Monday, February 28, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Feb. 28

The Daily Numbers: 1 elderly man killed when fire roared through his apartment in Radnor early this morning.

1 homicide so far this year in the city of Chester. The city recorded its first over the weekend with the fatal shooting of a 30-year-old city man.

2 people now arrested in connection with a shooting incident at a bowling alley in Delaware back in January.

40,000 Pennsylvanians who will enjoy their final day of AdultBasic health care today, unless the program is extended.

1,700 Delco residents who used the plan; and another 17,400 who were on the waiting list.

3.29 a gallon, the national average price of gasoline. That’s up 13 cents in just one week.

3.34 a gallon, what we’re paying here in the Philly area. It was $3.22 last week and $2.76 last year.

2 Philadelphia police officers injured when they were involved in a serious car crash in which their cruiser was T-boned by a car that ran a red light in Southwest Philly.

5,900 students who will be in class this morning in the Perkiomen Valley School District, where teachers and the school board reached a tentative contract last night to avoid a strike.

3 people killed in fire in North Philadelphia.

4 straight wins for the Sixers, who topped the Cavs on the road last night.

1 game over .500 for the surging Sixers.

7-3 loss to the Yankees for the Phils, who had beaten them on Saturday.

3 scoreless innings pitched by Joe Blanton in his first outing of the spring.

20 days until the first day of spring. Here’s where we stand in the Great Heron’s Nest Snow Prognosticating Event. I said we’d have 9 snows between now and March 20. We’ve had 4, but this is one bet I’d gladly lose.


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

So much for the “general soreness” Chase Utley was suffering from. He’s now been diagnosed with tendinitis in his knee and is listed as day-to-day. He has yet to play in Florida. He’s also 32. Not good.


I Don’t Get It: Neither the state nor the insurance company seem inclined to do anything today, the last day more than 40,000 low-income Pennsylvanians will have their AdultBasic health care. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Just keep telling yourself that all this rain could be snow. I’ll take the rain any day.


Quote Box: “It is my opinion that we are about to face a clash between the ideals and expectations of the new generation of parents and a system that is designed for a generation of the past.

- Secretary of Education Designate Ron Tomalis, on the school voucher battle about to play out in Harrisburg.

Welcoming the new monsignor

 I continue to be torn in my feelings toward the latest child sexual abuse scandal roiling the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

In my print column today, which you can read here, I wrote about the varying reactions the things I have written have caused.

I actually looked forward to going to Mass Saturday night. That’s because it was celebrated by our new pastor, Monsignor Joe McLoone.

He’s no stranger to people here in Delaware County. He is the pastor of St. Katharine Drexel in Chester.

He joked about going from Chester to Chester County, how different the two parishes are, but the things that unite us as Catholics as well. Make no mistake. The caring, comforting words he spoke were exactly what the faithful needed to hear.

I should have warned him that in addition to the culture shock of going from the urban environment of St. Katharine Drexel to the suburban Downingtown, there also would be another culture shock he no doubt would deal with. It’s one I’ve already encountered.

Many of Downingtown’s founding fathers, the men who worked in the mills and populated the town, were very proud Italians. They formed the bedrock of St. Joseph’s Parish and much of the town’s culture. I know. I married into one of those families. I’m sort of the Irish black sheep of the family.

Monsignor McLoone used his Irish warmth and humor to disarm parishioners during his homily. He struck exactly the right tone.

After the Mass, while he was greeting parishioners, I introduced myself and he thanked me for the things I had written about him. He also indicated there was a reporter from the New York Times talking to parishioners and waiting to talk to him. After years of dealing with him at St. Katharine Drexel, I assured him he would do fine.

Actually, it was me who should have been thanking him.

That’s because during his homily he also touched on something that I often tell people when they ask me if the church’s troubles have soured me on Catholicism.

I always tell them that while I abhor the scandal and abuse dogging the church, I don’t go to church for one man, perfect or imperfect.

I go for an hour alone with my thoughts, and to contemplate the week and my life.

I find it increasingly difficult to find even the tiniest slice of solitude in life these days. I seem to be “plugged in” 24 hours a day.

I know a lot of people who have abandoned the church in these trying times. It would be all too easy to do. But it seems to me the church likely needs us now more than ever, probably every bit as much as we need it.

I don’t have all the answers. I have lots of questions. A lot of days I feel like I’m just adrift on this vast wave of information I wrestle with.

One day at a time, I suppose. The monsignor indicated that he would be away from the parish for about nine days, because he is taking his 84-year-old to a family wedding in Ireland.

It has long been a dream of mine to visit Ireland, where I am told we still have relatives. I sometimes joke that when I finally go, I only want a one-way ticket.

My parents used to say that our family name was actually O’Heron, but they dropped the “o” when they came to this country.


I kind of like the sound of O’Heron. The same way I like the sound of McLoone.

Welcome, monsignor.

2 key issues to watch in Harrisburg this week

There are two very big issues that will be in the news in Harrisburg this week.


One hits today, the last day that low-income Pennsylvanians will be able to keep their AdultBasic health care plan. It expires at the end of the day, and neither the state nor the insurance companies appear as if they’re going to step up to the plate to save it.

You can read our take on this issue here.

Also this week the very controversial issue of school vouchers will be debated again.

Staff writer Alex Rose has an expansive look at vouchers, who’s for them and who is against, and what affect they could have here in Delaware County. You can read Alex’s story here.


Phils try to Chase the blues away

The Phillies got good news and bad news yesterday.

We’ll start with the bad, and it could be real bad. Then again it might not be that big a deal.

What’s certain is that the team’s attempt to pass off the Chase Utley situation as “general soreness” was generally a crock.

The team announced Sunday that the 32-year-old Utley is suffering from patella tendinitis in his right knee.

That is not a good thing. Utley has yet to play in Florida. He is trying to come back from summer marred by injuries last year. Utley played in only 115 games last year and his production was down.

Part of Utley’s problem is his style of play. Last year he suffered an injury to his thumb while diving head-first into second base. That’s what Utley does. He is always diving for balls, and busting it on the base paths. All those dings and dents take their toll.

Utley pushed himself to come back in good shape this spring, but he’s been shelved by soreness in his knee. Manager Charlie Manuel almost twisted himself into a pretzel last week explaining his Utley was just working out hard and was sore.

It’s more than being sore. Whether or not it’s something more remains to be seen. But it’s not good. Not for a guy who is 32 and is developing a bit of a pattern of breaking down.

Keep your eye on this one.

The good news for the Phils? A lot has been said about the Phils’
starting four pitchers. Not that much has been said about the fifth guy in that rotation. But Joe Blanton sparkled yesterday in three innings against the Yankees. He didn’t give up a hit.

No one is saying it, but Blanton just might be the best fifth starter in the National League. Which makes the Phils’ arms all that more impressive.

They might need it. Especially if Utley is on the shelf for longer than expected.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Feb. 25

The Daily Numbers: 21, age of Casey Feldman, of Springfield, killed while walking to her job at the Jersey shore. A video of her is now part of a national push to deal with distracted driving.

3.25 a gallon, what the average price of gas in the Philly region hit yesterday. That’s the highest since July 2008, when we were at $4.11.

333 dollars a year, that’s how much it costs you more a year for a 25-cent increase at the pumps.

4,336 dollars a year, what the average person spends on gas at $3.25 a gallon.

96 dollars a barrel, where the price of crude wound up yesterday after soaring over $100 a barrel for a while. It was selling at 86 bucks at the start of the week.

700,000 dollar program for green initiatives rolled out by county council this week.

4th DUI charge for a man suspected of running into the back of a car in the McDonald’s drive-in in Ridley.

2-6 years in prison for a 26-year-old Darby man convicted of having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

2 more suspects nabbed by the county Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

2.8 percent tax hike being projected in the Interboro School District.

6.1 mill hike looming in Chichester.

2 young woman killed in a car crash early this morning in Northeast Philly. Alcohol is suspected in the crash.

1,500 dollars found on street in West Chester by homeless man, who promptly turned the money in.

60,000 dollars in goods believed stolen from the condo owned by Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Jason Peters in South Philly.

23 days until the first day of spring. Here’s where we stand in the Great Heron’s Nest Snow Prognosticating Event. I said we’d have 9 snows between now and March 20. We’ve had 4, but this is one bet I’d gladly lose.

4-3 win for Flyers in OT over Islanders last night, after they blew a 2-goal lead.

8-0 win for Phillies over Florida State. They kick off Grapefruit League schedule Saturday vs. the Yankees.


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

Ryan Howard started the fireworks in the Phils’ opener yesterday with a double in the first that drove home a couple of runs. Where was that four months ago?


I Don’t Get It: John O’Connor is now out at Holy Family as coach of the men’s hoops team after a physical altercation with a player. Am I the only one who thinks he’s getting a raw deal?


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the family of Casey Feldman. The Springfield woman’s legacy will be helping the war on distracted driving. Her story is portrayed in a new video put out by the Department of Transportation.


Quote Box: “It was the first time I ever lost somebody, a friend, and someone my age. And it made me realize that could easily have been me. That could have been my sister. It could have been anybody.”

