Laurel A. Benn Otte Obituary

Laurel Otte, a resident of Dickinson Avenue since 1975, passed away peacefully on Saturday, June 2, 2018. She will be so greatly missed.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1939, to Phyllis Wolven Benn and Clarence Benn, Laurel attended Dearborn High School. In the summer of 1956, she won a choir scholarship to Interlochen Music Camp. Later, she was thrilled to discover at the University of Michigan that she could apply to work at the camp in summer. Working in the dining hall there, she met Daniel Otte, who invited her to go on an outing with three other staffers at Lake Michigan. 

They went back to work at Interlochen every summer until 1963, when they were married. Laurel finished her M.A. and that September became a University of Michigan librarian, while Daniel worked his way through graduate school as a teaching fellow. Their twins, Jennifer and Jessica, were born in April, 1967. In June, 1968, Daniel finished his Ph.D., and the Ottes moved for a year to Australia.

Returning from Australia, they lived outside of Austin, Texas, for six years. Daniel’s work at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia brought them to Swarthmore in the summer of 1975. Laurel joined Merrie Lou Cohen as a Swarthmore Elementary School librarian, a joyful friendship which endured the rest of her life; they lived a block apart and travelled regularly to London together for many years. Laurel also worked at Marple Public Library, and until a few years ago, volunteered at the Swarthmore Public Library.

Laurel Otte was wonderful singer, a member of the University of Michigan’s Gilbert & Sullivan Society, who sang show tunes and opera around the house. Her daughters know one particularly tragic aria only by its common Otte household name, “The Vacuum Cleaner Song.”

She was a talented quilter and seamstress; vacations and field trips were accompanied by small bags of patchwork pieces — she was a perfect travel companion for Daniel and would sit anywhere, any time, and sew, sing, and read while he collected specimens in all kinds of places, day and night. She loved PBS, especially “MYSTERY!,” and mystery novels, Fred Astaire, antique markets, flea markets, art, museums, books, a really good chocolate milkshake — ‘really chocolate-y’ — and travel with lifelong friends and family. She was a talented and inventive cook, and kept a comfortable, beautiful house. 

Beyond all else, Laurel Otte was, without fail, gracious. She was kind, and thoughtful, gentle and polite. Her family treasured her and will miss her terribly. 

Laurel is survived by her cherished husband of 55 years, Daniel; daughters Jessica Otte (Amy Boyle) of Phoenixville, Pa.; Jennifer Otte Vanim of Swarthmore; sister Linda Fox (Talbert Fox) of Kailua, Hawaii; 13 nieces and nephews; and 11 great-nieces and great-nephews. 

Visitation is at 2:30 p.m., Saturday June 9, with funeral services at 3:30 p.m. at Carr Funeral Home, 935 S. Providence Road, Wallingford, PA 19081.

Briefly Noted . . .

Strath Haven senior Olivia Fender of Wallingford will be presented with the Most Courageous Athlete Award, which is awarded annually by the Delaware County Sports Hall of Fame. Diagnosed with cancer at the age of two. Olivia underwent treatment for two years before being declared cancer-free. She went on to play four years of field hockey, four years of basketball, and three years of lacrosse at Strath Haven, all while carrying a 3.44 GPA. She will study Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. Olivia will accept the award and a $500 scholarship at a luncheon on Wednesday, June 6, at the Concordville Inn. For reservations ($25), call Patricia Mescanti ASAP at 610-793-7931 or email 





Chinwe Nwadiora Esq., the daughter of Dr. Emeka Nwadiora and Dr. Chika Nwadiora of Swarthmore, a longterm practicing corporate attorney in Hollywood, Calif., recently earned her second law degree, the LLM specializing in Intellectual Property from Fordham University School of Law in New York.




Chinedum Nwadiora Ph.D., the son of Dr. Chika Nwadiora and Dr. Emeka Nwadiora of Swarthmore, a longterm practicing accountant in Louisana, recently earned his Ph.D. in Behavioral Economics from the University of New Orleans. He has since taken the posistion of assistant professor at Towson State University in Maryland, where he teaches Statistics and Behavioral Economics.

