Mountains in South Philly (Instagram/@sweetandbritephl)

Sky-high water bills continue to shock Philly residents

Ever since the Philadelphia Water Department began a necessary meter upgrade, residents have been complaining about sudden, sky-high bills they weren’t expecting. One woman on autopay saw nearly $4,500 sucked out of her bank account this spring. 

The utility contends it’s a “rare” occurrence and can be appealed, but after two years, why are customers still being blindsided? Meir Rinde investigates.

Philadelphia resident Marita Wagner was shocked when she discovered her autopay settings had allowed nearly $4,500 to be pulled out of her bank account for a single month’s water bill. (Courtesy Marita Wagner)

NYT spotlights Philadelphia art influencer behind Streets Dept

A homegrown star is getting time in the national spotlight. Conrad Benner — who a dozen years ago started the Streets Dept blog — was profiled by the New York Times as part of the paper’s “More Than Likes” series on community-minded social media savants.

Taking a moment between curating artists to complete the new Front Street Walls murals, the Fishtown native chatted with Asha Prihar about life as one of the biggest boosters of Philly’s visual arts scene.

Conrad Benner with Philadelphia artists Ayiana Viviana (left) and Yuliya Semenova (right). (Conrad Benner)

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled

• Federal prosecutors recently interviewed Pa. Secretary of State Al Schmidt, the former Philadelphia City Commissioner, as part of their investigation into efforts to overturn 2020 election results. [BP/CNN]

• The Philly metro area is seeing record-high home sales — but that’s not the case in the city, where median prices dropped 6% last month. [Biz Journal$]

• Heads up, Regional Rail riders: Temporary schedule changes are coming to the Media/Wawa, Wilmington/Newark, and Airport lines starting this weekend, as SEPTA begins the final stages of a multiyear rail upgrade. [KYW/SEPTA]

• In advance of the movie’s Friday wide release, Barbie is taking over. There’s an all-ages skate party on the waterfront, “Ken’s Kiss” frozé in Manayunk, glittery pink beer in Fishtown, and several more themed events and specials. [Riot Nerd Philly/@blondiephilly/@evilgeniusbeer/Philly Mag$]

• Many strange things happen on the streets of Philadelphia, but a camel chomping on sandwich bread is not usually one of them — unless it’s a Monday afternoon in Northern Liberties with a fashion shoot going down. [Billy Penn]

• The German Society’s annual Philly Bierfest is in the running for USA Today’s best beer fest in the country. [USA Today]

• Amid a years-long decline in Philly diner culture, a win: the Melrose Diner is expected to be revived in the ground floor of a five-story apartment building rising at the 15th and Passyunk site. [BP 2022/PhillyVoice]


Nothing on today’s public schedule for Mayor Kenney. In City Hall, the elegant Conversation Hall is now closed to tourists while his administration uses it as a staging area for boxes as they prepare to move out after two terms.


🌇 South Street kicks off a new twice-monthly night market, with food trucks, vendors, and artists setting up along a different stretch of the strip every other week. (5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 19)

🕺🏽 Dance in support of Ukrainian soldiers at this Society Hill Dance Academy fundraiser complete with group class, silent auction, and snacks. Tickets are $30. (7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, July 22) 

🎤 Local poetry zine “Collide” hosts a 1-year anniversary party at Light Box Cafe in Queen Village, with free open mic performances and pay-as-you-go food and drink. (7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 22)