From the Chronicle • Germantown News Stories

March 17-31, 2011 • GC.031711.pdf

In This Issue


Seven Left in 8th District Primary Field

Fourth time was lucky for Greg Paulmier in the 8th District primary race for the Democratic nomination to City Council. Paulmier, who had previously run in 1999, 2003 and 2007,  this time plucked the coveted top position on the primary ballot in the drawing held last week. The top position is traditionally believed to assist a candidate by giving his or her name the greatest amount of exposure on the ballot to voters.


Residents Irate About Pulaski Plans

The hall at First Presbyterian Church of Germantown was filled on the evening of March 10 with over one hundred irate people. They were dismissive at best and angry at worst over the plans that had been announced by Pulaski Partners LLP to build a Sav-A-Lot supermarket and Dollar Tree store on the site most recently occupied by the Fresh Grocer at Chelten and Pulaski avenues. Fresh Grocer closed its doors at the end of February.


Washington Co-Sponsors School Choice Bill

The new legislative session in Harrisburg had hardly begun when an unexpected news release had area Senator LeAnna Washington co-sponsoring SB-1, revisiting an issue long-debated in this state and others: school vouchers.


Joining with Republican Senator Jeff Piccola of Dauphin County, this bill promises to enact legislation that will allow parents with children in failing schools the opportunity to choose an alternative education with state funding following that choice.


More Below

Seven Left in 8th District Primary Field

By KARL BIEMULLER

Editor


Fourth time was lucky for Greg Paulmier in the 8th District primary race for the Democratic nomination to City Council. Paulmier, who had previously run in 1999, 2003 and 2007,  this time plucked the coveted top position on the primary ballot in the drawing held last week. The top position is traditionally believed to assist a candidate by giving his or her name the greatest amount of exposure on the ballot to voters.


But the events of the last week or so might have made that advantage slightly less important as the number of candidates shrank from a previous high of ten to seven, in the wake of withdrawals and challenges to the nominating petitions of others.  It’s been hard to tell the players without a scorecard.


Out of the race are Donna Gentile O’Donnell, Jordan Dillard, and late entrant Faye Dawson, who did not survive a challenge to the validity of her nominating petitions. Dawson is a community anti-violence activist who is the founder of the Vincent  M. Woodson Foundation, named for her murdered son. The Germantown resident  was irate in the aftermath of her unsuccessful effort to be on the ballot.


When interviewed on Tuesday, March 22, she said, “I was so angry I could not believe what I read in the newspapers,  that they kept Milton Street on the ballot [for the Democratic mayoral nomination} … and then they hired a high-powered attorney to get me off the ballot  … we should be outraged that they want us to accept this person. This is unbelievable to me. I think that if I would have remained on the ballot it would have come to the people’s choice and maybe one of the frontrunners would have won but I didn’t get a chance.”


The validity of Dawson’s petitions were challenged by supporters of candidate Cindy Bass, according to Bass, and Dawson did say that she had had difficulty in amassing enough valid signatures and that many of hers were probably flawed.

Also bumped off the ballot was Jordan Dillard, 22nd ward committeeman who was making his first try at higher elective office.  Although published reports said that Dillard had survived the challenge to his petitions [also from the Bass supporters] he characterized his leaving the race as “ A petition challenge, a signature challenge. I’m disappointed but in the end it will work out better for me because I wasn’t getting the support I needed …  and I’m still going to be working on the issues that affect the District.”


O’Donnell issued a statement saying “The ‘can win’ scenario that I originally envisioned is simply not in the cards” given the number of candidates and the nature of the race. For a complete text of her statement see page 7. Wister Neighborhood Council President Anita Hamilton had already left the race citing the press of other commitments.


The seven left in the race include Cindy Bass, William “Bill” Durham,  Andrew Lofton, Greg Paulmier, Robin Tasco, Howard Treatman, and Verna Tyner. All were briefly profiled in the issues of February 3 and 17 and March 3 of this newspaper, except or Tasco.


Tasco has been a Germantown resident since 1971 and attended community schools all through her education, graduating from Germantown High School. She attended Philadelphia Community College and became a certified electrician.  

I was the first female and black union representative in the mechanical trades, “said Tasco, serving in that position with Local 98 of the Electricians Union, where she served as community liaison person. “Germantown was the area I covered, I covered the whole district.” She served a s committeeperson for the 59th Ward, 16th Division for 8 years until 2010.


Regarding her campaign, she said, “It will be a ‘platform of the people,’ depending on what their concerns are. I’ll  be talking to constituents and residents about the stuff that makes a difference in the everyday safety and quality of life.“


Residents Irate About Pulaski Plans

By KARL BIEMULLER

Editor


The hall at First Presbyterian Church of Germantown was filled on the evening of March 10 with over one hundred irate people.


They were dismissive at best and angry at worst over the plans that had been announced by Pulaski Partners LLP to build a Sav-A-Lot supermarket and Dollar Tree store on the site most recently occupied by the Fresh Grocer at Chelten and Pulaski avenues. Fresh Grocer closed its doors at the end of February. 


