No News is Good News for WSSD Board

Wallingford-Swarthmore School Board
By Katie Crawford

“No findings,” were the sweet words spoken to the school board from Carl Hogan, manager of Not-For-Profit and Government Groups with BBD, Inc., in his summary of the 2015-2016 audit of the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District.

Hogan praised the business office for running “a tight ship” and for promoting ongoing dialogue between the business office and the auditors throughout the year to ensure accountability. Hogan also highlighted the smooth transition this year from Dr. Lisa Palmer as business manager to school superintendent, and the installation of Martha Kew as her replacement.

The projected revenue for the district was $71.2 million; actual revenue was $71.6 million. Projected costs were $73.2 million, while actual costs were $72.4 million. While the board had projected using $2.8 million of the fund balance, only $850,000 was needed to meet expenses. The sale of the Summit School contributed to this positive outcome.

Board member Paul Schregel praised everyone involved in the creation and implementation of the budget in difficult times, commending district leaders for “another year of outstanding administration to bring expenses in like this.”

One perpetual cloud on the horizon is the net pension liability, the district’s state-ordered responsibility to pay into the pension fund. Board president Dr. Sonntag clarified that while the district is required to pay into the state fund, it has no control over how the funds are managed. Given the history of poor management of the state fund, school districts’ payments to the pension fund continue to balloon, leaving our district to “tread water.” Dr. Sonntag noted that staff and teachers have earned these pensions and are entitled to receive them. He encouraged the community to press our state representatives to find better, more responsible ways of managing these monies.

Dr. Lisa Palmer highlighted in her report to the board that the two final parts of Nether Providence Elementary School’s Additions/Alterations Project were finally approved. PlanCon, Pennsylvania’s system for public school construction and reimbursement, has been backlogged for years with many schools waiting for reimbursement for state-approved projects. Dr. Palmer praised business manager Martha Kew for taking part in a public hearing this month about ways to streamline the PlanCon process in the future.

Bullying Policy Considered

The board approved the second reading of multiple policies including the policy on bullying. Board member Dr. Robert Reiger asked about the school district’s jurisdiction regarding cyber-bullying that might take place off school grounds during a weekend or vacation, voicing his concern that the school district might be put in the position of being a “nanny” state.

Solicitor Kyle Berman assured the board that the school district isn’t looking to extend jurisdiction and that the administration would act only if there was, “a substantial disruption in school or likely to be a disruption” as a result of cyber-bullying off school grounds, after school hours. Board member Chapin Cimino commented that if bullying “makes its way into the school setting so that it impacts instruction — that’s the test.”

In other school news, WES donated 60 frozen turkeys to Cityteam in Chester.

STEM night at SRS featured opportunities to suture raw chicken, play with interactive robots, and extract DNA from strawberries.

At NPE, courtesy of a grant provided by the Foundation for Wallingford Swarthmore Schools, students in Mr. Rosenberg’s 5th grade class had the opportunity to attend their own parent-teacher conferences to present their learning goals.

‘Mary Poppins’ Unfolds Brolly at PCS

The Mary Poppins ensemble rehearses a production number from the upcoming show at Players Club of Swarthmore.

The Mary Poppins ensemble rehearses a production number from the upcoming show at Players Club of Swarthmore.

Mary Poppins, the ultimate English nanny, takes up residence at the Players Club of Swarthmore beginning tonight, December 2, for a fortnight’s stay. The family musical bearing her name will run for ten performances on PCS’s main stage, offering a joyful and optimistic show that is truly apt for all ages.

Mary Poppins has delighted many generations in book, play and movie form. PCS’s version is directed by Brian Walsh, with music direction by Emily Szal and choreography by Emily Aaron Fishman and Katie Sienkiewicz.

More than 40 regional actors lend their talents to the cast, including Bridget Thompson of Havertown as Mary and Neil Kirschling of Wilmington as Bert, along with many young thespians from Swarthmore, Media and nearby.

