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Frankford Festival

This article is from the New Gleaner of May 22, 2007. While celebrating the success of the festival it notes the turnout was not what it should been. The festival was never publicized the way it should have been. The leadership needs to take a hard look at the purpose of this festival and decide if it indeed fulfills that purpose. It looks to be a perfect opportunity to turn around the perception of Frankford and that can’t be done if people do not know about it.

Celebrating Frankford

By William Rice; Staff Writer;

Despite a late day rain out, organizers agreed that this year’s Frankford Festival was a great success.”I think it went great,” said Tracy O’Drain, chair of the festival coalition for the Frankford Community Development Corporation. “The activities for the kids were great. We had pretty much used up all of our activities and resources for the kids by the time it was over. And I take that as a good sign.”

For its eighth year in action, the Frankford Festival entertained the community with activities from local organizations and businesses, free food and drinks, and a variety of music.
Included in the activities were an Armed Forces Day Celebration by the Historical Society of Frankford, a poster contest sponsored by Third Federal Bank, a Family Fun Day celebration complete with a storyteller by the Frankford Library, and a special gardening demonstration by the Frankford Garden Club.

“I’m really pleased with this year’s festival,” O’Drain said. “I’m really excited about how well it went.”

In addition to the special events and activities, local businesses also set up shop all along Frankford Avenue. “I think this is wonderful,” said Republican mayoral candidate and President of the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Al Taubenberger. “This truly shows the fun part of economic development. And it really helps to promote a lot of the businesses, new and old, in the area.”

Taubenberger was joined at the festival by his opponent Democratic mayoral candidate Michael Nutter. Also present were State Rep. Tony Payton (D-179) and 7th district city council candidate Maria Quinones Sanchez. “I think the Frankford Festival is an opportunity to rebuild that sense of community that’s missing and although we didn’t have a the turn out we’d have liked to see, I’m glad we have new leadership in the area with myself and Maria Quinones Sanchez,” Payton said. “We’ll really get the chance to build that sense of community that the festival represents.”

“It’s a fabulous event,” Sanchez said. “I think it went well. I’m glad that the weather held up for so long. It’s one of those events that are really about the community. And I look forward to working with the Frankford professional community to help promote Frankford as a perfect venue for businesses.”

The festival originated in the late 90s as a part of the Frankford plan to revitalize the neighborhood. Although it started as an arts festival it soon branched out into a family-oriented day filled with activities for kids, adults, and local businesses. “The idea really is to provide the Frankford community with a great family day,” O’Drain said. “And I think we accomplished that this year. And we’re looking forward to next year.”

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Frankford Crime and Safety Coalition

This is from the Northeast Times dated May 24th.

Group takes aim at crime in Frankford

By Diane Villano-ProkopTimes Staff Writer

One of the first things the Frankford Crime and Safety Coalition wants to do is put the neighborhood in a different light — namely by turning on the lights on the El bridge along Frankford Avenue.Last week the coalition convened at Frankford Hospital for its second meeting, though the group — a sampling of civic leaders, legislative representatives and police — was much smaller than those in attendance at the debut session in March.The lights attached to the Market-Frankford El trestles were installed by SEPTA during reconstruction of the elevated rail line in the mid-’90s. The understanding was that the Frankford Business and Professional Association would change the lightbulbs, but these days only a light here and there shines down on the avenue.

Other short-term goals of the coalition include exploring what it would take to bring a police mini-station to Frankford and reinstating the Frankford Safety Ambassador program. The program — funded by Frankford Hospital until rising malpractice insurance premiums forced an end to that support — provided uniformed “ambassadors” who were a presence on Frankford Avenue, creating an air of safety along the business corridor. “The whole idea is visibility on the avenue,” said Catherine Bowers, executive director of the Frankford Group Ministry. “Crime was down forty percent (when the ambassadors were on the street). It’s presence.”

She also reported that the city’s 15th district curfew center, which recently opened at FGM’s Griscom Street headquarters to process young curfew violators rounded up by police, is running smoothly, averaging 11 to 12 kids a night. One parent was so impressed with the operation when her child was brought to the curfew center that she signed up as a volunteer, Bowers said.

The coalition also had discussed the crime-prevention use of surveillance cameras in the neighborhood. Liz McCollum-Nazaria, chief of staff for City Councilman Dan Savage (D-7th dist.), said she’ll have more information about the status of cameras in June.

The coalition members are making plans to meet on June 27. Others in attendance at last week’s meeting included Terry Tobin, executive director of the New Frankford Y; Tracy O’Drain, manager of economic development services for the Frankford Community Development Corporation; Frankford Business and Professional Association member Jim McCarthy; and Sgt. Scott Drissel of the 15th Police District. ••

Reporter Diane Villano-Prokop can be reached at 215-354-3036 or

The issues discussed at this meeting are certainly important and it is good to see some organization taking place. My only complaint is that these groups seem to come out of nowhere. Who forms them and what is the history behind them. Why do we not hear more about them except reports of meetings that have already taken place.

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Tom Knox Frankford election headquarters robbery

The Northeast Times and all major newspapers reported the robbery of Tom Knox election headquarters on May 15th primary election day. The brilliant perpetrators appeared to be knowledgeable about the presence of street money on election day and decided to take advantage of it.

“The crime occurred just before 1 p.m. on May 15 in the midst of the hotly contested primary vote. According to Philadelphia police Capt. Jack McGinnis, commander of Northeast Detectives, the two suspects conned their way inside the office, at 4625 Frankford Ave., by telling Knox campaign officials that they needed a rest after roaming the neighborhood all morning rousing voters.They were even wearing “Knox for Mayor” T-shirts. Once inside, the men allegedly sought out the office manager. Then one of the suspects lifted his Knox shirt to reveal a gun in his belt. They demanded cash. The men reportedly fled with a bag containing about $300 in stipend money for the office workers.According to Officer Yolanda Dawkins, a police department spokeswoman, the men wore black shirts and blue jeans. Both were black and had light complexions. One had a tattoo on his neck and was wearing a baseball cap, McGinnis added. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Northeast Detectives at 215-686-3153.”

I hope the remembered to vote before going to work. They won’t be able to while they are in the slammer. Smart move boys.

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Shooting on Griscom Street

According to the Northeast Times on May 19th a shooting on the 4800 block of Griscom Street left one man dead and another hospitalized. Miguel Torress of the 1400 block of Fanshawe Street was killed. William Thomas was hospitalized as of Sunday morning.

“According to the police public affairs unit, there have been no arrests and no motive for the shootings. At Monday’s 15th Police District Advisory Council meeting, however, a Frankford resident said that the incident was the result of a feud between Griscom Street and Arrott Street gangs, where five men knelt down on the street and opened fire. The resident surmised it was drug related.

Capt. Frank Bachmayer, 15th district commander, agreed, adding that there was a high probability of additional violence stemming from Saturday’s shooting. He told her, however, that it was not all doom and gloom in Frankford.”[While] one shooting is one too many, we’re out there…doing preventive, pro-active patrols. My homicides are down fifty percent to seventy-five percent compared to this time last year,” Bachmayer said. ”

I wasn’t aware that the residents of Griscom Street had organized and formed their own gang. How enterprising of them. It’s good to know there are still ambitious folks left in Frankford. What does make me wonder is that the police clearly know there are gangs and where they are and yet not much progress is being made to shut them down.