From the Chronicle • Germantown News Stories

April 28-May 11, 2011 • GC.050411.pdf


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In This Issue


Wayne Jct. Project to Begin; Allen Lane Finished

In little more than a week, major developments were announced on two Northwest railway station projects.


Over 100 Turn Out to Hear 8th District Candidates

The first of two high-interest packed-house meetings held on consecutive nights - April 27 and 28 - at First Presbyterian Church of Germantown, 35 West Chelten Avenue, was a generally quiet and orderly affair, as the seven remaining candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 8th Councilmanic District met the public at a voters forum sponsored by WHYY/NewsWorks, the Committee of 70, G-Town Radio, the League of Women Voters, and Germantown Community Connection.


Neighbors Staunchly Oppose Plaza Plan at Meeting

While the candidates forum on April 27 at First Presbyterian Church (see above) was quite and orderly, the gathering held there the next night was frequently noisy and contentious. It marked the first public meeting between the community and developer Pat Burns of Pulaski Partners LLC and his associates who are planning the Chelten Plaza development at the corner of Pulaski and Chelten avenues. They did not meet with a cordial reception from the more than 100 who turned out to hear what they had to say and speak their own minds.


The meeting was sponsored by the Germantown Community Connection.


More Below

Wayne Jct. Project to Begin; Allen Lane Finished

By KARL BIEMULLER

Editor


In little more than a week, major developments were announced on two Northwest railway station projects.


First, on the morning of Thursday, April 28, SEPTA officials, local politicians (including Congressman Chaka Fattah and State Sen. Shirley Kitchen),  and officials from the Federal Transportation Authority (FTA) gathered at the dilapidated Wayne Junction Station to announce the presentation of nearly $4 million in FTA funds to SEPTA. The money will be used to begin the renovation of the more than 100-year-old station; the project is expected to cost nearly $30 million before it is finished. The project was put on hold in 2009 with the failure of the state legislature to pass Act 44, which would have used some of the funds gathered by making I-80 a toll road. 


Next, on Friday morning, May 6, many of the same people – joined by a sizeable contingent of near neighbors – met at Allen Lane Station on the Chestnut Hill West line to celebrate the conclusion of the lengthy $7.6 million rebuilding of that station.


At Wayne Junction, all who spoke remarked on the decrepit condition of the aging station, which had its last major rebuilding in 1901. Last summer, the historic Head House there suffered a partial collapse of its roof structure, and that was merely the most dramatic sign of years of neglect.


Congressman Fattah noted, “Wayne Junction is historic but badly in need of repair so it can continue as a transportation hub in North Philadelphia. This project is smart use of our federal dollars for infrastructure, job creation and improving mass transit that is so critical to Philadelphia and our other major urban areas.”


Among the improvements will be:

Installing new elevators and an Americans with Disabilities act (ADA)-compliant access throughout the station; upgrading power, signal and track infrastructure;

constructing a new inbound high-level platform and repairing the existing platform; restoring passenger tunnels and stairways from Wayne Avenue, Germantown Avenue and Windrim Avenue; improving signage, lighting, the public address system, closed caption television, and shelters, canopies and benches; and painting the Wayne Avenue Bridge.


During the rebuilding, said SEPTA’s Rush Acchione,  two among the Germantown, Wayne and Windrim Avenue stairwells will be kept open at all times.  


Construction is expected to commence in the fall of this year.


At the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Allen Lane the next week SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey said, “The completion of Allen Lane Station was as anticipated by our passengers and the community as it was by SEPTA. We thank everyone for their patience during the construction process. The end result was clearly worth the wait.”


Among the new amenities are new accessible ramps and high platforms; the restoration of the pedestrian bridge (which had been built in 1912 and had been showing every year of its history); reconstructing canopies and shelters, and  new signage, lighting and audio-visual public address system.


The reconstruction earned SEPTA a 2011 Preservation Achievement Award from the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.


Next up at there is the rebuilding of the structurally-deficient bridge over the tracks  on Allen Lane.  For more, see the letter on Page 7, “Allen Lane Bridge Repairs to Start in 2014.”


Over 100 Turn Out to Hear 8th District Candidates

By KARL BIEMULLER

Editor


The first of two high-interest packed-house meetings held on consecutive nights - April 27 and 28 - at First Presbyterian Church of Germantown, 35 West Chelten Avenue, was a generally quiet and orderly affair, as the seven remaining candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 8th Councilmanic District met the public at a voters forum sponsored by WHYY/NewsWorks, the Committee of 70, G-Town Radio, the League of Women Voters, and Germantown Community Connection.


The moderator, WHYY’s Chris Satullo, asked the seven candidates - Cindy Bass, William Durham, Andrew Lofton, Greg Paulmier, Robin Tasco, Howard Treatman and Verna Tyner – a series of questions that had been submitted by participants at a series of  Newsworks-sponsored voters forums throughout the Northwest.


The questions were issue-oriented and there was relatively little sparring among the candidates, who all obviously were quite familiar with each other’s positions at that late stage in the campaign. The candidates – speaking in alphabetical order - were given the opportunity to each give a one-minute statement, then answered a series of short and long-answer questions, with one- and two-minute responses respectively.


Missing was virtually any mention of incumbent Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller, who as of press time Monday, May 9, had not endorsed any candidate, according to Miller staffer Michael Moore.


