Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Philly sports night to remember

It's a day Philly sports fans will not soon forget.

Eat your heart out, Yankees fans. Forget it, Red Sox nation. Keep crying in your beer, Jets and Cowboys faithful.

We're the new king of the hill.

In their increasingly high-stakes war for the Back Page, the Eagles and Phillies both provided thunderclaps yesterday afternoon.

The Eagles struck first, stunning just about everyone in the NFL by signing the top free agent in the field, Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.

You can read all about that one here.

No doubt the Eagles were smiling smugly as they finally put those pesky first-place Phillies in their place.

For a couple of hours.

No sooner than the Phils blew away the Pirates behind Roy Halladay, there was GM Ruban Amaro Jr. back in that most familiar place for him, sitting behind a microphone announcing a blockbuster deal.

Check out all the details here.

The Phils had bagged Hunter Pence for several top prospects, none of them named Domonic Brown or Vance Worley.

Philly fans will be smiling all the way up the Northeast Extension as they flock to the first public practice for the Eagles at Lehigh this morning. How many old No. 21 Eric Allen jerseys do you think will be transformed into Asomugha specials.

A few hours later, another sellout crowd will descend on Citizens Bank Park to watch the best team - and organization - in baseball.

All hail the new kings of sports - Philadelphia.

Now, of course, the only thing missing is the parades. They have to be earned on the field.

Off the field, it will be a long time before we top a day like Friday.

The sports world revolves around Philly. It's about time.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Daily Numbers - July 29

The Daily Numbers: 10 armed robberies police say they have solved in Sharon Hill, Darby Township and Collingdale with the arrest of a Collingdale man.

0 votes taken in Washington last night on the debt ceiling crunch.

4 days until the nation’s economy turns into a pumpkin on Tuesday.

10 22 caliber bullets apparently found on the campus of Radnor High School.

2 Delaware County teachers who are finalists for Teacher of the Year in Pa.

2005, last time a person was executed in Delaware. They put to death a convicted ax murdered last night.

1 killed, 2 injured in shootings in Overbrook.

3 sites in Montgomery County linked to a potential measles outbreak.

67, age of West Goshen Police Chief Mike Carroll, who will hang up his badge after a distinguished career.

2 months without losing 2 games in a row, a streak that was snapped last night as the Phils fell again to the Giants.

2 runs, how many the Phils scored in those 2 losses, 1 run each night.

45 straight games without losing 2 in a row for the Phils.

4 runs on 6 hits over 6 and a third innings for Phils starter Kyle Kendrick.

33 saves in 37 chances for Giants closer Brian Wilson.

192 consecutive sellouts for the Phils at Citizens Bank Park.

64 million dollar deal for Kevin Kolb, who is now a member of the Arizona Cardinals.

2nd round pick, in addition to starting cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, what Birds got for Kolb.

1 year deal expected to be struck today by Eagles with former Titans starter Vince Young to be backup to Michael Vick.

16 interceptions in his career for Rodgers-Cromartie.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.The last two nights of offensive woes vs. the Giants just might push GM Ruben Amaro Jr. over the edge in making a move at the trade deadline.



I Don’t Get It: Washington, D.C. This isn’t funny anymore. It’s not about getting anything done. It’s about scoring political points. All of them should be ashamed.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Joe Banner and the Eagles front office. They take a lot of heat, but it looks like they got the Kolb deal right.


Quote Box: “This was the result of good teamwork, good cooperation among all the towns.”

- Chief Robert Adams of Collingdale, talking about arrest in series of armed robberies.

Another day in court for the archdiocese

Look for the latest chapter in the sex scandal that continues to dog the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to play out in court today.

The Rev. Monsignor William Lynn, two priests and a former priest, all of whom face criminal charges connected to the most recent grand jury investigation, face a pre-trial hearing.

But there could be fireworks over last weekend’s publication of secret grand jury testimony.

After excerpts appeared in the Inquirer on Sunday, a judge hastily halted any further release of the information.

But you can expect lawyers for the accused to be in court today arguing that the widespread dissemination of that information will make it impossible for their clients to get a fair trial here.

The grand jury report frames a condemnation of the actions of the former head of the archdiocese, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. The cardinal is seen as a crafty attorney who constantly dodged questions posed by the grand jury. He did not seem so much concerned about the possible victims of sexual abuse as he did about protecting the church.

And he also points an accusatory finger at Lynn, saying he left many crucial decisions up to the monsignor.

Lynn is not on trial for abuse charges, but rather recklessly endangering the welfare of children. In effect that his actions, which involved moving priests from one parish to another, put kids in harm’s way at the hands of problem priests.

Stay tuned for what could be a pivotal day in court for the case today.

A message from David Akers

There's a tweet out there today from David Akers.

You know, maybe the best kicker in Eagles history. He got shown the door rather unceremoniously by the team. Yesterday he signed with the San Francisco 49ers.

This morning @DavidAkers2 tweets: Thanks for the past 12 wonderful years, Philly. I have been blessed beyond measure by your support. Blessings to you all!

Class act.

Score one for the Eagles

I’m as critical as anyone of the Eagles.

Today I am here to give them a solid thumb’s up. They stuck to their guns and finally dealt backup QB Kevin Kolb to the Phoenix Cardinals. Not only did they reel in a much-needed starting cornerback in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, they also snagged a second-round draft pick.

‘DRC,’ as he is known, will step right in across from Asante Samuel to solidify a shaky Eagles secondary.

I do, however, have a couple of questions for Andy Reid and the Eagles brass (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?)

Reid went out of his way to shower praise on Kolb at a late-afternoon press conference at Eagles training camp at Lehigh. He said Kolb deserved the chance and that he would be a great starter.

If they thought so highly of him, why did he not get his job back after suffering that concussion on opening day last year and watching the Michael Vick show light up the Philly stage? Why? Because Kolb wasn’t as good as Vick, and that only became more clear as the year went on.

Mark this date on your calendar: Nov. 13. That’s when Kolb will lead the Cardinals into Lincoln Financial Field. Put the house on the Eagles.

And then there’s Jason Babin. Everyone is talking about his Pro Bowl season last year. No one is talking about the fact that the Eagles have already released this guy once. Just a slight mistake on talent evaluation? Of were they again trying to be nice guys and give a guy a shot to start somewhere?

At any rate, the Eagles are now racheting up the pressure on the Phillies and Ruben Amaro for Back Page supremacy.

The ball now has been smashed back into the Phils’ court by Joe Banner and the Birds.

Amaro has until Sunday to pull the trigger on another deal, most likely for Hunter Pence. Watching Carlos Beltran stroll to the plate in a Giants uniform likely did not help.

But watching his lineup go weakly into the night two straight nights against Giants pitching – much as they did in last year’s National League Championship Series – might push Amaro over the edge.

If I was Domonic Brown or Vance Worley, I’d be nervous this weekend.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Daily Numbers - July 28

The Daily Numbers: 66, age of man found dead after fire roared through home in Lansdowne.

14 of August, when 7-foot statue of Phils broadcaster and Delco resident Harry Kalas will be unveiled at Citizens Bank Park.

81, age of Brookhaven woman whose death is being blamed in part on the recent heat wave.

25 deaths across the region now being blamed on the heat.

48, age of man shot on Chester street early Tuesday.

25 single family homes planned for Butler Trac in Upper Chi. The development has now been delayed.

35, age of Springfield man who was killed in car crash on I-95 in Wilmington overnight.

50, age of former coach at Shipley School charged with having sexual relationship with a female student.

2 billion dollars, how much Rep. Mike Turzai says the state would see in the sale of state stores. He wants to privatize the booze business in Pa.

18 percent 'Johnstown Flood tax' that would be eliminated, along with 30 percent markup by the LCB on wine and spirits.

1,250 liquor store licenses that would be up for grabs.

86, age of man found strangled in his West Chester home. It's the borough's first homicide since 2007.

9, age of girl found drowned in motel pool at Seaside Heights at the Jersey shore.

4 percent uptick in ridership for SEPTA, their highest mark since 1989. 334 million people use the system every day.

6 years ago, when Del. last executed a prisoner. They have one on tap tonight.

104 jobs lost with closing of Elan Corp. operations in Upper Merion.

4.6 trillion national health care tab in 2010

12 wins and counting for Cole Hamels, who lost a tough 2-1 decision to the Giants last night.

6 strikeouts over 7 2//3 innings for Hamels.

1 run on 1 hit over 4 innings for Roy Oswalt in rehab start at Lehigh Valley.

9 of 11 draft picks signed by Eagles. Not their top pick though.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Spare me the Andy Reid show. I've seen it before. And too often. Hey, Andy, win a Super Bowl. Then maybe we'd swallow your Bill Belichick act.

I Don’t Get It: What kind of knucklehead shines a laser pointer at a police helicopter? Maybe the same kind who actually fires shots at one during a police chase.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Bridge Foundation for again awarding scholarships to some very deserving Delco students.

Quote Box: “I don't let all of that botehr me. I move forward. Another man misses a day, another man practices and gets himself better. That's a beautiful thing.'

