Friday, June 26, 2009
Hunting Park is an 87-acre, class one municipal park located in eastern north Philadelphia in the city’s Hunting Park neighborhood.
The park was once the estate of James Logan, William Penn’s secretary, whose house stills stands on the parks southwest corner.
In 1810, a racetrack was laid on the estate, creating the Hunting Park Race Course, the first trotting track in the country. The track was later converted to a recreational park when the Pennsylvania Assembly outlawed horse betting in 1856.
Over the many years, this park has grown in size and has accommodated an artificial lake, a minor league baseball team and a carousel (in which John Philip Sousa is rumored to have played in the bandstand).
The park however, has suffered from extreme neglect and is in poor condition. Its current amenities include a recreational facility, a pool, three basketball courts, a football/soccer field, four baseball fields, ten tennis courts, a street hockey court and a running track.
Hunting Park is the largest park of its size and class in this region of Philadelphia. It serves a demographically diverse neighborhood, inflicted with high crime and poverty. The rehabilitation of this park is a necessary mission to enhance the health and welfare of the community
On April of 2009, Comcast Communications, a local corporation founded over 45 years ago, held its eighth annual Comcast Cares Day. Many Comcast employees visited Hunting Park to clean, paint and plant flowers though out the city-park.
Ralph Roberts, the co-founder of Comcast Communications, the largest television cable company in the world, was among the many volunteers that helped clean Hunting Park. Roberts later announced that the Philadelphia Comcast branch, located in center city’s newest and tallest skyscraper, would be a life-long sponsor of Hunting Park.
With help from a company like Comcast, this park can anticipate many future improvements, such as new amenities and enhanced programming, therefore transforming this park into an important and enriching community resource.
With Comcast’s sponsorship, along with additional funding and support, Hunting Park will soon fulfill its potential as the large and beautiful Philadelphia Park it once was.
By Angela Barber, Hunting Park
Thursday, June 25, 2009
As I look back upon my travels between Tioga, Allegheny and Nicetown, I think six weeks is never enough time to learn about an area well enough to get to know what is truly the heart and soul of an area. I was by myself for the entire time I was covering the whole area that expanded from Broad Street to Hunting Park Ave east to west and from Glenwood Ave to north of Erie Ave. I know, however, I did not cover every little thing in the area that I could. I would like to thank the community leaders I talked which allowed a guy from South Jersey to understand an area that had me nervous to go into at first. I would also like to thank the local people who allowed me to use their name and faces in articles that hopefully allow people to understand what makes the area tick. But I have to admit that I did have problems getting people to talk to me regarding stories for most of the time I was covering the area. I did not blame them for being suspicious of me considering I was not from the area and what would you do if a guy came up claiming he was a member of the press and asked questions? In the end, my job as a reporter was to pull back the curtain on the area and see what this area was about. Did I get to the core of the area, probably, considering lack of time and manpower on my part. However, from what I seen this area does have life to it with places like the Talking T-shirt and people like Darryl Geiger, Mark Greene, and Ralph Wynder who care about the area well enough that they will fight to improve it and the people around them. I hope all the best to the people of the area and I admit it change my view of the area and our society.
However-several remaining questions/comments:
1) Our very first day, the 23 bus (cheapest and easiest, although longest and smelliest route to Germantown) was broadcasting "Don't Forget to Vote!" messages. I'd intended at some point to look up why I never see this on other buses, as well as how long these run for. I never did this. There could still be no really interesting information behind this, but it's one of those "I never fufilled checking this out!" moments.
2) Our first blog was about hot dogs being sold outside a mosque. We've now passed Robin the hot dog seller about a dozen times, and never gone back to say hi or ask if they were beef hot dogs or any of the other remaining questions about the situation. I wish we had done this at some point as well.
3) One of my favorite restaurant/outdoor bars in West Philly, Dahlak, opened a second location in Germantown. I am really stinking mad I never went in to find out if they have a backyard like the one in West Philadelphia, and just never went in to talk to them in general.
4) We never went back to the Recyclables store in Germantown to get videos of all the cool things Barron Roane does. These would have been such great video blogs, but we never did it. Ironically, we passed Roane and talked to him multiple times and still never did, so regrets to that as well.
