Briefs: May 11, 2022

Conto fighting Friday at Parx

Karl Wylie, a 29-year-old lightweight fighter from Coatesville and a former Golden Gloves winner, will be making his professional boxing debut at Parx Casino on Friday, May 13.

Joe Hand Promotions is producing the live boxing event, which will also feature a six-round heavyweight bout between Sonny Conto (9-0, 7 KOs) and Justin Rolfe (7-3-1, 5 KOs).

Shinard Bunch (18-1-1, 15 KOs) will look to continue his 18-fight undefeated streak when he competes in an eight-round super-lightweight fight. 

Super featherweight Jordon Murphy (2-0, 1 KO), originally from Bensalem, will fight in a four-round super-featherweight bout.

Christopher Burgos (3-5-1, 1 KO) will face Philip Davis (2-5-1) in a six-round lightweight contest.

Tickets at $50, $75 and $125 are on sale at

Call the Hold My Ticket Call Center at 877-466-3404 or Joe Hand Promotions at 215-364-9000. Must be 21 or older to attend. 

GOP’s Bartos rated pro-life

U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Bartos received “Pro-Life” ratings from two pro-life groups: Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and Life PAC.

“I’m honored to receive high ratings from pro-life groups in Pennsylvania. Our commonwealth has a longstanding tradition of sending pro-life leaders to Washington, and I look forward to representing our pro-life values on the floor of the Senate,” he said. “Make no mistake, John Fetterman will support radical legislation to legalize abortion on demand. The stakes to win this seat in November could not be higher.”

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.

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.

Scanlon announces $1 million to support workforce training for ex-cons

Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon announced $1 million in new federal funding she recently secured to support a workforce training program for formerly incarcerated Philadelphians. It is one of 10 Community Project Funding awards, formerly known as earmarks, Scanlon delivered for her district through the Fiscal Year 2022 federal government funding package passed by Congress in March.

“Using the $1 million in federal funding we secured, Philadelphia Works and the Center for Employment Opportunities will be able to offer an opportunity to formerly incarcerated Philadelphians who need a second chance to get back on their feet,” Scanlon said. “As new economic development takes place in our region, it is crucial we use these opportunities to extend benefits to the community in which that development is taking place, and transitional work programs are one way to do that. I look forward to seeing this program get started because I know it has the potential to change lives.”

Philadelphia Works will partner with the Center for Employment Opportunities to train and give job experience to formerly incarcerated Philadelphia residents. This transitional work experience will provide participants with the knowledge, experience and training necessary to build lasting attachments to the workforce and become permanently employed.

The project will provide 125-150 formerly incarcerated Philadelphians with immediate employment upon release from incarceration working at the site of the now-shuttered PES oil refinery in the heart of Southwest Philadelphia. Participants will assist with the clearing of the blighted refinery land, performing litter abatement, graffiti removal and landscaping services to produce a more eco-friendly space. Participants in this program will have access to employment services and a network for career opportunities such as advanced training and credentialing.

“For individuals who are ‘justice-involved,’ transitional employment opportunities strengthen their path towards self-sufficiency and significantly reduce recidivism,” said H. Patrick Clancy, president and CEO at Philadelphia Works. “While transitional job programs are not a new idea, they are a smart workforce solution that addresses the immediate needs of those coming out of incarceration, offering support services, skill development and a positive work history.”  

The Center for Employment Opportunities model has undergone rigorous evaluation and demonstrates statistically significant impacts on both recidivism and long-term employment. In a randomized control trial evaluation conducted by the independent research firm MDRC, Center for Employment Opportunities was found to reduce rearrests, reconviction and re-incarceration of recently released individuals by 16-25-percent in the three years following release from prison.

“At CEO, we believe everyone deserves the chance to work toward a stronger future for themselves, their families and their communities — something we have been doing here in Philadelphia since 2015,” said Jacqueline Weinberger, CEO’s Mid-Atlantic regional director. “With these Community Project funds, CEO will employ 150 individuals with past convictions, to revitalize this site while creating individual economic mobility, something we know will benefit them and our entire community.”

Hilco Redevelopment Partners acquired the 1,300-acre former PES oil refinery in July 2020. Using a community-focused approach to redevelopment, HRP is transforming the property — now called The Bellwether District — into a state-of-the-art, 15 million-square-foot life sciences, e-commerce and logistics campus.

“Building job skills and increasing the chance of securing long-term employment is how we uplift and strengthen our communities and economic base,” said Roberto E. Perez, CEO, Hilco Redevelopment Partners. “HRP’s partnership with Philadelphia Works and CEO is essential for us to transform a former oil refinery into an eco-friendly space that serves as an economic engine filled with local workers. We are grateful for Rep. Scanlon’s work in securing funding for this partnership that is helping reintegrate both this site and the program’s participants back into Philadelphia’s diverse workforce.”

Exhibit opens on mental illness

The Library Company of Philadelphia, 1314 Locust St., has launched an exhibition that features voices belonging to those living with mental illness. Hearing Voices: Memoirs from the Margins of Mental Health runs through Dec. 22 and presents first-hand accounts alongside government documents, institutional reports and original artworks.

“We are excited to present this new exhibition at the Library Company. Mental illness is an important and timeless issue,” said Michael Barsanti, Edwin Wolf 2nd Director of the Library Company of Philadelphia. “To truly understand it, we need to look at how the stigma of mental illness began. We’re able to tell first-hand stories, which is invaluable.”

Hours are weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit

There will be a special event, Art Therapy in History and Practice, on Aug. 20, from 1-4 p.m. Art psychotherapist and licensed professional counselor Marlie Krickus, from the Child and Family Art Therapy Center, will give a historical overview of art therapy as an integrative mental health treatment. For all ages and all levels of artist experience, the talk will be followed by an interactive exercise in community art therapy and support.

Registration is free and can be found at

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.

‘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. 

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.