From the Independent • Mt. Airy News Stories

December 10, 2009 •  Mt. Airy Independent.121009.pdf

In This Issue

Is Closing ‘Problem’ Businesses Answer to Troubled Corners?

WMAN Zoning Committee Will Not Oppose New Courtland

Health Center #9 to be Charging Uninsured for Services

NW Reps Convene Summit on Job Creation

Happy Hollow Advisory Council

NorthwestBusinesses Sweep Awards

Business Center’s 10th anniversary event

Climate Action Vigil

NCDBW Fundraiser

YMCAMember Meeting

For Co-Victims of Violence

E-mail Scam About Flu Vaccinations

Holiday Music in Jazz

The Presbyterian Women of GermantownCommunity Presbyterian Church

At Summit

At St. Paul’s

Residents to be Rewarded for Recycling


Dr. John Kaufmann

Gift Calendars Support MALT

Don’t Toss Your Tree – Recycle

Greg Williams First Friday block party/open house

Tree Sale

Kwanzaa Ceremony

Santa Coming to East Falls


Annual Dickens Christmas Party at Maxwell Mansion

Many Holiday Events at NW’s Historic Sites

JROTC Learns Basics of Flight

Basketball Tournament

Is Closing ‘Problem’ Businesses Answer to Troubled Corners?


Staff Writer

(This is Part Two of a story on troubled corners on Germantown Avenue. The Independent has withheld the names of some local residents due to safety issues.)

In early June a new business started to bloom at the corner of Germantown Avenue and Springer Street, but many in Mt. Airy were not happy to see it. It is the kind of business that leads to scenes like the one that occurred on a day late in August.

“I was in here and the door was open, and I can hear them arguing, and then I hear pop-pop-pop-pop-pop!” said one nearby business owner.

The sound was gunshots coming from that corner, the corner where Five Star Chinese Food is located. But the new business was drugs - the illegal kind. By mid-summer it was going strong.

According to many, the noise coming from the corner became constant. Cars would stop, the windows would come down, loud music would blare and thump from inside. Sometimes passengers from the cars would go into the restaurant. Other times they wouldn’t. Money would change hands outdoors. And after dark, in the parking lot of St. Michael’s Lutheran Church a side business cropped up - prostitutes would turn tricks in some of the visiting cars.

“We’re talking about crime, not just kids hanging out,” said one resident. 

Luckily, no one was hurt on the day of the gunshots, and activity at the corner has all but stopped since the weather turned cold. But local community groups are still taking this development seriously. Groups like Mt. Airy USA, East and West Mt. Airy Neighbors (EMAN and WMAN) and the Pelham Town Watch know how difficult it is to deal with this kind of thing because they’ve done it before.

The last time was a few years ago at the Corner Deli, one block south at Germantown Avenue and Hortter Street. The Pelham Town Watch formed specifically to keep an eye on the Corner Deli and the trouble that was occurring just outside its doors. By coordinating with EMAN and WMAN and City Council’s Nuisance Business Task Force they were able to force the Corner Deli to close for about two years because of what they saw as irresponsible business practices.

Now Corner Deli owner Adam Xu plans to re-open under a new business plan designed to discourage loitering and drug dealing. And because of all the changes he has agreed to make, EMAN has approved the return.

But many think that the Five Star is picking up with nuisance business behavior where the Corner Deli left off. Business practices like staying open late hours, selling “loosies” (loose cigarettes) and “blunts” (loose cigars) is what brought on the new corner drug business, many have said. 

“They condone it,” said one resident. “They sell products that create an atmosphere that encourages it. You never see that outside McMemamin’s, you never see that outside the Trolley Car… there are plenty of areas nearby where illegal activities could occur but don’t.”

Representatives from the Five Star have declined to comment.

Several things make this corner a particularly tough problem to sort out. One is that the problem tends to run contrary to the Mt. Airy belief of residential bliss and harmony of life across racial, ethnic and economic lines. Drug corners are not typically billed as a feature of life along the Mt. Airy business corridor, though some say the neighborhood would do better if its residents opened their eyes to this as a persistent fact.

“That’s not part of the Mt. Airy story but it happens,” said Pelham Town Watch President Dan Rhoton.

To Rhoton and others, the recent problems outside the Five Star and the past problems at the Corner Deli are telling. They are right out there on the Avenue, on the border between a high-end, mostly white neighborhood to the west and a lower-income, mostly black neighborhood to the east. 

“It’s just like any blight-ridden section of the city,” Rhoton said of the streets tucked behind the Five Star and St. Michael’s Church. “And it’s a little uncomfortable because right across the street you’ve got Pelham, you’ve got these really nice houses.”

According to Jerry Mondesire, a West Mt. Airy resident and president of the Philadelphia National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, that racially skewed and economically segregated settlement pattern is one of many long-standing traditions in Mt. Airy that contribute to the issue. It originates in the nature of the housing stock in the area, which varies greatly in size and density from east to west.

“It’s always been that way,” he said.

Nuisance businesses and problem corners are another long-standing Mt. Airy tradition. After a recent EMAN meeting Mondesire, EMAN President Dan Muroff and EMAN Zoning Committee Chair Derek Green went down a list of nuisance businesses from the not-too-distant past that rooted themselves firmly on the Avenue where business and residential land uses come together. Imperial Chinese Food at 7135 Germantown Avenue was one, another was Casablanca, where Earth Bread + Brewery now is; even the now-beloved Golden Crust and McMenamin’s Tavern had early identity crises. And then there were places like the Kent Tavern and the Wagon Wheel, two major trouble spots (now closed) on the west side of the Avenue across the street from where the Five Star now is.

