September 20: NHSL crash prelim report | Amazon’s refined search | Ryerss Mansion

A federal preliminary report states that slippery rails and speed may have been factors in the Norristown High Speed Line crash in August, Jason Laughlin reports. The SEPTA operator told National Transportation Safety Board investigators that he did apply the brakes but the train slid past the Gulph Mills stop and crashed into an unoccupied train car. A passenger suing the operator and SEPTA argue that the report “suggests a failure of both the operator and SEPTA’s systems.”

Marty Moss-Coane speaks with Moody’s Analytics’ senior economist Adam Ozimek and Daily News columnist Will Bunch about Amazon’s refined search and the law of unintended consequences. Bunch discusses Amazon’s PR windfall and the opportunity for Philly to demand “a partnership, not a deal.” Ozimek cautions that “Philadelphia already has a bad reputation when it comes to ease of doing business in the city” and may not be in the best position to demand additional help to address the city’s housing, poverty, and public school problems.

The Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority voted unanimously to approve the city’s modified five-year financial plan to pay for a new police contract, Dave Davies reports. The cost of the deal will wipe out the city’s $200 million labor reserve fund; Philadelphia’s finance director Rob Dubow says that finding savings in the city’s budget could mean service cuts, while union leaders argue that any financial problems are the outcome of past mayors’ failure to manage city finances, which current labor contracts should not make up for.

Did you know there is a community library, eccentric stuffed alligator named Snapper, and vast array of art, heirlooms, and artifacts tucked in a Victorian mansion in Burholme Park? Harry Kyriakodis, contributing to Hidden City, goes into the grand alcoves in the Ryerss Mansion, a house museum donated to the City by the Ryerss family. The Ryerss left behind more than physical legacy; the family was also instrumental in helping create the Pennsylvania SPCA and Morris Animal Refuge. 

Former VP Joe Biden, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, and prominent business leaders discussed economic challenges and the future of job growth for the middle class at the University of Delaware Tuesday, WHYY’s Zoë Read reports. The panelists covered workforce training, particularly in the technology fields, and the need to hire locally as key drivers in security and a quality standard of living for the middle class.

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