Monday, April 30, 2012

The Daily Numbers - April 30

The Daily Numbers: 2 goals scored by Danny Briere in overtime period Sunday vs. Devils. The 1st was disallowed for kicking it in.

5-4 win by the Flyers to give them a 1-0 lead in their Stanley Cup semifinal series.

1-0 deficit for the Sixers against the Bulls, who will now face prospect of playing rest of playoffs without star guard Derrick Rose, who blew out an ACL in final minute of Saturday game.

19, age of teen now facing child porn charges after police in Radnor allege he took photos from several girls’ Facebook pages and turned them into porn.

5.3 billion sales tag on Sunoco, which is being bought out by a Texas company, Energy Transfer Partners.

2 people shot in separate incidents in Chester Sunday afternoon.

742,000 dollar grant snagged by Interboro School District

3 story plunge taken by toddler in Philly. The tot survived after going through a screen and landing on a trash pile. He did not suffer any serious injuries.

20 years ago, downtown L.A. was in flames in the aftermath of the verdict in the Rodney King police beating case.

7 people killed when an SUV went out of control, jumped a guard rail, then plunged 50 feet down a ravine into the Bronx Zoo in New York.

1 dead, 1 injured when a car plunged into Perkiomen Creek in Gilbertsville, Montgomery County.

3.91, average price per gallon for gas in the Philly region last week. That’s down 5 cents from the week before.

3.82 a gallon nationwide, that’s actually cheaper than last year.

2 singles, all the offense the Phils managed yesterday in losing to Cubs.

10 strikeouts for Cubs starter Matt Garza.

1st time in 5 years Phils will finish April with a losing record.

229 straight sellouts for Phils. Wonder how long that will last now that the team is struggling.

13 game hitting streak for Ty Wigginton snapped.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.The Flyers beat the Devils in a thrilling OT despite the struggles of goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. Actually, he kept them in the game early when the Flyers started slowly, but he gave up 2 soft goals that almost cost them the game.


I Don’t Get It: Sunoco is being sold, but it does not appear as if it is going to have any effect on their two struggling local refineries, which are on the block.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Flyers. They’re keeping us from focusing on the Phillies.


Quote Box: “You never know what you’re going to get with Bryzgalov.”

- Flyers fan Myles Lynch, while watching yesterday’s win over the Devils.

Another miracle needed in Upper Darby

I can’t escape the notion of the need for another education miracle in Upper Darby.

I wrote about it in my print column today.

This newspaper spent a lot of time and effort detailing the efforts of stsudents, staff, parents and alumni to save Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast high schools.

Now it turns out they’re in need of their very own miracle right next door in the Upper Darby School District.

A budget crunch is forcing the district to implement to some very tough choices, including eliminating a lot of teachers positions and so-called “special” classes that focus on art, music, physical education and library in the elementary schools.

By the way, in my print column today, I indicated the proposal would affect both elementary and middle schools. That was the parents’ fear, but it is incorrect. This proposal is for elementary schools, not the middle schools.

Still, parents are anything but happy and are gearing up for a battle to stop the cuts.

I wish them luck. They’re going to need it. The board is in a no-win situation here. And if they manage to dodge the bullet this year, they will be staring down the barrel again next year.

Parents will meet again tonight as they prepare to make their voices heard when the district budget is formally introduced Tuesday night.

We’ll be there to bring you fireworks.

We're going Cup Crazy - and giving away tickets, too

Flyer’d up yet? Orange you glad? Are you going Cup Crazy?
You’re in luck. We’ve decided to have a little fun with the Flyers’ run to the Stanley Cup – and the result is a chance for you to win tickets to a playoff game.
You can read all the details here.
Of course, there’s a catch. On Sunday and again today, we ran a full page “Cup Crazy” ad featuring our logo along with that of our partner, Loughead Nissan. What we want you to do is take the ad and snap a picture of yourself, along with it, somewhere in the county.
Then you can upload them to our site, or email it to me at There are a couple of things we need you to do. Please identify who is in the photo and where it was taken. Also include a phone number we can use to contact you. It won’t be published. We’ll post the photos on, as well as on our Pinterest site.
The tickets are for the Tuesday, May 8 game. That is, unless the Flyers sweep. If that’s the case, we’ll get tickets to the next series.
Show us your Flyers pride. Send in those pictures.
Let’s all go Cup Crazy!

Is the party over for Phils?

The Phillies just might be the luckiest team in town. How's that again? Let me explain. Yes, I realize the Phils are off to a lousy start. Yesterday they again failed to muster much of any offense, getting all of two hits in being shut out by the Cubs. The loss guarantees them a losing record for April for the first time in the last five years.
So why are they lucky? Because the Flyers are rolling in the playoffs, winning a thrilling Game 1 in overtime, while the Sixers now have a shot against the Bulls, who lost their star Derrick Rose in the waning moments of Saturday’s Game 1. Can you imagine the heat that would be coming down on Charlie Manuel and company if they were the only game in town? We’d be forced to talk about the Eagles draft, when we weren’t condemning the failed attempt at “small ball” that the Phils have instituted in the wake of the absence of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. But here’s how I really know the Phils are in trouble. I saw something yesterday I have not seen in a long time. I just happened to wander into the house after spending much of the day soaking up some sun on the deck when I glanced at the TV where my wife was watching the game in the kitchen. It was in the eighth inning. And Citizens Bank Park looked like it was about a quarter empty. Either that or a lot of people attended yesterday’s game as blue seats. That has not happened in as long as I can remember. I have preached for years now that the magic of the Phillies current popularity is rooted in large part in Citizens Bank Park. It has become party central and the place to be in the summer for young people in the Delaware Valley. It used to be the beach; now it's the ballpark. Yes, I always thought it helped that the Phils were very good in many of those years. But I also am convinced it was as much party as it was love of baseball. That theory is about to be put to the test. I see no reason to believe the Phillies are about to turn this thing around. They will continue to struggle to score runs, and I’m not convinced the addition of Utley and Howard will change things all that much. The Phillies have sold out the joint for as long as anyone can remember. But Saturday night, on a very cold April evening, a lot of people didn’t show up at all. Yesterday, on a gorgeous, sun-splashed afternoon, a lot of people left early. So when will the Phils’ sellout streak end? Before Utley and Howard return? After, especially if they continue to struggle. As far as the Phils are concerned, the life may be about to go out of the party.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Daily Numbers - April 27

The Daily Numbers: 49 instant millionaire SEPTA workers who have the winning ticket in Wednesday night’s Powerball drawing.

172 million dollars, what the winning ticket was worth.

4 million dollars in savings being eyed by Upper Darby School District by eliminating 57 teaching positions and putting some special classes such as art and music in regular classrooms.

19, age of teen now facing child porn charges after police in Radnor allege he took photos from several girls’ Facebook pages and turned them into porn.

1,000 dollar donation for the Delco SPCA from the winning team at its recent Black Tie Bowling Fundraiser.

67, age of Chester man convicted in federal court in a disability fraud case. He got 5 years probation and was fined $241,000.

49 units of affordable housing that was unveiled yesterday at the Penn Ridge community in Ridley Township.

184 million dollars in the reserve fund for the state Legislature. Think they could use some of that money in Upper Darby?

31 members of Occupy Philadelphia acquitted on all charges yesterday in case stemming from their eviction from City Hall last November.

2 people killed in a crash police say was caused by drunk driver in Philly.

21,000 fine by state Ethics Commission slapped on former Sen. Bob Mellow.

1.9 percent increase in cost of operating a car, according to AAA.

8,946 dollars a year, what it costs to operate the average sedan, based on 15,000 miles a year.

3 spots, from No. 15 to No. 12, what Eagles moved up to snag defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.

298 pounds and 6 feet, 4 inches, how Cox tips the scales.

35-31 mark for Sixers in regular season after they lost to Detroit last night. They kick off playoffs Saturday at 1 in Chicago vs. the Bulls.

3 p.m. Sunday, Game 1 of the Stanley Cup semifinals for the Flyers, vs. Martin Brodeur and the Devils.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.If you can’t find something you like this weekend in Philly sports, you’re just not looking. Everybody is in action, and there’s the Penn Relays to boot.



I Don’t Get It: An incredibly ugly string of racial epithets popped up on Twitter after the Capitals’ Joel Ward scored the OT winner to eliminate the Bruins. Complete Neanderthals. Yeah, we’ve really come a long way in race relations. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Upper Darby officials who went public and talked about their tough decisions to make cuts and raise taxes.


Quote Box: “We’re fighting over 15 hours of instruction.”

- Dan McGarry, assistant superintendent in Upper Darby schools.


Laying their cards on the table in Upper Darby

I have to give credit to Upper Darby School District Superintendent Lou DeVlieger and his staff.