Friday and Saturday showtimes are at 8 p.m.; Sunday matinees at 2 p.m., and Thursday evening performances at 7:30 p.m. Ticketing and more information is available at

PCS is located at 611 Fairview Road in Swarthmore.

YPTW Hoofers Sing Out in ‘Seussical Jr.’ at SRS

Seussical Jr. cast members include (left to right): front row: Caroline Boerth, Miranda Graves and Charlotte Taylor of Swarthmore, Max Kotzen of Wallingford; second row: Ellie Gordon and McKenna Daley of Swarthmore, Will Rubin of Media, and Joe Perullo of Swarthmore; in the tree: Amy Hogg of Swarthmore and Elizabeth Hughes of Media. Photo by Claudia Carlsson

Seussical Jr. cast members include (left to right): front row: Caroline Boerth, Miranda Graves and Charlotte Taylor of Swarthmore, Max Kotzen of Wallingford; second row: Ellie Gordon and McKenna Daley of Swarthmore, Will Rubin of Media, and Joe Perullo of Swarthmore; in the tree: Amy Hogg of Swarthmore and Elizabeth Hughes of Media. Photo by Claudia Carlsson

A cast of 50 elementary and middle school students inhabit Horton the elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, Thing 1 and Thing 2, the Cat in the Hat, and other fantastical creatures from Dr. Seuss next weekend in Young People’s Theatre Workshop’s presentation of the musical Seussical Jr.

The hardworking cast takes to the stage at Swarthmore-Rutledge School for an evening show at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 9, and returns for a matinee at 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 10.

Darrin Peters choreographed and will direct the show; Suzette Burgess is music director, and producers are Claudia Carlsson, Lori Knickerbocker, and Joe Southard. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Information is at and (610) 558-0988.

What to do? What to know!

WaR3house3 Hosts Benefit Concert
for Marlow Wright


Songs of freedom will be in the air next Saturday, December 10, at Swarthmore’s War3house3, whose owner Rob Borgstrom hosts a benefit concert for Jermaine Marlow Wright of Wilmington. Wright was recently freed from prison (and death row) following years of legal challenges which involved Swarthmore residents Herb Mondros and Michael Wiseman. Mondros’s band Out of Order joins Kuf Knotz, Will Paynter and Jay Popky of Sonoma Sound, Shawn Nolan and the Megs, Matt Wenger, and many others in an all-star lineup, starting at 7 p.m. Ticket donation is $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Photo by Herb Mondros

Ssh! Santa’s Coming Saturday!

Santa comes to Swarthmore Community Center this Saturday.

Santa comes to Swarthmore Community Center this Saturday.

Santa Claus is planning a visit to the Swarthmore Community Center this Saturday, December 3, in a setting that should make for successful visits with even the youngest children.

From 9 to 10 a.m., visits will be by appointment only, minimizing the hubbub for children who might not do well with noise and wait times. Sign up for these slots ASAP at

From 10 to 11:30 a.m., families (and even their dogs) can visit Santa without appointments.

Admission to the event is a requested donation to the Providence Animal Hospital (formerly the Delaware County SPCA.) The Swarthmore Community Center is located at 715 Harvard Avenue.

Holiday Sale at Scott

Anne Papa of Swarthmore taking home a bag full of fresh greens. Photo by R. Robert

Anne Papa of Swarthmore taking home a bag full of fresh greens. Photo by R. Robert


Gorgeous greens, holiday accents, long-lasting wreaths, living gifts, and free fun for the whole family can be found at the Scott Arboretum Selections: Holiday Sale on Saturday, December 3.

Member shopping will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; public shopping is from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The free event is held at the Wister Center. For more information, call (610) 328-8025 or visit

Mad Poets Society Presents Joyce Meyers at CAC

Former Swarthmorean Joyce Meyers

Former Swarthmorean Joyce Meyers

Media resident Joyce Meyers will present her poetry in December’s First Wednesday reading at the Community Arts Center in Wallingford on December 7.

