GERMANTOWN/MT. AIRY: Drivers, watch your speed on Lincoln Drive and other area arteries. That’s the message the 14th Police District wants people to take away from its stepped-up speed enforcement along the Drive, Walnut Lane and Stenton Avenue. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration grant has allowed for more overtime hours to be devoted to speed enforcement, and for 25 14th  District officers to be trained on the Speed Tracker speed detection system.  From August 6 to 26 officers made 120 stops and wrote 94 tickets for speeding. When the funding ends September 15, greater speed enforcement in the area is likely because those 25 trained officers and their equipment will be retained by the 14th, according to Captain Winton Singletary. “Hopefully before long people will understand they just gotta slow down,” he said.  

On Saturday August 29 the clouds parted and the rain stopped for the David P. Richardson Jr. Give Back to the Community celebration at the Lonnie Young Recreation Center on Chelten Avenue. It was a day of music, food and fun, but people stopped to remember why they were there: to honor one of the founding members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, State Representative David P. Richardson, who served the 201st district from 1972 until his death in 1995. At right, his mother Elaine Richardson, 82, addressed the crowd, with Rep. John Myers  (who succeeded Richardson in the 201 District seat) standing beside her. “Mom” Richardson spoke about the importance of standing up for what’s right. “You have to be one of the ones to give back by doing the right thing,” she said. “You have to be the one to stand up, even if you’re the only one.”

Neighbors Call for Changes at Washington Lane Station


Staff Writer

On Thursday, August 27, Reverend Chester Williams, founder of the Chew/Belfield Neighborhood Association, held what one SEPTA official termed the first ever community meeting at the Washington Lane R7 train station. The major concerns centered on safety at the station and handicapped accessibility to trains.

The safety concerns stemmed from the isolated and dark passage that outbound riders must make along the edge of Awbury Arboretum, and under the train trestle before reaching signs of civilization along Washington Lane and Chew Avenue. For many, according to Williams and others, this route doesn’t seem all that smart. 

“God help the ones that are going down there by themselves after the sun goes down,” Reverend Williams said from under the passenger shelter on the inbound side of the tracks. “We’ve got elderly that slipped and fell, we’ve got people who’ve been [mugged] over on that side… on this side you feel safer.”

Alfred Goode, manager at the nearby Awbury View Apartments, said the problem has a significant impact on his senior residents.

“I have quite a few seniors who use the train and when they come back it’s quite inconvenient for them,” he said.

For some, like Dessandra Smith, who lives close to the inbound tracks, the thought of crossing under the trestle on her way back from a trip to Center City means she always uses her car. And Katie Donnelly, who commutes from Center City for her job as the associate director of the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership at the Arboretum, always makes sure she gets a ride under the trestle if it’s late in the day.

“I used to walk but it got too creepy at night under that bridge,” she said.

To solve the problem Williams asked the SEPTA officials to open up a section of the fence separating the two tracks and install a level surface walkway, like a crosswalk, so that travelers would not have to brave the under-trestle area at all. For SEPTA, though, that particular approach was no solution.

“If we put a walkway in here you’re going to have about eight seconds to get out of the way,” said Scott Sauer, SEPTA’s manager of operational safety. The curve of the track at Washington lane means visibility is bad, he said. “Somebody - an elderly person in a wheelchair or on crutches – that’s not a good idea.”

Rich Klina, the deputy director of SEPTA’s North Division, put the message about the level crossover even more plainly.

“We’re phasing them out,” he said. “We’ve been phasing them out for years. Too many people get killed.”

And Johnny Odum, legislative assistant to State Representative John Myers (D., 201st) also saw SEPTA’s point.

“What you’re saying is lets get rid of one safety issue and try to create another safety issue,” he said to Williams.

Nevertheless, it’s clear the station was built with access to both sides in mind. A closed- off passageway that tunnels under the two tracks lay just feet from the meeting site. Sauer said the passage was closed years ago due to neighborhood safety concerns inside the tunnel.

Typically when a SEPTA train crosses over a trestle near a station, the people using the station cross under it, Sauer said. So the consensus among SEPTA officials was to work on improving the existing setup through increased lighting, the possible installation of call boxes to the 14th Police District, and possibly increased patrols by the 14th, the SEPTA officials said.

Washington Lane station is scheduled to split $1.2 million in federal stimulus money with six other R7 stations next year. In a separate phone interview, SEPTA’s Senior Director of Capital Construction, Robert Lund, thought it might be possible to use some of that money to brightening the underside of the trestle with a new paint job. Currently the improvement plan calls only for touch up painting on the trestle, he said.

Lund also stated that SEPTA and officials from Awbury recently discussed a possible partnership to illuminate the Arboretum side of the passage down to the trestle. There is currently no lighting on that side of the route. 

Williams also requested ramps to allow wheelchair access to the trains at the stop. Klina, for one, seemed more hopeful about this request. He said the current wooden step is already a tripping hazard on the platform and, while he knew of no plans to make the station accessible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), he saw the small group Williams assembled for the meeting as a good first step to making new things happen at Washington Lane.

“There’s no plans to put a handicapped ramp here but why not put it on the table?” he said. “Your presence here is the beginning.”

But according to Richard Maloney, director of public affairs for SEPTA and Cynthia Lister the ADA coordinator, putting fully accessible platforms at Washington Lane, or just about anywhere along the R7, will involve reversing decades of policy against it. The SEPTA preference for these upgrades is the R8 line, they said.

“They were never going to spend money to make all of the stations on both lines accessible, so they concentrated and are continuing to concentrate the funding on R8,” said Maloney.

When SEPTA took over the rail lines from Conrail in 1982 it identified the R7 and R8 lines as performing a largely redundant service to the Northwest, according to Maloney. And because the R8 lines were in better condition SEPTA decided to focus most of its capital improvement efforts on those stations to get them up to standards faster, he said.

Also around that time SEPTA was required to identify “key” stations for handicapped accessibility, according to Lister. Those key stations became the R8’s Queen Lane and Chestnut Hill West stations, according to Maloney. Chestnut Hill West is ADA accessible and Queen Lane was just upgraded this summer in a $7.9 million capital project that included other improvements.

The ADA rules now in effect require SEPTA to make accessibility upgrades on any station that undergoes significant renovation, Maloney said. For this reason the $7.4 million capital project still under way at the R8 Allen Lane Station will also include a high-level platform.

But other than Wayne Junction, which serves four other rail lines besides the R7 and which will not be fully accessible until its scheduled $28 million capital upgrade is completed 2014, there is no ADA accessible station along the R7.

According to Maloney, SEPTA’s logic here is that R7 passengers who require ADA accessible facilities should be able to make the short trip to an accessible R8 station. From Washington Lane the nearest ADA accessible R8 station is the Queen Lane Station, about two miles away.

Still, Maloney seemed to leave room for some of Klina’s enthusiasm for change.

