Public school breakfast, lunch menu (Nov 24-26)

Posted on 23 November 2014

We continue publishing breakfast and lunch menus served at schools in the School District of Philadelphia. Here’s the menu for Monday, Nov. 24 through Wednesday, Nov. 26 (schools will be closed for Thanksgiving Holiday on Nov. 27 and Nov. 28). 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 will be offered daily and served with a yogurt parfait or a mini loaf.


Chicken Sausage, Egg & Cheese on English Muffin
Chewy Bar
Apple Juice
Fresh Pear
Variety of Milk


Breakfast Burrito
Cinni Mini Swirls
Peach Cup
Fresh Apple
Variety of Milk  Continue Reading

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PIC Family Book Fest Saturday at The Rotunda

Posted on 21 November 2014

kids-reading (1)The Parent Infant Center invites families with young children to celebrate the joy of reading at the annual PIC Family Book Fest on Saturday, Nov. 22. There will be plenty of read-aloud stories and crafts, Bollywood dancing, music, storytelling, and an appearance by WXPN’s Kathy O’Connell, host of Kids Corner. You can also bring a slightly used children’s book for the book swap table and take home something new to you.

The event will be held at The Rotunda (40th and Walnut), from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

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If You Only Had a Hammer: West Philly Tool Library tool sale is Saturday!

Posted on 21 November 2014

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 2.31.55 PM

Screen shot from the video below that was produced by the Philo Project.

Need a rake? A wrench? Some pliers? Maybe a gas-powered lawn care tool to call your very own? You’re in luck because this Saturday (Nov. 22) is the West Philly Tool Library‘s semi-annual Fall Tool Sale and Drive.

The sale is a chance to get in on some great tool buys as they thin out the inventory a little and raises some much need cash. The sale runs from 9 a.m. to noon at the Tool Library, 1314 S. 47th.

Tax deductible donations are also encouraged and coffee and refreshments will be provided.

By the way, if you are unfamiliar with the West Philly Tool Library and want to join, here’s a little video you should watch:

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Philadelphia Marathon alerts, street closures, detours… and cheer zones!

Posted on 21 November 2014


Click to enlarge.

The annual Philadelphia Marathon returns this weekend, with thousands of runners participating in the event and many guests visiting the city. Good luck to anyone who is running!

The event brings a lot of excitement to the streets, but also means road closures, delays and detours. During the three-day event, which also includes the Rothman Institute 8K and Kids Fun Run on Saturday, motorists are advised to use alternate routes and avoid areas along the race course. There will be increased security in the Benjamin Franklin Parkway area, with parking and traffic regulations strictly enforced.

Major areas impacted during the Marathon weekend include:

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway – Friday, Nov 21 through Sunday, Nov 23
• Citywide along the 26.2-mile route of the Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday, Nov 23 (see map)
 The I-676 off-ramps at 22nd Street (westbound) and 23rd Street (eastbound) will be closed on Sunday, Nov 23 after 4 a.m. for event security preparation.

Motorists and pedestrians can expect significant delays when trying to cross roads or streets that are adjacent to the course. Police will allow traffic through intersections along the course, when possible, depending on the flow of the race participants. All streets are scheduled to be reopened by 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov 23.  Continue Reading

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West Philly restaurant news (Part I)

Posted on 20 November 2014

We have compiled some of the latest local restaurant news and updates. Here’s Part I.

NewTavernquizzosignBest in Philly Quizzo comes to the New Tavern

New Tavern, a new bar and restaurant that recently replaced Watusi II at 45th and Locust, held its first Quizzo night last Thursday. It was inaugurated by award-winning quizmaster JB Farley (Local 44, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”). Three rounds of Best in Philly quizzo will be held at the New Tavern every Thursday, starting at 9 p.m., and we hear that the first and second prizes are worth “some serious dinero.” Also every Thursday, from 6 to 9 p.m. is Ladies’ Night, including some drink specials. Gentlemen are invited to recharge their batteries and watch the game on Sundays (Happy Hour is at 4-7 p.m.). Oh, and here’s a question to get you warmed up: What word is the name of a color and the name of a magazine, and also means a nozzle, and a type of vehicle?

