Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Daily Numbers - June 30

The Daily Numbers: 1, as in July 1, tomorrow, when the SPCA has vowed to get out of the animal control business. There’s no deal on a possible extension yet.

2,000 stray animals, how many the Delco SPCA took in last year. That’s about 66 percent of all strays in the county.

14, age of Chester teen shot while riding his bike in the city.

34, age of city man who pleaded guilty to killing a man in a Brandywine Hundreds hotel room in 2006.

63, age of grandmother from Clifton Heights charged in an altercation with her grandson. He’s 9.

109-92 vote in House to pass the Pa. budget and send it to Gov. Tom Corbett for his signature.

30 million dollars restored for public education and 300 million for state universities under the plan.

27.15 billion dollar budget that will still mean a lot of pain for a lot of people.

1 sheriff’s deputy killed during shootout with a suspect, who also was killed, in Berks County.

14, age of unlicensed teen driver who police say plowed into another car on Academy Road in Philly, killing 1 and sending 5 others to hospital 600 bucks stolen from a man in the Mayfair section of the city during a violent home invasion.

35 million dollars more in debt than they actually thought they were, at the Philadelphia School District.

1 dollar more, what you’ll pay to use bridges to Jersey starting tomorrow, including on the Commodore Barry.

2 Philly police officers injured in collision Wednesday night.

7 strong innings for Vance Worley in dazzling the Red Sox last night. He gave up just 5 hits and 1 run in the Phils 2-1 victory.

1-2-3 eighth and ninth innings for relievers Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo.

3 for 3 with a homer for ageless Raul Ibanez.

6 of 7 losses for the Red Sox, on a serious down streak.

0 for 4 for Big Papi David Ortiz, who was inserted into the lineup aside from his usual DH role in an attempt to spark the Boston offense.

46,612 people packed into Citizens Bank Park.

181 consecutive sellouts at The Bank, including post-season play.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Vance Worley in Game 2 vs. the Red Sox? We knew all about Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, but Worley was a worry. Not anymore.



I Don’t Get It: No tax or levy on natural gas extraction in Pa. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: You just have to love what the Phillies are doing. And the good vibe they that allow to reverberate all over the region.


Quote Box: “As of July 1, the municipalities that have contracted with us will not have contracts with the Delco SPCA.”

- SPCA spokesperson Justina Calgiano.

Life's a beach in Rehoboth


I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so.

One of my favorite places on Earth is pulling in more honors.

I’ve long been known as a Rehoboth man when it comes to the beach, and today there’s word that the Delaware shore town is among only four in the United States to earn top honors from the Natural Resources Defense Council as a Super Star for water quality.

Hell, I could have told them that.

Funny, they didn’t mention Grotto Pizza or Ryan’s Gems & Junk.

No accounting for taste, I guess.

And yes, I am counting the days until my annual summer sojourn to the beach.

I’ll be the one wrapped in towels, with a hat on, sitting under the umbrella.

With the big smile on his face.

You can read about Rehoboth’s honors here.

Or just call me. I’ll tell you all about it.

Eat your heart out, Wildwood.

No deal yet between county, SPCA


With less than 24 hours before the clock strikes midnight for animal control in Delaware County, there is still no agreement between the county and the SPCA.

The shelter has vowed that it will get out of the animal control business on Friday, July 1.

That means municipalities and police will no longer be able to take stray dogs and cats, as well as other critters there.

The two sides held talks yesterday, but no deal was announced.

Paul Luce has all the details here.

We will keep tabs on this story all day.

Hopefully the two sides will be able to scratch out a deal.

To hear the thoughts of animal control expert Dave Schlott, you can check the video from last night’s “Live From the Newsroom” show here.

Young guns - and arms - carry Phils

This was the game Phillies fans were worried about.

Sandwiched between their two left-handed aces, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, the Phils were rolling the dice in selecting a starter to take Roy Oswalt’s spot in the rotation for the middle game of this mid-summer interleague classic.

So who was that stud on the hill last night?

That would be young Vance Worley, who was doing his best imitation of a member of the Phab Phour in blowing away the powerful Boston Red Sox.

Hurley threw seven strong innings, limiting the Sox to just one run on five hits while striking out five.

Equally as impressive were the two young relievers who followed him to the mound.

Remember the Phils put closer Ryan Madson on the disabled list, where he joined Jose Contreras, who also took a turn closing games.

No problem.

Flame-throwing Michael Stutes threw a perfect 1-2-3 eighth, and Antonio Bastardo did the same in his closer role in the ninth.

The Phils will look for the sweep this afternoon with Hamels, maybe their best pitcher this season, moving up to take the ball.

Read Ryan Lawrence’s game story profiling Hurley’s outing here.

Right now the Phillies pitchers can do no wrong.

Just ask the “Sawx.” They're considering a name change. Instead of Red Sox, they're toying with Red-Faced Sox, as they continue to be dazzled by Phils' pitchers.



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Daily Numbers - June 29

The Daily Numbers: 295 positions eliminated in the Chester Upland School District budget. They’re hoping to bring back many of them 150 teachers, 27 classroom support teachers and 12 kindergarten teachers among those cut.

96.124 million dollar spending plan in Chester Upland.

10 million dollars in additional funds restored to the district by the state Senate.

15 male teens facing juvenile petitions in connection with flash mob that looted the Sears store in Upper Darby.

3 young adults charged in a flash mob incident in Philadelphia.

25 million dollars, what the appearance of Tiger Woods in last year’s AT&T National golf tournament at Aronimink meant to the region’s economy. That’s expected to be down this year because Tiger is injured and not playing.

27.15 billion dollar Pa. budget OK’d by state Senate last night.

286 million dollars in state funding restored for education by state Senate.

770 jobs being eliminated by Campbell Soup worldwide, including 130 at their Camden HQ.

600 bucks stolen from a man in the Mayfair section of the city during a violent home invasion.

4 black stones weighing 150 pounds each and valued at $10,000 a pop stolen from front yard of residence in Wilmington.

60,000 bottles of Tylenol recalled because of a musty smell.

1 man charged with shooting up a bar in Philly, killing 1 and injuring 5 others.

32 straight scoreless innings for Phils pitcher Cliff Lee.

3 consecutive complete games.

5-0 record for Lee in June, with an ERA of 0.21.

2 RBI for Lee in June, while he has not given up a run. He had a sac fly last night.

1950, last time a Phillies pitcher had 3 consecutive shutouts. That would be Robin Roberts.

4 for 34, what Domonic Brown was coming into the game. His 2-run home run got the Phils off to 2-0 lead and they never looked back.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Lee has knocked in two runs and given up none in June. Un-be-LEE-vable.



I Don’t Get It: So much for a tax or fee on the extraction of natural gas from the state’s Marcellus Shale region. That’s now off to the fall. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Limerick Landscaping, which is offering free services to families of troops depoyed overseas this summer. Bravo.


Quote Box: “With this new money that we have, we are hoping to bring back some of those positions. Our goal is to make our district whole.”

- Chester Upland Superintendent Joyce Wells, on learning that the state Senate restored $10 million in funding to her district.

More hard knocks in Chester Upland

The cavalry came to the rescue last night in the great Pennsylvania education funding debate.

But you’ll have to excuse the folks in Chester Upland if they don’t feel all that good about it.

As they pledged they would, the state Senate last night restored $286 million in education funding cuts. Chester Upland is now in line for an additional $10 million.

But that still left them staring at a $10 million cut in funding.

And last night the ax fell.

The school board went ahead with a budget plan that slashed 40 percent of the district’s staff. That includes 150 teachers, 16 classroom aides, and six counselors, 295 employees in total.

You can read John Kopp's story from the meeting here.

The district is hopeful many of them can be hired back, once the money is restored.

But the district is not out of the financial woods just yet. The biggest hit they are taking is in the area of reimbursements for charter school students. Chester just happens to be home to the largest charter school in the state, Chester Community Charter.

Consider this: With almost 40 percent of its students in charter schools, last year Chester Upland was reimbursed for $11 million for these students. This year they will get nada. Zip. All that funding has been cut.

Just another chapter in the Schools of Hard Knocks.

Clock still ticking on SPCA deadline

Hear that clock ticking?

That’s the sound of the seconds clicking down until the Delaware County SPCA is due to get out of the animal control business on Friday.


Actually, most believe the SPCA will accept a request from the county to extend their move in order to push their mission of becoming a no-kill facility.

But neither side has officially announced an agreement.

Tonight, on our weekly live-stream Internet program, 'Live From the Newsroom.' we once again will be focusing on the issue of the SPCA and the looming animal control crisis in the county.

Joining us will be someone with a ton of knowledge about the animal control business in Delaware County. Dave Schlott is a longtime animal activist who has served as animal control officers for many towns.

Schlott has some strong beliefs about what is going on in Delaware County, in particular when it comes to the SPCA.