5) I would also just like to note that I really liked this class, really loved my partner, and it's been fun.
Sande Friedman and Sydni Grant, Group 5, Germantown
The rain was coming down and the puddles were accumulating throughout the field. David Lisby, commonly known as “Itchy” called the game to another field because of the wet grass and the muddy mess of a field.
He gave us a ride to 30th and Jefferson, where another baseball field was ready for action. The Big Legends baseball team was out on the field practicing before the game. We were in the outfield filming the practice. Bernard Savage, one of the Commissioners of the All-Stars told us to keep our heads up. Right after his warning, a ball flew right at Jonathan’s head. The entire team screamed, “I’M SORRY!”
We both laughed. Rick Ford came over to give me a kiss on the cheek and slap me five. He was excited we made it out to the game. It felt so good to feel a part of their community. We weren’t outsiders anymore. All of the players could barely concentrate on the game because they all wanted to be filmed on camera. I asked Itchy which player we could interview on camera. He responded, “Look at them, you can interview the hole team if you want to!”
The kids were great sports and responded well to cameras at their game. Apparently, they were used to the publicity because a lot of crime has occurred on the streets near the game. As we were filming, there were four gunshots that went off in the distance. Rick commented under his breath, “eh, it must be a shot gun.”
The rain stopped and we finished all of our interviews. Jonathan and I looked at each other and said, “We are going to miss this place.” We both smiled and knew what the other was thinking. This may be the last time we are ever here.
By Danielle Bacher and Jonathan Braymer- Team 18, Brewerytown/Strawberry Mansion
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
It's been a long semester, but a rewarding one. I learned about a new section of the city I grew up in, I've met some really great people, and I've even been to a circus school. I didn't know what to expect from this class or from my neighborhood. In the end there were parts I loved and parts I never ever want to do again.
So I guess I want to thank the people who live in Germantown. The people who gave me strange looks when I walked up to them with a voice-recorder or video camera and asked if they had a minute. I want to thank them for speaking to me and trusting me enough to open up about their lives, hopes and concerns. For going so far as to give me their complete names and contact information. And lastly, for thanking me for being there and giving them a voice through the Web site.
While I'm at it, I'll even thank the Philadelphia Police Department. So I never got the interview I called over and over for. They even brushed me off when I showed up, but it taught me something. I grew confidant that I can call someplace until I'm on a first names bases with everyone who answered the phone. I'm longer afraid of being a pest or annoying.
It's amazing what you learn about people just by walking around and starting a conversation. The entire time I was in Germantown I never got over how much one person sitting on a stoop would have to say. Call me strange, but now I find myself making conversation with people on the bus or in a store anywhere.
My time in Germantown solidified my passion for journalism. I was never a huge fan of local news. The constant pressure to turn something out first even if the facts were wrong. I now know I love longer projects. Projects that allow me to really understand a person or situation. Projects that educate others on topics they may not be familiar with, and educating myself about new and exciting ideas.
The hardest part was the interview with Syed Alam, the father who lost his son to gun violence. I've done numerous light-hearted stories that are fun and full of energy. This was hard. I had to prep myself before I called him. What would I say? How would he react? Again I learned something with this. I now know I can do it.
Meggan and Lena
Our time spent in Kensington has been a rollercoaster of both events and emotions. But ending it with The Lighthouse Youth Services Center made the whole experience very refreshing.
Just weeks after an 11-year-old girl was raped, we were able to talk with an organization that is making sure the children are safe and off the streets.
Many parents fear that their children are not safe at these local day cares now but the workers at The Lighthouse take extreme measures to make sure their children are safe, even walking the children home themselves.
The Lighthouse Youth Services Center ensures that children of the community strive for excellence and do not settle for anything less than that. They make sure to instill pride in each individual for who they are. Some of the services the Youth Center offers are summer camps and after school programs.
One specefic highlight of the building is the pool which is located downstairs. Joan McGeehan, the supervisor of The Lighthouse Youth Center, explained to us that this pool was actually used for the Olympics back in the day. We found this very interesting.