- Brooke Burdge, talking about video made about Casey Feldman to help bring attention to issue of distracted driving.

Coach O'Connor and the tale of the tape

In the blink of an eye, John O’Connor saw a lifetime of work carving out a career as a respected basketball coach go up in smoke.

And I think I know why.

People blink; the camera does not.

O’Connor, you might know by now, is the Holy Family college basketball coach who got physical with one of his players.

It wasn’t all that long ago that such an incident never would have caused a ripple, let alone exploded into headlines and landed O’Connor and the offended player on national TV.

It would have been handled behind closed doors.

Not anymore. That’s because this wasn’t just one kid’s word against a coach. It was captured, like so much of our lives is these days – on videotape.

Kaboom! A career incinerated.

Looking at the videotape it’s not hard to come to the conclusion that O’Connor was well over the line in dealing with player Matt Kravchuk.
Upset at the way his players had been playing, and apparently ticked at the way Kravchuk was doing a specific drill, O’Connor seems to charge him, take a slap at him and then hit him with a fairly forceful shoulder. Kravchuk wound up on the gym floor.

I can tell you that if a kid had called the newspaper with such a tale, I probably would not have put much credence in it. But this wasn’t just the kid’s word. This was on video, which played on a local TV station, which catapulted the story into the news stratosphere. And yes, there’s a part of me that wonders about that kind of news judgment.

It’s pretty much the same thing that happened in Upper Darby when police released a videotape of a group of Upper Darby High School kids bullying 13-year-old Nadin Khoury. It’s one thing to read about such an attack.
It’s another altogether to see him being dragged through the snow by his feet, stuffed upside down in a tree, and finally hung by his coat from a fence.

There is something visceral about video that words on a page sometimes simply cannot convey. That’s one of the reasons we are pushing so hard into the video realm on our website.

The truth is we live in a video society. Kids are now used to “seeing”
news, not just reading about it as words printed on a page or computer screen.

O’Connor and Kravchuk made the obligatory appearance on national TV on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” O’Connor admitted he was over the line and offered an apology. Kravchuk said he couldn’t accept it, that he was still having problems believing his old coach. He indicated he now could no longer play for him because he did not respect him.

I winced, but I didn’t stop watching.

Last night O’Connor stepped down as coach.

I played a lot of sports when I was in high school. I had some tough coaches. I know that if what happened to Kravchuk had happened to me, I wouldn’t have made a peep. I simply would have gotten back in the line and considered myself lucky that the coach was trying to make me a better player. Then again, I had already spent eight years under the firm tutelage of the good Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so not much a coach did was going to bother me.

That’s not the way things are done today. Kids don’t remain silent. They go home and tell their parents, who complain to school officials. And who sometimes contact lawyers.

Plus, they had the magic video.

Consider for a moment how much of our lives is being captured by these ubiquitous cameras. And wonder how many times you’ve done something that no doubt would make you and everyone else cringe if it were recorded for posterity, let alone broadcast on national TV.

It seems to me John O’Connor has paid a very steep price for going over the line in making a point to his player. I don’t think the school did him any favors by not taking action immediately after this incident happened a few weeks back.

My guess is we have not heard the end of this one, even we have seen the end of one man’s career.

No doubt this will likely wind up in court.

We will soon forget John O’Connor, what he did for a living, and the years he spent building that career. None of that will be the image of him we remember. Instead we will forever view him as the coach on the video, striking a player.

John O’Connor’s story will fade away, just at Nadin Khoury’s did.

Until the next piece of tantalizing video arrives.

It won’t take long. I know. I do this for a living. It is the age we now live – and work – in. The video age.

Remember that the next time you’re going into the local Wawa, or paying that toll on your morning commute, or standing at the ATM.

Your actions are being recorded on videotape. And in a heartbeat, those images can be broadcast around the world via the Internet.

Roll the video…

An odd dichotomy at Chichester High

I had a very interesting phone call the other day. It was from Barbara DiMarino, the superintendent of schools out in Chichester.

Now when I get a call from a school boss, it’s usually not good news.
They often want to register a complaint about a story that has appeared in the paper or online.

But DiMarino was delivering good news. The Chichester High School Hi-Q team had won another match and would advance to the championship round of the scholastic quiz competition. They will face off against Garnet Valley and Penncrest in the finals on March 9.

But DiMarino also had another reason for delivering that bit of good news, one I found fascinating.

She wondered how it could be that the same school that produces these outstanding students could also find itself on a somewhat notorious list of persistently under-performing schools in the state.

Chichester High School is one of nine schools in Delco among 144 statewide where parents would be allowed to use vouchers to put their children in a private school, under a fairly controversial piece of legislation being pushed by two state senators.

DiMarino wonders just how the list is compiled and how such a variance could be in place at her school.

It’s a great question, one that we will be delving into even more in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, I’m happy to deliver some good news about the kids out in Chi. Knock ‘em dead in the Hi-Q finals, kids!

Baseball is back!

Yes, it’s a miserable Friday.

But that’s the whole thing – it’s Friday. And it’s raining, not snowing.
In fact, this rain is going to help wash away a lot of that snow.

It’s supposed to rain much of the day before turning colder tonight.

But there is another reason I have spring on the brain today.

The Phillies are playing baseball. Real, live baseball.

The Phils kicked off their spring season yesterday with an 8-0 win over Florida State. Ryan Howard got things started with a double in the first inning to drive in a couple of runs. Where was that four months ago? Just kidding, Ryan.

You can read Ryan Lawrence's coverage here.

The Phils open up their Grapefruit League schedule on Saturday against the Yankees.

Could it be a sign of things to come? Is it possible these two sets of pinstripes could face one another again seven months from now in the Fall Classic?

Doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that baseball is back.

The Boys of Summer? Well, that's a couple of months away. But just the sight of the Phillies playing makes this boy who is longing for summer think we may just have survived another miserable winter.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Feb. 24

The Daily Numbers: 3 people shot inside the R-S Club in Ridley early Sunday morning. Now a Chester man is being sought.

50,000 dollars cash bail for the former Ridley teacher wanted in a series of burglaries. He was arrested in New Jersey.

5 cars broken into along Lancaster Avenue in Radnor as diners ate in restaurants.

2 years, how long a priest suspected of abusing a child remained in service at his parish after being ordered by the Philadelphia Archdiocese to leave.

100 dollars a barrel, price of crude oil yesterday, as the price of gas at the pump hit $3.20 across the nation.

4 dollars a gallon, what some experts believe we could be paying by Memorial Day.

107 point decline on Wall Street yesterday. That makes the worst 2-day dip in 6 months.

15 busted for racketeering in connection with a huge drug bust in Camden.

60 computers stolen from West Philadelphia High School.

1 dog shot and killed by police who raided the wrong home in Philly during a drug bust.

1 game below .500 for the 76ers, who unloaded on the hapless Washington Wizards last night, 117-94.

20 points for Jrue Holiday; 18 points and 10 boards for Thaddeus Young.

25-16, Sixers record since starting the season 3-13.

7-20 mark for Phil Martelli’s Saint Joe Hawks, who lost to Umass last night.

24 days until the first day of spring. Here’s where we stand in the Great Heron’s Nest Snow Prognosticating Event. I said we’d have 9 snows between now and March 20. We’ve had 4, but this is one bet I’d gladly lose.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Mike Schmidt had some tough love for Jimmy Rollins yesterday. I hope the star shortstop was listening.



I Don’t Get It: A priest was allowed to stay in a parish for nearly two years after he was accused of abuse in the archdiocese. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: What a great gizmo that led to the arrest of the former Ridley teacher wanted in a series of burglaries. He was stopped in Jersey after a tag reader in the officer’s patrol car noticed the tag number and that it turned up on the wanted list. Nice work.


Quote Box: “In D.C., you don’t have the same degree of control over your time.”

- Congressman Pat Meehan, talking about his new hectic lifestyle on our “Live From the Newsroom” Internet broadcast last night.

Live with Pat Meehan


We had a chance to visit with new Congressman Pat Meehan last night. He was our guest for this week’s “Live From the Newsroom” Internet live-stream broadcast.

If you missed it, you can check it out here.


One of the best things about this format is that it allows us to bring important issues – and the people affecting them – right into your living room

The other great thing about the Internet, of course, is the fact that it is interactive. We’re not the only ones with the ability to ask questions. We can invite our audience and viewers to take part in the discussion as well.

That’s what one viewer did last night. She apparently was not impressed with the questions Gil Spencer and I were putting to the congressman. After asking him about adjusting to life in Washington, and his interesting habit of sometimes sleeping in his office, I also asked him about his fight to keep the V-22 Osprey, the pride of Boeing in Ridley, off the chopping block, as well as the battle against a runway expansion plan at Philadelphia International Airport.

Those weren’t the issues this viewer wanted the congressman to address.

She even went so far as to ask if we were being paid by the congressman to ask such easy questions.

I had every intention of getting to the issue she was clearly interested in, just not right away.

