From the Independent • Mt. Airy News Stories

August 12, 2010 • MAI.081210.pdf

In This Issue

The Stories

  1. BulletSuspect Nabbed in ‘Mummy Bandit’ Robberies

  2. BulletCommunity Groups to Protest at Panda House

  3. BulletPBS’s History Detectives Investigate Rare Jug Found in NW

  4. Bullet32nd Peoples’ Festival August 14 in Historic Vernon Park

  5. BulletMt. Airy Bike Collective Takes Shape

  6. BulletCIP’s Poetry Group at Black Writers Museum

  7. BulletVendors Sought for East Falls Art and Eco Fair

  8. BulletStop Trying to Keep Up With the Joneses

  9. BulletGGBA to Discuss GHS Business Internships

  10. BulletCanaan Christian Arts Ministry to perform ‘The Wiz’

  11. BulletChristians United Against Addictions Meeting

  12. BulletDiscussion Sessions at Unitarian Universalist

  13. Bullet$3K Grant to Inn Dwelling

  14. BulletNew Redeem Open House

  15. BulletVolunteer at Vernon Park

  16. BulletCity Now Recycling 1 - 7 Plastics

  17. BulletPSA Meetings in 14th District

  18. BulletFreshVisions Presents Powerful ‘Topdog/Underdog’

  19. BulletMovie Night

A young fireballer cranks up a fastball at the “Dunk the Owner” tank at the Trolley Car Diner and Deli last Sunday as the Diner celebrated its tenth anniversary. Here, Robert Mazaleski, manager of the Diner, sits in for owner Ken Weinstein, who got well doused himself earlier in his own stint on the chair. Tosses were three for a dollar, and the money raised will be donated to the Germantown Community Soccer Program, said Weinstein.

Suspect Nabbed in ‘Mummy Bandit’ Robberies



The hunt for a serial bank robber whom the FBI had dubbed the “Mummy Bandit” came to an abrupt but peaceful end on Wednesday, August 4, in Havertown when Haverford Township police took into custody Hiram Adams of the 6600 block of Sprague Street, Mt. Airy.

The FBI had circulated widely a description of the “Mummy Bandit,” so-called because of gauze bandages that the robber had worn on his face and arms during the commission of the crimes. According to an affidavit for an arrest warrant supplied to this newspaper by the FBI, Haverford Township police had received a tip of a suspect fitting his description near a bank in Havertown. They dispatched an officer who identified the suspect and put him under arrest without incident, said FBI Special Agent J.J. Klaver. The banks that were robbed had their deposits insured by FDIC, thus the crimes fell under the FBI’s jurisdiction.

According to Klaver, the Mummy Bandit had hit a number of banks in the last year, including several in and around Northwest Philadelphia.  The robberies include: July 8, 2009, Wachovia Bank, 1700 Market Street; July 21, 2009, Valley Green Bank, 7226 Germantown Avenue; May 5, 2010, Citizens Bank, 3201 Cheltenham Avenue, Wyncote; May 28, 2010, Citizens Bank, 8616 Germantown Avenue; and Sovereign Bank, June 4, 2010, 800 East Willow Grove Avenue, Wyndmoor.

According to the affidavit, Adams was initially charged with robbing the Sovereign Bank in Wyndmoor (where his haul was reportedly $568), but admitted to committing four other bank robberies. Klaver would not divulge whether Adams had any prior arrests.

Only a few days after Adams was taken into custody an even more bizarrely-dressed bank robber struck in the Northwest. On Monday, August 9, at around 1 p.m., a robber described by the FBI as a black male, age late 30’s to early 40’s, of average height and slender build, entered the Sovereign Bank branch at 6740 Germantown Avenue. The man was wearing a dark gray long wig, large sunglasses, a white long-sleeved shirt – and a floral printed skirt.

The robber brandished a gun and demanded money, which he placed in a handbag he was carrying. He took an undisclosed amount of cash, then fled east on Slocum Street in a four-door black sedan, possibly a Cadillac.  No one was injured during the robbery.

