How does Harris fit the Hill, Local?

As a 28-year resident of Chestnut Hill and a member of the Chestnut Hill Community Association for all of those years, I am mystified by the prominence you gave to the humorless and nasty article and illustrations by Jim Harris on the front page of your Local Life section, July 28.
It brings to question what the role and purpose is of our local community newspaper, which I have always thought was to educate and promote our community and its businesses. This article certainly does neither and goes a long way in fueling the partisan and often destructive elements in our community.
Fortunately I don’t know Mr. Harris, better known by his blog name of Jimbo, nor do I know if he is a resident of our community or a staff member of the Local but I do know that if this infantile rant is his sense of good humor, he shouldn’t give up his day job.
The plan for the former Magarity Ford property, which has sat vacant for several years and has been an eyesore on our main business street, is certainly better than that. Sure, not all of us like its design and height. Others, including me, think that a Fresh Foods market would be welcome and that new residential units that will likely attract young residents would be good for Chestnut Hill.
That each of us may see different things, both good and bad, in this plan is understandable. That is the role and purpose of our community association and its newspaper, to seek reasoned and balanced input and suggestions for improvements that we can all embrace and benefit from and to minimize the destructive and nasty ranting of those who offer no constructive comments.
By definition, a community is a unified body of individuals who share common interests. Mr. Harris’ long winded and humorless rant is far from that, which is why I raised my question in the first place.
Why did the Local, our community newspaper, give such prominence and importance to Jimbo’s blog? Do our editors truly believe publishing this rant will help build the consensus we need to build a better more vibrant Chestnut Hill or that it won’t scare off other businesses from locating here? Maybe it is time to seek new leadership in our community newspaper, leaders who want to build not tear down Chestnut Hill.

Jack McMeekin
Chestnut Hill

Magarity site should be recycled

I agree with some readers that we don’t need new construction on the Hill. There are so many empty storefronts that more buildings are more than redundant, they are a waste of resources.
Would new construction give jobs to our area’s unemployed, some of whom reside within mere blocks of the site? It is doubtful.
I have rarely seen any of our local construction firms at work on the Hill, or any of my neighbors who have trouble finding work manning any of the projects.
But look at that building! Look at the windows – the light, the room! Why not, at least temporarily, a space for large art installation? Would not a Chuck Fahlen look splendid in that showroom window?
We don’t need another mess tying up more traffic. We need to start utilizing what we still have. Recycle.

Mary Wilson
Chestnut Hill

No guts, no Rigali

I was disappointed – but not surprised – that no one on your staff was brave enough to write a piece about the recent resignation of Cardinal Justin Rigali and the arrival of his replacement Archbishop Charles Chaput.
Roughly, your readership area includes at least four Catholic parishes and grade schools; two private Catholic academies; two Catholic high schools; and two Catholic colleges. But besides the members of those nearby institutions who might read the Local, smart readers far beyond the Catholic faith surely have formed opinions about the Catholic Church and its hierarchy, especially in light of the recent scandals. All of your readers are aware of the controversies as the Catholic Church works to redeem the faith of its faithful.
While I understand well the Local’s identity as a weekly paper that caters to neighborhood interests (such as the crucial placement of new trashcans, chronic zoning gripes, always-positive reviews of Avenue stores and eateries, and charity fun runs). I believe a story as big as the resignation of the leader of the Philadelphia Catholic Church is worthy of a few columns in your issue.
Instead of 100,000 exhausting works about iPhones and Kindles and cable TV, how about a local angle on a legitimate news story? Interview local pastors, parishioners and school presidents. Ask tough questions, and produce a bold story that stirs the pot, offers new ways of thinking, and perhaps gets people talking about important topics.
Considering the power and prestige of some of Chestnut Hill’s elite Catholics, you might have been able to land an interview with Chaput himself. Was anyone on your staff ambitious enough to call the diocese and ask?
Or, in lieu of a news story, a member of our massive fleet of columnists could pen an opinion piece. A scathing, vitriolic rant towards the Church, or a lovely list of poetic accolades in support of it, would be equally as satisfying to me. As a newspaper in Philadelphia, you simply must say something on the subject.
If you think your readers can’t handle such a potentially incendiary story, one that addresses a topic as sensitive as religion, then you really need to have more faith in us.

Andrew Whelan
Germantown

A logo is born

It seemed a minor event 42 years ago when in November 1969 the Chestnut Hill Development Group, in conjunction with the Chestnut Hill Community Association, sponsored a contest to create a symbol for the community.
For her rendering of a stylized chestnut leaf, Mrs. William Tasman won first place out of 200 votes cast – a whopping $75. In the intervening years, her logo has been reproduced scores and scores of times on banners, stationery, shopping bags, and Chestnut Hill Parking Foundation stickers. A new colorful one is prominently displayed on the large road signs welcoming visitors to our community.
What seemed rather inconsequential at time has burgeoned into an avalanche of reproductions. Chestnut trees out of little chestnuts grow.

Marilyn R. Drinker
Wyndmoor

Hospital is a gift

Chestnut Hill Hospital is an amazing gift to our community. My mother-in-law moved here from New Jersey a few years back and has COPD and occasionally ends up in the ER with severe shortness of breath.
From the nice folks in the ER who quickly get her relief and manage to get IV’s into veins that are paper thin to the entire staff up on the 5th floor – the team of people who help us is top shelf. We do not control the ambulances and sometimes end up in a hospital other than Chestnut Hill and have gotten very clear on the vast difference.
I can’t remember all the names, but here are a few of the wonderful people who are up there helping us on a daily basis and who we were extremely grateful for a couple of weeks back (and on several prior trips). She had contracted a super bug strain of pneumonia and they cleared her lungs by getting a PIC into her and pumping her up with super antibiotics. But it took a few days and wearing a BIPAP mask is no fun so we were with them for almost a week.
Thanks to the 24/7 sitters who hung in there with my mother in law: The nurses – Lisa, Lori and Colleen – were skilled and patient. Johnnie who is a nursing assistant was great – she loved his humor and compassion. Loraine Peppe who is a teacher/COPD specialist from LaSalle was just terrific. And Drs. Joy-Kutty and Crookshank got us through the early scary days with their calm and knowledge.
There were many of you that I missed the names of, but I did hug a few necks! Please know that we appreciate all of you and everything you did for us. And you do this for our community on a daily basis!

Jonna Naylor
Mt. Airy

Many, Many thanks …
Just wanted to take a quick moment to say thank you to all those who helped out with the annual CHCA Policeman, Firefighter and Postal Worker’s picnic last Wednesday. Thanks to all from Top of the Hill Cafe, McNally’s Tavern, and Baker Street who supplied wraps, snacks and treats to all of the CHCA board members and friends who gave of their time and talents in preparing supplemental dishes and welcoming our honored guests. As the V.P. of the CHCA Social Division I was honored to help put together this picnic this year as a small thank you for those who do so much.

Jay Valinis
VP Social Division, CHCA