We have less than a week until 2019, and by now you’ve probably seen your fair share of end of the year round ups across the internet. We’ve made a few too, of course, but I’ll say my colleague Stephanie Farr’s meticulously crafted list of the strangest stories that happened in Philly trumps everyone else’s because c’mon, it’s Philly. We’re the city that’s embraced Gritty as a champion. Across the river, and in South Jersey, we have an important update on the growing outrage over a referee’s questionable and controversial decision to force a young black Buena Regional wrestler to cut his hair or forfeit his match.
In 1992, Congress approved a plan to deepen the Delaware’s main channel to open up traffic to more international shipping companies. Two years behind schedule and $100 million over its original $300 million total budget, the project is finally finishing up.
The project has had its fair share of stalls and disruptions. At one point, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency overseeing the work, had to dislodge rock outcroppings using explosives and an eight-ton underwater hammer imported from Europe to break up the hardest bedrock near some pipeline crossings. Now, the project is expected to be complete come 2019.
What does Philadelphia get out of all of this? The ability to keep up with competition from other East Coast ports for vessel traffic and lucrative access and space for shipping companies — all of which the agency says will add $13 million annually to the U.S. economy.
A week after a viral video showed 16-year-old Andrew Johnson, a black wrestler at Buena Regional High School in South Jersey, deciding to have his dreadlocks cut to avoid forfeiting his match, the Buena Regional school board hastily called an emergency meeting to hear the concerns from the local community.
Nearly 100 community members packed the room to vocalize their visible frustrations. Some lauded Johnson for his actions and others called into question those who allowed the action to happen.
The controversy has thrusted the Jersey school district into national spotlight since the video captured more than 15 million views on Twitter. Even a former U.S. Olympic gold medalist weighed in. The board has said it would take no action for the time being.
As mentioned earlier, my colleague Stephanie Farr had a fun job curating, and reporting, some of the weirdest and whackiest stories that happened in the Philadelphia region this year.
He’s not wrong! Thanks @visual.jawns for this illuminating picture, and welcome back home.
Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!
“It has become painfully clear over the last two years that the GOP is a party without a purpose. Winning is not a purpose; it is a means to an end. When you decided that winning was the end, you forfeited your ability to do anything worthwhile," — writes Antony Davies, associate professor of economics at Duquesne University, and James R. Harrigan, professor in the Political Economy and Moral Science at the University of Arizona, on how the Republicans lack of direction is no longer acceptable by the American public.