This week’s issue . . .


Past, Present, and Future
of the ‘Swarthmorean’

“Last minute” gift shopping pitches began about a month ago, it seems. This holiday season is so long it feels as if Christmas has come, gone, and is coming again.

Diane and I already got one gift this season: a speaking engagement at The Gathering Place, the weekly luncheon series convened by the Swarthmore Senior Citizens’ Association (nonmembers are welcome, senior or not). Diane entertained the group with looks at the newspaper and her research on its publishers going back to 1893. I talked about some of the week’s news, and how we go about gathering information and putting it into type on newsprint 50 times a year. We talked – and more important, we heard – about some of the changes, additions, and innovations we want to explore in the future.

And we delivered the cold truth: The Swarthmorean loses money; has for years. We can’t keep doing that.

Since our talk, some of our supporters have come to us with wonderful, imaginative ways to help the Swarthmorean, both the weekly product and the business. We are deeply grateful for this meaningful support – gifts we didn’t ask for, in forms we wouldn’t expect.

If you are reading this, you are showing that you value the newspaper. We thank you for choosing to spend some of your week with the Swarthmorean. We will keep trying to earn the deep devotion that our readers have for their hometown paper.

It’s hard to ask for a gift (although I don’t remember having that problem when I was a kid). What we are asking is not so much contributions – though we will happily accept your (non-deductible) donations – as your support in other ways.

If you are involved in a business, tell our readers about your products or services here. These are faithful Swarthmorean readers, week in and week out, and they have money to spend and an eye for quality. If you have a favorite restaurant, a family dentist, a tradesman in the area you think we can help with advertising, drop us a line.

If you are a subscriber, consider sharing the warmth and personality of the paper with friends and family through a gift subscription. For each you give, we’ll extend your own subscription by two (2) months. We will send the recipient a card announcing your gift.

We’ll take off the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and see you again with the January 5 issue. Till then, we wish you joy, peace, and gratitude for our community.

— Chris Reynolds

Notice to Readers and Advertisers

The Swarthmorean offices will be closed from Friday, December 22, until Tuesday, January 2. There will be no issue on Friday, December 29.

Recently-elected Wallingford-Swarthmore School Board members (left to right) Kelly Wachtman, Kelly Huff, Damon Orsetti, and Dr. David Grande stood for a team picture, then sat for their first meeting on Monday night. Photo by Katie Crawford.

Wallingford-Swarthmore School Board:
Some WES Parents Mystified, Frustrated by Principal’s Ouster
By Katie Crawford

A new president — Dr. Marylin Huff — and three new members — Dr. David Grande, Damon Orsetti, and Kelly Wachtman — joined the Wallingford-Swarthmore School Board at the December 11 meeting. Their arrival came during a time of unexpected turmoil, as Joshua Peterkin, principal of Wallingford Elementary School for the past five years, resigned last Tuesday, following what Superintendent Dr. Lisa Palmer characterized as “inappropriate action.”

Specifics regarding Mr. Peterkin’s departure have been in short supply, and both Superintendent Dr. Palmer and Board President Dr. Huff acknowledged the frustration that the district community must feel in having so little knowledge of the circumstances leading to this decision. The audience at the meeting was unusually large due to a sizable number of WES parents in attendance.

In her report, Dr. Palmer spoke of the “difficult” past week. She praised Joseph Buecheler, former assistant principal at Strath Haven Middle School who is now acting principal at WES, for his work during this sudden transition and for the “great rapport” he shows with both students and parents. Dr. Palmer stressed the district’s commitment to protecting the privacy of its personnel. While acknowledging that parents feel frustrated when …

Swarthmoreans side by side with Mayor Tim Kearney at his PA Senate campaign launch included (left to right) Mary Walk, Borough Council member and Register of Wills-elect, PA State Representative Leanne Krueger-Braneky, and Claudia Cueto, business partner and wife of the candidate.

Mayor Tim Kearney Raises Funds,
Hopes at Senate Campaign Launch

Tim Kearney is listening to his grandmother. “My grandmother used to say: ‘You’ve got to be willing to work for the things that you want,’” Kearney said last Saturday at the kickoff event for his campaign for Pennsylvania Senate, representing the 26th District. He then outlined for about 100 supporters at Swarthmore Borough Hall the work he plans to do in Harrisburg.

