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U.S. bishops halt plans to vote on reforms, Jefferson offers workers genetic testing | Morning Newsletter

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How are you liking this chilly fall weather, folks? It's a bit rainy this morning, too, so you might need an umbrella for your morning commute. But, before you head out, we've got updates on where Amazon HQ2 has landed (hint: not here); a dispatch from the national conference of Catholic bishops following a summer of scandal; plus a look at an unusual new benefit being offered to Jefferson employees.

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— Aubrey Nagle (@aubsn,

» READ MORE: Vatican orders U.S. bishops to halt plans for vote on sex-abuse reforms 

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops kicked off a three-day gathering Monday morning with a stunning announcement: the Vatican ordered them to hold off on voting on a series of new accountability measures.

The Baltimore conference comes on the heels of a summer that saw the toppling of bishops over sex-abuse related allegations and the Pennsylvania grand jury report which shook the Catholic community.

The event was supposed to include debate over a slate of reforms including new standards for bishops' conduct in handling abuse claims, which a recent Inquirer and Boston Globe report found to be rife with failure.

» READ MORE: Jefferson adds a new employee perk: Free genetic testing

Last month Jefferson (which combines Jefferson Health and Thomas Jefferson University) notified its more than 30,000 workers that they can take advantage of an unusual new benefit: free genetic tests.

The panel of genetic tests flag people at higher risk for certain cancers and heart problems, as well as those who may metabolize medications in unusual ways.

As might be expected considering the popularity of consumer genetic-testing kits, so far employee interest is high.

» READ MORE: New blazes fan fresh fears in California as some return home

Wildfires that have burned down hundreds of homes and prompted hundreds of thousands to evacuate continue to rage in California.

The "Camp Fire" in Northern California became the deadliest wildfire in state history as its death toll rose to 42 Monday evening. There, the town of Paradise has burned to the ground.

Some residents who had fled the fires in Southern California were allowed to return Monday, some to destroyed homes, while others were told to leave as new fires erupted.

Looking to make sense of the midterms? Join the Philadelphia Inquirer and WHYY Wednesday, Nov. 14 to discuss what we learned and what it means with some of our region's best political experts. Get your free tickets at

What you need to know today

  1. It's official: Philadelphia will not be home to Amazon's HQ2. Washington's Northern Virginia suburbs and New York City's Queens borough will split the project.

  2. Pennsylvania's Neighborhood Assistance Program is doubling the tax credits it gives to businesses that donate to community projects in economically distressed areas. The new cap on annual tax credits is now $36 million.

  3. Stan Lee, the comic book icon who brought heroes like Spider-Man, Iron-Man, and Black Panther to life, died Monday at 95. Celebrities and fans have been offering their thanks and memories, including former Eagle Brian Dawkins.

  4. Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam and City Councilman Jeffree Fauntleroy II were involved in an early morning altercation at the Golden Nugget casino in A.C. Sunday. The incident is currently under investigation.

  5. Lydia Gonzalez Sciarrino has stepped down as Mazzoni Center CEO seventh months after her controversial hire as a straight woman leading the Philly LGBT healthcare provider. Mazzoni's COO also resigned.

  6. Despite connecting directly to Philly, the NJ Transit train stop in Cherry Hill is little-used. Now a new master plan is hoping to reposition the hidden gem as a commuter hub.

  7. Last week the NRA tweeted, "Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane." Local doctors have since made it clear gun violence "is our lane."

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

Thanks for this episode of "Overheard at Ralph's," @matthewscottbarber. 😂

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. Bookworms, make a note: the global phenomenon of mini "take a book, leave a book" libraries are now popping up around Philly.

  2. Creed II stars Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson and director Steven Caple Jr. made an appearance at an early screening in South Philly over the weekend. It's OK to be jealous.

  3. The Sixers' trade for Jimmy Butler is officially official. He'll be introduced in a press conference this morning before making his debut with the team Wednesday.

  4. Alexander Hamilton's great-great-great-great-great grandson was in town Monday to unveil family heirlooms he's loaning to the Museum of the American Revolution. His name is Doug.

  5. You think you have odd hobbies? You should see the collection of presidents' hair compiled by a 19th-century Philadelphia lawyer that goes on display tomorrow at the Academy of Natural Sciences.

  6. Radio 106.1 WISX is becoming 106.1 The Breeze and has ousted its on-air staff. During the transition, they're just playing holiday music.


"I'm not a basketball Luddite. The time-out contests with students costumed in giant coffee cups can be amusing. The new video scoreboard offers replays, highlights, and classic Palestra moments. … But at the Palestra, the game and the court should be sacrosanct."
— Howard Gensler, author of Pride of the Palestra and a curator of the Palestra Museum, on Penn’s decision to sell the court’s naming rights.
  1. After learning that private money managers made $3.8 billion from state pension funds, treasurer of Pennsylvania Joe Torsella writes that it's time to stop giving Wall Street a cut.

  2. Young voter turnout surged during the midterm elections and Dickinson College president Margee M. Ensign writes that universities should play an important role in getting students to the polls.

What we’re reading

  1. It's an incredibly disturbing look at vast institutional failures, but The Cut's account of how predatory trainer Larry Nassar managed to deceive so many as he abused young athletes over multiple decades is a story that needs to be read.

  2. The New York Times visited some of the 5,600 American troops deployed to the U.S. southwest border as they wait for a migrant caravan. They found low morale and a mission derided by the Pentagon.

  3. Closer to home, PhillyVoice's story on a new system at the Philadelphia Veterans Administration Medical Center that uses an algorithm to identify and help veterans at high risk of suicide makes for an interesting read.

  4. One look at urban demographer Jonathan Tannen's colorful analysis of voter turnout in Philly and you'll see some neighborhoods have changed faster than others.

  5. Warning: WHYY's look at the Philadelphian roots of root beer might make you thirsty.

Your Daily Dose of | Rambutan

As Philly's immigrant population grows, Produce Junction in Glenside has become a hub for Thai eggplants, cactus pears, rambutan, dragon fruit, and other hard-to-find fruits and veggies.