Around Town

Fiedler visits Older Adult Center

State Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler joined the South Philadelphia Older Adult Center at 1430 E. Passyunk Ave. on Oct. 20 for a community lunch and to help with state-related services. Her team worked to connect neighbors with senior SEPTA passes, rental rebates and more. Fiedler and her staff will hold a community breakfast at the Seafarer’s Union Hall, 2604 S. 4th St., on Nov. 4 from 10 to 11:30 a.m., where you can enjoy a meal with the team and ask questions about state services.

As part of their mobile office hours, Fiedler and her staff travel to locations around South Philly to connect constituents directly with government services. Fiedler’s staff will be at Whitman Council, 2455 S. 3rd St., on Nov. 16 and it will return to the Older Adult Center on Nov. 17. Both days will have 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. hours.

Goretti Class of ‘67 reunion

The 56th anniversary celebration of the St. Maria Goretti class of 1967 will be held on Nov. 5 from noon to 4 p.m. at the IATSE ballroom. Tickets are $67 per person. Call Millay Club at 215-389-0525 to purchase.

Harris, Johnson speak on masjid vandalism

On Oct. 23, Rep. Jordan A. Harris and Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, spoke out against the vandalism of the masjid at the United Muslim Islamic Center, 1251 Point Breeze Ave.

“Sometime in the early-morning hours of Oct. 19, 2023, vandals targeted the United Muslim Islamic Center located on Point Breeze Avenue just a block away from my office,” Harris said. “I am saddened by the senseless vandalism perpetrated on our Muslim brothers and sisters. This is a clear example of why I introduced House Bill 1772, which provides for a $5 million increase to the Nonprofit Safety and Security grant. This grant program is designed to provide assistance and protection to places that are the targets of hate-based crimes such as this.

“If anyone has information regarding this vandalism, I urge them to contact the 17th Police District. United Muslim Islamic Center is and has been a longstanding partner in our community and of our office. Together, we have hosted iftars for our Muslim community during Ramadan and other partnerships.

“Acts of vandalism and hate toward religious organizations are meant to strike fear in us at one of the places where we’re supposed to feel the safest. These acts have no place in our society, and I will never sit idly by while our friends and neighbors are discriminated against because of their race or religion.”

Philadelphia region receives regional tech hub designation

Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon announced that Southeastern Pennsylvania has been selected as a Regional Technology and Innovation Hub for life sciences. Led by the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern PA, the Greater Philadelphia Region Precision Medicine Tech Hub will focus on an expanded view of precision medicine by building on Greater Philadelphia’s world-class life sciences assets. The Hub opens the door for the state to compete for millions of dollars in new private and federal investment.

“As the congresswoman for Pennsylvania’s 5th District, I am lucky to represent so many life science leaders that have positioned our region as a global leader in end-to-end precision medicine,” Scanlon said. “I worked hard alongside Ben Franklin Technology Partners to secure the competitive Tech Hub designation for this exciting sector of our local economy, and I look forward to championing opportunities for hardworking Pennsylvanians to tap into this once-in-a-lifetime investment.”

The Greater Philadelphia Region Precision Medicine Tech Hub in Pennsylvania was designated as one of the 31 inaugural Tech Hubs in regions across the country that show potential for rapid growth in key technology sectors. This designation is part of the first phase of the program, authorized by the CHIPS and Science Act, that will invest directly in high-potential U.S. regions and aim to transform them into globally competitive innovation centers. Designation is an endorsement of the region’s strategy to supercharge their respective technological industry to create jobs and strengthen U.S. economic and national security.

Since the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act, Scanlon has been a leading advocate for a Philadelphia Tech Hub designation. She worked closely with Ben Franklin Technology Partners, the City of Philadelphia and the regional business community to promote the Greater Philadelphia application. She leveraged her relationship with the Biden administration and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to highlight Philadelphia’s world-class research universities and vibrant life sciences industry, including sending a letter to the Department of Commerce this past July.

Philabundance scores big in ‘Strike Out Hunger’ challenge

While the City of Brotherly Love didn’t win on the field, Philabundance did win off the field, facing off against Feeding America partner, St. Mary’s Food Bank, in Phoenix. During this year’s playoff run, Philabundance launched a friendly competition to raise funds for hunger relief while bringing awareness to “food insecurity” in each region.

Both cities came out swinging.

Philabundance raised more than $37,000 and St. Mary’s raised over $31,000. The outpouring of support all around will help both organizations provide much-needed food to the communities served. To settle up the amicable bet, Philabundance has requested St. Mary’s CEO wears Phlabundance gear and posts it on social media.