Kearney expressed the frustration he shares with prospective constituents over ineffective representation of citizens, and subjugation of their concerns to corporate and ideological interests. Issues he mentioned in remarks to attendees on Saturday included …

The Year of the Pageant

Isaiah and the Acolytes

Rehearsals are underway, and production plans are proceeding for this year’s 41st biennial presentation of the Pageant of the Nativity. This will be the 17th performance given at Lang Music Hall, with its picturesque wooded setting.

If you are new to the area, come join us in this Christmas tradition. Five tableaux, representing The Prophecy, The Annunciation, The Shepherds, The Nativity and The Fulfillment will be accompanied by beautiful musical arrangements for the choir.

Some of the Pageant music is well known, and other pieces are almost unique to the Pageant. Approximately 150 of our residents participate in this wonderful gift to the community, with many traveling home from college or back to Swarthmore for the performance.

The show lasts about one hour and will be performed at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 23. The event is free and open to the public. Ample parking is available on the College campus.

Nick’s House welcomed supporters at Monday’s celebration.

In Nick’s House, Colleluori Family
and Friends Built a Home

By Claire Wolters

On Monday, December 11, the Headstrong Foundation’s “Nick’s House” opened its doors at 200 S. Chester Road in Swarthmore. You can’t miss it: all those doors are painted in the lime green used in the branding and identity of the Headstrong Foundation, and associated with the battle against lymphoma. “That’s the disease that took our son from us,” said Pasquale Colleluori, father of the Headstrong foundation founder Nick, who died in 2006.

Headstrong Foundation President Cheryl Colleluori at Nick’s House in Swarthmore.

At the opening reception Monday, more than 100 supporters heard of the exhilaration, the gratitude, and the continuing sense of loss of the Colleluori family as they dedicated to Nick this guest house for families far from home. Beginning early next year, the house will provide free housing for seven patients — adults and children — and their caregivers as they undergo advanced cancer treatment at Philadelphia hospitals. Nick’s House will serve as many as 125 families during 2018.

“It’s a historic moment for our organization,” said Cheryl Colleluori, president of Headstrong and mother of Nick. She hopes the house will serve not only as an alternative to hotels for patients, but as a place they can call “home,” as well. The home has …

Teens Aged 14-18 Answer the Call
for Swarthmore Fire Co.

By Rich Cresson

The Swarthmore Fire & Protective Association currently has seven teenage members who are trained in firefighting activities. While restricted by state laws governing their activities, these junior members respond to alarms, are involved in fire hydrant hook-ups, fire ground lighting, laddering the building and other support functions.

The Association offers its junior member program for teens aged 14 through 18 — male and female — who want to become firefighters. All those interested can visit the Swarthmore firehouse any Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. to explore opportunities to protect and serve our community. Interested parties do not need any experience …

Report from the Fire Company

From November 27 to December 10, the Swarthmore Fire & Protective Association responded to the following alarms:

EMS: The ambulance responded to 23 calls for medical assistance. These were to Swarthmore, Rutledge, Morton, Springfield, Media, Ridley Township, and Nether Providence Township. The calls were for a variety of emergencies, including accident with injury, sick person, seizures, fall with trauma, cardiac emergency, head injury, …

Christmas Tree Pickup Schedule*

Jan. 9, 2018: North of railroad tracks to Baltimore Pike
Jan. 10, 2018: South of railroad tracks to Yale Avenue
Jan. 11, 2018: South of Yale Avenue to Michigan Avenue
Jan. 16, 2018: North of railroad tracks to Baltimore Pike
Jan. 17, 2018: South of railroad tracks to Yale Avenue
Jan. 18, 2018: South of Yale Avenue to Michigan Avenue

Tree’s must be out by 7 a.m. on collection day. No lights, ornaments or bags should be attached to the tree.
*Weather permitting.

Delco Reassessment Begins this Month

The countywide reassessment of all properties, a work of several years’ duration, will begin this month.

According to county spokesperson Adrienne Marofsky, County Council has contracted with Tyler Technologies of Texas. Tyler’s fleet of clearly identified white vans will roam county streets, carrying crews and cameras to take photos of properties (but not residents). Tyler’s staff will not enter private property in the project.Properties will be evaluated through review of photographs as well as other property data. The county points out that digital images can also help correct address discrepancies, and provide data for emergency management recovery reports. Reassessment work will be completed in time for the 2021 tax year.

So that explains the white vans. Now what about those black helicopters?

