From the Independent • Mt. Airy News Stories

April 29, 2010 • April 29th Mt. Airy Independent.pdf

In This Issue

The Stories

  1. GHS Takes 2nd at 2010 Penn Relays

  1. Mt. Airy Day!

  2. MAUSA Streetscape Project Begins Transformation of Avenue

  3. 40 Years, 40 Prizes – And Much More – at 2010 Mt. Airy Day

  4. Mt. Airy Day Vendors

  5. 40 Years, 40 Special Prizes

  6. See Mt. Airy Day’s Past

  1. MAAG Invite

  2. Art Jam to Return; Artists, Crafters Sought

  3. Philadelphia Giants Were City’s First Baseball Dynasty

  4. From Idea to Reality in Seven Months: Mt. Airy Arts Garage

  5. Job Search Help at FUMCOG

  6. Family Unity Day at Grace

  7. ‘Mystical Bodies, Mystical Meals’

  8. Safe Nites at St. Mike’s

  9. Flea Market at St. Francis of Assisi

  10. Northwest PMBC Block Cleaning on May 15

  11. Program on Germantown’s Industrial Past

  12. International Sweethearts of Rhythm Were Jazz Trailblazers

  13. Arbor Day Treasure Hunt at Morris

  14. Gospelfest

  15. Lovett Amnesty

  16. Shakespeare at the Sedgwick

  17. Roth, Hills, Balkey at Folk Factory

  18. Afghanistan War Forum

  19. Sought for Safe Corridor Program


Mt. Airy Day!

Mt. Airy Day is celebrating a birthday this May 1 – its 40th year of providing fun, fellowship, information and entertainment to the residents of the Northwest.  There will be a mix of old and new on the grounds of Cliveden and Upsala on the 6400 block of Germantown Avenue, including a 40th birthday celebration with birthday card crafts and 40 extra prizes donated by local businesses. For a preview of what to expect and what to look out for, see below.

MAUSA Streetscape Project

Begins Transformation of Avenue

Tired of dealing with broken sidewalks, poor evening lighting, and overflowing trash receptacles  on Germantown Avenue?  Mt. Airy USA is pleased to announce the long-awaited construction of its comprehensive streetscape improvement project that began the week of April 19.

The project will extend from Nippon Street to Upsal Street along Germantown Avenue.  New pedestrian scale street lighting, in addition to overhead lights at key intersections, will be installed throughout the project area. Other improvements include the repair and replacement of sidewalks and curbs and the installation of benches and new trees in designated sections.  Clearing and grubbing of dying and/or hazardous trees will be performed throughout. Driveway aprons and crosswalks at a few key intersections will also be re-done. No major road closures are expected and through traffic will not be shut down.

Federal and local funding for the construction and engineering of this project was secured by Mt. Airy USA from Representative Chaka Fattah, Hometown Streets and the City of Philadelphia.  The project will be managed by PennDOT in partnership with Mt. Airy USA.  Miller Brothers, Norristown, was awarded the contract by PennDOT and will serve as general contractor on the project. 

As with all construction projects, some disruptions are anticipated.  In an effort to minimize these disruptions and their impact on your business, Mt. Airy USA will continue to play an active role throughout the project’s construction.  We will work closely with the PennDOT construction management team and the project contractors to advocate for your business’ interests and ensure, to the extent possible, that everyone is informed about the project’s progression.  Regular updates will be sent via e-mail and will be posted on our streetscape update blog (coming soon).  Property and business owners on blocks will also receive notification by mail when upcoming work is expected impact sidewalks and/or parking lanes in front of their buildings.

The current time-line/schedule (subject to change based on conditions on the ground) includes:

To start, the work will progress from Mt. Pleasant Avenue south towards Upsal Street along the West side of the street and then come back up again. Crews will work in that section of the Avenue from April through November.

From April through July the crew will be installing lighting conduit on the West side of the street in the area between Mt. Pleasant and Upsal Street. Through approximately April 30,  the crews will install conduit on the West side of the Avenue between Mt. Pleasant Ave. and Carpenter Lane. This work will require the temporary closure of the parking lane on that side of the street on the specified blocks.

Work between Upsal Street and Mt. Pleasant Avenue along the east side of Germantown Avenue will take place between late June and early September.

Work between Mt. Pleasant and Nippon St. will begin in late May/early June and continue through December.  Full curb and sidewalk reconstruction (the most disruptive portion of the project) will take place from July through mid-August.

If you have questions or concerns, contact:  Mehrdad Vahedi, PennDOT Inspector in Charge at  or Elizabeth Moselle, Mt. Airy USA at

40 Years, 40 Prizes – And Much More – at 2010 Mt. Airy Day

The 40th Annual Mt. Airy Day, is scheduled for Saturday, May 1 from

11 a.m.-5 p.m., on and around the grounds of Cliveden of the National Trust at 6400 Germantown Avenue.

Presented by East and West Mt. Airy Neighbors, Mt. Airy Day is a yearly springtime tradition, offering neighbors and friends a day of outdoor community fun. The rain date is Sunday, May 2. Check the website for updates.

The Mt. Airy Day Committee have been working hard behind the scenes to bring this great event to you.

This year’s highlights include a special project in which kids can make Happy Birthday Mt. Airy Day cards to be displayed at the event and 40 prizes donated by Mt. Airy businesses in honor of the celebration’s 40th year.

Pony rides, a moon bounce, face painting, and games and are among the options to keep the little ones happy and occupied. Children’s activities are offered for a nominal fee; some are free. They’ll be located on the grounds of Upsala across the street from Cliveden.

