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May Day Rally and March to be held in West Philly this Sunday

Posted on 29 April 2016

MayDayUSAThis Sunday, hundreds of people are expected to participate in the 9th annual May Day March, Rally and Festival in West Philadelphia.

The event, which is organized by May Day USA Education Committee (Facebook page) and co-sponsored by PhilaPOSH and the Pennsylvania Labor History Society, will begin at 1 p.m. in front of the McDonald’s at 40th and Walnut Streets, where the participants will gather for the march. The march will proceed to Clark Park at 43rd and Baltimore, and the rally will start at 2 p.m., followed by a festival, featuring food, music and entertainment.

This year’s rally will focus on the fight for a $15/hour minimum wage and feature Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges, Black Lives Matter author Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, District 1199C President Henry Nicholas, and City Councilwoman Helen Gym.

The May Day rally is an annual event to honor the history of May Day and the many workers who died in the struggle for the eight-hour day in the 1880s.

More information can be found on the event’s Facebook page.

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West Philly Square Dance reborn; “Last Friday” Dance tonight

Posted on 29 April 2016

SquareDance

Do you like Square Dance and want to have some fun tonight? Then read on. The newly-reborn West Philly Square Dance (Facebook page) has been going strong for a few months, according to organizers, and tonight all are invited to St. Mary’s Church on Locust Walk (near 40th and Locust) for the “Last Friday” Dance.

People of all ages are welcome and no experience is needed as all dances will be taught. Admission is $5-$10 sliding scale. Also, please bring a vessel/bottle/cup etc. to use for water because square dancing is exercise!  Continue Reading

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Shop locally for plants (and check out beautiful St. Andrews Chapel) this weekend

Posted on 29 April 2016

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PIC’s Spring Plant Sale will be held at St. Andrews Chapel (42nd and Spruce) this Friday and Saturday (Photo courtesy of PIC).

The annual Parent Infant Center’s (PIC) fundraising plant sale kicks off today at 4 p.m. at St. Andrews Chapel (42nd and Spruce). The two-day sale is an opportunity not only to purchase annuals, perennials, fruits, veggies, herbs and houseplants locally, but also to support PIC’s Tuition Assistance Fund and to visit the beautiful St. Andrews Chapel at 42nd and Spruce, which is usually closed to visitors.

The sale hours are:

Friday, April 29 – 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 30 – 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

New items will be brought in especially for sale days on Friday and Saturday, so customers who stop in to pick up advance online orders will want to take a moment to browse the weekend inventory.  Continue Reading

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Charter conversion approved for Huey, two other schools

Posted on 29 April 2016

The School Reform Commission last night approved the conversion of the three more public schools to charters, including the Samuel B. Huey School at 52nd and Pine.

The Global Leadership Academy Charter School, which currently operates a school at 4601 W. Girard Ave., will take over Huey beginning in the fall. The SRC also voted to convert Cooke (Logan) and Wister (Germantown) Elementary Schools into charters. The charters are tasked with turning around the “chronically under-performing” schools, often against the wishes of parents. Huey has an enrollment of about 550 students.

Meanwhile Councilwoman Helen Gym, who was elected last fall in part for her dedication to public schools, called for a moratorium on charter conversions.

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Go West! Craft Fest returns this Saturday to the Woodlands; Check out the schedule

Posted on 28 April 2016

CraftFestvendorThe Spring edition of Go West! Craft Fest is returning on Saturday, April 30 to the green space of the historic Woodlands cemetery grounds (40th and Woodland), and it looks like it’s going to be a great show.

Over 100 vendors will present their beautiful handmade items, so it’s a great opportunity to shop for something unique. At the fest, you can find locally made jewelry, pottery, stationery, prints and original artwork, clothing, bags, candles, bath & body products, children’s items, and much more (check out the event’s Pinterest board).

And here’s the schedule for free live music and entertainment for the whole family:

11 a.m. – Sing along with Ann from the Green Tambourine, Baltimore Avenue’s children’s music studio
11:45 a.m.The Daisy Pickers, folksy, rootsy, joyful Americana
12:30 p.m.Philadelphia Women’s Slavic Ensemble will present choral music from eastern Europe
1 p.m. – Jay Sand of All Around This World, a musical exploration of world cultures for children
1:45 p.m.River Bones, Philly-style bluegrass (with Sean Dorn on bass)
2:30 p.m.Evan Cory Levine makes great-grandpa’s jazz sound brand new
3:15 p.m.Tinycircus, aerial flights of fancy by Tangle Movement Arts
4:15 p.m.Shakey Lyman, blues legend  Continue Reading

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Mantua re-zoning, gentrification meetings this Thursday

Posted on 27 April 2016

Two important community meetings are scheduled for tomorrow in the Mantua neighborhood – on re-zoning and gentrification issues. Residents are encouraged to attend.

