Temple’s Community Center Proposal Draws Community Opposition

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At City Council’s public hearing Monday, many North Philadelphia residents testified against the proposal for a new community center.

A group of community members and the Stadium Stompers sat at the hearing shaking their heads in disappointment. Community members who testified said they don’t want it.

Community Leader Linda Waters-Richardson outlined some of reasons why some residents do not want the center.

“So with the transparency, competition, educational efficacy, foot and vehicle traffic, we are opposed to this project,” she says.

Dean of the College of Education Gregory Anderson is one of the leaders of this project.

Rendering courtesy of City Planning Commission

“The proposed building will bring together one facility located close to the community, a number of community services which will allow for innovation,” the Dean says.

The City Planning Commission released renderings of the Alpha Center last month, which has no connection to the proposed stadium. The building will sit at 13th and Diamond streets.

With the renderings, Temple included a detailed review which was discussed at the meeting.

Rendering courtesy of City Planning Commission

An early learning center, dental clinic, and a workspace for the College of Education are only a few of the many resources the center would provide.

Community members say it’s an ongoing battle with Temple University. They say many projects in the past did not include the community, but only pushed them out. They feel this Alpha Center will do just that.

Paula Peebles, Chairwoman of the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Action Network says, “We know Temple. It’s always a bait and switch and it’s no different with this project.”

Peebles adds she and other residents have been fighting with Temple University for five decades, protesting against their previous projects. Those who testified say the Alpha Center is not for the community, but for Temple.

At least one former Temple student stood with those who testified. Temple Graduate Fiona Cavanagh says Temple needs to build a better relationship with the community.

“I believe that Temple has a responsibility to right their wrongs before they try and do these new things,” Cavanagh says.

The council will hold the bill and decide on it at a later date as requested by Councilman Darrell Clarke. As for now, the community members who testified says they want Temple to leave them alone.

TSG Creates New Mentorship Program

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Temple Student Government created a new high school mentorship program to build a relationship with high school students in the North-Central Philadelphia area.

Temple students will serve as mentors, helping high school students prepare for college and apply. Local and Community Affairs Director Leonard Chester wants the program to allow Temple University to be a resource for the youth.

“We really just wanted to create a platform where we provide our kids, our youth, with resources and tools to further their education,” Chester says.

Temple’s Student Government partnered with the Advocate Center, where the program will be held. Due to the Advocate Center’s ongoing work in the community, Chester thought the Center would be perfect for this program.

“They have done historically great work in the North Philadelphia community. When I think about North Philadelphia now and North Philadelphia community work, I think about the Advocate Church and then I also think about the Advocate Center,” Chester says.

Advocate Center Executive Director Adia Harmon says the Center is passionate about providing a safe space for students as well as bringing access and exposure to them. Harmon adds the Center is happy to partner with organizations for a program like this.

“It’s not too early to start building your network. So, having a strong solid mentor in your life who just not only serves as a sounding board but to also to encourage you and inspire you – and to also learn from you as a high school student is pretty empowering,” Harmon says.

The mentorship program does more than provide assistance with college applications. It gives high school students someone to look up to, like a big brother or sister. Temple student Dilvany Arredondo says she feels like more of a big sister to her mentee.

“I try to guide the conversation to something meaningful. I’ll ask her about her grades. I’ll ask her about her outside relationships,” Arredondo says.

Arredondo says many mentees feel disconnected with the Temple community. She hopes this program will allow high schools students to feel more comfortable and welcomed around Temple students.

Although this program ends towards the end of this spring semester, mentors and mentees still plan to keep in touch. The current administration hopes the next administration will keep the program going for the fall.

Philadelphia Students March Against Gun Violence

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Philadelphia students, along with students across the nation, walked out of school on Wednesday and marched against gun violence from the Philadelphia School District Building to City Hall.

This national walkout showed support for the victims of the Parkland, Florida shooting.

The Philadelphia Student Union, Juntos, and other Philadelphia organizations organized a student march following the national #Enough Walkouts. Their goal was to bring the conversation of gun control and school safety to Philadelphia.

“I participated because I wanted to make a change. It’s important because just because it happened in Florida, it could still happen in Philly. Just because it’s not happening in this area doesn’t mean it won’t. I want to try to stop it before it’s too late,” says Jade Fairfax, a student at Bodine High School for International Affairs.

Students gathered at the Philadelphia School District and marched down Broad Street to City Hall.

Leaders from different organizations spoke at City Hall, urging students to use their voice.

The Philadelphia Student Union presented a list of demands they want for Philadelphia schools. Some of those demands include more guidance counselors, better health services, and protection of students with the use of a gun.

Superintendent William R. Hite sent a letter to parents explaining that students would be allowed to walk out of their school for 17 minutes and then return to class without punishment. Some students were concerned that their high schools would punish them with detentions or suspensions for leaving school and attending the march.

Universities like Temple University said punishment for attending the protest would not affect college applications.

“I feel like Philadelphia, we could come together as one, and if we could come together as one like right now we should be able to come together and fight for more than just gun control. We could fight for a better government and a better system,” says Nadir Jones, a student of Bodine High School for International Affairs.