Alyssa Taylor of Swarthmore received a bachelor’s degree in Enviornmental Humanities during Commencement proceedings at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, on Sunday, May 20. Alyssa is a graduate of Strath Haven High School.

Matthew Hagenbach of Morton and Colin Waitzman of Wallingford were named to the dean’s list for the spring semester at Mount St. Mary’s University.

Ryan Cooney of Wallingford received his Bachelor’s Degree during 150th Commencement exercises at Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Saturday, May 12.

The following graduates received degrees during the University of Vermont’s 217th commencement ceremonies:
Dylan Butera of Swarthmore. Bachelor of Arts, Political Science.
Jennifer Davidson of Media, Bachelor of Science, Neuroscience, cum laude.
Daniel Murphy of Media, Bachelor of Science, Public Communication, magna cum laude.
Elizabeth Russell of Wallingford, Bachelor of Science, Elementary Education — K-6.
Nathaniel Sharp of Wallingford, Bachelor of Science, Wildlife & Fisheries Biology.
Andrew Shores of Media, Bachelor of Arts, Theatre.

The following local students have been named to the University of Vermont dean’s list:
Dylan Butera of Swarthmore; Jennifer Davidson and Caroline Weathers of Media; and Elizabeth Russell and Nathaniel Sharp of Wallingford.

Tyler Ryan Long of Wallingford earned a Master of Accountancy with a major in accountancy from the University of Scranton.

Daniel Ryan McGuire of Wallingford earned a Master of Business Administration with a major in operations management from the University of Scranton.

Caroline J. Donovan of Rose Valley earned a Master of Science with a major in occupational therapy from the University of Scranton.

Katherine Wenger from  Swarthmore was recently named to the dean’s list at William & Mary for the spring 2018 semester.

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

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

Briefly Noted . . .

Michael Chenoweth of Morton received a Master of Science in Nursingfrom Wilkes University during Spring commencement ceremonies on May 19, 2018.

Anna Martin of Media and Quinn Wirth of Wallingford graduated from Gettysburg College on May 20, 2018.

Julia Gyourko of Swarthmore was awarded the Scott Prize in Arabic, which recognizes excellence in modern languages from Wesleyan University. Julia formerly attended Strath Haven High School.

Alana Waldt of Swarthmore was named to the dean’s list at Ashland University for the Spring 2018 semester. Alana is majoring in nursing and is a graduate of Strath Haven High School.

Gabriel W. Cole of Wallingford has been inducted into St. Lawrence University’s Irving Bacheller Society, the Department of English’s honorary society. Gabriel is a member of the Class of 2018 and is majoring in English. He attended Strath Haven High School.

Alex Prugh of Swarthmore graduated from Colgate University with degrees in economics and computer science, and achieved Summa Cum Laude status. Alex will be working in the Washington, D.C., area in the fall.

Jamie Bartholomew , SHHS class of ‘03, competed in “American Ninja Warrior,” which was filmed in Philadelphia last week. Jamie, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was cheered on by Pam and Art Bartholomew of Swarthmore, classmates Ben Tropp and Jack Giammattei, and his most ardent fan, Walker Lewis of Swarthmore. Tune in to ANW on June 25 at 8 p.m. to see how Jamie did. (This photo is from an earlier competition.)

Pictured from left to right are Wallingford Elementary School Librarian Martha Lambertsen, Rebecca Stead, Wendy Mass, and 4th grade students Sophia Aranda, Lily Newport, and Liliana Fletcher. Early in May, Mass – author of the bestselling Candymakers series and Stead – Newberry Medal winner for When You Reach Me – visited WES to talk with students about their work and their new collaboration entitled Bob. This mystery/fairytale tells of a story of a non-zombie named Bob who with the help of ten year old Livy, searches to try and find his way back home. Mass and Stead each shared samples of their writing from elementary school. Neither of them really enjoyed writing, but they both had a passion and zest for reading which originated at a very young age. It wasn’t until after they tried other careers that they both discovered the joy of writing. An interview of the authors, conducted by WES 5th graders, will be available on the WES library author interview site soon. The author visit was the latest arranged by WES Librarian Martha Lambertsen and Children’s Book World.  Photo courtesy of Kristin Snyder.

