Republican Primary Offers Choice Between WSSD Board District Two Candidates

Bob Kelly and Damon Orsetti are candidates for the single available Republican nomination for Region 2 of the Wallingford-Swarthmore School Board, which includes part of Nether Providence Township and Rose Valley Borough, and is served by Wallingford and Nether Providence Elementary Schools. Kelly is a candidate only on Republican ballots; Orsetti has cross-filed, and will also appear as the only Region 2 candidate on Democratic ballots.

Bob Kelly

What is your background as a resident of Wallingford-Swarthmore School District?
I’m a longtime Delaware County resident, and have lived in the WSSD for the past 11 years. Where do you live and how long have you been there? We moved to our current home on West Country Club Lane in Wallingford three years ago, from our previous home on Penn Valley Road.

4-28 e-Bob Kelly 2

Tell us about your family.
My wife of 15 years is Rochelle Kelly. She works in the financial services industry for Bank of America, specializing in digital marketing. We have three children currently in 7th grade, 5th grade, and kindergarten.

What is your occupation, and what do you do in the community? What do you do for fun?
I am a VP and senior director at HealthAdvocate. HealthAdvocate programs help people navigate through the health care system, focus on their well-being, and help them in their time of need. My role is to work with insurance companies, brokers and consultants to distribute our services to their clients. In this role I negotiate our national distribution contracts, set marketing and pricing strategies and manage our broker specialist team to hit our monthly and annual goals.

I have been an active member of the community as a coach for the Nether Swarthmore baseball and basketball programs. I also coach CYO boys and girls basketball at St. John Chrysostom, and am an active member in the parish. I enjoy spending time with my family, coaching, gardening and golfing.

To the extent of your knowledge and familiarity, what are the strengths and weaknesses of WSSD schools?
WSSD is recognized as one of the top school districts in the state and is a reason my many of us choose to send our children to public school. From kindergarten through senior year in high school, the students continue to incorporate the importance of community through various activities, and there is a strong commitment to the arts in our district. WSSD ensures our class sizes are manageable and provides opportunities for students of all abilities to excel.

One area where we need to continue to improve is incorporating more physical education into the curriculum. Students have physical education for one semester per year in middle and high school, leaving quite a gap. Childhood wellness, both mental and physical, should be a priority for our district. Several of our elementary schools, Wallingford Elementary in particular, do not utilize their outdoor space so that the students and the community can participate in sports such as soccer at those locations. Before the new WES was built, younger children had soccer practice on the fields, allowing our community to come together outside of school hours. Today, due to poor layout design of the school, the property is not used by the community.

What are the most pressing issues to be addressed by WSSD leadership?
We need to continue evaluating our services to ensure that all students receive the help that they need to succeed, especially with rising costs driven primarily by the statewide pension commitments to our teachers. While the WSSD has no control over the pension, as it is managed by our state lawmakers in Harrisburg, it is still a cost that needs to be managed. Over the past 10 years the school budget has grown by 581%. This is an unsustainable rate. The community needs to continue to work with school administrators on creating both short- and long-term strategies to ensure that our tax dollars are allocated appropriately, while still supporting our educators and students.

Damon Orsetti

What is your background as a resident of Wallingford-Swarthmore School District?
I am originally from Maryland, but my wife was born in Delaware County. We moved to the district almost five years ago to be closer to family, after living for 12 years in Kentucky, where our children were born. When we were deciding where to move, we looked at all the school districts in the area, and I even met with the principals in the districts of many elementary schools (including all three in WSSD) to help us decide. We came away impressed with WSSD. It was clearly our home, and we have lived happily in Wallingford ever since.

4-28 e-Orsetti

Where do you live and how long have you been there?
We have lived on Ash Road, in the “tree streets” region of Nether Providence (Garden City) for four years. Previously, we spent close to a year living in Putnam Village in Nether Providence.

Tell us about your family.
I have three (3) children, who all attend WSSD schools, including 12-year-old twins (Kestian and Adelaide) who attend Strath Haven Middle Schools, and 7-year-old Fenton, who is a Nether Providence Elementary School kid. My older children attended NPE previously. My wife Laura Orsetti works as an instructional designer at Frontier Nursing University.