The building is beautiful, overflowing with amazing artwork throughout the building. It's creative atmosphere allows all the children to leave with an open mind to life. It was nice to see Kensington in a positive light. To see an organization that still thrives, while all these negative events keep happening around them.
When we first began our journey in Kensington, J.T. and I were a little nervous. But as our last day of filming ended, there was a sense of closeness with the neighborhood. It has been a rocky experience, but we are glad to leave on a positive note.
By Bonnie Dugan and J.T. Salzer, Group 4, Kensington
Dave Nescio and Kelly McManus. Group 14. Olney/Logan.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The rain outside is making things much more complicated for us. When we finally arrive at Rahman Body Oils, Beads and Variety on Germantown Avenue, we’re 15 minutes late and we’re a mess. But the owner, Syed Alam, is happy to see us and happy to tell us his story. The florescent lights flicker as Alam quietly tell us how last summer his son was tied up and shot in the head just a few feet from where we’re standing now. The sadness in his face is intense. This is one of the hardest interviews I’ve ever had to do.
We go out onto the street outside the store to get some outdoor shots. People walking by ask what we’re shooting for and nod in recognition when we mention the one year anniversary of the crime. Everyone is familiar with the story, but nobody wants to actually say anything on camera.
Soon it’s a cop that’s asking us what we’re shooting for. Within minutes we have an audience of four cops. They say they’re concerned for the safety of our equipment. They mention that the captain is at the police station right now so we quickly pack up and walk over to catch him while he’s in his office.
We spend quite a bit of time at the police station trying to convince the captain that the camera wont bite if he sits down for a short interview. We’ve already cleared everything with Public Affairs. He’s not interested. He doesn’t have time for this today. Or tomorrow either. Or the day after. And after that? Well then he’s on vacation. For two weeks. He’s very polite in brushing us off. Eventually we just leave. Meggan makes countless calls to try to get someone from the police department to do an interview. Nothing comes through.
It’s incredibly frustrating having questions and not being able to get any answers. But at least for us this is an assignment that we’ll soon leave behind as we move on to other stories. For Syed Alam, this is life. And his questions are much more urgent, much more painful than ours- who killed my son? And why? He lives with this every waking hour. Somewhere out there someone has the answers. Maybe someday those answers will be able to give Alam some sort of closure. But until then, all he can do is wait, day by day by long, painful day.
Lena Kravets and Meggan Kole, Germantown 12
St. Christopher’s is also known to local news stations as the place to “go live from.” Whenever an incident happens and someone is taken to St. Christopher’s, the news crew is not far behind them. Going live from a hospital is both a good and bad thing. It is good because it means that victims are being treated if possible; it is bad because it means there are still victims of crimes that could be in serious condition.
Monique Tindley, the children’s mother, had lost an eye in a car accident just a month earlier. This is a family that has relied on St. Christopher’s to help them through their sudden need for medical attention. The two children have recovered well said a spokesperson for St. Christopher’s. All hospitals have a hard job when it comes to all of the emergencies that come in daily, but it is their job. The thing that separates a hospital in a neighborhood like Hunting Park from other hospitals located in areas with statistically less crime is the amount of innocent children that have to be admitted because of the random violence. This is not meant to hold St. Christopher’s in a better light than all hospitals, but after reporting from Hunting Park for about six weeks, one begins to gain a new respect for the people that are there all year long trying to save so many invaluable lives on a daily basis.
Andrea DeSabato & Aaron Gottlieb - Hunting Park - group 10
Each and every time J.T. and I whipped out that tripod, people ran or at least walked the other way, knowing something was about to get filmed.
When we first pulled out the camera on Somerset and Kensington, people glared at us, telling us we better watch our stuff. Filled with a little fear, we obeyed.
As the weeks progressed, we began to feel a little more comfortable. People still walk away from us or yell out, "Are you ABC!" We politely respond with a "No" and keep going.
Past fame in the press has led some people to approach us reminiscing of their glory days. While there are some people like that who are dying for another glimpse of fame, there are others who want nothing to do with the camera such as one man who explained he was on “America’s Most Wanted.”
In the event that we are filming on the streets of Kensington, people continually want to know who we are and what we're up to. "What are you doing?" "You filming the hood?" They don't necessarily want to know who we are; they just want to know what we are doing in their neighborhood.
