Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Daily Numbers - June 30

The Daily Numbers: 1 police officer injured during a robbery attempt and confrontation in Chester yesterday.
1 person killed and 2 others wounded in the ensuing shootout.
15 year veteran of Chester police force injured in the shooting.
2 fatal shootings in 2 days after 8 days of relative quiet in aftermath of state of emergency put in place after 4 homicides in 8 days.
1 Comcast worker killed when he was electrocuted while working on cable lines yesterday in Marple.
2 brothers plead not guilty in murder-for-hire plot involving man from Collingdale. His wife also is charged.
28 billion state budget deal that has been hammered out by Gov. Rendell and legislators in Harrisburg, 1 day before the deadline.
0 increase in state sales or income tax.
9 percent cut for libraries.
7.3 percent cut for parks.
9 percent cut for environmental protection.
29.4 billion dollar budget signed into law in New Jersey.
4 deaths in Philadelphia being attributed to the heat.
2 men charged in deadly shootout in Upper Gwynedd.
7,000 dollars shortfall that might lead to cancellation of annual July 4 fireworks show in Glendside.
16 million dollar Ponzi scam being charged to a Chester County businessman who ran several hedge funds.
25 years behind the mic coming to end for Larry King, who announced he will retire from his CNN talk show.
9-6 win in 10 innings for Phils, after the blew a 6-1 lead.
3 run homer surrendered by Brad Lidge with 2 out in 9th to see Reds tie the game.
3 runs in 10th as Raul Ibanez came up with the big hit.
*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.The Phils now will have to make do without Placido Polanco and Chase Utley. It won’t be easy.
*
I Don’t Get It: A US Airways pilot has been charged with taking photos up the skirt of a teen girl at Philadelphia International Airport. I don’t get it.
*
Today’s Upper: Ahhhh! That was the feeling all across the region this morning as that heavy cloak of humidity lifted overnight. We get a couple of nice days, then another warm-up on the weekend.
*
Quote Box: “I’ve never seen this many cops in my life.”
- Chester resident Ricky Reese at yesterday’s shooting in the city that left an officer wounded.

Heron's Nest: A new state of emergency

So what does Chester do now?

A state of emergency – including a strict curfew in five crime-riddled areas of the city – as well as a ban on public gatherings of more than three people, kept the peace in the city for eight days.

Now there have been two violent incidents in two days, the first coming just hours after 18,500 people visited the city and enjoyed the “other” Chester. They came to PPL Park, home of the MLS’ Philadelphia Union, on a gorgeous sun-dipped day.

When the sun went down, trouble ensued. A man was found shot to dveath inside his van. Not at the stadium, but not all that far away.

Yesterday, not even a state of emergency would have prevented what happened in the middle of the afternoon on a Chester street.

A city police officer, who also works for the Chester Housing Authority, responded to a call for a burglary in progress just after 4 p.m. Officer Luis Rodriguez was preparing to confront the suspect when all hell broke loose.

When the gunfire ended, Rodriguez had been wounded in the arm. He is going to be fine. One suspect was shot and killed. Two others were wounded. A standoff ensued.

Police are still trying to sort out exactly what happed on the 300 block of Rose Street.

City officials might consider doing the same thing.

What do they do now?

A whole new state of emergency

So what does Chester do now?


A state of emergency – including a strict curfew in five crime-riddled areas of the city – as well as a ban on public gatherings of more than three people, kept the peace in the city for eight days.


Now there have been two violent incidents in two days, the first coming just hours after 18,500 people visited the city and enjoyed the “other” Chester. They came to PPL Park, home of the MLS’ Philadelphia Union, on a gorgeous sun-dipped day.


When the sun went down, trouble ensued. A man was found shot to dveath inside his van. Not at the stadium, but not all that far away.


Yesterday, not even a state of emergency would have prevented what happened in the middle of the afternoon on a Chester street.


 


A city police officer, who also works for the Chester Housing Authority, responded to a call for a burglary in progress just after 4 p.m. Officer Luis Rodriguez was preparing to confront the suspect when all hell broke loose.


When the gunfire ended, Rodriguez had been wounded in the arm. He is going to be fine. One suspect was shot and killed. Two others were wounded. A standoff ensued.


Police are still trying to sort out exactly what happed on the 300 block of Rose Street.


City officials might consider doing the same thing.


What do they do now?

Gains & Pain in Harrisburg

They actually might do something today that they have not done in Harrisburg since Ed Rendell moved into the governor’s mansion.

There is a deal in place on a new state budget, with the deadline looming tonight at midnight.

But there weren’t many smiles in the Capitol yesterday. And with good reason.

This austere spending plan can be summed up in one word. Pain.

Rendell admitted as much, saying there was no way to put together a fiscal plan in this economic climate, with revenue in the toilet, without some serious pain.

That means cuts. While Rendell was able to shield for the most part his beloved education budget, not every one else was as lucky. Here’s who is going to feel the pinch: 11.7 percent in the Ag Department; 11 percent at Conservation and Natural Resources; 10 percent at Labor and Industry;
9.2 percent at Environmental Protection; 9.1 percent at libraries; 7.5 percent in the Governor’s Office; 7.3 percent at State Parks; and 6.9 percent at State Health Centers.

And that is only if the feds kick in a huge chunk of federal funds they are withholding right now. If that doesn’t arrive, the cuts will get a lot deeper.

Ouch!

Win won't cure Phils' ills

You can call this one the thrill of victory, followed by the agony of defeat – and the thrill of victory again.


That pretty much sums up the Phils’ win over the Red last night. The Phils were cruising toward a 6-1 victory when things got a little dicy.


 


A 6-3 margin looked good as gold with Brad Lidge on the mound with two outs in the ninth.


Uh, not exactly. Two straight hits brought Joey Votto to the plate. He promptly send a Lidge offering into the seats in deep centerfield. Tie game.


Never fear. The Phils rallied to win with three in the 10th.


Blowing a lead was actually the least of the Phillies’ concerns yesterday.


The bigger problem was their growing injury list, topped by the sprained ligament in his left thumb.


Utley is expected back in Philly today for another look at the thumb. If surgery is needed, he could be lost for the season. Not good.


Meanwhile, Placido Polanco continues to be bothered by pain in his elbow.


All of which is a major pain in fans’ ….. necks.


The Phils have won before in the midst of major injuries, including losing Utley for a month with a fractured wrist.


This time they might be lucky if he’s only out that long.




 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Daily Numbers - June 29

The Daily Numbers: 6 homicides in the city Chester streets since June 1.
12 homicides so far this year in Chester.
36, age of latest shooting victim, the 1st since Mayor Wendell Butler instituted a state of emergency.
25 bucks, how much was in a charity donation jar police say a man and woman ripped off from the counter of an Upper Darby Wawa store.
10 bucks, how much it will cost you to snag a reserved parking spot at one of two remote lots and then take a shuttle to the AT&T National at Aronimink. The lots are at Villanova University and Delaware County Community College. The free lot is in Oaks. Yep, that Oaks, up on Route
422 near King of Prussia.
14, age of victim who police now charge was assaulted by an Upper Darby crossing guard during an altercation.
40, age of triathlete from Prospect Park who died during his first competition over the weekend in Philly.
1,000 Peco customers who were still without power in Delco on Monday.
2 dollar base fare for SEPTA rides. That will remain the same Thursday, but tokens, and Transpasses will go up 8 percent.
1 day before the deadline for Pennsylvania to have a new budget in place. There are differing opinions whether they will make it.
7 straight years under Gov. Ed Rendell that legislators have missed the July 1 deadline to have a spending plan in place.
2 men going on trial in Philly today for the murder of police Sgt.
Stephen Liczbinski.
1 million dollars believed ripped off from La Salle University by an employee who has now been terminated by the school 79, age of woman who perished when fire roared through her home in Mays Landing, N.J.
1 man who police believe may be covered with red dye after he held up bank in Whitpain Township Monday morning. A dye pack with the money exploded.
11, age of girl who was with 25-year-old man who teamed for an armed robbery in Lancaster.
32 alleged mobsters who appeared in court in New Jersey yesterday.
300 career home runs for Scott Rolen, who led the Reds to a 7-3 win over the Phils last night.
2 outs, all Reds starter Johnny Cueto got last time he faced the Phils.
He got the win last night.
*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Placido Polanco is already out with a sore elbow. Now Chase Utley left last night’s game with jammed thumb. Not good news.
*
I Don’t Get It: The man suspected in a stabbing rampage in Northampton, Pa., did not finish his court-ordered anger management classes. I don’t get it.
*
Today’s Upper: Kudos to Aronimink Golf Club, which is the focus of the golf world this week with the arrival of the PGA Tour and none other than Tiger Woods for the AT&T National.
*
Quote Box: “We are going to stay the course.”
- Chester Mayor Wendell Butler, on state of emergency after first fatal shooting since it went into effect.

Tiger Town

Welcome to Delco, Tiger.

Yes, the man who most agree is the world’s greatest golfer – at least before his life imploded in a series of sex scandals – is here in Delaware County this week.

In fact, he’s probably stalking the fairways at Aronimink Golf Club as I write this. Wood was due for a practice round early this morning.

Woods and the rest of the PGA Tour is in Delco for the AT&T Classic, which will be held the next couple of years at the swanky, ultra-private Newtown links. It benefits Woods’ foundation.

Woods is expected to meet with the media this afternoon. We’ll be there to cover it. I’m sending Gil Spencer to the press conference.

It’s ironic that Woods would be in the headlines as he returns to competition after taking months off during his freefall in a series of sex scandals that took him from the sports pages to the gossip pages.

At one time, Woods blazed another kind of trail. He was a beacon for African-American golfers, who have traditionally struggled with access to golf, especially when it comes to the PGA Tour.