“The Avenue has always been a place where punks and thieves and drug users have congregated,” Mondesire said. “And we who live on the west side of the Avenue tend to think that we’re not touched by it, but we are.”

Another difficult detail of this corner comes from the once-strained relations over the Corner Deli. While the local community and Adam Xu have finally reached common ground, that wasn’t always the case. In 2005 the conflict was so heated that Xu accused neighborhood and city efforts of discrimination against Chinese-owned businesses.

Many from the neighborhood effort denied that race was a factor, and they plan to follow the same pattern of pressure with the Five Star, which is also Chinese immigrant owned. Steven Masters, attorney for the Nuisance Business Task Force called race and ethnicity “irrelevant” in that body’s work. To the contrary, he said the Task Force and the community groups tend to make every effort to work with the business owners as partners before exerting official pressure. But he did say that cultural differences can complicate how things are done.

“We don’t focus on what the ethnicity of the folks are who are in the store or the owner of the operation,” he said. “But anytime you have people in different cultures, then that’s going to be a factor in the resolution of the conflict.”

At issue are the business practices, said Masters, not who is doing them. And getting businesses to take ownership of what occurs around the stores.

14th Police District Captain Winton Singletary seemed to sum this view up. “They’re responsible for the people in their business,” he said. “You can’t have people hanging out selling drugs and carrying guns.”

But in cases like this where the business owners are recent immigrants, John Chin, executive director of the Chinatown CDC, believes it is a little unrealistic to focus all the community pressure on the business owners alone. This seems especially unfair, according to Chin, when some of these owners may not have a full grasp of the language, often have no business training, and may have reasons to fear the drug dealers they are expected to keep out of their stores, as well as the authorities they are supposed to rely on.

This can result in intensely difficult and sometimes dangerous situations for these business owners who need the takeout food niche to survive, Chin said. And in the end, it may not really work.

“I can understand the residents’ issues,” he said. “They don’t want crimes or nuisances in their neighborhood. So what’s the cause of it? … The easy solution is close down the business and the problem will go away. But the question is, will it really go away or will it just move to another location?”

Chin has a point. This troubled corner did seem to move to the Five Star once the Corner Deli was closed, with some breaks in between. You might even trace the trouble back long before the Corner Deli to the once-notorious Wagon Wheel bar.

To many concerned, this checkered persistence over time supports the view of how important responsible business practices are. Using them makes it less likely for troubled corners to crop up in prone areas. But it also tends to support Chin’s point that, in general, focusing most of the effort on pressuring businesses seems to miss the root cause of the problem.

“I think it’s kind of unfair to lay blame on these businesses as the cause of these nuisances,” he said. “I think these drug sales would happen even if these businesses weren’t there.”

WMAN Zoning Committee Will Not Oppose New Courtland


Editoral Staff Intern

Seven residents attended the West Mt. Airy Neighbors’ Zoning Committee meeting on Wednesday, December 2, at Summit Presbyterian Church, 6757 Greene St., to debate New Courtland Elder Services’ application for the  Independent Living Apartment Building it wants to build adjacent to the Cliveden Convalescent Center, 6400 Greene St.

“We decided not to oppose the requested variance as long as certain provisos are met by the applicant,” Ralph Pinkus, committee chair said. Among those provisos are the removal of an existing shed and disposal of trash storage on Cliveden Convalescent Center property,  an increase in shrubbery to provide an adequate buffer zone, and light stanchions that would not be offensive to property owners. 

Although the meeting ran over two hours and became heated at times, only two attendees opposed the application.

The proposed five-story facility would contain a community room with a kitchenette, a laundry room on each floor, two offices, a garden courtyard, a  Neighborhood Computer Center, and 75 free parking spaces for residents and family members. Each one-bedroom apartment would be 560 square feet and include a full-size refrigerator and stove.

Proposed security features include outside cameras, a manually-operated door, and Health Sense, a health maintenance system that contains a wellness component.  Health Sense uses sensors to monitor daily life activities and vital signs such as blood pressure, weight and blood sugar levels remotely, allowing residents to age in place.

The apartments are built with the “lowest income seniors in mind,” Max Kent, senior project manager for New Courtland Elder Services said. 

The Philadelphia Zoning Board, 1515 Arch Street, will review New Courtland Elder Services’ application on December 16, Wednesday.

Health Center #9 to be Charging Uninsured for Services


Editorial Intern

The city’s Health Center #9, 131 East Chelten Avenue, which serves the Northwest Philadelphia area, will soon begin charging all uninsured patients for services. The new sliding-scale fees, which will range from $5 to $20 a visit, are being implemented at all of the city’s eight health centers. Without the fees – which represent the first time the city has ever charged for health care at its centers – city officials said they might have had to shut down some centers because of the city’s budget crisis.

“We want people to know that this isn’t a free clinic,” said Patricia Nesmith, director of Health Center #9. “We have good doctors here…(but) ultimately someone’s paying,” she said. Each month, the Germantown center sees between 3,000 and 4,000 patients, according to Health Department officials.

The new fees were to take effect in mid-November, but implementation has been delayed by logistical problems as the city lines up vendors that sell the machines that will be used to collect patient fees, said Jeff Moran, Health Department spokesman. He said officials expected the kinks to be worked out soon.

Nesmith noted that 48 percent of the center’s patients actually have health insurance, but don’t always present it. “We hope that the fees will encourage everyone to use their insurance if they have it,” she said.

Philadelphia is one of the few cities in the country that has offered free health care to the poor at city-run health centers.  But with the city’s growing budget problems, officials feared that several health centers would have to be closed. The new fee system is an alternative to closure. 

In his budget address, Health Commissioner Dr. Donald F. Schwarz emphasized that fees at the centers, which are aimed at preserving quality service, were discussed at a series of public meetings where citizens had an opportunity to see the alternatives and express their views.