This person wanted Meehan grilled over two incidents that have been tied to his campaign, one involving a campaign volunteer charged by the state attorney general with fraud for bogus signatures on Meehan’s nominating petitions, and a more recent incident in which an assistant U.S. attorney has been criticized for fundraisers held for both Meehan and former Sen. Arlen Specter.

Meehan answered both, calmly and rationally. He pointed out that his campaign actually blew the whistle on itself in the matter involving bad petition signatures gathered by longtime GOP loyalist Paul Summers. Meehan believes that Summers was acting alone. Of course the “chatter”

also wanted him to address the belief that the investigation and charges against Summers were deliberately delayed until after the election.

A lot of people thought the same thing, in fact they thought this case was buried and was never going to be heard from again. Not so. Summers is currently facing charges.

As for the fundraisers by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurie Magid, I got the feeling that Meehan genuinely feels bad about the situation she’s now in. He indicated she actually sought out a legal opinion as to what she could do. She was named interim U.S. Attorney when he left the office. She’s now an assistant. Clearly, somewhere along the way the advice she got let her down. If the findings in the report are to be believed, she was pretty clearly over the line and now likely will face some kind of discipline.

I mentioned the issue of the airport runway expansion. Make sure you tune in next week. We’ll have some Tinicum residents on the show who are vowing to fight the plan.

“Live From the Newsroom,” every Wednesday night at 7. Don’t miss it.

Even if you don’t agree with the questions we’re asking. You can always suggest some questions of your own.

Pain at the pump

Maybe it was that near-70 degree day last week.

More likely it’s the volatile situation in Libya, which is rippling across the Middle East.

Bottom line? Pain at the pump. Earlier this week we hit a 28-year high for the average price in the Philly region. Right now we’re forking over
$3.22 a gallon.

And it’s going to get worse. Some experts are predicting we could be paying $4 a gallon by Memorial Day.

Those lazy, hazy crazy days of summer? We might be doing them on foot.

Schmidt on Rollins

Mike Schmidt is back in Clearwater.

Cover your ears.

The all-time Phillies great has never exactly been afraid to speak his mind. That has not always served him especially well, with fans, teammates and management.

Schmidt has never let that stop him. I’ve always kind of liked that about him. He’s one of the few pro athletes who, when asked a question, will give you a thoughtful answer.

Yesterday he was asked about Jimmy Rollins.

Look out, J-Roll.

Schmidt said he would like to see the Phils’ shortstop take on more of the attributes of his old teammate, Pete Rose. No, he doesn’t want Jimmy to start betting games.

He wants him to emulate the all-time hits king. He wants him to run more. He wants him to spray out 200 hits a season.

Is that unrealistic? Maybe, maybe not.

But keep your eye on the Rollins story this spring. Don’t be surprised if he is not in his customary leadoff spot.

You can read Ryan Lawrence’s full story on Schmidt’s comments here.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Feb. 23

The Daily Numbers: 2, age of baby duct-taped to a chair, allegedly by her mom.

21, age of Caira Ferguson, the mom who faces charges. She was released on bail yesterday. She’ll be placed on home monitoring and cannot have contact with the child unless it is supervised by CYS. She also must attend parenting classes.

3 young children left home alone in what is being referred to as a ‘deplorable’ home in Upper Darby. The parents now face charges.

88, age of man who admitted guilt in the killing of his ailing wife. His sentencing now has been postponed until May 20.

4 Darby Township police officers recognized by the township for their efforts in the Sunshine Club.

100 pound boa constrictor, dead and still in its glass tank, left at the door of the SPCA yesterday.

100 cats spayed or neutered at Spay Day at the Delco SPCA yesterday.

10,000 worth of jewelry scammed from an 84-year-old widower in Aston recently.

41,000 low-income Pennsylvanians who will lose their health care benefits on Feb. 28 unless the state moves to continue AdultBasic care.

5.6 million dollars ripped off from La Salle University by a former official. He will spend 4-9 years in prison for his efforts.

3-2 loss in OT for the Flyers, who fell at home to Phoenix.

1, as in No. 1 ranked Duke, where the No. 24 Temple Owls will pay a visit to the “Cameron Crazies” tonight.

38 pitches thrown by Cliff Lee yesterday, no sign of any muscle strain.

25 days until the first day of spring. Here’s where we stand the the Great Heron’s Nest Snow Prognosticating Event. I said we’d have 9 snows between now and March 20. We’ve had 4, but this is one bet I’d gladly lose.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.So much for the big Cliff Lee injury watch. He threw 38 pitches yesterday and reported no problems.


*: Leaving young children home alone. I just don’t get it.

I Don’t Get It


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Delco police for warning residents of another wave of scams targeting senior citizens. Be careful out there!


Quote Box: “We just got teased last week. Mother Nature was playing with us. Friday, I thought I was in heaven.”

- John Becker, of Secane, talking about the latest snow, just days after temperatures near 70.

More questions for the archdiocese

There has been one name that has remained largely unspoken in the current turmoil roiling the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Not anymore.

The victims advocacy group SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by
Priests) held a press conference outside the archdiocese offices in Center City and produced letters they claim show an eerily similar pattern when it comes the way former Archbishop Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua deal with allegations of abuse by priests.

This time the group says the letters show that while an adviser to the bishop in Brooklyn, N.Y., long before coming to Philadelphia, Bevilacqua helped an accused priest move out of state. That priest then went on to abuse more kids at a parish in New Jersey.

“These documents raise the question of whether this was Bevilacqua’s way of dealing with priests,” said Barbara Blaine, national president of SNAP, during a press conference.

The archdiocese isn’t talking about this latest allegation.

Last week they placed Monsignor William Lynn on administrative leave in the wake of charges of child endangerment filed against him by a grand jury in Philadelphia in connection with his work as secretary of the clergy under Bevilacqua.

Lynn thus becomes one of the highest-ranking church officials to be criminally charged in the sexual abuse problem.

But there’s a part of me that continues to wonder about the policies Lynn was carrying out, and Bevilacqua’s role in developing them.

The grand jury basically alleges Lynn was working to protect priests and the church, not for the victims.

That sounds an awful lot like what SNAP accused Bevilacqua of doing during previous stops.

There is nothing I would like more than for all of this to be resolved and the church to get out of the headlines. I don’t that’s going to happen anytime soon.

Focus on bullying

Focus on bullying

The fallout continues from the now-infamous videotaped “bullying”
incident in which a 13-year-old Upper Darby High School student was beaten, stuffed upside-down in a tree and finally hung from a fence.

All of this humiliation was captured on videotape by Nadin Khoury’s tormentors.

Amazing what teens do for kicks these days.

Not so amazing is the findings of a new study in Philadelphia, sparked in part by the Upper Darby incident, that contains some ugly warning signs on the “bullying” problem.

It’s much more widespread than first thought, and at least in the city not enough is being done to combat it.

One of those who appeared at the hearing was Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood. He was in the spotlight – not exactly unknown to him – for the high-profile way he handled the Khoury situation and his decision to release the videotape of the attack. That move skyrocketed the story into national headlines.

Khoury appeared on the “Today” Show as well as “The View.”

The report in the city also was rooted in the hearings that were held around the city after a series of attacks on Asian students at South Philly High School.

Chitwood was called upon to offer his expertise, in particular the program he instituted getting police officers into the schools to talk to kids about the bullying problem, along with what to do about it, and what to do if you are a victim.

Have a question for Pat Meehan?

Pat Meehan has been a member of Congress for a little more than a month.

So how do you think he’s doing? Better yet, what would you like him to be doing.

Tonight we’ll give you your chance.

The Republican 7th District congressman will be our guest tonight for our weekly live-stream Internet broadcast, ‘Live From the Newsroom.’

I have some questions I want to ask him, but I’d like to know what you think we should be asking him.

Are you a Boeing worker and concerned about the constant attacks on the V-22 Osprey program?

Worried about the possible shutdown of the government?

Question Meehan’s vote to overturn President Obama’s health care bill?

Send me an e-mail to, or post a comment on this blog, and I’ll put your question to the congressman.

You also can log in tonight at, and post questions via the live chat feature on the story.

The whole idea behind this show is not to offer us newspaper types the chance to get our mugs on the Internet.

It’s meant as a way to give readers access to people they might not otherwise get a chance to question.

Tonight it’s Pat Meehan on the hot seat in Primos. Let’s have those questions.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Feb. 22

The Daily Numbers: 4-5 inches of snow that fell overnight.

2 hour delays for most schools in Delaware County.

0 school today for kids in Philly, where both public and parochial schools are closed. I know, I know. Back in the day, we walked through blizzards to get to schools. No doubt Ed Rendell is miffed.

30, age of former Ridley fourth-grade teacher who is now wanted in connection with a series of burglaries.

1.97 mill tax hike looming in the Upper Darby School District budget.

That’s up 6.4 percent.

2 cases of arson targeting a family in Upper Darby.

28 month high for gas prices in the region. We’re now at $3.22 a gallon.

And it’s not even spring yet. Maybe the oil industry was just reacting to that 70-degree day last week. Ouch!

1 person killed when fire raced through a home in northeast Philadelphia.

1 killed, 11 hurt in a grinding crash involving 4 vehicles in Burlington County, N.J.

