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JULY 5, 2012

Mouthwatering scenery Food lovers wandered through the Italian Market as vendors lined the streets to offer their fare last week. By Lauren Hertzler Review Intern


he sound of sizzling grills from Esposito’s Meats, 1001 S. Ninth St., and the taste of sweet treats from Isgro Pasticceria, 1009 Christian St., accompanied about 60 other diverse food vendors, lunch trucks and area businesses June 27 for South Philly’s second Night Market. About 25,000 people braved the heat and came out for the food, arts and music bazaar — founded and hosted by The Food Trust that partnered with Bella Vista See NIGHT MARKET page 8


Olivia Andy McFadden peered at Elizabeth Woods’ Miniature Mummers Fancy Club Captains’ Cape after helping to read a holiday tale. The 4-yearold yearns to be a New Year’s Day fixture. S ta f f P h o t o b y G r e g B e z a n i s

A Mummer summer A pre-Independence Day celebration helped a Pennsport museum to educate children on mummery.

A Cavalier attitude A once-dominant Eastern Conference squad made a South-of-South baller its top draft pick. By Joseph Myers..........Page 31

By Joseph Myers R e v i e w S ta f f W r i t e r


ith roasting temperatures making their typical summer onslaught, one could easily wish for winter’s biting digits. The Mummers Museum, 1100 S. Second St., meshed seasons June 28, hosting Go 4th & Learn About Mummers, the fourth of five interactive, pre-Indepen-

dence Day educational opportunities for youngsters. Nearly 400 children ventured to the 36-year-old Pennsport location as part of the 10-day Wawa Welcome America! festival, which culminated with last night’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway-situated Philly 4th of July Jam and Grand Finale Fireworks. Representing 10 camps and day cares, the youths escaped the heat to gather information on the costumed figures who have

led New Year’s Day celebrations since 1901. Though many see the Mummers as only one-day winter comforters, the City is hoping to promote them as a perpetual provider of pride. “We are looking to give people more knowledge and draw more attention to the museum,” representative Randy GiancaterSee GO 4TH & LEARN page 10


GO 4TH & LEARN continued from page 1

POLICE REPORT continued from page 7

City spokesman, said, citing the day and “Fancy Folks: Art and Mummery,” a December-through-February City Hall photo exhibit, as the biggest contributors to the local government’s advocacy. The two-hour affair, which complemented the 12-year-old Go 4th & Learn series’ talks on animals, fitness, history and imagination, began with The Hardly Ables Retiree String Band, which played standards such as “Alabama Jubilee” and “When You’re Smiling” as the enthusiasts found seats. Once the group had finished its opening tunes and a Free Library of Philadelphia representative had ended a discussion of her employer’s Summer Reading program, Ed Kirlin took the stage. “I’m going to need your participation,” the resident of the 200 block of Morris Street said as he opened “The Littlest Mummer: A Philadelphia Story,” his 2006 how-to manual for those eager to perfect the Mummers’ strut. A 54-year Mummer, Kirlin belongs to Froggy Carr Comics, 1429 S. Second St., and yearned to combine decades of dancing with his writing pursuits, which include screenplays, short stories and historical pieces for the Franklin Institute and the Independence Seaport Museum. With signed copies featuring the inscription “Now you know how; pass it on!,” his listeners offered rapt attention to hear the tale of first-time Mummers Parade attendee Maxie, who vows not to be too little to enjoy the outing. The boy, whom Kirlin named as a sign of gratitude to Max Raab, a producer whose work includes ’01’s Mummers documentary “STRUT!” comes to accept his diminutive form while attending the Broad Street spectacle. After a fun time with his mother and brother Steve, he falls asleep and dreams of meeting three Mummers. The first, Flapping Jack, encourages him to believe that “Every day is a holiday, but New Year’s Day is a very, very special holiday if you are a Mummer.” Kirlin instructed the audience to flap like Maxie after the latter received Jack’s tutelage, with the museum coming to resemble a mini flock of birds. Meeting with Spin-Ya Virginia and Russell also teach Maxie to spin and shuffle and earn him the title “The Littlest Mummer.” Donning gold shoes, he caps the story by heeding their advice to “Flap and spin, shuffle and grin.” Kirlin, who pledges proceeds from sales to the Katie Kirlin Fund, named in honor of his niece, who, at only 12, lost her two-year battle against spinal cancer in 1989, received help from another Mummer in detailing Maxie’s moves. Four-year-old Daniel Fundora, who, as Captain Jack, claimed first place juvenile distinction in this year’s parade, reprised his “Pirates of the Caribbean” role to ex-

and snatched a watch and keys from his pockets. They demanded he remove his shoes and walk down a driveway as they fled in an unknown direction. Police did not release a detailed description of the perpetrators as of press time. To report information, call South Detectives at 215-685-1635, text PPDTIP (773847) or visit

Snatched up

Annette Granato, left, helped the youngsters to learn a prerequisite move for any would-be Mummer, the famous strut. S ta f f P h o t o b y G r e g B e z a n i s

ecute steps for Kirlin. A member of the Hog Island Fancy Brigade, 2116 S. Third St., the Drexel Hill youngster beamed as he mimicked Maxie. “A friend of mine helped him to get this chance,” grandfather Bill Harpin, of the Broomall-based Ferko String Band, said of Daniel, who enjoyed his time as a replica of his fictional contemporary. “Maxie likes dancing and so do I,” the child said. Kirlin fraternized with Daniel and the other participants to gain a sense of their appreciation for his work’s tenet that heart, not stature, makes a Mummer. “It is so rewarding to see interest in what for me has been a major part of my identity,” the Pennsporter said of Go 4th & Learn’s initial creation of a Mummers event. “Today is a great example of what the museum can do to expand interest in the Mummers.” AFTER KIRLIN’S READING, organizers divided the participants into two groups that alternated completing arts and crafts pieces and touring the museum, which opened in ’76 as a tribute to the New Year’s Day revelers. Through art classes, concert luncheons and lectures on the origins of mummery, the site strives to acknowledge the past while motivating new generations of crusaders. Honoring their predecessors, the children commended one another as they created Mummers masks. Salt shakers filled with glitter let them honor the parade’s penchant for vibrant colors, with their imaginations handling the rest. Though Kirlin, who deemed himself “an amateur historian” has cloaked himself in Mummers raiment for more than five decades, he approached his tour as an awestruck

newcomer to the pageantry. His younger companions shared his sentiment as they headed upstairs to inspect the garb, read walls lined with text on the history of various groups and follow the feet of Annette Granato, whose family consists of three generations of Mummers. The resident of Bellmawr, N.J., and a member of the Clevemore Fancy Brigade, 2119 S. 10th St., bedecked herself in a costume to dress the part of an accomplished strutter. “Now you’re all Mummers,” the former inhabitant of 20th Street and Snyder Avenue said after some clever limb manipulation. After instructing her would-be peers, she watched as they continued to practice imitating the winter well-wishers. “I enjoyed the parade as a child, but it’s more fun being directly involved,” Granato said of participating. “Being a performer helps the vibes to stick with you.” Olivia Andy McFadden might follow Granato in the limelight. The 4-year-old Center City resident joined Kirlin and Daniel for “The Littlest Mummer” reading and took in her surroundings with immense joy, especially when gazing at the wardrobe. “I want to be a Mummer,” she said of the inspirational aspect of the day. “The dancing is exciting.” Kirlin, whose interest likewise began when he was a child, claimed bias but added the Mummers promote a sense of carefree abandon. “The Mummers help us to forget our troubles,” he said. “It’s like the song says, ‘When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.’” SPR Contact Staff Writer Joseph Myers at jmyers@ or ext 124. Comment at

