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Spruce Hill Community Association hosting Zoom Q&A with Philadelphia Health Department (updated)

August 4, 2020

The Spruce Hill Community Association (SHCA) is hosting a COVID-19 Zoom Q&A with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health on Tuesday, Aug. 11 at 7 p.m. Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, the Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Director and COVID-19 Guidance Lead, will present and answer questions.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to get first-hand information on the current status of the pandemic, learn what the city is doing to combat the disease, and what safety steps you can take to help minimize risk,” according to SHCA Board President Evan Johnstone. “This is intended as an interactive Q&A session, so please come prepared with questions.”  Continue Reading

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Recycling pickup suspended this Wednesday through Friday

August 3, 2020

There will be no recycling collections in the city from Wednesday, Aug. 5 through Friday, Aug. 7, the Streets Department announced on Saturday. If these days are your trash/recycling collection days, please hold on to your recyclables until next week.

The Department is still trying to catch up to a regular trash and recycling collection schedule after going off schedule in July, with delays lasting up to 4 days due to shortage of staff and a larger amount of trash and recycling materials last month. While trash collection remains a priority for the Department, recycling collections may still be delayed by several days or even suspended. The city is also currently monitoring a severe weather storm forecast expected to cause high winds and heavy down pours from Hurricane Isaias. Severe weather can cause major delays with trash and recycling collections as it happened in July because of tropical storm Fay.  Continue Reading

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Board of Education approves changes to school reopening plan

July 31, 2020

The Board of Education has approved the School District of Philadelphia’s revised plan for the 2020-2021 academic year, which proposes 100 percent remote learning for all students from the beginning of the year until at least the end of the first marking period. The new plan was discussed at the Board of Education’s meeting last night. The Board has also approved proposed changes to the academic calendar, which included moving the first day of school from Monday, Aug. 31 to Wednesday, Sept. 2.

The District’s revised plan will have all public school students in grades K-12 engaging in online learning five days per week and receiving instruction by teachers from their enrolled schools through the first marking period, which ends on Nov. 17. Students may transition to a hybrid model of in-person and digital learning after that if it is deemed safe.  A 100 percent digital learning option will also be available at that time, and the District will explore opportunities for students to be taught by teachers from their enrolled school.  Continue Reading

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Free Food Fest in West Philly this Saturday

July 30, 2020

Photo courtesy of Sharing Excess

Sharing Excess, a Philadelphia non-profit dedicated to providing healthy food to local communities, is hosting a Free Food Fest this Saturday, Aug. 1 from 12 – 3 p.m. at Monumental Baptist Church (50th and Locust).

Free Food Fest will be a grab-n-go market in partnership with Wawa, Giant Heirloom, Saxbys, and other local Philly food sponsors. Food donors will set up booths in the parking lot of Monumental Baptist Church and distribute food and beverages for free. Reusable bags will be distributed at the entrance to be used as “grocery boxes” at the corner of 50th St. between Locust and Chancellor from 12 – 3 p.m..  Continue Reading

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Some public libraries now offer material pickups, returns

July 30, 2020

The Free Library of Philadelphia is still not ready to welcome patrons into its buildings for regular visits. But here’s some good news. This week, some Free Library locations have begun offering limited services including returns, material pickups, and phone reference. In West Philadelphia, the following locations are now open for limited service:

• Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library (52nd and Sansom)

• Haverford Library (5543 Haverford Avenue)

• Walnut Street West Library (40th and Walnut)  Continue Reading

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Philadelphia postpones re-opening of indoor dining, launches COVID-19 contact tracing program

July 29, 2020

Re-opening of indoor dining in Philadelphia has been postponed until at least Sept. 1 due to COVID-19 concerns, according to an announcement by Philadelphia health officials made on Tuesday.

Philadelphia is currently in a modified Green re-opening phase with outdoor dining allowed. Indoor dining was expected to reopen in the city by the beginning of August, however the number of new coronavirus cases has increased in the past two weeks.

Some 142 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 were announced in Philadelphia on Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 29,945.  Continue Reading

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School District now proposes to start 2020-2021 school year with remote learning

July 28, 2020

The School District of Philadelphia has scrapped a plan that would allow most students to attend school in person a couple of days a week and announced today that all students will start the year online.