MantuarezoningCouncilwoman Jannie Blackwell has scheduled a Mantua community re-zoning meeting for Thursday, April 28 after hundreds of Mantua residents participated in a mass letter-writing campaign to her office. The meeting will take place at Grace Lutheran Church (3529 Haverford Ave.), from 6-7:30 p.m.

At this meeting, residents can share their voice about how development occurs in their community and finalize re-zoning based on priorities that:

1. Promote and protect single family homeownership
2. Focus commercial zoning along highly trafficked corridors
3. Correct zoning for parks, recreation centers, and public-use spaces

The meeting is hosted by the Mantua Civic Association and Mt. Vernon Manor CDC.  Continue Reading

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A whole lot of runners (and traffic): Penn Relays start Thursday

Posted on 27 April 2016

PennRelays

Photo via www.thepennrelays.com

The oldest annual track and field event in the nation, The Penn Relays, kicks off this week at Franklin Field (233 S. 33rd Street), and that means there will be a lot of additional traffic on the east end of Penn’s campus.

The 122nd edition of The Penn Relays starts Thursday and runs through Saturday. If you have the scratch, the events are worth attending (information on tickets is here). Some 15,000 athletes participate, some of whom you will likely see at this summer’s Olympic Games in Brazil.

Otherwise, it’s a part of town to avoid for a couple of days if you’re trying to get somewhere else. Expect heavy delays around the stadium all day Thursday through Saturday. On Saturday, 33rd Street from South Street to Walnut Street will be closed from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

If you make the trip to Franklin Field, here’s some info on what you can take in with you.

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2016 Primary Election results; how some sections of West Philadelphia voted (updated)

Posted on 27 April 2016

The 2016 Pennsylvania Primary Election results are in, and here are some local results and a breakdown by wards on the vote for presidential candidates. Overall, West Philadelphia’s Democratic voters supported Hillary Clinton, except for the 27th Ward where Bernie Sanders came out on top. Note: the results below are unofficial and incomplete. To view more results, go here.

PA Representative, District 190

Vanessa Lowery Brown – 36.45 percent (5381 votes)
Wanda Logan – 28.37 percent (4188 votes)
Ray Bailey – 12.02 percent (1775 votes)
Darryl Thomas – 11.37 percent (1679 votes)

PA Representative, District 188 

James Roebuck (incumbent, unopposed) – 99.87 percent (12134 votes)

Representative in Congress, District 2 (Democrats)

Chaka Fattah (incumbent) – 36.76 percent (58821 votes)
Dwight Evans – 43.51 percent (69622 votes)

Continue Reading

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City zoning hearing for 46th and Spruce mixed-use building proposal Wednesday (updated)

Posted on 26 April 2016

UPDATE (4/29/2016): The Zoning Board of Adjustment heard the case on Wednesday, but decided to hold the vote for two weeks at the request of Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, according to SHCA’s Zoning Chair Barry Grossbach. We’ll post an update next month.

After months of discussions and re-considerations in Spruce Hill, the proposal to build a four-story mixed-use building on the site of the former Transition to Independent Living Center building at the southeast corner of 46th and Spruce St. (4534-36 Spruce St.), has received support from the Spruce Hill Community Association’s (SHCA) zoning committee ahead of its consideration by the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) this Wednesday.

46thspruce3The project developers presented an updated proposal for the 21-unit building with ground-floor retail and a rooftop deck during an SHCA zoning meeting earlier this month.

SHCA’s Zoning Chair Barry Grossbach wrote in an email addressed to SHCA members today that the Spruce Hill zoning committee has voted “without dissent” to support the project – with some stipulations.

“We reached agreement with the developers/owners of the project on a Memorandum of Understanding that will be made part of the record and will spell out future meetings with Spruce Hill and near neighbors on final design elements, building operations (roof deck), and construction and post construction schedules (covering such items as hours, trash pickups, retail delivery, etc). In short, we are supporting moving the project forward with the understanding that the community will be a party to future discussions on items of importance to area residents,” the email reads.  Continue Reading

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SRC to vote on Huey Elementary’s conversion into charter after Charter School Office’s recommendation

Posted on 26 April 2016

Bids to convert three Philadelphia public schools, including Samuel B. Huey Elementary in West Philadelphia, into charters have received support from the District’s Charter Schools Office (CSO). The CSO has recommended the School Reform Commission to approve with conditions all three charter school applications. The SRC will vote on the applications on Thursday, which will determine whether Global Leadership Academy would take over Huey in the 2016-17 school year.

HueySchool

Samuel B. Huey Elementary School (Google Street View image).

Huey parents gathered outside the school at 52nd and Pine last week to protest its proposed conversion into a charter, saying that the school instead needs more resources, according to a report by The Notebook. They also said that they are not getting enough input on the school’s future.

