East Falls Local

East Falls for All's!

Author: Steve Fillmore (Page 1 of 15)

Springtime menace: Floods and freshets on the Schuylkill River

Springtime on the Schuylkill in the 19th century could be extremely hazardous because of sudden ice thaws known as freshets.

Kelly Drive. May 1, 2014

Flooding these days on Kelly Drive is often an inconvenience. Traffic gets rerouted and things are back to normal in a few hours. But not long ago, flash floods known as freshets could wreak immense havoc.

Destructive power of freshets
These flash floods occurred in March or April, when ice sheets covering the Schuylkill began to thaw, crack, and move downstream. Occasionally, these floes piled on top of one another, clogging the river at choke points and forming enormous ice dams.

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A Fish Out of Order

Repairing the damage to an iconic East Falls art installation.

History buffs in the Falls might have noticed something missing on Kelly Drive beneath the Twin Bridges – the “Five Fishes” art installation, installed in 1995 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Falls Bridge, has been temporarily removed for repairs.

It was damaged in a fatal car accident in April 2016 that also destroyed the informational sign that stood in front of it.

Sculptor and metal fabricator Steve Sears, who created the original work, visited the Falls in mid February and removed the iron sculptures from the wall. He was amazed that after 20 years, the pieces were still so firmly anchored that some of the bolts had to be cut to remove them.

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Playing by Heart

Local musician makes connections with patients that go beyond words.

Spirituality and music have always played large roles in Lynn Wetherbee’s life. Her love affair with the harp began when she was 10 years old and a spiritual calling later in life made her an interfaith hospital chaplain.

It’s only when she began her career at Visiting Nurses Association on Henry Avenue as a therapeutic musician that she realized how powerful the combination of her ministry and her musical talents could be in providing spiritual comfort to the sick.

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March 2017

Aggravated assault
3500 Fox St.
Complainant states that after a brief conversation with her husband (separated) he began to follow her on Roosevelt Boulevard. Offender made several attempts to run her vehicle off the road and into a wall. Offender made contact with her vehicle during one attempt (causing damage to the compl’s rear bumper). Compl pulled over and offender fled southbound on Roosevelt Blvd.

5450 Wissahickon Ave.
Complainant left her bikes (silver/purple Schwinn and black Cannondale road bikes) in apartment complex basement (last seen 3/1 at 3PM). When she returned on 3/15 the lock had been cut and her bikes were missing. Value: $950

4235 Ridge Ave.
Unknown person(s) stole equipment from construction site between 3/9 and 3/10. No signs of forced entry. Stolen items: Hammer drill, 2 evaporate blowers, and an AC/Heater unit. Value: $4500

Theft (incident occurred 2/17 — reported 3/3)
4349 Ridge Ave.
Complainant states that home healthcare aide took several items from her residence and placed them in her purse. Stolen items: Emilio Pucci sunglasses, Egyptian mummy figurine, and Mexican vase with 5 cups. Value: $400

4149 Ridge Ave.
Several items stolen from complainant’s vehicle between 12-6AM —  Lenova Thinkpad laptop, full sleep system, poncho, entrenching tool, assault pack, load bearing vest w magazine pouches, wet weather gear, body armor, gun belt, Blackhawk gun, holster, Glock 22, two 15-round Glock magazines, 30 American gunner hollow point bullets, and peerless handcuffs with pouch. No signs of forced entry. Vehicle unlocked. Value: $1900

5500 Wissahickon Ave. 
Assistant construction superintendent at site reported that members of her crew noticed copper tubing missing from two HVAC units. No forced entry. Site was locked. Value: $130

31XX Midvale Ave.
Complainant’s attorney states that compl received a call from a rug expert and publisher who saw compl’s one-of-a-kind oriental rugs at auction house on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, where they were being held pending police investigation. Compl didn’t put rugs up for auction and didn’t give permission for anyone to take them. Rugs were last seen during inventory in April 15, 2002. They were not seen during a 6/14/2016 inventory and were thought to be misplaced until they were spotted at the auction house. Value: $168,500

“The Shot” Celebrates Epic Finish

Bowman Street artist captures Villanova basketball’s championship moment and helps fund a great cause.

Any Philly sports fan worth their salt has seen “The Shot” repeatedly – Villanova’s Kris Jenkins rising up to nail a buzzer-beating shot to win the 2016 NCAA basketball championship. It’s an epic moment and, in a region that doesn’t see too many championships, it’s only right that local artists have worked to memorialize it.

The Falls is doing its part with “The Shot,” a dense, colorful work of art by Bowman Street’s Drew Montemayor.

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Fallser Flashback: John Lennox

Going old school with one Fallser’s pics and memories from the old neighborhood.

