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Frankford The Upside: Herb Frayer

Posted on 22 July 2014

By Alexander Houston

We stood in his air conditioned store the S&A Cleaners at 4935 Frankford Avenue. I was there to interview the busy proprietor, Herb Frayer, who owns and operates the business. It is a handsome 3 story corner property. A customer walks in. I will call him Mr X, as I did not get his name. I continued to ask questions of Mr Frayer, and soon a lively 3-way conversation ensued.

We spoke of many things, but mostly of our beloved community. Mr. Frayer and Mr. X are both Frankford born and raised, and ever since I moved into the area about 9 years ago I have become an ardent community supporter, but my curiosity has been piqued. What was Frankford 30-40 years ago? What is it now, and why is it what it is now?

Mr. Herb Frayer’s dry cleaning business has been a constant in the community for 14 years. He started as a delivery boy for a cleaning business and he never looked back. He told me he has always envisioned having his own business, but he did not stop there. He has expanded and diversified. He sells clothing, footwear and jewelry along with his tailoring and dry cleaning business.

But then I got to my questions:

AH: Please tell me what this community was like in your youth?
HF: It was a vibrant community with many thriving businesses. All daily needs could be purchased on the avenue under the El. Yes, it was a bustling corridor.

AH: How has the community changed?
HF: Well today Frankford is much more diverse and that is a good thing. I remember a time when as an African American it was not safe for me to walk the avenue. That has changed now, however along with diversity came poverty, crime, and the drug trade.

AH: I see a large Asian community in the area. Would talk a little about what that means to you.
HF: I think that the large Asian population is good for Frankford. These folk are, for the most part, hardworking people. They have opened many businesses along the avenue where once stood vacant properties. So yes, this influx is good for the community.

Now during much of this conversation Mr. X vigorously nodded his head in agreement. However it was the next line of questioning that really stirred both him and Mr. Frayer.

AH: So what improvements would you like to see in Frankford?
HF: I love Frankford. It is my home. I was born, raised and educated here, and here is what needs to happen. We need to see more unity, more togetherness. Young people need to realize that anything worth having and keeping will not come easily. Work hard, work, smart have self respect and respect for others. It is all about Dignity and Self respect.

This discussion kept getting better and it was clear to me that Mr. Frayer and his customer were just warming up.

AH: How did younger generations go off the track?
HF: I think it is the lack of role models. We must tell young men in our society to be men, to support their families, to work hard, to be productive members of that society. Again, what is needed is Self Respect, Dignity and Responsibility

HF: There is a far deeper malady in our system. It is the diminishment of the American dream, for when hopes and dreams fade for America’s youth other nefarious modes of livelihood take root. Another problem is the gradual demise of solid and stable family structures. It gets back to what I said earlier. We must teach the importance of Self Respect, Dignity and the importance of Taking our Responsibilities both collectively and individually.

Herb Frayer’s customer left the shop, but I am sure of 2 things. He like me was inspired. Second, while we may not have solved all of the community’s problems we came to better understand our place and responsibility in it.

I thought about Herb as I motored back to the office. TRUELY, the dream had not died for him. Not only has he diversified his business thus offering more services and products for members of the community, he provides employment for a small work force in the Frankford. He continues to dream and strive. He owns and manages several rental properties for as he told me, “I plan to have my properties work for me instead of me working for my properties.” Small businesses are good for America as are dreamers and doers. All the while, people like Herb not only provide a good example for the American youth, but it is men and women like Herb Frayer who can help keep the American dream alive. They provide opportunity for themselves and others. They make us All proud!

 

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Civics, Meetings and Events, Religion

A Spirited Day

Posted on 21 July 2014

On July 4th, while celebrating the day of our nation’s independence, residents came together for the now annual, Frankford Community Spirit Day Honoring Al Stark, Jr. The event was organized by local non-profit Keep the Faith in Frankford and entertained the masses with fun, games, and remembrance.

