Around Town

Furness receives grant money

Horace Howard Furness High School is one of two School District of Philadelphia schools that will receive a donation from Pittcon, the world’s largest, longest-running conference and exposition on laboratory science.

Pittcon will be donating $20,000 toward science education that will be shared between Furness and the John Moffett Elementary School in South Kensington.

The money issued to Furness will benefit students in grades 10-12.

The grants to Moffett and Furness were awarded during the Pittcon Conference & Exposition at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

“Our aim is to advance scientific endeavor through collaboration, bringing together a world of knowledge to impact, enrich, and inspire the future of science,” said Pittcon President Jonell Kerkhoff. “We are a catalyst for the exchange of information, a showcase of the latest advances in laboratory science, and a venue for international connectivity.”

Life sciences workforce program graduates first class at Navy Yard

The Wistar Institute, West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, Iovance Biotherapeutics, PIDC and The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia collaborated last summer to create a new and innovative workforce training model to connect biotech jobs with a wider range of Philadelphians, including residents from “disadvantaged” communities.

The 22-week program, which began recruitment last summer and generated more than 400 applicants, graduated its first class at a ceremony held at Iovance Biotherapeutics at the Navy Yard on March 10. In total, 13 students graduated from the program, and 10 will be connected with employment at Iovance Biotherapeutics as Aseptic Technicians starting at $23.50/hour.

Associate aseptic manufacturing technicians are responsible for maintaining a sterile lab environment, assembling sterile products, stocking supplies and documenting processes of biomedical manufacturers in supporting the creation of cell therapies. The Skills Initiative and Wistar teams will provide guidance, resources and continued support to the graduates who did not receive employment offers to ensure they can land positions at other local biomanufacturing organizations.

Fiedler introduces legislation for solar energy grant program for PA schools

State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler introduced legislation that would create a grant program to expand the use of solar energy at school facilities across Pennsylvania.

The grant program, “Solar for Schools,” would issue grants to schools for solar energy projects, including costs related to equipment, installation and maintenance of solar energy systems.

“This 21st-century landmark program can save local taxpayers and school districts hundreds of thousands of dollars a year,” Fiedler said. “With the savings, local governments can reduce taxes and schools can invest in more teachers. In addition to all those benefits, solar schools projects have immense local benefits such as reducing carbon emissions and creating family sustaining jobs.”

IBEW 98 Political Director T.J. Lepera brought a solar panel with him and said he believes the legislation comes at a time of need.

“Solar for Schools is an incredibly timely piece of legislation with the planet in ecological turmoil,” he said. “The passage of the Solar for Schools legislation would provide a teachable moment for the commonwealth’s 1.7 million K-12 students that their planet and futures matter and are worth fighting for.”

Fiedler said her “blue-green” legislation would help PA capitalize on federal money, support schools that are installing solar panels, create jobs in a growing field and save local taxpayers money.

2nd Ward supporting Gym

Democratic mayoral candidate Helen Gym has been endorsed by the 2nd Ward, known as a high-turnout ward.

“I’m running on a 30-year track record of taking on this city’s biggest fights and delivering solutions that improved people’s lives,” Gym said. “I’ve been doing it way before I ever had a formal title or political power. I’ll be bringing this same relentlessness and tenacity all the way to the mayor’s office. Thank you to the Second Ward Democrats for standing with us. Together, we will win the future that our city deserves, which means safer neighborhoods, stronger schools and a fairer economy.”

“The Second Ward Democrats are proud to have resoundingly endorsed Helen Gym for Mayor,” said Julia Tackett, leader of the ward. “In her career as an educator, a community organizer and a member of City Council, Helen has demonstrated tenacity and imagination in bringing solutions to our city, and a talent for building and working with coalitions to bring different populations together. I applaud our committee people for administering a robust and thorough candidate vetting process, and look forward to engaging our voters on the issues that matter to them.”

