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January 7, 2010

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We continue our look at the top stories of 2009

(Clockwise from top left) Chestnut Hill College planned a new campus for Sugarloaf. The Fall for the Arts Festival attracted a record crowd. Fire destroyed the historic Garrett-Dunn house. The closing of borders promises to pose the first big issue for the Hill in 2010.

JULY

New committee formed to study Avenue vacancies

Directors of the Chestnut Hill Business Association and the Chestnut Hill Community Association agreed last week to establish a joint committee to study more than 30 vacant commercial properties along Germantown Avenue and try to find ways to fill them with tenants.

The CHCA board was initially considering the creation of an ad hoc committee to study the vacancies, but board member Fran O’Donnell, who is also the business association’s main street manager, withdrew the motion to form the committee when Bob Rossman, another CHCA board member, noted that the committee would have to hold public meetings as required by CHCA bylaws.

“We want people to speak frankly about some of these issues,” said Richard Snowden, the Chestnut Hill Parking Foundation’s representative on the CHCA board, at the board’s June 25 meeting. “And I for one would not feel comfortable doing that knowing that it would be reported in the Chestnut Hill Local the next week.”

Through his company Bowman Properties Ltd., Snowden owns more than 15 percent of the 206 properties along Germantown Avenue, including a number of vacant commercial properties, according to a June 15, 2009, story in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The CHBA directors have argued that landlords alone cannot be blamed for the vacancies, and that “the worst economy since the Great Depression” needs to be taken into consideration. – Joel Hoffmann

 

Book fest success paves path for sequel

The Chestnut Hill Business Association may have found another event to put on the summer calendar in Chestnut Hill. The three-day Book Festival, from July 10 to July 12, drew an excellent turnout and a lot of support from the community, according to organizers.”

[This was] a total community event,” CHBA President Greg Welsh said. “There was very good participation from the community and the associations. It was one of the better events that we’ve had.”

The event featured workshops, live readings and panels from various authors, including Buzz Bissinger, Elijah Anderson, Gerald Kolpan, John McWhorter and Daniel Pipes. – Olivia Biagi

 

OARC reaches well beyond Ogontz Avenue

Jack Kitchen knows he is not always welcomed with open arms. As the CEO of OARC Energizing Progress, formerly known as the Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation, Kitchen’s job is to lead the community development corporation set up by State Senator Dwight Evans 15 years ago.

With an enviable kitty worth more than $6.4 million, and one of the most influential politicians in the state backing him, Kitchen’s efforts to branch out into neighboring communities has been met with some skepticism and perhaps a little jealousy.

When OARC purchased the North by Northwest nightclub at 7165 Germantown Ave. in Mt. Airy in April, residents and community leaders took note. For many residents it was the first time they had ever heard of OARC, and while the same could not be said for Mt. Airy’s leadership, it was widely seen as a bold and abrupt move into the community development arena on Germantown Avenue. – Jennifer Katz

 

Apartment fire raises questions

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. – JH

 

AUGUST

Mt. Airy landmark destroyed by fire

The Garrett-Dunn House, a historic landmark at Germantown and Mt. Pleasant avenues in Mt. Airy, was destroyed in a spectacular two-alarm fire Sunday that showered large pieces of charred debris over an area of several blocks.

Within minutes of the first report at 11:45 a.m., the building was engulfed in flames, sending up a plume of black smoke that could be seen throughout Mt. Airy. The fire was declared under control at 12:24 p.m.

As the Local went to press, the cause of the fire was still under investigation by the Fire Commissioner’s office.

The house, which was listed on both the national and Philadelphia register of historic places, had been part of a plan by developer John Capoferri to turn it and the adjoining stone barn into five luxury residences in a project that would also include the construction of 14 new townhouses on the property.

Work on the project came to a standstill in April 2008 when Capoferri’s funds ran out, but not before contractors had removed the house’s stucco façade, leaving the building open to the elements. – Walter Fox

 

OARC sues Mt. Airy landlord in dispute over parking area

It would seem that all was not well between Jack Kitchen and David Fellner despite both men’s claims to the contrary just two weeks ago. A lawsuit that was filed last week by OARC, the community development corporation Kitchen heads, accuses Fellner of fraud in negotiations concerning the North by Northwest night club.

