Letter to the Editor

Keeping up with changes

To the Editor:

In our continuing efforts to keep the public informed, the League of Women Voters would like to remind voters in Delaware County that two recent events will have a major impact in our communities as we move into 2018.

The League was a participant in the recent lawsuit that resulted in the Supreme Court ruling that Pennsylvania’s drastically gerrymandered districts must be redrawn before the primary election in May. The legislature’s redistricting plan must be presented to the court by February 15, or the court will create the map itself. Voters should be aware that their representatives may change as a result. Keep tuned for more information from the League. Follow updates at lwvcdc.org.

County Council changed significantly with the election of two Democrats who were sworn in this month. The League of Women Voters of Delaware County, which includes the Haverford, Radnor, and Central Delaware County local Leagues, hosts an Annual Luncheon for County Council where the attendees can enjoy casual conversation with Council members over lunch. Council members will also give reports regarding their specific responsibilities. This year, the luncheon will be held on Wednesday, February 21, at 12:30 p.m. at the Media Borough Hall Community Room. It will be catered by Margaret Kuo’s and will cost $17. To make reservations, call Marita Green at 610-724-1376 or email her at maritagreen6@gmail.com.

The League of Women Voters, recognized as one of the country’s most respected community organizations, will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2020. Membership in the League is open to anyone over the age of 16. In League,

Joanna Nealon, President
League of Women Voters of Central Delaware County

Letters to the Editor

Questioning zoning decisions

To the Editor:

In many ways the zoning board is the most important government body in Swarthmore. It affects quality-of-life as well as financial aspects of home ownership in our borough.

Swarthmore can be seen as an island of sorts, a small retreat, one might say, surrounded by commercial properties, less costly residential properties, and the several noisy traffic lanes of Baltimore Pike. The quality-of-life inside our island community (along with our top-notch school district) is what makes Swarthmore residents willing to pay very high taxes to live in our borough.

Two recent zoning board decisions to override zoning ordinances illustrate the board’s ignoring the quality-of-life and financial welfare of Swarthmore residents:

1.) The decision to override zoning ordinances to allow the opening of Nick’s House, a group-home creating additional traffic, in an already high traffic neighborhood. Adjoining property owners fought this variance at length and great expense in order to maintain their feeling of a residential neighborhood and, therefore, their quality-of-life. Property values all along Chester Road, bisecting our small retreat, need support.

2.) The decision to override zoning ordinances to allow an Airbnb in an area of multi-family residences with already very crowded on-street parking. This Airbnb is across the street from a playing field owned by the school district. Many children play in the street by the playing field on skateboards, bicycles, scooters and the like. Mothers with strollers and parents parking for practices and games are ubiquitous.

Of course, highly regulated Bed & Breakfasts took years to be approved in the borough. And now, a totally unregulated Airbnb was approved against zoning ordinances, despite public opposition at several meetings. The Airbnb website currently has about six Swarthmore listings. Have those all been given variances as well?

It is time to insist that the zoning board stop issuing variances that erode the quality of life for Swarthmore neighborhoods and decrease the value of Swarthmore homes.

Barbara Whitaker-Shimko
Swarthmore

A mind-blowing library

To the Editor:

When my husband and I were looking for a place to live in Delaware County a few years ago, this factoid in a local magazine caught our attention: The Swarthmore Public Library has the highest per capita circulation rate of all public libraries in Delaware County. We knew that a community that supported and used its local public library was one we wanted to live in.

Flash forward six years later, and as a Swarthmore Public Library trustee I find myself amazed by a list of other numbers about our local library. Consider that in 2017 alone, the library:

• Held 185 adult programs attended by 1,862 people;
• Conducted 305 youth programs attended by 6,374 children and their caregivers;
• Circulated more than 102,640 materials. That included 37,581 adult books; 20,874 juvenile books; 19,426 picture books; 3,765 young adult books; and 8,244 eBooks;
• Provided more than 6,000 hours of computer and internet access to patrons;
• Issued free passes more than 500 times to local institutions such as the Mutter Museum, The Academy of Natural Sciences, Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Museum of the American Revolution, Elmwood Park Zoo, and the Railroad Museum in Strasburg.

But the number that really blows my mind? The Swarthmore Public Library provided approximately $2.2 million in free services in 2017, averaging $830 per Swarthmorean — all with an operating budget of only $278,016.

