From the Chronicle • Germantown News Stories

March 18, 2010 • Germantown Chronicle.pdf

In This Issue


The Stories

  1. Local Activist is First NBC ‘Morning Glory’

  2. Germantown Community Connection

  3. SEPTA: Budget Crimps R7 Plans

  4. ‘Census Sermon Sunday’  Begins City’s Push for Complete Count

  5. Artista is Judges’ Choice at Flower Show

  6. Review: ‘The Story’ is Well-Told Tale of Ambition, Tragedy

  7. 9th Ward Fundraiser

  8. Germantown Poetry Festival

  9. Yo Yo Quilting at Maxwell

  10. CIPPlayers Take Stage for Diabetes

  11. Balance Issues Become Important for Aging Adults

  12. First Lady Spreads the Word About Nutrition at Fresh Grocer

  13. Applebees $1 Million Contest on ‘March Madness’

  14. Weavers Way Grants to Community Projects

  15. Harp Concert at CH Presbyterian

  16. Women-in-White at Mt. Tabor

  17. ‘Bad Girls of the Bible’ at Reformation Lutheran

  18. Ecumenical Vesper Service at St. Paul’s

  19. More March Events at Germantown Jewish Centre

  20. Wiley College Choir in Concert

  21. City-Wide Block Captain Rally March 27

  22. Recycle ‘Weird Wastes’ at GRINCH Event

  23. Flower Show Winners

  24. FOWPark Cleanup

  25. Ponoma Cherokee Meeting

Local Activist is First NBC ‘Morning Glory’


Community advocate Reverend Chester Williams (left) shows NBC 10 Anchor Terry Ruggles (far right) and photographer Julia Ellis around on his block of Chew Avenue during an interview session for a new show honoring local residents who go above and beyond to help their neighbors. Williams will be the first person featured on the new segment.



By PATRICK COBBS

Staff Writer


If you live near Chew Avenue and Washington Lane you may very well know Reverend Chester Williams, block captain of the 6200 block of Chew Avenue, founder of the Chew/Belfield Neighborhood Association and Democratic committee leader for the 59th ward.


He holds community meetings in a living room crowded with overstuffed furniture and he has a knack for getting top government officials sitting on the sofa next to local residents. At a recent meeting, representatives from the City Commerce Department, the chief of staff for State Representative John Myers, and City Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller herself packed into the house to give local updates before diner was served.


In Germantown, at least, a lot of people know Reverend Williams and soon the rest of Philadelphia will know him too. He will be the first person featured on NBC 10’s new Morning Glory segments – personal profiles hosted by News Anchor Terry Ruggles meant to honor local residents who go above and beyond for their neighborhoods.


“How many people do you have lined up, Chester?” said Ruggles in mock exasperation. As he and his camera operator were setting up to tape the segment the doorbell kept ringing with people who wanted to be a part of Williams’ TV tribute.


Sitting down with Ruggles near the foot of Williams’ staircase, in his living room and in his kitchen these friends and colleagues talked about what made the reverend so special.


“He deals with other people to help them with their needs and he’s very good at it,” said Richard Moody.


Bishop Richard Rooker, pastor of Spirit of Pentecost Church in Germantown, was equally enthusiastic.


“If you ever want to meet a man that always has a word of encouragement, that’s who he is,” he told Ruggles.


And Ashley Schmid of the nearby Toocany/Tacony Frankford Watershed Partnership tried to sum it all up.


“Reverend Williams spends all of his time talking to people and making sure they have access to the services they need,” she said. “I think one of the problems that we have now is that people are losing touch with one another, and Reverend Williams brings people together.”


When it finally came time to interview Williams, Ruggles made sure to do it in the place he would feel most at home, along the street that he walks every morning to talk with residents and keep the neighborhood clean.


Look for the Morning Glory segments to start airing on NBC 10 in the next few weeks.



Germantown Community Connection


The Germantown Community Connection will meet on Thursday, March 25, at 7 p.m., at First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, 35 West Chelten Avenue. All are welcome.


The topics for the meeting are:

Reclaiming Germantown: Making the Best of Our Assets. Jim Foster will facilitate this conversation.


Taxes or More Service Cuts: How Should We Respond to the City Budget Dilemma?, facilitated by Irv Ackelsberg.


These are important conversations for the Germantown community. Your voice is important because these topic areas affect all of Germantown’s community of neighborhoods. These conversations foster increased awareness and understanding of the issues and enable connections to be made within our community and our municipality.


Join the conversation because building active conversation tends to remove some of the barriers that prevent us from purposeful community engagement and collective action. There is an old African proverb that says, “A single bracelet does not jingle.”  Let your voice be heard. We are stronger together than we are apart.  Don’t miss this meeting.


For more information call Betty Turner at 215 843-1457 or e-mail to bettyturner1@gmail.com


SEPTA: Budget Crimps R7 Plans


By PATRICK COBBS

Staff Writer


The Germantown Community Connection last week hosted SEPTA representatives at First Presbyterian Church in Germantown for an update on maintenance and repair work scheduled to begin on the R7 train stations in May, but the update quickly became a debate about how best to fix up those stations once and for all, with a focus on Wister and Germantown stations.


“I think there needs to be a little vision of how to put the stations together to be more safe,” said Saadiq Jabbar Garner.


Most at the meeting seemed to agree, and they added other specific requests for the R7. These included better SEPTA police presence, security cameras at the stations, more efficient electronic communication for train announcements, better cleanup or prevention of trash dumping, better landscaping, and better lighting in and around the stations, especially at Wister.


