Friday, August 31, 2007

How Sweep it is

I went home Thursday night and did something I've done thousands of times.

And yet it was something I've never done before.

I watched the game on TV.

No, not the Eagles. I don't really need to watch A.J. Feeley and the rest of the Eagles backups trying desperately to both make the team and not get hurt while banging around with the Jets. ACtually Feeley didn's exatly escape unscathed. He broke his left (non-throwing) hand.

No, I watched the replay of the Phillies game on Comcast Sportsnet. It was that good.

This is one people will be talking about for a long time. Yes, I work at a newspaper. And yes, I was actually posting live updates on the game to our Web site yesterday afternoon.

I dutifully (actually gleefully) noted that the Phils got out to a quick 5-0 lead on home runs by Ryan Howrad, Pat Burrell and Aaron Howard.

They I reluctantly reported how the Mets scratched their way back to a 5-5 deadlock. Of course the Phils responded by quickly posting three more runs, and just as quickly the Mets responded in turn.

Then the Phils bullpen got involved. Not good. Once again, it seemed they carried gas cans in with them from the bullpen, all too willing to throw a little gas on the fire.

The Phils were down 10-8 in the eighth when something almost surreal occurred. They got one in the eighth, setting the stage for the bottom of the ninth.

Making it all the more delicious was the fact that it came at the expense of former Phil (and resident loudmouth) Billy Wagner, who for some reason was trying to go two innings to close out the win for the Mets. The Phils had other ideas.

First Jayson Werth got on, and then managed to steal both second and third. In the meantime, Wagner was in the process of unraveling. Finalley, Chase Utley lined a ball into right field, and the guy who filled in so admirably for him for a month, Tadahito Iguchi, scampered home with the winning run.

11-10 Phillies. A classic. And one well worth savoring again.

Forget football season, people. It doesn't start for another week.

The Phils are now just 2 games back of the Mets, and also 2 back in the wild card.

Ironically, the front page of yesterday's Daily Times was adorned with the headline, 'Field of Dreams.' It's about the move to bring a stadium to Chester to lure a Major League Soccer team to Delco.

Actually the Field of Dream yesterday was Citizens Bank Park. There's something about this Phillies team.

Something that would make a die-hard Eagles fan turn them off and watch a replay.

Ya Gotta Believe!


Our thoughts and prayers are with Jameer Nelson today.

His father, Floyd, is missing in Chester and feared lost in the Delaware River.

Jameer was a standout basketball player at Chester High. He followed that up with a sterling career at Saint Joseph's and then was drafted by the NBA's Orlando Magic.

Jameer is simply a class act, who has always represented the city of Chester and Delaware County with a sense of purpose and style.

He also has never forgotten where he came from.

Today, we all will remember as well.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Chester could be Major League

Go ahead and laugh. They're going to put a professional sports franchise in Chester? Sure.

Someone is going to spend $150 million to build a stadium for a pro soccer team? In Chester? You're kidding, right?

No, we're not. And before you chuckle and move on, remember this.

Stranger things have happened.

I specifically remember the first time a phone tipster called and asked
me if I had heard anything about a group of people who wanted to put a
horse-racing facility in Chester.

First, I laughed. Then I considered slamming the phone down. Then I
listened. The guy didn't sound demented.

I walked out into the newsroom and asked the reporter covering Chester
for us at that time if he had heard anything about a group looking to
locate a horse track in Chester. He sniffed to determine if I had been
drinking. Then he sort of rolled his eyes. I asked him to check it out.

He sort of grumbled something about wasting his time.
A few hours later he stuck his head in my office and sheepishly
announced that there might be something to this horse-track story.

Today, Harrah's Chester Casino & Racetrack is a glittering attraction on
the Chester waterfront.

Now city and county officials are looking to add pro soccer to the mix.
First they have to build a stadium. Then they have to lure a franchise
from Major League Soccer.

Since Harrah's is right down the street, I say don't bet against them.
The county will hold a meeting next week with a group of investors and
officials from Major League Soccer.

This is not just happy talk. One look at the names already tied into the
plan proves that. One of the big movers behind the investor group is Jim
Nevels of Swarthmore. If the name sounds familiar, it's because he has
been the head of the School Reform Commission in Philadelphia, as well
as boss of the Swarthmore Group financial firm. He has the blessing of
Gov. Ed Rendell on the move to bring the new facility, and team, to
Chester. And Nevels apparently has added another big name to his roster.
That would be Jay Sugarman, CEO of New York-based iStar Financial. He is
expected to be at the Sept. 6 soiree in Chester. Also expected to be
there will be representatives from the Buccini/Pollin Group Inc. Again
that name should be familiar. They own the Wharf at Rivertown, one of
the hubs of the spectacular new growth along the Chester waterfront.
One of the proposed locations for the soccer stadium is located between
the Wharf and the Commodore Barry Bridge.

Chester is on a certifiable roll. This afternoon Widener University will
break ground on a $50 million project called University Crossings, at
14th Street and Providence Avenue. It will include a variety of retail
and residential facilities, including a bank, restaurant, convenience
store and Chester police substation.

It's a word that has been bandied about concerning what has been
happening in Chester for the last couple of years. It's referred to as a

Now the city might be about to become a major league town.

Don't laugh. It's happened before.

Moving Beyond 10,000 Losses: An occasional look at why it's so
difficult to be a Phillies – hell for that matter a Philadelphia –
sports fan
. Here's a thought. When is the last time the Phillies and
Eagles played on the same day, and nobody cared about the Eagles game?
Yep, the Phils are certifiably hot. They've now taken three straight
from the Mets and will go for the sweep this afternoon.

The Daily Numbers: 150 million dollars. That's the price tag
expected to put a new stadium on the Chester waterfront to house a Major
League soccer franchise.

50 million project expected to break ground in the city today as
Widener University kicks off its University Crossings development.

7 members of the Penn-Delco School Board who have left their
positions in the last 14 months. And that doesn't include the fomer
superintendent. Think something is wrong there?

3 Delco school districts with schools that did not meet the
Annual Yearly Progress benchmarks under the state's PSSA testing. They
are Upper Darby, Chester Upland and William Penn.

237 pills found in the truck of Britt Reid, son of Eagles coach
Andy Reid. He now faces new charges of driving under the influence, even
as he awaits sentencing in a road-rage incident in which he brandished a
gun. This kid needs help. But that's part of the problem. He's not
really a kid. He's 22. And spinning out of control.

4 more people killed on the streets of Philadelphia yesterday.
That brings the city's homicide total to 276 for the year.

1 teen still missing in the Delaware River after a boat
overturned off National Park, N.J. He is believed to be a recent West
Deptford High School graduate.

9, age of boy charged in the beating death of a toddler at a day
care center in Woodbridge, N.J.

10 years that have passed since the death of Princess Diana in a
car crash on the Labor Day weekend in Paris.

3 straight wins for the Phils over the Mets. They go for the
sweep this afternoon.

3 games back of the Mets in the N.L. East standings, where the
Phils sit after winning four in a row.

3 games back in the wild-card race, where the Phils sit as the
Padres refuse to help out. They won again last night. Good news is that
if the Phils win again today, the are assured of gaining a game in the
wild-card race. That's because the Padres and Diamondbacks are now tied
for the lead in the N.L. West.


I Don't Get It (with apologies to Jack McCaffery): Delaware has
now recorded its first suspected case of 'water rage.' A guy on a
fishing boat apparently got upset with another group on another vessel,
thinking they were getting too close to his 'turf.' He apparently then
snagged several of their fishing lines. The guy pleaded guilty to a
single charge of impeding lawful fishing. I don't get it.


Today's Upper: Some serious kudos to Harris Elementary in
Southeast Delco School District, and Main Street School in Chester
Upland. They are among the state schools posting the biggest gains in
fifth-grade math in the state PSSA testing.


Quote Box: "It is fair to say that a number of our existing
stadiums are more regional and located outside of the major cities and
they have worked fine."
-- Major League Soccer President Mark Abbott, on a proposal to bring a
franchise to Chester.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Catch the Phever

There's a great saying from the Tom Hanks' baseball movie, "A League of Their Own."

"There's no crying in baseball."

He was wrong. I cried last night. Or at least my eyes were moist.

I'm searching for a word that describes what happened at Citizens Bank Park.
Crackling. That might be as close as I can get.

That's the only way to express last night's Phillies-Mets titanic clash.

The Phillies haven't played playoff baseball in a long time, but last
night's 4-2 win over the Mets sure had the feel of October, not late August.

It wasn't that they won, it's the way they did it, with the little
things, the fundamentals that often go unnoticed but are the bedrock of
winning baseball.

Even Charlie Manuel, everybody's favorite whipping boy, was pushing all
the right buttons.

After being dominated for seven innings by cagey veteran Tom Glavine,
the Phils finally started scratching their way back in the eighth. Jimmy
Rollins, clearly irked by a first pitch called a strike that looked like
a ball, promptly rocketed the next pitch into the seats, cutting the
Mets lead to 2-1. How they got the tying run is simply great karma,
something this team hasn't had in a long time.

With a runner on third, Aaron Rowand hits a swinging bunt dribbler down
the third-base line. The Mets have no play but to let it roll … and roll
… and roll. After flirting with the chalk line several times, the ball
comes to a stop almost dead on it. Fair ball. In the meantime you see
the Phils' runner scampering home in the background. Tie game.

That set the stage for Ryan Howard's starburst in the 10th inning, a
walkoff homer that had the fans on their feet and thoughts of "Ya Gotta
Believe" rattling around in their heads.

Along the way the Phils even got a decent effort out of Adam Eaton, who
would be a Cy Young candidate if the only team he pitched against was
the Mets.

