(Left to right)  Gabrielle Rossi, owner of Dirty Girl Brigade; Amy Lydon, owner of One Salon; Sherman Oberson, owner of Jean-Jacques Gallery, Sarah DiGioia, Mt. Airy resident; Grace Gaston, Mt. Airy resident; Peggy Zwerver, owner of Earth Bread Brewery and Kim Miller, executive director of the Mt. Airy Business Association were among the participants in Mt. Airy’s first PARK(ing) Day on Germantown Avenue. This global event challenges people to rethink the way streets are used.  See story below.




LTSP to Dedicate Plaza This Saturday


By PATRICK COBBS

Staff Writer


Last year, amid the tumult of Avenue construction, Mt. Airy Residents might recall another project close by, on the campus of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP).


After foundation improvements to the chapel at LTSP, workers re-landscaped the front approach, transforming it from an inaccessible mound behind an eight foot stone wall to the open, tree filled square that now exists. And on Saturday, September 26, community residents will learn why.


“This is actually the only community square that’s open community space along the whole Mt. Airy section of Germantown Avenue,” said LTSP Director of Communications John Kahler. “So it was very intentional that the seminary turn this into a space that connects us to the community.”


The public dedication ceremony of William Allen Square will start at 12:30 p.m. on the site at 7301 Germantown Avenue. It will include the presentation of the William Allen historical marker, a walking, talking William Allen interpreter, and a lecture by historian Frank Whelan on the important colonial character who founded, or at least named, Mt. Airy and Allentown.


But in contrast to Mt. Airy’s progressive and accepting reputation, William Allen the man was often loud and pushy in his views, according to Whelan. And as the wealthiest man in Pennsylvania in colonial times he made his fortune in a way that many contemporary local residents may condemn - through smuggling.


“There were really no ethical rules,” Whelan explained. “There were laws but the laws were usually circumvented. So Mr. Allen was involved in a number of things that today we would not call legitimate, but they were legal.”


Under colonial rule, Allen was the mayor of Philadelphia for a short time and the Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for 25 years, succeeded by Benjamin Chew, builder of Cliveden, 6401 Germantown Avenue.


Whelan called Allen a “divided person” with some tragic outlines. For even though he was more than willing to circumvent English shipping laws for a heftier profit, and he was violently opposed to the Stamp Act, he remained loyal to the crown and prized creating an Colonial landed gentry class based on English nobility as his greatest personal goal, Whelan said. These were two decisions that ultimately ruined him.


Through connections to surveyors who gave him early deals, he began transferring all of his wealth into land in the 1750’s when he bought the large country estate he named Mt. Airy, according to Whelan. Eventually he became the largest landowner in Pennsylvania besides the Penn family, Whelan said. He commissioned Allentown as a wedding present to one of his sons.


He built his summer home on the land where the LTSP Hagen Center now sits, and it was here, at least symbolically, where his life started to unravel.


When the revolution broke out he remained loyal to England and was labeled a Tory, according to Whelan. Then at dawn on October 4, 1777, American troops attacked the British line that was entrenched at his summer home. Whelan saw this as a strangely poetic moment in Allen’s life. For even though he was not likely there at the time (it being fall) it seemed to set the tone for want was to come.


The British were victorious and held Philadelphia through the winter. Then in 1778 the state passed a law allowing the confiscation of all lands held by Loyalists, and soon the 70-plus year old Allen, who bought full the dream of a landed gentry, found himself with nothing, Whelan said. 


He died around 1780. But the details are murky enough that no one seems certain of how, or where, or even where he was buried, according to Whelan.


William Allen Square sits about a hundred feet from the place the aspiring nobleman spent every summer for the last 30 years of his life. The concept of building the public square came about a few years ago when LTSP, Mt. Airy USA and local businesses were discussing the need for a more open approach to the business district, according to an earlier interview with LTSP President, Rev. Dr. Philip Krey.


Local elected officials helped secure close to $500,000 in public funds for construction of the square, according to Kahler. The hope is that community groups would eventually use it for musical events, movies or farmers’ markets and that people would develop the habit of relaxing there under the trees, he said.



12 Businesses Improve Facades Under New Program



Able Plumbing Supply Company at 6815 Germantown Avenue was the site of the public unveiling of the Targeted Facades Program in Mt. Airy, September 22. Here performing a “groundbreaking” group paint are, from left: Elizabeth Moselle, director of corridor revitalization for MAUSA; Kevin Dow, Philadelphia Deputy Commerce Director; Farah Jimenez, executive director of MAUSA; Donna Reed Miller, Eighth District Councilwoman, and Mark Kidd, owner of Majeki’s Stained Glass.