“These things are revised all the time,” he said. “The decision that was made in the 1980s is not locked in concrete, but it’s the decision we’re following, the policy we’re following at this present time.”

Local Company Helps NW Philly Clean Its Plate


Staff Writer

Mom always said to clean your plate, but in the Northwest that doesn’t matter so much now that Philly Compost is around. This trash and greenhouse gas reducing, organic soil generating, green job creating business is not even a half-year old yet and already it’s had tons of impact.

Tons, literally.  Take its biggest client, Mt. Airy’s Earth, Bread + Brewery. Earth has just reached the one-ton mark of table and kitchen scraps disposed of through Philly Compost and not pitched into the landfill. (Actually Earth didn’t pitch it all into a landfill before, it composted through Weavers Way Farm. But with Philly Compost it can compost a much wider variety of material, including meats, dairy, paper napkins and corn-based cups and straws, say Philly Compost co-founder Meenal Raval and  Earth owner Tom Baker.)

Considering all the fuel it takes to truck restaurant waste to the dump and all the methane that garbage creates in anaerobic, dump-bound decomposition, that ton of composted scraps means the equivalent of two and a half tons of carbon not pumped into the atmosphere, according to Mt. Airy resident Raval.

“That’s great, one ton. It kind of really puts it in perspective,” said Baker.

Since June, Earth has been collecting table and kitchen scraps for Philly Compost to haul off to its Germantown facility at 443 East High Street. There, Raval and her partner Lee Meinicke  have been working to create the perfect garden lover’s compost – soon to be available for retail sale.

Raval and Meinicke, who studies large composting operations, hoped the reduction in trash volume would represent a savings for its clients, who pay Philly Compost for the service, but Baker just feels so good about the reduction in waste he considers that reason enough to keep the relationship going.

“It’s just made us feel really great,” Baker said. He estimated that the amount his restaurant throws away has gone from a few hundred gallons a week to less than 80. “The other amazing thing… it’s made our trash really good smelling.”

Other area businesses like Wine Thief in Mt. Airy and the Night Kitchen Bakery in Chestnut Hill have reported a similar lift of spirits using Philly Compost, and for good reason. Overall, Philly Compost has recycled 1.9 metric tons of food waste from area businesses from June to August. That amounts to a reduction of 4.9 metric tons of carbon equivalent greenhouse gasses, according to Raval. 

Amy Edelman, owner of Night Kitchen, is so convinced that she has started working with Raval to educate other Chestnut Hill businesses about how they can use composting to save money on trash pickup plus get the environmental warm-fuzzies.   

“That’s the end goal that I’ve been working to try to get the businesses in Chestnut Hill to switch - the money-saving angle,” Edelman said.

Getting it right

But Baker and Edelman are not the only area businesses who see this as a labor of love. David Green, the owner of Primex Garden Center in Glenside, is eager to see a high quality local compost source for his customers, and he thinks city restaurants might be the perfect source for just this type of thing, he said.

There is a trick to it though. Compost has to be pretty much perfect to work right.

“We would like people to use something that is well aged and that you can’t necessarily burn your plants with,” he said. “If it’s not aged for some time properly it can damage tender plants.”

For this reason the work at Philly Compost has been a continuous series of experiments. Since odor and pests were a primary concern, the laboratory started in a four-foot plywood cube in Raval’s back yard during the month of June.

“I decided if I could open my window and live with it, that would be the best test,” she said.

‘Worm tea’

But as the client list grew she and Meinicke rented a small space in an industrial warehouse in Germantown to refine the production process and get the Philly Compost products just right. Those products so far: mulch compost and “worm tea.”

In the rear corner of that warehouse space Raval walked into the worm farm on August 26 and dug several handfuls of rich, dark soil from the bottom of a blue plastic bin. The bin was made from a halved 30-gallon food service container. On top of it was a damp cloth. Under that was loose compost crawling with worms, and beneath that was the good stuff.

“This was like table scraps and kitchen scraps and that’s the whole point,” she said letting the loose soil fall through her fingers. “So why stick it in a landfill for ever and ever?”

Like those blue bins, much of the equipment for the business was re-claimed from what Raval called “the urban stream” - different types of food grade containers that might have otherwise been thrown out. Raval was proud of that.

She was also pleased with the system they have developed.

In the worm farm, murky water dripped into small white buckets from taps at the base of each bin. Raval did not yet know the rules for selling this liquid compost (worm tea). Few people seem to, actually. It’s one of the many regulations that are still not fully defined for a business that is at once so simple and yet so new. It’s an argument for taking things slow, Raval said, like good composting itself.  

And so, only two of those four-foot plywood cubes sat on the Philly Compost loading dock that August day. Raval thought the space could handle upwards of 18 but two to three has been a comfortable level for the company to start with.

The cubes are attached to PVC pipes and a single electric blower that sucks air through the compost inside from the bottom, on timed intervals. It’s called “aerated static pile” composting and it’s the flow of air through the pile that keeps the compost from generating odor or attracting pests. These two concerns were high on Raval and Meinicke’s list because Philly Compost accepts meat and dairy leftovers, two things not always considered ideal composting material.

“You wouldn’t want people to sleep at night and gasp,” she said referring to the many residential neighbors near the Germantown warehouse. “So that was our biggest concern.”

‘Greens’ and ‘browns’

Another key practice is a piece of old composting logic – layers of greens and browns. Simply, when a fresh load of plant matter goes into the bin it’s important to cover it with a “brown,” like dried leaves or woodchips, to balance the nutrients in the pile. This becomes a bit more complicated in the Philly Compost piles because the company also accepts things like paper napkins and biodegradable plastic straws and cups – lots of browns.

In all the compost stays in the plywood bins for about two months. The second month is called the “curing” period, without the blower. The final six weeks is reserved for “finishing” in the worm farm. 

Raval hopes that by this fall Philly Compost should be able to offer its mulch and liquid compost for retail sale. She would also like to see the pick-up service expand to more businesses and restaurants in the Northwest and possibly to other neighborhoods. But the key to that expansion, as she sees it, is to maintain well-located medium-sized composting sites so there won’t be much fuel expended to serve clients and so the volume of compost at any one site can be managed by hand and not resource gobbling machinery.

“You invest in labor, not capital,” she summarized.

If all the company’s effort at outreach is any indication, you also invest in community. A good example is the Composting Map at It’s a managed Google Map for household composters to join, either to add their names and be counted as part of the cumulative effort to reduce food waste in the city, or to connect with other composters, or wannabe composters, who might live in an apartment or may simply need to see composting in action in their own neighborhood before they get started themselves.

According to Philly Compost estimates, the 125 households currently registered on the Philly Compost map will divert 18.49 metric tons of food waste from the trash stream by April of next year. And that means 47 metric tons of carbon equivalent greenhouse gasses kept out of the air we breathe.

