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WEEK FEBRUARY 15, 2017 VOL. 14 NO. 07

CARING ABOUT CAREGIVERS Lutheran Settlement House’s CARES offers counseling and mentoring programs to Caregivers. 10

WATERFRONT NEWS DRWC Board announces Tom Corcoran’s retirement and appointment of next president. 11

CLEAN PLATE Recipe for Cheesecake. 9

BALDSPOT Spirit's own weekly games and comics. 16



he conflict between Israel and Palestine has been going on for longer than many of us have been alive. To explain the conflict in simple terms, many Palestinians believe the Israelis are unjust occupiers of their homeland, while many Israelis view Palestinians as terrorists. There have been flashpoints of violence, as well as moments where peace almost seemed attainable, yet to this day the conflict continues. The issue of Israeli settlements in disputed regions of the West Bank is once again making headlines and has drawn a response from the Pres-

ident. According to a recent New York Times article, the Israeli government approved construction of new settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Following Israel's announcement, the White House issued a statement claiming these actions “may not be helpful in achieving” peace. Even the United Nations issued a statement, saying that these settlements have "no legal validity, constituting a flagrant violation under inContinued on Page 4.

Seven day forecast for the Riverwards. 3

COMMUNITY CALENDAR Local events, meetings and more. 12-13




n Thursday, February 23th, in conjunction with Prevention Point Philadelphia and Clean and Sober Radio, Rep. John Taylor of the 177th District will be hosting a meeting that will provide training on how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose by utilizing the newly introduced opioid response drug Narcan. The meeting is being held on the second floor of St. Anne’s Social Hall (2328 E. Lehigh Ave.) and will run from 6-8PM. Narcan (naloxone) is an opiate antidote. Opioids include heroin and pre-

scription pain pills like morphine, codeine, oxycodone, methadone and Vicodin. When a person is overdosing on an opioid, breathing can slow down or stop. Narcan is a medicine that blocks the effects of opioids and reverses an overdose. According to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, opioid-related deaths in Philadelphia have spiked in recent years. For example, Continued on Page 6.

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The Spirit of the Riverwards – February 15, 2017 THE

local lens BY THOM NICKELS


his has been the season of unsettling city news items. There was Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell’s introduction of a bill that would have made it mandatory for city residents to get a letter of support from their district councilperson before putting flowers or potted plants on the sidewalk in front of their own homes. Talk about House and Garden floral Marxism! This news struck me as so strange that for a minute I wondered what Ms. Blackwell had been smoking. I even thought of Pedro Almodovar’s 1988 Spanish black comedy-drama film, "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown", and wondered if the venerable councilwoman had had a breakdown. Also included in Blackwell’s bill was a clause stating that businesses, notably restaurants, had to get permission before expanding their bevy of café tables and planters on city sidewalks. This section of the bill didn’t seem so strange to me since navigating Center City sidewalks in warm weather can often be a precarious experience, with pedestrians bumping into restaurant wait staff or tripping over café table legs. It was Blackwell’s focus on residential flower pots, however, that got so many city rowhouse dwellers up in arms. Much like Mayor Kenney’s soda tax, the proposed flowerpot rule seemed to stretch into "Twilight Zone" absurdity. Just another notch on a big tree called the Nanny State. The situation got me thinking about the mood swings a city councilperson must experience when the thrill of the job begins to wane. When someone is first elected to City Council it must be a terrific feeling to know that you are about to become an integral part of City Hall. Imagine the rush new council members must experience when they realize that they are going to represent constituents and be taken so seriously that every word they utter will probably be quoted in the local press. Add to this the excitement of photo ops, assorted professional and personal perks and guest-of-honor speaking engagements at swank luncheons and dinners, and you have a pretty nice life. Over time, of course, all those City Council perks and privileges would probably become routine. After so many years they may even become mundane. Drifting in placid seas is even boring for sailors, so it’s not surprising that every now and then a city councilperson will come up with an outrageous suggestion just to show the public that they have not fallen asleep on the job. Jannie Blackwell chose flowerpots to get city residents to notice her again but her bill was shot down like an ill-designed drone wobbling in the air over Manayunk. When Blackwell withdrew her bill she artfully segued out of major embarrassment by stating that her original intention was to put a hold on the proliferation of bike racks that have been swallowing up city sidewalks. Blackwell’s bill was put on hold, and she has since said that the bill's language was written to broadly. Blackwell told PlanPhilly that the bill should have only been targeted towards commercial properties. It is unclear whether the bill will be reintroduced. In other city news, it was reported that the city’s Director of LGBT Affairs, Helen “Nellie” Fitzpatrick, would resign sometime in the coming months. While I’ve never met Ms. Fitzpatrick, she seemed like a thoroughly earnest person intent on doing the best job possible, but in the end pleasing all the people all the time just isn’t humanly possible. Fitzpatrick has been around since 2014 when she was appointed to the post by then Mayor Michael Nutter. Given the strict progressive political tenor of this town, Fitzpatrick seemed to be a sensible choice. Her progressive credentials were so stellar it was a shock when she came under fire from those in her own political camp. And it all had to do with a bar called ICandy. ICandy, a gay bar in Center City, has never had a good reputation. It is a bar that caters to a very young party crowd. It’s the sort of bar where over 40 patrons are ignored as if they were wearing a cologne called Invisible. ICandy used to be called Equus in the 1980s and at that time it was con-

sidered to be one of the city’s major musical hotspots. Maureen McGovern of Superman fame appeared there for several nights in a row. Decades before that, sometime in the 1910s or earlier, it housed an illegal, newsmaking abortion clinic. One can almost say that the ground on which ICandy stands is both blessed and cursed. The story goes that ICandy’s owner was secretly taped using the N-word during a private conversation. There were also allegations that the bar was turning away people who broke the dress code by wearing sweatpants and dirty Timberland boots. The unfortunate N-word tape was actually three years old when it resurfaced and was recycled into the public arena. The bar owner issued a public apology for his use of the N-word but some activists claimed that his apology was insincere and called for boycotts and on-site demonstrations demanding that ICandy close down or get out of town. Apparently forgiveness does not come easily for many political activists. This is not to disparage the validity of their cause but with that said it is also true that the bar owner might as well have raised his middle finger and said that he stands by the word he used on the tape because his apology did no good. In fact, I even think his apology caused a greater ruckus and more calls for boycotts. How is it that even in the worst fundamentalist religions one can be forgiven for the worst transgressions and then go on to “a life after sin”? Why is this kind of mercy nonexistent in the political activist realm? When mob mentality triumphs, there comes a need for a sacrificial lamb or scapegoat, so activists blamed Nellie Fitzpatrick for not doing enough to stem the shadow of “racism” in the Gayborhood. Obviously they were blaming her for not doing something about the dirty sweats and Timbs dress code. She should have been prescient enough to know that something shady was going on in ICandy. Mayor Kenney, to his credit, jumped into the fray and defended Fitzpatrick, saying that “the attacks against her are misplaced.” As Jacques Mallet du Pan once wrote, “Like Saturn, the Revolution devours its children.” In yet another news item, we saw newly inducted Philadelphia Councilwoman-at-Large Helen Gym take to the streets and join a die-in protesting President Trump’s immigration and refugee policies when Republican lawmakers spent the day in Philadelphia. Now, I have to hand it to Gym. She has extreme national aspirations and she’s a PR genius. I’d even say that she’s aiming for the cover of Newsweek or Time and that she’ll stop at nothing to make sure that the ‘gymnastics’ implied in her last name catapults her into being Philadelphia’s first female mayor. (When she becomes mayor, Jannie Blackwell’s flowerpot bill will resurface). Helen Gym’s first political protest photo op occurred when she attacked the Wheely Wheely Good University City food truck as being racist because ‘wheel wheely’ sounds like what a thickly accented Chinese immigrant might sound like when they use the word ‘really.’ The Chinese co-owner of the truck was taken aback at Gym’s charge, and told Philadelphia Magazine that “she approached our truck while we were working and started to argue with my partner and me. She told us, ‘Your truck’s


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name is super racist.’ She used those words.” Gym also criticized the Asian caricatures on the truck and the typeface used in the design. In 2016, Gym was adamant about instituting a parking tax to help pay for the schools. "Parking lots don't move, they're ugly, and we should tax them more," she said. That’s right, let’s tax the immovable and the ugly. •

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The Spirit of the Riverwards – February 15, 2017 S E V E N D AY F O R E C A S T F O R T H E R I V E R WA R D S



ast week finally brought some exciting weather back to the City. Our storm underperformed but at least we saw a general 2”-5” of snow, depending on where you live. This winter, for winter lovers like myself, has been terrible. Right now we are over five degrees above normal for the month of February and have received only eight inches of snow officially in Philadelphia for the entire winter. It’s been nothing but a dud and that will continue! This week we have a cool shot to deal with up front before spring-like weather takes over. Winter returns with a vengeance to the Pacific Northwest which means the warm southern breezes will be on this side of the U.S. This warm pattern looks to extend through the end of the month.

A return to cooler weather is set up for the beginning of March, but by then winter is just about toast. Overall, what you see is what you get this winter - brief spouts of cold and snow but otherwise very mild and rainy. With that being said, March is a whacky month so anything is possible, including big snowstorms. Wednesday is brisk and chilly with clouds; there could be some light rain at the shore and other areas south of the city. Thursday is a cold and windy day as an intensifying storm over Maine rips cold air down from Canada right on top of us. It will be the coldest day of the week. Friday is a day with plenty of sunshine but it will still be on the chilly side.

Saturday and Sunday are going to be great days! Warmth surges in from the west as our winds turn up from the south allowing milder air to settle in. Temperatures will be in the 50s on Saturday and the 60s on Sunday. Clouds increase on Sunday but it should remain dry. Monday is also a nice day but with some clouds and temperatures hanging out in the 50s. Rain looks to stay away for now. Tuesday continues what will amount to be a beautiful stretch of weather. Temperatures won’t even come close to winter-like. Eventually rain will arrive to kill this winning streak, but until then, go out and enjoy it! •


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The Spirit of the Riverwards – February 15, 2017

Continued from Page 1.

