This week’s issue . . .

Swarthmore Borough Council:
State of the Borough: Fractious but Fine
By Katie Crawford

Mayor Tim Kearney and Borough Council member Ross Schmucki.

With Sunday’s Eagles victory fresh in their minds, a somewhat sleep-deprived council met the next night at Swarthmore Borough Hall for its monthly work session. As is customary, the meeting opened with a period of public comment, which on this night concerned the thorny issue of overnight lodging on Riverview Road.

Tom Runiewicz, a neighbor of 207 Riverview, described a “motel-like operation” at the property, with frequent transient guests lodging in the accessory building there. He raised particular concern about the safety of the many unaccompanied children who use Henderson Field, right across the road from that block of Riverview. Runiewicz’s wife, Linda Hauck, also addressed council. Hauck discussed the history of the property, noting that the zoning board recently permitted owner Aurora Winslade to use her home (the primary building at 207) to be used as a bed and breakfast, but made no ruling regarding the accessory building.

The accessory building — originally a garage — currently includes a separate kitchen, bathroom, and deck, non-original features which Hauck said were not taken into account in the most recent assessment of the property. Hauck referenced a 1978 letter from Guy Smith, borough solicitor at the time of the building addition, which stated that the …

WSSD Kindergarten Registration Is Open

Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow… and about next school year. Children who will be 5 years old on or before September 1, 2018 are eligible for kindergarten admission for the 2018-2019 academic year in the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District.

The district offers morning and afternoon sessions of kindergarten in each of the district’s three elementary schools. Parents can indicate their session preference in online registration through March 1, 2018. This deadline allows participation in a selection lottery to determine priority for session assignments, to be held at the kindergarten orientations for parents in each of the elementary schools.

Orientation events will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, March 5, at Nether Providence and Wallingford Elementary schools, and on Tuesday, March 6, at Swarthmore-Rutledge School. The agenda will include information on school transportation, kindergarten health services, PTO, and upcoming events for children and parents.

The online registration link is at Questions concerning online registration should be directed to Derrick L. Clements at or 610-892-3470 ext. 1203.

If you are unable to register online, please call the Educational Data and Registration Office at 610-892-3470 ext. 1206 to schedule an appointment to complete the registration at the Administration Office.

Spring into a New Semester of WSCC Classes

What’s new? New multi-week courses this semester in the Wallingford-Swarthmore Community Classes explore arts and esthetics in “Architecture for the Rest of Us” and “Still Life Drawing”; healthier living is the focus of “Going Green” and “Healthy Foundations for Parents”; communication and drama are central to “Playwriting,” “Blogging Basics,” and the “It Can’t Happen Here” film series.

Culinary legend Margaret Kuo makes her entrée into the ranks of WSCC instructors, conducting two master classes on sushi-making and Chinese cuisine. Wine experts Richard Unti and Robert Peters will lead two evenings of wine tastings. Other old favorites return for new students, among 40 other single sessions and weekly courses to be held beginning March 1 at Strath Haven High School, Swarthmore Borough Hall, and other venues.

Course pricing varies, as do schedules, although most evening classes are held on Mondays and Thursdays at Strath Haven High School. To browse the course catalogue and register for classes, visit Direct questions to WSCC at 610-566-5786 or

Valentine Stories:

Love, Lost and Found
By Lee Awbrey

Lee Awbrey

I remember seeing her, all braids and sass, at gymnastics in fourth grade. We shared a liking for sitting under a particular tree at the lake, where we’d read books for hours. Sometimes we’d bike ride to the bank of a local river and explore the dirt paths hidden among tall grass. We backpacked in Colorado with friends, nestled between the Rocky Mountains, camping under August skies, and making wishes on shooting stars. But somewhere between the brutalities of middle-school politics, awkward adolescent years, immature early adulthood choices, and various moves and family crises, we lost track of each other. We’d meet from time to time, catching up at a writing group or on a nature hike, but by then other people and things – parents, romantic partners, careers – dominated. If you don’t nurture relationships, they fade. But if you are lucky, the most meaningful ones can come back.

