From the Independent • Mt. Airy News Stories

October 14, 2010 • MAI.101410.pdf

In This Issue

The Stories

  1. President Fires Up Voters in Germantown

  2. Enthusiastic Crowd Greets President in Germantown

  3. Near and Yet So Far; Neighbors Can’t See President

  4. ‘Cliveden Conversations’ Addresses Reparations Issue

  5. Dance Talent Search

  6. Energy Conservation on Lena Street

  7. Good Shepherd Program Honors Three

  8. New Group Advocates for End to Park Deer Cull

  9. Phillip Morris, Blue Valentine Are Film Festival Highlights

  10. St. Paul's Adult Choir

  11. FUMCOG

  12. St. Francis of Assisi

  13. Flu Shots

  14. St. Luke’s Anniversary

  15. GJC Craft Fair

  16. Gospel Concert at St. Michael’s

  17. Annual Grace Epiphany Chicken & Fish Dinner

  18. FUMCOG Seeks Grant Proposals

  19. Anti-Violence Event

  20. Berachah Baptist

  21. ‘Traces of the Trade’

  22. Healthcare Information

  23. Tour Historic Homes of East Falls

  24. Free Home Modifications

  25. MAUSA Names Gupta as Director

  26. GFS Craft Show Seeks New Local Artists

  27. Symposium on African American Women’s Issues

  28. Gratz 50th Class Reunion

  29. Dine at Trolley Car, Help a School

  30. Three to Present Symposium

  31. Face to Face Open House

  32. Vernon Park Now Cleaner

  33. Second Anniversary for High Point Café

  34. Give Views on New Zoning

  35. Poet-Ify Event

  36. Comedy Cabaret

  37. Spooky Mystery at Maxwell

President Fires Up Voters in Germantown


Guest Writer

On October 10, the park next to Fulton Elementary School was packed with more than 18,000 people  who cheered the words of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden (on podium). Photo by Kaitlyn Linsner of La Salle University’s Community Journalism Program.

With the November 2 election just three weeks away, President Barak Obama came to Germantown on Sunday, October 10, whipping up a crowd of 18,500 in a get-out-the-vote effort to keep Congress from falling to the Republicans.

“Are you fired up? Are you ready to go? I need you to be as fired up on November 2 as you were in 2008!” Obama told the cheering throngs who stood shoulder-to-shoulder to see the president during a political rally in Morton Park near the corner of Germantown Avenue and Haines Street.

The Germantown rally was the second in a series by the President aimed at closing what the Democrats are calling the “enthusiasm gap” for the November 2 mid-term elections. The Republicans, fired up by the Tea Party, are expected to have a sizeable turnout on November 2. The President has been campaigning to excite his base of young people and African-American voters to get to the polls so that his party doesn’t lose its majority in Congress.

Obama told the crowd that if the Democrats do not win this election, then the Republicans would reinstate the “same old stuff they‘ve been peddling for years,” which he said he believed would set the country back instead of moving it forward.

He said this election is a choice between Republican and Democrat and “the choice couldn’t be clearer.”  He said people doubt that the Democrats can overcome the enormous sums of money that the Republicans have raised for the mid-term races.  “But we say, ‘Yes we can!’” Obama shouted as the crowd joined in.

The Republicans are attacking Democrats instead of attacking the problems, said Obama. He characterized Republicans as nixing every proposal the Democrats put forward, whether it is health care, tax cuts, or education. “If I say the sky is blue, they say no,” Obama asserted. He said the  only way to stop Republican naysayers was for the Democrats to  “fight millions of dollars with millions of voices” and get out and vote.

“This country supports hard work and responsibility. I am my brother’s keeper.  I am my sister’s keeper. That is the choice in this election,” Obama said.

Obama said that his 2008 victory was just the start of the journey. The plans that he and Vice President Biden have put into place have made the economy grow again, but there are still people without jobs and still people who are frustrated, he said.

“You didn’t elect me to do what was easy, you sent me there to do what was right,” Obama said.

Obama said the community will have to fight criticisms similar to the ones raised in the 2008 election.

“They think you will stay at home. They think you will have amnesia. They think you will have apathy…..They have made the battle in the White House so ugly you won’t vote for anyone. They think you won’t vote because Obama’s name is not on the ballot,” Obama said.

Obama urged the crowd to defy the predictions so that “every American has the chance to live out the American dream.”

(This story was reported and written by students in La Salle University’s Community Journalism program. For more, go to GermantownBeat, the program’s news website at

Enthusiastic Crowd Greets President in Germantown

Left: a long line of  people waiting their turn to be admitted to the rally stretched out Walnut Lane from Germantown Avenue on Sunday afternoon.

Right. Obama supporter Bernice Tett came to Germantown from South Philadelphia. Photos courtesy La Salle University.




Guest Writers

They started lining up before dawn. Grandmothers, young couples with babies, trade unionists, the unemployed and those with well-paying jobs, people from Philadelphia and people from as far away as Ohio and Virginia.

A crowd estimated at 18,500  converged on Morton Park in Philadelphia’s Germantown section to catch a glimpse of the world’s most powerful leader – President Barack Obama.

“There’s a lot of people who need to hear Obama’s voice,” said Anor Bonds, a Germantown resident as she pushed her grandson, Kingston Charles, in his stroller across Walnut Lane.  “The man is awesome.”

Bonds, who said she has been unemployed for two years, said her top priority was bringing back the economy. “I don’t know what he (Obama) is  going to do, but we need jobs.”

That was the theme echoed by hundreds of union members in colorful union t-shirts who turned out to hear Obama. “Bring back American jobs!” said Kirk Arpajun, a member of Local 19 of the Sheet Metal Workers Union, when asked what he wanted the President to do.

The crowd gathered on a brilliantly sunny fall day for a pep talk by President Obama. It was one of a series of nationwide political rallies by Democrats to energize young people and African Americans to vote on November 2.

Polls indicate that unless Democrats are able to rally these typically uninterested groups for the mid-term elections, Congress could switch from Democratic to Republican control.

Bernice Tett began her day at her church in South Philadelphia.  On her way out of church, one of her daughters asked if she could come to Obama’s rally. “This is a very historic moment,” said Tett as she watched her children stand in a long line that doubled back across Walnut Street.

“I just love my president. He’s doing an exceptional job. I’m extremely proud of him.”

Tett, who said she voted for Obama in 2008 and planned to vote on November 2,  is the kind of voter that the Democrats will need if they are to win two important races in Pennsylvania, one for the Senate and another for the governorship, where Republican candidates are now ahead in the polls.

