City Officials To Host Media Availability

WHO:        Albert D’Attilio, Director of Human Resources, Office of Human Resources
James R. Startare, Deputy Director, Human Resources and Health and Welfare Benefits, Office of Human Resources

WHAT:      City officials will discuss the City’s creation of the Preferred Health Network, the nation’s first tobacco-free pharmacy network.

WHERE:   Cabinet Room, Room 221, City Hall

WHEN:      Friday, October 24, 2014                  11:00 AM   TODAY

Posted in Media Advisory

City Of Philadelphia Creates Preferred Health Network, The Nation’s First Tobacco-Free Pharmacy Network

Philadelphia, October 24, 2014 – The City of Philadelphia, in partnership with CVS Caremark, announced the creation of the first tobacco-free pharmacy network in the country, called the Preferred Health Network.  The Preferred Health Network, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2015, encourages City employees who are not covered by union-offered health benefits to make use of pharmacies that do not sell tobacco products.  City employees who choose not to get their prescriptions filled at Preferred Health Network pharmacies will incur an additional $15 per prescription charge that will be added to prescriptions filled at non-network pharmacies, in addition to any applicable co-payment.

“From launching Get Healthy Philly to implementing a high-impact wellness program for City employees and from prohibiting smoking in City parks to increasing the fines on retailers who sell tobacco products to minors, our Administration is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of our City employees and all Philadelphians and decreasing the number of smokers in this city,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter.  “In creating the first tobacco-free pharmacy network in the country, the City of Philadelphia is leading by example.  It is encouraging City employees to be healthy, promoting shopping at small, independent businesses and impacting the health of the broader community.  Having fewer tobacco retailers in a neighborhood is associated with more successful attempts to smoking quit and a reduction in the likelihood of starting the habit.  I am proud of this creative approach to reduce Philadelphia’s dependence on tobacco, and I look forward to the success of this initiative.”

To date, more than 135 independent pharmacies throughout the Philadelphia region, including 85 in the city, and three retail chains, CVS Pharmacy, Target Pharmacy and Wegmans Pharmacy, have registered to participate in the Preferred Health Network through an initial recruitment campaign conducted by CVS Caremark.

Independent pharmacies that want to participate in or have questions regarding registering for the Preferred Health Network, should email www.RX-PHN@phila.gov.

The City also announced that, effective Jan. 1, 2015, City employees who receive their health coverage through the City of Philadelphia will be subject to a $500 annual increase to their health care benefit costs if the City employee or their covered spouse or life partner has used tobacco products during the last year.  However, if the City employee or her covered spouse or life partner completes a City-approved smoking cessation program before May 2015, the $500 increase will be reduced for the remainder of the year by the appropriate pro-rated amount.

The Preferred Health Network continues the City’s long-standing commitment to improve the City’s public health through the reduction of tobacco product use:

  • As part the City’s prescription drug benefits plan and the City’s Get Healthy Philly initiative, the City covers six of seven FDA approved smoking cessation medications for exempt and non-represented employees.  For more information, log on to www.phila.gov/gethealthyphilly;
  • The Philadelphia Department of Public Health also runs Smoke Free Philly, a program that offers support and tools to help smokers quit.  For more information, log on to www.smokefreephilly.orgor call 1-800-QUIT-NOW; and
  • Although the intention of the new $2 per pack Cigarette Tax is to provide much-needed funds to the Philadelphia School District, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health has noted that research demonstrates that cigarette price increases lead to reductions in smoking among youth and adults.  The Department estimates that the number of Philadelphia smokers will decline by 10-15% over the next five years as a result of the price increase.
Posted in Mayor's Press Releases

Mayor Nutter, City Officials Dedicate Mural At MLK Rec Center In North Philadelphia

Philadelphia, October 23, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter and City officials dedicated a new mural, Staircases and Mountaintops: Ascending Beyond the Dream, at the Martin Luther King Recreation Center located at 22nd Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue.  The mural depicts the critical role Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. played in the civil rights movement in America, and features one of his well-known quotes on the struggle for equality.

“The community at the Martin Luther King Recreation Center passionately advocated for a mural that honored the great leader from which this facility draws its name,” said Mayor Nutter.  “After seeing this new addition to Philadelphia’s mural landscape, it is clear they succeeded.  This momentous artwork is yet another chapter in the story of the revitalization of the MLK Recreation Center, the neighborhood in the City’s 22nd Police District, and the entire North Philadelphia community.  It would not have been possible without the work of participants in the Restorative Justice Guild Program at Mural Arts – one of many initiatives in which the City has invested that provide job skills training and resources to returning citizens.  Projects like this mural provide so much more than visual beauty; this one has provided opportunity and hope for a fresh start for young people that were previously on the wrong path in the prison and juvenile justice system.  I am proud of what they have accomplished.”