This year, we’ve featuring over 100 exhibitors with everything from jewelry, pottery, clothing, house wares, plants and more. Neighborhood groups will share information about the various programs and services offered to the community.

The food court will be located on Germantown Avenue, as will be a display of classic cars from the 1920s to the 1970s.

The Cliveden Beer Brewing Club will show us how to brew beer. Find them on the parking lot behind the carriage house.

A full day of entertainment will please the crowd from the main stage at Upsala. Among the performers will be the Brett Jolly Band, Dignity Housing Youth Drumline, the C.W. Henry School choir, and more.

Be sure to purchase a MAD Raffle ticket for chances at big bucks. Raffle tickets will be sold at the EMAN and WMAN tables near the entrance to the grounds. 

They will be sold throughout the day. The Honorable Mayor Michael Nutter has been invited to draw the lucky ticket at 3:30 p.m..

Mt. Airy Day 2009 is going green! Keep an eye out for recycling receptacles, sponsored by Sustainable Mt. Airy and the Northwest Chapter of Recycle Now Philadelphia. Stop by the Recycling Table to learn the do’s and don’ts of recycling at home. Pick up your free recycling bin there while supplies last.

Driving to Mt Airy Day again? If you’ve done it before, it’s likely that you remember the quest for that elusive creature — the convenient parking spot. Valet bike parking will be sponsored by Electrical Wizardry, Inc.  Services will be provided again by the Mt Airy Bike Collective, joined this year by Philly Electric Wheels.

For more information, visit

Thanks to this year’s sponsors: Comcast, Electrical Wizardry, Inc., Greenhouse Internists, McMenamins Tavern, New Courtland Elder Services, OARC,  Philadelphia Federal Credit Union, Valley Green Bank, and Weichert Realtors McCarthy Associates.

Mt. Airy Day Vendors

Vendors, organizations and display tables at the 40th annual Mt. Airy Day will include:

Adjoas Cultural Gifts

Allens Lane Art Center

Allstate Insurance

AARP 280



Big Blue Marble Book Store

Build a Bridge

Business Center

Canvas Soup Beauty Lounge

Cardonick Chiropractic

Carson Valley Children’s Aid

Chappell Photos

Childhood Lead Poisoning


Clymer Metal Crafts

Communist Party

Community Acupuncture

Cook Enterprises Inc

Covenant Academy

Crossroads Women’s Ctr

Curious Jane

Dignity Housing

Dot & Irma

Earrings Extravaganza


Electrical Wizardry

Evans Roebuck

Express Yourself Body Art

Family Education Research

First United Methodist Church of Germantown

Fresenius Medical Care

Friends of Lovett Library

Friends of the Wissahickon

Friends of West Oak Lane Library

Germantown Deaf Ministries

Germantown Logo

Grace Community Christian Church

Green Party of Philadelphia


Healthcare for All

Henry Witherspoon

Historic Germantown Preserved

I Love Who I Am Pins


International Trade Co-operative

Jazzy Jewels

Jesus is the Way Christian Church

Joan Schmidt

Jonathan Sills

Just Dolls & Things

K Shop

Kathleen Card

LikeLove Gift Cards

Lutheran Theological Seminary

Mable Rivers

Mt. Airy Learning Tree

Meei Ling Ng

Michael Albany Photography

Michael Straight

Miller Homeschool Inc

Mt Airy Bantams

Mt Airy Presbyterian Church

Mt Airy USA

Mt Airy Art Garage

My Way/Services for Life

Northwest Interfaith Movement

Northwest Arts Collective

Northwest Victim Services

Nubian Stylz

Nursing Mothers Advisory

Parkway NW High School


Philadelphia BAEO

Philadelphia Workforce Development


Pleasant Playground

Pre-School Plus

Project Learn School

Republican Candidates

Rhino Chiropractic Center

Robin Anderson


Seeds for Learning

Serenity Home Care

Settlement Music School

Solar RE

Soul Purpose Lifestyle

State Senator LeAnna Washington

Steve Cartledge

Summit Presbyterian Church

The First Presbyterian Church in Germantown

The Mankind Project

The Miquon School

The Waldorf School of Philadelphia

Trolley Car Diner & Deli


Turtle Moon Designs

Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration

US Dept of Health and Human Services

Vanessa Julye

Walk a Crooked Mile Books

Will Curry

Witt-Lippincott Team


40 Years, 40 Special Prizes

This year, in addition to the customary raffle drawing and in honor of Mt. Airy Day’s 40th anniversary, 40 special prizes for event-goers have been donated by Northwest businesses. Donating businesses include:

Artista Gallery, Avenida, Avenue Art and Framing, Cliveden of the National Trust, Colorbook Gallery, Community Acupuncture of Mt. Airy, Cosmic Catering, Dolly’s Boutique, Earth, Bread + Brewery, Elayne Bender, Electrical Wizardry, Geechee Girl Rice Café, InFusion, A Coffee & Tea Gallery, Jean Jacques Gallery, Majeki’s Stained Glass, Mt. Airy Learning Tree, Night Kitchen, Philly Electric Wheels, Queenie’s Pets, Rothe Florists, Scoop and The Video Library, Spa Sensations, The Urban Café, The Wine Thief, Trolley Car Diner, Video Library, and Weaver’s Way Co-op.

See Mt. Airy Day’s Past

In honor of the 40th Annual Mt. Airy Day on Saturday, May 1, the Flickering Light Film Series will be offering two fabulous films celebrating our neighborhood’s history and community spirit. Join us for a free outdoor screening in the Henry schoolyard at the corner of Greene and Carpenter streets.

Bring your own mug and get a drink from the friendly folks at High Point Cafe who will have a table set up in the yard.

