Announcing Chestnut Hill Agnostic

It is with great pride that I announce the formation of the Chestnut Hill Agnostics (CHA) with a nod to the tradition of great radio stations where three letters tops four e.g. CHCA, CHBA, CHHS, CHRA and the newly formed CHLA.

Note: while the term “agnostics” is typically used regarding the existence of god, it is also a reaction to organized religion. Therefore it is appropriate that those Chestnut Hill residents who oppose Chestnut Hill organizations, specifically their assumed right to represent the views of others, have a Chestnut Hill organization that represents their views.

The CHA members love Chestnut Hill much in the same way as those organizations that need four letters to spell out their mission. However, we see little need for meetings, elections, fundraising or endorsing political candidates. Above all, we see that we are not greater than the sum of our parts and believe that the four-letter groups are no better.

We have observed changes in behavior from people when they join these four-letter groups. While not judging their motives or actions, it appears that upon joining they sign onto a creed, not unlike a religion. As many who endorse a religion, they reject their previous views and sign on to the new collective. While respecting others’ right of religious and collective freedom, we of the CHA reject those creeds, relying instead on the inherent good and resources of this community.

We believe that the apparent apathy of 85 percent of our residents is not consent of those four-letter organizations, but rather the voice of the local silent majority and our potential members. While we would like to see improvements in our corner of Philadelphia, we acknowledge that we have little control of the outcome and recognize that these organizations have no greater authority.


Ed Budnick

Chestnut Hill


Support for charter school

As members of GRinCH (Green in Chestnut Hill), we wish to express our support for the Green Woods Charter School. This excellent award-winning school is providing young people with the knowledge, skills and habits to be stewards of our environment. Should all go well with their purchase of Greylock Manor, we look forward to the contributions Green Woods can make to help beautiful Chestnut Hill become a sustainable community.

We commend Green Woods for taking on the more complicated, more environmentally responsible option of rehabilitating an old building rather than opting for new construction. This large mansion, set well back from the road, has been falling into disrepair. We appreciate the concerns of some of the neighbors of Greylock Manor, and we have been impressed by the work of the school to research and analyze those problems. We hope all will collaborate to find creative, effective solutions so that the needs of the school, the neighbors, our community, and the environment will be met.


Amy Edelman

Pat Evans

Lee Meinicke

Kim Miller

Alix Rabin

Linda Rauscher

GRiNCH members


‘Keeps families in Chestnut Hill’?

Concerning the letter in your March 31 issue headlined “Charter won’t cater to local kids,” years ago when I was a resident and a retail merchant of lovely Chestnut Hill, our son was in his fifth year as a student at Chestnut Hill Academy when, it became apparent they were not a good “fit.” I made an appointment and had an interview with then-principal, Patrick Gillian, of John S. Jenks Elementary School just three blocks from our house in Chestnut Hill abutting Pastorius Park.

I had thoughts and hopes that our son, Bill, would be able to begin fifth grade at the Jenks School. I was told at that time that he would be “bused” to the Henry School in Mt. Airy. For many reasons, we ultimately moved to the “burbs” and benefited from our school taxes. So much for “the school that keeps families in Chestnut Hill rather than moving them to the burbs.”


Flossie Paul



Thanks for the support

Thank you so much for your wonderful support so far with our gallery.  We had just a wonderful event, Give Shelter, in which with the support and creativity of many artists and donors, raised a nice sum for Interim House West Mt Airy and Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia.  We are STILL working on processing the final receipts but just the birdhouses brought in over $6,000 that evening.

Directly after the event we installed “Robert Finch and his Daughters” show, which was met with nearly 100 guests at the opening last Friday night.  It was a great success and we even were able to have artist Amy Finch who lives in Iowa join for the opening reception via Skype.  Daughter Susan Finch was able to join us live from New York City as well.

Please keep us and all the other wonderful neighborhood galleries in Chestnut Hill and surrounding areas on your radars.  There is great art happening in this beautiful place and all offer interesting and unique work.  Just recently we were pleased to welcome a new art venue: Gravers Lane Gallery at 8405 Germantown

Please spread the word: Art is alive and well in Chestnut Hill, Mt Airy and Germantown!!


Stephen Berg

Owner, Nichols Berg Gallery

Chestnut Hill



Driver’s license no piece of cake

Since 9/11, getting a state issued driver’s license isn’t a piece of cake anymore. You have to produce two or three or four official documents, and it’s even harder for a woman because a married man doesn’t change his last name, and a woman usually does.

Recently I was asked to help a little lady in her 80s who wanted to renew her automobile registration. Her driver’s license had expired, and getting a new driver’s license was going to take at least six months, according to the alleged “experts” at the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Bureau.

First of all, she was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, when a birth certificate cost 25 or 50 cents, but she was poor and black, and her family didn’t have 25 cents or 50 cents to spend on a piece of paper, so she never got a birth certificate.