- Andy Reid on no-show and possible holdout by DeSean Jackson.

Pa.'s booze battle

OK, so it's not exactly on a level with solving the national debt ceiling crisis.

Hell, it's likely not even as important as Pennsylvania's own budget crisis.

Still, I have a vested interest in the discussion swirling around the latest move to get Pennsylvania out of the booze business.

Yesterday, the man behind this push, Republican state Rep. Mike Turzai, went on the hot seat in Harrisburg.

You can read all about it here.

He wasn't alone. In the audience were several dozen state store employees wearing bright yellow union T-shirts.

I have gone on record as saying that I am in favor of what Turzai wants to do. Namely, he would blow up the Liquor Control Board and sell off the state store franchises to private enterprise. He thinks he can raise $2 billion in a one-time cash bonanza, and also equal or better the annual revenue stream the state gets from these stores. Not everyone is buying Turzai's numbers.

The unions are ticked because they see 5,000 members losing their jobs.

Me? Hey, I could actually live with the state stores, under one proviso. They add beer sales as well.

I want to go to one place for beer, wine, spirits and even soda. Preferably I'd like to do this while I am at the supermarket.

Turzai's bill doesn't affect beer sales at all in the state, and the archaic notion of using beer distributors for a case of beer, and local taverns or delis for a six-pack. And being unable to grab a six-pack or a single at your local convenience store.

I'd like to blow up the whole system and start over. I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for it to happen.

Yesterday's hearing did nothing to change my mind. There will be more hearings later this summer. What there likely will not be any time soon is a vote on the bill.

Sip, sip hooray? Not exactly.

An evening at Rose Tree

'Live From the Newsroom' was on the road again last night. After enjoying an evening on State Street in Media the week before for 'Dining Under the Stars,' we took our show down the road just a bit last night to Rose Tree Park for the Rose Tree Summer Festival.

It just so happened that our visit coincided with the Beatlemania show. Everyone told me it was one of the most popular shows of the summer at the amphitheatre, which has been hosting these free summer shows since 1976.

I sort of got that idea around 5:45, as I sat on the ramp from the Route 1 Bypass to Route 252. For about 15 minutes.

And when I finally got to the park, where I saw the parking lot quickly filling up.

And when I found a parking spot and walked into the amphitheatre, where people were already camped out on the grass for a show that was not starting for another hour and a half, at 7:30.

In other words, the place was packed. By the time 7:30 rolled around and the faux Fab Four took the stage, there must have been 5,000 people packed into the place.

It made for a great night.

So did our visit with County Councilman Jack Whelan, who talked about everything from the latest addition to the park, the new home of the Brandywine Visitors and Convention Bureau at the relocated Rose Tree Tavern, to the county's push to build a new animal shelter, and even mixing in a little politics.

County Parks & Rec boss Marc Manfre also joined myself and Gil Spencer in our perch at the top of the hill overlookign the stage.

CLICK HERE if you'd like to watch the replay.

Right now I'm fielding requests for future shows. If you have an idea you'd like us to cover, or a place where you think we should visit, let me know. Email me at

Backyard weather has nothing on us. We'll bring 'Live From the Newsroom' to your backyard, if you have an issue we think should be aired.

Let me know.  One idea we're toying with is taking the show to a local coffee shop once a week simply to talk about what is going on in the county, meet readers, and hear what they have to say.

Look for us coming to a town near you!

Reid it & weep

Imagine for a moment you are the boss of the Philadelphia Eagles.

You have just maneuvered your billion-dollar enterprise through the mine field of a lengthy labor lockout. But you got a deal at the last second that will allow you to save training camp and your season.

You truck all your equipment up the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike to your summer home, Lehigh University.

Then you hold a press conference to kick off camp. It is the first public offering from your franchise since emerging from lockout limbo.

No doubt you are looking to make a good impression, maybe offer the fans a few morsels of what is to come, and establish a little goodwill.

Yeah, right. Remember, this is the Eagles.

Instead the Birds rolled out Andy Reid. Time's yours, folks. Just don't ask me anything about free agency or any trades. DeSean Jackson maybe? Not talking about contracts either.

As usual, Reid had nothing to say. And as usual, he did it in his normal, arrogant smug way, one that reeks of the self-anointed "gold standard" this franchise has bestowed on itself. Of course, the only thing missing from this picture would be a Vince Lombardi trophy.

The Eagles should be ashamed of the tired, old act Reid rolled out for the assembled media yesterday. Someone please remind me why we spend the money and effort to send reporters and columnists to these things, when Reid makes it clear he has nothing to say, and could care less what the media's function is.

As I said, it's nice to see some things don't change. Include Reid on that list.

And most likely another 10-6 season from the Birds.

Super Bowl? Sorry, fans. Remember, some things don't change.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Daily Numbers - July 27

The Daily Numbers: 4 times a firm’s building has been flooded near Chester Creek in Chester.

12, age of boy still hospitalized in critical condition after being swept away by raging floodwaters in Ithan Creek Monday night.

5, age of boy who fell out a 2nd story window in Upper Darby.

2 people in their 70s injured yesterday when a trash truck slammed into their car on Reed Road in Marple.

30 cats and a dog removed from house in Upper Darby.

25 animals, including dead iguanas, removed from South Philly home.

11.9 million dollar deficit in Reading, Pa. They’re considering filing for pauper status.

32, age of woman found dead after fire roared through her home in East Mount Airy section of Philly. Her throat had been cut.

1 ton of banned African elephant ivory smuggled into U.S. by Philly man, according to feds.

1 instance of measles exposure reported in Delco, at the Starbucks on Baltimore Pike in Media.

2 dead in street shooting in Camden last night.

5 billion dollar pension deficit in Philly, for which one solution may be selling Philly International Airport, according to Sam Katz.

1,571 members of the U.S. military that have died in action in Afghanistan.

3 hitter for Vance Worley, who went distance to beat the Giants last night.

5 strikeouts for the new Phils’ phenom.

4 home runs for the Phils, including an inside-the-parker for Chase Utley.

177 consecutive sellouts for the Phils at Citizens Bank Park.

1 for 20 slump for Jimmy Rollins.

332 percent spike in ticket sales yesterday for the NFL, first day since the end of the lockout.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.DeSean Jackson might be a no-show at Eagles training camp today. He wants more money. Greet the new T.O.



I Don’t Get It: One of the post offices being targeted for closure the the U.S. Postal Service is the building once used by Ben Franklin in Philadelphia. It was founded in 1775. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, who visited with out editorial board yesterday and engaged in a lively give and take.


Quote Box: “You are voted into office by the people. You are supposed to work for the people.”

- Protester outside office of Rep. Pat Meehan yesterday.


'Live From the Newsroom' meets Beatlemania

'Live from the Newsroom' meets Beatlemania

I’ll be doing my best Beatles imitation tonight.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!

We’re taking our live-stream Internet show, “Live From the Newsroom,” on the road again. Last Wednesday night we were on State Street in Media for the wildly popular “Dining Under the Stars” extravaganza.

Tonight we head just a stretch down the road, where we will serve as the warm-up act for tonight’s big Beatlemania show as part of one of the county’s most popular summer events, the Rose Tree Summer Festival. We'll be live from Rose Tree Park from 6:30-7:30. The concert starts at 7:30.

If you’re going to be there, stop by and say hello. Maybe we’ll put you on the air.

We plan to interview County Councilman Jack Whelan (if you have a question for him email it to me at, along with several park officials who are responsible for the festival.

We also are actually hoping to have one of the members of the band on.

They apparently only like to appear once they are in their Beatles persona, and want questions submitted to them as if they were the actual Beatles.

Fine by me. I always wanted to ask John what was up with that Yoko thing.

Rep. Sturla on the hot seat

We had a visit from Pa. Rep. Mike Sturla yesterday. He wanted to chat with our editorial board.

Name not ring a bell? I’m not surprised. Sturla does not represent anyone in Delaware County. He’s a Democrat from Lancaster County.

He’s the boss of the House Democratic Policy Committee, which is planning to hold public hearings in this neck of the woods later this summer, before he and his compatriots head back to Harrisburg for the fall session and what promises to be a huge workload.

 He arrived bearing bad news, especially if like me you one day dream of being able to buy beer, wine and spirits in one place.

Don’t hold your breath. That’s the word from Sturla.

He doesn’t believe the push by Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, to sell off the state stores and dismantle the LCB is going to happen. More than that, he doesn’t think it should happen. He says the numbers don’t add up.

He might as well have plunged a dagger into my chest. I’m on a one-man campaign to get the state out of the booze business, and dismantle the archaic way Pennsylvania handles the sale of alcohol. I want to include sales of beer, which the Turzai legislation doesn’t even consider.

All I want is to go to one place to buy everything I want, preferably at the same time I am getting my groceries at the supermarket.

You know, the way many other states do. I am always flabbergasted by the reaction of visitors to our fine state at the way we deal with the sale of alcohol.

