Monday, January 31, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Jan. 31

The Daily Numbers: 37.8 inches of snow that have fallen so far this winter. Don’t look now but more is on the way.

1-3 inches of snow expected overnight into Tuesday morning.

34, age of Chester Township mother who has been missing since leaving her job at Fair Acres last Thursday.

1,000 square foot Giant supermarket and 12 gas pumps being proposed in Aston. Residents are not happy about it.

3 homicides reported in Philadelphia yesterday.

27, age of schoolteacher found dead in Manayunk. Now agencies seem to be arguing about whether it was a homicide or suicide.

6 people shot during an altercation at a bowling alley in Claymont, Del., Friday night.

3.17 a gallon, average price of gasoline in the Philly region. That’s actually down 2 cents from the week before. A year ago we were paying $2.73 a gallon.

55-41 win for the NFC over the AFC in the Pro Bowl game last night.

2 field goals and 7 points in the game for David Akers, making him the all-time leading scorer in Pro Bowl history.

5 of 10 passing for 59 yards for NFC starter Michael Vick

48 days until the first day of spring. Don’t forget to take part in the Great Heron’s Nest Snow Prognosticating Contest. Guess the number of measurable snows between now and March 20. I say 9. We’ve had 3, and there is more on the way tonight.

13 days until Phillies pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Reports indicate the Eagles will place the franchise tag on Michael Vick and entertain offers for Kevin Kolb. What a difference a year makes.



I Don’t Get It: As if we haven’t heard enough about the weather in this winter, now we get Punxsutawney Phil to pile on this week.


Today’s Upper: You can win $15,000 by playing our ‘Go For the Green’

game both in print and online.


Quote Box: “Her life is surrounded by her children and her work.”

- Linda Garnett, talking about her daughter Ronda Garnett, who has been missing since leaving her job at Fair Acres last week.

It's a whole new media landscape, right Phil Martelli?

Welcome to my world, Phil Martelli.

The men’s basketball coach at Saint Joe’s is not a happy camper these days.

First, the young Hawks are struggling. They may never die, but their fans are this year, as the Hawks limp along with a 5-16 mark.

And now Martelli is starting to hear it. He’s become the target of some online bloggers and anonymous Internet postings.

I know all about it. I didn’t post any of them, but I deal with the Internet, and juggle that along with my print duties each day.

Yesterday I was asked by our lead sports columnist Jack McCaffery to come onto his afternoon radio show on 97.5FM The Fanatic to talk about the Internet and the changing rules in the media biz.

You can read Jack's column on Martelli and the heat he's feeling here.

Martelli is having issues with those who offer their opinion online – but do so without putting their name beside it.

I know something about that. Every story we post on our website brings with it the ability of the public to comment on that story. Very often they take issue with me, or with what this newspaper has published.

They very often are inflammatory, not based on a whole lot of facts. And yes, some go over the edge. We review those comments and sometimes take them down.

I agree with Martelli in that it is pretty easy to offer those kind of opiniona from behind the veil of anonymity. Everything I write –both online and in print – has my name beside it.

Not everyone is willing to do that. That does not mean I don’t think people should have to be willing to identify themselves in order to comment. If you did that you’d soon find your comments dwindling to next to nothing.

Instead, the idea is to open up the process to as many voices as possible. And you let the community do some of the policing. People who object to what is posted as comments on our site can alert us to those items via a took that appears right there with the comments.

Most of the time when we get alerts, it is a legitimate point. The item is reviewed and often taken down. But we also get a lot of reports on “objectionable” material when the person simply disagrees with what the person is saying. That doesn’t cut it, and that material stays online.

Martelli clearly is bothered by criticism coming from people who will not identify themselves. It was not all that long ago that Saint Joe’s was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, ranked No. 1 in the nation.

Martelli knows better than anyone that when the spectrum shifts, when the losses start piling up, that the praise will evaporate and the vultures will come out.

One rollout seen at the Palestra Saturday indicated “It’s the Big 5, not the Big 5-15.” Classic City Series stuff.

It goes with the territory.

And that includes the new media landscape territory, where whole new legions of anonymous voices are joining the conversation.

Eat your heart out, Punxsutawney

Punxsutawney Phil should be happy.

We’re on the cusp of his big day, and the only thing everyone is talking about is the weather.

Tonight we put January in the rear-view mirror. Unfortunately, February will roll in pretty much the same way January did.

We’re getting more snow. I’m not making this up.

It’s supposed to start snowing sometime after midnight tonight. We’re likely going to get maybe an inch or two out of this storm. So February arrives in the same manner that made January so much fun.

We’ll pile the overnight snow on top of the 37.2 inches of snow that have fallen so far in this God-forsaken winter.

It’s apparently not exactly going to clear up in time for Punxsutawney to have his annual moment in the sun – or shadow as the case may be.

The guess here is that he sees his shadow on his exit from his burrow and this miserable weather continues unabated.

We’re due to get freezing rain turning into just rain on Wednesday.

Enjoy it, Phil.

Anything you can do to precipitate (that’s a little weather prognosticating humor there) spring would be greatly appreciated.

In the meantime, Punxsutawney has nothing on the Great Heron’s Snow Prognosticating Event.

I can’t count any of those flurries we got over the weekend as a real snow.

So for now the count stands at 3 storms since I prognosticated that we would have 9 more before spring arrives on March 20.

Looks like No. 4 might on tap tonight.

David Akers' anguish

Turns out David Akers might have had just a little more on his mind than football during the Eagles loss to the Packers in that NFC playoff game.

You might remember Akers missed two field goals in the game, which the Eagles lost by five points.

What was pretty well known among the team and media is that Akers had suffered some fairly substantial financial setbacks in dealing with an investor from Texas.

What almost no one knew was that Akers privately was going through a very different kind of hell. His 6-year-old daughter was undergoing some very serious medical tests. She had a cyst on her ovary. While it turned out not to be malignant, she had part of her ovary removed and will face a long road of medical tests on the path to revovery.

Akers handled his hell in private.

Which makes the comments of Eagles coach Andy Reid after the game even more puzzling.

I have no idea if Reid was aware of what Akers was going through. Given what happened after the game, I would hope that’s not the case. Coaches almost never point out a single player after such a gut-wrenching loss. And no one follows that creed more than Reid, who manages to meet the media all the time and say exactly nothing - other than the fact that he has to do a better job putting players in position to make plays.

But Reid pretty much threw Akers under the bus after the game, pointing to him and the two missed field goals as a key element in the Eagles’ loss, which they were.

Part of this was Reid defending his decision to kick a field goal at a crucial point later in the game. He said he put it in the hands – or maybe rather the foot – of his All-Pro kicker.

Then he mentioned how “we can all count,” an obvious reference to the fact that the Eagles lost the game by five points and Akers missed two field goals.

I’ve stopped trying to figure out Andy Reid.

Except for this. Reid knows a little bit about being a very public figure enduring private anguish. The problems of Reid’s sons and their various brushes with the law are well-known.

You would think that being the case, Reid would have done more to shield the greatest kicker in Eagles’ history, a guy who saved this team’s – and Reid’s - bacon again and again this year, one of the best of his career.

I feel for David Akers. I am glad his daughter’s diagnosis turned out to be non-malignant. That does not make her ordeal any less daunting for a 6-year-old kid.

And it does not make the comments and actions of Andy Reid any easier to understand.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Jan. 28

The Daily Numbers: 15.1 inches of snow that slammed the area Wednesday. Nice forecast, folks.

13.7 inches in Chester; 15.3 inches in Drexel Hill.

37.8 inches, how much snow we’ve gotten so far this winter. Normal slow for the entire winter is about 22.

11, as in 11th biggest recorded snow in the region’s history, not even coming close to the 30.7 inches we got in January 1996.

2 more snows, albeit light dustings, due today and Saturday.

1 more major storm now being predicted to arrive next Tuesday.

182 SEPTA buses that got stuck in the snow during the storm.

1,500 people stranded at Philadelphia International Airport at the height of the storm.

15,000 people without power in the region at the height of the storm Wednesday night.

2 Delco school districts, Chester Upland and Penn-Delco, that are closed again today.

13 other districts that are opening on 2-hour delay.

51 days until the first day of spring. Don’t forget to take part in the Great Heron’s Nest Snow Prognosticating Contest. Guess the number of measurable snows between now and March 20. I say 9. We’ve had 3, and there are 2 more possible today and Saturday.

16 days until Phillies pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater.


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

Andy Reid is now the longest-tenured coach in the NFL. That’s because the Titans fired Jeff Fisher. Reid is also the longest-tenture coach to never win a Super Bowl, in case you were wondering.


I Don’t Get It: On a day like yesterday, when the region was digging out of a 15-inch snowfall, you have to question the notion of slapping fines on anyone who puts out chairs to “reserve” their shoveled-out parking spot.


Today’s Upper: I’m hearing lots of reports on TV about the various plow jobs. I’m not hearing much about the “plow job” we got on that forecast, which completely punted Wednesday morning’s storm.


Quote Box: “I look forward to this. It gives you a chance to use your toy.”

- Bill McCullough, as he used his snowblower in Glenolden yesterday.

