Corrections for ‘Last Apprentice’

I just received the March 23 edition of the Local, which I enjoy reading each week, and was excited to see the well-deserved article about the greatly talented stained glass artist Charles Z. Lawrence (“The ‘Last Apprentice’ as colorful as his stained glass”). The color reproductions of his dramatic windows are a glorious addition to the otherwise drab front page of the second section.

However, as he told you, his memory can be somewhat scrambled, and since it shortchanges Chestnut Hill, I thought it appropriate to offer corrections.

First, The Willet Stained Glass Studios since 1960 were located in Chestnut Hill in the old Pio Wine building (now remodeled into a handsome modern dialysis center) located at 10 E. Moreland Ave. When we hired Charles as a craftsman in 1968, it soon became obvious by his talent, color sense and design skills that he should be placed on our design staff of eight that was headed by Marguerite Gaudin, a Chestnut Hill resident.

When the studio was sold in 1977 to the Hauser family, they changed the name to Willet Hauser Architectural Glass and moved the location to Northeast Philadelphia around 2000.

I was also pleased to see that some of the projects he considers outstanding were commissions of the Willet Studios that he designed, including the Washington Temple of the Latter Day Saints, the University of Rochester Chapel, his earliest windows at the National Washington Cathedral and the Mt. Airy Lutheran Seminary library window.

Crosby Willet, President
Willet Stained Glass Studios (1964-1977)


SEPTA’s gas plant in Nicetown is bad for Chestnut Hill

Do you like a little or a lot of poison? There is less nitrous oxide and particulate matter with natural gas, versus oil or coal, so there may be fewer cases of asthma, lung cancer and cardiovascular problems. Still?

SEPTA has approved a natural gas plant in nearby Nicetown that has been opposed by more than 50 neighborhood groups. We in Chestnut Hill, only four miles away, should be concerned for we’re close enough for dangerous emissions to drift here.

It seems hypocritical for our transit system, which encourages people to avoid driving, to build a natural gas plant, causing our trains to depend upon fossil fuels. With the use of natural gas come more pipelines, more pollution, and more greenhouse gas.

Despite Councilwoman Bass’s request for a delay until harmful effects are known, SEPTA’s Board approved the plant. Board member Robert Fox’s energy law firm’s revenues depend upon natural gas. Environmental groups asked him to recuse himself. He did not. Bass does have the legal authority to rezone the site. Let’s hope she considers this option. A gas plant will cause more pollution and be a risk financially. As gas wells are drying up, prices could skyrocket over the course of a 20-year contract.

There are also serious safety concerns. Gas explosions already occurred in Greene, Susquehanna and Mercer Counties in Pennsylvania, and a gas plant accident in 2010 in Connecticut  killed six people and injured 50.  Fire hazards are common in gas-fired power plants.  In 2015 a Washington State gas explosion caused an evacuation within a two-mile radius. A fire would devastate Nicetown and parts of Germantown.

Like the other 50 protesters at the March 23 SEPTA Board meeting, I worry about the pollution and safety in our neighborhood if SEPTA builds a gas plant. I hope Cindy Bass can help us.

Sandra Folzer
Chestnut Hill