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UC Green to honor Winnie Harris by planting an oak on Earth Day

Posted on 21 April 2017

UC Green will honor the memory of community greening activist Winnie Harris on Saturday by planting a mighty swamp oak in Clark Park.

Winnie Harris (center) was murdered in West Philadelphia on Feb. 3.

Tragically, Harris was murdered in her home earlier this year. She was a longtime advocate of community green space and served as volunteer coordinator and executive director of UC Green. Community members are invited to a light breakfast at 9:15 a.m. at City School at 41st and Baltimore on Saturday (April 22). Everyone will then walk together to Clark Park to plant the tree and then spend the rest of Earth Day doing what Winnie loved – planting trees in West Philadelphia.

UC Green volunteers will help McMichael School students and staff plant four trees near 35th St. and Fairmount Ave. Other volunteers will help homeowners and residents in Spruce Hill plant about 28 trees.

The event is open to the public and anyone who plans to attend should call or 215-476-0124 or e-mail eleatherbarrow@ucgreen.org.

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Dock Street Brewing Co. to open tasting room and beer cannery

Posted on 21 April 2017

Dock Street Cannery & Tasting Room will open on April 27 at 4 p.m. (Photos by Rana Fayez).

 

Starting Thursday, April 27, you’ll be able to buy some Dock Street Brewery beer, such as No Exit double IPA, Jip the Blood Berliner weisse and Golden IPA, in cans. Customers will be able to see the canning line in action at the new tasting room, which will be located right around the corner from the restaurant on 50th street.

Dock Street head brewer Mark Russell (right).

Why is this recent shift in product packaging? Head brewer Mark Russell says that’s where the beer industry is headed.

“Craft beer, in general, is heading towards cans. Lots of other breweries are also looking at cans, it’s something you can take outdoors. When you look at shipping costs, cans are a lot cheaper, too,” said Russell.

Russell went on to further advocate for beer in cans as a preferred format due to their ability to contain less air and allow less light in, two aspects that affect beer. Dock Street hopes to offer Summer in Berlin and Man Full of Trouble in cans soon as well.

The tasting room will be offering a curated selection of cocktails in addition to the beer. On the shelves, there will be a rotating selection of Pennsylvania liquors like Faber. However, if you’re trying to order one of the restaurant’s famous pizzas in the new space, you won’t be able to. The tasting room will stick to providing a seasonal snack menu from different vendors throughout the area.  Continue Reading

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Celebrate Bartram’s Mile opening, shop for plants this Saturday at Bartram’s Garden

Posted on 20 April 2017

Saturday, April 22 will be a big day at the historic Bartram’s Garden as it’s celebrating Spring and opening of the Bartram’s Mile section of the Schuylkill River Trail.

Community members are invited to a Spring Open House and plant sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year, guests will get an opportunity to visit the 1731 Bartram House as its doors will be open all day. The plant sale will feature a unique selection of heritage roses, pond plants, historic boxwoods, vegetable and herbs starts, native perennials, shrubs, and trees. Here’s the full array of plants available for sale this year. Gardening experts will be on hand to answer questions.  Continue Reading

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Better bike lanes? Learn more about Chestnut Street Transportation Project at tonight’s open house

Posted on 19 April 2017

Chestnut Street is one of the busiest streets in West Philadelphia with three lanes of eastbound traffic with cars often zooming by at high speeds. This Wednesday evening (Apr. 19), the City is hosting an open house on a proposed Chestnut Street transportation project that will help protect bicyclists and pedestrians between 34th and 45th Streets.

The following safety-enhancing features are being proposed:

• Adding a parking protected bicycle lane to the north side of the street with flexible delineator posts
• Shortening the pedestrian crossing distance with painted pedestrian islands
• Calming vehicle speeds by reducing the number of through traffic lanes
• Adding right-turn lanes at appropriate locations

The open house will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Enterprise Center (4548 Market St.).

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Developer selected to rebuild MOVE fire properties

Posted on 19 April 2017

The city’s Redevelopment Authority selected a local developer to rebuild the residential blocks destroyed in the 1985 MOVE bombing.

If approved by the authority’s board, Philadelphia-based builders AJR Endeavors LLC will rebuild the 36 homes hastily constructed after the bombing on the 6200 blocks of Osage Avenue and Pine Street in the Cobbs Creek section of West Philadelphia. The project will cost an estimated $3.2 million and AJR Endeavors’ bid was one of two received by the authority. The agreement will require construction to be completed within two years of its start.

