From the Chronicle • Germantown News Stories

January 14, 2010 • Germantown Chronicle Jan. 14

In This Issue


Planners, Residents Enthusiastic About Huge Impact


One Book, One Philadelphia Kicks Off Next Week


A ‘Walk-a-Palooza’ of a Concert at LTSP


Rep. Parker 9th Ward Meeting


January is Deadline for DecemberFest Coupons


Staged Reading at the Stagecrafters


Wister Board Election


Flower Show Entrants


MLK Day Observations


‘Questions in Black History’ Explored at Cliveden


NW’s Civil Rights History at NIM’s Dr. King Celebration


Free African American Museum Day


King Service at LTSP


MAUSA Book Drive for Emlen School


King Day Projects at USG


OARC MLK Day Programs


MLKWeekend at Mishkan

Planners, Residents Enthusiastic About Huge Impact


Top: At the community meeting for Hunting Park West January 7 neighbors broke into on-the-spot design teams. Here, Multi Community Alliance Chairman Ralph Winder (left), Ravanna Bey (center) and City Planner Laura Spina (right) consider appropriate uses for the large industrial area.


Center: the Salvation Army’s new Kroc Center, now under construction on part of the site of the former Budd Company. 


Bottom: the view from Fernhill Park in southwest Germantown looking toward the tract, with the SEPTA yard in the foreground and the former Budd plant in the background.


By PATRICK COBBS 

Staff Writer

 

Southwest Germantown resident Debbie Rajhansa was one of about 175 Northwest residents who filled the community room at Mercy Vocational High School on January 7 for the first public meeting to plan for the future of the massive industrial area known as Hunting Park West. Rajhansa was interested in all the new businesses that could sprout up close to her neighborhood if things go well over the next few years.

 

“We were really excited about a restaurant being in walking distance, and a supermarket being in walking distance,” she said. “That’s something you can do in other parts of the city.”

 

The event was part of an ongoing $220,000 planning study of an area that City Planning Commission Executive Director Alan Greenberger conceived of with an interesting metaphor.

 

“It is kind of a hole in the doughnut,” Greenberger explained. “There are real neighborhoods around it … and yet in the middle they don’t join together.”

 

Those border neighborhoods are Southwest Germantown, Nicetown, North Tioga, West Tioga, Allegheny West, and East Falls. But in reaction to recent controversial development proposals like the Trump Street casino, which targeted the area in 2006, that doughnut hole has begun to look, at least politically speaking, anything but empty.

 

In 2007 the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board rejected Trump Street’s bid to locate a slots casino at the huge Budd Company industrial site on Wissahickon and Hunting Park Avenues. But the fight against Trump, and the much-opposed Lower Merion bussing facility that came before, inspired neighbors to form the Multi-Community Alliance (MCA), a collection of 26 neighborhood groups from around the doughnut with a stake in the Hunting Park West transformation. It is thanks to the joint efforts of the MCA and a sustained push by the City Planning Commission that the grant-funded planning study is finally underway.

 

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission awarded the original $110,000 planning grant in May, 2009 but the scope of the study expanded. To make sure the project would go through, the city found an additional $55,000 and the City Planning Commission kicked in a $55,000 labor equivalent match. Wallace Roberts & Todd (WRT) is the prime contractor for the study.

 

The meeting on January 7 was an attempt to measure public priorities for Hunting Park West and to get the surrounding neighborhood groups and the city interested in the same kinds of ideas for the area going forward.  

 

“Our hope is that we get something that’s exciting that we can get the property owners to buy into, and we can get the city as a whole to buy into because there is so much vacancy there,” said Project Manager Jennifer Barr, of the City Planning Commission. “It’s a very, very unique opportunity in the city in terms of land that’s in transition.”

 

A Huge Tract

For comparison, some consider the under-used swath of land that lies between Henry, Hunting Park, Wissahickon and Roberts avenues to be about half the size of Center City. In hard numbers it is a half-mile across and more than a mile long and totals about 400 acres. And because much of this property is vacant and concentrated among few owners (about 40 total), the whole area could be ripe for change.

 

“There are some very large parcels of land under single ownership, which means big things can happen quickly on a lot of that land,” said John Beckman of WRT.