We’ll gather in the schoolyard at 7:30 p.m. and the screening will start shortly after, at sundown, co-sponsored by the Urban Archives at Temple University.

The first film is Mt. Airy Day, Back in the Day, (17 minutes). This archival film from Temple’s Urban Archives provides a taste of Mt. Airy Day circa 1980. Laugh at the outfits, covet the pony rides, and look for people you know.

The second film is Neighbor Ladies (LeAnn Erickson, 2005, 55 minutes). In the late 1950s and 60s, Mt. Airy neighbors organized and persevered, mounting successful legal challenges to questionable realtor activities that ultimately impacted the city and the state. With its diversity at risk, a Philadelphia neighborhood decided to fight back. This documentary tells the stories of nine women who, each in their own way, helped integrate and stabilize the Mt. Airy community.

MAAG Invite

Are you an artist looking to build connections with other artists and get your work exposed to a larger audience? Are you or a family member an art lover who wants to take classes and support Northwest artists? The Mt. Airy Art Garage (MAAG) is a great place to start!

Look for our displays of original handcrafted leather goods, fine art photography and paintings, note cards and more, at Mt. Airy Day in Row B, tables 23-26. Become a member and learn more about our upcoming Fundraiser on May 15 at the Governor’s Mansion in Germantown. Join us and get involved today. Look for our brand new banner and Mt. Airy Art Garage buttons. You can’t miss us!

Visit the website for more on what MAAG can do for you at

GHS Takes 2nd at 2010 Penn Relays



The mix of ideal weather conditions, record crowds spurred by the addition of sprint sensation Usain Bolt from Jamaica, and scores of new records on the track and in field events made the Penn Relays held last weekend at Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania arguably the best in the event’s storied 116-year tradition. The 2010 Relays drew 117,346 fans over three days, over 3,000 more than ever before. The old mark was 114,194 set in 2006.

Part of this “perfect storm” of track and field were notable performances by athletes from the Northwest, from the very youngest to the most senior.

On Saturday afternoon before a sold-out, record crowd of 54,310, Germantown High made its mark in the storied Philadelphia Public High School Boys’ 4x400, coming in second behind victorious Northeast in 3:28.61. The Bears’ 12th grade quartet of Brandon Thompson, Bryan Pointer, Joshua Williford, and Andre Brown was in the hunt from the start. Running the opening leg, Thompson held a lead of five yards when he passed off to Pointer who was hampered by a pulled hamstring.  Williford stayed the course and was tied for second place when he completed his third leg, which led to a furious anchor leg by Brown. He barely staved off runners from Robeson, Gratz and Central who finished within a few hundredths of a second of the Bears.

The day before, the Philadelphia 7th and 8th Grade Girls’ 4X100 race saw two local teams – Fitler Academics Plus and AMY Northwest – come out of the trials to reach the final, though in the two worst lanes.

Fitler drew the 8th outside lane, running blind because they could not see the competition. Fitler’s foursome of Carol-Lynne Shuford, Kwaneasha Miller, Ajee Miller, and Jade Adams finished in sixth place in 57.95 seconds, behind victorious Blaine Elementary.

After the race Coach Nate Teagle Jr. of Fitler said, “I was proud of the way my girls ran. Each one did their best.”

Finishing right after Fitler in seventh place was the AMY Northwest team comprised of Tanise Edwards, Rymarkable Crane, I’jana Robinson, and Brooklyn Broadwater. While they were not exactly thrilled with their place, given the set of calamities that had befallen them prior to and during the race their coach Mark Zeserman was satisfied with their performance.

One of the cardinal rules in relay racing is to pass the baton without dropping it. In the trial earlier in the week AMY Northwest botched the baton pass and barely reached the final with the eighth and slowest qualifying time. Because of their time, they were delegated to the dreaded inside first lane.

“It was horrible because the first lane started in the middle of the 100 meter straightaway,” declared Brooklyn Broadwater. “It definitely slowed us down.”

And, for the second race in a row, misfortune struck as AMY Northwest botched the handoff between the third and fourth runners, finishing seventh in 59.86 seconds.

However Zeserman’s squad should have time to improve their baton handiwork since they lose only Tanise Edwards. Rymarkable Crane, in 7th grade, will be back next year, and I’jana Robinson and Brooklyn Broadwater are just in 6th grade with two more years remaining at AMY Northwest.

One of the most anticipated races in the featured Saturday schedule is the Masters Men’s 100-meter dash for ages 75 and older. Long-time Northwest dentist and life-long runner  Dr. William Johnson,  79, competed in the race for the fifth consecutive year despite suffering from a nagging leg injury.

Johnson has been running all his life. A Norristown native, Johnson started running in elementary school, at Norristown High, then at college for NYU. He has run continuously through his adult years for the Northwest-based New Freedom Striders, whose colors he bore on Saturday.

Dr. Johnson recently had his craggy knee scoped and plans to have replacement surgery soon. But he said he never gave any thought to missing his Penn Relay race.

The race was won by sprightly 76-year-old Joe Summerlin from Dallas. Johnson finished in 8th place in 22.48, just edging out 93-year-old Champ Goldy Sr., from the Philadelphia Masters, by one hundreth of a second.

“I just wanted to have fun,” explained Johnson, “I try not to take things too seriously. I just ran to be out with the boys, but my time’s not too bad for running on one leg. If things go well, I’ll be back next year!”

Art Jam to Return; Artists, Crafters Sought

Long ago in Mt. Airy there was Art Jam, a festival of arts, music and all things Mt. Airy.  This year, thanks to the Mt. Airy Business Association, the Mt. Airy Art Jam is back, and the plans are to make it an annual springtime event that will bring people from Greater Philadelphia and beyond to sample our local talent, have a taste of our local food and experience all that makes Mt. Airy an enviable place to live work and play.