For information about Philly Compost, e-mail to or visit

Weird Waste Day on Sept. 26

As a service to the community the Mt. Airy Business Association, in conjunction with Valley Green Bank, invites everyone to take advantage of an opportunity to properly dispose of all unwanted electronics, including televisions, computers, printers, hard-drives, monitors, vcrs, radios, video games, transformers, and even batteries, on “Weird Waste Day.” 

Bring your weird waste to the Valley Green Bank parking lot, 7226 Germantown Avenue, on September 26 between 1 and 4 p.m. and we’ll make sure that it gets responsibly recycled. The cost to you is $.032 per pound.

We have engaged IRN, a recycling network that helps businesses and institutions find the most responsible, efficient and cost effective way to recycle all materials.  All products are hand-dismantled and shredded. Each item is directed to the right end market and recycled safely, in full compliance with all environmental regulations.

For more information call 215-242-0777.

Northwest Performers Explore Arts ‘Fringe’ at 2009 Festival



The ever vibrant Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe will run this year from September 4 to 19 in venues throughout the city. If the past is any guide you can rely on another exciting and affordable season in 2009.

As ever, the Live Arts portion of the Festival features 15 cutting-edge works of dance, theater and music – this year from Philadelphia, New York, Poland, Austria and Australia.  These curated shows boast a number of premieres - eight world, three U.S., and three local.

The more experimental Fringe is organized without a selection filter and will present 185 artists in 80 venues. At least 15 of the artists and producers are homegrown in the Northwest, so come meet your performing neighbors. They include:

Dave Burgess, whose improv sketches build on the morning cup of WaWa. Just what is it that Philadelphians do every morning? They wake up to his ersatz radio show (“Wake up Philadelphia!”) for breaking news, weather, sports.  Burgess and artistic director Kevin Jordan, both based in Roxborough, have produced a really local show with “correspondents” in the field. Partners in life and art, Burgess and Jordan have seamlessly collaborated to combine comedy, video, live action and antics of all kinds on this marvelously silly, colorful multimedia show. “Wake Up Philadelphia” will be performed at the Walking Fish Theatre, 2509 Frankford Avenue, on September 5, 18 and 19 at 7 p.m., September 12 at 8 p.m.

Shawna Evans’ show “In a Sense Nonsense” has evolved over a decade. The 12 actors in the piece deliver an avant garde “word salad” with dance that explores how people treat each other, think what they do and change their minds.  Co-written with Robert Anu-Hubbard (both of Mt. Airy), the show touches on perception vs. conformity, lies vs. truth, meaning vs nonsense.  Artificial humans (replicants, what a great word!) here malfunction and question everything from news crawls to the truth. Evans is on the faculty at Freedom Theatre where she teaches acting.

“In a Sense Nonsense” will be performed at the Black Box at New Freedom Theatre, 1346 North Broad Street, September 9–11 at 8 p.m. and September 12 at 3 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Jen Fellman recalls with affection how she admired the “older girls” at Henry School in Mt. Airy who sang the lead in school musicals. Eventually she landed that role as she did at Masterman and Muhlenberg College. A mezzo soprano and clown, Jen went on to study French music, jazz standards, cabaret and musical theater in France.  “I always feel a little out of my time,” she says.

Her one-woman show “A Singer’s Circus” has been evolving over several years. Here she looks to Judy Garland and Edith Piaf, her artistic touchstones and each the center of her own circus.

Shows are September 4, 10, and 11 at 7 p.m., September 5 and 12 at 2 and 7 p.m., and September 6 and 13 at 2 p.m. at Walnut Street Theatre Studio 5, 825 Walnut Street. Tickets are $15.

Ellen Gayda will presents “Her Body Cannot Tell a Lie,” a sensual mixup of spoken word, dance, live music and slide show. Gayda, a Chestnut Hill resident and body-mind therapist, has created an artistic, exploration of awakening body awareness to feminine experience and emotions.  Gayda says, “Women are not represented very well in the performing arts in a way in which their vulnerability and their intuitive emotional nature are positive.  Their capacity to be vulnerable is rather part of their inherent strength. In this piece, I’m revealing that women – as mother nature’s carriers…of the human race – implicitly reflects that we have more depth that we hold, that we are impressed deeper than men by our biological hard-wiring.”

She is abetted here by choreographer Kun-yang Lin and two dancers from his company, for a “structured improvisation” that will support Gayda’s spoken word performance.  Instrumentalist-composer Chris Farrell will perform as well. Shows are September 10 and 12 at 8 p.m. at Rembrandt’s Restaurant and Bar, 741 North 23rd Street. Tickets are $15.

Dave Smith will perform “Cirque-ular” with a troupe of eight. Professional juggler and sideshow performer Smith isn’t hard to find.  He’s 6’6” and just as formidable on YouTube. (Look for his America’s Got Talent piece, for example).  Dave just made a jump from living in Germantown to Mt. Airy, which is nothing compared to lying on a bed of nails. Actually, in this show, that role has been passed to Melissa Forgione, a Germantown resident with a taste for swallowing nails.

The show’s narrative is loosely Faustian and somewhat autobiographical:  the Ringmaster (Dave) explores what he would tell a reflection of his younger self (Kyle Driggs of Germantown) who is seeking to launch a professional career in the circus. What is the price that you don’t yet realize you’ll be paying? 

Performances are September 11, 12, 18 and 19 at 8 p.m. at Greene Street Studios, 6122 Greene Street. Tickets are $15.

Other performing neighbors include:

“Double & Small,” by Cara Blouin of Mt. Airy. When a photo of Mr. Li - 116 years old, Chinese and pregnant - is published in the tabloid Weekly World Standard, halfway around the globe, Liza is challenged to bring her life into focus in this odd, surprising fairy tale about the snapshots we choose to frame. It will be performed at the Actors Center, 257 North 3rd Street, on September 10 and 17 at 8 p.m., and September 12 and 19 at 3 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

In Chestnut Hill resident Delphine Dos Santos’ “Afro-Brazilian Dances and Folktales,” you’ll see live music, storytelling, and vibrant traditional Afro-Brazilian dances - just a taste of what the Philadelphia Capoeira Arts Center has to offer. Experience the dynamic power of Brazilian arts here in Philly. Audience participation is encouraged. Performances are at the Philadelphia Capoeira Arts Center, 756 South 11th Street, on September 11 and 12 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

“4Play” by Alex Dremann of Chestnut Hill is literally that: four plays about foreplay, including a 50s musical about a guy with a kitchen appliance fetish. It’s from the producers behind “4X4,” “13 Lemonade Ave.,” and “Lure” and will be shown at Plays and Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, September 10, 11, 18 and 19 at 8 p.m, September 12 and 13 at 4 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Roxborough resident Judy Freed’s solo show “Food Fight” has been featured on WHYY. It portrays the poignant reality of eating disorders through original music, monologue, and movement. Freed, a psychotherapist, takes the audience on a journey of recovery, revealing stories of struggle, strength, and survival. Performances are September 5 and 6 at 3 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration, 6900 Stenton Avenue (at Gorgas Lane.) Tickets are $10.