A Point Breeze/Newbold man, who held a woman at knifepoint in a Passyunk Square mugging Monday, was apprehended. The 22-year-old woman was walking down the 1400 block of South Watts Street at 1:35 a.m. when Belarmino Cruz aka Emillo Sarro, 30, of the 1200 block of South 15th Street, grabbed her neck and said, “Give me what you got,” Detective Danielle Tolliver of South Detective Division said. When she claimed she had nothing to give, he allegedly placed a large knife to her neck, so she handed over $175 from her pocket. He also is believed to have snatched a gold necklace with a cross medallion that she was wearing. The woman sprinted to Broad Street as she dialed 911. Police located Cruz across the street on the 1400 block of South Broad, Tolliver said. The knife, cash and the necklace minus the cross were recovered and her belongings were returned. Cruz was charged with robbery, aggravated and simple assaults, terroristic threats and related charges, according to court records. His bail was set at $50,000 Monday. To report information, call South Detectives at 215-685-1635, text PPDTIP (773847) or visit

Police meeting The 17th District, 20th and Federal streets, will hold its monthly block representative meeting 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at its headquarters. In addition to a crime report, Greater Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition, Mayor’s Office Bicycle and Pedestrian Program and Sanitation Department representatives are scheduled to speak. For more information, contact Community Relations Officer Horace Gibson 215-685-1747 or visit districts/17th. SPR Contact Managing Editor Amanda L. Snyder at or ext. 117. Comment at

See Youth Appreciation Winners at

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APRIL 19, 2012

Dirty talk With more than 35 projects, residents teamed up to give South Philly a cleaner image Saturday. Lauren Hertzler Review Intern


he crisp smell of spring lingered in the air Saturday morning in the Italian Market, as volunteers banded together in the warm, sunny weather to sweep the sidewalks and streets — what used to be a time-honored South Philly practice. Di Bruno Bros., 930 S. Ninth St., which has operated its Bella Vista location since 1939, teamed up with the South Ninth Street Businessmen’s Association to revive that custom and “Keep up the Sweep Up” for the fifth annual Philly Spring Cleanup. See SPRING CLEANUP page 8


A great gait A wearable robot helped a Whitman quadriplegic to walk after a lengthy period of wheelchair confinement. By Joseph Myers

Nordic notability

R e v i e w S ta f f W r i t e r

A Packer Park museum will honor a soccer legend for her contributions to Swedish-America. By Joseph Myers.........Page 31

ichael Sullivan may one day honor the Surgeon General’s recommendation to take 10,000 daily steps, but on April 12, nothing mattered more to the 46-year-old than confidently executing 276 paces at Center City’s Good Shepherd Penn Partners. With conviction and curiosity, he capped four emotional days of regaining the ability to walk, a gift that a 1994 diving accident


Michael Sullivan was the picture of concentration as he completed close to 300 steps. His robotic aid will further help him to be a tireless husband, father and athlete. S ta f f P h o t o b y Greg Bezanis

robbed him of by rendering him a quadriplegic. The fortunate footsteps occurred courtesy of a bionic exoskeleton that will work to ensure that Sullivan’s penchant for activity will never grow sedentary. One of six patients with lower-extremity weakness or paralysis to use the four-year-old facility’s battery-powered aid last week, the resident of the 300 block of Durfor Street earned the opportunity through his five-year involvement with Philadelphia AdapSee EXOSKELETON page 10


EXOSKELETON continued from page 1 tive Rowing, whom Penn Partners contacted last month. A rapid response to an e-mail initiated his selection, and he spent the pre-demonstration time reflecting on his fate. “I have had bouts with fear,” the graduate of Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, 2329 S. Third St., and St. John Neumann High School, formerly 2600 Moore St., said of his quest to ambulate. “I had thought something would keep me from these moments.” Sullivan has never lacked motivation and argued the timing of his Jersey Shore episode inflamed his will even more. Following an Aug. 21, ’94 Jet Ski ride, he dove into the water to rinse off, with his head striking submerged wood. Rehabilitation ensued, with much of his recovery focusing on how to prepare for fatherhood, as he suffered misfortune when his partner Donna, whom he wed in 2000, was one month pregnant with their son Michael. “My top concern was holding him,” Sullivan said of his offspring, a junior at Center City’s Roman Catholic High School. “Eventually all went well and Michael would treat my wheelchair as just another toy.” Their relationship has proven so mutually rewarding that Sullivan, having regained arm mobility, last year took up tennis at his child’s urging. His participation has maintained his strength and heightened his resolve, as he claimed two wins at last month’s NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour’s Pensacola Open in Florida. Enhancing his upper extremity stamina helped to build his candidacy for Ekso, a 45-pound robot that Ekso Bionics, a seven-year-old Californiabased company introduced two years ago as eLEGS, or Exoskeleton Lower Extremity Gait System. He met height and weight requirements, displayed proficient sitting balance and possessed a suitable range of motion in his leg joints. Ekso Bionics renamed eLEGS “Ekso” last year, the same time it began interactions with rehabilitation clinics to test its creation, according to physical therapist clinical manager Melissa Pullia. The entity contacted Allentown’s Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, making it the nation’s third facility to receive an exoskeleton. As Penn Partners is a joint venture of the network and Penn Medicine, it became the sixth site last month. “It was important for us to make this technology available quickly for our patients,” Executive Director Lisa Marsilio said of operationalizing the project, including patient selection, in less than three weeks. Sullivan, who had loved jogging five miles daily, eagerly accepted Marsilio’s offer to regain even more belief. All users have the Ekso strapped over their cloth-

After exercising his legs, Michael Sullivan beamed over his opportunity to be among the city’s first users of the new technology. S ta f f P h o t o s b y G r e g B e z a n i s

ing with Velcro and clips, with a physical therapist operating it through a controller. Though it does not grant a wearer total autonomy, it can promote increased feelings of independence, and the Whitman resident yearned for his boost as his helpers fastened the gadget and reviewed a procedural checklist. “Wheelchair or not, you still have to live life to the fullest,” he said. A FEW DEEP breaths and gulps came from Sullivan before rising, but he became a paragon of precision. Swaying tested his ability to shift his weight, with his right foot soon after thrusting forward to commence his crusade across the floor. Pullia, guiding him and his assistants, noted after his treks that 70 patients had undergone screenings, with 63 passing and taking as few as 81 and as many as 638 first-session steps. Sullivan started his return to stability April 9 and managed 130 strides, with 125 and 300 over the next two days. Striving for quality over quantity, he completed his initial walk with sturdy concentration, balancing downward glances and straight-ahead stares. A well-deserved exhalation followed the first foray, with Sullivan excited for more. “This is cutting-edge technology,” he said to onlookers. “I love that it let me be

eye to eye with people again.” Sullivan has often shown nimble footwork, as he has enjoyed a four-decade relationship with the Mummers Fancy Brigade Association, lending his talent to the Jokers New Years Brigade, 1602 S. Second St. He also has shown an acumen for enterprise, serving as vice president for Collingswood, N.J.’s Standard Office Solutions. Last week, however, his business was producing a steady gait. Few directional variations occurred in his subsequent attempts, as Pullia and the others complimented his willingness to make the session a 60-minute lesson in realizing, to alter a popular Bible verse, that one’s spirit and flesh can be strong. His face gave away few hints at his handling of the pressure of again being erect, though he entertained more than thoughts of letting his left foot follow his right and keeping his arms steadily on his walker. “I was thinking ‘This is fantastic,’” he said. Breaks staved off fatigue and left Sullivan meditative and beholden. “I’m trying to but I can’t find words to explain what I’m feeling,” he said before his final three journeys. “I’m in pain but it’s good pain. I feel so fortunate to be among the recipients of such innovative thinking.” The exoskeleton can assist those between

