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4800 Block of Griscom is a window into the city’s battle against gun violence

Mike Newall from the Inquirer did a very good story on my old neighbors on the 4800 block of Griscom.

The problems there are pretty well know but solutions have not been forthcoming.  The neighbors decided to try something new.

Every block has its rhythms. For so long, on the 4800 block of Griscom Street in Frankford, the daily rhythms were decided by drug dealers: a group of about 20 men who, on hot summer days, often stood in the shade under the trees near the Alonzos’ house, where Saul, a 33-year-old construction worker from Guatemala, lives with his wife and two young daughters.

Like other parents on Griscom, Alonso told his children the gunshots they heard were fireworks.

Read the rest of the story at his link.

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Baby Grayson Finally Comes Home

Before & After
Prevailing Hereditary Diseases
By Sophia H. Lewis “Nana”

Grayson with mom Kyra

By the grace of our faith, we as grandparents expect the new births of our continuous blood lines of generations to be uninterrupted without ever having to face complications. I beg to differ. My grandson, Grayson, was born a beautiful baby boy. Then a few short weeks later, a severe medical condition called Cardiomyopathy drastically affected my grandson’s life and then God performed His miracles and blessings.

Grayson had no prior signs or symptoms that indicated he was about to become gravely ill. There was no way for him to alert his parents that his tiny body was soon about to endure the fight of his life. Late one night in August, Grayson started with a grunting breathing sound. I said to my daughter, a first-time mother, “Grayson’s breathing sounds a bit unusual. “  She immediately called the pediatrician and he suggested taking him to the nearest emergency room.

As the family sat and waited, the last thing to ever cross our minds was for my daughter to come out to the waiting room of the ER to announce to us that Grayson needed intubation ASAP! I gasped for air. Every second became valuable just like that. Once he was placed on the respirator, his status changed drastically. His blood pressure skyrocketed, glucose levels plummeted, and his heart was being challenged.

Emergency transport was arranged to move him to another hospital, over 60 plus miles from his hometown. The ambulance not only raced against time but also against the heavy rainy weather which ruled out any chance that he could be air lifted to the much-needed children’s hospital. As my daughter rode in the ambulance with her extremely sick child, her husband and the rest of us drove through the rainy night on the dark country Carolina roads. You best believe prayers were expressed with each passing mile.

Now my grandson Grayson was in the care and hands of the doctors and nurses who specialized in newborn serious health conditions. All sorts of tests were done to rule out the various possible diagnosis. Before we looked up, days had passed by and Grayson’s condition began to go downhill steadily. Once he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a whole new set of challenges hit his tiny body.

It was touch and go as they attempted to get him off the breathing tube. I recall one doctor saying, “we will have to listen to Grayson to tell his story rather than try to write one for him” I realized at that point, it was going to take a miracle for Grayson.

He endured seizures, a stroke, a bleeding blood clot in the brain and the worst, cardiac arrest. The healthcare team worked endlessly around the clock, adjusting the various medications and treatments taking hm towards his wellness.

Each day was a ray of hope for restoration. After a little over two months, day by day, the assistive devices began to disappear. The last item removed was the NG feeding tube. It had taken quite the effort for him to regain the ability to latch back onto breast feeding.

Grayson was discharged on September 15th and he is back home and settled in enjoying the comfort of his home with his mother and father. He has a lot of maintenance medications but on that same note he has met many goals while becoming stronger. This has been a difficult life experience, as I watched him fight like the true warrior he is.

We don’t know how we will turn out once we are born. To prevail over uncontrollable conditions shows that we are conquerors, when we expend energy fighting for our lives despite the hand we are dealt. My grandson Grayson is a fine example of strength.

God held him in His arms the entire time of this ordeal. Maybe the only lasting outcome that might affect Grayson is to tire more quickly than others his age but that is yet to be seen. I say this because now as he lives with a minimal to mild stridor, wheezing sound caused by disrupted airflow, after all he had endured.

I recognize God being present the entire time. One last thing, all the supportive prayers have been answered. God Blessed Grayson with miracle after miracle and we, his family, are forever grateful.

For more information about infant cardiomyopathy follow this link.

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(GAR) Grand Army of the Republic Looks to Relocate

The Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library on Griscom street is looking to relocate.

From the Summer edition of the Grand Army Scout newsletter.  Follow this link for the complete newsletter:

Joe Perry

GAR Scout_summer_2019 In 1958, when the Ruan House was purchased on Griscom Street (4278 Griscom Street)grand army, I was 10 years old and living in the Frankford neighborhood not far from the Museum. I walked near the Museum on my way to the Frankford Boys Club and to Boy Scout meetings. In 1960 my brother and I saw the movie “Pretty Boy Floyd” at the Holiday Theater that now stands empty around the corner from the Museum. I used the Free Library’s Frankford Branch and attended Frankford High School.

When the Museum opened to the public in 1985, neither I nor any of my friends had ever heard of the GAR Museum. Therein lies the problem. The Museum that preserves the history of the greatest crisis that faced our nation is mostly known only to the Civil War community and few others. Look around and you will realize that the advancing years of those active in our Civil War community is a real concern. We are responsible for the preservation of the history of those who fought the battles and for those civilians who supported them. We know what they did to end slavery and preserve the Union, but do we know who will continue to run the Museum?

Our Museum is now faced with its greatest crisis. We are just holding our own with building maintenance, but the costs of keeping this old house are very high. The Museum’s neighborhood and location are driving visitors and volunteers away from our doors. We need to relocate.

Other museums are facing the same difficulties. You may have heard of the closing of the Philadelphia History Museum. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, is having problems. On the positive side the National Constitution Center has opened a permanent Civil War and Reconstruction Exhibit this year. The size of the Exhibit is the same as the GAR Museum.

We need greater support for our Museum like that received for the Museum of the American Revolution, The Barnes Foundation and the USS New Jersey.

The GAR Museum now has only ninety-seven (97) paying members which include nine (9) Board Members and five (5) additional volunteers. We cannot maintain the Museum with so few. As Churchill once said, “Never was so much owed by so many to so few.” We need to ask ourselves why and how we can get greater support. The best way, and I believe the only way, is to move the Museum to a new location that will be conveniently located and easier to maintain.

The Museum’s Board of Directors is moving forward. We will find a way to do this, but we need your help. Let us hear from you. We are exploring several locations along Roosevelt Blvd. near the Laurel Hill Cemetery and other Philadelphia locations.

Many have served the Museum and have accomplished a great deal, most notably Hugh Boyle. Hugh has set us on the right course to the future and as a Board member he will continue with us. I have been asked to assume his role and I am thankful for the opportunity. I will do my best to carry on, with the few, these happy few, we band of volunteers. For those today that give their time with me, shall be my brothers and sisters.

Joe Perry




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Congratulations to Jasmine and Eugene

Maineva and Quinten White are happy to announce the marriage of their daughter Jasmine to Eugene Byrd.

Jasmine and Eugene have dated since they were 16 years old. They both actively participated with the Frankford Chargers Football organization, she as a cheerleader and him a football player affectionately nickname “U-Turn”.

Jasmine and Eugene Byrd

Jasmine and Eugene married on April 5, 2019 in Ocho Rios, Jamaica and were joined by over 100 guest to witness them exchange vows. The love that is shared between these two is present in the hearts of everyone dear to them. We are so proud and so very happy for them!