 

One example of the quick-change potential of Hunting Park West is the Salvation Army’s Kroc Center, under construction now on a 12-acre parcel of land that was part of the former Budd Company land. The Kroc Center will be a new 128,000 square-foot fitness and community facility that will cost $72 million to build and will operate with a $44 million endowment, which is roughly equivalent to the endowments of some area colleges.

 

“This is a transformational project for the people and the neighborhood of North Philadelphia,” said the Salvation Army’s Kroc Center Administrator, Major Timothy Lyle.

 

The Kroc Center is part of a nationwide effort made possible by the estate of Joan Kroc, who was heir to the McDonalds’ fortune. The faith-based facility will be open to all and will operate from a mission of community and personal improvement. Lyle also thinks the Kroc Center’s presence will improve economic conditions in the area. 

 

“We hope and believe this will be the stimulus project that will stimulate a lot of development in that whole neighborhood there,” he said.

 

But change can go the other way, too. Take the giant Tastykake headquarters and baking facility long located inside the doughnut. In June Tastykake will close that aging facility and move to a brand new one in the Philadelphia Naval Business Center, in South Philadelphia.

 

The huge Pep Boy’s headquarters and national distribution center is also located nearby. In 2007 that company announced that it was considering a move from its facilities as well.

 

Other significant capital features include the former Medical College of Pennsylvania hospital which is now a mixed residential and office development, a sprawling SEPTA bus yard, numerous industrial sites including the Budd site, a Temple Health System administrative facility that employs 700 people, and the former Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (EPPI) compound, which is now the temporary home of the Youth Study Center.

 

What Next For EPPI?

Deciding just what to do with state-owned EPPI after the Youth Study Center moves to its permanent home in West Philadelphia next year is the second part of the planning grant. This addition is the result of a four-year push by the East Falls Development Corporation to do a planning study on EPPI so that whatever its eventual use, it will be a good thing for the community.    

 

“What the state normally does with what’s called the ‘surplus property’ is that it just puts it out for sale and whoever gets it gets it,” said Gina Snyder the director of East Falls Development Corporation.

 

Snyder wants a two pronged approach for EPPI: get a community oriented plan in place for the building that fits with the overall vision for Hunting Park West, and then appeal to the state to dispose of EPPI in a way that will help make that vision happen. 

 

State Senator Vincent Hughes (D., 7th) thinks the legislative end of this plan is pretty much on track.  


“We want to work in complete concert with the community in terms of what the plan is and then do whatever we need to do legislatively to support it,” Hughes said.


But while the 11-story EPPI building is huge and sits on an impressive 13-acre campus off of Henry Avenue, it has some drawbacks too. Chief among them: it is old. Virtually all of its systems will require upgrades after the Youth Study Center leaves, according to John Beckman.


The same challenge could apply to other large facilities in the area. The 550,000 square foot Tastykake facility, for example dates from 1922 to 1930.


Enthusiastic Meeting

But such things didn’t dampen enthusiasm at last week’s meeting. Residents from every neighborhood surrounding the Hunting Park West area participated in mini-planning sessions where they had to reach consensus with people from other neighborhoods about the kinds of things they would like to see in the plan.  


In addition to a supermarket and sit-down restaurants, Rajhansa’s group also suggested streetscape improvements, increased lighting, more dedicated green space and a year-round farmers’ market.

The next phase of the planning process will be to compile all the suggestions from all the work groups and figure out what is most compatible with the real world constraints of the study area, Barr said. Then there will be a public presentation of the final plan.


And after that, the toughest work will be bringing the plan to life. Greenberger warned that finding the right group of investors with enough capital to act on the Hunting Park West plan will be difficult, especially in the current economy.


“You really need the stars to be in alignment,” he said of such big ideas. But he and others seemed to agree that having the plan in place is the first step to pushing all those stars where they’re supposed to be.


One Book, One Philadelphia Kicks Off Next Week


By SUE ANN RYBAK

Correspondent


The 2010 One Book, One Philadelphia program will launch its kick-off event, ”A Journey to Iran Through Music,” featuring intercultural journeys and a screening of Persepolis, on Wednesday, January 20, at the Central Library, 19th and Vine streets, at 7:30 p.m.  The event will mark the beginning of the eight-week program that will run from January 20 through March 17. This year’s One Book, One Philadelphia feature selection is The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. It is the first graphic novel or comic book, as Satrapi prefers to call it, to be chosen. 