5 f t 2 and 5-foot-2 d 6-foot-4 6 f t 4 andd who h weigh i h no more than 220 pounds. It allows wearers to walk in a straight line, stand for extended periods and from a sitting position and sit from a standing position through a battery providing more than six hours of power. According to, Ekso Bionics may market the robot to individuals next year. “We are seeking those who would want the therapy,” Joan Levicoff, Penn Partners site manager for outpatient rehabilitation, said. “Today felt even better,” Sullivan added Friday. “I am not as sore and am eager for what’s to come.” He noted Penn Partners is finalizing his rehabilitation schedule, and he hopes for an upright future. Although he began the week literally looking up at everyone, he ended it by figuratively having everyone looking up to him. “The goal is to walk again,” Sullivan said. “I would love to be able to jog at least one mile again.” SPR For more information, visit Contact Staff Writer Joseph Myers at jmyers@ or ext. 124. Comment at

Mummers’ winners list, page 10

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JANUARY 5, 2012

A sign of controversy Area residents are hoping to defeat a modification proposal for a billboard adjacent to a Marconi banquet establishment. By Joseph Myers R e v i e w s ta f f w r i t e r


ontrasting expressions claim “Rules are rules” and “Rules are meant to be broken.” Marconi and Packer Park residents have worked to uphold the former’s finality since midNovember, while a Cheltenham-based business owner has desired a variation on the latter’s meaning since mid-October, insisting that modernization often necessitates change. The parties have centered their pleas on the state of a 44-year-old billboard within the parking lot of Gal-

Assisting Kelly Karcher, left, the Good Witch of the North, the local actors lifted their voices to support Dorothy Gale’s desire to return home. S ta f f P h o t o b y G r e g B e z a n i s



The wizards of awe A Marconi school’s students lent their talents to a national tour’s rendition of a timeless tale. By Joseph Myers

Husky proposition A West Passyunk girls’ basketball squad again looks to be the Public League’s team to beat. By Joseph Myers.............Page 31

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s actress Kerri McNeil, portraying homesick teenager Dorothy Gale, prepared for an afternoon journey along the yellow brick road, she had 10 eager onstage backers. Playing merry munchkins, students from the Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School, 2600 S. Broad St., sang their support for Gale’s quest to return to Kansas

Dec. 28 in the Merriam Theater’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.” Their performance allowed their Marconi institution to continue its 11-year history of assisting shows and gave the youngsters their initial theatrical exposure to the rewards of diligence and enthusiasm. An energized crowd teeming with giddy children and equally thrilled adults filled the aisles for the penultimate performance of the Oz Theatre Co. LLC’s two-day stay, flocking to see the area’s first rendition of

the Royal Shakespeare Co.’s adaptation of author L. Frank Baum’s 1900 book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” since 2008. After a tornado transported Gale and her trusty terrier, Toto, from the Midwest to the Land of Oz, the attendees increased their perkiness as they readied for the munchkins’ levity. “If there are children in a professional show in Philadelphia, they’re our chilSee WIZARD OF OZ page 14


WIZARD OF OZ continued from page 1 dren,” Dr. Gail Avicolli, the charter’s principal, said via a release of her site’s annals, which include roles in “The Lion King” and “Scrooge.” New York City’s Clemmons/Dewing Casting contacted Avicolli in November, with her pupils as the lone auditioning hopefuls. To preserve literary and cinematic traditions for diminutive frames, the agency sought figures less than five feet and weighing less than 100 pounds. Avicolli produced 20 bodies, with half earning the nod to greet Gale after her home lands on the Wicked Witch of the East. In-school singing tutelage and post-school dancing lessons prepped the thespians for their encounter with the affable adolescent. “When I learned I would be in the show, I took it seriously but soon I freaked out, in a good way,” fourth-grader Rebecca Corosanite said post-performance of her uncontainable joy. “This has really been fun.” A Packer Park resident, Rebecca joined with her peers — eight girls and one boy — in surrounding McNeill, who has played Gale since the national tour began Sept. 27 in Oklahoma. Baum crafted Munchkin County as Oz’s Eastern region, so the tiny presences showed eastern hospitality by bellowing “Munchkin Land,” an appreciative tune in which she receives thanks for eliminating the witch “so neatly.” A rollicking “Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead” boosted the spectators’ adrenaline, as the vibrantly dressed munchkins flawlessly executed their choreography. Two trios delighted the audience with “The Lullaby League” and “The Lollypop Guild” before sending Gale off in pursuit of the titular character. The remainder of the first act let the local learners watch Gale, Toto and the duo’s triumvirate of likewise desirous friends ward off the schemes of the Wicked Witch of the West. Intermission came after the gang made its way through the poppy field and advanced to the edges of the Emerald City. Halfway finished their afternoon responsibilities, the South Philadelphia representatives prepared for their secondary roles as the winkies. THE DAY’S PROGRAM estimated that Baum’s tale has entertained global audiences totaling more than one billion people. Many renditions have offered the lesson that the lure of home will always win no matter the joy in one’s adventures, but the 1939 film version has proven the most enthralling. Last week’s quartet of performances retained Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg’s songs and gave the children, both costumed and non-adorned, opportunities to join the cast members in voicing meritorious melodies.


Undercover with the PSPCA


Kerri McNeil, center, as Dorothy, accepted a treat from Rebecca Corosanite, an enthused member of The Lollypop Guild. S ta f f P h o t o b y G r e g B e z a n i s

“I’ve seen every version,” fifth-grader Madison Matteo said of her familiarity with Baum’s creation, one of 14 in the Oz collection. The Packer Park resident expressed gratitude for the chance to entertain other children, especially considering that she, Rebecca and sixth-graders Amanda Jacobson and Christina Mattioli place the film version with Judy Garland as the wayward Kansas youth in their top-five lists of favorite movies. Madison takes dancing classes at Estilo Dance Company, 714 Reed St., so she seemed a perfect fit for pulling off the thumping “March of the Winkies,” complete with the infectious “Oh we oh, yo ho” chant. The PPACS bunch showed its moves in the second act, as the Wicked Witch of the West waged ways to impede Gale and gain possession of the ruby slippers bestowed upon the girl by Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. Her school helped Center City’s Academy of Music four years ago to stage the classic story of good versus evil and travel versus domesticity, so Madison wanted her and the others to prolong the piece’s history as a jewel for all ages. “We seemed overwhelmed at first, but excitement took over,” Amanda, of the 1800 block of Shunk Street, said, Each PPACS student chooses an academic concentration following fifth grade, so she is enjoying her first year as a vocal major. The second half yielded few occasions for her to prove her pipes, but she reveled in each second. “The hard work really pays off when we take our bows and hear the applause,” she said. Amanda participated in the rousing climax during which Gale accidentally melts her adversary after the latter’s attempt to burn the Scarecrow. The patrons applauded

