<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2017https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia https://www.nbcphiladelphia.comen-usThu, 14 Dec 2017 16:21:26 -0500Thu, 14 Dec 2017 16:21:26 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Suspects in Bucks Co. Farm Slayings Plead Not Guilty]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 15:37:54 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/215*120/Cosmo+Dinardo+Sean+Kratz.jpg

Two cousins charged in the deaths of four young men on a Bucks County farm last summer have pleaded not guilty.

Cosmo DiNardo, of Bensalem, and Sean Kratz, of Northeast Philadelphia, appeared at a formal arraignment Thursday to face multiple charges of homicide and abuse of a corpse in the July killings that occurred a few miles from New Hope.

At the time of his arrest, DiNardo’s attorney said his client gave a "full confession.” DiNardo allegedly admitted to authorities that he'd been involved in killing all four men, who were identified as Dean Finocchiaro, 19, of Middletown Township; Mark Sturgis, 22, of Pennsburg, Montgomery County; Tom Meo, 21, of Plumstead Township; and Jimi Taro Patrick, 19, of Newtown Township.

His confession, which allegedly included alerting investigators to the location of Patrick's body in a remote part of the 90-acre farm, was given in exchange for an offer from Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintrab that the death penalty not be sought at trial.

Weintrab said after the hearing Wednesday that his office would not press for the death penalty against DiNardo if the defendant cooperates in the case. It remains unclear if that condition applies to Kratz.

Authorities did file paperwork Tuesday that would allow them to seek the death penalty.

Neither cousin spoke during their separate arraignments in Doylestown.




Photo Credit: SkyForce10/ Bucks County DA
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Extension Cord, Space Heater Sparked Fatal Blaze, Police Say]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 15:41:49 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Bryan-Jr-Parker.jpg

A fire that killed two young boys in Montgomery County less than two weeks before Christmas was sparked by the failure of an extension cord that was used to power a space heater, state police said Thursday.

The fire started on the porch of the Schwenksville, Pennsylvania home early Wednesday morning.

The fire killed two young sons of Montgomery County Deputy Sheriff Bryan Lukens. Lukens, his wife, Tracy, and their 9-year-old daughter, Soffia, made it out of the home, though they were hurt.

Bryan Jr., 11, and Parker, 6, died on the second floor, state police said.

[[463992763, C]]

Federal regulators say that space heaters should always be plugged directly into the wall, because the heaters need more power than many other electrical devices and can overheat.

"Please pray, pray for this family, especially now around the holidays... this is a horrible tragedy," neighbor Kim Munsell, who saw flames shooting from the home, said.

Tracy, Soffia and Deputy Lukens were treated at the hospital and released Wednesday.

Friends have set up a gofundme page to help the family. 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Lukens family as they grieve their losses," Montgomery County Sheriff Sean Kilkenny said.

[[463949903, C]]

Flames burned through parts of the home, which sits in a neighborhood near Perkiomen Creek. It took crews about 30 minutes to bring the blaze under control, police said.



Photo Credit: Family Photo
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Crackdown on Philly 'Stop-N-Go' Stores Approved]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 15:41:08 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/liquor+bottles+generic.jpg

A bill cracking down on liquor sales by the hundreds of "stop-n-go" corner stores throughout Philadelphia was approved 14-3 after long and heated debate Thursday in City Council.

Supporters and opponents of the legislation by Councilwoman Cindy Bass testified for more than an hour before the vote was held.

The bill would implement new regulations governing corner stores that have liquor licenses to sell single beers and shots of liquor. At the heart of the controversy is one of those regulations regarding bulletproof glass separating cashiers from customers in many of the stores. The glass may be required to be removed in stores after a three-year review by the city.

Mayor Jim Kenney will sign the bill into law, a spokesman said.

"The bill does not require the removal of plexiglass –it gives L&I three years to convene a diverse group of stakeholders to decide how the plexiglass issue is to be handled – that could mean L&I ultimately decides to leave the plexiglass as is, to remove it completely or something in between," Kenney spokesman Mike Dunn said in an email.

A coalition of store owners argued that the glass is needed protection against robbery in high-crime neighborhoods. Several store owners testified before Council against the bill because of the glass regulation.

Supporters of Bass's bill testified that the broader effects of the bill would have effects ranging from decreasing public drunkenness and clamping down on those stop-n-go's selling liquor and beer without adhering to all state liquor law regulations.

Bass has said her legislation is meant to force the stores, which are also referred to as "beer delis," to maintain certain numbers of seats for customers, have accessible restrooms and sell food, as required by state regulations.

“Often times stop-n-go establishments use loopholes to obtain restaurant-based liquor licenses. The establishments may have a restroom, but the restrooms are not accessible to customers. The establishments purport to sell food, but their food preparation areas are cold and food storage areas contain only ramen noodles or hot dogs and paper bowls,” Bass said in a statement Nov. 2 when she introduced the bill. “This legislation will close those loopholes and require businesses to either operate as respectable, standard restaurants or else stay out of our neighborhoods.”

