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On the Ground Redux: Shining a light on an amazing Germantown renovation

Nicole Juday's jaw-dropping renovation of a derelict Germantown home is highlighted in a gorgeous New York Times feature. Click through the slideshow and prepare to drool.

It wasn’t abandoned, but it may as well have been. A fire had destroyed much of the second floor, and raccoons were living in the attic. In the backyard was the marshy remains of what had once been a swimming pool, a cesspool that parents worried their children might fall into...

So in 2010, she and her husband bought the seven-bedroom house and all of its contents from the elderly owner for $125,000.
Even at that price, it was no bargain. “I think the house was possibly condemnable,” said Ms. Juday, 43.

It took another $400,000 and thousands of hours of labor to make it habitable. That included rebuilding it from the studs out, with new wiring, plumbing, roofing and plaster, and installing historically accurate windows and millwork. Beams were added to shore up the structure, and the brick exterior was repointed. The swimming pool was filled in, and an old caved-in Chevy was hauled out of the side yard.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Green development Folsom Powerhouse comes to Francisville

Postgreen Homes is teaming up with Equinox Management & Construction LLC to build the Folsom Powerhouse, a 31-unit mixed-income green housing project in Francisville.

Postgreen and Equinox are also aided by ISA Architects, who designed the project, and Studio Bryan Hanes, who is responsible for the landscaping. The development will feature energy efficient design, with solar power, green roof technology and advanced storm water management practices. It’s proximity to public transit, nearby shops and the Francisville community center will give residents great access to amenities and necessities.

"Our proposal adapted Folsom’s fabric and the City’s best practices in urban planning," explained Chad Ludeman, President of Postgreen Homes. "The Powerhouse name is indicative of our commitment to extreme energy efficiency, giving residents the power to live with community and environmental consciousness in mind."


Original source: Inhabitat
Read the complete story here.

Stogie Joe's pies earn national praise

Passyunk Square's Stogie Joe's Tavern was included on Thrillist's list of the nation's 33 best pizzas. The sauce-on-top square pies have a loyal following. 

"Red-sauced bakery pies are as much a South Philly staple as being ejected from a Phillies game, and, just like Phillies fans, Stogie Joe's takes it to the next level, serving their square pies upside-down with their signature spicy-sweet tomato sauce floating above the cheese blanketing a Sicilian-style crust."

Original source: Thrillist
Read the complete list here.

School closings create strange bedfellows on the gridiron

The closing of Germantown High School sent players to rival Martin Luther King High School. The New York Times took a close look at the blended squad.

What was once unthinkable to many players had become intimate and binding. Most of King’s current roster played last season at archrival Germantown High School in northwest Philadelphia. Few could have imagined the schools merging, the teams playing as one.

When King last defeated Germantown in their annual Thanksgiving Day game, in 2010, the players brawled with fists and helmets. The police intervened.

But austerity has trumped rivalry. Facing a $304 million budget shortfall, the chronically troubled Philadelphia School District closed 23 schools in June. The closings included Germantown, one of the nation’s oldest high schools, which opened in 1914 and closed a year shy of its centennial. Most of its students would now attend King. The two schools were about a mile apart and shared a tense history.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Chester County hamlet named nation's 10th best small town

West Goshen made CNN Money's list of America's best small towns to live in, based on green space, schools, economic opportunity and community. The Chester County hamlet came in at No. 10.

West Goshen Township has a lush, suburban feel, with quiet, tree-shaded residential areas, lovely parks, and a full slate of community activities.

Looking for larger-scale entertainment? The King of Prussia Mall, America's largest shopping center, is only 20 minutes away. Surrounding the town is store- and restaurant-packed West Chester, a hamlet that serves as the area's unofficial downtown.

West Goshen also boasts an array of local employers, including Comcast and QVC, and is an easy commute to the economic hubs of Philadelphia and Wilmington, Del. If your heart's set on moving into a brand-new house, keep in mind that some newer residential developments lack personality and are expensive compared with older homes.


