Simmonds scores 30th to lead Flyers past Islanders, 6-3 

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Wayne Simmonds got his 30th goal of the season as the Philadelphia Flyers scored five times in a fight-filled first period on the way to a 6-3 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.

Dale Weise, Radko Gudas, Jordan Weal, Sean Couturier and Valtteri Filppula also scored for the Flyers, who won their third straight. Philadelphia began play six points out of a playoff spot but needing to jump four teams.

Cal Clutterbuck, Jason Chimera and Andrew Ladd had the goals for the Islanders, who lost their third in a row and seventh in the last 10 games. They fell into a tie with the Flyers with 82 points.

New York has six games remaining, while the Flyers have five.

Weise started the scoring 4:30 into a wild, record-setting first period for the Flyers by finishing a good pass from Couturier with a forehand from in front that went high over Thomas Greiss.

Couturier scored on a rebound 1:19 later to make it 2-0, and Greiss was pulled after allowing Gudas’ slap shot from the point to get past him with 11:54 left in the first period.

Greiss slammed his stick into the side boards as he exited the ice in frustration.

Weise had an assist on Gudas’ goal and became the fastest player in Flyers history to record a “Gordie Howe hat trick” — with a goal, an assist and a fight — when he dropped the gloves with Travis Harmonic with 11:32 remaining the period.

The Flyers were far from done.

Weal netted his team-leading sixth goal in March, and seventh since being called up from Lehigh Valley of the AHL on Jan. 25, when he followed his own miss and scored past Greiss’ replacement, Jaroslav Halak.

Simmonds finished the dominant period with his milestone goal on a power play when Shayne Gostisbehere’s slap shot deflected off his knee and then off Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk’s left hip before crossing the goal line.

Simmonds then joined Weise with a Gordie Howe hat trick when he won a one-sided fight with Anders Lee with 6.3 seconds left in the period, marking the first time in the history of the franchise once known as the Broad Street Bullies that two players had Gordie Howe hat tricks in one period.

The five first-period goals were the most this season in one period for Philadelphia.

Clutterbuck shot high over Steve Mason early in the second to get the Islanders on the board. But that was the only goal New York could manage despite outshooting Philadelphia 22-3 in the period.

Chimera netted his 18th of the season 40 seconds into the third period on a wrister from in front after the puck caromed hard off the back boards from Calvin de Haan’s slap shot. Ladd made it 5-3 with 3:58 remaining with a wrist shot that deflected off Mason’s back and in.

Filppula’s empty-netter with 1:41 left completed the scoring. Simmonds picked up his second assist on that goal.

NOTES: Philadelphia won three of four in the season series. . Boychuk returned after missing the previous 12 games with a foot injury. . Simmonds scored 32 goals last season and has 119 over the last four seasons. . De Haan had two assists. . Chimera bettered Brandon Manning in a third-period fight.


Islanders: Host the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.

Flyers: Host the Devils on Saturday night.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


via 215Today.

Grandson Of Local Radio Legend Accused Of Stealing $800K From Her Estate

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Longtime radio talk show host Mary Mason has made headlines in recent weeks.

Her grandson, Steven Turner, 33, is facing multiple felony charges for allegedly stealing more than $800,000 from her estate.

Cherri Gregg from our sister station KYW Newsradio spoke to her guardian Deborah Satterwhite and checked in with the radio legend to see how she’s doing.

Mary Mason,86,  worked in radio for nearly five decades. The outspoken WHAT talk show host used the airwaves to break gender and color barriers with so much influence it put her next to the likes of Donald Trump, Jesse Jackson, and CBS’s own Ed Bradley.

Mason’s friend Dakari Jubalani says, “Mary Mason was the Harriet Tubman of radio, she was tough, she was strong, she wasn’t scared of nobody.”

Jubalani met Mason decades ago, and was her intern for a day.

“I had gotten into some trouble at the station, and she helped me,” said Jubalani.

He is one of a small crew that visits Mason several times a week at a nursing home at an undisclosed location.

Mason, who suffers from dementia was moved to the Medicare facility last year after police say her grandson stopped paying the bills for her care. Authorities say he took nearly $1 million from her estate and now faces jail time.