In their statements, most candidates focused on what they saw as the strong points  in their backgrounds. Bass mentioned her breadth of experience as a staffer to  Congressman Chaka Fattah and then-State Senator Allyson Schwartz and as a housing counselor with Mt. Airy USA. Durham emphasized, “My big push is education – we have to reform education.” Lofton said he is running “because our community is in crisis.” Paulmier touted his 30 years of experience renovating housing in Germantown, which he said created jobs and improved the tax base. Tasco mentioned her experience in the Electricians’ Union and said, “The voters deserve more than …someone who’ll give us more of the same.”  Treatman said, “As a developer I have what it takes to bring economic development and jobs … we only can move forward by increasing the tax base, not increasing taxes.” Tyner mentioned her 40 years as a resident of Tioga and her government experience as a City Council staffer for 16 years.


There were few surprises among their responses to the questions Satullo posed. All  stressed the importance of improving the education system and bringing jobs to the district. Lofton, for example, said “We have to fix the economic structure and fix the education system,” while Bass said, “If you want to reduce crime, you have to do something about education and jobs. Thing thing I hear most in talking to people is ‘can you get me a job?’ ” And all stressed the need for greater communication between the Council office and the community and pledged to enact it, with Tasco saying “Communication is everything,” and Tyner noting “Lack of communications creates problems.”


There were only a few differences of substance rather than degree among the responses to the questions Satullo posed. One was when he asked whether, if elected, any candidate would support another councilperson for president of City Council who had taken the controversial DROP payment that currently allows for city employees to retire, taken a lump sum as pension, and then un-retire. Six hands shot up in the negative, all but that of Bass, who said, “DOP was not intended for elected officials” but added that she would prefer to keep all options open when electing a Council president. Paulmier’s response was typical of the others: “When elected officials take advantage of the system it’s a tremendous disservice to all of us.”     


Three current Councilmembers running for reelection have taken DROP payments: Marian Tasco, Frank DiCicco, and Frank Rizzo Jr.


For more information about the candidates and their positions visit the April 21 issue of this paper in the archive section of  www.germantownnewspapers.com, where their responses to six issue-oriented questions can be found beginning on page 8.


All the candidates have websites, which can be found at Cindybass.com, durham4council.com, andrewloftonforcitycouncil2011webs.com, gregpaulmier.com, robintasco.com, treatmanforcouncil.com, and tynerforcouncil.com.

Election day is Tuesday, May 17. 


Neighbors Staunchly Oppose Plaza Plan at Meeting

By KARL BIEMULLER

Editor


While the candidates forum on April 27 at First Presbyterian Church (see above) was quite and orderly, the gathering held there the next night was frequently noisy and contentious. It marked the first public meeting between the community and developer Pat Burns of Pulaski Partners LLC and his associates who are planning the Chelten Plaza development at the corner of Pulaski and Chelten avenues. They did not meet with a cordial reception from the more than 100 who turned out to hear what they had to say and speak their own minds.


The meeting was sponsored by the Germantown Community Connection.


Virtually the only positive response that the developers received was when they announced that they had been in contact with Weavers Way Co-op about the possibility of opening a co-op branch in the development, which is currently slated to house a Dollar Tree store, an 18,000 sq. ft. Save-A-Lot supermarket, and other as yet undecided retail outlets.  Almost every other statement met with disapproval.


Residents’ complaints about the proposal were centered around one theme – Germantown did not need what they viewed as another low-end development featuring what they viewed as low-end retail outlets.  And they said it could support higher-end development.


In response to questions of about why a mixed-use plan  designed to take advantage of the site’s easy accessibility to public transportation by rail and bus that was crafted by volunteer community architects and planners could not be used in place of the sterile plan (pictured) currently being used as the basis for the development, the answer from both Burns and his architect was the same: too expensive.


And in response to questions about why a new Fresh Grocer, similar to the one on Chew avenue that opened in 2009 could not be built on the site, Burns said, “It would cost $20 million and if scaled down would not have the variety of that store ... we just could not make it work.”  The estimated cost for the present development is $14 million, including $3 million in public money.


Much of the outrage on display was focused on the Dollar Tree part of the proposal. The area is covered by a zoning overlay enacted in 1998 which prohibits  variety stores, which opponents content includes stores like Dollar Tree. However, Patrick Mundy, senior real estate manager for Dollar Tree, attempted to make the case that Dollar Tree did not fall under the variety store category, though he did admit, “We pride ourselves on selling everything for one dollar.”


“We offer national brands, from fresh food to laundry detergent … we look forward to coming to Germantown,” he said.


Zoning lawyer Carl Primavera, representing Pulaski Partners, attempted to make the same case, though in response to a direct question as to whether he had gotten a favorable legal ruling in the matter, he said he had not.


In the end, few minds seemed to be changed on either side of the discussion. Burns took out an advertisement that can be seen on page 15 of this issue thanking the community for its participation and promising “a formal response in the near future.” And the Greater Germantown Business Association announced the successful  completion of its drive to get one thousand signatures on a petition opposing the development. (See below).


The Germantown Community Connection, which has served as an investigatory body and conduit between the developers and the community, will meet on May 12 to consider the responses at the April 28 meeting and decide on what steps it will take next.


Petition Drive Nets Thousand Signatures Opposing Chelten Plaza

John Elliott Churchville, interim president of the Greater Germantown Business Association, Inc. (GGBA) announced April 29 that the GGBA Petition drive in opposition to the placement of Save-A-Lot and Dollar Tree stores at Chelten and Pulaski avenues has garnered over 1,000 signatures.


