$24M for airport improvements
Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon announced that Philadelphia International Airport is being granted $24 million from the Federal Aviation Administration through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that she voted to pass last fall. The competitive grant for airport terminal development projects will improve customer experiences, move goods through the economy more efficiently to lower prices and enhance U.S. competitiveness. PHL will use the money to make significant upgrades to one of its core service areas: its restrooms.
With the new funding, PHL’s Restroom Renovation Program will be able to provide additional restrooms as well as rooms for nursing mothers, gender neutral restrooms, adult-assisted care restrooms and pet relief areas. The funding will also go toward the installation of smart and touchless technology to enhance the airport’s sustainability.
“As passengers return to the skies for both business and pleasure, it is critical to invest in safe, sustainable and accessible airport terminals,” said Scanlon. “Modernizing our region’s airport infrastructure will not only improve air travel for passengers – it will better position our region for success within an increasingly competitive global economy. The upgrades PHL can make with the funding will improve airport access for ‘historically disadvantaged’ travelers, reduce environmental impact and create good-paying local jobs, thereby helping our economy for decades to come. I am proud to have cast my vote for this historic infrastructure funding, and I look forward to seeing more federal funding flow into our region.”
The funding is from the Airport Terminal Program, one of three aviation programs created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The law provides $1 billion annually for five years for Airport Terminal grants.
Scanlon receives ‘Champion for Children’ recognition
Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon has been named a 2021 Champion for Children by the bipartisan advocacy organization First Focus Campaign for Children. Just 40 members of the U.S. House of Representatives receive this distinction each year. This is the second consecutive year Scanlon earned the award.
First Focus Campaign for Children’s 2021 Legislative Scorecard ranks members of Congress according to votes and bill sponsorships during the 117th Congress that prioritize the well-being of the nation’s children. The new report examines key pieces of legislation on children’s mental and physical health, child hunger, homelessness and poverty, treatment of immigrant children, environmental dangers to children, and other issues critical to advancing the needs of kids and the families who care for them.
“It is an honor to be named one of this year’s Champions for Children by First Focus Campaign for Children,” said Scanlon. “Time and again, research proves that investing in our children makes them — and our nation — healthy, strong and productive. If we want to truly do what is in the best interest of our country, lawmakers must put our children first.”
Participate in business conference
The Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce will hold its fifth annual Women in Business Conference and Luncheon on Wednesday, Aug. 3, from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Holy Family University, 9801 Frankford Ave. The day will include breakfast, lunch, panel discussions and general sessions.
To attend, be a sponsor or for more information, visit nephilachamber.com.
Home repair program funded in budget
State Sen. Nikil Saval announced a $125 million appropriation in Pennsylvania’s 2022–23 budget to establish his Whole-Home Repairs Program.
Saval issued the following statement:
“Every person has a right to a home that is safe — a home that is healthy. But right now, across our commonwealth, hundreds of thousands of households are denied this right simply because they don’t have access to the resources they need to repair their homes.
“For decades, urban, suburban and rural communities alike have suffered from disinvestment from their government at all levels. The creation of the Whole-Home Repairs Program in this year’s budget changes that.
“This is a hard-fought victory for every Pennsylvanian who is struggling to stay in their home. This program is a direct investment in our people and our communities, whose needs have been ignored, and whose voices have gone unheard. At this time of protracted hardship across the commonwealth, we have seized a historic opportunity to move the needle on our housing crisis — permanently.
“What we have done sets a new standard. Today we have a program to preserve housing across the commonwealth, to stabilize our communities, to prevent blight and abandonment and displacement, to build a skilled workforce to keep our state at the forefront of the industries of the future, and to protect the place that is most dear to all of us: home. I’m committed to fighting for every household to have what they need to make their home whole.
“The United States needs a model for how to preserve its aging housing stock and create new jobs, and with the Whole-Home Repairs Program, Pennsylvania has positioned itself as a leader.”
The Whole-Home Repairs Program is the first of its kind in the nation, creating a one-stop shop for Pennsylvanians to repair and weatherize their homes by providing up to $50,000 for habitability repairs and energy efficiency upgrades, allocating support staff to ensure applicants receive the help they need in the order they need it, and funding pre-apprenticeship and training programs to build a skilled local workforce capable of meeting the growing demand.
Pennsylvania has some of the oldest housing stock in the country.
