One stop sign is causing a huge uproar in Cheltenham Township.
For weeks residents have voiced their opinions to commissioners.
A stop sign was moved from the intersection of Waverly and Glenside road a few months ago to Glenside and North Avenue.
The township wants to slow down traffic on a street that is filled with many children. Glenside Avenue also consists of many bus stops during the school year.
Commissioner Kathy A. Hampton suggested the stop sign be moved back to the original spot, and citizens are still concerned for children’s safety.
“The goal of the residents on Waverly road is always about safety for the children,” said resident Bill Mchugh. “The amount of cars that come down the street — and with the speeds — it is unsafe for the children.”
The township did a traffic study and concluded the stop sign is better suited at the original mark. It appears as though residents don’t think moving it back will slow down the traffic.
“Adding a second stop sign could elevate the traffic and given additional crossing opportunity,” said resident Tim Terry. “It seems that the biggest concern of moving that stop sign was safety issues. I would hope that we continue to explore other possibilities such as cross walks or a no left turn side.”
Hampton is listening to numerous suggestions to make the roads safer. The speed limit signs aren’t helping and some say that speed bumps may have to be put into place in order for drivers to slow down.
“I plan on working with the township and the police chief to review how we can calm traffic on Glenside Avenue as well as researching crosswalks and pedestrian cross walks on Rices Mills and Glenside Avenue,” Hampton said. “I can’t tell you when that is going to happen, but there are efforts in the works to do that.”
No matter where the stop sign is place, officials are saying that no one is going to be happy. The road is a popular way to get in and around Glenside, so it is bound to have large volumes of cars on it.
“The police did a study and measurements,” said traffic manager Dave Kraynik. “They did a number of evaluations, and in their opinions they thought it was best to move it back to Glenside and Waverly. The reason for this is because of a feeling that it was the better place to put it for the public safety of the children.”
The sign will remain at its current location for a few more weeks. Hampton wants Glenside to be safe for children. That is her top priority.
“I just want the community to know that I am advocating on behalf of safer sidewalks, pedestrian crosswalks and bicycle paths,” Hampton told residents.
It is hard for sure to conclude moving the stop sign back is the right move.
“You are not going to please everyone,” Kraynak said. “It depends who you talk to. Everyone has a different opinion.”
The Germantown High School 1976 Reunion Committee is making progress in bringing together its Bicentennial Class over Thanksgiving weekend.
They are also making a call for alumni of Germantown High School to attend the Black Friday evening’s party as a kick-off for the 35th anniversary event.
Festivities are to be held at the City Line Avenue Crowne Plaza on Friday, Nov. 25 at 9 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 26 at 6 p.m.
One of the highlights of this year’s event is the honoring of the Germantown 76 Outstanding Services Award. The class has already notified this year’s recipients. They include entrepreneurs, corporate executives, professionals and philanthropists who graduated from the high school located on Germantown Avenue and High Street in 1976.
“This event will recognize the exemplary services that Germantown High School alumnus has displayed over the years,” said Marcia Willis of Mount Airy, one of the members of the reunion committee. “Proceeds from the All-Alumni Party and the reunion will go towards a scholarship that will be awarded to a student graduating from Germantown High School this school year.”
“We’ve been having a series of successful fundraisers leading up to the reunion weekend,” said Darlene Roberson of West Oak Lane, another committee member. “We are still coordinating a flapjack fundraiser for early October. We had a Spirit of Philadelphia event in August. These were all designed for us to get together and keep the cost down for the actual reunion weekend so that more monies can go directly to the scholarships.”
Germantown’s Class of 1976 is proud of the fact that they are one of the most active alumni groups from the Northwest Philadelphia high school.
Yet committee members will admit it is not all due to the tenacity and hard working spirit of the reunion organizers. “Being the Bicentennial class gave our class an added edge in having the class spirit,” said Marlene Bailey, another committee member in a previous interview.
In addition, the class also has a special bond with their counterparts who attended the Martin Luther King High School, Stenton Avenue and Haines Street in nearby West Oak Lane. King, a newer edifice than Germantown, was completed in the mid-1970s and many members of its first graduating class started their secondary school education at Germantown. Hence, some King alumnus attend Germantown reunions.
