Quick Fire Response Saves 737 Harvard

Photo by Daniel Piotti

Photo by Daniel Piotti

By Rich Cresson

At 7:21 p.m. on March 27, the Swarthmore Fire Department responded to a call on the 700 block of Harvard Avenue for a third floor working house fire with fire showing, which initiated a mutual response alarm for multiple surrounding fire departments to assist. The Nether Providence Fire Marshall is investigating the cause of the fire.

The first arriving apparatus (Swarthmore’s aerial ladder) encountered heavy fire on the third floor. The ladder was positioned directly in front of the structure, and the firemen began an aggressive interior attack to knock down the fire using tank water. Shortly thereafter, one of Swarthmore’s pumpers arrived to supplement the ladder truck’s water until two 5” supply hose lines were laid by Garden City and Swarthmore, from hydrants on opposite ends of the street. Firefighters used both 2½” and 1¾” hand lines to bring the fire under control.

Assisting fire departments ultimately included Morton-Rutledge, Springfield, Garden City, Media, South Media, Leedom, Broomall and Prospect Park’s Rapid Intervention Team. Springfield ambulance, Woodlyn ambulance, and medics from DCMH also responded.

The fire was predominantly contained on the third floor, but caused extensive roof damage, and water damage to the lower floors. The fire was pronounced under control at 8:23 p.m., though final extinguishment was hampered by a cedar shingle roof over which an asphalt roof had been installed.

Soft ground from the recent thaw and rainy weather impeded access, made footing slippery, and covered hoses and equipment with mud. One of Swarthmore’s pumpers required towing by another pumper to extricate it. Clean up and restoration of the apparatus busied firefighters until after 1:30 a.m. the following morning.

Board Hears The Score on District Music Programs

Wallingford-Swarthmore School District
By Katie Crawford

Since 1985, March has been designated Music in Education month by the National Education Association. Eighth grade saxophone player Eric Hadley and his Strath Haven Middle School teacher Henry Pearlberg were on hand to demonstrate to the board how technology supports and facilitates music instruction in the district.

Strath Haven High School student Eric Hadley with Superintendent Dr. Lisa Palmer. Photo by Katie Crawford

Strath Haven High School student Eric Hadley with Superintendent Dr. Lisa Palmer. Photo by Katie Crawford

Pearlberg is currently in his 35th year of teaching. He oversees the instruction of nearly 500 students at the middle school and he is the assistant director of the mammoth Strath Haven High School band. He is also the current president of the PMEA (Pennsylvania Music Educators Association).

In addition to listening to Hadley hit each note of the chromatic scale perfectly (blowing one wrong note so Pearlberg could demonstrate for the board how he could rerecord himself), board members heard a recording of 7th graders Allie Vaccaro, Cece Olszewski, and Jessica Orr, who, with the use of Garage Band, a small keyboard, and some stellar vocals, created their own original track as part of the Pop Music Composition project. Pearlberg also played 6th graders Atticus Clow-McLaughlin and Harry Hyzer’s beautiful piece, which put Langston Hughes’ jazz poetry to music.

Pearlberg noted the many uses of computer programs and technology that have facilitated music instruction at the middle school, including the opportunity for band members to Skype with and play for real composers.

Pearlberg particularly praised the benefits of Google classroom, which allows students to play an assigned piece for their teacher and send it for assessment. This allows students to perfect a piece incrementally, as opposed to only having the opportunity to play live for a two-minute assessment at school. Twenty iPads and a charging cart also support the program, which were purchased as part of a technology initiative by the school, supported by a grant from the Foundation for Wallingford-Swarthmore Schools.

Technology director Mark Finlayson also spoke to the board about the use of other technology in the district, highlighting “sphero balls,” intriguing looking devices that can be coded so that they roll on a specific path.

Jennifer Gaudioso, appearing by video, spoke of the district goal of improving access to technology like sphero balls for all students. Currently sphero balls are most frequently used as part of gifted instruction. First graders at Swarthmore-Rutledge School mapped out code, using paper and pencil first and then moved to using coding software on the iPad in order to get their sphero ball to travel a specific route.