Aronimink once lost out on an opportunity to host a Major – the PGA – because it did not have a black member.

The course would not bend its rules to move some black applicants up the list. Instead, they decided they could live without the PGA.

They now have several minority members.

They also will have something else. They will have the eyes of the golfing world – and much of the rest of it – fixed on Aronimink as one of the most recognizable faces in the world stalks their pristine fairways.

Here then is the question of the day. Is Woods today known more for his exploits off the course than on it?

I’m a Woods fan. Always have been. I would love to see him win this tournament this weekend. He’s only played so-so since coming back. He was in contention at both the Masters and U.S. Open, but I never got the feeling that he was really going to win.

Maybe that will change this weekend.

And Delco will be front and center.

Itching for summer

It is now officially summer.

The calendar does not tell me that. My right hand does.

At least what used to be my right hand. Right now it looks more like a piece of red, raw meat.

Yes, once again I am doing battle with the bane of my summer existence.
That would be poison ivy.

Blame my fair Irish skin, I suppose. I am extremely susceptible to this summer malady. That does not mean I no longer mow the grass, or try to weed the garden beds. Yes, I am aware that there is poison ivy lurking in there. Yes, I try to exercise caution.

No, it does not stop me from coming down with this wicked itch every summer.

I did a little yard work after cutting the grass Saturday.

On Sunday I started to feel that familiar tingle. No, not again, I thought. Yep, again.

By Monday afternoon my right hand was on fire. I tried my normal home-made remedy, Clorox followed by heavy doses of Calamine lotion. Now instead of being a red piece of meat, my right paw is a bright pink piece of meat.

This is not good for someone who makes his living in front of a computer keyboard. Each keystroke is kind of like being stabbed in the fingers.

If anyone has a better cure for poison ivy, I would be eternally grateful for any help you can offer. Please post a comment below.

In the meantime, I will simply suffer through it.

I love just about everything about summer. Except for poison ivy. And almost no summer goes by that I don’t do battle with it. Most years a combination of gloves, washing my hands immediately after doing yard work, or simply steering clear of the garden beds altogether. For some reason on Saturday, I didn’t use my best judgment.

I’m paying for it now. There was a point yesterday afternoon when I think I might have felt better if I just cut my right hand off altogether. I was actually shaking my hand, trying to get the pain and itch to go away.

Of course the fun is just starting. I still get to look forward to the sores oozing. Hope you already had breakfast.

Itching for summer? Sure, count me in. Again.

Chase-ing down some bad news

Here’s a thumb in your eyes, Phillies fans.

Not only did the Phils fall to the Reds – and our old pal Scott Rolen – last night, they may have lost something much more valuable.

Chase Utley left the game for a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning. If you know anything about Utley, who recently was quoted as saying injuries are part of the game and that he would not allow minor bumps and bruises to keep him out of the lineup, you’d know he would not give way unless it was serious.

Guess what? It might be serious.

Utley jammed his thumb while diving into second base earlier in the game. Utley played with it after suffering the injury in the fourth before giving way.

And of course that brings on the three most dreaded letters in sports: MRI.

The Phils expect to know later today just how long – if at all –Utley will be out.

Expect to hear another familiar Phillies refrain – he’s day to day.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Daily Numbers - June 28

The Daily Numbers: 8 days, how long the sound of gunfire was absent from Chester’s streets after state of emergency was declared.
1 person found shot to death inside a car on Boyle Street in the city just before midnight last night.
18,500 people who made their way to PPL Park, the home of the Philadelphia Union, on the Chester waterfront yesterday.
0 incidents reported before, during or after the game.
34, age of woman charged with hatching a plot with her 22-year-old boyfriend to kill her husband, who owned a Chester County landscaping business.
8,000 Peco customers who were still without power Sunday, three days after that monster storm blew through the area.
5,500 people without power in the Downingtown area of Chester County after another storm hit last night.
97, high temperature today, with forecasters again calling for heavy thunderstorms to roll across the region this afternoon.
2 teens charged with firebombing a house in Upper Darby.
40, age of triathlete whose body was found after he went missing in Schuylkill River during competition in Philly over weekend.
4 stabbed to death in a rampage in Northampton, Pa., on Sunday.
5 people killed as 3 motorcycles struck a van in Lancaster County.
2 days until budget deadline in Pa., with progress reported, but no deal in sight.
4 alarm blaze that roared through an unoccupied warehouse in Philadelphia Sunday.
16, age of teen shot and killed on Coatesville street late Saturday.
2.78 a gallon, average price of gas in Philly region.
2.73, what we were paying last week. $2.73, what we were paying last July 4.
3-1 win for Union over Seattle Sounders in first game played in PPL Park in Chester.
7 strong innings for Jamie Moyer, who led the Phils to 11-2 win over the Blue Jays.
9 wins for the 47-year-old Moyer, who is threatening to make the All-Star team.

*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Whatever it is Jamie Moyer is using, he should bottle it. The fountain of youth? You could fool me.
*
I Don’t Get It: A 34-year-old woman and her 22-year-old boyfriend are charged in a love triangle murder of her husband. He owned a landscaping business and the 22-year-old worked for him. Nice. I don’t get it.
*
Today’s Upper: Kudos to the 18,500 who witnesses history in the first-ever game played at PPL Park in Chester.
*
Quote Box: “This was something that was part of our dream, just before the dream existed, just when we were the old-fashioned Sons of Ben, rooting for an MLS franchise to come into town.”
- Thomas Roletter, at Sunday’s Union game at PPL Park.

Piercing the silence in Chester

The silence lasted eight days.


That’s how long the streets of Chester were blissfully quiet after Mayor Wendell Butler instituted a State of Emergency. Butler imposed strict curfews and limits on public gatherings in five crime-riddle areas of the city after Chester suffered four homicides in eight days. Among the victims was a 2-year-old boy killed in an ambush attack on his family as they entered their Chester apartment.


The quiet on Chester’s streets was pierced Sunday night, just hours after 18,500 people took in the debut event at the new PPL Park on the city’s waterfront.


Police say the body of a man was discovered in a car on Boyle Street just before midnight. He had been shot to death.


In my print column today, I wrote of “the two Chesters.”


That was evidenced again yesterday, when all those people had the time of their lives in the shadow of the Commodore Barry Bridge, while much of the rest of the city continues to live in fear for theirs.


That, maybe more than anything else, remains the city’s biggest challenge.


Chester has come a long way. It still has a ways to go.

Kicking off a new era in Chester

More than 18,000 did something yesterday a lot of people insisted would never happen.

They arrived in the city of Chester, they enjoyed themselves immensely, and then they went home. All without incident.

Yesterday was the opening for PPL Park, the county’s newest gem, a beautiful 18,500-seat soccer stadium in the shadow of the Commodore Barry Bridge that is the new home of the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer.

You would be hard-pressed to find anyone yesterday who had a bad word to say about Chester, or the Union’s tony new digs.

The setting is picture-perfect.

Even the Union got into the act, thrilling their fans with a 3-1 win over the Seattle Sounders.

PPL Park got rave reviews. The city never looked better.

Make no mistake, Chester still has its problems, we learned about that a few hours later when gunfire claimed another life on a city street.

But make no mistake about this either. The opening of PPL Park, and the expected $500 development that one day will surround the stadium, bringing shops, office space and entertainment venues to the city waterfront, marks a turning point for this troubled city.

Yesterday Chester kicked away its old image. And kicked off a brand new era.

Chester is major league again.

A killer love triangle

This one sounds like bad TV movie.


 


Only for the victim – the owner of a Chester County landscaping business – it proved all too real. It cost him his life.


Police now believe Kevin Mengel Jr., who owned MKB Property Management LLC, a landscaping business based in West Goshen, was the victim of a plot hatched by his wife and one of his young employees.


Now Mengel is dead. His wife, Morgan Mengel, has apparently admitted to police that she was in on the plot that resulted in her husband’s murder.


And her young paramour, Stephen Michael Shappell, is also now in custody after he was picked up by police in Colorado.


Morgan Mengel, 34, was apparently having an affair with Shappell, 22, according to police. They concocted the scheme to bump off her husband, the affidavit for their arrest indicates.


And the story has a bizarre Delaware County angle as well. Shappell apparently lived in the Broomall section of Marple Township. And police say he buried the body of Kevin Mengel in a heavily wooded area behind Marple Newtown High School.


Like I said, this one has all the makings of a TV movie. Only this one all too real. Morgan Mengel and Shappell now are facing homicide charges.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Taken by storm

The Heron's Nest: Summertime, & the livin' is ...
Friday, June 25, 2010

By Phil Heron, editor@delcotimes.com

I have always loved summer. I am one of those few people who like it humid. The stickier it gets, the better I like it.

I loathe winter, and grit my teeth - when they're not chattering - through the frigid months every year.

This morning I'm rethinking my priorities. What happened here yesterday in beautiful downtown Primos will do that to you.

At about 3:15 on a hot, humid early summer afternoon, Mother Nature decided to unleash her fury. And she seemed to have Delaware County in the crosshairs.

I was actually in our conference room, talking with a very nice group of people from an outfit called the First Suburbs. They are a diverse group that has come together to push the issues facing inner-ring suburbs, places like Yeadon, Lansdowne, Aldan, Upper Darby and other towns on the eastern edge of Delaware County.

This morning they can add one more item to the list of issues they are facing. Cleaning up after a vicious storm swept through the area.

I first glanced out the window of our conference room when I heard the rain. Then I noticed the wind. Before I knew it, hail was pounding the building. Next, the lights went out. I was just waiting for the locusts.

I knew we were in trouble when Tom Judge Jr., the township manager of Upper Darby who was with the group, started getting calls and texts on his phone. He looked worried. Eventually, he excused himself, but not before saying that "trees were down everywhere."