Clarkville Beer update

As was recently reported, Local 44 folks were interested in opening a bar and restaurant, tentatively called Clarkville Beer, at the corner of 43rd and Baltimore at the former Best House Pizza space. They have presented their plans at the Spruce Hill Community Association zoning meeting. But they were still in the process of signing the lease at that location. At the end of last week, Local 44 owners, Brendan Kelly, Leigh Maida and Brendan Hartranft, announced that the lease was finally signed and “plans are now full steam ahead to open Clarkville at the corner of 43rd Street and Baltimore Avenue.”

“Owners Kelly, Maida and Hartranft are excited for the challenge of transforming the space into a great new neighborhood destination,” the email announcement reads. “Menu plans are still in the developmental phase. A giant pizza oven and (much coveted) dough mixer came with the space—those items will be put to use immediately in the preparation of a pizza-like offerings. Rounding out the menu will be sides and sides and sides of vegetable and small plates, making family style dining fun, dining alone exciting and (as always) keeping it real for our many vegan and vegetarian guests. The beer on draft will max out at a dozen taps and plans include wine on draft as well. Growlers will be available for home consumption.”

Repair and renovation work is expected to continue through February 2015 and the new owners will be working to open Clarkville Beer before late Spring. We’ll keep you posted.

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Man appears to have been beaten to death in apartment near 42nd and Chester

Posted on 20 November 2014

Homicide detectives are looking for clues in the death of a 60-year-old man who was discovered Monday morning inside his apartment near 42nd and Chester.

Police say Theodore Hudson III was found at about 10 a.m. by a co-worker (Philadelphia Daily News interviewed him) in his basement apartment. Blood-covered dumbells were found near his body, according to a police report. His apartment had been ransacked and the front door was closed but unlocked.

So far police don’t have any suspects or motives.

Anyone with information can call homicide detectives at (215) 686-3334 or 3335.


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Mechanical leaf collection reminder

Posted on 20 November 2014

The city will be conducting mechanical leaf collection for the area between 38th and 52nd Streets and from Baltimore Avenue to Spruce Street this Friday (Nov. 21), so here’s a reminder of what residents in this area should do.

All leaves should be raked and ready for collection by 7:00 a.m. on Friday. Rake leaves into the street by the curb’s edge (piling is not necessary). If possible, move your vehicle to an off-street parking location on your scheduled collection day, so crews can remove leaves along the curb line. Residents in mechanical areas can also drop-off bagged leaves. After the mechanical collection, please sweep and bag any remaining leaves and place them out for the weekly rubbish collections.

There will be only one mechanical leaf collection for each area this year. For more information regarding the 2014 Philly Leaf Recycling Program, click here.

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Philly Bike Share survey results open house this Thursday at 30th Street Station

Posted on 19 November 2014

The city will unveil the locations of the most requested bike share stations tomorrow at 30th Street Station. Swing by during the day from 8:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the west side of the main waiting area.

As it has already been reported in city-wide and local media, the city’s first bike share program is expected to launch in the Spring 2015, bringing public bikes available for pick-up and drop-off at around 60 locations in Center City and parts of South, North and West Philadelphia. Recently, the City completed a five-week long survey where the public was asked to provide input on suggested bike share stations across the city. Around 10,000 public comments on 100 potential bike share locations were submitted through an online map, via in-person surveys and text messages and now there is an opportunity to learn more about the results of the survey in West Philly.

The first Bike Share Results Open House took place Tuesday in Center City:

Some 16 bike share stations have been proposed in West Philadelphia, most of them on and around the Penn and Drexel campuses. The westernmost location is on Walnut Street between 43rd and 44th. One location is on Baltimore Avenue (at 43rd St), three on or near Lancaster Ave (at 38th, 39th and 40th), four on Market Street (near 30th Street Station, 33rd, 37th, and 41st Streets), four on or near Walnut Street (near 34th, 36th, 40th, and 44th Streets).

These and other stations were considered based on a number of factors, including population density, bike lanes, available space, employment, shopping, cultural and recreational destinations and suggestions from stakeholders and the public.