The fire that destroyed more than 50 neighboring homes began after police dropped a small bomb from a helicopter on a home at 6221 Osage Ave. following a long standoff with members of the black liberation group MOVE who had barricaded themselves inside. Eleven people, including five children, were killed.  Continue Reading

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Second phase of Mantua affordable housing project is complete; ribbon-cutting ceremony this Wednesday

Posted on 18 April 2017

Mt. Vernon Manor II, an affordable housing construction project, has recently been completed in the Mantua section of West Philadelphia, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on Wednesday, April 19. The project includes 46 apartments (five one-bedroom, 36 two-bedroom, and five three-bedroom), all of which are Energy Star certified to ensure low utility and operating costs for the residents. In addition, each apartment has its own washer & dryer, central air conditioning, and video camera doorbell entry system.

The project is a continuation of the We Are Mantua! neighborhood plan created by the nonprofit organization Mt. Vernon Manor, Inc. and other community stakeholders to preserve affordable housing options in this rapidly changing neighborhood. It was funded by Philadelphia’s Division of Housing and Community Development and Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency preservation tax credits.  Continue Reading

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Books against Islamophobia: One West Philly mom’s hopeful campaign

Posted on 18 April 2017

In the current political climate and the rise of the alt-right movement, Islamophobia is growing more widespread. A number of public education efforts have surfaced, but there’s one particular effort that aims to nip Islamophobia in the bud while children are still in school. Meet Melanie Bartlett, a parent who heads the education committee at the West Philly Coalition Against Islamophobia (Facebook page). Bartlett is spearheading the “Kids Books That Fight Islamophobia” campaign, which has one simple mission: to get more books featuring Muslim kids into elementary school class libraries. Currently, the campaign is seeking out funding through their GoFundMe page and has already raised over $3,600 of its $5,000 goal.

Bartlett was driven by creating a better world for her daughter, who is being raised Muslim.  Continue Reading

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Cedar Park Neighbors board elections, general meeting this Monday; more Cedar Park events

Posted on 17 April 2017

parkThe annual Cedar Park Neighbors’ general meeting and Board elections will take place tonight (April 17) at Calvary Center (48th and Baltimore). The meeting will also feature guest speakers who will talk about tenant and renter’s rights and tax relief programs for homeowners.

Board elections will begin at 6:30 p.m., with the general program beginning at 7:00 p.m. More information on board candidates is available in the CPN Spring Newsletter.

Here’s also some information on two upcoming community events in Cedar Park.  Continue Reading

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Friends of Clark Park to talk dogs, leashes at annual meeting on Monday

Posted on 17 April 2017

Dogs on and off leashes in the Clark Park Bowl will be the main focus of Monday’s annual members meeting of the Friends of Clark Park.

The Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation has promised to step up enforcement of rules about off-leash dogs in city parks following dog attacks in Pastorius Park in Chestnut Hill. City park rules require dogs outside of a dog run to be on a leash that is 6-feet long or shorter.

But what about the Bowl, where dogs have been running free with their owners nearby for years and years? Monday’s meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. in the University of the Sciences’ Griffith Hall (43rd and Woodland), will take up this discussion – againContinue Reading

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Check out Easter Egg Hunts this weekend! (updated)

Posted on 14 April 2017

Several Easter Egg Hunts will be held in the neighborhood this Saturday and Sunday. If you know of more egg hunts, please email us at: editor@westphillylocal.com or leave a comment below.

 

Saturday, April 15

• Annual Easter Egg Hunt at Clark Park

43rd and Chester, 11:00 a.m.

Renewal Presbyterian Church will hold its annual Easter Egg Hunt at Clark Park, next to the toddler playground, from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Ages 1 – 8 are welcome. The event will also include crafts and a raffle basket giveaway, including items from local West Philly businesses. Registration for the Egg Hunt is from 10:45 – 11:15 a.m. For more information, please email: office@renewalchurch.org or call 267.564.5105.

• Friends of Walnut West Library Easter Egg Hunt

Walnut St. West Library (upstairs), 40th and Walnut, 10:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.

The Friends of Walnut West Library will have two Easter Egg Hunts – at 10:30 a.m. for pre-school children (ages 3 – 5), and at 12:30 p.m. for ages 6 to 12.