Some ugly politics in Chester

Politics has always been a contact sport, especially here in Delaware County.

Nowhere is that more evident than in some of the rough-and-tumble tussles in the city of Chester.

It is a city that has long been dominated by the Republican Party. In fact, many city and Chester Upland School District workers owe their jobs to their party affiliation.

But it’s pretty clear that city residents don’t always vote their registration.

That’s why state Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland has turned back one Republican challenger after another to keep his 159th District seat.

That’s why the city was stunned last year when two Democrats, Portia West and John Linder, won seats on city council.

But what’s happening these days in the city politics is just plain wrong.

Marrea Walker-Smith is a Republican, but she apparently has stepped on some GOP toes. Now she’s feeling some heat, not necessarily from Democrats, but from some of her own.

Walker-Smith, who recently stepped down from her position as head of the city Republican Party, voted against a GOP nomination to the Chester Water Authority Board.

That apparently did not sit too well. Her own nomination to the board was shot down shortly thereafter.

No biggie. Those kind of hissing matches happen all the time in politics.

What happened next does not. And should not.

Walker-Smith apparently received a threatening letter this week. It comes just a week after city council passed a resolution banning politicking on the city’s time after some city workers said they had received anonymous, harassing phone calls after attending a Democratic meeting.

“I love Chester,” Walker-Smith told our John Kopp in an interview. You can read the entire report here.

She has now indicated she will not seek re-election when her term expires.

That’s too bad. Chester could use a lot more like her.

And a lot less of the ugly style of politics on display in recent weeks.

Say it ain't sno!

Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

There’s another chance of snow today.

And again tomorrow.

Why not just shoot me now.

For those keeping track in the Great Heron’s Nest Snow Prognosticating Event, I am closing in on my goal.

I predicted we’d have 9 snow storms before March 20, the first day of spring.

Wednesday’s two-pronged event puts us at 3. We’ll have to wait and see if whatever we get today is enough to count as a “measureable” snow.

Same thing goes for tomorrow.

I like the way the TV folks refer to these ‘Albert Clipper’ storms as ‘nuisance’ events. Ya think? That’s as opposed to the coastal storms that come up from the south, go out over the water, and then slam us with heavy snow, sort of what happened on Wedneday.

And here’s a final troubling thought. They are saying another coastal storm could be arriving on Tuesday.


Then again, 16 days until pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater.

Andy Reid reigns

Here’s one to warm the hearts of Eagles fans on another cold, snowy winter morning.

Or cause indigestion, as the case may be.

Andy Reid is now the longest-tenured coach in the NFL.

That’s right, Big Red is now No. 1, at least at something, even if he has yet to win a Super Bowl title.

Reid assumes the top spot when it comes to longest-running NFL coaches after the Tennessee Titans parted ways with Jeff Fisher Thursday.

Reid has been at the helm of the Eagles since 1999. In that span he has taken the team to one Super Bowl.

There’s always next year.

What do you think the chances are that Fisher could wind up as Reid’s defensive coordinator. Fisher was on the Birds staff but left when then-owner Norman Braman went with Rich Kotite as head coach after cutting loose Buddy Ryan.

Fisher’s agent yesterday downplayed any chance that Fisher could be on the way back to Philadelphia.

Reid might not be all that thrilled about having a guy with Fisher’s resume looking over his shoulder.

In the meantime, no word on a possible choice for the Eagles new boss on the defensive side of the ball.

The league’s longest-tenured coach is apparently in the process of the longest coaching decision as well.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Batting 1-for-2 on the weather

I'm not sure what aggravates me more, the fact that our fearless local TV weather folks completely punted yesterday morning's forecast, or the fact that they were right on the money about Round II last night.

I usually get in the office early. The first few flakes had just started falling on Delco Wednesday when I pulled into the parking lot in beautiful downtown Primos.

It didn't take long for the forecast to go right in the toilet, along with road conditions.

All day on Tuesday we heard that the morning was not going to be a big deal, that we'd get maybe a dusting of snow before it changed to a messy mix of rain, sleet and slush. The big problem was expected to be the second part of the storm due to roar into the area Wednesday night.

So much for that. It started snowing heavily before daylight Wednesday and did not let up. The changeover to rain? Didn't happen? Everyone got caught off guard. The roads turned into parking lots.

Everyone makes mistakes, That includes this newspaper, and certainly this editor. I make them every day. What I don't do is chuckle about them, or pass them off as some kind of joke.

So I had smoke curling out of my ears most of the morning yesterday as I was 'entertained' by our morning TV folks, who managed to regale us about how they had been "bamboozled" or otherwise surprised by the storm.

Here's a novel idea: Why not just say we got it wrong. After all, you devote about 25 minutes of every newscast to the weather. When it snows, there really is no other local news. The least you could do is acknowledge that you missed this one by a mile.

I include myself on that list. I wrote any number of items yesterday for the website indicating we just flat got the forecast wrong. But I don't joke about it.

I hate winter. Now more than ever.

That is in part because of my drive home last night, which was quite an adventure. The much-ballyhooed Round II was just starting to flex its muscles as I made my way out West Chester Pike. The father west I got, the more road surface disappeared.

This morning I shoveled out the driveway, and looked helplessly at the street in my development, which has yet to see a plow. I am not going anywhere.

I have, however, discovered something I like about all this technology I swim in every day. I can set up, update and otherwise work on our website without ever leaving the comfy confines of my home.

Of course, once the plow does arrive, it will conveniently pile all that snow right at the end of my driveway, meaning I will once again have to tunnel my out to get back to civilization.

For those keeping count, that's two more snow storms for the Great Heron's Nest Snow Prgnosticating event.

I said we would have 9 before the first day of spring on March 20. We're up to 3.

Look on the bright side, 18 days until pitchers and catchers arrive in Clearwater.

If only I was with them.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Jan. 26

The Daily Numbers: 2 inches of snow that has fallen on much of the county this morning. So much for that forecast.

4-8 inches of additional snow expected tonight, before tapering off about midnight.

500 people who packed the public hearing last night for the proposed development of the Franklin Mint site in Middletown.

15 of February, when the hearing will continue.

327,000 dollar surplus in Norwood, despite warnings of budget gloom that led borough council to enact a whopping tax hike.

7 million dollar deficit being forecast in the Chester Upland School District.

18, age of Devon Minor of Clifton Heights, who is missing from the campus of Geneva College in western Pa. He has not been seen since last Thursday.

200 people who gathered at the Constitution Center in Philly last night to listen to President Obama’s State of the Union speech.

3 million dollars in false medical claims charged to the former top official at the Temple School of Medicine.

5-2 win for the Flyers over the Canadiens last night.

1,000 home wins in the Flyers franchise.

33 wins for the Flyers, tops in the NHL this year.

53 days until the first day of spring. Don’t forget to take part in the Great Heron’s Nest Snow Prognosticating Contest. Guess the number of measurable snows between now and March 20. I say 9. We’ve had 2, and are expecting another one tonight..

18 days until Phillies pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater.


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

Maybe the Eagles could have a job fair to fill the defensive coordinator’s job. No one else seems interested in the job.


I Don’t Get It: I don’t ask for a lot when it comes to the weather. I just don’t want any more snow. And I don’t want to be bombarded all day – as I was yesterday – with information on the weather which completely missed the boat on what is happening out there today.


Today’s Upper: The Hooters restaurant chain is being sold. Hooters has 120 restaurants. Guess they are bust-ing up the old gang.


Quote Box: “The sad part is, I don’t feel so much vindicated as I do feel bad for the taxpayers in Norwood that this administration scared and fleeced.

- Former Norwood treasurer Dirk DelGrego, on the tax hike and now surplus that took place in the town.


All eyes on Middletown

Think the people in Middletown are interested in what is going to happen at the former Franklin Mint site?

More than 500 residents packed into the auditorium at Penncrest High last night for the first formal public hearing on the proposal to build the “walkable community” – including more than 1,200 residences, as well as retail and office space and a 225-room hotel.

You can read Rose Quinn’s detailed account of the meeting here.
We also have video from the meeting posted on the website.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is one of the biggest development issues in recent years in the county.

And for that reason I am hoping to make it the centerpiece of a new online program we are calling “Live from the Newsroom.” I’ll have more details on how you can take part later this week.

For now, start thinking about what you’d like to ask both the developers, and the community groups who oppose what they refer to as “the city.”

It’s coming soon to Stay tuned.

President Obama, middle man

President Obama referred to it as a “Sputnik moment.”

Actually, the State of the Union speech struck me as more of a “Clinton Moment.”

The president seems to be taking a page from the former president’s playbook.

Bill Clinton saw Democrats get clobbered in the mid-term elections in his first term. He saw the nation rallying around New Gingrich and his Republican pals and their “Contract With America.” Clinton’s poll numbers were in the toilet.

What to do? Swim furiously to the middle. It worked. And it looks like President Obama is taking much the same path.

Ever since his “shellacking” in the November vote, the president has been preaching cooperation.

Last night he went so far as to announce spending freezes. And he continue his push for more civility in political discussions.

In the audience, many Republicans and Democrats sat side by side, including Pennsylvania Senators Bob Casey Jr. and Pat Toomey.