2 Philly kids who were the key as Syracuse held off Villanova, 69-64.

17, as in No. 17 ranking for the Orange, who get the win over No. 15 Villanova. They might swap positions.

24, as in No. 24 Temple, which continues to fly under the radar.

4 days of mediation talks between NFL owners and the players union, but no deal yet.

26 days until the first day of spring.

4 snows we’ve now had since I called the Great Heron’s Nest Snow Prognosticating Contest. Guess the number of measurable snows between now and March 20. I saidy 9. We’ve had 4, including 4 inches overnight.

Doesn’t look like we’re going to get there.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Get used to hearing about every twinge a Phillies pitcher feels this spring. That sigh of relief is Phillies brass on learning that the strain reported by Cliff Lee is now big deal.



I Don’t Get It: Don’t even get me started on the weather. So much for spring and 70 degrees.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to everyone at Our Lady of Charity School in Brookhaven. Looks like they’re getting a one-year reprieve and will remain open.


Quote Box: “This is obviously a cowardly act, a criminal act committed by idiots and morons.”

- Upper Darby Police Superintendent, on arsonists who have now targeted the same family twice.

After the column, an unexpected message

Of the many phone calls, voice-mails and e-mails I received after my Monday column on the latest abuse scandal plaguing the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, one was especially touching.

The caller wanted to thank me for the nice things I had written about him.

That would be the Rev. Monsignor Joseph McLoone. He’s the longtime head of St. Katharine Drexel Church in Chester. And he’s been tapped by Cardinal Justin Rigali to temporarily serve as pastoral administration at St. Joseph’s Parish in Downingtown.

Or, as he put it, he'll be "going from Chester to Chester County."

St. Joseph's, of course, was the parish headed by Monsignor William Lynn, who now has been placed on administrative leave by the archdiocese after being charged with endangering children in the latest abuse case involving several other archdiocesan priests.

It also happens to be my parish.

Monsignor McLoone wanted to thank me for my blog yesterday, in which I updated the story with news that he would be headed to Downingtown.

“I am looking forward to seeing you in the pews,” he said.

That makes two of us.

Don't mess with Mother Nature

Just keep repeating after me.

It’s less than a month until March 20.

It’s less than a month until March 20.

That would be the first day of spring.

In the meantime, you have to admit Mother Nature has a fairly devious sense of humor, and a lousy sense of timing.

It was just a few days ago when she dangled the carrot of a near-70 degree day in our faces.

Break out the flip-flops, shorts and T-shirts, right?

So much for that. Today it’s back to boots, gloves and scarves. Hope you didn’t put away the snow shovel. We have 5 inches of snow on sidewalks and driveways.

Don’t get too scared off by the folks on TV and radio. Conditions on the road aren’t really all that bad.

Of course, that did not stop local schools from going to a two-hour delay.

The snow couldn’t arrive yesterday, when schools were closed for the Presidents Day holiday anyhow.

Very funny, Mother Nature. Now can we put away the rock salt and snow blowers?

Yes, it's still February

Very funny, Punxsutawney!

Sure, lull us to sleep with a prediction of an early spring, then offer a 70-degree day to really get our hopes up, then rain all over our parade.

Or I guess I should say snow.

Yes, we have snow this morning. No, it is not the end of the world.

Looks like we got several inches here in Delaware County.

Here's an early morning driving report: Conditions really are not all that bad. Just take your time and you'll be fine. The biggest job you'll probably have this morning is cleaning off your car. I had lots of snow on mine out in the western hinterlands.

* Aces go out to the folks who took care of Route 352 in Middletown. It was in great shape from the Chester County line all the way to the Route 1 Bypass.

* Route 1 was not bad either as I cruised along. There were some patches of snow cover, but at least one lane was clear just about all the time.

* Pretty much the same was in store on Springfield Road as I came down from Route 1 all the way to Clifton Heights. There were a few snow-coverered patches, but for the most part it was just slushy.

* Baltimore Pike was in good shape, and it was there that I saw the weirdest thing on the drive this morning. A plow train was stopped at the light at Oak Avenue, but they continued to dump salt behind them, leaving this small mountains of salt on the road.

* Oak was decent sledding as well.

Keeping tabs on the Great Heron's Nest Snow Prognosticating event, I don't think I'm going to hit my mark. That now makes four snows since I put the offer out there, and our first since Jan. 26. As bad as January was, we pretty much got a pass in February. Of course, we couldn't escape it altogether.

I said we would get 9 snows by the time the first day of spring rolls around on March 20. Please tell me we're not going to hit that mark.

Will this be our last snow event of the year? For some reason I doubt it, but I think the worst of it is behind us.

Now it's just a matter of how many more temptations we'll get in the way of sneak peeks at spring before the real thing arrives.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A familiar name shifts to St. Joe's

There is an update to my print column on the saga playing out in the archdiocese of Philadelphia, which you can read here.

And, as there is a Delaware County angle.

Parishioners at St. Joseph's in Downingtown were informed at this weekend's Masses that our pastor, Monsignor William Lynn, was being placed on administrative leave. Lynn was charged by a grand jury in Philadelphia with two counts of endangering the welfare of children is his role as the former secretary of the clergy for the archdiocese in connection with child abuse charges filed against several current and former priests.

He will be replaced, on a temporary basis, by Monsignor Joseph McLoone, the popular leader of St. Katharine Drexel parish in Chester.

There is almost nothing about this story that is easy for the faithful. I can assure you there is nothing easy about writing about it either.

I do not take an joy in offering these opinions, despite what I am sure many of my fellow Catholics think.

I do, however, take great joy in welcoming Monsignor McLoone to Downingtown, even if only for a short time.

I can tell you that in the many interactions this newspaper has had with him in his role at Katharine Drexel, the monsignor has been nothing but a joy to work with.

This also should not be be seen as any kind of celebration about Monsignor Lynn's fate. I feel nothing but sadness at the charges that have been filed against the monsignor.

We were once again visited by Monsignor Joseph Marino, the vicar for Chester County, who made the announcement concerning Monsignor Lynn. My sadness was tempered by the news that Monsignor McLoone would be taking over on a pro-tem basis as the leader of the 4,000-family strong parish.

The relationship between church officials and the media can often be a testy one. We have a tendency to call them on what can be described as not the best of occasions. Perhaps another school is closing, or charges being filed against a church official.

We try to offer another view of the church, trying not to forget things like Catholic Schools Week, and making sure readers get a glimpse of the overwhelming good that emanates from the church.

It's not always easy.

Monsignor McLoone know this better than most. He heads one of the last outposts of Catholic education in the city of Chester. Slowly but surely, the number of archdiocesan schools that once dotted many city parishes dwindled, including the legendary St. James High School.

Now St. Katharine Drexel stands alone. There was even concern for that institution, but a relationship with Neumann University has proved a life-saver for the school.

There is one other reason, I suppose, why Monsignor McLoone has a little better understanding of the way the media works.

His brother Pat is a top editor at the Philadelphia Daily News. I'm sure covering the scandals dogging the church is just as difficult for Pat as it is for me.

For now, I guess we all will simply try to "keep the faith."

Welcome to Downingtown, monsignor.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Feb. 17

The Daily Numbers: 21, age of mother who now faces charged in connection with a photo of her daughter in which the tot is duct-taped to a chair.

0 bail set for the woman by Magisterial District Judge C. Walter McCray.

160 jobs on the chopping block at Alloy Surfaces in Chester Township 5,900 workers at Boeing in Ridley, about one-third of them involved in the V-22 Osprey program. The tilt-rotor has defeated another try to kill funding by Congress.

5.61 million dollars in revenue from table games at Harrah’s Chester Casino in January. That’s down from $6.04 million in December.

9,577 people in Delaware County who use LIHEAP funds to help pay their heating bills. Funding for the program will be drastically reduced under President Obama’s budget.

3 priests suspended from ministry by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as sexual abuse complaints against them are reviewed.

37 instances of priests in active ministry with complaints against them that will now be reviewed by the archdiocese.

50,000 dollars paid to a Drexel Hill man by Sea Isle City in N.j. to settle a police abuse lawsuit.

2 Borders stores in the region that will be closed by the bookseller, which filed for Chapter 11 yesterday. The stores are in Oxford Valley Mall and King of Prussia.

200 stores overall will be shuttered by the struggling company.

9 people indicted for murder in the case of a couple found buried in the yard of a Camden home.

9 and 10, ages of kids allegedly used by adults to try to get pounds of pot out of a home in Southwest Philly without being detected. The marijuana was found stuffed in their backpacks.

5 adults now charged in the case; $10,000 seized from inside their home.

9.99 cents per kilowatt hour request to PUC by Peco for electric service. That’s up from 9.92 cents currently.

30 cents a month, what it will cost the average electric customer.

27-29 record for the Sixers at the All-Star break after they beat the Rockets last night, 114-105. Last year they won 27 games all year.

19-6-3 road mark for the Flyers, who won again in Florida last night.

31 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.

70 degrees a distinct possibility for Friday.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.The Phillies put single-game tickets on sale this morning at 8:30. They were expected to be snapped up in about a half-hour. They will sell out their entire home schedule again this year.



