Letters to the Editor: January 18, 2012

Help, po­lice: Beef up safety at school zone

In ref­er­ence to Mil­dred Koch’s let­ter about safe drivers, or lack there­of, in North­east Philly (It’s time to really get tough on those dan­ger­ous drivers, Jan. 4 edi­tion):

My daugh­ter goes to Loes­che School at Bustleton Av­en­ue and Tom­lin­son Road. My wife and I are dis­gus­ted by the lack of re­spect shown to the cross­ing guards and the chil­dren, not only by some par­ents, but the people driv­ing by.

They prac­tic­ally run over the cross­ing guards, roll through the stop signs and just act gen­er­ally ig­nor­ant. The guard at the play­ground has been al­most run over more times than I can count since school began!

Where is the re­spect not only for her, but also for the safety of our kids? PECO trucks, am­bu­lances and PGW trucks all roll through at Gif­ford and Tom­lin­son, ig­nor­ing and en­dan­ger­ing Miss Cathy and our kids.

There are no po­lice mon­it­or­ing this school at dis­missal, and I, for one, do not want my daugh­ter on the news as the child Miss Cathy lost her life throw­ing her­self in front of to save from these dis­trac­ted drivers.

We need help from the 7th dis­trict po­lice. I’m look­ing at you!

Walt Schieber


Take ac­tion now be­fore a child is in­jured

I am a loc­al con­tract­or and drive in many town­ships and all over Phil­adelphia. I can­not un­der­stand the blatant dis­reg­ard of most drivers in Phil­adelphia’s flash­ing school zones. This is even more prom­in­ent on two-lane streets like Cottman Av­en­ue, Knights Road and Academy Road.

In all the oth­er town­ships I have been in, nearly every­one slows to no more than 20 mph in flash­ing school zones. Next time you go by the Arts Academy of Ben­jamin Rush, Fitzpatrick or Ry­an, see how many drivers ac­tu­ally slow down for the flash­ing school zone lights.

What I have also no­ticed is that many of these vi­ol­at­ors should know bet­ter. They in­clude SEPTA Con­nect buses, drivers with FOP and fire­fight­er li­cense plates and/or em­blems, tax­is and the like. The drivers that mostly slow for school zones are large trucks.

The oth­er prob­lem is lack of en­force­ment for this vi­ol­a­tion. When I went to driv­ing school, some of the stiffest pen­al­ties were for speed­ing in a school zone and passing a school bus with flash­ing lights. What would it take to have a po­lice car sit­ting in front of most schools dur­ing these times? The amount of rev­en­ue from fines would be ex­traordin­ary.

I have a feel­ing that it is go­ing to take some in­no­cent child get­ting hit or crit­ic­ally wounded be­fore some ac­tion is taken. If cam­er­as can be used for red light en­force­ment, then why can’t they be used for speed en­force­ment in school zones? What is a couple of ex­tra minutes to your drive time to just slow down for the kids?!

Kurt Krauss


For pre­scrip­tions, it’s free­dom of choice

Re­gard­ing his let­ter, Don’t take your loc­al phar­macy for gran­ted, in the Dec. 14 edi­tion: Mr. Jac­obs of the Phil­adelphia As­so­ci­ation of Re­tail Drug­gists doesn’t have “the people’s” best in­terests at heart. He doesn’t work for the people, he works for the PARD. He’s act­ing in their best in­terests. I don’t blame him for that; it’s his job.

In his ori­gin­al let­ter he wrote of loc­al phar­macists “ded­ic­ated to mak­ing sure that all of a pa­tient’s dif­fer­ent med­ic­a­tions work to­geth­er…us­ing in­tern­al checks…an in­di­vidu­al’s med­ic­a­tion his­tory…”

Mr. Jac­obs knows that identi­fy­ing po­ten­tial drug in­ter­ac­tions with oth­er drugs or foods or al­co­hol, or pre­dict­ing an ad­verse re­ac­tion to one drug based on a pre­vi­ous re­ac­tion to a re­lated drug, is com­pletely auto­mated. Loc­al phar­ma­cies do it; mail-or­der phar­ma­cies do it.