Rami Ibrahim/Ptah Gabrie

Rami Ibrahim outisde of his martial arts school./Ptah Gabrie Philadelphia,” Ibrahim said. Ibrahim says he had trouble adjusting to life in Kensington at first. “I was constantly getting into fights because I didn’t speak English very well,” Ibrahim said. “It was obvious that I wasn’t American.” Ibrahim’s family decided to enroll him in a martial arts school to keep him off the streets and learn how to defend himself. “I started having better days and less problems because I was away from those kids,” Ibrahim said. “My problems were now only in school.” As he learned to defend himself, Ibrahim became more confident and the schoolyard conflicts became less frequent. “My brother told me, 'you have six months to learn how to defend yourself. After six months if anybody puts their hand on you, and you don’t break their hand, I’m gonna break your hand,'” he said. “I took him seriously.” While he was fortunate to not have any conflicts during that six-month period, Ibrahim was eventually jumped by three neighborhood kids. Things didn’t end well for them. “Within a minute, they were all laid out on the floor,” Ibrahim recalled. As Ibrahim continued his training, the kids in school and the neighborhood stopped picking on him. But as self-defense ended conflicts that Ibrahim encountered at school and on the streets, he says that his parents shielded him from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that was still ongoing back in the Middle East. “I was oblivious to that stuff. In my mind, we were all one,” Ibrahim said. As Ibrahim’s fighting career was starting to take off, he also began to question who he was and why there was conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. “The more I started fighting, the more I started seeing things that made me question who I am,” Ibrahim said. Once he started fighting and winning, he became aware of how he was perceived by Americans. Ibrahim recalls one fight he had in the mid-1990s around the time of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination. According to Ibrahim, he was fighting in a hotel, which was also hosting an Israeli event. It also just so happened that the person Ibrahim was set to fight was Jewish. Ibrahim won that fight, but says that many people in the audience were heated because it was still unclear whether or not it was an Islamic fundamentalist who had killed Rabin. In the end, the assassin was proven to be a radical conservative Israeli named Yigal Amir. Ibrahim was somewhat unclear about why his fight was stirring people’s emotions. “[My Jewish opponent] was a nice kid,” Ibrahim said. “Me and him were cool with each other before and after, but the people [at the fight] got really mad. When that happened, that’s what lit a fire in me to want to know why they don’t like Palestinians.” Ibrahim began researching the conflict in order to get

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a better understanding about both sides of the conflict. “When you research you find things that are biased and you find things that you have to find your own truth,” Ibrahim said. “There’s his side, your side and the true side.” Ibrahim became more active in the Palestinian cause and began attending protests. A few of these demonstrations garnered the attention of the press. “In 2000, they took a picture of me and put it on the cover of the Daily News,” Ibrahim said. “I was shouting. I looked like I was an angry kid and I had the [Palestinian] flag on me. I forget the headline, but it wasn’t very good.” This was all occurring during the Second Palestinian Intifada, which was the second Palestinian uprising against Israel and a period of intensified Israeli-Palestinian violence. The increased tension in the Middle East was seen around the world and Palestinian activists like Ibrahim were sometimes cast in a negative light. Ibrahim believes his activism and that Daily News cover photo began to negatively affect his life. “It turned out to be really bad for me,” Ibrahim said. The photo was published during his senior year at Northeast High School. While Ibrahim’s status as captain of the wrestling team allowed him to foster positive relationships with many teachers at Northeast, including Jewish ones, he says he still faced some discrimination. One teacher in particular treated Ibrahim very differently. “He was pro-Israel and he had his mind made up,” Ibrahim said. “He didn’t like me.” “I brought an orange [into school when I was cutting weight for wrestling] and I had a little kitchen knife [to peel it],” Ibrahim said. “[The teacher] saw me in the hallway cutting a piece of orange. He pulled me to the side and said, ‘What are you doing?’” Ibrahim says the teacher threatened to take the young wrestler to the police, so Ibrahim ran and hid in the library before being arrested by the school police. According to Ibrahim, that teacher fought to get him expelled from the Philadelphia School District. Ibrahim says the principal and the wrestling coach fought to get him back into school. He was also fortunate that the judge who heard his case was involved with martial arts, knew Ibrahim, and knew the type of kid he was. Ibrahim was allowed to re-enter the school under the condition that he write a letter of apology to his parents. Ibrahim’s career as a fighter really began to take off after high school. He was winning fights and soon found himself fighting for a United States Championship. That championship fight took place after September 11, 2001. Ibrahim says that during that fight, some in the audience made personal remarks to him about his ethnicity. Continued on Page 5.


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ternational law and a major obstacle to the vision of two States living side by side in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders." International conflicts like these often lead to refugee crises and humanitarian issues. Since the late 60s, many Palestinian families have sought out Kensington as their new home. One Palestinian who came to Kensington went on to become one of the greatest American mixed martial artists of all time. Rami Ibrahim is a master of mixed martial arts with a passion for Muay Thai, a form of kickboxing created in Thailand. He’s earned two nicknames, “The Arabian Nightmare” and “The Son of Palestine”, throughout his storied career. Ibrahim says that his life was shaped by his experiences in the Middle East and in America, especially Kensington. The list of championships Ibrahim has won includes the Philadelphia Kickboxing Championship, the World Kickboxing Association’s (WKA) United States Muay Thai Championship, the United States Kickboxing Association’s (USKBA) International Muay Thai Championship, the Philadelphia All-Public Wrestling Championship, the Philadelphia Golden Glove Boxing Championship and the Philadelphia Diamond Belt Boxing Championship. In 2011, Ibrahim was ranked number one in the nation. He currently runs Sitan Gym at Five Points in Northeast Philadelphia where he teaches kids mixed martial arts and discipline. Spirit News caught up with Ibrahim during one of his classes, where he shared what it was like to be Palestinian growing up in Kensington. Before Ibrahim was winning championships and teaching kids, his family was living in the Middle East. He was born in Kuwait in 1982, but because his parents were both born in Palestine in 1942, Ibrahim was not considered a citizen of Kuwait. “I was born there,” Ibrahim said, “but because my parents were Palestinian, they won’t give me a Kuwaiti passport.” According to Ibrahim, Palestinian children are vulnerable to being kidnapped and sold on the black market. He told us that he was kidnapped at the age of four in Kuwait. “I remember two men dressed in long white overgarments. I remember smiling at them and laughing. They just picked me up and started running,” Ibrahim said. “My mom came out screaming, but it was too late. They had me in this big factory. They put me in a back small room. Right before they were going to do the sale to sell me I remember my father and a couple of SWAT-looking men busted in. They ended up beating the people. Luckily if it wasn’t for my dad getting me that day, I would be gone.” Ibrahim says he lived in Kuwait until about a week before the first Gulf War. After the Iraqi army invaded Kuwait, what was supposed to be a vacation to America for Ibrahim and two of his six brothers turned into a life-changing experience. “When the war started, things turned out to be really bad, so we had to start a new life here,” Ibrahim said. “Having lost everything, we had to start from scratch.” Ibrahim was stuck in America while Saddam Hussein's army invaded his homeland. Ibrahim’s father was able to leave Kuwait shortly after the invasion and was reunited with his family in the States. According to Ibrahim, his father’s job at the airport allowed them to live comfortable lives in Kuwait, but moving to America made their lives drastically different. “My father went from dealing with the king and princes in Kuwait to [living] in a really bad neighborhood in North

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The Spirit of the Riverwards – February 15, 2017 Continued from Page 4. “The place was so loud. When I walked into the ring, [people in the audience] kept screaming, ‘Go back to Iraq,’” Ibrahim said. “I’m not even from Iraq. I don’t know nothing about Iraq. I have no family from Iraq. That’s like me telling you to go back to China.” Ibrahim added: “[Iraq] made me lose my house. My family lost their wealth. Do you know how hurtful that was? I wasn’t angry. I was sad, I was hurt.” Around this same time, Ibrahim was trying to become an American citizen. “My two older brothers and I were supposed to get our citizenships,” Ibrahim said. “All we had to do was go to the Naturalization Oath Ceremony, that was all we had to do.” According to Ibrahim, his Naturalization Oath was supposed to be on a Thursday, but he received a letter a few days beforehand from Homeland Security. “Homeland Security sent me a handwritten letter telling me that my citizenship would be declined until they did more investigating,” Ibrahim said. Ibrahim says his other two brothers were granted their citizenship and that he was the only one in his family of eight people who Homeland Security denied citizenship to. Ibrahim went on to fight the ruling in court. Ibrahim says his father hired a lawyer to look into how his citizenship application could be denied. “[The lawyer] invited my dad into his office and threw a file at him,” Ibrahim said. According to Ibrahim, the file contained pictures of him at protests, things he had written online and other evidence pointing to a larger investigation by Homeland Security. “As soon as [my father] got back home, he took these shorts I had just gotten, my fighting shorts with the Palestinian flag on them. He took them and he burned them,” Ibrahim said. “He told me, ‘You’re never going to wear anything with Palestine on them. You’re never gonna talk about Palestine. You’re never gonna say you’re Arab, Muslim or anything.’” Ibrahim didn’t understand why his father was so upset since they were living in a section of Kensington with a large Palestinian population. However, Ibrahim reluctantly agreed with his father. While he agreed to tone down his pro-Palestine image, Ibrahim was confused about why he was being viewed as anything other than a person who wanted to be a positive part of American society. “In my opinion, I’ve been fighting in this country, representing this country,” Ibrahim said. “I’ve been an American champion longer than any other American champion. This is a fact. I’ve defended my American title more than any other American fighter, so why am I being attacked?” Ibrahim says he felt pressure from most of his family to stop fighting, but he believes his skills as a champion fighter were given to him by a higher power. “I feel like God gave me a position to be a fighter and put me in the public eye. Since I am in the public eye, I want to do good with it and bring awareness to my people,” Ibrahim said. “For me, it’s right versus wrong.” Ibrahim says when he first came to Kensington, he was one of the only Palestinians in the neighborhood. He says it took a while for the Palestinian community to feel safe in Philadelphia and now wonders what’s next for Muslims in America. “I feel like we’re beginning to go back to where we started,” Ibrahim said. Ibrahim believes there are people out there who feel animosity toward people of Arab descent, specifically pointing to the incident when a pig’s head was thrown onto the steps of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Germantown Avenue last year. While he believes things will get much worse before they get better, Ibrahim tries to teach people to look beneath the surface and research whatever it is you are pas-

Rami Ibrahim instructs his class in Northeast Philadelphia./Ptah Gabrie sionate about. For Ibrahim, life must be approached in the same way a fighter approaches an opponent. “I look at life the way I look at fighting in the ring. If you go into a conflict you’ve got to take it like a fighter takes a fight in the ring,” Ibrahim said. “A smart fighter, when he has a fight, researches his opponent. That type of mentality, you need to take with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Find out about us. Do your research, and get to know us and then make your judgement.” Despite warnings from his family, Ibrahim continues to be vocal about the conflict and speak his mind. “If we don’t stand up and talk about what’s going on, then we’re okay with what’s going on.” That doesn’t just go for non-Muslims — he believes ISIS is an enemy of America and for him not to condemn the terrorist group would only make his opponents here stronger. “I don’t believe these are true Muslims,” Ibrahim said. “Who is victimized most by ISIS? Other Muslim people. When we as Americans don’t stand up for Palestinians, or any other people that are oppressed, then we are okay with it.” Ibrahim eventually received his citizenship in December 2008, a full 18 years after he moved to America. Ibrahim’s parents forbade him from visiting Palestine even though they were both born there. Getting his citizenship gave him a chance for him to finally see his homeland without fear of not being able to return to America. “The moment that I got my passport, that same week, I booked a flight to Palestine to finally be able to go visit that land that I had

been protesting and speaking for.” After seeing the destruction caused by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict firsthand, Ibrahim is grateful that he was able to escape the violence and live in America. For Ibrahim, everyone should accept that we all have common ancestry and be respectful to each other as if we were family. “We all come back to Abraham. In reality, all of us — Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists —we all come back to the one Adam, the first human being. We’re all related, we all have the same blood, we all have the same race and that race is humanity.” •