It is understandable why they would think that. When Kensington is put in the light, it usually related to the drugs and crime, which is going on in the neighborhood. Hardly ever, is the community put in a positive light. It is unfortunate because many people in the neighborhood have a lot to say but are too afraid or simply refuse to do so.
Many people screamed out of their car making sure we didn’t get their face on camera. A homeless man persisted on helping us seconds before asking J.T. if he had a quarter. A group of four teenagers threatened to steal our stuff. And all of that happened in one day.
By Bonnie Dugan and J.T. Salzer, Group 4 Kensington
I went back to Penn Treaty Park once again today, although for a completely different reason. I am doing a story on the Jason Sweeney murder, and found out that the incident happened around this location. I could not find exactly where, but it was supposedly in nearby fields. I am going back later to take another look. There is not much to shoot for this topic, other than individuals, so I am looking for locations. There were not many people out in the park today, and there was not much going on. I am still looking for other locations related to the incident as well.
By Danielle Wilmer and Tiffany Wilson, Group 9, Fishtown
The pool at 6th and Master streets is one of some 46 pools that are scheduled to open this summer. Initial fears over city budget crunches had cast doubt on the prospect of summer swimming for children in neighborhoods like Ludlow, where a simple cool can make all the difference.
Ludlow is one of the luckier neighborhoods. Many pools across the city will remain closed, stripping many kids of one of the few remaining positive recreational outlets as the summer temperatures heat up.
Most city kids are already out of school. Leaving a formidable mass of children searching for something to do. The issue of closed pools has struck home for city residents for several months now, since Mayor Nutter first announced that fiscal concerns could lead to a severe shortening of the city's recreational budget.
Letters about the issue have dominated the pages of the Philadelphia Daily News, raising concerns that a closed pool could lead to unseen consequences. One said that forcing kids to travel to other neighborhoods could lead to violence due to the unfortunate reality of “turf rules” in some areas.
And then there is the doomsday scenario. Plan B. No one is exactly sure what Plan B—the dreaded outcome if the state legislature were to shoot down Mayor Nutter’s budget proposals—would mean for countless city employees and non-essential programs. If there are potential threats to a city’s police and fire budgets, it would be safe to say that the pools may be in for a rough summer.
But for now, the pool in Ludlow will be open, and kids here don’t have to worry about all that confusing talk. When the hoses are turned on Thursday, summer will have officially come to Ludlow.
On Sunday night there were two shootings in Hunting Park in the span of 5 minutes, leaving one man dead. The shooting in which the death occurred happened around 11 pm at Laquinta Bar and Grill located on 5th and Courtland streets. The man who was shot was believed to be 30 years old, his idenity has yet to be released. In the second shooting the victim escaped with minor injuries. In both cases the gun man is still at large.
It's like mischief night every night around Ridge Avenue. Various blocks have broken eggshells and distraught yolks pasted to the concrete. While we scanned the sidewalk for signs, evidence of drug paraphernalia, or anything that would beg for documentation, we saw...eggs. The question: Who dropped them?
A former butter and egg company on Page Street was silent. It had a tiled step that read Germantown Butter & Egg Co. Streetwalkers ambled by with empty hands. Outside of a bodega on Ridge Avenue plastered with "Wanted" signs, a group of young men had assembled. When we asked them about crime in the area, they didn't have too much to say. Maybe we should have asked them about the humble egg. What if they knew of a street gang called the Dirty Dozen?
As we walked around the neighborhood, it seemed sunnier, safer. Everyone that passed us said hi or gave us a nod. We were finding eggshells, flyers for upcoming barbecues, and smiles. No bullets or needles. This wasn't the Ridge Avenue we had started with. This was the community you could feel okay about borrowing an egg or two from.
