Sunday protests/unrest in West Philly

May 31, 2020

Protests and unrest started near 52nd and Market around 3 p.m. on Sunday. There is a large police presence in the area. A curfew has been announced for Philadelphia, beginning at 6 p.m. All businesses were asked to close before 4 p.m.

SEPTA has suspended all buses, trolleys, the Market-Frankford Line and the Broad Street Line until further notice beginning at 6 p.m..

Some businesses have been broken into, including McDonalds on 52nd and Chestnut:  Continue Reading

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Music, dancing, neighborly love & social distancing on 4600 block of Larchwood

May 29, 2020

Andy Niedermeier Social Distancing Concert. May 3, 2020. (Photo credit: Helena Grace)

Many people are finding life under social distancing isolating. However, my block has made homebound life into an opportunity to come together as a community. My name is Andy Niedermeier, and while I should have been away at college, I have come to cherish this time bonding with my neighbors.

It began when some of the younger kids on my block had birthdays. Parents of the birthday children asked if some of the neighbors could come out to their porches and sing ‘Happy Birthday’ together at an appointed time. These birthday celebrations turned out bigger than planned. The sidewalks were covered with chalked birthday wishes and people from almost every house on block came out onto their porches to sing. I was moved by this sweet gesture, which brightened what could have been a disappointing birthday for these kids. This is now custom – bringing the block together to give birthday wishes to neighbors young and old.  Continue Reading

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Mail-in ballot drop off opportunity in West Philly this Saturday

May 29, 2020

West Philly residents who are voting by mail-in or absentee ballots in the June 2 primary election can drop them off this Saturday, May 30 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Boys Latin School (55th and Cedar). Personnel from the Board of Elections will be collecting ballots all across the city this weekend as part of a mobile ballot drop-off initiative. Click here to see other locations.

You can also use the drop box (open 24/7) installed at the City Hall, between the Octavius Catto statue and the south entrance:  Continue Reading

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102 car procession for 102-year-old West Philly veteran

May 27, 2020

Narberth Rice, a U.S. Army veteran born and raised in West Philadelphia, a former City of Philadelphia employee and great-great-great grandfather of more than 60, was surprised by a 102-car procession on his 102nd birthday on Saturday.

The birthday celebration was organized by Mr. Rice’s family in partnership with Oak Street Health caretakers and included an outdoor dance party in the parking lot at 4820 Wyalusing Avenue. Due to social distancing protocol, all participants were wearing masks and gloves.

More photos are below.  Continue Reading

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Online forum for state House seat in 188th District (Cedar Park, Kingsessing, Spruce Hill etc.) this Thursday

May 27, 2020

The Pennsylvania chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women is hosting a live online forum on Thursday, May 28 for candidates running in next Tuesday’s primary for the state House of Representatives 188th Legislative District seat.

The forum will run live on the coalition’s Facebook page beginning at 6:30 p.m. and Cherri Gregg of KYW News Radio will be the host.

Candidates for the seat include longtime incumbent James Roebuck, his long-time aide Karen Dunn, 51st Ward Leader and activist Greg Benjamin and community organizer Rick Krajewski.

Originally scheduled for April 28, the Pennsylvania primary was moved to June 2 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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City to allow food trucks, walk-up service at restaurants in “Yellow” re-opening phase

May 27, 2020

Your favorite food trucks may be coming back soon as the city has started lifting some restrictions on business operations imposed at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in March. Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf announced on Friday that Philadelphia will move to the “yellow” re-opening phase on June 5 when many businesses can reopen (under state safety guidelines), including retail stores, childcare centers, and day camps.

While dine-in service at restaurants will still be prohibited, the City of Philadelphia has lifted restrictions on walk-up service in the yellow re-opening phase. Walk-up customers will be required to wear facial coverings and practice social distancing. Lines may not exceed 10 customers.  Continue Reading

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Procrastinator alert! Deadline for requesting mail-in primary ballot is Tuesday at 5 p.m.