Betty Turner of Germantown Community Connection, who opened the meeting, said,  “We all want to see the redevelopment of Germantown, so let your voices be heard,” and she got her wish.


Not a lot of imagination,” about the proposed artist’s rendering of the site plan (see illustration on page 5) was about the kindest thing that anyone had to say about the plan.


It seemed that attendees wanted to see just about anything in the space other than a bargain-style supermarket and yet another dollar store in Germantown. A host of alternatives were suggested, including a trader Joe’s, another branch of Weavers Way Co-op, a hardware store,  natural foods stores, a quality clothing consignment shop, a bank, a postal store such as UPS or fed/Ex, a diner, a farmer’s market, and many more.


But stopping the planned development in its current style may be difficult, warned Richard Redding of the City Planning Commission. The zoning code is a tool often used by community groups and residents to oppose zoning variations required by many proposed developments. However, the plot of land in question is currently zoned commercial and retail uses like those proposed by Pulaski Partners are permitted there. “It’s a matter of right,” he said.


And according to a press release issued on behalf of Pulaski Partners, groundbreaking on the project is scheduled to take place in late March.


Much of the money for the project will come from state funds, according to Irv Ackelsberg, who spoke at the meeting. According to a summary of an earlier meeting between Turner, Ackelsberg, and Pat Burns, a partner in Pulaski Real Estate Partners and owner of the land, written by Ackelsberg and supplied to this newspaper, Burns had earlier received a state grant of $250,000 for the building of a new Fresh Grocer on the site. Instead the earlier supermarket on the site had received something of a face-lift into a Fresh Grocer that was far from the equivalent of the new Fresh Grocer that opened in 2009 on Chew Avenue. Burns has received $3 million in grants or loans (Ackelsberg was not sure which) for the new project and three new Fresh Grocers.  


That appropriation had come as a surprise to state Rep. Rosita Youngblood when she found out about it. Youngblood addressed the group at First Presbyterian Church, saying it was “not common” for funds to go into another representative’s district without notification.


Burns has been a large donor to State Rep. Dwight Evans, former chair of the House Appropriations Committee, who was instrumental in securing the funds for the Pulaski project.


Youngblood said she was “trying to track through state and federal records … for the Sav-a-Lot I’m still looking for those funds. And I’m still trying to talk to Pat Burns,  who has not returned my phone calls.”


Also in question are environmental issues. Part of the tract was a former gas station with potential underground contamination issues while another part was formerly owned by SEPTA and the Pennsylvania Railroad, with a potential for more contamination.


Community actions to be taken, according to minutes of the meeting  forwarded afterwards, include: researching timetables for need for additional zoning for other buildings in the design; attempting to get the state government to stop the funding for the project; inviting Burns to a community meeting to hear concerns directly, and organizing community designeres/architects will to work pro bono on alternative designs for the site reflecting community values.


Additional suggestions can be sent to germantowncc@hotmail.com, while questions for Turner can be e-mailed to bettyturner@gmail.com


Mt. Airy History

In observance of Lovett Founders Month (the Lovett Memorial Library was founded on March 12, 1885 and the Friends of Lovett were founded March 13, 1982) the Friends of Lovett Memorial Library will present a discussion of Mt. Airy history on Wednesday, March 30, at the library, 6945 Germantown Avenue. Refreshments will be at 7p.m. with the program at 7:30 sharp.


Speaking will be Mt. Airy historian James M. Duffin; Elizabeth Farmer Jarvis, author of Mount Airy; David T. Moore, Mt. Airy historian; and Irvin A. Miller, Mt. Airy historian, resident, and moderator.


After brief presentations there will be ample time for questions. What do you want to know about the history of the neighborhood?


For information call the library at 215-685-2095.


New Faces, New Locations in Mt. Airy Business District

By KARL BIEMULLER

Editor


Something old, something new, something borrowed – but nobody’s feeling blue.


That seems to be the current state of the Mt. Airy business district along Germantown Avenue, which recently has seen a number of new businesses opening or about to open, others changing location, and old standbys that are still doing well despite the lingering recession.


One new entrant along the Avenue is Mainly Shoes and More, 7167 Germantown Avenue, which opened in late January.  Owner Skip Tyree is a local product who grew up in Mt. Airy and attended Houston school. He has operated a number of previous businesses, including most recently a restaurant in Wildwood NJ, and  has also worked as a financial consultant.


Now he’s come back to his old neighborhood to open up a store that specializes in designer shoes, accessories , and clothing. Business, he says, ” … is going good because of my quality and the price of my pocketbooks and shoes. 


I get clearance from different department stores and mark them down 50 percent.  With shoes, I mark them down about 30 percent. On Fridays it’s buy one, get the second at half price. From Monday through Wednesday we knock off another $10 – if it’s 50 percent off originally you walk out with a $100 bag for $40 bucks.”


As to why he decided to open his store in Mt. Airy he says, “There wasn’t a shoe store in Mt. Airy and I wanted to put one back in the neighborhood. And there wasn’t a cellphone store here either, so I’m opening up a cellphone store inside the building, in the back of the present premises.” For information about Mainly Shoes and More, call 215-626-2813.


