This week’s five top stories from along the Ridge

It’s been a busy week in Manayunk, Roxborough and East Falls.

A confidential School District document was leaked to the public this week which listed proposals to close two Roxborough schools, thieves stole thousands of dollars worth of fencing from a Manayunk church and a legendary swim coach kicked off a new competitive swim camp in East Falls.

Here’s a rundown (with links) to those stories, and others, that popped up in our neighborhoods over the last week:

1) Proposal to close or consolidate neighborhood schools 

Reporters with the Philadelphia Public School Notebook got their hands on a confidential School District document which includes preliminary information on plans to close, relocate, consolidate and renovate schools in Northwest Philadelphia. William Levering Elementary School on Ridge Avenue and Lankenau High School on Spring Lane are among those listed on the chopping block. There is also a series of proposed changes listed for Mifflin, W.B. Saul and Germantown High School.

2) Manayunk church targeted by thieves 

Nearly $35,000 worth of century-old rod iron fencing was stolen from St. John the Baptist Church on Rector Street in Manayunk on Monday night. Police don’t have any leads on a culprit yet. 

3) Venice Island project could begin soon 

The Philadelphia Water Department says construction work could begin ‘any day now’ on the Venice Island Rec. Center project. The long-awaited, $45 million project will replace the old swimming pool with a sprayground, create a 250-seat performing arts center and give the athletic courts a major upgrade.

4) Speaking out against racial discrimination lawsuits at Mifflin 

Insiders at Thomas Mifflin Elementary School in East Falls are speaking out against a series of racial discrimination lawsuits aimed at the Philadelphia School District. They say the suits were an act of retaliation by the teachers for a former principal “leaving under pressure” amidst allegations that she made racially discriminatory remarks about students.

5) Coach Jim Ellis takes on swim camp at the Kroc 

You may know this man as the founder of the first all-black swim team in Philadelphia or maybe all you know is that he was the inspiration for the movie ‘Pride,’ either way, now he’s the guy known for running drills all day with kids at the pool at the Kroc Center. Coach Jim Ellis kicked off the competitive swim camp this week with about 30 kids reaching for one goal: a chance to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics.

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