Wait, can I take NyQuil with my meds? USciences students will help with answers at Clark Park

Posted on 24 February 2017

Photo courtesy of USciences.

University of the Sciences students will be at Clark Park Farmers’ Market every Saturday through March 11 to talk about some important health-related issues with community members.

A group of USciences pharmacy students are volunteering to staff a table during the market hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to raise awareness about the importance of prescription medication adherence as part of the Script Your Future campaign.

Students and faculty members will be available to talk to residents about why it is important to take medications properly and discuss the risks of medication nonadherence. The team will also work with individuals to determine the best way to prevent dangerous interactions with prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.

Students are encouraging residents to “Take the Pledge” to take medications properly. For more information, find USciences Script Your Future on Facebook or read about the campaign on their website.

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Annual Neighborhood Social to raise money for restorations at St. Francis de Sales

Posted on 24 February 2017

West Philly’s architectural gem, St. Francis de Sales church, has been going on some extensive restoration in the past several years. Next week, there is a chance to contribute to the church restoration fund in a fun and delicious way. The annual neighborhood social, “Some Enchanted Evening,” will take place at the parish (4625 Springfield Ave.) on Saturday, March 4, and will feature a live, 10-piece band, dinner catered by the Gold Standard Cafe, and open bar on wine and beer. The St. Francis de Sales hall will be transformed into a magical space for the evening.

Tickets are $45 and include dinner and unlimited wine and beer (bring an extra $5 for the liquor bar).

Please note that this is a non-religious event, and everyone is welcome. Doors open at 7 p.m.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go here.

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Philadelphia energy company offers a cleaner way (Sponsored)

Posted on 24 February 2017

The Power Smoothie from Inspire on Vimeo.

It’s time you changed the power status quo

Do you think about where your power is coming from when you flip a switch? While the source of power going to your neighborhood may be far away, its effects hit very close to home. Unless you generate it yourself, your home uses the power supplied through a municipal grid. It gets energy from a variety of sources, both clean and dirty. In Pennsylvania, the grid is dirty since its main source of energy is comprised of coal.

Guess what? It doesn’t have to be that way. You have the power to switch up the source of power in the grid, simply by paying your monthly electricity bill.  Continue Reading

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West Philly High student acquitted of classmate’s murder

Posted on 23 February 2017

A former West Philly High School student was found not guilty on Wednesday of the murder of a classmate near the 46th Street El stop in January 2015.

Xavier Beemon, who was 14 at the time, admitted to stabbing Nafis O’Neal, also 14, with a pocketknife during an after-school altercation, but said it was self defense. A jury agreed and after seven hours of deliberation acquitted Beemon on all charges, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

Beemon was considerably smaller than O’Neal, who was a popular basketball and football player, according to testimony. Beemon, who moved to West Philly from Alabama in 2011, said he was so fearful of life in Philadelphia that he began hiding a pocketknife near school that he would carry home for protection. O’Neal approached Beemon after school and a scuffle ensued. Beemon said he swung the knife around and stabbed O’Neal once in the chest.

O’Neal was pronounced dead at the scene.

“I didn’t aim at his chest,” The Inquirer reported Beemon saying during testimony. “I just swung and it happened I hit his chest.”

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Garden Court Plaza’s Dreaming Tree Music changes name, moves to 42nd and Chestnut

Posted on 23 February 2017

Some of you may be wondering what happened to the businesses that used to occupy the ground floor of Garden Court Plaza at 47th and Pine. The ground-floor retail space is currently closed for renovation, and after its completion, some of the old businesses are not coming back, including Take the Lead Dance Studio and Dreaming Tree Music. The building’s new owners, The Post Brothers, said last year that they were looking into bringing some new businesses into the building, including ReAnimator Coffee (stay tuned for more information about these plans).

Inner Rhythms Music and Therapy Center’s space at 42nd and Chestnut (Facebook photo).