Mary Mason is in a situation where she needs care.

Jubalani and Mason’s court appointed physical guardian, Deborah Satterwhite, say they use their own money to pay for Mason’s incidentals. They started the Mary Mason Care Project to help her and other seniors.

“Socks for example, to keep her feet warm– shampoo, lotion, and things like that,” says Jubalani.

Jubalani says Mason helped seniors and young people, and they’re hoping when the community hears what happened to her they’ll take action.

“Maybe her voice is silent, but there are other people she has trained to carry the banner,” said Jubalani.

To pick up the banner to help other seniors in need.

If you want to donate to the Mary Mason Care Project, you can send it to:

Mary Mason Care Project

744 South St., Suite 767

Philadelphia, PA 19147

via 215Today.

New Exhibit Opens Highlighting The History Of Rowing In Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An exhibit highlighting the history of rowing in Philadelphia opens Friday, March 31 and runs through October at the Independence Seaport Museum.

Craig Bruns, the Chief Curator, says he drew inspiration for the museum’s exhibit “Philadelphia Rowing: Breaking Barriers,” from Dotty Brown’s book “Boathouse Row, Waves of Change in the Birthplace of American Rowing.”

Bruns says he was especially fascinated to learn that women worked secretly to launch their own rowing club in 1938.

“Ernestine Bayer secretly secured the lease of the Skating Club, and there was the birth of the Philadelphia Girls Rowing Club and surprised the men. They had no idea it was happening,” said Bayer.

Bruns says the exhibit also tackles breaking barriers of race, class, age and ability.

via 215Today.

New Jersey Cracks Down On Using Cell Phones While Driving

(NEWARK, NJ) — New Jersey starts a statewide crackdown on distracted driving tomorrow. Consider this story your warning.

Armed with 2 million dollars in federal grant money, state and local police will put in an extra effort over the next three weeks to target those who use their cell phone behind the wheel.

“Between 2010 and 2014, there were more than 800 thousand crashes in New Jersey with a distracted driving cause,” Bob Gaydosh with the state Department of Highway Traffic Safety told KYW Newsradio. “So the numbers are huge.”

So huge, the National Safety Council has designated April Distracted Driving Month.

“The theme is ‘You drive. You text. You pay.’ It is a crackdown on all distracted driving habits, the primary one being the talking on the cell phone and texting while driving, because they’re the big issues that are really driving this thing,” Gaydosh added.

The campaign involving state police and officers from more than 180 different departments across the Garden State, continues through April 21st.

via 215Today.

NASA On Verge Of Launching Giant Telescope

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s a project that has lasted more than 20 years. NASA is on the verge of launching a giant telescope, and this powerful eye in the sky could open up new frontiers in space exploration.

Meteorologist Kate Bilo shows us this stellar creation from the Einstein Healthcare Science Center.

One day, we may be able to see further into the universe than ever before. Scientists are putting the final touches on a telescope that could revolutionize astronomy.

Center stage at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is a high tech creation, the largest and most powerful space telescope ever built.

NASA astrophysicist Amber Straughn says, “The technologies are really amazing. The engineering is just mind blowing.”

Taller than a three story building the James Webb telescope dwarfs its baby brother – the Hubble which has been circling earth for 27 years.

Straughn says the bigger and better successor will open a window into space never seen before.

“With this telescope, we plan to look back in time over 13 and a half billion years to see the first galaxies that were born after the big bang,” said Straughn.

NASA plans to launch the Webb telescope next year, and the entire thing folds up to fit inside a rocket, and then unfolds in space.

First, engineers are testing to making sure it can handle the rough ride. Then for at least two years both the Hubble and Webb telescopes will orbit at the same time.

Hubble has revolutionized our understanding of the universe. It has changed the fundamental ways we understand how the universe works, and with Webb we’ll be able to push further

Straughn says what she’s most excited for is how the telescope will answer questions scientists haven’t even thought to ask.

Althought, this telescope doesn’t come cheap, it will cost more than 8-billion dollars!

via 215Today.

Spring Is Sprung, What That Could Mean For Your Relationship

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For many, Spring is a time for Spring cleaning, and that includes relationships.