Spearheading Keep the Faith in Frankford, organizer Pat Smiley expressed her wish to have a day for families who were not on vacation during the holiday to have fun in their own community. Many families attended including the Hohensteins who have members of the Frankford community for years. Jack Hohenstein, also a member of Keep the Faith in Frankford says the organization’s goals are not limited to the dealings with the church but they also aim to bring the community together. The charity also participates in the NECH Dining with Dignity Program that operates out of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church where Al Stark’s event was held.

20140705_154452Mr. Stark, a father, husband, and devout member of St. Joachim Church  and the Frankford community, passed away recently. During the event, named in honor of him and his family’s contributions, everyone gathered to remember his life and legacy. Pat Smiley spoke heartfelt words and recounted fond memories of Stark as she presented his family with a certificate of appreciation. Though tears were shed, there was clearly a silent consensus amongst the attendees that this was a celebration of his life, more than a mourning of his death.20140705_152025

Along with celebration of the holiday and life of Al Stark, came games and fun. A water balloon tossing tournament was moderated by Joe Hohenstein and brought smiles to everyone’s face. Carnival inspired fun took place in the parking lot and children did not go home empty handed. Gift bags were also given out to all. The event, which proved successful, shall continue with this new tradition for many years to come.

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Meetings and Events

Coming Up in Frankford 7/19/ to 8/15/2014

Posted on 20 July 2014

  • REANIMATE | Philadelphia Sculptors – Sat, July 19, 12pm – 5pm, the corner of Frankford Avenue and Paul Street | MFL to Margaret-Orthodox- Members of Philadelphia Sculptors will address the concept of bringing new life back to a place, person, or community. Work ranges from the figurative to the abstract, with artists employing techniques and materials that may reference the past as they create work of the present.
  • Movie Matinee – Mon, July 21, 12:30pm – 3:00pm,  Peter Bressi Northeast Senior Center 4744 Frankford Ave. – Please join us for Movie Matinee Monday. You pick it, we play it! Popcorn and beverages served. Free of charge
  • Monthly Birthday Party – Tue, July 22, 11:45am – 12:45pm, Peter Bressi Northeast Senior Center 4744 Frankford Ave. – Come celebrate your birthday! We have a monthly birthday party. Join us for cake, ice cream, lunch, and live entertainment!
  • Frankford Parks Group – Tue, July 22, 6:30pm – 7:30pm, CDC Building, 4900 Griscom St.
  • Movie Night In Overington Park – Wed, July 23, 8:30pm – 11:00pm,  Overington Park, Orthodox and Leiper Streets- Despicable Me 2. Bring a blanket or a chair and share a summer evening and a film with your neighbors. The movie starts at sundown, hope to see you there
  • PSA1 Meeting – Thu, July 24, 7pm – 8pm, Aria Hospital, 4900 Frankford Ave.
  • REANIMATE | Philadelphia Sculptors – Sat, July 26, 12pm – 5pm, the corner of Frankford Avenue and Paul Street | MFL to Margaret-Orthodox- Members of Philadelphia Sculptors will address the concept of bringing new life back to a place, person, or community. Work ranges from the figurative to the abstract, with artists employing techniques and materials that may reference the past as they create work of the present.
  • HIV and Hepatitis C Testing – Sun, July 27, 11am – 4pm,  St. Mark’s Church, 4442 Frankford Avenue – Philly Faith in Action was brings the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Drexel University with their mobile medical center to St Marks for rapid HIV and hepatitis C testing, counseling and follow up care. They will be here the 2nd Saturday of every month.
  • Frankford Garden Club – Mon, July 28, 6:30pm – 7:30pm, Wissinoming Park Playground
  • Senior Breakfast – Tue, July 29, 8am – 10am,  Aria Health, Frankford – 2nd floor cafeteria – Aria will provide our community seniors with monthly, insightful tips and information on issues that are directly affecting you and your health. Breakfast will be provided free of charge. To reserve your seat call 1-877-808-2742 and then press 2.
  • Dance Movement Therapy Class – Wed, July 30, 10am – 11am,  Peter Bressi Northeast Senior Center 4744 Frankford Ave – Please join us for our Dance Movement Therapy Classes. Come join this hot new program!
  • Northeast Philadelphia EPIC Stakeholders Group – Thu, July 31, 5:30pm – 7:30pm,  2nd Baptist Church, 1801 Meadow Street
  • Grand Army of the Republic Museum Open House – Sun, August 3, 12pm – 5pm,  4278 Griscom Street – Presentation at 1:30 PM: Don Ernsberger – General Meade’s Breakthrough at Fredericksburg
  • Friends of Overington Park – Wed, August 6, 7pm – 8pm, Overington Park by the tool shed
  • Frankford Civic Association Meeting – Thu, August 7, 7pm – 8pm,  Aria Hospital, 2nd floor
  • Old Heads Softball Game and Cookout – Saturday, Aug 16, 2014,  Gambrel Playground, Wakeling Street
  • Northwood Civic Association Meeting – Tue, August 19, 7pm – 8pm,  St. James Lutheran Church, at Castor Avenue and Pratt Street.
  • HIV and Hepatitis C Testing – Sun, August 24, 11am – 4pm,  St. Mark’s Church, 4442 Frankford Avenue – Philly Faith in Action was brings the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Drexel University with their mobile medical center to St Marks for rapid HIV and hepatitis C testing, counseling and follow up care. They will be here the 2nd Saturday of every month.
  • Free BBQ for the Community – Sun, August 24, 11am – 1pm,  Christ Fellowship Christian Church, 1639 Harrison St. – Free BBQ for the Community, Come and meet the Pastor and First Lady of the Church. August 23, 2014 – Start Time 11:00A.M.- Rain date August 30 – Attend any Sunday Service @10:45 with your children and sign up to receive free School Supplies while they last.
  • Frankford Garden Club -Mon, August 25, 6:30pm – 7:30pm,  Wissinoming Park Playground
  • Senior Breakfast – Tue, August 26, 8am – 10am,  Aria Health, Frankford – 2nd floor cafeteria – Aria will provide our community seniors with monthly, insightful tips and information on issues that are directly affecting you and your health. Breakfast will be provided free of charge. To reserve your seat call 1-877-808-2742 and then press 2.
  • Frankford Parks Group – Tue, August 26, 6:30pm – 7:30pm,  CDC Building, 4900 Griscom St
  • Northeast Philadelphia EPIC Stakeholders Group – Thu, August 28, 5:30pm – 7:30pm, 2nd Baptist Church, 1801 Meadow Street
  • PSA1 Meeting – Fri, August 29, 7pm – 8pm,  Aria Hospital 2nd floor

