What Happened Next: Updating stories from March and April

NewsWorks went back to check in on several of the stories it covered in 2013. These “What Happened Next” updates will run through the remainder of 2013. 

Manayunk’s former St. Lucy’s site to take on transformation, March 8

The Story: In March, local developers announced that they were seeking to transform a former church property in Manayunk into apartments and single family homes.

Developers from Green Lane Realty Associates obtained land and buildings that once belonged to St. Lucy’s Parish, which was merged in 2012 as part of a restructuring initiative by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

They were looking to convert the former St. Lucy School into 14 apartments, convert the former rectory into three single-family homes, and bring nine additional homes to what currently serves as a parking lot, situated across Green Lane from the shuttered school building.

What Happened Next: The developers received zoning approval earlier this year. Developer Andy Molson did not return a phone call from NewsWorks, but Kevin Smith, president of the Manayunk Neighborhood Council said that no updates about the project have been provided to the community.

Developer Andy Molson said in December that permits are in hand, and that his staff is currently in the process of cleaning out the building and beginning renovations.

While originally hoping for a spring opening, due to what Molson described as a “tough winter,” he is expecting work to conclude in June. (Matthew Grady)

NewsWorks editor by day, East Falls quizmaster by night, March 15

The Story: Several months ago, NewsWorks editor Brian Hickey accepted the position of bi-weekly quizzomaster at Murphy’s Irish Saloon in East Falls.

What Happened Next: As reported by NewsWorks, many of Hickey’s skill-sets were still latent and/or prospective at the time, but in the subsequent months he worked diligently to improve both his comedic timing and his delivery. Research methodologies are still, as of press time, opaque.

As a consequence, he has garnered a small-but-loyal following of dedicated Hickeyphiles and has “edutained” hundreds of other unsuspecting patrons of the beloved neighborhood bar.

“Having never hosted — and rarely played — Quizzo before, it took a few weeks to get the lay of the land,” said Hickey, observing that a change in position from table to bar was “instrumental” in fostering a competitive spirit.

“When I realized several teams were coming back regularly, that helped build a regular two-way conversation that made the event feel cozier than it was initially,” he explained.

Mike Murphy, who manages his family-namesake bar, referenced earlier on-the-record appraisals of Hickey.

“No talent ass-clown that is more comfortable at it,” said Murphy, adding that the host’s new-found confidence has resulted in “loud and obnoxious comments.” (MG)

SPCA, police continue investigation into possible E. Germantown dog-fighting ring, March 20

The Story: Philadelphia Police responded to a domestic disturbance call on the 6300 block of Norwood St. and found evidence of a wide array of crimes: along with drugs and a stolen motorcycle, seven dogs believed to be involved in a fighting ring were found inside the East Germantown home.

Shawn Peterson, a 35-year-old resident of that location, was arrested on drug-possession and stolen-vehicle charges.What Happened Next: Sarah Eremus, spokesperson for the PSPCA, said that 10 animals were seized from the property, seven dogs and three cats. The suspect Shawn Peterson, surrendered five of the dogs and all three cats to the Pennsylvania SPCA.

“The two dogs that were not surrendered will remain in the care of the Pennsylvania SPCA during the pendency of the litigation,” said Eremus, who explained that all of the surrendered animals have been released: Four dogs were adopted and one was transferred to a rescue partner; all three cats were adopted.

Peterson was held for court felony animal cruelty charges and drug charges in September; Eremus said the PSPCA expected a court date in late spring or early summer. (MG)

Police: Germantown man allegedly stabbed 7-month-old son, April 13

The Story: NewsWorks reported that Philadelphia police arrested a Germantown man for allegedly stabbing his seven-month old son in the head with a knife.

What Happened Next: At a May preliminary hearing, Municipal Court Judge James Murray Lynn ordered Samuel Jones be held for trial on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment, among other offenses.

According to medical professionals at the hearing, the victim still suffers partial paralysis and other possible long-term effects. Jones’ bail was raised to $1 million by Judge Lynn.

At present, Jones remains in custody and will face trial in March of 2014, according to court documents. (MG)

Neighbor: Man ‘pacing … nervously’ at E. Germantown lot days before body found, April 18

The Story: In April, the body of 31-year-old Latasha Cherry was discovered “wrapped in a blue blanket, tied with rope from head to toe” in a vacant lot off the 5200 block of Magnolia St. in Germantown. The mother of five had been reported missing two months earlier after an altercation at a North Philadelphia bar. A neighbor told NewsWorks that she’d noticed a suspicious man at the lot shortly before the discovery.

What Happened Next: Philadelphia Police Homicide Unit Lt. Norman Davenport told NewsWorks that while investgators know Cherry wasn’t killed at that lot, further details have been difficult to come by.

“There is no motive, or angle that we’re pursuing at this point,” he said, noting that pinning down an exact time for when the victim was fatally strangled has been difficult, too.

Cherry’s cousin, Tiffaney Hobbs, said that the family has heard from detectives a couple times but nothing came of it.

“It’s more than frustrating. This is a person’s life that was taken,” she said. Cherry’s children “are OK. They’re getting older, but I don’t think the youngest one realizes what happened.” (Brian Hickey)

Herbiary to discontinue Chestnut Hill classes after variance request battle, April 29

The Story: After a three-month battle with the zoning board of the Chestnut Hill Community Association and near-neighbors, the team behind Chestnut Hill’s Herbiary dropped a variance request to host herbal training classes at their Mermaid Lane satellite location.

At the time, co-owner Andrew Cewlyn said, “we will be looking for a more supportive environment to enrich the lives of others with herbal teaching.”

What Happened Next: According to Cewlyn, Herbiary is holding some classes at Reading Terminal Market — where they have a stall — in the Rick Nichols Room.

They are also offering more classes online.  The newest class, Witch Camp, launched last week. So far, folks from Maine, Florida, Texas, Alaska, England and Ireland have signed up for the remote class. (Neema Roshania)

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