Grief over the way the city now is

As a former resident of Oxford Circle and current homeowner in Fox Chase, I have sentimentally mourned the closing of neighborhood small businesses - stores whose owners and employees catered to a shopper's specific needs or desires. They were the stores on the "avenues" - Castor, Cottman, Frankford, and Rising Sun. Many of these businesses closed due to economic constraints but, today, they're closing due to crime.

I recently drove on Rising Sun Avenue to the jewelry store my family has frequented for 25 years, but couldn't get in. It was blocked by yellow crime-scene tape. Instead of shoppers out front, there were police officers and detectives.

Bill Glatz, owner of Glatz Jewelers in Lawncrest, was killed in an attempted robbery ("Sadness, fear set in on Rising Sun Ave.," Sunday).

For me, there will be no more perusing the jewelry cases, no more interaction with Bill or his employees - no more reasons to shop on this avenue.

Today, my mourning is not sentimental for what was; it's grief over what is.

Nancy Dreher


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French are living in a fantasy world

In a majority of countries in Europe, the full retirement age is 65. But in France, it's 60. The French Senate recently passed a bill that raises the retirement age to 62. The people are so upset they are rioting in the streets ("Protests fade in France as trash pickup resumes," Wednesday). Police had to force the reopening of a strategic refinery that was shut down by angry citizens. Imagine if the French government decided to raise the retirement age to 65. The citizens would probably "storm the Bastille" and attempt to take over the government.

The workers of France are living in a fantasy world with a retirement age of 60. They'd better not immigrate to the United States and get a job. When they find out their retirement age could be 67 before they receive full Social Security benefits, they may go into cardiac arrest.

David M. Levin


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Death of swimmer raises safety issues

Regarding the recent tragic death of local swimmer Fran Crippen, I must question the lack of safety and medical assistance afforded the athletes at the United Arab Emirates event ("Questions after water tragedy," Tuesday). A single swimmer of the English Channel receives more on-water attention then the multitudes of open-water swimmers in these events or marathons.

Relative to the extreme climatic conditions, as a past amateur oarsman, I recall reading my international rowing association quarterly to see how our colleges and amateur clubs were faring against the rest of the global competition, when something unusual appeared.

The German rowing societies had no entries or results for the month of August in that year. The reason stated was that the National German Sports Association had decided that the unusual, oppressive heat (95 degrees) was very unhealthy and would not yield optimum results for the participants.

Hence, all competition was canceled and resumed the following month, when conditions improved.

Dominic Marucci


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New law will help in fight against SIDS

The bill the governor signed into law on sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) last week was my legislation, House Bill 47, now Act 73 of 2010 ("Pa. goes after SIDS," Monday).

While I appreciate Sen. John Pippy's recent attentions on this important issue, securing enactment was a years-long process that included the help of St. Christopher's Hospital pediatrician Eileen Tyrala. I first introduced this bill in July 2007 and held hearings in 2008 and 2009 to draw support for it.

As reported in your article, SIDS continues to be the third-most common cause of infant death, which is why it is imperative that we do all we can to educate parents on the dangers that can lead to SIDS and sudden unexplained deaths of infants. This new law will help that.

State Rep. Lawrence Curry


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Philadelphia open for business

Unlike the writer of Tuesday's commentary, "Philly, just say 'yes' to businesses," I have heard a resounding "yes" from Philadelphia. Our advertising agency has grown dynamically, beyond my expectations, and despite stiff economic headwinds. One key reason: Great support from the city.

Robert McNamara conspicuously neglects to mention the initiatives Mayor Nutter is undertaking to improve the very areas McNamara criticizes. The Zoning Code Commission is rewriting the entire code, with the express purpose of making it more up-to-date and user-friendly. That effort is being managed by Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger, who himself ran a successful Philadelphia business. I know this because Greenberger and the mayor recently visited our city offices and thanked us for choosing Philadelphia. Not the kind of thing a "no" administration makes time to do.

Tim Reeves


Neiman Group


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Price being paid in Afghanistan

A message to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai ("Karzai admits to cash via Iran," Tuesday): The big difference between the United States' "bags of money" and Iran's is that ours comes with the blood of more than 1,300 U.S. soldiers who died fighting for your country.

Paul Geibler

Prospect Park