Original source: CNN Money
Check out the complete list here.

The Atlantic Cities highlights Fishtown's 'Rust Belt Rising Almanac'

The Atlantic Cities chatted with Nic Esposito, urban farmer and founder of The Head & The Hand Press.

A small publisher and writers' workspace, The Head & the Hand Press, has just published Rust Belt Rising Almanac, a literary quarterly showcasing snapshots and essays on life in industrial American cities (including, of course, Philadelphia). The volume invites "Courteous Readers" to read about escapes, remains, and models of growth, and is at turns cheeky and earnest, with such section titles as "On Reverse Pioneering," "On the Anatomy of Coal-Fired Power Plant," and "On the Collective and the Communal."

Original Source: The Atlantic Cities
Read the complete story here.
 

'Game of Thrones' scribes pen 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' episode

David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, the showrunners behind Game of Thrones on HBO, have written an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia based on novella 'Flowers for Algernon." Sign us up. The episode was shot on-location in Philadelphia -- a small change from Benioff and Weiss' normal shooting sites in Northern Ireland, Iceland and Croatia.

No matter what the title of the show promises, the skies over this location shoot for “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” had offered only thunderstorms broken up by occasional periods of mugginess. Maybe that was typical weather for this recent summer morning, or maybe it was the influence of the authors of the scene about to be filmed, who were thousands of miles away, busy with their regularly foreboding duties...

In one of their few outside writing assignments, Mr. Weiss and Mr. Benioff wanted to split sides in the figurative sense, not requiring broadswords or battle-axes. They pursued “It’s Always Sunny” not only because they were fans of the show and its creator, Mr. McElhenney, but also because its humor and fast-paced half-hour format would challenge them.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

The Times' Frank Bruni visits Vetri, temporarily reborn as Le Bec-Fin

Marc Vetri honored the recently shuttered Le Bec-Fin by transforming his flagship restaurant into a three-nights-only homage. Former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni made the pilgrimage.

Mr. Perrier opened Le Bec-Fin in 1970 and presided over it for more than four heady decades, a titan of the Philadelphia dining scene and a legend well beyond it. He was classic French cuisine personified, at least in America. The gold standard. The grand homme.

And for Le Bec-Fin’s first 13 years, before he moved it to larger, more regal digs just six or so blocks away, it occupied the brick town house that is now Vetri. That’s what gave Mr. Vetri the idea of briefly recreating Le Bec-Fin in its childhood and arguably its prime, so that food lovers who hadn’t been quite ready to bid adieu to it, himself included, could revel in its onetime glory as a way of saying a fitting farewell.

This took planning. This took preparation. In addition to the formal wear for the staff and the harp player for the vestibule, there was the matter of the sign: Mr. Vetri wanted to hang Le Bec-Fin’s original wood one out front. No one could find it. So he had a replica made...


Waiters practiced not only balletic movements and gestures but correct pronunciation.

"We've been sitting around repeating 'oeuf au caviar,' 'oeuf au caviar'," said Bobby Domenick, a sommelier and captain at Vetri, referring to one of the three amuse-bouches, an egg with caviar. He added that Mr. Perrier had linguistically tutored them, a Henry Higgins of haute cuisine.


Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Penn doctors examine the black-white divide in breast cancer outcomes

For years, scientists and doctors have puzzled over the disparity in outcomes between white and black breast cancer sufferers. A team at the University of Pennsylvania recently published a report on the subject.

The findings were striking. Over all, white women with breast cancer lived three years longer than black women. Of the women studied, nearly 70 percent of white women lived at least five years after diagnosis, while 56 percent of black women were still alive five years later. The difference is not explained by more aggressive cancers among black women. Instead, the researchers found a troubling pattern in which black women were less likely to receive a diagnosis when their cancer was at an early stage and most curable. In addition, a significant number of black women also receive lower-quality cancer care after diagnosis, although those differences do not explain the survival gap.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Vice interviews Camden street photographer Gabe Angemi, a second-generation firefighter

Vice interviews Gabe Angemi, a street photographer, skateboarder and firefighter in Camden.

