From the Independent • Mt. Airy News Stories

April 9, 2010 • MAI.040810.pdf

In This Issue

The Stories

  1. Mt. Airy Baseball Celebrates 25th Season

  2. Controller’s Report Raises Question About Former Charter School Officer

  3. Germantown Settlement Files for Bankruptcy

  4. Quest for Children of Slaves Uncovers Success Against the Odds

  5. 14th District Pushes for Community Involvement in New PSAs

  6. Share Your Views at NW Community Café

  7. Eat Your Heart Out! for WMAN

  8. Dance Audition Saturday for West Oak Lane Jazz Festival

  9. Book Festival Just for Kids at Big Blue Marble

  10. GHS Students’ Six-Month Project: Anti-Violence Mural

  11. WMAN Seeking Nominations for ‘50 Good Neighbors’

  12. Learn About Locally-Grown Food

  13. Dark Comedy with Sci-Fi Twist at Stagecrafters

  14. DIA Sponsoring Clean Up

  15. Earth Week Fair at LTSP

  16. Homebuyers Seminar

  17. Home Modifications for Seniors

  18. Morris Seeks July Babies for Photo Shoot

  19. WMAN Holds Spring Cleanup

  20. Enjoy and Learn About Park with FOW

  21. Learn Top 10 Men’s Health Warning Signs

  22. Nominations Open for Nursing Award at CHH

  23. Ask the Physical Therapist

  24. Handbell Concert, Coffee House at 1st Presbyterian Church

  25. Dine at Trolley Car, Help Uganda Mission

  26. Anglican Classes on Roman Catholic Catechism

  27. ‘Family Affair’

  28. Dramatic Production at Grace

  29. Jazz Buffet Raises $13K for Dignity Housing

  30. Census Questionnaire Help

  31. Joint GGBA/MABA Event for Entrepreneurs

  32. April Events at CIP

The Mt. Airy Baseball AAA Rockies made use of the great weather April 3 as Coach Jack Feeny helped them with the art of base-running at Pleasant Playground. From left the players are Abe Barash, Will McGloughlin, Tray Womak, Chris Martinez, Reece Whitley, unidentified, Leon Finney, Steven Williams and Alex Grey.  For more about Mt. Airy Baseball’s upcoming 25th season, see story.

Mt. Airy Baseball Celebrates 25th Season

Budding Ryan Howards and Roy Halladays line up for pre-season practice. Opening Day for Mt. Airy Baseball is Saturday, April 10.

Mt. Airy Baseball will kick off its 25th season this Saturday, April 10 at Mt. Airy Playground at Germantown Avenue and East Sedgwick Street. Over 600 girls and boys will play on 50 teams this spring and summer. 

Begun in 1985 with two teams and 25 children, the program has become an important social and recreational organization in Northwest Philadelphia.  Mt. Airy Baseball brings together children and their families across social, economic and racial lines for the mutual goal of teaching honest play and good sportsmanship while learning to play the great game of baseball.

The league has many activities planned this season to mark this important milestone.  There will be community service activities for the players and families to emphasize the role of giving back to our community.  There will also be a series of articles in this newspaper that will provide a history lesson on baseball in Philadelphia. The emphasis will be on the unique role and special history of African American baseball, including the Philadelphia Stars, which Mt. Airy Baseball teams honor in play throughout the region as the Mt. Airy Stars. There is also some really special merchandise and other fundraising activities, which will create a permanent reserve fund to allow the program to grow and serve the neighborhood children.

Play kicks off at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 10 as the 10 T-Ball teams take the field for the first time this spring.  An Opening Ceremony will follow at 10 a.m., and then games begin for our AA (7-8 year old) and Majors (11-12 year old) players at 10:30 a.m.

Despite the beginning of construction to the playground, the concession stand will be open, managed by our parent volunteers.  The league is an all-volunteer endeavor, from the coaches and board of directors to the field maintenance and concession operations.

Special thanks to the 45 plus local businesses and institutions that annually support the program as team and banner sponsors. This support allows the league to keep the registration fees low and affordable (and no player is ever turned away) for all children. Please thank them when you are dining or shopping at their businesses this spring.

Celebrate the beginning of spring this Saturday enjoying a tasty snack and some exciting baseball action.  Stay tuned for much more on this exciting season throughout the spring and summer.

Controller’s Report Raises Question About Former Charter School Officer


Staff Writer

Last week City Controller Alan Butkovitz released investigative findings alleging that Rhonda Sharif, former Chief Financial Officer for Mt. Airy’s Khepera Charter School, located at 144 Carpenter Lane, headed up the business end of three Philadelphia charter schools at the same time, including Khepera and a West Philadelphia charter which last week came under fire for selling alcohol in the school building on nights and weekends.  

“In 2008, Sharif earned a total of $183,108 as an employee of all three schools and for having worked 463 days,” Butkovitz said. “The year before she earned $175,375 as an employee of all three schools and having worked 624 days.”

Charter school law prohibits school administrators from getting paid by more than one school, according to Butkovitz.

Also according to Butkovitz, Sharif accrued multiple pension payments for the three positions, and the construction company owned by her husband, Str8-Hand Construction Inc., received $7.5 million in contracts from the three schools where Sharif worked.

In addition, Sharif was reimbursed $101,587 for unspecified credit card expenses in 2008 from Harambee Institute Charter School, Butkovitz reported. And while she was the CFO there, the school made two payments to the Princess Royal Hotel and Convention Center in Ocean City, MD, totaling $52,694 for staff retreats, the report said. 

“These findings raise very troubling questions and serious concerns about oversight and financial accountability,” said Butkovitz.  “These are abusive practices and not in the best interest of taxpayers.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported last week that Sharif was now the subject of a grand jury investigation.

Neither Sharif nor representatives from Khepera could be reached for comment.

Germantown Settlement Files for Bankruptcy


Staff Writer

On April 1 Germantown Settlement and its major subsidiary, the Greater Germantown Housing Development Corporation (GGHDC), filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in federal court. The action followed a March 18 claim of bankruptcy by another subsidiary, the Greater Germantown Education Development Corporation, which operated the Germantown Settlement Charter School until concerns over apparent financial mismanagement lead the School Reform Commission to close it in June, 2009.

“Germantown Settlement and its related entities filed for Chapter Eleven so they would have some time and breathing space… to allow them to get their arms around the issue, reorganize and move forward,” said Thomas Bielli, a bankruptcy attorney for Settlement.  

Bielli and partner Albert Ciardi did not know just how much Settlement owed its creditors but they said the bankruptcy filing should allow the agency between 3 and 18 months to look into its books and come up with a plan to handle the overwhelming debt. And to do it, “without any down time. To continue to provide services to the community,” Bielli said.

Settlement, which receives a large portion of its funding from public sources, has watched its service programs close one after another following the city’s June decision to cut off funding to the agency because it failed to file required financial audits for the previous three years. No service programs are currently operating at Settlement, but Bielli said the agency is generating some income, mostly from existing tenants of its many housing projects.

Also since June, former employees have alleged repeated missed salary payments by the agency. And city, state and federal liens against it have climbed to $2 million, many for missed tax payments.

Settlement and GGHDC President Emanuel Freeman faces a personal suit from the city in the amount of $209,000 for allegedly failing to pay wage taxes to the city while still deducting them from paychecks, and he has been put on summary charges for allegedly violating the state unemployment compensation law.

