From the Chronicle • Germantown News Stories

December 3, 2009 • Germantown Chronicle.120309.pdf

In This Issue


Bears Get Decisive Win

Scammers Targeting Elderly

Planners Urge Zoning Changes for Germantown

Bears Get Decisive Win in Thanksgiving Showdown

Health Center #9 to be Charging Uninsured for Services

Obituary: Marlena Green

And Much More...

Bears Get Decisive Win in Thanksgiving Showdown


By PATRICK COBBS

Staff Writer


With 1:43 left in the first half and no timeouts remaining the Germantown Bears were playing hungry in their Thanksgiving Day matchup against Martin Luther King High School.


Both sides of the stands were crowded and noisy as Germantown quarterback Ramadan Abdullah moved a no-huddle offense 40 yards up the field in 39 seconds. Then a penalty flag stopped the clock but not the momentum. His next play was a 40-yard pass to William Parks, who the Cougars brought down at the one-yard line.


A few plays later Abdullah managed to run the TD in without being touched, and the half ended with a 22 to 0 lead for the Bears.

But the score wasn’t all that was important at this game. After 33 years these two schools and the fans that support them have learned to be thankful for the opportunity to come together and show their pride, no matter what the scoreboard may say after the final play.


Between the dueling cheer squads and drum corps, and the ubiquitous on-field fight of the mascots (always good for laughs) fans were full of cheer.


“Even if we do lose, which it looks like we might, it will still be hype,” said King senior Diamond Hinton about her school’s support for their team.


Norma Hart agreed. As a member of the King class of 1979, which had a strong showing at the game, and the mother of player Jashon Hart she had double the reason to be there for her school.


“It’s exciting, I wouldn’t miss it,” she said. “It’s a lot of family fun.”


This year Germantown may have had a few extra reasons to celebrate, like the fourth quarter 50-yard touch down pass by Abdullah that sealed Germantown’s 36 to 0 victory and twelve months’ worth  of bragging rights. But even the most partisan of supporters had to admit this event is never really about the game.


“You come back to things like this when you’re 35 because you love the school,” said Germantown Principal Margaret Mullen-Bavwidinsi.


And in that sense, there is always next year.


Scammers Targeting Elderly


By PATRICK COBBS

Staff Writer


Police are looking for two men involved with an elaborate scheme targeting senior women in Germantown that attempts to clean out their bank accounts.

“These crimes I hate, because they take old people,” said 14th Police District Captain Winton Singletary. “And sometimes it’s their last dimes they get.”


Since March at least four Germantown seniors have lost a total of more than $18,000 on the ploy, which purports to be a money-making opportunity for the victim’s church or for charity work. The specific details of the crimes vary, but some things have held fast.


At least two men are involved, and likely three. One has been described as a tall, lean, medium-complected African American man about 6’ 1” or 6’ 2” and about 45 years of age. The other is a shorter, medium-complected African American man of about 5’ 8” and about 180 pounds. Police do not have a description on the third accomplice but at least one victim believes it is a white man whom other victims may have encountered during the heist and not have realized it.


The thieves spend hours with each victim building their confidence in a story that asks them to donate to a good cause and promises more money in return for their investment. Eventually, the crooks convince the victims to drive them to their banks and empty out their accounts. Officer Sabra Johnson, Victim Assistance Officer for the 14th, warned that despite how unlikely it may sound, it is very easy to be taken in by these crooks.


Be on guard

“Most of these seniors are very savvy but they talked to this person for about two hours so they felt comfortable,” she said. “If anyone approaches any seniors offering money in exchange for money they definitely should approach a law officer to make a report.”


The crooks struck in March, May, August and November, each time taking several thousand dollars and each time a senior woman was the victim. So far no one has been physically harmed, according to police. 


Seniors have been targeted in the parking lot at Center in the Park, and near their places of employment and in at least one case, according to Johnson, the crooks “marked” the victim ahead of time, following her to a “safe” place for them to act out their scheme.