The district presented the new plan following public criticism of a plan introduced earlier this month that would allow most students to attend school two days per week. Students will attend school online until at least Nov. 17, the end of the first marking period.

The hybrid learning model, the district’s original plan of a mix of in-person and digital learning, will be reconsidered after Nov. 17.

The Board of Education will consider the proposed changes at its meeting this Thursday, July 30 at 4 p.m.

For more information on the revised plan, please visit the School District website.

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A “community speak-out” planned tonight against apartment development near 51st and Spruce

July 27, 2020

A neighborhood group protesting a luxury development in a back alley near 51st and Spruce is organizing a community speak-out and rally tonight at 7 p.m. at Malcolm X Park (51st and Pine).

The group, Neighbors for Healthy Community Development (NHCD), has been protesting the proposal by developer Callahan Ward to build 33 market-rate apartments and commercial space in the lot located at 303 S. 51st Street since May 2019, pointing out several issues with the project, including fire hazard and environmental concerns. The proposed building would be surrounded by the backyards of several adjacent properties and the only access to the property would be via a small alley.  Continue Reading

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City cancels recycling pick up this Monday and Tuesday

July 27, 2020

If your trash/recycling collection days are Monday or Tuesday, please hold on to your recyclables until next week. The Streets Department has been a few days behind with collections for the past three weeks and has suspended recycling collection for these two days to help them return to a normal schedule. Residents can place trash out on their normal trash collection day beginning Monday, July 27.

The delays in collections were due to a few factors, including shortage of staff who called in sick with COVID-19, the tropical storm that hit our area on July 10 and an overall increase in trash/recyclables amount this month due to the holidays.

Recycling continues to be delayed by several days as the Streets Department is focusing on trash collection to mitigate risks to health and public safety. The Department expects to return to a normal recycling schedule on Wednesday, July 29.

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Penn Museum to reopen to visitors Tuesday (July 28)

July 24, 2020

After a four-month closure, the Penn Museum is reopening its doors to visitors. The official reopening date is Tuesday, July 28 and the museum will have COVID-19 safety protocols in place, such as limited capacity in the galleries and advanced online ticket reservations for visitors.

Admission to the museum will be timed to help social distancing and floors will have special markings to guide visitors on a one-way route through the museum.  Continue Reading

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School District families can now register for Digital Academy for 2020-2021 school year

July 22, 2020

Registration is now open for the School District of Philadelphia’s new “Digital Academy” for those Philadelphia public school students who would like to stay home while the COVID-19 epidemic continues. The digital academy allows families to opt in to a 100 percent virtual learning and instructional model for students enrolled in grades K-12.

Students registering for the Digital Academy must remain in that model throughout the first two terms of the academic year, and will only be able to transition out at the start of the third term.  Continue Reading

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Coffee shop near 45th and Pine has new ownership and name – Knockbox Cafe

July 21, 2020

The popular local coffee shop located on S. 45th Street between Pine and Osage has changed its name a few times in its history – from Sam’s Place to Earth Cup to Coffee Market, then back to Earth Cup a couple of years ago. Now it has a new owner and new name: Knockbox Cafe.

The new owner, Heather DeGrands, lives just two blocks away from the shop and is very excited about this new endeavor. She closed the deal to buy the café on June 1.

“I have been living in West Philly for over 12 years so I am familiar with many of the neighbors and customer base,” DeGrands wrote in an email.  Continue Reading

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West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance celebrates 36th anniversary, receives $135,000 heritage grant

July 20, 2020

The West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance (WPCA), which promotes social change through the arts and curates the historic Paul Robeson House & Museum located at 4951 Walnut Street, is celebrating its 36th Anniversary today and has some great news to share with the community!

The organization was recently awarded a $135,000 grant by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. The funding will be used to hire a new executive director, who will be the first paid leader in the organization’s history. The nonprofit WPCA has always relied on volunteers.

The new executive director will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the WPCA and the Robeson House & Museum, as well as ensure its sustainability.  Continue Reading

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Update on trash/recycling pickup delays

July 20, 2020

Due to a high volume of trash and recycling after the July 4th holiday, the tropical storm that hit our area on July 10 and the shortage of staff due to COVID-19, there have been lengthy delays in the collection, according to the Streets Department. The delays were up to four days last week, but the situation is expected to improve this week.