All hell was breaking loose in the township.

Over the next few hours, we would learn just how bad it was. For some reason, the storm seemed to take dead aim at our little corner of the world. A day care center across the street lost its roof, which was deposited in the parking lot and on the R3 railroad tracks. Miraculously, none of the 100 kids who were inside at the time were injured.

There were people stranded everywhere. The rail line came to a halt, with one train literally off the tracks up the street at the Secane station.

Traffic lights were out, and getting anywhere was a near impossibility. Springfield seemed to take a direct hit. Areas of Upper Darby, Aldan and Yeadon also got nailed. There was a report of a building collapse in Lansdowne.

And during all of this, we sat dead in the water, without power. Still, we did what we always do. Photographer Eric Hartline and reporter Paul Luce went for a walk - literally - to review the damage in the area. Photographer Julia Wilkinson, who was out on the street already, snapped away. Our Flyers beat writer, Anthony SanFilippo, a Springfield resident, grabbed his flip cam and took a video tour of his neighborhood.

The damage again leaves you in awe of what Mother Nature can do when she gets ticked off.

If you're reading this online, you have no idea what went into the effort to put our print edition last night. We got power back on about 8 p.m., and immediately dove into the process of putting out the paper.

This isn't like other businesses. You have no idea the kind of problems created when we start the process that late in the day. Let me explain it this way: It's like knocking over the first domino in one of those intriate displays. Basically, you never get that time back. You simply know you're going to be running uphil all night.

We put a print edition out, as well as updating our Web site, which puts us in a lot better situation than some of our sisters papers, which battled even more serious power issues than we did.

We're actually printing one of our sisters papers, The Trentonian, here today. Right now those papers are being whisked back to Trenton as fast as we can get them there.

After all this, I arrived home last night to learn power had not yet been restored there. I grabbed a beer and headed for bed. I awoke this morning, still in the dark. Still no power. I had no idea getting dressed in the dark could be such fun.

Today we will again do what we always do. We will fan out into the neighborhood and cover the story as Delco tries to put their life back on an even keel.

One warning: It's supposed to be a hot, muggy weekend.

I'll be keeping one eye on the sky.

Think snow!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Daily Nujmbers - June 24

The Daily Numbers: 90, how many arrests Darby police and federal lawmen are expecting to make in a massive drug sweep in the borough this morning.
30 more days under state of emergency for 5 sections of the city of Chester after city council gave its OK yesterday.
38 residents who came to the council meeting to offer their opinions on the move, both pro and con.
41-41, a tie between Pat Toomey and Joe Sestak in an early poll in the Pa. U.S. Senate race.
2 million dollars in contracts put out by County Council for renovations to the historic Rose Tree Tavern in Rose Tree Park.
3 people in custody after a chase on I-95 that started with Eddystone and Ridley police and went into Delaware.
104,000 Pa. residents who are about to lose their jobless benefits as the Senate remains gridlocked on an extension.
2 wine kiosks unveiled yesterday in supermarkets in the Harrisburg area.
The LCB wants to put 98 more across the state.
6, age of Chester County first-grader who died of his injuries after he was struck by the bus he had just gotten off of in Downingtown.
2 children hospitalized in Norristown after a hit-run incident last night.
3 men dead after two separate gun battles on the streets of Philadelphia overnight.
5.0 earthquake that struck in Canada yesterday that was felt in areas of Pa. and N.J.
1.5 million dollars ripped off from 2 doctor clients in Wilmington by a CPA from West Chester. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison.
700 million dollars shaved from Pa. budget impasse. Oh, is that all.
2 winning tickets in the $96 million Powerball drawing last night.
200 more jobs slashed at the Harley-Davidson plant in York, Pa.
0-for-8, what Jimmy Rollins was on his comeback as he stepped into the box in the 9th inning last night.
2-run walkoff homer Rollins hit moments later.
2 straight wins for the Phils, and 5 of their last 7.
1-0 win for the U.S., with time literally running out, on dramatic goal by Landon Donovan, allowing them to win their division and advance in World Cup play.
1930, last time the U.S. won their initial division in Cup play.
10 hours-plus, how long the endless tennis match has been going on at Wimbledon. And it’s not over yet.

*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.No, I am not a soccer fan. But I will admit that the end of yesterday’s win over Algeria that propelled them to the next round in World Cup play was pretty dramatic. But it paled next to the Jimmy Rollins show last night.
*
I Don’t Get It: Ed Rendell is denying “rumors” of hanky-panky. Why do we care?
*
Today’s Upper: Kudos to Darby police for this morning’s drug raids as they look to take back their streets.
*
Quote Box: “The mayor’s effort to stop the violence is legit. I don’t have a problem with that. We want the state of emergency to work for us, not against us.”
- Chester Councilman John Linder.

Taking back the streets in Darby

Police Chief Bob Smythe is giving the citizens of Darby Borough a gift today.

Actually two of them.

Early this morning Smythe led a small army of borough police and federal law enforcement authorities on a massive series of raids targeting drug-dealing in the borough.

The raids appear to be targeting the drug-infested Third Street area of the borough.

The feds have search warrants for dozens of homes. Lawmen fanned out around 4 a.m. in the borough and will be taking down suspects most of the morning.

Then, right around noon, Smythe is going to provide the finishing touch.

The chief says he’s going to set up barbecues right in the middle of Third Street and serve lunch to residents.

“This is about taking back the neighborhood,” Smythe told me.

Nice work.

Union arrives in a divided Chester

They’re throwing a pep rally at noon today at the Media Courthouse to herald the arrival of the Union Major League Soccer team this weekend.

The Union will play their first MLS game Sunday in the glittering new PPL Park on Chester’s waterfront.

It’s likely the mood today – and Sunday – will be a bit more subdued in the city. Much of Chester is living under strict conditions imposed by Mayor Wendell Butler in calling a state of emergency. Yesterday City Council approved a measure to extend the limits on public gatherings for 30 days in the wake of an unprecedented four homicides in eight days.

The council vote was unanimous. The vote among citizens was not.

The council session was packed with residents who spoke both for and against a strict curfew that bars residents from being on the street from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. in five crime-riddled sections of the city. In addition, public gatherings are limited to three; more than that and you need a city permit.

It’s hard to argue with the immediate effects of the curfew. Gunfire, often a common occurrence on Chester streets once the sun goes down, has been all but non-existent since the crackdown went into effect.

But the curfew by itself is not going to cure what ails Chester. Neither will a nice new stadium and Major League soccer team.

The area where the stadium sits, on the waterfront under the Commodore Barry Bridge, falls outside the crackdown area.

It’s nice to welcome the Union and the swanky new stadium, in particular the jobs that go along with it.

We also look forward to a time when the city does not need a state of emergency to rid itself of the lawlessness that remains the scourge of so many of its residents.

Phils on a J-Roll!

He’s back.

Jimmy Rollins was riding an 0-for-8 skid in the two games since he returned from the disabled list when he stepped into the batter’s box in the bottom of the ninth inning last night.

The hitless streak was soon forgotten, however, when Rollins launched a ball into the right-field corner for a walk-off, game-winning, two-run homer.

Rollins was mobbed by his teammates at the plate.

It can’t be underestimated what Rollins means to the Phillies. He supplies their attitude.

The Phils have now won back-to-back games over the Tribe, and five of their last seven.

You might say they’re on a J-Roll.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Daiily Numbers - June 23

The Daily Numbers: 4 nights without incident since a state of emergency was put in place in Chester.
42, age of Sean Burton, the owner of the Final Impact car customizing business in Morton who is charged with fatally stabbing another man in the parking lot of the Olde Sproul Shopping Center in Springfield.
20, age of man being sought in connection with a deadly shootout in Upper Darby over the weekend.
6 to 15 years in jail for a Chester man in connection with a shooting that erupted out of a dice game.
76.50 more in taxes, what home owners in Garnet Valley are looking at under the budget approved by the school board.
3 children, 2 adults badly injured in a fire that roared through the North Philadelphia home yesterday afternoon.
2 abduction and rapes in Delaware that police now believe were the work of a 40-year-old man arrested yesterday.
95 degrees, our expected high today. The record is 97, set back in the 1800s. We’re under an excessive heat warning the next few days.
13 dead cats found in home of woman in Whitpain, Montgomery County. She faces cruelty charges.
25,000 dollars that was in a safe that was hauled out of a Southwest Philly home after a home invasion by 3 thugs.
90 fee per student that could be slapped on families in Cherry Hill, N.J., as a general activities fee.
100 employees, 50 of them teachers, already axed by the district, which has lost $13 million in state aid.
500,000 dollar lease approved by Towanda School Board for firm to drill for gas on school property, which sits on the Marcellus Shale region.
72 teachers getting pink slips in the Easton School District as they battle a budget hole.
5 million dollars given to Pa. Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Sen.
Anthony Williams by 3 donors who backed his support for charter schools.
That’s a record donation in Pa. politics.
44, age of missing New York woman whose body was recovered from Delaware River after she slipped off a raft and went missing.
8 strong innings for Phils’ starter Jamie Moyer last night, propelling the Phils to a 3-1 win over the Indians.
8 wins for Moyer, tying him for the team led with Roy Halladay. They have identical 8-6 records.
15 day DL for catcher Carlos Ruiz, after he was hit in the head with a broken bat.
10 a.m., when U.S. will play a crucial match with Algerian that they need to win to advance in the World Cup.

