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Chestnut Hill neighbors weigh in on NextDoor polls

Since September, your correspondent has been posting polls on NextDoor to inform and learn from the community, to take its pulse and to move the community on issues near and dear to him. As few as four and as many as 330 people have voted in these polls with naming the bookstore and a ban or leafblowers being the most popular. See more about NextDoor at the end of this post.

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Nov 3 POLL: DO YOU SUPPORT PROTECT THE VOTE RALLIES BEGINNING NOV 4?

Takeaway: Most support the rallies but after 16 people registered their choice, NextDoor shut down commenting but left one comment from a detractor standing. It may also have closed voting in the poll. Here's the poll link

 

ND Protect the Results 2020-11-03 at 4.31.16 PM

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Nov 2 POLL: WHAT IS YOUR TOP NOV 3 ELECTION CONCERN?

Takeaway: Before the poll was taken down only hours after  its posting, 17 people voted, many citing counting of mail-in ballots as top concern. 3 or 4 people had grumbled about the post as harmfully sowing anxiety.

20201102 ND election concerns

WHAT IS YOUR TOP NOV 3 ELECTION CONCERN?Our State Rep Chris Rabb and a local computer expert don’t believe our electronic voting system is secure. https://youtu.be/2n9uraDCSng
And there are news reports of confusion over PA’s mail in ballots counting https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/02/us/politics/Pennsylvania-presidential-election.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage . Some polling places are bracing for possible voter intimidation http://www.pikecountycourier.com/news/local-news/open-carry-and-voter-intimidation-what-does-pa-law-say-DC1370036 Of course you have voted or are going to BUT WHAT IS YOUR TOP NOV 3 ELECTION CONCERN?

Mail-in ballots may not be accurately counted

Electronic voting system may be hacked

Irregularities at polling stations may negatively impact the count

Other (See my comment)

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Nov 1 POLL: DO ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS?

Takeaway: the NextDoor algorithm may have made this the last visible post on anyone's news feed

20201101 Actions words
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Oct 27 POLL: HOMELESS IN MOUNT AIRY - IS THERE A RIGHT TO HOUSING?

Takeaway: 40% believe not or are unsure and since children are people, that means that nearly half are unwilling to say that children have a human right to housing.

20201027 right to housing

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Oct 21 POLL: WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE OCT 22 CHESTNUT HILL LOCAL?

Takeaway:  A fair amount worth saying something about. (In the 10/29 edition  there is a help wanted ad for an associate editor.)

20201021 wrong with local

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Oct 21 POLL: DO GOOD FENCES MAKE GOOD NEIGHBORS?

Takeaway: You will know your good neighbor by the good fence they build between you and them

Real real fences


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Oct 9 POLL: DO YOU SUPPORT BLACK LIVES MATTER OR BACK THE BLUE?

Takeaway: Of 133 votes, less than a third believe it is possible to support both

20201009 BLM BTB

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Oct 6 POLL: WOULD YOU ATTEND A (VIRTUAL) CHESTNUT HILL TOWN HALL AND WHO MIGHT HOST?

Takeaway: There is only some interest in a virtual town hall and even less interest in the question

20201006 town hall

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Oct 5 POLL: NAME THE BOOKSTORE, THE FINALISTS ARE...

Takeaway: By a considerable plurality but with only a third as many people voting in this finalists poll as in the original poll, the peoples really like "Books on the Hill"

20201005 name bookstore finalists

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Oct 2 POLL: Should the CDC require face masks?

Takeaway:  The people have spoken; make facemasks the law nationwide

20201002 cdc fase masks

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Sept 28 POLL: I'M SORRY: WHAT ARE YOU SORRY ABOUT FOR POSTING ON NEXTDOOR?

Takeaway: For the most part, NextDoor users stand by what they posted

20200928Sorry

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Sep 25 POLL: IS COVID-19 POSTER AT POST OFFICE MISLEADING?

Takeaway: If you've posted to a NextDoor group with only 6 members don't expect more than 6 responses

20200925 cdc poster misleading

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Sep 18 POLL: POLICE PERMANENTLY PARKED  TOP OF THE HILL? PROTECTING BANKS OR PEOPLE?

Takeaway: Most people believe the police presence at the top of the Hill benefits some combination of the public and small businesses but 25% believe they are there at the bank or banks' behest. The police have not responded to a request for clarification.

20200918 police cars

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Sep 15: NAME THE BOOKSTORE, THE CH LIBRARY FRIENDS WANT YOUR IDEAS

Takeaway: 324 people and likely more with opinions is giving the Friends Board pause before deciding on a name

20200915 name bookstore

 

Sep 4 POLL: SHOULD WE BAN OR RESTRICT GAS POWERED LEAF BLOWERS?

