From the Chronicle • Germantown News Stories

November 26, 2009 • Germantown Chronicle.112609.pdf

In This Issue

Pinning Ceremony Supports GHS Seniors

Avenue Reopens

New Courtland Revises Parking Plans

YMCA Hires Former Director

Residents Revisit Germantown 1928 ‘Negro Achievement Week’

No More Mechanical Leaf Collection

Walk the Wissahickon with FOWTrail Ambassadors

Advent Vespers at LTSP

HIV/AIDS Awareness

Christmas Concert at Grace

‘Shopping for Dignity’

Holiday Tea at Stenton

Jewel Noel on December 2

Shop Local, Earn Decemberfest Certificates

Holiday Shopping Tips from Citizens Bank

Northwest Art Collective Show Open from Nov. 29 to Jan. 31

Avenue Reopens!

The schedule for the reconstruction of Germantown Avenue for the week of Saturday, November 21 through Friday, November 27 is as follows:

The roadway reconstruction on Germantown Avenue is scheduled to be completed on November 25. Germantown Avenue will reopen between Queen Lane and Coulter Street.

Queen Lane to Coulter Street. Germantown Avenue has been closed to vehicular traffic from just north of Queen Lane to just south of Coulter Street for the reconstruction of the roadway. The road will be reopened to traffic on November 25. On November 25 Queen Lane will revert back to the preconstruction one-way traffic pattern from Greene Street to Germantown Avenue. The contractor will continue with the installation of the sidewalks along Germantown Avenue. Additional crews will continue the installation of the street light foundations and trolley poles. The contractor is scheduled to work Monday through Wednesday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. No work will be performed on Thanksgiving Day.

Coulter Street to Church Lane. The contractor will continue to install the overhead trolley wires and traffic signal wires. The contractor is also scheduled to continue the installation of the parking and street name signs. This work will result in parking restrictions along the Avenue during working hours. The contractor is scheduled to work Monday through Wednesday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. No work will be performed on Thanksgiving Day.

Ashmead Street to Queen Lane. Crews will continue the installation of the overhead catenary and traffic signal wires. The remaining work will result in lane shifts and parking restrictions during working hours. The contractor is scheduled to work Monday through Wednesday, 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. No work will be performed on Thanksgiving Day.

New Courtland Revises Parking Plans


Editorial Staff Intern

Only four local  residents braved the rain to attend the near neighbors’ meeting held at the Cliveden Convalescent Center, 6400 Greene Street, on Thursday evening, November 19, to discuss New Courtland Elder Services’ revised site plans for the Independent Living Apartment Building it wants to build adjacent to the Center. The meeting was sponsored by the Duval Improvement Association (DIA) and West Mount Airy Neighbors (WMAN).

Max Kent, senior project manager for New Courtland Elder Services, conducted the meeting. Plans presented call for a five-story facility with a community room with kitchenette, a laundry room on each floor, two offices, a garden courtyard, a Neighborhood Computer Center and 75 free parking spaces for residents and family members. Each one-bedroom apartment would be 560 square feet, and include a full-size refrigerator and stove. All units would be fully handicapped-accessible, with priority for disabled tenants.

The revised site plans include 75 parking spaces versus an original 60 spaces.  New Courtland recently became aware that people using the train were also using their parking lot. “We are in the process of issuing parking permits to our employees. After sufficient notice, we will start enforcing it heavily,” said Michael Heyward, maintenance supervisor at Cliveden Convalescent Center. The new parking lot would be equipped with swipe guards.

“Two of the community’s biggest concerns were parking and security,” said Debra Ellerby, vice-president of the DIA.  “We have been in a constant dialog with residents.”

Andrew Gutknecht, a local resident, said his main concerns were traffic flow and buffering.  Gutknecht wants to minimize the impact of a five-story building on the “old quiet feel of the neighborhood.”

Kent stated that many tenants might be from the local area. Some residents “grew up here, raised a family and want to continue to maintain that legacy by staying connected to their family and friends who live in the community, said Kent.

When asked if in the future the building could be reconfigured to become a nursing home, Kent said it would violate one of the stipulations of the tax credit. 

Shanda Brown, director of housing, said that many residents are no longer capable of managing a home by themselves or driving. “Our goal is to help them remain in their own home, remain independent, and continue to make contributions to their community,” said Brown.

Lizabeth Macoretta, executive director of WMAN voiced her concerns about  residents possibly wandering confused and disoriented around the neighborhood. 