Saval, who serves as minority-party chairman of the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, introduced the legislation with the entire Democratic caucus and five Republican senators as co-sponsors.
Young applauds education spending
State Rep. Regina Young said she is satisfied that the budget includes a large increase in education funding, for the school districts in her legislative district and throughout Pennsylvania.
The School District of Philadelphia received an increase of $189.3 million, a 14% increase from last year.
“I’m happy to see that the budget prioritized education as a fundamental part of our budget,” said Young, a Democrat who also represents part of Delaware County. “Education is the building block to a sound future, and I’m thankful of my colleagues who helped pass this budget – taking children’s needs into account.”
Washington Avenue getting improvements
City officials announced details for the next phase of the Washington Avenue Repaving and Improvement Project, which involves repaving and restriping the road from Grays Ferry Avenue to 4th Street. Additionally, the lanes east of Broad Street will be re-configured to fit additional traffic safety improvements later this year.
“For years, the administration has worked with Council, advocates and neighbors to make Washington Avenue safer and more accessible for all,” said Deputy Managing Director for Transportation Mike Carroll. “We have and will always remain committed to fair and thorough engagement processes to ensure we engage highly impacted and involved groups as well as every community and every neighborhood we serve.”
The following are the traffic safety improvements that will be implemented from 4th Street to 11th Street on Washington Avenue:
- Road diet with shorter pedestrian crossings
- Protected bike lane
- Speed cushions and speed slots
- Soft rumble strips
- Corner wedges
- Hardened centerlines at select locations
- Automated red-light cameras
- Bus boarding islands
- PPA enforcement of loading and parking zones
Traffic calming can still happen on Washington Avenue west of Broad Street but the process would need to be restarted and re-prioritized based on the five-lane context.
Washington Avenue remains in the queue for Red Light Enforcement Cameras and LED Street lighting upgrades.
Repaving will begin on Washington Avenue at the end of July. Restriping will start in early August, and the entire corridor should be fully paved by mid-August.
New light lager available at ARS
Brewery ARS has released a new light lager can in collaboration with Spork & Wentz, an animated micro series produced by Maestro Filmworks.
ARS, which has locations at 1927-29 W. Passyunk Ave. in South Philadelphia and 2223 Frankford Ave. in Fishtown, will be sponsoring two episodes of Spork & Wentz, a series that follows two hapless musicians in their everyday struggles as they pursue fame.
In addition to the beer can collaboration, the ARS name and logo will appear at the top of episode 3 and episode 4 during the title sequence. Their logo will also appear within the animations themselves as part of the background art.
Spork & Wentz was created by Alex Reinhard, a screenwriter, director and co-owner of Malix Media, a South Philadelphia-based production company, and Pat Richmond, an illustrator from Emmaus. The series can be viewed on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube.
“When Sean from Brewery ARS proposed the idea of brewing a Spork & Wentz beer, we said it needed to be something two broke musicians would drink,” Reinhard said.
The 4.4% ABV Spork & Wentz light lager is available for purchase at both Brewery ARS locations.
Philly native releases poetry book
Screenwriter Chris Courtney Martin, a Philadelphia native, has released The Book of I.P. (Idol Poems) – a short hybrid poetry and essay collection. Each work in the collection represents an “ode” to story concepts Martin finds screen-worthy. The 65-page work contains 30 poems and two memoir-style essays. The book is available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B148JKLM. For more information, go to https://alienbuddhapress.wordpress.com/2022/06/16/spotlight-the-book-of-i-p-idle-poems-by-chris-courtney-martin/.
Legends coming to Live!
Legends in Concert: Legendary Ladies will perform at the Event Center at Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia on Thursday, Aug. 4, and Friday, Aug. 5.
Groove to throwback hits by Aretha Franklin, Cher, Tina Turner and Whitney Houston, performed by tribute artists.
Portraying Tina Turne is Lori Mitchell-Gay, who attended the High School for Creative and Performing Arts, majoring in theater and minoring in dance.
Other upcoming performances at Live! include Dom Irrera (July 22), Cedric the Entertainer (Aug. 6), the Duprees (Aug. 7), An Evening with Housewives (Aug. 26), Candlebox (Sept. 4), Craig Ferguson (Sept. 9) and Billy Ocean (Oct. 6).
