Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Aug. 31

The Daily Numbers: 200 dollar reward for information on the persons responsible for vandalizing the 9/11 memorial outside Clifton Heights Fire Co.

13 counties, including Delco, declared federal disaster area by President Obama. It means local victims are eligible for federal aid for damage inflicted by Hurricane Irene.

8,000 people still without power in Delco in the wake of Hurricane Irene. That’s down from 29,000 late Monday.

6.7 million customers who lost power along the East Coast in the storm.

82 miles of wire PECO says it has replaced since the ‘cane hit on Saturday.

1,700 outages in the storm in Concord Township, tops in Delco, followed by Aston with 1,300, Ridley with 1,200 and Nether Providence with 1,000.

44, new death toll being blamed on Hurricane Irene.

70, age of caregiver now charged with neglect after the person in her care fell in her Upper Darby home.

78, age of woman who fell down the steps. Police say the caregiver ignored her for 13 hours while she watched TV.

12, age of girl allegedly assaulted in the Quarryville, Pa., home of a Chester firefighter. It’s the 2nd time he’s been accused of child molestation in recent weeks.

1.2 million square feet of development in the new plan rolled out last night for the old Franklin Mint site in Middletown. That’s down from 3 million square feet in the original on the 173-acre site.

200 residential units in the new plan, down from 1,253.

120,000 square foot office building and 2 150,000 sqare foot retail building, which would house a home improvement store and supermarket.

7 days a week, 12 hours a day, what Auditor General Jack Wagner wants to have happen for state store operations in Pa.

22 wine kiosks in operation. They have cost the LCB $1.1 million more to run than they have taken in.

16 wins for Roy Halladay, as Phils blasted Reds, 9-0

3 runs also knocked in by Halladay with bases loaded double.

2 home runs for Ryan Howard.

6 straight seasons with 100 RBI for Howard.

5-1 record for Phils vs. Reds this year.

100 million dollar contract for Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Make no mistake. Michael Vick is now the face of the Eagles franchise. Animal lovers are just going to love that.



I Don’t Get It: How could anyone deface a memorial dedicated to 9/11. Some days you just shake your head.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those PECO crews who have been out there since Saturday night working to restore power across the region.

*: “What could anyone possibly gain from that?”

Quote Box

- Elsie Caldwell, after hearing that vandals defaced 9/11 memorial outside the Clifton Heights Fire Co.


Another LCB debacle

Well, those handy-dandy wine kiosk machines rolled out last year by the state Liquor Control Board certainly have done wonders for turning around the image of the booze bureacucrats, now haven’t they?

Yesterday state Auditor General Jack Wagner became the latest to open fire on the kiosks, which have been a dismal failure.

They were first rolled out at some Wegmans supermarkets, but problems soon took most of them out of operation. Then Wegmans pulled the plug altogether. Now Wal-Mart is bailing on a plan to put the wine dispensers in their stores.

While stopping short of actually suggesting the LCB pull the plug, Wagner said the program should be shut down if the state can’t run it more profitably.

Instead Wagner took a different tack when it comes to sales of alcohol in the state, that state stores should be made more consumer friendly by keeping all stores open extended hours seven days a week. He complained that many stores are open only five days a week, and that Sunday hours are limited. He envisions making all state stores open seven days a week, 12 hours a day.

Oh, and one other thing. The AG also noted that the LCB spent $1.1 million more to operate the vending machines than they took in.

When it comes to sales of beer and spirits, the state continues to try to put lipstick on a pig.

Here’s a better idea. Scrap the kiosks – and the LCB while you’re at it.

There’s a move in the state Legislature to do just that. Gets my vote.

Then we can tackle the archaic way beer gets sold in this state.

Once again, it’s no wonder we’re often ridiculed as the Land of Giants.

Dog Day Afternoon, The Michael Vick saga

Michael Vick is a very rich man.


But there is one thing that $100 million contract extension the Eagles bestowed on him yesterday will not buy.

That would be acceptance.

Many fans continue to rant against Vick, and his team, the Eagles.

I’m not sure if that says more about us – or him.

You can read our editorial on the Vick saga here.

I guess superstar NFL quarterbacks are not supposed to get second chances.

I have been nothing but impressed by Vick – who I thought was little more than a thug when he was in Atlanta, and which obviously only increased when the dogfighting allegations were raised against him – since he joined the Eagles.

Nothing he said yesterday changed my mind.

Obviously I’m in the minority on that. The haters were out in force yesterday.

Many of them are animal lovers. Vick is now their pet peeve.

When Vick sat down behind the microphones at the Nova Care Center with Coach Andy Reid at his side to talk about his new deal, you could have called it “Dog Day Afternoon.”

I resisted the lure of slapping this headline on the Vick story: Every dog has its day.

I love animals as much as the next guy. I place a little more value on a human life.

And to me, Michael Vick seems like a life restored.

I wish him well. I won’t hold my breath waiting for everyone to agree with me.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Aug. 30

The Daily Numbers: 40 people now dead in the wake of Hurricane Irene.

13 counties, including Delco, declared federal disaster area by President Obama. It means local victims are eligible for federal aid.

29,000 people still without power in Delco.

500,000 PECO customers who had service interrupted at the peak of the storm.

168,000 people without power in the region as of Monday afternoon.

1 burning body found in an Upper Providence Park.

35, age of suspect charged in strangulation death in Clifton Heights.

6 years since Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast, killing more than 1,800 people.

2 men who decided to go for a walk during the storm in Delaware who have been found dead.

22, age of Chester man charged with assault after causing a crash in Del. and then attacking the other motorist.

33 games in 31 days for Phillies, starting with a 3-2 win over the Reds last night.

6 strong innings for Cole Hamels, even if he did not get the win.

100 million dollar contract for Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.

20,000 people without power this morning in Northeast Philly after a fire in a transformer.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.This will not be a good day for the Michael Vick haters.



I Don’t Get It: A newlywed is facing charges of DUI after a wedding night crash that left his bride injured in western Pa. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Brian and Jessica Sciarra, who greeted a baby boy at the height of the storm over the weekend. His name? Noah, of course. Well done.


Quote Box: “We prepared for the worst, we prayed for the best, and we got something in between.”

- Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, surveying Irene damage in Darby Borough.


The hype about the hurricane

40 people dead.

That includes five Pennsylvania residents, two in Delaware and six in New Jersey.

That doesn’t sound like hype to me.

At the height of the storm, more than 375,000 people were without power in the region. That includes 93,000 in Delaware County. This morning 29,000 people were still in the dark in Delco, two days after the sun broke through the clouds.


More than 10 inches of rain drenched the area, sending streams and creeks cascadng over their banks. Yes, parts of Darby Borough were again under water. There were very bad situations also reported in Chester, Eddystone, Upland and Colwyn.

Businesses were damaged, homes and basements were waterlogged.

Irene’s nasty winds toppled trees onto homes and cars.

That’s not hype. That’s heartache.

I am not a big fan of the way the news media handles the weather. I kind of tolerate it. I know the deal. It’s about ratings.

There are no shortage of people today who are making the case that Hurricane Irene was more hype then hurricane, a figment of the TV folks who simply could not resist the summer version of the “Storm of the Century." I suppose you can lump newspaper coverage in there as well.

It was not the Storm of the Century. Many would argue it does not even compare to the wrath unleashed on the region by Hurricane Floyd a few years ago.

They complain that we are fast becoming the “boy who cried wolf,” that we are setting the table for a true disaster when the next big storm arrives and everyone shrugs their shoulders, says they’ve heard it all before, and ignores the warnings about pending disaster.

Politicians rivaled the newsfolks in getting their faces in front of the cameras and telling people to head for cover. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said it a tad big more colorfully, telling stragglers to “get the hell off the beach.”

In Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter seemed to be setting the table for armageddon as he warned about the approaching storm and offered updates over the weekend.

Forecasting is an inexact science. No one really knows what these storms are going to do. If anything the media might have been guilty of not backing off some of the coverage once it became apparent that Irene was not “the storm of the century.”

I still have no problem with what they did, or in how the media covered it. OK, we really didn’t need the 24-hour TV coverage. Nor do we need to see one more reporter standing on the beach, or in a flooded creek.

But the bottom line is that for the most part, the region was prepared for anything Irene decided to dish out.

As it turns out, she decided to drench us, turning the wettest month in recorded history into an even soggier mess than imaginable.

It rained. We got high winds. We got tornado warnings. We did not get armageddon.

We also saw limited loss of life and property damage. People “got the hell” out of harm’s way.

That’s not hype. That’s a lot of heartache avoided. I’ll take that anytime, even if I have to swallow an ocean of Doppler radar along the way.

What do you think? Was the coverage hyped? Post a comment and join the conversation.

We're a disaster


It’s official. We’re a diaster.

And not just because it says so on the front page of this morning’s newspaper.

President Obama says so, too.

Just hours after Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley was in Darby Borough to survey damage from Hurricane Irene and the governor’s office was asking the government to declare the county a disaster area, the feds did just that.

