Rec facilities go smokeless

Mayor Nutter yesterday signed an executive order that all city recreation centers, playgrounds and pools are to be smoke-free. The ban, which covers 200 facilities, includes outdoor spaces.

The policy is to take effect on July 1, and 1,000 signs will be posted at city facilities to alert people that they can't light up. Thousands of wallet-sized information cards will also be distributed with details on the policy and information on how to get help quitting. The departments of Health and Parks and Recreation will also provide free classes on quitting smoking at recreation centers across the city.

Panel votes to ax blogger tax

City Council's finance committee approved a bill yesterday that would do away with the dreaded "blogger" tax.

Any person generating income is now supposed to pay for a business-privilege license with a onetime fee of $300 or $50 annually, in addition to paying relevant taxes.

Councilman Bill Green's proposed legislation would exclude anyone making less than $3,000 a year through activities considered to be hobbies or any other activities that don't generate a profit. (Editorial: Page 11)

Jury awards family $1.87M

A Common Pleas jury yesterday awarded $1,869,449 to the family of a woman who died in 2007 after an emergency-room doctor failed to diagnose her symptoms or test her for carbon-monoxide poisoning.

On two occasions the woman, Koulnara Chrol, went to Jeanes Hospital, where she was given medicine for headaches, vomiting and dizziness and discharged. She returned to her Cheltenham home where, several days later, on Jan. 30, 2007, two people were found dead and she was unconscious. Chrol, 44, was hospitalized with a severe brain injury and died about two weeks later.

Both Chrol and her son, Jemal Shatemirov, the plaintiff in the case, had visited Jeanes' emergency room complaining of similar symptoms. Both were sent home without blood tests ordered to check for carbon-monoxide poisoning, despite symptoms that indicated exposure.

The defendants were the hospital and the attending physician, Dana Mark Weber.

Break for ex-hoopster

Matthew Kravchuk, the onetime college basketball player who got shoved by his coach during an aggressive practice drill and then busted for stealing beer, has been admitted into a first-time-offenders program.

Court records indicate that Kravchuk, 20, a Holy Family University student, was admitted to the Summary Diversion Program earlier this month. His record will be expunged if he successfully completes a $200, three-hour class on Oct. 15.

Kravchuk, of Frankford Avenue near Grant, was arrested April 6 after being seen stealing two bottles of beer worth $15 during a Phillies-Mets game at Citizens Bank Park. He was charged with retail theft and possession of alcohol by a minor.

- Staff and wire reports