Pickleball takes over the Jersey Shore, Pa. Supreme Court donations in question | Morning Newsletter

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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— Aubrey Nagle (@aubsn, morningnewsletter@philly.com)


Ocean City and the most cutthroat pickleball game at the Jersey Shore

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Bob Murphy, of Ocean City and Marathon, FL., returns a shot on the the advanced-player pickleball courts in Ocean City, Friday, June 29, 2018.

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.

Can Philadelphia school officials be trusted with millions in state money to clean up lead paint?

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.

After all, as the Inquirer’s Toxic City series has documented, the district has previously botched repair jobs, wasted money, and put thousands of the city’s vulnerable students at risk.

Pa. Supreme Court got nearly $180k in donations from law firms in clergy abuse case

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

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

Things seen on the Schuylkill tonight: 🚤🌊🐛🐛🐛🐛

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Nice shot, @ashleigh_erin! If you’re curious, my colleague Joseph Gambardello tracked down the purpose of those worm-eqsue floating devices.

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Friends & Enemies

“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.

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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.