the special effects that enabled the evil figure to dissipate, and the area actors belted out a reprise of “Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead” before yielding to their co-stars for the final three scenes, including Gale’s reunion with the farmhands, Auntie Em and Uncle Henry. “We were so excited to learn about the roles,” Christina said of their mid-November selection, “and our confidence grew with each rehearsal.” The resident of the 1900 block of Schley Street donned her munchkin garb for the curtain call, with the audience offering exaltations. A dance major and student at DanceAdelphia, 1100 Snyder Ave., she so enjoyed marrying steps and notes that she admitted to falling in love with pretending. “You come to think you’re a munchkin because it’s that much fun,” she said, adding that the children’s dressing room featured a “Proud to be a Munchkin” sign-in sheet. Following the day’s first performance, the children relaxed and pondered their 7 p.m. duties, their last chance to hail the triumph of family and friends over isolation. They are building momentum for their spring concert, which will contain ballet elements and popular music selections. The Merriam Theater gig marked the first production for the enthusiastic legacy carriers and has given them exposure to the rigors of professional productions. Along with that grueling gift, it has bolstered their stage maturity. “Performing gives us different ways to see ourselves,” Rebecca, a future dance major, said. “The ‘real you’ comes out.” SPR Contact Staff Writer Joseph Myers at jmyers@ or ext. 124. Comment at

onight at 7, the Franklin Institute will host NatGeo WILD series “Philly Undercover” premiere party and screening. The show supplies a behind-the-scenes look at the city combatting animal cruelty. An episode focusing on a Grays Ferry dog fighting ring bust that netted 14 arrests on the 2600 block of Gerritt Street April 14, 2011 will air 9 p.m. Monday. The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ undercover police team had been investigating Henry Beard, of the Northeast, for a few months. When they learned he was allegedly conducting a dogfight, officers followed him to the Grays Ferry home where they arrested 14 men for cruelty to animals and criminal conspiracy. The organization must race to raid other involved properties and round up the abused dogs before the suspects could be released on bail.

Disaster preparation


he City will hold a series of meetings to receive feedback on the Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan that the Managing Director’s Office of Emergency Management is developing. The City will present the plan, which hopes to reduce or eliminate long-term risks to human life or property from natural disasters through cost-effective and sustained mitigation actions, 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Federation Housing Inc., Rieder House, 10102 Jamison Ave., in Northeast Philly. “It’s important for us to hear about Philadelphians’ concerns about natural hazards that could impact their neighborhoods, so we welcome them to attend any of the upcoming meetings,” Deputy Managing Director for Emergency Management Liam O’Keefe said. Additional public meetings include 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 24 at Mercy Eastwick Wellness Center, 2821 Island Ave., in Southwest Philly; 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 8 at Free Library of Philadelphia’s Central Branch, 1901 Vine St.; and 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 16 at Salvation Army Tabernacle Corps, 3150 N. Mascher St., in North Philly. Call 311, e-mail or visit SPR Comment features.


Neumann-Goretti wins again, page 36

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JUNE 2, 2011

Frank-ophile A Lower Moyamensing singer yearns to emulate the success of an entertainment legend. By Joseph Myers R e v i e w s ta f f w r i t e r


lthough many teenagers gorge on the goods from the likes of Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, Brandon Tomasello derives his kicks from the output of The Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra. The 19-year-old has begun to evolve his adulation for the legend, completing a 15-track album with 12 tunes his hero popularized. He will test his tones June 8 in an 8 p.m. performance at The Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall. The show will team the native of 11th and Porter streets with students from his See TOMASELLO page 8


Dropoda Kafley ventured to the Growing Home Garden Tuesday afternoon. The impressive area has become a gathering spot for her Nepalese companions and has offered a new definition of refuge to formerly unwanted families. s ta f f p h o t o b y g r e g b e z a n i s

Perennial spirit

Give me liberty A Lower Moyamensing cyclist will make her 11th appearance at a prestigious local race. By Joseph Myers.............Page 35

Two sets of Asian refugees have made an expansive garden the chief source of their solace. By Joseph Myers r e v i e w s ta f f w r i t e r


amaste,” Adam Forbes said often Tuesday afternoon, offering the Sanskrit term for “I bow to you” to ethnic Nepalese as they entered the “Growing Home Garden” on the 700 block of Emily Street.

The salutation’s figurative warmth matched the sun’s literal version as Forbes, a garden manager and community organizer for Center City’s Nationalities Service Center, continued his presence among the eager planters, all Bhutanese refugees, or Lhotshampa. Their five-lot garden, featuring 72 beds, has offered stability over the last three months, easing the acclimatiza-

tion to the United States for them and the Burmese exiles who assist them. Residing on Third to 12th streets from Snyder to Oregon avenues, the 70 families that manage the plots comprise one-tenth of South Philadelphia’s Nepalese and Burmese clans. Though the Burmese hold the See REFUGEES page 12


REFUGEES continued from page 1 majority, only their fellow Asians accompanied Forbes in the horticultural haven. Having lived in Nepal for six months, Forbes easily fraternized with the tenders, using a mix of their language and English in their three-hour gathering. “I have an extremely positive, always evolving relationship with them,” Forbes, a Southwest Philly resident, said of his role as the workers’ main American contact. He has that designation through the efforts of the center, the U.S. federal government and the International Organization for Migration. A 90-year-old nonprofit, the center aims to help individuals to participate fully in American society by offering educational, interpretation, legal, senior and translation services to about 4,000 souls from more than 90 countries annually. The federal government corresponds with the IOM to make resettlement decisions based on foreigners’ homeland situations, analyzing conflicts, wars and the states of refugee camps. The Nepalese and Burmese, all victims of violence and torture, consult the center for help, but the garden serves as their therapeutic thrill. “Many of the people are battling depression, so being able to give the women and the elders a place to hang out was the impetus for starting the garden,” Forbes said. “This brings us together,” Dil Maya Kaflay said of how her more than 100 relatives use the land to strengthen solidarity. The resident of the 900 block of Cantrell Street has spent two years in South Philadelphia, which is the average for her fellow Bhutanese refugees. The Burmese have resided here longer, Forbes said, with many amassing six years. With an agricultural lineage, Kaflay enjoys planting flowers, beans, cauliflower and bitter melon, a favorite among her people. Many newcomers brought seeds from their native lands, but they do not need to rely only on themselves to nourish their bodies and beautify the area. Supplies come via the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s City Harvest Growers Alliance initiative, and donations, fundraisers and grants contribute to their livelihood. “We could use more money, but the only negative I see is having to tell families we do not have enough garden space to accommodate them,” Forbes said. He views the tract as “a stepping stone” for forging additional community support through movie screenings, storytelling sessions and the distribution of a recipe book. “Many families come every day,” he said of their help in making the project a symbol of irrepressible will. “Being here gives them a communal boost.”