In June, Fellner, who owns the building at 7161 Germantown Ave., sent Kitchen a letter terminating OARC’s lease at 7161 Germantown Ave. When asked about it, Fellner said he was advised to do so by his attorney, but hoped to resolve the issues and to keep NXNW as a tenant. Kitchen said he also expected to be able to work out a resolution.

The complaint asks for $760,000 in restitution to cover a $609,000 investment and $160,000 in losses over the last four months.

The crux of the dispute between the two men is over parking and water and sewer system issues. Fellner said Kitchen is trying to bully him and Kitchen said Fellner lied to him. – JK

 

Park rapist eludes police

One week after the rape of a 34-year-old jogger in Fairmount Park, the trail has gone cold. According to police, the victim has cooperated with the investigation but cannot provide identifying information because she never saw the man who attacked her.

On Aug. 11, the woman, who does not live in Philadelphia, was exiting her car in the lower lot at Bells Mills Road and Forbidden Drive, preparing to go for a run. It was 6:30 p.m., a typically busy time for the popular intersection, which divides a two and-a-half-mile stretch from Northwestern Avenue to the Valley Green Inn. A man wearing brown work boots, gardening-type gloves and dirty jeans approached the woman from behind, prodded her with an unknown object.

“Don’t scream, I have a gun,” he told her, according to the police report.

 The man then led her into the woods adjacent to the parking lot where he sexually assaulted her. – JK

 

Tenant charged in Henry on the Park fire

According to a criminal complaint filed last month, Patricia Gilberthorpe, 25, was arrested July 14 on charges relating to the fire, and her bail was set for $10,000 on July 18.

At an arraignment status hearing on July 23, the court ordered a psychiatric evaluation for competency. On July 29, the court found the defendant incompetent to stand trial and committed her to the Detention Center Forensic Unit. A status hearing is scheduled for Aug. 28, but no trial date has been set.

Gilberthorpe faces charges of recklessly endangering another person, arson, causing catastrophe, criminal mischief, possession of an instrument of crime with intent to use and failure to prevent catastrophe, according to a criminal complaint. – OB

 

SEPTEMBER

Good Food Market variances supported by CHCA board vote

Near neighbors of the Good Food Market at 12-18 W. Willow Grove Ave. last week were unsuccessful in their efforts to persuade the Chestnut Hill Community Association board of directors to table a vote on a request by market owner Jennifer Zoga for zoning variances for the sale of takeout coffee, gelato, salads and sandwiches.

While board members acknowledged some of the neighbors’ concerns about traffic, parking and safety, they voted unanimously in support of Zoga’s variance application with the city Zoning Board of Adjustments.

“This market is going to open, and no one, despite everyone’s best intentions and best estimates, knows how many people are going to visit this market on a daily basis,” said Jason Bologna, a resident of the unit block of W. Willow Grove Ave., at the CHCA board’s Aug. 27 meeting.

Bologna has taken issue at previous public meetings with Zoga’s prediction of 150 customers a day spending $35 a visit. He said the lack of “objective facts” was troubling.

“We know that it’s going to be open seven days a week,” he said. “We know that it’s going to be open 15 hours a day. During the course of those 105 hours a week, I know as a resident of the block that it’s going to have a huge impact. But to quantify it is very, very difficult - if not impossible.”

He added: “You are being asked, without knowing a specific number, to quantify the impact it’s going to have on that block, to pile additional speculation on that decision because you don’t know how many people, how many extra people, will go to that business for coffee, for sandwiches and for gelato.” – JH

 

College unveils two-campus plan

Chestnut Hill College will come before the Development Review Committee of the Chestnut Hill Community Association on Sept. 15 to present its largest undertaking to date: a completed master plan for both of its campuses – the main campus across from Northwestern Stables and its newly acquired campus at Sugarloaf.

The college is seeking a zoning variance from its current R-2 status to an Institutional Development District. The variance request is the first step in a just-completed master plan that would allow the college to increase its enrollment to 1,500 students. There are currently 900 full-time students at the school.

“This is a multi-year, multi-million dollar plan,” said Peter Saylor, a Chestnut Hill resident and principal architect of SaylorGregg Architects, the college’s architectural firm for the project.

The price tag could reach a half-billion dollars, and the fulfillment of the master plan could take more than 25 years. Still, the college is forging ahead with its plans, which include a new student center and underground parking lot on the main campus and the creation of a new campus at the Sugarloaf site that includes more than a half dozen new buildings to house classrooms, dormitories, support services and additional parking. – JK

 

Foundation to maintain Erdenheim Farm easements

In June, the Whitemarsh Foundation celebrated a major victory for open-space preservation in Pennsylvania when it teamed up with Peter and Bonnie McCausland to protect most of Erdenheim Farm from development in perpetuity.