May 25, 2020

The deadline to request a mail-in ballot for this year’s primary election is Tuesday, May 26. You can request a mail-in or absentee ballot here. Your request must be made before 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

If you have waited until now to request your ballot, the turnaround will be tight. The Board of Elections ballot must receive your mail-in ballot by 8 p.m. on June 2, the date of the primary. Postmarks are not honored. So, if you are applying now, get your ballot back in the mail as soon as possible after receiving it. Also, a ballot drop box has been recently installed at City Hall (see more info below).  Continue Reading

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Philadelphia to move to “yellow” re-opening phase on June 5

May 22, 2020

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolfe announced on Friday that Philadelphia will move from the “red” to the “yellow” coronavirus re-opening phase on June 5. The yellow phase is the first re-opening phase and most businesses can reopen under state safety guidelines. This includes:

  • Childcare centers and day camps
  • In-person retail (curbside pickup and delivery are encouraged)
  • Pet groomers
  • Manufacturers

Continue Reading

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Long-awaited stats show most COVID-19 deaths across state were in nursing homes

May 21, 2020

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has released data that shows that nursing home facilities accounted for more than two thirds of the state’s death toll of just over 4,620 so far. That percentage is lower in Philadelphia, which accounts for the largest percentage of the cases in the state. The long-awaited numbers show that at least 40 people died in West Philly nursing homes.

The following nursing and rehabilitation centers have reported COVID-19 cases and deaths among their residents:  Continue Reading

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UCD seeking more input from local restaurants on their re-opening needs

May 20, 2020

Restaurant owners and operators are no doubt planning ahead while we wait for CDC guidelines and city and state guidance on re-opening. In the meantime, the University City District (UCD) wants to help restaurants prepare to re-open once they’re permitted to do so, and to hear from owners about their needs during the recovery.

UCD has been working with the Commerce Department and business improvement districts throughout the city to think through options for local restaurants. They’ve put together a survey to help get a better sense of the needs of restaurants so they can help them get operational as soon as possible. UCD is asking for restaurant operators to take a few moments to complete a short survey. The information provided will help UCD target efforts to aid the University City restaurant community.

They have already heard from some restaurants, but are encouraging many more to participate in the survey.

Too access the survey, click here. It only takes a few minutes to complete.

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The Woodlands is building a community orchard

May 19, 2020

POP volunteer laying the groundwork for the new orchard. (Photo courtesy of The Woodlands)

The Woodlands has recently announced a very exciting project in partnership with the Philadelphia Orchard Project – the POP Learning Orchard! (You may have noticed new trees planted in the fenced in area along Woodland Avenue.)

The POP Learning Orchard space is designed to provide West Philadelphia residents with educational, nutritional and recreational opportunities. It will also help transform The Woodlands, which has a rich horticultural history, closer to how it would have functioned in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  Continue Reading

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Looking ahead to June’s primary election: Voter registration deadline is May 18; Mail-in ballot applications accepted through May 26

May 17, 2020

Pennsylvania’s primary election is just over two weeks away. Here are a few things to know.

Originally scheduled for April 28, the election was pushed to June 2 and now includes a mail-in ballot option. Polls will likely be open on June 2, but counties across the state have been given the authority to consolidate polling locations, so your usual place may not be open.

The registration deadline has been bumped up to May 18. You can register here and can check your registration status here Continue Reading

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University City restaurants asked to participate in Re-open Survey

May 15, 2020

University City District is asking local restaurants to participate in a short online survey to understand how they are preparing to re-open once permitted. UCD is interested to know what safety measures and aid would most help get restaurants fully operational. The survey particularly asks about outdoor seating availability and whether restaurant owners are interested in setting up or expanding outdoor seating.

UCD has been known for installing parklets (outdoor seating platforms) in parking lanes adjacent to restaurants or eateries during summer months and early fall. The survey also asks restaurants owners whether they would benefit from such seating or from using the parking lane for loading or curbside pickup.

