From the Independent • Mt. Airy News Stories

January 14, 2010 • Mt. Airy Independent Jan. 14

In This Issue

WMAN Zoning Has Reservations on Building Plans

One Book, One Philadelphia Kicks Off Next Week

A ‘Walk-a-Palooza’ of a Concert at LTSP

Rep. Parker 9th Ward Meeting

January is Deadline for DecemberFest Coupons

Staged Reading at the Stagecrafters

Wister Board Election

Flower Show Entrants

MLK Day Observations

‘Questions in Black History’ Explored at Cliveden

NW’s Civil Rights History at NIM’s Dr. King Celebration

Free African American Museum Day

King Service at LTSP

MAUSA Book Drive for Emlen School

King Day Projects at USG

OARC MLK Day Programs

MLKWeekend at Mishkan

WMAN Zoning Has Reservations on Building Plans


Staff Writer


After six years of closure, the Upsala House at 6430 Germantown Avenue may finally be on its way to re-use. On January 6 the West Mt. Airy Neighbors (WMAN) Zoning Committee voted not to oppose a zoning variance application by the property’s owner, Cliveden of the National Trust (located across the street from Upsala at 6401 Germantown Avenue) , to adapt it for administrative use.

“The proposed use, administrative offices, is not permitted in the zoning,” said Cliveden’s Executive Director David Young of Upsala. “We would like to bring it to life on the Avenue.”

Project architect and Cliveden board member Richard Thom called it a way for Cliveden to make a “front door presence on the Avenue.”

Although the building dates from 1798, it is what Young called “an historic house where nothing historic happened.” It was a private residence until a fire destroyed much of the interior in 1940. After that it was rebuilt and maintained as a house museum until it closed in 2003. Since then the rear portion of the building has been occupied by a caretaker.

Yet despite its long use as a museum the property is zoned R-5 residential, and Richard Thom thinks he might have played a role in that error.

“In 1976 I believe I was responsible for the continued improper zoning for this property,” he confessed to the WMAN committee.

It was just after the oil embargo, and he and a colleague were on temporary assignment with the City Planning Commission to help adjust zoning in Mt. Airy. On a trek through the neighborhood the pair examined the house museum along with all the other nearby properties.

Just like the other homes Upsala had curtains in the windows and appeared from the outside to have all the trappings of an occupied home, Thom said. He and his colleague were fooled and they recorded the property as a residence.  

Regardless of the reason for Upsala’s R-5 designation, the Zoning Committee was thrilled to support Cliveden’s bid to bring the building back to life. Committee Chair Ralph Pinkus even considered departing from the standard “non-opposition” language in the committee’s letter to the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) and wanted to use the word “support.”

The ZBA hearing will be February 16 at 9:30 a.m. at 1515 Arch Street.

The zoning committee and neighbors were considerably less thrilled with Yuri Yakhnis’ bid to build two twins (four residential units) at a vacant lot on 506 West Springer Street.

“To sacrifice that block with what you would be doing is totally unacceptable,” said nearby neighbor Sylvia Carter.

Carter’s and other neighbors’ main problem was with the density of the plan. Four houses - two twins - is too dense for that block of Springer Street, which has only single homes, they said.  

Unfortunately for Yakhnis, the zoning code agrees with them. Springer Street’s R-2 residential designation does not allow twins even though several exist just around the corner on Wayne Avenue. But Yakhnis and his lawyer Richard Demarco think the property has a hardship that the ZBA will look favorably upon for the variance.

“We’re going to present a case to the board that this is the only viable use of this lot,” Demarco said. “The compliance with the code for this property is not sellable. It’s just not going to happen.”

But neighbors and zoning committee members had another problem with the plans for 506 Springer – it wasn’t pretty enough.

“It’s the ugliest house I’ve seen,” said committee member Yvonne Haskins. “The aesthetics of this neighborhood have been very important to all of us. It does not look like West Mt. Airy.”

The three-story roughly 4000 sq.-ft. homes would have a short driveway to a garage in the front of each house. The façade would be a mixture of stucco and brick with a shallow-pitched salt box roof overhead. Demarco said his client was flexible on the look of the houses, but in private deliberation Committee Chair Ralph Pinkus had a warning to neighbors relating to that.

