January 21: MLK Day volunteers | CSX derailment update | Replacing Bill Green | AVI appeals could take years | Latino power gap

Good morning, Streeters. We are in for heavy snow and cold wind, so give yourself extra time to get around today. Flights are already being canceled, schools closed, and transit delays are expected (check SEPTA System Status). Today we’ll learn a new weather word – bombogenesis – and see if this storm is a record breaker. And remember, trash collection is pushed back one day because of the holiday Monday.

About 125,000 volunteers spent yesterday giving back as part of MLK Day of Service events, surpassing organizer expectations, the Daily News reports. The signature event at Girard College drew 5,000 volunteers and most efforts went to packing school supplies for needy classrooms in Philadelphia.

Yesterday’s CSX freight train derailment on a Schuylkill River bridge could have been disastrous, writes Will Bunch in a follow-up to his Daily News story from last month about the risks of transporting volatile crude oil through cities like ours. A CSX statement said the rear seven cars of a 101-car freight train derailed and work is underway to carefully empty two tipped cars of their oil and sand.

Democrats are lining up for Bill Green’s at-large seat on City Council pending his approval as chair of the School Reform Commission. Party leaders will choose candidates for a special election. “I’ll be left with one ingrate and 39 people mad at me,” Congressman Bob Brady, the city’s Democratic chairman, told the Inquirer. That said Green’s seat could help resolve some power battles at the state level

More than 24,000 property owners have appealed their new property tax assessment from last year, but don’t expect those to be resolved anytime soon. AxisPhilly’s Tom Ferrick explains that each of those requires a ruling from the Board of Revision of Taxes, most with an actual hearing, which could take five years to go through. BRT says they need more resources to handle the caseload and are considering ways they can speed up the process, like breaking the board into smaller panels for hearings.

Writing for AxisPhilly Patrick Kerkstra considers the gap between Latino political power potential (enormous) and reality (stagnant), and signs of change ahead.

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