In “Spherus,” innovative juggler Greg Kennedy of Germantown performs with two mesmerizing aerial dancers. Jugglers know Kennedy for his award-winning creativity; audiences know him for his entertaining performance, including visual spectacles made from everyday objects as well as dazzling artistry on trapezes, silks, and spinning hoops. Performances are September 4 at 8 p.m., September 5 and 6 at 2 and 8 p.m., and September 7 at 2 p.m. at Greene Street Studios, 6122 Greene Street. Tickets are $15.

“Big Fun!” is an interdisciplinary delight from Germantown-raised Hillary Rea, in which Philadelphia Amateur Dance and Party League’s Vaudevillian’s New Years Brigade and Club Lyfestile host a rotating lineup of giant marching bands and dance troupes from out of town. It’s inspired by Riverdance, Janet Jackson, orchestras and January 1st, and takes place at the Barbary, 951 Frankford Avenue, on Sept 7 at 8 p.m., September 9 at 4 p.m., September 14 at 8 p.m. and September 15 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Jillian Taylor’s “Murder!”, with the Dark Side Theatre Company, features booze, a body and a boomerang in an entertaining mystery that depends on character development and not CSI technology. It will be shown Chestnut Hill College’s
Gruber Theater,

9601 Germantown, on September 4 at 7:30 p.m., September 5 at 7:30 p.m., September 6 at 3 p.m., September 11 at 7:30 p.m., and September 12 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15, $10 for students with ID.

For information, call 215-413-1318 or go to or

Special Dinners Celebrate Umbria’s 20th



In 1989, Alisa Consorto presented her plan to open a boutique BYO restaurant on the 7000 block of Germantown Avenue to the Mt. Airy Business Association. The response was tepid to say the least, she says. The concept had only recently taken root in Philadelphia and remained non-existent in the Northwest.

The skepticism, however, did not dissuade Consorto. Shortly afterward she purchased the storefront property at 7131 Germantown Avenue and opened Umbria with her mother, Donna Consorto, that July.

Twenty years later, the business is still going strong.

“This was just something I always knew I could do,” says Alisa Consorto, who acts as both owner and chef. “But I’m surprised we’ve lasted this long. Most restaurants don’t.”

To celebrate Umbria’s 20th anniversary Consorto has teamed up with Mt. Airy based-sommelier and long-time friend Tony Lawrence to host a series of pre-fixed wine dinners.

The first, a Summer Wine Dinner held August 6, featured five courses paired with five wines. The next, a Rustic Red Wine Dinner, will be held September 4 and will feature four courses paired with four wines. It is priced at $35 per person and will have seatings at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Reservations are required.

The seasonal menu, similar to Umbria’s cuisine throughout the year, is eclectic but simple. The evening will begin with braised beef short ribs with root vegetables. Pappardelle pasta with roasted eggplant topped with a red pepper tapenade and Parmesan cheese will follow. The third course will feature a tomato and black olive crusted salmon. And apricot-glazed peaches with vanilla ice cream will be served as desert.

Which rustic red wines will accompany the meal has been purposely kept secret. “I want there to be a sense of anticipation,” says Lawrence, who owns A Chef For You LLC, a company that specializes in wine dinners.

Throughout the month of September, Umbria will also offer the option of a pre-fixed three-course meal on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The $29 price includes a complimentary glass of wine – red or white.

To make a reservation call 215-242-6470. Umbria is open Wednesday – Saturday, 6 p.m.-11 p.m.

Town Hall Gets a Look for Possible Redevelopment

A group of potential investors toured the Germantown Town Hall August 10 to weigh it as a candidate for ecologically-focused renovation. Here, from left, are Germantown residents Nancy Wilson and John Churchville, Maurice Luker of Lafayette College in Easton, Tom Jones of the West Ward Urban Ecology Project in Easton and Liz Gabor, real estate manager for the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation.


Staff Writer

From the outside it may look like Germantown Town Hall has been forgotten about for the last 15 years, but from the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation’s (PIDC) perspective that’s not quite true.

“There’s been a lot of interest in the building but people just can’t figure out the numbers,” said Liz Gabor, real estate manager for PIDC, on a recent showing of the building last month. “I show the property regularly… I’m always being called about it.”

The interested party on that hot day, August 10, was the Germantown pair of John Churchville and Nancy Wilson, founders of the Liberation Fellowship CDC and the Greater Germantown Business Association. They had a collection of area academics in tow. Representatives from Philadelphia University and Lafayette College were there to determine whether the building might become part of a planned network of community revitalization projects that are meant to unite communities across the state.

“We’re kind of ‘blue sky’ about what this could be,” Churchville said looking up at the building’s great rotunda and belfry. “This is the dream. This is the jewel. For us, this represents real change.”

As Churchville sees it, the goal is to renovate the building into a mixed use commercial and office center that could serve, among other things, as a kind of one-stop-shop business incubator by providing legal, accounting and other business related services in one place. In addition, there is more than enough space to house the offices of local politicians, and he hoped the 14th Police District would consider moving its headquarters to the building’s basement. The 14th now occupies a building behind the Town Hall on Haines Street.

“We see Town Hall as the center of Germantown,” Churchville said in a later interview. “We see developing this place as the signal that Germantown is going to be revitalized.”

The other visitors included Philadelphia University’s David Breiner, associate dean of the School of Architecture and Claudia Goetz, director of the landscape architecture program, plus representatives from Lafayette College in Easton and the West Ward Urban Ecology Project, an Easton based grant funded program that seeks to spur ecological redevelopment across the state.

“We’re looking to develop approaches to rehabbing buildings that engage green building and historic preservation practices,” said Tom Jones of the West Ward project. “The things that we find in Easton are the same things that we find in Germantown.”

Both communities are old but well built, Jones said, so why not share resources. His project is funded by a five-year grant from Wachovia Bank that is meant develop a network of communities doing green, human-centered revitalization. So far the discussions have included parts of Upper Schuylkill County, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Bethlehem, and East Falls and Germantown in Philadelphia.

Jones called the meeting at the Germantown Town Hall, “the beginning of a formal discussion to try to find a mutual path.”

David Breiner agreed, calling the meeting “a project in its inception.”

If it all works out, the Philadelphia University Architecture program will design Town Hall’s renovation to preserve the historic integrity of the building while also making it a “green” building in the process. In addition, Jones hoped the project would encourage a green streets initiative in the area. 

But there are practical concerns as well. Since the building, which was built in 1923, is on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places any renovation must meet with that body’s approval. And since it was always a public building and the massive marble rotunda (which sits below a bell cast in the same foundry as the Liberty Bell) houses two World War I monuments, that area must remain open to the public no matter who winds up taking it over, according to Gabor.

In the end, anything at Town Hall depends, as Gabor said, on figuring the numbers out. Inside now, the building is strewn with debris, pigeons have found their way in through broken windows, paint and plaster is peeling off the walls and ceilings in large sheets and old roof leaks show years of damage in some areas.

