Letters: Keep Revolutionary War hero's house open

Keep Kosciuszko Memorial open

With the recent cuts to the National Park Service budget, Polish Americans in Philadelphia are concerned about the fate of the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, the house where the Revolutionary War engineer lived in 1797 and '98.

Federal budget cuts threaten the operation of the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial at Third and Pine Streets.

Kosciuszko came from Poland to fight for the cause of liberty, and he made a significant contribution to victory with his engineering and leadership skills.

Up to now, the house-museum operated on a summer schedule, with limited hours. In September, Poland's minister of culture, Piotr Glinski, visited, underscoring the importance of Kosciuszko in his country's history. In January, the National Park Service graciously opened the memorial to a delegation of Polish businessmen and their American partners. On his birthday, Feb. 4, the Pol-Am Congress conducted its annual celebration to honor the hero.

The Polish-American community wants to help keep the house open for visitors. Four volunteers are undergoing training. It would be a great loss to the park service to waste this enthusiasm and effort. Let us work together to keep the spirit and idealism alive by remembering the men who sacrificed so much for our freedoms.

|Deborah M. Majka, honorary consul, Republic of Poland, for Southeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, dziecko2@comcast.net

Listen to Mattis on climate change

It was refreshing to hear a reasonable voice on climate change coming from within the Trump administration. Finally published earlier this month, Secretary of Defense James Mattis' written testimony to the Senate Armed Forces Committee apparently reflected what Pentagon strategists have been assuming for years - that climate change is real and a significant threat to our national security.

If only President Trump would listen to the wisdom of his generals instead of his billionaire friends, who oppose environmental sensitivity because it might reduce their bottom line.

|Nancy Boxer, Havertown, nboxer@nancyboxer.com

17 House Republicans take a stand

Seventeen House Republicans agree that climate change is a serious problem. They are so concerned that they signed a resolution vowing to seek "economically viable" ways to combat global warming, which is a threat multiplier.

Reps. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), and Pennsylvania's Ryan Costello introduced House Resolution 195 with 14 Republican cosponsors, including Philadelphia-area Reps. Patrick Meehan and Brian Fitzpatrick.

Earlier this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the U.S. average temperature in February was 7.3 degrees warmer than normal ("What season was that," March 9). It was Philadelphia's warmest February ever recorded. Scientists believe man-made global warming contributed to the rise.

H.R. 195 is a step forward. Now, more than ever, members from both political parties must come together to protect our valuable resources and vulnerable communities. The bill supports Pennsylvania farmers concerned that the early warm weather, followed by a hard freeze, threatens their fruit crops.

I thank Costello, Meehan, and Fitzpatrick for supporting the Republican Climate Resolution.

|Lee Reinert, Downingtown

Pay up, Mr. President

As President Trump has stated, he is "very rich." Make him pay the additional $60 million for security protection ("Secret Service sought millions to protect Trumps," Thursday).

Make him pay for the Mexican wall, too.

|Rheta Smith, Philadelphia

Pull soda off Temple meal plans

If, after checking the accuracy of its figures, Temple University still believes the sweetened-drink tax is to blame for its need to increase meal-plan prices, there's a very simple solution ("Temple to look again at hike," March 16).

Has Temple (and other institutions of higher education in Philadelphia) considered NOT including sweetened beverages in their meal plans? It's not as though sweetened drinks are a must-have in anyone's diet. They could still sell sweetened beverages in vending machines and campus stores, so those not-good-for-you drinks would be available to students and faculty who want them.

There's no reason all students on meal plans should be forced to support the unhealthy habits of others.

|Rita Leon, Oaklyn, jubaduba1@gmail.com

Pa. should back breastfeeding

Breastfeeding has contributed to the declining rate of infant mortality, local medical experts say ("Infant mortality rates fall 15 percent in the U.S.," Wednesday).

Public-health experts have long recognized that protecting and promoting breastfeeding is a key factor in reducing infant mortality. Why, then, has the Pennsylvania legislature repeatedly failed to support breastfeeding by refusing to pass basic workplace protections for new mothers?

Studies show new mothers in Pennsylvania do not meet breastfeeding goals recommended by medical experts. One of the main obstacles women face is maintaining their milk supply after returning to work.

In a country that does not require paid parental leave, many women are forced to choose between a paycheck and breastfeeding. By discouraging breastfeeding, the workplace problem contributes to infant mortality. You'd think a pro-life state such as Pennsylvania would want to ensure infants receive mother's milk.

The solution is simple. Progressive lawmakers have repeatedly introduced the Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers Act, which would give women across the commonwealth a right that Philadelphia put in place in 2014. Will this be the year the legislature helps fight infant mortality by passing workplace accommodations for working mothers? Or will lawmakers continue to obsess about abortion instead? Time will tell.

|Tara Murtha and Amal Bass, Women's Law Project, Philadelphia, tmurtha@womenslawproject.org