Here’s some good news though about Dreaming Tree Music. As of mid-January the studio has new space in West Philly – at 4145 Chestnut Street (2nd Floor) – and has reopened under a new name – Inner Rhythms Music and Therapy Center.

“In December we closed Dreaming Tree Music, hoping to find a new home. We are now excited to announce the opening of Inner Rhythms Music and Therapy Center – a new name, but our mission remains the same,” reads a message recently posted on Inner Rhythms’ Facebook page.  Continue Reading

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Free public forum on Islamophobia this Thursday at Penn Museum

Posted on 22 February 2017

Reza Aslan

Internationally renowned Iranian-American writer and religious scholar Reza Aslan will address racism and discrimination against Muslim people in America during a talk on Thursday, Feb. 23. The talk is part of the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts & Sciences’ Levin Family Dean’s public forum, “Fear Inc.: Confronting Islamophobia in America,” which will be held at the Penn Museum.

The forum is free and open to the public.

Since West Philadelphia is home to thousands of Muslims people, this forum is a great opportunity to learn more about this religion and misconceptions about it, in order to understand better our Muslim neighbors.  Continue Reading

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Refugees are welcome here: West Philly neighbors step up for a family in need

Posted on 20 February 2017

Paige Whiting and “Amina” embrace on the porch of Whiting’s home on the 5300 block of Pine St. (Photo by West Philly Local).


Editor’s note: The woman who is the subject of this story asked that we not use her name or show her face in a photo. We honored that request and so we have used the pseudonym “Amina” throughout the story.

Paige Whiting was at Malcolm X. Park a couple of blocks from her home on the 5300 block of Pine Street last fall when she first met Amina, who was at the park with her three children. Their friendship grew to include meetings at one of the many mom groups in the neighborhood. Amina made friends quickly and worked on her English. A refugee from Afghanistan, she and her family had only been in the United States since September.

“I’m so lucky to find these friends,” Amina said, sitting on a couch on the second floor of Paige’s home.  Continue Reading

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West Philly Community Rally and Strike (photos)

Posted on 17 February 2017

A West Philadelphia Community Rally and Strike took place this afternoon in solidarity with the nationwide general strike. West Philly residents, adults and children alike, and many business owners gathered at noon in Clark Park to protest the current administration and to celebrate the diversity in the city.

Some photos from the rally and from around the neighborhood are below, courtesy of Hanbit’s Contemplative Imaging. For more photos, go to Hanbit’s Facebook page.

Continue Reading

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New group, Friends of Kingsessing, to hold first service event this month

Posted on 17 February 2017

Neighbors now have a chance to get more involved with Kingsessing Recreation Center (5001 Kingsessing Ave.). A new official program within the center, Friends of Kingsessing, has recently been formed and their first official service event is being planned for next week.

The program is seeking volunteers to come out on Saturday, Feb. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to help paint the front offices and basement, along with a few light maintenance tasks around the building.

Future events will be held on a monthly basis (no-commitment is needed), dates TBA, and future projects will be based on the input from and skills of the volunteers who participate.

“The Advisory Council, the Rec center, and the community would be very grateful if you can make it to this event, as volunteers truly make this facility function,” reads a message on the group’s Facebook page. “Pass the word around and invite your friends to come too, the more help, the better!”

Neighbors interested participating in the event can RSVP to Will Tung at: or through Facebook. Coffee, water and snacks will be provided!

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West Philly Community Strike and Rally planned for Friday in solidarity with general strike (updated)

Posted on 16 February 2017

West Philly Strike and Rally flyer.

In an effort to provide an opportunity for West Philly residents and businesses to protest the decisions by the current administration and to show solidarity with the general strike that is taking place across the country, a West Philadelphia Community Strike and Rally is being planned for Friday, Feb. 17.

