From the Chronicle • Germantown News Stories

January 28, 2010 • Jan. 28 Chronicle.pdf

In This Issue

HUD Says It Will

Repossess Elders Place

New Programs at Awbury Rec Center

14th District Presents PSA Concept to Northwest

Classic Towns Initiative Takes Shape in Germantown

Maxwell Mansion Open for Winter Tours

City’s New EMS Awareness Program

‘Paint for Haiti’ Benefit Sale

GGBA Meeting on ‘Green’ Business

Youngblood Hosts Program on Stimulus Package

Energy Conservation Workshop

Vendors Sought for CH Garden Festival

Dine at Trolley Car, Help Haiti

Benefit Concert for Haiti

Drive for Haiti’s Children

New Year for Trees

Women’s Retreat at LTSP

‘Essentially English’ Classes

Prenatal Services

Committee of 70 Manual on Running for Committeeperson

Mothers March Planning Meeting

Pottery Classes for All Ages at CIP

Blood Drive at Reformation Lutheran

Mt. Airy USA to Recognize Volunteers

NW Zoning Hearings


Heavy rain, gusty winds and saturated ground all combined for a bad time for trees in Germantown on Monday, January 25. Between 11 a.m. and noon this massive tree blew over onto Queen Lane between Germantown Avenue and Greene Street from the adjacent grounds of Trinity Lutheran Church, and took a parked car with it. Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident.

HUD Says It Will Repossess Elders Place


Staff Writer

Something is happening at the taxpayer-funded Elders Place and Elders Place II apartment buildings in Germantown. But neither the property owner, Greater Germantown Housing Development Corporation (GGHDC), a holding of the non-profit Germantown Settlement, or the project financiers, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is saying just what it is.

A letter from HUD went out to all the seniors living in both apartment buildings in October 2009 saying that HUD “intends to foreclose on Elders Place Apartments within the next few months.” But because of ongoing investigations into the matter, according to one official, HUD representatives are tight-lipped about the details.

Likewise, Germantown Settlement did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

HUD spokesman Joe Phillips did confirm the foreclosure was under way, however, saying of GGHDC, “They basically were not current with regard to the requirements of the contract … current with regards to payments.”

But he could not provide many details beyond that, such as what the trouble was with “payments,” when the buildings would be sold, or the process HUD would use to transition the 87 or so low-income seniors who reside in the two buildings. Elders Place I is located at 53 East Wister Street, while Elders Place II is located at 76 East Collom Street.

A possible explanation could lie in the HUD Inspector General audit reports of Elders Place I and II from 2007 and 2008. According to those reports, GGHDC, which directly ran both properties until 2006, mismanaged HUD money. It spent $161,000 in project funds on “ineligible disbursements,” and it could not provide records for $915,000 in HUD money, according to the reports.

The reports state that much of the undocumented expenditures meant for Elders Place actually wound up in general Germantown Settlement bank accounts, or paying off bills that may not have related to the projects. The transgressions seem especially pronounced with Elders Place II.

“As of December 2006, the Redevelopment Authority had dispersed $542,345… to Elders Place II, Inc. [a subsidiary of GGHDC]. However Elders Place II, Inc. did not deposit $500,305 of the $542,345… into the project construction account as required. Instead, the funds were deposited into a bank account owned by the Corporation [GGHDC],” the 2007 report reads.

In addition, according to the same report, GGHDC never provided HUD with a final accounting of the construction costs for the Elders II building after it was completed in 2004. HUD estimated the total cost for the building to be $4,422,200 in mostly HUD dollars, more than $690,000 of which, it alleged, were improperly used or not accounted for. 

As a result of these and other failings, the HUD report states, Elders II never received “final closing,” a step that is necessary to continue a smooth funding relationship with HUD.

Phillips and several other regional and national HUD representatives declined to confirm whether the foreclosure of Elders Place relates to these reports. However, in the recommendations section of the 2007 audit, to fix the problems at Elders Place it suggests, “issuing a notice of default, declaring a default, and pursuing such actions as taking possession of the project, foreclosing on the mortgage, or requiring a transfer of the physical assets to a HUD-approved private nonprofit corporation.”

HUD’s Phillips did emphasize one detail about the foreclosure is very important to Elders Place residents: “The property is going into foreclosure but the tenants are not going to be affected,” he said, though he did not give details beyond that.

However, this statement doesn’t seem likely unless HUD has decided to continue its Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC) rental subsidies that are associated with Elders Place. That would contradict the letter to residents, which seems to indicate that the current PRACs would be replaced with portable Section 8 Housing Vouchers – a strategy that would support what some describe as the HUD standard foreclosure practice of vacating a building before selling it.

