Right of way: Rails-to-trails fans will be happy to hear that the Philadelphia suburbs will soon have a new path to play on. .

The new, multiuse recreational trail, to be located on SEPTA’s former Newtown Branch rail line, dates back to the 1800s and has been out of service since 1983. It will be 2.5 miles long, 12 feet-wide and will connect Tamanend Park in Upper Southampton Township to the popular Pennypack Rail Trail in Montgomery County.

The trail’s right-of-way runs between the Historic Southampton Train Station at 613 Second Street Pike, and the Strathmann Home Center on Knowles Avenue in Southampton. Once completed it will be part of the Circuit, an 800-mile bicycle circuit in the Delaware Valley.

The $2.4 million project was a joint effort between Bucks County, Montgomery County, and Upper Southampton Township. The design costs were funded by PennDot’s Act 13 Marcellus Legacy Fund, Montgomery County, and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s Regional Trails Program via the William Penn Foundation. Its construction cost will be funded through PennDot’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program.

Catadelphia held a shelter building workshop to help provide protection for feral cats from the upcoming winter weather.
MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer
Catadelphia held a shelter building workshop to help provide protection for feral cats from the upcoming winter weather.

Give 'em shelter: Want to help a stray cat? Consider building a shelter.

Catadelphia recently held a shelter-building workshop at the St. Timothy parish gymnasium at 3001 Levick St. This was the third year the group offered the workshop.

The shelters, which cost about $10 to make, provide feral cats a warm, safe place for the winter, said Chris Woolslayer, a volunteer with Catadelphia, whose main mission is to trap, neuter and release the felines. Animal advocates estimate that Philadelphia has as many as 400,000 community cats — those without homes or owners.

Workshop participants build the houses out of plastic bins, insulation and tape, with straw added for extra comfort. Some participants also decorate the bins, which usually wind up in backyards, alleys, or abandoned lots frequented by the homeless cats.

The tiny cat condos are usually inhabited by feral cats who have been scooped up as part of an effort to reduce the region’s stray population but are not deemed adoptable. They are then neutered and returned to the area where they were caught.

For more info, go to www.catadelphia.org.

JoAnne Fischer, was recognized as a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania.
Ron Tarver / Staff Photographer
JoAnne Fischer, was recognized as a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania.

Exceptional women: Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania, a 70-year-old professional organization that recognizes the exceptional contributions and achievements of women in the state, recently honored the 2019 award recipients at a luncheon in the Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg.

This year’s local winners include:

Angela Duckworth, the founder and CEO of Character Lab, a nonprofit that provides science-based advice to parents and teachers; Carmen Febo-San Miguel, a retired family medicine physician and executive director of Taller Puertorriqueño; JoAnne Fischer, the former executive director of Maternity Care Coalition, who was recognized by President Obama as a White House Champion of Change; Marci Hamilton, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and founder, CEO, and academic director of CHILD USA; and Leslie Stiles, who is currently board president of the Pennsylvania Conference for Women.

— Mari Schaefer