Human Highlight Film Fights Diabetes

I talked today for an upcoming In Focus” show with NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins.  Wilkins, who played mostly for the Atlanta Hawks, lives with diabetes.  He developed Type 2 diabetes around the age of 40.  He says however, that diet, exercise and medication help him keep his diabetes under control.  It’s a deeply personal journey for him, having lost his father and grandfather to complications from diabetes.DominiqueWilkins

Dominique earned the nickname, The Human Highlight Film, in his playing days.  He was one of the best dunkers the NBA has ever seen.  He recently became a vice-president with the Hawks organization, but Dominique Wilkins is also passionate about encouraging people to work toward managing their diabetes and is in Philadelphia to do just that.

Still Goin’ ‘Round the Hall

Mummers2004_captainstillIt appears it is time to go “down the street.”  It’s an historic change.  The parade route, the direction of the parade, what blocks are traveled, and where clubs will pre-position themselves, are likely to undergo a huge change,  larger than the Market Street years or the no longer  “up to Girard Avenue” years.  As often happens with change, it does not come easily for all.  However, any student of the history of the Mummers will recognize that change is a part of Mummery.  The question each will ask is, how much of changing the route is changing the heart of what it means to be a Mummer? Or, is the old route, while an important part of Mummer history, not really a core principle of Mummery?

I can tell you that the latest effort to change the SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade route picked up momentum last year. This is not a new thing. Most folks involved talked quietly about it last year and the first half of this year because there’s so much emotion tied up in tracing the steps their families took, and in the loyal fans who line Broad Street south of Mifflin.  In true Mum fashion, there are members of each division who think the idea stinks. But, contrary to some social media and other reporting, this is not the idea of just one division.  My read is that most leaders and many members of the String Band and Fancy Brigade divisions are the largest backers of the change, but I have found support, too, among members of the other divisions, including leadership.

SugarHouse Casino and PHL17 did not suggest the change and are not encouraging or discouraging it.  This is a Mummers idea.  To be sure, pressure over the years from the City of Philadelphia to shorten the parade and make it faster, has had an effect, but the idea for this change started with the Mummers.

Philly Naked Bike RideSources say the City of Philadelphia likes the proposal, though no final route has been published. But, here is what it looks like now. The leaders of the 5 Mummers Divisions and the City of Philadelphia are planning to reverse the route and shorten it.   The Mummers will still go “‘Round the Hall,” just south.   The 115th annual SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade would start near City Hall, near 16th or 15th Street and JFK.  The clubs would be judged at 15th and JFK.  They then would proceed south around City Hall, down Broad Street, ending at Washington Avenue.  There was a proposal to march down South Street. That was nixed a few months ago.

Mummers who support the new route down Broad say it would allow for a more free-flowing, nonstop parade, and they say it removes some blocks where parade watchers just don’t live or go to any more. The evolution to a more prop-driven parade in the String Bands also helped create gaps along the older, longer parade route. The String Bands will likely pre-position themselves along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

After they are judged, they will leave their props and continue the rest of the route without the props, allowing for more of a continuous musical parade. Judging for all divisions would be done first in the parade, not at the end. Other divisions will arrive near 16th and JFK from other points.  There is one less Fancy Club this coming parade. Hog Island is now in the Comic Division. Golden Sunrise carries the Fancy banner.  We’re told this new route would also make it easier for the Fancy Brigades who perform indoors at the PA Convention Center to march outside, though they’ll not perform their show outdoors.

South-Philadelphia-String-Band-Mummers-Parade-2013-0902The start time of the parade could shift 30 minutes to an hour earlier, or remain the same.  While the new parade route would end at Broad and Washington, community groups along Washington Avenue and in Pennsport will be examining how the new route might effect them, if at all. These and other details above have not been finalized.

For Mummers, the biggest concerns about shortening and reversing the route are the change of a long-standing tradition of going “Up The Street” and the effect it might have on South Philadelphia, especially on businesses and on older residents who might not travel to Center City to see their beloved Mummers. Yes, there have been some good parties along that stretch.  South Philadelphia is still home to most of the clubhouses of the Mummers, so New Year’s Day and that evening will still have Mum presence.

MUMMERS_ROWThis historic change looks like it has all the momentum needed to happen. I have spoken to some of the leaders who endorse this movement and their motivations are clear. They say times have changed and that by changing this route they can make a better parade for parade watchers, tourists, the city and the Mummers who are strutting, a better parade for the 21st Century. But for a city that not long ago said no one could build higher than William Penn, change does not come without a little initial discomfort.  Changes in a 115-year-old tradition probably should not come easily.  On the bright side, I can see some good Comic satire already in the works.

Thank you Veterans and to the Fallen and the their families

 U.S. FlagThis weekend we should pause to honor the men and women who have died in service to our nation.  A few days ago at Philadelphia City Hall, I took part in a ceremony to thank all veterans. Here’s a brief comment on all who have served.

http://phl17.com/2014/05/24/its-time-steve-highsmith-at-philadelphia-city-hall-on-veterans/#axzz32d4iTLQt

Less Government, More Jobs and College Opportunity

JoshShapiroimageI speak with Montgomery County Commission Chair Josh Shapiro Saturday morning at 6:30 on PHL17 about  a new plan to help businesses grow in Montco.Ann-Thereseimage

And, I talk with Ann-Therese Ortiz, of Philadelphia Futures, about their programs to prepare young people for success in college.

“In Focus” is a long-running public affairs show on PHL17.

“First Sunday” today at Mummers Museum

TheIMG_6035 1st “First Sunday” event takes place this afternoon at the Mummers Museum. It all starts at 1pm. There’s an historical lecture and then the great big sounds of the New Sound Brass Band!

Schools and Personal Courage

On tomorrow (Saturday) morning’s “In Focus” at 6:30 a.m. on PHL17, we hear fromHelenGymimage Helen Gym, one of the leading grass roots advocates for quality public education, as she assesses where the Philadelphia School District is now and where it is headed.KarenandKathyimage

Plus, we hear the story of Karen Delaney Shideleff, who is living with ALS and fighting for every person who lives with the disease.

“In Focus” is a long-running, 30-minute public affairs program airing on PHl17, Philadelphia.

Debella & De-Future

DebellaIMG_20140416_135926_705Loved listening to John DeBella of WMGK this afternoon hilariously talking about how he got fired years ago because his ratings were too high.  True story.

DeBella today joined Sue Serio of Fox29, Blaise Howard of MoreFM, Matt Delucia of NBC10 and Kristin Long of Tribune Broadcasting (company that owns PHL17) in giving advice to 20 college students who this afternoon received scholarships from the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia.  Lauren HightIMG_20140416_133742_555Lauren Hight (seen to the right) of Cabrini College is one of the recipients.

Insight was the main course served today to these future journalists and broadcasters.  Kristin Long read from obituaries and commencement addresses and you know what, it was good stuff.   All 5 speakers offered solid career advice and glimpses into career paths in the broadcasting business.  The event was  funny, real and thoughtful, and took place at Bala Golf Club in Philadelphia.  Nice job, Broadcast Pioneers.  And, John, you’ll always have Pittsburgh.

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