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Letter to the Editor: “We Need to Up Our Recycling Game”

Posted on 20 May 2016

recyclePhiladelphia needs to up their recycling game. The amount of recycling we do considering the population of our city is underwhelming. Compared to a city with a much greater population, like Los Angeles, our recycling statistic is pathetic. They have a population of about 10 million people, but are able to divert about 76 percent of their waste from landfills. Philadelphia has a smaller population of about 1.5 million, but is only able to divert about 70 percent of its waste from landfills. The more populated a city is, the more trash and waste are generated, so it should be more difficult to have a high recycling rate, however, Los Angeles manages to exceed us. We need to find a way to convince more Philadelphians to recycle more.

A big issue is the city’s lack of knowledge concerning key recycling information. They need to know what and where recyclable materials go to and how recycling can impact their lives. They need to know the harmful effects of landfills, and be persuaded to divert their waste from these piles of trash that are buried underground. They need to know that recycling programs cost less than sending waste to landfills or incinerators. By convincing them that landfills poison our drinking water, and that curbside recycling has economic benefits, Philadelphia residents would have the necessary knowledge and would be foolish not to want to recycle!  Continue Reading

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Last-minute chance to donate to a community organization and ease your tax bill

Posted on 29 December 2015

If you are still feeling generous during this holiday season, there are a few local community organizations that could use some help. Plus, you might get the added benefit of a last-minute, 2015 tax write-off.

Here are some chances to help out:

The West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools has made great strides in remaking the Henry Lea School playground into a terrific community asset. But they’re not done. In 2016, the organization wants to repaint the basketball court, install seating and new flags. They need some more funding help to get it done. Go here to learn more and donate.

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Some of the work done so far at the Henry Lea School playground at 47th and Spruce. (Photo from the West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools website)

Curio Theatre Company also relies on contributions to survive (along, of course, with income from their performances). In addition to its line-up of fabulous performances, Curio runs a a theatre school for neighborhood kids that has never turned a child away because of financial need. They want to keep that going in 2016. Click here to donate.

The Soapbox Community Print Shop and Zine Library is in the middle of a fundraising effort to get its new 4,500-square-foot book arts and printmaking studio up and running. They are about halfway there and only have a couple of days left to hit their goal of $15,000. They have all kinds of cool stuff available for donors, including memberships, zine packs and even hand-bound sketchbooks. Check out their campaign here.

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‘What can neighbors do to get this intersection looked at for improvements?’ (updated)

Posted on 19 November 2015

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UPDATE (11/19/2015): Many people in the neighborhood posted their suggestions on how to improve the tricky intersection of 46th Street and Baltimore and Cedar Avenues after our post last month (see the original post and reader comments below). Reader David Wengert emailed us his proposal on how to make the intersection safer, along with illustrations:

“I have long wanted to change the physical landscape and traffic pattern at 46th & Baltimore & Cedar, so when I saw the topic appear on West Philly Local in October, I decided to create a picture to visualize my idea for change. It involves three major changes that I believe would improve both walkability and drivability. First, you eliminate the Cedar Ave spur between Baltimore & 46th. This triangle could be transformed into a little park or parklet, and the Baltimore Ave sidewalk would continue along Baltimore Ave all the way to the corner.

Second, you bring 46th St southbound traffic all the way up to the intersection with Baltimore, instead of stopping traffic behind Cedar Ave. This means removing Cedar Ave from the intersection entirely.  Continue Reading

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“A heavy shadow”: A tribute to late West Philly activist Fran Aulston from Spiral Q

Posted on 21 October 2015

Fran Aulston, a West Philadelphia community activist, former President of the Paul Robeson House and founder of Peoplehood Parade passed away on August 9, 2015. The 16th annual Peoplehood Parade, in honor of Fran Aulston, will take place on Saturday, Oct. 24 (read more about the parade here).

The following is a letter from Spiral Q artistic director Tracy Broyles on Fran’s legacy.

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              Fran Aulston

“Some argue that #BlackLivesMatter is little more than a hashtag. At Spiral Q, however, we see a vibrant and brave movement of young people of color standing up to injustice, channeling the long-fought struggles of our elders for the full dignity and humanity of Black lives. One of these elders, Paul Robeson, we plan to honor by celebrating the memory of a true West Philadelphia community leader: Fran Aulston.

Fran Aulston passed away on August 9, 2015, and her passing casts a heavy shadow in our hearts and across our city. Fran fought tirelessly to ensure that Paul Robeson’s legacy would endure in the city where he spent the final years of his life. For us, 2015 marks the first year that Spiral Q will step off on its annual Peoplehood Parade this coming Saturday, October 24th, without the blessing of Fran, longtime President of the Paul Robeson House and a founder of Peoplehood, to open the parade. As we continue to lose the profound voices of our generation, we deem it all the more important to honor the visionary leaders upon whose shoulders we stand: Gloria Casarez, Fran Aulston, Grace Lee Boggs, to name but a few who’ve touched our lives in countless ways.

As artists and cultural workers, we heed our imperative and are moved to create in honor of these visionaries. We will pay tribute to them, and to the struggles in our city and across the country that they fought to make our communities more just and equitable places to live for those most directly-impacted by injustice. On Saturday, October 24th, Spiral Q will dedicate our 16th annual Peoplehood Parade to the movement for Black lives. The parade, Soar in Solidarity, will feature a range of artistic offerings, including a special tribute just for Fran: a Paul Robeson puppet who will help us carry forward her vision of educating and engaging community in learning Mr. Robeson’s history and legacy.

In Fran’s memory, we will put the Paul Robeson puppet to work, alongside the staff of the Paul Robeson House, to ensure that our communities’ untold stories of fighting for justice continue to be told for years to come.”

Sincerely,

Tracy Broyles
Executive Artistic Director
Spiral Q | Philadelphia, PA

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How about those Stroll lines?

Posted on 18 September 2015

Dollar Strolls always bring huge crowds to Baltimore Avenue looking for $1 specials from neighborhood restaurants and other businesses, but last night was something absolutely crazy. Reader Marshall Ledger sent us this panoramic photo with the following commentary:

“Two lines to Desi [Village] (its tables of samosas, pakoras, and mango lassi on the left): one stretching to and past Melville, the other up toward 46th Street, past Renata’s Kitchen (tables of croissants, chocolate cookies, and sodas on the right).”

 

Also check out photos by Bob Lannon: Continue Reading

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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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