Friday, April 29, 2011

The Daily Numbers - April 29

The Daily Numbers: 1 third of the people on the globe who were expected to watch the royal wedding this morning.

2 instances now where bricks of pot have been delivered to homes in Upper Darby.

22,400 dollars, how much the latest 5-pound package of pot was likely worth on the street.

1 man being sought in Radnor for a series of pickpocket incidents that have now escalated to robbery.

14, age of Upper Darby teen who was beaten by her father with a pot when she tried to defend her mother in a domestic incident.

37 years of experience, what James Wigo will bring to Rose Tree Media School District as its new superintendent. He’s now assistant super in Upper Darby.

7 minutes, how long it took police in Glenolden to capture a suspect in a bank heist.

15 day DL stint for 1 more Phillie. Add pitcher Joe Blanton to the list of walking wounded.

26, age of Eagles top draft pick, Danny Watkins, an offensive lineman out of Baylor.

1, as in Game 1 of the Flyers-Bruins series, on tap Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Michael Vick is a left-handed quarterback. That means for the Eagles, they reverse the priority on their offensive line. Vick’s blind side is protected by the right tackle. So of course with their first pick, the Eagles select a left tackle who is projected as a guard in the pros. Swell.



I Don’t Get It: Another 5-pound brick of pot has shown up at a house in Upper Darby. This is getting to be a habit.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Tahira Jones, a teacher at Science and Discovery High School in Chester. She was named ‘Best Teacher Under the Sun’ by Sun East Federal Credit Union.


Quote Box: “I can’t stop crying. I’m surprised and I’m grateful.”

- Teacher Tahira Jones, on her honor.

Mr. Corbett goes to Chester

Gov. Tom Corbett is coming to Chester today. That’s a good thing.

The governor, who just completed his first 100 days in office, will visit the Chester Community Charter School. It’s part of what Corbett says is an ongoing review of the effectiveness of both public and charter schools across the Commonwealth.

But make no mistake. Corbett is a proponent of charter schools, and legislation that would give vouchers to some parents, allowing them to send their kids to schools like Chester Community Charter.

I wish the governor would make a few other stops on his tour.

Maybe he could stop by schools in Chichester, William Penn And Upper Darby. As we’ve seen in the past week of so, school board members there are looking at some serious cuts. They are proposing a varying mix of job cuts, program reductions and tax hikes to make up for gaping deficits, a problem only exacerbated by state funding cuts included in Corbett’s budget plan.

Giving vouchers to parents in some of the those districts is only going to make the problem worse for public school districts that are already up to their necks in red ink.

A royal affair

Well, that was certainly one snappy wedding.

I admit it. The Royal Wedding did nothing for me. Although from the looks of it I could probably get used to being a prince. Hell, I might marry the guy for that gig.

But in general, for weeks now, I have failed to get the excitement about this thing, a peculiarly British event.

I’m slightly in the minority. It is believed that one-third of the people on this globe took the time this morning to tune in the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

I guess that is news. That’s what I do for a living.

I have to admit that just the sweep of the thing was pretty impressive.

Still, I’m glad it’s just about over.

Maybe now we can get on to really important things. Like why in hell the Eagles would draft a 26-year-old guy who played left tackle in college with the 23rd pick in the NFL Draft.

That one has me royally confused.

Questions about Eagles pick

Here’s a scary thought.

Andy Reid believes his first-round draft choice, Danny Watkins of Baylor, could step in and start immediately.


He better be able to do more than that.

There are some other problems with this pick.

Watkins played left tackle in college, but is projecting as a guard in the pros. He’s 6-foot-3 and tips the scales at 310 pounds.

I’m not usually a fan of using first-round picks on offensive linemen, but Reid is correct that the Birds need help on the offensive line. I just don’t think they need it at guard.

I don’t think they need it at left tackle either. That’s usually the glamour spot for NFL linemen, protecting those multi-millionaire quarterbacks’ blind side.

But the Eagles have hitched their wagon to Michael Vick, who happens to be left-handed. That makes the most important position on the Eagles offensive line the right tackle.

Can you say Winston Justice?

Now what do you think of the pick of Danny Watkins. I wish him the best. Seems like a good guy.

I just don’t think he was necessarily what the Eagles needed.

Not with the 23rd pick in the draft.

To win, the Eagles need to keep Vick upright. They learned that at the end of last year, when Vick started to wear down from the beating and constant pressure he was taking, much of it coming around Justice’s right tackle spot.

I don’t see how taking Watkins helps them.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Daily Numbers - April 28

The Daily Numbers: 47 jobs that could be cut under the proposed Upper Darby School District budget.

13.4 million dollar deficit, what school directors are facing.

1,260 teachers that could be cut by the school district of Philadelphia.

That’s 12 percent of their teachers.

629 million dollar budget gap in the city.

3,000 dollars in casino cheques believed ripped off by a couple at Harrah’s Chester Casino. They were busted when they tried to redeem them.

3 people charged in a heist at a Glenolden bank.

7,000 dollars believed ripped off from the Chichester Middle School Home and School Association by a Linwood woman.

700 PHEAA grant students at Widener University in Chester who fear their funds will be cut.

100 days in office for new Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett.

586 million dollar profit reported by Boeing, beating expectations.

43 percent hike in earnings for ConocoPhillips in the 1st quarter.

3 police officers among 15 indicted in Philadelphia in a steroid and human growth hormone drug ring.

26 city officers who have been criminally charged since 2009.

8 hour standoff with an armed elderly man at a retirement home in Upper Moreland.

6 police officers injured during a melee with a suspect in a convenience store in Allentown.

23 million dollar fleeced from well-to-do members of Chester County’s horsey set by a Unionville man. He was in court yesterday and is now in jail awaiting sentencing.

26 points for Dwayne Wade as the Heat singed the Sixers 97-91, ending their season.

4 hits for Placido Polanco as the Phils spanked the Diamondbacks to salvage one game in Phoenix.

16 wins for the Phils in April, 1 short of the team record.

3 runs on 4 hits, including 2 homers, surrendered by Cole Hamels, who got the win and boosted his record to 3-1.

23, where the Eagles pick in the first round tonight.

383,000 households watched Game 7 of the Flyers-Sabres series, the highest mark ever reached for a Flyers game on Comcast.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.There are more storm clouds now circling over the Phillies, and not just the fact that starter Roy Oswalt went home to Mississippi to check on his storm-ravaged home town and family members. Catcher Carlos Ruiz left the game yesterday after one at-bat complaining about soreness in his back. And yet the Phils have managed to win 16 games in April. Go figure.



I Don’t Get It: Another day, another Delco school district dealing with bad budget news. Upper Darby may cut as many as 47 jobs.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Penncrest’s Envirothon team, which captured the title again in the competition at Ridley Creek State Park.


Quote Box: “I hope the students get a sense of accomplishment because they work so hard and put so much time and effort into this competition.”

- Mandy Meltz, adviser to the Penncrest champion Envirothon team.

Upper Darby's turn on the chopping block


Another night, another Delaware County school district rolling out depressing budget news.

Last night it was Upper Darby’s turn.

School officials indicated that 47 people likely will lose their jobs as the district looks to dig out of a $13.4 million deficit.

You can read the full story here.

This is happening in town after town. We’ve already detailed the crisis in Chichester and William Penn.

In each district, the saga is the same: Job cuts, reductions in programs, tax hikes.

Among the items on the chopping block in Upper Darby, in addition to the job cuts, are physical education for 11th and 12th grade students.

It’s not a pretty picture.

And if it hasn’t gotten to your town yet, it probably will. It’s school budget season. And this year, the numbers are especially stark. The state is facing a gaping $4 billion budget deficit. Gov. Tom Corbett is proposing steep cuts in education funding. Coupled with the loss of federal funds, it is creating the perfect storm for local school districts.

School of hard knocks? Yeah, you could say that.

Obama's birth certificate

Eight U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan yesterday.

But the nation didn’t want to talk about that. Instead we spent the day poring over President Obama’s birth certificate.

The president looked to pour cold water on the smoldering rumor that he was not a born-in-the-USA citizen that’s once again being fanned by Donald Trump and others in the “birther” movement. Of course that won’t happen. The doubters will never be convinced. They don’t want to be.

Obama urged the nation to move beyond the “silliness” of this non-issue.
He’s right, of course. But it’s not going to happen.

I happen to think it’s more than just “silliness.”

Maybe it’s just me, but does anyone else think this thing simply stems from some people still not being able to come to grips with the fact that a black man is president of the United States?

And does anyone believe this would be happening if this were a white man and his name was not Barack Hussein Obama.

Obama yesterday insisted the nation was above this kind of debate.

I have my doubts.

Flyers vs. Bruins, again

Here we go again.

Think the Boston Bruins might have a little bit of revenge on their mind?

The Bruins and Flyers will hook up once again in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Playoffs, starting Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Bruins beat the Canadiens last night to earn the trip to Philly.

The Bruins had the Flyers in a 3-0 hole last year, only to see the Orange and Black pull off one of the most improbable comebacks in NHL history.

After pulling even in Game 6, the Flyers fell behind 3-0 in Game 7 in Boston. Never fear. Had 'em right where they wanted them. The Flyers rallied for the win.

