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Neighborhood Bike Works offers free Spring programs for local youth

Posted on 27 February 2015

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Neighborhood Bike Works (NBW), a great local non-profit teaching youth how to bike safely and how to repair bikes, is offering two FREE entry level after-school programs starting next month. Anyone ages 8 – 18 can join these programs (see more details below). Also, check out NBW’s Summer Cycling Day Camp. Registration for Summer 2015 is not available yet, but you can email camp@neighborhoodbikeworks.org with questions. NBW’s West Philly shop is located at 3916 Locust Walk (behind St. Mary’s Episcopal Church).

Earn A Bike
March 3 – April 16, 2015
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Youth learn the basics of bike repair and maintenance, safe urban riding, and health and nutrition while refurbishing an abandoned bike. Program participants get to keep the bike that they refurbish in the course! For more information and to sign up, click hereContinue Reading

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Two upcoming Purim events at Kol Tzedek

Posted on 26 February 2015

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Kol Tzedek Purim Party. (Photo from Kol-tzedek.org)

The West Philly local synagogue Kol Tzedek will be holding two Purim events this and next week (Saturday, Feb. 28 and Wednesday, March 4). All community members are invited to take part in the celebration (you don’t have to be a member of the synagogue to participate in the events), hear the story of Purim, try delicious hamentashen, watch Purim performances, sing, dance and have fun. Both events draw a crowd of over 100 people, according to Kol Tzedek member and event organizer Rowan Machalow, who sent us this information. Kol Tzedek is located at the Calvary Center (48th St. and Baltimore Ave.). Here’s more information about the events from Kol Tzedek:

Annual Purim Rock Spiel led by Jessi Roemer & the Purim Players
Sat, Feb. 28, 4:15 p.m.

Mi Zeh Ba? Who is that coming? Rock-n-Roll Ahashverosh? Blues-Man Haman? Bassa Nova Esther? Come laugh, sing, dance, and enjoy our fabulous, fun for all ages Purim spiel (play) and celebration! Continue Reading

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Learn more about Walnut Hill neighborhood changes, planning tonight at 6 p.m.

Posted on 26 February 2015

WalnutHilllogoIf you want to participate in the Walnut Hill neighborhood planning, here’s a great chance to learn more and have your say about the planning process. Tonight, from 6 to 8 p.m., come to The Enterprise Center at 4548 Market Street to the first community meeting discussing the update of the Walnut Hill Neighborhood Plan. The meeting will be held in conjunction with the Walnut Hill Community Association’s monthly meeting.

This meeting will allow residents of Walnut Hill (roughly from from Market Street south to Spruce and 45th to 52nd Street) to take an active role in the planning process, as well as provide them with information about changes in the neighborhood that have occurred since the previous plan was written. A short presentation will be given describing demographic changes since the last plan along with existing neighborhood conditions. A timeline outlining the planning process will also be presented.

The meeting is also an opportunity for residents to talk about their neighborhood priorities.

For inquiries related to the Walnut Hill Neighborhood Plan update please contact Daniel Levin, Special Projects Manager at The Enterprise Center CDC: dlevin@theenterprisecenter.com or 215-895-4014.

Also, visit the Walnut Hill Community Association website for more information about the neighborhood.

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Kindergarten Open Houses scheduled for March 4

Posted on 25 February 2015

The year’s first kindergarten open houses will be held next Wednesday, March 4. Here’s a list of West Philly schools located in the zip codes 19104, 19139, and 19143 and their open house hours. The list has been compiled by the West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools. This is a great chance for parents and guardians to visit kindergarten classrooms and meet teachers. The second round of kindergarten open houses will take place in May.

A. D. Harrington School
5300-34 Baltimore Ave
19143
(215) 471-2914
Open House: March 4, 9:09-9:45 a.m. in the Annex building

Alain Locke School
4550 Haverford Ave.
19139
(215) 823-8202
Open House: March 4, 9:30 a.m.

B. B. Comegys School
5100 Greenway Ave.
19143
(215) 727-2162
Open House: March 4, 10:00-10:45 a.m.

Henry C. Lea School
4700 Locust St.
19139
(215) 471-2915
Open House: March 4, 9:00-10:30 a.m.