The mural was produced through a partnership among Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PP&R), the Philadelphia Prisons System, the Mural Arts Program (MAP), and the PhillyRising initiative with input from local residents, recreation staffers and youth.  The mural was created by MAP Restorative Justice Guild Program participants, muralist Willis Humphrey and ceramic artist Jonny Buss.

“This mural is a stunning piece of visual art that beautifully honors the legacy of the Civil Rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Michael DiBerardinis, Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources.  “The installation of this breathtaking mural serves multiple purposes: provide art lessons to our youth, help inmates make a positive contribution to the city, and provide inspiration to a community.”

The Staircases and Mountaintops: Ascending Beyond the Dream mural dedication is the highlight of the 2014 iteration of Mural Arts Month, a month-long celebration of the Mural Arts Programs’ work  to transform individual lives through art and revitalize the visual fabric of Philadelphia. For a full list of events and programs, visit muralarts.org or follow along on Twitter or Facebook.

“The project at the Martin Luther King Recreation Center embodies our motto for Mural Arts Month: ‘Art Ignites Change’. The Restorative Justice Guild Program at Mural Arts emphasizes the reclamation of civic spaces, develops the competency skills of returning citizens, and uses art to give voice to people who have consistently felt disconnected from society. We are very proud of this project and the Guild Program,” said Jane Golden, Executive Director of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.

MAP’s Restorative Justice Guild program is a collaboration with the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership to bring together young adult offenders on probation in the Philadelphia Prisons System with artists, local citizens, victims’ groups, advocacy groups to teach real-life job skills to participants, restore public spaces, and improve employment opportunities for those in the program.   Participants learn mural restoration, construction and safety standards, landscaping and traditional mural-making techniques in addition to other job-readiness training.

Funders for the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center mural include: the Philadelphia Prisons System, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, the Hummingbird Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, Bryan Weingarten, the Lenfest Foundation, and I.B. E. W. Local 98.

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases

Mayor Nutter, City Officials Dedicate Mural at MLK Rec Center in North Philadelphia

Mayor Michael A. Nutter and City officials dedicated a new mural, Staircases and Mountaintops: Ascending Beyond the Dream, at the Martin Luther King Recreation Center located at 22nd Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue.  The mural depicts the critical role Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. played in the civil rights movement in America, and features one of his well-known quotes on the struggle for equality.

“The community at the Martin Luther King Recreation Center passionately advocated for a mural that honored the great leader from which this facility draws its name,” said Mayor Nutter.  “After seeing this new addition to Philadelphia’s mural landscape, it is clear they succeeded.  This momentous artwork is yet another chapter in the story of the revitalization of the MLK Recreation Center, the neighborhood in the City’s 22nd Police District, and the entire North Philadelphia community.  It would not have been possible without the work of participants in the Restorative Justice Guild Program at Mural Arts – one of many initiatives in which the City has invested that provide job skills training and resources to returning citizens.  Projects like this mural provide so much more than visual beauty; this one has provided opportunity and hope for a fresh start for young people that were previously on the wrong path in the prison and juvenile justice system.  I am proud of what they have accomplished.”

The mural was produced through a partnership among Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PP&R), the Philadelphia Prisons System, the Mural Arts Program (MAP), and the PhillyRising initiative with input from local residents, recreation staffers and youth.  The mural was created by MAP Restorative Justice Guild Program participants, muralist Willis Humphrey and ceramic artist Jonny Buss.

“This mural is a stunning piece of visual art that beautifully honors the legacy of the Civil Rights movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Michael DiBerardinis, Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources.  “The installation of this breathtaking mural serves multiple purposes: provide art lessons to our youth, help inmates make a positive contribution to the city, and provide inspiration to a community.”

The Staircases and Mountaintops: Ascending Beyond the Dream mural dedication is the highlight of the 2014 iteration of Mural Arts Month, a month-long celebration of the Mural Arts Programs’ work  to transform individual lives through art and revitalize the visual fabric of Philadelphia. For a full list of events and programs, visit muralarts.org or follow along on Twitter or Facebook.