What is your occupation, and what do you do in the community? What do you do for fun?
I am an adjunct professor at Philadelphia University and Delaware County Community College, where I teach Environmental Issues and Biology. Previously I worked as an Environmental Educator at the Delaware Nature Society, and as an Education Associate at the Delaware Museum of Natural History.

I am on the WSSD Sustainability Committee, and for the previous four years was involved in planning and running the Conservation Club and Earth Day at NPE. I also volunteer at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, where I lead birding and nature walks to educate people about the importance of biodiversity and conservation.

I greatly enjoy watching my children in their activities and competitions, be it basketball, swimming, Reading Olympics, orchestra, or the STEM design challenge. My personal interests involve reading, especially about history and the natural world. As most of my ancestry is Italian, I have been learning to speak the Italian language (my older kids have joined me in this). I also enjoy playing bluegrass and traditional music on mandolin and dobro. My main hobby, though, is bird watching, which allows me to spend time outdoors while cataloging and appreciating nature. One of the happy benefits of birding is that most of the time I have to get up before sunrise to go see birds, which allows me to actually get some birding in for a few hours while everyone else in my family is sensibly asleep.

To the extent of your knowledge/familiarity with them, what are the strengths of the WSSD schools?
What stood out to us when we first started to look for a place to live was WSSD’s strong support for the arts (especially music) and the academic rigor. After living here for many years, I can see that those are definitely strengths, but what stands out to me is the many opportunities given to the students within the school day and after school. Not just the opportunities, but the utilization of them by the students. When you add to this the level of parent involvement (from what I’ve seen at NPE) and the great quality of teachers, you get one of the most outstanding school districts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

[However, one weakness is that] There is variation in resources and opportunities between different geographical areas of the district.

What are the most pressing issues to be addressed by WSSD leadership?
The obvious answer is the budget, where the state’s demands on pension funding have consistently increased at a staggering level. While tax increases have helped allay some of these concerns, the answers to future budgetary issues have to rely on innovate ways to increase efficiency. Getting input and proposals from WSSD teachers and the administration for such solutions, even on smaller scales, looks to be effective, and it has been successful so far.

A Month for Poetry

April Is the Coolest Month

National Poetry Month has provided a series of revelations for Swarthmorean readers: so much expressed of life in surprising and beautiful ways; much evocation of nature, its processes and promise. April is the perfect time to reawaken curiosity and reaffirm hope. Our poets have helped do that for us, and we thank all of you who submitted your work, including:

• 91-year-old Irene Dodd Davis, whose work we had the honor to first publish, and who has through her life used her poetry to celebrate and connect with those she loved.
• Two generations of Bob Moore, Senior and Junior, for both of whom expression is a perennial way of relating to the world.
• Swarthmore College professors and poets Sibelan Forrester and Nathalie Anderson, whose curatorial wisdom and deep understanding of verse helped us choose among a plethora of poems.
• Other members of the academic community in Swarthmore, which is so rich in craftsmanship and nurturing of others’ talents.
• And a reader who just mailed us a powerful, personal work about loss, love, and aging, which we cannot publish anonymously. Madam, please send us your name so we can print your poetry, and let us know how to reach out to you.

Though the torrent will subside ‘til next April, poetry will continue to flow in our pages. Here’s to spring; here’s to creative expression!

— Chris Reynolds


I walk along the water’s edge
Between the sea and the sand dune’s hedge;
A moving speck of humanity
Without pride and without vanity.
There I weave a song in strands of gold
Whose verses are silver-plaited.
Its mystic melody are from days of old
And its lyrics are decorated
By your splendor, your grace,
And your ardor deep.
O how the allure of your soul
Makes my ancient heart leap.
So when my hands your shoulders hold
Reverently am I blessing you
In mystic melody from days of old
And with words of iridescent hue.
You kindle a candle sparkling with rays of joy
That awakens innocent passion I felt as a boy.

From every human being there rises a light
That reaches straight to heaven.
And when two souls destined to be together
Find each other, their streams of light
Flow together, and a single brighter light Goes forth from their wedded beings.