I was in my forties, a mother of a healthy small child, with solid career credentials and a house in a great, walkable community. From the outside, the house looked like a life-sized dollhouse and (except for the vinyl siding,) it appeared the perfect home for a happy family of 2.4 kids and a dog. Inside, it contained beautifully waxed wood floors that glowed in natural light, high ceilings, an updated kitchen, and an irreparably broken marriage. When you hate your face in the mirror, the fact that the mirror is over a double sink doesn’t …

Valentine’s Anniversary
Frannie and J. Reilly, Swarthmore

The Reilly family, J, Molly, Frannie, John, Anne and Emily in Central Park.

“Our wedding invitations said Martha Frances and John Vincent. I think our friends were confused since we go by Frannie and J,” said Frannie Reilly recently. The wedding was 15-1/2 years ago, but the big anniversary is coming up next week. Frannie told the story on behalf of the couple.

“We met the day after Valentine’s Day, twenty years ago this February 15. We were out with friends, other seniors at Lehigh University. Our best friends were dating and introduced us. We had our first date soon after that and were excited to see how things would go,” Frannie said.

Things evidently went well. “We dated ever since that first meeting! It will be 20 years since we first met on the day after Valentine’s Day.” A lot of life has happened for J and Frannie in those 20 years. She recalled: “We graduated in May, 1998 and both got jobs in New York City. I worked for Accenture as a management consultant and J worked for Bankers Trust. Three years after we started out in New York, while walking in Central Park, J proposed, with a ring, on one knee in the Bramble in Central Park. It was a total surprise. I was wearing running clothes!”

When Frannie started law school at Villanova, the couple moved to Plymouth Meeting. “J transferred to Philadelphia for work, and also started the MBA program at Villanova (Go Nova!). I grew up in Woodstown, South Jersey, and my family has had a place …

New Director of Music at SUMC

Yun Joung Park, SUMC Director of Music Ministries, with her husband Yool Lee and children, Jeannie and Bonnie.

Yun Joung Park has joined Swarthmore United Methodist Church as Director of Music Ministries. Yun and her husband Yool Lee recently moved to Swarthmore with their two preschool-age daughters, Jeannie (age 2) and Bonnie (5).

Yun and Yool — a research associate at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Neuroscience — both grew up in South Korea. Yun received her Bachelor of Arts degree in piano in Korea, completed her Artist Diploma in piano at Kӧln Musikhochschule in Germany, and earned her Graduate Performance Degree in piano at Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University.

Yun also earned her Master of Music in musicology at Seoul National University while working as a pianist and teacher. She has served several churches in Korea, Germany, and the United States as a choir pianist, most recently at Cheltenham Presbyterian Church and at Armenian Martyrs’ Congregational Church in Havertown. She has extensive experience in performance as well as in teaching and research. Yun has performed in seven solo piano recitals and numerous chamber music concerts here in the United States and in Korea and Europe.

Forecast: Chili
By Joyce Ciampa

Ralph Ciampa, utility player, stirs the pot for the SUMC Chili Cook Off.

It is the season of chili, and it is time again for the Swarthmore United Methodist Church Chili Cook Off. This year the Cook Off will take place on Saturday, February 24. We welcome chili makers and chili eaters. Chilis will be judged in three categories: chili with meat, vegetarian chili, and the People’s Choice. Our judges this year will include Swarthmore Mayor Tim Kearney, Bill Randall from Hobbs, and Nanette Tobin.

Chili cooks should bring their entries to the church at 5:30 p.m. for the judging. The general public will be admitted at 6 p.m. The price for adults is $15; students and chili entrants pay $10; children under 12 are admitted for $5. In addition to many varied and delicious chilis, there will be macaroni and cheese, bread, salad, chips and dip, desserts, and beverages.

Swarthmore United Methodist Church is located at 129 Park Avenue. Call the church with questions: 610-543-2110.