Recently Camden removed its police force. Can that city, once known as the ‘City Invincible’ ever possibly recover?

Walt Whitman coined that term: “In a dream I saw a city invincible...” Who knows, man. I’d love to see it prosper, that’s what brings me to work, to try and help make that happen. The place has great energy and great people. What happened to the Camden Police is both a travesty and an injustice, but that’s a whole other interview. My answer is yes it can and will recover, but it needs help. It needs people and positivity. The stigma attached to it is perpetuated by people who never spent any time there.


Original source: Vice
Read the complete interview and check out some of Angemi's photographs here.

Stand-up comedian takes aim at Philly audiences

Sure, local sports fans get a bad rap, but now, in Vice, comedian Chris Gethard claims Philadelphia is "the scariest place to do comedy." Do you agree?

I’ve had a few rough experiences in Philadelphia. At one live edition of my public access show there, I admittedly antagonized the crowd by titling the show “New York is Better Than Philly.”  I thought These guys are going to be aggressive anyway. They love being aggressive. Let’s have fun with it. The show started with an audience member lighting a copy of my book—which has my face on it—on fire, and throwing it on the stage. My first few minutes of stage time were spent franticly stomping on an image of myself, hoping I wouldn’t be responsible for comedy’s version of the Great White tragedy.

Original source: Vice
Read the complete story here.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia hits Comic-Con

The Philly-centric program It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia hyped its upcoming ninth season in San Diego. Sign us up for the "Flowers for Algernon" riff written by the men behind Game of Thrones.

"Always Sunny" cast members Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito were on hand to answer fans' questions after screening the first episode of the new season, which is debuting on the FX spin-off network FXX in September.

Howerton said the new season will include episodes featuring Thanksgiving, "Lethal Weapon 6," a flu epidemic and an installment written by "Game of Thrones" co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss titled "Flowers for Charlie."


Original source: The Huffington Post
Read the complete story here.


Kensington school bets (and wins) on innovative violence-prevention ethos

The Memphis Street Academy (formerly John Paul Jones Middle School) was one of the most violent schools in the city -- until they removed all their metal detectors.

The police predicted chaos. But instead, new numbers seem to show that in a single year, the number of serious incidents fell by 90 percent.

The school says it wasn't just the humanizing physical makeover of the facility that helped. Memphis Street Academy also credits the Alternatives to Violence Project, a noncoercive, nonviolent conflict resolution regimen originally used in prison settings that was later adapted to violent schools. AVP, when tailored to school settings, emphasizes student empowerment, relationship building and anger management over institutional control and surveillance. There are no aggressive security guards in schools using the AVP model; instead they have engagement coaches, who provide support, encouragement, and a sense of safety.


Original source: The Atlantic Cities
Read the complete story here.

Neil Budde out at AxisPhilly

Shortly after Flying Kite profiled the innovative news site, CEO Neil Budde is stepping down at AxisPhilly. The fledgling media organization has had trouble securing a second round of funding, leading to changes at the top. Here's the official statement:

The board of Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network Inc. has asked CPIJ to lead a restructuring of the AxisPhilly project in light of its inability to raise sufficient second-round funding to support an aggressive initial business model. To facilitate that restructuring, Neil Budde has proposed and the board agreed to eliminate the position of CEO of PPIIN/AxisPhilly. The board and CPIJ leadership are grateful for Neil's service in developing the initial plans for AxisPhilly, incorporating and staffing the organization and overseeing significant meaningful reporting, data journalism, and community engagement efforts on a range of topics.

Budde also offered his thoughts on AxisPhilly.

Original source: Technically Philly
Read the complete story here.
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