Letters to the Editor

Thank you, neighbors

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Rotary Club of Swarthmore and our more than 50 charities, we would like to thank you for your continued support of the Swarthmore Charity Fun-Fair. We appreciate all those who braved the weather to make this year’s Fair another huge success. Also, thank you to all our sponsors who make the Fair possible, especially the Inn at Swarthmore, The Chefs’ Warehouse, the Swarthmorean, A Better Chance Strath Haven, Anita Barrett and Swarthmore Town Center, The Lions Club of Swarthmore, and Occasionally Yours.

Rotarians love to host this Fair for the community; this was our 16th year, and my first as chair. I must say that most of the components run themselves and have become tradition. Of course, we did forgo one tradition this year: the parade. Many people mentioned its absence, and it will be back in some form next year.

Thank you again and we look forward to seeing you all at the Fair in 2018! Sincerely, Joseph Lesniak
Fun-Fair Chairman
Rotary Club of Swarthmore

Swarthmore Borough Hall hosted the Swarthmore Horticulture Society’s “Blooms or Bust” plant sale last Saturday. Photo by Melissa Husted-Sherman

Swarthmore Borough Hall hosted the Swarthmore Horticulture Society’s “Blooms or Bust” plant sale last Saturday. Photo by Melissa Husted-Sherman

Best ‘indoor’ sale ever!

To the Editor:

Last Saturday’s weather was a bust, but the plant selling was booming and blooming at Swarthmore Horticultural Society’s INDOOR “Blooms or Bust” Plant Sale. This was our biggest sale ever in terms of plants (1,200 plants), and we really had to scramble when the forecast predicted heavy rains and winds.

But our community really came through. Borough administration, the Library staff, and the police department all made our move indoors to Borough Hall possible in the most accommodating way. The Swarthmorean and Town Center readily posted last-minute information about the relocation. And the plant-loving community came out on Saturday in impressive numbers and supported our sale with their purchases.

We have so many to thank for our success, but would be remiss if we didn’t give specific (and deep) thanks to Jane Billings and the entire Borough Hall staff, to the Swarthmore Public Works staff, to the Swarthmore Public Library staff and administration, to the Swarthmore Police Department, to Anita Barrett of Swarthmore Town Center, to the Swarthmorean, to Lora Pietrangelo of HOM (for loaning us tables), and to everyone who braved the rain to support us so enthusiastically.

We haven’t yet calculated the exact profit from our sale. We do know that we did cover our costs (whew!), and more importantly, provided many local gardens with beautiful plants that will bring smiles and pleasure throughout this summer!
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Again, to all, many thanks from the SHS!

Ginny Scott
SHS Publicity Chair

Letters to the Editor

Referendum provides opportunity

To the Editor:

During the municipal primary election next Tuesday, May 16, the question “Do you favor the granting of liquor licenses for the sale of liquor in the Borough of Swarthmore?” will be presented to voters as a referendum on the ballot.

Since early February, the citizen group Swarthmore21 has endeavored to objectively and factually present the social and economic benefits anticipated from a “Yes” vote. We’ve openly discussed the issue with thousands of Swarthmoreans and shared research, statistics, and facts surrounding this matter in all available formats and venues. In short, we did the homework necessary to help educate the public on this opportunity.

Now the registered voters of our town must decide. It’s time for current Swarthmoreans to help shape the future of their town. This could mean change, which may seem scary to some. Nevertheless, change is inevitable if we are to remain the great town that we all love. Times change and Swarthmore must keep up. If not, the repercussions of resisting change may be worse than the change itself.

For those still on the fence, or not yet fully informed about the issue, we strongly encourage you to visit the “Facts” section of the Swarthmore21.com site. If there are still questions or concerns, please find and speak to Swarthmore21 volunteers in their bright orange hats at this weekend’s Makers Market and the pre-election BBQ at Hobbs on Monday night. We also ask that everyone encourage their friends and neighbors to understand the facts and to vote on Tuesday.

We’ve done our job. As concerned Swarthmoreans, we’ve delivered an opportunity for fellow citizens to have a direct impact on our town’s future. These chances don’t come along often. If you are a registered voter in Swarthmore, we encourage you take advantage of this opportunity and vote what you believe to be right.

We vote “Yes” for the future of Swarthmore.

Patrick Francher and Vince Barrett on behalf of Swarthmore21

It’s fine to dive in

To the Editor:

I first arrived in Swarthmore as a College freshman in September 1967. Since then, I have studied and/or worked and/or lived here continuously except for, I think, seven breaks totaling about 39 months. As neighbor Brodsky has noted, a lot has changed over the years. Indeed, I remember the building at Rutgers and Chester (yes, I still think of it as the Gulf+Western building) being only three stories tall, not four (look closely!).

But other fundamental things have not changed. Our tree canopy for one. You don’t have to go far to see the alternative. For another, the passion of our citizens have for Swarthmore and their engagement with it. Shortly after we bought a home here, the 18-month saga of “The Question of the Fence at the Tot Lot” began; passion and engagement indeed. And finally, I will mention community. Why did I say “neighbor” Brodsky? Because everyone in Swarthmore is my neighbor. Because if you ask a random Swarthmorean for directions to a random address, they will be able to tell you, and probably know someone who lives on that block (or did, 30 years before). A stellar example of this “community” was Sandy Sparrow’s memorial this past Sunday. A full Meetinghouse; so much joy; so much respect for someone who gave so much to Swarthmore. As befits Sandy, a memorial service like no other I had ever seen anywhere. As was said then, we have something special going on here.

These fundamental things, which make Swarthmore what it is, have not changed over the years. Nor have they in the year since 11a.m. on that fine May day a year ago, when I went to the Broad Table Tavern when it finally opened for business and bought the first for-profit beer sold in Swarthmore. I have been there enough that the bartenders know my name and my drink; and I have never heard as much as a single discouraging word. It’s still the same Swarthmore, even though you can now get a glass of wine with your dinner.

Sixteen years ago, we had a referendum which asked us if we’d like to dip a toe into the alcohol waters; we, as a community, agreed that yes, we’ll stay dry but allow for this one place to have a license, and we’ll see how it goes. Six years ago, we had a referendum which asked us if we were ready to go all the way; we then, as a community, said no, it’s too early, we haven’t seen how our toes will react to the waters yet, so let’s stay as we are, dry with the one exception.

