The 31st Annual People’s Festival held at Vernon Park last weekend kept true to it’s long running themes of love, health and harmony as participants from all over the city enjoyed a wide array of stage shows, food and retail vendors along with other fun events. Here Germantown residents Rakim Rogers, 19, and Shidika Goode, 17, show off the festival’s message.

Demolition On Collom Street Starts; Residents Still Frustrated


Staff Writer

Workers from Gama Wrecking Company arrived to concerned onlookers Thursday, July 30, when they started taking down 21 East Collom Street, a long-blighted industrial building slated for demolition by Licenses and Inspections.

The building is scheduled for total demolition within the next two weeks, including several days for asbestos removal, but Sheila Brown Morgan, who lives directly across from it, was among the most concerned neighbors when the work got started. She didn’t move her car for the incoming dump truck until she got some answers.

Would her house be safe? How would the workers deal with the asbestos inside the building? And would they actually complete the job?

“They need to make people aware of things,” she said, visibly angry.

According to Brown Morgan, she and other neighbors have long complained of the building’s condition with no results. City inspectors have visited the site countless times over the years, she said, posting official notices as they left, but year after year nothing was done. So even with demolition workers leaning against her porch to talk to her, Brown Morgan was more than a little doubtful of the outcome.

Who could blame her? Her house is one of only two occupied homes in a 5-house section of rowhomes on the low end of the street, two of which do not look much better than 21 East Collom did before it was deemed a collapse risk.

Atop Brown Morgan’s worries that day was if she would have to wait for each of those properties to get as bad as 21 East Collom Street did before something is finally done.

The same question might be applied to the rest of the block. City officials recently toured the unit block of East Collom in connection with the demolition of number 21. They posted and marked several other abandoned homes on the block and at least one of them, number 87, is also slated to be torn down, according to Richard Amos, a staffer in Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller’s office.

Amos himself recently moved to the block and has been doing everything he can to knock back the blight.

“I’ve been trying to fix some of these problems that obviously have been there for a few years,” he said.

To that end, Miller’s office recently held a clean-up in the alleys on Collom, and they are working with the Wister Neighborhood Advisory Council to find solutions, any solutions, for the 8 to 10 problem vacant buildings on that block alone, he said.

But considering the details of some of these homes it’s hard to stay optimistic.

Of the eight obviously abandoned or falling down homes on the block (not including number 21) the city owns five of them, and it has owned at least two of them for more than thirty years, according to the Board of Revision of Taxes. The others are much more recent acquisitions but that doesn’t mean they are better off.

Seventy-year old Sylvia Beckham can tell you about that. She is quick to smile in conversation, but a mound of flattened cardboard boxes resting on her porch Monday, August 3 told a more serious story. She was about to spend her final night on Collom Street before moving in with her daughter in another part of the city.

“It’s a mess around here,” she said.

Her house sits in between three city-owned properties, all acquired this decade and all in abysmal condition. One – number 87, the one supposedly on the demolition list – has a missing side wall that exposes its entire bathroom, kitchen and bedroom to clear view.

“At night in the winter, I can hear the raccoons in the ceiling,” Beckham said of number 87.

And as for the two on her other flank?

“Pipers [crack cocaine smokers] go in there to use,” she said. “Every time they board it up, they kick the door down and go in.”

But if city ownership hasn’t solved the problem of blighted abandoned homes on Collom, private investment hasn’t seemed to either.

The website for Freedom Found Investments, LLC (FFI) talks about creating positive investments from the vacant homes in Philadelphia. It presents the high number of vacant properties in the city as a business asset. But if you stand in front of 41 East Collom Street that FFI owns and watch the sky pass where the roof should be, you get a sense that things haven’t turned out so well.

Residents close to the nearly-destroyed house were bitter and frustrated. According to Eugene Hardy, an elderly party-wall neighbor used to call the city four times a month to complain about 41 East Collom up until his death.

“That was his routine,” Hardy said. “He would call every Tuesday.”

Even Richard Amos, who is eager to see that property torn down, admitted there just wasn’t much the city could do when an owner keeps tax records in the black.

“These are tough cases,” he said a little frustrated. “When somebody’s paying their taxes - how do you remove a blighted property when somebody’s paying their taxes?”

But according to FFI President Cara Cavanaugh, the last thing she wanted when she bought the house two years ago was to add to neighborhood blight.

