Neha Gupta receives Community Service Scholarship

by June Portnoy

Yardley’s Neha Gupta, 17, a Pennsbury High School senior, was recently awarded a $5,000 Zinch Community Service Scholarship from the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS), an international organization dedicated to recognizing academic talent. 

The NSHSS believes in the importance of community service and making the world a better place, so it was no surprise that Neha received this scholarship, considering she founded her own non-profit organization at the young age of nine.

Although Neha is an AP Honors Student, she recognizes the importance of balancing schoolwork with community service.

In order to apply for the Zinch Community Service Scholarship, Neha was required to write a short essay describing why she thought she was “more than a test score,” emphasizing any leadership roles and community service projects in which she has participated.

Neha wrote about her non-profit organization, Empower Orphans. Its focus is to help create self-sufficiency by supplying these orphans with the tools they need to gain a basic education and technical skills to enable a sustainable livelihood leading to productive and positive contributions to society.

In addition, Empower Orphans provides food and clothing in order to establish an effective learning environment. It also provides medical supplies and health care to better enable a learning environment.

Neha explains that her idea for Empower Orphans was born during an annual vacation of visiting her grandparents who live in India. 

It is a Gupta family tradition to celebrate family birthdays by taking food and gifts to orphaned children.

As a young child, Neha went to these orphanages with her grandparents and played with the children during their visits.

However, when Neha turned nine, she suddenly became aware of the harsh life these children endured.

 “These kids didn’t have money to go to school or get the medical treatment they needed,” she explains. 

When she returned from the visit, she told her parents she wanted to help the orphans by establishing her own organization.

It started small with Neha gathering all her toys from her garage and hosting a yard sale to raise money for Empower Orphans.

She then started making crafts and selling them, along with crafts made by orphans.

Her organization evolved when she reached out to corporations for sponsorship opportunities. Over the years, she has organized many fundraisers.  

Initially, Neha’s organization focused on orphanages in India, but it later expanded to help underprivileged youth in this country, and more recently it has extended into South and Central America.   

“There is so much more to life than achieving a good grade,” says Neha.  “Although I recognize the importance of getting good grades, I believe that it’s equally as important to get involved in the community because it offers such a fulfilling experience.

“By running my global organization, I’ve gained awareness about worldwide issues and compassion for other people.”

Neha’s community service organization led her to her career choice.

She says, “I want to become a pediatrician, so I can continue helping children here and in third world countries. All kids have a right to medical care, and I want to be one of those doctors who offer them that service.”

For more information about Empower Orphans, visit www.empowerorphans.org.

PHOTO CAP: Neha Gupta

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American Legion preparing for Memorial Day Parade

The Langhorne American Legion, Jesse W. Soby Post 148 is making plans for their 95th consecutive Memorial Day Parade, which honors all veterans who have served and sacrificed in all of America’s wars and conflicts. 

If you or your group would like to participate in the parade, contact parade Chairman James P. McAndrew at 215-757-3056, or send correspondence to American Legion, 115 West Richardson Avenue, Langhorne, PA 19047. 

The parade is held on Monday, May 26th, at 9:00am, and begins and ends at the Post Home, 115 W. Richardson Avenue, Langhorne.

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Volunteers needed for CONTACT Helpline

Family Service Association of Bucks County is now accepting volunteer applications for their CONTACT Helpline, a free, confidential telephone helpline service for individuals with a wide range of needs and concerns. The CONTACT Helpline serves residents in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. Following training, volunteers are responsible for providing telephone assistance and responding to calls on both the local helpline and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Reports of suicide have increased in all five counties over the last decade. For example, the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office reported 93 suicides in 2012, up from 69 in 2006. Similarly, the Bucks County Coroner’s Office reported 81 suicides in 2012, up from 66 in 2006. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “every 15 minutes, someone dies by suicide in this country. And for every person who dies, there are many more who think about, plan or attempt suicide.” Fortunately, suicide is preventable. With the increase in reports of suicide in our community, the need for trained volunteers also increases. You can help prevent suicide by becoming a CONTACT Helpline volunteer.

CONTACT Helpline phone rooms are located in Bucks and Montgomery counties, and volunteers must be able to commit to one four-hour shift per week. Each CONTACT training consists of six sessions. The next training begins on March 26th and continues through April 30th and will take place at the Ludington Library in Bryn Mawr, PA. For more information or to register, contact Ellen Vinson, Director of Volunteer Services, at volunteer@fsabc.org or 215-757-6916, ext. 202. Volunteer applications are also available online at www.fsabc.org/volunteer.

