Around Town

Philadelphia selected for Bloomberg American Sustainable Cities

Mayor Cherelle Parker announced Philadelphia was selected as one of 25 U.S. cities to join Bloomberg American Sustainable Cities, a three-year initiative designed to leverage historic levels of federal funding to incubate and implement transformative local solutions to build low-carbon, resilient and economically thriving communities.  

Building on the longtime leadership of U.S. cities to confront the overlapping crises of climate change and “racial wealth inequity,” the $200 million Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative will provide deep support to selected cities to pursue transformative solutions in the buildings and transportation sectors. The program is being implemented through partnerships with Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation at Johns Hopkins University, Natural Resources Defense Council, Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation at Johns Hopkins University and Natural Resources Defense Council. 

By participating in Bloomberg American Sustainable Cities, Philadelphia will receive a Bloomberg Philanthropies-funded innovation team with up to three dedicated staff with expertise in data analysis, insight development, human-centered design, systems thinking and project management to bolster city capacity in driving progress on climate mitigation and promoting “equitable outcomes.” The City will also receive multi-year, in-depth, customized policy and technical assistance in collaboration with community-based organizations to mobilize public, private and philanthropic investments. 

Parker’s 100-Day Action Plan states the administration is committed to meeting the city’s carbon reduction goals and building resilience while encouraging residents to partner in improving their communities. 

“I am thrilled Philadelphia was selected for this initiative, which will contribute to a safer, cleaner, greener Philadelphia, with economic opportunity for all,” said Parker. “Bloomberg American Sustainable Cities will help unlock important resources to bring our vision to life.”  

Philadelphia was chosen by Bloomberg Philanthropies for the initiative based on its leadership and ambition to build resilient, “equitable” communities.

Anticipated solutions implemented through the Bloomberg American Sustainable Cities could include developing affordable, energy-efficient housing, accelerating the just energy transition and expanding access to clean energy, especially in “disadvantaged” communities “historically overburdened” by pollution.

“Our participation in Bloomberg American Cities will be instrumental in furthering our efforts to center communities disproportionately burdened with the negative environmental impacts in our climate work,” said Elizabeth Lankenau, interim director of the Philadelphia Office of Sustainability. “This initiative will give us key tools and resources to meaningfully include Philadelphia’s most impacted communities in building a lower-carbon world that drives shared prosperity.”

School district receives $1.8M in grant funding

The School District of Philadelphia will receive $1.8 million from the state Department of Education to establish safe, healthy and supportive learning environments in public elementary and secondary schools; and to prevent and respond to acts of bullying, violence and hate in school communities.

More than $39 million was awarded to 36 school entities in 21 counties across the state, according to officials.

“Students deserve safe and welcoming school environments that allow them to learn, grow and thrive without fear for their physical safety or mental health, and this funding will enable schools to provide those critical learning environments to their communities,” said Secretary of Education Khalid Mumin. “By prioritizing the wellness of our learners and educators, we can ensure that future generations of Pennsylvanians leave school equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to be happy, productive, engaged citizens.”

Through the federal Bipartisan Safer Communities Act Stronger Connections Grant, high-need local education agencies can use funding to promote the social, emotional, physical and mental well-being of students and staff, address family and community engagement and promote equitable and inclusive policies and practices.

A high-need LEA is defined as a school district or charter school that received ESEA Title IV, Part A funding in fiscal year 2022 and meets one or more of the following “high-need” criteria: a high rate of poverty, a lack of mental health supports available to students, high rates of violence and/or traumatic incidents in the school or community and high rates of school exclusion.

This funding complements the priorities set by Gov. Josh Shapiro in his 2024-25 budget proposal. The proposal includes a nearly $1.1 billion increase in basic education funding – the largest in Pennsylvania history. The budget also includes $300 million for school environmental repairs, $100 million for mental health supports in schools, a $50 million increase for special education funding, a $50 million annual investment in school safety and security improvements and $30 million to build and support the educator workforce.

Evans secures $13.3 million for 15 community projects

Congressman Dwight Evans has secured more than $13.3 million in federal funding for 15 Philadelphia community projects. The funding is provided in an appropriations bill that passed the House of Representatives and is expected to pass the Senate and be signed into law by President Biden.

