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Philadelphia Front Page News Your Top Stories Of The Day (267) 293-9201

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Off-Duty Philadelphia Police Officer Is Dead Following Hit & Run

Off-Duty Philadelphia Police Officer Is Dead Following Hit & Run

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An off-duty Philadelphia Police officer is dead after being struck by a vehicle on Roosevelt Boulevard and Devereaux Avenue Sunday afternoon. Authorities say the driver left the scene of the crash. The vehicle was found a few blocks a e blocks away.

The 12th district officer was riding his motorcycle when the vehicle hit him.

Police say this happened around 4:10 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

The officer was transported by medics to Aria-Torresdale Hospital and was pronounced dead shortly after 5:00 p.m.

For full  story go to:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Former Children’s Camp Worker Charged With Abusing Child

Former Children’s Camp Worker Charged With Abusing Child

(credit: Montgomery County DA's Office)

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Authorities say a former maintenance worker at a children’s camp in suburban

Philadelphia has been arrested and charged with sexually abusing a young girl six years ago.

Forty-seven-year-old David Allen Fichter of Schwenksville is charged in Montgomery County with multiple counts of child rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and other charges.

Prosecutors and Lower Frederick Township police say he was a maintenance worker at Camp Hope for Kids when they allege he isolated and sexually abused a 6-year-old girl at the camp and at a nearby bar.

For full story go to:

Zion Harvey Heads Home Following Double Hand Transplant At CHOP

Zion Harvey Heads Home Following Double Hand Transplant At CHOP
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — 8-year-old Zion Harvey made history when he received a double-hand transplant at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Harvey has now been discharged and will be heading home.

Harvey is from the Baltimore area and was staying at CHOP since the surgery in July to recover.

For full story go to:

In The News: Facebook Acknowledges Van Stone For Top Online Promoter Uplifting Women; Stone Acknowledges Veronica Brinkley

Facebook  Image, Voted Philadelphiafrontpagenews Vanstone

Veronica Brinkley, Fashion and Singer Artist
In The News: Facebook Acknowledges Van Stone For Top Online Promoter Uplifting Women; Stone Acknowledges Veronica Brinkley
Philadelphia, USA- Facebook, an online social networking service headquartered in Menlo Park, California, honored local Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA newspaper, founder Van Stone Downing, and staff for a day of press appreciation and uplifting women.

On Wednesday, August 26, 2015 Facebook recognized the work of Van Stone, who lives in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, as a leader for positive women by placing the Philadelphiafrontpagenews Vanstone facebook page as first in the Women's Right To Vote category.
New this year at Philadelphiafrontpagenews Vanstone facebook page was the Fashion and Beauty Collection representing top women from Latin America, Southeast Asia, Africa, Canada, and the USA.

Although the women do not compete, new and long time facebook users from national and international locations became friends with Van Stone because he has a long history of supporting equality ever since the first issue of the newspaper.

The Philadelphia Front Page News Publisher and Editor Van Stone got his journalism start writing for several local newspapers and community newspapers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Stone brags often about the top talented women in music, fashion, community, and entertainment.   Many top women are working directly or indirectly with him.  For example, Veronica Brinkley, a local singer, is a strong participant in the media business with the Philadelphia Front Page News brand.

Van Stone shares his photos, magazine covers and news for free with his followers and gives the readers and viewers the women's tips on how to make a good natural photo great.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Philly Program Teaches Crime Fighting While Walking The Dog

Philly Program Teaches Crime Fighting While Walking The Dog
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Dog owners can get lots of benefits from regularly walking their furry friends, like exercise and socializing. Now there’s a way to use those daily walks to keep your neighborhood safe.

The program is called “Dog Walker Watch.” The National Association of Town Watch runs it with the help of local law enforcement agencies.

Town Watch executive director Matt Peskin says officers conduct the hour-long training sessions, and they teach dog owners how to be more observant and how to report crime more effectively:

For full story go to:

Friday, August 21, 2015

Philly PAL Kids Gear Up For School With Camp Invention

Philly PAL Kids Gear Up For School With Camp Invention

(Credit: Chase Trimmer)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Police Athletic League hosted Camp Invention in Fairmount for grade-school students, to prepare them for the upcoming school year.