They don’t call us the Land of Giants for nothing.

Sturla also had some interesting things to say about the move to enact a tax or fee on extraction of natural gas from the state’s Marcellus Shale regions.

I give Sturla credit. He didn’t have to come here to the Philly suburbs and go before our board. But he did. That’s because he’s an anomaly in Harrisburg. He’s an engaging, entertaining guy.

And he actually has something to say.

You can read all about it here.

Some preseason theatrics from DeSean

The Eagles returned to the Nova Care Center yesterday, and will make the trek up the Northeast Extension to Lehigh University to start training camp today.

Vance Worley slayed the Giants last night, pitching a complete game gem and staking a claim to force that Phab Phour starting rotation to morph into the Phab Phive.

All’s well with the Philly sports world, no?

Uh, not exactly.

There is a cloud on the horizon. His name is DeSean Jackson.

The NFL Players Association has buried the hatchet, inking a new 10-year deal with the owners.

But Eagles star receiver DeSean Jackson is not a happy camper. In fact, Jackson may not be a camper at all, likely pulling a no-show when camp opens later today.

Here’s a stunner: Jackson wants more money.

Bob Grotz has all the details here.

Make no mistake. DeSean Jackson is underpaid. But that’s the deal he signed as a second-rounder coming out of college. The fault for why he slipped into the second round lies largely in the mirror, DeSean.

As good as he is, he’s also an injury looking for a place to happen.

Suck it up, DeSean. The fans have had more than enough labor woes. We tolerate your theatrics during the season. Especially as you prance into the end zone.

We don’t need them at Lehigh.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Daily Numbers - July 26

The Daily Numbers: 12, age of boy swept away while playing in flooded creek in Radnor last night. He’s hospitalized in critical condition.

670,000 selling price for the former borough hall in Media. It was bought by a Philadelphia restaurateur.

310 retailers in Delaware County selling Pennsylvania Lottery tickets, part of 9,000 across the state that generated record sales last year.

38, age of Upper Darby woman found shot to death inside a car on a street in the East Germantown section of Philadelphia.

40, age of Chester man wounded by a gunman in an attack on a city street 85, age of elderly driver who lost control of his car and then slammed into a Burger King in Philly, injuring 7 people.

3,600 post offices that may be closed by the postal service in the latest round of cost cuts. That’s 1 in 10 local post offices.

7 deaths in region now being attributed at least in part to the heat wave.

17 to 40 years in jail for a Philly teenager in the slaying of an elderly man in South Philly.

10 year deal approved by both NFL owners and players, ending lockout that started back in March.

9 billion in annual revenue for the NFL.

53 percent of the revenue for the owners, 47 percent for the players, under the new deal. The old deal was closer to a 50-50-split.

4 innings, all Cliff Lee lasted vs. the lowly Padres.

5 runs on 10 hits surrendered by the Phils’ lefty.

3 games on tap vs. the Giants, the team that knocked them off in last year’s National League Championship Series, on tap.

8-8 record for Tim Lincecum, who goes to the hill for San Fran tonight.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Trades in the NFL can be announced at 10 a.m. Do you think Kevin Kolb will still be an Eagle by lunchtime.



I Don’t Get It: So much for the thought of life without the NFL. Did anyone really think either side was going to walk away from this kind of money. Maybe they should let the owners and players settle the debt crisis in Washington, D.C.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the return of football. The bookies no doubt are rejoicing.


Quote Box: “It’s one of the vices. You’ve gotta have a vice. Some people go to the casino. I don’t go to the casino.”

- Jimmy Redding, on his habit of buying lottery tickets. Pa. Lottery sales set a record last year.

Gunning for some positive news in Darby

I’ve never been a big believer in those gun buy-back events as a method of crime control.

I’ve always considered them something of a gimmick, an opportunity for politicians to crow about what they are doing to make their streets safer.

Couple that with 100-degree temperatures, and I thought last Saturday’s event in Darby Borough might turn out to be a waste of time.

I sent a reporter and photographer to the event, but I wasn’t sure that they, along with the phalanx of pols, might not be the only ones to show up.

I was wrong.

There was a line of people toting firearms when they opened the doors at
9 a.m. Some people had been there for 45 minutes.

In total, 57 guns were turned in, exchanged for $100 gift cards to local supermarkets.

Credit to Sen. Anthony Williams, D-8, who used some money he had in his Neighborhood to Neighborhood Summer Peace Initiative to make the event happen.

Maybe Darby Borough Mayor Helen Thomas said it best.

“We’re overwhelmed,” she commented. “I’m telling you I just can’t believe it. It shows that we as a borough, as a community that we really are paying attention.”

Good for Darby Borough.

Does it still have problems? You bet. It also has 57 less guns on its streets than it did last Friday.

How can that be anything other than a good development?

Football is back

Everyone who is surprised by yesterday’s news that there is a deal in place to end the NFL lockout and ensure the 2011 season, raise your hand.

I thought so.

This was pretty much always just a matter of when. There is just too much money involved.

I often get in arguments with people about the wild popularity of football, in particular the NFL version.

I often joke that on the seventh day, God actually did not rest after he created the universe.

Instead, he decided to create the perfect format for gambling – football.

No one, let alone the powers that be in Las Vegas, wanted to roll the dice on throwing away that kind of money.

The standoff pitted billionaires, the NFL’s cabal of owners, against millionaire players.

Now everyone is smiling.

On Wednesday those smiles will be replaced by the normal grimaces and grunts that accompany the familiar sights and sounds of NFL training camps.

What do you think is the over/under on the number of hamstrings and groins that pop in those initial workouts?

While we have seen lots of stories about how players have been working out during the lockout, that is not the same as supervised practices.

We might be hearing a symphony of muscle pulls emanating from those fields at Lehigh.

At least the Eagles plan to continue their annual jaunt up the Northeast Extension of the Turnpike. A lot of teams are scrapping their off-site camps and instead holding practices at their team training facilities.

This will not be a normal training camp. It won’t even be a normal week.

Players will report to the Nova Care Center today. Training camp at Lehigh starts tomorrow. Trades can commence this morning. Look for Kevin Kolb to be an ex-Eagle by lunch time.

Buckle your seatbelts. It’s going to be a wild ride.

All together now (as we scream on our front page in print today:) Are you ready for some football?

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Daily Numbers - July 25

The Daily Numbers: 15 minutes, how long it took firefighters to quell a fire at the Home Depot on Baltimore Pike in Upper Darby Sunday afternoon.

98 degrees, high temperature on Sunday. A regular cold front.

2 straight days, Friday and Saturday, with temps breaking into triple digits.

8,943 megawatts of power being used at 6 p.m. Friday, according to Peco.

That’s a new high mark.

6-1 vote by Media council to OK the transfer of a liquor license to a borough restaurant.

93 people killed by gunman who attacked a camp for kids in Norway, and also set off several bombs in Oslo.

5 people killed by gunman at a Texas roller rink.

20 injured in 2 separate shooting incidents in Seattle.

1 dead, 1 hospitalized in shooting in West Philly.

2 people killed in shooting incident in Reading.

3.2 billion dollars in sale for the Pa. Lottery last year. That sets a new record, up $142 million from the previous year and $118 million more than the previous record.

6 million Ponzi scheme to which a Bala Cynwyd man copped a plea in fed court.

325 pound high school football player who died Friday during a football camp. Officials say it was not related to the heat.

67, age of man in Philly whose death is being blamed at least in part on the heat wave. 2 deaths in central Pa. being blamed on heat.

3.79 a gallon, average price at pump in Philly region. That’s up 3 cents from week before.

2.74 a gallon, what we were paying last year.

12 wins for Phillies ace Roy Halladay.

8 innings for Halladay yesterday. He gave up 3 runs and struck out 8.

116 pitches for Halladay in 98-degree temperatures.

64-36 record for Phils, 28 games over .500

5 straight wins for the Phils; 10 straight times they’ve beaten the Padres.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.So much for the whispers about Roy Halladay after he was forced out of game early last week because of the heat.



I Don’t Get It: What exactly are the NFL players waiting for to vote on their proposed deal? Maybe for a few more exhibition games to be canceled?


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Sen. Anthony Williams for his gun buy-back program Saturday in Darby Borough. It got 57 guns off the streets.


Quote Box: “I don’t pay a lot of attention to where I’m at in pitches. I go until they tell me I’m done.”

- Roy Halladay, after throwing 116 piches in win over Padres.

Changing of the guard at archdiocese

I have a few thoughts on the changing of the guard at the top of the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

As usual, the whole thing takes me back to my childhood, and my days as an altar boy.

It was a different time. In more ways than one.

It’s my weekly print column, the Letter From the Editor.

Are Eagles courting Brett Favre?

No doubt the Eagles have been biting their lip now for months.

They’ve been handcuffed by the NFL Lockout while the Phillies have continued their surge, spurred by the power of Citizens Bank Park, to the top of the heap of Philly sports.

This has been a burr in the side to the folks across the street at Nova Care Nation.