A bulletin about the robbery sent by Klaver said, “The subject is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 215-418-4000 or the Philadelphia Police Department. There may be a reward for information leading to this subject’s capture, and tipsters can remain anonymous.”

Community Groups to Protest at Panda House


Editorial Staff Intern

Protestors allege that Adam Xu, owner of the Panda House (above), has failed to follow through on most if not all of the conditions he agreed to during negotiations with community groups before the opening of the restaurant.

On Thursday, August 12, from 10 a.m. to noon, several community groups, including East Mt. Airy Neighbors (EMAN), Pelham Town Watch and the 22nd Ward Democratic Committee among others, will protest at the Panda House Restaurant for what they term nuisance behavior and the failure of the owner to live up to the terms of agreement hammered out before the restaurant opened.

Panda House, located at Germantown Avenue and Hortter Street, has been accused of violating provisions agreed to in a document signed by its owner, Adam Xu.

Conflict is no stranger at the corner of Germantown and Hortter Street. Neighbors’ complaints about businesses there extend back to when the Corner Deli, a take-out beer store also owned by Xu, existed there. The Corner Deli was known for nuisance activities, such as drug dealing and loitering which took place outside of the establishment. After its liquor license was revoked in an attempt to reduce nuisance behavior, the store was cited several times for selling liquor illegally, and was eventually forced to close down.

However, the end of last year saw Xu trying to make a comeback, this time with a new business model. Xu wished to open the Panda House Restaurant, which serves Asian food, and signed a conditional agreement with EMAN for their support in front of the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Requirements of the agreement included abandoning the sale of alcohol and loose tobacco products, operating the business as a sit-down restaurant, and adhering to specific hours of operation, among other things.

“People come to us to…get our support,” Elayne Bender, executive director of EMAN said. “[ZBA members] take that really seriously.”

“We were a little suspicious about it reopening,” Dan Rhoton, president of the Pelham Town Watch, said. “We were kind of hesitant, but a little excited.”

The Pelham Town Watch was created several years ago in response to the problems caused by the Corner Deli. Rhoton said that after Xu agreed to the stipulations, most community organizations were willing to support the restaurant. That was, however, until a short time later when problems began to arise once more.

According Bender, she and several others first noticed violations when she walked into the restaurant and saw that it was selling blunts, a type of loose cigar, and that the menus listed hours of operations as ending at 1 a.m. According to the agreement between EMAN and Xu, the store was supposed to operate no later than 11 p.m.

After contacting Xu through his lawyer, she said that blunts were taken off the shelves and that menus were changed. However, she said that anyone who asked employees about hours of operation was told that the restaurant was still open until 1 a.m.

“No one’s really trying to conceal it,” Rhoton said. “A long story short - he conned us.”

Bender said that the hours of operation were important for several reasons. “We’ve gotten reports that there is an up-kick in…loitering,” she said. She also said that residents have reported drug dealing taking place outside the establishment, although the reports are unconfirmed by Pelham Town Watch.

After realizing that the store was still not adhering to operating hours, Rhoton said, there were several attempts to summon Xu to an EMAN Zoning Committee meeting on the evening of Tuesday, July 27. The attempts, made through Xu’s lawyer,  were unsuccessful. “We were really trying to be friendly about this,” Rhoton said. “That didn’t work.”

Bender said that flyers about the meeting were left in the establishment a week before it took place, but Xu was still absent during the meeting. “It wasn’t set up last minute or anything,” she said.

Xu was not available for comment at the time this article went to press.

According to Joseph Beller, Xu’s attorney, he had been contacted by Dan Muroff, president of EMAN, about the meeting that had been planned for July 27. Beller said he informed Muroff that his client was out of town, could not be reached, and would not be able to attend the meeting.

Beller said he had not been informed of the protest. “Why would you go right to the greatest extreme before we have a chance to talk?” he said. “I think calmer heads should prevail.”

Now that his client is back in town, Beller said, he is trying to set up a meeting with the Zoning Committee.

However, Bender said that the protest would go one as planned.

