From the Chronicle • Germantown News Stories

November 11, 2010 • GC.111110.pdf

In This Issue

  1. Capt. Joel Dales is 14th’s New Commander

  2. Trustee Petitions to Convert Settlement Bankruptcy to Chapter 7 Liquidation

  3. ‘Unstoppable’: An Entertaining, Non-Stop Hodge-Podge

  4. Community Meeting on Incorporation of Cresheim Creek Land Into Park

  5. Anna Crusis Concert

  6. Big Blue Marble Anniversary

  7. Holiday Bazaar at GCOM

  8. Musical Celebration at Holsey

  9. Janes Memorial United Methodist

  10. Evening of Song

  11. Book Drive for Emlen

  12. At UU

  13. Chabad-Lubavitch

  14. Men’s Day at Tabor

  15. Elder Dinner

  16. Church History Convocation at Lutheran Seminary

  17. Talk on Thomas Merton at St. Paul’s

  18. Sr. Mary Scullion at St. Luke’s

  19. Cuba Talk

  20. Books Sought for Emlen School

  21. Give Views on School Violence

  22. MAUSA First-Time Homebuyers Workshop

  23. Chestnut Hill Historial Association Applies for Land Trust Accreditation

  24. Weird Wastes

  25. A ‘Dickens’ of a Christmas at Maxwell Mansion

  26. MAUSA Earns Design Honors

  27. Park Restoration Meeting

  28. Top Storytellers at Tellebration

  29. Vegan Thanksgiving

  30. Green Tree Benefit

  31. Remembrance Ceremony at Face to Face

  32. Free Thanksgiving Dinner

Capt. Joel Dales is 14th’s New Commander



Captain Joel Dales is new to the rank of captain in the Philadelphia Police Department – he received his latest promotion on October 15. And he is new to the post of commanding officer of the 14th  Police District as well – he assumed command of the 14th just three days later, on October 18, succeeding Captain Joseph Bartorilla.

But he is not new to the sprawling 14th District, one of the largest in the city.

He grew up in Mt. Airy and earlier in his career served as a sergeant in the 14th under previous captains Ross and Singletary, where he was responsible for the direct supervision of more than a dozen officers. 

Captain Dales has had a variety of assignments and responsibilities in his career.

He came to the 14th from a position as commanding officer of the Mayor’s Protection Detail, responsible for the Mayor’s physical safety, which he described in an interview last week as “Pretty much like the Secret Service for the President.” He headed the detail for two years, beginning with Mayor Michael Nutter’s inauguration.

Dales joined the department in 1990, and was first assigned to the 5th and 35th districts. At the 35th, he said, “I had the opportunity to work on the elite Five Squad tactical team.”

In 1995 he was assigned to Highway Patrol where, he said, “I was a member of the Motorcycle Drill Team and also captain and instructor for it. We trained many police officers on motorcycles.”

He was promoted to sergeant and assigned to the 14th District in 2002.   He stayed at the 14th for two years, then was promoted to lieutenant and went to West Philadelphia’s 18th District, where he was a platoon commander in charge of two sergeants, a corporal and 45 police officers. From there he went in 2007 to the Internal Affairs department, where he investigated complaints against police officers, that, he said, “alleged corruption and physical and verbal abuse on the part of officers.” 

Of his new command, he said, “The 14th District is very diverse. You have a lot of different types of people and neighborhoods up here.” One way to span that diversity, he said, involves the Department’s recent Police Service Area (PSA) reorganization, wherein each district is subdivided into a number of smaller PSA, each under its own lieutenant.

“It’s a great tool,” he said. But for both the community and the department, he added, “It depends on how much effort you put into it as to how well it works. So far I’m impressed.”

He added, “You need the community to be involved. Unless people come out and attend these meetings, they’ll be left in the dark.” (For this month’s scheduled PSA meetings, see below).

Captain Dales will be keeping a close eye on what happens outside Germantown High School after school lets out in the afternoon. Disruptive behavior of GHS students after school, which has sometimes been described as like a “flash mob,” has been an ongoing  concern of surrounding merchants and residents. While Dales said, “It seems like it is more under control now,” he also said that it was a long-time problem that he was familiar with from his earlier stint in the 14th. When describing the problem he placed an emphasis on liaison and information exchange between the 14th District and school police officers, saying, “My main concern is that we don’t want to be surprised – one neighborhood against another neighborhood, things like that.”

And he offered a word of advice to residents about a problem that has been epidemic in the Northwest – car break-ins. “They are down but still a problem,” he said. 

“I want people to be aware,” said Captain Dales, “as far as leaving valuable items in their cars is concerned. If it’s possible to break in, a thief will break in.  Don’t leave anything in your car.”

Trustee Petitions to Convert Settlement Bankruptcy to Chapter 7 Liquidation


Guest Writer

The difficult issues of Germantown Settlement and its subsidiary, Greater Germantown Housing Development Corp., have been playing out in bankruptcy court like a bloodless coup d’état.

The non-profit monopoly is being dismantled with apparently no recourse to restructure.

