Tribune Staff Report
Services were held March 29 for James O. Wilson.
He died Wednesday, March 19, 2013. He was 69.
Wilson was born Oct. 6, 1943 to the late Marion Wilson and Vernise Hepburn in Bennettsville, S.C.
He was educated in the Philadelphia Public School system where he attended West Philadelphia High School. Wilson enlisted in the armed forces from 1961 to 1964.
Wilson married Wisteria Johnson on June 15, 1964. The couple had one son.
He worked with the local union 32 BJ SEUI from 1986 to 1996.
He and Darlene Lewis later had two daughters.
Wilson’s family said he had a passion for fashion, dancing and socializing with people.
“If you had Billy as a friend, you had a good friend who cared,” his family said.
He is survived by his children, Tahirah Wilson, Brittany Lewis and William A. Wilson; sister, Margie Wilson; son-in-law Sheldon McGeth; granddaughters, Sanaa’ McGeth and Sariya Rasheed; grandson, Sahir McGeth; nieces, Cyndraanita Wilson-Waring and Chrystal Wilson; nephews, Christopher Wilson and Renile “Man” Wilson; cousins, Willie Hepburn and Earlene Campbell; great nieces Antoinette Hill, Karimah Rhone, Dyndra Waring and Demiyah Mosley; great nephews Yusuf Rhone and Dayton Waring and other relatives and friends.
Services were held March 29 at Slater Funeral Home, 1426 Fitzwater Street.
Burial was in Washington Crossing Veteran Cemetery in Newtown.
Lester and Lena Oliver celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on March 2 with a weeklong vacation in Las Vegas.
Lester, 73 and Lena, 71, met in 1959 at a Horn and Hardart Automat, where Lester was responsible for making the coffee and Lena was in charge of desserts. The two lovebirds courted for two years before marrying in 1963 in the home of Lester’s mother in South Philadelphia.
Lester, who is retired from the Post Office, and Lena, who is retired from the AEL Electronic Co., are the parents of three sons and reside in the Olney section.
The Union Benevolent Association has opened its spring 2013 grant cycle with a stronger commitment to distribute its dollars to high-impact grassroots organizations throughout Philadelphia.
“We recognize the need is not shrinking, even if traditional sources of aid are drying up for many organizations,” said Phyllis Martino, president of the Union Benevolent Association trustee board.
“That’s especially true of the smaller nonprofits that make up the bulk of our grantees. Under these conditions, it would be easy to throw in the towel, and our neighborhoods would be decimated even more should that happen. We want to affirm and encourage good and worthy work on behalf of others.”
The deadline for the spring cycle grants is April 30. In its fall 2012 cycle, UBA awarded grants to nearly 50 eligible organizations across Philadelphia, awards tallying $94,700.
UBA specifically funds projects that help combat poverty, increase employment, further education and improve health, but will consider viable proposals that address other pressing issues affecting its targeted populations. Many area nonprofits have received their initial startup investment from UBA.
Because the economic recovery has only sputtered forward, UBA trustees last year introduced micro-grants, featuring a simplified application for funds under $1,000 and priority given to organizations with operating budgets below $250,000.
For shoestring neighborhood operations, a $500 grant could mean new uniforms for a youth sports team or money for a neighborhood garden and infinite outcomes. Groups such as these – making direct impact on a daily basis – remain most under threat, facing higher difficulty in attracting support, Martino said.
“The simple fact is, everyone is cutting back, and that includes people who historically may have made charitable donations, but now find themselves redirecting those dollars to cushion their own households,” she said.
“It’s that much harder for people who want to help themselves and their communities.
“The typical sources for money are facing more requests from savvier, already connected grant writers, which is virtually squeezing out the little guy – that church group trying to keep their food cupboard operational or people trying to stock a school library,” Martino added.
“We want to help fill that gap.”
Besides the micro-grants, UBA offers general operating grants for organizations with operating budgets under $500,000 and project support grants to organizations with operating budgets below $2 million. These standard grants range from $1,000 to $5,000. Grants are for Philadelphia organizations and agencies only. Start-up groups seeking support may apply by partnering with established nonprofits.
Since 1831, the private foundation has made charitable contributions to individuals and organizations working to aid the economically and socially vulnerable. It offers seed grants for community-based programs and projects that assist the working poor, seniors, children and teens, LGBT people and those with physical or mental challenges, among others.
For eligibility details and applications, visit www.uba1831.org.
Research has long shown the negative effects cigarette smoking has on cardiovascular health.
But now, a new study from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania corroborates early evidence showing that cigarette smoking leads to longer healing times and an increased rate of post-operative complication and infection for patients sustaining fractures or traumatic injuries to their bone.