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Morrisville resident pens book on legendary Trenton music club

by Mimi Rowland

Do you remember City Gardens, the alternative music club in Trenton? Amy Yates Wuelfing does, and she has written a book about its long and storied history.

Amy, a lifelong resident of Morrisville, frequented City Gardens while it existed from 1980 to 1994. She and co-author Steven Lodovico spent more than a decade researching the club, the bands that played there, its patrons, and those who made it all work. They conducted over 100 interviews to create this book, entitled “No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the Legendary City Gardens.” They spoke with people such as Jon Stewart of The Daily Show who once bartended at the club, “Gentleman” (and comedian) Jim Norton who worked there as a bouncer, Black Flag frontman and onetime Trenton resident Henry Rollins, and many others who came together to create a haven for underground music and the outsiders and misfits who loved it.

Back in the days before the Internet, fans found new music by listening to college radio stations and searching through record stores like Third Street Jazz where Amy once worked. Clubs like City Gardens gave new bands a place to play and audiences a way to see them. There was also a weekly dance night where, for only 90 cents, kids could dance the night away to new wave music. Those who felt that they were different from everyone else found others like themselves and were accepted for who they were. After the club closed, people were so sentimental about it that there were even reunions held from time to time.

While researching for the book, the new owners of the building let Amy go in to look around. She was surprised by what bad shape it was in. “Chunks of the roof are missing and you can see daylight and rain coming in.”

City Gardens was an anomaly. Not in New York, not in Philadelphia, it popped up in a blighted urban area and promoter Randy Now managed to book some rather well-known acts such as Iggy Pop and Ween. Amy notes that The Ramones used to play there on a very regular basis, to the point where audiences took them for granted and expected that they would always be there. Now they are an iconic band of their time period. Randy’s promoting skills earned City Gardens a permanent place in the history of underground music.

Amy is now working on a book about record stores across the country. She wants to document a time period before people could download music at home, when there was more personal interaction around music. She has remained friends with City Gardens promoter Randy Now, who owns The Man Cave in Bordentown, NJ where people can still buy albums, CDs, and even videotapes. She has also traveled to Cleveland to interview one of the founders of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, who also happened to be one of the creators of the Philadelphia Record Exchange. She is interested in documenting Americana and things that are “unique to our culture.”

Just across the bridge from Morrisville at 1701 Calhoun Street, City Gardens was a musical Mecca in an unlikely place. Amy says her book is the story of a time and a place that will never come again and it just needed to be captured.

Amy will be signing her new book, “No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the Legendary City Gardens” at Randy Now’s Man Cave in Bordentown, NJ on Saturday and Sunday, March 8th and 9th, and at Siren Records in Doylestown on Friday, March 14th. You can also find her at the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market on Sunday, March 30th, and in Philadelphia at Serrano/Tin Angel on Thursday, April 3rd. Just remember, there is no slam dancing at these signing events!

PHOTO CAP: Amy Wuelfing

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Council Rock South Winter Guard wins top honors at WGI South Brunswick Regional

In only its second year of existence, the Council Rock High School South Winter Guard is having a banner season. On Saturday, March 1st the team appeared in their very first Winter Guard International (WGI) Regional competition held at South Brunswick High School in Monmouth Junction, NJ. With teams representing Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York in their division, the 20 young ladies and gentlemen of the Council Rock South Winter Guard were one of only three groups in the Scholastic Regional-A division to be selected to perform in Finals. CR South delivered an impressive performance, and went on to win first place with a score of 76.43.

Advancing to finals at a WGI Regional is a quite an accomplishment. Only the top scoring teams in each division are selected to advance.  Most nationally competitive teams from the Mid-Atlantic region were present. Winning a WGI Regional is something that will only be experienced by a select few winter guard students in the entire worldwide winter guard activity!  

CR South’s 2014 production is entitled “Boxed In,” with original music and choreography by Director of Bands John Burns, and color guard instructor Lauren Moffatt Burns. The students work on basic dance and learn to spin rifle and flag. 

Looking ahead, on Saturday, March 29th the team goes to Somerville High School in New Jersey, and their 2014 season comes to its climactic finish on Saturday, April 12th at the MAIN Championships at South Brunswick High School.