On Tuesday, August 10, a statement issued by Derek Green, chair of EMAN Zoning Committee and chief legislative aide and counsel to Councilwoman Marian Tasco, called for community residents to attend the protest and to boycott Panda House.  

According to Rhoton, the protest is the second step in a three-step process. If the protest fails to make Xu aware of the gravity of the situation, the third step will be taking the issue to city officials. “We’re trying to make a big enough fuss so that the guy takes us seriously,” Rhoton said.

“We would like them to adhere to the agreement they made with us,” Bender said. “We all had really high hopes for this restaurant.”

Rhoton is hopeful about the protest’s outcome, but isn’t sure how many will attend. “It’s in the middle of the day, so you’re not going to have a ton [of people],” he said.

PBS’s History Detectives Investigate Rare Jug Found in NW

The striking-looking jug, which April Hynes dubbed “Lewis,” was in excellent condition when first dug up, says Hynes. It has since accumulated some wear and tear, including the loss of an eye. It is currently on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.



A rare object unearthed over half a century ago in the Northwest by a Germantown man will be the subject of some detective work on PBS next Monday, August 16, at 9 p.m. as the network’s The History Detectives program investigates what might be called “The Case of the Curious Jug.”

The tale started about 1950 when Germantown resident Robert Strang was working at the site of the construction of Leeds Middle School at 1100 East Mt. Pleasant Avenue, says his granddaughter April Hynes. “He was a plumber and he was working for Wilson and Schnall Commercial Plumbers, laying pipes … it was about 1950. He was digging and his shovel hit this object. He came across this jug. It was in remarkably good shape.”

The jug, called a “face jug,” was in the form of the head of a man. But it was unlike any jug that Strang had ever seen. “He dug it up and his foreman told him he could  take it home,” says Hynes.

The unusually-shaped jug sat on the mantelpiece of  Strang’s home on Walnut Lane for many years, says Hynes, but nobody knew what exactly it was. Strang thought it might be a Native American relic. “He always meant to take it to an antique dealer but he just never did,” says Hynes. Eventually it was packed up in a box and placed in the attic.

Hynes’s family lived with her grandfather for some time when she was young. “I used to sit and listen to his stories and he told me this story [of the finding of the jug] but I had never actually seen it, it was always up in the attic,” she says.

Robert Strang died in 2002 and the jug passed into the ownership of Hynes’ mother and aunt, who later offered it to her. “My aunt pulled it out of the kitchen cupboard and said, ‘Here, you can have it,’ ” says Hynes.

Hynes began her own research into the possible origins of the jug. “I went to google Indian pottery and the Lenape Indians and so on, following my grandfather’s original thought,” she says. “And then I thought, it looks as though it could be of African origin.”

At the bottom of one of the online articles she researched was a link to another article on face jugs. “That brought me to the collection of the Smithsonian Institution and when I saw it I gasped – it matched what was being housed in the Smithsonian.”

She continued her research, contacting noted experts in the field of American studies. The eventual result of the search: the jug was the product of enslaved Africans who were brought to this country illegally in 1858 and put to work in a pottery factory in Edgefield County, South Carolina. The ship they arrived on, the Wanderer, smuggled them in since the slave trade had been officially illegal for decades by that time.

Only a handful of the jugs they made are still in existence; Hynes’ jug has been valued at more than $10,000. It is currently on display at the Philadelphia Museum of art along with three other jugs of the type that were donated to the museum a century ago.

Hynes says, “My original goal  was to find out what I could about this jug. When I began to find out its importance and history I really wanted to know how it found its way to Germantown.” That’s when she called The History Detectives.

Each week, the show investigates the history and background of three or four  objects or memorabilia that its viewers have contacted the staff about.  The show on Monday, August 9, for example, featured investigations into a shotgun that may have played a role in the notorious St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago in 1928, a miniature painting of George Washington’s profile that was found in an old Manhattan tavern, and a former World War II prisoner of war who asked for help in tracking down a fellow prisoner.

In the show on August 16, History Detective Gwen Wright will share her research and that of Hynes in a story that has twists and turns and at least one astounding coincidence related to the name – “Lewis” - that Hynes gave to the jug.

