Questions for the Candidates

Most Swarthmorean readers will be represented by the winners of the races for Pennsylvania’s 9th Senatorial district and 161st Legislative district. The Swarthmorean asked Republican and Democratic party candidates for their answers to a few questions of interest to us, and, we hope, to you. Their answers follow.

Q1. What is the biggest priority to be addressed (and why) in the 2017-18 Pennsylvania budget on the revenue side? On the expenditure side?

Q2: What needs to happen in Harrisburg to make Pennsylvania’s legislature more responsive to your constituents’ priorities? How will you help bring that about?

Q3: Does the Pennsylvania legislature have a role to play in containing health care cost growth? What measures do you favor exploring toward that end?

PA Legislative District 161

Leanne Krueger-Braneky (D), Incumbent

A1: On the revenue side, I’m fighting for a fairer tax system. My first priority is to continue to fight for a severance tax on oil & gas companies to make them pay their fair share for the natural resources that they are extracting from our soil. We also need to close corporate loopholes so that multinational corporations can’t get away with avoiding taxes in Pa. Right now, 30% of the businesses pay 100% of the corporate net income tax that’s generated and that’s not fair. The burden falls on small business owners and if we close the Delaware loophole, we could cut the corporate net income tax in half AND generate more resources for public education and human services. I will continue to advocate for increased funding for Pre-K and public K-12 education, as well as ensuring stability of programs that benefit seniors and those with disabilities.


A2: We need to decrease the influence of lobbyists in our government. That is why I’ve supported bills that would ban lobbyists from being campaign consultants, increase lobbying disclosure, and support common sense campaign finance reform. Every legislator makes a choice on who they will listen to when it comes to legislation and they can choose their constituents or special interests. I have spent the last 14 months meeting with our school superintendents, parents, and students about their needs. I don’t take money from oil and gas companies because my job is to stand up for taxpayers here in Delaware County, and that’s what I’ll continue to do if I am reelected in November.

A3: Yes, absolutely. Governor Wolf expanded Medicaid as enabled by the Affordable Care Act and we were able to cover an additional 670,000 Pennsylvanians. The legislature would do well to make that expansion of Medicaid law. Insuring as many people as possible will inevitably curb costs for taxpayers and keep insurance premiums in check.

Patricia Rodgers Morrisette (R)
Swarthmorewood, Ridley Township

A1: On the revenue side, I believe we need to work to pass an extraction tax on Marcellus Shale and dedicate that funding to addressing the looming state pension crisis, which represents tens of billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities. These pension payments need to be our biggest priority on the expenditure side. Those billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities represent a ticking time bomb that threatens the fiscal strength of the state and our ability to fund important programs such as education and social services. I believe by making drillers pay their fair share, we can begin to accumulate revenues that, over time, can help mitigate the unfunded liabilities we face.


A2: I have been very active in our local community for many years, which provides me with a strong understanding of the priorities of local residents. I am an involved member of the Delaware County Women’s Commission, the Advisory Committee of the Delaware County Office of Services for the Aging (COSA) and the Ridley Township Economic Development Committee. I believe my involvement in groups like this will help to make me more responsive. I have never run for political office, but decided to run because I did not feel our voice was being heard in Harrisburg. I have been very disappointed by some of my opponent’s votes, which I view as hurting working women. Specifically, she supported an increase in the personal income tax and new sales taxes on things like daycare and senior care. I have lived in this district my entire life. I know that people are hurting and many workers are no longer receiving annual salary increases that keep pace with inflation. I feel that my experience in the community will make me more responsive to my constituents and I will speak out for them in the legislature to try to return some level of common sense to our state government.

A3: Unknown to many Pennsylvania citizens, the state has a separate independent state agency that has the duty and responsibility to oversee and make recommendations to address rapidly growing health care costs, present strategies to contain costs, and stimulate competition in the health care industry. I believe the legislature should look to increase funding for this important agency so that it can continue to do comparative analysis on health care pricing and provide increased transparency. In addition, there are a range of common sense approaches that the state legislature can take to reduce health care costs. I was pleased to see the legislature approved legislation earlier this year to enter an interstate compact on telemedicine that enables Pennsylvania patients to obtain treatment from doctors in others states via telemedicine. This has the potential to help reduce costs while ensuring that patients have access to some of the nation’s leading medical experts in their fields.

PA Senate District 9

Thomas Killion (R), Incumbent

A1: In the House of Representatives, I was one of just 11 Republican members to support a reasonable tax on Marcellus Shale to ensure drillers pay their fair share. As a sitting member of the Senate, I believe I am in a better position to help get this reasonable tax on drillers passed, particularly given the budget deficit we face. This is one way we can help shore up the Commonwealth’s revenue streams. As a small business owner and job creator, I also know the importance of a strong economy in helping to increase state revenues. We need to do all that we can to attract new businesses to the Commonwealth, much as I did when I helped bring SAP America’s corporate headquarters to Delaware County. On the expenditure side, education has historically been the Commonwealth’s top priority and I was proud to have voted for several budgets that allocated record levels of state funding for K-12 education. I will continue to make education the state’s top priority in future budgets.


