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News Blog

  • 12 Apr 2022 3:00 PM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    New Year, Same Problem

    The pesky spotted lanternfly is about to emerge from its nests. So, April is the time to stop the insects before they take over another summer in southeastern Pennsylvania.

    Pennsylvania Wants You to Stop the Spotted Lanternfly Before It Hatches (

  • 11 Apr 2022 2:46 PM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)
    Philadelphia’s indoor mask mandate is coming back. The city said Monday that it’s reached the Level 2: Mask Precautions stage of its four-tiered COVID-19 response system and it will reimpose the mask mandate on April 18.

    Philadelphia Reinstating Indoor Mask Mandate After Moving Into Level 2 Of 4-Tiered COVID-19 Response System – CBS Philly (

  • 07 Apr 2022 10:53 AM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

     La bohème returns to the AVA stage, April 28-May 14, 2022, performed by our award-winning Resident Artists. The story of love and loss against the backdrop of some of the most familiar and lush melodies in opera is sure to delight audiences and transport them to the streets of Paris. 


    Maestro Christofer Macatsoris leads the AVA Opera Orchestra

    Jeffrey Buchman directs

    Sung in Italian with English supertitles

    La bohème Cast* (in order of appearance)

    • Rodolfo – Zach Rioux, Sahel Salam
    • Marcello – Kevin Godínez 
    • Schaunard – Peter Barber, Benjamin Dickerson
    • Colline – Eric Delagrange, Griffen Hogan Tracy
    • Benoit/Alcindoro – Cody Müller
    • Mimì – Yihan Duan, Renée Richardson
    • Musetta – Loella Grahn, Emily Margevich
    • Parpignol – Shawn Roth

    *Cast subject to change, date of each cast to be announced at a later time

    Performance Dates:

    • April 28, 2022, 7:30 PM - Young Professionals performance at AVA
    • April 30, 2022, 7:30 PM at AVA
    • May 3, 2022, 7:30 PM at AVA
    • May 5, 2022, 7:30 PM at AVA
    • May 7, 2022, 7:30 PM at AVA
    • May 10, 2022, 7:30 PM at Centennial Hall at the Haverford School, 450 Lancaster Ave, Haverford, PA 19041
    • May 14, 2022, 7:30 PM at Central Bucks South High School, 1100 Folly Rd, Warrington, PA 18976
    • For this performance, please call AVA for student or ADA tickets at 215-735-1685

    Get tickets here

  • 06 Apr 2022 10:22 AM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    Taken from the Wall Street Journal:

    Cities across the U.S. are grappling with the messy details necessary to make permanent the outdoor-dining sheds, igloos and patios that helped restaurants stay afloat during the height of the pandemic.

    Seattle, Denver, Atlanta and Los Angeles are in the process of developing plans to make their expanded outdoor-dining programs permanent. These programs were often set up to be temporary and allowed restaurants to apply for permits that gave them permission to use parking spaces and sidewalks for dining space. New York City officials are fighting a legal challenge seeking to block its outdoor-dining program

    New Orleans will begin reviewing plans this month for a permanent outdoor-dining scene. Adjustments made during the pandemic have led restaurant owners in the tourism-dependent city to rethink their priorities, said Jeff Schwartz, economic development director for New Orleans.  

    “Giving businesses an option of thinking about whether they prefer parking or tables, I think is a question that we haven’t asked before,” Mr. Schwartz said. “And it’s exciting to be able to have those kinds of conversations.”

    An outdoor-dining area in Queens, N.Y., in January. For many New York City restaurants, the outdoor-dining program has been a lifeline.

    So far, 40 businesses in New Orleans are participating in the program, which allows restaurants to set up dining space in public parking spots. The city expects more to join once the program becomes permanent, he said. 

    Expanded outdoor dining on sidewalks and on parking spaces, once a novelty at the beginning of the pandemic, has become a vital source of income for many restaurants over the past two years. In Los Angeles, a survey of restaurants with curbside dining areas found that 81% said they would have permanently closed without the outdoor modifications, according to city officials.  

    But making those programs permanent can be tricky for city officials with limited funds to ensure outdoor dining is safe, clean and accommodating for people with disabilities. They also have to navigate the concerns of neighbors and other businesses and balance that with the desires of the restaurants. 

    The process can be fraught. In New York City, a coalition of residents sued to block the city from making its outdoor-dining program permanent, which currently has over 12,000 establishments participating. They said many of the dining sheds that dot their neighborhoods have become eyesores and magnets for rodents, while patrons noisily eat dinner and drink in the street.  

    “There’s more rats, trash, noise, crowds,” said Diem Boyd, a resident of the Lower East Side of Manhattan and one of the people suing to stop the outdoor-dining program. “That’s the reality of the situation.”

    For many New York City restaurants, the program has been a lifeline.

    Alfredo Angueira operates a bar, beer garden and speakeasy in the Bronx. Those three businesses were “barely able to hang on” in the early months of the pandemic, he said. 

