Letters to the Editor

Thanks from SPNDS alumnae

Dear Mom,

A subtle and earned recognition for your service to Swarthmore Presbyterian Nursery Day School. SPNDS gave us both a place to learn and grow…check it out….we did both.

We loved our years at SPNDS and naturally graduated on to bigger places. The teachers and community proved to be unforgettable. But, even after we graduated, you stayed. You had work to do.

During and after our time at SPNDS, altogether, you spent years volunteering alongside and leading the school’s Board, and more recently, organizing the Search Committee to help recruit and welcome the new Head of School. 

The SPNDS community is strong and will continue to provide our littlest of students a home-away-from-home to grow, learn and never forget how special SPNDS is….even now that you have graduated.

Big high five, Mom. NBL. 

Olivia and Ellie Stransky

Hear this: 100% renewable energy is the future

To the Editor:

On Tuesday June 12, I joined hundreds of Pennsylvanians in Harrisburg for 100% Renewable Energy Advocacy Day, hosted by PennEnvironment. Our goal was to show legislators that clean energy is the future of Pennsylvania and it is the future that the people want.

Personally, I believe that 100% renewable energy is necessary because we have a responsibility to future generations to protect and treat the Earth with kindness. No longer can we view the Earth as an entity that can be extracted from, used or destroyed.

All the constituents who came to Harrisburg on June 12th had their own reasons and stories about why Pennsylvania needs to move towards 100% renewable energy and their voices were heard throughout the Capitol.

I had productive meetings with my legislators, and I would like to thank Senator Tom McGarrigle for listening to his constituents and agreeing to sign on and co-sponsor this 100% Renewable Energy bill. A lot of work remains to be done, but it is clear that Pennsylvanians want 100% renewable energy, and their legislators are willing to listen to their voices.

Rachel Vresilovic

Deliciously ecological

To the Editor:

Continuing the reduce-reuse-recycle thoughts (from the June 15 Swarthmorean) for summer: Order an ice cream cone and skip the cup and spoon. Saving our environment doesn’t have to be hard — each baby step adds up!

Linda Doyle
Rose Valley

Letters to the Editor

Drastic plastic

To the Editor:

We all want to be good stewards of the environment, so it makes sense that we have a robust recycling program here in Swarthmore. However, I can’t help but feel that the act of recycling has given us the illusion that what we consume doesn’t impact the environment as long as it’s recyclable. I would like to challenge that notion. 

Here are some facts about plastic consumption, according to Plastics Ocean Foundation:

• Annually, around 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide.

• More than one million bags are used every minute.

• A plastic bag has an average “working life” of 15 minutes.

• Over the last 10 years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.

• Beverage containers account for 14% of all litter. When caps and labels are considered, the number is higher.

“Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans, and that figure could increase by ten- fold over the next 10 years if actions are not taken according to a study published in the journal Science.” Time magazine, February 12, 2015

Previously, the US had been exporting plastic recycling to China for processing. As of January 1, 2018, however, China has banned the import of foreign waste. As a result, recycling costs to the borough of Swarthmore will increase from $1,667.02 to nearly $30,000 in 2019. 

I believe that this is an opportunity to reflect upon and reevaluate our relationship to plastics. And I’d like to challenge you to join me in making a serious commitment to reducing our use of plastics. 

Bring reusable bags to the grocery store and farmers market — I keep one in my purse, and a few in my car at all times, just in case. When possible, avoid pre-packaged produce. Buy in bulk, using cotton bags with their weight already printed. Say no to plastic water bottles, and start carrying a refillable one around with you. Our own Swarthmore Co-Op has taken a leadership role by eliminating the use of plastic bags at the checkout and offering loose produce and bulk items.

It takes time and effort to change our routines, but our planet and our children and their children are worth it. We need sensible plastic legislation, but we don’t have to wait for it to begin to make a difference. Please, for the sake of our planet, won’t you join me?

If you would like more information with regards to recycling bags, or want to discuss further how we can encourage people to use less plastic, please contact me at Claudia@cuetokearney.com.

Claudia Cueto

Powerless over nature

To the Editor:

People are fond of commenting on President Trump’s neglect of scientific information and the warning that knowledge provides, but we should recognize that the President represents the primary characteristic of our species — our imagination. This imagination has altered our local environments and allowed us to establish ourselves where it is too cold, too hot, too wet, or too dry. In addition to this, without feathers or fins we can fly around the world and swim across the seas. This ability has given many of us — including the President — a false confidence about our power over Mother Nature. At the end of this human journey our descendants will discover who the Master will be.

John Brodsky

Letters to the Editor

Swarthmore’s progress

To the Editor:

At a recent Borough meeting, I was struck by an under-appreciation of how much Swarthmore has changed recently. I suspect many of our residents appreciate the changes, but a few questions and comments made at the meeting suggested some in our community are less aware. 

