July 9, 2009


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The Chestnut Hill Local
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Neighbors supporting neighbors

When the Chestnut Hill Residents Association formed in May, I joined because I like the idea of neighbors coming together to listen to and support other neighbors.

I was surprised that 15 people showed up for the second meeting, with the concert in Pastorius Park and vacation schedules as competition. Though small, it was an enjoyable gathering of neighbors.

We formalized meeting the fourth Wednesday of each month, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the library and to post the agenda and rotating chairperson at

When one of our members complained about the condition of the Hill SEPTA Station, with a unanimous vote, it became our first project. Six of us volunteered and showed up to complete it three days later.

Sometimes it’s the small things that can help improve one’s quality of life.

I’m sure larger projects will be met with the same gusto in the future.

Dorothy Hanton Coles
Chestnut Hill


Free the Cuban 5

Nations have the right to defend  their national boundaries and acts of sabotage. Agree?

Well, that’s exactly what five Cuban nationals were doing as they infiltrated violent terrorist groups in Florida which had perpetrated and were still  planning future violent acts against Cuba. These five had no evil intentions against our country, and even shared information gathered with the FBI.

Nevertheless, for this they were tried in Miami — a safe haven for many anti-Cuba terrorist groups and sympathizers — and sentenced to prison … yet another travesty of American justice.

Ten years later they sit in various federal prisons around the U.S. Known as the Cuban Five, they have garnered enormous support from around the world.

Think of this. If acts of sabatoge had been perpetrated against our new young nation 200 some years ago by those pro-British colonists (Tories) who fled to Canada, and  five or so American revolutionaries had infiltrated those Tory groups to gather information, how would we have felt?

The horrors going on around the world seem overwhelming at times. But we can speak out on specific injustices. So if the above speaks to your sense of the injustice done to Rene Gonzalez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guererro Fernando Gonzalez and Gerardo Hernandez can you let President Obama know that it is long, long  overdue that these men be allowed to go home  to be reunited with their families and their country?

Lawrence Geller


Harris a disservice to readers

I would like to preface my comments to your article, “Cézanne boring…” [June 11] by stating that I have an art history and art studio education and work experience. Art is an integral part of my daily life.

My initial reaction to your article was that I was surprised that you have never been to an art exhibit at The Philadelphia Museum of Art or any other museum. 

Cézanne was a Post-Impressionist artist whose work may be described as bold and abstract. His subject matter is represented using bold brushstrokes and it has great visual impact. Cézanne has influenced many artists during his lifetime and of course artists today, as represented in the show “Cézanne and Beyond” at The Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Your article was a disservice to your readers because it misrepresents the museum experience — that one needs to be completely quiet and it is such a boring experience that your alternative was to count body parts in the paintings and wait for the experience to end.

I would like to suggest that you visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art, look at the general collection and try to find some artwork that you can appreciate. Another alternative, since you enjoy baseball, would be to visit The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY. After experiencing art that you can relate to, then you will be able to have an informed opinion for future articles.

Marie M. Walters
Bloomsburg, PA 
(Formerly from Chestnut Hill and Wyndmoor)


Zoo elephants will suffer

Time is of the essence.  Lives may be at stake.  The Philadelphia Zoo’s preordained plan for its two remaining elephants, Kallie and Bette, is indeed troubling. 

The objective here is for both to enter into a breeding program at the Pittsburgh Zoo’s International Conservation Center.  This is no sanctuary, as some believe; rather, the elephant equivalent of a “puppy mill.” The all too familiar heartrending ramifications associated with the precarious process of effecting pregnancy leave one with much apprehension. 

The next questionable chapter in their impoverished and regimented lives just may be their undoing.  This unforgivable transgression is completely devoid of moral compass.   

This is a case of the conservation of elephants with an eye to further exploitation. We now know that captivity in zoos does terrible damage to these complex animals.  Many animal behavior experts, including Marc Bekoff, oppose the serious deprivations created by zoos.  He has seen truly happy captive elephants only in the two US elephant sanctuaries. 

One zoo consultant, David Hancocks, has concluded, “It’s simply not possible for zoos to meet the needs of elephants.”  Jeffrey Masson, author of “When Elephants Weep:The Emotional Lives of Animals,” also has serious reservations.

The latest scientific literature has supposedly taught zoo officials what elephants need.  Why then are they not applying what they’ve learned?  Their profession claims to have respect for the dignity of animals in their care. 

If the Philadelphia Zoo really cares for the total well being of Kallie and Bette, only a true sanctuary is appropriate and conducive to their good health and complete happiness. Haven’t Kallie and Bette suffered enough?    

Bridget Irons
Chestnut Hill


Tears of laughter

It takes some time and a shovel to wade through the 11 paragraph Presidential Address from Walter J. Sullivan, the “commentary” about his June 18 commentary” (another sixteen or so paragraphs if you’re still counting).  Stunning.  The author urges readers to read and RE-READ. He’s not done and neither are we.

Seeking relief from the self-contradicting, self-editing, and self-aggrandizing blather from The President’s Desk,  but still curious to read the about the CHCA,  one can  count on the biweekly news  reporting on the CHCA or the Executive Committee meetings.

If you’re pressed for time or your eyes glaze over, do find time for the Local [July 2] front-page report “from the front.”

But wait. You’re still not safe from Sullivan’s busy tongue or his wife’s nimble fingers at the keyboard as his widely-distributed email of June 26 merits another seven paragraphs.

My sides ache.

Martha Haley
Haddon Township, NJ