Chief Bankruptcy Court Judge Stephen Raslavich ruled recently that Germantown Settlement’s subsidiary the Greater Germantown Housing Development Corporation (GGHDC) would no longer be in Chapter 11, a legal bankruptcy to allow an entity to reorganize, but would be in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which requires the sale of all assets to pay off some of its millions in debts. And on Monday, November 8, U.S. Trustee George M. Conway filed  a motion which would convert Settlement’s bankruptcy proceedings o Chapter 7 as well.

In an unusual ruling, in a hearing on Thursday, November 4, Raslavich also granted a motion filed by Irv Ackelsberg, pro bono attorney for the Germantown Community Connection (GCC),  a 501-c-3 non-profit organizaion, to have a voice for questions in future creditor meetings during the liquidation.

GCC President Betty Turner is excited. “This ruling allows us to have a voice in shaping our community and shows the positive effects community connectivity and civic engagement can have on addressing common ground concerns and issues in Germantown.”

She continued: “It will provide opportunity for a shared vision for Germantown—what do we want Germantown to be and how do we get there from here? This ruling brought fresh favor to Germantown in many ways. It is great.”

The decision means that the organization can attend so-called “341 hearings,” during which Settlement President Emanuel V. Freeman and other officials will be questioned under oath about assets and liabilities of the organization.

Debra White-Roberts, the director of operations for the Wister Neighborhood Council, attended the initial bankruptcy hearing.

“What I took from the hearing is that the judge is fed up. I am too. No more smoke and mirrors,” she said.

Secured debtors, those who have a formal mortgage on properties and loans, have come forward to foreclose on Settlement properties. The Settlement’s remaining assets, including the former YWCA on Germantown Avenue, The Burgess Center at Wayne and Chelten, 48 East Penn Street, and other housing developments, will be sold. The money collected from these properties will go directly to the secured debtors in the case.

Despite over $2.7 million in unsecured creditor debt for Germantown Settlement and $2.2 million for GGHDC, no unsecured creditors or government authority have come forward to collect. For the Burgess Center alone, taxpayers might lose $2.4 million from a city loan that wasn’t repaid.

But this is far from the whole story.

The Wister Council had paid Germantown Settlement to do its bookkeeping. When White-Roberts became a board member in 2006, the council took over its own finances. The group was shocked. Taxes hadn’t been paid and financial statements to the IRS were incomplete. The organization had to pay $10,000 to settle tax liens.

Another serious issue lies ahead. Because GGHDC owns over 45 properties, including residential single-family homes and vacant lots, on which any development is impossible until the court case is finished.

“We had an offer from Ogontz Association Revitalization District that wants to put in green modular homes, but it gets stuck in the legal department because it’s owned by GGDHC,“ White-Roberts said.

Other difficulties appear to exist in potential buyers for the Settlement properties. At a hearing on October 21 the YWCA buyer was named as Germantown Housing and Land Holding Corp. State records show Germantown Settlement owns this for-profit entity.

At the same hearing Germantown Settlement presented a buyer for the Burgess Center as “Lower Germantown Limited Partnership.” According to state records, this organization is owned by GGHDC, a subsidiary of Germantown Settlement. Furthermore, another for-profit company called “Lower Germantown II Development” is a partner of Germantown Settlement listing Herbert Wetzel as president. Wetzel is a former officer of Germantown Settlement, and a former director of the Redevelopment Authority.

The author works for Philadelphia Neighborhoods at

Remembrance Ceremony at Face to Face

On November 20, Germantown-based nonprofit Face to Face Inc. in association with nine students from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania will hold a remembrance ceremony to honor the dead and the missing homeless at St. Vincent’s Church, 109 East Price Street. All members of the Germantown community are invited to join them in paying tribute.

The Wharton team working with Face to Face shares its compassionate and humanitarian objectives. Both partners are committed to making a positive and meaningful impact upon the community. “We are giving the community an opportunity in the honor of those that are no longer with them, an opportunity that they would not otherwise have,” said team member Edward Wadsworth.

The ceremony will feature significant involvement with Face to Face clients. Two speakers will share their recollections and pay tribute. The students will then present a slideshow of images taken during their visits to Face to Face that will showcase how their relationship with the nonprofit’s clients has grown in the past several months. There will also be an opportunity for all present to share their thoughts and memories. A meal will be served following the ceremony.

This event holds enormous importance for Face to Face which sees its mission as fostering, warmth, remembrance and community spirit in Germantown. “My experiences at Face to Face have affirmed my belief that every life matters and every loss of life has an impact on all of us,” Face to Face Executive Director Mary Kay Meeks-Hank wrote in an e-mail. “It is our hope that this remembrance ceremony will provide a forum for recognizing the lives of the dead and missing poor and homeless in our midst.  In doing so, we honor them.  

Secondarily, this ceremony stands as a stark reminder of the barriers our society creates among differing socioeconomic groups reminding us of our duty to work for justice.”

For more information e-mail to

Free Thanksgiving Dinner

There will be a free Thanksgiving dinner given by the Prentice Family for those in need on Saturday, November 20, noon to 3 p.m., at Happy Hollow Recreation Center, 4800 Wayne Avenue. There will be free clothing and food.

