Pumpkin spice pizza in New Jersey, venison sandwiches at Pennsylvania Arby's, cream cheese shoes in Philly, and Craig LaBan's Ultimate Dining guide to the suburbs. If you like what you're reading, it's free to sign up to get this newsletter in your inbox every weekday. I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and feedback, so please email me, tweet me @tommyrowan, or reach our social team on Facebook.

— Tommy Rowan

DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer

Mohammed Jabateh is a 51-year-old father of five, and owner of a Philadelphia-based international shipping company.

He is also the first person found guilty of crimes tied to the numerous documented atrocities that occurred during the protracted, multi-faction civil war that ravaged Liberia between 1989 and 1997.

Jabateh, who was accused of hiding his past as a murderous Liberian warlord in order to seek asylum in the United States, was convicted Wednesday on federal immigration fraud charges — a historic verdict that resonated from Philadelphia's sizable community of West African expats to the Liberian capital of Monrovia thousands of miles away, writes Jeremy Roebuck.

The Sixers looked like a team worthy of all the offseason hype before ultimately falling, 120-115, to the Washington Wizards  in the season opener for both Wednesday night at the Capital One Center, writes Keith Pompey. Columnist David Murphy was more emphatic in his evaluation: "It is hardly premature to say that this winter is going to be a fun one in the city of Philadelphia."

It's important to note that the Sixers have plenty of growing to do both individually and as a unit, but as Mike Sielski notes, it won't be hard to watch.

Philadelphia's dining scene attracts much of the attention, but there are exceptional meals to be eaten outside the city.

So Food Critic Craig LaBan scoured the Pennsylvania and Jersey suburbs and produced an Ultimate Dining guide with more than 150 recommendations for the best places to eat and drink. A print version is also available to purchase at philly.com/store.

What you need to know today

  • It's been 40 years since someone walked into a fast-food store near Broad Street and Erie Avenue, and shot the owner in the back of the head. Robert Lark, now 63, was sentenced to death in 1985 for killing Tae Bong Cho, and has been on death row ever since. Here's the rub: Back in 2012, he won a new trial, arguing that the jury selection had been tainted with racial bias. On Wednesday, Philadelphia prosecutors asked a jury to convict him once again, and to again sentence him to death.
  • In the Pennsylvania Capitol on Wednesday, there was a sense that this latest budget plan may be as good as it gets.
  • Comcast Corp. gave the most of a group of about 20 politically influential companies and organizations to host a private room for lawmakers at the 2016 Republican Convention, published reports say. Comcast had no comment.
  • Pennsylvania officials plan to offer Amazon more than $1 billion in tax incentives if the e-commerce giant locates its planned second headquarters campus in the state. As you may recall, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are making separate bids.
  • Jozef Dudek, 2, was crushed by a Malm dresser in his California bedroom in May after being put down for a nap. He is the eighth child known to have died when an unsecured Ikea dresser toppled forward and the first confirmed death since last year's historic recall of 29 million of the company's bureaus.
  • An Ambler man was charged with using phony documents to collect more than $250,000 in FEMA-backed disaster benefits and insurance payments intended for Hurricane Sandy disaster relief.
  • A 39-year-old South Jersey teacher jailed for making upskirt videos must pay $10,000 to each of the six victims who filed a lawsuit against him.

We want to see what our community looks like through your eyes. Show us the park that your family walks through every weekend with the dog, the block party in your neighborhood or the historic stretch you see every morning on your commute to work.

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 to build those followers!

That’s Interesting


Signe Wilkinson/Staff
"A detrimental effect on store owners isn't proof that the beverage tax has been bad for Philadelphia." — Our editorial board wrote in support of the sugary drink tax despite many area businesses reporting a decline in soda sales.

What we’re reading

  • District Attorney Associations have proven to be powerful obstacles to attempted criminal justice reforms in states across the country. [The Nation]
  • One member of the Russian art collective Pussy Riot describes how quickly and easily Vladimir Putin erased some civil liberties in Russia, culminating in the 22-month prison sentence she received for mocking him publicly with her peers. [Business Insider]
  • A beloved family ice cream empire in Maryland hid a plethora of dark secrets that ultimately led to the collapse of the business, leaving one survivor to make sense of it all. [The Washingtonian]
  • A married couple from Leechburg, Pa., is fighting a local ordinance that is threatening to tear them away from Finley, their pet potbellied pig — who neighbors say is actually quite lovely. [Triblive.com]
  • One of the wealthiest families in America derives its riches from sales of one of the biggest sources of the unrelenting opioid epidemic: OxyContin. [Esquire]

A Daily Dose of | Fashion Sense

South Street retailer P’s & Q’s partnered with Clae to to create a sneaker with a Philadelphia Cream Cheese theme. There's just one problem...
South Street retailer P’s & Q’s partnered with Clae to to create a sneaker with a Philadelphia Cream Cheese theme. There's just one problem...

When Philly branding goes wrong: Cream cheese shoes?