By PATRICK COBBS

Staff Writer


In front of an already spiffier-looking Able Plumbing Supply Company at 6815 Germantown Avenue on Tuesday, September 22, Mt. Airy USA (MAUSA) hosted public officials and local business owners to kick off the Targeted Facades Improvement Program. The $200,000 city-funded program will give makeovers to 12 storefronts in the 6700 to 6800 and 7100 to 7200 blocks of Germantown Avenue by year’s end.


“It allows us to support the businesses that are here, which are typically smaller, locally-owned businesses,” the city’s Deputy Commerce Director and Acting Chief Operations Officer for the Commerce Department, Kevin Dow, said of the program. 


Steve Hecht, owner of Able Plumbing, was excited too. He called the program an “impetus” to make improvements that might normally be viewed as a retail-only investment for his mostly wholesale business. But as owner of a 36-year institution in the neighborhood, he has learned never to discount the importance of community connection.


“I believe it will help my business,” he said. “We always want the neighborhood business.”


That’s the idea behind the project – to make the Avenue as inviting as possible to all the modes of livelihood that exist there. And especially with this year’s program, to make it more accessible than it has been in previous years.


“The facades program allows those of us who are not quite financially able to invite the foot traffic,” said Mark Kidd, owner of Majeki’s Stained Glass Works, which has been at 7212 Germantown Avenue for 18 years.


Though MAUSA has secured city facades grants before, this year’s targeted program is different in important ways. First, because it was funded through a partially-unused capital improvement bond that the city took out in 2006, it requires that all funds be spent before the end of the year. This meant more flexibility in the program.


“I was able to do a lot of things to make it more accessible,” said Elizabeth Moselle, director of corridor revitalization for MAUSA.


Among those things were boosting the city-paid portion for each project to 80 percent, up from 50 percent in previous years, and being able to draw on city funds up front instead of waiting until after the improvements were made for reimbursement. According to Moselle, both things were major incentives for the 25 applicants to the program.

For MAUSA Executive Director Farah Jimenez there was also something special about seeing such long time Avenue businesses like Able Plumbing and Majeki’s participate in the program. She saw it as a kind of leveraging effect.

“Because they’ve been here for so long they also signal to the other retailers the potential of being on Germantown Avenue,” she said.


Businesses getting a facelift on the 6700 and 6800 blocks of the Avenue include Nickens Agency and Auto Tags, Inc., Mermaid Bar, Community Acupuncture of Mt. Airy, Fino’s Pizza and Able Plumbing. On the 7100 and 7200 blocks it will be Imperial Chinese, the Eye Institute and Karate Studio, New Untouchables, Johnson’s Barber Shop, Owen’s Antiques, and Majeki’s Stained Glass.


The kinds of improvements shoppers can expect are new doors and windows, new awnings, signs and lights, new paint jobs or exterior finishes. And while the look will be different for each storefront, the designs will emphasize openness and browse-ability, while the colors will call out the historic aspects of the Avenue, Moselle said.


Work began on most of the storefronts at the end of August and Moselle estimated most of it would be done by late November or early December.


First PARK(ing) Day


(Left to right)  Gabrielle Rossi, owner of Dirty Girl Brigade; Amy Lydon, owner of One Salon; Sherman Oberson, owner of Jean-Jacques Gallery, Sarah DiGioia, Mt. Airy resident; Grace Gaston, Mt. Airy resident; Peggy Zwerver, owner of Earth Bread Brewery and Kim Miller, executive director of the Mt. Airy Business Association were among the participants in Mt. Airy’s first PARK(ing) Day on Germantown Avenue. This global event challenges people to rethink the way streets are used.


Mt. Airy resident Sarah DiGioia, with support from local businesses Jean Jacques Gallery and One Salon, hosted Mt. Airy’s first PARK(ing) Day. This global event, invented in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, challenges people to rethink the way streets are used and reinforces the need for broad-based changes to urban infrastructure.


PARK(ing) Day’s approach is to temporarily reclaim parking spaces for people. The “Mt. Airy Green” “park” was located in a parking space on Germantown Avenue near Durham Street in front of One Salon and included a focus on the benefits of composting for urban gardening. The “park” which included 4 chairs, a café table, potted flowers and a patio umbrella, was open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and was open to the public.


Several passing pedestrians stopped to have a seat under the umbrella and chat with DiGioia about the benefits of composting. Many people commented on how additional seating on this corridor of Germantown Avenue would be a benefit to the neighborhood and its visitors. Several local business owners stopped by to demonstrate their support and some showed interest in hosting additional “parks” next year.


Information regarding local PARK(ing) Day activities and a global map of all participating cities are available on the PARK(ing) Day Network at http://my.parkingday.org.


