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The Mummers parade is coming, home improvement loans aren’t easy to get if you’re a minority | Morning Newsletter

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Mummers Golden Sunrise Captain, Mike Rubillo, right, and Jack Cohen, left, discuss the arrangements on wearing their heavy harnesses and back-pieces at their headquarters in South Philadelphia.Tuesday, December 11, 2018. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Mummers Golden Sunrise Captain, Mike Rubillo, right, and Jack Cohen, left, discuss the arrangements on wearing their heavy harnesses and back-pieces at their headquarters in South Philadelphia.Tuesday, December 11, 2018. JOSE F. MORENO / Staff PhotographerRead more--- Jose F. Moreno / Staff Photographer

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

It’s the end of the week, but more importantly, it’s the last full week we’ll have in 2018. As we enjoy the final days of 2018 be sure to grab your umbrella before you head out today; it’s going to rain into the evening. We took some time to reflect on how one of our biggest investigative pieces, which looked at toxic lead contamination in various buildings and areas of the city, has impacted Philadelphia and improved the safety of its children who live in these dangerous conditions. With New Year’s Day next week, the colorful Mummers Parade will be coming, and while spectators may be focused on the routines, the music, and clever costumes, marchers in the parade will be focused on something very important: avoiding injury.

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— Tauhid Chappell (@tauhidchappell,

To watch the Mummers Parade is to enjoy a spectacle of colorful costumes, joyous performers, and positive energy. To participate in the parade, however, takes a lot of dedication, energy, and strength. The laborious practices and heavy gear marchers carry can do damage to their bodies over time, with the spine and shoulders at risk of injury.

To offset this, musicians and performers have figured out clever ways to keep their bodies from breaking down or cutting as much weight from their floats or instruments as possible.

If you’re heading to the parade, be sure to cheer extra hard for these performers. They certainly deserve it.

In the two years since the Inquirer released a multipart series focused on the toxic conditions in several Philadelphia neighborhoods, the revelations have made Philadelphia cleaner and safer for kids in their homes, outdoor play spaces, and schools.

In the wake of the investigation, four new protection laws have been enacted, 770 landlords have been fined, and the city has spent $900,000 to protect kids from lead paint in their homes.

There’s still a lot of work to be done. The city will need to continue to address this ongoing issue and hold people accountable to ensure kids grow up in safer environments.

If you’re a minority or low-income homeowner in Philadelphia, you won’t have an easy time getting money to help fix up your house, and that’s making it harder for homeowners to maintain necessary upkeep to their homes.

A study released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia observed that homeowners in either category had more trouble getting approved for home-improvement loans from traditional financial institutions like banks.

The study also revealed that nearly 75 percent of low- or moderate-income homeowners who sought a loan to improve their homes were denied between 2015 and 2017, underlining the argument many housing advocates have been saying for years: City houses are falling apart faster than their owners can repair them.

What you need to know today

  1. A tense standoff came to a peaceful end after an armed gunman, who shot multiple times at SWAT officers and barricaded himself inside a house, gave up after a negotiator sang him a Christmas carol

  2. The Mummers Parade is right around the corner and there’s plenty of activities happening in Philadelphia leading up to the big event. If you can’t stand the cold, like me, there’s a way to catch the festivities on TV too (thankfully).

  3. Heads up Verizon TV customers, you might end up experiencing a blackout next week if the company doesn’t reach a deal with Walt Disney Co. If that happens, you won’t be able to access ESPN or ABC.

  4. If you haven’t made any plans leading up to New Year’s and looking around for something to do, we have you covered. John Oliver is coming to town, Franklin Square will be lit up for Kwanzaa and there’s plenty of artists jamming out across the city leading up to 2019. 

  5. A Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge ruled that convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal can reargue an appeal before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The ruling cites that then-Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille did not recusing himself when Abu-Jamal was appealing his case. Abu-Jamal is a former Black Panther serving a life sentence for fatally shooting Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

Three is bigger than one, right? Thanks @thesidewalkcities for sharing your festive decorations.

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. Philly’s seeing a continued growth in prominent rappers. Stepping up into the spotlight has been PnB Rock, who’s been an open book on his difficult musical journey that blossomed after he got out of state prison.

  2. Cherry Street Pier is preparing to host its very first New Year’s Eve bash, and the person they tapped to make it all come to life is not only known for her legendary parties, but also close friends with The Roots drummer Questlove.

  3. Instagram users have had to weather tons of design changes to the platform over the years. A recent update to the platform proved too much for users, and the backlash came like a roaring flood. 

  4. If you have an artificial tree that you used for Christmas and want to make sure it lasts a long time, it’s important to make sure you store it properly, even if it’s just plastic. 

  5. Like champagne? Well Philadelphians may see an influx of more bubbly after favorable weather in France produced what some Champagne growers say was the best harvest in a decade. Just in time for New Year’s, too.


“When I saw the video of a black teenage wrestler being forced to cut off his dreadlocks to compete, my mind immediately went to an image from the Holocaust that has stuck with me over the years — Nazi soldiers cutting the beards of Jewish men in the street," Columnist Abraham Gutman’s take after watching a high school trainer shear the dreadlocks off a 16-year-old black wrestler.

  1. If immigrant children are dying in U.S. custody, we’re responsible for that, writes the Inquirer Editorial Board, noting that the way we’ve been treating immigrants who are seeking asylum has been worse than the violence and poverty they’re escaping. 

  2. The internet laughed when Popeyes announced in jest that they would be selling “Emotional Support Chicken” to-go boxes, but in doing so, it downplayed the importance of emotional support animals, writes Saron McKee, the City of Philadelphia’s director of ADA compliance

What we’re reading

  1. Take this with a heavy grain of salt, or maybe sugar, but a new study released by the University of California-Irvine says moderate amounts of coffee and alcohol can help you live past 90. Cheers to that. 🍻

  2. It’s been a year since California legalized cannabis for recreational use, but the state isn’t seeing green like it had expected.

  3. Some people thrive in the cold, like Colin O’Brady, who managed to withstand days of arctic temperatures to become the first person to trek alone across Antarctica unaided. A hot bath sounds like a wonderful reward.


Board games are making a comeback, and the uptick in game sales shows there’s a cultural shift in how people are moving away from technologyand choosing to socialize in person.