Freeman could not be reached for comment.

In addition, court judgments against the agency have now topped $1.8 million, and it faces more than $20 million in foreclosure actions.

Among these are the Redevelopment Authority’s February move to seize the Germantown YWCA building for an unpaid $1.3 million loan, and the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) foreclosure of more than $11 million in loans and penalties relating to the Elders Place senior residences. This was an action recommended by Encarnacion Loukatos, the director of HUD Multifamily Housing in Philadelphia, due to financial mismanagement alleged in a HUD audit.

There was also a November 2009 sheriff sale of several GGHDC properties in lower Germantown brought on by a court judgment against Settlement from that April. Those properties were part of a failed development that was funded by $1.5 million in bank loans and $788,000 in RDA funding. According to RDA Deputy Executive Director John Carpenter, Settlement never made good on the $788,000. These funds came at a time when GGHDC co-founder Herbert Wetzel was director of the RDA.

The Settlement purchase of the YWCA with $1.3 million in RDA money also came under Wetzel’s watch, as did a payment of more than $500,000 from the RDA that was meant for the Elders Place projects but never made it there, according to the HUD audit.

Through GGHDC, Settlement holds a number of low income housing developments in Germantown and Mt Airy that were developed using federal tax credits through for-profit entities that must guarantee 15-years of continuous use by income-qualified renters. 4928 and 4930 Germantown Avenue are two of those projects.

Neighbors say those buildings have not been occupied for close to a year. The rear yards of both buildings are packed with trash, while a crisp “no dumping” sign adorns the front.

Freeman and Wetzel are listed as either president or treasurer for at least five of those for-profit subsidiary companies, including the one that owns 4928 and 4930.

Wetzel said he has not been involved with GGHDC for at least 17 years. He is currently the housing and community development director for City Council.

Settlement’s attorneys said the bankruptcy filing would halt all pending actions against the non-profit, including sheriff’s sales like the one that was scheduled for the YWCA April 6.

Teresa Gillen, the executive director of the RDA, confirmed the halt of that sale, saying that she was still working to find out the legal details involved.

The HUD sheriff sale of the two Elders Place buildings was scheduled for March 31, the day before Settlement’s bankruptcy filing, yet it also did not happen.

“It was postponed … I think it had to do with a legal issue,” said HUD’s Encarnacion Loukatos. She declined to give more information about the decision.  

Quest for Children of Slaves Uncovers Success Against the Odds

Interviewee Lillie Odom (left) of Gallatin, TN., with author Sana Butler.  Her father was born in 1845. Ms. Odom was interviewed in 2008 for Sugar in the Crop; she passed away shortly thereafter.



Television and print journalist Sana Butler tossed aside success to chase the vanishing voices of the children of slaves.  Butler crisscrossed the U.S. to interview the children of black people born into slavery - and not a moment to soon.  The elders with whom she spoke have all since died, yet their words live on in her book, Sugar of the Crop, My Journey to Find the Children of Slaves.

Butler spoke of her project in a telephone interview and in a recent talk at the Constitution Center in Center City.

During President Clinton’s administration, debates seethed about reparations for descendants of enslaved blacks.  “Arguments often split along racial lines,” Butler says.  “Whites said that slavery ended almost two hundred years ago.  African Americans, on the other hand, said that not much time had passed.” [This reporter, age 63, belongs to just the third generation born into freedom.]

“I wanted to put slavery into the context of parenthood,” Butler says, who has an undergraduate degree from Georgetown and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.  “We all understand mothers and fathers.  That approach eliminated the race card.”

Chasing ghosts

Scholars and historians with whom Butler first spoke told her that the children of blacks born before 1865 had long since died.  “I called all over: A Society of the Sons and Daughters of Slave Ancestry in Chicago, Harvard University’s W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research in Boston, the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Each time the person on the other end called me crazy.”

The pronouncement of insanity seemed to fuel Butler’s determination.  “It convinced me that if I didn’t record the stories, no one would.

“I needed a central database of the children of former slaves, but of course none existed,” Butler says.  “I was searching for black people in their 90s and older.  I started in alphabetical order, state by state, with the Department of Aging Centers in Alabama.  Staff would fax me lists of senior day care centers, then I would call each center’s director to ask about the oldest members.  I also inquired about popular black churches, spoke with the pastor and asked if he could make an announcement or put information in the Sunday bulletin.”

Sometimes Butler’s New England Yankee accent worked against her.  She sounded white.  A few times people hung up on her.  “Gradually, word got around, and I began to receive e-mails, hear from church members and museum curators,” she says.

Meanwhile, difficulties loomed in Butler’s life.  “A few months before my first big road trip, my dad checked into the hospital for major surgery,” she says.  “He’d had a rare cancer for years that grew around his nose toward his brain.  This time, it was growing toward his left eye.  My sisters and I slept in chairs and in the windowsills of his room during the week of his recovery.”

How could the son of slave become a millionaire?

Butler made her first trip in August 1997, to interview a millionaire, the late Crispus Attucks Wright, then 85, in California.  “I’d received a fax from the University of Southern California Law School.  Mr. Wright had donated two million dollars to his alma mater to set up a scholarship fund for minority students.  How could the son of a slave become a millionaire?”

Mr. Wright’s father, a noted public speaker, was born on a plantation in southern Louisiana.  An ambitious man, Wright’s father came to own a pharmacy though segregation barred him from studying at accredited schools of pharmacy himself.  He hired a white pharmacist.

Seeing wider opportunities in the West, the Wrights purchased a home in south Central Los Angeles in 1920.  Wright’s father had been diagnosed with diabetes years before Mr. Wright’s birth in 1914.  Six months later, his father died.

The family clung to the legacy of valuing education.  Mr. Wright worked two or three jobs while attending law school and opened his first office in 1940.  “Mr. Wright became the second black lawyer in Beverly Hills,” Butler says.  “He joined a network of lawyers from the south who took on civil rights cases.  He told me that he helped to organize a successful boycott against department stories and pharmacies that wouldn’t hire blacks.”     

“’I’ve led a blessed life, but I never forgot who I was,’ Mr. Wright said.  Maybe spiritually, there was someone with me.’”

During her travels, Butler found uncommon shrewdness among the children of slaves.  One man who owned a Cadillac wore a white shirt and black cap to fool the police into thinking that he was the chauffeur so that they wouldn’t stop him.

The interviews also emphasize the excitement formerly enslaved parents found in the possibilities of freedom for their children.  “The parents’ message was, ‘We didn’t survive for you to be anything less than great,’” Butler says.


Maybe there was someone with Sana Butler to ease the sacrifices she made to write Sugar of the Crop.  Butler made 10 or 11 trips to interview children of slaves.  “Sometimes I spent a month, a week or a day,” she says.  “I took whatever I could get.  Sometimes I didn’t know beforehand if the person could communicate.  Sometimes I didn’t get documentation until later that the interviewee had had enslaved parents.  Yet, in each case, census rolls, Civil War registries and slave owners’ records soon confirmed interviewees’ status.”

(This reporter’s mother, Cleoria Coleman Sparrow, granddaughter of a slave, was born in 1910 Spotsylvania County, Virginia, where Roots was filmed.  There was no official record of my mother’s birth.  A relative had to produce a family Bible where my mother’s birth was recorded so that she could get a passport.)