Film Review

‘Unstoppable’: An Entertaining, Non-Stop Hodge-Podge


Guest Writer

If you tend to dislike a filmmaker’s work, if he puts less effort into doing those things that annoy you, either because he can’t afford to or is unable to, does that mean you’ve learned to enjoy his films is it just that you’ve convinced yourself that he’s suddenly tolerable? With Tony Scott (who made Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II, Man on Fire, Enemy of the State, etc.), there’s not a lot to think about, so a viewer shouldn’t be blamed if his or her mind begins to wander amidst the visual pyrotechnics and ear assault.

What differentiates Scott from other filmmakers who work in the same genres and styles (such as his brother Ridley and Michael Bay) is that Scott will stop telling his story in order to experiment with images that are usually unrelated to the characters. Man on Fire is a perfect example of this; it’s adapted from a 90 minute film, but stretched out to 150 minutes by adding flash frames, repeated footage, and all sorts of tricks that most film students have gotten out of their system by the time they graduate. Say what you want about Michael Bay, he makes overlong movies for 4 year-olds and the manic editing of films like Bad Boys II and Transformers are disastrous, but (moral reprehensibility aside) even the many pointless sequences are about something. Tony Scott, especially in a movie like Domino (which was nominated for the most expensive movie to look like a MySpace page award), is only amusing himself by having scenes with consistently contradicting information. By the end of one of his more hyperactive movies, all you’re sure of is that you got absolutely nothing out of it.

But Scott works on a punishment basis; when he goes overboard and the movie fails financially (like Domino, The Last Boy Scout, and his remake of The Taking of Pelham 123), he reins it in and the movies that follow, like Déjà vu, True Romance, and his new film Unstoppable, tell a coherent story and are comparatively sedate.

Sure, Unstoppable, his runaway-train vehicle for Denzel Washington and Chris Pine, has needless scenes of cop cars flipping over (which Scott also provided in Pelham), helicopter shots of helicopters, and four quick-cut shots of people walking a few feet when a single tracking shot would have worked just fine. But, in Unstoppable, it’s always clear where we are, shots last longer than 12 frames, and the action scenes are slickly directed and suspenseful. The corny, simplified dialogue, which gives us arrogant bad guys who screw up and blame everyone else when they get caught, and pure-at-heart misunderstood good guys, who can prove their mettle if they were only given a chance - well, that’s stuff’s pretty silly anyway.

It’s a relief that Scott doesn’t delve into the personal lives of his characters until most of the way through the movie when we really don’t care (he could have slipped in the exposition in earlier, but it’s all boilerplate clichés, so it doesn’t make much difference). Why distract us from the central plot that the titular train is filled with nuclear weapons and when it runs out of track, it will blow up a small town in Pennsylvania? Is it really all that relevant to learn about arrogant rookie conductor Chris Pine’s estranged wife or old-codger-with-a-few-weeks-before-retirement Denzel Washington and his twin daughters who work at Hooters? Will Pine and Washington’s bickering cease before they can stop the train? Will their arrogant boss ruin everything by trying to use another train to knock the deadly train off its tracks? Will overqualified character actors like Kevin Corrigan arrive just in time to recite necessary technical exposition?

Despite how obvious this all sounds it’s so pared down that the no-frills approach is an advantage, and the minor distractions don’t get in the way of enjoying a goofy but compelling and brief 98-minute movie.

Unstoppable is a hodgepodge anyway: according to the movie the cause of the train malfunction is either a ghost, or it’s the liberal news media, or it’s the evil fat people who twiddle their creepy mustaches at every plot turn. That may sound like an exaggeration, but there’s a strange thing going on in Unstoppable where the good guys are all skinny and have washboard abs (or look like Rosario Dawson) and the bad guys (Kevin Dunn, Ethan Suplee, etc.) are out-of-shape blubber who apparently resent those who can pass up dessert.

Maybe the good guys knew about a company funded gym membership that defeated the thunder thighs you get from sitting in a conductor’s booth or behind a desk watching the electronic signal board.

I told you that watching a Tony Scott movie will make your mind wander. 

Community Meeting on Incorporation of Cresheim Creek Land Into Park

The Wissahickon East Project announces a community meeting for Thursday, November 18 at 7 p.m. to discuss the incorporation of six acres of Cresheim Creek land into the Fairmount Park system, which will be the first public park in upper East Mt Airy. The meeting will take place at Grace Epiphany Church, Gowen Avenue and Ardleigh Street.

The meeting will start with a short summary of how the community saved the land from housing development (two times), followed by presentations by Mike DiBerardinis, Philadelphia commissioner of Parks and Recreation, and Mark Focht, executive director of Fairmount Park. They will discuss the Fairmount Park land stewardship vision and goals and the process of transferring the six acres of Cresheim Creek land from private developers to Fairmount Park. The land transfer is expected to take six to 12 months. A question and answer period and discussion of how the community can help to build a safe, clean and environmentally friendly park will follow the presentations.  

The six acres are located on Anderson Street and the corner of Woodbrook Lane and cover the last remaining wild creek and woodland in the area. The land stretches along the PECO power line/old railroad bed to the R7 railroad bridge.

