Hello, Philadelphia. I’m not sure what else to say this morning besides it is another dark day in America. Children have once again been gunned down at school by a man with a semi-automatic weapon. Once again, a community is in mourning. Once again, loved ones seek answers they may never find. It is a cruel, dark day. Be kind to each other.
If you like what you’re reading, tell your friends it’s free to sign up for this newsletter here.
Seventeen people were killed by a former student on a shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Wednesday in Parkland, Florida.
The shooter, identified as 19-year-old Nikolaus Cruz, was armed with a semi-automatic rifle and multiple ammunition magazines as well as a gas mask and smoke grenades. Authorities said he set off a fire alarm to draw students out of classrooms as the shooting began.
Authorities didn’t know of any threats posed by Cruz to the school, but a former classmate pointed to disturbing past behaviors, saying, “I think everyone had in their minds if anybody was going to do it, it was going to be him.” Others said he had been abusive to a past girlfriend and was expelled after fighting with that ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend.
A former Philadelphia police officer has accused one of his ex-colleagues of lying under oath a decade ago in an effort to put rapper Meek Mill behind bars on drug and gun charges. Mill’s arresting officer, Reggie Graham, was the sole witness to testify against the rapper at his 2008 trial.
The revelation has Mill’s lawyers pushing once again to free their client from prison, where he’s currently serving a sentence for a probation violation tied to that arrest.
This news comes two days after the Inquirer and Daily News first identified Graham as one of two dozen officers named on a secret District Attorney’s Office list of officers with credibility so tainted prosecutors have avoided calling them as witnesses.
What you need to know today
- A lawsuit alleging Atlantic City police used excessive force and one K-9 officer in a brutal 2013 arrest is the subject of a trial that began Wednesday in Camden. Lawyers are pointing to a long history of excessive-force complaints against Atlantic City police.
- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has been asked to decide whether drug abuse during pregnancy can be punished as child abuse under state law.
- A new bill before City Council could be a win for Philly tenants’ rights. It looks to require landlords provide “just cause” before evicting someone even when the lease has run out.
- Arrests have been made and racketeering charges were filed against seven people accused of running a gun ring that sold assault rifles in Camden, authorities say. Seventeen firearms, including three assault rifles, were confiscated during the investigation.
- After Hurricane Maria roared through Puerto Rico, where many IV medicines are produced, local hospitals ran into a shortage. Now it’s flu season, and they’ve had to get creative.
- Mitt Romney is expected to announce today that he’ll be running for the Utah Senate seat held by the retiring Orrin Hatch.
- Police are saying Delaware County’s State Rep. Margo Davidson drove a state vehicle not once but twice while her license was suspended.
- American skiier Mikaela Shiffrin earned her second career gold medal today in the giant slalom, bringing the U.S. medal count to eight: five gold, one silver, and two bronze.
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.
Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!
- Questlove has announced the lineup for this year’s Roots Picnic and it includes everyone from Dave Chapelle to Jadakiss.
- The Lunar New Year begins tonight at midnight, but at the Elkins Park Library, the year of the dog celebrations have already gone to the dogs — adorable therapy dogs, that is.
- And now that the Lunar New Year is soon to arrive, Nom Wah Dim Sum chef Eric Li explains why foods like dumplings and noodles hold such significance for Chinese families at this time of year.
- Have you seen the impromptu mural of an Eagle gripping Tom Brady in Bella Vista? The artist is hoping to make it permanent.
- Feds says a Franklin Institute partygoer stole the thumb off a 2,000-year-old Chinese statue during an “ugly sweater” shindig in December. He even snapped a selfie with his arm around the $4.5 million statue.
- Philly’s own Leslie Odom Jr., known for his star turn as Aaron Burr in Hamilton, is coming home for three performances with the Philly Pops. You’ll definitely want to be in the room where it happens.
- Want to see Get Out before the Oscars? You may be in luck: two local theaters will screen it for free on President’s Day.
- The Sixers fought their way back from a 24-point deficit last night to beat the Heat 104-102. And they did it all without Joel Emiid.
“It’s not illegal. But it is sleazy. No public benefit comes from politicians using their positions to benefit themselves.” — The Inquirer Editorial Board on local politicians accepting a place in the express lane to Super Bowl tickets.
- Last Friday, Congress and President Trump actually got health care right when they reauthorized funds for community health centers, writes columnist Ronnie Polaneczky.
- Jack Hanna, chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, writes that Gov. Tom Wolf was right to reject the Republican’s proposed new congressional map of Pennsylvania.
What we’re reading
- Looking for podcast recommendations? Look no further than Philadelphia Magazine’s roundup of the 30 podcasts Philly’s business leaders are listening to right now.
- Also at Philadelphia Magazine, a profile on Joe Volpe and how the Northeast native went from dishwasher to head of the city’s Cescaphe wedding empire will have you feeling inspired.
- A Puerto Rican writer has launched a new series at the Philadelphia Citizen telling the stories of those forced to flee their homes after Hurricane Maria. Her first installment will leave you wanting more.
- Not everyone likes dining alone, but restaurants are starting to make more accommodations for solo diners — and some chefs see it as the highest compliment.
- Admit it, you’re more addicted to your phone than you’d like. NPR has put together a guide to detoxing, starting with how to know when you have a problem.
Your Daily Dose of | Events
The region is filled with unique weekend plans to be had, from the annual Lion Dance Parade to The Office-themed Quizzo.