“The project at the Martin Luther King Recreation Center embodies our motto for Mural Arts Month: ‘Art Ignites Change’. The Restorative Justice Guild Program at Mural Arts emphasizes the reclamation of civic spaces, develops the competency skills of returning citizens, and uses art to give voice to people who have consistently felt disconnected from society. We are very proud of this project and the Guild Program,” said Jane Golden, Executive Director of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.

MAP’s Restorative Justice Guild program is a collaboration with the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership to bring together young adult offenders on probation in the Philadelphia Prisons System with artists, local citizens, victims’ groups, advocacy groups to teach real-life job skills to participants, restore public spaces, and improve employment opportunities for those in the program.   Participants learn mural restoration, construction and safety standards, landscaping and traditional mural-making techniques in addition to other job-readiness training.

Funders for the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center mural include: the Philadelphia Prisons System, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, the Hummingbird Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, Bryan Weingarten, the Lenfest Foundation, and I.B. E. W. Local 98.

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release

Mayor Nutter To Welcome Delegation Of Israeli Entrepreneurs To Philadelphia

Visit by Israeli companies result of Mayor’s 2013 trade mission

Philadelphia, October 23, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger will welcome a delegation of Israeli companies to Philadelphia next week looking to meet and explore partnerships with local companies and institutions.  The visit is a result of Mayor Nutter’s trade mission to Israel in November 2013, during which he met with a range of Israeli venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to pitch Philadelphia as the perfect gateway to the United States market.

“Philadelphia has the assets to compete with any city in the world in attracting innovative companies.  Increasingly, international companies are looking to establish a presence in our city,” said Mayor Nutter.  “The goal of my visit to Israel last year was to raise Philadelphia’s profile and attract exciting companies to our city.  This delegation’s visit to our city is another step in that process, and I am excited to welcome the group and my friend Chemi Peres to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.”

During a meeting with Israeli investors and entrepreneurs hosted by Pitango Venture Capital, one of Israel’s leading venture capital funds, Chemi Peres, Co-Founder and Managing General Partner of Pitango, told Mayor Nutter and the Philadelphia delegation that he would bring a group of Israeli companies to see what Philadelphia has to offer.  Mr. Peres will join the companies in Philadelphia next week.

“During his visit to Israel last year, Mayor Nutter made a very convincing case that Israeli companies looking to enter the U.S. market should look no further than Philadelphia,” said Mr. Peres. “With its wealth of higher education and healthcare institutions, its vibrant startup community and an incredible quality of life, Philadelphia is increasingly well-placed to emerge as a prominent global startup city.”

The Israeli companies will participate in the Philadelphia Israeli Technology Conference hosted by Drexel University and will meet local leaders at a reception hosted by Comcast.  They will also visit Jefferson University Hospital and the Comcast Center, and will meet with a range of local venture capitalists at a lunch organized by the Consulate General.  Some of the companies will then attend the IMPACT 2014 Conference organized by the Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies.

The twelve Israeli companies represent a range of healthcare and media innovation including medical devices, cognitive biometrics, data analytics, measurement, cyber security, opinion research and content production.  Physihome, a startup company that automates movement assessments for athletes, met with Mayor Nutter during his Israel visit and has made subsequent visits to Philadelphia already.

“For companies innovating in healthcare and human performance, the Greater Philadelphia area is a natural spot to be,” said Ram Shalev, CEO of PhysiHome. “This region hosts the nation’s top medical, academic, and sports institutes.  Addressing a global need to improve human performance and minimize sports injury rates, the PhysiHome team found an open and dynamic ecosystem to work with, driven by a proactive state government, including support from the mayor’s office and industry chambers.”

The City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce worked with a range of partners to organize the visit, including Greenberg Traurig, the Philadelphia Israel Chamber of Commerce, Israel Advanced Technology Industries, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Comcast Corporation, Revlyst, Select Greater Philadelphia, and the Consulate General of Israel in Philadelphia.   A number of local companies and institutions will meet with the Israeli companies to explore potential partnerships and business opportunities.

“Establishing Philadelphia’s reputation as a startup city and raising our international profile are two of our key economic development priorities, and we believe that delegations such as this one achieve both of those objectives,” said Deputy Mayor Greenberger.  “Working with our partners, we present a strong case to businesses that they should start, stay and grow in Philadelphia and we hope to make exactly the same case to the delegation from Israel next week.”