The Mad Poets Society sponsors the monthly event, which begins at 7 p.m. in the ballroom on the second floor of CAC, which is located at 414 Plush Mill Road.

Light refreshments will be served, and an open mike invites budding poets to share their work following Joyce Meyers’s reading. CAC’s Holiday Sale will be open prior to the reading, providing one-stop shopping for gift-givers.

Hedgerow Theatre Rings in
Christmas Carol Season

The Hedgerow Theatre in Rose Valley heralds Advent with its annual production of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, which opened last weekend at the theatre at 64 Rose Valley Road. The play will be performed almost daily between now and Christmas Eve, both in matinees and evening shows at various times.

Hedgerow treasure Zoran Kovcic returns as Ebeneezer Scrooge, inhabiting the character with humor, pathos, complexity and ultimately, joy. A supporting cast including Hedgerow resident fellows and other regional actors is augmented by dozens of young performers portraying various Cratchits and urchins.

Hedgerow’s annual holiday gift is presented on the stage of the company’s 1830s grist mill, a setting consistent with the play’s time period as rendered by producing artistic director Jared Reed’s adaptation of Dickens’s classic. For showtimes, tickets, and other information, visit

Be Well Red Tonight at Furness Library

The occasional gathering known as Well Red returns to Helen Kate Furness Free Library tonight, Friday, December 2, at 7 p.m.

Wine will flow, cheese and crackers will be nibbled, and voices will rise well above a whisper in this popular fundraiser at the library. Tickets are $35 at the door. The Furness Library is located at 100 N. Providence Road in Wallingford.

Make Art and Read Poetry at Pendle Hill

Pendle Hill, the Quaker retreat in Wallingford, is also a venue for creative expression in the coming weeks.

The S.T.O.R.Y. Poetry Coffeehouse will meet on Sunday, December 4, from 2 to 4 p.m. Come share your poetry, or poems you admire, with other creative souls in a lively open mike session. Bring poems with titles or themes starting with the letter O. All are welcome; donation is $5, which includes light refreshments.

Arts and Spirituality Coordinator Jesse White also welcomes budding artists to open studio sessions from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays, December 10 and 17. Drop in for as long as you like; donation is $5 per hour. Supplies are provided, and a monitor will be present to help you get started in the lovely Firbank art studio at Pendle Hill.

The campus is located at 338 Plush Mill Road. More information is at

Xscape the Holiday? If you are looking to do something completely different over the holiday break, check out “Xscape the Room.” It may be the most engaging hour you’ll ever spend with your friends and family. The three expertly designed escape rooms at #1, #13, and #25 W. 3rd Street in Media are distinctly different experiences, challenging you and your group to think and work together to solve mysteries that hold keys to your “escape” experience. Holiday hours are Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays between 5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays between noon and 9 p.m. Tickets are $27, however if you use the promo code: HOLIDAY, you can save 10%. To book and get more information, go to or call (484) 471-7031. 

Xscape the Holiday? If you are looking to do something completely different over the holiday break, check out “Xscape the Room.” It may be the most engaging hour you’ll ever spend with your friends and family. The three expertly designed escape rooms at #1, #13, and #25 W. 3rd Street in Media are distinctly different experiences, challenging you and your group to think and work together to solve mysteries that hold keys to your “escape” experience. Holiday hours are Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays between 5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays between noon and 9 p.m. Tickets are $27, however if you use the promo code: HOLIDAY, you can save 10%. To book and get more information, go to or call (484) 471-7031.

Swarthmore Friends Meeting to Host
Social Justice and Spirituality Conclave

The Swarthmore Friends Meeting will host the Social Justice and Spirituality Thread Gathering on Saturday, December 10, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at its meetinghouse, 12 Whittier Place on the Swarthmore College campus.

Quakers from the region are invited to engage in enlightening interaction with others in a transformative community, expressing Quaker commitment to social justice and spirituality.