HARROWING HISTORIES MARK the lives of most of the local Burmese and Nepalese contingents, with some members having spent as many as 14 years in refugee camps. Burma, Southeast Asia’s second largest country geographically, boasts a population of about 56 million. Its wretched human rights record has resulted in its receiving the world’s second worst score on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. Civil strife dominates, as the country’s ethnic diversity breeds cultural squabbles. Thousands of refugees reside along the country’s border with Thailand, but Philadelphia has assisted the Karen and Chin minorities that constitute the garden’s Burmese contributors. “They are very shy and will often do their work in silence, not taking a break or an offered drink,” Forbes said, adding that the Nepalese population’s outgoing nature keeps the groups from being highly interactive. A landlocked state in South Asia, Bhutan has roughly 700,000 residents. Two decades ago, the Lhotshampa, whose name translates as “southerners” in Dzongkha, the country’s national language, represented nearly half of the population. Speaking Nepali and following Hinduism, they represented diversity within the relatively small country. The Bhutanese government, looking to have only one language and one culture revolving around Buddhism, began to evict the Nepalese, deeming them illegal aliens. As of January, the U.N. Human Rights Council had

The Kamar family, top, expects a fruitful life in the area. Shrijan Kamar, below, offered his help in the garden, making sure the water and the sunlight would help his plot’s progress. Photos by Greg Bezanis

secured living quarters for nearly 35,000 of the Nepalese, who have needed to deal with the pain of having had their previous homes destroyed. Men and children joined the ladies nearly halfway through the congregation. Employment occupies most of the men, and the youngsters pick up education at numerous local schools. “Many men help,” Devi Chamlagai, of the 2300 block of South Marshall Street said as he picked up a packet of bitter gourd seeds. He came to South Philadelphia Feb. 2 and began a job Tuesday night. Excited to be experiencing a new life, he swapped smiles with the children. Narayan Adhikari and his sister Divya arrived after completing their day at Francis Scott Key School, 2230 S. Eighth St., where they improve impressive language skills. “I like to water the plants,” second-grader

Narayan said. “I like the potatoes,” third-grader Divya added. Shrijan Kamar explored every crevice of the garden, showing off the typical enthusiasm of a 6-year-old. He is one of eight residents from three families inhabiting a home on the 700 block of McKean Street where his mother Bishnu Kamar, who has lived in South Philadelphia for a year, following three months in New Hampshire, balances her Nepalese identity with her exposure to American culture. “I love the garden,” she said of planting carrots and lettuce. “I am looking forward to the summer and to seeing everything grow.” SPR Contact Staff Writer Joseph Myers at jmyers@ or ext. 124. Comment at

Win a Gift Certificate, page 4

s o u t h p h i l l y r ev i ew.c o m

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And many more! Kith and kin helped an East Passyunk Crossing resident celebrate her reaching triple digits.

DECEMBER 8, 2011

Ecua ua ado dor’s Fr F an nkl k in Xavi viie err M Molina aQ Qu uel e al prou udl d y recite ed th t e Pled dge ge o off Allegi giian ance ce.. ce He and other erss arre eage gerr to e exper erienc ncce all th hat at b being ng an Amerricca an n invol olve v s. Staff Photo by Greg Bezanis

By Joseph Myers R e v i e w s ta f f w r i t e r


n 1911, the RMS Titanic had yet to make its lone, disastrous voyage; much of Europe, the United States and Japan were three years away from waging World War I; and the world welcomed numerous notable figures, including cartoonist Joseph Barbera, actress Lucille Ball and playwright Tennessee Williams. Philomena Decusatis joined the tiny population of Shenandoah, a town in Schuylkill County, Nov. 30 of that year. To mark her 100th birthday and to celebrate her 71 years of marriage to John Romeo, 67 friends and relatives gathered See ROMEO page 14


Ten little citizens Children from six countries participated in a naturalization ceremony at a Queen Village school of the arts. By Joseph Myers

Counting our stars Three dozen local products are filling college basketball rosters this season. By Joseph Myers.............Page 38

R e v i e w s ta f f w r i t e r


our Sardab has her entire life to anticipate and with the federal government’s assistance, she will experience a vested existence as a U.S. citizen. The 18-month-old Sudan native and nine other youngsters made their debuts as nat-

uralized figures Nov. 30 at Settlement Music School’s Mary Louise Curtis Branch, 416 Queen St. Representing six countries, the children beamed with pride, with Nour, whose name means “light,” delighting her mother, grandfather and others with radiant smiles. The work of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the afternoon ceremony capped National Adoption Month, which

in prior years united five of the honorees with their families, earning the young ones automatic citizenship through the Immigration and Nationality Act. Nour and the others also had obtained instant privilege by being the offspring of parents who became naturalized after stints as permanent residents. The celebration completed the See CITIZENSHIP page 12





Published Weekly Since 1887

Yeshiva University bounces through a weekend in Lower Merion.

Photo by Greg Bezanis



November 17, 2011 20 Cheshvan 5772 Volume 231 Number 7 $1.00

With One Year Down, Museum Takes Inventory



DEBORAH HIRSCH Jewish Exponent Staff

year ago, the National Museum of American Jewish History rolled out the red carpet for politicians, entertainers and mega-donors to fete the highly publicized grand opening of its sleek, four-story glass building overlooking Independence Mall. Last weekend, some of those same donors gathered again for the museum’s annual fundraising gala. This time, there was no comedy routine from Jerry Seinfeld


Edmonton’s Jews claim they can be as close-knit as a shtetl community. Cara Maniloff and other 11th graders from M’kor Shalom Hebrew School in Cherry Hill, N.J., peruse the National Museum of American Jewish History during a group tour last week.


See PAGE 10


Reeling From the Scandal Reuters Photo

Argentine Boxer

An avid supporter of Hillel, Penn State’s Jewish president no longer a player BRYAN SCHWARTZMAN Jewish Exponent Staff

Here’s some help on how to prevent that holiday daze from overeating.

abbi David Ostrich, who leads the lone congregation in State College, Pa., couldn’t bring himself to sermonize last Shabbat on the scandal that’s on everyone’s mind. For one thing, it’s all too raw and too much remains unknown, said the religious leader of Congregation Brit Shalom, a Reform synagogue. Then there’s the fact that one of his congregants happens to be Graham Spanier, whose 16-year tenure at the helm of Penn State University came to an unceremonious end last

Defends Her Title



November 18 4:25 P.M. November 25 4:21 P.M.

Former Penn State President Spanier walking to the field at Beaver Stadium

Carolina Duer is known to many fight fans as The Turk. DIEGO MELAMED Jewish Telegraphic Agency BUENOS AIRES, Argentina

n many ways, Carolina Raquel Duer is a typical middleclass Jewish kid from Buenos Aires. She attended a Jewish day school, spent time working and traveling in Israel and celebrated her Bat Mitzvah at a Conservative synagogue. But when she stepped into the ring Nov. 12 at Club Atletico Lanus, she showcased a set of talents not commonly asso-


See PAGE 8

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You’re Cordially Invited to the Jewish Exponent’s

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Showcase! When: This Sunday!! See Page 28 for details

Chai Five Mitzvah Showcase

✔ote for the Readers’ Choice Awards, page 10

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F E B R UA RY 1 1 , 2 0 1 0

United nations Close to 75 demonstrators showed up outside Bob Brady’s Broad Street office to urge the congressman to support a House Bill on immigration reform. By Lorraine Gennaro R e v i e w S ta f f W r i t e r


hanting in Spanish and carrying banners that read, “This is the only home I and my children know” and “We are not terrorists, we are workers,” close to 75 Latinos and Asians arrived outside Congressman Bob Brady’s office. All ages — including children — from all walks of life had one thing in common: They were immigrants who braved freezing temperatures Feb. 2 to call on Brady to support an immigration bill that would, in part, give them legal status. Fidel de la Luz, a Mexican immigrant See IMMIGRATION page 11


Digging out along the 2600 block of South Watts Street required a full neighborhood effort Monday afternoon as City plows had trouble making it down narrow streets. S ta f f P h o t o b y G r e g B e z a n i s

No end in sight Residents have found ways to cope with what could be the city’s snowiest winter ever.

