Find a way to save Abolition Hall

A commentary described with passion and clarity what is at stake in Plymouth Meeting ("Save Montco's Abolition Hall," Thursday). The 10.45-acre George Corson homestead is a national treasure, and the legacy of the inspired families that lived and worked there serves as an example of civic engagement at its best. But if Whitemarsh Township allows the proposed townhouse development to proceed as approved, that iconic history will be lost.

K. Hovnanian Homes contends that the subdivision does not call for the demolition of the National Historic Register-listed structures. While that is true, the plan so constrains the Hovenden House and Abolition Hall that there is little prospect for a sustainable repurposing of these buildings. And the suggested realignment of Butler Pike would send thousands of vehicles through the remaining 1.39-acre parcel, with a right-of-way so close to the buildings that their foundations will be imperiled.

Concerned residents will continue to oppose the plan and are eager to work diligently and collaboratively to assemble an alternative.

|Sydelle Zove, Whitemarsh Township, sydelle.zove@gmail.com

Making case against death penalty

The Inquirer is to be commended for its special report, "Tangled justice: Rise of 'testilying" (Sunday). It should be mandatory reading for every senator and representative in Harrisburg, particularly those dragging their feet on the elimination of the death penalty.

Since 1989 nationally, 1,692 homicide cases have been exonerated because of false testimony given due to fear, police coercion, and other factors, according to a chart with the story. Since self-preservation is primary, coupled with police and prosecutors' ambition, the elimination of false testimony, unfortunately, is impossible.

The years spent in jail and the loss of family, friends, and the joy of normal living cannot be given back to the falsely accused, but at least their remaining years can be lived in freedom. How do you compensate someone who has been executed due to false testimony?

Until a satisfactory answer to that question is reached, the death penalty should be eliminated. That the death penalty is ineffective and serves no purpose only bolsters the reasons for elimination.

|Ralph D. Bloch, Rydal, ralphdbloch@yahoo.com

Jewelers Row's time is up

The photograph of Jewelers Row in a commentary depicting "Unguarded Gems" (Sunday) conveyed the opposite of what I assume was its purpose. It looked like what it is - a semi-rundown group of mismatched buildings resembling many other places all over the city. I see no unique features that are worth preserving so as to prevent the demolition and construction of something new and vibrant.

Toll Bros.' proposed condo tower will also include storefronts that will be a lot more aesthetic. If the resistance to this project were repeated all over the city, a reason could be found to never change anything. Let's move forward.

|Kenneth Veith, Philadelphia, warren.veith@verizon.net

Boys & Girls Clubs members shine

I recently served as a judge for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia's Youth of the Year program. Criteria for the competition included service to the club, community, and family; academic success; strong moral character; life goals; poise, and public speaking.

As regional vice president of community investment at Comcast and a board member of the clubs, I am fortunate to see the positive impact that Boys and Girls Clubs have on the kids they serve. But to speak with 10 of the kids about their dreams and goals and how the clubs have impacted their lives and prepared them for their future was a moving experience.

In many cases, the Youth of the Year candidates overcame significant obstacles to get to where they are today, and the clubs were there for them. Serving as judge for the competition was far more challenging than I had anticipated, because it was so difficult to pare down a group of truly outstanding young people to one finalist. Congratulations to Mone'e Williams-Patrick from the Wissahickon Club for representing the Philadelphia clubs in the state contest and to all of the participants and their families in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties.

|Bob Smith, Philadelphia

Cuts would harm Chesapeake Bay

Barcat, Bogues Bay, Chincoteague, Dragon Creek, James River, Lynnhaven, Olde Salt, Paramour, Rappahannock River, Stingray, and York River. These are all Chesapeake Bay oysters, and their well-being, along with the rest of the bay, is in jeopardy ("Trump wants to end funding of the Chesapeake Bay cleanup. Here's who's fighting back," Philly.com, March 20).

President Trump's proposed budget would drastically cut funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, which would drastically cut the agency's bay budget.

President Reagan authorized the Chesapeake Bay restoration program in 1983. It has taken years, but recently real progress has been observed in oyster and crab populations, plus the return of essential seagrass beds.

EPA policies have effectively reduced the amount of agricultural runoff, lawn fertilizer, streambank erosion, and other sources of excess nutrients spilling into the bay that cause toxic algae and other problems.

The Chesapeake Bay still needs help. I hope our legislators understand where their oysters on the half shell come from.

|Mark Knight, St. Davids, sdark@verizon.net

Register to help save a life

April is National Donate Life Month. Every day, 22 people die waiting for an organ transplant in the United States. One organ donor can save eight lives. While 95 percent of U.S. adults support organ donation, only 54 percent register as donors.

The Children's Organ Transplant Association urges you to register today to become an organ donor by going to donatelife.net. Learn how you can support a COTA family living nearby who needs your help by visiting COTA.org and clicking on the Find a COTA Family box at the top of the page.

|Rick Lofgren, president, Children's Organ Transplant Association, Bloomington, Ind., rick@cota.org