Gym has also been endorsed by Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, American Federation of Teachers, Working Families Party, AFSCME DC 47, Unite Here Locals 274, 634 and 54, Teamsters Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division, Reclaim Philadelphia, 1st Ward Democrats, Amistad Movement Power, Free the Ballot, Straight Ahead and Neighborhood Networks. ••

Rhynhart releases economic development plan

Democratic mayoral candidate Rebecca Rhynhart released her plan to support small business growth, spur economic development and create pathways to jobs with family-sustaining wages.

“As mayor, I will work hard every day to grow our economy and create new, well-paying jobs while making sure that our residents have the skills needed to get those jobs,” Rhynhart said. “We must reduce the red tape of government processes and rethink our overall tax strategy so that new and small businesses can find success without passing the tax burden to our most vulnerable residents. As mayor, I will create job pipelines for workers from our most disadvantaged neighborhoods to well-paying jobs in growing sectors such as the life sciences. With this comprehensive strategy, we can ensure our whole city is lifted up.”

Rhynhart’s plan highlights the following as key priorities for her administration:

• Work with business owners to identify and correct the bureaucratic red tape and missteps in city departments and the workforce system

• Continue to lower the wage tax, lower business taxes for small businesses and rethink the overall tax strategy so that it balances the need for business growth without passing the burden onto low- and middle-income residents

• Create and strengthen efforts to encourage business creation and expansion among black-owned companies

• Work with the private sector as well as education and training institutions to make sure that all residents have the skills needed to fully participate in the economy

• Invest in and strengthen commercial corridors

“I have outlined a plan for my mayoral administration to work with business, community, nonprofit and labor leaders to build an inclusive economy where every Philadelphian can thrive. This will mean a government that provides basic services effectively and efficiently and doesn’t get in the way of the innovation and creativity we know comes naturally to Philadelphia,” Rhynhart said.

The full plan is available at ••

Gym wants better school conditions

Democratic mayoral candidate Helen Gym released an action plan that would address the unsafe conditions in school facilities across the city.

“As mayor, I will not send one more student or teacher into a school that is known to be unsafe,” she said. “Our kids get to be kids one time. To have our students’ lives interrupted during what is the most critical and celebratory times of year, with prom, college acceptances and graduation ceremonies already planned, is robbery.

“Time and again we have seen children’s lives disrupted because of the district’s failure to act. The district has known about the dangers of asbestos at Building 21 for years. And despite Council laws and hearings, they have failed to answer the call when families, children and staff lives are at stake. Instead of working with communities to fix problems, they treat anyone who raises concerns as a problem to be managed, or worse an enemy. As mayor, the city and district’s dysfunction and hostility around fixing our schools will end. That’s why I am proposing a citywide action plan that will align all parties around a shared vision for safe, healthy public schools.”

At the announcement, Gym outlined her plan to comprehensively address the school facilities crisis:

• Increase transparency around building conditions and unresolved school facility issues by making data on school facilities publicly available to school communities and local leaders;

• Make parents and community members part of the solution by establishing parent councils to assist with plans for alternative spaces for displaced school communities while remediations and renovations are being completed;

• Establish an intergovernmental agreement and taskforce to convene stakeholders, organized labor and community members to develop a 10-year plan to modernize schools; and

• Secure and deploy funding to guarantee the health and safety of every student in Philadelphia by advocating for a greater share of state funding to flow through the funding formula.

“Yes, we can rid our facilities of asbestos, lead and mold. Yes, we can also make needed improvements to ventilation, heating and cooling systems. And yes, we can champion sustainable, green facilities improvements,” Gym said. “But it will take a leader who truly believes in our school communities and can organize stakeholders, work hand-in-hand with communities and deliver results for our students. As mayor, I will deliver on a 10-year plan that doesn’t just apply Band-Aids to long-overlooked crises but ushers our schools into the 21st century.” ••

Election lineup

The following candidates have filed for the May 16 primary and remain on the ballot, at least for now:

• Mayor: Democrat – Allan Domb, Amen Brown, Cherelle Parker, Delscia Gray, Derek Green, Helen Gym, James DeLeon, Jeff Brown, John Wood, Rebecca Rhynhart, Maria Quinones Sanchez, Warren Bloom. Republican – David Oh.

