Consumers Corner # 42


By Jim Murphy

The 2018 Great Walking Tour of Philadelphia steps off from the Constitution Center at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22.

For hardy souls who walk the whole thing, the Great 12-Hour, River-to-River, Vine-to-Pine, Rain-or-Shine Tour will end at the Water Works about 8 p.m.

Of course, you don’t have to walk the whole thing. You can chose any or all of the four phases.

It’s a great, once-a-year opportunity to see Philly’s history close-up – and visit all the places you’ve always wanted to see — all in one day. And all at one low price.

Each phase of the walking tour, put on by the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides (APT), will take you near 25 historic sites.

Highlights of the Great Tour:

  • Divided into four 2-1/2-hour phases
  • Includes over 100 historic sites and attractions
  • Makes “flash visits” to sites tourists often miss
  • All tours are led by APT-certified guides

Tour Schedule:

8:00 a.m. – Old City Phase starts at the National Constitution Center Lobby, 525 Arch St
Sites include Franklin’s Grave, St. George’s, Christ Church, Fireman’s Hall Museum, Elfreth’s Alley and more

11 a.m. – Society Hill Phase starts at Museum of the American Revolution, 3rd and Chestnut St.
Sites include President’s House, Franklin in Toga, Carpenter’s Hall, Powel House and more

2 p.m. – Market St. / Center City Phase starts at the back of the Independence Visitor Center, 6th and Market St., closer to Arch St.
Sites include Declaration House, Jewelers’ Row, Pennsylvania Hospital, Ave. of the Arts and more

5 p.m. – Benjamin Franklin Parkway Phase starts at City Hall Visitor Center, One Penn Square, East Portal
Sites include Swann Fountain, Rodin Museum, Rocky Steps, the Water Works and more

Register in August to get the lowest price

  • Register from Aug. 1 to 30: Pay $10 per person total*
  • Register from Sept. 1 to 21: Pay $20 per person total*
  • Register Sept. 22: $25 per person total*

* Price includes 1, 2, 3 or all 4 tour phases. 

To register, go to: and click on APT STORE

Questions?;  Phone: (856) 278-3479.

It should be a fun Philly day! Feel free to pass this info on on to anyone you think might be interested!

 Bring a crowd, and tour the city with your family, friends, colleagues, associates, neighbors and anyone else you know!


– You can’t drink the water near these old naval bases

Since 2014, about half the public drinking wells and many private ones in Horsham, Montgomery County, and Warminster and Warrington in Bucks County have been shut down, because the water near two former navy bases is contaminated.

The culprit: compounds in fire suppression foams the Navy used in real fires and firefighter training.

Part of the problem: says Navy tests detected the toxic chemicals in local groundwater as far back as 2011, but state and federal environmental regulators said “no follow-up action” was needed.

A newer study says the chemicals pose far more of a hazard to humans than indicated before.

That report had been blocked by both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and by the White House, which was concerned it would cause a “potential public relations nightmare.” says Tim Hagey, manager of a local water utility, told EPA officials: “You all made me out to be a liar.” also quoted Republican state Rep. Todd Stephens as saying: “It absolutely disgusts me that the federal government would put PR concerns ahead of public health concerns.”

Hard not to agree.


– For-profit colleges get a windfall from U.S.

Regulations that once forced for-profit colleges to prove their students actually get jobs or lose federal funding are being scrapped, the New York Times reports.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is eliminating the gainful employment rule that basically penalized those institutions with the worst records on student loan defaults and joblessness.

And that’s a shame. Because many students were left with worthless degrees and huge debts from large for-profit chains charged with deceptive and misleading practices.

NEA Today says, “More than 98 percent of the complaints are about for-profit colleges, including some that are under investigation or already shut down. The largest increase for any single school was for DeVry, which saw its “borrower defense claims” go from 1,195 in August to 7,393 currently.” reported in August, 2017, that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), reached a settlement with Aequitas Capital Management for helping Corinthian Colleges carry out a predatory lending scheme. Some 41,000 students were to receive a total of $183 million.

Among the closed Corintian Colleges involved in the settlement were: Everest College, Heald College and WyoTech, many in California. A local college was in Bensalem, Pa. The collection of “castoff” schools was taken over by Wall Street investors in 1999, says Wikipedia.

The bottom line: in higher education, as in everything else, do your homework before signing on the bottom line. That’s more important today than ever.




The percent of total errors women subjects made during a complicated card game when they were just slightly dehydrated.

“A growing body of evidence finds that being just a little dehydrated is tied to a range of subtle effects — from mood changes to muddled thinking,” NPR reports.

A good rule of thumb: sip fluids throughout the day.



The percent of older hospital patients readmitted within 30 days in 2016, according to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services.

One possible cause: post-hospital syndrome, a 60-90-day period “of increased vulnerability to a range of other health problem stemming from the stress of hospitalization itself,” says the New York Times.



Pennsylvania’s affordability of higher education ranking among the 50 states, according to a recent report titled “College Opportunity at Risk.”

The study, compiled by the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, says Pennsylvania residents spend 40 percent of income on educational expenses even after financial aid.


PHILLY FACT: Society Hill 2.0

Who rebranded the area formerly called “the Bloody Fifth Ward” as today’s genteel Society Hill?

The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia credits Charles E. Peterson, a National Park Service executive, for using the name as an investment strategy in the 1950s.

Patterson, who established the Historic American Buildings Survey, has also been called “the Godfather of Historic Preservation.”

Wikipedia says, “Peterson not only helped name the area” but also motivated “his friends and acquaintances to buy property there.”

Hidden City, for its part, says Francis Anne Wister, who started the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks (now PhilaLandmarks) came up with the name in the 1930s.

Both of them hearkened back to the city’s early days – when the area flew the flag of the Society of Free Traders and was known as “The Society’s Hill.”

Whoever the rebrander really was, the name stuck. And Society Hill sounds a lot nicer than calling this neighborhood “The Bloody Fifth Ward” – doesn’t it?


Photo Credits

“Elfreth’s Alley” flickr photo by jdv+ shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license


Jim Murphy is a direct marketing copywriter who has run his own consulting business since 2004. For nine years, he wrote and edited “Choices,” an award-winning credit union magazine with a circulation of 80,000. Now a certified member and vice president of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides, Jim gives tours and has written more than 50 historical articles for both the Queen Village Neighbors Association magazine and the Society Hill Reporter.

Any comments made are Jim’s opinion, and not necessarily those of the Old Pine Community Center.




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