Philadelphia’s Proposal of Safe Consumption Sites

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Philadelphia has announced plans to open supervised drug injection sites. These facilities would provide users with clean needles, medical supervision, and resources to seek addiction help.

The decision to establish the drug injection sites comes after an increase of opioid deaths in Philadelphia. According to the Department of Public Health, the amount of overdose deaths in 2017 is expected to be around 1,200, which is nearly 300 more than 2016.

District Attorney Larry Krasner has placed the blame on pharmaceutical companies for selling such high powered drugs.

“And at the same time, the supply of pills have quadrupled, the supply of fatal overdoses from heroin and the supply of people who are suffering addiction from heroin and opioids have quadrupled,” Krasner says.

City officials believe that the supervised drug injection sites will prevent people from dying from drug overdose.

The city’s proposal has provoked both positive and negative reactions. Solomon Jones, who is a radio host at Praise 107.9, says, “If you are helping someone to survive a heroin overdose, then you are helping them to live an addiction.”

Jones has made an event called “Safe Injection Sites: A Community Forum,” in order for people on both sides to discuss the sites.

“[Philadelphia] just announced it from on high,” says Jones. “‘We’re going to do these safe injection sites,’ never came to the community, never brought people together, and so I took it upon myself to do that.”

Despite opposition, there are some people that think the sites will greatly help the city.

“To me, I think it’s a no-brainer that we need an engagement site where people can go and use drugs,” says Jillian Bauer-Reese, an assistant professor at Temple University. “I think they will save lives and will also save money and decrease public drug use.”

City officials will bring in private organizations to fund and run these consumption sites as well. These organizations are still unknown to the public.

Watch Party at the Piazza

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The Piazza will be hosting a watch party for Temple football game this Saturday at 12 pm. Temple has came up off of a win against UConn on November 28 and will be face off against the University of Houston.

Temple Student Government recently tweeted directions to the Piazza for Temple students who are unsure of how to get there.

 

Dilworth Park Presents a New Holiday Market

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Philadelphia City HallThis year, Dilworth Park will host a Made in Philadelphia Market for the holidays. This market will include 30 vendors that will open this Saturday, November 21 and will remain open until December 27. It will be closed on Christmas Day.

The park will give Philadelphia a warm Christmas feeling with decorated tents with arts and craft, jewelry, accessories, and food and drinks.

Made in Philadelphia was designed to complement Christmas Village in Love Park, which has been active for eight years. The Christmas Village provides traditional European foods, sweets and drinks. It features international holiday gifts, ornaments, jewelry, and arts and crafts.

The markets will run on Sunday through Thursday from 11 am to 7 pm and on Friday and Saturday it will run from 11 am until 8 pm.

For more information on the Made in Philadelphia Market, click here.

Sylvester Stallone Returns to the ‘Rocky Steps’

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Sylvester Stallone returns to the ‘Rocky’ Steps to release his new film Creed from the Rock franchise. Co-stars Michael B. Jordan and Tess Thompson were alongside Stallone at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Mayor Nutter also attended presenting the stars with a replica of the Liberty Bell.

Creed tells the story of a young boxer, Adonis Creed, who follows his father’s footsteps, Apollo Creed, although he never met his father. He confides in Rocky Balboa to become his mentor in the world of boxing.

Creed brings the same vibes of Rocky that the older generation can relate to while introducing a new character.  It shares the same values of family and love that the audience can relate to and remember those same values 40 years ago in Rocky’s picture.

Stallone was proud to be back in his hometown, the city of brotherly love, and thanked Philadelphia for all of the love and support it has given him.

Creed will open in theaters on Thanksgiving Day, November 26.

Verizon Café Speaker Series Continues with Acting FCC Chair

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Mignon Clyburn continues the series of the Verizon Café Speaker Series at Temple’s School of Media and Communication. Clyburn spoke to students about her career as a newspaper publisher and as a defense for civil rights. She continued with her life and career, touching to the many obstacles she has faced such as a government shutdown and challenges with civil rights and diversity.

Clyburn is the Acting Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) appointed by President Obama and has been serving since August 2009. Prior to her work at FCC, she spent 11 years working as the sixth defense of the Public Service Commission (PSC) of South Carolina.

Temple Ads Run Off the Track

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Temple University’s advertisings were recently taken down from the Broad Street Subway station Cecil B. Moore a few days ago. Cecil B. Moore station was filled with bright red Ts and Temple slogans to identify the station’s location. The ads were removed by SEPTA without contacting with Temple. All ads above and below ground are removed. Temple will be refunded for these changes.

Little information was given about this sudden change. SEPTA was unable to respond on this matter.

Wolf Blitzer is Coming to Temple!

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CNN’s lead political anchor of The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer, will be speaking with Temple students on Thursday, October 29 from 9:30 a.m. -10:30 a.m. This event, “A Coversation with Wolf Blitzer” will take place at the Temple Performing Arts Center.

“A Coversation with Wolf Blitzer”is a Q&A session that is held before Blitzer accepts the 2015 Lew Klein Excellence in the Media Award. He will be the fifteenth person to receive this award.

Past recipients of this award are Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Roberts, and Anderson Cooper. Blitzer has been working at CNN for 25 years reporting breaking news stories and will be noted for his success.

All Temple students must register to attend the event. Register for the event here.