Around Town

Cassandra Bell

New branch manager at M&T

Cassandra Bell has been named manager of M&T Bank’s branch at 6500 Castor Ave.

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Bell will, among other things, create partnerships with local organizations, including Oxford Circle Christian Community Development Association.

Previously, Bell served as M&T’s charitable and community relations manager for Greater Philadelphia. She brings more than 17 years of experience with M&T to her new position.

“During her tenure with the bank, the Philadelphia community has embraced Cassandra with open arms,” said M&T Bank’s retail regional sales manager, Brandon Smith. “She has built and fostered relationships with community members and not-for-profit organizations key to the city’s success and will continue to bolster those relationships while pursuing new ones in this role.”

Bell earned a marketing degree from Chestnut Hill College. ••

Barbecue for veterans

State Rep. Joe Hohenstein, City Councilman Bobby Henon and the Mayfair Business Improvement District will hold a veterans appreciation barbecue on July 10, from 1 to 4 p.m., at Frankford and Cottman avenues.

The rain date will be July 17.

Veterans and their families are invited to attend the event, which will feature dozens of vendors; veteran-specific federal, state and city resources; music from Evryman Jack; vaccines from Temple University Health System; and free food from Czerw’s Kielbasa and Marinucci’s Deli.

Hohenstein’s staff will be on site to assist with SEPTA Senior Key Cards, Real ID information and veterans assistance program information.

For more information, email  ••

Most city pools opening

The city Department of Parks and Recreation will be opening most, but not all, of its outdoor pools this summer due to a lack of lifeguards.

The city raised the starting pay to $15.25 an hour, but had trouble recruiting applicants, as many people choose to remain on unemployment and collect a weekly $300 bonus through Sept. 6.

Here are the opening dates for local pools: Vogt, 4131 Unruh Ave., June 30; Lackman, 1101 Bartlett St., and Simpson, 1010 Arrott St., July 1; American Legion, 6201 Torresdale Ave., and Fox Chase, 7901 Ridgeway St., July 3; Max Myers, 1601 Hellerman St., July 6; Mitchell, 3700 Whitehall Lane, July 7; Houseman, 5091 Summerdale Ave., and Jacobs, 4500 Linden Ave., July 8; and Jardel, 1400 Cottman Ave., July 9. ••

Trip to Tropicana

Holy Innocents Parish is sponsoring a trip to the Tropicana casino in Atlantic City on Wednesday, July 21.

A bus will depart L Street and Hunting Park Avenue at 9 a.m. and leave the casino at 4:30 p.m.

The cost is $35, due by July 10. There will be $20 in slot cash.

COVID restrictions apply.

Call Cindy at 215-535-2740. ••

Bag sale at thrift shop

The Classroom Thrift Shop, 4301 Tyson Ave., sponsored by the women of Temple Menorah Kenneseth Chai, will hold its bag sale (fill a bag of clothing, shoes, handbags) for $5, on June 30, until 2 p.m.

Donations are being accepted.

The shop will be closed July and August.

Call 215-624-9130. ••

In-person services at CSS

Congregations of Shaare Shamayim, 9768 Verree Road, is finally returning to in-person Shabbat services, though masks must be worn.

The first in-person service is Saturday, July 3. The traditional service begins at 9 a.m. The Egalitarian service starts at 9:30 and will continue to be broadcast on Zoom and Livestream.

Reservations must be made in advance. Call 215-677-1600. ••

School registration at BVM

Registration for Maternity BVM Elementary School, 9322 Old Bustleton Ave., will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, July 7 and 8, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

BVM held in-person classes throughout the 2020-21 academic year.

Starting in September, there will be a return to extracurricular activities such as band, sports, student council and after-school clubs.

Go to for a virtual tour of the school (grades Pre-K 3 through 8) and press “Enrollment for 2021-2022″ for details to sign up.

For more information, contact advancement director Mike McDonough at 215-908-3329  or ••

Kids needed for technology league

Coded by Kids’ 1Philadelphia initiative is launching an Innovation League for kids ages 12-18 looking to build their technology and leadership skills.

The league is open to 100 students across the city. Students will attend weekly practices and events and compete with other teams citywide.

Coaches are also being sought for six teams of 10-15 students each. To learn more about becoming a coach, visit

At the end of the season, the teams with the highest rankings will compete in the Innovation Bowl, the league’s culminating championship event, for a cash grand prize.

Registration is free. To register or for more information, go to ••

2 local women honored

Two Northeast women, caregiver Latashia Gatling and Philadelphia Housing Authority worker Kathleen Ondrejka, were among 11 Philadelphia-area essential workers recently honored for their work throughout the pandemic.

Gatling was nominated by her mother, Darlene. Kathleen was nominated by her friend, Charles. The winners each received an overnight stay for two at Live! Casino & Hotel, $100 in free slot play, a $250 food and beverage credit and sweets from Termini’s Brothers Bakery.

Gatling’s nomination described her as a hard-working single mother who throughout the pandemic worked her full-time job as a caretaker while also taking care of a “lifesharing” client and pursuing her master’s degree and a personal care home administration license.

Ondrejka’s nomination praised her dedication in assisting those at the Philadelphia Housing Authority throughout the pandemic. She worked some 15-hour days and seven-day weeks to ensure people had a place to live.

In all, there were more than 700 entries. ••

Program for dropouts

JEVS Human Services has some seats open for its youth program, Project WOW (World of Work), that starts in July. The program is located at JEVS’ career training school, Orleans Technical College, 2770 Red Lion Road.

This 24-week program is no cost to low-income, high school dropouts, ages 18-24, residing in Philadelphia. Project WOW helps youth complete their education while providing training in the building trades.

For more information about the program and eligibility requirements, call 215-728-4212 or visit ••

PHS harvest a success

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society announced that hundreds of gardeners participating in its harvest program have donated 2,476 pounds of homegrown produce to local food banks and community partners.

Those wishing to learn more about harvest can visit

Individuals and groups interested in participating can register at

Donations may be made at ••

White wants more EITC money

Rep. Martina White introduced House Bill 1642 to increase the amount of money available to the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program by $150 million for a total of $285 million.

The EITC program gives tax credits to companies that contribute to scholarship programs that give students in kindergarten through grade 12 the opportunity to attend the school of their families’ choosing.

“The EITC program is critical in helping parents defray tuition costs while encouraging businesses to invest in the future workforce of our community,” White said. “But too many students are being left out as the need is so great. My bill will nearly double the size of the program.”

Call White’s office at 215-330-3711 for more information on the program. ••

Bike ride for charity

The Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation will hold its 34th annual The Ben to the Shore Bike Tour (formerly the Tour de Shore) on Sunday, Aug. 29.

About 2,500 riders will participate in a 65-mile bike ride from the Ben Franklin Bridge to Atlantic City, where there will be an after party at the Showboat Hotel.

All money raised will be used to provide financial relief for the families of fallen or critically injured first responders (police officers, firefighters, EMTs) and to support programs that cultivate positive relationships and interactions between police officers and the children in the communities they serve.

Go to ••

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