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Fall for the Arts returns, a tradition intact

This fall, as life in our area gets back to a new normal, one of the surest signs is the return of the Fall for the Arts Festival coming September. 26.

LUPZ approves Shawnee townhouses, with conditions

The Chestnut Hill Community Association Land Use, Planning and Zoning Committee meeting on September 9 was devoted to reviewing plans for a development of eight townhouses at 8201 Shawnee …

Local Opposition to Zoning Board Practices grows in East Mount Airy

East Mt. Airy is booming with development, but much is the kind locals don’t want. The kind that makes long time residents feel pushed out.

Sept. 9th Home Delivery Delayed

UPDATE: We have reports the September 16 issue is being delivered on schedule. Home delivery of the September 9th editions of the Chestnut Hill Local and the Mt. Airy Local has been delayed by a yet undetermined problem in the bulk mail processing center in Philadelphia, though it has been delivered with the 9/16 issue in some areas.

Local group fosters cultural Judaism

 Sarah Gentry says she didn’t intend to raise her two children to be Jewish. It just kind of happened.

Chestnut Hill resident celebrates new bookstore opening

This week marks the opening of  “booked” at 8511 Germantown Avenue, the fulfillment of a long-held dream by its owner, Debbie Gress Jansen.

Bird in Hand Consignment opens at larger home on Highland

Bird in Hand Consignment reopened July 7 at 9 W. Highland Avenue.

More News
The Chestnut Hill Hospital is currently treating 15 patients for COVID-19. Friday morning, September 12, three of those patients were in the Intensive Care Unit.
After an almost two-month search, the Chestnut Hill Local has named Carla Robinson as its new editor.  Robinson replaces Pete Mazzaccaro who resigned in June after 15 years in the …
The new pre-school at Christ Ascension Church, 8300 Germantown Ave., will be a wholly separate entity from the child care facility there that shut its doors at the end of September, 2020.
An analysis of police reports over the past year shows a steady rate of Thefts from Autos in the area.
The 2021 warehouse sale returned to the Hill last weekend.

Crime Report: August 30-September 6

The following crime report is for crimes reported in Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy for the two-week period between August 30 and September 6, 2021.

Chill Local
Arts more

If ever there was a timely novel, it is Nancy Allen's “Grace.”

After 17 months of no live theater, and thousands of show people out of work, theater is gradually beginning to return to productions that people can attend in person rather than online.
“The Secretaries,” written by “The Five Lesbian Brothers” and directed by Josh Hitchens, is part of the 2021 Philly Fringe Festival and is the first production of the year from Allens Lane Theater.
The Sculpture Gallery is ready to exhibit in the sanctuary of the beautiful Circus Campus in Mt. Airy. Meet with the curator: your benevolent, charismatic guide who will help you figure out who …

Geeky, cheeky, sneaky, and freaky, “Paul” (2011) is a gigglefest for sci-fi-romaniacs.

Food for Thought

Fall foods are the best. Earthy, comforting, and hearty only scratches the surface of this culinary season.

Worth Reading
One of the pleasures of doing this column comes when readers send book suggestions.
Citizen Canine

Saturday, July 24, started out as just another day in the park for Chestnut Hill resident Anthony Stover. As he did every Saturday at 8 a.m., he brought Biscuit, his 7-month-old mini–Australian Shepherd, to Pastorius Park. Biscuit was playing with about six other dogs when he suddenly started to squeal.


Mt. Airyite, 79, authors unique Alzheimer's kids' book

“Miss Lillian” Clark, was inspired to create her latest labor of love by her granddaughter, Alleya. The idea for an Alzheimer's book geared to children continued to percolate until she finally finished “I Am Not Myself.”


AVA returns in-person with New Artists Recital

Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts returns to “live in-person” performances with its annual “New Artists Recital.”

Homes & Home

Chestnut Hill Garden District Fund’s annual spring planting has Germantown Avenue ablaze with color

For the 18th consecutive year, Germantown Avenue is exploding with the color of flowering annuals planted by dozens of dedicated volunteers.

How to grow flowering orchid cacti on your enclosed porch

My wife, Valerie, is particularly fond of the flowers that bloom on our front porch for a month starting in mid-April. The orchid cacti (two specimens are in bloom in the picture) have survived another winter on our climate-controlled, enclosed front porch.


Designing a Twin/Duplex

The owners of shared buildings often cite many conveniences in having a neighbor close -by.
By Design

With the right vision, a rancher could be a good choice

I grew up in a “Rancher”.  In fact, my father built it himself, in 1959, and it remained our family home for the next 50 years. 
Real estate
Prospective buyers looking to relocate to Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill are especially challenged, say local realtors. 
An architect’s rendering shows what the entryway to 7111 Germantown Avenue, a new condo development, will look like once complete. By Pete Mazzaccaro Local developer Ken Weinstein has made a …
Alex Aberle and Violette Levy stand in front of their 16-room, 6,724-square-foot structure with 12-foot-high ceilings, revitalizing one of Mt. Airy’s most historic homes into an airy modern …

New look for Mount field hockey on field and sideline

The varsity roster recently announced by Coach Castano actually list more seniors than last year's, 11 in all.