If WMAN does not oppose the four-unit plan it could have a say in the way the new construction looks, Pinkus said. But if it rejects the four-unit plan in favor of an as-code development, the lot was likely big enough to allow for two single homes by right. And if the owner takes that as his fall back position, WMAN could loose all of its sway over the looks of those two new singles, according to Pinkus.

Committee member Patrick Hauck was opposed to a variance that would allow two twins. He believed allowing greater density in R-2 would create a “bad precedent” for Mt. Airy.

Member Stephen Anderson brought up yet another concern. He worried about Yakhnis’ numbers and what they could mean for the quality of construction.

Yakhnis said he expects to sell each of the twins for about $400,000. But given the planned square footage for the units and the fact that he bought the land for $240,000 according to the Board of Revision of Taxes, Anderson thought Yakhnis would need to build each home for far less than $100 per square foot – something he thought was unrealistic. The average cost for new residential construction in 2008 for the North East was $114.36 per square foot, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

“The neighbors should be very concerned about the quality of construction,” Anderson said.

“The quality of construction will be controlled by the city of Philadelphia,” Yakhnis replied.

The zoning committee voted to oppose the variance application.

The ZBA hearing for 506 Springer will be January 27 at 2 p.m. at 1515 Arch Street.

One Book, One Philadelphia Kicks Off Next Week



The 2010 One Book, One Philadelphia program will launch its kick-off event, ”A Journey to Iran Through Music,” featuring intercultural journeys and a screening of Persepolis, on Wednesday, January 20, at the Central Library, 19th and Vine streets, at 7:30 p.m.  The event will mark the beginning of the eight-week program that will run from January 20 through March 17. This year’s One Book, One Philadelphia feature selection is The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. It is the first graphic novel or comic book, as Satrapi prefers to call it, to be chosen. 

“All children around the world draw… drawing is the first language. I cannot draw the face of a sad person and have someone say ‘oh, that person is happy,’ ” Satrapi said in September at the announcement at the Central Library that her book would be this year’s One Book One Philadelphia selection. “Drawing is an universal language ... We all cry for the same reason - a mother losing her child, a lover who has left us ... Human emotion is the same.” 

The Complete Persepolis was originally published in France in two volumes in 2000. Satrapi’s memoir gives readers a glimpse of what life was like for a 10-year-old girl growing up in Iran after the overthrow of the Shah, the Islamic Revolution and the devastating effects of the war with Iraq, and continuing through her years as a young adult both in Iran and during her studying in Europe. 

In 2007 Satrapi released an animated film version, Persepolis, which won the Jury Prize in 2008 at the Cannes Film Festival. 

One Book, One Philadelphia is a joint project of the Mayor’s Office and the Free Library of Philadelphia that promotes reading, literacy, library use, and community building by motivating tens of thousands of people to read an annual featured selection.

“Graphic novels and animated features can be used to tell powerful stories-and do so effectively,” said Sara Strickland, program assistant of One Book, One Philadelphia.

The program, now in its eighth year, will host over 100 events throughout Philadelphia including “Exploring the Music of Persia: An Interactive Ballet Performance”; comic book workshops; comic;  Persian tile mosaic craft programs, “Walls and Wings: A Clay Workshop” inspired by The Wall, the young people’s selection for One Book One Philadelphia; and “What’s Your Story?” a kid-friendly tour of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens that includes making your own pocket-size illustrated book.  And don’t overlook the estimated 5,000 copies of The Complete Persepolis or Persepolis 1: The Story of a Childhood that are being distributed to libraries and public, Catholic and charter high schools across the city. Persepolis is recommended for young teen readers and up.

The comics medium allowed Satrapi to “distance” herself from her emotions, she said.

“Humor is completely abstract...In order to write my story, I tried to stay very objective…I am just a person who was born in a certain place, at a certain time. I tried to write it honestly.”

In writing Persepolis, Satrapi tried to change the stereotypes many people have about Iranians.

“I wanted to be able to make bridges - to make a connection.,” said Satrapi.  “People are not more or less civilized.  Before culture, before education, we have to have a minimum of human needs met for everyone.  You cannot ask people to think about freedom when they are starving to death.”

Satrapi said she doesn’t believe in a “clash of cultures,” but rather that the majority of problems between different races, religions, and cultures are caused by fear and ignorance.

