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Mural art tour plan is set

HERE'S WHAT WILL make news in Philly this week: DEVELOPMENT Mural arts at Gallery Mural Arts officials, including Executive Director Jane Golden, tomorrow will unveil the launchpad at The Gallery at Market East for their popular mural tours.

HERE'S WHAT WILL make news in Philly this week:

DEVELOPMENT Mural arts at Gallery

Mural Arts officials, including Executive Director Jane Golden, tomorrow will unveil the launchpad at The Gallery at Market East for their popular mural tours.

"We wanted a space downtown that was accessible and easy for trolleys to take people on tours," said Jenn McCreary, director of communications for Mural Arts. "In addition, it will drive foot traffic into the Gallery." Some 20,000 people went on mural-arts tours last year.

Mural Arts at the Gallery is operating in a former retail space where visitors can purchase books and artwork by artists who painted the city's world-famous murals.

Some of the art will be replicas of murals on mugs or note cards, but original works of art will also be for sale.

Visitors also can view art exhibits of work by young people, age 10 to about 20, who are involved in Mural Arts education programs.

SCHOOLS Today through Friday

Thousands of Catholic elementary-school educators will further their professional development at the Sheet Metal Workers Hall, in South Philadelphia, as part of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's Office of Catholic Education plan to implement a new teaching methodology known as "Understanding By Design."

The estimated 2,800 teachers from the five-county area have been assigned one day, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., to learn the second phase of the system (teachers had Part I in September), said Superintendent Mary E. Rochford, who expects 500 to 600 educators to attend each day. Understanding By Design is already implemented in elementary schools, and beginning in September 2012 the high schools will have the system as well. We talked with Rochford about Understanding By Design last week.

Q: What is Understanding By Design?

A: If you listen to just the three words: I as a teacher am going to design understanding for my children. . . . The new method of planning actually causes a teacher to consider what deep, enduring learning is occurring for the individual child from day to day, week to week and unit to unit. Our goal is to have the child fully engaged in daily learning in the classroom, within each curriculum area, and ultimately have marketable skills to take with the student from grade level to grade level and into the workplace.

Q: Why now?

A: We looked at our classrooms and wanted to take our kids out of the 20th-century teaching style and bring them into the 21st century. Kids today are not interested in coming in, sitting and listening to you, me or anybody else. They'll listen for a minute or two or three, but you have to have them involved and engaged in their learning or see the direct use of whatever it is that you're teaching them. They need to see the use of technology in lots of ways, because that's the world they're going to.


An Allentown couple, both licensed chiropractors, go on trial for conspiracy, tax evasion and other related offenses. Prosecutors said that Paul and Barbara Basile were tax protesters who schemed to bilk the IRS from 1996 to September of this year through a variety of means.


It's been nearly six months since Wayne James allegedly blew his cool and shot up a Nicetown bar after being kicked out for smoking.

James, 45, of Logan, who was caught on surveillance video indiscriminately firing a handgun inside Genesis Tavern on June 26, is set for a preliminary hearing in Municipal Court.

He's charged with one count of murder, multiple counts of attempted murder and related offenses. Carl Sharper, 43, a Water Department employee from Germantown, was killed and five other bar patrons were wounded.


Resentencing is scheduled for Lawrence Scott Ward, a former University of Pennsylvania Wharton School professor who pleaded guilty to sex charges involving an underage Brazilian boy.

Prosecutors said that Ward made two trips in 2006 to Brazil, where he maintained a home, during which he engaged in sex with the boy and took numerous photographs and videos.

He then mailed the photos and videos to his Wharton office. Ward was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison in October 2009, but the 3rd Circuit overturned the sentence a year later because of procedural error.

CITY HALL Life partners benefits

Mayor Nutter is expected today to sign an equal-benefits bill that was passed unanimously by City Council earlier this month.

The legislation, first introduced in February by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, calls for contractors with city contracts of $250,000 or more to extend the same benefits - health insurance, family medical leave, bereavement leave - to the life partners of gay and lesbian employees that are offered to spouses of married employees.

Freshmen orientation

It's City Council 101 for the soon-to-be freshmen.

The six incoming members will get a crash course today on the legislative ins and outs of Council during a freshmen orientation in City Hall at 11 a.m in the Caucus Room.

The orientation will be led by Charles McPherson, Council's chief financial officer; Herb Wetzel, executive director of Council's housing and development committee; Michael Decker, Council's chief clerk; and Hal Fichandler, special assistant to City Council. It will focus on rules and procedures. Some members of City Council's new leadership team will be present.

Come Jan. 2, City Council will have its largest number of new faces since 1991, when seven new members were elected.

SEPTA East Falls needs help

State Sen. Vincent Hughes and SEPTA officials planned to gather this morning at the Midvale Avenue Bridge near SEPTA's East Falls station to discuss the need for an increase in state infrastructure spending.

The bridge needs about $800,000 worth of repairs, SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch said, while the East Falls station is long overdue for a $10 million renovation.

Both projects are part of a $5 billion backlog of SEPTA projects that have been piling up due to cuts in state funding.

- Staff writers David Gambacorta, Mensah M. Dean, Michael Hinkelman, Valerie Russ, Regina Medina

and Jan Ransom

contributed to this report.