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A year of soda tax studies, snow possible on Christmas | Morning Newsletter

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Charles Dutoit leading the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Lucerne Festival in 2011.
Charles Dutoit leading the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Lucerne Festival in 2011.Read moreChris Lee

Happy Friday, Philadelphia, and happy holidays to all who will be celebrating this weekend. Be on the lookout for a possibly white Christmas: forecasts say there's a chance of a little snow Sunday night. That has to be good luck for the Eagles, right?

If you like what you're reading, tell your friends it's free to sign up to get this newsletter in your inbox every weekday. I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and feedback, so please email me, tweet me @aubsn, or reach our social team on Facebook. Thank you for reading.

— Aubrey Nagle

» READ MORE: Frequent Philadelphia Orchestra collaborator accused of sexual assault

Charles Dutoit, conductor laureate of the Philadelphia Orchestra and chief conductor from 2008 to 2012, has been accused of sexual assault by three opera singers and a classical musician, first reported by the Associated Press. He has yet to respond to the allegations and is seeking legal advice.

Dutoit, 81, has performed 650 concerts with the Philadelphia Orchestra, last appearing here in March for Britten's War Requiem. The Philadelphia Orchestra Association said in a statement yesterday it was "horrified to learn of the deeply troubling accusations."

Whether the Association would undertake an investigation or revoke Dutoit's laureate conductor title is up for discussion. In the meantime, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony have cut ties with the conductor.

» READ MORE: Wittig resigns amid sexual misconduct allegations

Unfortunately, we're also following another sexual misconduct case this morning. Larry Wittig has resigned from the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, ending his term as chairman there, in the wake of an Inquirer and Daily News story about his past relationships with teenage girls.

A number of women have come forward alleging Wittig, now 68, pursued sexual relationships with them when they were teens and he was their senior, in his 20s and 30s.

Gov. Wolf is seeking a replacement chair for the board. Wittig's also been removed from the president's leadership council at Drexel University and Philadelphia University-Thomas Jefferson University requested his resignation from their board of trustees.

» READ MORE: A year of soda tax studies: what have we learned?

It's been nearly a year since the city instituted its tax on sodas and sugary beverages. Sales of the beverages have decreased and prices have increased. So, what else have we learned?

For one thing, studies on the tax vary depending on who paid for it. For instance, one study says Philadelphia chain store sales haven't suffered — but it was paid for by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has spent millions of dollars advocating for taxes on soda across the country. On the other hand, The American Beverage Association funded a study which says the tax has hurt Philadelphia sales.

Read through this roundup of a year in soda studies and let the facts speak for themselves.

What you need to know today

  1. Columnist Mike Sielski got an exclusive interview with Phillies owner John Middleton — and he said they're ready to start winning again.

  2. Speaking of (hopefully) winning, who's ready for some football? Prep for the Eagles' Christmas Day game by checking out a film breakdown of last week's win. Then see what reporter Les Bowen thinks of their playoff chances.

  3. If you're doing all your holiday shopping this weekend, here's the inside scoop on which malls are open and when so you can get it all done before Santa arrives.

  4. Pennsylvania has surpassed Illinois to become the fifth largest state in the country, according to new Census data. (Nice!) But we're also poised to lose a congressional seat in 2020. (Boo!)

  5. The bad news: the ice in your fridge isn't germ-free. The good news: you can easily fix it by adding a drink. Cheers.

  6. The Sixers blew a big lead last night to lose to the Raptors 114-109; Joel Embiid once again sat out due to back tightness.

  7. Two Philly activists who were charged with serious federal crimes following protests of President Trump's inauguration have been acquitted. The decision has far-reaching implications for similar trials.

  8. A new lawsuit places blame on Cosmo DiNardo's parents for allowing him to access guns, following the grisly deaths of four men he allegedly killed in Bucks County this summer.

» READ MORE: #OurPhilly

We want to see what our community looks like through your eyes. Show us the park that your family walks through every weekend with the dog, the block party in your neighborhood or the historic stretch you see every morning on your commute to work.

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 to build those followers!

That’s Interesting

  1. Remember "Camel prom mom" who staged an elaborate prom send-off for her son? She poured her heart into another elaborate gathering, this time giving away hundreds of presents in her North Philly neighborhood at a party columnist Jenice Armstrong called "Christmas on steroids."

  2. Calling all foodies: you can use this report of 2017's hottest restaurant openings to make your 2018 to-eat list. (Want to stay up to date all year round? Sign up for our Let's Eat newsletter.)

  3. Mike Missanelli is returning to television: his popular afternoon show on 97.5 The Fanatic is going to be simulcast on NBC Sports Philadelphia starting early next year.

  4. Go Owls: Temple faced off against Florida International University last night in The Gasparilla Bowl and won 28-3.

  5. What started out as an after-school program around the kitchen table has grown into a seven-figure national business for Narberth-based Handwork Studios, a needle arts program for kids.

  6. South Philly's last Catholic high school is making progress inside and out, thanks in part to a makeover filled with Ikea furniture, AstroTurf and a lounge-y library.

  7. Have you seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi yet? If not, beware the internet: trolls are trying to spoil the fun all over the web.

  8. Female meteorologists at AccuWeather are calling for an end to the term "weather girl," saying it diminishes the hard work they put in to do their jobs.


"Hey, it's only been 26 years in the making, but then political revenge is a dish best served cold, right?"
— Columnist Will Bunch asks whether 2018 will finally be the “Year of the Woman” for Pennsylvania politics.
  1. Addiction psychologist Jeremy Frank and Devin Reaves, executive director of a treatment program for college students, call upon colleges and universities to heed the calls of their students and step up their addiction recovery programs.

  2. Trying to win your Christmas dinner argument over tax reform? Economist Dan White, director of economic research at Moody's Analytics, breaks down both sides of the debate for you.

What we’re reading

  1. Philadelphians are a self-deprecating bunch. But in the spirit of the holidays, Billy Penn has put together a nice list of things we can be proud of this year, from improved voter turnout to successes in sports.

  2. The main branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia is undergoing a major renovation but, in the meantime, a flutist and vocalist used the construction space for a pop-up concert. WHYY captured a gorgeous glimpse into the performance. 

  3. Hidden City clearly knows that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery: their roundup of how Philly can adapt the tools other cities have used to protect their historic buildings is food for thought.

  4. Around the country, organizers and activists are making plans to launch mass protests in the event that President Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller. The Los Angeles Times digs into what they're packing away. 

  5. If you're a perpetual early adopter, you might want to learn about Magic Leap. Rolling Stone has interviewed the founder of the mysterious tech company that just debuted a mixed reality headset.

Your Daily Dose of | Elves

Mayor Kenney as Buddy the Elf with Councilman Mark Squilla as Santa Claus.Mayor Jim Kenney — or Buddy the Elf, as he’s known this time of year — told us who’s on his naughty and nice lists this Christmas, with a dose of his signature snark.