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West Philly food entrepreneurs take their sauce named for their late brother to the “Sharks”

October 28, 2016

West Philly entrepreneurial sisters Kelly (right) and Jorrae Beard will appear on “Shark Tank” tonight.

Shark Tank keeps casting Philly entrepreneurs, and it’s especially nice to see West Philly-based teams presenting their products on the show. This Friday, Oct. 28, tune in to watch sisters Kelly and Jorrae Beard pitch “Lulu Bang” BBQ Sauce to the “sharks.” There will also be the show watch party tonight at the Enterprise Center (4548 Market St.), beginning at 7:30 p.m. (this event has been sold out).

lulubangsharktankKelly and Jorrae are co-owners of Joyce’s Soulful Cuisine, a restaurant and catering business located at 59th and Chestnut that was named in memory of their mother, Joyce A. Beard. The sisters are also manufacturers of  “Lulu Bang” BBQ Sauce, which comes in four flavors – Asian Persuasion, BBQ Fusion, Bourbon Baby, and It’s Just HOT.  It’s now available in local shops throughout the Northeast region.

The name of the sauce is a tribute to Kelly and Jorrae’s brother, Michael “Lulu Bang” Beard, a National Guard veteran, who was murdered at the age of 32 in West Philadelphia, according to an article by Philly MagContinue Reading

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Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Education Center founder to receive prestigious award

October 24, 2016

williamsgreenWest Philly educator Carole Williams-Green, who founded the Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Education Center, will be honored by the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education with the 2016 Meigs Award. The award is given annually to a regional leader who embodies the spirit and leadership of Henry Meigs, one of the Schuylkill Center’s founders.

A former public school teacher and administrator, Williams-Green led a successful multi-decade effort to rehabilitate the historic Fairmount Park Police stables in Fairmount Park’s Cobbs Creek, creating an environmental education center. Founded in 1991, the Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Education Center opened its doors in 2001.

Williams-Green has made a substantial contribution to environmental education in the Philadelphia region, reaching communities often excluded from traditional environmental education. She explains that “it bothered [her] that children from West Philadelphia had to travel so far to get these kinds of experiences [in nature], ones that really excited children.”  Continue Reading

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Stories emerge about victims in Friday night shooting spree (updated)

September 20, 2016

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                Shooting victim Sara Salih

While the man whose shooting rampage had parts of West Philly in fear on Friday night expressed a hatred for police, the bullets he fired did far more damage to innocent people in the neighborhood.

Stories have emerged about other victims, including 25-year-old Sara Salih. She was killed when shooter Nicholas Glenn began firing shots at random bystanders as he fled after firing 18 shots at a police officer at 52nd and Sansom. Police later killed Glenn in a shootout near 48th and Sansom.

Salih’s father, an Ethiopian immigrant who heard the shots that killed his daughter, talked to Philadelphia Inquirer Sam Wood about the tragedy.

UPDATE: Sara’s friends have created a GoFundMe page to help her family.

The Inquirer‘s Stephanie Farr reported the story of Martice Washington, a bouncer at Maximum Level Lounge near 52nd and Sansom (one of his three jobs) who was shot in both legs. Washington has two children and is married to a Philadelphia police officer, according to reports. Continue Reading

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Ice Cave brings its cool desserts to Baltimore Ave

September 8, 2016

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Ice Cave owner Po Chang and dessert chef Jessica Wang (Photo by Rana Fayez/West Philly Local)

People of West Philadelphia, you no longer have to travel to Chinatown for Taiwanese shaved ice treats. Ice Cave has opened at 4507 Baltimore Ave next to Atiya Ola’s and The Nesting House.

This is only one of a number of new businesses opening up on Baltimore Ave this year. Flavors such as strawberry, matcha, coffee, peanut and mango are on the menu with toppings like mango, kiwi and berries. If shaved ice is not your thing the shop also sells some of its flavors in a popsicle format.

Owner Po Chang graduated from Drexel in 2012 but decided to stay in West Philadelphia after earning his degree in Public Health. His dessert chef, Jessica Wang, was trained in Taiwan for five years in the craft of shaved ice.

If you like cold treats for breakfast, you may be out of luck. The shop is open 2 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Saturday. On Fridays it closes at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m.

Not sure if you’re into it? Come out to the Dollar Stroll tonight to try it, the shop will be selling sample sizes for $1.

Rana Fayez

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Penn Alexander student’s artwork a creative clean water reminder at 42nd and Spruce

August 22, 2016

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Lamees’s work turned into street art (Photo by West Philly Local).

You may have recently noticed the artwork of Penn Alexander student Lamees Abou-Hatab on the northwest corner of 42nd and Spruce.

Literally on the corner.

Lamees’s art work is a creative reminder that what you dump in the street drains will find its way into rivers and streams. Her work was chosen as part of a student art contest hosted by the Philadelphia Water Department and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and was turned into street art over the summer. Lamees is heading into 7th grade this year. Congrats to her!  Continue Reading

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New Rabbi and Torah School Director at Kol Tzedek

August 5, 2016

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The new rabbi at Kol Tzedek, Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari (Photo courtesy of Kol Tzedek.)

Kol Tzedek, the reconstructionist synagogue based at the Calvary Center for Culture and Community on Baltimore Avenue, has a new rabbi, Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari, and a new Torah school director, Rabbi Michelle Greenfield. Their first services will be this Saturday, Aug. 6.

A New York native, Fornari has served as director of the Boston-area Jewish Education Program and as a part-time prison chaplain. He was ordained from the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College. As a student, he spent two years working at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST) in New York, teaching, preaching, and providing pastoral care for congregants.

The synagogue’s search committee chair, Rob Auritt, told the Jewish Exponent that Fornari, who is transgender, has a “singular ability to engage people of all levels of Jewish experience and previous participation in organized Judaism, people of all sexual orientations and gender expressions, and those committed to anti-racism and to a multiracial Jewish civilization.”

Fornari replaces Kol Tzedek’s founding rabbi, Lauren Grabelle Hermann, who left for a position at the Society for the Advancement of Judaism in New York.  Continue Reading

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