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Letters to the Editor

Free CPR training available

Two years ago, I met a Philadelphia student named TJ, who was playing baseball when he suddenly dropped to the ground. TJ’s heart stopped. Thankfully, off-duty firefighters immediately began performing CPR and TJ’s life was saved.

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TJ’s story isn’t as rare as you might think. According to the American Heart Association, cardiac arrest strikes 424,000 people each year. The majority of those affected don’t survive. One in 73 high schools is the site of sudden cardiac arrest each year. To survive cardiac arrest, you must receive immediate CPR to increase the blood flow to the heart and brain, along with an electrical shock from a defibrillator to reset the abnormal heart activity. For every minute without life-saving CPR and defibrillation, chances of survival decrease 7%-10%. 

As a parent, there is nothing more terrifying than the thought of one of my sons’ heart stopping. And with Philadelphia’s bystander CPR rate at an abysmally low 10.7%, I knew I needed to help educate, empower and equip Philadelphians with the knowledge, skills and tools to act when tragedy strikes.

That’s why I launched an initiative called ACT NOW that provides free CPR trainings and certifications to Philadelphians from across the city, including trainings for every sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade student. I also introduced legislation to require that AEDs and bleeding control kits be installed and available in public buildings throughout the city.

But I can’t make a difference without your help. 

Take a free CPR class with your family. My office provides free classes for groups of any size, and kids of all ages can learn critical life-saving skills, like CPR. It’s never too early to learn how to react to help someone in need.

Be an AED advocate. Resources are available to help schools, churches, playgrounds, clubs and organizations obtain AEDs and my office can help. AEDs are most effective when they are available to the public in places where people congregate (like schools, churches, busy restaurants and recreation centers). Advocate for AEDs by letting my office know where they are needed and helping organize efforts to get them installed. AEDs save lives.

Spread the word. My office will provide free trainings for organizations, churches, workplaces and sports teams. If you’re affiliated with an organization that wants free trainings, please contact my office.

Call or text 215-686-3444 or stop by 6730 Torresdale Ave.

Councilman Bobby Henon

4 more years for O’Neill

There’s an Irish ballad whose refrain is, “Will you march with O’Neill to an Irish battlefield, for tonight we go to free Old Wexford Town.”

I had the opportunity to work with Brian O’Neill for a long time as the zoning chairman for the Burholme Community Town Watch and Civic Association.

He as well as staff were always helpful and professional, including coming to our civic association meeting, advising us on zoning regulations, including personally appearing in front of the Zoning Board of Adjustment to show his support for our community.

I was always impressed by Brian’s knowledge of zoning regulations, which was exceptionally helpful in defining our community character.

Our success in maintaining the Northeast as a desirable community to live in is attributable to Brian’s vision of what we wanted and needed, and we appreciate his efforts.

As a point of disclosure, I must say I am not a relative or employee of Brian, just an admirer of his work on our behalf.

Four more years, Brian, you earned them.

Michael E. Hartey


Recent mailer is off base

In recent days, a mass mailing was received by residents of the Northeast. This mailing provided misleading and underhanded information about Councilman David Oh. This mailing was unethical, immoral and improper and nothing more than a typical political hack job.

The mailing stated, “Paid for by Concerned Neighbors of the Greater Northeast.” Until just three weeks ago, this never existed. This named payee of the unethical mass mailing is a political action committee created just for the purpose of doing this unethical political behavior and must be concerned about the electable possibility of David Oh that it resorted to this unethical behavior.

I present this information to Northeast residents as an understanding of the level of improper depths to which well-funded PACs are willing to stoop. It is well understood that I am not formally supporting David Oh. This is a completely independent observation and explanation of how sad our city’s political campaigns are. As full disclosure, I am formally supporting Matt Wolfe for City Council at large.

Mike Tomlinson


Standing up for neighbors

This is regarding a very one-sided article that appeared in the Sept. 30 edition of the Inquirer regarding one Gary Wills and his vision for Northeast Philly.

So here is another side.

