Thursday, April 27, 2017

A world-class city - again

Go ahead. Call us homers.

Philadelphia once again finds itself in the international limelight.

First it was the pope. Then came the Democrats.

Now things are really getting serious.

The NFL is in town.

Tonight the city becomes the epicenter of the sports universe, hosting the three-day NFL Draft on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway - and of course the most famous steps in the universe.

Yes, those very same steps traversed by that underdog film hero Rocky Balboa, tonight play host to a slew of other athletes, No. 1 picks in the NFL Draft.

A massive stage has been constructed atop the Rocky steps.

There are those who believe shutting down a big part of Center City for this type of event is overkill.

Yes, it does have its downside.

But it is absolutely worth it.

We can give you about 80 million reasons why. That's how much the event likely will contribute to the region's bottom line - a cool $80 million bucks.

But it's more than that.

It's one more reason for the region to shed its inferiority complex and embrace our new role as a world-class city that routinely handles big events.

Sorry, Rocky, we're not underdogs anymore.

It's on our editorial page.

Presenting a balanced picture of young people

We're on a bit of a roll this week when it comes to featuring good kids.

That brings a smile to this editor's day, because it gives me ammunition to one of the biggest complaints I hear every day about our coverage, especially when it comes to young people.

"How come there is so much bad news in the Daily Times?"

The easy answer is because that's what people read.

But that's not enough.

That's one of the reasons I am always looking for a way to feature kids doing good things.

Just last Sunday, we devoted the lead of our front page, as well as four pages inside to our annual All-Delco Hi-Q team. These are our best and brightest, one member from each team that participates in the nation's oldest scholastic quiz competition, Hi-Q.

Those kids, along with the 19 educators selected for the prestigious Excellence in Teaching Awards, will be honored tonight at the Partners in Education gala at the Drexelbrook. It will be my honor to represent the Daily Times there as one of the sponsors.

It's not every day I get to stand in a room of 600 or more people who for the most part have nice things to say about the newspaper. Then yesterday we used two more pages to feature the young people who have been selected to receive scholarships from the Taylor Foundation. You can read all about them here.

It's easy to run stories about kids doing bad things. It takes a little more effort to make sure that image is not skewed, to make sure you are presenting a balanced image of young people.

I think we have done that this week.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, April 26

The Daily Numbers: 55, age of man labeled sexual predator as he was sentenced yesterday in Media Courthouse. He didn’t like the tag.

4 buildings at Cardinal O’Hara that are home to nuns’ convents that will be ‘repurposed’ by the archdiocese into housing for international students attending archdiocese high schools. The nuns will need to find a new home.

37, age of Delco man under arrest in Hatfield after getting into an ugly confrontation with the mother of his 3 children.

16, age of Ridley teen held after an online threat was made against the high school.

16 students are the recipients of this year’s Taylor Community Foundation awards.

105-84 vote in the Pa. House for a plan to lease and eventually sell off the state store system.

2.9 percent tax hike sought in Lower Merion, just a week a judge told them to roll back last year’s increase.

25, age of 3-year veteran of Philadelphia police force who faces child porn charges

232 point spike for Wall Street yesterday. Your 401k is happy.

1,200 jobs being cut by Coke.

1 more day of hype until the NFL Draft kicks off Thursday night. I can hardly contain myself.

14, where Eagles will pick in the 1st round.

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

Please just make the damn selections and quit talking about the NFL Draft.

I

Don’t Get It:
Mock drafts. Can someone explain the importance of these to me. Today’s Upper: Kudos to the kids who snagged Taylor Foundation Awards. Well done.

Quote Box: “I never carried a knife or gun in my life.”

- Michael Richie, to judge in arguing against being labeled sexually violent predator.

One mother's stand vs. heroin

We have written pages and pages of stories about the insidious scourge of the opioid-heroin epidemic in this region.

None of it has had the impact of the piece that appeared on our op-ed page Tuesday.

Ginny Paul is a Springfield mom. She knows all too well the dangers inherent in this new evil.

She lost her son Doug to heroin.

