Spruce Hill community leader Mark Wagenveld passes away at 73

Posted on 30 January 2018

Mark Wagenveld photographed in Clark Park in 2011 (Photo from Spruce Hill Community Association Facebook page).

UPDATE (2/1/2018): A memorial service for Mark Wagenveld will be held on Saturday, Feb. 17 at Old Pine Street Presbyterian Church at 412 Pine St. Visitation will be from 9:45-10:45 a.m., with a service to follow at 11 a.m.

Longtime Spruce Hill community leader and retired Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Mark Wagenveld passed away on Saturday at the age of 73.

We got to know Mark in his role as president of the Spruce Hill Community Association and a mentor of sorts who took an interest in West Philly Local soon after we began publishing in 2010. He always had solid news tips and words of encouragement for us.

We also know him as the driving force behind the May Fair in Clark Park and the Halloween Parade. Mark became active in community work soon after his retirement from the Inquirer in 2005, according to Barry Grossbach, his friend and colleague in the Spruce Hill Community Association.

“Sometimes we don’t fully appreciate a person’s contribution or importance while they are around,” Grossbach wrote. “Not so with Mark. Everyone knew what he did and what he meant to our community. And everyone will be the poorer for his absence.”  Continue Reading

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West Philly lawyer Jeff Curry to run for State Representative in the 188th District

Posted on 03 January 2018

Lawyer and West Philadelphia resident Jeff Curry announced this week that he is running for state representative in Pennsylvania’s 188th district as a Democrat in the May 15 primary. The announcement was made on Jan. 1 at the University City Arts League, where he addressed the crowd of over one hundred and fifty supporters, according to a press release.

The seat has been held by State Rep. James Roebuck since 1985.

Curry has been a resident of this district for the last decade. He and his wife Angela first moved to the district in 2007 to start and raise a family in the community. A father of three young children, Curry is running for office because he feels “Harrisburg does not reflect his family’s values of hard work, respect others, and equality and fairness for all.”  Continue Reading

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Elderly man with dementia missing from VA Medical Center (39th and Woodland)

Posted on 31 December 2017

Police are asking for the public’s assistance to locate an endangered missing person. Edward Sojourner, 66, went missing from VA Medical Center located on the 3900 block of Woodland Avenue on Saturday, Dec. 30, at around 10:40 p.m. Police say Mr. Sojourner, who suffers from dementia, is a patient at the facility and left it without permission.

Mr. Sojourner lives on the 5200 block of N. 6th Street but he was not found at that location, according to police.

He is 5 feet 11 inches and weighs 198 pounds. He was wearing white Converse shoes and a beige, knee-length jacket. Anyone with information about this missing person is urged to call Southwest Detectives at 215-686-3183.

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Resistance photography exhibit on display at Green Line Cafe on Baltimore

Posted on 07 November 2017

Exactly one year ago, on Nov. 8, 2016, Donald Trump won the presidential election. An exhibit by eight local photographers, titled “Resistance Photography: a Year of 45,” which opened last week at the Green Line Cafe at 43rd and Baltimore, marks the anniversary of that date.

The exhibit’s opening reception is slated for Wednesday, Nov. 8, from 7 to 9 p.m. All eight photographers – Kaltoum Alibrahimi, Chris Baker Evens, Darryl Murphy, Sonja Nosisa Noonan-Ngwane, Joe Piette, Kaytee Ray-Riek, Tieshka K Smith, and Rachael Warriner – will give their individual perspective on the many forms of protests, marches and public actions of resistance they’ve documented over the past tumultuous year.  Continue Reading

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University City’s Jamie Gauthier takes charge at Fairmount Park Conservancy

Posted on 11 October 2017

                   Jamie Gauthier

Jamie Gauthier, a Garden Court resident, has been named the executive director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy. The organization made the decision on September 13 and announced it on October 9. She had been acting director for several months.

She first joined the Conservancy, a nonprofit that promotes and improves Philadelphia’s parks in conjunction with the city, in January 2017. Prior to that, she had directed Philadelphia’s Sustainable Business Network (SBN), which she described as a kind of chamber of commerce for socially conscious businesses. While at SBN, she became drawn to “Rebuild,” City Hall’s $500 million program to revitalize neighborhoods. That eventually compelled her to leave SBN and join the Conservancy.

“Rebuild is the biggest neighborhood-centered initiative I can recall, so I had to be involved in it,” she said. “So that’s why I ended up leaving SBN, so that I could help the Conservancy connect to Rebuild in some way.”  Continue Reading

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Suspect in custody in connection to murder of West Philly activist Winnie Harris

Posted on 09 October 2017

Winnie Harris (center) during MLK Day of Service in January 2017 (Photo courtesy of UC Green).

Police say they have a suspect in custody in connection to the murder of West Philly activist Winnie Harris, who was found shot to death inside her home on the 300 block of North Holly Street on February 3, 2017. The suspect was arrested on Friday while in detention for another, unrelated matter, according to police. Charges against the suspect are pending. More details about the suspect have not been released as of Monday afternoon.

Harris, 65, was a longtime Powelton resident and green space advocate. She worked as the executive director of West Philadelphia based nonprofit UC Green at the time of her death.

In May, police released and distributed a flyer asking for the public’s help with information on two persons of interest in relation to the murder.

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