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The Spirit of the Riverwards – February 15, 2017

Continued from Page 1. there were nearly 700 such deaths in 2015, which is double the rate of deaths by homicide in the same year. “Opioid addiction is a well documented, widespread public health crisis, and narcotics overdose is on the rise not just on the streets of neighborhoods most hard hit by addiction, but unfortunately in schools and homes,” Rep. Taylor told Spirit News. “Knowing how to access and administer Narcan to someone who is overdosing could potentially save the life of a stranger, but more and more frequently, save the life of a loved one.” Rep. Taylor is an advocate of the use of Narcan in combatting the ongoing struggle against opioid addiction and overdose. The growing opioid problem in the area has resulted in policies surrounding the issue being of top priority. “Opioid addiction is, sadly, an epidemic that does not discriminate upon who it inflicts. In the past few years, I have started a series of events called a ‘Path to Recovery’, whereupon we bring together all of the available resources for those in the throes of addiction, as well as the family members affected by substance dependency,” Rep. Taylor said. He added: “In addition, we in the House of Representatives are attempting to find and implement ways to reach our youth to keep them from drug use, as well as researching ways to bring down demand. This struggle is constant, and we have to remain vigilant in our efforts as the cost for losing this battle is human life.” As of February 2015, Narcan was introduced to law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS personnel in Philadelphia to administer in case of overdose emergencies. Since its introduction, Narcan has saved the lives of more than 2,300 people in Pennsylvania who have suffered an opiate overdose, which proves the effectiveness of this drug in fighting addiction. “The City of Philadelphia began dispensing Narcan to the police in February of 2015, and we have already seen a reduction in overdose deaths within the City of Philadelphia and the neighboring suburbs,” Rep Taylor said. Currently, only 15 percent of police vehicles are commissioned to carry a supply of Narcan with them on patrol.

State Rep. John Taylor However, Governor Tom Wolf of Philadelphia has included in his budget a $10 million proposal that would equip first responders with Narcan and would dramatically raise the number of police that are able to carry the drug with them while on patrol. Narcan is universally respected and is seen by many as a step in the right direction in dealing with and combating opioid addiction. “I have found that this is not a Republican or Democrat solution. This [Narcan] is a necessary tool to save lives,” Rep. Taylor told Spirit News. The meeting being held by Rep. Taylor at St. Anne’s Social Hall offers an opportunity to gain more information about Narcan. Rep. Taylor will be presenting information on how to access Narcan at both a public and private level. Handouts and educational materials will be provided on


how to have this discussion with your doctor, pharmacist and health insurance provider, while also providing information on nonprofits, and both city and state agencies that can help as well. “We’ve all dealt with situations where we don’t want to admit or believe that someone we love may have a problem. With this meeting we give them an opportunity to see that they are not alone and to connect with resources they may need,” Rep. Taylor said. He added: “If we are able reach one person or offer them some relief knowing that they now have the tools to possibly save the life of a loved one, I consider that a success.” The meeting is being held in conjunction with Prevention Point Philadelphia. Founded in 1991, the organization has helped thousands of syringe users to safely and legally exchange syringes with the successful Syringe Exchange Program, thus helping fight the spread of diseases such as HIV, AIDS and hepatitis as well as other bloodborne diseases. Prevention Point’s work and efforts to fight opioid addiction is greatly appreciated by the state and the local community. “Prevention Point has been a wonderful resource for not only the community but for my office and staff in general,” Rep. Taylor told Spirit News. “I think being on the front lines, dealing with an afflicted population on a daily basis, and then on top of that being generous with their own personal time to do an education session for the public is extremely useful.” Opioid addiction is an extremely harmful disease and fighting this epidemic is essential and in the interests of all. The meeting on February 23th provides an opportunity for further education surrounding the issue and addresses the importance of the use of Narcan in this ongoing struggle. “We aim to have an open and honest discussion about addiction along with the acknowledgement that opioid addiction touches the lives of so many people of different socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds and that there are people, including my District offices, willing to listen and help,” Rep. Taylor said. •

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The Spirit of the Riverwards – February 15, 2017 W R I T T E N B Y S H E A LY N K I L R O Y

Q&A with Dominique S TA N D U P C O M E D I A N G U A R A N T E E S L A U G H T E R F O R T H R E E N I G H T S AT P U N C H L I N E P H I L LY


hether it was her stand-up comedy, her role on "Chapelle’s Show" or her radio personality presence, Dominique’s jokes have probably made you laugh at some point in time. Laughter is what Dominique is promising when she performs stand-up comedy for three nights at Punch Line Philly (33 E. Laurel St.) this month. Spirit News spoke with Dominique about her upcoming shows in our area and how she feels about Philadelphia’s own comedic status.


SN: Because, you know, we’re the City of Brotherly Love, but we’re also the city who pelted snowballs at Santa Claus. D: (Laughs) I’ve definitely seen that.

Spirit News: How’d you get started in comedy? Dominique: I’m from D.C., so I started in D.C. I went to New York from there and now I’m based in Los Angeles. I just ran into some people. I had a friend who introduced me to one of his friends, who happened to be a comic. I told him I was interested in comedy. Basically, he helped me out. It went pretty good. You know, they didn’t laugh a lot, but they laughed enough. Enough for me to say, ‘Mm, maybe I can try this.’ SN: So you started with stand-up and you went to do TV? D: I did. I had been doing stand-up for a while when I got on to "Chapelle’s Show". That was, of course, a big deal and still is a big deal. People still watch it and I still get residual checks from it sometimes. So that was pretty good. Then I did "Def Comedy Jam" and "ComicView". Currently, I’m on a new show called "Black Jesus". I also did "Last Comic Standing". SN: Wow! D: I was also in a Tyler Perry movie. This month I’ll be on Kevin Hart’s Black History Month special on the History Channel. So that’s pretty cool. SN: Now what can people expect from the stand-up tour you’re currently on? D: Laughter! We’re going to laugh and we’re going to talk about some of the things that are just going on in life in general. We’re going to have a good time. SN: Have you performed in Philadelphia before? D: I have. I’ve done the Liacouras Center. Is that Temple University? I’ve done that, I’ve done different clubs in Philadelphia. I’ve been there several times. I haven’t been there in a while. But I used to perform in Philly kinda regularly, at least once a year. SN: What do you find is the funniest thing about Philadelphia? D: (Laughs) I can’t say! I would probably say the Sixers!

SN: So I keep reading about how forward your comedy is and how raw your style is. Do you think Philadelphia is ready for it? D: Absolutely. I think the whole world and country are ready.

SN: You say we’re expecting laughter, but is there anything specific we should expect at Punch Line? D: See, now for that part of it you gotta buy a ticket! You got to see that part for yourself. All I’m going to tell you and as far as I’m going to go is: laughter. Come on out and laugh till your stomach hurts. Get some good food, get some drinks. We’re gonna have us a high old time.

Dominique will be bringing her comedy to Punch Line Philly at different times for a total of five shows during Feb. 17-19. Tickets can be purchased on •

Nah, I’m just playing. I really don’t know. I can’t point out anything. But you do have the best cheesesteaks, I can say that. I’ve gotten them in my hometown. We have good ones here. SN: Pshh…..good ones in D.C.?! D: Yeah, we have good ones here. But you have the best. SN: So you’re in Philly for three nights? D: Three big nights! We’re going to have a good time. SN: What else are you going to check out while you’re in town? D: Probably the Liberty Bell. (Laughs) Probably ride around and hang out. I might catch a basketball game. I’m going to find me some good food. Where should I go? SN: Do you like coffee? D: Yes! SN: have to check out La Colombe on Frankford Ave. I promise, I’m not being paid by them. They’re one of the best coffee places in the city. D: All right, I’ll check it out.

Punch Line Philly




or those in need of medical assistance, there are three levels of care. Retail clinics, often found in pharmacies and supermarkets, treat the most basic and uncomplicated illnesses or ailments, such as cuts, bruises, scrapes and insect bites. Urgent care facilities can handle more severe afflictions, such as fractures, lacerations, infections and migraines. Emergency care centers can handle the most severe maladies, such as intense chest pains, burns, head injuries and seizures. Some good news on that front in the Riverwards: Aria-Jefferson Health opened a new urgent care center at 800 North Delaware Avenue in Northern Liberties in December 2016. It is now the health system’s southernmost urgent care center in the area. “We know how busy and how booming the surrounding areas are, so we wanted to establish ourselves here and become a good citizen and a good neighbor,” said Director of Business Development Richard Watson, who oversees the health system’s urgent care facilities and matters related to occupational medicine. The new facility accepts all types of insurance. If you do not have insurance, there is a cash price that you can pay. Every patient is seen by a physician (as opposed to a nurse practitioner), all of whom are trained in urgent care and occupational medicine. All of the necessary supplies are available at the urgent care center, including a state-ofthe-art X-ray system and other radiological equipment.

