Most drug addicts are good people with a bad problem. Some of our veterans are trying to deal with this problem and we have to ask whether we are helping. About 1 in 4 people who use heroin become addicted to it. Most heroin available today is purer than it was in the 1980′s. While heroin has been a problem for some time, it has taken on new dimensions in the last decade. I spoke today for an upcoming show of PHL17′s “In Focus” with Scott Sarafini and Christie Wentz of Drug Free Pennsylvania. The increased used in the last decade of prescription painkillers like Oxycontin have led to an increase in heroin use. People hooked on painkillers are demanding purer heroin and are going to it because it is available and cheaper, about 8 to 10 dollars a hit. The death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman is a reminder that addicts are folks in their 40′s and 50′s, even seniors, as well as young people. Drug Free Pennsylvania provides free, 90-minute seminars for parents to outline the heroin and overall drug problem and prevention steps. A place of worship or a school or a community center can arrange a seminar. They also provide services to employers. You can contact them at straighttalkforparents.org or 1-800-533-3394. The “In Focus” program on heroin runs Saturday morning, March 8th, at 6:30.
Interviewed Lori Morris and Ernestine Williams of CASA of Mercer and Burlington Counties today. There are CASA chapters throughout the nation. More than 900. They are Court Appointed Special Advocates for children, helping find safe and permanent homes and situations for kids.
They could use some volunteers. They provide the training.
Check out In Focus on February 8th at 6:30 a.m. or go to their web sites, such as http://www.casamercer.org for more info.
The mighty Fancy Brigades tonight have selected the order in which they perform inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center on New Year’s Day. Meeting at the Mummers Museum this evening, the drawing produced the following results for positions 1 through 11 at both the Noon and 5pm shows.
Going 1st with be the Spartans, followed by Satin Slipper 2nd, then Golden Crown 3rd.
4th will be Saturnalian, followed by Downtowners 5th, and Clevemore 6th. 7th will be S.P.Vikings, 8th will be B. M’s Shooting Stars and then Jokers 9th. Avenuers will be 10th and Second Street Shooters will be 11th.
Tickets for the Noon and 5pm shows for January 1, 2014, are available through ComcastTix.
The Fancy Brigade Association is holding its annual Cow Chip Bingo Festival in conjunction with the Philadelphia Recreation Department. Proceeds benefit both.
Folks await the moo-vement that will yield a tidy sum for the winner and benefit both the Recreation Department and the Brigades, which put on those great shows inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center on New Year’s Day. There are other activities for the kids right now while the adults watch a cow more closely than they ever imagined. Just an “udder” delight on a September afternoon, courtesy your friendly local Mummers.
James A. Michener Museum Director and CEO, Lisa Tremper Hanover, tells me Prince Albert of Monaco will be coming to Doylestown, Pennsylvania, in late October to open the exclusive Princess Grace exhibit. The exhibit is called “From Philadelphia to Monaco: Grace Kelly Beyond the Icon.” Its only U.S. appearance is at the Michener Museum.
Hanover says the exhibit and its artifacts are “very revealing” of the “arc of a dignified life, a talented life,” and that it shows the late Grace Kelly as humanitarian, philanthropist, representing Monaco and as an actress.
The exhibit will run from October 28, 2013, to January 26th, 2014 at the James A. Michener Museum in Doylestown, Bucks County.
Photo provided courtesy of the Michener Museum.
It’s been a stellar weekend for members of the Philadelphia PowerPlay, having fun and working hard this weekend at Neumann University in Aston, Delaware County, just outside of Philadelphia. This afternoon, they go into the finals of the United States Power Hockey Championships!
Regardless of the outcome, this has been another 3 days providing good entertainment, good power hockey. There was an exciting win over a team from Michigan Saturday. Michigan boasts consistently dominating teams every year.
But, it reminds me, too, of the individuals and families, like the Hilferty and Miller families who work hard in the league and who are also great advocates for people living with neuromuscular diseases and conditions.
One aspect of hockey that often seems to excel over other sports is the post-game lineup, in which teams that fought against each other show respect and sportsmanship to their competitors. I always enjoy seeing that moment.
