The celebrations are (mostly) over, & it's time to get back to real life.............. The blast of frigid weather we had was certainly enough to snap everyone out of their post-holiday lethargy........... EMAN started the year with a successful Christmas Tree Recycling event. Thanks to our friends & neighbors, who turned out despite the bitter cold last Sunday, we Tree-Cycled about 130 trees, saving them from an ugly end in a trash dump. Yes, a small group of intrepid volunteers stood out on a parking lot for hours on Sunday afternoon, with wind chills hovering at about 10 degrees............. loading trees into the pile to be mulched, feeding our guests cookies &  hot chocolate or tea, & providing visiting dogs with treats. We were heartened to have so many people make a point of telling us how much they appreciate having this event in the neighborhood, & how especially important they think it is right now. We were lucky to have the same crew from Bartlett Tree Experts who worked with us last year. They were efficient, friendly & good company in general. Special thanks to Kim Miller, who started this activity a few years back, & who continues to volunteer her time & expertise setting things up for us. Thanks also to John Siemiarowski (a.k.a. the "Electrical Wizard"), who set up outdoor heaters for us, & also helped unload trees from cars. And we're grateful to David Fellner for letting us take over the parking lot for the afternoon.

MLK Day is Monday! And there are sites right here in Mt. Airy where volunteers are needed........ EMAN & WMAN are working with our partners at Mt. Airy USA (MAUSA) on a family-friendly, literacy-focused event at Pleasant Playground(6720 Chew Ave.). From 10:00 till 12:30, there will be story time, a book swap, lots of art activities, face painting & more. For people who are more interested in doing physical work, there will be clean-up projects going on throughout the rec center & grounds. Our friends at Weavers Way will be sending refreshments, & offering work credits for participants. The Chew & Belfield Neighbors Club will be doing general outdoor cleanup from 9:00 till noon, in the area around the 6200 block of Chew Ave., & would love to have additional volunteers. Houston School (Allens Lane at Rural Lane) hopes you'll stop by & help with indoor cleaning, painting & organizing projects. They'll be happy to see you anytime between 9:00& 3:00.

Another scam hits the neighborhood..... The thought of being without heat, electricity or water during frigid weather is a scary one, & scam artists use that to their advantage. Both residents & businesses have reported getting phone calls from people claiming to be from utility companies, primarily PECO, telling them that their service will be cut off immediately if they don't pay a supposedly-late bill. They tell you how much you "owe", & that you need to pay by credit/debit right away to avoid a shut-off of service. PECO & other utilities will NEVER call you to demand payment.You will get a bill in the mail. DO NOT fall for this. DO NOT provide credit/debit card info, or any personal or financial info, to these callers. HANG UP. (If you have caller ID & get the number from which the call was placed, you can file a police report. Not that the police can do much, but there will be a public record of the attempted theft.)

Other Info, Activities & Events

State Sen. Art Haywood is hosting an Open House at his office (7106 Germantown Ave.), this Wednesday, 1/18th, from 4:00 till 7:00 PM. The community is invited to meet his staff, & learn about the services they offer to constituents.

  Our new State Rep. Chris Rabb opened his office at 7216 Germantown Ave. last week, & he & his staff are ready to serve constituents. The office is open during business hours on weekdays, & till 7:00 PM on Thursdays. You can reach the office at 215-242-7300.

         The City's Office of Homeless Services will perform its annual "Point in Time"  effort to count the number of unsheltered people sleeping in places not fit for habitation on Thursday, January 26th, from 2:00 - 7:00 AM. If you'd like to help with this initiative, you can volunteer at: http://bit.ly/phillycounts2017  If you'd like to volunteer for the Youth Count, that will take place on the 26th, from 5:00 - 10:00 AM & from 2:00 - 8:00 PM --- sign up at https://www.valleyyouthhouse.org/events/youthcount/

WMAN will be sponsoring a meeting on January 26th to address issues that are likely to arise from the growth in both businesses & rental properties along the Avenue, particularly south of Carpenter Lane. Traffic congestion has been a concern for people who live & work near the new buildings. Speakers will address both parking problems & transportation alternatives.          Representatives from Councilwoman Bass' office, Uber/Lyft, Enterprise Car Share, SEPTA, & several bicycling organizations will be there to tell you about the services they offer & to answer any questions you may have. The meeting starts at 7:00 PM, at the Work Mt. Airy Co-working space, 6700 Germantown Ave., lower level.

  The Mt. Airy Art Garage (MAAG) is partnering with the Philadelphia Theatre Company, with an exhibit during the PTC's production of "Having Our Say", a play about the remarkable Delany sisters, African American women who were civil rights pioneers. The exhibit will run from 1/27th through 2/19th, with a community open house & opening on Saturday, 2/4th, from 4:00 till 8:00. The play will be at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St. For more info: www.mtairyartgarage.org

    Your household income may qualify you for an Earned Income Tax Credit, & a partial refund of your income tax payment. Last year, about 40,000 eligible Philadelphia households didn't apply. To find out if you qualify go to www.YouEarnedItPhilly.com or call 215-686-9200.

      The Friends of Lovett Memorial Library group reports that the Free Library of Philadelphia is projecting that construction will be finished & the Library reopened in November 2017. There were a few construction delays, but they're hoping for smooth sailing from here on out.

As you probably know, the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia is joining with the Lutheran Seminary at Gettysburg to form one new institution, the United Lutheran Seminary. This change means that the Seminary will no longer require such a big campus, & re-purposing & redevelopment plans are being made. There have been several meetings with community organizations & residents over the past few months, & community opinions & suggestions are being taken into account. The Seminary is committed to remaining a good neighbor & a community anchor. Change is often difficult, but we are pleased to know that the Seminary cares about its impact on the neighborhood. 

          EMAN's next Community/Board meeting will take place on Monday, 2/6th. The Board meets in executive session at 7:00, & the community is invited to join us at 7:30.  We meet at the Work Mt. Airy space, (a co-working space which also houses the Immigrant Innovation Hub), at 6700 Germantown Ave. (at Westview St.). MAUSA has been very generous with this attractive new space, which has been enormously helpful to organizarions like EMAN. You can check out all the other things MAUSA does in & around the 'hood at www.GoMtAiry.com

If you're not already a paying member of EMAN, we hope you'll visit our website (www.eastmountairy.org) & join  And, we hope to see you soon!

Elayne Bender