While Swarthmore has been a “special place,” there’s now a vibrancy like never before, coupled to an industrious spirit. That spirit is the fruit of collective efforts of many who believe in that special place, but still are creatively and collaboratively working to forge a forward-looking town ambience. The town center has its anchor businesses, and, luckily for us, some of those are hanging on. 

To a person they are run by folks with knowhow, community spirit and generosity – just what is great about our town. But, the recent changes matter, too. The Co-Op supports local farmers, and has become a magnet for community activity, gathering in members in educational, fun ways, whether though Quizzo, grilling, or local tastings.

Saturday mornings are a veritable hub of activity, with a food truck to boot and live music; it’s a town happening. And, music! There are now several places to hear bands, spanning genres (I know: some of that on plinky ukuleles, but, hey …). 

The amphitheater (and Central Park) exceeds anyone’s vision of a forward-looking, community-centered town. If you haven’t experienced Thursday Night Music, then you don’t know what a lovely magnet space this is for young and old alike.

And, the Inn, predicted by some, years ago, to be the downfall of our town, only generating marauding Swarthmore College students, instead is another hub of activity (some of that at its bar), with no marauding students. This (now disproven) concern was invoked again at that recent meeting. Those who worry about this do not know the college student body.

I was surprised also that some community members said they do not go to the College. Why not? It is a significant contributor to the vibrancy of town. If you have never been, come with me over this next year, and I’ll show you the creativity, incredible talent and energy of these College students: recitals, dance, music, performance art (all free, and open to us). Or, talk to those of us who interact with these generous, socially-minded students who volunteer in hospitals, community centers, etc.

I don’t know zoning regulations, and I don’t live near the address at issue in the zoning meeting I attended. I’m content to have less say than those directly involved. But, one thing I urge: let’s not turn back to some faded “idea” of a town long ago. One key role for a zoning board is surely to assess how closely rules are followed. But, another key role for any committee is also to look creatively to the future and continue to support industrious entrepreneurs, to keep our town vibrant so that it will thrive in the future.

Steve DiNardo

Paving the way

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Swarthmore Senior Citizens Association, I would like to thank the Borough of Swarthmore for its work to make the sidewalks of the Borough more accessible for everyone. We refer, of course, to the program of marking non-compliant pavement with white paint and the delivery of notices to property owners to bring those sidewalks up to code.

Perhaps more importantly, we would like to thank the property owners who have been inconvenienced and have incurred expenses repairing and replacing the sidewalks on their property to meet the standards of the Borough. Your efforts and your expenses have not gone unnoticed! Not only does this make walking easier for seniors, but it helps many others in our community: parents and grandparents with strollers, toddlers on tricycles, pedestrians carrying groceries and not able to watch every foot of pavement before them, runners and joggers, people who use wheelchairs and other devices, and everyone who goes out for a stroll in our town.

A little more than three years ago the Borough signaled its commitment to making Swarthmore a place where seniors can feel comfortable and safe. This program goes a long way toward that goal. Thank you Borough Council members, Mayor, Borough Manager and staff, and citizens/property owners for your work!

Linton Stables, President
Swarthmore Senior Citizens Association

Historic project on track

Hello Friends and Residents of Swarthmore,

My name is Nate Linderman, a Boy Scout in Troop 112. I am currently working on my Eagle Scout project, which is to put up approximately 15 historical markers around the Borough to commemorate our Borough’s history. 

Last fall I reached out to many of you with a request to help fund my project. My fundraising campaign was successful, meeting my original goal, thanks to the generous support of many of our citizens. I am in the midst of working with the Borough, Swarthmore Historical Society, Swarthmore College Friends Historical Library, and Swarthmore Centennial Foundation to finalize the markers’ copy, design, and placement. My timeline has been slightly extended from my original estimate, and I currently plan to have the project completed by early summer 2019.

I just want to take a brief moment to thank all of those who have helped to support the project thus far either financially or via their guidance and expertise, and I look forward to finalizing the project over the next year.

If you have any questions regarding the project, please feel free to email me at nate@linderman.net.


Nate Linderman

Exposing the elephant

To the Editor:

I hope that area churches and synagogues will join their national denominations and the Jewish peace organizations that have denounced the recent Israeli massacres in Gaza. Although the Israeli government has done everything possible to obfuscate the circumstances, I know of no independent voices that deny that it authorized the murder of 100 unarmed Gazan Palestinians and the wounding of thousands more in recent weeks, crippling many of them for life. I add my voice to those of the 15 national Christian denominations including my own Presbyterian Church (USA) that have condemned this historic atrocity.  

History has taught us where the failure to confront brutal regimes leads. Our own hearts tell us that the murder (“killing” does not adequately describe what happened) of unarmed protesters is wrong, especially when the situation could easily have been controlled by one of the world’s most powerful militaries without lethal force.