Patients at Health Center #9 who were interviewed in recent weeks said they understood the need for the new fees. Many expressed praise for the center’s professional staff, which includes three pediatricians, six family medicine doctors, one podiatrist, two dentists, one priority doctor, two nurse practitioners, and one gynecologist.

“I’ve been a patient for six years and Health Center #9 is a very good clinic,” said Barbara Gray, who sat in the center’s comfortable waiting room on a recent afternoon.  “The center helps when the job is snatched from under you or you get laid off for a week.  Out of respect and honor for our neighborhood clinic we should pay something.”

Mildred Moore, a patient and 17-year Germantown resident, also said she didn’t mind the new fees. “I would rather pay something than for them to close it down, because it would be detrimental to the neighborhood,” she said.

But not everybody is yet on board. “I think it’s horrible,” said Ethel Urban, another longtime patient. 

Nesmith said Health Center #9 has tried to make the change as easy as possible by providing notices and by talking to the clinic’s patients about the fees associated with all visits. Although those with insurance will still not be responsible for co-pays, the change will take some getting use to for all, she said.

The sliding scale fees will range from $5 to $20 per visit, depending on income. Patients will also be required to show proof of income, such as pay stubs or Social Security payments. Although some patients say the paperwork is a headache, Nesmith said it was required to determine the amount a visit will cost. 

Many patients were relieved to hear that the center’s pharmacy department wouldn’t be charging patients to fulfill prescriptions. However, they were unaware that it would be undergoing some changes as well.

All told, each year the city health centers dispense some 600,000 prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines, according to the Health Commissioner’s budget testimony. Under the new plan, the pharmacies will not carry over-the-counter medicines, with the exception of pediatric Tylenol. “The … changes will result in a partial year savings of $1.5 million,” said Schwarz.

NW Reps Convene Summit on Job Creation

Flanked by State Rep. John Myers, Mayor Michael Nutter addresses the attendees. He said that he has encouraged President Barack Obama to create a new federal stimulus plan for jobs.


Staff Writer

The nation’s unemployment rate is hovering at about ten percent. In Philadelphia it’s up to 11.1 percent. This is why, on December 3, the same day as the first presidential jobs forum, Philadelphia held one of its own, called by two Northwest politicians. 

“We wanted to see what we could do from the bottom up,” said State Representative Dwight Evans (D, 203rd). “We also wanted to say to the public in the region that we get it.”

Evans teamed up with State Representative John Myers (D, 201st) to organize the meeting of local and state level officials, non-profit leaders and business executives as a response to a growing local call for jobs. According to Myers’ Chief of Staff Stephen Kinsey, there has been an influx of such requests lately at Myers’ Germantown office.

“They [Evans and Myers] both realize that there is a need for jobs,” Kinsey said. “They’re just responding to what people are saying to them.”

Still, downtown at the Pennsylvania Convention Center you wouldn’t have found a job at this event. It was more about asking the question: How do we solve the Philadelphia jobs crisis? Most in attendance looked to one place for that solution.

“The only way this country is going to come back is to invest in cities,” said Mayor Michael Nutter, who was one of the featured guests. He said that he has encouraged President Barack Obama to create a new federal stimulus plan for jobs. He felt that would be the key to balancing the impact of stimulus programs, which he thought were still not addressing all of the local economic needs.

“You can hear me in the morning say we’re building roads and bridges using federal dollars and then hear me the same afternoon talking about some service we have to cut,” he said.

According to a report released in March by the PEW Charitable Trusts, Philadelphia’s economic identity is dominated by severe losses in manufacturing over the last several decades and moderate growth in the fields of health care and education. So far, the overall growth has not been able to offset the losses, which has left Philadelphia one of the poorest large cities in the country, with one-quarter of its population living below the poverty line, according to Larry Eichel, project director for PEW’s Philadelphia Research Initiative, which prepared the report.

This has lead to a declining tax base, which weakens government services and which in turn has caused the city tax burden to grow to become the highest, or close to the highest, among all cities in the country, Eichel said. Theoretically this makes it harder to attract businesses that provide jobs, and harder to attract or retain talent to staff companies.

Another challenge, according to Eichel, is that educational achievement in Philadelphia is very low, which would make its citizens less employable. Nutter noted a recent Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board study that ranked Philadelphia 92nd among the largest 100 U.S. cities in attainment of college degrees by its residents, and he acknowledged that his recent budgetary decision to reduce funding to the Community College of Philadelphia did not help that. Nutter thought this was another place the federal government could pick up the slack until the city was back on its feet.

But Wharton Economist Bernard Anderson thought there was another factor not mentioned in the PEW report that would be critical to righting the Philadelphia economy and jobs market.

“One of the most important issues facing this city… is racial inequality in the city of Philadelphia’s economic life,” he said. “You simply can’t have a growing city if the economic equality of such a large portion of the city is not addressed.”

To Anderson, the way out of this was to expand training programs and tie them directly to jobs in the city’s expanding industries and “go with the flow,” he said.

Ernest Jones, CEO of the Philadelphia Workforce Development Corporation (PWDC), agreed that subsidized training programs were in desperate need of expansion even beyond what was done with the last round of federal stimulus. On average, PWDC trains between 2000 and 3000 people each year for new jobs, he said, and this year’s stimulus allowed for an additional 700 slots.

“That’s nowhere near where the need is,” he said. “Education’s a big, big part of solving this problem.”

Jones estimated the true need for job training in the city as being somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 training slots. In addition, he said, the city training programs were troubled by “Catch-22” situations because many of the individuals who qualify for training often don’t enroll because it would disrupt their low-wage jobs. And frequently, potential enrollees lack the basic skills needed to fill out the program application, he said, further highlighting the need for education.

