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Reviving North Broad; drum corps’ failure to protect | Morning Newsletter

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A construction crew works near the intersection of Broad Street and Girard Avenue, with City Hall in the distance. Experts expect more construction to occur on North Broad as a result of the new Opportunity Zones located along the corridor.
A construction crew works near the intersection of Broad Street and Girard Avenue, with City Hall in the distance. Experts expect more construction to occur on North Broad as a result of the new Opportunity Zones located along the corridor.Read moreJOSE F. MORENO

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North Broad Street could be in for a renaissance. A stretch has been chosen for a federal program that aims to encourage development in low-income areas. While it may sound great on the surface, some believe it could spell disaster for long-time residents. In Allentown, the famed Cadets drum corps leaned on their long-time director for guidance, before he was accused of sexual misconduct by several members of the organization. Now, a new Inquirer investigation has unearthed more issues within the drum corps community.

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— Ray Boyd (@RayBoydDigital,

The stretch of Broad Street from Susquehanna to Allegheny Avenue has been selected for the Trump Administration’s Opportunity Zones program. The initiative gives tax breaks to developers who choose to build in low-income areas.

North Broad — once known for its opulent mansions — is now home to some of the city's deepest poverty rates and most violent crime. Many hope this program will lead to the infusion of cash that the corridor needs.

But not everyone is convinced. While the program does aim to revitalize low-income areas, it doesn't specify what kind of development can take place in these neighborhoods. Some see that as a potentially bad sign for long-time residents.

In April, a scandal shook the drum corps community involving one of its most decorated leaders, George Hopkins. Twelve women told the Inquirer they were sexually harassed or abused by Hopkins and he was recently charged with sexually assaulting two of them.

A new investigation by the Inquirer found nearly a dozen cases over the last decade in which teachers who had been disciplined for misconduct with students went on to work in drum corps as instructors, administrators, or judges.

Others had records that include crimes of a sexual nature. The records paint a troubling pattern of hiring practices in an activity that draws thousands of young participants each year.

In 1990, people of color outnumbered white people in 10 boroughs, townships, and cities around Philadelphia. Now, 30 local municipalities are considered "majority-minority," reflecting a national trend, according to Census data.

In our region, that means local officials will increasingly face issues that arise among groups with varying cultural norms, as different communities have different needs.

Census data has also shown that poverty in the city is increasing, and the poverty rate of older Philadelphians is the highest among the country's largest cities.

What you need to know today

  1. Activists at colleges across the country and in Philly are calling for a drastic step to change sexual culture on campus. They want universities to ban pornography. But experts are not in agreement about whether porn is at all related to sexual violence.

  2. David Desper pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison for fatally shooting a teenager during a road rage incident in Chester County in 2017. Desper encountered 18-year-old Bianca Roberson as she was driving home from a college shopping trip.

  3. President Trump's longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen is the first member of the president's inner circle to receive a significant prison sentence in connection with Robert Mueller's investigation. Cohen pleaded guilty to federal crimes including tax evasion and lying to Congress. The question everyone is now wondering: What does Cohen's sentence mean for Trump?

  4. Earlier this year, the Inquirer reported on how Philly's wait time for a hearing on Social Security benefits was the longest in the nation. After the story ran, the city pressed federal officials to do something about it. According to the numbers, things are improving.

  5. Philadelphia's school board has voted to move the school start date back to after Labor Day. The change will take place next year after this school year was plagued by closures due to sweltering heat during a late August start.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

Now, that's what I call #SquadGoals. Thanks for sharing, @maisy_thecorgi.

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. The underdogs just keep getting bit by the injury bug. My colleague Jeff McLane reports that Carson Wentz has suffered a fractured vertebra and is seeking advice outside the Eagles medical staff. His status for the rest of the season remains unclear.

  2. Sports betting has been cleared for action and Philly's SugarHouse Casino has become the first in the city to accept a wager.

  3. Over 42 years, 6ABC's Vernon Odom reported on the MOVE bombing, the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, and every presidential campaign since 1976. Today marks his final day on air and the end of an era for Philly television news.

  4. Sesame Street will now feature a homeless character to "offer help and hope" to young children in America dealing with homelessness. The character's story is one that has become all too common in Philadelphia.

  5. If you find yourself struggling to keep up with your workouts during the busy holiday season, you're not alone. But what if I told you there's a way to create your own home gym — for free?

  6. How cute would it be to see your little one act in a Disney musical? Very, of course. The Walnut Street Theatre, through the Disney Musicals in Schools Program, will make that happen for five Philly elementary schools at no cost.


"Do I like homophobia? No. I have experienced it personally. It hurts. It has left lasting scars on my life and has hurt others far worse, when it has morphed into severe and violent bullying.
— But I don’t really care to see people publicly punished for jokes they made years ago.“ — Political consultant Albert Eisenberg on the LGBT community’s reaction to Kevin Hart hosting the Oscars.
  1. Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner's radical overhaul of the office continues to disregard the suffering of victims in the city, writes former federal and state prosecutor George Parry.

  2. Columnist Christine Flowers writes that Women's March organizers should learn a lesson from women she says never "whined, or wore pink hats" — saints.

What we’re reading

  1. You know all about your favorite aspects of Wawa, but with the largest location opening today, why not here some real stories? In Philadelphia Magazine, an anonymous employee shared some good, bad, and bizarre tales of working at Philly's favorite convenience store.

  2. Fine dining isn't always the best dining — especially when it comes to our wallets. GQ highlights two New York chefs who have mastered the secret to making the perfect neighborhood restaurant.

  3. Speaking of dining out, Food & Wine has released its list of the 11 most anticipated restaurant openings of 2019. The Philly eatery on the list doesn't have a name yet. But that isn't stopping it from creating a lot of buzz.

  4. We also pay quite a bit of attention to football in this state. Despite the fact that we've never had an Eagles-Steelers Super Bowl, they're always a hot-button issue. FiveThirtyEight breaks down why both teams are at the center of the football universe this weekend.

  5. On Sunday — even if he doesn't play — Carson Wentz will once again cross paths with Rams quarterback Jared Goff. The top two picks of the 2016 NFL Draft are two of the league's best young players and ESPN examines how they'll forever be linked.

Your Daily Dose of | Bam

Former reality star Bam Margera’s massive house party at his Chester County mansion Thursday was like a skater’s paradiseeven if it didn’t deliver on every promise.