A2: I make being responsive to my constituents my top priority. I always make myself available to talk to local residents who call my office and I regularly hold public meetings and town halls so that I have the opportunity to hear from residents on important issues. One issue I know that local residents care passionately about is preserving open space and protecting our environment. That is why I took the lead in introducing Growing Greener 3 legislation to create new funding for open space preservation, improvements of our park system, trails and efforts to protect our stream and other waterways. I know that local residents care passionately about their pets and animal welfare, which is why I am one of the legislature’s leading advocates in combatting animal abuse, puppy mills, and animal neglect. My strong stance on these issues has earned me the endorsement of Humane PA. I know residents also care passionately about gun control issues, which is why I bucked my own party and have supported a host of common sense gun control reforms. My principled stance on gun issues — which reflects the views of my constituents — has earned me the endorsement of Delaware County for Sensible Gun Policy as well as Ceasefire PA.

A3: Early detection of diseases is a common sense way to reduce costs while also ensuring that we are helping to provide the best health care for our residents. Along these lines, I supported a common sense law, the Breast Density Notification Act that requires mammogram reports to include breast density information. This simple change greatly improved early detection of breast cancer for thousands of women across Pennsylvania. In addition to saving lives, it also helps reduce costs because it laws for treatment at earlier stages of the disease before it progresses further. We need to take the same approach in other areas, particularly as it relates to senior care. Approximately 2.7 million of Pennsylvanians are 60 and over — that is about 21 percent of our population. Our senior population is going to continue to make up a greater percentage of our population as older Pennsylvanians continue to age. I believe we can do more in the legislature to ensure that our seniors are receiving access to care, particularly early diagnoses of diseases. Early diagnoses improves the healthcare outcomes for seniors — making it more likely that they can beat the disease. But catching a disease in its early stages also allows for early treatment, which can be less costly. Another way to reign in healthcare costs — and improve the ability of our seniors and other Pennsylvanians to have access to specialists — is through innovation. During my few months in the Senate, I introduced a telemedicine bill that was signed into law with the support of health advocacy organizations across the state. This new law greatly expands Pennsylvanians’ access to specialized care, saves time, reduces costs and improves health care outcomes. It allows patients to connect to top specialists at a distance, deliver life-saving care and provide routine care in a cost-effective manner. I believe it is the wave of the future in health care, and I am pleased to have helped place our state at the forefront of this new technology. I would also note that Pennsylvania has a growing senior population.

Marty Molloy (D)

A1: The largest priority in terms of revenue is that we need a shale extraction tax. We are simply forcing individual taxpayers to bear the burden of funding education, infrastructure, and so many other critical functions of our state, while gas drillers and multinational corporations get a free ride. If we don’t force those entities to pay their fair share, we will be forced to cut in the areas of education, senior programs, and prisons. We must restore the funds cut from education funding during the Corbett administration, and expand the fair funding formula to include all education funding, rather than just new money in order to fix the horrible inequities in our system.


A2: Legislators must first start by being more accountable to their constituents by following through on the promises they make on the campaign trail. The overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians believe that we should enact a severance tax, which is what I will support and vote for in Harrisburg, and I will refuse any donations from the oil and gas industry. We must also reform the redistricting process, by taking it out of the hands of politicians. The responsibility of redistricting should be given to a nonpartisan redistricting commission. Representatives must also be more accessible to their constituents. Whether by attending community events, holding frequent town halls, or simply being responsive to each constituent that seeks to engage, representatives should make themselves available to their communities and constituents, not special interests in Harrisburg.

A3: A lot of healthcare costs are born out of uninsured citizens waiting to seek treatment until the point at which they are forced to use an emergency room as a last resort in seeking medical care. Getting people covered incentivizes regular and preventative care. This, in turn, will allow hospitals to operate more efficiently, provide cost savings for taxpayers and current insurance subscribers, and improve the lives of thousands.

Panther Delivers for One Foundation; Eighth Graders Seek Donations for Another

Strath Haven’s Panther was reluctant to take his paws off a check from the Foundation for Wallingford-Swarthmore Schools. WSSD Board chair Dr. Rick Sonntag and Superintendent Dr. Lisa Palmer did secure the $15,000-plus, which will fund enrichment programs and basic tools for district students.

Strath Haven’s Panther was reluctant to take his paws off a check from the Foundation for Wallingford-Swarthmore Schools. WSSD Board chair Dr. Rick Sonntag and Superintendent Dr. Lisa Palmer did secure the $15,000-plus, which will fund enrichment programs and basic tools for district students.

Wallingford-Swarthmore School Board
By Katie Crawford

The Strath Haven Panther mascot made a visit to the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District Board meeting on Monday night. Despite limited visibility, the mascot managed to deliver a check for $15,491.64 to board president Dr. Richard Sonntag and superintendent Dr. Lisa Palmer.

The funds — all raised through the activities of the private Foundation for Wallingford-Swarthmore Schools — will be used in part to support teacher grants throughout the district. Frannie Reilly, Foundation president, was on hand to highlight for the board some of the funded projects for this year.

• All 5th grade students at Swarthmore-Rutledge School, with the assistance of an artist-in-residence, will study the multilayered process of creating a play from start to finish including exploration of elements of set design, staging, and performance. SRS will also add to the maker space resources available so that more children will have the opportunity to practice creating circuits and study simple machines. These hands-on tools will also be further integrated into the standardized curriculum.

