Germantown: And they’re off – more than 100 runners dashed down trails in Fairmount Park on a damp Saturday morning, September 12, competing in Historic RittenhouseTown’s annual 5K Paper Mill Run. Winners in all divisions included: overall first male, Stuart Calderwood; overall first female: Emily Ellithorpe-Like; 18 and under male, Marcus Bonaparte; 18 and under female, Carey Groves; 19 to 29 male, Brendan Walsh; 19 to 29 female, Kimberly Maxwell; 30 to 39 male, Chris Linn; 30 to 39  female, Jennifer Snyder; 40 to 49 male, Martin Mastascusa; 40 to 49 female, Susan Cousins; 50 to 59 male, Shahir Kassam-Adams; 50 to 59 female, Christin Crooke; 60+ male, Steve Rook; 60+ female, Anne Bacon.

Residents Not Pleased About Proposed Liquor Store Move

Community members and representatives of several Germantown organizations attended a meeting to discussed the proposed move of the state Wine and Spirits shop from 135 West Chelten Avenue to DeBeary Square. Opinions were strong among community members but members of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board emphasized openness to all suggestions. Here Dennis Hardy, the PLCB regional manager, addresses the gathering.


Staff Writer

Representatives of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) and State Representative John Myers’ (D, 201st) office held what they hoped would be the third and final meeting to discuss a proposed four-block move of the Wine and Spirits Shop from 135 West Chelten Avenue to DeBeary Square on East Chelten Avenue. But most in attendance at the meeting, held Tuesday, September 8 at the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, 35 West Chelten Avenue,  seemed to have other ideas in mind.

“The availability of alcohol and drugs in poor black communities is an issue for policy makers,” said Germantown resident and co-founder of Germantown Community Connection, Betty Turner. “What I am against is what [the new location] will do to the community at this present time.”

PLCB Real Estate Manager Henry Blocker Jr. explained that there was no desire to force the move on the community. It was simply part of a new effort to upgrade the shopping experience for customers by creating more modernized facilities with a more sophisticated selection of products, he said. And on top of that, the store that Wine and Spirits has been at for 60 years is just too run-down to provide good service.

“It’s old. It’s dilapidated,” Blocker said.

Dennis Hardy, the PLCB regional manager, called the facility “outdated” and said, “we really need a better location.”

Blocker added that the proposed new location was the best option he had been able to come up with after years of searching. Still, most in the meeting expressed dissatisfaction with the proposed site. Some found it difficult to imagine any improvement to the community because of it. 

“I cannot see a Wine and Spirits store in that area bringing in a higher clientele,” said Rose Pruit.

And the Reverends Chester Williams and LeRoi Simmons both complained that they have seen obvious alcoholics use the existing Chelten Avenue store and suggested that a new, larger facility might make the problem worse.

Blocker and Hardy stressed that such problems should be reported to the PLCB. The mandate is to be “responsible” with the liquor, Blocker said, and his agency takes that seriously.

“We do not like serving to minors. We do not like serving to alcoholics,” he said.

Williams thought the store, if it had to go anywhere, should go into a new, high-visibility shopping plaza like the Shoppes at La Salle, where a greater police presence and more public scrutiny in general might tend to dampen loitering and nearby public drinking. Blocker said he already tried the new plaza but liquor stores were prohibited there. He hoped the relocation would achieve a similar kind of goal wherever the store finally landed, and he was eager for direct public feedback on how best to do that.

“This is probably the tenth attempt to find a suitable location in this area,” Blocker said. “Where would the community like to see it? I need this kind of feedback. I’m not here to try to sell you on a location.”

For some, like Turner, there didn’t seem many selling points at all to the current proposal, especially its close proximity to the historic men’s shelter Whosoever Gospel Mission, which routinely deals with substance abuse and recovery issues.

“You talk about 60 years,” Turner said. “Right next door to where you want to open is the Whosoever Gospel Mission that has been in business since 1893. Why are you going to put the temptation right next door to a proven entity?”

Blocker emphasized that the PLCB did not want to be part of the problem, and that it was open to community input on all aspects of the situation, including closing up shop on Chelten.

“We want to work with the community,” he said. “We don’t want to supersede the community.”

Along those lines, Stephen Kinsey, the chief of staff for Representative Myers, said his boss would write a letter of support on the subject for whatever seemed to be the prevalent position for community members. To help figure out just what that position might be, he planned to formally survey the several community groups represented at the meeting and make that information public in the next few weeks.

Co-victims Support

The Vincent Woodson Community Outreach Foundation is holding a series of bereavement support group meetings for co-victims of murder and those who have lost a loved one. All are welcome. No one will be turned away.

The meetings will take place Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. on September 19, October 10 and 24, November 14, and December 5 and 19 in the Stokes Lounge at Germantown Friends School, 31 West Coulter Street. Enter between the stone pillars on Coulter Street.

For more information call Fay Dawson at 215-200-8453.

St. Martin de Porres is Now St. Vincent de Paul

Among those taking part in the renaming ceremony were (left to right) Kevin Dolan; Steve Janewski; student Naeem Akano; Sister Cheryl Hillig; Father Eugene Sheridan; Father Richard Rock; Mary Rochford, Superintendent of Schools, Archdiocese of Philadelphia; students Destiny Saunders; Patrick McKenzie and John Figge. chairperson of DePaul Catholic School Advisory Board.


Editorial Staff Intern

De Paul Catholic School (formerly St. Martin de Porres Interparochial School), 44 West Logan Street, celebrated its Renaming Ceremony on Friday. September 11.

The ceremony opened with a prayer for all those who died on Sept. 11, 2001. Father Eugene Sheridan, CM, from St. Francis recalled how eight years ago in Brooklyn, one parent walked 57 flights of stairs in the burning Twin Towers, covered with dust and exhausted, to take their child home.  He stated that the number one concern of the staff is for safety and security of the children who learn in an environment filled with peace and love.

St. Martin de Porres was created in 1985 after the consolidation of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Vincent de Paul parishes in Germantown.

Despite declining enrollment in other Catholic schools, DePaul’s enrollment continues to increase steadily. The ceremony welcomed some 100 new students from the recently closed Our Lady of Hope and St. Benedict Catholic Schools.

The Vincentian tradition is to serve Christ in one another: the poor, sick, mentally and physically challenged, and the elderly, said Sheridan. “We earn for our selves what we learn to give,” he said.

The original school was established in 1899, by the Sisters of St. Joseph according to Father Richard Rock, CM, from St. Vincent de Paul Church.  For decades the school has tried to integrate academics, prayer and service, he said.

The school has changed its name to commemorate their St. Vincent de Paul-inspired Service-Learning Program, which is built on the Vincentian tradition to serve one another, said Sister Cheryl Ann Hillig, principal of DePaul Catholic School.

The new academic program features an educational after-school program for every student, two small classes for no more than 25 students for each grade, two full-time reading specialists and a full-time math specialist, full-time teacher’s assistants in kindergarten and 1st grade, full-time Spanish, technology, music and art teachers, a full-time guidance counselor and a full-time campus minister to coordinate the innovative Service-Learning program, according to Sister Hillig. 