*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.There really is no medical explanation for what Jamie Moyer is doing.
Other than that it is only slight less than a miracle. You simply are not supposed to be able to do what he is doing at the age of 47.
*
I Don’t Get It: Spirit airlines is taking heat for a new depicting a hot babe lathering up on the beach with the following headline: “Check out the oil on our beaches.” As you might expect, the people of the Gulf are not thrilled.
*
Today’s Upper: Kudos to Jameer Nelson, the featured speaker last night at our All-Delco Athletic Awards Banquet. Some people remember where they came from.
*
Quote Box: “Outside of your sport and outside your home town, it’s still the same no matter where you go. Be a professional.”
- NBA star and Chester native Jameer Nelson, talking to students honored at last night’s All-Delco Athletic Awards Banquet.

A gem from the streets of Chester

 


It is easy these days to kick dirt on Chester.


The city is once again finds itself in a life-or-death struggle.


Literally.


The knee-jerk reaction is to listen to the crowd and come to the conclusion that the city is beyond help, that nothing good happens there and nothing good ever comes out of the city.


I can say categorically that is simply not the case.


And I have the video to prove it.


 


Last night I had the opportunity to have dinner with Jameer Nelson. The former Chester High and Saint Joe’s star, and current All-Pro NBA guard with the Orlando Magic, was the featured speaker at our 24th annual All-Delco Awards Banquet.


Jameer Nelson has not forgotten where he came from. That would be the streets of Chester.


In case you hadn’t noticed, Chester has been in the headlines the past few days.


Nelson appeared at Springfield Country Club as the embodiment of everything that is right about the city of Chester.


And it was fascinating to watch the reaction of those in attendance. I have been to about 10 of these banquets. I have seen very few people get the reaction that Nelson did.


From the time he sat down at our table, he ignited a procession of people that simply wanted to say hello, to get a photo, or an autograph.


Nelson smiled at every one of them. He cordially signed anything that was offered. And his beaming visage now no doubt adorns refrigerators all over the county this morning, pictures that stand testament to just what Chester can produce.


I have to make a confession here. When I learned that Nelson was going to be our featured speaker, I considered making him the lead element on the front page of today’s paper. I envisioned a page with a huge picture of Nelson, and a headline that stated, “Pride of Chester.” I believe it is important to note that there are other stories in the city of Chester. Good stories. Nelson is among the best.


The truth is Nelson did not want a lot of publicity surrounding his talk last night. We had to convince him to let us use his photo in the program. He did not want to take the spotlight away from the kids. This was their night.


It was also his night. And a night for all those who so easily cast stones at the city of Chester to take note of some of the gems who have come out of that city.


Thanks for reminding us, Jameer.

Remembering Kathy Stewart

There is much talk these days about guns and crime and street violence.
Especially in the city of Chester.

It’s all too easy to lose track of the incredible human toll these incidents take.

We were reminded that again yesterday with a guilty plea entered in Delaware County Court by Dominique Smith. He admitted he was out to avenge the death of a friend when he opened fire on a Chester street last November.

One of those bullets went through the wall of a nearby home and hit Kathy Ann Stewart as she was talking on the phone. She was there to care for her ailing 85-year-old mother. She paid a huge price for the mission of mercy. She paid with her life.

That was back in November. This past week Mayor Wendell Butler instituted a state of emergency. In five sections of the city, residents are not allowed on the streets from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

That comes about seven months to late for Kathy Stewart.

He's Phils' MVOG (most valuable old guy)

The “ace” of the Phillies staff has eight wins.

Say hello to Jamie Moyer.

The 47-year-old Moyer continued his miraculous season last night, dazzling the Cleveland Indians en route to a 3-1 Phils’ win.

The victory put Moyer’s season mark at 8-6. That would be the exact same mark as Halladay. Moyer is sporting a 4.43 ERA; Halladay’s checks in at 2.43.

Last night Moyer again defied the hands of time. He went eight innings, giving up just one run on a long home run off the bat of Russell Branyan. That was in the second. The Tribe did not score again.

What Moyer is doing this season defies just about every rule of baseball, let alone life in general.

Forty-seven-year-old men are supposed to be struggling in beer league softball contests, not fooling Major League hitters with a collection of junk balls.

But that is what Moyer is doing.

I am seven years older than Moyer. I confess when I watch him pitch I sometime yearn for the time when I actually played. I wouldn’t mind grabbing a bat and taking a few hacks off him.

The win last night and a loss by the Braves brings the Phils to four and a half games of first. Last night they also got their sparkplug, Jimmy Rollins, back in his familiar spot at the top of the lineup. Ryan Howard continues to drive in runs.

Maybe they are turning the corner.

This team has an MVP. He’s 47 years old.

My next life I want to come back as Jamie Moyer.

Online chat at noon

Don’t forget I will be available for a live online chat at noon today.

Just log on to delcotimes.com and join the conversation. I’m up for pretty much anything, but I will be specifically “chatting” about our upcoming Ben Franklin edition and the ways we are opening up our news-gathering process to readers.

Don’t be bashful! If you have something to say – positive or negative – jump online and join the conversation.

This is about you, the readers, and our efforts to gauge what news you want covered, what questions you want asked, and how you want that news delivered.

Talk to you today from noon to 1. Be there.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Daily Numbers - June 22

The Daily Numbers: 3 nights without incident since a state of emergency was put in place in Chester.
1 man found stabbed to death in an SUV that was stopped by police in Smedley Park in Springfield. The owner of Final Impact, a popular auto detailing and customizing shop in Morton, has been charged with murder.
20, age of man charged in with firing a gun in Chester Friday night.
9 firearms seized by Chester police this week.
120 dollar tax hike for most homeowners under the new budget given the OK by Springfield School Board.
5 incidents in which police say bogus $100 bills were used in Radnor Township.
261 million dollars collected during Pennsylvania’s tax amnesty program. That’s more than the $190 million goal.
2 Genuardi’s supermarkets in Delaware County that will close later this summer. They are located on West Chester Pike in Newtown, and on Route
202 in Concord.
26, age of woman stabbed in her backyard during a confrontation with a stranger in Deptford, N.J.
4 people struck by gunfire in the Mill Creek section of West Philly Monday night.
2 men being sought in a violent attack on an 70-year-old woman in Vineland, N.J.
2 people hospitalized after a fire broke out Monday night in an apartment at 38th and Wister streets in Philly.
90,000 dollars, how much a woman who worked as a tax specialist for the Wilson School District in Berks County admitted she stole. She was sentenced to 2 and a half years in jail.
4 hour manhunt touched off in Bensalem yesterday morning after a man tried to run down a state trooper.
3 people killed when a small plane went down as it tried to land at an airport in Lock Haven, Pa.
9 days and counting for Pennsylvania legislators to have a new spending plan in place.
7 straight years that Gov. Rendell and the Legislature have failed to pass a budget on time.
3 days after she graduated, an 18-year-old Philly student was gunned down when she was caught in the middle of a gun battle.
14 debates, how many Democrat Dan Onorato wants to have with Tom Corbett, his Republican foe for Pennsylvnia governor. Yep, he’s behind in the polls.
3 more interleague games for the Phils, who host the Cleveland Indians tonight.
4-5 record for the Phils so far this year in inter-league play.

*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Chill. That is the word from the Phillies these days. They believe fans are panicking. Maybe they’re right. Then again, that’s a fan’s right, too.
*
I Don’t Get It: So many people believe violence only occurs in Chester. Not so. Just glance at the headlines today.
*
Today’s Upper: Kudos to Steve Dalton and the gardeners in Rose Tree Park who are donating their harvest to Philabundance, which distributes it to needy groups. Well done.
*
Quote Box: “I am impressed with how my residents have acted toward this.”
- Chester Mayor Wendell Butler, on reaction to his edict declaring a state of emergency in the city.

It can happen anywhere

The easy reaction when hearing of the recent spike in fatal shootings in Chester is to simply roll your eyes. Not again.

Read the comments on this website and you get the impression nowhere else in Delaware County is battling street violence, that this is something unique to the Chester city limits.

If nothing else, the past few days have shown that’s simply not the case.

There was a street shooting in Darby Township Friday night, which took the life of a Collingdale man.

On Father’s Day, police say a drug deal gone bad erupted in gunfire in Upper Darby. One person was killed and two others injured in the carnage.

Finally, yesterday police were called to the Olde Sproul Shopping Center on Baltimore Pike in Springfield for a report of a stabbing.

As it turns out, two county detectives noticed the white SUV described by a witness and followed it to nearby Smedley Park, where they stopped it.

Inside they found the body of a man who had been stabbed. The driver was taken into custody.

It was the first murder reported in Springfield in five years. And it took all of seven minutes to solve the case.

Late last night the owner of a popular Morton auto detailing business was charged with murder in the case. Police believe an argument escalated into something far more serious.

It doesn’t just happen in Chester.

It happens everywhere. And it seems to be happening more and more all the time.

A kick to Chester's comeback

There is no good time for an outbreak of fatal shootings.

But the recent spike in street killings in the city of Chester could not come at a worse time.

The city is about to be thrust into the national spotlight this weekend when the Union, the area’s Major League Soccer franchise, show off their new stadium.

That just happens to be located on the Chester waterfront, right underneath the Commodore Barry Bridge.

While much of the city will likely continue in a state of emergency, with an edict that residents stay off the streets between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., more than 18,000 people will arrive for the first game to be played at PPL Park on Sunday at 5 p.m.

The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2.

Union officials say they are not planning any special security precautions, other than what they had originally planned.

The site of PPL Park is not in the areas under the state of emergency restrictions.

The stadium was expected to be the centerpiece of a $500 million development, with retail and office space, along with some pricey condos and townhouses. Officials say that plan is still on track, but you don’t hear anywhere near the buzz about it you did when the deal was first unveiled.

It was that surrounding development that pushed county officials to sink $10 million in public funds into the project. County Councilman Andy Lewis, who voted against the measure, said this week that if the development does not happen, then the county got a bad deal investing in the stadium.

Just one more instance of the two faces of Chester. There is the spectacular development along the city’s waterfront, which includes Harrah’s, PPL Park, and the Wharf at Rivertown.