The week-long camp focuses on teaching kids how to create structures using, well, junk.
Director of Education for Philly’s PAL, Chase Trimmer says 65 kids from PAL centers across the city became engineers for a week.

“They’re learning to apply science, technology, engineering, and math skills.” says Trimmer. “During the summer, it’s almost time to get ready to go back to school. So we are making it fun, but also trying to get them ready to go back to school.”

For full story go to:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Father Allegedly Left 2 Young Children In Hot Car While He Was At Work

Father Allegedly Left 2 Young Children In Hot Car While He Was At Work

(Credit: Thinkstock)

BREINIGSVILLE, Pa. (CBS) – Police say a father allegedly left his young children inside of a vehicle while he was working.

Authorities say officers were dispatched to the Home Depot Distribution Center on the 8500 block of Willard Drive Monday afternoon.

Officials say an employee heard noises and discovered the two small children, ages four and six, inside of a parked sedan in the parking lot.

Police say the windows were down, but the temperature outside was 92 degrees.
For full story go to:

Congressman Fattah Pleads Not Guilty To Federal Corruption/Racketeering Charges

Congressman Fattah Pleads Not Guilty To Federal Corruption/Racketeering Charges
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Congressman Chaka Fattah pleaded not guilty to federal racketeering and conspiracy charges in his initial court appearance on Tuesday.

The congressman couldn’t wait for the reading of the charges. Just as the proceeding began, he told the judge, “I would like to say that I’m not guilty.” When asked for his plea a few minutes later, Fattah said,
“Innocent. Not guilty.”

He was released without having to post the $100-thousand bail and sought to reassure his constituents.

For full story go to:

TV report: Subway pitchman to admit to child-porn charges

TV report: Subway pitchman to admit to child-porn charges 
AP Photo
FILE - In this July 7, 2015, file photo, Subway restaurant spokesman Jared Fogle walks to a waiting car as he leaves his home in Zionsville, Ind. Fox 59 television station reported Tuesday, Aug. 18 that the Subway pitchman is expected to plead guilty to child-pornography charges, citing sources it did not identify.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Longtime Subway pitchman Jared Fogle is expected to plead guilty to child-pornography charges, an Indiana television station reported Tuesday.

The report on Fox59 comes six weeks after authorities seized electronics and other items from Fogle's home in Zionsville, an affluent Indianapolis suburb.

Citing sources it did not identify, the station said Fogle would enter a plea Wednesday. It also said the U.S. Attorney's Office in Indianapolis planned to hold a news conference Wednesday.

The 37-year-old Fogle became a Subway pitchman more than 15 years ago after shedding more than 200 pounds as a college student, in part by eating the chain's sandwiches.

Subway suspended its association with Fogle after the raid. The company declined to comment Tuesday, saying only that the chain had "already ended our relationship with Jared."

Ron Elberger, an Indianapolis attorney who represents Fogle, and Tim Horty, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Indianapolis, both declined to comment on the report.

Two months before Fogle's home was raided, authorities arrested the then-executive director of Fogle's foundation on child-porn charges. Russell Taylor, 43, ran the Jared Foundation, which sought to raise awareness about childhood obesity. He was charged with seven counts of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.

Investigators said they discovered a cache of sexually explicit photos and videos Taylor allegedly produced by secretly filming minor children at his home.

After those charges were filed, Fogle issued a statement saying he was shocked by the allegations and was severing all ties with Taylor.

Though Fogle has not been front-and-center in Subway's advertising recently, he had still been acting as a Subway spokesman and appearing at events on the company's behalf.

Fogle's history with Subway reaches back to when he was a student at Indiana University. The college paper published a story on his weight loss that was then picked up by national media.

