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East Falls Flea Market & Festival • Register Now • Page 10

Vol. 2, No. 1

May 2019 • FREE

Charter School seeks site for 1,000 students on Henry Ave. The Friends of Mifflin believe the consolidated school would imperil Mifflin’s lans by Laboratory enrollment growth just as Charter School of ComMifflin is showing steady munications and Lanimprovement in test scores guages to consolidate three and overall performance. faltering schools into a new Critics also cite budgetary school on the site of the forand performance problems mer Medical College of Penn- with the Laboratory Charter. sylvania at 3300 Henry According to an audit, the Avenue are drawing strong three Lab Charter campuses opposition from supporters of - two in Overbrook and one in Mifflin School and opponents Northern Liberties -- lost $1.2 of Charter schools. The million 2017 and owed $11 reconstituted school would million in unpaid pension liaenroll up to 1,000 students in bilities to the Pennsylvania grades K-8. School Employment RetireAs East Falls NOW was ment System (PSERS.) going to press, the Board of School officials deny they are Education was scheduled to in arrears on pension payIt’s springtime, and East Falls has never looked better, including this blooming vote to approve the plans on ments. beauty on W. Coulter St. across from McMichael Park. April 25. Backed by Friends The School’s founder, of Mifflin (FOM,) residents Dorothy June Brown, was are petitioning the school indicted in July 2012 on board to delay its vote until charges of defrauding the the community has more time School District of $6.3 million. to review the school’s plans. She was acquitted on several News of yet another charter charges but faced retrial he East Falls Commu- officers for 2019-2020. The in East Falls with a scheduled when the jury deadlocked on nity Council’s general Nominating Committee is September opening followed a a larger number of charges. composed of Holly Maher, membership meeting Board of Education meeting In 2015 a federal trial judge Chair, and Joe Terry and at 7 pm Mon., May 13, will on April 11. The news surruled that she would not face Faith McDowell. Per the take the form of the twiceprised and angered many in retrial because she suffered EFFC bylaws, in addition to annual EFCC Candidates’ the community as much for from dementia. the committee’s presentaNight. the secrecy with which plan“We all agree,” says the Candidates for city offices tion, nominations can be ning took place as for quesFOM petition, “that students made from the floor of the in the May 21st Primary tions over the wisdom of deserve a quality education -May 13th general memberElection have been invited adding yet another charter one that empowers our youth ship meeting. The election to this always popular school in East Falls. Charter in a safe and caring environwill take place at the June event. They will have the schools are required to alert ment. However, upon review 10 general membership opportunity to make brief local communities and engage of Laboratory Charter, it’s meeting. comments and take quesresidents. clear that it does not hold a • The presentation of the tions from the audience. recommendations of the The agenda also will EFCC Grants Committee. include: These, too, will be voted on • The presentation of the at the June 10th meeting. Nominating Committee for

by John T. Gillespie


EFCC Candidates Night May 13


consistent track record when it comes to quality education.” Two years ago the school district office in charge of overseeing charter schools recommended that the school – among the city’s first charter schools in 1997 – be denied a new five-year operating agreement because of the problems with finance and governance. The office said that Laboratory had failed five times to make timely payments to the state teachers' retirement system. Critics say the consolidation of the three units and move to East Falls is nothing more than a move by the underperforming and poorly managed school to save itself. “By moving to Henry Ave., they consolidate resources, making it cheaper and increase the amount of money they get because they increase enrollment,” said Carla Lewandowski, a Mifflin parent and member of FOM. “This is not some altruistic move to provide better education for more students.“ Critics also point to the threat of added congestion from cars and dozens of SEPTA buses on the narrow Scotts Ln. accessing the rear of the property. According to the petition, . (Continued on page 6)

Library spring sale set for May 4

drens materials and conducting preview sales for dealers and the public on May 1. Books will sell for $10 a bag the day of the sale with bags available at the door. Plants will include annuring to build rental properties. als, perennials, hanging basby Todd Baylson, Chair, The proposed development kets, and vegetable and herb EFCC Zoning Committee would include 10 parking plants. Donations of baked spaces in a lot that is part of goods may be dropped off the the property. t its regular monthly morning of the sale. The design features a mix of meeting on April 17, the Wendy Moody, who is chairphilly-style rowhome stoops as members of the EFFC ing the book sale, said, “We’re well as a rear private porch Zoning Committee met with lucky to get such an eclectic colarea with grey brick and metal Philippe Cini, owner of the lection of books. It’s a reflecclad exteriors. The design is commercial and residential tion, really, of the subject to change and there building at 3500 Sunnyside neighborhood’s interests.” was a mix of appreciation for Ave. Falls Library garden, the entrance to the May 4th Spring Book and Plant and All leftover books will be givthe materials and concern Cini is seeking support for a Baked Goods Sale. en away free Monday, May 6, about the lack of traditional variance to develop seven onefrom 12 noon to 6 pm, and red brick. and-two-bedroom rental units garet Sadler, president of the he Friends of the Falls of Tuesday, May 7, from 10 am to The heights as proposed will on the remainder of the Conrad Friends, said she hoped for Schuylkill Library are match the scale of Conrad St., street frontage that he owns – large turnout. “Now is the time 4 pm. gearing up for what they Proceeds from the sale will and air conditioning equipment hope will be the best spring sale to do some spring shopping, property now a vacant lot at benefit library programs. Those would be screened by the Conrad and Bowman Sts. ever – on Sat., May 4, from 9:30 support the library and gather interested in volunteering for roofline, according to Cini’s The lot is odd shaped, and as a community.” am to 2:30 pm. the sale can call the library at architect. the owner stated he was not Volunteers spent the month Books, plants and baked 215-685-2093. Some meeting attendees interested in doing “for sale” of April accepting donations of goods will be available along (Continued on page 14) with light refreshments. Mardevelopment, instead preferbooks, CDs, DVDs, and chil-




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East Falls NOW

May 2019

Your May 2019 East Falls NOW Calendar Falls of the Schuylkill Library March hours: Mon. & Wed., 12 to 8 pm; Tues. & Thurs., 10 am to 6 pm; Fri., 10 am to 5 pm; Sat. 10 am to 5; closed Sundays. Delayed opening (2 pm) Thurs., April 11 for staff development; closed Mon., May 27 for Memorial Day The Summer of Wonder will begin Monday, June 3rd! Stop in the library to find out more about our Summer Reading program. LEAP, the Free Library’s drop-in after school program, offers homework assistance, computer literacy and library skills for students in grades K–12, along with daily literacy enrichment activities for elementary school students every Mon. through Thurs., 3 to 5:30 pm and Sat., 1 to 5 pm. The librarians at the Falls Library are Drew Birden and Meredith McGovern. For questions, call 215-685-2093.

1 Wednesday 1 pm: Beginner’s Bridge, Falls Library. (Story Pg. 10)

2 Thursday

9:30 am: EF Village Neighborhood Walk. Meet in Falls Library garden. (Story Pg. 5)

4 Saturday

9 to 11 am: EF Town Watch “Litter Crew Ahead” clean-up, Henry Ave. and Queen Ln. (Story Pg. 13) 9:30 am to 2 :30 pm: Friends of the Falls Library Spring Book and Plant Sale, Falls Library (Story Pg. 1) 10 am to 4 pm: East Falls Spring Market to benefit the EF Famers’ Market, Vault & Vine. (Story Pg. 15)

5 Sunday

10 am to 4 pm: East Falls Spring Market to benefit the EF Famers’ Market, Vault & Vine. (Story Pg. 15) 4 to 8 pm: The Friends of Mifflin earn 33 percent of your bill at Chipotle, 4030 City Ave. (Story Pg. 9)

6 Monday

4:15 pm: Read with a Therapy Dog at the Falls Library. School

age kids are invited to read with Wally or Orchid, certified therapy dogs. Come share a new book or an old favorite in a judgementfree space. (Story Pg. 10)

11 Saturday

6:30 pm: Meditation Workshop, Falls Library. (Story Pg. 10)

5:45 pm: Advanced Bridge, Falls Library. (Story Pg. 10)