DePaul  has doubled its enrollment over the last five years according to Sister  Hillig. The elementary school’s enrollment for the 2009-2010 school year is about 350 students, an increase of over 46 percent from last year.

Destiny Saunders, a seventh grader, who recently transferred from a charter school, said, “I want to use the knowledge I gain at DePaul to further my education.”

Naeem Akano, a eighth-grader who has attended DePaul since kindergarten, said he is looking forward to showing the new students the school he has come to love.

“DePaul will continue to uphold the same spiritual and academically motivating environment,” said John Figge, chairperson of DePaul Catholic School Advisory Board.

“My hope is that students will use this opportunity to utilize the resources at DePaul to learn and grow in this community.”

“If I had to rank the top ten schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia ,without a doubt DePaul Catholic School would be in  that top ten,” said Mary E. Rochford, superintendent of schools, Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Rochford asked the students to remember the words of St. Vincent De Paul in their everyday lives: “Make it a practice to judge persons and things in the most favorable light at all times and under all circumstances.” 

After School at FUMCOG

The After School Program for Germantown High School students at First United Methodist Church of Germantown (FUMCOG) will start Tuesday, September 29 for 9th grade students and Monday, October 5 for 10th, 11th and 12th grade students. The program is held at the church, 6001 Germantown Avenue, across the street from the school. The program is free to Germantown High students.

The daily program runs from 3:05-6 p.m. and is free. Programming includes a healthy snack followed by two hours of tutoring, learning sessions and homework help. Every student has a computer applications class and access to the internet for study and research. A recreation program is available from 5:30-6 p.m. Students receive structured tutoring at all levels in math and English. Help is available in history, science, Spanish and French.

Enrichment activities during the school year include: a Living History project at historic Wyck in Germantown; a stained glass arts project; attendance at theater, music and dance performances; eating out at restaurants; career training; acting and drama classes; and SAT and ACT preparation. A Tuesday night program for 12 graders includes cooking and creative thinking as well as help for senior projects. The promotion rate for students who attend this program regularly is over 90 percent.. Applications are available at Germantown High and at the church office.

For more information call the after School Program at 215-438-6767.

‘Weird Waste Day’

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 1-4 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 information call 215-242-0777.

Company Pitches Free Solar Panels to Northwest Homeowners


Staff Writer

David Blumenfeld, president of Conshohocken-based Urban Eco Electric, pitched his plan for lower power bills through home installed solar electric systems to the Awbury Arboretum Neighbors Association September 9. Many had questions about the plan, but Gay Johnson (far right) wanted to sign up right away.

On Wednesday, September 9, members of the Awbury Arboretum Neighbors Association learned about something no one is supposed to believe in – a free lunch. Or, more specifically, free rooftop solar panels to run the microwaves that cook their lunches or TV dinners.

“Installation, there’s no charge. The maintenance of the panels, there’s no charge… Nobody writes a check in our situation,” said Urban Eco Electric (UEE) President David Blumenfeld at the community meeting held at the DePaul building at 5725 Sprague Street in Germantown.

Blumenfeld and other representatives from the brand-new Conshohocken start-up were there as part of the company’s swing through the city aimed at convincing 100 homeowners to sign on for the free panels by the end of next month. So far they have 68 takers, and Awbury area resident Gay Johnson was ready to be the next name on that list.

“I just know that my roof is made for that,” she said after the meeting.

Here’s how the deal was outlined. Homeowners like Johnson take a 20-year lease on the UEE photovoltaic panels that will be installed on their roofs. The amount of the lease payment is locked in at the equivalent to their average monthly bill to PECO. The array installed on their houses will be big enough to cover that average usage, but their houses will remain connected to the PECO grid.

If the home’s power usage stays constant the deal means a 20-year rate-lock on a commodity that tends to go up in price. If the usage goes up, the UEE customer will pay the locked-in rate to UEE plus the difference at whatever the PECO rate is at that time – they simply draw the excess current from the grid.

Blumenfeld sees the arrangement as a way for homeowners to freeze the majority, if not all, of their bill at a rate that is likely to be far lower than ten or 20 years in the future. Johnson seemed to agree, plus she liked the other benefits.   

“I like the idea,” she said. “I believe in doing green things.”

UEE seems to be a textbook example of a “green enterprise” such as politicians hoped would crop up from all the federal and state stimulus dollars approved last year. Though Blumenfeld does not come to the project from a “green” (environmental) background, he is open about it. He knows about another kind of green: funding investments through tax credits.

As the manager for Grasso Holdings Acquisitions LLC, the real estate development company that owns the commercial sections of the Packard Building downtown and the developer for several other large projects as far afield as New York City, Blumenfeld is comfortable with the world of public incentives and he sees the current collection of them as a big opportunity.

“Right now this deal works for us because we have the federal tax credits, we have the state rebate, and we don’t think that’s gonna last,” he said. “So we see this as an opportunity to do this right now.”

UEE will claim federal tax credits for each of the solar panels installed on Philadelphia homes. In five years Blumenfeld hopes that will amount to 5000 arrays. UEE can then sell those tax credits to investors, while it will also apply for state cash rebates for each of the panels through the Sunshine Program, funded by the Pennsylvania stimulus bill passed last year. 

In this way the company hopes to subsidize the construction of a photovoltaic infrastructure on the roofs of people’s homes across the city, which will pump green electricity back into the PECO grid when the homes are not using it.

And thanks to the new Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS), which essentially requires local power companies like PECO to accept the power generated by home-based photovoltaic arrays, there is a strong prospect of continued income for UEE.

The federal tax credits, the state rebates and the AEPS income from PECO are all incentives open to individual homeowners, but they would have to first purchase and install a solar electric system. Blumenfeld sees UEE as a no-cost and low risk way for homeowners who might not make such an expensive investment to claim some of the advantages.

To sweeten the deal for early customers UEE is offering power for half price for the next two years – a temporary cut-rate lease payment based on half of what the homeowners normally pay to PECO.

Even with the initial savings, some at the meeting were wary of making a 20-year commitment to their current bills. Still, Johnson was convinced it made sense. There was a problem for her, though. Her house has a pitched roof and UEE is only accepting applications from homes with flat roofs, to keep installations simple.

As Blumenfeld and the others left the meeting she hoped the company would make an exception. After all, her roof faces “due south,” she emphasized – the sunniest part of the sky.

For more information about the program visit or go to Earth Bread + Brewery at 7136 Germantown Avenue on September 23 at 6:30 p.m. for UEE’s “Beers for Bills” promotional event. Company representatives will be there to talk about the opportunity - and if you bring your electric bill they’ll buy you a beer.  

SEPTA Announces Improvements at Wister Station

Left: the platform at Wister Station.

Right: the under-track tunnel that allows access to inbound and outbound trains.


Staff Writer

SEPTA held a special meeting Wednesday, September 9 to give an update on improvements scheduled for the Wister Train Station in Germantown that are set to begin early next year. But even with good news in hand, the public train company had to fight the perception that it has neglected the isolated station, which suffers from low ridership despite being located only a few blocks from La Salle University.

