Friday, July 31, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Friday, July 31

The Daily Numbers: 2 small children and a distraught mother taken out of a Marcus Hook home after a tense standoff yesterday.

1 count of driving under influence that earned a man time served to 6 months in jail in the crash that took the life of popular college athlete Dante DeSimone.

6,565 payment to Crime Victims Compensation Assistance PRogram, $1,100 in costs and fines for Jonathan Vanderhorst in the case. 80 hours of community service.

1.35 million dollar grant to Norwood for water infrastructure projects.

522,910 dollar grant being sought for the Delco Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

100th anniversary for Aldan Union Church, which was recognized by borough council.

3 killed and 1 hurt in drag racing incident in Philadelphia.

5, age of girl in Philly taken from her home and brutally beaten in the yard.

4-1 win for the Phillies over the Braves last night.

10 wins in 12 games for Phils since All-Star break.

12 hits banged out by Phils last night.

8 year, $66 million extension for Flyers Jake Voracek.

143 mph, how fast police say New York Jets defensive end was driving.

2-0 series lead for Aston Valley over Narberth in Delco League semis.

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

It’s not official yet, but don’t expect any reversal on the Cole Hamels deal. He’s going to Texas.

I Don’t Get It: Anyone driving 143 mph, let alone a star NFL defensive lineman. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Southeast Delco Tactical response team for defusing what could have been a very ugly scene in Marcus Hook yesterday.

Quote Box: “Every day we are left with pain in our hearts and emptiness in our home.”

- Rita DeSimone, at sentencing for man involved in crash that took life of her son Dante.

So who will win the 161st?

People keep asking me who I think is going to win the hotly contested special election in the 161st state House race.

That's one of the good things about this kind of race - they have the stage to themselves.

Republican Paul Mullen is focusing on going door-to-door pushing his message. He's facing Democrat Leanne Krueger-Braneky and the woman who has really made this race interesting, conservative Republican write-in candidate Lisa Esler.

Esler, a popular Penn-Delco School Board member, and others in the conservative wing of the party were irate at party leaders and the process used to make Mullen the endorsed Republican.

That's what happens when you back a labor leader who has been vocal in his support for Democrats, including Barack Obama, Bob Casey Jr., Joe Sestak, and perhaps most seriously John Kane in his recent knockdown, drag-out war with Tom McGarrigle for the 26th District state Senate seat.

There were a lot of unpleasantries exchanged between labor unions and Republicans. Not everyone, it appears, is willing to forgive and forget. Esler and her group certainly remember, and they've been screaming bloody murder to anyone who will listen that Mullen does not engender what they believe are the true beliefs of the party.

Our op-ed pages continue to be dominated by letters staking out their sides in what has turned into a barn-burner. All of that aside, the key to this race is the same key to any election, especially here in Delaware County.

It's all about turnout.

That tends to run in the Republicans' favor. Their loyalists are more likely to get to the polls, especially in a mid-summer special election that falls during one of the most popular vacation weeks of the year.

And while Dems now actually outnumber Republicans across the county, that does not hold true in the 161st. Republicans still have the edge. If Mullen and the GOP gets the faithful to the polls, he should persevere.

But Esler remains the X-factor. It's entirely possible she could siphon off enough votes to open the door to a victory for the Democrat Krueger-Braneky.

So who wins?

I still say it's Mullen, but much closer that anyone thinks.

Just don't put the house on it.

Don't fall for bogus papal rail pass deal

Well, that didn't take long.

I kind of figured there would be no shortage of scammers looking to take advantage of the massive interest in the pope's visit to our area in late September.

I wasn't wrong.

There are reports this morning that an item has popped up on Craigslist touting "early access" to those prized papal passes SEPTA is using for the regional rail system for those two days on Sept. 26-27.

Don't but them. It's bogus.

SEPTA spokesman Jerry Williams assures that no sales will take place until the lottery kicks off at 12:01 a.m. on Monday. Those interested in the passes will have until 11:59 Monday night to put their name into the lottery.

Everyone has an equal chance of hitting the lottery - and scoring the prized ducats.

In the meantime, the region seems to be dealing with a case of high anxiety when it comes to the visit by Pope Francis.

And don't forget to pick up a copy of the Sunday Times for a complete rundown on SEPTA's plans for the regional rails in Delco for the papal visit. We'll tell you everything you need to know.

No official word on Cole; Phils continue to win

Cole Hamels is still a Phillie.

Technically.

In what has to be the longest-unfolding trade in MLB history, there still has been no official word on the deal that will send him to the Texas Rangers.

In fact, Jake Diekman, the left-handed reliever who is also in the deal, was actually in uniform last night.

That does not mean Hamels will be on the hill for the Phils tonight. Expect press conferences in both Arlington and South Philly.

In the meantime, those confounding Phillies continue to win. Last night they posted a 4-1 win over the Braves.

Every Phillie in the starting lineup managed at least one hit to support Aaron Harang, making his first start since coming off the disabled list. He managed to snap a losing streak that stretched back through his last eight starts.

Jack McCaffery notes the key to the mega deal for Hamels for the Phillies can be found in just how The Phils are now 10-02 since the All-Star Break.

Guess the Eagles will just have to wait.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Silence not golden in 161st race

We used our editorial page to talk about the "Sounds of Silence" being heard in the special election for the 161st state House seat being vacated by Joe Hackett.

I say that because the endorsed Republican, Paul Mullen, has decided to skip two public forums. The League of Women Voters actually scrapped their event after Mullen said he would not be able to make it. Democrat Leanne Krueger-Braneky was confirmed as a participant. Write-in candidate Lisa Esler was not invited because that League has a long policy of not inviting anyone who is not on the ballot.

