Kenney congratulates Parker
Mayor Jim Kenney shared his congratulations with Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker, who will become the 100th mayor of Philadelphia and the first female to hold that position.
“Congratulations to Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker on this historic milestone in her extraordinary career of public service. I am proud to call Cherelle a friend and a colleague, and I look forward to working with her to ensure a smooth and successful transition that keeps our city’s progress on track.
“Elections are profound and powerful, and running them is a monumental responsibility and undertaking. I am thankful to the City Commissioners, our public safety partners and all the workers and volunteers across the city who helped to ensure another safe, free and fair election in our city.”
Mario Lanza Museum Christmas Party on Dec. 2
The Mario Lanza Institute will host its annual Christmas party at the Mario Lanza Museum, 1214 Reed St., on Dec. 2, from 1-4 p.m.
The event will include a lunch of pizza and other goodies, a special memorabilia donation and a video presentation commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Maria Callas.
The special memorabilia donation will be made by Steven Sacks of a booklet of sheet music used by conductor Ray Sinatra for Mario Lanza’s 1951 Christmas album for RCA Victor. It comes from the collection of his late Uncle Manie Sacks who was a vice president of RCA, RCA Victor and NBC and also worked for Columbia Records. Emanuel “Manie” Sacks had a long working relationship with many stars including Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore, George Burns and Jack Benny. He passed away in 1959 at the young age of 56. Steven Sacks gained interest in broadcasting through his father, his Uncle Manie and also Herman Rush. He has had an extensive career in local television in the Philadelphia area for many years and now serves on the Board of Directors for the Pioneers of Philadelphia Broadcasting.
Maria Callas was one of the greatest and most controversial opera stars of the 20th century. Known as “La Divina” by her fans and noted for her distinctive voice and acting skills, she helped revive many Bel Canto masterpieces that had been seldom performed and was equally at home in the operas of Verdi and Puccini.
Mario Lanza was an ambassador for all good music. Through his films, concerts, recordings, radio show and television appearances, he brought great enjoyment to all who experienced his wonderful and exciting talent and introduced many to the world of opera for the first time.
The Mario Lanza Institute, a 501c3 nonprofit, was founded to help perpetuate Lanza’s dream of aiding young aspiring opera singers through scholarships. To date, the Institute has awarded over 300 scholarships.
Tickets for the Christmas party are $25 per person. Seating is limited for the event and on a first-come first-paid basis. To order tickets by credit card, call the Mario Lanza Institute at 215-238-9691. Checks for attending as well as donations may also be sent to Mario Lanza Institute, 1214 Reed St., Philadelphia, PA 19147. Visit www.mariolanzainstitute.org for more information and make an online donation.
Season opening for Philadelphia Youth Orchestra
The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra Music Institute announced the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra’s opening concert of the 2023-24 season on Nov. 19 at 3 p.m. at the Verizon Hall of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. This performance is a tribute to the memory of David R. McShane, a longtime trustee of the PYO Music Institute who served for 16 years on the PYO Music Institute’s Board of Trustees.
Now in its 84th season, PYO will enchant the audience with an unforgettable afternoon of classical music, performing two masterpieces: Brahms’ Second Symphony and Elgar’s Enigma Variations. These works showcase the depth and maturity of these young musicians, transporting concertgoers to a world of musical excellence.
“The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra’s Nov. 19 performance is dedicated to the memory of an extraordinary individual, David R. McShane, who generously supported the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra Music Institute,” said maestro Louis Scaglione, president and music director of PYOMI and conductor of PYO. “His impact on the institute will resonate for generations to come, and at this concert, we will honor and celebrate the many contributions Mr. McShane made to PYOMI. Similar to Mr. McShane’s commitment to PYOMI, our young musicians work with precision and commitment to bring the very best music-making to our audiences.”
Tickets start at $31 and can be purchased online at www.kimmelculturalcampus.org.
Road closures for Philadelphia Marathon
The City of Philadelphia released information about upcoming road closures associated with the Philadelphia Marathon Race Weekend. Streets will be closed in many parts of the city during the weekend of Nov. 17–19. Traffic delays can be expected. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes, avoid areas along the race course, allow for extra driving time and proceed with caution during race weekend.