Some neighborhood entrepreneurs used the rally as an occasion to make a buck. On sale were sweatshirts, buttons, knickknacks, bottles of water and even parking spaces.

Richard Arnold, who recently opened a fresh produce store on Walnut Lane, manned a produce and drinks table on Germantown Avenue and offered $10 parking in empty spots on his lot. He even had valet service.

Arnold said he thought Obama was doing “a great job,” but he acknowledged that the President faced “a lot of obstacles” in getting his programs through Congress. “He’s fighting the battle.”

Shane Canti, 17, a student at George Washington High School, lives a block from the rally site on Haines Street between Germantown Avenue and Baynton Street. He texted as he watched the crowd.  “I’m actually pretty excited,” Canti said.

Linda Wight, 51, who lives on Green Street in Germantown, had never seen Obama before. “I just want to say I’ve seen him.”

An athletic-looking man, who identified himself only as Chaz, said he drove in from Chester to show his support for Obama. He cautioned that Obama and the Democrats couldn’t change the country overnight. “It’s a process. He (Obama) is doing all right. He ain’t superman. He’s human.”

(This story was reported and written by students in La Salle University’s Community Journalism program. For more, go to GermantownBeat, the program’s news website, at

Near and Yet So Far; Neighbors Can’t See President



Guest Writers

Left: family and friends of Morton Homes resident Janie Wright (center) gathered at her house on Sunday, thinking they would have front-row seats at the goings-on across the street, but their view was completely blocked.

Right: District Attorney Seth Williams (in Phillies shirt) stopped by the Wright front yard to exchange views with those present.  Photos courtesy La Salle University.

All they wanted was a glimpse.

“This is the closest I will get to him, and I still can’t see the president, “ said Janie Wright, 70, a 10-year resident of the Morton Homes, a public housing project adjacent to where President Obama spoke on Sunday.

Wright had been waiting eagerly for Obama. She had planned on enjoying the speech from the comfort of her front yard, but those plans were foiled by two large 18-wheelers parked on the side of her house. Even without the trucks, her view still would have been obstructed by the black tarp covering the gates.

“Those trucks been parked right there since early this morning” she said. “I thought they would eventually leave, but they didn’t.”

Wright and her family gathered in her tiny yard and settled for enjoying the comforts of family rather than seeing the President.

“It’s a shame my mother, 70 years old and lives right across the street, still can’t see the president,” said Wright’s oldest son Will.

So far, the Wrights have been ardent supporters of President Obama. They voted for him in the 2008 election and they have been in favor of his efforts to reform healthcare and improve the economy. They also plan to vote Democratic in the upcoming mid-term elections.

Obama visited Germantown for the second time in two years to galvanize support for the Democratic ticket in the upcoming elections. With more than 18,000 supporters in attendance, it may have done just that. But some of the folks outside still felt left out.

“It’s like they’re forgetting about the little people,” said Will Wright, a Korean War veteran. He was wounded in combat, and now lives off disability checks. “They got barricades going all the way up the block, people can’t even get to their homes,” he said.

Democratic Party workers handed out tickets in the neighborhood on Saturday, but Wright said she gave hers away, thinking she would enjoy the speech from her yard.

Wright uses a cane to get around, and her daughter in-law, Rochelle, is currently on crutches. They acknowledged that it would have been difficult for them to comfortably enjoy the rally inside.

Although Wright would like to see the economy generate more jobs, her support for Obama remains undiminished. “I still support him. We got to give him a chance to bring all the change he was talking about,” she said.

While the Wright clan couldn’t see Obama up close and personal, two local politicians paid them a visit. “Thanks for letting us take over the neighborhood,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter as he walked toward the crowd gathered in front of the Wright home.

Newly elected District Attorney Seth Williams also greeted the small crowd gathered in front of the Wright home, and took a few pictures.

As the event wound down, the Wright family still eagerly anticipated getting at least a glimpse of Obama. As the presidential motorcade peeled out of Rittenhouse Street, the Wrights finally got the view they had so patiently waited for.

As the vehicle transporting Obama sped by, with the window down, someone shouted, “There he is!”

(This story was reported and written by students in La Salle University’s Community Journalism program.  For more, go to GermantownBeat, the program’s news website at

‘Cliveden Conversations’ Addresses Reparations Issue


Guest Writers

Ari Merretazon, Northeast regional representative for the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, addressing the gathering at Cliveden.

On a Friday night when people could be doing a number of other things it was a comfort to evening’s facilitator Tom Gordon, a licensed psychologist and leadership coach, to see a number of community members at Cliveden of the National Trust, 6401 Germantown Avenue to take part in a series called The Cliveden Conversations.

Over the past 15 years Cliveden has been conducting research regarding the Chew family papers.  Cliveden was the family home for generations. A recent discovery within these documents alluded to the family’s ties to plantations in Delaware and Maryland. Over 400 slave records were gathered from the information provided within the papers.

A photocopied excerpt from the papers can be found on display in the Carriage House at Cliveden. The document is a letter addressed to Benjamin Chew from George Ford, the overseer at Chew’s Whitehall plantation. Ford writes at length about how he was brutally beaten by the slaves and requests immediate assistance from Chew.

Inspired by these new discoveries, Cliveden implemented The Cliveden Conversations. Under the direction of Education Director Rick Fink, the series was created to be a public forum to discuss race relations in connection to the Germantown community.

On Friday evening, October 8, community members and scholars gathered together inside of Cliveden’s Carriage House to listen to a guest speaker followed by an opportunity to give their own opinions on the issue.

Fink said that by having these conversations Cliveden can learn more about the community’s views on the topics discussed, so that the museum will be better able to create educational programs or events that fit the needs of the community.

The speaker for the night was Ari Merretazon, the Northeast regional representative for the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA).

He used Cliveden and its role in history and within the community as a starting point to speak about racial and controversial issues, specifically revolving around the topic of reparations and racial harmony.

“This relationship that Cliveden has with N’COBRA is not average and ordinary. We don’t see this around the country,” said Merretazon. “[The public forum] is fertile ground for racial healing to take place.”

His presentation, “Let the Healing Begin! The Price of Racial Healing, Racial Reconciliation and Repair,” began with a synopsis of the origin of the black community in America.

N’ COBRA and similar organizations have a reparations campaign to repay the families of slaves freed after the Civil War. Once slaves were freed they began to demand for reparations for being stripped from their culture and taken from their families to work on plantations, he said.