In addition to the featured reading selection, a companion book for children and family will be offered for the fourth year in a row. This year’s 2010 Companion Title is The Wall: Growing Up, Behind the Iron Curtain (Caldecott  Honor Book) by Peter Sis. Through illustrations, journals, maps, and dreamscapes, Sis shows what life was like for a child who loved to draw, proudly wore the red scarf of a Young Pioneer and believed what he was told to believe until adolescence, when he learned about rock ‘n’ roll, blue jeans, and Coca-Cola.

This year’s One Film, which operates in partnership with One Book, One Philadelphia, is Ari Foleman’s Waltz with Bashir (2008), based on Foleman’s account of the time he served in the Israeli Defense Forces, Waltz with Bashir is a piece on memory and the effects of war.

Free screenings of the movie can be seen at the Central Library, 1901 Vine Street, at noon from February 12 to March 12.

Events in the Northwest include:

Book discussion: The Complete Persepolis, February 10, 2 p.m.,

Free Library Andorra Branch, 705 East Cathedral Road

Screening: Offside, Saturday, February 27, 2 p.m. Andorra Branch. Offside chronicles the experience of young women, banned from sporting events in Iran, who were caught sneaking into the soccer stadium in Tehran.

Screening and discussion: “Bakhtiari Alphabet,” Wednesday, March 3, 7:30 p.m., Chestnut Hill Branch of the Free Library, 8711 Germantown Avenue. Join filmmaker and Sacred Heart University professor Cima Sedigh for a screening of her first documentary, which was made during the extensive trip to the rugged and remote region of Iran where the Bakhtiari live and migrate. This film brings her on-site research on tribal life and education.

Persian Tile Mosaic Craft Program, Wednesday, March 3, 4 p.m., Andorra Branch.

Book discussion: The Complete Persepolis, Metropolitan Bakery, 8607 Germantown Avenue, Thursday, March 18, 7 p.m.

Persian Tile Mosaic Craft Program, Saturday, March 6, 2 p.m., Free Library Wadsworth Branch, 1500 Wadsworth Avenue.

A complete calendar of events can be found at

A ‘Walk-a-Palooza’ of a Concert at LTSP



After what owner Greg Williams called “the best December we ever had,” the future of Walk A Crooked Mile Books at Gowen Avenue and Devon Street looks rather brighter.

The bookstore, which has become an integral part of the neighborhood over the past 15 years, had been facing possible closure in the face of financial difficulties but now, says Williams, “That month [which featured a number of special events at the store] was very encouraging, very exciting. I’m very pleased and it looks like we’re going to be able to stay.”

One of the things that has made Walk A Crooked Mile a part of the neighborhood over the years is its series of free summer concerts held on the bookstore grounds at the R7 Mt. Airy Train Station. The concerts are free and donations are accepted for the performers, but there is some expense involved in staging them, and, says Williams, “I don’t have that kind of money any more.” So what will be happening on Sunday, January 17 4-8:30 p.m. at the Brossman Center of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia is something of a “concert for concerts” event.

The concert, called “Walk-a-Palooza,” will feature ten musical groups and individuals who have performed at Walk A Crooked Mile in the past, most of them repeatedly.  Williams says, “The performers came up with the idea – what can we do, can we do a concert, that sort of thing … donations will go just to support the summer concert series.”

It will break down into two parts: an hour of children’s music from 4-5 p.m., followed by the adult portion of the concert from 5-8:30 p.m.

Performing  in the children’s portion in 15-minute segments will be Have Fun, Will Travel; Rhetta Morgan; Tom Gala; and Two of a Kind and the Give ‘em a Hand Band.

Performing in 20-minute segments during the adult section will be, in order: Acoustic Blender, Art Miron, Prose from Dover, Rhetta Morgan, Saint Mad, Drew Calvin, The Fretnoughts, Tom Gala, and the Rockin’ Malaakas.

All the performers are enthusiastic about the event and the concert series it will support.

The well-known children’s music duo Two of Kind is made up of David and Jenny Heitler-Klevens, who have been appearing under that name for about 20 years.  They will perform as Two of a Kind during the children’s portion, then welcome two other performers – Hope Wesley Harrison and Justin Solonynka – and perform again as Acoustic Blender at the start of the adult section. David says, “The main thing is the overall event has something for everybody - a wide variety of musical styles, food from Weavers Way, a mobile book sale – it should be a lot of fun.”