Usually the men approach the victim separately and act as if they are strangers. One assumes the role of a new African immigrant in need of help. The story the two criminals enact plays on the victims’ own cues for comfort: their church or a church, a “Christian” cause. Often the first man will call to the victim in a familiar name like “Aunt” or “Auntie” or something similar, Johnson said.


One victim’s story

But if a scheme like this seems hard to fall for, one victim, whose name the Chronicle is withholding for her safety, has a warning.


“You have to be careful because they were very slick and very cunning,” she said.


It was in the middle of the day when the tall man approached her. “Sister Enon! Sister Enon!” he called.


His skin was dark – made that way by makeup, she later thought - and he was carrying an official-looking note from a lawyer and a wad of cash in a bag. He walked up to her immediately after bending into the window of a police car to ask for directions.  It was a gesture that gave her comfort. 


“If the man was really a thief then the police would have arrested him,” she unconsciously thought.


The ploy was convoluted.


Speaking in an accent and claiming to be from Africa, the tall man said he needed to find two Christians to help him disperse $80,000 of inheritance money to charities. Only the Christians had to show faith by being willing to contribute to the cause in order to get a larger payout, which they could use for any charities they were involved with such as their own church. It was all laid out in the note from the lawyer.


The victim’s first thought was to help the man by getting him off the street with so much cash. He went on looking for a second Christian as she worried about what to do. That is when the second, shorter man came. He was very well-dressed, she said, carried a brief case, and claimed to be a Certified Public Accountant. 


The “CPA” voiced the questions anyone would of a scheme like this, but his confidence was bolstered when a third man, a white man, stopped to talk with the tall man and was convinced to donate $400 to his cause.


Holding the bag

The tall man wrapped the money in a cloth and they all prayed over it before he put it in his bag. The third man left, possibly to watch the scene from afar and ready the getaway car. This may have been the suspected third accomplice.


The “CPA” was now convinced. He took several thousand in cash from his case and added it to the cause. As before, the tall man wrapped it in a cloth and prayed over it before putting it into his bag.


It was the “CPA” who suggested that the victim take them to her bank so that she could donate to the cause as well. And then she could split the money with him, which they would both use to donate to their churches, just like the “lawyer’s note” required.


So, after the victim came back from the teller with several thousand dollars from her checking account, the tall man once again wrapped the money in the cloth and prayed over it before putting it in the bag. The victim then dropped the men off where she had met them and the tall man split the contents of his bag in two, giving one half to the victim wrapped in a cloth and the other to the supposed CPA.

“But that was the rip off,” the victim explained. “Because that was just newspaper.” Her money was gone.


According to Officer Johnson the 35th Police District has experienced similar heists targeting seniors. The 35th District borders the 14th on the east. There is also evidence to suggest the criminals are still tied to Germantown.


Center in the Park has issued warnings about these scams to all of its members and it has notified area churches as well. According to CIP Executive Director Lynn Fields Harris, targeting seniors is common, especially as the holidays approach, but it’s not because they are easily fooled.


“These are not people with cognitive impairments,” she said. “These are people with kind hearts.”



Planners Urge Zoning Changes for Germantown


By PATRICK COBBS

Staff Writer


The Germantown Community Connection hosted city planners on November 20 for a second look at proposed changes to zoning in four areas of Germantown, and while there were few objections to the proposals themselves, several in attendance objected to the process.


“We’re raising questions about this mass rezoning you’re proposing that could impact the eclectic nature of Germantown,” said local resident and 12th Ward Democratic Leader Greg Paulmier. He worried that low public involvement could mean a loss of the democratic process. “That’s somewhat scary,” he said.


Representatives from the Wister Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC) had similar concerns, especially for the industrial areas at Wayne Junction and Old Stenton Avenue, which would undergo several zoning changes under the proposal.


“My biggest concern is the amount of outreach that has been done,” said NAC Board President Anita Hamilton.


