Posted on

Frankford Hero to Frankford Saint

We have written a book about Frankford Heroes but at the Northeast Philadelphia History Fair a few weeks ago, Dan Cashin told us about a remarkable hero, Leonard LaRue.

At the Spring General Assembly of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) in Washington in June of 2021, the Conference overwhelmingly approved the cause for sainthood of “Servant of God” Benedictine Brother Marinus LaRue.

But who was Brother Marinus?  He was born Leonard Panet La Rue on January 14, 1914, in Philadelphia on one of the coldest days of the year.   He was the youngest child in a family with 5 children.  His parents were Paul Philippe Eugene La Rue, a Canadian Immigrant who worked at the Frankford Arsenal as a machinist and Isabelle Catherine O’Brien LaRue. Paul and Isabelle were married at St. Joachim Roman Catholic Church in the Frankford neighborhood of Philadelphia on April 29, 1904.  The family lived at 5028 James Street.

Leonard’s brothers were Maurice and Paul and there were twin sisters Irma and Isabelle. A brother Hubert died at birth in 1912 and is buried in St. Joachim Cemetery.

Leonard was baptized at St. Joachim on Sunday, February 8th with Thomas Hickey and Frances O’Connor as his Godparents.  We do not know for sure where he attended Elementary School but the family lived across the street from the Henry Longfellow School (now Closed) so it is most likely he attended Longfellow until moving on the Harding junior High School for 7th through 9th grade. He then entered Frankford High School and graduated in January of 1932.

He entered the Pennsylvania Nautical School in Philadelphia  in May of 1932 and graduated in 1934 as a Third Officer and began his life as a mariner.  That path took him to Korea in December of 1950 where as Master of the merchant cargo ship Meredith Victory, he took on board over 14,000 Koreans to be evacuated to safety.

He said that experience changed his life and in 1954 he left the sea to join the Benedictine congregation of St. Ottilien at St. Paul’s Abbey in Newton, New Jersey.

The path to sainthood in the Catholic church can be long but there is no doubt that this man was a real Frankford Hero and maybe a saint.

Follow this link to learn more.



Posted on

Love Your Park Day November 13, 2021

Hello Friends of Overington Park, FOOP.

Please join us for our Love Your Park day this Saturday November 13, 2021 from 10am to 1pm.
Refreshments will be served for all volunteers.
We have attached the flyer. We really need to your help to keep the park going. The care of our neighborhood park is up to you. Let’s keep it beautiful for us to enjoy!
Thank you,
Friends of Overington Park Group
Posted on

A Few Words From John Buffington

Philadelphians have the opportunity to vote on November 2, or by mail sooner, for judges, District Attorney, and City Controller.  Here’s some information that may prove useful.

Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania has issued it’s endorsements in this year’s state-wide judicial races.  CVP’s website, says, in relevant part: Conservation Voters of PA is the statewide political voice for the environment. We work to elect environmentally responsible candidates to state and local offices.

Their recommendations are:
For the State Supreme Court: Judge Maria McLaughlin
Superior Court: Judge Timika Lane
Commonwealth Court: Judge David Spurgeon and Judge Lori Dumas.
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s website is:  It says, in relevant part: The Planned Parenthood Action Fund works to advance access to sexual health care and defend reproductive rights.  They have endorsed exactly the same four candidates.

The Pennsylvania Bar Association rated Judge McLaughlin “Highly Recommended,” its top rating. (Her Republican opponent got the same rating. That race is vote for one.)  They also recommended both Judge Lane and her Republican opponent.  They Recommended Judge Dumas. Judge Spurgeon is Highly Recommended.  They Recommended one Republican in that race, and found another Not Recommended. In that case, the PBA found that while the community holds the candidate in high regard, she “lacks the depth and breadth of experience necessary ” to be a judge on the Commonwealth Court.  Not a denunciation, of course; this candidate might well be endorsed in future years.  The state bar is demonstrating that it is serious about getting the most qualified candidates into judgeships.

