Articles by Katie Karas

04/25/08 5:00am
Giant puppets and a herd of elementary-school students may not seem like the most obvious path for social activism, but a local nonprofit organization is giving it a try anyway. The Spiral Q Puppet Theater, which uses puppets, street theater, parades, and pageants to promote community unity and social activism, will be putting on the first of its three spring parades today.
04/21/08 5:00am

Setting the scene - at the park

Between farmers' markets, sword fights, local sports leagues and flea markets, Clark Park is constantly abuzz with activity. This summer, a local theater company will provide even more action for students staying on campus with its third-annual free show in the park.
04/10/08 5:00am

Mixed reaction to high school partnership

As Penn nears the closing stages of negotiating a partnership with a nearby public high school, education experts are debating the merits of such relationships. Penn officials say they hope to gain approval for a partnership with University City High School later this month or in early May, and have the partnership functioning by the start of the 2009-2010 school year.
04/07/08 5:00am

Volunteers take on the trash citywide

Local groups throughout Philadelphia have been organizing cleanup efforts in the city for years, but this Saturday they received a big boost from Mayor Nutter's new initiative to clean up Philadelphia. Volunteers from all over the city, including many Penn students, spent Saturday morning picking up trash, planting trees and raking leaves as part of Nutter's Philly Spring Cleanup.
03/27/08 5:00am
Penn officials have wanted to collaborate with University City High School for some time now, but many community members who attended a public forum last night say Penn's help is not welcome. At the forum, held to share plans with the community about renovations, Philadelphia School District leaders officially said they have been in discussion with Penn and Drexel for the past two years about the possibility of a partnership with University City High once it is renovated.
03/26/08 5:00am

A ban on same-sex marriage in Pa.?

Twenty-seven states have constitutions with amendments that ban same-sex marriage. Now, Pennsylvania is considering whether to join them. Last week the state Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance a bill that would amend the state's constitution to make both same-sex marriages and the "functional equivalent" of marriage - such as civil unions - illegal in Pennsylvania.
03/18/08 5:00am
When it comes to making plans on how to improve Philadelphia, architects and city planners from Penn say civic engagement is critical. Penn Praxis, the consulting branch of Penn's School of Design, is working in conjunction with the Penn Project for Civic Engagement to generate a series of plans to renovate the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, located on South Broad Street.
02/28/08 5:00am

Area housing, at a lower cost

A program that began in 2000 to rehabilitate area homes has stopped expanding, but 400 properties near campus have been restored as a result of its efforts . The Neighborhood Preservation and Development Fund was created by the University and its partners to buy dilapidated homes in University City and rent them at cheaper rates to graduate students and West Philadelphia residents.
02/22/08 5:00am

Hotel debate continues

Last week's meeting of the Spruce Hill Zoning Committee, which discussed plans for an 11-story extended-stay hotel at 40th and Pine streets, seems to have created only a greater divide between developers and the community on an already divisive issue. Nearby residents expressed strong disapproval of the hotel at the meeting, while developers heaped praises on the design.
02/15/08 5:00am
Services like Net Flix and On-Demand might be the most convenient options for movie-viewers, but the Independent Video Library's new owner aims to add some local flavor to the movie experience. Oliver Assiran, who recently bought the video store located at 40th and Locust streets, has begun a series of changes designed to turn the business into more than just a video store.
02/14/08 5:00am
Area residents are still up in arms about a proposed hotel at 40th and Pine streets - and they don't seem to be backing down. At a zoning committee meeting of the Spruce Hill Community Association, developers presented their proposal for an 11-story extended-stay hotel that would be located at 40th and Pine streets.
02/13/08 5:00am

Don't put a hotel on my block, some say

The prospect of an 11-story hotel in a residential neighborhood near campus has become a contentious subject among residents. Tonight, the Zoning Committee of the Spruce Hill Community Association is holding a meeting to discuss the proposed extended-stay hotel, which would be located at 40th and Pine streets.
02/07/08 5:00am

Competing for donors, charities struggle

Everyone loves the underdog. Everyone, that is, except donors. At least that's what the statistics say, as small charities and non-profit organizations dedicated to social services in Philadelphia and across the nation have reported increased struggles with fundraising in recent years.
02/05/08 5:00am
A downtown performing arts venue is getting a public image boost from members of the Penn community. Students and professors are teaming up with the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts this semester in an attempt to create a more vibrant and welcoming public space downtown.
01/30/08 5:00am

Abortion rate slightly up in Pa.

A recent uptick in Pennsylvania's abortion rate defies a nationwide trend of fewer abortions, drawing a range of explanations from local organizations and on-campus groups. The number of abortions performed in the United States in 2005 - the latest year for which data is available - was the lowest since 1976 at 1.
01/23/08 5:00am

More hotels planned for Philadelphia

New hotels are being planned citywide, a trend experts say is likely to weather recent financial difficulties in the real estate markets. Spurred by the planned expansion of the downtown Convention Center, developers have unveiled plans for several new hotels both in Center City and nearer to Penn's campus.
01/17/08 5:00am

High food prices hit nation, area | w/ Interactive Feature

As food prices increase nationwide, students and West Philadelpia residents are feeling the strain on their purse strings. The price of many food staples, including milk, eggs and bread, rose drastically in 2007, resulting in higher prices at grocery stores and restaurants.
12/11/07 5:00am

Frat celebrates 90th anniversary

For some students, Greek life starts before they reach college. Ninety years ago, 11 Jewish students at West Philadelphia High School founded what later would become an international organization that united Jewish high school boys from all over the Western hemisphere.
12/11/07 5:00am

Interactive feature: Crime Log

Robbery Nov. 30 - A female unaffiliated with the University was reportedly approached on the 4000 block of Locust Street by several suspects who knocked her to the ground, kicked her and took her identification and credit cards at about 1:30 a.m. Assault Dec.
12/06/07 5:00am
Parents looking for lodging in University City while visiting their children could soon have a more affordable option if the proposal for a new off-campus hotel is approved by local organizations and the University's Board of Trustees. A coalition made up of Campus Apartments, private developer Tom Lussenhop and the real-estate company Hersha Hospitality are in the process of developing and approving a plan to lease a site from the University on the corner of 40th and Pine streets.
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