We also have invited a representative from the county to come on and detail exactly what the plan is come Friday. We did likewise with the SPCA, but they are unavailable.

We also want to know what you think. If you have a question concerning the SPCA, email it to me at, or you can log in at tonight and join our live chat.

Friday is just two days away. Do you know what you’re going to do with that stray dog or cat?

Join us tonight at 7 for ‘Live From the Newsrooom.’


Move over, Andrew Toney.

Cliff Lee is the new Boston Strangler in Philly sports.

All over the region this morning, Phillies fans are doing their best Rocky Balboa imitation in trying to describe what Cliff Lee did to the Red Sox last night.

Was Lee any good?


After a bit a hiccup at the start of the season, Lee has heated up with the weather.

Right now he’s on fire.

Lee uncorked his third consecutive shutout last night as the Phils blanked the Red Sox, 5-0, in Game 1 of a big interleague series at Citizens Bank Park.

Just for good measure, Lee drove in an insurance run as well. That gives him two Runs Batted In in June. That is one more than he has given up this month.

Lee has now pitched 32 consecutive innings without giving up a run.

In this age of relief specialists, including set-up men and closers, what Lee is doing is almost unheard of. And no less spectacular.

You have to go back to 1950 and Hall of Famer Robin Roberts for the last time a Phillies pitcher has uncorked three straight shutouts.

He did not surrender a hit until the fifth, and only surrendered one other knock to the heavy-hitting BoSox lineup.

Lee finished with five strikeouts and two walks.

The lefty whose return to the Phils – in the process shunning more money from the vaunted New York Yankees – made him something of a folk hero in these parts, struggled at the start of the year.

He entered June 4-5 with a 3.94 ERA, very un-Lee like.

But in June Lee has been sizzling, going 5-0 with a 0.21 ERA.

Another sellout crowd that packed Citizens Bank Park gave their hero several standing ovations, including when his sacrifice fly drove in a run to make it 3-0 Phils.

It likely will not be the last he gets this season.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Daily Numbers - June 28

The Daily Numbers: 50 people on crowded basketball court in Darby Township when gunshots ring out, wounding 2.

0 people who have come forward to tell police what they know.

500 dollar fine for violating the curfew in both Darby Borough and Darby Township.

80 full- and part-time positions eliminated in budget cuts in William Penn School District.

600,000 dollar deficit still hanging over district. They’re hoping for some more state funds to make up the district.

4 percent tax hike in the Chichester School District spending plan.

13 positions cut in Chi.

2 toddlers who escaped injury when bullets were fired into a home on Morton Avenue in Chester.

181,000 dollar Medicaid fraud charges lodged against an Upper Darby man.

3 days before Pa. is expected to have its budget in place. It’s still being worked on in Harrisburg.

27.15 billion dollar blueprint that cuts spending by 3 percent.

32 people shot in 3 days over the weekend in Philly; 6 fatally; 1 other person was stabbed to death.

30 of the state’s 500 districts that have frozen wages, as urged by Gov.

Tom Corbett.

0 arrests in a flash mob attack on a couple in Philadelphia that left a woman with a broken leg.

23 inning scoreless streak for Cliff Lee, who goes to the hill tonight in the first of 3 as Phils tangle with the Red Sox.

8-5 Cliff Lee vs. 6-2 Josh Beckett.

1.86 ERA for Beckett, best in baseball.

4 of 6 games in the series won by the Red Sox last year.

1 more Flyer shown the door yesterday. Darrell Powe was traded to Minnesota for a draft pick. The team did sign Andreas Nodle.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.The Phils arms vs. the Boston bats. They always say good pitching beats good hitting. We’ll see about that.



I Don’t Get It: There was a crowd of maybe 50 people on a basketball court in Darby Township when shots rang out, but no one saw anything and no one is talking to police. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Red Sox vs. Phillies. A preview of the Fall Classic?

Let’s hope so.


Quote Box: “This has been a particularly trying time in public education in Pennsylvania.”

- William Penn School Board President Charlotte Hummel.


2 more Delco school districts face music


The hits just keep coming for the “Schools of Hard Knocks.”

You might remember that is the name we gave our series a few weeks back in the increasingly difficult financial straits battering so many local districts.

Last night two more Delco districts faced the music.

You can read all about the bleak situation in William Penn here.

It’s not much better in Chichester. Read about it here.

William Penn did not hike taxes, but it did slash jobs and programs.

And the district is still short $600,000, which it hopes will be made up for with increased state funding, which is still being debated in the budget process in Harrisburg.

William Penn eliminated 80 full- and part-time positions.

Out in Chichester, residents will be asked to pay more in taxes. The board approved a 4 percent real estate tax hike. That’s actually down from the proposed 4.5 percent cut, and is the results of shaving $200,000 from the budget.

Thirteen positions are being cut in Chichester.

Tonight all eyes will be on Chester Upland. The school board there is expected to vote on its budget, and the possibility of laying off as much as 40 percent of its teachers.

Schools of Hard Knocks? Oh, yeah.

Simmer in the city (and Delco, too)

The numbers are just staggering.

And just as frightening.

Over the weekend, the period from Friday to Sunday, police report 32 people were shot on the streets of Philadelphia. Six of them proved fatal. A seventh person died in a stabbing.

Delaware County was not immune. Gunshots rang out on a basketball court in Darby Township. Two people were wounded.

Summer is all of one week old. Two Delaware County towns, Darby Borough and Darby Township, have enacted strict curfews and states of emergency in an attempt to quell street violence.

Last week, in announcing a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Obama indicated he was time to stop nation-building overseas and focus on nation-building at home.

Maybe instead of the wars we’re fighting abroad, we can also focus on the war being waged on the streets of our towns and cities.

Fall Classic preview? Not exactly

Don’t ask me how, but we’re bombarded with reports that we are about to witness a preview of the Fall Classic.

Before July 4th.

Make no mistake, this three-game set that pits the Phillies vs. the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park is an intriguing matchup. The Phillies, despite an anemic offense and a series of debilitating injuries, are sitting pretty with the best record in baseball, clearly the class of the National League.

And many pundits believe the Red Sox just might be the best team in baseball.

But a lot can happen between now and October.

Take last year for example. In the weeks before the All-Star game, no one was talking about the San Francisco Giants.

Oddly enough, exactly one year ago, the Giants were finishing off an interleague series of their own with the Red Sox. Giants’ ace Tim Lincecum lasted only three innings, tying the shortest outing of his career at the time as the Red Sox rolled to a 5-1 win. Boston took two of three in the series.

The loss dropped the Giants to 40-33, three and a half games behind the Padres in the NL West.

Anyone remember how the 2010 season wound up? Those Giants wound up sticking a fork in the Phils’ plans for a third straight trip to the World Series.

In other words, it’s early. Very early. Baseball is a marathon. We’re not even at the All-Star break yet.

Having said that, enjoy what should be an early summer classic. Whether or not it will be a preview of the Fall Classic, well, that remains to be seen.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Daily Numbers - June 27

The Daily Numbers: 2 people shot on basketball court in Darby Township.

10 shots fired in the incident, while 25 people milled around the site.

2 towns that now have implemented strict curfews in the wake of violence incidents.

500 dollar fine for violating the curfew in Darby Township.

5 incidents involving gunfire that led Darby Borough to put in their own curfew on Friday night. Anyone caught on the street from 8 p.m.-6 a.m.

is subject to stop-and-frisk procedure.

40 young people who stormed into the Sears store in Upper Darby in a ‘flash mob’ incident.

22 people wounded in violent weekend in Philadelphia.

1 killed, 4 injured when gunfire erupted at a street party in Fairmount Park.

1 killed, 5 injured when a man who was asked to leave a bar in northwest Philly returned and opened fire.

5 year tour of duty completed by Janine Curran of Ridley Township, who was welcomed home this weekend.

91,000 grant awarded to Lansdowne for sewer work.

40 cent dip in gas prices in the region since early May.

3.71, what we’re paying on average at the pump in Philly.

3.76, what we were paying a week ago; $2.78 at this time last year.

4 days until the deadline for Pennsylvania to have a new budget in place.

5 dollar bridge tolls to cross into New Jersey, including on the Commodore Barry, starting Friday. That’s up a buck.

23 people hurt when school bus overturns on I-81 near Chambersburg.

10 wins for Roy Halladay, who went distance yesterday to beat the A’s.

4 hits for Jimmy Rollins, who went 4 for 4.

8 straight starts by Halladay that the Phils have won.

166 consecutive sellouts for the Phils afer 45,863 packed Citizens Bank Park yesterday.

3 huge games vs. the Red Sox starting Tuesday night.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Dom Brown got something of a message from Charlie Manuel after failing to run out a ground ball Saturday. He was summoned to the manager’s office after the game, and was not in the lineup Sunday.