Mt. Airy Art Jam 2010 will take place 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 5 on Germantown Avenue between Allens Lane and Mt. Pleasant Avenue. In addition to the many artists and craftspeople displaying their work, there will be live music on the grounds of Lutheran Seminary. There will also be plenty of fun for the kids, at the Mt. Airy Presbyterian Churchyard. Food will be provided by Restaurants on The Avenue, including Earth Bread + Brewery, The Wine Thief, Golden Crust, McMenamin’s, Mi Puebla, Chef Ken’s and more.

We encourage you to walk or take public transportation.  Parking will be available in the back of the Sedgwick Theater, off Chew Avenue, ACME parking lot, behind Valley Green Bank and the WaWa and other lots, just follow the signs.

All crafters and artists are welcome, but priority (and discounts) will be given to locals. Entrants will be juried, to ensure that only the best of the best are showcased. Please visit or call 215- 843-4462 for an application.  Anyone interested in volunteering at the event, please contact Kim Miller at   

Black Diamonds

Philadelphia Giants Were City’s First Baseball Dynasty


Guest Writer

Baseball’s popularity was growing rapidly as the 20th century began.  White professional teams began to establish a deeper hold on the imagination of fans, and so too did the elite black teams of the era.

Barnstorming was still the norm for these early professional and semi-professional teams, but the beginnings of organized black baseball were beginning. The growth of black communities in northern and midwestern cities provided fertile ground for the increased interest in the game.

Philadelphia’s first great baseball dynasty was the black Philadelphia Giants.  In 1902 white sports writer H. Walter Schlicter joined with long time player Sol White and Harry Smith, the sports editor of the Philadelphia Tribun,e to organize the Giants.  The team arranged to play its games at Columbia Park when the Athletics were out of town.  Sol White would play shortstop and mange the team.

The team recruited several star players, including catcher Clarence Williams, second baseman Frank Gant and pitcher John Nelson.  The 1902 squad compiled an astounding 81-43-2 record against a mix of white minor league and black professional teams.  The Giants issued repeated challenges to the Cuban X-Giants of New York to compete in a Negro League Championship.  The Cubans declined, but the Philadelphia Giants played the major league Philadelphia Athletics at the end of the season.  The Athletics won both games 8-3 and 13-9.

The Philadelphia Giants would however remain one of the elite teams in black baseball over the next five seasons.  The Giants added Harry Buckner, Bill Monroe and John Patterson. Attendance grew in the second season and a challenge was once again issued to the Cuban X-Giants. Games were scheduled in New York, Philadelphia and Harrisburg and the Cubans beat the Philadelphia Giants behind the outstanding pitching of Rube Foster.

The third season saw Foster join the Giants. The team was so popular they rented their own field at Broad and Jackson. The end of the season saw the second “World’s Colored Championship” and Philadelphia won the best of three series behind wins by pitcher Foster in games 1 and 3.

The 1905 team was probably the most dominant of the era, with the team posting a 134-24–3 record. The team beat 9 minor league opponents from 5 different leagues and were undefeated against other Negro clubs in the eight-state area. They were dominant offensively, clubbing over 1,500 hits and 220 doubles.

The team also had dominant pitching with Rube Foster, Dan McClellan and Emmett Bowman.  Collectively they recorded over 100 wins, 20 shutouts and nearly 700 strikeouts over 1,035 innings.

The 1906 team would join the first organized black league, “The International League of Colored Baseball Clubs in America and Cuba.”  1907 saw the departure of Rube Foster for Chicago.  Foster would eventually found the Negro Leagues in 1920, becoming one of the most important black entrepreneurs of the time.  The Giants would continue play through until 1916, but as a greatly diminished version of the first great Philadelphia baseball dynasty, the Philadelphia Giants.

Editor’s note: this is the third in a series of articles called “Black Diamonds”  on the history of African American baseball,  commemorating the 25th anniversary of Mt. Airy Baseball. Mt Airy Baseball honors this great tradition by calling its senior and tournament teams the “Stars,” paying tribute to the former Philadelphia Stars team of the Negro Leagues.

From Idea to Reality in Seven Months: Mt. Airy Arts Garage


Guest Writer

Northwest Philadelphia is a unique place with a character all its own—quaint stone houses, one-of-a kind boutiques and specialty stores, Weaver’s Way Co-Op—surrounded by Fairmount Park in its green and sprawling splendor. In this mecca of inspiration, a group of visual artists recognized the diversity and strong sense of community in this special section of the city and wanted to create a place for artists to create, show and exhibit their fine art and handcrafts. Thus, the Mt. Airy Art Garage (MAAG) was born. After only seven months MAAG has gone from simply an idea to a reality and is already a non-profit service group under Mt. Airy Community Services Corporation, a 501(c)3 organization. The goal of the Art Garage is to build a bridge that would create bonds between artists and those who love art — strengthening community connections and art. Our vision is to educate and teach workshops to both adults and youth; to create an ongoing Art Market that highlights unique, original fine art and handcrafts; to build a permanent gallery space where emerging and professional artists can display and sell their work and to develop studio space where imagination and collaboration go hand-in-hand.