Wissahickon East Project (WEP) is a volunteer group of community members whose goal was to save the land from housing development. This was achieved by convincing the owner/developer to place a no-building easement on the land which is held by the Chestnut Hill Historical Society. WEP’s further goals are to support the land transfer from the developers (DeSouza-Brown) to Fairmount Park and later help clean the land and develop a community park. 

Wissahickon East Project and the land preservation have been endorsed by many neighbors, local elected officials, community leaders and other park support and conservation groups, including the Friends of the Wissahickon.

For more information visit

Anna Crusis Concert

The Anna Crusis Women’s Choir launches its 36th season in concert with two performances of “Sing, My Sister, Sing!”  Featured musical guest Wishing Chair – Miriam Davidson and Kiya Heartwood.  Concerts will be held Saturday, November 13, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, November 14 at 4 p.m., at the Unitarian Society of Germantown, 6511 Lincoln Drive. There is ample parking.

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door; $15 per person for groups of 10 or more.  Students with valid ID are $10; children under 12 free.

Ticket may be purchased online at and at The Dovetail Artisans in Glenside.

Big Blue Marble Anniversary

Five years is a long time in the independent bookstore business. So Big Blue Marble Bookstore, 551 Carpenter Lane, is throwing a weekend-long party to celebrate.

On Friday, November 19, 7 p.m., the bookstore will kick off the festivities with a Hint Fiction reading featuring editor Robert Swartwood, local writer/writing teacher Minter Krotzer, and many special guests. The Hint Fiction anthology features stories that are all 25 words or less. On Saturday, November 20, in Big Blue Marble’s cafe they’ll have kid crafts including  make-your-own books and make-your own party hats. Giveaways and other surprises will be throughout the day, including customized cupcakes from local gourmet cupcake makers, A Cupcake Wonderland. On Sunday, November 21, there will Five-Minute Poetry Readings by local poets, and then a Local Author Day featuring J.L. Manning, T.P. Majika, and Deborah Gross-Zuchman.

For more information please contact Maleka Fruean at, 215-844-1870.

Holiday Bazaar at GCOM

The Presbyterian Women of Germantown Community Presbyterian Church will sponsor their annual Holiday Bazaar in celebration of the Christmas season on Saturday, Nov. 20, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., at the church, located at Greene and Tulpehocken streets.

The bazaar will feature gifts of great value from a variety of vendors, and homemade baked goods. A delicious luncheon, for puchase, will be served in the festive “PW” café.

Prepare to get your holiday shopping finished early this year. All are welcome.

For more information including $20 table rental, contact Ruth Johnson at 215-438-0500 and leave your name and contact information.

Musical Celebration at Holsey

Holsey Temple CME Church, located at 5305-15 Germantown Avenue, will hold a Pre-Thanksgiving “Celebration of Music III” on Sunday, November 14 at 3 p.m. An interfaith forty-voice choir from area churches will lift their voices in song on that afternoon.

Vivian Pope, general director of the program said  “This is the third time we have performed at Holsey, but we have actually been singing together for twenty four years when we began performing at Zoar Methodist church in North Philadelphia.

“Our theme for this year’s concert is “Back To The Basics.”  We decided to give it a new flair by singing some of the older spirituals, gospels and anthems that haven’t been heard for a long time.  Favorites such as ‘Lift Up Your Heads,’  ‘On Time God’, ‘Let Mount Zion Rejoice,’ and many others will be on the program.”

The choir will be led by Rosemary Coleman and Lark Bell, co-directors, and accompanied by instrumentalists Bruce Frazier on trumpet, Vincent Rutland on percussion, and Saraya Floyd on keyboard.

Proceeds from the concert will go towards payment of the mortgage on the church parsonage.

The public is invited to attend what promises to be an entertaining,  and spiritually-fulfilling, uplifting experience. 

For information, call the church office at 215-848- 2210.

Janes Memorial United Methodist

Historic Janes Memorial United Methodist Church, 47 East Haines Street, will celebrate its 138th Church Anniversary in Praise and Thanksgiving on Sunday, Nov. 21.

The celebration for this momentous occasion will feature Rev. Herbert E. Palmer as guest speaker for the 10:45 a.m. worship service. Brother Anwar Johnson will deliver a children’s sermon. Music will be provided by the Janes Choir with special guests, directed by Mr. Donald Myers. There will be special musical selections by Mrs. Beverly Reid and Mr. Nathan Harmon. Following morning worship, a delicious dinner will be served in the fellowship hall with a video presentation of the church history.

For information call the church office at 215-844-9564.

Evening of Song

On December 5 at 4:30 p.m., at St. Madeleine Sophie Church, 6440 Greene Street, come listen and sing with new ears to the sounds and symbols of Christmas at “Do You Hear What I Hear.” Admission is free; donations will be accepted. Bring all your family, your friends and a have a joyful time.

Book Drive for Emlen

St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 6671 Germantown Avenue, will hold a Silent Auction and Book Drive on November 19, 7-9 p.m., to benefit Eleanor Emlen Public Elementary School.

The goal is to collect one hundred books and raise one thousand dollars during this annual fundraiser to support the Church’s partner public school.

Auction items will include gift certificates to the Wine Thief and Night Kitchen and affordable house wares, unique gifts, jewelry, designer clothing and hats, and more.

