Elijah Fletcher ran away from the George Junior Republic residential school north of Pittsburgh last July because he was missing home and even missing trouble. That memorable adventure in a swamp being attacked by mosquitos ended with his return to the school. On June 3rd he was beaming at his high school graduation with his proud Dad by his side, about to begin his first job, and with a handsome college scholarship in hand. After earning a degree in psychology and sociologist, he plans to give back through work helping youth find a better life than stealing and drugs. Watch video here.
A Penn Environment representative demonstrates how planting trees will cool the earth and counter global warming using a lamp, a model house and tree and a temperature reading gun. Video and interview here.
Architecture students from Philadelphia University demonstrate the model they've desgined of a turbine that would sit in the ocean off of Santa Monica California that would not only generate energy from wave action but would allow people to walk through the apparatus. The walkway is composed of segments which compensate for undulations and thus would grant visitors a level walking experience while connecting directly with the source of their [electric] power. The designers, entering their model in a competition, describe their invention as "habitable generative art." Watch video and interview here.
Speech pathology students from Salus University offer samples of thickened juice to educate the public how thickened liquids can help people with swallowing problems inadvertently breathe liquids into their lungs. Watch video and interview here.
Quaker Action activist Chris Baker Evens urge the PECO [Exelon] electric utility to agree to buy back energy from residents of North Philadelphia who install renewable, solar energy panels on their rooftops. At a booth across the way at the Philadelphia Science Festival, PECO representatives advise the public how to save on their energy bills. Watch video and interview here.
Alison and Robin of Philadelphia's Resource Exchange demonstrate and explain how scraps of clothing and many other things you might be inclined to trash can be used to make art or recycled for other purposes. Watch video interview here.
The Impact girls fast pitch softball team in Roxborough hand washed cars, including your correspondent's not-too-dirty sedan, this past Saturday on a pay-what-you-want basis to raise money so they can enter more tournaments. At your correspondent's bidding, a couple girls mimed their batting and pitching techniques. Many have ambitions to play softball in college, according to their coach who was lending a fair amount of his own elbow grease in the wash line. Watch video here.
Nine hundred dollars is how much Kabria Johnson’s friend told Johnson she made in one day driving for the ride-sharing service Uber. Out on just her third day on the job, the pretty, twenty-one year old “Uber X “driver says she is not afraid for her safety. She knows where to hit you. And since Uber tracks the time and distance through GPS and charges the customer’s credit card, drivers don’t need to carry cash.
Johnson holds down a job in customer service with U.S. Airways and is in the process of being approved, also, by the competing ride service, Lyft. She is saving up to pay off a loan on her other car, get an apartment and buy furniture. And she’s planning a big cookout for herself and five younger siblings this coming Mother’s day which, sadly, will be their first without their Mom who died last October.
It was a smooth ride in Johnson’s newly acquired 2006 Toyota Prius with over 200,000 miles on it, but seeming in good condition, that she uses exclusively when driving for Uber. She was unfazed when another driver rolled down his window at a stop to point out that one of our tires appeared to be flat. We pulled over into a gas station briefly to get some air. Johnson says she has Triple A service and family all over the city to come to her aid if need be. As for me, her rider, Johnson smiles, if she hadn’t been able to get me to my destination, another Uber driver would likely have been summoned to scoop me up for the final leg of my journey within a matter of minutes.
Karen Kaur (left) of Punjabi heritage and Zeel Patel of Gujurati , danced an exuberant duet, “PunjGu” at the 4th Annual “Taal Se Taal” Indo-Pak cultural show on March 28, 2015 in Northeast Philadelphia. Part of their soundtrack to their dance routine was "Bhoom Trivedi/Sanjay Leela Bhansali-Ram Chahe Leela" (copyright administered by Merlin/Eros Music.) The hours long show and competition featured singers and dancers from Northeast High, Girls High, Central and from Penn State and raised money for charity.
Kaur and Patel think that their respective Punjabi Bhangra and Gujurati Garba dance styles are similarly filled with love and joy and typified by jumping! Some of Kaur’s high energy, she laughed, came courtesy of Red Bull.
Drexel University Homecoming King Richard Felix and his frat brothers cheered on the Drexel men’s basketball team to victory against the College of Charleston Cougars this past Saturday. And the Drexel Dance and Sprit teams helped the Dragons breathe fire in the come from behind win. Drexel trailed from 6 to 8 points for almost the entire game but clawed their way to a 53 to 51 win in the final minutes of the homecoming game at the Daskalakis Athletic Center in West Philadelphia. Watch video here.
According to her Dad, Bill, when Lisa Loonstyn was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 20, she accelerated the process of having a baby in expectation that she would need to have her ovaries removed. No one expected that the cancer, detected at stage one, would kill her at age 24. Her baby, now five, participated in the first “Lisa’s Army” 5K pumpkin race on Forbidden Drive along the Wissahickon Creek on Saturday. Loonstyn said his daughter was always helping others who were going through chemotherapy and radiation treatments. In her honor and memory, the friends and family who loved her continue this mission. Lisa loved pumpkins and Halloween was her favorite holiday. Watch video here.
When Tiffany Gaal is not selling popcorn or sweeping up spilled popcorn at the 100 year-old, one screen Hiway [Movie] Theater in Jenkintown, Pa., she’s auditioning for or appearing in musical theater. After the early evening screening of “Jersey Boys,” the story of singer Franki Valli and the Four Seasons, your correspondent cajoled Gaal into singing while she was restocking the snack stand. She chose “Come with me” from the epilogue of Les Miz, the musical she is most desirous of performing in. For good measure, I got her to sing some of Valli’s hit song, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.”
In the accompanying video, Andrew Heller, Gaal’s work partner at the Hiway, appears in a non-singing role.
Four homeschooled girls are selling snacks and cold drinks four days a week outside the Andorra Shopping Center in Roxborough, Philadelphia. They have been doing this for the last ten weeks. Watch video interview here.
On Tuesday, May 21st, at the home of Mary Moorhouse and Angela Griffiths on the corner of Ardleigh and Meade Streets in Chestnut Hill, Nena Eskridge and Fairleigh Dickinson University students began shooting an independent feature length film called “Stray.”
“Stray is a dark psycho/thriller about a killer who decides to give up a life of crime to settle down in a small town to start a family. But first she has to find the right guy to help make it happen – whether he wants to or not.” This, according to the production’s Kickstarter fundraising page which shows 133 donors have already pledged $50,400 surpassing the $50,000 goal.
“Stray” features actress Michele Page (who played a punk girl in a bank “Miss Congeniality 2”) as the lead Jennifer Davis and also tv and screen actors Annie Corley and Aaron Lustig.
A flier left some weeks ago through your correspondent’s mail slot alerted us that filming would begin today and continue through June 10th. The crew will shoot scenes along Germantown Avenue, at the Mermaid Inn and one on June 6th at the back of 213 E Meade Street, Eskridge’s house (on the alley behind our house.) Everyone is welcome to “stop by and watch. Just remember everyone has to be quiet “