They’re not running away from the financial crunch the district is facing. Even if that's exactly what they might want to do. Instead they’ve taken the novel approach of meeting the problem head-on. And going public in defense of their plan to attack the problem.

You might remember a couple of weeks ago the school administration sent shock waves through the district by announcing plans to cut a lot of teacher positions and eliminate “special” classes in art, music, physical education and library. Instead those curriculums in the elementary and middle school would be covered in their regular classrooms.

Parents are not happy. And they haven’t exactly been quiet about it. They’ve set up a Facebook page and website, and are circulating a petition to oppose the plan.

Public hearings are set starting next week.

But De Vlieger, his assistant Dan McGarry and Business Manager Ed Smith decided to sit down and talk about the situation yesterday.

You can read that story here.

You have to admire their moxie. Not only are they talking about the cuts, they’re also admitting that the district is facing a tax hike – even after the cuts.

I’m not sure how many other administrators would take that tack. Most duck for cover whenever we come asking questions, especially when it comes to cutting popular programs or eliminating jobs.

DeVlieger and his team aren’t hiding anything. They’re putting their cards on the table.

Residents might not like what they are proposing, but they should consider themselves lucky they live in a district that is trying to operate with transparency.

The district has a problem. Like a lot of other districts in the region, their expenditures are outpacing revenue, especially after state funding cuts and an onerous system of reimbursing charter schools that siphons off millions that could be used in the public school classrooms.

It's not going to go away anytime soon. And it's likely not going to go away without a lot of pain and very touch decisions.

DeVlieger and his staff are facing something along the lines of Mission Impossible. At l east now we know where they stand.

I, for one, admire their stance.

Another problem for Corbett

While Gov. Tom Corbett is furiously trying to wipe the egg off his face after his anointed candidate in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate got his behind handed to him, he just might have other worries. His popularity continues to tank. Party insiders are moving away from him. He’s on something of an island. Now he needs to focus not on the November general election, but on his own future. I’m not sure if Tom Smith wants to embrace the governor after running against him and the party and crushing Corbett’s guy, Chester County tech entrepreneur Steve Welch. He came in third, behind another conservative firebrand, Sam Rohrer. Corbett is now looking distinctly like a very rare species in Pennsylvania – a one-term governor. It hasn’t happened since Milton Shapp way back when. But Corbett is giving every indication he could be headed down that road, with a record in his first two years that makes you wonder how he got elected in the first place. Now he just might have a new worry. And his name is not Joe Sestak. Yes, I know I’ve been harping on the idea of the admiral-turned-congressman who first beat his own party for the U.S. Senate nomination before losing to Republican Pat Toomey, making a run for the governor’s mansion. Now I’m hearing another name could be interested. I won’t tell you where I heard it, except to say that I respect his opinion and consider him to be expert in all matters political. Corbett shouldn’t be fretting Sestak. He should be looking out for Bob Casey Jr. Yep, our current Democratic U.S. Senator. Casey should be able to prevail against the little-known Smith. That’s when he just might turn his eyes on the governor’s mansion. It’s not like he’s a stranger. After all, his father served two terms as governor. It’s that name – instantly recognizable in every corner of the state – that has been one of Casey’s most potent weapons in his political career. He just might be the guy to break the streak of two-term governors this state routinely has produced, with Democrats and Republicans swapping control every eight years. Casey might have to fend off Sestak in the primary, unless he can convince the admiral to call off the dogs, and then go after Casey’s seat in the U.S. Senate. After all, that’s what he wanted when he challenged Arlen Specter and his own party. Can you say Sestak vs. Meehan for the U.S. Senate seat? We’re getting ahead of ourselves. For now, keep an eye on Casey. And another one on Corbett. It’s entirely possible they could be on a collision course. Corbett is the one who should be sweating.

Sports Nirvana for Philly fans

For Philadelphia sports fans, brace yourself. You are about to enter Nirvana.

Consider what is on tap this weekend:

• The Phillies return home for a set in their sweet little bandbox called Citizens Bank Park against the Cubbies.

• The Eagles, still aglow in their successful first-round selection of stud defensive tackle Fletcher Cox from Mississipi State, have picks in the second and third rounds of the NFL Draft. Cox will be introduced at a press conference this afternoon.

•  The Sixers head into the playoffs on Saturday, when they tangle with the Bulls in Chicago. Tipoff is 1 p.m. Thankfully, they avoided the Heat in the first round. They got waxed by the Heat each time they faced LeBron and folks this year. They at least have a shot against Derrick Rose and company.

•  And the Flyers finally know who they’re playing in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. They will hook up with an old nemesis, goalie Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils. Game One faceoff at the Wells Fargo Center is 3 p.m. Sunday. The Flyers will have home ice advantage in the series.

•  And if all that is not enough, the nation’s pre-eminent high school and college athletes are in town for the legendary Penn Relays at Franklin Field.

It doesn’t get any better than that.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Daily Numbers - April 26

The Daily Numbers: 2,300 dollars scooped up by a woman after a man dropped it from his pocket in a Wawa store. She now faces charges.

24 percent turnout, the final number for Republicans here in Delco. The Dems only managed to get 13 percent of those eligible to vote to the polls.

2 men selected to be grand marshals for the Welcome Home 2012 Parade in Media. Snagging the honors will be National Guard Lt. Col. Mark O’Hanlon and Army Spc. Cpl. Rusty Carter of Springfield.

30,891 dollars being spent by Interboro School Board to have the athletic track recoated.

16, age of teen girl who had to fend off a raccoon that attacked her in her bedroom in Upper Darby this week.

19 straight Envirothon titles for Penncrest High School. That’s quite the track record.

20,000 dollar reward posted for information on 2 men who recently committed crimes, including a murder in Upper Darby, while dressed as women in Muslim garb.

47 misdemeanor counts of vandalism filed in Philly against a Block Watch person who police say is responsible for wave of tire slashings in Mayfair neighborhood.

2 more victims who took the stand yesterday to describe alleged sex assaults at the hands of archdiocesan priests.

725,000 dollars in secret checks the feds say John Edwards used from his campaign to keep his lover and mother of his illicit child quiet. He’s on trial now.

31 members of Occupy Philadelphia who will be in court today to answer for their arrests during eviction last fall.

5-5 record on their West Coast trip for the Phillies. The have now won their 1st road series of the season.

4 hits, 2 runs and 7Ks for starter Cole Hamels, who raised his record to 3-1.

18 straight batters he retired at one point.

3 for 3 day for Placido Polanco.

15 day DL stint for reliever Michael Stutes.

29 points for Evan Turner to lead the Sixers over the Bucks, 90-85.

1 game remaining in the regular season for 76ers, in Detroit.

15, as in the No. 15 overall pick, where Eagles draft in 1st round of NFL Draft tonight.

7 round pick, that’s all the Eagles got for All-Pro cornerback Asante Samuel.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.The Phillies managed to scratch out a 5-5 mark on their West Coast trip, courtesy of a streak at the end. They now come home to face the Cubs Friday night.



I Don’t Get It: A guy who was all over TV ripping the person responsible for all those tire slashings in Northeast Philly has now been charged in the vandalism spree. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Penncrest High team that has captured another Envirothon title. That’s 19 straight. Impressive.


Quote Box: “All she had to do was return the money. She made a stupid mistake.”

- U.D. top cop Mike Chitwood, on woman who pocketed $2,300 after it fell from a man’s pocket at a local Wawa.


An open invitation to Gov. Corbett

Last night we had a chance to hash out some of the issues causing controversy in the Upper Darby School District on ‘Live From the Newsroom.’

I am grateful to state Rep. Nick Micozzie, R-163, who rushed over to our Primos offices after sitting down at a meeting with a group of concerned parents.

Several of those Upper Darby moms joined us on the show. They made it clear they believe the district is making a huge mistake by attempting to balance the books by eliminating “special” classes in music, art, physical education and library at the elementary and middle school levels.

If you missed the show you can watch it here.

Sue Nitz certainly knows the value of music education in the district. She’s the mother of three Upper Darby grads, and has two more kids in the district now. She’s also a member of the committee that each year puts on the Brad Schoener Music Marathon, the fundraiser held to honor the legacy of the district's beloved director of music.

Before we went on the air, I had a chance to talk to Nitz about Schoener, who lost his battle with cancer a few years ago, and what he might think about what is going on in the district. She recounted a story about a visit she made with him to the offices of his insurance company downtown after they denied coverage for a treatment. It turned out to be a mistake, which they corrected. But not before getting a full dose of Schoener’s vigor for life and music, including some unsolicited toots from his trumpet, which he took with him.

Suzanne Briddes and Lisa McNamee both have kids in the district and are actively fighting this proposal.

All of the parents are looking forward to having their say at a series of hearings starting next week. The preliminary budget will be presented next Tuesday, May 1. The regular meeting of the school board will be held May 8, and a public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for May 23. Public comment will be taken at both the May 8 and May 23 meetings.