“What we wanted to do is fix up empty houses and put families back in them,” she said. “We just didn’t work with particularly good people when we made our first try.”

Cavanaugh said that she, her husband, and a minor partner raised $500,000 from small investors, mostly from California, and bought eight run-down properties in Philadelphia, which they planned to rehab and rent out. One of these was 41 East Collom Street.

The company only succeeded in renovating one of these homes, Cavanaugh said, and she too was bitter and close to tears when she talked about why.

Cavanaugh alleged that the company’s minor partner embezzled money while she and her husband were too far away in their home state of California to get a handle on things. On top of that, she charged, local contractors skipped with thousands of dollars in deposits on jobs. As a result, she said, her own family is now in danger of losing its home in bankruptcy filings.

Center Closing Raises Concerns for Seniors


Staff Writer

On Thursday July 30, the Mature Adult Center (MAC) at 324 East High Street became the second Germantown Settlement program forced to close amid questions of its financial management.

The first was Germantown Settlement Charter School, which closed in June following a 2008 decision by the School Reform Commission not to renew the school’s charter. But with a recent set of allegations by former Germantown Settlement Charter School teachers that they were not paid for the July term of their expiring contract, federal and local investigations into Settlement seem to be expanding to include the question of whether the organization misused school funds to support its other pursuits.

“I know that [Germantown Settlement] has a number of businesses in addition to the school, and that there’s an investigation involving the school as well as related businesses,” Philadelphia School District Inspector General Jack Downs said.

Downs confirmed that his own office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are involved in the probes. He did not comment on the Mature Adult Center closing, or indicate that it was a focus in the investigations. However Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) Senior Vice President Holly Lange said of the MAC closing, “The center lost PCA funding because it did not comply with financial management requirements.”

This claim seems to echo School Reform Commission (SRC) allegations in its October 2008 decision not to renew the charter for Germantown Settlement Charter School. In that decision the SRC cited poor academic performance, not meeting teacher qualification benchmarks and it alleged dubious fiscal practices dating back to 2003, some of which had root in Settlement’s multiple and confusing business relationships with its own subsidiaries.

Representatives from Germantown Settlement could not be reached for comment.

Whether or not the MAC’s closing is related to these questions, the impact of the closing on local seniors is beyond question.

“We’re already seeing people coming to Center in the Park,” said CIP Executive Director Lynn Fields Harris. “We’re going to have to serve more people with the same amount of funding that we currently have.”

And while Harris welcomes the new members, city funding for senior centers has been flat for years, she said. So accommodating the new faces will mean trying to squeeze more from private donors and foundation grants.

PCA said it would provide additional meal and transportation funding to Center in the Park and other neighboring senior centers to cover the MAC’s closure, a spokesperson said. But according to the former Director of Aging Services for Germantown Settlement, Dot Newton, that will simply not be enough to serve the population that used MAC.

“We served a different type of senior than your average senior center because we tended to serve your mental health seniors,” she said.

MAC had about 500 members, according to Newton, about ten percent of whom used the facility every day. And many of those everyday members required special programs, she said, either because of an existing condition or because they were in the “frail” stages of older senior life.

As a result, the MAC made sure that special needs programs functioned right along side non-special needs programs so the social environment for frail and special needs seniors was more homelike and not strained. And in old age, according to Newton, you cannot underestimate the importance of good social activity.

For this reason MAC was also a vital place for caregivers, like sons or daughters who work to support their elderly parents.

“They knew they could bring their parents here,” she said. “They knew that this was a safe haven for their loved ones.”

As a result MAC was a crucial component to the local “age in place” infrastructure for senior care, Newton said.

Since Ed Rendell became governor, Pennsylvania has undertaken an effort to “rebalance” senior care from a model that was heavily dependent on nursing homes for delivering personal services to one that provides many more services through community centers like MAC and Center in the Park.

According to Ray Prushnok, the acting deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, Philadelphia has reached the 60 percent mark for providing senior services through community-based centers. Doing this is more economically effective, Prushnok said, and more desirable because it helps seniors stay at home, which most of them want to do anyway.

But with the MAC closing Newton sees a major hit in Germantown’s ability to provide “age in place” care to special needs seniors.

“The concern is, where will the frail elderly in Germantown go?” Newton said.