We are already looking forward to some exciting events coming up in May. May 1 is the celebrated Mt. Airy Day, a fun-filled day of community festivities. MAAG will be there with four tables, just look for our banner! There will be info on becoming a member, how to get involved, info on our upcoming workshops, and, who can forget, art by our members and founders! Arleen Olshan, initiator and co-founder of MAAG, will be there selling her handcrafted leather bags, belts, boxes, wristbands and more. Arleen has worked in leather for over 40 years, is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and is looking forward to teaching her craft this fall at the Art Garage. Preview her work on her website

Photographer Michael Albany, Director of IT for MAAG and creator of FreeShots which gives free business portraits for the unemployed, will be displaying some of his local and personal photographs. Michael is excited about sharing his breadth of knowledge at the Art Garage—please visit his site at for samples and more info.

Singapore-born artist and MAAG Director of Graphic Design, Meei-Ling Ng, has been in the art and creative field for many years. Art and design are her life’s blood and she’s instinctually painting and creating nearly every waking moment. Her many award-winning art and design works are displayed locally, internationally and online. Mt. Airy Day will be a great opportunity to meet the board and existing members of MAAG, find out what great benefits a membership brings you and an exciting way to meet your neighbors and get involved in community.

Being a nonprofit, we do need to make money to keep ourselves afloat so we have organized a fundraiser at the “Governor’s Mansion” in Germantown—a national historic site—on May 15. With food and drink donated by local haunts and a soundtrack provided by live local musicians it has all the pairings to be one amazing night! Come participate in our silent auction and walk away with an original piece of fine art all while supporting a good cause! For more info or to get involved please contact Arleen Olshan at

MAAG has come a long way but we need your help to keep us going. Come out and support local artists and community by becoming a member, teaching a workshop or simply lending a hand. Join us and see what the Mt. Airy Art Garage can do for you!

Alexandra Passage is a board member of the Mt. Airy Art Garage.

Job Search Help at FUMCOG

The First United Methodist Church of Germantown (FUMCOG) has launched free help for under- and un-employed persons.  At the next program Church members and community members will have the opportunity to receive coaching and use the church’s computer resources in their job search. 

This opportunity will be offered on the first Saturday of each month, beginning on Saturday May 1 from 10 a.m. to noon.  Also available will be information, personal support, job search assistance and light refreshments.   Lists of web sources useful in job search will be available.

No advance registration is necessary.

The program will be held in the Church’s two computer laboratories with a total of 26 computers which are used primarily by the Church’s After School Program for Germantown High School students.

The need for computer access and assistance surfaced at the Church’s Community Economic Crisis Resource Bazaar held in February.  Church members are committed to supporting members and the community during the current economic downturn.

“For decades our Church has been actively supporting programs in Guatemala, Haiti and South Africa,” said Senior Pastor Michele Wright Bartlow.  “We have also developed programs in Germantown,” she said, citing the creation of Covenant House Health Center, founding Metropolitan Career Center, a job preparation program and the Germantown High School After School Program.  “But,” she exclaimed, “the unemployment crisis presents the greatest challenge our generation has encountered and we will do everything within our power to help people get through it.”

The Church is located at 6001 Germantown Avenue at the corner of High  and Harvey Streets.  The entrance is off the parking lot.  All are welcome.

Family Unity Day at Grace

Grace Baptist Church of Germantown, 25 West Johnson Street, will celebrate Family Unity Day on Sunday, May 2, with Dr. Edward Sparkman of Shiloh Baptist Church as guest pastor.  Grace is celebrating families as a special day.  Other programs such as Men’s Day or Women’s Day are combined so that we all share this one day.

The church was founded 122 years ago in the fall of 1888; Family Unity Day is important to the Germantown/Mt. Airy community.

Dr. Sparkman, also from a historical church of Philadelphia, Shiloh Baptist in South Philadelphia, is a native of the city and will bring his professional spirited message to everyone.   His religious background adds much value and depth to his life as a practicing attorney, and as a national consultant for Neighbor Works America Foreclosure and Prevention and Home Preservation.

Your presence is most welcomed for a heart-felt day of spiritual delight and energetic uplift.  Bring your families, friends and neighbors. For information call the church office at 215-432-3215 or vist

‘Mystical Bodies, Mystical Meals

P’nai Or Jewish Renewal Congregation of Philadelphia will presents “Mystical Bodies, Mystical Meals,” two lectures by Dr. Joel Hecker, chair, Department of Modern Jewish Civilization and Associate Professor of Jewish Mysticism at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. They will take place Sunday May 2 and May 16, 2-4 p.m., at P’nai Or, 6757 Greene Street.

The donation is members $18, $30 both sessions; non-members $25 and $40. Scholarships are available. Make checks payable to P’nai Or, Maggid Fund. Mail in advance to P.O. Box 9917, Phila., PA 19118, or pay at the door.

Kabbalists see the human body as a perfect symbol for the Divinity, allowing the intake of divine light and power and the outward overflow of fruitfulness and generosity. Nourishment imagery becomes a metaphor for the flow of divine blessing from the upper worlds to the lower, from masculine to feminine, and from Israel to the Godhead.

Rabbi Joel Hecker’s book, Mystical Bodies, Mystical Meals, explores mystical eating practices in Kabbalah and Hasidut, and takes us on a surprising journey into the Kabbalists’ path of mystical attainment through eating, sexuality and the senses. In these two sessions, dealing with Kabbalah and Hasidut, Joel/Dr. Hecker will show ways in which food and eating were seen as vehicles for experiencing unity with Divinity, opportunities for internalizing holiness, and the possibility of participating in a divine ecosystem of food, eating, and prayer.

Safe Nites at St. Mike’s

Safe Nites at St. Mike’s is a program that provides an evening of fun and entertainment for youth and families in the community surrounding St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 6671 Germantown Avenue. The night is set to coincide with First Fridays in Mt. Airy. Each evening will include a shared meal, dance, storytelling, and games.

Come enjoy music performed by Tamara Anderson from classics in jazz, blues and rock with a mixture of original spoken word.