The teams will play Saturday and Monday in Philly, before heading to Boston for games Wednesday and Friday, then returning to Philly for a Game 5 Mother’s Day tilt if necessary.

If necessary? I think you can pretty much bank on it. Look for this one to go seven.

Of course the bigger question likely will be the over/under on how many goaltenders Peter Laviolette will use in the series.

Is John Vanbiesbrouck still available? Garth Snow?

Make it Flyers in 7.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Daily Numbers - April 27

The Daily Numbers: 5-2 win for the Flyers over Buffalo in crucial Game 7 of their opening round Stanley Cup playoff series.

3 different goaltenders who started during the series for the Flyers.

18 names added to the tribute wall for soldiers in the County Government Center.

38 poker tournaments on tap today as the World Series of Poker arrives at Harrah’s Chester.

5,000 players expected to come in to try their hand at big-time card games.

55 percent tax levy imposed on slots at Pa. casinos.

16 percent on table games.

8 to 20 years in jail for a man who pulled off several robberies while brandishing a hypodermic needle he said was infected with the HIV virus.

22, age of Springfield man the latest to get caught in a ‘sting’

operation by county Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

2 people dead in serious crash in Gloucester County, N.J., that involved a motorcycle.

2 people from Colorado busted for a plot to fly drugs into Montgomery County in their private plane.

20 sheep attacked by pack of dogs in Bucks County.

9-6 record now for the Flyers in Game 7’s of playoff series.

3 ineffective innings for Roy Oswalt as the Phils lost their 2nd straight in Arizona, 7-5.

5 runs on 6 hits for the Phils starter.

3-4 weeks on the shelf for closer Jose Contreras.

2 Phils closers now on the DL, with Contreras joining Brad Lidge.

23, Eagles pick in the first round of NFL Draft tomorrow night.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Peter Laviolette doesn’t do much of anything the way most coaches do. To say he’s a bit unorthodox is like saying we get rain around here in April. He coaches every game like it’s Game 7. Can’t argue with the results.



I Don’t Get It: Mumia Abu-Jamal is back in the news this morning. He’s going to get a new sentencing hearing. His conviction has been upheld, now they’re just arguing whether he should be put to death. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to County Council for adding 18 names to their tribute wall for local soldiers at the County Government Center.


Quote Box: “It’s a good sense of community, a bunch of Americas getting together, showing support for our troops, which I thought was nice.”

- Dennis Starr, father of Pfc. James Starr, who is in Afghanistan, at yesterday’s tribute in Media.

About yesterday's edition

I have been toiling at this newspaper for almost 29 years.

Not many days compare to yesterday. In short, as any number of readers took the time to tell us, it was a disaster.

We experienced serious computer and production problems at the Chester County plant where we are now printing the newspaper.

The problems were myriad. We were very late getting to homes and stores in the county. But even more serious was the newspaper itself. In a word, it was a mess.

The problem stemmed from the technology we now use to create the newspaper. The transmission of our pages to our printing facility was working fine. We delivered all of our content as we do each night. The problem came in the next step in the process, taking those pages and making the plates that go on the presses. That piece of equipment was down. And we were stuck smack dab in the middle of the process.

The result was a newspaper that was missing a lot of crucial information. Things like the lead local stories that were bannered on the front page, but did not appear inside. Pages were printed out of their normal sequence, without page numbers, even a page from the newspaper the day before and a couple from one of our sister papers.

Our problems did not escape our readers. The phone lines lit up shortly after the papers hit the street and did not stop the rest of the day.

We fielded hundreds of calls from readers, some angry, some quizzical, some just wondering what happened to their newspaper.

But in listening to all those readers, I noticed an interesting theme.

Our readers, many of whom have been reading this newspaper for decades, love this newspaper. They like reading it from cover to cover. Yes, they wondered what happened, but they were even more concerned for our welfare - and that of the newspaper.

If I had a quarter for every conversation I had yesterday with a person who informed me, “I’ve been reading your newspaper all my life,” I could retire now.

After inquiring about what had happened to yesterday’s edition, one reader pretty much summed up a lot of what I heard yesterday.

“We’re calling because we love you,” she said.

We love you, too. Yesterday we let you down. We don’t intend to make it a habit.

Thanks for taking the time to tell us how much you care.

Slots all, folks

 An interesting new development is “playing” out at Pennsylvania’s casinos, including Harrah’s Chester.

There’s a distinct shift from slots to table games. At Harrah’s today, the mighty World Series of Poker will make its debut in Chester with a big-time tournament. It’s billed as the richest sporting event on the planet.

You can read Tim Logue's advance here.

This shift in players’ preferences and leaning toward the fairly new table games as opposed to slots has some reverberations for the state, in particular when it comes to revenue and the tax relief that was the reason legalized gambling was brought into Pa. in the first place.

Slots revenue has been fairly stagnant across the state for more than a year, increasing for the most part only because there are more tables.

No place has this been more acute than at Harrah’s, where slots play has been off for almost two years.

The good news is that those numbers are somewhat offset by the increase in table games play, and the move by casinos to push for more tables.

The problem for the state is that their tax take on table games is not as lucrative as it is for slots. When the state, pushed by Gov. Ed Rendell, rolled out its big expansion of legalized gambling back in 2004, it included a hefty 55 percent levy on slots. That is the money that created the fund that was the impetus behind the move, tax relief for weary Pennsylvania home owners. Some revenue also helped the state’s ailing horse-racing industry, as well as casino host cities, such as Chester.

But when the state further scratched its itch for gaming and gave the green light for table games, its take on that amounted to only 16 percent.

This year the state says gambling revenue will translate to $776 million in property tax relief. The average household will get somewhere in the vicinity of $200.

Or about what is wagered on a single hand in some of those World Series of Poker Events.

Tax relief from gaming is down from $616 million in 2010.

Has gaming been a bad bet for Pennsylvania? It’s hard to make that argument now, but the trend toward table games and away from slots is something that should concern those who pushed legalized gambling in the form of slots as a cure to the state’s longtime property tax issues.

Some thoughts on Flyers

Some random thoughts after the Flyers dismantled the Sabres to advance in the Stanley Cup playoffs:

* Anyone ever remember a team using three different starting goalies in a playoff series? And has a goalie ever come in twice in a reserve role, as Brian Boucher did, to help will his team to victory?

* The heart and soul of this team is Chris Pronger. They simply are a different team when he is on the ice.

* The real MVP of this team is its unconventional coach, Peter Laviolette. He is not your normal coach. He tackles each game as if it’s Game 7. He does not care whose feelings get bruised in the process. Not many coaches would have pulled off the goalie carousel Laviolette did in this series, but the results don’t look to bad now..

* How sweet must it be for the Flyers to blow out the Sabres in the deciding Game 7, with Brian Boucher standing tall in goal, and at the same time sending Sabres star goaltender Ryan Miller to an early shower, pulled after giving up three goals.

On to Round 2.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Schools of hard knocks

 The beat goes on.

Or maybe that would be better stated the “beat-down” goes on.

Another Delaware County school district is trying to figure out how to make ends meet. Last week it was Chichester; this week it’s William Penn.

School directors there find themselves staring at a $9 million budget gap.

The solution is not likely going to please anyone.

After cutting 28 positions last year, the district is considering chopping another 27 this year.

Athletic programs are being slashed. Some busing services are being eliminated. And that is all on top of a projected 4.879 percent tax hike.

You can read the full story here.

I used to think I had the most unpopular job in Delco. I might have to reliniquish that title to Charlotte Hummel. She’s president of the William Penn School Board.

Even my meager math skills can figure this one out. The numbers in William Penn simply do not add up. Pour into that already volatile cocktail severe cuts at the state level, and you have every school board member’s nightmare.

It’s being repeated all across the state.

And it is about to become a nightmare for the rest of us, as well.

Missing the voice of Don Lancer

You do what I do for a living, you get used to a certain routine, doing things at the same time of the day, hearing the same voices.

You might say that KYW NewsRadio 1060 is the soundtrack to my life. The first thing I do every morning – even before I make coffee – is grab my portable radio and flip on KYW. I need to know what happened since I drifted off into a coma the night before. It plays on the radio in my office all day.

It has become one of the constants in a life that knows very few, only the next headline, the next story. You get to know – or at least think you do – those anonymous voices that come into your life.

A part of that is now gone. Don Lancer, a longtime voice on KYW, died yesterday. He was 68.

Oddly enough, in all the years that I listened to his voice, I had never met him, nor seen a picture of him. There was one on the KYW website yesterday with news of his death. And there was one in the paper today with his obit.

He looked exactly as I pictured him.

Don Lancer was a news guy, a throwback, I imagine a little bit like me.

Don Lancer worked at KYW for 38 years. My guess is that I likely heard that soothing voice the vast majority of those days.

According to his obit today, Don took a buyout when it became apparent that his parent company would be forced to institute layoffs if no one came forward.

I know all about layoffs, and the changes in our industry.

Don Lancer was one of those things that never changed, a constant in an ever-changing world.

He will be missed.

Heron's Nest: Game 7

There is almost nothing in sports that compares with a Game 7 of a Stanley Cup playoff series.