“Philadelphia’s great need for affordable housing continues to be a top priority for me, and nearly two-thirds of this project funding will go toward that need,” Evans said. “Seven affordable-housing projects will receive a total of over $8.2 million. While no budget bill is perfect, my vote for this funding package was also a vote to keep the federal government open and providing services to the people.”

Evans made the requests in April 2023 for the current fiscal year. This is the third round of Community Project Funding that Evans has secured for the 3rd Congressional District, which includes Northwest and West Philadelphia and parts of North, South, Southwest and Center City Philadelphia. This brings his three-year total to more than $36 million delivered for the district through the program.

The funding amounts and projects are:

  • • $500,000 for the city’s 52nd Street Streetscape Improvement project, which is intended to enhance traffic safety measures, increase community amenities, beautify the area and prioritize public transit safety and access.
  • • $1 million for the Abigail Pankey Apartments project of the Women’s Community Revitalization Project in West Philadelphia.

● $850,000 for the Beacon of Hope Affordable Housing Workforce Development project, which is intended to broaden VETMOTO’s existing services to include building 30 new affordable housing units to support severely underserved women and elderly veterans. 

● $1,666,279 for the Beech Senior Apartments project by Beech Interplex Inc. to significantly increase the housing opportunities for low-income residents in a real estate environment where aging in place is increasingly difficult.

● $850,000 for the Bringing the Future of Work to Disconnected Workers project of Philadelphia OIC that will provide state-of-the-art training that will give the residents in the area a distinct competitive advantage in the labor market, easing their connection to work that pays family-sustaining wages and career ladder job opportunities.

● $2 million for the Compassion Senior Living project of Community of Compassion Inc. The project will address social inequities and local disparities in a direct and measurable way. It will help mitigate climate change with the inclusion of a green roof and energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

● $1 million for the Lancaster Avenue-Entrepreneurship Resource and Innovation Center project of the Lancaster Avenue 21st Century Business association to create a small business development hub in West Philadelphia that will help startups as well as established businesses grow and ensure early-stage companies become successful.

● $500,000 for the Lamberton Schoolyard Improvement Project of the School District of Philadelphia to provide low- to moderate-income families in West Philadelphia a space to play and experience science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning.

● $850,000 for the Lower North Affordable Homeownership Project of Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia Inc. to create critically needed affordable homeownership options for Philadelphians who otherwise would be unable to purchase their homes.

● $500,000 for the Mt. Airy/Germantown Streetscape Improvement and Reconnection of the Mt. Airy Business Improvement District to improve pedestrian safety along the commercial corridor by adding crossings at seven key intersections.

● $1 million for the Opportunities Apartments project of the Opportunity Services Corp to meet a critical need for affordable housing among extremely low-income and low-income seniors.

● $300,000 for the Philly Schools Tree Canopy project of the School District of Philadelphia. Philadelphia’s urban forest removes an estimated 513 tons of air pollution per year, a $19 million annual value. Neighborhoods with fewer trees have higher rates of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Reducing pollution and increasing the tree canopy improves air quality and people’s respiratory health.

● $900,000 for the ELEVATE – Strawberry Mansion Neighborhood Schoolyard Redevelopment project of The Big Sand Box Inc. to help people’s health by improving environmental conditions.

● $900,000 for The Apartments at 40th Street Place project of Mt. Vernon Manor Inc. in West Philadelphia to help residents to withstand housing market pressures, with tenant stabilization as a top priority.

● $500,000 for the Vaux Community Building Auditorium Renovation project of the Philadelphia Housing Authority. The project would provide additional space for the use of the building’s tenant organizations and the broader community, providing space for resident-owned businesses and community organizations.