Now, it is time. We have seen that neither the sky nor the earth has opened. So many bad things have not happened; none of the dire predictions have come true.

I will be voting YES! I hope you will, too.

Bill Ryan
Swarthmore

Thanks, Earth People

To the Editor:

Despite a rather overcast Earth Day, about 30 energetic volunteers participated in the annual Chester-Ridley-Crum (CRC) Watersheds Association streams cleanup at Little Crum Creek Park. In less than three hours, we cleaned streams of trash and debris, and weeded and mulched trees.

Thanks to two members of the Swarthmore College Biology Department and a Swarthmore college student for setting up microscopes and showing volunteers little creatures that live in the streams and told them about the importance of maintaining clean streams. Many thanks to our faithful Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) members and their families, the local 4-H group, residents of our extended communities, and to our Public Works Department, who deliver mulch and pick up our trash. We are especially grateful to have Phil Coleman back with us this year — Phil makes these work days fun for everyone, and no one enjoys them more than Phil!

We will continue to coordinate with various community groups to schedule regular work days in the park. If you are interested in participating with the EAC on a regular (or irregular) basis, please get in touch with Susan Kelly at susankelly339@gmail.com.

Susan Kelly
Swarthmore Environmental Advisory Council

Killing the Clean Air Act, and us

To the Editor:

Ozone and particle pollution can cause developmental harm in children and reproductive harm in older individuals. In humans these two pollutants can also cause premature death, asthma attacks, wheezing and coughing, shortness of breath, heart disease, susceptibility to infections and lung tissue redness and swelling, and lung cancer. Yet bills under consideration in Washington would weaken or end the Clean Air Act, more than likely helping kill many of those with serious health or respiratory problems, and causing healthy individuals to develop the illnesses cited above. For the 40 percent of Americans who still live where the air is unhealthy to breathe, preserving the law of the land is a life and death matter.

Since most of the health-damaging pollutants come from fossil fuel sources, more monitoring is needed near roadways to measure air pollution from traffic, in communities that have gas or coal fired power plants and in places with expanded oil and gas extraction operations such as in the counties of and near the Marcellus Shale region here in Pennsylvania.

Less than one-third of all U.S. counties have ozone or particle pollution monitors to adequately detect and track the levels of these forms of air pollution. This has real consequences. In Pennsylvania, the Department of Environmental Protection, which is obligated to protect people from dangerous air pollution under the Clean Air Act, has been prevented from doing so because of inadequate resources and staff. Thirty-one of 67 counties have no monitors collecting data on ozone levels, and 42 out of 67 counties either have had no monitors collecting data on particle pollution or the data, or the data has been incomplete for the last three years.

I urge people to read the American Lung Association’s report titled “State of the Air 2017” to understand the improvements to health and quality of life we’ve made under the Clean Air Act, how much more we need to improve, and how that progress will be more difficult in the future (even if the Clean Air Act is not undermined) due to the consequences of climate change.

Our communities need more than ever before the daily passion and commitment of regular citizens to protect public health, public safety and the environment. We must collectively and individually be thorns in the sides of our elected local, state, and federal officials to ensure that our government effectively and quickly prevents new environmental problems and cleans up our air, water, and public lands to scientifically proven healthy standards.

Jocolyn Bowser-Bostick
Chester

No fan of Whelan

To the Editor:

A few years ago, intruders entered my home while my family, including my three young children, was asleep upstairs. Our kids woke up the next morning to a ransacked home, while my husband and I discovered one by one, that our computers, cars, and phones were gone. Perhaps even more important than our kids’ irreplaceable baby photos and Christmas morning videos was the permanent theft of our sense of safety and security within the walls of our own home. After many subsequent sleepless nights, my kids still have a sign that hangs on their bedroom door warning any future robbers not to enter their room.

After months of searching and outstanding work, the Upper Darby police found the intruders and appropriately charged them. The evidence pointing to the burglars was strong and included my husband’s work ID found inside their house. The thieves were charged with several burglaries in Drexel Hill and another burglary in Swarthmore. They were actually caught in the act of breaking and entering homes in Drexel Hill.

Criminal justice would now be served, or so we thought. But that expectation vanished when the District Attorney’s office (under the charge of District Attorney Jack Whelan) did not seek to appropriately punish these criminals. The D.A.’s office offered the offenders a light and inappropriate plea deal without consulting my family or sizing up the evidence. The D.A.’s office knew the offenders were responsible for a string of burglaries across Delaware County and that one of the offenders had prior violent crime convictions. Instead of appropriately prosecuting these serial offenders, the D.A.’s office let them go with a plea deal that amounted to no more than a slap on the wrist. Even later, when one of the criminals violated his parole, they looked the other way. We e-mailed District Attorney Whelan about our concerns. He never even responded. When I personally spoke with the Assistant District Attorney on the phone, I asked him if this was the same punishment he would seek if it had been his home and his young children that had been violated. He couldn’t answer me.

District Attorney Jack Whelan is running for judge in Delaware County. He cross-filed to be listed as a candidate on the Democratic and Republican primary. When I think about electing a judge, I want someone who is strong and not afraid to take the harder path. I want someone who will uphold our current laws to keep our homes and citizens safe. In my experience, he failed to do exactly that.

This is my personal story. It has nothing to do with politics. It is about integrity and doing the right thing. I am voting AGAINST Jack Whelan during this election and I encourage you to do the same.

Melissa Burkhart Zeserson
Swarthmore

Interfaith Council praises City of Chester
for recognizing Muslim holidays

To the Editor:

We, the members of the Interfaith Council of Southern Delaware County (formerly the Swarthmore Wallingford Interfaith Ministerium, SWIM), dedicated to cultivating relationships of trust and solidarity among religious leaders, congregations, and faith communities, commend the City of Chester, Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland, and the City Council for issuing a proclamation recognizing the two major Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. The proclamation was issued at a City Council meeting on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, and was accepted by Imam Shakur Abdul-Ali on behalf of the city’s Muslim community.

As a coalition of leaders and community members across many faith traditions, we want to lift up and draw attention to all positive and affirming acts of inclusion that honor our various faith and cultural traditions. We commend the City Council for making this official proclamation, thereby sending out a message of unity with our Muslim neighbors and recognizing the rich diversity of our Delaware County community. As sisters and brothers in faith, who share this region that we all call home, we celebrate both that which is common among us and that which makes us unique.