Earlier estimates to remodel the building have floated between $10 and 15 million. Churchville said he was pursuing a mixture of public and private investors for the project as well as the possible use of historic tax credits. He also hoped the city, which must approve any sale by City Council resolution, would consider donating the building to the right cause.

“I’m crazy enough to believe that if we can get enough support from the community, then we can get the city to give it to us,” he said.

Germantown Community Connection

A documentary film series on Philadelphia history will be aired in Germantown on Thursday, September 24 at 7 p.m. and a “Conversational Tea” to share the vision for our community is on Saturday, October 24 from 2-5 p.m. Both events are free to the community and will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, 35 West Chelten Avenue.

The documentary film covers Philadelphia history from 1864, the year before the end of the Civil War, to 1876, just before the opening of the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The documentary film series includes a webisode on Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession in Philadelphia. Lincoln visited Philadelphia more than any other city during his presidency. Lincoln lay in state for two days beneath the statue of George Washington. His funeral procession drew more than 300,000 people.

A young African American woman, Emilie Davis, joined the throngs that came to pay their respects. In her diary, she wrote: “It was the grandest funeral I ever saw. The coffin and hearse was beautiful.”

The documentary focuses on people, places and events in Philadelphia history such as volunteer fire fighters, baseball, the influence of railroads, the Sanitary Fair, the civil-rights movement Fairmount Park, dance theater, and major signature buildings.

Sam Katz, a Philadelphia businessman, and Mark Moskowitz are the executive producers of the webisodes and documentary film series. Over the summer, screenings of the pilot and webisodes have been held at churches, schools, museums, and historical societies.

The second event is the Germantown Community Connection’s “Conversational Tea,”  designed to provide the community opportunity to meet and interact with local, state and national leaders to raise awareness, share concerns, questions and suggestions, strengthen ties and forge new relationships.

The Germantown Community Connection is making a concerted effort to make sure all voices are being heard and that empowerment is understood as a joint process of working together in an inclusive and cooperative spirit. Germantown is a community rich in history, diversity, historical sites and amenities such as housing choice, transit access, schools and commercial corridors.

The “Conversational Tea” is an important opportunity for all of us to come together to talk, share, hear, share our visions and get to know each other. It is a time for neighborhood organizations, businesses, schools, elected officials and others who care about promoting a higher quality of life for all to convene to ensure that  Germantown is a stronger and more dynamic community because we work together to make it a place to interact, live, work and play.

The Conversational Tea is Saturday, October 24   which is a very important date; it is the Founding Anniversary of Germantown (24 October 1683).

You will not want to miss these two events. Save the dates on your calendar.

For more information contact Betty Turner at 215-843-1457, e-mail

Two Artists Display at Mt. Airy Gallery

Mount Airy Contemporary Artists Space, 25 West Mt. Airy Avenue, is pleased to present “Two Together,” an exhibition of the works of Craig Kane and Timon Meyer, opening September 4. The exhibit will run through October 16. The opening reception is First Friday, September 4, 6 to 9 p.m.

The gallery is open Saturdays from 12-4 p.m. and by appointment.

Craig Kane’s thoughtfully playful small scale sculptures and installations leave one with the feeling that something very personal and lighthearted is unfolding for the viewer. Tiny narrative vignettes assembled from improvised materials draw directly from Kane’s relationships, personal history and the history of his own art practice. What comes together forms a story, a dialogue between Kane’s art and his own life.

Timon Meyer’s work - in which digital stills of daytime television shows and personal imagery culled from the internet are manipulated in subtle and not so subtle ways - conflates mythological fantasy with contemporary culture. Minotaurs, centaurs and suggestions of mythological beings exist in our every day world. The images themselves are both straightforward and unsettling, since whose mythology we’re seeing seems to shift. Mount Airy Contemporary Artists Space is an artist-run exhibition space. We mount shows that emphasize connections between art communities and networks among artists. Andrea and Colin Keefe co-direct the space, and are both visual artists.

For more information call 215-764-5621 or visit

Craft Show Added to Cliveden Re-enactment

To complement its annual Battle of Germantown reenactment, Cliveden of the National Trust will add a small traditional American craft show to the festival schedule on Oct. 3.  Taking place in Cliveden’s historic Carriage House, the one-day craft show will feature traditional American Craft Artists working in a variety of media.

Crafts to be featured in the show include: Lazy Spoons by Jonathan Spoons, Heritage Dolls by Doris McGillan, traditional redware by Selinda Kennedy, and local crafts from Dona Dalton. 

Cliveden is currently seeking a few more highly talented craft artisans to participate in this inaugural event.  All craft artists will be featured in a Battle Program Guide that will also include the history of Cliveden and the Battle of Germantown. This event has become one of the major community festivals in Philadelphia’s Northwest and typically draws between 4,000 and 5,000 spectators and nearly 300 reenactors.  Each year fully costumed reenacators, led by George Washington, march up Germantown Avenue to engage the British on the grounds of Cliveden. 

If you are interested in participating in the traditional American Craft show, contact Cliveden by emailing  Include a photo of your product in the email.  A few spots remain.

OARC Partners with NW CDCs

Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation (OARC) has been accepted into the City of Philadelphia’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program as a qualified developer.  OARC, a community development corporation (CDC) with more than 20 years experience in housing development, will work in partnership with other CDCs located in Northwest Philadelphia to implement a comprehensive housing rehabilitation program that will greatly decrease the number of scattered site vacancies throughout their neighborhoods.  

The City of Philadelphia’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) received $16.8 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to support the acquisition, rehabilitation and reselling of vacant, foreclosed properties to low-moderate-middle income households with the funds received.  OARC’s role will be that of lead developer in the Northwest area providing administrative, technical and financial support for the project.  The organization has partnered with four other community development corporations - Nicetown CDC, Logan CDC, Mt. Airy Revitalization Corporation and G’Town Restoration CDC  - to address the vacancy and foreclosure problems in their areas.  The neighborhoods served by these CDCs (West Oak Lane, Nicetown/Tioga, Germantown, Logan and East Mt. Airy) have some of the highest rates of foreclosures, sub-prime loans and mortgage delinquencies in the Northwest area of Philadelphia.

Each CDC will be responsible for identifying and selecting available vacant properties that are eligible under NSP in their respective neighborhoods.  Throughout the renovation process, OARC and its co-developers will make energy conservation a priority to the greatest extent possible, using CFL bulbs, water-saving devices, insulating houses where possible, providing white roof coatings to help extend the life of the roofs, and replacing inefficient heaters that are 10 years old or greater.  Once completed, the homes will be made available to homebuyers on a first come, first served basis.  Prospective homebuyers will then be required to participate in and complete pre-purchase housing counseling provided by OARC’s West Oak Lane CDC as part of the qualification process. With the assistance of the NSP, OARC and the Co-Developers will help to alleviate the problems of vacancies and foreclosures in Northwest Philadelphia while stimulating job creation within the construction industry.