By Dennis Bovell and Kelly White
Later, I decide to walk north on Broad Street until I get to the area to the area around 15th Street and Zion Baptist Church. This was the third or fourth in the area, but the first time in the area by the Baptist Church. I saw this mural dedicated a former reverend of the Zion Church. I went down many of the side streets of the area around Erie Ave as well. I was surprised by the fact, even through some the houses needed some touchups overall, there was dozens of satellite all over the place. I walked onto Erie Ave and I keep running into dozens of children playing on the sidewalk. There was, however, 5 or 6 abandoned buildings in the area I was walking through
Late last week, we visited the huge church on the corner of Ridge Avenue and Broad Street – Greater Exodus Baptist Church. Once inside, we explained who we were and everyone we meet seemed to be interested in what we were doing and willing to help in any way that they could. This is how we came to meet with Dennis Mann, the director of Organizational Development for People For People, Inc.
While we haven’t gotten much background on what People For People, Inc. is at the moment, we do know that one of their missions is to stop crime in the immediate by helping the people. Mann explained to us a number of the things that the program does for the people, one of which being a mentoring program for youth whose parents are incarcerated. Today, Chris and I will be meeting with the coordinator of the mentoring program Minister Richard Butler.
Mann gave us a lot of good information concerning crime in the area, but what was more interesting was the fact that the church is doing things to try to prevent crime from happening at all. It’s good to see that people in the community are trying to do what they can to help a bad occurrence in the neighborhood rather than just avoiding it. Hopefully hearing about possible ways to help will encourage others to get involved and the crime rate could be reduced more efficiently and maybe even faster.
Ashley Campbell and Chris Zakorchemny
Group 17 - Ridge Avenue (Broad to 25th)
One thing I learned in one of my photography classes was: don’t pack up until you’ve left. And I think, for reporting’s sake, another thing I would add to that is stay as long as you can. But don’t outstay your welcome – that’s how you burn bridges and alienate people. In many instances, my partner and I have learned that if the person you’re talking to wants to keep talking, let them. You never know what you’ll learn, even if it’s not one hundred percent appropriate for the story you’re working on, it might definitely come up later.
For example, while working on this final project, we went to Good Shepherd to speak with Kyle Morris, the coordinator of the Juvenile Offender Diverson Program. While there we did our usual work – set up the lights, ask the questions, press the button to record the interview. And then we all just got to casually talking, and discovered that Mr. Morris knows a group of people trying to get a Philadelphia based women’s online mag started. And they might be interested in someone to help with Web design. So a potential internship/adventure was born.
While working on our PAL story, Officer Wells mentioned she knew someone in the 35th Police District, Barbara Blackford. Had we not been introduced to Barbara, we would have missed some pieces of the story that have become sort of integral to our projects. After a very long day for Officer Blackford, she still sat down in her office and spoke to use extensively. About a lot of things, really. Some police related, some not. But had she not welcomed us back in to the office, we wouldn’t have heard about the plaque dedication of Police Officer Louis Vasger who was shot and killed in 1973. We learned that the city is dedicating plaques to all officers who have fallen in the line of duty, Officer Vasger’s being the 68th in total, and the fifth for 2009.
This semester I think I’ve learned a bit about the nature of people. Given the right circumstances any of them will talk your ear off. You should never pack up your stuff until you’ve basically walked out the door – you don’t want to miss a potential moment. And sometimes, in the end, it’s about people helping people – in whatever way you can.
By Wendy Borst and Justin Finneran, Group 3, Olney-Logan
Good Shepherd image courtesy of phillymediators.org
Philadelphia is by no means known for its cleanliness. In fact, it is quite the opposite. People know we're dirty. While the city does a pretty good job of keeping tourist friendly spots like Rittenhouse and Old City looking presentable, other areas are often neglected.
Fairhill is one such area. The streets, sidewalks and parks in the neighborhood are littered with drink bottles, fast food wrappers, cigarettes and syringes. On North Fifth Street, the main business section of Fairhill, business owners try to keep the sidewalk in front of their stores clean. They have formed their own committee to try to keep the street tidy, because the city is not going to do it for them. But there is only so much
they can do. Residents complain that there are not enough public trash cans for people to dispose of their garbage in. Trash cans are few and far between in Fairhill, and the few that do exist are perpetually overflowing. Rather than carry their empty soda can for blocks and blocks until they get to the nearest trash can, people just drop the can on the street.