— Norman Chansky

Norman Chansky, Ph.D., husband to Elissa and father of Swarthmore High School graduates Linda, Keren, Tamar, James, and Matthew, is Professor Emeritus from Temple University. He was a Visiting Professor, Tel Aviv University 1973-1974. He has ten grandchildren and three-plus great grandchildren. Chansky’s books include Essence of the Psalms and Old Testament Lore: A Mosaic Tapestry. His poems have appeared in several collections, and often in the Swarthmorean over the past quarter-century.

The anguish of the world is on my tongue
a villanelle
from a line by Edna St. Vincent Millay

The anguish of the world is on my tongue;
its bitter melody invades my sleep;
I will not whisper words that could be sung.

I hear their murmurings, the wretched young
too weak to wail, too tired to weep;
The anguish of the world is on my tongue.

On blazing mornings when the sun has flung
her glory over creatures born to leap,
I will not whisper words that could be sung.

Tulips tremble when the bee’s been stung;
their petals open and the blood sinks deep.
The anguish of the world is on my tongue.

Rulers small of heart and great of lung
swallow songs of those who sow and reap;
I will not whisper words that could be sung.

When all the horns have sounded, bells been rung,
the prizes will be those we did not keep.
The anguish of the world is on my tongue;
I will not whisper words that could be sung.

— Patricia Brooks

Patricia Brooks, now Eldridge, has been a writer all her life. She has published the Grace mystery series, short fiction, and the first book of her four-book historical series will be published this year. Her poetry has been published in a number of literary magazines and on-line. Brooks Eldridge’s one-act play “That Proclamation” will be performed June 17 in the Chester Library as part of the Juneteenth festival celebrating the end of slavery.

The Wish

Someone’s wish is floating by.
A bit of gossamer lifted by the breeze.
I am tempted to seize it from the air
But there are limits to my greed
And all my wishes
Have already been granted.

— Sydney Pasternack

No Dumping

The large white sign in letters clear
Proclaims to all NO DUMPING HERE.
You cannot leave your sofa worn,
Bed springs, oil cans, clothing torn.
You cannot leave your father’s desk,
Your mother’s smile, your old regrets.
There are some things that stay with you,
despite the pain, your whole life through.

— Sydney Pasternack

Sydney Pasternack has lived in the Swarthmore area for many years. Retired from the Swarthmore College Financial Aid Office, she and husband Bob have become snowbirds, enjoying the Florida sun during the winter months. She loves poetry, but only recently started writing. It seems that walking is a necessary stimulus.

‘outwith’: preposition: outside; beyond. A term unique to Scotland.

Revising my visa essay,
applying for three more years
here, I read my own scribbled words:

Comparable opportunities for critical study
do not exist outwith Scotland.

Outwith: a term unfamiliar, yet
scrawled in my own hand,
doubtlessly mine, and I wonder:

I came here all rude American brass, all
trash can, fanny pack, Where’s the castle?

Then Glasgow rolled itself under my tongue,
a grey marble lolling my mouth open with Os:
Glasgow, Kelvingrove, going to Tesco,

then thistling my speech wi sleekit lisps,
wee packets a crisps,

my lips like the lids
of those glass bottles of sand
I used to collect from every beach:
my mouth a shore holding each grain
that altered the flow of my speech,

my pen flowing ‘s’ into the cursive waves
of ‘socialised,’ ‘civilised,’ ‘acclimatised,’
answering Aye! by accident
then smiling.

I may be from out
but I am now with.

— Katie Ailes

Katie Ailes, a Swarthmore native and 2010 graduate of Strath Haven High School, lives in Edinburgh and is a doctoral student at the University of Strathclyde University. She went to Scotland in 2014 on a UK-US Fulbright Award to research the poetry of the independence movement. “Outwith,” from Glasgow Women Poets, was selected by the Scottish Poetry Library as one of the twenty best poems published in Scotland in 2016 and is reproduced here by permission of the author.

Marietta Brass Marches Onward

The Marietta Brass Quintet (l. to r.): Carr Everbach, Kevin Murphy, Phil Runkel, Gil Rose and Bill Nazzaro.