Brown said that New Courtland works with the family or legal guardian to evaluate the needs of individual tenants.  New Courtland is associated with the Living Independently For Elders Program or L.I.F.E. Program, which is a medical modeled day health program.  L.I.F.E. follows the national PACE model (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly).

One unique feature of New Courtland’s Independent Living Apartments is Health Sense, a health maintenance system that contains a wellness component.  It uses sensors to remotely monitor daily life activities and vital signs such as blood pressure, weight and blood sugar levels, allowing residents to age in place safely.

“We tried to create a friendly contextual site that would connect visually to the current neighborhood,” John Hayes, FAIA principal of Blackney Hayes Architects, said.  “I think this is a well-built, dollar-respectable design.” The architects tried to balance the concerns of the residents with the constraints of the site, he said.

Macoretta invited everyone to attend the next zoning committee meeting on December 2, at Summit Presbyterian Church, 6757 Greene Street. New Courtland’s proposal will then be presented to the WMAN zoning board to be voted on.

YMCARehires Former Director to Guide Reopening


Staff Writer

The YMCA of Germantown has been closed to the public for nearly a year and a half but while it’s still deep in legal and financial battles, a recent decision by its board of directors may indicate some light at the end of the tunnel. On November 18 the board voted to hire former YMCA of Germantown director Pete Smith, who twice before restored the organization to financial stability, to help get the community programs up and running once more.

“I kind of look at myself as being the one to get things moving here,” Smith told the board prior to its vote that night. “But it’s going to be a team effort and I’m going to look at calling on you a lot.”

Smith got to work at the building the very next day.

Officially, he will be a consultant. His mission is to take stock of the building and the organization’s financial health. He will assess the damages that have set in since the July 2008 sprinkler pipe burst that closed the Y, and the work that has been done since then by volunteers and contractors. Then he will form a plan for how to rebuild what he sees as a new community institution that is not the YMCA.

“I think we need to be clear about that,” he said his first day on the job. “It’s not going to be the YMCA.”

Smith, who spent his career working for the YMCA of the USA, was referring to that organization’s June decision to revoke the Germantown Y’s charter following almost a year of closure. With that came losses of resources, including roughly $85,000 per year in funding through the United Way. This change alone means the fitness and community programs cannot be exactly the same as they were before.

“It now becomes very important to operate in a much different light,” Smith said. “The fitness center has to run at a profit… And the next thing we need to do is, we need to get the kids back in the Y because that’s what we’re there for… and that would be the after school program and, when summer comes around, the day camp.”

At the meeting November 18, board Secretary Connie Billé called this strategy a “staged opening.” Smith will be there to identify what stages to get in place at what time. He will help the Y build its staff back up and eventually assist it in finding a new, permanent executive director.

Challenges ahead

To do all of this, Smith plans on consistent, almost daily contact with the Germantown Y’s board of directors, which was officially reformed in August when ten new members joined (over objection from some standing board members), courtesy of a grass-roots-organized membership vote. The board will also be working its way through numerous other challenges, the most recent being an $86,000 lawsuit against the Y by Jan Rubin Associates (JRA), the firm that set up millions in tax-credit funding to the men’s residence portion of the Y during the early 1990s.

The suit alleges breach of contract by the Y on a 2007 agreement for JRA to close out the first round of tax credits from the 1990s and initiate a new round. The Y stopped paying JRA this year, after $350,000 in fees and no new application for the second round of tax credits, according to Germantown Y board minutes and the JRA claim. 

In addition, the Y faces a $69,000 suit by Proaction Carpet Cleaning and Restoration, which did water damage work on the building immediately following the flood, and it has yet to reach a settlement with both the New Hampshire Insurance Company and the Philadelphia firm Funari Public Adjusters, which the Germantown Y fired before completing its negotiations with New Hampshire Insurance.

Several board members including Board Chair and Chair of the Finance Committee Jim Foster [who is also the publisher of Germantown Newspapers] consider these last three matters close to resolution. A check for $131,000 from New Hampshire Insurance may be some indication of that hope, though the Y has not officially accepted the check.

In the most basic terms, the Germantown Y still has a numbers problem. Although the residence portion of the facility, which occupies the large rear section of the building and can house over 100 individuals, still operates in the black thanks to public funding through the Office of Supportive Housing, it does not make enough money to sustain the fitness and community portions of the Y, and its revenue is not intended for that purpose anyway.  