The president, whose poll numbers have been buoyed in recent weeks, not surprisingly since he has adopted this new tone, urged those in attendance, and in fact the nation, to come together.

“We will move forward together or not at all.”

That’s a lot easier said when you’re standing in the middle, as the president is quickly learning.

Take this weather and shovel it

You want the bad news or the worse news?

It’s snowing. Again.

You’re stunned, I know.

And the worse news? This is just the preview. Actually this is more than most of the forecasters had been predicting for this morning. Again, I’m stunned. They got it wrong? Surely you jest. The big problem, which you might find hard to find if you’re about to head out onto snow-covered roads out there, is expected to occur tonight. Heavy snow is supposed to come back into the region around 7 and continue to around midnight.

They say this is supposed to turn to rain later this morning. We’ll see about that.

For right now, it is snowing hard here in beautiful Primos. The parking lot is covered, as are many of the roads. Driving is already being affected for the morning rush.

Unfortunately it’s going to get colder this afternoon, setting up the bigger snow tonight.

Don’t ask me how many snows this has been this winter. Too damn many.

I’m done.

You can take this weather and … shovel it!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Jan. 25

The Daily Numbers: 173 acres being eyed for development at the site of the former Franklin Mint on Baltimore Pike in Middletown.

1,253 homes, 798,000 square feet of commercial space, 225-room hotel envisioned for the site.

900 people who have signed a petition opposing the plan.

6:30 p.m., time of public hearing on the matter at Penncrest High School.

12.5 to 15 years in jail for a repeat kiddie porn offender of Ridley.

81, age of Philly man facing charges in child-porn probe.

38, age of man found dead on the sidewalk in East Lansdowne. The death is under investigation.

4,500 marchers who took part in the March for Life yesteday in Washington, D.C., including several busloads of students from Delco.

11.8 percent decline in revenue from slot machines forecast for this year in Atlantic City, as they continue to be battered by new competition from Pa.

3 different commutes that could be affected as another winter storm arrives early Wednesday and continues into the evening drive home and also affect Thursday’s ride into work.

30 below zero temperatures recorded across the Midwest. 21 below zero in Vermont.

4 University of Pennsylvania police officers cleared in a fatal shooting to a teen carjacking suspect..

40,000 low-income Pennsylvanians who stand to lose their health care coverage on Feb. 28.

60 years as a city employee for Philly Council President Anna Verna. She will retire this year.

8 percent dip in home sales across region last year.

1.2 percent increase in the median price of home in southeast Pa., at $212,500.

5 straight home wins for the Sixers, who dropped Phoenix last night, 105-95.

24 points for Thaddeus Young in the win.

7 to 8, where Villanova dropped in national rankings.

54 days until the first day of spring. Don’t forget to take part in the Great Heron’s Nest Snow Prognosticating Contest. Guess the number of measurable snows between now and March 20. I say 9. We’ve had 1.

19 days until Phillies pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Forget Dennis Allen. The Saints assistant who interviewed with the Eagles is taking a job as defensive coordinator with the Broncos.



I Don’t Get It: Lower Merion School District has fired a teacher for having a relationship with a student five years ago, when she was 18. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: There is no upper today. There is only weather. Get used to it. It’s all we’ll be hearing about all day.


Quote Box: “I understand that they have a right to development. I just feel whatever ends up there should not wipe out the surrounding community.”

- Leslie Potter, on proposal to turn former Franklin Mint site into a walkable community.

A big night in Middletown

Tonight is the night in Middletown.

This is the night when the township holds a much-anticipated public hearing on the controversial plan to develop the old Franklin Mint site alogn Baltimore Pike.

Developers see a “walkable community,” complete with retails shops, office space, residential units and a hotel.

Opponents see a nightmare, a monster project they have dubbed “the city” and which they claim will forever change the nature of their community.

They might be right about that.

It’s already changed the tenor of the discussion.

This thing has gotten downright ugly, with opponents of the project using some fairly colorful language to describe both the developers and their plan for more than 1,200 residences, along with retail and office space.

Only one thing is certain. Don’t expect a thumb’s up or down on the project tonight. This thing likely will go over several sessions. No specific ruling is expected tonight.

We’ll be there to bring you everything that happens, along with video of much of the key testimony.

Reid 'em & weep

Sports things to ponder while waiting for pitchers and catchers to report to Clearwater on Feb. 13:

* Just keep telling yourself, Andy Reid, Joe Banner and the rest of the “Gold Standard” down there at Nova Care Way know much more than you do.
Don’t fret that Reid was away on vacation and the Eagles have yet to lock in on anyone as their defensive coordinator. All’s well. And did anyone notice that the two teams that will appear in the Super Bowl got there by running the ball and playing good defense? Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen around here.

* While almost no one was looking, Doug Collins is quietly doing a very nice job turning the Sixers around. Playing without a legitimate superstar, the Sixers now have won five straight at home and are zeroing in on the .500 mark. That’s light years from where they were at this time last year. Give the credit for that to Collins. Now if only someone would notice. The Sixers drew just 14,881 to the Wells Fargo Center for a big win over the Suns last night.

The Inaccu-Weather forecast

Here’s the latest in the winter of our discontent.

Something is going to happen Wednesday. Just what that is depends on who you talk to.

The folks at Channel 10 and on KYW are leaning toward a dusting of snow in the morning, then a change over to rain, and finally changing back to snow Wednesday night into Thursday.

Then again there’s John Bolaris on Fox-29. He’s looked into his crystal ball and is seeing more snow. Bolaris says he’s seeing a shift in this latest Nor’easter that will result in more wet, heavy snow, particularly in the infamous northern and western suburbs.

Bolaris is predicting 6 inches for the “northern and western suburbs,”
and 4 inches for Philadelphia and the near suburbs, which I am assuming includes Delaware County. I’ve always wondered where exactly the northern and western suburbs are. Don’t look for that to change any time soon. I think the northern and western suburbs include almost anywhere that is expecting more snow, giving our local weather folks the opportunity to push the idea of snow on the way.

The ride to work tomorrow morning might be a little bit messy, and the ride home and in particular Thursday morning’s commute also appear to be in jeopardy.

Here’s the official Heron’s Nest forecast: Wednesday likely will be a miserable day, with some kind of precipitation arriving in the morning, turning into a soaking rain in the afternoon, and maybe back to snow Wednesday night. There won’t be much of an accumulation, maybe just enough to cover the ground. The streets for the most part will remain wet.

That likely will register on the Great Heron’s Nest Snow Prognostication Event as well. Remember I predicted we’d get 9 more snows before the first day of spring on March 20. We’ve already had one and I figure Wednesday’s event will be No. 2.

If I’m wrong, turn on the TV. No doubt that’s the only thing they’ll be talking about all day today and tomorrow. They will have full coverage of the impending storm overnight and into tomorrow morning.

Ain’t winter great?

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Jan. 24

The Daily Numbers: 1 person killed in fire that roared through Darby Borough home early Sunday.

26, age of Dominique Gibson, who died in the fire on her birthday.

1 person shot in the fact in Chester early Sunday.

9,000 dollar rings stolen from store in Concord Mall.

650,000 dollar grant for Media Borough to repair the Third Street Bridge.

7 degrees, reading on car thermometer this morning.

21, expected high this afternoon.

39, the high on Tuesday. It’s a heat wave.

1 person who froze to death while sleeping in a car in northeastern Pa.

over weekend.

96, age of fitness guru Jack LaLanne, who died on Sunday.

1 man struck and killed by hit-run driver in Upper Moreland Township over the weekend.

1 student at Burlington County, N.J., elementary school who died of complications from the flu.

14 percent increase in revenue from table games in Pa. in December.

6 million dollars and change, how much they raked in from table games at Harrah’s Chester, putting them at No. 3 in the state out of the 10 operating casinos when it comes to table games.

3.21 a gallon, what we’re paying on average for gas in the Philly region. $2.82, what we were paying this time last year.

10 cents cheaper to fill up in New Jersey.

10 billion downloads for iPad celebrated this weekend.

27 presidents at Saint Joe’s, the latest will be introduced today.

20 days until pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater for Phillies.

55 days until the first day of spring. Don’t forget to take part in the Great Heron’s Nest Snow Prognosticating Contest. Guess the number of measurable snows between now and March 20. I say 9. We’ve had 1.


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

Anybody think the Eagles could have stayed with any of the four teams playing yesterday? Me neither.


I Don’t Get It: Police say a woman in Pittsburgh faces charges after kicking her 12-year-old son out of the house over the weekend without shoes. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Football season is now over. The Super Bowl is just for parties. Let the golf season begin. I wish.

*: “I was not expecting this. I am blown away.”

Quote Box

- Marine Cpl. Roy Basis, on homecoming party thrown for him as he returned to his Haverford home Sunday.

Counting the money at Pa. casinos

Over the past year or so, it has not escaped my notice that business down at Harrah’s – at least when it comes to the slots – has been off.

I have been wondering for some time now why that is. Each month the state Gaming Control Board issues the revenue numbers for the state’s 10 operating casinos, and each month it seems Harrah’s is down from the same month the year before.