There is already a deficiency in what she called the “mental health senior center,” according to her. And while she had no doubt her former clients would find acceptance at places like Center in the Park, what she worried most about was simple: would they go?

To special needs seniors, she said, addressing this issue is critical. They simply must engage socially, and a key to that will be making them feel as much at home wherever they go as they were at the Mature Adult Center.

“Venues of socialization for seniors are extremely important,” she said. “And when you don’t have them, you’re just sitting in a place waiting to die.”

News in Brief

Covenant Toastmasters Club will meet Wednesday, August 12, 7 – 8:30 p.m. at Lovett Library, 6945 Germantown Avenue. The club provides a comfortable, nurturing, and instructive environment for participants to develop and improve their public speaking and leadership skills.  Guests are always welcome to drop in and visit our meetings in order to explore what our club has to offer. For information visit

Join Nicetown CDC on August 7 and 8 for its 7th annual Give Back To the Community Festival in Nicetown Park, 4300 Germantown Avenue. 5-time Grammy nominee Jazmine Sullivan will perform with her full band live in concert at 8 p.m., Saturday August 8, in Nicetown Park, 4300 Germantown Avenue. Entertainment will be ongoing from 4-9 p.m. on Friday, August 7. Saturday activities will feature a Walk for Peace at noon and entertainment from 1-9 p.m. from various artists in R&B, gospel, jazz, hip-hop, spoken word and dance. For more information call 215-329-1824 or 215-924-4817.

There will be a grand reopening celebration of the Happy Hollow Soup Kitchen on Friday, August 14, 1-5 p.m. Refreshments will be served. The reopening is a collaboration between Concerned Neighbors of Greater Germantown and Make it Happen Now. The first meals will be served Tuesday, September 1, 1:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. For more information contact Make it Happen Now at 215-842-0533, or Concerned Neighbors of Greater Germantown, Inc., at 215-849-6932.

The Reunion Committee of Germantown High School Class of ‘79 is looking for alumni to attend the Family Barbeque and Picnic on Saturday, August 15, 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. There will be fun activities for all ages. Tennis courts and playground are available. Bring your grill, food and family and enjoy the ambiance. It will be held at Awbury Picnic Area, 6101 Ardleigh Street, between Washington Lane and Haines Street.

For more information, contact one of the committee members: Charlene Mines at 267-257-5488, Sheila Edwards at, Ronald Hodges at, Donita Cohen at, or Judy Johnson at

Slow Down! New Program to Target Speeders on Lincoln Drive


Staff Writer

Deputy Transportation Commissioner Stephen Buckley introduced the new program with supporting words from Deputy Police Commissioner Stephen Johnson (behind Buckley to the left), Police District 14 Captain Winton Singletary (to the right of Buckley) and Richard Simon, a deputy director for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (to the far right).

There was another high speed crash in the residential section of Lincoln Drive on Sunday, August 2. It came only days after a very public roadside announcement by the city’s Streets and Police departments on Thursday, July 30 about stepped up enforcement on Lincoln.

“Speed does kill,” said Deputy Police Commissioner Stephen Johnson last Thursday at the announcement, held at Lincoln Drive and Johnsons Street. “If we can deter people from speeding we obviously will reduce fatal accidents.”

Luckily no one was hurt in the Sunday smash-up when a U-Haul van collided with a Toyota Camry, but it definitely lended weight to Thursday’s launch of the “Drive CarePhilly – Heed the Speed” program on Lincoln.

“If you travel this road you can relate… this is a very dangerous area,” Johnson said.

Heed the Speed aims to cut the number of crashes on Lincoln (reported by police as 118 between April, 2008 to May, 2009) by stepping up police speed enforcement on the street. The Philadelphia Health Management Corporation, Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller’s office and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are also part of the new program.

The major thrust of Heed the Speed comes from a $12,600 grant from NHTSA to cover 300 hours in police overtime targeted specifically to Lincoln Drive speed enforcement from now until September 15.

Officers will monitor speeds more effectively than in the past because squad cars will be equipped with new Speed Tracker vehicle timing devices, which are said to be as accurate as radar but do not fall under the state ban on radar devices for municipal police departments, according to Captain Winton Singletary of the 14th District.

In addition to the goal of reducing speeds on Lincoln, the wider purpose of the pilot program is to design a system of speed reduction that can be replicated throughout the city and beyond, said Stephen Buckley, the city’s deputy transportation commissioner.