That is the treat that awaits Flyers fans tonight as they collide with the Buffalo Sabres one more time in what has become an increasingly testy series.

There is only one thing that matters at this point. And Charlie Sheen knows exactly what it is – winning.

Win, and you move on. Lose, and start making tee times.

There are no ties tonight. You play until there is a winner.

It’s sports at its best.

Click here for full coverage of what should be a classic.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Daily Numbers - April 25

The Daily Numbers: 9 million dollar budget gap looking in the William Penn School District.

2 former roommates charged in the murder of a Chester teen whose body was found bound, gagged and wrapped in plastic, dumped on a city lot.

2 offers now being mulled for the former borough hall in Media Borough.

3.91, average price of gasoline in Philly region last week.

11 cent increase in just one week.

2.88, what we were paying last year.

3.86, average price in Pa.; $3.85 across the nation.

18, age of teen shot to death on the front porch of his home in West Philly.

17, age of Philly teen charged with shooting a man on steps leading out of a SEPTA subway station in North Philly.

25, age of soldier from Hamilton, N.J., killed in action in Iraq.

3 starting goalies in first 6 games of their opening round playoff series vs. the Sabres for the Flyers.

3 goals surrendered in first period by yesterday’s starter Michael Leighton. He was pulled for Brian Boucher.

0 times in their history that the Flyers had started 3 different goaltenders in a playoff series.

7, as in Game 7, what Flyers forced with their overtime win yesterday.

The two will meet in the deciding game Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

1 win for the Sixers, who staved off elimination by getting into the win column vs. the Heat. They now head back to Miami for Game 5 Wednesday night.

14 strikeouts for Phils ace Roy Halladay, as the Phils completed a sweep of the Padres.

3 closers, what Phils are now up to after Jose Contreras joined Brad Lidge on the disabled list.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.You have to admired Peter Laviolette’s guts. He’s not worried about the feelings of his players as he frantically changes his goaltenders. But you do have to wonder how this franchise can wind up in the same position every year when it comes to the guy between the pipes.



I Don’t Get It: Two more young men under arrest for a brutal murder in Chester. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Yesterday was the first day that really felt like spring.

It felt good. Maybe now we can finally put winter behind us.


Quote Box: “The government is making things really difficult for us.”

- William Penn School District Chief Operating Officer Joseph Otto, on state cuts that are contributing to the school’s $9 million budget gap.

Same sad story in Chester

It was the same sad story again this weekend in the city of Chester.

A body had been discovered bound, gagged and wrapped in plastic, then dumped in a vacant lot not far from PPL Park on Thursday.

On Friday the death of 19-year-old Toby Allen Gale Jr. was ruled a homicide.

On Saturday the county District Attorney’s Office charged the teen’s two former roommates in the killing.

What is not yet clear is why?

I’d like to devote this week’s ‘Live From the Newsroom’ to a discussion of what is going on in Chester – and what can be done to stop it.

But so far we have not gotten any response from city officials to our invitation to come on and discuss the situation.

The offer stands. I can’t say I have the answers to what is going on in Chester. But I’d like to be part of the solution.

Kids and athletes

 My print column is up. It’s about kids – and some adults – view pro athletes. It was sparked by a recent front page image of Flyers star Scott Hartnell paying a visit to a seriously injured Ridley teen.

You can read it here.

Survivor Sunday

Call it Survivor Sunday.

Both the Sixers and Flyers – facing elimination in their first-round playoff series – are alive to play another game.

The Sixers finally took a game from the Heat to the delight of the faithful at the Wells Fargo Center. They still face a daunting task, down 3-1 and heading back to Miami on Wednesday night.

Then there are the Flyers. What exactly can you say about this team? The guess is much of the NHL is trying to figure out how to drive a stake through the heart of this vampire-like crew, which insists on coming back from the dead again and again.

Coach Peter Laviolette decided to continue his goalie carousel, starting Michael Leighton, who of course had come on in relief of Brian Boucher on Friday night.

Leighton had played well in relief. He didn’t do as well as the starter Sunday and got the hook after one period.

Brian Boucher held down the fort as the Flyers scratched back from a 3-1 hole after one period.

If Flyers fans have a sense of déjà vu, it’s well-earned. Not just because, like last year, this team refuses to die despite being buried.

But all too familiar to fans is the orange and black’s problems in goal. It’s hard to fathom that a team that for much of the season was the top team in the league, and went into the playoffs as one of the favorites for the Stanley Cup, could have started three different goalies after just five games of its first-round series.

Laviolette gave a quick hook to rookie Sergei Bobrovsky, and has spent the week since alternating between Boucher and Leighton.

Look for Boucher to start Game 7 Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

He just shouldn’t get too comfortable.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Daily Numbers - April 21

The Daily Numbers: 24, age of woman charged with smuggling drugs into the county prison in the diaper of an infant.

1 person killed in a car crash in Chester last night; 1 person under arrest.

250 to 300 dollars per animal, what it could cost Delco municipalities for stray animals if the Chester County-based nonprofit Dinah’s Way enters the picture in Delco.

116 dollar fee now for such services by the Delco SPCA, which is getting out of animal control as of July 1.

3 daytime burglaries in Upper Chichester under investigation and causing concern in the township.

9 months after 2 people were killed on Delaware River, the duck boats are returning as a Philly attraction today.

16 people charged by the feds in running a sophisticated ID theft ring that involved bank tellers and victimized hundreds of people over 3 years.

19, age of solider from Philadelphia killed in Afghanistan.

25,000 dollars in jewelry ripped off by brazen bandits who put an entire display spinner from the counter of a Kmart in Exton in a cart and then walked right out of the store.

11 years, how long it’s been since the last toll hike on the Delaware Memorial Bridge. It’s set to go from $4 to $4.

4 day school week being considered as a way to cut costs in the Coatesville School District.

19, age of missing woman from Atlantic City who has been ID’d as body found duct-taped and dumped in the Schuylkill River.

62, age of superintendent of schools in Oley Valley, Berks County, who collapsed of a heart attack and died while escorting students on spring trip to Europe.

32 saves for Sabres goalie Ryan Miller in beating the Flyers, 1-0.

28 saves for Brian Boucher in net for Flyers. Unfortunately, 1 got past him. That’s all it took.

2 homers for Phils in rallying to beat the Brewers in the finale at Citizens Bank Park.

4 saves in 4 tries for new closer Jose Contreras.

147 consecutive sellouts at the Citizens Bank Park, including postseason play.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Flyers and Sabres is now a best of 3, with the next game Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center. It would not be a good idea for the Flyers to lost that one.



I Don’t Get It: A woman is charged with trying to smuggle drugs into Delaware County Prison to give to an inmate. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to County Councilman Mario Civera, who may have a solution to the animal control crisis looming in the county.


Quote Box: “It makes it a lot harder for students to even go here if you’re going to cut financial aid and increase tuition.”

- Chris Carter, president of Cheyney student government group at a rally on campus yesterday to protest the Corbett budget plan.


Solution to Delco animal crisis?

We actually broke a little news on our ‘Live From the Newsroom’ Internet live-stream last night.

Our guest was County Councilman Mario Civera, who has been hip deep in trying to find a solution to the looming animal control crisis in the county, with the SPCA vowing to get out of the business as of July 1.

Civera announced that there was a possible solution, a partnership with Dinah’s Way, a Chester County-based nonprofit animal welfare network that would operate out of a facility to be constructed on a tract owned by the Darby Creek Joint Authority near the County Emergency Services Training Center off Calcon Hook Road in Darby Township.

You can read Paul Luce’s story on the situation here.

There are two problems, as Civera sees it. One is that it is not going to be cheap. A lot of municipalities yelped when the SPCA hiked their fees substantially a year ago, to the current $116 per animal.

Dinah’s Way is going to be a lot more expensive than that, according to Civera, more in the neighborhood of $250-$300 per animal.

Then there’s the matter of time. The site has to be acquired, and the facility built. The SPCA is getting out of animal control on July 1. That means the county still faces a crisis.

Civera said he would like to see the SPCA extend its deadline and work with the county until the new facility is up and running. The SPCA does not seem inclined to do that.

Civera echoed sentiments that the SPCA does not seem to be living up to its charter, something that was stressed a few weeks ago by Tom Hickey, a member of the state Dog Law Advisory Board.

Why do I get the feeling this thing is still going to wind up in court?

Caught in the billboard crossfire

Art DiGiacomco is not a happy guy. I’m not sure I blame him.

DiGiacomco owns the Split Endz hair salon on Sproul Road in Broomall.
But what has his hair standing on end is the billboard battle raging in the township. His business is caught right in the middle of the crossfire.

DiGiacomco does not own his building. He leases it. The guy who owns it is considering hosting one of the massive billboards that are sparking so much controversy in the township. Simply put, residents hate the idea, and they are venting their wrath on businesses that they perceive to be on the side of the billboards.

The problem is that DiGiacomco is not on the side of the billboards, even if his landlord is. But the fallout is hurting his business.

He called me this week to complain because we ran a photo with the latest court ruling on the billboard issue in the township that included a sign for his salon.

He says every time he gets linked to the billboards, it costs him business.

It’s a legitimate point. Marple residents should not take out their ire on DiGiacomco. He has no say in what his landlord does.