But now that conservation easements are in effect for all but 23 acres of the former 450-acre Fitz Dixon estate, which covers parts of Springfield and Whitemarsh townships, the foundation wants to make sure the 198 acres it has acquired over the past two years are properly maintained.

“Open space isn’t free,” said Hugh G. Moulton, the foundation’s president. “It’ll never be developed, but we have to take care of it.”

In order to do that, Moulton wants to establish a $5 million endowment for the stewardship of the Whitemarsh Foundation’s portions of the farm, which includes the 98-acre Angus Tract and 91 acres of the Sheep Tract.

The tracts were secured with $27 million in public and private funding. – JH

 

Motorist hits stone wall, then runs

It was easy for Kimberly Freeman to recall the day she was awakened at 2 a.m. by a loud crash. It was Sept. 5, her birthday.

But when she looked out her window, she didn’t see anything resembling a gift. Instead she saw a black Audi A6 that had crashed right through a stone wall that separates her back yard from a curve where West Evergreen Avenue turns into Navajo Street.

“The car was halfway in my yard,” Freeman said. “I called 911 right away – I was sure whoever was driving was injured.”

But when she got off the phone with the 911 dispatcher, she looked down again to see that the Audi was somehow backing off of the rubble it had left - not to mention a good amount of glass and hardware that had been ripped from the car’s undercarriage. Freeman noted that the driver left his glasses behind, too. – Pete Mazzaccaro

 

Recession cited for rise in burglaries

Although Chestnut Hill has one of the lowest crime rates in the city, according to Lt. Brian Murphy of the Philadelphia Police Department’s 14th District, burglaries are becoming more frequent as the recession drags on.

“We want people to be alert and have their eyes open,” Murphy told the Local in a recent interview.

Last week, there were four burglaries in the heart of Chestnut Hill. Unknown suspects entered the rear doors of four properties through a parking lot that runs behind Germantown Avenue on the west side and extends from Highland Avenue to Gravers Lane.

Nothing was taken from three of the properties, but $100 was stolen from the fourth, according to Murphy. – JH

 

OCTOBER

Hundreds turn out for revival of Main Street Fair

After an 18-year absence, the Chestnut Hill community welcomed back the Main Street Fair with open arms on Saturday. Neighbors joined Chestnut Hill Hospital staff and Chestnut Hill Community Association organizers for a day of fun at the fair.

Set up on the front lawn of the hospital, tents were bursting at the seams with visitors - many pushing strollers - who lined up for the festivities.

Jane Piotrowski, vice-president of operations for the Chestnut Hill Community Association, was dubbed “Mayor of Chestnut Hill.” It was an honor bestowed upon her by Dr. John Scanlon, chief medical officer at the hospital, in recognition of her help in bringing the hospital’s vision to life.

“The day was exactly what we hoped for,” Piotrowski said. “For me, what I saw was the next generation enjoying what we all enjoyed as kids. But it was their way. I saw the importance of keeping this going. People were thrilled that it came back.” – JK

 

Village tenants skeptical yet optimistic about new heating system

Since April, the quality of life has improved dramatically for residents of Chestnut Hill Village.

Upon forming a tenants association to protest alleged mismanagement and steep increases in their heating bills, Village residents successfully pressured AIMCO, the Denver-based property owner, to honor its pledge to “make things right.”

Assistant community manager Alicia Waters resigned after residents alleged that she lied to them about the presence of Project Transition, an apartment-based psychiatric treatment program, at Chestnut Hill Village and dismissed other safety concerns.

And residents were refunded an undisclosed sum for overcharges after AIMCO and Ista, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based third-party biller admitted that its quality-assurance system had failed to flag two and threefold increases in residents’ utility bills.

Regaining the trust of residents has been no easy task for AIMCO, but the company renewed its commitment at a Sept. 23 meeting in the Village’s community center.

“We had some issues,” said Ian Douglas, the Village’s interim community manager. “We had heating issues. We had communication issues. And, quite honestly, we had some mechanical issues with the boilers that we had on the property.”