Tonight it's Jamie Moyer's turn. Recently he's been looking every day of
his 44 years, getting banged around in several starts. The Phils need
Moyer to come up big tonight.

Don't bet against him.


I've got a lot on my mind this morning.

Two years ago today, the nation watched in horror as Hurricane Katrina
eradicated much of what we know as New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

Today the horror is not in what happened, but what has happened since.
Or more to the point, what has not happened. Make no mistake. New
Orleans is on the road to recovery.

But what is truly stunning is how much has yet to recover, how many
areas of the city remain in shambles, how many lives have yet to return
to any semblance of normal.

This happens in Baghdad and Beirut. Not in America.

President George W. Bush will visit the region today. We hope he makes a
point of seeing and visiting the areas that have not recovered, instead
of just those he can point to as proof of the federal government's
response to this catastrophe.

Moving Beyond 10,000 Losses: An occasional look at why it's so
difficult to be a Phillies – hell for that matter a Philadelphia –
sports fan
. OK, four games back of the Mets, with two more games to
go tonight and tomorrow afternoon. Unfortunately the Padres are not
cooperating. They won again last night, meaning the Phils remain three
games back in the wild-card hunt.


The Daily Numbers: 1,400 people who fled the Gulf Coast as
Hurricane Katrina hit two years ago.

63 of them who wound up in Philadelphia and decided to stay

325 million dollars up for grabs in the Mega Millions lottery
jackpot Friday night. It would be nice to see a Katrina refugee hit that

80 years old, age of woman killed in Brookhaven. Police have
charged her 82-year-old husband in the fatal beating. He says she
inflicted the injuries on herself, the result of her degeneration in the
early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

24, age of man busted for drugging and sexually assaulting a
15-year-old girl he met on the MySpace Web site in Warminster, Bucks

2 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard killed in
Afghanistan. Remember, we're still fighting the war on terror there as
well as Iraq.

153 vacancies for teachers in the Philadelphia School District.
Officials believe they will still be 50-60 teachers short when the
school bell rings next week.

2 officials at Rider College who no longer face hazing charges in
connection with the drinking death of a student during a fraternity
initiation last year.

900 jobs being slashed by the Internet firm Earthlink,. They also
are closing an office in Pennsylvania. The company's stock rose 7
percent on the news. Happy Labor Day.

3.2 percent dip in home prices in the U.S. in the second quarter,
that's the steepest decline since 1987.

35 home runs for Ryan Howard, none bigger than the two-run
walkoff bomb in the 10th inning last night that lifted the Phils to a

0 hits surrendered in two innings by closer Brett Myers. Yes, he
seems to have anger management problems. And yes, he can really pitch
when he's on.


I Don't Get It (with apologies to Jack McCaffery): A guy in
Doylestown stood in front of a judge and said he did not think he was
endangering his 6-week-old son when he had him in the car as he dealt
cocaine. Honest. <br><br>


Today's Upper: All together now: How 'bout dem Phillies! Forget
football. The Eagles season starts on Sept. 9. Right now, and for the
foreseeable future, it's baseball season.


Quote Box: "Mr. Ernest is absolutely guilty of loving his wife of
59 years. He did not commit these heinous allegations."<br>
-- Attorney Richard Daubenberger, on his client, charged with the
assault that led to the death of his elderly wife in Brookhaven

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Endless Summer? Not exactly

Summer’s over.
At least in Ridley Township.
That sound you hear this morning is the rumble of school buses. And the grumble of kids who are trudging back to class the week before Labor Day.
This is not a big thing in Ridley, where they have been cutting into kids’ summer for several years now.
But apparently it is to a couple of state reps. They are proposing legislation that would ban schools from resuming class before Labor Day. Too bad kids can’t vote. These guys just became the hero of every kid who longs for just one more day of shorts and T-Shirts. Endless summer, as it were.
Rep. Robert Godshall, R-53, of Montgomery County, says there is a reason behind his legislation, other than being the new hero of the elementary school set.
Godshall says having schools go back in session before Labor Day is bad for business. Literally. He says tourist destinations in the state lose a lot of their workforce each year when young employees are forced to give up their summer jobs to head back to classes. He also says it would end the problem of families’ end-of-summer vacations being knocked off kilter.
Maybe. But we’re not buying. Of course, we haven’t been in school for awhile.
We’ll back Ridley school Superintendent Dr. Nick Ignatuk on this one. He’s the guy who’s been sending kids back to school this week for years now.
Ignatuk belives this is the perfect example of a decision that should be made at the local level.
We agree.
Sorry, kids.

Moving Beyond 10,000 Losses: An occasional look at why it’s so difficult to be a Phillies – hell for that matter a Philadelphia – sports fan. How much do you love Chase Utley? The potential National League MVP returned to the lineup last night for the first time in a month after breaking a bone in his hand. All he did was rap out a homer and two other hits to lead the Phils over the Mets in the first game of their dramatic series. Adam Eaton takes the mound for the Phils tonight. Uh-oh.

The Daily Numbers: .339, what Utley is now hitting after going three for five with two runs batted in last night.
8,000 dollars, value of copper wire that’s become the target of thieves hitting SEPTA switching boxes. Police fear the damaged boxes could lead to a disastrous collision on the tracks.
37 feet high. That would be the statue of Billy Penn atop City Hall in Philadelphia. It’s due for a major renovation and cleaning. Maybe they can also remove the hex that many believe sits on Philly sports teams because the city dared to allow structures to rise above Penn’s hat.
2 people shot, one fatally, in a brawl at a bar in Trenton. Police believe a dispute inside the tavern spilled out into a gunfight in the street.
2 North Philadelphia teens injured in stabbing incidents. Both were girls.
60,000 dollars believed bilked from several families by a contractor who took their money to install pools, but either never showed up or didn’t finish the job. Ellwood Thompson’s Pool Pros biz is supposed to make restitution. He could be headed to jail after pleading guilty.
4 young men being sought in Delaware for the brutal beating of a man of Indian descent. All four are white men in their 20s.
25,000 state bridges whose safety ratings are now being listed by PennDOT. The bridges are listed from zero to 100 in terms of their safety. There are 404 spans in the state listed as ‘structurally deficient.’

1,500 people who were at a concert at Tri-State Mall when the crowd got rowdy, sending out a call for police from 11 surrounding towns, including Delco.
217,562, number of people now receiving welfare assistance from Pennsylvania. That’s the lowest level since the early 1960s.
28 games missed by Chase Utley, who returned to the lineup and led the Phils over the Mets last night.
9 straight hits for Jason Werth. Think he’s been hot? He went 5-for-5 Sunday and then rapped out 4 straight hits last night. That’s one short of the record 10 straight hits.
5 games in back of the Mets, where the Phils stand after last night’s win. They remain 3 back of the Padres in the wild card.<

I Don’t Get It (with apologies to Jack McCaffery): State police are noticing a new troubling trend in Chester County. Young men of Mexican descent are taking an interest in gang activity, possibly linking with national groups like the Crips. As part of an initiation rite, they are holding up convenience stores. Great.

Today’s Upper: Hey, Ridley kids, look at it this way. You won’t have class next Monday. That’s Labor Day. Of course you will have been in school for four days by then.

Quote Box: “I think any person who owns and loves their pet and views their pet as part of family would be wholly offended by the details of this case.”
-- Delco SPCA acting manager Nicole Wilson, on the Michael Vick case.

Monday, August 27, 2007

True Brett

Brett Myers’ mouth was working about as well as his arm Saturday night.
Myers, the Phillies edgy would-be ace turned closer, was steaming after giving up two homers to seal another loss to the Padres.
Myers clearly did not believe the balls were hit that good, but they still went out of the Phils band box at Citizens Bank Park. Myers was steaming when he met the media after the game. Things quickly went downhill from there.
Conjuring up visions of some of the all-time verbal meltdowns from folks like Lee Elia and Dallas Green, Myers went off on a member of the media.
I wasn’t there. I didn’t witness it. I’m not exactly sure what set Myers off. It seemed like he was asked a legitimate question about the two homers. He responded he didn’t think they were hit that well. He then asked the reporter, Sam Carchidi from the Inquirer, if he did. Carchidi said he thought one was and one was not.
For some reason, Myers then snapped.
Look, these kinds of things happen between athletes and the media. But thanks to our ever-present technologu, and a convenient tape recorder, this showdown was captured for anyone to hear on the local newsradio station’s Web site.
And once again, Myers proved himself to be something less than a class act. Myers referred to the reporter as a “retard.”
Nice. He also berated him because he was “filling in” for someone and that he doesn’t know a “bleeping” thing about baseball. It was the first in a series of bleeps offered by both men.
Myers was right about one thing. Carchidi is not the beat guy. But he was covering the game, and he was attempting to do his job.
Things escalated from there, with the two shouting at each other. A couple of players restrained Myers.
Of course this is not Myers’ first brush with such thuggish behavior. Last year he was involved in a highly publicized incident in which it is believed he roughed up his wife in a Boston street. Eventually he took a leave from the team. His wife declined to press charges.
Looks like Myers still has some work to do in the anger management area. With a day to think it over, Myers admitted his use of what is clearly a hurtful word for a lot of people was a mistake.
But he flatly refused to apologize. He believes the reporter put his finger in his face, sparking the confrontation.
Myers said he should have referred to Carchidi as an idiot.
Yep, that’s Brett Myers, Mr. Nice Guy.

Moving Beyond 10,000 Losses: An occasional look at why it’s so difficult to be a Phillies – hell for that matter a Philadelphia – sports fan. The Phils could have been cooked if they had lost again yesterday. But they managed to resurrect themselves and pasted the Padres, 14-2. They’re now 3 back in the Wild-Card chase. A huge series with the Mets kicks off tonight. Maybe Myers can turn his wrath on them, instead of a member of the media.

