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Mummers Parade in jeopardy, inside Philly's overdose epidemic, tax prepayment backfires | Morning Newsletter

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Downtowners’ Captain Anthony Stagliano, center, dances the middle of his brigade as they perform "Rio Festival of Animals.”
Downtowners’ Captain Anthony Stagliano, center, dances the middle of his brigade as they perform "Rio Festival of Animals.”Read moreMichael Bryant / Staff Photographer

Happy Friday, and Happy (almost) New Year. Whether you're ready to say "good riddance" or savoring the last holiday fun, there's plenty to do in the Philly area this weekend, including (hopefully) the annual Mummers Parade. Either way, I'll see you in 2018!

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: Deep freeze could delay Mummers Parade

Baby, it's cold outside. So cold, in fact, that Mummers officials and  City Hall are discussing whether to postpone the iconic New Year's Day parade for the first time in 11 years.

If you do end up dancing in the streets Monday morning, see our ultimate guide to the Mummers Parade for the best places to watch. And if your relatives are still in town, school them on Mummers history so they understand all the sequins.

If you're going out the night before, check our guides to New Year's Eve parties and ball-drop (and mushroom-drop) gatherings in the region. Staying in? Try these fancy cocktail recipes. Then prep yourself with the only hangover cure that really works.

» READ MORE: 70 deaths in 30 days: Inside Philly’s overdose epidemic

It's been a record-breaking year for overdoses in Philadelphia, 85 percent of them from opioids. Reports suggest the total will surpass 1,200 by year's end — quadruple the murder rate.

And it could have been worse. Police officers (and even librarians) have been using an overdose-reversing spray to save hundreds of lives. The city is considering adding safe-injection sites as a next line of defense.

But it isn't enough, yet. Reporters Mike Newall and Aubrey Whelan explore how the opioid epidemic is changing Philadelphia in a new, harrowing report from the front lines.

» READ MORE: IRS throws wrench in tax prepayment plans

In recent days, taxpayers have rushed to take advantage of property tax deductions that will be scaled back under the federal tax overhaul. Now the IRS is saying it may be for naught.

The agency announced Wednesday that deductions for prepayments can only be claimed on taxes that have already been assessed. Municipalities are still trying to figure out whether pre-payers will be able to deduct what they've paid. In Philly, at least, prepayment meets the IRS guidelines.

Those displeased with this latest hiccup can thank Pennsylvania's own Sen.Pat Toomey. He was instrumental in crafting the tax legislation.

What you need to know today

  1. Philly's murder rate this year rose for the first time since 2012, but other violent crime stats continue to trend downward. What's going on?

  2. An Islamic State suicide bomber struck a Shiite cultural center in Kabul yesterday, killing 41. The massacre shows that while the extremist group has lost power in Iraq and Syria, its reach is growing in Afghanistan.

  3. In light of the #MeToo movement, companies are re-evaluating their sexual harassment policies — and some advocates prefer a zero tolerance policy over a hierarchy of sin. Is the art of the office romance gone for good?

  4. The Eagles play the Cowboys in their final regular season game on New Year's Eve, so we're prepping with game film from Christmas Day. And don't forget: playoff tickets go on sale next week. Good luck out there.

  5. From Tom Petty and Mary Tyler Moore to Roy Halladay and Chuck Berry, take a look back at the cultural icons and world-changers we lost in 2017.

  6. George Ciccariello-Maher, the Drexel professor who's become known (and been put on leave) for his controversial tweets, is resigning from the university.

  7. For the first time, the FDA is planning to limit the sale of certain homeopathic products, often called the modern equivalent of selling "snake oil."

  8. A former Philly Traffic Court judge convicted of lying to the FBI wants a fresh start — as a member of Congress.

» 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. You came, you saw, you commented: these are the most popular comments readers made on this year. Well, the clean ones, anyway.

  2. If you got caught up in yesterday's SEPTA delays, you're probably wondering why on earth cold weather ruins the commute. The answer? It has to do with the wires.

  3. Sadly, neither the Flyers nor the Sixers took home a win last night. Regardless, 2017 was good to Philly sports. Plus, columnist Bob Ford explores another year in sports story "corrections," his 14th annual.

  4. Philly hipsters are turning to an old standby as an alternative to video games and screen time: that's right, Dungeons and Dragons is cool…again?

  5. Penn State plays Washington tomorrow afternoon in the Fiesta Bowl. In his final game with the Nittany Lions, wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton will be looking into the stands for his brother, the source of his motivation.

  6. Advocates are calling foul on a federal law that prohibits medical marijuana patients from owning firearms. After all, there's no such law preventing those addicted to alcohol or other substances from owning a gun.


"In 2017, racism not only won the day. It won the year. That's my takeaway from a 12-month span that saw America inaugurate a president who ran on a hate-filled platform that denigrated and demeaned anyone who was not a white male. " Columnist Solomon Jones
— recounts the biggest moments of racism in 2017.
  1. A recent poll says more than half of Americans lack confidence in higher education. Penn professor Jonathan Zimmerman has a few ideas for how colleges can win back the public's trust.

  2. Columnist Christine Flowers has a few choice words for 2017; 26 of them, in fact. She's looking back on the words of the year, from "antifa" to "zombie."

What we’re reading

  1. As plans to demolish icons like Jeweler's Row shock residents, a new Historic Preservation Task Force is attempting to keep Philly looking like Philly. This Next City report on the force is a must-read for armchair preservationists.

  2. Speaking of historical buildings, film fans will love a nostalgic look back at Philly's former iconic movie palaces over at PlanPhilly, complete with vintage photos.

  3. Be thankful you don't have the worst job in tech: the Wall Street Journal talked to the moderators who try to keep Facebook clean of racism, violence, and pornography. Some of them quit on the first day.

  4. This Texas Monthly story on an amateur crime reporter with 80,000 Facebook fans who got arrested after the story went to print is a wild, wild ride.

  5. File this under "jobs you didn't know existed": The Washington Post profiles a Wyoming cowboy who's responsible for creating perfect snow surfaces at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

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Hollywood's got nothing on these budding directors: Drexel students are helping CHOP patients turn their own stories into movies.