New SEPTA station

Construction has been completed on SEPTA's new and relocated Parkside Bus Loop. The state-of-the-art facility, on 50th Street near Merion Avenue in Parkside, began serving residents and businesses this week. The loop is a key part of SEPTA's operation of Bus Routes 40, 43, 64 and 52.

The old loop dated back nearly a century and was overdue for modern upgrades.

Recycling cartons

Mayor Nutter, the Streets Department and the Carton Council, an organization of carton-makers, have announced that food and beverage cartons are now recyclable as a part of the city's residential curbside recycling program. With this new service, nearly all household containers are now recyclable.

Beginning immediately, residential households can place all empty, clean and dry food and beverage cartons in recycling bins. Commonly used carton containers include milk and juice cartons, along with soup and broth, soy milk, eggnog and wine cartons.

Fraud at library?

City Controller Alan Butkovitz has released the results of an investigation and an expanded audit of the Free Library's building-maintenance operations, finding significant opportunities for maintenance employees to commit fraud.

"Library management clearly failed to design and adopt appropriate procedures to monitor the work of its employees and supervise them," said Butkovitz. "These conditions created opportunities for library-maintenance employees to abuse and waste time at work - as well as possibly commit fraud by working privately at the same time they were getting paid by the city."

Devotion Mass set

Auxiliary Bishop Timothy C. Senior will celebrate the annual "Bless the Baby Jesus Devotion" and fourth Sunday of Advent Mass Sunday at the Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul.

The Bless the Baby Jesus Devotion is sponsored by the Family Life Office and Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Collection bins will be available at the cathedral for donations of diapers and infant formula for mothers and families served by Catholic Social Services.


$20M in DRPA grants

The Delaware River Port Authority voted yesterday to allocate $20 million to a cancer institute in Camden, a food bank, a rowing course and other projects in New Jersey, ending its 19-year run as an economic-development agency and once again angering its critics.

"I thought we changed our direction," said Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner, one of the DRPA's commissioners. "As I sit here today, I'm not sure we have."

At issue was whether the agency should give grants to outside groups to which it had made promises in 2009, or whether it should make good on a 2010 promise to focus only on transportation. By a 13-2 vote, it chose the former.

"I look at today as an opportunity to close the chapter on economic-development spending," said John Matheussen, the DRPA's chief executive officer.

The commission allocated $6 million to Cooper University Hospital, where the chairman of the board is New Jersey Democratic powerbroker George E. Norcross III. The money is for a new building to be a hub for its cancer institute in Camden. Ground is expected to be broken on the building in April, and the total cost is expected to be $80 million to $100 million.

- Staff and wire reports