The Eagles are more than willing to rain on the Phillies parade. Anyone remember the timing of the Donovan McNabb trade, which just happened to fall on the night before opening day for the Phils.

But even I didn’t think the Eagles were this desperate.

Breff Favre? I mean really. Brett Favre.

Apparently that is one of the names being floated around out there to be the Eagles backup QB, since they likely will deal Kevin Kolb to the Cardinals just minutes after the new deal with the players is finalized.

Beat writer Bob Grotz has the details on the Eagles’ interest in the aging QB, who apparently once again is reconsidering his retirement.

Doc is operating again

Anyone else get the distinct impression that Roy Halladay was making a point yesterday?

As everyone now knows, the Phillies ace was forced out of his first start after the All-Star game after just four innings and change. Halladay was a victim of the heat in the steambath of Wrigley Field.

Conditions were similar yesterday at Citizens Bank Park. But Halladay took the hill and showed no signs of heat problems. Instead he was bringing the heat, and after a bit of a scuffle early, settled in and torched the Padres, going eight strong innings.

Halladay threw 116 pitches, in part because of that shaky start. He struck out eight while scattering three runs on eight hits.

He collected his 12th win of the season, and put to rest anyone who was doubting his toughness after that heat-induced hiccup in the Windy City.

Halladay is the constant at the top of the Phils’ rotation. You can tell he was irked by what happened in Chicago, as well as any insinuation that it was a result of his All-Star trip.

Anyone who believed that a chink had been discovered in Halladay’s armor better not view yesterday’s effort.

Halladay was a bulldog in fighting his own stuff more than the weather early, then settling in and mowing down the Padres.

It’s a wonder he didn’t want to go back out there for the ninth, but after 116 pitches in 95-degree temperatures, even Halladay was willing to stand aside.

If the Padres – and the rest of the National League – were looking for help from Mother Nature again, they didn’t get it.

Doc is back. And he’s operating.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Daily Numbers - July 22

The Daily Numbers: 102 degrees, today’s expected high temperature.

98 degrees, what we hit yesterday, 99 on tap Saturday.

115 degrees, the “real-feel” temperature expected today.

195 people treated for heat-related illness at the Vans Warped Tour concert yesterday at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden.

2 men charged with stealing jewelry from a Prospect Park home.

2 people found dead in park in Thornbury whose deaths have now been ruled suicides.

8 reps appointed by County Council to new Animal Protection Board, which will oversee construction of new county animal shelter.

8,932 megawatts of electricity, record for usage set back in 2006. We are supposed to rival that mark today, according to Peco.

110, the “real-feel” temperature outside today. Don’t ask me what that means.

393,000 people deported from the U.S. in the last year.

13,400 jobs lost in Pa in June, the 1st downturn in a year and a half.

31-0 vote by which the NFL owners OK’d a proposed new deal with the players. The players union did not vote on it yesterday.

10 year agreement.

142.2 million dollar salary cap per club, under the new deal

47 percent of revenue goes to players

16 game season, push for expansion to 18 games by eliminating 2 preseason games not included.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.What exactly do you think the players are waiting for to vote on the new NFL deal. Do they possibly think the public is going to rally to their side?



I Don’t Get It: The real-feel temperature. I don’t get it. It’s summer. It’s hot. Enough said.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to both sides in the NFL talks for remembering that the fans – who don’t have a say in all this – end up paying for it and just want to watch football.


Quote Box: “I think we’ve crafted a long-term agreement that can be good for the game of football, be good for the players, be good for the clubs and most importantly be good for the game and our fans.”

- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, after owners signed off on deal.

One editor crying in his beer

There is a slight wrinkle for all of us who were waiting to pop the cork to toast the demise of the hated state Liquor Control Board.

The wrinkle’s name is Sen. Joe Scarnati. He’s a pretty powerful guy, being president pro tempore of the Pa. Senate and all.

Scarnati, R-Jefferson, has an agenda of issues he wants to pushin the fall when legislators return from their summer vacation. (By the way, do you know anyone who gets as much time off as these guys?) Guess what’s not on Scarnati’s agenda?

That’s right. The senator does not believe the time is right to sell off the state stores and get Pennsylvania out of the booze business.

Talk about a party pooper.

You can read the full story here.

I make no bones about my stand on this issue. I don’t have any strong feelings about revenue, jobs or keeping demon alcohol out of the hands of underage teens (good thing I lived close to the Maryland border when I was a kid).

All I really want to do is be able to buy beer, wine, liquor and soda in one place. If it’s a state store, that’s fine by me. The supermarket would be even better. Can I grab a cold six at Wawa on the way home? Great.

Now it does not appear that any of that is going to happen any time soon.

And we just might have Scarnati to thank for it.

Pennsylvania. You want Marcellus shale, we’re your place. You want to buy beer and wine? No so fast, buster.

No wonder they call us Land of Giants.

What exactly is a heat index, anyhow?

It is 6 a.m. and the thermometer is registering a lovely 82 degrees.
Yeah, it’s going to be that kind of day.

Actually, it very likely will be record-breaker.

The record high temperature for this date is an even 100 degrees, set back in 1930. That is expected to fall today, with thermometers gushing up to 102.

Saturday we’ll cool off all the way to 99 degrees. We won’t see any substantive relief until Sunday, when we’ll dip back to the mid-90s.

Of course, our pals on TV aren’t content to simply tell us the temperature. That would be too simple.

Instead, they have pounced on the summer version of the wind-chill.
Behold the heat index, or “real feel” temperature. Today that could hit
115 degrees. Can you tell the difference between 102 and 115? We get it.
It’s hot.

Then there are the brave young souls who descended on the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden yesterday for the Vans Warped Tour. They cavorted in the roasting temperatures, at least until some of them needed medical attention.
Sounds like fun, no? Hey, what did you expect from something called the Warped Tour? Sounds exactly like something I would have done when I was a kid.

Now? I’d settle for a chair in the shade. Unless you can get me a decent tee time. Too hot for golf? Get serious.

As my buddy Clint used to say: A man has to know his limitations. When it comes to golf, heat is not a problem.

As for other things, like mowing the grass? Well, it’s clearly too hot for that. What do I look like, Warped or something? Don’t answer that.

Stay cool.

Football returns to Back Page - if not field

Nothing like a Phillies off-day to make things right in the local sports world.

Yes, that’s football and the Eagles leading all the sports sections today. No, they don’t have a deal yet. The owners signed off on it, but the players union is balking. Some sources indicate they will vote today.

The NFL lockout has claimed at least one casualty. The league announced yesterday it was canceling the Hall of Fame Game scheduled for Aug. 7 in Canton, Ohio, between the Bears and Rams.

You’re heart-broken, I know.

The truth is the players don’t really have much choice. What are they going to do, take their case to the fans and whine about how tough they have it?

Yeah, that will work.

The players will sign off on the deal sometime in the next few days.

Andy Reid apparently is calling a meeting with his coaches (and maybe the players as well) for Saturday morning.

The Birds will march off to Lehigh for training camp next week.

And I will ask the same thing I ask this time every year. Name me one thing you remember from a preseason game last year? I thought so.

By the way, that move to ax two exhibition games and expand the regular season to 18 games is not included in the new deal.

Now it’s back to real sports.

The Phillies open a weekend set at the Bank vs. the Padres tonight. They’re having an ‘80s Retro night.

Someone alert Jeff Lurie and Joe Banner. Maybe they can don the Birds' old Kelly green jerseys and hold a press conference to announce the trade of Kevin Kolb.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Daily Numbers - July 21

The Daily Numbers: 30 years of space shuttle missions that came to an end when Atlantis touched down this morning in Florida.

5:57 a.m., when Atlantis’ wheels touched down.

2,000 people who gathered on the landing strip at Cape Canaveral for this historic occasion.

6,500 dollars, how much Jose Canseco owes Delco boxing promoter Damon Feldman for failing to show for an event and sending his twin brother instead.

2 bodies found in a car in Palmer Arboretum in Thornbury yesterday afternoon.

48, age of Collingdale firefighter charged with soliciting sex from man.

3 straight days, starting today, with temperatures approaching 100.

Fry-day’s high is expected to shatter records and reach 102.

110, the “real-feel” temperature outside today. Don’t ask me what that means.

8, age of boy struck by hit-run driver on the South White Horse Pike in Jersey last night.

16, age of girl shot dead in Norristown yesterday.

9, age of Skyler Kauffman, who was killed in Souderton. The suspect, James Lee Troutman, was held for trial and told he could face the death penalty if convicted.

8 strong innings for Vance Worley as the Phils crushed the Cubs, 9-1.

1 run on four hits while striking out 7 and walking 2 for Worley.

4 straight wins since he got call to fill in for injured Joe Blanton and Roy Oswalt.

2 home runs for Jimmy Rollins, one from each side of the plate.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Guess that will cool the ‘dump J-Roll’ talk for awhile. Hitting two home runs from both sides of the plate will do that.