Also new (but not quite yet) is the Black Pearl Restaurant, which has been undergoing trial shakedown runs at 7200 Germantown  Avenue for the past few days. Owner Gerald Young is an old hand at the restaurant business, having operated the Temptations banquet hall and restaurant on Chelten Avenue for many years. He has 25 years in the restaurant business under his belt.


He says he’s in the process of closing down Temptations now, though the doors officially closed on February 28. “I’m moving things out little by little, “ he says.


He thinks that the corner of Mt. Airy and Germantown avenues is a good spot for a restaurant, and the site is spacious. “I want to open on a trial run basis this week and next week.  We’re not quite ready, they’re still building some things in the basement.”


Young describes the cuisine at the Black Pearl as “gourmet soul food ... normally soul food restaurants don’t have striped bass but we do.” Entrees on the menu will range from $16-24 and include items such as stuffed shrimp, roasted duck, homemade meatloaf, and roasted turkey wings, among other, along with an assortment of sides. For more information about the Black Pearl, call 215-849-7000.   


Catalina Bautista is no stranger to the business district – she opened up Mr. Peepers Optical in February of 2003. But the store’s location is: she’s now at 7125 Germantown Avenue after almost eight years at 7228 Germantown Avenue.


Valley Green Bank (located next to 7228) is expanding its offices and Bautista was required to find a new location.


The only problem with her new spot, she says, is that her new sign hasn’t arrived yet. “It’s the historic building on the corner of Germantown and Durham, formerly the home of Dirty Girl Brigade,” she says, and she wants to invite all her customers there on Friday, May 6, for her 8th Anniversary and Grand Reopening celebration. “I’m having an open house, with wine and hors d’oeuvres,” she says. All my customers are invited.“ For more information about Mr. Peepers call 215-248-6070.


New to the business district – but also not new to Mt. Airy – is Philly Electric Wheels at 7102 Germantown Avenue, which originally opened in September 2009 on Carpenter Lane. Owners Meenal Raval and Afshin Kaighobady began by specializing  entirely in electrically powered bicycles, but that’s changing at their new location.


At the new location at the corner of Germantown and Mt. Pleasant avenues, “We opened our doors on February 15. We’re still setting up but we’re almost there. One thing we needed was more traffic and the Avenue gives us that. At the old place people kept asking us if we had regular bikes and for that we needed more space.


Now, says Kaighobady, “We get lots of people who walk in while they’re waiting for the bus and want a bike for their kids. Even before we opened our door people were coming in and we were fixing flats.”  For more information about Philly Electric Wheels call 215-921-9266.


Change has come to two established Avenue businesses  - One Salon and Jean Jacques Gallery – in an unusual way. They were formerly across the street from one another and now they are both sharing the space formerly occupied only by One Salon at 7119 Germantown Avenue.


Amy Lydon, owner of One Salon describes what her business does as “cut and color – hair cuts and hair coloring. “ And since Sherman Oberson, owner of Jean Jacques, says, “Mainly what I sell is jewelry, accessories, bath and body products and gifts,” the move seemed a natural one. And it seems to be working, he says. “Many of her [Lydon’s] clients were already my clients and it’s been a really good fit.”


Lydon and Oberson had already become friends and done some shows together, says Lydon. “I had lost some staff and wanted to work with someone else. He was kind of feeling lonely over there by himself and so we just decided to merge and take the pressure off of both of us.”


Oberson says, “It’s allowing me a little more time to focus on what I wanted to do from the beginning anyway.  I was jewelry designer and now it’s an even larger component of my work. People who walk in see two businesses that have joined pretty seamlessly … and we’re also finding a new customer base.”


And one of the oldest businesses along the Avenue has survived the vicissitudes of the changing video rental  market. It’s Video Library, the first and oldest video store in the Northwest – perhaps 30 years old - and now, with the closing of TLA in Chestnut Hill, the only such in the area. Video Library has had to adapt to the changes in video rentals and one of those adaptations is doing a lot to keep the store solvent.


Actually,” says co-owner Betty Ann Fellner, “the big thing is that we’re getting a lot of people to rent the Little Theater for their own parties.” The Little Theater is just what its name implies – a small, intimate screening room that seats 25 in comfortable chairs.  “It gives us the extra boost. With TLA disappearing we’re getting more and more customers, and with the warm weather we’ll get more from the soda fountain.“ Hours are Monday-Thursday 4-10 p.m., Friday-Sunday opening at 10 a,m, Friday and Saturday closing at 11 p.m.   Call 215-247-3020. For more information about the store and the Little Theater.


Hollie Malamud Price, executive director of the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District, is optimistic about the business district and its future. “I think it’s doing well, that new businesses are moving in and continuing to build a very successful downtown Mt.  Airy and Business Improvement District.


And the BID is excited about the new project coming up in the spring.” That project will bring  100 planters to the Avenue, to be installed on the new light posts in the district.


We just got approval from the city last week,” she says.


