From the Chronicle • Germantown News Stories

February 11, 2010 • Germantown Chronicle. Feb. 11.pdf

In This Issue


Don’t Block Your Space


Bridge Work Set for Entrance to Northwest


Where’s the Money?

Stimulus Funding Gets Complicated


Johnson House Teaches History, Enduring Values


‘A Soldier’s Play’: Gripping Whodunnit with Social Relevance


Valentine Glassmaking


FUMCOG Community Grants


Anti-Addiction Workshop


Torah Study for Women


WMAN to Discuss Gateway


Card Exchange


FOW


Northwest is A-Buzz with Bee Events


After you’ve dug out your car after a foot-plus of snow has fallen it’s a natural tendency to feel that the space you’ve cleared is yours – but it’s not. The Police Department is reminding everyone that staking out parking spaces with chairs, cones and the like is against the law: see below.


Don’t Block Your Space


The Philadelphia Police Department has issued the following reminder:

The use of any item(s) for the purpose of reserving parking spaces or redirecting/rerouting traffic (examples include cones, chairs, trash cans milk crates, etc.) is illegal. The items will be considered abandoned property or trash and will be confiscated by the Department.


This practice is in violation of the Motor Vehicle Code of Pennsylvania and is punishable by a fine of no less than $100. The Pennsylvania Crime Code provides other violations that may also be charged to the offender or property owner (such as littering or obstructing the highway) that can result in fines or arrest.


Bridge Work Set for Entrance to Northwest


By PATRICK COBBS

Staff Writer


Getting from the Northwest to Route 76 or Center City – or vice versa - is about to get more complicated.

PennDOT expects to start a $20 million bridge reconstruction project by late February or early March that will repair or replace six “structurally deficient” bridges in what it calls the Gustine Lake Interchange.


That’s the area where Lincoln Drive, Ridge Avenue, Kelly Drive and Route 1 all meet. 100,000 cars per day use these routes, according to PennDOT estimates.


The incoming and outgoing bridges that take Lincoln over Ridge Avenue will be replaced along with the ramp bridges that feed from Lincoln onto City Line and City Line onto Ridge, and the two bridges the feed between Kelly and Ridge on the way to East Falls.


The bridges between Kelly and Ridge are first on the docket for replacement.


PennDOT expects to reduce traffic lanes and use detours during the construction, which should run through September of 2011.


Gustine Lake Interchange Construction Map


Getting from the Northwest to Route 76 or Center City – or vice versa - is about to get more complicated. PennDOT expects to start a $20 million bridge reconstruction project by late February or early March that will repair or replace six “structurally deficient” bridges in what it calls the Gustine Lake Interchange. That’s the area where Lincoln Drive, Ridge Avenue, Kelly Drive and Route 1 all meet. 100,000 cars per day use these routes, according to PennDOT estimates.


Click the link above to see the map.


Where’s the Money?

Stimulus Funding Gets Complicated


By PATRICK COBBS

Staff Writer


On February 4 State Representative Rosita Youngblood (D., 198th) held an informational meeting aimed at making sense of the mass of federal stimulus-related opportunities available, or soon to be available in Pennsylvania.


Her office has been flooded with calls about stimulus, she said. And it’s no wonder. Pennsylvania is expected to receive a total of close to $29 billion in American Recovery Act funding, and it’s not all going to the same place. 


“There is a lot of different funding streams,” Youngblood said. “It’s confusing and we need to un-confuse people.”


The president and CEO of the United Way of Pennsylvania, Tony Ross, had that duty. As a member of the state’s Stimulus Oversight Commission, Ross has been traveling the state holding meetings for community groups for just this purpose. Last Thursday’s meeting was his 35th .

Ross agreed that stimulus details are complicated, to say the least, but no matter where he goes the main questions are the same.


“Whether it’s Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or Erie, people want to know the same thing: where is the money?” he said.


Unfortunately, the answer is also complicated. More than 10 of that $29 billion will go directly to qualified local authorities (like SEPTA), Ross said, leaving $16 billion to channel through state and local governments and other systems. Of that, about $700 million has already been earmarked for outgoing grants. And even that is a huge amount of money.


“That’s gi-normous,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is break it down.”


In all there are more than 150 separate funding streams for Pennsylvania’s stimulus dollars, according to Ross, and each has its own deadlines, its own rules and its own application processes. 