Third graders at Wallingford Elementary School learned about the influence of adding variables such as a different surface to the exterior of the ball. Teachers at WES and SRS noted the high level of cooperative learning and problem solving that was necessary in order to complete the task, as well as the high degree of student interest evidenced in the video presentation video by the enthusiastic shouts of students.

Dr. Lisa Palmer praised the “mental workout” required of students on the speech and debate teams, having herself attended recent tournaments. Four students from Strath Haven High School will attend the National Speech and Debate competition in Birmingham, Ala., in June: Sarah Myers, Julie Gyouro, Eli Manaker, and Lena Lofgren. Each student won his or her event at the National Speech and Debate Association national qualifier this past weekend. The team as a whole finished second overall, second in debate, and, for the third straight year, first in the Congress Sweepstakes. The team is led by teacher Jeff Kahn.

Musically, too, Panthers showed their prowess, Zoe Peyton Jones, Amy Crouch, Emma Lee, and Cass Durgin were all named to the All State Chorus. Katrina Bernaus was named to the All State Wind ensemble. Andrew Spangler, Matthew Kantner, Abigail McElroy, Emily Cairncross, Alex Jensen, and Arpit Prasad were all named to the All State Concert band.

Team Evergreen, composed of SRS students Amanda Anckaitis, Andrew Deppen, Jillian Surkis, and Matthew Lund, and supervised by 5th grade teacher Linda Gillespie took second place in the elementary school division at this year’s K’NEX challenge, in which 100 schools competed on March 20 at Strath Haven Middle school. The goal was to create a new “green” amusement park ride using K’NEX building components.

Dr. Palmer encouraged community members to mark their calendars for Monday, May 15, for a golf outing at the Springhaven Club. The scramble format tournament, breakfast, and luncheon with open bar will raise funds for the Foundation for Wallingford-Swarthmore Schools. This event is held in lieu of the annual Arts for Smarts auction. Sponsorship and entry information are at supportwssd.org.

Music Making in the
Wallingford-Swarthmore School District

By Henry Pearlberg

Music in our Schools Month, officially designated by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), is an annual celebration during the month of March that engages music educators, students, parents, and communities in promoting the beliefs that music education is essential to a high quality education.

Music Month has been a very busy one for the musicians of WSSD. Music activities during the month have included: the Strath Haven Middle School Jazz Festival, WSSD String Night, WSSD Jazz Night, SHHS Musicopia, PMEA 7/8 String Fest, PMEA 5/6 Band Fest, PMEA Music Performance Assessment for SHHS Wind Ensemble, and SHMS “Ellington” Jazz Band performance at Bala Cynwyd Middle School Jazz Festival. (PMEA is the Pennsylvania Music Education Association.)

The Wallingford-Swarthmore School District has been named one of the “Best Communities for Music Education” for the past two years by NAMM, the National Association for Music Merchants. The Wallingford-Swarthmore School District community values music and arts education for its children and supports it through tax dollars, fundraising efforts, and volunteering at events.

Henry Pearlberg is a classroom and instrumental music teacher at Strath Haven Middle School and president of the PMEA.

Arthur Weisfeld and SCS Celebrate 40th Anniversary

Arthur Weisfeld meets with leaders and members of the Schoolhouse Center in Folsom, which is co-located with the headquarters of Senior Community Services. SCS’s program and service offerings, too numerous to list here, are online at scsdelco.org.

Arthur Weisfeld meets with leaders and members of the Schoolhouse Center in Folsom, which is co-located with the headquarters of Senior Community Services. SCS’s program and service offerings, too numerous to list here, are online at scsdelco.org.

Senior Community Services is 40 years old this year. Since he was at SCS when it began, Arthur Weisfeld must be slightly older than that, but his enthusiasm for his work befits a young man.

Arthur was the first and is thus far only executive director of Senior Community Services, the Folsom-based organization that runs four senior centers and provides various other services to seniors in their homes and at other locations in Delaware County. SCS now serves approximately 20,000 clients per year.

Weisfeld has spent his entire career in human services. The Penn State alumnus (class of 1969) found he enjoyed working with older people in his first job at the state’s Department of Public Assistance. He worked in Philadelphia at one of the first iterations of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. After getting his Masters in social services from Bryn Mawr College and working as a community organizer in Northwestern Philadelphia, Arthur heard of a paid internship (which were few and far between then) opening up at the just-founded Delaware County Office of Services to the Aging (COSA). Only county residents were eligible. He moved to Lansdowne and got the job. His assignment was to create a nonprofit agency to sponsor senior service centers that would be placed throughout the county.