As members of ICSDC, we are committed to supporting one another, and opening ourselves to learning about our diverse faith traditions. We offer our heartfelt thanks to Mayor Kirkland and the City Council for their proclamation. We congratulate our Muslim brothers and sisters for this milestone achievement and reaffirm that our unity is rooted in the holy work of loving our neighbors, thereby strengthening our shared community.

Rev. Sukja Bang, Swarthmore United Methodist Church
Rev. Marcie Brozyna, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Clergy
Rev. Jennifer Casey, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
Mary E. Chollet, St. John Chrysostom Catholic Church
The Rev. Peter Friedrichs, Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware Co.
The Rev. Alina S. Gayeuski, Reformation Lutheran Church
Rabbi Jeremy Gerber, Congregation Ohev Shalom
Rev. William L. B. Gray, Sr., Wesley A.M.E. Church
Rev. Edward J. Hallinan, Saint John Chrysostom Church
Jennifer Karsten, Pendle Hill Quaker Center
Rev. François Lacroix, Wallingford Presbyterian Church
The Rev. Wayne Matthias-Long, Reformation Lutheran Church
Venerable Amy Miller, Buddhist Nun and Teacher
Jeanne A. Musewicz, St. John Chrysostom Catholic Church
Mary Lou Parker, Religious Society of Friends, Swarthmore Meeting
Rabbi Linda Potemken, Congregation Beth Israel of Media
Rev. Sarah Cooper Searight, Swarthmore Presbyterian Church
Rev. Joyce Shin, Swarthmore Presbyterian Church
Rev. Joyce U. Tompkins, Trinity Episcopal Church; Swarthmore College

A great race

To the Editor:

Kudos and thanks to all of the runners and walkers who participated in last Sunday’s 16th Annual Swarthmore Charity Fun-Fair 5K Run and Walk sponsored by the Swarthmore Lions Club and the Swarthmore Rotary Club. Although it was a little cooler than expected, the rain held off and a good time was had by all. It was great to see a number of kids running their first 5K and families running together. Here are the race results.

The women’s overall winners were 1.) Morgan McErlean (23:08), 2.) Keira Bolin (24:44), and 3.) Rebecca Maneen (25:00).

The men’s overall winners were 1.) Thomas Morton (21:15), 2.) Duane Christy (21:30), and 3.) Ben Ent (23:06).

The female age group winners were 1.) Hailey Murray, 2.) Katie Stack, and 3.) Charlotte Davis (1-10-year-old group); 1.) Taylor Brody, 2.) Lilly Huffman, and 3.) Kristen McKenna (30-39); 1.) Samantha Simonsen 2.) Sarah Sidiqi, and 3.) Jennifer Rothman (40-49); and 1.) Noreen O’Connor-Abel and 2.) Patti Gregory (50-59).

The male age group winners were 1.) Sawyer Bock and 2.) Will Slootmaker (11-13); 1.) Stoney Gingrich and 2.) Tyrone Hurston (20-29); 1.) Joel Brody, 2.) Mike Bolin, and 3.) Robert Page (30-39); 1.) Patrick Poliski (40-49); 1.) Michael Stack, 2.) Doug Schauerman, and 3.) Rick Sultzer (50-59); and 1.) Terry Britt, 2.) Frank Kelly, and 3.) Don Casey (60+).

If you did not receive your medal, please send an e-mail to jdryan17@gmail.com. Full race results are now posted on runtheday.com.

I would like to recognize Swarthmore Rotarians and the Fun-Fair director Joe Lesniak for their generous support of the race. Special thanks to Gina Sheehan, faculty advisor of the Ridley High School Leos Club, and the Leo volunteers (Mike Quinn, Christian Mendoza, Gina Borcky, Haley Pattinson, Emily Coghlin, Margaret Trautz, Maria Russo, and Lexi Burns), who marshaled and served refreshments at the finish line. Many thanks to Chief Brian Craig, Sgt. Ray Stufflet, Officer Joe McGinnis, and Officer Anthony Aloi for keeping the streets safe. Beth Brady and the Run the Day team did a great job with the race timing and the race results. We also thank Michael Hill and Swarthmore College for allowing us to run through the campus.

Finally, thanks to fellow Lions and friends (Carol Gallo, Tom Dillon; James Verdi, Jeff Bergstrom, and Jim Donahue) for their help with the race. We look forward to seeing you at next year’s Fun-Fair 5K.

Jim Ryan
Swarthmore Lions Club

Letters to the Editor

25 for 21: Vote ‘Yes’ on May 16

To the Editor:

On behalf of the 25 Swarthmore businesses that explicitly support the Swarthmore21 initiative, we’d like to urge the Swarthmore community to vote “Yes” on the referendum on May 16.

To begin, it’s important to know that many, if not most, of Swarthmore’s business owners live elsewhere. Therefore, many of us cannot vote in this election. Nonetheless, we have all taken risks as entrepreneurs to open a business here and obviously want the town center and our ventures to succeed.

As we’ve all witnessed, the internet and big box retailers continue to disrupt traditional brick and mortar businesses and main streets, and our town center is no exception. Just look at the empty storefronts and consider the many businesses that have left in recent years. Given so many other low cost, high convenience options for consumers, town centers like ours depend critically on service businesses—especially restaurants—to attract shoppers. In turn, restaurants depend on the sale of beer, wine, and other alcoholic drinks for the margins and cash flow necessary for a profitable and sustainable retail business. BYOs are good for consumers, but the entrepreneur often struggles to make money in that model. Therefore, it’s important that we allow additional businesses to offer beer, wine and spirits to attract restaurant investors and entrepreneurs to town.

Passing the referendum is an important step towards greater vibrancy and sustainability in our town center. Clearly, the Co-op could benefit directly by selling beer and wine as its competitors do today. The other businesses, including existing restaurants, can benefit from the additional foot traffic that would result from more people coming to town to visit cafes or bistros or to buy their beer or wine at the Co-op. We also believe that the empty storefronts can scare patrons away, so anything we can do to fill those spaces can help bring more shoppers to town. In short, passing the Referendum could help create a virtuous cycle in town.