Staff and volunteers at the Germantown Historical Society contributed to the History Detectives’ research, checking deeds and records of the property that Leeds Middle School was built on. “We don’t know the full story – that’s what’s on the program,” says Sam Whyte, who volunteers at the Society. 

Hynes wanted to know if the jug was brought to Philadelphia on the Underground Railroad, and while that doesn’t appear to be the case, the actual story of how it got here is a fascinating one.

Hynes managed to locate descendents of the man who very likely brought the jug to Philadelphia. “They’re all going to be at my home and we’re going to watch it together,” says Hynes, who lives in Washington Crossing.

For the full story, watch The History Detectives on Channel 12 on Monday, August 16, 9 p.m.

32nd Peoples’ Festival August 14 in Historic Vernon Park

Join the fun at the 32nd Annual Peoples’ Festival on Saturday, August 14. Enjoy an event full of Entertainment, Education and Empowerment from noon to 8 p.m. in historic Vernon Park, Germantown and Chelten avenues.

This year we will honor Mother Earth by sharing information about our responsibility to do our part for the preservation and improvement of our local and global community. We encourage organizations sharing the message of living a greener lifestyle to inquire about our Green Vendor and Sponsor incentives.

Visit thewebsite for more details at

Mt. Airy Bike Collective Takes Shape

About a year ago at a meeting of Weavers Way Co-op’s Environment Committee, the idea was proposed to establish a bicycle-related community program in Mt. Airy. After a year of brainstorming, organizing, and reinvention, that idea has become the Mt. Airy Bike Collective (MABC). MABC has held workshops on topics from tuning up bikes to commuting by bike in the winter. During “open hours” (the first and third Thursday of each month, 6 to 8 p.m.) members of the community can use MABC’s space, 542 Carpenter Lane, and tools to work on their bikes and exchange biking-related knowledge with MABC volunteers.

MABC exists through the work of volunteers and the support of the community, Weavers Way, Philly Electric Wheels, and Weavers Way Community Programs (WWCP). MABC is excited that the WWCP board recently decided to make MABC part of its organization, expanding MABC’s resources and WWCP’s programming. Look for more activities and programs to come. 

MABC is a volunteer group sharing knowledge, tools, and repair space to foster broad participation in bike riding, safety, and maintenance.  The group promotes bike riding within our community in collaboration with local bicycle organizations, clubs, and shops and includes life-long bikers with expertise in repair to novice riders eager to expand maintenance and riding skills. Visit for more information.

CIP’s Poetry Group at Black Writers Museum

On August 12 from 10 a.m. to noon, and for the second time this summer, the newly-opened Black Writers Museum, 28 West Maplewood Avenue, and its executive director Supreme Dow will host the Poetry and Discussion Group from Center In The Park. The first visit in July was so informative and rewarding that this group of men and women have decided to visit the museum again before resuming their regular sessions in September back at the center. The

The Poetry and Discussion Group not only covers a vast age range starting at around 55 but also has within its midst several self-published poets from the Germantown/Mt. Airy and surrounding areas.

Since it is the main focus of the museum, the group will share and discuss some of the work of Harlem Renaissance Poets as well as some of their original poetry. It promises to be an inspirational morning.

For more information call RuNett Ebo at 215-495-8679, email, or e-mail to Supreme Dow at

Vendors Sought for East Falls Art and Eco Fair

Vending opportunities are still available for the East Falls Arts by the River and Eco Fair on Saturday, October 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Attracting over 3,000 attendees, this community event with regional appeal provides a great opportunity for local and regional artisans and crafters to connect with shoppers and lovers of unique, one-of-a-kind creations.     

Adding to the allure of this year’s event is the weekend Art Gallery featuring East Falls’ resident artists.  The Gallery Artists Reception on Friday, October1 will be the official kick-off for this arts-packed weekend.  “Many artists call East Falls home and the Gallery will allow us to showcase the neighborhood as a hot spot for creativity,” says Gina Snyder, Executive Director of the East Falls Development Corp.  Adding the frosting to this artistic cupcake is the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST) underway during the weekend. Neighborhood POST artists will also be featured in the Gallery and attendees will be encouraged to complete their arts-filled weekend itinerary by adding a visit to the POST studios located in the Sherman Mills complex on Scotts Lane in East Falls.