Soon after, Subway's advertising agency reached out to Fogle and asked if he wanted to be in a TV commercial. The ensuing ad campaign resonated in part because Fogle seemed like such a regular guy, which made weight loss seem simple and achievable.

Of course, Fogle was not the only reason for Subway's growth over the years. Its $5 footlong deals were popular with people looking to save money, and many customers liked that they could have their sandwiches made to order.

Still, Fogle was instrumental in Subway's success over the years.

In 2013, Subway celebrated the 15-year anniversary of Fogle's famous diet by featuring him in a Super Bowl ad and making him available to news organizations for interviews. At the time, Fogle said he still traveled regularly on behalf of Subway. He also said he had a Subway "black card" that let him eat at the chain for free.

The company, based in Milford, Connecticut, has declined to provide details on its financial arrangements with Fogle.

In 1999, the year before Fogle appeared in his first Subway commercial, Subway had about 14,000 stores worldwide, according to Technomic. As of last year, that figure had tripled to about 43,000, making Subway the world's largest restaurant chain by locations.

More recently, Subway has run into challenges. The chain has been trying to keep up with changing attitudes about health and announced in June that it would remove artificial ingredients and colors from its North America menus by 2017. Subway is also facing more competition from rivals such as Firehouse Subs.

Last year, average sales for Subway stores in the U.S. declined 3 percent from the previous year, Technomic said.

The company is privately held and does not release financial information.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Some Parents Question New Dress Code At Delco School District

Some Parents Question New Dress Code At Delco School District

(Credit: Thinkstock)

WALLINGFORD, Pa. (CBS) – A new dress code is about to take effect in the Wallingford-Swarthmore school district, and it will be a topic of discussion at a school board meeting tonight.

The new policy lists no tank tops or spaghetti straps, only crew neck or collared shirts, and shorts, skirts or pants that sit on the waist.

“I’m not sure that this policy comports to reality,” says Christine Reuther, mother of a 14-year-old student.  “You can’t find pants that come up to the waist, you can’t find necessarily anything fashionable in a crewneck that has three-inch sleeves, I mean that’s just not what girls wear in the summer.”

For full story go to:

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Philadelphia Reaches Out To Chinese Sister City Amid Disaster

Philadelphia Reaches Out To Chinese Sister City Amid Disaster

(credit: Jay Lloyd)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Last week’s explosions and fire in Tianjin, China have killed more than 100 people. Rescuers are still looking for survivors of Wednesday’s disaster in that port city, and Philadelphia is standing by to help in the aftermath.

“The moment that Mayor Nutter heard, he sent a letter to Mayor Huang [Xingguo], whom he’d met,” says Nancy Gilboy, president and CEO of Citizen Diplomacy International.

“We’re waiting to see where they need help, because I’ve had a lot of people come to me and say they’d really like to help raise funds for this.”

For full story go to:

After decades, Guardian Angels resume Central Park rounds

After decades, Guardian Angels resume Central Park rounds 

NEW YORK (AP) -- The squad in stop-sign-red jackets and berets strode through Central Park, on guard for signs of crime.

It was a familiar sight a generation ago, when New York was plagued by lawlessness that police have worked for years to dispel. Yet Guardian Angels volunteers made a pointed return this month to Central Park for the first time in over two decades, citing a 26 percent rise in crime there so far this year.

"We realize things are much better than they were" in the crime peak of the 1980s and early `90s, founder Curtis Sliwa says, but "we want it to stay that way."

City officials stress that crime is down citywide, and the park is far safer than it once was. Still, the renewed patrols by the Guardian Angels - known for both crime-fighting and controversy over their 35 years - are bright-red signals of unease about whether New York, touted for years as the nation's safest big city, is slipping.

Sliwa and eight other Guardian Angels, ranging from graying long timers to a 20-year-old woman, trooped along roadways, paths and rocky, dark trails for hours one night this week, shining flashlights into thickets, asking people whether they'd had any trouble and eyeballing a quartet of teenagers who quickly took off on bicycles.

Onlookers' reactions ranged from thumbs up to raised eyebrows. "Time warp!" one passing jogger exclaimed.

