Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

Welcome back, DeSean. Thanks for some great memories. Now prepare for a beating.

Much of the talk this week has focused on the return of the one-time Eagles wideout and his banged-up shoulder. In reality, he’s now what the Birds should be worried about. They should be focusing on the Redskins’ battering ram running back Aldred Morris. He’s exactly the kind of back the gives Billy Davis’ defense fits. With fleet QB Robert Griffin III on the shelf again with a bum ankle, Washington will be directed by Kirk Cousins, which should translate into a huge helping of Morris.

Not helping matters will be the likely absence of stalwart inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who has not practiced this week as he nurses a sore calf. That will leave a huge hole likely to be exploited by Cousins and the ‘Skins.

On the other side of the ball, this will be a big test for Nick Foles and the Eagles’ reconstructed offensive line.

The Washington defense is stout, and specializes in putting pressure on the quarterback. The Birds should not count on another second-half miracle, a quicker start is essential. The idea is get up on the Redskins, taking the game out of Morris’ hands and putting it on Cousins’ art. Make him throw early and often, DeSean or no DeSean.

I see this one as typical NFC East nailbiter. Can you say Cody Parkey to the rescue.

The Pick: Make it Eagles 24, Redskins 23. Another crucial kick by Parkey as time expires lifts the Birds to 3-0.

Last Week: The Eagles must have been trotting into the locker room at halftime in Indy licking their chops. “We got ‘em right wear we want ‘em.” They exploded again in the second half to overtake the Colts in a 30-27 thriller.

Season Record: The Eagles have now overcome two straight double-digit deficits in the second half to come storming out of the gates at 2-0. I suffered a hiccup that looked like it was going to be on the money in the first half. I was not expecting the Birds to be able to rally, and for Andrew Luck to be outplayed in the second half by Nick Foles. I’m idling at 1-1.

Game by Game: Eagles 34, Jaguars 17 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Jags 16)

Eagles 30, Colts 27 (My Pick: Colts 29, Eagles 23)

Friday, September 19, 2014

A face made for the newspaper

This Sunday morning I will prove - once again - that this is a face made for the newspaper.

Fox-29 is kicking off a new weekend morning news show this weekend, and one of the things they are doing is having Skype interviews with news people to see what is hot on their turf. I am going to be a semi-regular contributor.

Nothing is going to be hotter in Delaware County this weekend than the strike by nurses at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. I am scheduled to be on around 8 a.m. Sunday. That will be one hour after nurses say they will walk out.

Tune in to see how I loo. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The show is called #Fox29Weekend. You know, like the Twitter hashmark. I’m so tech savvy.

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Sept. 19

The Daily Numbers: 600 nurses at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland who plan to walk off the job Sunday morning.

7 a.m., when nurses vow to hit the bricks for 2 days.

5 days, how long Crozer will have replacement nurses staffing the facility.

38, age of man returned to Upper Darby yesterday to face murder charges in the slaying of his girlfriend.

5 times Masako Griffin sought a Protection From Abuse order against De-Schae Lowry.

4 shooting incidents that rocked Chester on Wednesday.

2,873 dollars that police say a Media man bilked from a local credit union to fee his gambling habit.

5-0 vote by Folcroft Borough Council to reinstate its 1 percent earned income tax.

29, age of Andy Reid’s son Britt, who has settled a civil lawsuit with a Springfield man in connection with a road-rage incident the former Eagles coach’s son was involved in.

0 people who have been charged so far in the beating of a gay couple in Philadelphia. Several people have been interviewed by police.

1 assistant basketball coach at Archbishop Wood High School who has resigned his post, apparently because of his connection to the case.

56 million credit and debit cards exposed in security breach at Home Depot.

109 point spike for the stock market yesterday.

17,265.99 close for the Dow, another record high.

1.7 percent uptick in Americans’ net worth

7-3 loss for the Phils in San Diego last night.

5 walks for Phils starter Kyle Kendrick, who gave up 3 runs on 6 hits over 5 innings. He also hit 1 batter.

3 days of practice now missed by Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks.

0, how many games Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen likely will play this year. He’s dealing with blood clots in his leg and lung.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

Bring on the Redskins! And DeSean. Here’s one vote that hopes the wideout is able to play on Sunday, as he deals with a banged-up shoulder. Seeing his return to the Linc would be worth the price of admission.