I Don’t Get It: Duct-taping a child to a chair. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Have to admire the way Dallas Green dealt with yesterday’s difficult situation in which he returned to Clearwater and met with media for first time since his granddaughter was killed in the shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz.


Quote Box: “She is not guilty. She loves her daughter very much.”

- Carlita Ferguson, talking about her daughter Caira, charged in connection to picture of child duct-taped into a chair.


Some days you just shake your head

Some days in this job, you just sort of sit here and shake your head.

Some stories will do that to you. Like the one that adorns today’s front page.

We actually first reported it yesterday, and in the process touched off something of a media firestorm.

It involves the case of a bizarre photo posted on the Internet depicting a child duct-taped to a chair, her little arms and hands bound, mouth gagged.

A woman is seen behind her. As it turns out, according to police, that woman is her mother. She now faces charges of endangering the welfare of a child.

In the original photo that we ran, the faces of both the tot and the woman were blurred out.

But I can tell you it still jolted me when I first saw it. And I pretty much knew what kind of effect it would have the second we posted it on our website and printed it in the paper.

Still, it left me with another one of those nights I seem to have all the time, tossing and turning most of the night, wondering about the use of that image. It is a jarring photo.

It’s something I do a lot of nights, often bolting up in bed in a cold sweat wondering about something that was going to appear in the paper that day.

It kind of goes with the job.

I’ve been doing this particular job now for 11 years. I ran the news desk for a decade before that, literally putting that front page together most nights.

Now, I’m the one who makes the decision about what goes on that front page, what is the lead story on our website. Sure, I confer with all the other editors, but the final decision is mine.

It makes for a lot of sleepless nights.

And some days you just shake your head.

The archdiocese takes action

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is feeling the heat.

And I think I know why.

This time, engulfed in another wave of negative news surrounding sexual abuse and priests, the archdiocese is feeling heat from the faithful.

Many of them are losing faith with the way their leaders have responded – again – to more charges of sexual abuse by priests and allegations that church officials knew about it and did not thing to stop it.

And an increasing number of people are talking about hitting the church where it likely would hurt most. In the pocketbook.

Cardinal Justin Rigali turned up the heat on his own flock a bit yesterday, announcing that he was suspending three priests who were named in last week’s grand jury report, and also saying the archdiocese would review all 37 cases of priests alleged to have abused children, but still allowed to remain in active ministry.

The archdiocese also hired a former sex abuse prosecutor to head a review of the way they handle sex abuse complaints.

Many will argue that it is too little, too late. Reading last week’s grand jury report, you can’t help but be dumbstruck at how similar the charges were to what was first laid out five years ago.

Especially when it comes to the way the church investigated the claims, handled problem priests, assigned them to new parishes and also dealt with those who came forward to lodge complaints.

My own pastor at St. Joe’s in Downingtown, Monsignor William Lynn, finds himself facing two counts of endangering the welfare of children. The grand jury in effect is saying the monsignor, in his role as secretary of the clergy, knew what was going on and did nothing to stop it, in fact reassigned problem priests to new parishes without notifying those parishioners.

It is my hope that Cardinal Rigali finally drops the pretense that too often has accompanied the archdiocese’s response.

Instead of simply attacking the problem, they too often attacked the messenger.

That used to be met with blind support from the faithful.

Not any more. The faithful have had enough.

Maybe, just maybe, their church leaders have as well.

Feeling Dallas Green's pain

Former Phillies Manager Dallas Green has a well-earned reputation as something of a tough guy.

That booming voice is familiar to Phillies fans, and no doubt still rings in the ears of the 1980 Phillies team that he led to a World Series title. Green did not exactly shy away from telling his players exactly what he thought of them – and how they were playing.

That’s why it was so difficult yesterday to see Green struggling to control his emotions as he returned to Clearwater, and talked about the ordeal his family has been through since his 9-year-old granddaughter was gunned down in the rampage in Tucson, Ariz., last month.

You can read Ryan Lawrence’s coverage here.

We feel for you, Dallas.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Feb. 16

The Daily Numbers: 2 homicides so far this year in Delaware County. Oddly, both have occurred in Lansdowne.

300 people who packed into the auditorium at Penncrest High School last night for 2nd hearing into the proposed Franklin Mint development.

23, age of man convicted in home invasions in Marple.

1 fewer magisterial district judge for Delco. That’s because the state Supreme Court is reducing the number statewide 10 percent in a move to save $1 million.

7-0 vote in Radnor to name longtime Philadelphia police inspector William Colarulo as the township’s new police chief.

7.8 percent jobless rate in Delaware County in December. That’s down. The region’s highest rate is 10.7 in Philadelphia.

200 stores being closed by bookseller Borders, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

10 Pathmark and Super Fresh stores being closed across the region. The closest is in Lionville, Chester County.

2,000 dollar grant for the Delco SPCA from the Humane Society of the U.S.

3 people being sought in connection with the murders of 2 women in a home in Philadelphia.

65 percent of people who now say they are optimistic about the next 4 years under new Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett.

2 people charged in beating death of pregnant Cheyney University student in altercation outside Traffic Court in Philly.

20 unpaid furlough days being taken by Philly schools boss Dr. Arlene Ackerman as financial problems beset the district.

4-3 win for Flyers in shootout over Tampa Bay last night.

21 points for Taj Bell to lead Villanova to win over Seton Hall.

2 Eagles who got slapped with ‘tags’ by the team. Michael Vick gets the franchise tag; kicker David Akers gets the transition tag.

102-91 loss for Sixers to the Grizzlies.

32 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.

65 degrees forecast for Friday. Feel the sniffles coming on.


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

The Phillies, in particular their pitchers, will have to get used to a whole new level of scrutiny this spring. Every time one of them sneezes, the entire Delaware Valley will say, “Bless you.”


I Don’t Get It: Philly police say an 11th-grader beat his mother with a hammer, then tried to stuff her into the oven. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Looks like Boeing’s V-22 Osprey has once again evaded the budget ax in Washington.


Quote Box: “There were predictions of fireworks, but that didn’t happen. We are all neighbors and we acted like that.”

- Middletown council boss Scott Galloway, at last night’s public hearing on the Franklin Mint development plan.

Let the voucher debate begin

It’s been a tough stretch for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, what with criminal charges and a civil lawsuit being lobbed at several priests and high-ranking church officials.

But there may be better news today from Harrisburg.

The debate will start today in the Capitol on Senate Bill 1. It would allow something that the archdiocese has long coveted, vouchers for students to attend private schools.

The idea has been bandied about for years, but it’s always been shot down. Gov. Tom Ridge was one of the first to push a similar measure, with no luck.

But this year could be different. Gov. Tom Corbett has Republican majorities in both the state Senate and House.

That does not mean it will be a pushover. Organized labor and the powerful teachers unions will fight the measure tooth and nail, as they always have.

The bill being pushed by Sen. Jeff Piccola, a Dauphin County Republican, would allow students to use the per-pupil state subsidy sent to their local school district to attend a private or religious schools.

And this time he has formed something of an Odd Couple with an unusual ally, Democratic state Sen. Anthony Williams, who covers a slice of eastern Delaware County.

Obviously, proponents of public school, especially those already hard hit by budget woes, such as the William Penn District here in Delco, think this is something akin to anathema.

It will be one of the first major tests for the Corbett Administration.

The AFL-CIO has already informed the new governor they will oppose the plan, as well as another controversial move to privatize state stores and get Pa. out of the booze business.

It should make for a fascinating – and heated – debate. We’ll keep you tuned in.

It's all about high school hoops

It probably won’t come as a big surprise to you that the folks who toil in the news department are not the only ones around here with strong opinions.

Our sports department is know to flex its muscles from time to time as well. They don’t call us “Delco’s Sports Authority” for nothing.

So tonight we are ceding the stage on our live Internet broadcast, “Live from the Newsroom,” to the folks in sports.

And if you’re a fan of high school hoops – and what real Delco sports fans isn’t – you’re going to want to tune in at 7.

Times high school sports writers Chris Vito and Harry Chaykun will be joined by legendary former Chester High boys basketball coach Fred Pickett as we preview all the PIAA hoops playoff action, which kicks off Friday night.

We’ll also run down the girls brackets with a special guest as well.

For Delco sports fans, this will be “must-see” TV, only on the Internet.

Tune in to at 7 for all the action.

A different kind of spring for Phils

The Flyers won a shootout over a very good Tampa Bay Lightning.

Villanova toughed out a gutty win over Seton Hall. The Eagles placed the franchise tag on Michael Vick and a transition tag on kicker David Akers. Even the Sixers played well in falling to the Grizzlies.

But none of them compared to the vision of Cliff Lee wearing those Phillies pinstripes, climbing the mound in Clearwater, Fla.

Spring has sprung, and all eyes are on the Phillies.

A few eyebrows were raised when Lee, who is no stranger to spring-training injuries, cut his session on the mound short. Everyone assures it was no big deal. Lee then did some running in the outfield.

They might as well get used to it. Every move this dream rotation the Phillies have put together will go under a microscope this spring.

