Holiday time is officially here and there are events, activities, & opportunities for us to be generous to those in need.
This Saturday is "Shop Small" Saturday, & we are being urged to patronize local shops & businesses rather than going to the mall with thousands of our best-friends-that-we-haven't-met-yet. While the Mt. Airy business corridor isn't a giant retail hub, there are specials & promotions being offered at several of the small stores owned by our friends & neighbors. And our great restaurants will be happy to help with your shopping list --- gift cards are available at all of them. Go tohttp://www.gomtairy.com/ for more info.
There are 2 opportunities to get amazing, hand-made gifts to suit any taste, at a variety of price-points. Both offer wonderful items from the local arts community --- which deserves our support! Allens Lane Art Center will be having their annual Art & Ceramics Gift Show & Sale on December 5th & 6th, from 10 till 4:00 (www.allenslane.org) And the Mt. Airy Art Garage (11 W. Mt. Airy Ave.) will have interesting gifts by local artists at their annual sale, (their last at their current location), onDecember 5th & 6th, & again the following weekend. Times for both weekends are noon till 6 PM. (www.mtairyartgarage.org)
State Representative Cherelle Parker's annual holiday celebrationwill take place on December 4th, from 4:45 till 7:00, on the 1500 block of Wadsworth Ave. This is a very family-friendly event, with activities & refreshments; stores will be open for business, & I hear Santa will be making an appearance. More info: 215-242-7300.
Awbury Arboretum will be hosting their annual Holiday Greens Sale & Open House on December 5th, from 1 till 4 PM. (Cope House, 1 Awbury Rd.) They will have an assortment of fresh, locally-sourced decorative greens, from wreaths & swags to Christmas trees. Even if decorating's not part of your tradition, the Open House is a nice way to get to know our hidden treasure of an arboretum! More info at www.awbury.org
And, yes! EMAN will be doing "TreeCycling" events again this year. Dates & times TBD, but plan on saving your Christmas tree from the dump. We can help you do that!
A BIG project's coming up --- & we need your help! Our East Mt. Airy public schools are a reflection of our community. And schoolyards are a vital aspect of how our community sees our schools. Emlen, A.B. Day & Houston Schools are located in &/or serve East Mt. Airy children. They're part of the Philadelphia Green Schoolyards RACPApplication. The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is a Commonwealth-funded grant program that supports the acquisition & construction of regional economic, cultural, civic & historical improvement projects. The Big SandBox, Inc., has submitted an application for the renovation of 15 schoolyards & one community center in Phildelphia, & the Mt. Airy public elementary schools (on both sides of the Avenue) are part of this application. The renovation of our schoolyards will signal visible efforts to reshape public education, & to renew the pride & commitment of teachers, students, & community residents. The Mt. Airy Schools Coalition, (led by MAUSA with support from EMAN & WMAN), is happy to be part of this effort. What can you do to help? Our State Senators & Representatives can help us secure this funding, as the State budget is finalized during the coming weeks. We want to urge our local elected State officials to encourage the RACP administrators to endorse & support these projects. Please call, e-mail, Facebook & tweet your support! It'll just take a couple of minutes.......... State Senator Art Haywood: District Office 215-242-8171 Harrisburg Office 717-787-1427 email@example.com FB Senator Art Haywood Twitter @SenatorHaywood (please reference #gophillyschoolyards) State Representative Cherelle Parker: District Office 215-242-7300 Harrisburg Office 717-783-2178 firstname.lastname@example.org FB Rep. Cherelle Parker Twitter @RepCParker (please reference #gophillyschoolyards)
Holiday Safety Tips from the 14th PPD It's unfortunate, but the holiday season provides lots of opportunities for criminal behavior. Crime Prevention Officer Sharrod Davis has sent some suggestions for staying safe & protecting your property:
Do not leave gifts, valuables like cell phones, laptops, etc., visible in your car. It's way too tempting for thieves. Mt. Airy is already experiencing an uptick in car break-ins, & that won't decrease during December.
If you will be going away for an extended time over the holidays, notify the 14th. Also, have a friend or neighbor take care of your mail, or have the Post Office temporarily suspend deliveries & hold the mail for you to pick up. Packages that get delivered & are then unattended on your front step or porch are easy to steal; you may have seen reports about thefts of packages on the local news.
Check around the exterior of your property for safety hazards, easy access points, & blind spots.
If you can afford an audible alarm system, &/or security camera system, the Police recommend that you install one (or both).
And, as always, if you see anything suspicious, please call 911! The Police would much rather come out to your home before a crime is committed than after. Don't be embarrassed or try to convince yourself that it's not worth calling about a small thing.
And, please remember that wet leaves on the roads are extremely slippery, so use caution driving at this time of year.
There are many ways to help people in need .............
Valley Green Bank's annual Book Drive kicks off on Friday, & runs through December 31st. The Bank has been able to donate hundreds of books to local kids because of the generosity of community residents & business people. There will be collection boxes at the Mt. Airy & Chestnut Hill branches, for donations of new or gently-read books appropriate for pre-K through 8th graders. Donated books are given to the Mt. Airy Schools Coalition (serving the public elementary schools in Mt. Airy), Mastery Charter Schools, Wissahickon Charter School, & Philadelphia Health Center #9.
Trolley Car Diner's Coat Drive is an annual tradition in Mt. Airy. Coats for people of all ages & sizes will be put to good use, as long as they're in good condition & clean. It's hard to imagine what life would be like without a warm coat.............so check your closets! Donated coats are being collected at both the Diner & the Trolley Car Cafe.