The Darby Township Senior Center (now Good Neighbor Center) already existed. In 1977, Lansdowne/Yeadon (now Friendship Circle) Center and Ridley (now Schoolhouse) Center were opened. Chester Senior Center, which opened a new building in 1988, is the relative newcomer to this group, all of which are accredited by the National Institute of Senior Centers. The centers served as social hubs for Delco residents in underserved areas, and soon became much more than that.

“I’m proud of the buildings we’ve built and adapted, and I think we have a very positive culture,” Weisfeld said. “Employees enjoy working here, and clients keep coming back.”

Expanding Services and Outreach

Care management was an early addition to the SCS portfolio of services. With the addition of social workers based in the centers, SCS would grow to offer nutritional support, educational programs, and health promotion services. External initiatives and partnerships have addressed demonstrated needs through longterm care management services, the Hearing Discovery Center, the Center Without Walls Senior Center at Home, and Aging at Home Initiative. SCS also operates aging — related services such as the Caregiver Support Program, which helps families of seniors with the techniques and responsibilities of caregiving.

Continuous, manageable growth is a guiding strategy for the nonprofit. “We work to recognize and seize opportunities for new services,” Weisfeld said, citing as an example SCS’s acquisition of Horizons Unlimited’s cognitive stimulation program

Today, SCS’s office and the Schoolhouse Center are co-located in the former Folsom Elementary School at 600 Swarthmore Avenue. Notice that over the years, the branding has changed subtly — three of the four “senior centers” are now just “centers.” “Many people don’t want to go to a ‘senior center,’ Weisfeld says. “ Our clients don’t think of themselves as old, so we are always looking to add fresh programming, for instance, to include more art classes and trips, as well as scheduling our hours to appeal to clients who may be ‘pre-retirement.’

“Growing through fundraising is uncertain. The better way for us to grow is by generating income as we advance our mission,” he said, hence the emphasis at SCS on broadening its array of services.

Although Weisfeld notes that grantmaking is just a piece of the success formula, SCS has been favored by many foundation grants over the years. A recent grant from the Philadelphia Foundation will be applied to ensuring leadership continuity for SCS. Weisfeld said the foundation is concerned with building capacity of social support organizations. “There is a generational change under way. Nonprofit leaders who, like me, became active in social services in the 1970s are reaching retirement age,” Weisfeld said.

SCS engaged the Praxis Group with proceeds of the foundation grant, their charge, to study the potential avenues for leadership succession, both at the staff and board levels, and to plan change that allows SCS to keep adapting and providing services to county seniors.

Arthur himself has no immediate plans to retire. “My work is fulfilling, and endless. And 75 is the new 65,” he said.

Eagles Soar in Rose Valley

New Eagle Scouts from left to right: Ben Troutman (Swarthmore), Will Hsin (Wallingford), Andrew Mackey (Wallingford) and Kevin Yin (Wallingford).

New Eagle Scouts from left to right: Ben Troutman (Swarthmore), Will Hsin (Wallingford), Andrew Mackey (Wallingford) and Kevin Yin (Wallingford).

Boy Scout Troop 272 Advances Four Eagle Scouts

Family, friends, local politicians and scouts attended a ceremony at The Old Mill this past weekend to honor Ben Troutman of Swarthmore and William Hsin, Andrew Mackey and Kevin Yin, all of Wallingford, Boy Scouts from Rose Valley Troop 272, who recently achieved the Eagle Scout rank. Eagle Scout is the highest honor in Scouting. To receive this rank, scouts must complete significant milestones which culminate in an Eagle Scout Project that brings together all of the Boy Scout teachings and allows scouts to illustrate their ability to organize and lead a project for the community.

Ben Troutman’s Eagle Scout Service Project was for Gateway Community Church. He created a fire pit and patio for the church to use at their events. He also planted new flowers in front of both of their signs to make them more attractive.