At first, Butler thought that the interviews would take two years.  In the end, her quest stretched on for ten.  “After a trip, I would have to return to New York, where I’d kept my apartment, to freelance.  Each trip cost $3,500 to $4,000.  I went on with my project even after I lost my book contract.  I’d signed it in ’99 and lost it in 2001.  I had to pay back the advance, too.  I gave up good boyfriends.  I saw people my age getting married, getting promotions.  My sisters got tired of my pleas for financial help.”

Butler’s father died during her project, but his teachings sustained her.  “Dad instilled in us that money doesn’t matter, that what counts is your commitment to be the best you can be.”  

14th District Pushes for Community Involvement in New PSAs

On March 25, Lieutenant Mark Overwise, commander of Police Service Area 3, met with residents outdoors at the Germantown Jewish Center to discus crime trends and police business for West Mt. Airy and West Germantown.


Staff Writer

Lieutenant Mark Overwise and residents of West Mt. Airy’s and West Germantown’s Police Service Area (PSA) 3 made the best of a warm evening March 25 and held their monthly meeting outside, in the Germantown Jewish Center’s playground. (The inspiration was practical - due to a planning error, the doors to the Center were locked that night).

“It’s appropriate, this is where we made the biggest difference,” said Heather Pierce, president of the Carpenter Woods Town Watch as she entered the playground. Pierce was refering to the neighborhood re-build of the playground in 2008 following damage by vandals.

Overwise, who commands PSA 3, explained that PSA’s are a new way of assigning the existing officers in the 14th Police District so that the same officers work the same neighborhoods every day to get to know it better. Monthly PSA meetings are an outgrowth of that familiarity – the idea is to provide a forum for meaningful contact between the community and the police who patrol it. For PSA 3 that means about five cars and 12 officers at any given time, according to the Lieutenant.

PSA 3 covers the area from Germantown Avenue to the park, and from Cresheim Valley Road to Queen Lane. Over the last month the area endured 7 burglaries, 21 thefts from autos and 2 stolen cars, Overwise said. And he stressed that it was always important to think about how to get those numbers lower.

“Twenty percent of the 21 thefts from autos, people left their doors unlocked,” he reported. “That makes it easy.”

The seven burglaries was a low number, Overwise said, given how common burglaries are in the 14th Police District. But he expected the monthly total to edge up as the weather got warmer.

“From now until June you can expect things to increase,” he said.

There are things everyone can do to make the neighborhood safer. Overwise recommended calling 311 when street lights go out in the neighborhood, always locking cars and homes, using an alarm, keeping up on home maintenance and helping neighbors, especially seniors, to keep their house in shape as well. A well-maintained street sends the message that residents care and they are paying attention, and that makes a big difference, according to Overwise.

“The name of the game is to prevent you from being a victim, you yourself,” he said.

To help keep residents more informed about local crime trends, Overwise wants to establish a real time crime data service for the PSA in the next few months, so that residents can access fresh data over the web, he said. And he recommended getting involved with the neighborhood town watch or forming one if there isn’t one active on your street.

PSA meetings in April will include:

PSA 1, April 29, 7-9 p.m., West Oak Lane Senior Center, 7210 Ogontz Avenue, with Lt. Raymond Jackson. Community facilitators include Geneva Green of the Block Captain Association and Isabella Fitzgerald of the Northwest Community Coalition for Youth.

PSA 2, April 22, 7-9 p.m., Victory Baptist Church, 5131 Germantown Avenue, with Lt. Brian Murphy. Community facilitators include James Igess of Wister Neighborhood Council and Peter Commons of the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District.

PSA 3, April 21, 7-9 p.m., 14th District Headquarters at 43 West Haines Street with Lt. Mark Overwise. Community facilitators include Lizabeth Macoretta, executive director of West Mt. Airy Neighbors, and Heather Pierce of Carpenter Woods Town Watch.

PSA 4, April 27, 7-9 p.m., Oxford Presbyterian Church, Stenton and Gowen avenues, with Lt. Michael Kopecki. Community facilitators include Dr. Arlene Bennett of the Safe Streets Committee and Derek Green representing East Mt. Airy Neighbors. 

For more information call the 14th District at 215-686-3140

Share Your Views at NW Community Café


Guest Writer

The next Northwest Philadelphia Community Café will take place on Sunday, April 18, 2:30-5 p.m. at the Mt. Airy Presbyterian Church, at the corner of Germantown and Mt. Pleasant avenues. The café will create an opportunity for people to get together in a relaxed setting to talk about issues that matter in our Northwest Philadelphia community. The first café in November 2009 brought out over 100 people who engaged in active and productive conversations throughout the afternoon. If you want to find out what’s going on, share information, or get involved, we hope that you’ll join us at our next Community Café.

As with the first successful event, the café program will be informal. First, you can help yourself to a cup of coffee or tea, chat with neighbors, and browse through literature about what’s going on in our fabulous neighborhood. Workshops will then run simultaneously giving you the opportunity to participate in two discussions during the afternoon. A resource person will give a short presentation on an issue of interest to our community, facilitate a discussion, and then suggest one or more action items for people who want to get engaged.

A wide array of workshops will be presented.  There is bound to be one or two which capture your interest.  Workshop topics and presenters include:

Mortgage Foreclosure Crisis – Tim Styer, Phila Unemployment Project

Jobs Bill & Getting Americans Back to Work- Ben Sears, Jobs w/ Justice

Keeping Food Local – Glenn Bergman, Weavers Way

Campaign Financing Reform – Alex Kaplan, Common Cause Pa

Co- Housing - Gloria Hoffman, Phila Co-Housing Initiative

The Community Café is co-sponsored by Northwest Philadelphia MARCHinG for Change and Neighborhood Networks. The event is open to the public and is free, but donations will be accepted for the coffee, tea and dessert to be provided.

For more information, contact, 215-247-9169.

Eat Your Heart Out! for WMAN

Join West Mt. Airy Neighbors Saturday, April 10 for Eat Your Heart Out! This modified progressive dinner begins with cocktails at the beautiful home of Rhonda and David Cohen.  Guests will then move on to dinner at one of 18Mt. Airy homes for a delicious meal prepared and presented by chefs from our best local restaurants, caterers and gourmands.

Visit to register for this evening of lively conversation, new friendships, delicious food and great homes.  Eat Your Heart Out! is our signature fundraising event and profits from the evening’s ticket sales support WMAN’s programs and services in our community.

Seating is limited, so register today. For more info call 215- 438-6022 or email

Dance Audition Saturday for West Oak Lane Jazz Festival

The Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation (OARC) is diligently planning the 2010 West Oak Lane Jazz and Arts Festival that is scheduled for June 18, 19, and 20. This year’s festival is expected to once again bring thousands of people to West Oak Lane. The festival takes place on the 7100 to 7400 blocks of Ogontz Avenue and is highly anticipated, bringing Arts and Culture to the Northwest section of Philadelphia and revenue to the local business community. The festival is free and features three days of non-stop music on two outdoor stages, original arts and craft vendors, visual artists, and an international food court.

