Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Daily Numbers - July 30

The Daily Numbers: 1 suspect in custody, 1 being sought in brutal beating and robbery of man confined to wheelchair in his Upper Darby home.

2 gold medals won by a Parkside man in the Transplant Olympics. Huge thumb’s up to Howard Pritchard..

4 million words read by students in Penn-Delco School District as they take part in a summer challenge.

2 trees planted where the statue of Joe Paterno used to be located outside Beaver Stadium in State College.

1 pound, about $1.57, what Paul McCartney was paid for his gig at the opening show at the London Olympics.

1 player, a backup safety, who has left the Penn State .

759,000 registered voters in Pa. getting letters from Pa. because their names do not show up on PennDOT data base that they have a valid ID.

12 percent of voters in Pa. who may lack the proper ID.

60,000 Pennsylvanians who will be removed from General Assistance rolls this week.

150 million, how much Pa. looks to save in the move.

200 dollar monthly payments to people undergoing treatment for addiction or victims of domestic violence.

2 Phillies, Joe Blanton and Shane Victorino, most likely to be dealt before trading deadline today.

16.5 games behind the Nats, where the Phillies stand today.

1st to worst. And worst to 1st. The Phils and Nats have traded positions as they open a series in D.C. tonight.

0 practices for Eagles today, they’re off. They will practice 2 times on Wednesday.

17 total medals won so far by the U.S. at the London Olympics.

5 golds for the U.S., trailing the 9 golds collected by China.

2 more medals likely today for Michael Phelps, which will make him the all-time Olympic medal winner.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Hear that clock ticking. That’s time slipping away for one of the great runs of Phillies baseball. Ruben Amaro Jr. likely will break up the gang before the trade deadline arrives at 5 p.m.



I Don’t Get It: For some reason, and I’m not sure why, and have almost no interest in these Olympics.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Howard Pritchard, an organ donor who recently snagged a couple of medals in the Transplant Games.


Quote Box: “There is no way he could have defended himself. It was cruel and inhumane.”

- Upper Darby top cop Mike Chitwood, on brutal beating and robbery of man in a wheelchair.


Part of the solution in Chester

The city of Chester has its share of problems.

Gun violence is probably at the top of that list.

Shakiyl Smith is hoping to be part of the solution. He knows a little bit about gun violence. He is confined to a wheelchair because of it.

Smith was shot back in August 2008 at a party in the city. An altercation broke out. Smith and others got in a car to leave. At that point someone opened fire on the car.

Smith has been in a wheelchair ever since.

The shooter has never been identified.

Now, with the help of Chester entrepreneur Ulysses ‘Butch’ Slaughter, Smith wants to take the next step in his recovery.

You can call it reconciliation.

He wants to meet the person shot him. And tell him he forgives him.

Make sure you read John Kopp’s story here.

You’ve got to admire Shakiyl Smith’s attitude, and more importantly his resolve.

It just might be the groundwork for a solution to Chester’s problems.

Amaro is on the clock

It is 6 a.m. Yes, the Heron’s Nest is an early riser.

As of this hour, Shane Victorino is still a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. As is Hunter Pence. And Cliff Lee. And Joe Blanton.

Whether that will be true in an hour or so remains to be seen.

It is safe to assume that at least some of them will no longer be Phillies this time tomorrow.

The Major League Baseball trade deadline is 5 p.m. today. Rumors have been swirling non-stop around the Phillies since they went belly up in being swept by the Braves in Atlanta over the weekend.

The latest implosion seemed to seal their fate, with even the ever-positive Charlie Manuel seemingly resigned to the fact that the Phils will be watching the post-season this year.

You can read our beat writer Ryan Lawrence’s take on what is likely to occur today here.

The ball is now in G.M. Ruben Amaro Jr.’s court. As they say at the NFL and NBA drafts, Amaro is “on the clock.”

Tick … Tick…. Tick….


Monday, July 30, 2012

The Daily Numbers - July 30

The Daily Numbers: 3rd place for Delco native Brendan Hansen, who captures Bronze at the London Olympcs.