Then there are the neighborhoods that remain unsafe, where gunfire is a nightly occurrence.

So far the state of emergency seems to be working.

On Sunday, the city’s population will swell from its current 37,000 to more than 50,000, at least for a few hours.

It’s likely most of those people will never have any inkling of the other Chester.

New job for Bishop McFadden

A priest with long ties to Delaware County is getting a new job.

Bishop Joseph McFadden, the former president of Cardinal O’Hara High School, has been nominated to be the new Bishop of Harrisburg by the Vatican.

The announcement will be made at a 10 a.m. press conference by Cardinal Justin Rigali.

McFadden was named the first president of O’Hara by then Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua in 1993. He headed the school until 2001, when he was appointed pastor at St. Joseph’s Parish in Downingtown, Chester county.
In 2004 he was appointed an auxiliary bishop in Philadelphia and has overseen parochial education in the archdiocese.

McFadden is a graduate of St. Thomas More High School for Boys and Saint Joseph’s University. He entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 1976 and was ordained a deacon in 1980. He was ordained into the priesthood in 1981.

He has served in several Delaware County parishes, including Our Lady of Fatima in Secane, and St. Laurence Parish in the Highland Park section of Upper Darby.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Daily Numbers - June 21

The Daily Numbers: 4 killings in 8 days in the city of Chester, prompting Mayor Wendell Butler to declare a state of emergency.
9 p.m. to 6 a.m., when residents must be off the streets of the city.
3, maximum number allowed to gather on city streets without a permit.
5 areas of the city declared hotspots and affected by the crackdown.
96 members of Chester police force who are now working extended shifts to enforce the curfew.
0 shootings reported since it went into effect Saturday morning.
5 days it will be in effect, with possibility it could be extended 30 more days by city council on Wednesday.
1 person killed, 2 injured in gun battle in Upper Darby on Sunday.
1 person shot to death in Darby Township Friday night.
18, age of girl fatally shot when she was caught in cross-fire of gun battle on North Philly street Sunday night.
1 prison guard fatally shot on the doorstep of his home in North Philly Sunday night.
23, age of cab driver in Camden who was shot during a holdup.
1 woman missing after she fell from a raft in the Delaware River Sunday.
2 children who also fell in were rescued.
6 people injured when a boat hit a guidepost on the Intracoastal Highway near Egg Harbor, N.J.
850 million dollars in fed funds, how much Gov. Ed Rendell says Pa.
needs to avoid furloughing state workers.
2 age of Delaware child who drowned in an above-ground pool during a weekend party.
2 billion dollars, current price tag of the cleanup in the Gulf from the oil rig disaster.
19 people injured in a fire in a Chicago subway.
109 million dollars rake in over the weekend for the premiere of the move ‘Toy Story 3.’
47, age of former Sixer and all-around good guy Manute Bol, who died of a reaction to medicine he was taking for a painful skin condition.
3 straight losses for Roy Halladay since his Perfect Game.
32 runs in their past 4 games for the Phils; 1 run scored on Sunday in a 4-1 loss to the Twins.
2 of 3 the Phils dropped to the Twins over the weekend, including a brutal game Saturday in which the bullpen blew a 9-4 lead.
5 and a half games back in the NL East, where the Phils currently reside.

*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Jimmy Rollins can’t get back fast enough. It may not be time to panic, Phillies fans, but it’s getting close.
*
I Don’t Get It: Four dead in eight days in gun violence on the streets of Chester. I don’t’ get it.
*
Today’s Upper: Kudos to Chester Mayor Wendell Butler for instituting a state of emergency in the city following the rash of shootings.
*
Quote Box: “I think it’s a great idea. Little kids can’t come out and play.”
- Chester resident Rick Gandy, on the crackdown in the city.

State of emergency

Wendell Butler had seen enough.

Saying his city was “unnerved” by four homicides in eight days, the mayor of Chester took the unprecedented step Saturday morning of placing the city under a state of emergency.

That meant no one on the street between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
in many areas of the city. It also means no gatherings of more than three people without a permit.

So far, so good.

There have been no incidents in the two nights since Butler instituted the crackdown, which is being carried out by city police, with an assist from state police and county detectives from the district attorney’s office.

As we’ve seen this weekend, Chester is not the only place in Delaware County suffering from the scourge of street violence. A gun battle in Upper Darby left one person dead and two others injured.

There was a fatal shooting in Darby Township Friday night.

But none draw the social stigma of Chester. Violence continues to dog the city’s image, despite its best efforts to turn that image around.

They have built a casino; they have built a soccer stadium. The hope is that in the near future they will add a supermarket.

But I’m still fascinated by something I heard Butler say a few years ago. We appeared together at some type of function. I was talking about the city’s image, and how it is affected by the way it is often portrayed in the pages of this newspaper.

Butler was asked what he thought was needed to turn around the city’s image.

I found his response right on the money.

“Until people can come into the city, go about their business, and return home without fearing for their safety, we will continue to have problems,” Butler told the group.

I couldn’t agree more.

There have been any number of rallies, vigils and makeshift shrines dotting the gun-scarred landscape in Chester.

None of them have seemed to work, to quell the violence that continues to break out.

Some people might consider Butler’s action rash, and question if it’s even constitutional.

My guess is that none of those people live in Chester.

The mayor is going what must be done.

Enough is enough. The violence has to stop.

If it takes a state of emergency, so be it.

The 2 faces of Chester

I refer to it as the two faces of Chester.


I talk about it a bit in my print column today.


 


One face is the gleaming 18,500-seat PPL Park, which will open its doors Sunday as the Philadelphia Union plays its first game on the Chester waterfront.


It’s a day many people thought would never come.


And it cannot come fast enough. Because the other face of Chester is the angelic visage of 2-year-old Terrance “Pop” Webster. He’s one of four people gunned down on city streets in the last week.


You wonder how the two images can co-exist.


The challenge for Chester is to take all the progress, the magnificent strides that are taking root along its waterfront and ensure that it spreads to every neighborhood.


If its citizens continue to live in fear, with gunshots taking a daily toll, no amount of soccer stadiums will make Chester a Major League city.


It owes its citizens at least as much as those who will arrive on Sunday to watch the Union.

Phils phading phast!

Maybe the Phillies need Jimmy Rollins more than we ever imagined.

But if that’s the case, I have a couple of questions.

Can Rollins pitch out of the bullpen?

Can he guarantee clutch hitting in key spots in late innings in from other spots in the lineup?

The Phillies better hope so, as they expect to greet their starting shortstop and spark plug back in his familiar spot at the top of the lineup sometime this week.

And it’s a good thing.

In case you spent the weekend watching the U.S. Open or trying to get the ringing from those vuvuzelas out of your head from the World Cup, you’d better check the National League East standings.

Your Fightin’ Phils this morning are sitting five and a half games back, in third place.

Still, it’s not time to panic. Yet.

Their ace, Roy Halladay, pitched OK yesterday, but the Phils’ bats, which seemed to be coming to life, went dead again, managing just one run in a 4-1 loss as the Twins took two of three at Citizens Bank Park.
Halladay has now lost three straight decisions since his Perfect Game.

But nothing can quite match the frustration of Saturday’s fiasco, when a succession of Phils’ relievers blew a 9-4 lead. After the Twins took a
10-9 lead in the 10th, the Phils were down to their last out before Ross Gload played the hero by blasting a ball into the seats in the rightfield corner to tie the game again.

Of course that only set the stage for Danys Baez to implode in the 11th.
He gave up three runs and the Phils fell, 13-10.

Rollins is due back this week. For some reason, he seems to set the attitude for this bunch.

He better. I’m not ready to panic, but I have my finger on the button.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Daily Numbers - June 18

The Daily Numbers: 300 people who took to the streets in Chester last night to plead for an end to the violence that is plaguing the city.
3 murders in 5 days in the city, which sparked the series of unity day rallies.
100 advocates for social service agencies who rallied at the Media Courthouse yesterday against potential budget cuts.
800 graduates strong, the Class of 2010 at Upper Darby High accepted their diplomas last night.
3 other schools that also graduated last night: 263 at Sun Valley; 329 at Interboro; 301 at Marple Newtown.
16, age of bicyclist seriously injured when he was struck by a car at MacDade and Fairview in Ridley.
94 years young, that would be bowler George Viscusi of Springfield, the oldest competitor at this year’s Delco Senior Games.
0.27 blood-alcohol level for state trooper who was killed when he went the wrong way down a Schuylkill Expressway exit and slammed into another car.
1 man shot during a home invasion in the Juniata section of Philadelphia overnight.
5 million bucks, how much SEPTA is hoping to get by selling the naming rights to the Pattison Avenue station on the Broad Street Line to AT&T.
375,000 dollars given by Campbell Soup Foundation for 26 youth rec organizations in the region.
200,000 dollars, how much the former tax collector in Jenkintown is charged with ripping off. He’s been ordered held for trial on the charges.
6 police officers being laid off in Cherry Hill, N.J., in a wave of budget cuts. The town is eliminating 23 jobs total.
15 million pounds of SpaghettiOs being recalled by Campbell Soup Co.
5.9 percent tuition hike next year for students at Temple University.
19,500 jobs added by the state of Pennsylvania in May. That’s 3 straight months of job gains.
7 strong innings for Kyle Kendrick as the Phils got the best of the Yankees again.
1 run on 5 hits surrendered by Kendrick as the Phils took 2 of 3 from the Bombers.
5 shots off the lead for Tiger Woods after Day 1 at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. The leader is 2 under. Tiger is 3 over.
16 World Titles for the Lakers, who prevailed over the Celtics last night.