SCH boys fall to tough upstate soccer squad

If you didn't glance at the scoreboard and simply watched the ebb and flow of action in last Saturday's soccer game at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, you might have been a little surprised at the 3-0 final score.

With a late surge, GA boys top Hun in opener, 4-2

After several early soccer scrimmages for each side, the boys of Germantown Academy and visiting Hun School met for their first official game of 2021 last Friday in GA's Carey Stadium. The host …

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy didn't lose a game during the abbreviated 2020 season, and in their last full campaign in 2019 the Devils achieved the rare feat of winning the Inter-Ac League championship with a 12-0 record.

Last Tuesday the tennis team at Mount St. Joseph Academy officially began its quest to capture a seventh straight Athletic Association of Catholic Academies championship.
The Mount volleyball team graduated only four players from last year's squad as opposed to six the year before, but there are still some gaps that the 2021 squad has to fill. The 2020 team got off …
Registration for the 2021 Fall Intramural Soccer Season is now open. The CHYSC offers IM soccer programs for players ages 5-18.  

Teens in the PA Youth Vote summer ensemble performed their debut forum theatre show on the steps of the School District of Philadelphia.

Barber teachers from the Germantown-based Pennsylvania Barber School provided free haircuts to prepare students for the new school year at the Unity in the Northwest Community Celebration on Saturday, August 28.

In March of 1987, I was a 22-year-old Peace Corps trainee, recently arrived in Thiès, Senegal. West Africa, where I planned to spend the next two years. Over the next two decades, Oumar and I always managed to see each other every few years. I

At a meeting of the Philadelphia School Board on Tuesday afternoon, the board unanimously approved a mandate for all school staff to be vaccinated.

The driver shortage began before the pandemic, and accelerated last year. There is still a gap to be filled by the beginning of the school year.

Sarah Stevens Heckscher
Long-time Chestnut Hill resident Sarah Stevens Heckscher, who died of metastatic breast cancer July 17 in Greenbrae, Marin County, Calif. at 85, was truly a renaissance woman.
Marianne “Nancy” Shipley Rhoads
Marianne “Nancy” Shipley Rhoads, wife of the late Donald Vail Rhoads and daughter of Walter Penn Shipley Jr. and Mary Dawson Strawbridge, died on August 3, 2021. From her parents she …
Mt. Airy polymath descended from Philadelphia giants
Christopher Rittenhouse Bentley, 59, passed away on Aug. 6 after a five-month battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
Walter J. Fox Jr., writer and journalist
In retirement, he worked for several years as articles editor at the Chestnut Hill Local.
Ellen Van Pelt Wells, first editor of the Local
Ellen Van Pelt Wells, newspaper editor, political activist and naturalist, died peacefully on August 14th at age 93 in Philadelphia. 
Opinion & letters
Enemies of reading

What others called waste, I played with on Saturdays: How getting down to nuts and bolts helped me lose my mindset Part one.

Finnegan's Furniture Store in Darby, PA, seemed hardly the place for mind expansion when I went to work there at 18. In fact, there was little room for expansion of any kind. Every piece of space was …


Our mission, your input, my promise

Chestnut Hill is such a special place. The buildings, so distinct and interesting, seem to have been grown from the ground they sit on. The leafy streets connect it to the beautifully forested park …

New for the Fall season: Being practical

The news about logic has been illogical over the past few weeks. Most of the story has been on the medical front: We have a vaccine that prevents serious injury and death, yet some choose to get …

A quiet Labor Day

There will be Labor concerts, Labor Day cookouts, even Labor Day last-minute bingeing of summer movies. Some of this will be loud. There will be firecrackers.
We need to decrease the crime, violence, and Police issues in our City of Philadelphia and Tri-State area. Two Nonprofit Organizations have been working towards helping the issues. Urban …
I think the Local is right on target in forbidding entry to anyone who is not vaccinated. I wish that every business, including supermarkets, schools and theaters, would enforce this.
This letter is in response to your obituary of Chris Bentley (“Mt. Airy polymath descended from Philadelphia giants,” Aug. 26). Chris was our neighbor since 2001. In the many accidental …
About Chestnut Hill
Save Your Photos Month
September is Save Your Photos Month. During this month, the Chestnut Hill Conservancy encourages everyone to preserve our photographs, so that future generations may learn from them.
Discovering Chestnut Hill: Nurses Week
Did you know that May 6 is both National Nurses Day and the first day of National Nurses Week? This “Week” ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale.
Covid collecting for the Chestnut Hill Conservancy
Scenes that typified Chestnut Hill during the early days of the pandemic in the spring of 2020 are already fading from our daily experience: next-to-no cars on Germantown Avenue, closed stores, Xs …
Discovering Chestnut Hill: The Wissahickon Garden Club
Normally, the first week of March brings us a reminder that spring is just around the corner, with the arrival of the Philadelphia Flower Show. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pennsylvania …
Together with our community champions: Looking back at 2020 for the Chestnut Hill Conservancy
Because of your support, the Chestnut Hill Conservancy has been able to sustain our stewardship of the history, architecture, and open space we treasure.