Natalie Marra (left) and Amy Caruso (right), both of Wallingford, represented the Board of the Strath Haven Middle School Home & School Association (SHMS HSA) in joyfully presenting a check for $1,600 to the Jack Hontz Endowment Fund on Monday, May 21. Henry Pearlberg (center), chair of the WSSD Music Department, received the gift during an 8th grade assembly on Monday. Thanks to the community’s generosity during the annual spring musical Mary Poppins raffle and the Harlem Wizards vs. Haven Hoopsters event, funds raised will go towards funding music and arts camps for students this summer. Photo by Deirdre Abrahamsson.

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 Full race results are now posted on

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

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

Briefly Noted . . .

The Delaware County Youth Orchestra, featuring several students from Strath Haven among its 96 musicians, will perform its annual Spring Concert for the 2017-2018 season on Sunday, May 20, at 3 p.m., at Conestoga High School, 200 Irish Road, Berwyn, Pa. Admission is free, and the venue has disability access. Under the direction of Maestro Andrew Hauze of Swarthmore, the orchestra will present Bernstein, “Overture” to West Side Story;” Berlioz, “Three Dances from The Damnation of Faust;” Delius, “The Walk to the Paradise Garden;” and Sibelius, “Finlandia.” For directions, please visit our website at

Strath Haven Middle School students, Lauren Karpyn and Luke DiBonaventura, both had big wins last weekend at the National History Day State Contest in Carlisle, Pa. Lauren (8th grade) placed third in the Junior Individual Documentary category with her film, “Success to the Triphena! A Toast to Conflict or Compromise?” Luke Di Bonaventura (7th grade) won first place in the Junior Individual Exhibit category with his project, “Super Patriots: Antisemitism, Comic Books and World War II.” Luke advances to the National History Day National Contest at the University of Maryland next month.

Yes, Virginia, there is free parking in Swarthmore, at the push of a button. No more fretting when you park with no change for the meter on a short errand in the Ville. All 30-minute meters in Swarthmore are now equipped with buttons (see arrows) that load the meter with 10 minutes of free parking. You can add coins if you need a bit longer. The meters are installed near the post office, the Co-Op, and other shops.

Nathan D’Ignazio

Nathan D’Ignazio of Swarthmore received a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., on Sunday, May 13. Nathan is the son of Connie Gilday and Joe D’Ignazio.

Kira Venturini, a rising Senior at Emerson College, made the Spring dean’s list with distinction, was named to the NEWMAC All Conference Academic Soccer team and will be a captain of Emerson’s soccer team her senior year. Kira is the daughter of Glenn and Marian Venturini of Wallingford.

Eleanor Stief of Swarthmore has been named to St. Lawrence University’s dean’s list for the Fall 2017 semester. Eleanor is a member of the Class of 2019 and is majoring in performance and communication arts. She attended Strath Haven High School.

Samantha Ward of Swarthmore was recently inducted in The East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (ESU) chapter of Sigma Phi Omega, the national honor society in gerontology.

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

Maria Teresa Eldridge Fisher Obituary

Maria Teresa Eldridge Fisher left this life on May 11, 2018. She lived in Newtown Square.

Maria was born in Pittsfield, Mass., on August 30, 1970, the first child of Joan Alice Tibbs Eldridge and Maurice G. Eldridge. Maria was a woman filled with love and joy, grace and beauty that she shared with an open heart with her family and her friends. From Massachusetts to Washington, D.C., New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and beyond, she bonded with a network of friendship that blessed us all. She was a wonderful child, a wondrous parent, a giver and a warrior (think Wonder Woman) against fear and adversity.

Her first child, Francessca Maria Wallace, with her first husband Frank Wallace, is a delightful, creative and insightful 14-year-old who misses her and is filled with her spirit. Her second child, born of her second marriage to Robert Fisher, Natalia Maria Fisher, is a bundle of 4-year-old energy, who delights in her discoveries of this world, will miss her mother though she, too, is imbued with her spirit and energy.

