Category Archives: News/Features

What if we gave heroes hot chocolate?

Lydia Meyer was eight years old when she and her mom Anna were in a jewelry store in the Willow Grove Mall and robbers stormed the counter. She told me this story as we sat on her living room coach a few months ago. Haven’t been able to get her (or this story) out of my mind.

First responder: What would you do?

building collapse

When a four-story building on Market Street collapsed onto a Salvation Army thrift shop recently, we heard stories of bystanders, including an 18-year-old student at Science Leadership Academy, rushing to the rescue of the people trapped inside the building. Hearing their stories made me wonder what I would do in such a situation.

So I decided to ask people what they imagined their first impulse might be if faced with the choice. How would they respond? Many of the people I interviewed were at 30th Street Station, waiting for an outbound train. Here is what I heard.

Photo: Associated Press

Therapy dog Stella brings smiles to kids at St. Christopher’s Hospital

IMG_2986 Stella is getting ready for her big day. As Joanne Dhody brushes Stella’s teeth, a pink tongue searches for a random smear of beef-flavored toothpaste. Stella is Dhody’s 13-year-old Jack Russell terrier, a registered therapy dog. The two have visited St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children every week for the past 9 years.

I spent the day with Joanne and Stella recently as they made the rounds in the hospital. The folks at  Newworks liked the story and choose the two as “local heroes.” IMG_2989

Journalist turned private eye to speak at film screening of “The House I Live In”

tell the truth now While doing an interview for public radio in rural Vermont, Susan Randall, formerly of Chestnut Hill, saw a young man run out of an empty school bus and race across a cornfield. She followed. He eventually confessed to a triple murder, “right into my DAT [digital audio tape] recorder,” says Randall, which stunned this young journalist, then in her 20’s.

The event changed the trajectory of her life. Randall, now 44, will talk about her work as a private eye and now a federal public defender investigator, as part of a panel discussion following the screening of the film “The House I Live In” on Friday, April 5, at Enon Baptist Tabernacle Church, in Germantown.

Our interview with Susan made the front page of the Chestnut Hill Local.

Chestnut Hill teacher works with students after class

Lyn, Cing Barbara recently interviewed Chestnut Hill resident Lyn Buchheit about her work with refugees at Community College of Philadelphia. As a teacher of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), Buchheit forms relationships with students from around the world. Most are refugees who have obtained asylum in the U.S.

Particularly interesting to Barbara was the story of a family in South Philadelphia, a mother and her four children, who spent three years in a refugee camp outside of New Delhi.

Newsworks, WHYY’s on-line news portal, was interested in the story and posted it to their website in mid-March. You can read it here and hear part of the interview, as well.