No one has yet given a good reason why that is. Are they being hurt by SugarHouse, which opened last fall on the Philadelphia waterfront? Are customers being lured to the swank new Parx Casino at Philly Park, or are they blowing right past Harrah’s on the way to Delaware Park 20 minutes sway down I-95 in Delaware?

I get the feeling SugarHouse is not the problem. They’re having problems of their own. Turns out the Philly casino is not hitting anywhere near the numbers they first envisioned.

Back in 2006 the backers of SugarHouse projected revenue in the neighborhood of $292 million. That has been downsized to $184 million.

Undoubtedly some of that is due to the economy going off a cliff. In fact there are some who believe that the recession may have had a permanent effect on gambling money. Simply put, a lot of discretionary income that once went to gambling is not there anymore.

The new numbers are being used to make the argument that maybe Philadelphia does not need a second casino. Foxwoods is still in the arguing stages. Ironically, Harrah’s is now part of the group looking to rescue the Foxwoods mission.

But there is also the matter of casinos actually competing with themselves, at least when it comes to slots.

Pa. casinos now offer table games, and it turns out that while slots have been in a slump at Harrah’s, their table games are going great guns.

Harrah’s sits at No. 3 in the state when it comes to table games, trailing only Sands Casino in Bethlehem and Parx at Philly Park.

Harrah’s 123 tables brought in revenue of more than $6 million in December.

So who needs slots?

A winter lament

It’s no secret that winter is not my favorite time of year.

I have serious hibernating tendencies. After I stumble back into the house most nights, it’s about all I can do to swallow something, then stagger up the steps and go to bed.

In the blink of an eye, I’m getting up and doing it all over again.

Pretty quickly you find yourself feeling like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day,” feeling as if you are repeating the same day over and over again.

You would think the weekend would bring some relief. It does not. I usually mope around the house, read or work online. I’m addicted.

Add in temperatures in single digits and the problem becomes even worse.

So here is the challenge, devoted readers of The Heron’s Nest.

I want to change, not just for my sake but also for the sake of my family. My wife and kids think I’ve gone seriously off the deep end when it comes to having a life that is completely out of balance.

Give me some ideas. They must include getting out of the house, being active and not involve a cell phone, laptop, computer or iPad.

Walking can't be on the list. That's already there. My wife and I are dedicated walkers, doing a cople of miles each Saturday and Sunday morning. My wife belongs to the local Planet Fitness, but I have to admit I just hate the place. Walking on a treadmill drives me crazy, so that is pretty much out.

Then there is this other small problem. The weather. You know, the thing that has been making my life miserable now for months. I long for my screened-in porch, for throwing on a T-shirt and shorts, for the sound of the Phillies on the radio.

That ain't happening anytime soon.

We are braving single-digit temperatures today, on what very likely could be the coldest day of the year. But I am not turning back now. I have gone around the corner (or around the bend, depending on your point of view).

When I got in my car this morning, my handy-dandy temperature gauge next to the clock was conserving energy. In other words it was displaying all of one digit – 7 degrees. I thought that was pretty bad until I headed out and managed to glance at it again while out on the road. Maybe it was wind chill, but we were down to 3 degrees.

The forecasters are telling us we’re in for some kind of a wintry mix on Wednesday.

Spring is just a rumor.

I need help.

Actually, what I need is your ideas.

The life you save may be your neighborhood editor’s. Or at least his sanity (which has for the most part been in question for some time now


What do you do to break up the winter monotony? I'm all ears. Frost-bitten, perhaps, but all ears.

Friday, January 21, 2011

You call that snow?

OK, you can exhale now.

Take your time. Clean off the car. Take it easy. The world has not ended.

The scheduled end of the world has now been delayed until Tuesday.

That's when we're due for our next snow.

As snow goes, the overnight dusting we got didn't amount to much. It made for some messy early morning driving. Snow started around midnight but was over before daylight.

Schools still for the most part are opening on a two-hour delay.

And it counts in the Great Heron’s Nest Snow Prognosticating Contest. You might remember that I predicted we will have nine snows before we hit the first day of spring on March 20.

You scratch one of those off. Eight to go.

More snow is in the forecast for Tuesday.

In the meantime, bone-chilling cold is set to move in for the weekend. Our lows Sunday will dip into single digits. Highs likely won't make it out of the 20s.

Just remember: 23 days until pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater for Phillies; 58 days until the first day of spring.

Then again, just remember that we did not get the bulk of our snow last year until February. Say it ain't so, Punxsutawney.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Jan. 20

The Daily Numbers: 8 counts of murder filed against West Philly abortion doc in what prosecutors allege was a “house of horrors.”

260 pages in the grand jury report that are almost beyond belief in detailing the depravity that was allegedly going on at the Women’s Medical Center.

1 female patient and 7 babies Gosnell is now charged with killing.

10 others, including his wife and a woman from Upper Darby, who also face charges in the horrific case.

24 weeks into a pregnancy, when Pa. law says you can still undergo an abortion.

3 Delco D.A.s who all have a hand in the investigation into problems with the petitions of new Congressman Pat Meehan.

4 deployments for Master Sgt. Joseph Ahearn of Ridley Park with his Delaware Air National Guard unit. They deployed again yesterday for duty in Afghanistan.

1 and done for County Councilman Andy Lewis. The Haverford pol indidcates he will not run for a 2nd term.

19, age of PGW worker Mark Keeley, who was killed in massive gas blast in Philly Tuesday night.

66, age of Bill Hartman, of Del., who suffers from cerebral palsy, but is not letting that stop him from earning the rank of Eagle Scout.

2 to 4 inches of snow expected to fall overnight into Friday morning.

2 months exactly until March 20, the 1st day of spring.

2 4-point plays, 1 in regulation and 1 in OT, that doomed the Sixers last night against the Magic.

76 feet high, 97 feet wide, size of Phils’ new $10 million HD scoreboard that will tower over leftfield.

24 days until pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater for Phillies.

59 days until the first day of spring. Don’t forget to take part in the Great Heron’s Nest Snow Prognosticating Contest. Guess the number of measurable snows between now and March 20. I say 9.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.The Phillies spent $10 million on a new scoreboard. These guys are suddenly made of money. How much are they going to spend on right field?



I Don’t Get It: A 47-year-old man in Delaware has been charged with beating his girlfriend with a hammer. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: I have been looking for some glimmer of good news in the story of the West Philly abortion doc. I’ll let you know when I find it.


Quote Box: “As district attorney, my job is to carry out the law. A doctor who knowingly and systematically mistreats female patients, to the point that one of them dies in his so-called care, commits murder under the law.”

- Philly D.A. Seth Williams, in announcing murder charges against Dr.

Kermit Gosnell.

As the DAs turn

There is a veritable smorgasbord of Delaware County district attorneys swimming around the investigation into alleged forgeries on the nominating petititions of new Congressman Pat Meehan.

You can start with Meehan. The Drexel Hill Republican served as Delco’s top lawman before being tapped to be U.S. attorney for eastern Pennsylvania.

When he took the fed post, he was succeeded by his neighbor, Mike Green.

Last summer, when Meehan got wind of problems with his petitions, he smartly beat Democrats – who were also looking into the situation – to the punch by going to Green and asking him to investigate.

Green decided to kick it up to the state level to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, seeing as how he had contributed to Meehan’s campaign.

The matter sat for months on the watch of Attorney General Tom Corbett, who Meehan just happened to endorse for governor. Meehan actually considered a run for the post himself, before giving way to his fellow Republican lawman. Meehan then set his sights on the 7th District Congress post, where the whole petition flap originated.

But proving that what goes around, comes around, the matter is now once again in the bailiwick of still one more former Delco D.A.

That’s because when Corbett was sworn in this week as the state’s 46th governor, his No. 2 man took the reins as interim attorney general.

That would be none other than former Delco D.A. Bill Ryan, yes, one more in the long line of Upper Darby Republicans to fill the post as Delco’s top lawman.

None of which is making Upper Darby Democrats feel terribly comfortable that anything is going to come of the situation.

No one seems to be arguing that there were some forgeries on Meehan’s petitions, though no one is hinting that the candidate had anything to do with it.

No one in the attorney general’s office is talking about it, other than the fact that the investigation in “ongoing.”

We contacted Ryan yesterday and he isn’t talking about anything, not even whether his name is being considered to fill the position full-time. He said he won’t be making any public comments until that matter is resolved.

Corbett yesterday indicated he would focus on his Cabinet nominations before dealing with the matter of his permanent successor as attorney general. He did indicate that Ryan would be among those considered, but that the person he puts in the post will have to fill the remainder of his term, and not seek re-election to a full term.

That might be problematic for Ryan, who likely wouldn’t mind taking a run at the seat for himself.

“I pretty much know who it is,” Corbett said.

What we don’t know is if anything will ever come of that petition investigation.

Horror in West Philly

It is almost hard to fathom the horror that was occurring inside the Women’s Medical Society in West Philadelphia.

Yesterday authorities alleged murder was routinely happening there. They charged Dr. Kermit Gosnell with eight counts of murder, involving the death of a female patient and seven fetuses. The babies were born alive. Police allege the good doctor soon put an end to that.