To be clear, none of us believe the referendum will be a ‘silver bullet’ for the town center’s challenges, and it will take time for things to improve. Nonetheless, it’s one of many steps that must be taken to reverse the district’s seemingly downward trend. It’s time to take action, starting with this referendum.

We appreciate the support of our businesses by Swarthmoreans and hope you’ll continue to support us by voting “yes” on May 16 to allow additional businesses to sell beer, wine, and spirits here in Swarthmore.

Lora Pietrangelo, H.O.M.
Paul Feldmayer, Vicky’s Place
Michael Matotek & Joe Coyle, Open Sky Energy
Joyce Walker-Bruce, Swarthmore Flower & Gift Shop
Jeanna Vanni, The Pilates Connexion
James Verdi, Houseplant Hospital
Azim Naderpoor, Aria Mediterranean Cuisine
Billy Hodges, Digital Filaments
Bill Ryba, Paulson & Company
Emily Scott, Compendium
Todd Kitchin, The Kitchin Allstate Agency
Rob Borgstrom, waR3house3
John Scott, Executive Cleaners
Patricia Ukropec, Swarthmore Hair Studio
Will Randall, Hobbs
Chris & Cathy Darrell, Purcell Darrell House

On the ballot…

To the Editor:

Normally, only Dems and Repubs can vote in a primary election. However, since there is a ballot question this May, alternative party (Constitution, Green, Libertarian, etc.) and independent voters can vote in the May 16th primary, on the ballot question only.

This ballot question is asking Swarthmoreans to decide: “Do you favor the granting of liquor licenses for the sale of liquor in the Borough of Swarthmore?”

Bob Small
Swarthmore

Letters to the Editor

Batter up!

To the Editor:

For many years, we have enjoyed Sunday evenings in a great small-town American way by getting together with a great group of people for a couple hours of casual, recreational softball, and frequently, sitting around in the summer evening afterwards for talk and friendship. This has been a Swarthmore tradition since at least the 1930s, and we hope you’ll be part of it this summer. The Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, when we open the season, is only a few weeks away, and so we’d like to invite all Swarthmorean readers and their friends and family of teenage years or older to come out and play.

We play every Sunday evening from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, beginning about 5:15 p.m. or so, on the college fields behind the Presbyterian Church on Harvard Avenue. We end about 8 p.m. or when it’s too dark to see. It’s easy and casual: you can come when you want to and leave any time, and you don’t have to own a glove; borrowing a glove from a player on the batting team occurs regularly.

We hope to see you out there on May 28th!

Al Federico, Fran Donnelly, J. W. Clements and Matt Ainslie

Yes, to the referendum

To the Editor:

We are planning to vote “yes” on the Swarthmore21 referendum which will be on the ballot on May 16. The referendum would allow two eating establishments in town to serve beer. (And if they are willing to pay more for the license, wine. And if they are willing to pay a lot more, liquor.)

We are excited about the possibility of being able to pick up a six pack or a bottle of wine at the Co-op. And we love the idea of walking into town to grab a burger and a beer. But beyond the selfish reasons for voting “yes,” we believe having a few more fun restaurants in town will be good for Swarthmore’s future.

We love Swarthmore. We have lived here 22 years and raised our four kids here. We often brag to our out-of-town friends about what a uniquely wonderful community it is. But the happy little downtown we experienced when we arrived 22 years ago is changed. Michael’s, Swarthmore Music, T. Bumbles, the Jumping Cow, Finlandia, and the Book Source are gone, leaving many empty storefronts in their place.

Passing the May 16 referendum might be the beginning of a bit of revitalization of the downtown. Other towns that have passed similar measures have seen a marked increase in the time people spend shopping downtown. And in the evening, more people are out and about with “eyes on the street” keeping the area safe.

When we took our oldest son, Ben, went to Oberlin College, we were immediately struck by the vibrancy of the little town. It is similar in many ways to Swarthmore. Students and locals of all ages mingle in the small downtown. The new Oberlin Inn is beautiful. It is safe to walk the streets at all hours of the day and night. And the annual Big Parade includes kids on tricycles and a senior-citizen brigade doing a lawn-chair routine.

But in some ways, Oberlin is very different from Swarthmore. There are no empty storefronts (that we could see), and there are a number of lively restaurants where you can order a beer or a glass of wine with your meal. The Feve was our favorite lunch spot with great salads and burgers. In the evening, it became more of a gathering place, with locals and college-types watching games at the bar and eating the Feve’s famous tater-tots by the dozen. On the weekends, the upstairs hosted local bands.

Before having kids, we spent a couple years in Hanover, N.H., where quirky consignment shops and a bakery thrived alongside places like Five Olde, our favorite hangout serving burgers and pizza in a cozy basement pub. The town was alive, and we always knew we could walk home if necessary.

In our experience, small college towns — with eating establishments that serve beer and wine — are great places to live. We would love to see Swarthmore take advantage of this opportunity to become a more vibrant town. Let’s pass the referendum on May 16!

Beth and Steve Murray
Swarthmore

If EPA matters, say so!

To the Editor:

On March 1, President Trump issued Executive Order 13777, “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.” The EO requires federal agencies to evaluate existing regulations and make recommendations regarding their repeal, replacement, or modification. As part of this effort, agencies are required to receive input from the public.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting comments via an established docket from any member of the public about its regulations. EPA’s national program offices have also established national meetings and teleconferences in which the public may participate. The website at www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/regulatory-reform provides specific information about how to submit recommendations. The direct link to the docket is at: www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190.

This effort to reform EPA’s regulations is moving fast. The deadline for all comments is May 15, 2017. Take action now to let EPA know that its regulations are in place to protect our environment and public health! Sincerely,

Virginia Thompson
Swarthmore

Invitation to a Refugee

To the Editor:

I have no credentials as a poet, but was inspired to write this for Poetry Month.

There is room for you in my country,
Room for you in my city, town, village,
Room in my neighborhood,
Room in my home;
There is room for you in my heart.

Stuart Hibben
Swarthmore

Ageism at Swarthmore Swim Club

To the Editor:

This year the Swarthmore Swim Club is raising its membership fee for seniors by more than 100%. Many seniors I have talked with are upset and hurt, as am I, by what feels like an arbitrary and thoughtless decision. Such a dramatic increase is prohibitive for many and will be a deterrent to membership. I have asked both the membership secretary and the board person in charge of communications and publicity for an explanation.

