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Michael Hagan absolutely loved the city of Philadelphia, and his murder in the early hours of July 1st in Society Hill furthermore reinforces the fact that the city’s homicide rate is out of control.

As of July 8th, there have been 189 murders on record in Philadelphia- a 13% increase from this time last year (168 at this point in 2011).
Philadelphia Police still need your help solving Michael Hagan’s senseless murder. Photo: guncrisis.com
For Michael’s mother, Carol Hagan, the fact that her son met an untimely and violent end on the streets of a city he loved so much is unfathomable.

“We are devastated,” says Mrs. Hagan.

“We are just going through the motions to get through each day. There is an emptiness inside of us. Michael's death was just so senseless. Michael graduated from Drexel University in 2003. He bought a home in Fishtown, renovated it and loved being a part of the revitalization of that area. He stayed apprised of things going on in the city by visiting Philly planning websites and attending meetings, when he could. He loved trying new restaurants in the area, shopped locally, and was environmentally conscious. He loved the city. Michael was exactly the type of person the city is trying to entice.”

Despite this story being featured prominently on the local news, there is virtually no evidence that the Philadelphia Police Department can work with to help bring Hagan’s killer to justice- and Carol Hagan doesn’t believe much progress has been made despite the efforts of police.

“No, not that we are aware of,” says Mrs. Hagan. “If anyone has any surveillance video of the area please give it to police. This is a wealthy neighborhood. I'm sure there must be some neighbors in the area with surveillance cameras, even if you think it isn't anything, just turn the tapes into police and let them take a look.  There is a $40,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for this murder.”  



During the past month, the Hagan family has received an outpouring of emotion and support from many who knew Michael. Although some knew him for a shorter time than others, they are all in agreement that their lives are better for having known him.

“Right now it's so hard to even think that something this horrible could result in anything good...but I guess if everyone was just a little more like Michael the world would be a much better place,” Mrs. Hagan says. “He was such a gentle, kind, intelligent and compassionate person who touched so many people in such a positive way that he will always be remembered.”

Information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the murder of Michael Hagan can be called in to the Crime Commission Tipline: (215)-546-TIPS or Philadelphia Police Tipline at: 215-686-TIPS (Anonymity Protected)

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com  



INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN AUTHOR AND MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER ON DISABILITIES,GLENDA WATSON HYATT, TO CLIMB ART MUSEUM STEPS, ROCKY-STYLE,WITH HELP FROM WISH UPON A HERO, AND THE ORIGINAL ‘ROCKY,’ CHUCK WEPNER

WHAT: Glenda Watson Hyatt, an author and blogger who has cerebral palsy, will fulfill a dream on her bucket list by climbing the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art with the assistance of Wish Upon a Hero and Rocky Spirit #RockywishWish Upon a Hero

WHEN: Saturday, July 28, 2012
9:30 – 10:30am
10am climb up steps begins

WHERE: Philadelphia Museum of Art,Steps
Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia

WHO:
Glenda Watson Hyatt -- author, blogger

Dave Girgenti, founder, Wish Upon a Hero (www.wishuponahero.com)

Chuck Wepner, boxing champ and heavyweight contender who went the distance 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali

Felice Cantatore, author of Rocky Spirit, the Rocky Balboa connection to success

30 Caped volunteers

Rocky Impersonator, Mike Kunda, author of Cue the Rocky Music

CONTACT: Carol Lunger, Star Group Public Relations
610-574-0576

DETAILS:

Glenda Watson Hyatt, author of 'I’ll Do It Myself,' and known as the ‘Left Thumb Blogger,’ has cerebral palsy. She has dreamed of climbing the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art just as Sylvester Stallone did in the movie Rocky. Summiting the steps has become symbolic of overcoming obstacles of all kinds. For Glenda, who is unable to walk without support, the climb will be a mental AND physical accomplishment.
Below is the wish she posted on social helping website Wish Upon a Hero (see wish here):

'My wish is to climb the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Arts in the spirit of Rocky Balboa - like in the movie "Rocky.” I will need assistance in accomplishing this feat. A team of one makes this adventure possible; a team of two would be better support when summiting the stairs; a team of three means a Scooter Wrangler to drive my scooter around to the top of the stairs; a team of four means an Official Photographer and Social Media Liaison.'