To that end, the Streets Department did a study of car speeds on Lincoln in mid July and found that 85 percent of the drivers kept their speed below 40 miles per hour, but that 15 percent of them were above that.

The road is posted at 25 mph.

When the pilot program ends in mid September Streets will make another speed study, Buckley said, and feed that data back into the effort to help inform its next steps.

While no one at the public announcement last Thursday could say just what those next steps might be, Richard Simon, a deputy director for NHTSA, emphasized that a strong enough push for the next month or so could have lasting effects in more ways than one.

“Highly visible enforcement works,” he said. “Until the public knows that the police are out there, highly visible, well publicized … people’s driving won’t change.”

Simon’s ultimate goal with the Lincoln Drive project is to create a method for speed reduction that can eventually be applied to trouble spots throughout the country.

“We call these research and demonstration projects, where we want to learn on a small scale and apply it broadly,” he said.

NHTSA has a track record in these types of projects. The national “Click-it-or-Ticket” program is so widely recognized ten years after its pilot program in South Carolina that it has contributed to an overall seatbelt use-rate of 85 percent and climbing, according to Simon. He hoped the same would be true of Heed the Speed after its debut period in Philadelphia.

But for amateur accident chronicler and co-founder of the Northwest Traffic Claming Committee, Kittura Dior of Mt. Airy, the crash last Sunday was yet another reminder that a new and more lasting approach to managing traffic on the troubled road is needed.

She thinks that approach should include something more permanent than a month of speed tracking. Her preference is what she calls “sleeping policemen” or traffic calming installations that physically alter the road to encourage slower speeds even when no one in a squad car is watching, she said.

These might be things like roundabouts, lane narrowing, or the installations of medians. The key would be to alter the roadway in a way that balances the needs of the drivers with the long term needs of the neighborhood, she said.

So while she’s glad to see the new focus on Lincoln speeding she doubts that a month and a half of hard work will really solve the problem.

“I’m glad that they’re making the effort,” she said. “It’s a very good effort. However it’s a short-term effort and people have very short memories.”

King High Students Learn Agriculture – And Feed the Hungry

Folks dig in to dishes prepared under the supervision of Valerie Ervin of the Geechee Girl Rice Café.


Editorial Staff Intern

Forget that old adage - there is such a thing as a free lunch. And these meals aren’t just the damp, doggy-bagged sandwiches that are often advertised as “complimentary” — think ratatouille, cheese grits, fresh salads and wild Alaskan salmon, made by acclaimed, Philadelphia-based chefs.

The Community Lunch program, masterminded by Foundations Incorporated and the Seeds for Learning program at Martin Luther King High School, and funded by a grant from the Green Tree Community Health Foundation, has been running since early June. Every Monday, tables laden with freshly cooked foods have been set up outside of the high school, and invitees, including groups from homeless shelters and nursing homes, have come to eat, drink and mingle.

“[Martin Luther] King has been on the ‘Persistently Dangerous List’ of Philadelphia schools for a long, long time,’” says Foundations’ Executive Director of School Services, Sherrine Williams. “This is the first year it’s been off of it.” The lunch program is the latest addition to the efforts Foundations, an Education Management Organization, has made to revamp the school over the seven years that it’s been supervising.

If nothing else, this initiative is impressive in its diversity - it’s a soup kitchen, a science project, a business class, a cooking course, a community unifier, a lesson in sustainable living and an elegant, catered party, all rolled into one.

“Students from [Martin Luther] King or from other schools who work with us come to harvest vegetables from the garden,” says Soledad Alfaro, Foundations’ Director of Special Projects. The “garden” she refers to is the farm and greenhouse complex, another Foundations project, which was constructed behind the high school last year. The farm yields over 20 different crops, from kale to carrots to spinach to broccoli, all student-planted.

“Then,” Alfaro explains, “one of the local chefs whom we’ve invited comes.” And Foundations calls on only the best chefs. Invitees have included Valerie Erwin of Geechee Girl Rice Café, David Simms of Eatable Delights Catering, and Peggy Botto of Cosmic Catering. “The kids help to cook the meal that’s planned for the day, using produce from the garden and other ingredients from local markets, and then they present the food.”

The high schoolers who work in the farm are a dedicated bunch, devoting coveted summer free-time to sewing seeds, tending plants, picking vegetables, and cooking and serving meals.

