Friday, October 24, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Oct. 24

The Daily Numbers: 800 doses of Narcan ready to go into police cars in the county on Nov. 29 when new law goes into effect allowing first responders to deliver the drug to someone experiencing a heroin overdose.

19, age of Main Line teen facing charges in heroin overdose death of a friend.

1st degree murder conviction against a Chester man in the July 2010 shooting of a man outside a city business.

70th anniversary for Media Fellowship.

54, age of Community Service supervisor charged with groping two women assigned to his work detail. He will face trial.

36 years in Haverford schools coming to an end. Superintendent Dr. William Keilbaugh is retiring.

182 students at Upper Darby High School who will get a free ACT test after the first one they took got lost in the mail.

59 and 22, ages of men who now face charges in connection with an incident that led to a lockdown at Malvern Prep High School.

2,000 dollar Tiffany bracelet, what the former top judge in Philly Traffic Court is accused of taking from a businessman. She now faces bribery charges.

52, age of former Philly mob boss Joey Merlino, who has been summoned to court this morning for a hearing to see if he violated his parole agreement.

216 point boost for the stock market yesterday.

3.92 percent average rate for a 30-year mortgage.

33, age of doctor in New York City who has tested positive for Ebola virus.

50 percent hike in earnings reported by Comcast. That comes to a cool $16.8 billion.

2 final football games of the season that have been cancelled at Central Bucks West High School amid reports of hazing.

109-103 loss for the Sixers in their final exhibition game to the Pistons.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. The Sixers played their final exhibition game last night. Why do I get the feeling their entire season is going to be an exhibition?

I Don’t Get It: Hazing among high school athletes has entered an entire new area.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to those who gathered last night in Upper Chi to remember those lost to heroin and opioid addiction.

Quote Box: “This is not a club we wanted to join.”

- Tricia Stouch, at last night’s vigil for to remember those who died of addiction.

'Live From the Newsroom' talks some serious politics

It looks like I might have to go down with the ship alone.

The Tom Corbett ship, that is.

I was one of the very few people in this state who has gone on the record as saying that Tom Corbett would be re-elected. I did that in part because Pennsylvania has never - never - voted out an incumbent governor.

Instead we usually flip-flop parties every eight years. In other words, eight years with a Democrat, followed by eight years of a Republican in the governor's mansion.

But judging by the conversation on last night's 'Live From the Newsroom' show, that may be about to change.

During our monthly visit to the sparkling new TV production facilities at Widener University, Corbett is in serious trouble.

If you missed the show, you can catch the replay here.

I started out by noting that Corbett has been paring what once was an overwhelming lead in the polls for Democrat Tom Wolf. But neither of my guests, Widener political science professor Wes Leckrone, nor columnist Chris Freind believes Corbett is going to win.

We also discussed what is likely the second most high-profile race in the state. That would be the battle for the open state Senate seat in the 26th District, where Republican Tom McGarrigle and Democrat John Kane are doing battle. It's going to set a record for being maybe the most expensive state Senate race in Pennsylvania history. And it's gotten increasingly nasty.

This one looks like it could go down to the wire. Although Democrats are widening their newfound registration edge in the county, the GOP still has more voters in the 26th District. This one likely will go down to the wire.

Wake up the echoes: Hazing claims another high school football season

The football season is over at Central Bucks West High School.

In a stunning move Thursday, the school superintendent scrapped the final two games of the season, citing reports of hazing during pre-season rituals. Kids apparently were forced to go into the showers with a towel draped over their face. They are referring to this as something akin to waterboarding. Crotches were grabbed.

While the shock waves roll over the CBW community, they are no doubt also being felt across the region.

This is now the second incident of hazing that has stopped a high school football team in its tracks. The first was Sayreville in North Jersey, which also saw its season wind up on the ash heap after reports hazing. Five coaches were suspended and criminal charges are pending against seven players.

I imagine there are a lot of nervous players and coaches across the Delaware Valley today.

In other words, my guess is that things have not changed a lot in the more than 40 years since I last donned a football uniform.

