Reservation story shows ignorance

I apologize for the delay of this letter, but I had to think on the best way to respond. Let me suggest that when he speaks of or about Native Americans, one should be in the possession of proper information. [“Localite’s week on Indian reservation nor all Rosebuds,” Aug. 6]

Historically, Rosebud Reservation, one of many in South Dakota, is part of the traditional lands of the Brule Lakota, one of seven divisions of the Great Lakota Nation. The term brule refers to the burnt thighs, a name given because of the charcoal deposits from the burnt prairie grasses on the skin of their legs as they walked across the fired fields in their game hunts.

From the time of the invasion of the Europeans in 1492, their lands have dwindled from all of North America to now less than 4 percent of their original borders. The native population has been reduced from between 10 to 13 million to maybe 1.2 or 1.3 million through war, diseases and displacement – a loss of 90 percent. A holocaust, do you think?

The last time I was there in 1980, alcoholism was rampant, as was crime. Unemployment was 80 percent. The average age of male death was 59 years. Diabetes effected 30 to 35 percent of the adult population. No jobs were available because there was no industrial investment. I hear not much has changed since then.

Now, to have a well-intentioned person and a group of youngsters spend one to two weeks in a white, religiously based environment and expect native teens to openly accept handouts with gratitude is at best unrealistic and at worst a gross distortion of reality and one big insult. If one is truly interested in helping, one should seek permission of the traditional chief and offer a gift of tobacco, cedar or sage. This shows knowledge and respect. They will tell you what they want; then you can see if your giving can match their needs.

Donald J. Zipin

Chestnut Hill

Thanks for great movie nights

Water Tower Recreation Center would like to thank the Chestnut Hill Community Association for a great series of August events, “Friday Night Movies Under the Stars.”

The outdoor movie nights lucked out with spectacular weather, and over the course of three weeks, hundreds of individuals, friends and families enjoyed evenings on the grounds of Water Tower with entertaining big-screen movies, fresh popcorn, beverages, and a variety of the best-of-Philly food truck offerings, including The Flying Deutschman, Prime Stache and PBandU.

The natural amphitheater setting on the hill descending from the original Water Tower off of Ardleigh Street was the perfect setting for blankets and chairs as viewers relaxed on the warm summer evenings.

The City of Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation is committed to connecting residents to the benefit of community recreation centers. But we need great partners like CHCA for quality programming. These types of partnerships can offer countless benefits to residents in the neighborhood. For example, our annual Fourth of July celebration could not happen without the partnership and committed volunteers from the Chestnut Hill Bocce Club.

After recently concluding our successful summer day camp, we are enormously grateful to Laura Lucas and her team of expert volunteers who made the movie nights a wonderful and memorable experience. We are looking forward to next summer!

This fall, offerings at Water Tower Recreation Center include Tot Recreation, an After-School Program, Karate, Zumba, Pickle Ball and more. Water Tower is also the home of the award-winning Thunder Cats Gymnastics Program and the Chestnut Hill Youth Sports Association. We invite residents to come to the Center and explore what we offer and encourage new ideas for programs. We also invite CHCA members to serve on our Advisory Council, dedicated to improving our role as a community resource.

Thank you again, CHCA, for renewing our sense of community!

Brian McLaughlin

Facility Supervisor

Water Tower Recreation Center

Philadelphia on ‘lockdown’

Sue Ann Rybak’s article, [“Like it or not Philly, we’re a captive audience,” Aug. 20] was great! The city and surrounding areas will indeed be held captive. Some business are planning to close (some smaller restaurants, the Reading Terminal Market, and others) mainly because they can’t get enough product in and have the room to store it prior to “lockdown,” nor can they deal with days of no trash removal.

I also learned that although 30th Street Station will be operational – its restrooms will be closed! You must go outside to a Porta Potty. Really? What if you need to change your baby? No changing station in a Porta-Potty. What if you need to just wash your hands? No sinks in a Porta-Potty. And, the people I’ve mentioned this to are totally surprised.

So, although this was revealed in an Inquirer article – guess not everyone reads that paper – and it was also in an evening news broadcast – but, not everyone may have caught that – and, I don’t think it was repeated. Likewise, although Mayor Nutter announced that information was being put on a website for residents – believe it or not, not everyone has a computer or, if they do, knows how to use it. Valuable information is definitely falling through the cracks.

Residents within the locked-down area who have beautiful condos or apartments with balconies or rooftop gardens will not be allowed out in those areas. Those areas must be totally devoid of people. So yes – residents will be held captive within the four walls of their dwellings. Also, exterior fire escapes are off limits. So, I hope there are no building fires and nobody needs to risk a sniper’s bullet while trying to save their life.

Even Chestnut Hill will be affected since the Chestnut Hill West SEPTA line is the only place nearby for passengers to board a train to the city. Even though it’s recommended that people be “dropped off,” we know that many will drive themselves and park – in the SEPTA lot, on the streets and in the Hill’s parking lots. I foresee a lot of $29 (or higher) tickets being handed out those days. And people who work on the Hill had better walk to work – there may not be any parking spaces for them.