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Doylestown Historical Society celebrates 50th Anniversary of Operation 64

As the world in the tumultuous 60’s was focused on civil rights and anti-war, the people in Doylestown were rising up to reject a federally funded Urban Renewal Program to remove a number of “obsolete” buildings in the town center and replace them with parking lots and modern buildings. During the first week of June, 1964 citizens such as those who participate in the Nature Club, the venerable Village Improvement Association, merchants and politicians joined together with local residents. The plan, called “Operation 64,” was begun to preserve declining structures and renew the beauty of Doylestown.

In commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of Operation 64, an in-house exhibit of memorabilia, including the exchanges between top federal and state officials with the community leaders. This will be open to the public from mid-May on Saturdays from 11:00am-3:00pm in the Doylestown Historical Society exhibition area. Out-of-doors before and after posters will be viewable around town and in stores as Doylestown businesses display the Operation 64 logo, photos and the displays by artists. The events will culminate on Sunday, June 8th, the 50th Anniversary week, with a celebration offering music and food at the DHS park behind 56 S. Main Street.

Operation 64 resulted in the renewal of many buildings in the center of Doylestown through local volunteerism. Within a year, the ambience of Doylestown’s downtown improved, attracted consumers, and businesses reportedly saw sales increases from 11% to 50%. Officials from across the country began to arrive to consult with Operation 64 leaders to apply the Doylestown model to their own towns.

Today, Doylestown is ranked by Travel and Leisure magazine as #13 of “America’s Favorite Towns.” Doylestown’s Historic District is listed in the National Register of Historic Places for the architecture of multiple blocks of businesses and single-family homes.

DHS visiting hours are Saturdays from 11:00am-3:00pm. DHS is also seeking volunteers and new members. Help with Operation 64’s 50th anniversary events by calling 215-345-9430 or e-mailing info@doylestownhistorical.org.

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Dennis I. Markowitz to be honored as FBA’s ‘Person of the Year’

Dennis I. Markowitz, of Langhorne, will be honored by the Feasterville Business Association as their “Person of the Year” at the 2014 Frolic to be held at Brook Side Manor at Somerton Springs, 50 Bustleton Pike, Feasterville, on Saturday, March 29th, it was recently announced by Rose McMenamin, president of the FBA. Cocktails will be at 6:00pm, to be followed by dinner and the awards ceremony at 7:00pm.

Dennis is the founder and tax partner for the Financial Group Plus Companies in Southampton. He is marking his 50th year as a tax accountant in 2014. He is a Public Accountant in Pennsylvania and is an enrolled agent with the Internal Revenue Service. He additionally is a licensed insurance agent and is Medicare-certified.

In making the announcement, McMenamin says that Dennis is being singled out for special recognition for his long-time service to the FBA, including fundraising efforts and other business endeavors. A member of the professional business association for 20 years, he is its current treasurer, an office he’s held for numerous terms. He has also served terms as president and vice president.

In addition he has been active on many FBA committees, including its budget, nominating, golf and scholarship committees. Dennis also has been recognized by the Internal Revenue Service for his work as a volunteer in its education program. He is vice president of the Bucks-Mont Chapter of the Society of Tax and Accounting Practitioners.

Dennis is a veteran of the United States Army where he achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant, and is a graduate of Temple University where he earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in accounting.

Marking their 47th wedding anniversary, he and his wife, Hope, have four adult children and seven grandchildren.

Tickets for the Annual FBA Frolic are $60 per person. Anyone interested in attending may call 215-206-5664 or 215-436-9768, or email FeastervilleBA@gmail.com.  

PHOTO CAP: Dennis Markowitz

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BCWSA unveils solar array

submitted by Patrick W. Cleary, Chief Information Office, Bucks County Water & Sewer Authority

Renewable solar energy is an eco-friendly way to provide power. Solar power is energy generated by the sun. The sun’s rays produce electromagnetic radiation, which is then absorbed by solar panels used to power the building. Solar cells within the panels react to the sun’s rays and produce a type of electricity. A complex circuitry system then transmits that electricity throughout the building, powering it just like standard electricity.  The good news is that these cells don’t need direct sunlight to work – they can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day. 

In October 2012 the Bucks County Water & Sewer Authority (BCWSA) unveiled an 84,000 kW solar array constructed on the grounds of the BCWSA Administration Building. The array is part of a solar power project in partnership with a firm specializing in Solar Photovoltaic Systems “PVS.” With this system there will be a savings on electric costs between $1,500 and $2,000 per month depending on usage.

[Read more...]

