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February 12, 2009

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The Chestnut Hill Local
8434 Germantown Ave.
Phila. PA 19118
Ph: 215-248-8800
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2009© Chestnut Hill Local
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Shocked, saddened and appalled

As I paged through the Local from last week, I was shocked, saddened and astounded by two items in particular.

First was the piece titled “Local editor retains his position despite an 11th hour motion.” I found it disturbing that a performance review that began in June 2008 was reopened in December. To hear that Pete Mazzaccaro was “interrogated” for about 45 minutes in a closed-door session seemed downright mean-spirited and morally, legally and ethically reprehensible. Was the idea to humiliate him into quitting? I think we all know that Pete is made of much tougher fabric.

The second item was the closing of yet another local community newspaper. As a former journalist, I believe that the Local is being well served by the new talent seen in the reporting by Joel Hoffmann, a former Conshohocken Recorder reporter. Hoffmann’s assessment of what went wrong at the Recorder was on the mark. I left the newspaper business in the early 1990s when Journal Register Company made a bid to buy out the (then) family-owned Times Herald. The deal went through, and the publication has limped along since then. The few reporters and editors who stayed on are like zombies, trying to put duct tape on the holes constantly in need of filling. It is really sad. 

I’m shocked that CHCA leaders haven’t learned their moral, legal and ethical lessons from the handling of past Local editors. I’m saddened that CHCA leaders can’t see the value in having a truly locally owned and operated newspaper giving voice to a community clearly in need of one.

Barbara Sherf
Flourtown, PA

 

‘Rats’ and those who hate them  

Once again, an honorable, trustworthy member of the CHCA board has done my work for me. Marie Lachat, who, with her stated imprimatur of a certificate from the LaSalle Nonprofit Center, has uniquely characterized board members who, after witnessing bylaw violations at the executive session where an unannounced vote to fire Local Editor Pete Mazzacaro took place, blew their whistles [“Rats,” Feb. 5]. Marie wrote, “the Mafia would call them “rats.” Thanks Marie! By any interpretation of that analogy, that would make the CHCA board members who had called the executive session the Mafia. Marie, I couldn’t agree with you more!

I spoke with Laura Otten, of the LaSalle Non Profit Center and asked her this question: “If, at an Executive Session, board members observe bylaw violations, what is their obligation? One of silence, or one of reporting these violations to the membership?”

She replied that the ultimate decision is one of individual ethics and morals, made in the best interests of the organization.

Maybe you need a refresher course, Marie. You may also want to separate the good name of the LaSalle Nonprofit Center from a letter that calls people making an individual, ethical decision the following: irresponsible, self serving, dishonorable and untrustworthy. You may also want to re-think your low opinion of those who inform on organized crime.    

Ed Feldman
California

 

Apart from the curiously off-putting language to describe her fellow CHCA Board members (which must have those at LaSalle’s “board leadership and non-profit management program” scratching their heads), Marie Lachat’s  letter (February 5, 2009) required a second reading.

Association members may recall that Ms. Lachat chose to run for the Board in 2006 as a member of the Second Opinion Caucus.

As was the case with at least one other member (Ned Mitinger),  it’s probable that she sensed a change in the political air and hopped on for the ride.  “Don’t need a weatherman” and all that.

Don’t need a dictionary, Playbill, or scorecard, either, to translate “the squawkers” to the few remaining directors “with whom she aligned herself in 2006.

Ron Recko, Virginia Mallery, and Jonathan Sternberg continue to uphold the promises made by the Second Opinion Caucus.

That platform primarily and specifically supported full adherence to the bylaws, especially those regarding public notice of meetings and agendas announced in the Local, and the rights and responsibilities of the editor of the paper in light of the Sturdivant/Mishak scandal followed by the shocking actions supported by the Dornemann administration by Vijay Kothare and the late Carol Boynton.

Reminiscent of the operatic rhetoric of John McCain — ACORN’s voter registration “may be destroying the fabric of democracy” or the hysterical bleating of Dina Hitchcock on the sanctity of the votes cast in the disgraced 2008 Board election, Lachat bellies up to the bar with a line about “put[ting] the entire organization at legal risk by this irresponsible, self-serving behavior.”