9:30 am to 2 pm: Love Your Park Day at McMichael Park. (Story Pg. 11)

6:30 pm: Story Time in McMichael Park. Meet at the Turtle for a spring evening story time, recommended for ages two to six; siblings always welcome. Snacks provided by Friends of McMichael Park. Rain date: May 20. (Story Pg. X)

8 Wednesday 1 pm: Beginner’s Bridge, Falls Library. (Story Pg. 10)

6 pm: EF Town Watch meets with police officials from PSA 1, Canaan Baptist Church, 5430 Pulaski Ave. (Story Pg. 13)

9 Thursday

9:30 am: EF Village Neighborhood Walk. Meet in Falls Library garden. (Story Pg. 5) 2 pm: Delayed opening at Falls Library for staff development. 7:30 pm: EF Town Watch meeting, 3540 Indian Queen Ln. (Story, Pg. 10)

10 Friday

10 am: Arbor Day at Inn Yard Park. (Story Pg. 11) 11:45 am: EF Village Lunch of the Month at A Tutti, 5154 Ridge Ave. Carpool from Falls Library (Story, Pg. 5)

9 to 11 am: Free shredding event by St. Rep. Pam DeLissio. 514 Dupont St., Roxborough.

10 am to 2 pm: EF Farmers Market first outdoor Saturday under the Twin Bridges. (Story Pg. 15) 10:30 am: EF Village program on “What’s Bugging You?” at the Falls Library. (Story Pg. 5) 2 pm: Leap into building for school-age children at the Falls Library. (Story, Pg. 10)

12 Sunday

Happy Mother’s Day to all East Falls NOW moms and their families!

13 Monday

4:15 pm: Read with a Therapy Dog, Falls Library. (Story Pg. 10) 6 pm: Program on the stoicism philosophy, Falls Library. (Story Pg. 10)

14 Tuesday

10:15 am: Music and Movement Time at the Falls Library. Babies and toddlers will enjoy a parentled music and dance story time. Children will play maracas, shake pom-poms, dance and listen to music and dance-themed books. Come tire out your little ones and meet local parents. Groups and daycares please call the library to set up special visits. (Story Pg. 10) 6:30 pm: “Considering Miffling,” informal meetup for parents and children. Enjoy pizza and snacks at McDevitt Playground (Story, Pg. 9)

15 Wednesday 1 pm: Beginner’s Bridge, Falls Library. (Story Pg. 10)

16 Thursday

9:30 am: EF Village Neighborhood Walk. Meet in Falls Library garden. (Story Pg. 5)

18 Saturday 10 am to 2 pm: EF Farmers Market under the Twin Bridges (Story, Pg. 15)

10:30 am: Mindful Breathing and Yoga at the Falls Library. Join this introduction to mindful breathing and yoga. An all ages family program; all are welcome! (Story Pg. 10) 12 noon to 3 pm: Love Your Park Day at Inn Yard Park. (Story Pg. 10) 2 pm: LEAP into Slime! Make some slime using different household ingredients at the Falls Library. For school-age kids. (Story Pg. 10)

20 Monday 4:15 pm: Read with a Therapy Dog, Falls Library. (Story Pg. 10) 6:30 pm: Meditation Workshop, Falls Library. (Story Pg. 10)

(Continued on page 15)

215-717-9667 • •

East Falls NOW


May 2019

Do charter schools endanger Mifflin? We can’t afford to take a chance!


he question about the latest charter school seeking to enter our community – Laboratory Charter School with its seriously checkered past -- is not whether parents should have the right to choose their kids’ public school. Let’s grant them that right, just for the sake of discussion. The question is whether that right comes at the expense of all of the other children remaining in public school. Undeniably, the answer is “yes.” If the geniuses who control both houses of our state legislature think charter schools are such a great idea, they should provide the funds for them. If they want their constituents to have any benefit, they should provide the resources for them. The way it works now, PA’s public school districts pay a formula-driven amount per

child to the charters. But they still have their fixed costs, which is why charter schools are taking resources away from the remaining public school students. Let’s set that debate aside for a moment, however, because Laboratory Charter is a special case. In a federal trial that started with indictments in July of 2012, CEO Dorothy June Brown and her colleagues were charged with making abuse of public funds an art form. How’s a $6 million fraud scheme sound? They were tried on charges of defrauding the government, falsifying and destroying documents and enriching themselves at the expense of taxpayers and our children. And by the way, you wouldn’t want to write home about the academic performances of the three schools that are being merged to form Laboratory Charter.

lege of Pennsylvania at 3300 Henry Ave. As East Falls NOW was going to press, the School District was scheduled to meet on April 25 to decide whether to grant Laboratory the right to relocate its three campuses into one school right here in East Falls. According to reporting by A message from the my EF NOW colleague John EFCC Gillespie, the school wants to SEPTA buses to carry President use students up and down narrow Scotts Ln. to reach the rear of the property. And it’s not at by Bill Epstein all clear that the school has re-payed the millions it owed could not receive a fair trial the state for failing to make because she suffered from the required pension payAlzheimer’s-like dementia. ments for its teachers and Case closed. other employees. That is, until the boards of I join the Friends of Mifflin the three schools that comwho have called for the School posed Ms. Brown’s empire District to delay its vote until decided to merge them to we can get answers to many form Laboratory Charter and questions. They have mountset up shop in the rear of the ed a brave and necessary former Women’s Medical Col- campaign because they Dorothy June Brown’s federal jury deadlocked on the charges against her. When the government went to retry her in 2015, the judge ruled that the former education mogul, then 77 years old,

believe that Laboratory Charter, combined with the Hebrew Public Charter School that’s opening in September on the same property, will drain students from Mifflin. Are they right? I’m with those who think we have a great thing going at Mifflin right now, and that we’re poised for great achievements there. I hope the School Board recognizes that we can’t afford to take a chance. I hope it recognizes that there’s no good reason to take such a chance. We have too many good things happening at Mifflin. Let Laboratory Charter locate somewhere else. I hope that John and I can report in the June issue of East Falls NOW that the school board members came to their senses and slowed down this pending train wreck.

Why A Bill Rarely Becomes A Law


overning is a complex process. Often constituents are not aware of the “zigs and zags” that legislation can take on its way to either the Governor’s desk or the DOA (dead on arrival) pile. On average, 3,800 bills are introduced in a two-year session of the General Assembly. Only about eight percent of those bills are signed into law. Many constituents are surprised at what is normal process and procedure in Harrisburg, and I thought I would highlight for East Falls NOW some of the more interesting practices that can occur to proposed legislation. • An amendment that is voted into a bill with the express

purpose of killing the bill is referred to as a “poison pill.” As an example, last session, HB722, which would have established an independent redistricting commission composed of citizens, was amended in committee to ensure that gerrymandering would be exacerbated versus eliminated. • An amendment can be ruled as “not germane” to the legislation to which it is being proposed. Germaneness is decided by a simple majority of the PA House. In other words, if the majority party is concerned that an amendment might pass – and that is not the outcome the majority party desires – the amendment will be subjected to a vote on ger-

Published monthly and on-line by the East Falls Community Council PO Box 12672, Philadelphia, PA 19129 • For news, contact: For advertising, contact For letters, contact Everything else, contact

• I invented the hashtag #cluckfuster and use it when I am particularly dismayed or frustrated about procedural moves taking place on the floor of the House. • The House calendar is published twice a year -- usually in late October or November for January through June and again in late June for September through December. It makes planning vacations a year in advance impossible, unless you are willing to miss a session, which I am not. The House calendar also is subject to change with not a lot of notice -- which also wreaks by St. Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio havoc! • A bill can be referred to any one of the 24 House standexceed 10 minutes. Votes by the legislators are electronical- ing committees; it does not have to be referred to an obvily displayed on two boards on ous committee. For example, the House floor for all to see. an insurance-related bill can In my four terms, I have seen the boards close in seconds and go to the Transportation ComI have seen the boards remain mittee or an education related bill can go to the Human Seropen for many minutes – vices Committee. The Speaker depending on the outcome the assigns all bills and they can Speaker seeks. For example, be sent to a particular committhe boards are held open if tee with the intention of being there are not sufficient votes as desired by the Speaker, and expedited or stalled. • Although gentlemen memarm twisting either commences bers of the House will not be or continues. maneness. Amendments subjected to these votes are almost always ruled as not germane. Many opportunities to improve legislation have been defeated by this maneuver. • When House members cast a vote, the Speaker decides when to close the voting board. In no event shall such time

