From the Independent • Mt. Airy News Stories

November 19, 2009 • Mt. Airy Independent.111909.pdf

In This Issue

Showdown Time for GHS, King in Football

Bears Accept Girl as One of Their Own

Cougars Come Together

Residents Share Views at First Community Café

WMAN’s New Executive Director:

Enthusiasm, Affinity for Neighborhood

Revisit 1928’s ‘Negro Achievement Week’

Vernon Park Cleanup

State Rep. Cherelle Parker Offers Thanks

Coming Events at GJC

Second Baptist Holds Christmas Bazaar

Solemn Novena Services at Miraculous Medal

Silent Auction Benefit

St. Francis of Assisi Flea Market

Education Seminar

Free Flu Shots

Funtastic Friday at Cedar Park

Holiday Shopping

and Entertaining 2009

Arts Garage to Begin Arts and Crafts Market

and Adventures of Santa Claus at Big Blue Marble

Alternative Gifts Market

Mt. Airy’s DecemberFest Begins on Friday

Greens Sale

Holiday Fun at Northwestern Stables

Group Show Spotlights Northwest Artists

‘The Matchmaker’ at Stagecrafters

In the shadow of the Twin Bridges, groundbreaking was held Thursday, November 12 for the Trolley Car Café, to be located in the long-unused Bathey House located at South Ferry Road at Kelly Drive. Trolley Car Diner owner Ken Weinstein said that the restaurant will be a café, not a diner, slightly upscale and with a more limited menu. The old building, originally built as a bathhouse/changing room for a municipal swimming pool, will also house a bicycle and in-line skate rental facility, and the East Falls Gateway Center. Construction is scheduled to be finished by spring, said Weinstein.

Reward for Arson Info

JEVS Human Services has posted a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the fire that destroyed its Community Collaborative facility on May 26 at 5521 Wayne Avenue in Germantown.

The facility housed JEVS Human Services’ Community Collaborative day program for adults, including senior citizens, with developmental disabilities.  The program includes a full range of adult day services and a seniors’ program, providing social activities, social/life skills and recreational opportunities to individuals with developmental disabilities.  The Wayne Avenue location was home to this program for 21 years.

“We are deeply saddened by this loss.  It is devastating to think that a facility housed a program that did so much good could be intentionally destroyed,” says Jay Spector, president and CEO of JEVS Human Services.  “We hope that this crime does not go unsolved.”     

The Citizens Crime Commission is administering the $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this crime.  To be eligible for the reward, information must be called into the Crime Commission Tipline. Please call 215-546-TIPS. Callers’ anonymity is protected. 

Showdown Time for GHS, King in Football


Staff Writer

For Martin Luther King High School Athletic Director Margaret Stinson, the 33rd Annual Thanksgiving Day Game against Germantown High School will be like a trip down memory lane.

Stinson, a 38-year veteran at the school, can remember the yearly joint school parades from King to Benjamin L. Johnston Memorial Stadium, which both teams consider home, going all the way back - except 1989 when the game was snowed out. As she says, she “grew up at King,” and for so many in the area the yearly grudge match is about just that. 

“It’s a big event where alumni come back,” she said.

She expects the 30th reunion alumni to be showing up strong this year, and just like every year, the stadium is certain to be filled with people who have made the game part of their family tradition, on both sides of the field. In fact, the King/Germantown game weighs so heavily in the area it can supplant all other football achievements.

For Germantown Head Coach Michael Hawkins, whose first year coaching was also the first year for the Thanksgiving Day Game, this is particularly clear. 

“That’s all they care about,” he joked of local fans. “In 1999 we won the [city] championship and I’d see people and they’d say, ‘but did you beat King?’”

But Stinson made sure to point out that King and Germantown have a common history, and that’s one reason why the game has stuck. It’s not just that the schools serve similar neighborhoods, but King actually started as the ninth and tenth grade academy that fed into Germantown’s eleventh and twelfth grades, she said. With that in mind the real point of the game is to have fun.

“We consider it the Northwest rivalry,” she said. “They’re not really our enemy, they’re kind of our sister school. So we try to keep it friendly.”

For the record, the Thanksgiving Day Game tally goes as follows: Germantown 21, King 9, with two ties. But Stinson thinks King is due. 

Bears Accept Girl as One of Their Own

Germantown Bears seniors are, from left: Michelle Grace, Dominique Twiggs (front), John Ellis, William Young, David Newsome (rear), James Slayton, Taylor Bailey, Tyrone Jones, Andre Brown (front), Dominique Simmons, Mathew Henderson, Vincent Brayboy, Demetrius Saunders (front), Eddie Callender and Tamir Young.


Staff Writer

They’ve had some hard losses – opening with a 47-0 loss to Emmaus, a 41-6 skip to Cardinal O’Hara and a 42-14 miss against Neshaminy – but after that the Germantown Bears tightened up and won themselves a White Division Public League title and a trip to the city’s AAAA playoffs.

Overall the Bears went a respectable 5 and 5 for this year and it was largely behind the precision passing of quarterback Ramadan Abdullah and the hands of his primary receivers, tight end John Ellis and wideout Dominique Twiggs, with guys like Eddie Callendar and Tavio Thomas adding a little extra in key wins, such as the 30 to 12 pounding over Lincoln for that division crown.

