Around Town

Deck the Ave returns to East Passyunk

East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District invites people to take pictures with Santa Claus at the Singing Fountain (East Passyunk Avenue and Tasker Street) on Dec. 14 from 5-7 p.m., Dec. 16 from 3-5 p.m. and Dec. 17 from noon to 2 p.m.

The East Passyunk BID will also present the following holiday happenings during Deck The Ave:

  • East Passyunk Punch Card – Through Jan. 1, shoppers will receive a punch for each $10 spent at participating businesses. Once 10 punches have been received, submit the completed card to one of East Passyunk Avenue’s businesses and be automatically entered into a prize raffle for a gift certificate.
  • Second Annual Hot Chocolate Crawl – Various hot cocoa and boozy-alternative chocolate creations available at numerous local restaurants, bars and cafés (Dec. 9; pay-as-you-go).
  • Hanukkah Happenings – The South Philadelphia Shtiebel will lead the community in celebrating the festival of lights with the annual Hanukkah menorah lighting at the Singing Fountain (Dec. 7; sundown).
  • Letters to Santa – All are invited to drop off letters to Santa at East Passyunk Avenue’s North Pole Mailbox located at the Singing Fountain starting after the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony.
  • Pop-Up Music/Entertainment – Local musicians and carolers will perform throughout the duration of Deck The Ave around the Singing Fountain and Mifflin Triangle, plus up and down the Avenue on weekends.
  • 13th Annual Ornament Show – Presented by Nice Things Handmade, this beloved annual ornament show will showcase more than 50 local artists and their handmade ornament submissions for sale running through Jan. 12.

Fiedler, Hanbidge celebrate signing of pelvic exam consent bill 

State Reps. Elizabeth Fiedler and Liz Hanbidge joined Gov. Josh Shapiro for the ceremonial signing of H.B. 507, which requires medical facilities in Pennsylvania to obtain consent before performing pelvic, prostate or rectal exams on anesthetized patients.

The bill was officially signed into law on Nov. 21 by Shapiro as Act 31 of 2023.

“Patients in Pennsylvania will finally have the right to make decisions about exams performed on their bodies while under anesthesia. This legislation ensures informed consent for invasive pelvic and rectal exams, at last giving patients the decision-making power that we all deserve about our own bodies,” Fiedler said. “I’m grateful to my colleague, Rep. Hanbidge, for her work on this bill, and I thank Gov. Shapiro for signing it into law.”

“Performing a pelvic, rectal or prostate exam unknowingly on an anesthetized patient isn’t only invasive, but it’s also a breach of trust. Our legislation abolishes this archaic practice, thereby strengthening the trust that Pennsylvanians have in medical professionals, protecting bodily autonomy and highlighting the importance of consent,” Hanbidge said. “Patients expecting to go under anesthesia should never have to worry about being objectified for ‘learning purposes,’ and now thanks to my co-sponsor Rep. Fiedler, Sen. Maria Collett, Sen. Katie Muth, our colleagues in the legislature, and Gov. Shapiro, they won’t have to.”

Scanlon legislation would send mental health pros to 911 calls

Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon joined Reps. Katie Porter, Ayanna Pressley and Tony Cárdenas in introducing the Mental Health Justice Act to empower state and local governments to send trained mental health professionals in response to 911 calls when an individual is experiencing a mental health crisis.

The Treatment Advocacy Center estimates that one in four fatal police encounters involves someone with a severe mental illness. Additional research estimates that more than one in five 911 calls involve someone experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis.

The Mental Health Justice Act establishes a grant program to pay for hiring, training, salary, benefits and additional expenses for mental health provider first responder units. Upon establishment, mental health providers would be the first on the scene to assist an individual experiencing a mental health crisis and help them to access appropriate community resources.

“The American people and law enforcement agree — individuals experiencing a mental health crisis need to be connected with trained mental health professionals, not thrown in jail,” Scanlon said. “But all too often, we see the tragic consequences of interactions between people in crisis and police officers who lack the necessary training to care for them. I’m proud to lead this common-sense bill alongside Rep. Porter to keep our communities safe by providing the resources needed to care for our most vulnerable and meet the needs of our over-extended law enforcement.”