Thousands Gather in Vernon Park to Mark End of Ramadan


Moslems in prayer during the Eid ul Fitr ceremonies in Vernon Park.


By PATRICK COBBS

Staff Writer

 

For Muslims all over the world the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting, prayer and self-reflection, culminated Sunday, September 20 in the festivities of Eid ul Fitr. For at least 3,000 area followers of Islam, and the Germantown Masjid, this day was even more special: it was a chance to make themselves known in the community by filling Vernon Park with an organized public prayer and celebration.


“We’re out here today. Hopefully, we show a good representation of Islam,” said Ali Davis, a Philadelphia native who studies Islamic Law in Saudi Arabia at the University of Umm Al-Qura.


Last year the Germantown Masjid participated in a similar event in Belmont Park but this time, “We wanted to do it right here in our community, right here in Germantown ,” said Brother Saadiq Jabbar Garner, outreach coordinator for the Masjid.


Part of the reason to do a public prayer and celebration was to dispel negative stereotypes of Islam and show that the presence of Muslims in the community is beneficial and not something to be feared. More than that, it was meant as a gesture of openness, an attempt to reach out to other community groups and leaders as peers in the effort to lift Germantown up.


“There should be an openness. That’s very, very important,” Davis said. “At the end of the day, we all want happiness, we all want peace.”


The masjid invited area leaders to join the Eid celebration. The first to arrive was Seth Williams, the Democratic nominee for Philadelphia District Attorney, who addressed the crowd following Fajr, the morning prayer.


Williams said he saw the outreach efforts of the Germantown Masjid as an opportunity to open a relationship and, “work with the members of our community to make this neighborhood safer.”


Tariq El-Shabazz, the managing director of the Germantown Masjid, said the Muslim community in Germantown was ready. He offered, “Any way that we can help in terms of making it safer.”


And while Garner emphasized the importance of establishing that relationship so that it would be in force before any crisis moments, he also acknowledged a symbolic goal connected to the effort the masjid put in to clean Vernon Park and clear it of drug use and drinking for the day. He saw it as a reflection of what could be in Germantown with true community involvement.


“We really wanted to establish the aspect that this can be a drug-free park,” he said.


Opposition to Wakefield Project Fades Among Neighbors


By PATRICK COBBS

Staff Writer


Opposition to a proposed residential facility for women at 4969 Wakefield Street appeared to be falling away last week, only days before a scheduled zoning hearing to determine the viability of the project.


“The Wakefield petition of opposition has been withdrawn,” said Rosalind McKelvey, block captain of the 4900 and 5000 blocks of Wakefield, at the Wister Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC) land use meeting September 17.


As of press time Tuesday, September 22, those seeking to relocate the alternative to incarceration program, New Directions for Women Inc, from its current location on the 4800 block of Germantown Avenue to the site in between Wakefield and Baynton Streets, were set to enter the zoning board hearing with something new: confidence in significant neighborhood support.


According to developer Frank Bruno, the project counted several residents on Wakefield Street and Wister NAC among its documented supporters and was expecting a letter of support from District Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller’s office as it headed for the zoning hearing September 23. It was a long way from the last public meeting on the proposed move, at New Redeem Apostolic Church July 21, which was characterized by loud opposition.


“It’s been positive ever since after that church meeting,” Bruno said.


Following that meeting even Bruno had doubts about the fate of the project, and New Directions Executive Director Carolyn Stewart felt she never got the opportunity to paint a full picture of what her 22-year old program really was, according to earlier interviews.


Since then Bruno has been focusing on building relationships in the neighborhood, he said, and that has paid off with more opportunities to really explain what he and property owner Stan Smith envision for the building.


The basic plan, if zoning approval comes through September 23, is to start work on the project within the next several months, and in the six months that follow to put nearly one million dollars into the building, essentially giving New Directions a new, upgraded facility.

According to Bruno and Smith the options for developing 4969 Wakefield are limited. Because it is surrounded by so much vacant property, few banks would consider the neighborhood a stable enough investment for a loan that size, they said. But with an interested long term tenant like New Directions that can qualify for funding to subsidize some of the construction costs, a major project becomes much more feasible. And more than that, once the project is complete its presence is likely to have the opposite effect on banks, making other new projects possible.


Once he had a chance to talk with neighbors about this long-term vision the opposition started to melt away, Bruno said.


“The neighbors are involved,” he said. “I think that was a big part of it. They wanted to be involved; they wanted to be a part of it.”


So Bruno says, he has worked extra hard to stay connected to the neighborhood since the earlier meeting. He and his company have been mowing some of the vacant lots that neighbors have identified as desirable sites for future community gardens or parks. And in the early spring he plans to clear out the section of a former park that is no longer maintained on Wakefield Street, which used to run from Shedaker Street all the way to Logan Street, according to Bruno.