The Philadelphia Bar Association has a judicial commission which adopted the State Bar Association’s endorsements of Judges McLaughlin, Lane, and Dumas, all of whom are Philadelphians; they didn’t rate Judge Spurgeon, because he doesn’t have a history here.

Superior Court Judges Bender and Bowes are up for retention, as are Commonwealth Court Judges Covey and Jubilirer.  The PA Bar recommended three, but the judgment on Judge Jubilirer was Not Recommended, for failure to participate in the evaluation.

The Committee of Seventy,, produces a Voter’s Guide with information on both candidates and ballot questions.

The City Commissioners always put up the precise ballot at

The Philadelphia District Attorney race pits former defense attorney Larry Krasner, who had no prosecutorial experience before his first election, against defense attorney Charles Peruto, who has no prosecutorial experience to my knowledge.  I didn’t know what to say about this rather bizarre situation, so I called a woman that I know who keeps her ear close to the ground, and asked what she has heard in the way of grassroots murmuring in the somewhat nitty-gritty part of town where she lives.  She reports a lot of outrage about DA Krasner’s de-emphasis on controlling crowds of highly visible homeless people, and the rising crime rate in some categories since he took office. On the other hand, there seems to be a widespread impression that Mr. Peruto has a rather close past association with organized crime.  Nominating Charles Peruto doesn’t seem like the smartest of Republican moves when facing such a controversial DA.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has endorsed DA Krasner.

Rebecca Rhynhart is unopposed for re-election as City Controller.  If I knew anything much bad about her I would recommend a write-in vote for none-of-the-above.  But I don’t, so she may well deserve a check on your ballot.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Court has 12 vacancies, and the Democratic Party has nominated 12, with no opposition.  The Philadelphia Bar Association has a Judicial Commission, whose recommendations are available at  They Highly Recommended or Recommended 9 candidates:  Kamau, Barish, McCabe, Wahl, Hall, Hangley, Levin, Sulman, and Moore.  The other three weren’t evaluated.  That would be because they failed to participate in the evaluation process.  There appears to be no reason not to vote for the nine candidates who have been found at least Qualified, or against the three who evidently refused to participate.  No votes, in this case, will require writing in three other names in blanks provided on the mail-in ballot, or going to the extra trouble of calling up that little window on the voting machine and writing in other names–don’t forget to take in your own pen, if so inclined.  Anyone who runs for public office of any sort is voluntarily agreeing to engage in the give-and-take of electoral politics.  It shouldn’t be decided just by putting up enough street money to pay people to secure petition signatures.  Failing to participate in a legitimate candidate evaluation system is not a great characteristic in a potential Judge, I think.

Municipal Court has 5 vacancies, with 5 Democratic nominations and no opposition.  The Philadelphia Bar Association’s Judicial Commission recommended 3.  The Bar Recommends Yorgey-Gergey, Twardy, and McCloskey.;  they say “Not Recommended” on  Lambert.  DiCicco didn’t participate. Here again, writing-in is available.

Common Pleas Court has 13 judges up for retention and Municipal Court has 7.  The Philadelphia Bar Association recommended a Yes vote on all the Common Pleas candidates, and six of the Municipal Court ones; except Municipal Court Judge Sharon Williams Losier, who is “Pending” until a Bar committee meeting on November 1, which will be too late for this coverage.

The ballot questions this year are discussed in some detail at the League of Women Voters website.  Briefly stated:

#1:  Add to the City Charter a rhetorical call for the State Legislature to legalize the casual use of marijuana.  The Inquirer supports this idea; their Editorial Board thinks that state legislators will pay attention to the climate of opinion in Philadelphia, knowing that there’s a gubernatorial election coming up, and we vote.  I think that the Board is remarkably naive on that point. We vote all right, but we vote overwhelmingly Democratic.  I can’t see the Republicans who dominate both House and Senate in Harrisburg thinking that they can influence that much.

