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What's Happening in:  All over South Philly :  Bella Vista 

Victim/Witness Services of South Philadelphia Annual Spring Fundraiser

The Victim/Witness Services of South Philadelphia, Inc. (V/WSSP) will honor the Network of Neighbors Responding to Violence at their Annual Spring Fundraiser & Award Ceremony. The event will take place at 6 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. tonight at the Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catharine Street.

V/WSSP offers direct assistance and support to crime victims, witnesses and their families in the three Police Districts of South Philadelphia (1st, 3rd, and 17th Districts). V/WSSP has provided outreach and services to over 65,000 community members since they were founded in 1989.

Alison Sprague, V/WSSP Executive Director, said “Violence has a long lasting impact not only on the person directly harmed, but also on their family members and communities. V/WSSP works to provide a safe and responsive place to meet victims’ needs.” V/WSSP also has an Immigrant Victim Access Collaborative with staff that speak Spanish, Vietnamese, Thai, Cantonese and French.

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What's Happening in:  Passyunk Square 

PSCA Art Auction – now featuring even more local artists

The Passyunk Square Civic Association (PSCA) will hold its 7th annual Art Auction from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. tonight at Saint Maron’s Maronite Catholic Church, 10th and Ellsworth Street.  You’ll receive a discount if you purchase tickets in advance here before noon today.

The auction will feature sculpture, prints, photography and paintings from more than 40 South Philly artists. “The event showcases the really creative people, acclaimed creative people, who live right in our neighborhood,” said Sarah Anton, PSCA President.  Anton pointed out one difference with this year’s show, “There are even more local artists thanks to the efforts of David Guinn and Theresa Rose.”

Guinn and Rose both live in the neighborhood and participated in past auctions after seeing PSCA’s annual call for artists.  Rose, who co-chairs the event with Sanaz Hojreh, described an epiphany she and David had at last years’ auction, “We noticed that some artists who we knew lived in the area were missing from the event.”  After speaking with PSCA, “we began reaching out to artists down the street, in the neighborhood, and nearby. Some didn’t know about the auction but were happy to be part of it,” said Rose.

The event benefits PSCA’s on-going efforts and local elementary schools.  Artwork by students from the Andrew Jackson, Christopher Columbus Charter, Kirkbride, & Vare-Washington Schools will be for sale. The proceeds from sales of this art will directly benefit the schools.

Anton praised the generosity of the local artists and area businesses who make the event possible, “It’s a great evening and a wonderful way to help the civic association while celebrating our neighborhood and its creativity.”

Complimentary snacks and drinks will be included and music provided. In addition to the auction, there will be artwork for sale and raffles for local store and restaurant gift certificates and other items.

If you’re an artist in the area and would like to be part of next year’s show, contact

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What's Happening in:  All over South Philly :  Pennsport 

Public meetings about proposed water rate increase

Philadelphia has one of the oldest water systems in the country. Some of the oldest parts of the system lie buried beneath the streets of South Philly. To help expedite the replacement of these aging water and sewer mains, the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) is seeking a rate increase. A public meeting scheduled to take place in Pennsport will afford customers a chance to speak out about the increase.

Excerpt from PWD’s Rate Facts Sheet (link below).

A water department spokesperson told the Post that “the rate increase will allow PWD to replace water and sewer lines at a faster rate, in order to prevent failures to the aging mains.” They added, “Our goal is to increase our replacement rate from our current average of 30 miles a year to 40 miles a year for water mains. And 8 miles to 12 miles for sewers.”

As part of their transparent rate-setting process, PWD is holding a series of “Public Input Hearings” across the city. One upcoming meeting will be held in South Philadelphia on Wednesday, May 2 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The meeting takes place at the EOM Athletic Association, 144 Moore Street, in Pennsport.

These hearings are held with the Water Rate Board, an independent five-member board created by voters to oversee rate changes. For new rates to be set, the department must show the board that the increase is justified.

Any testimony made by residents at hearings will become part of the public record.

A list other hearing dates and locations is available here.

Customers can view a detailed breakdown of how rates could change and what they fund here.

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What's Happening in:  Bella Vista 

BVNA happy hour supports neighborhood cleaning

Bella Vista Neighbors Association (BVNA) will host a happy hour at Acadia, 8th & Catharine Streets, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. tonight.  The event supports BVNA’s new curb and sidewalk cleaning initiative, which kicked off earlier this month.  