Merretazon defined reparation as the “process of repairing, healing and restoring a people who were injured because of their group identity and in violation of their foundation human rights by governments or corporations.”

Following the presentation there was time left for audience reactions, which was facilitated by Dr. Gordon. The diverse crowd had much to say about the issue and did not seem in a hurry to leave. The conversation was scheduled to end at 9 p.m. but lasted almost an hour longer.

The audience was given the opportunity to share opinions within small groups and then with the group as a whole. When the discussion ended community members were each given a survey to fill out. Cliveden will use these surveys to assess individual responses to the program. Questions about the conversations, reparations, racial reconciliation and Clivden’s place in society were asked in the survey.

“One thing I like with the conversations is, it’s really a conversation because you have a mix of blacks and whites,” said community member Elvedine Wilkerson.

The Cliveden Conversations began on September 10 with curator Phillip Seitz, who examined the Chew family’s involvement with slavery and the ownership of plantations. On September 24, Dr. Erica Armstrong-Dunbar, an associate professor at the University of Delaware, provided insight into what is was like living as a slave in the region during the 18th century.

The fourth and final meeting is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 15. The evening’s presenter will be David Young, Cliveden’s executive director, who will end the series with a discussion on current preservation efforts of the Chew documents.

Tickets for the upcoming conversation are $5 per person, which can be purchased the night of the event. For more information, please contact Cliveden at 215-848-1777 or visit the website at

For more stories about Germantown and other Philadelphia neighborhoods, visit

Dance Talent Search

One of OARC’s signature arts and culture programs – the Rising Star Talent Search – returns this fall for a third season and brings with it a new category of competition, comedy.

This season’s Talent Search begins Wednesday, November 3 and runs through June 2011. The presenting sponsor, Relish restaurant, 7152 Ogontz Avenue, will host the event.

 The competition targets up-and-coming singers, musicians, and bands from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and beyond. In addition to the comedy category, its will again focus on R&B, Jazz, and Blues artists; performers under contract are not eligible.

The winner will perform at the 2011 West Oak Lane Jazz and Arts Festival, and will receive a $5,000 grand prize. There will also be cash prizes for the second, third and fourth-place finalists.

OARC, organizers of the Talent Search as part of its focus on arts and culture as an economic development tool, added the comedy category in response to a huge demand.  Beginning in December, one night a month will be reserved for stand-up comedians to perform and compete for a cash prize. Professionals are not eligible. The Talent Search Comedy winner will perform at the Rising Star Finale next June.

Mimi Brown, WDAS-FM radio personality, will host the Talent Search and serve as one of the judges, along with a guest judge each week. Members of the audience will collectively be the “third judge,” and participate by voting for their favorite performer.

Auditions began October 7 and are required prior to entering the competition. For more information about the Talent Search or to schedule an audition, please contact Ty Holland at 215-927-5455 or at

The 2010-2011 Rising Star Talent Search is part of the annual West Oak Lane Concert Series, sponsored by the Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation.

Energy Conservation on Lena Street

Residents of the 5300 block of Lena Street in Germantown embraced energy conservation and learned how to “go green” from a coalition of community partners Saturday, September 25 during OARC’s final Urban Energy Conservation block initiative for 2010.

OARC capped this year’s work in raising awareness about energy conservation with a visit to Lena Street by Mayor Michael Nutter, who helped to kick off the first block initiative in 2009, which was held on Orland Street in West Oak Lane.

OARC has held similar block initiatives, in which community partners outfit homes with electricity-saving devices, window weatherization kits, and low-flow faucet aerators, in three other locations: Gilbert Street, Clearview Street and Sedgwick Street.

The energy retrofits have resulted in the installation of more than 4,000 energy-saving devices in homes in the Northwest. In addition, OARC has helped support stormwater management and access to fresh produce by installing rain barrels and planting community vegetable gardens on blocks that have been selected to receive the energy-efficiency retrofits.

In addition, volunteers from several organizations, including Wister NAC, the Germantown Earn Center, Ready Willing and Able; and the Neighborhood Interfaith Movement, helped to clean up a vacant lot on the block.

Representatives from Home Depot, PECO, PGW, Philadelphia Water Department, Foundations Inc., RecycleBank, PHDC, Weavers Way Co-Op and the TOOKANY/Tacony-Frankford Watershed provided residents with information about energy conservation and protecting the environment.

Good Shepherd Program Honors Three

Each October, in conjunction with Conflict Resolution Day, Good Shepherd Mediation Program, Philadelphia’s only community mediation center, names several individuals who have been instrumental in encouraging peace and social justice in Philadelphia and honors them as “Shepherds of Peace.” The 2010 Shepherds of Peace were chosen for their dedicated and compassionate work to ensure the health and safety of Philadelphia’s children, youth and families:

Vai Sikahema, NBC Sportscaster, a valiant champion for adoptions through his work with “Wednesday’s Child.”

Marsha Levick, Esq., Juvenile Law Center, for her role in bringing to light the Lucerne County scandal involving judicial referrals of juveniles to boot camps for kick-backs.

Paul Jay Fink, M.D., the noted Psychiatrist, Faculty Member, Temple School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, who has devoted his life to the needs of children.

Please join us in honoring them at the 4th Annual Shepherds of Peace dinner and award ceremony at 6 p.m. on October, 20, at The Union League of Philadelphia, 140 South Broad Street.

Tickets are $100 per person. Tables are $900. Ads and sponsorship opportunities are still available. To purchase “Shepherds of Peace” tickets, run an ad in the souvenir program, or sponsor the event, contact GSMP at 215-843-5413 and ask for Cynthia.

The Good Shepherd Mediation Program, established in 1984, is a neighborhood justice center located at 5356 Chew Avenue. People in conflict come to the Mediation Program to resolve their disputes through mediation.  Staff and volunteer mediators at Good Shepherd help resolve all kinds of disputes, including those involving neighbors, workplace issues, elder care, families, and youth. Please visit our website:

New Group Advocates for End to Park Deer Cull


Editorial Staff Intern

A decade-old issue revolving around the Wissahickon Valley has recently reemerged in a new form with the formation this year of a new group, Philadelphia Advocates for Deer (PAD). With veterans of the cause among its members and new support offered by Friend of Animals, an international animal rights non-profit with a chapter in Pennsylvania, PAD hopes to overturn a decision its members feel never should have been made: the endorsement by the former Fairmount Park Commission, (FPC), of culling  the Wissahickon deer herd by shooting deer in the park.

According to the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR,) the successor to the FPC, deer culls first began in Wissahickon Park on an annual basis in 2001, after a trial run in 1999.