A possible solution could come from the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (RDA) and its $60 million federal Neighborhood Stabilization (NSP and NSP II) grants from 2009 American Recovery Act funds. The NSP funds allow RDA to buy properties that are in foreclosure and put them into reuse as a way of addressing blight. Most of the NSP projects are single homes, but RDA might make an exception here if Phillips is correct.

“We’re looking at Elders Place, because it’s being foreclosed on, as a possible building,” said RDA Executive Director Terry Gillen. “One of the things we were looking at is whether HUD would allow the PRACs to stay with the building, because HUD’s normal practice is to get rid of the PRACs.”

PRACs are a key for Elders Place, Gillen said, because, unlike Section 8 Vouchers, which are personal, PRACs are a subsidy that stays with the building, and so they can help sustain it going forward.

But walk through the Elders Place Apartments on Wister Street, which was built in 1994 by GGHDC with $3,397,434 of HUD funds, and it’s not clear that these PRACs are doing what they are supposed to do.

47 seniors live here but there appeared to be no security personnel in the building, on a day early in January. Management goes days without showing up, according to some residents. The office is locked. The community room is locked.

There is an expired occupancy permit from Licenses and Inspections tacked to a bulletin board in the lobby. The seniors can use only one of the two elevators that serve the five-story building because the other one has been out of service for more than a year, according to residents.

One 72-year-old resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, complained of severe rodent problems in the building, and slow responses to maintenance requests. In her kitchen, at the base of her cabinets there are gaping holes along the floor where the wood has rotted or been gnawed away.

“A place like this is supposed to be run better than this,” she said.

In another apartment, an 85-year-old resident is missing a bedroom door, and in the summer her air conditioner does not work. This is especially hard because she suffers from asthma. Still, she thinks Elders Place has good bones.

“One thing about these apartments,” she said, also speaking on condition of anonymity. “If you keep them fixed up they are nice.” But they have gone steadily downhill for years, she said.

That day both women were upset about letters they received from Multifamily Management of Philadelphia, the property manager since 2006. The letters, dated the same day in November 2009, announced a retroactive rental increase going back several months and a requirement to pay that accrual down in roughly $60 monthly installments. It was an amount they were not sure they could afford on top of rent. And they were not sure why they had to pay it, since both women were certain they did not miss any previous rental payments.

“They say I didn’t pay the rent I was supposed to pay, but I’ve been paying what they told me to pay,” the first resident said.

Not asking HUD to approve rental increases (and subsidy increases) was one of the things HUD admonished GGHDC for in the audit reports from before Multifamily Management took over.

As bad as things may seem at the Elders Place Apartments, Multifamily Management Partner Roy Diamond thought his company has done what it could with the projects given the history.

“We’ve done our best to manage the property in a quality manner,” he said. “I think that we’ve improved the conditions of the property.”

New Programs at Awbury Rec Center

Awbury Recreation Center, 6101 Ardleigh Street, provides a wide variety of family activities. From young kids to adults, each activity will keep everyone active and on their feet.

Our fall and winter schedules include Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, cooking,, arts and crafts, dance (including hip-hop, jazz, ballet and modern), and an afterschool program.

For our teens, we have Awbury’s teen council, to help teens have a voice in their community. They meet weekly to conduct meetings on many issues and events that may take place. The teens also will conduct fundraisers; attend rips, and other activities to help their community.

Lastly, our adults can enjoy line dancing, a great pottery class, and cooking with their children. Also, we encourage parents or grandparents to bring their kids out for games and music nights here at Awbury. So if you are tired of looking for something to do, tell a friend or two and come on down to Awbury Recreation Center to have some fun.

For information call the center at 215-685-2895.

14th District Presents PSA Concept to Northwest


Staff Writer

In a series of community meetings last week the new commanding officer for the 14th Police District, Captain Joseph Bartorilla, and his four top officers rolled out the details of the new Police Service Areas (PSAs), covering Mt Airy, Germantown, Chestnut Hill and West Oak Lane. And since PSAs are central to Commissioner Charles Ramsey’s effort to reform the entire Philadelphia Police Department, it helped to have some top brass at the meetings too.

“The PSA philosophy is not new to law enforcement, it is new to Philadelphia,” said Deputy Police Commissioner Thomas Wright. “This philosophy and this control strategy is used by every major police force in the country.”

Wright heads up Regional Operations Command (ROC) North: the eleven police districts that cover the northern half of the city. There is also ROC South, which includes all eleven districts on the south side of the city.

Through the PSA structure, Wright explained, he and all the commanders below him, including Bartorilla and his four lieutenants, must account for what goes on in their territories at monthly, sometimes weekly, computer/comparative statistics or Compstat meetings.