Due to increased security in the Parkway area, parking and traffic regulations will be strictly enforced. Street closures will be implemented on a rolling basis and will be lifted as runners go by and roads are serviced. City officials urge motorists to refrain from double-parking, which creates congestion, limits traffic flow and is illegal.
Roadways and areas that will be impacted include the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the I-676 off-ramp at 22nd Street (westbound) will be closed on Nov. 18 and Nov. 19 at 4 a.m. for event security preparation. Ramps at 15th and Broad streets may also close, if needed; the I-76 off-ramp at Spring Garden (eastbound). Soft-close at 4 a.m. and hard-close at 6:15 a.m. on Nov. 18 and Nov. 19; citywide along the 13.1-mile Dietz & Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon route on Nov. 18.; citywide along the 26.2-mile route of the AACR Philadelphia Marathon on Nov. 19. The full route can be viewed online.
In South Philly, street closures (6 a.m. Nov. 18) will include Columbus Boulevard (southbound lanes), from Vine Street to Washington Avenue; southbound off-ramp, from I-95 at Washington Avenue; Washington Avenue, from Columbus Boulevard to Front Street; Front Street, from Washington Avenue to South Street; South Street, from Front Street to 7th Street; 6th Street, from Bainbridge Street to Locust Street; Lombard Street, from 5th Street to Broad Street; 13th Street, from Bainbridge Street to Chestnut Street.
Nov. 19 street closures (6 a.m.) include Columbus Boulevard (southbound lanes), from Vine Street to Washington Avenue; southbound off-ramp, from I-95 at Washington Avenue; Washington Avenue, from Columbus Boulevard to Front Street; Front Street, from Washington Avenue to South Street; South Street, from Front Street to 7th Street; 6th Street, from Bainbridge Street to Market Street. Local access will be maintained for residents and businesses at traffic control points controlled by Philadelphia Police. Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians can expect delays when trying to cross roads or streets along the race course. Police will allow traffic through intersections when possible, depending on the flow of race participants. All streets (with the exception of Eakins Oval) are scheduled to be reopened no later than 2 p.m. on Nov. 19, and many roads in Center City will open earlier in the day as they are cleared and serviced. Eakins Oval and Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be fully open to traffic by 5 p.m.
Scanlon legislation would increase transparency of presidential inaugural fundraising
Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon joined Rep. John Sarbanes, co-chairman of the Task Force on Strengthening Democracy, in introducing the Inaugural Fund Integrity Act to establish limits on donations to inaugural committees and require donations and disbursements to be disclosed.
While federal campaigns have clear regulations for financial contributions and reporting requirements, inaugural committees lack similar basic guidelines. The lack of reporting requirements provides a pernicious opportunity for influence peddling after a candidate is elected.
The Inaugural Fund Integrity Act will address several loopholes in the current Inaugural Committee structure that allow for abuse of funds by:
• Requiring full and rapid disclosure of contributions that aggregate over $1,000
• Establishing a contribution limit of $50,000
• Completely banning “straw man” donations
• Prohibiting donations from foreign nationals
• Requiring full disclosure of expenditures, and
• Banning corporate and Super-PAC contributions.
“Holding our leaders to the highest standards of ethical conduct is a critical part of restoring faith in our democratic institutions,” Scanlon said. “It’s past time we address the lack of oversight of inaugural committees and finally increase transparency of presidential inaugural fundraising. I’m grateful for Rep. Sarbanes’s partnership on this important legislation and his dedication to cleaning up Washington and returning to a government of, by and for the people.”
Dock Street Pie Drive in full gear
Dock Street Brewing Company, Philadelphia’s original woman-owned and family-run craft brewery founded in 1985, announced the return of its annual Pie Drive, taking place through Nov. 22. This heartwarming event coincides with the holiday season and showcases Dock Street’s commitment to the community, making it the perfect time for all to indulge in their favorite pies, all while giving back to those in need.
During the Pie Drive, Dock Street Brewery has pledged to match 20 percent of all pie donations to the Eliza Shirley House. This charitable organization empowers and supports women and children experiencing homelessness, making a significant impact in Philadelphia’s local community.
All benefactors have to do is donate a pizza through Dock Street’s website, leave a few kind words to pass along, and the Dock Street team will do the rest. Representatives from Dock Street will drop off their freshest pies at the Eliza Shirley House on Nov. 24.
