This week’s issue . . .

Chris Curtin Shares His Golden Ticket

Chocolatier Christopher Curtin

Christopher Curtin is the Willy Wonka of West Chester. The Rose Valley resident owns and operates Éclat Chocolates, makers of what Bon Appetit magazine called the best chocolates in America. Éclat’s West Chester storefront shop is much more an art gallery than a candy store, generously appointed with beautiful, subtly varying, and irresistible confections arrayed with geometric precision.

Behind it all is a man frankly obsessed with chocolate in all its forms and stages, with perfecting one concoction while imagining the next manifestation of chocolate’s depth and variety. For Curtin, whose father was a professor of African history at Swarthmore College and elsewhere, early life in Africa and Europe brought a cascade of varied and exotic flavors. He first worked in a restaurant at age 13, and after pursuing ski racing and other passions, he set his cap on becoming a chocolatier. The training took him to pastry institutes and kitchens in New York, Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, and Japan over a period of more than 13 years before he founded Éclat.

It’s hardly a stay-at-home gig now for Curtin. The vertical integration of the Éclat operation takes Curtin all over, as he specs and purchases cacao beans by the ton in Africa (“both Congos” and Madagascar) Indonesia, and South America. In Peru, he discovered growers of a bean not seen in commercial use for 100 years. It is the basis for the “Good & Evil” bar, and the quest for this rare flora was the subject of a “Parts Unknown” episode involving Curtin, Eric Ripert and Anthony Bourdain traveling to the remote …

Make Your Swarthmore Safer:
Complete an Emergency Information Form

Swarthmore Borough has created an Emergency Information Form to enhance the safety of the residents of our community. The purpose of the form is to give Swarthmoreans the option of providing potentially important information – on special needs, e.g. medical and mobility issues, members of the household, pets, irregular hours or circumstances – to first responders (police, fire, and EMT). The form may be completed and submitted by anyone who lives or spends a significant amount of time in Swarthmore or Rutledge, as well as by business owners or others who may require police, fire, or ambulance services.

Completing the form is completely voluntary. If you choose to do so, you provide name, address, date of birth, and contact info. You can choose to include whatever additional information is pertinent to your circumstances. The information on the form will be entered into the computer system of the Swarthmore Borough Police Department. The information will then be available to police officers in their patrol vehicles responding to emergency calls.

Note that the information will be stored on a secure server and is not subject to public disclosure. No information will be used for purposes other than emergency response or public safety.

Copies of the voluntary Emergency Information Form and an instruction sheet can be obtained in the Swarthmore Borough administration office, at the Swarthmore Police Department, or on the Borough’s web site Forms and Permits section at You can also request that a form be e-mailed to you by contacting or by calling the Police Department at 610-543-0123.

Mood Indigo: A Collection of Healers
on Park Avenue

Jacqlyn Diamond (center) and others at a moon blessing ceremony at Indigo Healing Arts Collective. Photo by Amy Luving.

Jacqlyn Diamond has counseled clients for nearly nine years in her psychology practice at 110 Park Avenue in Swarthmore. Now in Indigo Healing Arts Collective at that address, Diamond has expanded that practice in several ways, moving forward to the front of the second floor office and broadening the range of healing services provided there.

In addition to the counseling Diamond provides to young people and adults, the Indigo collective includes yoga classes, led by Nicole Breen of Swarthmore and Jess Kennedy O’Brien of Middletown, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 5:30 and Wednesday mornings at 10. Massage therapists Niva Merlino of Ridley and Sarah Lima of Swarthmore are on site by appointment. A biweekly Monday night meditation series has begun, focusing in consecutive weeks on the seven chakras …

Report from the Fire Company
By Rich Cresson

From January 15 through January 28, the Swarthmore Fire & Protective Association responded to a variety of alarms, including the following.

EMS: The ambulance responded to 36 calls for medical assistance. These were to Swarthmore, Rutledge, Morton, Springfield, and Nether Providence Township. The calls were for a variety of emergencies including: change in mental status, unconscious person, back pain, hypotension, sick person, medical alarm, cerebrovascular event, extremity pain, fall with trauma, seizures, syncopal episode, overdose, reaction to medication, injured person, hypertension, psychiatric emergency, cardiac emergency, and semi-conscious person.

Automatic Fire Alarm: Four calls, including one alarm in the 800 block of Parkridge Drive in Nether Providence Twp.; one at Swarthmore Ballet Theater in Swarthmore, and two in Morton, at the Delaware County Intermediate Unit and at the Coffee Station.

Automobile Accidents: One, with entrapment, at Plush Mill and Turner roads in Nether Providence. Building: One call for a basement fire on Westminster Ave.

Hazmat: One alarm for a fuel spill on the 100 block of South Chester Road in Springfield Twp.

Wires: One alarm on the 200 block of Fairhill Rd. in Morton for a sparking transformer.