On the community level the new PSA structure will rely on monthly community meetings in each of the 14th’s four PSAs to help keep neighborhood concerns in constant focus and facilitate the flow of local crime intelligence, from the department to the community and visa-versa. According to Bartorilla and his lieutenants, active community participation in these meetings is critical to making PSAs work and reducing crime.

“We need eyes and ears,” Lieutenant Michael Kopecki summarized at the first PSA 4 meeting January 20. Kopecki is the commanding officer for that PSA, which covers Chestnut Hill and parts of northern East and West Mt. Airy.

Lieutenant Brian Murphy, commanding officer for PSA 2 (most of East Germantown and lower East Mt. Airy) had a similar view in his meeting January 21.

“What we’re trying to do with this, it’s like a problem-solving thing,” he said to community members. “You’ll be able to help us find solutions to problems.”

City Councilwoman Donna Miller and Stephen Kinsey, chief of staff for State Representative John Myers, both attended Murphy’s meeting along with a handful of local residents. Both Myers and Miller live in PSA 2. This is also the area that recently saw the brutal murder of Ellen Walton, on the 6300 block of Magnolia Street January 18.

Miller and others at the meeting were visibly shaken by that event. An 18-year-old neighbor of Walton has been charged in the case.

Citywide there have been 10 homicides in January, and according to Deputy Commissioner Wright, that number represents a 19-percent reduction over this time last year. 

But locally, Germantown and Mt. Airy have seen at least four killings since December. Kopecki acknowledged that this was higher than in most previous years.  There was no apparent reason for the increase that he knew of, but according to him and Bartorilla fixing problems like this comes down to good basic police work.

At the core there need to be committed officers and an engaged public, and this is why Bartorilla was impressed with the strong resident turnout for the PSA 3 meeting on January 19. That PSA covers most of West Germantown and West Mt. Airy.

“I can tell you already that’s going to be a good PSA,” Bartorilla said.

The residents were organized, they had a list of concerns and they were already active in public safety through town watch groups, he said, all very good signs.

Lizabeth Macoretta, executive director of West Mt. Airy Neighbors, had a similar assessment of the new captain and the new system. She liked Bartorilla’s enthusiasm and his willingness to admit that he still had a lot to learn about the 14th District.

About the PSA system she said, “I like the idea of having my lieutenant of the PSA’s [phone] number. This is who I can get in touch with – face and a name.”    

That is an appropriate reaction considering the PSA model is all about bringing familiarity back to police work.

Back in 1950s the 14th District was divided into 26 sectors and the city has followed the sector model ever since then, Bartorilla said, even when scheduling and personnel numbers haven’t favored it.

At first and through the 1970s andr 80s, a single car patrolled each of the district’s 26 sectors. That’s 26 units that got to know their territories very well. At shift change each unit was relieved by another unit that operated in that sector. Communication was strong within the sectors and local knowledge was high.

Over the years scheduling changed so that officers no longer work the same beats day in and day out. They rotate among assignments and their hours change day to day. Because of this and losses in manpower, local knowledge and communication has slipped, Bartorilla said, and the sectors became less meaningful because there weren’t enough units to cover each one autonomously.

Initiating the PSA system is an attempt to recover that local connection and increase communication by tying most officers to a territory (larger than sectors) that is roughly defined by neighborhoods, Bartorilla said.

In the Fourteenth it might have been ideal to have six PSAs instead of four, he said, to keep the PSAs truly neighborhood specific. But learning to accommodate varying neighborhood concerns will just have to be part of making the new system work because the Fourteenth only has four lieutenants to head up the PSAs.

Another important part will be getting the word out to residents to become involved in the PSAs by attending the monthly meetings. Bartorilla was disappointed in the turnout for PSAs One, Two and Four. But he and the lieutenants in charge were still looking forward to building the new system.

“This is just the first [meeting],” Lt. Murphy said to his small group from PSA 2. They were clustered near the podium in the sanctuary of New Bethel AME Church at Germantown Avenue and Tulpehocken Street. “We’re going to continue with this. And in two years from now this place might be packed.”

A community workshop and town hall meeting will be held Tuesday, February 24 at the 14th Police District, 43 West Haines St., 7-9 p.m.

For information about upcoming PSA meetings call 215-686-3140.

Classic Towns Initiative Takes Shape in Germantown


Staff Writer

In October the Germantown Community Connection (GCC) won a bid on behalf of Germantown to be a “Classic Town” through the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC). The work has folded well into the community group’s effort to facilitate a larger conversation about the future of the area.

“This is our time to bring our community of neighbors together,” said Betty Turner, one of the founders of GCC. “Classic Towns [is] an opportunity to sort of gel… This is just one part of the Germantown Community Connection agenda for 2010.”