Legal risk to whom again?

It won’t be the first time some Board members had to lawyer up.

Martha Haley
Haddon Twp, NJ
Former CHCA Board Member

 

Excited for Weavers Way

For the last 15 years I have watched stores come and go from Germantown Avenue, but never have I been so excited as when I heard that Weavers Way Co-op was opening in the old Caruso’s location. Bringing high quality, fresh, healthy and local foods to the Avenue at good prices is great for all of us in Chestnut Hill. And we’ll finally have a convenient place we can pick up prepared foods or last minute ingredients after work. I can guarantee at least one new member (me) and hope that as many readers as possible support the co-op so that we can keep a great market right in the heart of Chestnut Hill for many years.

Dean Jerrehian
Chestnut Hill

 

Schreffler remembered

I read the obituary on Dave Schreffler last week and believe it captured many of his accomplishments.  I would however like your readership to know learn more about this man who, at 47, was taken so young and so tragically.

Dave had a boundless energy and infectious personality, which he brought to everything he did in his life, including his role as husband, father, business development executive and community volunteer.  He was a born leader and spent countless hours volunteering Chestnut Hill Academy and Springside School and St. Thomas Episcopal in Whitemarsh.

A salesman at heart with a legendary entrepreneurial spirit, Dave was happiest when he was face-to-face with others.  A lover of the outdoors, he cherished annual hiking trips and especially loved hiking in Nova Scotia on his honeymoon, taking numerous family trips to the Adirondack Mountains and most recently, a family climb up Snowden, the highest point in the U.K.

In delivering his sermon at Dave’s funeral, St. Thomas’ Rev. Marek P. Zabriskie began with this comment, “Our church is over 300 years old and this may be the largest funeral service held here in over three centuries. It is a testimony to this highly connected world and to the man who connected all of us.”

He continued by praising Dave and his role as a father, “Nothing was more important than his family.  He spoke more about his children and asked more about other people’s families than any man I have ever known.  He wanted to make an impact as a parent and he wanted us all to do the same.”

Dave touched many people throughout the Chestnut Hill, Flourtown, Ft. Washington area and beyond.  His zest for life, generosity of time and spirit will be missed by many.

Paula M. Riley
Chestnut Hill

 

Thanks for the help

We would like to extend our sincere appreciation for the generous contributions to the 14th District’s December 2008 holiday initiatives. With the donations we were able to host our annual district Christmas party for three neighborhood schools. Over 60 kids participated in the festivities, which included food, a magician, a clown and the arrival of Santa with gifts.

We were also able to provide gifts and food for over 15 underprivileged families throughout the district. On Christmas Day, some officers and Santa visited four homes and three shelters in a means to provide holiday cheer to those less fortunate.

Taking an active role in helping our community and giving back is a very important service we as police officers can provide our community. We would not have been successful again this year without all of the help we received.

Thanks to 22nd Ward Democratic Committee, Hiram 81 Masonic Hall, Sun Communications Group, Stapeley in Germantown Residents Assoc., Luther Baldwin Jr., Osaka Japanese Restaurants, Community Outreach 200 Inc., Stapeley in Germantown, Greater Philadelphia Restaurant Association, DRAD Computers, Thomas Lee Food Market Inc., 7900 Ogontz Car Wash, Chelten Hills Cemetery Co., Norton’s Towing Co., Art Noir Account, Adelphia Insurance Group Inc., M. Lawton Associates, Northwest Action Committee, D-T Automotive, The Brian Madalion Company, H-M Deli Inc., Scott A. Shapiro – Scott Jill, Mr. Rondal Couser, Mazer Real Estate Co., Tague Lumber, Paul Beale Florist, Ivy Hill Cemetery, Danny Auto Tags, Agency Insurance Services, 5708 K-T Inc., Hideaway Music, Community Audio, Friends of Cindy Bass, Alester E. Teagle, Mt. Airy Deli- Mini Mart, David E. Norris — Cynthia Norris, Ogontz State Store, Fred’s Foreign Car Services, Inc. and Stenton Ave. — Wash Association.

Captain Winton B. Singletary
Commanding Officer,
14th District

 

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