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Work on new police headquarters begins at 46th and Market

Posted on 21 October 2014

provident_insurance_building

Work on the new police headquarters at 46th and Market has officially begun, with a groundbreaking ceremony taking place on Monday.

The 87-year-old Provident Mutual Life Insurance Co. building, will undergo renovation and will host the Philadelphia Police Department headquarters, which will move from their current Center City location at 8th and Race. The building will also be home to the medical examiner’s office, morgue and the Department of Health public laboratories.

“[It] will be known as the Philadelphia Public Safety Services campus,” mayor Michael Nutter said at the groundbreaking ceremony.

The building renovation will cost about $250 million. Two bills were introduced earlier this year by Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell that allowed the city to borrow this sum. The building is expected to open in 2018.

The Provident Mutual Life Insurance Co. building was included in the endangered properties list by the Preservation Alliance of Philadelphia in 2010. After Provident left the building in 1983 it was occupied by various non-profits for many years, but has been vacant for the past six years.

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18-year-old arrested after home invasions on S. 47th, S. 48th Streets

Posted on 21 October 2014

Police arrested an 18-year-old man early this morning following two confrontational home invasions on the 400 block of S. 47th St. and the 500 block of S. 48th.

Police say a woman awoke at a home on the 400 block of S. 47th at about 3 a.m. after she heard someone walking in the hallway. She told police that a young male, who broke in through the front door, entered her bedroom and demanded money. The man fled the home with the victim’s iPhone. She was able to track the phone to an area near 48th and Larchwood using a phone tracking app, according to a police report.

About 20 minutes later a man on the 500 block of S. 48th Street awoke to a young man slapping him in the face, demanding money and threatening to shoot him. The victim and suspect went down to the first floor of the home where the victim took out his phone and attempted to call police, according to the police report. The suspect grabbed his phone and broke it. The victim then grabbed his work phone and tried to call, but the suspect broke that phone as well. The victim gave the suspect cash and the suspect ordered him to return to the second floor. When the victim refused the suspect began swinging a ladder at him before fleeing the home. The victim sustained minor injuries in this confrontation, police said.

Police apprehended the man near the home. They said that no weapon was found when the suspect was caught.

Police have not released the name of the young man, who lives on the 4800 block of Walton St. They say he may be involved in a recent string of armed robberies in the area as well.

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A string of robberies with sawed-off gun in Cedar Park area over the weekend

Posted on 20 October 2014

crimePolice have issued a crime alert in the Cedar Park area following a string of robberies and attempted robberies over the weekend. In all three cases reported below, a sawed off shotgun or imitation of a gun was used.

The first incident happened on the 800 block of S. 48th Street, around 11:20 p.m. on Saturday, when a 28-year-old man was approached on the street by a young male, who pointed a sawed off shotgun at the victim and demanded money. The victim told police that he did not believe the gun was real and started screaming, according to a police report. The attacker didn’t take anything and fled on foot toward Baltimore Avenue.

The other two incidents took place on Sunday. A 26-year-old man was robbed and pistol-whipped near 47th and Hazel around 8:15 p.m. by two males, one of whom pressed a sawed off firearm into the victim’s chest, according to police. The males took the victim’s iPhone and wallet. The man was also hit in the head with the firearm after he said he didn’t have anything else and sustained a cut to his ear.  Continue Reading

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New artist residency program on Lancaster Ave looking for artists

Posted on 20 October 2014

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Neighborhood Time Exchange focuses on the area around Lancaster Ave. (Map image via www.neighborhoodtime.exchange)

Here’s a new program in West Philly that supports emerging artists! Neighborhood Time Exchange: West Philadelphia Artist Residency was recently launched at 4017 Lancaster Avenue thanks to collaboration of three organizations – Broken City Lab, the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, and the People’s Emergency Center. The program will provide studio space to up to 12 artists (six of the spots are reserved for local artists) where they can work on their personal projects. In exchange, the resident artists are expected to give back to the community: for every hour they spend working in the studio they are expected to spend an hour on community-centered work and service. The goal of the program, according to its organizers, is to lay the ground for civic and economic renewal of the area, to be a platform for social change.