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West Philly Music Playgroup seeking indoor space for winter

Posted on 19 November 2014


“Tuba Dan” of West Philadelphia Orchestra playing the accordion for West Philly Music Playgroup at Clark Park. (Photo by Anna Selfridge)

About 30 tots and their caregivers, members of the West Philly Music Playgroup, are desperately seeking indoor space for meet-ups and activities during winter. The group, which started in the spring of 2013, has been steadily adding new members who enjoyed playing together and socializing outdoors during the warmer months. Since last spring the group has been meeting at Clark Park (at the stone courtyard at the corner of 45th and Chester) for some outdoor play, music, and fun. But with winter coming on (and the threat of more polar vortices), indoor space is needed that would accommodate the group’s growing numbers.

The group organizers say that they have looked into some available indoor spaces around the neighborhood, but they all charge over a hundred dollars a month.

“The play group has always been free and that makes it more readily available for people of all incomes and backgrounds to join in on the fun,” writes the group founder Alexandra E. Gunnison. “We would really just need the space from December to March, give or take some time depending on the weather.”

The group is not very formal and organizes mostly through social media. “I’ll post a reminder in different Facebook groups (West Philly Playgroup or the group I started, West Philly Nannies) that play group will be happening on Tuesday morning and sometimes we have parents or nannies with their children join in from the park or the street,” writes Alexandra. The kids and caregivers meet up around 10 a.m., have a bit of free play and talk time and then gather together for songs like Ring Around the Rosie, the alphabet, or the Wheels on the Bus.

The group also had a few “special events”, like a Halloween themed music playgroup at the Woodlands Cemetery with apple cider and muffins and birthday celebrations with goody bag hand-outs.

And check out the impressive list of musicians who have already performed for the group’s tiny members (Alexandra says she’s friends with them):

“Tuba” Dan Nosheny of West Philadelphia Orchestra, Neon and Shy, Polkadelphia and Red Hot Ramblers. Sarah Larsen of Lady Bird and Frankie Velardo of The Downtown Shimmy and Aardvark Felon performed for the group as well.

If you would like to help out or for more information please contact Alexandra by calling 240-460-8572 or emailing: aegunnison[at]

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Standardized testing goes before City Council Ed committee today

Posted on 19 November 2014

Some open resistance to standardized testing has bubbled up around the city over the past couple years, with instances of parents and students opting out of the annual Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) tests. The issue will go before the City Council’s Education Committee today from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The PSSAs are given to students in grades 3-8 to measure yearly progress. Opponents, who also include teachers, have argued that elementary and middle school curricula have focused too heavily on preparing students for the exams.

The public is invited to today’s meeting, which was scheduled to hear testimony on a resolution authorizing the committee to “conduct hearings concerning the time and financial cost of standardized testing administered to Philadelphia public school students as well as the effects of testing on teaching and learning.”

The meeting is in the City Council Chambers Room 400. Be sure to bring your photo ID if you plan to attend.

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A project that is ‘part art, part healing’ looking for young adult participants

Posted on 18 November 2014


Click to enlarge.

A free storytelling project aimed at youth ages 18-21 is looking for participants interested in sharing their stories while learning skills in live performance, mixed media performance and improvisation.

Project organizers want to reach out to the LGBT community and young adults dealing with poverty, addiction and special needs.

“The general idea is to create a nurturing environment where all participants feel included and safe, as well as given the skills to share about the meaningful experiences in their lives,” according to a flyer for the project.

Project Arts will run the project, which begins on Jan. 7 at The Rotunda and runs every Wednesday evening from 5-8 p.m. for seven weeks, culminating in a live performance.

More information is available at the Project Arts website here. There will be 15 spots available and the deadline to apply is Dec. 15. Decisions will be made by Dec. 20.

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List of proposed charter schools released, several applicants in West Philly (updated)

Posted on 17 November 2014

The School District of Philadelphia has received 40 applications for new charter schools in the city, including for “Girls’ Latin of Philadelphia Charter School,” two high schools in the 19104 zip code and several others around West Philly.

Released Monday afternoon, the list of applicants includes many organizations, including KIPP Philadelphia Schools and Mastery, that already operate schools in the district. The list includes the proposed school’s name, “the applicant team” or entity, the building zip code, grade configuration and projected total enrollment.

The applications will next go through a vetting process that includes a public hearing on each proposed school.