From Glenda’s wish posting two authors of Rocky themed books answered her call for onsite support, Felice Cantatore, of Rocky Spirit, the Rocky Balboa connection to Success and Mike Kunda, Cue the Rocky Music. Kunda is a Rocky Balboa impersonator.

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In the 1970’s, Robert Blake kept the streets safe every week on the ABC hit crime drama Baretta.

So it was kind of ironic this week that Piers Morgan  seemed far from safe while interviewing Blake on his CNN show.

Almost ten years after being acquitted for the murder of his wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley, the reclusive Blake was a guest on Morgan’s show this week to promote his new book, "Tales of a Rascal."  At times, Blake, now 78 years of age, appeared disheveled and at times enraged, most noticeably when the questions Morgan asked him shifted from his book to Bakley.

You can check out some of the cringeable footage right here:

 

 

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Photo: nydailynews.com



Although rumors had persisted for weeks regarding now-former Today Show host Ann Curry’s likely exit, it was still a shock to see an emotional Curry announce her departure in a rather rushed manner on Thursday morning with co-workers Matt Lauer, Natalie Morales and Al Roker looking on.

Simply put, the Today Show needs to point the finger at someone for their declining ratings. On several occasions this year, Good Morning America has beaten ‘Today’ in the ratings war- something that previously hadn’t happened since Prism was still in existence. They needed a fall guy (or girl) and Curry was it.

While Roker and Morales’ sentiments they shared with Curry during her farewell seemed heartfelt and sincere, Lauer’s comments seemed wooden, almost as if he was interviewing her. Furthermore, Curry didn’t seem like she was buying any of it, thanking him in a tone that, if read into subliminally, could easily have been interpreted as a big “Go F@#k yourself, Matt.”  Also, when Lauer went to kiss her on the cheek, Curry moved away, reacting as if she was just unwillingly kissed by her brother. Body language says a lot. Just check out the video:



Matt Lauer has a lot of pull at the Today Show. I’m no genius, but if Lauer REALLY wanted Curry to remain with him in the morning, wouldn’t you think she would still be there? It sure seems that way. And while the Today Show tries to retool their program, the circumstances concerning Curry’s exit scored her major points with most of her co-workers (most likely not Lauer) as well as the general public.

On the other hand, NBC should be absolutely ashamed. The way this was handled was a disaster. Was Curry’s transition to head co-host flawless? Absolutely not. In saying that, the powers that be let this drag out and drag out, and although Curry apparently got a very nice salary (an estimated $10 million severance pay), the fact that she was given just five minutes on screen to say goodbye after 15 years on the show was a disgrace.

All is not lost for Curry, who has given a platform to be featured on almost every NBC program by the network. Unfortunately, that platform will no longer include the Today Show, whose ratings dip may continue to seesaw in the wake of this debacle.

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Barnabas:Barnabas needs our help before he can be adopted.

Barnabas and his siblings were 14-day old orphaned kittens when they arrived on NAR’s doorstep for help.  Now three months old, Barnabas and his siblings have defied the odds and have grown up healthy and strong.  

However, upon exam prior to his neuter surgery, Barnabas was found to have an injury to his genitalia, with a stenotic urethra (an extremely narrow penile opening).  After a consult with a veterinary surgeon, NAR learned that Barnabas will need a corrective surgery called a perineal urethrostomy. This procedure removes the penis and widens the opening of the urethra, and is performed by a veterinary specialist.

NAR is asking for your help to off-set the costs of this life-saving procedure, so that we may help Barnabas over another hurdle in his fight to live the life he deserves.  Please visit http://narcats.chipin.com/barnabas to read Barnabas’ full story and to make a donation in any amount towards his surgery.

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One day after being convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse, former Penn State defensive football coach Jerry Sandusky is reportedly under suicide watch, according to one of his lawyers.