Pam’s Viewpoint

New exec outlines EFDC’s goals and projects by Meredith Johnson

Your East Falls Community Council: William Epstein, President Todd Baylson, Vice President and Zoning Chair Mary Alice Duff, Vice President and Events Chair Joseph Leube, Treasurer Christina Spolsky, Communications Director and Corresponding Secretary Mary Jean Cunningham, Recording Secretary and Membership Chair Christopher Caporellie, Member, Executive Committee at Large John Gillespie, Member, Executive Committee at Large and Transportation Chair Thomas Flynn, Member, Executive Committee at Large Alex Keating, Member, Executive Committee at Large Emily Nichols, Member, Executive Committee at Large Robert Rabinowitz, Member, Executive Committee at Large Christopher Rooney, Member, Executive Committee at Large and By-Laws Chair Barnaby Wittels, Immediate Past President

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recognized to speak unless attired in a jacket and tie, no comparable dictate exists for gentleladies. Personally, I do not think they ever anticipated women being elected. After all, barely 26 percent or 53 of the 203 members of the House are women after 337 years. I have introduced two House Resolutions this session, HR13 and HR19. These resolutions, if adopted, would amend the rules to respectively ensure that any bill that receives 20 co-sponsors from each party would get a committee vote and would require that germaneness be handled in accordance with Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure If this information has piqued your curiosity, please join me at my 84th Town Hall. It will be held at 7 pm Wed., May 22 in the Wolcoff Auditorium of Roxborough Memorial Hospital. We will discuss the pros and cons of the proposed PA legislation for a nuclear bailout and what it means to the commonwealth at large. Check my website at or call me at 215-482-8726 for details.


s the new director of the East Falls Development Corporation (EFDC), I welcome this opportunity to introduce myself to the readers of East Falls NOW. I’m originally from Austin, TX, but also I lived in Seattle, WA before moving to Philadelphia. My background is in urban and regional planning on both the public and private sector sides. I came to Philadelphia two years ago to pursue a master’s degree in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania. I live in Germantown, where I am restoring an 1880-era house.

Outside of work and restorations, I like to run and hike in the Wissahickon. I also love to cook (and eat), ride bikes (just getting into mountain biking), and travel (I went to Cuba in March.)

Though I’ve been in this position for only one month, I wanted to share some insights. First, I’d like to say that I have found East Falls to be incredibly welcoming and supportive. I believe that neighborhood development should put people first. People are the key to great places, so I try to be as transparent and inclusive in my work as possible. In the case of EFDC, we’re primarily working with the business community, but that does not omit the residents, visitors or other East Falls community members. I’ve enjoyed meeting a lot of people in East Falls and I’ve been impressed with the (Continued on page 4)


East Falls NOW

May 2019

Traffic safety still a concern


Most recently, we have seen new speed signage on Henry Ave. that hopefully will have a lasting impact. We continue to work with our partners at the Streets Department and PENNDOT to work on the Henry Ave. Improvement Project. As you know, the project has been in the planning stages for several years, with meetings to inform the community taking place throughout the years. The 1.4-mile stretch along Henry Ave. by Curtis J. Jones, Jr, Councilman hosts traffic from between 20,000 and 26,000 vehicles to make East Falls safer. each day. All together, there We have had some major will be almost 200 separate improvements in recent years, projects -- from new signage such as the speed tables on and markings to improveSchool House and Queen Lns. ments to traffic signals and raffic safety remains of utmost concern to me. I want to thank John Gillespie and the EF Community Council Traffic Committee for their years-long efforts



new guardrails. While the project is still probably a year way, set to begin in 2020, as I mentioned before we are constantly looking at ways to make East Falls safer for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. We are still looking at the possibility of red lights cameras at several intersections on both Henry and Ridge Aves. Hopefully, we will have the results of that study, too, soon. East Falls is a special place in which to live, work and play. I am committed to making it as safe as possible. As always, please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns at 215-686-3416.

New exec outlines EFDC’s goals and projects (Continued from page 1)

amount of history here, in both written material and photos. It’s important for communities to see how far they’ve come, so I’m excited to find ways to share those archives. I also want to share some of our goals and projects. In the short term we’re working on re-vamping the EFDC’s website to feature local business, thoughtfully increasing our social media presence, and I am working on meeting every business owner and organization in the area. Again, we

Help make our community great. Join the East Falls Community Council by visiting “Become a Member” at

want to make sure people know we are here and active. Right now, the biggest challenge is spreading the word about EFDC. There are so many good things happening and so many good things yet to come here in East Falls, and we want to make sure that folks know we are here to help the community, especially the business community, to be the best that it can be. Long term projects currently include the river landing project, which might be more a medium-term project, but also streetscape improvements. I also want to see the vacant commercial properties filled, which sounds simple but can be a long-term process. I’d like to see East Falls thrive socially, economically, and environmentally in a changing Philadelphia landscape. I hope that we can become a place with zero

storefront vacancies and have businesses that have been in place for a significant amount of time. I also hope that East Falls will feel safer and more inviting to pedestrians and cyclists in a way that allows residents to feel inclined to shop locally. This would help to attract more Schuylkill River Trail users to shop in East Falls. Finally, I hope that East Falls will feel more connected to the natural resources that surround the community, including the Schuylkill River and the Wissahickon Creek, in a way that promotes stewardship. These goals, of course, are long-term and require a lot of little steps. I plan to include measurable goals with our projects and plans to ensure that we always know where we stand in terms of reaching the final destination.

Eyes open, ears alert for spring migration


pring migration is in full swing. While some birds, such as the Eastern Phoebes and Tree Swallows, have been back for well over a month, others, including Blackpoll Warblers, are yet to show up in large numbers. In a week or two, the trees will be dripping with warblers on good migration days. It’s every birder’s dream to be out on one of

Navin on Nature

A Magnolia Wabbler

ules were out and about picking off numerous species of warblers for their year lists. by Navin Sasikumar A year list is a list birders keep of all the birds they have those days. seen in a calendar year. Two years ago, on a TuesA Kentucky Warbler in Carday morning in May, I was penter's Woods, a Prothonostepping out of my house to tary Warbler at John Heinz catch the train to work when NWR, a Black-throated Blue I heard a high pitched song Warbler in the Wissahickon, a right above my house from Worm-eating Warbler at FDR one of the many Plane trees Park, Cape May Warblers at that line my street. I had an Bartram’s Garden -- I felt my inkling it was a Blackburnian jealousy slowly creeping up as Warbler from the song, but I I heard about all the birds quickly ran back inside to they were seeing. grab my binoculars and conLast year, I lucked out and firm my identification. Sure hit a good migration day enough, there it was, a beauwhile I was out at Carpenter’s tiful male Blackburnian warWoods on a Sunday morning. bler! It was foraging high There were warblers everyabove me, it’s brilliant orange where we looked. When we throat and face glistening in finally decided it was time to the morning light as it hunted go home, we had 18 species of for insects. Unfortunately, I warblers in addition to lots of still had that train to catch birds from other families. and didn’t have the time to Carpenter’s Woods -- just 10 grab good photos of it, so I minutes from East Falls -- is don’t have one to share, but if a particularly good spot you have never seen one, be because of the large number sure to look up what a Black- of mature oak trees. They are burnian Warbler looks like. hosts to a large number of It turns out that that parcaterpillars that birds need to ticular day was a wonderful fuel their journey farther day for migrating birds in north. Philadelphia. While I sat You can find migratory warbehind my computer in my blers anywhere. Above your dark office in the city, friends (Continued from page 12) who had more flexible sched-

