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BC-PA--Exchange, Advisory, PA

May 14, 2019

Here are the stories for this week’s Pennsylvania Member Exchange package. If you have any questions, contact the Philadelphia bureau at 215-561-1133.

For use anytime:


Editorials from around Pennsylvania.

For Saturday, May 18, 2019


YARDLEY _ At 8 years old, Christina Santhouse started a new life in a less cooperative body. The most routine activities such as bathing, dressing, walking and eating with utensils had to be learned a second time. It was the hardest thing she would ever do — until she became a mom. Suddenly, the unimaginable obstacles she overcame after losing half her brain 23 years ago don’t seem as daunting. Not compared to diaper changes, bottle feeding a squirmy newborn or securing two kids in car seats, with only one working arm. Not compared to lifting a toddler with one arm and a partially paralyzed leg. Not compared to chasing a toddler who has figured out she walks faster than mommy can run. Motherhood is the greatest challenge that Christina Santhouse, now Paravecchia, has undertaken. The most rewarding one, too. “It’s beyond my wildest dreams how much I love them.” Jo Ciavaglia, The (Doylestown) Intelligencer.


BERWYN _ Keith Johnson could tell story after story about the vitriol he’s faced as EMS chief of Malvern Fire Company. “I had a gentleman literally in one breath thank me for my crew saving his daughter’s life,” he said, “and in the second breath say: ‘But your bill’s ridiculous, I’m not paying.’” In Berwyn, Fire Chief Eamon Brazunas has gotten scathing notes from folks upset about their ambulance bills because they wrongly assume that the service is free for taxpayers. In fact, ambulance companies throughout the suburbs rely on billing, donations and limited municipal support. Now, with their budgets increasingly strained, fire and EMS squads across the region are reaching out to the residents in their coverage areas, not to raise money or recruit volunteers, but to educate as ambulance providers struggle more than ever to stay afloat. Erin McCarthy, The Philadelphia Inquirer.


PITTSBURGH _ Ask Vivian Loh a simple question, like her age, and you may not get a simple answer. “4,687 days,” the Squirrel Hill resident answers softly and without hesitation, sitting in an office at the Winchester Thurston School in Shadyside. She calculated her age in days a couple of years ago, when she was 9 or 10. (In layman’s terms, she’s 12 now.) She keeps track by just adding one every day, or sometimes the night before. And if she loses track, she says, it’s simply years, multiplied by 365, plus days in the months, adding in a few more for leap days. “Math makes sense,” she said. “You can sort of derive things if you forget them. It’s nice to always know how to solve a problem.” Anya Sostek, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


YORK _ As we begin to lift off the ground, the power of a single propeller blade rattles the three of us inside the cockpit. As we ascended a few hundred feet off the ground, my insides have remained anchored to my spine. It’s a moment of perspective. I look out my window and see the silhouette of the one-ton helicopter we’re sitting in reflect off the surface of Lake Redman. We look like a pebble in comparison. I’m grabbing an exposed bar between the bucket seats of the cockpit, my knuckles white from the tension in my grip, and the silver-haired Judith Redlawsk looks my direction and assures me, “When you see me get nervous, then you can get nervous.” She’s been in the air since she was 10. Neil Strebig, York Daily Record.


HAZLETON _ She’s the mender of the scraped knee, the broken toy, the broken heart. Mom brushes aside her own needs to fix it all while meeting every other household and professional demand thrown at her. Yet, there are some who still find time to extend their selfless empathy to others. These mothers are the first due. They voluntarily answer a distressed stranger’s emergency call without notice and without pay. Many of them remember a time not so long ago when a woman in protective turnout gear was a foreign sight on the fire ground. A mother? Even more unusual. Today they’re among those working at dangerous emergency scenes, their genders and their roles somewhat concealed by the bulky helmet and turnout gear that bears their last names. Amanda Christman, The (Hazleton) Standard-Speaker.

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