But with just one game left in the year, the Annual Thanksgiving Day grudge match against Martin Luther King High School, a fan’s gotta ask: How exactly does a team with a girl playing the occasional defensive end and linebacker positions hold together in the testosterone-packed world of football? 

Answer: pretty well, thanks.

“It’s like we’re in our own world,” said Abdullah about the razzing the team has gotten over their teammate, senior Michelle Grace. “She’s cool,” he added. “She ain’t no average girl.”

To be sure.

Standing about 5’ 8” in her football gear it’s hard to pick her out on the field. She is fast and aggressive and she can hit. But she had her helmet off at a recent practice and was joking with her teammates as the offense ran plays. Her smile is dazzling and, there is no doubt about it, she is a girl and a football player.

Grace is among the loudest and most enthusiastic members of the team, but she didn’t come to the gridiron lightly. She talked to longtime coach and athletic director Michael Hawkins about playing for a while before making it onto the team last spring as a kicker. This year, as a senior and one of the school’s top students, she found she is even better playing in the middle of the action.

“I like everything about football,” she said. “It’s like a big fight on the field. It’s a rumble. But it’s okay.” 

Things were tough at first. Her father was worried about her, for one, and the team had to do some soul-searching at the beginning of the year, not all of it due to her presence on the squad.

“We went through some early adversity where we went through some of these things where guys were arguing.” said Assistant Coach Montik Goodman, who has been described as the team’s Jimmy Johnson. “And the coaches just stuck with it and said we’ll have success as a team when you start getting along as a team.”

By now though, the team is tight. Most weekends you’ll find Abdullah and his entire array of receivers hanging out together. And as to whether Grace feels comfortable in Bears’ green these days, there’s no question.

“It’s a family now,” she said. “They see me as a teammate. They don’t even know how much I love them because they had to go through hell because they had a girl on their team.”

The coach’s wife, Valorie Hawkins, gave some special insight into just how that team change might have happened when she arrived at Benjamin L. Johnston Memorial Stadium near the end of a recent practice.

“This is Mom,” Grace said, introducing her. “Her name is Mom… before the games, especially the home games, Mom cooks for us.”

It’s a tradition that started in 1999, when a player passed out on the field at a game because he didn’t eat before suiting up. Valorie Hawkins cooks a pasta dinner for the entire team before every home game and she often prepares food for away games too. And during the grueling summer training sessions she makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for everyone.

“If we say, ‘get something to eat,’ they’re gonna get chicken wings or you don’t know what they’re gonna eat,” Valorie Hawkins said. “That’s when I started doing the dinners and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.”

“Mom” also picks up all the dirty uniforms from the players after every game and takes them to a laundry mat to make sure they are ready for the following week. Michelle gave her coach a hard time for making his wife do that.

“I tell her to drive with the windows down with her head out of the window,” he joked.

But over the last 33 years, if you take all the meals, the team laundry and the countless shirt and tie donations Hawkins and other teachers have passed on to his players on game days, and all the tie-tying lessons he’s given, plus all of his famous “talks” with players over grades and class behavior (these usually involve wheelbarrow pushups,) it becomes clear that building a football team at Germantown is much more than a job.

This might also be why Coach Hawkins’ voicemail was filled for days after the Philadelphia Inquirer incorrectly reported that he was planning to retire from the position this year. It’s not true, his outgoing message said. And if you ask him when he will stop being the Bears’ head coach you’re not likely to get the sense it will be any time soon.

“I love this,” he said.

On Thanksgiving Day there is one more tradition at Germantown. The Bears don’t eat pasta for their team meal. They eat meat.

Cougars Come Together

King Golden Cougars seniors are: Darrell Archer, Malcolm Valentine, Kenny Hayes, Tyrone Smith, Joe Montouth, Tyre Taylor, Chris Roach, Kyle Dudley, Isaac Dandridge, Frank Wilson, Anthony Mapp, James Chery and Richard Thermitus.

Not shown are seniors James Colburne, Keenan Wiggins, Donye Rosser and Donovan Bowman.


Staff Writer r

Football isn’t just football for the Martin Luther King High School Cougars.

“We’re not your perfect situation,” said Head Coach John Sheroda. “We had a very tough year.”

Putting that into numbers, the team went 3 and 8 overall. And for a coach whose former players now coach for organizations like the Seattle Seahawks, a record like that would be tough to take.

It would be, that is, if Sheroda hasn’t already begun to see, in his five years at King, that football is a little different in the city than it was for his former Bishop O’Hara High School in the Scranton area.

“What we’re trying to do is just make these boys, when they get out of the high school, make them respect their job situation. And that’s what high school football does, that’s what all high school sports do,” Sheroda said.

This year even that was a hard task. From the very beginning, the Cougars had a lot of coming together to do. Players needed to get realistic about the opponents they would face on field, about grades, and about what it meant to be part of team. And getting them to focus and tune out external pressures that make their way into school and onto the field from the neighborhood, was probably the team’s toughest fight of the year, Sheroda said.

But despite all of that, there were still guys like Joe Montouth and James Colburne. Sheroda expects both of them to earn All-Public League honors. And in addition to standing out, as captains these two do everything they can to bring the rest of the Cougars along with them. 

