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Tenuous community consensus reached on preserving Wiota Street Garden

Posted on 19 December 2014

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The Wiota Street Garden (from Google Street View).

Those in attendance at last night’s public meeting on the future of the Wiota Street Garden in West Powelton tenuously agreed to block attempts to build housing on the parcel.

Some 60 people turned out for a meeting of the West Powelton Concerned Community Council, which, though divisive at times, led Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell to promise to stop developers’ attempts to buy the land and construct housing. She also urged community members to devise a plan that would make the garden a community space with a defined and transparent management structure.

The City of Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, which owns the parcel at 46 Wiota St. (near 40th and Powelton), has deferred any decision to sell the property to Blackwell, who attended the meeting to gauge public opinion. Her agreement to help protect the garden came with the stipulation that it be managed in a way that invites the entire community.  Continue Reading

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A rogue tow truck?: A neighbor’s tale of her missing car

Posted on 19 September 2014

[Editor’s Note: Just as we were getting ready to publish this, a new twist emerged. Maria wrote that she was contacted last night by another person by telephone demanding that she pay $1,000 for the return of her car at an agreed-upon meeting place. She contacted police soon afterwards. They took a report. Maria’s insurance does not cover theft.]

A reader, Maria, is stuck in kind of missing car purgatory. Maria (she asked that we not use her last name) is a single mom and music teacher at a local school who recently moved to West Philly. Her 11-year-old daughter started school this fall, so last Tuesday, the first week of school, was filled with the normal excitement and everything flowed as it should, Maria wrote in an email. After picking up her daughter after school Maria parked her charcoal gray 2012 Toyota Corolla on the corner of 44th and Osage, right by her apartment, a “great parking spot,” Maria notes.

“I had parked at 3:30 p.m. last Tues. afternoon. My car was missing Wednesday a.m. at 7:30 a.m. No signs were posted, however, PGW had placed barricades on the corner of 44th and Osage where I was parked,” she wrote.  Continue Reading

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West is Best: A farewell from Annamarya Scaccia

Posted on 03 July 2014

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Photo courtesy of Annamarya Scaccia.

[Editor’s Note: This is the final post from our intrepid writer and Cedar Park resident Annamarya Scaccia, who brought her Brooklyn-born nose for news to West Philly seven years ago. Like many people in the neighborhoods this time a year she is moving on (in her case to graduate school). To her and to you we say goodbye and good luck. Thanks Annamarya.]

My fiancé, Dick, and I have this inside joke: If we find ourselves finally getting to know our neighborhood, we’ll find ourselves gone in a year or two.

It’s actually not as much of a joke as it is living truth. We’ve moved away from every community we’ve lived in within a short time after we’ve started to settle in — a process that would usually take months, if not years, after we’ve actually moved into a place. It’s not intentional in any respect; it’s an unconscious pattern we’ve just noticed. Maybe we have a serious case of undiagnosed wanderlust.

As of this week, we’ve found ourselves in that position once again. Even though we’ve lived in West Philly for seven years, we’ve really started settling down in the last two. And, like clockwork, we’re moving on, back to New York, where I’m from, so I could pursue grad school.

But this time, it doesn’t feel like just another moment in an inadvertent pattern. Instead, this time it feels like we’re leaving home.

Continue Reading

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Letter to the Editor: Support Meatless Monday in Philly schools

Posted on 21 March 2014

Back in November, West Philly Local reported on the Meatless Monday resolution that City Council passed urging residents to avoid eating meat just one day a week (Editor: you can read it here). The end of the article mentioned the next goal: get the Philadelphia School District to implement Meatless Monday.

I’d like to voice my support for Meatless Monday in Philly schools, now that the campaign is in full swing. I want the healthiest food possible available to children in our city, and adding more plant-based foods to the menu will help make that happen. While it would be great to serve organic, fresh, non-GMO fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, I recognize that the District doesn’t have the means to do so. However, taking meat off the menu one day a week is an easily achievable step the District can take towards healthier meals.

I encourage everyone to visit www.PhillyMeatlessMonday.com to learn more about the campaign and to sign the petition urging the School District of Philadelphia to join many others that already participate in Meatless Monday.

Krystina Krysiak
West Philadelphia, PA

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Big neighborhood meeting on property tax overhaul on Wednesday

Posted on 11 March 2013

Confused about the new property tax system? Curious about how your property taxes or rent will be affected by the Actual Value Initiative (AVI)? There’s a good opportunity to learn more and have some of your questions answered at a neighborhood meeting on the property tax overhaul that will take place this Wednesday, March 13, at 7 p.m. at the Griffith Hall of the University of the Sciences (Woodland Ave & 43rd St). The meeting is organized by Cedar Park Neighbors, Garden Court Community Association, Spruce Hill Community Association, Walnut Hill Community Association, and Woodland Terrace Homeowners Association.

The meeting will include: a representative from the Office of Property Assessment (OPA), Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell’s Office, Dr. Kevin Gillen, Economist, University of Pennsylvania, Patrick Kerkstra, journalist, moderator.

The AVI was devised as a way to make the tax burden more fair citywide: Some residents’ property taxes are going up, others are coming down. The initiative included a mass reassessment of the city’s building stock.

 

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Reader concerned about treacherous dirt bikes

Posted on 02 December 2011

Reader Max expresses his concern about some young men riding motorcycles/dirt bikes too dangerously on the neighborhood streets. Here’s what he writes:

“I am a resident of West Philly and am writing to bring an issue in the open since I feel like I am not the only person concerned about this. There are groups of young men riding dirt bikes all around the neighborhoods (Baltimore to Market, 48th to 56th and beyond).

These people are riding very dangerously, they often run red lights, they run on one wheel, they are disturbingly loud, they ride with no helmet (so when they get injured who is paying for their hospital bills?). I see them often, too often, missing accidents by a hair, being this close to injuring by-passers. What worries me is that I have seen them riding past police cars and NOTHING was done by the police.

Is this more than what it seems? Is this an organized group or some kind of gang practice? I don’t know. I’ve tried to call 911 but they pass by quickly, so any 911 call is ineffective. What can be done about it? Are other residents concerned as well? Is it reasonable to expect a more prompt response from law enforcement?”

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