Douglas said that AIMCO’s energy-audit team studied the boilers - the same set that was put in when the complex opened in 1965 - and concluded that they were woefully inefficient.

“We were pumping too much heat into the buildings, which was causing us to consume more gas - which causes everybody’s bills to go up,” Douglas said. “We ripped out all those old boilers and replaced them with efficient boilers that are very modern and run smart.”

Douglas said the 17 new boilers would be in sync with the weather, turning on when temperatures dip below 60 degrees and off when there is no need for heat.

In effect, residents’ energy bills would decrease 10 percent on average from post-billing fiasco levels, according to Douglas.

AIMCO will also benefit from its $1.6 million investment in new boilers by lowering its own energy bills for heating common areas, according to Scott Marino, another AIMCO representative. – JH

 

New trash fee a burden for small businesses

The good news is that Mayor Nutter’s doomsday budget bomb has been defused. Police and firefighters won’t be laid off in droves. Libraries and recreation centers will stay open. And trash won’t rot on the streets between biweekly pickups.

The bad news is that the city has given small-business owners yet another reason to ask themselves why they bother keeping their doors open.

In the city’s May budget accord, Nutter and Council had forged an agreement to let the city Streets Department charge nearly 15,000 small businesses a trash collection fee of $500 a year.

They added a provision allowing businesses to hire private trash contractors, but the cost of private collection can easily exceed $2,500 a year.

It appears that the Streets Department knew the private option was an unattractive alternative when it projected $7 million in revenue in the first year, starting July 1. But now that fears of imminent collapse have evaporated, Council is expected to reconsider the impact the plan would have on small businesses if kept in place.

DiCicco, chairman of the city’s Streets and Services Committee, told his colleagues that he deeply regretted his decision.

“Unfortunately, because of the complexity of the budget, the details of this proposal were lost,” DiCicco testified on Aug. 26. “For that I apologize to the administration, to my constituents and to the small-business owners of Philadelphia. I should have asked more questions and pressed for changes to the proposal at the time. I did not, and my vote in favor [of the bill] was a mistake.” – JH

 

Main Street program recommended for Avenue vacancies

A joint committee of the Chestnut Hill Community Association and the Chestnut Hill Business Association, formed this summer to address the issue of vacant commercial properties on Germantown Avenue, is calling for a long-range effort to establish a Main Street program for Chestnut Hill.

Main Street programs are nonprofit entities that oversee retail corridor revitalization and are funded through grants from the state Department of Community and Economic Development. A Main Street Manager – a full-time executive that coordinates the program’s goals and objectives – would run the program.

The committee was established following a discussion among members of the CHCA board about the numerous vacancies on the Avenue.

CHCA president Walter Sullivan, who released what he called an “interim report” from the committee, stating its long-range goals, told the Local he was optimistic that Chestnut Hill would receive a five-year, $350,000 grant that would pay for part of the program’s staff and for facade improvements to Avenue store fronts.

“Every indication is that we will get the grant,” he said. “Is the whole plan dependent on getting the grant? No. But that grant is the lynchpin of the proposal.” – PM

 

Bye Bye Borders?

Speaking on condition of anonymity, three knowledgeable sources told the Local last week that Acadia Realty Trust wants to unload both of its Chestnut Hill properties for $16 million.

For well over a year, Hillers have speculated that Acadia wanted to get rid of the Borders Book Store property at 8625 Germantown Ave. and the 8400 Germantown Ave. property that is home to Jos. A. Bank and Talbots.

Those rumors grew more frequent after Express, a national clothing chain, left the 8400 Germantown Ave. property earlier this year. In September, Halloween Adventure moved into the store temporarily, stirring further speculation.

Janine Forte, Acadia’s leasing agent for the Chestnut Hill properties, said that she could “neither confirm nor deny at this time” that Acadia is looking to sell the properties.

None of the Local’s sources could confirm when Acadia’s leases with current tenants would expire. But one source told the Local that Acadia had sent letters to investors about the properties. The same source said that there would likely be a push to urge local investors to buy the properties.

Another source told the Local that the Walgreens drug store chain had been in negotiations with Acadia to rent the Borders property, but Walgreens did not return a call for comment before deadline. – JH

 

ZBA opposes variance for Good Food Market

With the unanimous support of the Chestnut Hill Community Association board of directors and a petition signed by more than 460 eager customers, Jennifer Zoga urged the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment last week to grant her variances for the preparation and sale of coffee, gelato, sandwiches and salads.