How ’bout dat

By Amanda L. Snyder

While local football fans were left with an empty feeling once again, the Saints proved to the world the impossible can become a reality.

hile the City has vowed to plow smaller streets after the main roads have been cleared, some residents were not willing to wait. “We need groceries,” Carla Carpenter, of the 2600 block of Juniper Street, said Monday. “I’m handicapped. I can’t carry

By Bill Gelman................Page 37

R e v i e w S ta f f W r i t e r


my bags up the street.” A City plow made its way up Juniper at about midnight Saturday after the first 2 inches of snow fell, but, as of Monday, had not reappeared, she said. “It’s a waste of our money — our taxpayers’ money,” Carpenter said. But Philadelphia hasn’t seen a winter of this magnitude since 1995-96 when a total of 65.5 inches of the white stuff cov-

ered the sidewalks and streets. This past weekend’s accumulation was 28.5 inches, according to the City. About 23.2 inches accumulated during the Dec. 19 and 20 snowstorm that cost the city about $3.5 million, according to Mayor Michael Nutter’s spokeswoman Maura Kennedy. Costs for the recent storm were not all See SNOW page 9

Resident charged in DHS scandal, page 6

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Preserving the past The area’s only Orthodox Jewish synagogue has been ordered by the Department of Licenses and Inspections to make repairs.

AU G U S T 7, 2 0 0 8

Girl’s Club participants Lylan Le, front, and Dalyia Eng worked on masks earlier this week that were used in a lesson about self-perception. S ta f f P h o t o b y Greg Bezanis

By Lorraine Gennaro R e v i e w S ta f f W r i t e r


ooking at the three-story, red-brick edifice with barred windows and a padlocked gate, nobody would know it is a house of worship. Appearances aside, the structure is devoid of any religious markings. Yet at 2015 S. Fourth St. stands the area’s oldest and only remaining Orthodox Jewish synagogue. Founded in 1876, Congregation Shivtei YeshuronHeysiner-Ezras Israel on Fourth at Emily Street is struggling to make it another See SYNAGOGUE page 9


Cross culture

An award from an international company has helped start a summer program at a local library that aims to bring the neighborhood together through art.

Duel personality Local fight choreographer John Bellomo will take a break from duking it out to direct his first play this fall. By Caitlin 15

By Caitlin Meals R e v i e w S ta f f W r i t e r


very Monday and Wednesday, the world comes together at the South Philadelphia branch of the Free Library. Inside, eight young girls can be found working on the latest art project teacher Annie Hagert has given them. This week it was molding plaster masks

the girls would later decorate to reflect what others thought of them. Once the white casts were peeled off their faces, it became easier to distinguish the girls’ different cultures — Filipino, Cambodian, and African American among them. They are representative of their neighborhood, Hagert said, one reason she chose to offer the two-hour summer day camp she’s named Girl’s Club that was made possible

by Avon’s Hello Tomorrow Fund. “It’s hard to convey how lovely it is and how enabling it is,” the 58-year-old said of receiving the $5,000 the beauty company gives out weekly to individuals with an idea that empowers women. “I feel so lucky the money was given to me as an individual. I’m not a foundation. Most are See GIRL’S CLUB page 11

S ta f f p h o t o s b y G r e g B e z a n i s

Charity Johnson interprets sign language at a unique event that raises funds for AIDS services. By Ruth Rovner review contributor


harity Johnson leads a busy life as an interpreter of American Sign Language (ASL). She works full-time at Germantown’s Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and takes on freelance assignments. But this resident of the 1200 block of Shunk Street always finds time for one more volunteer activity — an interpreter for the deaf at Gay Bingo. Despite its name, the evening of fun is open to all. It’s indeed novel when someone calls “bingo!” and drag queens on roller skates glide over to the table to verify the winner. Their nickname BVDs — Bingo Verifying Divas — is in keeping with the campy humor of this popular monthly event at the Gershman Y, Broad and Pine streets. When Johnson attended her first one in 2002, she was a student at Community College of Philadelphia, having heard about the event from a fellow student. Since she was required to observe sign language interpreting in different settings, she decided to attend and watch the two interpreters. “It was overwhelming,” she said. “I’d never seen anything like this.” As they stood in front of the large crowd, the volunteers signed during the 12 games and kept up with the banter that’s part of the evening. For instance, the host — a drag queen —teased an interpreter by asking him to show the audience the sign for something risqué. “I watched all this and I thought, ‘I could never do this,’” she said. continued on next page

A Queen Village actress connects

with neighbors in her familyowned bar and restaurant and can be seen onstage through June 24. By Jess Fuerst Review Contributor


aura Catlaw grew up in the 1980s, but she knows the songs of the ’50s and ’60s hold a distinctive, American sound. “It was iconic, this time in American history,” Catlaw, of Second and South streets, said. “I was always a fan of the music of that time — a little bit of a retrohead.” The 27-year-old will be onstage at the Skybox at the Adrienne Theater belting out tunes from that era until June 24 as Cindy Lou, one of four main characters in the ’50spop-musical “The Marvelous Wonderettes.” The 11th Hour Theatre Co. production follows four high-schoolers as they vie for the title of prom queen, and picks up the story 10 years later in the second act. “Cindy Lou is the self-proclaimed prettiest girl in school and she very much believes that she not only already is prom queen, but that she is entitled to be prom queen. She is probably the girl we all love to hate,” Catlaw said. “And she goes through the biggest change in the 10-year difference from high school.” With songs like “Mr. Sandman” and “Lollipop” for the audience members to tap their feet to, “Wonderettes” is a feel-good walk down memory lane. Though hesitant to admit it, since Catlaw also calls her character a “troublemaker,” the actress and singer personally identifies with her onstage persona. Staff photo by Greg Bezanis

Scenes from the German-American Steuben parade

Above, Ryan Proll and Anika Mahadevan dance up a storm. Below, the parade travels along Frankford Avenue from Rhawn Street to St. Vincent Street.

Members of the Waterloo German Band from Waterloo, Ill., take part in recent festivities. The 42nd annual parade honors the memory of Gen. Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, who helped the American colonies during the Revolutionary War.

Photos by Greg Bezanis

Robert Eppinger of the GTV Almrausch Schuhplattler Group enjoys the day’s celebration.

Layla Fatzinger of the GTV Almrausch Schuhplattler Group steps lively to the music.

Walli Cokl rides in the parade and waves to the crowd.


Local phanatics crowded the intersection of Frankford and Cottman avenues in Mayfair last week to celebrate the Philadelphia Phillies’ second consecutive National League Championship Series pennant.

Here we go again

South Philly


Jess Fuerst talks



Stating their case It’s two championships down and one to go for the Neumann-Goretti boys’ basketball team. The Saints are one of four neighborhood squads involved in this week’s PIAA tournament. By Bill Gelman Review Managing Editor


n past seasons, after the Philadelphia Catholic League crowned its champ, the focus switched to getting ready for baseball and other spring sports. But the 2009 boys’ basketball champions plan on holding on to their uniforms for a few more weeks since the Saints are making their Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association debut in the AAA bracket. The goal is to still be playing March 20 when the winner is determined at Penn State University. It’s the final task on a list of preseason goals. Neumann-Goretti also has the Catholic League Blue regular-season title, and added the District 12 Class AAA City Title with last Saturday’s 80-78 victory over Franklin Learning Center. The match was a lot closer than anticipated, with those including Neumann-Goretti boys’ basketball coach Carl Arrigale. His team opened the fourth quarter trailing for just the second time all year. “I think FLC did a great job,” he said. “I guess to our credit we fought back.” The success has washed away the bad memories from last winter when Neumann-Goretti was knocked out in the first round of the league playoffs. Instead of letting the situation keep them down, the coaching staff and players used it as motivation to prove they were much better than the final outcome had indicated. Now, they’re dribbling to the tune of a 24-2 record and two titles, with a third in striking distance. The coach said his athletes have really been dedicated. “They maintained it and stayed true to each other,” Arrigale said. “It’s nice for them to get their due.” The focus now shifts to the next championship, which requires five more victories. The first challenge is 8 p.m. tomorrow at South Philadelphia High, Broad Street and Snyder Avenue. The top seed in

