December 10, 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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A good house tour

Congratulations to the CHCA for a wonderful Holiday House Tour.

Five months of incredible hard work and generous homeowners and great community-minded sponsors.

This could not have happened without the leadership and creativity of Co-chairs Patricia M. Cove, Mary Ann Koller and Philip LeCalsey. Their guidance of staff, volunteers, committee and designers lead to another great success.

Merry Christmas, Chestnut Hill,  and many thanks for your continued support.

Jane M. Piotrowski
CHCA - VP of Operations


House tour thanks

Who would have guessed that the annual Chestnut Hill Holiday House Tour would not only display five wonderful homes, but also welcome the first snowfall of the season? Covered in a blanket of white, each residence glistened in its own special way, and provided over 500 tour-goers with a tantalizing and inspiring holiday experience.

We are so appreciative to our sponsors: Bowman Properties, Chestnut Hill Hospital, and Citibank; and also to the five enthusiastic homeowners, who graciously opened their homes to benefit the Chestnut Hill Community Association — the Coates, the Lanes, the DeMaios, the Burke/Heeps and Coves residences.

These five homes were all transformed into holiday masterpieces. We would like to thank the more than 20 Holiday House Tour committee members, who organized and arranged all the aspects of the tour from the trolley route to the coordination of the talents of more than 40 professional designers and florists. It was through all of their efforts, and the efforts of our diligent office staff, who served as a clearing house for all the House Tour preparation activities that truly made this event the successful one that it was.

We also want to say how deeply we appreciate the hard work of Jane Piotrowsi, the vice-president of the operations division, whose expertise and guidance made this such a wonderful experience for all. Last but not least, we acknowledge the more than 70 volunteers who worked during the day, manning the ticket station and serving as docents in each of the houses.

Without the enthusiastic effort of so many talented and dedicated individuals, this wonderful event could not take place. So, thank you for making possible another joyful and successful Holiday House Tour!

Mary Ann Koller
Patricia M. Cove


Bugged by quote without permission

This problem has left me gnashing my teeth for three weeks now.

I’ve been unable to defend myself against the critical letters to the Local about me because what they say I said is true. I did say “Babish Babes” and I was critical of some aspects of the Shanachie restaurant.

My only defense is that I said those things in a private e-mail to Len Lear, which he used without asking my permission.

I was honored to be quoted, flattered even, but I would have edited that letter if he had told me ahead of time. When he hinted you might be quoting me in his review of Dettera, he told me that on Tuesday — after the Local went to press. I said to Jan, “Oh oh, I hope he removed the comments about Shanachie. I don’t want to publicly criticize a place that seems to try very hard. Why say negative things in print about a business someone has worked very hard to build? Surely he wouldn’t do that.”

But surely he did, maybe to stir up the readership a bit, maybe an oversight in the rush to make deadline, perhaps because he and I have a mutually respectful, friendly relationship that might justify making the assumption that I had tacitly meant the e-mail could be published as is.

I’ve been feeling morbid about this situation. I’ve worked hard for three years to build a reputation as a genial, thoughtful writer, and I feel that’s rapidly being replaced by a perception of me as a calloused jerk who trashes things he petulantly doesn’t like.

Yes, I said, and meant, what I wrote. Guilty of my thoughts. But I’d never have stated them in print.

Hugh Gilmore
Chestnut Hill


Thanks from OMC pie drive

Thanks to everyone in the Chestnut Hill Community who donated cash contributions and pies to the St. Vincent de Paul Thanksgiving Pie Collection.  Year after year, the people of Chestnut Hill show great generosity to the guests of the St. Vincent de Paul (Germantown) Dining Room.  This year more than 90 pies were brought to St. Vincent’s where hundreds of Philadelphia’s homeless and hungry enjoy a meal on Thanksgiving and throughout the entire year.  Their patrons receive a hot meal, a warm smile and a place of peace. 

As members of the OMC St. Vincent de Paul Society, it is our mission to seek and help the poor. These poor include those lacking money, food, spirit and companionship.   In addition to our pie collection, we regularly support the dining room through monthly food collections and weekly bread deliveries. 

Our mission could not be accomplished without the help and support of committed community members like yourself.  Through your efforts, you are helping to feed hundreds of Philadelphia’s hungry and homeless. 

Thank you for helping us help others.

Regina Dwyer
Chestnut Hill


An extraordinary community

In 2005, as its contribution to the Rotary International Centennial Celebration, the Chestnut Hill Rotary chose to restore the Chestnut Hill landmark entry to Fairmount Park that includes the pergola and trough at the bottom of the hill. Ongoing maintenance was part of the proposal and so on Saturday Chestnut Hill Rotarians Moss Disston, Ned Mittinger, Phil Tankel, and Tom Lloyd toted rakes, clippers, leaf blowers and recycle bags to the bottom of the hill for our semi-annual clean up. Because I joined them I can attest that hard work was equally matched with a lot of fun and laughs.

The next day as I drove across the bridge at Cherokee and West Springfield Avenue, neighbors Robin and Walt Summers were wielding their garden accessories to clean that neighborhood public space. It is no accident that Chestnut Hill is such an extraordinary community. Its generous residents make things happen.

Marie Lachat
Chestnut Hill Rotary

Fix what you can

There are 50 commercial properties owned by Bowman (Snowden).

Chestnut Hill is now an official one-coal-company town.

Stop scrounging around for donations and shuffling papers and calling meetings and trying to decide who “gets recused.”

Remember that hole in the ozone layer? Try to fix that instead.

Martha Haley
Haddon Township, NJ
Formerly of Chestnut Hill


He’s tricky

I played a little trick on the CHCA board last week. It was easy. For the past few weeks, members of the CHCA , its board of Directors, and members of the Chestnut Hill Business Association have written letters and editorials in this newspaper criticizing those who opposed the Good Food Market. Those who opposed the take-out operation have been called “bullies” and bad for Hill Business.

But at the November CHCA board meeting, which I attended, more than seven board members spoke out against Walgreens moving into the Borders property. No one defended Walgreens. Not one member said that opposing Walgreens would contribute to the “bad business climate” created by past opposition to other tenants. No one called those speaking against Walgreens’ “bullies.”

To the contrary, board members quoted studies they had read about what a detriment a discount drug store was to other neighborhoods. (I wonder what they would have said about “dollar stores, nail salons, check cashing, and discount electronic stores”?) No one mentioned the CVS that has been here for years.

Plans were made to write a letter to Walgreens to inform them of the CHCA board’s opposition. Richard Snowden offered to make a call on the matter.

All was on track to write the letter and make the call. Then I spoke. I commended the board on its opposition. I complimented it on learning from the near neighbors who opposed the Good Food takeout plans. I urged them to contact the same politicians that helped those near neighbors.

The board then voted to table the opposition. By having Feldman agree with them, I got them to change their mind. Perhaps some of them even recognized the hypocrisy I was exposing, but after watching them for years, I doubt it.

 So what will it be board members? Oppose Walgreens and be anti-business hypocrites? Or welcome them and finally admit that the Hill is not Rodeo Drive?

Ed Feldman



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