This week’s issue . . .

Brian (left) and Kevin Mongon organized the Walk on the Bright Side in honor of their mom, Kathleen Mongon, who died earlier this year. The effort has raised nearly $6,000 so far for Strath Haven High School and the Swarthmore Fire & Protective Association.

Walking on the Bright Side

October 12 was Kathleen Mongon’s birthday. For her sons Zachary and Brian, and her husband Bill, it would be the first they’d celebrate since her death in June this year. With other family members and friends, they managed to create a commemorative event that captured her spirit and honored her memory, and involved a Swarthmore community she loved deeply.

“Kathleen’s Walk on the Bright Side” captured Kathy in both activity and attitude. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Eric Idle was “her mantra,” said friend Donna Cresson. “This was truly how she lived her life … even when life was ‘jolly rotten,’” she said, quoting from the song. The walk on a lovely Saturday, October 14, united about 100 walkers for a ramble on one of Kathleen’s favorite routes through Swarthmore. Walkers and other supporters donated nearly $6,000 to three organizations near and dear to the family: Swarthmore Fire & Protective Association (where Brian is a Junior firefighter), the Strath Haven High School Wrestling team (of which Zach is a member), and Strath Haven’s Sunshine Fund, dedicated to funding student enrichment like the activities Kathleen supported at SHHS. Bill Mongon said, “Kathy focused her energy on the children and always supported their activities at the schools and elsewhere. She chose to live a …

Wallingford-Swarthmore School Board:
Board Tucks into Breakfasts, Lunches,
and Just Desserts

By Katie Crawford

“Graduating” members of the Wallingford-Swarthmore School Board who received plaques recognizing their service include (left to right): Dr. Allison Karpyn of Wallingford, Sally Morbeck of Rutledge, Vippy Yee of Rose Valley, and Jerry Ballas of Swarthmore.

The November 27 meeting of the Wallingford-Swarthmore School Board was a time to say goodbye to four board members: Dr. Allison Karpyn, Sally Morbeck, Vippy Yee, and Jerry Ballas. Superintendent Dr. Lisa Palmer presented plaques in recognition of their “outstanding service to the WSSD community.” Board president Dr. Robert Sonntag thanked the departing board members for their work, noting that they were, “all here for the same goal,” and charged with finding ways to meet those goals. Board member Paul Schregel noted that it had been, “a very productive year — a credit to you folks.”

Three additional board members, vice president Marylin Huff, Sally Morbeck, and Dr. Robert Reiger were recognized by the Pennsylvania School Board Association for having achieved Honor Roll status by reaching an eight year milestone of service on the board. (Fun fact: Founded in 1895, Pennsylvania’s was the first school board association established in the United States.) Innovations in Food Service Clare DiSabatino, director of Aramark Educational Services, was on hand to present the Food Service update to …

ZHB OKs B & B, But Not above the Garage

Swarthmore’s Zoning Hearing Board delivered a mixed decision to Riverview Road homeowner Aurora Winslade on Tuesday evening, November 28.

At a September 26 hearing before the board, Winslade had made her case for continuing and/or expanding use of her property at 207 Riverview for rental to lodgers or guests. She sought a ruling that an apartment above her garage be permitted to accommodate up to two boarders or lodgers, either by rights, as a nonconforming use, or through other zoning relief. She also sought a zoning exception to allow establishment of a bed & breakfast in the house, and extension of the exception to include the garage apartment.

The Board returned a split decision on the B & B, approving the use of the main home as a bed and breakfast under a special exception to sections 1264.15 and 1264.17 of the Swarthmore Zoning Code, but denying the use of the garage apartment as part of the B & B facility.

However, the Board declined to render a decision on permitting continued use of the apartment as lodgings for up to two persons, either under Section 1240.04 (43)(b) or as a nonconforming use. Tom Kelly, Esq., solicitor for the ZHB, later explained that owners will usually ask the municipal zoning officer about intended uses of a property, and their permissibility. In this case, Kelly said, “Applicant said she was not told the use would be in violation,” nor has she received a citation for a zoning violation, nor a cease and desist order. Absent those notices of violation, Tom Kelly said, “There is no justiciable issue to be decided” by the board. “And there was no way the board was going to give an advisory opinion.”

Unless and until Swarthmore zoning officer Jane Billings notifies her otherwise, Kelly said, Winslade can continue to rent the garage for short or longer term. Billings did not comment on plans for such action, or on the decisions.

Property owner Winslade commented by email: “I care deeply about the Swarthmore community, I am committed to being a good neighbor, and I welcome dialogue with anyone interested.”

 

SPC Opens
Alternative Christmas Shop

 

The Alternative Christmas Shop at Swarthmore Presbyterian Church will be open Sunday, December 3, 10 and 17, from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in Fellowship Hall at Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, 727 Harvard Avenue.