“With the support of many neighbors and neighborhood block groups, the petition drive has reached at least 1,000 people in just eight days,” Churchville said. “I am particularly thankful for the support that our State Representative Rosita Youngblood has given to this community. She was the only public official whom we reached out to who took a stand on behalf of our community against the Pulaski Partners’ Save-A-Lot/Dollar Tree plan. When our elected representatives stand with us on issues about which we are very concerned, we need to recognize and applaud them for that stand. We don’t hesitate to laud Representative Youngblood for being a true representative of the will of the people in her legislative district.”


Churchville noted that many individuals, from block captains to whole blocks of people, joined with GGBA in its effort to halt the development of low-end stores in Germantown that actually inhibit mid- to high-end stores’ locating in the Germantown community. “Low-end stores breed more low-end stores. No mid-end or upper-end store will compete with a low-end,” said Churchville.


“GGBA is grateful to all the residents and community groups who have supported its Petition campaign. We look forward to building a continuing, inclusive relationship, so that business owners, residents and community groups can work together to upgrade our beloved Germantown community.”


The mission of GBBA is to build a strong, inclusive, culturally diverse business association that will positively influence the sustainable economic development of the Greater Germantown Business Corridor. For information contact John Churchville at either jchurchville8@gmail.com or at 215-848-8511.



NWRunners Show Their Speed at 117th Penn Relays

By HAROLD FREEMAN

Correspondent


The Northwest’s fleet-footed stars of tomorrow, from elementary to high school, flashed their speed at the 117th edition of the Penn Relays Carnival that was witnessed by a crowd of over 110,000 over three days at Franklin Field on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania.


First up, on Friday morning, April 29, the four Philadelphia Middle School relays took place in rapid-fire order in the space of eight minutes. In the Philadelphia 7th & 8th Grade Small Schools Girls 4x100, MYA School for the Humanities won the event in 54.02 seconds ahead of the runner-up Hill-Freedman School team comprised of Diamond Talley, Maia Ross, Lydia Earp, and Kyra Williams. Fitler AP’s Skye Simon, Kwaneasha Miller, Kyia Garvin-Johnson, and Amira Coleman finished fourth in the race.


In that race, Hill-Freedman’s lead-off runner, Talley, shot out to the lead, but after the first exchange, MYA took over a lead they would never relinquish.


The boys’ small school race saw West Oak Lane Charter take the third place bronze medal with a foursome of Montell Gilliam, Karon Dukes, Kienan Oxner, and Haneef Abdul-Ahad.


The girls’ 7th & 8th grade large school race was won by Wilson Middle, with Grover Washington Middle and AMY Northwest coming in second and third place respectively. AMY Northwest coach Mark Zeserman said he was proud of his Mt. Airy team’s effort in the face of a botched start.


The starting gun for the girls’ large school race sounded before AMY Northwest lead-off runner Aliyah Staten was settled in her blocks. But Dayzah Lytle’s blazing second leg quickly made up any ground lost and Rymarkable Crane and Ijana Robinson held on for third place.

Zeserman said he’s encouraged about next year’s team as Lytle and Robinson are both in the 7th grade and return next year.


The AMY Northwest boys’ team was the only Northwest team in the large school event, coming in sixth with a team of Maleek Wise, Kenyatta Bundy, Diamante Barley-Holland, Dontae Deshields. Just making the field for the Penn Relays is no mean feat for the city’s 7th and 8th grade teams. In trials held two weeks prior to the Relays, only the eight fastest teams of the 25 city schools vying for a place make the field.


High school relay races got off in earnest on Saturday morning with over 50 4X400 races run in less than four hours. The Philadelphia Inter-AC race had all the makings of a mundane affair with, by far, the smallest field (six schools), but it featured the some of oldest prep schools in the city. The race started out pedestrian at best, but by the anchor leg, Penn Charter’s Daryl Worley was looking at an approximately 30 yard deficit behind first place Episcopal Academy. But one lap later, Worley, just a sophomore, broke the tape with a 20-plus yard margin of victory having scorched the track in 48.62 seconds, the fastest 400 time of the day for any city runner. The Quakers quartet of Kolonji Smith, James Biggs-Frazier, Corey Kelley, and Worley won in 3:25.73, followed by Episcopal, Malvern Prep, Haverford School, Chestnut Hill and Germantown Academies, respectively.


Next on the docket was the largest field of the day, the Philadelphia Public Boys’ 4X400, with 24 schools competing. Due to the sheer size of the field, and to eliminate potential injury, the field was split into two races with 12 teams each.


In the first, seeded heat, five teams – Northeast, Martin Luther King, Swenson, Del Val Charter, and Overbrook – slugged it out for the first three legs. Swenson’s Haneef Hardy’s 49.12 anchor leg gave his team the gold medal win over Northeast. MLK finished in third place with a team Pares Nichols, Kabine Conde, Daniel Jiles, and Curtis Witherspoon.


After Highs and Lows, Charlie Wilson Back on Top

By KARL BIEMULLER

Editor


In his 60 years R&B singer Charlie Wilson has seen more than his share of highs and lows.


The highs include a string of hits both as a solo artist and as a member of the Gap Band, four Grammy nominations, and being named 2009’s top Adult R&B Artist by Billboard Magazine.


And the lows … well, as Wilson says, after a lengthy bout with drug and alcohol abuse,  “I hit rock bottom.” 


But he’s been clean and sober now for 17 years and played last weekend to an enthusiastic crowd in Atlantic City  in a tour stop promoted by Germantown native Bill Ingram.


