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Sea rise threatens ancient N.J. trees; how to keep your gut happy for the holidays | Morning Newsletter

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The edge of a lake, a former mining pit, now filled with water with a relatively high degree of salinity. The beach is only a few hundred feet from blackgum trees at Glades Preserve.
The edge of a lake, a former mining pit, now filled with water with a relatively high degree of salinity. The beach is only a few hundred feet from blackgum trees at Glades Preserve.Read moreDAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer

The ancient trees in a primeval New Jersey forest have seen some things. They're 400 to 500 years old, after all. But now, thanks to sea rise, they're under threat. My colleague Frank Kummer's report on the trees' troubles is a fascinating look at how climate change is impacting our environment. Much, much closer to home, we've got some advice for you this morning about how to deal with your seasonal gut issues. Yes, you can have too much holiday fun, and it could have a bigger impact on how you feel than you might think.

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— Aubrey Nagle (

» READ MORE: How sea rise threatens 500-year-old trees in a primeval New Jersey forest

Scientists estimate that the blackgum trees in an old growth forest surrounded by Bear Swamp in Cumberland County, N.J. are 400 to 500 years old. They're among the most ancient of trees in the most ancient forest of its kind surviving in the Northeast U.S.

For now, that is. Sea-level rise fueled by warmer oceans and sinking lands are pushing saltwater closer to the trees. The change could kill them in the not-so-distant future, along with their flora and fauna neighbors.

Elsewhere on the environmental front, conservationists are calling the Trump administration's proposed rollback of waterway regulations a boon to big business that would make it easier to pollute our rivers and streams.

» READ MORE: How to keep your gut (and stress) in check during the holidays

"Go with your gut" isn't an empty phrase. Your gut is like a second brain: when you've had your fill of Thanksgiving leftovers and Christmas cookies, it knows.

Stress and the shifting diets and schedules that accompany the holidays can literally make us sick. But there are easy ways to combat the vicious stress-and-pain cycle while still making spirits bright.

Something else to avoid this holiday season? Hand injuries. Staying safe in the kitchen can keep you from cuts and burns.

» READ MORE: Phillies hope to host Manny Machado after signing Andrew McCutchen

The MLB's winter meetings have proven fruitful for the Phillies so far: on Tuesday they signed five-time All-Star outfielder Andrew McCutchen to a three-year deal worth $50 million.

Columnist Bob Brookover calls the deal a risky move. McCutchen will likely play either left field or right in a supporting role for the Phillies.

The acquisition of McCutchen doesn't mean the Phillies are out of the hunt for Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, either. Both will likely remain free agents after the winter meetings.

What you need to know today

  1. A gunman attacked a holiday market in Strasbourg, France Tuesday, killing three and wounding 12 others. A search for the attacker is still underway and the country is on increased alert for terror attacks.

  2. Facing criticism for staying in office as she appeals her conviction on bribery and other charges, State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown resigned from office Tuesday.

  3. Temple University's Board of Trustees met Tuesday to discuss the recent comments of professor Marc Lamont Hill. They condemned his controversial comments on Israel but defended his right to free speech.

  4. Villanova had gone for more than six years without losing a Big 5 basketball game — until last night when they lost in an upset to the University of Pennsylvania at the Palestra.

  5. The median Philly home value rose 10.5 percent this year, and tax hikes come along with rising values. Could an upper limit to increasing taxes be in the city's future?

  6. President Trump said he would be "proud" to shut down the government over funding for his border wall during a tense exchange with Democratic leaders Tuesday.

  7. The City of Camden is suing developer Carl Dranoff, alleging he schemed to withhold $9 million owed to the city. The claim stems from a tax break deal provided to Dranoff for a renovation project in 2002.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

That's berry mature of you, @d_smoove.

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. Bad news Birds: Eagles Corey Clement and Josh Sweat are out for the season, bringing the team to 12 players on injured reserve. Speaking of injuries, Jimmy Butler is doubtful for the Sixers vs. the Nets game tonight, but the MRI for the groin injury he suffered Monday "came back favorable."

  2. No, it's not just Millennials: Three-quarters of Philadelphians recently surveyed are distracted drivers who use mobile devices behind the wheel, Gen Xers and Boomers included. Now experts want to solve the problem.

  3. Ex-Jackass star and professional skateboarder Bam Margera is inviting local skaters to his former West Chester home this week for a construction project, a skateboarding challenge, and a $20,000 scavenger hunt.

  4. Bruce Springsteen's popular Broadway show ends its run Saturday which means its Netflix special becomes available at the stroke of midnight. Music critic Dan DeLuca says it's as magical as the stage version.

  5. Uncertain about what Islam has to say about donating organs, Muslims often err on the side of caution. But a new program is hoping to answer their questions and offer scholars' interpretations.

  6. The Sound of Philadelphia now has its own radio station. Classix 107.9, playing soulful hits of the of the 1970s and '80s, is replacing gospel station Praise 107.9.


"I hope to never experience another act of violence in our facilities, but as a realist, I know that being prepared and having a well-coordinated plan is the only way to mitigate harm to our patients and employees. As leaders, we do what we do, so our health-care teams can safely do what they do – save lives." — Joseph W. Devine , president of Jefferson Health-New Jersey on how some medical facilities prep for active shooters.
  1. When it was time, America knew how to deal with a crook like Spiro Agnew. the 39th vice president, but dealing with President Trump has proven harder, writes columnist Will Bunch.

  2. Left behind in a dead mall, a sculpture modeled after the Philadelphia Zoo's beloved elephant Petal needs a savior, columnist Kevin Riordan writes.

What we’re reading

  1. You never knew you needed a selection of original Wawa theme songs written by Philly artists, but luckily Philadelphia Magazine has anticipated your needs.

  2. Speaking of singing, WHYY joined an annual event that aims to bring communities closer through song and found "Caroling With Cops" to be a heartwarming experience.

  3. Ever wondered why all the new apartment buildings in Philly look alike? Leave it to Curbed to explain the boxy, bland facades.

  4. Generocity has the scoop on Taggart Elementary School's Family Welcome Center, a new program aimed at helping immigrant and refugee students adjust to life in South Philly.

  5. A lab in San Francisco is growing meat — yes, growing. real. meat. You're going to want to read Fast Company's look at their work.

Your Daily Dose of | Gingerbread

Want to build a gingerbread house this holiday season? Inquirer reporters tried out kits found at local stores so you could learn from their mistakes. (Hint: Don't smash the box.)