“Some be­lieve” that mail-or­der phar­ma­cies are more ex­pens­ive be­cause they dis­pense more brand-name drugs? Any phar­macy will dis­pense a less-ex­pens­ive drug un­less the doc­tor re­quests oth­er­wise. People need only look at their scripts, which have words like “brand ne­ces­sary, do not sub­sti­tute” or “dis­pense gen­er­ics, un­less oth­er­wise stated,” and un­less the doc­tor so states, they’ll get the gen­er­ic.

Mr. Jac­obs writes of al­low­ing choice. People can already choose. My plan, for ex­ample: Up to a 100 days’ sup­ply, roughly three months, by mail or­der for $5, or up to a one month’s sup­ply loc­ally for $5—an­oth­er way of say­ing three months by mail or­der for $5 or loc­ally for $15. My choice. (Mr. Jac­obs wants a le­git­im­ate study that shows mail or­der is less ex­pens­ive? There it is.)

If this le­gis­la­tion passes, does any­one think I’ll be able to get a three months’ sup­ply from any phar­macy, mail-or­der or loc­al, for $5 — or $15?

In­sur­ance com­pan­ies are not char­it­ies. They’re in busi­ness to make money. You in­crease their ex­penses, they’ll in­crease ours — high­er premi­ums or co-pays, or both. The FTC says sim­il­ar laws in Mary­land raised con­sumers’ prices.

Howard J. Wilk



A stu­dent’s ap­peal from the heart: Save St. Hubert!

I be­lieve that St. Hubert should stay open be­cause of all of the high schools I vis­ited, I felt most at home there. I used to be dead set against St. Hubert, and was sure I wanted to at­tend Little Flower. My dad con­vinced me to con­sider it, be­cause they had cross-coun­try run­ning, where­as Little Flower did not. After my shad­ow day, sports were the least of my reas­ons to go to St. Hubert.

There was a pro­found re­spect throughout the en­tire school for every teach­er, stu­dent and staff mem­ber. There was a sense of fam­ily and a strong bond school­wide. I was com­fort­able with all of the classes and teach­ers and could in­stantly see my­self walk­ing those halls every day. All of the girls seemed to en­joy their classes and were HAPPY to be there. That was the ma­jor dif­fer­ence between high schools I vis­ited — the hap­pi­ness. St. Hubert had a joy that was al­most over­whelm­ing. Of course, they found out that I was think­ing about Little Flower. There were the ex­pec­ted groans of fake ex­as­per­a­tion, but in­stead of bring­ing Little Flower down, the girls told me what a dif­fi­cult de­cision it would prove to be.

There was no trash talk about oth­er schools, which sur­prised me. The amount of re­spect they had for a rival school was amaz­ing, since most high schools are very dis­cour­aging of one an­oth­er.

When my friends and I found out that St. Hubert’s was on the clos­ing list, our hearts broke. Teach­ers came back from the meet­ing sob­bing. Girls were in the bath­rooms cry­ing. Every­one was saddened. Even my friends that didn’t plan on ever go­ing to Hubert were up­set and angry. That the Arch­diocese of Phil­adelphia can live with them­selves after caus­ing so much pain is crazy to me. Those girls are a fam­ily, and the self-ap­poin­ted “blue rib­bon com­mit­tee” ripped them apart. They have their own little agenda to make money. They only looked at stats, and played God by “pre­dict­ing” that the en­roll­ment will drop. But it’s not too late yet. Hubert’s CAN be saved.

People just need to set aside small, stu­pid things like num­bers and money, and in­stead see what mat­ters. That is why I wrote this let­ter, in hopes that someone will read it and that someone will care.

