Around Town

Scanlon resolution recognizes youth mentoring programs

Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon, chair of the Congressional Youth Mentoring Caucus, joined Congressman Don Bacon in introducing a resolution recognizing January 2024 as National Mentoring Month, a time to celebrate the impact of mentoring relationships and raise awareness about the increased need for caring adults to become mentors to youth in their communities.

Research shows that mentors can have a positive impact on the educational success of students in the United States, but one-third of young people in the United States feel isolated from meaningful connections with adults outside their homes, resulting in a ‘‘mentoring gap.”  

“We all need someone in our corner, but too many young people are feeling isolated from meaningful connections with adults outside their homes,” said Scanlon. “In light of the challenges our country has faced in recent years, it is more important than ever to ensure young people have access to caring adults like teachers, counselors, faith-based leaders and coaches – adults uniquely positioned to help young people process their experiences. I’m proud to join Rep. Bacon on this legislation that promotes the creation and expansion of quality mentoring programs to re-engage and support our young people.”

Celebrate Black History Month with the Free Library

The Free Library of Philadelphia invites patrons to participate in its celebration of Black History throughout the month of February. Neighborhood libraries throughout the city have scheduled programs, including craft and music workshops, and film screenings that spotlight the accomplishments of black Americans.
“During Black History Month we honor the rich heritage, culture and achievements of African Americans,” said Kelly Richards, president and director of the Free Library of Philadelphia. “We invite the community to explore our diverse collection of materials as well as special events that will entertain and inspire.”
Programming also includes an array of events that celebrate culture and history, soul food cooking, African American storytelling and songs for families. Visitors can also enjoy such musical events as bucket drumming, hip-hop jazz musicology and a concert featuring the legendary old-school R&B trio, the Ladies of SKYY.
The Library’s featuring of author events include screen icon Billy Dee Williams, who will share tales from his 1930s Harlem childhood and career. This series will also include other authors such as Bryan Collier, Ruha Benjamin, Shayla Lawson and Maura Cheeks. Some author events require paid admission.
Exhibitions available to the public include The Art and Influence of John Dowell, James E. Dupree: Stolen Dreams and The In-Between Spaces, each delving into the struggles faced by black artists. Additionally, the Library is to unveil its new digital vignette, Mini Jawns, an exploration of Philadelphia’s black history.
For an up-to-date listing of all upcoming events, visit

Shapiro to propose major increase in transit funding

Gov. Josh Shapiro announced that his 2024-25 budget proposal will include his plan for the first increase in the state share of public transit funding in over a decade. Shapiro’s proposal will increase the state share of public transit funding by 1.75% – a $282.8 million investment, and nearly $1.5 billion in new state funding over five years, in transit systems that Pennsylvanians rely on in his 2024-25 budget proposal.

“Hundreds of thousands of people across our commonwealth rely on public transit every day to commute to work, go to school and get to where they need to go – and Pennsylvanians deserve clean, safe, cost-effective ways to travel throughout our cities and towns,” Shapiro said. “That’s true all across our commonwealth, whether you’re traveling to work in Philadelphia on SEPTA or you’re a student in Pittsburgh using PRT to get to school. Investing in and improving our public transit systems is a commonsense way to create good-paying jobs, spur economic development and help Pennsylvanians reach their destinations safely. For months, my administration has worked with local public transit leadership and elected officials to understand their needs and I now call on the General Assembly to join me in making the first significant investment in Pennsylvania’s public transit systems in over a decade.”

Over the last several months, the governor and his administration have been working with SEPTA, the General Assembly, local leadership and public transit partners to assess their needs and prepare a serious proposal to address them. 

As part of the discussions around this proposal, the governor insisted SEPTA address concerns about cleanliness and safety on the system and he has asked local counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania whose residents benefit from the system to meet this moment with additional support.

“Ever since I was a state representative and county commissioner in Montgomery County, I have supported SEPTA and the critical services it offers to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians every day. SEPTA has presented plans to address safety and cleanliness throughout their system, and county officials have entertained a willingness to step up to the plate and increase their support – as a result, my administration is prepared to make a major investment in SEPTA,” said Shapiro.

Shapiro and his administration have orchestrated conversations between SEPTA and the five counties that rely on and benefit from SEPTA service to discuss how they can also contribute to the system’s funding needs – and they have entertained a willingness to meet this moment with additional financial support.

The governor’s plan would deliver the funding needed to avoid immediate service cuts or fare increases on SEPTA and would create a more balanced and stable funding structure for SEPTA for the future.

“I want to thank Gov. Shapiro – who has been proactively engaged with SEPTA and our partners for months in order to construct this strong funding proposal to address our most pressing needs and enable SEPTA to continue serving our communities. The governor knows how critical public transit is for Southeastern Pennsylvania, and his proposal would deliver the critical funding we need – providing additional support for SEPTA for the first time in over a decade,” said SEPTA CEO and General Manager Leslie S. Richards. “In these discussions, the governor has also made clear his expectations that we at SEPTA step up to address our community’s serious concerns about cleanliness and safety. We are committed to addressing these concerns so that all SEPTA riders can feel safe as they travel where they need to go. I appreciate the governor’s hard work of bringing people together to forge a proposal that delivers real solutions – and I look forward to working with the General Assembly and local leaders to get this done.”

Valentine’s Day dinner and show

The Buck Hotel will present Valentine’s Day with the Romantic Sounds of Sinatra & Friends, starring Joey C, on Friday, Feb. 9. Doors open at 6 p.m. The show starts at 6:30. The cost is $68, which includes dinner, dancing, the show and taxes and gratuities. The Buck is at 1200 Buck Road in Feasterville. Tickets are available at For more information, call 215-317-7675. ••

Local author’s novel releases

Tirgearr Publishing released Mayfair author Becky Flade’s latest novel, Fade into the Night. It is the fifth book in Flade’s award-winning series of romantic thrillers set in Philadelphia. It is available at all major digital retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks/iTunes. 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. ••

Sign up for senior softball

The Philadelphia Senior Softball League is looking for experienced players for its 68-and-over and 58-and-over leagues. The 58-plus teams play Tuesdays and Thursdays. The 68-plus teams play Mondays and Fridays. All games start at 10 a.m. and are played at Crispin Fields, at Holme and Convent avenues. Games start mid-April and run till the end of September. No games in July. For the 58-plus league, call Mike Bojanowski at 215-801-4869. For the 68-plus league, call Marty King at 215-409-5021. ••

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 ••

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. ••

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. ••

March book club

The Book Club of Congregations of Shaare Shamayim will be hosting a Zoom session on Monday, March 4, at 7 p.m. The book is The Star Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lois Nelson Spielman. To register or for more information, call Lynn Ratmansky at 215-677-1600. ••

Bingo in March

The Sisterhood of Congregations of Shaare Shamayim is hosting bingo on Zoom on Mondays, March 11 and March 18, starting at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $36 per person and includes two cards for eight games of bingo each night. Send your payment to the CSS office, 9768 Verree Road, Philadelphia, PA 19115, attention: Bingo. Payment must be received no later than Feb. 26. Include your email address to receive the Zoom link. Call Gerry or Nancy at 215-677-1600. ••