Welcome to Tuesday, Philly. You may be seeing some light snow this a.m. as another nor’easter makes its way up the coast. But the impact of this storm will be much milder. Otherwise this morning we’re digging into a City Council meeting on the opioid epidemic, a Villanova basketball player’s harrowing story, and how not to escape Philly’s escape room trend (no clues required). Let’s jump in.
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How’s this for a bit of Tuesday morning escapism? Reporter Bethany Ao went to nine different escape room games all over the city to find out which are the most fun and most challenging.
From nuclear meltdowns to the Revolutionary War, turns out there’s lots to escape in Philadelphia, and the trendy games aren’t slowing down just yet.
Don’t miss this interactive feature that puts you in the middle of the puzzle, too.
A meeting scheduled for City Council’s public health committee to assess the effectiveness of the city’s response to the opioid epidemic became mired in basic questions and left community members frustrated Monday.
Twenty people — officials, treatment providers, advocates, and community members — were slated to speak. But the meeting never made it past Health Commissioner Thomas Farley and his colleagues. Advocates said it seemed some Council members were only just beginning to consider the impact of the crisis.
Farley has called the opioid epidemic “the worst public health crisis in a century.” Three years in and nearly 3,000 people have died, with up to 70,000 people across the city using heroin.
When Villanova’s women’s basketball team takes the court for the NCAA tournament, one star player will be wondering if this is her last season. She’s seeking a waiver to play an extra semester after being held hostage by an abusive boyfriend her freshman year.
Jannah Tucker transferred from University of Tennessee after her sophomore year, and now Villanova compliance officers are trying to persuade the NCAA to extend her five-year eligibility, since the clock kept ticking as she lived her nightmare.
Her team heads into the NCAA tournament as the ninth seed, opening against eighth-seeded South Dakota State in the first round Friday.
What you need to know today
- Two package bomb blasts a few miles apart killed a teenager and wounded two women in Austin. Investigators said the bombings are connected to a similar attack that occurred less than two weeks ago.
- State Rep. Tarah Toohil spoke with investigators yesterday to repeat her accusations that State Rep. Nick Miccarelli was physically and verbally abusive to her. Toohil also said she wanted Miccarelli to resign.
- New Jersey voters in Pennsauken, Collingswood, and the Northern Burlington Regional School District are headed to the polls today to consider school bond referendums on everything from security measures to replacing an old stadium.
- Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, one of several such investigations, said their report found no collusion or coordination between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.
- The Republican primary for Pennsylvania governor has waded into the culture wars over bathrooms. My colleague Andrew Seidman has fact checked the candidates’ claims.
- New Jersey school districts are struggling to meet rising special education costs. Proponents of a corporate tax hike to help ease the pain hope to get Gov. Phil Murphy’s backing during his first budget address today.
- Two Philadelphia neighborhoods rank among the nation’s most gentrified zip codes, according to a new study. Can you guess which ones?
- Gov. Tom Wolf introduced a six-point ethics plan yesterday which aims to enact gift bans for public officials, put limits on campaign financing, and more. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Wolf expects legislative opposition to the plan.
- Philly U.S. Rep. Bob Brady announced Monday he’ll introduce a so-called private bill in Congress to bestow U.S. citizenship on a woman and her children currently seeking sanctuary in a North Philly church.
Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly
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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!
- Ring the alarm: Beyoncé and Jay-Z are returning to Philly for their “On the Run II” tour this summer. Tickets go on sale next week.
- Jake Arietta is the Philies’ biggest pitching free agent signee since Cliff Lee eight years ago. Here are 20 things to know about the new ace.
- Despite what emptying and abandoned shopping malls may tell you, entrepreneurs in South Jersey say retail isn’t dead; it’s just moving downtown, where the millennials are.
- Still outraged by the sad-looking plate of Brooklyn barbecue that went viral last week? Let restaurant critic Craig LaBan soothe you with far better BBQ choices from our area.
- We know the region has seen its share of snow, but did all the white stuff help Pocono ski slopes? Turns out there’s an upside to all those nor’easters.
- Last Week Tonight‘s John Oliver took a swipe at Fox 29 anchor Mike Jerrick this week for inappropriate jokes he made on International Women’s Day. The footage is, in fact, cringe-worthy.
- Want a free tree for your yard? Well, all you have to do is ask the city. No, really.
- A Wrinkle In Time, the new Disney film directed by Ava DuVernay and starring Oprah Winfrey, is much more than a kid’s movie to columnist Elizabeth Wellington.
“Our generation had its chance. We either failed miserably or did a giant shoulder shrug as we cowered in the shadow of the National Rifle Association. “ — Columnist Jenice Armstrong on why we all should support the student walkout to toughen up gun laws.
- Columnist Stu Bykofsky writes that Philadelphia’s schools are a money pit — but a bigger tax hike could help fix it for good.
- Rep. Lou Barletta, U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania’s 11th congressional district, has called on the Trump Administration to incorporate schools as “critical infrastructure” under the guidance of the Department of Homeland Security.
What we’re reading
- Philadelphia’s own Jake Tapper is the subject of a New Republic profile in which he discusses how he managed to gain fans across the political spectrum. If nothing else, it’s fascinating to witness just how varied this praise can be.
- WHYY has kicked off a new series on gentrification in Philadelphia, and its first installment focuses on the lessons learned from the redevelopment of Society Hill. It’s all critical context for today’s gentrification debate.
- The Daily Pennsylvanian reports that Penn’s first generation students are divided over a new movement to end admission policies that favor legacy students. There’s an interesting debate going on within the story.
- If you’ve allowed your musical taste to calcify into old favorites and radio hits, let the New York Times Magazine’s new interactive on the future of music in 25 songs be your guide.
- Speaking of music (supposedly), Kid Rock played a concert in New Jersey over the weekend. A reporter for NJ.com wrote a hilarious play-by-play of the event. Trust me when I say, you absolutely must read this review.
Your Daily Dose of | Jealousy
Penn’s old chain-filled food court is now a food hall filled with local favorites like Double Knot, High Street, and Little Baby’s Ice Cream. College kids have all the fun, huh?