DiGiacomco was legitimately angry when I talked to him. I can see his point. In this economy, the last thing a business owner needs is being lumped in with an extremely unpopular position.

Especially when he has no say in the issue.

Residents should keep this in mind when they consider things such as a boycott. And, I suppose, newspapers should keep it in mind when we select photos to run with stories.

Deer me

I set a personal record on the drive to work this morning.

Over the past 29 years, I’ve gotten pretty adept at dodging deer.

Not sure what was going on this morning, but the critters were out in force, and not in the places I usually encounter them.

I’m pretty much used to Providence Road, from West Chester Pike to the Y at Rose Tree Park being something of a deer obstacle course.

What I’m not used to is seeing a huge deer standing smack in the middle of the main street that goes through my development.

After negotiating carefully past Bambi as she eyed me warily, I then headed out, only to see another deer standing still near the side of the road. This always leaves you with the question of whether to continue and hope the deer stays put, or stop and wait for it to do what it inevitably seems to do – dart out in front of you.

Once past that one, I headed on my way, only to come across two more, these more intent on tangling with my car. I managed to stop just as they darted right in front of me.

These two also proved a theory I have developed over the years. If you see a deer go across the road in front of you, stop. Do not make the mistake that you’re in the clear. Instead the deer is usually leading a pack that is about to follow her – and right in front of your car.

No, we don’t have a problem with deer overpopulation. Maybe we ought to just give them driver’s licenses, since they seem intent on sharing the road with us.

Deer me.

Flyers suffer hangover from Miller time

The Flyers-Sabres series is now a best of three, with a crucial Game 5 looming on Friday night.

That’s because for the second time in less than a week, Sabres’ goalie Ryan Miller stole a game from the Flyers, 1-0.

He stoned them in the opener at the Wells Fargo Center, and repeated the torture last night in Buffalo. In the process he stopped more than 60 shots, and didn’t allow any of them to get by him.

The Flyers took Games 2 and 3 before being stonewalled again by Miller last night.

If the Flyers fall in this series, they will not be able to blame their old nemesis, spotty goaltending. You can’t blame Brian Boucher for last night’s loss. He let only one shot get past him, just enough to get him and the Flyers beat, 1-0.

It was the same song in the series opener, when Sergei Bobrovsky was solid, but still lost, 1-0.

The shift from Bobrovsky to Boucher has been pretty much seamless.

The Flyers’ goalie is not the issue here; the Sabres’ goalie is. The Flyers can’t beat him.

And unless they solve that riddle, they face the prospect of a most unwelcome early summer.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Daily Numbers - April 20

The Daily Numbers: 23, age of Philadelphia man shot and killed during confrontation with police in an Upper Darby convenience store.

5 people the man is suspected of confronting at gunpoint at 3 other locations before his fatal encounter.

11 to 22 months in jail for a repeat DUI offender from Ridley Township.

3 DUI charges that Christian Sweeney pleaded guilty to, including one where police alleged his blood-alcohol level measured 0.62.

17 sites in the county where residents can drop off old or no longer needed prescription medicines on April 30.

21, age of Christiana, Del., woman who police charge used her 4-year-old son to steal a wallet from a Wilmington store.

77 truck drivers for Amoroso’s bakery who have been notified by the Philly firm that their jobs are being eliminated.

1 retired Philly police officer killed in overnight fire; 3 firefighters injured fighting the blaze.

2 hits for the Pheeble Phils as they fell to Randy Wolf and the Brewers last night.

1 series lost by the Phils so far this year. They send Cliff Lee to the hill today to try to avoid being swept for the first time.

6 runs on 10 hits surrendered by Roy Halladay as he got shelled and took his 1st loss on the season.

5 prime time games for the Eagles this season, if there is a season.

4:15 game in Dallas against the Cowboys on Christmas Eve.

1, as in No. 1 mascot in sports. That would be the Phillie Phanatic, according to Forbes magazine.

10 year, $2 billion deal signed by the NHL with NBC and Versus to broadcast games.

146 consecutive sellouts at the Citizens Bank Park, including postseason play.


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

Don’t panic, but it looks like the Phillies miss Chase Utley and Jayson Werth a lot more than it appeared in that first week of the season.


I Don’t Get It: A woman is charged with using her 4-year-old son to steal a wallet in a store. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Phillie Phanatic, the No. 1 sports mascot in the nation. Take that, San Diego Chicken.


Quote Box: “He had a busy night. It was filled with violence and robberies and ended in his subsequent death.”

- Upper Darby top cop Mike Chitwood, on crime spree by Aikee Holloman, before he was shot to death by police.


'Live From the Newsroom' with Mario Civera

That ticking sound you here is the clock winding down toward July 1.
That is the date that the Delco SPCA says it will get out of the animal control business.

This has caused all kinds of problems for the county and municipalities that fear they are going to be overrun with stray cats and dogs.

Tonight on our “Live From the Newsroom” live-stream Internet show, we’ll learn what the county plans to do about it.

County Councilman Mario Civera, who has been in the forefront of efforts to reach some kind of settlement, will join us to talk about the SPCA and the looming deadline in the county.

Do you have a question for the councilman? Email it to me at, or post a comment on this blog and I will put it to him.

This is a huge issue in the county and will affect every town. Join us tonight at 7 at And join the live chat on our website as we turn the Daily Times offices into Animal House.

Score one for the Phanatic

As usual my timing left a lot to be desire.

I spent the last two days here campaigning against the Phillie Phanatic.
Yeah, I know, not my brightest idea.

I really don’t have anything against the fuzzy, green guy. I just wondered if he was really necessary now that the Phils are a perennial contender and play in a stupendous new stadium that is one of the most jumping spots in the city.

I do, however, continue to have safety concerns about someone paying more attention to the Phanatic than what is happening on the field getting injured by a line drive into the stands.

The reaction was about what I expected. Most people wondered if I’d lost the few marbles I have left.

Then yesterday afternoon, decided to put the icing on the cake.

The magazine named the Phillie Phanatic the most popular mascot in sports, beating out the San Diego Chicken, which came in second.

The Phanatic celebrated its 34th birthday on Sunday. Here’s to many more.

Even if a certain newspaper editor tried to blow out your candles.

The 3 things you need to worry about in Philly sports

A few sports thoughts to start your Wednesday morning, and doesn’t the thought of an 80-degree afternoon make skipping out of work and heading to that 1 p.m. Phillies afternoon special sound tempting?

Speaking of the Phillies, we hate to say we told you so, but we told you so.

On opening day, I spent eight innings during our special live Fancast from Jimmy Mac’s in Drexel Hill bemoaning the Phils’ lack of hitting, and that this was exactly what everyone had feared the entire time the Phils were in Florida. Of course, the Phils rallied in the bottom of the ninth and all was forgotten.

The Phils bats were electric in that first week of the season.

That was then, this is now.

Make no mistake, the Phils offensive woes are for real. They got shut out again last night, putting up just two hits against ex-mate Randy Wolf and the Brewers.

Forget hitting homers, or even extra base hits. This team suddenly is not even hitting the ball hard. Think they miss Chase Utley and Jayson Werth in the lineup. Utley is now sprinting in the outfield. Ironically, his replacement Wilson Valdez has been one of the offensive bright spots.

In the process, Roy Halladay also proved he’s human, getting rocked by the Brew Crew. The Phils lost a series for the first time this season, and will send Cliff Lee to the mound today in an attempt to avoid a sweep.

* * *

Then there’s the Sixers. The thinking here has gone from can they possibly upset the mighty Heat, to can they manage to win a game.

After dropping both games in Miami, including being absolutely blown out Monday night, they will be on their home floor Thursday. Don’t expect things to be much different.

Give Doug Collins credit for being honest, even if it wasn’t exactly what fans – and I am guessing management – wanted to hear. The Heat are a better team.

* * *

Then there’s this little Christmas present for Eagles fans. Don’t plan any big celebrations on Christmas Eve.

That’s because the Birds will be in Dallas for a 4:15 game with the hated Cowboys on Dec. 24. So much for that vigil Mass. Merry Christmas!

And for those of us with early wake-up calls, the NFL schedule-makers didn’t exactly do us any favors. The Birds are scheduled for no less than five prime time games on Sunday and Monday nights, starting in Week 2 on Sept. 18 in Atlanta.

The Eagles play exactly half their 16-game schedule at 1 p.m. Sunday. Everything else is either 4 o-clock or prime time.

Blame it on Michael Vick.

And pity the poor beat writers and newspaper editors trying to figure out how to get these games in under new, early deadlines.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Daily Numbers - April 19

The Daily Numbers: 11th grade student, age of teen police allege was propositioned by the athletic director and coach at Archbishop Carroll High School.

39, age of Francis Murphy, now behind bars on $250,000 cash bail in the case.

3 shots fired at police that killed a suspect in a robbery spree last night in a gas station on West Chester Pike in Upper Darby.

586,000 dollars believed ripped off from tenants of Plymouth Hill Condominiums by the former manager. 3 accomplices also facing charges.

54 dogs seized on a raid on a Malvern home by SPCA and police suspecting an illegal dog kennel. Investigators say conditions inside the kennel were deplorable.

3 gunshot wounds suffered by a teen on a basketball court in Wilmington.

