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Missing anti-violence money; ‘The Automat’ recalls past dining glory; Meet school superintendent candidates | Sunday roundup

Museum of Illusions opens in Old City 🔮

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RECAP: Looking back on the week that was

• Closing arguments in Pa. school funding trial

Closing arguments wrapped in the monthslong trial over the giant spending gaps between Pa. school districts — some of the largest in the nation. A moment that stood out to students: when a defense lawyer questioned why someone on the “McDonald’s career track” would need to learn algebra. A decision on whether the funding formula is unconstitutional isn’t expected until summer. [WFMZ/WHYY]

• Trouble getting anti-violence grant money

Philadelphia’s homicide rate last year was 35 per 100k residents, outpacing all other large U.S. cities (the closest is Chicago, at 29; then Houston, 21). The crisis continues, as Philly notched its 100th killing last week. A big part of the city’s anti-violence plan is grants to community orgs, but several recipients say they’re still spending their own money. [Vital City/6ABC/Billy Penn/WHYY]

• New Tubman statue will join few monuments to women

You can count on one hand the number of Philadelphia statues honoring real women in history, but new ones are on the way. A tribute to Marian Anderson is coming to the Avenue of the Arts, and last week the Kenney admin announced it commissioned a permanent version of the Harriett Tubman sculpture now visiting City Hall. [Assoc. for Public Art/South Philly Review/phila.gov/Billy Penn]

• ‘The Automat’ brings dining nostalgia to Philly theaters

Featuring interviews with famous fans like Mel Brooks, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Carl Reiner, and Colin Powell, new documentary “The Automat” is a nostalgia-fueled trip through the rise and fall of former Philly icon Horn & Hardart. Once the largest restaurant chain in the country, the brand ran dining rooms people recall as simultaneously luxurious and equalizing — like nothing else today. The film is now showing throughout the region. [Billy Penn]

VISION: Looking forward to the week ahead

• Gov candidates face filing deadline

Pa. Attorney General Josh Shapiro is uncontested as the 2022 Democratic candidate for Pa. governor, but the Republican field is still crowded, with no clear leader. It’ll likely get slimmed down this week, because March 15 is the deadline to file signature petitions to get on the official primary ballot. [City & State/NBC News/ABC27]

• Sides ramp up for Kenyatta Johnson trial

More than two years after federal officials filed bribery charges against City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson and his wife Dawn Chavous, a political consultant and nonprofit founder, the trial is scheduled to finally begin this month. Johnson, who’s been raising money for his defense, maintains his innocence and has declined to step back from his role as an elected official. [KYW/Billy Penn/Billy Penn/Tribune$]

• Meet the school superintendent candidates

Superintendent William Hite steps down in June after 10 years at the helm of Philly schools. Three finalists for his replacement were announced Friday, all men with no previous ties to Philadelphia. This week they introduce themselves to the public with a series of in-person town halls and smaller meetings livestreamed on Facebook. [Billy Penn/Chalkbeat/Phila SD]

• ‘Museum of Illusions’ opens in Philly

Old City has a new destination as of this weekend: a permanent venue at 4th and Market called the Museum of Illusions. The small space is filled with interactive exhibits made for mind-bending selfies, like pics that show you hanging off a building ledge, or floating in mid-air. Timed tickets are $20 per adult and $15 per kid. [Metro/WHYY/MOI Philly]

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