The main local organization advocating for culling the herd was the Friends of the Wissahickon (FOW), a non-profit that acts as a steward of the park. Noticing the effects the then-sizable deer herd was having on the vegetation within the park, the FOW hired Brian Shissler of Natural Resource Consultants to study the impact the deer were having on the park’s vegetation  and to offer options for population control.

After conducting the study, Shissler suggested that deer culls be instituted, an idea that the FOW took to the FPC, which in turn applied for a permit from the Pennsylvania Game Commission to hire sharpshooters from the Department of Agriculture to thin the herd.

According to advocates for thinning the herds, the deer were over-grazing the park, thinning the vegetation and preventing new trees and undergrowth from taking root.

When the recommendation for the cull was initially adopted, many animal rights groups lobbied for alternatives to killing the deer. But according to Mary Ann Baron, president of the PAD and a long time member of Friends of Fairmount Park Animals, most of the groups advocating alternatives for the culls have died out over the years.

“This year I said … I wanted to start a new organization,” Baron said. In the spring of 2010 she started PAD with the support of the FOA, a group that had impressed her because of its success at Valley Forge Park, which has faced issues similar to those in the Wissahickon.

The FOA filed a lawsuit against Valley Forge Park (VFP) last year in an effort to stop deer culls there and it credits this action with the cancellation of the hunt last year. “(The park) cited that the lawsuit and logistical issues were the reasons they backed off the hunt last year,” said Matt McLaughlin, director of the FOA’s Pennsylvania chapter. McLaughlin estimated that VFP is trying to reduce its deer population by 80 percent.

The cancellation may have been only a temporary one. McLaughlin said that while the FOA is waiting for its case to be heard, VFP plans to go ahead with the cull. He said the FOA has filed an injunction to stop culls from taking place until the case is heard, but that the organization has not heard any results as of yet.

So far, the FOA has helped the PAD with demonstrations and has also printed literature. “It’s not always possible to issue a lawsuit against everyone because of time and resources,” said McLaughlin. Because it’s currently tied up in the Valley Forge lawsuit, the FOA can do little to provide legal support for the PAD, but McLaughlin said that it is still a possibility in the future.

The PAD has held several meetings to introduce their cause to the public and to gather support. Baron has said that the PAD was denied an audience with the Board of Parks and Recreation when she sent a request in a letter. At a September 22 meeting of the board, Baron presented an appeal for a meeting between the group and the board, and is now awaiting a decision.

Despite PAD’s efforts, the FOW has maintained its previous stance on the issue.

According to David Pope, an ex-board member of the FOW who was heavily involved with the decision to adopt Shissler’s recommendation, there have been ongoing studies since the cull’s inception, in which exclosures [blocked off areas] in the forest are used to determine how quickly vegetation will grow back without deer being able to eat it. “”The main thing that they show…is that certain kinds of plants are being restored in (the exclosures),” Pope said. “They appeared more rapidly within the exclosures.”

However, Baron believes that the studies conducted by the FOW have yield biased results. “(The studies are) designed to have that answer,” she said. “It’s not scientific what they did, not truly scientific. There was no peer review of what they did.”

Pope defended his position, however. “”The flyover, the counts of the deer, were done using normally accepted protocol,” he said. “(And) the use of exclosures has been done for long periods of time. That’s quite a commonly-used technique.”

According to DPR statistics, in 2008, 45 deer were shot in the cull. In 2009, 35 were killed. The FOW and DPR are in agreement that an acceptable number of deer for the park is eight to ten per square mile, which allows for anywhere between 25 and 30 in Wissahickon Park’s 2.8 square miles.

According to Pope, in 2000, a flyover showed a herd estimated at 250, ten times the ideal size. In 2005 the herd was at a population of 150. According to the most recent count performed by USDA Wildlife Services, which performs the cull, the population is about 50 and has appeared to stabilize.

“We argue for a position of coexistence,” McLaughlin said. “We encourage the continuation of the status quo, which is leaving the deer alone.” According to McLaughlin, there is an imbalance in forest between the deer and the vegetation available, but a balance would be struck eventually without human interference.

Barry Bessler, chief of staff of the DPR, is in charge of the deer management program, and he disagrees. “The only way (not interfering) would work is if the deer would destroy all of the vegetative material they can get to in the park,” he said.

While the FOW maintains that its only reason for advocating for the cull was to save the park, Baron believes that people are really more interested in keeping deer out of their gardens. “There’s a very large group of people in Chestnut Hill who are very attached to their gardens,” she said. “Even to the point of silliness.”

Pope disagreed. “The fundamental problem is the park itself,” he said. “That was the FOW’s  only rationale for doing this.”

Pope does not disagree that deer are an important part of the eco-system. “The deer are a natural part of any forest community,” he said. “It’s only a question of how many deer the forest community can support.”

Bessler agreed. “We’ve continued the cull for ten consecutive years now because we realized…in order to keep the population in check we need to do them on a continual basis,” he said. “We look at this as routine maintenance.”

“In the Wissahickon, there might be environmental damage, but it isn’t an excuse,” McLaughlin said. “(The deer are) only doing what comes naturally to them.”

Despite their efforts, Baron said that overturning the DPR’s decision to endorse the cull will be difficult, but that the group will press onward. “The people I’m involved with feel we have to do something,” she said. “We always have hope or else we couldn’t be out there.” The PAD plans to hold monthly vigils for people who support the group’s cause. The next is to be held October 23. For information contact Baron at, phone 215-432-7292.

Phillip Morris, Blue Valentine Are Film Festival Highlights


Guest Writer

Scene from Blue Valentine.

Few things will put you more in a position to question your level of maturity than covering a film festival. Shouldn’t I enjoy my medicine by burying myself in high-minded dramas on important subject matter and dry documentaries that detail the struggles of a trendy Third World country? What kind of an adult would I be if I didn’t hide my predilection for exploitation films? Shouldn’t I still be meditating on the devastating political commentary that litters the experimental film about deaf Native Americans trying to get competitive whistling approved by the Olympic committee? 

Such dilemmas are of paramount importance to a film critic’s job: if I don’t take sincere, white-liberal-guilt movies seriously, then who will? Sure, the upcoming 19th Philadelphia Film Festival (October 14-24) should be a dream come true for me, I get to meet the true film fans, those who happily overpay for tickets to a movie that will do no business amongst the general public before it heads directly to DVD.