Since Pennsylvania is one of 16 states that the federal General Accounting Office has decided to specifically monitor, there will be plenty of attention on accurate reporting all the way down to the smallest vendor or contractor, Ross said. For this reason he warned that anyone considering a maiden voyage with government contracts might want to wait or partner with an experienced government contractor for stimulus grants.


“It can be the best day of you life when you finally get your first government contract,” he said. “But it can also be the worst day of your life when you get your first government contract.”


But there is good news too. There is an effort to increase the number of first time government contractors or vendors through stimulus opportunities, and in Pennsylvania there is a statewide goal of a 10 percent inclusion rate for minority-owned businesses in the stimulus programs, according to Ross.


“The federal government doesn’t require any reporting on this, so Pennsylvania is really out in the forefront on this issue,” he said.


Ross offered several pieces of practical advice for the stimulus seeker.


The first was that much of the money that comes through the city will tend to flow through traditional offices – so it is important for interested businesses or non-profits to reach out to local elected officials and city offices for details. And whether on the state or city level, it is also important to get put on the email notification lists for changes to stimulus programs because much of the money has not gone out yet, he said.


At the state level, he said, the most important information he had was a list of all the stimulus contact people for each department of the state government (available at www.germantownnewspapers.com).


And he also advised attendees not forget the traditional government funding streams. In some cases these opportunities are becoming easier to get because stimulus grants are removing some of the competition. 


Ross also said the state itself is still brainstorming ways to use the stimulus. One possibility will likely be a rebate program for consumers who buy energy-efficient products, according to Ross.


For small businesses, Sheryl Paynter of the Small Business Administration highlighted expanded loan opportunities thanks to stimulus backing. New federal standards mean that 99 percent of all businesses now qualify for small business status, she said.


In the audience, Bob Noble of Keystone Development Center asked if there were stimulus opportunities that could help fledgling cooperative organizations for shopping or agricultural food production.

“We would like to be able to assist that kind of development,” he said.


While neither Ross nor Paynter had an exact answer, they promised to put Noble in touch with people who could help him figure things out.


Most questions were answered that way at the meeting. Like the stimulus itself, they all had an in-process component.


Diane Connor’s inquiry was no exception. As the owner of Sisters Child Care Center at 3904 Germantown Avenue, which was hit hard by loss of subsidies due to the state budget impasse this summer, she wanted to know if the stimulus funds could provide some sort of a reserve to protect against something like that happening again.


Ross couldn’t offer a specific answer to this question either. But, he said, the Stimulus Oversight Commission has already gotten the message about last year’s budget loud and clear, and it is looking into the possibilities for setting up just such a safety provision.

“We’re on the case.” He said.


For more information about stimulus finding in Pennsylvania visit www.recovery.pa.gov. Visit www.germantownnewspapers.com for a list of stimulus contact information at state agencies.


Johnson House Teaches History, Enduring Values


By LAUREN HERMAN and

BRYANT MADDRICK

Guest Writers


As America celebrates Black History Month one historic house’s story offers lessons in community and diversity that hold relevance today.


Built in 1768 by John Johnson, the Johnson House at 6306 Germantown Avenue was the home to generations of the family from 1770 to 1908, according to tour guide Jim Crichton. In the 1850s, the family used their home as a meeting place for abolitionists and to hide runaway slaves in parts of the house such as the attic and springhouse.


Quakers Samuel Johnson and Jennet Rowland Johnson strongly disapproved of slavery because of their religious beliefs and took in runaway slaves or “freedom seekers” as the Johnson House refers to them throughout tours.


In 1997, the Department of the Interior made the Johnson House a National Historic Landmark. Since then, members of the community have had the opportunity to tour the home to learn the history of the Johnson family and the Underground Railroad. The public can also take away lessons about community and diversity through hearing the story of people helping people to gain freedom.


Executive Director Cornelia Swinson first served on the Johnson House’s board and was attracted to the historic site because of the Johnson family’s unique story and the educational opportunities that could result from opening the house to the public. Under her direction the Johnson House works to educate the community, especially young people, about the historical site’s story and how it remain relevant in today’s world. “[The Johnson House] provides a concrete lesson for young people to learn about how you get along, how you address community issues,” she said.