The parents I talked to last night vowed to pack the meetings, “line the streets,” as they put it.

They have set up a Facebook page, Save the Music in Upper Darby, as well as Save the Arts in Upper Darby. They also now have a website, A petition to halt the planned cuts is being circulated; it's already been signed by more than 2,200 people.

These things are all good, and might help sway public opinion. But that’s not really what they want. I know. They told me.

A lot of fingers in this story are being pointed at Harrisburg, in particular at Gov. Tom Corbett, blaming his budget and education cuts for what is happening in Upper Darby.

What these parents want is an opportunity to sit down with the governor and make their case.

Rep. Micozzie, a man who has battled for years for a better way to fund public education in this state and who clearly is not wild about the governor’s spending plans, has vowed to ask the governor to come to Upper Darby.

I did the same.

So here it is. Gov. Corbett, consider this an open invitation to join us for a future session of ‘Live From the Newsroom.’ These moms want an answer to their questions. I think they deserve one.

You can provide some of those answers. They await your answer.

Holy Toledo! It was an inside job

This morning I am resisting the urge to say, “I told you so.”

You work in this business long enough, you get a feel for stories. And a healthy amount of cynicism.

They made an arrest in the series of tire slashings that have terrorized the Mayfair neighborhood in Northeast Philly.

A lot of people have wondered why this case has gone so long without being solved. I had a theory, as I usually do in these kinds of cases. When it goes unsolved this long, start looking at the players involved.

The man arrested was a member of the block watch group that was supposed to be looking out for trouble. That is a separate group from the Town Watch in the neighborhood. You can read about it here.

David Toledo was on TV several times over the past few weeks talking about what he would do if he caught up with the person responsible for this costly, mindless vandalism spree. He bragged about how he did not want the reward money being offered in the case, but would rather settle for breaking the hands of the suspect so he could not do it again.

Be our guest, Mr. Toledo. But try this out first. Instead of talking to a TV camera, try talking in the mirror instead.

Justice for John Edwards

Here’s a random thought for this morning: John Edwards was at one time actually considered presidential timber. Repeat that. John Edwards and president of the United States in the same sentence. Edwards was the Dems’ choice for Vice President with John Kerry in 2004, only to lose to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Edwards later made his own unsuccessful run for the Democratic nomination. Of course, Edwards now is likely better known for something else. Being one of the lowest forms of life on this planet. I would love to give John Edwards the benefit of the doubt. I just can’t do it. He cheated on his wife, Elizabeth, as she was waging a life-and-death battle against cancer that eventually took her life. He fathered a child with his lover, whom he once described as a “crazy slut.” Now he is on trial for using campaign money to pay off his mistress and keep her quiet. I’m just not sure what else to say. Prosecutors are seeking justice for John Edwards and his $400 haircut in a North Carolina courtroom. I think real justice will be reserved for Edwards in the next world.

Eagles throw away 'Pick 6'

Pick 6 has been sent packing.

That’s the moniker Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel used for himself on Twitter. (Isn’t everybody on Twitter these days?)

The Eagles yesterday traded him to the Atlanta Falcons. That didn’t really come as a surprise. What raised a few eyebrows is what the Eagles got in return.

The Birds walked away from the deal with a 7th round draft pick. That’s it.

For an All-Pro cornerback, a ball hawk whose gambling style routinely led to big plays, the Eagles got a pick that will struggle to make their roster.

This one looks like a blunder months in the making. From the time last year when the Eagles first acquired Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and then the stunning move to bring in Nnamdi Asomugha, this troika was a bad fit.

Both Rodgers-Cromartie and Asomugha are press corners who thrive in man-to-man situations. Instead the Eagles insisted on pounding these round coins into square pegs. They tried to use Rodgers-Cromartie in the slot, with Samuel and Asomugha manning the corners. Coupled with the brand new Wide 9 alignment, the experiment was a disaster.

You can read beat writer Bob Grotz’s version of what went down here.

One thing Eagles fans will not miss is Samuel’s aversion to contact. That’s not the Philly style.

But those interceptions – 23 in his years here – are another matter.

Making matters even worse are the reports out there that last summer the Eagles had the makings of a deal in place to send Samuel to the Lions in exchange for a 2nd and 3rd round pick.

Now they’re holding the bag – and a 7th round pick.

The “gold standard” brain trust that runs the Eagles keeps saying they’re “all-in.”

The draft is tonight. Mini-camps await. Then it’s back to Lehigh.

The Eagles probably can’t wait to get back on the field. Things off the field this winter have not exactly gone as planned.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Daily Numbers for April 25

The Daily Numbers: 20.8 percent of vote in GOP primary for U.S. Senate for Steve Welch, the party’s endorsed candidate. That got him 3rd place.

39.5 percent for the winner, Tom Smith, who ran against the party bosses and Gov. Tom Corbett.

52-47 win for Kathleen Kane over Patrick Murphy for the Dem nod in the state attorney general race.

5 wins for Mitt Romney last night, including Pa.

19 percent turnout for Republicans in Delco; just 10 percent for Democrats.

32 percent who turned out in the last general election last November.

20 gunshots fired near a polling place yesterday morning in the Sun Village section of Chester.

709-337 win for state Rep. Nick Miccarelli in a contest on the Dem ballot against write-in candidate Ken Harper.

7,687-1,784 margin for Sen. Dominic Pileggi in the Delco portion of voting in GOP primary for 9th District state Senate seat.

2,756-2,450 margin for Pileggi on the home turf of challenger Roger Howard in Chester County.

196 employees who took early retirement offer from Crozer-Keystone Health System.

30 employees who got pink slips despite the buyouts. Initially the company was targeting 325 positions.

1 million dollar grant for the Widener Partnership Charter School in Chester.

600 workers at Sunoco’s South Philly refinery who got a bit of good news with word that the Carlyle Group is considering a deal to get in on operation of the facility.

1.20 surcharge to be slapped on cab fares to combat high cost of gasoline.

3 straight losses on the West Coast trip for Phils, who fell 9-5 in Phoenix.

13.8 percent uptick in home sales in the region in 1st quarter.

4.6 percent decline in the price of those homes.

8-5 win for the Phils as the bats come alive in the desert.

3 home runs in last 2 nights for Phils. They had hit 7 up to that point.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Do you think the break for the Flyers works in their favor in resting their legs, or against them in making them sit while they were red hot?



I Don’t Get It: A guy drops a wad of cash from his pocket. A woman notices, picks it up and ….. leaves the store. She’s now under arrest.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the few people who managed to make their way to the polls yesterday. You did your part in our democracy. Those who did not forfeit their right to complain.


Quote Box: “I don’t follow politics much so I really don’t know who I’m voting for.”

- Robert Taylor of Chester, while casting his ballot yesterday.

Tom Terrific? That's Smith, not Corbett

Here’s a question for Delaware County Republicans.

Do you have any idea who Tom Smith is? Actually, he’s your newly minted candidate for the U.S. Senate. I don’t know if Mr. Smith is going to Washington, but he is going to be the challenger to incumbent Democrat Sen. Bob Casey Jr.

A lot of years, I would think Casey – even with that sterling statewide name recognition – would have been been vulnerable. But a challenge from Tom Smith? First he has to get people to know who he is. I think we'll see a lot more of the TV ads he used so well in the primary to beat the party’s endorsed candidate, Chester County tech entrepreneur Steve Welch.

Smith, who made millions in the coal biz, isn’t shy about spending his own money. He’ll need to go through a lot of it to mount a serious challenge to Casey.

If I was to go up on Baltimore Pike and start asking people who Tom Smith was, how many do you think would even know his name? That’s his challenge.

But without question Smith is one of the big winners of Primary Day. He overcame the party bosses who threw their weight behind a lightweight candidate.

Welch, who had trouble raising money, did not even come in second. That spot want to maverick state Sen. Sam Rohrer.

But Welch was not the day’s biggest loser.

That ignominious perch is reserved for Gov. Tom Corbett. He’s the one who got behind Welch early and then leaned on the state committee to follow his lead.

They did, right off a cliff.

It’s the latest pothole for the governor, who has not exactly set the world on fire in his first two years in office.

He hasn’t made a lot of people happy, starting with his refusal to put an extraction tax on Marcellus shale, to another brutal budget that included nasty cuts to education and crucial social services. And now he’s in the crosshairs of a lot of people in Upper Darby who are blaming him for cuts that could cost them their music classes.

It’s been a long time since an incumbent governor was not re-elected in Pennsylvania. Corbett just might put that streak to the test.

He’s the one with egg all over his face this morning after his imprimatur on the Welch candidacy blew up in his face.

Welch did manage to win here in Delaware County, as well as next door on his home turf in Chester County, but was thumped in the rest of the Philadelphia region.