Weighing the benefits of seeing certain types of low-budget films in the theater becomes that much more important in a struggling economy. The unfortunate fact is that most new documentaries, the majority of which are shot on digital video and don’t often visually impress on a large screen, are inessential.

Sure, Gerrymandering is something we should all know about, but a one-sided, drawn-out 80-minute documentary on the subject, a movie that maybe justifies 30 minutes on PBS, would not be money wisely spent. Neither would Kings of Pastry by acclaimed documentarians D.A. Pennebaker (Don’t Look Back, Monterrey Pop) and Chris Hegedus. It’s another in a long line of genial documentaries about wholly irrelevant competitions (Wordplay, Word Wars, Pucker Up: The Fine Art of Whistling come to mind), but this time buried by a truly irritating score that sounds like a canned version of deleted music from a Woody Allen movie. 

You’d think that Machete Maidens Unleashed!, an enthusiastic documentary about low-budget American films made in the Philippines, would fit perfectly into my lowbrow criteria, and it would, if it were more than a self-congratulatory clip show. It skirts over the more interesting material - John Landis discussing the bogus feminist read on the women-in-prison genre (he’s right, sometimes a naked lesbian fistfight is just a naked lesbian fistfight) - and a moment where producer and self-promoter Sam Sherman brags that he knowingly poisoned the audience at a public screening.

Skimming over the good stuff also annihilates the credibility of Tony Goldwyn’s based-on-a-true-story Oscar bait Conviction, a simplistic and dumbed down movie, drowned in “dramatic license.” Instead of dealing with the more complex and uncomfortable realities of a woman (Hilary Swank) who becomes a lawyer so she can free her brother (Sam Rockwell) from a life sentence in prison, everything is about good, honest people versus evil cops and opportunistic politicians. 

Simplification would have killed Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours completely, since the “true” story is about a guy forced to cut off his own arm when he’s stuck under a rock in the mountains of Utah, and that’s a premise, not a movie. Boyle’s standard visual hyperactivity, which he put it to great use in Trainspotting and 28 Days Later, is the best way to deal with the inherently limited subject matter, but trying to turn a guy who should have turned off The X-Games before venturing off by himself into a hero who seems to express his physical pain only in the first few minutes of his epic, self-imposed torture is mostly a waste of time.

But with all this negativity, where should you go for entertainment and enlightenment? I’d suggest two films the studios have been having trouble with, the broad, gay conman comedy I Love You, Phillip Morris with Jim Carrey bringing his elasticity with him, and Derek Cianfrance’s gut-wrenching drama Blue Valentine.

The brief, silly, gay sex scenes have gotten in the way of the marketing confidence behind Phillip Morris, hence it’s been re-edited and has been sitting on the shelf since January of 2009 and gone through several distributors. Blue Valentine is battling an absolutely baffling NC-17 rating. Sexual honesty is always punished by the MPAA (women aren’t allowed to legitimately enjoy themselves), no matter how minimal the nudity.

Phillip Morris isn’t half the movie Blue Valentine is, because in the latter, Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling give two truly insightful performances as a couple struggling to stay together whereas Phillip Morris has a slack and visually unimpressive middle section. But how can you dislike a movie where a character has the line, “if it weren’t for you Jesus, I never would have found that roasted coffee filter.”

Check for specific showtimes on the above films and the hundred other movies playing the festival.

For more of Adam Lippe’s reviews, including more Philadelphia Film Festival reviews, visit his site,

St. Paul's Adult Choir

On Sunday, Oct. 17, the Adult Choir of Saint Paul’s Church presents its first evensong of the season beginning at 5 p.m.  This particular program features the work of American composers.  “Pilgrim’s Hymn” written by Stephen Paulus, well-known composer of music in many genres, will serve as the Introit.  This piece consists of lush harmonies that give life to a hauntingly beautiful text written by Michael Dennis Browne.

The Magnificat, Nunc Dimittis and Preces and Responses for the service are written by Byron Adams, an accomplished contemporary composer who currently resides in Los Angeles, California. The anthem for the evening, Praises of Jerusalem, is also by Adams. 

All are welcome. Evensong is sung at the close of each day in cathedrals, collegiate chapels, and parish churches throughout the Anglican Communion. For more information, please call the office at 215-242-2055 extension 35. 


The First United Methodist Church of Germantown (FUMCOG) invites the Germantown community to participate in a Halloween program on October 31.  The church is showing the original silent film of “The Phantom of the Opera.”  Our talented music director, Kevin O’Malia, will play organ music to match events in the film.  He will be dressed as the phantom, and invites participants to attend in Halloween costumes.  The film will be shown in the Sanctuary, which can be entered from Germantown Ave. and High Street.  Parking is available in the church lot.  The show begins at 6 p.m.  There is a $10 charge.  Trick-or-treat type refreshments will be available.

St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of Assisi would like to invite the public to our International Night celebration. Come and taste food from different countries, dress up to represent your country of origin. Enjoy fun and games with family, friends and friends-to-be. The event will be in the Community Room at St. Francis 4821 Greene Street on October 29 from 7-10 p.m. The cost is $7 for adults and $5 for children. Call 215-842-1287 for information.

Flu Shots

The Nurses Unit at Grace Baptist Church of Germantown is offering free flu shots through the Grace Community Christian Center, located next to the church at 29 West Johnson Street.   The Philadelphia Health Department is supplying the vaccines through this ministry of the church.  Licensed and registered nurses will be administering the shots. The public is invited on Saturday, Oct. 23, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 24, 1-3 p.m. All are welcome.

Trustee Barbara Williams is spearheading this event and wants all to know that everyone needs a shot.  “We would like to see all of our vaccines used this year,” stated Williams.

The community center, directed by Leola Highsmith, can be reached at 215-848-2700, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.

St. Luke’s Anniversary

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 5421 Germantown Avenue, is  celebrating its 200th anniversary. On Sunday, Oct. 17, we will begin our year-long celebration at the 9 a.m. service. All are welcome. 

GJC Craft Fair

It is never too early to start your holiday shopping. Visit the annual Holiday Craft Show on Sunday, October 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Germantown Jewish Centre, 400 West Ellet Street. Vendors will offer a wide range of crafts to please every age (from the very young to the very old) and taste — jewelry, pottery, ceramics, fiber and wearable art, and much more. This is the perfect show to find that very special gift for you as well as for someone special.

And the pleasure won’t stop there. Visit the white elephant sale and participate in the artist and silent restaurant auction. There is free admission. For information call 215-844-1507.

Gospel Concert at St. Michael’s

St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, 6671 Germantown Avenue, will host Blessed Gifts, an evening of praise and celebration through gospel music and spoken word, on Friday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. 