Whether it’s for his mental or physical well-being, Sandusky is being kept away from other inmates as a precaution, but how long can that last? Convicts in prison don’t take too well to convicted pedophiles. They evidently hate them worse than murderers, and there haSandusky guiltys been no reports of Sandusky being secluded from the general population once he is sentenced in 90 days.

Originally, I thought there was a chance that the jury (see: Casey Anthony) would find some technicality that would get Sandusky off scot-free. However, the jury found the accusers quite convincing. And even though they may not have completely sold on all of them, they were sold on the majority of them, and that’s all that matters.

As far as Sandusky’s mental frame of mind is concerned, can you blame him for wanting to end it all if this report is true? In all actuality, Sandusky just might be better off dead. At this time, he is the most hated man in America, he most likely faces life in prison (despite an appeal from his attorneys), and there are potentially more criminal charges to be filed against him before all is said and done. There are other accusers, such as Sandusky’s adopted son Matthew, who also claims abuse at the hands of Sandusky.  In other words, this case is far from closed no matter what sentence the judge hands down.


Contact The Peoples Blogger at peoplesblogger@yahoo.com

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Do you believe in heaven and hell? Have you ever questioned who you are, or where you are going in life? Does any of life’s everyday ups and downs really matter in the grand scheme of things?

Well, our favorite Peanuts characters are back, and boy have they grown up in Dog Sees God, a play that will have you asking yourself all of these questions and more.
          
The play, currently being performed at the Ritz Theater Company in Haddon Township, New Jersey is jaw dropping, hysterical, and thought provoking. It opens with Charlie Brown (or C.B. as he’s now called) all grown up and in high school telling us of the loss of his beloved dog. The opening monologue, a letter to the pen pal who never writes him back, is a sad tale of lost direction and a contemplation of who or what he believes in. C.B. said it best himself: “The rain cloud came back and everything went to hell.
Dog Sees God is running June  21st -23rd at 8 pm. For more information about this and all of the up and coming production visit www.ritztheatreco.org.
At the time I didn’t realize it, but that one simple line sums up all of the Peanuts’ characters lives as teenagers. C.B. is played by Craig Hutchings, who brought Charlie Brown to life in a breathtaking performance that brought tears in my eyes (as well as his own when the cast was bowing at the close of the play.)

C.B is slowly discovering that grownup life is not as simple as childhood- a concept many of us have struggled with in our own lives. His sister Sally (played by Kaitlyn Delengowski) is struggling with her own identity issues. One day she is a Baptist, the next day she is Wiccan. Kaitlyn took the sweet and innocent younger sister we all grew up with and gracefully brought her identity crisis to life, with an honest portrayal of what so many high school students struggle with. All while being secretly in love with Schroder or Beethoven (as he now goes by), played by Ian Kimble. Beethoven slowly becomes the center of the play and brings the hardest hitting issues of bullying, suicide, and homophobia to the stage.  

Kimble’s performance as Beethoven brought tears to my eyes as he expressed the difficulties of being bullied and attacked throughout high school, all because someone decided that he was gay.  This is an issue that has become extremely prevalent in the last few years, and his performance will break your heart in regards to the blunt honesty of what so many gay (and not gay) children go thru every day because they are different.
          
All the rest of our favorites are still here to bring comedic relief as well as an entirely different set of issues to the stage. Peppermint Patty (played by Kristin Foreman) now goes by Tricia, and is starting down the road of drugs, alcohol, and promiscuity. Her best friend Marcy (played by Sara Viniar) is headed down the same road as Tricia and is desperate for attention. You’ll be laughing and shaking your head at Foreman and Viniar’s antics constantly. Their amazing performances are sure to remind you just how hard it is to feel like you fit in, as well as the great lengths so many of us go to in order to feel accepted.
          
Linus, who now goes by Van (played by Sean Casey), has grown up and become a stoner. The one thing that hasn’t changed is his slightly off but always thought provoking advice.  Casey’s performance is exactly how I pictured Linus all grown up, and he does not disappoint in his interpretation of Charlie Brown’s best friend.  Linus’ sister Lucy (played by Jennie Knackstedt) has landed herself in a mental institution. But don’t worry, the doctor is still in and charging five cents for advice when C.B. pays her a visit. While Knackstedt has the least amount of stage time, it’s still an extremely important role. She is the person who applauds C.B. for stepping outside of the box and finally trying to accept who he is. At the same time, she makes you want to stand up and cheer for C.B. as well.
          
