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Local scientists assist major genetic breakthrough

Penn scientists were instrumental in the recent discovery of the gene that causes fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), a rare condition that causes the growth of a second skeleton. It's a fascinating and inspiring story.

The group’s members gave [Frederick Kaplan] more than their stories and DNA: they began raising money. Nick Bogard, whose son Jud had been diagnosed with the disease at age 3, organized a golf tournament in Massachusetts that raised $30,000. That money allowed Kaplan to host the first scientific conference about FOP, in 1991. Other families hosted barbecues, ice-fishing tournaments, swim-a-thons, bingo nights. In 2012 alone, Peeper’s organization raised $520,000 for research. That’s not much compared with, say, the $1 billion that the NIH distributes each year for diabetes research. But these funds were crucial for Kaplan, who sought to escape the rare-disease trap. IFOPA’s money—as well as gifts from other private donors and an endowment accompanying Kaplan’s professorship at Penn—made it possible for him to work single-mindedly on FOP for more than two decades.

Original source: The Atlantic
Read the complete story here.


Nomad Pizza featured in New York Times

Nomad Pizza was included in a run-down of Jersey's mobile pizza trucks; they also have a brick-and-mortar space in Bella Vista.

Before Mr. Lombardi and Mr. Goldblatt opened their own business, they worked at the Nomad Pizza Company in Hopewell, a Neapolitan pizza restaurant with a second location in Philadelphia. Nomad opened its first restaurant in Hopewell in 2009 after two years of working out of a converted 1949 REO Speedwagon with a 3,000-pound wood-burning oven shipped from Italy. It continues to cater parties and sell pizza from the truck at street festivals.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Philly still can't let go of Smarty Jones

Smarty Jones, the star racehorse, has become a blue-collar icon in Philadelphia, according to the New York Times' horse racing blog, The Rail.

In 2004, blue-and-white Smarty Jones posters bedecked nearly every inch of the standing-room-only Belmont Park, with 120,000-plus fans rooting their hearts out for the little horse that could to complete the first Triple Crown in 26 years. Smarty Jones, a Pennsylvania homebred owned by Pat and Roy Chapman, had become a Philadelphia icon, a blue-collar overachiever from Philadelphia Park ready to take his place alongside the 1974 Stanley Cup-winning Flyers and Rocky Balboa in Philadelphia lore. A ticker-tape parade down Broad Street for Smarty Jones had already been planned.

As for the rest of us, Smarty Jones had seized the collective imagination of a country still reeling from the events of Sept. 11 and the Iraq war, a nation desperately needing something to root for. It had been 26 long years since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978. In the interim, the nation, especially New York City, had been battered and bruised. We needed something to celebrate, which is how the 2004 Belmont had been dubbed the Smarty Party.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

LGBT senior housing rises in the Gayborhood

The John C. Anderson Apartments are under construction in the Gayborhood. Housing developments for LGBT seniors were pioneered in Los Angeles and Chicago, now Philadelphia is onboard.

With LGBT seniors facing increased risks of poverty and poor health as well as a higher likelihood of living alone, the need for housing designed to their needs is dire. Cities including Los Angeles and Chicago are responding by building developments specifically geared to LGBT seniors, and now Philadelphia is joining the party, reaching out to several different entities to get its project built.

The six-story, 56-unit John C. Anderson Apartments is now rising in the heart of Philly’s gay village, with hopes of opening at the end of the year. Mayor Michael Nutter, along with Mark Segal — the publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News and founder of Gay Youth, one of the nation’s first organizations for LGBT teens — championed the $19.5 million project.


Original source: The Advocate
Read the complete story here.


Philly named fourth best biking city in the country

In celebration of a Bike to Work Week and National Bike Month, Walk Score has named Philadelphia the number four biking city in the country. Only Portland, San Francisco and Denver topped the City of Brotherly Love.

Via The Philly Post.

Original source: Walk Score
Read the complete list here.

Philadelphia Orchestra's young conductor part of national trend

The New York Times profiles a crop of young conductors leading major ensembles, including the Philadelphia Orchestra's 37-year-old Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

As the Philadelphia Orchestra emerged from bankruptcy protection, it was no surprise that the ensemble wanted the grinning, charismatic Mr. Nézet-Séguin to be the face of its new era, as potent a symbol as following Mr. Levine with Mr. Nelsons. (A once-favored candidate for the Boston position, Riccardo Chailly, now 60, fell out of the running after heart problems caused him to cancel performances.)

But youth and youthfulness are two different things, and they shouldn’t be confused. Orchestras should not think that hiring a dynamic 20- or 30-something conductor can take the place of planning dynamic contemporary programs. That’s just old wine in new bottles.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the full story here.

Local cabinetmaker pens business column for New York Times blog

Paul Downs, founder of Paul Downs Cabinetmakers, wrote about his generous employee compensation philosophy on the New York Times' small-business blog.

I don’t want that kind of relationship with my employees, and I don’t want to deal with constant turnover. My people are smart and hard-working and that’s who I want to spend my life with. I’d rather err on the side of paying them too much than have to deal with grumbling and turnover. But if I were running a business where turnover is expected — an ice-cream stand in a summer resort, for example — I’d have a different attitude. I’d be a lot more interested in my own reward than the long-term prosperity of my workers. And that would make sense, for that situation.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the entire column here.