Delco was one of 13 counties now eligible for federal aid in the fallout of the killer storm that blew up the East Coast this weekend.

You can read our story about the tour of damaged areas in Delco here.

Now it’s time to clean up. That’s no small task, especially when PECO estimates there are still as many as 29,000 people in the county still without power.

Try telling them, or the people in Darby Borough, that Irene was more hype than hurricane.

The redemption of Michael Vick

The redemption of Michael Vick continues unabated.

The man who spent two years in a federal prison for running a dogfighting operation is back in the news this morning.

Some people will continue to call Vick, who surprised everyone last year by starring in his second chance with the Eagles, a convict.

This morning they will have to call him something else.

The $100 million man.

The Eagles last night cemented Vick as the face of their franchise. They will pay Vick that princely sum - $40 million of which is guaranteed - to be their leader over the next six years.  It will leave no small number of their once loyal fans seething once again that the Birds have fallen in love with a guy who killed dogs.

You can read Jack McCaffery's account of the Vick deal here.

With his new deal, Vick once again is among the pantheon of superstar NFL quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

I have no problem with Vick getting a second chance, nor with him cashing in. Vick does things that very few people on this planet can do. The going rate for those skills is astronomical.

Yes, those are now six zeroes on Vick’s annual salary.

His detractors will simply continue to label Vick as a zero.

They don’t care if he again leads the Eagles to the playoffs. Or even if he wins a Super Bowl.

Last year Vick did everything imaginable in attempts to make amends for the actions that landed him in federal prison.

For some people, he can just stop trying. They are never going to forgive him.

To them he will simply be a very well-paid dog killer.

I know many people who have turned their backs on the Eagles over the Vick saga.

Not everyone is ready to forgive Michael Vick, let alone pay him $100 million along the way.

Count me out. Vick deserves whatever he can get. He has been an exemplary citizen since his return to the NFL in an Eagles jersey.

For now, his fortune will rise and fall by what he does on the field, so long, of course, that he stays on the straight and narrow.

Michael Vick was given a second chance. He has literally taken the ball and run with it.

That is the way the system is supposed to work.

Go for it, Mr. Vick.


Monday, August 29, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Hurricane Irene Edition

The Daily Numbers (Hurricane Irene edition): 25 deaths now blamed on the storm.

5 people killed in Pa.; 1 in New Jersey.

64,000 people still without power this morning in Delaware County.

300,000 without power across region at the height of the storm.

71 people who left their homes for shelter set up in Darby Borough.

3 shelters that opened in the city of Philadelphia.

5.7 inches of rain recorded at Philadelphia International Airport.

5.79 and 6.52 inches of rain recorded at Aston and Drexel Hill.

13.56 feet, crest of Schuylkill River on Sunday afternoon.

24 state roads that were closed around the region because of flooding or downed trees.

0 buses, trolleys and trains running on SEPTA system at height of storm.


So far Eagles line play has been offensive

On a weekend without the Phillies (literally thanks for nothing, Irene!), thoughts naturally turn to the Eagles.

I’m not ready to make like a TV weather forecaster and panic, but I don’t like what I see.

In particular, this team is going to go exactly as far as Michael Vick carries them. For that reason, seeing him take shot after shot from the Cleveland Browns left me wincing every time he bounced off the turf.

One of these times the rugged QB is not going to get up, and neither will the Eagles playoff chances.

Andy Reid must agree. He shuffled his offensive line over the weekend, moving Todd Herremans from his longtime spot at left guard and depositing him at the all-important right tackle spot. That would be Vick’s blind side. It’s now Herremans’ job to keep Vick off the turf. So far it has been a major problem for the Birds. Last year’s starter, Winston Justice, has been very slow recovering from knee surgery. King Dunlap remains a king-sized disappointment. No one else has exactly stepped up to the challenge. Now it's Herreman's Job 1.

The Eagles have one more exhibition game left, Thursday night against the New York Jets. Pity the Jets: Because of Hurricane Irene, they play a game tonight and then will turn around and face the Eagles on Thursday. Don’t look for many of their regulars to play.

My guess is that Andy Reid will decide the same thing.

Which means that we really won’t have any idea how good – or bad – this offensive line and the rest of the offense will be until the regular season opener on Sept. 11 in St. Louis.

Normally Reid would rest his starters in the final exhibition game. But I am guessing he would like to see how this reconfigured offensive line does in some live game conditions.

Hanging in the balance is the health of Michael Vick – and the Eagles season.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Aug. 25

The Daily Numbers: 4, as in Category 4 Hurricane. That would be Irene, churning out in the Atlantic and taking aim at the East Coast.

7,500 square foot facility being proposed for a new animal control shelter in Delaware County. Now the race is on to see if it can be up and running before the Dec. 31 deadline.

3.8 million verdict returned against 2 Riddle Hospital doctors.

30,098 dollars being spent by the Chichester School District to equip their buses with 20 security cameras.

75 former residents of the William Penn homes in Chester who are planning a reunion Friday night.

500 students at the Village school in Chester Upland School District who will move to a new location in January.

2 shootings this week at a basketball court in Philadelphia. Another man was shot last night.

20,000 reward for information on the fist shooting, where 500 witnesses watched in Kingsessing. No one has come forward with any info.

5 people injured when a car slammed into a Taco Bell restaurant in Montco.

23 wine kiosks that now will not be installed in Wal-Mart stores as planned.

5 aftershocks recorded since that 5.8 earthquake jolted the region on Tuesday. No, we didn’t feel anything either.

0 names being released by the School Reform Commission in Philadelphia of those who donated money toward the buyout package for former schools boss Arlene Ackerman.

20,000 people without power this morning in Northeast Philly after a fire in a transformer.

1,000 in food believed stolen from a supermarket by State College newlyweds who apparently planned to use it for their reception.

6 runs surrendered by Phils starter Kyle Kendrick in 7-4 loss to the Mets. Only 2 were earned.

1 key error for fill-in shortstop Michael Martinez that opened the flood gates to 4-run first inning for Mets.

203 consecutive sellouts for the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

7:30 kickoff for the all-important Game 3 of the preseason for the Eagles tonight vs. the Browns at the Linc.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.So this is life without Jimmy Rollins? Not pretty.



I Don’t Get It: Yeah, those wine kiosks the LCB wanted to put in supermarkets and Wal-Marts are the key to better service. Both plans are now being scrapped.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Delco Animal Control Protection Board. They are pushing ahead with plans to have a new animal shelter up and running, even as they also make plans for a Plan B should the shelter not be ready.


Quote Box: “It only happens not if I see it, but if I share it with someone else.”

- Villanova Gordon Coonfield, talking about people taking to social media in the wake of Tuesday’s earthquake.


Stick a cork in those wine kiosks

You can hammer another nail in the grave of the new, improved, customer-friendly Liquor Control Board.

Remember all the hullaballoo about those kiosks where you can purchase your favorite bottle of wine?

Sounded good until you tried to use them. First you had to blow into a device to detect if you’ve been drinking. Lovely.

Then there was the alarming habit of the machine not giving you your wine. Swell, huh.

The first kiosks were placed in Wegmans supermarkets. The problems soon followed. At first the machines were shut down as the state attempted to fix the glitches. Then Wegmans decided to pull the plug.

Now comes the latest blow. Wal-Mart is putting a cork in plans to put the kiosks in their stores.

What a great system. It’s no secret where I stand on this issue. I want the state out of the booze business. A bill in the Legislature now would address that, but it doesn’t have any effect on the way beer is sold in Pa.

So plan on continuing to visit three different places for a six-pack of beer, a case of suds, and a bottle of wine.


The Irene Watch

Brace yourself. We’re about to go on the Irene Watch.

Other news will cease to exist. All we will hear for the next three days is that Irene is coming.

Irene is a Category 3 hurricane that is currently churning toward the East Coast. Indications are that it might – and again I say might – slam the Jersey shore.

I don’t pretend to know enough about these things to sounds as if I do.

I do know a little bit about news, and how we cover stories. And I know that when it comes to television, there is no story quite like a weather story. Think Storm of the Century, the summer edition.

That is why there are TV reporters now standing on the beach on what appears to be a gorgeous, tranquil late summer morning, watching the sun come up and warning us that Irene is coming.

Get used to it.

My guess: It rains. A lot. Around here, we get a rainy Sunday and some stiff breezes. The shore gets its usual flooding.

Other than that, I’ll leave it to the TV folks.

LIfe without J-Roll

So that’s what the Phillies might look like without Jimmy Rollins.

It wasn’t pretty.

With Kyle Kendrick on the mound and a runner already on first base in the top of the first, the Phils’ right-hander got a tailor-made double-play ground to shortstop.

Only one problem. J-Roll wasn’t there with his slick glove. He went on the DL with a sore groin and won’t be seen again until after Labor Day. Instead we’ve got Michael Martinez.