The two efforts are going hand-in-hand. The Classic Towns team, organized through GCC and chaired by member David Hamme, is pulling together volunteers to work on the Germantown Classic Towns website and provide it with insider content showing why this area is so unique. At the same time GCC is updating its own website to become something beyond a virtual welcoming site for Germantown.

Turner sees the efforts as complimentary: Classic Towns being devoted to generating new interest in Germantown from the outside, and the GCC site being all about fostering connections within the existing community.

DVRPC started Classic Towns in 2008 to provide multi-media promotion of older communities within Philadelphia and its suburbs as great places to move to from, say, New York and other nearby population centers.

“Really the program is meant to provide information and let people learn about the communities,” said DVRPC’s Senior Regional Planner Karen Cilurso. “Our main goal is to bring Germantown to the front and let people know that there is more to Philadelphia than Center City.”

Classic Towns is intended as a way to brand Germantown as an attractive place to live, work, shop, and play. In addition to Germantown walking tours coming to the Germantown Classic Towns website this summer, and a new community calendar for exciting events, Hamme’s team of volunteers is coming up with ways to highlight the true uniqueness of the area in those four key categories.

History, architecture and diversity are some of the clear strengths that his team will cover, but Hamme also wants to capture the less known tidbits that are likely to really draw people in. One example is Germantown’s vibrant community or artists and artisans.

“Some of these organizations and people are known far better outside Germantown than they are in Germantown,” he said.

And there are even some burgeoning national trends, like farming in cities that are particularly well represented around here.

“Germantown happens to be on the cutting edge of this pattern of urban agriculture,” Hamme said.

The short-term goal is to recruit more volunteers for the monthly Classic Towns meetings to help show off what’s cool about Germantown. DVRPC will handle most of the technical stuff, so enthusiasm and creativity can flow as freely as possible. And taking a longer focus, GCC will be there to help make sure all this energy translates into an ongoing conversation for existing residents.

To get involved visit or attend Community Connection meetings on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Germantown, 35 West Chelten Avenue.

Maxwell Mansion Open for Winter Tours

In 1859 Ebenezer Maxwell built a wonderful stone Victorian eclectic “country villa” for his wife, Anna, and their six children.  After the Maxwell family’s departure, the house at 200 West Tulpehocken Street was occupied for ninety years by the Hunter-Stevenson family until 1956.  It stood abandoned in the mid-twentieth century and was rescued from demolition and then restored by a small group of philanthropists to become a furnished Victorian-era house museum that now appears on the National Register of Historic Places.

For the first time since the house became a museum in the early 1970’s, the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion is now open for private tours through March 31 on Thursday and Friday afternoons from noon to 4 p.m. with the last tour at 3:15.  Enthusiastic docents give an insider’s look at middle class life in America during the Industrial Revolution and the Civil War.  The Mansion is restored to two time periods; the downstairs represents life in the 1860’s when the Maxwell family resided in the villa while the upstairs depicts life after the Centennial Celebration in 1876.  Give yourself a delightful vacation from the winter blues by visiting the Mansion this season.

The Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion is Philadelphia’s only authentically restored Victorian house museum and garden.  The Mansion is located in the Tulpehocken Station Historic District, one of America’s first railroad suburbs.  The Mansion is part of Historic Germantown, a consortium of 15 historic sites, located in the Northwest.

For more information call 215-438-1861 or visit  the web site at

Anti-Stress Workshops at Orion’s Light

On Saturday, January 30, 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., Orion’s Light Healing Arts Collective, 6809 Germantown Avenue, second floor, will discuss how stress can create many problems both within our bodies and our lives.  We will discuss how herbs can help relax our body and mind, strengthen our nervous and endocrine system and prevent major health related issues. The cost is $20. To register call 215-438-4770 or visit

City’s New EMS Awareness Program

There were approximately 266,000 medical incidents responded to by Philadelphia Fire Department Medic Units in 2009. It is estimated that a significant number of these calls to duty were of a non-emergency nature. Effectiveness of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system is compromised when unnecessary calls are received. Reducing the number of non-emergency calls into the 911 system will enhance the Philadelphia Fire Department Emergency Medical Services’ mission to deliver quality care and continue our commitment to public safety.

The goals of the  Department’s Community First Awareness Program are to provide quick response and exceptional Emergency Medical Services to the citizens of Philadelphia; provide the public with educational material and raise awareness on emergency medical services and other health-related resources; reduce the number of non-emergency medical calls into the 911 system.

Objectives include locating community partners and stakeholders in designated areas; presenting workshops educating the public about  EMS; distributing EMS preventative literature to promote EMS education and present workshops to raise public awareness; providing information about alternative modes of transportation for non-emergency incidents; promoting the new 311 City of Philadelphia hotline for all non-emergency city service calls.