Registration and opening exercises begin at 11 a.m.; bring a brown bag lunch (salad provided). At 1 p.m., a political education session will be led by the New Sanctuary Movement, followed at 3:30 p.m. by breakout sessions on the sanctuary movement and other social change endeavors. Free child care is available for those who register by December 5.

For more information and to register, contact Zachary Dutton at (215) 241-7008 or

Trans* Bodies and Power in
the Age of Transgenderism

Next Monday, December 5, at 5 p.m. in the cinema at Lang Performing Arts Center, Jack Halberstam explores the possibilities that are suggested “as old classification systems give way to new, and as gender norms, bodily practices, and desires are reconfigured.”

Halberstam is visiting professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University, and author of a number of books exploring gender and sexuality, including the forthcoming Trans*.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Swarthmore College departments of Sexuality Studies, Film and Media Studies, and German Studies.

First Friday • December 2

Kandy Kids Toys and Gifts, 5 S. Chester Road. First Friday Free Events Christmas Craft for Tots: 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Make a Christmas Card: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Bring green buttons to add to our stash for this fun craft.)

H.O.M., 102 Park Avenue. Pop up Gallery: Jewel Mondros be displaying original water color and pen and ink works with prints available for purchase. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.; wine and refreshments will be served.

Wellness on Park, 100 Park Avenue
Candlelight Yoga: 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; cost $15. Feel relaxed and renewed with an uplifting Yin Yoga practice. Join us to renew as we enter the upcoming season. Donna Shumaker, Breathe Om Yoga.

Reiki With Marie, Suite 1. Marie, a certified Zentangle teacher, will be giving Zentangle® demonstrations in Room 1.
• There is a raffle; all proceeds go to Child Guidance Resource Centers of Delaware County.
• First Friday Special: 20% OFF all Gift Certificates for Reiki sessions, classes, and private Zentangle classes.

Mitten Tree Time

The Swarthmore Public Library is holding its annual Mitten Tree. Please bring new mittens, gloves, hats, blankets, etc., to the library. Monetary donations are gratefully accepted as well.

All donations will be picked up by December 15 and brought to Cityteam in Chester. Questions? Please e-mail Jane at

Healing Begins Now, Says Judith Trustone

Judith Trustone

Judith Trustone

If you feel confused and alienated following the divisive election rhetoric of the past season, Judith Trustone has some thoughts and words that can help.

Trustone, a Swarthmore resident and author, will discuss her just-published book The Global Kindness Revolution: How Together We Can Heal Violence, Racism and Meanness at a free event on Wednesday, December 7, at the Head Room, 24 Veterans Square in Media.

Registration is required at (610) 328-6101. For more information on Trustone and the Global Kindness movement, see

SSCA Invites You to Share Holiday Memories

All are invited to a light catered lunch at The Gathering Place on Wednesday, December 7 at noon. You only need to bring holiday memories which you may wish to share.

Join in the festivities at TGP, which is held in the Swarthmore United Methodist Church at 129 Park Avenue.

Swarthmore Solidarity March Sunday

No politics, just people united. That’s the the purpose of Sunday’s Solidarity March, which organizer Kabeera Weissman says will focus attention on civil rights, mutual respect among diverse groups, and positive values shared by the people of Swarthmore and their neighbors.

Beginning at 3 p.m. December 4 at the Central Park amphitheater, children and adults can craft signs and banners, sing songs, and hear brief remarks from clergy and representatives of Swarthmore Borough and the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District. At 4 p.m., march to Umoja Park to share refreshments and celebrate unity. All are welcome. Details are on Facebook — search Swarthmore Solidarity March.

Chester Children's Chorus

Chester Children’s Chorus

Chester Children’s Chorus Shares Gifts
at Holiday Concerts

Lang Concert Hall will fill next Friday and Saturday nights with fans of the Chester Children’s Chorus, and with the joyous holiday music these gifted singers will bring.