The Marietta Brass Quintet (l. to r.): Carr Everbach, Kevin Murphy, Phil Runkel, Gil Rose and Bill Nazzaro.

Swarthmore’s Marietta Brass Quintet, which plays a free concert next Sunday, May 7, is in its tenth year as a performing ensemble, with inevitable personnel changes over time. But, says Swarthmore College Classics professor emeritus Gil Rose, the group is “as good as it’s ever been” since he and Swarthmore Engineering professor Carr Everbach founded Marietta in 2008.

Trumpeter Rose and trombonist Everbach are joined in the classic quintet lineup by “new kids” including Swarthmore alumnus Kevin Murphy on trumpet, Phil Runkel on French horn, and Bill Nazzaro on tuba.

Rose says the group’s playlist is “eclectic — basically the classical repertoire, but ranging into classic jazz and some folk music.” On the set list for the Sunday 3 p.m. Marietta Brass performance at Lang Concert Hall are works by George Gershwin, J. S. Bach, Victor Ewald, and others.

The concert is free and open to all members of the community.

Sandy Sparrow Wilkinson

sandy sparrow

Sandy Sparrow Wilkinson of Swarthmore, longtime teacher and principal at the Swarthmore-Rutledge School, died April 22, 2017.

A memorial service will take place on Sunday, May 7, at 2 p.m., at the Swarthmore Friends Meetinghouse.

A full obituary will appear in a future issue of The Swarthmorean.

What to do? What to know!

Herb Sale Next Saturday

The Swarthmore Garden Club holds its annual herb sale next Saturday, May 6, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.,in front of Swarthmore Borough Hall, 121 Park Avenue. On offer are herbs, of course, plus heirloom tomatoes, gift baskets of flowers and herbs, and baked goods galore. Proceeds will benefit SGC charities and projects.

Spring Stroll Sunday

Charles Cresson

Charles Cresson

A special spring treat awaits Swarthmore-area plant fans with the opening of Charles Cresson’s garden “Hedgleigh Springs” this Sunday, April 30, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The internationally renowned garden at 32 Amherst Avenue is ablaze with hundreds of tulips, as well as camellias, azaleas, primroses, and spring wildflowers in bloom.

The Spring Stroll, sponsored by the Swarthmore Horticultural Society, is a self-guided tour, and Mr. Cresson will be on hand to answer your questions. Bring a beverage of your choice (and glasses) if you wish. Enter through the garden gate on the left as you face the house.

The event is free, but donations to SHS will be accepted gratefully.

‘Shroud of Turin’ Replica in Town

One of the most venerated artifacts of Christianity, the Shroud of Turin, is considered by many believers to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.

One of a very few replicas of the Shroud, blessed by Pope Benedict XVI and given to the Ukrainian Catholic Church, will be available for visitation through May 5 at Holy Myrrh-Bearers Eastern Catholic Church, 900 Fairview Road in Swarthmorewood.

Visitors are welcome Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday; and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. The church welcomes all to visit and attend services at 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday. Information is at (610) 544-1215.

Mad Poets Back at CAC

Swarthmore professor Jeremy Lefkowitz

Swarthmore professor Jeremy Lefkowitz

The Mad Poets Society hosts poet and translator Elaine Terranova of Philadelphia, and Swarthmore College Classics Professor Jeremy Lefkowitz, reading from their work beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 3, at the Community Arts Center in Wallingford.

Light refreshments will be provided, and an open mic session will follow, for those who wish to share their poetry. The event is free and open to all.

Information is available from Sibelan Forrester at (610) 328-8162 and CAC is at 414 Plush Mill Road.

Talent Show/May Fair Tryouts
Sunday at waR3house3

Ready for your closeup? Talented school-aged musicians and singers are invited to try out this Sunday, April 30, for a spot on the performance stage at the Swarthmore Fun-Fair on May 7.

Performers from high school seniors down to kindergartners can bring families, friends and fans to a free talent show from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at waR3house3, 100 Park Avenue, WH#3 in Swarthmore.

The show is open to all, free of charge. Light fare will be served, and you are welcome to bring beverages.