The membership person simply does not respond and the communications person responds, in my opinion, in a patronizing and dismissive manner. I also asked whether other categories of membership have increased by the same amount — over 100% — and for a copy of the club’s budget and financial statement. My request for this information has been abruptly refused. I consider this lack of respect to be a form of elder abuse.

The club’s Mission Statement refers to an inclusive experience for members of all ages ( i.e., multi and intergenerational), and states that the club, established in 1955, was “to be inclusive, and to promote neighbors getting to know and interact with one another and building new relationships.”

The borough’s excellent Aging-In-Place Task Force issued its 119-page report in December 2015. It’s full of suggestions for seniors to be encouraged to interact with others to help alleviate problems such as isolation and loneliness. Swim Club board members need to read this report — in its entirety.

Again the swim club’s Mission Statement says that it provides a place for all ages to socialize — something crucial for the psychological health and well-being of seniors — and a green space for any seniors living in apartments, or anyone “who enjoys a quiet wooded setting.”

The swim club board needs to apologize to Swarthmore’s senior community and to rescind the 100% increase in fees. How can we consider Swarthmore a caring and inclusive community with recent actions by the Swim club board?

Allan Irving
Swarthmore

Forward, into the past?

To the Editor:

During the past 40 years I have seen the business district of Swarthmore change. Starting from the intersection of Rutgers Avenue and Chester Road and proceeding in a northerly direction, I have seen a music store disappear because of online music and electronic instruments, “The Cracker Barrel” disappear, replaced by doughnuts, a used book store gone due to Internet book search engines, (the hardware store remains), a store featuring antique paintings sacrificed to a technology which will “paint you a Rembrandt,” a toy store which cannot compete with video games, a drug store replaced by CVS, its magazine and news rack replaced by Internet news, its phone booth replaced by cell phones, and its soda fountain struck down by “Nifty Fifties.”

Around the corner, a tiny pen and ink store replaced by e-mail, a photography shop replaced by digital imagery, its hobby section gone because children no longer make things. Next, a gift shop whose owner retired, a new book store, downed as surely as Borders and an antique store, failed because of current Philistine taste in home furnishing.

Across the street, a houseplant and florist, now a college watering hole, a basement psychoanalytic research office vanished, and a gas station replaced by a second Swarthmore bank. This has not been progress; it feels more like regress. Not a pretty sight.

Today, a neighbor interested in revitalization of our town center suggested that we invite a comic book store to town, but I replied that “Comic Universe” on MacDade has that market well served and that to make our town unique and to attract interesting people, there is no sense in replacing failed business. For starters, we could open an aquarium store which features cloned reef life, a rare wood veneer store, a houseplant source for Nepenthes and other carnivorous plants, a calligraphy equipment supply which offers instructional workshops in manuscript illumination and botanical illustration, and a bookbinding supply shop offering leathers, gilding equipment for titles and marbleizing supplies for end papers.

Other ideas from fellow Swarthmoreans are welcome.

John Brodsky
Swarthmore

Letter to the Editor

Sexist profiles?

To the Editor:

The first installment of The Swarthmorean’s profiles of the Borough Council candidates left me with a burning question: How “does” Michael Carey do it? He owns an investment company, serves on the council, “and” has three children? Who helps the kids with their homework while he goes to all those meetings?

Alas, we may never know, because the reporter for The Swarthmorean apparently reserved the “how do you balance it all” question for the female candidate for Borough Council, Sarah Graden, but did not think such a question was relevant to Carey (whom many of us know to be an especially devoted and involved parent).

Rather than her extensive political background, we learn about her babysitting network. Women are running for office at the local, state, and national levels across the Untied States — and, we can proudly say, here in Swarthmore — because they care about the issues, possess the skills and knowledge to govern effectively, and are ready to lead.

It’s time to do away with the time-worn sexism of asking women (but not men) with children how they intend to balance their public and private obligations.

Rebecca Davis
Swarthmore

Letters to the Editor

The Garland children enjoy their very own Nyssa sylvatica.

The Garland children enjoy their very own Nyssa sylvatica.

The Swamp

To the Editor:

Deep in the mountain folds of Vernon, Vermont, there lies a mysterious and ancient looking place, wet and swampy, but glistening emerald green from end to end with sphagnum moss. Reaching it requires a bit of a hike up a ridge, and then, in an unexpected bowl of the geology, rain and snow melt collect and a swampy depression awaits. It is here that we encounter an unusual tree; if trees could be dinosaurs, this would be it. This is the stand of an ancient grove of black gum, trees that can live to be well over 500 years. The plate-like ridges of their bark protrude outwards bigger than my palm, reminding me of the protruding plates of the stegosaurus!

When I was last there, the sun was out, the wind was nil, and the temperature just right for messing about. It was kind of eerie; not many birds singing, for, you know, just around the corner lay a dinosaur!

My naturalist friend told me that the place had never been logged for the horses and cables of the day just weren’t up to the task of extracting gigantic logs from a swamp. So today, when you tiptoe into the Vernon Black Gum Swamp, you are tiptoeing back in time.

From Vernon, if you tiptoe south a few hundreds of miles, you may find yourself on the corner of Harvard and Cornell avenues in Swarthmore, Pa., where you can see your very own black gum tree of sizable proportion! Look for the large tree on the corner that has a brick and mortar magic hobbit door at its base and touch the rugged plates of this tree. Being a much younger specimen it probably won’t bring back calls from the Jurassic, but you might gain an appreciation for this unique species. The wood is tough; interlocking fibers make splitting difficult. Its habitats are often wet, but as you see, not always. Its fruits are small, sour, and blackish and are a great magnet for many types of fruit-eating birds. Bees love the flowers for honey production and obviously, it can attain an impressive size. The black tupelo, as it is also called, has a name apparently coined by Native Americans, something to do with swamp (not draining it, but celebrating it).

This year, the Swarthmore Tree Committee is awarding diplomas to two impressive black gum trees (and their respective owners). The Distinguished Trees of Swarthmore is a program that strives to acknowledge and map the impressive tree specimens in our town. The 2016 awards go to Nyssa sylvatica and their adopted children, Janna and Greg Garland of 511 Harvard Avenue, and Murray and Vera Wilson of 604 N. Chester Road.

