Thanks to Harry Potter readers

The Chestnut Hill Community Association’s second annual Muggles Read-a-thon was a huge success. On Oct. 17, 55 Muggles came together at Spinner’s End and read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (341 pages) in 8 hours and 45 minutes.

This noteworthy achievement would not have been possible without the commitment of so many readers and volunteers. The Read-a-thon, in my opinion, honors what is best about the Harry Potter Festival and our community – namely the wonderful books by J.K. Rowling and the timeless idea that many people working together can achieve even the most difficult task.

Here’s to all our wonderful readers. I hope to have all of you back next year at the third Muggles Read-a-thon when we read Harry Pottter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.: AnnMarie Arment, Madeleine Nist, Arianna Neromiliotis, Gerry Whelan, Marie LeChat, Pa. Senator Art Haywood, Steph Chomentowski, Andy Kite, Isabel Catalan, Shuchi Rodgers, Wencel Martin (age 5), Amy Edelman, Roe Overcash, Prather Egan, Will Detweiler, Regina Miller, Alexis Ventrescas, Mayoral Candidate Melissa Murray Bailey, Stewart Graham, Councilman David Oh, Councilwoman Cindy Bass, Fran O’Donnell, Daniel Hopkins, Marilyn Paucker, Laura Lucas, Julie Sneeringer, Jamie Rauer, Michelle Sage, Rod Bartchy, Steve Pearson, Rosemary McNamee, Dan Compton, Mimi & Paige Harvey, Emily & Ally Bertapelle, Sarah Shoff, Susie Valinas, Jeff Meade, Diane Dugan, Keira Thorell, Josh Byrne, Laura Solt, Elizabeth Algeo, Megan May, Dan Pulka, Tiffany Rifas, Maryann Salas, Rev. Daniel Stroud, Rev. Lara Stroud, Janine Dwyer, Madeline Eiser, Walt McGuire (Dumbledore), Daniel Lemoine (Harry Potter), Julie Byrne.

Mike Chomentowski

Chestnut Hill

Thanks to Celeste

Chestnut Hill is an amazing place to live. I believe this to be true for many different reasons. Yet, foremost among these reasons is the people. In this regard, I have never encountered a group of people who are more passionate, determined, and dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in their neighborhood.

Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to share in and benefit from many great volunteer efforts in my 10+ years on the Chestnut Hill Community Association board. The CHCA provides the infrastructure for our friends and neighbors to chose or, at times, to create the volunteer opportunities that most interest them. Still, it is essential that someone champions this effort every day.

In the coming weeks Celeste Hardester, CHCA Community Manager, will no longer perform this role. Over the last four years, Celeste has provided, both, our board and the community at large with an impressive body of work (leading several Holiday House Tours, skillfully interacting with our committees, local government officials, and our neighbors on important zoning matters, providing valuable insights and guidance to the CHCA’s 501(c)(3) filing, developing our Holiday Calendar Photo Contest, enthusiastically guiding our Re-Tree the Avenue initiative, etc.). The above is simply a small sample of Celeste’s accomplishments. I believe that it is more important to accentuate the manner by which Celeste has represented our community. In this respect, Celeste’s compassion for others, quiet leadership, thought provoking observations, intense work ethic, and willingness to listen and consider all perspectives combined to make her an outstanding advocate for our community.

I had the pleasure of working closely with Celeste during my two years as CHCA president. During this time, I was able to witness her commitment to excellence and her dedication to making a difference in our community. No task was too small or idea too big (CHCA Community Holiday Parade and Hoops Madness!!). Celeste always offered valued insights and prepared herself to work hard.

Thank you Celeste for a job well done! Good luck in your future endeavors.


Brien P. Tilley

Past President, CHCA

Thank you Chestnut Hill community

On Saturday, Sept. 26, I lost my wedding ring. I realized it was missing as I drove home from Chestnut Hill. I was not sure if I had lost it or add simply left it at home. After not finding the ring at home, my husband and I returned to Germantown Avenue to search for the ring.

This is where the true story begins. The kindness and compassion of so many people who stopped to help us was overwhelming.

To Karen Boyd, the Brendenbeck’s Bakery staff, the shopkeepers who came out of their businesses, people strolling down the Avenue who stopped to help and neighbors who came out of their homes, each taking time from their day to look with us, we thank you all. We truly felt surrounded by people who cheered and wanted to help.

The happy end of the story is that the ring was found. It was located on the sidewalk a few steps from the bakery within minutes of mind losing it. It took a few more days, but the kind and honest people who found the ring made sure that it was safe until they were able to connect with me. We always loved Chestnut Hill, but that day we experienced how very special people work, live, shop and stroll in this unique community are.

Cathy Graff


Fishing for Gene’s Chestnut Hill duck

We really enjoyed your article on Under the Blue Moon (“‘Blue Moon’ stopped shining on Hill diners 18 years ago,” Oct. 15) and saw it not only as an homage to Gene and Phyllis Gosfield and their wonderful establishment but also a lament to the dis-use of such a wonderful building.

I grew up right across the street on East Abington Avenue, and I had a clear view of the building from my third floor bedroom window. I always dreamed of someday renting the third corner apartment with the little balcony overlooking Germantown Avenue.

While I never got that corner apartment, my wife and I were lucky enough to rent a second floor apartment above the restaurant. (We used to say we lived “over” Under the Blue Moon.) It was a wonderful little apartment with huge windows looking out to Germantown Avenue and a rear porch that over looked a small yard below. We used to order take out and go down to the back door of the kitchen, where we’d be handed dinner plates with our food, which we would leave beside the door cleaned the next morning.

One of our fondest memories is when we went fishing for a duck. They would always make two dozen ducks every morning and take them outside on a tray to cool. We would be sitting on our porch, and the smell was incredible. So one day we rigged a fishing pole with a rather large hook (might have been a safety pin), and we went fishing for duck. We didn’t think we’d actually get one and figured we’d get caught and have a laugh before we did anyway, but somehow we caught one and got away with it. We figured they must have counted them, so they probably knew it was us, but nothing was ever said.

What a laugh and a damned good duck!

Ted and Mary Bahner


What a dope

If you look in his left ear, you can look out his right ear. Nothing but space in between. I sincerely wonder if Philadelphia Eagles receiver, Josh Huff, ever gave any thought how it would affect his team when he did that foolish back flip into the end zone after scoring a touchdown in the team’s game against New Orleans and got injured. Perhaps out for the season. The worst? Ending his career. I hope the Eagles and the League come up with a fine large enough that he would never give thought to doing such a foolish stunt again.

Tom Woodruff


She has given up on local TV news

I just read online that ratings for all of the local TV “news” shows have been going down steadily in recent years. I am not surprised. I have tried watching all the local TV news shows and finally gave up. I call them “Body bags and giggles at 11.” Compared to the national news programs in the early evening or the world news on Channel 12 at 7:30, the local news shows at 11 are a disgrace.

They are filled with random violence and personal tragedies that do not enlighten viewers in the least about the larger issues these individual acts of violence represent. All they do is make suburbanites afraid to come into the city and make the rest or us paranoid as well. And they are disrespectful to the victims of violence by sticking microphones into the faces of family members right after a loved one has been killed.

Then there is the sports and overdose of weather reports and the extremely fake laughter. Somebody says something insipid or meaningless about the rain or traffic, and the others all fake-giggle as if they were watching cat videos on YouTube. I hope these producers and on-air “talent” get the message from their deteriorating ratings that we would like to have real news, not a witless sitcom with canned laughter.

Gabrielle O’Connor

Chestnut Hill