Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Philly high school football team dedicates season to fallen teammate, Pennsylvania is ready for hemp boom | Morning Newsletter

All the local news you need to know to start your day, delivered straight to your email.

Players stack up mats next to the mural of Jahsun Patton inside the Boys Latin weight room.
Players stack up mats next to the mural of Jahsun Patton inside the Boys Latin weight room.Read moreHEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photogra / Heather Khalifa / 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

Happy Boxing Day and Kwanzaa, everyone! Hope you had the opportunity to spend some relaxing time with friends or family. I certainly did, and I’m here to deliver our morning newsletter right to your inbox for the rest of the week. The Boys' Latin of Philadelphia Charter School suffered a devastating loss after a senior was shot and killed in 2017, but the school came together to cope and heal, turning a loss into motivation, and channeling the spirit of their fallen classmate to achieve an improbable win.

Reading this online? Sign up here to get this newsletter delivered to your inbox every morning.

— Tauhid Chappell (@tauhidchappell,

One year after losing Jahsun Patton, a senior with a promising future at Boys' Latin of Philadelphia Charter School, to gun violence, the school’s football team dedicated its season to him. Realizing they have much more than just a football game on the line, the players made sure every tackle, every throw, every word of encouragement and support was in his memory.

Patton’s spirit has made an impact that’s gone well beyond football. His mother, Maxayn Gooden, along with head coach Anthony Pastore, have tried to make sure the teens understand the dangers and impact of gun violence. Gooden even asked an artist to paint a mural of her son to watch over the school’s athletes as they train inside the weight room.

The senior may be physically gone from this world, but his influence and presence haven’t left the school. To Gooden, a pulse of his existence was clearly evident as the team looked for a miracle in its biggest game of the season: the division championship.

Industrial hemp is now legal, and Pennsylvania is ready to capitalize on a new market. The non-psychoactive sister of the marijuana plant is set to take off next year as a cash crop. Pennsylvania is already ahead of the game thanks to its hemp pilot program, which just finished its second year and has generated a lot of research on genetics and soil quality.

With the rush of interest and possibilities, many players are making moves to the field, including Riley Cote, a former enforcer for the Flyers for eight seasons who’s a founder of the Hemp Heals Festival.

The plant can be used for construction, culinary oils, bedding, and feed for animals, dietary supplements, pharmaceuticals, and even car panels. Expect to see hemp-based products flood the markets in the coming years.

Philadelphians seem to have varying attitudes when it comes to the city’s commuter options. While recent U.S. Census data show that investments in infrastructure are paying off in some neighborhoods with an increase in train and bike use, other neighborhoods still rely on cars as the primary mode of transportation, even when bus or train access is available. Interestingly, this continued shift is happening in some of the poorest neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

Nowhere is this trend more evident than in Philly’s Tioga and Nicetown neighborhoods, where the zip code has a median household income of $18,557, but almost half of Tioga’s working people get to their jobs by car, compared to 42 percent who use some form of public transit.

The affordability of most modern cars, especially used vehicles, points to more accessibility to the city. That doesn’t bode well for SEPTA, which reported losing 18 million bus trips between 2016 and 2017 and is trying to figure out a way to get commuters where they need to go in a way that caters to their schedules.

What you need to know today

  1. There’s still no timetable of when the partial government shutdown will end. President Donald Trump said parts of the federal government will stay closed until Democrats agree to help build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. For Philadelphians and visitors alike, the shutdown is affecting certain sections of the city that tourists typically flock to during this time of the year.  

  2. The Sixers rematch against the Celtics inside the Boston Garden came down to the wire, and the drama continued in overtime. Joel Embiid put up an impressive 34 points, but Kyrie Irving also put down 40. For Embiid, that number could have been higher, but he only attempted four shots in the game’s last 17 minutes, and his frustration after the game was evident

  3. It’s the most wonderful time of the year for scammers, and that means expecting an increase in robocalls leading into the new year. There are ways to protect yourself and go on the offensive to stop them.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

Have you had the chance to wander down the beautifully lit Miracle on South 13th Street? If not, it’s great for the 'gram. Thanks, @elisshug, for sharing!

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. A nonprofit in Fishtown that’s existed for 116 years has helped immigrant families get acclimated to their new lives in Philly. Now, it’s figuring out its purpose after the neighborhood has undergone a dramatic change in businesses, and residents.

  2. Before the Eagles’ big win agains the Texans, right tackle Lane Johnson actually slept in the team’s locker room. Talk about dedication by a man who then had to line up and prevent All-Pro defensive lineman J.J. Watt from getting to Nick Foles.

  3. You might’ve missed this, but a Philadelphia TV anchor made a guest appearance on Jeopardy!

  4. A Japanese bar is serving a classic whisky highball with a twist by blending different infused soda water for distinct personalities. My colleague, food critic Craig LaBan, was impressed. 


“The world is threatened enough when political lies are accepted as truths. Our health is threatened when misinformation passes as science or medicine. For our own safety, we need to be able to tell the difference between science and science fiction.”— David A. Asch, executive director of the Center for Health Care Innovation, and Raina Merchant, director of the Center for Digital Health, on how social media is disrupting, and eroding, trust in science.

  1. The Trump administration’s recent proposal to roll back key clean water protections and remove federal pollution controls could bring long-lasting damage to the environment while critical streams that provide clean water to communities could become polluted or even paved over, writes Andrew Johnson of the William Penn Foundation; Carol Collier, a senior adviser for watershed management and policy at Drexel University, and Peter Howell, executive vice president at the Open Space Institute.

  2. It’s hard to take a break from the news, given how bad the world looks right now, but perhaps a breather is in order so everyone can take a respite and find energy to tumble into the chaos that 2019 will certainly bring, writes the Inquirer Editorial Board. 

What we’re reading

  1. NiemanLab’s predictions for Journalism 2019, specifically how newsrooms need to alter the process of basic reporting to include more input from the communities they’re writing for. The goal: to create a stronger partnership between the public and our journalists while elevating the way we tell our stories.

  2. DJ Booth’s 50 best hip-hop and R&B albums ranked, which includes two familiar rappers from Philly: Meek Mill (not surprisingly) and Tierra Whack, who appears high up in the list for her visual and auditory album Whack World.

  3. A revealing account from Vanity Fair’s television critic Sonia Saraiya on what it was like to cover TV shows. It’s not as glamorous as you’d think, especially given the large number of shows to consume.

  4. The Farm Bill has legalized hemp across the country, but what does that really mean? Leafly does a wonderful job breaking down everything you need to know about this industrial commodity that’s certain to show up in a plethora of products soon, especially in Pennsylvania.

  5. With 2019 right around the corner, you might be thinking about the next steps to take in your career. Maybe it’s a new position or a new job. If the latter, Forbes provides some useful tips on what to look out for if you end up packing up and leaving to find greener pastures.

Your Daily Dose of | HOPE

We’re still in awe at the growing legend of Nick Foles. The man has stepped in to inject energy into Philly when the city’s needed it most. Let’s hope the magical run continues next Sunday when the Birds take on Washington.