Maria was educated in wonderful schools: Berkshire Country Day School in the Berkshires, Sidwell Friends School and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in D.C. She earned her B.A. at Smith College in Theater and Dance. While there she, like her Grandmother Alice and Aunt Daisy, became a proud life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. 

After Smith she would then go on to earn her MFA in Acting at Brandeis University. She taught a semester there, offering a class in Movement for Theatre. She briefly pursued a career in acting in New York City performing off-Broadway before moving on to Pfizer Pharmaceuticals where she worked for five years and became a Human Resources and Clinical Data Operations Executive Assistant to the Vice President. 

When she returned to Swarthmore, where her parents Maurice and Joan lived, she fell in love with early childhood education as she worked for several years at The School in Rose Valley and Trinity Cooperative Day Nursery. Working in those schools she blessed the lives of many young children and their families with love and energy and her belief in the power of the arts in the lives of all children. While she would also later serve at Trinity on the Board of Directors first as Vice President and then later as President, she largely focused on taking on the fulfilling roles of wife and mother. She suffused the lives of her children with her sterling model of the practice of giving nurture, direction, encouragement, inspiration and wisdom to her children, her family and her friends.

She left us too soon, but left us with the bounty of her beautiful self to sustain us in perpetuating her vision of a better, more just, loving and humane world.

Maria leaves to cherish her memory, her husband Robert and her two lovely daughters, Francessca, and Natalia; her father Maurice and his wife Patricia; her brother Jonathan, his wife Alicia and their children Jonathan II, Andrew and Michael; her Aunt Janice and her three children; her godmother Elaine and her god-sister, Elaine’s daughter Dawn; and many cousins, other family members, and friends from all of the walks of her life.

A Memorial Service for Maria will be held at Christ Church, 20 N. American Street (2nd and Market) Philadelphia, PA 19106 at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 19, followed by a Reception in the North Garden there (if raining, the Great Hall in the church’s Neighborhood House across the street).

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider supporting Maria’s Daughters’ Education Fund at


In this week’s issue . . .

Wallingford-Swarthmore School District:
School Board Approves
General Fund Budget

By Katie Crawford

Gabriel Savage will join WES as Principal July 1.

The 2018-2019 proposed final General Fund budget was rolled out at the April 23rd meeting of the Wallingford-Swarthmore School Board. Business administrator Martha Kew reminded the board that the total amounts of state and federal revenue contributions to the district remain open to conjecture until their own budgets are settled.

The total budget of $79,927,934 represents a 1.7% increase in overall expenditures. Sixty percent of the proposed budget is allocated for instructional programs; 28% towards support services, which include everything from transportation to guidance; 2% towards student activities; 9% towards debt services; and .5% towards the budgetary reserve.

Eighty percent of revenue for the district will come from local sources for the 2018-2019 school year. WSSD ranks number one out of the 500 school districts in Pennsylvania for the least amount of taxable commercial properties. This year, the district is recommending a 2.4% increase in local real estate taxes. This will amount to roughly an additional $402 per year for a house valued at $377,000.

In order to meet expenditures, the district will withdraw $451,134 from the fund balance. Kew emphasized that the district continues, “to work diligently to reduce the structural deficit,” yet the budget could not be met this year without seeking an additional withdrawal. The capital budget includes initiatives for Chromebooks for incoming 9th graders, the purchase of more efficient snow removal equipment, and additional …

New Hair Salon Turns up the Volume

Anna Mazepink (left) and Angela Drabik at their new studio on S. Chester Road.

Turn it up! High Volume Hair Studio opened last week at 9 S. Chester Road in the Ville of Swarthmore. Proprietors Angela Drabik and Anna Mazepink, both Delaware County natives who now live in Drexel Hill, worked at the Hair Cuttery in Ridley for many years before busting loose to dream up and open High Volume.

Spacious, tidy and bright, the salon’s look is the product of six months of building out, installing fixtures and painting — work donated by Anna’s boyfriend, Angela’s husband, assorted parents and in-laws. During that phase, the owners got to know Swarthmore, which they characterized as a “beautiful small town with a great sense of community.” They look forward to working with new clients from the borough and nearby, and, as their book of business grows, adding new stylists to work the additional chairs in the shop.