Neumann-Goretti junior Tony Chennault (right) tallied a team-high 22 points as his team defeated FLC for the Class AAA City Title Saturday. S ta f f P h o t o by Greg Bezanis

South Philadelphia High junior Jamir Hanner (below) and his Rams will attempt to get back on the winning track Saturday afternoon when they open the state tournament against PlymouthWhitemarsh. P h o t o b y R o b To r n e y

District 12 will face an unfamiliar foe in Steelton-Highspire of Dauphin County. The Saints even might take an evening stroll from 10th and Moore streets while the opposition deals with the long ride into town. “We were kind of hoping to have a chance to play there,” Arrigale said of Southern. No matter what happens, this squad has made its mark, but this talented group has aspirations of becoming PIAA Class AAA champions. “Our goal is to be 29-2 in a couple of weeks,” Arrigale said. THE SOUTH PHILADELPHIA High boys’ basketball team is looking to get back on the winning track after a disappointing showing in last weekend’s District 12 Class AAAA title game, where it dropped to Ro-

man Catholic. The 60-48 contest wasn’t as close as the final score indicates. The Rams, who are District 12’s Class AAAA champs, experienced states when they advanced to the quarterfinals in 2008. At 1 p.m. Saturday, this 16-11 squad gets a fresh start against PlymouthWhitemarsh (22-5) at St. Joe’s Prep, 1733 W. Girard Ave. The winner plays again Wednesday night. As the No. 3 seed coming out of PIAA District 12, the Prep Charter boys’ basketball team opened the tournament in Tuesday’s play-in game against Devon Preparatory out of District 1, and won. 75-48. It means the Huskies are back in action 5:30 p.m. Saturday against District 3’s Pequea Valley (16-10) at New Holland’s Garden Spot High. The Prep Charter girls also are making a return trip to states but, unlike previous seasons, coach Paul Reiser doesn’t have to worry about packing up the school van for the long trek into foreign territory. Tomorrow night, they’ll simply head east to Broad and Snyder for a 5:30 contest against Springfield Delco. The 20-7 Lady Huskies are looking to regroup from last weekend’s 55-31 defeat at the hands of Archbishop Carroll in the City Title game. The opposition is 22-3 this season. SPR State tournament schedule March 6 At South Philadelphia High Prep Charter vs. Springfield Delco, 5:30 p.m. Neumann-Goretti vs. Steelton-Highspire, 8 p.m. March 7 At St. Joe’s Prep South Philadelphia High vs. Plymouth-Whitemarsh, 1 p.m. At Garden Spot High Prep Charter vs. Pequea Valley, 5:30 p.m. Contact Managing Editor Bill Gelman at or ext. 123. Comment at

Sports continued from previous page ter, too, finishing the time by discussing wishes to spend a bit of time shopping. With plans to conduct a 10-day tour of the United States and Canada next year, the Wolfhounds could become as adept at scoring discounts as they are at scoring points. To the chagrin of Niu, the travelers totaled enough tries to end his bunch’s fourmatch series winning streak. His Tomahawks also practiced at FDR and the super site, using the latter four hours after the Wolfhounds. Like the opponent’s roster, the national team’s personnel consists of amateurs with non-sporting occupations. A former Tomahawk, Niu has considerable international experience, testing his might in Australia, France and the United Kingdom. In ’99, he helped the United States Eagles rugby union team to qualify for the Rugby World Cup and became the American National Rugby League’s first president two years later. The Eagles will make their sixth appearance in the Rugby World Cup this summer in New Zealand, and Niu is eager to have the Tomahawks earn their initial Rugby League World Cup slot. “The players are excited to have the opportunity to play against a national team ranked above us,” Niu said Friday after the teams held a press conference at Paddy Whacks, 150 South St. He renamed the contest the Donnybrook Cup in honor of the Irish district that hosted a fair with a well-known history of brawls. The first two matches occurred on St. Patrick’s Day in ’95 and ’96, making the


The men’s league based at Ninth and Federal streets is seeking teams for its upcoming season. Call Charlie, 267-7847599. The co-ed softball league is also looking for teams. Contact Danny, 215881-5960.

D.V.Y.A.A. Spring Baseball

Delaware Valley Youth Athletic Association is accepting registrations for its spring baseball season 6:30 to 8 weeknights and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at Barry Playground, 18th and Johnston streets. Age groups are: 5 to 7; 8 to 9; 10 to 12; and 13 to 15. Call 215-468-1265.


E.O.M., 138 Moore St., baseball registration is taking place 7 p.m. Thursdays. The age divisions are: 7 to 9; 8 to 10; 12-under; 13-and-under; 13 to 15; and 14-under girls’ softball. E-mail,

This tackle was one of many the Americans dished out to one another Thursday. Despite the loss to Ireland, they are poised to make an international name for themselves later this year. S ta f f P h o t o b y G r e g B e z a n i s

original name, the St. Patrick’s Day Challenge, flawlessly apt. The televised events resulted in Irish victories and preceded the creation of Niu’s 11-team league, a grouping that includes the Conshohocken-based Philadelphia Fight. Under the Rugby League Interna-

tional Federation’s leadership, the American National Rugby League has the task of developing the sport in the United States, Games like Saturday’s make Niu confident his obsession soon will provide what it needs to blossom in this country, awareness and access.


Class AAA ladies bracket as a result of Saturday’s 63-40 quarterfinal victory over Oley Valley. The Lady Huskies are the first-ever Public League girls’ basketball team to advance to the state semifinals. Last night’s contest against Catholic League champion Archbishop Wood started after press time. It was a rematch of the Class AAA City title in which Wood was victorious, 44-34.

The South Philadelphia mixed softball league is looking for teams to participate this season. Games are played Mondays through Fridays at F.D.R. Park, Broad Street and Pattison Avenue. League begins April 26. Call Vince Vitola, 267-254-4201 or 215-200-2779.


The Philly Girls Got Game spring clinic for ages 8 to 13 is taking place 10 a.m. to noon April 10 at Neumann-Goretti High School, 1736 S. 10th St. Participants will learn drills and skills from Philadelphia’s Division I college coaches and teams. Visit to register.


The Neumann-Goretti boys’ basketball team is one win away from defending its PIAA Class AAA state title as a result of Tuesday’s victory over Lancaster Catholic. The Prep Charter girls’ basketball team advanced to the final four of the


Murphy Rec Center, Fourth and Shunk streets, is hosting flag rugby for sixth- to eighth-grade boys and girls ages 12 to 14. All teams will be invited to attend and wear their uniforms to the USA Collegiate Sevens Rugby Championship at Chester’s PPL Park. Call 215-685-1874.