The purpose is to raise public awareness of Philadelphia Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services; encourage prevention of illness and injuries; encourage/enhance the public’s awareness of first-aid and other healthcare options; and encourage public use of alternative means of transportation for non-emergency incidents.  

Please contact Paramedic Boyd at 215/686-1300 for additional information and to schedule a presentation.

‘Paint for Haiti’ Benefit Sale

“Paint for Haiti,” an art sale benefiting Doctors Without Borders, will be held from Tuesday, Feb. 2 through Friday, Feb. 5 and will feature the works of local painters at Chestnut Hill Gallery, 8117 Germantown Avenue.

In light of the recent tragedy in Haiti, Chestnut Hill Gallery will host a fundraising art sale to support medical aid and disaster relief.

Thirty percent of all art sold will be donated to Doctors Without Borders, an organization that is giving tremendous help to the citizens of Haiti and is working to accommodate the immense number of people awaiting surgery and treatment. A fundraising reception will be held on the evening of Wednesday, February 3 from 6-8 p.m.  Refreshments will be provided.

Please come and support medical relief in Haiti.

For information call 215-248-2549 or e-mail to

GGBA Meeting on ‘Green’ Business

The Greater Germantown Business Association, Inc.’s February 9 morning meeting will focus on how “Going Green” can markedly improve your business’ bottom line. This GGBA meeting will provide practical, cost-conscious greening tips for businesses, as well as share success stories. We will also unveil GGBA’s plans for a “Germantown Green Business District,” as well as information about Maplewood Mall’s planned “Green Initiative.” 

Mayor Nutter has indicated that he wants Philadelphia to become the greenest city in the nation. In spite of reported city, state and federal financial woes, the financial future of “Green business development” is extremely bright. Come and learn how your business can get more green by going GREEN!

The meeting, “Go Green: See More Green on Your Bottom Line,” will be held Tuesday, February 9, 8:30 - 10 a.m. at CricKet Communications Retail Store, 200 West Chelten Avenue (corner of Wayne and Chelten avenues.) Get your business positioned to profit from the shift to green.

A continental breakfast will be served, so an R.S.V.P. must be received by Friday, February 5. Contact John Churchville at or leave a message at 215-848-8511. 

Youngblood Hosts Program on Stimulus Package

State Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood will host a special presentation on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act from 2 - 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 4 at First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, 35 West Chelten Ave.  The seminar will feature a discussion with Pennsylvania Stimulus Oversight Commission member and United Way of Pennsylvania President Anthony L. Ross.

“There has been considerable talk about the president’s economic stimulus plan,” Youngblood said. “This session will provide a detailed understanding of opportunities that exist within the plan for area nonprofit organizations and the steps needed to secure funding.”

Youngblood said that representatives from local nonprofit organizations who plan to attend the seminar can RSVP her constituent service office at 215-849-6426.

Energy Conservation Workshop

On Thursday, February 4, from 1 to 3 p.m., Wadsworth Mature Adults Group and Neighborhood Interfaith Movement (NIM)’s Resources for Older Adult Living (ROAL) will host a workshop entitled “Energy Conservation” at the Dorothy Emanuel Recreation Center, 8500 Pickering Avenue. 

The workshop features trainers who will share information about rebates and tax credits, demonstrate how to install self-help energy saving materials and provide materials free of charge to low income people.  Participants will also receive literature on energy saving techniques for their homes and referrals to programs that can help them to make their homes more energy efficient.

ROAL@NIM is pleased to work with Wadsworth Mature Adults group to bring valuable information to the 55+ population in the Wadsworth community. ROAL’s main focus is to assure that older adults have the information they need to continue living in their homes and communities as their needs change. ROAL offers consultation, referral and problem solving around issues related to aging.

For more information call ROAL@NIM at 215-843-5602.

Vendors Sought for CH Garden Festival

The Chestnut Hill Business Association is gearing up for its 14th Annual Chestnut Hill Home and Garden Festival scheduled for Sunday, May 2, and is soliciting vendors for the event.  Businesses wishing to participate as vendors should have products geared to the home or garden.  In addition, a select number of artists and/or crafters will also be selected to exhibit at the event.

This year, there will be an expanded “Green Scene” at the festival featuring vendors that specialize in environmentally friendly or sustainable products.  Businesses that wish to take part in the festival can download an application from the Chestnut Hill website at or call the Business Association office at 215-247-6696.

Dine at Trolley Car, Help Haiti

Trolley Car Diner, 7619 Germantown Avenue, is offering a way for people to lend a helping hand to Haiti by doing something they do every day: sit down for a meal.  Trolley Car Diner will donate 15 percent of its food and beverage sales to the American Red Cross Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund when guests come in to eat at the diner and present their Helping Hands coupon February 1-8. 

