Briefs: December 1st, 2021

Penn Medicine held a free community vaccination clinic on Nov. 18.

Vaccination clinic held at Audenried

To encourage the reduction in the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Penn Medicine held a free community vaccination clinic on Nov. 18 at Universal Audenried Charter School in Grays Ferry for children and adults seeking to get immunized. 

Penn administered 55 vaccines to children ages 5-11, as well as first-time vaccinations and boosters to those over the age of 12. Photo courtesy of John Blanks, Universal Audenried.

Big pay raise for politicians

State senators and representatives received a 5.64% raise on Dec. 1.

The increase brought their annual salaries from $90,335 to $95,432. Members of leadership make even more money.

Judges and the governor will receive their raises on Jan. 1.

The raises are based on increases in the Consumer Price Index.

Even if the CPI goes down, the elected officials do not see a decline in pay. 

Devil’s Den hosting toy drive

The Devil’s Den at 1148 S. 11th Street will kick off the holiday season with a Fireplace Lighting Party Event + Toy Drive on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. benefiting Families Forward Philadelphia, a nonprofit organization helping families experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia stay together, strengthen and thrive in their communities. Attendees who donate to the holiday toy drive will receive a complimentary Yard’s brew. The toy drive will run through Dec. 12, and new, unwrapped toys and gift cards for retailers such as Walmart, Target, and Amazon will be accepted.

Philly Shipyard wins contract to build vessel

Philly Shipyard Inc., the sole operating subsidiary of Philly Shipyard ASA, announced it has won a $197 million contract from Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, LLC, the nation’s leading dredging company, to construct one Jones Act-compliant Subsea Rock Installation Vessel – the first such ship to enter the U.S. market. 

If a second ship is ordered, the total contract value of the two-ship program would be about $382 million.

The contract solidifies and diversifies Philly Shipyard’s current order backlog – four National Security Multi-Mission Vessels for Tote Services LLC, which retains its option for a fifth NSMV.

“Over the past several years, we have made a conscious effort to pivot toward a more diversified order backlog in an attempt to grow the Company’s profitability,” said Steinar Nerbovik, president and CEO, Philly Shipyard. “Philly Shipyard has a long-standing position as the leading U.S. commercial shipyard for tankers and container ships, and we are making inroads into government projects – both new builds and repairs. This win now carves a path into the expanding offshore wind market. This contract is proof that we are executing on our vision and diversifying our market opportunities.”

The basic design is by Ulstein, a leading Norwegian/Dutch designer of offshore wind vessels. The Subsea Rock Installation Vessel is designed to carry up to 20,000 MT of rock and will transport and strategically deposit these rocks to the ocean bottom, laying a foundation for the monopiles that serve as the prevailing support structure for offshore wind turbines. The ship will have an overall length of 140.5 meters (461 feet), a breadth of 34.1 meters (112 feet) and crew accommodations for 45 people.

Delivery for the first vessel is expected late 2024 with the second (if awarded) being delivered a year later.

Upcoming screening of music documentary Safe X Sound

A music documentary told by musician Brian Walker and produced by South Philly resident Brianna Spause will be screened at A Novel Idea at 1726 E. Passyunk Ave. on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5.

“Safe X Sound” is an exploration of consent and safe spaces in the East Coast underground music scene. According to the creators, the intent of the documentary is to address the value of consent, safe spaces, inclusion and the value of live music for underrepresented voices.

Harris announces $250K grant for Vare Recreation Center

State Rep. Jordan Harris, House Democratic whip, announced a $250,000 grant to the Make The World Better Foundation for improvements at the Vare Recreation Center at 2600 Morris St.

“All children and all communities deserve quality recreation space like Vare Recreation Center,” Harris said. “These spaces help bring communities together and help with addressing the issue of gun violence in our neighborhoods. I’m proud to have fought for Vare and help them work toward an improved location that everyone can enjoy.”

The grant funding, awarded from the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s Greenways, Trails and Recreation Program, will go toward renovations of an outdoor basketball court that currently serves a youth basketball team as well as local community members. The renovation will also include an outdoor splash pad for use by the entire community as part of a larger renovation of the entire Vare Recreation Center.

