Guilty plea in grisly Bucks murders, botched repairs endanger Philly schools | Morning Newsletter

Good morning, Philly. Unfortunately all that rain isn’t over yet; there’s a flood watch in our region and the forecast is wet through Saturday. But while you’re stuck inside, may I recommend opening up the last installment of our Toxic City: Sick Schools series? Our reporters already explored how lead, asbestos and mold are making children sick in Philly classrooms. Now they’ve uncovered how bad repair jobs often made things worse, when something was done at all. It’s another important, though truly devastating, report on the state of our schools. Don’t sleep on it.

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— Aubrey Nagle (@aubsn,

Hazards were known  and repairs botched — over and over in Philly schools

Camera icon JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer.
Lucas Sims in his home, in Philadelphia, April 2, 2018.

One January day in his second-grade class at Loesche Elementary, Lucas Sims fell ill from carbon monoxide poisoning. The culprit? A portable generator construction workers were using while repairing the school’s roof.

As part of the latest installment in our “Toxic City” series, reporters found that the School District of Philadelphia can take months or even years to address reported environmental hazards making kids sick at school. And even when it gets to repairs, its in-house workers and contractors often create more problems with shoddy work.

Catch up on Toxic City: Sick Schools

Cosmo DiNardo pleads guilty, sentenced to life in prison for killing four Bucks men

For weeks last summer, the region was transfixed by the disappearances and, as was later discovered, murders of four young Bucks County men.

When the men’s bodies were found on a Solebury Township farm owned by the parents of Cosmo DiNardo, the case began to unravel. Nearly a year later, DiNardo pleaded guilty to their murders Wednesday and was sentenced to life in prison. He is said to have lured them to the property to sell them marijuana.

DiNardo’s cousin and accused co-conspirator, Sean Kratz, rejected a plea deal and opted instead for a trial.

Why are 1 in 10 Philly inmates still confined ‘in the hole’?

Philadelphia prison officials do not use the term “solitary confinement,” but more than 11 percent of inmates in city jails are currently in segregation. That typically means they spend at least 23 hours a day locked in a cell.

Nationwide, that statistic is just 2.7 percent. The U.N. has called solitary terms longer than 15 days “torture”and many in Philadelphia are sentenced to 15, 30, or even 60 days of segregation.

Experts say it can be particularly harmful for young people. So why have Philly jails increased the practice among juveniles?

What you need to know today

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

Who doesn’t love a nice rainbow? Incredible view, @randypikeheinzel.

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


Camera icon Signe Wilkinson
May 17, 2018

“Aspiring hair braiders must complete 1,200 hours of approved instruction in cosmetology and hairstyling. Not one of those 1,200 hours includes training in hair braiding. — Economics professor Dr. Edward Timmons on why new bills introduced to deregulate hair braiding in New Jersey would benefit entrepreneurs.

What we’re reading

Your Daily Dose of | Grease

This weekend, locals can train for next year’s Super Bowl victory try their hands (and feet) at legally climbing a greased pole during the Italian Market Festival.