From the Chronicle • Germantown News Stories

March 25, 2010 • Germantown Chronicle.pdf

In This Issue

  1. YWCA of Germantown Going Up for Sheriff’s Sale

  2. GHS Senior Named Inquirer Student Citizen Awardee

  3. Police Brief Residents at PSA Meetings

  4. Northwest Resident Still Cutting the Rug at Age 96

  5. Documentary Premiere at Video Library

  6. Seniors’ Art Sought

  7. ‘Old House Fair’ at Germantown Friends School

  8. GGBA/MABA Meeting on April 13

  9. Rabid Cat Found in Germantown

  10. Depaul Receives $10,000 Grant from Green Tree Foundation

  11. Free Information, Testing for HIV/AIDS

  12. Free Kids’ Dental Care

  13. ‘Mothers March Globally’ on March 13

  14. Holy Week At St. Michael the Archangel

  15. Sacred Music at Christian Church of Philadelphia

  16. Crossroads Easter Celebration

  17. Hein-Fry Lecture at LTSP

  18. Community Seder at Chabad-Lubavitch

  19. Vespers at Andorra Baptist

  20. Good Friday at Mt. Tabor

  21. PSA Meetings

  22. Allen Lane Station Update

  23. Census Sites

  24. Meet the D.A.

  25. Volunteer at Allens Lane

  26. Germantown Poetry Festival

  27. Census Bureau Help Site

YWCA of Germantown Going Up for Sheriff’s Sale


Staff Writer

Legal actions continued to mount against Germantown Settlement’s family of agencies as the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (RDA) moved in February to put the Settlement-held YWCA building at 5420 Germantown Avenue up for sheriff’s sale, and the organization’s executive director, Emanuel Freeman, is set for arraignment on criminal charges in May on a charge of making false statements in relation to the state unemployment compensation law. It is a charge that caries a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail. Freeman could not be reached for comment.

There have been a number of civil complaints against Settlement since 2009, including some by former workers who said they were misled about months of missed paychecks. In addition, city, state and federal claims against the agency allege missing payroll taxes in the hundreds of thousands of dollars going back at least three years.

Among these is a city action filed in October 2009 that seeks $209,000 from Freeman and his top executives, personally, for allegedly deducting wage taxes from employee paychecks but failing to pay that money to the city.

The YWCA seizure follows an action filed by the RDA in July 2009 that sought to take back the building from its official owner, the Greater Germantown Housing Development Corporation, which is a subsidiary of Settlement and which Freeman also directs, for failing to fulfill the terms of the $1.3 million loan that secured the building in 2006. Settlement failed to renovate the building, a requirement of the loan, or make a single payment.

Following the July action the RDA decided to give Settlement more time to right its finances and come up with a plan to get the building into community use, but the agency never submitted a plan despite Freeman’s claim in August 2009 that Settlement had already raised more than $1.5 million for the project through private investors.

“When we had talked to them we had told them we’d give them until December and so, by the end of December, [when] the situation did not change we decided to move forward,” said RDA Executive Director Terry Gillen.

The YWCA building has sat vacant since its purchase, but the building’s doors were open to the outside for most of 2009 causing a squatter problem, according to previous interviews with local residents and police. Late in 2009 the building was finally closed up by Licenses and Inspections.

The YWCA is scheduled for sheriff’s sale in April. A for-profit real estate firm Mosaic Investments has expressed strong interest in working to renovate the building, and though Gillen said it was far too early to predict the fate of the YWCA she did not rule out the possibility of an RDA purchase at the auction.

This will be the third sheriff’s sale of a GGHDC holding scheduled in recent months. In November 2009 the Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation bought the remnants of a failed housing development initiative in Lower Germantown called Link 1 at sheriff’s sale. Only three of the thirteen planned properties in that project were ever sold, and four nearly complete homes have remained vacant on Penn Street since they were built in 2003.

GGHDC also failed to pay a $788,000 loan from the RDA in association with that project, and it was ordered to pay $987,000 to the community development lender Local Initiatives Support Group for its default on two more loans associated with the project.

And the two federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funded Elders Place residence buildings for low income seniors on Wister Street and Collom Street in lower Germantown are also scheduled to be taken from GGHDC in a sheriff’s sale at the end of this month. HUD spokespeople declined to give a reason for the foreclosures but audits of the projects from 2007 and 2008 noted financial mismanagement at a level that could warrant a HUD seizure.

Financial worries in general have been plaguing Settlement since the School Reform Commission closed the Germantown Settlement Charter School in June 2009, citing, among other things, financial concerns. In July the Mature Adult Center became the second Settlement program to close after the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging cut off its funds as part of a larger cancelation of all city contracts because Settlement failed to file financial audits for the last three years.

In an August interview Freeman said the agency hit a bad financial downturn relating to the larger economic slump, and that it was in the midst of restructuring its real estate holdings to focus on revenue generation. 

One of GGHDC’s newest such ventures was to begin construction last fall on a Wendy’s restaurant in the large parking lot next to the GGHDC owned Burgess Center at 200 West Chelten Avenue, which is also the subject of a $7 million loan default. But even that fast food project seems to be stalled due to the ongoing legal issues, according to Stephen Carrochi, owner of Viceroy Builders, the contractor for the job. Wendy’s seemed to confirm that same point.

