2 very different kinds of events that demonstrate the variety of things Mt. Airy community organizations do.
Our joint EMAN/WMAN Annual Community/Board Meeting on January 10th focused on crime in the area, and drew a large crowd of concerned residents. The caliber of guest speakers showed that our elected and appointed officials have heard our concerns and wanted to respond. There were representatives of several entities: the FBI, the Justice Department, SEPTA, the Police Department, and the District Attorney’s office. We appreciated their willingness to meet with us. We particularly want to thank Capt. Joel Dales of the 14th Police District, D.A. Seth Williams, Police Commissioner Ramsey and 8th District Councilperson Cindy Bass for their participation. It was important to hear the ways these various law enforcement and government groups are working together, and to know that they recognize that the issues involved are multi-faceted and require that sort of coordination. All of our speakers emphasized the need for the community to become more actively involved, in common-sense ways. We have to look out for each other. Many blocks are involved in Town Watch, but even if yours isn’t, you can still keep an eye out for trouble. If you see something unusual and it looks “iffy” to you, call 911; the police would rather prevent a crime than take a report after a crime. We need to do our part by being extra eyes and ears in our neighborhood. The 14th Police District is divided into 4 PSAs (Police Service Areas) which are supervised by lieutenants, and each has a monthly meeting. EMAN’s boundaries include areas in 3 of these, and the boundaries are not in straight lines. To find out which one you’re in, go to the District’s website, www.phillypolice.com/districts/14th and the information is on the lower right side of that page. The public is welcome at any of these meetings. Thank you to EMAN Board member Vernon Price for arranging such an impressive panel of speakers, and for his continuing interest in making our neighborhood safer. With his leadership, we are currently planning some follow-up meetings (EMAN and WMAN, jointly), dealing with topics like setting up Town Watch groups, making your home more secure, etc. Look for dates & details soon.
In a happier vein, our joint fundraiser at the Arden Theatre was great! The play,Clybourne Park, was very funny, very current, and very Mt. Airy. Many neighborhood residents lived through the situations in the play, and audience members had only positive things to say afterwards. The cast is amazing and the Arden was a great venue for this kind of event. I highly recommend seeing it; it runs through March 25th. According to this morning’s Inquirer, the play’s headed for Broadway, but you can see it at the Arden now. For more info about this show and the rest of the season, go towww.ardentheatre.org Again, many thanks to Bob and Nancy Elfant, Arden Board members and longtime community supporters here in Mt. Airy, for setting this up, and to the Arden Theatre for supporting community nonprofits in such a fun way! We also thank the community members who attended. They enjoyed a wonderful event and supported EMAN and WMAN at the same time.
Upcoming Events & Activities:
Save the Date! There’s a Valentine’s Dance planned at the Mt. Airy Art Garage, on Sunday, February 12th. This event will help support the arts in the community; details to follow.
New Covenant Church is presenting a screening of the movie Courageous on February 4th. The film explores the lives of 4 police officers who struggle with work pressures, fatherhood and faith. The screening starts at 3PM, but the doors will open at 2. The film is free; low-priced refreshments will be available. This program is not recommended for children under 12. For more info, contact Cliff Jones at 215-247-7500, ext. 109, or e-mail to email@example.com
Speaking of film, there’s a Medium Rare Cinema screening every week at the Little Theater at Video Library. Film critic Adam Lippe presents seldom-seen, critically acclaimed films, and offers trivia games and free popcorn as well. Go to his website,www.regrettablesincerity.com, for a listing of upcoming films.
Friends of the Wissahickon (FOW) offers programs throughout the year, and a series of nature walks is planned throughout the Winter. Go to www.fow.org for program details, dates and times.
The School District of Philadelphia is holding a series of community forums so the public can have input on the search for a new leader for the district. The 2 closest to us will be: Saturday, February 4th, 9AM, Roxborough High School (6498 Ridge Ave.) Tuesday, February 21st, 6:30 PM, Leeds Middle School (1100 E. Mt. Pleasant Ave.) No RSVP is required.