East Falls NOW


May 2019

EF Village sets May programs program titled What’s Bugging You? at the Falls Library at 10:30 am Sat., May 11. Speaker Dion Lerman will dishe East Falls Village has set a full schedule of cuss the insects – including their life cycle, impact on pubfree programs open to lic health, and the effect of climembers and non-members mate change on them (and us!) for May. He also will talk about safe, On each Thursday of the month, at 9:30 am, the Village effective control methods – the good, the bad, and the useless. will sponsor its NeighborIf something is bugging you hood Walks. The walks will and you don’t know what it is, convene in the garden of the bring a sample. Dion can idenFalls Library. The EF Village Lunch of the tify it and answer your questions. Month will take place on May Dion is the Environmental 10 at A Tutti, 5154 Ridge Ave. Health Programs Specialist for on Fri., May 10. Register by the Pennsylvania Integrated calling 267-444-4507 and meet Pest Management Program, a to carpool at the Falls Library program of The Pennsylvania at 11:45 am. State University Extension Learn about pest insects -Services. He is an Associate fleas, ticks, bedbugs, cockCertified Entomologist, a roaches, mosquitos, and spotlicensed pesticide applicator, ted lantern flies -- at a and has a master’s degree in

by Mary Flournoy


Kitchen Corner


dents from Thomas Jefferson University will provide free screenings at the Falls of Schuylkill Library. Teams of two students will take blood pressure and other vitals and then screen for hand strength, balance, and risk of falling. Each screening will take about

twenty minutes. Seniors can come any time between 12:30 and 3:00 pm. Did you know that hand strength may be an indicator of cardiovascular health and longevity? Come and find out how strong your hands are and learn some simple exercises to increase the strength in your hands. Falls are very serious in older adults. They are the leading reason people end up in nursing homes. Over 50% of falls in seniors result in an injury. One of four Americans over 65 falls each year. Every eleven seconds, an older adult is treated in an ER as a result of a fall and every nineteen minutes, an older adult dies from a fall. Don’t be a statistic! Come to this free screening to learn if you are at risk of falling – and what you can do about it.

Note: This program was originally scheduled for May 16. Summer Gathering On Sunday, June 2 from 3 to 5 pm, EFV will hold its winter gathering – a program and short business meeting followed by a wine and cheese social hour – at Jefferson University’s Tuttleman Center (School House Lane & Vaux St.). Anyone interested in East Falls Village is welcome to come; however, we ask that you register by emailing or by calling 267-444-4507. See or call 267-444-4507 for more information. To join, pick up a membership brochure at the front desk of the Falls Library or print out an application from the website.

Household Hazardous Waste Events

Mother’s Day – Youngsters can help in the kitchen by Anne Farnese

Public Health from Drexel University. Screening for Hand Strength and Risk of Falling On Thursday afternoon, May 23, Occupational Therapy stu-

Mother’s Day Smoothie Place one cup frozen blueberries with 1¼ cup skim milk and 1 container vanilla yogurt in a blender. Cover and mix on high speed for one minute. Serve in a pretty glass.

n Sunday, May 12th, the time-honored tradition of preparing breakfast for Mom will take place in American kitchens. Unlike other holidays, no traditional food is associated Mother’s Day Parfait with Mother’s Day, so the One container menu can be as simple as fruit-flavored yogurt store-bought breakfast treats 1/2 cup whole grain cereal and juice or as elaborate as 1/2 cup fresh berries, eggs Benedict and mimosas. washed When honoring Mom with a Layer 1/3 portion each special meal, organization is of yogurt, cereal, and the key to success. Set-up a berries clean work area and have all in a tall glass. necessary bowls, tools and Repeat two times. ingredients in place. Safety is Marmalade Butter as important as organization; Combine 1/2 cup softened always supervise children. butter with 3/4 cup orange For young chefs, Kitchen marmalade. Serve in an Corner recommends these attractive bowl. easy, no-cooking-required recipes.

May 11, 2019 Household Hazardous Waste Events 1st District Highway Yard 1st District Highway Yard 4800 Parkside Ave. Event time: 9am – 3 pm June 22, 2019 Household Hazardous Waste Events Northwest Transfer Station, Domino Lane & Umbria Street Northwest Transfer Station, Domino Lane & Umbria Street Event time: 9am – 3pm


East Falls NOW

May 2019

Colonial to neo-gothic and post-modern, East Falls has it all by Ellen Sheehan This article was inspired by Ken Hinde's lecture, “200 Years of East Falls Architecture” but is not intended as a summary of his full presentation. magine East Falls as a sleepy fishing village whose hills supported the recreational activities for the weary and overworked residents of center city. This is the proud Colonial origin of East Falls in the early 1700s. “200 Years of EF Architecture,” a program presented by the East Falls Historical Society, provided a chronological overview of how architecture was influenced by the geographical, occupational and social development taking place from William Penn’s landing in 1682 to the present. The program was presented by Ken Hinde, EF resident and historical society board member, to more than 100 attendees at the Falls Library on April 10. Ken has a museum back-


ground and was tour director for the Foundation for Architecture for 15 years. He presently is a part-time tour guide/educator at the Fairmount Water Works. He works with other historical society members in developing and co-leading a number of tours related to EF history and architecture. The 1700-1800s saw the city as a walking/mercantile society where masonry and frame construction provided brick row housing for a society in undifferentiated living and working spaces. Society Hill, the “Cradle of Democracy,” for instance, represents the medieval craft tradition. During this time, East Falls provided a suburban respite from the crowded city. During the 1800-1900s the Schuylkill River produced not only power for industrial plants but easy transportation of raw materials and finished products to and from ports. East Falls became a mill town for middle class factory Weightman factories flourworkers. The Simpson Mills, ished and populated East Dobson Mills and Powers & Falls with the construction of surrounding row housing for their employees. Breweries, too, were prevalent because of the underground springs. Estates for the barons – the Dobsons, the Hohenadels and the Weightmans – rose up on safely to and from school each the hills influenced by the revival of Classical and day.” Romanesque Architecture. Residents want a traffic Churches reflected the impact study and the results made public before the Board Gothic and Romanesque revivals taking place throughof Education votes on the out the city. Ridge Avenue’s plans.

Charter School seeks site for 1,000 students on Henry Ave. (Continued from page 1)

“With a singular exit and entrance from Scotts Ln. it’s not yet well understood how students, particularly very young students, will travel

Kelly Drive Closings


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business district and housing is punctuated by cornice detailing and French mansard roofs. Once trains, trolleys and automobiles were in use, East Falls became a commuter suburb. With proximity to Center City and access to the Schuylkill Expressway, service and professional employment available through brief travel saw East Falls become a residential area with provisions for gardens and garages. The Queen Lane Water Works, the Falls Library, Mif-


flin School, the former Ravenhill Academy and Alden Park display East Falls as an eclectic range of Queen Anne, Gothic, Beaux Arts, Tutor and Art-Deco styles. Recent Modernism styles can be seen on W. Penn St., Kelly Dr., and Conrad St. McMichael Park, Inn Yard Park, McDevitt Recreational Center and jogging and biking trails provide welcome recreational opportunities. And, yes, fishing along the Schuylkill in 2019 is alive and well in East Falls.`

Tennis, anyone?

s a result of an agreement between Legacy Tennis and the EFCC, anyone with identification showing residency in Philadelphia can play free on three outdoor courts in these hours through May:

Monday – Friday: 8 to 11 am Sat. and Sun.: 4 to 7 pm Sign in at the front desk. The hours will change for June, July and August. Watch East Falls NOW for details.

cucina italiana

3572 Indian Queen Lane, East Falls, Pa 19129 Lunch: Monday-Friday 11:30 to 2:30 Dinner: Monday-Saturday 15 to 9:30 | Sunday 4 to 9

more info at

East Falls NOW

May 2019



May 2019

East Falls NOW


ore than 500 students, parents and friends of Thomas Mifflin School turned out on a beautiful March 30th for Mifflin March Madness, featuring basketball competition between teachers and students, good eats and fundraising fun and games.