Martinez promptly booted the ball, opening the flood gates to what wound up being a big inning for the Mets and the Phils staring at a 4-0 deficit before most of the afternoon crowd was in their seats.

Phils’ pitchers have excelled recently in gettting out of these kinds of jams. Not Kyle Kendrick.

Rollins and the Phillies are likely headed for some difficult discussions as the All-Star shortstop likely wants one more big payday. But the Phillies will have to weigh just how much they want to invest in Rollins, whose legs are giving him increasing problems.

Problem is, they don’t really have anyone to replace him in the crucial position.

Speaking of crucial positions, that would include middle linebacker on most football teams.

Then again, there’s the Eagles, who never seem to put a lot of stock in their linebacking corps.

This year looks to be no exception. The Birds are again taking a huge roll of the dice in making rookie Casey Matthews their starting middle linebacker.

Keep an eye on Matthews in tonight’s key third preseason game vs. the Browns. He’s struggled so far this exhibition season. He needs to make a statement tonight.

If he doesn’t, the Birds might be forced to start scanning the waiver wires for a veteran to come in and solidify what looks like a weak point on the defense.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Aug. 24

The Daily Numbers: 5.8, is there really any other number that’s being talked about today. That’s what we hit yesterday in terms of the magnitude of the quake that rocked the East Coast.

67 years, how long it has been since anything of that magnitude rocked the East Coast.

3 of 4 corner spires at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., damaged near the center of the quake.

90 miles southwest of D.C., center of the quake.

0 injuries and 0 property damage reported here in Delaware County.

56, age of man from Aston who was victimized by a man impersonating a police officer during a bogus stop on Foulk Road in Delaware.

8.3 unemployment rate in Delaware County in June.

50 people who gathered at the Media Courthouse to protest for more jobs in the region.

100 new jobs possibly coming to the Boeing plant in Ridley, along with a big order for 14 more Chinook helicopters by the Brits.

500,000 dollars in public funds and $400,000 in private money that went into the buyout package for outgoing Philly schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman.

4.5 years in jail, the sentence for former Philly state senator and power broker Vince Fumo. A federal appeals court has tossed that sentence and sent the case back to federal court for resentencing.

71, age of South Philly cheesesteak legend Joey Vento, who died of a massive heart attack last night.

500 spectators who were milling around a basketball court when gunshots rang out Monday night.

0 calls from witnesses to the police.

20,000 dollar reward now being offered for information on the shooter.

2 years since Chester County resident Toni Lee Sharpless disappeared after leaving a party at the home of a member of the Sixers. She has not been seen since.

2 people killed and several injured in a crash yesterday in Berks County.

322 point jump for the Dow yesterday. Maybe it was an Earthquake rally.

7 straight wins for Phils starter Vance Worley.

5 base runners in the first 2 innings for the Mets, who failed to score in either inning.

29 for 85 .326 batting average for John Mayberry Jr. since his call-up on July 5.

9 home runs and 29 RBI in that span for Mayberry.

1-7-1 record for Mets in their last 9 series at Citizens Bank Park.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Do you like the Mets this pathetic, or were they more interesting when they actually resembled a Major League baseball team.



I Don’t Get It: There were 500 people at the basketball court in Kingsessing the other night when gunshots rang out, but no one saw anything. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to former Daily Times writer and Chester High grad Rob Knox, who has landed a job at ESPN.


Quote Box: “My brother fell off the bed. It was shaking, I’m telling you. It shook the whole house.”

- Sharon Tuttle of Chester, describing yesterday’s 5.8 magnitude quake.


The Daily Numbers - Aug. 24

The Daily Numbers: 5.8, is there really any other number that’s being talked about today. That’s what we hit yesterday in terms of the magnitude of the quake that rocked the East Coast.

67 years, how long it has been since anything of that magnitude rocked the East Coast.

3 of 4 corner spires at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., damaged near the center of the quake.

90 miles southwest of D.C., center of the quake.

0 injuries and 0 property damage reported here in Delaware County.

56, age of man from Aston who was victimized by a man impersonating a police officer during a bogus stop on Foulk Road in Delaware.

8.3 unemployment rate in Delaware County in June.

50 people who gathered at the Media Courthouse to protest for more jobs in the region.

100 new jobs possibly coming to the Boeing plant in Ridley, along with a big order for 14 more Chinook helicopters by the Brits.

500,000 dollars in public funds and $400,000 in private money that went into the buyout package for outgoing Philly schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman.

4.5 years in jail, the sentence for former Philly state senator and power broker Vince Fumo. A federal appeals court has tossed that sentence and sent the case back to federal court for resentencing.

71, age of South Philly cheesesteak legend Joey Vento, who died of a massive heart attack last night.

500 spectators who were milling around a basketball court when gunshots rang out Monday night.

0 calls from witnesses to the police.

20,000 dollar reward now being offered for information on the shooter.

2 years since Chester County resident Toni Lee Sharpless disappeared after leaving a party at the home of a member of the Sixers. She has not been seen since.

2 people killed and several injured in a crash yesterday in Berks County.

322 point jump for the Dow yesterday. Maybe it was an Earthquake rally.

7 straight wins for Phils starter Vance Worley.

5 base runners in the first 2 innings for the Mets, who failed to score in either inning.

29 for 85 .326 batting average for John Mayberry Jr. since his call-up on July 5.

9 home runs and 29 RBI in that span for Mayberry.

1-7-1 record for Mets in their last 9 series at Citizens Bank Park.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Do you like the Mets this pathetic, or were they more interesting when they actually resembled a Major League baseball team.



I Don’t Get It: There were 500 people at the basketball court in Kingsessing the other night when gunshots rang out, but no one saw anything. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to former Daily Times writer and Chester High grad Rob Knox, who has landed a job at ESPN.


Quote Box: “My brother fell off the bed. It was shaking, I’m telling you. It shook the whole house.”

- Sharon Tuttle of Chester, describing yesterday’s 5.8 magnitude quake.


All shook up

This is the question we pose on the front page of today’s newspaper: What’s shakin’?

The answer, around 1:50 yesterday afternoon, of course, was: Everything.

Welcome to California.

Actually, the folks on the Left Coast are getting a pretty good chuckle out of our over the top reaction to a 5.8 magnitude earthquake. You can be the butt of the joke here.

The first hit of what was going on was a slight shake in the computer monitor that I seem to stare at about 18 hours a day. I put my hand on it to try to settle it. I didn't think anything of it. Then I heard some creaking in the rafters, the kind that usually accompanies a tech fishing through the myriad wires that snake through our building to keep us "plugged in."

Still, I didn't quite realize what was happening. Until the jolt. Yes, the building moved.

Suddenly everyone was asking, "Did you feel that." Everyone did. Not just here in Primos. But up and down the East Coast.

I quickly posted an item to our Twitter account. We were already seeing reports of the quake from colleagues in Washington, D.C.

You can read our coverage of the way Delco reacted to the quake here. It only reminded me of how vital social media - Twitter and Facebook - is in covering that kind of story. People were all over our Twitter and Facebook pages offering their reactions. We curated them and printed many of them in the newspaper this morning. But make no mistake, this was a 'social media' story.

You can probably accuse us - and media all up and down the East Coast - of making a mountain out of a 5.8 molehill. Go ahead. I won't say you're wrong.

For now, I can no cross one more item off my bucket list. I have experienced - and survived - an earthquake.

I still want to be lashed to a pole on the boardwalk when one of those big N'oreasters or a hurricane blows in. Sounds like I just might get my chance this weekend when Irene rolls up the East Coast.

Shortly after the temblor hit, the phones here in the newsroom lit up. One, it's nice to know they worekd. Two, it's nice to know people stil turn to us for information in times of crisis.

I also got a call from my wife at home. Did you feel that? I assured her I did. I resisted asking her the same question.

The last thing I wanted to hear from her was, "not for years." Just kidding, honey.

A little earthquake humor there. Honey? Honey? Uh-oh.

Live From Newsroom goes Back to School

The Heron’s Nest is going back to school.

Actually, it’s ‘Live From the Newsroom,’ which airs tonight from beautiful downtown Primos and will focus on the upcoming school year.

Joining us will be Upper Darby Schools Superintendent Lou DeVlieger. He will offer a glimpse at the school year – especially since Upper Darby kids will the first in the county to head back to school.

That’s right, the days of summer are quickly coming to an end in Upper Darby. Classes start this coming Monday.

For a sneak peek at what DeVlieger sees ahead for Upper Darby, click here for his annual welcoming address for district employees.

I am also very excited by our two other guests who will join us on the panel.

You will get a chance to meet Cardinal O’Hara senior Nicole McAlee. Nicole has volunteered to be part of a grand blogging experiment for us here at She will write and compile a blog that we are calling “The Senior Year Diaries.” You can check it out here.

Basically, I envision it as a chronicle of a typical Delaware County student’s senior year.

Or, as Nicole puts it, “the good, the bad, and the hilarious – with text, pictures and video.”

I can’t wait to read it.

Of course no one would consider going Back to School without doing some serious shopping first.