“I’ve got about 4,000 kids in about a five-minute walk of this place. If it were clean, safe and well-lit, they would use it,” said Edward Turzanski, La Salle’s assistant vice president of government and community relations.

Turzanski and Jim Foster, the publisher of this paper, pitched the idea of remaking the station to increase ridership and incorporate La Salle as a community partner. Turzanski stressed the university’s high level of interest in the station, but only if it was brought up to snuff and made clean, safe and inviting.

“The kids call it ‘Scary Station,’” he said. “I want to get rid of that. It’s bad for you, it’s bad for us…I’d like to put this station on my campus map… I’d like to incorporate my shuttle to pick up and drop off here.”

SEPTA’s Senior Director of Capital Construction Bob Lund stressed that the projects outlined for Wister as part of a $2.3 million federal stimulus-funded cleanup of the R7 line would not be significant enough to cover La Salle’s needs, but that they might be the first steps to ongoing capital plans, given strong-enough community input.  

Turzanski reminded him that about five years ago La Salle expressed interest in applying for a $5 million grant with SEPTA for a renovation at Wister, but SEPTA was not interested. 

“We said, ‘look, we can steer the money in this direction, we have the leadership. Are you in a position to take it?’ And for whatever reason the answer was no,” Turzanski recalled. Later he emphasized, “I have to tell you how surprised we were.”

SEPTA’s Chief Financial Officer Rich Burnfield was at that meeting, then as director of capital budgets. SEPTA didn’t actually say “no,” he said in a later interview. There just “wasn’t really any follow-up after that,” from either party.

“That was different,” Burnfield went on. “That was before SEPTA had Act 44 [the Pennsylvania Public Transportation Trust Fund]. At that point in time we didn’t even know how we would get from year to year.”

Lund said SEPTA might be more willing to consider significant projects now.

“SEPTA has a new management from what we had five years ago,” he said. “This may be the time to sit down and revisit this again.”

Thanks to $191 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding over the next two years, SEPTA will have the chance to make good on what even its own executives consider to be overdue basic improvements across much of its infrastructure. Lund said securing that kind of money is itself a strong indication of a more proactive approach at the organization, especially since Joseph Casey took over as General Manager last year and Jeffrey Knueppel became assistant general manager and chief engineer.

Tom Carl, the stimulus projects manager, agreed, saying he’s never seen such energy in all his years on the job with SEPTA. “Thirty years here. I’m not joking, this is a can-do administration,” he said. 

The SEPTA stimulus plan for the R7 sets Wister and Germantown stations apart from the other stations because those two needed more focused attention, Lund said. That assessment came directly from Knueppel when he was putting together the stimulus project proposals.

And while response to community concerns may have been lagging in the past, an August 27 community meeting at the Washington Lane Train station has already resulted in some additions of scope to the stimulus-funded project there, including painting the underside of the trestle over Washington Lane with a more reflective coating to increase pedestrian visibility at night, according to Lund. 

But according to Turzanski and Foster, Wister has some way to go before it can attain even the basic characteristics of clean, safe and inviting. At the moment, the station is almost impossible to see from any nearby roadway and offers no signs to alert potential riders to its whereabouts. Foster and Turzanski wanted to see something done about that.

“If you don’t live here and [didn’t grow] up here you would never find the station,” Foster said.

The stimulus improvements, which should begin early next year, will include painting the under-track tunnel that allows access to inbound and outbound trains, replacing many of the railings on the platforms, landscaping some of the ground leading to the inbound platform, cleaning the small platform building and cutting down the vegetation that completely obscures the station from Belfield Avenue. 

This will help but it won’t be enough to provide the kind of station La Salle University has been after for years. According to Foster the major problem with Wister is that it is almost completely inaccessible by car, and the easiest ways to approach the station tend to bolster the nickname coined by La Salle students.

From Belfield Avenue riders must walk a narrow 200-foot passage lined by cyclone fencing and capped by barbed wire on one side and razor wire on the other. The passage empties into the cave-like opening of the pedestrian tunnel underpass. From the west, because no through street connects to the station, the easiest access point is past a secluded and trash-strewn dead-end at Ashmead Street.

At minimum, Turzanski wanted to see SEPTA widen the long passageway from Belfield into the large PGW parking lot that makes up one of its borders. Foster wanted SEPTA to install automobile access to both sides of the station. One suggestion he made for the inbound side was to extend Rufe Street, an existing roadway that already connects Wister Street to the dead end at Collom Street, so that it will also connect with the dead end at Ashmead. Doing this would provide a strong through-street access point to the station via Wister Street, Foster said, and promote heavier student and community use.

Wister Station was apparently built with Rufe Street access in mind because a set of stairs runs off the end of the inbound platform in that direction. The stairs empty into a wide, trash-filled pathway down to Rufe, but SEPTA’s stimulus plan for Wister includes blocking off the pathway to Rufe as a measure against dumping with removable car barriers. 

To Foster this made no sense.

“The way to improve a station’s usability and visibility is not to make it even less accessible,” he said in a later interview. And he worried that emergency vehicle access to the station would be further curtailed by the blockage.

Still, Tom Carl reiterated that any major capital project at Wister had to start with the stimulus plans.

“It’s possible to get this thing in a presentable fashion,” he said. “Start with that.”

Lund emphasized that more significant future projects were possible at Wister with focused community involvement. Turzanski offered to host a focus group at La Salle and Lund seemed eager for the idea, calling it “a good, appropriate step.” He suggested that workgroup members could share specific desires for the long-term use of the station in the effort to reach a compromise plan.    

“You know we’re going to have everything from the absolute minimum to the Taj Mahal and we’ll find some middle of the road,” Lund said.

Vernon Price, staffer to 8th District City Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller, offered his boss’s full support for revamping the station.

“If we have a coordinated effort with SEPTA… then Councilwoman Miller’s office will do whatever she needs to do to make this happen,” he said.

Lund suggested that City Council could help on a possible easement to expand the station walkup into PGW’s parking lot. He thought it would be a faster way to widen the approach than trying to purchase the land outright.

Foster wanted to see illuminated signs on Belfield Avenue for the station as part of the stimulus project, but Lund doubted that could happen so quickly. While Turzanski doubted La Salle would be able to expand security patrols to include the station right away, he did say the school would expand the scope of its discussions about security if students started using Wister in larger numbers, and it would at minimum send security vehicles to the station with every shuttle visit once that service was set up. 

All agreed to form a workgroup for Wister Station in the coming weeks and Turzanski, for one, left with a more positive outlook.

“This is a very different conversation than the one I had five years ago,” he said.

Afraid of Speaking in Public? Covenant Toastmasters Can Help



Deborah Cureton, the club’s vice president of education, addresses the gathering of about 15 Toastmaster members at Lovett Library.

Peruse almost any list of top 10 fears and you’ll find most people dread public speaking. It often ranks number one on the list. Here in the Northwest, the Covenant Toastmasters Club wants to help change this Perception - one speech at a time.