Services range from a $10 men’s shape up and a $21 women’s cut to $100 balayage and $200+ keratin treatments. The studio is open Tuesday through Saturday; call 484-471-3264 or visit their Facebook page.

May Fair and Book Sale at the Furness Library

The Helen Kate Furness Free Library in Wallingford will hold its annual May Fair on Saturday, May 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Stop by for freshly grilled food, face painting, games and prizes for kids, plants sale, baked goods, a visiting fire truck, a costume jewelry counter, a moon bounce and of course, the first day of HKF’s spring Book Sale! Come join Helen Kate staff, board members, and volunteers at this much loved family event.

The Book Sale features thousands of books in all categories — fiction, mysteries, cookbooks, art, gardening, history, rare books, and much more. Donors to the Library’s Annual Appeal are invited to a special preview on Friday, May 11, from 7 to 9 p.m.

The Book Sale continues through Tuesday during regular library hours. Hard-backed books will be half price on Sunday, and then $2 a bag Monday, May 14, and Tuesday, May 15.

All funds earned will provide library programs, materials and services to the community. The Helen Kate Furness Free Library is located at 100 N. Providence Road.

Potters Guild Sale Next Weekend

Brett Thomas, ceramic artist and Potters’ Guild member, is pictured loading the gas kiln in preparation for the spring sale. See the final pots at the Preview Party, May 3, at Community Arts Center, where the sale runs through May 6, 2018.

Featuring a wide selection of functional and decorative handcrafted pottery, the Potters Guild’s annual spring sale opens in The Duke Gallery at Community Arts Center, 414 Plush Mill Road, Wallingford, next Thursday, May 3, with a preview party, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. For a $5 ticket, party-goers will enjoy refreshments while they have first choice among the works of the Potters Guild’s 30 members. The sale continues all weekend long from May 4 through May 6. Hours are Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission to the sale is free and shoppers will be treated to a wide variety of pottery created by the skilled ceramicists of The Potters Guild. Items available for purchase include everything from fanciful figurines, sculptures, vases, tiles, flower pots, bowls, and mugs, to garden ornaments, small fountains, tea pots, tiles, clocks, decorative masks, and large serving platters and bowls. For more information, contact CAC at 610-566-1713, or visit

Think Pink

In the interest of community health, several local Crozer-Keystone Health System offices are putting a special focus on women’s health with Think Pink mammography events during the month of May. Facilities are equipped with the latest 3-D mammography technology, and Crozer Keystone offers additional inducements to schedule an …

Musicopia Benefit at SHHS Next Friday

Strath Haven High School musicians are putting their talents forth to benefit budding musicians elsewhere in the Philadelphia area. The SHHS Musicopia Benefit Concert next Friday, May 4, gathers talented artists in many musical genres, in a fundraiser for the non-profit organization Musicopia, whose mission is to provide music education …

Relay For Life on for
Saturday at Strath Haven’s King Field

The annual Relay for Life, a 12-hour festival of fundraising and fellowship, will take place this Saturday, April 28, at George L. King Field in Wallingford. Beginning at 10 a.m., students, faculty, staff and their families will walk laps on the track behind Strath Haven Middle School, in a marathon day benefitting the work of the American Cancer Society in providing support for patients battling cancer and their caregivers, as well as to fund research. 

The event will include activities for the whole family, including a scavenger hunt, a World Cup soccer game, face painting, a survivor/caregiver walk, and a nighttime luminaria ceremony. Performers take the stage to inspire walkers with live music in the afternoon, and food will be available for purchase in abundance. The event is open to all from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is a suggested donation of $5. To donate to the event or to join a team, visit:

Toe the Lions at Fun Fair 5K Run & Walk on May 20

Three weeks until the Swarthmore Charity Fun Fair on May 20: Just enough time to buy a new pair of running shoes, break them in, and take your training up a level for a challenging 5K course … or to take care of your chores early, clear your Sunday afternoon schedule, and round up the family for a spring ramble through Swarthmore. Whatever your approach, the Fun Fair 5K Run and Walk is the event for you. Lions Charities will benefit from proceeds from this race, which is supported by Swarthmore Rotary Club.