We’ll be joined by another one of our bloggers, Kelly Moran, who writes the Delcodealdiva blog. She’ll be offering tips on where parents and students can get the most bang for your bucks.Check out her blog here.

If you have a question you’d like us to put to DeVlieger or one of our panelists, email me at Make sure you log on to tonight at 7 and join our live chat.

Rob Knox, pride of Delco

Some serious congratulations are due today for former Daily Times staffer Rob Knox.

The Chester High grad who cut his teeth covering the Clippers and other high school action for the Daily Times has just landed his dream job at ESPN.

After his stint at the Daily Times, Rob worked at his alma mater, Lincoln University, as well as Kutztown, as sports information director.

I will always remember Rob for his rousing introductions of the All-Delco basketball team at our annual All-Delco athletic awards dinner.

Rob and I also shared something else besides our love of writing and journalism.

We were both LU men. That’s right, Lincoln Lions. Rob was a Lincoln grad. I commuted to class there from home in Oxford for two years before winding up at the University of Colorado.

Delco is proud of you, Rob!

The New York Mess

Just call them the New York Mess.

Don’t get me wrong, I dislike the New Yorkers as much as anyone. But this edition of the Gothams is just sad.

For the second straight night, the Mets were dismantled by the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The final was 9-4. At one point it was 9-0. And it wasn't that close. This comes on the heels of a 10-0 spanking the Phils laid on them Monday night.

Earthquake? For Mets fans, this is probably more like the plague. What’s next? Locusts?

The Mets loaded the bases in the first inning against young Phillies starter Vance Worley. And didn’t score.

In the second they put their first two batters on second and third. And didn’t score.

Then, as has been happening all too frequently to them, the roof caved in. And it had nothing to do with an earthquake. John Mayberry Jr. and Shane Victorino led an assault by the Phils, who were playing without Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Raul Ibanez and Carlos Ruiz. They didn't need them.

The Mets are just a lousy team. More than that, they look like a team that could care less that they are being embarrassed on a nightly basis.

The team may not care, but their fans probably still do. There was a marked absence of the usual band of New Yorkers making the trip south to make their presence known at Citizens Bank Park.

Maybe they’ve given up on their team. If so, that would give them something in common with most of the players.

CLICK HERE for Ryan Lawrence’s coverage of last night’s romp by the Phils. Ryan focuses on another stellar outing from Worley.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Daily Numbers - Aug. 23

The Daily Numbers: 14 Chinook helicopters ordered by the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force. They will be built at the Boeing plant in Ridley Township.

1.64 billion dollars, the value of the deal.

6,000 employees at the Boeing plant, two-thirds of them involved in the Chinook program.

33, age of woman charged with slashing an Upper Darby police officer with a boxcutter during an scuffle.

17 of October, new trial date for former Penn-Delco School Board member John Green on charges he pocketed funds for a school sports club.

2-4 years in jail for an Upper Darby man who fired gunshots at neighbors in a feud that clearly got out of hand.

900,000 dollar settlement that will no doubt ease the pain of Philly schools boss Arlene Ackerman losing her job.

664 million dollar deficit facing the school district.

19 years ago, death of a baby first believed to be a case of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in Norristown. Now the tot’s babysitter has been charged with suffocating the infant.

4 students at the Penn State Abington branch injured when tree branch fell on them.

6 people injured when gunmen opened fire on a crowded basketball court in Southwest Philly.

157,000 dollars in bogus checks believed that a Philly community organizer tried to cash. He faces charges.

7 innings, 7 strikeouts, 3 hits and 0 runs allowed for Cliff Lee last night.

0.58 ERA for Lee in June, along with a 4-0 record.

82 wins for Phils, who remain 6.5 games up on the Braves.

.318 batting average in his last 30 games for John Mayberry Jr., who homered again last night.

15 day trip to disabled list for shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who again tweaked his groin.

201 consecutive sellouts for the Phils at Citizens Bank Park.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Don’t look now, but John Mayberry Jr. just might be the next Jayson Werth.



I Don’t Get It: A prosecutor in Alaska says a mom faces charges after she put hot sauce in her 7-year-old son’s mouth. She believed it might land her a spot on the “Dr. Phil Show.” I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Boeing workers, whose solid work means a big new order from the UK for 14 more Chinook helicopters.


Quote Box: “This is great news for us. We’re probably one of the luckiest companies right now in the Delaware Valley.”

- Union boss Chris Owens, on word of a big new Chinok deal for Boeing.


Some lovely parting gifts for Ackerman

In some as yet unrecognizable world, someone is going to pay me $900,000 NOT to go to work.

That is the position former Philadelphia schools superintendent Arlene Ackerman finds herself in this morning.

The embattled boss it out after months of wrangling. But not without some lovely parting gifts.

A little less than $1 million to be exact. City leaders actually went hat in hand to a lot of business and other city power brokers and took up something of a collection so that taxpayers would not be entirely on the hook for the buyout.

Ackerman was due to make $348,000 this year. That’s about twice what Mayor Michael Nutter makes.

There’s something just not right about that.

Then again, there’s something not quite right about paying a CEO that kind of money when the school district is looking at a $664 million budget gap.

Ackerman had been taking heat for what many perceived as her autocratic rule, along with the district’s budget woes and her reaction to what appeared to be a longstanding problem of abuse of Asian students at South Philly High School.

Ackerman’s only comment, issued in a written statement: She was “truly grateful for having had the opportunity and honor to serve the children and parents of Philadelphia.”

I would be too if someone was going to offer me $900,000 not to do it anymore.

A gorgeous night in Marcus Hook

After what seems like a month of rain, I spent a thoroughly enjoyable night in Marcus Hook last night.

The occasion was the title match of our annual Daily Times/Exelon Champs ‘n’ Charity Classic softball tournament.

As we have been doing for some time, we not only covered the event extensively, we live-streamed the championship game on our website. You can catch the replay here. We did the same for the first game of the women’s final on Sunday night.

I make my annual pilgrimmage to the Hook for the men’s title game. This year it came with an added bonus. I got to sit in with Anthony SanFilippo on the live-stream and offer some commentary, as well as inform viewers why we were doing the broadcast and what kind of things they can expect from us in the future online. Yes, it really is a whole new world for those of us toiling in the ever-changing world of journalism.

Our biggest challenge, at least in the early innings, was fighting off a serious case of sun glare as we sat in our position just behind first base. We were looking directly into the setting sun.

But it struck me, as the sun started to fade behind the trees, that the scene in Mickey Vernon Park was a little slice of Americana that all of us was lucky enough to enjoy.

The people in Marcus Hook always come out to support both the game and our biggest charity endeavor of the year. All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society and the battle against cancer, which has touched all of us.

They snap up the raffle tickets that present a big chunk of our fundraising. They buy T-shirts.

And of course, they play host to the much of the tournament, including the men’s slow-pitch final.

They line both sides of the field, having set up their chairs to get the best view of the field. As I walked from the parking lot to the scene behind home plate, I could hear snippets of the talk of the town. Kids played on the playground behind home plate. Moms kibbitzed as they watched over their young ones. Men gathered near the snack bar.

For at least one night, as sun streamed on the field and perfect temperatures made shirtsleeves the dress of the night, it was as perfect as small town America gets.

Just a gorgeous evening.

We have a saying around here when it comes to the tournament: It never rains in the Hook.

That might not have exactly been the case this year, but you could have fooled me last night.

Gen. Lee in command

Exit Jimmy Rollins; enter Placido Polanco.

Even more importantly for Phillies fans, enter Cliff Lee, who took the mound last night just a few hours after the Phils did their latest injury list shuffle.

Shortstop Jimmy Rollins went on the 15-day disabled list with a groin strain. He likely will not play again until after Labor Day.

Raul Ibanez also was out of the lineup last night. He also apparently aggravated a groin.

But there was a familiar face back at third base, with Placido Polanco coming off the DL in time for last night’s game.

Couple the latest injury news with a shaky weekend in D.C. and word that the red-hot Atlanta Braves were now just six and a half games behind the Phils, and some people might start having flashbacks of 1964.

Forget it. Here’s why.

The Phillies simply are not going to go into any prolonged tailspin.

Why do I say that? Easy. Because every four or five days, they are going to trot someone named Cliff Lee out to the mound. Or Roy Halladay. Or Cole Hamels. Or Roy Oswalt.

Last night it was Lee’s turn, and he toyed with the Mets while the Phils won a laugher, 10-0.

Lee allowed only three hits and struck out seven while going seven strong innings.

He was backed up by homers from John Mayberry Jr., who is making a serious push for more playing time, and newcomer Hunter Pence.

And, of course, a Mets team that is just a mess. New York starter Dillon Lee was approaching 90 pitches before the fourth inning. It was that kind of night.

But it was really a night that belonged to Lee, and the way he goes about his business.

After the game, Lee did not want to talk about his seven strikeouts, which padded his career high that is quickly approaching 200. He didn’t want to talk about his 4-0record or 0.58 ERA in August, similar to the gaudy numbers he put up in June.