I’m thrilled that the Pope is coming to America and I pray that we can all look back on this event in a positive way. But I think a much better place for his visit might have been the southwest desert where parking would not be a problem, residents would not be so impacted, businesses would not need to close, and security would be much easier in that wide open space.

Even though Mayor Nutter likely has no input on security issues, as Sue Ann said, I think he spearheaded the decision to host this event in Philadelphia. And I can imagine that, at least once, he has shaken his head and thought, “What was I thinking?” He’s probably not getting much sleep these days.

Judie Sloss


Deer hunting and park safety

A Wissahickon Valley Park advisory puts park users on notice to be aware of their surroundings at all times for their personal safety. Beginning on Saturday, Sept. 19, they should be especially vigilant for bow hunters who will be legally active once again in Philadelphia County in pursuit of deer. Then there’s the unpredictable rogue hunter out there as well who is an even greater menace.

For quite some time now, the pro-deer-kill camp has been encouraged to engage private land owners around the park to consider allowing bow hunters on their lands and those of the park to within 50 yards of the park’s most exterior trail or facility.

Private bow hunting would remove deer from property around the park as well as deer within the park, according to the Final Deer Report on Wissahickon Valley Park prepared by Natural Resource Consultants, Inc. Are law enforcement officials providing sufficient oversight? That’s questionable. Park users need to be aware, alert, careful and wary.

This recreational violence perpetrated by the ethically challenged is pervasive. Besides residential properties, its scourge has invaded such places as a local environmental education center, college campus, arboretum, a nearby 450 acre working farm as well as many county and state parks.

Philadelphia Advocates for the Deer (PAD) is calling for an end to the brutality inflicted upon deer whether by government so-called sharpshooters or bows and arrows. Wildlife biologist Mark McCollough believes that because bow hunting is especially barbaric, it should be banned. Bow hunting to control deer numbers is a manufactured excuse to justify it.

The public deserves to fully understand the nature of the war being waged against our wild neighbors and its effects on wildlife and habitat. To that end, PAD recommends the careful and thoughtful perusal of a brilliant publication in the University of Oregon’s Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation. The title: “Beyond a Government-the-Hunter Paradigm: Challenging Government Policies on Deer in a Critical Ecological Era. The author is Lee Hall, an environmental law and policy specialist. Go to

Bridget Irons

Chestnut Hill

World without ‘isms’

I read with great interest and a smile on my face the “brilliant satire” (thank you David Kelly) by Stacia Friedman about the so-called “educated” left [“Walker endorses…,” Aug. 13].

Query this: Where would the Democrats (I avoid using Kate Ferry’s satirical term “Dumocrats” so as not to offend my Democrat friends) be if we eliminated from their political agenda the following: racism, sexism, class warfare, The War on Women, The 1 percent, and any other similarly divisive concept from their taking points?

The Answer: They would be Libertarians, Independents or Republicans.

Sharon M. Reiss

Mt. Airy

Vacation nightmares

The article about the nightmare vacation really struck a chord with me (“You think you’ve had nightmare vacations? Not this bad!” Aug. 20). We had a similar experience in Hilton Head, S.C., three years ago.

Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. The air conditioner did not work; the TV set stopped working; my husband tripped and fell and sprained an ankle. I got very sick after one seafood dinner. The hotel charged us for those little bottles of whiskey which we did not drink, and on and on. A tire blew out of the way home.

I felt sorry for the man who wrote the article, but I am glad to know we are not the only ones.

Beth Clarkson

Chestnut Hill

‘Dumbing down of America’

Quick: Sunday, Oct. 4, 1987; do you know who the Eagles played – and who won? Of course not. Why? Because sports is a waste of your time. When it’s your leisure time, no problem. When it dominates your life, that could be a problem; a problem for which CNN loves you.

I switch on CNN. A top story dominating all other stories is some BS about a gazillionaire who chucks a football for a living – and the air in his balls. Top story! Really?

The media revere football, a little boy’s game increasingly fraught with cheating, abusive, murdering and undereducated criminals, as if it were important. It is not. Its greatest importance is to the gazillionaires who make gazillions of dollars keeping the sheep thinking that it’s relevant. It truly is not.

The world is going crazy. Over 7,000 dead in Nepal and now another earthquake. There was a helicopter crash in Pakistan the other day that killed the Philippine and Norwegian ambassadors. Britain had its most exciting election ever that has repercussions and meaning around the world. But dead balls is the big story. The dumbing down of America.

CNN – and really, all broadcast “news” – are taking their cues from the frivolous “The View” and “American Idol,” continuing to pander to the absolute lowest common denominator as their target audience: the undereducated, deer-in-the-headlights football heads, those most likely to focus on fleeting false heroes and “fantasy football” to the exclusion of – because it’s easier than – improving and educating themselves. But you will have to switch on BBC or Al Jazeera if you want to see serious, intelligent news reporting.

Now, repeat after me, “Tom Brady has no relevance in my life. I am capable of being interesting without talking about Tom Brady’s deflated balls.”

Raymond Culver

Pocono Lake