Lucia & Christmas Market at ASHM
Bundle up in your winter clothes and visit the American Swedish Historical Museum in FDR Park to experience the special atmosphere of a Julmarknad, or Swedish Christmas Market, on Dec. 2 and 3. The outdoor Christmas Market features a large selection of Scandinavian food, gifts and holiday decorations. The Swedish Christmas Café will be selling holiday foods and sweets for your refreshment, and there will also be live holiday music performed by the folk duo Last Chance. Along with the market, ASHM’s galleries are open to visitors.
During the market, shoppers can experience the Lucia children’s program at 11:30 a.m and 2 p.m. Light, warmth and Christmas songs have been hallmarks of the Lucia celebration at ASHM since 1939. Dec. 13 is St. Lucia Day in Sweden, a holiday marked by Lucia celebrations all over the country from private homes to entire towns. The modern tradition of having public Lucia processions in Swedish cities started in 1927 when a newspaper in Stockholm elected an official Lucia for that year. ASHM’s Lucia performances during the market include Swedish songs and dances performed by children dressed as Christmas tomtar (gnomes), pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies, folk dancers, star boys, and Lucia with her attendants). On Dec. 2, admission is $5 for non-member adults (12 and up) and free for members and children under 12. On Dec. 3, admission is free for all visitors. You can pre-purchase tickets online or at the gate at https://www.americanswedish.org/events/lucia-christmas-market-2
Camera-based parking enforcement on SEPTA vehicles
Mayor Jim Kenney was joined by Councilmember Mark Squilla, SEPTA General Manager Leslie Richards, Philadelphia Parking Authority Executive Director Richard Lazer and advocate groups to officially sign into law Bill No. 230489, entitled “Camera-Based Enforcement System For Parking, Stopping and Standing Violations That Interfere With Mass Transit.”
This city ordinance will allow SEPTA to employ the use of camera-based parking enforcement technology on its buses to target illegally parked vehicles blocking transit stops and bus lanes. The aim is to decrease traffic congestion, improve traffic safety and address the climate crisis in Philadelphia.
“I’m proud to sign this bill into law. It is another innovative step forward to keep Philadelphians safe and traffic moving smoothly. Thanks to these cameras, we are increasing efficiency in our streets to make our city even more accessible. I want to thank everyone who made this bill possible,” said Kenney.
Earlier this year, SEPTA partnered with Hayden AI to equip buses with AI-driven cameras as part of a pilot program, which monitored bus lanes and stops for illegally parked vehicles, along Routes 21 and 42. Over the course of the 70-day trial, the technology found more than 36,000 instances of obstruction in Center City, West Philadelphia and Upper Darby. In New York City, where this type of technology has been deployed since 2019, bus speeds have increased by as much as 40 percent on enforced routes.
“This is a major step forward with SEPTA’s efforts to make travel safer and more accessible, while also improving reliability,” said SEPTA CEO and General Manager Leslie S. Richards. “We are grateful to City Council and Mayor Kenney for supporting this initiative, and we are excited about the improvements it will allow SEPTA to deliver to our customers and the city.”
This legislation will improve transportation for all Philadelphians, especially those with disabilities as parking infractions create prohibitive and dangerous scenarios for wheelchair users. The bill was introduced by Squilla on June 8 and was passed unanimously on Oct. 26.
“I was happy to work with SEPTA, OTIS, PPA and advocates for those with different abilities to pass legislation that allows for automated enforcement of vehicles blocking bus zones, lanes and ramps,” Squilla said. “I believe these automated enforcement measures will make it safer for all transit users and alleviate traffic congestion.”
The ordinance will allow for camera-based enforcement on Bainbridge and Spring Garden streets from river to river as well as the entirety of JFK Boulevard, Walnut, Chestnut, and Market streets.
Wizard Run returns with unique race features
The Wizard Run returns to Philadelphia on Dec. 9 at 9:30 a.m. Created to bring magic-loving people together in an inclusive and lively manner, the Wizard Run will fill South Philadelphia’s Navy Yard with wizards and witches. After switching to virtual races during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Wizard Run has been making its return to in-person races in cities across the U.S. It returns to Philadelphia for the first time since 2019, when almost 2,000 magic lovers joined the run in Chestnut Hill. Registration for the event is open at https://www.runtheday.com/register/75038.