Take the team’s recent AAAA first round playoff game against Northeast High School. The Cougars lost 19-0, but with their starting quarterback out of the game Montouth stubbornly pounded his way into the Northeast defense all game long. He carried the ball a grinding 32 times and chalked up more than 100 yards rushing against the team that would eventually place second in the AAAA tournament, the team that clobbered the team that beat Germantown in the AAAA quarter- finals.

On the other side of the scrimmage line, at defensive tackle Colburne did his part too. He helped the Cougars hold the Vikings to just six points by mid game. At the half things still might have gone either way. It may not be a traditional measure, but Sheroda was proud.

“The kids rose to the occasion,” he said.

After a season like this, the term “rebuilding year” comes to mind, but the ’09 Cougars are more than that. For some, like Montouth, this season is the culmination of four years of learning and growing as a part of a team, experiencing ups and downs as a team, and developing relationships that go beyond the purple and gold jersey.

“I got a lot of teammates that’s family,” he said. “I see all of them as family.”

And come game day you can bet he and his “family” will be looking for holes in the Bears’ defense from the first snap to the last. Or else, making their own. Revisit 1928’s ‘Negro Achievement Week’

Historic Germantown Freedom’s Backyard invites the public to a special forum on Thursday evening, November 19: “Working Together: When the Harlem Renaissance Came to Germantown,” highlighting a historic local event which few of us today have heard of, the Negro Achievement Week celebration held in Germantown in April 1928.  The forum will be held at 7 p.m. at Center in the Park, in Vernon Park, 5818 Germantown Avenue. 

Heralded at the time as “The Biggest Event of Its Kind Ever Held in Germantown,” Philadelphia’s Negro Achievement Week was produced by the local YWCA, area schools and local black colleges, after the model introduced and promoted by Howard University professor Carter Woodson in the 1920’s.   In 1928, Center in the Park was the site of the Germantown Public Library, itself one of the venues for Negro Achievement Week events. 

The November 19 forum will include an illustrated overview of the 1928 century celebration, presented by Dr. David W. Young, president of Historic Germantown (HG), after which members of the audience are invited to participate in an open discussion, sharing their impressions and thoughts on the event itself and its legacy.  Germantown High School students from the Germantown Speaks project, a complementary oral history program partnership involving Neighborhood Interfaith Movement (NIM), Partners for Sacred Places and others, will be on hand to record audience discussions.  

“Working Together” is one in a series of forums to be offered by Historic Germantown, in conjunction with its year-long “Germantown Works” project, an initiative supported by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage through the Heritage Philadelphia Program.   For information on the forums call  the HG program office at 215-844-1683 or e-mail

Historic Germantown is a consortium of fourteen cultural and historic sites located in Northwest Philadelphia.  Our members range from historic houses to an art museum and arboretum. The mission of Historic Germantown is to foster an appreciation of the diverse character and meaning of our cultural heritage in order to preserve and revitalize our community.  To this end, we cooperate in providing knowledge and resources to help preserve Germantown’s historic sites, interpret them to the public, and incorporate them into the life of the local community.  For information about Historic Germantown, visit

Residents Share Views at First Community Café

Temple University Video:

Germantown: Community Looks at Social Issues

Germantown: First Annual Community Café

Local residents convened Sunday afternoon at the Sedgwick Theater for the first annual Community Café.



Guest Writers

Local residents convened Sunday afternoon at the Sedgwick Theater, 7137 Germantown Avenue, for the first annual Community Café.

The event, co-sponsored by Neighborhood Networks and MARCHinG for Change, created a forum for people in the community to express their opinions on matters such as health care and safety and to suggest ways of promoting change.

Café organizers reached out to community leaders doing significant work within their fields to moderate a series of roundtables. “There are a lot of people doing things at the grassroots level and they need a forum to share that information,” said Margaret Lenzi, a member of MARCHinG for Change and an organizer for the event.

The resulting café consisted of two 45-minute sessions where around 100 attendees could choose among six areas of interest: weatherization, health care, recycling, composting, city services and safety.

One of the most popular panels focused on city services. Panel leader Stan Shapiro of the Coalition for Essential Services discussed the neighborhood impact of the state budget and the current tax system. Currently, Shapiro argued that taxes fall heavily on small, inner-city businesses, while many advocates are pushing to increase taxes for larger corporations importing their goods into the city. Community members gave their opinion on the issues, largely contributing personal anecdotes on the matter and generating ideas to assist the City Council in tax reform.

The health care panel also focused largely on the political process within the city. Dave Bell of Neighborhood Networks briefed the group on the recent health care bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. He urged everyone to contact and to support U.S. senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey as they move to push the bill through the Senate. “We need to be vigilant. We have to focus on the immediate needs and pressure points,” Bell said.

Local issues focused on composting and recycling. Two creators of programs in Philadelphia spoke about the eco-friendly benefits.

Lee Menicke and Meenal Raval, founders of Philly Compost, created their organization in June after being astounded by the amount of food tossed each night by local restaurants. By now the duo has collected more than three tons of excess waste and cultivated it into compost in a Germantown area warehouse. Complying with regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the waste is heated to 130 degrees for at least three days to ensure all pathogens are destroyed. By spring, Menicke and Raval said they hope to sell the compost to local gardeners and farmers. “We’d like to keep it as a local food cycle. That’s our ultimate goal,” said Menicke, who encouraged residents to create their own backyard compost piles.