In all, SEPTA will be directing $1.76 million in stimulus dollars to the R7 for maintenance and cleanup work. About $870,000 of that will go to Germantown and Wister stations because they are in the most need of repair, and $897,000 will go to the rest of the R7 stations.


Senior Project Manager Thomas Carl of SEPTA didn’t oppose any of the residents’ requests but he did say that while some suggested improvements, like lighting upgrades, could be done with relative ease by SEPTA, others, like cameras, require larger systemic efforts that are not likely to occur anytime soon. Most big picture items will not fall in the scope of the current job, according to Carl. Those kinds of things will have to come sometime in the future.


“We look at this as baby steps progressing toward the final goal of what SEPTA and the community wants,” Carl said of the upcoming R7 work.


This is because, with the exception of the $191 million SEPTA was awarded in Federal Stimulus funds, the authority is financially over a barrel. And those funds for the most part cannot go toward capital improvements. Instead they are meant for addressing deferred maintenance and repairs.


Most of the discussion at the meeting focused on Wister Station, which is physically in a very isolated location. Several at the meeting wanted to see a total security and safety oriented overhaul at that station, which they hoped would include increased lighting not only on the station grounds, but on the long approach to the station as well.


Last year, in a community meeting held at LaSalle University, SEPTA discussed a total renovation for Wister Station. LaSalle expressed interest in remaking the station as its gateway to the rest of the city. In addition, the Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation last year completed a development plan for the neighborhoods surrounding Wister Station.


But even at that 2009 meeting the big improvements planned for Wister were set on the far horizon. Now SEPTA seems to be in even worse financial shape and so anything beyond the needed maintenance and repairs that will start in May with this contract is a much bigger “if.”

“We would like to see that station totally redone but at this time the money’s not there to do it,” said Carl.


SEPTA’s financial straits is rooted in political problems at the federal and state level, according to Robert Lund, SEPTA’s senior director of capital construction. Because of the battle over healthcare reform in Washington, the U.S. Congress has not passed a new federal transportation bill so there are no federal funds available for capital improvement. And at the state level, thanks to a political impasse over Act 44, which calls for a permanent increase in state funding to SEPTA and other transit authorities, and road and bridge maintenance, there is no state money for capital improvement either.


This combination has delayed the long-planned $30 million total renovation of Wayne Junction Station into the not-yet-defined future.


So, for community requests that go beyond the scope of the R7 spruce-up, Lund said, the best bet is for local residents to organize a bottom-up base of solid and focused community support – essentially to help SEPTA deal with all the challenges and headaches of development.


“It’s something that we would love to implement but we can’t do it alone,” said Lund of the larger conceptual plan for Wister. “We have to work with the city and work with the community.”


The model that works, Lund and Carl said, is to organize, get local politicians fully on board, get other local institutions on board, and stay focused on the station you want to improve.


Representatives from the offices of City Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller (D., 8th) and State Representative John Myers (D., 201st) pledged their support for moving any wider projects forward on the R7 stations, and for help with smaller scale improvements like SEPTA’s plan to install new station signs for Wister on Belfield Avenue.


‘Census Sermon Sunday’  Begins City’s Push for Complete Count


By KARL BIEMULLER

Editor


Saadiq Jabbar Garner (at right) of the Germantown Masjid distributes Census information in Vernon Park on Tuesday, March 16, part of the continuing effort to get the word about the importance of taking part in the Census.


How important to Philadelphia is filling out and returning the 2010 U.S. Census form you’ll be receiving this week? Vitally important, says Patricia Enright: “It’s ten minutes for you, but it means millions of dollars for families and neighborhoods. “

Enright is the executive director of PhillyCounts, the city’s initiative to ensure that all Philadelphians will be “enumerated” – counted - in this year’s Census. And the reason the city is making that special effort is that literally millions of dollars in federal and state federal funds could be at stake.


Census Bureau spokesperson Monica Davis echoes Enright’s message. “I think it’s important that people understand the critical importance of the Census to their communities,” she says. “$400 billion [in federal monies] is allocated annually on the basis of the Census.”


That includes money for health programs, education, highways and railroads, LIHEAP – just about anything that federal and state tax dollars are allocated for. It’s all divvied up in large part on the basis of population, which means that the fuller and more accurate the head count is in Philadelphia – and the fewer people who are missed - the more money the city will receive in the future. 


And don’t forget the determination of the number of congressional districts that each state will have in the future. That was the original (and remaining) purpose of the Census, established in 1790: to get an accurate count so that states could be fairly represented in the House of Representatives, where the number of seats to which a state is entitled is determined by a state’s population.  


‘Census Sermon Weekend’

Thus, PhillyCounts is running a number of initiatives to raise public awareness about the importance of filling out the 2010 Census forms. It started last weekend with what PhillyCounts calls “Census Sermon Weekend.”


Hundreds of clergy and faith leaders pledged to reach out to their congregations during their services last weekend, delivering the message that filling out and mailing in the Census forms was important, simple, and safe.


Among them is Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ, 6401 Ogontz Avenue. This Sunday, said Elder Reginald Macon, the church was to host a Census Bureau representative at the 11 a.m. service to speak  about the importance of filling out and turning in the census forms.


“We have been partnershipping with them from the beginning,”said Macon in an interview last week.  “The last Census was in 2000; the response was awful. We know that billions and billions of dollars will be available if we respond, so that neighborhoods and communities and families can be blessed. We will also have a table in the lobby after the service.” He said that Mt. Airy COGIC  would be following up in succeeding weeks not only with words but with reminders: “We’ll be passing out Census cups, pads, pens, keychains. We want to get this count done.”