Dig into Scott Arboretum’s Seminar
and Travelogue

What do you want to know about the witch hazel family? You’ll find out lots of it at Scott Arboretum’s seminar on this diverse and lovely family of trees and shrubs, some of which will soon be blooming as avatars of early spring.

Plant Curator Mary Tipping leads this in-depth look at witch hazels and their effective use in your landscape, which will be held Friday, February 16, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Gillespie Room of Scott’s Wister Center. The cost is $30 for Scott members; $40 for …

Child Soldiers and Moral Responsibility

Krista Thompson, assistant professor of Philosophy at Swarthmore College, will speak on Tuesday, February 13, on her research into the moral injury suffered by child soldiers, their sense of responsibility, and the redrawing of their moral boundaries which ensues from their traumatic experiences. The lecture at 4:15 p.m. is open to faculty and the wider public in attendance at the McCabe Library atrium.

The Wizard of Oz cast members include (from left): Matt Prince of Media, Scarecrow; Rich Kaplan of Media, Tin Man; Maria Prince of Media, Dorothy; and David Pollack, Swarthmore, as Cowardly Lion. The first of four shows premieres Friday, February 17, at Congregation Ohev Shalom in Wallingford.

Go Off to See the Wizard

The yellow brick road runs through Wallingford this February, with a whirlwind production of The Wizard of Oz touching down at Congregation Ohev Shalom for four performances beginning next Saturday, February 17, at 7:30 p.m. Ryan Stone of Springfield directs the Ohev Players in a new production of the classic tale by L. Frank Baum, geared to delight children and engage adults.

The characters so beloved from the 1939 film version of The Wizard are played by gifted local actors including Maria Prince (Dorothy), Matt Prince (Scarecrow), and Rich Kaplan (Tin Man), all Media residents, and David Pollack of Swarthmore as the Cowardly Lion.

Many among the production staff are associated with the Players Club of Swarthmore and the Young People’s Theater Workshop, including director Stone, music director Kevin Gane, scenic artist Tanya Sistare, producer Cathy Baum, and choreographer Tommy Bennett, a junior at Strath Haven High School.

The Wizard of Oz will play out on stage at the auditorium of Ohev Shalom, 2 Chester Road, on Saturdays, February 17 and 24, at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays, February 18 and 25, at 2 p.m. Tickets ($10 for children 12 and under; $15 for others) and information are at and 610-874-1465.

The Other Bus Line
By Thomas Collins

“Southern Penn” operated a fleet of nearly 50 buses including this beauty, which plied routes connecting Chester with Media, Wilmington, and Darby.

My article “Buses in the Borough,” published in the June 16, 2017 issue of the Swarthmorean focused on the old Red Arrow bus route “O” — today known as SEPTA’s route 109. This route directly serves Swarthmore as it travels from Upper Darby to Chester.

Although not providing service to the Borough of Swarthmore, the Southern Pennsylvania Bus Company did run a line from Chester to Media running through a segment of Rose Valley and Wallingford. Portions of this route show it operated over Brookhaven Road, Rose Valley Road, Possum Hollow Road, and Providence Road.

Southern Pennsylvania Bus Company (known locally as Southern Penn) was based at 13th and Edgemont Street in Chester and was owned by the Beneficial Corporation. Beneficial also controlled Delaware Coach Company, Wilmington’s transit provider.

Southern Penn operated a fleet of nearly 50 buses (all of them produced by ACF Motors in Philadelphia) with its main line running from Darby to Wilmington, Del. via Chester Pike. Other routes, such as the Rose Valley/Media line, all connected in downtown …

Creature Feature Exhibition Opens;
Awards Reception February 18 at CAC

Juror Brad Hagmayer’s love for animals and his incredible technical skill come together beautifully in his ceramic animal sculptures like Polka Dot Octopus which will be included in the Creature Feature exhibition at Community Arts Center.