With over 40 arts and crafts vendors, visitors to the Arts by the River and Eco Fair are drawn in by the beautiful works in glass, textiles, pottery, tile, jewelry, photography, painting, and sculpture on display.  People love the opportunity to meet the artists and buy directly from them as they treat themselves to a unique item, or get an early start on their holiday shopping. 

This year’s Eco Fair features vendors of merchandise and services to help everyone increase their eco-friendly practices.  Related to this, the festival will feature a dog parade to help launch the Philadelphia Water Department’s ‘Spokes Doggie” campaign, a make-your-own eco Halloween costume booth, and the unveiling of the East Falls Eco public art project, part of ‘Destination Schuylkill River’ led by the Schuylkill Environmental Education Center. 

The East Falls Arts by the River and Eco Fair will take place along the riverfront business district on Ridge Avenue between Midvale Ave and the Falls Bridge.  Visit  for more information, or call 215-848-8084.

Dollars & Sense

Stop Trying to Keep Up With the Joneses


Guest Writer

Editor’s note: this week we begin a new monthly column, “Dollars and Sense,” by James Veal, offering advice on financial and money management questions.

Tell me if you have seen a picture something like this before. Someone just purchased a new expensive foreign sedan and a few days later you see a major appliance delivery truck unloading a new living room suite along with the latest big HD screen television to the same family.  You find out later that no one won the lottery, got a raise, or were left a lot of money.  

You wonder, how are they going to pay for all that debt?  You think they are living the high life.  You feel like you are missing out on something or you must have failed in life because you don’t possess these materialistic things. Well, I will bet that if truth be told, they are barely making it.

Why do they do it?  Some people need expensive items to feel good about themselves or prove that they have finally made it.  Others just need to show off and fulfill a psychological need to be seen as better off then they really are.

Are you guilty of trying to “keep up with the Joneses?”  Avoid getting caught in that trap, or get out of it if you’re already in.  Here are some things to do now to stop trying to “keep up with the Joneses” and eventually be the “Joneses”:

Pay off your  credit cards.  We live in a disposable society and we want instant gratification.  We see it now, we want it now, and so we put it on the credit card.  Look at it this way: if you can afford to purchase something and you have the cash to buy it, why wouldn’t you use it?  Why use a credit card when they are going to charge you interest when you can avoid interest payments by using cash?  Pay off your highest credit card first and proceed to the next highest until you are finish paying them all off.  You only need to keep two major credit cards and cut up the rest of them. 

Push to save and invest more.  With the grim outlook for the economy, spending money on status symbols just for the sake of showing off should be a thing of the past.  If you are still driving a Hummer but have nothing in your retirement accounts or college funds set up for your children, you might want to evaluate your priorities.  Due to the recent recession, you should have at least six to twelve months of income saved in an emergency savings account.  Times are tough, but try to pay yourself first by saving at least five to ten percent of your monthly income.  If you spend more than what you earn, no matter what expensive possessions you have, your net worth is more than likely zero.  Remember, it is not how much you make but how much you save that counts.

Cut down your spending.  You’ll be surprise at how much money you can save by monitoring your spending.  Do you really need all three hundred channels on dish network, or a Blu-Ray player?  Do you really have to stop at Starbucks for your $5 morning coffee?  Have you considered brown-bagging your lunch a few days of the week?  Is it possible to cook at home a bit more than dining out?  Also, think about contacting your credit card company to see if they can lower your interest rate. 

Take some time to write out a daily budget and monitor your activities.You’ll be able to see where you can save some money.  You just have to be disciplined.

The measure of success in today’s world is all too often measured by the number of things you have and what kind of car you drive.  The true measure of success is the size of your bank account and your net worth.  So instead of trying to prove to people that you-got-it-going-on, try paying off all of your credit card debt, increasing your savings and investments, and cutting down your monthly expenses and soon people may be trying to keep up with you.