Martha Washington Academics
766 N. 44th St.
19104
(215) 823-8203
Open House: 3/4, 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Morton McMichael School
3543 Fairmount Ave.
19104
(215) 823-8272
Open House: March 4, 10:30 a.m.

Penn Alexander School
4209 Spruce St.
19104
(215) 823-5465
Open House: March 4, 9:30 a.m.

Samuel Powel School
301 N. 36th St.
19104
(215) 823-8201
Open House: March 4, 9:00 a.m.

Samuel B. Huey School
5200 Pine St.
19143
(215) 471-2901
Open House: March 4, 10:00 a.m.

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Demolition of ice-covered building at 52nd and Locust begins

Posted on 24 February 2015

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Photo by George Bantel (wpre.com).

Demolition of the Locust Medical Center Building on the corner of 52nd and Locust has begun. The building became some sort of a local attraction after it was heavily damaged by a fire and extreme ice build-up during the extinguishing process last week. The Department of Licenses and Inspections ordered the demolition because of the structural damage caused by the fire and the weight of the ice (inside and outside).

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The Locust Medical Center building before demolition. (Photos by Lady Merlin)

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Meet local business owners tonight at Dock Street

Posted on 23 February 2015

The Baltimore Avenue Business Association (BABA) is inviting neighbors to Dock Street Brewery (50th and Baltimore) tonight, from 6 to 8 p.m. for a meet and greet with local business owners. The event will include food (pizza and snacks), beer, fun, networking, and door prizes (see flier below).

BABA is a member organization that promotes and supports businesses along the Baltimore Avenue corridor. Check its website (babawestphilly.org) for more information.

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SRC approves Independence Charter School West, four others

Posted on 19 February 2015

Independence Charter School West was one of five new charter schools approved last night amid a raucous School Reform Commission meeting.

Under its newly granted charter, the school will open in 2016 to K-4 students and will be located in the 19142 zip code in Southwest Philly. The school “will recruit 50 percent of its students from within zip codes 19143 [which includes Cedar Park and Kingsessing] and 19139 [including Walnut Hill], and 50 percent from other parts of the city,” according to its application filed with the district. Another revision to the application caps the total number of students at 300 in the school’s first year.

Independence, like the other charter operators approved on Wednesday, already runs at least one school in the city. The others approved include schools proposed by Mastery, KIPP, Freire and MaSTContinue Reading

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Latest Crime Reports: Police looking for three serial robbers; Burglary arrest

Posted on 19 February 2015

Police are looking for three men between 18 and 20 years old who they say have been involved in at least four robberies in West Philly over the last two weeks. The first robbery took place on Feb. 8 near 38th and Baring in Mantua, according to police, when the suspects robbed a pizza delivery man at gunpoint. An undisclosed amount of cash was taken in that robbery. Police say the same three men used a gun to rob a 27-year-old woman near her apartment entrance at 44th and Pine on Feb. 12. They reportedly took the woman’s phone and purse.

The third robbery took place in Powelton Village, near 31st and Hamilton on Sunday, when the men robbed a 20-year-old woman, also at gunpoint, near her apartment, according to police.

The latest robbery happened on Monday, Feb. 16, when the suspects responded to a Craigslist ad by a person who was selling a paintball gun. The seller brought the paintball gun to a location near 41st and Spring Garden where he was robbed at gunpoint by the same three men, according to police. They reportedly took the man’s laptop and cell phone.  Continue Reading

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Ice covered building at 52nd and Locust to be demolished

Posted on 19 February 2015

frozen buildingThe three-story Locust Medical Center building at 52nd and Locust, which is covered with a thick layer of ice after an early Monday morning fire that was put out in freezing temperatures, is going to be demolished, according to reports. The authorities announced on Tuesday that the building may collapse at any moment, and the streets around the building have been closed all week. It is not yet know when the demolition will start.

The Fire Marshal is expected to release information on the cause of the fire soon.

 

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UCAL presents ‘Art in the Open’ at the gallery and ‘Ci-Lines’ at historic St. Andrews Chapel

Posted on 18 February 2015

The University City Arts League (UCAL) is preparing for two big weekends as it will be opening two concurrent exhibitions. “Art in the Open,” a group show of eight multidisciplinary artists will open at noon this Friday at the UCAL Gallery (4226 Spruce St), and New York artist Aaron Asis will present “Ci-Lines,” a pop-up satellite installation across the street at the historic St. Andrew’s Collegiate Chapel (42nd and Spruce, entrance at 42nd and Locust) starting next Saturday, Feb. 28. This will be a rare opportunity to get inside St. Andrew’s.