Faith communities must not keep silent in deference to members who feel that “politics has no place in church.” The irony is that the decision to remain silent when even the most basic moral imperatives are violated – all the world’s enduring religions condemn murder – is itself a political decision. In the Christian context, it privileges concerns for institutional quietude over faithfulness to the Word of God. This is the elephant in many sanctuaries. It is time to expose it. I urge the leaders of our local faith communities to end this politicization of their churches, synagogues and mosques.

A second irony is that silence ensures the outcome it seeks to avoid. Christians know that it is rare to find a teaching of Jesus reported in all four Gospels. An exception is “Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” I submit that this teaching applies not just to individuals but also to faith communities that hope to “save their lives” by sacrificing faithfulness to preserve quietude. As Martin Luther King, Jr. pointed out, failure to proclaim its beliefs will cause the church to lose the loyalty of millions. Failure to stand up publicly for the basic tenets of the faith will not scotch but accelerate the now decades-long decline in membership of faith communities. “Silence” marks the entry to the death spiral. 

I write as a friend of Israel, which I fear is at risk of receiving the judgment pronounced by its prophet Amos (Amos 2: 6, 13-16). I accept that some will disagree with me. I welcome an opportunity to participate in a public forum where the views of both defenders and critics of Israeli policies can receive a respectful hearing. But I reject the charge of anti-Semitism. Among the methods used by the Israeli government to prevent honest discussion of its policies by faithful Christians and Jews is the ad hominem labeling of those who speak out as “anti-Semites” or “self-hating Jews.” That is abhorrent. 

Grant Grissom

Letter to the Editor

‘Setting the record straight’

To the Editor:

The Swarthmore Co-Op Board of Directors would like to provide relevant facts regarding our efforts to sell beer and wine in the Co-Op. We do this particularly in response to the Letter to the Editor from Patrick Flanigan in the May 25 Swarthmorean.

Transparency: The Co-Op has provided many opportunities for Member-Owners and non-owners in the Biddle tract to understand our position as well as the process we must go through to sell beer and wine. Several briefing and signing sessions were held last fall. Board members reached out by phone, personal letters, email, and in person to Biddle Tract owners to answer questions and discuss this process. There have been two annual Owners’ meetings where we presented sales and profit projections and potential costs and liabilities to undertaking this endeavor, and engaged in Q&A with all in attendance. In addition, the Board holds monthly meetings in the Community Room at Borough Hall where time is set aside specifically for Member-Owner comments. Board meetings are always open to all owners. Minutes of these meetings are available on the Co-Op website. Owners can always contact us at any time at Boardofdirectors@Swarthmore.Coop.

Transparency (b): In addition to the above opportunities for information, Mr. Flanigan has been provided the list of Biddle Tract owners; a preview copy of the letter to the owners; a copy of the release form in Word format, per his request, so that he could modify for his own purpose, and a copy of the Co-Op Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.

Business Plan: The Co-Op Board HAS assessed the profitability of selling beer and wine, the cost to do so as well as the physical changes to the store required to be compliant with the law. This was discussed at the two annual meetings. The Board consulted an attorney regarding potential risks associated with liability and is working through the legal process to quiet the deed restriction. These facts are included in our meeting minutes. 

Liquor license: The Co-Op HAS NOT bid on or acquired a liquor license. This fact can be easily verified through The PA Liquor Control Board portal at lcb.pa.gov.

The Co-Op should not litigate on behalf of the entire Biddle Tract. The College and the Borough are not the only parties to the restrictions and it may take relief from approximately 150 property owners to fully release the restrictions. This would be a monumental undertaking with the potential for many third party disputes.

We, the Board, have been open and honest with Member-Owners about our desire to sell beer and wine and the efforts it will take to make that happen. We remain committed to resolving our issues and differences through amiable and personal discussion.

Donna Francher, President
Swarthmore Co-op Board of Directors

Letters to the Editor

To My Fellow Swarthmoreans

Do you have plans for Memorial Day morning this Monday? Swarthmore has a single, brief, but meaningful ceremony uptown at 10 a.m. to commemorate those in the military who made the ultimate sacrifice:  death. Our freedoms, which we can easily take for granted, were hard won by those who served, especially those who have incurred injuries, disabilities or death.

The stirring music of the Silver Dollar Band and the speaker, the blessing, the placement of flags in Monument Park (corner of Dartmouth and Park Avenue) help set the tone for the holiday.

You are also welcome to follow veterans and Boy Scouts to a ceremony at Eastlawn Cemetery (down Park Avenue and across Michigan Avenue) where the scouts will place flags on the graves of veterans.

