Happy Tuesday, Philly. Looks like we haven’t quite kicked all that wet weather we’ve been having; grab an umbrella for later. This morning we’re going inside Philadelphia Family Court, where some parents and relatives say they’ve been silenced by a controversial judge. The cost? Often, it has meant the removal of their children before mothers and fathers have stated their case. In other local legal trouble, the landlord who had illegally turned a North Philly row home into a boarding house where three died when it was consumed by flames is besieged by investigations and fines — and he owns dozens of other Philly properties. Read on for all the details.
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In Judge Lyris Younge’s courtroom at Philadelphia Family Court, Lisa Mothee wasn’t allowed to speak.
The mother of five says she’s connected with 25 families that claim they, too, were silenced, prevented from offering testimony or evidence before Younge moved to take their children away.
Now another judge has been assigned to Younge’s courtroom and reports say she’s the subject of a probe by the state Judicial Conduct Board. Meanwhile, those on Younge’s docket lay in limbo.
The Supreme Court ruled Monday in a 5-4 vote that employers are allowed to prohibit workers from joining together, such as in class-action lawsuits, to complain about pay or workplace conditions.
So, businesses can force employees into resolving disputes individually via arbitration. In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested the decision could discourage individuals from seeking redress.
Arbitration agreements are popular in business and legal circles but some say this ruling could result in an expensive “explosion of individual cases.”
The deaths of three family members killed during a March row home fire have led back to an ex-Homeland Security agent whose companies own 28 Philly properties. The bodies of Alita Johnson, her stepfather Horace McCouellem, and 3-year-old son Haashim Johnson weren’t found for days after their North Philly home went up in flames.
The building was an illegal boarding house owned by Tyrone Duren. But if a relative of the victims, who is suing Duren for negligence, hopes to see monetary judgement, they’ll have to get in line behind a legion of investigations, tax liens, and fines.
What you need to know today
- Robert Indiana, the artist behind Philly’s iconic LOVE sculpture, has died at age 89. His contribution to the city will live on in the newly renovated LOVE Park, unofficially named for his work.
- Lawyers for celebrity chef Jose Garces successfully snagged bonuses for about 30 key employees as he looks to sell his restaurant empire. But opponents still don’t want Garces to take three of his restaurants into bankruptcy.
- Amtrak is once again looking for a developer to begin work on its University City holdings. The search was on hold as the city pitched the area to Amazon for its HQ2.
- The Gershman Y, which once offered programming in music, history, dance, and visual arts, is now the Gershman Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival and it will focus on (you guessed it) film.
- Lauren Hitt, Mayor Jim Kenney’s former communications director, has a cosmopolitan new gig: she’s now chief spokesperson for Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon as she runs for governor of New York.
- Bad news for summer puppies and their owners: new research from Penn shows certain pups born in the warmer months have a higher risk for heart disease. The news has implications for humans, too.
Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly
I'm the queen of Philly…. Somebody bring me a rosé spritzer! . . . . . . . . . #cavsofinsta #kingcharlescav #puppiesofinstagram #itsacavthing #puppy #cavlove #cavitude #cavlife #puppylove #cavsofphilly #dogsofphilly #spanielsofinstagram #cavalier #phillylove #philly #phl #phillyskyline #rooftopszn #rooftopview #phillyviews #skyline #sunsetporn #phillysunset #sunset #queenvillage #southphilly #roofdeck #ourphilly
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- Companies call it multilevel marketing while critics call it a pyramid scheme. Either way, the business model has made its way to the fitness industry thanks to Instagram-ready Beachbody coaches.
- Longfellow Elementary School in Pennsauken is closing, slated to be demolished in exchange for a community park — but not before alumni, including 92-year-old Bette Bailey, stopped by for a trip down memory lane.
- Already looking forward to July 4? New details on the Wawa Welcome America celebration (a gospel choir, a BBQ in Valley Forge) are now available to whet your appetite.
- Drum roll, please: the third beach concert headed to Atlantic City this summer is Demi Lovato, and it’s her only East Coast date all season.
- The Eagles’ practice season begins today and runs for the next four weeks. Here’s what you can expect from their first practices with their 2018 roster.
- We may need salt to survive, but too much can be bad for blood pressure. Need help kicking the habit? Use a cardiologist’s five best tips for keeping your salt intake in check.
“So, my advice to the Northern Lebanon High School kids: Stay strong. Fight the power with a glower. And someday you, too, could be the unsmiling face of a social movement.” — Philly.com producer Addam Schwartz, once fired for not smiling enough, offers words of wisdom to students being forced to smile.
- Research shows early exposure to poverty can lead to innumerable poor health and developmental consequences. But the windows of opportunity to buffer these effects close as children age, writes Daniel R. Taylor, D.O. of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children.
- As an African-American Muslim woman, author Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow writes that she’s spent a lot of time explaining her clothing, her culture, and her religion to others. This Ramadan, she’s resolved to make no more apologies for who she is.
What we’re reading
- Prior to his death, artist Robert Indiana, creator of Philly’s iconic LOVE sculpture, had all but disappeared inside his Maine home. As the New York Times reports, friends feared he was being taken advantage of by his caretaker and publisher.
- How did a Pennsylvania Democratic party rule that was created to help women get elected end up backfiring earlier this month? City and State has the odd story.
- Female barbers in Delaware are few and far between. But, as she tells WHYY, the state’s self-proclaimed first female barber hasn’t let the male-dominated industry keep her from her dream job.
- America may be in the grips of an opioid epidemic, but we’re not the only country in the throes of addiction. BuzzFeed News’s report on the opioid crisis facing Nigeria illustrates the scope of the global problem.
- How high-tech could a soccer ball possibly get? Turns out the answer is, very. The World Cup doesn’t kick off for another few weeks, but the new balls each team will use have been in development for four years, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Your Daily Dose of | Bass
How does a teen musical prodigy also have time to amass a money-making baseball card collection? Don’t ask questions, just listen to William McGregor play.