How Riley Cote Healed His Brain

After eight years of getting his brains bashed in, an NHL enforcer emerges as a psychedelic warrior. Rolling Stone, June 22, 2022.

Can Philly Count?

Is Philly deliberately under counting people suffering from homelessness? Billy Penn, May 23, 2022.

Stealing Money From Orphans

Philadelphia has been intercepting money due to kids in foster care and diverting the cash to its general fund. Philadelphia Inquirer, December 15, 2021.

The Fight to Keep Families Together (Part I) and Are Families Heard? (Part II)

The child welfare system is supposed to protect kids, so why is it tearing families apart? Next City, November 15, 2021.

The Enemy Within

Race and white supremacy in American policing. Rolling Stone, May 2021.

Black Families Should Matter (Part I) and Race Bias, Corrected? (Part II)

The foster care system is harsher and more destructive toward black families than white. Can racial bias be reduced or eliminated? Next City, April 2021.

Parent’s Helper

For families involved in Philly’s child welfare system, this program is building a safety net. Kensington Voice, November 2020.

Prosperity’s End

Acme, Philadelphia’s iconic grocery chain, has spent decades slowly dying—and now stands as a (still) living remnant of a fading America. Philadelphia Magazine, June 2019.

The FOP Runs the PD

Police Union President John McNesby’s political base is small, but his power is huge. Is this any way to run a police department? Philadelphia Magazine, February, 2019

“We’d Like to Get to the Truth”

In a new interview, Philly’s DA says that his office hasn’t “rendered a judgment” on whether retired narcotics officer Reggie Graham is actually guilty of corruption allegations that were cited in rapper Meek Mill’s bid for a new trial. Philadelphia Magazine, December 20, 2018 (Note: This is not a full feature, but an important follow up to the “Free Meek Mill” story.)

Larry Krasner’s Radical Path

Philadelphia’s new DA is spearheading a national movement to reform the criminal justice system. Newsweek, October 31, 2018

Free Meek Mill

Yes, the justice system is screwing Meek Mill. But is it also screwing the cop who arrested him? Philadelphia, July 2018

The Trials of a Celebrity Chef

Iron Chef Jose Garces turned himself into one of America’s culinary superstars. Then the hits stopped coming. Philadelphia, May 2018

The Rescuers

Texas police have rescued 341 children after anti-trafficking training. They hope their methods go nationwide. Washington Post, March 2018.

Down the Quantum Rabbit Hole

Fellow Scientists Labeled Him a Crackpot. Now Stuart Hameroff’s quantum consciousness theories are getting support from unlikely places. Discover, February 2018.

Vince Fumo Would Like to be Vince Fumo Again

Free from jail, former state Senator Vince Fumo wants redemption—on his terms. Philadelphia Magazine, December 2017.

 Did This Game Theory Expert Plot the Perfect Murder?

Ten years after he bludgeoned his wife to death, world-renowned game theorist Rafael Robb’s “crime of passion” looks more like the act of a methodical, calculating mind. Philadelphia Magazine, July 2017

Soldier’s Heart

He helped build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial but does anyone remember Jack Wheeler’s unsolved murder anymore? Washington Post, May 2017

The Science Problem

The science of saving America’s bees gets crushed by political concerns—and the bees continue to die. Discover, March 2017

Do They Still Make Republicans Like Tom Ridge?

More important: Do they still make Democracies like America? Philadelphia Magazine, March 2017

The Invisible Man

Luis Cortés has spent the past 30 years breakfasting with American presidents and forging a nonprofit empire. So why haven’t you heard of him? Philadelphia Magazine, November 2016

Growing up, Poor

Mattie McQueen is desperately poor. So were her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. Is there a way out? Philadelphia Magazine, September 2016

The Fight Back Home

Serving in Afghanistan led this soldier to his next mission: Building a “War on Terror” memorial in D.C.  Washington Post, August 2016

“This Was No Accident”

Seven people dead. Fourteen injured. Families crying for justice. Thanks to a broken city agency, it could all happen again. Philadelphia Magazine, June 2016

The Whistleblower

Was a USDA scientist muzzled because of his bee research? Washington Post, March 2016

Racial Profiling on the Main Line

The Main Line has long been the picture of suburban utopia. But as many of its African-American residents are making clear, for them it’s no utopia at all. Philadelphia Magazine, November 2015