If you’re an emerging artist in Philadelphia and need help spearheading your career and if you’re interested in this program, read on.

Currently, Neighborhood Time Exchange is seeking artists for their inaugural round of residencies, which begins in January 2015. Artists residing in the neighborhoods around Lancaster Avenue, such as Mantua, Belmont, West Powelton, Saunders Park and Mill Creek, are encouraged to apply. Application deadline is Friday, Oct. 24. To download an application form and for more information, visit the Neighborhood Time Exchange website. If you have questions, email: info@neighborhoodtime.exchange

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Public school breakfast, lunch menu (Oct 20-24)

Posted on 19 October 2014

We continue publishing breakfast and lunch menus served at schools in the School District of Philadelphia. Here’s the menu for Monday, Oct 20 through Friday, Oct 24. 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 bake-crafter bar.

Monday

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

Tuesday

Steak, Egg & Cheese on a Bagel
Benefit Bar
Choose 1: Mixed Fruit Cup or Fresh Orange
Variety of Milk Continue Reading

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Still; like a gargoyle

Posted on 18 October 2014

We found this plump little one guarding a porch on the 4500 block of Osage on Saturday.

We found this plump little one guarding a porch on the 4500 block of Osage on Saturday (Photo by West Philly Local).

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Books Through Bars hosting workshop, speakers, fundraiser on incarceration issues

Posted on 17 October 2014

Books-Through-Bars-LogoAn important discussion about incarceration has gained traction nationally in recent years and an important facilitator in that discussion locally is the organization Books Though Bars.

The group’s primary mission is to obtain, pack and ship books to inmates in the region, a volunteer-heavy activity they have been doing in West Philly for more than 20 years. There is a chance this Saturday to be part of this ongoing conversation, meet people from Books Through Bars and other organizations engaged in incarceration issues and raise a little money to keep their work going.

Books Through Bars is hosting a fundraiser tomorrow (Oct 18) at the LAVA Space at 4134 Lancaster Ave, beginning at 2 p.m. The event will feature free workshops and speakers (2 to 6 p.m.) from the following organizations: Decarcerate PA, Hearts on a Wire, The Center for Returning Citizens, HRC, Books Through Bars Address This!, and DreamActivist PA. After that there will be a rockers show (6-10 p.m.) hosted by MMGZ.

Please bring $5-8 to donate at the event. Also, Books Through Bars’ Business, Science and Math shelves are pretty empty right now, so if you have any books that you don’t need please bring them to tomorrow’s event or to the A-Space where the organization is located (4722 Baltimore Ave).

For more information, check out the Books Through Bars Facebook page.

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St. Francis de Sales students featured in Philadelphia Film Festival Premiere

Posted on 17 October 2014

Zebadiah

Violinist Zebadiah plays with The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra and now attends Central High School.

This weekend, the annual Philadelphia Film Festival kicks off and we learned that students attending a local parochial school will be featured in one of the festival premieres.

Ilene Miller of Play On, Philly!, a tuition-free after school music program that has been operating for a few years at the St. Francis de Sales School near 47th and Springfield, sent us some more details about the film and the West Philly kids featured in it:

Play On, Philly! (POP), the innovative tuition-free after school music program in communities with little access to music education, was founded in 2011 at St. Francis de Sales School. The program, as well as two students, will be featured in the premiere of Crescendo! The Power of Music, at the Philadelphia Film Festival on October 20 and 25 (see a trailer here).

Filmmakers Jamie Bernstein (daughter of famed conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein) and Elizabeth Kling have been following Play On, Philly! at St. Francis de Sales since day one for their documentary about kids participating in two youth orchestra programs – POP and the Harmony Program in Harlem.

Raven

Raven started POP in 4th grade and now plays with Musicopia String Orchestra and Philadelphia Sinfonia. She wants to be a professional violinist.

You will be truly moved at the experiences of students Raven and Zebadiah – their struggles, heartbreak and joy – as they discover themselves through the mysterious power of music in the Play On, Philly! program.

Raven is a violin natural with a rambunctious spirit. Quiet, quirky Zebadiah overcomes his shyness and gains confidence through the viola.