15 trees at center of dispute in Ridley Park over refurbishing the Sellers Avenue bridge.

2014, when the bridge is supposed to be replaced.

2008, when Shakiyl Smith was shot in Chester. He wants the person responsible to come forward, so he can forgive him.

91 room hotel being proposed for Springfield Country Club. The plan got initial OK from the township planners.

212,000 square foot facility to be unveiled this week at Fed Ex’s new facility in Tinicum.

2 held for trial in Upper Darby home invasion.

1 person killed in crash between tractor-trailer and car on I-95 in Chester early Sunday.

60 million that will be loaned from to Penn State’s athletic department to pay fine imposed by NCAA.

8 cars that suffered more vandalism and slashed tires in South Philly.

12 murders so far this month in Camden.

3.63 a gallon, what Philly region is paying at the pump

1 penny increase from week before.

3.80 a gallon, what we were paying last year.

2-1 comeback win for the Union over New England at PPL Park last night.

3 straight losses in Atlanta as Phils are swept by the Braves.


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

It’s over. Wave the white flag. After being swept by the Braves, all that’s left for the Phils is figuring out who will be dealt at trading deadline.


I Don’t Get It: Attacking a man in a wheelchair. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Havertown native Brendan Hansen, who captured bronze at the London Olympics on Sunday.


Quote Box: “There should be a bringing together of a lot of groups here – business, planning, state officials.”

- Charlie Maurone, on planned improvement project for Sellers Avenue Bridge in Ridley Park.

Brendan Hansen: Bronze winner, solid gold guy

Brendan Hansen once again showed his mettle on Sunday, capturing a bronze medal at the London Olympics.

As far as we’re concerned, Hansen, the pride of Havertown, is solid gold.

Hansen will turn 31 next month. It seems like just days ago when he was gracing the Back Page of the Daily Times as the Delco Times Athlete of the Year.

That was a long time ago. Once thing has not changed.

Hansen is a class act.

After suffering a huge disappointment four years ago in Beijing, Hansen retired. But after a couple of years, he got the itch again, and returned to competition and won a spot on the U.S. Olympic team at an age when most believe it is time to get on with the rest of your life.

To fully appreciate Hansen’s journey, check out our story from John Lohn, who is London covering Hansen.

Stick a fork in the Phillies - they're don

You can stick a fork in the Phillies. They’re done.
After raising everyone’s hopes with a sweep of the Brewers at Citizens Bank Park, the Phils headed south to Hot-Lanta, where they promptly got scorched in three straight.
Break out the white flags. This one’s over. And before Aug. 1.
All that’s left is for G.M. Ruben Amaro Jr. to determine which pieces he is going to ship out as the trade deadline looms on Tuesday.

The problems with this Phillies team are more than just injuries, although starting the season without Chase Utley and Ryan Howard certainly did not help.
Utley got things off on a sour note in Clearwater by showing up and announcing he was unable to go. For the second straight season, he missed a huge chunk of the start of the season.
Howard was nursing a ruptured Achilles tendon, and suffered a setback in Florida.
Things went from bad to worse when ace right-hander Roy Halladay went on the shelf with an ailing shoulder, something that had been whispered about since spring training.
This team had a great run, winning a World Series title in 2008.
They still have a potentially great starting rotation, with Cole Hamels in tow for the long haul, along with Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay.
But the everyday lineup is a disaster.
It’s time to blow it up and start over.
CLICK HERE for Ryan Lawrence’s take on the Phils’ weekend in Atlanta.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Daily Numbers - July 27

The Daily Numbers: 28 schools from 6 different school districts across the county that made a list of lowest-performing schools.

8,500 to 15,000 dollars some students in those schools can now be eligible for if they want to attend a different school.

1 person hospitalized after 5-car crash yesterday morning on Route 322 the Conchester in Upper Chi.

2 ordinances vetoed by Folcroft Mayor Bob Frey, causing some friction in the borough.

2 Chester men sentenced in beating death of Chester man whose body was wrapped in plastic and dumped in a lot.

1 youth believed to be a victim of Jerry Sandusky in a Penn State shower who is coming forward and plans to sue the school.