Reunion tickets are on sale now for $75. Those who only want to attend the All-Alumni Party can purchase those tickets separately for $20. Those who plan to attend both events will receive a discounted price, according to Willis.
For more information about the Germantown High School All-Alumni Party or the Germantown Class of 1976 reunion one can contact the committee. Willis can be reached at (267) 974-8444 or one can call Stephen Kinsey at (267) 258-3673, Roberson at (267) 257-5711, or Marlene Bailey at (215) 680-8932.
A few Mount Airy parents were taught city curfew laws recently.
When the Finley Advisory Council held its “Back to School Safety Initiative and Non-Violence Rally” at the Finley Playground, 1000 E. Hortter St. on Saturday the keynote speaker was the Philadelphia Police Department’s Deputy Commissioner Claudette Council. She outlined exactly what Northwest Philadelphia parents needed to know.
Council noted that many parents are unclear about the city’s curfew ordinance. She said that adolescents ages 13 to 17 must be indoors from Sunday to Thursday night between 10:30 p.m. and 6 a.m.
They must be in between midnight and 6 a.m. on Friday and Saturday night. Those under the age of 13 must be in by 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Sunday to Thursday night and on weekends by 10 p.m. to 6 p.m. There are earlier curfews for Center City and the University City area.
“The other night I heard that there was a 15 year old shot between 2 and 3 a.m.,” Council said. “The first thing that I thought was why was that 15 year old out without his parent. Really when you think about it all young people should be home studying and doing their homework on school nights. So these curfews are really protecting your child.”
Also on hand for the “Back to School Rally” was Ninth District Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco of Mount Airy. Tasco commended the Finley council for their commitment to Northwest Philadelphia youth. She said that after moving to Mount Airy in 1969 she became involved with the council in 1972. At that time its current president Walter Marlin and other officers like Gerry Sizemore and Margaret Turner were active on the board.
“We all need to continue to work together to spread the information that Deputy Commissioner Council shared today,” Tasco said. “I am glad that the Philadelphia Police Department is vigilant about cracking down on young people. These are difficult times and we need to do our part to share information and provide programs that keep our young people on the right path.”
The day’s event also featured Tyra Wright-Johnson, founder and director of the Women’s Solo Project; Leroy McKinney, a representative from the Philadelphia Anti-Drug/Anti-Violence Network; and Leland Kent, executive director of victim’s rights for the District Attorney’s office.
Students from the Philadelphia Multicultural Music Center for Non-Violence performed under the direction of founder Stan Davis.
In addition, Charles Donaldson of West Oak Lane, a representative from the Safe Corridors program spoke. The program concluded with remarks from Michael Rice, the community engagement specialist for the Philadelphia Department of Human Services. Information was also distributed from the Bullying Prevention Program.
“We were a little disappointed with our initial turnout,” Sizemore said. “But around 11 a.m. more parents and children started coming in little by little until we had a standing room only crowd. A standing ovation was extended to Stan Davis as he did a rendition of Ray Charles’ America the Beautiful in remembrance of Sept. 11. Michael Rice stressed the importance of a good education.”
Local organization Together as Adoptive Parents (TAP) is scheduled to hold its 2011 AdoptWalk to raise money for the non-profit organization.
This year’s benefit is scheduled to be held at Lorimer Park, 183 Moredon Road in Huntingdon Valley on Saturday, Sept. 24. Registration time will be 9 a.m. and the 5K start time is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.
Meet Phyllis Stevens, the TAP organizer. According to her, this year’s walk will help more foster children find permanent homes. The TAP brochure features 14-year old Shawn who is among the youngsters looking for a forever family.
“The funds raised will be used for the recruitment of adoptive and foster families,” Stevens said. “It will also be sued to promote permanency for children and youth by providing support, resources and services. Please ask family, friends, classmates and co-workers to support by contributing to the AdoptWalk.”
Participants in this year’s walk-a-thon will have the opportunity to meet the Chick-Fil-A Cow and spin the Chick-fil-A wheel for prizes.
All attendees will receive a free picnic lunch and T-shirts as well as coupons for Chick-fil-A sandwiches and a free frosty from Wendy’s. There will also be prizes given to the person that brings the most people to the walk, including children. Furthermore, there will be door prizes.
One need not be present or a participant at the walk to donate to the cause. Contribution forms and money will be accepted during next Saturday’s walk. One can also donate before or after the AdoptWalk by mailing their contribution to TAP.