RecycleNow, an initiative started in Philadelphia a few years ago, is gaining momentum across the city. The program attaches barcodes to recycling bins, which are then weighed by recycling trucks. Users can go online and track their neighborhoods current standing and receive coupons for local businesses. First tested in Mt. Airy and East Oak Lane, the program was highly successful. However, recent budget cuts have had city officials pause the operation throughout the city.

RecycleNow representative Maurice Sampson posed the question, “How will these programs come to fruition?” Responses included contacting local officials, staying informed and encouraging participation among neighbors. “Every day when I walk my dog, I do my own little check,” said Sampson, chuckling.

Weatherization also fell among the more environmentally focused-panels. Paul Deery, a representative of Urban Eco Electric, spoke about his company, which leases solar roof panels that provide low-cost energy to residents. “It’s a win-win,” said Deery. “We put the investment into your roof, and you benefit from cheaper energy.” Many panel attendees had questions regarding the program. Although the program requires a 20-year lease, the amount of money saved on energy, which includes a cap on current electricity bills, usually eliminates the worry of increased costs, said Deery.

Neighborhood safety, led by Carpenter’s Woods Town Watch founder Heather Pierce, rounded out the panels. Her ultimate goal is to bring neighborhoods together to reduce the fear of crime. “If you know your neighbors, you watch out for each other,” Pierce said.

Her community holds spring events and summer barbecues every year, and she encouraged others to do the same by hosting a holiday party or a potluck. “Start with your block,” she said. “But you need to expand. Remember, one block is one block, and it is part of a community.”

The Community Café proved to be an example of this type of social gathering, said Scott Murray, who’s planning his retirement in the area. “It’s an opportunity to meet new people and to learn more about the neighborhood,” he said.

“This is the first annual café, but it has a lot of potential,” said Lenzi, one of the event’s organizers.

Neighborhoods Networks can be found at home/default.php. Philly Compost can be found at RecycleNow can be found at

Urban Eco Electric can be found at

The authors work for Philadelphia Neighborhoods at at Temple University’s Department of Journalism.

WMAN’s New Executive Director:

Enthusiasm, Affinity for Neighborhood


Staff Writer

The same day Lizabeth Macoretta took the helm as the new West Mt. Airy Neighbors (WMAN) executive director, she attended the first community meeting about the proposed New Courtland four-story senior residence building adjacent to the Cliveden Convalescent Center off of Greene Street near Johnson. In addition to all the discussion spilling from that meeting October 14, there have also been leaves piling up all over Mt. Airy since the city stopped its mechanical leaf collection.

So, in short, she jumped in with both feet.  

But that’s okay. After three years of being a full-time parent, advocating for the neighborhood she loves so much through WMAN is exactly the kind of thing she has been looking for.

“It all came together very quick and it was perfect,” she said of landing her new job. And that feeling of a good fit has been with her since she first set foot in Mt. Airy eight years ago.

Her journey to the neighborhood didn’t follow the “rich diversity” and “cultural awareness” tags often associated with the area. It was a more day-to-day set of decisions.

Macoretta grew up in St. David’s on the Main Line but only ever wanted to live in Philadelphia. She did that early. Soon after finishing law school she and her husband John started practicing in Center City. For a long time they lived in Manayunk. But then came kids and the logic that tends to go with them.

“Kids need yards,” she summarized. And on the recommendation of a realtor they started driving the streets of West Mt. Airy, and they fell in love.

“It just felt like home to us,” she said.

Their house hunt was in 2001 – right in the middle of the boom. Every open house was mobbed, even the one at a particular house in the Pelham section that was a perfect mix of John’s tightly packed Northeast Philadelphia row house upbringing and her more spread-out suburban childhood. On that day they might as well have been in the place all by themselves.

“This house was built like both of us,” she remembered thinking.

Since then the Macorettas have been living what Lizabeth calls an “urban-suburban” life that is also a pretty perfect mix. Son Peter (10) and daughter Lucia (8) have thrived on their family-oriented block, yet she loves that they will grow up as city kids. 

“We don’t make play dates, they just bang on the door,” she said of the neighborhood families. “Routinely at diner time we’re sharing stuff … We know each other. We’re raising our kids together.”

But around the time that she became a mom, Macoretta realized she didn’t really want to practice law anymore. John loved being a lawyer enough for both of them, so she took a management-oriented position in charge of a legal services firm that did contract work for corporations, and for that she commuted to Delaware. Several years later, before Peter and Lucia got completely consumed by school and growing up, she decided it was time to stay home and spend more time with them and the Mt. Airy community she had grown to love so much.

Then, this October, her ears perked up. Neighbors and acquaintances from all over Mt. Airy started encouraging her to apply for the WMAN opening. By now, Peter and Lucia were well rooted in elementary school, John loved being a lawyer as much as ever, and, she found, she agreed with her friends’ assessments: the WMAN job would be a great match. And besides that, she joked, “Everyone was getting fat because all I did was cook.”

It didn’t take long before others were convinced of her good fit with WMAN too.

Outgoing Executive Director Laura Siena had been preparing the WMAN board of trustees for her departure for months so its members had time to figure out exactly what they were looking for, according to Board President Kevin Peter. WMAN was now on sturdy financial ground, there was a five-year strategic plan in place and its committees were functioning well. But the board did not want a simple manager who would not innovate. And a pure West Mt Airy cheerleader wouldn’t do the trick either.