The bar has been set high. Fans are making plans for the World Series, even before a single pitch has been thrown.

This is unaccustomed territory for Philly fans. No more Kevin Millwoods at the top of the rotation.

The bull’s eye is now squarely on the Phils as they look to capture another NL East crown and get back to the World Series.

So if one of the Fab Four sneezes in Florida, everyone in the Philly region will say “bless you.”

It’s going to be that kind of spring.

Nice for a change, no?

Make sure you follow Phollowing the Phillies, the blog by our Phillies beat writer Ryan Lawrence. You can also catch Ryan's 'tweets' from Clearwater for updates throughout the day.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Feb. 15

The Daily Numbers: 4 aces, plus Joe Blanton. Yes, the Phillies rolled out their starting pitchers yesterday. Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels were all on hand. So was No. 5 starter Joe Blanton. Print the World Series tickets. Oh, sorry, there’s a little something called the season to deal with first.

162 games until the Phils get a shot at another playoff series.

2 separate fires that raged yesterday in Delco, including a home in Aston and motel in Tinicum.

2 more Delaware County men busted in stings by the county Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

2 people hospitalized after a gunman opened fire on them as they sat on the front porch of a house in Chester.

56, age of man in Morton who fell victim to a money-laundering scam.

67,000 dollars reported ripped off from the Green Countrie Village Homeowners Association by an Aldan woman.

5-4 vote by which Haverford commissioners approved a controversial anti-discrimination ordinance.

2 billion dollars, how much one state rep says Pa. could rake in by selling off its state stores.

2 young women shot to death inside a home in Northeast Philly.

90 unit apartment complex ravaged by fire in West Philly that developers now want to raze. Residents complain they have not been given an opportunity to retrieve any of their belongings.

1 man shot after he was attacked in Center City subway concourse at 3 a.m.

2 killed and a child injured in nasty crash in South Jersey.

3 masked men wanted for a holdup in Philly who then exchanged gunfire with police.

30 years on the Philadelphia Police Force, the experience William Colarulo brings as new top cop in Radnor. He got the job Monday night at the commissioners meeting.

4 aces unveiled by the Phillies yesterday on first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers. Joe Blanton was there, too.

2 draft picks sent by Flyers to Toronto Maple Leafs for winger Kris Versteeg.

35 points, including 14 goals, for Versteeg so far this year.

33 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.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Print those World Series tickets. The Fab 4, otherwise known as the Phillies starting pitching rotation, arrived in Clearwater yesterday.



I Don’t Get It: Those who attack the media for describing the charges leveled against Roman Catholic officials in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Yes, it’s cold out today, especially after we hit 60 yesterday. Try this one on for size. On Friday they are saying we might get close to 70.


Quote Box: “I’m al for growth and utilizing space but the infrastructure can'’ handle the number of houses they want to put over there."

- Middletown resident Bob Hedley, on number of houses proposed for Franklin Mint site.

A response from the pews, & defense of the monsignor

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is back in the news this morning.

And not in a good way.

That will not come as much of a surprise to several people who e-mailed me yesterday concerning my recent writings involving the latest controversy engulfing the church, in particular Monsignor William Lynn.

He happens to be my pastor at St. Joseph’s Parish in Downingtown.

They disagreed with my description of the mood at St. Joe’s. They said that at several Masses on Sunday they saw nothing but support for Monsignor Lynn. Other parish priests also spoke out to support him, and their comments were greeted with a standing ovation.

Let me first say that I would like to support Monsignor Lynn as well.
And I’d also stress that he is not accused of abuse, instead he has been charged for not taking steps to prevent it, or worse, covering it up, in his role as secretary of the clergy for the archdiocese.

I did not attend any of the Sunday Masses. I was at the 5 p.m. Saturday Mass, which was celebrated by Monsignor Joseph Marino, vicar of Chester County. He addressed the situation both before the Mass and during his homily. No other parish priests spoke. There was no applause. Only, it seemed to me, a nervous tension. Then again, maybe that was just me, struggling with my own conscience. It wouldn't be the first time.

Two women who are fellow parishioners at St. Joe’s clearly did not care for my writing. They e-mailed me to offer their version of what happened at the Sunday Masses. I’m glad they did. I was not there to witness it, although in all good conscience, I can tell you I would not have stood and applauded.

But that’s not all they decided to tell me. Instead, both decided to take me to task personally.

“I’m ashamed for you and the fact that you call yourself a Catholic,”
one wrote.

And then she added this pearl: “Stay in Delaware County where you belong,” she chided me. Now what exactly do you think she meant by that?

“Stop making a disgrace of the Catholic faith everywhere – we do not need you.”

Another woman, who apparently grew up in Chester, took the opportunity to sling a little mud at the newspaper as well.

“I always referred to your paper as the Daily Trash,” she wrote. I hope that she does not believe she was original in her description. There is not a day that goes by that I don't hear a similar refrain. Here are some others - Daily Slime, Daily Crimes, that "rag." I have heard them all.

“I can see that years later it is still true to its name. At least as an eighth grade teacher, we can use your paper as an example of yellow journalism – using eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers.”

Can you imagine the outrage if I had used such terms to describe her place of employment. Oh, never mind. I forgot I get accused of doing just that every time we write about teacher contracts or school budgets.

I should counter these with another e-mail I received from a man who also is a parishioner, who said he was likewise conflicted by the recent charges and appreciated my writing about the issue.

Today’s news is that the archdiocese has been named in a civil lawsuit by an alleged victim of priest sexual abuse. And in this suit there is the specific claim that the archdiocese was involved in a cover-up of the situation. Named in the suit are both former Archbishop Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, current Archbishop Justin Rigali, and Monsignor Lynn.

Delaware County is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. I take no great joy in reporting these stories. But I certainly believe it is important that they be brought to light.

I’d like to hear from you. What do you make of these most recent allegations, and of our reporting on them?

Now is not the time to be silent. Post a comment on this blog. E-mail me at I will not publicly identify you unless you specifically want your opinion printed. I did not identify the two women who took me to task, and I have no plans to do so unless they express a desire to do so.

Let me know what you think about the church, about allegations of abuse, and media coverage of the story.

Even if you happen to sit in the pew next to me.

State stores not going anywhere soon

The good news out of Harrisburg yesterday was that the state Senate got the ball rolling in terms of getting Pennsylvania out of the booze business.

The bad news is that no one should hold their breath waiting for them to blow up the state stores.

And if I was new Gov. Tom Corbett, I probably wouldn’t start counting all that money from the sale of the state stores just yet.

Corbett and the Legislature will be grappling with a budget deficit somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 billion. Yeah, I know, that’s a pretty pricey neighborhood.

One of the ways suggested to raise revenue is to sell off all those licenses to sell wine and liquor currently held in the mitts of Pa.
state stores. I don’t know anything about the numbers involved here. All I know is that I detest the way this state handles the sale of alcohol, and I’d love to see it changed. I want to be able to pick up a bottle of wine, maybe some gin or vodka for a mixed drink, as well as a case of beer, all in one stop, preferably at the same time I’m getting my groceries.

I’d like to be able to hit the local Wawa on the way home and grab a cold six-pack of beer if I need it.

I can do none of that now. I can, however, go one place for beer, but only for a case. If I want a six-pack, I have to go to a local deli or bar, and pay inflated prices. The local Wegmans supermarket is finally knocking down that wall. But you can’t buy a case there.

That’s just beer. If you want a bottle of wine or liquor, that’s another trip, to one of Pennsylvania’s state stores.

The testimony in Harrisburg yesterday wasn’t particuarly encouraging.

All of this looks to me like Harrisburg doing what it does best – talking.

Getting something done – and actually changing this archaic system – is probably going to take a lot longer, if it happens at all.

The Fab Four, plus Joe Blanton

Al Alberts must be rolling over in his grave.

The Chester kid who rocketed to fame along with his three mates as the Four Aces is about to lose his moniker - at least for this summer.

Meet the new Four Aces. Plus Joe Blanton.

The eyes of the baseball world were on Clearwater yesterday as the Phillies pitchers and catchers reported for their first day of workouts.

That means Messrs. Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels were flexing in the Florida sun.

All that was missing was Charlton Heston’s voice telling us that God didn’t rest on the seventh day. He actually put together this pitching staff.

You almost had to feel bad for Blanton. He appears to be the forgotten man in all this.

Also seemingly on the back burner are some minor things such as who is going to play right field, do the Phils have a right-handed bat to hit behind Ryan Howard, how will the bullpen shape up, who will hit leadoff, and will Charlie Manuel ever get a contract extension.

There is a month to figure all that stuff out.

For now, fans are dreaming of October.

When was the last time a Philly team had such high expectations? Maybe those Eagles with Terrell Owens. They made it to the Super Bowl, but lost.

It seems like nothing less than another parade will satiate the ravenous appetite for this Phillies season.

That can be a heavy weight to carry.

I can’t wait to see how it works out.

For now, make sure you follow Ryan Lawrence’s daily updates from Clearwater. You can catch Ryan’s blog here. He also tweets throughout the day from glorious Clearwater.