Swinson, along with the tour guides, focus on creating an educational experience that both young and old can understand and appreciate. Unlike most museums, the Johnson House doesn’t rely on objects and art. The tour guides instead take visitors room to room as they tell the story of the Johnson family and the freedom seekers.


“It’s not the kind of house where you come in and learn about the china and the furniture. You learn how important it is to think about your fellow man,” Swinson said.


Walking through the house, the tour guides explain the purposes the rooms served to the Johnson family. They also use the rooms as different venues to shed light on subjects that do not necessarily relate to the Johnsons. One of the bedrooms holds a display on famous and not-so-famous abolitionists where visitors can learn about the likes of Harriet Tubman, Fredrick Douglass and William Still. The room that was the Johnsons’ office has an exhibit about a recent student-run archaeological dig that took place on the house grounds. Pieces of objects once belonging to the Johnsons are on display.


Simplicity and modesty were at the core of their Quaker beliefs and can be seen throughout the home.

In an extension of the educational experience, the Johnson House is one of four historic sites in Germantown that participates in the History Hunters program. Created for fourth- and fifth-grade students, the program works with participating schools’ curriculums to further reinforce the history lessons the children learn in the classroom. About 1,500 students make their way through the house because of the History Hunters program who might not have been able to visit it otherwise.


When touring the Johnson House visitors can’t miss the impact it has had on the children who have toured the site. In the drawing room, quilts and other artwork created by the student tourists after they had reflected on their experiences learning about the Johnson family and the Underground Railroad are on display.


Created to coincide with Black History Month, the Johnson House is holding an essay contest for three different age groups ranging from third to 12th grade. The winners will be announced from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 21, at the site. This year’s contest topics invite young people to think about protests against slavery, another way the Johnson House works to engage young people to think about history on a more personal level.


The way the Johnson family worked with runaway slaves and accepted all kinds of people reflects the diverse neighborhood that Germantown has always been. “This community was a community that people felt was a vehicle for diversity and people moved here to this community for that reason. And not just contemporarily but historically,” Swinson said.


Although the Johnson House serves as a powerful tool in teaching the public about such ideals as diversity and community, Swinson believes that the historic site could be more. She thinks there is still much that the public can learn from the Johnsons’ Quaker values and how they offered their home as a place of refuge. ”The values that are embedded in this house are values that we’ll need to have every day for the rest of our lives,” she said. 


For more information visit www.ushistory.org/germantown/upper/johnson.htm or call 215-438-1768.


Don’t Block Your Space


The Philadelphia Police Department has issued the following reminder:

The use of any item(s) for the purpose of reserving parking spaces or redirecting/rerouting traffic (examples include cones, chairs, trash cans milk crates, etc.) is illegal. The items will be considered abandoned property or trash and will be confiscated by the Department.


This practice is in violation of the Motor Vehicle Code of Pennsylvania and is punishable by a fine of no less than $100. The Pennsylvania Crime Code provides other violations that may also be charged to the offender or property owner (such as littering or obstructing the highway) that can result in fines or arrest.


‘A Soldier’s Play’: Gripping Whodunnit with Social Relevance


By JOHN STANCHAK

Guest Writer


Before the curtain goes up at The Stagecrafters, 8130 Germantown Avenue, the director of “A Soldier’s Play” warns the audience. Two sharp cracks from a .45 open up this mystery. Two more close it.


Written by Philadelphia’s own Charles Fuller, it debuted on Broadway in 1984, earned the author a Pulitzer Prize for Drama and an Edgar Award for best theatrical mystery drama.  At The Stagecrafters on February 5, it earned rousing audience approval for being an intense whodunnit that addressed serious social issues.


The action is set in a U.S.  Army training camp in Louisiana during World War II, where the troops are African-American and most of the officers are Caucasian.  The cast of “A Soldier’s Play” is led by Gerard Joseph , Monroe Barrick, and Jeff Ragan, as Captain Richard Davenport, Sergeant Vernon C. Waters, and Captain Charles Taylor, two black men and a white one, in an era when  racial and status differences were recognized – and enforced - by the law.


Waters is murdered. Captain Davenport, a rare black officer holding a law deree and attached to the army’s legal affairs department, is sent from Missouri to Louisiana to investigate the case. The Ku Klux Klan is suspected of being behind the killing of the sergeant. David Ferrier and Mike Gannon play Captain Wilcox and Lieutenant Byrd, two white officers who also find themselves on the list of suspects.  But who did the deed?


