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Around Town: Refinery meetings, free rides home from Eagles, political news

Community meetings on refinery development

The United South/Southwest Coalition and other community organizations will host several meetings on refinery redevelopment at various locations in South and Southwest Philadelphia. 

A training session will be held on Aug. 27 from 4-7 p.m. at the Church of the Redeemer, 1440 S. 24th St. This training will prepare residents to stand for real environmental justice as Philly’s historic refinery redevelopment progresses, and this training will also build participants’ skills organizing protests across issues and campaigns. Join to deepen understanding of why direct action works, to role play direct action scenarios, and to explore specific action possibilities.

Community Meetings on Refinery Redevelopment will be held on Sept 8 at 6 p.m., hosted by Southwest CDC (63rd & Paschall Ave); Sept. 12 at 6 p.m., hosted by Point Breeze Community Development Coalition; Sept. 17 at noon, hosted by Black Farmers Produce (58th & Greenway Ave); and Sept. 19 at 7 p.m., hosted by GENA (18th & Wolf St). Each meeting will have a different focus. 

Free rides home from Eagles games

SEPTA will be offering free rides home on the Broad Street line after Eagles football games all season long.

The promotion, which aims to get Eagles fans home safely from the NRG Station at Broad and Pattison after games, is sponsored by betPARX Casino & Sportsbook.

“We are excited for football season and are thrilled at the opportunity to partner with SEPTA to offer complimentary rides home throughout the entire football season” said Matthew Cullen, senior vice president of betPARX.” It’s our commitment to the Philadelphia sports fan to bring the action of the game to the palm of their hand. We want everyone to enjoy the thrill of the game responsibility by taking advantage of the free rides home program this football season.”

There is no discount on trips to the game, but SEPTA will accommodate passengers with a total of 10 trains on the Broad Street Line to NRG Station. Six Sports Express trips will run every 10 minutes departing Fern Rock Station. Fans will also find Local and Express trains waiting for them at NRG Station after each game.

SEPTA CEO and General Manager Leslie S. Richards said, “SEPTA is a great option, offering fans safe and convenient travel on the Broad Street Line and connecting services.”

There is a free transfer to the Broad Street Line from the Market-Frankford Line and City Trolley routes at 15th Street/City Hall, and it is just a short walk from Regional Rail stations in Center City. It also connects to bus routes that provide service throughout the city and region, and it is easily accessible from the PATCO High Speed Line for riders from South Jersey.

To speed their trips to the game, SEPTA riders are encouraged to load funds on a SEPTA Key card before their travel or purchase a one-way Quick Trip ticket for travel to NRG Station. For more information about the SEPTA Key, visit www.septa.org/key. For more information about SEPTA, including schedules and trip planning tools, visit www.septa.org.

Evans’ military-academy diversity legislation passes House 

Congressman Dwight Evans secured House passage of his legislation designed to improve diversity at the nation’s military service academies and his bipartisan legislation to reauthorize a Delaware River basin conservation program.

Both of Evans’ legislative initiatives passed the House as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, considered to be one of the few “must-pass” bills that Congress handles each year.

“The military service academies represent a tremendous opportunity for those interested in serving their country in that way – including a free four-year university education. So I have been working for several years to improve the diversity of the academies’ student population, particularly among applicants from the 3rd Congressional District. I’m very pleased that my amendment was accepted on a voice vote,” Evans said.

Evans’ amendment would modify the Department of Defense’s annual report on demographics of military service academy applicants to identify disparities in demographic categories and identify suspected causes of such disparities within the application or nominating process.

Evans represents the only Pennsylvania congressional district with a majority African-American population. He urged those interested in a service academy nomination to visit evans.house.gov, then click “Services,” then “Military Academy Nominations.” Those interested can apply now. Oct. 31 is the deadline for 3rd District residents to apply.

The 3rd Congressional District includes Northwest and West Philadelphia and parts of North, South, Southwest and Center City Philadelphia.

In the same bill, Evans also won House passage of his legislation that would continue the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program, which benefits four states – Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and New York. The program was created in 2016 and is set to expire next year. 

Evans said, “I’m proud to be lead House sponsor of the Delaware River Basin Conservation Reauthorization Act. The restoration program provides invaluable support, through technical and grant assistance, to restoration and protection activities throughout the Delaware River Basin, a vital watershed covering over 13,000 square miles in four states and reaching over 7 million people. Maintaining the program is essential to protecting ecological diversity, improving water quality and flood damage mitigation, expanding public access and recreation, and generating economic opportunities throughout the mid-Atlantic.”

 

Scanlon secures direct benefits in National Defense Authorization Act

Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon voted to pass the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act to strengthen national security with investments in America’s service members, alliances and partnerships, diversity and technology. Language secured by Scanlon in the legislation will deliver direct investments in Pennsylvania’s District 5 in jobs, businesses and support for federal firefighters.

The NDAA maintains funding for the CH-47F Block II Chinook and V-22 Osprey programs. These advanced-capability aircraft are manufactured in Ridley Park, providing good-paying local jobs to over 4,000 skilled men and women. In addition to providing thousands of local jobs, the programs benefit dozens of suppliers throughout Pennsylvania. 

“I am excited to share that this year’s defense bill will once again deliver direct benefits for my district,” said Scanlon. “The over 4,000 hardworking men and women who build these aircraft in Ridley Park are incredibly proud to contribute to our national security and disaster relief efforts. I am equally proud our government is investing in these amazing workers. I look forward to seeing it put to good use as PA-05 businesses and workers continue to contribute to America’s national security.”

Additionally, Scanlon secured the inclusion of the Federal Firefighters Workforce Support Act, a bill she introduced earlier this year to ensure federal firefighters are not forced to operate with staffing levels below national safety standards.

“I am also pleased that this year’s NDAA will include my bill to support the federal firefighters in my district and across the country,” she said. “Federal firefighters have some of the toughest and most strenuous jobs in our communities, but budget mitigation efforts have forced them to operate with substandard crew sizes — making their lifesaving and fire suppression efforts all the more demanding and dangerous. The Federal Firefighters Workforce Support Act will require DOD to adhere to nationally recognized fire protection staffing standards at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and across the country. As the NDAA process continues in the House and Senate, I will continue to advocate for the inclusion of these PA-05 priorities as the legislation makes its way to the president’s desk.”

 

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.

 

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.

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.

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