Joe Evangelista is the office manager for State Representative Angel Cruz. He says that "dirt and drugs" are the top two concerns of Fairhill residents, and that the two are connected. To help illustrate his point, he keeps a shoebox sized plastic box full of used needles that have been picked up from the ground. The box is a harsh reminder of what the residents have to deal with on a day to day basis.
"You can't fix any of the other problems facing this city until you fix the drug problem," Evangelista says. "Housing, family issues, poverty - drugs are involved in all of it. It's an unbelievable monster of a problem."
By Shayla Grover and Cedric Hall - Group 11, Fairhill
Hailing from Philadelphia and currently found going door-to-door in Germantown promoting their latest cd, Change the World Vol. II, NoelZ and G-E-N are artists surely devoted to their craft.
First cd Change the World Vol. I was released last year. NoelZ & G-E-N met through a mutual friend in the summer of 2007. At the time, Gen was learning the ropes of both engineering and producing, while NoelZ was in search of a studio space where she could work on her first project. The duo, both Philadelphia natives, clicked instantly and tinkered out their first single, a song titled "It's NoelZ".
We met the duo when they wandered up to us to sell their cd and try and get some exposure-the video cameras we were carrying created quite an impression on the rappers who are dying for more exposure. They explained to us in detail about their adoration for each other, and working to change the world. NoelZ explained that one of her greatest influences is famous rapper Jay-Z, who would do anything and everything possible for exposure. They both admire that he would sell cds out of the trunk of his car, just to get people to listen.
NoelZ and G-E-N take a more straightforward approach-they go door-to-door to try and sell their music, as well as promote Myspace and YouTube videos. The theme of their music is about changing the world through self-expression, hence the “Change the World” titles on the albums.
Songs can be previewed at www.myspace.com/themightyonez, or at www.youtube.com/itsnoelz. Cds are generally sold for $10, but a little conversation can get it bargained down to $5.
Sande Friedman and Sydni Grant, Group 5, Germantown
We met with Derrick Ford, the Behavioral Health Special Initiative Community Liaison who took us around in his car to tour Strawberry Mansion. He explained the history of the area and all the residents who lived there. He is an activist in the community that used to be a drug dealer. He spent years in jail for drugs and crime. Today, he has a different story to tell.
He tries to keep peace in the community through his life experiences. Driving through the streets with him, he stopped at every corner and talked with the other residents. He honked his horn at all the kids in the area who were playing baseball in the streets. He is the self-proclaimed “Mayor” of North Philadelphia. As we drove, he pointed out drug dealers and addicts. He mentioned people he sold drugs with and who he sold drugs to back in the day. He even pointed out where he shot someone.
We were in the car with someone who used to be involved in gun violence and drug trade and we felt comfortable. He showed us his scars from a bullet wound he received years ago. He pointed out friends of his who were recovering addicts and friends who were what he calls “old crack heads.” There was even an old State Trooper who laid on his stoop, high from the crack. There were clothes everywhere and he just laid there hopeless.
“You ain’t sh*t Becky. You ain’t sh*t,” said Ford. He told us that when he sees his childhood friend they always talk smack to each other in a loving way. “We always made the promise that whoever dies first, we apologize to the church, the rabbi, or whoever else and go up to the body as say you ain’t sh*t, it’s not being disrespectful it’s just our loving way,” said Ford.
This love was evident as we rode around with Ford. He was born in Strawberry Mansion and was raised there his entire life. His journey, experience, dedication and love in the community was so powerful for both of us to see.
By Danielle Bacher and Jonathan Braymer- Team 18, Brewerytown/Strawberry Mansion
Monday, June 22, 2009
Although the Philadelphia Phillies have not been doing well recently, it does not mean the people of Port Richmond are not still Phillies fans. And it certainly doesn't mean people have stopped buying their merchandise.
Some people go to regular retail stores to buy their Phillies gear, but on Aramingo Avenue, there are many people who set up tents and sell merchandise along the street. It is so successful, that some sell the merchandise almost like a full time job. One stand in particular sells Phillies gear to the fans in the Port Richmond area.
One man who was putting out his merchandise told me he comes back every weekend to sell his Phillies gear because it is such a hot item in the area. He had Phillies hats as well as Chase Utley and Ryan Howard shirts, who he says are big sellers and team favorites around the area regardless of how they are playing at the moment.