    Then, he said he invested a “couple thousand dollars” in outdoor-dining structures. “To say it saved us…that is not hyperbole. That is not me talking it up,” Mr. Angueira said. “That’s the truth. It saved us.”


    Do you hope pandemic-driven outdoor dining spots will remain in your city? Why or why not? Join the conversation below.

    Outdoor dining also offers a safer option for diners when Covid-19 infections rates surge. New York City health officials on Friday again recommended that people wear masks in indoor settings, as Covid-19 cases have begun to rebound. They stopped short of reimposing any requirements.  

    In the New York lawsuit, the plaintiffs attempting to block the outdoor-dining program allege the city failed to conduct a proper environmental-impact review when considering making the program permanent. A state judge agreed with the plaintiffs and ordered the city to conduct a study to examine what environmental impacts a permanent program would have on the city. 

    A New York City Hall spokesperson said the city is reviewing its legal options.  “The city has been undergoing a thorough and careful process in preparation for a permanent outdoor dining program,” the spokesperson said.  

    In Portland, Ore., more than 1,000 businesses are participating in the city’s outdoor-dining program. So far, restaurants haven’t had to pay for outdoor-dining permits, a policy that is set to end Aug. 31. 

    The city will then begin charging restaurants participating in the program, said Dylan Rivera, a spokesman for the Portland Bureau of Transportation, which oversees the program. 

    The fees will pay to staff teams of engineers to design standards for outdoor spaces, ensuring they have appropriate access for people with disabilities, don’t block visibility at intersections and include other safety measures, Mr. Rivera said. The fees are also expected to help replace the revenue lost from having metered parking spots replaced by a dining space, he said.

    Portland hasn’t yet determined how much the fees will be. The Portland Bureau of Transportation has asked the city council to approve enough funding for the program for the next three years to keep the fees modest, Mr. Rivera said. The city’s budget process is ongoing. 

    “If we don’t get council support, then at minimum those fees will be much higher than they would have been otherwise,” Mr. Rivera said. 

    High permit fees for outdoor dining, however, could alienate some businesses. There was an outcry from restaurateurs in Boston’s North End neighborhood over the $7,500 fee they are being asked to pay for 2022. 

    The permit would pay for mitigation measures, such as increased trash cleanup and rodent control caused by outdoor dining, city officials said. 

    Mayor Michelle Wu said late last month that North End restaurants could pay a monthly fee of $1,500 that would stretch over the course of five months, giving more flexibility to restaurants that can’t pay $7,500 upfront. About 80 North End restaurants participated in the program last year, according to city officials. 

    Restauratants in Boston’s North End neighborhood would have to pay a $7,500 fee to participate in this year’s outdoor-dining program.

    “I believe we can come to a situation this summer where our community members, which includes our residents and our restaurant owners, are all thriving,” Ms. Wu said at a news conference. “We need the resources to do that.”

    Joe Kinsella, a resident of Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, said the city should hold off on imposing these fees on restaurants in the North End. 

    “I think this is an issue we shouldn’t be fighting this year,” Mr. Kinsella said. “Just let everybody do outdoor dining again, call it part of the pandemic. Let’s get one more year behind us and make it stable for next year.”

    Jen Royle, the chef and owner of Table, a restaurant in the city’s North End, said she hopes the restaurant community will be able to reach an understanding with residents worried about trash and rodents.

    “We’re not here to make any residents miserable. They have good points and we have good points,” Ms. Royle said. “The screaming and yelling, it’s not helping anybody. I think everyone’s doing more talking and not enough listening.”

    Write to Joseph De Avila at and Camille Furst at

  • 25 Mar 2022 2:29 PM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    Cheesesteaks. Is there a word that is more Philly? No, we don’t think so.

    There are lots of opinions around who’s got the best cheesesteak in Philadelphia and, truly, it’s hard to pick just one. So the Inquirer has 13.

    Here’s the Inquirer's guide to Philly’s best cheesesteaks.

    The best cheesesteaks to eat in Philly right now (

  • 22 Mar 2022 9:40 AM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    Dear Neighbors:

    Our production will be returning to the neighborhood to film from Monday, March 28th to Wednesday, March 30th. These scenes will be filmed on the 2100 block of Spruce Street.  To help maintain safety, the 2100 block of Spruce Street will be closed to vehicular and non-resident pedestrian traffic during filming.  The 2000 block of Spruce Street and 21st Street between Locust and Pine Streets will be intermittently closed to vehicular traffic as well.  During non-filming hours, these streets will be open.

    Streets will also be permitted as NO PARKING zones in order to support our equipment and production vehicles. We kindly ask that residents move their vehicles prior to our arrival. Any vehicles not moved will be relocated to another street in the neighborhood by the Philadelphia Police Department. Below are the dates and times of the NO PARKING zones:

     Sunday, March 27th, 6:00 PM to Thursday, March 31st, 6:00 PM

    ·         North Side of Spruce St between 22nd and 23rd Sts.