You can read Ryan’s take on yesterday’s unveiling of the Fab Five (yes, I’m including Joe Blanton) BY CLICKING HERE.


Monday, February 14, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Feb. 14

The Daily Numbers: 4 aces, as in Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels.

Pitchers and catcher start workouts in Clearwater today.

7 foot statue of late famed Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas that is being finished at Laran Bronze in Chester.

3 students at Upper Darby High facing assault charges for an attack on a classmate at 69th Street Station.

4 Delco towns that find themselves embroiled in battles over huge billboards a firm wants to erect on their roads.

1 lawsuit expected to be filed against Archdiocese of Philadelphia today alleging a coverup of priest sexual abuse.

2 people killed when snowmobile smashed into tree in northeastern Pa.

4 women in 2 SUVS injured in collision in Philly Sunday police say was caused by a drunken driver.

22, age of man police say opened fire inside the My Space Lounge in North Philly.

1 dead, 1 injured after shootout in Point Breeze section of Philly Sunday afternoon.

30, age of man whose body was found floating in Brandywine River near Wilmington.

7 percent increase in ridership on Amtrak’s Acela trains. That’s 15 straight months of increases in ridership.

2,126,429 passengers climbed aboard Acela trains in January.

61 million dollar impact for the region from the Philadelphia Flower Show.

3.20 a gallon, average price of gas in Philly region these days. Last year we were paying $2.76.

0 goals scored by Flyers in shutout loss to Kings yesterday.

5 as in 5th starter. For the Phils, that would be Joe Blanton. Pitching coach Rich Dubee announced Sunday there would be competition for the final spot in the Phils’ rotation. That it was Blanton’s to lose.

34 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.


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

Cliff Lee back in red pinstripes. Happy Valentine’s Day, Phillies fans.


I Don’t Get It: Catholics who continue to defend the actions of the church in the priest sexual abuse scandal. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: The forecaster says it could hit 65 degrees around here on Friday. When did we move to Clearwater?


Quote Box: “We have very high expectations.”

- Phillies closer Brad Lidge, talking about the Phils’ bullpen. He’s not the only one.


The view from the pews

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as I settled into the pew at the 5 o’clock Mass Saturday afternoon.

I get the feeling I was not alone.

The mood at St. Joseph’s Parish in Downingtown was decidedly nervous.

Our pastor, the Rev. Monsignor William Lynn, had been charged earlier in the week by the Philadelphia district attorney with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. A grand jury had found, much like another investigative body had five years earlier, that Monsignor Lynn had known about problem priests in his role as secretary of the clergy under then Archbishop Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua and done nothing to stop them. Worse, they alleged that the monsignor had knowingly put children at risk by assigning these priests to new parishes without informing the faithful of their past, and also for playing hardball with those who came forward to file complaints of sexual abuse against priests.

I was wondering if the monsignor would be there, as he had five years earlier when he vowed he would “never put a child at risk,” and earned a standing ovation for his comments.

I wondered then if those offering such support had actually read the grand jury report, and its scathing description of Lynn’s work as a high-ranking archdiocesan official.

Lynn escaped charges back then. Not this time.

And there were no such cheers this time around. Only a quiet tension.

Monsignor Joseph Marino celebrated the Mass. He’s the vicar for Chester County, as well as the pastor at Our Lady of Assumption Church in Tredyffrin. He set the tone at the outset by informing parishioners he had been sent by Cardinal Justin Rigali. He did not try to dodge or sugar-coat the issue. Instead he asked for prayers for the victims of sexual abuse, as well as Monsignor Lynn.

During his homily, Monsignor Marino indicated Monsignor Lynn would be “taking time away from the church.”

I received an e-mail from a fellow parishioner at St. Joe’s over the weekend. He thanked me for writing about the issue last week. Even though my immediate readership is here in Delaware County, I have to remind myself every once in awhile that in this Internet age I am writing for a much-wider audience.

Today comes word that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will be named in a lawsuit alleging they failed to take action to prevent the sexual abuse of children, and in fact conspired to cover up criminal acts.

I distinctly remember five years ago when I first read the grand jury report detailing the archdiocese’s dealings with predator priests, and in particular Monsignor Lynn’s alleged role in it.

That was exactly the word that came to mind: Cover-up.

Almost six years later, it would seem not enough has changed.

I happen to believe Monsignor Lynn likely was doing the bidding of those above him. Now he is about to take the fall.

Still, I have a hard time reckoning how a man – let alone a priest - could routinely do what he is alleged to have done – and not raised a voice in protest.

And I get the feeling that, this time, I was not the only sitting in those pews that felt that way.

A Valentine's Day warning, guys

It is Valentine’s Day. Attention, guys. This is a very important day.
Ignore it at your own peril.

If your spouse/girlfriend/special someone tells you not to worry about gifts this year, ignore her. She’s lying through her teeth. Take if from someone with a bit of experience (both good and bad) in this area. Go big.

Forget the flowers, nix the chocolate. Jewelry is your best bet, but even that seemingly sure-fire winner is laden with hidden dangers. Make sure you know your lover’s tastes.

Nothing says “I grabbed the first thing I saw in the store” faster than buying her something she hates, especially if she has told you that every time you go into a jewelry store.

In essence you are only confirming to her that you do not pay to her attention to her, especially in jewelry stores.

Maybe the flowers aren’t such a bad idea after all.

Buy yourself some chocolates. Or maybe a six-pack.

Good luck.

And Happy Valentine’s Day.

Four Aces herald arrival of spring

Forget what the calendar tells you. Spring arrives today.

It has nothing to do with Punxsutawney Phil, nor the fact that our normally snow-addled local TV weather folks are talking about it being in the 60s later this week.

Love is in the air, and it has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day.

At approximately 8:30 a.m., the Four Aces will walk out onto the field at Bright House Field in Clearwater, and the most anticipated Phillies season in a lifetime will commence.

Think spring, that time when a young man’s fancy turns to baseball. And this year, with good reason.

The Phillies, who seemingly forever have entered each season with question marks where their starting pitchers were supposed to be, touting such unremarkable hurlers as Kevin Millwood, enter this year’s campaign with perhaps one of the most formidable rotations in baseball history.

Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. And throw in Joe Blanton as your No. 5 starter just for kicks.

Never have the Phils had such a “call to arms” entering spring training.
Of course, a lot can happen between now and April 1, when they open the season at Citizens Bank Park.

For now, it is enough. It is spring. Baseball is back.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Separation of church .... and job

Last week I had the good fortune to be profiled in The Catholic Standard & Times, which proudly – and rightly - bills itself as “the official Newspaper of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia."

The timing was fortunate. February happens to be Catholic Press Month. I was interviewed, I suppose, because I fit the two key parameters of the piece. I happen to be Roman Catholic, a proud product of eight years under the firm tutelage of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and a reformed altar boy. I am also a newspaper editor, although I am sure you would not have much trouble finding people willing to debate that last point. Many of them believe I am simply a sensational muckracker, who will do anything to sell more newspapers.

That’s only partly true. I don’t consider myself especially sensational.

Many of those who tend to point an accusing finger happen to be fellow Catholics. In overwhelmingly Catholic Delaware County, that can create quite a few enemies. There is no shortage of people – longtime devout readers of the Delaware County Daily Times – who believe the newspaper delights in taking shots at the church, who believe we never miss an opportunity to portray the church in a negative light.

My guess is they are seething this morning.

That’s because the church in Philadelphia is once again making news. In Catholic Press Month, this is probably not the kind of ink they want.

This kind doesn’t wash off with soap and water. It stains a little deeper than that.

Ironically, when Lou Baldwin interviewed me for the piece, I admitted to him that I struggled at times with my roles as an editor and a Catholic.

I told him there were times when I knew what we were writing would not portray the archdiocese in an especially good light, in particular the recent problems involving the closing of parochial schools here in Delaware County, as well as the priest abuse scandal that has dogged the church now for years.

“I respect the archdiocese,” I told him. “But they know there are times when we will call when it will not be under the best circumstances.”

That time arrived again this week.

My first inkling that it was going to be a long day arrived as it so often does. I have a radio in my office that is tuned to KYW Newsradio 1060 all day. When they have breaking news, they offer a little staccato beep to impress upon readers they are about to deliver something important.

That’s what happened early Thursday morning. More charges of sexual abuse were being lodged against two priests, a former priest and a lay teacher.

But this time it involved more than priests. When I heard the teaser that it also included a monsignor, my heart skipped a beat. I kind of knew what was coming next.

The story followed a few minutes later, and I felt a chill when I heard the words. Monsignor William Lynn was being charged, not with any sexual abuse, but instead with endangering the welfare of children.

I know Monsignor Lynn.

He’s my pastor.

I am a member of St. Joseph’s Parish in Downingtown.

The monsignor was charged in his role as secretary of the clergy for the archdiocese in the years 1992 to 2004, long before he came to St. Joe’s.

The charges, if they are to be believed, amount to this. Monsignor Lynn allegedly allowed priests who were abusing children to remain in ministry. The grand jury report that led to the charges faulted him and the archdiocese for transferring problem priests – indeed predator priests - to new assignments without warning parishioners, and also playing hardball with those who came forward to lodge complaints of sexual abuse.

