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Overtime fight among Philly police; new Philly Census figures detail inequality | Morning Newsletter

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Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, right, speaks during a news conference as District Attorney Larry Krasner looks on in November.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, right, speaks during a news conference as District Attorney Larry Krasner looks on in November.Read moreMatt Slocum (custom credit) / AP

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

Is it cold enough for you? Well, this morning's top stories are more likely to send a chill through the air than warm you up. My colleagues David Gambacorta, Helen Ubiñas, and Dylan Purcell report that there's a fight over overtime in the Philadelphia police homicide unit as murders rise and fewer cases are solved. Plus, new U.S. Census Bureau figures out today describe a bleak Philadelphia, one where the city has not recovered from the recession and inequality has become the norm. There is some good news, depending on your point of view: street sweeping is coming back.

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— Aubrey Nagle (@aubsn,

Detectives in the homicide unit of the Philadelphia Police Department typically work marathon shifts in hopes of identifying murder suspects and solving cases.

They also often earn more overtime than anyone else on the city's payroll. But in recent months, with the number of murders in the city rising to its highest point in six years, overtime spending has been cut.

The vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5. said crimes are not being solved because of it, while Police Commissioner Richard Ross said the cuts have not hurt investigations.

Could Filthadelphia soon be a thing of the past? City officials announced Wednesday that a pilot street sweeping program will begin this spring.

The head of the Zero Waste and Litter cabinet disclosed the pilot during a segment on WHYY's Radio Times.

Details on the program are still scarce including what it will mean for parking.

A new five-year federal survey of poverty in Philadelphia, released by the U.S. Census Bureau today, paints a grim picture of the city.

Details of the survey covering 2013 through 2017 show Philly has not recovered from the Great Recession and inequality has become the norm.

Some of the more startling takeaways include Fairhill in North Philadelphia registering a 61 percent poverty rate; poverty in Eastwick in Southwest Philadelphia actually getting worse since the recession; and white poverty exploding throughout much of the city.

What you need to know today

  1. President Trump, the four living former presidents, and national and global leaders gathered Wednesday at the National Cathedral to honor George H.W. Bush. George W. Bush called the 41st president, "The best father a son or daughter could have."

  2. A public hearing held Tuesday about the Adelphia pipeline conversion project brought out considerable opposition from Upper Bucks County residents.

  3. Jersey Shore Pagan motorcycle club leader Freddy Augello was sentenced to life plus 30 years Wednesday in the murder of radio host April Kauffman.

  4. Scary news on the climate change front: global emissions of carbon dioxide experienced their largest jump in seven years in 2018.

  5. The Port of Philadelphia — now known as PhilaPort — is in the middle of a $300 million state-backed revitalization. Next up is the launch of a workforce training facility this January. 

  6. Following reports on the flaws of the city's land disposition procedures, activist groups are calling on City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart to launch a review of public land sales.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

Happy Hanukkah! Thanks for this beautiful shot, @gerardruns.

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. It's that time of year: A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker, Handel's Messiah, and more holiday favorites are taking over local theaters. In the mood for a light show? South Jersey is sparkling with illuminated celebrations.

  2. Despite Nate Pierre-Louis' contributions to the Owls, Villanova survived a poor shooting night to rally past Temple in last night's highly anticipated Big 5 matchup.

  3. Amtrak is set to remove the iconic flipboard sign from 30th Street Station, a design element architecture critic Inga Saffron says is just as important as the station's magnificent waiting room.

  4. Chuck Fletcher was formally introduced as the Flyers' new general manager Wednesday saying, "There's everything here to be successful."

  5. Sleep disorders are more frequently diagnosed in men, but a new study says the heart problems associated with them may show up earlier in women.

  6. Meek Mill may be Philly's best-known rapper, but Lil Uzi Vert, who's headlining the Wells Fargo Center this weekend, is quickly becoming the city's favorite.


"I regret keeping my mouth shut. I know parenting is hard enough without parents judging each other, but when it comes to behavior like this, my well of tolerance is running dry. A couple years ago, my then 1-year-old daughter nearly died from getting a terrible cold that turned into a virus in her developing lungs." — Writer and small business owner Daryl Austin on why parents should keep their sick kids at home.
  1. Despite industry talking points, the soda tax has not hurt sales or jobs and is bringing hope to crucial city programs, writes Dwayne Wharton, Director of External Affairs for The Food Trust.

  2. A number of Temple professors write that they have no confidence in Patrick O'Connor, chair of Temple University's board of trustees, after he failed to support professor Marc Lamont Hill's academic freedom.

What we’re reading

  1. Let the language debates begin: Philadelphia Magazine has published an interview with a linguist who says Philadelphians use "done" differently than everyone else and just released a guide to pronouncing New Jersey's trickiest town names.

  2. Philly's summary of a new survey from TechGirlz and Drexel University is full of interesting tidbits, including that girls in low-tech households are still really excited about STEM.

  3. Speaking of girls in STEM, Marie Claire's new report on women in gaming and the challenges they face in 2018 is a must-read for anyone interested in the industry.

  4. If you think the news moves fast these days, don't even try to keep up with pop music. The Ringer says Drake and Ariana Grande are to blame for the rapid-fire, self-referential turn the genre took in 2018.

Your Daily Dose of | Strength

At 93, Holocaust survivor Sidney Moszer is still teaching lessons from the Torah and his life to Jewish students in Bucks County — a calling he’s answered for nearly half a century.