How can you help support this cost-effective treasure? If you are not already a patron, check us out (pun intended). Get a library card, attend the programs, investigate our innovative digital services such as Mango (language education), Hoopla (video streaming), Zinio (digital magazine access), and of course enjoy it the old-fashioned way — check out a book, magazine, video or CD.

There are many other ways you can help the library continue and expand its valuable contributions to the community: Donate to the Friends of Swarthmore Public Library, which helps provide funding for many of our services; participate in our planned giving program; “adopt-a-book” to commemorate a special event or loved one; and take part in or sponsor our second annual Book It! 5K on April 7.

If you would like to learn more about the library, please read the 2017 Annual Report, which can be found at swarthmorepubliclibrary.org.

Bridget Doherty
Swarthmore Public Library Board of Trustees
Swarthmore

Letters to the Editor

Controlling consumer healthcare costs: choose wisely

To the Editor:

The rise in the cost of individual health insurance is an epidemic sweeping our nation. Health care spending in 2015 averaged $10,028 per person, an increase of 26 percent since 2010. Between 2013 and 2017, the average monthly insurance premium for families increased 140 percent to $1,021 while their average deductible increased by 97 percent to $8,352.

Health insurance companies are supporting legislation in the Pennsylvania House and Senate (HB1553, SB678) that would require health care providers to tell patients their likely costs before services are provide, and not to charge patients more than their health plan’s cost sharing. Unfortunately, these bills do nothing to keep insurers from limiting the number of physicians in their networks, nor do they reduce patient charges for deductibles, co-payments or insurance premiums. The legislation does nothing to increase the availability of health care services in emergencies or in health care shortage areas.

There is a good chance that these bills, as currently written, will actually make each of these situations worse. They will increase the power of insurers to determine which physicians and services are available and what they will cost patients. Insurer business decisions will increasingly determine not only what health care costs but how health care is delivered.

There is a better way to facilitate health care coverage and address rising costs. Instead of the current system of arbitrary “covered charges” and “balance bills,” we should employ market-based, independently determined “usual and customary charges” to be used by physicians and insurers for each service. A database already exists which could, and should, be used to determine usual and customary charges within Pennsylvania without favoring either insurers or providers. FAIR Health (fairhealth.org) is designated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as a “qualified entity.” Its database — the largest collection of private insurance claims in the country — is already used by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Worker’s Compensation and at least two large national insurers, including Aetna, a major private insurer in Pennsylvania. Furthermore, patients have easy and free access to FAIR Health data regarding the expected costs and insurance payments for their own health care.

There are two very different outlooks for health care in Pennsylvania. One option is to put a system in place that ensures fair and transparent provider charges and insurance payments, reduces gaps in coverage and preserves access to quality care. The other option is a system marked by increasing administrative hurdles, reduced patient choice and access to services, growing gaps in coverage, and a lack of oversight and accountability as insurance companies determine their pay-outs.

We must take the option that puts the health of our citizens before the profits of insurance companies. Patients, providers and lawmakers must stand together to demand fair and transparent practices from health insurance companies. I urge you to call your State Senator and Representative today. Tell them to support fair and transparent health care billing practices, and help put an end to rising patient costs!

Richard O’Flynn, M.D.
Rose Valley

Election help needed

Dear Swarthmore Community:

Have you made a New Year’s resolution to be more civically involved in 2018?

I am the new Judge of Election for Swarthmore’s eastern precinct (the portion of Swarthmore whose polling place is Borough Hall) and I am seeking people from the precinct who are potentially interested in being clerks and machine operators on Primary and General Election days — the people who help you sign in, and those responsible for the voting booths.

In addition, there were no candidates in 2017 for the position of Minority Inspector for the precinct — and that role should if possible be filled by someone not registered as a Democrat — so I am especially eager to hear from Republicans or those of other parties.

Please feel free to call, 610-604-0669, or email me at jimmosk@yahoo.com for more information.

Jim Moskowitz
Swarthmore

Volunteer for Putt Putt Palooza

To the Editor:

CADES is hosting its indoor mini golf fundraiser, Putt Putt Palooza, next Sunday, January 28.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., come play the course and help us raise money for communication technology for non-verbal students who attend CADES. Last year, we had 600 people at the event and are hoping for an even bigger turnout this year.

