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Long lines for legal weed; Wawa expanding to Alabama; Homebuyer grants on tap | Sunday roundup

Waterfront trail along the Delaware 🏞️

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RECAP: Looking back on the week that was

• Mask mandate flip-flop

After Philly’s mask mandate made national news — garnering Mayor Kenney the Washington Post spotlight — it lasted only four days. What happened? Two things outside the mayor’s direct control. First, SEPTA rushed to end its mandate post-federal rule change (Kenney said he “didn’t expect” that), then the Board of Health overturned its own health department’s decision. The state of things: Masks are still recommended as cases continue to rise, but hospitalizations are staying relatively stable. [Wash Post/WHYY/Inquirer$/Web MD]

• Mistrial sends lawmaker back to work

It wasn’t one holdout or a single point of contention that led to a deadlocked jury and the resulting mistrial in the federal bribery case against South Philly councilmember Kenyatta Johnson. The group was split on multiple issues, according to a juror, including whether there was enough evidence — something the defense had argued from the start. Prosecutors have vowed to retry; meanwhile, Johnson has returned to Council sessions. [Billy Penn/Union-Bulletin/CBS3/WHYY’s PlanPhilly]

• Long lines for legal weed

Hundreds lined up at dispensaries in New Jersey last Thursday to be among the first to legally buy marijuana for recreational use. Several licensed dispensaries are within easy driving distance of Philly — and most will accept out-of-state ID. However, bringing it back across the border is still against federal law, with penalties up to $1,000 or a year behind bars. [CBS News/Billy Penn/NJ.com$/Billy Penn]

• Wawa expanding to Alabama

As Wawa plans 40 new stores in the Florida panhandle, it’s expanding to a seventh state: Alabama. Describing the convenience concept to readers, AL.com offers this summary, “The coffee’s great, the hoagies rule, the food selection in general is fabulous, the stores are clean and super-efficient.” [Fox Business/AL.com]

phillyskyline-lookingsouthwest-april2022
Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital

VISION: Looking forward to the week ahead

• Voting explainers to help election prep

As the May 17 primary election draws close, and mail ballots start to get filled out, look for voter guides coming out this week. Billy Penn will explain each of the Philly ballot questions, and WHYY will have what you need to know on voting rights. May 2 is the deadline to register — or to change your party so you can vote in Pa.’s closed primaries. Stay tuned for more. [Billy Penn/pa.gov]

• Homebuyer grants make a return

If you or someone you know is looking to buy a first home in Philadelphia, and your household income is under $95k, this is the week to gather paperwork and prepare for the early May return of homebuyer assistance grants. The program has $14.5 million to distribute, with awards up to $10,000 — but officials expect the money to go fast. [Inquirer$/Axios/PHDC]

• Recycling survey: spread the word

With Green Philly and Broke in Philly, BP is investigating how often the city trash mixes trash and recycling — and whether it changes according to ZIP code. We’re hoping for 1,000 responses, so if you live in Philadelphia, fill out this survey by April 29 (here it is in Spanish), and share with your neighbors, too. [WHYY’s PlanPhilly/Google Forms]

• Dedication for the Delaware River Trail

Friday is the dedication of the central segment of the Delaware River Trail, which will total 5.5 miles of pedestrian path and bike lane along the waterfront, from Allegheny Avenue in the north to Oregon Avenue in the south. Looking for something more central? The City Hall roller rink is now open for the season. [DRWC/Billy Penn/PhillyVoice]

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