Featured gospel music groups and spoken word artists from the Philadelphia area will include Tamara Anderson, Singsation, Greg Sover, From the Trauma Center – Mr. Radical, Josiah AKA Back Fia, Iron Mike, Sandra Dess, and Darryl Lewis.  De’ Ja Praise Dance Ministries will also perform. The concert is open to the public. Suggested donation is $12.  Tickets may be purchased at the door. Refreshments will be provided.

The event is produced by Phila-Noize and Get the Word Out and is sponsored by Butler Prestige Photography and Quality Rentals of Germantown. For information call 267-750-8376 or 267-239-3690.

Annual Grace Epiphany Chicken & Fish Dinner

On Friday, October 15, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m., the Men of Grace Epiphany Church invite the community to the Annual Chicken and Fish Fry Dinner, with entertainment by the Wanda G Trio. The cost is $6 per person, $20 for a family of four.  The church is located at Gowen Avenue and Ardleigh Street and there is ample parking. Call 215-248-2950 for information.

FUMCOG Seeks Grant Proposals

Twice each year the Community Needs Committee of the First United Methodist Church of Germantown (FUMCOG) seeks to fund proposals from the local community. Individuals or groups with projects that promote social justice or community improvement, especially in the Northwest Philadelphia area, are encouraged to apply.

All proposals are welcome and are reviewed by a committee of church members. Selection criteria in awarding grants include the size of the population to be served, the nature of the services provided, and expected benefits to the community.

Funds from special offerings contributed by the congregation at Christmas and Easter are divided among selected applicants. FUMCOG expects to award several small grants of a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to help facilitate worthy community endeavors. 

Grants from previous Easter and Christmas collections have been awarded on a nondenominational basis to a diverse group of applicants for a wide variety of causes. Monies from the most recent collection were used to help fund a local employment, career and education center; assist a homeless youth program; facilitate an ex-prisoner support initiative; and provide equipment for a community youth theatre group.

Application forms can be obtained by calling the office of First United Methodist Church of Germantown at 215-438-3677, or downloading a form online at

For consideration, completed proposals must be returned to the church office at 6001 Germantown Avenue no later than Friday, November 19.

A copy of the applicant’s 501-c-3 certification should be included with the application. Recipients will be notified of their selection by December 10.

Anti-Violence Event

Germantown Deaf Ministries will present an anti-violence Fun and Game Night on Friday, October 29 from 4:30 – 9 p.m. at Germantown Friends Meeting House, 31 West Coulter Street.  The schedule is as follows: fun and games from 4:30-7 p.m., followed by a sign-sing concert from 8-9 p.m. Included in the program will be sudoku, UNO, bowling, basketball, healthy snacks, crafts and more.

Help is needed with security, donations, mailers, runners, shoppers, game leaders and more. To volunteer or to make a reservation call  Rox McKelvey at 215-275-6853, e-mail

Berachah Baptist

On October 21 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., the Elder Diner of Berachah Baptist Church, 6324 Limekiln Pike, will welcome Lynn Trimborn, RN, of the Unitarian Universalist House, who will deliver important information on your needs. All are welcome. For information call 215-438-3247.

‘Traces of the Trade’

In the feature documentary Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, filmmaker Katrina Browne tells the very personal story of her forefathers, the DeWolfs, the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. Given the myth that the South is solely responsible for slavery, viewers will be surprised to learn that Browne’s ancestors were Northerners.

The film follows Browne and nine fellow family members on a remarkable journey that brings them face-to-face with the history and legacy of New England’s hidden enterprise. They retrace the Triangle Trade from their ancestral home in Bristol, Rhode Island, to Ghana, West Africa, to the family plantations in Cuba. The film highlights the struggle of the family as they confront the thorny topic of what to do now.

On Sunday, Oct. 17, 4-6:30 p.m., at First Presbyterian Church of Germantown, 35 West Chelten Avenue. Neighborhood Interfaith Movement is honored to present this must-see documentary followed by a discussion with Dain and Constance Perry. Dain is one of the Browne family cousins who joined Katrina on this heart-wrenching journey of discovery into the past, uncovering the vast extent of Northern complicity in slavery.

Join them for an evening of film and discussion. For more information call NIM at 215-843-5600.

Healthcare Information

On Sunday, Oct. 17, 3-5 p.m., Health Care for All Philadelphia will present a free public meeting on the new health care bill. This meeting will be at  Summit Presbyterian Church, 6757 Greene Street. Walter Tsou, MD, MPH, former Philadelphia Health Commissioner, will be the keynote speaker.  He will speak on economic, moral and faith-based reasons for continuing to work for health care reform.

This event is co-sponsored by Healthcare-NOW, Healthcare for All Pennsylvanians, Presbyterian Church USA, PNHP, and Summit Presbyterian Church.

Tour Historic Homes of East Falls

On Sunday, October 17, the annual East Falls House Tour will be held from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.  The map and program book can be picked up the day of the tour from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the lobby of the Presbyterian Church, Vaux Street and Midvale Avenue. Tickets may also be purchased at that time for $20. For more information, call 215-438-1929 or email

This year, the popular self-guided tour will feature a variety of homes in East Falls, from an 1895 rowhouse and single homes from the 30’s to a modernist home from the 1950’s. Several homes will be open on the same historically-certified block.

Both the oldest and the newest theatres in East Falls will be open as well. At the Old Academy Players, meet Nancy Frick, playwright and director of Four Weddings and an Elvis. Learn the story behind this upcoming comedy at the playhouse where Grace Kelly made her acting debut. At the David L. Kurtz Performing Arts Center at the William Penn Charter School, tour the LEED-certified green building and observe a rehearsal of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. 

Free Home Modifications

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

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

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

To see if you qualify, please call JEVS Supports for Independence at 267-298-1300.

For more information on JEVS Human Services visit

MAUSA Names Gupta as Director

Mt. Airy, USA‘s Board of Directors has named Anuj Gupta as executive director.

Mt. Airy, USA, a nonprofit community development organization, focuses on real estate development, commercial corridor revitalization, housing counseling and neighborhood programming and services.

In his current role as Chief of Staff and Deputy Commissioner for the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Licenses and Inspections, Gupta oversees the department’s $24 million annual budget, legislative relations, human resources, information technology and communications operations for nearly 300 staff members.