Entertainment at Parx

Parx Casino is offering the following upcoming entertainment:

March 21: Joe Conklin’s Comedy Night, with Bob Nelson and Jerrold Benford

March 29: The Frontmen

April 4: Joe Conklin’s Comedy Night, with John Pizzi and Peaches Rodriquez

April 5: Buddy Guy

April 6: Nick Swardson

April 12: Anthony Rodia

April 13: Vietnamese Show – Spring of Love

April 18: Joe Conklin’s Comedy Night, with Joey Kola and Gary Delena

April 20: Psychic Matt Fraser

April 27: Andrew Dice Clay

May 11: Tracy Morgan

May 17: Femmes of Rock

May 18: Sebastian Bach

May 31: Reik

June 1: Joss Stone

June 14: Almost Queen, a tribute to Queen

June 21: Corinne Bailey Rae

July 13: Clay Walker

Aug. 3: Tyler Henry, The Hollywood Medium 

Aug. 10: Dylan Scott

Sept. 7: Australian Pink Floyd

Nov. 21: Aaron Lewis

Nov. 23: Steve Trevino ••

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 ••

Fee on illegals would benefit seniors, disabled

Rep. Mike Cabell, a Luzerne County Republican, plans to introduce legislation that would impose a state fee on international remittances made by illegal immigrants. Specifically, Cabell’s proposal would impose a 10% fee on remittances being sent abroad by an undocumented worker through a money transfer licensee or agent. The revenue would be used to support the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program, which benefits seniors and the disabled.

The Pennsylvania Legislative Latino Caucus is not happy with the proposal.

“The idea of imposing an additional 10% fee on money transfers made by immigrants can only be described as absurd and vicious. This proposal clearly discriminates against immigrants; it is targeting a vulnerable group,” the caucus said. ••

A hindrance for tax preparers

City Councilwoman Rue Landau introduced a bill that would require for-profit tax preparation service providers to supply a disclaimer about free tax services available as an option.

The bill would require the city to maintain an up-to-date list of free tax assistance services available to taxpayers.

“Money is being left on the table,” Landau said. “This bill is an important step towards protecting our residents and ensuring that they have equitable access to the resources needed to thrive. We need to safeguard consumer interests and ensure that taxpayers are fully informed of their options.” ••

Bus trip to Lancaster County

St. William Travel is planning a trip to Lancaster County on June 20. There will be a Magic & Wonder Theater show, buffet lunch at Shady Maple, round trip by motorcoach, with all taxes and gratuities included. The costs $120. Bus departs from Gloria Dei Estates, 1304 Rhawn St., at 9:15 a.m. and returns 6:15 p.m. Check or money order payable to St. William Travel can be sent c/o 206 Benner St., Philadelphia, PA 19111. Call 215-745-7199. ••

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. ••

Bill on colorectal cancer screenings

State Reps. Pat Gallagher, Tarik Khan and Perry Warren announced plans to introduce legislation that would update state insurance laws to expand coverage for colorectal cancer screenings. Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths even though it is a very treatable form of cancer when caught early. When detected in its earliest stages, the five-year survival rate can be as high as 90%. The legislators said their legislation would update Pennsylvania’s Insurance Company Law to reduce the age when colorectal cancer screenings are covered to 45 from 50. Current law requires health insurance coverage for routine colorectal cancer screenings starting at age 50 based on American Cancer Society standards published in 2008.

Gallagher, who is a colorectal cancer survivor, said the legislation could result in more early detections and ultimately save lives.

“As a survivor of colorectal cancer, I know firsthand the impact that early detection and proper care can have on an individual’s journey through the labyrinth of cancer,” Gallagher said. “This legislation is not just about updating insurance coverage; it’s about saving lives and ensuring that no one has to face the challenges of colorectal cancer alone and that every Pennsylvanian, regardless of their circumstances, can access the screenings that could make all the difference.”

The legislators were joined by Dr. Benjamin Abella, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine; Anna Payne, a stage four colon cancer patient and Democratic legislative candidate in a key Bucks County race; and Kim Hall-Jackson, a survivor of colorectal cancer and an advocate. ••

Dinner and a show

Villa Barolo Ristorante, 1373 Easton Road in Warrington, will present Joey C’s Variety Dinner on Thursday, March 21. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Dinner is at 6, followed by the show at 7:30. The show will feature the sounds of Frank Sinatra and entertainment by Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis impersonators. Tickets are $100 and include taxes and gratuities. For tickets, call Villa Barolo at 215-491-9370. ••

Book review for charity

The Marlyn Chakov Fein Chapter, Fox Chase Cancer Center is having a book review on Tuesday, April 2, at 6 p.m. at Guiseppe’s, 990 Second Street Pike, Richboro. The book being discussed is Mad Honey by Jodi Piccoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan. The cost is $45 per person, which includes dinner and dessert. Call Joyce at 267-808-2022 for reservations. The event supports cancer research and compassionate patient care at Fox Chase Cancer Center. ••

