Spring tease at Gloria Dei (Instagram/@preserveoldswedes)

How Philly schools are using Penn’s $100 million for abatement

As the Philly School District struggles to deal with asbestos in aging buildings, it’s making use of the University of Pennsylvania’s $100 million pledge.

  • The district has not shared how it’s been using Penn’s funding, which is being donated in 10 annual installments. The lack of transparency has frustrated some parents and teachers. 

Working with the Logan Center, Billy Penn obtained reports for the grant’s first two years, which show funds spent on 209 schools — including a small amount at Building 21, which was just shut down over exposed asbestos.

→ Explore the data

Horace Howard Furness High School in South Philly received $1.1 million in abatement work from the latest installment of the Penn grant. (Nathan Morris for Billy Penn)

Rocco’s, the Home Depot famous sausage shack, is expanding

Philly’s best sausage sandwich might be found at Home Depot. Since its 2006 launch, Rocco’s has spread to all five of the home goods stores in the city.

  • Now the franchise is expanding to Home Depots in the suburbs. Locations in Bucks County South Jersey are already open, per PhillyVoice, with more planned for Montco and Delco, per The Inquirer. 

Back in 2018, Billy Penn looked into the history of this idiosyncratic sandwich shop, and found a blue-collar success story with delicious results.

Rocco’s on Oregon Avenue (Monica Zorrila/Billy Penn)

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled

  • A Pa. Senate committee advanced a bill to ban TikTok from state devices because of alleged security threats to the chamber floor. The move follows a similar vote by a U.S. House committee. [Capital-Star/Engadget]
  • Since Philly’s Driving Equality Law went into effect last March, traffic stops involving Black men dropped 54%. Other offenses not covered under the law, like running stop signs and red lights, saw an increase. [BP 2022/WHYY]
  • If you missed our mayoral forum on gun violence solutions last week (watch here), this recap summarizes some of the angles, including Parker’s “unapologetic” commitment to public safety, Rhynhart’s pledge to cut shootings by half, and Quiñones Sánchez’s neighborhood-centric stance. [Billy Penn/Al Día]
  • Philly has four medical universities, yet 1 in 5 residents don’t have a primary care provider, a med student notes. [Billy Penn]
  • Nick’s Roast Beef on Cottman Avenue closed after 53 years in business. The owner, who is not affiliated with the original in South Philly, is moving all staff to his Woodhaven Road location. [Fox 29/NBC10]
  • Anyone lose a big lizard? ACCT Philly was called to FDR park to help remove a caiman, a 3-foot-long reptile native to South America. Officials think it was someone’s pet that got loose. [6ABC]


Nah, nothing for the mayor today as far as the public is concerned.


🎵 World Cafe Live and PAFA teamed up for a multimedia music, poetry, and art exhibition celebrating African American artists, with multiple shows this month. (8 p.m. Wednesday, March 8)

💘 Punch Buggy Brewing’s next “Pitch A Friend” event — which our reporters tested out — invites singles to show off their pals at the Kensington taproom. (8 p.m. Thursday, March 9)

🪄 Make plans to visit the Museum of Illusions if you want to take advantage of a week of 1-year anniversary specials, like magicians, 20% off tickets, and free goodie bags. (Monday to Friday, March 13-17)