Philadelphia’s top news stories of 2013

building collapse
Responders sifted through rubble yesterday as a search and rescue operation unfolded near 22nd and Market streets. (Credit: Rikard Larma / Metro).

Center City building collapse leaves six dead

Philadelphia’s biggest news story this year was a tragic one — one that saw six people die and more than a dozen injured in a building collapse at 22nd and Market streets on June 5.

Among the dead include Anne Bryan, a student and artist, who was shopping at the Salvation Army at the time its walls caved in after the demolition site next door collapsed.

Salvation Army employee Kimberly Finnegan, who was on the job for only one day, also died.

Victim Borbor Davis was a volunteer at the Center City non-profit.

Juanita Harmin, Mary Simpson and Roseline Conteh also lost their lives that summer day.

A massive search through debris, memorial services, wrongful death suits and most recently — murder charges for the contractor at the demolition site — kept us glued to the awful story that made the most headlines this year in Philadelphia and also caught international attention.

The city has been holding a series of investigative hearings reviewing city demolition practices.

Philadelphia schools and its ‘doomsday’ budget

The School District of Philadelphia closed 24 schools this year, and still faced a $304 million budget shortfall. It asked for $180 million from the city and state and $133 million in labor concessions. The city and state sent $112 million, but so far, still no union deal is in place.

Over the year, Philadelphia has seen students walk out in protest, staff members get fired and rehired and dozens of rallies in support of the kids.

Abortion doc Kermit Gosnell gets life in prison

Kermit Gosnell entered prison at age 72, and he’ll never celebrate another birthday outside its walls.

Gosnell was sentenced on May 13 to life for murdering three babies and conducting late-term abortions in his West Philadelphia clinic.

He was handed another 30 years this month for selling hundreds of thousands of highly addictive prescription painkillers.

Firefighter dies in Queen Village blaze

Less than a year after two firefighters died when a wall collapsed as they fought a Kensington fire, another blaze claimed another life.

On April 5, Capt. Michael Goodwin, a 29-year veteran, died fighting a 3-alarm fire in a fabric store in Queen Village. He was engulfed in flames after the roof where he was working collapsed.

Dan Sweeney, 25, and Lt. Robert Neary, 60, died on April 9, 2012.

Veteran police office shot

Officer Edward Davies, 41, a seven-year veteran, was shot in August after a struggle with an armed gunman in a Feltonville mini mart.

Davies endured several surgeries, including the removal of a kidney, and ultimately survived. He had spent a month in the hospital.

He was honored as “Officer of the Year” by the Philadelphia Police Department recently. His alleged shooter, Eric Torres, was arrested a few days after the incident.

 

 

Other top news stories

1. SEPTA fare hikes and its doomsday budget worried a lot of passengers this year.

2. Gun legislation allowing background checks are still at a standstill.

3. Philadelphians celebrated the strike down of DOMA.

4. Airport subcontractors, fast food workers and unions are fighting for fair wages.

5. Monsu owner Peter McAndrews gets threats over the desire to serve horse meat.

6. A couple stole two cop cars in a multi-state police chase.

7. Philly’s Rebecca Schaefer said she was going to recreate the Rocky Run — and she did.

8. Chubby Checker sues over penis-measuring phone app.

9. The girlfriend of prominent criminal defense lawyer A. Charles Peruto Jr. was found dead in his bathtub.

10. Herbert and Catherine Schaible were charged with murder after praying over their sick baby instead of taking him to the doctor.


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