This year, festival attendees can look forward to enjoying an all-jazz line-up and a New Orleans theme. The event will kick off with a festive New Orleans style parade lead by the Royal Brass Band. Some of the musical acts featured will be the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Preservation Hall Jazz Band,  Diane Reeves, David Sanborn with Joey De Francesco, Al Jarreau and the George Duke Trio, and many more.

The African American Museum of Philadelphia is partnering with OARC and producing the festival’s Congo Square themed Art Pavilion.  This year the festival is proud to bring New Orleans-based artist Frenchy to perform his artistry in motion. Frenchy is known to fill venues and captivate onlookers with his captivating style and awe-inspiring creativity.

The Festival will do its part in conserving natural resources by providing recycling bins on the festival grounds and encouraging attendees to recycle. OARC’s commitment to cleaning and greening involves finding ways to improve conservation efforts and providing information and resources to the community.

OARC will continue to provide conveniences such as shuttles to and around festival grounds, free parking in select locations, and an information hotline to make information accessible to the community as early as possible.

“I am really excited about the 2010 West Oak Lane Jazz and Arts Festival and all of the fresh nuances that will be a part the event. As the Director of the festival, it gives me great pride to see how OARC has grown an amazing regional event in the last seven years.  We are taking great strides to continue to produce an excellent event that makes West Oak Lane proud,” said Erika L. Griffin, interim director of Community and Government Affairs for OARC.

OARC will host auditions on Saturday, April 10 for dance groups and individual dancers ages 8 and older who want to help kick off the 2010 West Oak Lane Jazz and Arts Festival with a New Orleans-style brass band parade.

Auditions will be held from 2 pm to 5 pm at Center Court in the Cheltenham Mall, 2385 West Cheltenham Avenue. A panel of judges will chose several groups and individuals to join the UCC Royal Brass Band, which will lead the kickoff parade along Ogontz Avenue.

  “We are planning to throw beads, twirl umbrellas and generally have a good time celebrating this annual festival, which generates so much community spirit and general interest in the West Oak Lane community,” said Griffin.

To register for an audition, entrants must call the festival hotline at 1-877-WOL-JAZZ and leave contact information. Callers will be contacted about available audition times.

For more information and details about the festival go to

Book Festival Just for Kids at Big Blue Marble

Vida Moore, author of Under Billy Penn’s Hat, is a native North Carolinian who, at the age of six, migrated with her family to Philadelphia. She attended William Penn HS and first published her writings in the school paper. She has an Associates Degree in Nursing from CCP and a BS in Elementary Education from Temple University, both obtained after age 55. It was in her college years, in 1976, that the book was first conceived, as a project for her Children’s Literature class.

Lisa Cushenberry, author of No Tears for the Teary, received admittance into the Institute of Children’s Literature after entering her short story “Thailand Pansy,” which was based on her family’s vacation to the Chang Rai Elephant Camp in Thailand. She resides in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.

Nancy Viau has worked as an elementary school teacher, a counselor in an after-school program, an instructor for reluctant readers, and a freelance writer. She now specializes in writing for children, and along with her novel for kids 7-12, Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head, her stories, poems, and activities appear in Highlights for Children, Highlights High Five, Ladybug, and many other magazines.

Big Blue Marble Bookstore will host its fourth annual Mt. Airy Kids’ Literary Festival, the only literary festival in Northwest Philly just for kids. This year’s weekend of free and fun-filled events will take from Friday, April 9, to Sunday, April 11. The full schedule is listed below. Mt. Airy Kids’ Literary Festival engages pre-schoolers all the way to young adults to love books by offering  readings from local and national authors, arts and crafts activities, workshops, kid music, and helping with plantings on our back porch. Local authors/illustrators Matt Phelan, Deborah Kogan Ray, Kathleen Van Cleve, and Melissa Conroy are just some of the folks lined up for the weekend.

This year the bookstore will be offering free refreshments and door prizes from local businesses throughout the festival’s duration, including a pizza party from Fino’s in Mt. Airy and goodies from The Little Treehouse Play Cafe and O’Doodles Toy Shop.

Full details of all events and photos/bios of authors are on our website: For more information, contact events coordinator Maleka Fruean at 215-844-1870, or e-mail

Events include:

Friday, April 9, 4 p.m. - kids get to help spruce up the Big Blue Marble Bookstore’s porch with help from Mark Goodman, owner of Earthcraft Landscaping, based in Mt. Airy.

7 p.m. - reading and pizza party with Amy Ignatow, author/illustrator of The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang.  Sponsored by Fino’s Pizza in Mt. Airy. This is a middle grade event.

Saturday, April 10, 10 a.m. - reading with Nancy Viau, author of Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head
[For ages 7-12]. 11 a.m. - reading with Melissa Conroy, author of Poppy’s Pants. This is a picture book event.

Noon - reading with Lisa Cushenberry, author of No Tears for the Teary. [Middle grade event].

1 p.m. - reading with Matt Phelan, creator of the graphic novel The Storm in the Barn. [Middle grade event]

2 p.m. - Reading with Gary Bernard, illustrator of Pemba Sherpa. [Picture book event].

3 p.m. - Lango language workshop with Carol Anthony.

Join Big Blue Marble for a free introductory workshop to Lango. Lango’s innovative Adventure Learning method teaches languages and cultures through interactive stories, theatre games, music, and theme-based structured play activities. [For ages 1-10].

4 p.m. - reading with Jennifer Hubbard, author of The Secret Year.  [Young adult event].

Sunday, April 11: 10:30 a.m. - reading with Vida Moore, author of Under Billy Penn’s Hat.  [Picture book event].

11 a.m. - reading with Kathleen Van Cleve, author of Drizzle. [Middle grade event].

Noon - reading with Deborah Kogan Ray, author/illustrator of Wanda Gag: The Girl Who Lived to Draw and the upcoming Dinosaur Mountain: Digging into the Jurassic Age. [Middle grade picture book event].

1 p.m. - All Around the World music with Jay Sand.

2 p.m. - Group Reading with Zetta Elliott, author of A Wish after Midnight, Lyn Miller-Lachmann, author of Gringolandia, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, author of 8th Grade Super Zero, and Neesha Meminger, author of Shine, Coconut Moon.  These four authors will read from their novels and discuss the role teens play in creating change within their communities. These 21st-century teens find solutions to serious issues like homelessness and terrorism by reaching out to others and looking within for the courage it takes to stand up for what’s right. [Young adult event]

Activities all weekend include the Craft Table. Big Blue Marble Bookstore will have our special craft table open all weekend, stocked with brightly colored paper, collage materials, and all kinds of other supplies to create your own books.

This will take place in our community room. Adult supervision is required. And winners will be randomly selected throughout the entire weekend to win free books, promotional goodies, and more in special door prizes.

Stop by with your family and get a chance to go home with all kinds of special treats.

GHS Students’ Six-Month Project: Anti-Violence Mural

Left: Germantown High School students proudly display their certificates of achievement at the completion of the anti-violence mural at GHS.

They worked with art teacher Alisha Hagelin and muralist Nanci Hersh.

Students taking part in the project included Olivia Arrington, Serene Fisher, Cornell Gilliland, Desiree Logan, Christina Gilliard, Joseph Parnell, Teayana Woods, Rashon Tate and David Johnson.

Right: a section of the mural.


Guest Writer

A teacher’s dream became a reality recently when her students’ mural was unveiled in Germantown High School as a lasting reminder about the value of non-violence and peaceful conflict resolution.