• At Nether Providence Elementary School, upper level students will be trained to lead their own parent-teacher conferences as a way of deepening their own metacognition (awareness of how they learn). A mobile stand was also purchased for NPE to store and allow for greater mobility of the maker space products available to their students.

• Wallingford Elementary School is going to develop a guided reading library for its 2nd grade students.

• Strath Haven Middle School will purchase Lego Mindstorm kits which will enable students to build rovers similar in design to those now exploring Mars.

• Strath Haven High School will receive money to fund a robotics development program. In addition, funds will support the development of a mentoring and leadership program at the high school for new students, each of whom will be paired with an older student.

Foundation support of teacher grants like these was up more than $1,000 over last year. Foundation funds also purchased calculators and organizational tools for underprivileged students and provided stipends for college students who were hired to help at homework clubs in elementary schools in the district. In addition to the upcoming Panther Pajama Run and Pancake breakfast on November 12 and the annual Arts for Smarts event, the foundation is organizing its first golf outing on May 15 at Springhaven Golf Club, for which they are currently seeking sponsors. Information about the foundation and the upcoming run are available at

Pajamas, Pancakes, Fun and Fundraising

SHMS 8th graders are going to work alongside organizers of the Panther Pajama Run and Pancake Breakfast as part of their service project, which seeks to raise funds for The Connor Holland Foundation. This foundation provides financial and emotional support to families who are enduring the medical treatment of a loved one.

Connor Holland, the son of the foundation’s organizers, died from leukemia on September 4, 2011. While he was receiving treatment, he noticed that not all of the patients had cozy, fun pajamas like his. He asked his mother to go buy some for the other children. Connor’s Comfy PJs is one of the programs supported by the Connor Holland Foundation, distributing new pajamas to children receiving treatment.

Eighth graders, some of whom made a PJ-clad visit to the board meeting as well Monday night, will be collecting donations of new pajamas during the Panther PJ run on Saturday, November 12. On November 10, Connor’s family will be attending the annual Volleyball Night at the middle school. Eighth graders will also be selling cocoa to raise money at the night game of the middle school football team at King Field on November 2 to raise funds for the foundation.

What to do? What to know?

Opening ‘Windows’ at List Gallery

Night Window–Red Curtain, 1972 Falling Window Sash, 1992. Oil on linen, 66 x 36 inches Oil on linen, 60 x 38 inches.

Night Window–Red Curtain, 1972 Falling Window Sash, 1992. Oil on linen, 66 x 36 inches Oil on linen, 60 x 38 inches.

Over nearly 70 years as an artist, Lois Dodd has become one of the most admired figurative artists working in America. Her paintings in a new show at List Gallery, called “Lois Dodd: Windows and Reflections” explores her decades-long fascination with windows, tree limbs, ponds, and other natural landscape elements that both frame and focus our attention.

The exhibition of Dodd’s paintings opens on Thursday, November 3, at List with an artist’s talk at 4:30 p.m. in the cinema at the Lang Performing Arts Center, Swarthmore College.

Dodd will speak with critic, teacher and writer Faye Hirsch and List Gallery director Andrea Packard, who curated the exhibition. A reception follows in the List Gallery from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The events and exhibition are free and open to the public. For a PDF of the catalog and other information, e-mail or call (610) 328-8488.

SSCA Luncheon

Join the Swarthmore Senior Citizens’ Association Gathering Place luncheon meeting Wednesday, November 2, at noon, for a light catered lunch and at 12:30 p.m. to hear Dr. John Christodouleas, a radiation oncologist, who specializes in the treatment of prostate and bladder cancers.

The luncheon will take place at the Swarthmore United Methodist Church, 129 Park Avenue. All are welcome. For more information, call (610) 952-0649.

Medicare Update Presentation

A Medicare Enrollment presentation will be held in Springfield coinciding with the open enrollment period, which runs through December 7.

This presentation will explain the upcoming year’s changes, and provide information about Medicare premiums, deductibles, co-pays, new Medicare Advantage Plans, and Part D prescription plans.

The free presentation will be held on Thursday, November 10, at 2 p.m. at the Springfield Township Building. For more information and to pre-register (required), contact Lori at (484) 496-2138.

‘Hot Topics’ Affecting Seniors

A presentation regarding updates in the law and hot topics affecting seniors, will be given on Thursday, November 3, at 1 p.m. at the Brookhaven Municipal Building.

Robert and Dana Breslin, Esq. will discuss many hot topics and answer questions at this free event. To register please contact Lori at (484) 496-2138.

Midday Monday Concert

The Akropolis Reed Quintet will perform in Swarthmore College’s Lang Concert Hall on Monday, November 7, at 12:30 p.m.

This event is free and open to the public. Attendees are welcome to bring a bag lunch.

More than Sixteen Feet


Swarthmore College’s oldest a cappella group, Sixteen Feet, will reprise its greatest hits of the past 35 years in a reunion concert on Saturday, October 29, at the Pearson-Hall Theatre in Lang Performing Arts Center.

Alumni from four decades will join in song as part of Swarthmore College’s Garnet Weekend.The performance begins at 8 p.m. and is open to all, free of charge.