History-themed bus trip

The Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation is sponsoring a bus trip to the historic Village of Roebling and historic Bordentown on Thursday, April 11. The itinerary will include a docent-led tour of the Roebling Museum and a leisurely walking tour of the Village, established in 1905 by Charles G. Roebling as a complete self-sustaining community for the workers of the Roebling Steel Mill, followed by lunch at the Old Town Pub in Bordentown and a visit to Point Breeze, the former estate of Joseph Bonaparte. The all-inclusive cost is $125. For a flyer and reservation form, call 215-788-2106. ••

Donate clothes

The Marlyn Chakov Fein Chapter, Fox Chase Cancer Center is running a clothing drive on Saturday, April 20, from 9 a.m. to noon at 604 Township Line Road, Cheltenham. Bring your gently used clothing, accessories, books and small trinkets in bags or boxed for pick-up. The event supports cancer research and compassionate patient care at Fox Chase Cancer Center. ••

Charity fashion show

The Marlyn Chakov Fein Chapter, Fox Chase Cancer Center is running a fashion show, Couture For The Cure, on Sunday, May 5, at Spring Mill Manor, 171 Jacksonville Road, Ivyland. The cost is $68 and includes full-course lunch and fashion show. There will be raffles, boutiques and jewelry and craft vendors. BOC Productions will present Fashions from Marlene’s of Collingswood, New Jersey. Doors open at 10 a.m. for shopping. Lunch will start at 12:30 p.m. Call Lorraine at 610-277-3631 for tickets. The event supports cancer research and compassionate patient care at Fox Chase Cancer Center. ••

Trip to Glencairn

The Sisterhood of Congregations of Shaare Shamayim will visit Glencairn Museum, in Bryn Athyn, on Wednesday, May 1, at 10:15 a.m. There will be a video and tour. The cost is $18, payable to CSS Sisterhood and mailed to 9768 Verree Road, Philadelphia, PA 19115. Include your name, email address and phone number. ••

Xfinity Internet speed increases

Xfinity Internet customers are getting faster speeds at no additional cost, as the need for data increases in households.

“Streaming live sports, gaming and other data-rich applications are driving internet consumption to new heights,” said Emily Waldorf, senior vice president, Consumer Internet Services, Comcast. ”We have regularly increased speeds over the past two decades to provide customers with the connectivity they need to power their increasingly connected lives. And, with the potential that funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program will not be renewed, this year we have really leaned into boosting speeds for these customers so that they can take advantage of these new capabilities.”

New and existing customers started taking advantage of speed increases on March 6.

Benefits include reliability, digital security and advanced WiFi capacity.

The federal government recently announced that the Affordable Connectivity Program could end as early as April if it does not receive additional funding.

ACP participants who are existing Xfinity customers or new to Xfinity can take advantage of current promotional offers. Customers are encouraged to call 800-Xfinity to learn more about what offers may be available in their area.

Xfinity customers benefiting from ACP are automatically eligible to enroll in Internet Essentials for as low as $9.95 a month or Internet Essentials Plus, which doubles the speed of traditional Internet Essentials for $29.95 per month. There are no credit checks or cancellation fees, and equipment is included.Visit ••

Tumor support group

Fox Chase Cancer Center’s neuroendocrine tumor support group will meet on April 17, from 4-5 p.m. This is an open group for people diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumors who are receiving treatment. Interested patients should email Anjali Albanese at or Mark Itzen at for a link to participate. ••

Support Michael Strange Foundation

The public is invited to attend two events held by the Michael Strange Foundation. On June 15, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., at American Legion Post, 9151 Old Newtown Road, there will be a live band, food and music. On June 16, from noon to 4 p.m., at the Parx horse racing track, third floor, Gold Star families will be on hand. Requested donations for each event are $40 per person. U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Michael Strange, a Wissinoming native and 2004 North Catholic graduate, died in 2011 of wounds caused when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter he was aboard crashed in Wardak Province, Afghanistan. He was 25. ••

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. ••