James R. Veal is president and CEO of JRV Wealth Management Group, LLC in Philadelphia.  Visit his website at or if you have any financial questions, send them via email to

GGBA to Discuss GHS Business Internships

The Greater Germantown Business Association (GGBA) is excited to be in partnership with The Philadelphia Youth Network and the Philadelphia Education Fund to provide internship opportunities to Germantown High School students. Our September 14 meeting will be an opportunity for you to learn more about how to get some excited and motivated young people to assist you in your business or profession for free.

Joining us will be Linda Ralph-Kern of the Philadelphia Education Fund (PEF) who will tell us all about the community partnership related to Germantown High School. In addition, Farrah Farnese, representing the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), will describe all the programs that are available to our businesses and professions that can not only impact students’ lives and help them understand the world of work in our community, but also provide us an opportunity to get some extra hands to help us in our businesses.

The meeting, Back To School with PEF and PYN, will be held Tuesday, September 14, 8:30 - 10 a.m. at the Divine Beauty School of Esther, 5524 Germantown Avenue.

Mark your calendars and make sure you attend this extremely important GGBA meeting. As always, a light continental breakfast will be available. Please R.S.V.P. to John Churchville 215-848-8511 or

Canaan Christian Arts Ministry to perform ‘The Wiz’

Canaan Christian Arts Ministry will perform their rendition of “The Wiz” on Friday, August 20, 6 p.m. at Canaan Baptist Church, 5430 Pulaski Avenue. Admission is $10. For information call 215-848-2711.

Stephanie Mills recently visited the Canaan Christian Arts Conservatory. Mills is a good friend of one of our staff members and when she heard we were doing “The Wiz,” she was gracious enough to stop by to offer words of encouragement to the cast.  The session culminated with Mills singing “Be a Lion.”  She named this as her favorite song. She let the cast know that the courage each one of them possesses is what will make the show successful. 

Mills came to fame as “the little girl with the big voice.“  She starred in the Broadway Production of “The Wiz” at the age of 15. She has had many R&B hits such as “The Power of Love,” “I Feel Good All Over,” “(You’re Puttin’) A Rush On Me,”

“Something in the Way (You Make Me Feel)” and “Home” along with a certified million-selling single, “Never Knew Love Like This Before.” She also had five gold albums: Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin’, Sweet Sensation, Stephanie, If I Were Your Woman and Home. The original 1975 Broadway production of “The Wiz” won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

Canaan’s Performing Arts program has earned the reputation for being the most thorough and rewarding dance experience a student can have.

The program offers top quality teachers and master guest teachers that are dedicated to the learning process and growth of each individual student.

Students participate in a minimum of four classes per day/per this summer with CCAM’S renowned faculty. Students receive a comprehensive curriculum that focuses on developing well-rounded dancers by exposure to a wide variety of disciplines with an emphasis on classical ballet technique and key elements of CCAM Training Curriculum.

Christians United Against Addictions Meeting

A Christians United Against Addictions Saturday workshop will meet Saturday, August 14 at New Covenant Church, 7600 Germantown Avenue, in the Elders Hall conference room from 9 a.m. to noon. The speakers for this month are Sam and Anita Gregory, founders and facilitators of the “Out of Egypt” support group which meets at Greater Exodus Baptist Church.

Christians United Against  Addiction, better known as CUAA, presents once a month a teaching in the practical application of the 12 steps. The meeting is open to all interested persons who are in recovery or facilitating an addiction support group, or family members of active or recovering addicts. The format allows time for detailed questions and answers and insightful feedback on the topic.

CUAA will soon celebrate 23 active and victorious years in service and support to people in recovery, their families, and still-suffering addicts.

For more information about the workshop, call 215-248-0260, visit, or e-mail to

Discussion Sessions at Unitarian Universalist

On Sunday, Aug.15, at 11 a.m. Vic Vaughn, who spent thirty years working at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and came to this area several years ago to live at Foulkeways, will speak on his experiences at Oak Ridge at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration, 6900 Stenton Avenue.