    ·         Both Sides of Spruce St between 21st and 22nd Sts.

    ·         North Side of Spruce St. between 20th St and 21st St (3 spaces closest to 21st)

    ·         Both Sides of 21st St between Locust and Pine Sts.

    ·         Both Sides of 22nd St between Locust and Pine Sts.

    ·         Rittenhouse Sq, between 20th St and 21st St (half block closest to 21st St)

    ·         East Side of 24th St from Delancey Pl to Pine St

    ·         North side of Pine St from 23rd to 24th Sts.

    As we have during past rounds of filming we will be offering resident displacement parking on the North side of Locust Street between 20th and 23rd Streets and the North side of Pine Street between 20th and 22nd Streets (parking in the Bike Lane).  This parking will be available beginning Sunday, March 27th, 9:00 AM and last until Friday, April 1st, 6:00 PM. Please, park per the resident displacement parking signs, avoid parking on corners and avoid truck and bus turns.

    PLEASE NOTE: Some of these scenes will take place during the night.  To help create the proper atmosphere we will be using larger, theatrical lights.  These will not be shining directly into anyone’s homes and will be noninvasive.  During our night time filming our crew will work as quietly and conscientiously as possible.

    To ensure our shoot is completed safely, and with minimal impact to the neighborhood, our production is working closely with the City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the Greater Philadelphia Film Office (215.686.2668). In order to safeguard the public as well as our cast and crew we are working under the protocols determined by the City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Pennsylvania Department of Health, film industry COVID-19 specialists, and our own Health & Safety Advisory team. All of our crew will be tested for COVID-19 prior to filming in your neighborhood. Symptoms will be monitored daily. All crewmembers will be required to wear PPE at all times and maintain social distancing when possible. Our crew will also be relegated to specific work areas while on site.

    If you should have any questions or concerns about our filming, please call, or look for a Location Department representative on set.

    As always, we look forward to filming in your neighborhood. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and consideration.


    Uncle George Productions, LLC

    Season 4 Locations Department


    "Servant" Season 4 Locations Department

    Uncle George Productions, LLC

    (484) 823-0021

  • 18 Mar 2022 12:57 PM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    High schools in the Philadelphia school district will start at 9 a.m. this fall as the next wave of changes that officials hope will improve transportation and education. 

    Philadelphia's public high schools will start at 9 a.m. in the fall, district says (

  • 17 Mar 2022 3:09 PM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    Spring in Philadelphia means more sunshine, warmer weather and a chance to refresh and recharge outdoors with friends and family.

    Events like Shofuso Cherry Blossom Festival and the South 9th Street Italian Market Festival make for great ways to explore the sights and tastes of spring in the city. Spring Blooms at Longwood Gardens and Keith Haring, A Radiant Legacy at the James A. Michener Art Museum provide the perfect backdrop for more seasonal action out in the countryside.

    If you missed spring festival season over the past couple years, you’re in luck: Most of the street fests and block parties we’ve come to know and love in Greater Philadelphia are back, including the Kensington Derby & Arts Festival, the Devon Horse Show, ODUNDE Festival and Center City Sips.

    And, of course, the world premiere of Harry Potter: The Exhibition continues all season long at The Franklin Institute.

    Read on for a guide of great things to do in Philadelphia and the Countryside in spring 2022.

    The Best Things to Do in Philadelphia in Spring 2022 — Visit Philadelphia (

  • 17 Mar 2022 2:58 PM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    On March 16, 2021, eight people were murdered by a mass shooter in several Atlanta spas. Six of those who were killed were Asian American women, emphasizing that women with multiple marginalized identities continue to experience a lack of safety in our communities.  

    The pandemic not only exposed, but exacerbated existing challenges facing Asian American and Pacific Islander women. Stop AAPI Hate reported that AAPI women report hate and violence 2.2 times more often than men. 

    The City is committed to decreasing hate and bias incidents while increasing opportunities for intergroup harmony. On Wednesday, March 16, communities from all across the country will be gathering locally to acknowledge the lives lost due to hate and violence impacting Asian American and Pacific Islander. We encourage you to find an in-person or virtual gathering so that you can be part of the movement to usher in care and support, build community and solidarity. One such event happening in Philadelphia hosted by local community organizations is A Day of Remembrance: Grief, Rage and Action. (Click here for virtual option). 

    As we continue to heal as a community, the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement invites community organizations and leaders to engage in conversation to create mutual understanding and support. One such program is the Black + Gold Series, the first of its kind initiative sponsored by a municipal government.  Community leaders and interested parties are invited to submit your ideas for programs that can create dialog and unity across Asian and Black communities in your neighborhoods, schools, community centers, or virtually. 

    Read the full blog below to learn how you can stay engaged.

    A Year to Remember Atlanta

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