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USPS might be late with your Christmas presents | Morning Newsletter

And, this isn’t the last you’ve seen of the snow.

Good morning.

First: It’s been a big year for mail. Who could forget those mailboxes doing their democracy dance this election? But now there’s another consequential mission. Delivering Christmas to everyone’s doors. There’s a chance that shipped gifts may not make it in time for Christmas for a whole lot of people.

Then: We got it. The heavens opened up and gifted us with our first big batch of major snow in a while. As we head into January, don’t rule out the significant impact of this storm. And, is snow on Christmas a possibility? Here’s what we know so far.

And: As photos of hospital workers getting COVID-19 vaccinations proliferate, states have left home-care providers wondering when and how they’ll get vaccinated.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_ashleyhoffman,

You know how the informal motto goes. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” But then came the pandemic, and it did not spare the U.S. Postal Service.

A crush of holiday packages is overwhelming the USPS, and veteran employees are not mincing words when it comes to preparing people for the worst: too-late for Christmas presents.

“You’re not gonna get your Christmas presents because we don’t have the people and the ingenuity to do it,” one veteran employee told reporter Ellie Rushing. Employees can barely move an inch in the facilities, and there are plenty of reasons it’s become so overwhelming, not that they ease the frustration. Here’s the story behind the package pileup and the outsize impact it’s having.

The snowstorm blanketed the East and its impact is not going anywhere anytime soon. Meteorologists say the effects of the aftermath could linger in our atmosphere. It could keep going well into January. Will there be snow around Christmas? Don’t rule it out. Our story has what we can expect next and how it’s affecting transportation around Philly.

Helpful COVID-19 Resources

  1. Check the latest coronavirus-related restrictions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

  2. Here are the updated coronavirus case numbers as COVID-19 continues to spread across the region.

  3. Are you seeing people again after having COVID-19? Read our checklist first.

  4. Is it safe to travel this winter? If you are, here’s a full breakdown on how to stay safer away from home wherever you stay and however you get there.

  5. What are the first symptoms of the coronavirus and what are the differences in COVID-19, the flu, a common cold, and allergies?

  6. Everything you need to know about buying, washing, replacing, and wearing face masks.

  7. You were exposed to COVID-19. Does everyone in your house have to quarantine?

  8. Sign up to get free coronavirus news updates in your inbox three times a week.

What you need to know today

  1. Home care workers have seen the toll of the pandemic firsthand. And as the vaccine arrives in long-term care facilities this month, states place home care health workers in the same priority group as hospital and nursing home workers. But getting home care workers this vaccine is a complicated challenge and people are still in the dark about it.

  2. Cory Booker spoke with us about the 2020 election, President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration, and the progressive movement happening in New Jersey. As for groundless fraud claims wounding democracy, he says it’s exactly what one group outside of America wants.

  3. Now it’s Philly’s overworked 911 dispatchers who are calling for help. They’re bearing heavy workloads and the issues that go way back. Solutions are promised.

  4. The general manager of Reading Terminal Market appears to have left the building six months after taking the job, and it’s led to questions.

  5. SEPTA’s delaying fare hikes even further until next year with a new date to revisit this.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

It really is something to see the delicate dusting along Elfreth’s Alley at a quiet time. Thanks for sharing, @scapesbybimal.

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. 🎼 We talked to the Montco teen about her viral smash “Lonely Christmas” making the rounds and the offers already rolling in.

  2. 🎁 The holiday office party is going on. Not everyone is canceling the festivities. Think online scavenger hunt or wine tasting.

  3. 🏫 Schools that are open for in-person learning are missing one vital resource. So community members and parents are filling in. Reporter Maddie Hanna makes sense of the scramble.

  4. 💰 Par Funding wasn’t making money. Millions in payments to insiders didn’t help. Here’s why this was so significant.

  5. 🏨 The arrival of the vaccine has convention planners thinking about gatherings with hundreds of people next year.

  6. 🦅 It’s possible that the Eagles could be sitting in the NFC East driver’s seat. Reporter Paul Domowitch breaks down Sunday’s game to talk about what they’ll need to do to come out of the desert with a victory.

Stay safe, do stuff

Here is one highlight from our weekly events calendar:

  1. 🎊 New Year’s Resolution Wall at the Kimmel Center (Seasonal / virtual / kid-friendly / free) You can post your 2021 New Year’s resolutions on social media, tagged with #KimmelResolutions2021 and they’ll be collected and shared by the Kimmel on multiple platforms, including the huge digital sign outside of the theater. (Free, through Jan. 14,, add to calendar)


“And yet, for all the terribleness of this pandemic, the hundreds of thousands of lives lost, we’ve learned some unexpected lessons from our enforced isolation. This year of lockdown has inspired entirely new ways of living and accelerated our dependence on technology. We’ve also been forced to confront the deep unfairness that courses through American life, and the unnecessary suffering that those inequities have produced. Which changes from this bitter time are worth keeping?” — architecture critic Inga Saffron writes about the 2020 keepers worth holding onto.

  1. Jefferson Health professor John J. Zurlo, MD, writes about why vaccination—and the science behind it—wins. This also includes a detailed account about what it was like for him and his colleagues to roll up their sleeves and get it.

  2. It’s pro/con time. The snowstorm plastered us with 22 times more polarizing snow than fell all last winter, bringing along with it passionate takes about whether snow is “good” or not. Is snow dangerous or the adrenaline shot we need right now? Former CBS3 reporter Walt Hunter and our very own coverage editor Emily Babay on our Now Team have drifted onto the scene to make their passionate cases.

What we’re reading

  1. Student demographics in this suburban Philadelphia district have dramatically transformed to become predominantly Black. The teaching staff, however, hasn’t evolved enough. WHYY looks at how far the gap goes in the state.

  2. “My hope is to get a house, any kind of house.” Billy Penn asked those experiencing homelessness and their advocates to react to the shutdown of hotel prevention sites.

  3. The New York Times has the story of an elaborate prank involving a massive Soviet-style mural of Cookie Monster that this guy never asked to be painted on his house.

Your Daily Dose of | Upgrades

This eight-year retired Navy veteran has replaced hundreds of worn-out old American flags for free.

David Pinder, a network maintenance supervisor for Comcast who keeps the lines running, turned to his own company to supply the American flags through a veteran program back in 2017. He’s volunteered to put up hundreds of new flags in accordance with the U.S. Flag Code since, and 400 flags later, this is the Vet Net Flag Replacement Program.

Old Glory restored.