“There are some issues that the landlord needs to work out… before we can continue construction,” said Dennis Lynch, a Wendy’s corporate spokesman.

GHS Senior Named Inquirer Student Citizen Awardee



Guest Writers

For the past four years the Philadelphia Inquirer’s annual Student Citizenship Award has been bestowed on a select number of students for their contributions to their communities and schools.  This year, for the first time, a Germantown High School student was among the recipients.

Angel Wilson, 18, who volunteers for the Philadelphia public library, is a White-Williams Scholar and plays for both the Germantown High and All-City bands, was among 122 high school seniors who were honored at a March 11 ceremony at the National Constitution Center.

Wilson received a medal, and the high school will receive a plaque that recognizes her achievement.

“If you give her something to do, she’s always right there on top of it,” said Gwendolyn Dixon, a guidance counselor at the high school who nominated Wilson for the award. “She’s very self-motivated, very driven.”

Added Wilson, “She called me into her office and told me I qualified for the award and that she was going to nominate me.”

Wilson’s inspiration is her mother, Nikisha, a single parent who is rearing three children.  Her mother was a bit strict when they first moved to Philadelphia from Trenton, N.J., as Angel was entering high school, she says. But it helped Wilson develop into the driven and focused young woman she is today.

“When I first started going [to Germantown High], she blocked all calls except for her and my grandma,” said Wilson. “It allowed me to focus on my work.” 

She quickly added, “Now that I’m older she doesn’t do it [any more].”

Maintaining a 3.86 grade point, she is striving to be a role model for her younger siblings. “They don’t know it yet, but they will when they’re older,” said Wilson.

In her spare time, Wilson enjoys hanging out with her friends and going to the movies.  She also enjoys practicing her clarinet, an instrument she didn’t originally pick.

“I transferred last minute into the [band] class,” said Wilson.  “So I got stuck with the clarinet.”

Although her original instrument of choice was the piano, which she’s played since she was young, Wilson said that she grew to love the clarinet as well, and now practices both.

White-Williams Scholars is a program that provides support to low-income but high-achieving students in the Philadelphia public schools. Wilson is also an ambassador for the program.

She has also participated in the Hugh O’Brian Leadership Seminar, a nationwide program that helps high school students build their leadership skills, and in Building with Books, which sponsored fundraisers to help build a school in Africa. 

Wilson is currently taking two classes at Germantown High and three classes at La Salle University through the university’s Dual Enrollment Program, which allows area high school students to take courses for college credit.

In the fall, Wilson will attend La Salle to study nursing.  She hopes to become a pre-neo-natal nurse.

“I like helping people and I like children,” said Wilson.  “I’ve always been interested in what goes on in a nurse’s office.”

Faulk and Biagi provided this story through their community journalism course at La Salle University.

Construction Begins at Presser Building


Staff Writer

The long-awaited renovation of the former Presser Building on Johnson Street blossomed like a spring flower this month when workers began the $14 million transformation of the building into low-income age-qualified housing. Go past the historic structure on the 100 block of West Johnson Street and the change is obvious. Since construction started on the publicly-subsidized job on March 1, the place has been bustling with activity.

“We are really banging the job out right now,” said Rick Sudall, Nolen Properties’ director of operations. He sees the slow construction market as a blessing for the Presser project to help keep it on the fast track. “Fortunately there is not a lot of work going on in the city right now,” he explained. “We are one of the few properties under construction.”

As a result, the project attracts a lot of workers at one time. And since the work is funded in part by a $2.25 million federal loan from stimulus funds, job creation is a pointed concern. To that end, according to Sudall, the work has generated 138 new jobs.

Other public funding includes a $2 million interest free loan through the city’s Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD), $779,000 in low-income housing tax credits, which Nolen Properties will sell to investors to raise funds, and a $650,000 loan from the Federal Home Loan Bank in Pittsburgh.

In return, when completed the Presser Senior Apartments must remain available at a subsidized rate to low-income seniors for at least fifteen years. Sudall called the project “fully funded” and he expected to be showing units within a year.

“We will absolutely have people living there in February,” he said.

Formerly called the Johnson Street Homes, the massive campus has been the subject of community and legal battles since a senior care facility, the trouble-plagued Mt. Airy Commons,  closed at the site in 2002. The property changed hands several in intervening years and the fate of the historically-designated buildings had not been secure until Nolen’s plan won community and financial support.

Originally Sudall had hoped to have the work on Presser going by last fall, but there was a delay finalizing the tax credits. The process was new to Nolen, Sudall said, but now that the company has one round under its belt Sudall feels confident that it will be able to move forward soon on Phase Two of the larger vision for the property – renovating the former Nugent building nearby on Johnsons Street as well.

The planned 31-unit Nugent Senior Apartments has already won a commitment from OHCD for $2 million in financing, and Sudall hopes to use tax credit funding there too. The company could break ground on that $10 million project in September or October of this year, he said.

Although the Nugent project is not yet fully funded, Sudall hoped for the best. And if work remains swift on Presser, there is an outside chance that unspent federal stimulus money from other projects across the state could find its way back to Johnson Street for Nugent, but that is strictly a wait-and-see situation, Sudall warned.

