Category Archives: In the News

Friend of the TTF Watershed: Aine wins an award!

Woot! My sister Aine is being honored for her environmental work in Philadelphia from the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford (TTF) Watershed Partnership. TTF will host its third annual Watershed Milestones Award Ceremony on Wednesday, May 21 at the Juanita Golf Club. The event will honor individuals and organizations who have made a difference in the TTF watershed.

Here’s what TFF has to say about Aine:

TTF would like to acknowledge Aine Doley for her outstanding volunteer work, particularly her leadership of Tree Germantown, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Tree Tenders® group in TTF’s former home neighborhood. TTF supports Tree Tenders across our watershed, because trees are key to stormwater management and neighborhood health.

Aine not only established the West Rockland Street Project (along with her sister Emaleigh), but she makes sure that her community participates in citywide efforts from the Philly Spring Clean Up to Tree Philly. She also effectively promotes community programs, challenges, and successes through social media, which is so important. We are proud to honor Aine for the ways that she demonstrates her commitment to community and watershed improvement.

Now if you’re wondering what a watershed is… That’s a good question! A watershed is all of the land that drains into a specific body of water.

The purple area on the map below shows the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford watershed. Any water that falls on the purple area of the map will eventually run into the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Creek. Crazy, right?

The watershed includes neighborhoods in North, Northeast, and Northwest Philadelphia (including Germantown!) and Abington, Cheltenham, Jenkintown, Rockledge, and Springfield in Montgomery County.

Germantown actually sits on top of not one but two watersheds, TTF and the Wissahickon Valley Watershed.

TTF_map_1Explore this map and more at Tickets to the May 21 event, which raises critical dollars to support outreach, education and restoration efforts, can be purchased online. We hear that Mayor Nutter and Philadelphia Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug are scheduled to make an appearance, but we’re most excited to see longtime Twitter bud Julie Slavet, TTF’s Executive Director! Follow @TTFWatershed and @julieslavet on Twitter!


Buried in trash. Southwest Germantown has a problem.

Let’s trash talk. Philadelphia Daily News reporter Morgan Zalot has been eying Germantown. Today’s story, Germantown’s dirty secret: It can’t get rid of the trash, is no surprise.

The neighborhood has a longstanding litter and illegal dumping problem, but in 2010, Ainé and I noticed one area in particular had shifted dramatically. Had a trash bomb exploded?

We can start by squashing the blame game. It is after all The People who make the trash. Like the City, businesses and individuals have both the power and a responsibility to change litter culture. We’re trying on W Rockland St. What are Germantown’s business districts doing? What about the schools, churches, and community organizations? Lots of players in the mix… Read more

Philadelphia Daily News checks in on W Rockland St

Back in April, we traded a few tweets with Philadelphia Daily News writer Dan Geringer about Philly 3-1-1. He had just published a story called, WHY 3-1-1 MIGHT NEED TO CALL 9-1-1: Many don’t know it exists. We told Dan that we have used Philly 3-1-1 tons of times, and we’ve seen a lot of action and issues resolved. He wanted to know more. So we started talking about W Rockland St and different citizen driven neighborhood improvement projects our block has created, while also working hand-in-hand with the City of Philadelphia.

Garden Party in the Lot Formerly Known As Vacant

That conversation led to a great big story in the Philadelphia Daily News earlier this week.

Dan came to the block on what felt like the hottest day ever. Full sun and 95 degrees, walking around a city block. We’re lucky to have survived. Despite the heat, people were out and talking, PlayStreet was in full effect, and the hydrant was on to cool the scene (with the special sprinkler cap from the Fire Department). Read more

Soundslide: 40+ Years on W Rockland St with Mrs. Ada Pullett

Mrs. Ada Pullett talks about her 40+ years living on W Rockland St in this cool “soundslide” created by Temple University journalism students Shanise Redmon and Monet Tucker. Watch it below. Listen.

Mrs. Ada Pullett in W Rockland St’s community garden

Lots of student volunteers and student journalists come by the block for service learning and reporting projects. Locally, we’ve had students from Drexel, Temple, and the University of Pennsylvania. We’ve also worked with students from St. John’s University in New York and Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland.

Temple students Shanise and Monet stopped by to attend a block meeting and talk with residents. You can see the full story on Philadelphia Neighborhoods here, along with another longer video that reminds us (in a good way!) of a PBS neighborhood news story from the 1980s. Philadelphia Neighborhoods is a publication of Temple’s Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab.

Keep coming!

Stay cool! Ainé on CNN demonstrating the fire hydrant sprinkler cap from the Philadelphia Fire Department

By Emaleigh | In honor of today’s 90 degree temps, let’s take a hot minute to remember the major heat wave of last week with a video. W Rockland Street was on CNN (again!) and I just dug up the clip. Sarah Hoye was back on the block to shoot a special feature about the record heat wave that swept the Northwest on July 22. She was on the hunt for Philadelphians finding creative ways to stay cool.

On super sweltering days, we open up the fire hydrant for the kids. We have a special sprinkler cap from the Philadelphia Fire Department that reduces the amount of water used, but still allows for a constant (and less forceful) flow of water. Ainé demonstrates how it works! The segment visited Wall Street in New York, the White House in D.C., Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Atlanta, and of course Rockland Street in Germantown! I have to say, Philly was the most exciting 😉 We’re in the middle so fast forward!

PS: If you want to learn more about the sprinkler cap program, call the Philadelphia Fire Department at 215-686-1391 and request an application.

