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Asbestos will close a Philly school building for months; Ex-professor’s strip club habit leaves Drexel with a $190K bill | Morning Newsletter

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A lifted beachfront home is shown in Beach Haven West.
A lifted beachfront home is shown in Beach Haven West.Read moreJOSE 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

Many people with property down the Shore consider their waterfront homes to be sacred. But because of intensifying storms, hurricanes, and rising sea levels, houses along the coast are at risk for frequent flooding. Even so, the Shore has been one of the country’s hottest spots for new development. Also, parents, students, and others shared their anger over the Philadelphia School District’s decision to move 1,000 students across the city because of asbestos issues.

— Josh Rosenblat (@joshrosenblat,

As a state, New Jersey has had the most at-risk homes built in the past 10 years, and properties are being constructed in risk zones more than three times faster than in “safer areas,” according to a study.

That’s all happening despite flooding destroying swaths of homes during that period. Whether it’s from hurricanes, intense storms, or rising sea levels, chances are that a waterfront property along the Jersey Shore is at risk for flooding. Even so, a number of residents told The Inquirer that it’s worth it for them to keep a slice of Shore heaven.

For the first time yesterday, officials acknowledged that the Ben Franklin-SLA building in the Spring Garden section of the city will not reopen for students until January at the earliest. That means nearly 1,000 students will have to be relocated.

At first, students were to be redirected to South Philadelphia and Strawberry Mansion high schools, but plans seemed to change course after two crowded, contentious, marathon town hall meetings. So where will students learn? Reporters Kristen Graham and Wendy Ruderman explore the question.

The former head of Drexel’s electrical engineering department blew hundreds of thousands of dollars at area strip clubs, government lawyers said. The money came from taxpayer dollars meant for energy, science, and naval research.

According to government lawyers, Chikaodinaka “Chika” Nwankpa, 56, submitted several improper charges for “goods and services” billed at “gentlemen’s clubs," as well as at sports bars and on iTunes.

What you need to know today

  1. The man accused of fatally stabbing a real estate developer near Rittenhouse Square last fall will not be tried for murder.

  2. Aramark has a new CEO, and an activist investor has become vice chair of the company’s board. Those were just a couple of the shakeups included in a revamp of the directors of the food services company.

  3. In New Jersey, it’s already illegal to fire a person for being gay or transgender. But with no such laws in Pennsylvania, a case that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear today could have a huge impact.

  4. A new genetic treatment being developed at Penn may offer a more promising outlook for those with the debilitating disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy. A local teen who has the disease played a role in the lab that did the research.

  5. Philly’s street sweeping pilot program is going to end this fall. Has the experiment gone well enough for it to continue?

  6. A motion filed by The Inquirer to unseal court records revealed how decades of lies unraveled into a cold-case murder arrest.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

One positive from a little rain ☔: pretty reflection shots. Cool pic, @jbake_photography.

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. A Fox 29 anchor sent a “horrible” message to an anti-bullying activist on Instagram who was born with rare genetic conditions.

  2. In 2015, Joe Sestak walked 422 miles across Pennsylvania to launch his bid for the U.S. Senate. The Democrat lost in the primary. Now, Sestak is doing something similar as he continues his longshot campaign for president. The former U.S. rep from Delaware County will walk across New Hampshire.

  3. Penn alum Gregg L. Semenza was sound asleep when he received the first phone call. Then, on the second call, he picked up and learned he won a Nobel Prize.

  4. The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has started a special unit to investigate and prosecute crimes against workers.

  5. The upcoming Philadelphia Flower Show will channel Europe and royalty with a local connection for its 2020 theme.

  6. Have dreams of hosting a party like Questlove does? He’s got a book out next week that will help you do just that.


“The Guangzhou Loong Lions will come to the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night as planned, and no one will dare to take a grand stand in defense of freedom. The Sixers and the rest of the NBA have taken a knee. To shine the oppressor’s shoes.” — sports columnist Mike Sielski writes about the Sixers hosting a Chinese basketball team tonight in the midst of the controversy embroiling the NBA, China, and the protests in Hong Kong.

  1. Will vaping bans like the one in Massachusetts stop the illness outbreak? Shaleen Title, a commissioner of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, and Michael Sinha, a lawyer, physician and research fellow at Harvard Medical School, share their answers with The Inquirer.

  2. When it comes to ex-Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam and other corrupt Jersey politicians, voters need to step up to stop enabling their behavior, The Inquirer Editorial Board writes.

What we’re reading

  1. Billy Penn writes about a new festival where you can dance under the Ben Franklin Bridge while raising money for Philadelphians experiencing homelessness.

  2. The Guardian looks at why U.S. law enforcement still uses “forensic hypnosis” to convict alleged criminals.

  3. Pitchfork released its list of the 200 best songs of the 2010s.

Your Daily Dose of | S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G

Although major changes have hit Fishtown in the past two decades, a locally run spelling bee has been a constant, and it will go on for its 18th year later this month. It was originally started as a way to change the preconceptions people had about the neighborhood before it became the trendy spot for restaurants and concert venues.