District Attorney Seth Williams did not mince words in describing just what the doctor was doing.

He apparently referred to it as “snipping.” The late-term babies were born alive, and then Gosnell would “stick scissors into the back of the baby’s neck and cutting the spinal cord,” according to a massive grand jury presentment.

You can read the entire grand jury report here, but I warn you, it is stomach-turning stuff.

Gosnell now faces eight counts of murder; another 10 people who worked in the office, including the doctor’s wife and an Upper Darby woman, also face charges.

If the filthy, unsanitary conditions found inside the clinic were not revolting enough, if the details of what was done there were not horrific enough, there is the added outrage of how and why this was allowed to go on for so long.

A caveat here: This isn’t about abortion. It’s a hot-button issue. I know that better than anyone.

This is about crimes that were allegedly committed – murders. And apparently allowed to go unchecked for years.

Williams stunningly conceded yesterday that hair salons get more regulation in Pennsylvania than abortion clinics.

The D.A. also admits that while Gosnell was charged in eight cases, he fears there were likely hundreds more that went unchecked because Gosnell apparently kept no records of his work in the clinic.

A house of horrors? Absolutely.

But also another horrible instance of how regulatory agencies in this state simply fail to perform their single highest mission: Protecting citizens from just this kind of abuse.

It’s nice to know the state has such concern for how and where we buy alcohol, but can be so cavalier when it comes to the murder of newborn babies inside a West Philadelphia clinic.

Maybe it’s time for that to change.



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Jan. 19

The Daily Numbers: 46 governors in Pennsylvania, now that Republican Tom Corbett has taken the oath of office.

5 billion dollar deficit, one of the biggest challenges Corbett said the state faces.

8.6 percent unemployment rate in the state.

100 protesters who decided to hoot and holler through almost Corbett’s entire inaugural address.

335 workers laid off yesterday in Camden, including 82 police officers, about half the force.

2 hour delays. Those are dreaded words to working parents, whose lives are turned upside down when schools delay their openings because of weather.

1 person killed and 5 injured in a gas main blast last night in Northeast Philly.

4 teens killed in a car crash in Lancaster County and now the police out there want to examine the kids’ cell phones to see if they were recording a video to appear on YouTube.

50, age of man in Newark, Del., charged in an assault on his wife. His weapon of choice. He threw some stereo speakers at her from a second-floor landing. The wife was seriously injured.

3-2 overtime win for the Flyers over the Capitals last night.

2-0 third period lead they blew before rallying to win in OT.

3 year extension announced yesterday for Flyers GM Paul Holmgren.

71-60 win for Penn Wood over Glen Mills last night.

3 local players selected by the Union in yesterday’s MLS supplemental draft

2.45 million dollar, 1-year contract for Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick.

I’m in the wrong line of work.

25 days until pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater for Phillies.

60 days until the first day of spring. Don’t forget to take part in the Great Heron’s Nest Snow Prognosticating Contest. Guess the number of measurable snows between now and March 20. I say 9.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Seriously, the Phillies are paying Kyle Kendrick $2.45 million dollars?


For what, so we can see him fail once again to be the team’s fifth starter?


I Don’t Get It: A 20-year-old man in New Jersey has been sentenced to jail time in a cyberbullying case in which he sent lewd pictures of a teen to his school. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: No snow or ice this morning. Apparently it’s a 24-hour reprieve. There is snow back in the forecast for Thursday night into Friday.


Quote Box: “We all felt that something needed to be done so that people would not be harassed on the job.”

- Chester Councilwoman Marrea Walker-Smith, on reports that some Dem city workers got harassing phone calls.

Familiar face now heading attorney general's office

There’s a very familiar face leading the state attorney general’s office.

Bill Ryan spent two terms here as district attorney of Delaware County.

Then he moved on to the A.G.’s office in Harrisburg. Today, Ryan is the top lawman in Pennsylvania after his boss Tom Corbett was sworn in as the state’s 46th governor.

Ryan, Corbett’s No. 2 man, was then named interim attorney general.

Maybe Ryan can get to the bottom of something his old boss did not. That would be all the allegations swirling around the questionable names that appeared on the nominating petitions for Republican congressional candidate Pat Meehan.

Meehan came forward asking for a probe when he learned Upper Darby Democrats were all over it. Delco D.A. Mike Green passed on it, since he had contributed to Meehan’s campaign.

Then it was kicked upstairs to A.G.’s office. And that’s where it has stayed for months.

Meehan is now the new congressman for the 7th District. Corbett is now governor. Ryan is now interim attorney general.

And the petition investigation. Apparently it is ongoing.

I’m sure we can expect a ruling any day now.

New Zodiac signs? It's in the stars

I am considering a new rule around here at the Daily Times and

Every story should include references to the person’s astrological sign.

And why would that be? Maybe you remember a few days ago a Midwest professor caused quite a stir by indicating that he thought the signs of the zodiac were actually out of whack.

The result? A lot of people who had spent their lives thinking they were one sign – you know, Virgo, Pisces, Leo, etc. – were actually another.

Now I must confess here I’m not a big astrology fan. My opinion of the “stars” became somewhat jaded in one of my first journalism jobs when I noticed a stack of material next to one of the compositors’ (look that one up, kids) tables in the composing room. What are they? I inquired. They’re the astrology columns, I was told. Each day they took the column for that date and plopped it into the paper.

But this study questioning the astrological signs caused quite a stir. Still, I was not impressed. Until yesterday.

One of our community bloggers, Mary Ann Fiebert, compiles a Top 10 list that appears on our website every day.

Yesterday she compiled a Top 10 list tied to the new signs of the zodiac. As of late yesterday afternoon, that item had drawn 18,000 “hits” on our website.


So don’t be surprised to see this kind of lead in the near future: A 55-year old Virgo from Primos is under arrest this morning, charged with spreading vicious rumors about bogus astrological signs. Police said the suspect, allegedly a newspaper editor, is actually a Leo.

Funny, I always thought I was Phil.

Heron's Nest Contest: How many more snows between now and March 20?

I hate to be the harbinger of bad news (actually most people think that’s pretty much what I do every day), but we interrupt this blog to bring you the latest weather forecast.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

Yes, more snow is on the way. And that’s not my only weather peeve. The folks who man the weather desks at our local TV stations have been so kind as to offer a new term – “plowable snow.”

That’s what they say is coming Thursday night into Friday. Swell, huh?

Just what exactly is a plowable snow? I would assume that means several inches.

And just to add to our misery, the snow will be followed by an arctic blast that promises to deliver the coldest temperatures of the winter.
We’re not expecting to get out of the 20s all weekend. Lows on Sunday morning are expected to be in the single digits.

To break up our these winter doldrums, I proudly announce the Great Heron’s Nest Winter Prognosticator Contest.

That’s right, Punxsutawney has nothing on this Phil. A glance at the calendar tells me spring arrives on March 20. That’s exactly 60 days away. Yes, I know, some people believe spring arrives when pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater on Feb. 13.

All you have to do win the contest is guess how many snows will arrive between now and March 20.

I say we get exactly 9 more measurable snows. What do you think? Post your response as a comment and I’ll keep tabs.

Winner will get an official Daily Times Fancast T-shirt. What you were expecting an all-expenses paid trip to Phillies spring training?

Dream on. Me? I’ll just continue to dream of summer.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Jan. 18

The Daily Numbers: 30 minutes, how long it took for phone lines to light up last night with info on suspect in Kensington Strangler case. Good.

3 DNA matches that link 21-year-old Antonio Rodriguez to the attacks and murders of 3 women.

2 men who face charges in a wild bar brawl in Upper Darby.

21, age of Chester woman charged with slashing the face of another woman during an altercation at Tri-State Mall in Claymont.

38,000 square feet of space at the Glen Eagle Shopping Center in Concord that was home to Genuardi’s that will now be home to a new Whole Foods store.

1 inch of snow recorded around Delco. The big problem this morning is ice, which is coating everything after the snow turned to rain overnight.

3, age of boy found dead in a home in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia. His mother’s 27-year-old boyfriend has been charged with beating the child to death.

2 cars that struck and killed a man on a Torresdale street. Neither bothered to stop.

1 cent slot machine at Borgata in Atlantic City that paid out $4.2 million in jackpots to 2 winner. One man hit for $3.5 million, while a 2nd cashed for $700,000.

2 days, how long it took fired Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott to find a new job. He’s got the same gig in Carolina.

1 fewer candidate for defensive coordinator for Eagles. Looks like Jim Mora Jr. is taking a job in Denver.

8, as in No. 8 UConn, which won a barnburner against Villanova yesterday, 61-59.

28 points for Corey Fisher to lead Villanova. The ‘Cats now face No. 3 Syracuse on Saturday. The Orange were upset yesterday by Pitt.

37.6 seconds left in yesterday’s Sixers-Bobcats game when Andre Iguodala hit the game winner in OT.

16 points, 10 rebounds for Iguodala.

26 days until pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater for Phillies.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Hot stove talk or griping about Eagles? That’s a no-brainer. Nobody whines like Eagles fans. We still don’t have that bitter taste out of our mouths. And we likely won’t until training camp. Get used to it.



