Pulse: An Exile in Comcast Country

With less than a foot between his residence and the western end of the soon-to-be, 57-story Comcast Tower, the Reverend Clayton Ames, the persnickety 61-year-old pastor of Arch Street Presbyterian Church, is the skyscraper’s closest neighbor. So you’d imagine his complaints would include construction noise and debris, closed sidewalks and parking headaches. But all that stuff “is no big deal,” says the Ambler native, over a single-malt at Twenty21. “The real problem here, and one might, I suppose, choose to call it ironic, is that I am, ahem, ineligible for cable television.”



In 2001, shortly after moving into the church’s 150-year-old parsonage, Ames, a ravenous Phillies fan, called Comcast and requested the digital baseball package, since antenna reception in the building is impossible. But the company informed him he was out of luck. “They told me my address was not in their ‘registry,'” he snoots. “Meanwhile, there’s a cable box right out front.”

In the five baseball seasons since, Ames estimates, he’s been on the phone with the nation’s largest cable provider 40 times, and although they have offered to send out survey teams, he still doesn’t exist to Comcast — as our own call to the company’s customer service department confirmed. With Phillies spring training less than three months away, Ames is not exactly feeling Comcastic about his chances of watching anything but snow this season. “It’s more frustrating than you could ever believe,” he says.

Meet a Health Hero: Joann Fegley

>> You can vote for Joann on our Facebook page September 24-30. Mark your calendar!

Name: Joann Fegley

Occupation: Coach of the Schuylkill Dragons Women’s Dragon Boat Team

Who or what motivates you to be healthy?
My motivation to be healthy started back when I was kid. My mom would do her best on a tight budget to make healthy, well balanced meals for us and talked about the importance of eating well. As an adult, it gets harder to stay motivated. But as a coach I want to be, as my mom was for me, a good role model. My team motivates me to keep myself fit and stay healthy; I want to reinforce what I coach by doing it myself. I also just feel better overall when I take care of myself by eating well and staying active.

Describe a health or fitness related turning point in your life.
There are always little moments in life that make you think and at times prompt a change. A fitness change that was a big turning point in my life was in the fall of 2003; that’s when I met this group of amazing women who were the members of the Schuylkill Dragons. I had been struggling with a work, life and fitness balance. I had just started a new job and was focused on my new career. I had also been diagnosed a few years earlier with a chronic knee injury, and was advised to not do any type of impact training. I had no intentions of joining the Schuylkill Dragons. I had gone to a fundraiser and learned about the sport of dragon boating, but with my focus on my career, and having both physical and time limitations, I didn’t think I could add anything new to my schedule. A coworker was interested in the team and the sport, so I agreed to go with her to a team workout being held at 12th Street Gym. I showed up on time and ready to hide in the corner and support my coworker. Well, she never showed up.

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Meet a Health Hero: Marci Schankweiler

>> You can vote for Marci on our Facebook page September 24-30. Mark your calendar!

Name: Marci Schankweiler

Occupation: President and Founder of For Pete’s Sake Cancer Respite Foundation

Who or what motivates you to be healthy?
My late husband, Pete, passed away at age 30 of testicular cancer. His death taught me that life is fragile and that we should care for our bodies, our minds and our spirits because we only get one of each! When we learned that we could not fix his physical health—the cancer was too far gone—we decided that we would nurture our mental, emotional and spiritual health and take a long break from cancer. We took a 17 day respite to relax, refresh and rejuvenate for what was sure to be a long journey ahead.

Today, I am remarried to a man who reminds me to seize the day, and we have two beautiful daughters. My family inspires me to be as healthy as I can be, so that I can ensure I am setting a good example and also that I will be around for a long time. I want my girls to grow up loving themselves and appreciate the things that their body can accomplish when they take care of it.

Additionally, my work with For Pete’s Sake Cancer Respite Foundation shows me that we tend to take our health for granted. In one instant, our lives can change with a cancer diagnosis. While we have regimens to help our physical fight against cancer, our mental health is just as critical. I am motivated each day by the many families we serve at FPS to help them address the psycho-social needs caused by a cancer diagnosis.

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Meet a Health Hero: Robert Bulgarelli

>> You can vote for Dr. Bulgarelli on our Facebook page September 24-30. Mark your calendar!

Name: Robert Bulgarelli, DO

Occupation: Director of Integrative Cardiovascular Medicine at Main Line Health and Cardiologist at Riddle Hospital

Who or what motivates you to be healthy?
My family, my patients and my passion to connect science and spirituality.

Describe a health or fitness related turning point in your life.
When I learned to meditate. It was the absolute point of no return on my pursuit of a more integrative approach to my own health and for my patients.

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Meet a Health Hero: Jeffrey Brous

>> You can vote for Jeffrey on our Facebook page September 24-30. Mark your calendar!

Name: Jeffrey Brous

Occupation: Personal Trainer at Horsham Athletic Club

Who or what motivates you to be healthy?
I have two primary sources of motivation: first there is myself. I like to be my primary motivator so when I mess up or slip-up, I am the only one I can hold accountable. The second source of motivation is chef/professor Adam Sacks at Johnson & Wales University. While it’s been years since we’ve connected, his lessons continue to motivate me. In fact, the cornerstone of what he shared is the foundation of what I teach today: FLY- First Love Yourself.

Describe a health or fitness related turning point in your life.
The biggest “turning point” or “a-ha” moment, as I have told to many students, was when I came out of the closet. The emotional pressure and strain was absolutely the worst. Instead of finding healthful solutions to manage the stress, I turned to eating. And I ate until I was over 400 pounds. I came out of the closet my first year of college, and it was in those moments that I finally understood that I have control over what I do. Ever since them, I have taken control and been in control. This doesn’t mean that I have been perfect the entire time; no one person is perfect. It’s not about how you fall. It’s about how you choose to get up and move forward that counts.

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Live chat: Eagles Vs. Jets

Join Tim and Sheil for a live chat as the Eagles close out the preseason against the Jets at MetLife Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Meet a Health Hero: Ryan Oelkers

>> You can vote for Ryan on our Facebook page September 17-23. Mark your calendar!

Name: Ryan Oelkers

Occupation: Co-founder and Senior Director of Operations for Cadence Cycling Foundation

Who or what motivates you to be healthy?
Since 2007, I’ve been fortunate enough to help over 600 kids get involved in the sport of cycling as the co-founder of the Cadence Cycling Foundation. Part of the mission of the foundation is to use cycling as a tool to help Philadelphia youth grow into healthy, happy and responsible adults. A couple of youth in the program have even lost over 100 pounds! The participants in the program continue to inspire me with their amazing hard work and dedication. Additionally, I’m the father of four kids and I want to be around a long time to see them grow up.

Describe a health or fitness related turning point in your life.
Being a professional cyclist offered me the opportunity to meet amazing people, travel the world and learn valuable life skills. Now I get to pass on these great experiences and skills to the kids in the Cadence Cycling Foundation. It’s great to be able to combine my love of cycling and help youth in the Philadelphia area.

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Meet a Health Hero: Mark Spann

>> You can vote for Mark on our Facebook page September 17-23. Mark your calendar!

Name: Mark Spann

Occupation: Tennis Coach and Owner of Upper Dublin Sports Center

Who or what motivates you to be healthy?
Mental health is my passion. The young mind is like a rubber band. It stretches in many directions.

Describe a health or fitness related turning point in your life.
In the early days of coaching, it alarmed me how many young people fell out of sport. The one-cap-fits-all philosophy was not working for everyone.

What “policy” would you institute to make Greater Philadelphia a healthier region?
Meeting people where they are at. Adopting approaches to attract the multitudes.

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