Takeaway: About half or more people would consider a ban or restrictions on gas powered leaf blowers

ND leafblowers with results

Continue reading "Chestnut Hill neighbors weigh in on NextDoor polls" »


Editor crunches out weekly

Editor crunches out weekly
Your correspondent observed and spoke with Chestnut Hill Local Editor Pete Mazzaccaro on a busy Monday morning as he was busy finalizing stories with his associate editor, staff writer and interns, churning out the obituaries that are usually handled by the vacationing articles editor, deciding on lead stories and knocking out headlines, then laying these out with photos for the front page. The weekly, a publication of the Chestnut Hill delivers news and features to some 5000 residents of Northwest Philadelphia and neighboring Montgomery County through with its printed edition and to thousands more regular readers of its online edition, https://www.chestnuthilllocal.com

Watch video of Editor finalizing stories and headlines for weekly edition.

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Len Lear edits the "Local Life", second section of the Chestnut Hill Local.  Your correspondent observed Local Associate Editor Sue Ann Rybak who sometimes contributes articles to Local Life express her admiration for the articles he writes. "They are so...." "Compelling" Lear suggests and Rybak is happy to have the word put in her mouth. While the subjects of some stories bring attention to themselves to promote a book concert or a public performance, many others who perhaps have won an award or are doing great humanitarian work do not bring attention to themselves but are brought to Lear's attention by neighbors, friends or family members who suggest a profile on the subject might make an interesting story.

Periscope viewers aid baby sparrow rescue

Periscope viewers come to aid of baby sparrow

At our neighborhood train station my son and I  heard lots of frantic chirping then saw a baby bird on the concrete ground. It appeared to have fallen from the wooden eaves high above. I started a live Periscope stream and solicited suggestions from tuners-in :"put it back in nest", "give it worms", "call 911". Someone  encouraged me to take it I to the wildlife rehabilitation I had mentioned. And so I did after my son boarded the train. At the center, the receiving rehabilitator examined the bird, identified it as a plump baby sparrow, said that it was a little splayed but its wing were not broken, and that it would have lots of brothers and sisters for company because people had brought in about 20 some such babies in recent days. It will be cared for until it can  fly and be released back into nature.  Two days later I called back with the case number I had been given and learned from the woman who accepted the patient, that baby bird 2540 was doing just fine. Watch shorter video here. Watch longer video here.

Periscope viewers come to aid of baby sparrow


Taking a step away from homelessness

image from www.flickr.comOn the eve before Christmas Eve, Paul Rossetti was standing in the rain at the corner of Highland and Germantown Avenues hawking  “One Step Away” newspapers for a $1 each. (small photo at right) And he has been working this and other corners in the city throughout January despite the bitter cold and light pedestrian traffic. (above photo)

Rossetti grew up around the Pottstown area and got involved in drinking and drugs through the influence of peer pressure. DUIs (driving under the influence convictions) landed him time in jail. He’s now living at the Germantown Y men’s home.

According to its website, “One Step Away is Philadelphia's first street paper aimed at raising awareness of homelessness and providing employment to those in need. With each dollar received, 75¢ goes directly to the vendor. The other 25¢ covers the printing costs. The vendors are people experiencing homelessness or joblessness. While the vast majority of One Step Away vendors are living on the street or in temporary shelters when they start with the project, most are able to use the money earned by distributing One Step Away to secure their own housing.” http://osaphilly.com/

Rossetti says he’s going to NA and AA meetings and trying to stay on his feet and keep busy. Rules at the Y are strict; if he should come back high or drunk, he would be given 15 minutes to vacate his room. With janitorial and construction experience, Rossetti hopes to find work and secure an apartment of his own. Eventually he would like go into business for himself.

The name, “One Step Away” is meant to highlight how so many people in society are close to becoming homeless through unforeseen financial and personal crises. At the same time, the name honors the major step the formerly homeless individuals who are producing and distributing the paper have taken away from a life on the street.

 

 


Writers read aloud - 2013 Chestnut Hill Book Festival

Philadelphia Stories

Above: Olin and Shirley Gentry

Philadelphia Stories Presents: Local Literary Voices was one of three events hosted by Philadelphia Stories at the Chestnut Hill Book Festival on Sunday September 22, 2013. Philadelphia Stories is a non-profit organization dedicated to building a community of “writers, artists and readers” in the Delaware Valley through literary magazines, events such as the Book Festival readings and educational programs. At the Chestnut Hill fest, Philadelphia Stories local authors talked about and read from their works. Unfortunately your correspondent’s video phone battery died before the program finished and he failed to capture the beautiful funny reading by Hal Sirowitz and readings from the open mic portion of the program. So Sorry! See Bios of authors below

A video of the readings can be seen here.

  A slideshow of photos of the festival can be seen here

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Untitled Daniel Torday, appearing at the Chestnut Hill Book Festival reads from his novel to be published by St Martin's Press in 2015. Forming part of the novel about the narrator's uncle , a Hungarian Jew who flew on bombing missions for the Royal Air Force during WW II is his recently published, award-winning novella, "The Sensualist." Watch video here.

