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How Philly companies support workers with disabilities; FBI investigates how Pa. approved Mariner East pipeline | Morning Newsletter

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Hannah Scott, 18, from Philadelphia at work at her internship at Barnes & Noble at Drexel University as part of THISability, a program that helps adults with neuro/developmental disabilities.
Hannah Scott, 18, from Philadelphia at work at her internship at Barnes & Noble at Drexel University as part of THISability, a program that helps adults with neuro/developmental disabilities.Read moreMIGUEL MARTINEZ / 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

Bundle up, reader. As the impeachment hearings heat up in Washington today, record cold is expected in Philadelphia, as wind chills have already dipped into the single digits.

In other news, companies across our region are increasingly discovering the benefits of hiring employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

— Oona Goodin-Smith (@oonagoodinsmith,

Across the Philadelphia region, business leaders are increasingly celebrating the talents that employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities bring to the workplace. But despite improvement in recent years, the unemployment rate among neurodivergent adults is 85%.

Today, a special UpSide section highlights some area companies and employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities thriving in their jobs. Here, you’ll meet:

  1. A Wawa smoothie “Sample King” and the manager who gave him a chance.

  2. The Precisionists Inc. in Wilmington, who are winning accolades for their genius in analyzing data for clients like Independence Blue Cross and Exelon.

  3. A Drexel professor helping to create dynamic workplaces where neurodiversity is an asset that is recognized, fostered, and put to use for the good of everyone.

  4. Local schools helping kids with special needs to hatch their post-graduation plans early.

  5. Philly-area parents who created businesses so that their unemployed adult children with disabilities could finally have jobs.

  6. Plus, tips for fostering neurodiversity in your workplace.

The FBI is investigating how Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration issued construction permits for the $5.1 billion Mariner East project, the latest official inquiry into the contentious cross-state pipeline that carries highly volatile gas liquids to a Delaware River export terminal.

The probe focuses on whether Wolf administration officials forced staff of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to ignore shortcomings to approve the pipeline’s construction permits.

This morning marks the start of the televised impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, examining whether he abused the power of his office by holding back security assistance in an attempt to pressure the Ukrainian president to announce an investigation involving Joe Biden’s son.

From who’s who to how to watch and the highlights from the hearings, we have you covered.

In Philadelphia-area high schools, the hearings have taken prominence as classes use the impeachment inquiry as a teachable moment.

What you need to know today

  1. Pennsylvania’s new Republican attorney general candidate once bashed President Trump and praised some of his fiercest critics. That could present a problem in a GOP primary.

  2. Attorneys for the widow of slain Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner have asked the state Supreme Court to disqualify Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office from further participation in the appeal of convicted killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

  3. Her guardian told police that the 4-year-old Philadelphia girl fell out a window and to her death last month. But prosecutors say it was a “horrific” case of child abuse that killed Zya Singleton.

  4. In the last two federal election cycles, maybe-Democratic presidential contender Michael Bloomberg helped two high-profile Republicans win critical races in Pennsylvania.

  5. U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, whose Delaware County district includes the Glen Mills Schools, introduced legislation yesterday that would make it easier for juveniles abused in residential facilities to hold them accountable in court.

  6. PATCO’s “ghost” station is $12.6 million closer to re-opening, thanks to a new federal grant.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

“Two seasons for the price of one. 🍂❄️” - @kylehuff

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!

That’s interesting

  1. Hemp resembles marijuana in just about every way except one: It probably won’t get you high. But people stealing the not-so-dank crop from Pennsylvania’s fields have yet to figure that part out.

  2. Have you ever wondered how Craig LaBan picks the Philly area’s top 25 restaurants each year? Our food critic peels back the napkin on his process, and suggests five more restaurants to try.

  3. Even if he’s flipping mad, you likely won’t hear Carson Wentz cursing on the field on Sunday against the Patriots. Are you planning on tailgating the Eagles-Pats matchup? Send us your tips for keeping warm at the Linc in the bleeping cold.

  4. Pass the ... tofurkey? Here’s how to throw a plant-based Thanksgiving your whole family will get behind.


“But being a Gen Xer isn’t about wallowing in middle-child angst like some have suggested. We are not lazy and shiftless. There is a gift in bridging the gap. When it comes to perspective, you guys need us.”Columnist Elizabeth Wellington on how the “OK, boomer” meme forgets about Gen X.

  1. Low-income families in Philadelphia could save about $800 a year if the city approves proposed legislation to refund wage taxes, writes City Councilman Allan Domb.

  2. After the Berlin Wall fell, Philadelphia native and Hardball host Chris Matthews asked dozens of East Berliners one question: What is freedom?

What we’re reading

  1. A new kind of housing is coming to South Philadelphia. WHYY explains the increasingly popular strategy for maintaining the homes’ affordability.

  2. Because she was black, classical singer Marian Anderson gained international acclaim long before she was recognized for her work in her hometown. Billy Penn goes inside Anderson’s South Philly home, where she carved out her own space in the midst of the Jim Crow era.

  3. The San Francisco Chronicle dives deep into this tale of a fisherman, a flash of gold, and a tireless quest for a fortune just out of reach.

Your Daily Dose of | Floof

What’s better than a very good boy? Try 2,080 very, very good boys and girls waiting to be pet during the public meet-and-greet portion of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s National Dog Show this weekend.