Still more speculative is the Phase Three concept for the huge campus. Depending heavily on market forces, Nolen hopes to one day build 150 new market rate residential units on another section of the lot, Sudall said in an earlier interview.

Whatever the future brings, the company is quite pleased with the work underway now, especially after such a long span of inactivity on the site.

“We’re thrilled,” Sudall said. “That building has been sitting there for so long, we are just absolutely thrilled to see some action up there.”

Police Brief Residents at PSA Meetings


Staff Writer

The new Police Service Areas (PSAs) are continuing their monthly efforts to bring policing closer to the community. The meetings, like the one for PSA Two on March 18 at New Bethel AME Church, 6153 Germantown Avenue, are a combination community/police check-in and Town Watch incubator, with emphasis on a two-way information exchange.

“We have a problem around Walnut Lane and Baynton Street, going to Germantown High School in the morning,” said one local resident at the meeting. He was concerned for the students who walked to school in the area, because the problem, he said, was with adults “out there doing things that they shouldn’t be.”

Lieutenant Brian Murphy, who referred to himself as Zone Commander for PSA 2, took the information down and promised the small group of residents in the community room of the church that he would follow up on the situation.

Only about seven residents attended the meeting that night. Murphy thought that one reason for the low attendance was that he was unable to make his customary round of recruiting calls this month. But another reason could be the newness of the effort.

The citywide PSA system is a redeployment of the existing corps of police officers with two new things firmly in mind: more localized patrol areas, and more robust community outreach than in the past. The idea is not only to tap community members as “eyes and ears,” but also to make sure they feel closer to the policing resources they need.

As an example, Murphy encouraged residents to bring neighborhood problems like trash buildup and vacant buildings to the meetings, as well as crime concerns. And he made sure to run down a detailed list of crime statistics for the last month within PSA Two to keep the neighbors informed. PSA Two covers the area between Germantown and Chew Avenues, east to west, and Gorgas Lane and Wister Street, north to south.

“This is something I don’t think anyone else is doing in the city,” he said of his mini- crime report to the residents.

Last month PSA Two saw five robberies by gun, resulting in four arrests, Murphy said, with no apparent pattern or relationship among those robberies. In addition there were three robberies without a gun, and three aggravated assaults without a gun, resulting in two arrests, he said. There were five aggravated assaults with a gun resulting in no arrests.

An ongoing problem in the area is burglary, which is a consistent issue in the 14th District because it has such a wide range of income levels and housing types, according to Murphy.

More recently there were two commercial burglaries in PSA Two that seem related to a local trend of commercial robberies that specialize in cutting through the buildings’ roofs to gain entry, according to Murphy.

“Look for people who do not belong in your area,” Murphy advised the residents. He also suggested that residents be especially aware of people doing door-to-door solicitation and, for commercial properties, people posing as workers who use ladders to get a view from above.

Last month there were also 10 stolen vehicles in PSA 2, and that seems to be part of another pattern police want to break open.

“A lot of the vehicles that are being stolen are [stolen] by tow trucks,” Murphy said. So he advised residents to call the police if they saw tow trucks lurking in neighborhoods at night or operating outside of tow away zones, or commercial parking lots.

Murphy also reported an up-tick in gang related violence near Wister Street in lower Germantown and he advised area residents to be extra careful in that area.

“They’re going for this one guy and we’re trying to keep an eye on that guy,” Murphy said, but he doesn’t want to cooperate.

Murphy named four gangs that operate in the area: Hartsburg, Knocks, Brickyard and the Terrace Born Killers. He characterized the gangs as not especially well organized, but still something to take seriously. And he said that even gang-related crime is positively impacted by a well-organized, alert community with strong police relations.

Other upcoming PSA meetings include:

PSA 3: March 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Germantown Jewish Center, 400 West Ellet Street. PSA 3 covers from West Mt. Airy and West Central Germantown.

PSA 4: March 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia amphitheater. PSA 4 covers Chestnut Hill and East Mt. Airy down to Gorgas Lane and Vernon Road. For information call the 14th Police District at 215-686-3140.

First Big Bellies Are Now Gobbling Trash


Staff Writer

Say goodbye to ugly sidewalk trashcans that get grimy and dented and spill over when they’re too full – the sleek new Big Belly solar-powered trash compactors have just arrived on Germantown Avenue in Mt. Airy - some of them, anyway. And more are still to come.

There are nine new trash-gobbling compactors on the stretch of the Avenue between Nippon Street and Cresheim Valley Road, thanks to a $140,000 grant secured by Mt. Airy USA on behalf of the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District last year. It is part of both organizations’ efforts to keep the business district clean and pedestrian friendly.

“It is very exciting,” said BID President Ken Weinstein of the new trash bins, which have graced Center City sidewalks for nearly a year now. “There’s a lot of advantages to them. The Streets Department doesn’t have to pick up as much, they can’t overflow, people can’t dump their [household] trash and we won’t be having trash blowing down the Avenue.”

Big Bellies resemble a cross between a street-side Post Office mailbox and a Star Wars droid, with their shiny photovoltaic top panels, and the occasional low-pitched hum when the internal compactor does its thing.

Their mission is simple: to make sidewalk trash work better. Cuteness doesn’t hurt in this department but the Big Bellies have smarts too. By cramming many times more trash into their guts they can reduce expensive municipal pickup along busy corridors - even at three to four grand a pop, the theory goes.