That’s where Macoretta’s experience with the legal services firm came in. It highlighted a focused approach to problem-solving from within the context of living, breathing systems, and it showed she could lead people and groups, and juggle lots of things at once.

“Being able to run and mange a complex organization is a great skill,” Peter said. “Even though WMAN has a small staff there are some complex parts.”

But it was her interest in taking WMAN to the next level by figuring out ways to enhance the organization’s response to neighborhood needs, and her absolute love for Mt. Airy that made the difference. Plus, appreciating the role of the WMAN Executive Director as a position that is tied to all the other people who are trying to do the same thing she is –raising their families in the neighborhood they love - also helped her stand out from the list of applicants that came from as far off as North Carolina, according to Peter.

“[She] just blew us away with her enthusiasm and her energy level,” he said. “If it’s a day job then it’s easy to try of set yourself apart from what you’re trying to accomplish, and  something Liz really brought is an affinity for the neighborhood.”

Macoretta is already working on a number of new WMAN efforts for next year. One is an expansion of the very successful “Eat Your Heart Out” fundraiser started several years ago by Siena. This gala event features catered dinner parties in West Mt. Airy homes and sells out every year despite the substantial ticket price. So next year Macoretta will expand the event to 20 homes, up from 16 in previous years.

Something else on tap for 2010 will be to hold the organization’s big 50th Anniversary party and several other related celebrations that were postponed from this year, which is the true 50th year.

Macoretta also wants to explore other new ideas.

“We need a great, fun, lower-cost fundraiser so that all people can participate,” she said.

This could be something that would both expand the WMAN funding base and generate new enthusiasm for the organization, she said. And along those lines, she thought it would also be a good idea to consider developing a Junior WMAN to give neighborhood kids, who can lose contact with each other because they attend a wide range of different schools, another way to plug-in to Mt. Airy.

“I’m a change-is-good person,” Macoretta summarized. Though, she stressed, only at a nice careful pace.

Vernon Park Cleanup

The annual “Fall for your Park” event at Vernon Park on the 5800 block of Germantown Avenue will be held on Nov. 21, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Refreshments and T-shirts will be provided for all volunteers.

Come out and help keep Vernon Park a user-friendly park. For information, call Sue M. Finch at 215-843-5007.

State Rep. Cherelle Parker Offers Thanks

State Rep. Cherelle Parker, (D-200th), along with Kitchen of Love, will host a pre-Thanksgiving Day dinner for families within the community from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday, November 24 at the Upper Room Baptist Church, 7236 Ogontz Ave.

All community members are welcome to attend. Guests will be served on a first-come, first-served basis.

“This time of year, we have an opportunity to be thankful for all of the things we have, and also to reflect on those who struggle just to put food on the table,” Parker said. “It is the season of giving, and a time to reach out and help our neighbors in need.”

Coming Events at GJC

Upcoming events at Germantown Jewish Centre, 400 West Ellet Street, include:

People of the Book, Tuesday, December 1 at 7:15 p.m. Germantown Jewish Centre’s book group meets monthly 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.  This monthly event is free of charge.  This month’s selection is The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit by Lucette Lagnado.  

Service of the Heart, Saturday, December 6, 10-11 a.m. Join us at Germantown Jewish Centre for this monthly gathering (first Shabbat of each month) – a wordless service of niggunim (traditional tunes without words) and silence.  Participants are welcome to attend just this service or then join one of our other Shabbat services.  

Dr. Joel Schwartz, “The Stress Less Shrink,” on Sunday, December 6 at 10 a.m. Join Germantown Jewish Centre’s Women’s Club and Hazak groups for this program that will help you laugh and smile more. The program includes continental breakfast.

Shabbat Morning Greatest Hits Learner’s Service, Saturday, December 12 at 9 a.m. Germantown Jewish Centre is now offering a monthly (second Shabbat of the month) Learner’s Shabbat Morning Service.  

Parshat HaShavua B’Ivrit, Saturday, December 12 at 11 a.m. A monthly one-hour discussion, in Hebrew, of the weekly parsha, is led by a different volunteer each time.  

GJC celebrates Hanukkah on Wednesday, December 16 at 6 p.m. Celebrate Hanukkah with a latke dinner, activities for kids and adults and more.  RSVPs are necessary by Sunday, December 13. The cost is $5 per person.  

A Red Cross blood drive will be held Sunday, December 20, 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., sponsored by the Men’s Club. Walk-ins are welcome but advanced registration is preferred. 

For more information on the above programs or to RSVP, e-mail to or call 215-844-1507, ext 19.

Second Baptist Holds Christmas Bazaar

Second Baptist Church of Germantown, 6459 Germantown Avenue, invites you to come to its Annual Christmas Bazaar on Saturday, Nov. 21, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. This will take place both indoors and outdoors (weather permitting). Don’t come alone, bring friends and family. 

The bazaar will feature an array of items from toys, books, clothing, gifts and much more. There will be a silent auction and white elephant sale. This year will include food, crafts and games for the children.  Don’t know what to give for a gift? How about a picture with Santa?  Come shop, eat, and fellowship as we welcome in the holiday season.  All proceeds will help fund the children activities and programs sponsored by the Board of Christian Education. All proceeds will help fund children activities and programs sponsored by the Board of Christian Education

Are you a history buff?  Come and check out the History of Second Baptist Germantown: An Integrated Church for an Integrated Community by Genester Nix Miller or be blessed by Tempted to Leave the Cross, a collection of past inspiring and motivating sermons of Reverend Ernest R. Flores, pastor of Second Baptist Church of Germantown. Both will be available for purchase.