"I didn't even know they were still in business," Harlem resident Christine Adebiyi said, but "it's great to see them here."

After years of celebrating crime drops, the nation's biggest city has seen killings rise by 9 percent so far this year, though serious crime overall is down 5 percent. Forty-six percent of city voters in a recent Quinnipiac University poll said crime was a "very serious" problem, a record going back at least to 1999.

A quarter-century after the "Central Park jogger" rape case made the park a symbol of urban danger, officials boasted in recent years that the 842-acre expanse was one of the safest urban parks of its size worldwide.

Despite this year's increase - largely a result of robberies going from 11 at this point last year to 22 so far in 2015 - overall crime in the iconic park is down more than 80 percent compared with two decades ago, the New York Police Department said. Even with the recent spike, crime is lower than just two years ago, NYPD statistics show.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says the park remains "absolutely safe" and suggests police need no help from the Guardian Angels. "The NYPD is the best-qualified force to handle the situation," he said this week.

Police circulating in patrol cars and shining high-powered lights maintain a visible presence in the park at night. But Sliwa says officers don't penetrate into the secluded spots where criminals could lurk, an argument he underscored as the Guardian Angels passed an unilluminated NYPD light stanchion on a foot trail. Police later said the light is fully operational.

Guardian Angels feel much of their function is deterring crime, but if they see it, they're ready to make 
citizens' arrests, call police and defuse potential problems. This week, they prompted some young men to move on amid reports that the youths had been throwing rocks at people in the park and broke up a shoving match between two other men, Sliwa said.

A talk-radio host, Sliwa is an untrammeled critic of the first-term Democratic mayor, whom he accuses of hamstringing police. De Blasio has emphasized changing policing to build trust in minority communities and says the overall drop in crime shows his approach works, though he has had a fraught relationship with the NYPD.

To some extent, the Central Park patrols signal that those "unhappy with the direction that he wants to take the city are starting to mobilize," said Queens College political science professor Michael Krasner.

The Guardian Angels began in 1979 and quickly expanded to other cities, welcomed by some people as a tough-minded neighborhood watch, derided by others as loose-cannon, publicity-seeking vigilantes.

By the mid-1990s, some chapters folded and the Guardian Angels' reputation took a hit when Sliwa acknowledged fabricating some of their early exploits. Meanwhile, Sliwa was nearly killed in a 1992 kidnapping and shooting that mob scion John "Junior" Gotti was charged with ordering; prosecutors gave up after four juries deadlocked.

But the Guardian Angels endured and evolved: By 2006, they had a $200,000 New York state grant to do online safety education. They now count about 5,000 members in 18 countries, Sliwa says.

In New York, Guardian Angels still patrol parts of Brooklyn and the Bronx regularly. But shortly after Rudy Giuliani's mayoralty began in 1994, they felt policing had intensified enough that they weren't needed to fight crime in Central Park, Sliwa says.

"It got better," until recently, he says. "That's why you need to nip it in the bud now."

Julian Bond, former NAACP chairman and activist, dies at 75

Julian Bond, former NAACP chairman and activist, dies at 75 
AP Photo
FILE- In this July 8, 2007, file photo shows NAACP Chairman Julian Bond addresses the civil rights organization's annual convention in Detroit. Bond, a civil rights activist and longtime board chairman of the NAACP, died Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. He was 75.

ATLANTA (AP) -- Julian Bond's life traced the arc of the civil rights movement, from his efforts as a militant young man to start a student protest group all the way to the top leadership post at the NAACP.

Year after year, the calm, telegenic Bond was one of the nation's most poetic voices for equality, inspiring fellow activists with his words in the 1960s and sharing the movement's vision with succeeding generations as a speaker and academic. He died Saturday at 75.

Former Ambassador Andrew Young said Bond's legacy would be as a "lifetime struggler."

"He started when he was about 17 and he went to 75," Young said. "And I don't know a single time when he was not involved in some phase of the civil rights movement."

