The following 13 candidates are running for a seat on the Chestnut Hill Community Association Board of Directors. This year a total of eight seats are available; the top eight vote-getters will win those seats for three-year terms. Members of the CHCA may cast their vote using the ballot located on page 14. The ballot form is also available at www.chestnuthill.org.
The candidates were asked to describe themselves and why they are seeking a seat on the board. They appear below in the same order in which they appear on the ballot. Ballot order was determined by random drawing.
Six years ago I moved from suburban South Jersey to Chestnut Hill. As a Jersey tourist I had visited Philly many times, but live there? I didn’t know what to expect. Very quickly I found out what I had been missing.
I was thrilled to find out about Morris Arboretum and Woodmere Art Museum so close by, about the summer concerts in Pastorius Park, about our terrific restaurants and the local shopping, as well as the easy access to Center City. I had been missing a lot, living in South Jersey!
It’s one thing to enjoy all that Chestnut Hill has to offer. But it takes volunteers’ work and commitment to be sure that these amenities continue. It is thanks to our volunteers that our community continues to build on the things we have and, when possible, make them even better.
I have become more and more active in volunteering here in Chestnut Hill. For the last two years I served as a member of the Holiday House Tour Committee, and last fall I redesigned and organized the Chestnut Hill Center for Enrichment’s website. You may have seen me early Tuesday mornings during the summer helping Bob Markowski by tending the planted barrels along Germantown Avenue.
Now that I have retired from teaching, I hope to serve on the board of the CHCA so that I can become more involved in the community that has become my home.
Willard S. Detweiler
Chestnut Hill is an extraordinary community in which to live, work, learn, and play, thereby enriching our lives. This did not simply happen. The attractiveness evolves from the vision and wisdom of Henry Houston and George Woodward to the continuing endeavors of its residents, resulting in a wonderful community asset to be cherished and enthusiastically supported: the Chestnut Hill Community Association.
A 30-year resident of Chestnut Hill and retired since being involved in the CHCA, I now have ample time, experience, and qualifications coupled with a continuing commitment to the CHCA mission: “… dedication to encouraging a sense of community in Chestnut Hill and improving the quality of life…”
My areas of interest:
• Business District economic vitality (including parking)
• Architectural and natural environment (including Wissahickon Valley Park) preservation and enhancement
• Public schools (especially Jenks)
• Property values, taxation, and city services
• CHCA former president (two terms)
• CHCA former vice president (Physical Division)
• CHHS Historic District Advisory Committee member
• Recipient of The Chestnut Hill Award
• Recognized on the floor of the United States House of Representatives for “… extraordinary leadership on a project (funding for service restoration of the Chestnut Hill West rail line) of significant impact to the Chestnut Hill community.”
• Chestnut Hill: An Architectural History under the auspices of the CHHS
• City planner, landscape architect, president/CEO of investor-owned water utility
• Military service: Captain, USAF
• BS: The Pennsylvania State University; MCP: Harvard University (alumnus, Kennedy School of Government)
With your support, I look forward to contributing to the CHCA mission and helping ensure an even greater future for the community we all love. Thank you for your vote.
Louis Orazio II
I’m a financial advisor with Karr Barth Associates and a new member of the Chestnut Hill community. I’m very excited to be part of such a vibrant and cultural town and hope to donate my time and talents to better the community.
My primary interest in joining the CHCA Board of Directors is to assist in the financial matters of the organization. Currently, the CHCA’s financial state is commendable but there are always areas for improvement. Increasing the assets of the CHCA through fundraising and membership dues will greatly enhance the support the CHCA can provide to our neighboring organizations.
I’m currently an active member of the CHCA Fund Drive Committee and enjoyed assisting with this year’s grant allocations. I’m looking forward to continuing conversations regarding the financial status of the organization and believe I can have a larger impact if elected to the Board.
Even though I’m new to the community, it’s clear to me that Chestnut Hill is a warm, welcoming town and a great place to live and thrive. I would respect and honor the opportunity to contribute my talents to the Board and would greatly appreciate your vote on this year’s CHCA Board ballot.
Thanks for your time, and if you see me on the street, be sure to say hello!
Decades ago when I first moved to Chestnut Hill, my then 10-year-old son came back from a walk and said “Dad, this is the best place we have ever lived. When I see someone on the street and I smile, they smile back at me.” This is a wonderful place to live, and to shop and to work and to visit. It didn’t get to be that way by accident. It took a lot of dedication by many people. I have tried to contribute my share to continue the effort to make Chestnut Hill a great place to be. Being a director of the Chestnut Hill Community Association has given me more opportunity to serve this community, and I hope to continue to be worthy of that opportunity.
I am also a director of the Mt. Airy Learning Tree and the Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network, President of the Mt. Airy Community Services Corporation, and Treasurer of the Chestnut Hill Business Association.
