This week’s issue . . .

Swarthmore Borough Council:
Redistricting Plan Brings No Joy
By Chris Reynolds

With no report from Mayor Tim Kearney, no commentary from the public, and little activity requiring official action, Monday’s Borough Council legislative session clocked in under a half-hour.

Council President David Creagan opened the meeting by seeking members’ thoughts on recent developments in Pennsylvania legislative redistricting. Council resolved last year to endorse the redistricting methodology proposed by the nonpartisan group Fair Districts PA, which appears not to have been employed in the hastily drafted map sent to Governor Wolf last Friday by Republican legislators. Council member Betsy Larsen noted that “The exclusion of Swarthmore from the 7th District essentially separates us from the rest of our school district … which is an artificial separation that to my understanding is unacceptable under the policy by which districts are supposed to be drawn in Pennsylvania.”

Council unanimously moved to authorize solicitor Robert Scott to draft a letter to Governor Wolf, advising that he reject the plan, based on the idea that Swarthmore (now in the First Congressional District) should be reunited with other communities comprising …

Volunteering to Help
Recruit Volunteers

When Bob Hayden joined the Swarthmore Fire & Protective Association 35 years ago, he was one of more than 100 volunteers. “When the alarm sounded, each of four fire trucks responded with a crew of six or more members,” he recalled recently. Today, despite decades of recruitment efforts, there are fewer than 35 volunteers, and even with an annual payroll of $500,000 for emergency professionals, when an alarm sounds it is a challenge to get all three fire trucks to respond with more than three members.

The problem is not unique to Swarthmore: Pennsylvania fire companies have seen volunteerism decline from a high of 350,000 volunteers in the 1970s to about 20% of that number currently. So when his daughter Morgan offered the consulting services of her student cohort from Villanova’s MBA program, Hayden was ambivalent: “Although the prospect of a ‘free’ consultation sounded wonderful, I cautioned her that a lot of smart minds in the Commonwealth have been trying for decades to solve this volunteer crisis. Despite my caution, she told me her group would welcome the opportunity.”

During fall, 2017, members of the group interviewed Swarthmore civic leaders and devised a survey to assess community attitudes and perceptions, which respondents completed online and in person at the Swarthmore Farmers Market. Applying analysis and …

Shannon Elliott Is Right at HOM

After almost 20 years in retail, Shannon Elliott has finally found HOM. As the new owner of Harvey Oak Mercantile (HOM), she takes over a stylish store in the Ville, opposite Swarthmore’s Central Park. It seems as if the right person is in the right place at the right time.

Shannon has worked in the retail industry since graduating from college and entering Macy’s buyer training program in New York City. She soon was a buyer of accessories and toys for kids for 80 stores, then for 120 after a merger with the Sterns chain.

“I wanted to come back to Philadelphia, where I am from,” Elliott said recently over the noise of construction of a dressing room in the store at 102 Park Avenue. “I contacted Urban Outfitters; which led to Anthropologie, who were rebuilding their buying team at the time (April 2001). It was getting hard for buyers to find anything new, and we were launching women’s private label clothing. That took off like wildfire. I did that for …

PCS Celebrates Its Heart and Soul

The Players Club of Swarthmore runs almost entirely on volunteer energy, says Kathy Senkow, vice president of the PCS Board of Governors: “The only people who get paid to work here are the people who clean the theatre.” The scores of actors, directors, set builders, production workers and ticket sellers do it for the love of theatre. And once a year, for the appreciation expressed by the PCS community and leadership.

The PCS Board annually chooses among nominees to recognize one honoree each year for the Member Laureate award displayed in the lobby, and one leading light to be added to the Wall of Honor on the back wall of the main stage theater. That happy day was Sunday, February 11.

As from Sunday, the newest Member Laureate is Sandy Goldsborough of Springfield, who has worked at PCS for decades as a scenic artist and set decorator. She was introduced at the ceremony by PCS board member George Mulford, who cited her expertise in stagecraft, her deft work with paintbrushes, and her exuberant, inimitable laugh.

