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Help Curio Theatre tell story of Black virtuoso left out of history books

September 25, 2020

At the time of the pandemic, when we can’t enjoy theater, Curio Theatre Company is working on A Symphony for Saint-Georges – a multi-disciplinary, ambulatory installation designed to encourage social distancing.

The installation will include sculpture, music, dance, fencing, projections, and spoken word that will tell the story of Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges – a Black fencing expert, virtuoso violinist, and accomplished composer whose life is left out of history books.

The project is supported by The Spotlight Fund, created in honor of Curio’s longtime friend and supporter, West Philadelphia resident Mary Allegra, who passed away last year. The fund continues her legacy by funding projects and initiatives that serve the community but are not otherwise covered by the theatre’s annual operating budget.  Continue Reading

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Virtual West Craft Fest returns this Saturday

September 24, 2020

The West Craft Fest held in spring and fall at The Woodlands will again take place virtually due to the ongoing pandemic. This Saturday, Sept. 26, work by West Craft Fest’s past vendors will be featured on its Instagram page (anyone who participated in the craft fest’s 2019 events is welcome to tag their IG posts with #virtualwestcraftfest).

Shoppers are invited to follow the Fest Instagram page and the #virtualwestcraftfest hashtag to find out what vendors have been creating, including some special one-day-only discounts. This is a great opportunity to shop for holiday gifts early and support local makers during these difficult times.

The December Fest, which was held at The Rotunda before the pandemic, will most likely be online-only also. The organizers hope that they will be able to return to the Woodlands in April 2021.

(Photo courtesy of West Craft Fest)

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New interactive map for tracking trash/recycling collections coming next week

September 24, 2020

If your trash or recyclables haven’t been picked up, here’s a new tool that will help you track the status of collections on your block. The Streets Department has announced the launch of PickupPHL, a new interactive map that will allow residents to view daily trash and recycling collections. The new platform will officially launch for public use on Oct. 1.

The new tool provides direct access to the City’s residential sanitation services and residents will have almost real-time access to the Sanitation Division’s truck routing system. For the first-time the public is able to see the daily progress of the Streets Department’s residential collection routes. PickupPHL allows users to determine if a block has been visited by a trash, recycling or both trucks and identify where collections are taking place daily.  Continue Reading

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Don’t submit a ‘naked’ ballot! And other voting tips and info …

September 23, 2020

Still haven’t figured out your plan to vote in November’s general election? Here’s some info that will help.

First, there are some important dates. Oct. 19 is the last day to register before the Nov. 3 election. Check your registration status here. There are a number of ways to register, including online, by mail and in person. This is a good place to start.

Once registered, you have two choices. You can vote in person on Nov. 3 at, likely, a reduced number of polling places. Or, you can vote right now – by mail.  Continue Reading

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Donate blood, plasma + COVID-19 antibodies testing at Calvary Center this Friday

September 22, 2020

St. Francis De Sales Church and Calvary Center are hosting a Red Cross blood drive on Friday, Sept. 25. For a limited time, the Red Cross will test all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies as an additional health service to donors. There is currently a shortage of “COVID-19 convalescent” plasma needed to treat sick people, so the Red Cross is also seeking fully recovered COVID-19 patients.

The blood drive will be held at Calvary Center for Culture and Community (801 S. 48th St.) from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

To sign up to be a donor at this drive please go to the Red Cross website. Use sponsor code: St Francis Calvary Community. If you want to save time on the day of the donation please visit www.redcrossblood.org/rapidpass to pre-register.  Continue Reading

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Community, local leaders hold anti-fascist rally in Clark Park in response to planned far-right rally

September 20, 2020

Hundreds of residents gathered in Clark Park on Saturday to protest a rally planned in the park by far-right group “Proud Boys,” which never materialized. People held “Black Lives Matter,” “Fascists Go Home!” and other signs. Instead of confrontation, a peaceful pro-diversity rally ensued that included participation of local community leaders and West Philly-elected officials.