Wilson hasn’t always been a performer but he’s been at it for almost 50 years, starting in his native Tulsa, Oklahoma with his friends when they were 12 and 13 years old.


“We started out playing in the YMCA at age 13. I remember that all of my teachers – a couple who were chaperoning – were there and as the weeks progressed, I noticed that there were more teachers and more teachers. Obviously we were doing something right.”


One thing eventually led to another and Wilson joined his older brother’s band while he was still in high school. That group eventually became the Greenwood Archer Pine Street Band, named for a prosperous African American section of Tulsa that was destroyed in 1921 in one of America’s worst-ever race riots in 1921.


“First we struggled,” says Wilson. “Then we became Leon Russell’s backup band for tours and cut a couple of records with him.” Things were tough and members started dropping out but Wilson returned to Tulsa, got his brothers, and started towards the top as the GAP Band in the late 1970s.


Wilson says, “ Shake was our breakthrough hit, and the album was The GAP Band. I was playing instruments but was always lead singer, organist and keyboard player. “ 


What makes R&B a distinctive sound? In Wilson’s views, it’s a genre all its own.


“It’s an art form,” he says, “It’s music from the soul. With the storylines it’s almost like country and western. You try to tell a story …  We go through things in life and try to write about them and hope that people will feel the same way we did when we were writing them. “

A string of hits followed for the next several years but drug and alcohol problems eventually brought Wilson down – way down.


When he went into rehab, he says, “I was homeless at the time, I hit rock-bottom.”


In rehab, he says, “I ran into this beautiful lady I met at the rehab center – she was the doctor there – and she helped me out. I’ve been with her 17 years and 17 years clean and sober.” They married in 1995.


What she told him in rehab, he ways, was “I can get you back on your feet but you’ve got to be patient. You have to sand up and dust yourself off and take on challenges.”


Wilson has been following that path ever since.  “I’m still sober. I did change people, places and things – the people I knew and the things I did I just don’t do any more. I take it one day at a time.”


That approach has paid off. Wilson revived his career with a string of hits, most recently with his album Just Charlie, which spawned the hit single “You Are,” which recently held the top spot on Billboard’s Urban Adult Contemporary chart for three months. 


But it hasn’t been all roses – Wilson was  diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008. But in the spirit of “When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade,” he was inspired by that diagnosis to become a national spokesman on behalf of the Prostate Cancer Foundation. 

“I wouldn’t have known anything about the disease if not for my health problems,” he says. “Me and other men  - we just don’t want to know what’s wrong with ourselves. The news was heart-breaking. I thought my whole career would be over. “


But Wilson’s cancer was detected in an early treatable stage and now, he says, “I want to tell everyone about it. The PCF gives me a platform. Research really does work … just look at me.”


The disease certainly hasn’t stopped his busy life – he just got back from entertaining the troops in Iraq.


“This was my third tour.  Some of the troops really didn’t know who I was but it was incredible. All the soldiers were on their feet. It was really noisy – rat-a-tat all the time in the background. I played ninety minutes and signed autographs for  three hours.”


“Our troops - they really do put it on the line. I respect the military, men and women in uniform, more than I ever have. If you had been in places were I was you would know … now they’ve asked me to go to Afghanistan.”


Deaf Ministries Holds Women’s High Tea

Germantown Deaf Ministries Fellowship held its 10th Annual Deaf/Hearing International Women’s Tea on Saturday, April 30. This year’s location was at the First United Methodist Church of Germantown (FUMCOG).


The participants were from a diverse assortment of local churches, ages, cultures, languages and diverse abilities.


Interpreters signed as wishes of peace were spoken in various languages. Male ushers escorted the ladies in. Diva dolls, cookbooks, and Native American dolls were also on display. The Theme was “Seek the Peace of the City...” from Jeremiah 29:7. Special prayers for peace for the tornado victims and congratulations to the royal couple were expressed in sign and song.


Participants enjoyed cucumber, chicken salad and tuna salad  finger sandwiches, plus British hand-made scones with jam and clotted cream, miniature desserts, fruit, assorted teas and more.


May Events at GJC

May events at the Germantown Jewish Centre, 400 West Ellet Street, include:

People of the Book discusses Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos on Tuesday, May 10, 7:15 p.m. Germantown Jewish Centre’s book group is now meeting the second Tuesday of the month at GJC.  The group reads fiction and nonfiction books of Jewish interest written mostly, but not solely, by Jewish writers and chosen by the group. Volunteer group members lead the discussion.  No charge for this monthly event.  This month’s book is Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos.  For more info contact program@germantownjewishcentre.org or 215-844-1507.


The Hazak Book Group discusses Sarah’s Key by Tatyana de Rosnay on Wednesday, May 11, 10 a.m. This month Germantown Jewish Centre’s Hazak Book Group will be discussing Sarah’s Key by Tatyana de Rosnay.  For more information, contact program@germantownjewishcentre.org or 215-844-1507.


Feeding the Soul: Making, Tasting and Studying Holiday Favorites for Shavuot, Tuesday, May 17 and 24, 7 p.m. Join amateur chef Rabbi Fredi Cooper as she blends text study and cooking.  Satisfy your taste buds and learn special holiday recipes you can make at home.  Pre-registration necessary.  $50 for GJC members/$60 for non members.  For information or to register contact office@germantownjewishcentre.org or 215-844-1507.