We need more volunteers. If you would like to donate your time to help us raise money for CADES, or to find out more about Putt Putt Palooza, please go to CADES.org to sign up. If you would like to donate a raffle prize, contact me at anneb88@comcast.net.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Anne Merz
Putt Putt Palooza Coordinator
Swarthmore

A modest proposal

To the Editor:

I was amused by John Brodsky’s letter in the January 12 issue. John’s premise seems to be that he should not have to pay to park in the Borough.

In fact, he was ticketed for not paying to park while he was in the process of paying a fine for another ticket.

That dime for 12 minutes seems excessive to me as well. In fact I don’t think I should pay taxes in the Borough. Perhaps I can walk into the Co-op, pull some items off the shelf, and walk out without paying. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Remember, socialism works until you run out of other people’s money!

Jim Smith
Swarthmore

Letters to the Editor

The full moon accentuates the luminaria-lined street. The picture is courtesy of Jen Armstrong.

Another successful fundraiser
for the Luminaria Club

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Luminaria Fundraiser Committee, it’s with great pleasure we announce our donation of $28,000 to ABC Strath Haven. This year’s fundraiser was our most successful yet.

This remarkable effort could not have been accomplished without help from some key groups in the community. The effort started back in September when the Luminaria Club at SHHS, ably led by Sophia Foglio and George Steinke, gathered in shifts at The Luminaria Factory (a Swarthmore College building kindly loaned by Swarthmore College) in order to make approximately twenty-four thousand luminaria.

In November, the effort shifted to the incredible group of approximately 100 block captains, led by area coordinators, who spread out over the town of Swarthmore and the participating neighborhoods of Wallingford, and encouraged the residents of Swarthmore and Wallingford to purchase luminaria to support the Luminaria Fundraiser. Their efforts were so successful this year that, in December, the Luminaria Factory was reopened, and thanks to some wonderful families from within the community, another six thousand luminaria were made!

In December, the effort shifted back to the SHHS Luminaria Club when they, very ably led by Lizzie Healy, organized the very efficient distribution of the luminaria to the block captains. Over two blocks of time (one of which was very snowy indeed!) the dedicated block captains arrived at the factory and the Luminaria Club counted and packed orders into cars. The effort culminated, on the coldest New Year’s Day in a long time, when the communities of Swarthmore and Wallingford lined their luminaria along their curbs and lit them so that each neighborhood glowed. The full moon that night was but the cherry on top!

Please thank anybody you know in any of the groups, and also thank your neighbors, each and every one of them, because without the wonderful support from the residents of Swarthmore and Wallingford, this beautiful event could never have occurred.

We look forward to the 2018/2019 event!

Luminaria Fundraiser Committee:
Anne Clauss, Chris Darrell, Oonie Lynch, Anne Papa, Georgie Perullo, Jean Steinke and Julie Vrooman

18 reasons to keep a resolution

To the Editor: Here we are: 2018. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to spend more time and more money in the Co-op. And in its honor, and reflective of the year, I have come up with 18 reasons why I enjoy shopping at the Co-op.

• loose Brussels sprouts
• salmon filets (custom sliced)
• cheese tastings
• very thin (but not shaved) ham
• enticing specialty items
• gnarly heirloom tomatoes (in season)
• paté, paté, paté
• local apples
• tree hugger wraps (hold the onions)
• high quality meats
• soup, glorious soup
• day-old pastry (O, those almond croissants!)
• phone-in “to go” orders
• water bowls for dogs
• friendly cashiers (and they know how to pack a bag!)
• senior discount Wednesdays
• tons of community outreach
• and finally, the Co-op is a fine meeting place for friends and neighbors.

No doubt Swarthmoreans will come up with their own reasons. What are yours?

Louise L. Coffin
Swarthmore

Thank you, thank you, thank you

To the Editor:

I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere appreciation to the thousands of volunteers for the Swarthmore Recreation Association (SRA) with whom I have had the pleasure of working with since 2005. I left the position of executive director of SRA in December and want to thank the community, coaches, commissioners, extraordinary program coordinators and all the participants for their commitment to this great organization over the years. SRA has grown dramatically over the last decade and relies more than ever on volunteers in our community to help make sure everything runs smoothly. It has been an honor to work with so many community members, parents, grandparents and kids!