The outcome of that zoning hearing – a 3-1 ZBA vote against the variances – has left Zoga stunned.

“I’m extremely disappointed,” Zoga said. “I feel like the process didn’t work.”

Zoga was able to open her Good Food Market, 12-18 W. Willow Grove Ave., by right – and did so last week – but from the beginning her business model assumed that the variances would be granted.

Zoga and her business partner, Liz Bales are evaluating their options for future profitability, but appealing the Zoning Board’s decision may be their best bet.

That’s what Greg Welsh, president of the Chestnut Hill Business Association, has advised them to do.

Welsh thinks Zoga should revisit the zoning board with a “cheering squad” of her own. Then, the level of support for Zoga’s project will be hard to ignore, he said.

“The folks from the Good Food Market jumped through all the hoops for the variance,” Welsh said. “Doesn’t the process count?” – JH

 

Elfant Wissahickon to move to the Hill

The former Reese Pharmacy building at 8039 Germantown Ave. will soon have a new owner after an 11-month vacancy.

Elfant Wissahickon has hashed out an agreement of sale with owner Stephen Reses, who abruptly closed the pharmacy in November, according to Robert J. Elfant, president of the real-estate firm, but the deal has not been finalized.

“We have to resolve the contingencies,” Elfant said on Monday, one day before he was to present his plans for the building to the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s Development Review Committee.

“We’re going to do a significant change to the exterior, in keeping with the neighborhood,” Elfant said. “We’re going to totally renovate the interior.”

Elfant said he wants to centralize the company’s Mt. Airy and Flourtown sales representatives in Chestnut Hill by next fall. The company had been looking for a Chestnut Hill office for years, but it had been difficult to find a building that met all of the company’s needs - until the Reese building opened up. – JH

 

CHA’s Wilson wins cross-country crown

A solo effort produced individual honors for Chestnut Hill Academy sophomore Dustin Wilson at last Monday’s Inter-Ac League Cross Country Championships, and cohesive pack running earned the team title for Malvern Prep.

At last year’s meet, Wilson was chasing two-time champion Matt McCullough, a Malvern runner who has gone on to Cornell University. This year the Blue Devils’ 10th-grade standout was setting his own pace, and he recorded exactly the same time as in 2008, finishing the five-kilometer (3.1-mile) course at CHA in 16 minutes and 34 seconds. – Tom Utescher

 

NOVEMBER

 

Capoferri pleads guilty to bank fraud

Former Caruso’s Market owner John J. Capoferri pleaded guilty this week to federal felony charges of defrauding Valley Green Bank of $190,000, forfeiting his right to appeal the charges in a jury trial.

According to Michelle T. Rotella, assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case, Capoferri secured a short-term loan for the market from Valley Green on May 18, 2008, by providing a forged agreement of sale for his Mermaid Lane home and claiming that he would repay the loan with money that would be released from an escrow account upon the sale of the home.

Valley Green filed civil charges against Capoferri on Sept. 22, 2008, seeking to recoup $250,668.52 that Capoferri had borrowed from the bank. Unable to get the money from Capoferri, the bank filed federal charges on June 11, 2009.

Capoferri, 40, had previously pleaded not guilty to the federal charges and was scheduled for a jury trial on Nov. 2. But Capoferri changed his plea to guilty, forgoing the jury trial and giving up his right to parole if sent to prison. – JH

 

College postpones bid for IDD status

Chestnut Hill College stunned and, some might say, delighted the crowd gathered at the Land Use Planning and Zoning meeting last week when its president, Sister Carol Jean Vale, announced the college had agreed to postpone its IDD application until June 2010.

Vale said she was agreeing to a request made of the college by the Friends of the Wissahickon and Chestnut Hill Historical Society. The announcement came after weeks of public scrutiny, challenging the college’s decision to seek a zoning change of the Sugarloaf site it purchased in 2006 to an Institutional Development District.

The IDD designation would allow the college to develop the site according to its newly completed master plan. The plan provides a guide for how the college will expand from its current enrollment of 900 full-time undergraduate students to a desired 1,500.

The college has said it expects that it will take up to 25 years to complete the expansion. With the IDD status, the college would be able to build as needed, without going through the zoning process each time. – JK

 

It’s official: Chestnut Hill Borders to close in January

The announcement should have come as no surprise. For months – years, even – Hillers had periodically pronounced their Borders Book Store dead. But after Mary Davis, a Borders spokeswoman, confirmed last week that the store would close in 2010, Germantown Avenue began to stir with dread and disbelief.