Isa­bella Gos­ch­in­ski

Age 13, Grade: 8, St. Mat­thew School

We must ap­peal

As I waited for the arch­diocese brief­ing on the Faith in the Fu­ture plan to be­gin, which oc­curred just a few hours be­fore the of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment, I glanced down at the pack­et of in­form­a­tion that was handed out as you entered the room. Someone next to me said, “This is the only pa­per you really need.” It was the list of the af­fected schools.

As I looked at the list, I was shocked. While I ex­pec­ted massive clos­ings throughout the arch­diocese, I some­how thought that our neigh­bor­hood would be spared be­cause we already en­dured re­cent clos­ings and mer­gers that left us with only five gram­mar schools and without North Cath­ol­ic. Surely, they would not do this to us again.

But there it was: St. Lauren­ti­us in Fishtown, St. George in Port Rich­mond and Pope John Paul II in Brides­burg. Our Lady of Con­sol­a­tion, Our Lady of Ransom and St. Hubert High School —all closed. Of course, the doc­u­ments read “com­bined,” but the real­ity is they will be closed.

So, what should we do? First, there is go­ing to be an ap­peals pro­cess. Thus far these clos­ings are “re­com­mend­a­tions.” They will be ac­cep­ted by the arch­bish­op un­less there is an ap­peal.

In his state­ment de­scrib­ing the ap­peals pro­cess, Arch­bish­op Chaput clearly stated that the ap­peal must ar­tic­u­late why the com­mis­sion is wrong in its basis for the re­com­mend­a­tion. In oth­er words, a school com­munity needs to show why they feel there is long-term vi­ab­il­ity for that school.

File an ap­peal if the com­mis­sion is wrong in its con­clu­sions. I would like to help in this re­gard in any way I can. If there are meet­ings among par­ents, teach­ers, pas­tors and/or ad­min­is­trat­ors, please let me know and I will be glad to par­ti­cip­ate. I don’t want to pre­tend that any of this will be easy. It will not. But it may be worth a try.

In ad­di­tion, for de­tails about the plan and to get ques­tions answered, please go to faith­in­the­fu­ture.com. If your ques­tions are not answered after con­sult­ing the site, please call any of my of­fices and we will get you an­swers.

This is all a sad de­vel­op­ment for our neigh­bor­hoods and our church. Many of us have already been through the pain and in­con­veni­ence of school clos­ings and the trans­ition that fol­lows. If I can help in any way, please con­tact me at 215-425-0901, 215-744-3009 or 215-744-2600.

John Taylor

177th Le­gis­lat­ive Dis­trict

Trans­ition must be smooth

The arch­diocese has an­nounced its plan to close or merge a num­ber of schools in the North­east, in­clud­ing St. George, Our Lady of Con­sol­a­tion, Our Lady of Ransom and St. Hubert. 

Hav­ing grown up in St. Bartho­lomew’s par­ish and gradu­ated from North Cath­ol­ic High School, I have firsthand know­ledge of the value of Cath­ol­ic edu­ca­tion to our city’s fam­il­ies and neigh­bor­hoods. Both of the schools I at­ten­ded as a child have closed and I un­der­stand the emo­tion­al im­pact that the shut­ter­ing of these in­sti­tu­tions has on the alumni, cur­rent stu­dents and sur­round­ing com­munity.

While the de­cision to close so many of our Cath­ol­ic ele­ment­ary and high schools is dis­heart­en­ing, it’s im­per­at­ive that we fo­cus on mak­ing the dis­placed stu­dents’ trans­ition as seam­less as pos­sible mov­ing for­ward and that the va­cated build­ings are util­ized quickly, re­spons­ibly and in a man­ner con­sist­ent with the needs of the sur­round­ing com­munit­ies.