Tickets at the door are $5 for adults and $2 for children under 12 years.  Children are free if they donate a book.

For information or to arrange pick up or drop off of children’s books (for ages 5 -13 years), contact Kathryn Mariani at 215-380-0842.


Join Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration, 6900 Stenton Avenue, on Sunday, November 14th at 11 a.m. in our sanctuary for “Practice, Practice, Practice.” Many Unitarian Universalists believe that spiritual practices must come from outside our tradition and are surprised to learn that we have our own historic spiritual practices. Maybe there’s a practice for you in our history.  Reverend Kathy Ellis will be in the pulpit. Visit for more information.


Chabad-Lubavitch of Northwest Philadelphia will be presenting a two-part course exploring the role of angels in Judaism, its influence on Jewish traditions, and their impact on our lives. The course will be held two Wednesdays, November 17 and 24, at a private home in Mt. Airy. For location and to RSVP, email or call 215-438-5327.

Men’s Day at Tabor

Mt. Tabor Baptist Church, 110 West Rittenhouse Street, will be celebrating their 37th Annual Men’s Day on Sunday, November 14 during the 10:30 a.m. worship service.  Reverend Dr. James Wilson, pastor, and the First Union Baptist Church, Bronx, NY will be the guests.  All are invited to attend.  For information call 215-844-2756.

Elder Dinner

There will be an Elder Diner event on Thursday, November 18 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Berachah Baptist Church, 6227 Limekiln Pike. A light lunch will be served. Come and share with other seniors. For information call 215-224-5522.

Church History Convocation at Lutheran Seminary

“Church History: Giving Public Theology Memory” will be the topic of  the November 16 convocation at the Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia.

The study of the histories of the church not only grounds our current experience in the traditions and stories of the past, but also helps to find new applications for old solutions to issues facing the church today.

Participants will hear how the very latest historical research has an impact on ministry in today’s church and world, and will have the opportunity to ask the presenters any question they want.

Faculty members at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia will address the topic from a number of view points at the convocation “Church History: Giving Public Theology Memory” on Tuesday, November 16. The convocation is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. in Benbow Hall, The Brossman Center on the seminary campus, 7301 Germantown Avenue, and is free and open to the public.

The participating faculty members and their presentations addressing the topic will be:

The Rev. Dr. J. Jayakiran Sebastian: “Three Reasons Why Cyprian Will Change Your  Ministry;” The Rev. Dr. Philip D. Krey: “How Augustine Helps Me Interpret the Bible;”- The Rev. Dr. Timothy J. Wengert: “Philip Melanchthon’s Enormous Ecumenical Error and How We Fixed It;” Dr. Jon Pahl: “Speaking Truth to (American) Power in Love;” Dr. Karl Krueger: “Don’t Burn the Books of the Bible!”; and The Rev. Dr. David Grafton: “What Say You of Mohammed?”

For more information on LTSP and other seminary events and offerings, visit the seminary website at

Talk on Thomas Merton at St. Paul’s

Esther de Waal, a foremost scholar and writer on Benedictine and Celtic traditions, will speak on Thomas Merton and the Balance of Solitude and Relationships at Saint Paul’s Church, 22 East Chestnut Hill Ave., Philadelphia on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. de Waal, who currently lives in the Welsh-English borderlands, is the noted author of The Way of Simplicity: The Cistercian Tradition and The Celtic Way of Prayer.   Striking black and white photographs taken by Merton himself will illustrate her talk. 

As a Cistercian monk, Merton, who entered the Kentucky monastery of Gethsemane in 1941, experienced an increasing longing for solitude while at the same time he was actively involved in relationships forged around peace, justice and racial equality.  He was also a gifted photographer.  Merton by his writings and photographs, probably more than anyone else, has shown to ordinary people the spiritual path of simplicity, solitude and relationship.  Copies of de Waal’s book, The Way of Simplicity will be available for purchase at the November 17 presentation.

All are invited.  Admission is free, a gift from Saint Paul’s to the community.

For more information, call Saint Paul’s Church at 215-242-2055 or email:

Sr. Mary Scullion at St. Luke’s

Did you ever wonder why there are less homeless people on the streets of Philadelphia? Do you know who has dedicated her life helping improve the lives of the less fortunate?

That person is Sister Mary Scullion from Project Home. She will speak at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Sunday, November 14 at noon. She is someone you have seen on the news broadcast, in newspapers, on the internet, TV and radio. She is listed in Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.”

The church is located at 5421 Germantown Avenue. For further information, call 215-844-8544. All are welcome.

Cuba Talk

What is Cuba like today? Is it still holding fast to Communist ideals or are cracks opening although still under Fidel Castro and his brother, the only leaders the country has had for five decades? What is it like for Jews living in Cuba?

Dr. Felice Davidson Perlmutter, who had the opportunity to visit Cuba and a number of its institutions, including synagogues, over the past year, will speak on The Many Faces of Cuba at the Sholom Aleichem Club meeting on Sunday, November 14. The program, which is free and open to the public, begins at 2 p.m. at the Bala Cynwyd Library, North Highland Ave. and Old Lancaster Road, Bala Cynwyd.