I would also like to personally thank the most amazing and dedicated staff I have ever worked with, Don Henderson, Karl and Kathy Swierczek, David and Cindy Herring, Lee Smith, Tom Granahan, Nika Haase, Terry Lynch, Jean Tierno, Dan Shaffer, Megan Richardson, Bill Kane, Joyce Perry and all of the summer camp staff. And of course, many thanks to Swarthmore Borough for the financial support for SRA.

SRA is a unique, incredible, valuable and important organization for our community. Check out the programs and get involved — it is worth it.

Linda McCullough
Swarthmore

Parking issues

To the Editor:

I got a parking ticket for briefly parking here while stopped briefly to pay a parking ticket.

I have made Swartmore my home for 50 of my 82 years and my car has made Swarthmore its home for 18 of its 23 years. Everybody knows us. People I do not recognize wave hello to us as we drive on our streets.

I do not think we should have to pay to park in our home.

John Brodsky
Swarthmore

Emily Geddes and self-portraits

To the Editor:

What fun it was to see one of our kindergarten classes with their self-portraits in your paper! I hope the photo put smiles on readers’ faces.

I neglected, though, to credit our wonderful art teacher, Emily Geddes.

Self-portraits are a holiday project in her art room, and all of our 4-, 5-, and 6-year-olds paint them. To quote Emily, “… after studying the rich, dark lines of Picasso’s self-portrait, the children drew their own … A large mirror, a blank page, a black oil pastel, water colors, and time for observations …” were what she provided.

Cathy Conahan
Interim Director
Swarthmore Presbyterian Nursery Day School

Mitten Tree success!

To the Editor:

This letter serves to thank Carol Mackin, other staff members, and all volunteers at the Swarthmore Public Library for their help with the 2017 Mitten Tree.

Much gratitude is also sent to the donors of the large amounts of beautiful and warm clothing and blankets, as well as the monetary contributions, which were used to purchase even more winter apparel.

All of the items were brought to CityTeam Ministries in Chester, and much appreciated.

Happy 2018!

Jane Callan Sottile
Rose Valley

 

Letters to the Editor

Take my taxes — please!

To the Editor:

Given the recently passed federal tax legislation, I am extremely disappointed that the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District will not accept pre-payment of school taxes for the 2018-2019 school year (per the District website at wssd.org/domain/19).

There have been many months of public discussion in Washington regarding a $10,000 ($5,000 for married taxpayers filing separately) aggregate cap on deductions of state, local sales, income, and property taxes normally deducted on a Schedule A. It is irresponsible that in all this time the District was unable to get approval of its tax levy this year instead of “some point in May or June (of 2018).” At the very least, a simple escrow system could have been created to hold estimated payments made ahead of the actual levy approval.

The District’s failure to anticipate this event and find a solution will cost many taxpayers in Wallingford-Swarthmore School District thousands of dollars in extra pre-tax payment obligations. In a District which already has extraordinarily high property taxes, this failure is indefensible.

Phil Gocke
Wallingford

Note: On December 31 Dr. Lisa Palmer, Superintendent of Wallingford-Swarthmore School District, commented by e-mail on WSSD’s decision not to accept prepayments for tax year 2018-19:

“It seems like it was only moments after the legislation passed that we started receiving phone calls and e-mails regarding a taxpayer’s ability to make a pre-payment of their [2018-19] school taxes. Since we didn’t readily know the answer, we took contact information and advised that we would contact them once we had a definitive answer.

“We then immediately tried to obtain a copy of the bill’s final wording, and consulted with our solicitor and auditors to see if the pre-payment would be permissible. Once we received both of their opinions (on 12/20), we posted the following statement on our website:

Announcement

‘The District appreciates your interest in pre-paying taxes attributable to the next fiscal year (which is the 2018-2019 school year, beginning July 1, 2018). The school district budgeting process is highly regulated by the state and [has] very specific timelines for approval. Unfortunately, the tax levy for the coming school year — the mechanism that gives the School District and tax collector the authority to accept school tax payments — will not be approved in the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District until some point in May or June. The District has sought the advice of both the District solicitor and the local auditors. Based on these discussions, the District has no authority to accept such tax pre-payments under these circumstances. We are aware of the advice circulating through the various media outlets suggesting that property owners should make such pre-payments where available, but have determined that the advice is inapplicable to the School District. In summary, the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District will not accept pre-payment of the taxes for the 2018-2019 school year.’

