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Friday Links

photo: Erie Ave and Kensington Ave via davidwilson1949’s flickr photostream

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Coming Up in Frankford

  • Grand Army of the Republic Museum Open House
    When – Sun, January 3, 2010, 12pm – 5pm
    Where – 4278 Griscom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19124 (map)
    Description – Presentation at 1:30 PM:
  • Frankford Civic Association Meeting
    When – Thu, January 7, 2010, 7pm – 8pm
    Where – Frankford Hospital – 2nd floor conference room (map)
  • Frankford Friends Open House
    When – Wed, January 13, 2010, 9am – 12pm
    Where – 1500 Orthodox Street, Philadelphia, PA 19124 (map)
  • Northwood Civic Association Meeting
    When – Tue, January 19, 2010, 7pm – 8pm
    Where – St. James Lutheran Church, at Castor Avenue and Pratt Street. (map)
  • Italian Style Family Dinner
    When – Wed, January 20, 2010, 4:30pm – 8:00pm
    Where – St. Joachim’s Church, 1527 Church Street, Phila., PA 19124 (map)
    Description – MARK YOUR CALENDAR Every Third Wednesday from September thru May Italian Style Family Dinner The Dinners will be served from 4:30 PM to 8 PM in Fitzmaurice Hall Take-out will be available. COST: $8.00 for Adults, $4.00 for Children. Come Join us!
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New Philly Media Outlet Metropolis Produces In Depth Expose On Frankford

We got an email from Mike  Newall a month ago looking to do an interview a couple weeks ago for a story about crime and development in Frankford for a new Philly-centered news website called Metropolis.  Inside his four part series he scored some notable misses(like Friends restaurant was opened for under a year, it was Mozaic that opened during a so-called reneasance). Anyways check out all of his piece, it’s nice to see Frankford get some in depth attention.  Although it does make me cringe when the title of part one is “The Frankford Story: In a Free Fall”.  It’s like he asked someone from Mayfair for the title.  If he had come in and done just that story it would have been the regular bullshit that Frankford gets from the area media.  I am so sick of hearing where Frankford has been.  Yes it sucks.  I know how awesome it used to be.  Try telling me why it sucks now and point out some things I can do to start changing it.  So this bastard spends the next three articles doing just that.  It is by far the most comprehensive report on the past, present and future of this neighborhood I have ever seen.  And it’s a testament to this so-called “media revolution” that it should come out of a web based outfit as opposed to print. If paper and ink are too valuable to waste on forgotten places like Frankford, then let the printing presses die.

Part 2 covers the crime and drugs. Crime reporting to me is generally sensational, but tell me everything you can come up with about the drugs, especially about the drug rehab houses which he talks at length in part 3.  I think the more residents know about how they open up and operate, the better prepared they are to fight it.

Part 4 is my favorite and most important to helping understand what’s going in Frankford now.

Here’s a quote from the piece about the political infighting I always considered too nuanced to even try bringing up:

Factions at war

It’s civic and business organizations are beset by nasty political fighting. Frankford has had had three city council representatives in the last four years – Rick Mariano, Dan Savage, and now Maria Quinones-Sanchez. All three have tried to stuff the boards of the local organizations with their own followers and now it’s all a big mess.

The Frankford Civic Association has had some recent success in fighting the zoning of recovery houses. But the civic consists almost entirely of Savage supporters seemingly more focused on winning the former councilman his seat back than taking bold action for Frankford. For her part, councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez has been no great friend to civic association, seemingly putting politics above constituent need.

“The political fighting is destroying the neighborhood,” said Rita Lugrine, a member of the Frankford Community Development Corporation.

But at the end of the day, what am I, a lone resident, able to do to help?

“We’ve been telling the community folks, pick a parcel of land, come up with an idea, shop it around to developers,” said Michael Thompson of the City Planning Commission.

I’m gonna think on this one, I’ll get back to this.

Overall I’m a huge fan on this piece of reporting, if this is how the future of reporting is going to be, it’s going to be an exciting time, not just for Frankford, but for any forgotten section of Philly. Mike Newall is a Philadelphia reporter who writes about neighborhoods. Yeah he does.

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Frankford Civic Meets Tomorrow Night

From Margie on the message board:

I am fighting for my family’s home. Our comfort zone. I am making my voice heard in fighting this problem of “recovery homes” next door to families in Frankford. I’ve heard that there are many and I’ve even read a post about one on Penn St. having the same problems as mine. I do not understand why I am the only one showing up at the Civic Meetings wanting to make changes. I have never ever been a person to stand out in a crowd or speak out in front of a crowd. My own neighbors don’t go to the meetings. I figure it’s because they don’t live next door it and don’t see and hear what my family does. I know there’s got to be people living next door to these “recovery houses”. I can’t be the only one! One hour of one night a month of your time isn’t much to ask for to fight and get laws made so that if you should decide to buy a home and 3 years later a recovery home wants to move in next door to you, sharing your front steps, you’ll be able to stop them. We all can’t keep moving because of people wanting to make money off of addicts who need a place to live and open a house anywhere and call it a recovery home. Please come to the Civic Meetings on the first Thursday of every month at 7:00 p.m. Have your voice heard or just listen. The worse that came happen is that you will learn about what’s going on in your community.
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Frankford Civic

The meeting last night was as usual a fast moving event that did not waste any time in getting to the issues.  The only thing that might have made it more interesting would have been to have some folks come in to try to intimidate the members.  However, given the usual representation by the 15th district, that would have been foolish.

  • The Sergeant, standing in for the district commander, spoke about the recent task force that was deployed to capture the serial rapist that had been haunting Frankford.  A secondary effect of the increased police presence was that most criminals went back under their rocks to hide.  Now that the task force has been disbanded, the criminals are back to their normal business.  Tips on narcotics or any other criminal activity should be called in to the 15th district directly.  911 is for emergencies and these tips require some investigation.  215-686-3152 is the number.  Call during the day.  You certainly can be anonymous.
  • Amy Hollister, CEO of the Northwood Academy Charter school on Castor Avenue, spoke on the recent opening of a new branch in the St. Joachim school building.  150 students are arrive and leave by bus each day.
  • Rachael Steener of the District Attorney’s public nuisance task force discussed the functions of the office and how the community can use it.  Property owners are subject to losing their property if it is used as a nexus for drug activity.  It takes time but it does happen.  The good thing is that the owner does not have to be involved in the drug activity.  Property owners are notified that a tenant is a problem and then they have to take action to remove them.  It seem so reasonable.
  • The zoning issues are varied and the list was fairly long.  All are being addressed.  One person attending raised the issue that some zoning violators never appear on the zoning issue list at the meetings.  The problem is that the people living in the community have to raise the alarm when they see something going on without permits, licenses and other legal documents.  That starts the process.  The Civic can’t protest an application for zoning if there is no hearing.  Call L&I when you see something going on that is just not right.
  • if neighbors are having issues the Human Relations Commission may be able to help resolve them.
  • The recent gun buy back was rated as very successful and another is planned for the future.
  • Talk is still going on about a town hall meeting to discuss the presence of the many drug rehab facilities and residences in the community.  No time or date have been finalized but this is an issue of momentous importance for Frankford.  Plan to attend.

The next meeting is scheduled for October 2nd.