I Don’t Get It: Vandals have struck again at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Philadelphia, destroying a sign for the site. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: To officials in both Darby Borough and Darby Township, who wasted no time in putting tough new curfews in place as they battle a spike in gun incidents in their towns.


Quote Box: “If I could, I would charge the parents.”

- Upper Darby police Superintendent Mike Chitwood, in the wake of a flash mob incident in which 40 kids invaded the Sears store and stole merchandise.

A tale of 2 towns, 2 crackdowns

This was unquestionably not the start to summer that officials of two Delco towns envisioned.

It started Friday night in Darby Borough, where five violent incidents in a 72-hour period sparked officials to enact a state of emergency.

Mayor Helen Thomas vowed, “we are taking the borough back.”

A tough new curfew mandates citizens be off the streets from 8 p.m.-6 a.m. Anyone out at that time is subject to a stop-and-frisk procedure, with a focus on groups of three or more. Officials say they will keep the measure in place for 30 days.

Police say they made several arrests on Friday night and were pleased at the effect of the curfew.

Just two nights later, the same scenario was playing out in nearby Darby Township.

Gunfire erupted on a basketball court on Hook Road. Two men were shot.
At least 10 shots were fired as 25 people milled around the scene.

So officials decided to follow Darby Borough’s lead. Darby Township has now implemented a 9 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew.

Welcome to summer in Delaware County.

Big week for school budgets

Start the countdown clock. We are four days away from July1, which can mean only one thing.

Pennsylvania is once again staring down the barrel of the mandate to have a state spending plan in place by July 1.

Officials continue to sound confident that they will do something this week that Ed Rendell was not able to do during his eight years in the governor’s mansion. That is deliver a spending plan on time.

That likely will not make it any more palatable to local schools officials, who continue to lament steep cuts in education funding.

Two more districts will meet tonight to come to grips with their budgets. Chichester officials are looking at raising taxes 4.5 percent, and that was whittled down from the original 6.1 percent, to close a $1.7 million deficit.

Things are even more dire in William Penn, where the board already has rejected a call to eliminate the district kindergarten program.

That does not solve their problems. They are still up to their necks in red ink, with a $3 million deficit. Cuts will have to be made. We’ll find out just how deep tonight.

In the meantime, GOP officials are working behind the scenes to restore some of the education funding sliced by Gov. Tom Corbett.

It should be a momentous week.

Bring on the Red Sox

The Red Sox are coming! The Red Sox are coming!

Or, as my Boston-educated daughter corrects me, the “Sawx.”

Forget everything that has happened up to this point in the Phillies season. This is the series everyone has been waiting for.

The Boston Red Sox, anointed by many as the best team in baseball and fully recovered from an almost unexplainable miserable start to the season, invade Citizens Bank Park for a three-game set starting Tuesday night.

And the series will kick off with a dream matchup: Cliff Lee vs. Josh Beckett.

Just how important this series has become is probably best seen by what the Phils have done to their pitching rotation. Roy Halladay pitched a complete game shutout yesterday, so he is not available.

After Lee pitches the opener, the Phils were looking at the possibility of trotting Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick out there.

Not any more. The team announced Sunday they will push up Cole Hamels’
next start and throw the ace lefty on Thursday night. Kendrick will then start the opener of a series in Toronto next weekend.

The Bosox might be thought as the best team in baseball, but it’s the Phils who still have the best record, sitting pretty at 49-30, a .620 winning clip, best in baseball.

Boston actually is a half game behind the Yankees in the AL East, at 45-32.

Let the games begin.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Daily Numbers - June 24

The Daily Numbers: 800 bucks, what a woman says she agreed to pay for that cow that got loose in Upper Darby last week. Now she’s in legal flap with the slaughterhouse.

4 injured in chemical fire at company in Aston.

30 pounds of human vomit discovered in bags in parking lot of Radnor store. More than I needed to know already.

1 person shot after a police chase that ended at 5th and Pine in Darby last night.

32, age of driver expected to surrender today in hit-run case in which convenience store worker was literally rammed through store window.

249 dollar increase in taxes under budget adopted by Haverford School Board.

0 tax increase in the Rose Treee Media School District.

210 graduates from Glen Mills High School last night. That’s the last high school in the county to do the honors. Kudos to the Class of 2011.

58, age of former Del. pediatrician who was convicted yesterday of all

24 counts of sexual abuse lodged against him.

2 woman being sought after they were captured on videotape preying on a shopper at an Aston supermarket.

45,000 state workers who have a new contract that combined wage freeze with hikes in future years.

108-88 vote by which Pa. House OK’d bill to require ID by voters.

33,600 homes in Pa. now headed by same-sex unmarried couples. That’s up

58 percent from decade ago.


15 DUIs racked up by man in Pittsburgh.

12-2 shellacking the Cardinals dropped on the Phillies last night.

2 of 3, what Phillies still took in St. Louis.

2 innings, all the Phils got out of starter Roy Oswalt, who is complaining again about back pain.

4 runs on 5 hits surrendered by Oswalt.

19-17 record for Phils on the road.

2 key Flyers sent packing. The team dealt Captain Mike Richards and leading scorer Jeff Carter.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Every Phillies fan likely was grabbing at their back on hearing that Roy Oswalt is once again suffering from similar back pain.



I Don’t Get It: With his driving record, you wonder when Ryan Dunn was ever going to learn about the dangers of speed.


Today’s Upper: To officials in Chester, who are sharing in the belt-tightening they are asking all city employees to make by cutting their own salaries.


Quote Box: “What you do with your time, how you spend your time, is all in your hands.”

- Curtis Johnson, of the school’s board, addressing graduates at Glen Mills School.

End of the Ryan Dunn saga


Ever wonder what happens to a car that crashes at 140 mph.


This is the sad end of the Ryan Dunn saga.

This mangled piece of metal used to be Dunn’s Porsche 911. It turned into his casket when it slammed into a guardrail, flew into the woods and burst into flames.

A passenger in the car with the ‘Jackass’ star also was killed.

Just seems like such a waste.

Moo-ving story from Upper Darby

The case of the cow on the lam has sparked a court fight.

Why am I not surprised.

Want to read a moo-ving story this morning? Check this one out.

Smile, you're on Candid Camera!

We have more proof today of just how much of our lives is captured on videotape.

Esepcially when you’re up to no good.

If you’re thinking about ripping off a woman’s purse in the supermarket, better look around first. It’s likely you will find yourself starring on Criminal Candid Camera.

Store surveillance cameras are increasingly being used by crime-fighters. In this case, police are seeking two women in an Aston incident.

You can check out their photos here.

Then there is the case of the Yeadon hit-run. This is now one of the most-viewed pieces of video on the Internet. It shows a car clearly slamming into a convenience store workers, literally hurtling him through the store window.

You can see that video here.

Police have the car, and they’ve identified the woman they believe was behind the wheel. The driver was expected to turn herself in yesterday.

That didn’t happen. Now it is expected today.

She likely will be greeted by a phalanx of cameras.

It won’t be the first time.

Smile, you’re on Candid Camera.

Ed Snider rolls the dice

No one can ever accuse Flyers’ owner Ed Snider of not being willing to take a risk to better his team.

The Flyers have not won a Cup in a quarter century. They are coming off a disappointing early exit from the playoffs.

Snider didn’t like what he saw, either from the bizarre roulette of goaltenders employed by Coach Peter Laviolette, nor from some of the studs who were supposed to form the core of the team.

Yesterday, Snider pulled the trigger.

He pushed the plunger and blew up the core of a team that went to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals just two years ago.

Captain Mike Richards? Gone.

Star forward Jeff Carter? Outtahere.

In goal? Star netminder Ilya Bryzgalov, tucked in securely with a nine-year contract.

Read the full story here.

The Flyers sent Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets for 21-year-old winger Jakub Voracek and a draft pick, and Richards to the L.A. Kings for Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and a second-round pick.

All this on a day when the Sixers were taking part in the NBA Draft, getting a big man out of USC, and Phillies fans were wincing as Roy Oswalt left last night’s blowout loss to the Cards in the second inning for pain I his back.

Anyone remember the Eagles?

Flyers fans will long remember this day. And an owner who is not afraid to make a change.

Bottom line? This was a message from Snider, both to his front office and the guys in the locker room.

Win. Now.

Or my hands just might be back on the plunger.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Daily Numbers - June 23

The Daily Numbers: .196, blood-alcohol level of ‘Jackass’ star Ryan Dunn at time of crash that took his life and that of his passenger.

140 mph, how fast police say he was going when he lost control of his car.

32, age of driver who is being sought after surveillance video showed her plowing into a convenience store clerk, literally ramming him through window. She then fled the scene.

5,000 pay cut for officials in Chester, which was approved by city council yesterday.

30,000 dollars a year, how much the move is expected to save the city.

21,192 in fraudulent transactions allegedly racked up by 2 brothers who police say ripped off a U.S. Postal Service credit card.

100 dollar fee for building inspections in Upland that is drawing complaints from landlords.

