Seniors should pay for SEPTA rides

If SEPTA will be giving free rides on Regional Rail, they should go to those in real financial need and not to all seniors, an age category I had hoped arriving Baby Boomers would lobby to banish ("Seniors will get free rides using Key on Regional Rail," Friday). Perhaps age-based entitlements are too self-serving and deserving to forfeit, so, with a wink and a whisper, they embrace being senior and board the train for free. That gratis ride moves down the tracks on the backs of the rest of us.

This is wrong and a confusion of priorities around requisite social safety nets. If you are 65 and older and you can pay your fare, as many of you can, pay it. Democrat. Republican. Other. Full fare, full fairness.

|Janet Lorenz, Philadelphia

Coal mining's good, old days

Thanks for the article on mining in Schuylkill County ("Tales of a modern-day miner," Monday). It brought back memories of my Shenandoah family's mining background. Grandfather operated the elevator that brought miners safely up and down. He was proud that he never had an accident.

Uncles, as children, helped to slow down coal cars with long sticks (spraging) as they emerged from the mines. Towns such as Minersville, Shenandoah, and Shamokin were prosperous with good jobs at that time.

From Shenandoah came the Dorsey Brothers; seven professional football players; Jerry Wolman, former owner of the Eagles and Flyers; and the Rev. Walter J. Ciszek, a Jesuit priest who did missionary work in the Soviet Union and spent 15 years in Siberia before being traded for a Russian spy. A case is being made for Ciszek's sainthood.

Many other great folks came from "up state" in the coal region that made our country proud. It is wonderful to see that King Coal may live again.

|Peggy McGeoy Morro, Wallingford,

What freedom?

All the fears of losing our liberty, privacy, independence, or rights have been realized. And it didn't take a government ultimatum, or police authority, or any other monolithic entity to usurp and monitor just about every aspect of our lives. Instead, we have done it to ourselves.

We have welcomed social media into our lives. We open ourselves to criticism or reproach, and, sometimes, false praise, from those who place themselves in judgment. And then we beg for more.

The hypnotic glow of a handheld screen enchants us to ignore the real events requiring our attention: Go to the park or playground and observe parents engrossed in the glare of a small screen instead of watching the wonder of our children at play or interacting with other children.

Look at the passerby or driver whose eyes are unblinking as they pursue the courses dictated by the master enshrined in the glow of handheld devices. The power in their hands is so great that it demands their full attention. And sometimes it costs a life while they do its bidding.

We have allowed these electronics to rule us by a buzz or a ringtone. Pavlov couldn't have done it better.

|Marie Sheffield, Haddon Township,

Giving police the tools they need

The citizens of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the nonprofit Philadelphia Police Foundation are grateful to Eagles defensive lineman Fletcher Cox for contributing $100,000 for the foundation's Project District Rehab, a rehabbing and updating of the 18th Police District and Southwest Detective Division at 55th and Pine Streets in West Philadelphia.

Foundation board president Maureen S. Rush noted that police officers and the community deserve a facility that is well-maintained and up to date. The foundation hopes this upgrading will expand to other police districts throughout the city. The foundation's mission since 1989 has been to provide funding for equipment, training, and programs for the Police Department that are not included in the city's budget.

We can accomplish this task with supporters such as Cox and businesses that understand the importance of keeping our city safe by keeping our men and women in blue supplied with the best training and the finest equipment and facilities. To contribute, go to and click on "Project District Rehab."

|Lawrence D. Rubin, director, Philadelphia Police Foundation, Wynnewood