Natalie Hope McDonald


Natalie Hope McDonald is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. You can reach her at and on Twitter @NatalieMcD.

September 11, 2020

Mental Health

From 9/11 to father's fatal plane crash, New Jersey paramedic has learned lessons in coping with tragedy

Scott Coppolo got the call that clear and sunny morning when he arrived to work in Newark. It was an all-hands-on-deck situation at the Jersey City pier just across from Lower Manhattan. Coppolo, then 20, was new to the EMS job in North Jersey. "All you saw was smoke," remembers Coppolo, who heard the first World Trade Center building collapse in a matter of minutes. After that, it was havoc. Injured people covered in dust and debris were being brought in on ferries that usually transported tourists and commuters. "I remember feeling apprehension, but going into a kind of autopilot," he says. "We got inundated with people."

June 15, 2020


Economic questions linger as Philly begins gradual reopening process

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe effect on the Philadelphia economy. The retail, real estate, tourism, hospitality and entertainment industries are all hurting as Philly begins its reopening process. Consumers are saving instead of spending, business experts say.

June 12, 2020


Death of transgender woman ruled a homicide; gruesome slaying shakes community

The body of Dominique "Rem'mie" Fells was pulled from the water near Bartram’s Garden Dock & Community Boathouse earlier this week and on Friday her death was ruled a homicide. Fells, a 27-year-old transgender woman, suffered trauma to her face and head, and her legs were severed mid-thigh, according to Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small. The gruesomeness of the crime has shaken the LGBT community during the usually celebratory Pride Month. Deja Lynn Alvarez, a trans activist who first shared the news of Fells’ death on social media, said, “We need to come together and keep our focus on yet another black trans woman murdered.”

May 6, 2020


Remembering George Ross: Photographer, partner, brother and father

George Ross, a New Jersey native, was 60 years old when he died from COVID-19 last month. He had built a successful career as a commercial photographer and had the creative eye of a fine artist. He saw things differently, a friend said, whether he was shooting interiors for IKEA and House Beautiful or sleek new designs from big names like Bergdorf Goodman and Sakes Fifth Avenue.

March 18, 2020


The best apocalyptic books and movies to check out while observing social distancing

During this unusual time of the coronavirus and COVID-19, you can go one of two ways with your entertainment choices. You can become an escapist, delving into the stuff that transports you out of this reality, or you can face your fears and go deep into the films and books inspired by end times, apocalypses and plagues.

February 11, 2020


LGBTQ productions take center stage during 2020 Philly Theatre Week

The 2020 Philly Theater Week is underway. This year, LGBTQ+ productions account for an important cross section of the event's performances. Among those are Ants on a Log, The Hum’n’bards and the Bearded Ladies Cabaret.

November 12, 2019


New Arcila-Adams Trans Resource Center connects community in 'much needed safe space'

The Arcila-Adams Trans Resource Center officially opened its doors inside the William Way LGBT Center, 1315 Spruce St. in Philadelphia. Designed as a community hub on the fourth floor of the center on Spruce Street, it provides healthcare referrals and job services, as well assistance accessing community services specific to the transgender community. The comfortable new space, a kind of center within a center, is named for two formidable leaders within Philadelphia's trans community.

September 16, 2019


New film chronicles the story of a transgender gamer

For the past two-and-a-half years, Jane M. Wagner filmed more than 100 hours of footage of Narcissa Wright, one of the first-ever out transgender video gamers for the documentary, Break the Game. As a former associate producer on Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Wagner, who lives in Brooklyn, actually stumbled upon Wright’s story by accident about four years ago.

September 13, 2019


Temple professor helps police sharpen the evidence in 30-year-old cold case arrest

Many cold cases are being solved thanks to advances in DNA technology. Earlier this year, the infamous Golden State Killer was arrested after terrorizing California for decades thanks to DNA matched to a genetic database – a first in crime-solving history.

September 5, 2019


16 awesome nature destinations in South Jersey

From the Delaware to the shore, Jersey offers dozens of ways to hike, bike, swim and boat along scenic rivers and barrier islands, not to mention educational adventures into nature preserves and dense wooden forests.

All PhillyVoice contributors