Briefs: May 3, 2022

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Whitman Library has new events

The Whitman Public Library at 200 Snyder Ave. has new events that are open to the public. A Feet First Walking Group will meet in front of the library on Wednesdays at 11 a.m.; a Free In-Person Yoga class will be held on Thursdays in the meeting room at 3:30 p.m.; and Build-It LEGO Magna tiles for children 5-12 will take place on Fridays at 3:30 p.m. No large groups, please.

Young announces $500K for Philadelphia International Airport 

State Rep. Regina Young announced that the Philadelphia International Airport will receive $500,000 from the state Department of Transportation for rehabilitation of baggage tug tunnels for safer, timely and streamlined baggage operations. 

“PHL is among the very best airports in the United States, and I’m working to keep it that way,” Young said. “Any way that we can help make sure everyone saves time at the airport means we are saving money as well. These upgrades will provide efficiencies to make sure everyone receives the correct baggage on time, giving employees and customers less headaches.” 

The project is part of $10 million awarded from the Aviation Transportation Assistance Program. Pennsylvania has 121 public-use aviation facilities including airports, heliports and seaplane bases, and these new investments will expand aviation-related operational and economic opportunities statewide. 

Sims announces $5M in state grants to his district

State Rep. Brian Sims announced two $2.5 million dollar grants in his district that will be used to improve two community institutions.

The first grant was awarded for renovations to the William Way LGBT Community Center, an institution for Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ communities. The project will improve ADA access to the front of the existing building, create an event space for 300 people, and improve on myriad other services that the center offers.

The second grant has been awarded to The University of the Arts Performance and Exhibition Student Center. The project will transform the lower level and third floor of Gershman Hall into an updated performance and exhibition space to include a new film screening room, collaboration center and renovated auditorium.

Sims said he is thrilled to see these grants come to his district and is thrilled to see the way that these two institutions in the 182nd Legislative District will use these funds to serve the community in an enhanced capacity.

“The William Way Center is one of the most important lifelines for LGBTQ+ communities here in Philadelphia, and I am so pleased to see that they will be able to offer an even more robust array of services to the communities they serve.” Sims said.

In addition, he stated that, “Philadelphia is home to several incredible institutes of higher education, and I am so excited to see investments being made in communities of young artists who will play a massive role in ensuring Philadelphia remains a vibrant center of culture for years to come.”

Young secures $7M for FDR Park, Navy Yard projects 

State Rep. Regina Young announced that her district will receive $7 million in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grants. 

“I’m ready to put your tax dollars back to work on redevelopment projects that matter deeply to you,” Young said. “I’m most excited about the improvements coming to FDR Park, and with this funding, we are sure to get a state-of-the-art welcome center and over 30 acres of majestic wetlands. In addition, Navy Yard and Philly Shipyard workers should see safety and training facility upgrades to help them feel protected on the job. These improvements will drastically improve many of our daily lives.” 

The program grants will be distributed to: 

  • Fairmount Park Conservancy for Phase II of the Welcome Center at FDR Park. This $2 million project will convert a historic stable and guardhouse into a public-facing welcome center. The 5,500-square-foot guardhouse will be renovated into shared co-working space for community organizations that deliver park programming; the 3,600-square-foot courtyard into a one-stop shop for park users with restrooms, a staffed information center and equipment rentals; and the 4,000-square-foot stables restored into a cafe and 6,700-square-foot event space overlooking Pattison Lagoon. These include utilities, such as new water, wastewater, electric and data lines. 
  • The City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce, Aviation Division for the Wetlands Mitigation Project at FDR Park. This $1 million project entails the creation of 30-plus acres of wetlands at FDR Park in Philadelphia to mitigate impacts that will occur in the development of Cargo facilities and airfield improvements at Philadelphia International Airport. This project includes excavation of soil and debris, grading, drainage system improvements (including new tide gates), removal of invasive species, and planting and establishment of wetland vegetation.
  • Philly Shipyard Inc. to be used on their Philadelphia Shipyard Expansion and Safety project. The $1 million project will install locker rooms for new workers, and create office space for new employees, customer representatives and inspectors. It will refurbish two dock gates, enhance safety and upgrade fire protection, electrical and other services in both dry docks. Additional elements include site improvements; installation of utilities and installation of concrete and asphalt pads; warehouse and cabin factory structures; materials receiving area and office units; safety and security upgrades; piping and utilities to support shipbuilding and ship repair operations around the dry docks. 
  • Industrial Metals Manufacturing LLC for their Rhoads Industries Building 57 Defense Manufacturing Facility Completion project. This $3 million project will fully complete the state-of-the-art renovation to Building 57, a 310,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and related training facility space at the Navy Yard delivering a high-demand manufacturing center for government and commercial clients. The project includes security and property improvements, implementation of an alternative energy program, manufacturing management offices, manufacturing finishes, building vertical access in A Bay, completing the mezzanine floor stud and slab, outfitting a sensitive compartmented information facility for government contracting clients, and additional office spaces. The complete renovation of this manufacturing facility supports a strategic effort to significantly expand the U.S. Navy presence to deliver ship construction, ship maintenance, repair upgrades and large-scale facilities.