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Education

Olympic Bobsled Medalist Elena Meyers Visits Northwood Academy Charter School

Posted on 16 July 2014

Two-time Olympic bobsled medalist Elana Meyers paid a special visit to Northwood Academy Charter School (4521 Castor Avenue) on May 20th, delivering a speech to the K-8 students about setting goals, dreaming big and persevering in the face of setbacks. Northwood was one of two schools in the nation to win a school visit from an Olympic athlete through Classroom Champions, a program that connects athlete mentors with students at high-need schools.

Elana Meyers and Miss Cappuccino 5th Grade Class - FINAL

Elena Myers and Northwood Students

Northwood, the only school in Pennsylvania currently participating in Classroom Champions, won the contest by submitting a video that detailed how students were cheering on Team USA in Sochi.  Meyers is an athlete mentor with Classroom Champions and has been working with Miss Cappuccino’s fifth grade class at Northwood since September 2013.

Classroom Champions is aimed at providing students with accessible, long-term role models who motivate and educate them on topics like goal-setting, fair play and healthy habits. At the same time, it’s geared towards increasing digital literacy. The students communicate with their athlete mentor each month via video messages and real-time video conferencing.

About Classroom Champions:

Classroom Champions connects top performing athletes with students at high-need schools. By using video lessons and live video chats, athlete mentors motivate students to recognize their potential, set goals and dream big, while educating them in the practical use of communications technology. For more information, visit www.classroomchampions.org.