Mary Regina (Jean) Wedgwood
I am a long-time Chestnut Hill resident, as were my parents. I was educated at Saint Leonard’s Academy, Chestnut Hill College, the University of Pennsylvania, and Villanova University. My father was a judge in the City of Philadelphia and served for more than 20 years.
I lived in Chicago from 1975 to 1986, where I was Director of Public Relations for Marshall Field’s. I have served on the CHCA Board since 2009 and want to continue to do so, as I feel Chestnut Hill faces many challenges in its future.
It’s my philosophy that Chestnut Hill is a rare and unique “village” within a city, and its traditions and inhabitants wish to maintain and preserve its special heritage, inspire growth, attract commerce, and create a unity and harmony that is so much at the heart of Chestnut Hill.
Elizabeth Bales, VMD
I am a Philadelphia native and have had the privilege of calling Chestnut Hill my home for nearly 10 years. For the past three years, I have enjoyed serving on the CHCA Board of Directors.
I believe in Chestnut Hill. To continue to enjoy all of the wonderful things this unique town has to offer, we must give what we can to support it.
I have a great interest in maintaining the charm and historical character that makes Chestnut Hill so special. I believe that with positivity, respect for our neighbors, and hard work, no problem is insurmountable. We have a very rich historical past and a very bright future. I hope to continue to be a part of it.
George G.H. Coates, Jr.
I have lived in Chestnut Hill for more than 20 years. I grew up just outside of Philadelphia in Gladwyne, attended The Haverford School and then Cornell University, and moved to Chestnut Hill in 1990 after several years in Manhattan following college. I first lived on East Evergreen Avenue, then with my wife in the gardener’s cottage on Krisheim before we purchased our current house on Bethlehem Pike just down from the Chestnut Hill East train station. Our family consists of my wife Victoria — an art history professor, archivist, blogger and freelance author — and our 12 year old daughter Gardner and 10 year old son Gowen, both of whom attend Germantown Academy.
I’ve spent most of my career in the wine business, first as a vice president of sales for Southern Wine and Spirits of PA and currently as the regional vice-president for wine importer and producer WJ Deutsch & Sons. Prior to being in the wine business, I spent about 10 years in the restaurant business.
I am running for the board of the CHCA to be more involved in the community I so cherish. I feel my years as a strategic business executive will be of use to the board as it grapples with the issues large and small that confront our community. The history and architecture of Chestnut Hill are of particular interest to me, both because they are a core reason why I live here and because their preservation is crucial to maintaining Chestnut Hill as we know and love it, a passion personally addressed in the painstaking restoration of our Victorian house. I look forward to serving the board in an engaged manner if elected and hope to have the opportunity to do so.
Marilyn M. Paucker
Chestnut Hill has been my home for 30 years. I love living in this gem of a community; on weekends, I abandon my car and walk wherever I need to go. My friends are envious!
During the past many years, if not in school I was working. My first job, the summer after high school, was working in a donut shop, where I promptly gained several pounds; then it was school and jobs for the next many years.
Two years ago when I retired, I was a bit nervous about how I would feel with “so much” time on my hands. Soon I discovered that there was no need to worry, because there are lots of things to do here, and not just social, but organizations and people who need help!
I now serve on the board of the Chestnut Hill Center for Enrichment (formerly the CH Senior Center) with a group of committed members who never say no to making the Center a better one, and who rallied round when the Center was about to close a few years ago. I continue to learn from them, and some have served on the Center’s board for more than 30 years!
Five years ago, I became a board member of the CHCA. During these years, I have worked with various committees. I was secretary for a year and thus served on the Executive Committee. I now serve on the Budget and Finance Committee. I have been involved with the Holiday House Tour every year, with the last three CHCA Blood Drives, and with the Black & White Gala Committee in 2012.
I continue to be enthusiastic and energetic about this community and would welcome the opportunity to continue to be a member of the Board, and continue to help to keep Chestnut Hill a place that we all love to call home.
I am a homeowner and longtime resident of Chestnut Hill. I am currently serving on the Bylaws Committee, and have worked with a subcommittee of the LUPZ. I hope to join the Board of the CHCA so that I may expand my contribution. The CHCA is integral to maintaining the characteristics that make Chestnut Hill such a desirable place to live and work.
I spent my childhood in Flourtown and during my adult life have lived in three different houses on the Hill, all within three blocks of Germantown Avenue. I believe I have an appreciation of what makes the Hill special and what the challenges are.
Early in my working career I was involved in retail. My family owned a hardware store and I partnered in two restaurants and a wholesale food distributor. Later I pursued a consulting career implementing software systems for large companies.
My personal interests include researching the history and architecture of Northwest Philadelphia, and restoring our circa 1883 house and gardens. I especially appreciate the variety of well-maintained houses and parks in Chestnut Hill that, along with the convenience of the retail district and various institutions, to me add up to a wonderful place to live. I hope to join the Board and help the CHCA in maintaining and improving this village within the city.