Bond died in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, after a brief illness, according to a statement issued Sunday by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an advocacy group that he founded in 1971 and helped oversee for the rest of his life. His wife, Pamela Horowitz, said Bond suffered from vascular disease.

Her husband, she said, "never took his eyes off the prize and that was always racial equality."

The son of a college president burst into the national consciousness after helping to start the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, where he rubbed shoulders with committee leaders Stokely Carmichael and John Lewis. As the committee grew into one of the movement's most important groups, the young Bond dropped out of Morehouse College in Atlanta to serve as communications director. He later returned and completed his degree in 1971.

Bond was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965, but fellow lawmakers, many of them white, refused to let him take his seat because of his anti-war stance on Vietnam. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in his favor. Bond finally took office in 1967.

"If this was another movement, they would call him the PR man, because he was the one who wrote the best, who framed the issues the best. He was called upon time and again to write it, to express it," said Eleanor Holmes Norton, who was Bond's colleague on the student committee and later wrote a friend-of-the-court brief for the American Civil Liberties Union when Bond's case was before the high court.

President Barack Obama called Bond "a hero."

"Justice and equality was the mission that spanned his life," Obama said in a statement. "Julian Bond helped change this country for the better."

In 1968, he led a delegation to the Democratic National Convention, where his name was placed in nomination for the vice presidency, but he declined because he was too young.

He served in the Georgia House until 1975 and then served six terms in the Georgia Senate until 1986. He also served as president of the law center from its founding until 1979 and was later on its board of directors.
Bond was elected board chairman of the NAACP in 1998 and served for 10 years.

He was known for his intellect and his even keel, even in the most emotional situations, Young said.

"When everybody else was getting worked up, I could find in Julian a cool serious analysis of what was going on," Young said.

In the most intense debates, Bond was "always a gentleman" and never mean, his wife said.

Bond was often at the forefront of protests. In 1960, he helped organize a sit-in involving Atlanta college students at the city hall cafeteria.

"We never thought that he really would participate and be arrested because he was always so laid back and cool, but he joined in with us," recalled Carolyn Long Banks, now 74, who said Bond never sought much recognition in those early years.

Bond was "a thinker as well as a doer. He was a writer as well as a young philosopher," said Charlayne Hunter-Gault, a journalist who struck up a friendship with Bond in the early 1960s, when she was one of the first two black students to attend the University of Georgia. At the time, Bond was an activist in Atlanta with the newly formed committee.

His eloquence and sense of humor "really helped sustain the young people in the civil rights movement."
Hunter-Gault said she hopes a new generation of activists draws lessons from Bond's life and work as they embrace the Black Lives Matter movement.

"Everybody is not going to be out there in the street with their hands up or shouting," she said. "There've got to be people like Julian who participate and observe and combine those two things for action and change that make a difference."

Morris Dees, co-founder of the law center, said the nation lost one of its most passionate voices for justice.

"He advocated not just for African-Americans but for every group, indeed every person subject to oppression and discrimination, because he recognized the common humanity in us all," Dees said.

After leading the NAACP, Bond stayed active in Democratic politics. He also made regular appearances on the lecture circuit and on television and taught at several universities.

Horace Julian Bond was born Jan. 14, 1940, in Nashville, Tennessee. In addition to his wife, a former staff attorney at the law center, survivors include five children.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Superior Court Judges To Decide If Case Against Former Penn State Officials Proceeds

Superior Court Judges To Decide If Case Against Former Penn State Officials Proceeds

Former Penn State President Graham Spanier.  (credit: Hunter Martin/ Getty Images)
Former Penn State President Graham Spanier.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — A panel of Superior Court judges will decide if the case against three former Penn State officials accused of covering up the Jerry Sandusky scandal will move forward. The judges heard arguments in the case today.

Former Penn State President Graham Spanier and two other former administrators, Gary Schultz and Tim Curley, are charged with perjury and other offenses for their actions related to the Sandusky scandal.

Lawyers for the three men took turns arguing before a Superior Court panel that there was confusion about their clients’ legal representation when they appeared before a grand jury.