The controversial regulation on bulletproof glass was amended since its introduction to give the city Department of Licenses and Inspections until 2021 to decide store-by-store if each business could continue to have bulletproof glass enclosures.

Prior to the vote, Bass made an impassioned plea to fellow lawmakers.

"I know what a deli is and this isn’t that. You can’t get a pastrami and rye at these establishments," she said. "They only exist in vulnerable neighborhoods. They aren’t delis. They’re illegal places to get high."

One of the "no" votes, Councilman David Oh vehemently defended store owners, many of whom believe the legislation will create a more dangerous environment inside their businesses.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Teen, Classmates Explode With Joy Over Harvard Acceptance]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 16:17:18 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Ayrton+Little.jpg

A video of a 16-year-old boy and his classmates erupting in joy when they learn he was accepted to Harvard University is drawing millions of views online.

Ayrton Little posted the clip on Twitter Tuesday with a comment saying, "All the hard work was worth it." It has since been viewed more than 5 million times.

The video shows the Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, resident wearing a Harvard sweater and surrounded by classmates at TM Landry College Preparatory while he checks his admission status online.

In a flash, Little and his friends begin jumping around the room and cheering when they see the news.

Little will not be the only one in his family attending an Ivy League school in the fall. His older brother, Alex Little, learned last week that he has been accepted to Stanford University. Ayrton joined his brother in the same grade after skipping a year.

Little told The Boston Globe he always dreamed of attending the Ivy League school in Cambridge. He's received support from thousands online, including Brooklyn Nets guard and Harvard alumnus Jeremy Lin, and the prestigious school.





Photo Credit: Brittany Haviland]]>
<![CDATA['American Ninja Warrior' Returning to Philly]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 15:33:54 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/180*120/Ninja+Warrior+Web.jpg

NBC's obstacle course competition "American Ninja Warrior" is returning to Philadelphia next year and they are looking for some ninjas to try their luck at the course.

After holding 2016 qualifiers along the Delaware River, athletes in 2018 will compete again on a ANW course built outside the old Richmond Power Plant.

Here’s a refresher on what the previous course looked like thanks to our own Keith Jones who took on the challenge.

The city qualifying and finals rounds will be held in May, according to the production team. They will later air on television for season 10.

Potential ninjas looking to compete on the hit NBC show for a chance to try and eventually conquer Mount Midoriyama have until Jan. 2 to submit an application.

As May approaches, check back with On Camera Audiences for information on how you can watch the competition in person.



Photo Credit: David Becker/NBC]]>
<![CDATA[3 Inches in the Poconos: How Much Snow Has Fallen & Where]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 14:21:17 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Konrad+Park+Fishtown+Philly+Snow.jpg

How much snow has fallen in your neighborhood?

The National Weather Service has put out its measurements of how much snow has fallen (in inches) during a quick system that moved through Wednesday night into Thursday morning. Note: These totals could be updated throughout the day. Refresh this page for updates. 

Pennsylvania

Philadelphia County

  • Philadelphia International Airport - 1.4
  • Northeast Philly - 1

Berks County

  • Hamburg - 2
  • Bernville - 1.5
  • Reading - 1.3

Bucks County

  • Springtown - 2.2
  • Perkasie - 2.1
  • Chalfont - 1.5
  • Furlong - 1.5
  • Doylestown - 1.4
  • Langhorne - 1.2
  • Trevose - 1
  • Penndel - 1

Chester County

  • Malvern - 2
  • Berwyn - 1.5
  • West Chester - 1.5
  • Chester Springs - 1.4
  • East Nantmeal - 1.3
  • Glenmoore - 1.2
  • Pughtown - 1.2
  • West Grove - 1.1
  • Downingtown - 1

Delaware County 

  • Wayne - 1.8
  • Chadds Ford - 1.6
  • Garnet Valley - 1.5
  • Clifton Heights - 1.4

Lehigh County

  • Slatington - 2.6
  • Center Valley - 2.5
  • New Tripoli - 2
  • Lehigh Valley International Airport - 1.9

Montgomery County

  • North Wales - 2.3
  • Montgomeryville - 2.1
  • Skippack - 2.1
  • Collegeville - 2
  • Pottstown - 2
  • Graterford - 2
  • Eagleville - 1.8
  • Wynnewood - 1.5
  • Blue Bell - 1.5
  • North Wales - 1.5
  • Gilberstville - 1.3
  • Wyncote - 1 

Northampton County

  • Portland - 3
  • Hellertown - 2.9
  • Bethlehem - 2.7
  • Nazareth - 2.7
  • Martins Creek - 2.6
  • Bushkill Center - 2
  • Easton - 1.2