He wanted to talk about the three guys he walked.

He’s that kind of pitching perfectionist.

And a big part of the reason why you can forget about any kind of collapse by this edition of the Phillies.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Aug. 22

The Daily Numbers: 5 hours, 50 minutes, length of rain delays for Phils over the last 8 days.

1 rainout and 3 rain delays.

3 times in 6 days now that the Phils have blown a lead in the 9th inning to lose a game.

22, age of suspect arrested in Upper Darby who is being called a “person of interest” in an alleged Facebook murder-for-hire plot. He faces carjacking charges for now.

.08 inches of rain, all we need to make August the wettest month ever in the region. The previous record of 13.07 inches of rain was set in September 1999, in the wake of Hurricane Floyd.

670,000 dollar offer for the old borough hall in Media that was accepted by the borough. It will now house an Italian restaurant.

1 lightning bolt blamed for a house fire in Radnor yesterday, 1 other that is believed to have traveled through electric wires into a house in Springfield and shocked 2 boys playing video games.

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

3.62, the price a week ago.

5 armed men who invaded a home in New Castle, Del., Sunday. They stole cash and property.

22, age of recent Temple grad who has been missing since Thursday.

3 men who held up a Radio Shack store in North Philly at gunpoint Sunday night.

2 teens struck when a car hydroplaned on standing water, went up on the sidewalk and plowed into them in Abington.

2 more weekends for curfew crackdowns in Philly as the city extends a measure to combat “flash mobs” despite a protest against the measure.

4 people killed when heavy rains sparked flash flooding that swept away 2 women and 2 children in Pittsburgh over weekend.

1 man shot and killed by police in Philly after a pursuit and carjacking.

8 years in prison the sentence for 2 young American hikers who wandered into Iran.

8 straight winning road series for the Phils, which was snapped when they dropped 2 of 3 to Nats this weekend.

1 strike away from the win when Antonio Bastardo gave up game-tying home run in bottom of 9th.

2 runs on 7 hits over 5 innings for Roy Halladay, who exited after the rain delay.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Jimmy Rollins suffered a groin strain yesterday and will get an MRI today. That’s what you call adding injury to insult after the Phils coughed up a lead twice yesterday in losing to the Nats.



I Don’t Get It: Do the Nationals sell any tickets on their own? They should be thanking the baseball gods that they play in the NL East and get a visit from the Phils. Their new stadium was packed for one of the few times this season, mostly with Philadelphians who made the trip south down I-95.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Philly fans, who again prove they travel better than any fans in sports.


Quote Box: “In a 162-game schedule, you’re going to give it up every now and then.”

- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, after his team coughed up lead with 2 outs and 2 strikes on batter in bottom of 9th. The Phils lost in the 10th when Brad Lidge loaded the bases, then hit a batter, forcing in the winning run.


Another reminder of 9/11

I had reason to be in Washington, D.C., over the weekend.

No, I was not among the thousands of Phillies fans who invaded Nationals Park, turning it into what amounted to Citizens Bank Park South.

I made the trip down I-95 to pick up my daughter, who spent the summer interning in what she quickly learned was one of the hottest cities on the face of the Earth.

But it was on the trip down there Saturday morning that I saw something that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.

Traffic was heavy southbound on I-95, but the northbound lanes were vacant.

Except for a non-stop stream of motorcyclists who apparently had been streaming out of D.C. since early in the morning, heading for NYC. Our daughter had forewarned us. It was a motorcycle ride to commemorate Sept. 11.

What was interesting was the reaction of motorists heading south to this cavalcade of bikers, many of whom were flying flags attached to their bikes.

People honked and waved their horns. Not out of agitation. Out of respect.

This was a 9/11 motorcycle ride.

Yes, I was reminded once again that we are approaching the 10th anniversary of that fateful day.

Some people actually pulled their cars over on the left-hand median so they could salute the bikers.

Fire trucks with huge flags adorned every overpass.

One thing I kept thinking to myself was how far the traffic must have been backed up behind the motorcycles. Our daughter had warned us that they were intermittently closing sections of northbound I-95 to allow the procession to ride smoothly.

Can you imagine? Shutting down I-95 on a busy summer weekend? Such is the power that 9/11 continues to exert over the nation.

It is going to be a very event couple of weeks.

Comment on this

I’m used to getting complaints about the tone of the comments that appear with stories on our website.

I was not quite ready for the onslaught of criticism that came with our decision to disable comments on some controversial stories surrounding the shooting of a suspect by a police officer in Chester.

I explain it in my print column today.

Phils' bullpen rains on their own parade

The Phillies did something this weekend they had not done since the middle of June.

That’s how long it’s been since the Phils have lost a series on the road, when they dropped a set in Seattle.

They did it again this weekend in the nation’s capital, of all places, to the lowly Nationals, in front of a jam-packed stadium that was three-quarters Phillies fans who made the jaunt down I-95 to turn Nationals Park into Citizens Bank Park South.

The weekend was plagued by Mother Nature, but don’t blame her. The Phils rained all over this parade.

If you’re looking for fingerprints, look no farther than the bullpen.

On Friday night it was Ryan Madson, getting lit up for six runs in the bottom of the ninth, including a walk-off grand slam.

The Phils recovered from that debacle Saturday, but were right back in the soup Sunday. Roy Halladay exited after still another long rain delay, one that was preceded by a wild lightning show.

After the delay, it was once again the Phils’ bullpen that saw fireworks.

Michael Schwimer made his major league debut and gave up a home run on his second pitch to tie the game, and foil Halladay’s bid for his 16th win.

The Phils scounged out another run to take a 4-3 lead, and Antonio Bastardo was one strike away from sealing the deal when lightning struck again. This time it was in the form of Ryan Zimmerman, yes, the same guy who hit that grand slam Friday night. Zimmerman rocketed a Bastardo offering over the left-field wall to silence the throng of Phillies fans hoping for a win.

Then Brad Lidge came into the game in the 10th. He loaded the bases, then hit Jonny Gomes with a pitch to force in the wining run and end the game.

If that was not bad enough, there is still more injury to the insult.

Shortstop Jimmy Rollins left the game in the third inning with what is being described as a strained groin.

Swell. In the meantime, the Braves won again, and now trail the Phils by just six and a half games in the NL East.

For now the Phils can do little except offer that old refrain: Rain, rain, go away … and take our bullpen with you!

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Aug. 19

The Daily Numbers: 10,000 dollars believed scammed from friends and co-workers by a Havertown man who faked a terminal cancer diagnosis.

8,100 miles and 10 time zones away for an Aston soldier who was still able to witness the miracle of his son’s birth at Riddle Memorial Hospital through a Skype hookup.

114 counts of possession of child porn lodged against a Philadelphia man by the county Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

30 minutes, how long it took firefighters in Springfield to quell a a blaze that destroyed a home on Norwinden Avenue early this morning.

5,000 dollars believed stolen from fellow teachers by a female teacher at a Bucks County elementary school.

7.8 percent unemployment rate in Pa. in July. That’s up from 7.6 percent.

10,000 Peco customer without power this morning after nasty storms rolled across the region last night.

94.1 the iconic home of WYSP, the rock you grew up with. It will become just a musical memory when it shifts over to a simulcast of WIP Sportsradio.

56 million dollars plunked down on table games at Pa.’s 10 casinos in July. That’s a record high.

6.49 million dollars wagered on table games at Harrah’s in Chester.

2 million increase in revenue at Harrah’s in July over June. They took in $29 million, up from $27 million in June.

3 interceptions thrown by Michael Vick as the Eagles got manhandled in Pittsburgh last night.

5 for 12 for 47 yards. That’s Vick’s totals on the night.

125 yards and 2 TDs for Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger.

262-71 advantage for the Steelers in yards gained in the first half.

7 of 10 third downs converted by the Steleers in the first half, as the Eagles defense struggled.

2 hour, 17 minute rain delay as Phils swam to a 4-1 win over the Diamondbacks.

4 regulars who were out of the lineup for the Phils. No Ruiz, Howard, Polanco or Victorino.

6 innings of solid relief by Phils bullpen after starter Vance Worley left after the rain delay.

2 game suspension for the Phils center fielder.

80 wins for the Phils, who are now 14-1-1 in their last 16 series.

200 consecutive sellouts at Citizens Bank Park.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Uh, cancel that talk about the “Dream Team.” Think Andy Reid is tired of hearing that yet. It was the lead-in to last night’ national telecast of the game.



I Don’t Get It: How can anyone first fake a cancer, then scam friends and co-workers out of money to pay for nonexistent bills. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: There are good things about technology. Due to the magic of Skype, a soldier from Aston stationed in Korea was able to witness the birth of his child at Riddle Memorial Hospital.


Quote Box: “We just have to go back to the drawing board.”

- Eagles defensive end Trent Cole after embarrassing loss to Steelrs.


The lowest of the low

They don’t get much lower than this.

