Top 9 stories of the week in Northwest Philly

Here’s a look at the stories you may have missed in Northwest Philadelphia this week …

1. Fatality is first for a female firefighter in Philadelphia

For the first time in Philadelphia history, a female firefighter has died in the line of duty. Questions remain about the West Oak Lane blaze that killed her. A dark cloud hangs over the Philadelphia Fire Department after the death of Joyce Craig-Lewis. She was 36. Firefighters union head Joe Schulle says Lewis was a good person who won the respect of her colleagues. Craig-Lewis’ funeral is scheduled for today.

2. Surveillance video shows missing Roxborough man’s last known location but little else

On Thursday, Philadelphia police told reporters that video, recovered from a nail salon, captures Shane Montgomery heading towards the parking lot “immediately” after leaving the bar, but not returning.

3. U.S. House and Senate support renaming VA Center after West Oak Lane war hero [updated]

The Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center could soon be renamed in honor of the city’s lone Medal of Honor recipient from the Vietnam War. After bills passed both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, all that’s left to make it a reality is a signature from President Barack Obama.

4. Germantown makes its pitch for community charter school at former GHS site

After losing two neighborhood schools last June, the grassroots Germantown Community Charter School group desperately hopes the School Reform Commission will give it the opportunity to open a new independent charter school in the heart of the community.

5. ‘Nice and Fresh’ brings up-close, curated theater experience to the Northwest

SmokeyScout Productions, founded in 2008 by Josh McIlvain and his wife, Deborah Crocker, launched an eclectic assortment of pop-up performances (now in its second year) with the goal of bringing compelling new works and independent artists together for intimate premieres with local audiences. The latest round offered four performances at the Moving Arts of Mt. Airy space.

6. Tis the season for the Holiday House Tour in Chestnut Hill

The Chestnut Hill Community Association hosted its annual Holiday House Tour, the self-guided event which brought attendees through “five of the 
area’s loveliest historic homes decorated for the holidays by 
regional designers, florists and garden clubs.”

7. Roxborough professor reflects on life and work in Siberia

Growing up in the “wild west” of the United States — Colorado — Melissa Chakars believes her interest in Siberia was a natural transition. It’s the “wild east,” after all. A place that has a certain sense of “lawlessness and wildness to it,” according to Chakars, who has penned a book on the indigenous populations of Siberia titled “The Socialist Way of Life in Siberia.”

8. Former councilman rested and ready for another run at his old job

A former Philadelphia City Councilman with a big name has switched parties and wants another shot at his old job. Frank Rizzo Jr., of Chestnut Hill, has switched registration from Republican to Democrat and says that, instead of a rumored run for mayor, he’s making another bid for councilman at large.

9. Germantown youth-football team to play in Pop Warner Super Bowl title game on Saturday

Northwest Philadelphia’s Northwest Raiders are heading to the Pop Warner Super Bowl. On Wednesday, the athletic association’s Division 1 Midget team beat Florida’s Palmetto Raiders 26-20 in double overtime. The team’s Super Bowl match against Connecticut’s New Britain (Ct.) Raiders is slated for Saturday at noon. The game, held in Disney World, will air nationally on ESPN2.

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