90,000 dollars at center of extortion trial involving a former high-ranking Philly police official. His case is now in the hands of jury. He claims he’s a victim of entrapment.

3.84 a gallon, the average price of gas in the Philly region, up a dime just in the last week.

4.09 a gallon for gas when paying with a credit card at a Lukoil station on City Line Avenue. The cash price remains $3.99.

7,426,257 dollars raked in on table games at Harrah’s Casino in Chester.

1,195245 dollars in state taxes from Harrah’s, along with $170,748 in local taxes off the 122 tables.

54,606,617 dollars gambled on tables at the state’s 10 operating casinos.

35 saves for Brian Boucher as the Flyers posted a 4-2 win over the Sabres in Game 2 of their Stanley Cup playoff series.

2-1 lead for the Flyers in the series.

0-2 deficit for the Sixers after they got blown out last night in Miami, 94-73.

29 points for LeBron James, who outscored the Sixers starters by himself in the first half.

76-29 scoring difference between the Heat starters and the Sixers opening 5.

2 runs on 7 hits over 7 innings surrendered by Phils starter Joe Blanton.

6-3 loss for the Phils to the Brewers as reliever Kyle Kendrick faltered in the 12th inning.

145 consecutive sellouts at the Citizens Bank Park, including postseason play.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.I get that the Heat are better than the Sixers. I’m just not sure I want to hear Sixers coach Doug Collins tell me that.



I Don’t Get It: A respected athletic director and coach at Archbishop Carroll is under arrest for soliciting sex acts from a former student. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Interboro grad Bill McLaughlin, who ran the Boston Marathon yesterday and raised $1,700 to honor a former teacher.


Quote Box: “I’m not commenting anything else on it.”

- Ridley Lt. Scott Willoughby, on the furor that has engulfed the township over Steve the Pig.

Another rough day for the archdiocese

 This is not exactly what the Archdiocese of Philadelphia needed.

Already neck-deep in a new wave of abuse claims against priests and former priests that resulted in criminal charges, as well as charges of child endangerment filed against a high-ranking archdiocese official, the church is now getting smacked with a new wave of unflattering headlines.

The longtime athletic director and baseball coach at Archbishop Carroll High School in Radnor yesterday was charged with trying to solicit one of his former athletes to commit sex acts.

You can read the entire story here.

According to the affidavit of probable cause issued for his arrest, Francis Murphy offered to become the teen’s “sugar daddy,” in effect trading some things the student needed in exchange for sexual favors.


Something else happened yesterday that did not receive nearly the publicity, but which made abuse advocates who have been at war with the archdiocese for years furious.

They pointed out that Pope Benedict XVI bestowed a special honor on Philadelphia Archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali, asking him to represent the pontiff at a special church celebration in the Czech Republic in June.

To put in bluntly, they were incredulous. They simply do not understand that, among all the cardinals at his disposal, the Holy Father instead selected Rigali.

“There are two possible explanations,” wrote Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP). “Vatican officials are either incredibly stupid – and no one believes that – or incredibly callous.”

Probably not the way church officials wanted to kick off the holiest week on the calendar, as the faithful take part in Holy Week activities leading up to Easter.

More on the Phanatic

I can’t say I didn’t ask for it.

Yesterday in this space I offered the opinion that maybe it was time for the Phillies to retire the Phanatic. That his act was getting a bit old.

You’d think I had just suggested that we fill in that crack in the Liberty Bell. That we’d be better off if Tastykake just moved to Georgia. That the cheesesteak and pretzel were no great shakes.

In short, many readers wondered if I had lost my mind. It would not be the first time.

A commenter dubbed “Mastg1” pretty much summed up the wave of phone calls and emails I received.

“As an avid follower of your columns I love reading your opinions, both in digital and in print, and I, more times than not agree with your words and have many times considered them words of wisdom. That being said, I have to ask you one question:
“HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND? I honestly think you have. The Phillie Phanatic is as iconic in the Philadelphia area as is Ben Franklin or the Liberty Bell or even that overgrown concrete cereal bowl that the Phillies use to play in.

"Everyone is entilled to their own opinon, that is what makes this country we love so great. But saying that the Phillie Panantic is no longer necessary? Please Mr. Heron, realize the error of your ways. The Phanatic is not just a distraction from the on-field performences, he (and by the way he is a man, not an it) is a companion to the players and the coaches and the manager, not a distraction. The fans love him, the kids love him and even some of the kids at heart and the adults who consider themselvs kids, yet to grow up love him.

"I hope that you can see the error of your ways and print a retraction or at least a maya copa some time in the very near future. "

Actually that would be a mea culpa. And I'm not ready to go there - at least not yet.

Instead I am inclined to believe there area a lot of readers out there who think like "Dannytheman," who infomed me:

"I agree with you. But my wife and kids love him."

I got much the same reaction from my wife. In fact, I'm thinking maybe this is a wife and kids kind of thing. I don't go to the game to see the Phanatic's act. Same thing for watching games on TV. Then again, once it warms up, I listen to most of the games on the radio.

What say you, dear readers? Have I lost my mind? Or are there lots of silent folks out there who agree with me that it is time for the Phanatic to go?

Don't be silent (like the Phanatic). Weigh in. I'll publish the best reactions I get, even those that question my sanity.

The method behind Laviolette's madness

When you make the kind of decision Peter Laviolette did yesterday, you had better be right.

So far, so good.

The Flyers coach astounded just about everyone by not only deciding to go with Brian Boucher as his starter in goal, but banishing rookie Sergei Bobrovsky to the bench.

Laviolette’s move had tonges wagging all over the region, if not the entire league.

Bobrovsky had been the Flyers’ starter all year. But after losing a 1-0 game in the opener to the Sabres, then not playing well and getting pulled in the first period of Game 2 – which the Flyers eventually won – he was not even dressed for Game 3.

Lots of people were incredulous, not so much at the move to Boucher, but at the fact that “Bob” was not even on the bench. Instead the native of Russia was banished to his own gulag in the press box.

I think I know why.

It goes back to to the moves the Flyers made at the end of the regular season to get Michael Leighton, who had been playing with the Phantoms in the AHL, back through waivers and onto the Flyers roster.

I think the Flyers saw this possibility coming. Not that they wanted it, but that they wanted a plan in case it did.

In reality, the only decision Laviolette had to make was whether or not Bobrovsky would be the starter in Game 3. Once he made the move to Boucher, that kicked in the other scenario.

What the Flyers really wanted in this series is for Bobrovsky to play well and Boucher be on the bench just in case. But the reverse is not the case. If the Flyers moved to Boucher as their starter, they wanted Leighton – not Bobrovsky – on the bench.

When Bobrovsky would suffer a regular season meltdown, the Flyers were always confident they could yank him and Boucher would come on to try to put out the fire. The reverse is not true.

If you look at the times Boucher started and was pulled, with Bobrovsky coming on in relief, you will find that “Bob” did not play especially well in that role.

That’s why the Flyers wanted Leighton on the roster. And why once they made the decision to start Boucher, they wanted Leighton on the bench and Bobrovsky in the press box.

Last night Boucher stopped 35 shots and the Flyers rolled over the Sabres to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

That does not mean Bobrovsky will not be back in this series. But my guess is that if he does, it will only be as a starter. Don’t look for him to be coming off the bench.

That job now belongs to Leighton. At least until Boucher wobbles. Which basically takes us right bck to where we were last year in terms of Flyers' goaltenders. Can you win a Stanley Cup this weay? We're about to find out.

If we know one thing, it is that Laviolette coaches day by day, and game by game. Where this goaltender carousel winds up is anyone’s guess.

Laviolette does not especially care who gets bruised in the process. I think his players understand that.

As usual, he made the right call. That’s just one more reason why he is the best coach in the city.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Daily Numbers - April 18

The Daily Numbers: 14, age of Anthony Oswald, the Ridley teen who remains hospitalized after being struck by a hit-run driver weeks ago.

Anthony continues to recover.

3.12 inches of rain that fell on the region Friday and into Saturday, a record.

3 Delco creeks that were sent gushing over their banks by the deluge.

75 Widener students who stepped up to beautify the Sun Hill section of Chester with a community project on Sunday.

1 hour, how long the southbound Blue Route was tied up Sunday afternoon by an overturned vehicle.

400,000 grant that will be utilized by the county to provide a special follow-up health care program for senior citizens once they are released from the hospital.

1 in every 531 homes that are in foreclosure in Pa., that’s down 35 percent from the previous quarter.

3.84 a gallon, the average price of gas in the Philly region, up a dime just in the last week.

3.82 a gallon, national price of gas on Friday. That’s up 8 cents from a week ago, 27 cents in the last month and 96 cents higher than a year ago.

74 cent jump in gas prices since the beginning of the year.

29 cents below the all-time high of $4.11 a gallon from July 2008.

111 years old, that would be for the Philadelphia Orchestra, which plans to file for bankruptcy protection.

45 people across 6 states killed by storms and tornadoes over the weekend.

240 tornadoes reported in the massive, destructive storm system.

7 p.m., when the Flyers, Phillies and Sixers games all start tonight.