“These people came here to divide us, but look what they have done,” City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier said during the rally.  Continue Reading

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Clark Park Farmers Market to change hours of operation this Saturday due to planned far-right group rally

September 18, 2020

The Food Trust, the organization that hosts Clark Park Farmers Markets, has adjusted hours of operation for this week’s market due to a rally planned at the park by the far-right group “Proud Boys.” The market will be held this Saturday, Sept. 19, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Due to the shortened duration of the market, The Food Trust will not have their usual designated shopping hours for senior and immunocompromised residents. Additional details about vendor participation and pre-orders can be found here. Market operations will return to normal hours on Saturday, Sept. 26: from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.  Continue Reading

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Far-right rally in Clark Park? Here’s a response from city officials, police

September 17, 2020

West Philly is preparing to a gathering/rally of neo-fascist group “Proud Boys” in Clark Park reportedly happening this Saturday.

Due to the planned gathering and anticipated response from residents and local anti-fascist groups, City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier (3rd District) has issued a statement where she denounces the event “being promoted by a known white nationalist group” that have “selected a highly visible location and time for the event in order to maximize tensions and create a spectacle.”

“Let us be perfectly clear: our community is purposely being targeted for this event because of our diversity and our progressive values,” the statement reads. “The rally and the views this group espouse run counter to everything we stand for… I think I speak for all of us when I say: Go home. You are unwelcome, and we don’t want you here.”  Continue Reading

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University City Dining Days kicks off this weekend with more deals and options

September 16, 2020

University City District (UCD) is launching University City Dining Days this weekend with new deals to showcase West Philly’s diverse restaurant scene and a new meaning – to offer support to an industry severely impacted by COVID-19.

This year’s Dining Days promotion will run from Saturday, Sept. 19 through Sunday, Oct. 4 and will feature not only the typical option of three courses for a set price, but also alternate deals including to-go cocktails, special add-ons, and takeout options, all perfect for picnics in the neighborhood’s public spaces.

Nearly 30 restaurants are participating in this year’s Dining Days, including returning participants like White Dog Cafe, Distrito (pictured), and Vientiane, and newcomers like Kusina Philly, Loco Pez, and Booker’s. Participating restaurants offer choices for takeout, outdoor dining, or indoor dining, where applicable. Available options include three courses for a set price ($15, $25, or $35), free add-ons for orders over a certain price threshold, and deals on make-at-home kits and takeout beer and cocktails.  Continue Reading

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Pedestrian safety improvements finally coming to Cobbs Creek Parkway

September 15, 2020

In the wake of the tragic death of 25-year-old Avante Reynolds, a pedestrian killed on Cobbs Creek Parkway last month, and the demand for changes from the community, PennDOT and the city’s Streets Department have agreed to carry out safety improvements on the Parkway. The decision was announced today during a meeting with elected officials from West Philadelphia that included State Sen. Anthony Williams, State Rep. Joanna McClinton, and City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier.

PennDOT will begin installing multiple improvements within the next month, including rumble strips along the center lanes along the Parkway from Girard Avenue to Baltimore Avenue. A new style of rumble strip technology will be used which minimizes noise and nuisance to neighboring residents.  Continue Reading

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Bid on local gifts and help local non-profit to plant trees, clean up blocks

September 14, 2020

UC Green, the non-profit known for planting trees in West Philly neighborhoods, is holding a virtual auction this weekend to raise funds for projects scheduled for this fall.

The auction will be live on Instagram from 10 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 20 to 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 21.

Community members are invited to bid on unique works of art from local makers – from jewelry to ceramic planters to original artwork by local artists. Special experiences like a catered socially distant ice cream party from Zsa’s Ice Cream will be also included in the offerings. More details about the local contributors who are donating to this fun affair and sneak peaks at auction items are available on the @ArborAndArt Instagram page now.  Continue Reading

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West Philly business news: more stores, restaurants reopen

September 11, 2020

food

Mariposa Food Co-op (Archived photo).

More West Philly and University City shops have reopened in recent weeks or are reopening soon as Philadelphia has been slowly reopening under the Green coronavirus reopening phase. Restaurants have also begun reopening their indoor space. Check out some business news and updates below.