If necessary, the physician will make any additional appointments for you. If your injury or illness is too severe, the staff will call 911 and have you transported to the nearest hospital. The urgent care center sees approximately eight to 10 people each day, though it expects that number to jump to three or four dozen by late spring or early summer. It is open 8AM - 8PM Monday through Friday, and 9AM - 5PM on the weekends. Free parking is available right next to the building. There is also an online scheduling tool that can help you secure an appointment and ensure that you are treated promptly. Terasina Bonanini, a patient at Aria Jefferson who has been living in Fishtown for only a year, had nothing but nice things to say about the new urgent care center’s staff. “I don’t go to the doctor very often, unless I really need to, so it was really nice that they were here and available to take me pretty quickly,” she said. “Everybody did an excellent job here.” The new urgent care center is already part of the Fishtown Area Business Association and the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association. It is planning on hosting a Q&Atype seminar in the near future for local businesses who want to learn about saving money through healthcare. Jefferson and Aria Health merged with each other in July last year. “Bringing Aria and Jefferson together is another significant step forward, as a progressive organization, to

do things differently for the benefit of patients, medical professionals, employees, faculty and students in the regions that we all serve,” said President and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA. •

/Thomas Beck

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The Spirit of the Riverwards – February 15, 2017



Aries: During a recent trip to West Philly, I stopped in Fu-Wah for what’s known out there as a tofu hoagie, elsewhere known as the Bahn Mi sandwich. Fu-Wah seems to remain my favorite in the city. I’d say I have been getting the tofu hoagie from Fu-Wah for over 10 years, and I have yet to feel even slightly disappointed. However, I almost swear by this particular sandwich from this particular place so much that I have trouble trying other places. It makes me feel stagnant sometimes, or closed-minded. I now make a vow to eat more Bahn Mi’s from Streetside on Girard; however, I will order them as tofu hoagies. Aries, I think it’s time for you to take a similar step in your life. Open up a bit more to something you feel closed off to, but go ahead and do it slowly, at your own pace. This way, if you need to go back to your original opinion, at least you will know you were open-minded getting there, and also, right! Taurus: Do you believe that there is another being just like you, if not exactly you, somewhere else in some other solar system? Maybe even multiple in multiple solar systems? Perhaps lately you’re feeling like these other versions of you are interfering with the “you” that you feel most comfortable with? I say, don’t sweat it. Let them in; see what they’re up to. Perhaps their visions are different, and they can teach you new ways to see things. You’ve been taking this winter season too hard. Open up to it, enjoy the snow days or the chill in the air. Take time to sit by a fire, or sleep under some extra blankets. Cozy up with a loved one or a good book. Stay inside and create something new. There are so many versions of you right here, and they all want to be alive. So let spring Taurus out this winter! Gemini: There is a song by Talking Heads called “Heaven” in which David Byrne explains that Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens. This has been a longtime favorite song of mine, and David Byrne a longtime hero of mine. Yet a place where nothing ever happens sounds like Hell to me. I’m not one who lives in the city and dreams of the country. I like the city. I like constant stimulation and a place where something is always happening. Think about what your Heaven would be like, Gemini, and create some beautiful way of describing it. Do this so well that other people will believe in your version of Heaven with you. Cancer: One night recently, while slightly inebriated, I grabbed a $5 medium pizza from Aramingo’s Best on my way home. I hadn’t eaten much that day, and though I didn’t mind it, I don’t like to wake up hungry. I took the pizza home and ate three slices. It was hot, fresh and delicious! Although it might just be Aramingo’s “best”, I now feel the need to find out. However, I have my hands full with so many other projects right now, I simply do not have the time for another. The Cancer, keeping busy with projects, sometimes just has to suspend one or forget it entirely. It’s a good thing to do, so that you can focus on the projects you are already working on now, making their outcome guaranteed to seem loved and cared for. All the while, just eat the pizza you know you like. Leo: Women are strange. We wear uncomfortable shoes, clothes that don’t fit and scents that bother almost everyone but ourselves. A long time ago, one of my best guy friends began to complain about the scent his girlfriend had started wearing. It would make him feel borderline sick to his stomach. He asked me to take him to some

places to find an oil that he preferred, and his idea was to get this for her, as a gift, to see if maybe she would change her ways. Clearly, this didn’t go over well, because he never otherwise bought her gifts, making the reason behind this clear. Instead of being open, I remember her feeling offended, as if he told her she had suddenly become ugly. Yet this was not personal at all. If someone comes to you with a hidden agenda, Leo, be sure to look at it from every angle. It may be mostly to the benefit of this person, but perhaps to you and the world around you as well. Virgo: Sometimes it’s good to check the weather before you make plans, because although one day may be 66 degrees, the very next day, you could wake to snow and wind. Or, if you’re anything like me, you check the weather on your computer, and mess your plans all up, because you get stuck watching all of the videos on the weather channel website. Be sure to keep your days clear for some new plans, and be sure not to distract yourself beforehand. Upcoming plans can really benefit you, if you let them. Even if you want to distract yourself, or if you want to cancel plans, make sure you follow through. You’re one to take control of your time, but be open to allowing others to make suggestions or offer ideas. The new you is ready to meet current you, and you’re going to be best friends. Libra: In the mid-2000’s, there was a company called Cereality, which came to Philadelphia. It was located on Penn’s campus and offered you various kinds of cereals, milks and toppings. Targeted to college crowds throughout the country, only one exists now in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. It seemed like a good idea, and a real moneymaker, but just didn’t make it. Take this business plan into consideration, Libra. If you’re feeling like you’ve got some great idea, think about it a little bit more before executing it. In this example, the reality is that college kids are hungover and want greasy eggs and bacon, not cereal topped with marshmallows getting soggy in some skim milk. You really need to take into consideration the reality of your idea, and change it accordingly to the people it will affect. Scorpio: When I was very young, I had a friend who lived in the house next door to me named Unchin. She was Chinese and spoke little to no English. At five years old, we would just walk around the neighborhood eating popcorn that my mother would pop for us and place into little sandwich baggies. Once, she communicated to me that she lived on the clouds. At least, that’s how I remember it. I remember, at the time, believing her. She was my best friend. Why would she lie to me? Though we spent many days together, I no longer have many more memories of her outside of our popcorn walks and her cloud living. She moved away when I was about six, and a new girl moved in who also became my best friend. Years later, in my younger 30s, I met another best friend, this one fluent in English, and we ate a lot of popcorn together, too. She taught me about popcorn lung and we laughed and laughed and loved each other very much. She still lives nearby, but moved away from my heart recently. Is it the popcorn? Should I never share popcorn with a friend again? Scorpio, if superstition rules your life, you’ll be too cautious. Never be too cautious, always be open. Keep sharing popcorn, and you’ll find a keeper this way.

Sagittarius: Sometimes what appears clear to you is actually fuzzy if you look at it closer. This may be the case for you lately, Sagi. Perhaps there is a part of your life that you are looking at the only way you want to see it, or the only way you choose to. Yet if you look into it a little bit closer, you may realize that the way you’re looking at it is actually all off. You may even be affecting others in your life having this view, maybe even someone very close to you. As the Sagittarius is often known to be righteous in their ways, sometimes it’s best to turn the light on in the dark, or else you’re just assuming what’s inside. And you know what they say about what happens when you assume? You make an ass out of u and me. Look at the big picture, not just your own created little picture. Don’t be a jackass of all trades; simply be a jack of all trades. Especially including the trades of compassion and love. Capricorn: In the current days of my baby craze, I have decided maybe I just need a bunny. I’d love a Holland Lop Rabbit that I can name and hold and treat like my own. I would like to watch its little nose do what it does. I would like to share my vegetables with my little bunny. I want to raise it and be good to it, as I would if only this life’s plan were for me to have the family of my dreams. Capricorn, if you are feeling like there is something you have always wanted, and if you’re suffering from the realizations and regret of not having this, for the choices you made took you along another path, perhaps you, too, should find ways to feel grateful for what you do have, and just change the goals, keeping to feeling as good as you can. Aquarius: A fellow Aquarian friend of mine, Bradford Trojan, recently came up with a great new T-shirt idea. He drew a big jar, which contained inside of it a SCOBY for making kombucha, otherwise known as the Mother. The top of the shirt reads “MILF”, and across the bottom, “Mother I’d Like To Ferment”. A silly idea, executed so perfectly, is a now a shirt worn by many. Aquarians often doubt their success, and keep it in their dreams instead. It’s time we get together and change this. Line up with one another across our Universe, and spread the positive energy to move forward as not just thinkers but doers. The next time you’ve got a great idea, at least start by writing it down. Go back to it and make a blueprint. Then go back again and begin the project. Success is yours if you want it. Pisces: I recently listened to a Radiolab episode entitled “Smile My Ass”. It’s an episode about the creator of Candid Camera, Allen Funt, which ends with a story about a plane ride he took which was hijacked. During the hijacking, another passenger recognized Funt, and began convincing everyone on the plane that they were on Candid Camera, and that the hijack was therefore a joke. Funt tries to let the passengers know that this is not the case, yet they continue to ask for his autograph, etc. Finally, the plane lands in another location, and the passengers realize the hijack was real, now blaming Funt somehow. A funny episode, no less. If you’re being wrongly accused lately, or feel as if you are, take it in stride. It may seem frustrating now, but the story you’ll have in the future is totally worth it now. •

Did you know that Spirit News has it’s own radio show? Tune into Spirit News Radio every Wednesday night on WPPM - FM 106.5 from 6-6:30PM. We discuss local news, arts and entertainment pertaining to the various neighborhoods we cover across Philadelphia. Can’t tune in live? You can download our radio show each week in podcast form on iTunes, SoundCloud and Google Play. Thanks for tuning in!

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The Spirit of the Riverwards – February 15, 2017 WRITTEN BY CASEY ANN BECK



he stillness of a shore town in the off-season is therapeutic, so my girlfriends and I drove down last weekend for a quick getaway. Though we do meet up for brunch here and there, or have playdates with our kids, we don’t get to have sleepovers like we did when we were younger; so, having a weekend of quality time to catch up, reminisce over college photo albums, and get a bit more sleep than we’re used to was much needed. We even had a shared Google spreadsheet that we could all access electronically to track who was bringing what and, in the end, had enough alcohol to stock a bar and enough food to last a week. With an overabundance of appetizers, desserts and wine, it actually turned out to be the perfect menu for our 36 hours together. One of my contributions was a homemade cheesecake, something I don’t think I’ve ever made before. It’s not terribly difficult, but there are a few key factors that are necessary to make it absolutely perfect. For instance, a springform pan is a must. And cheesecake bakes in a water bath so that the creamy filling stays moist and doesn’t crack. So you can imagine, the combination of a pan with even the slightest of open seams and water is not the greatest combination unless you quadruple wrap the outside of your pan in heavy-duty aluminum foil. And just one piece of advice: don’t use any ingredients that are low-fat. It’s not going to save you many calories and won’t taste nearly as good.

