Newsletter for Monday, April 13
INSTAGRAM OF THE DAY
How do you spend a beautiful weekend outside? Giant hamster ball soccer, of course. Pic by @cjbphilly on Instagram.
CITY HALL TO GET HISTORICALLY ACCURATE GATES
It is kind of a jarring experience: When workers close City Hall’s four entrances by swinging shut ugly cyclone doors. But no more, reports NewsWorks’ Tom McDonald. In the archival stacks of the building, city officials unearthed architect John MacArthur’s 1869 designs for ornate, spire-tipped metal gates. They’ll replace the plain-Jane chain-link numbers that swing shut today. Everything should happen by the end of the year.
EX-COMCAST CUSTOMER SERVICE CHIEF DINGS PHILLY’S SURVEY
Philadelphia is in the process of renewing its franchise agreement with Comcast. As part of that process, the city commissioned CBG Communications to conduct the study. You can review the full report here. But the report itself needs a little explanation — the comparisons in it aren’t apples to apples. And the end result looks like politics as usual, according to this guest column from the cable giant’s former Director of Customer Service.
BILLY PENN LIKES
7 TALES OF GREEKS GONE BAD: PHILLY’S FRAT ANTICS
The past few weeks have brought us seemingly endless headlines about frat bros from across the country basically living up to the frat bro stereotype. Back in December 2014, UPenn’s Phi Delta Theta frat decided to add a “Beyoncé” blow-up sex doll to their holiday card. On March 9, Sigma Alpha Epsilon at the University of Oklahoma decided to take the “True Gentleman Experience” they live by to a new whole level with their racist chant. Next up was Penn State’s Kappa Delta Rho frat and their photos of nude, unconscious women and drug sales. And to add more salt to the wound, the Pi Kappa Phi chapter at North Carolina State University has been suspended for creating its own racist burn book. Not every frat has turned to the dark side of Greek life, but Billy Penn sifted through the Greek system at five major Philly universities — Villanova, St. Joe’s, Drexel, Temple and UPenn — for news on local frat chapters that have, let’s say, lost sight of their purpose over the years.
SEPTA KEY IS TAKING SO LONG BECAUSE CHICAGO’S ROLLOUT WENT… POORLY
SEPTA officials have long touted SEPTA Key, the authority’s yet-to-come transit card system, as uniquely Philly and something that wasn’t necessarily based on a transportation payment system from one city or another. They wanted it to be a step up from what’s offered in New York, Washington D.C., and even Boston, which implemented a similar contactless payment system in 2007. Of the 21st-century transportation payment methods constructed in major U.S. cities, SEPTA admits that Philly’s is most similar to Chicago’s Ventra system. And layering that over the Second City’s existing transit system was a real mess.