They are now well known in Center City and Elizabeth Moselle, who directs commercial corridor revitalization efforts for Mt. Airy USA and is the executive director of the BID, is happy to see them come to these parts.

“We’re the first neighborhood corridor to get any installed outside of center city,” she said.

While the recent installation of the nine new trash gobblers (two with matching recycling bins in front of Wawa and the Trolley Car Diner) may not feel complete, Moselle assured, there is good reason. Fifty of them will eventually be coming to Mt. Airy, with ten recycling receptacles at key spots.

But there is a new city- and PennDOT-funded streetscape improvement project set to begin April 19 on the sidewalks of Germantown Avenue below Nippon Street , and it just didn’t make sense to put all those Big Bellies down if they were going to get torn up again for the construction.

“The rest will be installed after there’s enough completed on the streetscape that they’re not going to get messed up,” Moselle said.

MAUSA and Moselle are helping to finalize schedules for the coming streetscape work with PennDOT. The work should not result in road closures or traffic detours as the last round of PennDOT construction did on the Avenue. Instead, work will focus on improving the area sidewalks in between the newly-completed road construction in upper Mt. Airy and Germantown.

And when all the work is done the shiny Big Bellies should look right at home on what will be one of the newest re-vamped business corridors in the city. 

Northwest Resident Still Cutting the Rug at Age 96

Albert Brealand dances with Mt. Airy resident Doris Gregory at the LaRose Club.



Editorial Staff Interns

Dressed in a suit with a blue tie, the saxophone singing and cymbals clashing to an upbeat jazz tune, Albert Brealand was dancing with the ladies at the LaRose Jazz Club, 5531 Germantown Avenue. Lining up at the edge of the dance floor, three women were ready to cut in and showcase their moves with the 96-year old, commonly referred to as “Twinkle Toes.”

For the past nine years, Brealand has been going to this particular club in Germantown to dance to a live jazz quartet every Monday night.

Though he was born on December 18, 1913 in South Carolina, Brealand considers himself a native Philadelphian.  Due to premature birth, he was moved to a hospital in Philadelphia at only four days old, and has lived here ever since.

Now residing in Center in the Park’s housing facility on Rittenhouse Street, Brealand jokes that he ended up right where he started.  “I lived right across the street here 85 years ago,” he said.

One thing that hasn’t changed in all those years is the presence of dance and music in Brealand’s life.

“When I came along in the 20s, the dance was the big thing,” he said.  At the age of 14 he attempted to rent a dance hall to host a community function, but was told he needed an adult to reserve the space.

It was a dance like the one at LaRose where Brealand would reconnect with the love of his life. “I had one of the best wives in the world, no kidding,” he said of Estelle, his late wife. Though they met at a shop window the day before Christmas Eve in 1925, he and Estelle had no contact except for weekly postcards for four years.  “I went and ran into her and found out that she could really dance,” he said. “That’s what put us together.”

Brealand said he does some of his best thinking at night.  With a creative flair, he designed inventions such as a lamps made from household items like an iron or a toaster.  His night-owl lifestyle did not trouble his wife, a dressmaker, who stayed up late sewing.

In addition to his love for music and flair for design, Brealand also enjoyed helping the community.  “I spent a life and a fortune helping people,” he said. He said if he could do it all over again, he’d do twice as much.

Brealand’s annual Thanksgiving Breakfast was a fundraiser he began to raise money for YMCAs in Africa.  As a lifetime member of the YMCA, Brealand always had a passion for helping the community.

In addition to this event, Brealand organized a number of youth groups.  One of them, Congenial Youth, consisted of boys aged 14 to 17.  “I was sort of a father figure for them, plus some of them didn’t even have fathers,” he said.  Brealand also acted as a role model for another group of 18-to-20 year-old boys called the Five Fingers, in which he referred to himself as “the wrist.”

Although Brealand liked to give, he didn’t have more than anyone else.  With a ninth- grade education, he entered the workforce at a young age,  cleaning houses until he moved on to another job at a five and ten cent store.  At Christmastime, Brealand would ask for the broken toys from the store, and repair them for children in North Philadelphia.

After he left the five and ten he got a job as a shipping clerk at a company that manufactured metal plates for a printing press.  He worked there for 37 years before he retired early.

“All I know is that he is the most giving, most wonderful gentleman of any age,” said Toni Rose, one of Brealand’s dance partners at LaRose.

Back on the dance floor after injuring his ankle last January, Brealand did not skip a beat.  His love for music and dancing is as big a part of his life as it has ever been, but Brealand’s self-proclaimed hobby is helping people. “I’ve sown a lot of seeds when I was a young man, and I’m reaping the harvest now.”

(Rebecca Petner and Kayleigh Reed are members of the Community Journalism class at La Salle University.)

Documentary Premiere at Video Library

Leah Stein Dance Company will host the world premiere of The Making of Gate, a documentary film about “Gate”, a site-specific dance piece commissioned by the Eastern State Penitentiary and performed there in Spring, 2007.  Showings will take place on Thursday, March 25, 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 28, 3 p.m., at Mt. Airy Video Library’s The Little Theater at 7141 Germantown Avenue.