Zagat lists Philadelphia's hottest cocktail trends

Zagat lists the top trends in cocktails, and tells you where in Philly you can find them. One example: "Farm to Glass."

Bartenders all over the city are taking the now-ubiquitous farm-to-table trend to its logical next step. The Unicorn Egg at Le Bar at Le Bec Fin includes rhubarb from star farmer Tom Culton, and fresh herbs are everywhere, often plucked from on-site gardens. Try the basil muddled with Wild Turkey and Carpano Antica in the Vona at In Riva.

Original source: Zagat
Read the complete story here.
 

Amtrak unveils new trains for Keystone route

Amtrak recently rolled out three (of 70) new trains in an effort to modernize its fleet. The locomotives will operate on the Northeast corridor, as well as the Keystone route between Philadelphia and Harrisburg.

The engines are being paid for with a $532 million loan from the Federal Railroad Administration, money that Amtrak said it would recoup with ticket revenue from the Northeast corridor. The company also estimates that the new locomotives will save it more than $300 million in energy costs.

Amtrak said the new engines would also help improve the railroad’s on-time performance. Additionally, Amtrak and federal transportation officials said that areas where the trains were manufactured and assembled would see economic benefits in the form of jobs.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the full story here.

Philly startup Curalate profiled in 'You're the Boss'

Philly startup Curalate is profiled in the New York Times' small business column, "You're the Boss."

But the idea that rose to the top was a platform that allows companies to measure the impact of Pinterest and other visual social media. They called the company Curalate, and they introduced it in beta in March 2012 and for real two months later. Mr. Gupta said the rise of Pinterest last year looked similar to Twitter’s early days with brands "falling over themselves to get on board but reluctant to commit until they had some way to measure their presence on the platform."

Enter Curalate, which created a way to listen and measure visual conversations. The company’s algorithm recognizes images using pixels and then matches it to a brand. "The platform tells companies the conversations people are having about their product," Mr. Gupta said.


For more on Curalate, check out this story in Flying Kite.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the full story here.

Eater names Federal Donuts one of the country's hottest spots

Federal Donuts earned a spot on Eater's list of the top 23 hottest donut shops in America.

Mike Solomonov's Federal Donuts has been inspiring doughnut shops across America for years and just this past fall opened up a second location for its magical combination of fried chicken and doughnuts. (There's also a new stall at the Phillies ballpark.) Doughnut options include strawberry-lavender, Turkish coffee, milk chocolate-peanut butter, and blueberry muffin.

Original source: Eater
Read the complete list here.

The New York Times tackles Oxford Mills, housing for teachers

Like Flying Kite, the New York Times was intrigued by the concept behind Oxford Mills, a mixed-used development dedicated to organizations and people who work in education.

Two redbrick buildings in the up-and-coming but still gritty South Kensington section of Philadelphia are being converted into apartments and offices intended to house teachers and nonprofit educational organizations in what the developers hope will become a cohesive community.

When the renovation is complete, 60 percent of the buildings’ 114 apartments will be reserved for teachers, who will be offered a 25 percent discount on market rent — paying about $1,000 a month for a one-bedroom unit in a neighborhood where they typically rent for $1,300.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

PA among states that must pony up for Amtrak routes

As federal subsidies dry up, Amtrak looks to states to pick up the slack. Pennsylvania must pay to maintain its more rural routes.

But after years of financial losses on the route for Amtrak, Pennsylvania was faced with either picking up the tab or losing it altogether by Oct. 1. Under pressure from Congress to reduce its dependence on federal subsidies, Amtrak is looking at either closing 28 short-haul routes or getting 19 states to cover the costs. Most of the states have already agreed to pick up the costs...

Pennsylvania and Virginia are among the states that have already agreed to pay for service, citing the need to ease road congestion, spur economic development and remain connected to the Northeast line. But other states, like Indiana, are still debating what to do. In most cases, the routes run at a loss, say state officials, who view them more as an infrastructure investment like a highway.

 
Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here

Hacktory profiled as part of nationwide rise of 'hacker spaces'

The New York Times investigates the rise of membership-driven hacker spaces, including the the Hacktory in Philadelphia.

Hacker spaces like MakerBar — where people gather to build or take things apart, from rockets to circuit boards to LED displays — are hives of innovation, real-world communities made possible by the emergence of virtual communities...
 
But there are reasons beyond additional space that it might be better not to build or tear things apart at home. Laser cutters are prized within the maker community, but they run the risk of catching on fire, said Georgia Guthrie, who belongs to the Hacktory, a hacker space in Philadelphia. “You have to have a fire extinguisher near them at all times,” she said.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.
 

Delaware River Waterfront Corporation launches new website

Thank to the team at P'unk Ave, Delaware River Waterfront Corporation finally has a top-shelf web presence. 

Normally, a new website wouldn’t be cause for much fuss, but this is actually important. The riverfront is increasingly a locus of activity and economic development in Philly; in fact, it’s probably the section of the city that’s undergoing the most dramatic transformation. When complete, it’ll be a change as comprehensive as the Navy Yard or Northern Liberties.

Original source: Philadelphia Magazine
Read the complete story here, and check out DRWC's new website here

 

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