“The tax office then communicated this message by phone, e-mail, or in person to the taxpayers who contacted us. On December 28, we updated our website with the statement (including the legal reference) that appears today [at https://www.wssd.org/domain/19].

“Our tax office was open on December 27 and 28, so we were able to speak with taxpayers as they inquired about the pre-payment option. If payments have been mailed to us over the break, we will return them when the office re-opens.”

Help wanted at Co-op

To the Editor:

The Swarthmore Co-op is looking for individuals to fill upcoming Board of Director vacancies, beginning April 2018. Terms run for three consecutive years. The Co-op believes in the importance of providing local and sustainable food, while seeking to fill all aspects of a community grocery store. We are searching for like-minded people, who are interested in promoting the health, well-being and future of this important community food cooperative. We have a particular need for individuals with a strong financial and/or business background.

The Board has a strong commitment to creating an inclusive environment that values a diversity of experience, cultural background, and opinion. We seek prospective Board members from every corner of our Co-op member community. All candidates must be Swarthmore Co-op members.

To learn more about the Board, its goals and functions, please contact me at michaelm@imageconnection.biz.

Michael Markowicz
Board Member, Swarthmore Co-op

What to do about gun violence in Chester

To the Editor:

On December 10 I attended a service of worship which included a necrology for 28 murder victims in Chester this year, accounting for about 70% of the total for the entire Delaware County. For me the necrology drove home the realization that 28 murders represents not a statistic, but 28 human tragedies: each victim was someone that someone loved.

In response I want to respectfully ask that the faith leaders in our community who discern that it is God’s will for them to speak out on the need for gun control legislation do so. As the most powerful non-partisan, moral agents that remain in our divided nation, your voices are terribly important.

I believe the people of Chester want the politicians who cower before the National Rifle Association to screw their courage to the sticking place and pass gun control legislation. Perhaps legislation mandating background checks for all gun purchases, and making bump stocks and the class of weapons that includes AK-47s illegal. Gun control legislation is strongly favored by most Americans, including some steps favored by most members of the NRA. The NRA pretends to represent the interests of gun owners, but as their consistent deafness to the opinions of their members shows it is far more concerned to represent the interests of gun manufacturers.

Imagine the effect upon the residents of Chester if each pastor, rabbi and imam in our community led a discernment of their community’s willingness to undertake public advocacy for meaningful gun control, as one response to the grief of Chester parents whose sons and daughters will never come home. I believe it would put to rest the question of whether white folks from suburbia are willing to take a risk in response to the suffering of black folks in Chester.

And there is risk: the risk of disaffection of members who object to introduction of “politics” in worship. Partisan politics has no place in worship. But this issue isn’t one of partisan politics; a majority of both Democrats and Republicans favor some form of gun control legislation. It is an issue of the form that is needed, and an issue of morality.

Yes, it is controversial; faithful members of the same religious community will disagree. But I submit that the spiritual giants of all major faith traditions would be sickened at the thought that their descendants would avoid moral questions that are controversial. In the words of an Executive Director of the Presbyterian Office of Public Witness, a church whose members can’t speak with one another in love about controversial issues isn’t a church.

Grant Grissom
Media

Letters to the Editor

‘Feeling blessed’

To the Editor:

Oh what a joy it is to grow old. I dribble and drool. My nose runs. I don’t see well. But I don’t have a hearing aid — yet.

My writing is illegible and my printing, in which I once took pride, is not good. I can’t spell anymore. At one time, I was able to do simple math in my head at lightning speed. That’s over. I have a balance problem, so I can’t get on a ladder anymore. I use a cane.

My social life consists of doctors appointments. I haven’t much energy, so I don’t do things around the house and yard like I once did. My favorite pastime is sitting. I like to read, but when I do, I fall asleep after about 15 minutes. Therefore I watch a lot of TV and have learned that when you turn it on, the odds are you will get a commercial on any channel you select. They last forever.

One thing I can still do is drink, although not as much. I don’t need a nap, because after I have my one drink, I nod off for about 15 minutes and wake up just about when the news starts.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Although I am 90 and my wife is 86, we both love life and in spite of our infirmities, we feel blessed. We’re not ready to go yet. Of course, you never know. Even though life is winding down, what fun it’s been.

Larry Drew
Hobe Sound, Fla.