For nearly 15 years, the 8701 Germantown Ave. store has anchored Chestnut Hill’s commercial corridor. It’s been a directional reference point, a cultural hub and a quasi-landmark in a historically significant neighborhood. It has counted Rosa Parks and Jimmy Carter among its most distinguished guests – both visited the Hill in 1996 – and has no doubt hosted hundreds of dates, discussions and daydreams.

But on Jan. 16, Borders will sell its last book, last magazine, last coffee, and no one knows how long it will remain empty. – JH

 

 

CHCA board pledges $10,000 to hire retail consultant

The Chestnut Hill Community Association board of directors last week authorized a $10,000 “partnership contribution” that will be put toward the hiring of Midge McCauley, a retail consultant, by the Chestnut Hill Business Improvement District.

The board had initially pledged to give the BID a $5,000 “token contribution,” but Richard Snowden, who sits on the board as a representative of the Chestnut Hill Parking Foundation, urged his colleagues to make a greater investment in the Hill’s economic future.

Snowden, principal partner of Bowman Properties, said that Bowman planned to contribute $25,000 toward the hiring of McCauley. The parking foundation had already voted to contribute $10,000, he said, and the BID and the Chestnut Hill Business Association were expected to contribute $20,000 and $10,000 respectively.

McCauley had previously pitched her strategy for solving the Hill’s vacancy problem on behalf of Downtown Works and said it would cost $115,000 to retain her services and hire a retail recruiter in the first year.

“I’ve pledged that I’ll go to property owners, turn them upside down and shake the cash out of them,” Snowden said, when asked where the BID would find the other $40,000 in start-up funding.

The CHCA and CHBA have been trying to secure a $350,000 Main Street development grant through the city Commerce Department, but the agency has not given either organization a definitive answer.

Although Snowden recused himself from the vote, citing an “obvious financial interest,” he did not declare his conflict of interest until the discussion was all but over. – JH

 

DECEMBER

 

A job well done

When Dr. Michael Schantz first arrived at the Woodmere Art Museum in June of 1981, he thought he was likely to stay for two to three years. It wasn’t that he was an opportunist - it’s just the way it is. Art museum directors, you see, only spend an average of five years at the helm before moving on.

Now, 28 years later and having recently announced that he is stepping down from his post as the Patricia Van Burgh Allison Director and CEO of Woodmere Art Museum, Schantz, 61, marvels at the fact that he spent so many years with the museum.

“I guess that’s an accomplishment in and of itself,” he said during an interview in his second-floor office. — PM

 

GFS cross country finishes 21st in the nation

Well after most autumn athletes had hung up their uniforms, the boys’ cross-country team at Germantown Friends School kept on running. Performing in elite races on the two Saturdays after Thanksgiving, the Tigers took their final bow on a national stage.

At the Nike Northeast Regional Championship at Bowdoin Park in New York state on Nov. 29, GFS captured second place, becoming one of two teams from the region to advance to the Nike Nationals in Portland, Ore. The Tigers ended their season at the national championships last Saturday, winding up 21st among the 22 teams assembled for the occasion.

While the local runners had hoped for a higher placing at Nationals, they can look back on many extraordinary accomplishments this season. Maintaining their perpetual lock on the Friends Schools League title, the Tigers went on to win the PA Independent Schools Championship for the fourth straight year. At the Northeast Regional’s, the GFS squad finished six places ahead of West Chester’s Henderson High School, the 2009 PIAA state champion in the AAA (large school) division. – TU

 

Pattern seen in burglaries in Chestnut Hill Village

Philadelphia Police have found a pattern in a string of burglaries that started at Chestnut Hill Village in late October, according to Det. Justin Frank, but no suspects have been linked to the crimes yet.

Four of the five burglaries in the pattern showed signs of forced entry, Frank said, and the theft of TVs and other home-entertainment equipment was common to all five. A sixth burglary, which occurred on Nov. 16, may also be part of the pattern, Frank said.

Because the case is still under investigation, Frank could provide only limited information, but he was permitted to say that latent fingerprints turned up at two of the crime scenes.

The first set of prints came back negative. The police department’s Special Investigations Unit was examining the second set when the Local went to press.

 

 



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