Poconos

  • Lehighton - 3.3
  • Palmerton - 3
  • Pocono Summit - 3
  • Stroudsburg - 3

New Jersey

Atlantic County

  • Estell Manor - 1.4
  • Atlantic City International Airport - 1.3
  • Egg Harbor Township - 0.8
  • Hammonton - 0.8

Burlington County

  • Medford Lakes - 1.2
  • Mount Holly - 1.2
  • Tabernacle - 1.2
  • Medford - 1.1
  • Mount Laurel - 1.1
  • Evesham - 1
  • Florence - 1
  • Burlington - 1
  • Moorestown - 1

Camden County

  • Voorhees - 1.5
  • Mount Ephraim - 1
  • Pennsauken - 1

Cape May County

  • Belleplain - 1.8
  • Woodbine - 1.5
  • Green Creek - 1.5
  • Seaville - 1.3
  • Sea Isle City - 1
  • Cape May - 0.5

Cumberland County

  • Vineland - 1

Gloucester County

  • Turnersville - 2.3
  • Williamstown - 1.8
  • Elmer - 1
  • Green Tree - 1
  • Sewell - 0.8

Mercer County

  • Ewing Township - 1.5
  • Ewing - 1.5
  • Hightstown - 1.5
  • Princeton - 1.4
  • Trenton - 1.4
  • Hopewell - 1

Ocean County

  • Berkeley Township - 1.3
  • Lakehurst - 1.2
  • Waretown - 1.1
  • Point Pleasant Beach - 1 

Salem County

  • Rosenhayn - 0.9

Delaware

New Castle County

  • Glasgow - 1.1
  • Wilmington - 1
  • Middletown - 1
  • Newark - 1
  • New Castle County Airport - 0.8

Sussex County

  • Lewes - 0.4



Photo Credit: @RDQ_geography]]>
<![CDATA[Snow Leaves Messy Commute]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 10:07:43 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/209*120/Plymouth+Meeting+Snow1.JPG

Winter is still a week away but you'd think it was already here given the recent weather. Light snow moved in Wednesday night leaving slippery roads and sidewalks for the Thursday morning commute, so be careful on the road. 

Dozens of area schools opened late Thursday due to the snow.

The snow moved into the western part of Pennsylvania Wednesday afternoon and hit Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs between 8 and 10 p.m.

By 6 a.m., most of snow had moved out with some lingering flurries remaining.

Click here to send your snow photos.

Much of the Philadelphia region saw about 1 inch of snow. (Get snow totals) Parts of Montgomery County, the Lehigh Valley and the Poconos got 2 inches or more with Pocono Summit coming out on top with 3 inches of snow.

[[464107473, C]]

Along with the snow, dangerously cold temperatures swept the region Wednesday and continued into the night.

The dangerous cold only lasts through Thursday morning but high temps will only get into the 30s into the weekend before a warm-up to the 40s by Sunday.



Photo Credit: NBC10
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[GRAPHIC: Where Net Neutrality's End Could Be Felt the Most]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 13:27:36 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/net-neutral-maps-th.jpg

The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to end net neutrality rules, which that have prevented internet service providers from playing favorites with websites.

The change won't affect everyone in the United States the same way, according to data compiled by mapping firm Esri. By and large, cities are more likely to be impacted by changes than rural areas, according to the data, though people in Northwest Corridor and Silicon Valley are joined by those in the Great Plains — from the Texas Panhandle to Montana — as more likely to spend at least 10 hours a day online. 

[[464151003, LG]]

Residents of Hollywood are 15 percent more likely than the national average to have streamed a movie in the last 30 days, lower than plenty of other areas, including most of Washington, D.C., according to the Esri data.

Movie streaming is one of the features of the internet that could be most affected by data caps or partnerships between ISPs and content providers like Netflix, which proponents of net neutrality fear will fundamentally change how the internet is used.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who led the charge against net neutrality, argued that less government regulation, like net neutrality, allows for greater competition in the marketplace. He also said the end of net neutrality will help give rural areas greater access to high-speed internet.

Esri said it analyzed predominant internet connection types, communities' access to high-speed internet and more to determine how changes to the current internet regulatory system will affect Americans.

[[464153523, LG]]

Dallas appears to be especially susceptible to changes to net neutrality — it contains the zip code with the highest percentage of adults who spend at least 10 hours a day online, and two more in the top 10.

Wall Street in Manhattan appears twice in the top 10, along with zip codes in Nashville, Chicago, Atlanta, Hartford and Boston.

[[464153593, LG]]


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Catch Up Quickly: DUI Driver Strikes St. Joe's Student]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 07:00:23 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/DUI+Driver+St+Josephs+Student+Crash_26303654.jpg

Here are the top news stories you need to know to start your day from your friends at NBC10.