To find out more about OARC, visit

‘Launch Event’ at DePaul House

Please come to the Launch Event of Depaul House, the first initiative of Depaul USA, a subsidiary of Depaul International, on September 16 at 3 p.m.

Depaul House, 5725 Sprague Street in Germantown, provides a home for twenty-five men who are experiencing homelessness. Residents receive basic services and supports to increase functioning, initiate financial stability and strengthen their ability to move to appropriate housing of their own. Depaul is committed to the provision of intensive on-site case management as well as critically important supportive services that assist residents in overcoming barriers to stability and self-sufficiency. Everyone is guided by our belief: “Everyone should have a place to call home and a stake in their community.” Contact Eileen Smith at 215-438-1955 for more information.

CIP Recognized for Health Program

Center in the Park, the senior community center located in Vernon Park in Germantown, is recognized nationally for its award winning evidence-based health promotion programs, including In Touch, Mind Body & Spirit; and the Harvest Health Chronic Disease Self-Management Program.

In the summer, 2009 edition of Innovations, published by the National Council on Aging, in an article entitled,   “Improving Care, Improving Lives – NCOA Gives Voice to Americans with Chronic Conditions” – CIP’s chronic disease self-management program (CDSMP), Harvest Health, is recognized as having “proven effective in giving people the tools they need to manage their own health.”  According to Delores Palmer, RN, one of CIP’s In Touch program coordinators, “Our participants have experienced immediate gratification – they are exercising more, drinking more water, and feeling better all over.” 

Following a five year research project funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging, in which CIP partnered with the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, Thomas Jefferson University’s Center for Applied Research on Aging and Health (CARAH) and the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, to prove the benefits of the Stanford University developed CDSMP for African American community-living elders, CIP is licensed to deliver and offer the program for older adults, aged 55+, with chronic conditions.  For information or to participate, please contact Delores Palmer at Center in the Park, 215-849-5100.  An entire copy of the Innovations article is available on the Center’s website at

GGBA to Discuss Town Hall, Other Issues

The Greater Germantown Business Association will hold its first fall meeting on Sept.8, 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 35 West Chelten Avenue. The agenda will feature activity updates related to the new GGBA website, the Town Hall Project and its impact on sustainable business development in Germantown, how the new Business Internship Program for students at Mastery Charter Schools-Pickett Campus will help our businesses grow, Germantown Avenue reconstruction issues, and planning for dealing with coming utility rate hikes. There will be a special leadership training presentation geared to help our businesses develop tools to survive in tough times. The latest issue of GGBA’s quarterly newsletter will also be distributed.  Contact John Elliott Churchville, interim president, Greater Germantown Business Association, 215-848-8511, e-mail, or visit

How to Reach Your Representatives

Below are the names, addresses and contact information for elected representatives at the city, state and federal levels serving Germantown and Mt. Airy.

City Council

8th District: City Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller. Office: City Hall, Room 312, Philadelphia, PA 19107, phone 215-686-3424 or 215-686-3425, fax 215-686-1937; home page

Pennsylvania House of Representatives

198th Legislative District: Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood, 5520 Wayne Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19144, phone 215-849-6426, fax 215-849-5476; Home Page:

200th Legislative District: Rep. Cherelle L. Parker. District office: 1536 East Wadsworth Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19150, phone 215-242-7300, fax 215-242-7303; home page

201st Legislative District: Rep. John Myers. District office: 5847 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19144, phone 215-849-6896, fax 215-560-1824. Home page:

198th Legislative District: Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood, 5520 Wayne Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19144, phone 215-849-6426, fax 215-849-5476; Home Page:

Pennsylvania State Senate

3rd Senatorial District: Senator Shirley Kitchen. District office: 1701 West Lehigh Avenue, Suite 104, Philadelphia PA 19132, phone 215-227-6161; home page

4th Senatorial District: Senator LeAnna Washington. District office: 1555-A Wadsworth Avenue,  Philadelphia, PA 19150, phone 215-242-0472, fax 215-753-4538; home page

U. S. House of Representatives

2nd District: Congressman Chaka Fattah. District offices: 4104 Walnut Street, Philadelphia PA 19104, phone 215-387-6404; 6632 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19119, phone 215-848-9386; home page

Youngblood Has New Office

State Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood (D., 198th) has announced that her temporary constituent service office located at 5520 Wayne Avenue is now open.

Youngblood said the phone number for her constituent service office will remain the same, 215-849-6426.

In July, Youngblood was forced to close her former constituent service office located at 5736 Greene Street due to water damage.

Youngblood said she continues to look for a permanent new office and will notify the public when one has been found.

Meetings on Liquor Store Move, Northwest Human Services

State Rep John Myers will host two important  community meetings next week.

On Tuesday, Sept. 8, at 7:00 p.m., there will be a meeting at the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, 35 West Chelten Avenue.  This meeting will be the third and final meeting with representatives from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to discuss PLCB’s desire to relocate the Wine and Spirit Store to the DeBeary Square located at east Chelten Ave.

On Thursday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m., there will be a meeting at Impacting Your World Church, Germantown Ave and Schoolhouse Lane.  This meeting is being held to discuss and address community concern over the Northwest Human Services program relocation to the unit block of E. Armat Street.  Representatives from NHS are expected to attend and address the community members concerns.

For more information please contact Stephen Kinsey, Myers’ chief of staff, at 215-849-6592.

Zoning Hearings Next Week

The following hearings will be held at the Zoning Board of Adjustments, 1515 Arch Street, on the 18th floor. All information is according to the Community Alerting Service of the Housing Association of Delaware Valley.

Tuesday, September 8, at 9:30 a.m.  A use variance request for 146 West Walnut Lane. The property is zoned R-3 residential. Requesting a permit for the legalization of 10 parking spaces including 2 handicapped spaces, and for the erection of a single faces, non-illuminated, flat wall sign to an existing school.

Wednesday, September 9, at 2 p.m.  A special permit request for 862 Church Lane. The property is zoned RC-3 residential. Requesting a permit for the erection of a 10’ x 20’ steel equipment platform greater than 12’ above the roofline, with 6 equipment cabinets and 9 panel antennas mounted to the platform and roof of the facility.

Wednesday, September 9, at 4 p.m.  A use variance request for 355 East Price Street. Currently zoned L-4 L/M. Requesting a permit for an auto repair shop including state inspection, oil changes, tire changes and sale of auto parts.

Bread and Cup Begins New Season

The Bread and Cup Multicultural Coffeehouse begins its seventh season at the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown this Sunday, September 6 from 7-9 p.m.  Bread and Cup was envisioned as a venue to bring together a diverse, intergenerational audience by showcasing a broad range of visual and performing artists.

It opened in February, 2003 with the late jazz icon Rufus Harley featured on the bagpipes, with an urban poet and a classical pianist and flutist duo sharing the bill.  Since then, Bread and Cup has featured Latin, African, and tap dancers, gospel and folk singers, and poets and spoken word artists, among others.  In celebration of the new season, all headliners from the past seasons are invited to come this Sunday for a reunion to offer their signature song or poem as entertainment.