Aramingo Avenue is a very popular shopping area in Port Richmond, so it always has a huge number of people. Some are actual residents, and some are people from neighboring areas who enjoy the shops on the avenue. People walking by the busy shopping area love the stands that are around because the prices are usually cheaper than the retail stores. There were many other stands along the road, one sold all different types of Nike sneakers, and there was one which sold designer bag look-a-likes which seemed to be very popular.
Although I am not really sure where the various stands acquire the merchandise they sell, I think it is helpful to residents to be able to buy items at a good sale price from a street vendor verse a high priced retail store. Also, it is good income for the people who work at the stands. The only bad side is that they could be taking away business from the retail stores, which are probably already having problems because of the bad economy.
However, it seems that street vendors will always be around, and if they are able to give the buyers good prices for the things they want and need, they'll keep coming back for more.
By Aimee Otis and Brandie Page
Group 7, Port Richmond
The big red doors are closed and the steeple’s paint is peeling. The grass has grown long and the weeds are sprouting from the cracks in the pavement. It is obvious there is no one in there and hasn’t been for a while now. However, there is a cardboard sign that says “Emanuels at St. Johns 3rd Reed 'Food Served,' Thursday 4 p.m. to 6p.m.” From this closed up building, there is still help and hope for those in need.
Emanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church on Fourth Street in South of South still stands tall but is now empty. The parish moved to St. John’s Evangelist at 1332 South 3rd Streets in the fall of 2008. Although the community is very small, the spirit is very big.
The pastor, Cornelius D. Eaddy, was born in South Philadelphia and knows the neighborhood. There are many programs offered. Sunday worship is at 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 am. And there is a Bible Study class on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. Food is served at the Fellowship of Feeding at 4:30 p.m. and there is Praise Dance on Fridays at 7 p.m.
The original home to the Emanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church on Fourth Street was completed on July 29, 1868. According to the website, it is said that the tall “steeple was a landmark for Philadelphians and for ships working their way up the Delaware, and the clock chimes resounded through the city streets.”
Despite the congregation shifting locations, this church and steeple stand tall in South of South. Even without the proper maintenance, its beauty shines through.
By Emily Heinz and Rebecca Howe, South of South, Group 6
Another senseless murder took place around 1:00AM this morning in Philadelphia’s Hunting Park neighborhood.
A thirty-five year old man is now dead after taking a fatal shot to
the chest early this morning at a Hunting Park Bar. Seven others
were wounded as bullets riddled through the window and glass door of La Quinta Restaurant & Bar at Fifth and Courtland Streets.
It all started just after midnight this morning when a man in his twenties was thrown out of La Quinta bar for unruly behavior. The man, who returned to the bar within an hour armed with a gun, began shooting “indiscriminately” inside the restaurant, according to police. There were around 50 people inside the bar at the time the gunshots went off.
The gunman fatally shot one man and wounded six others. The police have not yet released the identity of the victim because family has yet to be notified. The victims are thought to be random targets of the gunman’s rage.
There is no word on the whereabouts of the suspect, who fled on foot or a motive for his random shootings.
La Quinta Restaurant and Bar has become a nuisance in the community within the past year. The state Liquor Control Board fined the restaurant and bar $2,000 last year for several violations, including serving alcohol past 2 a.m. on a Sunday and allowing patrons to leave with alcohol.
The restaurant, which is just off Roosevelt Boulevard, stayed closed today with a safety lock securing the bar’s door and metal grates covering the windows. Aside from the eerie calm along the usually busy corridor of Hunting Park, no signs of a crime scene remained outside La Quinta Bar.
By Angela Barber, Group 19, Hunting Park
Sunday, June 21, 2009
There are hundreds of dogs, cats and other small animals waiting to be adopted at the main branch of the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on Erie Ave. We didn't stop by this PSPCA to adopt or look at one of the many dogs, but rather something a bit more unique. This past week, an alligator was turned over by a South Philadelphia Philadelphia resident to police and the authorities of the PSPCA. There was an alligator living in a house in the most urban of areas, and now the change of scenery has been made for him to move in with all the dogs and cats.
