Around Town

Helen Gym, Nikil Saval
Helen Gym, Nikil Saval

Saval supporting Gym

State Sen. Nikil Saval has endorsed Helen Gym in the May 16 Democratic mayoral primary.

“What Philadelphia needs is an experienced and competent leader, but also a visionary and transformational one,” Saval said. “That leader is Helen Gym. What she achieved as an organizer and councilmember were things that no one thought possible: the return of local control of our schools; Fair Workweek legislation that brought real control over hours to thousands of workers; an eviction-protection system that kept thousands of people in their homes. To meet the challenges of Philadelphia, present and future, we need a leader with brilliance, dedication and energy. Helen Gym has those in superabundance. I am proud to endorse her for mayor of Philadelphia.”

Gym is also supported by Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, American Federation of Teachers, UNITE HERE Philadelphia, AFSCME DC 47, Working Families Party, AFT Pennsylvania, Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance, Teamsters Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division, Reclaim Philadelphia, One Pennsylvania, Make the Road Action, 18th Ward Democrats, First Ward Democrats, Health Professionals and Allied Employees AFT AFL-CIO, The Faculty and Staff Federation of Community College of Philadelphia, Jane Fonda Climate PAC, Second Ward Democrats, Ward 39A Democrats, Amistad Movement Power, Philly Neighborhood Networks, Free the Ballot and Straight Ahead. ••

WXPN creates local LP for Record Store Day

Repo Records at 506 South St. will be one of five locations in the city where music lovers can receive the WXPN Homegrown Originals LP on Record Store Day on April 22.

WXPN-FM 88.5 will celebrate and support local record stores by offering a new vinyl LP it has curated and produced exclusively for Record Store Day, featuring six original songs by Philly-area artists.

The limited-edition WXPN Homegrown Originals album will be free with purchase while supplies last in celebration of Record Store Day.

“The Philly area is home to exceptional musical talent and independent record stores, and this special album release gives WXPN and local music lovers a way to support them both,” said John Vettese, host of WXPN’s local music show WXPN Local, who’s intimately familiar with the local music scene and wrote the new LP’s liner notes. “These are artists whose music we feel deserves extra exposure and exploration, so we’re happy to make WXPN Homegrown Originals available for free on Record Store Day.”

Production of the WXPN Homegrown Originals LP was limited to 300 copies, and reflects a truly “homegrown” WXPN effort; all tracks were recorded and produced by WXPN staff, with five of the six recorded at WXPN studios for the station’s Key Studio Sessions, Unprecedented Sessions or Free At Noon concert series. The local artists featured are Catbite, Snacktime, Riverby, Cosmic Guilt, Sug Daniels and Echo Kid.

Energy grant money available

Philadelphia Gas Works is encouraging customers to take advantage of available Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program grants of up to $1,000 that do not have to be repaid and apply to both homeowners and renters.

Customers have several ways to apply for LIHEAP by:

Visiting more than a dozen Neighborhood Energy Centers to receive in-person guidance and payment assistance counseling.
Texting the word “CASH” to 77037 to receive an application.
Printing a LIHEAP application at pgworks.com/liheap.
The federally funded program helps low-income households with their energy bills so that customers can continue to enjoy natural gas for heat, hot water and cooking all year long safely in their homes.

Summer programs, activities for children and youth

With a nod to a phrase popularized during the Philadelphia Eagles’ march to Super Bowl LVII, Mayor Jim Kenney and other officials announced “It’s A Summer Thing!” as they unveiled the city’s lineup of programs and activities available to children and teens this summer.

Pools, spraygrounds, reading enrichment, STEM activities, free meals, sports activities, summer camps and seasonal jobs were all promoted as ways to keep young people engaged when schools dismiss for the academic year.

Families can visit phila.gov/itsasummerthing to learn about summer programming offered by the city’s Office of Children and Families, consisting of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Free Library of Philadelphia and the Department of Human Services as well as its partners, the School District of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Police Department. Links will guide visitors to information on registration, timelines, locations and requirements.

Summer activities for children and youth include:

Over 100 summer camps at recreation centers and parks sponsored by the PPR.
Swimming and free swim lessons at pools and water play at spraygrounds.
Out-of-School Time summer camps located in schools and community-based locations throughout the city.
Reading activities at library branches throughout the city.
Fun activities and play time on hundreds of blocks throughout the city as part of the city’s Play Streets Program.
Positive youth development programming such as gaming, conflict resolution and financial literacy classes at the Community Evening Resource Centers that are open from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Recreation and athletic programming at PAL sites throughout the city.
Diversion programming and activities through the DHS Intensive Prevention Services program for at-risk youth.
Paid job opportunities for teens through the WorkReady program.
Summer jobs at the city pools as lifeguards and pool maintenance attendants through PPR.
Free meals are distributed at PPR camps, OST Summer Programs and Play Streets throughout the city. For more information about free food, see phila.gov/food.

