Remembering the Iraq War

March 2003 saw the start of the Iraq War. Ten years later, we know that the war’s human costs have included the deaths of at least 100,000 Iraqi civilians, permanent injury to more than 30,000 American servicemen and women, and the deaths of more than 4,000 American soldiers. As the war’s anniversary approaches, it is right to remember all the dead, the injured and their families.

The war has also had a financial cost of more than one trillion dollars: $1,000,000,000,000. We should remember this number today as we consider reducing services to vulnerable neighbors like seniors, children and the ill. We should remember it when we talk about cutting investments in education, infrastructure, and (!) military veterans and their families. We should remember these 13 figures when we think about cutting jobs and services from people who work hard for five figures. Will these investments in ourselves become further casualties of the Iraq War? Have they already? Perhaps our remembering might help us make more upbuilding decisions in the future.

The three of us are local pastors who meet for weekly Bible study. God knows, the last thing most people want to hear are the self-righteous pleas of the clergy. But that’s exactly the point. Your memories and your conversations are what matter so much. Whatever your personal views may be, we hope that you will take time to reflect on this 10th anniversary of the Iraq War. Remember the dead and the injured, count the costs, and talk with someone about life together in this country that we share.

Rev. Dr. Martin Lohrmann,

Christ Ascension Lutheran Church

Pastor Amy Yoder McGloughlin, Germantown Mennonite Church

The Rev. Jarrett Kerbel,

St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church


Another wonderful evening of film

The 12th annual LUNAFEST, a traveling film festival of award winning short films by, for and about women, returned to the area on March 8 at the Brossman Center, bringing nine artistic short films, stories filled with hope, humor and reflection, a fabulous menu of Weavers Way Co-op specialty foods and an invested team from Chestnut Hill Hospital and the Chestnut Hill Women’s Center.

We call the LUNAFEST event a fundraiser, but it is so much more. It is an amazing friend-raiser, a coming together of our communities to support the Breast Cancer Fund and St. Catherine Labouré Medical Clinic, a health care facility that provides primary medical care to those without health insurance, regardless of ability to pay. It is a tremendous opportunity for our friends and neighbors to become more familiar with St. Catherine Labouré ‘s mission of providing caring service.

I am always so touched by the number of people who work together to create this event. St. Catherine Labouré extends a special thank you to Cathy Brzozowski, director for marketing, Chestnut Hill Hospital; Linda Murphy, practice manager, Chestnut Hill Women’s Center; Bettina de Caumette, outreach reach coordinator, Weavers Way Co-op; Kevin Boyle, chief chef, Chestnut Hill Hospital, and to our in-kind donors, the Brossman Center, SWIG and Baker Street Bakery. To the many volunteers who seemed always to know what needed to be done and just did it, we are grateful for each and every one of you.

Our appreciation is extended to Dr. John Scanlon, chief medical officer, Chestnut Hill Hospital and member of the St. Catherine board of directors; Dr. Patricia Bailey, medical director, Chestnut Hill Women’s Center; Ralph Teti, president, St. Catherine board of directors, for going the extra mile to ensure the success of the event, and to Dr. Ilene Warner-Maron, secretary, St. Catherine, board of directors. for always being ready to offer a helping-hand.

A very personal thank you to Lindsey Samsi and Beth DeSoo, my devoted committee of two. To the community businesses that contributed raffle items, know that you made a great many people very happy.

As the evening ended, it did bring a smile to my face to hear the departing comments of so many of the attendees include the words, “next year”.

Again this year, please know what a privilege it is to work with each and every one of you. You and this entire community are all so very special!

Sylvia Studenmund

Board of Directors

St. Catherine Labouré Medical Clinic


Won’t join in security effort

Like our neighbors on 200 East Highland, I, too, am unsettled by the two armed robberies on our block in the past couple months.

But I have no intention of installing a home security system, lighting up the night sky like day or demanding more police presence because I believe that as long as we, as a society, continue failing our children by closing those public schools that need help the most and continuing to fail the millions of adults who, despite their best efforts, cannot secure employment to support themselves and their families, we will continue to pay the price of our criminal neglect and shortsightedness.

Brian Rudnick

Chestnut Hill


A remarkable taxi driver

A month ago I arranged for a taxi ride from a friend’s home in Glenolden to Riddle Hospital in Media at 5 a.m. I was going for surgery. After riding a few minutes, I realized I had no means of paying for the ride, having left at home all my valuables, per instructions by hospital staff. I informed the driver of this. He phoned the taxi company and tried to persuade them to allow me to ride with an IOU from me to them.

Failing to persuade them, he chose to drive me and pay the charges himself. He gave me his address, but didn’t want mine, nor to see my ID. I was deeply moved by his generosity and trust.

“Why are you willing to do this”? I asked him. His answer: “I am a Muslim. I could not not take you to the hospital.”

Upon returning home, I mailed a check to him. I learned he is from Morocco.

This story has given me joy and gratitude, and the desire to share it with others, starting with hospital personnel. People have responded with delight equal to mine.

Lynn Mather

Chestnut Hill


Reminder about a great restaurant

We had a wonderful meal recently at Umbria, at 7131 Germantown Ave. in Mt. Airy. The food was excellent, exquisitely prepared.

It seems it could do with a reminder to Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill restaurant-goers that it is there, as it was not at all busy on a Friday night.

Bobby Rosin

Chestnut Hill


Lovely article on Maxwell Mansion

Thank you so much for the lovely article about the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion’s new Upstairs Downstairs program in your current issue (March 14). Constance Garcia-Barrio was so lovely. I think she wrote a wonderful article. Thank you so much for including the article with the photos.

Diane Richardson

Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion



Photos leading to cat adoptions

Forgotten Cats has really gotten noticed since being in the Local.

We had one cat adopted to a great home, and we thought Sebastian was never going to be adopted. He was a 15-year-old black cat with a bad leg; he needed a special litter box to step in. A woman saw his photo and writeup, didn’t care about this issue and loved him on the spot.

Same for Mister Marbles, who was in the Local last week (March 14) and got adopted right away by a lovely couple. Most FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) cats get looked over by people, so this is giving us hope that’s a home for every homeless critter.

Gina DeNofa

Forgotten Cats

Northeast Philadelphia