NAC Director of Operations Debra Roberts agreed. “It’s important that the businesses and residents that live in that area get the word.”


The City Planning Commission has targeted four areas for zoning changes: Wayne Junction, a portion of the industrial area along Old Stenton Avenue (near Germantown and Stenton), Wayne Avenue between Wyneva and Manheim street, and Chelten Avenue between Germantown Avenue and Morris Street.


While the proposed changes to zoning are different in each area, Jennifer Barr, city planner for the Northwest, said the overall thrust of the recommendations come from the Germantown and Nicetown Transit-Oriented Development Plan (TOD Plan) that underwent significant community discussion last year and has been on the planning commission’s website ever since then. Local resident Pam Bracey pointed out that public requests at those TOD Plan meetings were what convinced city planners to expand their focus beyond Wayne Junction into larger areas of Germantown.


The point of the proposed zoning changes is to bring local zoning rules more in line with current property uses in the area while, in some places, to encourage new development, planners said. It is part of what the city Zoning Code Commission (ZCC) is undergoing now for all of Philadelphia, with a major difference being that changes under the ZCC will take about five years while these local ones could go into effect in a few months, according to planners.


The proposed zoning changes do two basic things. They “up-zone” to encourage new development in two areas. One area is on Chelten Avenue next to the Chelten Train Station and at the corner of Chelten and Wayne Avenues, and the other is at Wayne Junction for some of the historic industrial buildings there. These changes would allow more dense commercial development, and at Wayne Junction there is also a push for historic designation to encourage building renovation instead of demolition.


But the bulk of the proposed zoning changes are designed to make the current property uses in these areas easier to maintain and repeat. One example is some of the industrial properties on Old Stenton Avenue, where non-conforming commercial applications have sprung up in recent years. The zoning changes would limit industrial uses and allow those existing limited commercial uses by right in the area closest to residential neighborhoods on Stenton.


Planners also proposed a change to a portion of the 4800 block of Wayne Avenue, which would allow the currently non-conforming residential uses on the first floor of some buildings to exist without need for a zoning variance. But local resident Allison Weiss had a problem with that.


“I have concerns about putting residential on the first floor of a business,” she said. She expressed doubt that any of the properties in question really were used as residences on the first floor.

Barr promised to take a second look and verify the conditions in that area, and  emphasized that all the zoning ideas were still open for debate. She would explain the proposal and listen to suggestions at any community meeting she was invited to, she said. After making those rounds through the community her hope was to introduce the zoning changes to City Council in the spring, where there will also be two public hearings prior to a Council vote, she said.


“This is your democracy at work,” said her boss, Director of Development Planning Bill Kramer. “So we can debate it and work it out before it even gets to that process.”


Germantown Community Connection President Betty Turner emphasized that it was up to neighborhood groups in each of the affected areas to continue this discussion with planners.


On December 15 at Happy Hallow Rec Center, 4800 Wayne Avenue, at 6 p.m.,Wister NAC will host a follow-up meeting on the proposed zoning changes with a specific emphasis on the affected areas of Wayne Avenue, Wayne Junction and Old Stenton Avenue. Call 215-843-6565 for information.



Health Center #9 to be Charging Uninsured for Services


By TORRI GRICE

Editorial Intern


The city’s Health Center #9, 131 East Chelten Avenue, which serves the Northwest Philadelphia area, will soon begin charging all uninsured patients for services. The new sliding-scale fees, which will range from $5 to $20 a visit, are being implemented at all of the city’s eight health centers. Without the fees – which represent the first time the city has ever charged for health care at its centers – city officials said they might have had to shut down some centers because of the city’s budget crisis.


“We want people to know that this isn’t a free clinic,” said Patricia Nesmith, director of Health Center #9. “We have good doctors here…(but) ultimately someone’s paying,” she said. Each month, the Germantown center sees between 3,000 and 4,000 patients, according to Health Department officials.