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Meetings and Events

Frankford Civic Association July Meeting

Posted on 15 July 2014

With no zoning issues on the agenda, it was a quick Frankford Civic meeting on July 10th.  A review of the June, well attended, PSA meeting highlighted what transpired for those who missed it.  Pete Specos noted that the upcoming PSA meeting on July 24th will have the police in attendance as well as representatives from L&I and the Streets Department to address issues raised at the last meeting.

It was noted that there is a lot of activity at the intersection of Oxford and Griscom in the past few weeks.  A sign on the former Lee’s shoe repair store said that a fried chicken store is coming soon.  There is activity on the other side of Oxford Ave in the old State Store building.

The next Frankford Civic meeting will be on August 7th at 7PM at Aria Hospital.

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Meetings and Events

Coming Up in Frankford 7/12 to 8/8/2014

Posted on 13 July 2014

  • REANIMATE | Philadelphia Sculptors – Sat, July 12, 12pm – 5pm, the corner of Frankford Avenue and Paul Street | MFL to Margaret-Orthodox- Members of Philadelphia Sculptors will address the concept of bringing new life back to a place, person, or community. Work ranges from the figurative to the abstract, with artists employing techniques and materials that may reference the past as they create work of the present.
  • Latin Performance with Rhythm and Roots – Tue, July 15, 11am – 12pm,  Frankford Library, 4634 Frankford Ave – Join us for a festive performance of Latin music from Cuba, Brazil, Panama, and Columbia! Participants will have an opportunity to try out a musical instrument or to sing along! Free and all ages are welcome
  • Fruit and Produce Vouchers – Tue, July 15, 2pm – 4pmPeter Bressi Northeast Senior Center, 4744 Frankford AveFruit and produce vouchers being given out to seniors. Must meet certain income criteria. Contact Karen at 215-831-2926 for details. Tuesday, July 15th and 22nd from 2Pm-4:00pm, and Thursday, July 17th and 24th from 2:00-4:00pm. 
  • Northwood Civic Association Meeting – Tue, July 15, 7pm – 8pm, St. James Lutheran Church, at Castor Avenue and Pratt Street.
  • Dance Movement Therapy Class – Wed, July 16, 10am – 11am, Peter Bressi Northeast Senior Center 4744 Frankford Ave. – Please join us for our Dance Movement Therapy Classes. Come join this hot new program!
  • Cookology Class – Fri, July 18, 10am – 11am, Peter Bressi Northeast Senior Center 4744 Frankford Ave. – Please join us for our cookology class on Friday, A certified Dietitian will be whipping up some delicious, nutritious treats for all to sample! A very popular, free of charge event.
  • REANIMATE | Philadelphia Sculptors – Sat, July 19, 12pm – 5pm, the corner of Frankford Avenue and Paul Street | MFL to Margaret-Orthodox- Members of Philadelphia Sculptors will address the concept of bringing new life back to a place, person, or community. Work ranges from the figurative to the abstract, with artists employing techniques and materials that may reference the past as they create work of the present.
  • Movie Matinee – Mon, July 21, 12:30pm – 3:00pm,  Peter Bressi Northeast Senior Center 4744 Frankford Ave. – Please join us for Movie Matinee Monday. You pick it, we play it! Popcorn and beverages served. Free of charge
  • Monthly Birthday Party – Tue, July 22, 11:45am – 12:45pm, Peter Bressi Northeast Senior Center 4744 Frankford Ave. – Come celebrate your birthday! We have a monthly birthday party. Join us for cake, ice cream, lunch, and live entertainment!
  • Frankford Parks Group – Tue, July 22, 6:30pm – 7:30pm, CDC Building, 4900 Griscom St.
  • Movie Night In Overington Park – Wed, July 23, 8:30pm – 11:00pm,  Overington Park, Orthodox and Leiper Streets- Despicable Me 2. Bring a blanket or a chair and share a summer evening and a film with your neighbors. The movie starts at sundown, hope to see you there
  • PSA1 Meeting – Thu, July 24, 7pm – 8pm, Aria Hospital, 4900 Frankford Ave.
  • REANIMATE | Philadelphia Sculptors – Sat, July 26, 12pm – 5pm, the corner of Frankford Avenue and Paul Street | MFL to Margaret-Orthodox- Members of Philadelphia Sculptors will address the concept of bringing new life back to a place, person, or community. Work ranges from the figurative to the abstract, with artists employing techniques and materials that may reference the past as they create work of the present.
  • HIV and Hepatitis C Testing – Sun, July 27, 11am – 4pm,  St. Mark’s Church, 4442 Frankford Avenue – Philly Faith in Action was brings the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Drexel University with their mobile medical center to St Marks for rapid HIV and hepatitis C testing, counseling and follow up care. They will be here the 2nd Saturday of every month.
  • Frankford Garden Club – Mon, July 28, 6:30pm – 7:30pm, Wissinoming Park Playground
  • Senior Breakfast – Tue, July 29, 8am – 10am,  Aria Health, Frankford – 2nd floor cafeteria – Aria will provide our community seniors with monthly, insightful tips and information on issues that are directly affecting you and your health. Breakfast will be provided free of charge. To reserve your seat call 1-877-808-2742 and then press 2.
  • Dance Movement Therapy Class – Wed, July 30, 10am – 11am,  Peter Bressi Northeast Senior Center 4744 Frankford Ave – Please join us for our Dance Movement Therapy Classes. Come join this hot new program!
  • Northeast Philadelphia EPIC Stakeholders Group – Thu, July 31, 5:30pm – 7:30pm,  2nd Baptist Church, 1801 Meadow Street
  • Grand Army of the Republic Museum Open House – Sun, August 3, 12pm – 5pm,  4278 Griscom Street – Presentation at 1:30 PM: Don Ernsberger – General Meade’s Breakthrough at Fredericksburg
  • Friends of Overington Park – Wed, August 6, 7pm – 8pm, Overington Park by the tool shed
  • Frankford Civic Association Meeting – Thu, August 7, 7pm – 8pm,  Aria Hospital, 2nd floor

