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Green Line Cafe to take over Lovers and Madmen Coffee at 40th and Ludlow

Posted on 17 December 2014

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Lovers and Madmen Coffee at 28 S. 40th St.  (Facebook photo).

The Green Line Cafe announced today that it will soon be taking over Lovers and Madmen Coffee at the corner of 40th and Ludlow. The new shop is expected to be fully operational by January 15, 2015, according to an announcement on Green Line’s website.

Green Line will be rebranding the shop, which will offer a mix of fair trade coffee and teas along with their signature foods. “…We hope to continue the vision of a welcoming neighborhood coffee shop that Lover’s and Madmen established so nicely,” the announcement reads.

Lovers and Madmen Coffee has been in operation since early 2009 and was popular with students due to its proximity to Penn’s campus.

This will be Green Line’s fourth location in West Philadelphia, adding to the shops at 43rd and Baltimore, 45th and Locust, and 38th and Lancaster.

Green Line also announced today that they are closing their only Center City location at 15th and Moravian due to new plans for the building, which recently was sold. Currently, Green Line owners, Douglas Witmer and Daniel Thut, are exploring a potential new location in Center City.

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Community garden or housing? Meeting Thursday on the fate of the Wiota Street Garden

Posted on 17 December 2014

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A sign erected this fall at the Wiota Street Garden aimed at Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell underscores the campaign to preserve the garden, which developers are eyeing.

A meeting will be held Thursday to discuss the controversial proposal to build housing on the site of the Wiota Street Garden, a neighborhood fixture for 30 years that highlights the tenuous existence of the hundreds of community gardens in the city.

The Redevelopment Authority of Philadelphia, the city agency tasked with connecting private investors to developable plots, owns the 1,100-square-foot parcel in the West Powelton neighborhood. The plot, which is zoned for residential development, has been an active community garden, hosting a weekly farmers’ market and providing produce to local residents and food banks. But the proposed construction of a 12-unit residential structure would spell the end of the garden.

Construction is underway on a number of similar housing units, many aimed at students, in the immediate vicinity around the community garden. Supporters of the garden have been pushing to have the plot protected as part of the Neighborhood Gardens Trust.

That’s what Thursday’s meeting is all about. The ultimate arbiter of the parcel’s fate, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, will be at the meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. at 4001 Baring St. The Redevelopment Authority has reportedly deferred any decision to Blackwell.

Using the Wiota Street Garden as her main example, The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Inga Saffron distills the “gardens or housing” dilemma facing many developing neighborhoods here.

Mike Lyons

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Jolly Trolley spotted!

Posted on 16 December 2014

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A reader spotted this decorated “Jolly Trolley” recently. Read more about SEPTA’s jolly trolleys here.

Instagram photo by Benjamin White.

 

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Learn about new development projects at Spruce Hill Zoning meeting on Wednesday

Posted on 16 December 2014

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Former Transition to Independent Living facility at 46th and Spruce.

Community members are invited to discuss new development projects in the Spruce Hill Neighborhood area at an upcoming Spruce Hill Community Association zoning committee meeting this Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Two development projects are at the focus of Wednesday’s meeting:

1) A proposed six unit development at 100-02 Ludlow Street. The project was discussed at an earlier zoning committee meeting and the committee asked for some additional specifics. The property owners are following the procedure for RCO (recognized community organizations) notification.

2) The proposed development to replace the former Transition to Independent Living facility at 4536 Spruce St. This will be a second meeting with the developers to examine updated drawings and plans. The attendees will also hear a report from discussions between the developers and the owner of the adjacent property on 46th Street, according to zoning committee chair Barry Grossbach.

The Mission First Housing Group proposed a four-story affordable housing building at the southeast corner of 46th and Spruce, where the former Transition to Independent Living Center building is located (pictured). The building was damaged in a fire in 2011 and since then has been shuttered and slowly deteriorating.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. at the Spruce Hill Center (257 S. 45th St).