The new fees were to take effect in mid-November, but implementation has been delayed by logistical problems as the city lines up vendors that sell the machines that will be used to collect patient fees, said Jeff Moran, Health Department spokesman. He said officials expected the kinks to be worked out soon.


Nesmith noted that 48 percent of the center’s patients actually have health insurance, but don’t always present it. “We hope that the fees will encourage everyone to use their insurance if they have it,” she said.


Philadelphia is one of the few cities in the country that has offered free health care to the poor at city-run health centers.  But with the city’s growing budget problems, officials feared that several health centers would have to be closed. The new fee system is an alternative to closure. 


In his budget address, Health Commissioner Dr. Donald F. Schwarz emphasized that fees at the centers, which are aimed at preserving quality service, were discussed at a series of public meetings where citizens had an opportunity to see the alternatives and express their views.


Patients at Health Center #9 who were interviewed in recent weeks said they understood the need for the new fees. Many expressed praise for the center’s professional staff, which includes three pediatricians, six family medicine doctors, one podiatrist, two dentists, one priority doctor, two nurse practitioners, and one gynecologist.


“I’ve been a patient for six years and Health Center #9 is a very good clinic,” said Barbara Gray, who sat in the center’s comfortable waiting room on a recent afternoon.  “The center helps when the job is snatched from under you or you get laid off for a week.  Out of respect and honor for our neighborhood clinic we should pay something.”


Mildred Moore, a patient and 17-year Germantown resident, also said she didn’t mind the new fees. “I would rather pay something than for them to close it down, because it would be detrimental to the neighborhood,” she said.


But not everybody is yet on board. “I think it’s horrible,” said Ethel Urban, another longtime patient. 


Nesmith said Health Center #9 has tried to make the change as easy as possible by providing notices and by talking to the clinic’s patients about the fees associated with all visits. Although those with insurance will still not be responsible for co-pays, the change will take some getting use to for all, she said.


The sliding scale fees will range from $5 to $20 per visit, depending on income. Patients will also be required to show proof of income, such as pay stubs or Social Security payments. Although some patients say the paperwork is a headache, Nesmith said it was required to determine the amount a visit will cost. 


Many patients were relieved to hear that the center’s pharmacy department wouldn’t be charging patients to fulfill prescriptions. However, they were unaware that it would be undergoing some changes as well.


All told, each year the city health centers dispense some 600,000 prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines, according to the Health Commissioner’s budget testimony. Under the new plan, the pharmacies will not carry over-the-counter medicines, with the exception of pediatric Tylenol. “The … changes will result in a partial year savings of $1.5 million,” said Schwarz.



Germantown YMCAMembers Meeting


Annual meeting of the Germantown YMCA membership will be held Wednesday, December 16, 7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Germantown  (FUMCOG),  6023 Germantown Avenue. The meeting will be held to choose a new corporate name, amend corporate by-laws, provide an update on organizational plans, and discuss the nomination process for board members.

 

Food and Coat Drive at Trolley Car


For the past nine years Trolley Car Diner and Deli has collected thousands of new and gently worn winter coats, which were redistributed to Philadelphia’s less fortunate citizens.  In response to the dire need for food donations, Trolley Car has been accepting food donations since last holiday season.


Greater Philadelphia Cares (GPC) started the Winter Coat Drive thirteen years ago as a way to help thousands of men, women and children in the Philadelphia area who do not have a coat to keep them warm throughout the winter season.  According to GPC, many people have coats in their closets which they seldom use or do not wear at all.  Helping those who are less fortunate can be as simple as cleaning out a closet.


In addition to collecting winter coats again this year, Trolley Car will continue to collect non-perishable items to help feed those who cannot afford to put a meal on the table. 


Anyone with a gently used or new coat collecting dust and taking up space in their closet, or non-perishable items in their pantry, are encouraged to bring them to Trolley Car Diner and Deli, 7619 Germantown Avenue, from now until Martin Luther King Day, January 18, 2010. 