Assisting in the day’s activities were members of the Jefferson University women’s basketball team, from left: Cait Cunningham, Haley Meinel, Ali Warren and Ola Oguntuase.

ss fundraiser were, March 30 Mifflin Madne Helping to organize the teachers; Nicole Boyd, friend of several Mifflin from left: Daniel Merin, teacher; and Kenya de gra te Monahan, 2nd 4th grade teacher; Na of Mifflin. Co-Chair of the Friends Holmes, Mifflin parent and

Catching some rays during a break in the Mifflin Madness action was 6th grader Stephen Myers-Lilley.

sEnjoying their soft mu big a in tard pretzels way were, from left: Pedrito Cunillera, who n will enter kindergarte er; mb pte Se at Mifflin in Serenity Seals-Scott, 4th grader; Shamaya Seals and r; de gra 5th tt, Sco Amy Diefenderfer, 5th grader, daughter of Friends of Mifflin CoChair Bonnie Emilius.

the wildly Having a good time at Mifflin Madh 30t rch Ma l sfu succes graders 7th : left ness were, from kson and Jac ani Am , ley ink Br h Aziya tics nas gym fflin Bresha Root; Mi 8th and r; use Ho yly Ka r teache of Stugrade teacher and Dean lding his ho a qu pas De ah No dents a. qu pas De daughter, Alba

Taking the court for the student team are, from left: Zakai Norris-Green, kindergardner, and 1st graders Jonah Bryant, Quill Keating and Caysen Clark.

Taking a break in the actioin were, from left: Naveeah Jones, Mifflin 6th grader; School Police Officer Elijah Vereen; and his daughter, Zamiah Vereen.

East Falls NOW


May 2019

Large crowd for ‘Considering Mifflin’ The Friends of Mifflin continued their monthly series of “Considering Mifflin?” informal get- togethers -- this one in April -- to introduce prospective parents and students to the school. The next meet-up is scheduled for 5:30 pm Tues., May 14 at McDevitt Playground.


East Falls NOW

May 2019

Bike lanes, paths growing in region by Chris Caporellie


ithout realizing it, residents of East Falls are at the epicenter of an explosion in bicycle trails, large and small. Folks riding their bikes along the Kelly Dr. and Martin Luther King Dr. on weekends during the summer are just scratching the surface. Besides Philadelphia's dramatic increase in protected bicycle lanes on streets, the entire region is building more bike trails where cars can’t go. Schuylkill River Trail (SRT) You can ride along the historic Manayunk Canal trail, which joins up with the Schuylkill River Trail. When completed, the SRT will run almost 130 miles from Fort Mifflin at the confluence of the Schuylkill and the Delaware Rivers all the way to Pottsville. Presently, more than 60 miles of trails are completed, with a 30 mile stretch from Philadelphia to

Parkerford, all right out our front doors. This trail utilizes former railroad beds of the Pennsylvania Railroad that have been converted to paved, car-free multi-use trails. In addition to the SRT, you can also connect to the Perkiomen Trail and the cross county trail and the recently completed Cynwyd Heritage Trail, to name a few. If you’re looking for something to do with the family, the Wissahickon Valley Park is for you. It has a combination of trails with something for everyone. If you want to pass on your love of bicycling to your kids, try Forbidden Dr. It is so named because smart Philadelphians long ago decided to forbid motor vehicles from using this beautiful valley, making it the perfect place to take the family for a ride. It is 5.35 miles of wide, yet relatively flat gravel road that is a great place for a ride, walk, or horseback ride regardless of the season. In addition to Forbidden Dr., Wissahickon Valley Park also

ing/walking route from Calais, Maine, on the Canadian border to the Florida Keys. As of 2017, 900 miles, or 32 percent, were off-road. The goal is for the entire route to be off-road. The route through Pennsylvania starts in Bucks County, at Morrisville, directly across from Trenton, NJ. It roughly follows I-95 south until it crosses through the city on Spring Garden St. From there it passes behind the Art Museum, and follows the Schuylkill River Trail down towards Fort Mifflin. For more information visit: Visit Closer to home, you might want to join the growing number of people biking to work. Center City has seen a dramatic increase of bike lanes and trails thanks to former Mayor Michael Nutter. According to the Philadelphia East Coast Greenway Bicycle Coalition, bicycle comWant something a little muting in Philadelphia longer? The East Coast increased 260 percent Greenway connects through between 2005 and 2013 meaCenter City Philadelphia. This is an ambitious, yet prac- sured by rush hour bicycle tical, 3,000-mile protected bik- volume across the major has mountain bike trails on either side of the valley floor. The white, yellow, and orange trails run 4.5 and 5.5 miles long and are excellent mountain bike trails.

For Bike Trail

Schuylkill River Bridges. Philadelphia remains the top bicycle commuting city of the nation’s 10 biggest cities. Also, we have more women riding bicycles – 33 percent – compared to the national average of 24 percent. This rider used to commute by car to work in Society Hill in about 45 minutes. Now I bike in the same amount of time – down Kelly Dr. past the Art Museum to the Schuylkill Banks area; then onto the bike lanes on Pine and Lombard Sts., down to 5th St. and hang a left. It’s a relatively straight, flat ride that’s quite beautiful. Whether it is the river, trees and boat houses along Kelly Dr. or the historic houses through the city, there is always something to look at. For more information on biking in Philadelphia and region, go to the Philadelphia Bike Club at or the Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition at

May: a busy month at the Falls Library


he Falls Library’s Summer of Wonder reading program for children of all ages will begin Monday, June 3. Librarians Drew Birden and Meredith McGovern invite parents and their youngsters to stop in for more information and to register. Library hours are on Page 2. The always popular Read with a Therapy Dog program will continue at 4:15 pm Mondays, May 6, 13 and 20. School-age kids are invited to read with the certified therapy dogs Wall or Orchid, sharing a new book or an old

favorite in a judgement-free space. Twice in May -- at 10:15 am Tues. the 14th and 28th – the Library will rock and roll with Music and Movement Time. Babies and toddlers will take part in a parent-led music and dance-themed storytime. Children will play maracas, shake pom-poms, dance and listen to music and dance-themed readings. This is a great opportunity to tire out your little ones and meet local parents. Groups should call the Library to set up their own visits.

One time only in May – on the 11th at 2 pm – young children supervised by parents will Leap into Building with Legos, Keva Planks and Magnatiles. This involves small pieces, so young children should be supervised. At 6:30 pm on Mon., May 13, Story Time in McMichael Park takes place at the Turtle. The recommended ages are two to six, but siblings are welcome. Snacks will be provided by the Friends of McMichael Park. Rain date will be Mon., May 20. An all-ages family program,

East Falls

Mindful Breathing and Yoga, is scheduled for 10:30 am Sat., May 18. Join this introduction to mindful breathing and yoga. Wear comfortable clothes and feel free to bring your own yoga mat. Later on Sat., May 18, at 2 pm, school-age kids can Leap into Slime! Find out how to have fun making a mess with household ingredients. As May draws to a close, it’s time to register for the Falls Library’s Summer of Wonder Kick-Off Party from 3:30 to 5:30 pm. on Thurs., May 30. There’s no better way to launch a summer of reading for all ages than with snacks, face painting from Fabulous Faces, and more. On the adult front, the spring festivities begin at 9:30 am Sat., May 4, with the Friends of the Falls Library Spring Book, Bake and Flower Sale. This annual favorite always draws lots of folks and is fun for the entire family. Friends of the Falls Library member Victor Lewis will

host Advanced Bridge twice during the month, at 5:45 pm May 6 and May 20. Beginners’ Bridge will be staged five times, at 1 pm on Wednesdays, May 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29. East Falls NOW readers interested in stoicism are invited to learn about the philosophy at 6 pm Monday, May 13. And for those seeking to learning how to gain mindfulness through meditation, two Mediation Workshops are set, both at 6:30 pm, on Mon., May 13, and Mon., May 20. The workshops will utilize calming and energizing techniques to introduce ways to gain self-awareness and a peaceful state of mind. Join Eric Biseca of Umana Philadelphia as he guides participants. The Falls Library will open late on Thurs., May 9 – at 2 pm -- due to staff development meetings, and will be closed on Memorial Day, Mon., May 27.