Cheesecake From Simply Recipes Crust 1 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 15 graham crackers) 2 tablespoons sugar Pinch of salt 4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted

Filling 2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature 1 1/3 cup sugar Pinch of salt 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 4 large eggs 2/3 cup sour cream 2/3 cup heavy cream First, prepare the springform pan so that no water leaks into it while cooking. Place a large 18-inch by 18-inch square of heavy-duty aluminum foil on a flat surface. Place the springform pan in the middle of the foil. Gently fold up the sides of the foil around the pan. Make sure to do this gently so that you don't create any holes in the foil. Press the foil around the edges of the pan. Place a second large square of foil underneath the pan, and repeat, gently folding up the sides of the foil around the pan and pressing the foil against the pan. Do this two more times. Gently crimp the top of the foil sheets around the top edge of the pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with rack in the lower third of the oven. Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor or blender until finely ground. Put it in a large bowl, and stir in the sugar and salt. Use your hands to stir in the melted butter. Put the graham cracker crumbs in the bottom of the springform pan. Gently press down on the crumbs using your fingers, until the crumbs are a nice even layer at the bottom of the pan. Place it in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Cut the cream cheese into chunks and place them in the bowl of an electric mixer, with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed for four minutes until smooth. Add the sugar and beat for an additional four minutes. Add the salt and vanilla, beating after each addition. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Add the sour cream and beat until incorporated. Finally, add the heavy cream and beat until incorporated. Remember to scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl, and scrape

up any thicker bits of cream cheese that have stuck to the bottom of the mixer that the paddle attachment has failed to incorporate. Prepare two quarts of boiling water and set them to the side. Place the foil-wrapped springform pan in a large, high-sided roasting pan. Pour the cream cheese filling into the springform pan, over the graham cracker bottom layer. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Then, place the roasting pan (with the springform pan in it, of course) in the oven, on the lower rack. Carefully pour the hot water into the roasting pan to create a water bath for the cheesecake, pouring until the water reaches halfway up the side of the springform pan, about 1 ¼”. Cook for 90 minutes. Then, turn off the heat of the oven and prop the oven door open just a few inches to let the cake cool in the oven for another hour. Cover the top of the cheesecake with foil so that it doesn't actually touch the cheesecake, and chill it in the refrigerator for a minimum of four hours, or overnight. •





ust more than a block east of George and Garden Logan’s home sits the Fishtown Recreation Center, Fistown Library and the Lederer Pool. Each has served the Fishtown community for at least half a century. The Logans, however, believe that all three sites have seen better days. “One of the great things about living in Fishtown is that all the things are right here for the kids,” said Garden Logan, 45. “But now everything has kind of fallen into disrepair.” Now, however, the city has proposed all three to be part of its Rebuild project — a citywide initiative that will invest $500 million in selected libraries, recreation centers, pools and similar facilities throughout Philadelphia. David Gould, Rebuild’s director of community engagement and communications, said that of more than 400 possible sites, 100-150 will be picked in waves during the next seven years. He said the first wave of facilities should be picked in the next couple of months. He added that the funding for Rebuild stems from the following sources: $300 million in bonds paid back through the city's sugary beverage tax, $100 million from the William Penn Foundation, $40-50 million from the city’s capital program and the remainder through fundraising. Ultimately, a major point of Rebuild is to involve local communities in projects as much as possible, Gould said. “Whether that means the physical appearances or programs associated with these sites… we want to make sure everyone has a say,” he said. The decay of both the Lederer Pool and the Fishtown Library can be traced back to August 2015, when the pool leaked into the library and broke its HVAC system and elevator, according to officials. The HVAC has been repaired. The elevator has not. Sandy Horrocks, a spokeswoman for the Free Library of Philadelphia, said the reason why is simple. “It’s $140,000 we don’t have,” she said. Horrocks added that more than 50 branches throughout the city are operating on about a $1 million budget, mak-

Fishtown Rec/Patick Clark ing any significant repairs to any library difficult. Adjacent to the library, the Lederer Pool, also known as the Swimmo, was repaired in 2016, but community members said its age is starting to show. Jennifer Crandall, a spokeswoman for the Department of Parks and Recreation, said permanent repairs to the pool would require moving the pool further underground and placing buffers to prevent such a leak from occurring again. Across the street from the pool and library sits the Fishtown Recreation Center. Unlike the Lederer Pool and the library, it’s been unharmed the past few years — but according to Mary Ann Tempone, the building and playground could be improved. Tempone, 38, president of the Fishtown Recreation Advisory Council, said $250,000 has been acquired through a department of conservation and natural resources grant from the state, which will help improve the outside playground. She said, however, that both the library and (especially) the recreation center itself could use more funding. “It’s just really dated and old and worn,” she said of the recreation center. “Things are falling down, walls are stained, paint is chipped, windows are broken, so it really just kind of needs a makeover,” Tempone said.

The overall need for the recreation center’s makeover has caused Garden Logan to search other playgrounds throughout the city for her three kids, George, 14, William, 9, and Sofia, 4. She hopes the city picks the nearby sites, returning some long-lost luster to them. “It would be wonderful for us to have that back,” she said in her home on the 1300 block of E. Montgomery Ave. “It’s just a place you don’t feel at home and comfortable.” Officials said it’s unclear how much the three projects would cost. According to Gould, very rough preliminary data indicates that the average project cost would be $1.9 million — but could range anywhere from $50,000 to $13 million. Regardless, Tempone said improvements are needed because of community demand. “The rec center and the library are beloved by lifelong Fishtowners,” she said. “There’s also a lot of new people in the neighborhood and a lot of new kids, so we need our rec and our library to be cleaned up, fixed up, modernized and up-to-date.” •

Fishtown Library./Google Street View

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The Spirit of the Riverwards – February 15, 2017 W R I T T E N B Y B O B S T E WA R T A N D S T E V E B O H N E L



or Katrina, being a caregiver for her father is the only option, as he lives out the last years of his life. But in front of several other caregivers at a meeting in the Northeast Regional Library last week, she revealed an event that made many question if she could continue caring for him. “This is not the man that raised me. He [recently] hit me. My father never did that,” she said. This story is an example of many difficulties caregivers in the Philadelphia region face. And CARES, a program based in the Lutheran Settlement House in Fishtown, aims to help them navigate through these challenges. Sarina Issenberg, the program director of CARES, said many people who look after loved ones often do not seek any assistance because it’s perceived as a weakness. Katrina, one of those individuals, explained at the meeting why she does not ask for help from other family members. “I’m going to take care of my father till the day he dies,” she said. “No one asked me to. I have four brothers that don’t help and I don’t ask them for help. They have their reasons. They had a different relationship with him than I did.” Issenberg, 33, said CARES is designed to help individuals on a case-by-case basis. The program — funded through an annual $50,000 Pew Charitable Trust grant and other caregiving organizations throughout Philadelphia and the state — provides free counseling sessions, citywide group meetings with guest speakers and resources to help those reach out to other places for help. A key difference, however, is that Issenberg will meet people throughout the city for those counseling sessions, whether it be homes, lunch breaks, coffee shops, parks or anywhere else. “Most government services require people to adapt to them,” she said. “But for caregivers, they can’t do that, so that excludes them from a lot of services they might be eligible for.” Caregiving is a process that can cause physical, mental, social and psychological stress, Issenberg added. Often times, caregivers can prioritize the welfare of who they’re caring for too much over themselves. When that stress becomes too much to handle, her clients reach the “caregiver burnout” stage, she said. “They get to this point where they’re just at their wit’s end, whether it be emotionally or physically,” Issenberg said. “So the goal is to provide them with the tools so they can take care of themselves and that way they don’t kind of run out of steam.” Some of those tools include connecting clients to external organizations, like the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, offering resources ranging from emergency programs

Lutheran Settlement House/Thomas Beck

to information about state insurance options. Issenberg said another issue for caregivers is when siblings or fellow caregivers disagree on how to care for older family members and friends. An example at the meeting was when one attendee, Dorothy, said Katrina’s father should not have hit her on the head. The problem, however, is that Katrina’s father suffers from dementia. “I can’t say nothing to him about it because he forgot about it 30 seconds after it happened,” she said at the meeting.

Ultimately, Issenberg hopes that caregivers use CARES and the resources around them to help better their loved ones and themselves. Working with them to achieve this is a great privilege, she added. “Caregivers, pretty much by definition, are caring people,” she said. “So it’s a filtered population of people who are warm and open and kind… my job is to just make things easier for them.” For more information on Lutheran Settlement House’s CARES program, visit or call (215) 426-8610 x 1207. •

Local Kids Participate in PAL Day PHOTOS BY CHRIS LYONS, POLICE ATHLETIC LEAGUE OF PHILADELPHIA An all-time high participation of more than 34 youngsters "PAL-ed" around with government officials and experienced life in the workplace in an empowering career-development program, the annual PAL Day at City Hall, Monday.

Pictured (left to right) are some of the local students: PAL students Shiary Polanco, 17, and Daniel Rivera, 16, from Lighthouse PAL in Hunting Park; Destiny Arias, 18, and Angel Mendoza, 17, of Harrowgate PAL; Rodney Whetstone, 16, and Jules Grier, 16, both of the Oxford Circle PAL in Summerdale. The local students were teamed up with City government officials-mentors: City Treasurer Rasheia R. Johnson, City Solicitor Suzi Pedro Tulante, Policy Analyst Nandi O’Connor, Inspector General Amy L. Kurland; Digital Director Stephanie Waters, and Deputy Commerce Director Iola Harper.

Pictured (left to right): Some local PAL students included Kaitlyn Matczak, 17 and Danielle Schulke, 17, both of Tacony PAL; Jalen Watkins, 15, of Oxford PAL in Summerdale; Michael Vidmosko, 16, and Angelina Wainwright, 17, both of Rizzo PAL. The local students were teamed up with City government officials-mentors: Mayor’s Communications Director Lauren Hitt, City Treasurer Rasheia Johnson, City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante, Deputy Mayor for Public Engagement Nina Ahmad, Department of Human Services First Deputy commissioner Jessica Shapiro, Chief Administrative Officer Christine Derenick-Lopez and Youth Commissioner Ricardo Calderon. •

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The Spirit of the Riverwards – February 15, 2017 WRITTEN BY JAMES RENNIE

Waterfront News



n January 27, 2017, at the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation’s (DRWC) board meeting, Tom Corcoran, the organization's current President, announced his intention to retire at the end of June 2017. This left the position open and at the same meeting, the board unanimously appointed Joe Forkin, DRWC’s current Executive Vice President for Development and Operations, to the role of President upon Corcoran’s retirement, starting on July 1st, 2017. “It's an honor to take the helm of an organization that's working hard to effect positive change for Philadelphia and the surrounding region by returning one of Philadelphia's greatest assets - the river and the surrounding waterfront - to the city’s residents and visitors. I have the privilege of working with a tremendously dedicated board of directors and talented staff,” newly appointed President Joe Forkins told Spirit News. Founded in 2009, the DRWC is a non-profit organization with a clear agenda to bring back the waterfront to its former glory, turning into a truly valued asset for the community. According to the DRWC website, the fundamental purpose of the organization is “to design, develop and manage the central Delaware River waterfront in Philadelphia between Oregon and Allegheny Avenues. DRWC intends to transform the central Delaware River waterfront into a vibrant destination location for recreational, cultural and commercial activities for the residents and visitors of Philadelphia. DRWC will serve as a catalyst for high-quality investment in public parks, trails, maritime, residential, retail, hotel and other improvements that create a vibrant amenity, extending Philadelphia to the river’s edge.” Since the DRWC’s creation in 2009, they have already headed many successful initiatives that have brought life back to the once declining Delaware waterfront. For example, they completed the Spring Garden Connector Project that incorporated new sidewalk and streetscape improvements alongside a dynamic lighting installation; they completed the Penn Street Trail, the first segment of the Delaware River Trail; they completed the design of the North Delaware River Trail segment from Sugarhouse to Penn Treaty Park; they initiated new private development (such as the Fillmore and Penn Treaty Village), adaptively reusing former waterfront industrial buildings; and they have started redevelopment of the Festival Pier Site. With the appointment of Joe Forkin as the new President,

