July 22, 2010

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The Chestnut Hill Local
8434 Germantown Ave.
Phila. PA 19118
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Concerned for Hill

I would like to express my affection, pride and concern for Chestnut Hill. My wife and I live and work here. We have raised three children in these special environs. 

Recently I attended a CHCA meeting and was dismayed to witness a level of agitation presented by a faction of people who live outside our community.  In my opinion, the CHCA and CHBA work very diligently to advance, protect and promote our community. It is particularly disappointing to see individuals trying to destroy it, especially those who do not work or live here and have no interest in supporting our values. 

This is a wonderful “village.” It is time for us to quell the naysayers and show our support for all the great and good we represent. 

Dan Compton
Chestnut Hill

A difference of opinion

I confess. I am attracted to the editorial page of any newspaper. There we find what the people think, despite what the journalistic professionals choose to broadcast. Our Chestnut Hill Local permits us a forum unavailable elsewhere that promotes an almost real time exchange of ideas, accessible by all.

Conventional wisdom and my most endeared advisors have suggested I leave this alone, but it’s too tasty. Mr. Yrigoyen, in last week’s Local [“Some damage the reputation of us all,” Letters, July 15], suggests that we who criticize “represent a small minority.” He goes on to encourage the “silent majority…  to illustrate their displeasure… of utterances that bring harm….”

I object to his references to the “anniversary of the greatest democracy on Earth” in support of his criticism of those that have legitimate differences of opinion with those that may or may not have any claim to authority over what happens in our end of Philadelphia. How dare you wrap a flag around the CHCA?

Face reality. Chestnut Hill has not developed “into a charming and gracious area…” at least not in the last 20 years. To be clear, I moved here 20 years ago, because it was a charming and, I guess, a gracious, area. Do you care to count how many stores have moved out, without equivalent replacement in those decades?

Those who write “negative” letters are not necessarily critical of Chestnut Hill, just the pompous leaders of the CHCA. The association was near bankruptcy when it sold 8431 Germantown Ave. to its nemesis, and now, he’s its savior. It is truly difficult for them to decide their mission and resultant destiny.

Chestnut Hill will likely (and I hope) survive despite your flag waving and my criticism. I hope the forum will continue to be a place for discussion … not celebrating our greatness, but rather how we can become great.

Ed Budnick
Chestnut Hill


Animals need care in hot weather

Responsible pet “owners” take care to protect their four-legged family members during periods of excessive heat.  Dogs left unattended in hot vehicles are at great risk of irreversible damage to vital organs, not to mention death.

A dog’s physiology is very different from ours.  They have defective cooling systems.  They cool down mostly by panting which is much less efficient than sweating.  Concerning the thermal welfare of dogs in particular, there isn’t a whole lot of room between the prognosis of doing fine and likely to die.  A dog is hyperthermic when its body temperature goes over 105 degrees. Then, even if medical attention is given, the mortality rate is 50 percent.

Recently, a Maltese died when left in a van with the windows cracked. The temperature inside the van reached 140 degrees. Cracked windows don’t allow enough heat to escape. Studies have shown how hot it can get inside a vehicle in a very short time. You’d be shocked. A dark-coated dog inside a dark-colored vehicle is even more at risk. Signs of heat stress include intense, rapid panting, wide eyes, drooling, weakness, bright red tongue and gums and collapse.

At least 14 states and municipalities have enacted laws to address this problem.  Putting a dog at risk like this constitutes neglect and animal cruelty.  As always, prevention is the best medicine.

Veterinary surgeon and writer James Herriot once said, “I hope to make people realize how totally helpless animals are, how dependent on us, trusting as a child must that we will be kind and take care of their needs…[they] are an obligation put on us, a responsibility we have no right to neglect, nor to violate by cruelty.”   

Bridget Irons
Chestnut Hill


Thanks for the fiction and poetry edition

Thanks to our editor, Pete Mazzaccaro, for holding the third Poetry and Fiction Contest. However, this effort was topped by organizing, hosting and catering the poetry reading at the Chestnut Hill Book Festival.

Here the poems had their true voice.

Susan Pizzano
Chestnut Hill

On Composting

One year ago GRennINChestnutHill (GRINCH) co-founder, Jen Reed, and I organized a composting demo at Laurel Hill Gardens. More than 20 attendees from Sustainable Springfield, local business owners and residents braved the 90-degree heat.

Philly Compost founders Lee Meinicke and Meenal Raval demonstrated the making of a compost cage and explained items that are compostable as well as the “recipe” for a good compost.

As GRINCH leader Alix Rabin likes to say, “Environmentalism is an idea whose time has come.” Composting is one of the most important elements of that truth.

By recycling and composting we keep trash out of landfills. Ever notice the hulking landfill just before you reach Philly International Airport? Winged vermin descend upon it while ozone-killing methane rises from it. No one wants to live down wind from one. So how can we reduce the size of our collective landfill footprint?

According to the Clean Air Council, each day the United States throws away enough trash to fill 63,000 garbage trucks! The more we keep out of the garbage can and gas-guzzling garbage trucks the better. Here are five ways that I have reduced the amount of trash in my business and at home and the carbon footprint of the products I buy.

Buy Local: The tomato grown in New Jersey has traveled a shorter distance than the one from Belgium. The Jersey tomato may be less worldly, but it’s sure to be more delicious. I don’t eat them when they are not in season. A few local items per week in my grocery basket add up to a big difference.

BYOB-Bring your own bag: I keep six or seven canvass bags in the trunk of my car and try to avoid plastic bags all together. Plastic bags are a petroleum by-product and can escape from landfills and wind up in the ocean. They can choke sea life and birds and they will not biodegrade. Got to get the petroleum monkey off our backs! The disaster in the Gulf of Mexico only highlights that fact.

Buy things with less packaging: Spring mix lettuce and spinach are often sold in giant plastic boxes. I look for loose lettuce, or lettuce in bags that have less packaging. Things that used to be sold loose all of a sudden have packaging! Does that bunch of asparagus really need a cardboard and plastic encasement? At the Night Kitchen we ask customers if they need bags and napkins instead of automatically giving them.

Recycling: Now that Recycle Rewards with Recycle Bank have returned to Philly we have even more incentive to recycle plastics, aluminum and paper. The goal is to increase recycling across the city by 40 percent while incentivising it with discounts to local businesses. Recycling is good, but reducing is better. As Americans we throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. To reduce plastic bottle use we have a water cooler for the staff to refill their aluminum water bottles.

And back to Composting: We compost all food scraps and coffee grounds. Participating staff members bring food scraps from their home to add to the collection picked up by Philly Compost. Since we began composting, we have reduced our garbage at the bakery by one 30-gallon garbage bin per week!

As my grandmother, who lived during the Great Depression, used to say –  “It all adds up.”

Amy Edelman
Nigh Kitchen Bakery






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