The fact that Corbett’s backing could not deliver the crucial Southeastern region does not bode well in what is expected to be a very close presidential race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

There have been some fissures in the legendary Delaware County GOP rule, most notably the fact that the county has backed Democrats now in presidential races going back to the elder George Bush.

Yesterday’s showing by the governor’s guy in the U.S. Senate race is not likely to ease the party’s concerns.

Tom Terrific? For Smith, absolutely. For Corbett, not so much.

Your Post-Primary Day Scoreboard

Here’s your Primary 2012 scoreboard, or sifting through the tea leaves of a stultifying election day.

Pennsylvania remains safe from the scourge of voter fraud. This marked the first election day since our pre-eminent Legislature OK'd the new Voter ID law.

For yesterday’s primary, voters were supposed to be asked to show a photo ID. The big difference is that if they did not have one, they would still be allowed to vote. That won’t be the case in the general election in November. The photo ID will be mandatory, unless the law is knocked down in court. No problems were reported in Delco yesterday with the new law.

State Sen. Dominic Pileggi crushed his challenger in the Republican primary for 9th District. But only thanks to a huge gap in Delaware County. The former Chester mayor and majority leader of the Senate rolled to a huge win here in Delco. But in Chesco it was another matter. Pileggi was clinging to a lead of just a couple of hundred votes over challenger Roger Howard, who hails from out in those parts. With about 80 percent of precincts reporting in Chesco, Pileggi led Howard 2,756-2,450. Didn’t much matter. Pileggi had an overwhelming lead of 7,687-1,784 here in the Delco portion of the district.

Patrick Murphy learned that name recognition here in the southeastern part of the state does not necessarily guarantee anything in a statewide race. And he also might have learned something else.

The former Congressman was facing Allegheny County prosecutor Kathleen Kane in the Democratic race for the nomination for state attorney general.

Murphy was backed by a lot of Philly Democratic heavyweights. Former mayor and Gov. Ed Rendell, Mayor Michael Nutter, and D.A. Seth Williams all got behind the Iraq vet.

But Kane had a secret weapon. And it’s another lesson learned for Murphy.

Don’t cross the Clintons. Former President Bill Clinton strongly backed Kane. If memory serves correct, Murphy was one of the first to abandon Hillary Clinton and get behind Barack Obama four years ago.

Apparently they did not forget.

We're tackling Upper Darby school cuts tonight: What do you want to know?

Attention Upper Darby residents. We delivered the bad news, and we’ve been following the fallout. Of course, we’re talking about the brutal cuts being considered by the Upper Darby School District. In particularly egregious, according to parents, is the proposal to eliminate “special” classes in music, arts, library and physical education. Instead those curriculums will be handled as part of the regular classroom instruction. Along the way, more than 50 teaching positions are going to be jettisoned. There also will be a major shakeup among the administration. Now we’re offering you a chance to get involved. Tonight we will focus on the situation in Upper Darby on our ‘Live From the Newsroom’ live-stream Internet broadcast. We go live from 7-7:30. We’ll be joined by several concerned parents, as well as state Rep. Nick Micozzie, R-163, who has battled for years for a better way of funding education in this state. What I want to know is how you feel about this topic. And if you don’t live in the Upper Darby School District, don’t worry. This issue affects you as well. With another round of state funding cuts in place, all districts are struggling to make ends meet and will be facing similar tough decisions. If you have a question you’d like us to address, or if you have a comment, don’t just sit back and steam about it. Engage! Post a comment on this blog item. Or email me a question. Tonight we’re going to tackle one of the most controversial school issues to come down the pike in a long time. And we want you to be part of the conversation. You can log on to at 7. Join the conversation!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Daily Numbers for April 24

The Daily Numbers: 15 percent, expected turnout for today’s Pennsylvania Primary.

5 Republicans seeking nomination for U.S. Senate to run against Sen. Bob Casey Jr.

2 Democrats seeking nomination to run for state attorney general.

7 a.m. to 8 p.m., hours of the polls here in Pennsylvania.

3 names other than Mitt Romney on GOP presidential primary ballot. Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul also listed.

4 other states holding primaries today in Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island and Delaware.

500 people who showed up at a business in Chester Township yesterday for rally featuring Mitt Romney and Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

2 month reprieve for the Sunoco refinery in South Philly as the company negotiates a deal with the Carlyle Group on a potential joint operation of the facility.

3 percent drop in profits for ConocoPhillips, which has shut down its Trainer refinery and is in the process of seeking a buyer.

2,253 dollars allegedly ripped off from the Chichester Eagles Cheerleading Association by the woman who served as president.

900 dollars in donations to the Goodwill store in Ridley that police say were pilfered by a woman.

1 person killed in a crash on Baltimore Pike in Chester Heights yesterday morning.

16th annual memorial service by Parents of Murdered Children set Wednesday night at the Media Courthouse.

12 inches of snow that hit some northwestern sections of Pa. yesterday.

500,000 customers without electricity during the storm in Pa. and New York.

3 straight losses on the West Coast trip for Phils, who fell 9-5 in Phoenix.

5 runs scored by the Phils in the 9th inning, when game was out of reach.

15-day disabled list for Hunter Pence, who hurt his shoulder diving for a ball.

4 runs on 5 hits surrendered by Phils starter Kyle Kendrick.

2 straight seasons in the playoffs for Sixers, who beat the Nets.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.The Phillies are in serious trouble. Time to make a move, Ruben.


I Don’t Get It: Hope that Voter ID law weeds out all those outlaw voters out there today. I don’t’ get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Sunoco, which is looking at an agreement with Carlyle Group that could keep the South Philly refinery open.


Quote Box: “We know Barack Obama inherited a bad economy. But through his leadership and failed policies, he has made it much, much worse.”

- Congressman Pat Meehan, R-7, at rally for Mitt Romney in Chester Township yesterday.

Join us in a Primary Day conversation

What if they gave a Primary Election and nobody came? We just might find out today. Oh, you can be sure the die-hards will be out there. I would guess turnout will be about 15 percent. Dismal, I know. If you’re looking for lines, you might be better off at Wawa. There’s not much to push people to the polls today. Here in Delaware County, if you’re Republican and live in the 9th District, you can cast your ballot for either incumbent state Sen. Dominic Pileggi or challenger Roger Howard, who is from the Chester County portion of the district. Here’s a bet for you: Over or under on the number of votes Howard gets in Delco. I’ll put the line at 100. I’ll take the under. Republicans also will select from five candidates vying for the party’s nomination to run against U.S. Sen. Bob Casey. On the Democratic side, about the best they can come up with is the race between former Congressman Patrick Murphy and Kathleen Kane for the attorney general nomination. That’s about it, folks. Most of the attention today will actually be focused on what happens before people vote. The state’s new Voter ID law is now in effect. And it will be instituted today, sort of. Poll workers will ask you for an ID. However, if you don’t have one with you, you’ll still be allowed to vote. That won’t be the case come the November general election. That’s one of the things we’ll be focusing on as we cover the vote. You can join us in this procedure. We’ll be on Twitter all day using the hashtag #delcovotes. Get engaged. Join the conversation. Tell us what you see. And if you were asked for a photo ID. Maybe more importantly if you were not. Let us know how many have cast their ballots when you get to the polls. It’s called democracy. We’ll be chatting and ‘tweeting’ about it all day. Why not join us?

About Brian Dawkins

Let me make this perfectly clear. I like Brian Dawkins. I believe he is one of the all-time Eagles greats. I consider it a travesty and one of the worst decisions the current “gold standard” – Messrs. Lurie and Banner – have ever made when they let him walk away in a contract dispute. Dawkins announced on Twitter yesterday that he is hanging up his cleats. After spending a couple of years in Denver, he will retire as he should - as an Eagle. B-Dawk he will be honored at a special pre-game ceremony before the Eagles-Giants Sunday night game at Lincoln Financial Field on Sept. 30. In retrospect, it’s hard to argue with the decision to let Dawkins walk. The Eagles simply were not going to offer him the kind of money he got from the Broncos. And they were right to do so. But they never should have let the situation get to that point. Sure, Dawkins’ game on the field was in decline. But what he meant to this franchise off the field, in the locker room and on the sidelines, is probably as important as what he gave them once he stepped across those lines. Think that ragtag Eagles defense last year could have used Dawkins’ steady hand as they were gashed early and often as they adjusted to that Wide 9 defense? But amid the hosannas being offered to Dawkins today, I would like to add one item. It is the item I judge most football players by. Can someone remind me exactly how many Super Bowl rings Dawkins has won? Yes, that would be the same amount as the villified Donovan McNabb. And Michael Vick. And Reggie White (at least as an Eagle). And Wes Hopkins. And Seth Joyner and Jerome Brown. And Randall Cunningham. And Wilbert Montgomery. The list exemplifies a lifetime of loving a team that has always fallen just short of the brass ring. No gold standard here, Jeff and Joe. In fact, it would be the same number as every Eagle to don the green and white since 1960. That is five years after I was born, and just at the cusp of my life as a devoted Iggles fan. I have seen the Flyers win back-to-back Cups. I have seen the Dr. J. and Moses snag an NBA title. I have witnessed the Phillies capture two glorious World Series crowns. But I have yet to see the Eagles win a single Super Bowl title. They’ve gotten there twice. Dawkins was on one of those teams. They got torched by a mediocre offense. I will always revere Dawkins and what he meant to this franchise. But I am waiting for the “gold standard” to deliver the goods. Brian Dawkins delivered any number of highlights in a Hall of Fame career. But he is among the long list of Eagles who have yet to win a Super Bowl title. I just wanted to point that out. Listening, Mr. Vick? DeSean? LeSean? The man they are calling perhaps the greatest Eagle of all did not win a Super Bowl title. How about easing one fan’s pain.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Daily Numbers - April 23

The Daily Numbers: 5-1 win for the Flyers to eliminate the Pens and move on in the NFL playoffs.