Continue Reading

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Ten local artists selected to beautify Lancaster Avenue this spring/summer

Posted on 14 April 2017

The Artist Pitch and Participate event was held on March 30 at the United Bank building (Photos courtesy of LoLa 38).

Ten local artists have been selected to help produce a series of public art installations on Lancaster Avenue.

LoLa 38, a Creative Placemaking project based in West Philadelphia, invited over 20 local artists and artist collaboratives to pitch their ideas for two public art projects in Powelton Village – at the former United Bank building (3750 Lancaster Ave) and the construction fence on the site of the former University City High School.

Ellen Tiberino (left) and audience member.

In brief presentations, each of them no more than five minutes, held on March 30 artists were asked to answer one of the following questions: How does progress feel? Which walls are invisible? Is there a good rate of change? The audience–a crowd of over 30 community members–judged and placed their votes based on the following criteria: excellence, community connection, curiosity, capacity, and wild card.

Ellen Tiberino, Brian “BCASSO” Bazemore, Melanie Booth, Gabrielle Patterson, Lucy Pistilli will be working on the construction fence of the former University City High School.

Tiberino, who comes from the renowned Philadelphia family of artists, is an artist with deep connections to the neighborhood. She shared her memories of a flowered walkway near University City High School during her presentation. You may recall Bazemore’s work, inspired by Black Lives Matter, from his contribution to the Neighborhood Time Exchange in Fall 2015; Pistilli also contributed her own artwork to the same installation. Patterson is a recent graduate from the University of Pennsylvania and freelance animator.  Continue Reading

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Update: Redevelopment Authority saves Wiota Street Community Garden

Posted on 13 April 2017

The Wiota Street Community Garden (from Google Street View).

The Redevelopment Authority voted to save the Wiota Street Community Garden yesterday, rejecting a sale of the land to a developer who planned to build residences on the property on the 4000 block of Powelton Avenue.

The land has been owned for decades by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, which heard a proposal yesterday to sell the land to AJR Endeavors LLC. Several residents attended the monthly authority meeting on Wednesday to speak in favor of the garden. Despite Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell’s support of the sale, the Authority unanimously voted against it, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Community members have been lobbying for years to keep the property a garden. A community meeting in December 2014 drew a pledge from Blackwell, who was present at the meeting, to help preserve the garden when developers expressed interest in the property.  Continue Reading

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“Broken Chains” mural at 52nd and Larchwood to be removed; Provide feedback for new mural’s design this Thursday

Posted on 11 April 2017

The “Broken Chains” mural at 52nd and Larchwood will be removed due to a new construction project.

Murals are an important part of Philadelphia history and cultural legacy, so it’s a big deal for many residents to hear that a mural in their neighborhood has to be removed. We learned that the “Broken Chains” mural at 52nd and Larchwood can’t be saved due to a new construction project. Understanding the mural’s importance to the community, the project developer, West Philly-based real estate and development firm Spak Group, has offered to fund a new mural at the same location after the construction project is completed.

The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and artists KC White and Gabe Tiberino have been engaged to work on the new mural, and community members are invited this Thursday (April 13) to join the conversation and help inform the design of the mural that will celebrate Black History and empowerment. The meeting will take place at Philadelphia Student Union (501 S. 52nd St.), beginning at 6:30 p.m., and light refreshments will be served.  Continue Reading

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It’s official: Acme to replace Fresh Grocer after signing lease for supermarket space at 40th and Walnut

Posted on 10 April 2017

After months of rumors, we can confirm that Acme will run the grocery store at 40th and Walnut Streets currently operated by Fresh Grocer. In their Monday’s joint press release, the University of Pennsylvania and Acme Markets have announced the signing of a lease to develop a new supermarket at 40th and Walnut that will include a wine and beer shop and a Starbucks.

According to the press release, the new store will “offer an expansive variety of the freshest produce, top quality meats and seafood, and a large selection of natural, gluten‐free, organic, and local products” and will include indoor and outdoor seating. The University City ACME will also “feature a sushi and noodle bar, a guacamole station, a Starbucks, and a beer and wine shop.”  Continue Reading

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Holy Week at St. Francis de Sales to kick off with ancient choral meditation on Tuesday. All are welcome

Posted on 10 April 2017

Holy Week services and events at St. Francis de Sales Parish (4625 Springfield Ave.) kick off on Tuesday, April 11 with Tenebrae – a prayer in shadows.