Meet Leron Magilner.

Police out in Haverford say Magilner faked a case of terminal cancer and scammed his friends out of thousands of dollars.

He went so far as to shave his head and set up a page on Facebook and talked about his terminal illness.

Yesterday it all came crashing down on him as he was led into court in handcuffs.

At least he didn’t try to avoid what he had done. Magilner basically admitted what he had done when a reporter from Channel 10 stuck a microphone in his face as he was being led into court.

“I was in a tough place and didn’t properly know how to ask for help,” Magilner said.

Several fundraisers held by co-workers raised $11,000 to help Magilner. Police say he used at least $3,000 to pay for routine living expenses.

Police charged him with theft by deception and identity theft.

Dream Team turns nightmare

It’s a label that is going to hang around their neck all year.

“Dream Team.”

Those words had barely exited Vince Young’s mouth in describing the collection of talent the Eagles were putting together when a collective groan went up from Nova Care nation.

But all Jeff Lurie’s soldiers and all Joe Banner’s men can’t remove the label.

Last night the Dream Team turned nightmare.

The Eagles got outplayed and outclassed in just about every faction of the game in dropping an exhibition game to the Steelers, 24-14.

No one escapes blame in this one.

Michael Vick threw three interceptions. What did he have to show for his night in Pittsburgh? He completed just 5 of 12 attempts for a measly 47 yards.

Things were even bleaker on the other side of the ball. Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers first-team offense moved the ball at will while building a 21-0 lead.

Vick will be all right. But the Eagles’ defense has serious problems, and most of them center on their linebacker corps.

Reid is going to be under increasing scrutiny in all this because of his decision to make offensive line coach Juan Castillo his defensive coordinator.

Luckily this was only a preseason game. It doesn't count.

Except for mocking any notion of a “dream team.”

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Aug. 18

The Daily Numbers: 4 carjackings being linked to an Upper Darby man captured after a foot chase by township police.

24, age of suspect Alexander Solomon, who also is being linked by police to the murder of the target of the Facebook murder plot victim. He’s being held on $3 million bail.

37 years of experience for James Wigo, who has taken over as new superintendent at Rose Tree Media School District.

2 teens killed in crash in Horsham on Aug. 6. Now the teen driver has been charged with homicide while driving under the influence.

2 billboards that got the OK from Concord.

21, age of Chester murder suspect captured 1 day after his photo appeared in the Daily Times.

56 million dollars plunked down on table games at Pa.’s 10 casinos in July. That’s a record high.

6.49 million dollars played at Harrah’s in Chester.

4 state troopers in Chester County credited with tracking down the suspected killers of an Aston man out in Indiana.

4 dead cats and 15 others taken from a home in the Frankford section of Philadelphia.

4 juveniles charged with criminal mischief for allegedly torching playground equipment on the Main Line.

14, age of girl in Telford who reported being attacked and raped while she was out for a jog.

120 pound rat the size of a pig that is believed to be roaming around a California town.

2 former aides to GOP pols in Harrisburg who entered guilty pleas in the Bonusgate probe yesterday.

13-7 mark for Cliff Lee, who got the win as the Phils rolled over the D-Backs last night, 9-2.

3 hits for the Diamondbacks.

7 innings and 7 strikeouts for Lee.

1 scoreless inning for both Antonio Bastardo and Ryan Madson.

199 consecutive sellouts for the Phils at Citizens Bank Park.

7:30 kickoff tonight for Game 2 for the Eagles in their exhibition season. They face the Steelers in Pittsburgh.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.It’s back. The Michael Vick controversy. The Eagles QB has given an explosive interview with GQ Magazine. This one is going to be talked about a lot.



I Don’t Get It: Why is it that a casino is reponsible for people who leave kids in their car while they gamble? I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Good news for Jeremy Maclin, who has been given a clean bill of health and is hoping to be back with the Birds in time for opening day.


Quote Box: “I wanted to keep it private until I knew for sure what was going on and the Eagles were amazing.”

- Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin on his medical scare.

Boom times for table games

Anyone still wondering if table games have eclipsed slots when it comes to the action at Pa. casinos?

Check out these new numbers released by the state Gaming Control Board.

Revenue from table games in Pa. set a new record in July, when gamblers plunked down more than $56 million at the state’s 10 operating casinos.

It was a boom time at Harrah’s in Chester as well. The Delco gambling mecca comes in fourth, with more than $6.8 million dollars wagered. That also translates into $129,898 in tax relief.


As the Eagles turn ...

Exhale, Eagles fans. Then take another deep breath.

The Jeremy Maclin health scare is over. He says he now has received a clean bill of health, after getting a false cancer report. Says he does not have anything. But when exactly he’ll be able to return to the team is still murky.

Bob Grotz has all the details here.

The Maclin story no doubt will be but a memory in no time this morning. That’s because Michael Vick is about to make some serious waves with a new interview.

The new face of the Eagles organization sat down with GQ Mag and got some things off his chest.

He had some very interesting things to say about his return to the NFL, where he really wanted to play, and the league’s role in guiding him to a landing with the Eagles.

And he's not quite done talking about dogfighting, either.

This one is going to be talked about for a long time.

You can catch a preview on Deadspin.

Golden era for Miami?

You have to feel bad for Temple head football coach Al Golden.

He turned around the Owls’ program, taking them from laughingstocks to bowl games.

As expected the offers to head major programs followed. Golden went to Miami, where things are decidedly less than Golden.

The coach now finds himself up to his neck in a scandal that was not of his making.

You can read about the latest allegations against U Miami here.

No one can really be surprised that the ‘Canes infamous program is back in the crosshairs of the NCAA.

But you still have to feel bad for Golden, and think that you could almost have seen this one coming.

Mimicking his old school’s one-time slogan, Golden could have gone anywhere. He chose Miami.

Now he’s going to pay the price.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Aug. 17

The Daily Numbers: 1,000 dollars, how much police say a woman was willing to pay to have her boyfriend killed.

2 people charged in that plot. They were in jail when the target was actually shot and killed.

7 foot bronze statue of beloved Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas unveiled last night at Citizens Bank Park.

80,000 cost, mostly raised by donations from fans.

22,000 people who signed a petition that led to the non-profit group that led the charged for the statue.

2 to 23 months in jail for a former secretary in the Delco D.A.’s office for lying to a grand jury probing a leak of information in a case.

2 suspects in the murder of a landscaping foreman from Aston who now will be returned to Pa. to face justice after being arrested in Indiana.

9 month to 2 years in prison for woman who was driving under the influence with three kids in her car when she slammed into a utility pole.

1 million dollar settlement for several altar boys who claimed they were abused by a priest in the Trenton Archdiocese.

3 for Republican aides who have now pleaded guilty in the Pa. Bonusgate probe and will testify against others.

4 people who escaped injury when an apartment building collapsed overnight in South Philly.

14 strikeouts for Roy Halladay vs. the Diamondbacks last night.

2 runs for the D-Backs in the top of the 9th as they rallied for a 3-2 win.

12 straight batters retired by Halladay going into the ninth 0 relievers used by Phils manager Charlie Manuel in the game.

2 run homer for Shane Victorino earlier that gave the Phils a 2-1 lead. That’s homer No. 13 for the center fielder.

15-5 mark for Halladay, who was foiled in his attempt for win No. 16.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.The voice of summer has now been encased in bronze. Harry Kalas will always be with us, and that 7-foot bronze statue of him unveiled last night at Citizens Bank Park is a nice reminder.



I Don’t Get It: There is a danger out there in social media. The Facebook murder case is almost hard to believe. Except that it really happpened.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those fans who chipped in for that terrific tribute to our beloved Harry Kalas.


Quote Box: “People try to be something that they are not on Facebook.”

- Lopez Thompson, attorney for Delco man charged in a Facebook murder-for-hire plot.


Bronze memories of a solid gold guy

The voice of Summer has been absent now for a couple of years.

But he’s never left our hearts.

Now he will never leave the place he called home.

They unveiled the 7-foot bronze statue of beloved Phillies broadcast Harry Kalas at Citizens Bank Park last night.

You can read all about it and watch a video of the ceremony here.

Harry and his sidekick, Richie Ashburn, left an indelible mark on Phillies fans.

Now the fans have returned the favor. Most of the $80,000 cost of the statue was raised by donations from ordinary fans, organized by a non-profit called Dear Harry Inc.

The statue, the work of sculptor Larry Nowlan, was cast at Laran Bronze in Chester.

One of the outstanding features of Citizens Bank Park is Ashburn Alley, which stretches from the left-field foul line through centerfield, where Phils fans can eat, drink and still catch all the action. It’s a fitting tribute to the beloved center-fielder and color man on the Phils’ broadcasts.

For so many of those years on radio and TV, Ashburn’s running mate was Kalas.

Now they are joined together again.

The Kalas statue is near the left-field line, just outside the entrance to Harry the K’s Restaurant. The area is being dubbed Kalas’ Korner.

The voice of summer has now been captured in bronze.