Curators Brad Hagmayer, Martha Perkins, and Garth Herrick set the ground rules for “Creature Feature,” the current exhibition at Wallingford’s Community Arts Center: interpret the theme “creature” using any conceptual framework desired. The responses among dozens of artists include works in two dimensional forms like mixed media, painting, prints, and photography, as well as wall sculpture and other three dimensional works, anchored by a major ceramic installation by Hagmayer and CAC instructor Bob Deane.

The exhibition opened last Saturday and will continue to occupy CAC’s Duke Gallery through March 9. On Sunday afternoon, February 18, from 2 to 4 p.m., artists and the public are invited to a free reception and ceremony for the presentation of awards to …

Maple Sugaring and Pancake Breakfast at Tyler

It’s maple sugaring time at Tyler Arboretum in Media, and a delicious day is coming up on Saturday, February 24, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. See how the sweet stuff is made in a walk through Tyler’s sugaring stations, where maple sap is made into syrup, then enjoy the bounty of the season at an all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfast, which benefits Tyler’s education programs and upkeep of grounds.

The event goes on rain or shine, though snow will postpone it until March 3. Tickets (advance or at the door) are $16 for adults, $10 for children aged 3 to 12, and free for small fry. Info and tickets are at

Pothole Crews in Town Next Week

Had it with potholes? PennDOT feels your pain. Its pothole crews will be at work next week (beginning February 12) on Chester Road in Swarthmore, and Rose Valley Road in Rose Valley and Swarthmore. Expect temporary delays and look forward to smoother sailing on these state highways in future months.

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper
at Mother of Providence

You can’t have Easter without Lent, you can’t have Lent without Shrove Tuesday, and you can’t have Shrove Tuesday without pancakes — lots of them. Come fuel up for the Lenten season at the 10th annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper on February 13, 6 to 7:30 p.m., in the gym at Mother of Providence Regional Catholic School.

Advance tickets are $5 for adults; $4 for kids under 12, and are available in advance after Masses at St. John Chrysostom and Nativity BVM churches. A limited number of tickets (at $6 and $5) will be available at the door. Sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, the family event benefits the school’s scholarship fund.

How to Repair Democracy

Adam Eichen

If ever there were a timely forum, this is it. “How to Repair Our Democracy” is the focal topic at a free public program on Saturday, February 17, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware County. Three speakers will discuss their clear-eyed observations on the state of American and local democracy, and their optimistic outlooks on the way forward. Author Adam Eichen will discuss the new book Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want, which he coauthored with Francis Moore Lappe. Rabbi Michael Pollack will introduce and organize volunteers for the nonpartisan March on Harrisburg reform group, of which he is executive director. Asa Khalif will report …

On Sunday evening, February 11, jazz vocalist Janis Siegel fronts a combo including eminent musicians Philadelphia bassist Gerald Veasley, saxophonist and Swarthmore professor Andrew Neu, and New York pianist John DiMartino. Siegel, renowned as a singer, writer and arranger with the iconic vocal group Manhattan Transfer, has made several visits to the college during recent months as a resident artist. This 7:30 p.m. performance at Lang Concert Hall is open to the Swarthmore community, free and unticketed.

Whose Democracy Is It, Anyway?

Depending on your perspective, democracy may be under an existential threat, may be gaining new energy, or both. But who is actually participating in democracy today, and why isn’t everyone? Those are the questions Daniel Lauriston has been asking in the Pennsylvania Non-Voter Project, seeking to understand political non-participation, and to increase political engagement in our state. Lauriston, assistant professor of Sociology at Swarthmore College, will speak on his research at the next meeting of the Swarthmore Discussion Group, coming up on Wednesday, February 21, at the Inn at Swarthmore, 10 S. Chester Road.

The evening begins at 5:15 with a happy hour, continues with dinner at 6 p.m., and segues into the featured talk and question/answer period. The Swarthmore Discussion Group has a limited number of tickets available at $45 for the February session. Contact Mary Carr at or 610-957-6132.

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