I Don’t Get It: The main roads are for the most part passable. That is, if you can get to them. The side roads and developments are like skating rinks.


Today’s Upper: Let’s hear it for Yang Ming, out on the Main Line. The Bryn Mawr eatery has been named best Chinese restaurant in the United States by Chinese Restaurant News. How’s that for a fortune cookie?


Quote Box: “It’s very uplifting to see everybody from the community celebrating this day.”

- Juanita Weeks at yesterday’s celebration of the Martin Luther King Jr.

Holiday at the Widener Rotaract Club.

Taking a stand in Kensington

Taking a stand in Kensington
What does it take for people to finally take a stand against violence?

Maybe a series of brutal attacks and strangulation murders that left a neighborhood living in fear. At least that seems to be the case in Kensington.

Philadelphia police held a press conference at 6 last night to deliver the news that they had a ‘person of interest’ in the case dubbed the ‘Kensington Strangler.’

They put out a photo of the suspect with a detailed description, including information on a distinctive scar and two tattoos.

It didn’t take long for the phones to ring.

Antonio Rodriguez was in custody a half-hour later. He likely will be charged in the murders today.

Compare that with the situation recently in Upper Darby, where frustrated police watched a suspect walk on a murder rap because none of the witnesses would take the stand against him.

Here’s hoping someone has a change of heart.

The violence won’t stop until the people decide they’ve had enough.

Just like the people of Kensington decided.

Live report from Delco roads

Here’s your first-hand report from the roads in Delco:

In a word, it’s a mess out there. That doesn’t mean it’s not doable.
That’s one of my favorite things about coming to work as early as I do, you pretty much have the roads to yourself.

One word of caution: Be very careful on that first step out the door.
Your biggest challenge this morning may not be driving to work, but rather negotiating a way to your car.

Overnight we got a messy winter concoction of snow, which turned to freezing rain and is now for the most part rain.

My first steps out the door onto the walkway were met with that distinct crunchy sound of snow that was quickly freezing over.

The driveway was not a lot better.

But that was nothing compared to my street in the development, which could have been home to the Flyers. It was fast turning into a solid chunk of ice. I actually thought about turning around, except for my normal belief that once I make it out to the main roads, things improve markedly.

Turned out to be on the money again.

It will be a challenge to get out to the major roads this morning, but once there, slow and steady should get you where you are going.

I traversed along West Chester Pike, Sproul Road, Springfield Road, Bishop Road, Baltimore Pike and Oak Avenue. All for the most part were just a slushy mess.

Temperatures are expected to rise through the morning, meaning we should begin to see melting of some of this ice after light hits later this morning.

Since most schools are opening on a two-hour delay, it might just be a day to pull the covers up over your head and let Mother Nature do her work to thaw us out.

If you don’t have that option, remember that your side sidewalk and driveway may just be your biggest challenge today.

That and the parking lot once you reach your destination.

The roads are not great, but they’re passable.

Be careful out there.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Jan. 17

The Daily Numbers

247 county workers who took County Council up on their offer of an early retirement buyout.

300 dollars medical benefits payment for every year of service, up to $10,000.

2.47 million cost of the plan, which would be offset by the loss of the salaries.

6 workers who also retired from Upper Darby District Court.

2 alarm blaze that damaged home and killed a family cat in Nether Providence Sunday.

3, age of boy found dead in a home in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia. It has been listed as a homicide.

1 homicide recorded in Delaware County, with the beating death of Murray Seidman in Lansdowne.

7 home break-ins and burglaries in Delaware that police now believe are the work of a 19-year-old.

2 teens killed in a 2-car crash in Lancaster County.

1 man dead after a shooting in North Philadelphia.

150 bucks, what it will cost you to attend the inaugural ball for Tom Corbett.

2 arrested after a chase on I-95 from Trenton into Bucks County. Police found a body in the trunk of their car. No wonder they were running.

27 days until pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater.

2 defensive coaches canned by Andy Reid and the Eagles. Both coordinator Sean McDermott and line coach Rory Segrest were let go over the weekend.

3-2 win for Flyers over the Rangers last night.

7 Villanova at No. 10 UConn today.


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

Funny I could have swore I head Andy Reid say Sean McDermott would be back. Then again, I heard him say the same thing about Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb as his starter. How long is this guy’s nose these days?


I Don’t Get It: Today we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Tomorrow we go back to our normal bickering.


Today’s Upper: The organs of 9-year-old Christina Green, the youngest victim of the mass shooting in Arizona, have gone to a child in the Boston area.


Quote Box: “He was not just a leader of black people, but a leader of all people.”

- James Balk, at celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy yesterday in Media.

King-sized request: Return to civility

Today is the day we set aside to note the life and beliefs of the Rev.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I express my thoughts on how we might commemorate King’s beliefs in my print column today.

In light of what the nation has endured over the past week, it might not be a bad idea to refresh ourselves with the message of non-violence that King preached again and again.

No, I don’t want to point fingers at one party or another, one ideology or another. I don’t want to assign blame.

What I want is a little civility, a return to the time when we could discuss our differences in a rational manner.

At least for today, let that be our dream.

Job 1 for Tom Corbett

Today marks the final day of Ed Rendell’s reign over Pennsylvania politics.

Rendell, who served as both district attorney and mayor in Philadelphia before stunning the state’s political gurus by storming the governor’s mansion, will hand the reins of power over to Tom Corbett tomorrow.

He’s also handing him something else: A financial quagmire.

By most estimates, Corbett will enter office staring down the barrel of about $5 billion in red ink, and having pledged during the campaign not to raise taxes.

Let me be the first to remind the new governor of one of the items he vowed to consider once he slips into the governor’s seat. That would be selling off the state stores and getting Pennsylvania out of the booze business.

No rush, Mr. Corbett. By this weekend would be nice. Maybe Valentine’s Day at the outside.

Reid can't hide his lying eyes

I have come to the following conclusion about Andy Reid.

Either he is having his strings pulled by people above him in the Eagles hierarchy, or he just enjoys playing games with the media.

That would be the polite way to explain the latest “switcheroo” pulled off by the Eagles coach. Other people might call it lying.

At his normal Monday day-after press conference last week following the team’s second straight “one and done” appearance in the playoffs, Reid was asked directly about embattled defensive coordinator Sean McDermott.

When questioned whether McDermott would be back next year, Reid answered with a single world: “Yeah.”

Five days later, Reid’s actions offered the possibility of two more
words: Never mind.

McDermott was fired Saturday.

It was not the first time Reid has pulled such trickery. It was this time last year that Reid spent a couple of months responding to every question about Donovan McNabb explaining how No. 5 was the best quarterback in Eagles history and of course he would be back for another year as the Eagles starter. Reid went so far as to belittle the assembled media for continuing to hammer away at the issue.

Then on Easter Sunday (coincidentally the night before the Phillies season
opener) McNabb was gone, dealt to a team in NFC East, the Washington Redskins. Reid simply smiled behind that familiar bushy moustache when asked about his reverse.

Earlier this year Reid had an even more rapid change of heart when it comes to the Eagles starting quarterback. After Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion on opening day, he was replaced by Michael Vick, who played well in the second half vs. the Packers and then starred in a win vs.
Detroit the following week. Reid was outraged that anyone would question who his starting QB would be the following week. “Kevin Kolb is my starting quarterback,” a clearly perturbed Reid insisted.

That lasted all of 24 hours. Apparently Reid watched the tapes of the game and overnight decided he was going with Vick, setting off maybe the biggest story in the NFL this year, Vick’s redemption from federal prison to an MVP candidate.

Now he’s at it again. Reid no doubt enjoys this little game he plays with the media. My guess is that people like Kevin Kolb and Sean McDermott, and this morning Rory Segrest, the defensive line coach who is following McDermott out the door, don’t enjoy it nearly as much.

I know one thing. If I was a member of the Eagles’ organization and just got a glowing endorsement from Reid, I would be worried.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Jan. 14

The Daily Numbers: 10 dogs that perished in fire that consumed a garage in Sharon Hill.

70, age of Murray Seidman, who was found beaten to death in his Lansdowne apartment.

5 to 10 days, how long police believe Seidman’s lifeless body was inside his apartment.

50,000 dollars bail continued for former West Chester teacher David Devine, who was arraigned on fed child porn charges yesterday.

8,000 gallons of diesel fuel that leaked from the Exelon Generating Station.

136,000 jobs in Pa. that were either created or saved via the $31 billion in federal stimulus funds, according to Gov. Ed Rendell.

3 young men in Claymont, Del., who are being credited with saving the life of an 80-year-old man who had become buried in the snow.

10 percent of Peco Energy Co. customers who are switching to competing electric company since deregulation went into effect on Jan. 1.

19, age of Zac MacMath, the University of Maryland goalkeeper taken in 1st round yesterday by the Philadelphia Union.

5-4 lead for the Flyers that disappeared at halfway point of a bitter loss in Boston last night.

7-5 final after the Bruins ripped off 2 goals and an empty-netter.

1 and done for Heisman Trophy winner and national champion Auburn QB Cam Newton. He’s going to the NFL.

30 days until pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater.


