Wednesday, November 22, 2017

RIP David Cassidy: Hair's looking at you

I was never much of a Partridge Family fan.

A bit too 'sugary' for me.

I was a Motown guy, before I became a rock fan.

The Partridge Family was what we used to call 'bubble gum.'

All except for one thing.

I would have killed for David Cassidy's hair.

It was perfect.

And as a kid trying to let his own hair grew, which resulted for the most part in a frizzy mess, a mop sitting on top of a face that usually resembled a pepperoni pizza, I can tell you I would some times watch 'The Partridge Family' TV show. It wasn't for mom Shirley Jones. Or to check out daughter Susan Dey. Or to laugh at Danny Bonaduce. It was simply to get a glimpse of that perfect mane.

All of this is a way of saying that David Cassidy died Tuesday night.

He was 67 and suffering organ failure.

Wait a minute, David Cassidy was 67? That can't be, can it?

That means I'm ... uh, never mind.

Yes, time marches on.

RIP, David.

More grim news from Barclay Friends fire: Human remains found

The grim news announced by Chester County D.A. Tom Hogan Monday afternoon concerning the inferno at the Barclay Friends Senior Living Center just got worse.

Everyone knew it was coming. That doesn't make it any easier to comprehend.

ATF agents who have been scouring the site of Thursday night's massive fire have indicated that human remains have been found in the rubble. The identities of the remains have not yet been released.

At his Monday briefing, Hogan said four people were unaccounted for, an elderly man and his wife, and two other elderly women. All were residents at Barclay Friends.

ATF issued the following statement late Tuesday night:

Special Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Response Team, Pennsylvania State Police, and Chester County Fire Marshal’s office have located the remains of two individuals inside the Barclay Friends Senior Center at 700 North Franklin Street in West Chester. Investigators initially located the remains of the first victim in the late morning hours and then the second victim later in the afternoon on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. The remains were transported from the scene by the Chester County Coroner and the families of the four missing residents were notified.

Investigators are still in the process of conducting an origin and cause investigation of the fire and it is expected to continue throughout the Thanksgiving holiday. A large crane and other excavating equipment has been brought to the scene and begun removing large sections of fire debris early this morning. Efforts to locate the two remaining missing residents will continue tomorrow morning.

“The thoughts and prayers of the men and women of ATF are with the families of the victims during this difficult time. Their losses only strengthen our resolve to provide answers to them as a result of our investigation of this tragedy” said Special Agent in Charge Donald Robinson.

ATF’s NRT, along with Special Agents from the ATF Philadelphia Field Division, were activated to respond to the five-alarm fire at the Barclay Friends Senior Assisted Living Center located at 700 N. Franklin Street in West Chester, Pennsylvania. The fire occurred at approximately 10:45 p.m., Nov. 16, 2017. First responders from West Chester and surrounding fire departments in the area arrived on scene shortly after the first call was made to 911 assisting with the evacuation of approximately 160 residents and staff members. The NRT arrived on scene Saturday morning to start processing the fire scene and determine the origin and cause once the building was secured and hot spots extinguished. The fire investigation is being worked in coordination with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office, Chester County Fire Marshal’s Office, Pennsylvania State Police, West Chester Police Department, Chester County Sheriff’s Office and Chester County Department of Emergency Services.

It's back! Time for Homes for the Holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

And once again we’d like to share some of that holiday spirit with our readers.

To that end, we once again will be rolling out one of our holiday favorites - Homes for the Holidays - in our feature Page Two photo spot. And we’d like you, our readers, to once again get involved.

If you spend hours on your holiday decorations and would like to see them featured in the paper, send us some photos and we’ll share the spirit.

Email your photos to

There are a few ground rules.

One - and the most important - there are no guarantees.

We will run a photo each day from this Sunday, Nov. 26 through Monday, Jan. 1. A quick use of our questionable math skills tells us that we likely will not be able to get every house in the county into the paper.

What we will try to do is at least cover every section of the county.

Join us in sharing the holiday spirit.

‘Tis the season.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A community shows its best when things appear worst

Yes, there was grim news from West Chester yesterday on the investigation into the inferno that consumed the Barclay Friends Senior Living Center Thursday night.