Remy Lorenzon Pizzichini
Born and raised in Chestnut Hill, living as third generation in a family-built home, I represent a family that has built, supported, and lived in this area for over a century. From the time my great-grandparents arrived in 1906 from a small town in Northern Italy, Chestnut Hill has been home. Stone masons by trade, my great-grandfather and his brothers established a masonry construction business that built many notable structures in Chestnut Hill: Chestnut Hill Hospital, the Chestnut Hill Branch of the Philadelphia Library, and multiple residences throughout the area.
I am looking forward to being a board member of the Chestnut Hill Community Association. My strong passion for family, community, and lasting relationships will influence my commitment to Chestnut Hill. As a wife and mother, I fully understand the importance of an active and thriving community comprised of family values, community awareness, and acceptance of diversity. As a local Realtor, I have the proven ability to connect with people so that I may successfully fulfill their dreams.
As a participating member of the CHCA and a part of the 2013 Holiday House Tour Committee, I immediately became drawn to the interaction and positive contributions of the community members. I have also volunteered at the Fall for the Arts Festival, an event I have cherished since childhood. I am looking forward to contributing in the traditions Chestnut Hill has already established, as well as offering new ideas for positive community growth.
My long-term commitment to serve the community, while building strong relationships, and now representing the “collective” vision of Chestnut Hill as a Board member is a natural progression for myself, my family, and my community. With your support I will continue to devote my time, talent, energy, and dedication to Chestnut Hill.
My name is Jason Bissonette, and I am eager to join the CHCA Board of Directors. My wife Julia and I moved to Chestnut Hill from New York City in 2012. It has been an exciting transition. After living in a wonderful neighborhood at the Top of the Hill, we decided to put down roots and to purchase our first home here. In just these few years I have seen, as we all have, how new stores and restaurants have improved Chestnut Hill. As a Board member, I would seek to maintain the natural and cultural resources of the area and to encourage the opening of more businesses. I would take advantage of public events, such as the Clover Market and Home and Garden Festival, to talk with vendors and potential investors about opportunities on the Hill. As a financial professional and a Chestnut Hill resident, I see room for further growth and enrichment of our community. Your vote will help me achieve these goals.
My name is Alexis Butcher-Dahlin. I am a native West Virginian, a graduate of Dickinson College, and the Director of Corporate Events at the Philadelphia Cricket Club in Chestnut Hill. My role at the Cricket Club is to plan all business-related functions at the club that utilize our event spaces and athletic facilities. These functions include corporate retreats, meetings, galas, and fundraisers for a variety of organizations.
Upon joining the Cricket Club in August 2013, joining the Chestnut Hill Community Association was an immediate priority. I want to ensure that the Cricket Club is involved in the local community and loyal to its residents who have housed the club for over 150 years. I believe that the more our businesses work together for a common goal, the stronger a community Chestnut Hill will be.
I currently live in Roxborough with my husband Justin and have admired Chestnut Hill since I moved to Philadelphia in 2008. I enjoy spending my free time walking the Avenue, shopping for unique items, dining at the great restaurants, and expanding my network in the local area. A position on the CHCA Board is especially attractive to me as I intend to move into the area within a few years to lay family roots of my own. My goal as a member of the Board will be to encourage community growth while ensuring that Chestnut Hill retains its historic charm. By spreading awareness for young professionals like myself that Chestnut Hill is a great area to live and work, I hope to see a new influx of younger residents and visitors in the community.
Samuel M. Earle
I was born in Chestnut Hill and after living away, returned as a permanent resident six years ago with my wife and daughter. I am looking to follow my family’s long history of community involvement in Chestnut Hill and do my part as a CHCA board member.
I am a fifth generation Chestnut Hill resident. My great-great grandparents built a stately house in Chestnut Hill around the time the East rail line was established. Ancestors prior were also in Whitemarsh, Germantown, and Philadelphia proper. Needless to say, I feel at home here.
In work life, I am a Venture Executive and entrepreneur at heart. My current endeavors include Venture Capital with another Chestnut Hill resident, helping startups get a strong foothold in their market, and exiting my last startup, LFS (Local Food Systems, Inc.), a business that helped small local farms sell to big businesses through technology. I enjoy skiing, sailing, cooking, and travel.
I consider myself “fiscally conservative, but socially responsible.” I am a registered Libertarian who believes that government’s role should be minimal, and I argue that individual rights are not respected as they should be. Additionally I believe that corporations are not individuals and civil liberties are essential to human existence.
For Chestnut Hill, I think change is inevitable and should be embraced. However, I would like to see a healthy balance between historic preservation and individual liberties.
In the spirit of those family members who served Chestnut Hill before me, I would like to give back to the community in which I have so much history, helping it progress forward, while keeping the concerns of the individual at heart, and an eye toward the past.
I would appreciate your support and vote, and will always be open to your opinions.