Another complication to the training puzzle, according to Eric Nelson, executive vice president of the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board, is that lately many of the training graduates have not been finding jobs in their fields.

“There has been certainly somewhat of a delay but we’re hoping to see that change in the near future,” Nelson said in a separate interview.

Dee Kaplan, deputy secretary for the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development, thought increasing public support to local small businesses could help solve some employment problems fast.

“They hire folks,” she said of small businesses. “And they have really been hit in this environment. I think supporting them would be a good immediate solution to job creation.”

Leanne Krueger-Braneky, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Sustainable Business Network, was on the same page.

“I think one of the biggest problems in the city right now is that we focus on business attraction and not business development,” she said.

To Krueger-Braneky a business that is attracted to the city from far away with incentives is less likely to stay rooted to Philadelphia than locally-grown businesses are. She thought that providing subsidized small business development programs like technical assistance, and expanding stimulus funded training programs that connect firmly with local small business opportunities would make a real impact.

No policy decisions came out of the meeting last week, but the organizers promised to submit the minutes to City Council for review, and they promised to keep the local jobs discussion going.

“The key element is to make this the primary priority,” said Evans. “We’re gonna keep working. It’s an ongoing process.”

Happy Hollow Advisory Council

The Happy Hollow Advisory Council will hold its next meeting on December 14 at 6 p.m. at 4800 Wayne Avenue in the gym (rear building.) On the agenda will be board nominations and a “meet and greet” session with new rec leader Lisa Ruffan. Come and bring a  friend.

The Original Cobalt Blues Band will be appearing at The La Rose Club, 5531 Germantown Avenue, on December 11, 8-11:30 p.m This show will feature special guest Kool Jazz. The Bucks County Blues Society calls the band’s music “blistering guitar blues.”  Jay Levin of Turtle Studios says, “Cobalt Blues has been the premier blues band in town since 1984...they are the real thing.” La Rose sponsors a Blues Night every Friday from 8:00 to 11:30pm. The Duke’s of Destiny, Byrd Lancaster’s Blues Messengers, The Shades of Blues, the Deb Callahan Blues Band and Frank Bey are among those who have performed. Admission is $10, $18 with meal. There is free parking. For more information call 610-619-0569. 

Northwest Businesses Sweep Awards


Staff Writer

On Tuesday December 2 the Empowerment Group announced the results of its citywide competition highlighting small businesses with the biggest positive impact on the local community, and the top three prizes went to businesses from Mt. Airy and Germantown.

“It just turned out that way,” said Executive Director Angel Rodriguez.

The Empowerment Group ( is a nonprofit that supports local small businesses and entrepreneurs. Its signature event is the yearly Entrepreneurship Week, held each April, which is a weeklong celebration of small businesses. The My Block My Business Award competition is a new effort to highlight local small businesses as community pillars.   

The first annual My Block My Business competition fielded heavy entries from all over the city, but the panel of judges took a shine to the Trolley Car Diner in Mt. Airy, the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts in Germantown, and Philly Electric Wheels in Mt. Airy. They took the top three slots.

“I think there are a lot of growing businesses in the Northwest,” said second prize winner and School of Circus Arts owner Shana Kennedy. “It’s fun to be part of a community that is really thriving and that seems to be the case in Germantown and Mt. Airy.”

Trolley Car owner and Mt. Airy resident Ken Weinstein thought it said something special about the Northwest that local business did so well in the competition. And he also took the first prize award as an affirmation that “supporting the community is good business,” he said.

It makes sense that the Trolley Car’s $100,000 in charity donations over the last eight years would have struck a cord with the judges. Those donations came from the restaurant’s Helping Hands program, which gives 15 percent of the gross receipt totals to local nonprofits on selected days. But the many local volunteer days that the Trolley Car has helped to make a success might have made a difference too – these are events like the community building days for the playground at Henry Huston Elementary School on Allen’s Lane.

Some may consider this kind of thing good karma, but Weinstein thinks of it in business terms. He calls it “grass roots marketing.”

“We’d rather put our marketing dollars into making our community better than throw a bunch of adds on the radio,” he said. “It helps us build good will, which keeps our most loyal customers coming back, over and over again. And at the same time it makes our employees feel better about what they’re doing on a daily basis.”

And speaking of marketing, the competition winners will receive a series of direct marketing gifts from the Empowerment Group, including a dedicated website and poster advertisements on some of the major SEPTA bus lines. Weinstein was particularly tickled by this, given the antique SEPTA trolley sitting on his business’s front lawn.

For Kennedy, making her business act as a positive force in the community came a little more by accident. When she opened the school she did it because it was something she wanted to do - for herself. But with her success and the positive reaction from the neighborhood her view has expanded. She has a new kind of pride and personal involvement in the neighborhood now as a business owner, she said.

Soon after her business opened the large building at 5900 Greene Street started to buzz with more exciting new businesses. And nearby residential renovations started to appear as well. Now she sees herself as part of something bigger.

These are just two examples, but Rodriguez said the city is full of local entrepreneurs that make it their business to improve their neighborhoods. And he hoped the contest would help spread the word about the vital roles local businesses can play in community life.

“Our focus is trying to raise the profile of local business owners as key ingredients and central to the fabric of Philadelphia as a whole,” he said. “And to think of them as community leaders. When you’re talking about the local business owners they’re there every day, their concerns are the residents’ concerns and they want to be involved.”

Philly Electric Wheels owner Afshin Kaighobody could not be reached for comment.