He comes to Mt. Airy, USA after serving in the Department of Licenses and Inspections, as City of Philadelphia Recovery Office Deputy Recovery Officer and as Deputy Director for Performance Management for the City of Philadelphia’s Office of the Managing Director. He also served as a Real Estate Associate for Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll in Philadelphia and Baltimore and with a focus on affordable housing development. 

Mt. Airy, USA’s board’s search and transition committee moved swiftly to identify a qualified candidate with a proven track record and passion for real estate, housing, business corridor improvement, community and economic development work to lead the organization as it progresses into its next chapter of growth serving the community.  

“Mt Airy, USA’s transition and search committee is pleased to announce Anuj Gupta as its new Executive Director. His expertise in leadership, economic development and neighborhood code compliance make him an esteemed addition to our team. Anuj’s awareness of the goals of Mt. Airy, USA and the Mt. Airy neighborhood will help to continue our mission in Northwest Philadelphia,” said Michael Cohen, chair of the search committee and chair elect of the Board of Directors. 

Gupta, of Mt. Airy, holds a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, a masters of government administration from the University of Pennsylvania Fels Center of Government and an undergraduate degree in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University. He is admitted to the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland Bar.

Gupta serves on the boards of several Philadelphia organizations including, West Mt. Airy Neighbors, Mt. Airy, USA ,Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, Wissahickon Charter School and the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy. In addition, he has been a participant of the Philadelphia Leadership Exchange, Center for Progressive Leadership and Project IMPACT for South Asian Americans. 

For more information about Mt. Airy USA visit

GFS Craft Show Seeks New Local Artists

The Germantown Friends School Juried Craft Show, now celebrating its 27th year, has long been known as one of the nation’s most prestigious small craft shows. A fundraising event for the school’s scholarship and facility improvement programs, it has grown steadily in both size and reputation, and over the years has raised $1.2 million.

In 2009, as part of the Craft Show’s 24th anniversary celebration in honor of the school’s connection to its urban location, the Show committee added an Emerging Local Artist category designed to attract fresh, new talent. Artists selected by the jury in this category are awarded a reduced booth fee and are highlighted in the show’s marketing materials.

To qualify as an Emerging Local artist, a craft artist must be new to the GFS show, must have practiced his or her craft for no more than eight years and must reside within the city limits of Philadelphia.

To apply to the 2011 Germantown Friends School Juried Craft Show, visit On this user-friendly site, artists can create a free profile, including photos of his or her work, and complete a simple application form; the $25 application fee can be paid online by credit card, or by mailing in a check. The deadline for applications is Friday, October 29.

For more information and to see a gallery of the 2010 exhibitors, visit the GFS website at, or call Jennifer Celata, Craft Show Manager, at 215-301-4711.

Symposium on African American Women’s Issues

The “Sisters: Can We Talk?” symposium and film screening, sponsored by ABWHE (Association of Black Women in Higher Education) Philadelphia Chapter and the Black Male Development Symposium,  will be held at Arcadia University on Friday, October 22, from noon to 9 p.m., and you are invited. The symposium consists of workshops, panel discussions inspired by the documentary, “We Need to Talk: A Conversation with Our Daughters,” and a keynote address by Dr. Judith A.W. Thomas, currently dean of the School of Social Science and Behavioral Studies at Lincoln University.

This is a sister-to-sister dialogue about issues that impact and empower African American women, such as self awareness, self-empowerment, financial literacy, healthy relationships, and more. The cost of the conference is $45 and includes lunch, workshops, the film screening, and a panel discussion. The film screening and panel discussion will take place from 6-9 p.m. and  costs $10. To register and purchase tickets, visit our website at For more information, please email us at or “friend” us on facebook. 

Gratz 50th Class Reunion

The Simon Gratz High School classes of June 1960, January 1961, and June 1961, will be celebrating their 50th class reunion on Friday, May at Romano’s Catering, 1523 East Wingohocking Street (Castor Avenue and Wingohocking), from 6-10 p.m.

For tickets and information please contact Bonnie Harris Cobb at  267-320-0515, or email your name, address and phone number to; or Charlotte Hatcher Conway, 215-927-1079, e-mail

All Gratzonians from other classes are welcome to help celebrate this 50th Class Reunion.

Dine at Trolley Car, Help a School

Put your money where your mouth is: eat at the Trolley Car Diner in Mt. Airy or Trolley Car Cafe in East Falls between October 18 and 24, and 15 percent of your bill will go to support Wissahickon Charter School, an urban K-8 school that integrates environmental studies with all subject areas.

Bring the coupon, available on the school’s website at

Three to Present Symposium

Three local women, Lynne Iser, Nancy Chernett and Karin Marcus, will be presenting a dynamic symposium, “Towards a Just and Sustainable World: Women Inspiring a New Future,” on Sunday, October 24, 1 – 5 p.m. at Mishkan Shalom, Shurs Lane and Freeland Avenue in Roxborough. The purpose is to generate a widespread awakening at the grassroots level that leads to a transformation of our worldview.

This special presentation of Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream Symposium, is being sponsored by the local chapter of the Transition Network. The program seeks to motivate women to take a leading role in creating an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on the planet. This multi media presentation includes inspiring video, up-to-the-minute facts, and spirited group interactions. You will hear from some of the world’s leading experts on such varied topics as the current state of the earth’s biodiversity and the reality of the socio-economic disparity that affects all of us in our global community.

Participants will leave with an individualized action plan for their vision of a better world, supported by having established new connections with other women and organizations committed to working on common issues.

You can register on-line, which will help with planning, at  A $10 donation is requested to cover costs. For  information review the website or contact Lynne Iser at 215-843-4933, e-mail

Face to Face Open House

“Meeting basic human needs to reduce suffering and empower lives.” That’s the mission of Face to Face Inc., a human services nonprofit located at 109 East Price Street which offers a variety of programs for the poor. Services include free meals on Friday evenings and on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, a health center, social services assistance, a legal center, an after-school and summer camp program for children and arts and writing programs. It recently added a “washeteria” — a showering and laundry facility for neighbors who are homeless or lack water service.

On Saturday, October 23, Valley Green Bank and Villanova University Law School will present an Open House of the Face to Face facilities rom 5-7 p.m. In addition to the current installation of the Neighborhood Arts Project, the event will highlight the activities of the organization’s Legal Center, a program lauded for its holistic approach, including the incorporation of other Face to Face services, to addressing client needs.

