Philadelphia’s annual Flower Show blossomed this weekend at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, so if you’re looking to smell the roses, among other flowers, “Riviera Holiday” awaits you. Plus, after former Vice President Joe Biden’s win in the South Carolina primary yesterday, the 2020 presidential election sets its sights on Super Tuesday. Also, in today’s Q&A, we sit down with Mari Schaefer, who finds uplifting and feel-good stories around the Philly region.

The week ahead

  • This year, the Philadelphia Flower Show is themed “Riviera Holiday,” designed to whisk you away to the south of France. Continuing through Mar. 8, the show invites you to take in fresh scents of lavender, walk beneath ancient olive trees and more. It even has a space for those interested in hemp and cannabis, a first for the show. It should be noted, weekday ticket prices, now at $48, have caused some to grumble.
  • Backers of Philly’s first supervised injection site, SafeHouse, will have to figure out their next move after the nonprofit’s landlord at Constitution Health Plaza cited community concerns and canceled the lease. Some members of City Council are also moving to find a way to keep the site from opening up in Philly.
  • Super Tuesday is this week, and the votes cast in more than a dozen states across the country will help paint a better picture of the front-runner for the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. For Bernie Sanders, it may be the signature opportunity to solidify his position ahead of the pack. But, Joe Biden’s win yesterday could signal a big revival for his campaign.

This week’s most popular stories

Behind the story with Mari Schaefer

Each week we go behind the scenes with one of our reporters or editors to discuss their work and the challenges they face along the way. This week we chat with Mari Schaefer, who writes human interest stories for The UpSide, a vertical dedicated to all the good news happening in the Philly region.

What does a typical day look like for you? How do you find stories?

There really isn’t a typical day when you are a reporter.

Some days I spend making calls and writing stories. On other days I might be out of the office doing the reporting or meeting sources. And, then there are those days I need to switch gears to respond to another story that has taken priority.

There are a number of different ways I find stories. Mostly, I try to listen to what people in my community are talking about to hear what is important and relevant in their lives. I comb through Facebook groups and Twitter for the same reason. Occasionally, a reader will contact me by email with a good story idea. Sometimes friends will suggest a story that I find interesting. Often, editors pass along stories.

What would you say is different about writing for the UpSide over other sections of The Inquirer?

The main difference in writing for the UpSide is that the stories always have a positive spin.

What is one of your favorite stories you’ve written recently and why?

I don’t really have one favorite story.

I did like writing about a local chapter of Days for Girls, the international group that makes sanitary products for women and girls. We hadn’t done that story before, so it was new information for our readers. I did receive a fair amount of feedback from people asking how they could get involved.

I learned a piece of history I wasn’t aware of when I wrote about the members of the Keystone Boys Choir and the connection they made with a survivor of Terezin, the Nazi-run World War II concentration camp, who helped secretly publish a weekly magazine, Vedem.

The story of a young couple who were able to keep to their plan of marriage, family and career even after one suffered a debilitating stroke was also a story I enjoyed reporting.

Fill in the blank: Readers should reach out and contact me if _______.

They have an original story that will resonate throughout the region.

You can stay in touch with Mari by following her on Twitter at @MariSchaefer or by emailing her at

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Comment of the week

Wonderful article David and you painted the picture with class. Most of the fans wanted Fultz to succeed in many ways. Supportive of him even when he was traded. Anyone can write an article as they see it and not much can be done. Nature of the beast.— spalmereagles, on A Bleacher Report story accuses Philadelphia of hating Markelle Fultz, and gets everything about the city wrong.

Your Daily Dose of | The UpSide

Surgeon Robert Parry creates artwork on bandages to cover his small patients' stitches.
Courtesy of Robert Parry
Surgeon Robert Parry creates artwork on bandages to cover his small patients' stitches.

Hospital stays aren’t typically a fun experience for the sick and ailing, but surgeon Robert Parry has been able to give families and children some solace by leaving heartwarming drawings over patients’ surgery marks. “During a time of stress for families, it’s nice to be able to help them smile and laugh,” Parry said.