2 state grants awarded to Passyunk Ave. Revitalization Corp. 

The Passyunk Ave. Revitalization Corp. received two grants from the Commonwealth Financing Authority to improve recreation and transportation flow in the area. Specifically, one grant in the amount of $125,000 will be used to improve the plaza area at the town square located on S. 11th Street in state Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler’s legislative district. 

The second grant will be used to address the traffic convergence of four streets (E. Passyunk Ave., Tasker St., S. 11th St. and Cross St.), to highlight the Singing Fountain Plaza’s central role while also facilitating the movement of people via various modes of travel. Fiedler said this $500,000 grant will be vital in growing the bustling business corridor and supporting the surrounding community. 

“This is a main community meeting point, where families, friends and seniors regularly gather to rest, enjoy the weather, and enjoy food or beverages from some of the many great local businesses,” Fiedler said.

Fiedler said she was glad to assist in supporting the grant applications and is looking forward to seeing the work done in her district. 

“These state funds will support the amazing work being done by local small business owners and by neighbors who are committed to supporting each other during good times and challenging ones,” she said.

Passyunk Square Civic Association, East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association and the East Passyunk Business Improvement District supported the project through community meetings and outreach to better understand the concerns and limitations of the Singing Fountain Plaza and the associated intersections.

“This is an exciting opportunity to address pedestrian safety and to make needed improvements to this beloved community space,” said Bryan Fenstermaker, executive director for PARC. “We appreciate the efforts of Rep. Fiedler and Sen. Saval in helping address pedestrian safety in our neighborhoods.”

Accreditation for Agora

Agora Cyber Charter School has earned accreditation by the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools. Agora serves over 5,500 students from 66 counties in Pennsylvania.

“Agora is committed to its vision and wanted to prove it by embarking on a deep level of self-reflection and independent validation. Undergoing this process proves that we are dedicated to excellence and maps out exactly how we are going to continue to demonstrate it.” said Dr. Rich Jensen, CEO.

The 12 Middle States Standards for Accreditation are mission; governance and leadership; school improvement planning; finances; facilities; school organization and staff; health and safety; educational program; assessment and evidence of student learning; student services; student life and activities, and information resources.

The accreditation process begins with a self-study that is conducted by the school system and requires input from school leaders, teachers, parents and students. Following the self-study, a team of volunteer educators from Middle States member schools conducts a peer review visit. Agora’s virtual visit included three days of interviews with students, employees and families.

Dr. Anne Butler, chief academic officer at Agora, said that the self-study caused Agora to “hone in on all of our core values. No stone was left unturned in the process.”

Full accreditation was awarded to Agora, with no future monitoring needed. 

Help fight hunger

The Jewish Relief Agency will hold its second virtual annual event Hunger, Growing Needs, Glowing Deeds, on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 6 p.m. Set to livestream on the eighth night of Hanukkah, the program will illuminate the stories of three volunteer families, while underscoring the needs of area families struggling with “food insecurity.”

JRA’s “We Deliver” approach to fighting hunger supports more than 6,500 low-income individuals each month.

Community members are invited to watch Hunger: Growing Needs, Glowing Deeds. To register or become a corporate sponsor of the event, visit

North alums awarding grants

The Northeast Catholic Alumni Association awards tuition grants to the sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters of its members.

The checks are awarded to students who meet criteria, and the monies are sent to the Catholic school that they are choosing to attend. Aid is sent to Catholic elementary and high schools and universities in the Philadelphia, Camden and Trenton dioceses.

Grants are given to 32 students annually for their four years in high school or college and three years in elementary school.

Students can apply for a grant if their father or grandfather attended Northeast Catholic and is a dues-paying member of the alumni association. Applications are accepted until Jan 31, 2022.

Call 215-543-1051 or email

Breakfast with Santa

Santa Claus will be at St. Hubert High School for a breakfast buffet on Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to noon.

The menu will consist of eggs, bacon, sausage, french toast, home fries, bagels, juice, coffee, tea and water.

The morning will feature an indoor snowball fight, craft corner, coloring station, letters to Santa, selfie station, reindeer food making, Christmas bean bag toss, dancing, facepainting and a gift from Santa’s sack.