Honorees present at the Business Center’s 10th anniversary event included: (first row, left to right) Anne Bayless; Iola Harper; Farah Jimenez; Pamela Rich-Wheeler; Phoebe Coles; Kelly Finch; Edwina Coverson-Barnes; (sedond row, left to right): Cliff Jones, representing Ernest Anderson; Ben Ellis, representing Bishop Dr. C. Milton Grannum; Christopher Chaplin; Aubrey Kenney; Solomon Wheeler; Bilal Qayyum; Bill Ewing; Kelly Woodland; Bill Smith and Bill Parshall.

Climate Action Vigil

A Climate Action Vigil will be held Dec.12 at 6:15 p.m. at Independence Hall. It is a candlelight vigil to call on the governments of the world meeting in Copenhagen to adopt a fair and binding climate action agreement. We will gather at Independence Hall on the People’s Plaza, between 5th and 6th streets near Market Street. The Philadelphia vigil is one of hundreds of candlelight vigils around the globe organized by, the largest international grass-roots movement for climate action in the world ( We will also celebrate the second night of Hanukah, a holiday about using oil wisely. All are welcome.

The event is sponsored by faith and environmental groups including the Shalom Center, Congregation Mishkan Shalom, and Neighborhood Interfaith Movement (NIM),  along with  Pennsylvania Interfaith Climate Change Campaign, Congregation Kol Tzedek, and the Philadelphia Interfaith Network for the Environment. For more information call the Shalom Center at 215-844-8494.

NCDBW Fundraiser

Through December 13, weekdays 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 3 – 9 p.m., the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women (NCDBW) is holding a fundraising event at the Trolley Car Diner and Deli, 7619 Germantown Avenue. As part of its Helping Hands Week fundraising program, the Diner will donate 15 percent of the revenue from supporters towards the work of the NCDBW, which provides customized technical assistance to battered women charged with crimes and to members of their defense teams. To participate in this fundraiser, bring a coupon to the event, which can be downloaded and printed by going to

YMCA Member Meeting

The annual meeting of the Germantown YMCA membership will be held Wednesday, December 16, 7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Germantown  (FUMCOG),  6023 Germantown Avenue. The meeting will be held to choose a new corporate name, amend corporate by-laws, provide an update on organizational plans, and discuss the nomination process for board members.  

For Co-Victims of Violence

The Vincent M. A. Woodson Foundation will hold its last 2009 Bereavement Support Group for co-victims of murder on Saturday, December 19, 2:30 p.m. at Germantown Friends School, 31 West Coulter Street, in the Stokes Lounge. Enter between the stone pillars on Coulter Street. Meetings will then resume on January 23, 2010.

For more information call Fay Dawson at 215-200-8453. 

E-mail Scam About Flu Vaccinations

The Pennsylvania Department of Health urges computer users not to open a fraudulent e-mail that claims to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, and asks individuals to create a “personal H1N1 vaccination profile.”

Anyone receiving this e-mail should not open it and delete it immediately. The fraudulent e-mail links to a fake Web site that attempts to collect personal information. Clicking on the embedded link in the e-mail puts users at risk of having a malicious code installed on their computer.

Some Pennsylvanians have coincidentally received this e-mail after registering for the Department of Health’s H1N1 vaccine clinics, but there is no relation. Pennsylvania’s online vaccine registration system is safe to use and does not ask registrants to provide any personal information other than their name.

For additional information, call 1-877-PA HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) or visit

Holiday Music in Jazz

In an encore performance, Brendan Cooney brings his jazz trio to Germantown Mennonite Church for a brand new set of reinterpreted holiday classics. The band, now named the Rhinoceri Trio, will be playing at Germantown Mennonite Church, 21 West Washington Lane, on Saturday, December 12 at 7:30 p.m.

This year he adds vocalist Bonnie Lander to the musical mix.  Cooney has added her as a way of “reaching out” to those who may be unfamiliar with jazz improvisation.

“Jazz improvisation takes familiar tunes and plays around with them, so that the tunes may seem unfamiliar at first,” says the 30-year-old Cooney, also a teacher of music at Germantown Friends School.   “Bonnie will sing a tune in the familiar version before the band plays it.  This will give the audience a warm-up, so to speak, so that the revelation of the jazz improvisation will be easier to hear and understand.”

“The great thing about Brendan is that he loves to turn classic songs on their ear to create new and wonderful versions,” says Charles McGloughlin, events coordinator at the Sanctuary Arts Series at Germantown Mennonite.  “When you listen to Brendan play ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ you aren’t listening to the same old song, but a new version that is definitely from here and now.”

Sprinkled through these reinterpreted classics will also be a few jazz standards done by the trio in their own inimitable style.   The band also features West Philadelphia Orchestra founder Gregg Mervine on drums and Chris Coyle on bass.

The entire set will be performed under a lightshow which depicts different versions of the Star of Bethlehem seen throughout the ages. 

The Sanctuary Arts Series is a venue for art, music, film, and theater located at the Germantown Mennonite Church. The cover charge is $5, with light fare served.   For information about upcoming events see

The Presbyterian Women of Germantown Community Presbyterian Church, 6141 Greene Street, invite you to attend their Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 12, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The bazaar will feature many great values for gift-giving. Fried chicken dinners will be served in the Holiday Café for $9-10. Space rental for vendors is $20. For more information and vendor requests, please call the church office at 215-438-0500 and leave a message. 

At Summit

Upcoming events at Summit Presbyterian Church, Westview and Greene streets, include:

Sunday, December 20, 10 a.m.  Come join us on this fourth Sunday in Advent when children and youth of the church will tell the Christmas story in a pageant of drama, music and dance.   There will be a coffee hour after the service.

The Christmas Eve Service will be held Thursday, December 24, at 7:30 p.m.  It will be a service of lessons, carols and a Christmas reflection.  We’ll light candles during “Silent Night” and end on a joyful note. There will be a festive coffee hour after the service.