The next program is Friday May 7, 6 to 7:30 p.m. This is a family-friendly event for all ages. You need not be a member of St. Michael’s to attend Safe Nights at St. Mike’s

Flea Market at St. Francis of Assisi

Need an incentive to get busy with spring cleaning? Turn your trash into cash.

St. Francis of Assisi Church, at the corner of Greene and Logan streets in southwest Germantown, is sponsoring a flea market on Saturday, May 15, (rain date May 29) from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Vendor spaces are available for $15. Vendors must provide their own table/chairs. Parking is available in the DePaul Catholic School lot.

To reserve space, contact call 215-842-1287, Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Northwest PMBC Block Cleaning on May 15

On Saturday, May 15, the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee , part of the Streets Department’s Sanitation Division, will continue its 2010 volunteer cleaning season with the first of three clean-ups scheduled for the 5th, 14th, 35th, and 39th Police Districts.

Block Captains and Community Group Leaders in the area who wish to schedule their block(s) for the first clean-up are urged to call their PMBC Clean Block Officer three weeks in advance of the cleaning date.  The following Clean Block Officer should be called for the corresponding Police District: Sara Jones, 5th and 39th Police Districts, 215-685-3976; and Santa Conix, 14th Police District, 215-685-3982.

Blocks who wish to organize and elect a Block Captain, and blocks that wish to revitalize an inactive block club, should contact the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee at 215- 685-3981.

Program on Germantown’s Industrial Past

At one time, Germantown was a booming community of industry and manufacturers.  Ever wonder what those now-vacant warehouses and industrial buildings once held?  On Thursday, May 6 at 12:30 pm, and Saturday, May 22 at 2:00 pm, historic Stenton, 4601 North 18th Street, will host a two-part program entitled, “An Industrious Village:  The Rise and Fall of Industry and Manufacturing in East Germantown.”  The program begins on May 6, when visitors are invited to bring a bag lunch and hear Dr. Jim Butler, director of LaSalle University’s Honors Program and curator of the Wister Family Special Collection at LaSalle, discuss the industrialization of East Germantown in the 19th century, particularly the development of the Wakefield Textile Mills and related facilities.  Discover how the Wakefield Mills rose and fell in the span of a century, leaving its mark on the Germantown landscape. 

On May 22, a shuttle bus departing from Stenton will tour a number of former industrial sites explored in the Lunch and Learn program, including the site where the Wakefield Textile Mills once stood, a remaining home of the Mill’s owners, a 1792 building ruin, the now-empty spot where the mansion “Wakefield” stood until the 1980s, and several other sites highlighting aspects of “work” in 19th-century Germantown.  Both of these programs are free, but reservations are strongly recommended. Please call 215-329-7312 to reserve your space or email Stenton at

This program is a part of Historic Germantown’s Germantown WORKS initiative, a year long project supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Heritage Philadelphia Program. The Germantown WORKS programs focus on different perspectives of work and industry throughout Germantown’s history.

The Philadelphia Zoning Commission invites all to attend a series of community meetings to review and provide input on the Draft New Zoning Code: Zoning Districts and Uses. The agenda will include a summary of work to date, proposed changes to zoning district and uses, opportunities for public input, and next steps. No RSVP is required. In the Northwest, the meeting will be held Tuesday, May 4 at Roxborough Hospital, 5800 Ridge Avenue, from 6-8 p.m. For information call the Zoning Code Commission at 215-683-4677.

International Sweethearts of Rhythm Were Jazz Trailblazers



Some of the best live jam-session jazz in the Northwest was once a monthly event at Col. Charles Young American Legion Post #382 on Sharpnack Street in Mt. Airy. First Sunday breakfast was followed by an amalgam of talented musicians from various neighborhoods who met there to entertain and keep the traditions of their background alive.  It was there that I first met a number of musicians who were part of this country’s recognized musical history. One of them was Myrtle Young.

Germantown resident and saxophonist Young toured with one of the most interesting and overlooked jazz bands of the swing era, The International Sweethearts of Rhythm. Formed in rural Mississippi, they toured nationwide and internationally, recorded and included some well-respected jazz musicians, even if that respect was only confined to their fellow musicians and unknown to most of the music world, where the only females might have been the band singer or in the chorus.

Founded in 1939 in a Piney Woods, Mississippi school for poor African American children, the band toured with a local fund-raising group. But the quality of the all-woman band soon propelled it to national acceptance that took the group to the Apollo Theatre in New York, Regal in Chicago, and Howard in Washington D.C.  In later years they were named the most prominent female aggregation of the big band era.

After challenges surrounded them in Mississippi, including being ineligible to graduate from the high school they attended, the band moved to Arlington, Virginia, where they were funded and promoted.  They made two coast-to-coast tours in their bus. By that time the group included members of all races including Latina, Asian, Caucasian, African American, Indian and Puerto Rican.  Their leader was Anna Mae Winburn, who also played piano, guitar, and sang.  (You can visit the Internet and watch video of the Sweethearts in full dress performance with Ms. Winburn at the helm.) They made a six-month European tour during World War II with the USO, the first minority women to travel with that organization.

Challenges they had to endure when traveling in a segregated country included sleeping and eating on the bus, and white female members wearing dark makeup in order to play in the South.  Though they were largely unrecognized at the time, later evaluations of their surviving recordings have cast them in a new light when it comes to standing among the greats of that jazz era.  Saxophonist Vi Burnside is said by her peers to have been the equivalent of Coleman Hawkins.