Tot Shabbat, Friday, May 20, 6 p.m. This is a monthly program for infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers and their families.  Includes singing, puppet shows and stories.  Followed by a simple, catered, delicious meal.  $5 per person (adult and child alike), advanced registration necessary. For information or to RSVP contact program@germantownjewishcentre.org or 215-844-1507, ext. 19.


Kol Zimrah Service, Friday, May 27, 7:30 p.m. Have you heard the buzz? Germantown Jewish Centre welcomes the fourth Shabbat of the month with a joyful Kabbalat Shabbat service for all who are moved by song.  Everyone is welcome. For more information contact Elana Shaw at 215-844-1507, Ext. 19 or program@germantownjewishcentre.org.


Kol D’mamah Contemplative Service, Saturday, May 28, 11 a.m.  - noon. This is a new monthly contemplative Shabbat morning minyan featuring music, breath and learning.  For more information contact Elana Shaw at 215-844-1507, Ext. 19 or program@germantownjewishcentre.org.


Israeli Dancing, Sundays, 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. through June 19 and Wednesdays 7-9 p.m. beginning July 13. Our repertoire consists mainly of intermediate dances, though we always begin with easier, older dances.  There is an emphasis on instruction and review in the earlier part of the session.  We are an informal, friendly group, and always welcome new dancers!  $5 per session.  For information contact program@germantownjewishcentre.org or 215-844-1507 Ext 19.


High Street

The High Street Church of God, 222 East High Street, invites the community to join in our Mini-Missions Conference on Saturday June 4, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  The Rev. Daniel Sawyer, assistant director of Neighborhood Crusade, will be one of the presenters

and Rev. Rodney Foreman, founder and CEO of Amazing Impact. Topics include “Taking the Gospel to the Street” and “Enpowerment Methods of Discipleship.” If you are interested in one-on-one Evangelism and being a true disciple this is the conference for you. A light lunch will be served.


Our Theme is “ Each One, Bring One.” You may call the church for more information at 215-438-1682.


CUAA Meeting

The Second Saturday Workshop of Christians United Against Addiction will meet Saturday, May 14, at New Covenant Campus, Elders Hall Conference room, 7500 Germantown Avnue,  from 9 a.m. to noon.  The speaker will Ben Ames, a member of New Covenant Church. He will share and facilitate the discussion on Step 5.


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


Further information about the workshop or other programs can be found by calling the CUAA office at 215-248-0260 or emailing us at lovephl9@aol.com . Look for us on Facebook and our website: www.cuaa.org.


Two Concerts at Janes

The Festival of Hymns Choir and Instrumental Ensemble, Dr. Harrilese DuRant Miles, director, at Janes Memorial United Methodist Church will present “Jesus, You Lead Us All the Way,” on Sunday, May 15 at 4 p.m.  This gloriously uplifting concert experience will take place at the historic Janes Memorial United Methodist Church, 47 East Haines Street. Come and be inspired by beautiful voices lifted in praise!  There is no admission charge, but a free will offering will be raised.  Join us at Janes.


On Sunday, May 22, 4 p.m., all are invited to the church for “An Afternoon of Song” with the Janes Inspirational Choir, directed by Charles Pettaway.  Join us for this joyous celebration. As an added treat that day, the United Methodist Men of Janes will be preparing a meal to be served before the concert, between 1-3 p.m.  Concert tickets are $15.  Call the church for information at 215-844-9564.


Strawberry Festival at Grace

The Courtesy Club of Grace Baptist Church of Germantown, 25 West Johnson Street, presents the 2011 Strawberry Festival Luncheon, a spiritually entertaining event, on Saturday, May 14, noon – 3 p.m., in the James B. Murray Social Hall. Tickets are $25. For information call the church at 215-438-3215.


Interfaith Walk for Peace

This year’s Philadelphia Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation (PIWPR), with the theme “Planting the Seeds of Peace”, will be held in the Overbrook Farms section of Philadelphia on Sunday, May 22 from 2-6 p.m, rain or shine.   The Interfaith Peace Walk is an annual gathering organized by Jews, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Baha’i, secular people and others that are concerned about and committed to multi-religious and cross-cultural cooperation. There will be a planting ceremony at each house of worship.  


A Pre-Walk Gathering will be held at 12:30 p.m. at Al-Aqsa Islamic Society, 1501 Germantown Avenue. Buses will take people to the start of the walk.


Walk Route, starting at 2 p.m., begins at the  African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, 6361 Lancaster Avenue, proceeds to the Bawa Muhaiyadden Fellowship, 5820 Overbrook Avenue, and then to Overbrook Presbyterian Church, 6376 City Avenue. For information visit, www.interfaithpeacewalk.org.


MLK High to Stay District School in 2011-12

As part of the Renaissance Schools Initiative, Martin Luther King High School will become a Promise Academy for the 2011-12 school year, the School District of Philadelphia announced May 4.  In an 8-1 vote, the School Advisory Council (SAC) recommended this option to Superintendent Dr. Arlene Ackerman and the SRC after two turnaround providers slated for King, as part of the Renaissance match process, withdrew from the process.


As a Promise Academy, King will continue to be managed by the District and will have a longer school day, Saturday classes twice a month for academic enrichment and intervention, family field trips once a month, and a summer academy which extends the school year. The Promise Academy school culture centers on high expectations for all, with college and university matriculation as the future path intended for every student.


“After evaluating the options for the future of our school, the SAC is confident that the Promise Academy model is one that can dramatically improve King and set our children up for success after high school,” said Conchevia Washington, chairperson of the SAC.  “Throughout this process the SAC has been driven by the need to create an educational environment that would best benefit our students.”


