DID THE PHILLIES LET A STAR WALK? WE CAN SHOP WITH THE BEST OF THEM Philly fashion has cred. STYLE&SOUL. Werth is Washington’s big bat. SPORTS. The Philadelphia Inquirer C Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011 ★ PhiladelphiaMedia Network ★ $1 181st Year, No. 268 8 City & Suburbs $1.25 in some locations outside the metro area City courts crack down on debt due Dissonance of the seasons Starting Monday, they will use law firms and dunning letters in a bid to collect $1.5 billion. By Nancy Phillips and Craig R. McCoy INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS The Philadelphia courts, reversing a long pattern of lax financial collections, are poised to aggressively go after more than $1.5 billion in forfeited bail, fines, and restitution owed by thousands of defendants. Starting Monday, the courts will phase in a system to dun debtors and deploy collection lawyers to go after the worst deadbeats. Those who have not made arrangements to pay could find themselves facing liens, attached wages, even sheriff’s sales of their property. Court administrators on Tuesday announced the imminent end of a “penalty-free period” put in place last month to encourage more than 400,000 people who owe the courts money to pay up. That program included a See COURTS on A4 ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer Terrence Woods, a custodial worker with the Philadelphia School District, clears the sidewalks around Fairhill School on Tuesday morning. The overnight snow made for a difficult commute, but by afternoon its effect was mostly a memory. City schools were closed, bringing joy to children. Some parents, though, are fed up with snow days. Style & Soul, C1. Report: Bullying Gadhafi vows fight to death is widespread He issued a fist-pounding call to put down the revolt. But rebels claimed a wide swath of Libya. shouted and pounded his fists on the lectern, was an all-out call for his backers to impose control over the capital and take back other cities. After a week of upheaval, protesters backed by defecting army units have claimed control over almost the entire eastern half of Libya’s 1,000-mile Mediterranean coast, including several oil-producing areas. “You men and women who love Gadhafi … get out of your homes and fill the streets,” he said. “Leave your homes and attack them in their lairs.” Celebratory gunfire by Gadhafi supporters rang out in Tripoli after the leader’s speech, while in protester-held BengSee LIBYA on A10 By Maggie Michael and Sarah El Deeb ASSOCIATED PRESS CAIRO — A defiant Moammar Gadhafi vowed to fight to his “last drop of blood” and roared at supporters to strike back against Libyan protesters to defend his embattled regime Tuesday, signaling an escalation of the crackdown that has thrown the capital into scenes of mayhem, wild shooting, and bodies in the streets. The speech by the Libyan leader, who Christie budget has 2.6% cut Public workers would pay more for benefits. By Maya Rao INQUIRER TRENTON BUREAU TRENTON — Gov. Christie on Tuesday proposed a $29.4 billion spending plan that would increase aid to school districts and cut taxes for corporations, while looking to contain Medicaid costs and calling for greater sacrifices from public workers. Christie said his budget, which would reduce spending by 2.6 percent, would restore fiscal order while funding priorities key to the state’s success. He cautioned that New Jersey, struggling with soaring taxes and pension and health-care obligations, is not out of harm’s way. “We must continue on the path to reform, and continue to make the hard choices, in order See BUDGET on A12 NATION Emanuel is the winner He trounced five opponents in the Chicago mayor’s race and avoided a runoff. A8. WEATHER Sunny. Clouds and rain roll in Thursday. Air quality: Good. EarthWatch forecast, B9. MarketplaceC10 Movies ……C5 Obituaries …B7 Rally ……D10 Stocks ……E4 Get yours at phillydealyo.com … I will die as a martyr at the end.” ¢ Read Trudy Rubin’s Dispatches from Egypt on A10 and at www.philly.com/TrudyRubin ¢ Stocks fall; oil prices spike. E2 By William K. Marimow and Martha Woodall INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS He said in a letter obtained by The Inquirer that he had decided against looking into the $7.5 million contract for surveillance cameras because “we have reason to believe that at least two other government agencies with jurisdiction have already begun to investigate the circumstances leading to the award of this contract.” A spokesman for Wagner declined Digging for survivors A 12-page special section will take you on a driving tour of 20 city murals that reveal iconic images of African American history and culture. to name the other agencies, but State Rep. Michael McGeehan said Tuesday that he knew that one School District official had been interviewed in December by FBI agents about the nobid emergency contract won by IBS Communications Inc., a small Mount Airy firm. He said the same person had “addiSee PROBE on A8 Supreme Court hears Lansdale triangle case By John Shiffman INQUIRER STAFF WRITER DAVID WETHEY / NZPA Hours after one of New Zealand’s worst quakes in 80 years killed scores, searchers used cranes, dogs, and bare hands to try to save the trapped. A5. Philadelphia $10 for $20 worth of burritos at Santa Fe Burrito. Racial and ethnic conflicts are a “systemwide problem” in Philadelphia’s public schools, and the School District “is not doing enough to prevent and resolve such conflicts,” according to a muchanticipated Human Relations Commission report scheduled to be released next week. The state declined to investigate, saying other probes were under way. Coming Thursday ¢ “New Jersey is inspiring the nation,” Christie says. B1. Today’s Dealyo Libya State Television Moammar Gadhafi: “I am a fighter. Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner has decided not to pursue an in-depth audit of a Philadelphia School District no-bid contract amid strong signs that the FBI has a preliminary inquiry under way into the district’s procurement practices. High 42, Low 27 Comics ……C8 Editorials A14 Express …D12 Lotteries D12 By Susan Snyder INQUIRER STAFF WRITER Rue Landau, the commission’s executive director, gave highlights of the 26-page report at a hearing Tuesday afternoon before City Council, which called the session to address problems of violence and bullying in city schools. The report is based on testimony offered at a yearlong series of 11 hearings held around the city after attacks on Asian students at South Philadelphia High School over the last several years. At the hearings, 130 people offered See VIOLENCE on A12 Pa. won’t audit Phila. no-bid contract INSIDE INDEX A study says the Phila. schools need a “systemwide” solution. South Jersey Half off facials, waxing, and makeup application at the Makeup Bar. WASHINGTON — The curious case of the poisoned Pennsylvania paramour reached the nation’s highest court Tuesday, as the justices parsed dry legal issues of federalism and an individual’s right to challenge the constitutionality of a law. Carol Anne Bond v. United States, Docket No. 09-1227, is not typical Supreme Court fare. It involves a love trian- Northern Suburbs/Philadelphia Two tickets for the price of one to the Bucks County Symphony. © 2011 Philadelphia Media Network Inc. Call 215-665-1234 or 1-800-222-2765 for home delivery. gle, chemical weapons, postal inspectors, an international treaty, and the 10th Amendment. Depending upon its outcome, however, the case could have ramifications beyond its tabloid facts. In friend-of-thecourt briefs, advocacy groups say it represents an opportunity to put a check on increased federal powers. Bond, a Lansdale microbiologist imprisoned for six years See PARAMOUR on A4 Western Suburbs/Philadelphia $25 for $50 worth of toys and trains at Nicholas Smith Trains & Toys.