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Man whose body was found in Cedar Park in November identified; family raising funds for funeral costs

Posted on 16 December 2014

UPDATE: A neighbor has notified us to say that Adon Everett’s family is having trouble getting an insurance company to honor his policy. A former EMT, he recently moved to the neighborhood to be close to family members, according to a GoFundMe page that was set up to raise money for funeral costs. More details on Mr. Everett’s background are there.

Earlier: Police have identified the man whose body was found two weeks ago on the sidewalk along the 5100 block of Webster Street. His name is Adon Everett. He was 55 and was from the 5200 block of Chancellor Street.

It was determined that the cause of death was stabbing, according to police. No arrests have been made so far.

Mr. Everett’s body was found in the early morning of November 30 with a wound to his neck, which was initially thought to be a gunshot.

 

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Help needed at annual Holiday Basket Giveaway event in Cedar Park

Posted on 15 December 2014

holidaymeal-1024x413Over the past few weeks Cedar Park residents have been donating money for holiday food baskets for their neighbors in need. Now it’s time to give away those baskets put together by volunteers at Cedar Park Neighbors (CPN). The annual CPN Holiday basket packing and distributing event will take place on Saturday, Dec. 20 at the Renewal Presbyterian Church (47th and Cedar), from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., and more volunteer help is needed to make this event a success.

Also, volunteers who are comfortable lifting heavy items are sought to help with unloading poultry at 8:00 a.m. (meet at the church). If you have some free time this Saturday and would like to help out at the event please contact Michelle Smith-Lewis at: mlewis1071[at]gmail.com

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University of the Sciences to reach out to local community through quarterly meetings (updated)

Posted on 15 December 2014

UPDATE (12/16/2014): Here’s the agenda for tonight’s meeting:

Enrollment
Support of K-12 education
Ongoing Engagement activities
Campus Master Planning
Call for university – community collaboration ideas

(12/15/2014): University of the Sciences (USciences) is reaching out to the local community by hosting a regular public meeting every three months. In a message circulated via email, USciences president Dr. Helen Giles-Gee writes that “as a member of our community, University of the Sciences recognizes that it’s important that we communicate with each other and share information.”

At the quarterly meetings, university leadership will provide updates on new and ongoing projects and “will seek your feedback on ways in which we may work together for the betterment of our community.”

The first community meeting will take place this Tuesday (Dec. 16) at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the McNeil Science and Technology Center (43rd and Woodland, see map here). Light refreshments will also be served.

It’s not clear whether the meeting will include information and discussion of the university’s recent purchase of the former Wilson Elementary School building at 46th and Woodland, which it plans to convert into student housing (read more here).

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Public school breakfast, lunch menu (Dec. 15-19)

Posted on 14 December 2014

We continue publishing breakfast and lunch menus served at schools in the School District of Philadelphia. Here’s the menu for Monday, Dec. 15 through Friday, Dec. 19. If your school uses a Satellite menu, click here.

BREAKFAST (K-12)

A variety of three cereals will be offered daily and served with a yogurt parfait or a mini loaf.

Monday

Choose 1: Mini Waffles or Bake Crafter Cereal Bar & Yogurt
Choose 1: Pineapple Juice or Fresh Pear
Variety of Milk

Tuesday

Choose 1: Steak, Egg & Cheese on a Bagel or Benefit Bar
Choose 1: Strawberry Cup or Fresh Apple
Variety of Milk

Wednesday

Choose 1: French Toast Sticks w/Syrup & Sausage link (1) or Homestyle Breads
Choose 1: Grape Juice or Fresh Banana
Variety of Milk  Continue Reading

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Weekend Events Roundup (Dec. 13-14) (updated)

Posted on 12 December 2014

There will be a bunch of festive events this Saturday and Sunday, including some great local holiday shopping opportunities and Christmas caroling at Clark Park. Plus Santa will make a stop at a local bar, so bring your camera! For more upcoming events, visit our Events Calendar.