 “Last year, the Diner collected more than 500 winter coats for Philadelphia’s less fortunate men, women and children,” explained Trolley Car owner Ken Weinstein.  “With your help, we can collect even more this year.”


Trolley Car Diner and Deli is located at 7619 Germantown Avenue and can be reached at 215- 753-1500 or www.trolleycardiner.com.  For more information call Po-Hong Yu at 215-848-1133, ext. 208, or e-mail po@trolleycardiner.com.



Maxwell Mansion Party


The Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, 200 West Tulpehocken Street, will host its annual Dickens Christmas Party on Saturday, December 12 from 2 to 4:30 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,” says Diane Richardson, executive director of the 1859 Mansion.


Charles Dickens and Louisa May Alcott will read from their works.  Children can buy items from our gift shop, and an art teacher will help them wrap purchases and make holiday cards.  Guests can enjoy self-guided tours of the Mansion. Tickets are $12 adults, children under 10 free when accompanied by an adult. Call Ruchardson at 215-438-1861 for reservations and details.


The Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion is a restored historic house museum located in the Tulpehocken Station Historic District.  The museum offers 12 rooms furnished in the Victorian-era taste of its first inhabitants, the Ebenezer Maxwell family who lived in the house from 1859 to 1862 and the Hunter Stevenson family who resided in the house into the twentieth century. 



Variety of Holiday Events at Historic Sites


Whether it’s a workshop in arranging holiday greens, a festive tea, traditional carol sing or winter beer festival, there’s something for everyone this December in Historic Germantown - Freedom’s Backyard.   

Dec. 1 marks the opening of a month-long special exhibit, “Winter Wonderland: Work and Play in Germantown” at the Germantown Historical Society, 5501 Germantown Avenue, part of Germantown Works, a Historic Germantown project funded by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage through the Heritage Philadelphia Program. The exhibit will feature historic toys, including the popular German “Belsnickel,” sleds, clothing and other items used for winter work and play in Germantown from the Society’s rich museum collection. For museum hours visit www.germantownhistory.org.  


The historic Wyck house and gardens, 6026 Germantown Avenue,  will offer workshops on making holiday wreaths and arrangements on the following dates: Dec.4, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Dec. 5, noon-3 p.m.; and Dec. 6, noon - 3 p.m. To register call 215-848-1690. 


A full afternoon of Historic Germantown programs kick off on Saturday, Dec. 5, with a Holiday Open House and Craft Sale at Historic RittenhouseTown from noon - 4 p.m. (visit www.rittenhousetown.org for details) as well as a St. Nicholas Day Gift-Making Workshop at Grumblethorpe from 1 - 4 p.m., where, in exchange for bringing a non-perishable food donation, visitors can make sachets, candles and woven gifts. Participants are requested to bring a non-perishable food item for site food drive.


The Dec. 5 festivities continue with a Holiday Tea and music at historic Stenton, 18th and Windrim streets, from 2 - 4 p.m. (RSVP to 215-329-7312 ), and a Winter Beer Festival hosted by Cliveden of the National Trust, 6401 Germantown Avenue, from 1 - 5 p.m. The evening will be capped off by a traditional Carol Sing from 7 - 9 p.m. at Germantown Mennonite Historic Trust’s 1770’s Meetinghouse, 6133 Germantown Avenue. 


On Saturday, Dec. 12, 2 – 4:30 p.m., Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, 200 West Tulpehocken Street, hosts a Victorian style afternoon program, with “A Dickens Christmas Party,” complete with book readings, gift-making and holiday refreshments. Visit ebenezermaxwellmansion.org for fees and details.  


Awbury Arboretum will offer a free Winter Greens Festival on Dec. 12, 2 - 4 p.m., featuring strolls through Awbury’s evergreens, holiday crafts, seasonal sweets and Mexican hot chocolate, spiced with Awbury’s own homegrown dried hot peppers. 