Generous donations from residents and businesses are enabling BVNA for the first time ever to contract for cleaning services and “keep the bella in Bella Vista.”  The effort comes after BVNA explored a number ways to keep the neighborhood clean. As BVNA president Eugene Desyatnik explains, “we’ve tried the all-volunteer approach, we’ve waited to see if the business improvement district would pan out, we’ve waited to see what the city would do — and realized it’s time to trying to tackle the issue on our own.”

BVNA launched a youcaring site, and are close to their goal of raising $25,000 for 2018. “When the fundraising reached 2/3 of the goal, we made the decision to kick off the cleaning program in April, with the hope of being fully funded for the year through additional fundraisers,” Desyatnik said.

“This happy hour will be a great chance to get together with neighbors to support a good cause.  We have held two other happy hours so far this year, thanks to our amazing events committee which was co-organized by Brenda Parra, Jeanine Caplan and Danielle Lapierre, and they have both been well-attended and fun — it’s not one you’ll want to miss!”

Purchase advance tickets here, or at the door.

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

A new taste of old South Philly

Junior’s Beef & Pork set for grand opening on April 29.

By CT Liotta

Stepping into Junior’s Beef & Pork, 1840 E Passyunk Ave, something feels different. On an Avenue revitalized with swanky eateries run by top-tier chefs, Stephanie and Gino DeJesse, and their son Gino, are keeping a foot in Passyunk Avenue’s Italian past.

Gino DeJesse and his mother Stephanie DeJesse outside their East Passyunk Avenue shop which opens Friday.


You won’t find the cigarette smoke and sticky-floor feeling of a classic South Philly roast-beef-and-pork den – but the food will be old-school fresh. In a colorful dining area behind an inviting storefront, Gino points out the newness of the kitchen. “There’s no range hood. There doesn’t have to be because there’s no grill. We serve everything the old way, from a steam table.”

Stephanie adds, “we use old recipes, like our grandparents used. The sausage, peppers and onions taste like what grandma used to make.”

The old-style food will meet the younger Gino’s abilities to stay current. “We’re working with Grubhub and Uber eats, and should be up and running with them soon. We’ll take plastic, because most people don’t carry cash. We’ll also sell and deliver beef and pork by the pound, for people who want it.”

The ingredients are remarkably fresh, with daily deliveries from Liscio’s bakery and pork from Esposito’s. “We want to attract a crowd of both old and new people on the Avenue,” says Stephanie. The classic South Philly menu includes roast beef and pork, meatballs, sausage, long hots and sharp provolone, but also newer vegetarian options – salads, and an eggplant sandwich with roasted peppers, rabe and sharp provolone.

Both mother and son are especially excited about the Caesar dressing. “It’s my husband Gino’s secret recipe,” said Stephanie. “People rave about it. We may sell the dressing by itself.” The elder Gino also oversees the meatballs. The younger Gino is responsible for one of the most popular menu items. “The chicken parm fries were something I made up one night. They became a hit, and now they’re on the menu. Fries, tomato gravy, cheese, and chicken parm.”

The DeJesse family, from 11th and Moore Streets, has been in the catering business for 20 years. In 2017, they opened the first Junior’s Beef & Pork in North Wildwood, New Jersey. It’s named after Stephanie’s father, who passed away in 1997 and whose silhouette has become part of the signage and brand. “It’s in honor of him,” said Stephanie. “He brings us good luck.”

The shop will open on Friday, April 27 and hold its grand opening on Sunday, April 29.

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What's Happening in:  All over South Philly 

Stories for a good cause

Foodies take note! Stories that may make you drool will be flowing at a benefit for the South Philly Food Co-op tonight. That’s when award-winning storyteller Hillary Rea brings her live storytelling show to the Adobe Cafe, 1919 E. Passyunk Ave. The event will feature a colorful line-up of storytellers sharing true stories inspired by the evening’s At the Table theme.

Alison Fritz, Operations Committee chair for the Co-op, said the idea for the event came from Rea. “She is a member-owner and near neighbor of the Co-op. She recognizes that it takes the power of our membership to get our store open. She was looking for a way to use her storytelling skills and connections to benefit our capital campaign.” To tie-in with the Co-op’s own story, Rea proposed a special, food-focused edition of her bi-monthly, Tell Me A Story event.

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