Wanda Sevey, New Jersey Director of Council for Relationships says there tends to be an uptick in folks seeking relationship therapy this time of the year.

“The first part of January’s a busy season, and then early Spring is a busy season,” said Sevey.

That timeline is echoed by Philadelphia divorce attorney Jonathan Noble, who says there seems to be a cycle when it comes to when folks choose to end their relationships.

“Post-New Years we see a spike in divorce inquiries. Heading into Spring it’s still fairly steady,” said Noble. “It slows down a little bit over the summer, there are exceptions to that of course, and then the holidays it slows down a lot.”

In fact, Facebook data also shows an increase in users changing their relationship status to single in the Spring.

Sevey attributes this phenomenon to the renewed energy people get during the change into this season.

“It’s really tough to break up! So when you’re feeling more energetic and more hopeful about things, I just think that gives people the extra motivation or push they need to move forward,” Sevey said.

via 215Today.

Flynn seeks immunity for testimony

By Jessica Schneider and Tom LoBianco

WASHINGTON (CNN)–Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is willing to testify before federal and congressional investigators, but only if he is granted immunity, his lawyer said Thursday.

“Gen. Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit. … No reasonable person, who has the benefit of advice from counsel, would submit to questioning in such a highly politicized, witch-hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution,” Robert Kelner, Flynn’s lawyer, said in a statement late Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Thursday that Flynn was in talks to try to get a promise of immunity, but that nobody had agreed to his terms yet.

However, aides to the House intelligence committee said they have not received any requests from Flynn yet. A spokesperson for the Senate intelligence committee declined comment Thursday evening.

Flynn was forced to resign as one of Trump’s closest advisers after it came out that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.

Three former Trump aides who are at the center of the federal investigation into Russia’s interference in the US elections have already come forward and said they would testify freely — without the promise of immunity. Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former adviser Roger Stone and former foreign policy adviser Carter Page all said, via their lawyers, last week that they were ready to come before House and Senate investigators.

House investigators have been discussing bringing Flynn in for weeks now, but they have also expressed concerns that Flynn would plead the Fifth Amendment if forced to testify.

Democrats, meanwhile, quickly shot around a comment Flynn made last year on MSNBC, that “when you are given immunity, that means you probably committed a crime.”

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


via 215Today.

WWE Insiders Pick WrestleMania 33

By Chuck Carroll

Can you imagine what would happen if Roman Reigns beats the Undertaker at WrestleMania? If you think the boos are loud now, you haven’t heard anything yet. I’m writing this in Washington, D.C. and have no doubt the collective jeers will reverberate all the way up here from Orlando. Is that even a possibility? According to my WWE journalism brethren, yes. And a very good one at that.

Is there any way that Brock Lesnar doesn’t finally triumph over Goldberg to capture the WWE Universal Title? As we see it, no. But, there are 13 matches on the WrestleMania card, and if there’s one thing we should know about WWE when it comes to the granddaddy of ‘em all — anything is possible.

Picking the matches with me as always are my fellow wrestling insiders. They’ll be baking in the hot Orlando sun this weekend.

Aaron Oster (@TheAOster) – Pro wrestling contributor, Rolling Stone and Baltimore Sun; Host, Jobbing Out Podcast
Pick record: 11-4 (Note: Didn’t pick Royal Rumble)

Scott Fishman (@smFISHMAN) – Pro wrestling contributor, Miami Herald and Channel Guide Magazine
Pick record: 14-9

Chuck Carroll (@ChuckCarrollWLC) – Pro wrestling contributor, CBS Local Sports
Pick record: 10-13

WWE Championship Match
Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton

Aaron: This could go either way. My head says Orton. My heart says Bray. And in this case, I just hope they let Bray shine here. Pick: Bray Wyatt

Scott: There is still more mileage with Bray Wyatt as champion. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some interference from other Wyatt Family members. Pick: Bray Wyatt

Chuck: Randy Orton wouldn’t gain much by winning the WWE Championship, but Bray Wyatt getting a signature win would solidify his status as one of the dominant forces in WWE. The gold was a long time coming for him, and his patience should be rewarded with a longer run as champion. Pick: Bray Wyatt

