Author: Lawrence Schofer

Club meeting February 28, 2018 – Modern science, part 2

Jerry Goldberg continued his presentation of his book, who we are, where we are, where we came from, and where we are going.


He reviewed his prior presentation, which showed the minuscule size of the earth compared to the sun, and the tiny place of the Milky Way in the galaxies of the universe. Formed about 13.5 billion years ago, the universe is constantly expanding, something that was shown only in 1927 by Edwin Hubble. An analogy to an expanding balloon, with stars and planets on the surface moving further away from each other, is useful but inexact.


The “life-line” from atom to molecule through evolution to modern humans shows how people started chemically, and then Jerry called on the summary in the recent book by Nicholas Wade (A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History) to remind us that all modern humankind descends from a group of about 1500 to 5000 people who came out of Africa about 50,000 years ago and the expanded throughout the world.


Finally, he discussed CRISPER technology, which allows for human change in genes. This may lead to eliminating some diseases, but the broader implications of this “designer gene” approach are still not fully understood.

Club meeting, February 21, 2018 – Pathways PA

Brenda Dawson is CEO of Pathways PA Center for families, organization that our club has provided support for a number of years the general goal of the organization is to break the cycle of poverty through education.

There are currently approximately 50 families living at the center (located in Wawa, near Media), all referred by the city of Philadelphia human services program. These families consist of mothers with children.
Brenda Dawson is CEO of Pathways PA Center for families, an rganization that our club has supported for a number of years. The general goal of the organization is to break the cycle of poverty through education.

There are currently approximately 50 families living at the center (located in Wawa, near Media), all referred by the city of Philadelphia human services program. These families consist of mothers with children.

A number of services are provided for the people staying there, including clothing, food, education, lessons in personal care for mothers, financial education, income tax preparation, career counseling, payments to school districts for such things as school trips, summer camp at the local Y, and others. Length of stay depends on the availability of housing for the families, and sometimes can stretch into months

Pathways has two other smaller shelters, one for homeless young women aged 18-22 and one for runaway teenage women.

Our Club has provided support for mothers taking the GED examination, and we have attempted to provide Christmas presents for a number of families each year.

February 14, 2018 – Hosts for hospitals

Cathy Davis of Hosts for Hospitals explained the purpose and functioning of this local organization. It was started in 2000 as a collective community effort to provide temporary affordable housing for patients and their families coming to use the extensive medical facilities of the Philadelphia area.


People find out about this program through their medical provider, through the website, or by word-of-mouth. Hosts are not expected to entertain their guests or to provide meals or transportation. Any kind of house iss eligible, though the program coordinator will establish a profile of such things of how many people can be expected, are stairs necessary, how long will the people stay, can they deal with pets? etc.


The current fee is now $20 per night for the first two weeks, then dropping to $10. This is not a national program, just a local one. The only similar one that Cathy knows about is a program in Boston.

Club meeting, January 31, 2018 – Pamela Rich-Wheeler, The Business Center

Pamela Rich-Wheeler runs The Business Center, headquartered on the New Covenant campus in Mt. Airy. The center focuses on business education for aspiring entrepreneurs, both adult and youth, and on general business and financial education for teenagers.

The center has been in existence since 1999, and has worked with a number of business people how to start their businesses – or even when not to start a business that is not justified! Pam gave several examples of local businesses that have been helped in drawing up a business plan, planning for the future, and actually opening the business – High Point Cafe, Infusion coffee shop, and others. The center partnered with School for Circus Arts to set up the Youth & Money camp. She also introduced one volunteer at the center who decided not to open business when she realized the time investment required for the project.

A video is available that shows youngsters involved in the Youth and Money summer camp run by the School for Circus Arts ( YouthAndMoneyCampv2a.mp4). The video was made at the school’s camp, where campers prepared a show while at the same time learning about being an entrepreneur and running a small business.

Information about the facilities and programs available at The Business Center are shown on the website

Club meeting, January 17, 2018 – A Perspective on Life

Physicist Jerry Goldberg presented “A Perspective on Life”, a summary of parts of his book of that name.

He deals with 5 basic questions:

1) Where are we? (solar system, galaxies, etc.)

2) Since when are we here? 13.7 billion years

3) What are we? What are human beings made of?

4) Who are we? Some 50,000 years ago some 1500-5000 people left Africa. The first white people appeared about 8000 years ago.

5) Why are we? Human evolution.

Until about the year 1600 C.E., the earth was considered to be the center of everything. Galileo improved the telescope so that he was able to see the moons revolving around Jupiter, not around the earth. It was only then that the idea arose that the earth might not be at the center of the universe.


