West Philly News Roundup

Posted on 15 September 2014

Here’s a short roundup of some recent news from around West Philadelphia.


Christina Regusters.

A West Philadelphia woman, Christina Regusters, was found guilty on Friday of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl in January, 2013. The verdict was reached by the jury of seven women and five men after several days of testimony, which included some harrowing details. The victim, now 7, also testified at the trial and is credited by the team of investigators for leading them to her kidnapper. The little girl required a surgery after being sexually assaulted. Regusters, 21, faces up to life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 15.

• University City Science Center opened a 13-story, 330,000-square-foot, $100 million, office building at 3737 Market Street on Friday. Eight floors of the building are occupied by University of Pennsylvania’s Health System patient care. Other tenants include: Spark Therapeutics (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia gene therapy spinoff), Good Shepherd Penn Partners, and Corner Bakery on the ground floor (opens in winter). has some more details here.

The building at 40th and Ludlow, which until recently housed a pet store, is for sale, Naked Philly reports. The 3-story, approximately 4,300 sq. foot commercial-type property at 27-29 S. 40th St is currently listed for sale for $879K. The pet store that the building housed, Tradewinds Aquarium and Pet Center, closed in the Spring after decades of operation.

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Public school breakfast, lunch menu Sept 15-19

Posted on 14 September 2014

Here are breakfast and lunch menus for Monday, Sept 15 through Friday, Sept 19. If your school uses a Satellite menu, click here. Come back every Sunday evening for the coming week’s menu.


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


Chicken Sausage, Egg & Cheese on English Muffin
Cheese Stick & Graham Crackers (2 pk)
Choose 1: Apple Juice or Fresh Fruit
Variety of Milk


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


Egg & Cheese on Wheat Bread
Sliced Breads: Banana or Zucchini
Choose 1: Orange Juice or Fresh Fruit
Variety of Milk


Cinnamon Granola Round
Yogurt & Graham Crackers (2 pk)
Choose 1: Pineapple Cup or Fresh Fruit
Variety of Milk


Turkey Ham, Egg and Cheese on Bagel
Crunch Mania
Choose 1: Apple Juice or Fresh Fruit
Variety of Milk Continue Reading

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Go West! Craft Fest returns Sunday with over 100 artisans, great food and live music (updated)

Posted on 13 September 2014


UPDATE (9/13/2014): Due to rain forecasted on Saturday, Go West! Craft Fest has been postponed until Sunday, Sept 14.

This Saturday, Sept. 13 Sunday, Sept 14, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., VIX Emporium presents the Fall edition of the popular Go West! Craft Fest, bringing over 100 local craftspeople and artisans to the beautiful Woodlands. The vendors will be offering some of the best handmade stuff, including cards and stationery, ceramics, hand-knit items, clothing, jewelry, body and hair products, toys, and more (see the full list of the vendors and their products here).

As always, the fest also features live music, children’s activities, and food from local restaurants and food trucks (don’t forget to bring your picnic blanket). Food will be served by Aksum, Taco Angeleno, the Satellite Cafe and Black Orchid Vegetarian, and dessert by Lil’ Pop Shop and Weckerly’s Ice Cream. Free children’s craft activities will be provided by the University City Arts League and the Philly Free School.

(Updated) And here’s the music lineup that includes performances and entertainment for kids and adults alike:

12 p.m.: The Green Tambourine – children’s musical instruction
1 p.m.: Julian Root (with Liana Moskowitz and Ian Sigler) – traditional roots/bluegrass/Americana
2 p.m.: Silverton – uncompromisingly positive folk rock
3 p.m.: All Around This World – international children’s music with Jay Sand
4 p.m.: Shakey Lyman – blues legend

Brian Eckinrode will be performing random acts of juggling throughout the day.

The Craft Fest guests are also invited to take a guided tour of the Woodlands grounds that begins at the Woodlands table (near the main entrance) at 12 and 2 p.m. Also at the Woodlands table, volunteers will be collecting books for All Hallow’s Read, a children’s “book hunt” that will take place at the Woodlands on October 26. Donate any children’s books with a fall or Halloween theme, and kids can hunt for free books at the October event.

A couple of important notes: No vehicles will be admitted to the grounds from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. during the event. The rain date is Sunday, Sept. 14. The organizers will announce Saturday morning if they plan to reschedule the event (we’ll post an update, too, in this case).

