OK, you are now allowed to play Christmas music, watch Home Alone and hang up your decorations: It is officially Dec. 1, and the start of the most joyous month of the year. Just don’t start on resolutions. There’s a lot of cakes and cookies to eat before we say goodbye to 2017.
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— Tommy Rowan
Yes, that was an earthquake that rattled your office window, jolted your desk and caused your Twitter feed to explode late Thursday afternoon.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported that a rare earthquake rumbled under the East Coast around 4:45 p.m. Thursday. The epicenter was six miles from Dover, Del., near Bombay Hook National Wildlife Reserve, and about five miles underground.
It was initially reported as a 5.1 magnitude earthquake. However, it was downgraded to a 4.4, then a 4.1 shortly after 5:30 p.m.
And then there was the race to social media, where those who were rattled (or amused) by the quake shared their hot takes.
Federal authorities on Thursday accused a Montgomery County karate instructor of molesting his teenage students during out-of-state trips to martial arts tournaments and sleepovers in his parents’ basement. Evan Scott Burgess, 26, of Blue Bell, was fired in May after parents reported the alleged abuse to DeStolfo’s Premier Martial Arts Studio, the Plymouth Meeting dojo where he worked and met his accusers.
It was not immediately clear Thursday, however, whether the studio or the parents passed those complaints on to authorities at that time. Filings in federal court indicate that Whitpain Township Police and Montgomery County Children and Youth Services did not begin investigating the allegations until nearly four months later. By that time Burgess had moved to Massachusetts and was teaching at a studio there.
The aim is to avoid the “Curse of Billy Penn,” which purportedly arose when the great man’s statue atop City Hall was eclipsed by other buildings. It’s especially relevant now as the Eagles march toward the playoffs.
Speaking of the Birds, here are a few primers for the big game against the Seahawks this weekend:
- Zach Berman: Eagles face a litmus test with upcoming road games in Seattle, Los Angeles
- Jeff McLane: LeGarrette Blount holds off Father Time, Jay Ajayi
- Staff: Predictions for the Eagles-Seahawks game
What you need to know today
- Advocates for small business owners such as beer delis are concerned about a provision in a proposed bill introduced by City Councilwoman Cindy Bass on Nov. 2. It would require businesses to obtain a large food establishment license under which they would not have bulletproof or other barrier windows between food servers and customers. Many beer deli owners and other business owners in high-crime areas have the windows for safety reasons. Bass’ bill is aimed to curb illegal stop-and-go establishments, considered nuisances in their neighborhoods, where customers may buy alcohol, then go out and drink. But why require that the windows be removed? Bass says it’s an issue of dignity.
- Pennsylvania Society, the annual booze-infused political bacchanal at holiday time in New York, is having an identity crisis. The Waldorf-Astoria, where it’s been headquartered for eons, is closed as its new Chinese owners turn it into (mostly) condos. So the swells must party at a 1963 concrete Soviet style Hilton farther uptown. Excitement seems lower than usual. Will attendance fall?
- A controversial treatment for multiple sclerosis has been disavowed by the Italian physician who developed it. He led a clinical trial, published this week in JAMA Neurology, in which he concludes balloon angioplasty to widen veins is “largely ineffective” and should not be recommended to MS patients.
- Provocative police critic Michael Coard is on DA-elect Larry Krasner’s transition team.
- Nine women say they were sexually assaulted or touched inappropriately during massages at a Massage Envy franchise in West Chester. Lawyers for the women say the assaults are part of a wave of appalling attacks at Massage Envy centers across the country, a pattern first detailed in a report by Buzzfeed.
- Nina Ahmad, a deputy mayor in the Kenney administration, resigned Thursday to run against a weakened U.S. Rep. Bob Brady in the 2018 Democratic primary. Winter is coming.
Through Your Eyes | #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.
- ‘Dunkirk’: Why you need to see this movie in IMAX (and where you can in Philly).
- Adam Cramer — a motorcycle restoration guy, who was once the subject of a reality TV show about his Fishtown shop — is looking for a tenant to take over half of his warehouse. He wants to downsize. For Cramer, 48, who moved to Fishtown in the late 80s and has watched it lose its grit ever so slightly in 30 years since, it’s a rare opportunity to choose who moves in next door.
- American Airlines said Thursday that pilots have come forward and agreed to staff all but “a few hundred” flights scheduled during the December holidays, as it sought to ease concerns of widespread disruptions during one of the busiest travel times.
- Franklin & Marshall President Daniel R. Porterfield will lead a national educational and policy studies organization in Washington D.C. this summer.
- Philly area’s best holiday happenings for grown-ups.
- Want to see some really old Martin guitars? This Philly shop hosts a rare exhibition this weekend.
- SEPTA’s decorated holiday trolleys return: Operators Gary Mason and Dave Musgrave are once again decorating their trolleys with lights, garland and ornaments for the holiday season.
“Even as he viciously attacks responsible news media, Trump has become the nation’s most dangerous purveyor of fake news.“ — Writes Trudy Rubin, opining on President Trump retweeting anti-Muslim videos this week.
- Every time Lisa DePaulo did the Today show to promote a story she’d written, she found Matt Lauer to be kind, professional, and respectful of both her and the people she had written about. He always made an effort to put her at ease before stepping onto the set, even if it was just popping into the hair and makeup room to discuss the morning’s headlines and crack a few jokes. So, she asks, how does she reconcile that with his bad behavior?
- Amid the familiar barrage of terrible news out of the Trump administration Wednesday, writes Mike Newall, was this chestnut: Kellyanne Conway’s going to lead the White House’s response to the opioid crisis. Because what this fight was missing was a Saturday Night Live meme whose chief talent is spinning elaborate, reality-bending lies on national television. But this isn’t a joke.
What we’re reading
- The Girl in the Window, 10 years later: A feral child was found starving, covered in her own filth, unable to walk or talk. A new family adopted the girl in 2007, called her Dani, and tried to make up for years of neglect. [Tampa Bay Times]
- A Lonely Death: In postwar Japan, a single-minded focus on rapid economic growth helped erode family ties. Now, a generation of elderly Japanese are dying alone. [New York Times]
- The Obsidian Serpent: Orange County’s first serial killer in 25 years stalked homeless men. [The Atavist]
- King of Boise: How a home-schooled teenager became an oxy kingpin. [Pacific Standard]
- The Unbelievable Story of How the CIA Helped Foil a Russian Spy Ring in London: Newly released documents reveal a real-life plot that seems ripped from a Cold War novel. [Politico Magazine]