Powerball Jackpot to Hit $675M

Morning headlines: Yes, that's a record.

Good morning Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know today:

The Powerball jackpot has risen to roughly $675 million. That’s a record.

We saw our neighborhood convenience store doing brisk business early Wednesday night, selling Powerball tickets for the $500 million pot. But nobody picked the right numbers in that evening’s drawing. Now AP reports that the jackpot for Saturday’s drawing will swell to about $675 million — the old record was $656 million —and, uh, while we don’t usually play the lottery, maybe we’ll go ahead and buy a ticket this time. The fun part? ABC News reports that in the last 13 years, 16 winning Powerball tickets have been purchased in Pennsylvania.

Anthony Clark doesn’t vote that often. But he’ll remain the man in charge of Philly’s voting process.

Anthony Clark was re-elected to the Philadelphia City Commission in November despite a slew of news stories suggesting that A) he doesn’t vote that often and B) wasn’t actually in his office all that often, either. NewsWorks reports that on Wednesday, his colleagues voted to reinstall him as the commission’s chairman, putting him at the head of the voting process in Philadelphia. “In this case, it’s a matter of have the last three years been successful for this department? And the answer is, categorically, yes,” Commissioner Al Schmidt, the commission’s vice chair, told the site. Clark, meanwhile, is unapologetic about his voting record: “I’m an American,” he said, “and I enjoy the rights under the Constitution that gives me the ability to exercise my rights like everyone else.”

Uber Black drivers in Philadelphia are suing the ride-sharing service for better pay and driving opportunities. 

NBC10 reports the drivers are particularly upset that Uber now offers UberX, a lower-cost service than Uber Black’s limousine service.“They are promoting UberX over us,” one driver said. “They’re blocking us.” The drivers want increased commissions per ride — and for Uber’s app to default to the pricier Black service, instead of UberX. But an Uber spokesperson says the market wants the cheaper alternative: “In Philly alone, more than 12,000 people are earning extra income through UberX, and nearly half a million riders use UberX to move safely from point A to B.”

The Israeli consulate in Philadelphia is slated to close at the end of the year — but community leaders are fighting the decision.

Israeli officials say the decision is meant to save money, but, The Jewish Exponent reports, local leaders are fighting the decision. Lou Balcher, a former consulate official, notes Philly has the third-largest Jewish community in the nation. “We need to make sure that they get how important Philadelphia is to the narrative of America — and the Jewish community of Philadelphia, too,” he said. “It’s unconscionable that Philadelphia is used as a punching bag when Israel wants to cut corners.” Then-Mayor Nutter helped avert the consulate’s closing in 2013; Mayor Kenney will try to duplicate that effort this time around, NBC10 reports: “We’re obviously disappointed given our sister city relationship with Tel Aviv, and we’ll be reaching out to them to see if there’s anything we can do to change their decision,” his spokesperson said.

Philly in 2015 had the second-worst year — ever — of any city with teams in the four major professional sports.

The worst year? Philly in 1972. Time Magazine reports that 2015 was still quite abysmal: “In the 2015 calendar year, Philly’s four pro sports teams won 37.5% of their games. Among cities with teams in each of the four major pro sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL), that’s the second-worst mark of all-time. So yeah, it was really, really bad.” The magazine quotes one fan who expects the situation to improve quickly: “It would be much better if our teams were kicking the sh-t out of everyone.”

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