For more information call 215-438-2825 or visit

At St. Paul’s

 If you enjoy Christmas music, come to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Chestnut Hill, 22 East Chestnut Hill Avenue, on Sunday, December 13 at 5 p.m., when the Choir of Saint Paul’s Church will sing its annual Candlelight Carol Service. This event is open to the public, and a free will offering will be taken during the service to support special musical events. A reception will follow in the Parish Hall.

Begun in 1981 by Richard Alexander, the Annual Carol Service is a holiday tradition both for St. Paul’s parishioners and the wider community. The choir will offer music by Boris Ord, Meteo Flecha, Andrew Carter, Franz Biebl, and William Mathias. In addition, the choir and brass will perform Daniel Pinkham’s famous Christmas Cantata. Families and children of all ages are welcome. For information, call the church office at 215-242-2055 or visit

Residents to be Rewarded for Recycling

Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced the launch of the Philadelphia Recycling Rewards program in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood of North Philadelphia, the first region to participate in the program that will be citywide by the summer of 2010. Philadelphia Recycling Rewards is a partnership between the Streets Department and RecycleBank.  Philadelphia Recycling Rewards allows residents with City-provided recycling collection to earn points that can be redeemed through RecycleBank for discounts, full-value gift cards or charitable contributions at hundreds of participating local and national merchants and non-profits.  


“I am thrilled to announce Philadelphia Recycling Rewards, a partnership with Philadelphia founded RecyleBank.  Recycling has become a way of life in Philadelphia, but there is more to be done.  With the opportunity to get rewarded, I expect every Philadelphian to join their neighbors in recycling.” said Mayor Nutter.  

Philadelphia is now the largest city in the United States to reward residents for their recycling efforts.  RecycleBank’s partnerships with cities have proven to increase the amount of recyclable materials collected and aid the local economy when rewards are redeemed at local merchants.  

The program is anticipated to bring the City’s recycling diversion rate - the amount of recyclable materials that are diverted away from landfills - to record levels.   Every ton of waste diverted from landfills saves the city about $65.  The program is pay for performance and shares the savings for additional tons of recycling collected above and beyond current levels.          

“Philadelphia took the initiative in 2005 to be the first City to pilot our service and since then we have grown to service millions of people in over 20 states and the UK. We are proud and excited to have the opportunity to continue to service the City of Philadelphia.” said Ron Gonen, CEO and co-founder of RecycleBank. “We look forward to helping the City of Philadelphia become a model of urban environmental management.”

The Philadelphia Recycling Rewards program will aid in continuing to improve the City’s steadily growing recycling and diversion rates.  “The Streets Department is proud to bring Philadelphia Recycling Rewards to city residents.” Streets Commissioner Clarena I.W. Tolson said. 

Rina Cutler, Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities noted, “This program not only makes the City greener by increasing recycling rates and saving the City from costly landfill fees; it puts more green in the pockets of local residents by giving them points redeemable at local businesses.”

Philadelphia Recycling Rewards is the city’s biggest Greenworks initiative to date in helping the City reach its goal of becoming the Greenest City in America,

Greenworks Philadelphia sets out ambitious recycling goals including a 20 percent diversion rate by 2011 and 25 percent by 2015.

Philadelphia Recycling Rewards will be rolled out monthly over six months based on sanitation service areas. City residents will be notified when Philadelphia Recycling Rewards will launch in their neighborhood. The roll-out schedule is July, 2010, for Northwest Philadelphia.

For more information, visit or call 888-769-7960.


Dr. John Kaufmann

The Rev. Dr. John A. Kaufmann, who for 44 years served The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) as registrar, keeping track of seminarians and their records of academic and personal progress from 1944 to 1990, died December 5 at age 89. He resided on the seminary campus in Mt. Airy.

Until illness recently slowed him down, John Augustus Kaufmann could still be found most days in his office on the third floor of the seminary’s Hagan Administration Building, fulfilling special assignments for seminary President Philip D. W. Krey. A graduate of Lehigh University (B.A. History 1941 Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and LTSP (1944), Dr. Kaufmann observed the 65th anniversary of his ordination in May 2009.  Remembering Dr. Kaufmann, President Krey noted, “At the beginning of my presidency, John asked if he could continue his service and made a pledge that he never broke.  ‘I will speak my mind in the privacy of your office, and even work you over,’ he told me, ‘but once you make a decision, I will never contradict you in public.’  His advice was indispensable and not once did he break his pledge.  We have lost a great friend.”

While his official title was Registrar, for many of his 44 years at LTSP Dr. Kaufmann fulfilled a wide variety of “other” duties. He oversaw the refectory food service. He managed buildings and grounds maintenance including construction and repair projects. He served as treasurer. He handled public relations and held the post of bursar – filling an accounting role, processing bills, managing payroll records and tax forms. For many years he handled admissions as well. After retirement, Dr. Kaufmann remained involved in the work of the seminary, providing invaluable and trusted guidance and counsel to the school.

Arrangements for a private funeral will be made by the Ruth Jacob Funeral Home of Chestnut Hill, and, at Dr. Kaufmann’s request, a memorial service will be scheduled at the Chapel of The Lutheran Theological Seminary.  Memorial gifts may be made for the John A. Kaufmann Enrollment Services Center at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19119, or online at

Gift Calendars Support MALT

Mt. Airy desk calendars are now available at The Photo Workshop, 8011 Germantown Avenue. Each month features a different photo of Mt. Airy. MALT received a total of 49 entries and the final 12 images were chosen by local photographers Nick Kelsh, Ron Tarver, and Nicki Toizer. They include pictures taken by Sol and Judy Levy, Melvin Chappell, Barbara Bloom, Annette Aloe, and John Barone.

