"Convergence," 8th and Manton (Instagram/@billlent)

Heads up: Memorial Day is the first city holiday since the PPA started ticketing for street sweeping, but don’t worry about moving your car if you’re on a Monday block — instead of pushing the schedule forward a day, like with trash pickup, crews will just skip a week.

RECAP: Looking back on the week that was

• Pa. House advances gun reform

For the first time in years, gun legislation last week made it to the Pa. House floor. Of three bills put up for a vote, two were approved:  a “red flag” law allowing police to temporarily seize firearms from people in crisis, which passed 102-99, and a law expanding background checks (109-92). The bill requiring mandatory reporting of lost or stolen guns failed 100-101, with Rep. Burns (D, Cambria) joining Republicans to vote against. None of the legislation is expected to pass the GOP-controlled Pa. Senate.
[WGAL/CBS News/Center Square]

• School plan would create facilities crisis team

The top priority for Philly schools over the next five years: improve student safety by addressing both toxic buildings and elevated violence. Supt. Watlington’s 2023 strategic plan for the district recommends establishing a special team to tackle the facilities crisis. It suggests replacing 150 analog security cams, and making sure all schools have a nurse. It also calls for investing $70M to create new curricula, bringing back a parent ambassador program, and having 10 schools pilot a year-round schedule. The Board of Ed. is expected to vote on the plan next week.

• Renting in Philly costs more than a mortgage 

Median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia jumped 4.7% last month to $1,550, far exceeding the estimated national rise of 0.8%. That contributed to an unusual situation: Philly is one of just four U.S. metro areas right now where, on average, rent is higher than the typical monthly mortgage payment for a $250k house. Where else is that true? Detroit, Cleveland, and Houston
[Zumper/Marketplace/WHYY’s PlanPhilly/Redfin]

• Philadelphia has a ‘French Quarter’? Yep

Philly may be the “Frenchest” city in the U.S. — at least that’s what the folks behind the Michelin Green Guide say — but where is that Francophilia centered? According to a designation that’s been on the books nearly 25 years, in a two-square-block radius just north of Rittenhouse Square. Yes, even street signs proclaim it the French Quarter. But no, nobody actually calls it that.
[Billy Penn x 2]

Crème brûlée at Chez Hansi, new on South Street West. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

VISION: Looking forward to the week ahead

• Ski masks ban enforced on SEPTA

Starting this week, if you’re wearing a ski mask, you won’t be allowed to ride SEPTA. The balaclavas — also known as Sheistys, after Memphis rapper Pooh Sheisty — have apparently been on the ban list for several years, but newly appointed Transit Police Chief Charles Lawson announced the agency will start enforcing it as violence continues to disrupt public transit. Medical or religious head coverings will not be impacted, per SEPTA. 

• So long to Philly’s live butterfly exhibit

The Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion is officially set to be kicked out of its Mayfair building following a rollercoaster of financial difficulties. The science museum’s landlord says it hasn’t made a rent payment in years and owes nearly $1 million in back rent; sheriff’s officers will enforce the eviction on Tuesday. The insectarium made national news for the alleged theft of $40k worth of bugs, covered in the recent docuseries “Bug Out.”

• Philly students compete in Spelling Bee

Two Philadelphia students will participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. this week — Jack Jiang, 13, and Arielle Dahan, 11 — who get to rep their city as winners of the WHYY-Billy Penn Regional Bee earlier this year. They might also make an appearance on stage at the Arden Theatre, where the director of the “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” musical is planning to invite them to cameo.
[Scripps/Billy Penn/WHYY]

• A 3-day Roots Picnic

At least 50,000 people are expected to descend on Philadelphia for the annual Roots Picnic. This year it expands from the usual two-day music fest — Diddy is out, and Usher is in — with a Friday night Dave Chappelle comedy show featuring music by The Roots. Tickets are still available for both events. Heads up if you’re traveling near Fairmount Park, some roads will be closed.
[Visit Philly/BP 2022/Instagram/Wells Fargo/Patch]