Artintheopen“Art in the Open” is part of an annual event series. Over the course of four days in May 2014, thirty artists created art inspired by the landscape along Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River. Materials used to create their works along the River Walk include sound, spray paint, string and electrical tape. The UCAL gallery will host eight of the artists participating in the program: Noemi Armstrong, Aaron Asis, Lewis Colburn, Heejin Jang, Tom Judd, Eun Hye Kang, Tyler Kline, and Mat Tomezsko. The featured artists hail from as far as South Korea and as near as Philadelphia. This event will be the second of three parts of the “Art in the Open” series. The opening reception will take place this Friday (Feb. 20) from 6-8 p.m. The exhibit will be available for public viewing from February 20 until March 20, from noon to 6 p.m.  Continue Reading

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Fears that frozen building at 52nd and Locust may collapse

Posted on 17 February 2015

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People gathered to take pictures throughout the day on Tuesday of the building burned in a fire early Monday morning at 52nd and Locust. Fearing that the building may collapse, police closed nearby streets.

Streets around the burned out building at 52nd and Locust have been closed out of fear that the building, which is sheathed in a thick layer of ice, may collapse.

Police have blocked 52nd Street between Spruce and Walnut, Locust Street near the building and some smaller side streets. The building has become somewhat of a local attraction with people filing by on the closed streets to take photos of structure and television news crews posting nearby on Tuesday.

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Final word on new charter schools set for this Wednesday

Posted on 17 February 2015

The School Reform Commission is set to make decisions on 39 charter school applications during a special meeting scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

This is the final step in an application process that included public testimony and comment. This is the first time in seven years that the School District of Philadelphia has considered adding charter schools to go along with the 86 brick-and-mortar charters already operating.

The proposed schools would add some 15,000 charter school seats and cost the district hundreds of millions of dollars.

Charter school opponents like the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools argue that the district should invest money in existing public schools.

The Philadelphia School Partnerships, a pro-charter philanthropic group that includes Drexel University president John Fry on its board, offered $25 million to the district earlier this month to help offset the costs of adding new charters and another $10 million to improve existing district schools.

Republican legislators are also pushing for new charters in the city, The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting.

A list of the proposed schools along with detailed applications are available on the district website. A dozen schools are proposed around West Philadelphia. Charter application evaluation reports are available here.

Wednesday’s meeting will likely be live streamed here.

Mike Lyons

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Schools closed Tuesday; SEPTA service changes due to snow (updated)

Posted on 17 February 2015

As snow continues falling in Philadelphia, the School District of Philadelphia has announced that all public schools and prekindergarten programs will be closed today due to inclement weather. All Archdiocesan schools are also closed. Please go here for more information on other school closings.

SEPTA announced the following service changes in the area due to cold weather and icy road conditions.

Regional Rail: All SEPTA Regional Rail lines may experience delays of up to 20 minutes due to weather conditions.

Customized Community Transportation (CCT): Service is operating with delays of up to 60 minutes due to weather conditions. Customers should call the CCT Control Center at 215-580-7720 to cancel trips if they don’t plan to ride or to inquire about pending “Same Day” trips.

Market-Frankford Line: All trains are making all station stops due to extremely cold weather. There is no A/B express service for passenger convenience.

 

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Fire turns into ice on 52nd St near Locust

Posted on 16 February 2015

As was reported earlier today, flames engulfed the Locust Medical Center building at the corner of 52nd and Locust Streets early this morning, shortly before 5 a.m. Fire crews had to battle the fire and tough weather conditions – strong wind and extremely low temperatures. The fire was put out around 6:30 a.m., but due to freezing temperatures the water quickly turned into ice. (Photos by @nazerbangs).

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Locust Medical Center last year (Google Street View).

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Presidents Day closings, schedule changes

Posted on 16 February 2015

Here are a few important Presidents Day reminders.

 City offices, public schools and libraries are closed today and will reopen on Tuesday.

 Post offices are closed, and there will be no mail delivery today.