Bark in the Park Walk/5K

The Providence Animal Center hosts its annual Bark in the Park Dog Walk/5K and Fall Festival on Saturday, October 29, at Rose Tree Park from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Attendees can bring their own dog(s) or can “rent” a shelter dog. Pre-registration for the walk/run and fun contests is available at

Fundraisers who collect over $75 in donations for the lifesaving nonprofit will receive an event T-shirt. The event will be held rain or shine.

LWV’s Olivia Thorne Breaks Down
the Elections at SPL

It’s election eve — do you know where your votes are going?

The League of Women Voters may have the best repository of information on races from the top to bottom of your ballot, and the League’s Olivia Thorne will share that info with you next Tuesday, November 1, at 7 p.m. at Swarthmore Public Library, 121 Park Avenue,

Thorne has been very active in efforts to maintain fair voting laws and practices in Pennsylvania. She will share news and answer questions about races national and local, to help you inform yourself before entering the voting booth.

The program is free and open to the public. To register, call (610) 543-0436 or e-mail

Thanksgiving Arrangements

Join gardener Adam Glas, on Tuesday, November 22, in the Gillespie Room on Swarthmore College’s campus, to create a gorgeous arrangement for your Thanksgiving table with fresh autumn greens and flowers.

Participants will create their own centerpiece to take home. Only 18 spaces are available; the registration fee is $55 for nonmembers and $45 for Scott members. To register, go to or call (610) 328-8025.

Caregiver Support Group at Chester Senior Center

Join this group of caregivers and professionals to share experiences, resources, and information.

The group will meet with facilitator Debbie Templeton on Tuesday, November 1, at 2 p.m. For more information, contact the Chester Senior Center at (610) 497-3550.

Cure: An Ideology?

On Friday, November 4, at Science Center 101 of Swarthmore College, author, poet and activist Eli Clare explores the roots and contemporary concepts of “cure,” which he defines as “the deeply held belief that body-minds considered broken need to be fixed.” His forthcoming book is Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure.

The talk from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. is free and open to the public.

Scott Workshop: Design with Natives

Travis Beck, director of horticulture at the Mt. Cuba Center in Delaware, will show examples of beautiful native plantings in a variety of styles from Mt. Cuba and beyond. He’ll share strategies for design success and discuss how to deal with some of the challenges that natives bring.

The event will take place on Friday, November 4, from 10 a.m. until noon at the Gillespie Room at the Scott Arboretum’s office on College Avenue.

The registration fee is $30 for nonmembers, and $20 for Scott Arboretum and Association of Professional Landscape Designers members. To register, go to or call (610) 328-8025.

Scott and Hardy Plant Society
Welcomes Dan Heims

Dan Heims, president of the Terra Nova Nurseries, will be discussing some of the newest, most exciting perennials, tropicals, and woodies.

This event is free and open to the public, but space is limited to 200 and will seat on a first come, first served basis.

The event will take place at the Lang Performing Arts Center Cinema on Sunday, November 6, starting at 2 p.m. For more information, visit

Mad Poets Society Welcomes
J.C. Todd and Dilruba Ahmed

The Mad Poets Society presents J.C. Todd and Dilruba Ahmed as they read their poems on Wednesday, November 2, at 7 p.m. at the Community Arts Center in Wallingford.

J.C. Todd

J.C. Todd

J.C. Todd is a winner of the International Literary Awards’ Rita Dove Poetry Prize. She is also the author of three poetry collections.

Dilruba Ahmed’s poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Blackbird, New England Review, New Orleans Review, and Poetry. She is also a lecturer in creative writing at Bryn Mawr College.

For more information, contact Sibelan Forrester at (610) 328- 8162 or e-mail

Ladies’ Night Out at Notre Dame

Ladies, come out for an evening of fun, socializing, and shopping on Friday, November 4, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The event will take place in Father Nelson Hall on the grounds of Notre Dame de Lourdes Parish.

More than 40 vendors will be on hand, and lots of fantastic prizes will be auctioned off. There will also be the opportunity to exchange any silver or gold pieces (jewelry, flatware, platters) for cash.

Notre Dame is located at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Fairview Road in Swarthmore.

Nature’s Narratives at Scott

Join fellow garden enthusiasts and book lovers in a book discussion group sponsored by the Scott Arboretum.

The discussions are free and open to the public and will take place in the Scott Horticultural Library on Wednesday, November 9, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Advance registration is required; please read the book first (Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds). For more information, call (610) 328-8025.

Jayce Ogren Conducts Orchestra 2001
in ‘Body Music’

Orchestra 2001’s season opener of “Body Music,” conducted by Jayce Ogren, will take place at the Lang Concert Hall on Saturday, October 29, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The performance features dance-inspired music composed by Derek Bermel, John Adams. Sebastian Currier, and Joan Tower. There will be a pre-concert discussion at 7:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

Providing Rides to Polls on November 8

The Swarthmore Senior Citizens Association will provide rides to and from the three polling places in Swarthmore Borough on Election Day, November 8. This will be a nonpartisan service, open to all who are going to vote in this election. Rides can be arranged from home to polling place and back during the day.

Some early morning rides may be available from the polling places to the Swarthmore SEPTA station. In the evening, rides will be available from the train station to the polling place and then home. Please prearrange your ride by calling (610) 544-3876 and leaving a message with your name and phone number.