“If you are unable to attend AdoptWalk but wish to support TAP’s work on behalf of children and families please send your donation directly to TAP,” Stevens said.
TAP is a non-profit, multiracial adoptive, foster and kinship organization. Most of TAP’s members have adopted children with special needs from the foster care system. TAP believes that the adoption, foster and kinship road should never be walked along and that no family or child should have to figure out where to find help.
The AdoptWalk registration fee is $5 per person or $10 per family. For more information about TAP visit www.taplink.org. One can also access their helpline or pre-register for the AdoptWalk at (215) 256-0669 or (443) 616-9067.
Fannie Moore Murray will be sharing how residents in Philadelphia can learn more about their family history with a special program this weekend.
She will be the guest speaker at the genealogical library at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) church located at 2072 Red Lion Rd. on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 11 a.m.
Murray is the founder of the local chapter of the African-American Genealogical Society.
For those who live in Northwest or Northeast Philadelphia and other parts of the city, Murray will share how they can learn more about their roots by attending the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society’s 2011 conference.
This will be held at the Double Tree Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas from Sept. 22 to 25.
“I am one of the founders of the national organization in addition to being the founder of the local chapter,” Murray said. “We started in 2001. Now we have 30 chapters who are all dedicated to people doing research about their family history. When you know who you are you feel more a part of our community, and you will want to contribute more to your community.
“Just finding and touching original documents make you connected to the past,” she added. “It gives you a stronger sense of personhood. For African Americans, seeing how your family moved through generations from slavery, through Jim Crow and down through the Civil Rights Movement gives you a stronger sense of courage. You learn how our families survived and that we are where we are because of their prayers for us.”
One of the highlights of this year’s conference is a Black History tour through Little Rock.
Murray notes within some of the older historical library branches in Arkansas there is a wealth of information, including original slave documents that are connected to many citizens who now live in the Delaware Valley region.
Yet even if one cannot make the Sept. 17 local event or the national conference, Murray said that she will be making her annual trek through many neighborhood libraries this fall. She finds connecting with library patrons, students and others often serves as an impetus to do family research.
“Some people are surprised as to whom they are related to and then when they gain access to those (relatives) there are many benefits,” Murray said.
For more information about the genealogical conference, visit www.aahgs.org/conference.htm.
The Cheltenham Township Board of Commissioners, along with its standing committees and citizen groups, meets regularly at standard times and locations. A list of the meetings taking place in August appears below. Unless otherwise indicated, all meetings are held in the board room of the Township Administration Building, 8230 Old York Road in Elkins Park.
Individuals with disabilities who require assistance to participate in any meeting should contact the township’s Public Information Office at least five workdays before the meeting date. For assistance or other information, call the Public Information Office at (215) 887-1000, ext. 230.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1
7:30 p.m. Public Safety Committee at Curtis Hall, 1250 W. Church Road, Wyncote
7:45 p.m. Public Affairs Committee at Curtis Hall
8 p.m. Building and Zoning Committee at Curtis Hall
THURSDAY, AUGUST 2
7:30 p.m. Fire Board at the Public Works Facility, 8101 Old York Road, Elkins Park.
MONDAY, AUGUST 6
7 p.m. Wyncote Board of Historical and Architectural Review (BHAR)
7:45 p.m. La Mott BHAR
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8
7:30 p.m. Public Works Committee at Curtis Hall
MONDAY, AUGUST 13
7:30 p.m. Zoning Hearing Board at Curtis Hall
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15
7:30 p.m. Board of Commissioners at Curtis Hall
MONDAY, AUGUST 20
7:30 p.m. Environmental Advisory Council
THURSDAY, AUGUST 23
7:30 p.m. Shade Tree Advisory Commission
MONDAY, AUGUST 27
7:30 p.m. Planning Commission
Both the Montgomery County and Northwest Philadelphia chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. have been diligently raised funds for the local African-American communities.
The Omega Omega chapter under the leadership of its president, the Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall Blake of East Falls, is scheduled to hold a fall gala. Secondly the chapter of the AKA, whose members include those from the Mount Airy and Montco areas, held its “Party With a Purpose” recently in Plymouth Meeting.