In the weeks ahead, the District will provide information to parents, students, staff and the community about the changes that they can expect for next year.


Rep. Parker DUIArrest


State Rep. Cherelle Parker (D. 200th) was arrested in Germantown in the early morning hours of Sunday, May 8 on a charge of Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Parker was pulled over by a police officer about 12:30 a.m. on the 5800 block of Baynton Street, where she was allegedly observed driving the wrong way down a one-way street. She was assigned a court date of June 1 after a preliminary arraignment.


Requests for comments from Parker’s office were referred to her attorney Joseph Kelly. Kelly issued a brief statement that said in part, “Ms. Parker regrets putting herself in this position and will address these allegations at the appropriate time.”


Parker represents parts of Mt. Airy, Chestnut Hill, Roxborough and Andorra.


James Foster, publisher of Germantown Newspapers, was among one of  seven individuals to receive for distinguished community service at Community College of Philadelphia’s Northwest branch on May 4.  Foster (above) is pictured receiving the Business award from CCP President Stephen Curtis.  Community College honored a total of 18 individuals at ceremonies at its three branches.


Olney High ’71 Seeks Alumni

Olney  High School Class of ’71 is looking for former classmates for our 40th reunion on October 28.

For information contact Judy at ohsclassof71@yahoo.com or 215-870-7572.


Talk on Germantown in the Civil War

The East Falls Historical Society will commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the start of the Civil War in 1861, with a program presented by Eugene Stackhouse, author of Germantown In the Civil War, on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 7 p.m. at the Falls of Schuylkill Library, 3501 Midvale Avenue.


Eugene Stackhouse, a veteran of the US Army, infantry, is a local author who has lived in East Germantown since 1980.  He served on the board of the Germantown Historical Society for eight years, and was President of the Board for four years.  Gene was born in Kensington, graduated from Temple University and attended graduate school at Ohio State University.  He was a biologist who retired in 2002.  In the 1970’s, prior to living in Germantown, Gene and his wife lived on Midvale Avenue in East Falls.


Eugene Stackhouse’s book, Germantown In the Civil War, published by The History Press, will be available for purchase and signing at the meeting for $20.  It may also be ordered from amazon.com, the Germantown Historical Society and The Philadelphia Print Shop.

East Falls was the site of two encampments during the Civil War, Camp Gallagher and Camp Stokely. 


There will be a brief meeting of the general membership of the East Falls Historical Society preceding the meeting at 6:30.  The following slate of officers is presented for election by the membership;  Vice-President, Wendy Moody, Treasurer, Katy Hineline, Board members, Steve Peitzman and Joe Leube.  For further nominations please contact Stephanie Epstein at epsteinstephanie@gmail.com.


Refreshments will be served and the program is free and open to the public.  For more information, please contact Ellen Sheehan at sheehan3304@aol.com


300 Turn Out for Creek Cleanup

Students from Germantown Friends School’s Environmental Action Club were some of the 300 volunteers who worked throughout the morning of April 30 pulling trash and debris out of Wissahickon Creek during the 41st Annual Creek Clean Up, organized by the Friends of the Wissahickon and the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association. Some of the more unusual items found included a couch, playhouse, deep fat fryer, I-Phone, bike frame, and countless golf balls. “The most interesting thing found in Wissahickon Valley Park today was a huge carpet,” says David Bower, Volunteer Coordinator for Fairmount Park.  “It had probably been in the creek for a number of years and it took about 15 people to dig it out of the silt and the mud and cut it up into smaller pieces and drag it up out of the park.” Pictured here is GFS student Asher Frank. Visit www.fow.org for a video of Creek Clean Up 2011.


Tour Wissahickon Ave. Sites

The East Falls Historical Society is offering a walking tour along historic Wissahickon Avenue on Saturday, May 21, from 10 a.m. to noon. Meet at the Queen Lane Station parking lot, rain or shine. Cost is $15 members, $20 non-members. The tour will include the history and significance of the Queen Lane Railroad, a house designed by noted architect Frank Furness, Cloverly Park, the lobby of Alden Park Manor, and a complete house tour of the Oaks Cloister Mansion. 


Oaks Cloister is the historically certified home of Joseph Houston, architect of the Pennsylvania State Capitol.  Our tour will end with refreshments at the Carriage House there.


The tour will be led by residents of East Falls and Germantown.  Ken Hind, architect Ellen Prantl, and Steve Peitzman, M.D.


For information contact Ellen Sheehan at sheehan3304@aol.com.


Lane Closures on Henry Ave.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has announced that one lane will be closed on westbound Henry Avenue on the bridge over the Roosevelt Extension (Route 1) beginning Monday, May 9, for the rehabilitation of the structurally-deficient bridge.  Westbound Henry Avenue will be down to one lane through the end of June.


Crews will replace 16 pedestals on the one span, steel I-beam bridge. A pedestal is a metal stand that is anchored to the top of the bridge pier and supports the structural steel beams. The structure is 104 feet long and 100 feet wide.  It carries 5,687 vehicles a day.


When crews complete the pedestal replacement on the westbound side of Henry Avenue they will then switch to the eastbound side of the bridge.  Eastbound Henry Avenue will be restricted to one lane from the end of June through September.