Zebadiah is now in 11h grade at Central High School. He returns to St. Francis every week to mentor younger students as a POP Ambassador… Raven, now in 9th grade at String Theory Charter School, studies with a member of The Philadelphia Orchestra, plays in Philadelphia Sinfonia and Musicopia String Orchestra, and wants to be a professional violinist.”

Crescendo! The Power of Music will be shown on October 20 at 3:00 p.m. at The Ritz Bourse Theater and again on October 25 at 3:15 p.m. at The Prince Music Theater (including a performance by POP students and a discussion with Jamie Bernstein).

For tickets visit www.filmadelphia.org/tickets or call 267-607-3385.

(Photos by Steven Krull/Play On, Philly!)

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Open bar, buffet, fortune tellers: Help support Curio Theatre at ‘The Carnival Macabre’

Posted on 16 October 2014

4027323West Philly’s own professional theatre company, Curio Theatre, is throwing a party this Saturday to celebrate its 10th anniversary and raise money to help keep this important community resource going strong.

This year’s benefit, titled “The Carnival Macabre,” kicks off at 7 p.m. at the St. Francis DeSales Ballroom (917 S. 47th St.) and will include games of chance, fortune tellers, silent and live auctions and dancing. The Gold Standard Café will provide a buffet and there will be an open beer and wine bar along with a signature cocktail. Second Vision will supply the music.

Tickets are $50 and are available online here.

Speaking of Curio, the company recently announced the debut performance of the 2014-15 season: The Matter of Frank Schaefer, which will open Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. The performance takes on the story of the Methodist minister from Lebanon, Penna. who was defrocked after officiating at his son’s gay wedding.

“What grabbed us right away with the story of Frank Schaefer is that it felt like a civil rights movement was starting right in front of us,” said Curio Artistic Director Paul Kuhn.

That’s just a taste. We’ll have more information on The Matter of Frank Schaefer before the premiere. In the meantime, please do what you can to help support the amazing work at Curio.

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2014 Spruce Hill Halloween Parade and Party confirmed

Posted on 16 October 2014

halloween 1

We hope that our little neighbors and their families are getting their costumes ready because this year’s Spruce Hill Halloween costume parade for tots will be held on Friday, Oct. 31, the Spruce Hill Community Association (SHCA) announced earlier this week. The parade will start at 4:30 p.m. from the assembly area at 45th and Baltimore (next to Milk and Honey). The assembly will begin at 4 p.m.

West PhillyThe parade will follow the usual route down Larchwood to 43rd Street and over to the scarily decorated 4200 block of Osage (“Little Osage”), where the everyone will be welcomed with cider and treats.

SHCA, who is the sponsor of the parade, is asking that all tots be accompanied by an adult and that everyone be extra careful crossing streets to get to the parade and especially afterward, as darkness falls.

SHCA also invites little neighbors to stop by their center at 257 S 45th Street during trick-or-treating. “SHCA board member and Mel-Lo Townwatch leader Jackie Waiters will continue the long standing tradition of delighting trick-or-treaters with hand assembled goodie bags,” their announcement reads.

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No more curbside bagged leaf collection; other changes in this year’s Philly Leaf Recycling program

Posted on 16 October 2014

leavesThe Streets Department’s 2014 Philly Leaf and Recycling Program will kick off on November 10 and will run through December 19. During the six-week program, leaves will be collected for composting purposes, such as fertilizing gardens and nourishing trees.

There will be changes in the way leaves are collected for recycling this year, according to a recent announcement by the Streets Department. Bagged leaves will no longer be collected curbside. Instead, residents can drop them off at specially designated locations throughout the city. Here are the bagged leaf collection locations in West and Southwest Philadelphia area (open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays from Nov. 10 through Dec. 19):

• 66th & Haverford Avenue
• 54th & Woodbine Avenue
• 43rd & Powelton Avenue
• 72nd & Buist Avenue

Bagged leaves may also be taken to any of the four Sanitation Convenience Centers (visit the Streets Department website for more information).