Forty or 50 years later, when she finally applied for a birth certificate, she discovered that the building which contained the local birth records had burned down, so there was no record of her birth. So she would have to apply for a birth certificate from the State of Arkansas and be officially informed that there was no record of her birth. Then she would have to re-apply to the State of Arkansas, and they would issue her an official document called a  “No-Doc birth certificate.”

Then she would have to obtain an official copy of her marriage certificate and then an official copy of her divorce certificate and then an official copy of her 2nd marriage license and then an official copy of her 2nd husband’s death certificate. While we were pursuing all of the required documents, she became ill and was put into a nursing home, and her daughter probably followed the path of least resistance, and simply sold the car.


Zelman Fairorth



Controlling deer and the press

Re: “Too much deer friends,”April 7.

It seems to me that Sanford P. Sher and the FOW are not satisfied with controlling and killing the deer in the Wissahickon, but now want to control the press!


Helen T. Harvey



Gilmore’s column a sweet dessert

My girlfriend from Chestnut Hill has been bringing me Hugh Gilmore’s column in place of dessert for ages. Of course, I have been enjoying them immensely.

While not an aficionado of “Carmen,” the opera or the book, I have become fascinated with Hugh’s sojourn into this lore. Oh yes, ask your opera maven lady what she thinks of “Conchita Supervia” — simply superb!

Before you leave this area, please do not overlook  William Hjortsberg’s superbly picaresque “TORO! TORO! TORO!” According to one review on, “You’ll see a bad novillero, a female bullfighter, a top male bullfighter and other characters of note, including a Chinese inventor. There’s a robot bull, a ‘corrida de rinoceronte’ and other bizarre happenings. If you’re a traditionalist, you would not like this book.”


Paul Hoffman

Cherry Hill, NJ

(originally Budapest, Hungary)


Enough already with corruption!

As usual, Jim Harris’ column in this week’s paper about running for City Council (March 31 issue) was very funny but with a potent underlying message. How much more are taxpayers in this city going to take? We have had one-party rule for over 50 years in Philadelphia, and whether it’s the Soviet Union, Cuba, Libya or Philadelphia, absolute power corrupts absolutely. These guys like Brady basically take our money and give it to their friends and family members and have no shame.

I once had hope for Nutter, but he has gone along with the gravy train, like his predecessors. Dozens of families with names like Tartaglione, Brady, Street, Rizzo, Goode, Vignola, Verna and so many others give their children, nieces and nephews high-paying jobs, often doing nothing, and we pay for it all.

They are pigs at the public trough. Enough already! The Delaware River Port Authority, Philadelphia Parking Authority, Tax Assessment Bureau, DROP, etc., are cesspools of corruption. Frank Rizzo has been a good City Councilman, but he should be ashamed of himself for taking hundreds of thousands of our dollars in this DROP nonsense, a big pension and promising not to run for office again, and then he runs for office again.

These bums have been in charge for so long, like in Libya, that they have a sense of entitlement. They think they have a right to put their hands in our pockets again and again and rob us blind to live a high lifestyle for themselves and buddies and relatives. As the Inquirer has said, anyone who takes the DROP money like Rizzo and Tasco and then breaks their promise and runs for office again should not get one vote! When will we stop the corruption?


Karina Perkins

Mt. Airy


There are still heroes

Re: Nathan Lerner’s article, “Cancers in Family Prompt 13-year-old to raise funds,” in the March 24 issue.

You say you can’t find heroes, children! You don’t know where to look? Well, first off put down those magazines, throw away the sports page, turn off the television, reach up on my library shelf, take down that red, white and blue covered book, turn to the chapter “Americans who go far out of the norm to help fight for a cure for those with dread diseases.” They are the Real Heroes! They are to be admired by young ones like you and old folks like me . . . and in that chapter you will find Kyle Rosenberg.


Tom Woodruff






Mystery staircase info sought

Mystery staircase

As a member of Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting, I participated on April 9 in a cleanup day of the lot where our meeting will be building its new meetinghouse. We’re very interested in connecting with the strip of Fairmount Park that adjoins our building site and is bounded on the other side by Cresheim Valley Drive; we’re hopeful that at least some visitors to our new building, with its gardens and Skyspace by the artist James Turrell, will arrive along hiking trails proposed for this part of the park.

On Saturday, several of us walked over to look at a stone staircase that leads from the top of that ridge down to road level. To the right of the bottom of the stairs is an even lower area, obviously a former quarry, where apparently the steps continue.

From our research, we know only that the stairway was rediscovered in 2002 by a crew from Ready Willing and Able, and that at least some Fairmount Park Maps refer to that area as “The Woodward Rock Garden.” But we’d love to know more about the staircase: when it was built and by whom;  what the Woodward Rock Garden was, and how much of a garden it was; if this area was ever a destination for Chestnut Hillers. We’re hoping the some of The Local’s readers might know the history of that area. They can send their information


Phil Jones

Chestnut Hill Meeting