“I learned a lot,” says MLK student Armani Gordon-Key. “And it takes lots of teamwork,” chimes in a classmate, Jared Shearer. Shearer says he’s proud that he contributed to “everything that’s out there on those tables.”

The elderly, the disabled, and the homeless are among those invited to enjoy these community lunches, but so are local business owners, neighborhood leaders, and religious organizations.

“Our program aims to bring people together,” says Foundations Special Projects Coordinator Jaime Lockwood. “Adults from the community, people from outside of it, and all of the students, too. Everyone can sit down to share a meal.”

The idea, Lockwood explains, is not just to provide free food and promote healthy eating. Foundations also hopes that the project will spark useful dialogue among attendees.

“Community leaders,” says Chris Bolden-Newsome, Farm Educator and driving force behind all planting and picking that goes on at MLK High School. “That’s who I’m focused on getting the word out to.” Bolden-Newsome sees the lunch program as a way for leaders to get together and talk about beautifying and securing the neighborhood. “And I’m willing to do anything to get people to come and participate—as grassroots as going around and knocking on doors.”

“It’s been hard, though,” Bolden-Newsome goes on to say. “If you put ‘fresh’ or ‘healthy’ or anything like that in the title, it’s only going to attract a certain group of people in this area. That’s a problem we’ve been facing.”

Even so, the crowds around the tables tables have been growing each week—the first meeting catered to fifteen or so lunch-goers; the most recent event, for which Valerie Erwin of Geechee Girl Rice Café grilled, boiled, baked, roasted and steamed, attracted more than sixty people.

“It was a great opportunity to work with all of the kids, with Foundations, with the community, and with some great, fresh produce,” Erwin says. “You know how some people view shopping for fancy clothes?” the guest chef asks with a laugh. “Well that’s how I get when I’m working with fresh food. It was all very exciting.”

Erwin’s menu included black-eyed pea and shrimp fritters as hors d’oeuvre, a vegetarian ratatouille with stone-ground grits, sautéed greens, a Mesculun Salad for the main course, and mini peach shortcakes for dessert.

“It’s all so delicious,” exclaimed Valerie Keys, who attended the event with children from the Grange Daycare Center. “It’s fresh and different.” Keys says she has been “trying to make choices to eat better,” and that this was a great way to start.

“Props to the chef,” says Foundations intern and college student John Stewart after biting into a hot shrimp fritter. But Foundations CEO Rhonda H. Lauer emphasizes that “props” should go to everyone involved.

“It’s really a dream come true,” says Lauer. “What used to be a field filled with weeds, drugs and trash is now an urban farm; students can come get firsthand experience in the garden, and we’re able to provide these beautiful lunches.”

The Community Lunch program runs every Monday at noon through August 31.

For more information about the Community Lunch Program, please contact Jaime Lockwood at

Learn About Backstage at Stagecrafters’ Volunteer Night

Have you ever thought of what it would be like to be involved in putting a great show together:  designing and running stage lighting, creating costumes, devising and building ingenious sets, developing a publicity campaign, finding or constructing unique props, all that goes into creating a successful theatrical production?  If so, you’ll want to plan a visit to The Stagecrafters, 8130 Germantown Avenue, Wednesday, August 12, when the theater will be holding their annual Volunteers Night between 7-9:30 p.m.

The Stagecrafters, a non-profit, volunteer-based organization, is dedicated to making live stage productions of the highest quality available to residents of Philadelphia and the surrounding communities at an affordable price.

It is a core of loyal and committed volunteers who provide the foundation for maintaining that theater’s eight-decade tradition of excellence in the art and craft of live performance.  The yearly drive for volunteers is a key means of recruitment and serves to introduce potential volunteers to the theater in a friendly and informal atmosphere.

Persons from all walks of life are welcome, and a great range of interests and abilities is sought.  Right now an area of acute need for the theater is in technical operations, particularly the setting and running of lighting, one of the most exciting aspects of creating a show.  Also sought is staffing for set construction, costuming, and properties, as well as a number of “back-office” capacities: publicity, public relations, and fundraising.  Members of the organization will be on hand to tell visitors about what goes into creating a successful stage production, as well as the many opportunities to volunteer one’s time and skills.  Expertise in certain areas is a plus, but for those with no particular experience, skilled staff is eager to provide comprehensive on-the-job training. 