• Election Commissioner: Democrat – Lisa Deeley, Omar Sabir. Republican – Seth Bluestein.

• City Controller: Democrat – Alexandra Hunt, Christy Brady, John Thomas. Republican – Aaron Bashir.

• City Council At Large (nominate 5): Democrat – Abu Edwards, Amanda McIllmurray, Charles Reyes, Christopher Booth, Clayton Prince, Curtis Segers, Deshawnda Williams, Derwood Selby, Donavan West, Erika Almiron, Eryn Santamoor, George Stevenson, Isaiah Thomas, Jalon Alexander, Jim Harrity, Job Itzkowitz, John B. Kelly, Katherine Gilmore Richardson, Luz Colon, Max Tuttleman, Melissa Robbins, Michelle Prettyman, Naderah Griffin, Nina Ahmad, Ogbonna Paul Hagins, Qiana Shedrick, Rue Landau, Sherrie Cohen, Wayne Dorsey. Republican – Drew Murray, Frank Cristinzio, Gary Grisafi, Jim Hasher, Mary Jane Kelly, Sam Oropeza.

• Register of Wills: Democrat – Craig Smith, Elizabeth Lowe, John Sabatina, Rae Hall, Tracey Gordon. Republican – Linwood Holland.

• Sheriff: Democrat – Jackie Miles, Michael Untermeyer, Rochelle Bilal. Republican – Mark LaVelle.

• 1st Councilmanic District: Democrat – Mark Squilla.

• 2nd Councilmanic District: Democrat – Aaron Humphrey, Boogie Rose, Kenyatta Johnson.

• Common Pleas Court (nominate 10): Democrat – Qawi Abdul-Rahman, Wade Albert, Aaron Bell, Will Braveman, Jessica Brown, Melissa Francis, Damaris Garcia, Joseph Green, Kenneth Joel, Chesley Lightsey, Brian McLaughlin, Colleen Osborne, John Padova, Natasha Taylor-Smith, Caroline Turner, Tamika Washington, Samantha Williams, Kay Yu.

• Municipal Court (nominate 2): Democrat – Qawi Abdul-Rahman, Melissa Francis, Joseph Green, Rania Major, Colleen Osborne, Cortez Patton, Barbara Thomson Previdi, Caroline Turner. Republican – Rania Major.

• Supreme Court (nominate 1): Democrat – Deborah Kunselman, Dan McCaffery. Republican – Patricia McCullough, Carolyn Carluccio.

• Superior Court (nominate 2): Democrat – Jill Beck, Timika Lane, Pat Dugan. Republican – Maria Battista, Harry Smail.

• Commonwealth Court (nominate 1): Democrat – Bryan Neft, Matthew Wolf. Republican – Megan Martin, Josh Prince. ••

Drones to deter crime

Jalon Alexander, a Democratic candidate for City Council at large, is calling on Mayor Jim Kenney, members of Council and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw to immediately implement a highly sophisticated drone program to help deter, combat and arrest violent criminals.

Alexander’s plan comes after the 17th murder this school year of a student. A 15-year-old boy who attended Kensington High School was shot multiple times in Oxford Circle on March 13.

“Unfortunately, if law enforcement had a drone program in place the shooter who gunned down the student would have already been arrested,” Alexander said. “Instead, he is on the run and despite the presence of stationary cameras, it is clear we do not have enough tools to apprehend violent criminals on the spot. We need to use drones ASAP to deter crime and make the city safer.”

Alexander, who is a cybersecurity lawyer, introduced a plan called Drone Force Philly in which each of the city’s 21 police districts would deploy two sophisticated drones. A 10-person unit would coordinate and operate the drones, providing coverage citywide.

