Eastwick Engagement throughout September

Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition (EFNC) has been busy throughout September, engaging in multiple community outreach initiatives to connect with hundreds of people.

On September 18, EFNC hosted a Public Community Meeting at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge that attracted more than 80 attendees.  People came out to learn and ask questions about community environmental health issues, especially related to Clearview Landfill clean-up.  Speakers included Dr. Marilyn Howarth (Director of Community Outreach and Engagement Core, Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology, University of Pennsylvania), Josh Barber (Remedial Project Manager Region 3, EPA), and Derron LaBrake (Ecological Consultant, Darby Creek Valley Association).  EFNC President Terry Williams introduced new Heinz Refuge Manager Lamar Gore, who expressed eagerness to work closely with Eastwick residents and stakeholders in his new capacity at the Refuge.  PILCOP lawyer Amy Laura Cahn moderated an insightful Q&A session, followed by light refreshments.

EFNC Public Meeting Heinz 2014-0918 -Debbie Beer 02

A few days later, on Saturday, September 20, EFNC staffed an exhibit table at the annual “Cradle of Birding & Conservation Festival” at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. We distributed myriad informational brochures and connected with hundreds of festival visitors interested in Eastwick community issues.

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EFNC outreach efforts expanded to New York City on September 21, when EFNC organized a busload of community residents and supporters to participate in the historic “March on Climate Change.” EFNC President and bus captain Terry Williams rallied and entertained nearly 50 people who departed early that morning from the Penrose Plaza in Southwest Philadelphia.  EFNC’s bus was one of 60 that transported thousands of marchers from Philadelphia to raise their voices in peaceful unity, demanding responsible action from our leaders on global warming.

Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition is one of nearly 1,000 organizations nation-wide that officially endorsed the People’s Climate March, with this statement:  “The Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition (EFNC) fully endorses the Peoples Climate March—anticipated to be the largest march on climate change in history. We are committed to working with our allies to amplify the call for world leaders to take bold action to address climate change and move toward creating a more sustainable global environment and economy that works for everyone. As part of EFNC’s continued environmental justice community education and engagement efforts, we look forward to organizing Eastwick community members and stakeholders to participate in the Peoples Climate March on September 21, 2014.

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EFNC appreciates the support and encouragement of the Sierra Club local chapter in this initiative, recognizing that climate change is a social justice issue, as well as an environmental one.  Anne Lovatt, chair of the Sierra Club’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Group, states, “According to the EPA, not only is Pennsylvania the third largest producer of carbon emissions in the U.S., but Philadelphians suffer some of the highest asthma rates in the country as a result of air pollution associated with the burning of fossil fuels. Key areas in the region such as the airport and the nearby Eastwick community will also be on the front line of severe impacts from rising sea levels.”

Joanne Graham, EFNC Treasurer and Environmental Justice Committee Chairperson, was quoted in a Philly.com news article about the Climate March, explaining her interest in environmental issues stems from local community challenges.  Ramona Rousseau-Reid, EFNC Vice President, described the experience as historic, powerful and life-changing.

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EFNC invites all to Public Community Meeting on September 18, 2014

Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition (EFNC) is pleased to host a Public Community Meeting on Thursday, September 18, 2014, 5:30 pm, at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center auditorium.

All are invited to attend this meeting focusing on discussions of community health concerns and Clearview landfill cleanup – topics of major concern to Eastwick residents and stakeholders.

[Post-event note: more than 80 people attended to learn and ask questions in an inclusive, engaging forum].

Information and insights provided by speakers:
* Dr. Marilyn Howarth – Director, Community Outreach and Engagement Core, Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET), University of Pennsylvania.
* Joshua Barber – Remedial Project Manager, EPA Region 3.
* Derron LaBrake – Ecological Consultant, Darby Creek Valley Association.

