Briefs: April 26, 2022

Radio personality Michalik promoting Ardent Credit Union

Ardent Credit Union, which has a branch in the Navy Yard, has signed local radio personality Nicole Michalik, who can be heard during the 3-7 p.m. weekday drive-time slot on WXTU, as a spokesperson. Michalik joins Philadelphia Union goalkeeper and homegrown talent Matt Freese to promote the financial institution’s programs for teens and young adults. 

“We’re very excited to partner with Nicole, who is known by listeners across our area,” said Rob Werner, president and CEO of Ardent. “As a lifelong member of a credit union, she can authentically speak to Ardent’s mission of financial empowerment and the value we bring to our community.”

Michalik, a former contestant on season 4 of NBC’s The Biggest Loser, has been in radio for 15 years and with WXTU since 2019.

“I am so happy to share information about Ardent Credit Union and how to become an absolute boss with your money. When I started this relationship with Ardent, I knew there would be so many opportunities to highlight the importance of financial wellness, particularly for women,” Michalik said. “No matter where you are in life, there is always an opportunity to learn more about your money. I’m a credit union member and I love what Ardent brings to the table. It doesn’t feel like doing business. It’s like talking to a supportive friend.”

Insomnia Cookies turns 1

Insomnia Cookies will celebrate its first birthday with a week-long bash with limited-edition treats and giveaways.

Located at 833 Wharton St., Insomnia’s CookieLab’s week of festivities will run through May 3 or until supplies last.

Guests can try limited-edition birthday specials including Birthday Cake Milkshakes, Dirt Pudding Cookies and Milkshakes, Confetti Cheesecake Cookies, Cake Batter Cookies and the CookieLab Birthday Pack.

Insomnia will also be running a giveaway for one person to win a 10-person birthday party catered at the CookieLab. For more info, visit

Scanlon launches Congressional Art Competition

Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon is accepting submissions for the 40th Annual Congressional Art Competition, open to students, grades 9-12, who reside in Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District.

Participating students are offered an opportunity to highlight their talent and the winner will have their original artwork displayed in the United States Capitol for an entire year. 

Artwork can be submitted in person at Scanlon’s district office at 2501 Seaport Drive, BH230 in Chester during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or mailed. Submissions will be accepted through April 29. 

“Art is a powerful platform for free expression and can be a moving source of hope and inspiration,” said Scanlon. “Each year, I look forward to this opportunity to view our community through the eyes of our student constituents.”

Artwork must be two-dimensional. Each framed artwork can be no larger than 26 inches high, 26 inches wide and 4 inches deep. Winning artwork must be framed.

Artwork mediums include paintings, drawings, collages, prints, mixed media, photographs and computer-generated art. 

For more information, visit the Scholastic website at

The 5th Congressional District includes areas in South Philly that are south of West Passyunk Avenue on the west side of Broad Street, south of Tasker Street between Broad and 11th Street, and south of Mifflin Street east of 11th Street.

‘Today is My Birthday’ to show at Theatre Exile

Theatre Exile will open a new show on April 28 called “Today is My Birthday” by Susan Soon He Stanton.

Today is My Birthday is an eccentric comedy by award-winning screenwriter and playwright Susan Soon He Stanton that follows an out-of-work journalist named Emily, who returns home to Hawaii after her life in New York City falls apart. Feeling unfulfilled, Emily creates an alter-ego for a radio dating show in a desperate attempt to turn fantasy into reality. Told through a unique blend of live radio broadcasts, voicemails and phone calls, this topical and adventurous show highlights Emily attempting to break free from her self-imposed isolation. 

The show runs through May 22 at Theatre Exile at 1340 S. 13th St.

Apply for scholarship contest

Ardent Credit Union, which has a branch in the Navy Yard, is accepting applications for its annual scholarship contest. The member-owned financial cooperative is awarding $1,000 scholarships to 12 students pursuing undergraduate degrees beginning this fall. This is the first year that applicants will submit videos instead of essays.

To apply, candidates are asked to create a “viral-worthy” video demonstrating why they should be awarded an Ardent scholarship. This includes highlighting academic accomplishments, personal stories, community involvement and athletic and extracurricular activities. All videos must be submitted by May 6, and winners will be notified at the end of May.

