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Why Australia’s obsessed with Ben Simmons, Philly releases new transportation plan | Morning Newsletter

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Ben Simmons, just a few years into his professional career, is already the biggest name in Australian sports.
Ben Simmons, just a few years into his professional career, is already the biggest name in Australian sports.Read moreTIM TAI / Staff Photographer

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Ben Simmons is big. Like, on-his-way-to-global-superstardom big. At least, that's what his many fans back home in Australia think, according to our new profile on his long-distance supporters. With their enthusiasm, I daresay they'd fit right in as Philly fans. What else are Philadelphians enthusiastic about? Complaining about transportation, from traffic to public transit. Thanks to the city's new transportation plan, which we have details on this morning, you have plenty to talk about today, from bike lanes to congestion.

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— Aubrey Nagle (@aubsn,

» READ MORE: Everyone in Australia loves Ben Simmons

Well, at least it feels that way. The Sixers star may be big in Philly, but Ben Simmons is even bigger in his home country. Ten thousand miles away, his jersey hangs in stores alongside those of LeBron James, Steph Curry, and Chris Paul  when they can keep it in stock, anyway.

As if he didn't have enough fans already, Simmons made some new ones Wednesday, too, as he traveled to Philly's William Cramp Elementary School to give away 750 coats.

Meanwhile his teammate Joel Embiid is also on the rise. He just signed a new deal with Under Armour, making him the NBA's richest center.

» READ MORE: Daylong standoff at Sen. Casey’s office ends for undocumented mother who left sanctuary

Carmela Apolonio Hernandez, 37, an immigrant mother of four, left the Church of the Advocate in North Philadelphia Wednesday morning on a rare trip.

She left the church, where she's spent nearly 10 months in sanctuary as her family faced deportation orders after being denied asylum, to visit the Center City office of U.S. Sen. Bob Casey. She said she would not leave until Casey agreed to help her and her children legally stay in the U.S.

Instead, the daylong standoff nearly ended in Hernandez's arrest by Philadelphia police as they forced her, her 14-year-old daughter, and their allies off the premises.

» READ MORE: How Philly hopes to improve transportation in the next seven years

On Wednesday Philadelphia released a plan outlining the city's goals for street safety and transportation for the next seven years.

What's on the docket? Well, the city's scaling back its goal of creating 30 miles of bike lanes in the next few years. And soon there will be new ways for residents to provide feedback about transportation — besides Tweeting angrily at SEPTA, that is.

In the meantime, truck traffic is still clogging up Center City and the city is considering all sorts of policy options to help free the streets.

What you need to know today

  1. Hurricane Michael struck the Florida panhandle yesterday, the first time a Category 4 storm has hit the area since at least 1851. It left at least two people dead and is now crossing Georgia as a tropical storm and heading toward the Carolinas.

  2. New Jersey filed suit against the U.S. Department of the Interior Wednesday. What's the problem? Florida was made exempt from a Trump administration plan to expand offshore drilling, but the Garden State wasn't.

  3. Advocates are celebrating changes to Philly's bail process announced yesterday. City courts will no longer keep 30 percent of all posted bail and are changing their policy on probation detainers.

  4. On Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a startling report on the rapidly approaching effects further climate change will have on the planet. Never heard of the IPCC? You're not alone. Here's what you must know about their report.

  5. Arrests for marijuana possession are up in the Philadelphia suburbs, but not nearly as much as it is reported to the FBI. Police defend their reporting practices while experts say they're misleading the public.

  6. Joe Giudice, the husband of Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice, will be deported to Italy when he's released from prison in 2019. He's currently serving a 41-month term in Pennsylvania in connection with fraud charges.

Join Inquirer journalists for a day of education, inspiration, and resources at the 2nd annual 55+ Thrive Lifestyle Conference this Saturday, Oct. 13. Register at

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

Gotta love a fresh fall apple! Nice picks, @thejonarons.

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. Are you ready for some football? Tonight the Eagles face off against the Giants and look to come back from Sunday's loss. Luckily, their division is still there to be won — the rest of their rivals also have losing records.

  2. In 1991, Anita Hill testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and accused would-be Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of workplace-based sexual harassment. Last night she spoke to Penn students and called Brett Kavanaugh's hearing "a disservice to the American public."

  3. Gubernatorial candidates Gov. Tom Wolf and Scott Wagner faced a tough line of interrogators Wednesday: Philly students. They asked about bullying, school shootings, and funding.

  4. No one wants to overdraft their bank account, but in Philadelphia, it's especially painful. The city's banks charge the highest overdraft fees among major cities, a new study says.

  5. Scott Kingery's rookie season for the Phillies wasn't great. Looking back on it, even he says he isn't sure what happened to his swing once he got to the plate.

  6. Feel free to forward this to your boss. It turns out sit-stand computer desks actually make office workers more productive and improve mental health, too.


"I hope to be around in 2030, at which point I would be 68; in 2052 I'll be 90. In other words, climate change is no longer something our children's grandchildren will have to deal with. It is unfolding on our watch."
— Columnist Michael Smerconish reacts to the IPCC’s report on the imminent effects of global warming.
  1. After former governor and mayor Ed Rendell announced his support of a new safe injection site for Philadelphia, columnist Solomon Jones asks, how can you build a career on arresting those involved with drugs, and then decide to help addicts use them?

  2. Everyone's been asking whether Squiggles, the Please Touch Museum's new mascot, is a boy or a girl but, President and CEO Patricia D. Wellenbach writes, Squiggles does not identify with either gender.

What we’re reading

  1. Another startling report from the U.S. border: an Associated Press investigation says some deported parents might lose their kids to adoption by American families, possibly without being notified.

  2. At free legal clinics across Philadelphia, attendees who want to clear their criminal records start by tearing them up and turning them into handmade paper. NextCity's story on this intersection of art and criminal justice is a must-read.

  3. Hidden City's inside scoop on how stakeholders agreed to save the Germantown Boys and Girls Club from demolition is a rare happy ending to a historic preservation tale.

  4. In 2017 a woman found a note in a purse she bought at an Arizona Walmart supposedly from a "Chinese prisoner." Vox has traced the message across the world — and the story may make you rethink how you shop.

Your Daily Dose of | Boos & Brews

Planning a trip to one of the Philly region's popular haunted house attractions? Don't forget to look for places to eat and drink nearby afterward.