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases

Mayor Nutter And City Officials Break Ground On Public Safety Services Campus

Philadelphia, October 20, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter and City officials broke ground on the new Philadelphia Public Safety Services Campus this afternoon.  When complete, the campus – located at 4601 Market Street in West Philadelphia – will be the new co-location for the Philadelphia Police Department headquarters, the Medical Examiner’s Office and the Morgue, and the Department of Public Health Laboratories.  Interior demolition and design work is currently underway, and the construction phase is estimated to begin in December 2015.  The new facility is expected to be move-in ready by Spring 2018.

“Throughout the course of our Administration we have developed a city-wide vision for planning and developing public safety services facilities, and in the last few years we have celebrated many ground-breakings and ribbon-cuttings for projects like the DVIC, the DHS-SVU Co-location, the new Police Training Academy and the Regional Tactical Training Facility, and the Juvenile Justice Services Center,” said Mayor Nutter.  “Today’s event is another piece of that vision to create comprehensive public safety sites throughout the city that address a variety of needs.  This is a much-needed investment that will bring the City of Philadelphia Police and Health Departments into the 21st century to better serve the needs of all Philadelphians.”

The estimated $250 million project will transform the buildings at 4601 Market Street, formerly the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Company, into a state-of-the-art campus covering approximately 15 acres strategically located adjacent to the 46th & Market Street station of SEPTA’s Market-Frankford Line.  Co-locating all three City services provides a variety of benefits for City employees and taxpayers: reduction in facility operational costs, energy efficiency and cost savings through sustainable building design, and access to public transportation resulting in reduced fuel consumption.  Approximately 900 City of Philadelphia employees will relocate to this campus, including 800 uniform and civilian Police Department employees and 100 Health Department employees.

The project is currently meeting or exceeding goals for participation by minority and women-owned businesses and a diversified workforce while striving to increase local workforce participation.  The interior designs for the building will reflect ‘best practices’ for laboratories, medical forensic examination and law enforcement facility operation.

Posted in Press Release, Mayor's Press Releases, Topics, Neighborhoods

Mayors Nutter and Peduto Issue Statement On Gun Litigation Provisions in HB 80

Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto issued a joint statement today on provisions added to HB 80 to increase the vulnerability of cities and other localities to lawsuits by pro-gun advocates.

The new provisions would give pro-gun groups or other organizations legal standing to sue municipalities with the aim of invalidating firearms ordinances and other local regulations. HB 80 would also require that if a lawsuit is filed against a municipality and succeeds, the municipality must pay all legal fees and costs for the plaintiffs.

The bill is now before the House (after passing the Senate where all Senators from Philadelphia opposed the new provisions). The Mayors urged members of the House not to concur in these amendments:

“We are profoundly opposed to the provisions added to HB 80 in the Senate. Gun violence represents a particularly tragic epidemic in poorer communities in cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Parents, family members and community leaders are naturally compelled by concern for their loved ones to do everything in their power to combat the shootings that destroy lives. It is squarely at some of these responses by the community that HB 80 is now aimed. The standing and attorneys fees provisions of HB 80 raise the stakes for local governments, and the communities they serve, for trying to do something about illegal gun violence.

“In Philadelphia, lawmakers have implemented ordinances and policies, such as requirements regarding lost or stolen firearms, and possession of firearms on City property, that address the issue of proliferation of unlawful guns, while staying within the statutory framework set out by the General Assembly. While any law can be tested in court, no one, much less resource-strapped municipalities and their taxpayers, should be singled out to bear markedly increased risk and cost for trying to protect human life. Indeed, under HB 80, it would be riskier for cities to act on matters of unlawful gun possession and violence than to act on zoning. No one would reasonably argue that human life should be riskier to defend than a zoning setback.

“The General Assembly should not facilitate lawsuits against local governments simply to thwart their modest attempts at striking a balance between the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms and reducing the proliferation of illegal firearms and the deaths they cause. Article I, Section 11 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania provides that the courts shall be open to all and provides for remedies in the due course of the law. No more is necessary to settle disputes about the validity of ordinances, and yet this bill would give certain litigants special treatment, and impose new costs on taxpayers. We respectfully urge the House not to pass HB 80 with these onerous provisions in it.”

###

Media contact for Mayor William Peduto:

Timothy McNulty
Communications Manager
Office of Mayor William Peduto
City of Pittsburgh
Cell: (412)660-1999

Posted in Mayor's Press Releases, Press Release
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