Neighbors and businesses in West Philly will be gathering for a rally in Clark Park from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. the rally that will include interactive work by Theater of the Oppressed, puppets from Spiral Q, and a speaker from local activist organization West Philly Forward Together. Participating local businesses will be closing their doors from 12 – 2:00 p.m., if not for the entire day, according to event organizers, local activists Thomas Morello and Jessica St. Jacobs.

“Another aspect of this event’s purpose is in the location, as travel to Center City presents a barrier to some members of our community and does not highlight and empower our specific neighborhood as such,” Morello wrote in an e-mail.  Continue Reading

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Greensgrow offering small community beautification grants

Posted on 15 February 2017

Here’s a chance for West Philly community members who want to beautify their neighborhood to get some financial help. Greensgrow Farms, which recently opened a larger and more permanent West Philly location at 5123 Baltimore Ave., is offering small grants to individuals or organizations in the area for projects that will:

• Improve neighborhood public spaces;
• Beautify the community;
• Nurture a shared sense of neighborhood identity and community pride

The grants are being offered as part of Mary’s Community Fund, a legacy project to continue the life and work of Mary Seton Corboy, the founder of Greensgrow and a supporter of a greener Philadelphia.

Each applicant group must represent a specific neighborhood or organization and may request up to $1000 in direct grant support towards the project budget. Applications are due on March 11, 2017. Grantees will be announced at Greensgrow’s 20th Anniversary Opening Event on March 25.

The application form as well as more information about eligibility, funding guidelines, and project ideas can be found here.

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SEPTA expands Key Fare program (but you need to purchase a TransPass)

Posted on 13 February 2017

SEPTA is expanding its Key Fare program to more transit locations. Starting Thursday, Feb. 9, customers can get a new Key Card at 69th Street Transportation Center with the purchase of a Weekly/Monthly Transpass, Convenience Pass, or when they load funds to a Travel Wallet.

Beginning Monday, Feb. 13, and continuing throughout February and early March, Fare Kiosks will be activated at all Market-Frankford Line and Broad Street Line stations, and all major bus loops. Key Cards will be available with the purchase of Weekly and Monthly TransPasses, and then reloadable for all passes and the Travel Wallet.

Fare Kiosks will be activated on the Market-Frankford Line in West Philly on the following dates:

• Thursday, Feb. 16: 30th St., 34th St., 40th St., 46th St.
• Friday, Feb. 17: 52nd St., 56th St., 60th St., 63rd St.  Continue Reading

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Funeral services for UC Green’s Winnie Harris, murdered last week, set for Monday, Feb. 13

Posted on 10 February 2017

Funeral services for beloved West Philly community activist and acting executive director of UC Green, Winnie Harris, who was found shot to death in her Powelton home last Friday, will take place Monday, Feb. 13.

The funeral will be at the Christ Community Church of Philadelphia (4017 Chestnut St.), beginning at 10 a.m. A closed casket Memorial Hour will begin at 9 a.m. Burial will be at the West Laurel Hill Cemetery, 215 Belmont Avenue, in Bala Cynwyd, followed by a reception for family and friends.

A number of community organizations where Harris, a longtime Powelton resident and green space advocate, has been involved with posted their messages grieving her tragic death.  Continue Reading

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SRC approves KIPP Parkside charter school

Posted on 09 February 2017

The School Reform Commission on Wednesday approved a new charter school to be located in the Parkside neighborhood in West Philadelphia. KIPP Parkside is scheduled to open during the 2019-2020 academic year with grades K-4.

The school’s opening was one of the stipulations the SRC placed on the approval. The school’s application proposed opening in the 2018-2019 school year. The SRC also limited the school to grades K-4, adding that it could expand to the proposed K-8 if it performed well.

KIPP Parkside garnered unanimous approval from the SRC, which denied the applications of two other schools – the Friendship Whittier Charter School in the West Allegheny neighborhood and the Deep Roots Charter School in Harrowgate. Only three proposals made it through the full process this year. The evaluation reports for all three proposed schools are available here.