Sean Kelley, the penitentiary’s program director, invited Leah Stein to develop a piece that reflected the history and human experience at the historic landmark. “When I first came to the penitentiary, it was a dark, rainy, cold day and the place was crumbling and dusty with cement floors and I didn’t really want to make a dance there,” said Leah Stein.  “But this place is stunning and filled with emotional and physical layers that are fascinating to explore in movement.”

The resulting dance, also chronicled on the documentary, ran for six sold-out performances at the Eastern State Penitentiary in June 2007.  “The final production exceeded our expectations for how the piece would interact with the architecture,” said Sean Kelley. “It was so integrated into the surprising little architectural spaces you come across.  It was exquisite.”

The film, produced by Fortune Films and directed by Anastacia Wilde, chronicles the challenges of creating a dance in a massive and crumbling historic site.  Dancers faced considerable physical challenges in the vast space littered with glass shards and filled with dust.  The building’s cement floors and vast outdoor spaces tested dancers’ stamina. Performers included seven dancers, eight community members, percussionist Toshi Makihara and Daniel Peterson on horns.

Leah Stein Dance Company is a well-seasoned group of movement artists that creates dance works for the stage, outdoor landscapes and unusual sites. Founded in 2001 by choreographer Leah Stein, LSDC strives to bring dance to a wide spectrum of people from diverse backgrounds, age groups and communities.

Seniors’ Art Sought

“engAGE! Celebrate Arts & Aging” is a month-long festival, presented by Philadelphia Corporation for Aging and the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, featuring exhibitions of original artwork by older Philadelphians.

Artists who are at least 55 years old are invited to submit artwork for exhibition throughout May in observance of Older Americans Month. Artists may submit one piece of artwork that was created within the past three years. Submissions are due by Friday, March 26. For information and an application, go to   or call 215-765-9000, ext. 5052. 

‘Old House Fair’ at Germantown Friends School

The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia will host its Annual Old House Fair from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Germantown Friends School, 31 West Coulter Street. General admission tickets are $10; Preservation Alliance members $5.  Tickets are available at the door, on-line at or by calling, 215.546.1146x7.

The Preservation Alliance instituted the annual fair to address an unmet demand for the special expertise, goods and services that homeowners need to meet the challenges of maintaining an old house.  The Fair features more than 70 vendor booths and an array of learning opportunities for owners of the old house to better maintain and restore their homes, including demonstrations, expert panels and “hands on” assistance.

Special features: demonstrations and presentations by participating professionals about the products, skills and/or services they offer; Ask the Experts panels, 15-minute problem solving consultations for homeowners with an array of old house specialists; free, 15-minute exterior paint color consultations with “The Color Doctor,” John Crosby Freeman, featured in Old House Journal; free consultation on problem mortar, brick and stone repairs with Limeworks.US.  so bring a small bagged sample; tours of the newly renovated “Germantown White House” from noon – 4 p.m.; presentation of Homeowner Awards to private homeowners with exemplary stewardship in preservation through renovation and maintenance of their property.

Over 1,100 people attended last year’s Fair. Visitors’ reviews found that the Fair helped to address their needs on how to and where to go for their specialized restoration and rehabilitation needs.

The Preservation Alliance is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to actively promote the appreciation, protection, and appropriate use and development of the Philadelphia region’s historic buildings, communities and landscapes. For more information contact Amy Hoessel, Old House Fair coordinator, at 215-546-1146, x7, e-mail

GGBA/MABA Meeting on April 13

Attention GGBA (Greater Germantown Business Association) and MABA (Mt. Airy Business Association) members, Germantown and Mt. Airy stakeholders, and business colleagues near and far:

GGBA and MABA are pleased to team up again and co-host our April 13 meeting at Stapeley in Germantown, 6300 Greene Street, that will feature two information tracks: 1) Doing Business Locally, Statewide, and Internationally; and 2) Certification Made Simple.

Track 1 is a panel presentation organized by our member The Business Center that will offer our businesses assistance in positioning themselves to do business with local, state, federal and international governments.

Track 2 is the rescheduled topic from our January meeting,  Certification Made Simple. Track 2 is specifically for small, women- and minority-owned businesses that want to be certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. U. Harold Levy of the Office of Women and Minority Business Opportunity will walk us through the certification application line-by-line. A continental breakfast will be served.

R.S.V.P. to Kim Miller at or John Churchville at jchurchville8 no later than Tuesday, April 6.

Rabid Cat Found in Germantown

On March 22, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) announced that it has confirmed a case of rabies in a stray cat found in Germantown, in the vicinity of West School House Lane and West Chelten Avenue. The cat was observed acting strangely and was captured by the Philadelphia Animal Care and Control Team (ACCT). It has been described as an aggressive black and gray tabby cat. Staff from ACCT and PDPH Vector Control Services will be working in this neighborhood to look for stray and wild animals that may have been in contact with the rabid cat.

Philadelphians should be aware of potentially rabid animals in wild animal populations. Bats, feral cats, raccoons, and other animals living in the wild may carry rabies. Bites and scratches inflicted by stray or unknown cats, dogs, and wild animals must be considered as possible rabies exposures and brought to medical attention immediately for thorough evaluation. Without prompt preventive treatment, rabies in humans is fatal nearly one hundred percent of the time.

The Health Department’s Division of Disease Control advises that all residents report any animal bite or scratch to their usual provider of medical care or directly to the health department at 215-685-6748.