Hot Topic: Marcellus Shale

On Friday, May 5, at Media Borough Hall, the League of Women Voters’ final Hot Topics luncheon of the spring will address Money and Marcellus Shale. Pennsylvania state Representative Greg Vitali will speak from the perspective of a lawmaker who sees both the influence of Marcellus Shale gas drillers on the legislative and regulatory process, and the shortcomings of the state’s campaign finance laws.

Luncheon will be catered by Media restaurateur Margaret Kuo in the Community Room of Borough Hall. Lunch begins at 11:45; the cost is $18 per person. Reserve your spot by calling Hank Thorne at (610) 566-5474.

Potters Guild Sale Next Weekend

Peggy Martin, the newest member of the Guild, has studied ceramics at Community Arts Center for the last 10 years. The focus of her work has become the integration of the human form into her pieces.

Peggy Martin, the newest member of the Guild, has studied ceramics at Community Arts Center for the last 10 years. The focus of her work has become the integration of the human form into her pieces.

Featuring a wide selection of functional and decorative handcrafted pottery, the Potters Guild’s annual spring sale opens in The Duke Gallery at Community Arts Center, 414 Plush Mill Road, Wallingford, next Thursday, May 4, with a preview party, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

For a $5 fee, party-goers will enjoy refreshments while they have first choice among the works of the Potters Guild’s 28 members. The sale continues all weekend long from May 5 through May 7. Hours are Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission and parking are free and the Duke Gallery is handicapped accessible.

The Nature of Beauty and Beauty in Nature

Swarthmore College professors Rachel Merz (biology) and Patricia Reilly (art history) will present a collaborative conversation on “The nature of beauty and beauty in nature” on Monday, May 1, at the college’s Science Center 101.

Strawberries and cake at 6:30 p.m. precede the lecture at 7 p.m., all sponsored by the Swarthmore chapter of Sigma Xi. The talk and the berries are free and open to all.

Second Chance Plant Sale –
Beautiful Bargains Coming Your Way

By Ginny Scott

Corkscrew willow (Salix “Swizzlestick”) awaits a new adoptive garden home.

Corkscrew willow (Salix “Swizzlestick”) awaits a new adoptive garden home.

The corkscrew willows and stately evergreens that have served as the “winter interest” in the large planters in Swarthmore’s business district are now hoping to find a home in your garden. These hardy, healthy specimens will be sold at bargain prices by the Swarthmore Horticultural Society on Saturday, May 6, in the Borough Hall Parking Lot, from 8:30 am to noon.

Last fall, these plants were purchased and planted in the large containers by Fine Garden Creations, a local business that donates this service to our community. Now that spring is here, the containers will be replanted with a seasonal display of tropical flowers, and the winter plants must find new homes– where they will provide all-season beauty for years to come!

There is a limited number of plants on sale, so come early for the best selection. These top quality plants will be priced from $5 to $20, cash or check only. All proceeds benefit Swarthmore public gardens. For information on the specific specimens offered in this sale, visit

Guitar Recital at Stage One Sunday

Students of guitar teacher Greg Davis will show their chops in a recital this Sunday, April 30, at the Stage One Performing Arts Complex, 101 Plush Mill Road in Wallingford. Beginning at 3 p.m., the show will feature about 20 different acts and songs.

The recital is open to the public, free of charge with a donation bucket if the music moves you to generosity.

Digital Design Student Showcase

Students from a fascinating course entitled Design and Sculpture in the Digital Age at Swarthmore College will be represented in a showcase at Cornell Library on Wednesday, May 3, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The course, taught by engineering professor Matt Zucker and art professor Logan Grider, combined digital technologies and rapid prototyping with old-school analog drawing and sculpting. The exhibition is open and free.

‘Water, Wine, and Other Potations’ in Song

In a joint concert, the Garnet Singers will present a program of song entitled “Water, Wine, and Other Potations,” featuring music by Lassus, Palestrina, Beethoven, Barber and others. The Swarthmore Chorus will sing Fauré’s Requiem.

Both groups, directed by Joseph Gregorio, will sing on Sunday, April 30, at 7:30 p.m. at Lang Concert Hall.

Shop Maximally

Robbin Cook, longtime Wallingford resident and president of Maximal Art, hosts a studio sale next weekend, May 5-7 (preview is April 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.).

