Thursday was not a great day for mail ballots. A letter sent by the U.S. Postal Service raised new doubts about Pennsylvania’s being able to conduct a lot of the 2020 election by mail while President Donald Trump continued his false attacks on mail voting.

We also have more on development plans for a historic Underground Railroad site, a rare auction of rock posters in Bucks County, and the BlackStar Film Festival.

Exactly one year ago today, residents in Philly’s Tioga neighborhood were caught in the middle of an hours-long shootout between police and a gunman that became the largest mass shooting of Philly police in modern history. Now, the accused gunman, Maurice Hill, is being held for trial on even more charges.

Residents were confined in their homes for nearly eight hours during the standoff. City officials promised to patch the bullet holes and mend the relationship with Tioga, but all of that is taking a backseat to more pressing issues of today: grief, medical care, and hunger, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Voting by mail decreases the risk of exposure to the coronavirus, and because of that, it’s safer than voting in person. But the U.S. Postal Service told Pennsylvania that mail ballots might not be delivered on time to be counted because the deadlines are too tight for its “delivery standards” — or ballots just can’t be delivered fast enough. State officials are arguing in court for deadlines to be extended to avoid disenfranchising voters.

This comes as Trump is escalating his false attacks on mail voting, and opposing additional funding to the USPS to help deliver more mail. The post office is already struggling to deliver mail regularly in the Philly area, with some residents facing up to a three-week delay.

Philadelphia officials said this week that sanitation crews are mostly caught up on picking up recycling that hadn’t been collected for weeks. But that’s not true for every neighborhood. In parts of South Philly, recycling hasn’t been picked up for a month. So residents are solving the problem on their own, but they’ll mostly be helping people who can’t do the driving themselves.

What you need to know today

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

The mask game is on point here. Love it. Thanks for sharing, @jeffphl!

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!

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Rob Tornoe's Phillies cartoon for Friday, August 14, 2020.
Rob Tornoe / Staff
Rob Tornoe's Phillies cartoon for Friday, August 14, 2020.

“Women lobbied, paraded, picketed, went to jail, and starved themselves for the vote. This fall presents another chance to honor our ancestors by using it.”writes Angela P. Dodson, author of “Remember the Ladies: Celebrating Those Who Fought for Freedom at the Ballot Box,” on why U.S. women should continue to lead the vote.

What we’re reading

Your Daily Dose of | Songwriting

Voices of Valor is a program based in New Jersey that offers small groups of veterans a chance to collectively write and record an original song, with some guidance. A group of women veterans from South Jersey created a song from their hearts, with lyrics that reference the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. Check out a video about the project and the group’s original song here.