December 2, 2014 |
If Michael could spend a day doing anything he wanted, he'd play sports, go hiking, and visit a playground. Better yet, the day would be Halloween, the best holiday of all because he can dress up and play a role in a world spun from his vivid imagination. Creative, curious about everything around him - that's 12-year-old Michael. In school, where he receives special education services, math is his favorite subject, and he gets along well with his teachers and classmates. He also likes to dance, and loves baseball, football, and basketball, which he plays in a school club.
October 27, 2014 |
To which socioeconomic class do you belong? According to a report presented in Los Angeles last month to the CityLab Conference of Mayors and City Leaders, if you live, for instance, in Manayunk, Society Hill, Wynnefield or Fox Chase, you probably are a member of the "creative class. " Members of this "knowledge-based" class comprise more than 75 percent to 88 percent of the population of these and other neighborhoods within the city limits, the majority in and around Center City.
September 21, 2014 |
A few weeks ago, I presented a question from a mother who was looking for an explanation for the smell of tobacco emanating from not just one window air conditioner in her son's bedroom, but from a replacement unit as well. Apparently enough of us have smoked behind our parents' backs over the years that 45 readers offered that as the only explanation for the smell of smoke in the son's bedroom. Jim Zimak, who teaches Philadelphia students about heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning as an instructor at the Thomas A. Edison High School/John C. Fareira Skills Center, was helpful and not judgmental.
September 15, 2014 |
Even during lean years, Opera Philadelphia could manage at least a klieg light for its season opener. Now celebrating its 40th anniversary with financial stability and grand plans for seasons to come, Opera Philadelphia had two lanes of Broad Street blocked Friday with a climate-controlled tent to house a catered dinner. First, there was an intimate concert with 400 listeners sitting on the Academy of Music stage to hear internationally established singers whose careers began here, Ailyn Perez and Stephen Costello.
September 12, 2014 |
A FIRST-GRADE teacher on Kickstarter is trying to raise money for tablets to help her students improve their reading and math skills. A rookie music teacher on GoFundMe is trying to cobble enough together to buy musical instruments. On that same crowdfunding site, another instructor is hoping to raise money to set up a game room for students who have emotional and behavioral needs. With so much lacking in Philadelphia schools, I had to give these teachers props for thinking past just surviving.
August 17, 2014 |
Teresa Shields Westkaemper lives in a sprawling four-bedroom house in Jenkintown with husband Paul Westkaemper and their three daughters. She is an accomplished watercolorist with a master's degree in fine art, and a very specific artistic sensibility: She loves circles and the colors red and blue. "I can't tell you why I like circles, but I always have, and I express them everywhere," she says. It makes sense, then, that after a renovation that included demolishing and rebuilding the rear of the structure, the Westkaemper home is blue in the front and has a red caboose, so to speak.
August 5, 2014 |
Emonie offers a self-assessment: "I am funny and smart!" What she neglects to mention is that, at 16, she also is a beauty, with big, brown eyes that sparkle and a dazzling smile. To those attributes, add a creative streak, which has led her into a variety of activities. She is learning how to scrapbook, but she already excels at crocheting - so much so that Emonie, who has the makings of a fine teacher, delights in showing her younger classmates how to do it. Her social worker describes her as a good communicator, as well as an honest person.
June 27, 2014 |
As Cristina Martinez heated a wide maguey leaf on the food cart's griddle, her husband, Benjamin Miller, reached into a warming box holding slow-cooked barbacoa lamb, and the earthy aromas of Capulhuac, Mexico, suddenly wafted over this South Philly corner at Eighth and Watkins Streets. "You want rib meat, leg, or spine?" asks Miller, assembling a one-pound package of moist flesh to be gift-wrapped inside the maguey leaf, with a pint of lamb consomme, spicy cactus salad, and a stack of fresh tortillas on the side.
June 16, 2014 |
Matthew Deibert gently tended to the 10-foot tower of sand at Long Beach Island's Fantasy Island Amusement Park. On a recent overcast afternoon, the 49-year-old Smithville resident began to carve what would likely take him several visits between his 10-hour days as an Atlantic City fire captain. Deibert's sand creations have been among the centerpieces greeting visitors - attractions whose twists and dips will never be the same season to season. This year, he planned to depict amusement-park icons and give its mascot, "Mayor Al Gator," an ice cream cone.
June 10, 2014 |
Kih'asia is a happy, creative 13-year-old who has set her sights on the performing arts and the music industry. She dreams of a career in rap, and already rhymes and sings her own songs. If that doesn't work out, she has an alternate plan: to attend college and become a law-enforcement officer. Kih'asia also loves sports-related activities and, like other teenagers, enjoys spending time with her friends. Enrolled in the seventh grade, she is doing well in school, and her report card is filled with Bs. Her favorite subjects are physical education and English.