On the preceding night of Sunday, May 27, there is an excellent patriotic program on PBS (channel 12) from 8 to 9:30 p.m. (and repeated from 9:30 to 11 p.m). It captures the National Memorial Day Concert on the Mall, which has been held in Washington, D.C., for a number of years, with a different military focus each year. Patriotic music is woven through a story line of a military person’s sacrifice in their tour of duty. The program is usually hosted by Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna. This inspirational program sets the tone for Memorial Day.

Please care, please come, please ponder why you are lucky to have your freedoms.

Joan Watson

Freshly repainted, the gazebo offers a serene shelter in Little Crum Creek Park. Photo by Susan Kelly.

Thank you, Tom Pinto!

To the Editor:

Have you been to Little Crum Creek Park lately? If so, you’ve probably noticed the new “face” of the gazebo.

Several months ago, the roof was replaced by the borough but, similar to any improvement project, once you improve one thing, something else needs a new look. In this case, the metal supporting structure and benches looked pretty scruffy.  

When I approached Tom Pinto, owner of Thomas Aquinas Painting, asking him for an estimate to paint the metal frame of the gazebo, he volunteered that he would have a crew sand and paint the metal frame and sand and stain the benches, free of charge. Tom’s crew performed a miracle by adding the finishing touches to the gazebo, and to the park.

We’re extremely fortunate to have people like Tom in our borough, so when you see Tom around the borough, please don’t hesitate to thank him for his generous donation of time and resources to the park.

Susan Kelly
Swarthmore Environmental
Advisory Council

Re. the Biddle Tract: Intent is at issue

To the Editor:

Facts matter and the co-founders of Swarthmore 21 are misinformed and wrong. It is intent, not motive, at issue. 

At the November 2017 public council meeting my written and videotaped remarks to borough council proposed that either Council should not sign any waivers, or in the alternative, Council should sign waivers for all the properties under the restrictive covenant that are appropriately zoned. Further, my intent has been consistent when speaking with other business owners, elected officials, and other interested persons. Easily holding more than one thought, my position is consistent with the intention of the original signers of the deed: that Swarthmore College intended that no alcohol be sold within the Clement Biddle land purchase. Since 1892, the college has not changed their intention. It is not really a Biddle prohibition, rather a contractual clause running with the land enforceable still by the college!

My intention has been consistent for nearly 20 years from the initial RFP circulated by borough council on behalf of Swarthmore College and alcohol sales, favoring open meetings and a broader community involvement. Further, at no time did I oppose alcohol sales per se, and if it happens in the borough no single institution or business should be favored. If change does happen, then naturally my self-interest seeks the alleged benefit that others would enjoy. 

But if the founders of Swarthmore 21 do suspect motives, then why do they look away from the actors? The Co-Op has no business plan and yet submitted a bid to purchase a liquor license even before obtaining a legal determination on the restrictive covenant. Co-Op drafted but did not circulate a ballot to shareholders. The Co-Op refuses to disclose this information to a shareholder, so where is their transparency? As a shareholder, my requests were denied.

Swarthmore College imposed the contractual covenant upon Mr. Biddle, yet that institution in recent decades has (i) justified an exception for alcohol sales on their institutionally zoned campus, (ii) refused to enforce their covenant upon the borough, which violates the covenant by allowing vendors to sell alcohol at the Farmers Market, and (iii) readily signed a waiver and release for the Co-Op, while not releasing all other commercial properties burdened by their restriction. The college could keep the issue out of the courts by unburdening and releasing ALL the Biddle owners, instead of playing favorites. 

My intention is the engagement with all the Biddle property owners and the Co-Op shareholders, but the Co-Op’s actions are destined for a judicial decision if the college does not release all. The risk for the Co-Op is that the court will review the college’s intent as of the 1892 deed, not the 2018 motives of any other party, nor the single waiver bestowed upon the Co-Op. 

Pat Flanigan

Jim Ryan of the Lions Club of Swarthmore gives out trophies to the winners of the 17th Annual Swarthmore Charity Fun-Fair 5K Run and Walk.

Running with the Lions (and Rotary)

To the Editor: 

Kudos to all of the runners and walkers who participated in last Sunday’s 17th Annual Swarthmore Charity Fun-Fair 5K Run and Walk, sponsored by the Swarthmore Lions Club and the Swarthmore Rotary Club. The rain held off for the race and then drenched us afterwards. The winning time for the women’s division was the fastest in several years and fourth fastest overall. The men’s field was also fast and very competitive.

The women’s overall winners were 1.) Lisa Victorius (21:40), 2.) Corinne Weidner (24:59), and 3.) Sophie Bergstrom (27:06). The men’s overall winners were 1.) Bradley Ernst (20:51), 2.) Steven Melly (21:03), and 3.) Blanton Dunn (21:28).