Selections will include holiday classics, classical selections, and a jazz suite. The 130-member chorus, comprised of students from the Chester Upland School District, is directed by founder John Alston, assisted by Sean Tripline.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 9, and Saturday December 10. Doors open at 6:45 p.m.; come early to be sure of seating in the concert hall on Swarthmore College’s campus. The concerts are free, without tickets. Information on the CCC is at and (610) 328-8286.

George Lakey Brings Viking Economics
to Pendle Hill

George Lakey

George Lakey

Former Swarthmore College professor George Lakey spent many years traveling, researching and writing to produce his latest book, Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians Got It Right – and How We Can Too!

In the First Monday lecture next week at Pendle Hill, Lakey will share his insights as to the relevance of Swedish, Danish, Icelandic, and Norwegian social models to America’s current situation of political division, economic inequality, and wasted potential.

A prolific speaker, teacher and thinker on social change, Lakey will speak on Monday, December 5, 7:30 to 9 p.m., in the Barn at Pendle Hill, 338 Plush Mill Road in Wallingford.

The First Monday forum talk is free and open to all. Copies of Lakey’s book will be available at the reading. For information, visit or call (610) 566-4507.

Jeffrey Rosen

Jeffrey Rosen

Jeffrey Rosen on Why Louis Brandeis Matters

One hundred years after the confirmation of Louis Brandeis as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, legal scholar Jeffrey Rosen argues that there is much to learn from Brandeis in today’s America.

Rosen, president of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, will speak to those attending the dinner meeting of the Swarthmore Discussion Group on Wednesday, December 14.

He makes the case for Brandeis’ influence, and what light he might shed on current questions surrounding the Constitution, corporate power and monopolies, technology and privacy, and free speech.

The group meets at 6 p.m. at the Inn at Swarthmore for dinner, followed by Rosen’s talk and a question and answer session. The ticket cost is $45; to check on availability and purchase, call Mary Carr at (610) 957-6132 or e-mail The Inn is located at 10 S. Chester Road in Swarthmore.



Molly Carroll and Kevin Jackson

Ken and Nancy Carroll of Swarthmore happily announce the engagement of their daughter Molly to Kevin Jackson, son of Robert and Karen Jackson of Rockville, Md.

Molly, a 2005 graduate of Strath Haven High School and a 2009 graduate of Colgate University, is a government affairs manager for the Toy Industry Association in Washington, D.C.

Kevin, a 2009 graduate of the University of Maryland, serves as operations manager for DMI, Inc., also in Washington D.C.

A fall 2017 wedding is planned.

Working Miracles at Spotlight Theatre

Pictured (l. to r.): Elizabeth Balabayev of Drexel Hill is Kate Keller, Jim Fryer of Lansdowne is Captain Keller, Emily West is Annie Sullivan, and Kayla Teplica is Helen Keller in Spotlight Theatre’s Miracle Worker.

Pictured (l. to r.): Elizabeth Balabayev of Drexel Hill is Kate Keller, Jim Fryer of Lansdowne is Captain Keller, Emily West is Annie Sullivan, and Kayla Teplica is Helen Keller in Spotlight Theatre’s Miracle Worker.

Helen Keller, young and headstrong; blind and mute; frustrated and unable to express her frustration, is nobody’s idea of a dream student. But teacher Annie Sullivan, herself with impaired vision, patiently persists through emotional, often violent confrontations with Helen. The Miracle Worker by William Gibson — which opens tonight at Spotlight Theatre in Swarthmore — tells the story of Helen and Annie at pivotal moments in their mutual education. The Broadway classic became a movie, beloved of generations of audiences.

Director Jessica Stinson is no exception. She has great love for the play, for this cast, and for theater writ large. Like many who animate and produce theater today, she has a regular job that demands her attention, as CEO of Century Global Executive Search in Philadelphia. But there’s work, and then there’s a calling.