The Daily Numbers: 17,000 people standing in line for their shot at auditioning for the next ‘American Idol’ today at the Wachovia Center. It’s early for an ‘I don’t get it,’ but I don’t get it. Do we really crave fame that much?
1 more day of summer in Ridley, where the school year starts tomorrow. Most Delco schools do not start until after Labor Day.
2 Delco school districts that start the year without teacher contracts. Those would be Chester Upland and Chichester. Village Charter in Chester also needs a new deal.
1 winning ticket sold in Saturday night’s $300 million Powerball drawing. It was sold in Indiana.
14 state universities, including Cheyney and West Chester, which could still face a strike by faculty despite a tentative deal. The union has yet to approve the deal.
2 teens killed by a driver going the wrong way on the Roosevelt Boulevard early Sunday.
800 more parking spaces coming to Philadelphia International Airport. They will be at the former overseas terminal, which is going to be torn down.
2 teens shot and killed over the weekend in Philadelphia.
100 feet, distance a motorcycle and rider plunged off the Ben Franklin Bridge after the bike clipped a car and went out of control. The driver was killed.
1,552 building permits issued in Bucks County, that’s down 26 percent from the year before.
13, age of boy found chained to a bed in a house in Philadelphia. He was eventually charged a day later on charges of vandalism and attempted auto theft.
1 out of 3, what the Phils did against the Padres over the weekend.
1 carry for Eagles running back Brian Westbrook against the Steelers before he took a spot on the bench.
4 games for Phils against the Mets, starting tonight at Citizens Bank Park, which could determine their season.

I Don’t Get It (with apologies to Jack McCaffery): Let me see if I have this right. First you stand in line Saturday in 100-degree heat just to register for a tryout for ‘American Idol.’ Then you show up and stand in another massive line today to actually get your 30-second shot at fame. Yeah, sign me up for that.

Today’s Upper: Kudos for the group of folks from India, now living in Chester, who are donating backpacks and other school goods for kids in the district.

Quote Box: “I would say the two organizations in a school that are most in the public eye are the football team and the marching band.”
-- Tim Pry, band director at Sun Valley High School.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Reid it and weep

I have just one question this morning. What the hell is Britt Reid thinking?
Maybe that’s the point. Maybe like a lot of young people, Britt’s not really thinking at all.
Britt Reid, as you might know, is the younger son of Eagles head coach Andy Reid. And he’s back in the news this morning. That’s not a good thing. Not for the Reid family. Not for the Eagles. And really, not for any of us.
The young Reid was taken into custody yesterday afternoon on suspicion of driving under the influence. No charges have been filed.
Look, I am as big an Eagles fan as you’ll find. I’m also a father. Right now, I don’t really care about whether Andy Reid made the right decision on Jeremiah Trotter, or how he’s getting along with Donovan McNabb.
I’m wondering what is going on inside the Reid house. I know, it’s really none of our business. Or is it?
Let’s review. Back in January, Britt Reid was charged in a road-rage incident in which he brandished a gun at a motorist. The guy just happened to be from Delaware County. He said he feared for his life.
As it happened, that incident occurred on the same day that Britt’s older brother Garrett was involved in a nasty crash in which he blew through a red light and slammed into a woman’s car. He admitted he was under the influence and had used heroin earlier in the day.
Both sons of the Eagles coach reached plea agreements last week. It was expected they would keep their noses clean until they were sentenced.
Eventually Coach Andy took a leave from the team to attend to business at home.
Now Britt has been involved in another incident. Police responded to a local shopping mall on the report of a person acting erratically. Police pulled over Reid as he was trying to leave the parking lot in his truck. But not before he apparently banged into a couple of shopping carts.
Officials say Britt failed a field sobriety test and was taken to a local hospital to have blood drawn. No charges have been filed – yet.
If they are, it could have dire effects on the deal Britt reached with prosecutors in the road-rage case. He could face up to 14 months in jail in that instance. The Reid defense team obviously is hoping for probation.
But if he’s charged with a new offense, it could mean Britt is going to spend some time behind bars.
We’ve been through this before, with both Britt and his brother Garrett. We’ve talked about the drawbacks of being the son of a famous parent. And we’ve talked about the cost someone like Reid pays for the amount of time he spends on his job.
What effect, if any, this will have on Coach Andy and the Eagles is yet to be seen. Reid usually meets the media Friday afternoon. My guess is he will stick with his “this is a family matter” and ask the assembled media to move on.
But he won’t answer my question. Which again is this: What was Britt Reid thinking of? And what are his parents thinking as well?
Forget the Eagles. We’re talking about a kid’s life and a family in trouble.
That’s something Andy Reid ought to be thinking about at least as much as his game plan for an exhibition game against the Steelers.
Eagles fans might not like it, but in reality, what is more important? The coach’s actions might tell us exactly that.
Moving Beyond 10,000 Losses: An occasional look at why it’s so difficult to be a Phillies – hell for that matter a Philadelphia – sports fan. Let’s forget the latest Eagles saga for a moment. The Phils could be looking at the beginning of the end. They dropped a series to the Dodgers. They’re now 2 back of the Padres in the Wild Card. The Padres are in town tonight, followed by the Mets on Monday. It might be now or never, guys.

The Daily Numbers: 300 million reasons to dream, as people line up to buy tickets for Saturday night’s huge Powerball jackpot.
10< years as a school principal in Delaware, what new Penncrest High Principal Richard Gregg brings to his new job. He was named the new Penncrest boss Thursday night.
41 years after being shot while trying to stop a burglary, a Philadelphia police officer was laid to rest Thursday. He died on Sunday of complications from the shooting that occurred in 1966.
82 minutes, the time Nicole Richie spent in jail on a DUI rap before being sprung. Britt Reid might be hoping for similar treatment.
6, age of girl who was taped while being forced to engage in sex acts with a 16-year-old boy in Delaware. A woman has been charged in the incident.
2 years, the time a woman is believed to have been held captive and forced to perform housekeeping duties for a woman in New Jersey.
85 percent, that’s the dip in profits reported by housing biggie Toll Brothers. Yep, no doubt about it, the housing market is in the toilet.

62 properties along the Wilmington waterfront being seized by the city council via eminent domain.
35 million dollars in budget cuts still being sought by the Philadelphia School District.
2 families who have filed brutality complaints against the Philadelphia police in connection with beatings that accompanies arrests.
11 years old, age of boy found being held captive in a locked utility room in a house in Philadelphia raided for drugs by police.
2 games out in the Wild-Card chase, where the Phils stand today with that front-runner, the Padres, in town for three games starting tonight.
6 walks given up by Phils starter Fabio Castro over five innings.

I Don’t Get It (with apologies to Jack McCaffery): Summer is back today, and it’s going to be in the upper 90s tomorrow, while feeling like it’s 105. Sounds like a great day to stand in line for hours for a shot at getting on ‘American Idol.’ All together now: I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Hey, we can all dream. So what would you do with that $300 million Powerball jackpot?

Quote Box: “The idea is to plant a positive message in the hearts and minds of our young and old citizens.”
-- Pa. Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, D-159, announcing a new anti-violence initiative in Chester.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A couple of flash points

People react to news in different ways. Let's examine a couple of them.
Out in Penn-Delco, the controversy over the antics of their school board
continues to simmer.
The taxpayers in Aston, Brookhaven and Parkside are giving a new meaning
to citizenship. Everyone complains about things they don't like. Not
many people actually do anything about it.
Not so in Penn-Delco. First they started complaining. Then they took action.
And they haven't stopped.
Wednesday night they were out in force again, hundreds of them. They
jammed a school board meeting at Pennell Elementary School just as they
have jammed community Web sites and local petition drives for months.
They remain irate at the actions of some past and present board members,
as well as other officials.
The current focus of their ire is district Solicitor Mark Sereni, who
has proposed the board hire an independent counsel to look into possible
wrongdoing in the district, as well as leaks involving several members
of the board.
The move has not been well-received by district taxpayers. These are
folks who have for months watched as one bombshell after another was
rolled out in the district. The highlights include the resignation of
school board President Keith Crego after an infamous private dust-up
with a female board member in which they both filed protection from
abuse orders against each other; a criminal investigation into the
district's relationship with Quick Start Preschools LLC; and then the
sudden resignation of Superintendent Leslye Abrutyn.
Everyone in the district is now waiting for the results of the county
Wednesday night residents were looking for a pound of flesh. It was
Sereni who was in the crosshairs. He managed to survive, holding onto
his job by the slimmest of votes.
But this controversy is not about to die down, at least not until the
district attorney is heard from. The hope was that the probe would be
concluded and results aired before the end of the summer.
Meaning school could possibly resume with a clean slate. That's looking
more and more unlikely now.
Instead, the smoldering embers of the district likely will again hit a
flash point just as students, teachers and staff are returning to the
Speaking of flash points, I have seen people react to news stories in a
lot of ways in the past 25 years.
But I have never seen anyone react the way Lawrence Richette did
yesterday. He is the 48-year-old son of Philadelphia Common Pleas Court
Judge Lisa Richette.
The son now faces charges of assaulting his elderly mother in a domestic
Wednesday Monique Braxton and a camera crew from NBC-10 TV news showed
up at his house seeking comment. They got more than they bargained for.
Richette answered the door in his bathrobe.
"Is the camera on?" he inquired of the TV crew. When informed it was,
Richette opened his robe. He wasn't wearing a lot underneath.
"That's what I think of TV news," Richette offered. Hey, it sure beats a
"no comment."
Of course, the footage aired last night.
I guess that's what you would call a news flash.
Moving Beyond 10,000 Losses: An occasional look at why it's so difficult
to be a Phillies – hell for that matter a Philadelphia – sports fan. No,
that was not Cole Hamels on the hill last night for the Phils. And yes,
that was them getting clocked by the Dodgers. J.D. Durbin didn't pitch
all that bad, just bad enough. He then turned it over to the bullpen,
which got torched. Hey, it could be worse. We could be Orioles fans.
They only gave up 30 runs in losing to the Rangers last night.