“I think [peaceful conflict resolution] is one of the primary difficulties children experience – not just at Germantown High School, but at all high schools,” said Alisha Hagelin, a Germantown High art teacher who established a mural club this school year.

“The easy solution is to fight,” she added. “The difficult, more mature solution is to step away. I think it took a lot for the students to take that stance and promote it to the school.”

Germantown High students Olivia Arrington, Serene Fisher, Cornell Gilliland, Desiree Logan, Christina Gilliard, Joseph Parnell, Teayana Woods, Rashon Tate and David Johnson spent the last six months with Hagelin and muralist Nanci Hersh developing and creating the mural, which was unveiled March 23 and is prominently displayed in the front entrance of the school.

The mural consists of two walls parallel to each other. One wall portrays the idea of choice while the other portrays the idea of forgiveness, two values that the students felt were imperative to creating peace. Students spent one afternoon a week for two hours from late October until early March working on the mural with Hagelin and Hersh. The students sketched images portraying values related to peaceful conflict resolution, then Hersh and Hagelin translated those ideas to scale on brown paper and collaged the images.

“It was a very organic process,” Hersh said.

Afterward, Hagelin and the students gridded it out and drew freehand on the wall adding, rose petals and a waterfall.

“Each had an eye on the overall design but allowed it to evolve,” Hersh said.

In addition to promoting peaceful conflict resolution, the club gave students an opportunity to express their creativity and learn more about art. Sophomore Serene Fisher said she initially joined the club because she liked art.

“It was fun,” she said. “I learned how to paint.”

Fisher also liked the chosen theme of peaceful conflict resolution because it showed her and other student muralists that teens don’t have to turn to violence to solve problems.

“Teenagers are teenagers. They are creative but don’t always trust their creativity,” Hersh said. “High school kids no matter where they live want to see their creativity not only validated, but celebrated.”

The project was aided by the Arts for Peace Project of the Young Audiences of Eastern Pennsylvania, an organization that strives to reach into communities and share arts for the goal of creating change in young people. Aileen McCulloch of YAEP helped coordinate a sponsor for the mural club, PNC Bank, and then set Hagelin up with Hersh. The idea was for Hagelin to learn from Hersh how to create a mural so that Hagelin can continue the club on her own in the future.

Hagelin first approached McCulloch with the idea of a mural club about two years ago, McCulloch said, while she was in midst of writing various grants for area high schools. Germantown High School did not qualify for any of the grants at the time, but McCulloch thought the project was a great idea and decided to approach PNC Bank to sponsor it. Additional support for the project came from the Rentschler Foundation and Germantown hardware store Pik-A-Panel True Value whose owner, Scott Shapiro, donated some of the supplies.

Hagelin called the unveiling “a beautiful event. A lot of parents and family, the principal and other administrators and members of the Philadelphia School District attended. The children were so proud.”

Despite her one- to two-hour commute to Germantown, Hersh said it was “so worth it. [The students] were committed. It was great to see them work together … I love working with high school students.”

Hagelin, who has been teaching at Germantown High School since February 2007, said the students were involved in every step of the project.

At the unveiling, students received certificates for their work. Fisher said she felt “proud” at the unveiling.

“Everyone was saying how much they liked [the mural],” she said.

Olivia Biagi is a student in the community journalism class at La Salle University.

WMAN Seeking Nominations for ‘50 Good Neighbors’

West Mt. Airy Neighbors (WMAN) invites your participation in celebrating its 50th Anniversary by nominating a “Good Neighbor”.   Is there a neighbor who has gone above and beyond to make your neighborhood and/or community the wonderful place it is today?   Does he/she volunteer time and effort without seeking or receiving recognition for his/her service? 

To nominate your Good Neighbor, visit for a 50 Good Neighbors nomination form or for the ability to fill out an online nomination form.  Please note that certain restrictions apply.  Nominations are due by Thursday, April 15.

To see what was written about the 40 Good Neighbors who were honored in 1999, visit  For more information call WMAN at 215-438-6022 or email

The 50 Good Neighbors will be honored at West Mt. Airy Neighbors’ annual meeting on Tuesday, June 8 at the Germantown Jewish Centre. 

Learn About Locally-Grown Food

“From Farm to City: Building Philadelphia’s Local Food Economy” will be held at Philadelphia University’s Tuttleman Center at Henry Avenue and School House Lane, on April 14 from 7-8:30 p.m.       

Are you concerned about your diet’s carbon footprint?  Are you interested in the advantages of locally-grown food for your health, your environment, and your community?  Join our guest experts for a panel discussion of the benefits and challenges of bringing local, sustainable and organic food to Philadelphia.

Panelists include Glenn Bergmann, general manager, Weavers Way Food Cooperative; Marshall Green, chef and owner, Cafe Estelle; and Ann Karlen, executive director, Fair Food. The moderator is Tom Schrand, chair, B.S. in Environmental Sustainability, Philadelphia University.

This event is sponsored by Philadelphia University’s School of Liberal Arts and its B.S. degree program in Environmental Sustainability.

For more information e-mail to schrandt@philau or call 215-951-2610. 

Dark Comedy with Sci-Fi Twist at Stagecrafters

The Stagecrafters theater presents The Violet Hour by Richard Greenberg, opening on Friday, April 9 for a three-weekend run. Greenberg’s play has been termed an eccentric peering into the future, a dark comedy with a twist of sci-fi, a “... luminous, mysterious, ... tragi-comedy” – perhaps reflecting its range of intertwined motifs and layers.  The story takes place in the New York City of 1919 and concerns one John Pace Seavering, Princeton grad and returning veteran of the Great War, who has set himself up in publishing ... but can barely afford to put to press even one book.  And therein lays his quandary:  what and whom to publish ... and his wistful lament: “If I could only see the future ...” ... scarcely aware how close his wish is to being granted.

The play received its Broadway debut in November, 2003, at the Manhattan Theatre Club.  It saw its Philadelphia area premier in a well-received production by Theatre Horizon in 2006.  The author, born in 1958, has penned over twenty-five plays, one of which, Take Me Out, earned the Tony award for Best Play in 2003. 

Greenberg commented on The Violet Hour  in a recent  interview,  “... I’m interested in ambition and plans that go awry ....  [and in] a highly ambitious guy ... discovering the consequences of all the actions he’s ever going to take.”

Performance dates are April 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24 at 8 p.m., April 11 and 18 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 (Thursday evening performances two for $20).  Students with valid ID get $2 off general admission.  Groups of 15 or more are offered a reduced rate of $12 a ticket.  The box office opens 45 minutes before each performance.  For reservations call 215-247-8881.  The theater is at 8130 Germantown Avenue.  Visit for details. 

Special Note:  A “Meet the Cast and Director” question and answer session will be held following the performance on Friday, April 16.  All attendees that evening are welcome. 


DIA Sponsoring Clean Up

The Duval Improvement Association will be participating in the annual Spring Clean Up on Saturday, April 10 (rain date April 17), 9 a.m. – noon. The area we have designated to clean up is across the street from Anna Lingelbach School at 6340 Wayne Avenue and is bordered by Wayne Avenue, Johnson Street and Lincoln Drive.  Help us make this gateway to our neighborhood more beautiful.  All cleanup supplies will be provided, but if you have your own gloves, etc., we encourage you to bring them.  Call Brian Hester for more information at 215-834-4100. 

