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Councilmember Johnson bribery trial begins today
The second federal corruption trial of a member of Philadelphia City Council in months begins today, following the conviction of Bobby Henon last fall.
- Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson and his wife, consultant Dawn Chavous, face two counts of wire fraud related to alleged real estate development dealings in South Philadelphia.
Both have maintained their innocence from the start, Jordan Levy reports, but face up to 40 years behind bars and half a million dollars in fines.
Cool new ‘knot’ sculpture rises at Ben Franklin Bridge
A new piece of public art is being installed on the Delaware River waterfront between the Race Street Pier and Cherry Street Pier.
- Called “Weaver’s Knot: Sheet Bend,” the piece comprises two giant loops of steel balls suspended from masts that match the bridge. It’s like one of those perpetual motion desk toys crossed with a Möbius strip.
It won’t be officially complete until April, Streets Dept reports, but it’s already a very striking presence.
RECAP: What else happened?
$ = paywalled
- Along with the spike in shootings and homicides, applications for licenses to carry firearms sextupled in Philly, from 11k in 2020 to over 70k in 2021. [Philly Mag$]
- A new building intended to be the city’s largest life sciences research facility is in planning on Drexel’s campus. It’s a collaboration with Gattuso Development Partners, the firm behind the Comcast Center. [Technical.ly]
- Philly public high schools will start at 9 a.m. next academic year, the district announced. It’s a switch from the 7:30 a.m. start in this year’s bell schedule, which frustrated many parents. [6ABC/Phila SD/Billy Penn]
- RIP Gilbert Hilton, whose Cadillac covered with baubles was famous around Philly. He was 77. [6ABC/Inquirer$]
- Cherry blossom season is starting (next week is targeted as this region’s peak), and the city has several great places to revel in the pink blooms. [Visit Philly]
- Joel Embiid reveals he adopted the nickname “The Process” to spite the NBA and honor the team-building efforts of Sam Hinkie. [CBS Sports/Billy Penn]
- Rowhome Coffee, which opened last year in Fitler Square, has brought its La Colombe roasts and pretzel breakfast sandwiches to a takeout window on Front Street in Fishtown. [Roast Mag/@fishtown]
MAYOR WATCH: Mar. 21, 2022
Mayor Kenney joins PHS at FDR Park to announce details of the 2022 Philadelphia Flower Show, which will be held outdoors again this year (10 a.m.). He then joins Council President Clarke and other officials at City Hall to share details about summer programming and job opportunities available to Philadelphia youth and young adults (12:30 p.m.).
ON THE CALENDAR
🌮 Billy Penn event: Join us for news and history trivia about the city you love! Our monthly Philly Quizzo night is back at Jose Pistola’s in Center City. Free RSVP, happy hour specials, win a $50 gift card if you get the top score. Don’t miss the bonus music trivia round. (6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 23)
📰 Billy Penn partner event: Deputy editor Beatrice Forman helps moderate “Shift the Narrative: A Media Panel on Community-Centered Gun Violence Reporting,” presented by PCGVR, PABJ, Young Chances Foundation, and Philly Truce. (1 to 2 p.m. Friday, April 1)