in this week's Atlantic City mayoral election were charged yesterday with voter fraud involving absentee ballots - something long alleged but rarely proven in the gambling resort.

David Callaway, 45, of Pleasantville, and Luquay Q. Zahir, 34, of Atlantic City were charged with voter fraud and tampering with public documents. The state Attorney General's Office said they submitted absentee ballots purporting to be votes for Marty Small, a city councilman running for mayor, from voters who had never voted. *

- Staff and wire reports