Berks Top Stories of 2011: #3 and #4: Fountain lady, city's poverty rate

Top Stories of 2011: Fountain lady, city's poverty rate

READING, Pa. - It was the fall seen around the world. The so-called fountain lady was selected by 69 News viewers as one of the top stories of 2011.

A revelation of how low the city of Reading has fallen also made the list at #4.

The 2010 U.S. Census revealed just how many people in Reading are living like Becky Ortiz. She said she survives on just $600 a month.

"I just budget a little bit," said Ortiz, "I do, honest to God. And I get food stamps."

In September, Reading learned how poor it is compared to the rest of the country. The city ranks number one out of 600 cities with the highest percentage of residents living in poverty.

Many people in the city said the statistic will not become a crutch for future growth or opportunity.

"We can not allow poverty and where this city is at to become a reason and an excuse for why our kids are not successful," said Eric Turman, the principal of Reading High School.

At the beginning of 2011, it was a splash seen all over the world and made our list at #3.

A Berkshire Mall security camera captured a tumbling texter, and somehow that video with mall security commentary ended up on YouTube for the world to see.

No one knew who the woman was until Cathy Cruz Marrero came forward, first to 69 News, then to the rest of the country the following morning.

Millions watched the video and her public humiliation.

Initially, her lawyer threatened to take legal action. She did appear in court, but it wasn't to pursue a lawsuit. Instead, she was facing theft charges in an unrelated case.

For many, however, she will be remembered simply as the "fountain lady."

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