“People are looking for meaningful ways to help the people of Haiti.  The best way to help right now is to send money,” says Diner owner Ken Weinstein.  “The Haitian people really need our help to overcome this disaster.  We need to step up to help.”

During the past eight years, Trolley Car Diner has donated more than $100,000 to organizations and non-profits through its Helping Hands program.  More than 300 area organizations have participated, including schools, houses of worship, and other non-profit entities.  Groups choose a designated week, distribute a special coupon to their members and receive 15 percent of each member’s purchase as a contribution from Trolley Car Diner to their organization. 

Coupons will be accepted February 1-8, 7 a.m. -  9 p.m. Monday – Friday, and 3 – 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.  Patrons should present the coupon to the cashier when paying to donate 15 percent of their bill towards relief for Haiti. 

To download a coupon visit or e-mail to

For more information about Helping Hands Week for Haiti Relief or if you are interested in hosting a Helping Hands Week for your organization, contact Erica Hawthorne at or 215-848-1133, ext. 208.

Benefit Concert for Haiti

In response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Delaware Valley Opera Company, in cooperation with Cunningham Piano Company, will presents a benefit concert to raise funds for the American Red Cross’s relief efforts.

This concert will feature selections by principal artists from DVOC’s roster of local singers. It will be held Saturday, Jan. 30, 8 p.m., at Cunningham Piano Company, 5427 Germantown Avenue. The minimum donation will be $5. Help us help Haiti.

For information call 215-482-5929.

Drive for Haiti’s Children

As many know, a crisis has hit Haiti that has left many people homeless, hungry and alone. Many of these people are innocent children fighting to survive daily. As a result of this crisis and how it has touched not only the hearts of the teachers at All About Kidz Early Learning Center, 6555 Greene Street, but the students as well, we have decided to sponsor a drive for the children in Haiti.

The students are asking for donations of clothing, shoes, toothbrushes, socks, coats, underwear, shoes, blankets, towels, sheets, etc. Please take the time to look through your home for any of these items new or used (good condition). We would greatly appreciate all donations, which will be shipped to Haiti and given to the children affected by the earthquake.

For more information call Ms. Clark at 215-843-0188.

Show You ‘Love’ Wissahickon on Feb. 13

Express your passion for the park by joining the Friends of the Wissahickon (FOW) on Love the Wissahickon Day, Saturday, February 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. FOW volunteers will be picking up trash and recycling in Wissahickon Valley Park. After the clean-up, volunteers will meet outside Valley Green at noon for refreshments.

“This is a great opportunity for individuals and families with children to volunteer in the Wissahickon,” says FOW Volunteer Coordinator Kevin Groves. “Last year, over 200 hours of volunteer work was accomplished by more than 100 participants.”

Volunteers should register with Groves at or 215-247-0417. If you are unable to register in advance, report to the information table near Valley Green Inn on Forbidden Drive at 10 a.m. that morning.

Founded in 1924, the Friends of the Wissahickon is a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining Wissahickon Valley Park as a non-profit partner with the Fairmount Park Commission. FOW restores historical structures throughout the park, eliminates invasive plant species, partners with multiple local organizations to monitor watershed management issues, and is working on a multi-year plan to restore trails throughout the park system.

For more information, visit or call 215-247-0417.

New Year for Trees

In Jewish tradition, the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shvat (Jan. 29 and 30 this year) marks the New Year for Trees. Chabad-Lubavitch of Northwest Philadelphia will be marking this day with two programs:

• A Family Tu B’Shvat Celebration for children and their parents, on Friday evening, January 29, 5:30 – 7 p.m. The program will begin with a Shabbat dinner including Challah, gefilte fish, and matzah ball soup. Dinner will be followed by special Tu B’Shvat dessert and program for children. The cost is $12 per person, $35 maximum per family. RSVP is required.

Tu B’Shvat Kiddush Lunch, on Saturday, Jan. 30, 12:30 – 2 p.m.. The lunch will combine fruit themed dishes such as Waldorf salad and olive tapenade with learning and discussion about the Kabballah and spiritual significance of fruits and trees. There is no charge; RSVP is appreciated but not required.

Both events will meet at 7334 Rural Lane. To RSVP or for information call Rabbi Yitzchok Gurevitz at 215-438-5327 or register online at

Women’s Retreat at LTSP

The 4th annual Rest, Refreshment and Renewal: A Retreat for Women is scheduled for Saturday, February 6, 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Avenue. This year’s theme is “Creation and Creativity” and the day will allow participants to explore the meaning of creation and creativity in their lives. The event is open to all women.

