On Wednesday, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw clarified the department’s approach to certain nonviolent crimes during the spread of the coronavirus. Her message aimed to ease concerns and guarantee residents that the police are “not turning a blind eye to crime.” Statewide, the Wolf administration announced Pennsylvania’s first coronavirus death — an individual in Northampton County.

And my colleague Jason Nark introduces us to Heather Miller, perhaps better known as one of the best taxidermists in Pennsylvania at just 27 years old.

Taxidermist Heather Miller, 27, of Halifax, Pa., sits near a baby skunk she mounted.
JUSTIN MERRIMAN / For the Inquirer
Taxidermist Heather Miller, 27, of Halifax, Pa., sits near a baby skunk she mounted.

Heather Miller might only be 27, but across Pennsylvania, she is already revered as a premier taxidermist with an ability to make dead animals look alive. She grew up in a small community of about 830 people in Dauphin County, spending her days hunting and fishing with her dad.

Her passion for animals eventually manifested itself in the taxidermy business Wild by Design. There are roughly 1,500 licensed taxidermists in Pennsylvania. And Miller is one of the best. With her craft, Miller operates like a storyteller — sending a message with each piece she creates.

Miller’s dream is to eventually move west, maybe to Alaska. There she can take her craft to another level. In the meantime, she’ll keep racking up blue ribbons here at home.

Philadelphia police and law enforcement across the country are grappling with striking a balance between public safety and health concerns linked to the coronavirus. On Tuesday, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw notified commanders that police would be delaying arrests for nonviolent crimes, including drug offenses, theft, and prostitution.

On Wednesday, Outlaw clarified her remarks, assuring residents that police were “not turning a blind eye to crime.” Outlaw said that during the coronavirus crisis, alleged offenders will be detained and arrested at the scene and a warrant will be issued. “No one will escape accountability for the crime that they commit,” she added.

Officers will consider the severity of the incident, the alleged offender’s criminal record, and whether the person poses a danger to the community when considering whether to physically take someone into custody. The coronavirus has complicated law enforcement throughout the region.

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At 11:49 p.m. today, when the length of day and night will be roughly equal, it will officially be spring. But those who study nature’s calendar know that the official beginning of the season can be different than the day spring really arrives. Just ask Alyssa Rosemartin, a scientist from Newtown Square.

“Spring has arrived in Philadelphia 16 days earlier this year than the long-term average,” said Rosemartin. “This year is not normal.” Spring is coming earlier at the rate of about a day per decade, she said, "an indicator of changing climate.”

This could lead to more pests, a prolonged allergy season, and disruption of agriculture. My colleagues Frank Kummer and Dominique DeMoe have rounded up a series of charts that paint the picture.

That’s interesting

  • 🏀 In Greg Wright’s final days after a battle with lung cancer, tons of visitors poured into his room. One nurse asked, “Is he an actor or something?” No. Wright touched lives as the longtime coach of the Hunting Park Warriors AAU basketball team.
  • ⛹️‍♀️ Dawn Staley, the pride of North Philly, has been busy in 2020 — coaching the nation’s top college women’s basketball team and the U.S. women’s Olympic team. We checked in with her about her daily routine with both on hold. Don’t worry. She’s keeping busy.
  • ⚾️ When Joe Girardi last saw his Phillies players, he was making difficult decisions about the makeup of the roster. Now — all of a sudden — none of that matters.
  • 🏈 And if betting lines matter to you (even without live sports), Vegas is already weighing in on the odds of Tom Brady’s leading the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl. Here’s what it looks like compared with the Eagles’ chances.
  • 💨 Speaking of the Birds, Super Bowl champion and Philly hero Nick Foles has a new NFL home after one tumultuous season in Jacksonville.
  • 🍔 Philly restaurateur Marc Vetri has closed up shop at Vetri Cucina and Fiorella to hunker down at home. Meanwhile, his youngest son is cooking something up for folks on Instagram.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

That gorgeous Philly view is one way to make the most out of working from home 🏠. Thanks for sharing it, @ctp.takes.philly.

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!

What you need to know today


“Epidemics led to innovations that have allowed dense settlements to continue functioning and even to thrive. ... As chilling as COVID-19’s viral assault has been over the last several weeks, it’s almost certain that cities will adapt again. The empty sidewalks in Center City may make it feel as if Philadelphia has become a city without people, but this will not become a world without cities.” — Columnist Inga Saffron looks at the resiliency Philadelphia has displayed during past health scares.

What we’re are ... LISTENING TO 🎧

I love curling up with something to read as much as the next person, but with so much time at home, it’s a prime opportunity to catch up on podcasts. So here’s an old favorite, a regular listen, and something I’m hoping to start soon:

  • Old favorite: Dirty John from the Los Angeles Times and Wondery continues to be a major “re-listen” for me. The story of seduction, deception, forgiveness, and survival still keeps me on the edge of my seat more than two years after its release.
  • Regular listen: With so many story lines across the globe tied to the coronavirus, I find myself even more appreciative of Vox’s daily explainer pod, Today, Explained. Recent episodes have focused on America’s response to the virus, its impact on schools, and living life in lockdown.
  • Hoping to start soon: Like many podcast enthusiasts, I’m kind of into true crime, and Wondery’s new podcast The Dating Game Killer has caught my eye.

Got a podcast recommendation for me? I’m all ears.

Your Daily Dose of | ‘The Snizzle’

Raj Haldar, known by his rap name Lushlife, poses for a portrait at La Colombe in Center City on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
Raj Haldar, known by his rap name Lushlife, poses for a portrait at La Colombe in Center City on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer

Raj Haldar is a man of many talents. He’s a rapper, a children’s book author, and the DJ on Eagles game days at Lincoln Financial Field. But now it appears that his most consequential project is focused on teaching kids how to sneeze into their elbow.