September 2, 2010

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A great local view into Renoir

This week’s article about the McIlhenny and Renoir connection really got at the heart of how the art/museum world used to work. I enjoyed reading about this connection.
Having worked with museums most of my life, visitors often put museum collections up on a pedestal, out of reach, inaccessible, and so much art (and historical artifacts) actually comes from family collections housed in private residences like the one in Mt Airy.  Painters didn’t always paint for their work to be hung in art museums; they were for family homes.
I think Barbara’s insight into that relationship is a perfect subject for your local paper. Very interesting and I look forward to seeing the story unfold.

Jennie Alwood Zehmer

Still seeking foster homes

Thank you to the Chestnut Hill Local for publicizing Project Diana, the massive rescue of friendly cats barely surviving on one street in North Philadelphia.
Of the 30 cats and kittens rescued, only two were not friendly and desperate to be loved. I am still seeking permanent and foster homes for these cats, donations to cover their spay/neuter and their vet care.
Many cats were starved and in need of medical care; several cats have disabilities, and three are FIV+ so they will need to be placed only with other FIV+ cats.
If you can open your heart or home to any of these cats, please contact me. As soon as these cats are placed, we hope to go back to the streets and rescue more as well as educate the residents about the importance of spay/neutering animals. Diana did not die in vain.

Brenda Malinics


For the past few months, I’ve been trying to promote the girls’ magazine New Moon Girls, where I’m a member of the Girls Editorial Board – meaning that I help edit and put together the magazine and website. I just want to say thank you so much to Kate O’Neill, for letting me and another board member set up a booth at the Book Festival in July.  She was so supportive. 
And I want to thank Fran O’Donnell from O’Doodles who let other editorial board members and myself have a promotion outside his store last Saturday (Aug. 21).  We all had a great time. The other board members were not from the area, and everyone was really impressed with Chestnut Hill and Fran O’Donnell’s generosity. Thanks so much!

Lena Greenberg
Chestnut Hill

Support for opposing SCEE policies

As a resident of Chestnut Hill and Founder of PAD – Philadelphia Alliance for the Deer, – I support Christina Kobland’s letter to the editor (8/26/10) urging Schuylkill Center for Enviromental Education leadership to better manage its 325 acres as it results in decreasing animal habitats and the overall biodiversity of the center.
 In a city such as Philadelphia, we need to preserve wild places, such as SCEE for wildlife and humans, especially children who are just learning about animals and ecology.  It has been documented in many journals that places that are wild decrease one’s stress level and feelings of anxiety.
I am in favor of SCEE’s leadership being confronted about how the land and mission of SECC is being managed and encourage all to attend the Sept. 15 zoning variance hearing.
Any comments can be sent to

Mary Ann Baron
Founder PAD
Chestnut Hill

Think of others on Sept. 11

With Sept. 11 approaching, we Americans will all focus on the more than 3,000 who lost their lives because of that attack. As well we should. This should never have happened.
 “But let us not stop there,” as the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have said.
Let us mourn the thousands of Iraqis and Afghans who have lost their lives (“collateral damage”) because of our military involvement there, as well as the thousands of U.S. soldiers who will no longer see the sun rise.
This, too, should never have happened. But let us not stop there.
Let us mourn the 290 Iranian civilians killed when a U.S. warship shot down an airliner on July 3, 1988, due to “mistaken identity.” This should never have happened either. But let us not stop there.
   And, we should never forget the three million men, women and children who never made it to a natural death in Vietnam because of the United States’ napalm and saturation bombing of that poor nation, which had no air force, as well as the 56,000 U.S. military who also died. And, with all due respect to their survivors, for what?
This, too, should never have happened.
So often we only think of our hopes, our dreams, our country. Remember, other hearts in other lands are beating with hopes and dreams as true and high as ours.

Lawrence Geller

Little known crisis in health insurance

There is a little known crisis brewing in Harrisburg. Unless state lawmakers take action this fall, 46,000 Pennsylvanians, including 6,897 Philadelphians, will lose their health insurance in 2011 when the adultBasic program runs out of funding. 
The bulk of adultBasic funding comes from surpluses held by the state’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans. The nonprofit and tax-exempt Blues agreed to fund adultBasic in 2005 after a public outcry over explosive growth in those surpluses.
Since then, the companies’ collective surpluses have grown larger - jumping from $3.5 billion in 2002 to $5.6 billion last year.
The Blues have been asked to continue funding adultBasic until federal health reform provides affordable options in 2014. At best, some of the Blues are willing to extend funding for six months to June 2011 but that just delays the problem.
AdultBasic is often the only affordable insurance option for working adults, many with pre-existing health conditions.  And the need for this insurance is acute. The adultBasic waiting list is at 400,000, fully one-third of all uninsured Pennsylvanians.
With larger surpluses today, the Blues are well positioned to continue funding this vital lifeline for thousands of Pennsylvanians.

Sharon Ward
PA Budget and Policy Center

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