The “Oldies But Goodies Brunch” is slated to be a festive pre-Thanksgiving affair. It will be held at the Knowlton Mansion, 8001 Verree Road in Lawncrest in Northeast Philadelphia on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 11 a.m. It will feature a brunch buffet, Chinese raffle, silent auction and recorded music.
“We are excited about the Oldies But Goodies Bruch because it promises to be fun,” said Sandi Brown of the Historical Black College and Universities group. “We’d love for all in the community to join us to eat, dance and just have a good time while yet supporting mentoring programs and the Annual HBCU 2012 tour.”
Even though the event will be early in the day all are invited to dance as they raise monies to help African-American youngsters. They already have planned an itinerary that includes five decades of music to appeal to every taste and generation. There will be bop and cha-cha contests, a Soul Train line and line dancing.
Donation for the “Oldies But Goodies Brunch” is $50. All proceeds will go directly to benefit the chapter’s Youth Empowerment Programs. For ticket information contact Brown at (215) 222-1755.
This comes on the heels of the successful “Pink Party Pearl Jam Cabaret” hosted by the Phi Beta Omega chapter.
This is one of the younger chapters and is under the direction of its president, Margaret A. Wright. Yet this chapter, like its older counterpart, hosts events regularly that bring the community together for a charitable cause.
Their fundraiser was held at the Lulu Shrine, 5140 Butler Pike on Saturday, Oct. 8. It had music, dancing and a wide range of activities that raised monies for its many youth and community initiatives.
“This event helped us to fund our community programs that provide needed scholarships for underserved youths in Montgomery County,” said Pat Augustus Gilbert of Norriton, one of the organizers of the program.
Montgomery County employees will receive a promised 2 percent pay raise.
In the last commissioners’ meeting, county officials voted to give county employees the pay raise that was promised to them. The raise will cost the county about $1 million this year.
Despite cuts in funding the community college, a $10 million gap in the budget that the prior administration passed down, and financial uncertainty, officials agreed to give the raise anyway.
“I don’t know [that] we can voluntarily increase our expenses by $1 million and $2 million next year without knowing for sure what that 2013 picture is going to look like,” said Controller Stewart J. Greenleaf Jr. who strongly opposed the raise. “The uncertainty remains.”
Greenleaf wanted to postpone deciding on the raise until late December, when the county will have more of an idea of its financial status.
The county has yet to reveal if there will be a tax increase, as they have many projects to fund for the future. Despite Greenleaf’s concerns, Chairman Josh Shapiro stood strong by the decisions of raising the salary.
“A promise was made to our county families last year and that is a promise we intend to honor,” said the chairman. “It should be noted that the fund of this increase was included in the 2012 budget. It was a promise made by the prior administration. It is budgeted for, and accounted for, going forward.”
The raise was budgeted in this year’s budget, but the commissioners already made numerous cuts in spending. Deciding to raise the salary for county employees was just another opportunity for the county to save money.
“It is unfair to fix the failures of four years and past administrations on the backs of employees who have gone four years without a raise,” Shapiro said. “It is time to look out for our county family. It is a promise made in December, and it is a promise that I attend to keep today by voting yes.”
County employees haven’t received a pay raise for three and a half years. According to commissioners Bruce Castor, employees health benefits changed, which meant they were required to pay more for healthcare.
“The employees had a pay cut — so they had their benefits changed — so they had to pay much more for health benefits than they had in the past and had no correspondent raise to pay for it, so they essentially had their pay cut in the last three and a half years a great deal,” Castor said.
Employees eligible for the raise are those on the payroll as of Jan. 1. This means that members hired by the new administration will not receive the raise.
“It’s our job to look out for everybody and that is what we did today,” Shapiro said.
Most residents on the eastern border of the country have experienced more rainfall than usual for the past few months. Cheltenham Township was no exception. The area was hit hard by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in a two-week span.
At the most recent commissioners’ meeting, residents made sure their voices were heard.
After the flooding of Tropical Storm Lee, residents are highly frustrated with the township. People that live near Tacony Creek have had problems for years and are looking to finally get the situation resolved.
“The flooding has increased drastically in the last year and a half,” said Pam Market. “Since July 2010 we have had three floods. Tropical Storm Lee has been the most significant. I can tell you that I watched five feet of water come in my basement.”