“We will be working with the neighbors to secure additional lots and maybe developing a park there, so it will be kind of like a partnership,” he said. “It’s not just all about us and our project.”


Apparently neighborhood residents were convinced. By August 18, when McKelvey set up a private meeting for neighbors to air concerns about the project with Bruno and Smith, no one even showed up. She took that as a clear sign.


“Not one response from 30 neighbors,” she said on September 17.


She hand-delivered announcements and phone response cards to all the residents of 4900 and 5000 Wakefield, but there were no calls in response either, she said in a letter summarizing her findings. As a result, McKelvey said,  she did not plan to organize opposition at the September 23 zoning board hearing.


“You might as well work with the people who’ve got the property,” she said. “A one million dollar property on the block is better than the abandoned one.”


But she also included several requests in that letter. Among them was the stipulation that clients at the program be “non-violent and non-child endangering,” that the owner and New Directions itself keep neighbors informed about important changes to the property, that they participate in Town Watch and school safety activities, and that they install adequate safety features to the property and establish a security protocol.


Bruno clearly wants to be invested in the neighborhood for the long haul. “We hope that it is not gonna be just that building on that street,” he said. “We hope to get other houses renovated.”


Depaul International Opens First U.S. Project


By PATRICK COBBS

Staff Writer

 

The new Depaul House men’s shelter at 5725 Sprague Street in Germantown held a “royal” convocation on September 16. The Duchess of Norfolk, along with Mayor Michael Nutter, graced the opening celebration of the first U.S. project of United Kingdom-based Depaul International.


“Today we will celebrate a momentous occasion – the beginning of Depaul USA and the opening of Depaul House,” said Father Bernard Tracey as he introduced the distinguished speakers. Tracey is a trustee of Depaul International and chairman of the board of Depaul USA.


But for 25 formerly homeless men who are now rebuilding their lives at Depaul, the real opening was April 3 - the day they got a roof over their heads and the help of three full-time social workers committed to getting them to a better place in life.

“We will never discharge people into the streets,” said Depaul House Program Director Sandra Guillory of the program goals.


Unlike emergency shelters, Depaul is about transitioning men off of the streets and into a productive job and a stable home. In the year each resident may stay at Depaul, they are expected to find jobs, build up bank accounts and maintain a personal success plan that addresses their biggest road blocks - the root causes of their homelessness, according to Guilory.


“We are about respect and dignity,” Guilory said. “We have guys who’ve never held their own lease. We have guys who have never had to do a budget. Let’s start with where you are and I’m not gonna judge you… we’ll figure it out together.”


Thirty-five year old Jose Valazquez, an ex-offender who last held a residence in Kensington (VF), knows what an impact this kind of approach can have. He described himself as someone who used to put walls in his own way. That kind of thinking eventually poisoned his life.


“I have two children who I didn’t see in years,” he said.


But with the help of people who took an interest in him and pushed him, he has started to take his life back. At the Ridge Shelter he got involved in Back on My Feet, a program that has played a central role in changing his self-view. It is a running club for people battling homelessness.


“I have run a half a marathon, three-Ks, five-Ks,” he said. “Every time I run a race I just want to see myself go further.”


Guilory and Velazquez joked easily together before the speakers took their places behind the podium. Velazquez praised Guilory and the other counselors, saying they never give up on him and that their encouragement has made a major difference for him.


Now Velazquez takes GED classes at Temple University and he hopes to qualify for a scholarship program to get an associates degree, he said, and a productive job. Best of all, he has reconnected with his children.


“The counselors have helped me building my confidence up,” he said. “Now I see them [my children] all the time… I don’t see that wall no more.”


The large building on Sprague Street that is now the Depaul House was home to an earlier men’s shelter from 1989 to 2006 known as the Ghebre Michael Inn. That program focused on 12 formerly homeless men at a time. But when the funding ended Brother Peter Campbell, who ran the Inn for years, began searching for new possibilities. A chance meeting in London with Mark McGreevy, the chief executive of Depaul International, led to the current partnership between that group and the Philadelphia Vincentian community within the Archdiocese.  


“St. Vincent Depaul is very well known for his compassion for the poor,” explained Father John Holliday, the pastor at Immaculate Conception Church, which occupies the same campus as Depaul House. He characterized the new program as a continuation of efforts by Immaculate Conception to follow the teachings of the Patron Saint of Charities.


In the neighborhood surrounding the new program there were good words too.


“I see a lot of them guys going out to get work,” said Desmond Gamble, whose house on Price Street is across the street from the facility. “I think that’s perfect.”


A few houses down the 900 block of Price, Gamble’s father, Block Captain Gerald Marshall, was getting ready for his monthly emergency food giveaway.