Washington Co-Sponsors School Choice Bill

By JAMES FOSTER

Publisher


The new legislative session in Harrisburg had hardly begun when an unexpected news release had area Senator LeAnna Washington co-sponsoring SB-1, revisiting an issue long-debated in this state and others: school vouchers.


Joining with Republican Senator Jeff Piccola of Dauphin County, this bill promises to enact legislation that will allow parents with children in failing schools the opportunity to choose an alternative education with state funding following that choice.


Funding is anticipated to be provided from the general fund and not local property taxes.  Some aspects of the program would include scholarships and the program has steps that will be implemented over the first three years. It is anticipated that 55,000 students would take advantage of what SB-1 offers.


SB-1 would increase funding for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program already in place which grants tax credits to companies if they donate to a non-profit educational scholarship program.


Senator Washington broke with past positions in opposition to school vouchers in liaison with other Democrats like Senator Dinniman of Chester County.  She feels this will  enable it to become an issue that does not focus on partisan differences but on the needs of the children in a broken system, she said in an interview in her Wadsworth office this week.  “I have always supported public education and still do, but we have lived with failure at all levels and that includes teachers, parents and government,” she said, as she reflected on years in the recent past where families often had less in material wealth but more in terms of opportunity to learn and develop a place in society. 


Indicating that many children are “lost” in a system that is often non-performing, Washington said she wants more traditional standards for measurement of progress and laments the newly announced 6-year high school graduation statistic as a non-accomplishment.


 “We should encourage them to do it in four, not six,” she said as she explained a bill she will also sponsor that would actually require the school district to pay for remedial classes for children it educated who could not get pass minimal acceptance tests for college entrance.


Senator Washington stated she will fight for funding alternatives as the new administration makes major cuts, and expects SB-1 will be modified and go through extensive debate working out a bill that can be passed and help those most easily excluded by a system in crisis.   She feels the failure to tax the Marcellus Shale drilling is a poor decision that needs to be revisited.


I am not giving up on our children and if a modified SB-1 can work toward that end I think other state senators will get on board and defeat arguments that see it as a subsidy for the schools themselves when it is actually paying for a child’s education in a system that is required by law to do so, but too often fails.”


Senator Washington seems determined to prioritize this issue despite some push back from teacher’s unions and others. She said she has fought for recognition since her first days in this Harrisburg body and was the first woman to even chair in a leadership position.


‘Feastahickon’ Supports Park

The Friends of the Wissahickon (FOW) are partnering with local businesses and organizations to raise funds for the preservation of Wissahickon Valley Park and generate interest in environmental issues.


Feastahickon, on March 30  will give patrons of Valley Green Inn the opportunity to support the preservation of the Wissahickon Valley. Valley Green Inn will donate 10 percent of their gross sales on March 30 to Wissahickon Valley Park. Members of Friends of the Wissahickon will still receive their 10% discount, or they can choose to donate it back to FOW. Bring your receipt to FOW and redeem it for $5 off a new memberships or a $5 discount on Metropolitan Paradise : The Struggle for Nature in the City. Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Valley, 1620-2020.  Reservations at Valley Green are suggested. Call 215-247-1730 or visit www.valleygreeninn.com.


Throughout the spring, FOW will be partnering with local restaurants to raise funds in support of Wissahickon Valley Park. On select days, these restaurants will donate a portion of their profits to support the ongoing restoration and preservation of the Wissahickon. To stay posted on these and other upcoming events at FOW, visit www.fow.org.


Home Improvement Workshop

On Saturday April 2, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mt. Airy USA will present a free Home Improvement and Energy Workshop at their office located at 6703 Germantown Avenue, Suite 200. The entrance is at the rear of the building.


Learn about affordable home improvement loans, low cost do-it-yourself repairs, avoiding home improvement scams, choosing a contractor, energy efficient repairs that can lower your bills and recycling guidelines and rewards. You will also receive a recycling bin. Refreshments will be served.


Register online at www.homeimprovement.eventbrite.com or call  Cynthia Bradley at 215-844-6021 x 214.


This workshop is one of the many free workshops being presented by Mt. Airy USA this year. Others include monthly First Time Home Buyer Workshops to help perspective home buyers make responsible home purchase decisions.


Tour Wingohocking Watershed

Explore the historic Wingohocking Watershed with historian Adam Levine on Saturday March 26, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.  Meet at Wyck Historic House and Garden, 6026 Germantown Avenue, and embark on a fascinating bus tour with stops including the Awbury Arboretum and Belfield, home of Charles Wilson Peale.


Philadelphia was once laced with a complex system of streams and their tributaries, until city engineers in the 19th and 20th centuries re-channeled most of these waterways into massive sewers that now run far beneath the streets. The Wingohocking now runs in a sewer draining several neighborhoods, including Mt. Airy and Germantown. Adam will also share ways you can help protect the streams in your neighborhoods. This tour is co-sponsored with the Philadelphia Water Department. Transportation will be provided by bus. Pack a lunch or snack; water will be provided. Cost is $15 for Wyck members, $17 non-members. Register at www.wyck.org or by emailing rschultz@wyck.org.