20 percent of nation now in the 2 worst stages of drought. That’s up 7 percent in the last week.

3 percent hike in food prices being predicted because of the drought.

353,000 people filing jobless claims. That’s down 35,000.

1 million dollars in synthetic drugs seized in raids across Pa. yesterday.

3rd shot at the Olympics for Haverford native Brendan Hansen.

100 breaststroke, where Hansen will seek to bring home gold.

15 day DL for ailing Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco, who has a bad back again.

4 year deal worth $117 million for Flyers forward Jakub Voracek.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Three straight walk-off wins over the dreadful Milwaukee Brewers. But three in a row in Atlanta would really get people excited again.



I Don’t Get It: The victim who was allegedly assaulted by Jerry Sandusky in a Penn State shower did not testify in his criminal trial, but is coming forward now to file a civil suit.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Havertown native Brendan Hansen, who will once again be doing Delco proud as he seeks Olympic gold in London.


Quote Box: “This is just a smack in the face for all of the work they have been doing. This is a little bit insulting to the families of Eddystone Elementary School.

- Ridley Schools Superintendent Lee Ann Wentzel, ticked that the school made a list of the worst-performing in the state.


We're celebrating literacy with the Delaware County Literarcy Council

There is no issue closer to a newspaper editor’s heart than literacy.

Our jobs depend on it. Literally.

That’s why I could not be happier to announce that we are going to be partnering with the Delaware County Literacy Council to promote one of their big annual events, International Literacy Day on Sept. 12.

The members of our blog team and Community Media Lab met with Susan Keller, the volunteer coordinator from the Literacy Council, at our monthly meeting last night to formalize our plans to promote the event.

All of our bloggers will be promoting the event in their blogs.

Members of the Philadelphia Union will be on hand as the Literacy Council pushes awareness of this crucial issue.

The event will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 12, from 5-7 p.m. at their headquarters at 2217 Providence Avenue in Chester.

We’ll even be taking our weekly live-stream Internet broadcast, ‘Live From the Newsroom,’ to the Literacy Council to add to the fun.

I’m hoping our bloggers will be manning a table at the event, all in an effort to promote literacy in Delaware County.

I am hoping our readers also will turn out. The Literacy Council has 200 volunteers, but they’re always looking for more. They help more than 500 people a year.

Why not join us!

The mystery of the boy in the shower

There’s an interesting – and underplayed – irony in word that the alleged victim in the now infamous Penn State shower assault by Jerry Sandusky is now coming forward and planning to sue Penn State.

You can read that story here.

This is believed to be the young man then graduate assistant Mike McQueary saw being assaulted by Sandusky in the shower. He went home and told his father. The next day he reported it to Paterno, who reported it to the athletic director. Not much else happened. It has been pointed to again and again as part of the problem in the way Penn State officials responded to the issues surrounding Sandusky – not enough was done.

But while everyone remembers that Sandusky was convicted on 45 of 48 counts of child sexual abuse, one of the counts on which he was acquitted was in fact a charge connected to this shower encounter.

McQueary’s varying stories were not enough to convince a jury that there was actual penetration. Sandusky was convicted of other charges connected to this victim.

Would it have made a difference if the victim had come forward and spoken to investigators?

We may find out at a civil trial.

Return of the Comeback Kids

The Phillies don’t have any intention of going away.

Chase Utley is back. So is Ryan Howard. Roy Halladay is back on the mound. Cole Hamels is looking for help carrying all those millions to the bank.

And a funny thing happened.

This team has its swagger back. Games are fun again. No one is leaving early. No lead is safe for the opposition. The Comeback Kids are back in town.

So much for the appetizer.

Now comes the main course.

The Phillies feasted on the inept bullpen of the Milwaukee Brewers to win three straight games in walkoff fashion, each game by a 7-6 score.

They should not expect the Braves to be nearly as accommodating this weekend in Atlanta.

They continue to be nine and a half games out of the Wild Card race. That’s a lot of ground – and a lot of teams – standing in their way.