Qualified applicants must be members of Ardent and either a current high school senior or a 2021 high school graduate who has been accepted to an accredited two- or four-year college, university, technical, trade or business school for the fall. Students who are not yet Ardent members, but are eligible for membership, can join before applying for the scholarship. Ardent is asking that each video be between 30 seconds and two minutes in length, while excluding any logos or copyrighted material to include music.

More information about the scholarships and the application process can be found at

St. Hubert class of ‘72 reunion

St. Hubert Class of 1972 will be celebrating its 50th high school reunion on June 9 with a Golden Girls’ walk alongside the graduating Class of 2022. The reunion will immediately follow at Knowlton Mansion. For information, email Linda at or visit

Flower show tickets available

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society announced that tickets are on sale for the Philadelphia Flower Show.

The theme is In Full Bloom. The show will take place at Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park, 1500 Pattison Ave., from Saturday, June 11, through Sunday, June 19.

For tickets, go to

Paint & Sip for a good cause

Programs Employing People Services will host its first Paint & Sip Party Fundraiser on Sunday, May 22, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at PEP Services’ great room, 1200 S. Broad St. Buy tickets at the door for $35. Painting supplies will be provided. The event is BYOB. Proceeds benefit PEP’s services for the disabled. To reserve your seat, call 215-389-4006 or visit https://www.signupgenius.

Sign up for 68-plus softball

Philadelphia Senior Softball League needs players for its 68 and over league. The season starts Monday May 2. There will be 27 games, along with playoffs. Games are played Mondays and Fridays at 10 a.m. at Crispin Field, Holme and Convent avenues. For more information, call Marty King at 215-698-0009. 

Free trees to plant at home

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and Fairmount Park Conservancy will offer up to 850 Philadelphia residents the opportunity to receive a free tree to plant at home this fall through the TreePhilly program. Trees will be available for all city residents through a regional pick-up event and through a door-to-door delivery service for those unable to pick up a tree. 

Registration for trees opens on a rolling basis at A regional pick-up event will take place on May 14 at Frankford Boat Launch in collaboration with Riverfront North. Trees are available while supplies last and pre-registration is highly encouraged. Trees must be planted in the ground on private property in the city of Philadelphia. Delivery is reserved for residents in high-risk populations and those unable to pick up a tree in their car. Tree species offered are selected to meet resident needs and desires and withstand the changing climate. The spring offerings include large shade trees alongside flowering magnolias and trees that provide fruit and medicinal products.

Toomey wants Ireland part of work visa program

U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey and Dick Durbin introduced bipartisan legislation to add Ireland to the E-3 non-immigrant visa program. The bill would allow Irish nationals annual access to any unused E-3 visas from the previous fiscal year. In exchange, Ireland intends to provide Americans expanded access to work visas in Ireland.

“The United States has long benefited from people coming here to work hard and contribute to our economy,” Toomey said. “With this legislation, highly skilled Irish workers can apply for the E-3 nonimmigrant visa program to continue this tradition. I appreciate Sen. Durbin working with me on this bipartisan immigration bill, which will strengthen America’s relationship with Ireland.”

The E-3 treaty professional visa is a temporary work visa currently limited to citizens of Australia. Up to 10,500 E-3 visas may be granted each year and the visas are valid for up to two years on a renewable basis. Qualifying jobs in the U.S. for which an E-3 visa may be obtained require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a specialty occupation.

McSwain signs education pledge

Bill McSwain, Republican candidate for governor, announced that he has signed the Education Freedom Pledge. By signing the pledge, McSwain promises to support parental rights in education and educational freedom, including the right of parents to apply their child’s taxpayer-funded education dollars to the school of their choosing, whether it be private, public, charter or homeschool.

“Education is a gateway to a better life, and every family deserves the freedom to choose the education that is best for their children. As governor, I will empower parents to have the final authority over their children’s education, and fight back against teachers union bosses in defense of students and good teachers. I am proud to sign the Education Freedom Pledge, which reflects my commitment to ensuring that every child, regardless of ZIP code, has access to an excellent education.”

As part of McSwain’s Parents Bill of Rights and Pillars of Education, he favors school choice, wants to ban critical race theory, and pledges to never accept a cent from teachers unions.

South Phila. HS class of ‘68 reunion

The South Philadelphia High School Class of 1968 will hold its 55th reunion on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Waterfall Room, 2015 S. Water St. Tickets cost $60 and include buffet dinner and open bar. For tickets and more information, call Arleen Liberi [609-922-2419], Maria Leati [856-287-3734] or Stephen Michielli [267-252-2740]. 