Kenney signs executive order that advances Philadelphia’s racial equity

Mayor Jim Kenney signed an executive order that deepens Philadelphia’s commitment to “racial equity.” Executive Order 6-23 commits the city to annual “racial equity” action planning, budgeting for “racial equity” and public reporting, which includes designating staff and support resources to these efforts.
Executive Order 6-23 builds upon the work done under Executive Order No. 1-20, which Kenney signed in January 2020. Among other work, the earlier order established a Citywide Racial Equity Strategy, which required all departments to create initial Racial Equity Action Plans by the end of 2023.

Executive Order 6-23 sets forth a vision for the next phase of the city’s racial equity strategy and includes four elements, details of which are included below:

Committing to annual “racial equity” action planning and budgeting for “racial equity;” formally establishing the city’s Racial Equity Community of Practice; creating department-specific and citywide “racial equity” performance measures; and empowering all City departments to designate a “racial equity” manager.

“During my administration, we have focused on embedding ‘racial equity’ into all aspects of city government including our programs and services, our employees and our annual budget,” said Kenney. “I am proud that over the last three years, we have ushered all city departments through an initial ‘racial equity’ planning process. And with this executive order, they will continue to create new strategies annually, invest resources in those strategies through the budget process and report publicly about their progress.”

Free admission for veterans, military and Blue Star Families at Revolution Museum

This Veterans Day weekend, Nov. 10-12, the Museum of the American Revolution will pay tribute to America’s first veterans as well as those who continue to serve our nation today. Visitors of all ages can enjoy walking tours, performances and other family-friendly activities. From Nov. 10-12, the museum will offer free admission to veterans, those currently serving in the military and Blue Star Families, courtesy of Comcast NBCUniversal.

Throughout the weekend, the museum will debut its new Pension Project, a series of videos featuring living veterans reading the military pensions of Revolutionary War soldiers to connect the past with the present.

In the Museum’s special exhibit, Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia, visitors can join a museum educator to learn more about a flag captured by black troops at the Battle of the Crater and about the service during the Civil War. Black Founders is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is included with regular museum admission. The exhibition closes on Nov. 26.

Philadelphia Orchestra will debut ‘Orchestra After 5’

The Philadelphia Orchestra announces a new concert series, Orchestra After 5, taking place right after the workday on three Thursdays throughout the 2023–24 season: Feb. 1, April 4 and May 2, 2024. Featuring classical concerts in a casual atmosphere, the series puts a modern twist on the traditional Orchestra experience. Audiences will gain a new perspective on the concert experience through live video close-ups of the conductors and soloists at work projected on a large screen behind the Orchestra. Engaging informational content about the music will also be highlighted on the screen, providing context to the works as they are performed. In addition, audiences will enjoy pre-concert activities beginning at 5 p.m., light bites and happy hour cocktails provided by Garces and post-concert conversations with musicians of the Orchestra and guest artists. Tickets for the Orchestra After 5 series start at $21. Pre-sale tickets are available now.

Free COPD education sessions

The Temple Lung Center is hosting a free COPD education session to give local patients and caregivers an opportunity to learn from global experts in COPD care about new research, treatments and medications for managing the disease. The patient session will take place on Nov. 13, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Hilton Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing, 201 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd. The session is being held during the 2023 GOLD International COPD Conference, the world’s foremost conference for healthcare providers involved in managing and caring for people with COPD. Attendance is free to individuals with COPD and their caregivers. Valet parking is free. Advance registration is required. Register at

Library names First foundation executive director

The Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation named Monique Moore Pryor as its first executive director.

As executive director of the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation, Pryor will oversee institutional advancement strategies, operations, long-term strategic planning and Board relations.

Pryor returns to her hometown at a time when the foundation was recently awarded a three-year, $1 million strategic planning grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts. This grant will allow the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation to undertake a comprehensive planning and community engagement process to improve the Free Library’s operations, services and impact throughout the city.

“Over the past 18 months, I have worked closely with the Foundation and Library staff to ensure we are best positioned to support the library and ultimately, the citizens of Philadelphia,” said Kelly Richards, director of the Free Library of Philadelphia and president of the Foundation. “Monique will play a key role in helping us develop a strategic plan for the Library and the Foundation to maximize its benefit to our city.”

Pryor joins the Foundation from St. Francis College, where she served for the last five years as Chief Engagement & External Affairs Officer. Reporting directly to the college’s president and serving in the president’s cabinet, Pryor helped the college navigate challenging times and spearheaded strategic initiatives across several cdepartments, including Human Resources, Advancement, Communications and Marketing, Government and Community Relations and Fundraising.

“The Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation is a world-class institution, and we are just beginning to realize its potential impact on this great city,” Pryor said. “I am excited to work with Kelly Richards and the entire Foundation and Library staff as we plan for the future of this incredible organization.”