The Daily Numbers: 79, age of Philly Judge Lisa Richette, who police now
believe was physically assaulted by her son. She's now offering a
different story, saying she fell.
75,000 dollars, amount believed ripped off by a Ridley man from his
grandparents. He is the son of two convicted killers.<br><br>
<b>2</b> inches of rain expected to continue soaking the region here
today. That's on top of the inch and a half that already has fallen. A
flash flood warning remains in effect through tonight. <br><br>
<b>200</b> people who showed up for the latest drama in the Penn-Delco
School District Wednesday night.<br><br>
<b>49.60</b> per ton, what Springfield will pay for salt to get them
through the winter season. <br><br>
<b>59</b> degrees, where our temperatures bottomed out this week. Summer
returns Friday and we should be back in the 90s for the weekend, which
will come as little solace to those who spent the week shivering at the
shore, and paying through the nose for the privilege of doing it. <br><br>
<b>22,</b> age of man killed in Delaware when he fell off the hood of an
SUV. Police believe it may be a case of "surfing," in which people try
to stand or sit on the hood or roof of a moving car. <br><br>
<b>42</b> percent of Pennsylvania Democrats who are backing Hillary
Clinton. That's up 7 points. Barack Obama has dropped a similar 7
points, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll. He's now at 12
percent. <br><br>
<b>3</b> pit bull terriers who turned on a woman in her Frankford home,
mauling her and leaving her hospitalized in critical but stable
condition with bites to her face, ears, arm and leg. <br><br>
<b>94,565,</b> the amount Springfield Ford will pay to settle a
complaint that it charged higher interest to its black customers. <br><br>
<b>180,857</b> dollars in bonus money for Richard Willey, boss of
Pennsylvania's student loan agency PHEAA. That's on top of his annual
salary of $289,118. <br><br>
<b>19</b> Phillies who have made their way onto the disabled list this
year. None is likely to hurt as much as the lack of Cole Hamels for the
next couple of weeks. <br><br>
<b>1</b> game back of the Padres, where the Phils now stand in the N.L.
Wild-Card race. They finish up their series with a Businessperson's
Special this afternoon.<br><br>
<b>30</b> runs surrendered by the Orioles at home to the Rangers last
night. In other words, twice the output the Dodgers rapped out against
the Phils. <br><br>

I Don't Get It (with apologies to Jack McCaffery): Sometimes you just
have to wonder if young people and cars are a good combination at all.
Police in Delaware say a 22-year-old man may have lost his life via "car
surfing," wherein you try to stay on the roof or hood of a moving car. I
don't get it.<br><br>

Today's Upper: They say we may see the sun this afternoon. Honest. It's
not October just yet. <br><br>

Quote Box: "I have a little boy that cares about what people think about
his dad."<br>
-- Penn-Delco Solicitor Mark Sereni, during another impassioned defense
of his actions at last night's board meeting.<br>


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It's never sunny for Philly sports fans

I often write here about the Phillies and why, in general, it's so damn hard to be a Philadelphia sports fan. So I am casually doing some reading at home last night while listening to the game when I hear the news of the Apocalypse.

Yep, ace Cole Hamels will miss his scheduled start tonight with an elbow problem. That has an ominous sound to it. It's kind of like that old spring training mantra the Phils always trot out: "We're just going to shut him down for a few days. Nothing serious."

Yeah, right.

Of course the Phils go on to beat the Dodgers, but does anybody care?

Can this team possibly survive the loss of Halmels, even as Chase Utley is taking swings in the batting cage again?

What exactly is it the sports gods have against us as Philly fans, anyway.

No Trotter, No Utley. Anybody check to see if Donovan McNabb is on crutches this morning?


I get lots of interesting phone calls at the newspaper every day. Most times people are surprised that the editor of the newspaper answers the phone.

Most of the time the people calling want to complain. They didn't like something that was in the paper. They want to point out an error in our reporting, or they are outraged that the item appeared at all.

As I said yesterday, our reporting on the Parkside fire and some of the peripheral issues involved has sparked several phone calls.

Not everyone has been a big fan of how we've handled the story.

That changed a bit yesterday. I couldn't have been happier. Not because someone was calling to thank us for our coverage and agreeing with what we had done, but because of who it was that was calling.

Bill Connor was on the line. If you don't know him, you should. He's one of those behind-the-scenes people who contribute so much to our public safety, and asks so little in return.

Connor is president of the Delaware County Firemen's Association. He called to thank me for the column I wrote Monday about volunteer firefighters, and also to thank the paper for all the coverage we've done on the Parkside fire.

But he also wanted to tell me a story. It's one worth retelling.

Connor told me how much he appreciated my mentioning in the column how much I disagree with those who sometimes complain about fire whistles. The argument usually goes that they are dinosaurs that serve no great purpose amid all the new technology at our disposal to alert volunteers to fire calls.

Connor begs to disagree.

And this saga proves his point. He is a member of both Oakmont Fire Co. in Haverford and Lansdowne Fire Co. A few years back, he was returning from a trip to the shore with his wife. He was wending his way through West Philly and into Delco when he heard the distinct sound of a fire whistle.

"That's Lansdowne's whistle," Connor informed the Mrs. She did not seem all that interested in a trip to the fire station. But I suppose she knew they were going.

Once they arrived there, Connor learned that while they had a few volunteers on hand, they did not have a driver. They did now. Connor got behind the wheel.

The call was for a man down who had suffered a heart attack. They managed to get him to the hospital, where he was revived. Connor wonders what would have happened had he not heard that alarm.

That's something to think about the next time you hear one go off. As I said on Monday, be glad there are men like Connor, and those two kids in Parkside, who are still more than willing to answer the call.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The 'Ax Man' is cut

"The Ax Man" got the ax.
Jeremiah Trotter, who picked up the nickname "The Ax Man" for his
trademark move of making as he he were chopping down a tree after a big
defensive play, is no longer an Eagle.
That stunning news came this morning, when the team announced it was
releasing the perennial Pro Bowler and one of the most popular members
of the team.
Andy Reid has been called many things. Sentimental is not one of them.
This is the guy who ignored raging public sentiment last year as he
watched Jeff Garcia, the man who rescued the Eagles season last year and
rallied them into a surprise playoff appearance after Donovan McNabb
went down with a bum knee, walk away.
Reid and the Eagles brass made a decision. They decided they would not
pay what Garcia wanted for a guy ticketed to be a backup if McNabb was
healthy. The key there is the if. So far they appear to be on the money.
That could change should McNabb suffer a setback.
Now they once again will be the talk of the town for showing Trotter the
This is not their first trip down this road. The last time it was
Trotter walking away, accepting a free agent offer from the Washington
Redskins. He is one of the few veterans welcomed back into the fold
after daring to challenge the Eagles brain trust.
Monday night Reid apparently held an emotional meeting with his middle
linebacker. He told him of the team's decision.
Trotter was gone, just that quickly.
Now Reid is once again in the crosshairs. His decision will be
second-guessed all day and through much of the season, especially if the
Eagles defense struggles again this year.
That appears to be part of the problem. Clearly the Eagles believe
Trotter was not the player he once was and was standing in the way of
developing player Omar Gaither. There is also the memory of New Orleans
Saints running backs running roughshod over the Birds' defense in that
playoff loss last year.
The Eagles decided to make a move. And in the process again send a
message to their players. Don't lose a step. There's someone waiting to
take your spot.
Reid has a good track record on personnel. Most of the guys he has let
go do not exactly set the league on fire after putting down roots in
other locales.
Trotter is the latest to feel Reid's brutal approach to the roster.
He was one of the most beloved members of the team, with both teammates
and the public.
Now he's an ex-Eagle.
When he pulls that ax out of his back, Jeremiah Trotter will find Andy
Reid's fingerprints all over it.
Omar Gaither better be the real deal. Or both he and Reid will be
ducking a few axes of their own.