45,716 packed into Citizens Bank Park yesterday for the Phils-Marlins game and celebration of the Phanatic’s birthday. That’s the second biggest crowd in stadium history.

131 consecutive sellouts at the stadium.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.It just wouldn’t be the playoffs if the Flyers did not have a goaltender controversy. We got ’em right where we want ’em…



I Don’t Get It: Rising gas prices. $4 a gallon, here we come.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Flyer Scott Hartnell, for taking the time to visit injured Ridley teen Anthony Oswald in his hospital room on Friday.


Quote Box: “Physically, he’s doing awesome, but mentally he’s still a little lost. But the doctors tell us that this is to be expected with a brain injury.”

- William Oswald, on the progress of his son Anthony, who was injured by a hit-run driver.

Orange & Black - and class all over

I’ve always had a belief that hockey players are among the most down-to-earth, unaffected and unassuming of our professional athletes.

Part of this, I believe, stems from the way the grew up. Most of these guys are from small, remote Canadian towns. When they become pro athletes, they bring with them that sense of family and community.

Two things happened in the past week that only reinforce those feelings.

The first appears on our front page today. Yes, that is Flyer Scott Hartnell. And that kid next to him, lying in his hospital bed, with the 1,000-watt smile and thumb’s up, is injured Ridley teen Anthony Oswald.

Anthony was among a group of Ridley schoolkids who were mowed down by a hit-run driver as they tried to cross MacDade Boulevard. Anthony was the most serious injured, and he’s been in Children’s Hospital ever since.

As it turns out Anthony is a huge Flyers fan. Apparently, word filtered back to the Flyers about Anthony and his struggle to recover from serious injuries.

So Hartnell decided to pay Anthony a visit after practice on Friday.
Note that this was the day after the Flyers had suffered a heart-breaking 1-0 loss to the Sabres in Game 1 of their opening Stanley Cup playoff round.

Hartnell visited with Anthony and his family in his hospital room, and delivered a jersey signed by members of the team.

Just the look on Anthony’s face tells you how much it meant to him.

And the kind of class act Hartnell is. One thing to note here. Hartnell did not alert us to the fact that he was doing this. And my guess is that he’s probably not all that thrilled that it’s splashed all over today’s front page. He just wanted to do something nice for a kid who was struggling.

Pure class.

The other event happened last week. We originally had planned to have Flyers coach Peter Laviolette on with us Wednesday night for a special Flyers’/Stanley Cup preview show on “Live From the Newsroom,” our live-stream Internet show.

But the coach had a conflict and let our Flyers beat writer Anthony SanFilippo know he would not be available.

Luckily, Anthony approached Flyers’ winger Danny Briere, who kindly said he would join us for a 10-minute conference call during the show.

The only problem was that Anthony told him the show went on at 6. We actually go on at 7. And we are “live.”

Briere indicated the 6 p.m. time slot would work perfectly for him because he had an event at his son’s school later that night.

It was left to Anthony to let him know we actually were going on at 7.
No problem, Briere said.

This is a guy who is a legitimate NHL superstar, who left his son’s school event to make himself available to us for our show.

That’s class. And it’s something you don’t often encounter among today’s pampered, whining professional athletes.

No wonder Delaware County has always had a soft spot for the Flyers.

I do, too.

Another icon hits a few sour notes

It has not been a great couple of weeks for Philadelphia icons.

First you had Tastykake on the bring of extinction. Instead the ailing maker of Krimpets and Kandy Kakes being sold to a Georgia company.
Luckily, they are going to keep their new South Philly plant – and the 800 jobs that go with it – in place.

Now we hear that the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra is filing for bankruptcy. Talk about hitting a few sour notes.

Next you’ll be telling me that Scott Paper is going out of business. Or that Horn & Hardart is no more.

Oh, never mind.

Remote control mania

Better check the batteries on the old remote control. And do lots exercise to build up the muscles in your thumb and other Carpal Tunnel-affected digits that work the dial selector.

They likely all will get quite the workout tonight. As will newspaper editors with tight deadlines.

Philly fans will be frantically switching between three different live sporting events tonight, all of which start at 7 p.m.

The Phillies will open a series against the Brewers at Citizens Bank Park at 7:05. That one is on the Comcast Network. I guess the 45,000 people in the latest sellout at will be among the few not giving their remote control a serious workout.

The Flyers play Game 3 of their opening Stanley Cup playoff series against the Sabres in Buffalo at 7. That one is on Comcast Sports Network.

And the Sixers play Game 2 of their opening round of the NBA Playoffs at
7 on TNT.

I can seen the smoke curling out of remote controls all across the Delaware Valley.

It will match that steaming out of the ears of newspaper editors trying frantically to get all three games into print editions for the next morning.

About the Phanatic

They celebrated the Phillie Phanatic’s birthday at Citizens Bank Park yesterday.

Not coincidentally, I think, the place was even more packed than usual. There were 45,716 people jammed into Citizens Bank Park, the second-largest crowd in the eight-year history of the Phils’ wildly successful new playpen and their 131st consecutive sellout.

They had special ceremonies before the game in which a bunch of mascots helped the Phanatic celebrate his birthday. A lot of kids donned their own version of the fuzzy green outfit worn by the oversized No. 1 Phils fan.

Oh, and yes, lest we forget, they actually played a game amid all the hoopla and partying at the Bank yesterday, with the Phils outlasting the Marlins, 3-2 on a day in which gusty winds and a brilliant, “high” sky seemed to make every fly ball an adventure and at least one routine fly ball hit by Placido Polano into the right-field gap a home run.

All of which brings me to this confession. I’ve never been a big fan of the Phanatic. It seems tired to me, a relic of the time when the Phils played at a concrete bowl that could not be farther removed from the retro party place they now call home. In addition, a lot of those old Phillies teams were pretty miserable on the field as well. The Phanatic was a diversion, something to entertain the fans.

And that’s part of the reason I don’t especially care for it. Next time you’re at the stadium, or watching on TV, watch what happens when the Phanatic shows up in the stands. All eyes are on him – not what is going on out on the field. To be honest, I’m surprised no one has been seriously injured “playing” with the Phanatic while a line drive foul is screaming their way.

Maybe I’m just a crank. It would not be the first time.

Or maybe I’m a purist who loves the game for what it is.

The Phils now toil in a sparkling new stadium that is literally the place to be in the summer in this town, more so than the beach, the clubs, or even the city’s vaunted historic sites.

I don’t expect the Phanatic to be going anywhere. I know kids love him. I do, too. Or at least I did at one time. I just don’t think he’s really needed the way he once was.

What do you think? Am I totally out in left-field? Or do you agree with me. Post a comment and let me know.

Blasphemy, I know. Next thing I’ll probably be attacking the ball girls.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Daily Numbers - April 15

The Daily Numbers: 9 p.m. curfew for teens in the city of Chester, starting June 1. They will have to be off the streets until 5 a.m.

38, age of mom who failed to show up for her preliminary hearing on DUI charges. She had her 2 kids in the car with her at the time.

177 million dollar cleanup from a 2004 oil spill in the Delaware River that Citgo will not be on the hook for, according to a court ruling.

52, age of man killed in one-car crash on Township Line Road in Upper Darby yesterday.

79, age of grandmother beaten to death by a 26 year-old man in Chester.

He says heard “voices.”

25 years, how long it’s been since the last township-wide parade in Middletown. They’re planning one this year for the annual Community Day.

7.8 percent unemployment rate in March in Pa., that’s the lowest it’s been in 2 years.

173 acre site of the former Franklin Mint in Middletown that was subject of another hearing tonight by developers looking to create a “walkable community.”

41,000 low-income Pennsylvanians who lost their health-care coverage when AdultBasic was phased out. A court backed that decision by Gov. Tom Corbett.

35 shots poured on Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller by the Flyers last night. None of them got past him.

24 saves for rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky in the loss.

12 strikeouts for Cliff Lee as he went the distance in shutting out the Nats last night.

15 straight Phils set down by Nats starter Jordan Zimmerman before Carlos Ruiz homered in the fifth.

3 hits surrendered by Lee in the gem.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Don’t panic, Flyers fans. Remember this team played its best on its way to the Stanley Cup finals last year when they had their backs to the wall. Now if they lose on Saturday …..



I Don’t Get It: A woman in Wilmington is being sought for shoplifting – actually she was instructing the young child with her to pilfer the items. The whole thing was captured on surveillance video. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to state Rep. Joe Hackett, R-161. He continue to push for needed improvements at MacDade Boulevard and Morton Avenue where a group of students was struck by a hit-run driver.


Quote Box: “If the gentleman from Butler County stoood yelling, knowing that hs’a gun-toter, and I felt threatened, would I be protected under current law if I blew his brains out?”

- State Rep. Margo Davidson, D-164, on debate in Harrisburg on so-called Castle Doctrine.

About Madson, his wife, and that blog

What you are reading here on the wild, wild Web is referred to as a blog. I call it The Heron’s Nest; most people simply refer to it as a blog. That’s short for web log.

This is a part of today’s journalism. Usually these thoughts of mine do not appear in print. But I try to apply the same guidelines here as I do in print.

I bring this up today because of an item that is currently leaving scorch marks all over the Internet in the Philadelphia area. It involves some comments in another blog that may or may not have been uttered by the wife of Phillies reliver Ryan Madson.