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Lea Elementary gets new playground

Posted on 11 September 2014

As West Philly Local recently reported, the Henry C. Lea Elementary School playground at 47th and Spruce was undergoing reconstruction, with a new set being transferred from the shuttered Alexander Wilson school. The installation work finished up yesterday and the playground will reopen on Monday, Sept. 15, according to a tweet by the West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools.


Source: @WPCNS.

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Fall youth soccer programs in West Philly (updated)

Posted on 11 September 2014

September is here, which means kids go back to school, but also some local kids’ recreational and after-school programs resume. Here’s a reminder of two great youth soccer programs in the area for those families who are looking for sports or recreational activities for their children this Fall.

Clark Park Youth Soccer League (updated)


Photo courtesy of Clark Park Youth Soccer League.

Update (9/11/2014): Registration for the Fall season of Clark Park Youth Soccer is now open. Click here to register online. The program is also seeking volunteer coaches. If you know a little bit about the game and like running and having fun with kids, email:

9/2/2014: The Clark Park Youth Soccer League (CPYSL) is a program of Friends of Clark Park (FOCP) designed for kids ages 5-11. The Fall season of the program starts on Saturday, Sept. 27 and goes on until Nov. 22. Soccer instruction and games (90-minute sessions) are offered every Saturday in the Clark Park bowl at 45th and Chester. Mornings (10:30 a.m. – Noon): ages 5-6.5 and ages 6.5-7. Afternoons (Noon-1:30 p.m.): ages 8-9 and ages 10-11. This is a low-cost program. The fees include a $20 seasonal (fall or spring) fee for the first child and $10 for each additional child and a $20/year FOCP family membership fee if you have one child enrolling in the program ($25 for families with two or more kids in the program).

Please note that CPYSL is a volunteer-run program and relies on the help from parents and other adults. Adults are invited to assist with coaching or to help with the administrative work.

Visit this page for more information and to download registration forms.

Soccer Shots at Cedar Park

soccershotslogoSoccer Shots is a positive introduction to soccer for toddlers and preschool aged children (ages 2-4). The program has opened registration for the fall season in West Philadelphia. The fall season starts on Saturday, Sept. 6 and ends on November 8. Soccer Shots focuses on the skills and lessons of the game by offering non-competitive classes. Each child learns the fundamentals of the game through skill instruction, fun games, and creative play. Classes are offered on Saturdays, from 9 – 11 a.m. (30-40 minutes of soccer instruction) at Cedar Park (50th and Baltimore). Spots are still available for some sessions. The fee is $120 per child and you can register online (click here to register).

Soccer Shots also has programs in eight other areas of the city and you can search for all of their programs on their website at

If you have any questions, please contact Soccer Shots at: philly [at] or 267-630-1557.


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Registration for Fall yard tree giveaway underway

Posted on 11 September 2014

TreePhilly logoGood news for those home and business owners who didn’t manage to get a free tree for their yard during Philadelphia Parks and Recreation’s TreePhilly Spring Tree Giveaway campaign. Registration for the Fall 2014 TreePhilly Yard Tree Giveaways is now open and interested property owners are welcome to sign up through September 30.

Residents can register to pick up their free yard tree at one of four giveaway events across the city in October (in Southwest, South, Northeast and Northwest Philadelphia; see below). TreePhilly is also excited to announce a new option that will allow registrants to select their desired tree species upon registration. If you would like to get a yard tree but are not sure what species to pick, TreePhilly recommends logging on to There you can take a quiz to get matched with your SoulTree.

Registration is strongly encouraged for this program, but walk-ups will be welcomed at the end of each event while supplies last. Recipients will also receive a planting and care demonstration provided by tree experts, free mulch, and educational materials.

Go here to register.

Here are the four locations, including dates and times, where you can pick up your tree (residents with limited mobility can apply for free tree delivery and planting; contact Erica Smith Fichman at 215-683-0217):

Saturday, Oct 11, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Pennypack Environmental Center (8600 Verree Rd)
• Sunday, Oct 12, 1 – 3 p.m., Connell Park (6401 Elmwood Ave)
• Saturday, Oct 18, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., Gorgas Park (6300 Ridge Ave)
• Sunday, Oct 19, 12 – 2 p.m., Columbus Square (1200 Wharton Street)

Please note that this program only provides trees for private property yards (front, back, and side yards). If you want a street tree for your property or for the whole block, check out this page.

For more information, visit:

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Seat hogging, cursing and littering: SEPTA launches new passenger etiquette program

Posted on 10 September 2014


Recently, some #34 Trolley riders spotted and commented on a new sign pasted on the driver’s cabin that read “Dude It’s Rude… Two Seats – Really?” Yesterday, SEPTA announced the launch of a new “Dude It’s Rude” passenger etiquette program and released some more details about it.