Female age group winners were 1.) Riley Armstrong and 2,) Charlotte Davis (10 and under); 1.) Keira Bolin and 2.) Charlotte Caywood (11-13); 1.) Breanna Raysor, 2.) Alicia Valente, and 3.) Naomi Dicky (14-19); 1.) Maura McCarthy (20-29); 1.) Kristen McKenna, 2.) Julianne Barclay and 3.) Anna Filipczak (30-39); 1.) Heidi Arnold and 2.) Libby Elliott (40-49); and 1.) Kate Dicky (50-59).

The male age group winners were 1.) John Stephanson (10 and under); 1.) Sawyer Bock (11-13); 1.) Alex Melly and 2.) Ben Ent (14-19); 1.) Chris Houpt and 2.) Michael Bolin (30-39); 1.) Scott Greuser,  2.) Doug Milana, and Chris Armstrong (40-49); 1.) Mike Keeports 2.) Paul Maillet, and 3.) Michael Stack (50-59); and 1.) Michael Palazzo, 2.) Terry Britt, and 3.) Jack Fields (60+).  If you did not receive your medal, please send an email to jdryan17@gmail.com. Full race results are now posted on www.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. who marshaled and served refreshments at the finish line. Many thanks to Swarthmore Police Chief Brian Craig and Sergeant Bill Thomas for keeping the streets safe. Rich Allen and the Run the Day team did a great job with the race timing and results. We also thank Michael Hill and Swarthmore College for allowing us to run through the campus.  

Finally, thanks to fellow Lions and friends (James Verdi; Jeff Bergstrom, the Dickey family, Rob Borgstrom, and the Milbourne family) for their help with the race. We look forward to seeing you at the Swarthmore Lions Independence Eve 8K on Tuesday, July 3. 

Jim Ryan
Swarthmore Lions Club

Co-Op Up for Best of Philly!

To the Editor:

This is a personal plea from myself and my team at the Co-op to help us out with something fun, without a financial ask. We just need your votes.

We have been nominated to compete in the Philadelphia Magazine 2018 Best of Philly Edition for Best Sandwich. We are competing against three other local businesses for this prestigious title.

How you can help? We need folks to vote online on a daily basis, on multiple devices if possible.

Simply use your search engine by typing in “real philly deli,” or visit https://www.phillymag.com/real-philly-deli.

We would love it if you could also pass this along to your family/friends/co-workers, wherever they live. Every vote counts, no matter where in the world it is cast. The winner will be determined simply by number of online votes. This competition runs thru June 3.

If we win, the Co-Op will be featured in a 2-page spread in the Best of Philly edition of Philadelphia this summer. 

Thanks for your time, and remember to vote daily and vote often!

Mike Litka, General Manager
Swarthmore Co-Op

Sunday Night Softball returns

To the Editor:

Sunday Night Softball is beginning this Sunday evening, May 27, at 5:15 Swarthmore time, on the college field next to the track and the Community Center (behind the Presbyterian Church on Harvard Avenue).

This is a pick-up game. Anyone who’s a teenager or older is welcome to play or hang out and watch. 

Hope to see you all out there!

Al Federico

Why give away goldfish?

To the Editor:

I attended the Swarthmore Charity Fun Fair this past weekend with my daughter. Our family looks forward to this day every year. We are proud to highlight our community’s benevolence and support such great causes.

I was, however, dismayed that once again goldfish were being given away as a prize at one of the carnival booths. What message does this send to our children about the value of a life? Animal ownership is a responsibility that needs to be planned and well thought out. It should not be a spur of the moment thing that happens simply because someone has won a prize. Games offering a living creature as prizes do not take this into consideration. Handing out an animal as a toy perhaps sends the wrong message to children, whom we wish to teach compassion for all living things, regardless of their likeness to us. Even greater is the fear that we teach children that living things less capable than us exist solely for our amusement. Treating even the lowest animal as disposable fails to instill in children the compassion we must have towards those who cannot defend themselves or those that rely on us for assistance. 

Goldfish are easily stressed. They may suffer from shock and oxygen starvation, or even die from changes in water temperature. These “carnival” fish often die before their new owners can get them home, or soon afterwards. Animal welfare as a field has made considerable progress over the past two decades. Until recently, fish were thought to be unable to perceive pain, and have little to no memory. As such, fish have tended to fall through the welfare net. There is, however, growing scientific evidence that fish are far from dim-witted and that they share many of the same general pain processes and stress physiology as other vertebrates. Current interest in the welfare of fish has resulted in scientific publications indicating that there should be concern over potential pain, distress, and suffering that humans may cause in interactions with fish.  

While at this time it is impossible to answer the question whether fish can suffer, considering the current literature on the subject, it is argued that they should certainly be given the benefit of the doubt. I have no qualms with rearing animals for food, humanely disposing of pests causing humans manifest harm, riding ponies, or owning dogs. I just wish to point out that a goldfish’s low cognition and relative defenselessness does not mean that it cannot suffer. I am sure that no harm was intended by offering this prize. Rotary International’s dedication to improving lives and creating a better world by promoting peace is laudable. However, I believe that treating animals compassionately breeds compassion towards people weaving more empathy, respect, and dignity into human interactions. A compassionate relationship with animals is integral to a more compassionate world.

