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Pa. House elects surprise speaker, who declares Independent
The U.S. House wasn’t able to come to a decision yesterday, but after turmoil, the Pa. House did end up with a new leader — an unexpected one.
- Rep. Mark Rozzi of Berks County, a longtime Democrat, was elected speaker in a 115-85 vote. Rozzi was nominated by a Republican, and on assuming the position, immediately declared himself an Independent.
“My staff will be made up of people from both parties,” Rozzi said, per WITF. His switch means that even if Dems win all three special elections for vacant seats, Spotlight PA notes, the House will be evenly divided, 101 D and 101 R.
Philly’s stray cat population may have avoided pandemic spike
Philly’s stray cat population, estimated to be around 400k before the pandemic, appears to have stayed relatively stable over the past couple of years
- That’s likely thanks to a grassroots network of animal welfare organizations, which have been onboarding volunteers to trap, neuter, and release the outdoor felines.
ACCT Philly’s city contract doesn’t include spaying, Jordan Levy reports, but so far the org hasn’t seen a huge surge of cats like elsewhere in the U.S.
RECAP: What else happened?
$ = paywalled
- John Fetterman was sworn in yesterday as Pa.’s junior senator, wearing not his signature hoodie and shorts, but a new suit — one of three he purchased for the job. [ABC27/@johnfetterman/NYT$]
- After managing Fetterman’s successful Senate campaign, Brendan McPhillips had plenty of options. But he wanted to stay local, so now he’s running Helen Gym’s campaign for Philly mayor. [Capital-Star]
- Now that the Pa. Senate is back, will Krasner’s impeachment trial move forward? It’s unclear. Just before the New Year, a Commonwealth Court agreed with the DA, saying none of the articles constitute “misbehavior in office.” [NBC10/Billy Penn]
- Former Mayor Nutter is reportedly out of the country and unable to comment on the rumors he might run again — which he’s allowed to do because the city charter’s limit only applies to two *consecutive* terms. [WHYY]
- “Abbott Elementary” creator Quinta Brunson hit the talk show circuit yesterday in advance of new episodes airing/streaming tonight. She taught Stephen Colbert about Philly slang. [Daily Mail/@AbbottElemABC/YouTube]
- Philadelphia and the Eagles are among the many showing love for the Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin, whose fundraiser for Pa. kids has soared to over $6 million. [Billy Penn/GoFundMe]
Weekly brief on gun violence prevention (with PCGVR)
- A day-by-day account of how police investigation of a nonfatal but targeted shooting — perhaps sparked by a dog that ran outside — can drag on for weeks, leaving a family scared for their lives. [Metro]
- Artist Jonny Castro, a former Philly police officer, uses his talent for portraiture to memorialize victims of violence and fallen first responders. [Billy Penn]
- Philly-based fashion brand Milano di Rouge treated five local women who lost children to gun violence to a health and wellness day, with meals, makeovers, and a spa visit. [South Philly Review]
- The Eagles on Thursday will announce a $410k donation to nine local nonprofits working on both long- and short-term solutions to gun violence. Last year the team’s “Inspire Change” campaign brought $300k to 32 anti-violence efforts. [Inquirer$/WHYY]
- In the first half-year of a program announced last spring, the West Philadelphia Corridor Collaborative gave out 300 free surveillance cameras, which were used 28 times in police investigations. [KYW/@RealJabariJones]
By the numbers in Philadelphia
- 22: Shooting victims recorded last week, vs. 33 the week prior. [City Controller via @PCGVR]
- 469: Shooting victims recorded during the last three months of 2022, down 18% vs. the prior year and down 30% vs. 2020, but still up 34% vs. the average from 2015-2019 [Open Data Philly via @PCGVR]
- 516: Homicides in 2022, 8% down from 2021; up 64% vs. five years prior [City Controller]
Mayor Kenney joins partners at Girard College to announce activities and options for volunteering on the MLK Day of Service (10:30 a.m.). Dr. King famously led a 1965 rally alongside Cecil B. Moore to help desegregate the North Philly school for boys.
ON THE CALENDAR
? The Philadelphia Film Society embarks on a yearlong quest to show all 100 of Sight and Sound magazine’s “Greatest Films of All Time” list. Things start with “Get Out.” (7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 4)
? The Barnes’ First Friday reception this month features music from Colombia-born and Philly-based pianist Luke Carlos O’Reilly. Admission is $28 or $10 for students. (6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6)