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Frankford Civic Association Talks Bars

At the Frankford Civic Association meeting on August 4th, a bar was once again a topic of discussion.

At the June meeting, a residents raised the issue of the closed Platinum bar at 4101 Paul Street (Paul Street and Torresdale Avenue) apparently being renovated for reopening.  It was closed down a few years ago after a series of violent incidents.

A liquor application was filed on Oct. 22, 2015, and was approved for “Prior Approval Safekeeping” on July 22, 2016. That means the PLCB (Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board) has approved the transfer of the license, and the license is now in safekeeping, which means it is not in use. Once the premises are constructed, the PCLB  will inspect them. If the premises are completed as they appear on the approved plans, the PLCB can issue operational authority.  No protests were received during the protest period.  The license is held by 4101 New Additions Inc.

Also at the June meeting, a resident reported that a house that had been sealed at 1941 Ruan Street had an open window on the second floor.  A report was made to 311 on the issue.

The issue of zoning prompted a discussion where Franklin Daniel volunteered to report back on the zoning meetings of the Frankford NAC which he regularly attends.  The NAC is the official RCO for Frankford and as a result conducts votes by community members on each zoning case involving Frankford.  The residents eligible to vote are limited to those living within a 2 block radius of the address seeking a variance.  The Frankford Civic however can voice its opinion by either sending a letter or attending a Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting to express an opinion on any case that is of interest.  The information provided by Daniel will allow the Civic to decide when their opinion should be conveyed to the ZBA.

A resident of the 2000 block of Margaret Street again expressed his dismay with the conditions of the Harding Middle School property on the Northern part of its property.  The grass is up to 3 feet high and is strewn with trash.  It a breeding ground for mosquitoes and a playground for rodents.  If the Zika virus ever turns up in Frankford, look to the neglect of the Harding Middle School property as the cause.  A 311 report was made on the issue (Reference number 10879517) and will be followed up with at future Civic meetings.

The next meeting of the Frankford Civic Association will be held on September 1st at St. Mark’s church at 4442 Frankford Avenue.

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Crime Talk Tops Frankford Civic Meeting for June

Dr. Jerry Ratcliffe, Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Temple University appeared at the Frankford Civic Association meeting on June 4th to bring some reality to the discussion about crime in Frankford.  Since crime has been an ongoing theme of the civic meetings in the past, his attendance was welcome.

The crowd of about 20 regulars listened attentively to his presentation.  He is an engaging speaker and has a wealth of expertise beyond the academic world.

  • On the Philadelphia police – maybe not the best but they are getting better compared to where they were.  They have moved from just responding to 911 calls to planning and deploying police where they will be needed.
  • Demands on the police are far greater than they can meet so choices have to be made.  There is never enough funding for manpower and equipment.
  • Foot patrols, which everyone loves, can be effective in a limited area but every man you take out of a patrol car slows down response time overall.
  • We need some creative ideas to shut down the drug corners.  We are not going to stop people from using or selling drugs with policing.  There has been success in other parts of the country by re-engineering the places where drugs are sold to make it less attractive for that place to be used.  Block through traffic where drugs are sold to people in autos etc.
  • Surveillance cameras do prevent certain crimes but they tend to be non violent in their nature.  A guy who is going to steal a car will look around to see if anyone is looking.  The other guy who is high and with a gun will shoot you no matter who is watching.

Also on the agenda was Michael Calderone Principal of Harding Middle School at Torresdale and Wakeling.  An issue was raised at the last Civic meeting about the long time, ongoing construction project at the school.  The job has dragged on due to problems in properly replacing Terra Cotta tiles on the roof line.  The result is that a scaffold and fence has been up around the school keeping the grass from being cut and attracting trash.

After being contacted by Pete Specos, President of the Civic Association, Calderone immediately double-checked the stone on top to make sure it wouldn’t fall. Once it was deemed safe, they removed the fence and cleared the brush that was growing around it. He added that they do appreciated the letter, that it helped them move forward, and invited residents to please just call him whenever they have concerns.   Residents appreciated his prompt action.

The next meeting of the Frankford Civic Association will be held on Thursday July 2nd at 7 PM at St. Marks Church 4442 Frankford Avenue.



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Moore College of Art and Design Teams Up with Harding Middle School

When Liz Gilly, Outreach and Public Programs Coordinator at The Galleries at Moore College of Art & Design, asked teacher Kelly Ann Coughlin if Harding Middle School would like to be the first school in the city to participate in a new community arts program, she didn’t hesitate for a moment.  She teaches Creative Writing at Harding and knew this would be once in a lifetime opportunity for her students.  The concept is that visiting artists would work in a school to create a culminating art project of some kind.

After getting the OK from Principal Michael Calderone they went to work.  So for the past few months, Harding Middle School students in Ms. Coughlin’s 605 Creative Writing class have been working on creating unique story lines for a fictitious movie, developing characters, a plot, and a setting with visiting artists Kathryn Sclavi and Jebney Lewis.

On December 3rd, students received the unique opportunity to actually create the world they imagine by photographing a scene wearing costume, makeup, and posing in a setting similar to the one they imagine with professionals from the movie industry! With this shoot, professionals will be photographing images that will later be used to create a full size movie poster.

This “movie shoot” day took place on December 3rd.  Students worked in groups of 10 to create 3 individual movie plots with characters and setting ideas. In Harding’s library, each group first gathered with a professional costumer, Julia Poiesz (from the Walnut Street Theater) and makeup artists, Marbella Chispe  and Anastasia Balabanova, to get dressed in a costume and makeup akin to their character.

Once students were dressed, they went to the location of the photography shoot.  Most photos were shot in the library, which was fully set up with a green screen and multiple lighting props, as well as a fog machine. There, they worked with a professional photographer, William Gregory Lewis (who flew in from Los Angeles), along with photo assistants, Rebekah Flake and Les Rivera, to shoot a scene. One group even shot out front of the school and in the nearby field to capture students dressed as zombies walking through the fog.

The students will get a chance to see the photographs and receive a copy of their image in January, once the images are edited and designed with a graphic designer.   Once students choose their favorite version of their movie poster, it will be exhibited at Moore College of Art on January 23rd.

The students learned much about hard work, collaboration, and creativity and it is something they will surely remember for the rest of their lives.  Ms. Coughlin’s 605 Creative Writing class is made up of Izayiah Adams, Estreya Aranda, Jerry Arroyo, Haja Bah, Nadirah Bell, Jermaine Berry, Najier Breland, Luis Domenech-Casillas, Ariiyus Elamin, Jaileen Figueroa, Marc Ganthier, Sylvia Garay, Angel Garcia, Alejandro Gomez, Ibrahim Hammoudeh, Lineda Jean-Louis, Aniyah Jenkins, Shyanne Johnson, Gavin Lichtenberger, Christian Love, Adiel Loya-Rico, Kristine Macatantan, Lamont Mull, Angel Padilla, Harry Rivera, Eric Simms-Stephens, Cory Sutton, Kathleen Thach, Istneydina Thomas, Iyania Whitfield, Marissa Wileczek and Quadir Wiley.