And on Sunday, Dec. 13, Grumblethorpe, 5267 Germantown Avenue, hosts a Holiday Party from 4:30 - 7:30 p.m., offering light fare, seasonal cheer, tours by site youth volunteers, and over 300 ornaments and displays made by students in the Grumblethorpe Elementary Education partnership.


Annual Kwaanza activities at the historic Johnson House, 6306 Germantown Avenue, will take place on Dec. 26 and 27 from 2-5 p.m. Call 215-438-1768 for details. 


For more information on holiday events in Historic Germantown, check the calendar at www.freedomsbackyard.com or call the Program Office at 215-844-1683.



Holiday Workshops at Wyck


Practice the craft of designing and creating beautiful winter wreaths, centerpieces, and arrangements at the annual holiday-themed workshops in Wyck’s Education Center at 6026 Germantown Avenue (at Walnut Lane) on December 4, 5, and 6.  On hand will be a large array of both traditional and unusual seasonal greens and festive accoutrements to help create beautiful, long lasting decorations to enjoy for the holidays or give as gifts. This year there will be an expanded range of wreath sizes priced by diameter. Please bring a pair of hand-held garden shears or sturdy scissors. Space for these workshops is limited.


Workshops run Friday, December 4, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.;  Saturday, December 5, noon – 3 p.m.;  Sunday, December 6, noon – 3 p.m. The $44 fee includes all materials for a 23” wreath. Other sizes are available.


Then on Sunday, December 6, noon – 3 p.m., please join us for an Open House at Wyck.  Bring the family, tour the house and grounds, and enjoy light refreshments.


To reserve a spot in a workshop, email llitchman@wyck.org or call Wyck at 215-848-1690. Please specify which workshop you would like to attend.



Support MLK Association Party for Kids


Support the Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for Nonviolence Inc. as it hosts its 6th Annual Children’s Christmas Party and Toy and Food Give-away.  Because of the great need this year, the Christmas Party will take place on two days, Saturday, Dec. 19, noon and Wednesday, Dec. 23, 4 p.m.  Children attendees for this party are pre-selected, some of them coming from area homeless shelters and other programs for low-income families. Each year volunteers from corporations, local businesses and organizations, and concerned persons volunteer their time to make sure that we can serve as many children as possible. They are treated to a special Christmas show on stage produced by the King Association’s “College for Teens” program that embodies the meaning and spirit of Christmas, and will also see a parade of Sesame Street, Disney and Christmas characters along with superheroes.


Volunteers are needed to come help at the party in various capacities. Concerned and caring citizens can also drop off new, unwrapped toys for little boys, little girls and for teens as well.


The King Association will be distributing food baskets to pre-selected families in need at these events and toys will be given to each child through individual donations and the Philadelphia Marines “Toys for Tots” Program.  Only families that have applied and approved will get toys and/or food.  Application forms can be downloaded from the King Association’s website at www.philadelphiamlk.org.


New unwrapped toys and non-perishable food items for children can be dropped off at King Association headquarters Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., at 5398 Wynnefield Avenue, or call the office at 215-751-9330 for a location closer to you. 


For information about Philadelphia MLK Association programs, call 215-751-9300.  Joye Nottage is executive director and William Tucker is president of the Board of Directors.



Arts Garage Showcases Northwest Artists


Mt. Airy Art Garage, a community-based artist cooperative, is ready to open its doors at 542 West Carpenter Lane on Saturday, December 5. They will showcase juried artists from the Northwest who specialize in fine art and handcrafts and will be open every weekend through Dec. 20. Admission is free and open to the public.


Mt. Airy Art Garage will feature a place where you can come with friends and family, meet the artists, listen to music, and find unique one-of-a-kind gifts for the holidays. Each weekend will highlight new artists—both emerging and professional. The Mt. Airy Art Garage will have custom leatherwork, jewelers, mixed media and fiber artists, sculptors, photographers, painters, you name it. You may just find a rainbow of work, culture, and experience, a truly diverse and cooperative effort.