‘Today is My Birthday’ showing at Theatre Exile

Theatre Exile has opened a new show 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.

Affordable internet for seniors

The Philadelphia Senate on Aging wants low-income elderly people to know that they can receive internet access for $9.95 a month, or free, through Comcast’s Internet Essentials. Call Comcast at 855-846-8376, and say you were referred by Mary Daniels, director of the Philadelphia Senate on Aging. For more information on the Philadelphia Senate on Aging, call Mary Daniels at 215-248-9438. 

Big flea market on Saturday

A large outdoor flea market, with more than 150 vendors, will take place on Saturday, May 7, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Eastern State Penitentiary, 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue. The rain date is May 14. Parking is available in the lot at 2201 Fairmount Ave. For more information, visit www.PhilaFleaMarkets.org

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.”

John J. Nesbitt reunion

The 50th reunion dinner of former employees of John J. Nesbitt will take place on Wednesday, May 18, at 1 p.m. at Fishers, 1858 Street Road, in Bensalem. Nesbitt was a large commercial heating and air conditioning company at State Road and Rhawn Street. The cost is $30 and includes the meal. Contact Edward Apice at 215-637-2637 or eapice@comcast.net

Maureen Faulkner, Terri O’Connor back McSwain

Bill McSwain, a Republican candidate for governor, introduced Law Enforcement Families for McSwain, a coalition of retired and active law enforcement officers and their families who have pledged to support his candidacy. 

The group is led by Maureen Faulkner and Terri O’Connor, whose deceased husbands, Officers Daniel Faulkner and James O’Connor, were both victims of violent anti-police attacks in Philadelphia.

Both Faulkner and O’Connor have become outspoken advocates for policies that will support law enforcement and uphold law and order. Both women have also pledged to support McSwain and his Plan to Restore Law and Order, which is designed to return safety and security to Pennsylvania neighborhoods and would implement the death penalty for anyone convicted of killing a police officer.

Faulkner said, “When it comes to law and order and justice, many of our public officials in Pennsylvania have lost their moral compass. Criminals are portrayed as victims, and the true victims of violent crimes are left unaided and forgotten. The one exception is Bill McSwain, who has been an incomparable ally as I’ve fought to keep my husband’s guilty killer in prison. He is not afraid to fight for justice and expose those who seek to destroy our legal system. This is the kind of leadership our commonwealth needs. I am honored to support Bill McSwain as he runs for governor of Pennsylvania, and extend my full endorsement. I encourage all citizens, especially law enforcement families, to vote for the candidate who will restore law and order and protect our police. Vote for Bill McSwain for governor.”

O’Connor, who spoke at McSwain’s campaign announcement event in September and appears in a digital ad, said, “Bill McSwain was there for me and my family in the days after our loss of my husband Jimmy, and assured us that he would prosecute the thugs who took him from us. Jimmy would have loved Bill and everything he stands for. Bill McSwain kept his promise to my family and will be a strong fighter for all law enforcement families like mine.” 

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 ardentcu.org/scholarship.

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 PHSonline.org/the-flower-show.

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.

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 TreePhilly.org. 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.

Sea Change is running indefinitely.

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 https://bit.ly/34YJhsE.

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.

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.

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.

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 kimmelcenter.org

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.