September 23: Schuylkill gone green | Transfer tax loophole | Holdout houses | Blame the banks

Why is the Schuylkill glowing green? Elana Gordon reports it’s not slime, its duckweed, a small aquatic plant encouraged by this summer’s dry, warm weather.

Most dams and canals along the Schuylkill are long gone, prompting planner and photographer Sandy Sorlien to document what’s left of them. But, not all is lost: Samantha Melamed reports city is planning to reconstruct and preserve Flat Rock Dam in Roxborough, which will make the Manayunk Canal cleaner and navigable for pleasure boating. Sorlien’s photos can be seen in an exhibit at the Water Works through December.

Parking Authority board member and Councilman-At-Large Al Taubenberger defended the PPA’s decision not to fire the agency’s director Vince Fenerty for sexual harassment, calling the unwanted advances against a female director “puppy love.” Why does Vince Fenerty still have a job? A Daily News editorial posits that PPA’s board is a boy’s club and that there’s no single person who can get rid of him.

As the FBI investigation into IBEW Local 98 rolls along, the City is footing the legal bills for Councilman Bobby Henon’s staffers, reports Ryan Briggs. The city’s charter requires it provide legal counsel until a criminal indictment is made, and if a staffer is identified as the subject of an investigation then he or she is entitled to outside counsel.

City Council is trying to close a real-estate transfer tax loophole that enables high-end deals to avoid paying the full amount of that tax at closing. Jacob Adelman has the details.

Emily Badger has a fun look at holdout houses in Washington D.C., part stubbornness, part David to Goliath developers, part mysterious. “I feel like they add a fourth dimension — of time,” said architect Shalom Baranes.

Bloomberg dissects the real estate dynamics for why chain stores have it better than local retailers. “The reason your neighborhood increasingly resembles a hometown mall is because somebody’s banker prefers it that way.”

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