Jessica Stinson

Jessica Stinson

“Theater saved my life. I was 30 years old, and I realized I wanted to move people.” Stinson got involved with Hedgerow Theatre, directing children’s productions and stage managing mainstage productions and developing her stagecraft. “I’ve learned what’s effective, and with Spotlight, I’m with people who have a lot of gifts and tools for communicating with audiences.” In Miracle Worker, for instance, the lighting and set design reinforce a sense of isolation and sterility. Act three brings color and depth to characters as they blossom.

Kayla Teplica of West Chester makes her acting debut as young Helen, the wild child whose struggles to communicate bewilder those around her. Emily West of Schwenksville is Annie Sullivan, who is part wrangler, part soothsayer, part saint.

“The story is paramount,” Stinson says of this production, which is both intensely emotional and universal in its celebration of humanity. A special performance on Sunday, December 18, will be staged for students in the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District, where Strath Haven middle-schoolers are reading The Miracle Worker this year.

Miracle Worker opens tonight, December 2, and runs through December 17, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and a Sunday, December 11, matinee at 2 p.m. Stinson invites Spotlight fans and supporters to join members of the company at a December 10 reception and silent auction, preceding that evening’s performance. The party begins at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday the 10th; curtain that night only is at 7 p.m. The theatre is downstairs at Swarthmore United Methodist Church, 129 Park Avenue.

More information on the play, the company and tickets is at

Briefly Noted

Lew Rinko passed on this spring, but his work lives on, inspiring readers and, apparently, critics as well. Lew’s wife Kay tells us that his book The Unique Childhood of a Hummer was named Runner-Up in the 2016 Best Indie Book Award competition. The book describes Lew’s childhood as an orphan, growing up and studying at Girard College in Philadelphia. He was a devoted Girard “Hummer,” an ad man, longtime Swarthmore resident and onetime owner and publisher of the Swarthmorean.


Swarthmore College sophomore Vanessa Meng (left) helped welcome Urmi Basu to campus in late November. Meng was an intern this summer with Basu’s organization New Light, in Kolkata, India, a residence and school for children of sex workers in that city. For children born into hopeless circumstances, Basu says her message is “You can create what you want in the world.” Inspired and motivated by her experience with Basu and her model, Meng requested and received a grant from the college to facilitate Basu’s visit to Swarthmore, which involved a screening of Half the Sky, a PBS documentary which focused on New Light, as well as a luncheon and public talk. Beyond sharing Basu’s messages and example among the Swarthmore community, Meng says she will build upon her own experiences by encouraging and guiding students who want to do direct service work. “It can be hard work, and difficult emotionally at first. But it was more difficult to come back at the end of my fellowship.”


Got milk? Mrs. Gaur’s second grade class at Wallingford Elementary School certainly does. They recently conducted the 11th annual Milk and Cookies Stand during snack time on parent-teacher conference days at WES in November. Teachers donated milk, and many students’ families baked and donated cookies. With a price of $1 for the combo, Mrs. Gaur’s herd raised an astonishing total of $1,754, all of which they will send to a primary school in Kenya, where the funds will purchase books and supplies. From left to right: teacher Sue Gaur and teacher assistant Anne Mulhern stand behind students (in the top row) Keegan G., Brody D., Van J., Ella H., Will L., Isabel L., Maxine M., Makaih G., Anna K., Gabe B., Carly T., Ryan S., Abhi K., Caroline R., and (in the bottom row) Amelie G., Harry P., Ethan L, Leah M., Paisley M., Scarlett M., Jaelen K., Zac C.  Kailey S. was absent.

Letters to the Editor

aFewSteps seeks a few hands

To the Editor:

“In the long run, climate change will make ISIS look like nothing more than a tiny little bug.” So said my colleague, Brad Gustafson, a lifelong Republican, who in his position at the Department of Energy, has often served a tempering role in that organization’s efforts to reduce the energy usage of the federal government’s buildings. Brad is so often the conservative “voice of reason” that his statement regarding climate change stands out, ominously.