TODAY'S TOP STORY 

Estranged Husband Kills Wife, Self at College Campus: A woman and her estranged husband were shot and killed Wednesday afternoon in an apparent murder-suicide at a Penn State University satellite campus near Pittsburgh, according to police. Officials confirmed that shots were fired near a dining hall at Penn State Beaver, which is located in Center Township, Beaver County. Officials told NBC affiliate WPXI the woman was a worker at the campus cafeteria. Her husband showed up at the cafeteria after the couple had a fight and shot her near her car in the parking lot before turning the gun on himself, police said. The school issued an alert to students just before 4 p.m. The alert added that the situation was contained and they said there was "no threat at this time.’' The campus will be closed until further notice.

    WHAT YOU MISSED YESTERDAY

    DUI Driver Strikes St. Joe's Student: A Saint Joseph’s University student is fighting for her life after she was struck by a DUI driver in the Wynnefield section of Philadelphia early Wednesday evening. The 20-year-old woman was walking eastbound on Lapsley Lane and crossing the 5600 block of City Avenue around 6:30 p.m. when she was struck by a black 2016 Mitsubishi. The woman was taken to Lankenau Medical Center and is currently in critical condition. The 42-year-old driver of the striking vehicle stayed at the scene. Police say he was taken into custody for DUI and charges against him are pending.

    YOUR FIRST ALERT FORECAST  

    The overnight snow fall has moved out. Thursday is expected to be cold with temperatures in the low 30s but there should be less wind. Friday is expected to be cold with temperatures in the low 30s. Saturday is expected to see sun and temperatures in the 30s. Sunday temperatures could reach the 40s. Monday and Tuesday could see temperatures in the 40s.  Get your full NBC10 First Alert forecast here.

    [[464107473, C]]

        TODAY'S TALKER               

        Racist Flyers Found at Temple University: Temple University Police are investigating racist flyers that were found on campus. A student posted a photo of one of the three flyers on Twitter Wednesday. The sign reads, “Hey you stupid N-----s, Bernie would have won if it wasn’t for you. Seriously, f--k you all. This is all your fault.” The sign was found outside the 1940 Residence Hall, according to the student. Officials say two other flyers using inflammatory language against African Americans were also found on campus power poles at the school. The school is investigating and anyone with information is asked to contact Campus Safety Services.

        AROUND THE WORLD

        Trump Aide Omarosa Forced Out of White House: Omarosa Manigault Newman, a White House aide and former "Apprentice" contestant, was forced out of her job, even though the White House said she resigned, according to a senior Trump administration official who spoke to NBC News on Wednesday night. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that Manigault Newman's last day will be Jan. 20, one year since Trump's inauguration. "We wish her the best in future endeavors and are grateful for her service," Sanders said. The president also bid her farewell, tweeting: "Thank you Omarosa for your service! I wish you continued success.” Manigault Newman was an assistant to the president and director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison, working on outreach to various constituency groups. But a source close to the White House said Wednesday night that Trump's chief of staff, John Kelly, made the decision to terminate Newman's employment. She was escorted off the White House grounds on Tuesday night after trying to re-enter the residence to debate the terms of her departure, the source said.


        That's what you need to know to Catch Up Quickly, but we've got more stories worthy of your time. Click here to check them out



        Photo Credit: NBC10 ]]>
        <![CDATA[Opinion: Another Christmas Without Vicki After Sandy Hook]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 11:16:40 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/carlee-soto.jpg

        Carlee Soto's sister Victoria Soto was shot and killed while shielding her students from gunfire during the mass shooting at the Sandy Hook School in December 2012. She wrote this essay for NBC News' THINK opinion section: 

        Since the shooting at Sandy Hook, my family has been forced to find a new normal in our life. I can’t call my sister for advice or see her relish being an aunt to my son. All I can do is remember the good times we had — at Christmas and throughout the year. But I’ve also taken on a new role throughout the years: advocating for common-sense gun laws that will help save lives. 

        I’ve become intimately aware of our nation’s gun laws. I’ve met other survivors of gun violence as part of the Everytown Survivor Network and shared my story with members of Congress, urging them to take action to close the gaping loopholes in our nation’s gun laws. I remember the disappointment and outrage when legislation in Congress to close the background check loophole failed to become law in 2013. But I’ve learned that change happens over time and since 2012, a groundswell of Americans has gotten more engaged in the fight for gun safety. 

        [[464147433, C]]

        Still, it’s astonishing to me to learn that last week — just days before we mark five years since the day Vicki was shot and killed in her classroom — gun lobby-backed members of in the House voted in favor of legislation that would gut our states’ gun laws. The gun lobby’s number one priority — known as “concealed carry reciprocity” — would override the standards that states have set for who can carry hidden, loaded guns in public.



        Photo Credit: AP]]>
        <![CDATA[Why Black Women Voters Stepped Up for Doug Jones]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 09:14:28 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/voter-doug-jonnes.jpg

        #BlackWomen trended on Twitter as many hailed African American women for playing a major role in driving Democrat Doug Jones' projected victory against Roy Moore in deep-red Alabama.