Admission and refreshments are free, with donations gratefully received.  The church is located at 35 West Chelten Avenue, convenient to public transportation, with off-street parking available.  For more information call Kevin Porter at 215-518-1675.

Calvary Celebrates 150th Year

Calvary Episcopal Church, Germantown, Manheim Street and Pulaski Avenue, continues to celebrate its 150th anniversary by hosting the following services and events that the community is cordially invited to attend.

On Sunday, October 4, the Church will have its regular 10 a.m. Worship Service of Holy Eucharist and sermon. At 3 p.m., Dr. Jay Fluellen, organist and choir director, and the Choir of the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas will present a choir concert. This is a free-will offering with refreshments to follow.

On Friday, October 23, Calvary will be celebrating 150 years of God’s faithfulness at a celebration banquet at 7:30 p.m. in the Church Parish House. The contribution is $75 per person. RSVP by September 28. Return contributions to Calvary Church, Germantown, 5020 Pulaski Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, 19144.

As part of the anniversary celebration, the Church will hold Holy Communion and Homecoming on Sunday, October 25, at 3 p.m. (one service only today). The speaker will be Katrina Brown, who will lecture concerning “Traces of the Trade.” A reception will follow in the Parish House.

Calvary Church welcomes and invites everyone to attend its regular Sunday worship services with Holy Eucharist and sermon at 10 a.m. The Reverend Dr. Lula Grace Smart presides. The church is handicapped-accessible.

For more information call 215-843-0853.

Back to School at Janes

Janes Memorial United Methodist Church, 47 East Haines Street, will present its fourth annual “Start Smart Back 2 School” event on Saturday, September 12, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the church. This year’s event features books bags filled with school supplies, entertainment by Philadelphia youth poets and Janes Anointed Hands, a career roundtable for students in grades 7-12, arts and crafts projects for students in grades K-6, lunch and refreshments, workshops for parents, and PHEAA workshops for college applicants. This is a free event. For information call 215-844-9564.

Fashion Show at GCom

The Presbyterian Women of Germantown Community Presbyterian Church will sponsor “New Hattitude Fashion Show and Luncheon” at the church, 6141 Greene Street,  on Saturday, September 12,  at 1 p.m. Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase their favorite chapeau from the various vendors showcasing sophisticated attention-getting millinery. Stylish men’s haberdashery will also be featured and available for purchase. The donation for the event is $20. Proceeds will support missions of Presbyterian Women locally, nationally and internationally. For ticket information call Maureen Prillerman at 215-848-8176.

LTSP Celebrates Plaza  and Marker Dedication

The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) will celebrate its connection to the community and its history with the dedication of the new William Allen Plaza and Historical Marker on Saturday, September 26. The Plaza and Historical Marker are highlights of the new public space connecting the LTSP campus at 7301 Germantown Avenue with the heart of the Mt. Airy business district.

Honoring colonial Philadelphian William Allen, the dedication starts at 12:30 pm, and will include remarks by community and Pennsylvania dignitaries, colonial dances and music by the Germantown Country Dancers, unveiling of the William Allen Historical Marker, and an appearance by William Allen interpreter Robert Gleason, from Historic Philadelphia, Inc.

Following the dedication, visitors are invited to hear the lecture “William Allen: The Squire of Mount Airy,” presented by writer and historian Frank Whelan. The dedication and William Allen lecture are free and open to the public. More information is online at

Community Day is part of the larger Community and Congregation Day, which invites members of the community and congregations to a day of learning and celebration. Lectures and workshops in the morning and afternoon will focus on the relationships between congregations, non-profit organizations, and individuals to build community, just as William Allen did in 1700 colonial Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. More details and registration are online at

LTSP (, one of eight schools of its kind in the 5-million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (, is committed to preparing ordained and lay ministers of the Word as leaders for the mission of the Church in the world. LTSP awards first professional and advanced-level degrees to present and future church leaders. Almost 500 students study at the seminary. The student body is comprised mostly of Lutherans, but more than 35 percent are from 16 other faith backgrounds, including Episcopalian, Baptist, Presbyterian, United Methodist, United Church of Christ, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Church of God in Christ.

UU Begins ‘Toolbox of Faith’ Program

The Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration, 6900 Stenton Avenue, is inviting local youth ages 7-13 to participate in its program of Religious Education, which this year follows the theme and curriculum “Toolbox of Faith.” This 16-session series invites participants to reflect on universal religious values such as integrity, courage and love as tools they can use in living their lives and building their own spiritual journeys. Each of the 16 sessions uses a tool as a metaphor for an important quality of faith such as reflection (symbolized by a mirror), flexibility (duct tape), and justice (a flashlight).

“This curriculum was developed with Unitarian Universalists in mind, but we are inviting parents of any faith, or none at all, to enroll their children. We understand that there is a large segment of the population uncomfortable with the traditional ‘Sunday School’ setting, and the ‘Toolbox of Faith’ curriculum is perfect for those people,” says Eric Wilden, UUCR’s Religious Educator. “This class is perfect for children whose parents want them to learn about basic community values, without any dogma.”

The opening of this year’s Religious Education program at UUCR to the broader community is part of the church’s efforts to reach out to its neighbors, many of whom may be seeking a spiritual home. Unitarian Universalism has no creed or doctrinal tests and welcomes one and all.

Sunday, September 13 marks the congregation’s first service of the new church year, and the Religious Education program invites families to attend that day to learn more about the program. Services start at 11 a.m., with a coffee hour immediately afterward.

For more information about the “Toolbox of Faith” program call Eric Wilden at 484-553-6631, or email

September Events at Germantown Jewish Centre

September events at the Germantown Jewish Centre (GJC), 400 West Ellet Street, include: People of the Book, Sept. 8, 7:15 p.m. GJC’s book group meets monthly at Border’s in Chestnut Hill.  The group reads fiction and nonfiction books of Jewish interest written mostly, by Jewish writers and chosen by the group. Volunteer group members lead the discussion.  There is no charge.  This month’s selection is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. 

Tot Shabbat and Potluck, Sept. 11 at 6 p.m. Welcome Shabbat with a celebration geared towards infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers and their families, followed by a potluck Shabbat dinner.  We invite each family to bring a pareve or dairy dish or $10 per family for pizza (payment arrangements must be made in advance).  Advanced RSVP is appreciated.  The program meets once a month. 

Selichot Program, “The Gates are Closing” a dramatic reading of Merle Feld’s play, on Sept. 12 at 9:30 p.m. Join us for Havdallah and refreshments, followed by the play, discussion and service beginning at 10 p.m.

The Ken Ulansey Trio will be featured at GJC’s Women’s and Men’s Club Brunch on Sept. 13 at 10 a.m. There is no charge for GJC Women’s and Men’s Club Members, $35 for guests.  Reservations are needed by Sept. 8. 