Founded in 1992, the Covenant Toastmasters is one of more than 12,500 affiliate clubs part of Toastmasters International, a non-profit organization that has worked to teach and tackle talking in front of a live audience since 1924.

“Everybody that comes, comes in with one desire: to hone and polish whatever skills they already have,” explained Rosemary Robinson Jervay, the club’s remaining charter member. “And in about two or three months, I see improvement.”

However, at the club’s most recent meeting September 9 at Lovett Memorial Library, 6945 Germantown Avenue, the skills of more seasoned Toastmasters were on display during two speech contests: the “Humorous Speech” and “Table Topics” competitions.

Following club announcements from the club’s vice president of education, Deborah Cureton, Toastmasters Chyron Hosten and Robert Warrington competed in the Humorous Speech category to represent the 22 members of the Covenant Toastmasters at the contest’s area level, which includes three additional clubs.

Warrington, a club member since 2007, narrowly edged out Hosten with his speech “Dad’s Big Scare,” a cautionary tale about a father who panics because he believes his 18-month-old son is choking, despite the fact the child is crying throughout the episode.

During the Table Topics Contest, participating contestants had to give a two-minute extemporaneous, off-the-cuff speech in response to a previously undisclosed topic. The topic on September 9 asked Toastmasters Tiffaney Dunbar, Cheryl Wallace and Vickie Landers to discuss what line of work they’d choose if they had to take on a second job.

Dunbar, who won the contest, spoke about the second job she already has as a landscaper that she does in addition to being a full-time social worker.

Both contests were judged on a variety of elements, including speech development, body language, voice, and audience response. Topics for the five to seven minute humorous speeches had to be original and pre-approved.

At the meeting’s close, all contest participants returned to the lectern to be introduced to the audience, receive additional applause and a certificate of participation for, as Robinson Jervay put it, “taking a step out of your comfort zone.”

“I would recommend [Toastmasters] to anyone,” said Wallace, who helps produce independent film projects. “Especially for me because I’m constantly dictating instructions and directions to people and the information needs to be clear. Being more projective and clear and feeling more positive about myself as far as speaking to different kinds of people, Toastmasters has helped a lot.”

The Covenant Toastmasters Club meets the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month from 7:30 – 9 p.m. at New Covenant Campus, 7500 Germantown Ave., Founder’s Hall, Room B-11. The next meeting is September 23. For more information visit or call 215-877-651-1092.

Support Group for Co-victims

The Vincent Woodson Community Outreach Foundation is holding a series of bereavement support group meetings for co-victims of murder and those who have lost a loved one. All are welcome. No one will be turned away.

The meetings will take place Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. on September 19, October 10 and 24, November 14, and December 5 and 19 in the Stokes Lounge at Germantown Friends School, 31 West Coulter Street. Enter between the stone pillars on Coulter Street.

For more information call Fay Dawson at 215-200-8453.

Documentary on Philadelphia History

A documentary film series on Philadelphia history will be aired on Thursday, September 24 at 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, 35 West Chelten Avenue. It is free to the community.

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.

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

Tour Tulpehocken Historic District

Meet the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion’s neighbors on Saturday, September 19, 10 a.m. to noon. The Tulpehocken Station Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as one of America’s first railroad suburbs.  Join architect Sandra Radich for an excursion through the neighborhood.  Participants will be introduced to six lovely Victorian mansions with a secret peek inside one stunning home on Greene Street.  The morning will be capped off by a docent-led tour of the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion complete with luscious dessert and lemonade in the Victorian style. 

The Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion is Philadelphia’s only authentically restored Victorian house museum and garden and is the centerpiece of the Tulpehocken Station Historic District.  The tour begins at the Mansion, 200 West Tulpehocken Street, promptly at 10 a.m., rain or shine.  Wear comfortable shoes for this walking tour of the neighborhood.  

The cost is  $20 per person. Children 12 and over are welcome. Reservations are required. Visa and Master Card are accepted. Call Diane at 215-438-1861 for reservations and details.

Northwest Zoning Hearings Next Week

The following hearing will be held next week 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.

Wednesday, September  23, 2 p.m.: 4969 Wakefield Street, two use permits for the relocation of lot lines to create one lot from two lots (existing as one Board of revision of taxes account) to be as follows: building 1 – private penal facility to include 36 residents, staff, staff rooms, kitchen and accessory preparing of food and serving of food; building 2 – accessory to private penal facility.

Tioga Unity Day is September 19

The 2009 Tioga Unity Day will be held Saturday, September 19 at Jerome Brown Playground, 20th and Ontario streets, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Activities will include live entertainment, free giveaways, rides, special treats for seniors, a Gospel Hour of Power, games, free school supplies, an old cell phone collection, a gently-used coat drive, and much more. Parental supervision is requested for all rides for children under age 18.

Special guests include Mayor Nutter, Senator Shirley Kitchen, Councilmembers Greenlee and Miller, and others.

The rain date is Sunday, September 20.

Peace Event

In a War on Terror Peace Event, 23 peace groups will demonstrate from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, September 20 near Senator Arlen Specter’s home on West Schoolhouse Lane (between Henry Avenue and Gypsy Lane). They want Specter to cut off funding for the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and to bring the troops home now. On this date in 2001, President George Bush II declared a “War on Terror” to a joint session of Congress. This was later used to justify illegal invasions, continuing occupations and human rights abuses (including torture) by the U.S.

The War on Terror Peace Event has been endorsed by Brandywine Peace Community, Bucks for Progress, Catholic Peace Fellowship, Chester County Peace Movement, Code Pink Philadelphia, Communist Party of Eastern PA and DE, Delaware Valley Veterans for America, Granny Peace Brigade Philadelphia, Green Party of Montgomery County, Green Party of Philadelphia, Military Families Speak Out, Northeast Philly for Peace and Justice, Northwest Greens, Peace Action of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Philadelphia Regional Anti-War Network (PRAWN),  the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Philadelphia Branch) and more.

For more information e-mail to or call 215-843-4256.

Kehilla for Secular Jews

Does the Shofar blow for you?  Looking for a place to hear the loud trumpet sound, which heralds in the Jewish New Year?  Philadelphia’s Kehilla for Secular Jews invites all to join them Saturday, September 19, 2 p.m., for Rosh Hashana and Monday, September 28, 3:45 p.m. for Yom Kippur, at Germantown Friends Meeting, 47 West Coulter Street, as they celebrate their Jewish heritage.  The observances will be multigenerational, multicultural, and LGBT-friendly.  Events are free; contributions requested; proceeds benefit Jewish Children’s Folkshul. Free parking is available. The High Holiday programs are for all ages, and there will be crafts and other activities for children, pre-school through third grade, during the programs. 

But don’t come expecting a rabbi or a prayer book.  Instead, on Rosh Hashanah, September 19, 2 p.m., there will be songs, poetry, a secular Sh’ma and sounding of the traditional shofar. Special guests will be Yiddish recording artist Fran Kleiner, and Art Miron, a popular musician/singer in the Mt. Airy coffeehouse scene. Yom Kippur observance, on Monday, September 28, will feature candle lightings, reflection, singing, and a secular Yizkor and Kaddish.

