Around Town

House delegation congratulates Parker, Johnson

Leaders of the Philadelphia House Delegation expressed their excitement for the inauguration of Cherelle Parker as the first woman and 100th Philadelphian to serve as mayor and congratulated Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson for his election by his peers as the new City Council president, replacing outgoing President Darrell L. Clarke, who retired.

Parker and Johnson both previously served in the state House of Representatives and as members of the Philadelphia House Delegation, with Parker elected twice as chairwoman of the delegation during her tenure. Johnson serves the city’s second district, which includes parts of South Philly.

Delegation Chairwoman Morgan Cephas praised the new mayor for her leadership abilities and plan for moving Philadelphia forward.  

“Mayor Parker has a bold vision for this city, which she has wasted no time putting into action, signing three executive orders on her historic first day in office,” Cephas said. “Having the two top leaders of our city with a background in Harrisburg policymaking serves as a solid foundation of understanding that can only increase opportunities and communication between state and city government. I look forward to working with the new administration and City Council on uplifting the quality of life for all Philadelphians.” 

Vice chairman of the delegation, Rep. Danilo Burgos, commended the record of public service and unflinching work of both leaders.  

“I see in Mayor Cherelle Parker and the Philadelphia City Council President Kenyatta Johnson two powerful allies in our crusade to tackle the most pressing issues affecting Philadelphia,” Burgos said. “I am confident that our collaboration and the impact of joining forces at state and city level will be a transcendental chapter in the history of our city.” 

Rep. Ben Waxman, chairman of the Philadelphia House Delegation Intergovernmental Affairs Subcommittee, said that he will be in regular contact with the new administration to ensure smooth handling of city and state projects.  

“I am incredibly excited to collaborate with the dedicated leaders taking the helm of our city. The avenues of cooperation between the new city administration and the Philadelphia House Delegation are wide open. I know that the wealth of Harrisburg experience in the new administration will make this partnership even more productive for the people of Philadelphia.” 

Parker and Johnson took their oaths of office in separate ceremonies in Philadelphia.  

Free radon kits available for PA residents

During January for National Radon Action Month, the American Lung Association in Pennsylvania is urging everyone to help save lives by testing their home for radon and mitigating if high levels are detected. 

Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer and the “State of Lung Cancer” report reveals that it is detected at high levels in about 40 percent of homes in Pennsylvania.

In accordance with Radon Action Month, the Lung Association is offering a limited supply of radon test kits to Pennsylvania residents. The test kits are available at no charge, one per household, while supplies last, only at The program is supported by a grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas emitted from the ground. Radon is odorless, tasteless and colorless, and can enter a home through cracks in floors, basement walls, foundations and other openings. Radon can be present at high levels inside homes, schools and other buildings. Nationally, it is responsible for an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year and is the leading cause of lung cancer in people who have never smoked.

“Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer after smoking in the United States, and is a serious concern within the commonwealth,” said DEP Interim Acting Secretary Jessica Shirley. 

Here in Pennsylvania, about 40 percent of radon test results equal or exceed the Environmental Protection Agency action level of 4 pCi/L (picoCuries per liter of air), according to the Lung Association’s “State of Lung Cancer” report. Recently, Gov. Shapiro issued a proclamation declaring January 2024 Radon Action Month in the commonwealth.

“Radon in homes is more common than you think. Pennsylvania has one of the nation’s most serious radon problems. High levels of radioactive radon gas have been found in every county but most places in the commonwealth remain undertested, so this isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Exposure to radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States,” said Kevin Stewart, director, Environmental Health, for the Lung Association. “Testing is the only way to know how much radon is in your home. The good news is that it is easy to test. Do-it-yourself test kits are simple to use and inexpensive.”

If high levels are confirmed, a radon professional should install a radon-mitigation system, which is easy and relatively affordable. A typical radon-mitigation system consists of a vent pipe, fan and properly sealing cracks and other openings. This system collects radon gas from underneath the foundation and vents it to the outside. Call the Pennsylvania radon program at 800-237-2366 for a list of certified professionals.

Vikings serenade on Saturday

The South Philly Vikings repeated as champions in the Fancy Brigades division of the 2024 Mummers Parade.

