Good morning, Philadelphia, and welcome to —yeah, it is only Thursday. Hopefully your Fourth was fun-filled or at the very least involved a hot dog and some refuge from the heat. (If it wasn't you're in good company, as for many across the city, it was just another steamy work day.) Thousands (Pitbull included) turned out and turned up yesterday for the seventh and final day of the Wawa Welcome to America festivities on the Ben Franklin Parkway, while others observed Independence Day in protest outside the local U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office. And if you're just getting back home from a holiday away, you might want to check your mattress…and your sheets…and maybe your walls. Philly's got bedbugs, and no good way to deal with them.

Jeremy Evans, Service Manager for Evans Pest Control, inspects a mattress for bedbugs, in Northeast Philadelphia, Wednesday, June 27, 2018. JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer.
Jessica Griffin
Jeremy Evans, Service Manager for Evans Pest Control, inspects a mattress for bedbugs, in Northeast Philadelphia, Wednesday, June 27, 2018. JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer.

All cities have bedbugs, and Philly is certainly no exception.

But when it comes to dealing with the unwelcome bunkmates, Philadelphia is the only city among the nation's 10 most populated municipalities without clear rules or even a way to report complaints.

Attempts to create a policy have gone nowhere because the city has balked at adding bedbug inspections to an already hefty caseload of complaints, and advocates for property owners made it clear they don't want to be on the hook for expensive exterminations.

And when homeowners are left to spend out-of-pocket for the pest control, it's people already dealing with poverty or health issues who pay the most.

America's birthplace rang in her 242nd birthday in style yesterday, with (a generally well-behaved) crowd flooding the Ben Franklin Parkway with red, white and blue as temperatures crept toward triple digits.

The seventh and final day of the Wawa Welcome to America festivities, the Fourth finished with a (literal) bang, featuring fireworks above the art museum and an explosive performance from Mr. Worldwide himself, Cuban-American rapper and singer Pitbull.

Blocks away from a time-honored reading of the Declaration of Independence and the city's annual parade flaunting floats and a fife and drum band, dozens of people spent the day in a drastically different way, camping outside the federal ICE office for a third day in protest of the agency.

Meanwhile, a healthy crowd flocked to the Jersey Shore to beat the heat on Independence Day, decidedly determined not to let the midweek holiday ruin their beach plans.

But not everyone had the day off. While you were chilling on your holiday, these workers were sizzling outside.

He thought the mic was off, but the lawyer defending Philadelphia Judge Genece Brinkley recently told a documentary film crew that he's on the wrong side of justice when it comes to repping the judge presiding over the increasingly contentious decade-long Meek Mill court battle.

If he were the judge in this case, he would have granted Mill a new trial, attorney Charles A. Peruto says on the tape.  "Prosecution and defense agree — goodbye."

"She looks f—ing awful," Peruto can be heard saying.

In June, Brinkley denied the rapper's efforts to overturn his 2007 drug and gun charges. Mill, meanwhile, remains free on bail pending resolution of his appeal.

What you need to know today

  • Philly police clashed with about 75 demonstrators  — arresting 29  — who massed outside the Center City office of U.S. ICE office on Tuesday as part of a national movement demanding that the federal agency be abolished. The protests continued on the Fourth of July, but sans a similar dust-up.
  • A Delaware County man accused of hiding his past as a top lieutenant to a Liberian warlord was convicted Tuesday on federal immigration fraud charges. It was the second historic verdict of its kind in Philadelphia and one that renewed calls for further accountability for the West African nation's war criminals.
  • In New Jersey, 191 of the state's 565 municipalities have fewer than 5,000 residents. Some argue that consolidating the tiny towns will save on money and resources, but others still aren't so sure.
  • When Pennsylvania state legislators fled for summer break last week, they left behind a pile of important bills on hot-button issues. And with the November election coming fast, it's expected most of  the controversial votes won't happen until after fall.
  • The Trump administration has announced plans to encourage colleges to employ race-blind admissions and reverse Obama-era affirmative action policy, but it's still unclear what effect that will have locally.
  • Officials don't know what caused a massive water main break spewing over 14 million gallons into the streets and restaurants of Philly's Center City Tuesday, but they say the heat may have been a factor.

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

America's 242nd went out with a bang, and @blurredpixels_ig was there to capture it.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we'll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!

That’s Interesting

  • Earlier this month, federal authorities say they seized an incoming shipment of 108 fake Super Bowl rings, some designed for the 2018 champs (that's us!).
  • Skip the Popsicles. Food critic Craig LaBan's helping you to elevate your hot weather treat game with the tastiest, iciest desserts in Philadelphia (water ice obviously included).
  • Soldiers coping with mental health trauma are turning to art to express their thoughts and feelings, and researchers say it's working.
  • Americans spend nearly $70 billion on their pets each year. Now, West Laurel Hill Cemetery is betting that some area owners will make one final purchase for their animals — a burial.
  • Before he was "King of the World," boxing legend Muhammed Ali spent eight years training in a remote Schuylkill County log gym, and John Madden's son is on a quest to save it.
  • Phillies pitcher Vince Velasquez has the rare ability to throw with either arm. Does that make him ambidextrous? Scientists say probably not, but they would love to see an MRI of his brain.


Signe Wilkinson cartoon, July 4,2018
Signe Wilkinson / Staff
Signe Wilkinson cartoon, July 4,2018
"And suddenly, the unsettling protests, marches and screeds of recent months looked to me not like evidence of a divided nation but proof of its patriotism. The kind that loves its country enough to expect better of it and say as much." — columnist Ronnie Polaneczky on rediscovering her patriotism in the country's current climate of turmoil.

What we’re reading

  • Initially launched as a method to keep wily tubers at bay, the Famous River Hot Dog Man has flourished over the past three decades, selling food from a barge in the middle of the Delaware River. WHYY dives into his tale.
  • A peer-to-peer summer math mentoring program is taking off in Philly, and its positive outcomes are already adding up, the Philadelphia Citizen reports.
  • As racial tensions reached a fever pitch across the U.S. during the summer of 1967, Myrtis Dightman broke the color barrier in professional rodeo and became one of the best bull riders of all time, leaving a lasting legacy on the sport and world, writes Texas Monthly.
  • Since it flew the Kansas zoo's coop one fateful Independence Day in 2005, a fugitive African flamingo has been surviving – and thriving – in the wild of South Texas. The New York Times tells the story of flamingo No. 492.
  • For many high schoolers in Flint, Michigan, prom is more than a dance – it's a rite of passage, a mark of triumph in the face of growing up in a town plagued by poverty, violence and an ongoing water crisis. National Geographic shows the last prom at a city high school before the longstanding institution closes its doors for good.

Your Daily Dose of  | Patriotism

Whether it's apple pie, the national anthem or dissent, patriotism is in the eye of the American. We asked Philadelphians to tell us about a time they felt pride in their country. Here's what they said.