Stanton street’s own John Lennox shares some childhood memories in this edition of Fallser Flashbacks – tales from back in the day from those who lived it.

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Rig the Vote!

Putting a stop to gerrymandering

The result of gerrymandering — PA 7th Congressional District

This past election cycle there has been much discussion about winning elections fair and square.  There has been talk of rigged elections.  Many citizens are now familiar, at least somewhat, with the role of the Electoral College.

Additionally, many citizens are recognizing the impact of what is referred to as gerrymandering — the manipulation of the geographic boundaries to favor one political party. Gerrymandering happens in our commonwealth every 10 years under the guise of redistricting and it is a practice that needs to stop.

What is redistricting? Our state constitution requires that district lines be redrawn every 10 years following completion of the United States Census. These lines must be drawn in a compact, contiguous manner taking care to only divide communities for good and sufficient reason.

In PA, we have a Redistricting Commission which is responsible for redrawing the state representative and state senatorial districts. The five-member Commission is comprised of the 4 caucus leaders (the majority and minority leaders of the PA House and Senate) and the fifth individual, ostensibly non-partisan, is chosen by those caucus leaders. If this individual cannot be agreed upon, then the PA Supreme Court appoints the chair. The legislature does not vote on the plans and the governor has no power to sign or veto them.

Needless to say, this results in elected officials deciding those boundaries and therefore ‘picking their constituents’ instead of creating districts where competitive races can be run.  ‘Safe seats’ and districts packed with one or the other party is the result.  This is gerrymandering.

I am in support of creating an Independent Commission to assist in the development of compact and contiguous districts.

Redistricting congressional districts goes through the legislative process.  A bill defining the district boundaries is passed by both the House and Senate and signed by the governor.  Although the process is potentially bipartisan, if one party controls both the Pennsylvania House and Senate and the governorship, that party has exclusive control over how the district boundaries are drawn thereby becoming highly manipulated.

In 2012 I was a “no” vote for the legislation put forth to redraw our 18 congressional districts and was appalled at the yes votes from both sides of the aisle.  Rumor had it that members of the congressional delegation were asking for affirmative votes…and those votes were ultimately received.  Again, gerrymandering.

The topic of gerrymandering is so important to good government and transparency and the development of policy that meets the needs of the greater good of our citizens that I have covered it in all 59 of my Town Hall meetings.   A few of those meetings have been focused almost exclusively on this topic.

If the size of the legislature were to be reduced without gerrymandering being outlawed, our governance process will be even more prone to serving special interests and not our citizens.

As a member of the Government Reform caucus, I will continue to work tirelessly on this, IMHO, ‘root of all evils.’

FairDistrictsPA is a coalition led by the League of Women Voters and Common Cause PA to change our state constitution to create a redistricting commission composed of citizens selected by lottery to redraw the boundaries.  We need this amendment to our state constitution to pass before the next U.S. census in 2020.

Help Us Fight for Fair Elections

If you want to get involved in this effort and do not have access to a computer, please call my office at 215-482-8726 and we will put you in touch with the Philadelphia coordinator of this effort.


Teaming Up for the Cleaning Up

Join your neighbors for fresh air, sunshine, and an awesome full-body workout! Free! Get a head-start on beach season while beautifying our community’s front door step. 

Mark your calendars: Philly Spring Clean-Up is Saturday April 8th (9am – 2pm). Meet at BuLogics for donuts & equipment, then join your neighbors in raking out & bagging up trash and debris along Ridge Avenue and lower Midvale.

“Last year we had enough people to clean up both sides of Ridge from Dunkin to the Twin Bridges,” block captain Felicite told members at a recent EFF meeting, “I’d love to have double the number of people and cover twice as much ground.”

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February 2017

5500 Wissahickon Ave. 
Complainant parked her 2016 Ford Fusion around the corner from her apartment at 9:45PM. When she left for work the next day at 6:50AM, the vehicle was missing. Compl states she left a 2nd set of keys in the car.  Value: $25,000

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Thursday Art Alert! Sneak Peek at Conrad Street Gallery

February 2017 UPDATE:  Petrone Realty is now managing the property and seeking tenants for the art gallery and former pet store (corner property), as well as for Conrad Market in the same stretch.  

JAN 2016  UPDATE:  Owner Steve Carvelli has decided to pull all commercial public pursuits at the Gallery until otherwise notified. The former pet store is now advertising Pioneer Realty, but if often closed with no posted hours What’s up, dude? No one knows, he’s not talking. Hopefully everything’s OK and his businesses will be back on track soon. 

Original post July 21, 2015: Wow what a fun night on Conrad Street, big thanks to Street & Curb owner Steve Carvelli for putting such a fantastic event together, a sneak peak at how his “Art for Everyone” dreams are panning out.

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