5 stories to follow: Sept. 25

Here's your daily look at five stories we're following:

1. Genius grants: Several people with ties to the Philadelphia region have been named MacArthur Fellows.The 24 winners of the so-called "genius" grants being announced today will each receive $625,000 no-strings-attached funding over five years. Grant recipients connected to the Philadelphia region are: Jeffrey Brenner, a Camden primary care doctor and advocate; Angela Duckworth, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist; Karen Russell, a novelist who previously lived in Philadelphia and has taught at Bryn Mawr and Rutgers-Camden; and Julie Livingston, a public health historian and anthropologist at Rutgers.

2. Less time at the Shore: A poll being released today shows that many New Jersey residents spent less time at the Shore than usual this summer. Nearly 40 percent of respondents in the Monmouth University-Asbury Park Press survey said they didn't go to the beach as much this summer. Many were deterred by worries that Superstorm Sandy-damaged businesses hadn't reopened.

3. State faulted in boy's death: A scathing new report faults the state Department of Public Welfare in the death of 7-year-old Isear Jeffcoat, who drowned this summer while attending a Philadelphia day care.

4. Donation drive for Philly schools: A monthlong drive to obtain supplies for Philadelphia schools kicks off today. Interstate General Media -- publisher of the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com -- is partnering with civic engagement organization Global Citizen to collect supplies through Oct. 25.

5. Drilling conference, activists: A two-day shale industry conference begins today at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and anti-drilling activists are planning events outside hte venue.