Sales of these calendars will benefit the Make This Our Home fund for Mt. Airy Learning Tree to buy the building at Greene and Hortter. Calendars cost $14.95/each or $11.95/each (2-9 copies) or $10.95/each for 10 or more copies. You can also order calendars online at These make great stocking stuffers, too!

Don’t Toss Your Tree – Recycle

Streets Commissioner Clarena I.W. Tolson has announced that the Residential Christmas Tree Recycling Program will run from Saturday, Jan. 9 - 16. The program was developed by the Streets Department’s Sanitation Division to provide citizens with an environmentally safe alternative for the disposal of used trees.

Citizens who wish to drop off their trees for recycling may take it to the Streets Department Sanitation Convenience Centers, 3033 S. 63rd Street, Domino Lane and Umbria Street, and State Road and Ashburner Street, during the one-week program. The centers are open 8 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Tolson urges citizens to follow these tips for a successful recycling program: trees brought to the site for recycling should be free of all decorations and untied. Christmas trees with decorations cannot be recycled and will be placed with rubbish; trees should not be brought to the site in plastic bags.

Christmas trees present a significant seasonal addition to the City’s waste stream.  By recycling them and returning them to the earth, we help to reduce the number of discarded trees that end up in landfills.

There will be no curbside collection of Christmas trees for recycling purposes. Trees left at the curb will be considered as trash and will be picked up on regularly scheduled trash days. Vendors are responsible for making arrangements for the private disposal of their discarded trees.

For information regarding the program, contact the Customer Affairs Unit at 215-686-5560, visit, or call 3-1-1.

Greg Williams would like to extend his thanks to all who came to the First Friday block party/open house at Walk a Crooked Mile Books on Friday, December 4. More than 100 people came by the store to chat, enjoy great food and cocoa, roast marshmallows, watch “The Polar Express” projected on the side of his Ford van and, of course, buy armfuls of books. Two more parties are planned on Friday, December 11 and 18. For more information call 215-242-0854. Walk a Crooked Mile is located in the R7 Mt. Airy Train Station, Gowen Avenue and Devon Street.

Tree Sale

The Wyndmoor Hose Company Annual Christmas Tree Sale has proven to become one of the company’s most successful annual fund raising events. All proceeds benefit Wyndmoor Hose Company. The sale began December 1 and runs through mid-December, 6-9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The lot is at 1043 East Willow Grove Avenue in Wyndmoor. For more information visit

Kwanzaa Ceremony

A Kwanzaa Festival and Workshop will be held Saturday December 26, at the Cecil B. Moore Recreation Center, 22nd and Lehigh Avenue, from noon to 5 p.m. Activities include a candle lighting ceremony, African cuisine, African dance, poetry, and make’em-take’em workshops. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for children under 18, free for children under age 3. For more information call Malika at 215- 849-3184 or Phoenix at 215-739-4646. 

Santa Coming to East Falls

Santa and his helpers are making a pre-Christmas dash to East Falls Saturday, Dec. 12.  Sarah Taylor, chair of the East Falls Community Council Playground Committee, will be welcoming Kris Kringle, the honored guest, at “Breakfast with Santa,” 9 a.m at Falls Presbyterian Church, Vaux Street and Midvale Avenue. Mr. Kringle is eager to help fundraising for a new playground at Inn Yard Park, 4236 Ridge Avenue in East Falls.  The cost to attend is $5 per child, $10 per adult.

Mrs. Taylor, the mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old son, is working with other residents and organizations “to create a sense of community for our children” and to provide a convivial and safe venue for families with young children.  Supporters include East Falls Community Council, East Falls Development Corporation, East Falls Tree Tenders, Friends of Inn Yard Park, Slices Pizza, and local families. Once the Committee has received a grant from a national non-profit organization which funds playground equipment, it will embark on the design process. The final plan will meet Fairmount Park standards with input from local residents.

Enjoy a morning of full of good cheer and help a child-friendly project. Contributions are tax deductible and made be sent to East Falls Community Council Playground Initiative, P.O. Box 12672, Philadelphia, PA 19129.

For information, e-mail Sarah Taylor at

S.P.E.A.K (Staying Positive Equals Healthy Kids) says there is a desperate need for new or used blankets in our homeless community.

Many do not know how it feels to be homeless and worse than that, cold and hungry. With the amount of foreclosures now we can expect to see more families with children on the street this holiday. Sleeping on park benches and in subways may be the only thing they have. SPEAK is asking the community if it is willing to help them with keeping people warm this winter.

Our goal is to collect as many blankets as we can to last though out the winter months. We are asking if you can donate blankets - no cash, blankets only.     They can be new or gently used. Blankets of all sizes are welcome. We also would like to distribute them to the shelters around the city for the people who  take refuge there. 

This outreach Blanket Drive runs from Nov. 1to Jan. 1. If you would like to help, you can drop off you contribution at All and Moore Car Stereo and Alarm Center at 1642 West Hunting Park Avenue, or Vacuum Cleaners of C & R, 2108 Stenton Avenue. For more information visit 

Thank you for your cooperation in helping our homeless community stay warm this winter, and a special thank you to Mt. Airy Presbyterian Church for their support in this drive.

Annual Dickens Christmas Party at Maxwell Mansion

The Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, 200 West Tulpehocken Street, will host its annual Dickens Christmas Party on Saturday, December 12 from 2 to 4:30 p.m.  You won’t see Ebenezer Scrooge, but rather his famed creator. 

“In the tradition of true Victorian hospitality, luscious cookies and Christmas punch will be served in the dining room,” says Diane Richardson, executive director of the 1859 Mansion. Charles Dickens and Louisa May Alcott will read from their works. 