To help make this a safe summer for children and youth, PPD First Deputy Commissioner John Stanford urged parents to be responsible and accountable for their children and to help police enforce youth curfew laws. He also said police would step up patrols around pools and recreation centers during the summer.

Information about enrollment, applications and descriptions of these programs and numerous others throughout the city can be accessed through phila.gov/itsasummerthing.

Televised mayoral debate

The Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and AARP will sponsor a mayoral forum on Tuesday, April 18, in the gym at Holy Family University. PHL17 will broadcast the forum from 7:30 to 9 p.m. The forum will be on the PHL website, beginning at 11 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. ••

Rhynhart releases education plan

Democratic mayoral candidate Rebecca Rhynhart announced her plans for improving public education in Philadelphia.

“As a mom to a seventh-grader in the Philadelphia school district, this issue is one that is personal to me. Every child in our city deserves a good school to go to, whether that is a traditional public or charter school,” Rhynhart said. “As mayor, I will provide the leadership needed to improve the quality of our schools, appointing a school board aligned with my vision for improvement, establishing a strong Mayor’s Office of Education reporting to me, and providing city services aligned with neighborhood schools.”

Key components of the Rhynhart plan for education rely on increased funding from the state. She believes every school should have a nurse and social worker. When a school does not have this, the Rhynhart administration will provide one by partnering with the city’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Service. Additionally, the Free Library and parks and recreation centers will have extended afternoon and evening hours and offer programs to help advance students’ education achievement goals while providing them with safe haven outside of their homes.

You can read the plan in its entirety at rebeccaforphiladelphia.com/education. ••

Nutter endorses Santamoor

Former Mayor Michael Nutter endorsed City Council at-large candidate Eryn Santamoor in the May 16 Democratic primary.

“Eryn is more qualified to be on Council than I was when I ran the first time or the second time,” Nutter said. “I could not be more proud of her or excited about her candidacy. Eryn has always been someone I could count on to do what’s right and get the job done; she is relentless in her efforts and represents everything Philadelphia deserves right now.”

Santamoor worked on Nutter’s mayoral campaign and as a deputy managing director during his administration.

Former Mayor and Gov. Ed Rendell has also endorsed Santamoor, who has served as a national consultant to cities and states and chief of staff to former Councilman Allan Domb.

Santamoor has also received endorsements from state Reps. Donna Bullock and Jared Solomon, CWA Local 13000, TWU Local 234, IATSE Local 8, IUOE Local 542, Philadelphia Metal Trades Council, 5th Square, Philadelphia 3.0 and the 5th, 8th and 9th wards. ••

CCP staff supports Gym

Democratic mayoral candidate Helen Gym has been endorsed by Faculty and Staff Federation of Community College of Philadelphia (FSFCCP), Local AFT2026.

“An affordable and vibrant community college system is central to my vision of stabilizing, empowering and growing our city — so it means a great deal to me to have the support of the Faculty and Staff Federation of Community College of Philadelphia,” Gym said. “As the Philadelphia region’s most accessible institution of higher education, it is vital that the incoming mayor recognizes CCP for the incredible asset that it is, and uplifts its students and workers accordingly. CCP is and must be a college for the people of our city, where anyone, regardless of their background, can go to receive a world-class education that leads them to a high-quality job. I will be the loudest and proudest champion for the hardworking staff, faculty and students of CCP, and together we will transform higher education into a true public good.”

Junior Brainard, FSFCCP co-president, cited Gym’s record of fighting for public education, workers, students and families.

Gym said, “The faculty and staff of CCP are already delivering high-quality education and job training to thousands of Phialdelphians every year, and my mission as mayor will be to expand, increase and strengthen CCP’s capacity to deliver higher education to the masses. As a former teacher, organizer and Philly mom, I have spent my life fighting for fully-funded education for our kids and young adults. I know that in order for Philadelphia to flourish, we must provide residents with quality, affordable public schooling from early childhood through adulthood. As mayor, I won’t take for granted the invaluable work that CCP faculty and staff do every day to educate our neighbors – I will be their biggest advocate.”