he seeks to carry on the successful work that the DRWC has been doing over the past eight years while bringing something new to the role. “DRWC, with the support and engagement of city officials, partners and residents, created the award-winning Master Plan for the Central Delaware that was adopted by the City and codified into law. This adaptable document provides a long-term framework for accomplishing the community-driven principles captured in the Plan,” Forkins told Spirit News. “The future plans are to continue the positive momentum that we’ve started, and to strategically take advantage of opportunities, both big and small, to further the transformation of the waterfront.” Having once been a hub for industry and business, the Delaware River waterfront fell into disarray after the I-95 interstate highway was constructed next to the river in 1957. I-95 provided a new and cheaper way for goods to flow in and out of Philadelphia, leaving many factories and docks abandoned in the process. The DRWC is revitalizing the waterfront, and although they can’t bring the once thriving business and industry back, they are working hard to utilize the waterfront in a different way to make it a valued aspect of Philadephia once more. “The development of the Master Plan for the Central Delaware​has led to the momentum we have established today. The perception now is that the revitalization of the waterfront is a real thing that is happening and will continue to happen,” Forkin said. It is essential that the DRWC has support from outside bodies in order to make the projects sustainable, success-

ful and affordable. “We need to continue to have good partners, private and public, driven to achieve DRWC's mission. Consensus leads to collaboration and the necessary resources for continued success,” Forkins told Spirit News. Since the DRWC’s creation, the results have been completely positive with the organization breathing life back into the waterfront. The DRWC is important to all residents of the area as they directly benefit from the organization's projects. “DRWC is specific in its purview. Our mission is to revitalize and return the waterfront to the public for all to enjoy, which has great benefits for the city’s residents and the region,” Forkin said. He added: “The importance is multi-faceted: we create recreational opportunities through the development of public parks and trails, develop transportation connections for ease of access, promote water health through environmentally friendly and sustainable construction, increase the tax base by attracting high-quality private development and provide free programming to connect the community. DRWC’s work is concentrated solely on how to provide these benefits to the city and its residents.” With newly appointed President Joe Forkin heading the DRWC with an optimistic outlook for the future, it is in everyone’s best interest to see the the organization continue their great work in developing the waterfront into a place that the community can use and enjoy. •


DOWNSIZED - part 1



ig fella, big man, big Step: genial introductions that preceded handshakes, hugs and reunions. That was me, the big guy, for as long as I can remember. To be honest, I was damn proud of that. Until it almost killed me. Growing up a nerdy, private kid on the tough streets of Fishtown, I was a chunky but hardly intimidating kid that got his clothes from the husky section at Sears. I had to fight a lot, won a few, lost a few, but the fact that I was somehow inadequate hurt worse than any of their punches. Going to St. Joseph’s Prep (where I thought I might escape the old neighborhood), I was an intense, husky street kid surrounded by cool, affluent, good-looking boys who looked down on me. A fat Henry Rollins surrounded by a bunch of Matthew McConaugheys. Safe to say that I endured my share of what some people would call bullying. Combine that with issues on the home front, and I was a walking time bomb. So I played football. I wanted to be a linebacker so I could hurt people with autonomy, but the coaches took one look at my big ass and - poof - I was an offensive lineman, relegated to the realm of the “large” kids who protected the “real athletes,” many of whom still hated my blue-collar guts. With my large-but-not-so-in-charge background, is it any surprise that I grew up angry and obsessed with being able to hide my personal inadequacies behind a wall of size and seriousness? I started eating, training and lifting like a madman because I wanted to hurt the world that hurt me. Looking back on it, this is painfully embarrassing to admit, but my private intellectual pursuits took a temporary back seat to the pursuit of getting big, strong and intimidating. Thankfully, I pursued martial arts and when the Master asked me why I wanted to learn karate, I

replied, “Because I want to hurt people more efficiently.” He told me to come back when I grew up. Duly chastised, I considered my immaturity, and – like Kung Fu Panda - I crawled back for a second chance. After more than 20 years of martial arts, I’m proud to say I learned to balance my inner nerd impulses with my outer defense mechanisms. In the words of General James Mattis, I learned how to "be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” Clearly, I still had a lot to learn, but my wife and I were just starting our journey into parenthood, so that would have to wait. My first son, Cain, died from a congenital heart condition. Shortly thereafter, we were blessed with a healthy daughter, Samantha. That combination of heartbreaking helplessness and the knowledge that I had a little girl to protect now only made me more relentless in my pursuit of size. I ate like an elephant, lifted like a silverback gorilla, taught school like an overcaffeinated honey badger, and played with my kids like a mother grizzly. Meanwhile, my joints were breaking down. I didn’t care. I had three kids now, Samantha, Mason and Frankie, and I was going to teach them that you could balance the intellectual with the physical. They would grow up admiring their big strong dad! And they did. I was the “jacked” dad with the tattoos who my sons’ friends looked up to, and who my nieces and nephews admired. My wife’s friends knew that she was safe next to her own personal silverback gorilla. Meanwhile, my heart was devolving into a dangerously inefficient muscle. I didn’t care. I was now in my 40s, running Spartan races with my sons, 5Ks with my daughter, setting personal powerlifting records in the gym. I was 6’3” 290 lbs. of “don’t f**k with me” and my students knew it, embraced

Frank before his surgery. it, and joked about it. I wrote a few books so I was doing newspaper and radio interviews and every interviewer/ host wanted to talk about the mountain with a brain. I was a teacher and a writer. My kids adopted a healthy lifestyle from me, and I was big, strong and secure. I was in Heaven. Meanwhile, I almost died. I was on the side of a mountain in Palmerton, PA with about a mile to go in my fifth Spartan race, and something was wrong, very wrong. After having finished the race I was fully aware, for about an hour, that I was on the verge of blacking out. Opinions vary on whether I had a heart attack on that mountain in 2015 but it’s pretty certain I had some kind of “cardiac incident.” Two questions plagued me for months following that race: How could this happen to me? What was I doing wrong? In Pt .2 (next issue), Step talks about his sudden health realizations, his decision to undergo gastric sleeve surgery, the anxieties leading up to the big day, and his life “post-op.” •

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The Spirit of the Riverwards – February 15, 2017


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m eet ing s Tuesday, February 21, 7PM FNA ZONING MEETING This zoning meeting will discuss 118-120 Richmond St. and 2319-25 Gaul St. The meeting will take place at Fishtown Rec Center (1202 E. Montgomery Ave.) All Fishtown residents and business owners are eligible to vote with proof of residence or business ownership in the form of a driver’s license, photo ID, or a recent piece of mail addressed to your home or business. For more information, contact Ryan Welch at Wednesday, March 1st, 8:45-10:15AM AND 5:30-6:30PM ADAIRE KINDERGARTEN 2017 REGISTRATION KICKOFF At this morning AND evening event, Friends of Adaire invite families who live in the Adaire catchment to enroll kids who'll be 5 by Sept. 1st in Kindergarten at Adaire starting on Sept. 12, 2017. The Adaire community will welcome you with light refreshments. Principal Anna Jenkins, parents with students in the school now (including Kindergarten parents and Home & School leaders), and Friends of Adaire will be on hand to answer questions and help parents fill out paperwork. Out-of-catchment families who completed voluntary transfer applications are welcome to attend as well, to meet fellow families and learn how to get involved. Bring COPIES of parent/guardian ID, 2 proofs of residence, the enrolling child's birth certificate, and -ideally -- up-to-date vaccination record and dental form. Most pediatricians have standardized forms accepted by the school, but if yours doesn't you can get a form from the school district (new this year). Medical/dental forms can be provided later but the ID and birth certificate are necessary to enroll the child. EKNA MONTHLY MEETINGS East Kensington Neighbors Association (EKNA) meets at 6:30PM on the third Monday of the month at Philadelphia Brewing Company (2440 Frankford Ave.) Topics will include: Committee Updates, including Zoning and Development; Committee Meeting Time. Not able to make our meeting in person but interested in joining via livestream? Email for more information! FNA MONTHLY MEETINGS Fishtown Neighbors Association (FNA) meets at 7PM on the third Wednesday of each month at Fishtown Rec Center, 1202 East Montgomery Avenue. HCA MONTHLY MEETINGS Harrowgate Civic Association (HCA) usually meets at 6:30PM on the first Thursday of each month at Heitzman Recreation Center, 3631 Amber Street. However, this month's meeting is on ORCA MONTHLY MEETINGS Old Richmond Civic Association (ORCA) meets at 7:30PM on the fourth Tuesday of each month at Cione Rec Center, 2600 Aramingo Avenue. PROPAC MONTHLY MEETINGS Port Richmond on Patrol and Civic (PROPAC) meets at 7PM on the first Wednesday of each month at Columbia Social Club, 3529 Almond Street. Next meeting: February 1. SNBL MONTHLY MEETINGS Somerset Neighbors for Better Living (SNBL) meets at 6:30PM on the first Monday of each month. This month's meeting is on Monday, January 9. Meetings alternate between two locations. This month's meeting is at Rock Ministries, 2755 Kensington Avenue. The February 6 meeting is at Firm Hope Baptist Church, 2313 East Auburn Street. NKCDC OPEN OFFICE HOURS NKCDC is hosting open office hours in the 19134 zip code at two locations. They will be at the Firm Hope Baptist Church on Tulip and Auburn Streets every second Wednesday of the month from 4-7PM. They will assist you with signing up for benefits like SNAP, connecting to housing counselors for any housing needs, rent and property tax rebates, food referrals, health insurance and safety or quality of life issues in your community. For further information contact Tess at tdonie@NKCDC. org or 215-427-0350 x 139.