1.9 percent tax hike on tap in the Interboro School District.

54 years of parochial school education coming to an end at St. Kevin’s in Springfield. The archdiocese reiterated yesterday that they will shut the school down because of declining enrollment.

3,000 to 6,000 dollar tuition hike, what officials said would have to be put in place to make the school fiscally sound.

10.5 percent pay hike over length of contract under new deal for support staff at Crozer-Chester Hospital. Their nurses continue to negotiate a new contract.

2 snow leopards born at the Philadelphia Zoo.

1 person killed when violence thunderstorms rumbled across central New Jersey last night.

10,000 U.S. troops that will leave Afghanistan by the end of the year, President Obama announced last night.

33,000 who will depart by next summer.

2 consecutive shutouts for Cliff Lee, as the Phils blanked the Cards, 4-0.

.287 ERA for the lefty, who is now sporting an 8-5 record.

6-1, Lee’s mark since he walked 6 in a 3-1 loss at St. Louis on May 16.

7 straight balls thrown by Lee to open the game. He got out of it with the help of a double-play.

0 goals scored in last night’s Union game at PPL Park in Chester. Compelling stuff.

9 run eighth inning that propelled Phils to 10-2 rout over Cardinals last night.

11 hits, all singles, for the Phils.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.The Phillie Phanatic was taken to the hospital last night after getting hit in the neck with a foul ball. He should be fine.



I Don’t Get It: A man will enter a plea in the case where police say his son pulled his own teeth because he was not receiving dental care.


Today’s Upper: To the city of Chester, which is holding a gun buy-back program this Saturday. Hope lots of them get turned in.


Quote Box: “I’m surprised the guy is still alive.”

- Yeadon Sgt. David Splain, on the video that shows a convenience store being struck by a hit-run driver.

A different kind of reality

The pain on their faces was evident.

They arrived at a funeral home in West Chester to come to grips with a kind of reality with which they were unfamiliar.

There is a weird irony in that.

Clad in black to match the mood, they had come to pay their respects to their friend, Ryan Dunn, star of the ‘Jackass’ reality TV and movie series.

Among them was Bam Margera, the leader of the troupe that gained fame by performing a variety of wild pranks and stunts, the kind of reality that draws millions of eyeballs to TV and movie screens.

That was not the reality they confronted last night.

This reality was, well, for want of another word, all too real.

Reality is what happens when you drive 140 mph. Reality is what happens when, as police allege, you get behind the wheel when you are two times over the limit for driving under the influence.

I'm not here to condemn Dunn. We've all done things that we regret. Most of us live to talk about them, to shake our heads at things we try not to remember. I know I did plenty when I was young.

That does not change the extreme sense of loss that has permeated the last few days since Dunn, 34, and a passenger in his car, Zachary Hartwell, 30, were killed when Dunn’s car careened off Route 322, flew over a guardrail into the woods and burst into flames.

I saw it again last night as I drove home past the accident scene, and again witnessed a large crowd gathered there, standing in the twilight, many lighting candles. I assume many of them had just come from the service.

Dunn clearly had a thing for fast cars; he has a long list of driving infractions, most involving driving too fast and at times under the influence.

But last night was not the time to dwell on that.

If anything good can come out of this eerie tragedy, it is perhaps the word of one mother who took her daughter to the crash scene, not just to gawk, but to learn a lesson.

It’s a very tough lesson that was inscribed on the faces of all those people going in and out of the funeral home last night.

This is reality. It’s not a TV show. It’s not the movies. You don’t get another take. It’s final.

That’s a kind of reality none of us is prepared for, that we don’t think about, that intrudes on the good times.

It doesn’t care. It comes anyhow.

That’s reality. And it hurts.

More bad news at St. Kevin's

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia wants the good parishioners of St.

Kevin’s in Springfield to know that they have heard your pleas.

And it doesn’t make any difference.

St. Kevin’s School is still closing.

That was the message delivered by the archdiocese. And not even a massive billboard on the Schuylkill beseeching Archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali to reconsider, saying he had been given bad information, was going to change their minds.

Instead the reiterated the cold, hard numbers, that low registration figures for next year coupled with a parish debt means that the school will not reopen.

You can read the full story here.

Apparently the decision to close the school was in fact reviewed, but the same decision was reached.

Mary Mackey, who joined me last week for a live-stream session of our ‘Live From the Newsroom’ show, remains undaunted. She still wants to hear from the one person who has remained silent in all this.

That would be Rigali.

I hope she’s not holding her breath.

Gen. Lee back in command

Wasn’t it just a couple of weeks ago that we were grumbling about whether we were getting our money’s worth from Cliff Lee?

Yes, baseball is a long season.

And Lee is rounding into form quite nicely.

He has now pitched consecutive shutouts, last night blanking the Cardinals on just six hits.

Oddly enough, Lee was a bit shaky in the bottom of the first, starting the game with seven straight balls.

But Lee got a double-play to end that threat and cruised from that point, allowing just one Cardinals runner to reach third base, and again being rescued by a double play.

Lee’s ERA now sits at a sizzling 2.87 and raised his record to 8-5.

Ryan Howard continues to torture his home town Cardinals, rocketing another ball the other way into the left field seats for a home run. The Phils also got a homer from Jimmy Rollins to beat former Phil Kyle Lohse.

Don’t worry about Lee. He once again looks like the dominant pitcher that captured the hearts of Phils’ fans before being shown the door. The decision to bring him back proved one of the most popular in Philly sports history.

You might say Lee provided an answer to those who were starting to criticize his work.

Blank you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Daily Numbers - June 22

The Daily Numbers: 130 mph, how fast police say ‘Jackass’ star Ryan Dunn was going when his car crashed, killing him and a passenger.

2 men charged in shooting and robbery in Glenolden that left man in critical condition.

89, age of Springfield man charged in the murder of his ailing 87-year-old wife. He has died in prison.

47 jobs cut under the Upper Darby School District budget, which also includes a 2.7 percent tax hike.

6 physical education teachers gettting pink slips in U.D.

110 dollar tax hike OK’d in Springfield.

1,500 reward posted in Upper Darby for information on man who has been terrorizing convenience store workers in a string of holdups.

100 dollar ShopRite gift card you can get in exchange for a gun at Saturday’s gun buyback program in Chester.

1,000 fish killed in that problem a week ago at Ridley Park Lake. The DEP now says oxygen levels in the lake fell too low.

13 years in prison for man charged with scamming people in a mortgage fraud case.

1 inmate killed, 3 injured in stabbing spree at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philly.

14.6 million dollar mortgage foreclosure scam run by couple who were sentenced to lengthy jail terms.

3 people shot in Frankford section of Philly last night.

100 miles, Philly to Harrisburg, how far a city teacher is planning to run to protest budget cuts for education.

5 to 20 years in jail for a Philly man who pleaded guilty in the brutal attack on a bicyclist during a ‘flash mob’ incident.

9 run eighth inning that propelled Phils to 10-2 rout over Cardinals last night.

11 hits, all singles, for the Phils.

1 run on 4 hits over 6 innings given up by Phils starter Roy Halladay, who did not figure in the decision.

7 starts this year in which Halladay has given up 1 or fewer runs.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.That wild 9-run inning took 42 minutes to play. Just enough to wreak havoc on our print deadlines.



I Don’t Get It: Police say Ryan Dunn was going 130 mph when he crashed his car, killing himself and a passenger. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to word that the SPCA likely will be willing to extend its July 1 deadline to get out of the animal control business.


Quote Box: “I’m really happy to hear that they are now starting to make a turn.”

- County Councilman Mario Civera, on hearing that the SPCA is now willing to extend its deadline for getting out of animal control, as the county had requested.


Breakthrough for county and SPCA


There’s some good news on the animal control front this morning.

With just a few days before the Delaware County SPCA’s vow to get out of the animal control business on July 1, in effect turning away strays and putting them directly in the lap of municipalities, the shelter looks like it might be having a change of heart.

That’s a good thing.

The SPCA now indicates it might go along with an official request from the county to extend the deadline while the county builds a new facility.

You can read the full story here.

And don’t miss columnist Gil Spencer’s take on the issue here. Gil as usual has some interesting comments on this whole animal control issue.

A night devoted to community journalism

If you’re reading this blog – and I know you all are, right? – then you’re familiar with our online presence,

But what you might not be as familiar with are the varied voices that we are now bringing to our coverage.

Yes, we continue to have a strong voice in the community. And we will continue to report the news and offer our opinions on issues we deem important here in Delaware County.

But we no longer are fooling ourselves that we are the only voice around these parts.

And that’s why, more and more, we are looking to engage the community to join us in this process.

Tonight you will get a chance to meet some of the people who are partnering with us in this project.