In its 17th year, the Fun Fair event welcomes participants of all ages and fitness levels. The 3.1 mile course includes some hills as it winds through the streets of Swarthmore and the campus of Swarthmore College. Live entertainment, food, and fun await finishers at Swarthmore Fun Fair immediately after the race. T-shirts are guaranteed to first 100 registrants.

The race goes off at noon on Sunday, May 20, from the Swarthmore train station. Registration and race packet pick-up take place there from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. An awards ceremony will recognize the first three male and female runners, along with winners in eight age groups. Online registration through is $25; the entry fee is $30 on race day. For more information, call James Ryan at 610-909-3127; email, and visit

Phyllis Raymond’s Commitment to Learning

At a recent luncheon, WSCC board members honored Phyllis Raymond for her 20 years of inspired and steady service to the program. From left to right are Jane Standish, Carol Fanconi, Peg Christensen, Phyllis Raymond, and Susan Larson. Peg Christensen cited one of Phyllis’s great gifts: “She was adept at thinking of new courses and finding excellent instructors that she convinced to teach for us. That is the life blood of our organization’s success.”

Nearly 70 years after it began in Swarthmore, Phyllis Raymond’s journey to the various points of the post-secondary educational compass is finishing where it started. Twenty years after friends recruited her to the board of Wallingford-Swarthmore Community Classes, she’s rotating off, saying, “I am the only one from that era who is still involved, and I love it. But I am 85, and there are young people who are very interested, and doing a great job on the board.”

She has been instrumental to the development of successful and varied courses for WSCC, which offers 50 or more courses each semester to lifelong learners, with classes meeting at Strath Haven High School in evening hours, Swarthmore Borough Hall by day, and various other locations.

Phyllis’s first retirement was in 1994 from Swarthmore College, where she had worked since 1971, the last 20 of which were spent as Associate Dean of Admissions, traveling to convince bright students to come to Swarthmore. Prior to that, Phyllis had also tutored students, and taught briefly; she “never liked teaching.”

But she did love learning, and worked through obstacles to pursue her degrees. Enrolled as a Swarthmore undergraduate in 1950, Phyllis was uprooted when her Swat grad and naval officer husband Richard was assigned to Norfolk. She enrolled at William & Mary, and then finally accepted her baccalaureate diploma from the University of Indiana, where her husband was earning a Master’s after leaving the service. Her husband ultimately topped out with a law degree earned at night while working for the government in Arlington, Va.

Phyllis said, “I was wishing I’d gotten a graduate degree, so when we moved back to Swarthmore, I asked around … and the head of the Political Science department, Roland Pennock, put together a Master’s program for me. I asked if anyone had ever done it; he said no, but we can work something out for you. It was a lot of work over two years, but I did it.” 

Phyllis is still in Swarthmore, where granddaughter Hayley Raymond will graduate in May from the College. Maybe some semester, she’ll get to check off another box in her continuing education: in all her years on the WSCC board, Phyllis has yet to enroll in a course there. 

A Tale of Two Projects: Faculty Lecture at McCabe Atrium

Amy Cheng Vollmer, Swarthmore College professor of Biology, will discuss two lines of promising microbiological research in a faculty lecture which is open to the community at large, at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, May 1, in the atrium at the college’s McCabe Library. Vollmer will report on studies of a protein linked to stress survival in bacteria, and …

Congressional Candidates Forum: Gun Policy

After scores of recent mass killings in schools and government offices, at clubs and concerts, in workplaces and in restaurants, all facilitated by high capacity weapons, momentum is growing for sensible and effective control of guns and ammunition. Politicians are under increasing pressure to articulate their positions on gun policy. If …

Earnest, Silly … and Important

Relaxing in the country are Earnest cast members (standing, left to right) Jennifer Summerfield and Jessica Dal Canton; (sitting) Jared Reed; and (reclining) Adam Altman. Photo by Kyle Cassidy.