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.

Extreme Deep: Mission to the Abyss will run from through July 24.

Invisible World of Water runs through May 1.

Sea Change is running indefinitely.

Access to Science Earth Day Celebration is scheduled for Saturday, April 30, from 9 to 11 a.m. Visitors on the autism spectrum and their families are invited to experience the museum before the crowds. Guests can visit the dinosaurs, dioramas and all the other exhibits at their own pace. Enjoy some quiet time with Academy educators to learn more about water conservation and how you can make the world a cleaner, greener place. Free with registration; to register, call 215-299-1060 or email For more details, visit

Kids Club: Take Action is set for Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to noon. At 10:45 a.m. authors will read their new book, Coco’s Fire: Changing Climate Anxiety into Climate Action. The reading will be followed by a discussion. The event is designed for ages 6–10. Register at

A Junior Scientist Workshop: What’s So Mighty About a Diatom? will take place on Saturday, May 14, from 10 a.m. to noon. Discover how diatoms have inspired scientists to invent special tools and create art, then take home your own daring diatom design. Designed for grades 3–5. For more information, fee and to register, visit

The River Feeds Back, going from June 1 to Oct. 30, is an immersive sound installation created by artists Annea Lockwood and Liz Phillips. The exhibit brings visitors into the deep sonic environment of the Schuylkill River watershed through recordings and a layered sound map that captures glimpses of the river system including the life of aquatic insects, eels, fish and swirling currents.

Ocean Bound will run from Aug. 20 to Jan. 15, 2023.

Water exhibit opens

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, is presenting Invisible World of Water, on view through May 1 and free with general admission.

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

For more information, visit

Explore ocean depths

A new exhibition at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, reveals the mysteries of the ocean’s greatest depths.

Extreme Deep: Mission to the Abyss invites museum visitors to explore newly discovered life forms, thermal vents, deep-sea research submersibles and shipwrecks including the Titanic.

Museum visitors will observe firsthand the technology that only recently has allowed scientists to travel to the ocean floor and discover the creatures that thrive in total darkness. They can test their skill at manipulating a robotic arm of a replica of the submersible Alvin to pick up lava rocks and clams similar to what scientists do to gather samples of creatures from the ocean floor.

Visitors can also fly a remotely operated vehicle over a model of the Titanic’s deck and, in another display, see how currents created by superheated water erupting from thermal vents carry nutrients that support life forms few ever dreamed existed. 

Extreme Deep: Mission to the Abyss will be on view through July 24.

Kimmel schedule

The Kimmel Cultural Campus has returned to live Broadway programming.

Here is the schedule through the summer: 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 cruises

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

Meanwhile, a fully escorted Holy Lands & Aegean Majesty cruise will sail Oct. 6-17, 2023, featuring 10 ports-of-call. Rates, including airfare, range from $4,198 to $7,998 per person, double occupancy.

Call 215-788-9408 for information and reservations. 

Scanlon introduces bill to fix workplace harassment, discrimination rules

Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon joined Congresswomen Jackie Speier and Lauren Underwood in introducing the Congressional Accountability Act Enhancement Act to require members of Congress, not taxpayers, to foot the bill for discriminating or retaliating against staff and that victims be on the same footing as members when filing a claim.

“All workers deserve a safe and dignified workplace — and public servants employed by the legislative branch are no exception,” Scanlon said. “The CAA Enhancement Act combats discrimination in Congress by codifying and expanding the legal protections our staff deserve. By requiring that members of Congress be held personally liable for discrimination and harassment, this bill ensures that taxpayers do not have to foot the bill for holding lawmakers accountable.”

In December 2018, Congress passed the CAA Reform Act, inspired by Speier’s ME TOO Congress Act. Due to those changes, victims of harassment and discrimination are no longer subject to mandatory counseling, mediation and cooling-off periods; interns and fellows have the same rights as permanent staff; and taxpayers no longer foot the bill for members’ harassing behavior. A separate resolution also created the House Office of Employee Advocacy to provide legal representation for victims and mandated that offices adopt an anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy.

The CAA Enhancement Act builds on that by requiring members of Congress be held personally liable for the discrimination and related retaliation they personally commit; requiring other legislative branch employing offices to repay Treasury for related retaliation; requiring the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights to give claimants 10 days to cure a deficient claim after the issuance of a preliminary hearing officer report and prior to dismissal; and enabling the Office of Employee Advocacy to have jurisdiction in federal court.