All vendors are welcomed. If you are interested, call the church at 215-849-0257.

Tables are available for a donation of $15.      

Solemn Novena Services at Miraculous Medal

Over 10,000 people are expected to come through the doors and pray for those they love and care for during the Solemn Novena services going on at the Miraculous Medal Shrine at 500 East Chelten Avenue. All are welcome.

The Miraculous Medal Shrine in Germantown began celebrating its 81st  9-Day Solemn Novena on November 16. There will be 6 to 9 services daily culminating on Nov.24 and followed with Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Feast Day Mass being celebrated by the Most Reverend G. Gregory Gay, C.M., Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentians) on Nov. 25.

In honor of the troubling times, each day prayer will be offered for a different group. Remaining groups include:

Thursday, Nov. 19, Catholic school and CCD/ PREP teachers; Friday November 20, seniors (“Anointing of the Sick” each service); Saturday, Nov. 21,  Catholic medical professionals, including doctors and nurses; Sunday, Nov. 22, Novena Family: all who attend Monday Novenas (past and present devotees); Monday, November 23, Catholic lawyers and business professionals; Tuesday, Nov. 24, Catholic societies including the Knights of Columbus, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and many more.

The Central Association of the Miraculous Medal is a Catholic Non-profit organization that was established in 1915 by the Priests founded by St. Vincent de Paul. The Miraculous Medal Shrine was built in 1927 to help spread the devotion to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and to support the mission work of the Vincentian Priests and Brothers on behalf of those Most in Need.

For more information on the Solemn Novena 9 Days of Services or how to have your intention placed on Mary’s Altar, contact the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal at 215-848-1010 or e-mail to

Silent Auction Benefit

All are warmly invited to a silent auction to benefit the work of Germantown Mennonite Historic Trust (GMHT) on Friday, November 20 at 7 p.m. Listen to live jazz and feast on delicious hors d’oeuvres, desserts and gourmet coffees and teas from the Green Line Cafe while you bid on a wide variety of items and services, including weekend getaways, unique pieces of art, professional consultation, gift certificates to a variety of restaurants, hand made quilts and much more! All proceeds benefit the historic 1770 Germantown Mennonite Meetinghouse and Burial Ground, the oldest Mennonite meetinghouse in North America.

The auction will be held at Germantown Mennonite Church, 21 West Washington Lane. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

Please contact Christopher at 267-297-6124, e-mail,for tickets and for more information.wn Mennonite Meetinghouse and Burial Ground, the oldest Mennonite meetinghouse in North America.

The auction will be held at Germantown Mennonite Church, 21 West Washington Lane. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

Please contact Christopher at 267-297-6124, e-mail,for tickets and for more information.

St. Francis of Assisi Flea Market

A flea market will be held on Saturday November, 21 at St. Francis of Assisi, Greene and Logan streets, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information call 215-849-8085 or 215-849-3368.

Education Seminar

A free education seminar hosted by the Education Ministry of New Gethsemane Baptist Church, 917 East Chelten Avenue, will be held Saturday, November 21 at 1 p.m. Educators will provide information about pre-school, kindergarten, charter schools, high schools, magnet programs, colleges and more. For information call 215-848-0292.

Free Flu Shots

Free flu shots will be given on Friday, November 20, 1-3 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, 35 West Chelten Avenue, sponsored by Northwest EPIC Stakeholders and Quality Community Health Care. Reservations are not necessary, simply walk in. For information call Nan Rhone, EPIC coordinator, at 215-549-2686.

Funtastic Friday at Cedar Park

The next observance of “Funtastic Friday” will be held on November 20, 7 p.m., at Cedar Park Presbyterian Church, 7740 Limekiln Pike.  Brought back by popular demand is an evening of fun and merriment for the entire community,  games, activities, music, line-dancing, contests, karaoke and other fun events for the entire family to enjoy.

There is no admission fee and refreshments will be served. This program is designed to foster goodwill, good times and a great fellowship in a warm and welcoming environment. For additional info, call the church office at 215 549-9775.

Among the many volunteers who have joined with the Friends of Cliveden Park to contribute their time and labor this year to the improvement of the park at  Johnson and Musgrave streets are (left) members of Masons’ Ionic Lodge #112

and (right) students from St. Joseph’s University. The Ionic Lodge members have been using power equipment to clear away large amounts of overgrowth on the park’s block-long steep hillside while the St. Joseph’s students have been removing the debris. The aim is to enhance the beauty and visibility of the park. 

Holiday Shopping

and Entertaining 2009

Arts Garage to Begin Arts and Crafts Market

Northwest artists participating in an earlier Arts Garage planning meeting.

The Mt. Airy Art Garage is launching a weekend Arts and Crafts Market at 542 West Carpenter Lane.

Mt. Airy Art Garage started out as a vision for cofounders Arleen Olshan and Linda Slodki: to build a partnership with Weavers Way; to launch an ongoing weekend Fine Arts and Handcrafts Market where neighbors can bring their families and friends to eat, drink, buy special gifts, and support artists; to create an art cooperative where art, studio space, and galleries would become a reality in 2010; to highlight artists and bring neighbors into a new venue that is part of the developing Northwest Village of Germantown, Mt. Airy, and Chestnut Hill.