Universal Championship Match
Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar

Aaron: Brock is winning this match. He’s not losing AGAIN. The only question is does him winning close out the show, or will there be a twist? Pick: Brock Lesnar

Scott: There is no way Brock Lesnar would lose in such decisive fashion at Survivor Series and get dominated by Bill Goldberg if there wasn’t some retribution. And it’s happening on the biggest stage possible. The real questions hereare how long the match will be and if we are going to see something or someone after it concludes. Pick: Brock Lesnar

Chuck: I like Goldberg a tremendous amount. He used to come on a former show of mine each week. But I think that his time as Universal Champion is about to come to a close. I hope it’s not the last we see of him, but I think it’ll be the last we see of him as champion. Pick: Brock Lesnar

The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns

Aaron: The past month has screamed a Roman heel turn. And what better way to turn heel than by beating the Deadman at WrestleMania, particularly if you either cheat, or just completely brutalize Undertaker? Pick: Roman Reigns

Scott: This is the perfect opportunity to solidify Roman Reigns as a heel if WWE wants to go in that direction. I can see Reigns defeating Undertaker in some shady way. Imagine the boos then. Pick: Roman Reigns

Chuck: “If Cena Roman Wins We Riot.” There’s a better than good chance we’ll see a few of those signs sprinkled in the crowd at Camping World Stadium. My colleagues are bullish on Reigns here. I’m see Roman’s stock as bearish in this one. Plus, I’m just trying to keep the peace. Pick: The Undertaker

>>MORE: From the world of Pro Wrestling

John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. The Miz & Maryse

Aaron: Somehow this has become one of the most anticipated matchups due to the strong promo work by Cena and Miz. Even though it’ll be brutal to see Miz lose after the verbal beatdown he suffered on Tuesday, there’s no way Cena is losing this. Pick: Cena & Bella

Scott: John Cena and Nikki Bella are the clear favorites here, but The Miz and Maryse have built this one up masterfully. I wouldn’t be surprised if Al Roker interferes in this to get that Today Show rub. Question is: will we see Cena really propose to Nikki? Pick: Cena & Bella

Chuck: There are unconfirmed rumors that Nikki Bella is retiring after this match. I’m not sold that is the case. I’m also not sold that Cena will propose after they win, but it would make for a nice WrestleMania moment that the Today Show can replay again and again. Of course they already have that with Al Roker involved. Pick: Cena & Bella

Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles

Aaron: I’m very surprised that this isn’t a street fight. It certainly changes the dynamics of the match. However, the one thing that should not be in doubt is that AJ will walk out the winner. Pick: AJ Styles

Scott: This is going to be a fun match with some insane spots (Especially when there is a stage setup involving a freakin’ rollercoaster!). However, can’t see any scenario playing out where Styles doesn’t win. Shane McMahon has nothing to gain with a victory here. Pick: AJ Styles

Chuck: AJ Styles

Shane McMahon’s childhood friend and former Mean Street Posse member Pete Gas told me that the SmackDown Live General Manager is an adrenalin junkie. His whole in-ring career has been based off of lethal leaps and cross-ring trashcan stomps. We’ll see something spectacular, but AJ wins. Anything else would lack complete logic. Pick: AJ Styles

RAW Women’s Championship Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match
Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax

Aaron: The booking of this has thrown me so off. Everyone involved has been booked pretty terribly. I’ll say the champ retains, simply because a loss after months of losses and dirty wins would really hurt her. But a Sasha win is very plausible. Pick: Bayley

Scott: Really don’t want to see the Women’s Championship continue the hot-potato game, so going with Bayley. A hint of dissension with Sasha Banks and Bayley is possible as well. Pick: Bayley

Chuck: A win for Charlotte would ascend the queen of pay-per-views back to the throne. You’re going to see some sort of shenanigans between Bayley and Sasha Banks. I think whatever that turns out to be will cost them the match and allow Charlotte to get the win. Pick: Charlotte

United States Championship Match
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Kevin Owens