“An individual was also shot 70 times on the porch of his home in Tioga, and like the student shooting in the Lower Northeast, an arrest has still not been made,” Alexander said. “If a drone had been stationed in the police precinct, it could have recorded the engagement and followed the shooter with live video to help police make an arrest. The city is less safe because a murderer who should have been caught – or deterred – is still on the streets. Drones must be a part of our gun violence solution going forward. The drones I am advocating include software to detect and respond to live shootings, much faster than humans.” ••

Nutter backs Rhynhart

Former Mayor Michael Nutter endorsed Rebecca Rhynhart in the Democratic mayoral primary.

Rhynhart is seeking to become Philadelphia’s 100th mayor, and first woman to hold the post.

Rhynhart worked as city treasurer and budget director under Nutter.

“Working in his administration was one of the key experiences that has prepared me for the role of mayor and I’m honored to earn his endorsement today,” she said.

“Rebecca Rhynhart not only has the best qualifications to excel in the role of mayor, she also has the courage to take on our city’s greatest challenges and make sure that the people of Philadelphia come out on top,” Nutter said. “I hired her as a key member of my administration and now I’m encouraging the voters of Philadelphia to hire Rebecca to serve as our next mayor.”

Former Mayor John Street has also endorsed Rhynhart.

“Rebecca has now earned the support of two of Philadelphia’s previous mayors,” said campaign manager Kellan White. “This fact demonstrates that, even in a crowded field, her qualifications and leadership style stands out to those who have done the job.” ••

Register for mayoral forum

The Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a mayoral forum on Tuesday, April 18, in the gym at Holy Family University, located in the Campus Center, close to the entrance at Frankford Avenue and Stevenson Lane. PHL17 will broadcast the forum from 7:30 to 9 p.m. The moderators will be Dan McElhatton, a lawyer, former city councilman and chair of the GNPCC’s government affairs committee; Northeast Times editor Tom Waring; and Jennifer Lewis-Hall, of PHL17. To register to attend, visit ••

Ballet concert at Penn Charter

Metropolitan Ballet’s Variations/Collaborations concert will take place on Saturday, April 1, at 7 p.m. at Kurtz Center, William Penn Charter School, 3000 West School House Lane. Tickets for the evening of dance and music are $25. Purchase tickets at

Settlement Music School’s William A. Loeb Chamber Ensemble and the Myer Schwartz Advanced Study Trio will also perform. ••

Sign up for senior softball

The Philadelphia Senior Softball League is looking for experienced players for their 59-and-over and 68-and-over leagues. The seasons start mid-April and will go until the end of September. There will be about 30 games, plus playoffs. No games are played in July. The 59-and-over games are Tuesdays and Thursdays. The 68-and-over games are Mondays and Fridays. All games are played at Crispin Field, Holme and Convent avenues. Games start at 10 a.m. For more information on the 59-and-over league, call John Troy at 215-292-1437. For more information on the 68-and-over league, call Marty King at 215-409-5021. ••

Sports Hall of Fame banquet set

The City All Star Chapter Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame will hold its 29th awards banquet on Tuesday, April 18, at 5:30 p.m. at Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, 11630 Caroline Road.

The class of 2023 consists of former North Catholic soccer coach Jerry Brindisi; former Northeast High football coach Harvey “Brew Schumer; Frank “Roscoe” Natale, who has coached baseball and been athletic director at Southern and Bok and been football coach at Bok, Bartram and Southern; and former La Salle University and Archbishop Ryan baseball coach Mike Lake.

In addition, the class of 2020 will be recognized. The banquet honoring them was postponed due to COVID.

Those inductees are former La Salle University basketball player Craig Conlin; coach and youth league organizer Lou DeCree; retired longtime women’s college basketball official Dennis DeMayo; Division I football official Joe Griesser; Joe Hand, a leading TV distributor of closed-circuit and pay-per-view boxing; Mike Hawkins, the PIAA District 12 chairman and former football coach and athletic director at Germantown High School; Steve Kane, the longtime former boys basketball coach at University City who led the Jaguars to the 1995 Public League title; Mike Koplove, who pitched for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cleveland Indians; Kathy Lonergan, a Division I women’s basketball referee; Dave Mastropietro, a baseball star at La Salle University; and Dr. Anthony Salem, a former minor league baseball player.