Highlights include Artist-in-Residence Nancy Katz, who will - with participants - create a painting reflecting the theme, and a Creation/Creativity Gallery where participants can display their own creations. Participants will join in gatherings on a number of subjects, have holy time to rest, pray or walk the seminary labyrinth, and be able to join in fellowship with other participants.

Take this opportunity to give a gift to yourself, and to share the day with your friends and neighbors.

More information, including a schedule for the day and registration, can be found online at

‘Essentially English’ Classes

Germantown Friends School invites members of the community to join high school students in the classroom to explore an exciting range of literature this spring. From Shakespeare to Spike Lee, from spy novels to contemporary short stories — the Essentially English program offers nineteen courses designed to bring people of different ages together to share varied perspectives.

“Writing for Radio” students will produce shows to air on; “Teenage Angst” will explore the emotional plight of the adolescent through eight films; and other courses will delve into existentialism, “gonzo journalism”, the literature of childhood, and much more.

Germantown Friends School’s “Essentially English” elective courses are open for registration until February 5. Classes will be taught by GFS faculty, independent scholars, novelists, and professional actors.

For both literature and writing classes, adults are expected to complete the reading and to participate in class discussions, but to do the writing only if they are enrolled in a writing course. Classes, which run for eight weeks, begin in April and continue until June. Of the 20 courses offered, 14 will be given on Monday or Wednesday evenings; the remaining courses meet four days a week during regular school hours.

The fee for each course is $175. Space is at a premium; registrations must be received by February 5. To view the course list and obtain a printable registration form, please visit Or call 215-951-2300 for more information.

Prenatal Services

Following a short interruption, Covenant House Health Services is pleased to announce the resumption of prenatal services at its 251 East Bringhurst Street site on January 26. Prenatal care will be available to both insured and uninsured persons four days week.  Deliveries will be provided through arrangements with Albert Einstein Medical Center and Temple University Hospital. Juanita Burton, M.D., an experienced obstetrician/gynecologist, will provide our pregnant patients with comprehensive and accessible prenatal care.  She   looks forward to continuing our tradition of caring which is embodied in our motto:  “Covenant House Cares.” 

To schedule a prenatal appointment, call our appointment line at 215-844-0181.

Committee of 70 Manual on Running for Committeeperson

The Committee of Seventy has released a comprehensive manual for Philadelphians interested in running in the May 18 primary election for one of over 6,700 committee person positions. Each of  the city’s 1,684 voting divisions, which this year includes six newly-created divisions in Center City’s Fifth and Eighth Wards, is represented by up to two Democratic and two Republican committee people.

Seventy’s “How to Run for Committee Person: A Campaign Manual for Philadelphia Candidates” is available at

“Serving as a committee person is a great way to get involved in the political process at the ground level,” said President and CEO Zack Stalberg.  “It’s one of the finest things you can do as a citizen and a good neighbor.” Stalberg added that committee people can drive increased civic participation in neighborhoods, which helps elected leaders better understand their constituents’ needs and priorities. 

According to Stalberg, Seventy’s all-inclusive manual addresses everything from who is eligible to run for committee person and how to get on the ballot to the responsibilities of the job and where a committee person “fits” within the city’s political structure. For example, he said that many people are surprised to learn that they can largely define whether to confine their job to getting ready for Election Day or instead working year-round on community issues. Residents also may not know that getting on the ballot to serve as a committee person requires only ten valid signatures from voters in their party who live in their election division.

In addition, the Committee of Seventy will hold a “How to Run for Committee Person” candidate training at 1628 JFK Boulevard, Suite 1002 on Thursday, February 11 at 6 p.m. The training session is free of charge and all are welcome to attend.

The Committee of Seventy is also partnering with groups across the city to increase public awareness about the opportunity to run for a committee person position.

Organizations interested in an informational session or committee person candidate training should contact Leah Pillsbury, Director of Civic Programs, lpillsbury@seventy. org or 215-557-3600 ext 109.

The Committee of Seventy is a non-partisan organization fighting for clean and efficient government, fair elections and informed citizens. 

More information can by found at

Mothers March Planning Meeting

A planning meeting for “Mothers March Globally” will take place on Friday, January 29 at 3 p.m. at Crossroads Women’s Center, 33 Maplewood Mall.

Mothers March Globally is a Global Women’s Strike event for International Women’s Day that will take place on Saturday March 13, with marches in different US cities and several countries. 

Mothers aim to make our voices heard on poverty, housing, welfare, recognition of caring work, DHS Give Us Back Our Children, racism, criminal “justice”, anti-war, military mothers, asylum and immigration, prostitution and other struggles for survival, home health aides, healthcare, rape and violence, breastfeeding, childcare, pay equity, and lesbian/gay/bi/trans families, among others.