The full results of the study are being presented this week at the 2013 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons annual meeting in Chicago.
“Cigarette smoking is widely recognized as one of the major causes of preventable disease in the U.S., but there has been a lack of evidence showing other side effects of smoking, such as how it changes the way our bones heal,” said Samir Mehta, MD, chief of the Orthopaedic Trauma and Fracture Service at Penn Medicine. “Our study adds substantial support to a growing body of evidence showing that smoking presents a significant risk to fracture patients. These risks need to be addressed with the patient both at the time of injury and when considering surgical treatment.”
Results of the study show that for all injury types, fractured bones in patients who smoke take roughly six weeks longer to heal than fractured bones in a non-smoker (30.2 weeks compared to 24.1 weeks).
Additional results show that fractured bones in patients who smoke are 2.3 times more likely to result in non-unions (non-healed fractures) than in non-smokers.
Using Medline, EMBASE and Cochrane computerized literature databases, the researchers collated previous studies that have examined the effects of smoking on bone and soft tissue healing.
By analyzing these studies, the team sought to find an association between smoking and healing time, and various complications such as post-surgical infection. Studies included in the analysis focused on fractures of the tibia, femur or hip, ankle, humerus, and multiple long bones. In total, 6,480 patient cases (treated both surgically and non-surgically) were evaluated in the studies.
With approximately 6.8 million fractures requiring medical treatment in the US annually, the researchers say the overall burden of musculoskeletal disease is substantial.
Though recent efforts have been made to promote bone health through vitamin and mineral supplements and nutritional support, the research team says that altering social factors such as encouraging smoking cessation have been under-addressed.
This void is causing both a disconnect in the short-term treatment for patients and a missed opportunity to improve long-term health.
“The effects of smoking intervention programs need to be discussed and instituted to promote better outcomes for post-fracture patients,” Mehta said. “We have an opportunity to help patients understand that it’s about more than just heart health, and that smoking puts you at a higher risk of complications and leads to longer healing times.”
Philadelphia has the fourth-highest drowning rate among children, and drowning is the leading cause of death among those aged 1-4. In 2005-2009, African-American children aged 5-14 were three times more likely to drown than whites.
Some students at the University of Pennsylvania are taking aim at those sad statistics by teaching life-saving skills in the pool to youngsters from Penn’s West Philadelphia neighborhood.
Palmer has been swimming on the varsity team at Penn for the past three years. Growing up, she one of the only African-American swimmers on her team in Randolph, Mass.
“I believe in turning my uniqueness into a ‘normalcy’ for the upcoming generation,” Palmer explains.
She is one of the three co-founders of “We Can Swim!” It is a new program at the Sheerr Pool in Penn’s David Pottruck Health and Fitness Center. Palmer’s goals are to diversify the field of competitive swimming and to reduce drowning rates among minorities younger than 14.
Each Saturday morning for eight weeks, students from the Henry C. Lea Elementary School will work with instructors who have volunteered to teach young, underserved urban children how to swim. It’s not only a great way to keep cool and stay fit, but knowing how to swim could save that child’s life.
Palmer saw a need for the children in Lea that warranted attention, and she worked closely with Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships to bring “We Can Swim” to fruition.
This pilot program began in mid-March. The only requirements are that each child is a second-, third- or fourth-grade student at Lea and the parents sign the necessary paperwork. The fee is $10, which covers eight Saturdays of 30-minute swimming lessons.
Organizers are looking to eventually branch out, offering the program year after year and opening it up to more students in other grades.
“I want to teach every child enrolled in the Lea School how to swim –- and have them be our model,” explains Dan Schupsky, another co-founder of “We Can Swim.” A graduate student at Penn, he will earn his masters of environmental studies, with a focus on sustainability in athletics, in May 2014. He also works as Penn’s aquatics coordinator and varsity assistant swim coach for the men’s and women’s teams.
Schupsky says “We Can Swim!” offers long-term staying power.
“Penn shares a proud history with Lea School for many years,” says Glenn Bryan, assistant vice president of community relations in the Office of Government and Community Affairs. “This reflects a renewed collaborative spirit of engagement between Penn and its community partners.”
There are 15 participating Lea students paired with 15 volunteer instructors. The swim teachers are mostly members of Penn’s varsity teams.
I’m glad to know that I could do something that will affect others for the better. This program is like my baby,” Palmer says. “I’m a proud parent, nurturing it and helping it grow. When I graduate, I hope to be that parent that lets their kid thrive on its own, because they already did all they can do to help their child have a solid base.”
“I once told Clarissa,” Schupsky says, “that many students come here and positively transform their worlds, stepping into new leadership roles and inspiring those around them. And now she has done just that. It is going to be a powerfully positive legacy and community connection that she leaves here at Penn.”