William Hsin’s Eagle Scout project was the continuation of the Preservation and Beautification Project of the Hedgerow Theatre House in order to provide privacy from the main road, cell tower, and other nearby neighbors. It included the incorporation of many black walnut resistant plants, to tolerate the pre-existing toxic conditions and create a “green screen” around the property. Mulch was also placed to complete a memorial garden and walkway.

Andrew Mackey’s project was to plan and build a raised bed garden at the Chester Senior Center. The garden consisted of four, 4×8 feet beds. In total there were 121 plants, donated by Miller’s Greenhouse, that were placed into the garden beds. The garden has provided activity for the seniors that joined the gardening club.

Kevin Yin’s Eagle Scout Project was a thorough improvement of the entrance area of Old Mill, where Troop 272 meets weekly. It consisted of re-introducing native plant species to the general area, preventing soil erosion by stabilizing the nearby stream bank with stones, establishing an emergency water-supplying method for the area’s fountain, and rebuilding the destroyed Old Mill sign.

Workers of the Word, Unite: Amy Hempel Reads Wednesday

Author Amy Hemple with one of her biggest fans...

Author Amy Hemple with one of her biggest fans…

As a fiction writer, Amy Hempel has been called dazzling, eerie, unsettling, and always original. Rachel Pastan has a word for her too: “In the literary world she is a superstar.” The superstar will illuminate our community and its savvy fiction fans with her visit next Wednesday to the Swarthmore College campus. Welcomed by Pastan and her colleagues in Swarthmore’s English Department, Hempel will read from her witty, moving work in the Scheuer Room of Kohlberg Hall, from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., with a reception to follow. All are invited to this free event.

Pastan, who has taught with Hempel at the Bennington Writing Seminars MFA program in Vermont, eagerly sought her out as a speaker for this spring, as both a deeply fulfilling writer, and an inspiration for the undergraduates in her fiction workshop at the college. “For me, Amy isn’t someone who writes fancy, lyrical sentences. She’s someone who writes very clean but unusual sentences, and when they hit you, they really hit you hard.”

... Swarthmore author Rachel Pastan of Swarthmore is another.

… Swarthmore author Rachel Pastan of Swarthmore is another.

In a Paris Review interview, Hempel said, “Good writers are always trying to get to something clearer, deeper, not said this way before.” Her short stories — some only a few paragraphs long — challenge before rewarding the reader. Pastan said, “Sometimes she jumps over things and you have to really interpolate. I’d rather have the gaps be a little bigger than [read work by] someone who tells you every little thing … you have to have some sense of uncertainty; it’s more electric if you have to fill in by yourself.”

Pastan found insight into the varied responses Hempel’s work provokes at the Swarthmore Public Library, which through director Amber Osborne was one of several local book clubs tackling Hempel’s 2006 landmark Collected Stories in advance of the April 5 event. “Some members said ‘I don’t get this book’ but some said ‘It’s amazing.’ Part of my job is to bring a writer to campus … and part is to get people onto campus, get reading groups in town to read the book, to get them invested.”

Like Hempel, Pastan is an author, a novelist rather than a short fiction writer. Her last novel, Alena, came out in 2014; her next is in the works. “Alena was set in the contemporary art world,” Pastan said, “and in this next one I’m writing about a woman scientist in the middle of the 20th century struggling to make her way in the world … the kinds of things she had to do to get recognition, and the way that her mind worked, and the way she worked with other people, was interesting to me. A lot of my writing is about women and work.”

Amy Hempel, a woman at the top of her work, reads Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. at Scheuer. Join Rachel Pastan, Swarthmore’s sizeable contingent of fiction writers, students, and other workers of the word in united appreciation.

Swarthmore Public Library Seeks Trustees

If you would like to dedicate some of your time and energy to the library, consider applying for one of two open seats on the nine-member Swarthmore Public Library Board of Trustees.

These Trustee positions are for a three-year term, beginning in May. Desired (but not required) skills include budgeting/accounting (including proficiency with Excel), grant writing, and public relations experience.

Candidates must be residents or taxpayers of the Borough, of voting age, and able to obtain Pa. Criminal Background and Child Abuse Clearances.

A short application is available at the Library. Completed applications must be submitted to the library by Friday, April 7.

What to do? What to know!