Remaining Repairs

Contractors and volunteers have done enough repair work to the building since it closed that what remains to be done is essentially cosmetic. The board’s Recovery Committee, headed by architect Peter Bentivegna and construction manager Dan McDevitt, estimate that remaining work will cost about $250,000 to complete. One advantage of having Smith on the job is that he can help the board prioritize those repairs according to what the new programs will need, Bentivegna said.

One set of numbers questions hinges on where the Y will get the money it needs for the remaining repairs and for new staff hires to support programs. Many on the board, as well as Smith, are hoping some of that will come from renewed community interest.

Another piece of the numbers puzzle could be a loss-of-business claim the Y has yet to file with its insurer.

Foster has begun work with Apex Integrated Solutions of New Jersey, the Y’s accounting firm, to put together solid estimates for how much business the Y lost from having to be closed for so long, he said. But here’s where an important wrinkle comes in.

Financial records and board minutes from the time following the flood until the board reorganized in August are still being pieced together. Board members like Foster hope these records will not only help with the loss-of-business claim but might also answer some lingering questions.

One large unanswered question is why the facility remained closed for so long when it apparently had more than enough cash on hand to make the building repairs at the time of the flood, or shortly afterward. According to internal financial documents prepared by Apex in December 2008 the Y had more than $440,000 in cash after six months of inactivity due to the flood, enough money to cover the current cost of repairs plus all the outstanding legal claims.

Tensions remain on the merged board of directors over this and other issues. For example, former Board Chair Marion Taylor announced November 18 that she had possession of “formalized minutes” of the board meetings from the time period in question, but she declined to make them available to the current board members because she did not trust their reactions.

“I’m not gonna share them until I can get someone to witness what I am sharing,” she said.

Nevertheless, the consensus with the organization is to move forward. And on his second day at the facility - the same one he ran previously for a total of 10 years - Pete Smith was moving forward as well. Even though it hurt.

“I’m walking around with a smile on my face here,” he said. “I’m smiling to keep from crying.”

He wasn’t alone. At the board meeting, 12th Ward Democratic Leader Greg Paulmier was eager to see progress too. He wanted to be a part of it, and he thought the rest of the community would feel the same way.

“Give us all something to do,” he said. “I think the wealth in Germantown is that we all want to be part of making things better.”

CurrentYMCAof German-town Board members include Peter Bentivegna, Connie Billè, Pamela Bracey, Rev. Ann Colley, Jim Foster, Ahlia Love, Dan McDevitt, Thomas Norfleet, Floretta Tiggett, Marion Taylor, Derek Green, Marcus Allen, Curnel Bridges and Fred Lewis.

Residents Revisit Germantown’s 1928 ‘Negro Achievement Week’


Guest Writers

David Young, president of Historic Germantown, a group of more than a dozen historic sites in the Northwest, can name several reasons why Germantown is the most historic neighborhood in America. They include the Battle of Germantown in 1777, the first protest against slavery in 1688 and the first European-language Bible published in America.

Perhaps one of the least well-known reasons is an event in 1928 when prominent African Americans, including civil rights activist W.E.B. DuBois, art patron Alain Locke and violinist Clarence Cameron White, came to Germantown for Negro Achievement Week. That event is also the reason that a group of Northwest residents gathered on Thursday, November 19 at Center in the Park, 5818 Germantown Avenue, in Vernon Park.

The gathering was part of two overlapping initiatives of Historic Germantown: Germantown Speaks, and Germantown Works, which both aim to spread the word about Germantown’s history through residents.

“Germantown Works is to promote the positive history of Germantown and… to stimulate interest in more recent history,” Young said. “Germantown Speaks is an attempt to get younger people to talk to older residents about the more recent past.”

Thursday’s gathering was the fourth and final discussion in the Germantown Speaks program, which included Germantown High School students who asked older residents what life was like growing up in Germantown.

Marie Connaghan, who teaches history and journalism classes at Germantown High School, volunteered her students to provide a younger perspective in the discussions.

“They were really tentative when we first asked them to come and interview the groups,” Connaghan said. “I think they’ve enjoyed talking about the basic things that high schoolers experience, which is a lot of what they seem to be looking for as they document the cultural history of Germantown.”

Community residents were just as eager to learn about what today’s high school kids are like.

“All the conversations are distinctive,” Young said. “But one thing they all have in common is that by the end of the event it turns to people asking students questions more than students asking the questions.”

Ira Luke, program assistant of Historic Germantown and an alumnus of Germantown High, said these discussions are a way to build a stronger sense of community in Germantown.