Global Leadership Academy currently operates a K-8 school at 4600 West Girard Ave. The CSO found that the application for Huey, a low-performing school, from Global Leadership Academy is “rooted in culturally competent, progressive education that improves academic performance but also increases attendance and family engagement while decreasing student violence and suspension rates.”

Read the full report about the recommendations by the Charter Schools Office on The Notebook.

The Charter Schools Office recently released its first Annual Charter Evaluation (ACE) for all Philadelphia charter schools as part of its Authorizing Quality Initiative. The ACE includes school-specific performance evaluations based on academic success, organizational viability and compliance, and fiscal health and sustainability. The ACE can be viewed on the School District’s website.

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Summer CSA programs delivering to West Philly (updated)

Posted on 26 April 2016

CSA_hero-496x298As promised, here’s more information about summer Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs that deliver weekly shares of produce and other goods from local farms and suppliers to West Philadelphia.

 

Greensgrow Farms

Schedule: Mid-May through early November

Pick-up location: 4912 Baltimore Avenue (Greensgrow West)

What’s in the share: A seasonal assortment (5-8 items) of locally grown vegetables; a selection of fruit that reflects the abundance of the season; a dairy/protein option; locally made cheese (8 times during the season); locally produced prepared food, such as beer, pasta or ice-cream. Half-share and add-on share (add cheese, coffee, ice cream or bread) options are available.

Cost: Full share: $800; Half share (pick up every other week): $475.

www.greensgrow.org/csa/summer-csa

Continue Reading

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Born and raised: Local barbershop owner running for the 190th District seat

Posted on 25 April 2016

PhillyCuts

Philly Cuts owner Darryl Thomas (center) and his employees and supporters in front of his barbershop at 44th and Chestnut (Darryl Thomas Facebook photo)

The barbershop on 44th and Chestnut Streets in West Philadelphia seems to have only two floors: the ground floor for men’s haircuts, and the second floor for women’s haircuts. But there’s also third floor, a room plastered with maps and signs, with people taking calls and typing messages: A campaign office.

Philly Cuts has been in operation for 18 years, and this year its 43-year-old owner Darryl Thomas is running for political office for the first time. Thomas, a Democrat, is running for State Representative of the 190th District in the primary election on Tuesday, April 26th. This legislative district includes Belmont, Carroll Park, Cathedral Park, Mill Creek, Haddington, East Parkside,West Powelton, Strawberry Mansion, Allegheny West and Lehigh West. This is the district that Thomas grew up in and left for college—but eventually came back to.

Thomas said the barbershop is like a “watering hole”— a natural place for the community to come together, and a good place to reach them. Over the years, that barbershop has morphed into a community crossroads, a place where people can come for one service — a haircut — and find information and access to other services, like healthcare, education, and job opportunities.  Continue Reading

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Primaries Tuesday: State races along with presidential ballot

Posted on 25 April 2016

Pennsylvania’s primary is this Tuesday (Apr. 26) and, along with the well-hyped presidential races, there are a few local primaries on the ballot as well. Follow the links below to the Committee of 70 website for details on candidates for each seat.

The entire Pennsylvania House of Representatives (203 seats) and half the state Senate (50 seats, including Districts 1, 3, 5 and 7 in Philadelphia) are on the ballot. Republicans currently have a 119-84 majority in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Primaries will also be held for state Attorney General, Auditor General and Treasurer.

Vincent Hughes is running unopposed on the primary ballot for the Pennsylvania Senate seat in District 7Continue Reading

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Woman abducted, assaulted for 11 hours on Saturday, escapes near 57th and Larchwood (updated)

Posted on 24 April 2016

UPDATE: Police are now saying that the 20-year-old woman who was abducted and sexually assaulted in an 11-hour ordeal on Saturday, knew her attacker. No other details are available at this time.

Police are looking for a man who they believe abducted and sexually assaulted a young woman early Saturday morning and held her 11 hours before she escaped near 57th and Larchwood.

The 20-year-old woman was forced into a black vehicle at gunpoint at about 4 a.m. near 49th and Lancaster. The vehicle had tinted windows and a garbage bag over the driver’s side rear window, she told police. She escaped from the vehicle at about 3 p.m. on Saturday near 57th and Larchwood, police said.

Her abductor was described as a black male, about 23 years old, with dreadlocks and a long beard.

 

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Sanders at Drexel, Clinton at City Hall ahead of Tuesday’s primary

Posted on 24 April 2016

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will hold rallies in the city, the day before the Pennsylvania primary election on Tuesday, April 26.

Sanders will hold a rally on Monday with actors Susan Sarandon and Kendrick Sampson at the Daskalakis Athletic Center at Drexel University, 3301 Market St. Doors open at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and no tickets are required, but RSVPS are strongly encouraged since admission is first come, first served.