I Don’t Get It: Another NFL star is under arrest in a domestic violence incident. Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer is alleged to have head-butted his wife after she refused his sexual advances. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to honors for longtime Media businessman Bill Gross, who has been added to the borough’s Walk of Fame.

Quote Box: “Did the administrators put you up to saying that?”

- Dem Pa. gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf, joking with Chester kids after one youth said she was getting a good education.

'Live From the Newsroom' previews strike at Crozer

As I opened last night's 'Live From the Newsroom' live-stream broadcast, I was hoping for some glimmer of good news in the dour mood that hangs over one of the icons of Delco industry.

No such luck.

Nurses at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, upset with a lack of progress in talks for a new contract that have been ongoing since April, are planning to walk off their jobs 7 a.m. Sunday. They are vowing to stay out for two days. But the hospital is bringing in nurses to staff the facility, and say they have to enter into a deal for five days. That means Crozer's nurses are likely going to be off the job for an additional three days.

Last night I was joined by Andrew Gaffney, a staff representative for the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, the union that represents the 600 nurses at Crozer.

We also were joined by two longtime RNs from Crozer, Mary Trzeicak and Katie Eppehimer.

I was hoping to also have a representative from Crozer on the show, but the hospital declined, saying they preferred to do their talking at the bargaining table, not in the media.

That made for a somewhat one-side show. If you missed it, you can see the replay here.

I started the show by asking Gaffney for a quick update. I knew there had been several sessions with a federal mediator in the past couple of days, and that Crozer had offered the union a 'last, best offer.'

The union was not impressed. Gaffney said little progress was made and that no further talks are set. Nurses will hit the bricks Sunday morning.

There's been a lot of talk about the proper staffing in these talks. The nurses insist the hospital is dangerously under-staffed, pushing staff to the limit. But the hospital insists that's not the case, that Crozer is staffed at or above national levels. They also noted that for all the talk about staffing, most of the negotiations have centered on economic issues.

They are quick to point out that the average Crozer nurse makes $103,000 a year, and that the top earner last year checked in at a fairly healthy $167,803.

But Trzeicak said that number in itself is a sign of under-staffing at the hospital, noting the nurse who earned it "lived at the hospital." Both Trzeicak and Eppehimer said many nurses work a lot of overtime, again because of staffing issues. That's where the two sides stand.

Sunday morning Crozer's nurses will be outside carrying pickets signs, while replacement nurses will be inside doing their jobs. So much for cooler heads prevailing.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Sept. 18

The Daily Numbers: 1164, that’s the number of the Pa. Senate bill known as the Good Samaritan Bill, which was passed by the House yesterday. It will provide immunity from prosecution for some drug crimes to individuals seeking medical assistance in drug overdose cases.

174 percent increase in heroin-related deaths between 2007 and 2013.

1 assistant baskeetball coach at Archbishop Wood High School in Bucks County dismissed after he was linked to beating of gay couple in Phillly. Several former Wood students are also believed to be involved.

1 person killed in a shooting in a house in Chester last night.

3 shootings recorded in the city Wednesday.

20 percent dip in middle class for Delaware County between 1978 and 2011.

50.9 percent of Delco residents now classified as middle class.

60,482, median income in Philadelphia region, down from $62104 in 2010.

4 states that will see cuts in food stamps under new program. Those are New Jersey, Michigan, Wisconsin and New Hampshire.

19, age of volunteer firefighter John Corcoran, who faces arson charged connected to several fires in Darby Township and Folcroft.

4 guns, a bullet-proof vest and several hundred rounds of ammunition found in possession of 30-year-old man detained in Upper Darby after a standoff with police.v 1 state trooper injured in accident on I-95 yesterday.

5th day of hunt for survivalist wanted in fatal ambush of Pa. state troopers. Hundreds of law enforcement officials are involved in the search in and around the Blooming Grove barracks.

50 million dollar donation to Drexel Law School by Philly attorney Tom Kline.

24.88 increase for stock market yesterday.

17,156.85, all-time high close for the Dow Jones.

27, age of rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix, when he died on Sept. 18, 1970, in London.

5-2 win for Phillies over San Diego Padres last night.

1 run on 7 hits, with 9 strikeouts for Cole Hamels over 7 innings.

21 straight starts in which Hamels has been charged with 3 runs or less.

2 hits and 2 RBI for Ben Revere.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

The Phillies cannot even consider trading Cole Hamels.