If you are a Pig-Pen fan, don’t worry- he is back as well. He now goes by Matt and is played by Rob Paluso (he also is now borderline OCD about being clean!)  Matt, once the quiet ball of dirt, is now a bully and homophobic. Rob brought bullying center stage in an in-your-face stunning performance. His portrayal of a boy so insecure with who he is that he lashes at others and makes you wonder about every bully you have ever crossed paths with.

Director Ernie Jewell has not only brought together an amazing cast, but he made sure that their performance will make you wish you could go back to high school and stand up to the class bully, as well as stop judging other people you encounter in life. I should warn you this play has some extremely mature content, including language and sexual references.
          
However if you have ever wondered where do we go when we die, struggled to accept the death of a loved one, search high and low only to still not know who you are, or bent over backwards to find acceptance from your peers, been bullied (or been the bully), then Dog Sees God is without a doubt a must-see need to experience. It truly is a one of a kind, life-changing play.
          
The play is running June  21st -23rd at 8 pm. For more information about this and all of the up and coming production visit www.ritztheatreco.org.

Mandelyn Kilroy is currently attending Full Sail University and majoring in Creative Writing For Entertainment. Mandelyn currently lives out side of Philadelphia near King of Prussia with her cocker spaniel Chloe. When she is not working or studying, she spends her time reading, writing, and taking in everything Philly has to offer.

Contact her at mandelyn_kilroy@yahoo.com  

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As is evident in my tardiness of this article, I have been making a lot of changes in my life lately and time has just been flying past me like zoo smell in summer.  I changed jobs and companies, and just as the excitement of a new position approached, so did the stress of tying up all of the loose ends at my current position.   Along with this decision to change jobs I also decided to change a specific character trait; I made the conscious decision to begin to tell the truth, difficult or not.   

By this I don't mean I am a compulsive liar, I just mean I have a tendency to take the "easier" way out of a lot of situations.  I never categorized this as being anti-truth, but I saw it as sparing someone's feelings, or avoiding unnecessary drama.  Looking back at this tactic I've employed over the years, I've only ever CREATED more drama for myself.   Just recently, I meet a man in the grocery store and we had a good time chatting on the phone and such, but in person I was less than impressed.  He shows up to our first date looking like he just finished mowing the lawn.  The man had on dirty jeans, a ripped tee-shirt, some banged up sneakers, and not at all looking as though he put any thought or effort into making that all important first date impression.   Photo: hercampus.com

I am not shallow enough to have immediately looked at him and said (in a Valley-Girl tone) "um…WHATEVER!", but I did immediately wonder if it was really worth it for me to have applied my self-tanner if this guys going to come decked out in his "garage cleaning" attire.   Regardless, I went ahead with the date and just tried to overlook his lax appearance.  I mean who knows, maybe he just did come from moving the lawns of his local retirement communities, the benefit of the doubt can sometimes come back and pleasantly surprise you.

Overall, I realized it wasn't his choice in wardrobe that I didn't really dig about half way into the date, it was basically him.  He was all hands, and unless I am CLEARLY putting it out to you that I want your hands all over me, best bet is to keep them to yourself for the time being.  To top off the flattery, he lets me know that he knows he likes me because "I don't want to bang you right away,” and evidently that's how he knows if he really REALLY likes you.  Special.  On the way out, he asks to plan our next date and I very casually accept that we'll discuss another date later on, knowing all the while I didn't intend on having a second date, I just figured I'll politely decline later and let the communication come to an end in that manner.  No muss no fuss.   

He followed up for a second date, and I casually communicated I wouldn't be able to make it.  In my brain, this is a MUCH better solution to me giving him actual feedback on my opinion of the first date and why I don't really want to go on a second one, but evidently I was wrong.  He was grandly insulted at my ability to lead him on, the lack of backbone I had to just tell him I wasn't interested, and the "sh*tty character" I had which allowed me to be so deceitful.   