Children can buy items from the gift shop, and an art teacher will help them wrap purchases and make holiday cards.  Guests can enjoy self-guided tours of the Mansion. Tickets are $12 adults, children under 10 free when accompanied by an adult. Call Richardson at 215-438-1861 for reservations and details.

The Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion offers 12 rooms furnished in the Victorian-era taste of its first inhabitants, the Ebenezer Maxwell family who lived in the house from 1859 to 1862 and the Hunter Stevenson family who resided in the house into the twentieth century. 

Many Holiday Events at NW’s Historic Sites

Whether it’s a workshop in arranging holiday greens, a festive tea, traditional carol sing or winter beer festival, there’s something for everyone this December in Historic Germantown - Freedom’s Backyard.   

On Saturday, December 12, 2 – 4:30 p.m., Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, 200 West Tulpehocken Street, hosts a Victorian style afternoon program, with “A Dickens Christmas Party,” complete with book readings, gift-making and holiday refreshments. Visit for fees and details.  

Awbury Arboretum will offer a free Winter Greens Festival on December 12, 2 - 4 p.m., featuring strolls through Awbury’s evergreens, holiday crafts, seasonal sweets and Mexican hot chocolate, spiced with Awbury’s own homegrown dried hot peppers. 

Kids can get dressed up and take a picture with Santa. Mr. Claus will be visiting the Carriage House at Cliveden, 6401 Germantown Avenue (rear) on Saturday, Dec.12 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Decorate your own gingerbread cookies, too. It’s free for all, even those who have been naughty.

On Sunday, Dec. 13, Grumble-thorpe, 5267 Germantown Avenue, hosts a Holiday Party from 4:30 - 7:30 p.m., offering light fare, seasonal cheer, tours by site youth volunteers, and over 300 ornaments and displays made by students in the Grumblethorpe Elementary Education partnership.

Annual Kwaanza activities at the historic Johnson House, 6306 Germantown Avenue, will take place on Dec. 26 and 27 from 2-5 p.m. Call 215-438-1768 for details. 

For information on all holiday events in Historic Germantown, go to or call the Program Office at 215-844-1683.  

JROTC Learns Basics of Flight

A delighted Cadet Vicki Bronzeill after her flight in a small plane.


Germantown High School Communications Academy

Germantown High School offers a program called Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) for its students. JROTC, sponsored by the United States Air Force, is designed to build citizens of character and serve our nation. JROTC presents students with hands-on experiences such as flying airplanes and preparing for competitions.

JROTC cadets participate in the Thanksgiving Parade, color guard events, Back to School Night, Winter and Spring Concerts, the JROTC Jamboree, and the School District of Philadelphia’s Truancy Conferences and Academic Challenges. Cadets also take part in the Drill Competition, which is an event in which all JROTC units in Philadelphia come out to participate in drill team events, color guard, and a one-on-one drill competition known as Knock Out. All JROTC units attend the formal dance called the Military Ball in April. Cadets also sponsor bake sales to raise money for seeds and supplies so they can give back to the school by planting flowers around the building.

Lieutenant Colonel James Bell (New Jersey Air National Guard, retired) teaches a Flight School class that is designed to teach the basics of flying. Students have the opportunity to fly a plane at an airfield in Medford, NJ. If you complete the class successfully you can earn your flying solo wings.

JROTC teaches cadets the three core values of integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all they do. Master Sergeant Chauncey L. Ivey (USAF, retired) believes that if students stick with the program it can be a life-changing experience for them. JROTC does not recruit, but approximately 3 percent of cadets do enter the military.

Cadets believe JROTC is a fun program, and that you can learn a lot from it. As a former cadet myself, I can truly say that JROTC was one of the best activities I participated in at Germantown High School. It changed me as a whole, and changed my attitude toward life itself.

Basketball Tournament

The 20th annual Germantown Community Basketball Tournament (GCT) will take place on Friday, December 11 and Saturday, December 12 on the campus of Germantown Friends School. Girls and boys from GFS, William Penn Charter School, Germantown High School, Bodine High School, and Roxborough High School will compete over the two days of the tournament in hopes of taking home the 2009 GCT Championship.

The Germantown Community Service Award will be presented to Officer Ernest Pollard, supervisor of the Paley Police Athletic League Center. Pollard supervises educational, cultural and athletic activities for hundreds of kids in the neighborhood and acts as a role model and mentor to all. He has been a Philadelphia police officer for 14 years and was a Temple University basketball standout.

The GCT raises funds for the GFS Basketball, Reading and Computer Clinic. Admission, covering up to four games each day, is $3 students, $5 adults. For more information, visit

The schedule is as follows: Friday, December 11 - 3:30p.m., girls, Bodine H.S. vs. Penn Charter; 3:45 p.m., boys, Roxborough H.S. vs. Bodine H.S.; 5:15 p.m., girls, GFS vs. Germantown H.S.; 6:45 p.m., boys, GFS vs. Germantown H.S.

Saturday, December 12 - 12:30 p.m., Girls’ Consolation; 1 p.m., Boys’ Consolation; 2:15 p.m., presentation of the Germantown Community Service Award; 2:30 p.m., Girls’ Championship; 4 p.m., Boys’ Championship; 5:30 p.m., presentation of the All-Tournament Championship Trophy.

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Dozens of local residents sang in the holiday season at William Allen Plaza on the campus of the Lutheran Seminary at Philadelphia on Dec. 4 with a carol sing and tree lighting ceremony, with musical accompaniment provided by the Salvation Army Philadelphia Citadel Brass Ensemble. Many attendees also brought toys to be donated to the Salvation Army’s Stockings for Kids program.

Holiday Sing at

Lutheran Seminary