The Phillies are in the midst of one of their hottest starts in memory.
The Flyers have managed to dig themselves a hole by failing to score in their opening Stanley Cup playoff action against the Sabres. The Sixers are prepping for LeBron and company in the NBA playoffs in Miami. And the Eagles – remember them? – are getting ready for their draft.

But that’s not what we’re talking about. Instead we’re talking about comments made by Ryan Madson’s wife.

Why? Because this is what we do these days. Something gets tossed on a blog. It gets picked up by a bigger blog. Soon it goes national, or 'viral,' as they say in the hip, online world in which I now often dwell.

Eventually the so-called mainstream media (whatever the hell that is) picks it up. The item has what we refer to as “legs.”

I am not here to question the journalism – or lack of it – behind the item on Madson’s wife. If you’re going to challenge the ideas of blogs and whether or not they constitute journalism, you’re going to have an uphill fight. That ship has sailed. We all now work in two worlds, print and online.

Blogs aren’t going anywhere. The line between what many of us do every day in print and what we do online is becoming more and more blurred all the time. Today we are joined by anyone with a keyboard and a domain name. Yep, that’s about all it takes to put up a blog.

That’s not my argument. This is: Why do I care what Ryan Madson’s wife may or may nor have said about Phillies fans?

The truth is I don’t. What I care about is what her husband does when he enters the game in the eighth inning. And maybe his suitability to one day become the guy who enters the game in the ninth inning.

Frankly, his wife does not interest me. Neither does anything she has to say about the fans. I have probably said worse myself at times. After all, I’ve been one for about 50 years.

The Phillies felt compelled to issue a statement concerning the blog item yesterday afternoon. Voila! That gives it credibility, and opens the door to coverage from other outlets. Swell.

There is now talk that Madson might get an earful from fans the next time he enters a game at Citizens Bank Park, which could be as early as tonight.

I hope that’s not the case. Then again, I’ve been hoping what I do for a living could somehow survive the onslaught from such online blogging. I'd say both are longshots.

Instead, I sit here and write this blog every morning.

Just know this. If Ryan Madson gets booed because of something his wife may or may not have said, it’s wrong.

At least that’s one man’s opinion. And one man’s blog. And the beat goes on….

Flyers struggle with goaltender, but not theirs

The Flyers went into the playoffs with concerns about goaltending.

They exited Game One of their opening series against the Sabres last night with the same concern.

Only not their goaltending. Rookie Sergei “Bob” Bobrovsky was everything the Flyers could have hoped for in the nets. It didn’t do them any good.

There is an old standard in sports. It’s kind of hard to win if you don’t score.

The Flyers got stoned by Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, who shut them out, 1-0.

The Flyers hurled 35 shots at Miller, but couldn’t get any of them past him.

At one point in the second period they even had a two-man advantage and still couldn’t break through.

In the meantime, Bobrovsky was not exactly chopped liver at the other end. He stopped 24 of 25 shots, just enough to get the loss.

Patrick Kaleta jammed a rebound past the Russian just 5:56 into the first period. The Flyers never answered.

Not they’re down 1-0 and looking at an early “must win” Saturday.

They’re also looking to a way to beat Miller. They better find it quick.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Daily Numbers - April 14

The Daily Numbers: 200 people who showed up in Chester last night to discuss teen violence in the wake of shooting that left 2 dead and 8 others wounded at party last weekend.

390,000 dollars to be paid to family of murder victim Jason Shephard by Delco company that employed his killer to settle a lawsuit filed against the firm.

200,000 dollars bail posted by former Haverford Magisterial District Judge Gerald Liberace, who will now remain free as he appeals conviction on endangering welfare of child and corruption of minors charges.

64, age of woman killed when flames engulfed her Springfield home.

45 years as the school librarian celebrated yesterday by Carol Emplit at Amosland Elementary School. She will turn 90 on Sunday.

100,000 dollars in federal CDBG funds OK’d by the city of Chester for a new Philabundance food center.

20-25 jobs that will be created at the proposed site.

173 acre site of the former Franklin Mint in Middletown that will be subject of another hearing tonight by developers looking to create a “walkable community.”

8 more dogs seized and 2 people taken into custody in the continued crackdown on a dogfighting ring in Philadelphia.

41-41 final record for the Sixers, who lost last night to the Pistons in the regular season finale.

5 of 6 losses by the injury-wracked Sixers to end the season.

27 wins last year for the Sixers.

8 shutout innings for Roy Halladay, who gave up 2 in the 9th but strike out the squad as the Phils held off the Nats, 4-2.

9-1 record for Halladay against the Nationals in his career.

0-9 mark for Nats starter John Lannan in his career vs. the Phils.

0 playoff games experience for Sergei Bobrovsky, who will be in goal for the Flyers as they open the Stanley Cup playoffs vs. the Sabres.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.The Phils rolling; the Flyers and Sixers heading for the playoffs. Hey, anyone remember that other team in town, the guys in the green jerseys?


I Don’t Get It: A man was sentenced to more than 2 years in jail for pointing a high-powered laser at a helicopter, which temporarily caused the pilot to lose control. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Carol Emplit. She’s getting ready to turn 90 on Sunday and celebrating 45 years as the school librarian at Amosland Elementary School.


Quote Box: “It hurts to the core. It just undermines the human thought process.”

- Chester Mayor Wendell Butler, on the gun violence that continues to take the lives of young people in his city.

Raising their voices in Chester

 You have to give James Miller credit.

A lot of people have been pointing fingers in the wake of the latest fatal shootings in Chester. Gunfire rang out at a crowded teen party Friday night. Two young people were killed, and eight others wounded.

Last night more than 200 people gathered in Chester City Hall to discuss the problem. That in itself is a good thing, perhaps a sign that Chester residents are ready to deal with the problem.

Miller got up in front of that crowd and pointed a finger of blame.

At himself.

Miller is an ex-con and he apologized to the children of Chester for giving them exactly the wrong role model to follow.

At one time, Miller was all about the same vicious cycle of guns and drugs that continues to be the scourge of Chester. It doesn’t offer riches and fame, he warned young people. It offers the same fate that has befallen so many young people in the city – dead at a young age.

Today Miller is administrative coordinator of HOPE (Helping Others and ourselves Productively Excel). HIs message to young people? Been there, done that. And it doesn't work.

City officials indicated they will be placing a strict curfew on young people this summer. Starting June 1, those under 18 will have to be off the street from 9 p.m.-5 a.m.

Mayor Wendell Butler has been resistant to calls from the community to re-institute the kind of State of Emergency put in place in the wake of a string of fatal shootings last summer. That included a curfew for all residents, and a ban on public gatherings.

The curfew will help. But not as much as people like James Miller. The city needs a lot more like him.

Here’s hoping others will join his voice. And that the kids listen to them.

CLICK HERE for full coverage and video from last night's meeting.

Remembering Harry

 It should not go unnoticed that yesterday was a solemn day for Phillies fans.

It was two years ago that we lost the voice of summer – and the voice of the Phillies. Harry Kalas died.

Making the day even more poignant was the fact that the Phils were in Washington, where Harry suffered his massive heart attack.

Doesn’t seem like two years ago. If you’re like me, you still hear Harry’s voice every time you listen to a Phillies game. Think Harry and his sidekick, our old pal Richie Ashburn, would enjoy watching Roy Halladay employ his craft?

Summer is coming, but there will always be something missing. That soothing voice will not be there.

It will be missed.

Hard to believe, Harry.

CLICK HERE for Ryan Lawrence’s coverage of how the Phils marked the solemn occasion.


Nirvana for Philly fans

If there is a better time to be a Philly sports fan, I can’t think of it.

Roy Halladay went the distance last night in a 3-2 win over the Nats, and striking out the side after surrendering two runs in the ninth to preserve the win. Halladay’s mark now stands at 2-0. His only glitch was that no-decision on opening day.

In the process he preserved a rare feat the Phillies have going . They are one of just a couple of teams this season that has yet to lose two games in a row.

How many long losing streaks do you think this team is going to suffer through with this starting pitching staff? Yeah, thought so.

It’s also time to get Flyer-ed up as the orange and black head into another Stanley Cup run tonight with a first-round series vs. the Sabres.

I’d like to throw out a big thank-you to winger Danny Briere, who joined us for our 'Live From the Newsroom' Internet show last night during which we previewed the Flyers opening round.

I was the lone dissenter in the group. Beat writer Anthony SanFilippo, columnist Jack McCaffery and staff writer Bob Grotz all picked the Flyers. I like them, too, but I don’t think the series will be nearly that easy. I say at least six games.

I still wonder exactly who the Flyers’ No. 1 goaltender is, and just how quickly Peter Laviolette will bring out the hook should rookie Sergei Bobrovsky struggle tonight.

Then there’s the Sixers. The good news is that they are in the playoffs, facing Miami in a first-round match that opens Saturday. The bad news is that they are limping in to the playoffs. They lost again last night, in the process missing out on the chance to finish with a winning record.
Instead they wound up a dead even 41-41.

The Sixers lost five of their last six. Injuries had a lot to do with that. Lou Williams has been on the shelf. He’s the key to their bench rotation. Andre Iguodala has a balky knee. Elton Brand has a banged-up hand.