*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.You can kiss Sam Dalembert goodbye. The Sixers sent him packing yesterday, trading him to the Clippers for two players. Are they having a parade today?
*
I Don’t Get It: They held a vigil in a Philadelphia playground last night, the site where a dog was found hanged. I don’t get it.
*
Today’s Upper: Kudos to those who took to the streets of Chester last night to let the thugs know they are serious about taking back their streets.
*
Quote Box: “We’ve got to stand up. These people here from all walks of life, all they want is to come home and live in tranquility.
- Chester Mayor Wendell Butler, at last night’s rally.

A line in the sand in Chester

It has not been a good week in the city of Chester.


Last night a group of residents gathered to turn things around.


Stung by three homicides in the last five days, including the ambush that took the life of a 2-year-old boy, more than 300 residents gathered last night in a show of resvolve to reclaim the streets of this city.


You can read all about it here.


It won’t happen overnight. But it was a start.


Mayor Wendell Butler says he will hold one of these unity rallies every Thursday night in a different sections of the city.


If this city is to reclaim its streets from the gun-toting thugs that terrorize too many neighborhoods, it is the citizens themselves who will have to do the heavy lifting.


City police can only do so much. It’s time for citizens to take a stand.


Last night they drew a line in the sand.


Stop the violence.


Now.

'Media Mike' strikes again

One more thought that keeps rolling around my brain concerning the Great Escape that actually wasn’t at Delaware County Prison this week.

What do you think bothered Delco law enforcement officials more, the fact that they had an obvious breakdown in their security procedures at the facility, or that there was none other than Upper Darby top cop Mike Chitwood alerting the world that this in fact was not an escape.

Chitwood has crossed swords with D.A. Mike Green on a couple of occasions. And he clearly rubs a lot of his fellow chiefs the wrong way with his media-friendly ways.

They don’t call him “Media Mike” for nothing.

So there was Chitwood early on Tuesday morning informing our Linda Reilly – and every othe pen and camera he could find - that this was not an escape, but that suspected killer Taaqi Brown was allowed to walk out the front door of the George W. Hill Correctional Facility.

In this instance, his brethren in law enforcement had little choice but to indicate Chitwood was right and push the hunt manhunt for Brown.

Score one for Chitwood.

Score one for Chitwood

One more thought that keeps rolling around my brain concerning the Great Escape that actually wasn’t at Delaware County Prison this week.

What do you think bothered Delco law enforcement officials more, the fact that they had an obvious breakdown in their security procedures at the facility, or that there was none other than Upper Darby top cop Mike Chitwood alerting the world that this in fact was not an escape.

Chitwood has crossed swords with D.A. Mike Green on a couple of occasions. And he clearly rubs a lot of his fellow chiefs the wrong way with his media-friendly ways.

They don’t call him “Media Mike” for nothing.

So there was Chitwood early on Tuesday morning informing our Linda Reilly – and every othe pen and camera he could find - that this was not an escape, but that suspected killer Taaqi Brown was allowed to walk out the front door of the George W. Hill Correctional Facility.

In this instance, his brethren in law enforcement had little choice but to indicate Chitwood was right and push the hunt manhunt for Brown.

Score one for Chitwood.

The Odd Couple, Moyer & Kendrick

If I was to tell you that the Phils would win two of three against the Yankees, you might have waited for the wink, something to indicate I was joking.

It’s not joke.

Not only that, but the only game they lost was with Roy Halladay on the mound. That's right. Halladay got roughed up, and the Phils were bailed out by successive strong outings by the odd couple, Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick.

Last night it was Kendrick’s turn to dazzle the Bombers. He went seven strong innings, allowing just one run on four hits.

In the meantime, the Phils enjoyed a continued rebirth at the plate, rapping out 10 hits on their way to a 7-1 win.

Now they return to Citizens Bank Park. Have they turned the corner, shaken off the doldrums that seem to have settled in on them just about all season.

They also should get their sparkplug, shortstop Jimmy Rollins, back this weekend.

In the meantime, it’s quite the sports weekend. It starts this morning with the U.S. back in action at the World Cup, this time against Slovenia. I’d like to have a photog and reporter take in the action with a group of Delco soccer fanatics.

And remember to pick up a Sunday copy of the Daily Times for a special report on PPL Park, the new soccer stadium on the Chester waterfront that will be home to the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer, including a full-page graphic with everything you need to know about the facility.

And finally, if it’s Father’s Day weekend, it must be time for the U.S.
Open. This year it’s being competed on the hallowed ground of Pebble Beach.

You know who usually plays very well there. But Tiger Woods is five shots back after Day 1. He’s 5 shots back at 3 over.

And he displayed a little classic Tiger Tantrum on the 18th green.

Temper, temper, Tiger.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Daily Numbers: June 17

The Daily Numbers: 3 murders in 5 days in the city of Chester.
22, age of the latest victim, gunned down near Lehman and Honan streets Tuesday night.
10 homicides so far this year in Chester; 16 murders in the county.
6 people who suffered minor injuries after a car went out of control and up onto the sidewalk, striking them as they stood outside the Erin Pub in Norwood.
60 handguns on display yesterday by Upper Darby police. They were seized in various police operations and will be melted down.
12, age of one youth who paid for tattoos at the home of a 23-year-old man in Yeadon who police say was operating without the proper licensing.
60 bucks, how much the youth paid for 2 tattoos.
5.2 percent rate hike for Aqua Pa. water company users, including lots of folks in Delco. The firm has 406,050 customers.
192-6 vote in the Pa. House yesterday to make changes in the state’s 2 ailing public employee pension plans.
3 jewelry store heists in Bucks County and Delaware believed to be the work of one suspect.
48, age of state trooper who was killed as he was going the wrong way on the Schuylkill Expressway early Wednesday morning. John Quigg was due in court to face a DUI charge later in the day. A 23-year-old woman in the car he struck was hospitalized.
100,000 dollars, how much a paralegal admitted that she stole from a Norristown law firm where she worked.
155 graduates in the final class of Northeast Catholic High School for Boys. Back in 1955, it boasted 1,077 grads.
99 charges filed against the school finance chief in Laurel, Del. Police believe he ripped off $150,000 from district coffers over 8 years.
2 million dollar fine for a Montco beef-processing plant for sending pollution into Skippack Creek.
78 million dollar Powerball jackpot prize Saturday night. No one hit last night.
14 state university campuses, including Cheyney and West Chester, that are scaling back under-used degree programs to save money.
7, age of student in Downingtown who is in critical condition after being struck by a school bus.
504 career wins for Jamie Moyer, who baffled the Yankees last night as the Phils rolled to a 6-3 win.
2 home runs for the Phils, as Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth went back-to-back.
47 years, 155 days. That would be Moyer’s age, making him oldest pitcher to ever beat the stories Yankees.

*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Don’t ask me how Jamie Moyer does it. Am I the only one who would like to grab a bat and take a few hacks against him?
*
I Don’t Get It: A man was charged yesterday after he left his child in a running car with the air-conditioning on while he went into the Parx casino. He allegedly was just going to cash a ticket, but he spent more than an hour gambling. I don’t get it.
*
Today’s Upper: Kudos to those sounding the siren to put the guns down in the city of Chester. They have their work cut out for them.
*
Quote Box: “This is a crime scene.”
- Republican Pat Meehan, at the state Capitol yesterday, trying to link his 7th District opponent Rep. Bryan Lentz to the Bonusgate probe.

Meehan vs. Lentz, the main event

If you thought that Pat Meehan and Bryan Lentz would be calling a post-primary truce in their war, taking the summer off before the campaign heats up again after Labor Day, you’d be exactly wrong.

This one is nasty. And yesterday the rhetoric got ratcheted up even more.

Lentz started all this, putting a match to the coals in pointing out problems with Meehan’s petitions. Yesterday Meehan threw a little gas on the fire.

The rest of the nation likely will join us in this watching this battle royal to succeed U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak as the 7th District congressman. Sestak is giving up the seat to run for the U.S. Senate. He beat Arlen Specter – and his own party’s leaders – for the right to face Republican Pat Toomey in November.

In the weeks before the primary, Democrat state Rep. Lentz was having a field day with problems with Republican Meehan’s nominating petitions. Even Meehan, the former Delco D.A. and U.S. attorney, admitted some signatures likely were bogus.

At one point Lentz trotted downtown and held a press conference outside the U.S. Courthouse, where Meehan once toiled.

Yesterday Meehan returned the favor.

There was Meehan holding a press conference in the rotunda of the state Capitol in Harrisburg. His claim? He was looking to link Lentz to the Bonusgate scandal sweeping both sides of the aisle in Harrisburg.

Bonusgate centers on the practice of having staff workers do campaign work with taxpayer money. Meehan yesterday was looking to add Lentz’s name to those under the microscope.

Specifically, he alleged that a Lentz campaign worker received close to $10,000 in taxpayer money to do campaign work, including some for Lentz.

Not only has Lentz not been charged in the probe, no one else has tried to connect him to Bonusgate.

“This is a crime scene,” Meehan said while standing in the rotunda. Meehan is not exactly what I would call a splashy guy. But he was in full splendor yesterday. “From inside this Capitol a massive and illegal political operation was conducted on state time with taxpayer money.”

Meehan believes that more than 20 state workers who have been tied to the Bonusgate probe can also be traced to doing work for the Lentz campaign.

There was one especially interested observer in all this high drama at the Capitol. That would be Lentz.

He scoffed at Meehan’s claims, and told reporters they should bill the Meehan campaign for the mileage if they drove all the way to Harrisburg to hear his claims.

“He has no evidence rendering me unfit for higher office,” Lentz responded.

We did not make the trip to Harrisburg. We have our hands full here in Delaware County.

We will, however, be closely covering the 7th District race. My hope is that it is carried out on a higher plain than we’ve seen so far.

Petition problems. Bonusgate claims.