Dr. Perlmutter, formerly of Mt. Airy, is Professor Emeritus at the School of Social Administration, Temple University, an active researcher and author in the areas of social administration, nonprofit organizations, and social policy. She has published many books and articles in professional journals. She was a Fulbright Scholar at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and as a lecturer at the London School of Economics. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from both, The Association for Research on Nonprofit and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) and The Association for Community Organization & Social Administration (ACOSA).  

The Sholom Aleichem Club, a local Secular Jewish organization in its sixth decade, meets the second weekend of the month. For more information on this meeting or the Club, please call 215-233-2668, or visit the web site:

Save the date for Winter in the Wissahickon! Join the Friends of the Wissahickon on December 4, noon – 4 p.m., at Valley Green Inn for winter fun and holiday crafts for the whole family. Create your own wreath to take home. Enjoy roasted chestnuts, warm apple cider, a winter woods hike, and lunch at this historic inn. Tickets are $30 for adults, $15 children which includes all food and beverages. This is a rain or shine event; tickets are limited. For information or to purchase tickets call 215-247-0417 or visit Pictured: Wendy Willard with her FOW wreaths from last year.

Books Sought for Emlen School

All members of the Northwest Community are invited to attend the next Northwest EPIC (Equal Partners in Change) Stakeholders Community meeting. Please join the stakeholders on Thursday, November 18, at 1 p.m. Our meeting location has changed to  Philadelphia Center for ARTS and Technology (PCAT) 2111-13 Eastburn Avenue behind Hope Charter School.  Our topic this month  is “Resources for Senior Members of our Community.” For more information contact EPIC Coordinator Nan Rhone at 215-549-2686.

Give Views on School Violence

Have you experienced bullying or violence at your school because of your race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation?

How did your school respond?

Who helps to reduce violence and conflict and create harmony at your school (teachers, staff, classmates, outside programs, community organizations)? What suggestions do you have to make your school safer?

The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations is holding a series of public hearings, designed as listening sessions, to hear from students, parents, faculty, police, community members, and youth organizations about violence and intimidation in the City’s public schools.

The hearings will focus on violence and intimidation motivated by race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

The final hearing will be Tuesday, Nov. 16, 4-6 p.m., at Columbus Square Recreation Center, 12th and Wharton streets. Come out and be heard. For more information go to:

You must register to testify: e-mail Naarah’ Crawley at naarah.crawley or call 215-686-4674. You can also submit your testimony in any language via e-mail to:  

Your testimony will help create a report with recommendations that will be submitted to the School District. 

If you need an ASL interpreter, or other accommodation please call TTY: 215-686-3238 or e-mail

MAUSA First-Time Homebuyers Workshop

For first-time buyers, making the investment in a new home is as complex as it is exciting. Mt. Airy, USA, a HUD-certified counseling agency, offers services designed to teach the basics and beyond, including purchasing foreclosed homes.

Free First-Time Homebuyer Workshops will be held at Mt. Airy, USA’s office, 6703 Germantown Avenue, Suite 200, on November 18, December 2 and December 16 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.  They’ve been offered for 15 years and Mt. Airy, USA has helped more than 4,000 individuals buy their homes and avoid foreclosure.  To register go to

For more personal, one-on-one advice, Mt. Airy, USA offers individual homebuyer counseling sessions on a sliding scale basis. The sessions are offered at a reduced rate due to subsidies from HUD and the Philadelphia Office of Housing and Community Development. Private credit and budgeting counseling is also available, offering tools and instruction to help individuals manage finances, improve their credit and build their savings.  To sign up for individual counseling email Marianne Holt at or call 215-844-6021 x213.

Pies at Grumblethorpe

Don’t have time to bake pies for Thanksgiving?  Still want something homemade?  No problem!  The Grumblethorpe Youth Volunteers would be happy to do that for you.

Grumblethorpe is offering a selection of apple, pumpkin and sweet potato pies for sale through advance order.  Pies are homemade (including the crust) by a group of 20 local middle and high school students who volunteer their time monthly and at special events at Grumblethorpe, a historic house museum located at 5267 Germantown Avenue (at Queen Lane).  Each pie is 9” and made with all natural ingredients, some, such as the pumpkins and sweet potatoes, grown in the Grumblethorpe garden and planted by local school  children through the Grumblethorpe education program.  Pick up date is November 24,  from 3 – 6PM.   Delivery is an option for those who live in Germantown.

They are asking $8 each for apple pies and $9 each for both pumpkin and sweet potato pies.  Delivery will cost an extra $2. Proceeds will go towards activities for the Grumblethorpe Youth Volunteers.   To place an order, please call Diana Thompson at 215-843-4820 or email grumblethorpe  Payment is appreciated in advance.

A free cooking class for boys and girls 5-15 years old will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, November 13, at Project Learn School, 6525 Germantown Avenue, as part of the school’s Saturday Arts Program. This month’s class will feature great Thanksgiving side dishes. For more information call the school at 215-438-3623.