Last week this vision began moving toward becoming a reality. Twenty artists met at Weavers Way, representing custom leatherworkers, jewelers, mixed media and fiber artists, sculptors, photographers, painters — talent all from the Northwest. They rolled up their sleeves and are working hard to make this a reality. The Mt. Airy Art Garage already represents new faces, familiar faces, professional artists, emerging artists, older artists, younger artists. Linda Slodki added, “You may just find a rainbow of work, culture, and experience. We believe we are in the beginnings of a truly diverse and cooperative effort.”

The Market will launch its opening in December. It will be open from 10 a.m - 6 p.m. on Dec. 5-6, Dec. 12-13, and Dec. 19-20.

Artists are invited to attend the meetings and join. Become a volunteer and help to make this a reality.  For information, e-mail or call 215-247-5309.

Life and Adventures of Santa Claus at Big Blue Marble

Big Blue Marble Bookstore will have cookies, soymilk, and Santa crafts on hand at Charles Santore’s reading of his new kid picture book The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus on Sunday, December 6, at 2 p.m. 

This enchanting tale, originally written more than 100 years ago by L. Frank Baum, marries all the magic and fantasy of The Wizard of Oz to the classic Christmas tale.

Nicholas is a mortal child found in the forest and raised by a band of woodland fairies and elves, where he learns to whittle small trinkets and toys from wood. As he grows older, he makes it his mission in life to make children happy by carving and delivering toys. Such traditions like hanging stockings on the chimney, Claus’s flying reindeer, and St. Nick’s immortality are explained through Baum’s colorful narrative thread.

Award winning painter Charles Santore, who has interpreted such classics as Peter Rabbit, The Little Mermaid, and The Wizard of Oz, beautifully re-imagines this Christmas fairytale, which is sure to become a Christmas classic on children’s bookshelves.

For more information call Maleka Fruean, events coordinator, at 215-844-1870, e-mail

Alternative Gifts Market

Fifteen international and local organizations are in line to be the recipients of the proceeds from the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown’s fourth annual Alternative Gift Market on Sunday, November 22, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 35 West Chelten Avenue. Parking is available.  For information call 215-843-8811.

At the Market, shoppers make tax-deductible donations to worthy non-profit organizations of the donor’s choice in return for a gift card and information containing the contribution. The card is to be given to friends and loved ones for the holidays; the funds go to the charity.

The organizations represented include Amnesty Interna-tional, Sickle Cell Clinical Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, New Eyes for the Needy, US Fund for UNICEF, Doctors without Borders, FINCA International, Church World Service, Teen Challenge, Whosoever Gospel Mission, Children’s Defense Fund, St. Catherine Laboure Medical Clinic,  Philadelphia Presbytery Hunger Action and Homeless Health Initiative  Children’s Hospital.

Mt. Airy’s DecemberFest Begins on Friday

This holiday season, shopping local in Mt. Airy is a bright idea. The Germantown Avenue community will flick the switch for DecemberFest on Friday, November 20 at 6 p.m. at the Sedgwick Theater, 7131 Germantown Avenue. The annual holiday promotion is organized by Mt. Airy, USA and the Mt. Airy Business Association.

The DecemberFest kick-off event, which is free and open to the public, celebrates the start of the holiday season Mt. Airy style. Refreshments will be provided by Mt. Airy businesses. At center stage, local youth will perform in a Brazilian Drum Line and guitar trio to help ring in this special time of year. In addition, it pays to shop locally. From November 20 through January 8, for every $250 spent in Mt. Airy, shoppers can receive a $25 gift certificate (while supplies last).

Stores along Germantown Avenue will stay open as late as 9 p.m. for Late Night Fridays, November 20 and 27, and December 4, 11 and 18. Each Friday, strolling carolers and other holiday entertainment will keep shoppers in a festive mood. And bring your cameras! Santa will also be making an appearance on December 4 from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. at Rothe Florists, 7148 Germantown Avenue. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

This year, Mt. Airy shoppers will be able to vote for the business best decorated for the holidays. Beginning November 27, storefronts will be filled with twinkling lights and tinsel, illuminating the importance of shopping locally.

Shoppers will be able to vote online from December 5-16, with the winner announced on Friday, December 18.

For full details on DecemberFest and to vote for the best decorated business, visit

Greens Sale

The FOW Greens Sale has become a holiday tradition with hot apple cider and chestnuts roasting on an open fire outside the Valley Green Inn.

FOW is asking children to collect pinecones and holly with berries for the wreaths it is making for the sale. They should collect small, clean, dry, whole pine cones and holly with berries from their home, trails, and sidewalks, then fill brown paper bags (standard grocery bag size) with them and drop them off at the FOW office before December 1. The first five children to drop off a bag full of pine cones and/or holly will be given a complimentary 1-year FOW membership for themselves and their family.

The pinecones will be used at the Free Wreath Making Workshops at Valley Green Inn on Tuesday, December 1, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Wednesday, December 2, 4-8 p.m., and Thursday, December 3, 4-8 p.m. Greens created will be sold at the Holiday Greens Sale.  Registration for workshops is required. Please call 215-247-0417.