Swarthmorean readers are invited to bring a friend and browse the “modern vintage” jewelry with a glass of champagne at the designer’s studio at 200 Racoosin Drive, #111 in Aston. More information is available at (800) 573-3308 and

Spring Dance Concert Friday and Saturday

The Swarthmore College Dance Program presents its Spring Dance Concert this weekend at Pearson-Hall Theater of Lang Performing Arts Center at the college.

Graduating seniors are featured, and all dance students and faculty contribute to a show which is joyful, uplifting, free and appropriate for all ages. Diverse styles and disciplines are represented in performance, including African, ballet, modern, Kathak and tap.

Performances are Friday, April 28, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Saturday, April 29, 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Briefly Noted…

4-28 truckathon

Swarthmore’s Central Park hosted hungry hordes in the high hundreds during last Saturday’s Food Truck-a-Thon, sponsored by the Swarthmore Co-op. Twenty mobile gastronomic entrepreneurs sold, and sold out of, almost everything that can be cooked and served from a truck, including pizza and porchetta; corn, crepes, cheese curds, and cupcakes.

4-28 marchers

Swarthmoreans were among an estimated 10,000 attending the Philadelphia March for Science, held on Earth Day (April 22) as part of a worldwide celebration of science (left to right): Noah, Will, Heather and Dave Henderson; Susan Larson, Lucy Koelle, Barbara BurgerLentz, and Shelly Costa. Virginia Thompson was not in this group but also marched “from City Hall to Penn’s Landing, where speakers highlighted the importance of ensuring continued funding for scientific research, public health, and environmental protection … One common theme was ‘Science, Not Silence’; another common sign was ‘There is NO PLANET B,’ focused on concerns about climate change.” Photo courtesy of Sue Larson

SPL’s Book and Bake Sale Starts Thursday

A feast for the body and soul, the Swarthmore Public Library’s Spring Book and Bake Sale commands the attention of readers, browsers, listeners, watchers, and gourmands this week.

A huge variety of books, CDs and DVDs occupies Borough Hall for the sale beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 4. Come early and nibble on baked goods; come late (till 7 p.m.) and have dessert. Hours on Friday, May 5, are the same. On Saturday, $5 gets you a bag o’ books in a special sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If you care to donate baked goods, drop off individually wrapped portions by 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 4, at the Library, 121 Park Avenue.

Report from the Firehouse

By Rich Cresson

For the period April 3 through April 23, 2017 the Swarthmore Fire & Protective Association responded to the following alarms:

EMS: The ambulance responded to 46 calls for medical assistance. These were to Swarthmore, Morton, Rutledge and Springfield Township. The calls were for a variety of emergencies including respiratory difficulty, hypertension, change in mental status, head injury, seizure, fall victim, psychiatric emergency, injured person, cerebral vascular accident, nature unknown, cardiac emergency, seizures, pedestrian struck, pediatric emergency, extremity pain, intentional overdose, overdose, sick person, tachycardia emergency, diabetic emergency, possible dead on arrival, unconscious person, fracture, stabbing, choking, amputation and syncopal episode.

Automatic Fire Alarm: One alarm in Springfield and one in Swarthmore; both were smoke detector activations.

Automobile Accidents: Four calls; three in Morton and one in Swarthmore.

Hazardous Materials: Gas leaks in Morton and Springfield, and one fuel spill in Morton.

Building Fires: None, other than the smoke detector activations.

Brush Fires: One in Swarthmore and one in Springfield.

Assists: Seven incidents in Morton; two incidents in Springfield. An assist is any incident/call to help another fire department. This could be to a building fire, auto accident, brush fire or any other type of call. An assist may also be considered a mutual aid call, where one FD renders aid to another. Calls for mutual aid are becoming ever more frequent with the shortage of volunteers in the fire service. Incidents that in prior years would have been handled by a single FD are now mutual aid or assist calls in order to supply sufficient manpower to manage the emergency.

This differs from a cover-up in that with an assist/mutual aid response, the fire department is called directly into the emergency scene to render assistance. In a cover-up or cover assignment, a team will go the firehouse of the requesting FD to cover their territory or district in the event of another emergency. The covering FD may, but would not normally, be called into the initial emergency.

