They called B.S.
Fed up because they don’t feel safe in school, thousands of Main Line students walked off the job Wednesday.
For 17 minutes or more, classrooms became ghost towns, the halls mostly quiet.
There would be no repercussions. Lower Merion, Radnor and T/E Schools were of one voice: students would not be penalized for commemorating Florida’s fallen 17 and demanding #NeverAgain.
As a precaution, parents were cordially not invited to attend – forbidden, in fact, from entering schools that became “closed campuses” from 10 to 11 a.m. Local police stood at the ready, their services, thankfully, not needed.
This was the kids’ show, from start to finish. They made the t-shirts, they painted the signs, they gave the speeches. The grown-ups – principals, teachers, support staff – had graciously ceded the floor.
Participation varied by school but hovered between 50 and 85 percent in public schools. An editor for Conestoga’s student newspaper counted students in an aerial drone shot at just under 1,100. (About 2,200 attend Conestoga.)
Among the schools joining the national walkout held exactly one month after the Parkland shootings: all public high schools and most middle schools plus Agnes Irwin, Haverford School, Shipley, Baldwin, Jack Barrack Hebrew Academy, Friends Central, Episcopal and Delaware Valley Friends.
The divisions we adults see far too often – color, political party, religion, social class – melted away Wednesday. When your very life is at stake, you don’t notice. You don’t care.
Fired up by the Parkland students and energized by their own kids, parents joined the fray – organizing postcard-writing sessions, attending community forums, supporting township resolutions, calling on legislators.
And in the middle of it all, a teacher rose among us, compelled to speak, not for her home district, Tredyffrin-Easttown, but for all teachers. How is it that I’ve become a target? Why are my students targets? Deb Ciamacca wondered aloud – to TIME Magazine, the BBC, Canadian National TV, Comedy Central, CBS-3, and others.
Media calls – from NBC’s Brian Williams to Danish TV – just keep coming, she tells SAVVY. The press tracked her down after she tweeted at teachers’ union officials, asking them to take action after the Parkland shootings. Now a poster teacher for school safety and gun issues, Ciamacca says she’s merely exercising her First Amendment rights. Teachers have been silent for too long.
Ciamacca is uniquely positioned to speak truth to power. She’s a former Marine who’s handled M-16s, a wife, a mother, and a respected AP U.S. Government teacher at Conestoga.
Ciamacca’s tough and resolute but, frankly, she’s frightened. And furious. Her district has stepped up safety protocols and drills, but will they be enough? In the event of attack, she’s devised her own plan, instructing students to climb out her classroom’s window to an adjacent roof.
Legislators should lay “every option on the table,” Ciamacca tells a crowd of concerned parents at the Tredyffrin Public Library Wednesday afternoon.
Should we harden our schools with armed guards? Maybe, she says, contemplating what for her was unthinkable just a year ago.
Should we harden our teachers with guns? Never. “That’s lunacy,” she tells parents.
That we should regulate gun purchases goes without saying, Ciamacca says. As does investing in students’ mental health.
Wednesday’s walkouts inspire this teacher/warrior; they give her hope. She was especially heartened to see that Stoga students of every political stripe participated. Change is coming, she says, and it will likely start at the state level. Like the biblical Baptist in the wilderness, she calls out to any who will listen: “This is the moment. The time is now. Enough is enough.”
But enough with words. Here’s a look at the many Main Liners who demanded action against gun and school violence this week:
Lumbrada debuts near Whole Foods in Devon
Strike up the (Mariachi) band: Lumbrada Cocina Mexicana is open at last.
This family-owned eatery in the old Avero space is serving up the whole enchilada: a six-page menu, tequilas ’til Tuesday, tableside guacamole, 200 seats (plus bar) with private dining room.
We visited opening weekend, and may we say, Olé Olé.
Not sure which went down easier: the prices or the Clase Azul Reposada tequila.
The menu is mammoth, a mix of traditional Tex-Mex and authentic dishes from the motherland – literally. Lumbrada employs time-honored recipes from the owners’ mom, Evangelina Torres of Escondido, Mexico.
For the record, we counted 18 tequila drinks, 18 Margarita flavors, 11 tacos, 9 enchiladas, 5 quesadillas, 9 burritos, 6 entrée salads, 8 vegetarian dishes, 11 carnes (meat entrées), 12 fajitas, 8 pollo (chicken dishes) and 10 mariscos (seafood plates).
Our chicken Burrito Bandera ($11.50 with plenty for leftovers) and Tacos de Pescado la Paz (aka grilled mahi-mahi tacos, $12.99) were quite tasty. Alas, the guac prepared tableside was a tad blah – our fault, perhaps, for ordering it “not spicy.”