Evans announces $51 billion, 7-point plan to fight gun violence 

Congressman Dwight Evans announced his more than $51 billion, seven-point plan to fight gun violence in Philadelphia and around the country. Evans unveiled his plan at Temple University Hospital, which treats many of the city’s gun violence victims. The plan is available online at

“Over the last two years, Philadelphia and communities across America have suffered from a surge in gun violence – a second epidemic. This is a national problem – it is not just happening here. I have co-sponsored and voted for legislation in Congress, but I wanted to look for ways to do more. This epidemic of gun violence demands an all-hands response – federal, state and local government – and more community involvement. We must use all the tools in the toolbox to save lives.” Evans said.

To develop the plan, Evans and staff spent several months holding roundtables with victim advocates, academic researchers, local youth outreach groups, local organizations that support employment opportunities for at-risk youth and adults, elected officials and representatives of local hospitals.

“I am thankful to Congressman Evans and his ongoing partnership in responding to the gun-violence crisis in Philadelphia,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “It is essential that we have allies at all levels of government who are prioritizing gun violence and who will advocate on our behalf in Washington. Gun-violence prevention continues to be our administration’s top priority, and the congressman’s plan is another step in the right direction toward coordination, not just citywide, but state and nationwide.”

Evans’ plan contains seven recommendations: encourage use of evidence-based strategies by local law enforcement agencies; invest $1 billion in federal funding in local police departments to increase clearance levels for fatal and non-fatal shootings; invest $40 billion in employment and workforce development agencies and organizations; invest $5 billion in community-based violence intervention initiatives; increase resources for the federal agencies that can work together to reduce gun violence; invest $5 billion to reduce blight and improve city environments; increase coordination and collaboration of federal, state and local agencies and organizations.

Young announces almost $1M for safe pedestrian and bicycle paths

State Rep. Regina Young announced that the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission will be receiving $990,000 from the state Department of Transportation for Surface Transportation Block Grants. These funds are to be used to improve transportation alternatives and enhance mobility and public accessibility across the state. 

“As we work to improve FDR Park, we need to also make sure the surrounding area keeps up with these enhancements,” Young said. “This money is going to help our neighbors get from A to B in the most efficient way possible and provide much needed safety improvements and guidance to local schools.”

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission secured $540,000 to help the city streets department improve pedestrian and bicycle connections to the Navy Yard by installing a shared-use side path along the western side of South Broad Street from FDR Park to the Navy Yard.

In addition, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission has secured another $450,000 to help the city Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability, in partnership with the streets department, to provide a pedestrian and bicycle safety curriculum to local middle schools; develop a bicycle and pedestrian safety learning e-module for students; create conceptual design plans that create slow zones around schools; and fund a project coordinator position to help with grant management, consultant management and program management and outreach of the middle school safety program. 

Wolf, Shapiro endorse Fiedler for re-election 

State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler received the endorsement of Gov. Tom Wolf and Democratic candidate for governor Josh Shapiro in her re-election. Fiedler, a mother of two, is serving her second term representing House District 184.

Wolf said he has seen Fiedler’s work first hand during her first two terms in the House. “She has been a fighter for education, for tax fairness for working people, and for her community.”

Wolf said Fiedler, the daughter of two union public school teachers, understands the importance of making sure every child can get a good education in their neighborhood.

“She knows workers deserve fair wages and has helped bring state investment back to her district to create jobs, including at the Port of Philadelphia. Elizabeth is a proven, tested leader – Pennsylvania deserves nothing less,” he said.

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Fiedler has proven her commitment to the issues that matter to her community.

“She is committed to working with her neighbors to invest in recreation centers, libraries and other community spaces so every child has a safe place to spend their time. Elizabeth is a strong voice for her community, for seniors and for families, and we need voices like hers in Harrisburg at a time when so much is at stake in our commonwealth,” he said.

Fiedler said, “I’m honored to receive the endorsement of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro, our next governor. I look forward to continuing to work together to fight for families and workers’ rights.”

Fiedler faces a primary challenge from real estate company co-owner Mike Giangiordano, who is the endorsed Democratic candidate. The Republican candidate is Marjilyn Murray.