Around Town

Evans welcomes growing support for victim act

Congressman Dwight Evans is co-leading a $360 million anti-crime and victim aid bill that has picked up bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

“I’m proud to co-lead this bipartisan bill that would help our state and local police solve more fatal and non-fatal shooting cases. This would be a huge win for public safety in Philadelphia and across the country – district attorneys can’t bring cases that don’t reach them, so this would help make our neighborhoods safer,” Evans said. “As someone who has pushed for help for victims of gun violence, I’m also very pleased that this bill would provide victims and family members with mental health resources and assistance with shelter, wage and relocation costs.”

Evans said he hopes the bill can build on the recent overwhelmingly bipartisan House passage of a bill that would expand the Child Tax Credit and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. That bill is pending in the Senate.

Evans said the Violent Incident Clearance and Technological Investigative Methods Act is designed to improve clearance rates for homicides and violent gun crimes by allocating funds for hiring and retaining detectives and evidence-processing personnel to investigate and solve homicides and violent gun crimes; acquiring, upgrading or replacing investigative, evidence-processing or forensic testing technology or equipment; training detectives and personnel in effective procedures and techniques; developing evidence-based practices to improve clearance rates; and ensuring victims and family members of homicide victims receive mental health treatment, grief counseling, relocation support, emergency shelter and transportation.

The bill would require grantees to report their use of the funds and how it affected clearance rates to the Department of Justice. Additionally, the National Institute of Justice would conduct periodic evaluations of the grant programs to identify practices and procedures that successfully improved clearance rates for homicides and have potential to be scaled nationally. All reports and data collected from individual grant recipients would be compiled by the DOJ and provided to Congress.

Democrats want lower income limits for scholarships

State Rep. Joe Ciresi, a Montgomery County Democrat, has introduced a bill to reform the Educational Improvement Tax Credit and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit programs for private and religious schools. There are 17 co-sponsors, all Democrats, including Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler. Ciresi argues that taxpayers are subsidizing private school tuition for many families who could afford it even without the taxpayer-funded scholarships. The legislation would lower the eligibility income limit for EITC and OSTC scholarships to 200% of the federal poverty line and adjust definitions of household income to better align with what’s used for other state programs; reduce the cap on administrative expenses and close loopholes by requiring money to be spent on administrating scholarship programs; and expand data collection that will allow for the evaluation of program effectiveness and to ensure that scholarships are going to those who need them. ••

$1M awarded through Philadelphia’s Cultural Treasures Program

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, in collaboration with The Barra Foundation, Neubauer Family Foundation, William Penn Foundation and Wyncote Foundation, announced $1,010,000 in grants to support 39 black, indigenous and “People of Color”-led organizations and artists through the Philadelphia’s Cultural Treasures funding initiative. 

The grants are designed to resource projects that position Greater Philadelphia’s “BIPOC” creative community for enduring success. Funded work includes performances, exhibitions, films, poetry, community-engaged public art projects, artistic archives and organizational capacity-building efforts such as staff expansions and technology upgrades.

The grants are awarded as part of the regional component of America’s Cultural Treasures, a national initiative created by the Ford Foundation. Recognizing a persistent history of unequal access to resources among “BIPOC” communities — the impacts of which were further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic — Ford partnered with local philanthropic leaders nationwide to initiate a relief effort to honor and celebrate “BIPOC” cultural groups, artists and organizations. 

Project grants are awarded in three amounts — $10,000, $25,000 and $50,000 — to organizations with annual operating budgets of no larger than $300,000 and artists over 18 years of age who have lived and worked in Philadelphia for at least the past five years.

South Philly recipients included Actívate Stories, Colette Fu, Ivonne Pinto Garcia, Patrice Worthy and Shavon Norris.

Bingo on Zoom

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. Include your email address to receive the Zoom link. Call Gerry or Nancy at 215-677-1600. ••

Support Storm the Heavens

Storm the Heavens Fund will hold its sixth annual Bean’s Ball on March 9 at 7 p.m. at Vie, 600 N. Broad St.