Community Gardening

Want to raise organic vegetables for you and your family?  Flowers, herbs and berries too.


Join the Mastery/Pickett Community Garden located at Wayne Avenue and Rittenhouse Street.  You can participate in  communal garden plots or have your own plot with friends or family.  We donate food grown with City Harvest plants to our local food cupboard.


For info, call Paula at 215-438-9319


Khepara Presents Health Expo

Khepera Charter School and the Wazuri Parents Council present our annual Afri’Caribe Health Expo on Saturday, April 2, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Canaan Baptist Church, 5430 Pulaski Avenue.


Guest speakers will be Dr. Paul Hopkins, doctor of Naturopathy, and Beverley Medley, nutritionist and co-owner of the All the Way Live Café.  There will be performances by Ken King, Trinidadian steel drummer; spoken word artist KD Morris; hop/hop Kulu mele dancer Edward Smallwood; the Khepera EC Club, and more.


There will be free Zumba and  hip/hop dance insruction, arts and crafts, and creative writing workshops for children., plus vendors, massages, facials, health screenings, positive energy and holistic health awareness for the entire family.


For more information contact Lisa Hopkins, chairperson, at 215-844-6098, e-mail lisayhop@msn.com; or co-chair Jessica Johnson at 215-760-9510, e-mail johnsonfamily98@verison.net.


Mt. Airy Basketball Signup

Philadelphia Parks and Recreation will begin sign-ups for the Mt. Airy Playground Community Basketball League. The league is for boys and girls ages 15 and under. The league will operate Monday through Thursday and on Saturday mornings. Space is limited. Registration will be held on Wednesdays and Fridays from 5-8 p.m. beginning on March 30. Registration will take place at Mt. Airy Playground located at Germantown and Sedgwick Street. Contact Fletcher Anderson at 215-685-9297.


Fest for the Quest

Germantown High School, Germantown Friends School, and Historic Germantown are collaborating on Fest for the Quest, a commemoration of 1928’s Negro Achievement Week.

All events are free and open to the public. Come and join us as we celebrate our Fest for the Quest. Events include:

April 14 – Celebrating Vocal Music, featuring the choirs of Germantown Friends School, Germantown High School, and special guests  the Howard University Choir. 6-8 p.m., Germantown High School.

April 15 – Germantown Speaks session focusing on race and the arts in Germantown. 4-6 p.m., Center in the Park.

April 15 – Celebrating Dance, featuring dancers from Germantown High School, Germantown Friends School, and special guests the Dance Institute of Philadelphia, 6-8 p.m., Germantown High School.

April 16 – Historic Germantown’s Great Day on the Great Road Festival. 1-4  p.m., Vernon Park.

April 16 – Jazz Night featuring the Germantown Friends School Jazz Band. 6-8 p.m., Germantown Friends School.


At Waterview

Baseball is back at Waterview Recreation Center!  Players ages 12-15 years old and 10-12 years old are being sought for the Waterview Baseball Team.  The team will play in the city-wide Liberty League.  Practice is held Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 4:30-6:30 p.m.  Call Beverly at 215-685-2229 or Clarence at 267-496-3893 to more information or to register.  Or come to the Waterview baseball field at the days and times listed above.  Equipment is provided.  Waterview is located at 5826 McMahon Street.


Gratz ‘60, ‘61

Simon Gratz High School classes of  June 1960, January 1961, and June 1961 will celebrate their 50th class reunion on Friday May 6th @ Romano’s Catering 1523 East Wingohocking Avenue, 7 – 11 p.m.. The cost of ticket is $50. The

celebration will be a Black & White Formal Attire. Please contact Bonnie Cobb 267-320-0515 or cobbbobo@aol.com, or Charlotte Hatcher Conway 215-927-1079, or conway7828@juno.com for tickets or more information. All other classes are welcomed to attend this milestone celebration.


Business Center Presents Enterprising Woman Business Plan Competition

The Business Center for Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise presents the 10th annual Enterprising Woman Business Plan Competition to help local women achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. The annual competition serves as a vehicle for supporting female entrepreneurs and woman-owned businesses in the Philadelphia area. The Competition provides prizes for female-owned businesses. 


The kick off event will take place at LaSalle University, West Campus in Conference Room C, 1900 West Olney Avenue, on March 26 at 9 a.m.  Gain valuable information about the competition process and hear from Barbara Ann Gardenhire-Mills from the Small Business Administration (SBA) who will be on hand to discuss new programs for women at the SBA.


To RSVP for this free event, email mstewart@thebizctr.com or call 215-247-2473 x5 to reserve a seat.


According to Pamela Rich-Wheeler, executive director of The Business Center, “This annual competition is aimed at providing women with the tools they need to launch, improve, and grow their businesses.” Wheeler adds, “The competition also encourages many women to complete and fine tune their business plans and ideas as a first step in realizing their goal to own a business.”


Invited to enter the competition are established small and mid-sized businesses earning less than $250,000 in annual revenue. Applicants who possess at least 51 percent ownership in the existing business should consider entering. Prizes will be given to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners.


