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She found her biological family after 53 years | Morning Newsletter

And demand is rising for COVID-19 booster shots

Today we’re bringing you the story of a woman who was abandoned in Philly as a newborn, featured in The Inquirer decades later — and then found her birth family after 53 years. And wouldn’t you know it, this newsletter played a role in their reunion.

Let me know what you think of this email by sending me one back.

— Tommy Rowan (@tommyrowan,

Shelly Ward-Moore was going through her email on June 16 when she opened The Inquirer Morning Newsletter. The subject line that day was, “Can you help her find her biological parents?”

The top story that day was about Cheryl Edwards, a woman who was found in a pillowcase as a newborn in a Philadelphia rowhouse. The headline read: “Abandoned at birth in West Philly in 1967, she still seeks answers.”

“As soon as I saw the headline I was like, ‘I know this story!’ And as soon as I saw my grandfather’s name I screamed,” Ward-Moore, 65, of West Oak Lane, said. “I was the only one home and I ran up the steps and down the steps and I was screaming ‘OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! This is the baby!’ "

Ward-Moore and other members of her family contacted The Inquirer to say they not only knew Edwards’ story, but they believed they were her biological relatives. And one day before Edwards’ 54th birthday,. DNA test results proved what Ward-Moore believed all along: Edwards is her first cousin.

Our reporter Stephanie Farr has this incredible full story.

More than 100,000 Pennsylvanians and 80,000 New Jerseyans received COVID-19 booster shots, with thousands showing up in the first days that boosters of all three vaccines have been available to millions of Americans.

While shoring up immunity for high-risk Americans, the booster campaign doesn’t chip away at officials’ most pressing goal of getting more people vaccinated: More people in Pennsylvania are getting booster shots than are getting newly vaccinated.

Our reporters Erin McCarthy and Justine McDaniel have the full story.

What you should know today

  1. The ACLU of Pennsylvania is suing Montgomery County, saying its practice of jailing people accused of probation violations without a hearing is illegal, excessive, and destructive.

  2. The family of 8-year-old Fanta Bility, who was killed by police in August at a football game in Delaware County, has sued the borough of Sharon Hill and the officers who opened fire.

  3. Philly officials agreed to equip all police officers with Tasers, a step announced on the one-year anniversary of the killing of Walter Wallace Jr.

  4. SEPTA workers might strike soon, but it wouldn’t be the first time. Check out this timeline of 13 SEPTA strikes since 1975.

  5. Bigger paychecks are coming for Philadelphia School District substitute teachers, school nurses, food service workers, and other fill-in employees. The bump in pay is in response to staff shortages that are hitting schools hard.

  6. On day 13 of the federal trial of labor leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty and Councilmember Bobby Henon, jurors heard wiretap recordings surrounding Henon’s involvement in squashing a 2016 proposal to audit the Philadelphia Parking Authority — a vote prosecutors say he cast in exchange for free windows.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

You have five days left, @orchid57k. Enjoy accordingly.

Tag your Instagram posts with #OurPhilly, and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature here and give you a shout-out.

That's interesting

🍽️ Alex Tewfik quit his job as food editor of Philadelphia magazine to open his own restaurant.

🖼️ The African American Museum in Philadelphia just opened a new exhibit, Portals + Revelations, featuring art by Richard Watson. The new solo exhibition, available through March 6, showcases a variety of Watson’s art over nearly three decades.

🏀 How are the Sixers operating without disgruntled superstar Ben Simmons? Our columnist David Murphy lays out what we’ve learned so far about the new-look Sixers.


“Wednesday marks National Mentoring Day, a designation acknowledged mostly by organizations with mentoring programs, like Mighty Writers. In my current role, I get to oversee a growing mentoring program, an initiative no doubt inspired by having a great mentor myself. Having and being a mentor can change your life. You should try it,” writes Tim Whitaker, executive director of the Philadelphia-based literacy nonprofit Mighty Writers.

  1. We reached out to a diverse group of thinkers at Drexel University to help lay out a plan for economic recovery, racial equity, and sustained resilience for Philadelphia. We call it Rebuilding Philly, a series on creating a more equitable city in the wake of COVID-19. The first installment, by Youngmoo Kim of Drexel’s Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies Center, explores the persistent challenge of closing the digital divide.

What we’re...

Reading: Performers at two of New York’s hallowed haunted attractions divulge their secrets for scaring the candy corn out of people.

Betting: On the Lions notching their first win of the season against the Eagles on Sunday. Hey, at least Philly fans can look forward to a high draft pick.

Streaming: Succession, season 3, on HBO Max. The family dynamics are as fascinating as they are dysfunctional. Episode three arrives on Sunday.

Photo of the day

Happy hump day, y’all.