Newcomers and Neighbors Welcome You
to December 20 Luncheon

By Barbara Partridge

If you are interested in forming new friendships in 2018, come join Newcomers and Neighbors of Delaware County. We will be having our Christmas Luncheon on December 20 at Overbrook Country Club, 799 Godfrey Road in Villanova. Hospitality starts at 11:30 a.m., followed by a brief meeting, and then luncheon. For reservations, contact Janet Strogala at 610-459-1334, ASAP. Cost of the luncheon is $26; you can pay at the …

Carrying a tradition into its 12th year, 2nd graders in Sue Gaur’s class recently set up their Milk and Cookie Stand at Wallingford Elementary School. Between November 14 and November 17, the class sold homemade chocolate chip cookies made by the families of WES students, and milk donated by the WES teaching staff to hungry students and faculty members at daily snack time. This 12th annual Milk and Cookie Stand raised $2,057, which will be sent to Puerto Rico to aid in hurricane relief efforts. Hats off to Mrs. Gaur, her class, and 2nd grade instructional assistant Mrs. Mulhern for their hard work to help U.S. citizens far from home. Pictured below from left to right are: (top row) Mrs. Gaur, Jayden D., Skylar H., Zach A., Christian K., Cameron D., Amalia N., Luka N., Ryan S., Issac H., Bianca B., Eli V., and Mrs. Mulhern; (middle row) Livy T., Shira J., Elizabeth W., Margaret H., Ellis W., and Lena G., (bottom row) Maureen A., Holly C., Cooper M., Luca D., and Jonah L.

Celebrate the Winter Solstice On Sunday

Transition Town Media invites all readers to celebrate the winter solstice with high-spirited neighbors this Sunday evening, December 17. The celebration takes place at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware County, 145 W. Rose Tree Road, Media, from 7 to 9 p.m. The event has as its theme Ubuntu — the African belief that “I am because we are.” …

Holiday Reading for Nature’s Narratives Members

Get a start on the next book for Nature’s Narratives, the book club of Scott Arboretum. In Mountain of the Heart, naturalist Scott Weidensaul chronicles the natural history of the Appalachian Mountains, which rank high among America’s most beautiful landscapes and complex ecosystems. Read the book first, then register attend the discussion …

Dancers take a break from rehearsals for the Nutcracker at the Academy of International Ballet. Among the 85 performers who will dance in Saturday’s performance at Strath Haven Middle School are local students (left to right, front row) Sophia Gao and Milena Verdi of Swarthmore, Calvin Poulson of Media, Eva Sacks of Media; (middle row) Abigail Grunseich of Wallingford, Sylvia Hoffman of Media, Isabella Lothrop of Wallingford; (back row) Marlena Umland of Media, and Chloe Muller of Swarthmore. Photo by Denis Gronostayskiy.

AIB Ballet Students Dance the ‘Nutcracker’ on SHMS Stage

More than 85 students at the Academy of International Ballet will don 130 handmade costumes this Saturday, December 16, to dance the full length Nutcracker ballet at Strath Haven Middle School’s auditorium in performances at noon and 4 p.m.

For a number of local dancers at the school, performing is the reward for years of training. Eleven-year-old Abigail Grunseich of Wallingford is in her eighth annual Nutcracker. Dancing is so important to her that sports and other activities are on the back burner. “I don’t have time for anything else!” Strath Haven Middle School student Isabella Lothrop is a veteran who danced the role of Clara last year, and this year takes part in five of the dances to Tchaikovsky’s score. Swarthmore-Rutledge School 3rd grader Milena Verdi…

Come Run, Come All to SRA New Year’s Day 5K and Kids Races
By Brandon Lausch

Kick off 2018 in one of the best ways possible: by joining the Swarthmore Recreation Association for its annual New Year’s Day 5K and Kids Races on Monday, January 1.

Race-day registration starts at 9 a.m. at the college’s Lamb-Miller Field House. The 5K starts at 10:30 a.m. and winds through Swarthmore on a flat and fast course that ends with a lap at the college track. Kids’ races, also on the track, start at 11:30 a.m. for children ages 2 through 13.

Registration is $25 in advance and $30 on race day, with 5K registrants receiving long-sleeve tech T-shirts. Post-race refreshments will be served, and unique medals of etched wood are awarded to the top two finishers in each age category.

Kids’ races are FREE, and ribbons will be awarded to youth participants. To register, visit

TGP Welcomes Silvertones on December 20

The Gathering Place hosts Strath Haven High School’s choral group, The Silvertones, who will sing a program of holiday music.

There will be a surprise presentation after the concert; beforehand, lunch will be served for a modest $2 contribution, Or bring your own – beverages and dessert are provided. A program of the Swarthmore Senior Citizens’ Association, The Gathering Place is open to all.

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