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Who to tip during the holidays; what Philly schools lose to tax abatement | Morning Newsletter

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Postal carrier Tom Tryon visits a home along Oak Avenue in Croydon, PA on December 4, 2018.
Postal carrier Tom Tryon visits a home along Oak Avenue in Croydon, PA on December 4, 2018.Read moreDAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer

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It sure is December. There's a chance of snow flurries in our region today and the Jersey Shore could see its first dusting of snow, too. How else do we know it's the last month of the year? Gift giving stress is upon us. Luckily, reporter Erin McCarthy is answering one of your burning questions this morning: who do you tip during the holidays, and how much? We have the answer to another question what's ailing Sixers guard Markelle Fultz? today, too. But it may not make Sixers fans all warm and fuzzy.

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— Aubrey Nagle (@aubsn,

The holidays can be stressful, especially when it comes to checking off your shopping list. How much do you spend on relatives and friends? What should you get them?

Those who provide regular services like garbage collectors and letter carriers prompt more questions: should you tip them? If so, should it be cash or something more personal?

Of course, the answer depends on who you ask — so reporter Erin McCarthy asked tippers themselves, etiquette experts, and those on the receiving end of cash, Wawa gift cards and homemade sweets.

The School District of Philadelphia lost out on $62 million in 2017 thanks to tax abatements and other tax breaks, according to a new study.

Data used in the study found Philadelphia lost the second highest amount of revenue out of 5,600 school districts throughout the country.

In other school news, the city just launched a new website to make it easier to find public, charter, and private school teaching jobs in Philly.

An official in the administration of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy testified during a legislative hearing Tuesday that high-ranking members of Murphy’s campaign and staff, including the governor himself, failed to act when she tried to alert them about a campaign aide who she says raped her.

Katie Brennan, now chief of staff for the state's housing agency, was a volunteer for the Murphy campaign when she says she was assaulted in her apartment by Albert J. Alvarez, who was the campaign's director of Muslim and Latino outreach.

"And at each turn, my pleas for help went unanswered," she told the special committee investigating how the allegations were handled.

What you need to know today

  1. The saga continues: Sixers guard Markelle Fultz will be out again for approximately six weeks after being diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, the compression or irritation of the lower neck and upper chest area.

  2. Despite recently being sentenced for bribery and other crimes, State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown is refusing to resign. In the meantime, friends are throwing her a party for avoiding jail time.

  3. You won't get any mail today, at least not from the U.S. Postal Service. It's part of the federal government shutdown to mark a day of mourning for former President George H.W. Bush.

  4. Temple basketball visits Villanova tonight for a highly anticipated Big 5 match-up and the Owls are looking to end the defending national champs' local dominance.

  5. Eight major gun-control measures have been signed into law in New Jersey during 2018, keeping with the Garden State's reputation for advancing gun-control legislation

  6. James F. Kenney Sr., the father of Mayor Jim Kenney, died suddenly Tuesday at the age of 83. Mr. Kenney worked as a Philadelphia firefighter for 22 years.

  7. The boil-water advisory issued for parts of Bucks County last week has officially been lifted. 

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

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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. Which grocery store in the Philly region is the most expensive? A new study puts Whole Foods at the top, but Acme is close behind.

  2. The Met Philadelphia's reopening show with Bob Dylan brought good news for audiophiles: music critic Dan DeLuca says the venue's legendary acoustics are intact.

  3. If you're heading to Christmas Village (now back at the refurbished LOVE Park) this season, you'll want to check out the 10 vendors recommended by reporter Grace Dickinson.

  4. Cold weather can mean black ice, slick sidewalks, and snow to shovel. Stability- and balance-improving exercises can help prevent winter-related injuries.

  5. A look back at Monday's big Eagles win shows that new Bird Golden Tate is gaining quarterback Carson Wentz's trust, and it's paying off.

  6. Steak aficionados may be happy to hear Del Frisco's Grille, the more casual relative of Del Frisco's Double Eagle at 15th and Chestnut, just opened on Broad Street. 


"I have devoted my life's work to better understanding – and strengthening – the groundwork of both American democracy and education. For any democracy to survive and flourish, no single principle is more fundamental than the free and robust exchange of ideas – especially when we disagree."
— University of Pennsylvania president Amy Gutmann on the need for a free press.
  1. For U.S.-born citizen of Israel Adam Levick, senior researcher for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, Temple professor Marc Lamont Hill's "river to the sea" comments hit too close to home, he writes.

  2. Shanin Specter, founding partner at Kline & Specter PC, writes that George H.W. Bush taught him not to gossip in 1978.

What we’re reading

  1. Philadelphia-based reporter Dan McQuade's essay for Jezebel about supermodel Kendall Jenner attending a Drexel basketball game with Sixers star Ben Simmons will make you laugh out loud and believe in true love again.

  2. Millennials, listen up: Philadelphia Magazine is offering a lengthy guide to investing and financial health that you might want to check out.

  3. Since you've definitely seen Creed II already (right?) it's safe to read the Atlantic's exploration of how the Creed films forever changed the Rocky franchise, which takes unexpected turns.

  4. It may be the season of giving but Generocity's report on the homeless outreach workers helping people living on the streets tells an important story about those who need our help year-round.

  5. Sweat, a play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage set in Reading, Pa., is about to open in London. As it premieres, Nottage told the Guardian for how she created the locally-inspired work. 

Your Daily Dose of | Chance

Bar columnist Samantha Melamed spent a night at Philly’s first board-game bar, Thirsty Dice, and an HVAC system dumping gallons of water onto patrons wasn’t even the most notable part of the night.