It took a tremendous amount of courage for her to write the moving, personal piece on the loss of her son and her struggle to come to grips with it.

She should be hailed for taking a stand, for not standing in the shadows.

There is a new saying in journalism, which finds itself under siege these days.

It says, "Democracy dies in darkness."

So do kids.

Too many people continue to remain silent - even as the death toll from heroin and opioid abuse continues to rise. Ginny Paul decided to take a different route. She decided to bare her soul - and her son's struggle - for every reader of this newspaper and our website to read.

We are all better for it.

Thank you, Ginny.

A suggestion to RTM and Sunoco Logistics: No secrets on pipeline plans

On our editorial page today, we note that residents who are opposed to Sunoco Logistics' plans to construct a massive pipeline through their neighborhood are not going away.

Neither are their concerns.

Make no mistake. It almost a sure bet that Mariner East 2 - which will ferry hundreds of thousands of barrels of gases such as propane, butane and ethane across the entire width of Pennsylvania, from the Marcellus Shale regions to Marcus Hook - is going to be built.

It has a huge upside, the potential to be an economic blockbuster that could convert Marcus Hook into the energy hub of the entire Northeast U.S.

But it is not without serious concerns, for neighbors and property owners.

That's why the Rose Tree Media School District and Sunoco officials did not do themselves any favors by not allowing the media or members of the community to attend a recent "safe school summit" that focused on pipeline issues and the plan should something go wrong.

This project needs all the transparency it can get.

You can read our editorial here.

A slice of life for an old paperboy

It was one of those 'slice of life' moments that can't help but bring a smile to your face.

At least it did to mine.

I was doing my normal maniacal early-morning drive into the office this morning, zipping along the back way I have discovered along Ridley Creek Road that allows me to avoid any traffic driving through Media. I was running late, and I was in a hurry.

Nothing exactly new about that.

Usually it's not a problem. I'm usually early enough where traffic isn't an issue.

But as I said, I was driving a little later this morning, and I encountered a car creeping along. I could feel the blood rushing to my head and resisted the urge to cut loose with my normal string of profanities. Not exactly the way I wanted to start the day.

Then the driver in front of me did something that stopped me in my tracks.

I saw his arm extend out the window and ... no, he didn't flip me the bird. He did, however, flip a newspaper onto the driveway to our left.

I just had to smile.

He creeped along a bit, and then pulled off a perfect toss up over the top of his car and perfectly placed on the driveway on our right.

My man!

Thanks for your efforts!

As an old paperboy - even one who made his appointed rounds delivering 44 Evening Bulletins on his bike each day - I enjoyed the effort - and I also noticed the paper was perfectly wrapped.

People still like the feel of a printed newspaper in their hands.

And some people still get up at an ungodly hour to deliver all those newspapers.

I salute you, my friend

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Lessons in leadership ... at Lincoln University

They brought out the heavy hitters for yesterday's Delaware County Youth Leadership Academy at Neumann University.

Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan and County Council Vice Chairman Colleen Morrone were on hand to offer their young charges some important views of leadership in today's community.

Not sure why, but they also once again invited a certain newspaper editor. I hope I didn't bore the kids to death.

The three-day program gives high school sophomores across the county a chance to network and learn team building with various county and business leaders. One thing I can certainly suggest they NOT do. I discovered once I got back to the office that I had split the back of my pants. I am certainly hoping that occurred AFTER I got back from the conference, that I wasn't walking around all day with a less-than-pleasant rear-view mirror.

I can report that the county is in very good hands. I met some terrific kids. They're smart as whips and ready to go out there and lead. One thing I was dismayed at, however. I think it's a troubling sign of our times.

Only one student all day had an inkling why I consider it so important and such a seminal moment in my life that I attended classes for two years at Lincoln University outside my home town of Oxford.

Anyone want to fathom a guess as to why?

I can tell you this: I urged all those kids yesterday that if they ever get the opportunity to have this experiences they should grab it with both hands. I use the lessons I learned at Lincoln every day.

So why was it so important?