In Eastern Europe, a Kehilla was a Jewish community, bound together by its history, religion, and location.  Today, the Philadelphia area has several Kehillot, but only one Kehilla for Secular Jews.  Philadelphia’s own secular Kehilla, consists of six local groups: Jewish Children’s Folkshul and Adult Community; Philadelphia Secular Jewish Organization; Shir Shalom; Sholom Aleichem Club; South Jersey Secular Jews; and Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring of Philadelphia.

These organizations welcome those who are not comfortable with traditional Jewish denominations and may find the community and fellowship that they seek in a secular humanistic Jewish setting. The Kehilla welcomes all who identify with the Jewish experience, its history, culture, and values.  For information, contact Barbara Halpern, Kehilla for Secular Jews, at 215-572-6131, e-mail .

Jewish Children’s Folkshul, a founding member of the Kehilla, is a cultural Jewish school for children in grades Pre-K through ninth, providing a secular, humanist approach to the exploration of Jewish cultural identity, holidays and history. For over 80 years, Folkshul has served communities in the greater Philadelphia area including families from Montgomery, Bucks, and Delaware Counties.  Folkshul also offers a wide variety of adult education classes including book discussions, Hebrew, Yiddish, history, philosophy, and political discussions.  Classes, workshops, presentations and discussions are held Sunday mornings from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Springside School in Chestnut Hill.

For more information about Folkshul, call 215-248-1550 or visit

Enon Appreciation Awards

Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church will host its first annual Appreciation Awards Ceremony which will honor law enforcement officials and fellow citizens.  We will honor those who have dedicated their lives to serving others and helping to reduce crime in our community by mentoring, combating domestic violence and taking a stand against sex trafficking. Special honors will be presented to the family of Police Explorer Cadet Harvey J. Lewis, 15, and his friend Dominique R. Smith, 17, who both were aspiring to become police officers. These two young men, who wanted to make our streets a safer place, ”were slain in a senseless crime.”

The Saturday, September 19 Awards Ceremony is being sponsored by the Saints of Valor Martial Ministry and will be held at Enon East, 2800 Cheltenham Avenue, 7 -9 p.m.

The Saints of Valor Martial Ministry, under the leadership Master C. Hamilton Robinson, seeks to provide an educational, cultural, social and martial arts enrichment program consistent with Enon’s vision of family values and human dignity. The goal is to increase the level of pro-social involvement and to empower martial arts training across all ages, genders, backgrounds and groups of the Christian Community.    

During the Appreciation Awards Ceremony law enforcement officials and others will be presented with National Awards from the American Police Hall of Fame and Museum Awards Program

The keynote speaker will be Judge Sheila Woods-Skipper.

Thyra Course at St. Paul’s

The Thyra Course, a mystical introduction to the Christian faith, will be offered at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Chestnut Hill, this fall, according to the church rector, the Rev. E. Clifford Cutler, who will teach the course. It begins Wednesday, September 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Dixon House on the church campus at 22 East Chestnut Hill Avenue.

The course studies ancient and contemporary mystics to uncover Christian insights for daily life. Mystics, Cutler says, are those who have had direct experiences of God.

From the Greek word thyra, meaning door and opportunity, the course is designed “to open the door and offer an opportunity to explore spiritual answers for life’s questions: What can I believe in? What do I want to do with the rest of my life? Where is life’s meaning?” Cutler reports that the Thyra Course will create “a safe place to ask about life, meaning, spirituality and religion.” To be studied during the eight Wednesday evening sessions are many mystics, ranging from the medieval Hugh of St. Victor to the contemporary Dag Hammarskjöld.

The course, which has a $20 fee, is open to all. For more information call 215-242-2055 or e-mail

St. Paul’s Church is located near the intersection of Germantown Avenue and Bethlehem Pike in Chestnut Hill, one block from SEPTA’s R7 and R8 Chestnut Hill stations. Visit for information about this offering and St. Paul’s many other ministries.

Missions Celebration at High Street

The High Street Church of God, 222 East High Street, will celebrate the 37th year of Faith Promise Missions Convention on Saturday, Oct. 3 and Sunday Oct. 4. The theme is “That None Shall Perish.” The community is invited to come share in this celebration. On Saturday evening at 5:30 p.m. there will be a banquet with speaker will be Elizabeth Floyd from Neighborhood Crusade, Inc. of Philadelphia. On Sunday at 11 a.m. the Rev. Melvin Floyd, director and founder of Neighborhood Crusade, will be the guest speaker. The evening service will be at 5:00 p.m., celebrating with Holy Communion and a candlelight service. Minister Daniel Sawyer of Neighborhood Crusade will minister in this service.

High Street has supported many missionary ministries, including in Liberia, the West Indies, and Egypt and local ministries Child Evangelism Fellowship, Have Christ Will Travel, Teen Challenge and Arab World Ministry and Neighborhood Crusade Inc. All are welcome. For more, call 215-438-1682. Rev. David E. Griffith is pastor.

High Holidays at Chabad-Lubavitch

In anticipation of the upcoming Jewish New Year (September 18-20), Chabad-Lubavitch of Northwest Philadelphia has announced its High Holiday Services schedule.  They will be “warm, friendly, traditional, and open to all” says Chabad’s Executive Director, Rabbi Yitzchok Gurevitz. 

All are welcome to services at Chabad, free of charge, regardless of background or affiliation.  Membership is not required to join and there are no prerequisites.  All prayers will combine the original Hebrew and translated English. 

“Whether your background in Jewish prayer and practice is extensive or limited,” says Rabbi Gurevitz, “attending services at Chabad will leave you feeling enriched, connected, uplifted and inspired.”

Services will be held on Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year (September 18-20), as well as Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement (September 27-28). 

For information regarding High Holiday Services, or to reserve a seat call 215-438-5327, email, or visit

Chabad-Lubavitch of Northwest Philadelphia will be presenting a Challah Baking Workshop for Adults and Children on Thursday,  September 24, from 5-6 p.m.

 Attendees will learn hands-on steps involved in baking Challah (a braided bread traditionally prepared for the Sabbath and Jewish holidays): preparing the dough, braiding techniques, glazing, and baking.  Attendees will take home their own challah. Special focus will be given to holiday shapes and flavorings.

The workshop is free of charge, but RSVP is appreciated. The workshop will be held at 7334 Rural Lane. For more information and to RSVP, please call Pessy Gurevitz at 215-438-5327, email, or visit

Join ‘Ghostbusters’ at Historic Cliveden

Do you believe in ghosts? Do you hear banging, footsteps or voices in your home? Are you really seeing things or is that just your imagination?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, join Cliveden on Friday, October 9 from 7:30 - 10:30 p.m. for “Ghost Hunting 101.” 

Ghost Hunting 101 is the third in a series of collaborations between Cliveden and the Free Spirit Paranormal Investigators.  Visitors will be treated to a ghost hunting workshop and live paranormal investigation of the Concord School House and Upper Burying Ground.

