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Eagles take on Washington in a must-win game; controversial vaccine legislation to be voted on in New Jersey | Morning Newsletter

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Eagles running back Boston Scott stretches before practice at the NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019.
Eagles running back Boston Scott stretches before practice at the NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia on Friday, Dec. 13, 2019.Read moreHEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

Brace yourselves for another afternoon of heartburn. The Birds take on Washington for a chance to stay in the playoff hunt, so keep some Tums nearby. Later in the newsletter, we take a look at one of our most ambitious projects this year, which highlighted the deep history of ballroom culture and how Philadelphia played an essential role in expanding its success worldwide.

Tauhid Chappell (

The week ahead

  1. The 6-7 Eagles are hurting, and Carson Wentz will need to get creative now that his wide receiver core is facing various injuries. While Washington is just 3-10, the Birds haven’t been able to put away teams with losing records. Perhaps we’ll see more of Miles Sanders and Boston Scott in the mix, as Carson Wentz has limited options.

  2. Controversial legislation that could do away with New Jersey’s religious exemption for vaccinating children is scheduled for a state Senate vote tomorrow. It follows a hotly contested committee hearing last week that drew hundreds of parents who opposed the bill as well as public health advocates who support it.

  3. With the holiday season in full swing, now seems the ideal time to check out local restaurants and bars that are decked out for the season. The 55-foot tree in front of City Hall is almost begging to be photographed, too.

This week’s most popular stories

Behind the story with

Each week we go behind the scenes with one of our reporters or editors to discuss their work and the challenges they face along the way. This week we chat with Cassie Owens, who was part of the team that produced the Inquirer’s long-form multimedia piece, Legendary: 30 Years of Philly Ballroom with Raishad Hardnett and Lauren Schneiderman.

What sparked your interest in covering the ballroom scene?

The story was video journalist Raishad Hardnett’s idea. He learned that the 30th anniversary of Philadelphia’s first ball was coming up and saw an opportunity. I’m so happy that he did and that he asked me to come aboard the team.

What was one thing you didn’t know about the scene that you found fascinating?

I had no idea how the competition categories truly worked. There are so many, each with their own histories, criteria, and distinctions from one another. It took months to be able to understand the flow of things or why someone might have gotten eliminated.

For those who are interested in learning more about the ballroom scene, how can they find out more information?

There’s a lot out there — documentaries, TV shows, reporting, the whole nine. Out magazine does consistent coverage of the scene, as do other outlets. And Viceland’s docuseries My House is fantastic.

Where do you see ballroom culture going in the future?

I see ballroom expanding: more countries, more participants, fatter cash prizes, and higher stakes. It will be interesting to see how ballroom changes with that. Our sources told us it’s already changed tremendously.

If there’s one thing you hope readers take away from your story, what would it be?

I hope that readers can see that the legacy in Philly truly runs deep. There’s a comparison to be made to hip-hop — ballroom nestled in Philly early and hasn’t left since.

You can connect with Cassie, Raishad, and Lauren through Twitter at @cassieowens, @raishadmomar, and @lschneiderman_ or by email at,, and

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

What a cool way to love Philly. Thanks for sharing, @jeffphl!

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout-out!

#CuriousPhilly: Have a question about your community? Ask us!

Have you submitted a question to Curious Philly yet? Try us. We’re listening to our readers and doing our best to find answers to the things you’re curious about.

What we’re …

  1. 🐟 Eating: all the shellfish and fish we can during the Feast of the Seven Fishes, an Italian seafood tradition that you can find at several Philly restaurants, with each spot adding its own flair.

  2. 🥃 Drinking: boilo, a made-for-winter cocktail that includes Four Queens whiskey, spices, citrus, honey, ginger ale, and more.

  3. 🎶 Watching: Pennsylvania Ballet’s The Nutcracker, a classic ballet at the Academy of Music that also features a light show.

  4. 🎧 Listening to: all the top songs of 2019 to end the year on a high note.

Comment of the week

We’re all paying for that lovely new Comcast Technology Tower they just built. That building houses about 8000 new jobs for Philly. Those jobs pay taxes to the city so all Philadelphians benefit in the grand scheme of things. Oops ... I forgot ... Philly City Council wastes all those new taxes. — Jt, on Happy holidays from Comcast. Your cable bill is going up again.

Your Daily Dose of | The UpSide

Back when current KYW journalist Mike DeNardo and Jeanne Smith worked together when Smith owned The Journal newspaper, Smith sent DeNardo a Christmas card. It was signed “next year you can mail this card back to me.” So the following year, DeNardo did just that. And then she mailed it to him the next year. This has been going on for the last 37 years of their friendship.