Ines Rodriguez, MS, VMD
Board Eligible in the American College of Animal Welfare

Letters to the Editor

Defending Tanner Rouse

To the Editor:

I write in response to last week’s letter denouncing Tanner Rouse’s service as a prosecutor in Philadelphia.

In an effort to discredit Rouse and promote Mayor Kearney, both then senate candidates, Jon Feinberg asserted that the prosecutors of that office “in word and deed favored winning convictions over the fair administration of justice.” As a former Philadelphia prosecutor, I found his description of the people who worked within its walls unrecognizable.

I worked as an Assistant District Attorney for five years in Philadelphia prosecuting everything from misdemeanors to horrific felonies involving sexual assault and gun violence. The claim that all of the prosecutors in that office strive to win at any cost is false and repugnant. I felt just as accomplished on the day I convicted a man who riddled his neighbor with bullets as I did on the day I withdrew charges against an innocent man who was accused of shooting off another man’s jaw. I made countless decisions to withdraw criminal charges during my time as a prosecutor with the support of my supervisors who regularly made it clear to me that I should always act to exonerate the innocent even if it meant so-called “losing.”

My role as a prosecutor was never about winning or satisfying my ego and it was certainly never about the money. It was always about being a voice for the most powerless members of the community. I was honored to be offered the position of Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia as one of just 33 people chosen from thousands of applicants. I withstood a rigorous interview process which included a challenge to correct a hypothetical injustice at the expense of a court room victory. When those hypotheticals became reality after I was hired, I acted in keeping with my oath, my moral character and always with the support of my office’s leadership. I never let politics or pride impede a just result.

Mayor Kearney is a successful and compassionate person who has been responsive to me as his constituent. In addition, he and his wife, Claudia, have been friends to my family in some of the darkest times life has to offer. Tanner Rouse is an accomplished and motivated attorney who has a reputation for being honest and fearless. It is worth noting that his wife Ursula, who is also a former Philadelpha prosecutor, shares the same reputation. I feel fortunate that both men selflessly offered to represent my interests in the senate.

By the time this goes to print, the primary candidate will have been chosen. Votes will have been cast and decisions will have been made but these divisive accusations about an entire generation of prosecutors will linger. In our town, which purports to tout kindness, understanding and empathy towards all people, we do a disservice to ourselves, our children and to each other when we project our biases onto others with little thought to the far-reaching effects of our actions.

Jennifer Lentz

‘Veiled personal attack’

To the Editor:

I was disappointed to see that a veiled personal attack was printed in last week’s Letters to the Editor. Not only do I object to election related op-ed submissions being printed without providing an opportunity for a response by the group or individual who was the subject of the letter, but I think letters that disparage individuals should not be considered for publication. 

When I open my Swarthmorean, I hope to only see letters promoting civil debate and I expect purported facts to be verified. 

Thank you to all of the candidates willing to serve our great state. 

Madeleine Delson

Jack Baldwin ‘aged in place’

To the Editor:

Jack Baldwin. Photo by Linda Heffernan

For the last several years, Jack Baldwin was a regular fixture in town. Tall and elegant, he could often be found sitting on the Co-Op patio, either by himself or with friends. Almost every day he would take the short walk from his small apartment on Myers Ave. to the library to read the paper and just spend some time with people.

A few months ago he had a fall, not his first, but this one injured his knee and forced him into a rehab facility that led to his eventual move to a nursing home. A few weeks ago Jack died at age 94 as result of illness and pneumonia.

Jack exemplified “aging in place” and Swarthmore was perfect place for him. Living in Swarthmore allowed him to stay independent despite being slowed down by age. Thanks to all who made his life here so full. He will be missed.

Marty Spiegel


Thanks for the hospitality

To the Editor:

For the last 7½ weeks we have had the privilege of being part of the Swarthmore community. 

We have lived at Nick’s House, a home for patients and their caregivers receiving cancer treatment in the greater Philadelphia area. Headstrong Foundation, an organization that provides financial and emotional support to families affected by cancer, established Nick’s House.

While staying at the house, we have truly appreciated the attractive town of Swarthmore. We shopped and ate in town, buying from unique stores and restaurants, and taking advantage of community events, such as the library book and bake sale. Every day we enjoyed our routine of walking to and from the train station as we headed to the city for treatment. And the Swarthmore campus offered us a relaxing and beautiful stroll in the evening.

Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to more easily navigate a difficult journey by being a part of your lovely community.

Judy Rifkin and Debbie Barlieb
Lehigh Valley

Letters to the Editor

Rowan (left) and Harrison Brown are two of the youngest helpers, who volunteered to help cleanup Little Crum Creek Park on Earth Day.