The Vikings will be serenaded by other Mummers clubs on Saturday, Jan. 13, at 4 p.m. outside their clubhouse at 1815 S. 11th St.

The Shooting Stars finished second, followed by Saturnalian. There was a tie for fourth between the Spartans and the Downtowners.

Tom Dougherty, of Saturnalian, was the first-place captain.

Meanwhile, South Philadelphia was crowned champion of the string band division.

Quaker City finished second, followed by Fralinger, Woodland, Avalon, Uptown, Ferko, Aqua, Greater Kensington, Polish American, Duffy, Durning, Hegeman and Jersey.

Uptown’s Kade Radcliffe was voted top captain. South Philadelphia’s Denny Palandro was second, followed by Quaker City’s Jimmy Good, Fralinger’s Brad Bowen and Duffy’s Jake Kudrick.

Celebrate Ben Franklin’s birthday

The public is invited to a free event to celebrate Benjamin Franklin’s 318th birthday. Residents, visitors, colonial characters, Philadelphia dignitaries and Franklin himself will gather in Old City to hear a panel discussion examining the important role of craftsmanship in America and honor this year’s Founder’s Award recipient, architectural great Frank Gehry. Celebrants will also be able to enjoy sweets and treats from Franklin Fountain and an exhibit of 18th- and 19th-century tools. The event will be followed by a procession to Franklin’s gravesite, featuring music, a fire engine, banners and flags.

The event is set for Friday, Jan. 19, at the American Philosophical Society: Benjamin Franklin Hall, 427 Chestnut St. The panel will be from 10 a.m. to noon, followed by the procession.

A salty pretzel chocolate bar, birthday cake ice cream and hot chocolate will be provided by Franklin Fountain.

RSVP at:

For more information about the celebration, 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 on Feb. 14.

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 group is led by nurse practitioner June Ro, and will include guest speakers.

To register, contact Ro at 215-707-2619 or ••

Tumor support group

A Neuroendocrine Tumor Support Group will meet on Jan. 17, from 4-5 p.m. The group is for people diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumors who are receiving treatment. The group is led by Fox Chase Cancer Center social workers, and people can share their personal experiences, ways of coping and helpful resources. The group is intended to reduce feelings of loneliness, anxiety and distress; increase feelings of hope and empowerment; provide you with practical information about treatment; and help you communicates better with your medical team and loved ones.

Interested people should email Anjali Albanese at or Mark Itzen at for a link to participate. ••

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. ••

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. ••

Upcoming opera performances

Amici Opera Company will present Mascagni’s L’Amico Fritz on Saturdays, Jan. 13 and Feb. 3, at 4 p.m., at United Methodist Church of the Redeemer, 1128 Cottman Ave.

There will be two performances of Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’Amore: Sunday, Jan. 21, at 3 p.m., at Saturday, Jan. 27, at 4 p.m., both at United Methodist Church of the Redeemer.

There will be two performances of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra: Sunday, Jan. 22, at 4 p.m. at United Methodist Church of the Redeemer, and Saturday, Jan. 28, at 2:30 p.m. at Dock Woods, 275 Dock Drive, Lansdale.

Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra will be performed as part of a dinner theater on Tuesday, Jan. 23, at 6 p.m. at La Piovra, 7901 High School Road, Elkins Park The cost for the show and a three-course dinner is $54.95 per person. For reservations, call 215-606-3800.

For more information, call 215-224-0257 or visit the Amici Opera Company page on Facebook. ••

Feb. Zoom book club meeting

The Book Club of Congregations of Shaare Shamayim will be holding a Zoom session on Monday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m.

The February book is the historical mystery The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen.

For further information or to register, call Lynn Ratmansky at 215-677-1600. ••

Local author’s novel releasing soon

Mayfair author Becky Flade announced that Tirgearr Publishing will release her latest novel, Fade into the Night, on Jan. 23. It is the fifth book in Flade’s award-winning series of romantic thrillers set in Philadelphia. It is available for pre-order at all major digital retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks/iTunes, at a specially reduced price. Flade, a Frankford High School graduate, has been writing since kindergarten, when her Brown Elementary School teacher, Miss Daniels, helped with her first book detailing her and her best friend’s first solo trip to the market for milk. ••