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July 9, 2009

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Hill to flex literary muscle at weekend Book Festival

Buzz Bissinger

When organizers of this week’s three-day book festival began the planning process, they had big dreams.

Greg Welsh, president of the Chestnut Hill Business Association and a self-proclaimed “C-SPAN junkie” (that’s a channel dedicated to books for those who’ve never tuned in), told me that he believed the Chestnut Hill Book Festival could be the kind of event that would easily eclipse the Free Library’s book festival and quite possibly be one of the better festivals in the country.

To make the event big, though, the festival needed to get some big names.

After several months of weekly planning sessions, the festival is about to take over the Avenue with three days and nights of readings, slams, book signings, sales and discussion panels.



Former Caruso’s owner jailed on new charges

Former Caruso’s Market owner John J. Capoferri was arrested last month on charges of forgery, witness intimidation, terroristic threats and failure to repay a $500,000 debt, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. He was being held in jail on $100,000/10 percent bail as of deadline.



Local all-stars bring ‘rock and soul’ to Pastorius

The Chestnut Hill All-Stars (from left) David Cope, Katie Drake, Chris Marcseill, Jason Fifel and Roger Learnard.

A cast of all-stars will bring ‘rock and soul’ to Pastorius Park on July 15. Local favorites Jason Fifel, David Cope, Katie Drake, Roger Learnard and Chris Marcseill are coming together for The Chestnut Hill All-Star Revue at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday night.



ALS a new challenge for peace activist

Christine Olige on a recent trip to Portland, Ore.

Christine Oliger was the first woman in her family to go to college. She majored in economics at Douglas College at Rutgers University, but a senior-year visit from a Peace Corps representative and a weak job market changed her path, taking her to Senegal and ultimately Chestnut Hill, and providing guidance for an unforeseen challenge. Last year, Oliger was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

ALS or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. In 2007, Oliger was running the National Havurah Committee office in Mt. Airy. In the fall she noticed that she could not keep her flip-flop on her left foot. By December she was having trouble walking long distances.

Oliger went to her doctor, who noticed she was having what is known in ALS terms as “foot drop” which is an ankle weakness that causes your foot to hang down when you are trying to walk. After months of tests, she was diagnosed in April 2008.



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