NOTE: First Read will not be sent on 12/30. It will return on 1/3.


WEATHER: Philadelphia, rain or freezing rain, high of 47; Harrisburg, mix of rain and snow, high of 42; Pittsburgh, chance of showers, high of 39.



* A racketeering suit filed against powerful union boss John Dougherty was withdrawn from court, the Inquirer reports.

* Months after the scandal broke, Philadelphia DA Seth Williams finally talks about $160,000 in unreported gifts that he accepted, WHYY writes.

* Philadelphia Magazine explores the growing political clout of the local Fraternal Order of Police under union boss John McNesby.

* Ward leaders are locked in a battle over who will replace convicted state Rep. Leslie Acosta, Philadelphia Weekly reports.

* Former Philadelphia Parking Authority Executive Director Vince Fenerty, who resigned over a sexual harassment scandal, filed paperwork to recover $200,000 in back benefits, the Daily News reports.

* Republican state Rep. Jim Christiana called for Pennsylvania to join a growing number of states with paid maternity leave, the Patriot News reports.

* U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is working to keep money to expand high-speed internet in rural areas – that broadband provider Verizon turned down – in Pennsylvania, The Associated Press writes.

* Lancaster native Mindy Meyers has been tapped to lead an effort by Democrats to retake the U.S. Senate, according to LancasterOnline.

* President-elect Donald Trump’s tax reform plans could imperil low-income housing tax credits in Pennsylvania, WHYY reports.

* College admissions in Pennsylvania fell for the fifth consecutive year, according to the Tribune-Review.

* Philadelphia’s Mummers went through a series of sensitivity training workshops to make sure their New Year’s Day costumes aren’t offensive or racist, WHYY writes.


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* U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey pledges to use his re-election to make the U.S. safer and more prosperous in the Morning Call.

* In an Inquirer op-ed, George F. Will called on possible U.S. Attorney General pick Jeff Sessions to explain his support for Philadelphia’s troubled civil asset forfeiture program.

* Union chief Wendell Young warns that the GOP will seek to further dismantle the state’s alcohol monopoly next year in a letter to the Patriot News.

* An Inquirer editorial decries Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud in places like Pennsylvania as “a sham.”

* In the Morning Call, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright called for an aggressive program to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure.

* Liz Dow, CEO of Leadership Philadelphia, writes in the Inquirer that it's time for a new generation of leaders to bring change to the city.

* A WHYY op-ed explains the national controversy surrounding a Drexel University professor who joked about “white genocide” on Twitter.


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KICKER: "I didn't forget. I had an understanding with the gentleman." - Philadelphia DA Seth Williams explains why he didn’t disclose $45,000 in free roofing work he received, along with another $100,000 or so in unreported gifts, via WHYY.


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