What we cannot do

Crossing the street
at the pedestrian walkway
white stripes
permission granted

Crossing the street
on Rutgers, crossing Yale
as though we have a right to do this
as though we can

Crossing the street
What level of citizen must we be
to cross this freely
who should we know

Bob Small
Swarthmore

Letters to the Editor

Christmas is better in ‘Pageant years’

To the Editor:

Each year as Christmas approaches many of us celebrate the arrival of a great Light, the birth of Jesus Christ. In this darkest time in the calendar with its too-short days, we exuberantly light up the night — twinkly white lights and spectrums of color, a bright star glowing at the top of a tree, tidy modern LEDs and bulbous old-time incandescents, each one separately screwed into socket after socket.

The lights are fun and joyful, often playful and sometimes inspiring. They declare that Christmas is coming and that we’re unabashedly happy about it. But for me, Christmas is a different and more profound celebration of that Light in “Pageant years” – the odd-numbered years when the Swarthmore Pageant of the Nativity is held.

The Pageant is a gift to our community. It has been presented anonymously by local citizens every two years since 1937, except for a brief break during World War II. Why are “Pageant years” different for me? Because the Pageant is a contemplative representation of everything that matters to me: faith, hope, love, morality, honor, family and community.

On Pageant day, we set aside time to share a physical space with fellow community members where the room darkens and we all fall silent. Then together we let the Pageant wash over us, delivered with the same music, scripture, costumes and set each year since the 1930s. It is wonderfully constructed to convey meaning and inspire thoughts through words, music and light. Scripture readings speak to the intellect. Music speaks to the soul. And the illuminated tableaux speak to the heart which craves a simple, timeless story of inspiration.

I think Ralph Waldo Emerson had it right when he observed in his essay on Intellect that “God enters by a private door into every individual.” Once every two years, I come away feeling that the Pageant offers a unique opportunity to prop that door open for an hour, just to see what may come in.

This year, the Pageant will be held on Saturday, December 23, with performances at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The venue is Lang Hall on the college campus, which Swarthmore College graciously makes available to the community for this event. Ample free parking is nearby.

Each performance lasts about an hour, and includes five tableaux from the Old and New Testaments, along with scripture narrative and music from a volunteer choir. There is no admission charge. All who come in a spirit of reverence are welcome, although from long-ago personal experience I can say that it is best enjoyed by adults and children over the age of six. It is an hour well spent and perhaps you’ll find, as I do, that Christmas is better in these “Pageant years.”

Christopher Stief
Swarthmore

Home for the Holidays. Photo by Andy Shelter

A team effort; a magical day

To the Editor:

The Swarthmore Home for the Holidays celebration took place on Saturday, December 2, all around the ‘Ville of Swarthmore. Hundreds of residents and visitors participated in various activities including a 5K Santa run, the last Farmers Market of the season, carriage rides, games and crafts, scavenger hunts, book signings and goodwill activities, which were hosted by our local merchants. The participants also enjoyed live music, local food and drink and a special performance by Jeannine Osayande & Dunya Performing Arts at the Inn at Swarthmore. Plus, Santa came to town via SEPTA train and then a fire truck and the Dunya drummers led a parade through town. The Swarthmore United Methodist Church conducted a tree lighting and community sing along. Hot chocolate ended the day at the Swarthmore Fire House.

The day was action packed and a good time was had by all. We were able to host more activities than in years past, and we could not have done that without our wonderful volunteers, who traveled from near and far to spend the day with our town, making each activity and event run smoothly, and be truly enjoyable.

On behalf of the Swarthmore Town Center Board, I would like to sincerely thank all our committee members and volunteers for giving their time, energy and talent to make Home for the Holidays a success. Whether you signed up to help on the day of, or worked on details for the last few months, your help was invaluable and greatly appreciated.

For those who would like to get involved in the future, we welcome you with open arms. After I left the corporate world this past winter, what I missed was being on a team. Volunteering for Swarthmore Town Center and the Swarthmore Farmers Market has certainly filled any void I had regarding my desire to be part of a team. Volunteerism connects us with others and provides meaning and purpose in our lives. The people I have met and worked with this year in Swarthmore are some of the most creative, kind, hardworking, and dedicated people I have crossed paths with in my career. I encourage anyone interested in continuing to help make our small town great to get involved in any way you can.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller

Shannon Elliott
Swarthmore Town Center Board Member

Swarthmore CO-OP Equity Campaign lifts off

To the Editor:

By now, you must have noticed the colorful balloons taped to the CO-OP’s windows. Each balloon represents an owner who chose to invest in the CO-OP by raising their equity stake. The large banner at the entrance tracks the total owner investments, currently at about $35,000, against the campaign goal of $150,000.