“All children around the world draw… drawing is the first language. I cannot draw the face of a sad person and have someone say ‘oh, that person is happy,’ ” Satrapi said in September at the announcement at the Central Library that her book would be this year’s One Book One Philadelphia selection. “Drawing is an universal language ... We all cry for the same reason - a mother losing her child, a lover who has left us ... Human emotion is the same.” 


The Complete Persepolis was originally published in France in two volumes in 2000. Satrapi’s memoir gives readers a glimpse of what life was like for a 10-year-old girl growing up in Iran after the overthrow of the Shah, the Islamic Revolution and the devastating effects of the war with Iraq, and continuing through her years as a young adult both in Iran and during her studying in Europe. 


In 2007 Satrapi released an animated film version, Persepolis, which won the Jury Prize in 2008 at the Cannes Film Festival. 


One Book, One Philadelphia is a joint project of the Mayor’s Office and the Free Library of Philadelphia that promotes reading, literacy, library use, and community building by motivating tens of thousands of people to read an annual featured selection.


“Graphic novels and animated features can be used to tell powerful stories-and do so effectively,” said Sara Strickland, program assistant of One Book, One Philadelphia.


The program, now in its eighth year, will host over 100 events throughout Philadelphia including “Exploring the Music of Persia: An Interactive Ballet Performance”; comic book workshops; comic;  Persian tile mosaic craft programs, “Walls and Wings: A Clay Workshop” inspired by The Wall, the young people’s selection for One Book One Philadelphia; and “What’s Your Story?” a kid-friendly tour of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens that includes making your own pocket-size illustrated book.  And don’t overlook the estimated 5,000 copies of The Complete Persepolis or Persepolis 1: The Story of a Childhood that are being distributed to libraries and public, Catholic and charter high schools across the city. Persepolis is recommended for young teen readers and up.


The comics medium allowed Satrapi to “distance” herself from her emotions, she said.


“Humor is completely abstract...In order to write my story, I tried to stay very objective…I am just a person who was born in a certain place, at a certain time. I tried to write it honestly.”


In writing Persepolis, Satrapi tried to change the stereotypes many people have about Iranians.


“I wanted to be able to make bridges - to make a connection.,” said Satrapi.  “People are not more or less civilized.  Before culture, before education, we have to have a minimum of human needs met for everyone.  You cannot ask people to think about freedom when they are starving to death.”


Satrapi said she doesn’t believe in a “clash of cultures,” but rather that the majority of problems between different races, religions, and cultures are caused by fear and ignorance.


In addition to the featured reading selection, a companion book for children and family will be offered for the fourth year in a row. This year’s 2010 Companion Title is The Wall: Growing Up, Behind the Iron Curtain (Caldecott  Honor Book) by Peter Sis. Through illustrations, journals, maps, and dreamscapes, Sis shows what life was like for a child who loved to draw, proudly wore the red scarf of a Young Pioneer and believed what he was told to believe until adolescence, when he learned about rock ‘n’ roll, blue jeans, and Coca-Cola.


This year’s One Film, which operates in partnership with One Book, One Philadelphia, is Ari Foleman’s Waltz with Bashir (2008), based on Foleman’s account of the time he served in the Israeli Defense Forces, Waltz with Bashir is a piece on memory and the effects of war.


Free screenings of the movie can be seen at the Central Library, 1901 Vine Street, at noon from February 12 to March 12.


Events in the Northwest include:

Book discussion: The Complete Persepolis, February 10, 2 p.m.,

Free Library Andorra Branch, 705 East Cathedral Road

Screening: Offside, Saturday, February 27, 2 p.m. Andorra Branch. Offside chronicles the experience of young women, banned from sporting events in Iran, who were caught sneaking into the soccer stadium in Tehran.