Weather or not

As they say, everything is relative. Take the weather. Please.
We apparently have skipped from late summer to early fall, mid-August to
mid-October. No wonder I'm starting to see those Halloween shops start
to pop up again.
I first realized something was amiss on Saturday. Yes, it was a glorious
day. But I noticed a distinct chill in the air. Specifically, the heat
and humidity that had hugged the region like a wet blanket for much of
the week were gone.
Now, a confession here. I like hot, humid weather. My idea of a nice
night is when I can get home from work (much too late of course), throw
on a pair shorts and a T-shirt, and retreat to my little oasis, a
screened porch and sit in absolute comfort. Of course, all other sane
people are inside enjoying the air-conditioning. Not me.
My first inkling of what was to come arrived with the 6 o'clock news on
Saturday. The Sunday forecast was for another mostly nice day, followed
by clouds and some rain Sunday night.
I of course translated this into the likelihood that it would rain all
day Sunday. Sure enough, we exited noon Mass to a steady rain.
It has not stopped since.
Along the way, Mother Nature has messed with one of our late summer
traditions in these parts, our annual Champs 'n' Charity softball
tournament. Much of the action got rained out Sunday. We had hoped to
have the women's tourney start up again tonight. That's not going to
happen. The women will try to reconvene Wednesday night at Father Nall
The men's tourney will resume, and hopefully conclude, on Saturday.
As I said, this is all relative. Yes, it's miserable around here. Has
been for a couple of days.
But it could be worse. Much worse. You could be vacationing on the
Yucatan peninsula. It's kind of hard to imagine what is going to happen
there today when Hurricane Dean slams ashore.
We're talking about what is now going to be a catastrophic Category 5
hurricane with 165 mph winds.
And now another confession. Yes, I think it is the height of silliness
when you see these TV types standing on the beach hugging anything they
can get their hands on as they try to remain upright when these storms hit.
But it's something I've always wanted to try. I would like to be lashed
to a pole on the boardwalk in Rehoboth as the wind and rain roared,
Mother Nature at its fiercest.
I'll put it on the list, right up there with playing Augusta National,
attending a Super Bowl and being ringside for a heavyweight title fight,
on the things I'd like to do before I check out.
Come to think of it, that idea about being on the boardwalk amid one of
these storms just might hasten that process a bit.
I get lots of interesting phone calls at the newspaper every day. Most
times people are surprised that the editor of the newspaper answers the
Most of the time the people calling want to complain. They didn't like
something that was in the paper. They want to point out an error in our
reporting, or they are outraged that the item appeared at all.
As I said yesterday, our reporting on the Parkside fire and some of the
peripheral issues involved has sparked several phone calls.
Not everyone has been a big fan of how we've handled the story.
That changed a bit yesterday. I couldn't have been happier. Not because
someone was calling to thank us for our coverage and agreeing with what
we had done, but because of who it was that was calling.
Bill Connor was on the line. If you don't know him, you should. He's one
of those behind-the-scenes people who contribute so much to our public
safety, and asks so little in return.
Connor is president of the Delaware County Firemen's Association. He
called to thank me for the column I wrote Monday about volunteer
firefighters, and also to thank the paper for all the coverage we've
done on the Parkside fire.
But he also wanted to tell me a story. It's one worth retelling.
Connor told me how much he appreciated my mentioning in the column how
much I disagree with those who sometimes complain about fire whistles.
The argument usually goes that they are dinosaurs that serve no great
purpose amid all the new technology at our disposal to alert volunteers
to fire calls.
Connor begs to disagree.
And this saga proves his point. He is a member of both Oakmont Fire Co.
in Haverford and Lansdowne Fire Co. A few years back, he was returning
from a trip to the shore with his wife. He was wending his way through
West Philly and into Delco when he heard the distinct sound of a fire
"That's Lansdowne's whistle," Connor informed the Mrs. She did not seem
all that interested in a trip to the fire station. But I suppose she
knew they were going.
Once they arrived there, Connor learned that while they had a few
volunteers on hand, they did not have a driver. They did now. Connor got
behind the wheel.
The call was for a man down who had suffered a heart attack. They
managed to get him to the hospital, where he was revived. Connor wonders
what would have happened had he not heard that alarm.
That's something to think about the next time you hear one go off. As I
said on Monday, be glad there are men like Connor, and those two kids in
Parkside, who are still more than willing to answer the call.

<b>Moving Beyond 10,000 Losses:</b> <i>An occasional look at why it's so
difficult to be a Phillies – hell for that matter a Philadelphia –
sports fan.</i> There's no other way to put it. Basically, it's crunch
time for the Phils. They are home for 10 games. After a set with the
Dodgers, they have showdowns with the two teams they are chasing,
specifically the Padres and Mets. San Diego leads the Wild-Card
standings; the Mets are atop the N.L. East. By this time next week we
should know whether it's football season yet.

<b>The Daily Numbers: 165</b> mph, the winds whipped up by monster
Hurricane Dean as it roars into Mexico this morning.<br><br>
<b>5,</b> as in Category 5, the most dangerous hurricane there is. And
that's what Dean is right now.<br><br>
<b>2</b> inches of rain expected to continue soaking the region here
today. That's on top of the inch and a half that already has fallen. A
flash flood warning remains in effect through tonight. <br><br>
<b>17,</b> the rating given by PennDOT to a span on Route 322 in Upper
Chichester over the CSX railroad tracks. That means it's 'structurally
deficient,' although officials insist it's in no danger of collapse.<br><br>
<b>82,</b> age of Brookhaven man charged in the beating of his elderly
wife back in June. She died Friday in a nursing home. <br><br>
<b>3</b> alarms, fire that roared through a business in Pottstown last
night. <br><br>
<b>46,</b> age of woman suspected of giving her hubby a lethal
concoction in the form of a drink laced with antifreeze. It's the second
such case in New Jersey. This time it happened in Cherry Hill. <br><br>
<b>80,000</b> dollars police say was left on the floor of a Wal-Mart in
Philadelphia during a robbery. It turns out it was an inside job plotted
by some workers. They got away with $350,000 in cash. That's all they
could stuff in their pants. The rest wound up on the floor. <br><br>
<b>25</b> bucks, what it will wind up costing you to drive across
Pennsylvania on I-80 once toll booths are put in place. The money is
part of that plan to raise transit funds. The state hopes to have 10
toll booths in place in three years. <br><br>
<b>2</b> cents less we're paying for gasoline as prices continue to dip.
Average price in the area now is $2.76. <br><br>
<b>5</b> games behind the Mets for the Phils this morning. They also
remain 1 game behind the Padres in the Wild-Card race. But they are now
tied with the Braves, who crushed the Reds last night. <br><br>
<b>10</b> straight games at home for the Phils against the Dodgers,
Padres and Mets. It likely will make or break their season.

<b>I Don't Get It (with apologies to Jack McCaffery):</b> First there
was the car radio. Then the CD player. Then the car phone, followed by
the cell phone. Then text messaging showed up, along with iPods. In
other words, drivers don't really need any more distractions. Brace
yourself for video billboards, which are being rolled out in the region.
Just what we needed. I don't get it.

Today's Upper: Good news from Parkside. Young firefighter Dan Brees has
been upgraded to fair condition. He's one of the two volunteers injured
when they were trapped in a burning townhouse. We hope we can soon say
the same for his pal, Chase Frost. They remain in our thoughts and prayers.

Quote Box: "The bridges on this list are safe; they are eligible to
maintain traffic."
-- PennDOT spokesman Charles Metzger, on the Route 322 span on the list
of bridges called 'structurally deficient.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Answering the Call

In my print column today, I talked about my respect for those who climb out of bed in the middle of the night to answer the call when a fire alarm goes off.
It has been on my mind since last weekend, when we first reported on the raging fire in Parkside that left two young borough firefighters in Crozer-Chester Medical Center dealing with critical burns.
I had hoped that the newspaper’s coverage could focus on Chase Frost and Dan Brees, the firefighters seriously injured in the inferno that engulfed the townhouse on Park Vallei Lane.
I think we’ve done that. We’ve tried to update their conditions and have reported on several efforts to help the volunteers of Parkside Fire Co. in this time of need.
But there is something else that has been ongoing since last weekend. There has been a consistent undercurrent of questions of who responded to the fire scene early that Saturday morning and who did not.
Callers to our popular Sound Off column specifically were asking why Parkside’s next-door neighbor, Brookhaven Fire Co., was not called.
We did not want to point fingers. We wanted to keep our focus on the two injured firefighters. But at the same time we did not want any misconceptions to fester in the community.
So reporters Cindy Scharr and Rose Quinn, who do the bulk of our police and fire reporting and have the closest ties with both groups, put a note in their Thursday Cop Shop column trying to shed some light on the situation.
Brookhaven was not at the fire because they were not on Parkside’s “run” list. That’s the list of those who are called in to respond when one of the volunteer organizations gets a call.
The item pointed out that Brookhaven is not on Parkside’s “run” list, thus they did not respond.
Nothing more, nothing less.
We weren’t looking to point fingers, to assign blame or indicate the result would have been any different had Brookhaven responded. We simply wanted to clear up who was called and why.
The item did not sit well with Parkside Fire Co. I got a call from their chief Thursday morning. He especially did not like the timing. He and his personnel are dealing with the devastating injuries suffered by two of their own. I told him I understood his concerns and assured him we had no interest in pointing fingers.
On Sunday Quinn revisited the situation. It seems it has become something of a sticking point between the two fire companies. Again I want to assure all those involved that we are not looking to assign blame. I’m not even sure there’s blame to be assigned in this tragic instance.
We simply are looking to report on what is now clearly a matter of public interest in these two towns.
By the way, on Sunday, on the same page, we also updated the latest efforts to raise funds for the two injured firefighters. Members of the Prospect Park and Norwood fire companies hosted a car wash on Saturday. Members of the Morton Fire Co. were collecting donations along Route 420.
It is a close-knit band of brothers, these men and women who answer the call when that alarm sounds.
No, they wont’ always agreed on specific protocol. And they likely won’t always agree on how we cover these stories.
But I want them to know that our concern is with them, as well as with the two young men who still lie in Crozer-Chester Medical Center recovering from serious burns.
By the way, if you want to help, here’s how: Donations for Chase Frost and Dan Brees can be directed to Parkside Fire Co., 107 W. Roland Road, Parkside, PA 19015.
Moving Beyond 10,000 Losses: An occasional look at why it’s so difficult to be a Phillies – hell for that matter a Philadelphia – sports fan. Well, right on schedule, the Phils drew even with the Padres in the N.L. Wild Card race, and then immediately threw it into reverse. They coughed up four-run leads on successive days against one of the worst teams in the league in the Pirates. Now they are staring at an absolutely crucial home stand, with the both the Padres and Mets in town this week. It will be interesting to see how the Phils react.

The Daily Numbers: 13 brand spanking new Chinook-47 F helicopters built by Boeing delivered to the 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell, Ky. They are latest in the long, proud history of the Chinook..