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

The NFL playoffs pick up again Saturday. Just don’t seem to have the same pizazz without the Eagles playing.


I Don’t Get It: Lawrence Taylor pleads guilty to 2 misdemeanor sex counts. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Lots of activities this weekend to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King preached non-violence. Considering what happened last weekend in Tucscon, it’s a message we all could stand to hear again.


Quote Box: “This was not a robbery.”

- Lansdowne Police Chief Dan Kortan, on the murder of Murray Seidman in his apartment.

Who killed Murray Seidman?

Somebody knows who killed Murray Joseph Seidman.

Seidman is a 70-year-old man who lived alone in the Ath Dara Apartments on South Lansdowne Avenue. His body was discovered by a friend Wednesday.

He had been beaten to death.

Nobody should die the way Seidman did. His dead body went undiscovered in his apartment between five and 10 days, according to investigators.

His death marks the first homicide of the year in Delaware County.

It took all of 12 days.

It would be nice if it did not take as long to solve this heinous fatal beating.

Police say this was not a robbery, that there did not appear to be any signs of a forced entry, and that those who did know the elderly man indicated there did not seem to be anything missing from his apartment.

That leaves the strong possibility that Seidman knew his killer. If you have any information, call police at 610-623-0700.

A win for the anti-snitching community

Unlike the case of Murray Seidman, police believe they know who killed Kanard Jones last father’s day in what they describe as a drug deal gone bad.

Jones was killed and two others were wounded in a while shootout in a house on Sunshine Road.

Police charged Khalif “Leaf” Anderson, 20, of Upper Darby, with murder.

But on Tuesday Anderson walked out of custody a free man.

No one would testify against him.

That’s not to say they don’t know what happened. Police believe they do, but they would not take the stand.

“Nobody would testify,” said an aggravated Upper Darby Police Superintedent Mike Chitwood. “I think it’s a disgrace. People don’t want to stand up and be counted. It’s an anti-snitch mentality. It’s a tragedy for the community.”

Chitwood says his men will keep pounding the pavement, trying to build the case against Anderson. If they come up with something, they will refile the charges.

I don’t think anyone should hold their breath.

Anderson fled the area after the incident and police finally caught up with him in Atlantic City.

No one believes it is easy to come forward and testify in this kind of case. But it’s a necessity. Police can’t take the streets back by themselves. They need the public’s help. They need them to come forward and tell what they know, and be willing to take the stand and testify.

And until they do, more and more of our communities will remain unsafe.

Who killed Murray Seidman?

Somebody knows who killed Murray Joseph Seidman.

Seidman is a 70-year-old man who lived alone in the Ath Dara Apartments on South Lansdowne Avenue. His body was discovered by a friend Wednesday.

He had been beaten to death.

Nobody should die the way Seidman did. His dead body went undiscovered in his apartment between five and 10 days, according to investigators.

His death marks the first homicide of the year in Delaware County.

It took all of 12 days.

It would be nice if it did not take as long to solve this heinous fatal beating.

Police say this was not a robbery, that there did not appear to be any signs of a forced entry, and that those who did know the elderly man indicated there did not seem to be anything missing from his apartment.

That leaves the strong possibility that Seidman knew his killer. If you have any information, call police at 610-623-0700.

Single-digit cold

I had a first this morning. A frosty first, you might call it.

The clock in my car also has a thermometer.

When I got in and finally got the cranky engine to turn over, I glanced at the clock. It registered 14 degrees, the coldest I can remember seeing on it.

That didn’t last long.

Just a couple miles down the road I looked back at it – and almost ran off the road.

8 degrees. Single digits.

Bundle up if you’re going out there this morning, folks.

It’s the kind of cold that smacks you in the face the second you open the door.

Here’s a ray of hope. They are saying we could actually hit the 40s next week.

And pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater in 30 days.

I feel warmer already.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Jan. 13

The Daily Numbers: 300 dollar fine for putting chairs or anything out to save a shoveled-out parking place under new Darby Township ordinance.

7.2 inches of snow recorded in Swarthmore in this most recent storm, that’s the most in the county.

23 months in jail for an Eddystone mom in a DUI-related crash with her two young kids in the car.

23, age of suspect convicted in the rape of a 57-year-old woman in Chester.

26, age of Bensalem man now charged with aggravated assault in a case of snow rage. He was ticked because his car had been plowed in and allegedly brandished a gun against a man operating a snow blower.

77, age of man in Aliquippa in western Pa. who suffered a fatal heart attack while shoveling snow.

20, age of murder suspect in Upper Darby who went free after witnesses declined to take stand.

800 dollar gym bags doled out to some Philadelphia Parking Authority employees. They now must be returned.

10 straight wins for Villanova, as they beat Louisville, 88-74.

19, as in No. 19 Temple, which rolled over St. Bonaventure.

89-83 win for La Salle over Penn in OT last night.

3 straight losses for Saint Joe’s, who fell to Dayton.

29 days until pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater.


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

So how long do you think it will take for Eagles fans to get over another first-round playoff loss, or demanding that head coach Andy Reid be fired.


I Don’t Get It: A murder suspect in Upper Darby walks because witnesses are scared to testify against him. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: The Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas has decided not to protest the funeral today of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green in Tucson.

*: “I talked to a lot of people who were in support of the ordinance. They said the chairs make the neighborhood look bad.”

Quote Box

- Darby Township Manager John Ryan, on new ordinance slapping fines on those who reserve shoveled out parking spots in the snow.

Union hooks up with Bimbo

The Union, you know, the Major League Soccer team that plays its games at PPL Park in Chester, has a new sponsor.

Soccer teams are a little like NASCAR drivers, they plaster sponsorship logos all over the place.

So next year every Union player’s jersey will be emblazoned across the chest with the name of their new corporate sugar daddies.


Stop smirking. It’s pronounced “Beem-bo.” Yeah, right. Too bad it’s not spelled that way.

Bimbo Bakeries, based in Horsham, is part of Bimbo Grupo, a huge Mexican firm. They own brands like Thomas’ English Muffins, Entemann’s and Strohman. But none of them will be emblazed on the chests of the Union.

Bimbo will.

Too bad they don’t have a cheerleading team.

Snow rage

Darby Township is not the only place where they’re having issues with snow.

There was a case of “snow rage” reported in Bensalem.

And yes, it had to do with snow removal.

Seems a man came out of his apartment to find another man operating a snow blower in the complex parking lot near his car – a car that was now buried in snow.

Let’s just say the man was not happy. Stop if you know where this is headed.

He confronted the man operating the snow blower, who promptly told him he was not responsible for the plow job that had buried the car.

The man was not satisifed and police say he pulled out a handgun, stuck in the snow-blowing guy’s face, and informed him that he was going to help clear his vehicle.

Eddie Simmons, 26, then went back into his apartment. Police were called. Simmons now faces charges of aggravated assault with a firearm. He’s being held on $500,000 bail.

Snow makes people do crazy things. I know that’s the case for me.

Luckily, I don’t own a gun.

And I have no plans to do so.

People, please, take a deep breath out there. Spring will come, eventually. Then we can all go back to giving each other the finger as we cut each other off on the Blue Route.

Take this law and shovel it

There was a common lament heard among the citizens of Darby Township yesterday morning as they went about their post-winter storm tradition – say it ain’t ‘sno.

They weren't talking about the latest winter storm; they were venting about a move by the township to fine people anywhere from $300 to $1,000 for "saving" those precious dug-out spots with chairs and other household items.

It's a longtime tradition in this area, and streets are often littered with anything from traffic cones, plastic chairs to sofas as residents mark out their precious turf - a pristine, clean parking spot carved out of the snow.

Maybe not anymore.

That’s because township commissioners last night unanimously approved an ordinance that will make doing so a fairly expensive proposition – should police in fact decide to ticket anyone for saving their spot.

It has always been illegal to “save” parking spots on public streets in Pa., but until last night there’s never been much of an effort to put any teeth into the effort.

That could change in Darby Township. The ordinance passed by commissioners calls for a fine of $300 and up to $1,000 for what has become something of an art form – and certainly a tradition – in many neighborhoods, especially where off-street parking is rare.

Another ordinance also puts hefty fines in play for anyone who shovels snow and dumps it back out into the street.

It will be very interesting to see if police actually hit anybody with a ticket.

Police are tired of having to remove items that inevitably wind up out in the street, sometimes blocking traffic.

Commisioners point out no one owns the public streets.

Tell that to someone who has just broken his back shoveling out a parking spot.

We’ll keep a close eye on this one. We urge you to as well. Post a comment and let us know what you think of this controversial move in Darby Township.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Jan. 12

The Daily Numbers: 7 inches of snow that fell on many areas of the region overnight.

6 inches on the ground in Drexel Hill, which looks like the high here in Delco.

4 inches reported in Allentown.

5 inches at Philadelphia International Airport.

400 plows that PennDOT put out on the roads last night to plow and get things clear for the morning commute. They did a great job.

8.8 inches of snow recorded in Central Park in New York City.

20 inches of snow expected on Long Island.

675 flights canceled at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

0 flights going in or out of Boston’s Logan Airport.