Dog and cat owners are required by law to keep their pet’s rabies immunizations up-to-date. Owners should report to their veterinarian any contact their pets have had with a wild animal.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health encourages families to teach children to avoid contact with wild or stray animals and take the following additional precautions to reduce the chance of being exposed to rabies:

Be sure pet dogs and cats have up-to-date vaccinations. In Pennsylvania, all cats and dogs three months of age and older are required to be vaccinated against rabies.

Confine pets to the home or yard and walk them on a leash. PDPH regulations require that dogs be under the control of a responsible person when not on the owner’s property.

Never approach or touch wild animals or unknown pets. Don’t make your house or yard attractive to wild animals. Feed pets inside the house. Keep garbage in tightly closed trash containers.

For questions about rabies call the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s Division of Disease Control at 685-6740.

Depaul Receives $10,000 Grant from Green Tree Foundation

Depaul USA, 5725 Sprague Street, has received a $10,000 grant from the Green Tree Community Health Foundation in support of the programs at Depaul USA. The announcement was made by Susan Hansen, Ph.D., executive director and CEO of the Foundation, on behalf of the Board of Trustees on February 19.

Eileen Smith, executive director of Depaul USA, said that the funds would be used to support the case management for Depaul House residents, especially the supportive services that focus on the well being of the residents to include the promotion of health education and good nutrition.

Depaul USA is located in a former convent in Germantown and 25 homeless men aged 20 – 55 have their own private rooms where they set up residence.

Free Information, Testing for HIV/AIDS

Liberation Fellowship Community Development Corporation (LFCDC) and Central Germantown Council have scheduled a free HIV seminar and testing event at Vernon House in Vernon Park on Saturday, March 27, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. The first twenty people who arrive at the seminar and stay for testing will receive a $20 gift card to The Fresh Grocer. In addition, staff from the Philadelphia Hepatitis Outreach Project will also be available to share information and free testing for Hepatitis A, B, and C. State certified HIV Prevention Counselors will provide confidential counseling and testing, as well as health and related resource referrals where needed.

Every nine-and-a-half minutes someone in the United States is infected with HIV. This event is LFCDC’s continuing HIV education initiative to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS. Thanks to Central Germantown Council, LFCDC keeps regular hours at Vernon House on Monday evenings from 6-9 p.m., Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and Saturday mornings, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

LFCDC’s weekly outreach to schools and community organizations in the Germantown/Mt. Airy area, and its special HIV education programs will continue. For information visit the LFCDC website at or call 215-848-8511.

Free Kids’ Dental Care

Dentists across the city will be providing free dental care to Philadelphia children on “Give Kids a Smile” day, Thursday, April 1  – which is a day off for students.

Public Citizens for Children and Youth has recruited more than 20 dental sites from the Southeast Pennsylvania Oral Health Task Force that have created space for over 600 children to receive essential oral health care services.

To schedule an appointment for your child with the dentist closest to you, the following information is needed: your name; your child’s name and age; a phone number where we can reach you between 9 and 5; and your zip code.

To schedule your child’s appointment, or for any questions, please call PCCY at 215-563-5848 ext. 32.

‘Mothers March Globally’ on March 13

Lawanda Connelly describes how DHS policies destroyed her family at ‘Mothers March Globally’ on March 13.

Philadelphia women joined women around the world for “Mothers March Globally” on Saturday March 13, marking International Women’s Day and the 11th Global Women’s Strike. 

Organized by Global Women’s Strike/Phila, based at Crossroads Women’s Center in Maplewood Mall, the “march” was forced indoors by severe rain to the Arch Street United Methodist Church.  A large and diverse group of 50 women and men – Black, white and Latina – spoke on the lack of recognition and support for mothering work, particularly as it relates to policies of the Phila Dept of Human Services (DHS).

The event was co-sponsored by Every Mother is a Working Mother Network (EMWM), coordinator of “DHS – Give Us Back Our Children,” a multi-racial group of mothers and advocates who fight for children to be returned from foster care and protest DHS policies.  The group was recently featured on the front page of the Philadelphia Daily News and has met with DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose to press for changes.

The crowd was moved to tears by a sneak preview of the documentary, “DHS: Give Us Back Our Children!” which portrays the devastating impact of DHS policies on children and families.  Produced in conjunction with the Scribe Video “Community Visions” program, the film will officially debut in June.

“One in three children in foster care is a victim of sexual abuse.  All experience the trauma of being separated from their families.  We must end this suffering now,” said Pat Albright of EMWM, who recently spoke in Washington to demand that welfare legislation recognize that raising children is work. 

The program began with the 1975 documentary All Work and No Pay, where the demand and campaign for Wages for Housework was first put forward.  A lively “Speak Out” included mothers, former social workers, women working for justice for family members in prison, grand- and great-grandmothers, Katrina survivors, and men in support including fathers and other carers.

Children in foster care in Philadelphia are disproportionately from black and other families of color, removed mainly not for reasons of abuse or neglect, but poverty, in a city where 40 percent live in poverty.  Housing is one of the biggest excuses; one-third of kids could be home now if their parents had decent housing.  DHS spends $34,000 per year per child in care. 