Screening and discussion: “Bakhtiari Alphabet,” Wednesday, March 3, 7:30 p.m., Chestnut Hill Branch of the Free Library, 8711 Germantown Avenue. Join filmmaker and Sacred Heart University professor Cima Sedigh for a screening of her first documentary, which was made during the extensive trip to the rugged and remote region of Iran where the Bakhtiari live and migrate. This film brings her on-site research on tribal life and education.

Persian Tile Mosaic Craft Program, Wednesday, March 3, 4 p.m., Andorra Branch.

Book discussion: The Complete Persepolis, Metropolitan Bakery, 8607 Germantown Avenue, Thursday, March 18, 7 p.m.

Persian Tile Mosaic Craft Program, Saturday, March 6, 2 p.m., Free Library Wadsworth Branch, 1500 Wadsworth Avenue.


A complete calendar of events can be found at http://libwww.freelibrary.org/OneBook/obop10/calendar10.pdf.



A ‘Walk-a-Palooza’ of a Concert at LTSP


By KARL BIEMULLER

Editor


After what owner Greg Williams called “the best December we ever had,” the future of Walk A Crooked Mile Books at Gowen Avenue and Devon Street looks rather brighter.


The bookstore, which has become an integral part of the neighborhood over the past 15 years, had been facing possible closure in the face of financial difficulties but now, says Williams, “That month [which featured a number of special events at the store] was very encouraging, very exciting. I’m very pleased and it looks like we’re going to be able to stay.”


One of the things that has made Walk A Crooked Mile a part of the neighborhood over the years is its series of free summer concerts held on the bookstore grounds at the R7 Mt. Airy Train Station. The concerts are free and donations are accepted for the performers, but there is some expense involved in staging them, and, says Williams, “I don’t have that kind of money any more.” So what will be happening on Sunday, January 17 4-8:30 p.m. at the Brossman Center of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia is something of a “concert for concerts” event.


The concert, called “Walk-a-Palooza,” will feature ten musical groups and individuals who have performed at Walk A Crooked Mile in the past, most of them repeatedly.  Williams says, “The performers came up with the idea – what can we do, can we do a concert, that sort of thing … donations will go just to support the summer concert series.”


It will break down into two parts: an hour of children’s music from 4-5 p.m., followed by the adult portion of the concert from 5-8:30 p.m.


Performing  in the children’s portion in 15-minute segments will be Have Fun, Will Travel; Rhetta Morgan; Tom Gala; and Two of a Kind and the Give ‘em a Hand Band.


Performing in 20-minute segments during the adult section will be, in order: Acoustic Blender, Art Miron, Prose from Dover, Rhetta Morgan, Saint Mad, Drew Calvin, The Fretnoughts, Tom Gala, and the Rockin’ Malaakas.


All the performers are enthusiastic about the event and the concert series it will support.


The well-known children’s music duo Two of Kind is made up of David and Jenny Heitler-Klevens, who have been appearing under that name for about 20 years.  They will perform as Two of a Kind during the children’s portion, then welcome two other performers – Hope Wesley Harrison and Justin Solonynka – and perform again as Acoustic Blender at the start of the adult section. David says, “The main thing is the overall event has something for everybody - a wide variety of musical styles, food from Weavers Way, a mobile book sale – it should be a lot of fun.”


Dave Beeghley, half of the singing duo Prose From Dover – his wife Barley is the other performer – has been performing in the summer concert series for years. “We love it,” he says. “That space [at the station] is like a natural amphitheater - it’s just a lot of fun. Greg’s great – we would probably keep doing it just to support him. The profit margin’s not great - whatever we earn there [in donations] we more than spend on books!”


Prose from Dover [the name comes from the 1970 movie MASH, they are actually based in King of Prussia] will perform twice – in their children’s music incarnation as Have Fun, Will Travel and then again as Prose from Dover. They do their own original songs and what Beeghley refers to as “undercover music - we didn’t write but it’s not necessarily well-known.”


Acoustic guitarist and vocalist Art Miron will serve as MC at the event. He’ll perform what he calls “American roots music - I choose songs that have country, folk and some pop music roots.” Mt. Airy resident Miron calls Walk A Crooked Mile “a tremendous asset to the community.”


Jim Harris is a member of the St. Mad foursome, which features tuba, trumpet, guitar and keyboards plus vocals. He says, “We’re really hoping that this Walk-a-Palooza helps Greg keep the concert series and the bookstore going – it’s great for the neighborhood.”


