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RECAP: Looking back on the week that was

• Pa. as ‘center of the political universe’

The NY Times last week declared Pennsylvania “center of the political universe.” People here may recall that feeling — we used the phrase back in November 2020 — but things are ramping up again. Biden chose Philly as the backdrop for his major speech about democracy, and will be in PGH today. Meanwhile, Trump campaigned in Wilkes-Barre yesterday. Of course, media attention shouldn’t matter when you’re at the polls; stay tuned for issues-focused coverage in the months ahead. [NYT$/BP 2020/Billy Penn/AP]

• City Council races get underway

On the local side of politics, where all 17 City Council seats are up for grabs next year, things are gearing up. Michael Galvan, a former Kenney staffer who’d be the city’s first elected openly LGBTQ legislator, announced their Council candidacy last week, and yesterday there was another early entrant into the race: Terrill Haigler, the former sanitation worker who rose to fame as Ya Fav Trashman. [Al Día/Billy Penn]

• Ida flooding woes linger for many

The remnants of Hurricane Ida swept across the region one year ago, bringing unprecedented flooding to Philly. Homeowners are still fighting to get back on their feet as they battle insurance agencies, and some businesses are just now reopening. On the anniversary, we collected our photos of the flooded Vine Street Expressway — where a few people went swimming! — and posted Instagram footage showing Manayunk under water. [WHYY/BP 2021/Billy Penn/@billy_penn]

• Made in America takes over the Parkway

If you’ve been anywhere near the Art Museum this weekend, you know this already: Tens of thousands of people have been happily partying on the Ben Franklin Parkway for Made in America. We count half a dozen artists with Philly connections performing at the 10th anniversary edition of Jay Z’s Labor Day weekend music fest — for which the city enacted a much-considered safety plan. [KYW/#MIAfest/Billy Penn X 2]

‘The Healing Power of Music’ by Parris Stancell Credit: Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

VISION: Looking forward to the week ahead

• In advance of Labor Day, Philly unions wield strikes

Unions got their start in Philadelphia: Shoemakers in 1794 get initial cred, and Philly’s 1930s municipal workers union was the first to be formally recognized by a U.S. city. Strikes have been a powerful tool since the beginning, and threat of a work stoppage just gained school service workers a $3 to $5 raise. The Art Museum union, meanwhile, just authorized a strike of its own. [BP 2015/Billy Penn/CBS3/Patch]

• U.S. House hearing on postal service probz

The U.S. Postal Service has had a rough time of late, with delays escalating nationwide. It’s been especially bad in Philly — at one point last year, the on-time delivery rate was reportedly just 62% — and on Wednesday morning, U.S. Rep. Gerald Connolly of Virginia hosts a hearing from Temple to examine possible solutions to the issue. You’ll be able to watch via livestream here. [BP 2019/WHYY/U.S. House x 2]

• A quarter-century of Fringe Festival in Philadelphia

Officially founded in 1997, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival returns this week, with more than 200 shows across the city from Sept. 8 through Oct. 2. There’s dance, music, visual art, comedy, circus acts, and all kinds of installations to choose from, including several where food is a theme. There’s also one that sets up ticketholders on blind dates — stay tuned for our review. [FringeArts/PhillyVoice/Broad Street Review]

• B. PHL Innovation Festival showcases local creatives

A different kind of fest celebrates creativity in a different way this weekend. B. PHL* has been taken over by startup Amplify Philly, and it features talks and workshops with a variety of local names, from Sixers star Tyrese Maxey to Japanese Breakfast vocalist Michelle Zauner to former Comedy Central VP Tara Schuster. Tickets, however, aren’t cheap — a day pass is $100. [Technical.ly/Amplify Philly]