Tickets cost $75 in advance and $80 at the door. Tables of 10 cost $750.

Checks can be made payable to Philadelphia City All Star Chapter, and mailed to PAHOF, P.O. Box 672, Levittown, PA 19055-9998 (include email address and inductee name on check). No paper tickets will be issued. Instead, guests will go to a welcome table at the FOP to get their seat assignments.

Organizers are also looking for sponsors for an ad book.

For tickets or ads, contact Steve DiSangro at or 215-421-7556. ••

Celebrating 100 years of SMT

St. Martin of Tours Parish invites all school alumni, current and past parishioners and friends to a 100th anniversary Mass in the upper church, 5450 Roosevelt Blvd., on Sunday, April 30, at noon. The Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Edward Adams. Afterward, there will be a “Past & Present — Building Our Future” celebration at Cannstatter’s, 9130 Academy Road, from 2-6 p.m. Tickets cost $35 and include food, soft drinks, music and door prizes. The event is for ages 21-plus. Tickets must be purchased in advance in the rectory, after all Masses, through Venmo (@smotphilly) or with check to St. Martin of Tours Church, 5450 Roosevelt Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19124, Attn: Centennial Celebration. Proceeds will benefit church improvements. ••

Exhibitions at Academy of Natural Sciences

An exhibition at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 19th and the Parkway, presents a new perspective on insects and reveals their beauty.

Microsculpture: The Insect Portraits of Levon Biss is a series of portraits that capture the microscopic form of insects in high-resolution detail. It will be on view until April 23.

Each photograph makes visible the many intricate adaptations to the form of insects.

Award-winning British photographer Levon Biss created the exhibition, which showcases the insect collection of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in Oxford, England. Pinned specimens from the Academy’s own entomology collection are added to provide visitors an up-close look at the actual size of insects compared to similar-looking insects in the photographs.

Meanwhile, an exhibition celebrates the diversity of birds, their role in ecosystems and people’s relationships with them. Conversations With Birds spotlights familiar local birds, such as house sparrows and cardinals, and goes beyond to introduce the variety of migrators that pass through on journeys across the globe.

The exhibition features avian photography and video by local birders and wildlife photographers. There will be hands-on activities that explain the body architecture that enables birds to do what they do.

Conversations With Birds is free with general museum admission and on view through Sunday, May 21.


Go see Mamma Mia!

The Star Players, of the city Department of Parks and Recreation, will present Mamma Mia! from June 2-4 at 7 p.m. at Venice Island Performing Arts Center, 7 Lock St. in Manayunk. Tickets cost $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Group rates are available. Tickets are available at Holmesburg Recreation Center, 4500 Rhawn St., or on Venmo @TheStarplayers. For more information, contact director Bill Arthur at 215-685-8714 or ••

Trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan

The Polish American Cultural Center Museum volunteers are sponsoring a 7-day, 6-night trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan from July 9-15. The trip consists of a ferry ride to Mackinac Island, two nights at the Grand Hotel, a horse-drawn carriage ride and visits to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the Henry Ford Museum and the National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods. The price includes bus transportation, hotels, six breakfasts, six dinners, a buffet luncheon at the Grand Hotel, admission to all attractions, baggage handling, taxes and gratuities. Call Theresa Romanowski at 215-813-2780 or 215-922-1700.

South Phila. HS class of ‘68 reunion

The South Philadelphia High School Class of 1968 will hold its 55th reunion on Saturday, Oct. 21, 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]. ••

Upcoming cruise

The Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation is sponsoring a fully escorted Holy Lands & Aegean Majesty cruise that will sail Oct. 6-17, 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. ••

Cruise the Mediterranean

Norwegian Cruise Line will host a Mediterranean cruise from Rome to Venice on Oct. 10-19. The trip is all inclusive with round-trip airfare, a beverage package, all meals, three specialty dinners, taxes, transfers and all gratuities. The cost for a balcony sea view cabin is $3,511 per person. For more information, contact Fillmore Travel’s Kevin Fries at 215-498-8294 or ••