For full story go to:

Saturday, August 8, 2015

James "Wimp" Wimberly Has Teamed Up With Van Stone's Philadelphia Front Page News (PFPN) As New Radio And Video Camera Director To Help With Philadelphia's Radio And Video Camera News

James "Wimp" Wimberly Has Teamed Up With Van Stone's Philadelphia Front Page News (PFPN) As New Radio And Video Camera Director To Help With Philadelphia's Radio And Video Camera News

 James “Wimp” Wimberly, Radio and Video Camera 
Associate Executive Director, Philadelphia Front
Page News.

James “Wimp” Wimberly and Philadelphia Front Page News (PFPN) get to the core of the independent artist and community organization plans in the city using video film and music.   “Wimp, has become Radio and Video Camera Director with Philadelphia Front Page News to helping the media company to demonstrate how independent artist as well as local community organizations can continue to help any neighborhood grow positive through the camera lens.

James “Wimb” is a videographer and athlete who specialize in video camera lens stories highlighting the Black experience in the urban and rural community. 

He newly serves as associate executive director for Philadelphia Front Page News’ Power WVSR 1360.US radio station and radio station cameraman activities.   He also co-produces youth video news about Playground Legends series created by Philadelphia’s Van Stone.

Wimb has also enjoyed a successful history of working in the video film, sports, and the entertainment industry.  And he has experience in having discussions about what it means to have a close-nit community earning everything that you receive in life compared to not working hard in life.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

In Search of Playground Legends: James “Wimb” Wimberly Developing Basketball, Tennis, And History At Lee Cultural Center and Playground As Well As West Park Projects History by Van Stone (267) 293-9201

In Search of Playground Legends:  James “Wimb” Wimberly Developing Basketball, Tennis, And History At Lee Cultural Center and Playground As Well As West Park Projects History by Van Stone (267) 293-9201

Above: James "Wimb" Wimberly, Lee Cultural
Center and Playground Legend (In Basketball)
The search is on for the most popular and star local playground legends that came out of the Lee Cultural Center and Playground 4328 Haverford Ave, in West Philadelphia between the years 1954 – 2004.   And Van Stone, researcher, journalist and radio station pioneer is on an impossible mission to find men and women who made a difference becoming Philadelphia’s playground legends in action.

Hoop for hoop, net for net, James “Wimb” Wimberly is one of the most skillful and talented basketball playerS to ever come out of Lee Cultural Center and Playground.  There is a major difference between basketball and tennis schoolyard players. “Playground players had a chance to make it and did,” says Wimb,who was determined to make it from the playground through school, and then gain a great leadership reputation in both the city and even the church community.

Wimb, in his 40’s, is a product of Lee playground who, as the story goes, became a basketball legend.

 “Spending a lot of time on the playground is one thing. Anybody else growing up like me stayed on that playground early mornings, noon, and late nights.”
Under the lamplights of the Lee Cultural Center and Playground, at night Wimberly played basketball, his game interrupted on occasion many nights by slow-walking men with a team of 5 or 6 that would walk on the court challenging anyone in a game of street ball.  Many of Wimberly challengers would become future celebrated professional basketball players

At Lee Playground you would always get tournament ball vs. street ball good sportsmanship competition. Street ball players had to be in top form like Wimb, because the players would player-coach, keep score, and at the same time be their own fair-referees. Many times fans would appear to watch.
Before and during Wimb’s time on the Lee Playground court, throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s college all-Americans who were home from school and pro players who needed a competitive tune-up in their off season played organized street ball there.  Throughout the 1980's and beyond, according to those who saw him, Wimb electrified crowds with precision shooting, whopping scoring totals, and defenses.

Lee Cultural Center and Playground, formally a woodlands and farming ground, originally purchased and occupied by Paul Busti, was then purchased by the Pennsylvania Hospital under the direction of and afterward occupied by Dr. Thomas S. Kirkbride, Superintendent, is a Philadelphia County Parks and Recreation District’s landmark in the council district of Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell. The center was renamed after Joseph Lee, a PA postmaster.   

