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LaBan’s Ultimate Dining Guide is here, Pa. Senate misses vote on clergy abuse bill | Morning Newsletter

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Wellfleet oysters on the half shell are pictured at Oyster House in Center City Philadelphia on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
Wellfleet oysters on the half shell are pictured at Oyster House in Center City Philadelphia on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. TIM TAI / Staff PhotographerRead moreTim Tai / Staff Photographer

We hope you're hungry. Food critic Craig LaBan has hundreds of local dining recommendations in his latest guide. Good luck deciding where to start. One thing that is clear is Philly's sanctuary status. What's been unclear at times is who's on board. The division between Mayor Kenney and the Trump administration is obvious. But even in Philly, not everyone agrees — leading to a confusing life in this sanctuary city. Out in Harrisburg, lawmakers considered an emotionally charged bill that would give older clergy abuse victims an avenue to sue. But yesterday's voting window came and went.

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— Ray Boyd (@RayBoydDigital,

My apologies if you haven't eaten today. This might make your stomach rumble just a bit.

Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan explored the Philadelphia region to deliver his latest Ultimate Dining Guide — complete with more than 200 restaurant recommendations for Philly and the suburbs.

This year is all about "The Classics." LaBan also shares his Top 25 restaurants and points out the region's next wave of top eateries. Hungry yet?

As far as sanctuary cities go, Philly is one of the largest thorns in the Trump administration’s side. The city won a federal lawsuit this year, shielding it from being punished for not cooperating with ICE.

An Inquirer and ProPublica investigation shows that not everyone in Philadelphia's law enforcement ranks sees this issue the way the mayor does. Life in a sanctuary city like Philly is very complex.

The Trump administration views Philly and cities like it as safe havens for "criminals." Mayor Jim Kenney says the administration's main concern is not public safety — but is instead about pandering for anti-immigrant voters.

Got a news tip about ICE enforcement? Email us at

Pennsylvania lawmakers considered a bill aimed at helping older victims of clergy abuse gain the right to sue. Wednesday, the last voting day of the legislative season, came and went without a vote.

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson) said he tried to gather support for a plan he believed would help victims, but the votes weren't there. State Attorney General Josh Shapiro said simply that Republican leaders in the Senate "just decided to quit to go home."

The two-year legislative session ends next month. It is unlikely lawmakers will add more voting days as many shift their focus to reelection efforts.

What you need to know today

  1. Officials say Pennsylvania's new prison security measures, while unprecedented, were necessary to protect staff from illness due to drug exposure. The Department of Corrections points to a drastic decrease in the number of synthetic cannabinoids that have come into prisons in recent months. But the policies placed on books, mail and family visitation have drawn scrutiny and lawsuits.

  2. Notorious Philly mob boss "Skinny Joey" Merlino is headed back to prison after pleading guilty to a gambling-related charge. He will spend two years behind bars after already serving time for racketeering, conspiracy, assault and related offenses.

  3. My colleague Valerie Russ penned a deeply personal piece about her hometown, Panama City, Fla., and the devastation from Hurricane Michael. The town she once knew is now lost.

  4. Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, causes infertility and other health issues in women, but even some doctors haven't heard of it. Local women and thousands more across the country are fighting to raise awareness about this mysterious disease.

  5. Wildfires, hurricanes, and President Trump's new trade deal could cause lumber prices to skyrocket like they did earlier this year. Why does that matter? If you're in the market for a new home, it matters a lot.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

For better or worse, Gritty is literally everywhere. Thanks for sharing @nickjmalf.

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. We're lucky the Flyers gave us Gritty when they did because there's still time to make a Halloween costume. Reporter Bethany Ao explains how you can transform into the lovable orange mascot on October 31.

  2. There will be plenty of costumes at the Armored Combat League's "New World Cup V" this weekend in South Jersey. If you're looking for some realistic knight fighting action, you might want to stop by.

  3. A new bar is rolling the dice in Spring Garden … literally. Thirsty Dice is Philly's first board-game cafe. You can pull up a chair, grab a drink, and select your game when it opens Friday.

  4. Speaking of grabbing a drink, my colleague Grace Dickinson recommends some autumn-inspired local beers to look out for this season. That's right pumpkin fanatics — there's plenty of beers for you.

  5. If coffee is more your thing, you can swing by Vernick Coffee Bar opening today inside Philly's new Comcast Technology Center. It's a coffee bar, all right, but the name doesn't quite do it justice.

  6. The new Olga's Diner in Marlton will have the same name, but it won't pass as the iconic Olga's that once stood nearby. That's because the owners plan to introduce some modern twists.


"This is an age where police accountability has become more important — and more expected from civilians. The focus and the need for scrutiny and oversight are usually on local police, and Philadelphia is not alone in big cities that have a long way to go. It's time that the state police were part of that larger conversation." — The Inquirer Editorial Board writes that Pennsylvania State Police should not police themselves.
  1. The #MeToo movement has taught us that there is power in survivors sharing their story, writes columnist Jenice Armstrong. But she hopes we hear domestic violence victims as well.

  2. The fate of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi reminds columnist Trudy Rubin of other courageous journalists who lost their lives. She discovered one of their stories on a recent vacation in Kashmir.

What we’re reading

  1. Paul Allen, Microsoft's co-founder, died earlier this week. Bill Gates, writing for The Atlantic, shares the things he loved about his first business partner and oldest friend.

  2. New Jersey's most rocking shore town has a tumultuous past. The New York Times offers a deep dive into the history of Asbury Park's the Stone Pony — the legendary rock club Bruce Springsteen called home.

  3. Looking for the bright side these days? Here's a few. Vox has 23 charts and maps that show despite these bleak times, the world might actually be getting better.

  4. Billy Penn highlights The Philly Tarot Card Project. Its creator wants to raise funds to produce a deck with iconic Philly symbols, like Gritty as The Devil … how could you not see that coming?

  5. Skaters want to add some upgrades to FDR Park, but how will they pay for them? As PlanPhilly explains, they hope the answer lies in the potholes nearby.

Your Daily Dose of | Legacy

H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest’s philanthropy forever changed Philadelphia. On Wednesday, friends, colleagues, and loved ones came together to honor his life and remember his legacy.