“For me and the [current] students, it’s a way for us to get to know what was going on previously in the school,” Luke said. “Some of the trials and tribulations they may have went through, the good times, the bad times, ways that we can connect our stories…a way for us to share a history.”

Eli Williams, 16, was one of two Germantown High School students who attended Thursday’s event. He is in Connaghan’s history class, and though his participation is part of his senior project, he said the discussions he been fun.

“We use the same questions, but always get something different,” Williams said. “I get more understanding about their life. I’m surprised by how much trouble people have had, what they had to go through in life and where they’re at today.”

Getting high school students to listen to another generation’s stories is one of Connaghan’s goals.

“I think it’s important for students to interact with older people who are not necessarily exactly like them but do have something in common with them,” Connaghan said. “It helps them set their sights for what their future might be like as well as learn lessons from those people of experience.”

Though the focus is on learning from each other, Young delivered a short speech about Negro Achievement Week before the discussion.

The Negro Achievement Week in April, 1928 featured speakers, music performances and art exhibitions throughout Germantown, one of which was the former Germantown branch of the Free Library, the building that now houses Center in the Park.

At the time Germantown had a large population of both blacks and whites. “The event proved to be quite a remarkable find when I saw this in the archives,” Young said. “What makes this program quite exceptional is that people worked together across the aisles.”

Working together is a theme Young stressed throughout the night. Because there are so many different organizations in the community – 93 churches, 11 community development corporations, 52 neighborhood advisory committees and two mosques – collaboration doesn’t often happen.

“There’s a tendency to split off when remembering the past so we have an isolated way of looking at history,” Young said. “It’s rare in Germantown to combine efforts.”

The plethora of organizations in Germantown grew out of segregation when every public institution had to be split along racial lines. This was another reason why the Negro Achievement Week was unique. The Inter-racial Committee of the Germantown YWCA sponsored it.

The Negro Achievement Week in Germantown was the third to take place. The first was held in 1926 in Washington, D.C., a second in Chicago the next year. Historian Carter Woodson created the Negro Achievement Week, the seed which later bloomed into Black History Month.

“This week is a program that everyone ought to know about,” Young said. “Germantown is about more than colonial and Revolutionary War history. A whole other century happened [that’s] just as incredible.”

Carol Mack, a 60-year-old resident of Mt. Airy, said she’s been learning a lot through the program. On Thursday she was surprised to find out that 1,200 members of the Ku Klux Klan lived in Germantown during the time of the Negro Achievement Week.

“I’m glad that the history is finally being told, and people don’t have to fear that they can’t discuss it,” Mack said. “It’s great to sit down together and talk. It’s something we need to do more often.”

Rev. Nancy Muth, senior pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, agreed. A dialogue bringing residents together is the goal of the program, she said.

“The people sitting in this room have never sat together before,” Muth said. “There’s so much diversity, and I’m not just talking about racial but age and where in Germantown they’re from.”

Though Thursday was the final discussion, the program was such a success that Young and Muth hope to continue it in the future.

“If we had more energy, we’d have another four,” Muth said.

The authors work for Philadelphia Neighborhoods at at Temple University’s Department of Journalism.

GRINCH’s (GReenINChestnutHill) Weird Waste Day in Chestnut Hill on Saturday, November 14, collected nearly 5 tons of E-Waste. People came from all over the city and suburbs, including a couple from South Philadelphia who came in their Philly Car Share car. The Night Kitchen Bakery sponsored the truck and volunteered during the event. Proceeds will benefit The Jenks School and GRINCH. IRN (Institutional Recycling Network) was hired to collect the electronics for responsible reuse and recycling. A big thanks to the Chestnut Hill Parking Foundation for use of the Highland Avenue parking lot. For information about GRINCH visit

No More Mechanical Leaf Collection

The Streets Department’s 2009 Bagged Leaf Collection began on Monday, November 9 and will run through Friday, December 18.  Leaves should be set out in biodegradable paper bags to facilitate recycling.

Follow these tips for bagged leaf collection:

There will be curbside collection only.

Bags should be placed curbside on your rubbish/recycling collection day.

Leaves should be collected in biodegradable paper bags.  These bags can be processed for recycling along with the leaves. This reduces contamination in the recycling process, and allows crews to work more efficiently and more easily identify your bags as leaves. Leaves set out in other bags or containers may be collected as rubbish.

The Streets Department does not provide the biodegradable bags.  Residents may purchase them at local home improvement stores and supermarkets.

