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Philly’s trash truck drivers cost taxpayers millions; Inside the first Trump impeachment hearing | Morning Newsletter

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Trash truck driver Allen Williams drives a trash truck on South Street, in Philadelphia, November 12, 2019. Williams has had the most accidents (19) out of all drivers.
Trash truck driver Allen Williams drives a trash truck on South Street, in Philadelphia, November 12, 2019. Williams has had the most accidents (19) out of all drivers.Read moreJESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer / JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photogra

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

Good chilly morning, Philly. Today, about 230 sanitation trucks will wind through Philadelphia’s streets, collecting trash and recycling — and likely getting into accidents. Over the past five years, the city’s trash truck drivers have averaged more than one accident per day, and the cost to taxpayers is adding up.

In other news, we’ve got what you need to know about yesterday’s historic day on Capitol Hill, and the lowdown on an “open-concept bathroom” in West Philly.

— Oona Goodin-Smith(@oonagoodinsmith,

Since June 2015, Philadelphia’s trash truck drivers have been involved in about 2,000 accidents — averaging 440 each year, or more than one a day. Two-thirds of those accidents were labeled preventable.

And though the department’s rules require drivers with repeated preventable accidents to be demoted or dismissed, they’re typically only sent to training classes or suspended before being allowed back on the road with the 30-ton trucks.

Yet the accidents continue, and they’re costing taxpayers millions.

As an Atlantic City councilman, Marty Small Sr. did not mince words about the deplorable state of Atlantic Avenue. As mayor, he’s ordered police to patrol the resort-town street.

And the difference along the community shopping hub is immediately apparent, shoppers and shopkeepers say, at least during daylight hours.

“You got to clean the house before you do anything for the tourists," one store employee said. “Otherwise, they’re not going to be around. It’s helping a lot.”

For more than five hours yesterday, grim-faced Democrats and Republicans opened public testimony into what is likely to become the third presidential impeachment in American history.

Steve Castor, a relatively low-profile lawyer from the Philadelphia area, emerged as a key player for Republicans in the proceedings, while George Conway sounded off about the hearings on MSNBC.

Among the attendees: New Jersey drag queen Pissi Myles, who documented the historic day at the Capitol.

Read more key highlights from Day One here.

What you need to know today

  1. Around 51,000 of Philadelphia’s poorest workers are one step closer to seeing relief from the city’s wage tax.

  2. The father of the 11-month-old baby who was critically wounded in a shooting last month allegedly used his son as a “human shield” while attempting to buy drugs with counterfeit money, officials said.

  3. Six years after a federal government warning that lifesaving antibiotics were losing their punch, an update reveals that the problem of antibiotic-resistant “superbug” infections is by some measures getting worse.

  4. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in the high-stakes civil rights case that pits Comcast against media mogul Byron Allen and that could make it harder to bring racial-discrimination claims.

  5. Philadelphia’s Republican Party has a new leader, and she says the local GOP is “ready for a resurgence.”

  6. This week’s record-breaking cold is paying off for ski resorts in the Poconos and Lehigh Valley, which are opening early to take advantage of the icy weather.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Two sunsets are better than one. 🌇Thanks for the photo, @kslouf!

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. You’ve heard of an open-concept floor plan. Now, get ready for *checks notes,* an open-concept bathroom. This West Philly apartment is putting door-less living to the ultimate test.

  2. Christmas Village will deck Philadelphia’s City Hall plaza once again — and this year, it’s adding a Ferris wheel.

  3. If you’re looking to buy school swag for your favorite Penn Law graduate, you may want to do that soon. The school — one of America’s oldest law colleges — is changing its name, and not everyone is happy about it.

  4. These two Pennsylvania Marine Corps veterans never met, but after an act of kindness this week, one Marine uniform will connect them forever.


“Two Philadelphias, we always call it. The shiny new one, and the Philadelphia that lies in the shadow of all the best-of lists and Heritage Cities designations. We call the one in the shadows the 'other’ Philadelphia. But it is the overarching reality of our city.” Columnist Mike Newall on the divide between those who have and those who have not in Philadelphia.

  1. The killing of a West Philadelphia family last month stemmed from a mental health crisis far too many families live with, the Inquirer Editorial Board writes.

  2. Sen. Kamala Harris has proposed aligning the school day to parents’ work schedules. These parents and teachers debate the pros and cons of the plan.

What we’re reading

  1. Have you ever walked around a museum wishing you knew the backstory of the art in front of you? Now, Philly reports, there’s an app for that.

  2. As we begin the cold, dark descent into winter, it can be hard to avoid the doom and gloom. Fast Company reveals Norwegians’ secrets for not only embracing, but celebrating the winter months.

  3. Are you paying for the Louis Vuitton of software? The New York Times Magazine explains how our experience on the internet — which once promised informational equity — is shaped largely by socioeconomic status.

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