4-2 series win for the Flyers. Pens in 6, my prediction for the series. Never mind.

1 goal and 2 assists for blossoming superstar Claude Giroux, who easily outshone the Penguins big duo of Crosby and Malkin.

2 stops in 2 weeks for GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. He will be at Mustang Expediting in Chester Township.

1,400 miles from Delco. That’s where refinery worker Frank Ciancaglione traveled, to Texas, to find work after being laid off from the Sunoco Marcus Hook refinery.

90 minutes, how long traffic was shut down yesterday on Main Street in Darby Borough because of a fire in an restaurant.

1 woman injured in a fire in a home in Westbrook Park section of Upper Darby Sunday.

200 people who showed up Sunday for an Earth Day cleanup project at St. Cyril’s School in East Lansdowne.

5 Republicans seeking the GOP nod for U.S. Senate to face Sen. Bob Casey on Tuesday.

2 Democrats duking it out in Democratic primary for the nod to run for state attorney general.

3.96, average price of gas in Philly region. That’s down 2 cents from week before, and 6 cents in the past 2 weeks.

3.86, the national average for gas.

2 inches of rain that soaked the region Sunday.

12 inches of snow expected today in some northwestern sections of Pa.

500 million Zippo lighters being marked later this year.

6-1 loss for the Phillies in San Diego yesterday.

3 errors for the Phils in the game.

6 runs surrendered by Joe Blanton, only 3 earned.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.The Flyers are mightier than the Pens.



I Don’t Get It: An elderly, blind woman was beaten and stabbed in Philly home invasion. Don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Gas prices are starting to decline. There’s hope for the summer driving season after all.


Quote Box: “I think the Romney campaign knows the importance of Delaware County for the general election in November.”

- Delco GOP boss Andy Reilly, on 2nd visit in 2 weeks by the GOP frontrunner.


Parents take to Twitter to fight Upper Darby cuts

The proposal to cut “special” classes in music, art, library and phys ed continue to rankle a lot of people in the Upper Darby School District.

This morning they plan to have their voices heard. Or at least their tweets.

One man is already on the record opposing the cuts. I had a very interesting phone conversation Friday with a guy who knows a little bit about Upper Darby schools. Joe Batory used to be superintendent.

He’s concerned about what is going on in the district. And he’s raising his voice against it. You can read his guest column here.

He’s not alone. A group of concerned parents and community activists plan to take to the Internet this morning to “chat” about the cuts.

You can follow along starting at 9 a.m. and even join the conversation right here on We’ll be hosting a live chat by the group. Use thehashtag #heytomcorbett to follow along.

We’ll also be looking at the situation in Upper Darby Wednesday night during our weekly live-stream Internet broadcast, ‘Live From the Newsroom.’

Tune in at 7. If you have a question you’d like to see addressed, email me at

A couple of parents that I’ve talked to have already mentioned what happened after the archdiocese announced plans to shut down both Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast high schools.

The community came togther, found their voice, and decided to draw a line in the sand. Plus, they raised a ton of money. And they used the Daily Times and every step of the way.

Consider the invitation extended for the newspaper to do the same for the situation in Upper Darby. It’s too important to ignore.

Consider us “all-in.”


Maybe we can call it “The Miracle in Drexel Hill, The Sequel.”

Does Sestak have eye on governor's mansion?

I remember distinctly the last time I had an extended conversation with Joe Sestak.

He was here in our office for his interview with the editorial board in his run against Republican Pat Toomey to succeed U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter.

That Sestak was here at all tells you a little bit about the man. He gave up a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, one it took Democrats 20 years to wrestle away from Curt Weldon and Republican control (even if it took a raid by the FBI to put him over the top).

Then he stuck out his tongue and ignored his party leaders when Specter, after taking a look at the numbers and conceding he was not going to beat Toomey in the GOP primary, promptly swapped parties and was greeted with open arms by the Dem brass.

Only thing is no one asked Sestak how he felt about that. Everyone – including Gov. Ed Rendell and Vice President Joe Biden – expected Sestak to graciously move aside. No such luck. Sestak took on Specter and his own party’s leaders, and he won.

But he could not get the best of Toomey in a close race in November.

As we all exited that interview and gathered in my office to talk it over, I made the following comment: “That guy wants to be president.”

I was wrong. Or maybe I just overshot.

Despite the loss in November, Sestak has stayed busy, criss-crossing the state several times and keeping his name out there.

I thought for a minute he might make a run for his old seat and challenge Pat Meehan.

I should have known better. Sestak has bigger fish to fry.

And I think I know the next ocean he wants to swim in. This guy has his eye on the governor’s mansion.

And I’m not the only one who think so. My lead columnist Gil Spencer recently sat down with Sestak and he came to the same conclusion.

Actually Spencer was sitting in for me on last week's PCN roundtable on the 7th District race. They didn’t spend much time talking about the issues facing the 7th, but they did spend a ton of time looking at Pennsylvania, including some of the areas where Gov. Tom Corbett has come under criticism.

Those would be education spending, and the recent passage of the Voter ID law.

Sestak would be a decided underdog in a race vs. the incumbent Corbett. He’d also have tradition going against him. While Pennsylvania takes turns electing a governor, going back and forth from Democrat to Republican, state voters almost never change course in the middle of the stream. You have to go back to Milton Shapp to find an incumbent governor who was not re-elected.

But Corbett has not exactly lit the world on fire in his first two years in office. The education cuts in particular put him in the crosshairs.

And it’s never been beyond Sestak’s scope to tilt at windmills. The guy goes his own way, whether it be as an admiral or a congressman.

Don’t think he can do it? Check with Arlen Specter. He might tell you differently.

Life's the Pitts for Pens (and Phils' fans)

Talk about life being the Pitts. Consider what it’s like to be a Pittsburgh fan this morning.

First, the Pens, who many experts had been touting as the favorite to take home Lord Stanley’s Cup, were unceremoniously booted from the playoffs by a young, scrappy Flyers team. This morning Mother Nature has decided to pile on. They’re expected up to a foot of snow in some western and nothern parts of the state this morning.

In the meantime, “orange you glad” the Flyers are on a roll? Now we just have to wait to see who they will play in the next series. Since the NHL reseeds the teams after each round, the Flyers could in fact meet any of the four remaining teams in the Eastern Conference.

Raise your hand if you’re hoping the Senators eliminate the Rangers tonight? Thought so. The Rangers swept the six games with the Flyers this season, including the Winter Classic. But they trail Ottawa in their series, 3-2, and must win tonight or face elimination.

Read about the Flyers’ big win here.

Good thing we have the Flyers. It diverts attention from the Phillies. After winning the first two games this weekend in San Diego, they gave away the final two to the lowly Padres.

Look, everybody expected this team to struggle offensively without Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. But this team doesn’t catch or throw the ball very well either. There’s no excuse for that.

About the last thing this team needed was an injury to its vaunted pitching staff. Uh-oh! Yep. Cliff Lee is on the shelf with an abdominal strain, something he seems to deal with each year.

This team needs some kind of a change to shake things up. Here’s an idea. It’s not new, but it might be time.

Domonic Brown.

Might be time for Phils to finally find out one way or the other what Brown can do for them.


Friday, April 20, 2012

A special night saluting students and teachers

I probably owe an apology this morning to Conor Egan.

Conor is a senior at Monsignor Bonner. He and I were both in attendance last night at one of my favorite events of the year, the Partners in Learning Celebration at the Drexelbrook.

I was there to honor the 21 All-Delco Hi-Q students as well as the 19 teachers selected for Excellence in Teaching Awards. You can check out our coverage here.

I actually went over to Conor's table before the dinner started and warned him that I might be mentioning him in my remarks.

I made a point of introducing myself as the editor of both the Delaware County Daily Times and I did that for a reason.

