July 23, 2009


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Apartment fire raises questions
The blaze was allegedly ignited by patient in psychiatric program.

Residents of Henry on the Park last week were struggling to make sense of the fire that was allegedly set by a woman receiving outpatient psychiatric care at the apartment complex.

The stench of smoke grew stronger with each step as we climbed the stairwell in building B — lungs laboring, nostrils itching, eyes slightly stinging.

It smelled like someone was throwing a barbecue on the fourth floor. It smelled like someone had lit some acrid potpourri that had dissipated poorly. The reality was far more tragic.

Two days had passed since an unidentified young woman set clothes on fire with an open flame in her Roxborough apartment on July 14, injuring a firefighter and three residents.

No one had suffered serious harm, but the woman had been committed to a hospital for inpatient psychiatric care, according to Philadelphia police.

No charges had been filed against her, but Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers had publicly declared the fire to be arson.

No one had bothered to secure the crime scene.

Main Street Fair to return after 18-year absence

The Main Street Fair drew big crowds to Chestnut Hill Hospital in 1970.

In the 1960s and 70s, anyone who lived in or near Chestnut Hill looked forward to the one day when the schools would close and the shops and restaurants would lose their employees and their patrons to the social event of the year: the Main Street Fair.

The fair was the Hill’s main event put on by the Women’s Auxiliary of the Chestnut Hill Hospital to raise money for the hospital.

On Saturday, Sept. 26, the hospital, under the leadership of its new Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Scanlon, and the Chestnut Hill Community Association, is bringing back the Main Street Fair after an 18-year absence. When Scanlon interviewed for his job last year, he made it clear that one his goals was to bring back the fair.

Gypsy jazz to be featured at Pastorius Park concert

The Hot Club of Philadelphia

The final concert in the Pastorius Park Summer Concert Series on Tuesday evening, July 29, will feature the Hot Club of Philadelphia playing gypsy jazz.

The band, started in late 2001 by guitarist Barry Warren and violinist Mark Campiglia, is an acoustic jazz quartet also featuring Jim Stager, on acoustic bass, and Rich Yescalis, on rhythm guitar.

According to its official Web site,, gypsy jazz is based on the recordings of Belgian-born gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt and French violinist Stephen Grapelli.

MCAP presents 22nd Annual Run for the Hill of It

At last year’s run: MCAP Director and Race Director Mary Pugh, MCAP Director  Wendy Demchick-Alloy, the Phillie Phanatic and Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman. In front: Rose and Drew Winkler. 

The Montgomery Child Advocacy Project and the Phillie Phanatic are hosting the 22nd Annual Run for the Hill of It, July 25 at 8:30 a.m. at Northwestern Avenue and Forbidden Drive in Fairmount Park.

Eagles tight end Brent Celek is tentatively slated to serve as race starter. All proceeds from the race benefit MCAP, a nonprofit organization that provides free legal representation to children who are victims of abuse and neglect.

MCAP advocate attorneys protect the interests of their young clients and offer them legal support and representation. The goal of MCAP is to help children heal and learn to trust others.

Run for the Hill of It is a 20-year long tradition in Chestnut Hill. For the last two decades, McNally’s Tavern of Chestnut Hill and Friends of Erik sponsored the race to raise money for children suffering from severe illnesses, while simultaneously bringing the community together. 2007 was the final year that Friends of Erik sponsored the event.

People of all ages are invited to grab their sneakers and help abused children by exercising. The MCAP Run for the Hill of It is a USA Track and Field sanctioned and certified five-mile course along the tree-lined Fairmount Park beside Wissahickon Creek. Likewise, the one-mile walk provides a scenic view of the beautiful landscape at Fairmount Park. Prizes are awarded to the overall male, female and master racers as well as the top three winners in all other age groups.