Another center where the message was delivered was the Germantown Masjid, 4944 Germantown Avenue, where representatives from dozens of Philadlephia mosques and masjids, about 600 people in all, came to hear about the importance of the Census.


Brother Saadiq Jabbar Garner of the Germantown Masjid, who served as liaison for PhillyCounts to the masjids, said, “We got rained out a little bit but things went pretty good. Basically they really wanted to get the word out to get the word out to the Muslim community about the importance of the census … how it’s really to important, that it’s not something that just affects the Muslim community but everybody. This is the first phase - we’ll be aiding and assisting the campaign as it goes along.”


Enright says, “This is so very important, this announcement. Having the faith community standing behind the Census is more important than any Hollywood star could be. People have to trust the person who is delivering the message.”


Confidentiality assured

Part of that message is that information collected by the Census Bureau is kept completely confidential. It is never furnished to law enforcement agencies, immigration authorities, banks or employers. Davis says, “All census employees take a lifetime oath to protect the information we collect. Anyone who breaks that can be can be fined $250,000 and sent to prison. We take confidentiality very seriously.”


Census Day – the date by which forms should be returned – is April 1. Davis says, “If we have not received the forms by mid-April, we will start sending people door to door.”


Some areas are harder to count than others and have lower rates of participation in the initial Census form mail-in. One area that the bureau deems to fall in that category is Census Tract 240, which covers much of west-central Germantown.  The reasons? It has a high percentage of apartment dwellers.


Davis says that there are many different factors in determining hard-to-count tracts, one of which is the proportion of renters in the area. “Often people assumed that the landlord will fill out the form,” she says. But it’s not so – all apartment dwellers must fill out the form for themselves and their families.


A simple form

This year’s form is a simple one for everyone, with only ten questions. It asks four general questions about whether the housing unit is owned or rented, its telephone number, how many people live there and if any others staying there on April 1 were not included. And there is a brief list of questions about individual household members, including name, sex, race, age and relationship to the person who owns or rents the residence.


If  you need help in understanding and filling out the form it’s easily available. Enright says, “People should call 311 if they need help after they get that form. We have trained the 311 staff  - they know the program, they know what’s happening and what to do. We will also have a sworn Census Bureau person on site there to answer questions.”


Many may remember the so-called “Long Form” that a selected sample of the population used to receive and that was much more lengthy and complicated. It is no more, says Davis: “The Long Form has been replaced by the American Community Survey.  Some of the data is now collected and released on an annual basis. It’s just a sample, though; the 2010 Census is a complete headcount.” But if you receive both the 2010 Census form and the American Community Survey questionnaire, you must complete both and send them in.


Still hiring

The Census Bureau is still hiring, says Davis.  “We need to hire about 6,000 people in the city of Philadelphia. That’s an estimate – we’ll know more closer to the end of April. It pays $17.75 hour for an enumerator. The hours are flexible – night, weekends, daytime –and there’s paid training. You can apply to be a crew leader, which pays $19.25 an hour.  We are hiring people from all neighborhoods, people who know the neighborhoods well.  For information call 866-861-2010, or visit www.2010census.gov. Right on the homepage there are links for job seekers to take practice tests.”


Enumerators will be fanning out across the city this spring and summer to seek out and count those who may have been missed or who did not send in their form. It’s a necessary job, says Davis, but if you need another reason to fill out your form and send it in, think of the money that you’ll save the government by mailing it and eliminating the need for someone to come to your door. “It’s a cost-saving measure for people to mail back the form,” she notes. “It costs 42 cents per form if it’s mailed back. If we have to send an enumerator, the cost is $57 per household. So it’s a huge saving to mail it in. Take the ten minutes and use the pre-addressed, pre-stamped envelope.”


Census Sermon weekend will be followed this Saturday by a barbershop and beauty salon tour by Mayor Nutter and city officials, says Enright, “… places where people gather. Then on April 27 there will be a big rally with all our block captains and we’re ‘co-branding’ the Census message at the city-wide cleanup on April 10.”


For more information about  PhillyCounts, visit www.phillycounts.org or call 215-686-7594. For assistance and information with census forms call 311.


Artista is Judges’ Choice at Flower Show


By PATRICK COBBS

Staff Writer


The Philadelphia Flower Show honored three area storefronts in its “Passport to the World”-themed decoration competition, and the Mt. Airy art gallery and gift shop Artista at 7151 Germantown Avenue, took home the top judge’s prize.


“We were thrilled,” said business co-owner Mary Lui Yoder. “This was our first time in the contest. Our inspiration was that this was more of whimsical idea, and things were kind of larger than life.”


Kathy Robinson, the business’ other co-owner, thinks the key to winning the Judges’ Choice award was using the work of their artists in the storefront display, like the hand-made bird feeders that look like log homes that were made by local artist Ed Digian.


The pair are doubly thrilled by the award because it helps to validate the concept of the store, which they started three years ago with a third partner mainly as a gallery to sell their own work. Now the store has expanded to include the work of more than 50 artisans, most of them local.

“It just kept going and going,” Robinson said. “It just started with three of us and people kept consigning with us.”


The store expanded to include more hand-made crafts and artwork in 2008 and it hasn’t looked back. Robinson makes traditional batik silk clothing and Lui Yoder specializes in hand made and hand bound albums and journals. The other artists’ work ranges from jewelry to house decor to, of course, bird houses.


The Flower Show also honored Monkey Business at 8624 Germantown Avenue with the “Crowd Favorite” award, and Ten Thousand Villages at 8331 Germantown Avenue with the “Most Well Traveled” award. There were 90 entrants in the citywide competition.


For more information about Artista, call 215-248-2450 or visit  www.artistagallery.info.