Opening with a preview on Thursday, May 3, Hedgerow Theatre revives Oscar Wilde’s comic masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest in a crisp and stylish production on Hedgerow’s Rose Valley stage at 64 Rose Valley Road.

Wilde’s cast of upper class Britons at the turn of the 19th century is all crackling dialogue and arch manners. As did Wilde, the play embodies British dandyism, its superficial gaiety thinly veiling commentary on the hypocrisy of modern life and mores. The play endures as a flamboyant comedy of manners full of mistaken identities, secret engagements, and non-existent lovers, as well as biting social commentary that is agelessly relevant.

Barrymore award winner Dan Hodge directs, conjuring the talent for farce which is a core characteristic of the Hedgerow company. This production brings out the wit and essence of the characters even as they embarrass themselves with vanity, miscalculations, and bad behavior.

Core Hedgerow company members comprise the cast, including Jennifer Summerfield, Jessica Dal Canton, Adam Altman, and Producing Artistic Director Jared Reed. Following the Thursday preview (tickets are $20), the production opens on Saturday, May 5, with performances each Thursday through Sunday until May 27. Ticket prices range from $20 to $35, with several special events planned on various show dates. See for details, or call 610-566-4211.

Hope for Honduras Benefit Concert

Sunday is the day; the Swarthmore Friends Meeting House at 12 Whittier Place is the setting; health care for Hondurans is the cause which will benefit from the 2018 Hope for Honduras concert on April 29. The concert features local talent of all ages, led by Strath Haven High School students in the Silvertones choral group and the SHHS Saxophone …

Arla Patch Exhibit of ‘A Heart Story’ Opens at Pendle Hill

Quakertown artist and educator Arla Patch exhibits her 16-piece polymer clay series “A Heart Story” in the Barn Gallery at Pendle Hill, beginning tonight, April 27.  “‘A Heart Story’ was sparked by loss and betrayal,” Ms. Patch said. “It was a three-year project, and through it, heartbreak was transformed, stage-by-stage, into a new whole heart.” Patch …

Masterworks Chorale Sings
Rutter and Bach Sunday

Kat Bowman

The Masterworks Chorale invites the music-loving public to attend its spring concert, featuring the Requiem by John Rutter and selections from Cantata 21 by J. S. Bach.

The concert is at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 29, at Swarthmore United Methodist Church, directed by Kat Bowman and includes Swarthmoreans Mary Huissen, cello and YunJoung Park, piano. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $15 for adults and $5 for children and students. A reception will follow the concert.

The Masterworks Chorale, founded in 1979 as the Upper Darby Singers, is devoted to the performance of quality choral music, covering a wide range of periods, styles, and languages.

Great Plants, Cheap at SHS Second Chance Sale

On Saturday, May 5, Swarthmore Horticultural Society will sell shrubs and perennials from the containers in downtown Swarthmore from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Offerings include Cornus ‘Ivory Halo’ (Dogwood) for $20, Juniperus ‘Robusta Green’ (juniper) for $20 and Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ at 3 for $10. Carex ‘Ice Dance’ will be 3 for $5. SHS will be selling all plants at the Swarthmore Farmers Market, on the Lafayette Avenue side for convenient pick-up. You may pay for your purchases by cash, check or credit card. All plants must be picked up by 11:30 a.m. For more information, please go to the SHS website at

Hot Topic: Community Policing

Make plans now to join three leading local lawmen for a discussion of “Community Policing: Challenges and Opportunities” at the monthly Hot Topics luncheon in Media on Friday, May 11. The League of Women Voters invite you to hear Swarthmore police …

Family Caregivers Speakers Series Continues

Senior Community Services’ free speakers series for family caregivers continues next Thursday, May 3, with a presentation on “The Role and Benefits of Effective Communication in Caregiving” by Sharon White, MSS, LCSW. Caregivers and their …

Kentucky Folktales at RV Story House

Kentucky-born Mary Hamilton has been at this storytelling business for a while — 35 years or so as a full-time professional. She is the author of the 2012 book Kentucky Folktales: Revealing Stories, Truths, and Outright Lies, and it is from that deep well that she will …