Happy Thursday, Philly. By the time you read this newsletter, Ocean City’s elite pickleballers will already be headed to their favorite courts for another rousing round. Never heard of pickleball, you say? Trust me, you’re definitely not alone. Since I learned about our top story on the Shore’s new favorite game, I’ve been talking about it just to say the word “pickleball” aloud. (Try it, it’s fun.) Of course, it can’t all be fun and games this morning. Back closer to home, the Philadelphia School District is starting its big summer cleanup and new details have emerged surrounding the pending grand jury report on sex abuse in Pennsylvania’s dioceses. There’s a lot to learn, so let’s dig in.
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Are you a pickleball newbie? You won’t want to get in the way of Ocean City’s best players — accurately dubbed “the aggressives” — on the half-size, tennis-like court. Down the Shore, elite pickleballers take the hard paddle and modified whiffle ball game very seriously and the court hierarchy is well-established.
The game itself is old, but it’s only recently caught fire in Ocean City. And boy, does it have some devotees.
If you’d like to play with nicer folks, head to Stone Harbor, they say. Want to play? First you’ll need to learn the rules — but be warned, its biggest fans say it’s addictive.
The Philadelphia School District is about to embark on its ambitious plan to clean up toxic lead paint in 40 schools. They’ve got $7.6 million in state money to do it, too, the first time state funds have been earmarked for such an effort in Philly.
The state will be watching its money closely, but so will advocates and parents who want more oversight this time around.
Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court is currently weighing whether to release a grand jury report detailing Catholic clergy abuse across the state. The report was expected to be released last month, but at least two dozen current or former clergy members have asked the court to block its release.
Records now show that all seven justices have received campaign donations from the law firms and individual lawyers representing petitioners trying to block the report.
Though this isn’t uncommon for judges, in the land of election campaign finance it is raising eyebrows.
What you need to know today
- Former Eagles star LeSean McCoy is strongly denying allegations that he was responsible for a violent assault on his estranged girlfriend. An Instagram posted Tuesday alleged he was the cause of her injuries and had previously beaten his son and dog.
- The staff of Feminist Apparel, a Philly clothing company, recently confronted their boss about Facebook posts in which he admitted to a history of abuse. Then he fired almost all of them.
- Since a water main break devastated blocks of Center City last week, most of the power to the affected area has been restored. Now businesses must contend with the damage and fight to recuperate their losses.
- Following the raid on the Occupy ICE encampment last week, some are questioning whether the police’s use of bikes to push and direct protesters was appropriate. Others say the tactic is a better option than most.
- Basketball isn’t the only sport Sixers owner Josh Harris is interested in. He just gifted $1 million to the University of Pennsylvania’s wrestling program.
- Last weekend, four teens from Sixers star Joel Embiid’s hometown in Cameroon were set to travel to the U.S. for a weeks-long Philadelphia Youth Basketball program. Then their visa applications were rejected.
- There’s too much. There’s not enough. Philadelphians have a lot of opinions about parking. Could new data suggesting there are more parking spaces than people put the debate to rest?
Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly
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- One man is attempting to save the Philadelphia History Museum, which closed this month. His qualification? He’s a hoagie historian, of course.
- West Philly’s Calvary United Methodist Church is a paragon of cooperation. It houses four different congregations, a theater troupe, multiple community organizations, fitness classes, summer camps, and one-off events. But to save the gorgeous, historic building, coming together has sometimes been a struggle.
- After an historic Rittenhouse apartment building went up in flames, its owner was able to restore the beat-up gem to its former glory. The Frankford Chocolate Factory was in similar shape, but met the wrecking ball. Architecture critic Inga Saffron asks, why did one building get the special treatment and not the other?
- Saturday is Bastille Day, and for the twenty-third and final time Terry Berch McNally will don Marie Antoinette’s frock and wig and toss Tastykakes at the crowd outside of Eastern State Penitentiary. Yes, really.
- A change coming to the AP World History course, which thousands of high school students take each year, has sparked backlash for only testing students on history after 1450.
- When a shooting occurs in the city, many young Philadelphians turn to No Gun Zone on Instagram to find out what happened. The man behind the popular account says he just wants to make city streets safer.
“Unfortunately, without a critical mass of Asian American educators in public education, it is all too easy for administrators and policymakers to conveniently ignore our values and experiences when attempting educational reform.” — Ethan Ake-Little, a Ph.D. candidate in urban education at Temple University, on why we need more Asian-American public school teachers.
- Just days before his meeting with Putin, President Trump is doing the Russian leader’s dirty work at the NATO summit, writes columnist Trudy Rubin.
- With the nomination of Ben Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, columnist Solomon Jones points to a distressing trend that, he writes, helped make it happen: black voters staying home on election day.
What we’re reading
- As the Trump administration attempts to reunite families separated at the border before a court-ordered deadline, the New York Times has a heartbreaking story from parents who have found their children — only to not be recognized by their toddlers.
- Two Philadelphia men, Eugene Gilyard and Lance Felder, spent 16 years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit. Now, WHYY reports, they’re receiving $3 million from the city.
- Have you quit using single-use plastic straws after learning of their environmental impact? NPR has explained why people with disabilities are hoping for more flexible solutions.
- Get ready to argue with your fellow beach-goers. NJ.com has ranked the (supposedly) 35 best boardwalk foods at the Jersey Shore and there are some hot takes included.
- Hang on to your smartphones: Kardashian sibling Kylie Jenner is about to be worth $1 billion. The Forbes profile on the 20-year-old’s nascent cosmetics business is an enthralling read.
Your Daily Dose of | Buzz
Bee-lieve it or not, Philly millennials are all about beekeeping. What’s all the buzz about? They’re helping to cultivate an often endangered population.