Our weekly live-stream Internet broadcast, ‘Live From the Newsroom,’

will focus on our efforts at community engagement and feature some of the bloggers whose work now regularly appears on

Stefan Roots blogs from Chester; both Tedman O’Hara and Kent Davidson are keeping tabs on one of the county’s hot spots, the county seat in Media; and Mary Ann Fiebert produces our wildly popular daily Top 10 blog.

If you have a question either for what we are doing or for one of our panelists, email me at You also can log in tonight and take part in the live chat part of the program.

If you’d like to join us in our community journalism endeavors, you can CLICK HERE for more information.

This is the chance to have your voice heard. Don’t just sit back and watch. Get involved.

About that Phillies game

Last night’s Phillies game started at 8:15, which means I was sitting on pins and needles all night.

Not because the Phils’ offense continued its funk, instead I spent most of the night worriedly glancing at my watch. I'm doing that a lot at night these days.

Here's why.

With the Phils’ bats in a coma, things were going swimmingly – at least for my personal deadline demons – right up until the top of the eighth. That’s when the Phils, with a lot of help form the Cardinals’ pitchers, scored nine runs to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 10-2 rout.

And in the process they blew right through our new earlier deadlines.

The game lasted 3 hours and 12 minutes, putting the last out at 11:27 p.m., just out of reach of our deadline.

That’s why you will find no game story and no boxscore in the print edition of today’s Daily Times.

We do have our normal full coverage online.

You can read Ryan Lawrence’s game story from St. Louis here.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Daily Numbers - June 21

The Daily Numbers: 34, age of ‘Jackass’ star Ryan Dunn, who was killed in 1-car crash in Chester County.

1 passenger in the car who also was killed. That would be 30-year-old Zachary Hartwell, of West Chester.

2 arsons and 3 people shot in the city of Chester. Not a good sign as we roll into the first official day of summer.

24 doughnuts for $23,417, what students from William Penn were “selling”

outside the state Capitol in Harrisburg yesterday as they protested education funding cuts.

2 20-foot-lone pieces of copper literally ripped off from SEPTA trolley lines in Upper Darby.

100 years being celebrated at the Idle Hour Tennis Club in Drexel Hill.

1 hour on the lam for a cow that escaped from a slaughterhouse in Upper Darby.

2 million dollars secured by Darby Borough for their new rec center.

40 people who showed up at a public hearing on proposed education cuts in Chester.

52, age of man in Philly who police say killed his 64-year-old wife and then called 911 to inform police.

48-3 vote by drivers at Amoroso’s to go on strike against the baker in Philadelphia.

27.3 billion dollar budget being pushed by Gov. Tom Corbett. He’s standing firm against any increase in spending.

45-5 vote by the Pa. Senate to expand rights of citizens to use deadly force. The ‘Castle Doctrine’ bill now goes to Corbett for his signature.

5 to 20 years in jail for a Philly man who pleaded guilty in the brutal attack on a bicyclist during a ‘flash mob’ incident.

14, where Comcast ranks in trade mag’s list of top national advertisers.

5.7 million dollars, how much Comcast spent on lobbying efforts to promote deal that gave it control over NBC Universal.

3 games for the Phils vs. the Cardinals starting tonight.

0 games that will be played by St. Louis star Albert Pujols, who will miss 4-6 weeks with a wrist fracture.

80, age of Jack McKeon, named manager of the Florida Marlins yesterday.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.The Eagles are making news, even amid the lockout. And it’s not good.


Linebacker Akeem Jordan was charged in Virginia with misdemeanor assault.


I Don’t Get It: Going to the scene of a fatal accident scene. Seems kind of creepy to me.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to those in the Ridley School District who are looking to raise the money to save the high school’s Hi-Q team.


Quote Box: “The most important group of folks that’s been missing from the process is you.”

- State Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, D-159, of Chester, to citizens at public hearing on budget cuts.

The Ryan Dunn phenomenon

I guess you could call me out of the loop. Or just old. That’s what most people do.

I usually have a pretty good feel for news. So I was a little perplexed when the buzz started going through the newsroom yesterday morning concerning a fatal car crash in Chester County and reports that it involved Ryan Dunn.

Which left me with just one question. Who is Ryan Dunn?

Thus started my continuing education in new media and the people who make a living from it.

Ryan Dunn was one of the stars of the ‘Jackass’ reality TV and movie series. And yes, his death turned out to be a very big deal. Thousands of people went to our website yesterday to read about the accident that took his life and view the videos of the crash scene and people reacting to his death.

At one point yesterday more than 60,000 people had watched the video, both on our site and those of our sister papers.

You can watch the video here.

I had heard of ‘Jackass.’ I know of its star, Bam Margera. He's a native of the West Chester area, as were many of his pals who formed the heart of the show that often involved crude jokes and pranks.

But I can admit that I have never seen a single ‘Jackass’ episode. And I had no clue who Ryan Dunn was. I do now.

At the time of his death, Dunn was behind the wheel of a Porsche 911. It is a car built for speed, and Dunn was well-known for his affinity for fast cars. In their preliminary report, West Goshen police indicated speed may be a factor in the crash, in which Dunn's Porsche apparently missed the ramp for an exit, flew over the guardrail, slammed into the woods and then burst into flames. A passenger in the car also was killed.

There is also the matter of what Dunn had been doing before the crash.

I don’t know whether Dunn was driving too fast at the time of the crash.

Nor do I know if he had been drinking earlier in the day.

What I do know is his death had an amazing effect on people. As it turns out most people described him as a genuinely nice guy. Not exactly what I think of when I consider the 'Jackass' genre.

I got one final reminder of who Ryan Dunn was and what he meant to people on my drive home last night. As it turns out, my commute takes me right past the spot where Dunn’s crash occurred.

I was stunned to see the crowd that had gathered at about 7:30, about 17 hours after the crash. There must have been 30 people milling around, some carrying flowers, others lighting candles.

Rest in peace, Ryan Dunn. It’s pretty obvious you’ll be missed, even by an editor who had no idea who you were.

Education wars in Delco

The education wars continue in Delaware County.

A contingent of educators, students and concerned community members from the William Penn School District took a road trip to Harrisburg yesterday to protest funding cuts contained in Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget

You can read about that here.

And in Chester Upland, state Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland held a public hearing on their own endangered species, public education in the city of Chester.

That story is here.

You have to like the spunk of Charlotte Hummel. She’s the president of the embattled William Penn School Board. They have already voted against eliminating the district’s kindergarten program. But they’re still $3 million in the hole, and have very few places left to cut.

Yesterday they held a bake sale outside the state Capitol. They were looking to sell two dozen doughnuts for $23,417 to save tutoring programs. A cake was going for $150,000, the cost of endangered lunchroom and recess moderators.


At a public hearing in Chester, Kirkland took the time to point out several comments on a story posted on this website concerning his call to possibly close the district’s three high schools and allow those students to attend other schools in the county.

He noted people were not exactly rolling out the welcome mat.

Kirkland rolled through a list of potential cuts that could be made, including cutting administration salaries and selling the administration building to Widener University.

The school have to have their completed budgets in place by July 1. So does that state.

That ticking sound you hear is the clock winding down on an education nightmare.


Can Ridley Hi-Q be saved?

The demise of the Ridley High School Hi-Q team has not gone unnoticed. And some in the community are vowing to save it.

They want to see the decision by the Ridley School Board reversed.

The Hi-Q team was slashed amid the cost-cutting moves by the district, which also included job cuts, and other curriculum rollbacks. The school board says it costs them $1,200 for every Hi-Q competition, between travel for the 10-member team, fees for the tournament, and salary for the faculty adviser.

It still seems to me like a small price to pay. In particular, it strikes me as telling that this kind of education program would be cut. Yes, I know the board also axed several athletic programs, but most of those were in the lower grade levels. This is one of the few programs that targets academic excellence in high school.

I wrote about it in my Monday column.

That theme was sounded again and again by people who called and emailed me yesterday.

That includes one mother who was devastated by the loss of the program, the one school activity that her child is involved in.

I can feel her pain.

She and others are interested in trying to raise the money to save the program.

I’d like to help. If the newspaper can promote or help publicize your plight, feel free to contact me at

Let’s not let 50 years of academic excellence die without a fight.


Monday, June 20, 2011

The Daily Numbers - June 20

The Daily Numbers: 32,  age of man shot and killed in Chester early Sunday morning.

2 suspicious fires that desroyed vacant residences in Chester over weekend.

3 recent large fires at vacant warehouses that have Camden on edge.

8-0 vote by which Haverford commissioners OK'd the development plan for the Llanerch Quarry site.

59, age of store owner gunned down during robbery in North Philadelphia.

2 weeks for the Pennsylvania Legislature to get a budget in place.

2 people, his wife and son, beaten to death by man in Bucks County who then took his own life by laying down on railroad tracks.

3.76 a gallon, average price of gas in Philly region. That's down 3 cents in a week.

2.76, what we were paying a year ago.

69, age of E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who died over the weekend of complications from a stroke.