Sincerely,

Elliot Burch
Swarthmore Tree Committee Swarthmore

Book It!… for next year!

To the Editor:

As the library directors of the Helen Kate Furness Free Library and the Swarthmore Public Library, we’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who made the inaugural Book It! Furness and Swarthmore Libraries 5k Walk/Run on Saturday, April 1, such a tremendous success!

With more than 190 participants, 50 volunteers and close to 60 sponsors, the Book It! 5k raised more money than we had imagined — at least $6,000 for each library, and watching our communities come together was priceless.

Book It! could not have happened without the vision of Furness Library Board Member Liz Corson, the enthusiasm of Swarthmore Library Trustee Karen Robinson, the drive of Friends of Swarthmore Public Library President Carol Kennedy, and the cooperation of Nether Providence Township, Swarthmore Borough, and the Nether Providence and Swarthmore Police Departments. Thank you all so very much.

We could take up the rest of your paper by thanking all the other people who made the day possible, but instead we will say that it is a privilege to be a part of this dedicated library community. We look forward to 2018 and our second annual Book It!

See you at the library,

Amber Osborne, Director Swarthmore Public Library
Jennifer Stock, Director Helen Kate Furness Free Library

1000 Point Club members unite to show their support as Haven honors Rob Payne by hanging his jersey in the gymnasium.

1000 Point Club members unite to show their support as Haven honors Rob Payne by hanging his jersey in the gymnasium.

Thank you from ONE HAVEN

To the Editor:

ONE HAVEN would like to thank the members of our community that came out to the inaugural ONE HAVEN 3v3 Basketball tournament held on March 18, in memory of Rob Payne.

People of all ages and different walks of life came together on this special day, with roughly 300 people in attendance, from alumni members of the Strath Haven basketball 1000 Point Club, current middle school and high school students, to special guest speaker, Haven alum Steve Johnson Jr. (class of 2006).

Thanks to everyone’s efforts and participation, ONE HAVEN was able to raise $4,695 which will fund the ONE HAVEN Scholarship, to be annually awarded to a deserving Strath Haven senior.

ONE HAVEN would like to invite you to our next event in partnership with SoulCycle. We will have a charity spinning class at their Ardmore studio on May 7, at 2 p.m. Please visit our website for more information and to sign up www.onehavenunite.com.

Kind regards,

ONE HAVEN Board of Directors
Michi Ellers, Caitlyn Locke Jen Wenrich, Durell Moore

Concerns re liquor licenses

To the Editor:

I would like to expand some on David Bloom’s letter of March 3, which raised some concerns he had about turning Swarthmore into a “wet” town. To begin with, the borough has absolutely no control over the granting of the first two licenses, and each license would have the restriction ending sales and entertainment at 2 a.m. I feel quite sure that Borough Council would not have the authority to overrule state law and restrict the hours of operation any further.

As for the potential for new restaurants in town, I agree with David that there are many successful BYOBs in the area. In fact, an Internet search of nearby Lansdowne, which is a dry town, would appear to have at least two such restaurants currently in operation. I do not think that the lack of liquor license would stop the opening of new restaurants, if the owners felt there was demand for one in Swarthmore.

To me, the main argument in favor of approving the referendum is if it will help the Co-op. The Co-op is an essential part of our town center. While I may disagree with the board’s decision, I have great respect for them and I am sure they know far more about the store’s operation than I do. What concerns me is the Co-op’s need to raise the necessary capital to update the store’s facilities and to purchase a $200,000 liquor license. I would hope that the Board will review with the public their capital needs and plans on how the money is to be raised.

Bob Dawes, Sr.
(Please don’t blame my son for this letter)
Swarthmore

Gerrymandering – How elections are rigged

To the Editor:

Gerrymandering is often mentioned but not always well understood. It is a deliberate action taken in a number of states, including Pennsylvania, to draw voting districts to “guarantee” a seat for one party or the other. The politicians who vote for these gerrymandered districts are often quite open that it was a deliberate effort to lessen the impact of certain voters.

The 2020 census, which coincides with the next presidential race, will mandate the redistricting of all states based on the new census figures. It is important to pass laws that make gerrymandering illegal before the new lines are drawn.

The League of Women Voters is joining the ACLU and Common Cause in their efforts to take the redistricting in all states out of the hands of the politicians. This is a complicated issue and will take time, effort and money to accomplish. The time to start is now to apply the pressures necessary to make the changes needed before the census takes place. Your vote for a candidate who opposes gerrymandering is a step in the right direction to make the needed changes.

The gerrymandering, some of which has been overturned by the courts, has affected the outcomes of elections more surely than any meddling by outside players. As we seek to find ways to keep outside forces from playing a key role in our internal affairs, we must seek also to clean up our own act by passing suitable legislation to remove our gerrymandered districts.

If you have any doubts that Pennsylvania is one of the most gerrymandered states in the country, just check the maps online which show the various districts all over the Internet. It is almost funny to see the ridiculous ways some ingenious politicians have redrawn districts in order to “save a seat.”

But that humor is lost when, even if every person in a district votes, well-done gerrymandering means there is little or no chance of a seat changing from Red to Blue or vice versa. Millions of dollars are spent on this tactic by those who would like to “have their politician” in a given office.

It is not fraud by the voting public that has, over the years, changed how our elections have been impacted, but the meddling with the census figures and the gerrymandering that has been fraudulent.

You can help remedy this travesty by getting involved with the League of Women Voters, Common Cause the ACLU, or Fair Districts PA, and supporting this much needed legislation.

Joanna Nealon, President
Central Delaware County League of Women Voters

Letter to the Editor

The topic: gerrymandering

To the Editor:

Of all the political issues that have been swirling and churning around me over the last few months, one has hit me hardest. The reason is that it’s so basic: We voters should choose representatives who, you know, represent us. Across a lot of the country, and especially here in Pennsylvania, this doesn’t happen as much as I used to assume.

The reason our votes are not counting as they should is that our legislative districts have been redrawn by those in power in order to help them stay in power. New district outlines make little geographic sense because they are calculated to keep a seat safe for a particular party. The name for this is gerrymandering.