The masquerade ball will be held in memory of Philomena “Bean” Stendardo, an 8-year-old from Port Richmond who died in 2017 of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, a fatal form of brain cancer that mostly affects kids under 11.

Philomena’s parents, Mark and Mina, started the Storm the Heavens Fund to spread awareness and fund research for DIPG.Tickets cost $275. For information on tickets, sponsorships and event booklet ads or to make a donation, visit ••

St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place on Sunday, March 10, starting at 11 a.m. The parade starts at 16th Street and JFK Boulevard and heads east on Market Street. The theme is St. Patrick, Bless Philadelphia with a New Dawn of Hope. There will be a pre-parade Mass at 9 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Church, 20th and Locust streets. The parade will be broadcast live on Channel 57 from noon to 3 p.m. and rebroadcast on March 15 on Channel 3 from 9 a.m. to noon and March 17 on Channel 57 from noon to 3 p.m. ••

Ballot released for Philly Sports Hall of Fame

The Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame has released the ballot for its 21st class of inductees.  

Brief career profiles for the nominees can be found at

The Hall of Fame offers fans an opportunity to select their favorites from the ballot, though it’s not part of the official voting.

Living nominees are Andy Talley – Football; Art Still – Football; Brendan Hansen – Swimming; Chase Utley – Baseball; Cheryl Reeve – Basketball; Christy Morgan – Field Hockey; Clyde Simmons – Football; David Reid – Boxing; Donald Haldeman – Marksmanship; Dwight Muhammad Qawi – Boxing; Eddie Coyle – Paralympics-Powerlifting; Erik Williams – Football; Gail Ramsay – Squash; Jameer Nelson – Basketball; Jim Foster – Basketball; Mandee Amanda O’Leary – Lacrosse; Mary Ellen Clark – Swimming; Mike Rozier – Football; Paul Westhead – Basketball; Rod Brind’Amour – Hockey; Ryan Howard – Baseball; and Stan Walters – Football.

Heritage nominees are A.W. Tillinghast – Golf; Alice Putnam Willetts – Field Hockey/Lacrosse; Andrew Matter – Wrestling; Battling Levinsky – Boxing; Bertha Townsend Toulmin – Tennis; Charles Moore – Track & Field; Douglas Stewart – Soccer; E. Carroll Schaeffer – Swimming; Eddie Stanky – Baseball; Frank Spellman – Weightlifting; G. Diehl Mateer Jr. – Squash; George Benton – Boxing; George Munger – Football; Harry Schuh – Football; Joan Moore – Gymnastics; Ken Myers – Rowing; Mendy Rudolph – Basketball; Ralph Morgan – Basketball; and Roy Thomas – Baseball.

Fans may submit their selections online at

The induction ceremony and reception will be Nov. 7 at Live! Casino & Hotel. ••

Landau propose consumer protection

Councilwoman Rue Landau is introducing a consumer protection ordinance at the request of the Parker administration.

The ordinance would empower the Law Department to investigate potential violations such as misleading financing plans and false advertising of product conditions.

If violations are found, the Law Department can take action in the Court of Common Pleas, seeking remedies such as injunctive relief, civil penalties of up to $2,000 per violation and compensatory damages and restitution for affected consumers.

“Our aim is ultimately to ensure that no one falls victim to predatory practices, and that every Philadelphian has confidence and security in the city’s commitment to protecting them from scams and fraud,” Landau said. “I deeply value the mayor prioritizing this ordinance in her first 100 days, and I’m proud to introduce it and stand up for working Philadelphians.”

