Morning Briefing: Trump acquittal shows continued polarization; Underfunded schools face tough future; Valentines Day in a pandemic

Good Morning. Here are some of the top stories from around the region.

WEATHER

There will be quite a bit of ice out there this morning and we will be seeing some more freezing rain today. Expect the high to stop out at a cold 37 degrees.

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NEWS

VOICES OF INEQUITY: Report shows how Pa. policy harms underfunded schools

Five regional school districts, all with high minority populations living closer to the poverty line, are most harmed by Pennsylvania’s famously unfair education funding structure, according to a new analysis by a good schools advocacy group. Those districts are Pottstown and Norristown in Montgomery County, Reading and Antietam in Berks County, and Southeast Delco in Delaware County. The 24-page study, recently released by Public Citizens for Children and Youth, places much of the blame on an aspect of Pennsylvania’s school funding architecture called “hold harmless.”

Analysis: Impeachment proves imperfect amid US polarization

Three Republican senators spent an hour talking strategy with lawyers for the accused. The entire Senate served as jurors even though they were also targets of the crime. No witnesses were called. And the outcome was never in doubt. The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump laid bare the deep imperfections in the Constitution’s only process for holding a president accountable, for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” The proceedings packed an emotional punch and served as history’s first accounting of the Jan. 6 riots on the U.S. Capitol, but the inherently political process never amounted to a real and unbiased effort to determine how the insurrection unfolded and whether Trump was responsible.

Chester County getting 5,700 doses of vaccine next week

The good news: Chester County will receive 5,700 doses of the coronavirus vaccine in the coming week, the first shipment in two weeks. The bad news: Of the nearly 51,000 doses of the vaccine requested, the county so far has received half. As local lawmakers request an investigation into how Chester County continues to get shortchanged on the vaccine distribution, Chester County commissioners are working on establishing more vaccine distribution sites throughout the county. The county is scheduled to receive 2,500 first doses and 3.200 second doses. The Chester County Health Department reported it has vaccinated just over 12,000 of the more than 154,000 people eligible for the COVID-19 shots in the Phase 1A category.

Restaurateur missing ‘creative life’ opens Curley’s ‘Que in Spring City

Mark Van Horn is no stranger to the restaurant business. Van Horn started working in restaurants when he was in high school. He owned and operated the French Quarter Bistro in Royersford for 17 years before closing the business three years ago. He couldn’t stay away from the industry however. In October Van Horn, who lives in East Coventry, opened Curley’s ‘Que, 825 New St. in Spring City.

A bleak Valentine’s Day, lovers find hope in roses, vaccines

The notecards poking from bouquets rushing out of a Chicago florist all carry similar messages: “looking forward to celebrating in person.” “The notes aren’t sad,” said Kate Prince, a co-owner of Flora Chicago on the city’s North Side. “They’re hopeful.” On this Valentine’s Day, Americans are searching for ways to celebrate love amid so much heartache and isolation as the coronavirus pandemic stretches past its year anniversary. Some are clinging to hope, seen in the most vulnerable and frontline workers getting vaccinated, in loosening restrictions on restaurants in the hardest hit places, in case numbers starting to wane. But the death toll is still climbing toward a half-million dead in the United States and many remain shuttered in their homes.

SPORTS

Sixers Notebook: Defensive struggles have Doc Rivers concerned

Doc Rivers scanned the boxscore from the Sixers’ 120-111 loss Saturday in Phoenix, looking for a number that he anticipated, yet prepared anyway to be shocked. It wasn’t hard to find. The number was 60.8, the shooting percentage for the Suns.

Flyers get a break in their battle with COVID; Tahoe still on

The list of Flyers unavailable due to COVID protocol flattened out Saturday, a relief compared to the additions the previous two days. Seven Flyers remain on the COVID list that began with Monday with only Travis Sanheim. Claude Giroux and Justin Braun were added Tuesday, Morgan Frost and Jake Voracek Thursday, Scott Laughton and Oscar Lindblom Friday. The league’s COVID list denotes only those unavailable to play on a specific night, in this case Saturday. It doesn’t differentiate between players infected with the virus and those with protocol-related absences.

Villanova can’t cool Creighton’s hot hands in blowout loss

Villanova had seen this act before. The first time the Wildcats played Creighton in a Big East game, way back in 2014, the Bluejays shot a sizzling 21-for-35 (60 percent) from 3-point range to roll to a 28-point victory at the Wells Fargo Center. The Bluejays followed that up with another 60-point performance from deep in 21-point win several weeks later, solidifying a reputation as one of the Wildcats’ toughest opponents year after year. Creighton wasn’t quite that efficient from beyond the arc Saturday, but the Bluejays were close in an 86-70 romp at CHI Health Center Omaha.

ENTERTAINMENT

Heart-shaped art brings love, hope to virus-ravaged spots

Donald Verger has been putting heart into his art during the pandemic. And images of those intricate hearts made from vibrant sea glass are flowing back to schools and hospitals that have been hard hit by COVID-19 during the pandemic. “The hearts hit a sweet spot for people,” Verger said. “People love sea glass, the color, the patterns.” Across the country, many artists find themselves struggling during the pandemic, but they’re also finding ways to give back during a health crisis that has claimed more than 465,000 lives in the United States.

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