Walk-a-Palooza will be held Sunday, January 17 4-8:30 p.m. at the Brossman Center of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Avenue. Off street parking is available in the Seminary’s lot  off Germantown Avenue. There is no cover charge but donations will be accepted. For more information call Walk a Crooked Mile Books at 215-242-0854.



The following hearings will be held at the Zoning Board of Adjustments, 1515 Arch Street, on the 18th floor. All information is according to the Community Alerting Service of the Housing Association of Delaware Valley.


Tuesday, January 19, 9:30 a.m. – 1269 East Chelten Avenue. Three zoning, two use permits. Permit for the relocation of lot lines to create one lot from three lots, for the erection of a two-story infill addition (35’ high) joining two existing structures, for the creation of three open-air off-street parking spaces and one loading space, and for the legalization of an 8’ high fence, all for use as a retail grocery store on the first floor and accessory storage on the second floor.


Wednesday, January 19, 9:30 a.m. – 5605 Chew Avenue. One certificate. Certificate for preparing and serving of hot food for take out within an existing retail grocery store on the first floor in the same building with a single family dwelling above, no signs on this application.


Wednesday, January 20, 4 p.m. – 323 East Allens Lane, one zoning permit. Permit for the erection of a second floor addition in the side yard of a single-family dwelling above the existing one-story addition.


Wednesday, January 20, 4 p.m. – 538 Carpenter Lane, one use permit. Permit for a single-family dwelling in an existing attached structure.



This tablet was placed in the wall of the Henry Hill house, (later known as Carlton) at Midvale Avenue and Stokeley Street. Washington stayed there before the British occupied Philadelphia, which led to the Battle of Germantown in 1777. The house was permanently “RUIND” in the 1950s. “Yesterday in the German Township” is presented in conjunction with the Germantown Historical Society to give a look back at the way life was once lived in Germantown, Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill, the old “German Township.”



Rep. Parker 9th Ward Meeting


State Representative Cherelle Parker along with 9th Ward Leaders John O’Connell and Kenneth Powell Jr. will host a 9th Ward town hall meeting from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, January 21 at Jenks Middle School, 8301 Germantown Avenue.

 

Parker said the town hall meetings are held in order to help residents gain valuable information regarding various services provided by state, local and federal government agencies and other public entities. She said there is also an opportunity for residents to ask questions and voice their concerns regarding quality-of-life issues in the 200th Legislative District. She added that there will also be an opportunity to learn about services provided by her constituent service office, as well.

 

The series of town hall meetings to be held throughout the 200th Legislative District includes:   Saturday, February 6, 10 a.m. – noon, 50th Ward;  Saturday, February 20, 10 a.m. – noon,  21st Ward;   7-9 p.m. Thursday, March 11, 7 - 9 p.m. 22nd Ward;  Thursday, March 25, 7 - 9 p.m., 50th Ward. 

 

More information is available by calling Parker’s constituent service office at 215-242-7300. The office is located at 1536 E. Wadsworth Avenue. Residents can also contact Parker through her Web site at www.pahouse.com/parker.



January is Deadline for DecemberFest Coupons


Shoppers who spent $250 at retail and restaurant businesses in Mt. Airy’s 19119 zip code and along the 6300 block of Germantown Avenue to Washington Lane during DecemberFest - November 20 through January 8 – are still eligible to receive a $25 DecemberFest Gift Certificate.

 

Simply take $250 worth of qualified receipts to the Sovereign Bank branch, 6740 Germantown Avenue. The Sovereign bank teller will give you a short form to fill out, verify your receipts, then send you on your way with your $25 DecemberFest Gift Certificate. Shoppers are eligible to receive one $25 gift certificate for every $250 worth of purchases made.

 

Receipts redeemed for DecemberFest Gift Certificates must be dated between November 20 and January 8.

 

All receipts must display: 1) Business Name; 2) Business Address; 3) Date of Purchase; and 4) Total Amount of Purchase.

 

Receipts must be redeemed at Sovereign Bank on or before January 15. No Gift Certificates will be distributed after January 15. Shoppers must redeem their receipts in person.