“The new initiative uses strong visuals and minimal words to get passengers thinking about their own personal travel habits,” according to SEPTA. This is a more direct approach to tackling the issue of passenger etiquette. Prior to this campaign, SEPTA used a lighter approach with cartoon-like characters and implemented a more successful cellphone use campaign, which combined humor with direct messaging.

SEPTA hopes that the new campaign, with an edgier tone, will improve customer travel habits that have continuously been reported as big problems, including cursing, taking your trash with you, blocking the front aisle, and seat hogging. SEPTA intentionally did not include its name or logo on decals and posters to get its riders thinking more about the messages instead of who is delivering it.

Initial response to the new campaign has been positive, according to SEPTA’s General Manager Joseph Casey. “Customers appreciate our efforts to tackle the issues that bug them…,” Casey said in a statement. But more feedback and comments are welcome.

Here are more signs (courtesy of SEPTA):




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What’s next for West Philly Tool Library after successful crowdsourcing campaign?

Posted on 10 September 2014


West Philly Tool Library space at 1314 S 47th Street. (Photo courtesy of WPTL)

Here’s some awesome news for the West Philly Tool Library: after a series of publications in local media, including West Philly Local, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and PlanPhilly, and great community support, their online fundraising campaign not only reached its goal of $10,000 but exceeded it by $900.

The crowdsourcing campaign on was seeking donations to help fund the tool library’s expansion and community outreach projects and allow them to purchase new, most needed tools.

Some 172 different funders donated to the campaign, according to Peter Foreman-Murray, the tool library’s executive director. “It’s really amazing to see all the support from the community,” Foreman-Murray wrote in an email.

Now, what’s the next step for the tool library after the successful fundraiser?

“We’re really excited to put the funds into use at the tool library,” writes Foreman-Murray. “We’ve already started to compile a list of tools to buy. We can never keep our most popular tools in stock; as our membership has grown, our available tools haven’t kept up. These funds will help us to ensure that things like table saws and weed whackers are on the shelves when people need them.”

The tool library also began the planning of their expanded education offerings, according to Foreman-Murray. “We’re really looking forward to providing community members with the knowledge they need to use our tools to improve their lives,” he wrote.

Visit the West Philly Tool Library website for more news, updates and information on how to become a member.

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West Philly-set The ‘G’ Word wins Sloppy Film Fest V Audience Prize

Posted on 09 September 2014



Phil Thomas (right) and The ‘G’ Word crew with their prize. (Photos courtesy of Phil Thomas)

The Sloppy Film Fest (Facebook page), a neighborhood festival of short DIY films, took place at the Beaumont Warehouse on Saturday and we hear it was a great success. Today, we present a film that won the Audience Prize for best film. The film is called The ‘G’ Word (“G” for “Gentrification”) and is mostly set in West Philly (Clark Park and Baltimore Avenue).

Phil Thomas wrote and directed the film (thanks, Phil, for sending us the info). The cast and crew are all West Philly folks: Phil, Andy Holman, John H Dukes, and Heidi M. Smithee. Phil hopes that you’ll enjoy the film and says that his crew will be shooting more movies in West Philly.

Here it is:

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Check out Homestead Exemption Map as application deadline approaches

Posted on 08 September 2014


Homestead Exemption Map created by Aaron Kreider. Source:

Have you applied for the Homestead Exemption yet? Just a reminder that this exemption can save homeowners up to $400 on their annual taxes and the deadline for application is on Saturday, Sept 13.

Aaron Kreider, the West Philly based activist and programmer who built, has recently created a Homestead Exemption Map. The map is an estimate of qualified properties in the city that haven’t applied for the homestead exemption. The map is based on Philadelphia Office of Property Assessment data from April 2014.

“A while ago I read a NewsWorks story that an estimated 30% of homeowners haven’t applied for the homestead exemption,” Kreider wrote in an email. “So I decided to do a small project to encourage people to apply.”

Kreider, who is working with the West Philly Socialists (the West Philly branch of the Philly Socialists) who are committed to economic equality, points out that you can see on the map how low-income areas have a lower application rate (red shows eligible households who haven’t applied for the exemption; green indicates households who applied and received full homestead exemption).

Check out the map and more information at:

To apply for the homestead exemption online, visit this page. You call also apply over the phone: 215-686-9200.