The commissioners listened to residents voice their opinions about the issues. At times, some residents took shots at the board for not doing a good job.
“This has happened 10 times over the past 10 years,” said David Barnes. “We have been told we are going to get relief but that didn’t happen. We have people that are sick and people that are stressed. When there is a storm coming, half the people on that street aren’t going to sleep that night.”
For some it is more than losing sleep. The floodwaters are gushing basements with water so high that people lives are in danger.
“The last three storms the bypass system has not worked,” Market said. “We have raw sewage in our back. I don’t allow my children to play back there, none of my neighbors do. We have five feet of water and I am five feet tall. It is pretty scary.”
The board does have a solution to the problem, but it isn’t simple. Buying out the properties may be the best way to get people away from the danger of floodwaters.
“A lot of the homes and property owners you heard tonight have homes immediately adjacent to creeks in flood plans,” said Township Manager Dave Kraynik. “The volume of water from storms seems to be increasing. Very ferocious storms seem to be lining up from one after another. It is very difficult for properties near Tacony Creek to withstand these storms.”
The township assures they are doing everything they can to keep residents safe, but they can’t control how much rain falls.
“For 12 years we have spent a fortune trying to put in new infrastructure because our infrastructure is 100 plus years old,” said President Harvey Portner. “We know what is going on. We are going to try through the federal government to see if there is a buyout available.”
The buyout process isn’t an easy one for the township. They cannot afford to buy each property. This means that they must go to the government for assistance, which could take a long time to even get assessments of the properties.
“There are situations where not everyone agrees to a buyout situation,” Kraynik said. “It is going to take a lot of study, but we have to get started. I have seen buyouts scenarios take several years. A lot depends on the government and the agreement of the neighbors. I can’t put a timetable.
“Flooding of this nature it is very difficult to protect these prosperities,” he added. “It is very hard to get buyouts. It is a complicated process. It requires a lot of layers of government. We don’t have the money to buyout all these properties.”
For now it looks as though residents have to be patient, even though Lee dumped two and a half inches of rain in 45 minutes. The township wants to assure that they are trying their best to help, but its hands are tied.
“We are going to try the best for the community,” Portner said. “The community has to understand that there is only so much we can do. We will go to hell and back and do everything we can, but sometimes our hands our tied by the county and the federal government.”
Montgomery County officials are at war with the Pennsylvania Legislature to get money for a casino that will be constructed in Valley Forge by next spring.
When the Valley Forge Convention Center announced it would spend $100 million to convert a portion of the convention center into the Valley Forge Resort Casino, commissioners thought they could actually sit back and grin at the project.
At first thought, commissioners presumed the county would receive two percent under a 2009 gaming law amendment. Now they’re finding that is not the case and those grins are now faces of frustration.
“We want the same two percent as every other county that has a resort in their county,” said Joseph H. Hoeffel.
That two percent would be huge for a county looking for money to fund multiple projects. One would be fixing roadways that desperately need it. County officials are ready to fight until the end to get some sort of answer. When they sent a letter to legislature about the matter, they didn’t like the answer that was sent back.
“Our conclusion appears to be that opening up the matter would require a gaming bill, which by virtue of its nature, would attract dozens of amendments and be impossible to control,” said state Rep. Robert W. Godshall in a letter to the commissioners. Godshall is the county’s most senior lawmaker in Harrisburg. “However, as of now, there is really not much we can do.”
Following Godshall’s letter, commissioners knew it wouldn’t be an easy battle.
“It is not adequate,” Hoeffel said. “Montgomery County is being unfairly treated in the gaming laws.”
His colleagues agreed with him.
“I agree with commissioner Hoeffel that we need to do more to try to get them to represent our interest,” said Bruce Castor. “Surly our delegation has to be among the largest in the state. I would think they would have some cache in legislature to get things done.”
The county has a lot to get done, including renovations to the building where they operate and the parking garage. Also, the county is trying to put money into its Homeless Assistance Program and Human Services Development Fund to help families that are in desperate need of finical assistance.
The county just approved over $1 million to the programs.
“I think legislature needs to work with us on that,” Castor said. “People that are going to use facility and that road to get to the casino. I think we should get them to represent our interest on that. I am disappointed in the letter.”
Hoeffel and Castor noted that would not end their efforts on getting money.