Dave Beeghley, half of the singing duo Prose From Dover – his wife Barley is the other performer – has been performing in the summer concert series for years. “We love it,” he says. “That space [at the station] is like a natural amphitheater - it’s just a lot of fun. Greg’s great – we would probably keep doing it just to support him. The profit margin’s not great - whatever we earn there [in donations] we more than spend on books!”

Prose from Dover [the name comes from the 1970 movie MASH, they are actually based in King of Prussia] will perform twice – in their children’s music incarnation as Have Fun, Will Travel and then again as Prose from Dover. They do their own original songs and what Beeghley refers to as “undercover music - we didn’t write but it’s not necessarily well-known.”

Acoustic guitarist and vocalist Art Miron will serve as MC at the event. He’ll perform what he calls “American roots music - I choose songs that have country, folk and some pop music roots.” Mt. Airy resident Miron calls Walk A Crooked Mile “a tremendous asset to the community.”

Jim Harris is a member of the St. Mad foursome, which features tuba, trumpet, guitar and keyboards plus vocals. He says, “We’re really hoping that this Walk-a-Palooza helps Greg keep the concert series and the bookstore going – it’s great for the neighborhood.”

Walk-a-Palooza will be held Sunday, January 17 4-8:30 p.m. at the Brossman Center of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Avenue. Off street parking is available in the Seminary’s lot  off Germantown Avenue. There is no cover charge but donations will be accepted. For more information call Walk a Crooked Mile Books at 215-242-0854.

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

Tuesday, January 19, 9:30 a.m. – 1269 East Chelten Avenue. Three zoning, two use permits. Permit for the relocation of lot lines to create one lot from three lots, for the erection of a two-story infill addition (35’ high) joining two existing structures, for the creation of three open-air off-street parking spaces and one loading space, and for the legalization of an 8’ high fence, all for use as a retail grocery store on the first floor and accessory storage on the second floor.

Wednesday, January 19, 9:30 a.m. – 5605 Chew Avenue. One certificate. Certificate for preparing and serving of hot food for take out within an existing retail grocery store on the first floor in the same building with a single family dwelling above, no signs on this application.

Wednesday, January 20, 4 p.m. – 323 East Allens Lane, one zoning permit. Permit for the erection of a second floor addition in the side yard of a single-family dwelling above the existing one-story addition.

Wednesday, January 20, 4 p.m. – 538 Carpenter Lane, one use permit. Permit for a single-family dwelling in an existing attached structure.

This tablet was placed in the wall of the Henry Hill house, (later known as Carlton) at Midvale Avenue and Stokeley Street. Washington stayed there before the British occupied Philadelphia, which led to the Battle of Germantown in 1777. The house was permanently “RUIND” in the 1950s. “Yesterday in the German Township” is presented in conjunction with the Germantown Historical Society to give a look back at the way life was once lived in Germantown, Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill, the old “German Township.”

Rep. Parker 9th Ward Meeting

State Representative Cherelle Parker along with 9th Ward Leaders John O’Connell and Kenneth Powell Jr. will host a 9th Ward town hall meeting from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, January 21 at Jenks Middle School, 8301 Germantown Avenue.


Parker said the town hall meetings are held in order to help residents gain valuable information regarding various services provided by state, local and federal government agencies and other public entities. She said there is also an opportunity for residents to ask questions and voice their concerns regarding quality-of-life issues in the 200th Legislative District. She added that there will also be an opportunity to learn about services provided by her constituent service office, as well.


The series of town hall meetings to be held throughout the 200th Legislative District includes:   Saturday, February 6, 10 a.m. – noon, 50th Ward;  Saturday, February 20, 10 a.m. – noon,  21st Ward;   7-9 p.m. Thursday, March 11, 7 - 9 p.m. 22nd Ward;  Thursday, March 25, 7 - 9 p.m., 50th Ward. 


More information is available by calling Parker’s constituent service office at 215-242-7300. The office is located at 1536 E. Wadsworth Avenue. Residents can also contact Parker through her Web site at

January is Deadline for DecemberFest Coupons

Shoppers who spent $250 at retail and restaurant businesses in Mt. Airy’s 19119 zip code and along the 6300 block of Germantown Avenue to Washington Lane during DecemberFest - November 20 through January 8 – are still eligible to receive a $25 DecemberFest Gift Certificate.