        NBC News exit polls showed 96 percent of black voters supported Jones, with 98 percent of black women and 93 percent of black men backing him. One of the factors that motivated black women was the protection of their communities, DeJuana Thompson, co-founder of strategy firm Think Rubix, told NBC News.


        “When you have rhetoric coming out about possible pedophilia, and when you’ve got rhetoric coming out about slashing critical resources to education and the programs that help sustain homes in the African-American community, black women are always going to show up for their communities,” Thompson said.


        Through Woke Vote, a program Thompson founded to get millennials out to vote, she went to historically black colleges and universities and churches across the state to mobilize students and black women to vote.

        “If you focus on African-American women you will bring along the men," Alabama House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels said. 




        Photo Credit: AP Photo/John Bazemore
        This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
        <![CDATA[Mysterious Asteroid Is Being Checked for Signs of Alien Life]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 08:34:47 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Oumuamua-asteroid.jpg

        People are wondering if a newly discovered, weirdly oblong asteroid being called Oumuamua is just a space rock or really an alien spacecraft, NBC News Mach reported.

        The interstellar object was spotted about a month ago by a collection of telescopes in Hawai'i after it had already sped by Earth. Now it's halfway to Jupiter.

        Oumuamua is different from the average asteroid. Its trajectory is hyperbolic rather than elliptical, its cigar-like shape has never been seen before in an asteroid and we've never seen an object passing from another stellar realm.

        [[417668253, C]]

        It's an extremely long shot that Oumuamua is a spaceship, but the SETI Institute has spent 60 hours scanning it for transmissions, and will soon devote another antenna to the task.



        Photo Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser]]>
        <![CDATA[My Kid Is Trans: Could They Lose Health Care Coverage?]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 13:33:23 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Trans+Kids.jpg

        Editor’s Note: NBC10 spoke with three sets of parents plus several lawmakers, advocates and medical experts for this story. All of the parents requested pseudonyms for either themselves or their children.

        Rather than attend school as a teenage girl, 13-year-old Chris binds his breasts to avoid confusion. He is proud presenting male.

        It wasn’t always so. Chris is the kind of kid who doesn’t like to be noticed, his mother, Jen, said. As a girl, he wore makeup, dressed in feminine clothing and went by his given name because that’s what was expected.

        Things started to change as Chris approached puberty. First, he came out as a lesbian and then, a month later, as transgender.

        “She felt more comfortable as a guy,” Jen said.

        Now, Chris crops his hair, uses male pronouns and wears men’s clothes. He is taking medication to suppress menstruation because his period is emotionally traumatic, Jen said.

        Chris, from Collegeville, Pennsylvania, is one of 180,000 kids enrolled in the Pennsylvania Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). It is free for many low-income families, but is available at discounted rates for people who make a higher income yet struggle to pay their children’s coverage, like Chris’ parents.

        But his subsidized insurance is in peril as the Pennsylvania House of Representatives weighs a bill to exclude transgender health care services from CHIP and Medical Assistance coverage.

        [[462374303, C]]

        House Bill 1933 would prohibit tax dollars from funding surgery, physician and counseling services, inpatient and outpatient hospital services and prescription drugs related to gender reassignment.

        The language, written by Rep. Jesse Topper, a Republican who represents portions of Bedford and Franklin counties, goes further than previous attempts to limit subsidized health care for trans patients. Earlier versions of the bill merely limited CHIP coverage to exclude gender affirming surgery.

        For Jen and her husband, health insurance already costs approximately $800 a month: nearly $200 for their three children’s CHIP coverage plus $600 for the parents’ private health insurance.

        Chris’ coverage helps offset the cost of monthly counseling sessions at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Jen said. There, Chris and his siblings, plus Jen and her husband, undergo therapy sessions individually and as a family. The doctors want to ensure the five are adapting to Chris’ transition.

        “I don’t know how we would be able to pay for it,” Jen said.

        Topper introduced the proposal last month after similar legislation was removed from the CHIP reauthorization bill. His was in response to a 2016 memo by the state Department of Human Services expanding coverage to include trans medical services.

        “I wanted to have a public policy debate,” he said.

        At the time of the DHS memo, the topic was never opened up to review by local lawmakers, he said.

        Despite the attention by state lawmakers to trans services, only 34 CHIP recipients used their coverage in 2016 for behavioral or physical health services related to gender dysphoria, Department of Human Services (DHS) acting secretary Teresa Miller said.

        She declined to give an exact tally for those who sought gender confirmation surgery, adding that “if a policy impacts fewer than 10 people, that’s when we don’t give numbers.”

        “It’s a very difficult issue. It’s a very emotional issue,” Topper said. “I’m just trying to find out the most information as I can as we move forward.”

        Currently, there is no overwhelming consensus on how best to treat trans children.

        The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that without medical treatment or counseling, people diagnosed with gender dysphoria — a conflict between a person’s physical sex and the gender they identify with — risk developing behavioral and emotional problems, including psychiatric disorders.