In the season of getting and giving, it can be difficult to keep the focus on true generosity. The spirit of charity is at the heart of the Alternative Christmas Shop, which is open for the holiday season at Swarthmore Presbyterian Church on Sundays through December 17.

The whole Swarthmore community is invited to browse at the shop, where givers can choose gifts especially selected to help 23 nonprofit organizations and missions near and far, as they make contributions in the name of friends and family members.

The shop, now in its 12th year, will be open December 3, 10, and 17 from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in Fellowship Hall at the church, 727 Harvard Avenue. Shopping is relaxed, with cookies, coffee and holiday music creating a festive atmosphere. In person and online, shoppers can support charitable …

Living the Liberal Arts; Celebrating Eugene Lang

On Friday, December 1, Swarthmore College opens its heart to the liberal arts and celebrates their great exponent, the late Eugene Lang of Swarthmore’s class of 1938.

From 1:30 to 4 in the afternoon, other eminent alumni will offer their observations and ideas in a series of “TED-like” talks at Lang Performing Arts Center. Then student and faculty poster sessions from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at LPAC, and a Fetter Chamber Music …

Timi Dread Benefit at waR3house3 Saturday

Owner Rob Borgstrom has a special night planned at Swarthmore’s waR3house3 this Saturday, December 2, with Adam “Flymo” Birch and the Vershones playing a showcase. A portion of proceeds will benefit Philadelphia reggae giant Timi Dread, who recently suffered a stroke.

English trumpeter Birch is a veteran of the original 1980s ska movement and a longtime member of the Specials. Tickets are $20 at the door, which opens at 7, with light fare served and BYOB invited. See the waR3house3 Facebook page for details.

Musical Weekend Ahead at Lang Concert Hall

The Fetter Chamber Music Series continues at Swarthmore College’s Lang Concert Hall next Friday, December 1, opening a musical weekend and a musical month at the College. At 8 p.m. Friday, Eugene Lang’s legacy will be celebrated in the music building that bears his name, as the Fetter series hosts a concert that features the Jasper String …

Zombie Talk at Swarthmore Discussion Group

What’s with the current cultural fascination with zombies? How does the upward-trending use of the word “apocalypse” connect to rising anxieties over our political and existential outlook?

Words and evolving language may offer insight into our varied and collective visions of the future, says Jamie Thomas, assistant professor of Linguistics at Swarthmore College. A sociocultural linguist and author of Zombies Speak Swahili, Thomas will address …

Scott Arboretum Holiday Sale Is Saturday

Spend some of this Saturday afternoon at Scott Arboretum’s seasonal extravaganza, featuring free festivities and shopping amidst lovely horticultural offerings and knowledgeable sales advisors. Families come together to enjoy kids nature crafts, nature storytime, hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows at Scott’s Wister Center on the grounds of Swarthmore College. The sale’s holiday selections include long-lasting …

Holiday Events Warm Up The Season At Tyler

Tyler Arboretum hosts a pair of Saturday events designed to get nature into your home this holiday season. On December 2, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the Country Gardeners of Lima present their annual greens sale at Tyler, offering a wide selection of holiday arrangements and trimmings, handmade wreaths and fresh greens, and so …

‘Beauty and The Beast’ Opens in Media

Beauty and The Beast on stage at the Media Theatre now through January 14.

Media Theatre’s big production of Beauty and The Beast opened recently and will continue through January 14. Disney’s musical version of the classic fairy tale makes the transition from animation to live action at Media Theater, with a full cast of professional actors and a live pit orchestra. A combination of matinees and evening performances takes place every day except Mondays and Tuesdays at …

Dancing and Planning in Schoolhouse Programs

On Thursday, December 14, at 12:30 p.m., Schoolhouse Center in Folsom showcase the American heritage of music and partner dancing in a performance by Bob Butryn and Eva Brothers, who put a new spin on Christmas by dancing to familiar seasonal songs. Their styles including tap and partner dances popular through the 20th century. The dance …

Must Reading: Mad Poets at CAC Wednesday

Esteemed local poets Laynie Browne and Joseph Dorazio will read their work in December’s edition of the First Wednesday series, presented by The Mad Poets Society at Community Arts Center in Wallingford. Laynie Browne is author of thirteen collections …

Writers Guild Sets December Agenda

The burgeoning Writers Guild of Delaware County presents two speakers at its last meeting of the year on Saturday, December 9, 11 a.m.. at Swarthmore Borough Hall’s Council Room. First, JP Sweeny speaks to “Meeting Deadlines,” so crucial to writers’ success in working with editors, publications, and …