A sweep of the Braves would go a long way to making me a believer again. It starts tonight with gazillionaire Hamels on the mound for the Phils.

Check out what Dennis Deitch thinks about the Phils’ chances here.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Daily Numbers for July 26

The Daily Numbers: $144 million dollars for Cole Hamels, part of 6 year deal with option for 7th.

7,359 dollars per pitch, how much Hamels will make over the next 6 season, based on his innings pitched over the past 4 seasons.

113,521 dollars per inning.

744,186 dollars per start. Yeah, it’s insane. So raise your hand if you’re glad they re-signed him. Thought so.

10,000 dollars, how much Delaware County has spent so far on programs to educate citizens on the new Voter ID law.

1 million registered voters who now lack the proper ID in Pa., according to arguments at court challenge to the law yesterday in Harrisburg.

50 people who showed up at an informational meeting in Ridley this week for a proposed development at Sellers and Stewart avenues.

95 dollars, what it will now cost you if your car is towed in the city of Chester. The storage rate is now $43 a day.

2.5 percent pay raise for superintendent of Wallingford Swarthmore School District. He made $216,300 last year.

280 students who likely will be able to attend a new charter school approved for the city of Chester. The Chester Charter School for the Arts, for kids K-6, will open in September.

28 schools in Delaware County on list of 414 elementary and secondary schools ID’d as worst-performing in the state. Students now will be eligible for scholarships that could allow them to attend other schools.

158 of the schools – 38 percent – are in Philadelphia.

4 year death penalty that was looming over Penn State, according to the Board of Trustees. That’s why they accepted the sanctions.

3 percent increase in profits reported at Boeing.

237 ex-Conoco workers now hired at Monroe Energy to staff the former Conoco plant in Trainer.

4 straight wins for the Phillies, including 3-game sweep over the Brewers, all 3 of them by the same score, 7-6.

3 straight walkoff wins for the Phils, who are beginning to resemble the team we loved for the past 5 years.

9.5 games back in the Wild Card for the Phils. Still a long, uphill battle.

3-2 win for the MLS Stars over Chelsea in the MLS All-Star game at PPL Park in Chester.

*: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

Call me a Phanatic

Don’t bother complaining about the $144 million the Phillies will pay Cole Hamels. Face it, pro athletes live in a different world than we do. Why do they make so much? Because they can. End of story.


I Don’t Get It: The Penn State Board of Trustees now say the school took the sanctions imposed by the NCAA because they had a 4-year death penalty hanging over their head.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to John Alston. The man behind the Chester Children’s Chorus will now get the opportunity to do the same with a K-6 charter school this fall.


Quote Box: “I’m utterly concerned, but so was Rosa Parks when she decided to sit down on a bus when the law said she shouldn’t.”

- Colwyn judge of elections Christopher Broach, who said yesterday he will not enforce state’s new Voter ID law.


Phils' fans get 'Cole' in their stockings

Yesterday was Christmas in July. And Phillies fans got ‘Cole’ in their stockings.

Cole Hamels is not going anywhere. And he has 144 million reasons to be happy about it.

The Phillies yesterday signed a contract extension with their ace lefthander that will be him $144,000,000 over the next six years. You read it right. That’s six zeroes.

Or, as someone figured the numbers, about 7,359 per pitch.

Yes, the numbers are insane.

No, the Phillies are not out of their minds for offering it to one of their very few home-grown talents.

The first thing you have to realize about sports is that they operate in a completely different universe than the rest of us, in particular when it comes to money.

Why can Cole Hamels command $144 million, more than any other pitcher in baseball aside from CC Sabathia of the Yankees? Because he can. It’s that simple.

Hamels has a golden left arm. He can do things with a baseball very few men can do. And for that talent, the market has set his worth at $144 million.

The Hamels story is important because had he instead decided to test the free agent waters and go elsewhere for more money, he would have been buried in this town.

There’s nothing we hate more than the thought of greedy athletes taking their talents to the highest bidder, leaving the fans who support them high and dry.

