"West Philly"

Memorial services for Calvary’s Edward Fell this Saturday

Posted on 12 February 2016 by Mike Lyons

12670847_10154493497059428_7737159332643809351_nMemorial services will be held Saturday for Edward Fell, a beloved long-time member of the Calvary United Methodist Church who died unexpectedly earlier this month.

“Ed was in many ways both the heart and face of Calvary – a long-time and active member and lay leader, as well as church administrator, building manager and community liasion,” read a message from the church. “As Pastor John (Pritchard) wrote in a letter to the congregation earlier today, ‘Ed’s deep faith, his devotion to Calvary, his service as ambassador of the Calvary community, his gentle spirit and cheery voice were gifts he gave to us all and gifts that we will deeply miss.'”

The public is welcome to the service on Saturday, Feb. 13.

Here is the schedule:

9-10 a.m.: Viewing (chapel)
10-11:45 a.m.: Funeral/Homegoing Service (chapel)
12 noon: Repast (lower level)

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Distinguished author John Edgar Wideman to speak at Mighty Writers West this Friday

Posted on 11 February 2016 by

johnedgarwidemanHere is a chance to see John Edgar Wideman, a widely celebrated writer and winner of several literary awards, including the International PEN/Faulkner award, this Friday in West Philly. Wideman, who is also a founder of Penn’s African American Studies Department, will speak at the West Philadelphia branch of Mighty Writers (3861 Lancaster Ave.).

The event starts at 6:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Mighty Writers is a local non-profit organization that teaches children to think and write with clarity. Mighty Writers West opened its doors in 2013 and since then has been offering classes, afterschool programs, College Prep courses, and a summer camp to West Philadelphia kids and youth. All programs at Mighty Writers are free to Philadelphia students. For more information, visit:

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Big Love on Sunday: A benefit show for Ahimsa House community garden

Posted on 11 February 2016 by


The Ahimsa House community garden.

On Sunday, Feb. 14, a local nonviolence center, the Ahimsa House, will host Big Love, its 2nd annual benefit concert and raffle. The concert features Unidos da Filadelfia, JOHNNY POPCORN, Hardwork Movement, Silverton, Red Cedar Strings, DJs BeeTee Beats and SarahCuda. Raffle prizes include private massage, yoga, and photography sessions, Sixers tickets, as well as gift certificates to local businesses, such as Honest Tom’s and Greensgrow West. All proceeds will go to paying back the loan for the Ahimsa House community garden.

Last year, we published an article on the struggles of the Ahimsa House to save their community garden. The garden began in 2011 after the center’s founder, Meg Ferrigno, purchased the Ahimsa House at 5007 Cedar Ave. with a wrongful arrest settlement from the city. She immediately went to work turning the vacant lot next door into a garden where members from the community could grow and harvest free vegetables. Ferrigno put the garden up for sheriff’s sale along with a deposit for first bid as caretaker of the lot, but the garden was bought out from under her.

AhimsaBenefitflierFerrigno saved the lot last year with the help of donations from the community and a personal loan. Forty thousand dollars on the loan still need to be paid back. This year, the garden became part of the PHS City Harvest program, which provided the mulch and materials to build raised beds. Anyone from the community can request a plot to grow on, and part of the garden also grows food for the West Philly chapter of Food not Bombs.

More information about the campaign to save the garden can be found at

The show will be at the Rotunda on 40th and Walnut. Doors open at 6 p.m. with music starting at 6:30. Entry is on a sliding scale donation basis between $10-15. Baked goods, including vegan and gluten free options, will be available for purchase. For more information, check out the event’s Facebook page.

Alyssa Songsiridej

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Black & white kitten found on 5100 block of Hazel

Posted on 10 February 2016 by


A male black and white kitten was found on Monday, Feb. 8 on the 5100 block of Hazel Avenue. The kitten was wearing a flea collar and looks like like he belongs to someone.

Anyone with info and/or the owners can contact Heather at 717.676.6278.


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New middle school at Drexel to open to 5th graders this fall

Posted on 10 February 2016 by Mike Lyons

A new Science Leadership Academy middle school will open this fall to fifth graders in a temporary location on Drexel’s campus, the School District of Philadelphia announced today.


Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships (photo from

The district expects about 90 fifth graders to enroll in the fall in the temporary space at Drexel’s Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships (3509 Spring Garden). Building plans for the school’s permanent home are under way on the site of the old University City High School and Drew Elementary School near 38th and Filbert.

Most of the fifth grade students will come from nearby Samuel Powel Elementary, a highly rated K-4 school.

Drexel’s School of Education will also support the middle school with help in planning and executing the curriculum, similar to the arrangement Penn has with the Penn Alexander School. Drexel President John Fry helped create the Penn Alexander school and other neighborhood initiatives as an executive vice president at Penn under former president Judith Rodin.

Costs to cover the start-up and planning of the new school will be covered by a $1.8 million grant from the Philadelphia School Partnership. The new school will be called the Science Leadership Academy Middle School (SLA-MS).

Students will remain at the Dornsife Center site for “at least two years,” according to the district. The new school will accommodate some 360 students when it is completed.

District Superintendent William Hite announced a plan last fall that included the Drexel-based middle school, the closure of other schools and the conversion of the Samuel B. Huey School to a charter.

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Want to help make The Woodlands more beautiful? Become a Grave Gardener

Posted on 10 February 2016 by

Victorian garden

Victorian Garden at The Woodlands Center Circle (rendering).

In an effort to take The Woodlands cemetery grounds “from eternal rest to garden best,” 20 people are sought to join a newly established garden community, The Grave Gardeners, for the upcoming growing season.

Each Grave Gardener will adopt a grave in the Center Circle of the cemetery and tend to it throughout the season. All the supplies and knowledge you need will be provided, in exchange for your work. At the end of the season, you’ll get a chance to show off your plot to the rest of The Woodlands community at a Garden Fête.

The season will start with three workshops, where The Grave Gardeners will learn how to design a Victorian-style garden and how to keep it beautiful throughout the growing season. The workshops are led by local experts.

The first workshop, “Gardens (and Houses) in Graveyards,” presented by architectural historian and vice president of The Woodlands Aaron Wunsch, will be held on February 25.

So, if you have some free time this spring and summer and are not afraid to get your hands dirty, you’re welcome to fill out an application here:

Application are accepted through Friday, Feb. 12.

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