Mt. Airy Art Garage will be open Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on December 5-6, December 12-13, and December 19-20, and is still looking for more artists to show. For more information, friend us on Facebook or visit us at www.mtairyartgarage.org.



Edward Jones Office is Toys for Tots Drop-Off Site


Andrea Rinaldi, the local Edward Jones financial advisor, is supporting the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program by using her office as a drop-off location for this year’s toy drive.

Local residents may help needy children in the area by bringing in a new, unwrapped toy to the office, 7151 Germantown Avenue, during regular business hours beginning Monday, November 30.


“With the holiday season around the corner, we are all getting ready for the festivities,” Rinaldi said. “And as this is the season of giving, now is a great time to remember the less fortunate in our community.”


For information about the toy drive call 215-242-2402.



Wyndmoor Tree Sale


The Wyndmoor Hose Company Annual Christmas Tree Sale has proven to become one of the company’s most successful annual fund raising events. All proceeds benefit Wyndmoor Hose Company. The sale began December 1 and runs through mid-December, 6-9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The lot is at 1043 East Willow Grove Avenue in Wyndmoor. For more information visit  www.wyndmoorfireco.com.




Santa’s sleigh will touch down at Mt. Airy’s Rothe Florists, 7148 Germantown Avenue. On Friday, December 4 from 6–8:30 p.m., children can sit on Santa’s lap and make their Christmas wishes known, while parents snap pictures and create priceless holiday memories. This event is free to the public and all children must be accompanied by an adult.


Even Santa knows it pays to shop local in Mt. Airy. As part of the DecemberFest promotion sponsored by Mt. Airy, USA and the Mt. Airy Business Association, shoppers can cash in $250 worth of Mt. Airy receipts at local banks and receive a $25 gift certificate redeemable at participating Mt. Airy businesses (while supplies last).


Stores along Germantown Avenue will stay open as late as 9 p.m. for Late Night Fridays, December 4, 11 and 18. Each Friday, strolling carolers and other holiday entertainment will keep shoppers in a festive mood. For information on DecemberFest visit mtairydecemberfest.com.




Concert at Grace Baptist


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



Lecture on Spirituality/Healing


International speaker Kari Mashos, a full-time prayer-based healer using the Christian Science system of healing, will present a talk titled “Christmas Joy!  Christ brings the closer view of God” on Saturday, Dec. 5, 11 a.m., at Second Church of Christ, Scientist, 3015 West School House Lane in East Falls.  


During her talk Mashos references the original sourcebook on Christian healing, the Bible, along with Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, a book of universal ideas on practical spirituality.


Mashos will explore how we can see the Christ more visibly in our hearts and minds and feel its healing effect.  Mashos speaks internationally as a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship.


For information call Nancy Batty at 610-544-5975.



‘Ancient Voices”


Ancient Voices, the University of Pennsylvania’s early music ensemble, presents Music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance at Grace Epiphany Church, Gowen Avenue and Ardleigh Street, on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 8 p.m.  Known for performing some of the most complex and beautiful music of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the group’s program for the evening features Music of the Virgin Mary  by Praetorius, Dufay, Fayrfax, Verdelot and Sweelinck. A free-will offering to support the mission and ministries of the church will be gratefully accepted.  For information call  215-248-2950 or visit www.grace-epi.org.



Holiday Bazaar


The Presbyterian Women of Germantown Community Presbyterian Church, 6141 Greene Street, invites all to attend their Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 12, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The bazaar will feature many great values for gift-giving. Fried chicken dinners will be served in the Holiday Café for $9-10. Space rental for vendors is $20.


For more information and vendor requests, please call the church office at 215-438-0500 and leave a message. All are welcome. 



Weatherization Assistance


On November 23 Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that Philadelphia has been awarded almost $30 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program, an investment that will create jobs, cut energy bills, and lower energy use for individuals and families across the city.  $15.9 million has been allocated to the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation, a city agency, and $13.9 million allocated to the Energy Coordinating Agency, a non-governmental organization.


