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Ride The Ducks No More; Cease and Desist to Philly Uber/Lyft; Murder-Suicide in Jackson, NJ
 
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 10/06/16 4:05 pm | updated: 10/06/16 4:05 pm
 
Ride the Ducks, the amphibious sightseeing company, announced yesterday that were suspending their Philadelphia operation indefinitely. They cited rising insurance costs as the reason for their decision. The company base in Branson, MO, said in a statement, "Due to circumstances outside of our control including a 330% increase in our insurance premiums, continued operations in Philadelphia are not financially feasible at this time." Ride the Ducks have been operating their duck boats in Philly since 2003. Safety of the vehicles both in the water and on the streets has been called into question over the years. In 2010, a 16-year-old girl and 20-year-old man, both fron Hungary, were killed when a barge hit their boat that had become stranded in the shipping lane on the Delaware River. The tug boat operator pulling the barge was convicted of manslaughter for using his cell phone while driving. In 2015, a 68-year-old woman from Texas was killed while crossing the street against a red light in Chinatown while using a tablet. The boats have been criticized for having large blind spots. The company will be working with its 42 full and part time Philadelphia employees to help them find placement. Read their statement: http://ridetheducks.com/statement/

A Common Pleas court judge has issued a cease and desist order to ride sharing services Uber and Lyft to stop operating in Philadelphia. Judge Linda Carpenter issued the order which went into effect at noon on Thursday. It stems from a lawsuit brought by Ron Blount, president of the Taxi Workers Alliance of Philadelphia, back in July to block an agreement between the Philadelphia Parking Authority and the services to temporarily operate. The suit was shelved when the state passed a bill granting the services authority through September 30th. That expiration has passed and the PPA said on Tuesday that it would consider any operations illegal, however, both Uber and Lyft have continued to drive. The renewed lawsuit cites the PPA's inability to properly enforce its regulations. The companies could now be held in contempt if they fail to obey the order. There will be a vote in PA House on a bill to regulate the services in Philadelphia on October 17th.

Authorities believe it was murder-suicide in the case of two Ocean County, NJ, deaths discovered on Wednesday. Police in Holmdel responded to a 911 call of a man hanging from the bucket of a cable tv repair truck around 7:30 a.m. in an apparent suicide. He has been identified as 32-year-old Tyree Johnson of Jackson Township. When investigators went to the man's home to notify relatives of his death, no one answered the door and they used a key to open the door. They discovered the body of 29-year-old Christy Keronen of Lakewood dead in the kitchen. She had suffered head trauma. Keronen's family had reported her missing that morning. She had not been seen or heard from since Sunday evening. Family members of Keronen said she and Johnson were just friends. She lived at home with her brother and took care of her aging father. The investigation continues.

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