Holy Cross Camp

The Holy Cross Parish Summer Camp Program is celebrating 15 years in the community. The programwill serve boys and girls ages 3 to 14. Watch your child take off this summer at Holy Cross Parish Summer Camp. We offer math, science, reading, writing, Spanish, cooking, swimming, music, fines arts, nature study, recreational games, weekly field trips, talent show, hip hop/ breakdance, technology,  drama, fashion show, drill team, breakfast, hot lunch, snack and more.


For information contact Yolanda Haynes at 215-242-0413 or teachweb.com/PA/HolyCrossParishSchool/Homepage.


The Holy Cross Early Childhood Program is holding open enrollment for 2011-2012. The Early Childhood program encourages social, emotional, physical,cognitive and spiritual growth in each child. We offer a small safe and nuturing environment. The Early Childhood program is a full day of school. Space is limited.


For information call Bryan Werner at 215-242-0414.

 

Music Camp

Settlement Music School is currently enrolling students for a variety of music summer camps for children ages 4 –18. In addition, Settlement also offers a six-week program of individual lessons for continuing youth and adult students and those who wish to try out music lessons in a more relaxed time of the year. Financial and scholarship support is available for all camps which include: Summer Jam for guitar, bass, drums, and piano/keyboard players ages 12-18 at Germantown Branch, 6128 Germantown Avenue, June 20 – July 1, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday-Friday. The cost is $700. For information call 215-320-2610.


These intensive sessions are for students who play drums, electric guitar, bass keyboard, vocalists and song writers. Students form bands, record original works in a professional studio, play a live performance and learn all aspects of producing and playing jazz, blues, and rock music with a group. Faculty members are professional artists.


Local Student Creates iPhone App


Jesse Friedman and Dr. Andy Kirschner.


When Dr. Andy Kirschner of Bala Cynwyd discussed his plan last summer to create an iPad app about back-pain reduction with Mt. Airy resident Jesse Friedman, he realized he’d found a partner for his project who had time, energy, and the right knowledge to program it entirely. The two set to work, and the app, Back Together Interactive, went live on the iTunes App store in March. 


Now that the app has launched, Jesse can get back to his homework.  Jesse Friedman is 9 years old.


“Jesse understood what I needed,” says Dr. Kirschner, who first shared techniques for reducing back pain in his book, Back Together (2005). “I handed him a stack of video discs and a piece of paper with a plan.” 


The new app features over 90 minutes of video detailing techniques Dr. Kirschner has honed which couples and partners can use on each other to reduce and even eliminate neck and back pain. The videos play to music donated by DJ Jazzy Jeff and Howard Jones.


Jesse, a Miquon student who is self-taught in computer programming, explains he “made the app in Microsoft Publisher and exported to HTML, then edited with Adobe Dreamweaver to add extra functionality.”  He compressed the videos with Handbrake and used Phonegap “to provide a Webkit interface in the app to show the HTML.” He adds, “the app was really fun to produce.”  


Dr. Kirschner sees it as an asset for osteopathic medical students, chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists, and anyone wishing to learn soft tissue techniques to add to their pain management arsenal. The duo plan to keep working together, with Jesse administering the app’s links to Dr. Kirschner’s discussion forum and informational blog on health, BackTogether.org.


Children’s Art Program at Old Academy Players

Old Academy Players, the intimate and historic theater on Indian Queen Lane, will be hosting its third annual Children’s Art Program this summer.  If there is a child in your life who loves the theater, or if there is a child you would like to expose to the joys of theater, this may be the program for you.


Old Academy began running the program in 2009.  The first year was so successful that the Players expanded the program from two days to three in 2010.  This year, the program will run again for three days, during which the children will be introduced to the basics of acting, musical theater, and dance.   It will include classes and workshops in acting, set design, costumes, movement, and music.  On the evening of the final day, there will be a 7:30 pm “Showcase Performance” for the families of all the campers.  This performance will take place on the stage of the historic Old Academy theater – the very same stage where Grace Kelly performed 70 years ago.


Last year’s summer program featured a performance of an abbreviated version of Charles Dickens’s Oliver! The kids played hard to paint the sets, memorize song lyrics and choreography, and assemble costumes befitting the urchins and orphans of early-Industrial Age London. 


The Children’s Arts Program runs July 12, 13, and 14, from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm.   Children between the ages of 8 and 13 can participate.   The cost is $100 for the first child in a family, and $80 for each additional sibling.  This includes all classes and materials, souvenir T-shirts, healthy snacks and beverages, and a lunchtime pizza party on the final day (children bring their lunch the first two days).  


More information can be found at Old Academy Players web ite, www.oldacademyplayers.org.  Click on the link for “Auditions and Other Activities,” which is found on the left-hand side of the homepage, to access information about the program and how to register.

Questions can be addressed to Courtney Bambrick at OldAcademyChildren@gmail.com


Presser Senior Apartments Now Open

Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller joined Nolen Properties to celebrate the opening of Presser Senior Apartments on historic Johnson Street on May 2. The development, which was supported in part by federal stimulus funds, restored a 1914 historic property at risk of demolition into 45 mixed-income apartments for seniors.


Presser Senior Apartments was recently awarded a Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia Grand Jury Award for successfully maintaining the historic integrity of the building while adding modern amenities and energy efficient features during the restoration.  


Mayor Nutter said, “Presser Senior Apartments demonstrates Philadelphia’s successful use of stimulus funds. This development created jobs, transformed a vacant building back into a beautiful landmark, created much-needed affordable housing and made a positive impact on the entire community.”