Never mix trash or other recyclable materials with bagged leaves. This contaminates leaves and makes them unfit for recycling purposes.

No collection will occur on a City holiday.

Bagged leaves may be taken to any of our two Citizen Drop-off locations:

3033 S. 63rd Street, and State Road and Ashburner Street.

Due to budgetary constraints, the Streets Department’s leaf recycling program will not offer mechanical leaf collection, said Commissioner Clarena Tolson.  “It will not be provided this year as a supplement to bagged collections.  There will be only curbside collection for those areas that previously had mechanical cleaning.”

Leaf collection recycling is one of several services provided by the Streets Department to honor the City’s ongoing commitment to recycling.  Recycling leaves helps to reduce the amount of materials that reach the waste stream and saves landfill space.

Residents may call the Streets Department’s Customer Affairs Unit at 215-686-5560; visit us online at, or call 3-1-1 for information about leaf collection or any other Streets Department service.

Walk the Wissahickon with FOWTrail Ambassadors

The Friends of the Wissahickon offers free nature walks in Wissahickon Valley Park this winter led by FOW Trail Ambassadors. Walks last up to two hours. Unless otherwise specified, these hikes use rocky, rugged trails that may be wet, slippery, or steep. Please bring water and snacks if desired.  Children over six are welcome if accompanied by an adult. Walks are cancelled in heavy rain or icy conditions. Visit for updated information. Walks include:

Sunday, Nov.29: hike with Merritt Rhoad. Meet at Northwestern Avenue and Forbidden Drive at 1 p.m. Distance traveled will be about four miles. Hikers will use the orange and white trails to the Indian Statue, returning to Northwestern Avenue via the yellow trail. We will talk about a bit of geology, history, WPA efforts, Sustainable Trail Initiative, and current FOW activities.

Saturday, Dec. 19: the Mighty Wissahickon with Scott Quitel, 9 a.m. to noon. In this hike, our focus will be on the Creek. The first half of walk will be a moderately strenuous trek (some rocky and some wet areas) along the orange trail from Valley Green to Kitchen’s Lane. The return route will be along Forbidden Drive. Dress for conditions and bring water and food as desired.

Total distance covered is about 4 miles. Meet at Valley Green Inn. For information e-mail to  

Advent Vespers at LTSP

The Annual Advent Vespers of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), to be held Sunday, December 6, at 7:30 pm, will be on the theme “Repent! Prepare! Rejoice!” The service is free and open to the public, and will be held at Grace Epiphany Episcopal Church, 224 East Gowen Avenue.

The Vespers will celebrate the life and ministry of the Rev. Dr. Robert Bornemann, professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at LTSP for 41 years, and director of the seminary choir from 1955 to 1990. Dr. Bornemann was noted for his love of music, and created a number of pieces for the seminary choir as well as for the wider church, along with collaborating with other composers.

The Seminary Choir, under the leadership of Dr. Michael Krentz, Director of Music Ministries/ Seminary Cantor, will lead the Vespers. Music will include compositions by Robert Bornemann, Edward V. Bonnemere, Georg Philip Telemann, and a South African traditional tune arranged by Nancy Grundahl.

The church is two blocks east of the LTSP campus on East Gowen Avenue. On-street parking is available, or park on the LTSP campus and walk the short distance to the church.

HIV/AIDS Awareness

During the month of December Covenant House Health Services at its 251 East Bringhurst Street site is sponsoring a number of special activities in recognition of HIV Awareness Month. These activities are open to the public.

Every Wednesday during the month of December community residents are invited to walk-in for HIV education, screening and counseling and free condoms between the hours of  9-11 a.m., and 1-3 p.m. The Circle of Care will be at the Bringhurst Street site every Wednesday during December. Covenant House’s own Family Planning Counselor will be available to provide additional education and counseling throughout the month.

For information, call Robin B. Brown, and Beatrice Johnson at 215-844-1020.

Christmas Concert at Grace

On Sunday, December 6, at 4 p.m. the Men’s Chorus of Grace Baptist Church of Germantown, under the direction of Ms. Marilyn P. George, presents “This Christmas,” a free concert to usher in the holiday season. The church is located at 25 West Johnson Street and the concert will be held in the sanctuary.

The Chorus will be joined by the Anwar Marshall Jazz Trio performing seasonal popular and sacred music including Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas,” “Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer,” “Mary Did You Know,” “Betelehemu” (Nigerian Christmas Song), arrangements of traditional spirituals, and, “Silent Night” (a la The Temptations).

