Reading the Potter

On Saturday, while the sidewalks and shops of Chestnut Hill were teeming with wand-brandishing wizards and befuddled Muggles, a group of people came together to read a book.

As part of the wildly successful Harry Potter Weekend, the Chestnut Hill Community Association staged its first Muggles Read-a-thon at the Top of the Hill Plaza park next to the library. A roster of close to four dozen people, comprised of our neighbors, shopkeepers, librarians, teachers, students, city officials, and more, took turns reading from the first book in the wonderful series by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, until it was read in its entirety.

Our first reader, Ann Marie Arment, began page one at 10 a.m. and our last reader, Julie Byrne, finished page 309 at 6:15 p.m. In between over 40 readers took to the podium to read pages upon pages. Some read in hats and wizard robes, some read with their children wrapped around their legs and shoulders. Some were gradeschoolers, some were grandparents. Some read theatrically, some read soothingly. All of them were brave and entertaining.

The Harry Potter weekend has become a beloved event known far beyond the borders of Chestnut Hill, and the CHCA is proud to be a part of it. We look forward to continuing this tradition next year by reading the second in the Harry Potter series, because that is the spirit of this festival. At one point or another, all of us who were here this weekend to celebrate Harry Potter sat down, opened that first book, and started to read.

I’d like to thank the following volunteers for their help organizing and staging the event: Julie Byrne, Janet Gala, Celeste Hardester, Terri Hutsell, Laura Lucas, Larry McEwen, Bob Rossman and Noreen Spota. Most importantly, I want to recognize our wonderful readers who read with such poise.

Mike Chomentowski

Chestnut Hill

It takes a village of volunteers

As we all know, it takes a village, and our village is no exception. Between the Business Association and the Chestnut Hill Community Association, there are six women who make things happen.

Kate O’Neill, Peg Miller, Peg Hendrie and Martha Sharkey in the Business Association office have orchestrated two amazingly successful events in the last month. Fall for the Arts and Harry Potter Weekend turned out to be better than anyone imagined. Celeste Hardester and Noreen Spota in the Community Association office, along with Laura Lucas, organized a splendid Black &White Gala.

All of these events bring people and publicity to Chestnut Hill, help the businesses and generate money for various organizations in the area. I want to thank these ladies, and all the volunteers that helped make these, and all our events, possible.

Lisa Howe

Artisans on the Avenue

Thanks for the coverage

Thank you for your wonderful article on Edward McIlvaine and his scholarship on Oct. 16. However, one very important person was left out, Charles McIlvaine, my husband and father to Lee and Edward. Charlie was involved in setting up the scholarship and continues to be involved.

We had hoped that you would have included Lee’s page at for anyone who wanted more information. Thanks to your article, though we did have some inquiries, even one from Italy! Thank you.

Susan McIlvaine (the fundraiser)


Thanks for Bird in Hand profile

Bird in Hand is most appreciative of the wonderful coverage in last week’s Local.

None of our generosity to the community of Chestnut Hill could have been accomplished without the support of our 50+ loyal volunteers. Some have been with us since we opened 38 years ago.

Dottie Sheffield

Founder and CEO, Bird in Hand

Article on local tree painter ‘best ever’

Your article (on my work) was excellent (“Unique tree painter now exhibiting at Allens Lane Center,” Oct. 9). Thanks for taking the time to care. I usually don’t know how people really respond to my work. Again, the questions you asked were challenging, and I enjoyed taking the time to answer them.

The article was strong. Two of my old friends thought it was one of the best articles ever written about my work.

Richard Metz


Northwest’s strong showing for climate

I’ve been delighted to read in the Local about the strong presence of Northwest Philadelphians at the People’s Climate March in New York on Sept. 21. Add another congregation to those present, weighing in on the moral imperative to act on climate change: Chestnut Hill United Church. We rode on Germantown Friends School’s bus.

Why is climate a moral issue, and why should the faith community weigh in, some may ask. Fifty years ago we could burn fossil fuels with impunity, not realizing they were disrupting our climate. But now we know better and we know that those at most risk – the old, the young, the sick, the poor – are who our faith traditions call on us to protect. Furthermore, we now know we have better alternatives for our energy: wind, solar power, and simply using less energy through energy efficiency.

Even if we can’t yet wean ourselves from fossil fuels yet, we can cut back on their heat-trapping pollution. That’s why it’s so important that President Obama’s Clean Power Plan be implemented quickly and without weakening. And, while we’re at it, both the state and federal governments need to crack down on leaking methane emission from natural gas facilities.

Joy Bergey