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Miscellaneous

Northwood Tennis

Posted on 10 July 2014

Now is the time to begin using the refurbished tennis courts at Harrison and Rutland Streets. There are 3 courts with no waiting. The lines are freshly painted and the nets are new. Plenty of free parking and a wonderful opportunity for anyone who plays tennis or who always wanted to play.

Come out and see the newly refurbished tennis courts in Northwood.

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Meetings and Events

Free Block Parties

Posted on 09 July 2014

July 15th and 17th in Tacony Creek Park.

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Art, Business, Meetings and Events

Destination Frankford as Renaissance

Posted on 07 July 2014

Originally published on Destination Frankford by Ana Kioko

Beneath the clamor of the El and beside the tides of the Delaware lies the neighborhood of Frankford. Centuries ago our neighborhood had a mansion on every block. Decades past, Frankford Avenue bustled with business and we prospered. Unfortunately, everything is not as it once was. But residents of this historical corner do not fear, Destination Frankford is here.

Deanna McLaughlin with her repurposed wooden door at the Destination Frankford: Reanimate gallery opening.

Deanna McLaughlin with her re-purposed wooden door at the Destination Frankford: Reanimate gallery opening.

Through the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and with the help of the Frankford Community Development Corporation, Philadelphia Sculptors, and the Globe Development Group, Destination Frankford plans to “reclaim, rediscover, and reanimate” the neighborhood. Every Saturday until July 26th visitors can witness this rebirth of Frankford through events such as the Destination Frankford art gallery.