Aside from the financial reward, the creation of a business plan and networking opportunities is the centerpiece of the competition, which is an important first step for all businesses.


“The business plan competition and The Business Center have really been fundamental to my growth as an entrepreneur. I feel even more enthusiastic, passionate, and confident in my business now more than ever,” said previous year’s finalist Keirra Winters, owner of Sankhya Yoga School and Wellness Center.

This program is made possible by co-sponsors, Citizens Bank, Philadelphia University, PNC Bank, LaSalle University, Sovereign Bank, Elizabeth B. & Arthur E. Roswell Foundation and Wachovia Bank.


The Business Center for Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise is a small business support center located in the Northwest Section of Philadelphia, which targets start-up and existing small businesses. The purpose of The Business Center is to aid in the development of professional management and entrepreneurial skills. Services include consulting, workshops, and technical resources through a combination of in-house expertise and community network resources.


For more information on the 2011 competition or any of The Business Center’s service and programs, look for details on the website, www.thebizctr.com, or contact Melissa Stewart at 215-247-2473 ext. 5 or at mstewart@thebizctr.com.


Change is Brewing at Infusion

By JOCIE DYE

Owner

Last Fall, Jason Huber and I went public with our intention to look for new owners for InFusion. At the time, we asserted that our goal was to find a similarly community-minded company to take over, so that InFusion could remain the high-quality, welcoming, neighborhood anchor it has become.


We were fortunate to receive a lot of interest in InFusion and we spoke with numerous individuals who had varying degrees of means, interest, ideas and experience. And then one day, we met Jordan and Jane Shapiro. In our wildest dreams we could not have conjured up a better match for InFusion.


Originally from Mt. Airy themselves, Jordan and Jane were already regulars who enjoyed the great Fair-Trade coffee, community vibe, and arts and culture of InFusion. We were thrilled to find in them not only a values-match for ourselves and our business, but also a cultural one. Like Jason and me, they were high school sweethearts who married in their mid-twenties. Also, like Jason and me, they grew up in Philly, but spent several of their adult years living out west and traveling internationally, and they are similarly shaped by those cultural experiences. They are committed to maintaining the values of Fair-Trade and organics, and buying locally. For them, as for us, the ideal of InFusion is to continue to provide a public gathering space for the whole community.


Unlike us, they are entering this journey with far more experience behind them. A chef and a baker, Jordan also has experience running his own businesses. He helped found Tivoli Bread and Baking in New York’s Hudson Valley and he was a co-owner at the Down Home Diner in Reading Terminal Market. In addition, Jordan spent many years behind-the-scenes consulting and writing recipes for food network celebrity chefs like Bobby Flay, Christer Larsson and Jack McDavid. Jane’s long resume of food service and retail experience includes a Barista position, general manager of a fancy foods and artisan cheese shop, and service manager for a premier catering company. Also a mixed media artist, Jane is excited to further develop the art gallery and First Friday offerings at InFusion.


While Jordan and Jane will continue InFusion in the same values-based, community-minded fashion in which it was created, they bring a skill set to make improvements to the food menu. Five years our juniors, they also bring a fresh energy and enthusiasm that I am confident will infuse the store and the space with an even greater level of vibrancy.


To ensure the seamless transition you deserve, Jordan and Jane are currently learning how to make all your favorite drinks, as well as the ins and outs of running InFusion. They will officially take over operations April 1. Any and all outstanding customer balances, free drinks, coupons and gift certificates, and events and rentals on the books will  be honored.


I, personally, could not be more thrilled for InFusion! With the assistance of David and Betty Ann Fellner, Jordan and Jane were able to sign a long-term lease, which ensures InFusion’s existence in the community for years to come. 


Both Jason and I will continue to live and work right in the neighborhood. We’ll still be familiar faces at InFusion—as daily customers. Nothing is more gratifying than to know that InFusion can not only continue without us at the helm, but can continue to get even better!

Welcome, Jordan and Jane!


Kids Give-Away at GJC

Piggybacking on the well-loved Women’s Clothing Give Giveaway, Germantown Jewish Centre will host the second annual Kids Stuff Give Away on Sunday, April 3.  It is a win-win-win-win event!  Clean out your clutter, take items new to your kids, help Haitians cope with rebuilding and keep stuff circulating and out of landfills!  This event will benefit the Haiti Relief Fund. Read more about the event at www.KidsStuffGiveAway.com.


Here’s how it works:

Drop off your gently used kids clothes, books, toys, games, equipment, etc. to Germantown Jewish Centre 400 West Ellet Street, between Sunday 3/27 and Thursday 3/31. (Please don’t bring clothing with tears or holes, or toys and equipment which is broken). Bring donations to the Religious School/Office entrance on Ellet Street across from Cherokee Street.


Come back to GJC on Sunday, April 3, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., with $20 suggested donation for the Haiti Relief Fund. (Checks are preferred but cash is fine)


Start “shopping.” Bring home as much as you like (really!) from our very large communal collection.