One is because our website,, is becoming a bigger and bigger part of our business. It allows us to deliver news to our readers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

But more importantly, I brought it up because not a week seems to go by that some expert does not remind me that newspapers are no longer relevant, we are a relic of the past, that the quaint notion of putting ink on paper has gone the way of the dinosaurs.

That's when I introduced Conor and asked him to stand up. I asked him to inform the audience which school he represented.

I also  said it was my distinct pleasure to announce that Conor will NOT be the last All-Delco Hi-Q representative from Bonner-Prendie.

I then asked how many among the 500 attending the dinner at the Drexebrook were either Bonner or Prendie alums. As you might expect, a lot of hands went up.

I then asked all of them, Conor, his parents, his teammates, and all those alums a very simple question.

Do you believe newspapers are no longer relevant?

I then gave a quick recount of the newspaper's coverage of what is still referred to as 'The Miracle of Drexel Hill," how a community rallied to save their school, and how we covered it.

It's that kind of coverage, along with events like last night, that always make me most proud to be the editor of this newspaper.

I said last night and I repeat it here. The highest compliment I have received as an editor - more important than any of the awards we have won - are all the calls, messages and emails I received from people who said the newspaper was instrumental in reversing the ruling that both Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast be closed.

My thanks again to Rick Durante and John Unangst of the Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union for a first-class night. I wish everyone could attend this soiree just once. If you want a glimpse of this county's best and brightest, that's the place to be.

And once again, I hope I didn't embarrass you, Conor. You should be proud of your accomplishments. And your school.

I know  I am.

A crucial night for Flyers

That huge gulp you just heard was Flyers Nation swallowing hard after getting a dose of reality.

The Pittsburgh Penguins were not picked by most experts to win the Stanley Cup for nothing.

Here's Rob Parent's preview of tonight's Game 5 in Pittsburgh.

Here's a hint for the Flyers. Do not lose this game. To do so would set off serious Homeland Security alerts among the faithful. I guess you could say it would be Level Orange.

A loss means the Flyers would hold just a slim, one-game lead, one game away from being in a one-game series.

They don't want to do that.

They also might want to avoid their habit of falling behind in the first period. With the shellshocked nature of their goaltenders, the Flyers need someone to stop the puck. And in the process stop the bleeding.

Your Flyers Phaithful can't hold its breath much longer.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Daily Numbers - April 19

The Daily Numbers: 10 goals surrendered by the Flyers in getting scorched by the Pens last night, 10-3.

5 goals each for starter Ilya Bryzgalov and Sergei Bobrovsky.

3-1 lead for the Flyers in the series, with Game 4 now set for Friday night in Pittsburgh.

1:54 in the afternoon, when a man walked into an Upper Darby barbershop and fatally shot the owner in what police are terming an “execution.”

5 to 6 people, including a 4-year-old boy, who witnessed the horrific event.

2 more suspects stung by the county Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force on child sex abuse allegations.

650 contractors who could be employed preparing the ConocoPhillips refinery to resume oil refining operations.

14-18 months in prison for a Clifton Heights man in a case of aggravated assault.

12,190 pounds of the world’s largest chocolate bar that arrived at Stetser Elementary School in Chester this week.

4 feet wide, 3 feet high and 21 feet long, that’s a lot of chocolate.

10, age of student who led a pack of parents and others in speaking to Upper Darby Township Council, asking them to get involved in fight against proposed school cuts.

30 years since it was converted to a reclamation site, construction has now started on the Quarry Center in Llanerch.

82, age of entertainment icon Dick Clark, who lived in Drexel Hill and Wallingford while putting his ‘Bandstand’ show on the map from 48th and Market streets.

1,200 jobs being cut by American Airlines.

31 billlion dollars spent on Internet advertising last year.

2nd show by Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band added for Labor Day, Sept. 3, at Citizens Bank Park.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Now a great night in Philly sports last night. Flyers crushed, Phils shut out. Hey, the Sixers won.



I Don’t Get It: How can someone calmly walk into a barbershop and shoot the owner in front of a host of witnesses. It’s getting scary out there.


Today’s Upper: Our salute to Dick Clark, who not only put Philly on the cultural map with ‘Bandstand,’ but more importantly broke the color line by having black kids and acts perform on his show.


Quote Box: “This guy is a terrorist. It’s a terrorist act.”

- U.D. top cop Mike Chitwood, on yesterday’s fatal shooting.

The loss of an American icon; & a new sports hero

I’m thinking this morning of two men, one sometimes referred to as “America’s oldest teenager,” and another who clearly thinks he is.

Dick Clark died of a heart attack Thursday at age 82. You can read the coverage here.

You’ll read about his hosting for years of the New Year’s Eve Celebration from Times Square in New York City.

And how he built an entertainment empire including the American Music Awards and 'The $10,000 Question.'

Don't fool yourself. To me, and really to everyone in this areay, Clark will always be remembered as the host of 'Bandstand.' A lot of young people today don't remember 'American Bandstand,' the national show that was broadcast from L.A.

So it's hardly surprising that much of the country does not realize that Clark - who lived for years in Drexel Hill - started his show at 48th and Market streets in Philadelphia.

Clark had an ear for music and a knack for picking out hits. His show soon became a must stop to any pop act looking to make it. Along the way he legitimized a lot of rock music.

But that's not what I will remember about him, and why I think he should be remembered.

If you get a chance to look at any of that old tape, you might notice something different, not about Clark, but about the kids and the performers on his show. Take a look at their faces. Many of them were black, something that was not always done in the '50s.

Maybe that's why so many soul performers yesterday, including legends like Smokey Robinson Jr., took the time to honor Clark.

The other gentlemen on my mind is an athlete. Not a Flyer, or a Phillie. And not a Sixer, or an Eagles draft pick.

Today I pay homage to Jamie Moyer. This week Moyer managed to win a Major League Baseball game for the Colorado Rockies at the age of 49.

This is not supposed to happen. Yet there is Moyer, the former Phillie who stuck to his dream after being out of the game for a year following elbow surgery.

He is my hero.

Jamie Moyer will not turn 50 until  Nov. 18. How great would it be if the Rockies opened the 2013 season at Citizens Bank Park.

I can tell you who I would be cheering for.

Go for it, Jamie.

Not a great night in Philly sports

This is exactly what the Flyers did not need.

Coming off that raucous win over Pittsburgh Sunday in which they took a commanding 3-0 lead, all the Flyers talked about not taking their foot off the Pens’ throats.

The entire league was scoffing at Pittsburgh’s pathetic antics. Several Penguins were suspended for Game 4 last night at the Wells Fargo Center.

And the Flyers blew it.

And in the process the Flyers just might have pierced their confidence. They didn’t just lose, even after they took a 3-2 lead. They got torched. The final? 10-3 Penguins.

Both starter Ilya Bryzgalov and backup Sergei Bobrovsky managed to give up five goals a piece.

You can read our coverage by Rob Parent and Jack McCaffery here.

It says here that this is no time to panic. The Flyers need to win one more game; the Pens must reel off three straight. But it was just a few years ago that the Flyers did just that in stunning the Bruins.

The Flyers would do well not to go belly-up again Friday night. Do so and it’s suddenly anybody’s series.

First they will need to find a goalie who can stop the puck.

It was not the best of nights in Philly sports.

In case you missed it, the Phillies squandered a 10-inning shutout by Cliff Lee and lost in 11 to the Giants. A Laynce Nix error led to the winning run. Jim Thome missed an opportunity to give the Phils the lead with a runner on third in the 10th when Charlie Manuel allowed him to face a left-handed reliever and Thome struck out.

I stand by what I said before. It’s nowhere near time to panic about the Flyers. The Phillies? That’s another story.


I'm Baaack!

The Heron is back in the nest. I know you’ve all missed me terribly and noticed that I have not updated my blog in a few days.

The truth is something happened to me that I can't remember the last time I was so afflicted. I got sick. Real sick.

I am saving all the gory details for my Monday column, but let me just suggest that my longtime personal health care policy, that being “I Don’t Want to Know,” finally caught up with me.

A minor matter that I had desperately been trying to ignore for weeks morphed into something much more serious. I have only myself to blame.

This morning I need to offer my thanks first to my wife, who stood on her head taking care of me all week. I also need to thank staffers Rose Quinn and Gil Spencer, who stood in for me at two events I was supposed to attend Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

I still plan to attend tonight’s big Partners in Education dinner at the Drexelbrook at which we honor this year's All-Delco Hi-Q team members and the winners of the Excellence in Teaching Awards. It’s one of the best nights of the year.

So, I’m back. Let’s get on with it ….

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Daily Numbers - April 13

The Daily Numbers: 57 teachers in crosshairs in Upper Darby as they grapple with $4 million dollar shortfall.