Flea Market and Festival Saturday, June 1 "# !

"# !

Venders visit for vendor application $50

4265 Kelly Drive Philadelphia, PA 19129 Tel. 215-438-8400 Fax 215-438-9630

East Falls NOW


May 2019

McMichael ‘Love Your Park’ Day May 11; Memorial Day Parade Set by Alexis Franklin, Coordinator, FOMP


t’s not too late to volunteer for the McMichael “Love Your Park Day” on Sat., May 11, with a full schedule of clean-up activities and fun for kids of all ages running from 9 am to 1 pm – followed by an 8:15 pm Saturday Night Movie. Volunteers are needed to help with general clean-up, mulching and tree and flower planting. Friends of McMichael Park (FOMP) volunteers will share “tips ‘n tools” on how and what it takes to care for the park, and we welcome more hands to clean, prune, sweep and do the ongoing park maintenance to keep the park inviting and beautiful. Storm water markings also will be done. If you can participate for an hour or more on May 11th, sign up at The FOMP are hosting a big day with many activities planned for this 90th birthday celebration of McMichael Park on May 11th. Rain date is May 18th. Pop-up-Play: At 10 am, Pop-up Play will join us with the theme “Things that Fly.” Children and families will work together to create wearable wings – butterflies, bats, ladybugs, dragons, fairies, airplanes and more. Families will practice STEAM skills of measurement, color mixing,

knot tying and design. Catapult creations also will be pat of the hour. For more information, visit From 11 am to 1 pm, the FOMP annual Pet Adoption will be presented, organized by Mike Andrews. Stop by to see opportunities for pet rescues. But wait! The fun is not over yet. Return at 8:15 pm for the Saturday Night Movie in McMichael Park, featuring Disney’s Moana on the big screen. This free event is hosted by FOMP, with thanks to support from Paul Walsh Jr. of Elfant-Wissahickon Realtors. The show will transport you to a tropical island, so bring your beach towel, lawn chair or air mattress to enjoy this familyfriendly event. Storm Water Problem: A site inspection was done in April with Josh Cohen, Chief of Staff for City Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr., Sue Buck, Jason Mifflin and other Philadelphia Parks & Recreation personnel. A budget for the remediation is in process as this storm water problem will only intensify. Curb repairs also are part of the renovation with curbs on the Midvale Ave. and Coulter St. sides of the park needing the most replacement. Turf remediation was recommended, as there are large areas of poor grading and uneven settling and decomposition of tree stumps causing decompressions and bumps.

Mostly onion grass and weeds throughout the park were visible. Also visible were water puddles and run-off within the interior of the park, including those flowing toward Midvale Ave. making the bus stop area marsh-like. Swamp conditions along the Midvale Ave. side of the Park and pools of water underneath many of the benches need to be addressed. Water streaming and pooling along W. Coulter St. side also was noted. Environmental issues always are the most challenging, and we need to look at all the options and have a forward-thinking approach. More about stormwater: There are approximately 75,000 inlets collecting stormwater in Philadelphia. As it rains, trash and pollutants from our gardens, sidewalks and streets are picked up and carried to these storm drains. The drains lead to our sources of drinking water -- the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. The Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) has been working with the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) to raise awareness of the effects of water pollution via stormwater runoff. Join us at 9:30 am in marking storm drains on Love Your Park Day. By marking storm drains, you’re playing an important role in protecting our waterways and reminding our friends and neighbors about the impor-

tance of keeping our storm drains clean. Register by contacting Kadafi El-Kardah at or at 215-5454570. Storm drains can be marked only if the weather is dry. We will contact you if the storm drain marking event is canceled. On Mon., May 13 at 6:30 pm the FOMP Story Hour returns to McMichael Park in a coordinated program with the Falls of Schuylkill Library. Children's Librarian Miss Meredith will be back with a fun read and activity for children to enjoy. This event is recommended for ages two to six, and siblings are welcome. Snacks will be provided by the FOMP. Bring a blanket. On Memorial Day, Mon., May 27 at 11 am, in Collaboration with St. Bridget's Church, the FOMP will host the annual Memorial Day Ceremony. The festivities will include a short program of patriotic songs, a benediction from Father Robert Feeney, a special Memorial Day speaker, the playing of and Taps and a small reception. If you are free that weekend please join us to tidy up the War Memorial. If you are a baker or can provide a snack, donations of cookies, cakes, or drinks are welcome for the reception. Contact: Christina Kistler by May 15 for offers of participation or questions:

Love Your Inn Yard Park Day – May 18 by Sue Park


he spring Love Your Inn Yard Park event will take place on Sat., May 18, from 12 noon to 3 pm. Do you use the park for your children at the playground, or do you play basketball, walk your dog, eat at the table or just enjoy the sunshine and fresh air? Please return some love by helping the Friends of Inn Yard Park give the park a good spring cleaning. We will place compost on flower beds, pull weeds, make borders for flower beds with fallen branches, plant annuals and pick up trash. Refreshments, tools and gloves will be provided. If you have a favorite weeding tool, please bring it to make your work more comfortable, as we have no long-handle weeding tools. Come enjoy the pleasant company at 4208-52 Ridge Ave.and help make the work of keeping our little gem of a park easier.


East Falls NOW

May 2019

New senior services, apartments coming to 3232 Henry Ave.


nnovAge LIFE and the NewCourtland Apartments at 3232 Henry Ave. will open later this year. To introduce these new programs to the East Falls senior community, East Falls Village Right, two cars flattened the Kelly marker on April 4; within two weeks city will sponsor a free program at the Falls Library at 1 pm workers restored it to its proper place. Wed., May 22. Speakers from InnovAge LIFE and NewCourtland will make presentations and answer questions. Fortunately, the plaque was ot long after the hisnot damaged. toric plaque to honor InnovAge LIFE (Living City workers quickly reinthe Kelly family was Independently for Elders) stalled the marker, this time dedicated on Oct. 27, 2012 in The InnovAge LIFE proon the W. Coulter St. side of front of the family home at gram provides customized the house away from traffic Henry Ave. and W. Coulter healthcare and social support St., the Pennsylvania Historic on Henry Ave. to aging adults – helping It was a good idea, but and Museum Commission them stay independent in apparently Henry Ave. traffic their own homes. It provides removed it temporally to corknows no boundaries. rect a spelling mistake. The complete care in one place – On Sat. night, April 4th, the prescriptions and prescribed Henley Diamond “Schull” was mistakenly written as “skull.” pole and marker were again over-the-counter medications; After the state corrected the struck and flattened by two dental; hearing; vision and error, city workers reinstalled cars that collided and foot care; primary and emersmashed their way over the the marker in front of the gency healthcare and hospisidewalk onto the property’s home at 3901 Henry Ave. talization; home visits and lawn. No serious injuries In October of 2016, shortly medical equipment and supwere reported. before the new owner, Prince plies; unlimited approved City workers acted quickly Albert II of Monaco, arrived transportation to and from again. As of East Falls NOW the LIFE Center or medical to view his newly purchased home, the marker was struck press time the pole and mark- appointments; and meals, er were repaired and standing recreational activities, and and flattened by a gold Ford properly on the W. Coulter St. entertainment in the LIFE Focus whose hit-and-run driver destroyed the pole, knock- side of the Kelly property Center. across from McMichael Park. ing the marker off the pole.

Kelly home marker: Third try the charm?


Artists rendering of new InnovAge apartments for senior citizens.

The LIFE Center at Henry Ave. will open in the Fall of 2019, Monday through Friday. It will have clinical and financial eligibility requirements for enrollment in the LIFE program. Alison Corter and Valerie Williams will describe the LIFE program and LIFE Center and will answer questions about enrollment in the program.