 There will be no trash and recycling collection today. Please set out your trash on Tuesday at your regular location. Collections will be one day behind for the remainder of the week.

 SEPTA trolleys and buses are operating on a modified weekday schedule (click here for more information).

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Early morning fire near 52nd and Locust (updated)

Posted on 16 February 2015

Fire crews were battling an intense fire early Monday morning inside the three-story Locust Medical Center building located at 249 S. 52nd Street (see video below). The fire broke out around 4:45 a.m. and was brought under control around 6:30 a.m., according to reports. The building reportedly houses a pharmacy and several doctors’ offices. No injuries have been reported. The cause of the fire is currently unknown.

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Pizza deliveryman shot by police in Cedar Park files suit against city

Posted on 13 February 2015

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Philippe Holland

The 20-year-old pizza deliveryman who was shot several times last April by plain-clothes cops who thought he was trying to run them over near 51st and Willows in the Cedar Park neighborhood is suing the city.

The officers reportedly approached Philippe Holland, who had just finished a delivery, on the sidewalk with their guns drawn. They were searching for a suspect in an earlier shooting. Holland contends that 18th District officers Mitchell Farrell and Kevin Hanvey approached him as he was getting into his car and that he thought they were robbers. Farrell and Hanvey opened fire as he tried to drive away. Holland was struck in the head, neck and leg.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey apologized to Holland soon after the shooting. West Philly residents raised money for Holland’s medical expenses and more than 100 signed a petition asking that the results of the investigation be made public. It was hoped that the shooting might prompt more transparency in police shootings, which spiked in 2012 and prompted Ramsey to request a federal review of the department.

One result has been the posting of some information from officer-involved shootings online.

Here is what the posting on that site says about the Holland case:

PS#14-15

04/22/14 On Tuesday, April 22, 2014, at approximately 9:56 P.M., two on-duty officers in an unmarked vehicle and in civilian attire heard gunshots in the area of 51st street and Baltimore Avenue. While surveying the area, the officers observed a male walking south on 51st street toward Willows Avenue, with his hands inside his pockets. The officers identified themselves as police officers and ordered the male to stop. The offender opened and entered the front passenger door of a Ford Taurus that was parked in the 5100 block of Willows Avenue. The offender positioned himself in the driver’s seat and drove the vehicle initially in reverse, and then forward toward the officers. In response, both officers discharged their firearms, striking the offender. The offender was transported to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for treatment. There were no other injuries as a result of this incident. No weapon was recovered.

Mike Lyons

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Valentine’s Weekend happenings (updated)

Posted on 13 February 2015

sweethearts-candy-Valentine’s Day is almost here, and many of our readers will be looking for something to do with their special someones. Check our round up of some of local happenings and events this weekend, for kids and adults alike, and please don’t forget that we have some great restaurants and bars in our area (many of them will be having Valentine’s Day specials and treats tomorrow).

We’ll start with a few reminders.

A Valentine’s Day Dance Party/Fundraiser will be held at 8 Limbs Academy (4542 Baltimore Ave, 2nd floor) on Saturday, beginning at 9 p.m. and featuring 90’s dance jams, ice cream, doughnuts, minigolf, and 8 Limbs t-shirts for sale. Atom and His Package, Everything Sux and The Ramonas will perform. Suggested donation is $5-$15. For more information visit: www.8limbsacademy.com.

If you have any Curio Theatre preview show tickets, here’s a great chance to use them. Othello officially opens at the popular neighborhood theater next Friday, but preview shows are presented this week and early next week. There are preview shows this Friday and Saturday, at 8 p.m. For more information and to buy tickets, go here. And please get there on time – there is no late seating for this production.  Continue Reading

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2-year-old boy struck, killed by SEPTA trolley at 51st and Lancaster (updated)

Posted on 12 February 2015

We’re very sad to report that a two-year-old boy was struck and killed by a SEPTA trolley this afternoon. The incident happened at around 1 p.m. at the intersection of 51st and Lancaster and the Route 10 trolley was involved, according to various reports. The child was pronounced dead at the scene.

The boy was reportedly with his family and ran in front of the trolley. Witnesses told police that the child’s family moved to the block just a few weeks ago.

SEPTA officials said that they’re also investigating the accident.

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