AL-ANON AT HOLY NAME CHURCH HALL Meetings are held every Monday night from 7-8PM at Holy Name Church Hall at 701 Gaul Street. Anything shared at a meeting stays there and everyone is welcome to attend. Al-Anon meetings are free, anonymous and confidential. NETWORKING MEETINGS Philadelphia Mastermind Group – Every Friday, 8-9:30AM, B2B Networking at Front Street Café (1253 N Front St.) HAPCO/DIG/GPAR – 2nd Thursday of the Month, 12:001:30PM. Lunch & Learn, real estate meetup at the Greater Philadelphia Association of realtors (341 North Delaware Avenue, Suite 200) DIG/HAPCO – 3rd Wednesday of the Month, 6:30-8:30PM. Philly Riverwards Sub-Group, Diversified Investors Groups meet up at Front Street Café (1253 N Front St.) For more information contact Joe Scorese 215-290-5108 or

events Thursday, February 16, 4-7PM THE NEW KENSINGTON COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (NKCDC) NEIGHBORHOOD ADVISORY Subcommittee (NAS) elections will be held at the NKCDC office (2515 Frankford Ave.), Firm Hope Baptist Church (2313 E. Auburn St) and Shissler Recreation Center(1800 Blair St.) These candidates will be working on safety, zoning, beautification, and other issues on their assigned location in the neighborhood. Voters 18 years and older resident in the NKCDC NAS service area are eligible to vote and must bring a valid form of identification with name and residency to the polls. For more information contact Tess Donnie at 215-427-0350 x139 or February 18, 2PM RAIN CHECK WORKSHOP PWD’s Rain Check Workshop gives residents an opportunity to reduce pollution that would otherwise end of in our creeks and rivers. Come to this workshop to learn how you can get a free rain barrel from PWD! Reduced pricing for downspout planters, rain gardens, depaving, and permeable pavers will also be offered. Please register at or call PHS at 215-988-1698. Sunday, February 19, After 11AM Mass BREAKFAST FOR DEACON JACK BOYLE Join our Parish in celebration of Deacon John Boyle’s Retirement in the church hall (701 Gaul St.) Tickets cost $10 each and will be sold after all masses. For more information contact Mary at 267-266-6910. Sunday, February 19, 2PM, Doors 1PM MYSTERY BINGO The Port Richmond Tigers present Mystery Bingo at St. George’s Hall (Salmon and Venango Streets.) Prizes include designer handbags, American Girl Dolls, home goods, electronics and more. Two prizes will be awarded each bingo round. Lunch and snacks will be provided. Tickets are $30. For tickets or more information call Tom Mack at 215-2758838. February 22, 6PM CREATE A SPICE BLEND This program is part of One Book One Philadelphia. Using the mathematical concept of ratios, explore ways to maximize flavor using spices and spice blends. Come ready to put your taste buds and culinary minds to the test. Participants will leave with their own spice blend to use at home! Tuesday, February 21, 4-5PM TODDLER STORY HOUR Also good for Tues., 2/28, 3/7, 3/14, 3/21, and 3/28! Friends of Adaire invites preschool-age kids and their caregivers to participate in our weekly, fun, themed story-and-crafts Toddler Story Hour in the library at Alexander Adaire K-8 School once a week from January through March, on Tuesdays from 4 to 5 p.m. -- something to fill the time before the end of the workday but after naptime is over. All ages are welcome at this free event, but the story and activities are geared to preschool-age children. Enter through the Adaire Visitors Entrance on Thompson Street near Earl. For more information, email friendsofadaire@

Tuesday, February 21, 11:30AM ADAIRE SCHOOLYARD CELEBRATION The Trust for Public Land invites the community to a day 4 years in the making: The groundbreaking celebration of the Adaire Schoolyard Revitalization Project! Join city, school district, and neighborhood leaders, and the Adaire school community in celebrating the start of Phase 1, which will bring a rain garden, playground, play areas and fenced-off teacher parking lot to Palmer and Thompson! After the ceremony, Friends of Adaire will launch planning for Phase 2 at a working lunch for volunteers interested in shaping the schoolyard's future. Questions and RSVP for the working lunch to Thurs., February 23rd, 5:30-7:30PM FRIENDS OF ADAIRE HAPPY HOUR AT LLOYD Lloyd welcomes Friends of Adaire for our last-Thursdayof-the-month Happy Hour Fundraiser! With $1 of every purchase going toward our Science Lab campaign, Lloyd is generously contributing to a great night AND great education here in Fishtown! Kids are definitely welcome! Join us for a family-friendly event in the neighborhood that will also be supporting Fishtown's K-8 public school's science education! Friday, February 24th, 6:45PM PALLET PAINT NIGHT Yes you can create beautiful, fun artwork! Join us on Friday, February 24th to create a Masterpiece! BYOB & BYOSnacks, (Coffee, tea, water & dessert served). Tickets are $40. Space is very limited so reserve your spot ASAP! Doors at St. Laurentius Gym will open at 6:15 Instruction starts at 6:45. For tickets call 215-423-8834 or email Wednesday, February 25, noon-6PM ADAIRE FARM STAND Come on out to the first Adaire Farm Stand! Students at Alexander Adaire K-8 have been growing greens and herbs in special garden towers in classrooms. The Food Trust is working with Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative to provide more than 100 lbs of produce for sale -- lettuce, basil, bok choy, arugula, sweet potatoes, potatoes, apples, rainbow carrots, and more! -- as parents attend report card conferences and for the surrounding community. Friends of Adaire is helping staff the stand after school hours. CASH ONLY. Saturday, February 25, 8-10AM APPLEBEE’S BREAKFAST Support Bridesburg Methodist Church and come to a breakfast fundraiser at Applebee’s (2535 Castor Ave.) Adults cost $7.50 and kids 12 and under cost $5. For more info, call 215-290-7335. Saturday, February 25, 6-9PM ST. ADALBERT DINNER St. Adalbert Parish (2645 E. Allegheny Ave.) is hosting a dinner with the Polish American String Band in the parish hall. Food will be provided by Dinner House Restaurant. This event is a fundraiser for the parish. Tickets cost $25 for adults and $10 for children ages 6-12 and are available to purchase in the rectory office or the sacristy after Sunday Mass. For more information, contact Janice at 215634-1930. Wednesday, March 1, 7PM DUFFY STRING BAND OPEN HOUSE Fishtown’s Duffy String Band invites you to “Be a Part of Something Great.” These mummers are holding their annual open house at their clubhouse (2230 Cedar St.) For more information visit Duffy String Band’s Facebook. Thursday, March 2, 830-11AM READ ACROSS AMERICA DAY Adaire Elementary School wants you to celebrate the value of reading with students and their peers nationwide to celebrate the 16th Annual National Education Association’s Read Across America Day. Adaire Home and School looking for community members to read to classes. If you’re interested in participating in the event, please email your name and organization to Tuesday Chalmers by Feb. 25 at Thursdays, March 2, 11AM-Noon FOOD PANTRY DISTRIBUTIONS TIME CHANGE

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The Spirit of the Riverwards – February 15, 2017 St. Michael’s Church (Trenton Ave. and Cumberland St.) will hold their weekly Food Pantry Distributions during morning hours only. The church will continue to service zones 19125 and 19134. For more information contact coordinator Pat Walder at 215425-6190 or St. Michael’s at 215-423-0782. Saturday, March 4, 8PM GARCIA V. THURMAN WATCH PARTY Watch undefeated world champions Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia duke it out at the Veteran Boxers Association (2733 E. Clearfield St.) The program begins live at 9PM. Free food and cheap drinks offered for those who come. Saturday, March 11, 10AM-3PM SPRING CRAFT FAIR St. Anne’s Senior Community Center (2607 E. Cumberland St.) is hosting the center’s Second Annual Spring Craft Fair. Crafters of all ages are welcome. To reserve a table or for more information, contact Karen at 215-4269799. Sunday, March 12, 11:15AM ATLANTIC CITY BUS TRIP The Ladies of Port Richmond Breast Cancer are sponsoring bus trip Resorts Casino in Atlantic City. Those attending are expected to meet and board the bus at Belgrade & Allegheny Avenues. Tickets are $35. $25 slot play due in advance. For additional information, contact Marylou at 215-427-3222 or Marie at 215-423-3414. Thursday, March 23, 3:30PM 16TH ANNUAL FISHTOWN MARCH MADNESS ACADEMIC COMPETITION Cheer on local students with neighbors and Fishtown Neighbors Association as they use their smarts to advance in the Final Four and Championship rounds for the 16th Annual Fishtown March Madness Academic Competition at Shissler Rec Center. Sponsored by Penn Treaty Special Services District, a celebration to honor Fishtown Teachers and Educators of the year and Joseph and a group that has been working with Fishtown-area youth will be held as well. For more information and to volunteer contact A.J. at Sunday, March 26, 10AM 13TH ANNUAL BREAKFAST FUNDRAISER The Ladies of Port Richmond Breast Cancer are holding their annual breakfast fundraiser at St. George’s Church Hall (2700 Venango St.) Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under. For more information contact Marylou at 215-427-3222. Weekdays, 9AM-9PM ACCEPTING DONATIONS Bridesburg Recreation Center (4625 Richmond St.) is accepting nonperishable food and clothing donations for the neighborhood needy. For more information, call Jackie at 215-685-1247, 215-533-6448. Third Mondays LOST PARENTS AND FAMILY MEMBER SUPPORT GROUP December’s meeting will be December 12th at Cione Rec Center (Aramingo and Lehigh Ave.). For anyone who is suffering the loss of a loved one, a friend, whoever, is welcome. 3rd and 4th Tuesday of Every Month, 6:30PM-8:30PM WOMEN’S SELF DEFENSE CLASSES Fishtown Recreation Center is hosting a Women’s Self Defense class 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM on the 3rd and 4th Tuesdays of each month for $10 per class starting 11/15/16. You can register in person at the Rec on weekdays 2:00 PM to 9:00 PM or on Saturdays 9:00 PM to 12:00 noon. Tuesdays in February, 7-9:30PM PUBLETTERS AT THE STANDARD TAP Stop typing that Facebook message, and come to the Standard Tap (2nd and Popular Streets) with your best handwriting. Publetters is offering a workshop upstairs at the Tap on writing the personal letter. Stationery, postcards, stamps, and pens will be provided. At the end of this free workshop, a walk, or stumble, will be made down to the US Postal Service mailbox to send the letters crafted that night. For more information visit and Standard Tap’s Facebook. Mondays and Thursdays, 7:30PM CATHOLIC TALK SERIES Join St. Michael’s Parish (1445 N. 2nd St.) for their new series of talks to learn more about or deepen their Catholic faith. The talks are open to both youth and adults, and free babysitting services will be provided. For more information visit the parish website or call the rectory at 215-739-2358.