NewCourtland Apartments at Henry Ave. In May, the first tenants will move into the first completed section of affordable senior apartments at 3232 Henry Ave. The efficiency and one-bedroom apartments are designed for those 62 and older and will provide safe, affordable, independent living with some supportive services on site for those who qualify. When the first two phases of construction are complete, there will be 235 senior apartments. All EF residents are invited to join the May 22 program to learn about the InnovAge and NewCourtland facilities – which will include a dog park and a community garden proposed by the East Falls Community Cuncil and generously donated by NewCourtland. Robert Theil, a NewCourtland excecutive, will be at the Falls Library to show floor plans, describe the available amenitie, and discuss how to apply. The apartments are being built with federal tax credits for low-income seniors, and have income requirements. Participants who are enrolled in InnovAge LIFE have a preference in obtaining an apartment.

Spring migration (Continued from page 4)

house, on your walk to the train station, at your local park. I remember someone saying that they had seen nothing but House Sparrows at McMichael Park. But if you know where and when to look, it can be a wonderful migrant trap. I’ve seen Scarlet Tanagers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, American Redstarts, Northern Parulas, Yellow Warblers and Blackpoll Warblers there. While some of them breed fairly locally, others still have a long way to go to reach their breeding grounds. So, this spring be sure to look up and keep your eyes and ears open and you might see a bird that was in South America barely a month ago. It’s making a pit stop in Philly, and will be breeding in northern Canada in a few weeks. Happy spring migration!

East Falls NOW


May 2019

Town Watch plans Henry Ave. clean-up May 4


ast Falls Town Watch continues to build momentum with its community clean-up activities, successfully completing a series of March and April clean-ups and planning another for May. Mary Jane Fullam, President, said that from 9 to 11 am on Sat., May 4 a “Litter Crew Ahead� Town Watch crew will start at the corner of Henry Ave. and Queen Ln. The effort will be coordinated by Monica Desiree and Cory Czuczman. The team will meet on the Water Department reservoir corner of Henry Ave. and Queen Ln. Volunteers can call 215-848-2033 to sign up for the May 4 effort. At 6 pm Wed., May 8, EFTW will meet with police officials from the 39th District’s Police Service Area 1, which includes East Falls. Residents are welcome to join the meeting, at the Canaan Baptist Church, 5430 Pulaski Ave., the intersection of Pualski Ave. and W. Coulter St. The monthly EF Town Watch meeting will take place at 7:30 Left, Franklin Learning Center student Dayana Greene and her sister, Alonie Greene, helped with the third in a series of East Falls Town Watch clean-ups in pm Thurs., May 9 at theTW March. In right photo, from left, Mary Jane Fullum, President of EFTW, with Cory Czuczman and Monica Desiree with the trashed bagged on March 30. office. 3540 Indian Queen Ln.

City councilman Green lectures Mifflin students on autism


hiladelphia councilmanat-large Derek S. Green recently took his campaign for autism-awareness to Mifflin School where he addressed some 130 third, fourth and fifth graders in an early-morning assembly. Asked how many among his young listeners had autism, a scattering of hands shot up. Green lectured them all on the importance of respecting difference. “Some people are tall, some are short, some are good at reading, others at math. If we were all the same, it would be pretty boring,� said Green, whose autistic son, Julian, has taught him greater respect for

Discovering, Preserving and Appreciating the History of East Falls: An Opportunity to Get Involved


Programs, Archives, Research, Oral History, Preservation Advocacy Mark your calendar: our first fall program, a presentation on the life of William Penn, will be on the evening of September 18 at the Library. For membership information: For other inquiries: Or, visit us on Facebook!

diversity. “Autism,� he said, “is simply another form of difference. “ Green and his wife, Sheila, are heavily engaged in autism awareness. Julian was diagnosed at the age of three and is now 18, a student at the HillFreedman World Academy in Northwest Philadelphia. Sheila Green co-chairs the annual run for autism at Citizens Bank Park while her husband participates in the annual Broad Street Run to aid autism. The couple founded the first autism support class at Houston elementary school and is a top fundraiser for Autism Speaks.

The young Mifflin audience was interested in how Green spends his day. “I get up at 4:45 in the morning,� he said to gasps of surprise. After a trip to the gym, he makes breakfast for the family, then drives to City Hall for the start of a long day, which ends when he goes to bed at 11:30 pm. �Do you ever fall asleep on the job?� someone inquired. “When can we visit you? “asked another. “You’re welcome anytime. My office is on the fifth floor of City Hall,“ replied Green.

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East Falls NOW

May 2019

Dobson Mills produced blankets for Union Army ing spree to accommodate the production of blankets and carpets, the Falls Creek was covered over. In 1879 Buildhen the great-great ing 15 was added and the mill granddaughter of was run completely by steam, John Dobson came to replaced in 1885 by two 450 visit East Falls in 2015, she horsepower engines. visited what was – at its Described in 1885 as the “J & bustling height – the site of J Dobson Carpet, Blanket, 20 factory buildings, nine Cloth and Plush Mills,” it prosmoke stacks and a place of vided employment and housemployment for 11,000 working for EF workers. ers. By the time of Elizabeth JefElizabeth Jeffords, now livfords’ 2015 visit, the mills were ing in India, was in East Falls gone, converted to upscale apartto research her family history ments. The “D” at the top of the and visit the grave of her No longer towering over East Falls, the Dobson Mills smokestack (left) photographed by Ellen Sheehan as it stood until iconic smokestack that still ancestors buried at St. James its demolition in early April and its now vacant space next to the apartments that replaced the mills. The smokestack was remained had been lost to damthe Less Cemetery. She was age at the top of the structure. taken down in April due to its instability, according to the management of the Dobson Mills apartment complex. welcomed at Dobson Mills and At the end of her oral histoescorted on a tour of the ry interview with the East ing the rivers in 1870 for pubSchofield’s Co. of Manayunk, Ridge Ave., site of the Robegrounds and had her picture Falls Historical Society in lic property, Dobson Mills secured a contract to produce son Mills and mansion. taken while there. 2015, Ms. Jeffords – commoved to Scotts Ln. and Falls John and his younger broth- blankets for the Army of the She related how John Dobmenting on the missing “D” – Creek in East Falls – the forRepublic. During the Civil er, James, conveniently marson came to America from said, “I was very happy to see mer home and business of the War Dobson Mills produced ried the two daughters of England at age 18 in 1845 as the name Dobson Mills is Hagnar Family. Also on the more than 200,000 blankets, Joseph Schofield, a man a poor but experienced mill there. And if we can afford to land since 1828 was the earning hundreds of thoudirectly associated with the hand. Through hard work put the “D” back on top of the sands of dollars and enabling Whinpenny Mill and the rise of the textile industry in and frugal savings he was smokestack, you go down Frederick Stoever and Hugh the enlargement of the mills. the U.S. During the Civil able to start his own mill on there and tell them I will help Shaw Mills. By the end of the When Fairmount Park War, James, in conjunction Rock Hill Road and later at donate to replace the “D” in 1900s, after an intense buildacquired the land surroundwith the Seville and Charles the Wissahickon Creek and Dobson.”

by Ellen Sheehan, co-president, EFHS


the properties uphill on Indian Queen Ln., which would have required a lower building height and other limits. The owner purchased the (Continued from page 1) property and began construction knowing that the site’s expressed support for the procommercial zoning required ject and its potential to enliven commercial use on the ground Conrad St. Apparently there is floor. Using the commercial frequently dog poop on the zoning, he maximized the property, and development building’s footprint. Then, there would prevent that. after starting work, he applied Other attendees, including to the city for a zoning variance some near neighbors, voiced seeking to change the ground opposition to the project. They floor use to residential. delivered eight additional letThe variance is needed ters of concern. In addition to because the commercial use on concerns about parking, people the ground level is required March 20 meeting also expressed unhappiness and because the design and The East Falls Community that these were rentals rather size of the building did not proCouncil’s Zoning Committee than homes or condos for sale. vide the required minimum met on March 20 with three Other near neighbors voiced amount of open space to have a agenda items. concern about management The first project discussed is residence on the first floor. If practices at Cini’s existing approved by the city’s Zoning located at 3680 Indian Queen building. At East Falls NOW Board of Adjustment (ZBA), Ln. – the tall building just press time, discussions were the variance sought by the above Ridge Ave. currently underway to determine if Cini owner would allow him to under construction. Although would include parking in rent replace the commercial space rates, rather than making it an work started with a valid conwith a third residential unit. struction permit, nearby resioptional extra cost. This likely The applicant made a brief dents have expressed concern would encourage tenants to use about the height and configura- presentation, stating his conthe off-street parking spaces cern that all he would find as a rather than park on the street. tion of the building and its commercial tenant was a vape The current Zoning Board of impact on Indian Queen Ln. shop or a nail parlor. AttenThis parcel, zoned commerAdjustment date when the dees at the meeting expressed cial, probably should have final decision will be made on joined the residential zoning of surprise that the owner would


the variance is May 22. The ZBA can approve the project even against the wishes of the neighborhood, and often does. It is unlikely this stretch of undeveloped land along the Conrad street commercial corridor will remain undeveloped over the long term given the long-standing goals of neighborhood commerce for Conrad St. in this vicinity. Next steps include a follow up meeting with near neighbors at 7 pm Wed., May 1 at Franklin’s before the EFCC Zoning Committee takes a position.