“It’s a beautiful asset to the area,” Marshal said of Depaul House. “In terms of trying to help people get back on their feet, we applaud it.” 


Other nearby residents, including John Wilkens and Margaret Robinson, thought the program would be fine as long as it didn’t have a negative impact on the neighborhood. Neither one of them could recall anything undesirable about the previous Ghebre Michael Inn. Robinson never even knew about it, despite living within sight of the building.


But three men who discussed the project on the 900 block of Stafford Street were more uncertain. While all of them agreed people deserved a “second chance,” James Oliver, for one, was not sure he wanted it happening right in his neighborhood.


Oliver complained that the church should have given the neighbors better notice of the program and he worried about the kinds of men it would attract.


“You don’t know what them guys’ background is,” he said.


But Oliver did not report having a problem with the former men’s shelter on the site. In fact, like Robinson, he never knew the Ghebre Michael Inn was there.


At the ceremony Mayor Nutter looked back from the podium at Her Grace, Georgina Susan Fitzalan-Howard, Duchess of Norfolk, and smiled. He called the experience “a Humphrey Bogart moment.”


“Of all the cities and all the towns in all the world, you chose us,” he said.


But in fact Georgina, as she prefers to be called, travels to every Depaul International program as part of her work on the problem of homelessness. That includes programs in Ireland, Slovakia, Ukraine, and with last Wednesday’s event, here in Germantown. This time daughter Rebecca came along with two friends and the  group spent several days getting to know the city, which included tours from one of Philadelphia’s own “blue bloods” in the fight against homelessness, Sister Mary Scullion of Project Home.


“She is amazing,” the Duchess said of Scullion.


That’s the impression the Duchess gets of so many people she meets who work so hard on this issue around the world. Their courage in the face of such suffering never fails to move her.


“What I have come away with in every country that I’ve been to, and what doesn’t change, is the suffering,” she said.


The Duchess expressed excitement to be working in the US, and specifically Philadelphia, and she hoped that in addition to helping the men who live at Depaul House, that Depaul International would learn a lesson or two from how things are done in the City of Brotherly Love.


Nutter also saw the trans-Atlantic partnership as an opportunity to share resources and improve strategies in the fight against homelessness. Depaul House’s roughly $500,000 yearly budget comes mainly through the Philadelphia Office of Supportive Housing, but about two-fifths come from private donors, including Depaul International. To Nutter the relationship was a beautiful friendship for Philadelphia, a city that for all its efforts still has far fewer homes available than people who need them.


“Transitioning the people from the streets into housing must be our fundamental goal,” he said. “This project and what we do here today are what lead us to our bright future: not having people sleep in the streets.”


Review: ‘Night Watch’ is Over-the-Top But Gripping Evening


By JOHN STANCHAK

Guest Writer


“Night Watch,” a play by Lucille Fletcher and directed by Tracie Lango is now running at The Stagecrafters, 8130 Germantown Avenue.


Chronic insomniac, one-time mental patient, and all-round bundle of nerves Elaine Wheeler looks out her sitting room window late one night into an empty room in an abandoned building that sits behind her Manhattan property. There she sees a dead man splayed out in a velvet chair. The shrieking begins.


At Elaine’s insistence, her husband John calls the police. The authorities investigate and find no body in the building nor any evidence of murder. The police, husband John, and Elaine’s best friend and house guest Blanche Cook write her off as an hysteric. The maid Matilda is not so sure. Eccentric neighbor Curtis Appleby says he’s not certain about all this either. Then, days later, Elaine claims to see the body of a dead woman in the room across the way. The shrieking continues.


The police are summoned again and do not find a dead woman. Elaine is written off by husband, friend, and authorities as unreliable. Preparations are made to ship her off to a sanitarium.


Over the course of these events, Elaine is frequently dosed with tranquilizers by friend Blanche and is visited, interviewed and medicated by a Dr. Tracey Lake, a woman who may or may not be a psychiatrist. Meanwhile, a local deli owner appears complaining about the fuss Elaine has created, the maid hits the mister up for money, the quirky neighbor who operates a community paper voices his interest in murder as subject matter and entertainment, and husband John gets Elaine to sign some business papers that he doesn’t care to explain.


“Night Watch” was produced as a film in 1973, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Laurence Harvey. If you saw it, you know how my evening at the theater ended. Keep it to yourself. This is a well-written mystery thriller by Lucille Fletcher, who created the famous radio play and film “Sorry, Wrong Number” and wrote the topnotch “Twilight Zone” episode “The Hitchhiker,” starring Inger Stevens. Both of those pieces feature women driven to the edge of madness by fear. Playing Elaine Wheeler at Stagecrafters, Pierlisa Chiodo-Steo also projects a lot of panic and fear. But that is where a problem lays.