Think many people in the 7th District really care about those things? I kind of doubt it. They care about jobs, about health care, about education.

I suppose eventually we’ll get around to those things.

I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Another Pa. budget dance

Today is June 17. The deadline for Pennsylvania to have a budget in place is midnight the night of June 30. That’s less than two weeks away.
What do you think the chances are that legislators and the governor will sign off on a spending plan by then? Yeah, I think Harrah’s would give you odds on that happening.

Ed Rendell is no stranger to this dance. This is his eighth – and final – budget. None of the previous seven have been done on time. Last year, you might remember, the process dragged on for 101 days, with state workers laid off and crucial services going wanting.

Here we go again.

Yesterday the editorial board had a visit with some people who know all too well what is at stake. They are with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Budget Coalition.

When they arrived I asked them what we should fear most, another long budget standoff, or the spending plan that is eventually put into place.

They kind of smiled. Nervously. I don’t blame them.

The budget doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Here’s the problem.
Revenue is down, to the tune of more than $1 billion.

That leaves two basic ways out of this mess, cutting costs or raising taxes.

Rendell is pushing to preserve another big boost in education funding in the state. After all, he wants to be recorded as the “education governor.” He, along with House Democrats, are pushing a package of tax hikes, in particular removing some loopholes, slapping fees on cigars and smokeless tobacco, which are currently exempt, increasing the cigarette tax, and enacting a tax on extractions from the gold mine of the Marcells Shale region.

Republicans don’t want to raise taxes at a time when the economy is just showing signs of life. That leaves cuts. But they’re not saying what they would cut. In fact Democrats have challenged them to say just what they would cut.

Yesterday, Rendell challenged legislators to stay in Harrisburg until a spending plan is approved.

House and Senate leaders appeared ready to at least consider the idea.

Rendell also is again reminding anyone who will listen that he still could be forced to lay off thousands of government workers if the federal government does not free $850 million due the state. So far it is bottled up in the Senate.

The folks who visited here yesterday know all too well what is at stake.
They are aware of the inverse relationship to services and revenue.

When revenue declines, as is the case across the state now, the need for their serves actually goes up.

But the money is not there.

Whether it will be there on June 30 is anyone’s guess.

I would take the over. As in past the July 4 holiday.

Brace yourself. It’s going to be a bump ride. Again.

Ageless wonder

Who’d a thunk it?

The Phils sent their ace to the hill Tuesday night in the first of a three-game set at Yankee Stadium. It seemed like the struggling Phils’
best bet to take a game.

So what happened? Roy Halladay got roughed up, giving up three home runs in a 8-3 loss.

Enter Jamie Moyer. He was last seen exiting the mound in the second inning Friday night in Boston after recording all of three outs. He didn’t get anybody out in the second and was torched for nine runs.

All Moyer did last night was baffle the Yanks over eight innings, giving up just two runs on three hits, two of them solo home runs.

And that wasn’t the only good news for the Phils. Their bats actually showed signs of life, including back-to-back dingers from Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth. The Phils rolled to a convincing 6-3 win. Brad Lidge closed things out in the ninth, in the process getting nicked for a run on two hits.

Along the way Moyer became the oldest pitcher ever to beat the fabled Yankees.

Some nights you wonder how Moyer gets anybody out. Anyone who has ever played the game, me included, takes a look at his stuff and sort of licks his chops, wishing you could grab a bat and take a few hacks against the age-defying left-hander and the collection of junk he throws up there.

There are nights when he’s going to get lit up, like Friday night in Fenway. But there likely will be more nights, like last night, when he continues to baffle Major League hitters.

Some things do get better with age. Jamie Moyer happens to be one of them.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Daily Numbers - June 16

The Daily Numbers: 14 hours, how long accused killer Taaqi Brown spent as a free man after he was mistakenly released from Delaware County prison.
22 hours a day, how long Brown spends in lockup each day at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility.
10,000 dollar reward posted for information in the shooting death of 2-year-old Terrence “Pop” Webster in Chester.
1 more fatal shooting reported in the city overnight.
9 homicides reported in Chester so far this year, 5 of them since May 5.
There have been 15 homicides reported in the county.
216 graduates who were awarded diplomas last night by Chichester High School
5.9 percent tax hike coming in Haverford after the school board passed their budget. That means about $221 more for the average taxpayer.
1.18 mill tax hike in Upper Darby School District, which translates to another $118 annually for most homeowners.
47 former students at St. Joe’s School in Collingdale who are now headed for St. Eugene’s in Primos after their school closed its doors forever.
A group of them visited their new school for orientation yesterday.
142 million dollars, how much Pa. Dem House members were hoping to raise from taxing Marcellus Shale extraction. They now have pulled that proposal off the table.
30 of June, deadline for state to have a new budget in place. Don’t look for that to happen.
7 straight years Gov. Ed Rendell and the Legislature have failed to put a spending plan in place on time. Looks like it could be a less-then-perfect 8 for 8.
1,000 dollar reward for information on the person responsible for hanging a dog in a North Philadelphia playground.
10 million dollar cut being eyed for the Philadelphia police budget.
Most of the cuts target overtime.
81,000 dollar fine for Sunoco for benzene released at is South Philly refinery.
16 small dogs seized from a home in Wilmington after a raid by SPCA officials.
3 home runs surrendered by Roy Halladay as the Phils fell to the Yankees, 8-3.
15 losses in their last 21 games for the Phils, who have now dropped to third place in the NL East.
5 hits, all the Phils could muster against CC Sabathia, who struck out 7.
0 for 3 for Jimmy Rollins in a rehab start in Florida.

*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.If there was one game you figured the Phils to win vs. the Yankees, it was when they had Roy Halladay on the hill. So much for that plan. Jamie Moyer goes tonight. Uh-oh.
*
I Don’t Get It: Tiger Woods got snippy with a British reporter who posed a question about his relationship with his wife, Elin. Tiger informed the reporter, “It’s none of your business.” That will make it go away, right?
*
Today’s Upper: Let’s hope that $10,000 dollar reward sparks someone to come forward with what they know about the shooting of 2-year-old Terrence Webster in Chester.
*
Quote Box: “The murder of this 2-year-old child is outrageous. This is a callous, disgraceful and senseless act.”
- Delco D.A. Mike Green.


The mean streets of Chester

They gathered yesterday afternoon and last night in an all-too familiar scene in Chester.

Family and friends came together to mourn the senseless death of 2-year-old Terrence “Pop” Webster. The tot was gunned down during an ambush as his father carried him into their Chester apartment early Sunday morning.

Both the father, Thomas Webster, and mother Tisheta Green, were hit by gunfire. Their wounds were not life-threatening. The same could not be said for little Terrence. A bullet struck him in the head. He died Monday at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Yesterday morning officials from the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Marshals announced a $10,000 reward for information on Terrence’s killer.

It might take more than that to change the mean streets of Chester.

A few hours after a vigil was held in Terrence’s memory, gunfire again rang out in the city.

Police report a fatal shooting in the 2700 block of Lehman Street.

Something needs to change in this city. And soon. Too many people are dying.

A Tiger by the tale

An interesting situation is playing out at the U.S. Open, which this weekend will be contested in all the grandeur of Pebble Beach.

There might be more than a few “pebbles” in the path of Tiger Woods, who cruised to a historic win the last time the open was contested on the Monterrey Peninsula.

Maybe more like a Rocky Road.

Woods held his first press briefing yesterday. Guess what came up? Hard to believe Woods was surprised. Even harder to believe he was peeved.

Mark Reason of the London Telegraph asked, if you will pardon the pun, a fairly “reason-able” question. He wanted to know if Tiger’s reached any kind of resolution with his wife, Elin. Tiger, you might remember, has been living under a cloud since his life imploded last Thanksgiving under a non-stop series of scandals involving myriad marital infidelities.

Tiger proved true to his stripes. The man who maybe more than any other athlete covets control, offered the following terse response.

“That’s none of your business.”

Actually, I find it a very interesting response. I’m not so sure I disagree with him, which you might find odd considering what I do for a living.

But here’s what I really think. U.S. Open weekend is one of those very special times in sports, in part because it rolls around every year at the same time. It’s always held on Father’s Day weekend.

There would be something strangely odd should Tiger regain his game and win this tournament on a historic course where always plays well.

What kind of Father’s Day lesson would that provide?

For me, a golf nut and one-time Tiger fanatic, it will provide a different kind of lesson.

The truth is I don’t care what Tiger does anymore. I don’t care if he plays well. His appearance on the leaderboard on Sunday – complete with the requisite red shirt – used to insure high drama, and even higher ratings.

When Tiger was on the lead Sunday afternoon, it was almost impossible to look away.

For most of the past year, it has been nearly impossible to look away for entirely different reasons. Kind of like a car wreck.

Now I wish Tiger this. Nothing.

I don’t care if he plays well. I don’t care if he makes the cut. I don’t care about his personal life.

To me, Tiger Woods is now something I once thought impossible.

Just another golfer. Another disgraced athlete. Another celebrity ground up in our TMZ-besotted world.

I can’t bring myself to root for him this weekend. Not on Sunday. At least not yet. Maybe that says more about me than him.

The truth is I used to be the guy’s biggest fan. I always wanted him to win, especially at the Masters and the U.S. Open. But not this year. Not on Father’s Day.

Keep the red shirt in the closet, Tiger.

This is now Tiger’s tale. He doesn’t want to talk about it. I can’t say I blame him. I wouldn’t want to talk about it either. But if he thinks it’s going away because he brushes off questions about it, he’s wrong.

He used to be Tiger Woods, the most dominating, mesmerizing athlete in the world. Maybe the most recognizable face on the globe.

He might still be, for all the wrong reasons.

'Doc' can't cure Phils' ills

That’s why they call them The Bombers.