        Another group, the American College of Pediatricians, suggest trans kids would be better served by aligning their gender identity with their anatomic sex.

        The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality found that 40 percent of trans adults reported attempting suicide in their lifetime. More than 90 percent of those people said they made an attempt before the age of 25. Many of those respondents also reported higher instances of depression, abuse, homelessness and addiction.

        Like many trans youth, Chris suffers from depression. He has contemplated suicide and was put into an inpatient program for 10 days. CHIP paid for that. CHIP also paid for ongoing counseling at CHOP and outpatient treatment at Deveraux Advanced Behavioral Health in Phoenixville.

        “It saved my kid,” Jen said. “Without it, I don’t know how much money we would be in debt. I am forever grateful.”

        [[462374163, C]]

        Regardless of their age, people choosing to transition undergo a rigorous screening process that begins with medical and mental health professionals. They conduct psychological tests on patients to ensure someone is truly suffering from gender dysphoria, not a passing phase, according to doctors at Philadelphia’s Hahnemann University Hospital's Transgender Surgical Program.

        Once a doctor and a family gives consent, a young enough patient could be eligible for hormones known as puberty blockers.

        People who wish to continue transitioning may then undergo hormone therapy to receive more estrogen or testosterone. Gender reassignment surgery becomes an option when a patient has stopped developing. At Hahnemann, cosmetic procedures are not performed on people under the age of 16.

        The cost of these procedures can be overwhelming for many families. Some worry that if CHIP coverage lapses for trans-related services, it could have a ripple effect on private insurance companies.

        When 9-year-old Zurie of West Philadelphia first showed signs of being trans, her family was cautious. Her mother, Amy, initially balked when her son asked to wear a My Little Pony T-shirt. At first, Amy only allowed him to wear it inside the house. She then put the shirt in the dirty laundry and eventually made it disappear.

        Zurie persisted.

        “I don’t feel like it’s a choice for her,” Amy said. “She did get a choice about transitioning and expressing herself, but she didn’t get a choice about this innate sense that she is a girl.”

        Zurie’s transition, for now, is mostly a matter of changing her name and haircut. Even Amy’s private insurer agreed to change Zurie’s gender identity in their records.

        Over time, Amy has come to accept that her daughter knew herself better than anyone else. The question of whether her son was old enough to understand the concept of gender vanished and a daughter rose in its wake.

        Yet one of Rep. Topper’s sticking points in writing his bill is that gender affirming treatment is a personal preference and should not be subsidized by the government. In a statement, he called gender affirming surgery “not medically necessary and, in many cases, very harmful.”

        Parents like Harvey, from Wynnewood disagree.

        “There is a misconception that gender reassignment is elective, but it’s not, really, because the reason behind it is mental health,” Harvey, a father from Wynnewood, said. “To deny them is abusive.”

        Harvey’s daughter, Maya, was 2 years old when she declared herself a girl. Her parents thought it was a phase at first, but then started to sense something was different about their son.

        Maya didn’t exhibit the kinds of traditionally masculine traits that were so obvious in her brothers. She wanted long hair parted in pigtails. She asked to paint her nails.

        “When she turned 4, it really escalated,” her father said. “She asked why God made her a boy.”

        Last year, Maya’s family had their first brush with bias after relocating to Memphis, Tennessee, for Harvey’s work. They bought a house, found a school and alerted the headmaster to Maya’s gender preference. Things fell apart shortly after arriving in their new home, Harvey said.

        Maya’s school threatened to rescind her acceptance. The administration suggested introducing a PTSD expert for students disturbed by a trans child on campus. The headmaster called Maya a hermaphrodite, according to Harvey.

        [[462373823, C]]

        “It was eviscerating,” he said.

        The family didn’t last long in Tennessee. Harvey’s wife, Jamie, packed up their children and returned to Wynnewood. Harvey sold his new house and slept in his office for months until he was able to join his family. The experience left them shaken and worried for what could happen next.

        With that in mind, Harvey and Jamie consulted a financial advisor shortly after Maya’s revelation. They were told they should save an amount of money equal to a year’s tuition at a private college to have enough for future gender-affirming medication and procedures.

        “The reason we do this is because we want them to be healthy and happy,” Jamie said.

        Maya will enter puberty in a few years and the family will be forced to decide what additional phases of transition, if any, to pursue. The question of how to pay for it is never far behind.

        “The risks of not taking [gender affirming] medication is that my child would become so depressed she would kill herself,” Harvey said.

        The federal government funds nearly 90 percent of Pennsylvania's CHIP program. Currently, the program has enough money to operate through early February, according to DHS. It could cease to exist without a renewed promise from federal lawmakers.

        With just two weeks until the deadline runs out, Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday joined 11 other governors from both parties in writing a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to authorize CHIP funds before recipients lose their coverage. 

        "I’m joining bipartisan governors to insist that Congress stop putting our kids on the backburner and reauthorize funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program," he said on Twitter.