Early seeds of change? I had a conversation with former Maine U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe and former Governor Ed Rendell about political gridlock. Snowe is a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center which was created 6 years ago by former Congressional leaders, Republican and Democrat. Rendell told me that it’s “time for those of us in the majority to wake up.” He says“We’re not as avid voters as the fanatics(on both sides.)” But that people are “hungry” for an end to the stalemate.
Snowe says currently, “There are too many incentives to divide.” She wants the American people to demand that Congress pass a budget (which it has not formally done for several years.) Rendell believes there is plenty of room to compromise at the margins without violating each side’s principles. He says the “media are a little responsible, too.” Both think voters can pressure Congress into action. They also want open, not closed primaries and other incentives to take away the political rewards that divisiveness allows right now.
I inferred from Snowe’s comments that President Obama and the White House also need to do more. A “President has to engage and so do his people.”
Praying, hoping and all around banking on the best for young Weston Keeton. The young Tennessee boy has been living up here in Philadelphia for a long time, a couple of years, since he was 4, a third of his life so far, as he waits for a heart transplant at CHOP. (He’s the 3rd child from the left.)
His mom, Julie, has been with him. Dad, Adam, has been working in Tennessee, but comes up as often as he can. Siblings are here off and on. It’s not been easy for the Keetons. But, it has been especially hard, of course, for Weston. When I met him back in December, he was able to live for awhile at the Gift of Life House with his family. He is a happy, beautifully rowdy kid by nature.
Things are getting a little tough for Weston. Hang in there, buddy.
When do Crab Fries mean XOXO in Philadelphia? 1. All the time. 2. Especially this summer, now that Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) and Chickie’s & Pete’s have teamed up on a new summertime partnership promoting the City of Brotherly Love.
The legendary Jerry Blavat, GPTMC Vice-President Sharon Rossi, Chickie’s & Pete’s CEO Pete Ciarrocchi, (Pete is also a 24-year member of Polish American String Band), and Mr. Dan Baker of Phillies and Eagles announcer fame (“the Voice of the Ballpark”) unveiled the new partnership at C & P’s Packer Avenue restaurant. The new campaign is called “Served With Love.”
“Served With Love” will promote the city as a tourist destination now and into the fall. The campaign includes new branding on food wrappers, table tents and customized “Love” letters.
GPTMC is one of the most successful tourism marketing organizations in the nation. Chickie’s & Pete’s is ESPN’s best sports bar in North America. Together, they intend to serve Philadelphia with “Served With Love.” Have a crab fry.
A fun weekend begins with another annual tradition, the 19th annual Fancy Brigade weekend in North Wildwood, New Jersey. Of course, there is the Pub Crawl Friday night, but on Saturday, the 8th, after the block party, around 4:45/5:00 or so, there is the 19th annual Fancy Brigade Summer Parade. It starts at Second Street and Olde New Jersey Avenue. Summer may now pick up steam. The event also caps an inspirational week.
The week featured SugarHouse Casino General Manager Wendy Hamilton announcing that SugarHouse is the title sponsor of the SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade for at least the next 3 parades. Whoo-hoos still echo along two Street. This is a great statement of support. PHl17 continues as the sole broadcaster of the parade. The station presented Wendy with a new pair of Golden Slippers.
Also this week, I got to spend time again in Lafayette Hill with hundreds of great people raising money for the Devereux Foundation, which is beginning its second century of serving children and adults with special needs. Devereux has been the “quiet neighbor” that doesn’t toot its own horn, but really makes a difference.
I also was updated with the plans the organization CADEkids has to expand its work in schools to teach good decision-making, how to control impulses and avoid risky behavior. The nonprofit has been making a difference in young people’s lives for a quarter of a century. It’s the kind of program that is needed more and more. It’s got the data to prove it is effective.
On “In Focus” I spoke with Jerry Buckley, the relatively new CEO, of the Pennsylvania SPCA. That is a remarkable operation which is saving 96 percent of the animals that come into its facility.
I also talked with Beverly Haberle and Fred Martin, folks from the Council of Southeast Pennsylvania who do a wonderful job of moving people from addiction into effective recovery. They have a project called PRO-ACT, which stands for Pennsylvania Recovery Organization-Achieving Community Together. They are actively working to remove the stigma of addiction and get us to a better place.
As I said, another inspiring week. My thanks to the Mummers, too, who I spent hours with this week as they work to preserve the art and cultural history of Philadelphia’s unique tradition.