Review: ‘The Story’ is Well-Told Tale of Ambition, Tragedy


By JOHN E. STANCHAK

Guest Writer


(“The Story,” a play by Tracey Scott Wilson, directed by Robert Bauer, is currently being  presented by the Drama Group at the First United Methodist Church, 6001 Germantown Avenue.)


Yvonne is a mint-new reporter on a major American daily newspaper. Her editor, Pat, is a seasoned journalist with a commitment to professional excellence. Neil, a young reporter who hangs on Pat’s every word, is competitive and wants to stay ahead of any newcomer. All are African American. Jeff is the editor of the paper’s hard news section. He comes from money. He is white. On the downlow, he is Yvonne’s lover and helped her get a start at the daily.


A white schoolteacher is murdered in the tough ethnic neighborhood surrounding his school. Yvonne, bored and insulted by the string of light feature assignments Pat gives her, latches onto this crime story, and drives it for all it is worth, believing it is the break that will make her career. Pat sees the story from a racial and community perspective and wants it covered in some positive way. Neither character will be happy with what it is coming.


“The Story” is a tragedy, driven by overweening pride, misplaced trust and loyalties, and many lies. It is loosely inspired by the Janet Cook scandal of the early 1980s, where a Washington Post reporter was compelled to return a Pulitzer Prize for reporting, because the series of stories she submitted were revealed to be complete fiction. The play debuted at the Public Theater in New York in 2003 with Phylicia Rashad (Clare Huxtable on the Cosby TV show) in the role of Pat, the veteran newswoman with standards.


This is a tale well-told and shows a deft directorial hand. It is one of the strongest pieces reviewed in Northwest theater this season, and features a wicked young talent, Kimberly Rolland. Rolland, a senior at JR Masterman High School, plays Latisha, a young girl with severe personality problems who figures large in the murder story. Surrounded by experienced adult actors, she more than holds her own on stage and impresses the audience.


Judie K. Johns plays Pat the editor with polish and authority. Marc C. Johnson plays Neil, the reporter Pat mentors, an insecure character willing to fight for his place at Pat’s feet. Leslie Ryan, a veteran of several Drama Group productions, is the heart-broken widow of the murdered teacher. Andrew Whelan plays Jeff, editor of the hard-news section, a man who is forced to face disillusionment and professional ruin.


Yvonne, the woman who drives this workplace catastrophe, is portrayed by Shamika Boyd, an actress who ably demonstrates how ambition can turn to poison.


An ensemble made up of actresses Brie Knight, Kizzy S. Saunders, and Lisa Stoddard rounds out the cast, standing in as police, community center directors, a detective, a TV reporter, and angry citizens. All were bright and commendable.


Remaining performances of  “The Story” are at 8 p.m. on March 19, 20, 26, and 27. Tickets are $15 at the door. Call 215-844-0724 for reservations.


9th Ward Fundraiser


The 9th Ward Democratic Committee of Chestnut Hill and Mt Airy presents a Wear’n of the Green St. Patrick’s Party Fundraiser on Friday, March 19, 8-11 p.m. at the Venetian Club, 8030 Germantown Avenue. It will feature drinks, dinner, and live music by the Morrigans. Special guest will be  Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord, and other surprise elected official and candidates.


Tickets are $40 at the door. All proceeds go directly to voter turnout efforts. RSVP John O’Connell 267-312-1925 or email john@elfantwissahickon.com. Mail checks payable to 9th Ward Democratic Committee, 123 West Gravers Lane, Philadelphia, 19118.


Germantown Poetry Festival


The 4th annual Germantown Poetry Festival will take place Saturday, April 17, 2-5 p.m., at Germantown Friends School, Yarnall Auditorium, 31 West Coulter Street. Sponsored by Youthadelphia, this year’s festival is taking it back to what it’s all about: empowering youth voices and uniting communities.  The GPF Youngbloods, a team of poets from high schools in Northwest Philadelphia, will perform alongside festival alumnae and teachers.  Youth poetry groups from Philly schools and community organizations are invited to participate.  GtownRadio.com will broadcast the event live over the internet. 


Know a high school or college poetry group that is interested in performing?  Contact Elan Gepner at elangep@gmail.com.


Yo Yo Quilting at Maxwell


Sewing circles during the Victorian era were times when ladies met in someone’s home to exchange pleasantries and do hand work. The Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, 200 West Tulpehocken Street, continues its tradition of Sunday afternoon workshops with a Yo Yo quilt workshop. This project is completely hand-sewn using fabric scraps.  Join instructor Ivonne Fitzsimmons to create a beautiful table runner or coverlet. Needles, thread and fabric are provided; participants are asked to bring sewing scissors.  The workshop will be Sunday, March 21, 1:30-4:30 p.m. The cost is $40, $35 members. Cookies and tea will be served. Reservations are required. For information and reservations call 215-438-1861 or visit www.ebenezermaxwellmansion.org.


CIPPlayers Take Stage for Diabetes


Yvonne Tilghman (left) and Victoria Huggins-Peurifoy, two of CIP’s Living Well Players, prepare for an on-air performance.


“We are here to entertain you with a brief skit that we wrote, and to bring you some important information.  So please sit back and enjoy!”  These words signal the start of an exciting performance by the Center in the Park (CIP) Living Well Players.  “All the world’s a stage” for these actors, and yet, the men and women who comprise this group are not “merely players” – they are agents of change in their communities.  These CIP members have volunteered to create and perform skits encouraging older adults to be screened for diabetes and spreading the word that Medicare offers free diabetes screening. 


