News Briefing
Jan 02, 2014 | 600 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Judge dismisses Siloam appeal

Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Idee C. Fox has dismissed the appeal of Siloam, an AIDS agency that requested permission to demolish the old Church of the Assumption.

Siloam argued that demolition of the church was necessary because it was a drain on its resources and a hardship to maintain.

But on Dec. 20, Fox dismissed Siloam’s appeal after state Commonwealth Court determined that Siloam no longer owns the church.

In July 2012, Siloam sold the church to developers John Wei and Mika He, according to court records.

Siloam continues to operate in an old Catholic rectory adjacent to the church, which is located at 1123 Spring Garden St.

Neighborhood activists want the church preserved as an architectural icon, citing its connection to local saints Katharine Drexel and John Neumann.

But the city contends the church is unsafe due to multiple structural problems.

Andrew S. Ross, an attorney for the city, was asked if the city wants the church demolished, due to the contention that it’s a public-safety hazard.

“We are in the process of reinspecting the exterior and interior of the structure, and will take appropriate action based on the findings of the inspection,” Ross told PGN.

Wei and He had no comment for this story

Arguments set in DP case

Arguments are scheduled in the case of Bradley A. Ankney, a mathematics teacher who’s suiing his employer for domestic-partnership benefits.

Ankney is employed by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, an educational-services provider based in Homestead, near Pittsburgh.

He seeks to add his male domestic partner to his health-insurance plan, but AIU refuses to do so.

In August, Ankney filed suit, contending AIU’s health-benefits policy violates Allegheny County’s ban on sexual-orientation discrimination.

But in September, AIU asked Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Christine A. Ward to dismiss Ankney’s case, claiming it’s meritless.

Arguments on AIU’s request will be held 9:30 a.m. Jan. 15 in the City-County Building in Pittsburgh.

Sara J. Rose, an attorney for Ankney, expressed optimism that her client would prevail in the dispute.

“We are confident that the judge will reject the AIU’s claim that it is permitted to base employment benefits on marriage, even though that condition results in gay men and lesbians being denied health insurance and other valuable benefits for their partners,” Rose told PGN.

William C. Andrews, an attorney for AIU, had no comment for this story.

The AIU employs about 2,000 workers in 42 suburban municipalities in Allegheny County. It receives funding through federal, state, county and private grants.

— Timothy Cwiek MCCP changes worship hours

The Metropolitan Community Church of Philadelphia is changing its hours in the New Year.

Starting Jan. 5, the LGBT-affirming church will hold worship services at 11 a.m. Sundays instead of 1 p.m. Worship will still be held at 3637 Chestnut St.

For more information, call 215-294-2020 or email

— Jen Colletta

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