Thanks for a writer who has moved on to bigger things

Thanksgiving is for remembering those who are no longer with us. Some who recall those bad old times at the Local may indulge in the occasional “Whatever happened to” game. No, not me, you sillies.

When Michael Mishak was cranking out dazzling prose, signs of widespread respect in the form of prizes for the paper’s journalism lined the fireplace mantel somewhere there in 8434 Germantown Ave.

Because you asked, Mishak was offered temporary editorship of the paper in late 2005. There were strings. Something like “no backtalk” to the community association. So, Mike dusted himself off and shipped himself westward to the Las Vegas Sun.

In 2009, The Sun was awarded the Pulizer Prize for Public Service. The outstanding work of Alexandra Berzon on her investigation into construction deaths on the Las Vegas strip was a project of many hands, two of them belonged to Mike.

He was then drafted by the Los Angeles Times where he was stationed in Sacramento covering the Governor’s and the Governator’s doings and undoings. Look now in the Inquirer for his Associated Press coverage. That’s Mischak. Michael J. Mishak, The AP’s reporter covering Miami. Formerly gracing the front page of the Chestnut Hill Local. From the Great Northeast. “Just saying,” as Mike would quip.

Martha Haley

Haddon Township, NJ


Keystone article was inspirational

I was really moved by the article about Jai Chestnut (“Miracle AIDS patient survival, thanks to local hospice”) and how he overcame a death sentence with AIDS. He sounds like a wonderful, caring man, and I am so glad there is an institution like Keystone Hospice in our community with so many dedicated workers and volunteers who are capable of producing such medical miracles. That was a truly inspirational story, very appropriate since it came out on Thanksgiving Day.

Judy Harrison



Decrying deer cull

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services has made a killing here in the deer control business. Thieves in the night and armed to the teeth, they prowl, obliterating “nuisance” deer as they go, robbing them of the gift of life. Michael Markarian, Chief Program and Policy Officer of The Humane Society of the United States once said, “Wildlife Services hires itself out as a federal government hit squad.” This is legally protected violence against animals whose lives matter.

The rabid devotees of mass slaughter continue to ram home their message. Most of the deer must be killed to save the park from devastation and make better the human condition. Bunk. There continues an age-old, unyielding pattern of destruction in the wider landscape against all animals and the living world.

David Cantor, Executive Director, Responsible Policies for Animals, has coined the term “biocaust” to define the state-of-affairs all around us. Closer to home, this never-ending atrocity in our back yard is but one representative wrong.

Funding for this so-called deer cull comes from a private foundation, The William Penn Foundation. In 1996, the previously named Fairmount Park Commission received a 26.6 million dollar grant. It was a 5 year (1997-2002) grant program. Here is where good money has been thrown after bad.

This unjust, immoral and inhumane war on deer rages on. That “regional treasure,” Erdenheim Farm is on board, as is Morris Arboretum, The Schuylkill Center and Chestnut Hill College (Sugar Loaf Campus) among others. More than likely, Fort Washington State Park will be the next domino to fall to the deer killers. And it won’t stop there. The constituency for lethal deer control is expanding.

Deer found in Wissahickon Park also frequent areas well outside the park boundaries, such as the locales mentioned above.

Philadelphia’s Commission on Parks and Recreation is a self-designated “tool” for deer management. Their deer policies cannot be justified. Notably, the 1996 Final Deer Report never received scientific scrutiny. A mere formality, it contains major flaws and was designed to blame the deer with a recommendation for lethal control. All too often, justifications for lethal control have been refuted by qualified professionals at respected institutions. Iowa City is one example. And, according to a relatively recent publication, “Metropolitan Paradise: The Struggle for Nature in the City, Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Valley, there’s been no vegetation study. Enough said.

In the end, it must be remembered that deer are unique somebodies, not generic somethings. They must be free to live by nature’s rules and not human values.

Bridget Irons

Chestnut Hill