The workshop will be hosted by the Free Spirit Paranormal Investigators, in Cliveden’s historic Carriage House.  It will address a wide range of paranormal topics including the history of ghost hunting, electronic voice phenomena, and psychic protection.

After the workshop, attendees will gain hands-on experience by conducting a live paranormal investigation at the Concord School House and Upper Burying Ground.  Located down the street from Cliveden, the Concord School House was built in 1775 as Germantown’s first English language school.  The School House occupies a corner of the Upper Burying Ground, one of the oldest cemeteries in Germantown and a site where over 50 Revolutionary War Soldiers are buried.

Admission is $20 per person.  RSVP is necessary as space is very limited. 

For further details about this event and to RSVP call Richard Fink, education director, at 215-848-1777 x223 or by emailing

More information about this program can be found on Cliveden’s website,  To learn more about the Free Spirit Paranormal Investigators, check out  Details about the Concord School House and Upper Burying grounds are located at  

Learn How to Care for Damaged Trees

A major storm can have devastating effects, changing our community in an instant. Buildings may be damaged or destroyed, power lines down, and trees broken and torn. In the wake of this loss, neighborhoods and an entire community may experience a sense of devastation not known before.

“Because trees are such a large part of a city’s visual landscape, damage to them from a severe storm can be a major shock to residents,” said John Rosenow, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation, an organization that helps people plant and care for trees. “Seeing a favorite tree down or badly damaged in the front yard can be a traumatic experience, almost like losing an old friend.”

But Rosenow also said that trees are amazingly resilient and that many recover with proper care. Information is available from the Arbor Day Foundation for residents who want to become more informed about tree care and storm recovery.

The Arbor Day Foundation’s Web site,, offers a free Storm Recovery Kit, an online set of easy-to-understand guidelines to explain how to care for trees following a severe storm. Residents will learn to know whether a tree can be saved, the best way to remove broken limbs, and how to identify scam artists posing as arborists.

After a major storm, city officials, utility workers, and private tree care firms have their work cut out for them. The best thing residents can do is be patient and lend a hand. Citizens can help expedite the city’s recovery process by quickly learning correct tree care practices, taking care of simple tasks, and protecting against tree service imposters.

For the free Storm Recovery Kit, go to

Harvest Festival at Wyck

Wyck, 6026 Germantown Avenue, celebrates the fall with an evening festival on Friday, September 18, from 5-7 p.m.

The Harvest Festival will feature live bluegrass music, cider pressing, fabric dyeing using plant-based dyes, delicious dinners for sale, a collaborative writing project for kids and adults, and cooking demonstrations by the Health Promotion Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Wyck’s house, Home Farm and gardens will be open for tours and Wyck’s Farmers Market will run from 2– 6 p.m. Visitors can meet Wyck’s new flock of chickens and see our beehives.

Wyck offers a variety of programming for its community, neighbors and friends. The Wyck Outdoor Education Program for underserved Germantown students features an emergent curriculum focusing on natural science, nutrition, and seasonal dynamics at Wyck’s 2.5-acre site. School children also participate in all aspects of the Wyck Home Farm, a large chemical-free production garden. In conjunction with the Food Trust, Wyck has established a seasonal, weekly farmers market, held Friday afternoons from 2pm – 6pm from May through November, where Wyck’s produce is for sale alongside produce grown and sold by a Lancaster County production farmer. Wyck accepts vouchers from the federally funded Farmers Market Nutrition Program, which gives low-income senior citizens and WIC recipients subsidized access to fresh, local produce. The market also accepts food stamps in the form of the EBT/Access card.

The Wyck Workshop and Lecture Series offers free or low-cost educational programs on traditional horticulture and sustainability methods to modern urban-dwellers.  Workshops take place on topics such as food preservation, composting, bee-keeping, permaculture, seed-starting, edible landscaping and traditional seed saving techniques. 

For more information about the Harvest Festival please call 215-848-1690 or email . For information about Wyck’s programs, please contact Lori Litchman, education program coordinator, at Visit Wyck’s website at

Weavers Way Plastics Recycling Resumes

The Weavers Way Environment Committee’s monthly collection for #5 plastics, which are not included in the City’s recycling program, will resume September 19, and will follow a monthly schedule: October 17, November 21, and December 19.

The program will skip January and resume in February.

Weavers Way is moving the collection to a new location: the Co-op’s garage, at 542 Carpenter Lane, across the street and a bit further down the block from the Big Blue Marble bookstore.

For more information visit

Geechee Girl Restaurant Presents Second Annual Local Farmers’ Dinner

Join Wyck’s Home Farm Manager Landon Jefferies and Wyck’s Horticulturist Nicole Juday at Geechee Girl Rice Café, 6825 Germantown Avenue, on Tuesday, September 22 at 6:30 p.m. for Geechee Girl’s second annual local farmer’s dinner. 

The dinner showcases local food and producers.  Participants also include Dave Zelov of Weavers Way farm, Christopher Bolden-Newsome of Martin Luther King High School farm, and Linda Geren of Highview Farm in New Jersey.  Marilyn Anthony from the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture will also participate.

The menu will feature produce from the Philadelphia farms and humanely raised pork and lamb from Highview.  The cost for the dinner is $42.50. Reservations are necessary.  Please contact Geechee Girl Rice Café at 215-843-8113.

La Rose Cafe Debut for Band

A new band, Black Men Blush, will debut at La Rose Café, 5531 Germantown Avenue, on September 25 at 8 p.m. Admission is $10.

Black Men Blush is an  exciting five-piece dance band playing blues, zydeco, country and soul: great songs that make you dance. Black Men Blush features John Colgan-Davis from the Dukes of Destiny on harmonica and vocals; Rich Curtis from the Dukes on bass and vocals; Carl Snyder, also from the Dukes, on keyboards; AC Steel, former rhythm and lead guitarist with the Dukes, on guitar and vocals; and Mike O’Rourke on drums.

La Rose  has great sight lines and a good sized dance floor adjacent to the stage. It has parking next to the club and an attendant to watch your car. It is the scene of the Tony Williams jazz jam on Monday nights, and for the past year it has hosted a last Friday Night Blues series that has brought an array of local blues talent to play on the last Friday night of each month. That series is now going weekly, and Black Men Blush is proud to be the inaugural act of the weekly schedule. For more information call 215-844-5818.

Drama, Farce and More at The Stagecrafters This Season

Cherri Poet of West Philly and Pierlisa Chiodo-Steo of Chestnut Hill in “Night Watch,” first show of the 2009-10 season at The Stagecrafters.


Guest Writer

Theatergoers of all ages will be happy to know that Philadelphia’s Stagecrafters Theater is soon beginning its new season. This year’s works offer a variety of fun and interesting plays, from the suspenseful to the whimsical. This season is particularly special for the theater because it is their 81st season, during which they will be passing the 500th production benchmark.

