Happy Wednesday, Philly. We’re halfway through the week and we’re starting off the day with the truly inspiring story of Nate Collins. The new father defied the odds after successfully receiving a third heart transplant, thanks to a courageous team at Temple University Hospital. Spoiler alert: third transplants are not a walk in the park. We also have updates on Stoneleigh, the public garden at risk of being broken up in Lower Merion. There’s some good news and some bad news there.
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In the U.S., hospitals now perform more than 3,000 heart transplants each year. Nate Collins, a 43-year-old from Norristown, has had three of them.
Before you ask: no, it was not easy. With each transplant, new complications arise and scar tissue builds up. Third transplants are so rare there aren’t even enough cases to calculate a survival rate.
Collins learned he needed a third just after he and his wife adopted their son. It took two hospital rejections before he met a surgeon to take on his unusual case: Temple University Hospital’s Yoshiya Toyoda.
Lower Merion’s new 42-acre public garden, Stoneleigh, had barely opened last month before the school district said it might seize the space to build a new middle school.
Public backlash swiftly followed. Just this week Lower Merion parents signed a letter to the district asking officials to take seizure of Stoneleigh off the table.
It seems they listened — sort of. The district has announced it hopes to purchase a different tract of land for the school. But part of Stoneleigh is still at risk of becoming athletic fields.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions shocked immigration advocates this week when he told immigration judges they could no longer grant asylum to most migrants who come to the U.S. trying to escape domestic abuse or gang violence.
Why? And how? As my colleague Jeff Gammage reports, the demand is made possible by the topsy-turvy world of immigration court, where young children can be forced to serve as their own lawyers and defendants generally don’t have the right to court-appointed attorneys.
Last week, a federal judge ruled for Philadelphia in its “sanctuary city” case, saying the Trump administration can’t deny the city law-enforcement grant money for its refusal to help enforce immigration laws.
What you need to know today
- AT&T won a big battle Tuesday when a judge approved its merger with Time Warner. The decision will surely lead to more mergers and it opens the door for Comcast to go international by bidding on 21st Century Fox.
- Meek Mill and Judge Genece Brinkley’s long, tumultuous relationship isn’t over yet. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said Tuesday it won’t remove her from Mill’s criminal case.
- Not great with numbers? Apparently you’re not alone. City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart’s new audit says Philly has some of the worst accounting practices in the nation.
- Amazon is coming to the area — in the form of a massive new distribution center in Burlington, New Jersey, that is. Speaking of Burlington, the county is about to dedicate $20 million (or, half of its annual capital budget) to new safety measures for its schools.
- In early December, the School District of Philadelphia hired painters to fix up Room 106 at Jenks Elementary, where lead paint chips and asbestos fibers put children at risk. Months later, and without answers from the district, the room is still in disrepair.
- Any parent can tell you raising a child isn’t cheap, but many parents-to-be are surprised by the rising out-of-pocket costs of just giving birth.
Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly
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- Women are being inundated by online ads for undergarment companies hawking virtual bra-fittings — and, if sales are any indication, they actually work.
- It’s never too early to think about football season, but coach Doug Pederson says it is too early to know if Nick Foles or Carson Wentz will start for the Eagles in the opener. And it’s almost time to stop celebrating the Super Bowl. Seriously, Pederson wants the team to cut it out June 15.
- Have you noticed strings of colorful balls just floating along the Schuylkill lately? Turns out there’s a very good explanation for the worm-like buoys.
- This may come as a surprise to many but, according to a recent survey, Philadelphia renters give SEPTA an A+ grade for satisfaction. Yes, really. The city itself got a C+.
- In totally-not-dystopian news, Philadelphia citizens are begging Domino’s Pizza to fix the city’s potholes. That’s a real thing that is happening.
- Fat Mac is now Jacked Mac: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star (and co-owner of Mac’s Tavern in Old City) Rob McElhenney is finally fit enough to get the attention of his favorite baseball player, Chase Utley.
“In my view, the obliteration of black communities must be addressed before anyone utters another word about safe injection sites.“ — Columnist Solomon Jones on the liberal racism behind the push for safe injection sites in Philadelphia.
- After their historic summit, columnist Trudy Rubin writes that President Trump got played by Kim Jong Un by allowing him to look like an equal on the world stage while not firmly committing to any specific denuclearization plans.
- If PennDOT actually wants to modernize Pennsylvania’s streets and keep pedestrians safe, it needs to move its regional headquarters from King of Prussia to Center City to attract knowledgeable personnel, writes Jon Geeting, director of engagement at Philadelphia 3.0.
What we’re reading
- Al Dia recently spoke to the graduates of a Philly diversionary program helping first-time nonviolent offenders get high school diplomas and their sheer excitement will inspire you this morning.
- The best-known illegal dumping sites across the city (there’s around 30 of them) are plaguing neighborhoods from North to South Philly. But as The Philadelphia Tribune reports, its often already underserved communities that put up with the mess. Yuck.
- Schools all over the Philadelphia region are struggling with funding, and even Chesterfield, New Jersey, a picturesque suburb on the rise, can’t get its finances together. A new NJ Advance Media story calls it a nightmare.
- After President Trump and Kim Jong Un’s historic meeting Tuesday, the Washington Post had a body language expert examine photos of the two interacting and it’s full of interesting insights.
- At a moment when American gun culture is often in the news, Vox spoke with a historian to discuss how hunting in the U.S. shaped masculinity, environmentalism, and the NRA — and the biggest misconception he had before researching it all. It’s a fascinating conversation.
Your Daily Dose of | Yum
Reporter Michael Klein calls Beiler’s donut-encased treat the ultimate Philly ice cream sandwich. But you can only get it in University City.