Simply take $250 worth of qualified receipts to the Sovereign Bank branch, 6740 Germantown Avenue. The Sovereign bank teller will give you a short form to fill out, verify your receipts, then send you on your way with your $25 DecemberFest Gift Certificate. Shoppers are eligible to receive one $25 gift certificate for every $250 worth of purchases made.


Receipts redeemed for DecemberFest Gift Certificates must be dated between November 20 and January 8.


All receipts must display: 1) Business Name; 2) Business Address; 3) Date of Purchase; and 4) Total Amount of Purchase.


Receipts must be redeemed at Sovereign Bank on or before January 15. No Gift Certificates will be distributed after January 15. Shoppers must redeem their receipts in person.


DecemberFest Gift Certificates are only available through this promotion and are available while supplies last. There is a limit of five Gift Certificates per household.


Use your DecemberFest Gift Certificate any time through May 1 at participating retailers and restaurants. Your DecemberFest Gift Certificate is valid at the any of the participating businesses. All participating businesses are listed on the back of your DecemberFest Gift Certificate.


Mt. Airy DecemberFest Gift Certificates are redeemable for merchandise and/or services only, no cash. For purchases under $25, change will be given by the merchant as store credit or cash at their discretion.

Staged Reading at the Stagecrafters

In the wake of its exceptionally well-received staged readings last summer, The Stagecrafters is delighted once again to bring to its audiences two very special script-in-hand productions during the weekend of January 15-16-17 – promising a welcome break in the middle of this frosty winter. 


The first is Edward Albee’s semi-autobiographical Three Tall Women, winner of the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as the Drama Critics’ Circle and Lucille Lortel awards for Best and Outstanding Play, respectively.  It will be directed by Christian Lepore of Germantown, a seasoned performer at The Stagecrafters, and it features three of the theater’s regularly-seen actresses in each of the “title” roles.  Performances are Friday, January 15 and Saturday, January 16, both at 8 p.m. Following each performance, actors and director will stay for a “Talk-Back” question and answer session with audience members.  All in attendance are invited to participate. 


The other event is a reading of Roald Dahl’s BFG (Big Friendly Giant), which is being presented on our stage by some thirty young students at Chestnut Hill Academy, and directed by Debbie Gress, drama coach at the school.  There will be two readings:  Saturday, January 16 and Sunday, January 17, both at 3 p.m.


Admission to each reading is ... pay-what-you-will.  No reservations are being taken ... just show up!  The auditorium will be open 30 minutes before each performance.  The theater is located at8130 Germantown Avenue. For information about The Stagecrafters visit


Wister Board Election

On Thursday January 21, 2010 at The General Membership Meeting of Wister NAC we will be holding our elections for Wister NAC board members.   Members of the community running for election are Annette Gordy, Rosalind McKelvey, Mary Ravenell, Marilyn Robinson and Tracy Tate.


The meeting will be held at Victory Baptist Church, 5131 Germantown Avenue.  You can only vote for three (3).  Write-ins are acceptable, subject to eligibility.  To be eligible you must live or own a business within our service area and have attended at least 4 meeting within the last year to be eligible to vote or run. Please come out and cast your ballot. 


For more information contact Wister NAC at 215-843-6565.

Flower Show Entrants


The 2010 Philadelphia International Flower Show is looking for entrants for its 15th Annual Phlower Power Window Decorating Contest. “Passport to the World,” to be held Feb. 28 - March 7 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, will take visitors on an exotic journey to dozens of destinations around the globe. For more information and to download an entry form, please visit the Attractions Page at or e-mail Laura Hoover at Entry forms are due by February 8. Businesses earn two Flower Show tickets just for competing. Proceeds of the Flower Show go to Philadelphia Green, PHS’s acclaimed program and the nation’s largest comprehensive community greening program that serves as a model for cities across the U.S. Flower Show Week generates an economic impact of $35 million for the City of Philadelphia.

MLK Day Observations

‘Questions in Black History’ Explored at Cliveden

As part of Historic Germantown’s Lunch and Learn series, Cliveden of the National Trust, 6401 Germantown Avenue, will play host to a one-hour presentation on Thursday, February 4, 12:30  – 1:30 p.m., entitled “Questions in Black History.”