I will con­tin­ue to work with the may­or and my Coun­cil col­leagues to en­sure that the chal­lenges cre­ated by these clos­ings are ad­dressed and look for­ward to an open dia­logue with the arch­diocese as we move for­ward. An af­ford­able, ac­cess­ible and sus­tain­able Cath­ol­ic edu­ca­tion sys­tem — one in which stu­dents, par­ents, teach­ers and ad­min­is­trat­ors are each em­powered to suc­ceed — is in many ways es­sen­tial to our city’s fu­ture.

Bobby Hen­on

Coun­cil­man, 6th Dis­trict

Blame yourselves

Amid all the moan­ing and groan­ing about the Cath­ol­ic school clos­ings, one thing every­one seems to for­get is that the Cath­ol­ic pop­u­la­tion in Phil­adelphia simply does not sup­port their churches and schools. My par­ish is Re­sur­rec­tion of Our Lord at Castor and Shelmire av­en­ues, and only about 28 per­cent of the pa­rish­ion­ers go to Mass and con­trib­ute to the church and school.

For all of you 72 per­cent who do noth­ing, please do not show out­rage at the arch­diocese. You are the ones re­spons­ible in a large part for the clos­ings. Just be­cause your chil­dren no longer at­tend schools, it doesn’t al­le­vi­ate your ob­lig­a­tion as a Cath­ol­ic to sup­port your church and school.

The Cath­ol­ic school sys­tem is still vi­tal to the edu­ca­tion­al pro­cess in Phil­adelphia and the sub­urbs. To all those who are griev­ing about the com­mis­sion’s re­com­mend­a­tions, please do not blame any­body but yourselves. By the apathy, lack of sup­port and not put­ting your money where your mouth is, this has come to pass. Do not look past yourselves for this un­for­tu­nate situ­ation.

Jack Miller


The crises start at the top

Evol­u­tion, en­vir­on­ment­al­ism, glob­al warm­ing. Sounds like dog­mas of the Demo­crat­ic Party. Or the Cath­ol­ic Church. “Tol­er­ance,” “re­spect all re­li­gions,” “dia­logue.” Sounds like Barack Obama. Or the pope.

How’d this hap­pen? Well, des­pite the good in­ten­tions of a pro-life mes­sage, Pope John Paul II em­braced many of these lib­er­al prin­ciples, which not only un­der­mined the pro-life cause but ad­ded fuel to the pro-abor­tion, ho­mo­sexu­al agenda. For the 27 years of his papacy these er­rors met no res­ist­ance and spread throughout the Church, its sem­in­ar­ies, its con­vents, and in­to the Cath­ol­ic schools.

The res­ults are Cath­ol­ic school kids who are more con­cerned with “sav­ing the Earth” than with “sav­ing their souls.” They fear “glob­al warm­ing” but not the “fires of hell.” Earli­er popes have cau­tioned that this sort of in­dif­fer­ent­ism would weak­en the faith, ul­ti­mately res­ult­ing in the clos­ing of our Cath­ol­ic in­sti­tu­tions.

If Cath­ol­ics are ser­i­ous about keep­ing the re­main­ing schools and par­ishes open, one solu­tion might be to stop ig­nor­ing and ri­dicul­ing the wis­dom con­tained in the en­cyc­lic­als writ­ten by popes be­fore Vat­ic­an II. They warned us that by re­pla­cing tra­di­tion­al doc­trines with nov­el­ties, the con­sequences would be the sorry state we find ourselves in.

Jack Bil­bee

Fox Chase

Speak your mind  …

Let­ters should be 300 words or less. Short let­ters have a bet­ter chance of get­ting pub­lished. All let­ters are sub­ject to edit­ing and MUST in­clude the writer’s full name along with day­time and even­ing phone num­bers for veri­fic­a­tion pur­poses. An­onym­ous let­ters will NOT be pub­lished. Mail to: Let­ters to the Ed­it­or, North­east Times, 2512 Met­ro­pol­it­an Drive, Tre­vose, PA 19053. Fax: 215-355-4857.  E-mail: pronews@bsmphilly.com

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