Phil Pappas, left, and Mike Mawson, of West Frankford Town Watch, outside the Thriftway at Frankford Avenue and Pratt Street around 2 a.m. Sat. July 10.
Mike Mawson smells something.
It’s past midnight on Comly Street near Bustleton in Mayfair. The sun went down hours ago, but forgot to take this sticky July heat with it. Mawson is riding shotgun in the sensible four-door sedan that his partner Phil Pappas drives. The West Frankford Town Watch patrol was circling around to head back south of Cheltenham Avenue to drive the streets of its namesake neighborhood when Mawson caught a whiff of something off in the still nighttime air.
“It smells like something is burning,” confirms soft-featured Pappas, 53, sitting upright with two hands on the steering wheel and dressed with purpose in matching earthtones. “I’ll pull over.”
continue reading »
Northeast Philadelphia Now meeting at the John Perzel Community Center on Monday, June 21, 2010.
The beginnings of a coalition to unite the neighborhoods of Northeast Philadelphia around a common agenda stemming from quality of life crimes took another humble step inside a Mayfair recreation center Tuesday night.
Just a handful of attendees cycled in and out of the John Perzel Community Center for the second meeting for the Northeast Philadelphia Now initiative, corralled by Mayfair Town Watch Founder John Vearling, and the conversation roamed wildly. The pitch is to bring various and sundry community leaders together to develop cohesive strategies to supplement stretched police details and maintain the family-first reputation that has been a Northeast staple since its post-World War II boom.
“Our question is what can we do in the Northeast and what can we do now,” Vearling said. “Whatever the rest of the city does, I don’t care. I want to fix the problems in the Northeast.”
continue reading »
The idea isn’t new: bring together all the Northeast civic, town watch and other community leaders to form a united front.
But Mayfair leaders Monday night breathed new life into an old idea when they gathered for a preliminary meeting to share ideas for a Northeast think tank of sorts.
In attendance were representatives from the Mayfair Civic Association, Mayfair Town Watch, 15th District Police and 3rd Federal Bank. Together, this group — and others who were unable to attend the meeting — is seeking to unite the region’s neighborhood organizations to build and strengthen community relations, safety and business corridors, among other things. continue reading »
In this two–part series, we examine the effects absentee landlords have on neighborhoods, and what residents are doing to fight them. In the first part, we hear from Mayfair residents.
During their patrols as Mayfair Town Watch President and Vice President, John Vearling and Len Roberts heard the same complaints from residents over and over again.
The owner of this property did not shovel his sidewalk when it snowed. This owner failed to maintain the lawn. The renters in this household would not put their trash outside at the proper time on the proper night. The sound of barking dogs and blasting music that came from this apartment never ceased, day or night.
Roberts said the gripes escalated as time passed. Some neighbors told him that certain properties on Cottman Avenue were known drug houses. Vearling heard from others that residents would move out in the middle of the night. continue reading »
At the intersection of Cottman and Frankford avenues, high atop the street pole is a well-defined white police box that records daily activity.
Originally put up for safety reasons during the Phillies’ World Series before-and-after parties, the surveillance camera was used to aid the police in monitoring any suspicious or harmful conduct that the fans might have tried during the games.
To warn participants that they are being filmed, a constant, flashing blue strobe light pulses just above the white box.
Surprising news came to many Mayfair residents after the baseball season ended and they were told at their town watch meeting that the camera wasn’t coming down. This fact angered more than a few members. continue reading »
The logo for the Fallen Heroes Run, as designed by Mike Ennis. The 5K one among many topics at last night's Mayfair Civic Association meeting.
Members of the Mayfair Civic Association came together last night to update residents on pressing topics, like plans to rebuild Mayfair Memorial Playground, the Fallen Heroes Run and four recent zoning issues.
With little more than four months until the annual Fallen Heroes Run, Civic Association President Joe De Felice is pushing for funding to rebuild the playground off of Rowland Avenue at Lincoln High School, which is currently set for groundbreaking following the run. continue reading »
Lt. Bugieda of the 15th District introduces four officer, with more than 20 years of experience among them.
In honor of the Philadelphia Police Department’s PSA Week, Mayfair Town Watch hosted one of several meetings in the Northeast last night.
More than 15 people, six police officers, two politicians and other town watch presidents came together at the John Perzel Community Center Wednesday night to host a meeting for the 15th District’s Police Service Area 2.
Just one of many PSA meetings throughout the region, the purpose was to bring together all factions of the community — residents, business owners, police officers and elected officials — to unite the neighborhoods in the hopes of improving them.
“We want to stabilize neighborhoods,” Lt. Bugieda, who oversees PSA2, said. “[The community] plays a critical role there.”
In the video below, Bugieda lists the boundaries of the District’s PSA zones. continue reading »
Mayfair Town Watch began 2010 by announcing it will host an open meeting Jan. 20 to mark the beginning of PSAs in the 15th District.
At their first meeting of 2010, Mayfair Town Watch members — along with 15th District Lt. Bugieda — discussed the upcoming implementation of Police Service Areas in the district. To mark the occasion, the Town Watch will hold an open meeting Wednesday, Jan. 20 for police officers, politicians and local businesses owners to meet one another. All in the name of community relations. continue reading »
Mayfair Town Watch has moved one step closer to its goal of street patrols by finishing up its member training session, with plans to hit the streets this weekend.
“I think we need to get out there on the streets ASAP, and that’s what this is all about,” President John Vearling said. continue reading »
Pride for Mayfair and the Philles was in abundance at last night's Mayfair Town Watch meeting.
The still-developing Mayfair Town Watch will need members “from every age group” to be effective, the group’s president said at last night’s meeting.
Other town watch organizations “are made up of middle-aged guys,” President John Vearling told about a dozen members in the meeting room of the John M. Perzel Community Center. “We need that next generation to have our vision for town watch.” continue reading »