#2: Create a City Department of Fleet Management.  This would replace management of vehicles by personnel in the individual departments.  The Inquirer supports this one too. They looked at how other major cities handle fleet management, and decided that Philadelphia should conform.

#3: Loosen the City’s hiring process somewhat to give managers more flexibility in choosing from job applicants who have passed the civil service test.  Again, the Inquirer’s Editorial Board recommends this, as giving managers more hiring flexibility.  They think that the civil service system is strong enough to keep the opportunity from being an opening for expanding patronage.

#4: Mandate City Contributions to the Housing Fund.

Both the Committee of Seventy and the Inquirer recommend a no vote on this one.  While they like the purposes of the Housing Fund, they think that the Mayor and Council need budgeting flexibility.

I hope that this is helpful.  Because judicial elections occur in Pennsylvania in years when there is less going on in the executive and legislative departments, judicial elections tend to be low turn-out, and the leadership of the major parties tend to have a disproportionate influence.  This is unfortunate, because the interest of major political parties is mostly in maintaining and enhancing their shares of offices held and patronage, not so much in qualifications and issues.  Perhaps  more people will vote, and do it more independently of party officials, if more information is a bit more conveniently available.  Perhaps.  We shall see.

John Buffington

The author is a retired lawyer who has been politically active on behalf of selected candidates, Republican, Democratic, and Green, whenever so inspired, for 57 years.



Posted on

Community Police Meeting at St. Marks

Reported by Joe Taylor of the 15th Police District Advisory Council (PDAC).

The first  in person 15th Police District PSA1 meeting IN OVER A YEAR was hosted by St. Mark’s Church on Thursday July 8th.  Captain Walker was on vacation so, Lt. John Venit conducted the meeting.  Topics of discussion were many:

  • Fireworks.  They are legal in Pennsylvania but not in Philadelphia.  Fireworks are only allowed with a permit and cannot be used within 150 Feet of an occupied building.
  •  Dumping of tires. G. M. and T. K. talked about the tires being dumped Behind the Salvation Army bldg. on Griscom St. They said the landlord of the bldg. where Family Dollar is located, they have seen some of his hired workers dumping the tires.   They have stacked all of the tires nice and neat. Lt Venit will drive by and check it out.
  • Greg Bucceroni, mentioned for dumped tires call 911. This way the event is logged into the system then submit a request to 311 with a photo about the tires.
  • Talked about the heavy foot traffic in the St. Mark’s Parking lot around 4:00AM.  They are all well dressed, going to a store on the 4400 block of Frankford ave.  Has also seen some drug deals going down at the entrance to the church parking lot.
  • Dirt bikes and four-wheel quads. They are illegal to drive on Philadelphia Streets.
    City working on changing the law to cover all dirt bikes and quads.  Lt Vinit mentioned they are not allowed to chase these individual.  If the dirt bike or quad is parked on the street or sidewalk then they can impound dirt bike or quad.
  • Lt. Venit advised if any business would like to have a police officer stop by, then send the Company name and address and ask to have a patrol officer stop in occasionally.
  • The Capuchin Franciscan Friars at the Padre Pio Prayer Center on Church Street  sent in a message about 1520 Church St. that was turned into apartments. Many people coming and going. Seems like something is going on at this place.
  • Request to obtain a key to lock down playgrounds after 10 PM.  Greg B. mentioned that it is usually the maintenance people that have the key for locking playgrounds.
  • Old school bus that is no longer owned by any school bus system. The bus is parked on Oxford Ave.  Outside of Frankford High School. It has been vandalized and homeless now living in the bus.
  • Group of Dominican boys hanging out in the Northwood area playing music.  Quality of life issue. Lt. Venit mentioned the last time they arrested these boys none of them lived in the Frankford Area.

The next 15th District PSA1 meeting will be held at a date and time to be announced.