$10 million in transition services for PA students with disabilities

The state Department of Labor & Industry’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation recently announced a $9.9 million federal grant the Shapiro administration will invest in improvements to pre-employment transition services for students with disabilities who are preparing for life after high school. The Pathways to Partnership model demonstration project will improve the collaboration of the many organizations involved in helping high school students achieve their goals as they prepare for post-secondary education and employment.

This grant funding will be used to develop and pilot a new transition model that will provide students with more comprehensive transition planning services. The model will also identify new opportunities for teens to gain valuable work-based learning experiences and support the development of the skills and knowledge they need to achieve their post-graduation goals.

The grant will fund three components of the Pathways to Partnership project:

Professional Development, Capacity Building and Training: This component will provide shared training opportunities for about 6,100 youth service professionals, including teachers, counselors and rehabilitation counselors. The training will focus on best practices for transition planning and service delivery.
Transition Discoveries: This component will implement a “train the trainer” model at intermediate units and local education agencies to support the dissemination of curriculum that helps students with disabilities make transition-related choices from school to work. An estimated 1,914 additional students with disabilities statewide will benefit from this program by the end of the grant.
Pathways to Partnership Work-Based Learning Experience: This component will develop and pilot PTP-WBLE programs in six LEAs across Pennsylvania in two urban and three rural areas and one cyber school. The PTP-WBLE programs will provide about 260 students with disabilities with valuable work-based learning experiences.
The Pathways to Partnership project is expected to benefit an estimated 2,200 additional students with disabilities by the time the model demonstration funding ends in 2028.

Apply to become a cop

The Philadelphia Police Department is accepting applications through Nov. 12. Applicants must be at least 20 years old and have a high school diploma. The starting salary is $61,888. Call 215-683-COPS or apply at ••

Mass and gala for St. Martin’s

St. Martin of Tours Church, 5450 Roosevelt Blvd., will hold a unity Mass and 100th anniversary gala on Sunday, Nov. 12. The Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m., followed by the gala at 2 p.m. at Brookside Manor, 50 Bustleton Pike in Feasterville. Tickets cost $50. Call the rectory at 215-535-2987. ••

Run, walk on Veterans Day

The national nonprofit PACT for Animals will hold a 10K, 5K or 1-Mile Patriotic Pup Walk on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, either virtually or at Lower Perkiomen Valley Park, in Oaks.

Check-in starts at 9 a.m., followed by the run and walk at 10. There will be prizes, giveaways and appearances by John DeBella and Eagles No. 1 fan Shaun Young.

Register at ••

Parkinson’s support group

Temple University Hospital – Jeanes Campus is offering a Parkinson’s disease support group for those who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and their families. The group will meet on the second Wednesday of every other month from 6-7 p.m. at the Cheltenham Friends Meetinghouse, 7604 Central Ave. The schedule is Dec. 13 (holiday party) and Feb. 14. The group is led by nurse practitioner June Ro, and will include guest speakers. To register, contact Ro at 215-707-2619 or ••

Trip to Bethlehem

The Polish American Cultural Center Museum is sponsoring a trip to Bethlehem, “The Christmas City,” from Dec. 14-16. The tour includes two night accommodations at The Windcreek Hotel and Casino; two $20 vouchers; $70 slot play; a visit to Pines Dinner Theater to see Holly Jolly Christmas, with lunch (BYOB); a tour of “The Lights on the Parkway;” a free day to gamble and shop at the outlets; a visit to the Christkindlmarkt (Christmas shopping and artisans craft markets); and round-trip motorcoach. The cost is $525 per person double occupancy or $700 single. For information and reservations, call Theresa Romanowski at 215-922-1700. ••

VFW looking for members

Bustleton-Somerton/CTR1 Michael J. Strange VFW Post 6617 meets on the third Wednesday of every month at American Legion Post 810, 9151 Old Newtown Road. Meetings start at 7:30 p.m. If you are a military veteran who served in a designated combat zone, you are eligible to join the VFW. Contact Commander Israel Wolmark at 215-725-0630 if you would like to join the post. ••

Free haircuts for veterans

State Sen. Jimmy Dillon invites veterans to join him for a free haircut and some refreshments this Veterans Day, Saturday, Nov. 11, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Torresdale Boys Club, 4500 Linden Ave. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are recommended. Call Connie at 215-695-1020 to secure your spot. ••

Benefit for Semper Fi Fund

A Night at the Races, in memory of Army PFC John Kihm and Marine LCpl. Louis Rotondo, will take place on Saturday, Nov. 4, at Presentation BVM Church hall, 100 Old Soldiers Road, Cheltenham. Proceeds will benefit the Semper Fi Fund, which provides financial support for injured and critically ill members of the armed forces and their families. The $25 entrance fee includes food and beer and other beverages and a chance to win door prizes. There will also be wheels of chance, card games and 10 video horse races. The event is for people 21 and older. For more information, contact Dave McCarron at or 215-435-1293 or Ron Camp at or 215-292-2444. ••