In 1927 Henrietta Leavitt discovered the relation between luminosity and the periodicity of stars, a technique that enabled us to determine distance in space. Edwin Hubble built on Leavitt’s discoveries to see another galaxy and to measure distances to it. Jerry showed several slides indicating the comparison of the minuscule size of earth to other planets and then of the size of our sun compared to other stars.

The year 1905 was the miraculous year of the publication of 4 papers by Albert Einstein on Brownian motion (establishing the existence of atoms), the photoelectric effect (light has both wave and particle properties), and the special theory of relativity. Jerry talked about Einstein the person, not the intricacies of the science of these findings.

When time ran out, the club invited Jerry back to continue his presentation on February 28 – stay tuned for Isaac Newton.

January 10, 2018 – Frank Kaderabach, trumpet player

Frank Kaderabach, retired principal trumpet of the Philadelphia Orchestra, gave a brief account of his life as a musician. He started in high school in the 1940s, when Harry James and big bands were his idol. After high school he worked in industry, playing trumpet at night until he received a scholarship for study at the Chicago Music College.

Later he auditioned for the West Point band, where he played while a soldier, allowing him to study in New York.

At that time, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, all professional auditions were based on personal recommendations by selected teachers. Frank was able to start with the Dallas Symphony, but since this ran for only 20 weeks per year, he had to augment his income by playing in bands in Chicago in the summer and working as a substitute with circuses and other traveling groups. Even after he was hired by the Chicago Symphony, he did not have a full 52 weeks of playing.

At that time, the big 5 orchestras were considered to be Chicago, Boston, New York, Cleveland, and Philadelphia. In the atmosphere of the Cold War, with the US trying to prove that it indeed had a culture, increased funding became available for orchestras. Eventually orchestra players were able to overcome some of the arbitrary control and despotic rules by conductors, and achieve such things as pensions, probation periods, tenure, etc.


Frank played for 9 years as first trumpet in Detroit, but in 1975 his “dream come true” was being hired by the Philadelphia Orchestra. He loved the “Philadelphia sound”, so much that sometimes during a concert he would forget to count for his parts and would have to rely on colleagues to remind him where the orchestra was going. The Philadelphia sound itself was started by Leopold Stokowski, who also was interested in having as large an orchestra as possible. Because of budgetary pressure, especially in the Depression period, he wanted to have as many players on the stage as possible, proving to supporters that no one should be laid off. In part this was done by orchestrating organ pieces with sometimes even tiny parts for various instruments.

Frank loved Ormandy as a conductor and as someone who maintained the tradition of the Philadelphia sound. He also thinks that Ricardo Muti was a very skilled conductor, but someone whose rejection of the idea of the Philadelphia sound was detrimental to the orchestra itself.

At the end of the presentation, Frank played 2 solo pieces, one by the Czech composer Zdenek Fibich and one by the French Camille St. Saens.

Club meeting, January 3, 2018

Club meeting January 3, 2018 – business meeting

Due to miscommunication with the church management, we were unable to use our regular meeting room on January 3. We therefore had to postpone our computer projector presentation of the review of 2017.We also have had to change the way our breakfasts are served because of budgetary issues. By next week, we hope to have a professional caterer provide the breakfasts.

Lou Richman was inducted as a new member of the club.

December 20, 2017 – Mt. Airy USA

Brad Copeland, Executive Director of Mt. Airy USA, presented the vision 2025 plan of Mt. Airy USA.

The group has been a community development Corporation since the 19 eighties. It was the child of cooperation of East and West Mount Airy Neighbors.

There are 4 core areas: housing counseling and financial literacy (1100 clients per year); real estate development; business services (recent opening of co-working space); and public life programs (e.g., support the local public schools).

The driving force of Mt. Airy 2025 is the notion of “bonds between neighbors”. The planning process began in 2015, based on a large number of committees, study groups, and outside consultants. The actual study area was bounded by Carpenter Lane to Washington Lane and from Stenton Avenue to Wissahickon Avenue. Although this does not include all of what is traditionally called Mount Airy, it includes 22,000 people of the estimated 35,000 in the area.

Results of the survey:

Satisfaction: safety, housing, proximity to public transportation, my neighbors

Dissatisfaction: safety, access to amenities, my neighbors, public schools

Some of these contradictions suggest that one of the key drivers for satisfaction is one’s neighbors. Note that 71% of local residents own their own homes, though recent developments on Germantown Avenue suggest a renewal of interest in rentals, often higher cost rentals.

This has suggested that there are 6 areas to work on: neighbood and commerce; homes and housing; community safety and placemaking; senior living; early childhood education; youth engagement

Brad also pointed out that only 28% of community dollars are spent in the area, whereas a “healthy ratio” would be about 50%. Even though the low ratio is in part a function of easy transportation to employment elsewhere, this also suggests that there is opportunity for new businesses. This is one of the foci of the vision that has been developed.