Having a new home built is a dream come true for many families. Unfortunately, not all dreams end well. Families across our region are finding their homes are rotting from within. Former Philly students are coming forth to share their nightmare, raising new allegations of sexual misconduct against their former high school chess coach. And the Johnny Bobbitt story sounded like something out of a movie. According to prosecutors, the Good Samaritan tale was nothing more than a lie and what started a feel-good story is headed for a bad ending.

A home less than 10 years old shows damage caused by water infiltrating the outer stucco layer and deteriorating the wood structure beneath.
Jon Snyder
A home less than 10 years old shows damage caused by water infiltrating the outer stucco layer and deteriorating the wood structure beneath.

Hundreds of families bought newly built homes in our area during the early 2000s housing boom — only to watch their American dream turn into a nightmare. An Inquirer investigation found that their homes were rotting from within due to extensive water damage — a problem that is hidden from the naked eye.

Shoddy construction work turned valuable assets into liabilities. More than 650 homeowners across 55 zip codes were left with houses that required massive repairs.

In some cases, water was creeping into these homes from day one. Even though some builders knew of the extent of the issues, many homeowners say they were never notified of what was happening inside their walls.

Allegations have painted a picture of decades of sexual misconduct from nationally acclaimed chess coach Stephen Shutt. Former students from Philly's Julia R. Masterman School say Shutt touched them and walked around naked or partially naked in front of them in the late 1980s through the mid-2000s.

The claims add to the list of allegations against Shutt — a list that includes former chess players from Frederick Douglass Elementary School in North Philly. Shutt taught there for two decades before leaving for Masterman in the 1980s.

Schutt denied the accusations brought by the Douglass students and has since referred all questions to his lawyer.

The Pro-Trump rally set for Philadelphia tomorrow has drawn national attention over claims that white supremacists or other hate-related groups might attend. Opponents of the event have called for the National Park Service to revoke its permit and have vowed to hold their own counter-rally.

Organizers have tried to calm worries, saying they plan to hold a peaceful "pro-Constitution rally." Still, Mayor Kenney says police will be on hand and that anyone who causes harm will be "arrested and charged."

Bobby Lawrence, who was scheduled to speak at the rally, said, "we don't want extremism on either side spewing hate and racism and bigotry."

What you need to know today

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

I couldn't agree more, @thejonarons. I'm feeling pretty torn about this mid-November snow.

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That’s Interesting

Opinions

November 16, 2018
Signe Wilkinson
November 16, 2018
"I violated Pennsylvania election law – a ridiculous standard that actually encouraged me to vote twice!
— As you evaluate my transgression, consider that voting for me is sacrosanct.

What we’re reading

  • Twenty years have passed since Bill Clinton became the first president to be impeached in generations. The Atlantic offers a fascinating look at Clinton's impeachment, as told by those who played a role.
  • The sight of big green trash cans in front of every house might make you picture the suburbs. But as Billy Penn reports, it could become a Philly staple very soon.
  • Speaking of getting rid of stuff, digital natives grapple with whether or not to delete old tweets all the time. Wired answers that question and explains the pros and cons of ancient tweets.
  • In the mood for a good mystery? The Cut shares the terrifying tale of a New Jersey family who finally bought their dream house. It quickly became a nightmare when an anonymous letter arrived from someone who was watching them closely.
  • If you need a little fitness motivation this morning, Philly Mag profiles local trainer Leroy Mapp. He leads six fitness classes a day and credits his energy to food from Philly vegan favorite, HipCityVeg.
The one and only Gritty
Philadelphia Flyers
The one and only Gritty

Your Daily Dose of | Culture

Did you think Gritty only got wild-eyed about hockey? It turns out he loves music too and will be spending the holidays with the Philadelphia Orchestra.