Yes, we were knuckleheads. We did a lot of dumb things.

Before the season, we would go away for a week for "summer camp." Hell might have been a better description. We practiced four times a day.

I have no idea where we got the energy, but after dark we still managed to get in more than our share of hijinks. I would guess those would include something that today might be described as hazing, including invading the cabin of a group of younger players and generally raising hell.

In that week, a special bond was created among the young men who played on those teams.

I'd be willing to bet that has not changed in the decades since either.

I always tell people that I learned almost as much playing on a high school football team - even for someone who barely weighed 110 pounds soaking wet - as I did in many classrooms.

You learned about adversity, how to get along with people of different backgrounds, and maybe most importantly, how to bond, unite behind a common goal. The bonds that formed during those weeks at summer camp remain today.

We weren't very good. We went 0-10 my senior year. I was the quarterback. That sort of explains what kind of team we had. I got hurt in both my junior and senior years. In my junior year I blew out my shoulder and spent a night in the hospital in Coatesville. I returned my senior year only to break my collarbone in week four. So I'm only responsible for four of those 10 losses.

I feel today for the kids at Central Bucks West. As an adult, I don't condone what they did. But I can certainly imagine how it happened.

Should the coaches have intervened? If they knew, absolutely. But coaches aren't everywhere.

This kind of thing is not new. How we react to it is.

The football fields at Central Bucks West will be quiet today. Eerily quiet.

But the message sent could not be louder.

It's being heard in every locker room, and every practice field, across the Delaware Valley.

It's even heard in 40 year-old memories of another time.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Oct. 23

The Daily Numbers: 15 years in jail for a Chester woman convicted of human trafficking in females for prostitution.

5,000 donated to Springfield Area Education System by Cole Hamels Foundation.

182 students in Upper Darby who have learned their ACT test scores are missing.

1,100 doctors in the Crozer-Keystone Health System who may soon have a new partner. The health system yesterday indicated it is exploring possible mergers.

25, age of man charged in a stabbing after an altercation on the El spilled outside.

46, age of man who pleaded guilty to indecent exposure for masturbating in his car while parked in a supermarket parking lot.

1 pedestrian victim of a hit-run in Norwood Sunday night.

69, age of former Tinicum police officer found guilty of stalking his wife.

23 rounds fired by a Sharon Hill officer at a suspect in a confrontation after a traffic stop. The officer testified yesterday at the man’s trial that he feared for his life after the suspect pointed a gun at him.

8 to 16 years in prison for a Chester man in the sexual assault of a 14-year-old boy.

70, as in Committee of 70, the civic watchdog group in Philly that has a new leader. Welcome David Thornburgh.

6 states, including Pa., that will be involved in new monitoring of travelers arriving from sections of Africa affected by Ebola virus outbreaks.

1 man nabbed after jumping the fence at the White House last night. It’s the 2nd such incident in the past few weeks. This guy didn’t make it inside.

153 point nosedive for the stock market yesterday.

2 dead - a soldier and the gunman - in an attack on Parliament in Ottawa, Canada, yesterday. It’s being tied to ISIS.

1-1 deadlock in the World Series after the Royals rolled to 7-2 win last night.

5-3 win for the Flyers over the Pens in Pittsburgh.

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

How can the Flyers look that bad in Chicago in getting spanked 4-0, then turn around the very next night and beat the Pens in Pittsburgh. Ah, the vagaries of the NHL.

I Don’t Get It: An incident on the El involving trash thrown at a baby stroller quickly escalates into a confrontation out on the platform. One man is charged, another is stabbed. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Cardinal O’Hara High School, which hosted an anti-bullying session at the school yesterday.

Quote Box: “No matter where you go, this problem is taking lives.”

- Dr. Claudio Cerullo, leader of Teach Anti-Bullying Inc., to students at O’Hara yesterday.

A live session with Tom Wolf

We’ll have Tom Wolf live this afternoon.

Last we week we put Gov. Tom Corbett on the hot seat.

This week it’s Democrat Tom Wolf’s turn.

