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I-95 construction won’t end for decades; Philly gets a ‘Fair Workweek’ law | Morning Newsletter

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PennDOT is reconstructing the southbound side of I-95 between Allegheny and Girard Ave.’s. Work is shown on Dec. 20, 2018 by Berks St. (CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer)
PennDOT is reconstructing the southbound side of I-95 between Allegheny and Girard Ave.’s. Work is shown on Dec. 20, 2018 by Berks St. (CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer)Read more / 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

Well, the forecast that called for rain, rain, and more rain for the first two days of winter has been spot on. The tradeoff is that temperatures are up in the 60s today in Philly. I’ll take it. One thing the rain won’t help: traffic. And neither does the seemingly never-ending construction on I-95, which won’t be done for a very long time.

This newsletter’s going quiet over the holiday, returning to your inboxes Wednesday, Dec. 26, but you can always find the latest news at Until then, I hope you enjoy time with your loved ones. (And stay dry!)

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— Josh Rosenblat (@joshrosenblat,

Commuters have been facing diversions and traffic delays along I-95 due to a massive construction project for a while now. And the planners, engineers, managers, and laborers who have worked on rebuilding the highway’s 51 miles in Pennsylvania may never see what a completed I-95 looks like. The construction is being completed in four phases, some slated to finish up in the 2020s, 2030s and beyond.

A reader who wondered how much longer the work, which has been ongoing for more than a decade, will last, asked our newsroom about it using our Curious Philly question-and-answer forum.

Surrounded by those who worked to push the bill through City Council two weeks ago, Mayor Jim Kenney signed a law that will make schedules for retail, fast-food, and hospitality workers predictable.

Philadelphia is now the nation’s second biggest city to have a scheduling law, behind New York.

The law will go into effect in 2020. Large companies will have to set workers' schedules two weeks ahead of time, pay premiums if schedules are changed after that date, and offer available shifts to current workers over hiring new people.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia opened a fund last month that would compensate victims of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

But, this fund isn’t available to victims who were abused by someone who belonged to an independent Catholic religious order. About a quarter of the abuse claims submitted so far have been rejected because the alleged abuse was from members religious orders, such as the Franciscans, Augustinians, or Jesuits.

Earlier this week, 11 Jesuit priests who worked in Philadelphia in the past were named in a newly released list of clerics who had been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor.

What you need to know today

  1. Another major cabinet official will leave President Donald Trump’s administration early in 2019. Trump announced Thursday that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will leave his position in February.

  2. A 245-ton behemoth of trash was dumped between two of Philadelphia’s three main drinking water sources, the Water Department announced. The “eye-popping” illegal dump contained contained tires, construction debris, and run-of-the-mill trash.

  3. Four Miss America state organizations — including Pennsylvania — and other individuals related to the pageant, are suing Miss America board chair Gretchen Carlson and CEO Regina Hopper for orchestrating what the suit calls “an illegal and bad faith take over” of the Miss America Organization.

  4. A bill that would limit drug reps from giving gifts to doctors and require pharma sales reps to buy licenses, among other things, looked primed to go to a City Council vote. On Thursday, though, it was pulled from consideration.

  5. The tenure of Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam Jr. hasn’t quite worked the way that he and his supporters wanted. Reporter Amy Rosenberg dives into how, exactly, a man who got into a fist fight at a casino and was raided by the FBI and IRS — both in the last couple months — got elected in the first place?

  6. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf caused a stir Wednesday when he came out in support of looking into legalizing recreational marijuana. But to make it happen, a bill would still need to pass through the state legislature in Harrisburg. And many GOP lawmakers want to keep Pa. from becoming the Keystoner State.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

City Hall’s looking 💯, @aimeebsiegel.

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. The Phillies' owner said he’s willing to be a “little bit stupid” about how much money he’s willing to spend to improve the club this winter. Well, yesterday was his chance to show how “stupid” he can be when all-star shortstop and free agent Manny Machado visited the club.

  2. Want to get away for the holidays but don’t have anywhere to go? You could try the Jersey Shore.

  3. Minneapolis just passed an ordinance to end the city’s single-family zoning category. Reporter Caitlin McCabe talked to experts in Philly to see if our city should adopt that policy.

  4. Teachers at a Philly charter school got a raise and a contract. But full-fledged unions at charters are unusual.

  5. Some Sixers spent time with youngsters from Boys and Girls Clubs, and gave them a taste of life in the NBA.

  6. The War on Drugs has become one of Philly’s most popular bands. But, they’re playing smaller venues than they’re used to this month with their shows' proceeds partially benefitting The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia.


“To be clear, the death of any mother or baby should be prevented at all costs, no matter their race. But the reality is that black women face the greatest danger when they deliver their children.” Mashayla Hays, reproductive justice fellow at New Voices and the Women’s Law Project in Pittsburgh, on black women’s maternal mortality rate.

  1. Considering the U.S. Olympic Committee’s handling of serial sexual predator Larry Nassar, Marci Hamilton, a Penn professor and CEO of CHILD USA, a think tank to prevent child abuse and neglect, wants a “seat belt” created to protect the approximately 45 million American children who play sports from abuse.

  2. New Jersey Democrats are wise to stop with their gerrymandering plan, the Inquirer Editorial Board writes.

What we’re reading

  1. Artist Billy Blaise Dufala, who went to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, co-founded a nonprofit that basically makes really cool art out of garbage. Every winter, Dufala makes something huge out of trash and it gets photographed for holiday cards. And, of course, Dufala chose Gritty as this year’s subject. Philly Mag has all the Gritty-as-art-but-made-from-trash pictures your fuzzy orange heart desires.

  2. The leader of the Philadelphia Office for LGBT Affairs is working to change the way Philly perceives its LGBT+ community. Philadelphia Weekly profiles Amber Hikes, particularly focusing on her efforts to “give more representation to queer people of color.

  3. Philadelphia has a high poverty rate, but fewer people live on the city’s streets than in other major cities. Part of the reason is because of a group called Project HOME, reports WHYY.

  4. The last couple of years, pop music has turned from a “one-size-fits-all” model to one that pushes subgenres to the forefront. “Now, thanks to the largely frictionless internet, and the evolution in how Billboard calculates its charts ... these styles top the charts in unfiltered fashion,” writes The New York Times' Jon Caramanica.

  5. This might be too meta, but Lifehacker suggests writing an email newsletter to your friends or family this holiday season. It’s intentional, somewhat private and nice to receive.

Your Daily Dose of | Mummers

The iconic artist behind Philly’s Magic Gardens is bringing more color to the next Mummers Parade. Isaiah Zagar created a custom 75-pound suit from a mosaic of colorful tiles and bicycle wheels for a member of the Golden Sunrise club in the Fancy Division.