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200 Years of Latino History in Philadelphia

Sabrina Vourvoulias, editor of 200 Years of Latino History in Philadelphia by the staff of Al Dia newspaper talks about the book. Watch video here.
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These are the short bios of the presenting writers appearing on the Philadelphia Stories website. http://www.philadelphiastories.org/chestnut-hill-book-festival-workshops-kids-reading

Continue reading "Writers read aloud - 2013 Chestnut Hill Book Festival" »


Photgraphing his daughter's first front page article

His daughter's first front page articleProud father photographs daughter's first front page article

I came across Bill Cusick in a proud moment, taking photos  of his daughter’s first front page article in the Chestnut Hill  Local as it appeared in the newsbox outside the Local office on Germantown Avenue. Katherine, a summer intern with the Local from Germantown Friends School, is editor-in-chief  of her high school newspaper, “The Earthquake.” Earlier I had seen Cusick seriously taking photos of the newsbox outside the Chestnut Hill Bootery and when I saw him doing the same outside the Local office, I knew he was a man with a mission and asked if he might oblige with an explanation. Watch video here.


Minister pitches Inky subscription

Sells Inquirer subscriptions

Andy Autrey, a resident of the Hill House in Chestnut Hill, has long been in professional sales – cars, life insurance – and now is pitching subscriptions to the Philadelphia Inquirer. His engaging approach at the Flourtown Walgreen’s won your correspondent over to re-upping with a subscription. An on-the-spot Walgreen’s gift card and the fact that disadvantaged youth will be treated to a Phillies game as part of the promotion clinched the deal. Autrey considers his sales work part of his mission as an associate minister involved with youth programs at the Embracing Truth Church in West Philadelphia. Watch video here.


Inky photographer happy to have job

Inquirer photographer happy to have job

Ed Hille, a staff photographer for the Philadelphia Inquirer was at the Allens Lane Art Center on Wednesday April 3rd taking photos for a future story about the “Vision through Art” program for the blind and visually impaired. 

WHAT’S GOING ON AT THE INKY THESE DAYS? “We can’t talk about that, sorry. Everything at the Inky is, we’re up and running and we’re still publishing and we’re all happy we have jobs.”

Watch video interview here.

 


Losing the sense of smell

A young woman who realized in college that, without a doubt she wanted to become a chef, grabbed the offer to start as the dishwasher in a famous Boston restaurant and she loved it, covered in butter, chicken fat, sweat. One morning, on a morning jog before work, she was hit by a car and among other bad injuries, had shattered her skull. Two weeks later, making a recovery at her father's house, she made a bad discovery - her sense of smell was gone. Heat was all she sensed of the cinammon-laced apple crisp, a favorite dish, when it was just drawn from the oven and held under her nose.

Birnbaum went on to study the sense of smell and her experiences with its loss(a condition called "anosmia") and wrote about in her 2011 book,"Season to Taste." Along her journey she spent much time with the olfactory scientists the Monell Chemical Senses Center with whom she presented "Forgotten Sense: Exploring a World Without Smell" as part of the Philadlephia Science Festival.

Also attending the event is a doctoral student in information sciences at Drexel University, (shown below) who speaks about her own experience with anosmia.

Can't Smell

At the National Mechanics Bar and Restaurant in Old City, Philadelphia.

Watch video here.


Grandpop goes digital

IMG_1749.jpg His first digital camera

Garland Thompson was monkeying around with a large camera on the bench just outside the Allens Lane Art Center when, as I was about to go in, I paused to talk with him. Thompson who took his first photography class at Allens Lane 42 years ago, is a professional journalist. He had just recently purchased this, his first digital camera, and was saving the first shot to capture his grandson’s two year-old birthday celebration that same day. Soon he would be traveling to Panama from where he will report for the Philadelphia Tribune and WYRP radio in Baltimore.

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YOU’VE BEEN DOING PHOTOGRAPHY SINCE… Since 1969 when I learned here at Allens Lane Art Center with a photographer named Larry Kanefsky. He taught us how to do the lab stuff as well as composition tricks and all kinds of nice stuff. OK, so this is my camera, it’s a Canon single lens reflex camera. I bought it because it is an SLR Seeing is the difficulty with a camera rather than hearing (oops, let me get the dot) You can tell I’m not real familiar with it, I just got it! (There we go) I bought this camera so I could shoot my grandson but also because I’m going to Panama. I’m going to be doing some reporting for WYPR radio in Baltimore and, among other things, I helped to convince them that radio in the Internet age is really TV, and they had to do pictures. too. So I’m going to do some stories for them and also bring back some stories for the Philadelphia Tribune, one of my old papers and, some probably who knows, some will be souvenir shots. So that’s my big thing. I bought this camera so I could get back into photography which I used to truly love ‘cause it’s so fascinating. Now I’m really quite fearful that it’ll be too absorbing. So that’s my story. YOU’RE GOING DIGITAL TODAY? I’m going digital today. AND THE FIRST THING YOU’RE TAKING WITH THIS YOU SAY IS? My grandson Joshua Monk is two this week and we’re having a celebration for his birthday. So I’m going to go, be grandpop, and shoot his pictures. HAVEN’T SHOT A SINGLE THING YET? No, I haven’t shot the first thing. I’ve been very careful to not shoot anything so that Josh is the first thing I do. Journalist and author Garland Thompson.

Epilogue: “What I like about it is it has a diopter adjust. I can actually look through this camera and not use my glasses There’s a diopter lens adjustment."

Watch video here