On the other hand, the shrimp ceviche was shrimply splendid.
Beer comes in 12, 22 and 32-ounce pours – a Big Gulp, but golden and in a chilled mug.
Décor is casita casual.
Be sure to touch the onyx bar and the textured walls, hand-faux-painted by cousin Antonio.
Spanish for bonfire, Lumbrada has a several irons in the fire, including a May 5 Cinco de Mayo blowout block party (in the parking lot, township permitting), outdoor dining (only 5 or 6 tables), and still TBA “tequila dinners” with course pairings.
Owners are Anselmo and Daniel Torres and Daniel’s pal from kindergarten, Saul Gonzalez.
Four generations of Torres have been in the restaurant biz from LA to VA to PA: dishwashers, cooks, servers and managers. The family’s also been involved in the Plaza Azteca chain, but Lumbrada is their “baby,” they tell us, and they plan to be hands-on owners.
Lumbrada Cocina Mexicana, 821 W. Lancaster Ave., Devon, 484-580-6369. is open Mon. – Thurs. 11 – 10, Fri. – and Sat. 11 to 11, and Sun. noon to 9:30.
Loving The Living Room at 35 East
… And we haven’t even been there yet.
Just the sound of it – a cozy BYOB venue for live music in downtown Ardmore – makes us want to mosey on in and put our feet up.
Housed in a former nail salon, the Living Room at 35 East is just a few doors down from Ardmore Music Hall.
And at 800 eclectic-chic, square feet, it’s way more intimate.
Most nights will feature musicians – singer-songwriters and bands – but look for eclectic film nights, comedy acts, and art talks/shows.
The Living Room’s owner is Philly pop-rocker Laura Mann, who’s opened for national acts like Warren Zevon, Dave Mason and Livingston Taylor and recorded four CDs of original music with another in the works.
Mann’s been playing guitar since age 8 and formed her first band at 16. A server on and off for years as she pursued a music career, she hung up her apron in 2002 to study massage. Seems she’s as gifted with her hands as she is with her voice – Mann also owns Relax Therapeutic Massage Studio, also in Ardmore, and is certified in several types of corrective massage.
The Living Room idea just hit her one day, she says.
“I woke up and got the idea that there was a niche for something in Ardmore where you can hear live music, see a comedian, hear poetry, watch a film,” Mann tells SAVVY.
Why Ardmore? It’s “good vibe” and mix of increasingly “interesting new spaces” and diverse restaurants.
Another plus: Mann has a Rolodex. “There are a lot of artists out there in the community with nowhere to go to share their voice. I’m an old lady [she’s not]. Along the way, I’ve collected some interesting artists.”
Eventually Mann hopes to turn The Living Room into a full-fledged café and a venue for music lessons.
But for now, she’s keeping it simple. Among the national acts already booked: pal Christine Havrilla (March 29, $10) and Dan Navarro (April 6, $20). Navarro’s the uber-talented musician who wrote Pat Benatar’s “We Belong” and does voice work for The Family Guy and a slew of other shows.
The Living Room at 35 East (Lancaster Ave., Ardmore). Buy tickets online or at the door. Most shows begin at 8.
Calling all students, coaches, parents, athletes, teachers
A nugget worth digesting: student athletes more likely to suffer from mental illness than non-athletes.
Think about it: The talented and tough guys (and girls) we all admire and some even glorify, may in fact, be dying inside. (Indeed, that glorification and their tough-guy reps are big reasons why young athletes hide their inner struggles.)
Tragically, Radnor’s Maxwell family understands the issue more than most. In 2013, they lost their son, Dan, an extraordinarily gifted and popular senior athlete at Radnor High School to suicide.
“How do parents confide in friends that their son is not able to function well because of an invisible illness? We could not do it,” Laurie Burstein-Maxwell tells SAVVY. “We wonder if Dan had been able to tell his teammates and other friends about how he had been doing, perhaps he would still be here today.”
The Maxwells are convinced that confiding in friends might have eased his pain and reassured him that he “was not so different from everyone around him.”
Shortly after Dan’s passing, they founded the DMAX Foundation, a nonprofit that’s opening DMAX Clubs on college campuses. The clubs give students a safe space to hang and talk to each other about mental health issues.