This annual event is presented by the Men’s Club of Grace Baptist Church.

For information call the church office at 215-438-3215.

‘Shopping for Dignity’

An event that offers Philadelphians a way to save money while buying holiday gifts, support the local economy, and donate to a deserving non-profit organization has arrived.  Dignity Housing has partnered with several small business owners to host the first annual “Shopping for Dignity” on Nov. 27 and Dec. 16.

When shoppers purchase items at the participating businesses, it will have a double impact.  They will put money back into their community and make a contribution to directly benefit homeless families and individuals. Fifteen percent of sales will be donated to Dignity Housing, 5221 Germantown Avenue, a nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing and social services.

Shopping for Dignity featuresseveral Germantown Avenue businesses on Nov. 27, including Ten Thousand Villages, Rothe Flowers, The Trolley Car Diner, The Hill Tea Bar, Lemons and Limes, and Majeki’s Stained Glass Works. DecemberFest will also take place on Nov. 27, enabling consumers to triple the impact of their shopping.  In addition, Earth Bread + Brewery and Artisans on the Avenue will participate on Dec.16.

“This event is particularly appealing because it enables consumers to buy gifts while having a powerful effect on their community,” says Andrea Abrams-Herbert, owner of Artista on Germantown Avenue.

For information about Shopping for Dignity or Dignity Housing visit

Ring in First Friday with Tree Lighting, Carol Sing

Start Mt. Airy December First Friday at the Tree Lighting and Carol Sing at William Allen Plaza on the campus of the Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Avenue, on Friday, December 4 at 6 p.m.

There will be caroling with the Salvation Army Philadelphia Citadel Brass Ensemble, and refreshments. Bring unwrapped toys for children ages newborn to 12 years. There is free parking on campus adjacent to the Brossman Center. The celebration is free and open to the public, and will be held rain, clear or snow!

New, unwrapped toys appropriate for children ages newborn to 12 will be collected for the Salvation Army’s Stockings for Kids program, see the list of suggested items below or on the LTSP Web site. Caroling with the Salvation Army Philadelphia Citadel Brass Ensemble will add to the festive time.

After the festivities, explore the Avenue in Mt. Airy and special Mt. Airy First Friday offerings, which can be found at

The event is sponsored by LTSP and Mt. Airy community partners.

Suggested holiday gift items to be brought include:

Age 0-1 (Boy or Girl) - teether, rattle, bibs, baby wipes, lotion, shampoo, brush, soft toys, stuffed animals, bath toys, socks, hats, T-shirts and sleepers.

Age 2-3 (Boy or Girl) - dolls, Beanie Babies, boat, cars, books, Little People, Lego set, bath toys, socks, mittens, caps, T-shirts and educational aid toys.

Age 4-7 (Girl) - ink pad, stamps, crayons, clay, lego sets, jump rope, jacks, stickers, hat, gloves, Beanie Babies, doll clothes, Scrunchies, and barrettes.

Age 4-7 (boy) - fun pad, videos, crayons, coloring books, hand-held games, puzzles, Lego set, action figures and baseball cards.

Age 8-10 (girl) - school supplies, videos, puzzles, books, scarf, hat, gloves, jewelry, stuffed animals, Barbie Doll, clothes, paint set, markers, colored pencils.

Age 8-10 (boy) - school supplies, hand-held electronic games, hats, gloves, airplane kit, Star Wars figures, puzzles, dominoes, Nerf football, and Velcro glove.

Age 11+ (girl) - videos, CD’s, radio, books, card games, fast food certificates, school supplies, calculator, brush, comb, soap, lotion, and Walkman.

Age 11+ (boy) - videos, cassettes, CD’s, electronic games, calculator, books, card games, fast food certificates, school supplies, baseball cap and glove, and Walkman

For more information visit

Holiday Gift Bazaar to Benefit Lwala

A Holiday Craft Bazaar will be held Saturday, December 5 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the dining room of the Green Street Meetinghouse at 45 Schoolhouse Lane. There will be a variety of handmade items crafted by local artisans. The reasonably priced crafts will include jewelry, ornaments, cards, dolls, winter hats and gloves, garden sculptures, and home-baked goods.

A significant portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Lwala Community Alliance, a non-profit that was formed to improve conditions in Lwala, a remote village in Kenya. Last year’s Holiday Bazaar raised money for a women’s sewing project in Lwala. This year’s funds will be earmarked for providing high school education for girls from the village.