Seniors are volunteering to drive as a service to the community, and to encourage everyone to get out and vote. If you would like to drive (whether or not you are a senior) call the phone number above and leave your information.

‘Trunk or Treat’ at Wallingford Pres

Join the Wallingford Presbyterian Church as it hosts its first annual Trunk or Treat event on Sunday, October 30, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Those interested in decorating and offering treats from the trunks of their cars should arrive at 3:30 p.m. to set up.

Wallingford Presbyterian Church is located at 110 E. Brookhaven Road. For more information contact Jenny Montague at (610) 742-5343. Parents are encouraged to register under the kids section of the WPC website,

William Sharp Master Class

William Sharp

William Sharp

William Sharp, a baritone known for his vocal quality, sensitivity, and charisma, will conduct a master class for Swarthmore College students on Sunday, October 30, starting at 2 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Gil and Mary Stott Chamber Music Master Class Series and the College’s Department of Music and Dance.

The event is free and open to the public. No tickets or reservations are required. The event will take place at the Lang Concert Hall on the Swarthmore College campus.

In Brief: Short Plays at MAC Gallery

Seven plays in less than 70 minutes: that’s the pitch this weekend at MAC Gallery, 609-B W. State Street in Media.

Delaware County playwrights Margie Royal and Gwen Armstrong Barker have written or adapted (from Hawthorne and Poe) seven spooky, comic and thought-provoking plays for this Halloween weekend, directed and acted by veteran theatre professionals.

Showtime is 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, October 28 and 29.

“Pierrot at War,” painted by Elenore Abbott, adorns the invitation to the Rose Valley Museum and Historical Society’s ”Masquerade” fundraiser this Saturday, October 29, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Thunderbird Lodge, 41 Rose Valley Road. Tickets are available at the door for $75 apiece. “Pierrot” is among the artifacts and objects that will be collected in the Museum. Information is at and (610) 627-1210.

“Pierrot at War,” painted by Elenore Abbott, adorns the invitation to the Rose Valley Museum and Historical Society’s ”Masquerade” fundraiser this Saturday, October 29, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Thunderbird Lodge, 41 Rose Valley Road. Tickets are available at the door for $75 apiece. “Pierrot” is among the artifacts and objects that will be collected in the Museum. Information is at and (610) 627-1210.

Letters to the Editor

Where’s my sign?

To the Editor:

I want to tell the person who stole my “not Hillary” sign on Saturday that it was sneaky, cowardly, and illegal. You know who you are and I’m sure you are so proud of yourself. After all, your Presidential candidate has had a little trouble with the truth, so what’s the big deal?

As I walk my dogs through town, it’s apparent that the Clinton signs remain untouched. My friends outside of our lovely little town were betting each other on how long it would be before something like this happened.

It’s amazing how the non-Democrats had to endure the months of Obama signs that stayed up long after the last election, and yet one little “not-for-Hillary” sign was enough to turn one of you into a common criminal.

Patricia Perrone

‘Go back to freedom’

To the Editor:

Both candidates have had personal issues in their past. We need to look past all the political rhetoric.

We need a President who will stop the progressives, and return us to our founding form of government. We are now an oligarchy, we are run by Soros, Multinational corporations, the U.N., and our career politicians, to name a few.

Wake up everyone, our government is a shadow of our constitutional republic form of government, and we need to go back to freedom and liberty. This includes stopping immigration until the 10,000,000 illegal immigrants can be assimilated.

Illegal immigration is a part of the plan for the New World Order our leaders have been sucked into. I hope Trump, when elected, brings lawsuits against all the living former Presidents, and career government and party leaders for treason. This has to be reversed.

Do not vote for any incumbents. Both parties are caught up in this. This erosion has been occurring for over 100 years. It happens so slowly it is hard to notice, especially for young people.

James Riviello

My vote goes to…

To the Editor:

I agree this coming presidential election will be the lesser of two evils. I will vote for Trump. He has not said or done many things I would have liked to hear, but I do like his advisers, Lawrence Kudlow, Rudy Giullani, Dr. Ben Carson, Newt Gingrich, but most of all his V.P. choice.

One glaring problem is that the Clintons have been under investigation, indictment, and impeachment since coming to D.C. They are adept at looking into the camera and saying, “I never did anything wrong.”

Charles Krauthammer explains how the Clinton Foundation is simply money laundering. Benghazi is a deliberate abandonment of our people.

And then there is the Iran deal… REALLY? On and ON and ON…

Bev Stewart

It’s shameful

To the Editor:

I was saddened ever since reading the article in the Swarthmorean from September 16 (Swarthmore Fair Housing Panel Approved Accommodation). My discomfort from reading about the behavior of the Holmes and Swarthmore communities at that meeting came from both the unpitying tone that a group from the two communities (none of whom had personally invested in homes that had a direct stake in the neighborhood) displayed against an under-represented minority group of six Swarthmore families actually living on the block; but my sadness also came from a sense of foreboding. Foreboding, in that a train wreck has been set in motion that will not be apparent until it ends in the wreckage of a once-beautiful home at 200 South Chester Road that won’t be maintained by the well-meaning but woefully unequipped and inexperienced Headstrong Foundation, and will also result in an ongoing disservice to families of cancer patients at an unsupervised, overcrowded single-family residence that is simply unsuited for so many people.