But this incredible story of minority women from humble backgrounds needs much greater recognition that it has been given. They faced three major challenges just to perform their art. First, they came from the poor segregated South. Second, they were women in a society that was far from a level playing field in opportunity or professions. Third, they had to compete with some of the most recognized individuals in the history of popular music.

Lasting until 1949 they held more than their own, and Germantown was rewarded with a local individual being part of this accomplishment.

Arbor Day Treasure Hunt at Morris

Celebrate the importance of trees at Morris Arboretum’s annual Arbor Day celebration on Saturday, May 1 from 1  - 3pm.  This interactive family adventure begins high in the tree canopy (50 feet above the forest floor) on Out on a Limb, where visitors will receive a treasure hunt map. From Out on a Limb, visitors will experience trees up-close and learn about the many reasons we need trees.  The trees of the Arboretum will provide the basis for a tree adventure treasure hunt including four Tree Activity stations. Interactive activities will focus on tree care, tree protection, where trees come from, and what trees give us.  Visitors who complete the adventure will receive a seedling to take home and learn from a Morris Arboretum arboriculture expert how to plant and care for a new tree.

The first 200 people who finish the hunt will also receive a free small wooden toy, compliments of the Little Treehouse of Chestnut Hill (, who will be on hand to introduce their play café with discount cards and to host a tot’s sing-a-long session.  The hunt will end at the Summer Palace, a 25-foot high sculpture made entirely from sticks, branches and tree limbs, created by artist, Patrick Dougherty. 

As a special kick-off to the day on May 1, Judge Midge Rendell will be at the Morris Arboretum to help celebrate trees with a tree planting at 10 a.m.  Come join the fun and learn more about how the simple act of planting a tree contributes to the positive and long-lasting repercussions on global warming, environmental degradation, cleaning and cooling the air, erosion, and providing food and shelter for wildlife. 

Throughout the week prior, from Monday, April 26–Friday, April 30 there will be more Arbor Day activities for school groups. Each weekday will have two sessions from 10-11:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Pre-K through 3rd grade groups will take part in an ecology and environment curriculum including: transplanting a tree seedling, participating in microscope activities, examining a roots exhibit, and playing Jeopardy!, Morris Arboretum style. Space is limited for this program and group rates are available. To schedule a group visit, call 215-247-5777 ext 157. Both events are free with regular admission.

The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is located at 100 East Northwestern Avenue in Chestnut Hill.


The community is invited to attend an inspired and joyful Gospelfest to be held Saturday, May 1 at 4 p.m. at Cedar Park Presbyterian Church, 7740 Limekiln Pike (at Upsal Street). This musical event is the prelude to a number of commemorative activities as Cedar Park prepares for its 95th church anniversary.

The nationally acclaimed Brockington Ensemble and other locally-renowned guests will be the featured artists. Come out to “get your praise on” and feast on the Ensemble’s melodic and resonant offerings. Their appearance will jumpstart the church’s theme of “Just Can’t Stop Praising the Lord” and will serve as a lead–in to a series of exciting planned festivities that will culminate in 2012, the year of the church’s 95th anniversary.

The ticket donation is $15. For more information call the church office at 215-549-9775.

Lovett Amnesty

On May 4 at 7 p.m. at Lovett Memorial Library, 6945 Germantown Avenue, Amnesty International Kids of Mt. Airy present a free screening of the documentary, “3 Points,” in which NBA star Tracy McGrady travels to Darfur.  Learn about his Darfur Dream Team and its “Sister Schools Program.”  Donations are welcome.

For more information about McGrady’s program, visit

Grumblethorpe Historic House, 5267 Germantown Avenue,  in collaboration with Historic Germantown and Heritage Philadelphia, will be hosting a May Day Celebration and dedication of a new, student-built weather station from 1 to 4 PM on Saturday, May 1. Channel 6 Weatherman, David Murphy and his camera crew will filming the dedication. Free crafts for children and May Pole wrapping will be happening in the garden. House tours and refreshments will be available for a small fee.

Shakespeare at the Sedgwick

Quintessence Theatre Group will present Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure, to be directed by Alexander Burns. The production will start previews on Wednesday, May 5 at 8 p.m. and open on Friday, May 7 at 8 p.m. Performances are Wednesday, May 5 through Sunday, May 30. All performances will be held at the Sedgwick Theater, 7137 Germantown Avenue. To purchase tickets, visit

The story: fearing the pendulum has swung too far and the morality of Vienna’s citizens too lax, the Duke departs on a foreign embassy and leaves his Deputy General Angelo to re-enforce Vienna’s strict civil laws. Following the letter of the law Angelo arrests a young citizen named Claudio for the capital offense of impregnating his girlfriend before marriage. Isabella, a novice nun and sister to Claudio, appeals to Angelo for her brother’s life. Confused by the reason and conviction of her argument, Angelo finds himself in love with Isabella. Will Angelo follow the letter of the law, or be swayed by Isabella’s call for mercy? Or will Angelo fall prey to his baser impulses and use his power to possess the young nun?

Experience Shakespeare’s timeless morality play. Does society need its morality dictated by civil law? Is mercy or justice more important to the health of a nation? Does humanity need the death penalty to keep itself in line? Shakespeare meets Law and Order in this judicious cutting and modern exploration of Measure For Measure.

Quintessence Theatre Group is Philadelphia’s newest professional theatre company, dedicated to the adaptation of epic works of drama and classic literature for the contemporary stage, which ignites the mind through the power of the actor, design and spoken word. Quintessence Theatre exists to develop and produce theatre that is immediate and necessary, and that strives to attract new audiences to the art form by challenging its artists and audiences alike to consider what is essential in theatre and in human nature.

Over the next five years Quintessence Theatre will work to establish an acting ensemble and a rotating repertory at the historic Sedgwick Theater.