And each spring, on the Main Line, DMAX hosts Courageous Conversations, a fundraiser/informative night for parents and students. This year’s forum, “Courageous Conversations Take Teamwork” features PSU and NY Jets running back Blair Thomas moderating a discussion among:
- PSU and Chicago Bears DE Michael Haynes
- Field Hockey Olympian/PSU Head Coach Charlene Moorett,
- UPenn football player Greg Ambrogi of the Kyle Ambrogi Foundation and
- Montreal Canadiens Coach/AD Brady Kramer.
“Courageous Conversations Take Teamwork” will take place April 4 at the Shipley School. Students with ID are free; most others are $45. Click here for tickets and more info.
A Tasty Time had by all
Team SAVVY joined the throngs (600+ people) who savored “A Taste of the Main Line” in Radnor last week.
And may we say: the tenth replay of Emergency Aid of PA Foundation’s signature fundraiser was especially tasty.
While all the good-sport restaurants and caterers were busy, The Bercy, aka The New Kid (Not Yet) on the Block, drew the longest lines, serving tuna tartare on watermelon radish, oysters, jumbo shrimp and a delightfully fizzy gin elixir, “French 75.” The French brasserie opens next month at the old Primavera in central Ardmore.
Now 104 years young and headquartered in Wayne, EAPA supports women, children and families with scholarships and grants to nonprofits.
Killer Kitchens in Wayne
Fetch us an apron! Home cooking has never looked more glamorous.
We were positively drooling at Bluebell Kitchens’ recent kickoff party in Wayne.
In the same shopping center as White Dog, it’s Bluebell Kitchens’ first Main Line outpost.
We ran our fingers over the quartz countertops, stunning hoods, sleek custom cabinets, whiz-bang Wolffs and Sub-Zeros – all showcased in a handful of killer kitchens.
Still itchin’ to see kitchens? The 13th Annual Ardmore Kitchen Tour (“Recipe for Renovation”) heads our way Sunday, April 29.
First-time gold medalists
A SAVVY shoutout to St. Monica’s High School Gold Team, just crowned CYO City of Philadelphia Champs for the first time, well, ever.
Led by Coach Joe McCarthy and senior captains Chris Donavan of Stoga and Ryan Lopresti of St. Joe’s Prep, St. Monica’s went 16-0 this season, beating St. Andrews in the title game.
Crêpes are coming!
Ardmore’s always hopping Delice et Chocolat bakery café just got a whole lot bigger.
The Station Ave. sweet shop will host a grand opening for its bigger digs this Saturday, March 17. ’Cause St. Patrick blesses French folks, too.
This and That
As They Grow Kids Consignment has grown a new owner. Read Wickham has taken over from McCall Growney, who ran the Berwyn mainstay for 28 years. The aptly named Read, who lives in Wayne, retired from educational publishing to follow her bliss.
Well, whadayaknow: Chesterbrook – that massive, planned Chesco mixed-use community that almost didn’t get built back in the day – was just named “best place to live in PA” and the second best place to live in the U.S. Earning reviewers’ raves: low crime rates, top flight T/E Schools, Wilson Farm Park and nearby Valley Forge Park, and access to major roadways.
Calling all enterprising young Edisons! Learn from the best. Paoli entrepreneur Barbara Bigford is leading a hands-on “Young Entrepreneurs” workshop series for Main Line School Night. An Entrepreneur in Residence at Villanova U., QVC product scout, startup consultant and successful inventor herself, Bigford will guide you and your child (age 10 and up) through the product development and marketing process. The three-part series runs April 4, 11 and 18, 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the Creutzburg Center.
A long overdue SAVVY shoutout to lovable librarian, Laurie Doan. The Teen Librarian at Tredyffrin Public Library was one of just 10 librarians from across the U.S. recognized with the American Library Association’s I Love My Librarian Award.
Doan’s a class act. And she cares. When she heard kids interested in theater were cut from high school musicals, she started a second theater at the library, staging more than a dozen musicals to date. She encouraged a teen with Asperger’s to perform in them and he gained so much confidence that he made the finals of the PA’s National History Day competition. She’s also helped teens hold fundraisers at the library, bringing in $10,000 for such noble causes as school supplies for local kids and fighting hunger in developing countries.
And finally, an oasis in Berwyn for body, mind, heart and soul (from SAVVY Sponsor Village Wellness)
Can it be that we Main Liners (sometimes) take better care of our cars than ourselves?
Say the “check engine” flashes on the dashboard. We don’t put a piece of electric tape over it so we can’t see it. We take ‘er in for service.
Well, warning lights flash in our bodies all the time.
But many of us numb the signals with Advil, Prilosec, Ambien, Zoloft, Lipitor, etc. when what we REALLY need is a good tune-up. Get someone under the hood to figure out what’s wrong and then fix it.
