ISSUE | SCHOOL OPTIONS

Expanding hope

for kids in Camden

Growing up in Camden, I was no stranger to the public schools, and until this year my daughters went to our local school in North Camden ("Camden schools chief touts his achievement," March 16). Now three of them attend Mastery's North Camden Elementary, right up the street.

The other week, I attended a neighborhood meeting hosted by the schools superintendent, Paymon Rouhanifard. He presented a dire reality, but also put on the table the possibility that schools like Mastery could partner with existing schools so that more families could have access to a quality neighborhood school.

Mayor Dana Redd and City Council President Francisco Moran stood with Rouhanifard. And so do I and hundreds of other families. We want more, and better, public school options. That's why I am hopeful that the Camden School District will allow Mastery and other great schools to expand.

|Mary Jane Timbe, Camden, ladytimbe73@gmail.com

ISSUE | HALL HONORS

For Pete's sake?

Pete Rose not only bet on baseball but then lied about it ("Let Charlie Hustle in," March 19). He continues to believe that the rules do not apply to him. He should not ever be admitted to the Hall of Fame.

|Judyann Sheehan, Havertown

ISSUE | MEMORIALS

When appropriate?

While I appreciate the grief of the families who lost someone in the building collapse at 22d and Market Streets, I am puzzled as to why a memorial is being built ("Preview of collapse victims' memorial," March 15).

Hundreds of people have been killed in other mishaps, but I know of few memorials. Ten years from now, no one except their families will remember the names of those lost. Sadly, there was nothing heroic about these deaths inasmuch as they were victims of a horrible accident.

I know there will be many people who will call me heartless. Not true. But we can't build memorials for everyone who is accidentally killed. We would quickly run out of space.

|Joe Orenstein, Philadelphia

ISSUE | GIGGING WOLF

Well, of course

Beth Anne Mumford disparages Gov. Wolf's budget as tax-and-spend ("From Wolf, record budget and tax increases," March 16). But let's consider the source: She is state director of Americans for Prosperity, an organization that serves as the Koch brothers' political flagship, along with the American Legislative Exchange Council, which proposes right-wing state legislation.

We have ALEC to thank for voter-ID bills, an effort to disenfranchise many. Americans for Prosperity denies global warming, proposes denying labor unions collective bargaining, and would like to see an end to publicly funded education.

Mumford says Pennsylvania already is spending too much on public education but fails to consider Gov. Tom Corbett's draconian cuts to education.

|Vivienne Spector, Melrose Park

ISSUE | ALZHEIMER'S

Invest in the hope for a breakthrough

An Alzheimer's Association report revealed that within the first five years of a treatment being introduced, the nation could save $220 billion and reduce by 2.5 million the number of people affected by the disease. In Southeastern Pennsylvania, there are 183,000 people living with Alzheimer's disease, a fatal brain disorder that's the sixth leading cause of death, with no way to prevent, cure, or slow its progression.

The report reinforces the value of reaching the 2025 goal set by the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease. If the federal government invests $2 billion per year over the next decade, as recommended by the scientific community, the increased investment would be recouped within three years once a treatment becomes available.

Toward this end, Alzheimer's advocates will gather in Washington on Wednesday to urge Congress to provide funding to achieve the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease. I encourage area residents to make this bus trip with the Alzheimer's Association's Delaware Valley Chapter. (Information at 800-272-3900). Frankly, we cannot wait. Now is the time to change the trajectory of Alzheimer's.

|Robert F. Marino, board member and advocacy chair, Alzheimer's Association, Delaware Valley Chapter, Philadelphia

ISSUE | TV CRITIC

Hiltbrand's wit, good humor will be missed

David Hiltbrand's television reviews were always a bright spot to savor after reading all about doom-and-gloom current events ("Signing off," March 1). He wrote with wit and good humor, and was not above a bit of well-deserved snark directed at actors and shows. I respected his judgment on new programs. Even if I had no interest in a show, I still enjoyed reading his take on it. I liked that at times he asked readers for their feedback.

When Lost was about to air its final episodes, he posed the question, "How do you think it will end?" I offered my theory: Hurley hallucinated the whole thing. I was way off - but who wasn't? Maybe Hiltbrand's work will show up elsewhere soon. I hope so, and I wish him well.

|Juanita Taylor, Philadelphia

ISSUE | DIGITAL SIGNS

Can't turn away, can't turn them off

As a Washington Square West resident, I strongly oppose more digital signs. I live in full view of the sign atop the Lit Bros. building, to be joined by a companion sign of equal size nearby. This sign spews advertising from morning till midnight. Despite strong opposition, City Council approved it.

Councilman Mark Squilla continues his push for more advertising displays around Reading Terminal Market, the Convention Center, and the Avenue of the Arts. He would like us to see them as art, but they are advertising. I applaud Councilman Kenyatta Johnson for pulling his side of Broad Street from the bill.

As I wrote this, it was snowing - almost a white-out. It was a peaceful scene, or at least it could have been were it not ruined by the blazing sign atop the Lit building.

|Barbara Lewis, Philadelphia

ISSUE | PA. TAXES

Without exception, Wolf proves the rule

Gov. Wolf's budget not only increases spending; it increases income taxes and sales taxes in a number of unfair ways. He proposes raising the income tax, but that isn't enough. So he wants to raise the sales tax and apply that tax to all kinds of items previously exempt, including flags, caskets, dry cleaning, newspapers, and even baby diapers. I guess the governor considers diapers a luxury.

As a former Democrat, I used to get annoyed when I heard Republicans refer to "tax and spend" as my party's mantra. But Wolf is a shining example.

|Ross Schriftman, Horsham

ISSUE | EATING WELL

Assuring good meals are just around corner

Several times a week, I work at a food pantry as a volunteer with the American Stroke Association to distribute food to those who can't afford to put dinner on the table. I can't help but question how everyone can be assured access to affordable, nutritious food.

That's why I'm working with the American Heart Association on the New Jersey Healthy Corner Stores initiative, which helps provide resources and education to bring better food choices to local stores.

Across the state, local stores serve as a main food source, but many are not equipped to provide healthy options like fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, the boxed, processed foods that do fill the shelves are loaded with ingredients that can lead to major health issues triggering heart disease, the nation's leading cause of death.

With nearly one million New Jerseyans facing uncertainty about their next meal, it's vital that we work together to make sure everyone has access to healthy options, including fruits and vegetables.

|William Duncan, Manalapan