“Give mothers the money that DHS pays to take children from them,” says Debra Sealy, whose two children were removed by DHS.  She and others said DHS pays agencies to remove children rather than using its resources to help families with housing, childcare and other essentials.

Mothers March Globally events took place in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and around the world in Guyana, Haiti, Mexico, Peru, Turkey, the UK and Venezuela, echoing the demands of the Global Women’s Strike that society “Invest in Caring, Not Killing,” beginning with payment for caring work, including for the first carers: mothers.   The year 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and the 11th Global Women’s Strike which revived the day in the US beginning in 2000. 

For follow up events and information contact Crossroads Women’s Center at 215-848-1120 or  Volunteers are welcome and needed.

Holy Week At St. Michael the Archangel

The Church of St. Michael the Archangel (traditional Anglican) will offer Holy Week services every day from Palm Sunday, March 28, through Easter Sunday, April 4.

During Holy Week, Masses will be offered every day, as follows: Palm Sunday, March 28:  8 a.m. Mass, 10 a.m. Sung Mass with Blessing of Palms, Procession and Sermon, Chapel of Peace, West Laurel Hill Cemetery. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in Holy Week, March 29-31:  Masses of the Passion,  Monday and Tuesday at 6 p.m.; Wednesday at 10 a.m., all at the Rectory, 210 West Allens Lane. Maundy Thursday, April 1:  6:30 p.m. Sung Mass, followed by the Procession to the Altar of Repose and Stripping of the Altar, at the Chapel of Peace. Good Friday, April 2:  8 a.m. to noon, The Watch before the Altar of Repose.  From noon until 3 p.m., the Good Friday, followed by hymns and preaching on the Seven Last Words from the Cross, at the Chapel of Peace. Holy Saturday, April 3:  The Easter Vigil begins at 8:30 p.m. at All Saints’ Church, Wynnewood, Montgomery Ave. and Gypsy Lane. Easter Sunday, April 4: Masses will be on the usual Sunday schedule of Mass at 8 a.m., with Sung Mass and Sermon at 10 a.m., at the Chapel of Peace.

The parish meets for Sunday worship at the Chapel of Peace at West Laurel Hill Cemetery, 215 Belmont Ave., Bala Cynwyd.  Weekday services and the Wednesday 11 a.m. Bible Study are at the rectory, 210 West Allens Lane. For information visit or call the Rectory at 215-247-1092.

Sacred Music at Christian Church of Philadelphia

The Southwest Philadelphia Seventh Day Adventist Male Chorus and Brother Eric Gambrell will be presenting an afternoon of sacred music on Sunday, March 28, 3:30 p.m. at the Christian Church in Philadelphia, 8044 Stenton Avenue. Everyone is invited to come and receive a blessing. For information call the church at 215-248-5091.

Crossroads Easter Celebration

There will be an Easter Celebration Service and Children’s Dedication Ceremony on Sunday, April 4, 10 a.m., at Crossroads Evangelistic Church, 139 East Chelten Avenue. For information call Crossroads Church at 215-844-3600.

Hein-Fry Lecture at LTSP

Dr. Mary Hess, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN, will be the 2010 Hein-Fry lecturer presenting on the topic “Hearing the Word: Teaching the Bible in the Parish and Beyond.” The lecture will be held on Tuesday, March 30, at 11:30 am in Benbow Hall, on the campus of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Avenue. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Dr. Hess is one of five scholars affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)  invited to present lectures on this year’s topic based on their particular perspectives and scholarship. The lecture will explore Lutheran perspectives on biblical pedagogy, using both theory and practical examples, and making a case for the promise of one, some, or even all of these approaches to teaching the Bible.

This year’s theme, “Hearing the Word: Teaching the Bible in the Parish and Beyond,” was chosen in order to explore the important conversations throughout the ELCA concerning the various ways Lutheran communities in diverse North American contexts are sharing the biblical narratives, truths, and messages of the gospel through their teaching ministries. The hope for these presentations is that they will raise awareness about the many ways the Lutheran churches have traditionally taught the Bible as well as offer innovative contemporary approaches to teaching the Bible that Lutherans might use today.

Mary Hess joined the Luther Seminary faculty in July of 2000. Her most recent publications include the books: Teaching Reflectively in Theological Contexts: Promises and contradictions (Melbourne, FL: Krieger, 2008), and Engaging technology in theological education: All that we can’t leave behind, (New York: Rowman Littlefield 2005). She maintains her own Web site and has written her weblog, Tensegrities, since 2003.

The annual Hein-Fry Lecture Series identifies lively, pressing theological issues facing the church and offers free and open to the public lectures that stimulate intellectual inquiry and discussion of those issues throughout the church.

Community Seder at Chabad-Lubavitch

Community members are invited to participate in Chabad-Lubavitch of Northwest Philadelphia’s community Seders, to be held on Monday night, March 29, and again on Tuesday night, March 30, 7:30 p.m., at 7334 Rural Lane in Mt. Airy. Both Seders will feature rich discussion about Passover, food, and singing. Rabbi Yitzchok Gurevitz will facilitate the inter-generational program.

The Seders cost $18 per person, and must be reserved in advance, by calling 215-438-5327 or visiting Family plans are available upon request. No one will be turned away for lack of ability to pay.