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Roosevelt Elementary students ‘Love Reading’

 

Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary School celebrated reading all day on February 28th in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Students came to school dressed as book characters and Clifford the Big Red Dog visited in the morning. There was a “We Love Reading” assembly in the afternoon, which featured student performances – poems, songs, and Dr. Seuss trivia. Photos by Kelly Maroney.

 

PHOTO CAPS: 1. Ella Kuebler, Raymond Vereen, and Gabriella Pearson with Clifford the Big Red Dog.

2. Rosemarie Reeves gives Clifford a big hug!

3. Jacob Berry gets comfortable with a book.

4. Avery Whittle has a lifelong friend!

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THS wins trophy for garden entry at Philadelphia Flower Show

 

by June Portnoy

The Trevose Horticulture Society (THS) received many accolades for its garden entry at this year’s annual Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s (PHS) Philadelphia Flower Show. The show’s 2014 theme, ARTiculture, combined art and horticulture by celebrating artists ranging from Michelangelo to Monet.

The first judging panel awarded THS’s entry second place with 95 points. All four entrees in the class, “En Plein Air,” in which THS entered, scored above 90 so the entire class was awarded a commendation.

THS received honorable mention by the second judging panel.

Most exciting, however, was that THS was awarded the Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association Trophy for entering a garden showing the most effective use of plants and the best use of design.

As a result, they were invited to attend the PHS Awards Luncheon on Saturday, March 8th.

THS committee members Karen Wychock, Ruth Kurtz, Betty Sykes, Dick and Isabelle Longcoy and Lenis Van Aken devoted much time and effort creating this award-winning garden.

They designed a 12’ by 16’ summer garden retreat in the style of artist Mondrian, who used red, yellow, black and blue in his paintings. In order to replicate his style, THS committee members created a garden framed in black with splashes of red, yellow and blue.

Flowers within the garden included pansies, zinnia, gerber daisies, ageratum, petunias, marigolds and cyclamen.

The main feature of THS’ garden entry was the vertical planting of their flowers. 

“We planted them vertically in order to mimic Mondrian’s style, but this was our first attempt at vertical planting and it proved to be more difficult than we expected,” says Karen, Chairperson of the Garden Entry.

THS committee members had to wire all plants individually, which was physically challenging. They also had to ensure the wall was constructed sturdy enough to withstand the weight of the vertical plants. Plus, the plants had to be taken down in order to water them, a labor-intensive task.

Some finishing touches in the garden included a fire pit, black benches and pillows within the center.

It took over five months for THS members to plan their garden’s design. They began with a model of the garden that they were required to share with PHS, so this organization knew what to expect at the show.

Prior to the show, the garden’s concept was well thought out and all painting was completed. However, nothing could be put together ahead of time.

“We had only one and a half days to construct the garden at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and were only allowed to have five people there to help us set up,” says Karen. “Plus, no tools are allowed, so we used lots of hinges to put our display together.”

Karen expresses her gratitude to Dick, who has a construction background, as being a great addition to their team, helping to build the garden in such a short amount of time, along with Ruth’s assistance.

“Dick and Ruth built it exactly as we envisioned it,” says Karen. “The colors really popped out when we put the lights on it. Also, having the model was helpful when putting the garden together at the show.”

Although this was only the second time that THS created a large garden area for the Philadelphia Flower Show, Karen commented how much easier it was the second time around.

“Last year, we weren’t sure what to expect or what to do first when we got to the show,” says Karen. “This year, we got right to work.  We also had a better idea about how to work together as a team since we had already done so once before.”

This summer, THS will host its own flower show on Friday, August 22nd and Saturday, August 23rd.  This year’s theme is “Wild Things.”

The show will be held at St. Ephrem Catholic Church’s gym, located at 5400 Hulmeville Road in Bensalem. This is a new venue for the show and offers a larger space, which means THS can add additional entries in some of its classes.

Proceeds from the show will be used toward a $1,000 scholarship award to a student majoring in the horticultural discipline in the tri-state area.

THS continues to hold its meetings the third Monday of every month at 7:00pm, but they now meet in a new location at St. Katharine Drexel Mission Center, located at 1663 Bristol Pike in Bensalem.

Don’t miss their next meeting open to the public when THS welcomes guest speaker, Drew Becker, PHS President. It will be held Monday, April 28th (the fourth Monday of the month, in order to accommodate Drew’s schedule).

For information about THS, its upcoming flower show, or membership information, contact Karen Wychock at 215-460-8853.

PHOTO CAP: THS committee members during the construction of their garden entry at the Philadelphia Flower Show.

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