June 17, 2010

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A family of lawyers, but first a family

Kate McGrath (second from the left) stands with her daughters (from left), Susan Valinis, Terri Gillespie and Mary Kate McGrath. Kate returned to law school when she was 40, and her daughters found their way there as well.  All four are practicing lawyers, and Valinis, Gillespie and McGrath were named 2010 Pennsylvania Rising Stars in Philadelphia Magazine this month. (Photo by Paula Riley)

It was the first day of school. The year was 1986. Terri was adjusting her 1st-grade uniform. Her big sister, Susie, was wondering if her 6th-grade friends would be in her junior high homeroom. The eldest, Mary Kate, was curious about what the first day of high school would be like.

Alongside the excited sisters stood their mother, who, like her daughters, was starting school that morning. It was the first day of Villanova University Law School for Kate McGrath. She was 40 years old.

Phillies 1st pick, Biddle, ‘couldn’t ask for anything better’

Jesse Biddle with brother Conor and mother, Marion, after signing a Letter of Intent to play for Oregon. Now he is headed to a Phillies camp.

Roy Halladay better watch out – Jesse Biddle is gunning for his spot.The 18-year-old from Germantown Friends School was drafted as the Philadelphia Phillies number-one pick. And just like that, Biddle donned the jersey of a team he has been watching his whole life.

At 6-feet, 5-inches and 235 lbs. Biddle has had Philadelphia scouts and others watching him throughout his 40-strikeout season in 59 and one-third innings that ended in the Friends School’s seventh consecutive league championship, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Friends, family and community members are celebrating this moment with Biddle with congratulations. Biddle lives in Mount Airy with his parents, David and Marion, and his brothers, Sam and Conor.

Power play gets physical at 22nd Ward meeting

The spring Primary Election is usually a time of hope in Mt. Airy. After all, it is a place known for qualities like progressivism, equanimity and compromise. But following the 22nd Ward Democratic Committee’s reorganizational meeting on June 7, held at the Germantown Home on Sedgwick Street and Germantown Avenue, some committeepeople were concerned that the local political climate has taken a turn for the worse this year.

‘Fresh Artists’: Taking student art to the marketplace

Fresh Artists founders Barbara Chandler Allen and her son Roger Allen at Weavers Way Co-op. Behind them is “The Woods” by Roxborough High School student Cruz Gallardo-Bernal.

“Fill this place with the faces of the children.” That was her mandate, given to her by then Philadelphia School District Superintendent Paul Vallas.

When Barbara Chandler Allen, 62, of Lafayette Hill, walked, into the atrium of the 850,000-square-foot building at Broad and Arch street, she had no idea what Vallas had in store for her. Nor could she have known that his edict that day would set her forth on a path to bring entrepreneurism to hundreds of public school children in Philadelphia through Fresh Artists.

Many residents are already familiar with Fresh Artists, although they might not realize it. But if you’ve been to the new Weaver’s Way Co-op on Germantown Avenue and stood in line to check out, you may have noticed the large painting hanging on the upper left wall. It’s not actually a painting. The piece of art in the co-op is a reproduction of a high-resolution digital photograph of a 12th grader’s painting.


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