64,000 dollars being spent this year for road resurfacing by Rose Valley.

21 bucks, what a slew of soggy fans paid to get into the Eagles Carnival Sunday and rub shoulders with their favorite players and coaches, not to mention the Eagles Cheerleaders.
264 people slain on Philadelphia streets so far this year, the latest being a man shot in the face early Monday morning on South 58th Street.

3 people sickened by a toxic solvent found in the trunk of a car that was dropped off at Deptford Mall in New Jersey.

2 hit-run accidents over the weekend in Philadelphia. A 13-year-old girl is in critical condition after she was thrown from the hood of a car she apparently jumped on.

87 suspected Internet predators bagged by the state attorney general’s office as they continue their campaign to keep kids safe online.

6 suspects now in custody in the execution-style slayings of three college students in Newark, N.J. Police believe they now have all suspects behind bars.

4.3 percent unemployment rate in Pennsylvania in June, that’s up from 4.1 percent the month before.

240 Internet media enthusiasts and bloggers who convened in Pittsburgh over the weekend. No, I was not among them.

6 coal miners who continue to be trapped in a cave-in in Utah. Officials now are saying the bodies may never be recovered. Family members are irate, saying the company is giving up on them.

6 people killed in flooding in Minnesota. We’re only going to get rain, albeit heavy at times. The next two days will be a soggy mess. [retty much a repeat of Sunday.

12 inches of rain that could hammer the Cayman Islands as Hurricane Dean continues to wreak havoc in the Caribbean with 150 mph winds. Jamaica managed to avert a direct hit by the storm.

0 runs given up by Phils starter Kyle Lohse over six innings against the Pirates Sunday.

4 runs Lohse gave up in the 7th, as the Phils blew a four-run lead for the second straight day.

5 games behind the Mets, and 1 game behind the Padres, where the Phils stand in both the N.L. East and Wild Card races.


I Don’t Get It (with apologies to Jack McCaffery): Hey, it could be worse, this could be your vacation week. Oh, it is your vacation week. Sorry.


Today’s Upper: So it never rains in the Hook, eh? Never mind. The Daily Times/Exelon Champs ‘N’ Charity Classic will carry on, even if the men’s title will not be decided until Saturday. Look at it this way. It’s that much more time for us to raise money in the fight against cancer. That’s the real spirit of the tourney anyhow, and it’s one that a few raindrops will never douse.


Quote Box: “It’s the next significant generation change in the capability of the Chinook platform.”

-- Ken Eland, program manager for Boeing’s CH-47F program.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Don't Bet On It

Aug. 17
As a society, we are awash in it.
It is everywhere you turn.
Some of it is legal, some of it is illegal. All of it draws us like moths to the flame.
It, of course, is gambling.
It is why people will be lined up all day today and tomorrow for a shot at unbelievable riches in the Powerball drawing. Saturday night’s jackpot is over $200 million. That’s a powerful lure. And a perfectly legal one.
The guy running the numbers game on the corner is not.

The state learned long ago of the power of gambling. That’s why we have the little success story called the Pennsylvania Lottery. It has been funding services for senior citizens for years.
Recently, we’ve seen state officials once again turn to gaming to fix a nagging, persistent problem. Gov. Ed Rendell introduced the Keystone State to the wonderful world of slot machines. And watched as the money rolled in.

Harrah’s Chester Casino and Racetrack routinely takes in $50 million or more most every week. And pays out almost as much. And all of it is perfectly legal, under the guise of helping state residents with their skyrocketing property tax bills. How much help it has delivered in that area is debatable. That there is a huge market out there for gambling is not.

Yet we are taken aback when gambling problems spin out of control, as we saw again this week with the case of Delco native and disgraced former NBA ref Tim Donaghy. He admitted gambling on games he was officiating and providing information on games to bookies in exchange for a payoff.

David Stern, the czar of the NBA, frowned and said it was the work of a lone “rogue criminal.” As if no other money changes hands on pro basketball games. Why do you think there is a line on the games? Of course, the league, as well as the rest of us, look the other way. We in the media do our part by providing the line on most major pro sports right there in the agate listings in the sports sections each day.

Former Flyer Rick Tocchet is due in court this morning in New Jersey to be sentenced for his part in running an illegal sports betting ring. Some of those believed to have placed bets are said to be pro hockey players. Is anyone shocked? Should they be different than any of the rest of us?

Gambling is a part of our society. People always ask why I think pro football has eclipsed most other sports in popularity. I’m as big a fan as anyone. I love the Eagles. They are my passion, yes, probably even more than even my beloved Phillies.

But my answer usually confounds people. It has nothing to do with fandom. It has everything to do with money.

It’s simple. You see, on the seventh day, God didn’t really rest. He decided to create the perfect vehicle for sports gambling. Football was the result.

Gambling is everywhere we turn. No one should be surprised when it careerns off the tracks, in the process taking down a celebrity, sports figure or someone else of note.
In that matter, they’re really not much different from the rest of us.

Moving Beyond 10,000 Losses: An occasional look at why it’s so difficult to be a Phillies – hell for that matter a Philadelphia – sports fan. The Phils just can’t get a break. After another gem from Cole Hamels that pushed them back within 3 games of the Mets, what is everyone talking about this morning? Donovan McNabb, of course.

The Daily Numbers: 1.7 million dollars in bets authorities say the sports betting ring run by Rick Tocchet handled in 40 days, mostly on college football and the Super Bowl.

14 people injured in a four-vehicle pileup on I-95 in Newark, Del., last night One person was injured.

2 more killed on the streets of Philadelphia overnight. Police say one man was stabbed to death by his girlfriend’s mother. In another instance a man was shot in the back.

260 people slain on the city’s streets so far this year, heading for a new record high at this pace.

17 people busted for so-called straw gun purchases. That’s when people legally buy guns, then illegally turn them over to those who cannot buy them on their own. The state and city has a task force probing such sales.

16, age of cheerleader in Monroeville, Pa., killed by an 18-year-old who had an “on and off” relationship with her. The 18-year-old then slashed his own throat. The girl was killed the day after her 16th birthday.

15 months for a construction project that will turn Kelly Drive, a favorite alternate for many commuters heading into the city, into a not-so-great alternative.

2 consecutive weekends that PennDOT plans to close I-95 South in Chester. It will be closed from midnight tonight through 5 a.m. Monday. Same thing next weekend. There will be detours in place.

62, age of woman sexually assaulted while jogging in a park along the Brandywine River in Wilmington, Del.

5, the ranking of the University of Pennsylvania in the new list of top colleges from U.S. News & World Report.

30 years since the death of ‘The King.’ But Elvis Presley remains alive, in the hearts of his fans, if not in the endless parade of impersonators.

3 rescue workers killed in a cave-in at the site of that Utah mine collapse. They still haven’t found the original six miners. These people just can’t get a break.

14 wins for Cole Hamels, who went 6 and two-thirds last night without giving up a run. Call him ace.

3 games behind the Mets, where the Phils sit after last night’s win over the Nationals. Now it’s on for three in Pittsburgh.

1 series I think Donovan McNabb will play tonight in his return to the Birds. Keep your fingers crossed.

I Don’t Get It (with apologies to Jack McCaffery): Tim Donaghy wants everyone to know that he’s “very sorry about what happened.” Little late for that.

Today’s Upper: The room was packed at last night’s town hall meeting on Iraq at Swarthmore College hosted by U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak. Good. We need to talk about this.

Quote Box: “I don’t think I would be more comfortable with Dick Cheney as president.”
-- Rep. Joe Sestak, in explaining why he is not in favor of impeachment.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Some parochial views

Aug. 16

The two have gone together for weeks now. It seems like you could not pick up the paper without seeing them, seemingly indelibly linked. I speak of Delaware County native and former NBA ref Tim Donaghy. Unless you've been living in a cave, you may have noticed that Donaghy has been in the news recently.

It has not been a pretty picture. It boils down to this. Donaghy got mixed up with gamblers. He apparently also liked to gamble a bit himself. It's a volatile mixture. And also a dangerous one. Add in the fact that you referee professional sporting events for a living, and you have a powerful concoction the likes of which have not been seen in professional sports before.

In other words, your name and face are plastered all over the front page of the newspaper. And on TV. And on Web sites. And in national magazines. But it has not gone unnoticed that something almost always accompanies all those mentions of Donaghy. He was a graduate of Cardinal O'Hara High School in Marple Township. And also Villanova University.

The two have become inextricably linked in recent weeks. There would be the mention of Donaghy, the inevitable comma, and the sure notation of him being an O'Hara grad.

It is a reference that bothers a lot of people connected to O'Hara. To put it mildly, it is not appreciated.People want to know why we insist on making that connection. Some have gone so far as to insinuate that the newspaper is engaging in Catholic-bashing for constantly mentioning the school he attended years ago.

Donaghy is 40 years old. He had been a ref for 13 years. He doesn't even live in Delco anymore. He had since moved to West Chester (where he also had more than his share of scrapes with neighbors), and then on to Florida. Still, that tag sticks. O'Hara grad. The reason is because that's part of the story.

The situations surrounding Donaghy are unusual. It's the first time an official in any pro sport has ever faced such charges. When that happens, that's what we call news. We look at the person, as well as his background. In this instance, several people closely tied to Donaghy, including two who eventually also were charged in the scheme, also had O'Hara ties. It became part of the story.

That is not to say there are not a lot of so-called "positive" stories emanating from Cardinal O'Hara. There no doubt are. But they are for the most part routine. They're what we expect. That's not necessarily news. We can argue the point, and debate what it is that readers want, but those are the decisions I make here every day. The people at Penncrest, Chichester and certainly out there at Sun Valley and all my friends in the Penn-Delco School District likely could counter any argument that we are somehow "picking" on O'Hara or stressing problems connected to Catholic schools.