The lecture will be given by Philip Seitz, Cliveden’s Curator of History and Fermentation, and will explore recently uncovered documents in the Chew Family papers that reveal topics in African American history.  Specifically, Seitz will engage visitors to determine whether materials written by Caucasians accurately reflect the African American experience in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Join the debate and discussion in Cliveden’s historic Carriage House and get the opportunity to handle some rare documents. And don’t forget to bring a bagged lunch!


This event is free and open to the public. Call 215-848-1777 for further details.

NW’s Civil Rights History at NIM’s Dr. King Celebration

The 27th annual Neighborhood Interfaith Movement) Martin Luther King Interfaith Celebration will take place on Sunday, Jan. 17.


The theme of this year’s program is “Nobody Will Be Excluded,” a phrase proclaimed by Shirley Melvin, recently deceased, and her sister Doris Polsky, founders of Twin Realty in Germantown: “Nobody will be excluded from our neighborhood.” Heightened awareness of America’s flagrant record on race relations led to the struggle in Northwest Philadelphia to end once and for all the blockbusting and redlining used by realtors and banks to increase profits – and maintain segregation. We’ll show parts of Neighbor Ladies, a 2004 documentary by LeAnn Erickson, Associate Professor of Video and Film Production at Temple University, which preserves the story of Shirley, Doris, and seven other women who helped integrate and stabilize our community.


In addition to film clips, we will hear from Francine Fox, one of the “neighbor ladies”; Lisa Funderburg, a community activist; and Rev. Andrew Foster III, newly arrived at Janes Memorial United Methodist Church.


NIM itself began in 1969 as an outgrowth of the organizing by clergy and many others that made Northwest Philadelphia a symbol of hope, reconciliation, and harmony. This program highlights the Civil Rights struggle out of which NIM grew as part of its 40th Anniversary celebration.


Music will be provided by the Anna Crusis Women’s Choir and choirs from Reformation Lutheran Church and Germantown Jewish Centre.


Following the formal program, those interested will have a chance to discuss the issues raised by the keynote speaker and help determine how to keep the conversation going.


The program will take place at Reformation Lutheran Church, 1215 East Vernon Road, on Sunday, Jan. 17, starting promptly at 3 p.m. For more information call the NIM office, 215-843-5600.

Free African American Museum Day

Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania is donating $25,000 to the African American Museum in Philadelphia and will sponsor the museum’s commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, January 18.


The sponsorship will provide free admission to the museum, as well as special events, including the Citizens Bank Scavenger Hunt for Heritage aimed at helping children learn about the museum and African American history.


The money will be used to sponsor a free Community Day for anyone who wants to visit the museum on January 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. To encourage visits by families, the bank will offer the “Citizens Bank Scavenger Hunt for Heritage,” a fun and educational activity that will help children explore and experience the museum.


More than 45 Citizens Bank volunteers will help guide children through their list of clues to find specific artifacts.


The African American Museum is located at 701 Arch Street. Hours on January 18 will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

King Service at LTSP

The African American Lutheran Association (AALA) Philadelphia Chapter, and co-sponsor the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) will present the Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial Service on Sunday, Jan. 17, at 3 p.m. at the Chapel of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Ave.


“The Memorial Service will include remarks by Rev. Carlton E. Rogers, Pastor, West Philadelphia’s Tabernacle Lutheran Church; music by the Lutherans in Fellowship Exchange (LIFE) Choir, prayers and scriptures from diverse clergy as well as installation of AALA officers,” said Dr. Addie J. Butler, AALA chair.  Dr. Butler is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and is a former vice president of the ELCA, the largest branch of the Lutheran Church in America. 


The public is invited to attend the service. For more information please contact Dr. Addie Butler at 215-843-6885. 


MAUSA Book Drive for Emlen School

As its 2010 Martin Luther King’s Day of Service Project, Mt. Airy USA is collecting books for children in grades K-6 who attend Emlen Elementary School, 6501 Chew Avenue.


MAUSA will be at Emlen School on Martin Luther King Day from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. on January 18 to help refurbish their library. Please feel free to join in helping the project.


Meanwhile, MAUSA is accepting book donations at Mt. Airy USA, 6703 Germantown Avenue, for children in grades K-6.