And the beat (down) goes on for the Phillies. Last night not even Roy Halladay could bail them out.

Instead the ace surrendered three home runs as the Yankees won the first of three games at Yankee Stadium, 8-3.

Halladay went six innings, and gave up six earned runs on eight hits. It was pretty clear he was not entirely happy with umpire Lance Barksdale’s strike zone, but after the game Halladay simply said he has to pitch better.

You have to figure last night was the game the Phillies were hoping to take. They had their ace going for them. They were hoping Halladay would set the tone for the series. Instead he got outdueled by CC Sabathia.

Tonight Jamie Moyer takes the mound. He did not make it out of the second inning in his last outing Friday night against the Red Sox.

The Phils are looking increasingly like a team that needs some kind of shock therapy to jolt them out of their lethargy.

Ruben Amaro Jr. is the man with his hand on the switch.

It might be time to pull it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Daily Numbers - June 15

The Daily Numbers: 21, age of suspected killer Taaqi Brown, who was mistakenly released from Delaware County Prison last night.
100 people were in an Upper Darby park in May 2009 when Brown is alleged to have opened fire on a crowd, killing an unintended victim. No one came forward with information for police.
2, age of Terrence ‘Pop’ Webster, who was fatally wounded as he was being held in his father’s arms.
438 graduates who picked up their diplomas from Haverford High School Monday night.
4-2 vote by which Eddystone council last night gave preliminary land development OK for a firm to move a metal-shredding business into the borough. The move has sparked intense community protest.
15,000 dollars alleged to have been stolen from the Upper Darby Home and School Association by a former trusted worker.
2.9 percent tax hike given the final OK by Wallingford-Swarthmore School Board in aproving their $64 million spending plan.
72 teacher layoffs tabled by the school board in Easton last night as they grappled with a budget deficit.
2 more young boys who have come forward to alleged they were inappropriately touched by a former teacher’s aide at St. Eleanor School in Collegeville. The man already faces charges in 3 other instances.
9, age of youngest victim in a string of rapes that have residents of a Wilmington neighborhood on guard.
7, age of youth struck by a SEPTA bus Monday night in Northeast Philly.
63 pounds of cocaine seized in packages with bananas found on a boat at the port of Wilmington.
13 dead or dying cats found in the home of a woman in Whitpain Township, Montgomery County.
72, age of woman in Cherry Hill charged with trying to hire a man to beat up her ex-husband and their two children.
3 game set, a rematch of last fall’s World Series, kicks off tonight at Yankee Stadium between the Phils and Bronx Bombers.
2 aces on the hill tonight, Roy Halladay for the Phils, CC Sabathia for the Yanks.
70 to 95 bucks, how much you’ll have to shell out for a single game Eagles ticket. They go on sale this morning at 10 a.m.

*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Gut-check time for Phils starting tonight vs. Yankees. They need to win this series. Or consider shaking things up.
*
I Don’t Get It: There was a holdup in Wilmington. The target? A parish priest. The thief left with the church’s poor box because the priest didn’t have any cash on him. I don’t get it.
*
Today’s Upper: Someone please tell me it was not more than three decades ago that I sat in a packed JFK Stadium to see Peter Frampton and Yes.
They play the Tower Theater in Upper Darby tonight.
*
Quote Box: “I hope somebody speaks up on behalf of a 2-year-old.”
- Thomas Webster, father of 2-year-old murder victim Terrence ‘Pop’ Webster.

The hunt for Taaqi Brown

There’s a little bit of irony in the fact that Taaqi Brown is now the focus of a massive police manhunt after he walked out of Delaware County Prison Monday night.

What was once thought to be an escape now appears instead to be a paperwork error. An inmate with a similar name apparently was supposed to be cut loose. Instead it was a man Upper Darby Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood once referred to as an “Urban Terrorist” who is on the lam.

Police are asking for the public’s help in tracking Brown down. I hope they have better luck than the first time they were hot on his trail.

Brown is charged with a fatal street shooting in an Upper Darby park back in May 2009.

Police believe he went there seeking revenge for an earlier incident. He opened fire on a crowd. He apparently did not hit his intended victim.
The gunshots did however, strike Aaron Kearney, 19, of Folcroft, killing him.

The playground was packed on that warm May night, with as many as 100 people mulling around.

Police asked people to come forward. No one did.

Now they’re seeking him again.

Let’s hope they have better luck this time.

30 years later, Yes & Peter Frampton again

Now I officially feel old.

It wasn’t so much that yesterday I marked by 30th anniversary here at the Daily Times.

Flag Day 1982.

This time it’s something that actually happened a few years before.

June 12, 1976, to be exact. Ring any bells? No? Then how about this.
Peter Frampton and Yes. JFK Stadium. A crowd of more than 100,000 packed into the rickety old stadium that once sat at the wite that is now the Wachovia Center.

That’s on my mind because tonight Frampton and Yes will be back in the area, at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, 30 years after their historic show.

I won’t be at the Tower tonight.

I was, however, at JFK 30 years ago.

I consider it one of the best concerts I ever saw. And also one of the best shows I never saw.

Let me try to explain.

I had literally just gotten home after driving back to good, old Oxford, Pa., from Colorado when I ran into an old concert-going friend in town.
He told me that he had tickets to the Frampton/Yes show and said he couldn’t make it and that did I want to use one of them. Absolutely, was my reply.

It was literally a last-minute thing. I went to the show alone. Instead of sitting in one seat, I just kind of wandered around. The place was packed.

Remember, this was the summer that Frampton released his classic live LP, “Frampton Comes Alive. I played that 8-track all the way back from Colorado and couldn’t wait to see the show live.

For some reason, I keep thinking George Thorogood opened the show. But apparently it was Gary Wright, he of the "Dream Weaver" hit. Didn't much matter. Everyone was waiting for Frampton. He took the stage next and from the first note just owned the place. He was, in a word, dynamite.

Then a weird thing happened. Apparently Yes had planned an elaborate laser light show. Frampton had finished up his show in the late afternoon. But Yes, at least from the buzz in the crowd, did not want to come on until it was dark, to make the light show all the more spectacular.

Time started going by, and the crowd started to get restless. As the time stretched, people started looking for ways to entertain themselves.
At one point, someone started throwing paper. The next thing you know the entire stadium was doing it. It was like a blizzard in June. Paper was everywhere.

Then people started stamping their feet and swaying. At one point it actually seemed like the old stadium was literally moving from side to side. I never remember being in a place that was that crowded.

After that show, officials changed the seating arrangement. The attendance at the show was over 100,000. You literally couldn’t move.

It was one of the very few times during the dozens of concerts I went to when I was actually a little scared.

Bottom line? I decided not to stick around for Yes. Instead, having been satisfied with Frampton, I headed for the exits.

So I saw half of a historic concert.

Maybe I should go to the Tower tonight to check out the other half I missed.

The joint was rocking

This gives a whole new meaning to the saying, “the stadium is rocking.”


Last night in San Diego, they were literally shaking in their seats when a 5.7 magnitude earthquake struck the region while the Padres were hosting the Toronto Blue Jays. Petco Park was literally swaying.


This joint is rocking? Yeah, you might say that.


 

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Daily Numbers - June 14

The Daily Numbers: 2, age of child injured in a shooting at a Chester apartment complex over the weekend. His parents were both wounded as well.
1192, Senate bill that would change the way school districts such as Chester Upland, which are under state control, are operated.
16 years since the Delaware County Democratic Party has had a new leader. Congratulations to David Landau, who succeeds Cliff Wilson.
363 graduates who picked up their diplomas from Garnet Valley High School Sunday.
4.78 percent of payroll, how much local school districts now chip in for pensions costs. That figure is expected to skyrocket to 35 percent by 2015.
5,000 soccer fans who got both a sneak peek inside the new PPL Park in Chester, as well as a gathering for the USA-England World Cup kickoff game on Saturday.
19, age of teen from Chester County facing charges in a fatal crash that killed 2 friends who were passengers in his car.
7 teens riding in a limo when it collided with a car in Montgomery County.
2 people fatally stabbed in an incident at a restaurant in Pennsauken, N.J.
16,680 passengers a day who are now looking for a new means of transit after workers at Spirit Airlines went on strike over the weekend.
44, age of woman struck and killed by train at the Bryn Mawr station Friday while she was chasing her dog, who had gotten loose. The dog was not injured.
59, age of woman charged with attacking reality TV star Bam Margera with a baseball bat outside his West Chester nightspot.
35, age of Canadian Yannick Nezet-Seguin, named as the new music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
2 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard killed in action in Afghanistan.
60 million jackpot up for grabs in the Powerball drawing Wednesday night. Nobody hit on Saturday night.
5 run explosion for the Phils as they finally beat the Red Sox in Boston Sunday. They had been bombed in the two earlier games.
22-4, how badly the Red Sox outscored the Phils on Friday and Saturday nights.
1 run on 5 hits over 7 innings for Phils starter Cole Hamels yesterday.
18,500 capacity for the new PPL Park, where the Union will play its MLS soccer games, starting on June 27.
122 million price tag for the stadium. That’s 7 million over budget.

*
Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.The Phils need to win this series against the Yankees. Or it may be time to shake things up. Maybe what they really need is a healthy Jimmy Rollins.
*
I Don’t Get It: Someone explain to me that practice of the fans in South Africa and blowing those horns non-stop during World Cup games.
*
Today’s Upper: It appears as if there is little support for Senate Bill 1192, which would restructure the way the state runs some school districts, including Chester Upland. That is a good thing. The district has made great strides under the current Empowerment Board.
*
Quote Box: “We are in legislative purgatory right now.”
- Marc Wooley, head of the Chester Upland Empowerment Board, on a possible shift in control of the district under Senate Bill 1192 and the expiration of current legislation at the end of the month.