The Holiday Greens Sale will be held in front of Valley Green Inn on December 5, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Swags, centerpieces, pine roping, and wreaths will be sold. Because the number of wreaths is limited, FOW is offering pre-orders on their website, Payment is due on ordering. Valley Green Inn is located on Forbidden Drive in Wissahickon Valley Park. The FOW office is located at 8708 Germantown Avenue. For information visit

Holiday Fun at Northwestern Stables

Join Northwestern Stables on Saturday, December 5, in the beautiful Wissahickon Valley for some holiday family fun, horsey style.  From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. you will have the opportunity to have your photo taken with Santa and his horse, enjoy delicious and home-made snacks, bid on lovely raffle baskets and silent auction items and buy some holiday gifts and greens.  During the day carriage rides will also be available. 

Northwestern Stables, Inc. is a non-profit organization that operates the Northwestern Equestrian Facility at 120 Northwestern Avenue, between the end of Forbidden Drive and Germantown Avenue. It offers lower-cost horsemanship and riding lessons to children and adults, summer day camp, and community programs with the Philadelphia Department of Recreation and Police Athletic League. This annual fundraiser helps raise money for the organization to sustain its programs and care for its retired horses.  For information visit or call 215-685-9286.

Group Show Spotlights Northwest Artists

The Northwest Art Collective (NAC) is at it again, this time with a special holiday show, Art + Peace + Pizza, running from November 29 to January 31.  This group holiday art exhibit is a special cash and carry, all work at $199 or less.  Artists Martha Knox, Gail Kotel, Melissa Haims, Sol Levy, Myke Simonian, Sherman Oberson, Dan Oliva, Judy Levy, Ellie Seif, Elfie Harris, Debs Bleicher, Barbara Rosin, Valerie Ena Swain and Ricky Moses invite you to the opening, in conjunction with First Friday on December 4 from 6-9 p.m. at Earth Bread + Brewery, 7136 Germantown Avenue. Ten percent of sales will go towards the Nonviolent Peaceforce, an unarmed, professional civilian peacekeeping force that is invited to work in conflict zones worldwide.

The show is open to the public Tuesday – Thursday and Sunday from  4:30 p.m. to midnight and until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.  In collaboration with Mt Airy Decemberfest and the buy local initiative, your purchases will go toward the $250 needed in receipts to win your gift certificate.

NAC will also be participating in the first exhibition of the Mt. Airy Arts Garage, a newly-formed group with space at 546 Carpenters Lane across from Weavers Way Co-op, on December 5 and 6, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

The Northwest Artists’ Collective is a group of over twenty painters, sculptors, print makers, photographers and fiber artists in the Northwest. The members are professional artists who show independently and as a group. Visit to see examples of their artwork.

The NAC meets on a monthly basis to discuss local arts and projects to further its reach into the community through the arts.  Any artist living and or working in NW Philadelphia is welcome.

For information e-mail Melissa Maddonni Haims  at

‘The Matchmaker’ at Stagecrafters

Among the cast of The Matchmaker at the stagecrafters are (left to right) Timothy Urian of Collingswood, NJ, Greg Pronko of Fox Chase (standing), Cathy Gibbons Mostek of Drexel Hill, Sonya Hearn of Roxborough, and Andrew Mooers of Mt. Airy. Photo by Sara Stewart.

The second production of the current season at The Stagecrafters, The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder, will open on Friday, November 27. This joyous, sprawling, and rollicking farce, is one of the most enduring and endearing classics of the American stage.  Set in New York City near the end of the nineteenth century, the action transpires over the course of a single day ... and what action it is!  Love makes the world go ‘round ... but a little money will grease the wheels – so proclaims canny marriage broker, Dolly Gallagher Levi.  Engaged by rich, wife-seeking widower Horace Vandergelder, she artfully conspires to snag him for herself and, in so doing, sets off a whirlwind of assorted missteps, mishaps, mistaken identities, and romantic entanglements that befall a dozen-or-so inter-related characters, each in their way ready for some adventure in their lives.

Wilder (1897-1975) established himself as a pre-eminent American dramatist with Our Town (1938), for which he received the Pulitzer Prize.  The Matchmaker opened on Broadway on December 5, 1955, won the Tony award for Best Director (Tyrone Guthrie), and enjoyed a run of nearly two years.  Wilder also scripted the original musical version, Hello, Dolly!, in 1964.  The play has charmed audiences in countless revivals for over a half-century. 

This presentation of The Matchmaker marks the occasion of the 500th production at The Stagecrafters.  Performance dates are November 27, 28; December 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12 at 8 p.m.; November 29, December 6, and 13 at 2 p.m.  Tickets are priced at $15. (The Thursday, December 3 and 10 performances are two tickets for $20.  Students with valid ID get $2 off general admission.  Groups of 15 or more are offered a reduced rate of $12 a ticket. 

Subscriptions are available for the remainder of the season at $55 for four (4) productions and may be purchased online, by mail using the form in this season’s brochure, or at the box office when attending a show in the current production.  The box office opens 45 minutes before each performance.  For reservations call 215-247-8881.  The theater is located in the heart of Chestnut Hill at 8130 Germantown Ave. Web:

NOTE:  A “Talk-back” Q & A session will be held following the performance on Friday, December 4.  All attendees that evening are welcome to stay and participate. 

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