That’s the guiding philosophy of one Lance Isakov, acupuncturist, energy healer, yogi and the owner of Village Wellness, a Berwyn body shop that restores and repairs humans. A fleet of Village’s skillful, soulful “mechanics” helps folks beat depression, chronic pain, digestive woes, insomnia, infertility, aging skin – you name it.
“We’re often a last resort when people are stumped,” Isakov says. “We get cases doctors can’t figure out.” People do “come with tickets in the door: knee pain, back pain, a desire to lose weight, a feeling that something’s not right.” But their symptoms are a sign of a deeper imbalance, he says. “The body is wise and isn’t throwing off these signals for no reason. As they come into balance, the symptoms fade away.”
Yes, there’s a time and a place for pharmaceuticals, he says, “but it’s scary when people go on things for the rest of their lives.”
A dozen practitioners ply a myriad of healing arts at Wellness Village, including:
- Acupuncture. Lance Isakov, Ac., L.Ac., Dipl.Ac. practices “esoteric” and “five elements” (fire, earth, metal, water, wood) acupuncture. Gabrielle Geib specializes in relieving physical pain while Lei Duan focuses on women’s health, herbal medicine and pre- and post-natal work. Karin Tetlow also practices five elements acupuncture.
- Community Acupuncture. Affordable sessions ($32.50 to $35) target straightforward issues that can be treated with clothes on – needles go in arms, head, and/or from the knees down. Patients arrive every ten minutes, are treated in “awesome zero gravity” chairs, then relax for an hour. “One of the side effects of acupuncture is deep relaxation,” Isakov says. “People love cozying up in front of the fire here.”
- Holistic Cosmetic Acupuncture. Eases wrinkles, tightens skin, restores jawline, perks up the complexion. $150/session. Ten sessions recommended – $150 discount until March 31.
- Craniosacral therapy. Effective for migraines, stress, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, it balances the spine and “resets the fight or flight response.” Most of us are always in “running-from-tiger mode,” according to Isakov.
- Shamanic energy medicine. Helps people find purpose, heals the spirit. “Stephanie [Moore] does weird stuff with people: chanting and drumming,” Isakov says. “She works with feathers, flowers, water … That’s the shaman’s work.”
- Holistic Psychotherapy with Dr. Page Buck, LSW, PhD in Social Work from Bryn Mawr College.
- Reiki and Access Bars. Energy healing. Access Bars break stubborn brain patterns by discharging fixed energy.
- Shiatsu Shin Tai Bodywork. Recirculates “stuck” energy. Calms and energizes.
- Holistic facials.
- Kundalini (awakening) yoga
- Workshops, talks and online meditation classes.
Such alternative therapies are par for the course in, say, San Francisco, Isakov says. “But on the Main Line, it’s hidden. People aren’t quite as comfortable coming out as interested in alternative therapies and healing.”
His mission: “Build a community of ideas of wellness and healing and create a safe space for people to share,” people who are “like-minded, open-minded, weird, who embrace and want to connect with others who are [also] open-minded.”
Isakov, 41, took a meandering path to healing. Born in South Africa, his family moved to Penn Valley when he was 9. He graduated from Akiba Academy (now Jack Barrack Hebrew Academy), then studied Anthropology at Pitt. A longstanding interest in shamans and witch doctors drew him to meditation and reiki training.
A born skeptic, he eventually found reiki energy work “amazing” – something he just had to share. “When something breaks through my skepticism, I need to share it with as many people as I can.”
After he finished Pitt in ’98, he started a reiki practice in his parents’ Bryn Mawr basement.
(Note to parents: Isakov says his “awesome, open-minded parents” embraced their children’s unconventional callings. One is a Philly-based composer for films; another is a singer-songwriter in Boulder. All three are “amazingly happy.”)
A vagabond since college, Isakov moved from Bryn Mawr to “WWOOFing” in New Zealand, to Tai Sophia Institute (now the Maryland Univ. of Integrative Health) where he earned a master’s in acupuncture, to healing practices in Narberth, Charlottesville, Culver City, CA, Manayunk, Jamaica, Wayne and now Berwyn.
Isakov employs three other acupuncturists at Village Wellness; the rest work as a coop. They don’t promise miracle cures. Indeed, Isakov will be the first to tell you: “We don’t cure anything. We support the body in curing itself.”
Pulsing through the practice is deep-rooted compassion, a commitment to ease pain and to lighten burdens. “People go through really tough times,” Isakov says. “Instead of numbing the thing, we’re here to help them work on it.”
Because, of course, it takes a Village.