Clinton’s rally will take place at the City Hall Courtyard, 1401 John F Kennedy Blvd. Doors open at 5:15 p.m., and RSVP is also recommended.

The Republican frontrunner Donald Trump will be at West Chester University, 700 S High Street West Chester, PA, for a 4 p.m. rally on Monday. Doors open at 1 p.m. and tickets are available here.

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Uhuru Flea Market & Health Festival return to Clark Park (Update: Postponed until Sunday)

Posted on 22 April 2016

UhuruFleaMarketIt’s hard to imagine West Philly’s Clark Park without Uhuru Flea Markets. After a six-month break the popular event is returning on Sunday, April 24 (postponed from Saturday, Apr 23 due to rain). The Uhuru Health Festival & Flea Market will kick off the 2016 Flea Market season, with the powerful theme of Black Health Matters. The festival will feature local health practitioners, fitness workshops, free health screenings, live entertainment, and two important keynote speakers: APEDF President Ona Zene Yeshitela, and John Thomas, Manager of the Tyron Lewis Community Gym.

The Uhuru Health Festival & Flea Market is an economic development project of the African People’s Education and Defense Fund (APEDF). As a national non-profit organization, APEDF is dedicated to raising resources and developing programming to overturn the grave disparities in health, education, and economic development within the African community. The Health Festival is only one part of the important work to carry out APEDF’s mission of developing self-determination for Africans and all oppressed peoples.

LittleMarrakesh

Little Marrakesh Bazaar will be there, too! (Facebook photo)

The festival will also feature free health resources and information from a large number of local health and wellness organizations, including Philadelphia FIGHT, Refugee Health Partners, music by Coco Sol & the Chillettes, and much more.

The festival will be held from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 43rd and Chester.

This year, Uhuru Flea Markets are scheduled for April 23 (Facebook page), May 21, June 18, Aug. 20, Sept. 24 (Book Fair), and Oct. 22. Visit uhuruhealthfest.blogspot.com for more information.

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Happy birthday Indego: A new app, more stations and an equitable pricing plan unveiled

Posted on 22 April 2016

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Indego bike share station in Clark Park (archived photo).

Philly’s bike-share program Indego celebrated its first birthday this week by announcing a couple dozen more docking stations around the city, including a few in West Philly. The program also introduced new rates and ways for low-income residents to pay for the service and a snappy new app.

New docking stations will be located near 34th and Mantua, 42nd and Lancaster and 46th and Market. Indego will also start accepting Pennsylvania ACCESS cards and offer an unlimited number of one-hour rides for 30 days for $5 – down from $15. The new rates should widen the availability of the program, something Indego officials had hoped for when the program began.

The program’s new app will allow riders to find stations, check on bike availability, renew membership passes and search trip history.

Indego has been very popular over the past year, logging about 420,000 rides and more than 8,000 memberships.

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New Lancaster Avenue café aims to feed Everyone At the Table with pay-what-you-can pricing

Posted on 22 April 2016

EatCafeAbout 40 percent of food in the United States is never eaten, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. It’s tough to point fingers when there is no one to blame. We’ve all bought meat or produce that has gone bad before we have gotten around to preparing it. The EAT (Everyone At the Table) Café, a nonprofit subsidiary of the Center for Hunger-free Communities at Drexel University, aims to approach food resources a little differently to reduce waste and make access to healthy food more affordable with a pay-what-you-can price structure.

Donnell Jones-Craven, EAT Café’s general manager, stresses that the Café is not a soup kitchen, as there will be seating and table service. “We’re like Sabrina’s or Honey’s; we suggest that price. We believe that 80 percent of our customer base will pay the suggested amount or more; it will help the 20 percent that cannot pay the full suggested price… We just want to make sure people will do their very best, because we want to stay viable, open and serving our community as large.”  Continue Reading

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Overhead wire repairs in tunnel force trolley diversion (updated)

Posted on 21 April 2016

septaroute36UPDATE (Fri, Apr. 22): Beginning Friday, Apr. 22 at 11:00 p.m., Routes 10, 11, 13, 34, and 36 Trolleys will operate on a temporary diversion to allow for repairs and inspection to the Trolley Tunnel. Regularly scheduled trolley service will resume at the start of the service day Monday, Apr. 25, 2016.

Many people were wondering why trolleys were running above ground over Spruce to 40th Street today (Thursday). It turns out SEPTA had to divert Routes 11, 13, 34 and 36 to 40th and Market Streets due to continuous repairs of overhead wires in the tunnel. Wire repair work in the tunnel will continue overnight and possibly on Friday. Here’s more information from SEPTA:

“Service disruptions on the Trolley network (Routes 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36) have been occurring with increasing frequency in recent weeks. Despite the best efforts of our maintenance forces in the limited work windows afforded to them, overhead wire conditions in the Trolley Tunnel continue to worsen and have created this reliability issue.  Continue Reading

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