Except maybe for greedy, tight-fisted owners who try to go on the cheap, forcing players to go elsewhere to be paid what they’re worth.

Remember Reggie White? Brian Dawkins.

It’s clear now Hamels wanted to stay here in Philly. That alone makes him an exception in our book.

He may be the ultimate in "California cool." But Cole Hamels calls Philly home.

Welcome home, Cole. Any chance we can get a loan?

In their own words: The men who saved the refineries

We paid another visit to "the lower end" and the “Miracle in Trainer" last night.

We took our live-stream Internet broadcast, 'Live From the Newsroom,' to the United Steelworkers hall in Linwood to talk to union officials who were integral in the talks that led to saving hundreds of union refinery jobs.

If you missed the show, you can catch the replay here.

Our thanks to Jim Savage, Denis Stephano and Dave Miller.

Jim Savage, head of Local 10-1 of the United Steelworkers, represents workers at Sunoco's South Philadelphia refinery. He talked about the difference in the tone of talks with the company once Brian MacDonald took over from former CEO Lynn Elsenhans.

Stephano, the head of United Steelworkers Local 10-324, detailed how all his union members who were thrown out of work when ConocoPhillips shut down their Trainer refinery are now walking back through those very same gates after the sale of the facility to Delta Air Lines. It is being run by Delta subsidiary Monroe Energy.

Stephano pointed the same is not true for managers at the former Conoco plant. He admitted that Monroe is running as a 'leaner' facility and that in some instances they brought in their own managers.

It was left to Dave Miller to update the situation at Sunoco's iconic Marcus Hook refinery. The news is not good. It does not appear that the site will wind up being used as a refinery. It's more likely it will wind up as one of seven optinos laid out in a recent study commissioned by County council. Unfortunately, none of those options would equate to the number of people Sunoco emplyed.

All three were quick to point out the number of people who were involved in these negotiations, offering thanks to the region's politicians for keeping the heat on, and to Gov. Corbett, who in each instance came through with state funds to make the deals happen.

We offer our thanks to these three guys. They were out front on what was clearly the biggest issue in Delaware County. So far they have gone 2-for-3 and they're still working on the third.

In baseball they pay you millions of dollars for that kind of record.

They'll settle for solid, middle-class jobs, and saving a way of life in the lower end of Delaware County,

The county owes them a debt of gratitude.

Thanks, guys.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Daily Numbers for July 25

The Daily Numbers: 6 years, $140 million dollars for Cole Hamels in new deal with Phillies expected to be announced today.

3-6 years in prison for Monsignor William Lynn in the Philly priest abuse scandal.

6.5 million dollars the feds say was scammed by a group of people – including a Haverford woman – from charter schools in Philly.

40,547 people in Delaware County that do not have the required ID under the state’s new Voter ID law.

2 people injured yesterday morning in crash in Aston involving a Community Transit bus.

1.21 billion dollars in revenue posted in 2nd quarter by SAP America, with its North America HQ in Newtown Square.

42, age of so-called ‘Black Madam,’ who now faces charges of 3rd-degree murder in fatal butt injection that led to death of a British tourist.

1 company already pulling its ads from broadcast of Penn State football games. This is only the start.

74, age of Sherman Hemsley, the Philadelphia native who starred as George Jefferson on the popular ‘70s TV show, “The Jeffersons.”

75, age of Chadd Everett, star of TV’s “Medical Center.” He also died yesterday.

3 straight days of big declines on Wall Street. Yesterday the Dow dumped another 104 points.

2 teens found fatally shot in a West Philly home last night.

6 runs scored by the Phils to erase a 6-1 lead in a wild, come-from-behind win over the Brewers.

4 home runs allowed over his last 3 innings by Cliff Lee.

9.5 games back in the Wild Card Race, where the Phils still sit.

3 game winning streak for the Phils.

8:30 p.m., start time for MLS All-Star game, being played at PPL Park in Chester.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.No doubt the Phillies will announce a new deal with Cole Hamels to take the focus off Eagles training camp.