        State Rep. Madeleine Dean, a Democrat who represents Montgomery County and is running for lieutenant governor, has introduced counter legislation to Topper’s bill. The Taxpayer Protection of Gender and Sex Reassignment Services Act would guarantee all CHIP and Medicaid recipients receive federal aid for trans care.

        “This is not something that has great fiscal impact,” Dean said. “This is something born from ideology. It is certainly not something of science.”

        The point is not lost on current CHIP recipients, like Chris’ family.

        “I don’t fight to get [breast augmentation] for Chris,” his mom said. “I fight to keep him alive.”



        Photo Credit: NBC10
        This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
        <![CDATA['Super-Size Me' Director Admits to History of Sex Misconduct]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 08:04:01 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/spurlockGettyImages-490893902.jpg

        Director Morgan Spurlock, best known for his documentary film, "Super-Size Me," admitted Wednesday to a history of sexual misconduct dating back to his college days, NBC News reported. 

        Spurlock, 47, wrote "I am part of the problem,” in a blog post in which he confessed to settling a sexual harassment lawsuit, cheating on all of his romantic partners, including both of his wives, and was accused of rape in college. 

        The post was shared from Spurlock's verified Twitter account. A representative for the documentarian declined to provide a comment.

        In a tweet after his blog post, Spurlock said he was "seeking help."



        Photo Credit: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for AWXII, File]]>
        <![CDATA[Racist Flyers Found at Temple University ]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:13:49 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Temple+University+Racist+Flyer_26303713.jpg

        Temple University Police are investigating racist flyers that were found on campus.

        A student posted a photo of one of the three flyers on Twitter Wednesday. The sign reads, “Hey you stupid N-----s, Bernie would have won if it wasn’t for you. Seriously, f--k you all. This is all your fault.”

        The sign was found outside the 1940 Residence Hall, according to the student.

        Officials say two other flyers using inflammatory language against African Americans were also found on campus power poles at the school.

        “This is disgusting, hateful and has no place on our campus,” Temple University spokesman Ray Betzner wrote in a statement.

        The school is investigating and anyone with information is asked to contact Campus Safety Services.

        ]]>
        <![CDATA[Man With Dementia Goes Missing During Dangerous Cold ]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 21:44:11 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Frank-Martinez-Lead.jpg

        Police are searching for a man with dementia who is missing in the midst of dangerously cold temperatures in the region.

        Frank Martinez, 75, was last seen leaving an apartment complex on the 800 block of Providence Road in Upper Darby around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. Family members say he was only wearing pajamas and no jacket. He also didn’t have a phone or identification with him.

        Martinez suffers from dementia and has difficulty speaking English, a relative told NBC10.

        Due to temperatures currently in the upper 20s and lower 30s as well as wind chills in the teens throughout the region, there is a real concern for Martinez’s safety.

        If you see Martinez, please call 911 or Upper Darby Police.



        Photo Credit: Family Photos ]]>
        <![CDATA[DUI Driver Strikes Saint Joseph's Student on City Ave: Cops]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:38:16 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/DUI+Driver+St+Josephs+Student+Crash_26303654.jpg

        A Saint Joseph’s University student is fighting for her life after she was struck by a DUI driver in the Wynnefield section of Philadelphia early Wednesday evening.

        The 20-year-old woman was walking eastbound on Lapsley Lane and crossing the 5600 block of City Avenue around 6:30 p.m. when she was struck by a black 2016 Mitsubishi.

        The woman was taken to Lankenau Medical Center and is currently in critical condition.

        The 42-year-old driver of the striking vehicle stayed at the scene. Police say he was taken into custody for DUI and charges against him are pending.



        Photo Credit: NBC10 ]]>
        <![CDATA[How the GOP Tax Deal Could Impact You]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:35:23 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/214*120/How_the_Tax_Deal_Could_Impact_You.jpg

        If the GOP tax plan passes, how would it impact you? NBC10's Keith Jones lets us know how we can prepare.

        ]]>
        <![CDATA[Montco Deputy Sheriff's Young Sons Die in House Fire]]> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 14:45:17 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Bryan-Jr-Parker.jpg

        The young sons of a Montgomery County sheriff's deputy died as fire tore through their home less than two weeks before Christmas. The blaze left the boys' parents and young sister hurt.

        Flames broke out Wednesday morning around 5 in the Schwenksville, Pennsylvania home Deputy Sheriff Bryan Lukens shares with his wife Tracy and their three children along Summit Avenue, the county said in a news release.

        Lukens, his wife and their 9-year-old daughter, Soffia, made it out of the home. Bryan Jr., 11, and Parker, 6, died on the second floor, state police said.

        "Please pray, pray for this family, especially now around the holidays... this is a horrible tragedy," neighbor Kim Munsell, who saw flames shooting from the home, said.