I Don’t Get It: A group of young people beating up two gay men. Why? I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Lynne Massi for her work in getting the Good Samaritan Bill passed in the House. It will be a lifesaver for those suffering a heroin OD.

Quote Box: “I am crying because I am overwhelmed. I am so happy.”

Lynne Massi, after learning of the bill’s passage by the House yesterday in Harrisburg.

'Live From the Newsroom' talks to Crozer nurses as strike looms

It's the biggest labor issue in Delaware County, and tonight the strike looming over Crozer-Chester Medical Center will be front and center on our live-stream Internet broadcast, 'Live From the Newsroom.'

The 600 nurses, members of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals union, has indicated they will walk off the job for two days starting Sunday morning.

The nurses have been in talks with the Crozer since April, but have failed to reach an agreement on the key issue, staffing at the facility.

PASNAP says the facility is dangerously under-staffed; Crozer vehemently disagrees. Sessions with a federal mediator this week have failed to reach an accord.

Tonight we will be joined by the head of the nurses union, as well as two nurses who actually man the sprawling medical center, one of the biggest employers in the county.

Bill Cruice, PASNAP Executive Director, will explain why the nurses will be walking off the job on Sunday morning, how long they will be out, and the company's response, which could mean nurses are actually off the job even longer. Also on hand tonight will be two Crozer RNs, Mary Trzeciak and Katie Eppehimer.

Unfortunately, our invitation to Crozer to have a spokesman join us has been declined.

If you have a question you'd like the panel to answer, email it to me at editor@delcotimes.com. Then join us tonight at 7 on DelcoTimes.com as we talk about a possible strike at one of the region's biggest medical centers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Sept. 17

The Daily Numbers: 600 nurses who will strike against Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland on Sunday morning.

2 days, how long the nurses plan to stay out.

5 days, how long the hospital says it had to agree to in order to bring in adequate staff to run the facility. That means 3 additional days off the job for the union nurses.

400 community leaders who will be getting postcards from the union detailing their position.

2 million dollars, how much the union says Crozer will pay to bring in nurses, paying them a minimum of $55 an hour.

654, as in IBEW Local 654, which finds itself in the middle of a dustup in the 26th District state Senate race between Tom McGarrigle and John Kane.

25, age of Darby man who was acquitted of all charges connected to a shooting in which a 12-year-old girl was hit.

8,000 dollars in jewelry stolen from a store in Wilmington.

2 persons nabbed on drug charges in Upper Darby as part of an undercover police sting.

8 options being considered as Upper Darby looks to redraw its political districts.

7th grader who told authorities she was the victim of a luring in Ridley Park.

11,000 pounds of copper wire swiped from a Delaware power plant. 1 man is in custody in the heist.

31, age of Eric Frein, a survivalist with an ax to grind against cops, who is now wanted in the fatal shooting of 1 Pa. state trooper and wounding of a 2nd in an ambush attack outside their barracks.

14, age of student who police alleged was involved in a sexual relationship with a band teacher at Central Bucks High School South.

2 dollar a pack cigarette tax in Philly to help fund city schools that got OK by a House panel yesterday.

54 percent of Americans who are sporting ‘abdominal obesity, according to new study. That’ the pear shape noted by extra weight collecting around your middle.

3,000 American troops headed to Africa to help in the war against the spread of the Ebola virus.

4 patients at Children’s Hospital in Philly who have been diagnosed with the Enterovirus.

4 Atlantic City casinos that have now shut their doors. Trump Plaza closed yesterday.

100 point spike for the stock market yesterday.

17 losses for Phils starter A.J. Burnett.

5 runs on 8 hits surrendered by Burnett.

5-4 loss for the Phils last night out in San Diego.

3-1 loss for the Union to the Sounders in the Open Cup.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Darren Sproles has been the Eagles MVP through 2 games.

I Don’t Get It: A group of well-dressed Preppy types is being sought by police in the brutal attack on a gay couple in Philly.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to surveillance video. Police say their phones are ringing off the hook with tips in connection with the attack.

Quote Box: “It is neither easy nor inexpensive to find nurses willing and able to travel into different hospital under stressful conditions and provide the level of care our community expects.”

- Grant Gegwich, spokesman for Crozer-Chester Medical Center, on bringing in outside nurses to staff the hospital in the event of a strike.