Gerrymandering is elected representatives choosing their voters, rather than voters choosing their representatives. It is antithetical to the way democracy is supposed to work. There are all kinds of ways to gerrymander districts, but one of the most common—packing—is particularly relevant to our community.

Packing takes a district that is already regularly voting for one party, then redraws the lines to squeeze lots more people from that party into that district. This ensures that these new people waste their votes in a place that was going to go for their party anyway, rather than having the opportunity to exercise influence in a more balanced district.

This is what happened to Swarthmore after the last census, when it got moved into the safely Democratic Congressional District 1. Despite the example above, gerrymandering is — truly — a nonpartisan issue. Both Democrats and Republicans do it when they get the chance. And legislators of both parties in Pennsylvania complain of party leaders using gerrymandering to threaten them: If you don’t vote the way we tell you to, we’ll redraw your district so you can’t get elected. Thus gerrymandering forces the people who are supposed to represent us to do the bidding of entrenched leadership instead.

Pennsylvania’s maps will be redrawn again after the 2020 census. The good news is that there is a fast-growing movement to change the way the maps are drawn.

The idea is to set up an independent citizen’s commission (modeled on a method that has worked in other states) to draw fair maps, rather than letting the legislators and parties do it. A bipartisan bill in the State Senate right now — SB-22 — would set up such an independent commission.

Maybe you were at the recent panel at the Swarthmore Public Library where these issues were discussed. If not, there are many upcoming opportunities to learn more, including one at Penncrest High School in Media on April 24.

More information about that event, and about SB-22, is available on the website of Fair Districts PA (www.fairdistrictspa.com). Reclaiming our government begins here. It’s exciting to be a part of it.

Rachel Pastan
Swarthmore

Letters to the Editor

Refugees and air fares

To the Editor:

I was dismayed to learn that refugees admitted to the U.S. from abroad are liable for their air fare. A Syrian family of five that Carol Lastowka is mentoring must repay more than $4,400 for their flight, in monthly installments of $124, until the debt is paid off. This is a big drain on the family’s meager budget.

To grant a destitute refugee family asylum is commendable, but making them pay for their flight I find unconscionable. Could our community find a way to assume this debt?

Stuart Hibben
Swarthmore

Little Crum cleanup cancelled

To the Editor:

Due to the extreme mud that may only get worse in the coming days, the Saturday, March 31, Little Crum Creek Park clean-up and community picnic has been cancelled.

We encourage everyone to pick up at least 10 pieces of trash in your own neighborhood at your convenience in lieu of this event. According to Marine Defenders, small pieces of trash in the street are often washed into storm drains during rain storms, which deposit the water — and the trash — into creeks, rivers and ultimately the sea. Let’s all do our part to reduce pollution.

See you at the April 22, April 28 and May 19 clean-up events, when we hope to have more suitable weather for outdoor fun. Thanks.

Jeannine Anckaitis
Swarthmore

‘So we pulled it’

To the Editor:

Today’s Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the Trump administration decided “to pull advertising for healthcare.gov in the closing stretch of this year’s signup season.”

According to the Inquirer, 12.2 million people have signed up for healthcare coverage this year, during the open enrollment period.

I’m wondering how many other millions of people cannot take advantage of the various Medicare, Medicaid and other marketplace opportunities because the Trump administration said, “The ads were a waste of taxpayers money.”

My thoughts?
1. We make the best decisions when we are informed, whether it’s about buying a new car or healthcare.
2. Therefore, the Trump administration did not act in our best interests by withholding vital information.
3. That decision negatively impacted us because it reduced important information flow and also forced untold numbers of people to miss the open enrollment cutoff date.

“So we pulled it” is Trump’s response to the Republican failed healthcare bill initiative. My thoughts?
1. Healthcare is mighty serious stuff for all Americans: it is not a golf course or hotel.
2. Trump is approaching healthcare as if it’s just another deal… make it/break it/move on. My way or the highway.

Myra D. Hochman
Swarthmore

Letters to the Editor

Swarthmore21 on the ballot

To the Editor:

On behalf of Swarthmore21, we are happy to report that our February-March signature campaign was successful. As a result, Swarthmoreans will once again have the opportunity to decide, via referendum during the municipal primary election on May 16, whether to allow two additional businesses to sell beer, wine, and spirits as part of their offering.

First off, thanks to the 1,316 registered voters who signed the petition, to those who “signed” the Swarthmore21 site, and to those who made financial donations to help defray campaign expenses. You have helped us take the first step toward removing one of the obstacles to economic and social progress in our Ville.

Kudos also to the 20+ merchants that similarly demonstrated their support by “signing” our site and displaying signs in their stores. You made it clear that you want the Ville to become a more vibrant and enticing place for residents and visitors to shop, dine, and spend time. We appreciate your support of our community.

Lastly, thanks to the core group of approximately 25 volunteer residents who spent hundreds of hours collecting signatures, arranging signing events, and offering advice. You opened your doors for meetings, helped spread the word to the borough, stood in the bitter cold, engaged fellow Swarthmoreans in dialogue, acted professionally and with courtesy in all encounters, and made all of us in Swarthmore21 proud to be a member of just such a group.

With primary election day less than two months away, it’s time now to get back to work. We encourage anyone who signed the petition and/or who cares about the future of Swarthmore to become informed on the issue and to vote. Regardless of your ultimate position, please get out and vote. If you won’t be here on May 16, we suggest that you apply for an absentee ballot as soon as possible — but not later than the May 9 deadline.

Donning our very, very orange hats, Swarthmore21 volunteers will be out and about in town in April and May to answer your questions. You can also refer to Swarthmore21.com to understand the facts along with relevant and important information. You can also join the Swarthmore21 group on Facebook for updates and discussion. Regardless of venue, we ask that all residents continue the constructive and respectful dialogue we’ve experienced thus far.

It’s game time! Don’t stay on the sidelines. Have a say in your town’s future. Be a Swarthmorean.

Vince Barrett and Patrick Francher
Members of Swarthmore21

What is ‘desirable?’

To the Editor:

Linda Hauck’s letter, No Quick Fix for the Ville (March 17), using metrics obtained from ESRI Tapestry Lifemodes, describes Swarthmore as “Affluent Estates and Upscale Avenues.” Surely the fabric of Swarthmore is more than this. It is not just a real estate market where “desirable” upscale chocolate experiences are valued over “undesirable” tattoo parlors. It is also a place of vibrant intellectual thought and political activism.