The Curious Case of Nicky Isen

Everyone from the Main Line to Center City knew Nathan “Nicky” Isen was one of Philadelphia’s most prominent gallery owners. But what was he really selling? Philadelphia Magazine, August 2015

 Engineering New Organs Using Our Own Living Cells

Inspired by the regenerative abilities of an amphibian, Anthony Atala is driven to save lives by rebuilding organs. Discover, March 2015

Perfect Stranger

The beard. The Jeep. How much more is there to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf?  Philadelphia Magazine, September 2014

The Suicides at Penn

University of Pennsylvania freshman Madison Holleran took her life in January, and word of three more student suicides shook Locust Walk. What is driving our best and brightest to such desperation? And can Penn — or anyone — keep overachieving kids from pushing themselves too far? Philadelphia Magazine, May 2014

Without a Trace

In February 2005, Danielle Imbo and Richard Petrone walked out of a South Street bar and disappeared. No bloodstains. No evidence. No clues. As the trail grows colder, the question grows larger: What really happened that night? Philadelphia Magazine, April 2014

Rewiring the Brain to Treat OCD

A groundbreaking therapy, relying on mindfulness meditation to treat obsessive compulsive disorder, demonstrates even adult brains have neuroplasticity. Discover, November 2013

Gosnell’s Babies

From the time of his arrest three years ago, the charges against Kermit Gosnell were almost too grisly to digest. But was he a madman, or something else? Philadelphia Magazine, September 2013

Get Some Sleep

Training the kids to sleep is excruciating—and necessary. Be Well, April 2013.

George Norcross: The Man Who Destroyed Democracy

Underlings fear his wrath. Governors kowtow to his enormous political power. He might even have been prosecuted a decade ago if not for a bungled criminal investigation. But does all that make George a bad guy? Philadelphia Magazine, March 2013

The New Dad: Me

How twins rocked my world. Be Well, January 2013

Shut Up, Already

Do not tell me—or any other new parent—I will “never sleep again.” Be Well, November 2012

The Brothers Who Busted Philly Unions. For Good.

Brutish threats, expletive-heavy protests, vandalism—for years, Philly unions bully tactics, till two young developers leveraged modern technology against old school thuggery—and won.  Philadelphia Magazine, October 2012

Welcome to the City of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

As a result of our gun crisis, tens of thousands of Philadelphians might be suffering the same psychological trauma as people in Afghanistan and Rwanda. In a world like that, do two young boys stand a chance? Philadelphia Magazine, August 2012

Deconstructing Bart Blatstein

Understanding Bart Blatstein’s impact on Philadelphia is easy: He’s the most creative developer this city has seen in a generation. Understanding the man himself? That’s a whole different story. Philadelphia Magazine, June 2012

Haunted Dreams

The crew at Radiolab produced this terrific audio-play, utilizing a story from my book Fringe-ology. June, 2012

Man On Fire

Jack Slivinski Jr.’s mysterious death is only the beginning of the saga, revealing decades of racial tension inside the Philadelphia Fire Department. Philadelphia Magazine, March, 2012

The Disney Dream

For years, this Philly polo program for disadvantaged kids has been portrayed as a feel-good story, but the reality is far more raw. Philadelphia Magazine, January 2012

A Man’s Guide to Miscarriage

How to help your wife and get over the loss of an unborn child. Be Well, January 2012.

The Paper

Former staff writer steve volk reflects on the paper he loved. Philadelphia Weekly, May 2011

The Gayest Feud Ever

Through three decades of activism, Mark Segal and Malcolm Lazin turned Philadelphia into one of the most gay-friendly cities in America. But their long-simmering feud threatens the legacy they fought to build. Philadelphia Magazine, September 2011

The New Mob

It’s been at least six years since anyone has been killed by the Philadelphia Mafia. Is it the passing of a way of life, or an eerie calm before an approaching storm? Our writer sips wine with the current Godfather to find out. Philadelphia Magazine, July 2009.

What Will Happen to Harold?

He lives in one of the worst sections of Philadelphia. His father is in prison. He’s washed out of two schools. He has ADHD. He’s been caught stealing. He gets into fights. Child advocates say this is a crucial time to turn his life around, before it’s too late. He’s 11 years old. Philadelphia Magazine, February, 2009

Saving America’s 911 System

The nationwide crisis in emergency medicine. Men’s Health, January 2009.

The Legacy

Jim Beasley Sr., a legendary, boot-stomping Philadelphia Lawyer, left his firm in the hands of his ne’er-do-well son. But now Beasley Jr.’s quiet approach is not only winning big cases, but signaling a new era in the city’s courtrooms. Philadelphia Magazine, September 2008.