Go West! Holiday Craft Fest at The Rotunda (40th and Walnut)

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Over 50 local craftspeople will present their work at this year’s holiday edition of the popular Go West! Craft Fest. The event will be held on Sunday, Dec. 14, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Rotunda (40th and Walnut). Stop by to check out beautiful handmade items like jewelry, ceramics, warm knitted accessories, prints, stationery, soap, candles, home accents, children’s items, and more (here is the full list of the vendors). If the weather is clear, vendors will be indoors and out. There will also be sweet treats by West Philly’s Weckerly’s Ice Cream and the Lil’ Pop Shop.

UPDATE: The fest organizers sent a note that Walnut street will be closed to traffic on Sunday due to construction work across the street from The Rotunda. The street will be open to pedestrians, but no cars will be allowed on Walnut between 40th and 41st streets between 6:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

40th Street AIR Holiday Art Sale (4007 Chestnut St)

40thStAIRsaleWork by West Philly artists in the 2014-2015 40th Street Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program – Althea Baird, TenBroeck Cripps, Brujo de La Mancha, Aislinn Pentecost-Farren and Lorna Williams - will be featured at this weekend’s 40th Street AIR Holiday Sale. The sale will take place on Saturday and Sunday, from 12 – 6 p.m. at the AIRSPACE Gallery at 4007 Chestnut Street (1st floor). Many guest artists will also take part in the event, including AIR alumni.  Continue Reading

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West Philly artist James Dupree saves his studio from eminent domain

Posted on 12 December 2014

Photo from SaveDupreeStudios.org

Great news for West Philly artist James Dupree and his supporters: After two years of fighting the authorities to save his 8,646-square-foot art studio near 36th and Haverford from being destroyed to build a supermarket, the artist announced victory yesterday.

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James Dupree (Photos from SaveDupreeStudios.org)

Dupree purchased an auto repair shop at 3617-21 Haverford Ave in 2005 and turned it into a sprawling art space, known as Dupree Studios, but the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority seized and condemned the property along with other properties in a two-block area in December 2012 as part of efforts to revitalize the Mantua neighborhood. Since then 64-year-old Dupree has been fighting the plans of turning the lot into a grocery store with a parking lot through legal appeals and public campaigns. The PRA has finally ended the proceedings to condemn the property, which includes art studios, classrooms, and even three “quirky” apartments.

 

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UPDATED: Suspect in recent assaults on women arrested during a violent robbery of another female

Posted on 11 December 2014

Police say a 55-year-old man has confessed to robbing and assaulting a 38-year-old woman near 41st and Pine Streets Thursday evening. The man was apprehended around 6:40 p.m. by plainclothes officers. Police say he approached the victim from behind while she was walking alone, struck her in the back of the head with a bicycle U-lock and demanded her bag. He then started dragging the woman down the street and took her bag and cell phone, when two plainclothes police officers who were nearby observed the assault and arrested the attacker. Police were on a high alert in the last few days due to the recent attacks.

Police say he is also a suspect in other assaults on women in the area over the last five days, including an attempted robbery near 41st and Sansom on Saturday and two indecent assaults on female students late Thursday morning near Drexel’s campus. Police are also checking if this person is linked to a sexual assault and robbery of a 23-year-old female, which took place on Monday night near 47th and Chestnut.

The victim of the Thursday evening attack sustained lacerations to the back of her head and was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where she received stitches.

Police say the man they apprehended has 25 prior arrests.

The suspect does not appear to be linked to the rape of a Drexel University student, which took place early Wednesday morning in her off-campus apartment near 34th and Spring Garden Streets. The investigation continues.

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Car and foot chase ends in arrest near 47th and Warrington

Posted on 11 December 2014

A police-DUI driver car pursuit that started in Southwest Philadelphia ended in a foot chase and arrest near 47th and Warrington Wednesday night, according to police.