Another requirement for recycling is that bagged leaves will only be accepted in biodegradable paper bags because they can be processed for recycling along with the leaves. The Streets Department doesn’t provide biodegradable bags, but you can purchase them at your local home improvement or hardware store.  Continue Reading

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Cranes explained: UCD releases new ‘State of University City’ report

Posted on 16 October 2014

StateofUCThese days it seems like you can’t walk more than a block or two near Penn and Drexel’s campuses without seeing some sort of major construction project. Cranes are becoming about as common around here as coffee shops.

Some 32 building projects have been or will be completed in the area around the universities between last fall and next summer or so, according to the 2014/2015 State of University City report, which was released by the University City District (UCD) yesterday afternoon during a reception at World Cafe Live (3025 Walnut St.). These include about 1.3 million square feet of new building space dedicated to medical and biomedical research, a key field driving development of this part of the city.

The majority of all new office construction in the city is happening in the patch between 38th street to the west, Market street to the north and the Schuylkill River to the east and south.

All of this building and investment has created what doctor-turned-entrepreneur Keith Leaphart, a lifelong Philadelphia resident, called an “ecosystem for ambition” during yesterday’s reception. Leaphart owns the design and print firm Replica Creative, which opened a café amid all the hubbub last year at 3711 Market St.

Residential space is increasing as well. Two new residential high rises, at 36th and Market and 3737 Chestnut, are slated to open next summer and fall respectively. The UCD is forecasting that the number of new apartments will increase 60 percent by 2016. Many of these are aimed at graduate students and millennials, the fastest growing demographic category in the district.  Continue Reading

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WPL’s 2014 Pumpkin Carving Contest starts today

Posted on 15 October 2014

pumpkin_entry_2011-1Dear West Philly Local readers, we’re happy to announce our 4th Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest. We hope that more people will participate this year because we’ll have some awesome prizes from local businesses, plus there will be random drawings for prizes. Are you ready? Here are the rules:

The contest runs from October 15 through October 31, 2014. All ages are welcome to participate.

Submit a snapshot of your pumpkin by email (contest@westphillylocal.com) that includes your name, address (West Philly residents only please), and age (if you are entering the Kids category). Entries from kids 12 and under will also be entered into the Kids category. Be sure to get a good photo that shows off your pumpkin’s best features. If you’re an Instagram user, please upload your photo there with the hashtag #westphillylocal.

Winners will be selected in the following categories:

Scariest
Funniest
Kids (12 and under)
Best Philly-Themed
Readers’ Choice (grand prize)

There will also be a random drawing for those pumpkins that didn’t win in any of the above categories, so everyone has a shot at an awesome prize.

The entry deadline is 6 p.m. on Friday October 31.

Voting for the Readers’ Choice will run on October 31 – November 2. Note: One entry per person.The winners will be announced on November 3.

If you need ideas check out the pumpkins entered in our previous contests here.

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Free preschool options in West, Southwest Philly

Posted on 14 October 2014

headstartThe Philadelphia Head Start Partnership (PHSP), a program of Public Health Management Corporation, provides no-cost preschool education and family support services to low-income children and families and is currently accepting applications for this school year. Recently, PHSP began partnering with various child care providers in West Philadelphia (see the list of locations below).

Children who were 3 by Sept. 1, 2014 are age-eligible for Head Start services. If you are interested in applying to PHSP, please call 215.205.0400 to set up an intake appointment.

The following locations in West and Southwest Philadelphia now offer Head Start programming managed by PHSP:

Child Care Centers

Brightside Academy
4829 Lancaster Ave. 19131

Brightside Academy
4047 Lancaster St. 19014

Brightside Academy
801 N. 48th St. 19139

Woodland Academy
5401 Grays Ave. 19143  Continue Reading

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Halloween-themed events kick off this Tuesday at The Woodlands

Posted on 14 October 2014

FunnyBonesThis month, we’ll be publishing information about Halloween-themed events happening in the area. Here’s a roundup for the upcoming events at The Woodlands Cemetery and Mansion (40th and Woodland). Many of them are for the whole family. Please note that the first two events, dedicated to works of Edgar Allan Poe, will take place today (Tuesday, Oct 14).

Tuesday, Oct 14

Edgar Allan Poe: Funny Bones (kids are welcome)

4:30-6:30 p.m.