I would encourage all of us to take a step back and look at what was really described by the article. If you are honest with yourself you won’t like what you see. Every one of us, particularly those six families in our community who live around that home, some of them for many years, deserve a fair hearing to have the same standards applied to their case, as you would wish for yourselves. Instead, these families were told in the pages of this paper by one of the members of the Panel, even before their concerns could be heard, that a ruling against them would be made. In short, the rules must be waived, and there is no reason for applying the standards that have been set out to ensure fairness to homeowners who have long legal and moral standing in the community already. They were steamrolled. To paraphrase Bernie Sanders, it looked like an uncaring, if not corrupted, system that’s rigged against the common citizen. Where was the fair deal for these six families? Yet we let it happen. And we cheered.

The cheering at the end of the meeting that the article described was not fitting for Swarthmore, with its strong roots as a Quaker town, respectful of all viewpoints, protective of those who do not have a voice, and intent on seeing that everyone gets a fair deal. Instead, it reminded me of the short story that we all read as students, Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery. In that story, one innocent family of a normal Swarthmore-like hamlet is chosen by lottery to be stoned to death in an annual ritual ceremony, and no one questions it. The story showed the worst of an uncaring majority of jeering neighbors, unfazed by the suffering of a minority of individuals as long as they could feel good about their own undisturbed situation. A cautionary tale? I would say that The Lottery is playing out in Swarthmore right now. It’s downright shameful.

Vashona Williams

Editor’s note: We stand by our reporting on the requested accommodation for use of 200 S. Chester Road by the Headstrong Foundation, and don’t find in it any indication of prejudice by members of the Accommodation Request Review Board. Articles and letters on the subject are at

Swarthmore Library’s Book and Bake Sale

The Friends of the Swarthmore Public Library will hold its Fall Book and Bake Sale from Thursday, November 3, to Saturday, November 5.

The sale hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

In addition to delicious home-baked treats, the SPC sale offers food for the brain and soul, with novels, nonfiction, music CDs, craft and cook books, and a wonderful array of children’s books. The Booktique will have rare and unusual treasures for sale.

Donors, note that the last day to bring in book donations for the sale is Sunday, October 29.

Angels Return to Swarthmore

Lizzie Dalton-Negron and Ed Donlevie are two of the actors performing in the PCS’s production of Angels in America, Part II: Perestroika opening tonight, October 28, at 8 p.m.

Lizzie Dalton-Negron and Ed Donlevie are two of the actors performing in the PCS’s production of Angels in America, Part II: Perestroika opening tonight, October 28, at 8 p.m.

The Players Club of Swarthmore is going back to the deep well of Tony Kushner’s epic play cycle with its production of Angels in America, Part II: Perestroika, which opens Friday, October 28, for 12 performances through November 12.

This past March and April, PCS performed Angels in America, Part I: Millennium Approaches, which captures the politics and social failures surrounding the HIV/AIDS epidemic in New York City in the 1980s, and the hopes, fears, and contradictions of characters in and around the gay community of the time.

Everything is broken in Part I, Ebersole said, and the play ends with a challenge to the audience. “In Perestroika, everyone is picking up the pieces and not knowing what to do with them. The play explores how we took up these challenges in the ‘90s, not always as elegantly as we wanted.”

The cast of PCS’s Part I committed to remain available for Part II. Director Dave Ebersole said while this cast had to feel its way when it first assembled for Part I, the process was different this fall. “It was a like visiting an old friend.” In a recent read-through of Part II, Ebersole said, the cast still knew 90% of the script. “Everyone was excited, both with how much they recalled, and how it felt to inhabit those characters. Everyone knows who they are now.”

The two parts will be performed in sequence on Saturday, November 12, the last day of the run. “It’s a rare theater event,” Ebersole said. “Tony Kushner said that ‘An epic play should be fatiguing,’ and though it is demanding, I’m thrilled we’re able to do it.”

The themes and production are also meant to challenge, incorporating illness and death, sexuality, onstage nudity and flying angels. Ebersole, a Lansdowne native and Broomall resident, said, “I feel that this play should be done more in the suburbs. It’s not the easiest play, but producing director Brian Walsh stood by me and the decisions I made. Kudos to the Players Club for presenting its first play where most of the characters are gay.”

The play features an original score composed by Mick Loro. The cast includes regional actors Ryan Goulden, Ed Donlevie, Taylor Darden, Heather Ferrel, Walter Hamilton McCready, Steve Connor, Rhonda Goldstein, and Lizzy Dalton-Negron.

Following the opening tonight, performances are Thursdays, November 3 and 10, at 7:30 p.m., Fridays, November 4 and 11, at 8 p.m., Saturdays, October 29, November 5 and 12, at 8 p.m., and Sundays, October 30 and November 6, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students 18 and under, with ID.

On November 12, Part I at 3 p.m. will precede Part II, with a special ticket price of $25 for both plays.

Visit for information and tickets. Players Club of Swarthmore is at 614 Fairview Road in Swarthmore.

Empty Bowls Fundraiser at CAC

Potters Guild members Jill Ross Meltzer, Carol Seymour and Nadia Bond held ceramics workshops in the summer and early fall to meet the goal of creating 500 hand-made bowls for the Empty Bowls Luncheon on October 30 at CAC.