Little Crum Creek Park Cleanup Day

To the Editor:

To celebrate Earth Day, about 50 people of all ages gathered on Saturday, April 21, to clean up the park and streams for the busy season ahead.

The trees throughout the park were weeded and mulched; the streams running through the park were searched for treasures while trash was being removed; the woodchip path was restored to prepare for the heavy use it gets throughout the year; and mulch was placed around all of the posts that hold the pages for the storybook walk (a nice addition to the park).

Many thanks to all volunteers — from Swarthmore, neighboring communities, and Maryland. Thanks also to the Swarthmore Public Works Department for providing mulch and woodchips, and returning early on Monday morning to pick up the debris and trash collected by the volunteers; to the Swarthmore Public Library for their ongoing promotion for us; and to the CRC Watersheds Association for providing gloves and bags for this annual event.

It’s always gratifying to see the diverse age groups we attract, and hearing the shared stories on how and why people use the park, making it a better place while making new friends. If you missed us this time, we’ll be having more opportunities to help in the months to come. Stay tuned!

Susan Kelly
Matt McCabe
Swarthmore Environmental Advisory Council

A turning point in gun violence?

To the Editor:

The gun deaths of 17 students and teachers at a suburban high school in Florida in February dominated the headlines across the U.S. and beyond for weeks and led to marches and a political movement that still resonates in the news media and has politicians running for cover.

In contrast, 43 gun-related homicides in Delaware County during 2017, 29 of them in Chester, made hardly a blip on the screen. One major difference: In this case they came, not in a single massacre, but in a steady drip drip drip – one this week, another a couple weeks later, etc. But the loss of promising young lives and the heartache for family and friends that will never go away are just as real. And folks in Swarthmore and Wallingford can no longer say: “Somebody else’s problem.”

Not long ago a young woman, aged 19, an innocent bystander, was shot and killed in Chester. In response, more than a hundred people turned out for a march and rally at the site, demanding that something be done to stop the loss of young lives. It included Chester officials, people from the suburbs, and clergy from as far away as Wilmington.

A few years ago, a 14-year-old boy was shot down at that very same site. No marches; no rallies. Brief mention in the news, and then it was as if it had never happened.

So we’ve reached some kind of turning point. The test will be whether we are still demanding that our elected officials at every level of government start standing up to the NRA when the midterm elections come round in November.

At patriotic gatherings we like to say of those who died in battle, “They shall not have died in vain.” Fitting words for remembering those young victims of gun violence here at home.

If anyone is interested in getting involved in the movement for sensible gun policies, I can be reached at willrichan@comcast.net (subject heading: guns)

Will Richan

Letter to the Editor

In praise of Anya Silver

To the Editor:

I taught a beautiful, talented dear little girl all thru Swarthmore High School, and I have followed her illustrious career. Now I see the picture on the front page of the Swarthmorean of a beautiful young woman, Anya Krugovoy Silver. My love and congratulations go out to her on her outstanding achievements, and to her dear mother who raised such an exciting daughter and has always been a long time contributing citizen of “Our Town” herself.

And since Caroline Baker was a dear friend of mine, I thank Anya for for giving credit to Caroline for Anya’s beginnings. Caroline was a poet herself, and mentored many a student who stayed connected to her long after high school. In fact after Caroline died, I found hundreds of pieces of paper in her desk with poems on them.I subsequently made them into a hard back book for Caroline’s extensive family.

Again, I want Anya to know how proud we all are of her, and thank her once again for remembering her beginnings.It brings me great joy.

With great affection,

Putty (Alice Willetts)

Letters to the Editor

Tell SRA what you want

To the Editor:

In the next few months, the Swarthmore Recreation Association Board will be developing a strategy to guide us over the next five years. As part of the process, we are seeking feedback from Swarthmore residents on what you most appreciate about SRA and any improvements you would like to see.

Our commitment remains to serve our community’s interests, and we value everyone’s input. Please go to our website to take a brief, 3-minute/5-question survey: swarthmorerecreation.org. The survey can be found halfway down the website’s front page. Thank you,

Jean Steinke
SRA Board President

TimeBank update!

To the Editor:

Our TimeBank is changing some as it continues to grow! Going forward, in an effort to be more inclusive, it’s official name will be Nether-Swarthmore TimeBank, meaning everyone living in the  Wallingford-Swarthmore School District will be encouraged to join. And a new email, specific to TimeBank, is in operation: NSTimeBank@gmail.com. This is the address to use to ask a question, or sign up for a TimeBank orientation. 

Speaking of which, NS TimeBank is now holding orientations every two weeks. As of April 10th our TimeBank has more than 40 members. The goal is to reach 100 by the end of the summer. We hope many of our new members will come from younger age groups, paving the way for many, many inter-generational connections! Please send an email today to schedule an orientation!