Swarthmore could do with a little more edginess however, and a tattoo and piercing parlor and perhaps a sex shop could push the often stuffy borough in a more exciting direction. Many of my students in classes at Penn have tattoos and piercings and I do not see them as undesirable in the least. Swarthmore needs to promote much greater diversity in terms of race and LGBTQ expression and visibility, and in the kinds of retail establishments lining the streets. Then we might have a town that is truly alive.

Allan Irving
Swarthmore

Letters to the Editor

Work and Fun at Little Crum Creek Park

Dear Neighbors,

Swarthmore-Rutledge School and Swarthmore’s Environmental Advisory Council have locked in three dates for local community service combined with family fun.

On upcoming Fridays, March 31, April 28 and May 19, from 4:30 p.m. to 7p.m., everyone is invited to Little Crum Creek Park (at the intersection of Cresson and Amherst) for environmental activities followed by a fireside community picnic and music. Activities may include stream and park clean-up, planting, mulching and invasive weed removal. A handicapped accessible portapotty will be on site.

Please dress for a messy job (waterproof boots recommended) and wear/bring layers. For the picnic, please be as environmentally friendly as possible. (We are looking into getting food trucks or other service providers, but that isn’t finalized yet.)

Feel free to contact me at jfanckaitis@gmail.com with questions and other information. Hope to see you there!

Jeannine Anckaitis
Swarthmore

Remember: Play for the As

To the Editor:

Did you know that every 66 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s Disease? Since 2000, deaths from heart disease have decreased by 14%, while deaths from Alzheimer’s Disease have increased by 89% making it the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and one of the more costly diseases to suffer with.

On April 1, the Strath Haven boys lacrosse team will host the 4th annual Play for the As lacrosse tournament on King Field.

Over the past three years we have raised more than $25,000 to help defeat this horrible disease. This year we are proud to partner with the Taylor Community Foundation so that our fundraising efforts will locally support those who share in caring for loved ones affected by this dreaded disease. Our goal this year is $20,000, and we are approximately halfway to our goal!

For those in our community who would like to aid in fundraising efforts, there are several ways to do so: a.) charitable gifts can be made in support of our cause by clicking on the restricted donation link at www.tcfhelps.org/donate.html and typing “Play for the As” in the “fund” line at the top of the page; b.) becoming a sponsor for the day, by advertising in our program (contact dnymny@aol.com, subject: playforas, for more information); and c.) join us on April 1 at King Field for Play for the As as we work together to defeat Alzheimer’s!

Sincerely,

Joe Healy
’17 SHHS Boys Lacrosse Team

No quick fix for Ville

To the Editor:

If only there was a simple, one ingredient recipe for improving the social and commercial climate of the Swarthmore Town Center Business District, I think Borough Council, The Town Center Inc. or one of our energetic community boosters would have whipped up that dish long ago.

The suggestion of repealing the Town Center Zoning regulation limiting first floor rentals to retail establishments is misguided and shortsighted. Indeed, the idea behind regulating new first floor rentals in the Town Center is to encourage a critical mass of diverse retail establishments such that shoppers will be drawn to Swarthmore as a destination.

Repealing this very recently adopted regulation might benefit commercial property owners in the short term, but it is unlikely to be a simple fix to high vacancy rates. Vacancies were a problem recognized by the Swarthmore Town Center Revitalization Strategy back in 1999. I doubt that since the regulation passed there has been a crush of professional service firms clamoring for first floor rental space in Swarthmore.

Furthermore, it’s a red herring to suggest that undesirable retail establishments such as “tattoo parlor, a gun store, or a pawn shop” are likely to find Swarthmore a good geographic fit. Swarthmore’s dominant demographic is characterized as “Affluent Estates and Upscale Avenues” by ESRI Tapestry Lifemodes, hardly a strong customer base for guns and pawn shops, yet it might be a winning location for a dessert and cocktail establishment (yes, I’m thinking Max Brenner’s here).

On a personal level, I empathize with commercial property owners that find regulation costly. We recently installed a fence on our property and the permitting process added to the cost and constrained our fencing choices. I had to remind myself that the very same costly and limiting regulation of our fence installation is but one of many local initiatives that make Swarthmore a beautiful and desirable community to live in.

My hope is that with time, the successful passage of the Swarthmore21 referendum permitting alcohol sales, as well as many other initiatives such as the first floor zoning regulation, the great work the Swarthmore Horticultural Society does, the recently completed Central Park spearheaded by the Swarthmore Centennial Foundation and many other individual initiatives, the Swarthmore Town Center will fulfill its potential as a vibrant commercial and civic space.

Respectfully,

Linda Hauck
Swarthmore

Beautiful music in Borough Hall

To the Editor:

Swarthmore Borough Hall is not usually known for beautiful music, but Friday night, March 10, proved to be an exception. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the Swarthmore Public Library presented Irish harpist Lynn Saoirse in concert. The room was packed with some overflow.

Lynn began by giving a brief history of Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738), a blind Irish composer, harper, and singer said to be Ireland’s national composer. Donal O’Sullivan identified all 214 of his tunes in his 1958 edition of Carolan: The Life Times and Music of an Irish Harper. O’Carolan was depicted on the Irish 50 pound note.

Besides her brief history of harping, Lynn included music by O’Carolan, starting with his “Separation of Soul and Body.” The magic continued with other baroque composers, along with Venezualan music and music from the films Barry Lyndon and Once. She also noted that in baroque harping music that harpers would create ornamentation on the melody, similiar to jazz. She finished her set with an incredible version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

Lynn Saoirse has various CDs available on CD Baby and iTunes, with The Seas are Deep being the one that was quickly sold out after the concert. She lives in Connemara, Ireland. We would agree with the comments of Derek Bell of The Chieftains about her musicianship, “There is an exquisite delicacy all through her playing.”

This free concert was sponsored by the Swarthmore Public Library. For other programs and for ways you can support this 87-year-old Swarthmore treasure, please see swarthmorepubliclibrary.org. You are also invited to stop in during regular library hours.

Bob Small
Swarthmore