We have sad news from the 175th District this morning, as friends and colleagues mourn the passing of State. Rep. Mike O'Brien. He led the district representing Philly's River Wards for six terms. Turning now to the city he served, we have news today on a huge project planned for North Broad Street. Its scope has changed drastically, and it's now set to alter the feel of the neighborhood. Looking out to the state at large, my colleague Samantha Melamed has checked in on new mail policies at Pennsylvania's state prisons and found families are very distraught by the change one month in.

— Aubrey Nagle (@aubsn, morningnewsletter@philly.com)

The lot beside developer Eric Blumenfeld’s Mural Lofts apartment building on North Broad was going to be a strip mall with a bank and a convenience store.

Now he plans to put an office and apartment tower on the spot — one that would be the city's tallest building outside its central core.

Why the change of tune? Thanks to last year's federal tax cut bill, the property is part of a "Qualified Opportunity Zone." That means investors may get big savings on their taxes.

Early Monday morning, State Rep. Mike O’Brien suffered a fatal heart attack in his Fishtown home. He was 64.

O'Brien had been dealing with health issues for several years. After winning his primary election in May, he announced in July he would not seek a seventh term. His chief of staff, Mary Isaacson, replaced him on the ballot.

His colleagues and friends quickly took to social media to mourn the lifelong Philadelphian, remembering him as a fierce advocate for the city's public schools and for women.

A month ago, the Pennsylvania state prison system implemented a new process for delivering mail to prisoners.

Mail must be sent to a Florida company, scanned, and then digitally forwarded to and printed for prisoners. The originals are stored for surveillance purposes. The Department of Corrections said this and their new controversial policy for handling legal mail are necessary to stop drug smuggling by mail.

But families say it's devastating their connections to incarcerated loved ones, citing missing pages, weekslong delays, and illegible copies.

What you need to know today

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

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Signs of the Times
Jeff Koterba, Omaha World Herald, NE
Signs of the Times
"If Eric had the money, he would be free until the conclusion of his case — free to work, raise his family, and coordinate with his attorney to fight his case. If he didn't — and he didn't — he would sit behind bars at a county jail until he was acquitted, convicted, or had the charges dropped." — Cal Barnett-Mayotte, a coordinator of Philadelphia Bail Watch, on the daily injustices of the cash bail system.

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