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Sagging Santas plague a South Philly street; there’s going to be an Iowa caucus in Philadelphia | Morning Newsletter

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We’ll kick off this Christmas Eve edition of the newsletter with a story on Santa Claus being deflated. No, his mood isn’t any less jolly than it typically is, but sometimes those massive inflatable decorations featuring his likeness can literally lose their air, creating puddles of what used to be a plumped-up Santa. We’re also not over the Eagles’ win over the Cowboys on Sunday. And according to one of my colleagues, it’s time to stop complaining about Carson Wentz.

Happy holidays, everyone. We’ll be back in your inbox on Friday morning. Take care!

— Josh Rosenblat (@joshrosenblat,

This time of year, Smedley Street in South Philly is full of Christmas displays. It’s a 70-year tradition. But on Smedley and elsewhere, holiday inflatables battle the elements and technology to stay plump and upright.

So, is it OK to leave them deflated during the day?

That depends on whom you ask. Some understand that electric bills can start running high if you have your Santa at full inflation 24/7. Others don’t care. “If you’re going to deploy them, FOR GOD’S SAKE, keep them INFLATED!" Twitter user @bleusharque wrote.

Jessica Anderson was turned away in 2016 when she tried to caucus for Bernie Sanders in her hometown of Titonka, Iowa — population 476. She would turn 18 before the general election and thus was eligible, but there was confusion over the rules.

Now 21 and a junior at Penn, Anderson is bringing the caucus to campus. Anderson applied to the Iowa Democratic Party to hold a satellite caucus on Penn’s campus for registered Iowa Democrats in the area and it was recently approved. This is the first year the state party will hold out-of-state satellite caucuses as part of an effort to include more people.

Since 2013, the U.S. women’s field hockey team has trained at the Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Lancaster County. And it’s become the spiritual and competitive heart of American field hockey. There are 13 members of the 26-woman national team who are from Central and Southeastern Pennsylvania, with two of its stars hailing from the Philly suburbs.

But since the United States team proved unable to qualify for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, the Lancaster County facility has become the center of a public rebellion. A dropoff in performance, along with ongoing concerns about finances, administrative leadership, and facilities, have brought unrest. An online petition cites numerous issues, including players being allegedly served rotten or undercooked food and given inadequate medical treatment or insurance.

What you need to know today

  1. One of the wealthiest counties in Pennsylvania says it’s finally close to ending homelessness.

  2. Philly’s 10-year tax abatement is changing. So how do residents of one of the city’s most-changed neighborhoods feel?

  3. Could Philly see a teacher strike? Maybe, if these radical younger educators take over leadership at the city’s biggest union.

  4. Students are aggressively seeking their demands with a “new wave” of activism on college campuses.

  5. “A few years ago, it was rare to see a young person enter [a treatment center] with marijuana-induced psychosis. Now we see it on a regular basis," said the chief medical officer at the Caron Foundation, an organization that operates drug and alcohol residential treatment centers.

  6. Philadelphia Councilwoman Helen Gym is standing by her indicted colleague Bobby Henon. Here’s why.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

It’s that time of year! Happy holidays, everyone! Thanks for the shot, @michaelkanephotography.

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!

That’s interesting

  1. 🦅After securing that huge win over the Cowboys, don’t complain about Carson Wentz now.

  2. 📻Haverford High School has the oldest high school-operated radio station in the country. It plays a role in connecting current students to decades of graduates.

  3. 📝Remember when Philly had an office supply district? What’s left of it makes for some interesting architecture, writes The Inquirer’s Inga Saffron.

  4. ⌚In the 20 years since a watchmaker opened a shop in Wayne, the business has only grown while digital devices have made analog timepieces nearly obsolete. The watchmaker even has to turn away customers in order to catch up on the watches that need fixing.

  5. 🎓A local college has an endowment fund to help students who pursue jobs that serve the public good, but pay less than other careers, with their debt.

  6. 🎉 Trying to make your New Year’s Eve plans early? We’ve got some events for you to check out, whether you’re the all-night-dancing type or enjoy a murder mystery dinner.


“We wish Mayor Jim Kenney the best with his second term while wishing he’d hurry up already and announce his pick for a new police commissioner by the end of this term, as he said he intended. We also wish the mayor would at last fulfill another quasi-promise and find a more suitable spot for the Frank Rizzo statue across from City Hall.” — The Inquirer Editorial Board also has a number of Christmas wishes.

  1. The Editorial Board also writes about recent legislative activity in New Jersey, including approving bills that allow undocumented immigrants to apply for a new type of driver’s license and restore voting rights for many people on parole or probation.

  2. The biggest news on the day President Donald Trump got impeached actually happened 9,864 miles away, columnist Will Bunch writes.

What we’re reading

  1. CBS3 reports that a local YouTube celebrity is under the microscope of federal authorities, claiming that agents seized some of his assets during a recent raid.

  2. As a freelance journalist, Christopher Allen reported in some of the most dangerous parts of the world. But there was no one looking out for him. HuffPost profiles Allen, who grew up in a Philly suburb and went to Penn.

  3. The Washington Post covers the battle over fur clothes. Bans are popping up, but fur’s not going down without a fight.

Your Daily Dose of | Hanukkah 🕎

Sunday was the first night of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. Before an 18-foot menorah was lit in Cherry Hill, there was a parade of cars all topped with small menorahs of their own. One of my colleagues was there to capture the scene.