Around Town

Parker recommits city to Vision Zero

Mayor Cherelle Parker signed an executive order recommitting Philadelphia to the goal of reaching zero traffic deaths at a reception on the eve of Vision Zero PHL 2024, the program’s annual conference. 
“Every Philadelphian deserves to be able to navigate the city – whether that be by foot, public transit, bicycle,or personal vehicle – and get home safely,” said Parker. “We are making a commitment to all Philadelphians that this administration will improve road safety and save lives from being lost to senseless traffic violence.” 
One of the first tasks for the Office of Multimodal Planning (formerly Office of Complete Streets) will be to update the High Injury Network. The HIN includes the 12 percent of streets that account for 80 percent of fatal and serious injury crashes. 
The order directs the Office of Multimodal Planning to assist the Department of Streets in developing, reviewing and publishing all checklists called for in the City’s Complete Streets ordinance from 2013. The order focuses on strategies that will eliminate fatal crashes as quickly as possible, in support of the Regional Vision Zero 2050 goal. 
Other provisions include setting a goal of programming safety improvements to every mile of the HIN by 2030 and working with the School District of Philadelphia to educate students about traffic safety. 
“This executive order signals a recommitment and renewed focus for the city to execute on the values and goals of Vision Zero,” said Michael Carroll, deputy managing director for the city’s Office of Transportation and Infrastructure. “We are proud to stand with Mayor Parker as the administration takes a big step toward addressing traffic safety and therefore the general wellbeing of all Philadelphians, regardless of transportation mode. Together, we are making the changes needed to deliver on the mayor’s vision for a cleaner, greener and safer city, with economic opportunity for all.” 
In 2023, 120 people lost their lives on Philadelphia’s streets. Speeding and aggressive driving rose after 2020 and continue to lead to far more fatalities each year than the pre-pandemic trend. People walking and biking are particularly vulnerable in a crash with a speeding driver.
The city claims that traffic safety is an “equity” issue. Longstanding disparities in traffic deaths are worsening. Before 2020, black and Hispanic Philadelphians accounted for a disproportionate share of traffic deaths. Since then, this disparity has grown. Children are also at risk. Each week, five children are hit by a vehicle while walking in Philadelphia.  
The city will address this trend by directing large investments in safety to the communities that it claims need them most.  
The federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will invest billions in transportation, with a focus on safety. Philadelphia has secured hundreds of millions of dollars from the BIL already. Some examples include:  

  • $46.4 million from the first two rounds of the Safe Streets for All grant program, 
  • $78 million for the Roosevelt Boulevard Route for Change project from the Mega grant program, 
  • $25 million for North Philadelphia School Slow Zones from the RAISE grant program, 
  • $159 million for the Chinatown Stitch project to cap the Vine Street Expressway from the Reconnecting Communities grant program.

Third round of SJC Criminal Justice Microgrants announced

The Philadelphia Office for Criminal Justice announced the selection of the grant awards for its John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge Winter 2023–2024 Criminal Justice Microgrant Fund. The fund will award and distribute $240,000 in grants. The fund is part of a larger allocation of funds received by the city from the MacArthur Foundation to address criminal justice reform and the rising prison population in Philadelphia and nationwide. The funds aim to explore what the city claims is the “disproportionate” impact of the criminal legal system on “historically marginalized racial and ethnic communities” and directly address what it believes are “inequities.”

“Having more community voices and organizations involved in preventing gun violence is a key part of the Parker administration’s strategy to help make Philadelphia neighborhoods safer,” said Mayor Cherelle Parker. “We hear what our residents are saying. And we want them to know that more help is on its way. We are thankful to the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge for the ability to include more seats at the table and have more community voices heard as part of our overall public safety strategy.” 

The SJC Microgrant Fund aims to fund programs that develop new and creative approaches to criminal justice reform in Philadelphia; engage communities “disproportionately impacted” by the criminal justice system in the reform effort; provide services to individuals who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system; and are “BIPOC-led” organizations seeking general operating support. 

The fund provides resources to community-based organizations doing work around criminal justice reform. Up to 50 percent of the award can be used by grantees to increase organizational capacity.

Organizations receiving grants include Ardella’s House, Beloved Care Project, Caring Together Program Currently Trending, Forget Me Knot, KB Foundation, New Leash on Life, New View Institute, Philly Youth Basketball and Reawakening Agency.

“We are so grateful to the MacArthur Foundation for helping the city invest in more community-based organizations that are working tirelessly to make our communities safer,” said Patty Jones Thompson, Office of Criminal Justice deputy director. “The fund helps us to reach Philadelphians most impacted by the criminal legal system.” 

Grants range from $20,000 for individual applicants to $60,000 for collaborative partnerships among multiple organizations. Funding is for an entire year. All grantees join the Safety and Justice Challenge microgrant community, a network of agencies with subject matter expertise and experience in ongoing legal system reform efforts.

Learn about Alzheimer’s care

The Alzheimer’s Association Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures reports that, last year, 465,000 dementia family caregivers in Pennsylvania provided 822 million hours of unpaid care valued at $13 billion.