Early detection and treatment is the best way to avoid the potentially serious complications of diabetes – including stroke, blindness, heart disease, amputations and kidney disease. Many older adults are diabetic or pre-diabetic and are unaware of it. The aim of the Medicare Diabetes Screening Project (MDSP) is to spread the message that you are eligible for free screening if you are 65 or older, and have any one of the following: A family history of diabetes; high blood pressure; high cholesterol; are overweight; or have a history of diabetes during pregnancy. So the next time you visit your doctor or nurse practitioner, speak with him or her about your risk of becoming diabetic - maybe it’s time you got tested. For more information on the Medicare diabetes screening benefit go to www.screenfordiabetes.org or call 1-800-MEDICARE.


To find out more about the CIP Living Well Players, or to schedule a presentation for your organization, please call CIP’s In Touch Program Coordinator, Marie-Monique Marthol at 215-849-5100.


Membership at Center in the Park is free and open to adults, age 55+ - but we ask that you enroll with the Center Counselor or a membership registrar.  Non-members may attend certain classes, trips and activities, as well.  For an appointment with the Center Counselor or membership registrars, call 215-848-7722.  Visit the Center’s website at: www.centerinthepark.org.


Balance Issues Become Important for Aging Adults


By John T. Lockard

Owner, Northwest Physical Therapy


With an aging U.S. population living longer, health issues related to the body’s balance system will become increasingly common. Nearly 9 percent of Americans 65 and over report having problems with balance. “Balance is said to be the sixth sense. People take their balance system for granted until it becomes impaired,” said Lisa Haven, PhD, executive director of VEDA. “The risk of falling is two to three times greater in people with chronic imbalance or dizziness. With an estimated 78 million baby boomers living longer and remaining active, the demand for services to help people cope with a challenged balance system is increasing.”


The vestibular (balance) system is the body’s “navigator.” Signals from the inner-ear balance organs are coordinated with cues from vision and proprioceptors (pressure sensors in the feet and elsewhere) to tell a person where he or she is in space. The vestibular system provides the brain with the information necessary to control eye movements, posture, and gait.


As the vestibular system ages, symptoms of dizziness, vertigo, and/or unsteadiness may occur, which can contribute to falls and heighten the impact of other effects of aging. Vestibular disorders can also result at any age from inner ear disease or injury, including from the use of certain intravenous antibiotics. Symptoms of vestibular disorders may also include nausea, visual disturbances, concentration and memory trouble, hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), fatigue, and headache.


A balance problem can be a gateway condition to more serious physical and psychological problems resulting from fall-related injuries: hip and joint replacement, broken bones, ligament damage, depression, anxiety, and social isolation. Balance-related falls accounting for more than one-half of accidental deaths in the elderly.


Scientists around the United States are working not only on research to better understand and treat inner ear problems, but also on innovative technologies to help a person sense motion correctly and thus improve balance function. For example, a balance prosthesis under development at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary consists of a vest with tiny motion sensors that vibrate against the skin when a dizzy person wearing the vest begins to lean. Another sensory-substitution device, under development at the University of Wisconsin Medical School, helps the brain recognize balance cues by rerouting information about spatial coordinates through a pattern of touch sensations delivered to microelectrodes placed on the tongue. A different, more invasive approach is a surgical vestibular implant that electrically stimulates the balance nerve. Such new technologies show promise for helping people with balance disorders. But more research and public awareness are needed.


The Vestibular Disorders Association is dedicated to serving people with vestibular disorders by providing access to information, offering a support network, and elevating awareness of the challenges associated with these disorders. For more information about inner ear balance disorders and the services that VEDA offers, visit www.vestibular.org or call 800-837-8428.


A physical therapist-owned outpatient rehabilitation office in Wyndmoor, Northwest Physical Therapy offers sophisticated equipment for maximizing recovery, accurate reports to referring physicians, athletic training programs, home visits and leading edge treatment technologies. For information call 215-233-5572 or visit www.northwestpt.org.


First Lady Spreads the Word About Nutrition at Fresh Grocer


Amy Deahl-Greenlaw of The Food Trust and three supermarket tour participants pose for a photo in the Value Produce Aisle at The Fresh Grocer on North Broad Street. 


A few short weeks ago, First Lady Michelle Obama was touring The Fresh Grocer supermarket in N. Philadelphia’s Sullivan Progress Plaza, a visit inspired by her Let’s Move campaign to put an end to childhood obesity.  To achieve this goal, the First Lady stresses that food deserts (areas where food is non-existent, not healthy or too expensive) need to be eliminated.  The Fresh Grocer at Progress Plaza opened in December 2009 and gave the North Philadelphia community near Temple University its first full-service supermarket in over a decade. 


Residents have access to fresh, healthy and affordable food for the first time in years, but many are hesitant to purchase these items due a lack of product and preparation knowledge.  To help educate customers on how to shop smart, try samples of new healthy foods, choose healthier options and learn ways to make quick nutritious meal, The Fresh Grocer has teamed up with a few organizations like The Food Trust (an organization that works to improve the health of children and adults, promote good nutrition, increase access to nutritious foods, and advocate for better public policy) to host healthy and interactive supermarket tours. 


The tours are given by clinical dieticians and nutritionists, like Amy Deahl-Greenlaw, RD LDN, Associate Director of Nutrition Education for The Food Trust.  During the tours participants receive nutritional information, meet with The Fresh Grocer’s department managers, are treated to live product demonstrations, and offered samples of healthy items like fresh fruit smoothies and 100 calorie trail mix. 


During the most recent tour held on Thursday, March 11, the tour participants each received a complimentary $10 Fresh Grocer store gift card and were challenged to select one healthy item from each food group. 