Earth Week Fair at LTSP

The Northwest Philadelphia community is invited to celebrate green living at the Earth Week Fair on Tuesday, April 20, 11 am - 12:30 pm. The fair will be on William Allen Plaza at the southeast corner of the campus of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), 7301 Germantown Avenue. The event is free and open to the public.

The fair will host exhibits from neighborhood businesses, green product suppliers, PECO Energy and SEPTA, LTSP organizations, and more. Raffles of “green” products, food, coffee, and insightful information will be featured free of charge.

The Earth Week Fair is a joint venture between LTSP’s institutional Green Team and the seminary student committee known as the  Environmental Stewardship Commission. Notes seminarian Jason Glombicki, a member of the Green Team, “This event will be an opportunity for the community to come to a better understanding of green practices from organizations in Mt. Airy to personal practices to institutional practices of LTSP to product options.  It will also be an ideal setting for networking between neighbors and organizations.”

More information can be found, including lists of participating organizations and electronic handouts, along with a poster about the event, at or email

Homebuyers Seminar

A first-time home buying seminar offered by Clara Glenn and Dawn Evans from Prudential Fox and Roach Realtors will be held Tuesday, April 13, 6 p.m., at the Wadsworth Branch Library, 1500 Wadsworth Avenue. Ask about the $8,000 stimulus credit, home inspections and more. There will be free dinner and door prizes. Bring a friend. For more information call 215-685-9293.

Home Modifications for Seniors

JEVS Supports for Independence is offering free home assessments and modifications to help qualified area seniors, who are low-income, remain safe and secure in their own homes.

This free grant program, funded by the Green Tree Community Health Foundation (formerly the Chestnut Hill Health Care Foundation) is designated for low-income seniors who are residents of Mt. Airy and Germantown as well as some surrounding areas in Northwest Philadelphia in the following zip codes: 19118; 19119; 19128; 19138; 19144 and 19150. 

Simple changes such as installing shower grab bars and the removal of tripping hazards can help eliminate the risk of injury and provide a more secure environment.

To see if you qualify, call JEVS Supports for Independence at 267-298-1306. For information on JEVS Human Services, visit

Morris Seeks July Babies for Photo Shoot

Casting call alert. Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill is calling for all babies born in July, 2009 to commemorate their one year birthdays along with the first birth day of the exhibit Out on a Limb. If your baby was born last July and you want to have his/her photo taken Out on a Limb, email us today at

Out on a Limb is a completely safe and fully accessible permanent exhibit that takes you into the treetops, 50 feet up and allows you to experience the forest as you never have before.

Twenty or so babies are needed for this photo, so email today with the subject line of: Baby.  This fun photo will be taken prior to the birthday party event on July 3, so it won’t interfere with your enjoyment of Morris Arboretum’s birthday celebration.

The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is located at 100 East Northwestern Avenue in Chestnut Hill.  The 92-acre horticulture display garden features a spectacular collection of mature trees in a Victorian landscape. The Arboretum features numerous picturesque spots such as a formal rose garden, Japanese gardens, swan pond, meadows, an elegant Fernery, and the thrilling Out on a Limb canopy walk for a bird’s eye view of the forest from 50 feet above the ground. The Morris Arboretum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For more information, please visit

WMAN Holds Spring Cleanup

Join West Mt. Airy Neighbors at this year’s Philly Spring Cleanup on Saturday, April 10, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. They’ll be working around the intersections of Lincoln Drive, Johnson Street and Wayne Avenue. 

For more information, call 215- 438-6022 or email

Enjoy and Learn About Park with FOW

Trail Ambassadors from the Friends of the Wissahickon (FOW) are offering free nature walks in Wissahickon Valley Park this spring. The Trail Ambassador program was launched in 2008 in partnership with Fairmount Park. These volunteers share their knowledge of the Wissahickon with park users and report any problems they see to Fairmount Park Rangers.

Trail Ambassador 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, unless otherwise indicated. Walks are cancelled in heavy rain or icy conditions. Visit for changes or cancellations.

The April schedule includes:

Meandering in the Wissahickon with Shelly Brick.

Come enjoy our park and share stories. Walks will last 1 ½ to 2 hours. Pace will be set by the group. For more information, e-mail Walks are Saturday, April 10 at 2 p.m., meet at the Chestnut Hill entrance to the park on Chestnut Hill Avenue at Seminole Street; on Sunday, April 18, 3 p.m., meet at the Kitchen’s Lane entrance parking lot.

Hike with Merritt Rhoad, Sunday, April 11, 1 p.m.

Meet at Northwestern Avenue. and Forbidden Drive. Hike will go from Forbidden Drive to Bell’s Mill Rd. on the orange and white trails to the Indian Statue, returning to Northwestern Avenue via the yellow trail. The distance is about four miles. Learn a bit of geology, history, WPA efforts, Sustainable Trail Initiative, and progress on current FOW activities.

The Spirit and Science of the Waters of the Wissahickon Creek, Saturday, April 17, 10 a.m.

This 1½-2 hours walk begins at Northwestern Stables along the orange trail to the covered bridge and back on Forbidden Drive. Hikers will observe water quality indicators and discuss modern advances and challenges of protecting water quality, historic structures and their role in society, the Wissahickon Turnpike, and the role of the valley in contemporary life. On return, the group may split into two groups: speed walkers and meanderers. Leaders are Bruce Wagner and Diane Garvey. For information e-mail

The Mighty Wissahickon with Scott Quitel,  Saturday, April 24 9 a.m.

The first half of this three-hour 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 is about four miles. Meet at Valley Green Inn.

For information, e-mail

For more information, visit or call 215-247-0417. 

Learn Top 10 Men’s Health Warning Signs

April is National Minority Health Awareness Month, and groups around the country are promoting this year’s theme—“Man Up for Your Health! Healthy Men Move Our Communities Forward.” Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security disability representation and Medicare plan selection services, is pleased to offer practical tips for prevention that can help keep men—and their communities—healthy.

The Mayo Foundation compiled a list of the top 10 health threats to men from statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other leading organizations.

 No. 1: Heart disease. Men die from heart disease at nearly twice the rate of women, according to the U.S. Office of Minority Health. Men can take charge of heart health by making healthy lifestyle choices:

Eat a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fiber and fish.

Include physical activity in your daily routine.

Maintain a healthy weight.

Manage stress.

No. 2: Cancer. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among men — mostly due to cigarette smoking, according to the American Cancer Society. Lung cancer is followed by prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. To help prevent cancer:

Don’t smoke or use other tobacco products. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.

Limit your sun exposure. When you’re outdoors, use sunscreen.

Consult your doctor for regular cancer screenings.

No. 3: Injuries. The leading cause of fatal accidents among men is motor vehicle crashes, according to the CDC. To reduce your risk of a deadly crash:

Wear your seat belt.

Follow the speed limit.

Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or any other substances.

Don’t drive while sleepy.

No. 4: Stroke. You can’t control some stroke risk factors, such as family history, age and race. But you can control other contributing factors. The National Stroke Association recommends:

Quitting smoking.

Exercising regularly.

Watching what and how much you eat.

Limiting alcohol consumption.

No. 5: COPD. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of chronic lung conditions, including bronchitis and emphysema. To prevent COPD:

Don’t smoke. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.

