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Pension perk costs taxpayers millions, what's next for the Painted Bride | Morning Newsletter

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Exterior of Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia in September 2010.
Exterior of Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia in September 2010.Read moreSharon Gekoski-Kimmel

Good morning, Philadelphia. If you're the early-to-bed type you may be waking up to unexpected snow on the ground; we had a late-breaking winter weather advisory last night and some areas saw a few inches of the white stuff. You may even see a few flurries early this morning. Surprise!

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: What’s next for Painted Bride?

Painted Bride Art Center announced last month that they'll be selling their landmark building to become a project-based organization. The reactions from Philly's arts community are as mixed and sharp as the Isaiah Zagar mosaic mural covering the Bride.

Some say ditching the building could spell the end for the organization, but Executive Director Laurel Raczka cites recent local art projects like Philadelphia Assembled and Monument Lab as proof of concept.

There's also worry that the building, once sold, will be demolished, and that Zagar's work, too, will be lost. Regardless of the outcome, Philly's art world will be watching.

» READ MORE: Seeking sanctuary from ICE in a North Philly church

A local family of five has sought sanctuary in North Philadelphia's Church of the Advocate after being denied a petition for asylum. Carmela Apolonio Hernandez, 36, and her four children came to America from Mexico in 2015, fleeing the violence of organized drug criminals who killed their relatives.

Hernandez is appealing the denial of asylum. Uncertainty about the future at times like these is why a new study says just being an immigrant can be bad for children's health.

Could ICE barge in to arrest them? Technically, yes. But agents typically avoid attempting to make arrests in sensitive spaces like churches, hospitals and schools.

» READ MORE: City pension perk costing taxpayers tens of millions

A Philadelphia pension perk called DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Plan) has been helping city employees accumulate and collect huge lump-sum payments upon retirement. One PPA official stands to make more than $650,000 when he retires thanks to DROP.

The program was meant to be cost-neutral, but a new state study shows it cost the city between $237 million and $277 million from 1999 to 2015. Now the city's pension fund has less that 45 percent of what it needs to cover obligations to retirees. Yikes.

The Inquirer Editorial Board, for one, thinks DROP is just one more program City Hall should, well, drop.

What you need to know today

  1. The House and Senate GOP leaders have reached an agreement on their plan to overhaul the nation's tax laws. Final votes will be heard next week.

  2. Tomorrow is the deadline to enroll in Affordable Care Act health insurance coverage. Here's how to get help in the Philly area.

  3. A man who jumped to his death Monday from a Center City parking garage has been identified as the head of Penn's Department of Periodontics.

  4. Black teens express depression differently than their peers from other demographic groups, according to a new Rutgers-led study. Sleep complaints are among the signs to look out for.

  5. Another day, another bail denial for Meek Mill. The Pennsylvania Superior Court denied his latest appeal Tuesday.

  6. The city has committed to adding protected bike lanes on South Street from 21st to 27th streets, a popular route for cyclists traveling between West Philly and Center City.

  7. Some good Eagles news: tight end Zach Ertz has cleared the concussion protocol and is scheduled to play Sunday. In the meantime, check out this film breakdown that's all about quarterback Nick Foles. (And by the way, Carson Wentz had his ACL surgery yesterday.)

  8. The Temple Owls were unsuccessful in stopping Villanova's 21-game City Series winning streak last night. Top-rated Villanova won 87-67.

» 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. Philadelphia's War on Drugs will headline this summer's Xponential Music Festival at the BB&T Pavilion. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.

  2. The great Nina Simone, New Jersey's own Bon Jovi, and an electric guitar pioneer with Philly ties are among the 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees.

  3. Jahlil Okafor is ready to leave the Sixers behind and move on with the Brooklyn Nets. But he does have a soft spot for Philly fans (ahem, who doesn't) for supporting him.

  4. Strangely enough, workers in a small Pennsylvania town have the longest commutes in the country. How does yours stack up?

  5. If you see Stormtroopers walking around town, don't panic. They're probably part of the 501st Legion, a band of volunteers who dress like Star Wars villains to bring joy to kids in need.

  6. Three South Jersey natives are about to spend three months in Antarctica researching climate change. But before they do, they packed plenty of snacks (gummies, Reese's Cups) and…had to get their wisdom teeth out.

  7. You think you've spent a lot on holiday shopping? The Phillies spent $34.25 million this week to fortify their bullpen next season.

  8. Polyamory is on the rise, and Philly is no exception. The city's nonmonogamous community even has a Facebook group, aptly named Polydelphia.


"The Old City is quiet for the moment. But the issue of Jerusalem's religious sites has the potential to spur violence even if Palestinian leaders don't want that to happen."
— Columnist Trudy Rubin is in Jerusalem exploring and explaining the aftermath of Trump’s declaration on the capital of Israel.
  1. No matter how the students complain, Unionville-Chadds Ford School Board member and retired public school teacher Jeff Hellrung says the PSSAs are actually useful and we shouldn't reduce them as Gov. Wolf wants to.

  2. In the wake of his injury, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has received praise for his Christian faith — but would his faith be welcomed if he were Muslim? Penn professor Jonathan Zimmerman thinks not.

What we’re reading

  1. ESPN takes readers inside the mind of Sixers star Joel Embiid and man, is it a fun place to be. He's got some Game of Thrones hot takes too.

  2. Development is creeping along the Delaware River towards legendary art haven Graffiti Pier. Curbed Philly creatively explores how the site could and should change in a photo essay.

  3. Tina Smith-Brown has been hosting Letters to My Father workshops for adolescent girls for nearly a decade. Her retelling of a recent workshop cohort's journey at the Philadelphia Citizen is thought-provoking.

  4. After a year that's proved just how hard the world can be for women, it was refreshing to hear from women leaders on how 2017 changed their lives at Fast Company.

  5. WIRED has built a complete guide to digital security, whether you're a civilian, a public figure or even a spy. It doesn't hurt that the handy guide features funky graphics.

Your Daily Dose of | Staying Power

Marty Moss-Coane has hosted WHYY’s Radio Times for 30 years. What has she learned? It’s important to find balance — the news coverage kind and the work-life kind.