“We did a little healthy eating introduction briefly discussing all 5 food groups of MyPyramid (the USDA Guide to healthy eating),” said Deahl-Greenlaw.  “The participants really seemed excited to take on the challenge and selected many items that we were discussing.”


Some of the items purchased by the participants were whole wheat pasta, 100% whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes, green peppers, oranges, strawberries, fish, 1% milk, and low fat yogurt.


“Participants especially loved the Value Produce Aisle,” said Deahl-Greenlaw.  “We called it the best kept secret in the store.”


The Fresh Grocer’s Value Produce Aisle features bagged produce of popular fruits and vegetables like apples, oranges, peppers and potatoes.  All pieces are hand-picked by the produce manager, bagged, weighed and labeled with a sale price.  The aisle was incorporated to the produce department as an added convenience for customers, especially those not used to shopping for produce, as well as those on a fixed budget.  Customers are able to see exactly what the cost is for the bag of items just by looking at the label; no weighing necessary.  

 

After the tour, the group meets in The Fresh Grocer’s café for a chance to review what they learned over bottled water and fresh fruit.  Surveys are then given to each participant to end the tour.   


“The feedback on the surveys has all been very positive.  Generally speaking, they cannot say enough about how beautiful and blessed they are to have this store,” said Deahl-Greenlaw. 


The next healthy supermarket tour hosted by The Food Trust is scheduled for Thursday, March 25 at noon at The Fresh Grocer at 1501 North Broad Street. The tours are open to the public and free of charge.  Interactive supermarket tours are also hosted monthly by Temple University’s Student Health Services.  The Fresh Grocer is currently working with other organizations to bring these tours to all supermarket locations in the near future. 


The most recent Fresh Grocer in the area opened last summer at the Shoppes at LaSalle on Chew Avenue.


Applebees $1 Million Contest on ‘March Madness’


Neighborhoods may disagree about which basketball team will take home the championship title, but everyone can agree that at Applebee’s, great things come in threes: Ultimate Trio appetizers, live hoops action – and a chance to win $1 million at a local restaurant. 


With brackets announced, hoops fans can enter to win $1 million in the March Hoops Basketball Challenge at Applebee’s by completing their men’s college basketball brackets on applebees.com. No purchase is necessary to enter or win.


The $1 million online contest will open after the tournament brackets are announced via national telecast on Sunday, March 14. Entrants must make all picks before the published cutoff time on the selection pages. Players can make their picks round-by-round, join and create groups with friends, post to a message board, find stats on teams, upload fan photos and videos, and follow their picks and points history.


An eligible player who correctly picks all 63 games will win $1 million. Up to three, $10,000 cash prizes could be awarded to eligible fans who pick 61 or 62 games in the contest correctly, and up to five $1,000 cash prizes could be awarded to eligible fans who pick 60 games in the contest correctly.


The official rules will be available online.


Weavers Way Grants to Community Projects


Weavers Way Co-op’s Environment Committee invites community groups from Mt. Airy, Germantown, East Falls, West Oak Lane, and Chestnut Hill to submit proposals for grants for clearly identifiable public purposes resulting in a tangible improvement for the community. The Co-op awards grants each year, primarily for public purposes that benefit the environment.


Grant amounts range from $100 to $1000, depending on the available funds and the number of qualified applicants. The Environment Committee received these funds through the Philadelphia Partnership Recycling Program as a result of our monthly community recycling effort, which was in operation until July 2008, when curbside, single stream recycling was initiated in our area and our Partnership Recycling effort ceased.


The amount of grant money available is directly related to the volume of materials recycled in the previous program, and fund availability will limit the number of awards. The Weavers Way Environment Committee current recycling effort focuses on #5 plastics, which are not included in the City’s curbside recycling program. Applications and guidelines are available from the Environment Committee box on the second floor of Weavers Way Co-op’s Mt. Airy store, at 559 Carpenter Lane in Mt. Airy, and also may be downloaded and printed from the Weavers Way website at weaversway.coop. Applications must be received at the Co-op by Monday, April 26.


Anyone requesting a grant will learn within a month of the deadline if they have been selected. Grant recipients will be obliged to submit a report with receipts describing exactly how the money was spent.


Weavers Way is a member-owned retail cooperative in Northwest Philadelphia, with stores in West Mt. Airy, West Oak Lane, and opening May 2010 in Chestnut Hill.


Harp Concert at CH Presbyterian


On Sunday, April 11, 3 p.m., the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Harp Society and the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill will present internationally-renowned harpist María Luisa Rayan-Forero in a solo harp recital at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Avenue. The Argentinian-born virtuoso has performed to critical acclaim in the USA, Europe, Latin America and Japan. Tickets are $20, $10 for students and seniors. For information call 215-247-8855.


Women-in-White at Mt. Tabor


Mt. Tabor Baptist Church, 110 West Rittenhouse Street will be celebrating its annual Women-In-White service on Sunday, March 21, 3 p.m.  Evangelist Gillian Gittens, First Lady of Calvary Baptist Church and President of the Women’s Division of the Pennsylvania Eastern Keystone Baptist Association, will be our guest preacher. All women are invited to attend.  White attire is asked to show unity but is not required. For information call 215-844-2756.


Seder Luncheon for Community


The Chestnut Hill Center for Enrichment invites the community to its inaugural Seder luncheon to be served on Tuesday, March 30. If you are  not Jewish and want to learn about the traditions, ceremony and foods of Passover, you are welcome. If you are Jewish and want to enjoy an extra, but not kosher, holiday meal, you are welcome. This warm and wonderful event will begin at 12:15 p.m. in the Center on the Hill, 8855 Germantown Avenue (the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, right next door to the Hospital). Seating is limited and reservations ($8 per person) are requested no later than noon Friday, March 26. Contact Sue or Mary at 215-248-0180 or chseniors@cavtel.net.


