Happy Valentine’s Day from East Mt. Airy Neighbors!

Any holiday that features chocolate & flowers is worth celebrating!  

          It’s been quite a Winter so far. (Whichever of you skiing & sledding enthusiasts have been praying for snow: I think it’s safe to stop now!)

We're digging out yet again today, & more snow is forecast for overnight. Please remember to clear your sidewalks & any curb cuts near your home. Plows have been working round the clock to try to clear the streets, so when you're digging out, please don't throw the snow into the street. It's not only thoughtless, it's illegal.

          Much of the neighborhood lost electric power for at least a few hours last week. Many trees & branches fell. As always, East Mt. Airy residents & businesses reached out to help neighbors, whether shoveling, or offering a place to be while waiting for power to return, or providing transportation, or checking on older or housebound neighbors. Another reason to love living here!

          Our local Police & emergency workers have been working overtime to help us stay safe, & PECO responded quickly. We thank them for their hard work. Same for the 311 operators, who fielded a huge number of calls.

          Unfortunately, the 14th Police District has had to respond to another kind of problem. On January 30th, vile, racist graffiti was spray-painted onto garage doors at the Germantown Christian Assembly (Mt. Pleasant Ave. near Crittenden), & several houses on Durham Street. This is clearly not acceptable in our community, which is recognized nationally as an example of diversity, tolerance & cooperation.

          While many people think it’s likely that this vandalism was the work of young people, it is being treated as a hate crime. If you have any information about this crime, please call the 14th PPD at 215-686-3140. If you are not comfortable making the report yourself, call our office (215-242-4170) or e-mail us (info@eastmountairy.org) & we’ll pass the info along without identifying you.

          The snow & ice, combined with normal Winter slowdowns in collections, has led to a serious shortage of donated blood at area hospitals. Several blood drives are coming up:

2/22nd, from 9 till 4, Miller-Keystone Blood Drive. Springside/CHA gymnasium. Registration: www.GiveAPint.org; group ID#6795

3/3rd from noon till 5, Red Cross Blood Drive. Lutheran Theological Seminary. Reservations preferred; go towww.redcrossblood.org, sponsor code "Lutheran Theological Seminary".

          On a much brighter note, Lovett Memorial Library will soon begin renovations, on its way to becoming one of a handful of the Free Library of Philadelphia’s “21st Century Libraries” in the City. Public input is being sought, & on Saturday, February 22nd at 10AM, there will be a meeting to hear about the plans, look at the proposed designs, etc. (This is also the start of the return of Saturday hours to Lovett!)

The Free Library of Philadelphia, the Lovett staff, the Friends of Lovett Memorial Library, & the planners/designers want your opinion. This will be a major project affecting the whole neighborhood, not just library users.

          The City’s “LOOP” program (Longtime Owner Occupants Program, which offers real estate tax relief),  has extended its application deadline through 2/18th. Paperwork was mailed to eligible property owners. If you didn’t receive an application & think you may be eligible, or want to find out what the eligibility requirements are, go to www.phila.gov/LOOP for details, or call the hotline at 215-686-9200.

          A new Goodwill Donation Center has opened in Mt. Airy, at 7061 Lincoln Drive. Here’s an opportunity to clean out your closets & garages! They are accepting donations of gently used clothing, household items, furniture, toys & books. Donations to Goodwill support job training programs for local residents with disabilities. And the items don’t end up in landfills!

          The Center is open from 8AM till 7PM Mondays through Saturdays, & 10AM till 6PM on Sundays.

Are you watching the Winter Olympics? You might be interested in reading commentary from a different angle. East Mt. Airy born & raised Bill Douglas is a reporter with the McClatchy News organization. His regular beat is Congress, but he's been assigned to cover the Olympics & is filing reports from Sochi.

This assignment grew out of Bill's major interest in ice hockey. He's been playing since he was a kid, & as an African American involved in a relatively "white" sport, he has been working to get more children of color playing the game. His blog, www.colorofhockey.com, has a big following, & touches on issues that go beyond the ice. Check it out.

WHYY's NewsWorks is doing a beta test of a new service for Northwest Philly, & they want you to be part of it. Currently available on smartphones & tablets, "NewsWorks Neighborhoods" is a mobile-only service that presents list-style articles about a variety of interesting things about the area. Like "7 Community Forces That Get Things Done"  & "7 Hip Destinations". If this service is well-received, they'll do a wider roll-out in a few months.

East Mt. Airy is one of the communities NewsWorks contacted first. They want to make sure everything works & is of interest to users. Your opinion can count. If you're interested in participating in this beta test, go to: http://goo.gl/kLPL67 to try it out!

       Are you a member of East Mt. Airy Neighbors?We'd appreciate your support; we can't exist without it! You can join online using PayPal at our website (http://www.eastmountairy.org/membership.cfm) or download & print out a mail-in membership form.

EMAN's next Community/Board Meeting will take place on March 4th at the EMAN Office, which is in the Wiedemann Building on the campus of the Lutheran Theological Seminary, (7301 Germantown Ave.). The Board meets in Executive Session at 7PM, & the community is welcome to join us at7:30.

Becoming involved in your community is a great way to meet people. And your participation benefits the whole neighborhood.


Stay warm & safe.