The services offered by Face to Face evolved over a 27-year span that began with a soup kitchen. Alleviation of hunger, though, was not the soup kitchen guests’ only need and soon a legal clinic, staffed by volunteers and operating under the auspices of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP), began seeing clients twice a month on Saturdays while the soup kitchen was open. By 2008, the demand for services required the hiring of a part time staff attorney in addition to numerous volunteer attorneys, paralegals, and law students, and in 2009, a formal independence from HAP provided the flexibility required to serve the unique client base which includes many unemployed, elderly, mentally ill, physically disabled or substance-dependent who meet specified low-income guidelines.

The legal center’s clients typically come to Face to Face for its biggest attraction — the free hot meals provided in its Dining Room. As clients often can’t afford the public transportation fares to go to more traditional providers of free legal services, the legal center operates during mealtime every Saturday, with office hours on Tuesday mornings for additional intake and follow-up.

To learn more about additional programs and services, and opportunities to participate, please visit their website at, phone 215-849-0179, or attend the Open House on October 23.

Vernon Park Now Cleaner

As you walk through Vernon Park this week, you will notice that it looks greener and cleaner. On Sunday, October 10, sixty volunteers pitched in to help spiff up the Park.  Volunteers planted a new perennial garden along Germantown Ave, weeded and mulched several garden beds and trees, raked leaves, trimmed and cut invasive plants and trees, painted the park benches, worked on the compost area, and picked up trash.  They also were part of a world-wide day of service on October 10 to do something in your neighborhood to help reduce global warming.

Sponsored locally by Neighborhood Interfaith Network and Friends of Vernon Park, this Clean and Green Work Day at Vernon Park was one of over 7,400 work events in 188 countries around the world that took place on October 10.  Coordinated by, an organization dedicated to reducing the global warming emission of carbon dioxide to a safe level, 10.10.10 was the most widespread day of practical and political engagement in history. 

Volunteers came from across the city and region to help out.l According to organizer Margaret Lenzi, “It was a great day for Vernon Park and the planet.  But this is only the beginning. We all have to continue our efforts and get our elected leaders to pass much needed legislation on climate change and global warming.” 

Special appreciation goes to businesses in the area who made donations of flowers and supplies: Killians Hardware in Chestnut Hill, Primex Nursery in Glenside, and Home Depot in Cheltenham.

Second Anniversary for High Point Café

On Sunday, Oct. 24 High Point Cafe is celebrating its second year at the Allens Lane Train Station location with a full day of fun activities, including a huge neighborhood yard sale, Philly Garden Swap, and a long awaited addition to the High Point Café menu. The day of events will be accompanied by live music from neighborhood musicians.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Mt. Airy-Nippon-Bryan-Cresheim Town Watch Neighborhood Yard Sale returns with one of the largest neighborhood yard sales in Mt. Airy. Neighbors will bring an array of items to sell including children’s clothes and toys, books, house wares, clothing and much more.

Again this year the Philly Garden Swap will be a part of the festivities. Philly Garden Swap is a program that encourages the free exchange of garden plants, flowers, trees and shrubs. On the day of the yard sale, neighbors are encouraged to bring a plant or take a plant and share each others’ gardens.

The celebration continues as High Point Café uses this special occasion to launch their famous crepes at the train station location. “We thought we were going to be mostly a commuter stop. We wanted to make sure we had all grab and go style offerings,” says owner Meg Hagele. “But we’ve also become a gathering place for the neighborhood and we have gotten overwhelming requests to have our famous crepes at this location.  We are really excited to be able to launch them on our birthday!”

High Point Cafe also has a location at 602 Carpenter Lane. The cafe first opened in 2005 and was so successful, a second location opened at the Allens Lane Train Station two years ago. 

Give Views on New Zoning

In May, 2007, Philadelphia voters approved the creation of a Zoning Code Commission to revise the City’s outdated code. The commission’s charge is to change the existing code to make it consistent and clear, and to encourage development while preserving the character of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. After three years of work, the commission has produced a draft new code that it hopes will modernize the zoning process.

Rewriting the city’s nearly half-century old zoning code will have far reaching benefits, helping the city attract new business and residents, as well as keep existing ones. To inform the public and receive feedback from individual communities, the Zoning Code Commission will be holding nine open houses on the draft zoning code that was released on September 8. Residents may also participate by accessing a “Virtual Open House” on the Zoning Code Commission’s website at:

In the 8th Councilmanic District the open house will be held Tuesday, October 19, 6 p.m., at First United Methodist Church of Germantown, 6023 Germantown Avenue.

Poet-Ify Event

Poet-Ify – Poetry to Edify invites you to join us for a great time as poets, spoken word artists, musicians, singers, dancers and others share their god-given talents.

Featured poets will be your host, RuNett Nia Ebo, and Victoria “The  Axiom” Peurifoy. Special guest for the afternoon will be Minister of Music, Zeffro Gaskins. Participate in open mic in a family-friendly, profanity-free atmosphere, with music by the MTM Band.

The event is Sunday October 24, at Germantown Church of The Brethren Fellowship Hall, 6601 Germantown Avenue,  3:30-7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door, $6 for seniors (60+) and $6 for ages 6 to 13. Refreshments will be served.

For more information contact RuNett Nia Ebo at 215-495-8679, e-mail, or visit

Comedy Cabaret

The LOL Comedy Cabaret will perform October 23, 9 p.m., at 7165 Germantown Avenue. Tickets are $20. For more information call 267-403-0819 or visit

Spooky Mystery at Maxwell

On Saturdays, October 23 and 30, 6 to 9:20 p.m., and Sundays, October 24 and 31, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion will host it fift annual murder mystery event, Good to the Last Ghost.

Visit the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, 200 West Tulpehocken Street, Philadelphia’s only authentically-restored Victorian house museum and garden, to unravel this all-new murder mystery – at an event that borrows from the game of “Clue.”  Guests move from room to room in the Mansion where they are greeted by professional actors portraying suspects in this whodunit.  At the end of the experience guests are served apple cider and gingersnaps while they attempt to unravel the mystery. 

The plot: Dr. Holzier brings several people to investigate a haunted mansion, so haunted that it has a ghost in every room.  It’s said there is a curse on the mansion, and one by one, members of the Winchester family died mysteriously in the house. 

All that’s left is the demented Lady Winchester and her servants.  Dr. Holzier reportedly discovered a dark secret and was murdered shortly after.  Everyone in the mansion had a reason to kill him - or was it a ghost? 

Good to the Last Ghost features special effects in every room of the Mansion. 

Individual tickets are  $17 at the door, $15 in advance. Tickets for groups of six or more are  $13 each. Get your tickets early – this event sells out!

Call Diane Richardson at 215-438-1861 for tickets or go to to buy tickets online.

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