Potters Guild members Jill Ross Meltzer, Carol Seymour and Nadia Bond held ceramics workshops in the summer and early fall to meet the goal of creating 500 hand-made bowls for the Empty Bowls Luncheon on October 30 at CAC.

The Community Arts Center and the Potters Guild will host their fourteenth annual Empty Bowls luncheon fundraiser. This project which aids hunger-fighting organizations, will be held Sunday, October 30, from noon until 2 p.m.

Attendees are invited to enjoy a meal of soup and bread for a minimum donation of $10, and then to take home their bowl. The proceeds of the fundraiser will go to local food banks in Philadelphia, Chester, and other locations in Delaware County.

For more information, contact the Arts Center at (610) 566-1713 or visit CAC is located at 414 Plush Mill Road in Wallingford.

Briefly Noted…


SEPTA dedicated and officially opened its Crum Creek Viaduct last Friday in a ceremony at the foot of the newly-built rail bridge. On a beautiful fall day, PennDOT and SEPTA managers thanked the state, county, borough, Swarthmore College and local neighbors for their cooperation on the project. Present were PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards, SEPTA General Manager Jeff Knueppel, Media-Elwyn Line Director of Railroad Services Kim Kennedy, State Representative Leanne Krueger-Braneky, Delaware County Council Chair Mario Civera, staffers for Senator Bob Casey and Congressman Bob Brady, Swarthmore Mayor Tim Kearney, Borough Manager Jane Billings, and Borough Council member Ross Schmucki, who took this photo. Officials noted the crucial importance of the Elwyn line to our region’s economic and cultural health. Replacement of the 120-year old original bridge took about 18 months, and should last for another century. Ross Schmucki reports: “It was heartening to see such a collection of dedicated, capable people who are working for good in our community. From Swarthmore College, Greg Brown [VP of finance and administration] and Stuart Hain [VP of facilities and capital projects] have interacted with the town on this and many other projects. Jeff Jabco [director of grounds for the college and a member of the town tree committee] coordinated the planting of trees along the creek through the TreeVitalize project, in addition to the hundreds planted by SEPTA. The college re-laid the Stonehenge blocks in a new configuration that looks positively ancient and authentic from the hillside. The entire valley looks beautiful.”

John's Eagle BOR with Leaders

John’s Eagle BOR with Leaders

On Wednesday, September 28, John Crawford of Troop 112 was approved for Eagle Scout Rank by the Boy Scout Board of Review held at the Media Court House. John has been a scout with Troop 112 for seven years, and serving in leadership positions including Patrol Leader and Senior Patrol Leader. As part of his development, John attended the week long National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) several years ago, a youth led leadership training program. John’s parents are Joe and Joy Crawford of Swarthmore. For advancement to Eagle, John led a service project designing and constructing benches and picnic tables in Little Crum Creek Park over the summer, to provide a better outdoor experience for the members of the community. As a senior in high school, John is applying to the Naval and Coast Guard Academies. Pictured (l. to r.): Scoutmaster Charles Kropac, committee chairman Kevin Connell, Eagle Scout John Crawford, assistant Scoutmaster Joe Foglio, and assistant Scoutmaster David Heinbockel.


SUMC Group Reports From Appalachia. More than 20 members of Swarthmore United Methodist Church traveled this July to live and work for a week on three home sites in Guyan Valley, West Virginia as part of the Appalachia Service Project. Last month, youth and adult ASPers reported on their experiences making homes “warmer, safer, and drier” for needy families, accompanied by lots of photographs and bluegrass music during SUMC’s worship service. From left to right: Jonathan Cresson, Steve Murray, Sarah Peichel, Rich Cresson, Nick Restrepo, Henry Shankweiler, Justin Fitzgerald, Aidan Cole, Bella Perrins, Ted Murray, Kay Walker, Evan Savoth, Vicky Huestis, Will Huestis, Zoe Bock, Will Haury, Katie Pell, Matt Restrepo, Marty Spiegel, Linton Stables and Charlie Hoover. Many of this year’s crew have already signed up for 2017; if you are interested in learning more about ASP and joining them next year, contact the church office.

The Autumn Gardener

By Pete Prown

Fall is a conflicted time for gardeners. There’s ample research that we can do wondrous things in the garden now, but so many of us have turned our attention to home decorating, raking leaves, and the fast-encroaching holidays. Still, the “to do” list bears repeating.

Plant daffodils by the score, as well as tulips and minor bulbs (crocuses, snowdrops, glory-of-the-snow, etc.). Granted, squirrels and deer sometimes like to eat our precious tulips, but the spring show is always worth it. If you’re concerned about hungry critters, cover the bulb bed with chicken wire or buy pest deterrents at garden centers. Anyway, if you plant lots of bulbs in the fall, you will thank yourself next April and May. It also makes for a rewarding afternoon spent outside and will make that end-of-day beer taste that much better.

Plant & Divide
Now is the time to dig up that clump of black-eyed Susans, hostas, coneflowers, and other perennials and divide them. This will not only give you more plants, but will invigorate their roots and make them healthier. Share them with friends, too. In addition, planting all manner of perennials, trees, shrubs, and hardy vines now will also give you a jump on next year — it’s like adding an entire year of growth just by planning ahead six months.