expect to secure support for the shift to residential on the ground floor after having started construction. The presentation did not overcome the loud skepticism voiced at the meeting and on the internet. Although it is not really a zoning issue, the owner indicated he is considering cladding the most visible downhill side of the building in brick, which would help the building blend into the streetscape. Due to the widespread unhappiness with the project and the unconventional effort to get support for a variance midway through the construction phase, EFCC Zoning Committee will oppose the variance for 3680 Indian Queen Ln. The matter is scheduled to be heard by the ZBA on May 1 at 2 pm. Hopefully the ZBA will agree and the owner will find an appropriate commercial tenant. The second matter discussed was the next phase of Penn Charter’s Master Plan, specifically an athletic and wellness center and some associated site planning. These projects have been discussed at prior public meetings, and can be viewed on the EFCC website,

ning. The school’s design team reviewed its plans for the athletic center and the adjacent areas, including greenspaces and pedestrian circulation. Conversation focused on the screening of the building, the location of the building systems on the roof hidden from view, and how traffic will flow through Penn Charter’s campus. The Head of Penn Charter spoke about the athletic center in the context of the school’s master plan and its importance to Penn Charter’s future. The variances sought relate to building height, parking (there will more on campus parking than permitted, the thought being less students and visitors parking on neighboring streets), steep slope and open space requirements. The steep slope and open space requirements were only modestly different than what is required by the City, so they were not seen by attendees as concerning. The building is in scale with the existing buildings and set well back from School House Ln., preserving this important neighborhood vista. The EFCC Zoning Committee voted to support Penn Charter’s requested variances, which are scheduled to be heard by the ZBA on May 1 at 2 pm. The school has committed to staying in discussions with near neighbors about its next steps. On a final issue the buyers of 3515 Midvale Ave., formerly Chuck's Garage, gave an informal presentation of their preliminary plans for the site. They have an agreement of sale and control the property. They have contemplated a midrise apartment building with ground floor commercial and rental units or condominiums upstairs or a townhome-style design. They plan to return to the EFCC in the coming months when they have more details about their plans. They are aware of the substantial concern people have expressed about the site regarding parking and traffic impact, as it was the main discussion point at the meeting.

East Falls NOW


May 2019

Your May 2019 East Falls NOW Calendar (Continued from page 2)

21 Tuesday

Primary Election Day. Polls open 7 am to 8 pm.

25 Saturday

10 am to 12 pm: EF Farmers Market under the Twin Bridges. (Story Pg. 15)

22 Wednesday 27 Monday 1 pm: Beginner’s Bridge, Falls Library. (Story Pg. 10)

1 pm: EF Village program on InnovAge LIFE Program and NewCourtland Senior apartments at the Fall Library (Story Pg. 10) Staring in the Old Academy Playhouse’s production of Ordinary Days are Patrick Sutton (rear), Gina Marie Schwoerer (left) and Dana Corvino, along with 7 pm: St. Rep. Pam DeLissio’s (not pictured) Maya Chester-Ziv. Town Hall meeting, Wolcoff Audiotrium at Roxborough Memorial Hospital.

Musical, Ordinary Days, at Old Academy


moment in youth when doubts begin to cloud hopes for a future of unlimited possibility." Gwon, 39, is an award-winning musical theater writer named one of "50 to Watch" by The Dramatist magazine and hailed "a promising newcomer to our talent-hungry musical theater" by the NYT. Ordinary Days won the 2008 Fred Ebb Award for excellence in musical theatre songwriting and the 2011 Kleban Award in the lyricist category. The Old Academy Players cast is Dana Corvino as Claire, Gina Marie Schwoerer as Deb, Maya Chester Ziv as Warren and Patrick Sutton as Jason. The show is directed by Annie Hnatko and produced by Steve Hnatko. Parking for all performances is free. Tickets are $25 per person. Buy tickets online at Old Academy welcomes groups. Take advantage of group discount pricing ($22 per person with 15 or more people in a group.) Student tickets are $15 with a valid ID. Call 215-843-1109 for more information and tickets.

he musical Ordinary Days opened on April 26 and will run through May 12 at the Old Academy Playhouse -- its 519th stage presentation. The play will run Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, and Sundays at 2 pm at the playhouse, 3544 Indian Queen Ln. Ordinary Days, by composer and lyricist Adam Gwon, describes what happens when Deb, a frazzled and uptight graduate student, loses her thesis notebook in New York City. Warren, a struggling artist and professional cat sitter, finds and returns her notebook. Their actions affect Jason and Claire, a couple inching toward marriage who can’t seem to comprehend each other due to an unspeakable tragedy. With equal doses of humor and poignancy, the play celebrates how 8.3 million individual stories combine in unexpected ways to make New York City such a unique and extraordinary home. New York Times theatre critic Charles Isherwood wrote that the play “captures with stinging clarity that uneasy

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A happy and safe red, white and blue Memorial Day to all of our East Falls NOW readers!

28 Tuesday

10:15 am: Music and Movement Time, Falls Library. (Story Pg. 10)

29 Wednesday 1 pm: Beginner’s Bridge, Falls Library. (Story Pg. 10)

23 Thursday 30 Thursday 9:30 am: EF Village Neighborhood Walk. Meet in Falls Library garden. (Story Pg. 10)

9:30 am: EF Village Neighborhood Walk. Meet in Falls Library garden. (Story Pg. 5)

12:30 to 3 pm: EF Village screening for hand strength and falls risk; drop in at the Falls Library (Story Pg. 5)

3:30 to 5:30 pm: The Falls Library Summer of Wonder kickoff party for summer reading; registration for all ages. (Story Pg. 10)

These dates are beyond May and worth noting in your calendar: June 1: East Falls Flea Market! Register for space now at www.eastfalls Aug. 21-25: Parks on Tap Beer Garden, McMichael Park. (Story Pg. 11) Stay informed. If you don’t receive the EFCC’s weekly emails, send your email address to info

Back in business May 4 and 5 – The EF Famers Market


he East Falls Farmers Market will open its 2019 season with a two-day indoor Spring Market on Sat. and Sun., May 4 and 5 at Vault and Vine, 3507 Midvale Ave. The market will run from 10 am to 4 pm both days and feature local craft vendors, purveyors of food and drink, and raffles. Saturday will feature the East Falls Beer Garden outside and talented jewelers, woodworkers, bakers, and designers upstairs. Count on visiting both days, as a new crop of artisans will sell on Sunday. The Spring Market will be a perfect opportunity to shop for Mother’s Day, hang out with neighbors and support the East

Falls Farmers Market and local artists. Visit for a complete list of vendors. The following weekend on

May 11 will see the launch of the EF Farmers Market Saturday offerings outdoors on the East Falls development Corporation’s parking lot between Ridge Ave. and Kelly Dr. under the Twin Bridges. The weekly offerings -- from 10 am to 2 pm -- will include local fresh produce, plants, honey, baked goods, meat, and more every Saturday through Nov. 23. McCanns Farm will join the market again this year, along with new food vendors. At the same time, the market will welcome back local artists and will showcase new ones. Check the schedule for the weekly lineup at


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May 2019

East Falls NOW

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