1, as in May 1, when the public will get its say on proposed budget in Upper Darby School District.

3.5 million dollars, how much it costs Upper Darby School District to fund students in charter schools.

2 Marines killed on crash of a Boeing MV-22 Osprey during exercises in Morocco.

150,000 dollars, annual salary of William D-Amico, hired as the new boss at the county retirement home, Fair Acres.

249 guns confiscated off streets of Upper Darby that are now on their way to being melted down.

14 women graduate from the county’s Treatment Court.

35 Catholic priests on list of problem priests that was shredded. A witness at trial in Philly yesterday called the move “obstruction of justice, cubed.”

1 man shot and killed by police in Philly after he struck a pedestrian, then several cars, then challenged police.

5.2 million dollars in his campaign coffers, so reports Sen. Bob Casey.

100 burglaries littered across several suburban counties now believed to be the work of a Pottstown man.

8, age of girl sexually assaulted allegedly by her bus driver in South Jersey. He’s 58.

93,000 square foot expansion, adding 72 rooms, being planned by Chester County Hospital This comes as Crozer here in Delco is looking to reduce their workforce by 325 positions.

7 strong innings for Joe Blanton as Phils post 3-1 win over the Marlins last night.

2 HRs for the Phils by Shane Victorino and Ty Wigginton.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.If Joe Blanton can pitch like that, the Phils are not going to lose a lot of games with this starting pitching rotation. It’s all up to the offense to come around at this point.


*: Brad Schoener must be spinning in his grave at the thought of the cuts being proposed by Upper Darby School District.

I Don’t Get It


Today’s Upper: Parents are already mobilizing to fight the cuts. This one is going to be heated.


Quote Box: “We are at a crossroads where if we simply continue to manage as he always have we will perish.”

- Lou DeVlieger, superintendent of Upper Darby schools.


A message for Upper Darby: What would Brad Schoener say?

I’ve had one thing on my mind since we first heard of the drastic cuts being proposed by the Upper Darby School District.

What would Brad Schoener think?

Schoener was the beloved director of music at Upper Darby High School. He died in 2009 after a five-year battle with cancer. But not before leaving a musical legacy in the hundreds of young lives he touched, instilling in them a love of music and life.

Each year the district holds a one-day music festival in his memory at which students can mingle with music professionals. All funds from the daylong event benefit the Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation.

Today Schoener might be rolling over in its grave.

Faced with a $4 million budget shortfall, the school district is proposing some drastic cuts, including condensing art, music and library into regular classrooms.

That’s not the way Schoener went about his job. But increasingly it is the way more and more districts are likely going to have to do things amid unrelenting funding cuts.

As you might expect, the cuts are not sitting well with parents. A “Save the Music in Upper Darby” Facebook page has already popped up, giving parents a place to vent. CLICK HERE to see how concerned the community is already.

I encourage students and parents also to comment on stories posted here on, and also to write their legislators.

You can read our editorial on the state of education funding in Pa. here.

For another point of view, check out Gil Spencer’s take on the story here.

One parent, Amy Reynolds, might have summed up the situation best.

“The music program is the crown jewel of Upper Darby School District. It all starts at the elementary level. How else would students get involved at the middle school or high school?”

The school board will present its budget plan on May 1. You can bet the place will be packed.

And that Brad Schoener will be there as well, if only in spirit.

The Delco connections on Titanic

Did you know that there were several Delaware County residents on board the Titanic?

And that Widener University owes its name in part to the tragic events that unfolded after the doomed ship struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic?

You can learn all that and more in our Weekend section lead on a new exhibit at Widener connected to the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ill-fated White Star Line gem on its maiden voyage.

CLICK HERE to read all about it.

By the way, starting Sunday, we’ll be posting on some of the coverage and headlines that appeared in the pages of the then-Chester Times at the time of the disaster. Make sure you follow along each day.

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Blanton helps Phils ease fan's concerns

So much for the panic over the Phils’ shaky start.

The Fightin’s got a solid seven innings from fifth starter Joe Blanton and enough hitting, including two home runs, to put away the Miami Marlins and even their record at 3-3.

Both Shane Victorino and Ty Wigginton both went long. But it was Blanton who was an eye-opener. It was his first start of the season and a shaky outing would have only added to the mounting concern about the Phils.

But Blanton put those fears to rest by scattering three hits and walking just one, surrendering one run over seven innings.

Check out Ryan Lawrence’s coverage of the game here.

Philly fans can warm up their remotes again for tonight. All three teams will be in action. The Phils will kick off a weekend set vs. the hated New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park, while the Flyers and Penguins face off in Game 2 of their opening round playoff matchup, and the Sixers host the Nets at the Wells Fargo Center.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Daily Numbers - April 12

The Daily Numbers: 325 jobs being eliminated by Crozer-Keystone Health System. They’re hoping most of the cuts can be achieved by early retirements and buyouts.

7,000 employees in the system, largest employer in the county.

500 Crozer workers who are eligible for early retirement.

25 percent of Crozer’s inpatient care over the last 18 months has switched over to outpatient care.

5 hospitals in the Crozer system in the county.

4 million dollars shaved from the Upper Darby budget, which will include some drastic changes to curriculum.

57 teachers who would be affected by the cuts.

13 supervisors would be slashed to 4.

4 ‘special’ classes will be eliminated in art, music, physical education and library. Instead those classes will be handled in regular classrooms.

5 Aston teens face charges tied to an arson fire that gutted 10 cottages at the Chester Heights Camp Meeting. 1 teen faces arson charges; 4 others were charged with summary trespassing.

500,000 dollars for burglary suspect who led police on a high-speed chase that ended in a crash in Middletown.

2 doctors dead in South Jersey in a case of murder-suicide.

2nd degree murder charged filed against George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

77, age of mass killer Charles Manson, who was turned down for parole again yesterday in Calif.

1.984 dollars per 1,000 cubic feet, price of natural gas yesterday. It was 1st time it was under $2 in a decade.

31 citations issued by state police under 5-week-old ban on texting while driving.

3-0 hole the Flyers found themselves in after 1 period in Pittsburgh. They rallied for 4-3 win in OT.

2 goals for Danny Briere.

0 goals surrendered by Ilya Bryzagalov after that rough 1st period.

20 times this year the Flyers have won after falling behind.

3-1 mark for the Flyers in OT in the playoffs vs. Penguins.

7 for 13, what Phils 3-4-5 hitters went last night in crushing the Marlins, 7-2.

5 straight hits to kick off the rout in the 3rd.

7 sharp innings for Roy Halladay, who got his 2nd win on the year.

17 points for Thaddeus Young as the Sixers beat the Raptors, 93-75.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.3-for-3 for the Philly sports teams last night, including a dramatic come-from-behind playoff win for the Flyers, who looked dead after one period. Doesn’t get much better than that.



I Don’t Get It: More bad economic news for the county, with a new round of cuts rolled out at the Crozer-Keystone Health System.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Springfield native and Air Force Capt. Barry Crawford Jr. He will be awarded the Air Force’s highest honor today for his heroics in Afghanistan.


Quote Box: “We’re working very hard to minimize the number of nurses who are leaving the system.”

- Crozer-Keystone spokesperson Cathy Scullin on new cuts to hit the health syste,.


More labor pains for Delco


We were talking refineries on our live-stream Internet broadcast, ‘Live From the Newsroom.’

Our thanks for County Councilman John McBlain and Dave White for joining us on the show. If you misssed it, you can catch the replay here.

And we got a little news, which is always a nice byproduct of doing a live, current affairs program.

McBlain and White updated us on the county’s efforts to do a study of potential uses for the Sunoco refinery in Marcus Hook.

Of the three endangered refineries – including the Sunoco refinery in South Philly and the ConocoPhillips plant in Trainer – it is Marcus Hook that seems to have the gloomiest future.

Michael O’Neill and his Preferred Sands group is looking at the South Philly refinery, along with United Refining out of Pittsburgh. Delta Air Lines is showing interest in the Conoco site for use as a petroleum production facility.

But there seems to be no such interest in the iconic Hook refinery.

The councilmen indicated that Sunoco has now finished its process and still has no potential suitor.

The county is spending $100,000 on a study for potential uses for the site. They now have two potential bidders for the study. They will award it to one of them on April 28 and hope to have the study in hand by the end of May. They will ask for a 60-day turnaround from the firm doing the study.

And the county was rocked with a bit more bad economic news yesterday, from one of its largest employers.

Crozer-Keystone Health Systems, which runs the five hospitals in the Crozer system, announced it is looking to cut 325 jobs. They are hoping to achieve the number through early retirements and other measures to minimize the number of layoffs.

Read the full story here.

It doesn’t get any easier in this economy.

Great night to be a Philly Phan!

That huge exhale you heard last night was Philly sports fans.