Stagecrafters’ 2009-2010 season opens Friday, September 18, with a dramatic production of a good old-fashioned mystery thriller — Lucille Fletcher’s “Night Watch.”  The New York Times (1986) calls this play “an American version of a British specialty: sneaky goings-on in a houseful of suspects.” Elaine Wheeler thought she saw a body or two in the apartment next door. Or did she? Her attempts to convince her husband and friends to help her investigate lead to mysterious situations. Be sure to be there during its run and maybe you can help solve the mystery. 

Beginning November 27, Stagecrafters will present Thornton Wilder’s classic farce “The Matchmaker.” The play is a comedy almost in a Shakespearean sense, in that nearly all of its plot centers around love, marriage, and the machinations that often conspire to get in the way of true love.  Like all good comedies, it ends with a marriage, or two...or maybe more... The director of the play, Yaga Brady, says, “It’s a warm, funny and clever play… I love to work with ‘period pieces’, re-read them and rediscover in them a myriad of issues, questions, lines, references which, when examined, can make perfect sense within the contemporary perception of the world.” 

On February 5, 2010, the season continues with Charles Fuller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Soldier’s Play.” Taking place in all-black military unit in the South during WWII, the play is powerful, uncompromising and fascinating in the way it deals with military life and relations of African Americans among themselves.  The director of  this play, Marilyn Yoblick, says that doing this particular piece “represents our theater’s continuing commitment to present to our audiences important plays by African-American authors.” 

On April 9, Stagecrafters’ productions continue with highly-regarded playwright Richard Greenberg’s “The Violet Hour”.  Greenberg once defined the title of the play as “the uniquely New York moment when day gives way to night, the moment that rewards you for the day.” In it, a young publisher must choose between two books to publish. One, “The Violet Hour,” is written by his good friend who needs to get the book published in order to marry the rich woman he loves. The other is an autobiography by the publisher’s mistress. Which shall he choose? Which does he choose? The ending of the play has been described as being like the happy hour that comes after a hard day’s work.

June 11 begins the season’s final production, Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt’s classic musical “The Fantasticks.”  Stagecrafters presents few musicals because of its fairly small stage, so this is a special occasion. The basic plot concerns two fathers who put up a wall between their houses to ensure that their children fall in love because they know children do what their parents forbid. Is that true? Will they do it? And if they do, what will come of it? Come to enjoy one of the longest-running musicals of American off-Broadway history.

For more information on the productions and the theater, visit  The Stagecrafters is at 8130 Germantown Avenue.

Mom and Baby Group at MWC

An educational Mom and Baby playgroup is now forming at Maternal Wellness Center.  This 6-week group will provide a space for mothers to learn about their babies’ developing mind and body, and to explore feelings and experiences surrounding the mother and baby relationship.

The group is intended for mothers and pre-walking infants and will be held at the Maternal Wellness Center, 606 Carpenter Lane, with six sessions running Thursdays, Oct. 8 to Nov. 12 from 1 - 2:30 p.m. The cost is $30 per session ($180 for all 6 sessions). Financial assistance is available for those who qualify for the Healthy Mom’s Initiative

While playing with and observing the children, participants will be learning about the meaning of behavior, and what children are saying through it; normal stages of infant development; challenges of sleep and feeding; attachment and separation; exploration of the experience of modern parenting.

The program will build confidence, let you have fun with your baby, and meet other local parents.

The group will be co-led by Kellie Wicklund, MA, NCP, LPC and Toni Seidl, LCSW, BCD.

Kellie Wicklund currently works as the Center’s Clinical Director and is a 2008-2009 Clinical Fellow with The Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. Her area of advanced study is in postpartum disorders, infant attachment, and parent-infant psychotherapy.  She has a master’s degree in Clinical Counseling, is nationally certified as a psychologist, and holds a license to practice in the state of Pennsylvania. 

Toni Seidel is a licensed clinical social worker.  Her first career was as a pediatric nurse.  Following nursing, she spent twenty-two years serving as the supervisor and chair of the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Team at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Seidl was trained at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia in the Child Psychotherapy Program, and is an academic graduate of the Adult and Children’s Psychoanalytic Program.  She has been in private practice in Chestnut Hill for the past ten years, and has also been conducting mother-infant groups at various community locations in Philadelphia.

For more information visit, call 215-713-2666 or e-mail to

Clay Workshops at ALAC

Allens Lane Art Center, Allens Lane and McCallum Street, is offering a new class and two new workshops in sculpting with clay, beginning in late September. Designed for adults and mature teens, they will be taught by Mt. Airy sculptor Rivkah Walton.

The first workshop in the new Art and Spirit series, Fertility: Figurines, Amulets & Plaques, meets two Thursday evenings, Sept. 24 and Oct.1, 6–9 pm. The first session of this class for adults will explore symbols that many cultures have used to ensure the fertility of themselves, their land, and their hands. In the second, using polymer clay, participants will create their own figurine, wearable amulet, or wall plaque as a focal point for prayer or meditation.

In Form-ation: An Introduction to Sculpting Meeting, adults and mature teens will use a step-by-step process to sculpt an organic form in water-based clay and finish it for firing or casting. Meeting seven Sundays, beginning Oct. 18, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., students will learn to see and shape planes, volume, and texture; make, use, and take care of sculpture tools and materials; and understand the historical context of sculpture. Participants will gain basic knowledge and skills that will support further figurative or abstract work in clay.

Make Your Own Mezuzah Case, the second Art and Spirit workshop, will take place Sunday, Oct. 25, from 2:30 – 5:30 pm.  Mezuzah cases are found on the outer doorposts of most Jewish homes; many are also attached to the entranceways to rooms inside. Participants will learn the ancient history and role of these ritual objects and the scrolls they hold, similar practices in other traditions, and the wide variety of ancient and contemporary styles. The class will decipher a secret code on the inner parchment. Incorporating personal symbols, each participant will sculpt a mezuzah case using polymer clay. The class will enjoy snacks while their creations are permanently oven-hardened.

Instructor Rivkah Walton holds an MFA in Crafts from Tyler School of Art. Her life-long interest in psychology and spirituality led her to establish the Institute for Contemporary Midrash (biblical interpretation), where she directed the training programs in the arts. Her portraits in clay and assemblage constructions may be viewed at

For information or to register for these or other classes for adults, teens, or children, go to or call 215-248-0546.

FUMCOG After-School Program

The After School Program for Germantown High School students at First United Methodist Church of Germantown (FUMCOG) will start Tuesday, Sept. 29 for 9th grade students and Monday, Oct. 5 for 10th, 11th and 12th grade students. The program is held at the church, 6001 Germantown Avenue, across the street from the school. The program is free to Germantown High students.

The daily program runs from 3:05-6 p.m. and is free. Programming includes a healthy snack followed by two hours of tutoring, learning sessions and homework help. Every student has a computer applications class and access to the internet for study and research. A recreation program is available from 5:30-6 p.m. Students receive structured tutoring at all levels in math and English. Help is available in history, science, Spanish and French.