Captain Davenport interviews a barracks-load of suspects, enlisted men who had many reasons to eliminate the sergeant. Played by Richard Steven Bradford, E. L. Banks, Marc Holly, Walter DeShields, Kyle Paul Dandridge, Ron Shipman and Chadwick Rawlings, these men also play on the camp’s baseball team and are boosted by their white officers and camp commander. No one wants any team member to be accused of the murder, but as Captain Davenport investigates, doubts about the athletes’ innocence grow.


This production is Stagecrafters’ 501st  and is directed by Marilyn Yoblick, a long-time Stagecrafters staffer and a member of its scripts committee. She put together last season’s production of “A Raisin in the Sun” during Black History Month. She recognizes the month’s significance again this year by bringing “A Soldier’s Play” to the boards at Stagecrafters. Her work is very polished here, as are the performances of actors Joseph and Barrick, as Davenport and Waters, two tense and very motivated men.


Remaining performances are February 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, and 20 at 8 p.m., February 14 and 21 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15, two for $20 on Thursdays.


For show information and reservations call 215-247-8881 (reservations direct: 215-247-9913). 

A “Meet the Players” question and answer session will be held following the performance on Friday, February 12.


All attendees that evening are welcome.  


Valentine Glassmaking

Wondering what to do with the young ones on Valentine’s Day? Why not spend a couple of hours at the Crefeld Glass Studio in Chestnut Hill learning how to make glass art?


On Sunday, February 14, Crefeld is offering a lampworking class for children and parents to take together and create glass flowers using small torches, under the supervision of Josh Cole, Crefeld glass teacher.


The class is just $50 per parent/child team, and children as young as 6 years of age will be admitted. For more information or to register for a class, contact Kristy at Crefeld at 215-242-5545 or email glassstudio@crefeld.org.


FUMCOG Community Grants


Do you or your organization have an idea how to help your neighbors but need a small grant to get your idea moving? First United Methodist Church of Germantown (FUMCOG) is looking to support projects that promote social justice and peace in the local community. By setting aside our Easter offering, we hope to award several small grants of a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to help facilitate worthy community endeavors. All proposals are welcome and are reviewed by a committee of church members. Criteria in awarding grants include the size of the population to be served, the nature of the services provided, and expected benefits to the community.


Application forms can be obtained by calling the office of First United Methodist Church of Germantown at 215-438-3677, or downloading a form at WWW.FUMCOG.org.


Completed proposals must be returned to the church office, 6001 Germantown Avenue, no later than Friday, March 12. Organizations with non-profit tax-exempt status should include a copy of their 501-3c certification. Recipients will be notified of their selection by March 25. Funds should be awarded by early May.



Anti-Addiction Workshop


A Christians United Against Addiction (CUAA) Saturday workshop will meet Saturday, Feb. 13 at the New Covenant Campus, 7500 Germantown Ave., Elders Hall conference room, from 9 a.m. – noon.  The speaker for this month is our executive director, the Rev. Ora Love.


Christians United Against Addiction, better known as CUAA, presents once a month a teaching in the practical application of the 12 Steps.  The meeting is open to all interested persons who are in recovery, or facilitating an addiction support group, or family members of active or recovering addicts. The format allows time for detailed questions and answers and insightful feedback on the topic.


For information about the workshop or other programs, call the CUAA office at 215-248-0260 or e-mail lovephl9@aol.com


Torah Study for Women


Chabad-Lubavitch of Northwest Philadelphia will be hosting Tea and Torah, a women’s-only Torah study group in honor of Rosh Chodesh.  Rosh Chodesh marks the beginning of each new month in the Jewish calendar.  Rosh Chodesh is traditionally observed as a special holiday for women. A class to celebrate Rosh Chodesh Adar will be held on Sunday, February 14, at a private home in Mt. Airy from 7:30- 8:45 p.m. There is no charge. To RSVP or for information  contact Pessy Gurevitz at 215-438-5327 or pessy@ChabadNWP.org.


WMAN to Discuss Gateway


All are invited to attend and give your feedback at the next WMAN Quality of Life Committee meeting on Wednesday, February 17 at 7:30 p.m. at  Summit Presbyterian Church, 6757 Greene Street.  