The Lee Cultural Center and Playground is located on the original land boundary purchased by Paul Busti, an Italian who came to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1799 as an agent of the Holland Land Company. The original grounds ran from 42nd Street to 49th Street and from Market Street to Haverford Avenue.
There had been a mansion on the grounds since 1794. As time goes by the mansion would later be renamed the Lee Cultural Center.  But at first, Busti improved it in 1801 and lived there for 23 years on what he called his Blockley Retreat Farm.
In 1836 the Pennsylvania Hospital purchased the eastern half of the grounds from the Busti Estate.  Those grounds soon became the old Pennsylvania Hospital for Insane, commonly known as Kirkbrides.  As for the mansion it was next occupied by Dr. Thomas S. Kirkbride, Superintendent until his passing.
In 1913 City Council passed an ordinance to cut 44th Street continuing through the hospital grounds South to North from Market Street to Haverford Avenue.  Having established its right to do so, the City never cut the street through.
In 1954 the Hospital management sold its land east of 46th Street to 42nd Street into four sections.  First, the east to west section 43rd Street to 42nd Street Powelton Avenue to Haverford Avenue was sold to Drexel University for an athletic field. 

Second, the east to west section 43rd Street to 45th Street Powelton Avenue and Market Street to streets that were never named yet running parallel with Haverford Avenue was sold to the Philadelphia Housing Authority for erecting three high rise buildings (the Projects) named 4445 Holden, 300 Busti and 400 Busti, commonly known as West Park.  The inner boundary of West Park ends at the north side of the Busti mansion.  
Thirdly, but not necessarily in this order, the east to west section 45th Street to 46th Street Market Street to streets that were never named yet running parallel with Haverford Avenue was sold to The Board of Education for a complex of elementary school (Alain Locke), a junior high school, and a huge athletic field which was the other section of field right next to the Drexel athletic field but boundary ending at  east side of the Busti mansion.
And finally, fourth, the Department of Recreation, today known as Parks and Recreation, retained the Busti Mansion, added to it, and established the Lee Cultural Center devoted to community interests, culture and recreation for a music center, basketball court, tennis court, playground equipment area, outdoor swimming pool, waterspout play area, and picnic area. And interestingly, for fifty solid years now, Lee Playground and West Park are considered a combined location in the view of most politicians, residents and friends of the playground.    

Purchased in 1954 as part of a combined West Philadelphia city council and Philadelphia Housing Authority effort to develop a residential neighborhood called West Park, the mansion and playground-woods was rededicated as the Lee Cultural Center after Joseph Lee, a local postmaster and activist, following infrastructure improvements, facility upgrades and wet play enhancements. Growing up at the center and playground  as well as at West Park residential grounds it featured amenities which through many years Blackwell supports, such as walking path, basketball courts, tennis courts, picnic areas, restrooms, playground, paved parking, and cook out grills-(at one time there were free roaming wild animals such as deer, horses, and others on site).
As for the Lee Cultural Center and Playground legends, today Wimb is helping to give back to what makes one a playground legend – lots of neighbors and visitors still remember or know your name, support spending hundreds of volunteer hours each year at the playground, being recognized by political leaders, support strong ongoing education and recreation, community development, organizing street basketball and street tennis programming and leagues, music and gardening activity, and/or organizing spiritual awareness.  

"I had to go through both systems of street ball and school ball and that helped my attitude and personality. If a Lee Playground and council leader like Jannie Blackwell wasn’t there for me it would be very difficult to understand how good someone is based on their performance in the playgrounds and in spirituality." says Wimberly.

“Having the stuff that legends are made of,” James “Wimb” Wimberly enjoys fellowship and being motivated at Embracing Truth Ministries 544-48 North 52nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19131.

Anyone who wants to help locate Lee Cultural Center and Playground legends or any person who they believe should be considered a playground legend during 1954-2004 can contact Van Stone at (267) 293-9201.

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