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   December 25, 2008 Issue                                                     

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Chestnut Hill Local
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Local News

2-alarm fire
First responders were dispatched to the 8700 block of Montgomery Avenue in Wyndmoor on Monday to put out a two-alarm fire at the residence of Janet and Ronald Rock. Firefighters from Wyndmoor, Flourtown, Oreland, Glenside, Barren Hill, Wissahickon, Edge Hill, Weldon, Ogontz, North Penn Goodwill, Fort Washington, LaMott and Second Alarmers for Rehabilitation were able to drown the flames, but damage had already been done to two rear rooms and the main stairwell and hallway. The Rocks were unscathed by the fire, but one of the firefighters had to be treated for a minor hand injury. The Springfield Township Fire Marshall’s Office was still investigating the cause of the fire when the Local went to press.

Contested zoning variance approved by CHCA board

Despite lingering complaints from upset neighbors, the Chestnut Hill Community Association Board of Directors last week voted 20-6 in favor of a pair of zoning variances for a two-story garage and exercise studio to be built at 424 W. Springfield Ave.

The majority of the board seemed convinced that the homeowner, Henry O’Reilly, and his architect, Larry McEwen, had negotiated the variances in good faith with the Crooks and Halloran families. After all, Ned Mitinger, vice president of the CHCA’s Physical Division told them that both the Land Use, Planning and Zoning Committee and the Design Review Committee of the CHCA supported height and use exemptions for the garage after McEwen, an LUPZ member and DRC co-chair who recused himself for the votes, redesigned it in light of the neighbors’ objections.

CHCA board cuts pay for Local’s display ad team

The Chestnut Hill Community Association Board of Directors voted Dec. 18 to cut compensation for the Chestnut Hill Local’s two-person display advertising department by at least $36,000.

The vote ended a nearly two-hour discussion about the Local’s financial health, spurred by CHCA treasurer Mark Keintz’s assessment that the paper had “serious” budgetary problems that needed to be fixed.


Local Sports

Mount gets by Upper Dublin to stay undefeated

Mount St. Joseph’s Steph Smith, a sophomore forward, was named MVP of the game in the Magic’s win at the Quaker City tourney last Sunday.  (Photo by Tom Utescher)

Appearing for the second year in a row in the Quaker City Girls Basketball Tournament at Philadelphia University, Mount St. Joseph Academy didn’t bring its best performance to the big show last Sunday, but the Magic fought off a solid Upper Dublin High School team, claiming a 51-40 win and going into the holiday break at 7-0.

Sophomore forward Steph Smith scored 13 points and pulled nine rebounds in a game MVP performance, while senior Elle Hagedorn posted 18 points, four rebounds and four steals. Upper Dublin junior guard Kristen Fuery, who joined the Fort Washington squad after transferring from Springside School last year, led the Cardinals with 16 points, all after halftime.

GA wins battle of unbeatens

When two unbeaten teams met last Saturday, junior Maggie Lucas dropped 28 points on the Shipley Gators to lead Germantown Academy to victory.  (photo by Tom Utescher)

Last Saturday’s basketball bout at Shipley School matched up defending league champions who each entered the contest without a loss this season, but observers who had more than a passing acquaintance with the Gators and the visiting Germantown Academy Patriots weren’t expecting the game to go down to the wire.

GA, the defending champ in the Girls Inter-Ac League, scored the first 12 points of the afternoon and never took a backward glance, proceeding to a 79-51 win over Shipley, the titleholder in the Friends Schools League. Junior sharpshooter Maggie Lucas hit four three-pointers and led all scorers with 28 points to help the Pats push their record to 7-0, while Shipley slipped to 8-1 despite 20 points and a dozen rebounds from senior forward Alex Lennon. Each team is off to a 2-0 start in its respective league this season.

The Patriots had crossed the Schuylkill earlier in the week as well, rolling to a 68-28 win in a Girls Inter-Ac League contest at Episcopal Academy. GA took control of that affair at the outset, building an 18-5 lead by the end of the first quarter.

Lucas put up a game-high 20 points and Jesse Carey and Tory Thierolf each scored a dozen, while Meredith Carber and Dana Lotito added eight and six points respectively. The previous weekend, the 1,000-point career scoring barrier had been breached by Lucas, a junior who has made a verbal commitment to Penn State.

Local Life


Pulitzer Prize ‘like winning Super Bowl’
Hiller keeps writing powerful best-sellers


Acclaimed author Buzz Bissinger and his wife Lisa have lived near the Morris Arboretum for the past three years. Bissinger, seen here in front of Starbucks on the 8500 block of Germantown Avenue, wrote Friday Night Lights, which was made into a feature film and a TV series, among his other books.

He’s from New York City originally and grew up a die-hard Yankees fan, but since his book Three Nights in August (Houghton Mifflin, 2005), he’s taken to the Cardinals. Yet, through his life and work, author and Chestnut Hill resident Buzz Bissinger is most linked to the city of Philadelphia. Bissinger and his wife Lisa have lived near the Morris Arboretum for the past three years, having moved from Mt. Airy. His twin boys, Jerry and Zachary, are in their 20s, and he has a teenage son named Caleb.

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