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The life and times of John Dougherty | Morning Newsletter

And, college students are cashing in on being vaccinated against COVID-19

Good morning, Philadelphia. It’s the first full week of October and, judging by the forecast, it’s finally going to feel like fall. Temperatures are expected to be only in the 70s all week, so prepare accordingly.

First, despite a last-minute attempt to delay, the first of three federal trials for Philly union boss John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty will open today. We take a look at what to expect and despite all of the implications against Dougherty, how his Local 98 union still remains one of the state’s biggest political powers.

Also, from free concerts to free tuition, area colleges are giving incentives to students who are getting vaccinated against COVID-19. On the flip side for students who have not reported taking the shot? Everything from losing housing to losing their status as a student is on the agenda.

Finally, Andy Reid had a time in Philly yesterday as his Chiefs torched the Birds, 42-30. A look at what went wrong and what this means for the Eagles, who haven’t won since Week 1.

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When John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty took the reins of the city’s electricians union, few would have envisioned him turning Local 98 into a political powerhouse and becoming one of the biggest fund-raisers in the state for Pennsylvania Democrats, politicians who to this day wouldn’t dare cross the union that he built.

Even with federal charges looming, the influence that Local 98 has had on swaying opinion hasn’t changed much, according to people active in local politics. From an influence standpoint, the union has been one that has readily aligned with the city’s rising progressive movement, one spearheaded by Mayor Jim Kenney, for whom he is a confidant.

So as the first of three federal trials opens today, reporters Chris Brennan and Sean Collins Walsh set the scene for us. Both will keep a close eye on this trial, in addition to Inquirer reporters Jeremy Roebuck and Oona Goodin-Smith, who wrote a guide in case you need to catch up on the case.

Get this. There is a student from our region who won a year of free college tuition simply for reporting her vaccination status.

From tickets to concerts, sporting events and more, colleges in our area are giving incentives to students for getting the shot and reporting it to the school. It’s seemingly working, too, as such colleges as Drexel and Villanova are reporting vaccination rates of more than 90%.

On the flip side of that coin, students who have yet to report their status or have yet to get the vaccine are losing everything from their housing status to even a suspension of their enrollment until they comply. At West Chester University, the school suspended housing on an interim basis for 39 students who failed to comply, despite being one of 14 state universities that aren’t requiring all students to get vaccinated – just ones who are hoping to live on campus.

Reporter Susan Snyder delivers this story.

Welp, the Birds are on the losing end once again in a game ”that went about as expected,” according to Eagles beat writer EJ Smith. From bad performances in the end zone to defensive backs getting torched deep, it was another rough day at the office on a short week of back-to-back losses for head coach Nick Sirianni and Co.

Also, about 90 minutes before the game the team announced that veteran defensive end Lane Johnson was a scratch due to personal reasons, leaving a noticeable void on the front lines. OK, so where do the now 1-3 Birds go from here? Well, it’s a trip to Carolina this Sunday for a Week 5 match-up against the 3-1 Panthers (1 p.m., FOX29), who lost their first of the season against — ugh, the Cowboys.

COVID-19 resources

  1. Here’s our latest list of restaurants, large performance venues, universities, and gyms in the Philly region where you need to show proof of vaccination.

  2. Here’s where to get a COVID-19 test in the Philadelphia region.

  3. Should you laminate your vaccination card? What if you lose it? Here are the dos and don’ts.

  4. Here’s what you need to know about medical exemptions.

  5. It could be time to upgrade your face gear. Which masks work best?

What you need to know today

  1. A nurse was shot and killed by a coworker early Monday morning at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. The suspect, at 55-year-old coworker of the victim, was apprehended after shooting two police officers.

  2. After nearly two years holding it down as Upper Darby’s interim police superintendent, Timothy Bernhardt has been made permanent in the job, officially replacing Michael Chitwood, Upper Darby’s longtime and always outspoken top cop. Bernhardt, an Upper Darby native, says fostering a more community-driven approach to policing will be one of his main goals.

  3. Pennsylvania Senate Republicans say they don’t plan to hiring a private contractor to review results of the 2020 election until they receive an OK from a judge. This all stems from the GOP-led effort to subpoena Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration found Attorney General Josh Shapiro filing a lawsuit to block the move.

  4. The Phillies weren’t waiting around for the season to be over to start cleaning house. On Sunday, Phillies manager Joe Girardi announced that hitting coach Joe Dillon and infield coach Juan Castro won’t be back next season. The team then closed out the 2021 MLB season with a loss to the Miami Marlins.

  5. Police spent the weekend in several neighborhoods including right outside City Hall breaking up drag racing activity and stunt events called “sideshows” in what Philadelphia Police Cpl. Jasmine Reilly referred to it as a “recurring theme.” In other news, Fast and Furious 10 opens in theaters in April 2023.

  6. Finally, did you hear the one about the guy who spends his time advocating and reforming recovery houses admitting to a grand jury that he was on the payroll of one of those same recovery houses? Meet Fred Way Jr.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

I have never seen the Schuylkill from this perspective. Now, I really want to. Great shot, @joe_in_philly

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

🐦 On Oct. 2, 2020, as many as 1,500 birds died in a 3½-block radius in Center City after flying into windows of high-rises. On Saturday’s anniversary of the mass deaths, Victoria Sindlinger stood beneath a tree in the plaza outside Three Logan Square, where origami birds strung from the boughs danced in the breeze.

🗳️ Montgomery County disclosed this weekend that it sent voters 16,000 incorrectly printed mail ballots for the Nov. 2 municipal general election. County election officials said they were in the process of canceling them and will issue new ones. It’s easy to identify the bungled ballots, officials said: They were printed on only one side.

🎃 The best fall festivals and events are happening in Philadelphia — there’s Halloween at Eastern State Penitentiary, parades on the Parkway, the Philadelphia Marathon, and more great events.

💉 Despite fears of protests and chaos, the Joe Biden-led push for vaccine mandates is a rousing success. America needs more tough-love politics like that, writes columnist Will Bunch.

😔 For the third time since the start of the season, gunshots marred the Friday night revelry of a high school football game — this time in Cherry Hill.


“The process should be focused on finding someone who is passionate about public education and not someone who wants to just privatize and outsource everything. They need to believe that we can build a strong school district, instead of telling people that the best option is leaving public schools.” This from just one of a number of Philadelphia Public School advocates who opined what they’re looking for from the city’s next schools superintendent.

  1. Inquirer columnist Elizabeth Wellington says that the R. Kelly trial is yet another timeless example of women — specifically Black women — not being believed when it comes to sexual abuse.

  2. Clearer paths to citizenship for undocumented essential workers could result in a potential $51 million payment for Pennsylvania, according to this insightful op-ed from guest writer Bethania Shepard.

What we’re reading

  1. Philly Mag says La Colombe CEO Todd Carmichael is stepping down from the day-to-day of coffee to get into the carbonated water business, jumping into a venture right here in Philly. Also, side note, am I late in the knowledge that Carmichael is married to Flyers singer Lauren Hart and the couple have four adopted children?

  2. There’s perhaps no one in Philly happier that the city’s plastic bag ban went into effect on Oct. 1 than Green Philly. The site has links to where businesses can print out signage, answers to FAQs about what to expect, and a list of vendors that carry reusable bags at the checkout counter.

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