Originally commissioned by sheet music publisher and philanthropist Theodore Presser, the Presser Home for Retired Music Teachers is a grand 52,248 square foot building that once housed those who dedicated their lives to music. The building became vacant in 2002, suffered significant deterioration and was a candidate for demolition under plans of prior owners. A coalition of community groups formed to prevent the demolition, and in 2005 they succeeded in adding the Presser Home to the National Register of Historic Places.


Nolen Properties acquired the property in 2006 with the promise to restore it to its original beauty while using the structures in a manner pleasing to the neighbors. The development preserves a cornerstone building in the Philadelphia City Planning Commission 2004 Mt. Airy Neighborhood Plan and has set the stage for the restoration of the adjacent Nugent building, also to become senior affordable housing.


Six apartments are accessible for people with physical disabilities and two more apartments are accessible to persons with vision or hearing impairments. Residents must be age 62 and above and must meet income requirements.


The six apartments for people with physical disabilities will be available to seniors with incomes at or below 20 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), ($13,725 for one person); 21 apartments will be affordable to seniors with incomes at or below 50 percent of AMI ($27,450 for one person) and 18 apartments will be affordable to seniors at or below 60 percent of the AMI ($32, 940 for one person).


Older Americans Month at CIP


Center in the Park (CIP) invites you to join us in celebrating Older Americans Month by attending a special event, workshop or activity.  Unless otherwise indicated, activities are free of charge but registration is required due to space limitations. Events will be held at Center in the Park in historic Vernon Park, 5818 Germantown Avenue, with parking available on the lot at Rittenhouse & McCallum Streets. To register or for more information, please contact the Program Office at Center, 215-848-7722.


May 11 at 1 p.m., Four Score & Ten  Sing–A-Long DVD Viewing Party

May 12 at 11 a.m. - High Tea Party with Senator LeAnna Washington

May 18 at 1 p.m. - CIP’s Songsters Unlimited 25th Anniversary Concert

May 19 at 1 p.m. - Astral Artists present Intergenerational Jazz Concert

May 25 at 1 p.m. - Getting Rid of Clutter Workshop – Part 2

May 26 at 5 p.m. - Jazz Music Jam Session with Monette Sudler-Honesty

May 31 - Health Fair 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) and WURD-900-AM Radio Broadcast (1-4 p.m.)

Membership at Center in the Park is free and open to adults, age 55+ - 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 – for information on classes, health promotion and other activities.


View Colorful Ned Wolf Park

By ERIC M. STERNFELS

Guest Writer


May is a superlative month at Ned Wolf Park (NWP) , located at the southwest corner of McCallum and West Ellet streets in Mt. Airy.  It boasts the showiest display of blooms early in the month and a few weeks later we’ll have its busiest event, the annual Plant Sale.  The Friends of Ned Wolf Park which organizes the Plant Sale to support the ongoing maintenance and improvement of the public garden hopes it will yield the most fun and most funds ever.


Within the next few days, motorists streaming down McCallum will be treated to a technicolor floral display with some perennials which may be unfamiliar to you.  Wrapping the corner with a staccato bloom of fuchsia pink flowers amid rich green leaves is hardy Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Bevan’s Variety’.   Just behind you’ll see a shock of golden foliage, the cascading blades of Japanese Hakone Grass (Hakonechloa macra “Aureola”) which loves a bright but shaded spot in the garden.  And you absolutely cannot miss the brilliant carpet of purple when creeping Phlox stolonifera “Fran’s Purple” is doin’ its thing. If you need a map to locate these species, you can find them on laminated plant maps that are located in the posted information boxes along the sidewalk provided to help visitors identify all the special plantings which NWP gardens offer.


The Friends of NWP is really hoping you’ll get out of your vehicle and take a stress-reducing stroll, examining all the lush foliage and flowers that mid-spring brings.   We expect that by May 1, Philadelphia’s Department of Parks and Recreation will have finished installing the new sign, courtesy of the Friends group, which tells the story of Ned Wolf, the local civil rights activist and former WMAN President for whom the park was named in the 1970s.  Be sure to read it on your next visit, and be proud of the local neighborhood hero who is our park’s namesake.


Later this month, look for our much-anticipated Ned Wolf Park Plant Sale, on May 21 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  [The rain date is Sunday, May 22]   We’re expecting a bonanza of great plants donated from neighbors: hundreds of sun and shade perennials, shrubs, trees, annuals, and houseplants.  Maybe some garden tools and garden books, as well.  The Plant Sale has historically been an energetic community event with lots of good gardening advice for novices, and a chance to catch up on stories of backyard upheaval by the veterans.  With or without gardening gloves, thumbs grow greener on Plant Sale day.   Mark your calendar and tell your friends, but whatever you do - don’t miss this event.  


Perhaps you have some items to donate to support the park.  It’s still not too late to divide your iris or pot up those hellebore seedlings.  And, if you wish to volunteer your time to help with the sale, contact Plant Sale Coordinator Eric Sternfels at 215-248-5533.




Germantown’s Shahida Simmons is the 2011 winner in her class of the Middle Atlantic Boxing Tournament and runner-up in the 2011 Philadelphia Golden Gloves Tournament. She trains at Waterview Recreation Center’s boxing gym under the watchful eyes of Head Coach June Smalls and Assistant Coach James Small, who stress determination and dedication, the formula for for champions. Shahida, along with the Waterview Boxing Team, will be attending the Ohio State Fair in July to compete in the Buster Douglas Boxing tournament. Waterview is located at 5826 McMahon Street. Call 215-685-2229 for information about the boxing program.


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