Climate change is the greatest challenge facing our civilization. Yet Americans seem, by and large, unmotivated to do anything about it. Forget the remaining deniers – there will always be that contingent, just like those who think smoking isn’t bad for us. The more troublesome reaction to climate change is the failure of citizens who accept it to do anything to slow or stop it. Why is this? Students of the problem have posited hopelessness (it’s inevitable), helplessness (what can we do?), habituation (we’ve been hearing about this for decades and it’s boring), and selfishness (it’ll be bad, but I’ll get out before the worst of it).

aFewSteps, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2010, is looking to inject some new energy into our efforts. Our mission is to help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs of the residents, businesses, and institutions in the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District. aFewSteps has accomplished a lot in our short tenure, including:

• Provided “sustainability coaching” to more than 60 households across the four communities;
• Hosted more than a dozen workshops covering topics ranging from minimizing cooling costs to general environmental awareness;
• Promoted and facilitated green power sign-ups resulting in Swarthmore ranking second in the country (proportionately) in renewable energy usage;
• Helped ten local churches and synagogues lower their energy bills, and taught them how to “benchmark” their energy usage;
• Consulted and collaborated with all four of our municipalities on municipal energy-saving initiatives, such as LED street lighting and municipal building retrofits;
• Sponsored two photo contests to highlight local environmental concerns;
• Educated community leaders on throwing waste-free parties, spurring that to become the norm with numerous July 4th block parties;
• Co-sponsored events with groups such as the Swarthmore Garden Club, Earth Care Council, Transition Town Media, Swarthmore Historical Society, Swarthmore Co-op and GreenFaith.

We estimate that we’ve influenced several hundred households in the WSSD footprint. That’s impressive, but it represents less than 10% of the homes in the district.

What we’d like to do now is widen that reach. To that end, we’re inviting others to get involved. We have active committees covering the residential and commercial/municipal/institutional sectors, as well as ad hoc activities of various sorts.

We extend a hearty welcome to new players in our organization, ideally ones who represent some different demographics and perhaps some new skills. We’re seeking good men and women to help us overcome the inertia around this challenge that faces us all.

Interested? See our web site,, and feel free to contact me ( or any of our board members directly.

Phil Coleman

‘Has Swarthmore changed?’

To the Editor:

I was dismayed to read about the response to the proposal for the house at 200 S. Chester Road to become a home for cancer patients.

I grew up one block away. My mother worked at the Hollyhock Shop, greeting and meeting Swarthmore residents of all kinds. My father was an active member of the Player’s Club.

Both of my parents would have been more than welcoming to anyone who was looking for a place to live while fighting a serious illness.

Has Swarthmore changed? Have the charitable and Quaker beliefs disappeared? My family is disappointed to discover that money has usurped human kindness. Thank you.

Linda Reed

Know about FUSE?

To the Editor:

I attended the “4 Ever Grateful Concert” sponsored by the Swarthmore-Wallingford Interfaith Ministerium (SWIM) and The Fellowship of Urban Suburban Engagement (FUSE) at Ohev Shalom on Sunday. I went primarily because the youth choir from my church was participating, but soon realized that the event offered far more than music.

I knew of SWIM, but very little about FUSE. I do now. FUSE’s mission involves “deepening relationships, extending ourselves to one another, striving wholeheartedly to understand “The Other,” and creating a shared sense of destiny and purpose (

Sitting among so many neighbors from the Chester and Swarthmore communities of different races, genders, socio-economic backgrounds, ages and religions (including “Nones”), I soon realized that I was experiencing America at its best.

I am grateful to Ohev Shalom for hosting this extraordinary event. I know that many Americans, whether they voted for Hillary or Trump or neither one, are wondering what they can do to stand up for the values that make America great without contributing to the anger and division that threaten our nation. I believe that supporting FUSE and organizations with similar missions is an important part of the answer.