Tickets are $23 for ages 13 and up, $18 for ages 3-12 and free for ages 2 and under. A framed picture will be $5.


Author publishes romantic suspense novel

Mayfair’s Becky Flade announced that Tirgearr Publishing released her latest novel, Fall to Pieces. It is available at all major digital retailers.

Homicide Detective Alexandra Danvers is determined to bring child killer Arthur Book to justice, no matter the cost.

Set in Philadelphia, Fall to Pieces features locales such as Juniata Park/Golf Course, the Roundhouse, The Library Company and Rittenhouse Square. The cover art displays the Center City skyline, the Schuylkill River and the Expressway at dusk.

Successful harvest

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society celebrated the end of its 2021 harvest initiative, with local gardeners donating some 18,728 pounds of produce to local nonprofits. The program also raised $30,087 to support efforts to combat “food insecurity” within the region.

Among the top produce donors to PHS Harvest were Longwood Gardens, Spring Gardens, Kennett Middle School Giving Garden, Branching Up, PHS Farm Park and Chester Eastside Garden Club.

Additional participating organizations in the Harvest initiative include, Art-Reach, Sankofa Community Farm at Bartram’s Garden, Chester County Food Bank, Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, Cooperative Gardens Commission, Delaware Center for Horticulture, Food Bank of Delaware, Food Connect, The Food Trust, Mama-Tee Fridge, Neighborhood Gardens Trust, North Light Community Center, Philabundance, Share Food Program and Whole Foods Market.

Monster Jam at the Linc

Monster Jam returns to Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday, April 16.

The show starts at 7 p.m., with a pit party for fans going from 2:30 to 5:30.

At the pit party, fans can see the massive 12,000-pound trucks up close, meet their favorite drivers and crews, and take pictures.

Tickets are available at 


The Sisterhood of Congregations of Shaare Shamayim is hosting a virtual bingo on two consecutive Mondays, Dec. 6 and 13, starting at 7:30 p.m.

The cost is $36 per person and includes two cards for eight games of bingo each night. There is also a 50/50 for $5 that will be drawn on Dec. 13.

Send your payment to the CSS office, 9768 Verree Road, Philadelphia, PA 19115, attention: Bingo. Payment must be received no later than Nov. 24, and you must include your email address for the link to be sent to you.

Call Gerry or Nancy at 215-677-1600. 

Activities at Academy of Natural Sciences

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, is hosting several current and upcoming exhibits.

Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs goes through Jan. 17, 2022.

Invisible World of Water runs through April 17, 2022.

Junior Scientist Workshop: Do Birds Say Brrr? is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 11, from 10 a.m. to noon. The workshop is geared for kids in grades 3-5. To register, visit

A “winter break” camp will run from Monday to Thursday, Dec. 27-30, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The camp is for ages 6-10. Register at

Water exhibit opens

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, is presenting Invisible World of Water, on view through April 17, 2022 and free with general admission.

The exhibit coincides with “Water Year,” a 2022 initiative of the Academy of Natural Sciences and Drexel University aimed to increase public attention of the resource.

For more information, visit

Kimmel schedule

The Kimmel Cultural Campus has returned to live Broadway programming.

Here is the schedule through next summer: Stomp (Dec. 28 to Jan. 2, Merriam Theater); Pretty Woman: The Musical (Jan. 4-16, Academy of Music); Hadestown (Feb. 9-20, Academy of Music); Beautiful – The Carole King Musical (Feb. 22-27, Academy of Music); Rent: 25th Anniversary Farewell Tour (March 4-6, Merriam Theater); Oklahoma! (March 8-20, Forrest Theatre); Waitress (March 29 to April 3, Academy of Music); Hairspray (May 16-22, Merriam Theater); To Kill A Mockingbird (July 12-24, Academy of Music); and Dear Evan Hansen (Aug. 16-28, Forrest Theatre).

For more information, call 215-893-1955 or visit

Upcoming cruise

The Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation is sponsoring a cruise to Charleston and Bermuda, June 2-12, 2022, on the Celebrity Summit, sailing from Cape Liberty, in North Jersey. Rates range from $1,577 to $2,387 per person, double occupancy.

Call 215-788-9408 for information and reservations.