I Don’t Get It: I’m still not buying taking away all those wins from Joe Paterno and Penn State. I don’t get it.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Union and MLS reps who took part in a program in Chester yesterday to build a new playground. That’s giving back.


Quote Box: “I did not intend any harm to come to (the boy). The fact is, my best was not good enough to stop that harm. I am a parish priest. I should have stayed (one).”

- Monsignor William Lynn, before he was sentenced to 3-6 years in prison yesterday on a single count of endangering the welfare of a child.

Tonight, 'Live From the Newsroom' tackles how they saved the refineries

It’s been referred to as the “Miracle in Trainer.”

And the “Miracle in South Philly.”

We’re talking about refineries.

In case you missed it, refineries have been in the news here in Delaware County the past year.

This all started last September when Sunoco announced they were getting out of the refining business. They indicated they would put their refineries in Marcus Hook and South Philadelphia on the block. If no buyers came forward, they would be shut down.

Two weeks later Conoco-Phillips said exactly the same thing about their refinery in Trainer.

It was an economic haymaker, a 1-2 punch to the gut that threatened a way of life for a lot of people here in Marcus Hook and the lower end of the county.

But today something almost beyond belief is happening.

Workers are streaming into that very same Trainer refinery. It’s now being run by a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, which bought the facility from Conoco.

In South Philly, a deal brokered between Sunoco and the Carlyle Group will keep that facility open for years to come under a joint operating agreement.

And in Marcus Hook, while no buyer has come forward for the iconic Sunoco refinery, next-door neighbor Braskem America recently announced they were purchasing a portion of the site, which will guarantee the future of their workers, and also open up the possibility of new jobs.

Tonight, our ‘Live From the Newsroom’ live-stream Internet broadcast will revisit the issue of the refineries, just how important they are to the county, and how these deals came about.

And we’ll get it from the men who were at the table hammering out these deals.

We’ll be joined by Jim Savage, head of Local 10-1 of the United Steelworkers, representing workers at the South Philly Sunoco plant. A lot of those workers live here in Delco, as does Savage.

Also joining us will be Denis Stephano, the head of United Steelworkers Local 10-324, representing the no-doubt ebullient workers at what is now a refinery being operated by Delta subsidiary Monroe Energy. That’s the former Conoco site.

We’ll review the whirlwind of the last 10 months, and how they saved a way of life in the lower end of Delaware County and South Philly.

We’ll also get the latest on the efforts to revitalize the Sunoco refinery from Dave Miller, president of United Steelworkers Local 10-901, who represents workers at Marcus Hook. We’ll talk about the future of the iconic plant, which now seems almost certainly to be something outside refining.

I have lots of questions, but I also want you to be part of the conversation. If you have something you’d like me to ask our panel, email me at editor@delcotimes.com.

Log on to DelcoTimes.com tonight at 7 and take part in our live chat. Or just come out to the union hall in Linwood, where we’ll be broadcasting live.

Do you believe in miracles? Yes!

Calling all bloggers; our push for literacy

I edit a newspaper and website for a living, so it goes without saying that reading is pretty important to me.

I think it's an important issue for Delaware County as well.

That's one of the reasons we've teamed with the grassroots organization Brothers of Concern to promote a special reading program in Chester. They call it 'Real Men Really Read.' Maybe you've seen the billboards promoting the program on I-95.

Another key group involved in pushing the value of reading is the Delaware County Literacy Council.

We've worked closely with them in the past and now we're ready to take the next step. We're hoping to hook up the Literacy Council with our Community Media Lab and our group of local bloggers to both promote literacy and team up on efforts here in the county.

That's why we've invited a member of Delaware County Literacy Council to join us Thursday night at the our monthly bloggers meeting. We'll talk about ways we can use our blogs to promote literacy and any events we might be able to team up to promote.

I'm also hoping to have representatives from Brothers of Concern on hand to explain 'Real Men Really Read' and how the bloggers can get involved in that program as well.

Now I'm asking you, have you ever thought about joining our blog team? Now's your chance.

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 to the plate

We want you to be part of our blogging team. And Thursday night is your chance to learn how it works.