I Don’t Get It: Good luck to Damon Feldman trying to get that $6,500 from Jose Canseco, who apparently thought no one would notice when his brother showed up for a celebrity match. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Vance Worley, who is doing his best phenom act with the Phils.


Quote Box: “He was the nicest guy. Just a good, hard-working family. He didn’t deserve this.”

- Neighbor on the death of man during a storm that rumbled through Middletown Monday night. Cause of death has not yet been determined.

I'm volunteering to be Tiger Woods' new caddie

Tiger, I'm volunteering to be your next caddie

I’d like to officially throw my hat in the ring for a new job.

The newspaper racket is suffering, I’m up to my ears in the Internet and a 24-hour news cycle, and my golf game has gone to hell in the interim.

But I think I have a shot at curing all these problems with a single job-switch.

I noticed there is an employment opportunity in the golf world. I’ve always harbored a secret desire to ditch this shirt and tie and make my living from golf. I’m certainly not going to do it with my play.

So I hereby declare my candidacy to be Tiger Woods’ new caddie.

If you haven’t heard, Tiger dumped the guy who has been on his bag for all but one of his majors. And he did it right here in Delaware County, during the recent AT&T National at Aronimink Country Club in Newtown Square.

Apparently Tiger was not all that thrilled that Steve Williams had picked up some work during Tiger’s hiatus with Adam Scott.

For those of you who don’t follow the game, Tiger has been on the shelf ever since he tried to come back at the Players, only to walk off the course after nine un-Tiger-like holes. He’s still nursing a bum knee and ankle, and missed both the U.S. Open and British Open. He was here at Aronimink, but only as a host, not as a player.

You could tell by the galleries. People do not come to see Tiger talk, they come to seem him do what very few people on the planet can do, play golf at a superhuman level.

The problem has been that Tiger lately has been proving all too human.
There was that ugly little trip down the driveway that ended up with his car resting against the mailbox.

What followed was right out of the pages of the National Enquirer. Tiger was tamed by a harem of linxes who came out of the woodwork to admit they had been intimately familiar with his lair.

Of course, Tiger did the only thing any red-blooded American could do in such a situation: He called a televised press conference to apologize.
Then he went into rehab.

His golf game is still in rehab. He has not won since, and people now are not so sure of what was not that long ago considered a lock, that Woods would shatter Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major victories. Woods is still stuck on 14.

The parting with his good friend Williams apparently was not exactly amicable. Williams posted a statement on his website saying the move came as a ‘shock’ and that he was ‘disappointed.’

Tiger, I’d be honored to carry your bag.

And I just might be able to give you a few pointers for handling those pesky members of the press.

Usually waving a 2-iron at them will do the trick.

A sizzling night in Media

Yes, it was hot. Very hot.

When we arrived on State Street last night for our first road show featuring “Live From the Newsroom” combined with “Dining Under the Stars,” temperatures were still simmering near 90.

Actually online editor Vince Carey had it much worse than co-host Gil Spencer and myself. He had been there since 5 setting up.

But it was worth it.

To see first-hand what is happening on State Street in Media on Wednesday nights is worth taking a little heat. Every town should give it a shot.

You can watch the full replay of last night's 'Live From the Newsroom' meets 'Dining Under the Stars' here.

A confession here. As I’ve said many times, I’m a summer guy. The heat and humidity don’t especially bother me, and I consider eating outdoors in the summer part of my normal routine.

So I was looking forward to see what kind of atmosphere Media was creating with their wildly popular Wednesday night event. I wasn’t disappointed.

Our timing probably could have been better. We were ‘Live’ from 6:30 to 7:30, most of the time sitting in a broiling sun. But right around 7:15, the sun dipped behind the buildings at the western edge of State Street, and it was like someone flipped a switch. The place became alive.

I looked behind me and glanced down State Street and saw not one car. Instead what I saw was table after table at Media’s array of restaurants, all packed with diners eating al fresco.

Many thanks to Zubair Khan, head of the Media Business Authority, who was invaluable in setting up our excursion to Media. Also to Austin Connors from Media Theatre, who updated us on the latest from this cultural landmark at the other end of State Street, including the popular summer “Delco Idol” competition.’

Media Mayor Bob McMahon also joined us, and gave us an update on both the sale of the former Borough Hall and Brodeur’s building, as well as the seemingly endless work on the Third State Bridge. Borough hall will soon be the home of another Italian restaurant.

We also had on the owner of Lotus Restaurant, and the manager from Temaki Sushi bar, who graciously brought along some spring rolls for us to taste test.

Finally, we also had guest shots from our Media correspondent Susan Serbin, as well as AllThingsMediaPa blogger Tedman O’Hara.

Media should not have all the fun. If you think there is something in your town that deserves a visit from “Live From the Newsroom,” let me know. Email me at and maybe we’ll visit your town.

Next week “Live” will pay a visit to one of the county’s summer stalwarts, the Rose Tree Summer Festival. We’ll be the opening act for the Beatlemania show. Make sure you stop by and say hello.

Look, this face was most likely made for newspapers. But increasingly the Internet is where I am working, and part of that means working on camera.

But what I really want is to have more interaction with readers. If you think you’d like to join our Community Media Lab or join our long list of bloggers, please let me know.

More and more, readers are going to becoming part of this news-gathering process.

Jump in, the water’s fine. Even when it’s sizzling outside.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Daily Numbers - July 20

The Daily Numbers: 37, age of convicted killer now being sought in the fatal shooting at an Upper Darby bar.

28, age of pregnant woman from Ridley Park who gave as good as she got as she fought off an assailant on the Market Frankford El.

76, age of Cardinal Justin Rigali, who is stepping down as leader of Philadelphia Catholics.

66, age of Bishop Charles Chaput, the new boss in Philly.

12, age of girl allegedly raped by a 21-year-old Upper Darby man.

4.4 million dollar deal for Boeing to provide security surveillance along the Delaware River riverfront in the county.

3 straight days, starting tomorrow, with temperatures approaching 100.

Today’s high will be a relatively cool 94.

20 days so far this summer where we’ve hit at least 100 degrees.

12 of the 19 days in July over the 90-degree mark.

6 million dollars in table games revenue at Harrah’s Chester Casino in June.

81 million from all table games at the state’s 10 operating casinos.

14 percent of gross revenue from table games that goes into the state coffers.

1 man dead in a possible lightning strike after he was found dead in his Middletown yard during storm last night.

1 dead and 2 others wounded in triple shooting in Strawberry Mansion section of Philly.

39, age of suspect now being sought in series of attacks against women in Society Hill.

16, age of mom arrested after her baby almost drowned in bathtub in West Philadelphia.

3.9 billion dollar profit at Wells Fargo, which still wants to cut expenses by $1.5 billion.

3 National Guard troops from Central Pa. killed in action in Afghanistan.

2 run double for Michael Martinez in the top of the 9th to propel Phils to 4-2 win over Cubs.

2 run double for Chase Utley in the eighth to tie it.

4 hits given up by Cubs’ starter Matt Garza.

1-2-3 9th for Antonio Bastardo, who struck out the side to slam the door.

3.5 game lead for the Phils over the Braves.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Kudos to Michael Vick, who yesterday was in D.C. to get behind an anti-dogfighting bill. Meanwhile, the Eagles other QB Kevin Kolb was openly talking about being traded to the Cardinals.



I Don’t Get It: The guy being sought in that fatal bar shooting in Upper Darby is a convicted killer. So why was he on the street?


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Archbishop Charles Chaput, who arrives from Denver to take over the troubled Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.


Quote Box: “If I have offended anyone in any way, I am deeply sorry.”

- Retiring Cardinal Justin Rigali.

The trials of the O'Neill clan

The struggles of the O’Neill clan continue.

Sean O’Neill Sr. is in federal court because he wants to withdraw the guilty plea he entered on charges of tax fraud, falsely claiming U.S. citizenship and a firearms charge involving a silencer.

O’Neill now says he was unaware that the deal would mean he would be deported and more importantly that he would never be allowed to return to the U.S. And he is pointing the finger of blame squarely at his old attorneys. They say it’s not so, that O’Neill was well aware of what the deal involved.

O’Neill took the action in part because he wanted to spare his wife from facing possible tax charges.

You can read the full update here.

It’s just the latest chapter in this local Irish family that has seen more than its share of strife. His son was sent to a youth camp after a party ended in the fatal shooting of one of his friends. His daughter is doing time for her role in a fatal crash while she was under the influence.

Testimony is expected to continue today.

Stay tuned.

A change at the top for Philly Catholics

The region’s troubled Roman Catholic flock has a new shepherd.

Cardinal Justin Rigali is out; Archbishop Charles Chaput is in.

What does this mean for Philadelphia-area Catholics, who have watched as the church has been dragged down into a morass of ugly headlines concerning sexual abuse by priests?

Well, it’s a new start, which the church desperately needed. Cardinal Rigali had reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 and had submitted his resignation to the Vatican. Still, it was not expected that his resignation would be accepted that soon.

It’s still a good thing. The archdiocese needed a new face at the helm.

Someone from outside the region who can now review the situation and decide what changes to make.

