Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Mayor seizes control of schools, colorful Philly character dies, Puerto Rico gets brotherly love | Morning Newsletter

All the local news you need to know to start your day, delivered straight to your email.

Parents, teachers, and education activists shout and hold signs calling for the end of the SRC during the final School Reform Commission meeting in June.
Parents, teachers, and education activists shout and hold signs calling for the end of the SRC during the final School Reform Commission meeting in June.Read moreCharles Mostoller / For the Inquirer

Good for Houston. After Hurricane Harvey broke so many residents' spirits, I'm sure the Astros' first-ever World Series win will help lift some back up. If Puerto Rico had a major professional sports team, would more people care about the devastation left by Hurricane Maria? I even have the perfect team nickname: The Outcasts.

If you like what you're reading, 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 @tommyrowan, or reach our social team on Facebook.

— Tommy Rowan

» READ MORE: Mayor Kenney to seize control of Philly schools

Mayor James Kenney is making a power move.

In an address to City Council planned for Thursday morning, Kenney will announce that the city is taking back its public schools — and is promising to pay for them.

Kenney will outline the end of the state-dominated School Reform Commission and a path to local control of the Philadelphia School District by July 1, administration officials confirmed to reporter Kristen Graham Wednesday night. He will also pledge to have the city cover much of the $1 billion deficit the school system is projecting over five years.

"With a return to local control," Kenney wrote in a letter outlining his decision, which was obtained by The Inquirer, "the people of Philadelphia will finally be able to hold one person accountable for their school system, the mayor."

» READ MORE: In a flooded Puerto Rico town, help comes from Philly

The river rushed through Florida, Puerto Rico, sending people fleeing from their homes.

Many didn't return for a month. When they did, the floors were still wet and a line of mold four or five or six feet tall showed how high the muddy waters had risen.

On Wednesday, a team of Red Cross volunteers from Philadelphia (four sheriff's deputies and a PECO lineman) came here to pass out water and food. The supplies were appreciated. But it's FEMA, many in town said, that they are really waiting for.

Staff writer Tricia L. Nadolny and staff photographer David Swanson have been dispatched to Puerto Rico to report on how the island and its residents are recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Tricia is filing daily dispatches while there. Here are a few:

» READ MORE: Ex-police chief in South Jersey: Blacks are ‘like ISIS’

On Sept. 1, 2016, an 18-year-old black man, accused of not paying his motel bill, was pepper-sprayed and placed in handcuffs, and was being led to the top of a motel stairwell by two Bordentown Township officers when the police chief arrived.

Frank M. Nucera Jr. approached the suspect from behind and "slammed his head into a door jamb," according to an affidavit filed by the FBI. He made a series of anti-black remarks following the assault, authorities said. Those remarks were secretly recorded by an officer in his department who was alarmed by the chief's hostility toward the community.

The former police chief of Bordentown Township said blacks are "like ISIS, they have no value," mused about joining a firing squad to mow them down, and used police dogs to intimidate black spectators at high school basketball games, federal authorities said Wednesday in announcing assault and hate-crime charges against him.

If the racism alleged by a former officer is true, writes columnist Jenice Armstrong, this is just another example of what the Black Lives Matter movement has been protesting all along.

What you need to know today

  1. James "Jimmy" Tayoun Sr. was the kind of character an author would have needed to dream up to write about Philadelphia, writes Chris Brennan, if he didn't already exist in a city of colorful personalities. Tayoun, the old-school Philly politician, businessman, and jailbird, died Wednesday. He was 87.

  2. There are mixed feelings whether Campbell's Field — once home of the Camden Riversharks — should be razed and replaced with a new sports complex. But a Camden County spokesman says it's premature to either fear or celebrate what may happen to the valuable eight acres that provide a perch for viewing Philadelphia's skyline and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

  3. Philly's No. 1 killer isn't guns or opioids – but it can be stopped.

  4. Phil Murphy will most likely be the next governor of New Jersey. But throughout his campaign, noise about his time at Goldman Sachs — is he the next Jon Corzine, that other Goldman-exec-turned-New Jersey-governor? — has overshadowed what Murphy actually did during his 20-plus years there. For more information about the gubernatorial contest and other races on the ballot, find our full election guide here.

  5. Here's the preliminary list of city parks, rec centers, and libraries set for makeovers.

  6. Brandywine Realty Trust will start Schuylkill Yards work next week with a groundbreaking for the planned park. Brandywine has said it also plans to redevelop the former Bulletin building, now known as One Drexel Plaza, during an early phase of the $3.5 billion Schuylkill Yards plan.

» 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. Tyler Scheuer, an 11-year-old Little League pitcher from Newtown, Bucks County, discovered one day that deep within his mysterious core, was a knack for looking at a steak knife or an ironing board or a high chair with a baby in it and immediately knowing how to balance it on his face.

  2. Chinese scientists genetically engineered a low-fat pig. But for whose benefit?

  3. Friendly Lounge, a portal to a different era situated at the corner of Eighth Street and Washington Avenue, was opened in the 1950s by John "Skinny Razor" DiTullio — a loan shark and, according to some, a local Mafia underboss. It is a neighborhood bar for a South Philly that no longer exists.

  4. Food Network host Alton Brown says Philadelphia is the "perfect storm for a great food town."

  5. Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust has closed in on two replacement tenants for the old Macy's space at Moorestown Mall.

  6. Sixers unhappy center Jahlil Okafor requested a buyout, but got rejected.


"Efforts to heal, let alone restore any trust, cannot occur until the crimes are confronted."Our editorial board, insisting that Maria Panaritis' tale of a pedophile priest cries for a day in court for long-ago victims.
  1. Philadelphia's blocks of older, smaller mixed-age buildings in its historic neighborhoods help foster robust, sustainable local economies that benefit residents at all income levels, writes Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This historic housing stock, Meeks says, is Philly's secret weapon in courting businesses like Amazon.

  2. Modernizing election technology and confirming that all eligible citizens are able to vote should be top priorities, as up-to-date technology would help ensure fair elections in Pennsylvania, writes voter advocates Susan Carty and Ray Murphy.

What we’re reading

  1. A Very Old Man for A Wolf: The life and death of OR4, the patriarch of Oregon's reintroduced wolves. [Outside]

  2. A Protest Messenger for Our Times: Projectionist provocateur Robin Bell lights up the night. [The Washington Post Magazine]

  3. Lost and Found: An elite group of forensic scientists, charged with finding hidden human remains, nears retirement age. [5280]

  4. A Dark Victory in Raqqa: Kurdish revolutionaries helped the U.S. expel the Islamic State from its capital city. Will we soon abandon them? [New Yorker]

  5. The future of online dating is unsexy and brutally effective. [Gizmodo]

Daily Dose of | TMI

Gabe Kapler: Phillies manager, lover of coconut oil.