Independence Charter School is proposing two sites in West Philly, a high school in the 19104 zip code, which includes much of the area around Penn and Drexel, and a K-8 in 19142, which covers an area west of 60th Street and south of Kingsessing and includes the Elmwood Park neighborhood. West Philly Local reported last week that Independence was interested in a school in West Philly in 19139 or 19143. It turns out it could open two, but in neither of those zip codes. Both of these are proposed to start in the 2016-2017 school year.  Continue Reading

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Third World Lounge at 49th and Catharine to reopen as The Bar(n) under new management

Posted on 17 November 2014

The Bar(n)

From left to right: Danielle Coulter, Ross Scofield, and Tim Blair. (Photo West Philly Local)

The three young restaurateurs who run Rx The Farmacy (45th and Spruce) have big plans for the Third World Lounge, the bar and dance club with a checkered history, at 49th and Catharine.

Tonight they will talk through those plans, which include a new bar that will feature live music and a wide selection of beer, wine and spirits, at the monthly meeting of Cedar Park Neighbors, which runs from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Calvary Center (48th and Baltimore).

Ross Scofield, Danielle Coulter – the owners of The Farmacy – and chef Tim Blair have been quietly renovating the Third World Lounge since striking a deal with building owner Noel Karasanyi, who will retain ownership of the building and rent it to the trio. The new place will likely be called The Bar(n) to reflect the connection with The Farmacy and its rustic, farm-fresh cuisine, but also to sidestep any airs of pretension. The name, craft beer on tap and plans for a daily rotating $2 draft special signal a place that will appeal to a wide spectrum of clientele.

“A melting pot,” Blair said of the crowd the trio hopes to attract. A place for beer connoisseurs and “the friend who is broke,” said Scofield.

Karasanyi, who fled Idi Amin’s Uganda in the early 1970s, opened the Third World in 1986 as an establishment aimed at African and Caribbean immigrants. The establishment has had several brushes with city inspectors, tax collectors and police in recent years, which, along with changes in neighborhood demographics, have prompted Karasanyi to close it down. Earlier this year he sold the Watusi II (45th and Locust), which recently reopened under new ownership as the New Tavern.

Scofield said the building’s interior has been thoroughly rehabbed and will include several large flat screens and a dance floor. Local bands interested in playing have already approached the trio. Future plans include possibly adding sit-down dining on the second floor. Scofield said he doesn’t expect to need any zoning variances to get the operation going.

The Bar(n) looks set to open next month.

Mike Lyons

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Public school breakfast, lunch menu (Nov 17-21)

Posted on 16 November 2014

We continue publishing breakfast and lunch menus served at schools in the School District of Philadelphia. Here’s the menu for Monday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 21. 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 will be offered daily and served with a yogurt parfait or a mini loaf.


Mini Pancakes
Bake Crafter Cereal Bar & Yogurt
Fresh Pear
Variety of Milk


Steak, Egg & Cheese on a Bagel
Benefit Bar
Mixed Fruit Cup
Fresh Apple
Variety of Milk  Continue Reading

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Crossroads Music program resumes, free children’s concert this Sunday

Posted on 15 November 2014


Corey Harris (publicity photo).

After the summer break and some uncertainty regarding the Fall 2014 season, Crossroads Music is resuming its program. So far the company has announced performances by two musicians, which will take place at The Rotunda (40th and Walnut) while the Calvary Church building, its usual performance space, is undergoing maintenance.

This Sunday (Nov. 16), Corey Harris, a blues guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, and band leader, will give two performances. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. (tickets are $10-$30 and can be purchased here) and there will also be a free program for children and their caregivers starting at 6 p.m.

On Sunday, Nov. 23, Honduran musician Aurelio will bring Garifuna music sounds to The Rotunda. This performance also begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are available here.

More performances will be announced soon, according to the Crossroads Music website, so check it regularly for updates.


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Love On Your Park: volunteers needed for park cleanups this Saturday

Posted on 14 November 2014


Saturday park cleanup map.

It’s that time of year again when you get to love on your local park a little. Calls for volunteers have gone out for the “Love Your Park Fall Service Day” on Saturday, Nov. 15, when neighbors get together in their favorite green space and help each other spruce it up. Tools are usually provided, but it wouldn’t hurt to bring a rake and some gloves if you have them.