The Latin word for “shadows” or “darkness,” tenebrae is the name given to the Church’s celebration of the Hours of Matins and Lauds for Holy Week. Nowadays, it’s often used as a “choral preparation” or meditation on the themes of the Passion. Psalms and hymns of lament are read and sung, and a great number of composers have written some beautiful meditative pieces for this rite.

All are welcome to join the Choir of St. Francis de Sales for this solemn and ancient choral meditation with the music of Palestrina, Garau, Byrd, and other composers in preparation for the Good Friday.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. and no collection will be taken or donations asked. For more information, go here. For information on other Holy Week events and services at St. Francis de Sales Church and some other local churches, visit our Events page.

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MOVE bombing site to get historical marker; MOVE! film screening and talk by Ramona Africa this Saturday at A-Space

Posted on 07 April 2017

West Philly bombing in 1985On Saturday, April 8 at 4:30 p.m., the MOVE organization will host a film screening and discussion at A-Space Anarchist Community Center at 4722 Baltimore Avenue. Howard Zinn narrates the documentary, “MOVE!,” about the 1985 bombing of the organization’s headquarters at 6221 Osage Avenue in West Philadelphia. Eleven people died and 61 rowhomes were destroyed.

MOVE’s Ramona Africa will lead a talk and Q&A after the film screening. The tragedy, which took place over 30 years ago, sheds light on state violence against marginalized communities, especially those dedicated to social change and liberation. Visit their Facebook event page to RSVP.  Continue Reading

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Philly Spring Cleanup is this Saturday. Volunteers wanted for West Philly projects

Posted on 06 April 2017

The 10th annual Philly Spring Cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, April 8, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and volunteer help is essential for the success of this event. 130 project sites have been registered in West Philadelphia on the Philadelphia Streets Department website. Residents can view the projects in their neighborhood and register to volunteer here.

The organizers of the following cleanup projects also would like to let community members know about their sites:

Philly Spring Cleanup at Kingsessing Recreation Center (50th and Kingsessing), 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Cleanup supplies will be provided, plus free coffee, water and snacks for participants. Sign up at http://PhillySpringCleanup.com. For more information, visit the Friends of Kingsessing Rec Facebook pageContinue Reading

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City’s highest rents are in University City, according to reports

Posted on 06 April 2017

Rents in the city continue to grow, and University City is one of Philadelphia’s most expensive areas to rent in, according to recent reports. In its last month’s report based on the data from real estate company Zumper, Philly.com writes that the average one-bedroom rental is $1,800 per month in the area, making it the second most expensive neighborhood in the city (Logan Circle is first). This is a 14 percent increase from February 2016.

However, it’s important to clarify that the report defines University City as the area between 40th Street west to the Schuylkill River east, which includes the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University campuses where some of the city’s most expensive high-rise apartment buildings were built over the last few years.  Continue Reading

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Learn more about gerrymandering and meet DA candidates this month at USciences

Posted on 05 April 2017

Two important community events are scheduled for this month at the University of the Sciences, one to meet District Attorney candidates and the other to learn more about gerrymandering in Pennsylvania.

On Thursday, April 13, the 27th Ward Democratic Executive Committee will host a DA Candidates’ Night at USciences, and this is a great chance to meet the Democratic candidates running for the District Attorney office before the May 16 primary election: Judge Teresa Carr Deni, Tariq El-Shabazz (former Deputy District Attorney), Joe Khan (former ADA, former Federal Prosecutor), Lawrence Krasner (Civil Rights Attorney), Rich Negrin (former managing director), Michael Untermeyer (former Assistant District Attorney), and Jack O’Neill (former Assistant District Attorney). Residents are welcome to ask questions and bring their concerns. The meeting will be held at Rosenberger Hall, located in Clark Park near 43rd and Woodland, beginning at 7 p.m.

On Thursday, April 27, residents can learn more about gerrymandering and how Pennsylvania is one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation. Fair Districts PA will present “How to Make Your Vote Count: Ending Gerrymandering in PA.” The event, which is being organized especially for West Philadelphians, will feature an FDPA speaker who will explain how partisan gerrymandering in Pennsylvania shapes election outcomes before the first vote is even cast, and what voters can do to ensure that state legislative and congressional district maps are drawn fairly.

This event will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. at Griffith Hall C, 600 S. 43rd St. (see map here).

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