Gym has also been endorsed by Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, American Federation of Teachers, UNITE HERE Philadelphia, AFSCME DC 47, Working Families Party, AFT Pennsylvania, Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance, Teamsters Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division, Reclaim Philadelphia, One Pennsylvania, Make the Road Action, 18th Ward Democrats, First Ward Democrats, Health Professionals and Allied Employees AFT AFL-CIO, Jane Fonda Climate PAC, Second Ward Democrats, Ward 39A Democrats, Amistad Movement Power, Philly Neighborhood Networks, Free the Ballot and Straight Ahead. ••

Drones to catch dumpers

Democratic City Council at-large candidate and cybersecurity attorney Jalon Alexander, of Strawberry Mansion, is calling on city leaders to implement his program called “Drone Force Philly.”

Alexander said drones can help catch dumpers.

“If they knew a drone could see the dumping and follow them to help police identify and catch them, they might not be so bold,” he said.

Alexander’s proposal calls for a fleet of 42 sophisticated drones, two for each of Philadelphia’s 21 police districts. A unit of 10 would operate and coordinate the drones. The primary purpose of the fleet would be to reduce violent crime and solve more cases, but Alexander said catching illegal dumpers is another capability and area of emphasis.

“I am not sure why the city is not already using this technology to protect our neighborhoods and schools, but it is time for us to consider 21st-century solutions to our biggest problems,” he said. ••

Gym announces school plan

Democratic mayoral candidate Helen Gym, a former public school teacher, announced her Schools-First Agenda.

The plan include a Green New Deal for public schools that will address the longstanding facilities crisis and put Philadelphians to work to modernize every public school within 10 years; a vision to guarantee summer, evening and weekend programming for youth and ensure safe passage to and from schools; expanded career pipelines for school staff, especially “teachers of color”; and a mission to grow an accountable, responsive school district that treats families as partners in a whole-city mission to raise the next generation of leaders.

“We’re here today because we believe in great teachers, strong mentors and fully-resourced school communities that change the course of young people’s lives. We are here because we know that investing in a transformative vision for what our public schools and our children can be isn’t just possible, it is a necessity,” Gym said.

Gym was joined by Councilwoman Kendra Brooks, of the Working Families Party.

Components of Gym’s include at least $10 billion over 10 years to ensure every school is repaired or replaced; free all-hours SEPTA transpasses for children; universal pre-kindergarten; and fully staffed libraries and librarians in every school. ••

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 disangroref@aol.com or 215-421-7556. ••

Local 98 endorses Parker

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 endorsed Democrat Cherelle Parker for mayor. The announcement was made by IBEW Business Manager Mark Lynch Jr., along with Parker, outside the union’s Spring Garden Street business office.

“Beginning with her years of leadership in the state House of Representatives, through to her many accomplishments as one of the hardest-working members of Philadelphia City Council, Cherelle Parker has always stood tall for working people and the labor movement,” Lynch said. “She didn’t just ask for labor’s support, she went out and earned it. The 5,000-strong membership of IBEW Local 98 looks forward to helping her win the Democratic mayoral primary on Tuesday, May 16.”

Parker has also been endorsed by the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters and 32BJ SEIU. ••

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.

Visit ansp.org.

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 Starplayers2013@gmail.com. ••

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]. ••

Riverwards Dems for Gym

The Riverwards Area Democrats have endorsed Helen Gym in the May 16 primary.

“Riverwards Area Democrats is proud to endorse Helen Gym for mayor by a vote of our membership,” said Molly Hartman, president of Riverwards Area Democrats. “Helen has an unparalleled reputation as a champion for progressive causes and a track record of effective policy results, including leading the passage of fair workweek laws, eviction diversion, paid sick leave and a $15 minimum wage for city workers. Between now and election day, RAD looks forward to working with our progressive partners across the city to do the work to elect Helen Gym.”

RAD is an independent, progressive, Democratic political organization in wards 5, 18, 25 and 31.

Gym has also been endorsed by Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, American Federation of Teachers, UNITE HERE Philadelphia, AFSCME DC 47, Working Families Party, AFT Pennsylvania, Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance, Teamsters Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division, Reclaim Philadelphia, One Pennsylvania, Make the Road Action, First Ward Democrats, Health Professionals and Allied Employees AFT AFL-CIO, The Faculty and Staff Federation of Community College of Philadelphia, Jane Fonda Climate PAC, Second Ward Democrats, Ward 39A Democrats, Amistad Movement Power, Philly Neighborhood Networks, Free the Ballot and Straight Ahead. ••

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 fkevin910@comcast.net. ••