The eight-day festival of Passover is celebrated this year from sundown on Monday night, March 29, until after nightfall on Tuesday, April 6. Passover commemorates the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. Other holiday observances are eating matzah and refraining from all leavened products such as bread and pasta. Additional information about the Passover holiday is available at

Vespers at Andorra Baptist

In preparation for the Easter season and the beginning of  Holy Week, the congregation of Andorra Baptist Church, 8711 Ridge Avenue, extends an invitation to a Lenten Vesper Service on Palm Sunday, March 28, 4 p.m.  A penitential close to the season of Lent, this will be a service of scripture reading, meditations, music and poetry, under the direction of church organist Jayne Holley and Pastor William D. Hartman. All are welcome. For information call the church at 482-5164.

Good Friday at Mt. Tabor

Mt. Tabor Baptist Church, 110 West Rittenhouse Street, will be having Good Friday Service on April 2 between the hours of noon and 3 p.m. The “Seven Last Words” will be delivered by preachers from Mount Tabor, Third Eternal, First Baptist Church of Oakeola and Mount Zion Baptist Church of Ambler. All are welcome to attend.  For information call 215-844-2756..

PSA Meetings

Remaining March meetings for the Police Service Areas (PSAs) in the 14th Police District are as follows:

PSA 3, March 25, 7-9 p.m., Germantown Jewish Centre, 400 West Ellet Street, with Lieutenant Mark Overwise. The community facilitator will be Heather Pierce of Carpenter Woods Town Watch. PSA 3 covers West Mt. Airy and West Central Germantown.

PSA 4, March 25: 7-9 p.m., Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, amphitheater, Germantown Avenue and Allens Lane, with Lieutenant Michael Kopecki.  The community facilitator will be Dr. Arlene Bennett representing the Safe Streets Committee.  PSA 4 covers Chestnut Hill and East Mt. Airy between Germantown and Cheltenham avenues bordered on the north by Cresheim Valley Drive and on the south by Gorgas Lane and Vernon Road.

For more information call the 14th Police District at 215-686-3140.

Allen Lane Station Update

On Thursday, April 1, the Mt. Airy-Nippon-Bryan-Cresheim Town Watch will host a community meeting on the progress of the Allens Lane train station construction. Wendy Green-Harvey, Community Relations Coordinator from SEPTA, will be there to give an update as well as to answer questions from neighbors.  The meeting will be at the High Point Cafe (at the Allens Lane train station) at 7:30 p.m. For information e-mail to

Census Sites

Need help with your Census questionnaire?  Wister Neighborhood Council, Inc.  has set up two  Authorized Census Questionnaire Assistance Centers in our area operating now through  April 19. 

The first site is at Wister Neighborhood Council, Inc., 5118 Germantown Avenue. Hours will be  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday  from 4 - 7 p.m.,  and Saturday  from noon - 6 p.m.

The second site is at the Wister Townhouse Community Room, 292 East Ashmead Street. Hours for this site are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday,  5 - 7 p.m.; Wednesday, Friday  0 a.m. – 1 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m.  – noon.

Both sites are staffed with trained, knowledgeable U. S. Census employees and they will be happy to help you fill out your census questionnaire.

For more information call Wister Neighborhood Council at 215-843-6565.

Meet the D.A.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams will be holding a series of Town Hall meetings in March, April and May.

The meeting for the Northwest Police Division, which includes the 5th, 14th, 35th and 39th Police Districts will be held Thursday, April 1, 6:30-8 p.m. at Simons Recreation Center, Walnut Lane and Woolston Avenue.  

For more information contact Vernon Price, director of Community Outreach and Government Relations, at 215-686-8716, e-mail

Volunteer at Allens Lane

On April 10 Allens Lane Art Center will host volunteers for its annual volunteer clean-up day starting at 9 a.m. until about 1 p.m. ALAC provides the rakes, gloves, and dumpster, but needs muscles and enthusiasm. Snacks will be provided. If you think you will be able to join them, email ALAC at and let them know you’re coming. Even if you can only stay for an hour or so, they’d love to have you join them.

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. 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

Census Bureau Help Site

This year, America conducts its 23rd census. The nation’s largest domestic mobilization began in a remote corner of Alaska and will continue throughout the rest of the country — and in Puerto Rico and the Island Areas (American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and the Virgin Islands) — with the goal of counting every resident once, and only once, and in the right place.

Although the 2010 Census questionnaire is simple and easy to fill out, the census is a massive, complex operation involving millions of forms and hundreds of thousands of census workers.

Census workers will be available to assist people in completing the 2010 Census Questionnaire at Questionnaire Assistance Centers.

These centers provide assistance to those who might have difficulty completing the questionnaire because of language or other barriers.

Census workers will be available at PA CareerLink Philadelphia Northwest, 235 West Chelten Avenue, Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays from 9 a.m. - noon, Wednesdays 5 – 8 p.m., Thursdays, Fridays 1 – 4 p.m.

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The boxing program at the Happy Hallow Playground on Wayne Avenue has been going strong for decades and these days are no exception. Reverend Chester Williams (left) visited the gym last Friday to give his encouragement as long time trainer Eugene Pearson, 72, worked with professional boxer Garrett Wilson, 27, and enthusiastic newcomer Cyree Howerton, 10, took pointers from trainer Melvin Mayfield Jr. (right).