The Mental Health Justice Act will further support proposed policies and existing programs to assist in de-escalating engagements with those experiencing a mental health crisis. For Fiscal Year 2022, Scanlon secured $650,000 for Delaware County’s Crisis Co-Response Program through Community Project Funding. Currently operational in Haverford and Upper Darby, additional funding would be critical in expanding services for extended hours and additional locations.

Settlement School’s Eaton receives award

The Philadelphia Business Journal has named Helen Eaton a 2023 Most Admired CEO. 

Each year the Philadelphia Business Journal recognizes C-suite executives who are blazing a trail within their organizations and leaving a mark on Greater Philadelphia and beyond.

Eaton is the first woman to lead Settlement Music School at 416 Queen St. in its 116-year history.

Since 2010, Eaton has grown programming, greatly strengthened its balance sheet, and launched 50-plus community partnerships, both in Philadelphia and nationally.

Eaton was recognized at an in-person ceremony on Dec. 6 at the Switch House in Fishtown. In addition, she will be profiled in a special edition of the Business Journal on Dec. 8.

“I am honored to be among so many remarkable leaders on this year’s list of Most Admired CEOs,” Eaton said. “I look forward to continuing our mission at Settlement Music School, working alongside our outstanding faculty, arts therapists, staff, students, board members and families to grow our creative arts community.”

Eaton’s work at Settlement has been featured in Harvard Business Review and is featured as a case study in Scott Anthony’s book, Eat, Sleep, Innovate: How to Make Creativity an Everyday Habit Inside Your Organization, published by Harvard Business Review Press – both for her work in building systems of innovation at a legacy institution. In 2016 she was named one of the Top 30 Innovators by Musical America Worldwide.

Evans, Congress recognize National Family Caregivers Month 

Members of Congress are introducing a resolution in the House and Senate designating November as National Family Caregivers Month to honor the work of the 53 million Americans who provide unpaid, essential family care each year.

Congressman Dwight Evans, lead sponsor of the House resolution, said, “Family caregivers provide on average about 24 hours of care each week, and over 60 percent of these caregivers also work full-or part-time. Caregivers also spend, on average, over $7,200 annually out-of-pocket on caregiving expenses, with the financial strain the greatest for Hispanic/Latino and African American family caregivers. I’m pleased that our bipartisan resolution recommends actions that would help these unsung heroes.”

Explore Revolutionary-Era holidays on the homefront

Experience what the holidays were like on the homefront during the Revolutionary era during Winter Break at the Museum of the American Revolution, from Dec. 26 to Dec. 31. Visitors of all ages can enjoy authentic 18th-century music, watch moving first-person theatrical performances, make festive crafts to take home and more while exploring colonial life during the winter months. Plus, stop by the museum shop to find the perfect last-minute holiday gift. Visitors can also contribute new or gently used toys to the donation bin in the museum’s rotunda – no wrapping required. HomeFront’s mission is to help families break the cycle of poverty by harnessing the care, resources and expertise of our communities.

All winter break activities are included with regular museum admission. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets to the museum are available at 215-253-6731, at or at the front desk. Save $2 per adult ticket by purchasing online. Kids ages 5 and under are always free. All tickets are valid for two consecutive days.

$125K in grants offered by Black Music City

A total of $125,000 in grants is being offered by Black Music City, the project that awards annual grants to Philadelphia-area black creatives for new artistic works that honor Philadelphia’s black music heritage. Local black creatives working in any artistic medium are encouraged to apply for individual Black Music City artistic grants from $1,500 to $5,000 each. 

Applications can be made at through Jan. 31. Past Black Music City grantees are also eligible to apply for grants to build upon their previous projects.

A selection committee of black Philadelphia professionals prominent in the arts, media and business communities will review the grant applications, from which 30 recipients will be selected. The 2024 Black Music City grant winners will be announced in March. 

In addition to the grant money they receive, each recipient is offered informational and support sessions before the completion of their new works. The creators and their new works are featured in videos, and celebrated online and in special events held during June, which is celebrated as Black Music Appreciation Month.