 The Godfather’s Daughter

As the child of South Philadelphia’s legendary crime boss, Jean Bruno was afforded all the luxuries of a mob princess: fancy clothes, lavish ­parties, ritzy vacations — until the day her dad’s head got blown off.  Philadelphia Magazine, June 2008.

 Green Genes

They are the first family of Philly politics, having given us a dominant party boss (Bill Jr.), an enigmatic mayor (Bill III), and now a feisty new Council member (Bill IV). But in the Green family, the real drama has always been between fathers and sons. Philadelphia Magazine, April 2008.

Top 10 Drug Corners

The narcotics trade has taken over much of Philly. Unfortunately, the 10 spots here represent only a fraction of the action. Philadelphia Weekly, May 2007.

The Cop and the Criminal

Police don’t become friends with the men they arrest. But that’s exactly what happened to Reggie Graham and Cory Long.  Philadelphia Weekly, January 2007.

Paper Man

Legendary former Daily News columnist Pete Dexter has a new book out. His legacy will surely precede his upcoming visit to Philly. Philadelphia Weekly, March 2007

The Fight Game

Mixed martial arts has hit the mainstream. Steve Volk gets his ass kicked investigating the sport’s burgeoning popularity. Philadelphia Weekly, June 2007

Up In The Old Hotel

People think they know what the Parker Spruce Hotel holds, but a night in a room there provides a clearer view. Philadelphia Weekly, October 2006

The Lou Gentile Experience

Philly’s homegrown “demonologist” sparked a British author’s paranormal awakening, and claims he can prove the paranormal is real. Philadelphia Weekly, September 2006

 Third and Indiana

One of Philadelphia’s most notortious drug spots remains open for business. Philadelphia Weekly, May 2006

Change of Heart

After living 57 years as a macho man, veteran Philadelphia police officer Maria Gonzalez will retire as a middle-aged woman. Philadelphia Weekly, March 2006

Shoot to Ill

Shawn Banks dealt drugs in North Philly for five years. Now he’s hawking a graphic documentary he made to keep others from repeating his mistakes. Philadelphia Weekly, January 2006

Who Killed Mecca Harris?

Two years later city cops are releasing new information to help solve the murder of a little girl. Philadelphia Weekly, December 2005

The Objective Case

A collection of first-person journalism lets reporters in on the action. Philadelphia Weekly, November 2005

The Beats Go On

Between murders, arrests and endless mob comparisons, Philly is awash in talk of a drug war. Philadelphia Weekly, October 2005.

I Lost Everything That Proved I Existed

A gay man hopes the story of his crystal meth addiction will help save those still in the closet about their own drug problems. Philadelphia Weekly, February 2005

Poetry in Motion

Mambo Movers feeds Philly artists on hard work and magic. Philadelphia Weekly, August 2005

How Does He Sleep ?

Fred Perri puts some of Philadelphia’s most notorious criminals back on the streets–and manages to keep on smiling. Philadelphia Weekly, December 2004

Where’s the Spot?

Residents near 20th and Kimball streets haven’t quite wrested control of their block from drug dealers. Philadelphia Weekly, November 2004

“I Got Weed, Powder and Rock”

Thirteenth Street—still a good spot to cop. Philadelphia Weekly, September 2004

Can’t Buy Me Love

Why can’t Lyle Goodman, a New York kind of guy who hates this friggin’ town, put his signature on 13th Street? Philadelphia Weekly, July 2004

 Shooting Pains

What goes up on New Year’s Eve must come down. One fateful night five years ago, an 11-year-old boy caught a bullet in the brain. Philadelphia Weekly, December 2003

 Want Weed With That?

Drug dealing is epidemic around many of the city’s Chinese takeouts. Philadelphia Weekly, March 2003

Straight Out Of North Philly

Stop selling drugs and start selling T-shirts? How crazy is that? Philadelphia Weekly, July 2003.

Beanie’s World Crashes Down

Last week we chronicled rapper Beanie Sigel’s many problems with the law. This week he’s in the jackpot again- and cops say he’s still in the drug game. Philadelphia Weekly, July 2003

David Bowie’s Young Americans

David Bowie recorded his Philly pop-soul classic nearly 30 years ago. The “Sigma Kids” were with him then, and they’ll be with him again next week when he comes to town. Philadelphia Weekly, July 2002