Bill Davis

Letters to the Editor

A Tiny Taste of Terror

To the Editor:

Wires came down last Friday at Pantry One in Wallingford. Photo by Carol McGowan.

Driving down Providence Road from Media toward Chester around dinner time last Friday, I came upon yet another road block in front of the Wallingford post office. The lane was blocked by a familiar Comcast truck with a few guys standing around looking down at a thick, downed wire housing lots of cables that crossed the parking lot and seemed to snake around the building past the dry cleaners. Cars in front of me went around the repair truck but the light changed and I was stuck. Traffic in the other lane was also stopped and I was boxed in.

Suddenly there was a loud blast and an explosion from the thick cable with flames shooting 50 ft. in the air. Shocked with alarm and disbelief, I jumped in my seat, heart pounding, and wondered if the descending fire would envelop my car.

Despite my attempts to resist the fear-mongering that has become part of the national conversation, I was surprised when I found myself wondering if this was a terrorist attack. On the Wallingford post office?

Then there was a second explosion, once again rocking my little Honda Fit. Is this what it’s like to live in Kabul? I felt terrified, and had to get out of there.

With cars behind me finally backing up to turn around and leave as quickly as possible, and the other lane starting to move, inch by inch I maneuvered my car around until I too could finally make my escape.

As I turned, heading over Wallingford Avenue for another way home, I saw a woman lying on the ground of the parking lot of the apartment complex behind the post office. Was she hurt by the explosion or was this another problem? Should I stop? There were people around her and a police car was just arriving on the scene so, relieved, I sped toward home.

Surprised at how shaken I was, disappointed in myself for thinking so quickly of terrorism, it was a relief to get under the covers, to be still and quiet.

Pondering how vulnerable we are to violence, I thought about what it must be like to live in places like Kabul, where bombs are part of daily living. Yet living with fear of violence every waking moment, children and their parents living in our violence-ravaged cities face this trauma daily, which seems to be of little concern to most of our politicians.

The next day, millions march in the streets of America, led by the children, to protest against the gun culture and the violence and mass murders that dominate our political culture, inspiring hope and showing us the courage to demand changes. No, we haven’t yet regressed to living in fear of roadside bombs at the Wallingford post office. Not yet…

Judith Trustone, Co-Director
Global Kindness Revolution

March for Our Lives in Philadelphia

To the Editor:

Photo by Vivian Corbin

They were as mad as hell and they weren’t going to take it anymore. “They” were the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida where just a month and a half ago, 17 of their friends and fellow students were slaughtered by a very troubled former student armed with an AR-15. “They” created the spark that ignited a nation to stand up against the National Rifle Association, gun manufacturers, and the politicians who take their money and do their bidding.

I was in awe at the thousands of ordinary citizens – students, teachers, mothers and fathers, grandparents, veterans, doctors and lawyers, who turned out last Saturday to march in Philadelphia in support of common sense gun laws. The protesters against gun violence assembled at 5th and Market, and at 10 a.m., marched toward Lombard Circle near the Seaport Museum, carrying homemade signs like  “Books Not Bullets”, “Gun Control Now”, “They Will be Known as Generation Columbine”, and chanting slogans like “Hey Ho, NRA has got to go” .

At a rally following the march, Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey spoke passionately for the need for legislation to strengthen background checks, and to ban high capacity magazines and military style assault weapons. He added, “If you’re too dangerous to get on an airplane, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun.” Sen. Casey called out Sen. Mitch McConnell for refusing to bring these issues up for a vote. The crowd applauded wildly and chanted, “Where’s Senator Toomey?” Senator Casey praised the young student activists, “Because of your generation, because of your work, because of your determination, we’re going to win this fight.”

A student from a New Jersey high school told the crowd, “The majority of Americans do not own a gun. The majority of Americans want more restrictions on guns. So why are we being ignored? ” Answering his own question, he urged the marchers, “We need to get out, and we need to make our voices heard. We need to vote.”

A father whose son narrowly escaped the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas when the killer stopped to reload, told the hushed crowd, “I am an owner of an AR-15.” But after the shooting, he said, he got rid of his AR-15. “The AR-15 is not made for hunting, it’s made for killing….We need to rid the country of the killing machine known as the AR-15.”

Rebecca Salus, a 1996 graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and a regional leader of the school’s Philadelphia Alumni Association, noted that when she was a student at MSD, students practiced fire drills. Today’s drills include a “Code Red” warning for an active shooter. Rebecca returned to Parkland after the shooting to visit family. Sadly, she noted that her former school was now a crime scene with memorial flowers and teddy bears. Urging the attendees to fight for gun reform, she quoted the woman for whom the school was named. Douglas, an advocate for women’s suffrage, exhorted: “Be a nuisance when it counts,” and even though you may fail and become discouraged, “Never give up.”

Vivian Corbin