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Public school breakfast, lunch menu Sept 8-12, 2014

Posted on 07 September 2014

schoollunchSo, the summer is officially over for kids who attend public schools in the city as the new school year begins on Monday, Sept. 8. As we reported a few days ago, starting this Fall all School District of Philadelphia (SDP) students are eligible for free meals. As the menu is the same for all SDP schools and it’s often difficult to find it (you have to search for it on the SDP website) we will be publishing this information.

So here’s the full-service menu (breakfast and lunch) for the first week, Sept. 8 – 12, 2014. Come back every Sunday evening for the coming week’s menu. If your school is a Satellite menu school, click here. Continue Reading

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West Philly Ceramics exhibit opening tonight at UCAL

Posted on 05 September 2014


Pieter Mostert’s Vessel.

University City Arts League, a community non-profit organization that has been serving the community for 45 years, is presenting a two-person ceramics show, “West Philly Ceramics: Ken Beidler and Pieter Mostert.” The opening reception is tonight, 6-8 p.m., at 4226 Spruce Street.

Beidler’s forms combine wheel and hand-built elements. He is a largely self-taught artist, according to the UCAL press release, who has been influenced by the original Arts and Crafts movement, urban life and his life experience in Indonesia. He has a studio at the Cedar Works and teaches at UCAL. Mostert is South African who spen the last five years in Philadelphia. He makes sculptural vessels using a combination of coiling, pinching and paddling.

The works by Beidler and Mostert will be on display at the UCAL gallery until September 26. For more information about classes offered at UCAL, visit:

(Photos courtesy of UCAL)


Ken Beidler’s Baskets.


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Hotbox Yoga coming to 36th and Lancaster

Posted on 05 September 2014


HotBox Yoga’s new location at 3527 Lancaster Ave. (Photo from

Manayunk-based Hotbox Yoga is set to open their new studio at 3527 Lancaster Ave this Fall and the owners are “beyond excited,” according to information on their Facebook page. Hotbox Yoga will take over the space in the two-story building previously occupied by Power Yoga Works. Power Yoga Works closed operations at this location on Sept. 1, according to Philadelphia Magazine.

The opening date for the new studio is not known yet but the owner, Brad Young, told Philly Mag he’s aiming for early October. Currently, the space is being renovated and upgraded, according to Young.

Just a reminder that West Philly is home to a couple of other yoga studios. Studio 34 is operating at 4522 Baltimore Avenue and Bikram Yoga University City opened two years ago at 42nd and Chestnut. In case you missed it, Dhyana Yoga moved from 40th and Chestnut to Rittenhouse Square earlier this year.

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Bartram’s Garden hosts Honey Festival, Bitters cocktail party on Sunday

Posted on 04 September 2014

honeyfestHey, have you heard the buzz? The fifth annual Philadelphia Honey Festival is this weekend and the national historic landmark Bartram’s Garden (54th and Lindbergh) is one of the venues. Bartram’s is excited to host the event again and invites everyone to celebrate bees and honey with them on Sunday, Sept. 7, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Lots of fun and educational activities are planned: “Pollinator Defense Kitchen” with special guest artists from Mural Arts, “So You Want to be a Beekeeper?” presentation, Langstroth-style open hive demonstration, Be-A-Bee children’s parade and other kids’ activities. Also, there will be a plant sale and marketplace with local vendors, farm tour and farmers’ market. Kayak rentals will be offered by Hidden River Outfitters. Admission is free. More information and schedule is available here.


Photo courtesy of Bartram’s Garden.

Coinciding with Honey Festival, Bartram’s will also host a Bitters Cocktail Party on Sunday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Guests are invited to enjoy the Garden in all its late summer splendor and handcrafted Bartram’s Bitters cocktails created by celebrity bartender Katie Loeb. The bitters are a Philadelphia Distilling Company creation based on a historic Bartram family recipe and Katie Loeb is Philly’s own Cocktail Queen and “farm-to-bar” pioneer. Delicious pairings of local cheeses, fruit and honey will be provided by Fair Food. Local band Noggin Hill will perform bluegrass favorites. Tickets are $25 ($20 for Bartram’s Garden members; $30 at the door) and can be purchased here.

FYI, Bartram’s Garden has limited parking and the organizers recommend traveling to both of these events by bike or public transportation (#36 Trolley).

Seriously, you need to bee there. OK, sorry, we’ll see ourselves out.