I am one of many neighbors who will be directly negatively impacted if Mr. Wills is permitted to build his “vision” for our neighborhood. His vision is for a 3- or 4-story building that includes the sale of wine and cheese and an observation deck for his clientele to sit up high and watch the arrival and departure of planes in and out of Northeast Philadelphia Airport while sipping their wine and eating their cheese. The article painted a poor representation of Councilman Brian O’Neill when, in fact, Mr. O’Neill is fighting for what we, the neighbors, want. What we want is for Mr. Wills to take his vision elsewhere.

Traffic in the immediate area of where Mr. Wills wants to build is already ridiculously heavy.  During the morning and evening rush hours, it is very difficult to get onto Academy Road from the side streets. Glenn Street is already heavily traveled. Often times, we need to pull to one side of the street in order to allow a vehicle coming from the opposite direction to pass. Parking is almost non-existent this close to Academy Road, and Mr. Wills’ “vision” would increase traffic and decrease safety. Residents living directly behind where Mr. Wills want to build his “vision” will be unable to enjoy their outdoor space because they will be in a fishbowl.

The majority of the neighbors, both in the immediate vicinity as well as those farther away, do not want this type of establishment in our neighborhood. We have shown up at neighborhood meetings to vote no and we showed up last spring for the hearing downtown and once again voted no.

Councilman O’Neill is doing his job. He is listening to what his constituents are saying and he is fighting for us. There is no shame in this. He keeps getting voted into office, which tells you his constituents appreciate his efforts on our behalf and want him to stay.

Mr. Wills, we have no issue with you building yourself a home and would welcome you as a new neighbor. But, as for your business “vision,” no thanks.

Patricia Paparone

West Torresdale

Help stop fraud on seniors

Councilmember Bobby Henon, we as seniors of this great city, the city of Philadelphia, have worked very hard, for many, many years, so we could enjoy our retirement. Why are we the frequent targets of fraud? Why are we the victims of crime in our neighborhoods? Why are we abused and taken advantage of constantly? We were the hard-working individuals who helped build this city into one of the world-class cities that it is today. I hear from my neighbors and friends their fear of walking to ShopRite, Acme or Frankford Avenue at night. How many seniors feel that they are prisoners in their own homes?

Most commonly, I hear of seniors who are victims of telemarketing and computer fraud where thousands of dollars are taken from seniors. The senior is left destitute, but worst of all depressed because they fell victim to the schemes of the con artist. They are left penniless and feel like fools. It is so sad to hear these stories.

My wife and I constantly receive telemarketing calls and fake emails wanting us to buy products and services or send money overseas.

Bobby, it has gotten to the point where we can no longer answer our phone or open our front door. If my wife and I do not recognize the number, we do not answer the phone. We let the call go to voicemail, which rarely happens, the caller just hangs up.

We are barraged with calls morning, noon and night. Yes, we have placed our number on the do-not-call list, but that is to no avail. We are still called three to four times a day always around mid-morning, lunch and dinner time. You can almost set your watch by these fraudulent calls.

The callers have a new trick called spoofing, where the caller ID shows a different number from where the call is really calling. Believe it or not, Bobby, our own number came up on our caller ID. We even had another person call us and tell us to stop calling them or they will report us to the police. We never called them, someone spoofed our number and was making calls as if it were us.

Bobby, if we do happen to make a mistake and answer the phone, we immediately go into a defensive posture to hang up the phone as quickly as possible. If the caller asks for us by name, we say it may be, why? We never say yes, because the word yes could be taped to say that we had agreed to a product or service the telemarketer is selling. Bobby, we need your help.

John Brady

President, St. Jerome Seniors

New facility is a bad idea

Recently, residents of the Northeast and Lower Moreland gathered for a huge meeting comprised of neighbors and civic leaders. The subject was the proposed new UPS new facility of well over 1 million square feet.

This means traffic jams like the sports stadiums on Red Lion, Verree, Haldeman and Pine Road.

If we sit on our butts, this will happen. Any elected official who doesn’t support us by actions is for the program. There is a childcare center across the street, a health facility on the corner and numerous new residents.

In the 1950s, people moved to the Northeast for the peace, bucolic streets and sprawling hillsides.

I like UPS, but this is the wrong site in a residential neighborhood where people have spent their life savings for the quality of life.

An election is coming up. Who has the guts to fight for us? 

We’ll be watching.

Myles Gordon

Philadelphia Taxpayers Association

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