The Flyers managed to climb out of a 3-0 first period hole they dug for themselves and then scratched out a huge 4-3 overtime win in Game 1 of the first—round playoff series against the Penguins.

Make sure you check out Rob Parent and Jack McCaffery for complete coverage from Pittsburgh.

This is just a killer loss for the Pens. You should not be coughing up three-goal leads. Particularly at home.

Flyers fans also will point to the fact that after that shaky first period, netminder Ilya Bryzgalov did not surrender another goal.

On to Game 2 Friday night.

Then there’s the Phillies. Who says they can’t hit?

The Phils banged out 14 hits last night in battering Josh Johnson and the Marlins, 7-1.

The Phils blew the game open in the third, when they plated five runs on the strength of four straight singles and a double by much-maligned Freddy Galvis.

It was more than enough. That’s because Roy Halladay was on the mound for the Phils. Halladay again struggled a bit in the first two innings, but still limited the Marlins to just one run. After that, just as he was in his first start, he was lights out. Halladay struck out three and scattered five hits over his seven innings of work.

Heck, even the Sixers got into the act with a win over the Raptors.

OK, show of hands: How many people were panicking in that first period of the Flyers games?

How many Phillies fans were wondering if they would ever score more than two runs in a game?

Now, don’t you feel better?

Want to be a blogger? This is your chance

Here's one more call for bloggers. If you've always had a hankering to write - about sports, things in your town or school, or your hobbby, now is the time to step up.

We want you to be part of our blogging team. And tonight is your chance.

If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to sit on this side of the keyboard and bang out all this glorious prose, we just might give you that opportunity.

We continue to seek bloggers to write for

Currently we feature a small army of folks who write about everything from their local communities, to their favorite hobbies, to astrology.

If you’d like to give it a shot, join us for our monthly meeting of our community media lab and blog team.

We will gather here in our Primos office, 500 Mildred Ave., just off Providence Road, at 6 p.m. Thursday.

You’ll never know if you have what it takes until you give it a shot.

Hope to see Thursday night.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Daily Numbers - April 11

The Daily Numbers: 11 primaries won by Rick Santorum, who got out of the GOP race yesterday.

2 weeks until the Pennsylvania Primary on April 24.

31 million dollars in funding for a plant in Eddystone that was nixed by the Corbett Administration. That means Camden Iron & Metal will not be coming to the borough.

1.5 million dollars in fees from the new plant that would have gone into borough coffers.

420,000 dollars in real estate revenue; $2.4 million for the Ridley School District.

42, age of man killed in 1-car crash when he was ejected from his vehicle in Newtown Square.

1 townhome gutted, 2 others damaged in fire in Upper Chichester.

94, age of Col. David Pergrin, one of most decorated soliers of World War II and a Nether Providence native. He died over the weekend.

12, age of Clifton Heights youth charged with arson for setting a brush fire.

2 burglary suspects collared after a police pursuit when they crashed their car into 2 other cars out in Middletown.

213-point slide for the Dow yesterday.

3 triple-digit declines in last 4 days for the market.

600 billion dollar value now for Apple.

33 years in prison for Berwyn man convicted of running Ponzo scam that ripped off 250 investors of $14 million.

6 percent more, what we likely will be paying for gas this summer over last. Prices are expected to finally level off – but not until after clearing the $4-a-gallon mark.

5 percent decline in casino revenue in March for Atlantic City.

1 billion dollar deal for a Radnor company for a pipeline company that will get it into the Marcellus shale biz.

19 points for Spencer Hawes as Sixers snapped their losing streak by blasting the New Jersey Nets.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.We can interrupt the agony of Phillies fans for the ecstasy of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Flyers vs. Penguins. Should be a classic between two teams that don’t like each other even a little bit.



I Don’t Get It: A suspect has been arrested for allegedly trying to set a brush fire in Upper Darby. He’s 12. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Rick Santorum. Nobody thought he would be taken seriously as a presidential candidate. He won 11 primaries.


Quote Box: “Rick has waged a remarkable campaign, His success is a testament to his tenacity and the power of conservative principles.”

- Newt Gingrich on Santorum’s decision to get out of race.

We'll talk refineries with 2 county councilmen tonight; join the conversation!

Tonight we will welcome two new faces on County Council to Primos for our live-stream broadcast, ‘Live From the Newsroom.’

Actually John McBlain is no stranger to Delco political circles. He was the county solicitor and a longtime official in Aldan as well.

We’ll also get the chance to meet the newest member of Council. Dave White was appointed to fill the seat of Jack Whelan, who was elected district attorney last fall. Not surprisingly, White also was a commissioner in Ridley, just as his predecessor was.

We likely will focus on the county’s efforts to seek new buyers for the idled ConocoPhillips and Sunoco refineries in Trainer and Marcus Hook.

Council has actively been pushing to put programs in place to help laid-off workers at the plants.

Just this week they approved three contracts that will give these workers the opportunity to retrain themselves, including essential computers skills.

We’ll talk about the buzz surrounding potential buyers for the two Delco plants, along with Sunoco’s South Philadelphia refinery, and what might happen to the sites should a buyer not come forward.

Most importantly, I’d like to get readers involved. You can log on to our live chat during the show at and ask a question of the two councilman. Or you can email me a question you’d like us to put to them. Send questions to

Join us tonight at 7 for a conversation with two county councilmen. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Get involved – and engaged. Join the conversation!

A sure 'sign' that campaign season has arrived

It is now officially campaign season.

Not because Rick Santorum got out of the GOP race yesterday, clearing the state for an epic Mitt Romney vs. Barack Obama slugfest. By the way, would someone remind New Gingrich to turn out the lights when he leaves the stage?

My reminder came more on the local level, something that happens every campaign season.

Of course, I’m talking about that new Olympic sport, campaign sign theft.

I got a call from Bob Cassidy, who is running for the Democratic nomination in the 163rd state House legislative district.

This is classic Delco neighborhood stuff. It happens in every campaign. It also rarely actually makes the newspaper unless it rises to the level where charges are actually filed.

For the most part it’s a nuisance. Of course, it’s a little more than that to Cassidy. He says signs were take from outside a house on Baltimore Pike in Clifton Heights (including one that was a replacement for a sign already pilfered), and several more on Garrett Road in Drexel Hill.

Let’s play fair out there, folks.

Hands off the campaign signs.

It will be the Pitts, Flyers fans


We interrupt the agony of Phillies fans to bring you the ecstasy of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

At least for a few hours anyhow.

I have good news and bad news for the loyal followers of the Orange and Black.

The good news is that if you want to hear lots of positives about the Flyers chances in the playoffs, you can CLICK HERE. Both of our writers who will be covering the playoffs, Rob Parent and columnist Jack McCaffery, like the Flyers in this series.

Not me.

This series is going to come down to one man: Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. If he’s on, as he has been much of this late part of the season, the Flyers have a good shot at winning the series.

If he’s off his game, as he was for the first two-thirds of the season, the Flyers will be heading for the golf course early.

I’ll say Penguins in six. Then we can set our sights back on the Phillies problems.

By that time it’s safe to say the Phils will have broken through double digits on runs scored so far in this season.

The Phils send Roy Halladay to the mound tonight against the Marlins’ Josh Johnson in a replay of his perfect game against the Marlins a couple years ago.

That’s the Phils’ problem so far this year. They need their pitchers to be perfect. Look for more of the same tonight.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Daily Numbers - April 10

The Daily Numbers: 45,574 packed into Citizens Bank Park for the Phils home opener.

205 consecutive home sellouts for the Phils at CBP.

2 runs scored by the Marlins in a 6-2 loss.

1-3 mark now for the Phutiles.

0-for-12 skid snapped by second baseman Freddy Galvis, who doubled in the Phils 2 runs.

4 runs on 8 hits in 5 and 1/3 innings for starter Cole Hamels.

3 to 23 months in prison for former Penn-Delco School Board member John Green for stealing funds from a booster club.

21,000 dollars in restitution he also will have to make to the club.

6 teens now facing charges in Folcroft in connection with the vicious beating of a man.

92,629 dollar contract awarded by County Council to computer courses to be offered to laid-off refinery workers.

89 bags of illegal drugs allegedly found in the pants of a man in a bust in Sharon Hill.

2 Philly firefighters killed in a warehouse inferno yesterday.

130.55 point decline for the Dow yesterday, dipping under 13,000 for 1st time since March 12.

2.2 million dollars that Sunoco will pay to Massachusetts over cleanups at several gas stations.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Today’s mantra: It’s just 4 games….. It’s just 4 games.



I Don’t Get It: Another teen has been charged in that brutal beating of a man in Folcroft.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the 45,000-plus who jammed Citizens Bank Park in the 205th consecutive home sellout.


Quote Box: “I take a vacation day for this day every year.”

- Phillies fan John Palumbo, on his tradition of attending opening day at Citizens Bank Park.