Pa. baseball bat country in trouble, 'fair workweek' finds Council allies | Morning Newsletter

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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— Aubrey Nagle (@aubsn,

Barry Bonds and a bug have killed a Pennsylvania baseball tradition

Camera icon ROBERT FRANK / For the Inquirer
Brian Boltz, who runs the Larimer & Norton Mill, located in northwest Pennsylvania just miles from the New York border, inspects an ash billet.

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.

Then the emerald ash borer, a shiny green invasive insect, came to town. Now the hard-scrabble area is scrambling to save what’s left of their trees.

NAACP calls for state probe of deadly Deptford strip mall shooting

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.

Could Philly be the next city to pass a ‘fair workweek’ law? 

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.

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The view that never gets old. Now with the new Comcast building too! 🌃

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Liberty in Lockup

“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.

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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.