Small Tree Work
In fall, I wander the yard looking for cool-weather tree projects that need attention. These colder months are the best time to address broken, dangling branches or small trees that are growing in the wrong place and need removal. A chainsaw makes quick work of woody plants and trees, but I often prefer a simple bow saw — I can take down a tree with a four- or five-inch caliper (trunk diameter) in just a few minutes and it’s a good workout.

I bring out a chainsaw for medium-sized trees that have fallen during the summer and have branches that need to be chopped up. You can dry these branches and logs out over the course of the next year and burn them in your fireplace next year. If you have a woody area where you can create a brush pile, toss branches there and instantly create a terrific animal habitat for our furry and flying friends.

Raking leaves, the inevitable fall chore, is usually more fun than not. I prefer to attack them over a month or six-week period, as various trees drop their leaves at different times. Ash trees go early, while maples are among the latest.

I combine periodic mowing — a lazy, but highly effective way to chop up lawn leaves — with old-fashioned raking and dragging them on a tarp to compost in the woods. Conversely, putting leaves in plastic bags is a poor choice, as you’re putting perfectly biodegradable leaves in the least degradable material on earth — plastic. It’s better to compost, or ask if your borough or township carts them away for free.

Most importantly, late October and November are just great for being outdoors, doing small chores or simply going for a walk. Like spring, the fall months in southeast Pennsylvania provide the best moments in a gardener’s year. Don’t miss it.

Doing More, Stressing Less in Swarthmore Pres Youth Group

SPC youth at the Massanetta Middle School Youth Conference this summer (l. to r.) Marie Lowry, Ava Dijstelbloem, Maya Esty, Milly Pellegrini, and Noa Dijstelbloem. Photo by John Weicher

SPC youth at the Massanetta Middle School Youth Conference this summer (l. to r.) Marie Lowry, Ava Dijstelbloem, Maya Esty, Milly Pellegrini, and Noa Dijstelbloem. Photo by John Weicher

By John Weicher

Eighty-four percent. According to a recent Pew Research Center report, 84% of youth, ages 12-17, have a major extracurricular commitment. What’s more, 69% have a second one. We live in an age when our young people have so many opportunities for fun, exercise, creativity, teamwork, musicality, athleticism, activity, busyness, stress, being overwhelmed and not getting enough sleep — all of the joys and burdens of a robust (or overly daunting?) extracurricular life. Indeed, these activities are so important that they bleed over into identity. If you ask youths who they are, they might respond, “I play soccer” or “theater kid.”

So, why should a church have a youth ministry at all? Isn’t it just one more thing? And why should a church invite other youth into its life? Perhaps some of the youth of Swarthmore Presbyterian Church can answer those questions.

“For me, youth group is a place to talk about God without your parents, where everyone feels as awkward as you do,” says middle schooler Amy Hogg. “One of my favorite memories from youth group is when we were playing ‘underground church,’ a game very similar to cops and robbers. We were running around the pitch black church late at night, laughing and just hanging out.”

Youth group — the weekly Sunday afternoon ministry with middle schoolers and high schoolers — strives to be an alternative community of hospitality, faith, doubt, fun and service. Youth can be themselves without having to work to get better at their lines or their sport or their instrument.

For high school junior Laurel Vincent, “Youth group has provided to me a collaborative, learning experience with some of my closest friends. And the summer trips have fostered a faithful experience which has led to many years of self-discovery, including the especially humbling experience from two years working in Appalachia.”

During the summer, youth can participate in mission trips, on which they learn to serve and to love their neighbor. This takes our middle schoolers into Philadelphia and other urban areas. It brings our high schoolers into the countryside of Appalachia and Nicaragua.

“I can’t tell you what an incredibly good feeling I get when I know our team of ASP volunteers has made a difference in the lives of the people of Appalachia,” says Carly Dicker. “They have so little, and are so appreciative of any help we can give them, or any improvements we can make to their modest homes.”

Also during the summer are youth conferences, in which youth group is writ large, expanded to include churches from all over the country and extended to last as long as a week. The community that develops at youth group grows exponentially to allow the youth to be their authentic selves, for all their strengths and growing edges.

A three-time youth conference attendee says, “Attending youth conferences with SPC has been a great way to connect with friends outside of the busy school year schedule, in a place that feels unique to the experience and is far away from our normal life. It also has given me the opportunity to meet people from all over and to make friends with people outside of my home-church group.”

But for youth, SPC is not just for Sunday nights and summer weeks. The church strives to give young people the opportunity to grow and serve in a variety of ways — lots of different outlets to plug into, helping them realize their potential as mature individuals.

High school senior Jacob Knauer, former chair of SPC’s Youth committee, feels that “Having a leadership role at SPC has been an amazing opportunity that I haven’t really been able to find in other parts of my life… Working together with the community — especially between youth and adults of the church — was great.”

Swarthmore Presbyterian Church’s middle school and high school youth groups meet Sundays from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., ending with dinner. All youth in our community are invited to join us. To learn more about SPC’s youth groups, youth mission trips and youth conferences, please go to our website at, or call the church office at (610) 543-4712.

John Weicher is associate Pastor, Christian Education and Youth Ministry at Swarthmore Presbyterian Church.