Aaron: The only reason Kevin Owens should have lost the Universal title was because he’s going to win the U.S. title. We love Jericho. Jericho has to lose. Pick: Kevin Owens

Scott: Chris Jericho is getting ready to tour with Fozzy and turn his attention to his music once again. So I’m going with Owens in this match. Jericho also has no problem putting over the current crop of talent (Fandango). Pick: Kevin Owens

Chuck: K.O. Mania. This will be the Kevin Owens Show without a doubt. Jericho is a true veteran who enjoys putting over the young guys, and this is Owens’ time to shine. This last run has been Y2J’s best run in years, and it’s been incredibly enjoyable to watch. Now he’s gotta go be a rock star, and for those about to rock, we salute you. Pick: Kevin Owens

Seth Rollins vs. Triple H

Aaron: Is there a way to have Rollins lose without looking bad? Sure. But this story needs a Rollins win here. Pick: Seth Rollins

Scott: Seth Rollins has got to go over here with the way the story has played out. A win over Triple H at WrestleMania is equivalent to a championship in my book. An almost passing of the torch. Pick: Seth Rollins

Chuck: There is no way this match ends cleanly. Of course, it wasn’t designed to anyway. But in the end I see Seth Rollins getting the win and going on to feud with Samoa Joe. That way they can to milk the angle, and it give’s Joe an A-list talent to work with. Pick: Seth Rollins

Intercontinental Championship Match
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Baron Corbin

Aaron: The IC title scene has gotten a little stale. Corbin winning feels right for this moment, though I’m not sure that it will be a long reign. Pick: Baron Corbin

Scott: WWE has been high on Baron Corbin these days, so I’m going with the “Lone Wolf” to secure the IC title. At the same time, something is needed to bring Dean Ambrose back to the forefront. Pick: Baron Corbin

Chuck: There is just something about the Baron Corbin character that is missing. It falls a bit flat with me in the same way Apollo Crews does. Both are phenomenally talented, but I haven’t seen the “it” factor from either yet. And while Ambrose’s character may be a little stale at the moment, he’s still a viable champion. Pick: Dean Ambrose

RAW Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Ladder Match
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (c) vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Cesaro & Sheamus

Aaron: Can you picture a better way to get the crowd hot than starting the show with a ladder match, and having Enzo and Cass come out on top? Pick: Enzo & Cass

Scott: I simply want Enzo and Big Cass to finally win the championships, and WrestleMania is the perfect place for it to happen. Although, when the dust settles, the question is if we will see someone left “Broken.” Pick: Enzo & Cass

Chuck: Enzo and Cass have earned this. They seemed to be the heir apparent to the tag titles before Enzo was knocked unconscious during a freak in-ring accident nearly a year ago. They are enormously popular, and their promo in front of a sold-out stadium Sunday is going to be epic. To Scott’s point, if the Hardys return, I see them going to SmackDown to breathe new life into the tag team division there. Pick: Enzo & Cass

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal (Kickoff Match)
Sami Zayn, Braun Strowman, Goldust, R-Truth, Curtis Axel, Dolph Ziggler, Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso, Chad Gable, Jason Jordan, Primo, Epico, Bo Dallas, Jinder Mahal, Rhyno, Heath Slater, Apollo Crews, Mojo Rawley, Big Show, Curt Hawkins, Tyler Breeze, Fandango.

Aaron: Did they really do all of this with Sami Zayn the past two weeks just to have him lose at Mania? Sure, it’s possible, but it seems like a mistake. Pick: Sami Zayn

Scott: This match was made for Braun Strowman. It would be a nice feather in the cap for someone in the early part of his career. Sami Zayn is my second pick, since the guy defeated Kevin Owens and has that underdog story going for him. Pick: Braun Strowman

Chuck: WWE is high on Strowman right now, and this could be another feather in his cap. Strowman wins this one and goes on to feud with Roman Reigns. Big Show would be a solid backup, as this is perhaps his final WrestleMania. Pick: Braun Strowman

SmackDown Women’s Championship Match (Kickoff Match)
Champion Alexa Bliss to defend against all female SmackDown Live Superstars available to compete