• Gift shop VIX Emporium (50th and Baltimore) is reopening to customers for in-person shopping this Saturday, Sept. 12 with COVID-19 safety protocols. The store will be open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and will offer private shopping appointments on Wednesdays (you can book an appointment for yourself and two guests here; a $10 deposit will be credited toward your purchase).  Continue Reading

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Petition launched for safer Cobbs Creek Parkway after another tragic accident

September 10, 2020

The Cobbs Creek Community Association and 5th Square have launched a petition demanding a safer Cobbs Creek Parkway, one of the city’s deadliest roadways. The petition is addressed to PennDOT and the Philadelphia Streets Department and demands immediate action to make this road safe for all its users.  Continue Reading

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Digital access centers for school students now open in West/Southwest Philadelphia

September 9, 2020

Students in grades K-6 who don’t have internet access at their homes can now visit the city’s Access Centers for digital learning. Access centers are located in recreation centers, libraries, Philadelphia Housing Authority sites, and community-based organizations and provide a safe, supervised environment for digital learning. Parents and guardians have to register their child or children to be able to participate in this program.

There are 10 Access Center locations in West and Southwest Philadelphia, including the West Philadelphia YMCA, Kingsessing Recreation Center, Cobbs Creek Recreation Center, and more. To find an access center near you please use this finderContinue Reading

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Limited indoor dining now allowed in Philadelphia

September 8, 2020

Starting today, Philadelphia restaurants can offer limited indoor dining to customers, in addition to outdoor dining and takeout/delivery options. Restaurants are now allowed to seat guests inside at 25 percent capacity, according to a new regulation by the City, and have to follow strict social distancing and other COVID-19 safety rules.

Many city restaurants have been preparing for socially distanced indoor dining – separating tables at least six feet apart and installing barriers. Here are other rules that restaurants have to follow if they want to reopen indoor dining:

• The maximum of four diners per table is allowed.

• Servers must wear both masks and face shields for additional protection.

• Bar service is not allowed. Alcohol can be served when in the same transaction as a meal.

• Food establishments are required to be closed for service by midnight.

• Restaurants must install physical barriers in restaurant kitchens and at cash registers and food pick up areas where maintaining physical distance of at least six feet is difficult.

• Restaurants must screen every employee for symptoms before every shift and prevent them from remaining on-site if they have any COVID-19 symptoms, such as cough, fever, shortness of breath or loss of taste or smell.

Check out the video below for more information:

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Messages of Hope appear on damaged storefront on 52nd Street

September 4, 2020

Mural Arts Philadelphia has partnered with DTLR, one of the stores that was looted during the civil unrest on May 31, to install “Messages of Hope” from local Black artists on its damaged storefronts around the city, including one on S. 52nd Street. Artists from the public art project Fill the Walls with Hope installed socially conscious artwork featuring powerful messages that aim to bring a sense of hope to the damaged storefronts.

DTLR, an apparel store, opened its Philadelphia flagship store near 52nd and Market last November. The location has remained closed since May 31. DTLR is planning to reopen this and other looted Philadelphia locations by the end of first quarter 2021.  Continue Reading

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Penn Museum offers “Back to School” free admission to high school students

September 3, 2020

Students enrolled in any high school in Philadelphia, including homeschooled teens, can visit the Penn Museum free of charge this fall as part of a back-to-school initiative.

Free admission for students will be offered Tuesdays through Fridays, from 3-5 p.m.. Students will be offered a safe space during a critical after-school timeframe. They will also receive free admission on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Identification is not required, but teens will be asked by museum staff about their birth date, zip code, and the school they attend.

Students from any college or university are also able to visit the museum at no cost on Tuesdays-Fridays from 3 to 5 p.m. In addition, teachers can always visit the museum for free.  Continue Reading

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City launches Eviction Diversion Program

September 2, 2020

The city has launched an Eviction Diversion Program to help tenants and landlords with payment arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program enables landlords and tenants to arrive at an agreement that works for both parties, without having to go to court. The program is a required process for all landlords with tenants who have had difficulty paying rent due to a COVID-19 related hardship.

This summer, the City introduced two phases of rental assistance, but doesn’t have enough funding to meet the overwhelming need.  Continue Reading

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Mural of slain West Philly police officer defaced over weekend (updated)

August 31, 2020

A mural dedicated to West Philly police officer Sgt. Robert Wilson III murdered in 2015 was vandalized over the weekend, according to reports. The mural, located at 60th and Baltimore, was spray-painted with anti-police slogans:

Continue Reading

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