 

DecemberFest Gift Certificates are only available through this promotion and are available while supplies last. There is a limit of five Gift Certificates per household.

 

Use your DecemberFest Gift Certificate any time through May 1 at participating retailers and restaurants. Your DecemberFest Gift Certificate is valid at the any of the participating businesses. All participating businesses are listed on the back of your DecemberFest Gift Certificate.

 

Mt. Airy DecemberFest Gift Certificates are redeemable for merchandise and/or services only, no cash. For purchases under $25, change will be given by the merchant as store credit or cash at their discretion.



Staged Reading at the Stagecrafters


In the wake of its exceptionally well-received staged readings last summer, The Stagecrafters is delighted once again to bring to its audiences two very special script-in-hand productions during the weekend of January 15-16-17 – promising a welcome break in the middle of this frosty winter. 

 

The first is Edward Albee’s semi-autobiographical Three Tall Women, winner of the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as the Drama Critics’ Circle and Lucille Lortel awards for Best and Outstanding Play, respectively.  It will be directed by Christian Lepore of Germantown, a seasoned performer at The Stagecrafters, and it features three of the theater’s regularly-seen actresses in each of the “title” roles.  Performances are Friday, January 15 and Saturday, January 16, both at 8 p.m. Following each performance, actors and director will stay for a “Talk-Back” question and answer session with audience members.  All in attendance are invited to participate. 

 

The other event is a reading of Roald Dahl’s BFG (Big Friendly Giant), which is being presented on our stage by some thirty young students at Chestnut Hill Academy, and directed by Debbie Gress, drama coach at the school.  There will be two readings:  Saturday, January 16 and Sunday, January 17, both at 3 p.m.

 

Admission to each reading is ... pay-what-you-will.  No reservations are being taken ... just show up!  The auditorium will be open 30 minutes before each performance.  The theater is located at8130 Germantown Avenue. For information about The Stagecrafters visit www.thestagecrafters.org.

 


Wister Board Election


On Thursday January 21, 2010 at The General Membership Meeting of Wister NAC we will be holding our elections for Wister NAC board members.   Members of the community running for election are Annette Gordy, Rosalind McKelvey, Mary Ravenell, Marilyn Robinson and Tracy Tate.

 

The meeting will be held at Victory Baptist Church, 5131 Germantown Avenue.  You can only vote for three (3).  Write-ins are acceptable, subject to eligibility.  To be eligible you must live or own a business within our service area and have attended at least 4 meeting within the last year to be eligible to vote or run. Please come out and cast your ballot. 

 

For more information contact Wister NAC at 215-843-6565.


Flower Show Entrants

 

The 2010 Philadelphia International Flower Show is looking for entrants for its 15th Annual Phlower Power Window Decorating Contest. “Passport to the World,” to be held Feb. 28 - March 7 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, will take visitors on an exotic journey to dozens of destinations around the globe. For more information and to download an entry form, please visit the Attractions Page at www.theflowershow.com/Attractions/windows.html or e-mail Laura Hoover at lhoover@pennhort.org. Entry forms are due by February 8. Businesses earn two Flower Show tickets just for competing. Proceeds of the Flower Show go to Philadelphia Green, PHS’s acclaimed program and the nation’s largest comprehensive community greening program that serves as a model for cities across the U.S. Flower Show Week generates an economic impact of $35 million for the City of Philadelphia.



MLK Day Observations


‘Questions in Black History’ Explored at Cliveden


As part of Historic Germantown’s Lunch and Learn series, Cliveden of the National Trust, 6401 Germantown Avenue, will play host to a one-hour presentation on Thursday, February 4, 12:30  – 1:30 p.m., entitled “Questions in Black History.”

 

The lecture will be given by Philip Seitz, Cliveden’s Curator of History and Fermentation, and will explore recently uncovered documents in the Chew Family papers that reveal topics in African American history.  Specifically, Seitz will engage visitors to determine whether materials written by Caucasians accurately reflect the African American experience in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Join the debate and discussion in Cliveden’s historic Carriage House and get the opportunity to handle some rare documents. And don’t forget to bring a bagged lunch!

 

This event is free and open to the public. Call 215-848-1777 for further details.



