In today's news cycle, Hurricane Florence can feel like it was eons ago, but effects of the deadly storm are still being felt in South Carolina. And though the storm wasn't as catastrophic as originally predicted, a group of Philly firefighters fearlessly deployed to the area for three weeks, leaving behind their families and loved ones, assisting in any rescue and recovery they could, and changing at least a few lives for the better. Meanwhile, it's been a little more than a week since Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh rocked the nation with their testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee over sexual assault claims against the judge, and now the Senate is expected to vote on ending the debate over his nomination.

P.S. Want to stay up-to-date with the wild world of local politics as we prep for next month's midterm elections? We've launched a new newsletter from award-winning reporter Holly Otterbein to keep you informed about your government — and you can sign up right now.

PA-Task Force 1 John Getty and Mike Fanning help a couple who got stuck on a road outside of Dillon, S.C.
STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
PA-Task Force 1 John Getty and Mike Fanning help a couple who got stuck on a road outside of Dillon, S.C.

Though Florence wasn't the catastrophic Category 4 storm that meteorologists predicted, dozens of Philadelphia firefighters and other task-force members dropped everything to deploy to South Carolina for emergency relief, the same group who sifted through the rubble at the World Trade Center after Sept. 11 and boated through the flooded streets of Houston after Hurricane Harvey.

And while the deadly storm's force wasn't what was once expected, for those whom the team was able to assist, PA-Task Force 1's impact won't be forgotten any time soon.

Reporter Jessica Calefati tells of the group of rescuers who abandoned family plans, milestones, and birthdays to answer the call.

A key Kensington-based drug ring has been dismantled after 57 people — ranging from street level dealers to leaders of the enterprise — were arrested, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced Thursday.

The arrests, focusing on what is widely considered the geographic epicenter of Philadelphia's drug crisis, were for the sale of fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, crack, and other drugs, Krasner said.

Sixteen Alameda drug trafficking organization properties were targeted in the bust, Krasner said, and authorities confiscated about 4.5 pounds of cocaine, nearly 2.5 pounds of crack cocaine, and more than eight pounds of heroin. In addition, investigators seized more than $285,600 in cash, 15 vehicles, and eight firearms.

With the FBI report on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in hand, the Senate is expected to vote this morning on formally ending debate over his nomination, a move that is likely to signal whether he has enough support to win confirmation and establish a conservative majority on the court.

The parliamentary move could force senators to show where they stand, and if 51 vote to stop debate, Kavanaugh could be confirmed as soon as Saturday.

The vote comes after a wrenching national debate that saw Kavanaugh accused of sexual assault and misconduct by three women — charges he angrily denied —and President Trump mock the judge's chief accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

What you need to know today

  • A controversial Philadelphia judge has ordered a North Philly building full of tenants evicted with just one week's notice. It's unclear why the short deadline was given, and residents, left on their own to cover moving and relocation costs, are scrambling to pack their bags and find where they'll go next.
  • A Philadelphia police captain who is suing the department for racial discrimination says her supervisor physically attacked her while making an arrest Wednesday night as a means of intimidation.
  • As the Eagles hope to repeat last year's win over the Vikings at the Linc this Sunday, one thing will be very different. Though last year former Eagle Mychal Kendricks went head-to-head on the field with his Viking brother Eric for the right to go to the Super Bowl, this year, Mychal — suspended from the NFL after pleading to federal insider trading charges — may have trouble even getting in the stadium.
  • Though officials say they just learned of the security measures blocking foreign access to state election sites and preventing voters abroad from accessing their absentee ballots, Pennsylvania voters say the problem's persisted for at least two years.
  • Led by Wayne Simmonds, the Flyers opened the season with a 5-2 win over the Golden Knights in Las Vegas Thursday night. Meanwhile, mascot Gritty continues to dazzle.
  • Starbucks hosted a job fair in Center City Thursday, targeting first-time job seekers and complete with a visit from rapper and Philly celeb Meek Mill. The fair came a little more than four months after the chain held racial bias training and settled with two black men following a Rittenhouse Square barista's call to police on the pair for not ordering anything.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

Go Birds, @chuckseye. With the E-A-G-L-E-S in their own backyard this Sunday to take on the Vikings, they should plan on maximizing their home-turf advantage, writes Zach Berman. And speaking of Eagles' backyards, Malcolm Jenkins is spending some time remodeling his.

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!

That’s Interesting

  • Can the internet really predict how long you'll live? Reporter Stacy Burling put these age span calculators to the test.
  • No spit — you too can prepare lamb shawarma from the comfort of your own home, thanks to Zahav chef Michael Solomonov.
  • Add another Philly connection to Bradley Cooper's A Star is Born, in theaters today. South Philly actor and drag personality Willam Belli takes us behind the scenes of the film, dishing on drag culture, what it's really like to work with B-Coop and Lady Gaga, and racism on RuPaul's Drag Race. 
  • For a band named Nothing, this Philly group is doing a whole lot of something when it comes to the criminal justice system and prison reform.
  • Buckle up, we're going on a feel trip: At a Philly children's library, these kids are reading their dog-eared books to non-judgemental puppies. Aww.

Opinions

Trump Tax Returns
Signe Wilkinson
Trump Tax Returns
"The parole system is not a get-out-of-jail-free card; it gives people an opportunity to show meaningful change. My brother's dream is to be released and help young people find their path and avoid his. But the justice system wants him to rot in a cage, with taxpayers funding his incarceration as he grows old. For what? To prove a point?"
— West Philadelphia’s Kimberly King on the importance of parole for life prison sentences.
  • Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono's lived experience as an immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen is a testament to allowing more than just natural born citizens to run for president, writes columnist Will Bunch.
  • In the current political climate, it's becoming much harder to host civil conversations, says columnist Christine Flowers.

What we’re reading

  • As a nonprofit raises money to aggressively police and prosecute drug crimes in Blair County, public defenders are less-than-enthused, saying the approach fails to target the root of drug addiction. WHYY tells their stories.
  • Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to Graduate Hospital, apparently. Billy Penn tells of the new fowl friends roaming the streets in the Philly neighborhood.
  • Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, saying that despite his emotional testimony last week, he will remain an impartial judge if confirmed.
  • As the AIDS crisis peaked in the 1980s and 1990s, many affected sold their life insurance for quick cash, The Atlantic reports. But with the introduction of lifesaving drugs, people with HIV are living longer than expected, and some have third-party benefactors waiting on their deaths.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
David Maialetti
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer

Your Daily Dose of | Resilience

He taught himself to paint in prison, eventually selling portraits of loved ones to other inmates. Now, Philadelphia Mural Arts' Russell Craig is winning over the art world.