Then on August 22 at 11 a.m. join Holly Jobe in Fellowship Hall for her talk on “Singapore - Modern Utopia?” Holly spent two weeks in Singapore in March in reflecting on what makes a utopia and whether Singapore qualifies. Singapore, a city state that has risen to have one of the highest standards of living for its citizens in the world and has become attractive for businesses, is still governed by a select group of people who have been in power since independence in 1959.  Holly will share some background, show photographs and lead a discussion about what makes a modern utopia.

Visit the website for more information at

$3K Grant to Inn Dwelling

Inn Dwelling at 109 East Price Street in Germantown has received a $3,000 grant from the Henrietta Tower Wurts Memorial to supports its Scholars Program. R. Andrew Swinney, president of the Philadelphia Foundation, which administers the Memorial, made announcement of the grant.

Br. Alfred Smith, C.M., executive director of Inn Dwelling, said the funds would be used for “these deserving, bring and successful youth” and other general program support. “I’m going to Georgetown University this summer as a sophomore to take two college courses. Thanks so much,” said Edgar Agudelo.

Br. Alfred Smith, and Sister Rosemarie Jefferson, MSBT, started the Comprehensive Youth Program to address the need to help bright, financially challenged students to gain recognition, attend college preparatory schools and ultimately to gain scholarships and grants to top-notch colleges and universities. Today it has graduated Fulbright Scholars, global leaders and a host of highly successful students.

For more information, call 215-438-2195.

New Redeem Open House

New Redeem Biblical Bible School, 5001 Germantown Avenue, Rev. Dr. L. Riley dean, will hold an open house this Saturday. Has God called you to carry His word? Are you ready to answer the call? Come out to the open house on Saturday, August 14 from 1-3 p.m., where you can sign up for the class of 2010-11.

Classes start in September. The class is 11 months long and those who complete it will receive a minister’s license.

For more information call  215-848-8630.

Volunteer at Vernon Park

With the heat wave that Philadelphia has been having, more people are using Vernon Park.  Friends of Vernon Park is reminding groups that they must have a permit, issued by Barbara McCabe at the Department of Recreation (215-683-3679), for any events being held in the park.

A major problem for the park is that some people use it but do not do the minimum housekeeping of cleaning up after themselves, such as putting their trash in the trash cans.  With the City budget problems, we are lucky to have a summer maintenance person to clean up after these people, but we will not have anyone in the fall.

Friends of Vernon Park is a volunteer group who struggle to maintain the park, but without the community’s cooperation just keeping it from sinking under a layer of trash is a impossible task.  We are in need of volunteers for our clean-up days as well as new members and funds to cover maintenance through the fall and winter.  If you can’t come out to work on our cleanup days, we would appreciate a donation - large or small. Please help us maintain Vernon Park as a community asset, rather than a liability.  To volunteer call Sue Finch at 215-843-5007.

City Now Recycling 1 - 7 Plastics

Philly wants your plastics. Philadelphia’s residential recycling program has kicked into overdrive.

Instead of just number one and two plastics, the city now is accepting everything with the number one through seven. That means not just milk jugs and soda bottles, but also yogurt tubs, plastic cups, take-out containers and more.

The city began accepting the new goods August 1. Examples of items in the new categories include – 3, rigid plastic containers and juice bottles; 4, plastic tubs and lids from butter, margarine or similar products; 5, yogurt containers and deli trays; 6, plastic cups, plates and takeout containers; and 7, many mixed plastic containers and some plastic products. The city will not recycle plastic bags, PVC or styrofoam.

As in the past, all items can be placed in one recycling bin, which is known as “single stream.” For more details about the program, including rewards for participating, go to or call 215-685-RECYCLE (7329).

PSA Meetings in 14th District

August Police Service Area (PSA) meetings in the 14th District will be as follows:

PSA1, with Lt. Raymond Jackson and community facilitator Geneva Green of the Block Captain Association, on August 31, 7-9 p.m., at the West Oak Lane Senior Center, 7201 Ogontz Avenue. PSA 1 covers West Oak Lane, East Germantown between Stenton and Chew avenues, and East Mt. Airy south of Gorgas Lane and Vernon Road.