At the end of the day, all leftover stuff will be donated to Whosoever Gospel Mission in Germantown (www.whosoevergospel.org).


Volunteers are needed to make this event run well. Jobs include sorting all the donations into categories, helping “shoppers” find what they’re looking for and packing up the left over donations at the end of the event.


The volunteer shifts that we’re looking to fill on Sunday 4/03 are: 11 a.m. — 2 p.m.,  2 – 4 p.m.


If you are available to volunteer or if you have any questions about the event please contact Genie Ravital: geniebud@gmail.com or 267-977-3008.


Services for Families at Wilson Funeral Home

By WANDA PATE

Guest Writer


Deborah L. Wilson is the African American funeral director of the Deborah L. Wilson Funeral Home, 214-216 West Coulter Street, who inspired my life when my brother Walter Williams passed away.  The sensitivity and care exhibited surpassed what I expected. We were not treated like a business contract but as hurting people in need of closure.  When my family and I visited Deborah and her staff, the professionalism, concern, and care was phenomenal.  The all-inclusive planning available allowed us to grieve for our loved one while all details were taken care of, from flowers to limousine, the moment we said yes to her services. 


Funeral directors are viewed in many instances as a dreaded step toward closure with our love ones who pass away.  Hopefully, this interview will help others to see the humanness in an honorable profession.


WP - Ms. Wilson, How long has the Deborah L Wilson Funeral Home been in operation?

DLW - We are a first generation funeral home that has been in existence for 15 years.

WP - As a female funeral director, what is the difference you think you make to your profession?

DLW - I believe I offer a sensitive and nurturing side to a previously male-dominant profession

WP - In this day and age of economic challenges, how do you service the people of today?

DLW - With care and sensitivity. We have different types of services that all cater to the comfort of the grieving family.  Our loved ones deserve a dignified and caring “going home experience” without focusing and hindered by costs. 

WP - What makes you unique?

DLW - The uniformity of services rendered starts from the very beginning, with an articulate and professional staff, the floral creations afforded all, and the customized personalized keepsakes that we render everyone.  Understand this profession is a business yet what I see it as is a ministry

WP-What is your hope for the future?

DLW- To continue to meet and offer excellent services to families in need.  It is my hope that the Deborah L. Wilson Funeral Home will become a resource center of hope for families that need to know all options available to them as survivors, caregivers, spouses, siblings, etc., such as pre-arrangements, that can lessen the financial burden in the time of need.

WP - Who do you want to reach out to and why?

DLW -  I believe that we must all look at the future knowing that life is final and how we would want our final wishes. Each and every person must consider how they will see.

WP - What other services do you offer?

DLW- We have always provided aftercare through Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church  and we  now are proud to announce that we provide bereavement counseling  in-house.  I want to be a blessing to my community whomever they are in their hour of need.  This means The Deborah l. Wilson Funeral Home has a professional grief counselor on staff as well as the partnership of the churches in the community who are available and ready to serve

WP: What is your prayer for families in grief?

DLW - That the family process of loss is lessened. 2 Corinthians 5:1 which speaks to our heavenly dwelling leads me in my conviction to, in love prepare loved ones and families’ of all nationalities, ethnicities in a caring manner for their end day on earth.  I do this, in love

WP - Thank you, Deborah, I know that you have been a inspiration to my family, in conclusion is there a message you wish to extend to women who have a desire to be a Blessing to the industry in which you are working?

DLW- Yes. Use prayer, stand tall, learn, keep growing, you can be mother, wife and own a business if you focus, prepare to fall and then get up again approved , and have self-love. You will succeed.


Wanda Pate is a bereavement counselor, author, and caregiver and a Master’s in Divinity student at Palmer Theological Seminary. 


Documentary at Green Street

On April 9, at 7 p.m., Green Street Friends Meeting invites you to our next free Documentaries and Discussions program: Budrus, an award-winning feature documentary film about a Palestinian community organizer, Ayed Morrar, who unites local Fatah and Hamas members along with Israeli supporters in an unarmed movement to save his village of Budrus from destruction by Israel’s Separation Barrier. Success eludes them until his 15-year-old daughter, Iltezam, launches a women’s contingent that quickly moves to the front lines. Struggling side by side, father and daughter unleash an inspiring, yet little-known, movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that is still gaining ground today.


It will take place at Green Street Friends Meeting, 45 West Schoolhouse Lane. Popcorn, cider & child-care will be provided. See greenstreetfriendsmeeting.org for more information.


‘Messiah’ Concert

In honor of 200 years of worship, faith, and community,  St. Luke’s Church, Germantown, will present a complete performance of  Handel’s Messiah on Saturday, March 26, 6 p.m., at the church, 5421 Germantown Avenue.


The concert will feature St. Luke’s Bicentennial Mass Choir, with Cailin Manson as conductor and Nile Weber, organist.


Admission is free. A free will offering will be taken.  


FreshVisions Coffee Cabaret

The FreshVisions Youth Theatre is proud to host Sweet Spirits II, a coffee cabaret, on Friday, April 8, at the Germantown Theatre Centre, 4821 Germantown Avenue from 7-9:00 p.m. There is a suggested $5 donation for this event.