400 new jobs coming to Chester with the arrival of Power Home Remodeling Group to the Wharf at Rivertown.

2 Delco state senators, Daylin Leach and Anthony Williams, getting minority chairman positions in Harrisburg.

40,000 Pennsylvania residents may lose their low-cost basic health insurance.

2 stabbings in the Northern Liberties section of the city, 1 of which was fatal, that police are now labeling random attacks.

1 million dollars in aid being proposed by Pa. to help ailing Tasty Baking Co., maker of TastyKakes.

5 million dollars ripped off from La Salle University by their former director of auxiliary services.

111-103 loss by the Sixers as they fell to the Pacers last night at the Wells Fargo Center.

1 Flyer who made the NHL All-Star team. That would be winger Claude Giroux.

1 goal and 3 assists for Danny Briere last ngiht as the Flyers beat the Sabres. That gives him 22 goals on the year. Think he was maybe ticked about being left off the All-Star team.

38 saves for Sergei Bobrovsky in getting the win.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Andre Iguodala was back in the lineup for the Sixers last night. He didn’t look like he was ready to play.



I Don’t Get It: Westboro Baptist Church. How anyone can even consider picketing the funeral of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, who was killed in the Arizona shooting rampage, is almost beyond comprehension. Shame on them.


Today’s Upper: More good economic news for Chester with the arrival of Power Home Remodeling Group, which is moving to the city waterfront from Brookhaven. And they’re bringing 400 new jobs with them.


Quote Box: “We understand the importance of making of making Chester a viable economic engine.”

- County Council Chairman Jack Whelan, at yesterday’s press conference to announce the arrival of a new tenant at the Wharf at Rivertown in Chester.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Jan. 11

The Daily Numbers: 4 inches, what we’re likely looking at from tonight’s storm. There will be more farther east, less farther west.

300 dollar fine that could be slapped on residents in Darby Township if they use chairs and other things to reserve shoveled-out parking spots after storms, if a proposed ordinance is approved.

2 suspects being sought in the robbery of a police officer’s home in Ridley. Talk about picking the wrong target.

100,000 dollars believed ripped off by a disbarred lawyer from his clients.

98 residents routed by a 5-alarm fire that roared through West Philly apartment complex yesterday afternoon.

3 years in jail for former Speaker of the House Tom DeLay for funneling corporate money to Texas candidates.

8,000 dollar lipstick case left at Swarthmore Goodwill store.

3.6 billion decline in revenue in 2010 at Atlantic City casinos. That means they’ve lost one-third of their business in the last 4 years..

1, as in No. 1 football team in the land. That would be Auburn, after they beat Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl last night for the national title.

6 Eagles who can be unrestricted free agents after the season, including Michael Vick and David Akers.

35 years ago, remember when the Flyers man-handled the Russian National Team? Where have you gone, Ed Van Impe.


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

Andy Reid says it was a rebuilding season. Funny he didn’t say that before.


I Don’t Get It: Full-blown panic is setting in, with supermarkets no doubt packed all day. Must be calling for snow.


Today’s Upper: Say what you will, the conversation about dialing down the political rhetoric is one I think this nation desperately needs.


Quote Box: “The bottom line is that we shouldn’t change our attempt at all to make ourselves available to the public.”

- U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, in the wake of the Arizona shooting rampage.

Bimbo eruption in Chester

Bimbo eruption in Chester

They’re expecting a Bimbo eruption today in Chester.

No, not that kind.

This involves the Philadelphia Union Major League Soccer team, which plays its home games in PPL Park on the Chester waterfront.

The team will announce a Bimbo Bakeries as the official team jersey sponsor.

It’s actually going to be a big day in that section of Chester.

Just about an hour or so earlier, Gov. Ed Rendell will be on the Chester waterfront to welcome a new tenant to the Wharf at Rivertown, the original anchor in the renaissance in the city along the Delaware.

One and done?

One and done

Don’t ask me what this means because I don’t know.

But has anyone else realized what is going to happen later this morning, a few minutes after 11 o’clock.

The clock will strike 11:11 on 1-11-11. The same thing will happen at
11:11 p.m.

I suppose it would be too much to ask to see the lottery spit out
1-1-1-1 in tonight Big Four Drawing.

My daughter was born on Veterans Day. That would be 11-11.

That means her birthday this year falls on 11-11-11.

Kind of weird. Now if KYW announces it is changing gthe traffic reports to 11 after the hour instead of on the 2's I'm going to get a little scared.

What happened to the northern and western suburbs?

A weird and wonderful thing is happening this winter.

Now don’t take that wrong. I have not changed my stripes on these 90 days that follow the holidays. I still hate them. With a passion.

So, yes, I will be among those griding my teeth looking out the window (if we had a window here in the newsroom) waiting for the arrival of more snow this afternoon.

The forecasters are pretty much in accord on this one. We’re going to get more snow. It likely will require plows to be put into use.

PennDOT says it is ready. They have been bush pre-treating the roads with that brine solution that helps to keep the snow from sticking to the road surface. They say they will have 400 plows in operation tonight.

Getting to work won’t be a problem. Schools will be open. And even getting home tonght should not be a concern. The snow is expected to arrive around the evening rush hour and likely continue through the night before tapering off tomorrow morning.

But here is the interesting part, at least to me.

Something different is happening this year when it comes to the snow. In years past I have lived in fear of the following phrase: the northern and western suburbs.

First off, I always had a devil of a time trying to figure out where they were. When exactly did Allentown become a Philadelphia suburb?
Would it by any chance have anything to do with the fact that they get more snow there, thus allowing the local TV stations a place to stick rules in the snow?

You could pretty much always count on the “northern and western suburbs”
getting the brunt of the snow.

Not this year.

And it sounds like the same thing is going to happen again tonight. The heaviest snow is expected to be east of us, near the Jersey shore, and then farther up the coast in New York City.

I’m not complaining.

I’m counting the days until spring. Or at least until catchers and pitchers report to Clearwater.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Jan. 10

The Daily Numbers:

9, age of girl killed in the Arizona shooting rampage. She was granddaughter of former Phils’ manager Dallas Green.

14 people wounded, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

22, age of man charged as the lone gunman in the attack.

5 alarm fire that gutted a charter school in West Philly Sunday.

37,000 dollar reward now posted for info on the Kensington Strangler.

2 dead in a shootout involving police and suspects in Berks County.

60 years of selling jewelry in Philly that comes to end as Robbins Eighth and Walnut closes its doors.

25 percent cut in basic cable costs being set by Comcast.

1 and done for the Eagles in the playoffs. Again.

33 seconds left with Eagles at Packers’ 27 yard line. Vick throws interception in endzone. Game, set and match.

123 yards rushing for Packers rookie James Starks. Good thing the Packers never run the ball.

20 of 36 and 1 pick for 292 yards for Michael Vick.

18 of 27 for Aaron Rodgers in leading the Packers.

2 crucial missed field goals by Eagles All-Pro David Akers.


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

Different QB, same coach, same result. Time for change.


I Don’t Get It: The gunfire had hardly dimmed in Arizona when both sides were looking to use the incident to their own political advantage. I don’t get it, and I don’t see what it accomplishes.


Today’s Upper: Pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater on Feb. 15.


Quote Box: “I think we’ve got to tone down the rhetoric on both sides.”

- U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, in the aftermath of the shootings in Arizona.

In the crosshairs? Not anymore

There was a time when this newspaper would, on occasion, utilize crosshairs as a graphic device when it comes to political races.

Just ask Curt Weldon. A few years ago the longtime GOP congressman appeared on the front page of this newspaper “in the crosshairs” to demonstrate that he was being targeted for a legitimate challenge from Democrats.

We used that graphic element to tell a story, to make a point.

Not anymore.

That all changed Saturday, when a deranged gunman interrupted a town hall-style meeting being held by a congresswoman in her district in Tucscon, Ariz.

Jared Loughner, 22, opened fire on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and others outside a supermarket during one of her routine “congresswoman on the corner” meetings.

Before Loughner was tackled by bystanders as he tried to reload, six people were killed, including the 9-year-old granddaughter of former Phillies manager Dallas Green.

Fourteen others were wounded, including Giffords, was was shot at point-blank range. She remains in critical condition in a medically induced coma.

The echoes of the gunfire had barely fallen silent when another sound was heard.

People took to the Internet, social media, Facebook and Twitter to decry the increasingly bitter tenor of what passes for political discourse in this country.

I agree the vitriol needs to stop; I’m not sure if that had anything to do with what happened in Arizona. I’m not sure at this point that anyone does.

But as I posted story after story about the shooting onto our website Saturday and Sunday, I wondered about where our country is headed. About what can be done – if anything – to stop such nonsense. About how wide – and how heated – the divide in this country has become.

And I know it needs to stop. We need to change.

How remains to be seen. It would be nice to think that everyone will step back from the fury, and make a conscious decision to dial it down several notches.

I’m not going to hold my breath. Instead I see both sides simply using the tragedy in Arizona to push their own agenda.

I do know this. You will wait a long time before you see this newspaper use a crosshairs device again.

An innocent 9-year-old girl has been killed. A U.S. congresswoman and 14 other people were shot.

I think it’s time.