Enrichment activities during the school year include: a Living History project at historic Wyck in Germantown; a stained glass arts project; attendance at theater, music and dance performances; eating out at restaurants; career training; acting and drama classes; and SAT and ACT preparation. A Tuesday night program for 12 graders includes cooking and creative thinking as well as help for senior projects. The promotion rate for students who attend this program regularly is over 90 percent.. Applications are available at Germantown High and at the church office.

For more information call the after School Program at 215-438-6767.

Free Quickbooks Seminar

Aliyah Bonaparte, owner of the Northwest-based Pyramid Accounting Solutions, Inc., won up to $20,000 in Intuit Inc.’s Power to Get More Done Stimulus Grant competition. As one of 10 winners nationwide, Bonaparte will receive $10,000 in cash and up to $10,000 in Intuit products and services to assist the small business community in and around the Philadelphia area.

Pyramid Accounting Solutions, Inc. provides bookkeeping, payroll, and QuickBooks setup, training, and support services. Bonaparte’s goal is to provide free and low-cost Basic QuickBooks seminars to 10,000 small business owners in her area. Bonaparte believes that increasing an owner’s ability to understand and implement accurate accounting policies and procedures will result in the creation of a more financially sound, thriving business.

“Each seminar’s goal is to provide business owners with the skills and means to produce and analyze financial statements using QuickBooks,” said Bonaparte, a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor. “Accurate financial statements can improve the owner’s ability to make effective cash and strategic management decisions.  They can also increase a small business owner’s chance to apply for and receive funding to expand their own business.” 

Pyramid Accounting Solutions, Inc. will also use the grant to become an earth-friendly firm. “Having the means to purchase proper equipment and software will allow us to become a paperless firm, decrease our need for space, and increase both our efficiency and the level of service we give our clients,” Bonaparte said.

Pyramid will host a free four-hour QuickBooks Basics seminar on Sept. 23. Registration will begin at 9 a.m. and a light breakfast will be served.  The seminar will end at 1 p.m. For details, visit or call 267-244-1026.

NW Merit Semifinalists

Officials of the National Merit Scholarship Competition have announced the names of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 55th annual National Merit scholarship Program. These academically-talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,200 National Merit scholarships, worth more than $36 million, that will be offered next spring. About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and approximately half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

Students from Northwest high schools who have achieved Semifinalist standing include:

Central High School, Jody Z. Zhong; Crefeld School, Emily C. Livingston and Daniel E. Sloane; Germantown Friends School, Tracy C. Bank, Connor G. Bartholomew, Eli Bogom-Shanon, Christopher R. Kim, Seth C. Koren, James T. Query, and Allison R. Wattenberger; William Penn Charter School, Michael T. Bak, Jamie D. Garden, Kate J. Goldenberg, Theresa M. Manning, Brian J. Mendel, Ben E. Perelman, and Eamon A. Ronan.

South African Music and Dance at MALT

Above: pictured with Sharon Katz (left) is Shophi Ngidi who, as one of the members of the Peace Train, taught the class with Katz in 2007. Members of the Peace Train band who will teach the class in 2009 include Nomsa Majola, Khethiwendi Quick and Nokwanda Taho.

Don’t miss the fun with Sharon Katz and The Peace Train in Mt. Airy Learning Tree’s South African Music and Dance Class, number DA19.

Join Sharon Katz and The Peace Train for a series of eight workshops filled with South African music, dances and stories. Members of the band will visit the sessions to teach and together we will build a dance group and create something joyful, positive and creative. All ages, nations, religions, colors, shapes and hairstyles are welcome!

Also learn more about the new school and cultural center in South Africa and how to visit South Africa with The Peace Train. Sharon Katz and The Peace Train are performing worldwide, composing for a new musical and CD, and raising funds to build a new school in South Africa geared towards children who lost their parents to HIV/AIDS.

Class meets Thursdays from 7-8:30 p.m.,  September 24 to November 12, at Blair Christian Academy in the gym. The cost is $99 with a $20 materials fee payable to the instructor.

For more information, call MALT at 215-843-6333 or visit

IBE Ballet Auditions

International Ballet Exchange announces open auditions for a production of The Nutcracker with the Donetsk Ballet of Ukraine.  IBE, the non-profit arm of Wissahickon Dance Academy, offers this unique opportunity to area ballet students.  The Donetsk Ballet is an internationally renowned ballet company that has toured the world. Their principal dancers have won several international ballet competitions and they continue to entertain audiences with their dazzling pyrotechnics and artistry. Through IBE, area dancers have the opportunity to perform with this exciting company of twenty professionals, no matter which dance studio they attend.

The audition will take place on Sunday, Sept. 20 at 5 p.m. for children ages 5-9 and 6 – 7:30 p.m. for students ages 10 and up at Wissahickon Dance Academy, 38 East Schoolhouse Lane. Children should be dressed in ballet attire and must arrive promptly. The audition fee is $15. For information, call Nancy Malmed at WDA at 215-849-7950 or visit or

 Rehearsals for the production will take place on Sunday evenings beginning Sept. 27.  Performances will be held Dec. 17-19 — a school show for the Philadelphia School District and two community performances at Plymouth/Whitemarsh High School on Dec. 19.

Saving Workshop at Coleman

Become a Philadelphia saver! In a workshop at Coleman Northwest Regional Library, “Build Wealth, Not Debt! Philadelphia Saves at the Library,” you’ll gain the tools, resources and motivation you need to begin saving. You can save for retirement, for college, a down payment on a home or car – you name the goal. No matter how much or how little you earn, the habits and benefits of saving can be a part of your life.

The event takes place on Monday, September 23, 6-7 p.m., at Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library, Greene Street and Chelten Avenue. For more information call 215-685-2155.

Back to the Germantown Newspapers Home Page


Residents Not Pleased About Proposed Liquor Store Move

Co-victims Support

St. Martin de Porres is Now St. Vincent de Paul

Company Pitches Free Solar Panels to Northwest Homeowners

SEPTAAnnounces Improvements at Wister Station

Afraid of Speaking in Public? Covenant Toastmasters Can Help

Support Group for Co-victims

Documentary on Philadelphia History

Tour Tulpehocken Historic District

Northwest Zoning Hearings Next Week

Tioga Unity Day is September 19

Peace Event

Kehilla for Secular Jews

Enon Appreciation Awards

Thyra Course at St. Paul’s

Missions Celebration at High Street

High Holidays at Chabad-Lubavitch

Join ‘Ghostbusters’ at Historic Cliveden

Learn How to Care for Damaged Trees

Harvest Festival at Wyck

Weavers Way Plastics Recycling Resumes

Geechee Girl Restaurant Presents Second Annual Local Farmers’ Dinner

La Rose Cafe Debut for Band

Drama, Farce and More at The Stagecrafters This Season

Mom and Baby Group at MWC

Clay Workshops at ALAC

FUMCOGAfter-School Program

Free Quickbooks Seminar

NWMerit Semifinalists

South African Music and Dance at MALT

IBE Ballet Auditions

Saving Workshop at Coleman

From the Chronicle • Germantown News Stories

September 17, 2009