Happy Friday, readers of The Inquirer Morning Newsletter. Here is what’s going on.

First: A Philly man is finally free after three years in jail, two trials, and one vanished witness. He says his story is proof of a flawed system.

Then: Philly is spending $155 million on antiviolence. But a new analysis says most of that money won’t have an immediate impact.

And: Schools everywhere are preparing for a return to in-person learning. A look at how one South Jersey district is preparing to host students again.

— Lauren Aguirre (@laurencaguirre, morningnewsletter@inquirer.com)

Three years. Two trials. No witness. Philly man acquitted of murder says his case shows a flawed system.

Tremell Foster spent three years in jail, going through two trials for the murder of the man he described as his closest friend. Foster was acquitted and released this week. In Foster’s view, the trial showed that many of the same issues that led to overturned murder convictions in recent years still persist now.

“I got to see the worst conditions a prison could ever deliver,” he said. “I been blessed to catch the door before it slammed shut on me.”

Reporter Samantha Melamed profiled his journey and his return home.

Philly is spending $155 million this year on antiviolence. But a new analysis says most of that money won’t have an immediate impact.

Philadelphia is making a big investment in antiviolence strategies, but a new analysis by the city controller says most of the funds won’t have an immediate impact. Just $33 million — or 21% of the total $155 million — would go toward intervention efforts that are most likely to have short-term results within one to three years.

“This increase in funding is a very good step, so I don’t want to overlook that,” Controller Rebecca Rhynhart said. “But as we move forward, we need to fund intervention programs at a higher level.”

Reporter Laura McCrystal breaks down five key takeaways from the controller’s report.

Reopening resources

What you need to know today

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Sometimes we all need a little oasis in the city. Thanks for sharing!

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

❤️ Haitians in Philly are sending aid after a massive earthquake. This is how you can help, too.

🍼 New moms latched on to remote breastfeeding help this past year. Will demand for these services decrease after the pandemic?

💰 Protecting New Jersey’s back bays from climate change-fueled storms could cost $16 billion, a federal report has found.

🌊 At the Jersey Shore, experts are on watch for stranded sea creatures. Here’s a look inside the only organization authorized to rescue these animals in New Jersey.

🥘 A new cookbook celebrates Gullah Geechee community and cuisine.


“In 50 years, what will the COVID-19 pandemic be in the American imagination? Unless we make a conscious decision to memorialize this era, it will be purposefully forgotten, like other pandemics,” writes English teacher Quinn O’Callaghan on why the U.S. should memorialize the COVID-19 pandemic with a holiday.

What we’re reading

  • President Joe Biden is taking aim at states banning mask mandates, like Texas. The Texas Tribune has more.

  • Planning to work remote permanently? Facebook has an app for that. It’s rolling out a virtual reality videoconference app. Learn more with Vox.

Your daily dose of | Stoppy

This is Stoppy, the stop sign that gets “knocked over constantly.” Estimates for how many blows Stoppy has suffered over the last decade range from 50 to 70. But each time, Stoppy reemerges. For some residents of Cheltenham Township, Stoppy is a beacon of resiliency.