The meeting includes meet-and-greet, introduction of new Heinz Refuge Manager Lamar Gore, and brief presentations.  Speakers will answer questions as panelists in a moderated Q&A.
We hope you can join us for this informative community meeting on September 18, 2014, 5:30 pm, at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, 8601 Lindbergh Blvd., Philadelphia. Stay engaged, involved and informed about Eastwick!
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EFNC Public Community Meeting May 8 Highlights Two Years of Eastwick Action

Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition (EFNC) is pleased to host a Public Community Meeting on May 8, 2014, 6:00 pm, Eastwick Wellness Center in SW Philadelphia.

All are invited to attend this milestone meeting where EFNC will celebrate and highlight two years of community action, engagement and success in Eastwick.  We’ll present updates and insights on key issues impacting our community, including: flooding, community planning, Clearview Landfill, short-dumping, Eastwick trail study and more.

We hope you can join us for this vital, informative community meeting.  Save the date and bring a friend or neighbor with you on May 8th, 6:00 pm, Eastwick Wellness Center at 2821 Island Avenue, Philadelphia.

Please contact us with any questions, or if you need transportation assistance.  Email: EastwickFNC@gmail.com.

Eastwick Mtg Flyer 2014-0508

EFNC Community Meeting features FEMA and flood issues

On January 9, 2014, the Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition (EFNC) hosted a Public Community Meeting featuring Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) representatives and flood information.  More than 150 people attended, reflecting strong interest in flooding and flood insurance issues, and the need for answers.

EFNC engaged representatives from FEMA Region III, headquartered in Philadelphia, to provide information about flooding and answer questions during the meeting.  FEMA speakers were Regional Administrator MaryAnn Tierney, and FEMA Insurance Specialist, Richard Sobota.

[Click here to watch video excerpts from this meeting, courtesy of Delaware Riverkeeper Network.]

During the meeting, MaryAnn Tierney briefly outlined FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (known as FIRM’s), which delineate special hazard areas and risk zones within a community.  She advised that current FEMA Flood Maps are based on old data from the 1970’s, and that new FIRM’s would be released imminently for the Philadelphia region.  The public has opportunity to review and comment on maps before they would be officially adopted by FEMA.

Richard Sobota presented information about the FEMA Flood Insurance program and insurance rate settings, which are complex.  He referenced the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, a congressional law that mandates significant reforms in the National Flood Insurance Program.  Details on the Biggert-Waters Act can be found on the FloodSmart.gov website.

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Mr. Sobota fielded wide-ranging questions from the audience, attempting to clarify confusion about disparities in rates and requirements.  Many residents questioned why one homeowner needed flood insurance, while another was not required to have it, and why premium rates would vary so widely between two homes located on the same block.

There remains ample confusion and questions about flood insurance and the varied insurance premiums and conditions for Eastwick residents.  There was not time to address all issues or questions; Richard Sobota distributed forms for people to fill-out and send to him, and he would respond to individual queries.

Click here for a copy of the FEMA Insurance Specialist Contact Form.   Use this to send questions to FEMA about flood insurance.  Complete the form and email directly to Richard Sobota at: Richard.Sobota@dhs.gov, or mail to: 
FEMA
615 Chestnut Street
One Independence Mall, 6th floor
Philadelphia, PA  19106

The Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition (EFNC) remains committed to identifying and fostering sustainable solutions to confront the environmental challenges impacting Eastwick, to improve the community’s quality of life and resiliency, and to plan for the future. We are dedicated to informing, educating and empowering community residents and stakeholders to make the best decisions possible.  EFNC is following-up with FEMA representatives, and identifying next steps in the process of addressing community concerns about flooding and flood insurance.

EFNC thanks FEMA representatives MaryAnn Tierney and Richard Sobota for their time in speaking to the Eastwick community about this important topic, especially in light of the disaster in West Virginia that also occurred on January 9.  We appreciate FEMA’s attention during that pressing time, and look forward to future interactions.

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