Chiodo-Steo is an experienced actress, having appeared many times at Stagecrafters. Walter DeShields, who appeared in last season’s Stagecrafters production of “Raisin in the Sun,” is a known quantity on the stage. Cherri Poet – the maid Matilda, Ed Marcinkiewicz – as police patrolman Vanelli, Bob O’Neil - as police detective Walker, Sonya Aiko Hearn – as Dr. Tracey Lake, Gary Labowitz – as deli owner Sam Hoke, Richard Geller – as strange neighbor Curtis Appleby, and Bonnie Grant – as Blanche, can collectively boast a list of credits an arm long. But at some point in the evening, each actor went a little awkward or over the top in his or her performance.


This was director Tracie Lango’s maiden effort. Though experienced as a stage manager and producer, “Night Watch” was the first play where she took up directorial duties and this was due to the earlier departure of another director. 

In this production the set and costumes are good; the mood music is, appropriately, very ominous. The lighting, so important in this mystery, is effective and exact. But the uneven quality of the performances suggest that Lango was slack with the reins. At some points, someone needed to tell Chiodo-Steo when to turn Elaine’s shrieking and panic down a notch. Richard Geller’s portrayal of Curtis Appleby – as a mincing, flamboyant gay man, was blunt stereotyping and challenged the play’s mood of mystery. Walter DeShields, as John, appeared so uncomfortable in his part that he didn’t remind the audience of anyone’s husband or lover, whether happy or unhappy. Bob O’Neil, as the exasperated police detective, is twice required to rant about crime and fear in the city; these speeches more closely resemble Yosemite Sam conniptions than the railing of a man disgusted with cruelty and lawlessness. Sonya Aiko Hearn as Dr. Tracey Lake appears to take her approach to her psychiatrist role from Bebe Neuwirth, famous as Lilith Stern on the TV series “Cheers” and “Frasier.” In fact, it is a pretty tight match, except that Hearn does not get to tell a joke.


It’s not the point of this review to nit-pick each actor’s performance or abuse the company. “Night Watch” provides a fine evening of entertainment. But this was Stagecrafters weakest production in more than a season.  

Remaining performances of “Night Watch” are September 24-26 and October 1-3 at 8 p.m., and   Sunday, September 27 at 2 p.m.


Tickets are priced at $15, students with valid ID get $2 off. A “Meet the Cast and Director” Q & A session will be held following the performance on Friday, September 25.  All attendees that evening are welcome. For information call 215-247-8881; for reservations call 215-247-9913.



Cohens Lend Support to MAUSA Fundraiser


Mt. Airy residents David L. Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast Corporation, and his wife, Rhonda, are lending their support to Mt. Airy, USA’s annual signature fundraiser, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” Saturday, October 24, at the Commodore Barry Club, 6815 Emlen Street

“David and Rhonda’s involvement as co-chairs speaks to the vital role this one-of-a-kind event plays in the ongoing revitalization of Mt. Airy,” says Farah Jimenez, executive director, Mt. Airy, USA.


The event invites 35 area celebrities to host tables for an evening of food, drink and conversation with some of the region’s most intriguing personalities.  Dinner will feature a Spanish flair and the chance for attendees to choose at which celebrity’s table they’d like to dine. The evening starts at 6:30 p.m. and includes a cocktail reception, silent and live auction, and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream bar.  Tickets are available at www.guesswhoscomingtodinner.org or by calling 215-844-6021.



Inglis Foundation, the non-profit organization that serves people with physical disabilities, has elected Suzanne Rotondo of Mt. Airy to its Board of Directors. Rotondo is executive director of the Teleos Leadership Institute and a consultant and executive coach to senior leaders in the private and public sectors. She previously served as senior editor with Harvard Business School Press and has more than 15 years experience as a newspaper publisher, non-fiction book editor, and writer. 


Prostate Screenings


Every three minutes a man in the United States is diagnosed with prostate cancer.  Although the cause of prostate cancer is still unclear, regular testing can detect the disease, making it easier to treat.


Physicians at Chestnut Hill Hospital will conduct free prostate cancer screenings on Tuesday, September 29, 9 a.m. to noon and 1– 4 p.m. Registration is required. Call 215-248-8047 for information or to register. For more information on prostate health and related issues, visit the Health Resources link at www.chhealthsystem.com.


Andrea J. Rinaldi of the financial services firm Edward Jones invites the public to join her at a grand opening celebration. The event will begin at 3:30 p.m. on September 30, at her office at 7151 Germantown Avenue.