But the memories and the love for a man who was so much more than a broadcaster are solid gold.

Softball for a good cause

The nights are getting shorter. There air actually feels a bit crisp. Back-to-School ads are everywhere.

That means only one thing.

It’s time for the softball community to return to Marcus Hook.

Yes, it’s once again time for one of our biggest community ventures, the Daily Times/Exelon Champs ‘n’ Charity Classic. Each August we bring the best softball teams in Delco together for this little party, with all the money raised going to the fight against cancer.

Tonight we’ll be dedicating our live-stream Internet broadcast, ‘Live From the Newsroom,’ to a discussion of this little party, which we’ve been throwing for 28 years.

Join us, log in to and join the discussion. We’ll be live at 7.

Look for a special section on the tournament in the Thursday edition of the Daily Times and also on And we’ll be covering the tournament live all weekend. Look for live-streams of both the men’s and women’s tourney finals on Sunday and Monday.

See you in the Hook!

Tough call for Manuel

Let the second-guessing begin.

No doubt Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel’s ears will be burning this morning.

That’s because he got burned last night, and by his ace, of all people.

Roy Halladay dazzled the Arizona Diamondbacks for eight innings, striking out 14. At one point he retired 12 straight batters.

Then he went back out for the ninth inning nursing a 2-1 Phils lead. His manager did not have anyone warming up. Clearly he was going with his ace.

You can guess what happened next. The Phils’ bullpen stirred when Halladay gave up a leadoff single. But after another single, Lyle Overbay ripped a Halladay pitch into the gap in right-center. Two runs scored.

Phils lose, 3-2.

There are any number of ways to look at this thing.

After the game, Manuel was clear. He had his “ace” on the mound and he put his trust in him.

This despite the fact that the Phils pay Ryan Madson a tidy sum of money to do one thing, pitch the ninth inning.

It is now Aug. 17, the Phils are sitting on a gaping 7 and a half game lead over the Braves, and Halladay has pitched a ton of innings this year.

But Madson never stirred. Neither did anyone else in the Phils’ bullpen, at least until the D-Backs already started their rally.

There is also the likelihood that Halladay would not take especially kindly to being lifted from such a game.

But that’s Manuel’s job.

Me? I probably let Halladay go out to the mound to start the ninth, but I have my bullpen primed and ready.

When Halladay surrendered a single to starting the ninth, I’m probably on my way to the mound.

What say you, Barcolounger managers? Was Manuel right to leave his ace in the game? Or do you think he should have gone to his bullpen.

Post a comment and let me know.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Aug. 16

The Daily Numbers: 600 dollar fine, what repeat violators of the curfew in Ridley Park face.

60 years of wedded bliss being celebrated by Dorothy and Stephen McFee of Upper Darby.

1,000 dollar fine being proposed in Haverford for those who plant bamboo in violation of a township ordinance.

3,500 fleeced from a Connecticut couple, allegedly by a Millbourne man, according to cops.

1,000 dollar reward now posted by U.S. Marshals for information on a Chester shooting suspect.

25 years as a sports anchor at WIP coming to end with word that Howard Eskin will give up his afternoon gig. He is staying with the station.

4.9 inches of rain on Sunday, the official amount for the region recorded at Philly International Airport.

3.5 inches in Drexel Hill, tops in Delco.

9.6 inches in Elmer, N.J.

213 point gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Monday, nearly gaining back all the losses in last week’s rollercoaster markets.

12.5 billion being paid for Motorola Mobility by Google.

5, age of boy who had been missing in Philly. He was found safe sleeping on bus operated by day camp he attends.

15, age of soccer player who died after he collapsed in a drill in Beaver Falls, Pa.

325 teachers being recalled by the School District of Philadelphia.

47 syringes found on boardwalk and beach at Ventnor, N.J.

34 years ago that we lost the King. No, not Howard Eskin. That was the day Elvis died in Graceland.

600 home runs for former Phils’ slugger Jim Thome.

96 home runs hit for the Phils by Thome, including No. 400.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Good guys do finish first. They also sometimes hit 600 home runs. Just ask Thim Thome.



I Don’t Get It: Two more churches have been ransacked by thieves in Philly. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Some serious kudos to Dorothy and Stephan McFee, who today will celebrate 70 years of wedded bliss at their Upper Darby home. Well done.


Quote Box: “This really is another great day in a terrific streak and I’m just starting a new chapter.”

- Howard Eskin, in announcing he was stepping down as afternoon anchor on sports talker WIP 610.


'The King' dethroned at WIP


I can admit it.

I’m a moron. Nitwit. Genius.

Got that, chief?

Yes, I was a devoted listener of Howard Eskin. The man who ruled over Philly sports talk for a quarter century yesterday announced yesterday he was giving up his key 3-7 afternoon anchor slot on 610 WIP.

Eskin isn’t leaving the station, he got a contract renewal and will do Eagles pregame shows and other work, but he will no longer reign over the afternoon airwaves.

Actually, there are a lot of people who would make the argument that the man whose fans referred to him as “King” had already been dethroned by former WIP talker Mike Missanelli, who now spouts opinions on rival 97.5 the Fanatic.

I never cared for the way Eskin belittled his listeners. I guess that was part of the schtick. And I got more than a little tired of the way he aligned himself so cozily with the Eagles and Coach Andy Reid. But there’s no questioning the fact that Eskin worked his beat like nobody’s business.

The guy attracted news like a magnet. He was one of the few radio/TV guys who actually broke stories.

There’s a lot of scuttlebutt concerning WIP right now. One theory is that, hurt by the presence of The Fanatic on the FM dial, they will counter with one of their own, converting legendary rock station 94 WYSP to a sports format. WIP officials are not talking about that one.

Which is unusual, since talk is what they do. And no one did with quite the flair that Eskin did.

For 25 years, he was a constant in Philly sports talk radio.

That’s a long run in any business.

Even this “genius” can figure that one out.

Here’s our story on Eskin’s decision to leave the anchor chair.

Chester mayor in tough spot

I genuinely like Wendell Butler. He strikes me as a nice man who is saddled with a gargantuan task, that being mayor of Chester.

Under Butler the city has turned a corner after decades of decline and is now enjoying something of an economic renaissance.

But I’m still confounded by the mayor’s actions in the wake of the fatal shooting of a suspect by a city police officer.

On Friday Butler indicated he would seek the officer’s suspension. But on Saturday, the mayor was backing off, in particular after two Facebook pages sprouted, one urging support for Chester law enforcement, another directly seeking the mayor’s impeachment.

Butler, a longtime city officer and a former police chief in Chester, should have known better.

Here’s our editorial on the situation.

Nice guys finish first - and hit 600 home runs

One of the really nice guys in Philly sports marked a milestone last night.

Jim Thome, whose signing back in 2003 marked the start of the Phillies move away from their “small market” pedigree to one of baseball’s power players, hit home run No. 600.

Actually he hit both home runs No. 599 and 600.

Only seven other Major League sluggers are members of the 600 Club. Several of them, including Sammy Sosa, have serious questions linked to their gaudy stats, a residual effect of baseball’s steroid era.

No such doubt ever circled around Thome. Just how impressive are Thome’s numbers? Exactly one hitter got to the 600 level faster than Thome did. Maybe you’ve heard of him. His name is Babe Ruth.

Thome hit No. 600 in at-bat No. 8,137; Ruth his his in at-bat No. 6,921.

It was the signing of Thome back in 2003 that recharged interest in a Phillies franchise that had been dead for years. It was part of the impetus that soon gained traction with the move to Citizens Bank Park. In fact, Thome hit the first homer ever struck in The Bank during an exhibition game against his former team, the Cleveland Indians, on April 3, 2004. He also homered at Veterans Stadium, launching 28 dingers into what no doubt were largely empty sections of the decrepit bowl during its final season.

The rest is history.

Thome played just two and a half seasons for the Phils. Hit 96 home runs during that span, including what was then No. 400.

When he finally hangs them up, Thome deserves a spot in Cooperstown. But more than that, he deserves a night at Citizens Bank Park, the place he helped build.

As much as anything, Citizens Bank Park is the enduring symbol of the magical turnaround of the Phillies franchise.

But before the franchise started routinely selling out game after game after game, there was Jim Thome.

Nice guys do finish first. They also hit 600 home runs.

Philly has not forgotten you, Mr. Thome.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Aug. 15

The Daily Numbers: 5, as in the 5th wettest day ever recorded in the region amid all that rain on Sunday.

10 inches of rain recorded in some parts of South Jersey.

5 inches of rain that fell on Delaware County, with more on the way today.

1 man and 1 dog rescued from burning house in Sharon Hill on Sunday.

2, as in No. 2 in the nation, where 1st Congressional District, including city of Chester, ranks in terms of hunger.

2 more names added to the county tribute wall in the courthouse for those serving overseas.

18, age of man charged with stabbing 16-year-old girl in Philly after ‘Teen Night’ event with Mayor Michael Nutter held to keep kids off the street and out of trouble.

