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‘Rushing to judgment’ | Morning Newsletter

And shadow cooking is a real thing for Philly culinary teachers

Welcome to a beautiful Thursday, Philly. We’re expecting temps in the 60s – less than a week away from winter.

Today we’re looking at solutions to curb wrongful convictions in Pennsylvania.

We’re also asking why some culinary teachers in Philly schools have to dip into their own pockets to teach students how to cook. And, we break down the pre-Christmas warning from Philly’s top health official about avoiding indoor holiday parties.

Interested in your thoughts on that one. Hit me at

— Kerith Gabriel (@sprtswtr,

Fact: At least 80 people in Philly have been exonerated of violent crimes since 1989 — 23 of them in just the last four years.

And that doesn’t take into account people whose murder convictions were overturned but who agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges to get out — some after as long as 50 years in prison.

Such a systemic issue has advocates calling for systemic reform — starting with preliminary investigations, interrogations, and witness interviews, continuing to discovery and trial procedures, and then to post-conviction review.

Our reporter Samantha Melamed has more in the latest installment of her Losing Conviction series.

What you should know today

  1. Our metro columnist Jenice Armstrong has the beat on four new Philly police captains. All four are women of color.

  2. Mayor Jim Kenney tapped Al Schmidt’s deputy Seth Bluestein to serve out Schmidt’s term as a top elections official.

  3. Selena Gomez just became an investor in the Philly delivery startup GoPuff.

  4. A top doctor at Doylestown Hospital was fired for refusing to get vaccinated. Now he’s raising money to sue the hospital.

  5. Maria Quiñones-Sánchez wants to cap the side-hustles she and her fellow City Council members can take at $25,000.

  6. Meet Brian Pollitt, the man who will succeed Willie Brown as president of SEPTA’s largest union.

  7. We tracked the commitments from a number of local high school football recruits headed to major programs on national signing day.

  8. And our columnist Will Bunch says the tornadoes in the Midwest also blew the roof off American capitalism.

  9. Local Coronavirus Numbers: Here’s your daily look at the latest COVID-19 data.

No, you read that right. Through an amalgamation of supply chain woes, a food vendor that just left, and a cash-strapped school district, culinary teachers in the Philadelphia School District have been left without the necessary ingredients to teach.

Some teachers have even resorted to using school funds not meant for food supplies — or even reaching into their own pockets for what they need.

“Some of us who are a little bit more eager to teach go into our own pockets, but not everybody can do that,” one culinary teacher says. “I’m about $1,000 in. The kids have to learn something, even if I’m buying five $25 bags of sugar to teach them the difference between liquid and dry measuring.”

Our reporter Kristen A. Graham delivers this story and what it means for students who are looking to make a career out of what they learn in the classroom.

🧠 Philly Trivia Time 🧠

The holiday candy treat Clear Toys are made right here in Philly at Shane Confectionery. Today’s question: Do you know how long Clear Toys have been synonymous with the holiday season? You’ll find the answer and where to go to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Photo of the day

My colleague Ashley Hoffman has a special holiday edition of the Morning Newsletter planned for you tomorrow. I’ll use the extra time to do some last-minute Christmas shopping.

Can you really call it last minute with nine more days to go? I don’t know… 🤔