And make no mistake, change is likely coming. Chaput was not brought here to follow in the footsteps of Rigali, who a grand jury criticized bitterly for covering up the actions of predator priests.

That does not necessarily mean that advocates of change and for victims of abuse will like what they get in Chaput. He has a reputation in Denver of being a staunch conservative.

He has a huge task ahead of him. We can only wish him luck.

Here’s our editorial on the change of power in the Philadelphia Catholic Church.

Killer weather

Relax, Roy Halladay is fine. Turns out he was just in something of a meltdown in that 90-degree heat and humidity in the steambath that was Wrigley Field Monday night.

Halladay was forced from the game after pitching just four innings and change. He was suffering from dehydration.

You can view a video of Halladay talking about his ordeal here.

If it can happen to an athlete who takes his conditioning as serious as Halladay, imagine how quickly the rest of us can get into trouble out there in this heat.

Closer to home, we got a bit more stark reminder of the danger of summer weather.

Last night storms blew through Delaware County, and they may have taken a deadly toll.

Police are investigating the death of a man who was found in his front yard in Middletown as a possible lightning strike.

Really frightening stuff.

It’s not going to get any better the next few days. Actually it’s going to get worse.

We’ll be right back in the 90s today, and then things really heat up. Both Thursday and Friday we are expecting to flirt with the 100-degree mark.

Friday’s forecast high of 102 would break the record of 100 degrees.

Hopefully they won’t be losing their cool at the Media Courthouse, which shut down early yesterday when their air-conditioning failed. They’re hoping to have a backup unit up and running today.

Be careful out there.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Daily Numbers - July 19

The Daily Numbers: 2:40 a.m., time when a man was shot to death outside an after-hours bar in Upper Darby.

2 men from New Jersey who are under arrest after they managed to get locked inside a state constable’s van in Radnor. Police dubbed them “Dumb and Dumber 8,000 dollars in missing money that has sparked Upper Darby bar owner Bob Herdelin to challenge top cop Mike Chitwood to take a lie-detector test.

399 stores and 11,000 employees out of luck as Borders Books decides to close all of its outlets.

76, age of Cardinal Justin Rigali, whose resignation was accepted by Pope Benedict XVI today.

2 suspected wise-guys who entered guilty pleas for conspiracy and gambling charges.

81.5 million dollars generated by 10 casinos in Pa. in the fiscal year.

86, age of purse-snatch victim who had her pocketbook swiped as she was visiting a grave in Montgomery County.

5 consecutive days this week when the temperature is expected to go above 90 degrees.

5 juveniles who were kidnapped from the porch of a home in Willingboro, N.J. 2 people are in custody, 2 more are being sought.

6 attacks on women in the Society Hill section of Philadelphia.

4 innings and change is all Roy Halladay could go on a stifling night in Chicago. The Phils lost, 6-1.

91 degrees at game time.

3 runs on 7 hits surrendered by the Phils ace before his early exit.

63 consecutive road starts in which Halladay went at least 6 innings.

2.5 game lead for the Phils over the Braves.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Mother Nature did what very few National League teams could do – knock out Roy Halladay.



I Don’t Get It: There were 200 people milling around after a bar shooting at 2:45 a.m. Monday in Upper Darby. I’m usually getting up not long after that.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to new Pope Benedict XVI’s move to accept the resignation of Cardinal Justin Rigali. It needed to be done.


Quote Box: “It’s a toilet. We atempted several times to close it down.

It’s a bad spot.”

- Upper Darby top cop Mike Chitwood, on scene of fatal shooting outside tavern early Monday.

Rigali is shown the door

Make no mistake. This is not what Cardinal Justin Rigali wanted.

Yes, the archbishop of Philadelphia submitted his resignation last year when he turned 75, in accordance with a Vatican mandate.

But Rigali was not ready to leave. It’s beginning to sound like that choice was made for him.

Pope Benedict XVI today formally accepted Rigali’s resignation and named Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver as the new leader of Catholics in Philadelphia and the suburbs. It will be made official at a 10 a.m. press conference. The two will then celebrate noon Mass at the Basilica SS. Peter and Paul in Center City.

You can read the full story on the changing of the guard in the Philly Archdiocese here.

Rigali has been at the center of the continuing storm swirling around sexual abuse of children by priests since last winter, when a second grand jury returned criminal charges against a couple of priests, a former priest and a teacher. Also charged by the panel was Monsignor William Lynn, for his actions as a key aide to both Rigali and former Archbishop Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. Lynn was charged with endangering the welfare of children for allegedly moving known predator priests without notifying the new parishes, in effect putting kids in harm’s way. Lynn has professed his innocence; he still faces trial on those charges.

Rigali had made it clear that he wanted to stay on during this turbulent time.

Now that job, of pulling the archdiocese out of the quicksand it has been sinking in surrounding the sex abuse investigations, falls to Chaput.

It’s unlikely Rigali will get much in the way of sympathy from many Delaware County parishioners, especially those where parish schools have been shuttered.

The faithful at St. Kevin’s in Springfield were especially critical of Rigali for his decision to close the school, insisting he was getting incorrect information on enrollment. They went so far as to take out a billboard on the Schuylkill Expressway to express their desires for a meeting with the cardinal. They never got it.

Now Rigali is out. If only cleaning up the mess left behind was as easy.

'Live from Newsroom' goes to Media

“Live From the Newsroom” is taking a road trip. And we’d like you to come along for the ride.

“Live” is the special live-stream Internet broadcast we do every Wednesday night. We use it to bring newsmakers into the office and focus in depth on one of the top stories of the week.

But with the arrival of summer, we figure it’s time to get out of the office and take the show to the people.

Besides, if you did not see our coverage Sunday of the weekly “Dining Under the Stars” party they hold every Wednesday night in Media, you’re missing something special.

So this week we’re going to take the show to the people, on State Street in Media.

If there’s a question you’ve been dying to ask either me or my lead columnist Gil Spencer, feel free to stop by and ask. We’ll set up shop on State Street and take the pulse on one of the biggest social nights in the county.

I’ll have more details tomorrow, but make sure you stop by.

We like the idea of getting out of the office so much that the following Wednesday night, we play to be the opening act for Beatlemania at the Summer Festival in Rose Tree Park. Details to come.

See you Wednesday night!

Chicago heat turns Roy into Halladaze

Mother Nature did what not many teams in the National League could.

She made Roy Halladay wilt. The Phils have been money this year when Halladay took the hill.

Not last night, in oven-like conditions in the not-so-Windy City. Game time temperature was a stifling 91 degrees, with a heavy dose of humidity.

Halladay lasted just four-plus innings against the Cubs, as the Phils stumbled to a 6-1 loss. It was his shortest start in his 53 games with the Phils.

The lanky right-hander also has been the Phils’ best bet on the road, where he had gone six innings or more in 63 consecutive starts.

The Phils are now 2-2 in their last four games.

The two wins have been collected by Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick. The two losses have been pinned on Halladay and Cole Hamels.

You figure this game out, let me know.

Things aren’t expected to be much better tonight when Cliff Lee takes the hill at Wrigley as a heat wave continues to fry the Midwest.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Daily Numbers - July 18

The Daily Numbers: 1 person killed in a shooting at an Upper Darby bar early this morning.

2 gunshots that hit the victim.

200 people who were milling around the scene when police arrived at a bar at Long Lane and Garrett Road at 2:46 a.m.

4, where Harrah’s Chester ranks in terms of poker revenue among casinos in Pa. and N.J.

49, age of man who was issued a citation by state police for throwing a rock at a dog in Chadds Ford.

1 day as a free person for Casey Anthony.

5 heat waves so far this summer, with temperatures 90 or above for 3 consecutive days.

1 person killed on Route 1 in Delaware when a car veered into the median and slammed into a crane.

2 people killed when a tour bus crashed in western New York.

2 people injured in a hit-run crash Saturday night in Croydon, Bucks County.

5 people injured when the stage collapsed at Ottawa Bluesfest as Cheap Trick played.

6 cases of vandalism being investigated at South Jersey churches.

2 straight weeks with a hike in gas prices.

3.76, average price we’re paying at pump in Philly region.

3.70 a gallon, what we were paying last week; 2.75 last year.

1 home run in his career for 28-year-old Michael Martinez. He picked a good time as his blast lifted the Phils over the Mets Sunday.

.213, what Martinez was hitting coming into the game.

6 hits in 7 innings for winner Kyle Kendrick.

3 for 5 for Shane Victorino in rehab start at Double-A Reading.

3-1 win on penalty kicks Japan, as they beat the U.S. women and take the Women’s Soccer World Cup.

3-0 win for the 1st place Union in MLS play.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Nothing stops these Phillies. They continue to win series after series.



I Don’t Get It: Authorities in South Jersey are investigating a rash of vandalism cases in which statues are being literally hammered, with pieces broken off. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the U.S. women’s World Cup soccer team. No, they didn’t take the title. But they were magnanimous in defeat and helped once again to serve notice that soccer is quickly rising in the echelons of pro sports.