Free Microchip Clinic Coming to Rose Tree Park

Dogs and their owners will convene at a favorite canine hangout next Saturday, April 8, for a license and microchip clinic at Rose Tree Park on Route 252 in Media.

Microchips, which can help locate lost dogs, will be implanted free of charge and tested for all dogs licensed in Delaware County. License applications will be processed onsite.

Dogs must be on leash while at the event, which will be held rain or shine from 9 a.m. to noon at the maintenance building adjacent to the Hunt Club in Rose Tree Park.

Pendle Hill’s Cary Lecture Explores Palestine/Israel

Stephen Zunes

Stephen Zunes

Stephen Zunes, an eminent scholar of U. S. Middle East policy and of strategic nonviolent action, will deliver the annual Steven G. Cary Memorial Lecture at Pendle Hill on Monday, April 3, at 7:30 p.m. in the Barn. His topic is “Quakers Addressing Israel/Palestine — Advocacy or Reconciliation?”

Mr. Zunes will address the history and future of Quaker witness and involvement in the seemingly intractable conflict between two historically oppressed groups over land and power in the Holy Land.

All members of the community are invited to see and hear the lecture live, either in the Barn or via live streaming. Register first at pendlehill.org/events. Pendle Hill is located at 338 Plush Mill Road in Wallingford.

Register Now for May Primary

Vote April 17 is the last day for voters to register to vote in the May 16 primary election. Mailable voter registration forms are available in many locations including post offices, municipal offices and state stores. You can register in person at the Voter Registration Commission in the Government Center in Media, or online at the “Voter Registration Dept.” page at co.delaware.pa.us.

To see whether you are registered, Delaware County residents can visit votespa.com. Questions can be directed to the Voter Registration Commission at (610) 891-4659.

Choral Music Celebration
at Wallingford Presbyterian on Sunday

Wallingford Presbyterian Church continues its 125th Anniversary jubilee on Sunday, April 2, with “A Celebration of Song: An Afternoon of Choral Music,” performances of music composed during the 125 years since the church’s founding. Under the direction of conductor Elizabeth Braden, Wallingford’s Chancel Choir will be joined by guest soloists Veronica Chapman-Smith (soprano) and John David Miles (baritone) and accompanied by organist Jeffrey DeVault. The program features Fauré’s Requiem, as well as the world premiere of an anthem composed by Philadelphian Marcus DeLoach.

Admission is free, and the public is invited to help celebrate with WPC at the concert, which begins at 4 p.m. in the sanctuary at 110 E. Brookhaven Road in Wallingford. Call the church office for information at (610) 566-1644, ext. 2, or visit wallingfordpres.org.

Hot Topics Luncheon: the Supreme Court

Swarthmore College political science professor Dr. Carol Nackenoff will speak next Friday, April 4, at the Hot Topics luncheon sponsored by the League of Women Voters at Media Borough Hall.

“Hot topic” is right: hearings for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch begin in April, with Democrats still outraged by Senator Mitch McConnell’s refusal to allow hearings on President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland. Professor Nackenoff will also address the recent and upcoming matters before the Court.

The luncheon and talk begin at 11:45 a.m. in the Community Room of Borough Hall, 301 N. Jackson Street in Media. For reservations ($18, payable at the door) and information, contact Hank Thorne at (610) 566-5474, or e-mail hthorne@verizon.net.

Get on the Bus for Watercolor Blockbuster

If you want to see the blockbuster exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, take the easy way into the city: travel neighbors and friends on a trip organized by Schoolhouse Center in Folsom.

On Tuesday, May 9, a motor coach will bear you to and from Philadelphia for “Watercolor in the Age of Homer and Sargent” at PMA leaving at 8:45 a.m. and returning around 1:45 p.m. You’ll get a ticket to the watercolor show, a headset to guide your own tour, and good company.

Tickets are $55 and are available only through Schoolhouse Center. Call Kim at (610) 237-8100 by April 10 to arrange for your tour. You can also visit the center at 600 Swarthmore Avenue in Folsom.

Get Social:
Skype and Twitter Workshop at Schoolhouse

Perhaps you’ve heard about Twitter and Skype, but haven’t yet taken the time to make them work for you. These online applications are surprisingly intuitive, and a course on Friday, April 7, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., at the Schoolhouse Center, can give you the techniques and confidence to use the power of these free communications tools to connect you with the world.