In effect, they charge him with running a cover-up. And they make clear they believe he was doing the work of then-Archbishop Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. Cardinal Bevilacqua is not charged.

This was not Monsignor Lynn’s first go-round with the grand jury process that has investigated complaints of sexual abuse by priests in the archdiocese. His name is littered hundreds of times in the scathing grand jury report that was issued five years ago. And for the most part, it was the same general accusation. He knew what was going on, and did nothing to stop it.

One thing should be made clear here: The monsignor is not charged with abusing any children. Those tawdry details are left for two priests and a former priest in this case. Reading the allegations in the full grand jury report are enough to make you question your faith.

Attorneys for at least one of the priests charged flatly deny the allegations, calling them absurd.

The archdiocese’s response was more muted. Cardinal Justin Rigali put out a videotaped statement saying the church would continue to work closely with the district attorney’s office, and that these allegations caused great pain to all involved. He did last night specifically deny one claim in the grand jury report, that there remain scores of problem priests in active ministry.

Monsignor Lynn’s attorney, Jeffrey Lindy, called the charges brought against his client by District Attorney Seth Williams “unprecedented.”

Another counsel, Tom Bergstrom, questioned the legal basis for the two charges of endangering the welfare of children.

It’s pretty clear they believe their client is being made a scapegoat for the longtime policies of the archdiocese. I think they’re probably on the right track.

“Monsignor Lynn has never been accused of abuse, has never abused anybody or touched a hair on a child’s head,” said Lindy.

I don’t doubt that’s true. That’s not the man I see on the altar on Sundays.

But that’s not what’s really at the heart of these charges. Instead the grand jury paints him – again - as carrying out a policy that effectively thwarted those who dared to file complaints, allowed abusive priests to continue their actions and carried out a plan of assigning them to new parishes.

In other words, he knew what was going on and didn’t stop it.


That’s one of those words newspaper paper people use all the time.

Comes in pretty handy during Catholic Press Month.

Especially this Catholic Press Month.

Yesterday’s charges will reopen the festering wound that is the problem of sexual abuse among Catholic priests. It will cause untold pain, for victims of sexual abuse, for the church, as well as parishioners.

It no doubt will spark another flood of phone calls today complaining about our coverage.

They will accuse us once again of sensationalism, of smearing the church.

They will point out we ignore the good work done by the overwhelming majority of men who don those collars.

After all, they will deride us, those kinds of stories don’t sell newspapers.

Not even during Catholic Press Month.

Justice for the Upper Darby 7

Justice was meted out to the ‘Upper Darby 7’ yesterday.

They would be the seven teens charged in the videotaped attack on 13-year-old Nadin Khoury.

The case skyrocketed into national headlines when police released the videotape of the incident shot by Nadin’s tormentors, showing them dragging him by the legs through the snow, stuffing him upside down in a tree and finally hanging him from a fence by his coat.

Here’s your scorecard:

* 5 entered what are termed “admissions” in juvenile court. It’s akin to a guilty plea. But forget the serious charges – including kidnpapping – that were filed against them by Upper Darby police. Those all got dropped.

* 1 teen, who apparently did nothing other than shoot the video, had charges against him dropped.

* 1 more has requested a trial. His attorney vows to present evidence that his client did not take part in the attack, and was in fact trying to help Nadin.

Nadin and his family have now lawyered-up and are not doing any more media appearances. At least that’s what his attorney told me earlier this week.

I don’t happen to concur with those who are trying to downplay what is captured on that videotape. Then again, I don’t think it amounted to kidnapping either.

Seems to be justice was served. Now I hope all these kids can start putting their lives back on a better track.

Aces & catchers

The calendar tells us we are entering the second week of February.

It is seriously cold this morning, with temperatures in the teens, the dead of winter.

But baseball fans no better. We are on the cusp of spring.

That’s because we are about to enter our last weekend without baseball.

The most soothing words to ears that have spent months safely tucked under scarves or wool hats arrive on Sunday: Pitchers and catchers.

This year those words take on even more meaning to Phillies fans. That’s because these are not just any pitchers and catchers. These are very likely the men who will form the most formidable starting pitching rotation in team history.


That would be Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.

Our Phillies beat writer, Ryan Lawrence, will his spring training preview on Sunday.

First workout of “aces and catchers” is set for Monday. The rest of the team will wander in over the next week.

As an added bonus, I distinctly heard several TV weather people this morning talking about the possibility temperatures nearing 60 degrees here next week.

And a not-so-young man’s fancy turns to baseball.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Feb. 10

The Daily Numbers: 2 men charged in Chester murder. Their nicknames are ‘Itchy’ and ‘Apples.’ How do you like apples?

4 unsolved murders that police say they are close to cracking in Chester.

20, age of woman from Britain who died after flying to Philly to get a butt injection in an airport hotel room.

1 woman from New Jersey questioned and another being sought in connection with giving the injections.

65,000 dollars that can’t be accounted for in the trial of the former finance director of Yeadon borough.

8 employees as well as Dr. Kermit Gosnell, all of whom now face trial on charges stemming from horrific conditions inside West Philly abortion clinic.

6 people missing after a massive natural gas blast rocked Allentown last night.

8 houses lost and 16 damaged in the explosion and fireball.

52, age of Little League coach charged with sexually abusing young boys in New York.

476,000 dollars police say a priest ripped off from his parish in Reading.

25 years in jail for the New Jersey man who killed his mistress, then dismembered her body.

3 strangers in New Jersey who became Good Samaritans in aiding police subdue a man in a Wawa parking lot who are now being sued.

4 point play in final seconds that doomed Villanova in a big upset loss to Rutgers last night.

12 points for Chester native Jameer Nelson in helping the Magic past the Sixers last night, 99-95.

30 points for Magic star Dwight Howard.

38 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.

3 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.Villanova might have been looking ahead to their big test against Pitt Saturday. Last night’s loss to Rutgers was a bad one.



I Don’t Get It: A New York congressman has resigned his seat after being caught sending shirtless pix of himself to a woman he met on Craigslist.

He’s married and has a child.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to residents of Chester, who police credit with coming forward with info that led to the arrest of suspects in an unsolved murder.


Quote Box: “I think it’s getting more and more popular … people are more apt to get that look for a larger buttocks.”

- Plastic surgeon Dr. Benjamin Cooper, in the wake of the fatal butt injection case in Philly.


Where was Nadin?

I know what everyone is wondering after watching last night's second edition of “Live From the Newsroom.”

Where was Nadin?

Good question.

We had been promoting the segment heavily all week. We were expecting to be joined by Nadin Khoury, the 13-year-old bullying victim who rocketed into the national headlines after police released the video of him being attacked by his alleged mentors, who had recorded their acts on a cell phone.

I was expecting to have a roundtable discussion on bullying with Nadin, his mother, Rebecca Wright, and township police Superintendent Michael Chitwood. Only the chief showed.

That’s because around 1 p.m. yesterday I got a call from a very nice woman named Sarah Dragotta. She is the attorney who is now representing the family.

She indicated that Nadin, who has become something of the national poster child for the anti-bullying effort after he appeared on “The Today Show”
and “The View,” was not making any more media appearances.

He was supposed to be doing an encore appearance on “The View,” which is part of a move to push the NFL to get on board the anti-bullying effort.
During his first appearance, several Eagles showed up on the set to praise Nadin for coming forward and to tell him they would support him.
Wide receiver DeSean Jackson literally gave Nadin the shirt off his back.

Ms. Dragotta assured me Nadin would not be going back on “The View.”

He obviously wasn’t coming on “Live From the Newsroom” either. Which left me with a bit of a problem. We had been promoting the session for the past couple of days. Our sister newspapers in the Philly area all planned to pick up the live stream on their websites and were promoting it as well.

I tried to make the argument with Dragotta that her suddenly reticent client had already agreed to appear on the show. No dice.

I can admit that there’s a part of me that wasn’t all that upset. For a long time I have been a bit dismayed at people who find themselves in the headlines, such as Nadin did, who suddenly go on these kinds of media tours. Now, thanks to the Internet, I find myself doing the same thing.

It’s easy to forget this is a 13-year-old kid. Our first story on this incident did not even identify him. In general our policy is not to identify juveniles, or victims of crime, or in this case, both.

That obviously went out the window when I flipped on the TV and saw Nadin talking about his ordeal on the evening news.

I also have noticed a distinct trend in the days since Nadin’s story first made headlines. It is something I have seen before. We build people up, then delight in tearing them down. A lot of people are now starting to wonder just what Nadin’s story is, and about his background.

For instance, why, many people e-mailed me, was he at the Opportunity Center in Upper Darby High School?

The seven juveniles charged in the incident are due back in court this morning. We haven’t heard much of their side of this story as yet either.

Last night we had a good discussion about bullying and about the Nadin Khoury case with Chitwood. As anyone who lives in this county knows, he’s not exactly camera shy.

But, after two appearances on national TV, apparently Nadin Khoury is.

That might not be a bad thing.