We’ll have a live session with the Democrat who wants to turn out Corbett.

You can catch a live-stream of the interview with members of the Digital First Editorial Board at 1 p.m. at DelcoTimes.com You calso can take part in a live chat via Scribble.

If you have a question for Wolf, email it to me at editor@delcotimes.com.

Then tune in as we put Tom Wolf on the spot in the governor’s race.

We’re live at 1!

The politics of debating

Tom McGarrigle is a different kind of Republican.

Just ask Gov. Tom Corbett.

McGarrigle, the Republican chairman of County Council who is running in the increasingly heated battle for the 26th District state Senate seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Ted Erickson against Democrat John Kane, makes no bones about his differences with the governor.

And no apologies.

McGarrigle wants a 4 percent tax on gas drillers in the state's Marcellus Shale region, with all the money going to education. That puts him at odds with the guy at the top of the GOP ticket.

Don't look for McGarrigle and Corbett to appear together anytime soon.

And don't look for McGarrigle and Kane to go mano a mano in a debate either.

That's the other thing that separates McGarrigle from the norm here in Delco, long ruled for the most part by the Republican Party. From very early in the campaign, McGarrigle has been pushing Kane for a debate.

The first overture was rejected by Kane because McGarrigle suggested it be hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, which already has indicated they are backing the Republican.

Then someone suggested me as the moderator. I agreed, so long as the two sides agreed and set the grounds rules. I suggested the two appear on our 'Live From the Newsroom' show. I had hoped to do this last night, but Kane indicated he had a scheduling conflict.

McGarrigle offered to show up alone and talk about the issues. I declined, in part because I'm not sure it would have been fair to offer a completely one-sided debate.

But I also understand the frustration McGarrigle feels. My guess is he probably feels the way so many Democrats in the county have felt for years. They always asked their Republican foes for a debate, usually having that request fall on deaf ears. Instead the two sides would usually wind up on stage together for a League of Women Voters meet the candidates night.

The temperature in the 26th state Senate race has been building to a boiling point. A nearly non-stop barrage of TV ads from both sides is making this perhaps the most expensive state Senate race in history.

McGarrigle has been labeled a tax cheat and a "millionaire."

Kane has been ripped for taking money from another labor union that faces some serious issues, as well as his healthy salary as the business manager for Plumbers Union Local 690. Kane insists the $270,000 figure the GOP ad cites is misleading, that some of that salary is retirement fund dollars he borrowed to put his kids through school.

Yesterday the thermometer inched even higher when a woman who claims to be Kane's daughter from a previous relationship took issue with his commercials portraying himself as a family man.

I'm still hoping to see McGarrigle and Kane together talking about the issues. I'll let you know when it happens. I'm not holding my breath.

'Live From the Newsroom' talks Election 2014

Tom Corbett vs. Tom Wolf.

Tom McGarrigle vs. John Kane.

Vince Rongione vs. Jamie Santora.

We're just two weeks out from going to the polls to elect a governor, members of Congress, a state senator and state representatives.

We're taking our 'Live From the Newsroom' live-stream internet show back out on the road tonight to talk politics.

We'll back on the campus of Widener University in Chester to talk about the issues and maybe make a few predictions on the key races. It's our monthly visit to Freedom Hall, where we take advantage of the school's sparkling new TV studio. Students handle much of the production for the show.

Can Tom Corbett erase a huge deficit and win another four years in Harrisburg. Who will emerge victorious in what has been perhaps the most expensive state Senate race in history in the heated battle to replace Republican Sen. Ted Erickson. This one also is important because control of the state Senate is hanging in the balance.

And the 163rd state House race is important if only for the fact that someone not named Micozzie will represent those folks in Harrisburg for the first time in more than three decades.

I'll be joined by Widener political science professor Wes Leckrone, as well as my featured columnist Chris Freind.

Do you have a question you'd like to ask the panel? Email it to me at editor@delcotimes.com.

Then tune into to DelcoTimes.com tonight at 7.

Join the conversation!