Minimize exposure to chemicals and air pollution.

No. 6: Type 2 diabetes. Possible complications of type 2 diabetes include heart disease, blindness, nerve damage and kidney damage. To prevent type 2 diabetes:

Lose excess pounds, if you’re overweight.

Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat foods.

Include physical activity in your daily routine.

No. 7: Flu. Influenza is a common viral infection. While the flu isn’t usually serious for healthy adults, complications of the flu can be deadly—especially for those who have weak immune systems or chronic illnesses. To protect yourself from the flu, get an annual flu vaccine.

No. 8: Suicide and Depression. The CDC reports that men in the United States are about four times more likely to commit suicide than women. An important risk factor for suicide is depression. According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, male depression may not be as widely recognized as female depression. Men may find it difficult to admit depressive symptoms and ask for help. It’s important to remember, however, that depression is a real, treatable illness and is nothing to be ashamed about.

No. 9: Kidney disease. Kidney failure often is a complication of diabetes or high blood pressure. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s treatment suggestions. In addition:

Eat a healthy diet. Limit the amount of salt you consume.

Include physical activity in your daily routine.

Lose excess pounds, if you’re overweight.

Take medications as prescribed.

No. 10: Alzheimer’s disease. There’s no proven way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but consider taking these steps:

Take care of your heart. High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high cholesterol may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Avoid head injuries. There appears to be a link between head injury and future risk of Alzheimer’s.

Maintain a healthy weight.

Include physical activity in your daily routine.

Avoid tobacco.

If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation.

Stay socially active.

Maintain mental fitness. Practice mental exercises and learn new things.

This April, share these tips with your father, brother, son or another important man in your life. The CDC offers free Healthy Men and Healthy Community calendars.

On the web, go to:

Nominations Open for Nursing Award at CHH

Chestnut Hill Hospital is once again seeking to honor one of its nurses through its annual Patient Choice Award program. This award recognizes the level of quality care, comfort and compassion offered by nurses each day. Continuing the tradition of the last few years, the hospital is asking for input from the community throughout April. One nurse chosen from the nominations will receive the Patient Choice Award at Chestnut Hill Hospital during Nurses’ Week, May 6-12.

If you or a family member have come to Chestnut Hill Hospital for inpatient, outpatient or emergency care in the last year and you have a nurse you’d like to thank for going the extra mile, don’t miss this chance. Nominations for the 2010 Patient Choice Award will be accepted until Friday April 30. Nominations can be made online at  Nominations can also be e-mailed, mailed or faxed (arrival by April 30). E-mail nominations to, mail to: Christine Kolodi, Nursing Administration, Chestnut Hill Hospital, 8835 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118, or fax to 215-242-1022.

Ask the Physical Therapist


Guest Writer

Editor’s note: each month, John Lockard,  owner of Northwest Physical Therapy, 8200 Flourtown Avenue, Suite II, Wyndmoor, will answer readers’ questions about physical therapy and fitness issues. Questions can be submitted by phone to 215-233-5572, or faxed to 215-233-5584.

Q: Is it possible to selectively train your lower abdominal muscles?

A: Based on electromyographic (EMG) activity recorded during the performance of various abdominal exercises (e.g., crunches, reverse curls, leg lifts), individuals generally appear unable to differentially recruit the “upper” and “lower” abdominal muscles. In other words, individuals cannot trigger a contraction in one specific area of the abdominal muscles (either the upper or lower abs). Despite the common misconception among many fitness professionals and exercise enthusiasts, EMG data suggest that the upper and lower rectus abdominis act as a continuous sheath (i.e., one large muscle group). Contributing to the confusion is the fact that during certain abdominal exercises (e.g., leg lifts or other “hip flexor” exercises), individuals experience localized muscle fatigue and discomfort in the lower abdominal region. This situation occurs because the primary muscle used in hip flexion, the iliopsoas, originates deep below the lower portion of the rectus abdominis. The key point to keep in mind is that the phenomenon of local muscle fatigue and discomfort should not be misinterpreted as specific recruitment of “lower” abdominal muscles.

Q: Should I exercise when I have aches and pains?

A: Muscle soreness or discomfort that occurs 24 to 48 hours after exercise is normal, particularly if the exercise involved a high amount of eccentric work (e.g., downhill running, resistance training, landing after jumping) or activities you are unaccustomed to performing. The proper response to this type of pain is rest followed by continued moderate exercise and stretching. There are, however, occasions when the pain or discomfort is more troublesome and indicative of a real problem. The following guidelines or basic warnings signals can help you determine if the pain you are experiencing warrants cessation of exercise and/or medical attention:

The bottom line is that you should generally avoid trying to push or work through pain. The “no pain, no gain” mantra is outdated and inaccurate. Pain is the body’s way of communicating to us that a problem exists and a potential injury may be on the horizon.

For more information about Northwest Physical Therapy visit

Handbell Concert, Coffee House at 1st Presbyterian Church

Nearly 300 pounds of bronze will be transformed into a visually and musically exciting performance as the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble will appear in concert at the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, 35 West Chelten Avenue, on Sunday, April 11, at 3 p.m. Praised for its brilliant technique and refined musicianship, the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble will present a wide array of musical styles and moods with their repertoire of original compositions, arrangements and classical transcriptions.

Under the leadership of Kermit D. Junkert, the artistic director and conductor and internationally known handbell clinician, the ensemble moves beyond the traditional handbell sound by combining various instruments and using advanced ringing techniques. For information, call 215-843-8811.

Then from 7-9 p.m. that evening, karaoke and culinary talents will be featured at the Bread and Cup Coffeehouse at the church. Disc jockey Lydia Overton will provide her karaoke equipment and catalogue for members of the audience to sing their favorite songs with professional arrangements behind them.  In addition, there will be an open microphone for poets, storytellers and spoken word artists.  This month also marks Bread and Cup’s first Culinary Contest.  Anyone who makes a dish for the refreshment table is eligible to compete for a $25 gift certificate from the Flower Café, 48 Maplewood Mall.  The winner will be determined by audience vote.

Bread and Cup is a monthly multicultural and intergenerational coffeehouse that takes place in the Longstreth Auditorium of the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, 35 West Chelten Avenue.    Admission and refreshments are free, with contributions gratefully received.  For further information contact Kevin Porter at 215-518-1675.

Dine at Trolley Car, Help Uganda Mission

Selmon Choice with students in Uganda.

Selmon Choice, a resident of Mt Airy, and Gail Hoffman, resident of Germantown, traveled to Uganda and Tanzania this past February with Tower of Hope International Ministries, Inc. This organization is a non-profit 501C3 begun by Michael Kiyaga CPA, a native Ugandan living in Pennsauken NJ.

Since 2003 Kiyaga has been able to return home with missionaries from the U.S. to provide  medical care, education, school and church construction, feeding the hungry, clothing, a farming project, water project, men, women, and youth programs to orphans and families in Uganda and Tanzania. Choice is a retired Philadelphia school teacher and spent time in the schools with teachers and children. Hoffman is an insurance broker and the director of the Women’s Ministry for the organization.

Tower of Hope is holding a Helping Hands Week at the Trolley Car Diner & Deli from Monday, April 12 through Sunday, April 18. As part of its Helping Hands Week fundraising program, the Diner will donate 15 percent of the revenue from supporters’ meals to help support the work in Uganda and Tanzania.

