Detective Joe Murray is moving on from West Philly; we caught up with him briefly

March 21, 2017

From Detective Joe Murray’s Twitter feed – @PPDJoeMurray.


Detective Joe Murray, the social media savvy cop who entertained and informed followers with pithy tweets about everything from police policy to top-shelf donuts and Wrestlemania, is moving on after 11 years in West and Southwest Philly.

He announced in a March 7 tweet (natch) that he had been transferred to the PPD’s Homicide Division, a much-deserved promotion. Murray won the Richardson Dilworth Award for Innovation and Government in 2015 and didn’t shy away from calling out the highest levels of the PPD. His story made it to NPR in 2012 after the PPD’s top brass figured all his tweeting was a good idea. They did make him professionalize his Twitter handle, though, so he gave up his trademark moniker “The Fuzz” to the more official “@PPDJoeMurray.”

We recently asked Murray a few questions about his time on the West side.  Continue Reading

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Refugees are welcome here: West Philly neighbors step up for a family in need

February 20, 2017

Paige Whiting and “Amina” embrace on the porch of Whiting’s home on the 5300 block of Pine St. (Photo by West Philly Local).


Editor’s note: The woman who is the subject of this story asked that we not use her name or show her face in a photo. We honored that request and so we have used the pseudonym “Amina” throughout the story.

Paige Whiting was at Malcolm X. Park a couple of blocks from her home on the 5300 block of Pine Street last fall when she first met Amina, who was at the park with her three children. Their friendship grew to include meetings at one of the many mom groups in the neighborhood. Amina made friends quickly and worked on her English. A refugee from Afghanistan, she and her family had only been in the United States since September.

“I’m so lucky to find these friends,” Amina said, sitting on a couch on the second floor of Paige’s home.  Continue Reading

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Funeral services for UC Green’s Winnie Harris, murdered last week, set for Monday, Feb. 13

February 10, 2017

Funeral services for beloved West Philly community activist and acting executive director of UC Green, Winnie Harris, who was found shot to death in her Powelton home last Friday, will take place Monday, Feb. 13.

The funeral will be at the Christ Community Church of Philadelphia (4017 Chestnut St.), beginning at 10 a.m. A closed casket Memorial Hour will begin at 9 a.m. Burial will be at the West Laurel Hill Cemetery, 215 Belmont Avenue, in Bala Cynwyd, followed by a reception for family and friends.

A number of community organizations where Harris, a longtime Powelton resident and green space advocate, has been involved with posted their messages grieving her tragic death.  Continue Reading

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Longtime Powelton resident and green space advocate Winnie Harris, 65, found shot to death

February 6, 2017

The last time we spoke with Winnie Harris was last summer, when she was rallying support for the Holly Street Neighbors Community Garden. The garden, built on a vacant lot, was just down the street from her Holly Street home in West Powelton, where she had lived for 40 years. Gardens, trees and keeping this part of West Philadelphia green was her passion and, as one of the driving forces behind UC Green, her occupation.

Harris, 65, was found dead in her home on the 300 block of North Holly Street late Friday with a single gunshot wound in the abdomen. No arrests have been made, and the police say the motive is unclear. Neighbors on her block noticed Friday that Harris’s second floor window was open. Police found her in a second floor bedroom. Harris lived alone in the house.  Continue Reading

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Donations page set up for woman killed near 52nd and Locust

December 9, 2016


Carol Isom

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help offset funeral expenses for Carol Isom, the woman killed when she was struck near 52nd and Locust by a car fleeing police on Nov. 29.

Carol Isom, 55, is survived by her husband of 34 years, five children, including a 19-year-old daughter in her second year at Temple University, and five grandchildren.

“My mom was everything. She was everything to everybody around here. She was like the neighborhood mom, and she did nothing but love, nothing but smile,” Brittany Isom, Carol’s daughter, told 6ABC.

Police say the pursuit began when two men in two vehicles began shooting at each other along Westminster Avenue and ended at 52nd and Locust when one of the vehicles struck the vehicle Isom was driving. She lived nearby on the 200 block of S. 53rd St. Her 56th birthday would have been on Dec. 10.

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A birthday to remember

December 5, 2016


It doesn’t happen very often when the mayor wishes you a Happy Birthday. Garden Court resident Dr. Pearl Simpson, who just turned 90, received a letter from Mayor Jim Kinney congratulating her on her achievements. The letter was read to her at her birthday party held on Saturday.

About 50 people attended the party held in the Garden Court apartment complex community room, among them Dr. Pearl’s former colleagues, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, friends and neighbors.

In his letter, the mayor praised Dr. Pearl’s skills and professional achievements, including her work as a Community College of Philadelphia professor and her service in the City’s Human Services Department.

(Photo by Elaine Fultz)

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