Chestnut Hill Historial Association Applies for Land Trust Accreditation

The Chestnut Hill Historical Society is pleased to announce that it has been approved to apply for accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission (LTAC). This program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. “We are very pleased that the LTAC has accepted our pre-application, and will now be able to submit our full application for accreditation,” said Jennifer S. Hawk, Executive Director of CHHS. “Throughout the past two years, a team of board members, staff and legal counsel have been preparing and implementing new policies and standards which have strengthened our easement program and our organization as a whole.  We are grateful to the Land Trust Alliance Commission for this opportunity, and for the generous funding and support of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association and for PECO’s grant for the accreditation process through its Green Region Program.”

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance (LTA), conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs.  The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications.  A public comment period is now open. Comments must relate to how CHHS complies with national quality standards.

These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust. 

For the full list of standards, see  To learn more about the accreditation program and/or to submit a comment to the accreditation commission, visit  Comments may also be faxed or mailed to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn:  Public Comments: (fax) 518-587-3183; (mail) 112 Spring Street, Suite 204, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Comments on the CHHS application will be most useful by January 3, 2011.

Twenty years ago, the Historical Society acquired its first easement, protecting 3.6 acres of land and one historic façade.

Today, our easement program protects over 68 acres of open space in Philadelphia and nearby suburbs, restricting future development, helping to preserve wildlife habitats and to safeguard the Wissahickon watershed. Properties consisting of more than one-half acre of land suitable for development that are adjacent to Fairmount Park, have a direct effect on the Wissahickon watershed and/or contain native specimen plants and trees are the highest priority for protection.

If your property meets these requirements and to learn more about the easement program, contact Jennifer Garfield, CHHS Easement Manager, at 215 247-0417, ext.204 or, or visit for more information.  

Weird Wastes

GRINCH (GReen IN Chestnut Hill) is throwing another Weird Waste Day -electronic waste event on Saturday, November 13 from 1-4 p.m. in the Valley Green Bank parking lot on Highland Avenue. Visit the GRINCH blog for a complete list of accepted electronics. And now that GRINCH is an official non-profit your expense can be used as a tax deduction.

A ‘Dickens’ of a Christmas at Maxwell Mansion

Upcoming events at Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, 200 West Tulpehocken Street, include:

For families, the Mansion hosts its annual Dickens Christmas Party, Saturday, December 11, from 2 - 5 p.m. You won’t see Ebenezer Scrooge, but rather his famed creator. In the tradition of true Victorian hospitality, luscious cookies and Christmas punch will be served in the dining room.  Louisa May Alcott will read from her works and the Ghost of Christmas Present will read The Night Before Christmas.  Children can buy items from our gift shop, and art teacher, Antoinette, will help them wrap purchases and make holiday cards.

Charles Dickens performed readings of his classic novel A Christmas Carol during the Victorian era.  Philadelphia actor Josh Hitchens will recreate this reading with a one-man performance, bringing Dickens’ “Ghost Story for Christmas” to life like you’ve never seen it before. 

Tickets are adults $16, children under 10 free when accompanied by an adult. 

Reservations are suggested.

For adults, the Mansion and Avenida Restaurant will present “Dickens at the Mansion” on Wednesday evenings, December 1 and 8, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The first stop is the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, decorated in Victorian holiday splendor, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. for tours of the Mansion accompanied with wine and Avenida’s three cheese quesadilla. Josh Hitchens will read A Christmas Carol at 6:30 p.m.

Second stop is Avenida, at the corner of Gowen Avenue and Germantown avenues, from 7:45 p.m. until dinner’s over.

The menu includes:

Choice of Appetizers

Roasted Beet Salad, fresh fennel, manchego cheese, mango vinagaigrette, Queso fondido, black beans, chorize, roasted poblanos, Vegetarian Fondido, soy chorizo, black beans, roasted poblanos.

Choice of Entrees

Pork Pibil, green mole, zucchini cheese pastel, Grilled Tuna, yucca cakes, chipotle Brussels sprouts, balsamic reduction, Roasted Chicken Mishote, sautéed vegetables, steamed rice.


Tres Leches with Nutella Cream

Vanilla Flan with cranberry mango sauce

All this for only $60 per person.

For information and to buy tickets go to or phone 215-438-1861 for tickets and details.

MAUSA Earns Design Honors

Pictured above from left to right are Mt. Airy, USA Board Co-President Lesley Seitchik, Senior Project Manager of Weinstein Properties Kate Gallagher, Mt. Airy, USA Director of Commercial Corridor Revitalization Elizabeth Moselle, Ken Weinstein of Weinstein Properties and the Trolley Car Diner and Deputy Mayor of Commerce Kevin Dow, at the DesignPhiladelphia 2010 Citywide Storefront Challenge award ceremony in October at the Philadelphia Center for Architecture.

Mt. Airy, USA earned Citywide Storefront Challenge’s “Instigator Award” for its work to improve building facades along Germantown Avenue. The award was designed to honor a business for a project that inspired a neighborhood to improve its building facades. The Citywide Storefront Challenge jury decided to honor Mt. Airy, USA for the volume of its of façade improvement projects and positive impact on Germantown Avenue. In the past 18 months, 20 significant storefront improvement projects were completed in Mt. Airy and about 10 more are expected in the coming months.