There was, however, a very interesting comment that appeared this week in one of my favorite parts of the newspaper. A caller to our popular Sound Off column pointed out what he or she believed was a clear case of our biased reporting. It involved Jack Raymond, the young man who won this summer's Delco Idol competition at the Media Theatre.

Guess where he went to school? You got it. He's an O'Hara grad. The caller pointed out those stories and headlines did not stress the O'Hara connection. "Curious" thought we did that intentionally. We did not.

Of course, as we pointed out in the editor's note, Jack won the contest fair and square. If he had conspired with some pals to fix the contest, that would have been news. As it is, I did not see a lot of other media outlets paying attention to the Delco Idol competition. We covered it every week. We did not pointout where any of the other participants went to school either.

Finally, we have a wonderful little bit of technology here at the newspaper. It's called an electronic archive. You can type a name or word into it and it will retrieve every item containing that phrase that has appeared in the paper.

When you type in O'Hara, you get more than 11,000 responses. Yes, many of the more recent ones also contain the name Donaghy. Most do not. The overwhelming majority of them are not exactly what you would call negative when it comes to the school. Of course, most of them did
not appear on the front page either.

Anti-O'Hara? Anti-Catholic? Biased reporting? Sorry, but I wouldn't bet on it.

* Moving Beyond 10,000 Losses: An occasional look at why it's so difficult to be a Phillies – hell for that matter a Philadelphia –sports fan. Well, so much for Roy Hobbs. Russ Branyan turned back into a pumpkin last night. Actually, he turned into a Phillie. By that I mean he did what this team does all too often. Strike out. This team consistently fails to put the ball in play in key situations. Last night they had the bases loaded with nobody out. They scored one run. That was on a hit by a guy they for some reason don't seem to want, Chris Coste. He was followed by Branyan and Jimmy Rollins. Whiff and whiff. Then Tadahito Iguchi bounced out. Game, set and match.

The Daily Numbers: 3 hits for the Phils off Nationals starter Tim Redding last night. The Phils' vaunted offense has been AWOL in D.C.

2,000 bucks, how much disgraced former ref Tim Donaghy would be paid when the info he provided for gamblers was right and they won. He had to pay nothing when they lost. Pretty sweet deal. But a pittance compared to what he ended up losing.

30,000 dollars, how much Donaghy forfeited to the government yesterday.

260,000 dollars a year, how much Donaghy earned as a veteran NBA referee.

1.35 million dollars, value of the home Donaghy was living in Bradenton, Fla.

1 dead and one wounded after gunshots rang out during a basketball game at a youth camp being held at a rec center in North Philadelphia.

258 people killed so far this year in the city.

3 new tiger cubs that will be trotted out for the public today at the Philadelphia Zoo.

47 cats found in what's being referred to as a "house of filth" on Northeast Philadelphia.

3 alarm fire that ravaged a vacant warehouse on Route 130 in Camden County this morning. No injuries were reported but traffic in the area was a mess.

80 million dollar deficit staring at officials in the Philadelphia School District. They have already decided not to cut librarians or counselors, but something will have to go to stem the red

100 million dollar plan to build a soccer stadium in Chester in the hopes of luring a major league soccer franchise to the region. The man behind the push is the guy who just stepped down as head of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission. James Nevels is from Swarthmore. Now Gov. Ed Rendell says he will support the move. Remember when they scoffed at the idea of building a racetrack in Chester? Might happen again.

7.9 magnitude earthquake that rocked Peru early this morning. The death toll is already over 300 and likely will go higher.

4 games behind the Mets, where the Phils sit after last night's loss to the Nationals They're also now in third place in the N.L. East, a half-game behind the Braves, and game and a half back in the Wild-Card standings.

2 Eagles likely on the shelf for the year with injuries. Running back Ryan Moats and defensive end Jerome McDougle were both injured in the Monday night preseason opener in Baltimore. More importantly, the noise surrounding hobbled offensive guard Shawn Andrews does not sound good.

I Don't Get It (with apologies to Jack McCaffery): The guy who was reffing the rec center game in Philly where a wild – and deadly -- gunfight broke out described the scene as something out of the "wild, wild West." Where will it end?


Today's Upper: There's a new boss in the Penn-Delco School District. Dr. Robert Mesaros used to be the head man in Marple. We wish him well as interim superintendent in picking up the pieces in his troubled new home.


Quote Box: "Tim deeply regrets his involvement in this matter and especially the pain it has caused his family, friends and co-workers." -- John Lauro, attorney for disgraced former NBA ref and Delco native Tim Donaghy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A very personal foul

Aug. 15
The pride of Delaware County will take a serious hit today.
This region takes a back seat to no one when it comes to sports lore.
One area almost no other place in the country can match is our ability to produce top-notch sports officials.
Delaware County currently has four referees doing games in the NBA. For the past few weeks, that small fraternity has been under a cloud.
Today the clouds will burst.
Tim Donaghy, a Havertown native and graduate of Cardinal O'Hara High School and Villanova, is expected to appear in federal court in New York and plead guilty in the scandal that has shaken professional sports to its core.
It is the NBA's worst nightmare. In the process a lot of people have come under the shadow of what Donaghy is believed to have done.
It comes down to this: Are the games on the up and up? And are the guys wearing those striped shirts truly the impartial arbiters they are supposed to be.
It now appears the answer in some of the games Donaghy was involved in is a resounding "no."
NBA Commissioner David Stern has made it clear he believes the situation facing his league – while clearly labeling it the worst thing he has faced in his tenure as leader of the NBA – was the work of one "rogue, isolated official."
That would be our very own Donaghy. No other NBA officials or players are believed to have been involved.
The Havertown native is expected to plead guilty today to charges he wagered on games he officiated.
It may have been the work of a single "rogue," but let's be clear, Donaghy is not going alone.
At least two other men, both with ties to Delco, are expected to be charged today as well.
But it's more than that. The other NBA refs who call Delco home have fallen under the shadow of what Donaghy is alleged to have done.
Any number of friends and acquaintances have been questioned by the FBI in the federal probe.
Even Cardinal O'Hara and Villanova have been dragged through the mud, much to the chagrin of many alumni who feel they are wrongly being singled out.
Tim Donaghy has called more than his share of "charging" violations in his NBA career. Today he's the one taking the "charge."
Call it a personal foul.

* Moving Beyond 10,000 Losses:An occasional look at why it's so difficult to be a Phillies – hell for that matter a Philadelphia – sports fan. Let's just call him Roy Hobbs. In the words of Harry Kalas, "how about that Russ Branyan." In his first plate appearance for the Phils, Branyan made like Robert Redford's hero from "The Natural" and launched a pitch over the right-field fence. His two-run dinger was the winning margin in the Phils 4-3 win. The only thing missing was the music and exploding lights. Maybe there's just a bit of Hollywood in this Phillies story.

*The Daily Numbers:
men besides Tim Donaghy, both of whom have ties to Delaware County, who are expected to be charged in the NBA betting scandal today.
7 women, believe to be in their 70s and 80s, who have fallen victim to scammers posing as utility workers in Philadelphia. Once gaining access to the house, they distract the women and then rifle the home for cash and jewelry.
pedestrian killed when he was struck by a vehicle on the Schuylkill Expressway Tuesday night.
local bridges that have been rated as "structurally deficient" or functionally obsolete by PennDOT. They are the Ben Franklin, Walt Whitman and Tacony-Palmyra. Officials insist that despite the warnings the bridges remain safe for use.
4 of the state's 54 deck truss bridges similar in design to the one that collapsed in Minnesota that have serious deterioration. Most are in the western part of the state. One is near Allentown.
36,000 kids in Philadelphia who will be getting a free ride to school in a deal announced by the state and SEPTA.
19,000 in cash bribes believed to have been paid to a former state taxi inspector in Philadelphia. He got eight months in the slammer.
100 images of child porn that an heir to the Strawbridge retailing family is believed to have deleted from his computer after he learned he was the target of a police probe. He plans to plead guilty.
3 insurance companies being sued by a group of doctors from Connecticut who claim the firms steer patients to certain doctors to keep a lid on costs. The insurance companies are Cigna, United Health and Oxford Health.
22.5 million dollars, the cap Rep. Greg Vitali, D-166, of Haverford wants to place on candidates seeking to run for governor.
700 million dollars being used to expand the Philadelphia Convention Center. It's the first expansion since the center opened in 1994.
175 killed Tuesday in a very bad day in Iraq. Four different truck bombs went off in northern Iraq, and a Chinook helicopter carrying U.S. soldiers also went down.
1 season at the helm of Monsignor Bonner football for Jim Burner. He is out as the head coach.
1 at bat and 1 home run for new Phils' hero Russ Branyan.
1 hit the Phils managed against young Nationals starter Shawn Hill.
3 games behind the Mets, and a game back in the Wild-Card hunt. No change in Phils status. But they didn't fall any farther behind either.

*I Don't Get It (with apologies to Jack McCaffery): Here's an offer even the most die-hard Eagles fan might just turn down. Just in case you missed the Birds' debacle against the Ravens Monday night, Comcast Sportsnet is replaying it this afternoon at 2 o'clock. Better
set the VCR.

*Today's Upper: Is this August, or October? It's hard to complain about sparkling sunshine during the day, and cool nights.

*Quote Box: "Since he was about 6 years old, he wanted to be a firefighter."
-- Jim Brees, father of injured Parkside firefighter Dan Brees.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Other Side of Fame

Aug. 14
For many years Britt Reid undoubtedly has learned there were many advantages to his status in life. Monday he learned there was a flip side. In many instances, a case like that involving the 22-year-old Reid would pass with little notice. That’s because they would involve just another citizen.