12 kids charged with violating the new Philly curfew on Saturday night, after 50 got written up on Friday night.

14 people sent to the hospital after a Geyhound bus overturned Saturday on the Pa. Turnpike.

100 years ago, the last lynching in Pennsylvania. The event was memorialized in Coatesville over the weekend.

6.6 cent dip in price of gasoline in the Philly region in the past week.

3.67 a gallon, average price at the pump in the region. That compares with the national price of $3.60 a gallon.

85, age of man attacked by several teens as he walked from a South Philly convenience store to his home.

2 extra days of rest for Phillies ace Roy Halladay after Sunday’s game against the Nats was rained out. It will be made up in a day-night doubleheader on Sept. 20.

175 2/3 innings for Halladay so far this year, tied for league lead with Dodgers Clayton Kershaw.

1 more day before the unveiling of the bronze statue of Harry Kalas, which also was rained out yesterday. It will make its debut before Tuesday night’s game vs. the Diamondbacks.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Mother Nature did what no one has been able to do much this summer – make the Phils settle for a split in their series with the Nats. They went 1-1 with Sunday’s game rained out.



I Don’t Get It: I guess we can stop talking about a drought now. All in one day, naturally.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Bennett Highsteppers, who are headed to Florida as they continue to honor the legacy of Chester shooting victim Carla Carrington.


Quote Box: “If I’ve got to sacrifice myself to save my city, I’ll do that.”

- Chester Mayor Wendell Butler, on the spot he’s in weighing two sides in the fallout after a police-involved fatal shooting of a resident.

Butler gets heat from both sides in Chester shooting

Chester Mayor Wendell Butler finds himself in a tough spot.

The mayor is smack in the middle of a firestorm after the fatal shooting of a citizen by a city police officer two weekends ago.

Last week several protests were held at police headquarters after the shooting of Daniel Simms. Back on Aug. 5, police tried to stop Simms, but he fled and also displayed a handgun and pointed it at officers. He was shot in the back and killed.

As with any police-involved shooting, the officer, who has not been publicly identified, was placed on desk duty. The incident is being investigated by the District Attorney’s Office.

Family members and friends of Simms held several protests, including one outside police headquarters where some residents chanted threats against the officer.

Butler met with the family. On Friday he indicated he was going to suspend the officer involved – before the investigation by the D.A.’s office was complete.

That decision caused an uproar among city police officers and their supporters. A Facebook fan page called “Support City of Chester Law Enforcement” has mushroomed in popularity since it appeared late Saturday afternoon.

Butler was the target of withering criticism on the site, some nearly as over the line as some of the chants heard during the earlier protests by citizens.

Butler, who is running for re-election and has an opponent in November, has now had a change of heart.

He drew up the letter informing the officer he was being suspended on Friday because he feared an outbreak of violence in the city. But he never actually delivered it. Then on Saturday he was backing off the call for the suspension.

Good for him.

Butler says he will now await the results of the investigation by the District Attorney’s Office.

Everyone involved in this case needs to take a deep breath, exhale and most importantly, back off the heated rhetoric. Let the investigation run its course.

You can understand Butler’s fears of a violent outbreak in the city. But that does not override the fact that there is a system in place for these kinds of incidents. The matter is now in the hands of the district attorney and state police.

We’ll await their decision.

Cross one off the Bucket List

I can cross one off my “bucket list.”

You know, that list of things you want to do before you turn toes up.

This one had to do with a place I wanted to visit. And it just so happens that today is a pivotal day for something that happened exactly 42 years ago today.

Check out my print column.

One more rainout for Harry the K

Maybe that was God shedding one more tear – or lots of them – for the Voice of Summer.

The ceremony to unveil the 7-foot bronze statute of beloved Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas got washed out yesterday, along with the finale to the Phillies-Nationals series.

Members of the “Dear Harry” organization, the group that raised the money for the Larry Nowlan creation, got a sneak peek along with some Kalas family members.

All were on hand for the affair, which was to see the installation and unveiling of the state near the left-field foul pole at Citizens Bank Park, near the entrance to Harry the K’s restaurant. The area is being dubbed “Kalas’ Korner.” It’s a fitting lead-in to one of the ballpark’s most loved aspects – Ashburn Alley – named of course for Harry’s buddy and longtime mike-mate Richie Ashburn.

The ceremony now will be held Tuesday night before the opener of the series with the Diamondbacks.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Another setback for Sean O'Neill Sr.


I wouldn't say Sean O'Neill Sr.'s plea fell on deaf ears.

But a judge gave his appeal pretty short shrift in denying his bid to withdraw his plea on tax fraud and immigration charges.

O'Neill claimed he did not know he was going to be deported to Northern Ireland as part of the deal and could not return to the U.S.

He now as 60 days to appeal.

And the saga of one of the county's most star-crossed families continues.

Here's the full story.

Nothing to toast in Harrisburg

Here's a stunner.

The head of the LCB and the union that represents its workers are not happy with Mike Turzai's plan to get Pa. out of the booze business. That, of course, would be their business.

No state stores, no jobs, although the theory is that some of them likely would be hired by the new private enterprises that would pick up the sale of wine and spirits. I can't say I blame them. I don't want to see anybody lose their job, especially in these times.

I just think the state has no business being in this business.

Yesterday both groups turned out in Harrisburg to blast the plan. You can read about it here.

Don't hold your breath waiting for this antiquated system to go anywhere. You can plan on continuing to go to three different places to buy a six-pack, a case of beer and a bottle of wine.

What a state.

The Eagles 2 most important off-season acquisitions

First things first: No one got hurt. In particular Michael Vick.

The Eagles QB sparkled in his one series as the Birds kicked off their exhibition season last night with a win over the Baltimore Ravens. Vick looked in mid-season form as he marched the offense down the field and fired a short strike to tight end Brent Celek to cash in the TD. He then made a quick exit, instead of finishing the rest of the first quarter. Good call. He is the one guy the Eagles cannot lose, and his susceptibility to injury makes exposing him in these glorified practices.

I'm not a big fan of the preseason, but I always go on one maxim: At one point, you want both the starting offense and defense to look sharp. The Eagles accomplished both last night. And I think I know why.

It is their two most important off-season acquisitions. That would be defensive line coach JIm Washburn and offensive line guru Howard Mudd. Both have installed new systems and Washburn's scheme in particular seemed to be paying results with constant pressure from the Eagles' offensive line.

One other thought: Anyone remember David Akers? His replacement, Chris Henery, looked good as gold in nailing two kicks and constantly burying kickoffs in the end zone, albeit from the 35.

The Eagles goal for the rest of the preseason now should be simple. Stay healthy, and that includes getting starting wide receiver Jeremy Maclin on the field.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Daily Numbers - Aug. 11

The Daily Numbers: 20,000 dollars, how much a gunman got in a heist at an Upper Darby bank

2 suspects now charged in the murder of a 32-year-old Aston man. His body was found dumped along a road in rural Chester County. They were found with his truck in Indiana.

40 people who protested outside Chester police HQ yesterday over the fatal police shooting of a man last weekend.

2 elderly residents the victims of ‘distraction burglaries’ in Upper Chichester.

34 years of tending bar coming to an end with the retirement of longtime Delco barkeep John Lackey.

55 to 75, believed to be age of woman’s body found floating in Schuylkill River in Montco.

3 juveniles who turned themselves in to face felony assault charges in a flash mob attack in Philly.

1 winning ticket sold in Minnesota in the $220 million Powerball jackpot.

23,000 dollars stolen from a Little League organization in Clayton, N.J.

1,800 an ounce, what gold is going for these days. Check those fillings.

53 defendants, including a Montco doctor and a Philly pharmacist, charged in a huge oxycodone ring.

337 billion dollar value to Apple stock, lifting it above Exxon’s 331 billion as the No. 1 company.

9-1 mark for the Phillies after the rallied to top the Dodgers, 9-8, and sweep the series.

6-0 deficit that had to climb out of to get the win.

3 walks surrendered by starter Vance Worley in giving up 5 runs in the 1st inning.

1,003 games at second base for Chase Utley, tying the franchise record set by Tony Taylor.

1-1 draw for the U.S. in their ‘friendly’ soccer match with Mexico in the debut for new coach Jurgen Klinsman.

1 year deal for former All-Pro wide receiver Steve Smith to join the Eagles.

7:30 kickoff tonight to the exhibition season as the Birds meet the Ravens at the Linc.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.It doesn’t appear as if anything can stop the Phillies, not even falling behind the Dodgers 6-0 on the last day of a 10-game road trip. Unreal.



I Don’t Get It: A suburban Pittsburgh woman is facing charges after her 3-year-old son tested positive for cocaine. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Good quick work by police leading to the arrest of 2 people in the murder of Andre Dupuis of Aston.


Quote Box: “We ask our police officers to put their lives on the line every day and we expect them to do their job properly.”

- Chester Police Chief Darren Alston, while protesters marched outside upset at the police fatal shooting of a man.