PSA2, with Lt. Brian Murphy and community facilitator James Igess of Wister Neighborhood Council, on August 18, 7-9 p.m., at Cliveden House, 6401 Germantown Avenue (rear).  PSA 2 covers the area  between Germantown and Chew avenues, from Gorgas Lane to Wister Street.

PSA3, with Lt. Mark Overwise and community facilitator Heather Pierce of Carpenter Woods Town Watch, on August 18, 7-9 p.m., at Germantown Jewish Center, 400 West Ellet Street. PSA 3 covers West Mt. Airy and West Central Germantown.

PSA4, with Lt. Michael Kopecki and community facilitator Dr. Arlene Bennett of Safe Streets, on August 26,  7-9 p.m., at Water tower Rec Center, Hartwell Lane and Ardleigh Street.  PSA 4 covers Chestnut Hill and East Mt. Airy between Germantown and Cheltenham avenues, bordered on the south by Gorgas Lane and Vernon Road.

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

The Northwest EPIC Stakeholders invite the Northwest community to the next EPIC (Equal Partners In Change) community group meeting). Our focus is working to find Solutions in our community.  Please join the stakeholders on Thursday, August 19, 1 p.m., at Martin Luther King High School, 6100 Stenton Avenue. Refreshments are always served.

For more information contact EPIC Coordinator Nan Rhone at 215-549-2686.

FreshVisions Presents Powerful ‘Topdog/Underdog’

FreshVisions Youth Theatre’s Adult Series is presenting “Topdog/Underdog” by Suzan-Lori Parks on three weekends:  Fridays, August 13, 20 and 27 at 8 p.m. Saturdays, August 14, 21 and 28 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, August 15, 22 (special fundraiser show and supper performance) and 29 at 4 p.m. The ticket price is $15, except for the August 22 fundraiser, which is $25.  Performances are at the Germantown Theatre Center, 4821 Germantown Ave.

This show contains very strong language and is suggested for ages 16 and over.  For further information call  267-226-7135 or 267-684-8243.

“Topdog/Underdog” is a gripping story of a bitter, brutal reality and desperate dreams. It is the story of a deep brother-bond and an equally deep brother-hatred between two brothers, Lincoln and Booth - given those names as a joke by the father who abandoned them.  Deserted by both their father and mother since they were teenagers, they’ve had only each other.  Trapped together in bleak and dismal circumstances, they struggle for survival and dignity, two powerless black men who struggle for power against each other; against the world; and within their own souls.

Lincoln and Booth live together in a small squalid room in a dilapidated boarding house.  Lincoln, the older brother, is the reformed hustler and master three card monte player, trying to live his life a better way.  Booth, the younger brother, is the thug-in-waiting, who seeks to displace his brother as the smooth skilled hustler and king of the three card monte con game.  Within this room the demons of poverty, violence, despair, and the clinging to worthless illusion that plagues so many black men in this society are played out in microcosm.  It is in this room where desperate hopes hold sway.  It is in this room where a series of stories, games, competitions and illusions escalates inexorably to a tragic conclusion.

“Topdog/Underdog” is directed by Thom Wilkins who has helmed some of FreshVisions most acclaimed and artistically accomplished adult series productions. It features the dazzling acting talent of FreshVisions’ artistic associate Damien J. Wallace who plays Lincoln, paired with FreshVisions’ alumni professional performer Quran William  playing Booth, who thrilled audiences with his portrayal of Nat Turner in “Do Lord Remember Me.” 

Movie Night

Come one, come all to your neighborhood’s Free Family Movie Night Out on Thursday, August 19, on the 6200 block of Chew Avenue. Showtime is 8 p.m., rain or shine, and films Avatar or Wild Hogs will be shown. Bring a chair or blanket and come early to get a good space. An adult must accompany all children under the age of 15. Philadelphia Police Department will be on site.

Volunteer ushers to assist at this event will be greatly appreciated. To register your interest as an usher, please contact Rev. Chester Williams at 215-849-8021.

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