The $150,000 campaign goal is not arbitrary or a “would be nice”; it is mission-critical funding for the CO-OP’s continuing operations in 2018 while the plan for profitability is being implemented. Our current GM has brought the CO-OP a long way in the 11 months that he’s been on the job, largely by reorganizing and cost cutting. But when the large oven that is used by the prepared foods, catering and deli departments broke, as happened a few weeks ago, it represents a major setback. This was only one on a long list of unanticipated expenses; this is why the CO-OP needs working capital and a cash reserve.

Make no mistake: raising your equity stake in the CO-OP is not a donation or gift – it is an investment in the CO-OP’s future. If you raise your equity by $1,000, you receive an additional 200 shares. There also is no one else to appeal to – no corporate deep pocket, no endowment, no governmental largesse. Like the Swarthmorean you are reading, the CO-OP enriches the community and makes living here such a unique experience. The CO-OP is of the community and for the community, and therefore it is up to us to support it.

Lest we forget the role the CO-OP plays in our lives, here is a fun fact: total online orders for local, farm-fresh Howe Farm turkeys this Thanksgiving exceeded four tons! 8,300 pounds of turkey to be exact. And Mike and his staff stand ready again to accept and prepare your online holiday orders – whether prime beef, oysters, lobster tails or caviar – with care and a smile.

Before the year ends, please take a moment to join if you are not an owner, or to “up your equity” if you are. The process is simple: ask one of the cashiers in the store, make your commitment, and your balloon will be added to the window. Or, email ownership@swarthmore.coop at any time with your support commitment.

Without your support, there won’t be a CO-OP. So, thank you for adding your balloon!

Michael Markowicz
Member, Board of Directors of the Swarthmore CO-OP

The Turkey Trotters photographed by Angus Shieh.

Thanks, Turkey Trotters

To the Editor:

On a beautiful Thanksgiving morning, over 360 Turkey Trotters gathered for the Inaugural Delco Turkey Trot. We would like to thank all of the participants, volunteers and sponsors for making this event such a success.

The money raised will go to the Nether Providence Elementary School Parent-Teacher Organization, which helps to provide additional funds and programs to the school.

Thank you again, WSSD community, for your support. We look forward to seeing you next Thanksgiving!

The Delco Turkey Trot Organizers
Wallingford

Letters to the Editor

Parsing the Biddle riddle

To the Editor:

I wish it were so that beer and wine were not defined as spirituous liquors. But by Mr. Addison’s statutory interpretation (Swarthmorean, Nov. 17, 2017: “Distilling the truth”), so, too, would the Second Amendment restrict gun ownership to a musket or a blunderbuss. Constitutional interpretation (Commonwealth and federal) does change with time, and now ownership of a semi-automatic weapon is protected by an 18th century document. So is the 19th century Biddle Riddle. See you at the Broad Table to discuss over grog?

Pat Flanigan
Swarthmore

Fall foliage

To the Editor:

Hola! Swarthmore rakers … You need not cope with flaccid plastic tines, or with metal tines which damage your grass as they scratch your thatch. Charlie’s hardware has bamboo rakes. These give you that extra snap which propels leaves toward your compost pile in a most satisfactory manner. (“Blowers” take note.)

John Brodsky
Swarthmore

Who’s there?

To the Editor:

Franz Kafka once commented that he could detect the diabolical powers and forces of the future knocking at the door. Can you hear the knocking?

Allan Irving
Swarthmore

Condemn hateful tweets

To the Editor:

President Trump has tweeted videos from a U.K. hate group which Prime Minister Theresa May has denounced as “hateful material” full of distortions and lies, stoking tensions and hatred of Muslims. She also denounced release of the videos by her putative ally, President Trump, as “wrong.” The President’s actions are similar to his circulation without verification of a discredited story asserting that American Muslims celebrated the tragedy of 9-11. The circulation of these hateful videos will likely result in more of the attacks against Muslims and bombings of mosques which I believe are due to the irresponsible behavior of our President and the failure of political and religious leaders to condemn it. I am not a clinician and do not diagnose mental health patients. However, I have conducted mental health research programs for more than 20 years and am quite familiar with diagnostic criteria for mental disorders. They are detailed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the “Bible” for clinical diagnosis. In my opinion President Trump suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, characterized by a grandiose sense of self-importance; preoccupation with fantasies of success, power, and brilliance; requires excessive admiration; and unwillingness to recognize or identify with the feelings of others, in this case Muslims. Perhaps the President’s mental illness mitigates his responsibility. But it does not mitigate that of America’s faith communities. Each must now decide whether to remain silent or speak out in solidarity with our Muslim neighbors, who are now even more vulnerable to attack. Martin Luther King said that there comes a time when silence is betrayal. I believe that time has come. This is a moral issue, it is not a partisan political issue. We must never forget the lesson history teaches regarding the consequences of silence as a response to attacks upon a religious group by agents of a government. I feel that the religious leaders of churches and synagogues that claim faithfulness to Christ or Torah must publicly stand with the Muslim community or forfeit any claim to moral authority.

Grant Grissom
Media

Letter to the Editor

Recycling: a numbers game

To the Editor:

In the November 17 issue of The Swarthmorean, there is an ode to the newspaper, “If it’s fit to read, it’s fit to print.” This is followed by the necessity of recycling.

One of the items mentioned the author puts in the recycling bin is “large, hinged containers once filled with Caesar salad from 320 Market.” I don’t know where the author resides, but mention is made of “our neck of the Wallingford woods.”

It should be noted that in Swarthmore, one may NOT recycle the clear plastic containers that the 320 Market Caesar salad comes in since it is a no. 6 PS plastic, clearly excluded from the list on the borough’s website, along with no. 3 plastic, too.

Last year I even asked the borough office about this just to make sure, and they replied that our recycler cannot handle clear no. 6 PS plastic. However, it seems it can be recycled in other local jurisdictions.

A friend of mine lives in Moylan-Rose Valley, and he says they are allowed to recycle no. 6 there, so I save mine and give it to him for recycling whenever we see each other.

Alas, the Co-op uses a lot of clamshell containers made from no. 6 plastic for their sandwiches and salads. I spoke with the manager a couple of years ago about this problem, saying we couldn’t recycle this here, and he said he’d look into trying to find containers with plastics that we can recycle here, but so far there has been no change. The Co-op, however, does use other plastics for other different sized containers.

I look forward to the day when we, too, in Swarthmore are allowed to recycle no. 6 PS clear plastic so I don’t have to save it all to hand over to my Moylan-Rose Valley friend.

George Huber
Swarthmore

Letters to the Editor

Distilling the truth

To the Editor:

The Biddle Riddle. It appears to me, that selling beer (or even wine) in the Co-op would not violate the terms of the Biddle Tract covenant.

Pennsylvania Statutes Title 47 P.S. Liquor § 1-102, define a “liquor” as “any alcoholic, spirituous, vinous, fermented or other alcoholic beverage, powdered alcohol, or combination of liquors and mixed liquor a part of which is spirituous, vinous, fermented or otherwise alcoholic … except pure ethyl alcohol and malt or brewed beverages.”

The last exclusion refers to “any beer, lager beer, ale, porter … alcoholic cider and mead.” The statutes do not define “spirituous,” but the universal dictionary definition of that is: “containing or impregnated with alcohol obtained by distillation of spirituous liquors.” The statutory definition of wine is “liquor which is fermented from grapes and other fruits” without addition of “alcohol derived from malt, grain, cereal, molasses or cactus [sic].”

So, neither wine nor beer are “spirituous liquors” within the meaning of the term in the Commonwealth.

Tony Addison
Swarthmore

The wonderful Fetter concerts

To the Editor:

Just a short note to remind everyone that the the wonderful (and wonderfully free) Fetter Concert Series has started again at Lang Hall. (This hall is named for Eugene Lang ’38, and not, as someone whispered, Lang Lang.)

On Friday, November 17, we heard a diverse program including Festak Variations by Branch Freeman ’20, a scintillating and humorous set of variations, excerpts from Samuel Barber’s little heard Souvenir Suite for two pianos with a set of three rotating pianists, along with Brahms, Dvorak, and Gospel selections.

The next Fetter Concert is Friday, December 1st. Consult the Swarthmorean and the College website for these and other College concerts.

Bob Small
Swarthmore