Aaron: Naomi’s return definitely put a wrinkle in this. Though I almost feel like if she would win, they would have just given her a big moment at Mania. Thus, I’m going Alexa here. Pick: Alexa Bliss

Scott: I like Alexa Bliss conquering “The World” in the form of all the ladies in the match. It’s a nice way to build her up further. At same time, I wouldn’t mind watching Naomi win back the gold in her hometown. This should have one or two women from the past involved. Pick: Alexa Bliss

Chuck: Naomi was way over with the crowd when she returned from the knee injury that forced her to vacate the SmackDown Women’s Championship. It would be amazing, as her entrance music says, for her to win in her hometown. I don’t see that happening here unfortunately. And I think it’s possible we’ll see a surprise name or two pop up in this match. Pick: Alexa Bliss

WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match (Kickoff Match)
Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries

Aaron: So much of this screams a title win for Aries. Yet, they’ve actually started to hit a groove with Neville as cruiserweight champ. Do they dare shake it up at this point? Pick: Neville

Scott: This is Austin Aries’ WrestleMania debut, and winning the Cruiserweight Championship would be icing on the cake. Neville has been great for the division. Regardless of the outcome, there are more miles WWE can get out of the feud. Pick: Austin Aries

Chuck: Aries made a name for himself in Orlando during a successful stint with Impact Wrestling. Now it’s time for him to make an even bigger impact with WWE. This is his WrestleMania moment. And there will definitely be a rematch for these guys. So stay tuned… Pick: Austin Aries

Chuck Carroll is former pro wrestling announcer and referee turned sports media personality. He once appeared on Monday Night RAW when he presented Robert Griffin III with a WWE title belt in the Redskins locker room.

Follow him on Twitter @ChuckCarrollWLC.

via 215Today.

Gloucester Co. Woman Snapping Photo of Deer Gets Lightning Surprise

GLOUCESTER COUNTY, N.J. (CBS)—A New Jersey woman got quite the surprise when she went to take a photo of seven deer in her backyard.

“I positioned myself in front of the window and clicked [my cell phone]. Simultaneously there was a huge bang,” said Jean Buss.

That bang was a lightning strike during a storm on Tuesday morning in Elk Township, New Jersey.

Buss tells CBS Philly she was trying to capture the seven deer so she could the share the photo with her grandson.

untitled125 Gloucester Co. Woman Snapping Photo of Deer Gets Lightning Surprise

But Buss’ timing couldn’t have been more perfect, capturing a lucky shot of a lightning strike behind her home.

“I was amazed what I saw,” she said. “I was surprised my phone didn’t go flying. A Divine appointment for sure !”

via 215Today.

Philly Police Officer Steps Dances Her Way Into The Hearts Of Some Local Kids

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia police officer and more than a dozen middle school students held a special performance they have been working on for more than six months — part of a new initiative to foster relationships between police and the community they serve.

Kids from Saint Martin de Porres Independence Mission School and a cop from the 22nd district put together a step dance routine for their family and friends.

Officer Carmela Fortune said, “I learned at the same pace that they learned.”

Fortune is with the Police Youth Alliance which fosters relationships between officers and kids in the community, through various activities.

“We got in trouble together, we did planks together — anything they had to go through, I had to go through,” said Fortune.

12-year-old Robert says they now have a friend for life.

“It was just all smiles, we had so much fun,” said Robert.

13-year-old Zaire said, “First I didn’t really like police officers, but once I met her, it kind of changed my view. So, I really like her a lot.”

“I made 14 or 15 new friends, that weren’t my kids, but are like my kids,” said Fortune.

via 215Today.

Penn State Bans Frat Where Student Was Fatally Injured 

PHILADELPHIA (AP)–Penn State University on Thursday permanently banned a fraternity after a pledge was fatally injured last month and announced additional steps to curb underage drinking throughout the university system.

The university revoked its recognition of the school’s chapter of Beta Theta Pi after it said an investigation found “a persistent pattern” of excessive and forced drinking, hazing and drug use and sales.

The university said staff, student leaders and others will participate in a new program to monitor compliance with the underage drinking ban and that fraternity and sorority recruiting will be moved from fall to the spring. It also warned that alcohol could be banned in their facilities and at their activities.