The Woodlands is a perfect setting for something mysterious and macabre, like a performance based on Edgar Allan Poe’s works. Literary historian and playwright Rob Velella, who specializes in 19th century American literature, will demonstrate some of Poe’s most loved stories. This event is especially great for kids. For more info and to buy tickets ($15 adults, $10 kids), click here.

Edgar Allan Poe: Master of the Macabre

7:30-9:30 p.m.

Velella, will continue his demonstration of some of Poe’s works, in this after-dark performance. After his performance, Velella will take you on a nighttime cemetery walk to visit Poe’s contemporary, Timothy Shay Arthur, at his eternal resting spot. This event is more suitable for adults and children ages 10+. For more info and tickets ($20), click hereContinue Reading

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Public school breakfast, lunch menu (Oct 14-17)

Posted on 13 October 2014

Today, all public schools were closed for Columbus Day, so here’s breakfast and lunch menu for this Tuesday-Friday (Oct 14-17). If your school uses a Satellite menu, click here. Come back on Sunday evening for next week’s menu.

BREAKFAST (K-12)

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

Tuesday

Breakfast Burrito
Cinni Mini Swirls
Choose 1: Peach Cup or Fresh Apple
Variety of Milk

Wednesday

Sausage, Egg & Cheese on Bagel
Appleways Bar
Choose 1: Orange Juice or Fresh Banana
Variety of Milk  Continue Reading

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This month at IHP: Open House; inaugural ‘Night of the Philly Dead’ party

Posted on 13 October 2014

IHPlogoInternational House Philadelphia (IHP), which has been serving scholars and the Philadelphia community for more than 100 years, is holding a couple of special events this month.

IHP’s Open House will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 3 – 7 p.m. Community members are invited to tour the House, including its residential facilities, conference center and theater, and learn more about the services and programming offered there. You can also meet staff and some of the current residents from all over the world. You can explore IHP’s history by attending a historical exhibit on Tuesday. Last but no least, learn more about language courses offered at IHP, meet the teachers, and even sign up for some classes. Admission is free, but if you’re planning to attend this event, please RSVP. You can read more about the Open House and RSVP here.

nightofthedeadOn Friday, Oct. 31, IHP is throwing a Night of the Philly Dead: Brews and Brains party. It is a new, annual event and IHP staff hope that you will join them at their inaugural celebration of the undead’s favorite day of the year. There will be a zombie themed dance-party paying homage to the cult-classic movies, scary-good catering provided by TV Chef Barbie Marshall, craft beer, and themed cocktails, all included in your cost of admission ($50). Costumes are encouraged and there will be a competition. 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. For more information and tickets, go to this page.

There will be many more fantastic events this Fall at IHP, including some great film screenings, exhibits, and cultural events. For more info, click here.

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Columbus Day closings, schedule changes

Posted on 13 October 2014

The City is off for Columbus Day today, which means administrative offices and courts are closed. Public schools and libraries are also closed. Post offices are closed, too, and there will be no mail delivery. Some banks are closed, too.

There will be no trash and recycling collection today. Monday collections will be picked up on Tuesday and collections for the remainder of the week will be delayed one day.

SEPTA will operate on a regular weekday schedule today.

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Update on 4224 Baltimore from Plan Philly: Blackwell says ‘Go to the zoning board’

Posted on 10 October 2014

Plan Philly yesterday got in touch with City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, who said she will not introduce an ordinance to “spot zone” the vacant parcel across from Clark Park at 43rd and Baltimore.

Blackwell told Plan Philly’s Jared Brey that she is reluctant to push for special zoning for this project out of fear that other developers, including those involved in the row over the property at 40th and Pine, will line up at her door asking for ordinances. Blackwell said she supported the project, but advised the developers to go through the zoning process, which will include a public hearing.

We reported last week that the property owner, Clarkmore LLC, was pressing Blackwell for a special ordinance that would allow them to forgo the zoning process. Clarkmore currently can build a “by right” 92-unit project that includes little parking and no retail. It wants the ordinance for a bigger 132-unit building that includes parking and ground-level retail and would require zoning variances.

For a recent history of the property and the process that led to the current proposal, see this collection of posts.

There’s a lot to this story. Go to Plan Philly for more details.

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