I'm willing to give Mullen the benefit of the doubt on this one. The date got shuffled a couple of times, and Mullen says he actually shifted his schedule once only to find out the event had been moved to another night.

The League says Mullen didn't reply to several overtures they made.

On Sunday a group called Delco Debates will hold a forum for all three candidates. Again Mullen says he won't be able to make it.

I get the distinct feeling this has a lot more to do with Esler than any scheduling conflict Mullen might have. This is basic politics.

Mullen is the endorsed Republican. That decision angered a group in the GOP who didn't like the fact that the party was now getting into bed with a longtime labor leader and a guy who had backed Barack Obama, Joe Sestak and even John Kane in his contentious scrap with Republican Tom McGarrigle for the 26th District state Senate seat.

Those people found a candidate in Esler, a popular member of the Penn-Delco School Board.

Mullen does not want to give any sense of credence to the Esler campaign. In effect, he's running against both the Democrat and the write-in.

The GOP fear is that Esler could siphon off enough votes from Mullen on the GOP ticket to open the door for Krueger-Braneky to eke out a win.

So it's likely there will be an empty chair at Sunday's event where Mullen could be sitting.

As we said in today's editorial, the silence is deafening.

Thanks, Cole: Hamels made us winners

OK, we can start the Eagles season.

Cole Hamels is no longer a Phillie.

Several reports overnight indicate the Phillies have dealt their ace left-hander to the Texas Rangers for a slew of prospects. Jake Diekman also is heading to Texas in the deal.

The deal is expected to be announced officially Thursday morning.

Everyone knew it was coming; that doesn't make it any less jarring.

An era is ending. An era when we were champions.

And make no mistake, Hamels is the reason why. Without him there is no World Series championship in 2008. No parade. No end to our long championship drought. And no infamous Chase Utley 'World Bleeping Champions.'

The Phillies did not win a title with Roy Halladay. Or Cliff Lee. They did with Cole Hamels.

He was ridiculed for the way he talked, belittled for his "California cool."

But he went to the mound every five days and almost always gave the Phillies a quality start, even when all too often the Phils' bats fell silent every time he took the mound.

Perhaps the saddest thing is that Philly fans were deprived of giving Hamels the kind of send-off he deserved, especially after he put an exclamation point on his Phillies career by tossing a no-hitter at the Chicago Cubs last Saturday night in Wrigley.

He was supposed to be on the mound tonight when the Phils returns to Citizens Bank Park. That had already been pushed back to Friday night, but most expected Hamels to be dealt before the 4 p.m. trade deadline.

It would have been nice to see one more packed house in South Philly offer a final salute to Hamels.

I have a standing rule about those guys who formed the heart of that 2008 team. I will never boo Hamels, nor Chase Utley or Ryan Howard. I know they all make ridiculous amounts of money, and that, in the case of Utley and Howard, their best years are clearly in the rear-view mirror.

But they gave us something we hungered for for years. They gave us a parade.

They made us winners.

It's been awhile since we felt that way.

Thanks, Cole.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, July 29

The Daily Numbers: 24 hours, how long you will have on Monday to sign up for the lottery to win 1 of those prized SEPTA regional rail passes for the weekend of the visit by Pope Francis.

175,000 passes being sold for each day. 250, how many SEPTA sold before their computers melted down under the demand last week.

10 bucks per ticket, with each ‘winner’ of the lottery being eligible to buy 10 tickets.

6 of August, when the winners will be notified by email that they are eligible to buy tickets.

24,000, how many riders usually use the regional rails on a typical Saturday.

18,750 on Sunday.

66,500 on most workdays.

75 cents per pass sold for TicketLeap, the Philly company that is handling the lottery for SEPTA.

110,000 dollars, how much SEPTA paid CapTech, the firm that designed the system that imploded last week.

750,000 3-day passes for subways, trolleys and buses good for Sept. 26-28. Riders also can use tokens and regular passes for the rest of the system, but not the regional rails. You must have one of the special papal passes to use the rails that weekend.

16,000 dollar theft that earned a former county probation officer 11 1/2 to 23 months in prison.

27, age of shooting victim in Chester clinging to life.

10 shootings in Chester in the last 4 days.

36 inch by 28 inch replica of a Picasso painting on display in Media stolen.

36, age of longtime nurse at the Pocopson Center, the Chester County retirement center, charged with stealing morphine and pills.

2 new hands for boy who lost both his to an infection, with the operation being done at Children’s Hospital.

30 years, how long Jonathan Pollard spent in prison for selling secrets to Israel. He’s being paroled in November.

17 saves in 17 opportunities this year for Jonathan Papelbon, who the Phillies traded to the Washington Nationals last night.

342 career saves for Papelbon, who happens to hold the Phils’ all-time saves mark with 123.

7-6 record for the guy the Phils got, 22-year-old Nick Pivetta.

3.02 ERA in 18 games, including 17 starts.

9-1 mark for the Phils since the All-Star break, after 3-2 win over Toronto last night, with Ken Giles in closer role.

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

Papelbon is gone, look for Cole Hamels to be next out the door. But the Phils are still winning.

I Don’t Get It: Jonathan Papelbon. A great closer? Absolutely. Am I glad he’s gone. Absolutely.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to SEPTA for the notion of the lottery to buy special papal passes for the regional rails. Probably the fairest way to do it.

Quote Box: “Everyone has the same chance of being chosen.”

- SEPTA spokesperson Jerry Williams, on lottery for special papal rail passes.