Good morning, Philly. Hope this Friday the 13th brings you good luck (or at least a cheap tattoo). This month marks the one-year anniversary of the grisly Bucks County murders of four young men that gripped the nation and a search that ultimately led to Cosmo DiNardo and his parents' Solebury Township farm. The grief is still fresh for the victims' families, who spoke with reporter Erin McCarthy in a rare interview on how they are grappling with the unthinkable. In other news, Gov. Tom Wolf has announced plans to combat the teacher shortage in Pennsylvania, pumping $2 million into college residency programs in hopes to stem the tide.

(L-R) Four photos of Jimi Patrick, Tom Meo, Dean Finocchiaro, and Mark Sturgis are placed in a kitchen cabinet window in the home of the Patricks, nearing the anniversary of the July 2017 murders of the four young men in Bucks County. DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer
David Swanson
(L-R) Four photos of Jimi Patrick, Tom Meo, Dean Finocchiaro, and Mark Sturgis are placed in a kitchen cabinet window in the home of the Patricks, nearing the anniversary of the July 2017 murders of the four young men in Bucks County. DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer

It's been a year since the grisly murders of four young Bucks County men and ensuing cover-up of the crime on a Solebury Township farm captured the attention of the region and nation.

But for the families of Cosmo DiNardo and Sean Kratz's victims, the pain — the ever-present heartache —  is as real and as raw as it was the day the young men went missing.

In one of their first media interviews, the families of Tom Meo, Jimi Patrick, Mark Sturgis and Dean Finocchiaro sat down with reporter Erin McCarthy to shed light on the lives of the young men who were killed, and to talk about how they have learned to live without them.

Pennsylvania used to license more than 14,000 new teachers annually. Now, it issues certificates to fewer than 5,000. The commonwealth is aiming to do something about that, announcing $2 million in grants toward developing and implementing educator residency programs at various in-state colleges.

And while the teacher shortage and high turnover rate is a national problem, Pennsylvania is looking to stem the local tide, developing the residencies in partnership with a least one high-needs district and including clinical experience and intensive supports.

When Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola was being scouted in college, the prevailing opinion was he'd be a middle-of-the-rotation starter.

Next week, he'll be the Phillies' sole representative at the All-Star Game. What did the scouts get so wrong?

Well they didn't predict his ability to adapt and adjust. And they may have underestimated the evolution of his change-up from a seldom-used pitch into a legitimate weapon.

What you need to know today

  • Philadelphia city officials have asked to meet with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) local leadership within the next week to discuss a data-sharing arrangement known as PARS that's been central to protests over the last several weeks.
  • Trolley-goers be warned: SEPTA will shut down its Center City trolley tunnel starting at 10 p.m. on Friday through Monday, July 23 to complete its annual maintenance blitz.
  • Philly politico Renee Tartiglione was sentenced to nearly seven years in federal prison Thursday for bilking more than $2 million from a publicly funded mental health and substance abuse clinic she ran with her husband.
  • In-state Pennsylvania college students — nearly 90 percent of those enrolled — will pay $224 more per year for a total cost of $7,716 next year, thanks to a 3 percent hike in tuition approved Thursday.
  • The turnout for Build-A-Bear Workshop's national pay-your-age promotion ended up being more than the pricey stuffed animal retailer could bear yesterday, forcing the company to cut off long lines and close some stores for safety concerns.
  • The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has rejected a controversial proposal to reverse the flow of the state's biggest motor fuel pipeline, but it's unlikely this will be the last word on the matter.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

Putting our foot down on the fact that that's one good shot, @kapchur3.

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

  • Those seeking some fresh ink are in luck this Friday 13th, when many tattoo shops are hosting deeply-discounted flash tattoo sales. In Philly, though, it's not easy to find a shop participating in the enduring custom.
  • California has banned its soda tax — does that mean Pennsylvania could be next? New legislation is on the table.
  • When it comes to distracted driving, it turns out that parents are some of the biggest culprits, texting, using social media, going sans seatbelt and driving under the influence of alcohol , a new study finds.
  • Not everyone's on board with Starbucks' push to remove plastic straws from its stores by 2020. For disabled people especially, the initiative sucks, some say.
  • New Jersey hair braiders are declaring victory after lawmakers last week recognized a 17-year push to no longer require African braiders to shell out $18,000 and 1,200 hours in cosmetology school in order to operate a business.
  • A micro scientific discovery of major proportions may help researchers to better understand the birth of the universe and black holes.
  • If you're partaking in an alcohol-free month via "Dry July," that doesn't mean you have to stay home. Some of Philly's best barkeeps are offering booze-less alternatives.
  • The National Park Service says it has launched an investigation after since-removed videos of a woman trapping live sparrows in plastic bags in a park near Philadelphia's Independence Hall surfaced on Instagram.


Signe WIlkinson
Signe Wilkinson
Signe WIlkinson
"It is colleges that are indebted to diverse students, Asian Americans included, not the other way around." — Katherine Fang, Yale University Asian American Cultural Center peer counselor and head of the Asian American political activists' group, on why an affirmative action lawsuit brought against Harvard on the basis of perceived unequal treatment of Asian American students should fail.
  • President Trump missed the mark by not nominating Genece Brinkley — the contentious Philadelphia judge presiding over rapper Meek Mill's court battle — for the Supreme Court, writes columnist Stu Bykofsky.
  • Trump's actions are an ethnic cleansing campaign in attempts to make America less diverse and keep whites in the majority in the U.S., says columnist Will Bunch.

What we’re reading

  • Take a seat, founding fathers: a new tour in the historical district focuses on the female leaders of Philadelphia, Billy Penn reports.
  • Charging drug dealers for opioid overdose deaths is a relatively new and controversial practice, but it brought a sense of justice to one York County family, WHHY says.
  • In the wake of the fatal shooting at The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, journalists from across the country are lining up to aid the newspaper, including 28-year-old Binghui Huang from Allentown. The New Yorker tells her story.
  • Home horticulture gets personal in this story from the Wall Street Journal, where self-proclaimed "plant parents" are taking houseplant ownership to the next level, befriending their fronds and watering them for hours into the night.

Your Daily Dose of  | Pancakes

A Philadelphia program is putting learning on the menu, aiming to teach English alongside cooking to immigrants.

This newsletter has been updated to reflect that the Center City SEPTA trolley will close for maintenance at 10 p.m. on Friday, July 13.