As Quintessence Theatre’s home, the Sedgwick Theater, a 1928 art deco movie palace designed by William Lee, will regain its place as a jewel in Philadelphia’s cultural landscape.

Performances are Wednesdays – Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets are $25, $15 for seniors, $10 for students.

The performance on Friday, May 14 is a benefit performance. To purchase tickets visit SmartTix at or

Roth, Hills, Balkey at Folk Factory

On Friday, April 30, the Folk Factory Coffeehouse presents a concert by David Roth and Anne Hills, with Erik Balkey opening.  Doors open at 7:30, and the show will start at 8:00pm.  Admission is by requested donation of $10 to $40 (sliding scale), half price for no or low wage, with children under 12 admitted free.  The concert will be sign language interpreted upon request, and childcare is available with advance registration. The concert is wheelchair accessible (but the bathrooms are not yet). The Folk Factory Coffeehouse is located at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration in Mount Airy, 6900 Stenton Avenue (the corner of Stenton Avenue and Gorgas Lane). For directions or further information, visit  or call (215) 848-6246.

David Roth is a singer, songwriter, recording artist, and community builder who writes songs that range from deeply moving to witty to hilariously funny. He has earned top honors at the Kerrville songwriting competition, been artist-in-residence at the Omega Institute, and sung the national anthem for the Chicago Bulls, and his songs have been performed in Carnegie Hall, at the UN, and on recordings by Peter, Paul, and Mary and Christine Lavin. 

Anne Hills is a singer of superb clarity and pure tone who has made her reputation in both folk music and theater circles. She has toured, collaborated and recorded with Tom Paxton, Michael Smith, and as a member of the trio Voices with Priscilla Herdman and Cindy Mangsen, as well as working in theater in Chicago, Philadelphia, and beyond. Anne was named Female Vocalist of the Year by the Kerrville Foundation, and received the Polizzi Award for Dedication and Service in the Field of Social Work. She is dedicated to social justice and community service, participating in numerous benefit recordings, such as That Kind of Grace with her friend David Roth, and tribute albums to Pete Seeger and Phil Ochs.

Erik Balkey writes songs, paints houses, and lives in New Jersey. He writes custom songs.  He’s written songs with Phil Roy, Pat Wictor, Amy Speace, and a couple dozen other songwriters. His songs have been featured on two compilation CDs in 2010 in the company of Tom Paxton, John Gorka, Holly Near and Utah Phillips. He is a former Folk Factory People’s Choice winner.

The Folk Factory, based at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration in Mount Airy, is a forum for people interested in music of all kinds and progressive social change. Facilitated announcements of progressive events  can be made before the start of each event. The Folk Factory is an organizational affiliate of the People’s Music Network for Songs of Freedom and Struggle. Regular concerts are normally around the second weekend of most months. An Open Stage/Open Circle is held normally on the fourth Thursday of most months.

To volunteer or for more information, visit  or call 215-848-6246.

Afghanistan War Forum

A forum on the war in Afghanistan will take place on Friday, April 30, 7 - 9 p.m., at Yarnall Auditorium, Germantown Friends School, 47 West Coulter Street. The Peace and Social Concerns Committee of Germantown Friends Meeting is organizing the program.

Highlighting the forum will be “Why Are We in Afghanistan?”, a 15-minute film on the war, sponsored by US Labor Against the War (USLAW). Formed in 2003, USLAW has grown to include hundreds of union affiliates—from locals to international associations—that together constitute almost one-third of U.S. union membership.

Phyllis Bennis will be the featured speaker.  Ms. Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, and is currently a fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. She has been a writer, analyst, and activist on Middle East and UN issues for many years. She has countless articles and over a dozen books to her credit, including the recent  Ending the US War in Afghanistan: A Primer. After her presentation, the audience can follow with questions from the floor.

Refreshments follow afterward in Yarnall’s lobby.

For questions contact Ed Nakawatase at 215-848-1715,; or Marlena Santoyo at 215-248-4385,

Volunteers Sought for Safe Corridor Program

The Northwest CommUnity Coalition for Youth (NCCY) is looking for a few good men - and women - to join its Safe Corridors program. Safe Corridors provides a safe haven for students to and from school and reduces the overall numbers of random attacks on students by students.

NCCY Chairperson Isabella Fitzgerald said, “We have a core of great volunteers but we need more.  We encourage men and woman in our northwest community to give a few hours per week to be a presence as our children go to and from school.  We know students will be less likely to misbehave if they are encountered by a familiar face.  Safe Corridors has worked well all across the city.  We need your help to make the NCCY program stronger.”

The Safe Corridor program is facilitated by NCCY’s Faith Based Committee.  NCCY’s Faith Based Committee works to engage the Faith Based Community’s participation in NCCY projects and programs and seeks partnerships with NW area churches, mosques and other religious communities  to exchange and promote ideas aimed at positively motivating young people.

Rev. Johnny Odom, NCCY Faith Based Committee team leader, said, “These are your children, my children, our children and our future and we are charged to guide, direct and protect them.”

The schools that have an immediate need for volunteers include Martin Luther King High School, Hope Charter High School, Imhotep Institute Charter High School, Germantown High School, Wagner Middle School, John L. Kinsey School, Roosevelt Middle School, and Wister Elementary School.

Interested Safe Corridor volunteers should contact Isabella Fitzgerald at 215-429-8051 or Rev. Johnnie Odom at 215-391-0738.  They may also feel free to attend NCCY’s next Safe Corridors strategy meeting scheduled for Wednesday, May 5, 3 p.m., at 7174 Ogontz Avenue.

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