Offended by Harris column

This is the first time in my 60 years on this earth, that I have ever written a letter to an editor. I was tremendously offended by Jim Harris’s article about the closing and consolidations of many parishes in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

He is certainly entitled to his opinion, but he presents his feelings in a tremendously bigoted and offensive way. I am surprised that a paper which preaches openness and tolerance would ever permit this to be printed. Sadly, anti-Catholic remarks have been tolerated in the media for years, and this is just another example.

The Catholic Church, for all of its imperfections, is second to none in the work that it has done for the poor around the world. I think the Local and Jim Harris owe area Catholics an apology.

Tim Dwyer

Chestnut Hill

* Jim Harris responds: As a lifelong, practicing Roman Catholic I did not mean to offend any of my fellow practitioners, but I have a right to express my feelings. I tried do do it in a way that some (obviously not all) would find humorous. One of the many virtues of Christianity (of late) is the fact that they do tolerate dissension, debate and criticism. To anyone I have caused pain, I apologize.


Thanks volunteers for fundraiser

The Friends of J.S. Jenks would like to thank all of the volunteers and supporters who made our June 1 “Oh, the Places We’ll Go” Fundraiser a success. Please see our ad in this week’s Chestnut Hill Local for a complete list of the many businesses and organizations that contributed goods and services to the event; as well as a list of our many volunteers and supporters who helped us establish our organization and make the event happen.

We would like to especially thank our host, the Church of St. Martin in-the-Fields. Due to everyone’s support, we have raised an additional $9,000 towards our fundraising goals.

The funds we raise will be put towards supporting arts, music and enrichment programming at the school in the next academic year. Our support is more crucial than ever as J.S. Jenks, like all district of Philadelphia schools, is threated with across the board cuts of 25 percent, affecting basic services such as school counselors, secretaries and noon-time aides, not to mention fundamental programs like instrumental music instruction.

At this critical time, support for J.S. Jenks can come in many forms – from advocacy at the city and state level for adequate funding, to support through volunteering, monetary donations or partnerships. Businesses can also help Jenks through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. Mt. Airy USA, in partnership with East and West Mt. Airy Neighbors, has been approved to raise EITC funds to support innovative educational programs at six local schools: A.B. Day, Emlen, Henry, Houston, Lingelbach, and now J.S. Jenks!

Please visit our website ( for information on how you can get involved and show your support for your community school. Remember, we all have a stake in the future of our neighborhood, and we all benefit by making sure that quality public education options are available in this community.

Haviva Goldman, President,

Friends of J.S. Jenks

Tony Sorrentino, Vice President

Renee Warnick, Treasurer


Help needed

This year’s Pastorius Park concert series is fast approaching, and our first concert is this Wednesday, June 19. We are still looking for volunteers to help at the concerts. If you’d like to play your part in making our 65th season a success please email me at pastoriusparkconcerts@gmail.

You can also sign up directly at our invitation page on VolunteerSpot: Volunteer tasks include setting up tents, chair rental, selling concessions, collecting donations, clearing away at the end of the evening meeting new people and having fun. You can help with some, or all of this. On concert night, volunteers start to arrive in the park at 5:30 p.m. and we usually finish approximately 30 minutes after the performance ends.

If you’d like to get more involved in your community and help at the Pastorius Concert Series, this is your chance!

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you in the park!

Julie Byrne


Pastorius Park Concert Series


Keep library open

On Monday, June 10, I attended a meeting at Lovett Library, the purpose of which was to get community input for a renovation of the facility.

The program started with a presentation by an architect of libraries in Singapore, Australia and Belgium. These were large and elaborate modern structures. What bearing they have on a renovation of our neighborhood facility was mystifying.

The audience was then asked to tell the architect what we would like to see improved in our library. People spoke of colored walls, comfortable seating, more outlets for computers, the need for a printer, a private area to use a cell phone, etc.

Assuming money is forthcoming for a Lovett upgrade, what difference does it make if the library is not open weekends?

Last year there were at least two meetings concerning an upgrade to the green area adjacent to the library. Landscape architects were told to allow their imaginations to run free. And they did. Suggestions were: a stage for public presentations, an orchard, food kiosk, benches, tables, Adirondack chairs, a play area for young children. Fortunately, none of the lavish neighborhood enhancements found funding.

In my 45 years of visiting Lovett, the only enhancement that I can recall was the placement of an outlet on the patio to stream water into the air. Can you imagine passing this stream on your path to the front entrance? Needless to say, this aquatic fantasy was short-lived.

The only thing Lovett Library needs is to be open seven days. This will give employment to people and allow working parents an opportunity to introduce their kids to the library. Money is tight. There are amenities the library can use, but what good is an upgrade behind locked doors?

Maggie Wollman

Mt. Airy


U.S. created by ‘ragtag ruffians’

Years ago, when Americans, asked for their independence, King George laughed and said “never!” Then he called them a “ragtag band of ruffians.” Well, that ragtag band of ruffians fought and died to gain their independence.

They created a new nation, a nation, under that flag of red, white and blue that stands for freedom for all its people. People just like me and you. Freedom to choose our own faith, to speak out without fear, to live where we want, to work where we want, and the opportunity to be the best we can be (regardless of who we are or what we are).

I know we’re not perfect. We have our problems, but what really makes me mad are those who find fault with everything we do. Well, if we’re as bad as they say, how come there are people from all over the world wanting to start a new life here each and every day?

Ever since King George said, “never,” countless thousands have died to keep that flag of red, white and blue flying. As long as we keep the strength, commitment and courage of that rag tag band of ruffians, it’ll always represent freedom for all our country’s people. People just like me and you.

Tom Woodruff