NW’s Civil Rights History at NIM’s Dr. King Celebration


The 27th annual Neighborhood Interfaith Movement) Martin Luther King Interfaith Celebration will take place on Sunday, Jan. 17.

 

The theme of this year’s program is “Nobody Will Be Excluded,” a phrase proclaimed by Shirley Melvin, recently deceased, and her sister Doris Polsky, founders of Twin Realty in Germantown: “Nobody will be excluded from our neighborhood.” Heightened awareness of America’s flagrant record on race relations led to the struggle in Northwest Philadelphia to end once and for all the blockbusting and redlining used by realtors and banks to increase profits – and maintain segregation. We’ll show parts of Neighbor Ladies, a 2004 documentary by LeAnn Erickson, Associate Professor of Video and Film Production at Temple University, which preserves the story of Shirley, Doris, and seven other women who helped integrate and stabilize our community.

 

In addition to film clips, we will hear from Francine Fox, one of the “neighbor ladies”; Lisa Funderburg, a community activist; and Rev. Andrew Foster III, newly arrived at Janes Memorial United Methodist Church.

 

NIM itself began in 1969 as an outgrowth of the organizing by clergy and many others that made Northwest Philadelphia a symbol of hope, reconciliation, and harmony. This program highlights the Civil Rights struggle out of which NIM grew as part of its 40th Anniversary celebration.

 

Music will be provided by the Anna Crusis Women’s Choir and choirs from Reformation Lutheran Church and Germantown Jewish Centre.

 

Following the formal program, those interested will have a chance to discuss the issues raised by the keynote speaker and help determine how to keep the conversation going.

 

The program will take place at Reformation Lutheran Church, 1215 East Vernon Road, on Sunday, Jan. 17, starting promptly at 3 p.m. For more information call the NIM office, 215-843-5600.



Free African American Museum Day


Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania is donating $25,000 to the African American Museum in Philadelphia and will sponsor the museum’s commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, January 18.

 

The sponsorship will provide free admission to the museum, as well as special events, including the Citizens Bank Scavenger Hunt for Heritage aimed at helping children learn about the museum and African American history.

 

The money will be used to sponsor a free Community Day for anyone who wants to visit the museum on January 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. To encourage visits by families, the bank will offer the “Citizens Bank Scavenger Hunt for Heritage,” a fun and educational activity that will help children explore and experience the museum.

 

More than 45 Citizens Bank volunteers will help guide children through their list of clues to find specific artifacts.

 

The African American Museum is located at 701 Arch Street. Hours on January 18 will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.



King Service at LTSP


The African American Lutheran Association (AALA) Philadelphia Chapter, and co-sponsor the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) will present the Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial Service on Sunday, Jan. 17, at 3 p.m. at the Chapel of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Ave.

 

“The Memorial Service will include remarks by Rev. Carlton E. Rogers, Pastor, West Philadelphia’s Tabernacle Lutheran Church; music by the Lutherans in Fellowship Exchange (LIFE) Choir, prayers and scriptures from diverse clergy as well as installation of AALA officers,” said Dr. Addie J. Butler, AALA chair.  Dr. Butler is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and is a former vice president of the ELCA, the largest branch of the Lutheran Church in America. 

 

The public is invited to attend the service. For more information please contact Dr. Addie Butler at 215-843-6885. 


 

MAUSA Book Drive for Emlen School


As its 2010 Martin Luther King’s Day of Service Project, Mt. Airy USA is collecting books for children in grades K-6 who attend Emlen Elementary School, 6501 Chew Avenue.

 

MAUSA will be at Emlen School on Martin Luther King Day from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. on January 18 to help refurbish their library. Please feel free to join in helping the project.

 

Meanwhile, MAUSA is accepting book donations at Mt. Airy USA, 6703 Germantown Avenue, for children in grades K-6.

 

For information call Cynthia Bradley, community organizer, Mt. Airy USA, at 215-844-6021, Ext. 214



King Day Projects at USG


Children can make posters and decorate lunch bags.  Older kids can read them stories about Martin Luther King, Jr. Their parents can make bag lunches for homeless shelters.