Several residents reported higher police presence last night in the area around 8-8:30 p.m:

An unidentified driver was pulled over in Southwest Philly but took off. Police first pursued him by car, but then he exited and tried to run away on foot. He was apprehended and faces DUI and other charges.

 

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Windermere fire victims reach multi-million-dollar settlement

Posted on 11 December 2014

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Dozens of former residents of the Windermere Court apartments at 48th and Walnut, which burned down in early 2011, have scored a tentative multi-million-dollar victory in a class action lawsuit against the building’s owners.

The suit was filed soon after the devastating January 2011 fire and claimed that the building’s owners and management company failed to maintain smoke detectors, fire alarms and the four-story building’s sprinkler system. The suit was filed against owners David, Sam and Aron Ginsberg, all from New Jersey, and the management company that oversaw maintenance of the building.

The residents’ attorney, Thomas More Marrone, said in a statement that residents were in tears in the court hallways when they heard the news of the proposed $4.75 million settlement, which was reached three days after the civil trial began.Fire-address-300x225

Most of the residents fled the four-story building with very few possessions and were barred from re-entering their apartments, prompting weeks of protests following the fire. The building was demolished in April 2011.

Before the demolition, residents were told they could request belongings from their apartments, but they had to fit into two garbage bags.

The fire prompted an outpouring of support from West Philly residents, businesses and non-profits, many of whom organized fundraisers and collected clothing for the more than 100 displaced Windermere residents. Animal relief organizations also worked around the clock to help save many of the pets that didn’t make it out of the building.

Here is an interview days after the fire with one of the plaintiffs named in the case, J.B. Farley, on the quick demolition of the building.

Here is video of the fire:

Mike Lyons

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UPDATED: Women targeted in recent assaults at 47th and Chestnut, 34th and Spring Garden, 41st and Sansom

Posted on 11 December 2014

UPDATE (12/11/2014): Unfortunately, there was another report this week of a sexual assault in West Philadelphia. A 21-year-old woman, a Drexel University student, was raped in her off-campus apartment on the 3400 block of Spring Garden street. The assault happened early Wednesday morning, around 4:15 a.m. An unidentified man broke into the student’s apartment and threatened her with a meat cleaver prior to the assault, according to reports. The man fled the apartment after the assault. The description of the attacker is not available. The apartment was dark, and the victim could not describe the man who assaulted her, but this assault and Monday’s assault near 47th and Chestnut (see below) “do not appear to be related at this time,” according to PPD spokesperson Tanya Little. Drexel police and the Special Victims Unit of the Philadelphia Police Department are investigating.

(12/10/2014): A 23-year-old woman was sexually assaulted and robbed on Monday evening near 47th and Chestnut, according to police.

The woman was walking in the 100 block of S. 47th Street at around 8:30 p.m., when an unidentified male approached and grabbed her from behind. He then forced the victim to the ground and physically and sexually assaulted her before taking her purse and fleeing on foot, according to a police report. The attacker is described as a black male between 30 and 35 years of age, approximately 6 feet tall, heavy build, with short hair, close-trimmed beard and mustache. He was wearing a blue jacket, a black knit hat and gloves and had a backpack on. The extent of the victim’s injuries are currently unknown.  Continue Reading

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Proposed West Philly charter school hearings on Thursday; watch online here

Posted on 10 December 2014

Representatives of about a dozen proposed West Philly charter schools will present their applications to the  School District of Philadelphia on Thursday beginning at 10:10 a.m.

This is the first time the District has considered adding new charter schools since 2007. The District received a total of 40 applications and the hearings on them began Monday. Protesters have also showed up at the hearings. Most are calling for more support of the District’s neighborhood schools.

The public is welcome to comment on the applications from 3 p.m. (after they are all complete) to 6 p.m. at the District headquarters at 440 N. Broad St. Speakers are asked to register at 215-400-4010 and should arrive before 6 p.m. Each speaker will be allotted three minutes.