18 months, age of toddler who drowned in swimming pool in Glassboro over weekend.

2 hits, all the Phils could muster vs. the Mariners yesterday.

2 of 3 losses for the Phillies in Seattle.

2.49 ERA for Cole Hamels, who gave up just 2 runs on 7 hits and took the loss. He's now 9-3.


Call me a Phanatic: Cole Hamels back is fine. Too bad the Phils bats decided to go asleep in Seattle yesterday.


I Don’t Get It: Not a good sign for the start of summer in Chester. One dead in a shooting and two vacant houses set on fire over the weekend.


Today’s Upper:  Big time kudos to all of our All-Delco athletes appearing on the site and in print this week.


Quote Box: “They change their mind every day on why they're shutting us down."

- Angela Schott, one of organizers of vigil at St. Kevin's School in Springfield Sunday night. The school is being shut down by the archdiocese.

RIP, Clarence Clemons

To his fans, he was never just Bruce Springsteen. He was 'The Boss.'

Likewise, his sidekick was never just Clarence Clemons. He was 'The Big Man.'

E Street Nation is a lot smaller today, because The Big Man is gone. And just like that, The E Street Band will never sound - or feel - the same.

Clarence Clemons died over the weekend of complications from a major stroke he suffered a week ago.

His wailing tenor sax was the signature sound of Springsteen and his mates. It was what made them unique. And it's the sound I fell in love with a lifetime ago. The sound was summer, it was growing up in a small town, it was cruising around town in your car on a Saturday night. It was my life put to music. Or so it seemed. And at the core of it was Clemons' saxophone.

As a die-hard Sprinsteen-file, it's hard to describe how essential Clemons was to the E Street Band.

There are some sounds that are simply unique to rock: Carlos' Santana's guitar; Ian Anderson's flute; Yes' synthesizers.

And Clarence's sax.

I guess Springsteen could try to have someone else fill the sax role, but that person would never fill the gaping hole created by Clemon's absence. Sure, they carried on after the death of keyboard players Danny Federici. But Clarence's role in the band - as well as his role with Springsteen on stage and off - was unique.

They were something of an odd couple, the scrawny white rock guitar player and the massive black sax player.

The combination created a sound unique to rock music, one I've loved since I discovered the band's first album, 'Greetings from Asbury Park,' while I was still in high school.

In a way, it's just another reminder that we're all getting older.

Hopefully, what Springsteen wrote is true:

Well now, everything that dies, baby that's a fact.

But maybe everything that dies someday comes back.

Until that day, thanks for the music, Clarence.

Summer in the city in Chester

Summer does not officially arrive until tomorrow.

Unless you live in the city of Chester, where it apparently arrived with a vengeance over the weekend.

This is what everyone feared, and why many were hoping the city would again impose tough restrictions on residents as they did last year when a rash of fatal shootings sparked a state of emergency in the city.

Late Saturday night there were several shootings - one of them fatal - and several fires in the city.

You can read the full story here.

Two vacant homes went up in smoke. A 32-year-old man suffered multiple gunshot wounds and later died of his injuries.

The city put a curfew on teens in place on June 1. It mandated those under age 18 be off the street from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

It will be interesting to see if the city plans any other measures in light of the weekend incidents.

Phils' bats asleep in Seattle

Cole Hamels deserved better.

And that includes from his manager. Charlie Manuel trotted out what you could kindly call an 'interesting' lineup in the rubber match of a three-game set in Seattle.

Wilson Valdez at third for Placido Polanco. Michael Martinez in left field for Raul Ibanez. Ben Francisco back in right field.

But the names at the top of the lineup were familiar: Rollins; Victorino, Utley, Howard.

Didn't matter. The Phils' bats slept in on Sunday. Sleepless in Seattle? Not the Phils' lumber. They took the day off, getting all of two hits in being shut out by lefthander Jason Vargas.

Hamels was very sharp again, but the two runs on seven hits was two more than he could afford.

It's the second time in a month was Hamels was very good, only to get little or no support from the Phils' bats. He's still looking for his 10th win.

Now it's on to St. Louis, where the Cardinals await, although they may be without star Albert Pujols, who is battling back problems.

It won't make much difference if the Phils hit the way they did on Sunday.

Look for every team now to try to load up on lefties. After what the Phils did on Sunday in Seattle, it might quickly be turning into their Achilles heel.

Hear him 'Roar-y'

Forget Tiger Woods.

Welcome to the Rory McIlroy era in golf. All the 22-year-old from Northern Ireland did over the weekend was lap both the fabled Congressional Country Club outside the nation’s capital, as well as the rest of the field in capturing the U.S. Open title in a runaway.

McIlroy was a wire-to-wire winner, setting new records each day for the number of strokes under par.

He wound up at 16 under, an unheard of number at the Open. Usually golfers complain about how difficult the Open setup is, but this year all they could do was wonder how low McIlroy was going to go.

How good was he? Consider the plight of Jason Day. He shot eight under, a number that very often will put you at the top of the leaderboard on Sunday at the Open.

Yesterday it left him a distant second, eight shots behind McIlroy.

The win come just a few months after an equally dominant first three days performance at the Masters went up in smoke when he shot 82 on Sunday.

A lot of people wondered how McIlroy would handle his second trip in the top spot at a major. They didn’t have to wait long. This one was never in doubt.

Consider this: If McIlroy had not blown up at Augusta, he would be halfway to a “Rory Slam,” capturing both the majors contested so far this season.

Now it’s on to the British Open. Don’t bet against him.

Tiger who?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Daily Numbers - June 16

The Daily Numbers: 2 people being credited with pulling a disabled man from his burning home in Upper Darby.

2 weeks since anyone has seen a personal trainer who has gone missing in Radnor. Police are asking for the public’s help in finding Gerald Christopher, 45.

70 years of wedded bliss for Ed Jones and his wife, Lyn, of Swarthmore. Congratulations to them.

335 graduates who collected diplomas from Ridley High School last night.

268 grads at Sun Valley High School.

3 million dollar budget gap in the William Penn School District. The school board last night rejected a plan that would have killed off their kindergarten program.

20 more dead fish found in Crum Creek, this time in Swarthmore.

3 young people shot in the street in Wilmington last night.

513 million dollars in baggage fees collected by US Airways last year.

952 million collected by Delta, making it No. 1 in the baggage fee biz.

100,000 dollars worth of items bought from SkyMall by a former hotel worker who police now charge she did by rigging the hotel points system.

1,200 jobs being cut by Lockheed Martin, some of them here in the region.

60 million dollars that would be generated by 2-cent soda tax in Philly. A huge throng of beverage industry boosters and workers protested the move outside City Hall yesterday.

1,500 teacher layoffs that remain on hold as the two sides continue to battle in court.

7, as in Game 7, tonight pitting Vancouver vs. Boston for the Stanley Cup.

5 home runs for the Phils last night, 2 by Domonic Brown, in a 9-1 rout of the Marlins.

3.5 game lead for the Phils over the Braves.

8 runs on 10 hits surrendered by Marlins starter Chris Volstad.

17 straight retired by Cole Hamels at one point. He went 7 innings before leaving with tightness in his back.

45,424 at Citizens Bank Park, that’s 173 consecutive sellouts, including postseason play.

2 games on tap today, a day-night doubleheader.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.This is the offense Phils fans have been looking for all year. Now about the twinge in Cole Hamels’ back….



I Don’t Get It: A man in Lake Ariel, Pa., told police he could not afford to raise another child. So he allegedly dropped a cinderblock on his newborn. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: A huge thumb’s up to Ed Jones of Swathmore and his bride, Lyn. Today they celebrate 70 years of wedded bliss. Congratulations.


Quote Box: “I’ve always said I will not participate in the destruction of my children – all of my children.”

- William Penn School Board President Charlotte Hummel, in voting against a plan to shut down the district’s kindergarten program to save money.

SPCA to Delco: No extenstion

The clock is still ticking in the animal control crisis that looms over Delaware County.

County Councilman Mario Civera didn’t have to wait long for a response to his official request to the county SPCA to extend their July 1 deadline for getting out of the animal control business.

No dice, say the folks at the SPCA.

You can read the story here.

But all is not lost. The two groups are planning to meet to discuss their differences at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Both sides in this issue now seem to be lawyering up, which only cements my belief that this thing is going to wind up in front of a judge.

Stay tuned. We’ll tell you what happens at the Thursday morning animal summit.

Tackling Catholic school closings on 'Live From the Newsroom'

These are tough times for parochial schools in Delaware County.

The archdiocese announced last week they would be closing three more schools, Our Lady of Charity in Brookhaven, St. Philomena in Lansdowne, and St. Kevin in Springfield.

Tonight the last class at St. Kevin’s will collect their diplomas and end 54 years of Catholic education.

At the same time, we’ll be delving into the topic of the closings of these three schools in our livei-stream Internet broadcast, ‘Live From the Newsroom.”