Mayor Nutter speaks, with Ian Litwin of the Planning Commission, Kim Washington of the Frankford CDC, Counselwoman Sanchez and Democtratic nominee for the 179th PA House Jason Dawkins

On the corner of Frankford Avenue and Paul Street, music could be heard as patrons beat the heat with cold beers and good food. Outside, Mayor Michael Nutter posed for pictures with attendees, while inside, the pristine white walls were donned with art pieces by a host of different sculptors. Art Director, Leslie Kaufman, still believes that Frankford has a lot to offer and that it can be seen in these artists’ works. “All the artists use their art to add dynamism, spirit, and wonder to common and overlooked materials,” she says. Events likes this gallery will hopefully do the same and bring attention to the commonly overlooked neighborhood.

Having also been deeply involved in Philadelphia Sculptors, Kaufman knew that when she sent word about the project to the organization, many talented artists would join the movement. Inspired by the idea of reanimating a community, one such artist Deanna McLaughlin, answered the call. The artist who says her work is, “at times meditative, but always inspiring” presented two pieces at the gallery opening. What was once an old shopping cart was born again as a colorful chaise lounge. And a simplistic rocking chair showed more depth when its roots as an old wooden door from the very neighborhood of Frankford were revealed. McLaughlin understood and identified with the concept of bringing new life to the old in order to shepherd in modernity as many of her pieces carry the same idea.

Both Kaufman and McLaughlin know that galleries and renaissance are not things often seen in Frankford. However, Destination Frankford is not planning to stop here. Unafraid of unconventionality, the organization plans to bring a pop-up park to the neighborhood by the spring of 2015. Also on the corner of Paul Street, the vibrant park will be a center of entertainment, relaxation and a sign of progress. As the neighborhood grows, the hot pink detailed park will be a sign to those inside and outside the community that Frankford is not to be forgotten. Along with hot pink astroturf the park’s design was inspired by a megaphone. Frankford is no longer a quiet neighborhood. Architectural and Landscape Designer, Alexa Bosse, describes how the lights that crisscross above the park with be sound activated. Knowing that one huge, unmistakable, part of Frankford is the El, Bosse and the other volunteers utilized the noise in the neighborhood to light up the park. Bosse says that as a band plays on one end the lights will illuminate, following the sound. And as the El passes overhead, the lights will follow its tracks. Bosse and the other contributors hope this park– dubbed the Frankford Pause– will make residents and visitors alike stop, and take another look at Frankford.

The neighborhood of Frankford, though it’s had its setbacks refuses to be held back. With the help of many organizations and the support of the community, Destination Frankford can definitely take this neighborhood anywhere. Thanks to innovative ideas by creative individuals such as these, Frankford has finally entered its renaissance.

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Miscellaneous

Some Common Sense Words from Sonia

Posted on 07 July 2014

We, as citizens and taxpayers of the city, are opposed to having any drug rehabilitation or boarding homes in our neighborhood. There have been drug dealing, gang activities, unnecessary trafficking in the neighborhood and its only getting worse.

City Leaders, City Council, L&I, and Police have all been called numerous times to investigate the situation and nothing is being done. Our community would like it to stop, so that we can feel safe being out in the neighborhood.

Abandoned homes present a real problem in the neighborhood. We want to distinguish between homes that are simply vacant. Drugs affect more than those that abuse them. Drugs affect everyone that surrounds them. The community, as a whole, is affected by drug use in more ways than one. Drugs lead to other crimes, such as, prostitution, burglary, gang violence. This is an issue that needs to be dealt with because it affects the community as a whole.

Our own police officers see this as a major problem in our community and feel the influence of drugs need to be eliminated from our neighborhood. The community would be improved in many ways. Law enforcement needs to play its part in regulating the laws against drug trafficking .

Rehabilitation centers need better guidelines.  Check the state license.  Look whether the center has more tenants. Take extra precautions when funding facilities in the community as part of the community’s efforts to maintain or enhance a safe, pleasant quality of life.

Frankford Neighbors would like Eye’s and Ears for the 15th police district through patrols, community meetings and public outreach. We promote police and community relations, common sense vigilance, that a neighborhood that looks cared for: lights on, sidewalk swept, weeds pulled , involvement of town watch, block captains, signs , flags, banners, no litter, graffiti removed- deters crime

Sonia Pichalsky

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