Edward Jones provides financial services for individual investors in the United States and, through its affiliates, in Canada and the United Kingdom. Every aspect of the firm’s business, from the types of investment options offered to the location of branch offices, is designed to cater to individual investors in the communities in which they live and work.


Edward Jones is headquartered in St. Louis. The Edward Jones interactive Web site is located at www.edwardjones.com, and its recruiting Web site is www.careers.edwardjones.com.



Zoning Permit Applications


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


Tuesday, Sept. 29, 9:30 a.m.: 7133 Germantown Avenue. One use permit. Application for the erection of one pipe-mounted dish antenna on the roof of an existing structure for use as a wireless service in the same building with use as follows: 1st floor front space at 7133 - eat-in/take out restaurant;  space at 7135 - eat-in only restaurant; space at 7137 - retail sale of art goods; space at 7139 - video store with accessory preparing and serving of food for take-out; space at 7141 - used clothing store, 1st floor rear, space at 7133-41 - storage of household goods and appliances; 2nd floor space at 7133-35 – six offices; space at 7141 – two dwelling units.


Wednesday, Sept.30, 4 p.m.: 7721 Germantown Avenue. Zoning permit. Permit for the relocation of lot lines to create four lots to be as follows from five lots: 7721 Germantown Ave. – retail sale of herbal nutritional supplements, second floor for holistic health center including therapeutic massage;  7723 Germantown Ave. - for a beauty shop on first floor, second floor one dwelling unit; 7725 Germantown Ave. - retail bakery with food preparation for take-out, one dwelling unit on 2nd-3rd floors; 7720 Winston Rd. -  iron shop with accessory parking of cars, trucks with accessory office.


Archbishop’s Wife at St. Luke’s


St. Luke’s Church, 5421 Germantown Avenue,  will be rolling out the red carpet for Dr. Jane Williams, wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, from London, England, at a special cocktail party and dinner on October 8. 


Dr. Williams was born in India, one of five sisters.  She studied theology at Cambridge University.  She then worked in theological publishing and education, publishing among other things, Bread, Wine and Women, Perfect Freedom, Lectionary Reflections, Approaching Christmas and more recently, Approaching Easter.  She has also written a Sunday readings column for the Church Times and now works part-time for Redemptorist Publications, as a visiting lecturer at King’s College, London, and as a lecturer at St. Paul’s Theological Center.


She is coming to the United States (for the third time since her husband became archbishop) to lead a conference for women called “Re-Imaging Ourselves: God Calling Women to Action.”  St. Luke’s Church will host the kick-off for the conference on Thursday, October 8  at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail party, dinner and presentation.  On Friday, October 9 at 6:30 p.m.,  a special presentation will take place at St. Thomas Church, Whitemarsh, located at Bethlehem Pike and Camp Hill Road.  On Saturday, October 10 at 8 a.m., there will be panel discussion and workshops at St. Thomas Church.


We look forward to welcoming Dr. Williams to the United States.  For further information and registration, please call 215-844-8544 or 215-233-3970.




Pre-Anniversary Revival at Mt. Tabor Baptist Church


Come and make a joyful noise as Mt. Tabor Baptist Church, 110 West Rittenhouse Street, celebrates its 37th Church Anniversary with a Pre-Anniversary Revival, starting September 29 with a “Night of Song” and continuing through October 2 with revivalist Bishop Anthony Hanna of the Cathedral St. Mark Christian Community Church, Chester, PA. Services begin each night at 7 p.m. The celebration continues Sunday, October 4, 10:30 a.m. as the Reverend Dr. W. Wilson Goode brings the word. We will close with a Healing and Communion Service that afternoon at 3 p.m. after the fellowship dinner.


All are invited. Reverend Melvin McAllister is pastor.


Obituary

Jeffrey K. Derry


Jeffrey Keith Derry was born August 5, 1956 in Philadelphia. He was educated in the Philadelphia school system. He was the son of the late Samuel L. Derry Jr. and Yvonne (Shirley) Derry and the proud father of two sons, Jeffrey and Fernando.


He passed away on Sunday, September 20.

He is survived by his loving wife of ten years, Rachel Derry. Jeffrey met and fell in love with Rachel in 1989 and in September, 1999 she became Mrs. Rachel Derry.


Jeffrey is also survived by his loving mother Yvonne, four sisters, three brothers, aunts, uncles, two sisters-in-law, two brothers-in-law, and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins. His brother, Samuel L. Derry, 3rd, predeceased him.

Jeffrey was well known in and around Germantown. He loved to shoot pool, play pinochle, and was an avid Eagles fan.


Funeral services will be held on Friday, September 25,­­ at New Bethel AME Church, 6153 Germantown Avenue.


Viewing is from 9-11 a.m. Services begin at 11 am., with interment following immediately at Chelten Hills Cemetery.