We’ll be joined by several parents active in St. Kevin’s who disagree with the decision by the archdiocese and say they have the numbers to back it up.

We also have an invitation for Mary Rochford, superintendent of schools for the archdiocese, or another representative, to join us. I’m not holding my breath.

Do you have a question you’d like asked, or at least put forth, on this controversial topic? Email me your questions now at

Then tune in tonight at, and take part in the live chat part of the show.

If it’s Wednesday night, it’s time for ‘Live From the Newsroom.’ You have an open invitation to take part.

Dark cloud hangs over Phils' romp

This was classic Phillies.

Classic in the sense that this was what everyone expected out of the Phils. Last night they used the long ball to bludgeon the Marlins, 9-1. They clobbered five home runs, including two by Domonic Brown.

And classic in that even on a night when everything seemed to go right, a dark cloud formed late in the game. Starter Cole Hamels, who blew away the Marlins for seven innings, threw one pitch in the eighth before leaving with tightness in his back.

Hamels tried to downplay it after the game, saying his exit was just a precaution and that he does not expect to miss a start.

And with this rejuvenated lineup in front of him, who can blame him.

The Phils snapped out of what has been a two-month offensive funk and took out their frustrations on Florida pitchers. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins all hit two-run dingers. Brown hit two solo shots.

Marlins starter Chris Volstad, who always struggles against the Phils, was true to form. He surrendered eight runs on 10 hits over five and two-thirds innings. Volstad has now faced Phils slugger Howard 24 times and given up seven home runs.

It’s enough to make the giddy Phils want to play two.

Good thing they’re playing a day-night double-header today.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Daily Numbers - July 14

The Daily Numbers: 20 million dollar cut for the Chester Upland School District under proposed state budget.

2,700 students entering grades 9-12 in Chester Upland who could go to another county high school under a suit being mulled by city officials that would close their 3 high schools.

18 days before the deadline when the county SPCA says it will get out of the animal control business.

1 year after the fatal shooting of 2-year-old Terrance Webster in Chester. No one has been arrested in the case.

233 graduates who collected diplomas last night from Academy Park High School; another 452 got theirs at Haverford High ceremonies.

18, age of Darby man who police say answered a Facebook post from a 20-year-old southwestern Philly woman seeking a hit man to take out the father of her child. Both are under arrest.

2, as in No. 2, where Philadelphia ranks as the nation’s dirtiest city, according to Travel Leisure Magazine.

1,000 fish killed in Ridley Park Lake, and still no one seems to know why. Test results are due Wednesday.

3.79 a gallon, average price we’re paying at pump in Philly region.

That’s down from 3.84 a week ago. Last year we were paying $2.76.

3.71, the national average.

2 cents per ounce increase in the soda tax that is drawing heated opposition in Philly.

1,500 teachers facing layoffs in Philadelphia. Teachers rallied at a City Council hearing yesterday.

1 person killed in a fire in Yardley.

7, as in Game 7, where Stanley Cup finals between Vancouver and Boston is headed after Bruins smoke the Canucks last night, 5-2.

0, how many wins for the visiting team in this series. Game 7 is being played in Vancouver.

21 strikeouts in 18 and a third innings for Phillies reliever Michael Stutes.

4 games vs. the Marlins that kick off tonight at Citizens Bank Park.

2.5 game lead for the Phils, after the Braves lost last night.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Vancouver has won three games at home vs. the Bruins. Boston won three games played in Beantown. The series is dead even, 3-3. Game 7 is being played in Vancouver. I like the Canucks’ chances.



I Don’t Get It: Two young Amish folks were feeling their oats recently.

A 21-year-old male and a 17-year-old female were handling the reins of their horse-and-buggy when they pulled into the path of a car. Both were charged with DUI. In a buggy. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: You have to hand it to County Councilman Mario Civera.

He’s not letting up on this SPCA thing. Now he’s pressing for an extension from the SPCA on their decision to get out of the animal control business on July 1.


Quote Box: “We cannot give state subsidies to school districts that are no longer educating the kids.”

- State Rep. Bill Adolph, R-165, of Springfield, on exodus of Chester kids to charter schools.

County vs. SPCA


There are exactly 18 days left until the Delaware County SPCA gets out of the animal control business.

Unless Delaware County Council gets its way.

County Councilman Mario Civera, who has been trying to reach a solution to the county’s impending animal control crisis, officially sent a letter to the Upper Providence shelter asking them to delay their decision.

You can read the full story here.

The county is hurriedly trying to put together a deal to build a new shelter in Darby Township. But it still does not have anyone to actually run the shelter, and it’s obviously going to take some time to build it.

In the meantime, everyone is wondering what is going to happen in terms of animal control on July 1.

The SPCA has been fairly adamant in saying they have no plans to extend their deadline.

This one might be headed into court. Stay tuned.

A Flag Day anniversary

Today is Flag Day. For those of you who don’t know it, Flag Day has its roots right here in Delaware County.

William T. Kerr is credited with being the man who pushed for a single day to honor Old Glory. He lived most of his life in Yeadon. Kerr was at President Harry Truman’s side when he signed the law officially recognizing Flag Day.

For me it also marks something else. It was exactly 29 years ago today that I reported for my first day of work here in beautiful downtown Primos at the Delaware County Daily Times.

Just about one year later, I married my wife.

Two pretty good decisions. All three of us are still going strong.

Sports of all sorts, and one advertising blunder

A few random sports thoughts on a day after a rare night off for the Phillies:

If form holds true, you would think Vancouver will be your Stanley Cup champion. Although you’d never know it by the way they played Monday night.

The Canucks got blown out – again – in Boston, surrendering four first-period goals and falling, 5-2.

The visiting team has yet to win a game in this series. In particular Vancouver has struggled on the road, getting hammered in the three games in Beantown.

Luckily for them, the deciding Game 7 will be played Wednesday night in Vancouver.

Speaking of the Phils, keep and eye on this name: Michael Stutes. The flame-throwin right-hander called up from the minors is quickly cementing himself as the right-handed setup man out of Charlie Manuel’s bullpen.

Ryan Lawrence has an off-day feature on Stutes here.

And finally, there is the small matter of every newsperson’s nightmare.

It happened to the folks at the Miami Herald.

Routinely when a town’s team is playing in a championship series, stores ready ads hawking all the gear that is sold in the wake of them winning the championship.

Of course, it always helps if you win the title first.

That didn’t happen to the Miami Heat, who lost to the Dallas Mavericks.

Unfortunately, the next morning, readers of the Miami Herald were greeted with a full-page Macy’s ad congratulating LeBron James and his buds for winning the championship. Oops!

In these cases usually what happens is that the store has a couple of ads ready, one of which obviously is to be used in the event the team wins the title. Clearly in this instance the wrong ad got in.

I don’t know much about the process at the Herald, but before you ask, “How could that possibly happen?” let me provide an answer: Easier than you might think. And it’s a pretty good bet the technology we now swim in played a pretty big part.

It’s hard to believe anyone on their news or sports desk could have seen that ad without raising a red flag – and a few colorful adjectives. Which makes me wonder just how many people actually saw the ad before it started rolling off the presses.

It’s the kind of thing that makes editors bolt upright in bed at 3 a.m. in a cold sweat.

I feel for you, guys.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Daily Numbers - June 13

The Daily Numbers: 119 homes in Delaware County set to go to sheriff’s sale on Friday.

179, how many were on the list last June.

2,374, how many are on the list for sheriff’s sale this year through August.

1,000 fish killed in Ridley Park Lake, and officials are still trying to determine what caused the situation.

5 people charged in an attack on a person on the dance floor of an Upper Darby bar.

1.4 percent tax hike in Wallingford-Swarthmore.

146 dollars more in taxes for the average home under the Ridley School District budget.

64 year tradition of Ridley High School participation in the Hi-Q program coming to an end. The school board cut the program amid a series of budget cuts.

380 Garnet Valley graduates who collected their diplomas Sunday night at the University of Delaware.

3,700 people who took part in the “mud run” for MS out in Newtown Square this weekend.

43, age of murder suspect in a case involving the neighbor of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter who was arrested at an Upper Darby homeless shelter.

22 cats found in a feces-filled house in South Philly. The owner now faces animal cruelty charges.

72, age of man whose body was found inside his burned-out home after a blaze in West Oak Lane Sunday night.

2 killed, 1 injured in triple shooting in North Philly.

40 wins for the Phillies, 1st team in major league baseball to hit that level.

.606 winning percentage for the Phils, best in baseball, just above the Red Sox.

40-26 record for the Phils, who now have 4 games in 3 days vs. the Marlins.

3 for 3 yesterday for Ryan Howard, including key single in the 7th that drove in the tying and winning runs.

2 runs scored for Chase Utley, who had a double and single.

15 saves in 16 chances for Ryan Madson.