Among dementia caregivers, 76.6% reported at least one chronic condition, 32.5% reported depression and 16% reported poor physical health.

“Caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia is incredibly demanding, and the act of caregiving for a loved one can impact many aspects of a care partner’s own health,” said Kristina Fransel, executive director, Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter. “As disease-related symptoms worsen for the person living with dementia, caregiving responsibilities intensify. Over time, caregivers can experience increased emotional and physical stress making it more difficult to care for their loved ones, and for themselves.”

According to the new report, 83% of the help provided to older adults in the United States comes from family members, friends or other unpaid caregivers. Nearly half of all caregivers (48%) who provide help to older adults do so for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Nationwide, there are an estimated 11.5 million caregivers providing unpaid care for people living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Last year, these caregivers provided 18.4 billion hours of care valued at nearly $347 billion.

“The cost of caregiving is yet one more stressor for families,” Fransel said. “The lifetime cost of caring for someone with dementia is estimated at nearly $400,000 with 70 percent of this cost borne by family caregivers — this is often a financial burden for which very few families are prepared.”

The average life expectancy following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is four to eight years, but some individuals can live with the disease longer, up to 20 years. Caregivers are encouraged to reassess care decisions and options regularly.

The Alzheimer’s Association website has information about caregiving throughout the disease continuum, various care options and resources to help with financial and legal planning. The Alzheimer’s Association Community Resource Finder can help families find local residential care options by entering their ZIP code.

Fransel said, “The new report clearly shows that dementia caregivers need more support now and that will only increase in the coming years. The Alzheimer’s Association provides support for all caregivers through our 24/7 Helpline, local support groups, care consultations and additional local resources that can help relieve some of the burden they’re facing. And most importantly, caregivers need to know they are not alone and we are here to help.”To learn more about the resources available for caregivers and families or to learn more about the Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, visit ••

Midget wrestling on April 4

The MicroMania Midget Wrestling Tour will come to Xfinity Live, 11th Street and Pattison Avenue, on Thursday, April 4. Doors open at 6 p.m. Matches start at 7. All ages are welcome, but must be 21 to drink. Tickets start at $25. Go to ••

Debate over judicial nominee

A group of Democratic state and local elected officials issued a statement urging the U.S. Senate to move forward with considering President Joe Biden’s nominee, Adeel Mangi, to the Philadelphia-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. If confirmed, Mangi would become the first Muslim American to serve on a federal appeals court.

Issuing the statement were state Reps. Tarik Khan, Arvind Venkat, Patty Kim and Jason Dawkins, state Sens. Nikil Saval and Sharif Street, Montgomery County Commissioner Neil Makhija and City Councilwoman Nina Ahmad.

They wrote, “Mr. Mangi is an excellent candidate and highly qualified individual whose nomination is now at risk due to a right-wing smear campaign tainted with Islamophobic rhetoric and outright lies. We are extremely disturbed that the nomination of a highly qualified judicial nominee would be in doubt because of the fact he is Muslim.”

Mangi will likely not be confirmed, as Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Catherine Cortez Masto are opposed.

Some law enforcement groups are also opposed, citing Mangi’s affiliation with the Alliance of Families for Justice, a prison reform organization that has advocated for the release of some cop killers. ••

FOP knocks Casey for ties to leftist group

FOP Lodge 27 held a news conference in response to U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. joining the defund-the-police organization Indivisible Philadelphia for a campaign event and then receiving its endorsement. Indivisible Philadelphia has advocated to end cash bail.

“I represent over 1,300 law enforcement members here in Delaware County … Casey’s decision to align himself with these defund-the-police activists is alarming and extremely dangerous,” said Folcroft Deputy Police Chief and FOP Lodge 27 President Chris Eiserman. “Thankfully, Pennsylvania has a law-and-order Senate candidate that will work with the police and not against us: Dave McCormick. Delaware County FOP Lodge 27 is proud to support Dave McCormick and his run to replace Bob Casey as our senator.” ••

Groups oppose pot legalization

A group of state lawmakers and coalition leaders held a news conference to highlight what it said are the many harms of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s agenda on marijuana, which is to legalize high-potency THC for retail recreational sale in Pennsylvania.

Evidence shows youth use and addiction rates increase in states that commercialize the recreational use of marijuana.

The American Medical Association and every other major health association is opposed to state legalization of retail marijuana for recreational use.

Additional groups opposed to marijuana legalization for recreational use include the American Automotive Association (AAA), the Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police, the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association and the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. ••

Guard against fraud

The city Department of Records offers Fraud Guard. Protect yourself against deed or mortgage fraud and get help if you are a victim. Call 215-MU6-2290 or visit ••

Your creative potential

Cranaleith Spiritual Center will present A Healing Path to a More Creative Life on Tuesdays, April 2, 9 and 16, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The cost is $75 for the online series. Call 215-934-6206 or visit ••

Holistic approach to creativity

Cranaleith Spiritual Center will present Spiritual Practices for Creative Fulfillment on Tuesdays, April 23 and 30 and May 7, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The cost is $75 for the online series. Call 215-934-6206 or visit ••

Entertainment at Parx

Parx Casino is offering the following upcoming entertainment:

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 ••

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. ••

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. ••