The cost is $20 for members and $25 for others; preregister (required) at (610) 237-8100. Schoolhouse Center is at 600 Swarthmore Avenue in Folsom.

Get Smart: Free Brain Health Course
at Schoolhouse

“Understanding the Brain,” a free five-week course, begins next Thursday, April 6, at Schoolhouse Center in Folsom, in partnership with Widener University’s Osher Center.

In easy-to-understand fashion, the course will explore brain anatomy as well as disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, depression and bipolar disorder.

Classes will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. on successive Thursdays from April 6 through May 4.

Register free by April 6 ($5 after) at (610) 237-8100. Classes are held at the center at 600 Swarthmore Avenue in Folsom.

Can We Talk? Racial Justice and
Civic Engagement at Furness Library

The Furness Library continues its “Making Sense of Current Events” series on Monday, April 3, 7:15 p.m., with a talk about, well, talk … specifically talk about race.

Dr. Jennifer Wyse, assistant professor of Sociology at Widener University, will speak to the difficulty of discussing perceptions and understanding of race in American society and culture. Dr. Wyse will set the context for a discussion of the racial justice movements of today.

The lecture in Furness’s Chadwick Auditorium is free, but preregistration is requested; call (610) 566-9331 or stop by the Helen Kate Furness Free Library at 100 N. Providence Road in Wallingford.

Orchestra 2001 Goes to the Movies Saturday

Get your popcorn and head to Lang Concert Hall tomorrow night (Saturday, April 1). Showtime is 8 p.m. for the screening of two classic early movies, with Orchestra 2001 under conductor Andrew Hauze, playing the original soundtracks, complete with scores, narration and sound effects.

The movies are Night Mail, with poetry by W.H. Auden and a score by Benjamin Britten, and The City, scored by Aaron Copland. These will be juxtaposed with new scores for old film shorts, written by Thomas Whitman and Swarthmore College student Aditya Nirvaan Ranganathan.

There will be a pre-concert talk at 7:30 p.m. at Lang. Admission is free, and no tickets are required for the talk or concert.

Baseball Try Outs

This is a general announcement to the Nether Swarthmore Baseball (NSB) community for those rising 13, 14, 15 year-olds, who wish to try out for Travel (Legion) Baseball in 2017. These tryouts are not for NSB in-house/intramural baseball. Players who have a consistent history of competing for or making tournament/travel or school teams are encouraged to attend.

Tryouts will take place at Swarthmore College Field House Sunday Mid/Late Afternoon, April 2, and Wednesday evening, April 5 (must attend at least 1 session). Make up date on April 6 may be considered. Times for specific age groups are posted at leaguelineup.com/nether.

Talking About Aging-in-Place at TGP

The Swarthmore Senior Citizens’ Association meets Wednesday, April 5, in The Gathering Place to discuss the concerns and solutions suggested by Swarthmore’s Aging-in-Place Task Force.

A light lunch from Occasionally Yours will begin at noon. The program starts at 12:30 p.m. TGP meets at Swarthmore United Methodist Church, 129 Park Avenue.

What is a Seder About? Find Out at SUMC

In the continuing Faith and Life class at Swarthmore United Methodist Church, Ohev Shalom’s emeritus rabbi Louis Kaplan walks through the traditional Passover Seder, with descriptions of the historical and symbolic aspects of the Seder, and its place in the Jewish liturgical calendar.

SUMC is located at 129 Park Avenue. The class will begin around 11:15 a.m., following the 10 a.m. worship service and the coffee hour. Everyone is welcome.

Linda Schroeder Paintings at Borough Hall

Memories on the Porch" by Linda Schroeder

Memories on the Porch” by Linda Schroeder

An exhibition of recent acrylic and mixed media paintings by Swarthmore resident Linda Schroeder will open next week with an artist’s reception on Friday, April 7. The exhibit, entitled “The Other Side of Me,” presents Schroeder’s paintings since returning to painting following a career- and family-induced hiatus. She is a student of Nancy Barch at the Community Arts Center.

The reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. is free and open to the community, as is the exhibition, which is open through May 1 during library and borough business hours at Swarthmore Borough Hall, 121 Park Avenue.