From the inspiring to the enraging, these are the stories that captivated you most in 2019
December 23, 2019
An expose about the mistreatment of young men at Glen Mills School. A day in the life of the opioid crisis at Episcopal Hospital. The mysterious death of a Philly teacher. These were the stories that you spent the most time with this year.
And then there were the stories you wound up sharing most on social media: The suicide of the head of the University of Pennsylvania’s counseling and psychological services. The angry Eagles fan who turned out to be Penn’s admissions director. The long criminal history of the man accused of shooting six Philly cops.
Our special projects ranged from investigations like The Probation Trap to multimedia explorations of the Delaware Watershed to critical looks at Comcast’s new tower and a quest for the best shawarma in the Middle East to the hunt for Bigfoot in Pennsylvania’s Big Woods.
We published tens of thousands of stories on Inquirer.com in 2019. Take a look back.
The 3,500-seat esports facility is another sign of the surging popularity of esports, where players compete in video games before large crowds. It will rise next to Xfinity Live! and within walking distance of the Linc, Citizens Bank Park, and the Wells Fargo Center.
Amid a school-choice landscape, just 169 students attend a school built for 1,800. Strawberry Mansion High School has a new principal, renewed promises from district officials, and an outsized place in the lives of its students. Can Mansion survive?
Women of color are less likely to get treatment for postpartum depression because they fear they'll be judged too quickly or harshly by child welfare services. Research shows those fears may be justified.
By Jessica Calefati, Dylan Purcell, Kristen A. Graham, April 26, 2019
Experts say a stable teaching staff is crucial to a school’s academic success, and turnover of 25 percent in a year is cause for alarm. Twenty-six Philly schools experience turnover far beyond that measure, an Inquirer investigation has found.
His is a good story, but it's not a fairy tale. Kevin McCloskey returned from Afghanistan barely resembling the young kid from Northeast who had joined the Army after high school. Golf, and his wife, gave him his life back.
Emma Semler was prosecuted under a law originally designed to punish drug dealers with stiff 20-year mandatory minimum sentences when their products resulted in the deaths. But her lawyers argue the statute ensured too harsh a punishment for a woman struggling with addiction herself.
Unlike any school in Philadelphia, Strawberry Mansion High School has been fighting not just to survive but to reinvent itself, to somehow be an educational refuge in a neighborhood that logs more homicides than any other in the city.
Marion Stokes mistrusted media but recorded it obsessively, created a close-knit surrogate family but led another to become estranged, and was a card-carrying communist who bought Apple stock at $7 and made a fortune.
By Michael Callahan, For the Inquirer, July 1, 2019
The backpack, now as common a business accessory as the laptop and the iPhone, has barreled into our offices, station platforms, and elevators, basically making everyone around them miserable in the process.
Nearly 40 percent of city residents refuse to drink water from their taps, saying it tastes bad, or even is bad for them. The belief is especially strong in the poorer parts of America’s poorest big city, where residents spend scarce dollars on the much more expensive option of bottled water.
The Delaware River was born before words, flowing namelessly through an unmapped world without factories or fishermen, to a sea no ship ever sailed upon. Over the next year, Inquirer journalists will explore the river and its watershed, focusing on its challenges and its promise.
The father of Curtis Jenkins III, who was abducted and killed, initially said his kidnappers demanded cash for ransom, according to a 911 call. "They want something from me for my son," he told a dispatcher.
“Todd said, ‘We can fix this.’ He grew up poor - his mother was on food stamps. He got free lunch. He felt shamed for that, and he wanted to help,” said Platt. “He had success, and he wanted to share it.”
St. John says she was repeatedly sexually abused by the man trusted to hone her talent, renowned violinist and teacher Jascha Brodsky, then neglected when she reported what had happened to an administrator at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music.
Rodney and Angela Gillespie say they lived three years in London and three years in Johannesburg with no problems, only to be pulled over in their own driveway last month, in what they and their lawyer call a case of racial profiling.
Savoldi was a football star at Notre Dame and played his final game for the Fighting Irish at Franklin Field. A scandal started him on a life, shrouded in secrecy, that still seems too remarkable to be true.
The Philadelphia Zoo will usher in this holiday season with a massive multimedia experience that includes more than 600,000 lights, 12 immersive displays, and 6.5 miles of electrical cables to power it all.
By Jacob Adelman, Craig R. McCoy, September 27, 2019
In one flip in Brewerytown, speculators paid $6,000 for a lot, then resold it five days later for $127,000. A parcel in Ludlow resold in three weeks for a $117,500 markup. One in Yorktown was bought and resold on the same day for a gain of $80,000.
There are provisions for growing cannabis at home, expungement of all cannabis criminal records, home delivery of marijuana, and making it easier for local entrepreneurs to enter the trade as a grower or a retailer.
By Jeremy Roebuck, Chris Brennan, October 25, 2019
Sources familiar with the probe describe a sweeping, multi-pronged examination into everything from the redevelopment of the Royal Theater on South Street to the work of Johnson’s wife as an education consultant, campaign adviser, and charter school advocate.
By Vinny Vella, David Gambacorta, Winston Choi-Schagrin and Paula Knudsen-Burke, The Caucus, November 8, 2019
John Reilly, Jr., superintendent of George W. Hill Correctional Facility, was accused of misconduct by current and former employees. An oversight board prevented their complaints from becoming public, but Reilly could face new scrutiny from Delaware County's incoming Democratic county council.
Before Elizabeth Warren became a Democrat, the young mother entered a liberal cauldron at Rutgers Law School, where students strived for big, systemic change. How Rutgers and later Penn Law shaped the presidential contender.
By Barbara Laker, David Gambacorta, William Bender, December 5, 2019
System flaws in the Philly Police Department, DA’s Office, and City Hall helped to shield former police chief inspector Carl Holmes — who was recently indicted for sexual assault — and other top bosses from scrutiny, The Inquirer has found.