At Cedar Park (49th and Cedar) they need help planting trees, bulbs and ground cover. They are also raking leaves and doing general cleanup to get the park ready for winter. Work will go on at the park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and volunteers are asked to email tatemch (at) to let an organizer know you’re coming.

Lifelong park volunteer Doris Gwaltney, who died in January 2014, will be honored in a celebration at Carroll Park (58th St. and Girard Ave). Doris started the Carroll Park Neighbors Advisory Council, one of the first groups to partner with nonprofit organizations and city government to build community through revitalization of urban parks. Several speakers will get start at noon and the cleanup efforts at Carroll Park start at 11 a.m.  Continue Reading

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Great 2nd Fridays on Lancaster Ave programming tonight

Posted on 14 November 2014

Friday is finally here and despite chilly temperatures hitting our area a lot of cool and energizing stuff will be happening tonight on Lancaster Avenue, between 35th and 43rd Streets, as part of the monthly 2nd Fridays on Lancaster Avenue. Tonight’s program will include an art show opening, film screenings, live music and open mic, an orchestral disco party, coffee tasting, shopping, and more! Check out the flier below and also visit our Events Calendar for more information about tonight’s events. There is also a Facebook page for Lancaster Avenue – West Philadelphia, with tons of useful info.



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Independence Charter eyes West Philly; Penn Alexander kindergarten lottery details

Posted on 13 November 2014

Independence Charter School is considering opening a school in West Philadelphia.

Officials from the school, which currently has one location at 1600 Lombard, are trying to gauge interest in the school from the local community, a key part of a new charter school application. If approved, the school would likely be located in the 19139 or 19143 zip codes, according to the letter, which was posted on neighborhood e-mail lists.

The 19139 zip code covers an area west of 45th Street to Cobbs Creek and north of Spruce Street to Westminster. 19143 runs south from Spruce to the river and west from 45th Street to roughly 60th Street.

New charter school applications are due at the School Reform Commission by Saturday. Public hearings on the applications are expected by next month. The SRC then has up to 75 days to approve or reject a charter application.

The district currently has 86 charter schools that enroll some 67,000 students. This is the first time since 2007 that the SRC has considered new applications for charter schools, thanks to a provision in the $2-per-pack cigarette tax. There could be as many as 50 applications, according to reports.


Penn Alexander School (Photo West Philly Local).

In other school news, the School District of Philadelphia has published the procedures for the year’s kindergarten lottery at Penn Alexander School for the 2015-2016 school year. Applications will be accepted between Jan. 20 and Feb. 27. The lottery will be conducted and letters will be sent to parents during the week of March 9.

Here are some guidelines:

• Two proofs of residency within the Penn Alexander catchment are required.

• Head Start and Early Intervention applications are also due within the same time frame.

• From the District’s website: “Parents are strongly encouraged to participate in the School Selection Process beginning October 17, 2014 and ending 5:00 PM on December 12, 2014. The School Selection online application can be reached by going to”

• Admission decision will only be communicated in writing. No phone calls.

More information and application materials can be found on the Office of Student Enrollment and Placement website.

Mike Lyons

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More abandoned dogs in Cedar Park?

Posted on 12 November 2014


A reader and Cedar Park resident, Gwen, sent us a letter wondering why there are more abandoned dogs in her area. She’s particularly referring to the 4900 block of Cedar Avenue where a few dogs have been found lately wandering about. Gwen and her neighbor found two large dogs (pictured) there on Monday. Here’s what she writes:

“I spent [Monday] afternoon trying to locate the owners of two enormous pitbulls with another West Philly resident. When I posted about the incident on Facebook, two different friends responded with stories of their own regarding discovering abandoned dogs at the same corner. Very disheartening, dangerous and cruel to the poor dogs, and dangerous for residents, their children, and their dogs. Who is abandoning these dogs? They were friendly, but seemed truly lost/abandoned, with no leashes or tags, and they were walking in the road. I can’t stop thinking about them.”

Unfortunately, these dogs’ owner was not found, but hopefully they will find a new, better home soon. Gwen says that after a couple of hours of knocking on doors, checking in with the Baltimore Pet Shoppe, and borrowing rope from the block captain, the person who first found them took them to the ACCT Philly shelter. “They will be ready for fostering and adoption as of this evening,” Gwen writes.

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