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Weekend marked by violence across Philly, Eagles are historic underdogs vs. Saints | Morning Newsletter

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Damon Hunter (left) with his brother, Derek Hill, who police say was murdered in West Oak Lane by a group armed with hammers and knives.
Damon Hunter (left) with his brother, Derek Hill, who police say was murdered in West Oak Lane by a group armed with hammers and knives.Read moreDamon Hunter

    The Morning Newsletter

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Counter-protestors greatly outnumbered rally attendees at Saturday's "We the People" rally of self-described conservatives on Independence Mall. Four people were arrested, and though online hype raised concern that the event would attract violence-prone hate groups, calm —and Gritty—mostly prevailed at the event. In other parts of Philly, the day was much more violent. In separate shootings and an attack, three people were killed Saturday morning, including a 20-year-old man who police say was beaten with hammers and knives. This morning, we also spoke with reporter Tricia Nadolny about her coverage of the fall of George Hopkins, the former leader of the famed Allentown Cadets drum corps, following sexual assault allegations.

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Ray Boyd, Oona Goodin-Smith (

The week ahead

  1. Former Saint Malcolm Jenkins and the Eagles take on New Orleans today and, while many say the odds are not in the Birds' favor, a few sports media figures still think the underdogs can pull off an upset.

  2. Break out the elastic waistband: Thanksgiving is this Thursday. Whether you're serving up a French country feast, barbecuing, or giving thanks for someone else's cooking, we've got tips to make it a delicious day.

  3. Philly's Christmas Village officially opens for the season in LOVE Park Thursday, featuring more than 80 international and local merchants. At neighboring Dilworth Park, the Made in Philadelphia market is also open through the new year.

  4. Don't forget, Black Friday is also on its way. Follow business reporter Ellie Silverman for updates as we get closer to the big shopping holiday.

  5. Looking for something to talk about around the Thanksgiving table? Try Creed II starring Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson, in theaters now it, perhaps controversially for fans, sees the characters leaving Philly for L.A.

This week’s most popular stories

Behind the story with Tricia Nadolny

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. In April, reporter Tricia Nadolny reported on sexual assault allegations made against George Hopkins, the renowned former director of the famed Cadets drum corps in Allentown. This week, Hopkins was charged with sexually assaulting two former employees. Nadolny discusses her reporting and the future of the Cadets.

For people who aren't familiar, what are the Cadets and what was the scope of George Hopkins' role in the organization?

The Cadets are a renowned drum and bugle corps based in Allentown. The members range in age from 16 to 22 and spend their summers traveling the country performing shows that combine marching band, color guard and theatrics. The Cadets compete against other corps and have won 10 national championships. George Hopkins was the executive director for 35 years and seen as a visionary in the activity.

You've been reporting on the sexual misconduct allegations against Hopkins for months. How did the allegations first come to your attention?

Simply put, I got a tip. In February, I was contacted be an alumnus of the Cadets who told me there were several women who had accused Hopkins of sexual misconduct. He knew a few of them personally and said they were looking to connect with a reporter. I knew virtually nothing about drum corps at the time, but I was intrigued by my initial conversations with this man. I grew more intrigued as I started connecting with some of the women who had worked with and marched under Hopkins.

Since your first report on these allegations, has the organization done anything to address what happened and to prevent something like this from happening again?

Yes, there have been a lot of changes, both for the Cadets and the activity as a whole. The Cadets' board of directors resigned, and a new one was named, along with a new executive director. Nationally, the activity's sanctioning body, Drum Corps International, passed a new code of conduct and ethics that for the first time requires corps to have policies addressing matters of sexual harassment and misconduct in order to compete. Much to my surprise, the Hopkins story became a watershed moment for drum corps, inspiring many women and men to speak out about their own experiences.

Now that Hopkins has been formally charged with sexual assault, what does this mean for the future of the Cadets?

The Cadets have a new leadership team in place, so his having been charged doesn't have any direct impact on the group. But Hopkins and his former employer haven't completely been able to part ways. Hopkins in August filed a suit in federal court seeking more than $650,000 in back pay and severance. Just this week, the nonprofit filed its own counterclaim, seeking more than $1.5 million from Hopkins, the amount it said it lost in revenue and incurred in new expenses because of the fallout from his scandal.

Contact Tricia Nadolny at or on Twitter @TriciaNadolny.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

Those glasses are pretty fly, @jbarmash. Let's go birds 🦅

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!

#CuriousPhilly: Have a question about your community? Ask us!

Have you submitted a question to Curious Philly yet? Try us. We're listening to our readers and doing our best to find answers to the things you're curious about.

Our readers' latest question: Why can't the Eagles wear their kelly green throwback jerseys when teams like the Rams and Giants can get away with it?
The answer:  It all comes down to concussions and player safety.

What we’re…

  1. Eating: Crispy, crackly flash-fried beef tendons at Sarvida in Fishtown. Restaurant critic Craig LaBan calls them "highly underrated."

  2. Drinking: Apple cider, but elegant, in Downington.

  3. Watching: Heck yes! Cult classic Napoleon Dynamite is playing at the Merriam today, followed by a Q&A with some of the cast. Just bring your own tots.

  4. Listening to: The Beatles' White Album, in honor of its 50th birthday. 

Comment of the week

More cynicism, just what's needed at this point in time. Still, if the same situation were presented to me today I'd kick-in the $25 again so it seems I haven't learned anything. My mother liked to say, at times like this, that 'The milk of human kindness is 99% fat free.'
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Your Daily Dose of | Dough

Temple University pastry chef "Baker Dave" will put his baking skills to the test on the Food Network's Christmas Cookie Challenge this week, crafting a cookie stocking for a $10,000 prize. Now that's some serious dough.