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All meals in public schools are now free for all students, district announces

Posted on 04 September 2014

The School District of Philadelphia (SDP) announced today that all Philadelphia public school students are now eligible to receive free school meals. Families will no longer need to complete applications to determine eligibility. All students in the SDP can receive free breakfast and lunch starting this fall, according to the announcement.

The new School Breakfast and Lunch program requirements have been introduced as the District’s Division of Food Services transitions to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) for the 2014-15 school year. The new benefits will “include better access to school meals by easing the strain on household budgets, reducing the paperwork burden on families and eliminating the stigma associated with the free lunch program,” the announcement reads.

“Our goal is to provide as many students as possible with access to healthy, nutritious meals,” Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent, said in a statement. “We want to keep students’ focus on learning, not hunger.”


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HUD chief to tour ‘Promise Zone’ in West Philly on Friday

Posted on 04 September 2014

Julián Castro, head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will be in town on Friday, Sept. 5 to tour parts of West Philly designated as a Promise Zone.

Castro will be in parts of Mantua, Powelton, West Powelton and Belmont. The tour is related to the recent $4 million initiative by the William Penn Foundation and Drexel University to transform early childhood education in West Philly. The initiative seeks to increase the number of neighborhood children in high-quality child care and to raise children’s performance on literacy tests.

Project organizers hope that improving early childhood education is the first step toward changing life in the Promise Zone, which includes some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city.

Neighborhoods included in a “Promise Zone” are placed in the front of the line for federal grants and aid in an effort to help create jobs, reduce violent crime, improve educational opportunities and assist local leaders navigate federal programs.

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‘Tax us rich folks': Millennials with privilege organizing in West Philly for change

Posted on 04 September 2014

A group of millennials who hope to wield their privilege and social capital for the “redistribution of land, wealth and power” in Philadelphia and nationwide are holding an organizing meeting in West Philly on Monday, Sept. 8.

The newly formed Philly chapter of Resource Generation, a nationwide non-profit whose mission is to organize young people “with wealth and class privilege in the U.S. to become transformative leaders working toward the equitable redistribution of wealth, land and power,” according to the organization’s website.

The idea is “to convince our elected leaders to tax rich people more, creating and participating in a cross-class giving circle, and giving young, wealthy/class privileged people tools to use their positions to help redistribute land, wealth and power,” said organizer Julia Stone in an e-mail.

Locally the group is pushing for the end of tax breaks to help fund schools. “Tax us rich folks more to fund schools,” a flyer reads.

The meeting, which will include light refreshments at 6:30 p.m. and a presentation at 7 p.m., will be held at location that will be passed along to those who RSVP at

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Fringe Festival kicks off Friday; West Philly events guide (updated)

Posted on 03 September 2014


BalletX. (Photo via

Each year, the Fringe Festival brings socially-set performances and presentations by innovative artists to various city’s neighborhoods and venues. This year, the festival, presented by Fringe Arts, will take place Sept. 5 – 22 and will feature music, dance, theater, spoken word and circus performances, and visual art installations (some of them free).

Check out below the guide of the Fringe Festival events in West Philadelphia. West Philly venues for the festival include The Rotunda, The Porch at 30th Street Station, University of Pennsylvania, St. Francis de Sales Parish and more. You can also pick up the print version of the guide at the Green Line Cafe at 45th and Locust.

By the way, West Philly based circus-theater company Tangle Movement Arts will present their newest full-length show, Loop, at the festival. Loop premieres on Thursday, Sept 18 at 8 p.m., Friday, Sept 19 at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Sept 20 at 3 and 8 p.m. at Philadelphia Soundstage (1600 N. 5th St.). Tickets ($15-20) are now available via www.tangle-arts.comContinue Reading

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$140,000 worth of jewelry stolen from car at 52nd and Market

Posted on 03 September 2014

Police are investigating a theft from a car parked near 52nd and Market that left the owner, a 74-year-old man, short of about $140,000 worth of gold jewelry.

The incident happened at around 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday when the man parked his car, a Lexus SUV, and went to the nearby Cash for Gold store. He left a duffel bag inside his vehicle containing approximately $140,000 worth of various jewelry items, including rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings, according to police.

The man told police that he was inside the store for about 5 minutes. When he returned to his car he noticed that the front passenger side window was smashed and the bag with jewelry was gone.

Police are searching for the male theft suspect, who was riding a mountain bike. Witnesses told police that the man broke the car window with a hammer and took the bag. Police say they have surveillance video of the incident from a nearby store and that the investigation continues. We’ll update when we have more information.


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