Charlie Seymour Jr. of Wallingford was honored with the unveiling of the newest plaque on the Wall of honor — his — capping a PCS career in which has led the theater as a board member, fundraiser, communicator, and producing director. He directed 14 musicals and acted in many more plays, beginning at age 6, but one particularly stands out, as Charlie mused in his acceptance speech on Sunday.

“For our family, The Fantasticks is like no other production. It was the only musical my father directed, in 1963 … and then he was IN it when I directed in 1963. And finally Mom and Dad watched it, when [daughter] Liz and I were in the cast in 2011.”

Now Charlie’s plaque is just a row and a few spaces from his father’s on the Wall of Honor, representing two generations among five (and counting) in Charlie’s family.

Library Holiday Hours

The Swarthmore Public Library will be closed on Monday, February 19, in observance of Presidents’ Day The Helen Kate Furness Free Library will be open with regular hours.

Meeting Notice

The General Government Committee of Swarthmore Borough Council has rescheduled their next meeting to Monday, February 26, at 7 p.m. in the Community Room of Swarthmore Borough Hall.

Stamp for Joy

Hand-carved stamps can be a clever, easy to use tool for decoration and self-expression. Deborah Sax leads a free workshop on designing and creating stamps, and using them in symmetrical, repeating patterns to yield unique motifs, next Friday, February 23, 10 a.m., at Swarthmore Public Library.

Space is limited to the first 20 registrants, so sign up ASAP at or 610-543-0436.

Author Cheryl Borrelli at HKF Library

Author Cheryl Borrelli will visit the Helen Kate Furness Free Library next Tuesday, February 20, to read from her memoir Dear Nicky, Love Mommy, in a free event that is open to all.

Borelli will talk about how she came to write the book, which is an account of her life with her son Nicholas, who is severely autistic. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.

The session begins at 7 p.m. in the lower level meeting room at Furness, 100 N. Providence Road in Wallingford.

Wait Until Dark

Lights Out: Hedgerow Opens Wait Until Dark

When the lights go out, the hunters become the hunted in Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of Frederick Knott’s Wait Until Dark, on stage through March 18 at Hedgerow Theatre in Rose Valley. Directed by Producing Artistic Director Jared Reed, the play features core Hedgerow company member Adam Altman, resident company members Owen Corey, Lisa VillaMil, and Matthew Windham, and Abby Kanes, a young actor from Hedgerow’s theatre school.

VillaMil stars as Susan Hendrix, who was recently blinded in a car accident. Alone in her apartment and cut off from the outside world, Susan is challenged to use all her resources as she is terrorized by a group of criminals, who believe she has the stolen diamonds they seek, in what Reed calls “an intelligent, gripping thriller that puts us in the mind of a powerful woman fighting for her life. Wait Until Dark involves great acting, suspense, humor, and a real coup de theatre ending.”

Performances take place at various times Thursday through Sunday, with occasional matinees on Wednesday. Regular ticket price is $35, with discounts for seniors, students, and WHYY members with cards. For reservations or more info, call 610-565-4211 or visit Hedgerow Theatre is located at 64 Rose Valley Road.

WaR3house3 Hosts ‘A Nite 4 Timi’

When West Philadelphia dub reggae giant Timi Dread was laid low by a stroke last year, Rob Borgstrom knew what to do: put on a show at waR3house3, where Timi has performed several times. That show will play out this Saturday night, February 17, at the performance space/gallery in Swarthmore, with the proceeds going toward the medical bills of the bandleader also known as Timi Tanzania.

MC and trumpeter Adam “Flymo” Birch, ex of The Specials, is at the magnetic center of the show, attracting a number of special guests to share the stage. Suggested donation is $20; doors open at 7 p.m. The house serves light fare; you BYOB. waR3house is at 100 Park Avenue, WH3 in Swarthmore.

Sports Talk at Press Club’s Feb. 21 Session

As the Eagles celebrate victory in the Super Bowl, the 76ers and Flyers focus on playoff runs, the Union and the Phillies start training for promising seasons ahead, Villanova hoops hangs in at #2, it’s a great time to be a Philly sports fan. Now is your chance to hear about what it’s like to be a Philly sports journalist at the next luncheon meeting of the Delaware County Press Club next Wednesday, February 21.

