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The Year in Pictures 2017, Pa. school official accused of sexual misconduct | Morning Newsletter

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

The statue of William Penn atop City Hall is silhouetted by the solar eclipse on Aug. 21.
The statue of William Penn atop City Hall is silhouetted by the solar eclipse on Aug. 21.Read moreMICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer

Good morning, Philly. It's the first official day of winter and it will continue to be a bit chilly today. If your mind's already wandering to the weekend and impending holidays, well, let it. Then check this list of local events and start planning the fun.

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: 2017: The Year in Pictures

From national protests and natural disasters to the Eagles' stellar season so far, 2017 has been an eye-catching year — and our cameras caught it all.

Go behind the lens with Inquirer, Daily News, and photographers as they tell the stories behind their favorite shots in sports, entertainment, news, and more: News | People | Entertainment | Sports

» READ MORE: Women allege top Pa. school official pursued them as teens

Larry Wittig, the chairman of the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, has been accused of pursuing sexual relationships with two women when they were teens and he was in his late twenties and early thirties.

The Inquirer and Daily News also uncovered a troubling history, including that Wittig was charged with raping a 15-year-old when he was 21 and was found not guilty. Wittig categorically denies the accusations.

The report joins a string of allegations against local officials, including accusations of misconduct by Pennsylvania state Sen. Daylin Leach and revelations about an expensively settled sexual harassment complaint against Berks County lawmaker Thomas Caltagirone.

» READ MORE: GOP tax overhaul to become law

Yesterday the Senate and House passed a $1.5 trillion tax bill that will impact every corner of America. Next year businesses and high earners will see big tax breaks while middle-income taxpayers will see modest ones. Pennsylvania's own Sen. Pat Toomey had a starring role in the bill's creation.

While the GOP celebrated the bill's passing, Democrats think it's a political death wish for Republicans. Tax law scholars say the "haphazard" cuts are a boon to clients who can take advantage of loopholes.

President Trump may not sign the bill until January though, to delay steep automatic spending cuts on popular programs like Medicare until 2019 — after the 2018 midterm elections.

What you need to know today

  1. A car rammed into a crowd on a busy street in Melbourne, Australia today leaving 19 injured. Police believe the act was deliberate, but say there's no evidence the suspect is linked to terrorism.

  2. Teachers have always put their own money into their classrooms, but those in high-needs districts tend to spend more than their peers — often much more. We talked to local educators to find out what they spend on.

  3. As the city's opioid epidemic rages on, columnist Mike Newall follows one mother's journey to find her son on Kensington Avenue and get him help. It's a harrowing tale.

  4. Your SEPTA tokens will soon be collector's items. SEPTA is beginning the long-awaited phase-out of the coinage on subway lines in mid-January, to be completed by March.

  5. Stephen Starr's Parisian restaurant Parc is just the latest eatery facing a lawsuit for improperly distributing tips earned by its employees, Zahav and Iron Hill Brewery among them.

  6. Legendary WRNB 100.3 DJ Wendy "Lady B" Clark, who helped introduce Philly artists like Schoolly D and Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince to hip-hop at large, is losing her popular show. Here's what's taking over her slot.

  7. Temple will compete against Florida International University in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl tonight, and yes, that's really what it's called.

  8. Toll Bros. once again has a permit to demolish a cluster of buildings on historic Jewelers Row and build a 24-story residential tower on the site.

  9. The Sixers' continued losses seem like less of a hiccup and more of a reality check, writes columnist David Murphy. Joel Embiid's back problems mean he may not play tonight against the Raptors, too.

» 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. North Philly's own Dawn Staley, coach of the 2017 NCAA championship-winning University of South Carolina women's basketball team and a three-time Olympic gold medalist, is home for a game against Temple tonight. Yesterday the basketball legend had a stretch of Diamond Street named in her honor.

  2. Steak-umm, the brand best known as the base of your homemade cheesesteaks, is trying to get verified on Twitter with a silly social media campaign you must see to believe.

  3. Looking for somewhere to eat on Christmas? These are the Philly restaurants that will be #OpeninPHL.

  4. And maybe check this list of restaurants recently closed by city inspectors for health violations before finalizing plans.

  5. The Phillies managed to convince Carlos Santana to come to Philly for their biggest free-agent signing in years. Here's how they did it.

  6. If you're headed to the movies this weekend, check out Philly's own Kevin Hart in the new Jumanji reboot, which critic Gary Thompson calls "good (almost clean) fun."

  7. A massive tile mural created for The Gallery in 1984 has been saved from all the new construction. After a painstaking restoration it's been moved to a new location with lots of foot traffic.

  8. Don't count on giving those coveted LOVE Park concrete figurines for Christmas: the city says the sale, halted last month due to copyright infringement, won't be resolved before 2018.

  9. Creating a gingerbread cookie in the shape of your idol is so yesterday. One Eagles fan is offering up his own left knee to Carson Wentz — in exchange for Super Bowl tickets, of course.


"Harrisburg is a tough place for women, where fewer than one in five lawmakers is not a man. As cases come to light, she said, there should be swift and equal outrage for offenders of all political stripes."
— —
  1. Philly is one of the worst cities in the country at collecting property taxes. So, the Inquirer Editorial Board asks, why are three City Council members exempting their own districts from a new plan to collect?

  2. American politics is lacking courageous Republicans ready to put democracy above partisanship in the face of constitutional crisis, writes author and University of Pennsylvania professor Jonathan Zimmerman.

What we’re reading

  1. Center City District recently held a panel about the future of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, so Curbed Philly helpfully rounded up the experts' opinions on how the Parkway could improve now that it's 100 years old.

  2. What's the difference between burlesque and other forms of dance? Philadelphia Magazine lets rising local burlesque star Christine Fisler explain it all with an intriguing Q&A.

  3. The Philadelphia Citizen is shining a light on Meagan Corrado, a therapist in Camden and Philadelphia who has created an arts-based intervention tool for children impacted by trauma, and her story will lift your spirits.

  4. Climate change is affecting Alaskan coastline faster than the rest of the U.S., and for one village coastal erosion is literally getting closer and closer to home. NPR deftly explains how efforts to move villages like this will be more and more common as the climate shifts.

  5. Speaking of environmental disaster, WIRED has written a fascinating profile of a leisure-time meteorologist who predicted Hurricane Harvey's floods and guided loyal Houston readers through the storm.

Your Daily Dose of | Wonderland

Each year an Ambler man creates a winter wonderland light display at his own home to raise money ($108,000 so far) for various charities. Talk about spreading holiday cheer!