‘Bad Girls of the Bible’ at Reformation Lutheran


A dramatic interpretation of “Bad Girls of the Bible,” a Liz Higgins book that fictionally retells the lives of biblical female role models, will be presented on Friday and Saturday, March 26-27, 7 p.m., by the Drama Guild of Reformation Lutheran Church. Tickets are $12 and will benefit the children’s theater arts ministry and drama ministry.


The guild has performed at theatrical venues throughout Philadelphia and has interpreted historic and biblical works including “Black Nativity,” The Underground Railroad,” “Rosa Parks,” and “A Balm in Gilead” among others.


Tickets are $12 and will benefit the children’s Theater Arts Ministry and Drama Ministry. Call the church at 215-548-4322 or Linda Walker at 215-224-8757.


Ecumenical Vesper Service at St. Paul’s


“A Heart for the Homeless” is an ecumenical vespers service being held at Saint Paul’s Church, 22 East Chestnut Hill Avenue, on the Wednesday in Holy Week, March 31, 7:30 p.m.  The guest speaker is Angelo Sgro, executive director of Bethesda Project.  Bethesda Project partnering with Project H.O.M.E. will open Connelly House in December, providing supportive, affordable housing for homeless men and women recovering from addictions and mental illness.  On this Wednesday before Easter, Saint Paul’s remembers Jesus upon whose head a poor woman poured costly ointment.  The act signifies both the vision of a city without poverty and the commitment to follow Jesus in caring for those in need.  The offering from the Vespers service and donations will benefit the homeless served by Bethesda Project.


The mission focus of Saint Paul’s Church is hunger and housing.  In addition to the thousand dollar donation that the church is making to Bethesda Project, Saint Paul’s houses homeless families each year who are transitioning to homes of their own through the Northwest Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network.  The church provides such a feeling of welcome and support in this time of transition that two of the boys staying with us last year joined our choir school and sang with our choristers.  Creating home where there is none is part of the mission of Saint Paul’s Outreach.  Wednesday in Holy Week, March 31, is our opportunity to join that concern with what it means to be followers of Jesus.


All are invited to participate in this contemporary, alternative and ancient worship.  For more information call 215-242-2055 or email ccutler@stpaulschestnuthill.org.


More March Events at Germantown Jewish Centre


Upcoming events at the Germantown Jewish centre, 400 West Ellet Street, include:

Germantown Jewish Centre Drama Group, Sunday, March 21 at 7 p.m. Join us for our second season of performing plays of Jewish interest in a readers’ theater format. 

The March selection is the “The Last Seder” by Jennifer Maisel.  Sunday of the month.  

Matzah Baking and Passover Celebration for Families, sponsored by Germantown Jewish Centre’s Women’s Club, on Sunday, March 21, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Experience how the ancient Israelites prepared to flee Egypt by grinding wheat with stones, making your own dough, and baking flatbreads over an open fire. You can also plant wheat to take home and grow. The program is free and will take place only weather permitting.

Survival in Shanghai: an author and book event sponsored by Germantown Jewish Centre’s Women’s Club, will take place Wednesday, March 24, 7 p.m. Author Audrey Friedman Marcus will discuss her book Survival in Shanghai: The Journals of Fred Marcus 1939-49.  


For information, e-mail program@germantownjewishcentre.org or call 215-844-1507, ext. 19.


Wiley College Choir in Concert


The Wiley College  2010 Spring Goodwill Concert Tour will perform on Tuesday, March 23, 7 p.m.  at Mother African Zoar United Methodist Church, 1204 Melon Street. It will feature the Wiley College A Cappella Choir directed by Mr. Stephen Hayes and accompanied by Dr. JuYeon Lee.


Wiley College, located in Marshall Texas  is one of 11 historically black colleges established and supported by the United Methodist Church. The choir has a rich history of singers and composers dating back to the eighteen hundreds. Historical documents reveal the first group of singers, The Wiley Jubilee Singers, was organized in 1897 by R.E. Brown. Traveling the country to promote the mission of the school, the Wiley Jubilee Singers served as the official cultural representatives until the mid-20th century. Subsequent choirs were propelled by legendary directors and composers.


The touring choir consists of 15 students from various backgrounds, academic majors and regions of the country. The Choir has grown in number and talent under the direction of Hayes and tours regularly within the United States. Hayes has conducted and/or prepared choirs to sing with many of this eras best known American performers and entertainers, such as Jester Hairston, Barry Manilow, Melba Moore,and others.


In 2007, his Wiley College “A Cappella” Choir recorded excerpts of music to be used in the soundtrack of “The Great Debaters” a 2008 film.


The concert is free and open to the public. Everyone is invited. A free-will offering will be received to support this choir and their concert tour.  For more information contact Rev. David Cassidy at 215 769 3899.


City-Wide Block Captain Rally March 27


The Philadelphia Streets Department is pleased to host its annual Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee (PMBC) Block Captain Rally at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch streets, on Saturday, March 27. Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson will be joined by Mayor Michael Nutter and other City officials in recognizing the beautification efforts of block captains and junior block captains in Philadelphia neighborhoods. The event will be held from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.


The theme of this year’s rally is “Count Me In.”  Count Me In is a call to all block captains to encourage their residents to get involved to help their community and their city.  The City will be encouraging three important initiatives to involve our citizens:

Philadelphia Recycling Rewards. Through this program, residents will be rewarded for increasing their recycling efforts to earn points that are redeemed through RecycleBank for discounts to hundreds of participating local and national merchants and non-profits.