Even worse news is that in the playoffs the NBA is a half-court game, and that’s not their strength. Their running game likely will be blunted.

This does not bode well for the Sixers. It says here they’re lucky to win a game and knocked out of the playoffs by Miami in five.

Then there’s the Eagles. This time of year the talk radio lines are usually blazing with NFL Draft talk. Not this year. The NFL remains in limbo with the players locked out by the owners.

Not even the potential trade of Kevin Kolb can breathe life into the Eagles.

And why do I get the impression that the folks who rule over Nova Care nation are beside themselves at all the attention being heaped on the other three teams in town.

The Eagles an afterthought. There’s something you don’t see every day.

Gold Standard? Not unless they get their labor woes behind them and start talking about football again.

In the meantime, the Eagles will be looking up at their three counterparts.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Daily Numbers - April 13

The Daily Numbers: 5,000 dollars bail for secretary in D.A.’s office in Chester who pleaded guilty to leaking confidential information.

2.5 million dollars bail for teen suspect charged with weapons violations in last weekend’s fatal shooting at a teen party in Chester.

1 meeting on tap to tackle anti-violence measures in the city tonight in the wake of the latest shooting.

6,000 fine slapped on Marple Township by the DEP for a broken sewer line.

75, age of woman in Sharon Hill who suffered bites when she was attacked by a dog.

8 people busted in Folcroft in a series of arsons in which lawns were set on fire.

7,500 dollars raised by the residents at Maris Grove to help the earthquake and tsunami-ravaged regions of Japan.

3 shots fired from pellet gun that struck a puppy in South Jersey. Police are now hunting for the gunman.

70,000 IDs compromised in the theft of personal information by a former employee of the Family Planning Council in Philly.

4 sex assaults now under investigation at Kutztown University.

2 city unions that have endorsed Milton Street in his challenge to Philly Mayor Michael Nutter.

9,100 non-farm jobs added to work rolls across the region in February.

164-37 vote in Pa. House to OK what is called the “Castle Doctrine,” giving homeowners more leeway on use of deadly force to defend their homes.

2 hits including homer and double for Jayson Werth as the Nats smoked Joe Blanton and the Phils, 7-4.

10.45 ERA for Joe Blanton in his two starts this year.

1 run on 7 hits surrendered by Nats starter Livan Hernandez

1 game over .500 for the Sixers, who will try to lock up a winning record tonight in regular season finale against the Pistons.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Jayson Werth certainly looked like he was worth the money last night.



I Don’t Get It: What is with this weather? We’re now heading into mid-April and all we seem to get is clouds, rain and cool temperatures. We had one 8-degree day, is that suppose to hold us over until summer?


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the D.A.’s office, which held another school summit yesterday, this time focusing on the dangers of cyberbullying.


Quote Box: “You cannot erase something that goes out into cyberspace.”

- Dr. Kathleen Conn, speaking at cyberbullying summit at Neumann University.

Drawing a line in the sand in Chester

They will draw a line in the sand tonight in Chester.

They will go to the windows and yell, “We’re as mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore.”

They will rise with one voice and say: Enough.

The Chester community will gather for an anti-violence meeting in the wake of the weekend shooting at a teen party that left two young people dead and eight others wounded. No one has yet been charged in the shootings, though several teens are being held on weapons charges.

Among those in attendance will be Mayor Wendell Butler, members of Chester City Council, Chester’s Anti-Violence Task Force, Chester youth organizations and faith-based organizations.

The meeting will take place in the Chester City Hall Community Room.

I’ll be interested to see how many residents show up.

I would think the place should be packed.

We’ll be there. Will you?

Join us for Flyers Fever

Anyone suffering from Flyers Fever yet?

Maybe we can help.

We’ll be offering a special edition of Live From the Newsroom, our live-stream Internet show, tonight with a special preview of the Flyers chances as they roll into the Stanley Cup playoffs Thursday night vs.
the Buffalo Sabres at the Wells Fargo Center.

Joining me will be Flyers beat writer Anthony SanFilippo, and sports columnist Jack McCaffery.

And we’ll have a special guest. Joining us on a conference call will be Flyers’ star winger Danny Briere. He’ll be subbing for his coach, Peter Laviolette, who was supposed to be on the show but had a scheduling conflict.

What do you think of the Flyers chances? Are you upset at their late-season swoon and do you believe that does not bode well for the playoffs? Are they once again going to be let down by inconsistent goaltending?

If you have a question for Danny Briere or the Flyers in general, e-mail it to me at and I will put it to the Flyers star.

Or you can join us tonight via the live chat feature on the show. Simply log on to at 7 and join the conversation.

Let’s go, Flyers!

A Werth-y opponent

Make it Jayson Werth 1, Phillies 0.

That after Werth’s Nationals hammered Joe Blanton and the Phils last night, 7-4, in their first faceoff since Werth fled down I-95 in free agency.

And of course, let’s not forget that other number, the $126 million Washington showered on Werth to lure him away from Citizens Bank Park.

After one game, Werth looks to be worth it, at least from the Nats’

The right-fielder, shifted to the No. 3 hole in the Nats’ batting order after Ryan Zimmerman went on the DL, responded with his best game of the young season. Werth doubled and homered off his old buddy Blanton, who continues to suffer the same kind of April blues he seems to go through every year. I think it’s pretty same to say at this point that Blanton is not a cool-weather pitcher.

After the game, Werth tried to downplay the importance, calling it “business as usual.”

Dropping $126 million is not business as usual, especially not for the lowly Nats. They are depending on Werth to be the face of their franchise and a leader in the clubhouse.

Last night he delivered the good, and appeared to be “worth” every penny.

It will be interesting to see how Werth fares tonight against Phillies' ace Roy Halladay.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Daily Numbers - April 12

The Daily Numbers: 2.5 million dollar bail for teen charged with weapons violations in wake of Friday night shooting that left 2 dead, 8 wounded in Chester.

0 persons charged so far in the two fatalities.

2 years probation and a $1,400 fine for Upper Darby GOP operative Paul Summers in connection with falsified signatures on nominating petitions for now Congressman Pat Meehan. The Democrat running for D.A. is asking that he be resentenced.

82, yesterday’s high temperature. 84, the record for the day.

162 million dollar budget that will be the focus of public hearings in the Upper Darby School District.

120 employees losing their jobs at Wells Fargo in Chester. The company is axing 1,900 workers nationwide.

165 million dollar price tag, including its debt, paid for Tasty Baking Co., the maker of Tastykakes, by a Georgia firm.

866 employees whose jobs at Tasty’s Navy Yard plant in South Philly are safe for now.

1 pregnant woman struck and killed by a motorcyclist as she tried to cross Roosevelt Boulevard last night. Her unborn baby did not survive.

17, age of teen jogger attacked yesterday morning in Fairmount Park.

65, age of Conshohocken weight loss doctor charged with inappropriately touching several female patients during examinations.

28.7 billion dollar boost to the region’s economy derived from local hospitals, according to a new survey.

25 percent boost in cost of gasoline in less than 6 months across the region.

5,003 dollars a year, what average driver is spending a year on gas at $3.75 a gallon.

19 points, 13 rebounds and 1 rim-rattling dunk for Magic star Dwight Howard as Orlando beat the Sixers, 95-85.

126 million dollars, what the Nats paid Jayson Werth to lure him away from Phils last December.

.200 batting average and 1 home run for Werth so far this year.

.306 batting average and 2 home runs for Ben Francisco in right field so far this year for Phils.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Think Dwight Howard was delivering a message with a dunk for the ages last night over Jrue Holiday and the Sixers?



I Don’t Get It: Tensions remain high in Chester in the wake of the two shooting deaths Friday night. You would think police phones would be ringing off the hook.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Barb DiMario, one of the founders of the Delco Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, who will be giving up the reins as she moves from the area. She will be missed.


Quote Box: “I was horrified. It left me speechless.”

- Chester Mayor Wendell Butler, reacting to news of two shooting deaths at a party in the city at which eight others were wounded.

What's behind Chester shootings?

No one has been charged as yet in the two shooting deaths that occurred when gunfire broke out at a crowded teen party in Chester Friday night.

One teen has been charged with weapons violations. The 16-year-old found himself in front of Magisterial District Judge Spencer Seaton, who arraigned him and set bail. Seaton was not much in the mood for sob stories. Instead he decided to send a message.

Seaton set bail for the teen at $2.5 million. “You have to make a statement,” Seaton said. “These things have to stop.”

But that won’t happen until we know what sparked the shooting, and for now city officials and police are playing it pretty close to the vest.

But word on the street, whispered among citizens, in stores and on corners, is that this is not new. It is part of the same kind of “bad blood” and turf wars that have divided young people in Chester for years.

Police are now theorizing that an ongoing conflict between two groups of young people may be at the root of the most recent senseless round of gun violence in the city. You can read Cindy Scharr’s full story here.

In the meantime, there is something else people in the city can do to stop the violence. They can pick up the phone and let police know what they know.

Anyone with information about the Friday night shooting at the party at Minaret Temple can call Detective Randy Bothwell at 610-447-8430.

Now is not the time to be silent.