Hello from your friends at East Mt. Airy Neighbors!

  Before we all get caught up in the excitement, activities (& demands) of the holiday season, we want to reach out with a few reminders & some helpful information.

            Curbside leaf collection/recycling is underway! Your leaves can be recycled & turned into mulch, rather than become landfill. And fallen leaves left in the street will get packed down, & become slippery when there’s rain or snow. The leaf collection program helps promote both safety & sustainability.

            Leaves MUST be in those large brown paper bags that are available (& relatively inexpensive) at most hardware stores, supermarkets, & “big box” stores. Leaves in plastic bags or other containers will end up in the trash. Place your bags of leaves curbside for collection, on your regular trash/recycling day.

         Mark your calendars for EMAN's 3rd annual Christmas Tree Recycling event! "TreeCycling" will take place on the parking lot on Chew Ave., just south of Mt. Airy Ave., on Sunday, January 5th,from 1 till 4. The trees will be chipped up into mulch, which will be donated to area community gardens. There's a $5 per tree charge.

            For those of you who aren't quite ready to part with your tree on the 5th, we're working to set up an additional tree recycling event the following weekend --- stay tuned!

            After a quiet spell, graffiti is popping up around the neighborhood again. If you see someone in the act of “tagging” & are at a safe distance, call 911. To report graffiti, call 311 with the exact location, kind of structure (building, bridge, etc.), or e-mail us & we’ll pass the info along to the City. Last week, I saw a crew from CLIP(the City’s Community Life Improvement Program) painting over some graffiti on a railroad bridge on Gowen Ave.  SEPTA & CLIP have been excellent partners in this effort; in 2012, CLIP painted over/removed almost 124,000 tags, including many in Northwest Philly.

            As many of us are aware, there has been an uptick in crime throughout the Northwest. Captain Fleming, our PSA Lieutenants & the officers of the 14th PPD have been very responsive to the community, & have arrested several of the individuals who have been mugging residents, dealing drugs openly, & burglarizing homes. We appreciate their prompt & effective attention to our concerns.

            The holiday season is busy, with people coming & going & shopping & visiting. It’s a time when it’s easy to stop paying attention to non-holiday details. Criminals know this, & take advantage of it.

            If you see something suspicious, call 911. The police would rather respond to a situation that’s not the problem you thought it was, than respond after someone has been robbed or hurt. Records of calls to 911 help pinpoint problem locations & can facilitate prosecutions later.

            The Wissahickon East Project spent years working on it, & the group has successfully transferred a small “wild” piece of land to Fairmount Park. WEP brought a park to East Mt. Airy, so congratulations & thanks to those who accomplished this! Now it’s time to clean it up & create something beautiful. If you want to help, they’ll be happy to see you on December 7th, when volunteers will be working from 10:00 till 1:00. Contact Antje Mattheus for info or to sign up: 215-248-0654 or amattheus@verizon.net.

            One Book, One Philadelphia, a program sponsored by the Free Library of Philadelphia & the Mayor’s Office, will begin its 12th year in January. In case you want to get a head start, the 2014 featured selection is The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers, the story of a young soldier’s struggles to come to terms with his experiences in Iraq & his alienation upon returning home. There will be events & activities throughout the City from 1/22nd through 3/19th, including discussions, performances & workshops --- all designed to build community through increasing literacy & encouraging library usage. We don’t have details yet about events in Northwest Philly, but in the meantime, you can visit www.freelibrary.org/onebook for more information.

            The Germantown Special Services District (SSD), is seeking aDistrict Director. This person will manage cleaning & beautification programs in Germantown’s commercial corridors, making the community safer & more attractive to businesses & residents.  The position includes communications (including website & Facebook), outreach & publicity, working with residents, businesses, elected officials, community groups, etc.

            The position requires a college degree & 2 years relevant experience. Familiarity with Germantown would be helpful. For specific job requirements, go to www.germantownssd.wix.com/germantownssd& click on “staff”. Applications must be received by 5 PM on December 15th, & should include a resume, cover letter & supporting materials. E-mail applications to germantownssd@gmail.com.

            There are many ways we can help neighbors who are having a hard time during the holiday season. We wish everybody had a warm coat, a loving home, enough food, presents for their children ………….. but, sadly, that’s not real life for many. We will try to keep you apprised of opportunities to help those who are struggling.

            Winter coat drives are starting up, just in time for the arrival of really cold temperatures.

             The annual coat drive sponsored by Ken Weinstein at theTrolley Car Diner is expanding this year, to include drop-off points at several other fine Mt. Airy dining spots. We’ll have details soon, & will pass them along.

            State Rep. Cherelle Parker is having a coat drive, nowthrough December 3rd. You can drop off clean new or gently-worn winter coats (any size) at Rep. Parker’s office (1536 E. Wadsworth Ave.), from 9-5 on weekdays. Call 215-242-7300 with any questions.

            Beyond their spiritual significance, the Winter holidays traditionally focus on family & food.  Hunger is an ongoing problemthat feels particularly awful at this time of year. It’s hard to feel merry when you don’t have enough to eat, & your family lacks basic needs. Our friend & EMAN member Noelle Dames works to ease this kind of suffering all year, as Outreach Coordinator for the Coalition Against Hunger, & she passed along a few collection sites where we can contribute food (or money). Call first for hours of operation, to see if there are specific needs, etc:

  • Germantown SDA Church, 200 E. Cliveden St., 215-849-6967

  • Grace Community Center, 25-29 W. Johnson St., 215-248-2700

  • Germantown Avenue Crisis Ministry, 35 W. Chelten Ave., 215-843-2440

  • Face to Face, 109 E. Price St., 215-849-0179

  • Masjidullah Inc., 7700 Ogontz Ave., 215-424-8022

There are also many local houses of worship that operate pantries for their congregants & immediate neighborhoods.

            The Coalition welcomes volunteers who want to help solve food insecurity. If you’re interested, visitwww.hungercoalition.org/volunteer-0

            Valley Green Bank’s annual Book Drive starts on Friday. New or gently-used books are being collected at both branches of the Bank, Weavers Way Co-op, Elfant Wissahickon Realtors & several other locations. The books will be donated to the Mastery Charter elementary schools & to Philadelphia District Health Center #9.

            The collection continues through December 31st. For more information, call 215-242-7540.

The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia kicks off its holiday celebrations & toy collection drive on Friday, December 6th at 6PM, at the annual Christmas Tree Lighting. There will be caroling & refreshments , & the event is free to the public. Please bring an unwrapped toy (ages newborn - 12), as the Seminary is particpating in the Salvation Army's "Stockings for Kids" program.

            Additional toy and book drives, pet food collections, etc., will be starting up soon, & we’ll let you know about those, too.

       Our next regularly-scheduled EMAN Community/Board meeting will be on Tuesday, December 3rd at 7:30 in the EMAN Office, which is in the basement of the Wiedemann Building, Lutheran Seminary Campus, (7301 Germantown Ave.); directions can be found on our website: www.eastmountairy.org

          Also on our website: EMAN membership info! You can join online using PayPal, or print out a form to mail in. Things like the website, the TreeCycling program, EMAN's participation in the Mt. Airy Schools Coalition, zoning advocacy, the web calendar & this e-newsletter can only continue to exist with your support.

          We all have received holiday/end-of-year fundraising appeals from many organizations. We hope that when you sort through your pile of requests, you’ll consider making a donation to EMAN, through a membership or separate contribution.

Happy Chanukah to our Jewish Friends & Happy Thanksgiving to All!