Four residents are still unaccounted for and feared lost in the fire.

But amid this dire news, amid the heartache that started with the first glance of those towering flames licking the sky over the senior center, we were reminded of what is good.

The community came together in the face of heartache to help those displaced by the fire.

Neighbors descended on the Barclay to help rescue residents. They brought blankets and hot drinks to comfort those routed from their homes, now sitting outside in 40-degree chill.

Then on Sunday an overwhelming show of support formed in the long line of cars cued up at the Good Will Fire Co. to drop off donations to help those displaced. These were critical items such as toiletries, clothes, even wheelchairs, walkers and canes.

It showed the essence of what we are: a community.

We talk about it on today's editorial page.

The grim news from West Chester

It was the news everyone had been fearing since late Thursday night, when an inferno roared through the Barclay Friends Senior Living Center in West Chester.

The first thing officials had to do was try to account for all the residents.

More than 130 residents and 15 staff were heroically evacuated as the blaze raged through the structure.

But not all the residents.

Yesterday Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan gave the news we feared: Four residents remain unaccounted for. Officials are not expecting a miracle.

ATF teams will now be brought in to sift through the rubble.

Hogan said that with high winds whipping the flames quickly through the structure, it's conceivable in a fire of this sort that the toll could have been much worse, that maybe as many as 40 to 50 people could have been lost.

You can get all the latest details on this tragedy here.

Monday, November 20, 2017

This Eagles team is ready for prime time - even if I'm not

That will teach me to drift off to sleep at halftime.

Have I mentioned recently how much I hate these night, prime time games?

When you work my schedule, they are a killer.

Which kind of describes what the Eagles did to the Cowboys in the second half last night, literally imposing their will on Jerry Jones' 'Boys and pulling away to a 37-9 victory.

Remember, this one was 9-7 at halftime, when I slipped off to La-La land.

That means the Eagles ran off 30 points in the second half while holding Dallas scoreless. The Cowboys did not score a touchdown. The first half was nothing to write home about.

The Eagles looked like they were still on their bye week. Doug Pederson's play calling seemed off. After a dazzling first drive that saw Carson Wentz march the Birds down the field to erase a Dallas 3-0 lead, the Birds spun their wheels the rest of the half. Passes were dropped. Wentz missed receivers. The ground game was stalled.

And adding to the mix was an injury to kicker Jake Elliott, suffered on a big Cowboys return on the opening kickoff. Elliott suffered a head injury and missed the entire second half.

That jolting news must have woke up the Eagles.

At halftime, Pederson informed his troops that the Eagles would not be doing a lot of kicking in the second half. They would go for it on every fourth down when they were not punting and would got for two after every score.

Then they went out and rammed the ball down the Cowboys' throats in the second half.

The offense simply imposed their will on Dallas, while the defense harassed Dak Prescott into a slew of turnovers.

Three field goals is all the Cowboys mustered - and nothing in the second half.

Too bad I didn't see any of it.

9-1. Best team in the NFL.


All the game details are here.

Check out beat writer Bob Grotz's observations on the game here.

From the worst, proof of the best of our community

There is still much about the horrific fire that destroyed the Barclay Friends Senior Living Center in West Chester Thursday night.

We don't know the cause.

We don't yet know if there were any fatalities.

But what we do know is that when faced with the absolute worst, it somehow managed to bring out the absolute best.

As flames consumed the structure, neighbors already were converging on the site to see what they could do to help.

They brought blankets. They brought hot coffee. They brought soothing words to their elderly neighbors, many of them still in their beds and wheelchairs, who had been evacated from their homes and now were huddling outside in chilly 40-degree temperatures.

The neighbors joined the more than 400 first responders who battled the blaze.

The help continued Friday. West Chester University opened its gym as a temporary shelter for those displaced by the fire. A row of wheelchairs was neatly lined up outside the facility.

Then Sunday, the outpouring of support in the community continued. Hundreds of residents descended on Good Will Fire Co. to donate needed items such as toiletries, clothes, blankets, even canes and walkers.

Today we may learn more about preliminary findings, as well as whether any residents remain unaccounted for.

What we know now is that, once again, when the very worst strikes, this region is capable of uniting and showing its very best.

I wrote about it in my weekly Letter From the Editor.