For information call Cynthia Bradley, community organizer, Mt. Airy USA, at 215-844-6021, Ext. 214

King Day Projects at USG

Children can make posters and decorate lunch bags.  Older kids can read them stories about Martin Luther King, Jr. Their parents can make bag lunches for homeless shelters.


These are a few of the many ways to participate in the Martin Luther King Day of Service on Jan. 18.  At the Unitarian Society of Germantown, there are eighteen projects for volunteers.  The day starts with coffee and bagels at 8:30 a.m. and ends with a wrap-up lunch at 12:30 p.m.


“We want our volunteers to have a good experience,” said Nancy Dearden, the organizer of the church activities.  “Each project has a team leader who assures that the volunteers have the opportunity to do some meaningful work.”


Most of the projects are at nearby neighborhood sites.  Twenty volunteers will help to clean the Wissahickon Boys and Girls Club.  Fifteen others will be visiting a local nursing home.  Twenty more will be outside removing trash from local streets.


The Germantown Avenue Acme Market is a major contributor to the effort.  It is providing $500 in food that will be used to make 800 sandwiches for neighborhood shelters and 30 quarts of soup for families in transition. 


“We are planning for 300 volunteers,” said Nancy.  “Their work, and the kind donations of our contributors, will make our neighborhood a brighter place.”


Volunteers can get more information and register to help at the church’s web site:


The Unitarian Society of Germantown is at 6511 Lincoln Drive.  Parking is in the rear off Johnson Street.


OARC MLK Day Programs

OARC will help spearhead a half-dozen community services activities in West Oak Lane as part of the annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service on Monday, January 18, including assembling hygiene kits for the homeless, preparing sandwiches for the needy and making pillows for breast cancer survivors.


OARC, in partnership with the Office of State Representative Dwight Evans, Foundations Inc. and Martin Luther King High School, will organize and lead a series of hands-on projects based at MLK High School, including Project CPR, Project Linus, Project Plenty, Project Hope, Project Comfort and Project Simons. They will also hold a donation drive to collect socks and underwear for the city’s Project Home.


Volunteers should gather at 8 am at MLK High School, located at 6100 Stenton Avenue. There will be stations for the following activities:  Project CPR – get certified in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation; Project Linus – assemble hygiene kits for the homeless; Project Plenty – prepare sandwiches for those in need;  Project Comfort – make pillows for breast cancer survivors.


In addition, volunteers will travel to nearby locations for two off-site service projects to clean up and beatify a school and playground: Project Hope – help beautify Hope Charter School;  Project Simons – help clean up at the recreation center.


For more information call OARC at 215-549-9462
or e-mail to


MLKWeekend at Mishkan

Martin Luther King Jr. saw education as a gateway to equality and advancement for all. When he was a 19-year-old student he wrote a speech entitled “The Purpose of Education,” in which he said, “Education must enable a man . . . to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life.”  Yet far too many children do not have access to quality education and cannot realize their full potential in life. Mishkan Shalom, 4101 Freeland Avenue, Roxborough, will honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a weekend of learning and service focusing on the intersection of race, education policy, and school funding. 


Keynote speaker Helen Gym will talk about confronting the challenges in our public educational system at our Shabbat service on Friday, January 15 at 6:30 p.m. She is the founder of Parents United for Public Education, a city-wide group focused on school budgets and funding, and a board member of Asian Americans United, an activist group that has successfully mobilized around issues of education, youth leadership, immigrant rights, and community development. She will address us with a profound understanding of the power structure in Philadelphia and how to actually get things done.


MLK weekend will continue with a service on Saturday, January 16, 10 a.m., which will continue the focus on education and race.  This will be the time to tell our own stories and to start to understand the impact of race on our own educational experiences.


On Sunday, January 17, 10 a.m., Jonathan Cetel of Good Schools PA will update us on the statewide advocacy agenda around public school funding, with time for direct action through letter writing.


All are invited to attend.


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Cars streamed off Lincoln Drive onto Wissahickon Avenue all day Saturday as motorists heading downtown were forced to take other routes due to the Streets Department’s upkeep and repair work on the Drive between Rittenhouse Street and Ridge Avenue. The announcement of the work and the ensuing detours was not made until last Thursday, Jan. 7.