We were met by Kim Wolf who is the Public Relations Assistant at the branch. Although this particular alligator was turned in upon the PSPCA's arrival, thus avoiding fine for the owner of the animal, this is not typically the case. "Most of the time when there's an alligator somewhere, a neighbor will file some sort of complaint, and then we go out," Wolf said. What was most impressive, however, is that this case is not the first time they've taken in an alligator. "We actually get lots of alligators, but they're not usually quite that big," Wolf said, while referencing this roughly five foot long animal.
Most of the alligators that are taken from homes in the city are baby alligators, Wolf noted. Owning an alligator is against the law, and when they are eventually taken to places like this PSPCA, they are occasionally put under medical examination right away, and this was the case with this particular alligator we came to see. "He had his run with the media, his bit of fame," Wolf said, "but right now he's actually in the back getting medical treatment. We can't allow anyone back there." Every case is also different in terms of how long the medical treatments will last. "I actually don't know how long he'll be back there, I can't put a timetable on it," Wolf said. She also noted that if an alligator is suffering medically, like other animals, they will put it down.
This branch of the PSPCA, like every other branch of the organization, is dedicated to finding homes for adoptable animals who have had a rough past. Alligators, as strange as it sounds, aren't uncommon in Philadelphia, and get the same treatment. "If the alligator turns out to be fine, we send it out to a situation where it's safe and treated humanely," Wolf told us. That is always the first option for the PSPCA. "Alligators are just a lot harder to place," Wolf said, "because they're illegal and well, dogs and cats are just a lot easier." Although we didn't see their latest alligator adoption to this branch, at the very least we understood that they are dedicated to the ethical treatment of all animals, both small and very large.
(This picture courtesy of NBC 10/Getty Images)
Aaron Gottlieb and Andrea DeSabato - Hunting Park, group 10
Friday, June 19, 2009
Once again, Philly Coke is playing a vital role in the community. So,
if you have the opportunity between Friday and Sunday please take your
and/or friends to check out the West Oak Lane Arts and Jazz
(please click the link for more information), for which Philly Coke
is the exclusive beverage sponsor. Thanks. www.westoaklanefestival.com
Tracee L. Hunt Vice President,
Coca-Cola Bottling Company
Coca-Cola is one of many sponsors for the 6th Annual West Oak Lane Festival. Coke is the exclusive beverage sponsor, but it not the main sponsor for the event. The main sponsor for the West Oak Lane Festival is Shop Rite. The West Oak Lane Festival takes place from June 19th through the 21st and is located between the 7100 and 7400 blocks of Ogontz Avenue.
I have not received any information via email, or found any information online for something Coca-Cola is the main sponsor for other than the Philadelphia Phillies. Sponsoring the World Champions of Baseball benefits Coke, but does not benefit the community, especially Hunting Park.
by Jerry Brennan
(extra credit blog)
Thursday, June 18, 2009
A community says goodbye, but the pain of a tremendous loss remains.
Seven year-old Gina Rosario, who was killed in last-weeks fatal car crash, was laid to rest this morning in Hunting Park.
Family and friends are still trying to understand the tragedy that took the lives of two young children, a 22 year-old mother and her baby on Wednesday evening when a man running from police lost control of his car and crashed into the four bystanders enjoying a warm evening outdoors.
The car was traveling 70 miles per hour when it struck the victims on the corner of Third and Winhocking Streets. Crime scene investigators did not find any skid marks at the site of the crash, suggesting that the driver did not brake or slow down.
The community is shaken and heartbroken by this tragic event and has created a growing memorial for the victims near the intersection of the scene of the crime in the Philadelphia's Feltonville section.
Two men have been charged with four counts of murder in connection to the incident and the District Attorney’s office is pending approval for more serious charges related to the accident.
Gina Rosario’s funeral service was held at Compagnola Funeral home on Fifth Street in the city’s Hunting Park neighborhood at 10:30 a.m. this morning.
Members of the community, and friends paid their final respects for young Rosario at last night’s public viewing.
All victims leave behind loving family who are finding comfort from the out pour of support from the community as they continue to mourn the loss of their young loved ones.
By Angela Barber, Group 19 - Hunting Park