159 straight sellouts at Citizens Bank Park, after 45,361 jammed into the join on a Sunday afternoon.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.The Phillies are 40-26 with the best record in baseball. What are we going to complain about now.



I Don’t Get It: The Ridley School District claims they will save $1,200 every time their Hi-Q was scheduled to take part in a competition. What isn’t said is the cost of what they will miss. Hard to believe they had to cut this academic program.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Garnet Valley girls lacrosse team, which captured the state championship with a win over Downingtown East on Saturday.


Quote Box: “The reason I do it is for this country and people like you.”

- Wounded Marine Lance Cpl. Chris Colbert Jr., after returning home to Folcroft.

Hi-Q gets ax in Ridley

Just how tough are the choices local school boards are facing as they try to balance the books?

In the Ridley School District, there is a long list of extracurricular programs being cut.

But one of them stands out to me.

Ridley is slashing its Hi-Q team. The Green Raiders are one of the founding schools in what started 64 years ago as Scott’s Hi-Q, founded by another Delaware County icon, Scott Paper Co., and is widely believed to be the nation’s oldest scholastic academic quiz competition.

Back then Ridley Township, Ridley Park and Eddystone high schools, which would eventually merge into the Ridley School District, were all part of the original competition.

Now Ridley will have something in common with Scott Paper. Neither of them will be around anymore, at least in terms of Hi-Q.

The school district indicated they spend $1,200 per competition, including transportation to and from the event, the fee to participate and the coast of the faculty adviser.

Just two years ago, County Council Vice Chairman Christine Fizzano Cannon, a proud Ridley grad, was inducted into the Delco Hi-Q Hall of Fame.

Hi-Q wasn’t the only victim of budget cuts in the district.
Superintendent Lee Ann Wentzel indicated some middle school and 9th grade sports were slashed, along with more than 40 positions either by retirement, shifting duties, or layoffs.

That won’t make the Hi-Q hit any easier to stomach.

Just another lesson in the school of hard knocks.

A parent's nightmare

A parent's agony

Today in my print column, I talk about what is easily one of the worst things that can possibly happen to a parent.

You can read it here.

In my case, it had a happy ending.

I was reminded of this incident, as I often am, by a recent event that made the paper that did not have a happy ending.

There is almost nothing as unnatural as a parent burying a child. And when it involves a young child, that pain must be absolutely overwhelming.

It is our job to report the news. I hope that we do that in a way that does not add to the heartache. That is not always the case.

Shame on us

As more salacious images fall out of the closet of Rep. Anthony Weiner, I am reminded of something that strikes me every time another one of these tempests in a tea pot breaks out.

We have lost our ability to be shamed.

When something this embarrassing happens, we don’t go away, we go public. We don’t crawl under a rock; we crawl onto Oprah. We don’t have the decency to shun the limelight, we instead hold a press conference. And then, of course, go into rehab.

Weiner (yes, I still can’t believe a guy with that last name finds himself in this predicament) over the weekend decided to seek treatment to “become a better person.”

You can read the latest on his saga here.

Sounds like a good idea. All of us could be better people.

Fortunately, not all of us are sending out pictures of ourself and various parts of our body via the Internet and sundry social media outlets. Even if at times it seems like everyone is.

That said, Weiner continues to dig in his heels, if not his more famous body part, fending off calls for his resignation.

The truth is no one can force him out. Only the voters can do that, and early polling from his New York district shows surprising support for the Democratic congressman.

Like I said, there is no such thing as shame anymore.

Your 40-26 Phillies

40 wins. Repeat after me: 40 wins.

Yes, we have carped about the Phillies offense. We have whined about their feeble attempts at small ball, how they fail to deliver in the crunch, how their home run numbers are way off.

And there they sit, with 40 wins, the first team in major league baseball to hit that plateau this season.

They won again yesterday, using a key hit by Ryan Howard to drive in two runs in the seventh to overtake the Cubs, 4-3.

The Cubs had jumped on Roy Oswalt for their three runs in the first inning. But from that point on Oswalt was money, pitching seven solid innings.

The Phils have a two-game lead on the Braves and a bulging gap between them and the flopping Marlins, who come to town for four games in three days starting Tuesday night.

There’s a very odd stat this morning on Howard. He is hitting .247, and has exactly 247 at bats this year. He’d probably like to be about 30 or 40 points higher. That’s not really what the Phils pay him for. They pay him for power, and to drive in runs. Exactly what he did yesterday.

Best record in baseball, with a .606 winning percentage.

40-26, back to 14 games over .500, tying their best mark of the season.

Don’t worry, we’ll find something to complain about.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Daily Numbers - June 10

The Daily Numbers: 1 more Delaware County archdiocesan elementary schools that’s closing. They got the official word last night at St.

Kevin’s in Springfield. That comes a day after 2 others, Our Lady of Charity in Brookhaven, and St. Philomena in Lansdowne, got similar bad news.

19 archdiocesan schools to close since 1971.

334 students enrolled at St. Kevin’s when it opened its doors in 1957.

198 students enrolled in 2005.

158 kids at St. Kevin’s this year.

93 children who have re-registered for next year.

7 grades that would have had fewer than 10 students.

54 years of Catholic education coming to an end.

98 degrees, our high temperature yesterday, breaking a record set in 1933.

101 degrees recorded in Atlantic City.

321 graduates who received diplomas yesterday from Penncrest High School.

153 grads at Archbishop Prendergast; 64 at Agnes Irwin.

2 Delco post offices set to close, in Manoa and on 69th Street.

12 alarm blaze that destroyed a vacant tire factory in Camden last night that also damaged several nearby homes.

200 stores to be closed by Gap. They operate 30 sites in the Philly region. No word yet on which stores will be shuttered.

4-3 loss for the Phils in 11 innings to the Cubs.

1 hour rain delay.

1 blown save this season by Ryan Madson, that would be last night’s effort.

8 and two-thirds innings the Phils went without a hit at one point.

3 run homer by Jimmy Rollins in his return to the lineup.

1 Democratic member of Congress who is calling for Rep. Anthony Weiner to resign over his salacious conduct online. That would be local Rep.

Allysson Schwartz.

169 consecutive sellouts after 44,906 jammed into a steamy Citizens Bank Park last night.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.OK, show of hands: How many people think this Phillies team is NOT going to hit this season?



I Don’t Get It: Gov. Corbett is playing hardball with state unions.

Funny I don’t hear anyone in the Legislature talking about any givebacks.


Today’s Upper: Five more high school graduations today. Our congrats to all of them.


Quote Box: “Give us a chance to show we can do this. Be Christian."

- St. Kevin’s parishioner Alexis Artese, asking for time to save the Springfield school.

End of the line at St. Kevin's

For the students, staff and families of St. Kevin’s School in Springfield, the message from the archdiocese was short, but definitely not sweet.

Their school will close forever next week with the end of the school year.

And the archdiocese is not terribly interested in talking about it anymore. The decision is irreversible.

You can read the story about the meeting last night where the archdiocese delivered the bad word here. And all about the rally held by students at the end of school yesterday here.

As it was earlier this week with Our Lady of Charity in Brookhaven, and St. Philomena in Lansdowne, it was the numbers.

There were 198 kids enrolled at St. Kevin’s in 2005. This year they had 158. Only 93 were re-registered for next year.

The archdiocese made it clear they simply cannot operate schools with those kinds of numbers. Seven grades would have had fewer than 10 students.

That won’t make the decision to close any easier. One glance at the devastated looks on those kids’ faces yesterday would tell you that.

The closing brings down the curtain on 54 years of parochial education, and is the latest chapter in a sad saga that has seen 19 schools close since 1971.

And it leaves other school and parishes - especially those in eastern Delaware County - facing this uneasy question: Who's next?

Very Important Information

We at the newspaper and do a lot of things that cement our reputation as the paper of record in Delaware County.

This week we did several of them.

If you have not noticed, we are hip deep in high school commencement season.

This week we printed our annual salute to high schools grads, our Grad Tab. In it was the name of every graduating high school senior in Delaware County.

Also on you will find stories and slideshows from high school graduations. There were three yesterday. There are five scheduled today.

You can find the Penncrest graduation slideshow here, and the Archbishop Prendergast festivities here.

We will endeavor to cover them all. We consider them a milestone in the lives of our readers.

That makes them important to us. Important enough to send a staff writer and photographer to cover many of them.

No, they probably won’t be the lead element on our P. 1. But my guess is a lot of people will stash those Grad Tabs and keep them for a long time. They become part of the family scrapbook. And those stories, photos and slideshows on our website? They will reside there forever.

A vignette told by a co-worker maybe best describes the value of these items. She had just exited a local Wawa along with a person who had just purchased a copy of the paper. The person sat down in the car and immediately opened to one of the pages in the Grad Tab. You could literally see him scanning the names, looking for that one name that meant the world to him.

The smile on his face told us everything we need to know about how important that information is.