Letters to the Editor

Batter up!

To the Editor:

For many years, we have enjoyed Sunday evenings in a great small-town American way by getting together with a great group of people for a couple hours of casual, recreational softball, and frequently, sitting around in the summer evening afterwards for talk and friendship. This has been a Swarthmore tradition since at least the 1930s, and we hope you’ll be part of it this summer. The Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, when we open the season, is only a few weeks away, and so we’d like to invite all Swarthmorean readers and their friends and family of teenage years or older to come out and play.

We play every Sunday evening from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, beginning about 5:15 p.m. or so, on the college fields behind the Presbyterian Church on Harvard Avenue. We end about 8 p.m. or when it’s too dark to see. It’s easy and casual: you can come when you want to and leave any time, and you don’t have to own a glove; borrowing a glove from a player on the batting team occurs regularly.

We hope to see you out there on May 28th!

Al Federico, Fran Donnelly, J. W. Clements and Matt Ainslie

Yes, to the referendum

To the Editor:

We are planning to vote “yes” on the Swarthmore21 referendum which will be on the ballot on May 16. The referendum would allow two eating establishments in town to serve beer. (And if they are willing to pay more for the license, wine. And if they are willing to pay a lot more, liquor.)

We are excited about the possibility of being able to pick up a six pack or a bottle of wine at the Co-op. And we love the idea of walking into town to grab a burger and a beer. But beyond the selfish reasons for voting “yes,” we believe having a few more fun restaurants in town will be good for Swarthmore’s future.

We love Swarthmore. We have lived here 22 years and raised our four kids here. We often brag to our out-of-town friends about what a uniquely wonderful community it is. But the happy little downtown we experienced when we arrived 22 years ago is changed. Michael’s, Swarthmore Music, T. Bumbles, the Jumping Cow, Finlandia, and the Book Source are gone, leaving many empty storefronts in their place.

Passing the May 16 referendum might be the beginning of a bit of revitalization of the downtown. Other towns that have passed similar measures have seen a marked increase in the time people spend shopping downtown. And in the evening, more people are out and about with “eyes on the street” keeping the area safe.

When we took our oldest son, Ben, went to Oberlin College, we were immediately struck by the vibrancy of the little town. It is similar in many ways to Swarthmore. Students and locals of all ages mingle in the small downtown. The new Oberlin Inn is beautiful. It is safe to walk the streets at all hours of the day and night. And the annual Big Parade includes kids on tricycles and a senior-citizen brigade doing a lawn-chair routine.

But in some ways, Oberlin is very different from Swarthmore. There are no empty storefronts (that we could see), and there are a number of lively restaurants where you can order a beer or a glass of wine with your meal. The Feve was our favorite lunch spot with great salads and burgers. In the evening, it became more of a gathering place, with locals and college-types watching games at the bar and eating the Feve’s famous tater-tots by the dozen. On the weekends, the upstairs hosted local bands.

Before having kids, we spent a couple years in Hanover, N.H., where quirky consignment shops and a bakery thrived alongside places like Five Olde, our favorite hangout serving burgers and pizza in a cozy basement pub. The town was alive, and we always knew we could walk home if necessary.

In our experience, small college towns — with eating establishments that serve beer and wine — are great places to live. We would love to see Swarthmore take advantage of this opportunity to become a more vibrant town. Let’s pass the referendum on May 16!

Beth and Steve Murray

If EPA matters, say so!

To the Editor:

On March 1, President Trump issued Executive Order 13777, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.” The EO requires federal agencies to evaluate existing regulations and make recommendations regarding their repeal, replacement, or modification. As part of this effort, agencies are required to receive input from the public.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting comments via an established docket from any member of the public about its regulations. EPA’s national program offices have also established national meetings and teleconferences in which the public may participate. The website at provides specific information about how to submit recommendations. The direct link to the docket is at:

This effort to reform EPA’s regulations is moving fast. The deadline for all comments is May 15, 2017. Take action now to let EPA know that its regulations are in place to protect our environment and public health! Sincerely,

Virginia Thompson

Invitation to a Refugee

To the Editor:

I have no credentials as a poet, but was inspired to write this for Poetry Month.