The featured performers are artists of the Germantown and greater Philadelphia Community: Brown Skins and Strings with Jan Simpkins, Rick Taylor and Canada Brown; Carmen Butler, modern and African dancer, instructor for the FreshVisions Youth Theatre; Soul’s Graffiti Sandra and Richard Hill; Comedian, Dr. Barbara Wallace “The African Queen Bee”; and special guest performers the nationally acclaimed Women’s Sekere Ensemble, dedicated to the preservation and promotion of African music using songs, intricately beaded gourds and other percussive instruments, founded and directed by Omomola Iyabunmi. Mistress of Ceremonies is Mama Nzinga.


In support of the urban arts community, Sweet Spirits ll proceeds will benefit the FreshVisions Youth Theatre, founded and directed by Bruce Robinson. FreshVisions is a long time jewel here in Germantown,  a place “…Where a Powerful Product Meets a Powerful Purpose” to realize its mission of transforming kids and communities through the performing arts.


For information or to present your group in future events, contact Canada Brown, producer and event coordinator, at 215-843-5486.


Senior Artists Sought

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) is seeking artists to participate in three art exhibits as part of its “Celebrate Arts and Aging” festivities during  May, Older Americans Month. Artists must be at least 55 years of age and their work created within the last three years. 


PCA’s ninth annual “Celebrate Arts and Aging” (formerly known as “Seniors Celebrate the Arts”) will offer a myriad of arts and cultural opportunities for seniors and highlight the creativity of older adults. The festivities will include three exhibits of senior artwork: at Center on the Hill … the place for active adults, located at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Avenue; at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine Street; and at Philadelphia Senior Center, 509 South Broad Street.

A photo or slide of artwork, accompanied by an art submission form, should be sent to Amanda Buonomo, PCA special events manager, at PCA, 642 North Broad St., Phila., PA 19130 by Monday, March 28. One submission per applicant will be accepted for review. For more information on art submission criteria and an application to exhibit, visit www.pcaCares.org/seniorart; call  215-765- 9000, ext. 5052; or email abuonomo@pcaphl.org.


Poetry Marathon at Black Writers Museum

In observance of National Poetry Month, The Black Writers Museum will sponsor a Poetry Marathon on Saturday, April 30. Entitled a “Celebration of Black Poetry,”   honored will be renowned poets Sonia Sanchez and Amiri Baraka, receiving the “Living Legends of Poetry” award.  From 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. students, seniors, unpublished, published, and professionals will share the stage reciting classics and original compositions.


Poets from New York to Virginia and from schools across the Delaware Valley will gather at The Real Estate Auction Center, 5549 Germantown Avenue,.  Come and be a part of an intergenerational poetry experience that will surely touch the heart and move the spirit.  Admission is $6 and children under 12 years of age are free.


If you would like to be a featured poet for this historic event, call the Black Writers Museum at 267-297-3078, or e-mail blackwritersmuseum@clear.net


KAP Black College Tour

The Philadelphia Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity is now accepting applicant registrations for its 2011 Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Tour. The HBCU Tour will take place Monday, April 18 and Tuesday, April 19. Schools to be visited are Norfolk State University, Hampton University, University of Maryland-Eastern Shore and Delaware State University. The target audience for the tour is high school sophomores, juniors and seniors.


The purpose of the Philadelphia Alumni Chapter’s HBCU Tour is to encourage high school students to further their education and seek higher learning, which is vital to their futures. The cost of the trip is $150 per student, which covers transportation, meals and lodging. The tour bus will depart from the Kappa Alpha Psi Achievement Center (5521-29 Germantown Avenue) at 5 a.m. on Monday, April 18 and return at approximately 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 19. The deadline to register and pay is March 31 or until the bus is at full capacity.


Male and female adult chaperones for the 2011 HBCU Tour will be provided by the Philadelphia Alumni Chapter. Students interested in registering for the Tour should contact any member of the chapter or download an application from the Philadelphia Alumni Chapter’s web site, www.phillykappas.org


For further information, call 973-900-7848.


Kids Literary Festival

Big Blue Marble Bookstore presents the fifth annual Mt. Airy Kids’ Literary festival, a weekend full of free book readings/signings, arts and crafts, music, activities, giveaways, and more surprises and special guests. This year’s festival is from Friday, April 8 to Sunday, April 10, all weekend. The full schedule and festival updates can be seen on Big Blue Marble’s website: www.bigbluemarblebooks.com/kidslit11.html.


The festival features Wendy Mass, Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer, Jennifer Hubbard, Cynthia Chapman Willis, Ellen Jensen Abbott, Audrey Vernick, Stevie French, Artie Bennett, A.R. Bey, Ann-Elizabeth Barnes, Kate Milford, Beth Kephart, Nancy Viau, Alison Formento, Tiny Satchel Press, and more special guests to be announced.


For more information on this event please contact Maleka Fruean at 215-844-1870, or you can e-mail maleka@bigbluemarblebooks.com.



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