All interested in helping and adding their voice and concerns are welcome to attend.  Meetings will take place every Friday at 3 p.m. at Crossroads Women’s Center until March 13.  A woman-led march, men are welcome.  The event is sponsored by Every Mother is a Working Mother Network. For information call 215-848-1120 or e-mail to

Pottery Classes for All Ages at CIP

Angela Klaerner Clark, pottery instructor at Center in the Park, grew up in a small provincial town in the mountains of the former East Germany. How she ended up in Germantown is a fascinating story.

“My husband likes to joke that he found me wandering around Germantown looking for Germans,” she says. “Actually we originally met back in 1984, while he was attending a ceramics symposium located not too far from my home. We hit it off but we couldn’t imagine at that time that we would ever be able to get together permanently.”

Of course, five years later the Wall came down and the world completely changed for Angela. She temporarily relocated to West Germany where she worked for a master potter named Wendelin Stahl. She says, “Those two years were amongst the best of my life. Stahl’s home and studio were located in a beautiful castle overlooking the Mosel River. He was quite renowned, friends from all over the world constantly came to visit, and there was always something going on.”

Unfortunately her father passed away and Angela was forced to return home where she helped to run the family’s construction business with her sister. “It was my capitalism period, I fancied myself quite the businesswomen.” However, competition mostly from more established West German firms was stiff and the sisters were forced to sell the company about five years later. While initially disappointed, this allowed Angela to return to her profession as ceramic artist.

Nevertheless, things were quite different in the united Germany. “Before the wall came down being a potter was one of the best ways to make a living in the GDR, the market for pottery was insatiable, dealers and gallery owners used to line up outside my gate on the days I unloaded a kiln,” says Angela. “Shortly after everything changed, people were already asking, can you actually make a living doing that?”

The weaker market for pottery encouraged Klaerner to try new things and she gravitated toward installation art. She joined an international artist collective called “Ortswechsel”, (Change of Place) that included Hungarians, Swiss, French and of course Germans. “We would arrange group residencies in the different countries and create works based on various themes. I enjoyed the stimulation of working alongside artists from other media.”

It was during this time that she reconnected with her now husband, Jimmy Clark also a ceramic artist. “When I first proposed that Jimmy collaborate with me creating installations he wasn’t too interested. I actually had to trick him into it.” The two went on to create quite a few works together, several in abandoned churches of the former GDR, others at castles and museums. “Once Jimmy got into it, he really enjoyed working in this way.”

After four years of cross-Atlantic dating, the two were finally able to locate under one roof at Peters Valley Craft Center in northern New Jersey when Clark became Director there in 2004. The job came with a house, in which they were married in December of that year. “The years at Peters Valley were wonderful in their way, but we both longed to be in a more urban environment,” says Angela. They relocated to Philadelphia in early 2009, settling in Germantown.

In September, Angela began teaching the pottery program at Center in the Park, Germantown’s jewel of a senior center located in Vernon Park. “It’s a beautiful facility and quite affordable. I just love the diversity of the students and their enthusiasm.”

The feeling appears to be mutual. “We work at our own speed in a relaxed friendly atmosphere,” says student Ida Gowans. “The teacher is terrific, skilled, helpful, patient and encourages us to try whatever we want,” adds Ann Silverman.

While Center in the Park serves mostly people over 55, the ceramics class is open to adults of all ages. The Center is also considering offering a grandparent/grandchild workshop if there is enough interest. The ceramic class meets Wednesdays from noon to 2:30, with the next session starting February 10.

For more information contact the Center’s Program Office at 215-848-7722 or visit

Blood Drive at Reformation Lutheran

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, along with the American Red Cross, will sponsor a blood drive on Saturday, February 6, 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at Reformation Lutheran Church, 1215 East Vernon Road. For information and registration requirements call Mary Sanders at 267-339-5126, the church at 215-548-4322, or e-mail to

Mt. Airy USA to Recognize Volunteers

Mt. Airy USA will host a volunteer appreciation Mardi Gras party on “Fat Tuesday,” February 16, 5-8 p.m. It will feature good food, good friends and lots of Mardi Gras merriment at Mt. Airy USA, 6703 Germantown Avenue. Please RSVP by February 9 to Cynthia Bradley, community organizer, at 215-844-6021 ext. 214 or e-mail to

NW Zoning Hearings

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, February 2, 9:30 a.m. 5905 Greene Street. Permit for a group daycare for a maximum of 12 children to include four under the age of 2 and ½ years, preparing and serving food, for periods less than 24 consecutive hours, no signs on this application.


Back to the Germantown Newspapers Home Page