Another successful book fest

Thanks to the wonderful authors at the Chestnut Hill Book Festival on Sunday those attending are much more informed on a variety of subjects and have increased their summer reading pile.

Our own Hugh Gilmore hosted a lively panel “Creating a Writing Life” as only Hugh can do. Authors Katie Haegele and Lasalle’s Kevin Grauke provided insight into the writing life of an author and read from their books. Chestnut Hill College’s Suzanne del Grizzo brought to life a side of Hemingway we are rarely exposed to. Drexel’s Yaba Blay shared her knowledge of “(1) Drop” and how we might broaden our understanding of “who is black.” Nathaniel Popkin read from “Lion and Leopard” his Philadelphia based, historical literary novel.

The new Kidz Zone jumped into action with a fun and interactive show on the science of Hot and Cold from the Franklin Institute. Brain first, heart next. Monica Carnesi, writer and illustrator of “Little Dog,” read passages following the science show. Young listeners were delighted with this story. Finally young adult author, Elisa Ludwig, read from both her “Pretty’” trilogy and the first book in her new series, “Coin Heist”.”Ludwig’s entertaining and spot on dialog captured the attention of a group of young teens who sat listening with balloon hats on their heads. The Kidz Zone also had balloon artist Ed Schmitt and musician Andy Maher.

Thanks to Ron and Abby Pete, owners of the beautifully restored Chestnut Hill Hotel, for providing us with this beautiful location and to all our supporters: Bowman Properties, Chestnut Hill Community Fund, Chestnut Hill Community Development Corporation, Chestnut Hill Business Association, Chestnut Grill, and Musehouse. It was a good day all around.

If you want to learn more about these authors go to and like us on

The Chestnut Hill Book Festival Committee

Kate O’Neill, Greg Welsh, Marie Lachat, Kathy Bonanno and Hugh Gilmore


Pickleball at Water Tower

I’d like to thank Kevin Dicciani and the rest of the editorial staff for delivering a great article on pickleball and the Northwest Philly Pickleball meetup group (“The incredible true story of Pickleball: A sport for all ages,” May 29).

The active members of the group are always interested in meeting new players and sharing their love of the sport. The timing of the article was particularly fortuitous, as there is currently much discussion of a proposal to resurface the tennis courts at Water Tower. I believe the community deserves first-rate tennis courts and, with the rising popularity of pickleball, dedicated courts for this newer sport.

A few minor corrections. In general, pickleball is spelled with a lower case p. It is just another fun and exciting lifetime sport, though I’ll admit many players are referring to it in reverential tones – “new lease on life,” “fountain of youth.”

The Northwest Philly Pickleball meetup group convenes on Wednesday evening and Saturday, though many members make their own arrangement to play on other nights – usually Tuesday or Thursday. As the article states, pickleball is “a sport for all ages.” A majority of the meetup members are in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, but there are many in their 20s, 60s, and 70s too. The term “pickle boat” is used in competitive rowing, as well as British yachting, and was derived from the original meaning, referring to a fishing boat.

Dan Wheeler

Recreation Leader

Water Tower Recreation Center


‘Rebound’ effect in ‘war against deer’

Philadelphia Advocates for the Deer is saddened to announce that the annual killing of deer in Fairmount Park, which began in December, 2013, resulted in the deaths of 165 deer: 43 from the Wissahickon Valley, 30 from West Fairmount Park, 10 from Cobbs Creek Park and 62 from Pennypack Park.

Nineteen years ago, an aerial count initiated by Friends of the Wissahickon, because of damages to gardens in area homes, showed 159 deer in the Wissahickon Valley Park. Is is evident from the above statistics that the number of deer in the Wissahickon Park has increased, not decreased, substantially from the original aerial count of 159 deer.

A recent article in the Roxborough Review stated that “the amount of deer removed represents a significant step toward reversing the impact of deer overpopulation.” This is blatantly untrue since the scientific evidence of the perpetual rebound theory states that when large populations of deer are killed, the remaining deer benefit from enhanced food supply and begin to produce more deer.

According to Bridget Irons, PAD co-founder, “Killing deer is a perpetual treadmill.” The rebound theory has been discussed with the Department of Parks and Recreation since the first deer kill, and it is evident that the number of deer in the Wissahickon Park has increased substantially from the original 159 deer.

Philadelphia residents were told that the first killing, which occurred 15 years ago, would be just a one-time kill. Fifteen years later 2,836 deer have been killed, with no data on the effectiveness of what we believe to be an inhumane way to alter the number of white-tailed deer in the park and no long-term plan to develop less inhumane strategies for controlling the number of deer that visit our Wissahickon Valley Park. Let’s work together to stop the deer kill of 2014. Contact your local City Council members and Mayor Nutter to register your outrage about this longstanding war against deer.

Mary Ann Baron

Chestnut Hill

Co-founder, PAD


Thank you for ‘elegant writing’

I apologize for taking so long to write to you! As soon as “When She Danced” closed at Allens Lane Theater, all my friends and fellow cast members began a campaign to get me to do my solo show, “Susan’s Undoing,” in the Philly Fringe Festival. I finally made up my mind to do it, and the past two weeks were spent attending orientation meetings, negotiating terms with venues and just learning what the Fringe really is.

I am relatively new to Philadelphia, so I guess you could say I have officially plunged into life in Philadelphia! I do want to thank you for the lovely review that Hugh Hunter wrote and the wonderful feature article that Rita Charleston wrote. I think they captured both the significance of Isadora Duncan as a historical figure and her particular importance to me. I especially appreciated the way they explained the challenge of dancing the role of Isadora when no film exists of her dancing. This did, in fact, turn out to be the greatest challenge, but also the most rewarding aspect of playing my role.

I think you will be pleased to know that we had very good attendance for our final weekend, and I suspect that some of that audience came because of your article. Thank you so much for your interest in the play and for your writers’ insightful, elegant writing.

Susan Chase

Mt. Airy


‘The future of the Avenue’

I read the above-mentioned article [May 29] with great interest. The last paragraph of the article says it all. I can only hope everyone makes the right choice. Keep the future of the Avenue as it is today. That is what keeps Chestnut Hill so unique.

Tom Woodruff