If you cannot make it to Wednesday’s activities but wish to learn more about volunteering opportunities, call 215-242-4811.

You may call the theater’s main number at any time, 215-247-8881, and leave a message at Ext. 812, or visit the “Volunteers” page at

Folktales of African Diaspora at Lonnie Young

On Saturday, August 8, groups of 2-4 storytellers will arrive in three Philadelphia neighborhoods, including Germantown, at noon to offer a free one-hour interactive storytelling program, Stories in Service Day of Neighborhood Storytelling. The stories they tell will be folktales, deriving from traditions of the African Diaspora, and will relay the morals, values, and history embedded in the folklore and culture.

Each program is representational of a neighborhood village and provides opportunities for community members to interact through call and response, song, movement and rhythmic expression within the context of the storytelling experience.

At 4 p.m. all of the storytellers, drummers and African dancers will gather at the Community Education Center, 3500 Lancaster Avenue, for a round-robin-style outdoor storytelling program.

The goals of the project are to bring community members together, in their own neighborhoods to engage in the traditional art of storytelling; restore a positive cultural image by sharing stories that communicate strengths, sources of creativity, and ideals of progressive unity, that ultimately challenge the negative images perpetuated in main stream media; inspire community members’ creative re-telling of the stories to their families, friends and social groups; create a village-like space for established storytellers to offer stories as a tool for social change and community building.

Partnering with active community-based organizations helps us to build an audience and meet our key goal in making the oral tradition of storytelling more accessible to people in their own neighborhood. Our community partners are: Lonnie Young Recreation Center, 1100 East Chelten Avenue; Norris Square Neighborhood Project, North Philadelphia; DiSilvestro Playground, South Philadelphia; Community Education Center, West Philadelphia.

For information about the project contact Joslyn Ladson at 267-242-3063, e-mail

Obituary: Rose Virginia Rushin Johnson, 82

On November 22, 1926, God plucked a most beautiful flower, from His heavenly garden and planted it on earth. In Philadelphia the late Edgar and Nellie Allen were blessed with a lovely baby girl, whom they named Rose Virginia.

Rose and her sister Edna (now deceased) grew up on 19th Street in South Philadelphia. As a child, she attended local public schools and was active in St. Simon Episcopal Church where she became a member and was baptized. By age twelve, she was confirmed and a member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church.

At West Philadelphia High School, she excelled on the Swim Team and demonstrated a real passion for dancing. She then studied sociology at Temple University.

In 1945, Rose eloped to Elkton, MD, and married Charles C. Rushin. They had two children, Charles C. Rushin, Jr. and Sandra Marie Rushin. Rose was devoted to her marriage, her home and her children. She waited until both Charles and Sandi were attending elementary school before taking on a part time job.

Rose became a key-punch operator in the Human Resources Division of City Hall. It blossomed into a forty-two year career as a receptionist in the office of the Commissioner of Records. Rose was one of City Hall’s favorites. She rarely missed a day at work. She performed her duties excellently and brightened up the workplace with her bubbling personality.

Working hard, budgeting wisely and praying a lot, Rose did what few could do. In 1961, a divorced woman, successfully raising two teen-agers, she purchased a lovely home for her and her children, on Sprague Street in Mt. Airy.

On June 3, 1984, Rose took another life-changing step. Her brother-in-law, the (late) Rev. Samuel L. Spear, Sr., pastor of Philadelphia’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, joined together Rose and John N. Johnson in holy matrimony.

Rose was always very active. She was a member of the swim team at the Christian Street YMCA. She belonged to two social clubs. She enjoyed life, dancing, talking, laughing, card playing, and visiting casinos. She was as comfortable with friends her own age as those many years younger. She enjoyed beautiful clothing, putting on lipstick, selecting earrings, eating interesting foods; but most of all, she loved being surrounded by her family and friends; and stayed close to God in private times and while attending Oxford Presbyterian Church.

Her grandson Aaron summed it up, “Grandmom was something. She was funny. She loved to play jokes. She loved to laugh. Grandmom was really something.”