BlackStar Festival arrives in August
BlackStar Film Festival, the world’s premiere celebration of Black, Brown and Indigenous film and video artists, will take place Aug. 3-7.
In addition to virtual programming accessible to BlackStar’s global audience BlackStar is hosting a series of in-person screenings and events in Philadelphia, including opening and closing parties, and a panel on disability justice and filmmaking with visionary cultural workers. Passes for the festival—with early bird rates—are now available at https://www.blackstarfest.org/festival/tickets/.
The lineup of films ranges from feature documentaries to sci-fi films and addressing themes such as Indigenous sovereignty, the US maternal health crisis and Black queer love with insight, power, humor and artistry. The 2022 BlackStar Film Festival is set to feature a total of 76 films representing 27 countries, including 16 world, 8 North America, 12 East Coast and 8 US premieres.
AARP ending tutoring program
The AARP Foundation will be closing four Experience Corps branches, including the one in Philadelphia.
The volunteer program trains people 50 and older to help students become better readers by the end of third grade by building their fluency, accuracy and comprehension skills.
The tutoring is done one on one or in small groups, twice a week for 30 minutes each session.
Emily Allen, Senior Vice President of Programs at AARP Foundation, said, “To reach more schools and students, we are evolving AARP Foundation Experience Corps to implement our work through community-based organizations, building on an existing model we’ve accomplished with 19 Program Partners in 11 states. After careful evaluation, we’ve determined this is the most effective way to increase our impact for both students and volunteers. In this move, AARP Foundation will close four Experience Corps Branches currently staffed by AARP Foundation employees, including Philadelphia, at the end of this program year. We are working to identify Program Partners in Philadelphia to implement our new business model as soon as possible so we can continue serving students in the city.”
Summer of Wonder begins at library
The Free Library of Philadelphia has launched a new season of reading, literacy and activities for all ages that continues through Aug. 12 at libraries across the city.
The Free Library’s Summer of Wonder program encourages students to continue reading and learning throughout the summer. Free activities held at libraries across the city include writing sessions, introductory culinary sessions, story times and college and career prep for teens.
“Summer is an awesome time for reading, learning, and exploration, and you can do all of that at the Free Library through the Summer of Wonder program,” said Kelly Richards, president and director of the Free Library of Philadelphia. “Stop by your neighborhood library or visit us online for free programs that will infuse literacy and fun into your summer months.”
Summer of Wonder and Science in the Summer will be hosting virtual and in-person events throughout the summer. A full list of library events is available at freelibrary.org/calendar.
Diane Pieri at No. 5 Butchie Allie
No. 5 Butchie Allie at 1175 S. 13th St. presents Diane Pieri: Once Upon A Time through July 30.
Pieri creates sublime, delicate works on paper that weave meaning, symbol and color in cascading landscape compositions. Each work is a microcosm of multiple intimate compositions that unfold under close inspection. Upon exhaling, they reveal a universe of saturated color and texture as the whole comes into view.
Pieri is unapologetically driven to create radical beauty. She finds power and freedom in embracing every glorious opportunity to be purely decorative. Her newest images incorporate 3D elements that billow unexpectedly from quiet surfaces.
Giant outdoor sculpture at Jewish museum
The newly named and reopened Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, at 5th and Market streets on Independence Mall, is displaying the OY/YO sculpture on its grounds.
The outdoor installation is by Brooklyn-based artist Deborah Kass and will be on display until at least May 2023.
The bright yellow aluminum statue is creative word play using just two letters, with several meanings. One side says “YO,” referencing the phrase used throughout Philadelphia, while the other side reads “OY,” a popular Yiddish phrase used in Jewish and American culture.
At 8 feet tall, 16 feet wide and 5-feet deep, the statue is intended to become part of Old City’s cultural fabric and a destination for tourists and locals.
The museum is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
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 through July 24.
Sea Change is running indefinitely.
The River Feeds Back, going through 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.
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].
The Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation is sponsoring a fully escorted Holy Lands & Aegean Majesty cruise that 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.
The Kimmel Cultural Campus has returned to live Broadway programming.
Here is the schedule through the summer: To Kill A Mockingbird (through July 24, Academy of Music); and Dear Evan Hansen (Aug. 16-28, Forrest Theatre).
For more information, call 215-893-1955 or visit kimmelcenter.org.