Britt Reid is not just another citizen. Like it or not, he is the son of Andy Reid. He just happens to be the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. That makes Britt’s story a big deal.

That’s something Britt Reid hopefully has thought about every day since Jan. 30. That’s when he got involved in an argument with another motorist in West Conshohocken. In the process police say Britt brandished a gun. As it turns out, the man he is charged with threatening is from Delaware County.

Larry Johnson is a carpenter from Springfield. He is expected to speak at Reid’s sentencing and tell of basically having his life flash in front of his eyes in his confrontation with Reid.Britt was expected to go to trial in connection with the incident yesterday. Instead he entered a guilty plea.Britt of course was not the first of Coach Andy’s kids to run afoul of the law. On the very same day, Britt’s older brother Garrett was involved in a crash in which he was charged with DUI. He has admitted to being under the influence of heroin at the time. Garrett also has pleaded guilty.

Garrett Reid is likely to get probation, but Britt could wind up in the slammer. The prosecution has indicated they will seek jail time; the defense will ask for probation. It will be up to a Montgomery County judge to decide.

Yesterday was not a banner day for the Reid clan. In addition to the concerns over his son, dad Andy does have that other matter to deal with. The Eagles opened their exhibition season last night.Let’s just say they did not play spectacularly. Actually, they got spanked, 29-3, by the Ravens. They did not look even a little bit good in the process.Of course, Donovan McNabb did not play. Maybe the thing that last night will most be remembered for is that Ryan Moats likely is lost for the season with a broken ankle.Before you panic over the Birds’ effort, ask yourself this question:Tell me one thing you remember from last year’s pre-season games? Thought so.

Things will get decidedly more interesting Friday night, when McNabb –and his reconstructed knee – is expected to be in the starting lineup against the Panthers at Lincoln Financial Field.I wonder how much the situation with his kids has affected the coach. It clearly cannot be a pleasant experience to have the travails of your family, the most private of details, making national news.As Britt, Garrett and Andy have no doubt learned, being the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles has its perks. It also has its downside. There’s no separating the two.

*Moving Beyond 10,000 Losses: An occasional look at why it’s so difficult to be a Phillies – hell for that matter a Philadelphia –sports fan. Geez, you’d think the Eagles just lost the Super Bowl.Take a deep breath, folks. Or turn off the radio. I barely paid any attention to last night’s game. I’m just glad I’m no longer among those suckers who are forced to pay top dollar for these glorified practices.And more importantly, let’s not forget there’s still a pennant to bedecided. The Phils are in D.C. tonight for three games against the Nats.*

The Daily Numbers: 6 to 14 months in jail, the sentence Britt Reid could be looking at in connection with his gun incident. I wouldn’t bet on it.

11 out of 20 for rookie Eagles QB Kevin Kolb. The kid looked composed for his pro debut.

2 punt returns for 29 yards for Jeremy Bloom, one of the bright spots for the Birds last night. Hey, gotta stick up for those University of Colorado folks. And yes, the ski team is probably a bigger deal at CU than our less then illustrious football squad.

37, age of tourist from Wales who was stabbed to death while on vacation in Margate. Lavern Ritch was once named to Britain’s list of most eligible bachelors. Police believe he may have been trying to breakup a fight.

400,000 Philadelphia residents who will be getting some unpleasant news in the mail. Their homes are being reassessed. In most instances they will be looking at higher tax bills.

2 dead in Bethlehem after a man killed his wife and then took his own life after they got home from the local Musikfest late Saturday night.

27, age of pregnant woman run down in a road-rage incident in New Jersey. She died. The man who struck her now is facing charges.

1 dead and 1 hurt in a nasty accident yesterday in Lower Pottsgrove Township. The car went off the road, down an embankment and into a creek.

25 new jobs when the company that runs the Saxby’s coffee chain moves their HQ into Philadelphia. They have 27 locations, including a store in Malvern. They bill themselves as the anti-Starbucks.

3 cent drop in the price of gasoline. Average price in the Phillyarea is now $2.80.

2.69, price for regular this morning at the Wawa on Baltimore Pike in Clifton Heights.

1.5 million toys about to be recalled by Mattel for problems withlead-based paint. It’s the second huge recall in a couple of weeks for the toy giant.

6.36, the ERA of Phils starter Adam Eaton, who is in danger oflosing his spot in the rotation. That makes him dead last among National League starters.

43 yards, length of field goal missed last night by David Akers.He later made one from 23, the only points the Birds scored on thenight.


I Don’t Get It (with apologies to Jack McCaffery): I’m notexactly sure why the Eagles would risk playing Donovan McNabb in anyexhibition games, but they apparently are going to do just that onFriday night. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Now the football season can begin. No, not becausethe Eagles started their exhibition schedule. Because ‘Madden NFL ’08’went on sale last night.


Quote Box: “Chase is one of the strongest people you will evermeet and he’s the only person in this type of situation who I absolutelyknow will get through everything.”
-- Tyler Sewell, on his best friend Chase Frost, one of the Parksidefirefighters critically injured in a blaze Saturday morning.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Answering the Call

Aug. 13
It is the sound that pierces the heart of every community.
It is the wail of a fire whistle in the middle of the night.
For most of us, it causes only an initial jolt, then a sense of security that, one, it is not our home that is in distress, and two, that someone else will answer the call.
Friday night it was Parkside’s time to answer the call. As usual a small band of dedicated volunteers did not hesitate to climb out of bed, leave their family behind, and put their lives on the line in service to our communities.
Flames erupted at a townhouse in the Village Green development just after 2 a.m.
When the members of Parkside Fire Co. arrived on the scene, flames were consuming the structure, a roaring inferno.
That did not deter the volunteers who knew they needed to go inside to battle the flames and search for victims.
Two of them did not come out on their own power. Chase Frost and Dan Brees, both young volunteers, were trapped when the second floor collapsed on them
Frost is 21, a student at Widener University. He suffered serious burns over 50 percent of his body. Brees is 20. Both are listed in critical condition at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.
Amazingly, no residents of the complex were injured in the inferno.
Frost and Brees are part of that rare breed today, young people who are signing up for volunteer duties with local fire companies. For the most part, their membership is made up of older guys who have been volunteering for decades.
One of the crucial issues facing the volunteer firefighting community is the lack of young people picking up the mantle of service.
Like most of their brethren, Frost and Brees never thought twice before answering the call early Saturday morning.
And they did not hesitate before putting their bodies in harm’s way once they got to the scene.
All as most of us slept, soundly no doubt, secure in the knowledge that there are those special people willing to answer the alarm.
It has been a difficult weekend both for the people of Parkside and for the volunteer firefighting community in Delaware County.
We wish a speedy recovery to Frost and Brees. We salute them for their service. And we offer a hearty thank-you to all those who do not hesitate to leave the comfort of home when that alarm sounds.

Moving Beyond 10,000 Losses: An occasional look at why it’s so difficult to be a Phillies fan. One great thing about being a national game, as the Phils were last night, is hearing another point of view. That’s why I had to get a chuckle when Joe Morgan last night described Pat Burrell as “having some speed” on the bases. Burrell, of course, promptly was easily thrown out at home despite getting a running start on a 3-2 count on a ball hit to right field. Hey, what the heck. The Phils won.


The Daily Numbers: 4 Parkside firefighters who suffered injuries in a blaze early Saturday morning in the borough. Two of the volunteers are in critical condition.

50 percent of his body, the burns suffered by volunteer Chase Frost.

19, age of man killed in crash in Southwest Philadelphia early Sunday. Police believe the crash, in which several others were injured, may have been the latest involving drag racing that’s common in the area of South 61st Street and Passyunk.

2 teens now in custody after the second turned himself in to face charges in murder of shop owner during a botched robbery attempt in Philadelhia.

5 people hurt in an early morning house fire in Northampton Township, Bucks County, this morning.

2 dead in Bethlehem after a man killed his wife and then took his own life after they got home from the local Musikfest late Saturday night.

2 million dollars bail for suspect in Lancaster for a robbery suspect. The victim was found unresponsive in his home and later died.

22,000 dollars that a convenience store manager is believed to have swiped from the till, then gambled away at the Presque Isle Downs & Casino in one week last month.

4 grandmothers bludgeoned inside a Wilkes-Barre beauty salon by a man who made off with less than $90.

21 cases of an uncommon strain of salmonella in Pennsylvania that officials believe may be the result of humans handling infected dog food.

1 game back in the Wild-Card hunt for the Phils after they beat the Braves last night at Citizens Bank Park.

7 games over .500 for the Phils, who remain 3 back of the Mets in the N.L. East.

6 games on the road now for the Phils, who visit Washington and Pittsburgh.

4 wins and 2 losses for the Phils on their homestand..

0 snaps for Donovan McNabb tonight in the Eagles exhibition opener in Baltimore. A.J. Feeley gets the start, followed by Kelly Holcomb. Rookie Kevin Kolb is set to play the entire second half. McNabb is expected to play Friday at home.


I Don’t Get It (with apologies to Jack McCaffery): While Eagles heach coach Andy Reid will be in Baltimore, his son will be in court in Montgomery County. Britt Reid is set to go on trial in connection with an incident in which he is believed to have displayed a gun to another motorist. Don’t you think the elder Reid would be there, as opposed to a meaningless preseason game?


Today’s Upper: Heat getting to you? Summer ends today, with the Eagles first exhibition game. Fall and winter cannot be far behind.


Quote Box: “We’re getting through the initial shock of the incident.”

-- Parkside Fire Co. Public Information Officer Thomas Cubler, on the serious injuries suffered by two young firefighters.