Some 62,000 students currently attend one of the city’s 86 charter schools, which account for about a third of the District’s budget – roughly $730 million. The District has until late February to vote on the applications.  Continue Reading

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Garden Court Association presents Membership Fair on Wednesday

Posted on 09 December 2014

gccalogoGarden Court residents and others interested in helping out in the neighborhood have a great chance this week to learn more about local happenings and events, meet other community members, business owners and stakeholders, and find out how to get involved. The Garden Court Community Association (GCCA) is presenting a membership fair on Wednesday, Dec. 10 at the Renewal Presbyterian Church (4633 Cedar Avenue) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The following topics will be discussed at the event:

Bringing support to Lea Elementary School
 Improving the business corridors in your community
 Improving public safety
 Planning events to bring neighbors together
 Supporting community greening efforts

Neighborhood businesses, organizations, and programs will also take part in the GCCA Membership Fair, including University City District, 48th Street Grille, Take the Lead Dance Studio, PGW’s EnergySense Program, The Partnership CDC Neighborhood Advisory Committee, and more. Each of the working committees will have displays and information on the work that they are doing to make Garden Court a great place to live. Tasty treats will also be provided!

Garden Court’s boundaries are 45th Street to 52nd Street and Cedar Avenue to Locust Street. GCCA Membership is open to all persons living, working, or interested in this community. For more information about GCCA and upcoming neighborhood events, visit the GCCA website at: www.gardencourtca.org.

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Keep an eye out for jolly trolleys

Posted on 09 December 2014

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Visit SEPTA’s Facebook page and vote for your favorite “gift-wrapped” vehicle. This photo was taken last year.

Forget Black Friday and the lighting of the Christmas tree at City Hall. In West Philly, the holiday season doesn’t really get underway until a trolley gets jolly.

Keep an eye out on routes 10, 11, 13, 15, 34 and 36 for four trolleys that will be decked out in their holiday finest – lights, tinsel, garland etc.

A handful of SEPTA trolley drivers decided to dress up their rigs to add a little cheer to that chilly commute. There will be two on the 11, 13, 34 or 36 routes and one on the 10 and 15 lines. The drivers responsible include Gary Mason, Fred Garmon, Dave Musgrave, and Deina McLaughlin and Denita Birton (Deina’s sister). So if you feel the need to bring glad tidings on the trolley with you, those are the folks to thank.

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Philadelphia Music and Dance Charter School proposed for old West Philly High building

Posted on 08 December 2014

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Old West Philly High School building at 48th and Walnut. (Archived photo)

Among the proposed new charter school applications that will come under public scrutiny this week is the “Philadelphia Music and Dance Charter School,” a K-12 school that could be housed in the old West Philadelphia High School building at 48th and Walnut.

The siting of the school at the old West Philly High building would require the building’s likely developer, which is in the process of purchasing it to convert to lofts, to lease a sizable chunk of the building – as much as 90,000 square feet –  to the school. The school expects up to 900 students when it hits full capacity in a few years.

The developer, New York-based Strong Place Partners, has apparently agreed to do that, according to the school’s application submitted in November. The public hearing for Philadelphia Music and Dance Charter School’s application is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. on ThursdayContinue Reading

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Public school breakfast, lunch menu (Dec 8-12)

Posted on 07 December 2014

We continue publishing breakfast and lunch menus served at schools in the School District of Philadelphia. Here’s the menu for Monday, Dec. 8 through Friday, Dec. 12. If your school uses a Satellite menu, click here.

Come back every Sunday evening for the coming week’s menu.

BREAKFAST (K-12)

A variety of three cereals will be offered daily and served with a yogurt parfait or a mini loaf.

Monday

Choose 1: Chicken Sausage, Egg & Cheese on English Muffin or Chewy Bar
Choose 1: Apple Juice or Fresh Pear
Variety of Milk

Tuesday

Choose 1: Mini French Toast or Cinnamon Granola Round
Choose 1: Raisins or Fresh Apple
Variety of Milk  Continue Reading

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