All are welcome to come celebrate the season, socialize, shop, and contribute to this good cause.

For more information on the work of the Lwala Community Alliance, please go to For more details on the Holiday Bazaar, please contact Nancy Liles at 856-265-6123.

Holiday Tea at Stenton

Visit historic Stenton on Saturday, Dec. 5 between 2-4 p.m. and usher in the holiday season with a special holiday tea.  Visitors will also enjoy light fare, a special tour of the mansion, and a holiday craft.  Ladies are encouraged to bring their daughters and friends, and gents are welcome too.  Admission is free, but reservations are required.  Call 215-329-7312 or email

Stenton, described as “the most authentic of all Philadelphia’s historic houses,” was built by James Logan, William Penn’s secretary, between 1723 and 1730.  Stenton is located at 4601 North 18th Street (the corner of 18th and Windrim Streets), four blocks east of Wayne Junction.

The house is open for tours Tuesday through Saturday,1-4 p.m. and by appointment throughout the week.  For more information or directions, call 215-329-7312 or Stenton’s website at Stenton is a member of Historic Germantown, a partnership of 14 outstanding attractions located in Germantown. For information, call 215-844-1683 or visit

Jewel Noel on December 2

The community is invited to Jewel Noel, the annual fund-raising event held by the Chestnut Hill Committee for the Philadelphia Orchestra, on Wednesday, December 2 at the Philadelphia Country Club, 1601 Spring Mill Road in Gladwyne.

The Noel Boutique, with several unusual vendors and a silent auction, will open the day at 10 a.m. for shopping and conversation. During luncheon at noon a festive musical holiday program will be presented by resident artists from the Academy of Vocal arts, followed by the drawing for the 2009 jewel donated by Govberg Jewelers,  a diamond open heart pendant on a multi-strand white gold chain.

The cost is $55. For information and reservations call 215-563-1094.

Shop Local, Earn Decemberfest Certificates

DecemberFest is Mt. Airy’s annual holiday promotion.  For every $250 you spend in Mt. Airy’s 19119 zip code and on Germantown Avenue from Washington Lane to Cresheim Valley Drive between November 20 and January 8, you can receive a $25 DecemberFest gift certificate. 

Simply bring your receipts to Sovereign Bank no later than January 8  and receive your $25 gift certificate. Gift certificates can be spent from January 8 through May 8 at participating businesses, which are listed on the back of the certificate.  Pick up a DecemberFest receipt collection at local restaurants and retail shops and start saving your receipts today. Shop early and redeem often.  Certificates are available only while supplies last, limit five per household.

This year, the DecemberFest Committee will be sponsoring a Holiday Decorating Contest.

Participating businesses will be evaluated on the following criteria: 1) Best use of the DecemberFest theme “shop local,” 2) best use of lights, and 3) best window display.  Visit www.MtAiryDecemberFest.combetween December 5thand 16 and vote for your favorite storefront.  The winner of the contest will be announced on Friday, Dec. 18.

Join us for fun and shopping on Late Night Fridays in December on the 4th, 11th, and 18th of the month. Shops will be open late to make sure you have every opportunity to shop local in Mt. Airy for the Holidays.

Come out on Friday evening, December 4, when retailers stay open late and see what we have to offer for this special holiday First Friday. Enjoy libations, snacks, or dinner, then stroll the Avenue in historic and happening Mt. Airy during the holiday season. And why go to the mall when Santa will be at Rothe                

Florists, 7148 Germantown Avenue from 6-8:30 p.m.? He’ll be making his list and

checking it twice, so bring the kids to this great free event.  All children must be accompanied by an adult, and don’t forget to bring a camera!

Holiday Shopping Tips from Citizens Bank

Black Friday traditionally signals the start of the holiday shopping season, but with many people still struggling with tough economic circumstances, Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania is offering holiday spending and budgeting tips for consumers.

Citizens hopes these suggested guidelines will help consumers manage their money and prevent the accumulation of debt, which can cripple household finances.  

“While there are signs of an improving economy, we’re expecting the holiday shopping season once again may be difficult for some families,” said Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, Citizens Bank’s President and CEO for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. “Many get caught up in the enthusiasm of the holiday season, but everyone should take some time to plan ahead. That can help consumers take a more disciplined approach, which can limit over-spending.”

Citizens Bank suggests the following guidelines for holiday shopping:

Set up a spending budget – Know your spending limits and avoid impulse purchases. Be realistic and keep your budget manageable.