An extraordinary new architectural project will be coming soon to Northwest Philadelphia. The Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting is building a new meetinghouse, and it will include a “Skyspace” installation by world-famous light artist James Turrell. There are only a handful of Turrell’s Skyspaces in the U.S., and this project is expected to draw visitors from across the country, which will invigorate all aspects of community life in Northwest Philly, beyond the spiritual. Plans are to reach out to and serve the entire community. The Skyspace installation will be open to the public without charge. The new meetinghouse will also feature a meditation garden, and more space available to the community for meetings and events at reasonable rental rates, as well as restoration of neighboring park land and trails. It promises to be a major asset to our diverse community. The public is invited to a cocktail reception (co-sponsored by Weavers Way Co-op, Elfant Wissahickon Realtors, and Valley Green Bank --- 3 community-focused businesses that see this project as a cultural bridge throughout the Northwest), on March 1st from 5:30 till 7 PM, at which more information about this “Building in the LIGHT” project will be presented. The location of this reception will be announced soon; look for info on our website calendar (www.eastmountairy.org). For more info about the project, go towww.chfmnewmeetinghouse.org
The Mt. Airy Business Improvement District (BID) will be having a meeting to discuss the renewal of the BID on Wednesday, February 15th at 7 PM at the Cliveden Carriage House. All property owners, business owners and residents are invited. Among other things, the BID has been active in cleaning and beautifying the Germantown Avenue commercial corridor. For more information, call 215-844-6490 or go towww.mtairybid.com (where you can also take a survey).
Quintessence Theatre Group will present Jean Anouilh’s Antigone from February 29ththrough March 25th. (There’s a “pay what you can preview” on Wednesday the 29th at 7 PM.) Performances take place at the Segdwick Theater. For information about tickets, performance times, etc., go to www.QuintessenceTheatre.org
We will be adding events, meetings, etc. to our website calendar as we receive info, so check to see what’s new and exciting!
SEPTA has informed us that they’ll be doing track work on the Chestnut Hill East line, on weekends through the end of February. Work will take place on both Saturdays and Sundays, from 6 AM till 6 PM. There will be some noise associated with this project; SEPTA apologizes in advance for any inconvenience, but it’s vital to maintain the safety of the commuter rail system.
Planning meetings for Mt. Airy Day are already happening. This year’s event will be onSaturday, May 5th, (raindate May 6th), on the beautiful grounds of Cliveden of the National Trust (6400 block Germantown Ave.), and once again, lots of volunteers will be needed. We can offer you gratitude, the warm feeling of participating in such a popular community festival, and free refreshments! There are slots available on Friday from 4:30 till 7 for set-up, and there are 4 3-hour shifts on Saturday doing everything from traffic control, to helping vendors set up/break down, to collecting trash and recycling, to what we like to call “general helpfulness.” This is a great community service project for students (letters will be provided). If you have a few hours to contribute, and would enjoy seeing friends and neighbors at this festive community event, call Cindy Lees at 215-621-6193, or send an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org We’d also welcome your contributions to the planning process. Meetings take place at the EMAN Office (Wiedemann Building, Lutheran Theological Seminary campus, 7301 Germantown Ave.). The next scheduled meeting is at 7:30 PM on Thursday, February 16th.
On a much sadder note, I must tell you that the community has lost a wonderful man and dedicated volunteer and activist. Following a long illness, Lou Incognito died on Wednesday, January 25th. Lou and his wife Sheila moved into East Mt. Airy in 1976, and both immediately became active with EMAN. Lou served on several EMAN committees and was our Board's 2nd Vice President. He was a dependable Mt. Airy Day volunteer for decades. Lou’s life was dedicated to his family, and to helping others in ways both big and small. He was also a member of organizations whose goals matched his own: peace, justice, the rights of workers. Most importantly, he was a good and kind human being, who will be greatly missed by many, including the Board and staff of EMAN.
JOIN US! It’s never too late to join your neighborhood association! You can join at our website (www.eastmountairy.org) using PayPal. And the community is always welcome at our monthly meetings. The next EMAN Community/Board meeting is on Tuesday, February 7th, at 7 PM at the EMAN Office. Come meet neighbors, hear about current projects, get involved! Both EMAN and WMAN often hear questions like, “Why should I join? What do I get?” Partly, you “get” community associations that are in place, ready to deal with problems as they arise. We both provide referrals when you have a problem and don’t know where to turn; we provide help with zoning issues; we mediate conflicts in the neighborhood and look for peaceful resolutions. EMAN and WMAN worked together to produce the January 10th meeting about crime in the area. We also work with our partner organizations like Mt. Airy USA, on issues that affect Mt. Airy. And we provide things that aren’t problem-focused. Our e-newsletters and websites are sources of information about community events and activities. This year, EMAN sponsored a Christmas tree recycling event that kept 200 trees out of landfills. We bring you major community events like Mt. Airy Day and special events like the recent evening at the Arden Theatre. We offer a members’ discount to many events. As my colleague Marilyn Cohen (E.D. of WMAN) likes to say, “The community that plays together stays together,” and we are working to bring more fun activities to the neighborhood. EMAN has committees that are just waiting for volunteers, so more projects can start. To do all of the above, we need your support. Your paid membership and/or additional contribution allows us to continue to work on “Making a Good Community Better”.If you’d rather send a check than use PayPal, please e-mail us at email@example.com and give us your mailing address, so we can send you a form.
We look forward to seeing you at a meeting or event soon!