Over the weekend, the Streets Department brought in help from its Highways Division and other departments and has reduced the delays from 3 or 4 days to 1 or 2 days across the city, Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams said.

This week residents should still expect delays as crews continue to prioritize collecting materials not picked up from last week. Residents are asked to set their trash and recycling out one day later than their regularly scheduled day. Please note that recycling may take longer to collect as the city is prioritizing trash collection to mitigate public health risks.  Continue Reading

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Cool down at libraries, schools and SEPTA cooling buses this Monday as Heat Health Emergency declared

July 19, 2020

The City of Philadelphia’s Health Department has declared a heat health emergency for Monday, July 20 due to an expected high heat index. The city will be opening sites where Philadelphians can cool off safely, including libraries, schools, SEPTA buses, and spraygrounds.

In West Philadelphia, Haddington Library at 446 North 65th Street will be open to all residents from 1 to 5 p.m. on Monday. West Philadelphia High School at 49th and Chestnut Streets will also be open from 1 to 5 p.m. to everyone who wants to cool off. Visitors to both places will be required to abide by social distancing guidelines and wear a mask while inside.  Continue Reading

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The Rotunda hosting free virtual events throughout the summer; Black Women’s Arts Festival seeking performers, presenters, volunteers

July 17, 2020

rotundaThe Rotunda has been closed to the public since March due to COVID-19, but the pandemic has not stopped the popular West Philly venue and arts organization from offering many virtual events this summer: performances, classes & workshops and even festivals! All events are free and available to the public via Zoom or Facebook.

The list of events for the rest of the summer is below. On September 19 and 20, The Rotunda is hosting Philadelphia’s 14th Annual Black Women’s Arts Festival and is currently seeking participants – singers, dancers and other performers and poets, storytellers and other artists who can live stream (by Zoom) from their home or studio. Short film submissions and workshop presenters/speakers/panelists are also wanted. Artists will receive a stipend which will be decided based on fundraising. Volunteers and interns of all colors and genders are also sought to assist in planning and organizing for this event. Artists, presenters, and volunteers/interns can contact Cassendre Xavier, Founder & Director by email: BWAFphilly@gmail.com.

Donations can be sent via Paypal to cxmusic@gmail.com (Please use the Friends & Family option) or use this linkContinue Reading

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Deadly shooting at laundromat near 49th and Chester

July 17, 2020

A 28-year-old man died Thursday evening from multiple gunshot wounds near 49th and Chester, according to police. The shooting took place at about 6:30 p.m., reportedly inside a laundromat located on the 1000 block of S. 49th Street.

Three unidentified men approached the victim and began firing. The victim, later identified by the police as Shawn Best, a Philadelphia resident, was transported to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was pronounced dead at 6:56 p.m.

The victim was reportedly with two children and there were about 10 other people inside the laundromat at the time of the shooting, according to NBC Philadelphia. No other injuries were reported.  Continue Reading

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School district plans to open Sept. 2 with two days a week, at most, in classrooms

July 15, 2020

The School District of Philadelphia plans to open schools on Sept. 2 under a hybrid model that for most students will include two days a week in the classroom and three days a week online, officials announced Wednesday morning.

The plan calls for four-day-a-week instruction (Monday through Thursday) for special education students with “complex needs” and Pre-K students.

Students will also be able to opt-in to an all online “digital academy.” Registration for this program will begin at the end of July, according to the plan. Students who choose the digital academy will have to remain in that mode of instruction through the end of the first quarter and then can opt in to the hybrid model if they choose. More information on enrollment in the digital academy will be available later this month.  Continue Reading

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Large public gatherings banned in Philadelphia through February 2021

July 14, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, large public gatherings – 50 people or more – will continue to be banned in Philadelphia until at least through the end of February 2021, according to an announcement today by Mayor Jim Kenney. This decision means that popular outdoor events, like the Broad Street Run, which had been rescheduled for October 4, and the Philadelphia Marathon, currently planned for November 22, as well as Thanksgiving Day and Mummers parades will likely be cancelled.

The School District of Philadelphia is expected to make an announcement about the upcoming school year and whether the buildings will reopen tomorrow.

Philadelphia is currently in a modified Green phase of reopening, which allows social gatherings of up to 50 people outdoors.

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