January 28, 2014 |
James Dupree says city officials are trying to pave paradise and put up a supermarket. Dupree, a renowned Philadelphia artist, is embroiled in a bitter back-and-forth with the city over the fate of his art studio, an 8,600-square-foot building that takes up nearly a block along Haverford Avenue in the Mantua section of West Philadelphia. The property was seized in December 2012 by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. The authority condemned a two-block stretch through eminent domain, a legal process that allows government to take private property, pay the owner, and develop the land for public use. When the authority seized the Mantua property, it said the surrounding neighborhood was in desperate need of a supermarket.
June 2, 2009 |
By the time he was 42, Miles Mack had become a neighborhood icon in Mantua, running basketball games and changing lives at McAlpin Playground. Then a bullet took his life in that very park. When the idea of naming the park after him was proposed after his death in September, his mother, Sandra Mack, didn't see much use in it. But as the months passed, she came to believe that having his name there would remind kids that there was at least one person who always had their back. "Miles loved the kids in Mantua," she said.
July 15, 2013 |
A fossil-rich Gloucester County sandpit that has long provided a window into the past may also hold a view of the future. The Inversand Co., the Township of Mantua, and Drexel University are working on a preliminary proposal to transform the 65-acre site near Route 55 into an educational attraction. While no costs have been estimated or drawings made, the concept calls for creating a "world-class fossil park" where children and adults could enjoy hands-on experience of paleontology.
November 2, 2013 |
SEWELL Buying ghost-shaped cookies Thursday from the Ghost Chasers' Club didn't mean - ha-ha - that you believe in ghosts. But for the students selling those cookies at a table in Gloucester County College's student center, disembodied voices and sourceless shadows and floating lights are no laughing matter. "I started it last fall," founder and club president Justin Leach said shortly after lunch. "I figured a lot of people have had paranormal experiences that they're afraid to talk about or can't explain.
September 5, 2014 |
The feds promised to help West Philadelphia. And now a cabinet secretary is showing up to take a look around. Julián Castro, head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will tour parts of the new Promise Zone on Friday, as two local institutions commence a $4 million initiative to transform early childhood education in a troubled part of the city. The effort, led by the William Penn Foundation and Drexel University, seeks to double the number of neighborhood children in high-quality child care within three years.
May 13, 2014 |
The house is a wreck, all broken windows and boarded doors, soon to be torn down. But Annie Hunt remembers when the home was alive - a place of light and laughter, a haven for a mother and son. The West Philadelphia property belonged to a strong and determined woman, Hunt's aunt Leona Richardson. As a teenager in the late 1930s, Richardson struck out alone from the segregated South, leaving small-town Louisiana and making her way to Baltimore. When World War II broke out, she got a job in a defense plant as a welder.
February 28, 2014 |
ARTIST James Dupree says that despite the city's "You're gonna love the arts in Philly" slogan, Philadelphia hasn't been showing him any love. Instead, Dupree said, he has been confronted with pain and despair over a continuing legal struggle with the city to keep his studio space in Mantua. The city Redevelopment Authority wants to take his massive, 8,600 square-foot studio building, on Haverford Avenue near 36th Street, to make room for a supermarket and parking lot. His studio is filled with 5,000 works of art - including wildly colorful pieces, mixed-media jewelry boxes with feathers, and a wall installation showing how the city helps developers take property from low-income homeowners.
December 23, 1996 |
There was a time when Franklin Kelly had to sorta bribe kids to stay after school for a little intellectual extracurricular activity. Gave them juice, punch, TastyKakes, an occasional pizza. No more. Now they look forward to it. Look forward to putting a move or two on their opponent. To backing them into a corner with nowhere to turn. Most important, they've developed a deeper interest in school, their studies and themselves. Kelly's kids are members of the McMichael Elementary School chess team, a squad Kelly whipped up almost three years ago to give young boys and girls an opportunity to compete in an activity that doesn't require athletic ability.
March 15, 1991 |
For someone like Rondell Turner, having to absorb elbows and shoves from some of the taller and beefier stars in Public League basketball did not prove very intimidating. Turner has been fighting and scrambling for much of his life. Turner, a 6-6 sophomore from University City, has lived for the past year in Mount Airy, with his foster mother, Peaches Kirkland. Before that, in about a three-year period, he bounced from a group home in South Philly to another in suburban Flourtown to another in Mantua.
June 2, 2014 |
It was a grand and glorious funeral, one that drew hundreds of people onto the streets to honor not a person but a house. There were tears, more than a couple. But also joy, and music and memories, all in celebration of 3711 Melon Street in West Philadelphia. The house began life 142 years ago as a stack of bricks and lumber, and was set to end it on Saturday as a dusty pile of the same, after a ritual demolition. The empty, abandoned home, its roof failing and back wall bulging, was the centerpiece of "Funeral for a Home," an arts project that paid tribute to one home as a way to recognize them all - in a city where demolitions have become commonplace.