There is room for you in my country,
Room for you in my city, town, village,
Room in my neighborhood,
Room in my home;
There is room for you in my heart.

Stuart Hibben

Ageism at Swarthmore Swim Club

To the Editor:

This year the Swarthmore Swim Club is raising its membership fee for seniors by more than 100%. Many seniors I have talked with are upset and hurt, as am I, by what feels like an arbitrary and thoughtless decision. Such a dramatic increase is prohibitive for many and will be a deterrent to membership. I have asked both the membership secretary and the board person in charge of communications and publicity for an explanation.

The membership person simply does not respond and the communications person responds, in my opinion, in a patronizing and dismissive manner. I also asked whether other categories of membership have increased by the same amount — over 100% — and for a copy of the club’s budget and financial statement. My request for this information has been abruptly refused. I consider this lack of respect to be a form of elder abuse.

The club’s Mission Statement refers to an inclusive experience for members of all ages ( i.e., multi and intergenerational), and states that the club, established in 1955, was “to be inclusive, and to promote neighbors getting to know and interact with one another and building new relationships.”

The borough’s excellent Aging-In-Place Task Force issued its 119-page report in December 2015. It’s full of suggestions for seniors to be encouraged to interact with others to help alleviate problems such as isolation and loneliness. Swim Club board members need to read this report — in its entirety.

Again the swim club’s Mission Statement says that it provides a place for all ages to socialize — something crucial for the psychological health and well-being of seniors — and a green space for any seniors living in apartments, or anyone “who enjoys a quiet wooded setting.”

The swim club board needs to apologize to Swarthmore’s senior community and to rescind the 100% increase in fees. How can we consider Swarthmore a caring and inclusive community with recent actions by the Swim club board?

Allan Irving

Forward, into the past?

To the Editor:

During the past 40 years I have seen the business district of Swarthmore change. Starting from the intersection of Rutgers Avenue and Chester Road and proceeding in a northerly direction, I have seen a music store disappear because of online music and electronic instruments, “The Cracker Barrel” disappear, replaced by doughnuts, a used book store gone due to Internet book search engines, (the hardware store remains), a store featuring antique paintings sacrificed to a technology which will “paint you a Rembrandt,” a toy store which cannot compete with video games, a drug store replaced by CVS, its magazine and news rack replaced by Internet news, its phone booth replaced by cell phones, and its soda fountain struck down by “Nifty Fifties.”

Around the corner, a tiny pen and ink store replaced by e-mail, a photography shop replaced by digital imagery, its hobby section gone because children no longer make things. Next, a gift shop whose owner retired, a new book store, downed as surely as Borders and an antique store, failed because of current Philistine taste in home furnishing.

Across the street, a houseplant and florist, now a college watering hole, a basement psychoanalytic research office vanished, and a gas station replaced by a second Swarthmore bank. This has not been progress; it feels more like regress. Not a pretty sight.

Today, a neighbor interested in revitalization of our town center suggested that we invite a comic book store to town, but I replied that “Comic Universe” on MacDade has that market well served and that to make our town unique and to attract interesting people, there is no sense in replacing failed business. For starters, we could open an aquarium store which features cloned reef life, a rare wood veneer store, a houseplant source for Nepenthes and other carnivorous plants, a calligraphy equipment supply which offers instructional workshops in manuscript illumination and botanical illustration, and a bookbinding supply shop offering leathers, gilding equipment for titles and marbleizing supplies for end papers.

Other ideas from fellow Swarthmoreans are welcome.

John Brodsky

SRA Seeks Energetic Board Members

Swarthmore Recreation Association is currently accepting nominations for candidates to serve on the SRA Board for a three-year term, 2017-2020. Candidates must live in the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District, should be interested in youth and adult recreational programs, have a zest for life, and be willing to attend ten to eleven meetings annually.

Please submit your nomination in writing by mid-May to SRA President Carin Newsome, SRA, P.O. Box 235, Swarthmore, PA 19081, or send your nomination to Linda McCullough at to be forwarded to Carin.