To access the survey, click here.

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City Council issues overdue apology for 1985 MOVE bombing

May 14, 2020

West Philly City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier yesterday joined a dozen others on the City Council in formal apologizing for the 1985 MOVE bombing and called on the city to declare May 13th an annual day of “reflection, observation, and recommitment to the principle that all people are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Wednesday, May 13th, marked the 35th anniversary of the city-sanctioned police attack on the MOVE home at 6221 Osage Ave. Police fired thousands of rounds into the building in a siege that culminated in the dropping of two bombs on the building. Eleven MOVE members died, including children and dozens of homes were destroyed in an ensuing fire that consumed dozens of nearby homes.  Continue Reading

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COVID-19 closings, cancellations, changes in operation

May 14, 2020

We’re continuing the list of the COVID-19 pandemic related closings, cancellations and changes in operation for local businesses and organizations. Check out the previously published list here.

West Philly Porchfest, the annual do-it-yourself music festival scheduled for June 6th, has been postponed. A new date has not been set yet, but the organizers are hoping to hold the event this year. Follow their Facebook page for updates.

Shakespeare in Clark Park has postponed its Summer 2020 production, Pericles, until next summer. For more information and to support SCP, visit their website.

Curio Theatre’s 2020 Summer Camp will be offered online as a Pay-What-You-Can opportunity. Classes will be held in July — specific dates and times will be announced soon. Instead of two-week sessions, all sessions will be shorted to one week. Visit for updates.  Continue Reading

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City launches COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program

May 11, 2020

The City of Philadelphia has announced an Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which aims to help people who have lost income and are unable to pay their rent due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The City will begin accepting applications for the program on Tuesday, May 12 at 10 a.m. The deadline to apply is Saturday, May 16 at 5 p.m.

To be eligible, renters must:

• Rent an apartment or house in Philadelphia
• Have a valid and current written lease signed by landlord
• Have lost income because of COVID-19
• Meet income guidelines  Continue Reading

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How are you coping with COVID-19? Drexel University seeking community feedback (updated)

May 11, 2020

A research team from Drexel University is seeking feedback from Philadelphia residents on how they are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, with the aim of making things easier in the near future and long term.

The research team aims to collect reliable information on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on work and health (physical and mental health) to effectively assess the needs of communities and support them better:

“We all have shown great solidarity toward one another and we hope that this extends to taking part in this study. Thank you for helping us help you! Do not hesitate to share this survey link with your friends, family and colleagues.”  Continue Reading

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SEPTA to resume regular transit service on May 17, with some exceptions

May 8, 2020

After a temporary switch to Saturday schedules and limited (“Lifeline”) service due to the COVID-19 crisis, SEPTA will return to regular service on Sunday, May 17. Regular service will resume on all trolley, Market Frankford, Broad Street and Norristown High Speed Line routes. Market Frankford and Broad Street Owl service will also resume.

Bus routes will also return to regular service, with the following exceptions:

Routes 204, 310, 311, and LUCY Gold and Green routes will continue to operate on a reduced schedule. Route 91 remains suspended.  Continue Reading

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More ways to help local businesses

May 7, 2020

We have shared information on what’s happening at local restaurants and eateries and how you can order food (takeout or delivery). Some restaurants have also posted information on how you can help their workers during the pandemic. University City District’s UC Dining Days website provides information on dozens West Philly restaurants. Check it out here.

But what about other businesses that have been affected by the coronavirus? An online resource, Support PHL, has been created to support businesses that were closed following Governor Wolf’s directive to help spread COVID-19 in the state. There you can find information on many West Philly businesses – barber shops, gift and flower shops, fitness studios, cafes and bars, art studios, and more. There is also information on various COVID-19 relief funds and resources for small businesses.

For more information and to donate to small businesses, go here. For relief funds, check out this page.

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