For more information e-mail or call 215-844-1507, Ext 19.

GFS to Dedicate Energy-Saving Science Center

When Germantown Friends School dedicates its new Sustainable Urban Science Center on September 12, its high school students will be able to save energy – and see just how much – even as they work in spacious classrooms and labs.

The new Center will have a “dashboard” display, linked to a system of sensors, to show water and power usage instantaneously. And the building’s modest use of energy may make it the greenest in the area. Environmentally friendly elements include ground-coupled heating and cooling, a green roof with rain-absorbing plants, a series of rain gardens with native plants, cisterns to collect rain water for re-use within the building, solar panels, and sustainable materials.

Head of School Richard L. Wade hailed the Center as “both a model for environmental sustainability for our city and region, as well as a powerful teaching tool for our students and faculty.”

Students in grades 9 through 12 will make full use of two biology labs, two chemistry labs, and two physics labs along with multiple resource rooms for research projects and collaborations.

The number of upper school students taking science courses at GFS has grown dramatically in the last ten years, outpacing the capabilities of previous classroom and laboratory space. The new Center will accommodate this growth in enrollment, and will allow for more collaborative teaching and learning opportunities.

Gen Nelson, chair of the science department and Pennsylvania Biology Teacher of the Year in 2006, stated, “Only at a school like GFS could such a synergy of the Quaker principle of stewardship, environmental science and pedagogy be possible.”

SMP Architects, who worked closely with science faculty, GFS students in environmental action clubs as well as with board members, are leaders in sustainable design. The 16,000 sq. ft. facility will receive LEED Certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Wissahickon Dance Academy Offers Wide Selection of Classes

Nancy Malmed, artistic director of Wissahickon Dance Academy (WDA), announces fall registration for classes in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, modern and yoga for students ages 3 through adult.   Registration will take place at the studio, 38 East School House Lane, on Sept.10 from 4 - 7 p.m.  For those interested in enrolling and who cannot attend on Sept. 10, WDA is accepting registrations by mail and via the internet at Classes begin Sept. 12.

The school has an exceptional faculty with experienced teachers who have spent many years dancing professionally. The classes are run in a disciplined environment that both inspires and nurtures.  

Master teachers Viktor Yeliohin and Elena Tiuriakulova are the mainstays of the ballet faculty.  Viktor was former soloist with the Donetsk Ballet of Ukraine, and annually stages the Nutcracker for WDA’s non-profit affiliate, International Ballet Exchange.  Elena was principal dancer from Krygyztan Opera and Ballet, having received her training from the Kirov Academy in St. Petersburg Russia, the world’s finest ballet school. Artistic Director Nancy Malmed, has danced professionally with Contemporary Dance Theater and LaSalle Music Theater. She has been teaching the Vaganova method of classical ballet for over 25 years. She annually stages a story ballet for the entire ballet division of the school. 

Pre-ballet will be taught by Cara King, graduate of Hope College with a BA in dance, with many years experience teaching young children. New to the faculty this year in pre-ballet is Eleanor Goudie-Averill.  a 2007 MFA Dance Performance graduate of the University of Iowa, who currently dances for Group Motion Dance Company.

Tap is taught by Corinne Karon, a graduate of University of the Arts.  Corinne dances professionally with Tap Team II and has been on faculty for 10 years.  Jazz is taught by Idrisa Abdul-Hamid.  Idrisa has been on faculty for 12 years.  She inspires us every year with her creative choreography. 

Jamie Laughlin teaches modern and hip hop.  Jamie had his start as a student at WDA and has since gone on to dance professionally with LEJA Dance Theater, ELEONE Dance Theater and several other companies.  He is currently pursuing a BFA in Dance from Temple University. 

Rounding out the faculty is David Dorsaima, who will be teaching hip hop to our teens.  David dances with Chosen Dance Company.  His classes are extremely popular.

WDA was voted “Best of the Northwest” as best dance school on several occasions by the Mt. Airy Times and Germantown Courier.  For further information about the school, call for information at 215-849-7950 or visit

Waterview Kids’ Farm Market

Among those taking part in the activities were (left to right) Qwinton Marshall, Marilyn Cutts, Marcella Tate, Tyril Taylor, Jhayden Gunter, Waterview Supervisor Beverly Rolfsmeyer, Katrina Andrews, Quadir Stewart, and Shaliah Johnson.

Waterview Recreation Center’s Summer Camp kids got a taste of entrepreneurship on Monday, August 24, when they set up a Farmer’s Market on Chelten Avenue at the corner of McMahon St.  At the beginning of the summer, they planted tomatoes and herbs as well as a variety of flowers in Waterview’s Children’s Garden.  Now in their final week of camp, the young people reaped the benefits of their hard work.  With the help of long-time resident Quinton Marshall in the Bakery Department, they also sold cupcakes, brownies and homemade cookies.  The year-long educational gardening program for after-school is overseen by Jackie Simon and  Heather Zimmerman of Penn State Co-operative Extension.

Free Computer Training at MACCC

Join United Way’s 2009 Day of Caring with Vanguard for free computer training at the Mt. Airy Community Computer Center (MACCC). Training will take place between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 12.

Volunteers will train students on the computers, and there will be a drawing for a free computer and the pieces that go with it. Light refreshments will be provided; if you plan to stay for the day, please bring your lunch. Come learn how to do what you can’t do right now.

The MACCC/Mt. Airy Learning Tree computer center is located at Blair Christian Academy, 220 West Upsal Street. RSVP to Mt. Airy Learning Tree by Friday, Sept. 11; call 215-843-6333.

Back to the Germantown Newspapers Home Page


From the Chronicle • Germantown News Stories

September 3, 2009

Neighbors Call for Changes at Washington Lane Station

Local Company Helps NW Philly Clean Plate

Weird Waste Day on Sept. 26

Northwest Performers Explore Arts ‘Fringe’ at 2009 Festival

Special Dinners Celebrate Umbria’s 20th

Town Hall Gets a Look for Possible Redevelopment

Germantown Community Connection

Two Artists Display at Mt. Airy Gallery

Craft Show Added to Cliveden


OARC Partners with NW CDCs

‘Launch Event’ at DePaul House

CIP Recognized for Health Program

GGBA to Discuss Town Hall, Other Issues

How to Reach Your Representatives

Youngblood Has New Office

Meetings on Liquor Store Move, Northwest Human Services

Zoning Hearings Next Week

Bread and Cup Begins New Season

Calvary Celebrates 150th Year

Back to School at Janes

Fashion Show at GCom

LTSP Celebrates Plaza  and Marker Dedication

UUBegins ‘Toolbox of Faith’ Program

September Events at Germantown Jewish Centre

GFS to Dedicate Energy-Saving Science Center

Wissahickon Dance Academy Offers Wide Selection of Classes

Waterview Kids’ Farm Market

Free Computer Training at MACCC