Philly Spring Clean Up. This year’s cleanup will be held on April 10.  It is entitled “Keep Up the Sweep Up”, and it encourages citizens to maintain their cleanup efforts all year long, not just for one day, because the battle against litter must be fought everyday.


2010 Census. The 2010 Census population count will be used to determine how much federal money comes to our City - about $2,500 per person – for neighborhood revitalization (i.e., PMBC cleanups, beautification projects), schools, parks, affordable housing, roads and programs.  We want all Philadelphians to stand up and be counted for a better, brighter city today and in the future.


PMBC, part of the Streets Department’s Sanitation Division, is an urban environmental partnership. The program promotes civic pride, public safety, and neighborhood empowerment among block captains and community groups.


The day’s activities will begin at 9 a.m. with an Information Fair, featuring representatives from a number of City and private agencies. Attendees will be able to participate in 45-minute workshops beginning at 10 a.m.


This free event is open to Block Captains, Junior Block Captains, and anyone interested in working to improve the quality of life in our Philadelphia neighborhoods.  Prizes and lunch will be on hand.


PMBC, part of the Streets Department’s Sanitation Division, is in its 65th year of organizing and coordinating an army of approximately 6,500 registered Block Captains, who lead the battle against litter and blight in our streets and communities.  Come out and join frtiends and neighbors as they get ready for an exciting cleaning and beautification season and celebrate PMBC’s dedication to neighborhood improvement and civic pride.


PMBC will kick off its cleaning season in tandem with Philadelphia’s 3rd Philly Spring Cleanup on Saturday, April 10.


To register as a Block Captain or for more information contact PMBC at 215-685-3981.


Recycle ‘Weird Wastes’ at GRINCH Event


GReenINChestnutHill aka GRINCH, a grassroots environmental organization in Chestnut Hill, is organizing its second Weird Waste Day, on Saturday, April 10, 2010 from 1-4 p.m. in the Valley Green Bank parking lot on West Highland Avenue in Chestnut Hill.


Residents and business people are encouraged to bring their electronic waste such as TV’s, computers, cell phones and key boards that will be disposed of responsibly at a cost of 40 cents per pound. The electronics are then reused or recycled responsibly. Cash or checks will be accepted. Any additional revenues will be used for future recycling events.


GReen IN Chestnut Hill is a group of Chestnut Hill residents and business people whose purpose is providing a forum for citizens who want to participate in sustainable practices; raising awareness in Chestnut Hill about environmental issues; and presenting outreach and educational programs about environmental issues.


For more information about Weird Waste Day or GRINCH please contact Amy Edelman by email at chefamybeth@hotmail.com or 610-505-6282, or Jen Reed at ecologic.chlocal@gmail.com.


Flower Show Winners


The ladies of Our Garden Club Of Philadelphia and Vicinity, many of whose members hail from the Northwest, took top honors in this year’s Philadelphia International Flower Show by getting the highest points in the Artistic Arrangement Class of all garden clubs participating in the 2010 show. Wilfreta Baugh and Lois Gross were the recipients of the Garden Club of America Certificate of Excellence for “Down Under” (Medium Niche Class), the Helen Hope Dechert Award for the Outstanding blue ribbon exhibit in the Medium Niche Class, and the Blue and Gold Ribbon of the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania for the highest scoring blue-ribbon winter in the Niche Classes on Wednesday. Gabrielle Smith won the Blue and Gold Ribbon of the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania on Wednesday as the highest scoring blue-ribbon winner scoring 95 or more points.


Members participating included Wilfreta Baugh, Lydia Allen Berry, Lucille Dickerson, Lois Gross, Ellen Hymans Jo Ann Jones, Allyson Lewis, Pat Lewis, Lorraine Moore, Lillian Ransom Gabrielle Smith, Theresa Streets, and Cynthia Wright.


Our Garden Club was founded in 1939, and is believed to be the oldest ongoing African American Garden Club in the United States if not the world.

 

FOWPark Cleanup


The Wissahickon is in need of spring cleaning and the Friends of the Wissahickon (FOW) are looking for volunteers for their upcoming workdays to perform trail maintenance, plant native shrubs and trees, and remove invasive plants and litter. FOW leads a service project at various locations in the park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays starting in April.


Some of the heavier work is not appropriate for children; volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. FOW suggests volunteers wear hats, sunglasses, hiking boots or sneakers (sandals and flip-flops are not allowed), lightweight pants, and long-sleeved shirts to protect against ticks and poison ivy (although shorts/tee shirts are acceptable). Volunteers should also bring a reusable water bottle.


Those wishing to volunteer must register with FOW Volunteer Coordinator Kevin Groves at 215-247-0417 ext. 105 or groves@fow.org. For information on FOW workdays, check the volunteer calendar at fow.org/volproj.php or contact Groves.


Ponoma Cherokee Meeting


The Pomona Cherokee Civic Council, Ethel Forrest, president, meets the third Tuesday of the month, 7 p.m., at Grace Baptist Church of Germantown. For information call 215-991-6513 or e-mail to pomonacherokee@hotmail.com.


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Anyone who thought their eyes were deceiving them on Wayne Avenue last week had good reason – but it was no mirage out of the Old West. Mathew McDaniel pulled up on his horse Hampton at the Urban Café to grab a bite and talk. He set out a year ago from Salem, Oregon, to ride across the United States to raise awareness of the condition of the Akha people of northern Thailand (he met his wife there; she is an Akha.) The journey will end in New York City in April at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. For information visit www.akha.org.