Friday Night Lights at Rose Tree Park

When the sun goes down at this time of the year, the holiday lights brighten up the night at Rose Tree Park, with 100,000 lights strung on 75 decorated trees. The 2017 Festival of Lights begins this Friday, December 1, with a ceremony at 7 p.m. featuring holiday music, the official tree lighting, handpainted toy soldiers and snowmen, and an early visit …

Food For Thought Meets Thursday at SPL

Swarthmore Public Library’s Food for Thought cookbook club will meet Thursday, December 7, at 4 in the afternoon to discuss Trattoria – Healthy, Simple, Robust Fare inspired by the Small Family Restaurants of Italy by Patricia Wells and sample the …

Donald Teskey Closing Reception
and Holiday Gathering at List

Have you seen Landscapes, the Donald Teskey painting exhibition at List Gallery? Do! Last call is Thursday, December 7, with a gallery talk by curator and gallery director Andrea Packard from 4:30 p.m., then a closing reception and holiday gathering from 5 to 6:30 p.m. When the party’s over, so is the show. The event is free and open to the public, …

Join the Chorus for WPC’s ‘Messiah’

Tune up your voices for a festive community choral sing of Handel’s Messiah on Sunday evening, December 10, at Wallingford Presbyterian Church. The church’s chancel choir and guest singers will perform the entire Christmas section of the oratorio, and all in attendance are invited to join in the choruses. Scores will be available. Following …

Get It On, Bang a Gong With Semara Santi

Gamelan Semara Santi bangs the gongs, along with xylophones, drums, and more Indonesian instruments in the classical percussion orchestra’s semiannual performance at Lang Concert Hall on Sunday, December 3, beginning at 7 p.m. The orchestra, comprising students, professors, and members of the Swarthmore and college community, …

Mariner East 2 Documentary Screens Sunday

America Subverted, a documentary on the controversial Sunoco Mariner East 2 pipeline, will be shown on Sunday, December 3, at 12:45 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware County in Media. Producer Hugh Brownstone will talk about the video and the issues and actions surrounding the hazardous liquids pipeline which is being built …

Nature’s Narratives to Meet December 13

Scott Arboretum’s book club will meet on Wednesday, December 13, to discuss Leslie Buck’s contemporary memoir Cutting Back: My Apprenticeship in the Gardens of Kyoto. The author made a bold decision at age 35 to change her life entirely, leaving security and success in America to learn pruning from master gardeners at an esteemed Japanese …

First Monday Lecture: Early Quakers
and the Lenape Indians

Delaware County historian and 14th generation Quaker Nancy Webster brings considerable expertise and animation to the theme of “A Holy Experiment, Incomplete” this Monday, December 4, in the Barn at Pendle Hill. Ms. Webster will explore the early relationships between Quaker settlers in the Delaware Valley and …

Experience the Calm of Advent Evensong At Trinity Church
By Rebecca Clemmer

The choir of Trinity Episcopal Church in Swarthmore will sing a service of choral Evening Prayer for the season of Advent on Sunday, December 10, at 5 p.m.

This service of hymns, psalm readings and prayers is the traditional Anglican form of worship for evening and has inspired some of the world’s greatest composers. Sung by candlelight, the service provides a moment of quiet prayer and meditation amidst the tumultuous bustle of the season.

This year’s service will feature works of the Renaissance masters Palestrina and Victoria, as well as Thomas Weelkes’ setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis from his Sixth Service. Guest organist for the service is Andrew Hauze.

We invite the whole community to join us at Trinity Church for this Advent service. The service is free, as are child care and a reception to follow. The church is at Chester Road and College Avenue in Swarthmore. For more information call the parish office at 610-544-2297.

Talking Writing, Editing and Publishing,
Tuesday at Swarthmore College

On Tuesday, December 5, English majors, writers, fiction lovers and other bookworms are expected at two events on the Swarthmore College campus. At 4:15 p.m. in the Atrium of McCabe Library, Young Adult (YA) literature author Rhoda Belleza will read and discuss her 2017 novel Empress of a Thousand Skies. English Professor Peter Schmidt says, “If …

College’s Senior Company Stages ‘HIR’

This weekend, Swarthmore College’s Senior Company puts on four performances of HIR, a hilarious and bizarre comical take on the classic American living room drama, written by Macarthur Award recipient Taylor Mac. An Off-Broadway sensation in 2015, HIR has only gained in relevance and power with increased attention to gender fluidity, …

Holy Myrrh-Bearers Collect for the Needy

In a season of conspicuous consumption, many in our community still lack the basic comforts and necessities of live. If you are moved to help those less fortunate, an opportunity exists to drop off food, clothing and toiletries at Holy Myrrh-Bearers Eastern Catholic Church, now through Sunday, December 10. Nonperishable boxed or …

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