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Reopening roadblocks | Morning Newsletter

And, we’ve got the backstory on Zack Wheeler’s journey to becoming an All-Star.

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

Hello, devoted readers of The Inquirer Morning Newsletter.

First: Many services in Philly still feel as if they’re mired deep in the pandemic as a number of roadblocks to fully reopening remain.

Then: We’re gathering memories of Sept. 11 from readers ahead of the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

And: The Phillies’ Zack Wheeler will pitch in his first All-Star Game tonight. We’re bringing you the whole story on his rapid rise from those who know him best.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_AshleyHoffman,

Many city services still aren’t really reopened. With about three out of five adults fully vaccinated, if our services are any indication, we’re still lagging in the push to put the pandemic behind us.

Those coronavirus safety measures? Officially mostly lifted. City Hall’s doors? Open to the public. But as people no longer have to sustain a restricted lifestyle here, there are still setbacks that could mean city services won’t be up and running to pre-pandemic levels until this autumn.

We’ve traced the slow start to a number of factors. There’s the fact that so many are still working from home. That’s one. It’s meant more trash from homes and fewer people commuting.

Reporters Laura McCrystal and Sean Collins Walsh look at just how far from fully reopening we really are.

Later this year, we’ll mark the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. And our Opinion department is gathering memories and takeaways from that horrific day.

What impact — whether short-term or long-term — did the attacks and their aftermath have on your life, family, and community?

Share your reflections using this form for possible inclusion in an upcoming article.

Reopening resources

  1. Track the latest data on cases in the region.

  2. Instead of asking someone’s vaccination status, do this.

  3. Here’s what experts feel safe doing — and what they don’t.

  4. How to navigate fear about getting the coronavirus even if you’re vaccinated.

  5. Even thriving is different at this stage in the pandemic. Here’s how people are doing it.

What you need to know today

  1. Pennsylvania vaccination doses were overcounted, which means the number of people who have started the vaccination process has dropped by more than half a million, the state says.

  2. Pennsylvania’s top judge called charging Bill Cosby “reprehensible.” Now the prosecutor’s firing back.

  3. When Philly public schools reopen on the last day of August, every building will have a gender-neutral restroom — at least one single stall for transgender and nonbinary students. It’s part of the push to ensure that LGBTQ students can learn in safe, inclusive environments.

  4. The mayor of Mount Laurel Township and a New Jersey Assemblywoman said Monday that they had been threatened by the man accused of harassing his Black neighbors.

  5. A Congressional plan would reconnect neighborhoods like Chinatown, communities of color that have been fractured by highways.

  6. Amid significant recruiting challenges during a movement around criminal justice reform and the role of policing, the Philadelphia Police Department has begun training the first new class of aspiring officers.

  7. Those seeking unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania and their advocates are bracing for the fast-approaching return of work-search requirements.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

We just love the dissonance between a flowery oasis and bustling Passyunk. 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

⚾ Zack Wheeler is having a bit of a moment with the Phillies. His talent is matched only by the matter-of-factness that he looks at his own success with.

🌿 Let there be light when it counts. The Philly start-up GrowFlux wants to make the indoor crop growing industry more efficient by streamlining the artificial lighting process.

📚 Drexel weathered the pandemic better than expected. Now the institution’s president, John Fry, tells us how he’s thinking about his next step.

🐝 A Philly kid helped rediscover a bee that no one had reported seeing in a century, with a little help from a VIP (very important plant) and Twitter. The case of this plant-bee project only gets stranger.


“American democracy cannot function if one party spends its energy on conspiracies instead of governing. It is up to Republicans to get their party back on track,” writes The Inquirer Editorial Board, which operates independently from the newsroom.

  1. Changing voting laws via constitutional amendment subverts checks and balances, argues writer attorney Patrick Beaty.

  2. This is the most valuable lesson of sharing the experience of road trip music, according to writer Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer.

What we're reading

  1. What inferiority complex? Yes Philly is as great as it seems, and no, moving here isn’t “settling.” Philly Mag brings us the case for the Philly lifestyle upgrade from an essayist easily persuading pals in San Francisco, London, and New York.

  2. Scalawag reports on how communities are getting safer without prisons.

  3. This is the meaning of Richard Branson’s historic space flight in Ars Technica.

  4. Vulture puts together a thoroughly enjoyable history of R&B.

Your daily dose of | Determination Inspiration

While we’re talking about doing it for the Olympic glory, decorated paralympian Oksana Masters has risen from the ashes of the Chernobyl nuclear accident to become one of the planet’s most inspirational athletes.

That’s her standing proud in a Germantown Avenue mural on a shuttered crab restaurant’s side, with some high-profile company, namely four of her fellow female Team USA athletes. Just how high a woman’s determination can take her never looked so good.