The school will no longer “tolerate what has been, for them, business as usual” within the Greek-letter system, said Damon Sims, the university’s vice president for student affairs.

Mike Leahey, a Pittsburgh lawyer for the Beta Theta Pi chapter, said it was “extremely disappointed” in what he called a rush to judgment. He said the fraternity will fight the decision.

“Despite repeated requests, we are outraged that the alumni board has never been given an opportunity to have access to any of the evidence that led to the allegations leveled by the university,” he said in an email.

More than 47,000 students attend the main campus in State College, and more than 7,000 belong to Greek-letter organizations, which include 53 fraternities, 29 sororities and three coed organizations. The fraternities are private organizations and their chapter houses are on private property, not on campus grounds.

Sims said Beta Theta Pi “ostensibly was among the best fraternity chapters” at the university.

“And yet, we know based on our investigation that it went off the rails,” he said, culminating in the death last month of 19-year-old sophomore engineering student Timothy Piazza of Lebanon, New Jersey.

State College Police have said Piazza was among about a dozen pledges attending a pledge acceptance ceremony when he fell down a set of stairs. Help was not summoned until the next day, and he subsequently died at a hospital.

Police have said hazing and excessive drinking may have contributed to his death, and an investigation continues.

Lawyers for the Penn State chapter of Beta Theta Pi went to court March 17, trying to force State College Police to return DVR drives and digital content the fraternity handed over voluntarily to investigators looking into Piazza’s death. Leahey declined comment on that matter.

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said a “very intense investigation” is underway and she hopes to make its conclusions public by the middle of April.

Police did not return phone messages Thursday.

Beta Theta Pi had already been shuttered by the school for at least five years; now it is prohibited from ever reopening.

The university last month announced a ban on alcohol at fraternity-related social events on the main campus for the rest of spring semester.

Penn State also banning is beer kegs at fraternity events and daylong parties and limiting attendance at any fraternity parties to the legal capacity of the chapter houses, generally in the 150-200 people range.

It’s unclear what will happen to the fraternity’s empty chapter house. Donald Abbey, a California real estate tycoon and alumnus of the chapter, sued the fraternity earlier this month, seeking more than $10 million he said he loaned it to renovate the property and shore up its finances. That lawsuit is pending, and Leahey declined comment.

In 2011, a year after the university trustees were briefed on a comprehensive plan to combat alcohol abuse at Penn State, a judge sentenced the Alpha Tau Omega chapter to 70 days of community service for the death of Joe Dado, an 18-year-old who fell down a stairwell after a night of drinking. The judge ruled the fraternity was responsible for giving him alcohol hours before his 2009 death.

Two years ago, Penn State concluded that some members of Kappa Delta Rho engaged in sexual harassment and hazing that included a “persistent climate of humiliation” for women. The national office expelled 38 members from the fraternity, and the school announced it would not recognize it until 2018.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


via 215Today.

Famous Stolen Rockwell Painting Located Thanks To Accidental Puncture

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A famous Norman Rockwell painting — with various titles such as the ‘Lazybones’ and ‘Boy Asleep with the Hoe’ — was stolen from a South Jersey home four decades ago, and has finally resurfaced.

EXCLUSIVE: N.J. Family Searching Since ’70s For Stolen Norman Rockwell Painting

While playing a game of pool at another house in 1976, Cherry Hill resident John Grant accidentally punctured a hole in the Rockwell painting.

“The guy said, ‘You broke it, you bought it.’ So he paid the guy less than a hundred dollars,” said Bazin.

Bob Bazin is a retired FBI agent, who has previously worked on stolen art cases. He says just a few months a Grant bought the painting

“The house was burglarized, and the painting, amongst other things was stolen,” said Bazin.

35 years later, Bazin was contacted by Grant’s family to help track down the painting.

He pushed the story out to the media, and just recently, the Rockwell was found

“Because the pool cube hole is still in the painting, where it was originally, 40 years ago,” said Bazin.

Authorities say the person who had the painting wishes to remain anonymous and was not involved with the 1976 theft.

No charges will be filed.

via 215Today.