Quote Box: “We are ecstatic about table games in terms of growth and entry into the market.”

- Ron Baumann, VP at Harrah’s Chester Casino.

The heat is on

Stop the presses (and the Internet, too)!

We have breaking news.

It is mid-July and it is hot out. It will get hotter as they day progresses and likely will get a little cooler when the sun goes down tonight.

Pretty simple, right?

Not if you listen to TV. Brace yourself for a lot of hot air, most of it coming from your TV as they tell us incessantly about the “dangerous” heat that is going to cloak the region all week.

Humidity will start to build as well later today, with temperatures in the 90s most of the week, and actually pushing toward 100 degrees on Friday.

This will mark our fifth “heat wave” of the summer, meaning three straight days with temperatures reaching at least 90 degrees.

Don’t look to me for complaints. I actually enjoy this weather.

I know, I’m weird.

Welcome to my world

So you want to be a newspaper editor? You want to deal with deadlines?

You want to try to figure out how to get night Phillies games into the print edition when you’re staring at a new, early deadline.

Welcome to my world.

My print column this week tackles one of the banes of every editor: Deadlines.

The only deadline you have in the online world is right now. And five minutes from now. And five minutes after that.

The print world isn’t nearly as flexible. We have a much more rigid series of deadlines we must hit every night.

That’s even more challenging than ever these days. And readers have noticed.

CLICK HERE for my print column.

Two of three again for the Phils

Ho-hum. Another series, and the Phils again take two of three.

If you’re sensing a pattern, you’re right.

Nothing seems to stop this team. Not injuries, not spotty offense, not fielding gaffes.

The Phils kicked off the second half of the season by going to New York and taking two of three from the Mets.

It’s what they have done in every series since they lost a series in Seattle June 17-19. Since then the Phils have won seven straight series.

Right now they remain three and a half games up on the Braves.

Interestingly, the only game they lost in New York was the one started by the guy who was their best pitcher in the first half.

Cole Hamels has problems with the Mets. It didn’t help things much that Ryan Howard and Chase Utley managed to let an infield popup drop between them while a run scored. It was downhill from there on Saturday.

But the Phils still won the series, behind strong efforts from Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick. That’s right. They won’t two of three and did not even use Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee, both of whom pitched in the All-Star Game.

Now it’s on to Chicago and three games vs. the Cubs.

Don’t bet against them winning two of three.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Daily Numbers - July 14

The Daily Numbers: 621 state stores in Pa. that would be sold off under a bill proposed by Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny.

22 state stores in Delaware County.

5,000 state workers who could lose their jobs if the bill becomes law.

1,250 retail licenses that would be auctioned off under the bill.

18 percent Johnstown flood tax on alcohol in Pa. that would be axed under the plan.

49 new units being constructed in a $17.6 million project at the site of the old Penn Hills apartment complex in Ridley Township.

19,100 Pa. homeowners who have received a foreclosure notice in the period January through June. That’s actually down 38 percent.

15, age of teen exchange student who drowned after jumping into Blue Marsh Lake in Berks County.

5 dead newborns killed by a Berks County woman. She’s been ruled competent to stand trial.

348,000 dollar annual salary for Philly schools boss Arlene Ackerman.

She’s in line to get a $150,000 annual retention bonus, starting next year.

104 summer school teachers being laid off by the Philadelphia School District.

280 million dollars, believed to be the selling price for the Sixers, sold by Comcast to an investor group headed by New York billionaire Joshua Harris.

15 year stint running the Sixers for Ed Snider and the folks at Comcast.

55 million dollar payroll for the team next year.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Forget the new owners. What the Sixers could use is an old face.


Lansdowne home boy Pat Croce. The team has not been the same since he left. The new owners would do well to bring him back.


I Don’t Get It: A woman in California has been charged with tying up her philandering husband, cutting off his penis and then running it through the garbage disposal. Ouch!


Today’s Upper: Kudos to state Rep. Mike Turzai, for his call to sell off the state stores and get Pa. out of the booze business.


Quote Box: “This is absolutely insane to think this could be a good thing for Pennsylvania.”

- Wendell Young IV, president of the union that represents 5,000 state store employees.

Blow up the LCB? It's a start

I suppose I should be celebrating today.

Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, yesterday introduced his bill to sell off the state stores and get the state out of the booze business.

Sip, sip, hooray! Right?

Uh, not exactly.

I like what Turzai is doing. I think he’s on the right track. I don’t think government should be in the business of selling alcohol. It should be the province of private enterprise, which likely can do it better.

I know all the arguments this move, about revenue, jobs and controlling alcohol sales.

Here’s my problem with that, and my problem with Turzai’s bill.

I don’t really care about those issues. And unfortunately, Turzai’s bill will not accomplish what I want.

What I want to do is walk into my supermarket and, while I am grocery shopping, be able to select a case of one beer, maybe a six-pack of another, or even a single bottle or can. And in the same aisle find a full selection of wines. Any maybe in the next aisle find the spirits for a gin and tonic or vodka martini.

In other words, I want to make one trip. Not a trip to the beer distributor, but only if I want to buy a case. If I want a six-pack, that’s another trip, likely to a deli or bar where I will be gouged for that privilege. Wine and alcohol is still one more stop, at a state store.

Turzai would get the state out of the wine and spirit business, closing the state stores and selling off those franchises to private enterprise.

But it would not touch beer sales in the state at all. It would not allow supermarkets like Wegmans, which is battling these archaic state rules, to loosen restrictions that now force you to buy – and pay – for beer in a separate part of the store. You can’t put them in your cart and pay for them along with anything else you buy at the store.

It also would not free convenience stores to sell beer, which I certainly would find convenient. I’d love to be able to run into a Wawa or 7-Eleven on the way home and grab a cold six-pack, as I so often did in Colorado.

Before you jump to conclusions, I don’t really drink that much, usually not at all except on weekends. But I love a cold beer in the summer as I’m working the grill and a good glass of wine with my steak. Right now that’s two different trips to the stores.

I suppose Turzai’s bill is a start.

But it’s not what I want. I’d like to push the plunger on the way this state deals with the sale of alcohol, and turn the entire operation over to private enterprise.

Who’s with me?

Civera & the SPCA

If you missed last night’s “Live From the Newsroom” with County Councilman Mario Civera, you missed a couple of important updates concering the county’s new deal with the SPCA to continue animal control services for another six months.

You can watch the replay here.

First things first. Civera deserves credit for getting this extension deal done. Responsibility for animal control is the province of the state and municipality, so the county is not even on the hook for what most admitted was a disaster in the making on July 1.

But he was smart enough to see a big problem and went about working on a solution.

Getting there wasn’t easy, but he was able to pull it off at the last second.

It’s not cheap, either. Civera admits he now has a better feel for what the SPCA was doing for so many years, basically underwriting the municipalities when it comes to animal control. Under the new extension, the county will chip in $125 for every stray, and the municipalities will be on the hook for another $116. That’s $241 bucks per animal.

Expensive? Not when compared to the prices that private industry are paying.

Civera also wants to make it clear that while the county is taking the lead in getting a new shelter up and running on a tract owned by the Darby Creek Joint Authority next to the county Emergency Services Training Center off Hook Road, it has no intention of taking over animal control in the county. What they want to do is get a shelter up and running, set up a non-profit to oversee the operation and bring in another non-profit to run it. Civera says the county has had some interest from outside groups, even after seeing the first group to come forward back away.

Finally, Civera wants everyone to understand that this is a one-time deal. He stressed that the SPCA made it very clear that they will not extend this deal again. The county needs to get that shelter up and running.

Should the holidays roll around and the shelter not be ready to roll, Civera does not think the SPCA will be in the mood to talk about another extension.

The clock is ticking.

How abuot a new, old face for Sixers?

Into the lurch of a sports dead zone steps your town, your team, your Philadelphia 76ers.

They’ve been sold.

Ed Snider and Comcast have divested themselves of the ugly stepchild that always seemed to play second fiddle to his true love, those guys clad in orange and black, the Flyers.

Now the team falls into the hands of an investor group headed by New York billionaire Joshua Harris.

It’s not like he’s a total stranger to Philly. He’s a graduate of Penn’s prestigious Wharton School of Business.

First things first. The team is not moving. It will continue to play its games at the Wells Fargo Center, or whatever name it’s going by this week. The games will continue to be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet, so the cable giant is not completely divorcing itself from the team.

It’s believed the group is paying something in the neighborhood of $280 million for the team.

Nice neighborhood.

What all this means to the product that appears on the court remains to be seen.

Right now Rod Thorn remains the team’s director of basketball operations, with Ed Stefanski as his GM and Doug Collins as the head coach.

But it should be noted that one of the investors in the deal is Jason Levien, a former front office exec with the Sacramento Kings.

Here’s a tip for the new owners: Keep Collins. Get rid of Andre Iguodala. Then place a call to an old Delco guy, Pat Croce, to see if he would be interested in returning to the team.