Rose Rushin Johnson passed away at home on Thursday evening, July 30, surrounded by her family. Her memory is cherished by husband John, son Charles, daughter Sandi, grandson Aaron, daughter-in-law Carol; nephews Samuel L. Spear, Jr., Walter Rollo Wilson, Jr. and George Arthur; sister-in-law Donna Fleming and spouse Huett; close friends Mary Smith, Ethel Taylor, Martha Sutton and Bella Muir; those “like daughters” Sandy and Madeline Valentine, Linda James McGregor and Gwen Polk; and other loving family, friends and neighbors.

Services for Rose V. Rushin Johnson will be held Friday, August 7, at Oxford Presbyterian Church, Stenton and Gowen avenues. Viewing is 9-11, service at 11 a.m. Interment will be private.

Condolences may be sent to the Rushin Johnson Family, 7021 Sprague Street, Philadelphia, PA 19119.

Summer Activities at Reformation

Reformation Lutheran Church, 1215 Vernon Road, will host its annual Church Fellowship Picnic on Sunday, August 16, noon-9 p.m., at Alverthorpe Park, Forrest Avenue and Jenkintown Road, Elkins Park. There will be an “All You Can Eat Buffet” of picnic food favorites, sports activities including volley ball, soft ball, wading pool, face painting, badminton, card games, miniature golf, tennis, 1.7 mile walk-a-thon, 3.6 mile race, a bike-a-thon, lake fishing, and loads of activities the entire family can enjoy. Adult tickets are $15 each, $5 each for children under age 10.

Teens ages 13 and older are invited to participate in free Healthy Living Seminars held every Wednesday through August 19, 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. at the church. Teens and adolescents will discuss and learn about building healthy relationships, self-esteem and self-respect, peer pressure, harassing behaviors, violence prevention and other life skills that are necessary for their successful transition from youth to adulthood. Healthy Living Seminar facilitators are from Women Against Abuse, Women Organized Against Rape and BEBASHI organizations.

A bus tour of New York City’s theater district, a day at New Jersey’s Adventure Aquarium and a Mann Music Center workshop are just a few of the activities that children and youth have enjoyed during the first weeks of Camp RC, which operates at the church Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., through August 21. It is an affordable summer enrichment program for children and youth ages six through 14, grades 1-8, with before and after-camp services available.

Camp RC incorporates creative and performing arts education as part of its curriculum. New campers can still enroll.

For information call the church at 215-548-4332.

Faith Community Holds Health Fair

Faith Community United for a Healthier Germantown will host its 2nd annual health fair on Saturday, August 15. The event will be held in Vernon Park, 5800 block of Germantown Avenue, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The fair is free and open to the general public.

Faith Community United for a Healthier Germantown consists of eleven faith-based organizations who crossed boundaries, and came together to reach out to the greater Germantown community by sponsoring a Health Fair.

Health information, health screenings, all kinds of give-a-ways, music, children’s activities, food, arts and crafts, line dancing lessons, spiritual healing and a variety of vendors.

For information, or to reserve space, call Hildegarde Freeman at 215-520-2466 or 215-843-5730.

Relic at Miraculous Medal

More than a thousand people coming in for the Novenas of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal at the Miraculous Medal Shrine, 500 East Chelten Avenue, on Monday, July 27. What made this Monday special? The relic of St. John Vianney, honoring the Year of the Priest, was on its first stop of its parish tour from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The over 1300 attendants of the Novenas on July 27 were honored to venerate the relic of this great saint.

Blessed last week by Cardinal Rigali, and delivered by Knights of Columbus member Kevin McCarthy, the excitement was palatable.

The Miraculous Medal Shrine will have the relic again for the week prior to Thanksgiving while celebrating their annual Solemn Novena from November 16-24.  It will be on the altar each day and venerated at the end of each service.

The St. John relic moved to St. Catherine’s Infirmary for Tuesday, July 28, where Mass was said by the retired priests of St. Vincent de Paul (Congregation of the Mission). Daily Mass will be said followed by the Rosary with this blessed saint for the week that the relic will be on loan.

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Demolition on Collom St. Starts; Residents Still Frustrated

Center Closing Raises Concerns for Seniors

News in Brief

Slow Down! New Program to Target Speeders on Lincoln Drive

King High Students Learn Agriculture – And Feed the Hungry

Learn About Backstage at Stagecrafters’ Volunteer Night

Folktales of the African Diaspora

Obituary: Rose Johnson

Summer Activities at Reformation

Faith Community Holds Health Fair

Relic at Miraculous Medal

Germantown News Stories

August 6, 2009