Personally, I think he was a little over-dramatic and should have kept his fleeting options about me to himself, considering I had an arsenal of less than good comments to fire back at him, but you have to give him credit for giving it to me honestly.  I of course, am walking away from that situation ecstatic that I didn't waste any more time, or self tanner, on him, but it did spark in me a though on honesty and wondering if it's always the "best policy"?   Who's to say if I would have been upfront and said at the conclusion of the first date "sorry, I'm not interested in a second date,”  maybe that would have saved us both the dramatic moment that followed.  

I'm realizing more and more that when I have denied someone else the truth about my real thoughts, I justify this by saying "I'm just trying to save them any hurt feelings.” Truth is, and this was a big pill to swallow, it's my own fear of rejection and hurt feelings that I'm transposing onto the other person. Rather than giving them the benefit of closure and truthfully knowing my position on something as small as a second date possibility or as big as a full fledged relationship, I'm being less than honest with them.    

The lesson I'm trying to learn here is that we should all treat each other with kindness, and of course you don't NEED to spout off your opinion to someone each chance you have just because you're full-steam ahead on the idea of 100% honesty, but it's best to allow others to make their decisions with all relevant information present and truthful.  It's not fair to let someone go forward on a collusion that isn't really in line with what were the actual reasons coming from you.   

I'm glad that jack-ass decided to "tell me off", because I think this was a good angel to take away from our date. Plus, the last thing he said to me was I owe him for the "free dinner" I had of chicken fingers.

So in case he's reading this, send me you're address and I'll put the check and some new Hanes tees in the mail.        

Ladies, ever wonder where the phrase "tapped that" originated?  Fella's, ever wonder if girls had slumber parties with nighties and pillow fights?  Yeah, well me too.  The Vagina MonoBlogs takes a proactive but honest point of view on some of these timeless questions and offers some perspectives to apply...or avoid for that matter!

Contact Brandi Conrow at brandi.conrow@hotmail.com

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Photo: hercampus.com



Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern PA (BBBS SEPA) is a donor and volunteer supported organization that provides children facing adversity -- often those of single parent or low-income households or families where a parent is incarcerated -- with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better. The program has been proven to help children achieve measurable outcomes, like educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships.Big Brothers Big Sisters SEPA

In 2011, BBBS SEPA served more than 3,500 children in Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties, making the agency the 4th largest of 350 agencies nationwide. Most importantly, this program works. In recent years, 96% of children in the program were not arrested; 98% avoided becoming a teen parent; 96% advanced to the next grade; and 95% avoided tobacco, drugs and alcohol.

Unfortunately, more than 1,000 children are on their waiting list for a mentor; and of those kids, 800 are boys. Boys like Abdul, an only child in a single-parent household growing up in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Philadelphia.

“All of his cousins are older and didn’t have time for him. He was a lonely, lost child. I had to do something,” recalls his mother, Germaine. Abdul was matched with Big Brother Trevor more than three years ago.

Little Brother Abdul is very grateful to have Trevor in his life.

“It only gets better and better,” said Abdul. “Trevor is not my Big, he is just my brother now.”

Abdul was even part of Trevor’s wedding last spring (dressed in a tux just like the rest of the
wedding party).

Germaine believes Trevor is “the best thing that happened to Abdul” and appreciates that her son opens up to Trevor about things he isn’t comfortable talking to her about.

“I only hope other boys are blessed with a Big Brother like my son,” she told us.

The agency is holding a free breakfast event in June for anyone interested in getting involved. The Big Stories Breakfast brings together more than 300 Philadelphia area professionals to learn about the mission and vision of Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern PA. Bring friends, family and co-workers to hear powerful testimonials from people whose lives have been positively impacted by the program.

Big Stories Breakfast
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
Crystal Tea Room
Philadelphia, PA

To RSVP for this event, or for more information about BBBS SEPA, call 215.790.9200 or email  bigstories@bbbssepa.org

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