Happy Spring from East Mt. Airy Neighbors!

The advent of consistently warmer weather means that many of us will be spending more time outdoors……………..what a great time to meet neighbors and reestablish connections! While we’re paying attention to the beauty of the season, there are other things we need to keep in mind………….Children will be playing outside, and their activities may drift into the street, so please drive carefully. Cyclists and skaters and runners and walkers will be out in increasing numbers, too. Volunteer opportunities are always available in East Mt. Airy, whatever the season:

Philly Spring Clean-up Day, April 14th from 9 till 2, will feature 2 sites in East Mt. Airy this year. The Mt. Airy Business Improvement District (BID) will be working at Germantown Ave. & Duval St., on both sides of the Avenue. Call 215-844-6490 for info and to sign up. The Chew & Belfield Neighbors Club (CBNC) will be working on the 6200 block of Chew Ave. Contact them at 215-849-8021.

It’s almost time for the annual Reading Olympics, now in its 7th year. This May event is not only a great one for the students involved, but is a fun one for volunteers, too! “Jeopardy”-like friendly competitions happen on college campuses throughout the area during the month of May, giving middle and intermediate school students a taste of campus life as well as a chance to show off their reading comprehension skills. Events take place from 8:30 till 12:30 on various days and dates; for specific locations, dates and times contact Bonnie Stone at 215-279-7450, ext. 13, or go to www.philadelphiareadingolympics.org

The Chew & Belfield Neighbors Club (CBNC), which provides so many services and events in the neighborhood, is looking for 3 volunteer secretaries to share various clerical tasks. If you have a few hours to spare weekly, and have both internet access and Microsoft Office, contact Rev. Chester Williams at 215-849-8021. (The position is open only to members of the CBNC; you can join for just $12/year.)

We know you’re tired of hearing about the need for volunteers at Mt. Airy Day on May 5th, so let me instead tell you which wonderful local businesses and organizations are supporting the event with sponsorships, (as of April 4th, listed alphabetically):

  • Chestnut Hill Hospital

  • Cliveden of the National Trust

  • Electrical Wizardry

  • Elfant-Wissahickon REALTORS

  • FitLife

  • Michael Hickey, State Farm Insurance

  • Kurtz Construction

  • Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia

  • Miquon School

  • Mt. Airy USA

  • Philadelphia Federal Credit Union

  • Valley Green Bank

  • Verizon

  • Weavers Way Co-op

We are grateful for their support! The event would not be possible without them.

Neighborhood Events: 

Many of our community partners have special events coming up:

This Saturday (4/7th), there’ll be an Easter Egg Hunt at Awbury Arboretum. The event, which runs from 10 AM till noon, will also have an egg race and face painting. Contact www.awbury.org for more info.

Mt. Airy USA (MAUSA) continues its “Metropolitan Minds” Series on April 16th, from 6:30 till 8:15 at Wine Thief. The cost is $50 per person, and you’ll not only enjoy a 3-course meal at one of our well-regarded local restaurants, but hear from the celebrated Joan Myers Brown, founder of PHILADANCO. Call 215-844-6021 for info.

Our sister organization, WMAN, is having its annual “Eat Your Heart Out” fundraiser on April 21st. This event starts with a cocktail party at a West Mt. Airy home, followed by small dinner parties throughout the neighborhood, each featuring a professional chef. Tickets are $100, and because seating is limited, you’ll want to reserve a spot right away. Go to www.wman.net for details or to register.

The Germantown Jewish Center, (Ellet Street just off Lincoln Drive), in partnership with other NW Philadelphia community organizations, will host an Earth Day presentation on April 22nd, from 4 – 6 PM. Guest speakers and discussions will address creating a “Roadmap to Renewable Energy”.

OTHER COMMUNITY NEWS: Exciting news --- the Business Association of Mt. Airy is up & running! Under the leadership of MAUSA, this organization will serve both our local businesses and those of us who love to shop and dine locally. Elizabeth Moselle has been doing a great job on this community resource. Look for their new publication, “Go Mt. Airy Explorer”, which will contain information about activities, coupons, and other goodies. We hope to provide a link on our website soon.

Unfortunately, the warmer weather often means that an increase in crime might be right around the corner. This is yet another good reason to get to know your neighbors. We need to look out for each other and stay alert to suspicious activities. Even if your block doesn’t have a formal Town Watch program, we can all help prevent property crimes like burglaries by paying attention, and calling 911 if there’s a problem. There’s already been a big increase in graffiti, and EMAN has been in touch with the police about this. SEPTA has been very responsive to reports of vandalism on their property, and they’ve been doing their best to keep up with removal. Graffiti on SEPTA property can be reported at 215-580-7800, or at www.septa.org/cs/comment  For graffiti elsewhere, call 311 or go to the Philadelphia Community Life Improvement Program (CLIP), www.phila.gov/antigraffiti/removalform.html   (Thanks to EMAN member Kelly O’Day for the contact info.) And, of course, call 911 if you see it happening. Captain Joel Dales of the 14th Police District attended the April EMAN Community/Board meeting, to listen to our concerns about the removal of the bicycle officers from the neighborhood. With limited resources, he has had to send them farther south, where crimes have been more frequent and more serious. Capt. Dales’ goal is to add foot patrols to our part of Germantown Ave. as soon as the 14th receives new police academy graduates; he was hoping to get some additional officers from the most recent graduating class, which didn’t happen. If any neighborhood bicyclists are interested in starting a bicycle town watch group, the 14th will be happy to help you set that up. Let us know at info@eastmountairy.org and we will be happy to facilitate that.

While we’re on the topic of bicycling, please bear in mind that Pennsylvania has a new traffic law that requires drivers to allow four feet of space when passing a bicyclist. There are lots of folks cycling through the Northwest, and we want to help them be safe.

This year, warm weather is also bringing the Emerald Ash Borer, a relatively new pest in our area. The larvae of this insect feed on the tissue under ash tree bark, and once infested, the tree will generally die within 3 to 4 years. If you have ash trees on your property, consult an arborist or tree service to discuss your options. There are systemic insecticides that have been successful both in treating infestations and as a preventive measure, but you’ll want to weigh the possible environmental impact of the treatments. Ticks have appeared in the area already, so check with your vet about keeping your dogs and cats healthy and happy.

MEMBERSHIP: Even though our “main” membership drive happens in early Summer, you are welcome to join at any time. Your membership will still be good for a year. (We keep track.) Visit our website (www.eastmountairy.org) to join using PayPal, or call the office (215-242-4170, most weekday mornings) to request a form. While you’re at the website, check the calendar for upcoming neighborhood events. EMAN Community/Board Meetings are listed, and you are always welcome to attend and participate!

Everyone here at EMAN wishes you a wonderful holiday, whichever you're celebrating. We hope your Passover Seder is rich with tradition, your Easter is filled with hope, and that everyone enjoys the beauty of early Spring.