Matthew De George, reporter and assistant sports editor of the Delaware County Daily Times, will talk about his experiences in sportswriting, in the appropriate setting of Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, home of the Philadelphia Union. De George covers the …

(Johnny) Cash Is King at CAC

It’s Cash’s world; we’re just living in it. So say a dozen local performers and artists who will pay tribute to the great American singer and songwriter in a live music and art event at Community Arts Center in Wallingford, next Friday, February 23.

The first Friday Night Live event of the season celebrates the Man in Black through interpretations of his music from across his 50-year career by musicians from several bands. Playing in various configurations will be Will Paynter, Jay Popky, Brian Kors, Paul Downie, Jerry Getz, Dean Sophocles, Alex Uskuraitis, Don Jones, Stacy Weathers and Last Chance, (Jack Scott & Ingrid Rosenback).

CAC faculty members Sally Paynter, Bob Deane, and Drew Arata, along with visiting artist David McShane will create live art inspired by the music, which will be sold by …

Friends of SPL Annual Meeting Thursday

The Friends of the Swarthmore Public Library will hold its annual meeting on Thursday, February 22, at 7 p.m. in the Community Room in Borough Hall. This meeting is open to the public; in fact, the Friends hope to involve more community members in the group and its ongoing activities. The agenda includes election of officers, financial report, and discussion of upcoming activities, including the Book It! 5-K Walk/Run, the spring Book & Bake Sale, and the library’s 90th-anniversary celebration and gala in 2019. Please come with your ideas and your enthusiasm for supporting our community  …

Learn More About MLK at The Gathering Place

At the next Gathering Place meeting on Wednesday, February 21, Dr. Bruce Stephens will share his research concerning Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who studied and was active in the life of Chester, among other prominent local figures of the civil rights era.

Stephens, a retired professor of theology at Penn State University, will speak at 12:30 p.m. at Swarthmore United Methodist Church, 129 Park Avenue. All are welcome to the …

Bessie Coleman Touches Down

Black History Month continues with pioneering aviator Bessie Coleman touching down at Media Fellowship House on Saturday, February 24, at 2 p.m. Ms. Coleman — played here by Dr. Daisy Nelson – was the first woman of color to earn a pilot’s license, almost 100 years ago. She trained in Europe due to racial and gender discrimination at home, returning to practice her daring profession.

Dr. Nelson, who portrayed Harriet Tubman in an event at MFH last year, brings her historical characters to life in a program about an hour in length at the Fellowship House at 302 S. Jackson Street in Media. Following her presentation, students have the opportunity to share the information they have learned about heroes during Black History …

Visit Japan; Treasure Kyoto

If you visit Japan, it is said, plan to spend several days in the gardens of Kyoto.

Scott Arboretum Associate Keith Robertshaw recently did, and in a talk on Thursday, March 8, from 1 to 2 p.m., he will share his stories in a session of Wanderings at One. In Kyoto, he visited various gardens including a moss garden, a bamboo garden, and the Imperial Garden. He was impressed by the care and effort invested in the care of …

Faith and Life: The Magdalene Files

How did Mary Magdalene, a most beloved disciple of Jesus, become one of the most mysterious and misunderstood biblical figures throughout the centuries?

At the Sunday, February 18, Faith and Life class at Swarthmore United Methodist Church, Pastor Sukja Bang will lead a discussion of Mary Magdalene, using several sources, including the so-called gnostic gospels.

The class begins at 11:15 a.m.; everyone is welcome to the church, located at 129 Park Avenue, Swarthmore.

Take Potluck Monday with Media Neighbors

Transition Town Media, familiar to many Swarthmoreans through its sponsorship of the Solarize Greater Media campaign in 2016, invites all Swarthmorean readers to join in the first monthly TTM potluck dinner next Monday night, February 19, from 6 to 9 p.m. The venue will be the new TTM Neighbor Space on Lemon Street, between Baker and State Streets in Media. “Hope in Action” will be explored and expounded upon …


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