Record heat hits Northeast
CNN Newsroom | Added on July 22, 2011
New York, Washington and Philadelphia are all dealing with triple digit temperatures

Watch Philly residents (and us!) on CNN: “Philadelphia residents speak out on politics, budget cuts, jobs”

On Tuesday, June 7, the day the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a second story about the demolition of the blighted houses on Greene Street and W Rockland, Ainé received a very exciting email. The subject read: “CNN Interview Request.” Seriously. The email came from CNN’s All Platform Journalist Sarah Hoye. Sarah was interested in talking with us about our block revitalization project as part of CNN’s In Depth: Listening Tour coverage.

Sarah came out to W Rockland Street in Germantown to shoot the segment that very night. We talked for nearly two hours about what it’s like living in Philadelphia and why we love it, local politics and government, and issues that are important to us. We had a great time talking with Sarah! We took her on a tour of the block, she met lots of neighbors and got to check out the demolition site of the blighted houses (now just a dirt field).

It’s great for Philadelphia to have been included in this series. Politics aside, for us, the biggest statement that we want to share with the public is the importance of being an active citizen. It seems small to say,”Do what you can.” Yet, when you actually do what you can, the results can be tremendous. This reminds me of a favorite quote from Theodore Roosevelt: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Believe it!

The segment aired nationally on Thursday, June 9 during CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin. There are two other Philly voices featured in the piece: Ebony Baylis, a member of Youth United for Change, and Leroi Simmons, a pastor at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church. Hear what we all have to say! ~ Emaleigh

CNN: Philadelphia residents speak out on politics, budget cuts, jobs

June 10th, 2011 | 11:02 AM ET

Editor’s note: As part of its Listening Tour, CNN is reaching out to voters to hear what’s on their mind as the 2012 presidential campaign season kicks off. GOP hopefuls begin to ramp up the race Monday, when they debate the issues in New Hampshire. It all happens June 13 on CNN, and our mobile apps.

Philadelphia is the nation’s fifth-largest city, and just like most other places in the United States, it’s struggling with budget cuts, layoffs and crime.

As the 2012 election nears, Philly residents say their top concerns include political nepotism, joblessness and a struggling public education system:

“With government, it’s like you keep moving up, and you stay and you stay with your old ideas that don’t make sense, and they don’t work,” said Ainé Ardron-Doley, 34, a Philadelphia marketing manager.

Through their grass-roots revitalization efforts, Ainé and her sister Emaleigh persuaded Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter to move up the demolition of dilapidated houses in their neighborhood that have been abandoned for nearly 20 years.

“It’s the politician’s job to work for us, but it’s also the citizens’ job to work for ourselves and with government,” said Emaleigh, 27, a public relations and marketing manager. Read more

“When neighbors are trying to make something happen, we, the city, have to meet them halfway.” – Mayor Nutter

The Philadelphia Inquirer published a follow-up story surrounding our Memorial Day weekend kick-off of Grow This Block!, reporting on the Mayor’s visit to W Rockland Street and the current demolition of the abandoned houses located at the corner of W Rockland and Greene Streets: Sisters persuade Nutter to move up demolition of derelict houses (read the story on the Inquirer’s website or below).

Over the last few weeks, Aine and I have seen a tremendous response to the community improvement efforts we’re working to implement in our Germantown neighborhood. We’re both completely ecstatic about this lastest turn of events, humbled by all the emails and comments we have received from readers living in Philadelphia and beyond, and truly excited about the future of our block and what will happen next. ~ Emaleigh and Aine homepage earlier today, June 7, 2011 (home of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News). So exciting!

“When neighbors are trying to make something happen, we, the city, have to meet them halfway.”
– Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia

Sisters persuade Nutter to move up demolition of derelict houses
The Philadelphia Inquirer
By INGA SAFFRON | Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Every day for the last 20 years, the Doley sisters were taunted by the same neighborhood menace: a pair of abandoned houses on the corner of their Germantown block. No matter how many times they complained to City Hall, the eyesores remained as fixed and immutable as the points on a compass.

That changed Monday.

A backhoe clawed at the remains of the two derelict buildings at Rockland and Greene Streets, sweeping their scorched bricks and rotting timbers into a neat pile. The Department of Licenses and Inspections had been dispatched on the personal order of Mayor Nutter, who read in an Inquirer story about the Doleys’ effort to improve West Rockland.

“We’re so relieved,” said Ainé Doley, 34, who was a teenager when the first of the two was rendered uninhabitable by fire. “The workers told us one of the houses was leaning badly and could have collapsed any day.”

Although neighbors have been filing complaints about the houses – one owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority, the other by a defunct church – for nearly 20 years, it took a campaign by the Doleys to get the city’s attention. The Doleys – Ainé and Emaleigh, 27 – organized a series of cleanups this last year, which they chronicled on

Then, on May 29, an Inquirer story about a blockwide planting day caught Nutter’s eye on his way to the gym.

“I said to myself, ‘Let me take a detour and see what’s going on,’ ” Nutter recounted.

Ainé Doley took Nutter on a block tour, showing him the derelict houses. He said, “We’re going to help your block.”

Sure enough, a surveying crew showed up a few days later. On Friday, demolition crews started work.

Nutter said the pair was on a list of buildings to be demolished with federal stimulus money, but he intervened to make them a priority. “When neighbors are trying to make something happen, we, the city, have to meet them halfway,” he said.

The Doley sisters met Monday with DePaul Catholic School officials to discuss building a library. In the interim, they plan to install raised beds for a community garden.

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