At the meeting, the WMAN Streetscapes Committee will update the community on the progress of and upcoming plans for the Mt. Airy Gateway located on either side of Lincoln Drive at West Johnson Street.

The focus of the gateway project will be the Stotesbury pergolas donated by philanthropist Edward T. Stotesbury to Fairmont Park in 1900.   Patrick Moran, who is coordinating the Mt. Airy Gateway project, together with members of the restoration committee, will present construction designs for the pergolas and landscaping plans for the area around the pergolas.


The Germantown Historical Society, the Friends of the Wissahickon, the Friends of Clifford Park, Johnson Street Neighbors, ParkPups.org and the WMAN Streetscapes Committee are working together to restore this beautiful gateway to Mt. Airy.


Your input is welcome and the meeting will provide a great opportunity to learn more about the history of the pergolas, see original pictures, and join the aforementioned organizations in making this local project a reality through volunteer opportunities.


For information, contact Lizabeth Macoretta, executive director of West Mt. Airy Neighbors, at 215-448-6022 or wman@wman.net, or Doris Kessler, chair of the WMAN Streetscapes Committee, at doris.kessler@verizon.net.


Card Exchange


The Philadelphia Northwest Networkers will hosting their first business card exchange on Thursday, Feb. 18 from 5:30-7:30 pm in the studio of nationally-renowned ceramic artist Karen Singer at 90 East Church Lane. In the event of inclement weather, and if schools are closed, the card exchange will be re-scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 25  at the same time and location. Light refreshments will be served. The cost to attend is $10 per person and a business card.  An RSVP is requested, but not required, by sending an email to PhilaNWNetworkers@GMAIL.com.


FOW


Express your passion for the park by joining the Friends of the Wissahickon on Love the Wissahickon Day, Saturday, Feb. 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 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. Volunteers should register with FOW Volunter Coordinator Kevin Groves at groves@fow.org or 215-247-0417. Unable to register in advance? Report to the information table near Valley Green Inn at 10 a.m. that morning.



Northwest is A-Buzz with Bee Events


Are you been thinking about starting a beehive, but don’t know where to begin? Or are you a new beekeeper with questions?  


Honeybees pollinate one third of our diet, and as Colony Collapse Disorder threatens more hives in rural areas, cities are becoming important safe havens for honey bees.  Learn  the basics of beekeeping from Wyck’s beekeeper Joel Eckel (also a founding member of the new Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild) in plenty of time to get your new hive up and running this spring.


The event takes place at Wyck, 6026 Germantown Avenue on Saturday, February 20 at 2 p.m.  Registration is required. Please email Lori Litchman at llitchman@wyck.org or call 215-848-1690.   The cost is $5, free to Germantown residents.


Wannabe beekeepers – there’s more!  This is the year and the season to start a hive.  If you’ve decided to make the commitment, a Start-up Hive Workshop will be held in Mt. Airy on Saturday, March 6, from 2:30-6 p.m. at the Green on Greene Building. Beekeeper David Harrod of Mt. Airy has been raising bees in nearby Roxborough for four years.  Participants at the workshop will receive langstroth hive kits here, and build them on site under the direction of David and other beekeepers who will be about to provide tips for new beginners.


The hives cost about $200 (possibly less) – David will receive an updated pricelist from Lancaster suppliers this week and will update anyone who inquires.  Orders should be placed by February 19 and arrangements to pay can be made through David as well.  Please bring a hammer to the workshop.


For those interested in finding out more about keeping beehives but who haven’t decided whether it’s a go, come to this workshop too.  There’s a $5 fee, and private tutorials will be available.  This event is part of a series of activities that the new Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild will be presenting as part of its own inaugural year and also the year-long Bicentennial celebration of Philly-born Lorenzo Langstroth, the Father of American Beekeeping. The national bicentennial project is a Science Friday endeavor.


For more information on the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild visit www.phillybeekeepers.org. The Green on Greene Building is at 6819 Greene Street, two blocks west of Lincoln Drive (behind Philly Electric Wheels).  Call 215 842-1040.  To sign up to attend and to order a hive, email David Harrod directly at david.harrod@gmail.com


 

Back to the Germantown Newspapers Home Page