Make a list – Write down all the people and organizations you want to recognize during the holidays, setting a spending limit for each name on your list. Bring the list with you when shopping and stay within your budget.

Don’t bring all of your credit cards – Choose one or two cards to shop with and leave the remainder home. You are more likely to overspend when you have all your credit cards with you.

Use debit cards – Consider paying with a debit card rather than a credit card because the money is deducted from your checking account right away and there will be no bill to pay later. A debit card is also safer than carrying cash. Some banks, such as Citizens Bank, have debit cards that give back to the consumer by offering reward points that may be redeemed for gift cards at popular retailers, brand name merchandise, free travel and more.

Use credit cards wisely – Try to pay off the credit card bill every month. If you can’t pay off the card each month, use a card that has a low interest rate. Also, use cards that give back to you (offering reward points, airline miles, etc.).

Write down credit and debit card information – Make a list of all your account numbers and phone numbers for your cards in case your wallet is lost or stolen. Keep this list in a safe place should you need to notify the bank or credit card company.

Consider layaway plans – Some retailers are reviving layaway plans for people that want to purchase merchandise, but cannot pay in full immediately. Be sure you understand the terms and are not charged fees or interest. And be careful – the payments may be deferred, but you will still have to pay them.

Northwest Art Collective Show Open from Nov. 29 to Jan. 31

The Northwest Art Collective (NAC) is at it again, this time with a special holiday show, Art + Peace + Pizza, running from November 29 to January 31.  This group holiday art exhibit is a special cash and carry, all work at $199 or less.  Artists Martha Knox, Gail Kotel, Melissa Haims, Sol Levy, Myke Simonian, Sherman Oberson, Dan Oliva, Judy Levy, Ellie Seif, Elfie Harris, Debs Bleicher, Barbara Rosin, Valerie Ena Swain and Ricky Moses invite you to the opening, in conjunction with First Friday on December 4 from 6-9 p.m. at Earth Bread + Brewery, 7136 Germantown Avenue. Ten percent of sales will go towards the Nonviolent Peaceforce, an unarmed, professional civilian peacekeeping force that is invited to work in conflict zones worldwide.

The show is open to the public Tuesday – Thursday and Sunday from  4:30 p.m. to midnight and until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.  In collaboration with Mt Airy Decemberfest and the buy local initiative, your purchases will go toward the $250 needed in receipts to win your gift certificate.

NAC will also be participating in the first exhibition of the Mt. Airy Arts Garage, a newly-formed group with space at 546 Carpenters Lane across from Weavers Way Co-op, on December 5 and 6, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

The Northwest Artists’ Collective is a group of over twenty painters, sculptors, print makers, photographers and fiber artists in the Northwest. The members are professional artists who show independently and as a group. Visit to see examples of their artwork.

The NAC meets on a monthly basis to discuss local arts and projects to further its reach into the community through the arts.  Any artist living and or working in NW Philadelphia is welcome. For information e-mail Melissa Maddonni Haims  at

Germantown High School Seniors Kiara Smith, Amirah Lindsay, Shakera Lindsay and Natashay Covington attended the first-ever Senior Pinning Ceremony at GHS in Friday November 20, where they made a pledge to their loved ones to do everything they could to graduate.

Pinning Ceremony Supports GHS Seniors


Staff Writer

The Germantown High School Auditorium buzzed with a Graduation Day excitement November 20, only it wasn’t Graduation Day. It was the first-ever Senior Pinning Ceremony where seniors and their families make mutual commitments to do everything they can to make that graduation happen.

Last year GHS graduated about 87 percent of its seniors, and that class was about half the size it was when it entered the school as freshmen four years before. The pinning ceremony is an effort to both increase graduation rates overall and develop a school culture that hinges on achievement, student commitment and parent involvement.

“This is your chance to set the tone for the rest of the school year, and for the rest of your time at Germantown High School,” Principal Margaret Mullen-Bavwidinsi told the seniors.

Eighth District City Council Person Donna Reed Miller was the keynote speaker for the night.

“This is my message to you,” she said. “Never be afraid to fail because there is no such thing as failure except in no longer trying.”

During the ceremony seniors met their parents on stage to give them a flower and a pledge to do all they could to graduate. The family members gave them a pin and a pledge in return - to do all they could to support them.

Parent Kim Crawford thought the ceremony was a great idea. Her twin seniors, Jamal and Jamier made the graduation pledge with her.

“I love it,” she said. “I think it’s going to encourage the kids to focus on their senior year and graduate.”