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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: March, 2009

POSTED: Monday, March 30, 2009, 10:18 AM

If there were such an award, I’d present it to Trish Houck, her daughter, Leah, and son, Eric.  The family will be honored for volunteerism this Friday evening, Apr. 3, at the AIDS Fund’s annual Black-Tie GayBINGO fund-raiser at the Crystal Tea Room.

GayBINGO, of course, is the hilarious, campy fund-raiser held monthly at the Gersham Y to benefit the AIDS Fund.  It’s described on one website as being “just like grandma’s bingo only way more fun.”

And tres more gay: Men in drag, looking better than many women do on their wedding day (well, except for that beard stubble...), roller-skate around the room, verifying Bingo wins. But it’s a welcoming scene for straight folks, too, who want to support a good cause while having a blast.

Once a year,  GayBINGO goes black-tie fancy to applaud its more committed volunteers. The Houcks, who live in Bridesburg, are among this year’s honorees.

POSTED: Friday, March 20, 2009, 6:58 PM

The first day of spring is all about new beginnings. I can think of no sweeter way to observe the birth of the re-birth season than by sharing these lovely wedding photos of David Williams and his new bride, Pam Dooden.

The couple tied the knot this afternoon at The Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s campus at 1331 E. Wyoming Ave., in Juniata.

I know - a hospital is a strange place to say “I do.” Except that CTCA, says Dave, is responsible for his still being alive to utter the words to Pam, to whom he’d been engaged for three years.

POSTED: Friday, March 13, 2009, 10:58 AM

See this fun sign?


In these fragile, foreclosure-y times, it would be easy to assume it was mounted on this Fishtown house by someone having mortgage issues with Bank of America.

But, no, the sign’s been hanging on Avi Oslick’s side wall at Earl St. and Girard Ave. since those halcyon, pre-bank-mess days of November 2007. 

POSTED: Thursday, March 12, 2009, 5:38 PM
"The hole was wide open when I left for work at 9 am," says Moyer St. resident Alberta Bertolino. "By 4:30pm, my neighbor texted me and said, 'You'll never believe it - they're filling in the hole."

Yesterday, at about 6:46 a.m., I wrote a blog post about a gigantic sinkhole on the 400 block of Moyer St., in Fishtown. It had opened up on Feb. 4th, and residents were told it wouldn't be fully repaired until June.

Less than 12 hours after my post hit this website - voila! - city workers had filled the thing in.

Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 11, 2009, 6:46 AM
This sinkhole has been open since Feb. 4th and may not be filled until June. That's right - June.

On the best days, parking is a bear in Fishtown. So imagine how bad it's gotten for the poor residents on the 400 block of Moyer St., which has lost about 20 parking spots because of this sinkhole.

It opened up on Feb. 4th, when two water main breaks sent water gushing into the neighborhood – and into the basement of at least one unlucky homeowner.

The hole was originally the length of an SUV. Now, it yawns from curb to curb, stretches the length of  three house-fronts and plunges at least 20 feet deep. The initial breaks washed away all the dirt, grit and sand that used to hold up the street. Now, looking into it, you wonder what's holding up the houses alongside it.

POSTED: Monday, March 9, 2009, 7:03 AM
Aquatics instructor Peg Fredlund, laid off by the Rec Department, continues to coach kids she was once paid to train.

And now, in honor of today’s re-opening of Pickett Pool, I present to you Peg Fredlund, one of my new favorite people.

I mentioned Peg in a column last week about how, back in January, budget woes forced the city’s Recreation Department to close down four of its six indoor pools. One of those pools, Pickett, was home of several swim teams, including the Polar Bears, whose members were coached by Peg, a 16-year employee of the Rec Department.

When the department laid off Peg and 17 other aquatics staffers – who staffed those four shuttered pools – she was in the midst of coaching the Polar Bears for a big meet next month at the University of Delaware.  The kids, just average swimmers, were eager to improve their skills so they’d do Pickett proud at UDel. And Peg was thrilled by their determination.

POSTED: Sunday, March 1, 2009, 7:40 PM
Detail on the T-shirts being sold in memory of Police Ofc. John Pawlowski, as a fund-raiser.

Now available for purchase are those memorial T-shirts that Matt McIntyre promised to produce in honor of slain Philly cop John Pawlowski.

Matt, you might recall from my column about him last month, is a Northeast Philly resident who works full-time at the Kimmel Center as a stage carpenter and part-time as an un-paid fund-raiser for the families of fallen Philadelphia police officers.

Known as "That T-Shirt Fund-Raiser Guy," Matt's title isn't one he ever planned for or wanted. But what began as a simple effort, back in 2006, to sell T-shirts as a fund-raiser for the family of slain cop Gary Skerski has sadly morphed into a bigger operation, as  the city has since buried another six officers killed in the line of duty.

About this blog

When my phone rings here at the Daily News, nine times out of ten the caller begins the conversation with, “Yeah, so what happened was…”.

Because this is Philly, the caller doesn’t say, “My name is Bob” – or Mary – “and I wonder if I could have a moment of your time?” Philadelphians are too direct for that. They just say, “Yeah, so what happened was…”, and then tumble into a tale they think oughta be shared with a wider audience. I love getting these calls (even the ones where it becomes clear, after 30 seconds, where the caller sowed the seeds of his own misery), because they give me chance to connect with fellow citizens in a way that no other job allows. Well, okay, no other job for which I’m remotely qualified.

That’s why my blog is titled “So What Happened Was…”. To me, it’s the quintessentially Philly way of saying, “Once upon a time.” When I hear it, I know a good story is coming. And I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Ronnie Polaneczky has been an award-winning columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News since 1999, offering a front-steps perspective on every aspect of city life, from the sublime to the stupid. In her past life, she was the editor-in-chief of Atlantic City Magazine, associate editor at Philadelphia Magazine and a fulltime freelancer published in Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, MarieClaire and others. She lives with her husband, daughter and various pets in the city's Fairmount section, where she dreams of one day singing The National Anthem at an Eagles game. In addition to her column and blog, you can enjoy Ronnie's musings in podcast form here.


Read more from Ronnie Polaneczky at Earth to Philly, the Daily News blog on anything and everything "Green Reach Ronnie at polaner@phillynews.com.

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