 

These are a few of the many ways to participate in the Martin Luther King Day of Service on Jan. 18.  At the Unitarian Society of Germantown, there are eighteen projects for volunteers.  The day starts with coffee and bagels at 8:30 a.m. and ends with a wrap-up lunch at 12:30 p.m.

 

“We want our volunteers to have a good experience,” said Nancy Dearden, the organizer of the church activities.  “Each project has a team leader who assures that the volunteers have the opportunity to do some meaningful work.”

 

Most of the projects are at nearby neighborhood sites.  Twenty volunteers will help to clean the Wissahickon Boys and Girls Club.  Fifteen others will be visiting a local nursing home.  Twenty more will be outside removing trash from local streets.

 

The Germantown Avenue Acme Market is a major contributor to the effort.  It is providing $500 in food that will be used to make 800 sandwiches for neighborhood shelters and 30 quarts of soup for families in transition. 

 

“We are planning for 300 volunteers,” said Nancy.  “Their work, and the kind donations of our contributors, will make our neighborhood a brighter place.”

 

Volunteers can get more information and register to help at the church’s web site: http://www.usguu.org.

 

The Unitarian Society of Germantown is at 6511 Lincoln Drive.  Parking is in the rear off Johnson Street.

 


OARC MLK Day Programs


OARC will help spearhead a half-dozen community services activities in West Oak Lane as part of the annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service on Monday, January 18, including assembling hygiene kits for the homeless, preparing sandwiches for the needy and making pillows for breast cancer survivors.

 

OARC, in partnership with the Office of State Representative Dwight Evans, Foundations Inc. and Martin Luther King High School, will organize and lead a series of hands-on projects based at MLK High School, including Project CPR, Project Linus, Project Plenty, Project Hope, Project Comfort and Project Simons. They will also hold a donation drive to collect socks and underwear for the city’s Project Home.

 

Volunteers should gather at 8 am at MLK High School, located at 6100 Stenton Avenue. There will be stations for the following activities:  Project CPR – get certified in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation; Project Linus – assemble hygiene kits for the homeless; Project Plenty – prepare sandwiches for those in need;  Project Comfort – make pillows for breast cancer survivors.

 

In addition, volunteers will travel to nearby locations for two off-site service projects to clean up and beatify a school and playground: Project Hope – help beautify Hope Charter School;  Project Simons – help clean up at the recreation center.

 

For more information call OARC at 215-549-9462
or e-mail to Info@OARCPhilly.org

 


MLKWeekend at Mishkan


Martin Luther King Jr. saw education as a gateway to equality and advancement for all. When he was a 19-year-old student he wrote a speech entitled “The Purpose of Education,” in which he said, “Education must enable a man . . . to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life.”  Yet far too many children do not have access to quality education and cannot realize their full potential in life. Mishkan Shalom, 4101 Freeland Avenue, Roxborough, will honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a weekend of learning and service focusing on the intersection of race, education policy, and school funding. 

 

Keynote speaker Helen Gym will talk about confronting the challenges in our public educational system at our Shabbat service on Friday, January 15 at 6:30 p.m. She is the founder of Parents United for Public Education, a city-wide group focused on school budgets and funding, and a board member of Asian Americans United, an activist group that has successfully mobilized around issues of education, youth leadership, immigrant rights, and community development. She will address us with a profound understanding of the power structure in Philadelphia and how to actually get things done.

 

MLK weekend will continue with a service on Saturday, January 16, 10 a.m., which will continue the focus on education and race.  This will be the time to tell our own stories and to start to understand the impact of race on our own educational experiences.

 

On Sunday, January 17, 10 a.m., Jonathan Cetel of Good Schools PA will update us on the statewide advocacy agenda around public school funding, with time for direct action through letter writing.

 

All are invited to attend.

 


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Kim Miller, president of the Mt. Airy Business Association, and Amy Edelman, representing GRINCH (Green in Chestnut Hill) had a chilly vigil at Allens Lane Art Center last Sunday – but a profitable one. The Christmas tree recycling event co-sponsored by the organizations saw many a tree chopped up and recycled into free mulch. Miller had hoped that at least 100 trees would be recycled, enough to cover the costs of the operation, but more than 250 residents brought their trees on Sunday.