Established in 2020, Black Music City has increased the amount of available grant funds each year, awarding a total of $263,000 in grants to 99 recipients in its first three years. Lead support for Black Music City 2024 is being provided by the William Penn Foundation through a two-year Creative Communities grant.

Black Music City’s three founding partners – Philadelphia public radio music stations WXPN-FM and WRTI-FM, and REC Philly, a place for creators – administer the project and help promote the grant recipients and their new work to the broader Philadelphia arts community and beyond.

WXPN General Manager Roger LaMay said, “A goal for the Black Music City partners going forward is to not only continue to increase the amount of available funds, but also to increase opportunities for promotion and exposure of the selected artists and their work.”

Full information about available grants, eligibility and submission process is available at

$112K in PA Farm Bill grants for schools

The Philadelphia House Delegation announced that $112,239 in grants has been awarded to schools in the city. The funds, distributed through the PA Department of Agriculture in coordination with the Farm-to-School Grants program, will support projects aimed at facilitating access to healthy, local food and improving nutrition awareness for children in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

The School District of Philadelphia received a $15,000 grant and South Philly institutions Caring People Alliance and the Children’s Playhouse Early Learning Center were also among the recipients who were given $15,000 grants.

“We are thrilled to welcome these grants for Philadelphia schools. Farm-to-School grants are a remarkable investment. It would help create a solid foundation for a healthy today and future for students,” said chairwoman Morgan Cephas.

Funded projects connect local farmers to schools to supply fresh, in-season products to be served in cafeterias, expanding market opportunities for farmers. Other projects support school gardens, field trips and other hands-on agriculture education, enriching early awareness of career opportunities.

Free help available during holidays

For the 13th year, International School of Coaching’s Master Coach Paula Michele Boyle and her team of trained Life Coach specialists are reaching out to support the community for those feeling frustrated or unsatisfied with their relationships, careers and wellness.

Enjoy a free opportunity to figure out where you are and where you want to go.

The session you will receive with a certified Life Coach is available through New Year’s Day.

There is a 10% discount to those who want to become certified as a Life Coach to help others in need.

To register or learn more, visit ••

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. ••

Bingo for a good cause

The Leigh Leckerman Foundation will hold an all-ages bingo on Sunday, Dec. 17, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bristol Moose Lodge, 2229 Radcliffe St. in Bristol.

There will be prizes, raffle baskets and 50-50s.

The cost is $30.

Tables of 10 are available.

Proceeds will benefit the foundation, which assists those in need of financial support for substance use disorder treatment, aftercare and sober housing.

For tickets, visit ••

Trip to Brooklyn

The Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation is sponsoring a “Brooklyn Christmas Lights” bus trip on Thursday, Dec. 7.

The itinerary includes a full-course dinner at Tommaso’s Restaurant, followed by a tour of the decorated homes in the Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge sections of Brooklyn.

Cost is $172.

Call 215-788-7537. ••

Apply for artist residency

Glen Foerd is accepting applications for its 2023-2024 Artist-in-Residence program.

The closing date for applications is Dec. 18.

Glen Foerd will be accepting one regional visual artist (or artist collective) to complete a site-specific work during their residency.

The selected artist will receive a stipend of $3,000 to create their works.

Once selected, the Artist-in-Residence will have from Feb. 1, 2024 until Sept. 30, 2024 to complete their residency.

The selected artist will create works that engage Glen Foerd’s audience and collections, which includes architecture, material culture, art and natural landscapes.

The opportunity offers area artists access to Glen Foerd’s historic collections, grounds and the Delaware River.

Outcomes must include a public engagement component.

For application information, visit or email Alice Thompson at ••

Trip to Northern Europe

The Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation is presenting a Northern Europe: Iceland, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium and London cruise, July 25 to Aug. 4, 2024, aboard the new “Norwegian Prima.”

Rates per person are $6,261 and $6,495, which include roundtrip airfare from Philadelphia.

Deposit of $350 per person double occupancy is required when booking.

Final payment by Feb. 27.

Call 215-788-9408. ••