Show your support by bringing your friends and family for a delicious and fun dining experience. Contact Arlene Parker at 609-226-2640 or e-mail Arlene at, to request a coupon for this fundraiser.

Anglican Classes on Roman Catholic Catechism

There are a few spots remaining in a class being offered on the Roman Catholic Catechism by the Anglican Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Mt. Airy.  The class will be taught by the rector of St. Michael’s, Fr. David Ousley, 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, beginning April 13 at the Rectory, 210 West Allens Lane.

Last fall, the Vatican announced it would allow Anglicans to enter into communion with the Roman Catholic Church while retaining their distinctive heritage, including their own liturgy, prayer book, and married clergy.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church is accessible and well-written and is of interest for its presentation of the Christian faith from the Roman perspective.  This course is being offered for the purpose of looking at the Catechism from an Anglican perspective, and thus aiding in the discernment process of the parish as to how to respond to Rome’s offer.  Realizing that there are likely to be others outside the parish with an interest, St. Michael’s happily extends an invitation to others to participate in the study. 

St. Michael’s is a traditional Anglican church for the Philadelphia area, with gospel preaching and liturgical worship.  St. Michael’s ministers principally in Mt. Airy and Bala Cynwyd, with outreach in North Philadelphia. Sunday worship is at 8 and 10 a.m. in the Chapel of Peace, located in West Laurel Hill Cemetery, 215 Belmont Ave., in Bala Cynwyd. For information,   go to, or call the Rectory at 215-247-1092.

‘Family Affair’

Unity Theatrical Theater Ministry will hold “It’s a Family Affair” on Friday, April 23, 7-9 p.m., at Lonnie Young Recreation Center, Chelten Avenue and Ardleigh Street. It is designed to unite our families with love through fun. Fathers,  bring your daughters; mothers, bring your sons. if you don’t have one, bring nieces, nephews or friends. Dress in your best so we can get our party on! The evening will feature entertainment and light food with refreshment. The donation is $7. For tickets please send payment to Unity Theatrical Theater Ministry, P.O. Box 45909, Philadelphia, PA 19149.

For more information and tickets call Stephanie at 267-235-3057.

Dramatic Production at Grace

The Drama Guild of Grace Baptist Church will put on a dramatic production of “A Land Beyond the River” on April 9 and 10 at 7 p.m., and April 11 at 3 p.m. This drama, based on a historical period in time, follows the need of a small South Carolina town’s need for equal rights. The drama is spiced with emotion and humor.

Grace Baptist Church will host this play in the Social Hall at 25 West Johnson Street. The donation is $10 and refreshments will be available. Please contact Sandi Johnson at 215-438-3215 for more information and tickets.

Jazz Buffet Raises $13K for Dignity Housing

Marion S., Dignity tenant; Alicia Christian, Dignity co-founder; Beverly Roberts, Dignity executive director, and Marjorie Shiekman, Dignity board member, enjoy the evening at the Commodore Barry Club.

On Sunday, March 21, Dignity Housing held its 5th Annual Jazz Buffet Fundraiser at the Commodore Barry Club.  The event is held yearly to recognize the importance of affordable housing and to raise funds for the non-profit’s programs which provide transitional housing and social services for the homeless. 

The fundraiser for nearly 250 guests featured a buffet dinner along with a raffle, jazz music, and dancing. Guests, board members, and staff honored Co-Founder Alicia Christian, while welcoming Dignity’s new executive director  Beverly Roberts. In addition, Marion S., Dignity tenant and special guest speaker, spoke about his experience with homelessness and his goal of becoming an entrepreneur. The evening raised over $13,000 for the transitional housing agency.

To learn more about Dignity Housing, 5221 Germantown Avenue, and to view photos from the event, visit our website at

Census Questionnaire Help

This year, America conducts its 23rd census. The nation’s largest domestic mobilization began in a remote corner of Alaska and will continue throughout the rest of the country — and in Puerto Rico and the Island Areas  — with the goal of counting every resident once, and only once, and in the right place.

Although the 2010 Census questionnaire is simple and easy to fill out, the census is a massive, complex operation involving millions of forms and hundreds of thousands of census workers.

Census workers will be available to assist people in completing the 2010 Census Questionnaire at Questionnaire Assistance Centers.

These centers provide assistance to those who might have difficulty completing the questionnaire because of language or other barriers.

Census workers will be available at PA CareerLink Philadelphia Northwest, 235 West Chelten Avenue, Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays from 9 a.m. - noon, Wednesdays 5 – 8 p.m., Thursdays, Fridays 1 – 4 p.m.

Joint GGBA/MABA Event for Entrepreneurs

GGBA and MABA are pleased to team up again and co-host our April 13 meeting at Stapeley in Germantown, 6300 Greene Street, that will feature two information tracks: 1) Doing Business Locally, Statewide, and Internationally; and 2) Certification Made Simple.

Track 1 is a panel presentation organized by our member, The Business Center, that will offer our businesses assistance in positioning themselves to do business with local, state, federal and international governments. Track 2 is the rescheduled topic from our January meeting - Certification Made Simple. Track 2 is specifically for small, women- and minority-owned businesses that want to be certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. U. Harold Levy of the Office of Women and Minority Business Opportunity will walk us through the certification application line-by-line. A Continental Breakfast will be served.

The meeting will take place Tuesday, April 13, 8 a.m. - 10 a.m., at Stapeley Hall in Germantown, 6300 Greene Street.

R.S.V.P. to Kim Miller at or John Churchville at by not later than Friday,  April 9.

April Events at CIP

Center in the Park (CIP) invites you to join us in celebrating National Poetry Month and Promoting Positive Aging at a special event or activity held at Center in the Park in April.  Unless otherwise indicated, activities are free of charge but registration may be required and will be held at Center in the Park in historic Vernon Park, 5818 Germantown Avenue, with parking available on the lot at Rittenhouse & McCallum Streets. Contact the Center at 215-848-7722.

On April 13, 6 p.m, join us for an early evening screening of “Still Bill,” an intimate portrait of soul legend Bill Withers, best known for his classics “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lean On Me,” “Lovely Day,” “Grandma’s Hands,” and “Just the Two of Us.” With his soulful delivery and warm, heartfelt sincerity, Withers has written the songs that have and always will resonate deeply within the fabric of our times.  Fee is $ 2.

On April 16, at 1 p.m., it’s time for Spring Cleaning, Spring Flowers, and CIP’s Annual Spring Fling. Dance, socialize and just have fun.  Special guests will be the Men of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. The fee is $5. Tickets are available at CIP’s Program Office. Call 215-848-7722 for more information.

On April 22, 1 p.m., we’ll have Street Smarts at Center in the Park. Important pedestrian safety information will be provided by the Regional Highway-Traffic Safety Project.

On April 29, 1 p.m., celebrate National Poetry Month with CIP’s Guitar and Poetry Jam. CIP Guitarists, led by Monette Sudler-Honesty, provide the background for the spoken word.  This event will be a literary and musical treat for all who attend. It is free.

Membership at Center in the Park is open to adults, age 55+ and non-members may attend certain classes, trips and activities, as well.  For an appointment with the Center Counselor or membership registrars, call 215-848-7722.  Visit the Center’s website at:

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