At registration, participants have the opportunity to pick the color of their custom race T-shirt that is offered in four colors – blue, red, yellow and green. Upon race day, they will also receive a custom wizard wand, a custom wizard-themed medal and a butterscotch cream soda from Flying Cauldron. This year, for the first time at a live Wizard Run event, participants will have access to live audio streaming technology, which provides them the option to listen to curated playlists of magic-themed music and tune in to the wizard emcee as they run.
The Wizard Run offers two distances, a 5K and a 1-mile Fun Run. The race is heavily focused on inclusivity, welcoming all experience levels, ages and “gender identities.” Costumes are highly encouraged during the event. After the race, the after-party will be hosted by The Cauldron Philly, The Wizard Run’s 2023 title sponsor.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to be bringing such a fun and magical event back to the city of Philly,” said Ian Campbell, partner at Run The Day. “We want to make sure that the relaunch of the in-person event in Philly exceeds everyone’s expectations, so we’ve put together some unique and memorable race day features for our participants, so make sure to come check it out.”
The Wizard Run continues to offer a virtual run option for participants to join in from any location they choose. Virtual participants are invited to run, jog or walk on the road, on the trail or on the treadmill. After completion of the virtual event, participants will be rewarded a custom finishers medal, wand and custom T-shirt in the color of their choice – blue, red, yellow or green.
For more information about The Wizard Run visit www.thewizardrun.com.
City, bus carriers announce terminal relocation
The City of Philadelphia and multiple intercity bus transportation providers announced the relocation of the current curbside station at 6th and Market streets to a new location at the corner of Spring Garden Street and Christopher Columbus Boulevard, effective Nov. 16.
The relocated bus carriers include FlixBus, Greyhound, Coach USA/MegaBus and Peter Pan. A full description of activities and a map of the new location are available on the Intercity Bus Loading & Drop-Off Relocation page, which will continue to be updated with further information. In the coming days, signage will be installed at the 6th and Market location to inform passengers of the changes.
“The volume and nature of complaints leave the situation at 6th and Market streets completely untenable,” said Mike Carroll, deputy managing director for the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability. “The Kenney administration is concerned in particular about the nearby concentration of important federal entities, their employees and persons engaged in critical activities. For that reason, the city made a firm commitment to relocate the intercity bus operations off of the 600 block of Market Street this fall. Efforts are underway to find an off-street location but require more time, and an interim change in location is needed urgently.”
The city believes the move will address both passenger concerns as well as congestion issues for SEPTA bus routes and normal daily traffic on Market Street. With the annual increase in travel during the holiday season, the relocation was necessary to alleviate increased congestion on the Market Street corridor. The new station is expected to serve as a temporary relocation through the first quarter of 2024.
The new location will place passenger loading on Spring Garden Street, making use of several segments of curb:
Peter Pan, FlixBus and Greyhound will operate on the south curb of Spring Garden Street on either side of Front Street.
Megabus will operate on Spring Garden Street on the north curb under the I-95 viaduct adjacent to the Spring Garden Station exit for the Market Frankford Line station.
Additionally, existing parking may be cleared along Noble Street between Front Street and Christopher Columbus Boulevard to allow for additional bus loading space. The bike lane on the eastbound side of Spring Garden will be detoured to accommodate all road users. The city advises customers to contact their carriers for more information.
The city is coordinating with bus carriers to explore customer service space including ticketing in the immediate vicinity of these loading areas. The city will issue a separate statement to provide an update on the work as details are finalized. All updates will be added to the Intercity Bus Loading & Drop-Off Relocation page.
The segment of Spring Garden Street between 2nd Street and Christopher Columbus Boulevard includes multiple transit connections including SEPTA Market-Frankford Line’s Spring Garden station and bus stops for Route 43 (east-west on Spring Garden Street), Route 25 (north-south on Columbus Boulevard), Route 57 (north-south on 3rd/4th streets), and Route 5 (north-south on 2nd/3rd streets).
The city encourages all potential and returning passengers to check their bus carrier’s website for further information.
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 Jungyoon.Ro@tuhs.temple.edu. ••
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. ••