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The DNA test and the identity lost | Morning Newsletter

And small businesses want lower taxes

    The Morning Newsletter

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

Good morning everyone, it’s great to be back with you for what looks to be a pretty nice day, with some sun and temperatures in the mid-to-low 60s.

Today’s top story examines the effects DNA testing can have on a person’s mental psyche. Imagine thinking you and your ancestry were of a particular composition all your life, only to take a test and learn the complete opposite — casting doubt on everything you believed about, well, yourself.

This one is an eye-opener that might make you question that DNA test you’d planned to give to a family member. I’d love to know your thoughts, drop me a reply at

— Kerith Gabriel (@sprtswtr

While a DNA test can be a window into someone’s genealogical history, it can also unearth closely guarded family secrets, such as an affair or artificial insemination. Unexpected results can lead to a mental health crisis for some people, but resources to help process these changes are scarce.

“[They] have to go back and relook at [their] whole life and experiences, redefine them, re-understand them, and reshape them,” said Kara Deyerin, who thought her olive complexion matched what she always believed was her mixed ancestry. But Deyerin discovered she has no African heritage, forcing her to question everything.

Access to mental health professionals who understand these challenges is scarce.

Our reporter Aparna Nathan has the full story.

Roughly 20,000 Latino-owned small businesses continue to be the greatest source of employment growth in the city, according to the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, but many owners say burdensome wage and other taxes are preventing a pandemic recovery.

The numbers: In a poll of small-business owners, 49% said the most burdensome is the city’s Business Income & Receipts Tax, or BIRT, 21% said the wage tax, and 15% said the net profits tax. More than two-thirds of respondents have five or fewer employees, and 82% have annual sales of less than $1 million.

What’s next: A diverse collective of business groups have banded together to lobby City Council for some tax relief.

What they said: “If these 20,000 businesses grew by just one or two employees, we could help lift more out of poverty,” said Jennifer Rodriguez, president and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “It costs our community when our businesses don’t scale up.”

Our reporter Erin Arvedlund has more on this story.

What you should know today

  1. The president of the Norristown school board resigned after he allegedly sent suggestive messages to a teenage girl.

  2. Two Philadelphia-area men are accused of fraudulently selling thousands of stolen tickets to the U.S. Open golf tournament, pocketing more than $1.8 million in combined profits.

  3. Tower Health, the nonprofit that purchased St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, recorded a $370.7 million loss.

  4. Prosecutors neared the end of their federal bribery case against labor leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty and City Councilmember Bobby Henon, as defense lawyers pushed back against the allegation that Henon accepted a bribe of free home windows.

  5. Philly DA Larry Krasner and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy aren’t worried about next week’s election.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Did you ever hear the one about the cat on the leash who likes bagels? We found him and he goes by the name of @theodorethephillycat. Have a shot you’d like to share? Use the hashtag #OurPhilly.

That’s interesting

🏀 Heading to the Wells Fargo Center for an upcoming game or event soon? Here are a few of the COVID-19 rules you need to know.

🍺 Downingtown’s Victory Brewing put a taproom on the Parkway where the TGI Friday’s (remember those?) used to be.

🎃 Did you know there’s an apostrophe in Hallowe’en? Neither did I, but here’s why.


“The first lesson is that improving health in our city requires reducing the stark inequities in health by race, income, and neighborhood that we see for virtually every health condition. And this cannot be fully accomplished through health care or even through public health interventions alone, important as they are,” writes Ana V. Diez Roux of the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative. She says investing in our neighborhoods to reduce poverty and income inequality is the first leap in improving the health and lives of city residents.

  1. Solomon Jones suggests that if Black Philly wants to fight segregation, then empowering economic mobility in neglected communities is a great place to start.

  2. Jake Ahlquist, a teacher resident in the Philly school system, suggests that instead of confiscating smartphones, teachers should consider ways to integrate student use into their lesson plans.

What we’re...

  1. Wondering: This Halloween, who’s going to consider one of these very funny Philly costumes? 👆

  2. Salivating over: Jose Garces opening a new Chicago-style pizza spot in Kensington, complete with a tiki bar.

  3. Reading: This reminder to live in the moment and not let FOMO get the best of us.

Photo of the day

Enjoy today, Philly. I’ll get at you all tomorrow.