There will be a repast at New Bethel AME. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Beckett-Brown Funeral Home. 


October at GJC


The following events take place in October at Germantown Jewish Centre, 400 West Ellet Street.


On Sunday, October 4 at 11 a.m., Germantown Jewish Centre will hold a  family Sukkot Service and Program.  For more information e-mail education@germantownjewishcentre.org or call 215-844-1507, ext. 13.


GJC’s Northwest Philadelphia Sukkah Walk Tour will be held Sunday, October 4 at 1 p.m. We’ll start our tour from Germantown Jewish Centre and walk progressively to 4 Sukkot in Mt. Airy.  Join us beginning at 10 a.m. for Sukkot services followed by a Kiddush lunch in the GJC Sukkah and the walk beginning at 1 p.m.  For information contact program@germantownjewishcentre.org or call 215-844-1507, ext 19.


People of the Book, Germantown Jewish Centre’s book group, will meet Tuesday, October 6 at 7:15 p.m. at Border’s in Chestnut Hill.  The group reads fiction and nonfiction books of Jewish interest written mostly, but not solely, by Jewish writers and chosen by the group. Volunteer group members lead the discussion.  There is no charge for this monthly event.  This month’s selection is Other People’s Houses by Lore Segal.  For information e-mail program@germantownjewishcentre.org or 215-844-1507, ext 19.


Tot Sukkot and Potluck will be held Wednesday, October 7 at 5:30 p.m. The program is geared towards infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers and their families, followed by a potluck dinner. We invite each family to bring a pareve or dairy dish or $10 per family for pizza.  Advanced RSVP is  appreciated. For information e-mail program@germantownjewishcentre.org or call 215-844-1507, ext 19.


‘Blessing of the Animals’


On Saturday, Oct. 3, at 11 a.m., St Michael’s Church (Anglican) will again host the Blessing of the Animals at the rectory, 210 West Allens Lane (adjacent to the inbound platform of the Allen Lane train station).   All are welcome to bring their pets for this blessing.


The event is timed to coincide with the feast of St Francis of Assisi, which is observed by Christians around the world on Oct. 4 each year. 


Fr. David Ousley, the rector of St Michael’s, explains, “St. Francis was famous for his devotion to all of God’s creatures, as well as his devotion to the cross of Christ.  His example reminds us of the care we should have for animals, and provides us the opportunity to ask God’s blessing on our beloved pets.” In addition, there will be a special blessing for any animals that are sick.  Pet owners should be sure their animals are under control.


While St Michael’s rectory is in Mt. Airy, the congregation meets for Sunday worship at 8 and 10 a.m. at the Chapel of Peace at West Laurel Hill Cemetery, 215 Belmont Avenue, Bala-Cynwyd.  For information, visit www.anglicanphiladelphia.com or call 215-247-1092



Weatherization Info at Wister


On Thursday, September 24, Wister Neighborhood Council will hold its  fourth Service Area Briefing at  Happy Hollow Playground, 4800 Wayne Avenue, at 6:30 p.m.


Invited participants include The Basic Systems Repair Program, Weatherization Program and Energy  Coordinating Agency (ECA). They will be providing  information and tools you can use to  safe guard your home this winter.

Please plan to attend this important meeting.


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



New Crefeld middle school students Brooke Adams-Porter of Upper Darby (left); Leo Buckley Neyman of Mt. Airy (center); and Rebecca Livingston of Paoli (right), participate in a “getting to know you” activity at the annual Middle School Family Barbeque at The Crefeld School in Chestnut Hill. The Crefeld School, a small, independent school, provides a challenging, individualized educational program and environment for bright, sensitive and creative students in grades 7-12. A school of Progressive Education, Crefeld’s develops critically engaged citizens through a learner-friendly curriculum in a community of individuals. For more information about Crefeld call 215-242-5545 or visit  www.crefeld.org.



Back to the Germantown Newspapers Home Page

 

From the Independent • Mt. Airy News Stories

September 24, 2009

LTSP to Dedicate Plaza This Saturday


12 Businesses Improve Facades Under New Program


First PARK(ing) Day


Thousands Gather in Vernon Park to Mark End of Ramadan


Opposition to Wakefield Project Fades Among Neighbors


Depaul International Opens First U.S. Project


Review: ‘Night Watch’ is Over-the-Top But Gripping Evening


Cohens Lend Support to MAUSA Fundraiser


Prostate Screenings


Zoning Permit Applications


Archbishop’s Wife at St. Luke’s


Pre-Anniversary Revival at Mt. Tabor Baptist Church


Obituary - Jeffrey K. Derry


October at GJC


‘Blessing of the Animals’


Weatherization Info at Wister