Last Tuesday of every month, 7PM SPIRITUAL INQUEERY A safe space to explore and study the intersection of faith and sexuality for LGBTQIA+ Christians and Inquirers. Come share, listen, learn, and find community support in navigating the trials and tribulations of this life. We meet on the last Tuesday of every month at 1542 E. Montgomery Ave. Wednesdays, 6PM YOGA AT TOWEY REC Roots2Rise will hold yoga classes at Towey Rec (1829 N. Howard St.). Cost is $5 per class. Participants must bring a mat For more info, visit Wednesdays, 6:30-9:30PM SCRAPBOOKING Bring your photos and a book for scrapbooking at Bridesburg Recreation Center (4625 Richmond St.) It cost $5 to attend, and other materials will be provided. For more information, call Jackie at 215-685-1247, 215-5336448. Wednesdays, 6-7PM WEDNESDAY EVENING CLEAN-UPS IN EAST KENSINGTON At Huntingdon Emerald (Huntingdon & Emerald) and Arcadia Commons (Kern Street, Mid-Block). Join us each Wednesday evening for clean ups at two of our beloved neighborhood parks! Help keep our green spaces beautiful by supporting Arcadia Commons. Monthly board meetings, open to the public, take place on the third Thursday of each month at 2614 Amber Street. Wednesdays, 7PM ST. ANNE’S CHURCH CHOIR St. Anne’s Church Choir is back with a new director, April Anderson, and assistant director, Rich Burns. We’ll be rehearsing on Wednesday evenings at 7PM at St. Anne’s Church (Lehigh and Memphis). 2nd Fridays, 7:15PM MOTHERHEART KIRTAN Welcoming everyone in the neighborhood to take part in MotherHeart Kirtan. Kirtan is the recitation of spiritual ideas through songs of devotion. Style is call and response singing of mantra and sounds. It is an easy, safe environment to experience group, harmony, healing, and community. Kirtan can be peaceful, uplifting, and ecstatic. MotherHeart Studio (2359 E Susquehanna Ave.) Donation only. Sundays, 12-4PM AMALGAM ADVENTURER’S LEAGUE Adventurers! Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse is now hosting Adventurers' League play on Sundays from noon to 4PM. Bring your level 1 character, or just yourself and our DM will have pre-gens, and join us as we begin the new season of Storm King's Thunder with the Great Upheaval adventure. New and experienced players welcome!

children CUB SCOUT PACK 500 Open to boys in K-5th grade. We meet every Thursday 7-8pm in the St Anne's Annex gymnasium at the corner of Memphis & Tucker. Scouts build projects, learn skills, help the community, and go on hikes and camping trips. Feel free to stop by a den meeting and check it out. For more information, email Den Leader Lisa at FISHTOWN LIBRARY Tuesdays: Toddler Storytime: Join Miss Dana for stories, songs, and silliness! Tuesdays @ 10:30AM. For ages 0-3 ½. Wednesday PRESCHOOL STORYTIME AT RICHMOND LIBRARY This program is intended for children ages 1-4 and their caregiver. Siblings are always welcome. Daycares should call for separate appointments. Richmond Branch of the Free Library, 2987 Almond Street. For further information call 215-685-9992.

sign ups ELFRETH'S ALLEY VOLUNTEERING Elfreth's Alley, the only site in Philadelphia celebrating 300 years of middle class history, seeks enthusiastic, history-loving guides to give tours and get a chance to share their passion with others. Volunteers will learn about the Alley's fascinating past, life in the 18th and 19th centuries for the middle working class as well as how the Alley avoided being torn down during the Great Depression There is also opportunity to assist at special events. For more info, contact or 212.574.0560 CIONE LADY STRIKERS ARE LOOKING FOR PLAYERS New girls indoor soccer team (ages 7-9) is looking for players! No registration fee this year! Practices are on Tuesdays and Fridays from 7-8 pm at Towey Rec Center. For more information contact Brooke (267-608-5660) or Tim Sieck (215-313-3677). EVENING ARTS CLASSES Portside Arts Center (2531 E. Lehigh Ave.) is holding evening arts classes for all ages. Classes include visual arts, mosaics, media & film, upholstery and more. Most classes start at 6:30PM. For the full list of classes, including price and time, visit SUMMER CAMP RAFFLE Win a free two-week session at Portside Arts Center’s Summer Camp 2017. The camp is broken down into two age groups, 4-7 and 8-12, starting the week of June 26, The raffle cost $10, and the winner can use the session for any date and either age group. After raffle purchase, multiple entries can be made. To enter, visit portsideartscenter. org.

Every Sunday morning, 10AM LET THE CHILDREN COME Progressive, child-led Christian education for children ages 3-13. Storytelling (with ample time for wondering) with a focus on processing through art. All children and families welcome, regardless of religious affiliation. At Atonement Lutheran Church, 1542 E. Montgomery Ave. PORTSIDE ART CLASSES Make the season bright. Enroll in Stained Glass, Mosaics, Jewelry Making, or Upholstery and give the gift of a beautiful handmade work of art! To learn more, please visit or call us at 215-427-1514 LUTHERAN SETTLEMENT HOUSE JOB READINESS CLASSES Lutheran Settlement House (1340 Frankford Ave.) is hosting a month worth of job readiness classes as part of the Pathways to Employment Program. Welcome to PA CareerLink and JobGateway: February 6th, 13th, and 27th, from 10am-noon Getting Your Resume Right: February 1st and the 15th, from 10am-noon Interviewing Skills: February 8th and the 22nd, from 10am-noon Career Drop-in: Drop into our computer lab for assistance with your resume, cover letter, or online job application. Every Thursday in February, from 1pm-4pm. NO APPOINTMENT REQUIRED! All the classes are free and are held at 1340 Frankford Avenue. Interested individuals can call 215-426-8610, Ext. 2006. Visit or email for more info:

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The Spirit of the Riverwards – February 15, 2017 COMMUNITY

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Advertise With Us! By placing an advertisement with the Spirit News, you connect with the residents of Fishtown, Northern Liberties, Port Richmond, and Kensington.











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We reserve the right to edit, refuse or classify any advertisement. Advertising is a privilege which must be protected against misuse. All classified advertisements subject to pre-payment. It is the responsibility of the advertiser to check the advertisements each time it is published. No responsibility is assumed by the newspaper for errors. Errors will be rectified by reinsertion in the following issue only.

215.423.6246 The deadline is Friday at 5pm for display ads, and Monday at 12pm for classifieds. All advertisements must be paid for in advance.




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The New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC) Neighborhood Advisory Subcommittee (NAS) elections will be held on Thursday, February 16th from 4pm-7pm at the NKCDC office at 2515 Frankford Ave; Firm Hope Baptist Church at 2313 E Auburn St; and Shissler Recreation Center at 1800 Blair St. Come vote for which candidates will represent your community on the NAS while working on safety, zoning, beautification, and other issues important to the neighborhood! The twenty-two nominees running are: 1. Theresa Farrell – 3100 block Amber St, Phila, PA 19134 2. Todd Kimmel – 3100 block Cedar St, Phila, PA 19134 3. James Ridgway – 3600 block Frankford Ave, Phila, PA 19134 4. Michael Morrison – 2100 block E Cumberland St, Phila, PA 19125 5. Craig Cerrito – 2700 block Kensington Ave, Phila, PA 19134 6. Matt Ludwig – 2500 block Tulip St, Phila, PA 19125 7. Dina Richman – 2700 block Jasper St, Phila, PA 19134 8. Carlos Mitti – 2700 block Coral St, Phila, PA 19134 9. Antony DiBruno – 2700 block E Lehigh Ave, Phila, PA 19125 10. Dan Martino – 2600 block Belgrade St, Phila, PA 19125 11. Mark McGee – 2100 block E Cumberland St, Phila, PA 19125 12. Joseph Livewell – 1500 block E Berks St, Phila, PA 19125 13. Eric King – 1500 block E Hewson St, Phila, PA 19125 14. Jill Betters – 800 block Mercer St, Phila, PA 19125 15. Gloria Cartagena – 1900 block E Somerset St, Phila, PA 19134 16. Matthew Nocho – 2100 block E Susquehanna Ave, Phila, PA 19125 17. Kris Walski – 3000 block Richmond St, Phila, PA 19134 18. Richard Harris – 2300 block E Auburn St, Phila, PA 19134 19. Chris Adcox – 1900 block E Somerset St, Phila, PA 19134 20. Andrew Ortega – 2100 block E Hazzard St, Phila, PA 19125 21. Greg Sclight – 2400 block Frankford Ave, Phila, PA 19125 22. John (Pat) Healey – 3000 block Aramingo Ave, Phila, PA 19134

All persons 18 years of age or older residing in the NKCDC NAS service area (Allegheny Avenue from the Delaware River west to Amber Street, Amber Street northeast to Castor Avenue, Castor Avenue northwest to E Glenwood Avenue, E Glenwood Avenue westbound to Kensington Avenue, Kensington Avenue southwest to N. Front Street, N. Front Street south to E Norris Street, E Norris Street southeast to Aramingo Avenue, Aramingo Avenue south to Girard Avenue, Girard Avenue southwest to Frankford Avenue, Frankford Avenue south to Laurel Street, Laurel Street east to the Delaware River, and the Delaware River northeast to Allegheny Avenue) are eligible to vote in this election. Voters must bring a driver’s license or recent utility bill showing their name and current address. At its discretion, the Elections Committee also may ask for proof of age. Contact: Tess Donie: ; 215-427-0350 x139 or John Tracy: ; 214-427-0350 x125

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The Spirit of the Riverwards – February 15, 2017


Is there something going on that’s a little funky in your neighborhood? Anything you want us to look into? Have something juicy you want to leak? Know of something fun or interesting going on that you think we should know about? We rely on sources like you for news that effects our neighborhoods. No tip is a bad tip. Drop us a line at


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ore than an hour of testimony had been heard about various city properties on the 18th floor of the One Parkway Building at 1515 Arch St. Then, a location that piqued the interest of the Fishtown Neighbors Association last month popped up: 1357 E. Columbia Ave. The Zoning Board of Appeals approved a variance for a four-floor, single family unit property at that address Wednesday afternoon, which will include an off-street carport, thus eliminating a communal parking spot on Belgrade Street near Columbia Avenue. Last month, the FNA opposed the project by a vote of 67 for, 76 against. At the hearing, the City Planning Commission also recommended no variance, given the address lied in a RSA-5 zone and not enough hardship was shown on why the off-street carport was needed. But after testimony, ZBA Chair Carol Tinari, and board members Anthony Gallagher, Thomas Holloman and Confesor Plaza huddled for about a minute. They then unanimously approved the variance. Leo Mulvihill, the attorney representing Larry McKnight—who wants to move in with his wife and three children to the property—and KJO Architecture, the firm that drafted the proposal, testified during the hearing that 15 townhomes had recently been built across the street, with similar parking parameters. He also noted the community vote was close, especially to residents living within 500 feet of the space—an 8-8 split. Arthur Meckler, 68, was the lone community member at the meeting. He stated, like others had the FNA meeting last month, that the carport was out of character with the neighborhood, and the loss of a parking space would be significant. “It’s shocking,” Meckler told Spirit News after the hearing. “Or not shocking, apparently, because this has been a trend by the ZBA to approve things over the community’s objections.” Mulvihill, however, contended that many of the community’s objections strayed from zoning issues, but understood the parking dilemma. “In any neighborhood where there’s an issue, the same thing that always seems to arise is parking,” he told Spirit News after the hearing. An FNA letter sent to the ZBA earlier this month indicated residents were supportive of including an off-street parking spot, but that “communal [street] parking is preferred, especially for only one off-street parking spot. Meckler said the decision has been following a recent trend in the development of Fishtown. •

Page 16

The Spirit of the Riverwards – February 15, 2017

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The Spirit of the Riverwards - February 15, 2017  

In this week's issue we interview Rami Ibrahim, muay thai extraordinaire and "Son of Palestine", about growing up as a Palestinian in Kensin...

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