        Tracy and Soffia were treated for injuries and able to join Deputy Lukens, who remained hospitalized Wednesday afternoon. Lukens is expected to be released later in the day, the county said.

        Friends set up a gofundme page to help the family. 

        "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Lukens family as they grieve their losses," Montgomery County Sheriff Sean Kilkenny said.

        Flames burned through parts of the home, which sits in a neighborhood near Perkiomen Creek. It took crews about 30 minutes to bring the blaze under control, police said.

        Investigators could be seen using a drone and sorted through debris as they searched for a cause of the deadly fire.



        Photo Credit: Family Photo
        This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
        <![CDATA[Undocumented Family Seeks Sanctuary Inside Philly Church]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 18:30:39 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/01167037.jpg

        After three of her relatives were gunned down by narco traffickers in Mexico, Carmela Hernandez packed up her four children and headed to San Diego. She voluntarily presented herself to border agents and begged for asylum.

        Instead of receiving it, Hernandez and her kids were detained for three days in 2015. She was given an ankle bracelet to track her every move and sent to join relatives in Pennsylvania pending an asylum case.

        Now, after her request was denied and a deportation order issued, the Hernandez family has found sanctuary inside a historically black church located in North Philadelphia. There, they will await an appeal and attempt to avoid returning to a country where they do not feel safe.

        “Just like I am here, there are many immigrant families that are being removed unfairly, families that are being separated unjustly, and that’s what I’m protesting,” Hernandez said from inside Church of the Advocate.

        Before finding the church, Hernandez knocked on countless doors in both Vineland, New Jersey, where the family lived, and Philadelphia.

        But Church of the Advocate has a long history of activism. It is a member of the New Sanctuary Movement in Philadelphia, and immediately responded to Hernandez’s plea for help.

        Church leaders say it is a natural pairing of two communities that are frequently overlooked.

        “People of color, together, are on the margins of power in this country,” Rev. Renee McKenzie said. “We stand beside Carmela in her courage. She wants what we all want for our children.”

        Hernandez will remain inside the church while lawyers help her fight the deportation order. Because she has relatives who were killed in Mexico, and was herself assaulted, advocates are hopeful a judge will be sympathetic.

        "They have a strong case for asylum because they fled their home country in fear of violence," said New Sanctuary Movement spokeswoman Sheila Quintana. “This is not a fair system and it has put the lives of Carmela and her children at risk.”



        Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
        <![CDATA[Senators React to Jones' Win in Alabama]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 18:59:53 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-891267092.jpg

        It's a big day in Washington after a Democratic victory in Alabama's senate race Tuesday night and Republicans reaching a final tax agreement Wednesday. NBC10's Lauren Mayk is in D.C. to track both of these major stories.



        Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
        <![CDATA[Armed Robbers Target NJ Pharmacies]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 19:12:05 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Smash+and+Grab+Robbery+Suspects+_26301535.jpg

        For the second time in two weeks, thieves have targeted pharmacies in South Jersey and police are working to find out if they're related. NBC10's South Jersey Bureau reporter Cydney Long has exclusive video of their most recent robbery.

        ]]>
        <![CDATA[Shoplifting Crackdown in Delaware]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 19:49:19 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Shoplifting_Crackdown.jpg

        One local police department is fighting back against the rise in shoplifting this holiday season. NBC10's Delaware Bureau reporter Tim Furlong shows us how officers are working directly with retailers to stop these crimes.

        ]]>
        <![CDATA[NBC10 Responds: Company Wont Pay Up After Power Surge Damages Woman's Appliances]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 19:39:39 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/NBC10_Responds_Company_Wont_Pay_Up_After_Power_Surge_Damages.jpg

        A power surge damaged a woman's appliances. When the company that caused the problem wouldn't pay up, she called Harry Hairston and NBC10 Responds.

        ]]>
        <![CDATA[Obamacare Sign-Ups Surge; Enrollment Likely Down Next Year]]> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 17:51:31 -0500 https://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Healthcare.gov-website.jpg

        Over 1 million people chose insurance through the federal health care exchange last week as open enrollment approaches its Dec. 15 deadline. But the total number is likely to fall short of last year, which featured both a longer enrollment period and a far more robust outreach campaign from the White House, NBC News reported.

        According to the latest figures, released Wednesday by the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), 388,984 new customers signed up between Dec. 3 and Dec. 9 while an additional 684,937 renewed existing coverage. The numbers are likely to surge again in the home stretch as customers finalize selections and others who have existing coverage, but have not chosen plans, are auto-enrolled.

        Just under 4.7 million people have signed up since open enrollment began Nov. 1, up from 4 million at a comparable point last year. But the previous enrollment period was longer and continued through Jan. 31, reaching a total of 9.2 million. 

        Top Trump administration officials have made little public mention of the enrollment period in contrast to the previous White House, where President Barack Obama participated in interviews and events to encourage signups.



        Photo Credit: Healthcare.gov]]>