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Bridgeport is a borough divided, the Eagles look super again | Morning Newsletter

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Mark Barbee, mayor of Bridgeport, is photographed at the Borough Hall in Bridgeport, Pa. Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Bridgeport has become a town divided. Mark Barbee, the borough's first black and gay mayor, the working class town, where 85 percent of residents are white, has been in turmoil.
Mark Barbee, mayor of Bridgeport, is photographed at the Borough Hall in Bridgeport, Pa. Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Bridgeport has become a town divided. Mark Barbee, the borough's first black and gay mayor, the working class town, where 85 percent of residents are white, has been in turmoil.Read moreJOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer

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In Bridgeport, racism is roiling the borough, and the last nine months have been none too easy for the town's first African American and openly gay mayor. In Philadelphia, though, one thing is connecting more of us than originally thought: potentially hazardous industrial sites. There's an average of three per block across the city, according to new research. But there's still reason to celebrate, and it's spelled E-A-G-L-E-S. After a shaky start to the season, the old Super Bowl Birds were back last night to dominate over the Giants, hopefully giving us a glimpse of things to come. And speaking of Philly specials, this urban fisherman says he used none other than soft pretzels and hot dogs to catch a catfish in a Center City storm drain. Yeah, really. Reading this online? Sign up here to get this newsletter delivered to your inbox every morning. — Oona Goodin-Smith (@oonagoodinsmith,

The last nine months haven't been smooth sailing for Mark Barbee, Bridgeport's first African American and openly gay mayor.

Since he assumed the role in January in the town where nearly 80 percent of residents are white, council meetings have devolved into heated arguments, the police chief has stepped down, two council members have resigned, and Barbee has received death threats on social media.

The mayor and his supporters say Bridgeport needs to combat racism and take steps to prevent its spread.

His critics say their complaints have nothing to do with the mayor's race or sexual orientation, and that they simply disagree with him over policy and approach.

But there is one thing they can agree on: the borough is divided, and it's reflective of the national scene.

It may be more likely than you think.

In neighborhoods like Kensington and Northern Liberties, remnants of an industrial past loom large in plain sight. And, as documented by the Inquirer and Daily News' Toxic City investigation, the hazards remain as well.

But, according to new research, the hidden threats span across Philadelphia, with an average of three potentially hazardous industrial sites per square block.

The Birds are back.

After a tough five weeks and mounting concern over whether the Super Bowl champs were merely living in a shadow of their former glory, the Eagles put the doubters to rest last night with a dominant 34-13 win over the New York Giants.

It's too soon to say if Thursday will be seen as a turning point for the season, writes Zach Berman, but it's safe to say it's a template of how the Eagles want to play. And the key? Carson Wentz.

What you need to know today

  1. Murder charges against ex-Philly cop Ryan Pownall have been downgraded from first to third-degree for the controversial June 2017 on-duty shooting death of David Jones. Last week, city officials agreed to pay Jones' mother $1 million to prevent her from filing suit over her son's death.

  2. As new details emerge in the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, friction is growing between the Trump administration and members of Congress demanding to know if the Washington Post columnist was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

  3. When a group of Upper Dublin parents and sports clubs worked together to build a place for kids to play soccer and baseball in the 90s, they called it "The Field of Dreams." Now, it's turned into a nightmare for some residents as officials push to pave the site into a bus depot.

  4. New Jersey hasn't elected a Republican to the Senate in over 45 years, but the cloud of a federal bribery indictment over Sen. Bob Menendez is making for a tough race, leaving GOP challenger Bob Hugin to stand a chance. The race could affect Senate control, and some Garden State Democrat voters are left with the dilemma of supporting a senator many have soured on, or potentially tilting a Senate seat to a president they loathe.

  5. Philadelphia's courts have quietly eliminated a rule outlining policies on detainers  — orders that can keep people locked up indefinitely if they are already on probation or parole when they're arrested for a new crime — leaving advocates concerned for the due process of those under court supervision.

  6. In the market for federal health care? There's good news for you. New Jersey and Pennsylvania Affordable Care Act health plan premium rates are seeing some of the largest rate decreases in the country among states that use the marketplace.

  7. First Lady of Hip Hop Queen Latifah was set to receive the Marian Anderson Award — named after a Philadelphia opera singer and previously presented to Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou — in November, but, citing personal reasons, has declined the honor.

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

Two doors diverged in a Philly neighborhood…

Thanks for the photo, @f.wska!

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. Has fame changed two of Philly's Starr restaurants? Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan revisits Buddakan and Parc.

  2. Midway through cancer treatment, a Wilmington man fled a Philadelphia hospital, hopped into a plane, and disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean — according to his obituary, at least.

  3. The FBI says nothing came of a dig for lost Civil War-era gold in rural Elk County, but local treasure hunters have other theories.

  4. His hearing aid advancement changed the lives of many, and now, a 98-year-old Strawberry Mansion doctor is looking back on his. (The secret to longevity? Not dying, he says.)


"He is unaware of the disdain, of course, but as his dog mom, I feel the sting of being misjudged. It hurts when people make assumptions without looking beneath the surface. It has been a lesson in becoming woke."
— —
  1. If Republicans are seen as anti-labor, why is it that Pennsylvania unions back candidates on the right? asks columnist Will Bunch. 

  2. Philadelphia's government and Amazon have raised their minimum wages, and local universities and hospitals should join the movement, too, writes the Inquirer Editorial Board.

What we’re reading

  1. Fed up with Philly's damaged streets, these local skateboarders are taking road repair into their own hands, patching potholes at FDR Park for donations. PlanPhilly has their story.

  2. Wondering why it's all but impossible to navigate American Street these days? Billy Penn lays out the plans for construction behemoth giving way to "Philadelphia's next neighborhood."

  3. Unable to travel to a reputable temple for a Hindu prayer? A growing number of Indians are turning to smartphone apps to request a divine intervention, according to The Atlantic.

  4. Ready to feel old? Babies born in 2000 are adults this year, and the New York Times profiled what life at 18 looks like for young women across the world.

Your Daily Dose of | Grate-ness

Skip the Schuylkill — when it comes to Philly fishing spots, this urban fisherman recommends the the storm drain at the corner of Broad and Race. His bait? Hot dogs and soft pretzels, of course.