Grant Grissom

Swarthmore Fire Company’s New/Old Ambulance


Swarthmore Fire and Protective Association captains Michael Daley (in cab) and Conlen Booth are ready to hit the road in the fire company’s good-as-new ambulance, which just returned to Swarthmore following a “re-chassis.”

“We we put the existing ‘box’ on a new Chevy chassis with a Duramax engine that’s much more reliable than the old machine,” fire company Chief Engineer Rich Cresson said following the ambulance’s return last week. “We had been spending $5,000 or more each year on mechanical repairs and maintenance,” Cresson said.

Since the patient transport area behind the cab does not wear appreciably, and the Swarthmore company has continually upgraded the equipment within, the strategy made abundant sense. Captain Booth said, “Essentially, we have a new ambulance for $144,000 instead of the $200,000-plus retail cost.”


The fire company’s first responders will roll out in the nearly-new ambulance as soon as it is relicensed. Swarthmore Fire and Protective Association has just launched its fall fund drive, seeking donations from all Swarthmoreans and neighbors, in order to continue staffing with professional and volunteer firefighters and first responders, and maintaining its fleet and facilities to provide optimal emergency services.

Watch your mail for the appeal, and make a donation online at

Sober Living House Meets ‘Bleak House’

Dung H. Lau (left) was questioned Monday night by attorney Vincent Mancini during the Nether Providence Zoning Hearing Board’s consideration of Lau’s appeal of the citation of his property at 224 N. Providence Road.

Dung H. Lau (left) was questioned Monday night by attorney Vincent Mancini during the Nether Providence Zoning Hearing Board’s consideration of Lau’s appeal of the citation of his property at 224 N. Providence Road.

Jarndyce and Jarndyce were absent, but three attorneys representing parties to the case of a Wallingford “sober living” group residence advocated on behalf of their clients in the third monthly installment of Nether Providence Township’s zoning hearing of the appeal of Providence Recovery House. Wallingford’s version of the Charles Dickens serial novel Bleak House seems destined to continue into its third calendar year.

Monday night’s two and a half hour session involved township solicitor Michael Maddren and Media attorney Vincent Mancini in cross-examination of Dung H. “Gabe” Lau, who as owner of the house at 224 N. Providence Road has been cited for operating a business there, in a district zoned residential. Maddren encouraged Lau to expand on documentary evidence regarding the services provided and uses of the house, the conditions under which residents may come and go, interact with one another and staff, and the contracts, agreements and financial relationships among clients and service providers.

Attorney Mancini pressed Mr. Lau on the nature of the services provided by the sober living house and the related Providence Living addiction treatment facility at 1223 N. Providence Road in Upper Providence Township, which is jointly owned by Mr. Lau and Dr. William Heran. Lau and his attorney, Wendy McLean frequently noted that medical and treatment questions should properly be addressed to Dr. Heran, CEO of the treatment center, when he testifies. Mancini also focused questioning on use of the 224 house and the neighboring property at 218, which was also bought by Mr. Lau, inquiring as to the number of resident, regular visitors and the traffic they generate.

Attorney Davis stressed the burden of the continuing case to prospective witnesses like Dr. Heran, who must clear his schedule of professional appointments to await his turn to testify. Heran will be called to testify on December 19, following the conclusion of cross examination of Lau. Also at the December installment of the hearing, Mancini intends to call as witnesses the parents of Brian Fetterman, who died of a drug overdose in October 2015 while a resident of the sober living house. Once these witnesses have been heard, the ZHB will consider the testimony and make its ruling, most likely not before 2017.

Several among the immediate neighbors of 224 N. Providence Road observing the hearing have established an ad hoc group called the Nether Providence Community Zoning Collaborative. The group has crowdfunded via direct and Paypal donations to, though members were pessimistic about the prospects for continuing legal representation in the absence of more funding.

Solicitor Maddren noted that while the township and other parties originally planned to separate the zoning hearing and any potential accommodation hearing, he is hopeful that much of the testimony from the zoning matter would be available and applicable to later proceedings, potentially saving time.