Registration is being accepted for Tball, baseball and girls’ softball. The season begins April 16. The baseball age divisions are: 4 to 6; 7 to 8; 8 to 10 and

“With those, rugby could emulate soccer and lacrosse,” he said of two sports that have altered America’s former sports monotony. A solid crowd watched the Tomahawks’ latest endeavor to promote the game. Unfortunately for the hosts but fortunately for Irish admirers, the Wolfhounds led throughout, emerging with a five-to-one edge in tries and a three-to-one advantage in goals. Three turnovers doomed the Americans, but the effort pleased Niu. “I’m disappointed in the result, but I’m not disappointed in the process,” he said. Each team’s deep cultural history makes Niu deem the Irish a major rival. Meeting the Irish next year remains a possibility, as does an across-the-ocean tilt with the Irish lads. Only the winner of the Atlantic qualifying group consisting of the United States, 23rd-ranked South Africa and 24th-ranked Jamaica will advance to the full tournament. This summer will feature a homeand-home series against 39th-ranked Canada. Niu and Wood have discussed having Philadelphia as the site for the October qualification stage. The second half of the year will also bring the first games for the United States of America Rugby League, a 16-team formation that will take rugby out West. “Americans are becoming more receptive,” Niu said. “With more awareness and access, rugby could be a force in the States.” SPR Contact Staff Writer Joseph Myers at jmyers@ or ext. 124. Comment at

10 to 12; 13 to 15 and 16 to 19. The ages for girls’ softball 10 to 12 and 12 to 14. Register at the SEYAA sports complex, Seventh and Bigler streets, 6 to 8 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Visit www.seyaa. com, call 215-463-8802 or e-mail


The South Philadelphia Hurricanes youth football program is looking for football/cheer coaches for the upcoming Pop Warner season. Call coach Terry Bennett, 215-439-7653.


Sabres’ baseball and softball registration is taking place 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through March at Shot Tower Rec Center, Front and Carpenter streets. Age divisions for baseball are: 4 to 6; 7 to 8; 13U; 13-15 and 16-19. Softball divisions are 10 to 13 and 16 and up. Teams also are welcome. Season begins April 9. SPR —By Bill Gelman and Joseph Myers

South Philly


Joseph Myers talks


It dozen get any better Two huge wins last week put an East Passyunk school atop its division. By Joseph Myers R e v i e w s ta f f w r i t e r

the resident of the 2600 block of South Iseminger Street said. “Enjoy them.”

FOR MOST OF his tenure, the Saints have relished every f the baseball players at Ss. Neumann-Goretti High day. The 2009 squad captured the school’s first baseball School, 1736 S. 10th St., ever grow tired of wearing title since 1960 and advanced to the PIAA Class AAA cleats, their institution’s track and field team would semifinals. Poised to match its Catholic League success surely offer them a chance to don different footwear. Seekand top its state run, last year’s unit started 17-1, proving ing to win their second Catholic League championship in this year’s hot start is not an anomaly. three years, the East Passyunk athletes have made jaunts to Dropping a Catholic League semifinal to Drexel Hill’s home plate constants this season. The offensive juggernauts Monsignor Bonner prevented an opportunity to defend ’09’s showed Wyncote’s Bishop McDevitt no mercy last week, crown and kept the Saints from the state playoffs. It also ended taking two games by identical 12-0 scores. the careers of standouts Al Baur, Mark Donato and Michael The second annihilation came April 14 at McNichol Riverso, players Spadaccini coached for nearly a decade. Field, 26th and Moore streets, and displayed the prized “I had guys asking us how we would be,” the coach said combination of patient hitting and stellar pitching that after the McDevitt massacre. “Hitters like those we lost could produce another incredible run for coach Lou don’t come around very often, but we’ve been tough outs Spadaccini’s gang. Entering undefeated through five this year. Their patience at the plate gives me full configames, including four league triumphs, the Saints dedence in the offense.” termined to couple the day’s fantastic weather with a Spadaccini has never had to dwell on how at ease he feels ruthless performance. They pounded the host Lancers with the pitching. The Saints opened March 25 with a 9-6 April 11, erupting for 14 hits while yielding only one. win over Springfield High. Including last Thursday’s The game lasted just five innings as a result of the 10-run shutout, they yielded only four runs in five games. mercy rule. “Our pitching has been beyond solid. We have one Six different visitors each stroked a double in the win. A of the best pitchers in the state in Joey Gorman,” he new location, however, could not produce a more favorable said of his junior southpaw who last year earned Secresult for the Montgomery County group, as the Saints proved ond Team All-Catholic honors and who helped to onegeography cannot quell their potency. hit the Lancers April 11. Despite a pair of two-out errors in the top of the first inJaep, Kinee, Resnick and sophomore right-hander John ning, junior right-handed hurler Joe Jaep escaped trouble. Lamotta collectively work as the team’s second starter. Had any run crossed in the frame, the Saints would have Coupled with capable defense, they have frustrated foes entered unfamiliar territory, as they trailed for only and make their leader feel this year’s bunch has a better one-and-a-half innings in their first five contests. With team concept than last year’s. 43 runs for versus only 10 against in that quintet, the “This team is a bunch of goofballs, but it has talented swingers took their first cuts, or at least tried great leadership, especially from the seniors,” Spato do so. Each Saint had a song to greet him upon stepping With Monday’s 8-4 non-league win over Germantown Academy, daccini said. Zolk leads that group. The Northeast Philadelphia to the plate. If the team had a collective tune, Aeros- Joey Gorman, front, Mike “Zoom” Zolk, middle, and Josh Ockimey, resident continued his torrid start with three hits and mith’s “Walk This Way” would be the choice, as Spaback, have the Saints off to a 7-0 start. as many runs in the second McDevitt meeting. He bedaccini’s hitters became walkers, working four free Staff Photos By Greg Bezanis gan the season batting third but moved to the leadoff passes in their 10-batter turn. spot after two games. Senior second baseman Mike “Zoom” Zolk, who the Three more runs offered the Saints extra cushioning, with “I love it,” he said of leading the offense. next day signed his National Letter of Intent to play for the Zolk, Kerrigan and junior shortstop Marty Venafro earnThough opponents pay him serious attention, Zolk foUniversity of North Carolina, began by smacking a single. ing high-fives. Kinee bookended a strikeout with two cuses on team rather than personal achievements. He and his quartet of ambulatory mates, junior Jimmy Ker- groundouts in the fourth, sending the Saints to the dish “Individual success comes as a bonus to winning,” he said. rigan, junior left fielder Mario DiFebbo, senior designatBatting seventh, Ockimey relies on a selective eye to allevifor what would be, for McDevitt’s sake, their last swings. ed hitter Dom Riverso and junior catcher Nicky Nardini Senior right fielder John Snyder and Zolk singled, scoring ate any pressure at the plate. all scored, with the last two reaching the bench thanks to “I have a little pressure, but I will grow out of it,” the freshman first baseman Josh Ockimey’s two-run single. on similar knocks from Kerrigan and Venafro. Southwest Philadelphia dweller said. With thoughts of seizing a chance to end early, SpadacThrough only two hits, the home team built a 5-0 lead. With aspirations to move up to fourth in the lineup, OcThe Saints added two runs in the second, as an error, a cini sent in left-hander Elijah Resnick to hurl his explosive kimey should give Spadaccini a potent bat for four years. single by Riverso and three more walks increased McDe- fastballs. The spectacled addition from the now-closed “Our winning concept hasn’t changed,” the coach said. vitt’s misery. They could have had the guests looking North Catholic High School permitted two base runners “Our train keeps moving no matter who’s aboard.” SPR but struck out the side. The mercy rule kept the opposition more urgently for their bus, leaving the bases loaded. Jaep deferred to another Joe, sophomore righty Joe Ki- from having to flail at further offerings, with the triumph Contact Staff Writer Joseph Myers at jmyers@southphillyreview. nee, to begin the third. A quick four-batter frame gave leading Spadaccini to give his guys two days off. com or ext. 124. Comment at “These are your final days off for the rest of the season,” features. Kinee’s supporting cast more chances to be inhospitable.


Tear Sheets  
Tear Sheets  

A recent selection of Gregory Bezanis' published work.