About a third of Philadelphia’s approximately 130,000 public school students attend charter schools, second only to Detroit among big cities.

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Curio staging of Waiting for Godot opens Friday

Posted on 09 February 2017

Cast members Brian McCann and Paul Kuhn (Photo by Rebecca Gudelunas).

The Curio Theatre Company’s production of the Samuel Beckett classic Waiting for Godot premieres Friday night.

The play features two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, waiting along a country road for someone named Godot, who never arrives. The two engage in a number of comically absurd discussions and encounter others along the road. The British Royal National Theater named the play the most significant English play of the 20th century.

The Curio performance features Brian McCann, Paul Kuhn, Robert DaPonte and Harry Slack. The director is Dan Hodge, who guided the 2016 Curio staging of Death of a Salesman.

A second preview performance is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 9, and the play opens on Feb. 10 and runs through March. All performances begin at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are available here.

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Snow emergency to begin at 12:01 a.m. Thursday due to approaching storm (Update: public, parochial schools to be closed Thursday)

Posted on 08 February 2017

UPDATE (Feb. 9, 1:30 p.m.): The Snow Emergency for Philadelphia was lifted at noon on Thursday. Parking is now allowed along snow emergency routes.

A winter storm is approaching the region (6 to 10 inches of snow is expected in the area on Thursday, Feb. 9), and the city announced that a Snow Emergency will be declared beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.

All parked cars must be moved off Snow Emergency routes to allow plowing vehicles to pass. When moving your car, park as far from the corner of the street as possible; vehicles parked too close to the corner get in the way of snow plows trying to turn corners.

Here is information on snow emergency routes, including in West Philadelphia.

Cars left on Snow Emergency routes will be moved to other parking spots to assist in snow plowing operations. If your car is moved, call 215-686-SNOW to find it (please don’t call 911).  Continue Reading

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Free community tax filing sites are now open in West/Southwest Philadelphia

Posted on 08 February 2017

Click to enlarge

Campaign for Working Families has again opened sites across the city, where volunteers are helping qualified individuals and families to prepare and file their taxes. Free tax preparation services are being offered to families with incomes less than $54,000 and individuals with incomes less than $20,000.

The following tax preparation sites are currently operating in West and Southwest Philadelphia:

Ebenezer Church

5649 Christian St.
Mon. & Tues. – 12-6:30 p.m.
Weds. & Thurs. – 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Sat – 9 a.m.-3 p.m.


59 N. 60th street
Tues. & Thurs. – 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sat. – 9 a.m.-1 p.m.  Continue Reading

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West Philadelphia Skills Initiative offering security officer training – job interview guaranteed

Posted on 07 February 2017

The West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, the program of the University City District that connects West Philly employers seeking talent with West Philadelphians looking for opportunity, is currently recruiting residents for a training program with Allied Universal, one of the largest providers of security services in North America.

The program is seeking applicants who possess a high school diploma or GED, are currently unemployed, and live in the zip codes of 19104, 19131, 19139, 19143, or 19151. Applicants should have experience working in security, customer service, or related fields.

Program graduates are guaranteed an interview with Allied Universal. The participants will receive a performance-based stipend during the training and will learn the skills needed to successfully connect to employment and a fulfilling career path.  Continue Reading

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Three proposed charter schools, including one in Parkside, up for vote tomorrow

Posted on 07 February 2017

The School Reform Commission is scheduled to vote on three proposed charter schools, including one in West Philly, during a special meeting this Wednesday (Feb. 8) beginning at 4 p.m. at the auditorium at the school district offices at 440 N. Broad Street.

The meeting is the final step in the charter review process. The three proposed schools include KIPP Parkside that would be located in the West Parkside neighborhood. Under the proposal, which can be found here, the new school would open for the 2018-2019 school year and have a projected enrollment of 860 students by 2022. The district had several questions about the fee structure that KIPP, which runs four other charters in the city, set up for the school, according to an evaluation report released last month.  Continue Reading

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