The additional investment will roughly double the total number of homes in Philadelphia served on an annual basis to approximately 4,000 homes this year, and increase the amount of money that can be spent per home from $2,500 to $6,500, allowing much more work to be done in each property.  It is expected that improvements made to these properties will result in energy savings for the homeowner of 30-40 percent in the first year.  Eligible homeowners must be high energy users whose incomes are below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, so the funding is targeted at the lowest-income Philadelphians.


Clients whose properties are weatherized also receive energy efficiency education at each step of the process and as well as receiving improvements to their home, they also receive a caulk gun, radiator key, and information on how they can continue to reduce their energy use.


State regulations require PHDC and ECA to first serve eligible residents (those below 200 percent of the federal poverty level) who appear on a list of previously identified high-energy users to ensure that the program achieves maximum energy savings.  When all residents on that list have had the opportunity to receive service, PHDC and ECA will serve clients who sought weatherization through the agencies’ standard intake process.


Homeowners wishing to find out whether they are eligible for weatherization assistance should call the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation Weatherization Assistance Program Hotline at 215-448-2160, Monday-Thursday, or contact their local Neighborhood Energy Center, details to be found through the Energy Coordinating Agency: ecasavesenergy.org/nec.html.




Join Cliveden of the National Trust, 6401 Germantown Avenue, on Saturday, Dec. 5 for their annual “Winter Beer Festival.” The event is a craft beer tasting and fundraising event like any other and will showcase a special selection of seasonal and limited-edition holiday craft beers.

The event takes place in a heated tent on Cliveden’s historic battlefield from 1-5:30 p.m. 

Attendees will receive a 6 oz. souvenir tasting glass and are welcome to sample any beers being poured by the brewers.  Finger foods will also be available.


The general admission session is from 2-5:30 p.m. Tickets for the general session are $40 in advance or $65 at the door.  General session participants will have access to over 50 beers from 20 breweries. A special VIP session will be held from 1-2 p.m.  VIP tickets are available for $65 advance purchase only and include a sample of special seasonal beers as well as limited-edition Christmas brews from around the world.  VIP ticket holders will also receive the full benefits of the general admission session from 2-5 pm.  Designated driver tickets are available for $10, which includes admission to the site but does not include a tasting glass. 


Tickets can be purchased online at craftbeerfestival.com/Cliveden.




Covenant Toastmasters Club provides a comfortable, instructive environment for developing public speaking and leadership skills.  Guests are always welcome.  The group next meets December 9 at New Covenant Campus, 7500 Germantown Avenue, Founders Hall, Room B-11 (2nd floor), from 7:30-9 p.m. For information visit  http://covenant.freetoasthost.us/.




Presentation on Town Hall


Germantown residents, businesses and community stakeholders are cordially invited to a presentation by graduate students from Philadelphia University’s School of Architecture that will showcase their design concepts for Germantown’s Town Hall that incorporate energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.


The presentation takes place Tuesday, Dec.8, 4 p.m., at Vernon House in Vernon Park, 5800 Germantown Avenue.


If you are able to join us, please R.S.V.P. to the attention of John Churchville, chairman/CEO of Liberation Fellowship Community Development Corporation, at 215-848-8511, e-mail jchurchville8@gmail.com.


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Left, Germantown quarterback Ramadan Abdullah scrambles to make a play with two Cougars in hot pursuit.


MLK-Germantown Game


Below, Cougars’ running back John Wilson looks for a hole in the Germantown defense late in the game.







 

This year Germantown may have had a few extra reasons to celebrate, like the fourth quarter 50-yard touch down pass by Abdullah that sealed Germantown’s 36 to 0 victory and twelve months’ worth  of bragging rights. But even the most partisan of supporters had to admit this event is never really about the game.


“You come back to things like this when you’re 35 because you love the school,” said Germantown Principal Margaret Mullen-Bavwidinsi. And in that sense, there is always next year.