Mayor Cherelle Parker said, “This ordinance reaffirms my administration’s strong commitment to fostering a fairer and equitable business environment in Philadelphia, where consumers are respected and protected from exploitation and misleading promises and claims. I want to commend Councilmember Landau’s commitment to consumer protection this early in her first term, and I look forward to finding ways to work with her and her team moving forward on consumer protection issues. In addition to the protections available under state law, there are steps the City of Philadelphia can take to better safeguard consumers from fraudulent claims and tactics. This legislation is a step in the right direction.”

“The Consumer Protection Ordinance will allow the city to take legal action against bad actors whose deceptive business practices cause financial harm to consumers in Philadelphia,” said City Solicitor Renee Garcia. “I am grateful to Councilmember Landau for introducing this legislation and to Mayor Parker for pushing the ordinance forward. The Law Department will continue to work with City Council and the Parker administration on innovative legal solutions to protect our residents and promote a secure, equitable and vibrant economy.”

While the ordinance does not provide a private right of action, it ensures that the city is empowered to act on behalf of the public, acting as a guardian for working families when necessary. The legislation aligns with the existing state consumer protection law, reinforcing practices already deemed illegal at the state level. ••

Support police survivors luncheon

FOP Lodge 5 will host a luncheon for all families of Philadelphia police officers killed in the line of duty on Wednesday, May 1.

To offset the costs associated with the event, money is raised through an ad book form. Donations are tax deductible.

The cost is $700 for the back cover, $600 for the inside cover, $500 for the center page, $450 for a full page and $400 for a half-page.

Advertisements can be emailed to

Forms, along with checks or money orders payable to FOP Survivors’ Fund, are due by April 5. They can be sent to Samantha Hawthorn, FOP Lodge 5/Ad Sponsor, 11630 Caroline Road, Philadelphia, PA 19154.

The annual Survivors’ Fund event will be held at the FOP, 11630 Caroline Road, on Saturday, May 18, from 3-7 p.m.

For more information, call Samantha Hawthorn at 215-629-3602. ••

Landau wants hearings on sidewalk dining

Councilwoman Rue Landau has introduced a resolution that would examine the current state of streeteries and sidewalk cafes in Philadelphia. The resolution calls for hearings that would result in a review of the city’s regulations and policies regarding outdoor dining as well as a consideration of possible improvements that could allow more restaurants to participate in the program and enhance the vibrancy of the restaurant scene and support small businesses.

Landau’s resolution aims to renew the discussion around outdoor dining by holding hearings on the current regulations and identifying areas of improvement to the program to enable more “equitable” access to streetery and sidewalk café licenses and approvals.

“As a city known for its culinary diversity and innovation, Philadelphia’s outdoor dining scene has become an important part of our city. However, the transition from emergency COVID conditions to permanent outdoor dining regulations has posed significant challenges for many of our restaurants,” Landau said. “Through this resolution, we want to revisit and consider improvements to our current policies, ensuring fair access to streeteries and sidewalk cafes for all restaurateurs. By holding hearings and collecting feedback from the community, we will work towards a more ‘inclusive’ and thriving dining experience that helps both our small businesses and residents alike.” 

“Philadelphia’s culinary scene often ranks in the top three reasons why travelers choose to visit our city,” said Angela Val, president and CEO of Visit Philadelphia. “We support continuing the dialogue and bringing communities together to discuss streeteries and their impact on the culinary scene, neighborhood vibrancy, and in exploring regulations and policies that would democratize the process for restaurant owners and operators.” ••

Weight-loss program

The New You Program is a behavioral weight-loss program that provides support through weekly meetings and accountability. As a member, you will learn how to manage your cravings and learn how to lose weight and maintain it. A new group is starting March 25. For more information, call Sophia at 267-254-4050 or email Ilya Khaytin at ••

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. ••

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.

Call 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.

Call 215-788-9408. ••

April book club

The Book Club of Congregations of Shaare Shamayim will be hosting a Zoom session on Monday, April 1, at 7 p.m. The book is The Gown by Jennifer Robson. To register or for more information, call Lynn Ratmansky at 215-677-1600. ••