Mt. Airy, USA’s design-related impact on “The Ave” has included the renovations of numerous storefronts, facade grants to area merchants and property owners, free design assistance for merchants, murals, the planting of street trees, the installation of dozens of bike racks, and a comprehensive streetscape improvement project, currently underway.

Rock the Blocks, Mt. Airy, USA’s campaign of physical streetscape improvements along the corridor, includes the addition of vibrant murals, lighting, landscaping, sidewalks, curbs and solar powered trash receptacles along Germantown Avenue, a premier destination for dining, art and shopping. The project’s goal is to create an inviting landscape for pedestrians, attract new retail shops and restaurants to the area and public spaces where people can enjoy meeting and interacting with their neighbors.

Mt. Airy’s Imperial Chinese, located at 7134 Germantown Avenue, won the Unique Sign Honorable Mention for its sign, developed and installed through Mt. Airy, USA’s recent Targeted Façade Improvement Program.

Mt. Airy, USA seeks to improve the quality of life for Mt. Airy through three program areas: Real Estate Development, Commercial Corridor Revitalization, and Neighborhood Programs.

For more information, call 215-844-6021 or visit

Park Restoration Meeting

The Friends of the Wissahickon (FOW) will host a public meeting to discuss work completed in Wissahickon Valley Park in 2010 and upcoming environmental restoration projects in the park for 2011. A representative from Philadelphia Parks and Recreation will be present. The meeting will take place on Monday, November 22, at the New Covenant Campus, 7500 Germantown Avenue, 6 p.m. in Room A1 of Founders Hall.

The meeting will include a recap of trail work and planting completed on trails leading to Devil’s Pool by FOW and volunteers in 2009, as well as an overview of the Wissahickon Stormwater Mitigation and Sediment Reduction Project to be conducted in 2011 and funded by Merck & Co., Inc. This project is being undertaken in connection with the settlement of an enforcement action, US & PADEP v. Merck & Co., Inc.

According to FOW Executive Director Maura McCarthy, the public meeting is being held to inform the public and solicit feedback on FOW environmental restoration projects in the Wissahickon. Those wishing to attend the meeting should register with FOW at 215-247-0417 or Those wishing to have particular topics covered at the meeting should inform FOW upon registering.

The Friends of the Wissahickon, founded in 1924, is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the Wissahickon Valley. For more information visit

Top Storytellers at Tellebration

Saturday, November 20 marks Philadelphia’s  Tellebration! Gathering, part of a worldwide benefit to celebrate the artful joy of storytelling. Patchwork: A Storytelling Guild is producing the event in cooperation with Keepers of The Culture, Philadelphia’s African American storytelling group. Featured are six tellers whose abilities and life experience combine with the topic to create a lively afternoon.

This year’s Tellabration features host Nashid Ali, musical interludes by Yesseh Ali, and storytellers Milt Cohen, Vernyce Dannells, Tom Egan, Nic Esposito, Debra E. Johnson, Claudia Lees, Loretta Lucy Miller and Dennis Strain.

The parish hall of St. Martin-in the Fields in Chestnut Hill , Willow Grove Avenue and St. Martins Lane opens the door to adult story lovers at 2 p.m. Reserve your place by calling Vernyce Dannells at 215-275-9324. Advance tickets are $8, $10 at the door.

Vegan Thanksgiving

Join Public Eye: Artists for Animals for a Vegan Thanksgiving at Chestnut Hill Seventh Day Adventist Church, 8700 Germantown Avenue, (corner of Rex Street and Germantown Avenue, parking lot on Rex). Meet others who consciously choose a lifestyle based on compassion for all beings. Participate in a community ritual to express gratitude for human and nonhuman animals. Bring a potluck vegan dish to share (no animal products). Non-vegan friends and family are welcome to attend.

RSVP is required. The event is Thursday, November 25, 4 – 6 p.m. A $5 donation is requested. To RSVP contact Lisa Levinson, e-mail, phone 215-620-2130. For more information visit

Green Tree Benefit

On  Tuesday, November 23,  5 – 9 p.m., join Green Tree Community Health Foundation at Ten Thousand Villages, 8331 Germantown Avenue for an evening of shopping and  enjoy some wine and cheese. 15 percent of all sales benefit Green Tree Community Health Foundation’s grantmaking efforts.  Ten Thousand Villages presents a world of difference with exquisite home décor, personal accessories and gift items handcrafted by artisans around the world.

Green Tree Community Health Foundation funds local non-profit organizations that support children and families, Elderly and under/uninsured individuals.  Since inception in 2005, the Foundation has given more than 250 grants totaling over $4 million to 100+ organizations. 

For questions call 215-438-8102 or email us at info@greentreecommunity.

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Fire broke at on the third floor of the former Germanton YWCA building  on Wednesday, October 13, causing damage primarily to the third floor, according to the Philadelphia Fire Department. The blaze was reported at 5:16 p.m. and was declared under control about an hour later. The fire was intentionally set, according to the Fire Department. Two firefighters were injured battling the blaze, neither seriously. A week later the city’s Redevelopment Authority announced its intention to reclaim the property from Germantown Settlement; for more see story below.