Included in the Fire Company’s recent activity were three mutual aid calls to Morton Rutledge Fire Dept., two to Nether Providence Twp., one to Springfield Twp., and one cover assignment to Upper Chichester.

Pinewood Derby Rolls On For Cub Scouts

Jasper Hals shows off the trophy he won for his Pinewood Derby racer, which neatly combined two of the themes chosen by the Cubs.

Video games went analog, death rode a black car, and pigs almost flew in last week’s Pinewood Derby held by Swarthmore Cub Scout Pack 112 at Swarthmore-Rutledge School. Thirty Cub Scouts participated in the event, in which the children carved and decorated cars and raced them down a wooden track. Trophies were given for the fastest cars and in “themed” categories, which were selected by the Cubs (Video Game, Pig and Death). The two slowest cars also earned trophies.

“The event gave the pack the opportunity to show off their creativity and compete in a positive environment,” said Cubmaster Andy Rennick, who provided photos and results to the Swarthmorean. …

Share a Little Love

Newspaper editors in search of romance … yours. Tell us how you and your beloved met, fell in love, made a commitment, and took it to the next level, whatever that may be. We’re looking for love, for our February 9 edition, where we’ll share your story and others in our Valentine’s Day issue of the Swarthmorean. Get in touch with us at, and we’ll follow up to help you tell your love story.

‘Quakerism 101’ at Swarthmore Friends

For those who are curious about Quaker faith and practice, or want to delve more deeply into the riches of Quakerism, Swarthmore Friends Meeting offers “Quakerism 101.” The five part series begins this Sunday, February 4, with a discussion of basic Quaker Beliefs, drawing from the new Faith and Practice of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. Swarthmore Meeting member Gary King will be facilitator.

On February 25th, session #2 will address Quaker Worship and the powerful experience of the gathered meeting. Steven Davison, a member of Central Philadelphia Meeting and author of the recent Pendle Hill pamphlet, The Gathered Meeting, will be the facilitator. …

Celebrate Charlie Seymour, Jr. at Players Club

Fans and friends of the Players Club of Swarthmore know well the name of Charlie Seymour, Jr. On Sunday, February 11, the name will literally become part of the place as PCS adds a plaque for Charlie to its Wall of Honor in a joyous fashion. The theatre’s highest honor is appropriate for a man who first trod the boards at PCS at age 6, acted in countless plays and directed 14 musicals there.

Come for the reception at noon, free of charge, in the theatre lobby at 614 Fairview Road, and stay for the 2 p.m. matinee of Little Shop of Horrors on the PCS main stage. Coincidentally, Seymour shares a name with a principal character in Little Shop, which (even more coincidentally) he directed at PCS in 1991. Tickets to this production are available at the door and through

As if water hazards and ducks weren’t distracting enough, the Phanatic turned up on the opening hole of CADES’s 3rd annual Putt-Putt tournament, which raised $11,000 to buy assistive devices for students at the Swarthmore nonprofit.

‘The Putting Zoo’ — a Roaring Success at CADES!
By Julie Alleman

Lions and tigers and bears…oh my! CADES opened its “Putting Zoo” themed miniature golf course for one day only last Sunday, and guess who came? Welcomed by 100+ volunteers, more than 400 mini-golfers of all ages plus the Phillie Phanatic stampeded through the gym, hallways and classrooms to enjoy 18 original, animal-inspired putt-putt holes, and the opportunity to win a myriad of auction baskets.

The goals of the event were two-fold: to raise funds for assistive technology devices to support CADES students in communication, and to build relationships with the community. The results were even better than expected. The Putting Zoo raised just over $11,000 and attracted hundreds of neighbors and supporters, many who traveled the halls of CADES for the first time.

Members of the community, local high school clubs, CADES vendors, families and board members personally made each putt-putt hole. New this year were two holes that were adapted so that golfers could practice putting with different types of restrictions that CADES students who live with a disability experience every day. One hole required …

More Candidate Filings of Note On

Greg Vitali

Monday, January 29, State Representative Greg Vitali of Havertown announced his candidacy for U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania’s 7th District, which is now held by embattled Republican Patrick Meehan. Vitali, a Democrat, is the first of his party ever to be elected in Pennsylvania’s 166th District, which covers parts of Haverford, Radnor, and Lower Merion townships. Twenty-six years later, he continues to represent the 166th in Harrisburg.

Last week, Tanner Rouse of Upper Providence Township held a kickoff event in Upper Darby, beginning his campaign for the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania Senate in the 26th District. Rouse, a political newcomer, is a lawyer and has worked as a prosecutor in the office of the Philadelphia District Attorney. He joins a field which includes Swarthmore Mayor Tim Kearney. The winner of the Democratic primary in May will likely face incumbent Republican Tom McGarrigle of Ridley.

Last Chance for Input on Parks
and Recreation Plan

CORPOS is nearly complete, and you have until February 11 to read and comment on it.

The Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation, Parks, and Open Space plan developed for Nether Providence, Rose Valley, Swarthmore and Rutledge, in conjunction with Natural Lands Trust, is 100-plus pages of data, analysis, recommendations, and action plans, assembled by Natural Lands Trust from exhaustive research, meetings and interviews in the communities.

The document is a multi-municipal comprehensive, outdoor, recreation, parks and open space plan. NLT is looking to Wallingford-Swarthmore School District residents to review the third draft online at, and then to complete a brief survey with comments page at

The plan will be posted through Sunday, February 11. The team will then review the comments, make any adjustments to the plan and bring it to the municipalities for their review and adoption.

Light and Geometry in Rochelle Myers Show
at Borough Hall

Painting by Rochelle Myers.

Local artist Rochelle Myers exhibits her acrylic paintings in a solo exhibition opening this weekend at Swarthmore Borough Hall, 121 Park Avenue.

Myers will welcome visitors to the exhibition during Swarthmore’s First Friday, February 2, from 6 to 8 p.m., and then will be at the center of the opening reception on Sunday, February 4, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Myers’s compositions capture the contrast of bright light and dark shadows to describe form and atmosphere. She says: “My artistic philosophy is to use colors in layers that express my impression of a particular place, always using geometric shapes, planes, and textures.” The show is sponsored by Swarthmore Friends of the Arts and is open during regular Swarthmore Borough and Public Library hours.

New Programs for the New Kids at Furness Library

Helen Kate Furness children’s librarian Lori Friedgen-Veitch invites parents to register ASAP and bring their youngsters to two late winter programs.

Infant Lap Wiggle is under way now on Thursdays at 10:15 a.m. A joyous celebration of babies and books, songs and snuggles welcomes parents/caregivers and their children from birth through 23 months. For three consecutive Thursdays from 10 to 11 a.m., Chat Play Learn will meet for social interaction between parent and child; child and …

Natures Narratives Read ‘The Soul of an Octopus’

Scott Arboretum’s monthly reading group considers The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery at its meeting on Wednesday, February 14, at 5:30 pm. The discussion session at the Scott Horticultural Library is free and open to all who have read the book and register at or by phone at 610-328-8025.

Say You Care … For Your Plants

Looking to get into houseplant husbandry? Having trouble keeping your beloved green companions healthy over the winter? Come to Swarthmore Public Library next Wednesday, February 7, at 7 p.m., as James Verdi of Swarthmore’s Houseplant Hospital shares his expertise in cultivating a green thumb of your own. Register and get more information at 610-543-0436 or email

Want to Volunteer?

The Civil Service Commission and the Zoning Hearing Board are currently looking for people to serve as alternate members. Please send an email to or call 610-543-4599 if interested.

Support Our Veterans
By Jeannine Anckaitis

In preparation for Valentine’s Day, let’s show some love to our local veterans. At Swarthmore Borough Hall on Wednesday, February 7, from 2-3pm, all ages are invited to drop by and make Thank You cards and patriotic bracelets for veterans suffering from PTSD.

Please bring at least $1 per participant to cover the cost of supplies. Additional cash donations will be gratefully accepted by the Coatesville VA Medical Center’s Springfield outpatient clinic.

We will also be collecting telephone cards, new socks, underwear and T-shirts, packages of coffee, tea, cookies and crackers, and softback puzzle books for veterans. (Some require large print.) Please bring donations to the library on February 7 or to the SRS Elementary School lobby through February 12. There is even more that we can do for those who fought for or country.

For more information on donating or volunteering separately from this event, please see

Create and Share the Love at TGP
By Sheila Bell

Explore your artistic creativity and join The Gathering Place February 7 and 14, where the group will enjoy making valentines on the 7th (lucky recipients to be determined) and make deliveries on Valentine’s Day (weather permitting). Materials will be provided as well as a light catered lunch on February 7, and soup and bread from Occasionally Yours are available for a modest fee on the 14th. Dessert and beverages are offered free, as always.

The Gathering Place, part of the Swarthmore Senior Citizens’ Association, meets at Swarthmore United Methodist Church, 129 Park Avenue, most Wednesdays at noon for lunch and 12:30 p.m. for the program/activity.

Reinhold Neibuhr Film at SUMC

Swarthmore United Methodist Church invites the community to attend its Faith and Life class this Sunday, February 4, at 11:15 a.m. to view the award winning documentary An American Conscience: the Reinhold Niebuhr Story.

Niebuhr, who wrote “Man’s inclination to justice makes democracy possible. Man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary,” was arguably the most prominent among 20th century Protestant thinkers and leaders. A light lunch of soup and bread will be served. The church is at 129 Park Avenue.

Elaine Muray at Story House

New Mexico-based storyteller Elaine Muray will be the featured performer on Saturday, February 10, at the Rose Valley Storytelling House, 3 Rose Valley Road. … Call 540-371-6775 or email the host at with any questions.

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