Hello, dedicated readers of The Inquirer Morning Newsletter.

First: The Philadelphia health commissioner resigned Thursday after he admitted to cremating remains of MOVE victims without telling family.

Then: The city held its first official day of remembrance for MOVE at Osage Avenue and Cobbs Creek Parkway on the 36th anniversary of the bombing.

And: If you’re fully vaccinated and live in Pennsylvania, you can ditch the mask outdoors and in most indoor settings.

— Tommy Rowan (@tommyrowan, morningnewsletter@inquirer.com)

Philly health commissioner resigns over cremating MOVE bombing victims without informing next of kin; Mayor Kenney apologizes

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley resigned Thursday after admitting that he arranged for the cremation and disposal of remains from victims of the 1985 MOVE bombing, but without identifying the remains or notifying family members.

Mayor Jim Kenney said he asked for Farley’s resignation after learning that the remains were found about four years ago in the city Medical Examiner’s Office. Medical Examiner Sam Gulino, whom Farley directed to incinerate the remains in 2017, was also placed on administrative leave “pending a full investigation.”

Cheryl Bettigole, the current director of the health department’s Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, was appointed acting health commissioner.

Reporters Laura McCrystal, Aubrey Whelan, and Oona Goodin-Smith have the full story on the health commissioner’s resignation.

On the anniversary of MOVE bombing, fresh pain and calls for accountability on Osage Avenue

Thirty-six years to the day after Philadelphia police dropped a bomb on the MOVE rowhouse in Cobbs Creek, killing 11 people, including five children, about 200 people gathered solemnly for a peaceful march.

Attendees walked to Malcolm X Park, chanting “on a move,” and the names of those killed May 13, 1985. The march started hours after the city announced the resignation of Health Commissioner Thomas Farley over the mishandling of MOVE members’ remains.

“We have to rise up and fight the system, and push for accountability, because if this system is allowed to do what they’re doing to us, and we do not push for accountability, what makes us believe that they will not do this again?” Mike Africa Jr. said.

Reporter Oona Goodin-Smith wrote about the fresh pain and calls for accountability.

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⛽️ Philadelphia, do not panic. Unlike frenzied motorists in some Southeastern states where gas stations are being emptied of supplies, our area has enough gas.

🏟️ The Phillies will increase the seating capacity at Citizens Bank Park by 5,000 fans later this month before opening the stadium to 100% capacity on June 12.

🐺 Laser Wolf is named one of the best new restaurants in the world by Condé Nast Traveler.

🛩 Executives at Philadelphia International Airport and its largest air carrier, American Airlines, are optimistic about the economic recovery of the travel industry from its lowest points of the pandemic.

🎶 The Philly Music Festival will again be a live, in-person event when it returns this fall, and it’s coming back bigger than before — staged in five venues over five nights in October.


“What is unfolding in this twisted housing market is a travesty after a hellish year of pandemic illness, death, and economic lockdown. People should not have to beg for a house in places like Yeadon, Glenolden, Colwyn, but that is what has been happening in these stepping-stone communities in Delaware County, whose dense, modest stock of homes is a staple of what also is the highest-poverty county of the four suburbs surrounding Philadelphia,” writes columnist Maria Panaritis.

  • Chelsie DeSouza thought that downloading the Citizen app’s crime alerts would help her feel safer about raising her 3-year-old daughter in her Girard Estates home. Instead, it made the freelance writer want to move out of the city.

  • As the nation emerges from the pandemic, columnist Will Bunch sees a backlash forming over what it means to be a worker in 2020s America. For the first time in decades, he writes, American workers are wondering who’s the boss?

What we’re reading

  • Philly Mag sat down with local journalist Malcolm Burney for a Q&A about his new podcast about artificial intelligence, AI Nation, a project of WHYY and Princeton University. (Listen here.)

  • A.O. Scott, the New York Times film critic, rewatched seven films considered quintessential reflections of American culture, and through this endeavor found insight into American Democracy.

  • Annie Lowrey argues in The Atlantic that millennials are not just held back by today’s economic conditions. The conditions are stratifying them, she says, and have prevented this class of American adults from growing up.

Your Daily Dose of | Pomp and Circumstance

On Saturday, 3,000 graduates of La Salle University, from both 2020 and 2021, will collect their degrees during two in-person ceremonies at Lincoln Financial Field. And as reporter Susan Snyder points out, a number of graduates overcame difficulties or juggled enormous responsibilities — in some cases made even harder by the pandemic — to earn a college degree. Graduates include 35-year-old Rachel McMahon, mom to four children, 16, 15, 13 and 5, all of whom learned at home this past year.