Coupled with Allen Iverson, Croce single-handedly changed the image of the team in the early ‘90s, watching it advance to the NBA finals.

He was forced out in a power struggle with Snider.

Bringing back Croce’s upbeat personality would do wonders for a franchise that has been an after-thought in a sports-crazed town ever since he left.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Daily Numbers - July 13

The Daily Numbers: 6 Delco towns where there will be spraying done tonight to control mosquitoes.

343-89 vote by which unionized nurses at Crozer Chester Medical Center approved their new contract with the hospital.

1 percent hike in their co-pay on health benefits, from current 12 percent to 13 percent in 2012, 14 percent in 2013 and 15 percent in 2014.

32.15 an hour starting pay scale for graduate nurses, up to $52.64 for experienced nurses, those with 28 years of service.

0 wage hike in the first year of the deal. 2 percent increase in June 2012.

10, age of boy tied up by 3 armed men who invaded his Upper Darby home.

The boys’ father, 39, also was hog-tied.

42 cats taken from home in Northeast Philly in another case of hoarding.

50 million dollars in economic incentives that lured Cigna to move its HQ from Philly to Connecticut.

1,100 Cigna jobs that are expected to remain in Philly.

1 person killed by a hit-run driver Tuesday night in Middletown, Bucks County.

1.7 million dollars believed skimmed from Children’s Hospital by a lawyer who was their general counsel. He’s going to plead guilty.

18 members of Wheels of Soul biker gang indicted by feds in connection with killings, robberies and drug dealing.

6 up and 6 down for Roy Halladay in last night’s All-Star Game.

1 run, only run scored by AL, given up by Cliff Lee on a home run.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Enough with the All-Star break already. The Phils don’t play again until Friday night in New York. That’s too long to wait. We don’t even have the Eagles to kick around.



I Don’t Get It: Two women have been charged with stealing a wallet from a vehicle of a person while they were paying respects at a grave site in a cemetery in Philadelphia.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Crozer Chester Medical Center and its nurses for coming to terms on a new deal and avoiding a work stoppage.


Quote Box: “We are gratified that we have been able to reach an agreement that recognizes the nurses’ vital contribution to the community.”

- Bil Cruice, representing Crozer nurses, on their new deal.

Getting Pa. out of booze

Today could be a big day in The Heron’s Nest’s one-man campaign to get Pennsylvania out of the booze business.

Turns out I’m not alone.

Republican House Majority Leader Mike Turzai is expected to reintroduce a measure in Harrisburg today that would do just that.

Here, here!

I know all the arguments against. I’m not buying any of them. The folks at the Liquor Control Board, the people who actually run the alcohol sales business in this state, are always touting how they are much better at literally “controlling” sales, including sales to minors.

Funny they didn’t mention that in the press release they put out last week touting how they had record revenues in the past year.

Yeah, people like to drink. I like having a beer or a glass of wine on the deck myself.

But I hate having to go to two different places to get them.

I won’t go into the multiple situations Pennsylvanians confront when it comes to trying to secure the beverage of their choice. Let’s see: beer (one place for a six-pack, another for a case), wine, soda. That’s three stops right there.

All I want to be able to do is grab a cold six-pack on the way home from my local Wawa, or be able to put a case (or a six-pack for that matter) in my cart at the supermarket and pay for it with all the rest of the grocers. I shop at Wegmans, but I still find having to go to a separate checkout for beer a bit silly. And I can’t buy wine or alcohol there. Lovely.

We’ll be keeping close tabs on this situation today.

And we’ll also be watching Gov. Tom Corbett, who now seems to be getting a little coy on his stance about getting Pa. out of booze. You can read an update here.

What do you think? Do you agree? Do you think I’m completely off the mark? Join the coversation. Post a comment and I’ll offer my reply.

Civera goes 'Live From the Newsroom'

We’ll be back with another live-stream ‘Live From the Newsroom’ show tonight at 7.

County Councilman Mario Civera will join us again to talk about the deal he brokered with the Delaware County SPCA to get them to extend by six months their decision to get out of animal control.

The move saved the county a huge headache because a lot of towns had no plan in place for how they were going to deal with stray animals after the July 1 deadline.

Of course, the move is not without a cost. The county is going to be picking up the tab for a lot of this work by the SPCA.

We’ll ask Civera about it.

Do you have a question you’d like answered about the deal, or the future of animal control in Delco? Email me at and I’ll put it to Civera.

Or you can join us tonight at 7 at and take part in the live chat portion of the program.

Talk to you then!

The sports dead zone

We’re in the sports dead zone.

The Phillies don’t pick up the post-All Star Game action until Friday night. That seems like months away.

I don’t really get all that worked up about the All-Star Game these days anyhow. After all, if it’s not good enough for ‘Mr. 3,000 Hits’ Derek Jeter to show up, why should the rest of us?

So far I haven’t been able to get all that excited about the U.S. women’s soccer team either. Not sure why. They play France today in a semifinal after their huge win over Brazil Sunday.

Did anyone else notice that their win after a dazzling header goal in the final minutes tied the game, then winning the contest on penalty kicks, lacked the same luster as the famous moment in 1999 when Brandie Chastain clinched the World Cup crown for the U.S. with a similar penalty shootout goal.

Of course, Chastain then proceeded to do something that made her famous, which did not occur this past Sunday when Abby Wambach scored to tie the game and the Yanks went on to win on penalty kicks.

I’ll give you the shirt off my back if you can figure out what was missing – literally.

I know what we need.

Altogether now: Are you ready for some football? I am. Hell at this point, I’ll settle for the Eagles at Lehigh.

End the lockout. Now.

A sports nation awaits their daily dose of training camp updates.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Daily Numbers - July 12

The Daily Numbers: 1 of just 6 cities in nation to be tabbed for special fed economic program. That would be your city of Chester.

4.77 square miles, size of the city of Chester, as compared to other cities selected, Cleveland, Detroit, New Orleans, Memphis and Fresno, Calif.

12.5 percent unemployment rate in Chester, compared to a national mark of 8.7 percent.

1 suspect arrested and 2 being sought in an attack on a cab driver in Darby Borough.

2 suspects in custody in shooting at basketball court in Darby Township that sparked a curfew crackdown in the borough. A 3rd suspect is being sought.

19, age of Kyree Marsh, suspect in ‘flash mob’ of Philly teens who allegedly looted the Sears in Upper Darby. He’s been held for trial.

38 year old Concord Sewer Authority, which may be sold. Residents are not happy about the move.

3 people killed in a fiery crash on I-295 in South Jersey. 2 Good Samaritans are being credited with pulling a child from the wreckage.

13,600 state employees who will have to get by without a pay hike again next year. Their salaries are frozen.

1 man dead and a woman wounded in what police are describing as a murder-suicide attempt in West Goshen.

1 person killed in a dispute over a parking spot that sparked gunfire in Philly’s Feltonville section last night.

9, age of boy who called 911 to report the incident in his Chester County home.

9 dogs removed from the home of an 80-year-old woman in South Philly.

4 heat waves so far this summer, marked by 3 consecutive days with temperatures above 90 degrees.

97 degrees, record high for today, set in 1936. That mark will be in jeopardy.

105, heat index or the ‘real-feel’ of temps outside today.

4.2 billion dollars in work needed on SEPTA’s stations and bridges, the feds were told during a visit yesterday.

5 Phillies who made the All-Star game.

2 who are likely to play. Roy Halladay has been named the NL starter, while Cliff Lee also will see action. Cole Hamels pitched Sunday and is ineligible. Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco are injured.

1 scoreless inning thrown by Brad Lidge at Double A Reading yesterday as he continues his rehab.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.What do I want to happen in tonight’s All-Star game? To have Roy Halladay not get hurt in his two innings, and Cliff Lee not get in the game at all.



I Don’t Get It: Another fan almost tumbled out of the stands trying to reach a ball hit in last night’s Home Run Derby at the All-Star festivities in Phoenix. This comes just days after a fan fell to his death in Texas reaching for a ball tossed by a player. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the city of Chester for being one of 6 cities in the nation picked for a special federal economic program.


Quote Box: “Being on the radar screen of the agencies in Washington, D.C. – I think that’s worth its weight in gold right there.”

- Chester Mayor Wendell Butler Jr. on federal designation for his town.

A big day for Chester

It's not a good day for all those folks who love to bash the city of Chester.

Take a long look at the front page of today’s print edition, and the image that also is emblazoned on the lead story on the website.

‘Boom Town.’

Sure, it might be a bit of an overreaction.

But it does not change the fact that Chester is one of just six cities in the nation selected for a special program that will target economically distressed cities that are turning around their circumstances and have brighter hopes for the future.

CLICK HERE to read about the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) program that will bring a bunch of federal economic advisers to Chester.

I resisted using one of the headlines that first came to mind:

Chester gets shot in arm.

Chester is turning itself around. One look at their riverfront proves that. It’s one of the reasons we used that iconic shot of the Commodore Barry Bridge on our Page One.

Hopefully the days of cruel jokes at the city’s expense are coming to an end.