Donations of food & money are lagging this year, & food pantries would be thrilled to receive contributions to their efforts to keep people fed & healthy. Most houses of worship either operate a pantry or can direct you to one.
Activities that might interest you:
Cliveden of the National Trust has a "Living Kitchens" project, & is planning an exhibit at the Carriage House Visitors Center in the Spring. You have a chance to participate by lending them a spoon & a recipe. (A loan, not a gift!) They would like a photo & a brief story about why the spoon & recipe are meaningful to you, to be featured in the exhibit catalog. The objects would be on loan from January till June. For info, contact Carolyn Wallace at email@example.com
"Music for the Spirit", a gospel concert, will take place on December 5th at 2:00 PM, at the Canaan Baptist Church (5430 Pulaski). A free will offering will be taken to support the Center in the Park, a vital resource for older residents of Mt. Airy & Germantown. CIP has been hit hard by the failure of the State government to pass a budget, negatively affecting services & programming.
Mt. Airy 2025, a resident-driven planning process led by Mt. Airy USA, continues to seek input from neighborhood residents about how they envision the future of the community. To that end, another community meeting/workshop/open house will be held on Thursday evening, December 17th, from 6:00 till 8:00, at the Pleasant Playground Rec Center (enter on Chew Ave). Planners really want to know what you want in the neighborhood. What issues are important to you? What problems do you think need to be addressed? While the planning area doesn't include all of East Mt. Airy, it's important to bear in mind that what happens in one part of the neighborhood affects the rest of the neighborhood --- so we want to hear from everybody!
Other Neighborhood News:
Work has begun on the Walnut Lane Bridge, a route many of us take to get to Roxborough & Manayunk, Center City, & the western suburbs. Inconveniences can be expected, but the work is important. The bridge was built in 1907, & repairs must be made for our safety. PennDOT tells us that traffic lanes will be shifted & concrete barriers installed, but the bridge will be passable through Spring, when it will close completely for the major part of the structural repair work. Detours will be in place.
Congratulations to Veronica Britto, Librarian & Branch Manager at Lovett Memorial Library! She's received a well-deserved promotion to "Central Philadelphia Cluster Leader", a new position in the Free Library system. Veronica has always understood that for us, Lovett's not "just" a library --- it's a community hub with books & other resources. Her warmth & friendliness, coupled with her intelligence & her respect for knowledge-seekers of all ages, have been assets to the Library. She's been generous to community organizations (including EMAN), & we have appreciated that enormously. Her departure date hasn't been announced yet. And although we'll certainly miss her, it's nice to know that she'll be in her new position when Lovett closes for renovation/redesign in March. We're sure she'll be successful & we wish her well. She's a Mt. Airy resident, so we'll still see her around the 'hood!
The next EMAN Community/Board Meeting will be on Monday evening, December 7th at Lovett Library's 2nd floor meeting room. The Board meets in Executive Session at 7:00, & the community is invited to join us at 7:30. You are welcome whether or not you're a paid EMAN member. It's easy to join EMAN at our website, http://www.eastmountairy.org using PayPal, or by getting the info you need to join by mail. While you're at the website, you can learn about the history of the organization (we celebrate 50 years in 2016!), check our calendar page for local events, get info on other helpful local nonprofits, find out which local residents volunteer their time as Board members, etc.
This additional goodbye is much harder for me to write, because it's someone with whom EMAN has worked closely over the past several years. Abby Thaker, who has been Managing Director at MAUSA, is leaving to become the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Free Library's "Read! by 4th" initiative. Abby has been MAUSA's point person on the Mt. Airy 2025 Neighborhood Planning grant process, & has shown how well she juggles the needs of many constituencies at once, & how well she integrates an enormous amount of information, helping people express their hopes for Mt. Airy while keeping us all in touch with reality. It has been a privilege to work with her in her role as the Director of Education Partnerships at MAUSA. Abby has been the Mt. Airy Schools Coalition's "Fearless Leader." While WMAN's wonderful VP Marilyn Lambert & I did (& continue to do) some of the work of this coalition, if it weren't for Abby's vision, persistence, understanding of the school system, knowledge of resources across the country & ability to herd cats, much less would have been accomplished so far, & we would not be as confident about future initiatives as we are. Her passion about children's literacy has been contagious. I am very happy that her new position will allow her to work more fully on the things that are closest to her heart. But, I'm sad that we're losing her --- a feeling that's universal among those of us who have had the opportunity to work closely with her. I haven't met anyone who doesn't like her. (How many people can you describe with that sentence?) I'm sure MAUSA will find a worthy successor to lead the Schools Coalition, & that our important efforts will continue. I look forward to meeting that person, & working on projects together. But, we'll miss you, Abby...............
It's not exactly a secret that it's a scary, sad time in the world right now. Perhaps more than usual, we need a holiday set aside to express thanks, to remind us that there is still wonder & beauty & kindness in the world. And to think about ways we can, individually & collectively, help where we can. I am grateful for, (among many other things), being part of a community that is special in so many ways. Mt. Airy is not without problems --- no neighborhood is. But it's a gift to live in a community where diversity & inclusion & fairness & working together & friendliness are the norm...........
From all of us at East Mt. Airy Neighbors..........
We wish you a happy & safe Thanksgiving!