Good morning, Philly. Looks like it’ll be a bright, warm, sunny day today, so don’t forget your sunglasses. In fact, it sounds like the perfect day for a baseball game. Whether or not you’re headed to the ball park, you’ll want to read our story on the bug plaguing baseball bat-making country in northwestern Pennsylvania. The region used to be a heavy hitter in the bat industry but, thanks to the emerald ash borer, it’s losing its all-star status. In other news, this morning Philly workers fighting for a “fair workweek” will find allies in City Council as a new bill is proposed to help them out. Its goal? To put some predictability back into the lives and schedules of retail and fast-food workers.
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The deep Allegheny Mountain forests of northwest Pennsylvania have long been a source of white-ash trees. Since the 1880s, the region’s identity has been tied up with the mills providing this lumber to baseball bat makers.
But over the past decade, big changes have come to the region and the industry. For starters, heavy hitters started loving maple and birch wood bats.
Over the weekend, police responded to a Marshalls store in Deptford where a man and two women were allegedly shoplifting. The two women attempted to flee in an SUV and the driver, LaShanda Anderson of Philadelphia, was fatally shot by police as she allegedly drove towards an officer.
The Gloucester County NAACP is launching a probe into Anderson’s death and has called for the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office to hand its investigation to the New Jersey attorney general. The question at hand: was the use of force justified?
Making the investigation more challenging: Deptford Township police don’t have body or dash camera footage of the scene. In 2014, they successfully challenged a state law mandating the use of dashboard cameras.
For many Philadelphia workers, the stress of not knowing what hours they may work next week — and thus how much money they’ll bring home, and when — is a fact of life. The unpredictability of their schedules makes it hard to get child care or another job.
But if the “fair workweek” movement has its way, Philly will join San Francisco, Seattle, and New York in passing a law requiring employers to clean up their scheduling practices.
Councilwoman Helen Gym and three other Council members are introducing a bill today that would require fast-food and retail employers to give workers two weeks’ notice of their schedules and even pay employees when shifts are cancelled.
What you need to know today
- The Pennsylvania Senate passed a redistricting reform bill yesterday, something anti-gerrymandering advocates had lobbied for — before the bill was dramatically changed in a way critics say retaliates against the state Supreme Court.
- Comcast has officially offered $65 billion in cash for the assets that 21st Century Fox is already selling to the Walt Disney Co. for $52.4 billion in stock. Let the showdown commence.
- An explosion at a Bensalem gas station left one man dead and another seriously injured Tuesday afternoon. Investigators spent Wednesday working to recover the body of the man trapped in an underground fuel tank, the co-owner of the gas station.
- The average student loan debt for the Class of 2017 in America was $39,400. Philly millennials are sharing their stories as they work to pay them off, some with two or three jobs and others struggling to find any.
- Patty Pat Kozlowski, the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania’s 177th Legislative District, says she confronted an alleged drug dealer on her street with a baseball bat this weekend. But the Facebook post she shared about the incident is drawing criticism.
- Ok, you’ve got eight years to become a soccer fan. The 2026 World Cup is officially coming to North America and Philadelphia is expected to play a big part. (Or you could start right now: there are plenty of teams to root for in this year’s World Cup, which begins today.)
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- Today is Flag Day and in celebration the Museum of the American Revolution is bringing the personal flag of George Washington out of the archives.
- The Process never rests: Villanova’s own Mikal Bridges has been working out with the Sixers ahead of this month’s NBA draft, meanwhile the team extended backup point guard T.J. McConnell’s contract through next season.
- If you like mob stories and jazz then a new show in Pitman, New Jersey is right up your alley. George Anastasia, who’s specialized in organized crime for the Inquirer, a series of books, and TV and radio appearances, is bringing his work to the stage.
- Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is, slowly but surely, healing away. His next big practice hurdle will be live contact, but if Wentz quoting Sixers star Joel Embiid is any indication, he doesn’t seem worried.
- Look no further for last-minute Father’s Day plans. From vintage cars to founding fathers, there’s plenty to do in Philly this weekend.
- Is it possible to “reverse” type 2 diabetes? It’s very difficult to put the condition into remission, but one Philadelphia mother did it by losing 100 pounds.
“Was it better to escape or to shelter in place or to fight back with the blocks and tennis balls a police captain had advised we have on hand? Which students might freeze? Which might run?” — Educator Samantha Facciolo on the active shooter drills she developed for her classroom, and why it’s not just up to educators to save lives.
- Athlete activism in professional sports is nothing new. But, as staff writer Dillon Bergin writes, it did take a break when money started rolling in.
- In Virginia, threat assessment teams in every K-12 school identify threatening behavior in students before it turns violent. The Philadelphia Citizen’s Roxanne Patel Shepelavy writes this is one school safety idea Philly should steal.
What we’re reading
- It’s impossible not to chuckle at an interview with Hop Sing Laundromat’s outspoken owner Lê, and he doesn’t disappoint in his latest chat with Philadelphia Magazine.
- Have you noticed new wooden swings and landscaped “porches” along Parkside Avenue? PlanPhilly has the story on how the adorable spaces are bringing the community together.
- A round of applause for Bethany Edwards and Anna Couturier-Simpson: as the Philadelphia Citizen reports, the Penn grads just created the first FDA-approved biodegradable pregnancy test.
- Just in time for Father’s Day, the Chicago Tribune spoke with a man joining a small but growing club of single fathers having biological children via surrogacy. His story is heartwarming to say the least.
- I wouldn’t have guessed that a long read on the history of the “Got Milk?” advertising campaign would be so engrossing, but, what do you know, Fast Company got me good.
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Foodies and urban explorers should add Irwin’s to their to-do lists. The cocktail bar and restaurant joins the eighth floor of South Philly’s Bok Building, complete with a roof terrace.