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 DelcoTimes.com.

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.

Report says Phils, Hamels 'close' to deal

Phillies fans who have suffered through a mostly miserable season have good news and even better news this morning.

First, the Phils staged another classic late rally last night to come from way back to beat the Brewers.

More importantly, all signs are pointing toward the team coming to terms on an extension with ace lefty Cole Hamels. Ken Rosenthal has a report on Foxsports.com saying the two sides are 'close' to a deal.

Another report has Hamels' agent flying in today.

An announcement today would make sense, since the Phils will face the Brewers in an Businessperson's Special at 1. It's their final home game before the trade deadline.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Throwing dirt on Paterno's grave

This is not going to be a popular opinion today. I feel sorry for Joe Paterno. Penn State avoided the so-called “death penalty” yesterday; Paterno’s legacy did not. The NCAA came down like a ton of bricks on Happy Valley, all but dismantling what was once the Pride of Paterno, and what was widely heralded as a shining light for all of college football.
They are paying a huge price for the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky affair, no one more than Paterno. The poobahs at the NCAA fined the school $60 million, roughly equivalent to one year’s revenue from the football program; they will be banned from bowl games for four years; they are losing 40 scholarships. But that, apparently, was not enough. The NCAA, in a move clearly directed at tarnishing Paterno’s legacy and legendary status as one of the icons of college football, vacated all Penn State victories from 1998 through 2011. Hence, Joe Paterno is no longer the winningest coach in NCAA Division I history. Not even close. In fact he tumbles to 12th. Talk about kicking a man when he is down. Call me soft-hearted, but I think this was overkill. Make no mistake. I was actually in favor of the death penalty. I do not want Penn State to play football this year. For some I reason I am sickened by the thought of 100,000 people packing that stadium and cheering as those familiar blue and white uniforms come charging out of the tunnel. But I think I am sickened even more by the vindictiveness shown by the NCAA in meting out their punishment for Nittany Nation yesterday. “Football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert in bringing the hammer down on Penn State. I think he even said it with a straight face. It’s clear the line of demarcation was chosen as 1998 because, according to the Freeh Report, that is when the initial incident involving Sandusky became known to school officials, including Paterno. If his mission was to prove a point to the rest of college football and the nation that the kind of behavior that allows the Jerry Sanduskys of the world to fester and victimize innocent children, then I say this: Mission Accomplished. Do I think much will change when it comes to big-time college football? No. Will kids be protected? I certainly hope so. Was it necessary to destroy a lifetime of good in the process. I don’t think so. Go ahead, call me a hypocrite. Yes, I was the guy who was hammering Paterno for the way he handled the Sandusky affair. It’s beyond my comprehension that he didn’t know what Sandusky was up to, and I cvlearly don't think he did nearly enough enough to stop it. But that should not invalidate the rest of Paterno's life, much of which was dedicated to crafting young lives and building a rural campus in the boodocks of central Pennsylvania into an educational powerhouse that equals anything they did on the football field. The statue of Joe Paterno has been taken down. It was left to the NCAA to dismantle his legacy. It’s still kind of hard to believe how far – and how quickly – Paterno fell. Of course, it’s easy to dump on someone when they’re not here to defend themselves. Joe Paterno is dead and buried. But that didn’t stop the NCAA from throwing a little more dirt on his grave.

It's been a great 'Ride'

June 18, 1983.

Most of the country will remember that day for the event that sparked the same headline to appear in newspapers all across the country, including this one.

Ride, Sally Ride!

Sally Ride became the first woman astronaut, rocketing into space and taking her spot beside men with names like Glenn, Shepard, Armstrong and Aldrin.

Me? You’ll excuse me if I remember the date for another reason.

I got married that day.

Yeah, you might say I was about to go into orbit as well.

Sally Ride died yesterday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 61. You can read an appreciation of her life here.

A little more than a month ago, my wife and I celebrated 29 years of marriage. Every year we chuckle when we look at the ‘Today in History’ column for June 18. Sally Ride is always at the top of the list.

Her “Ride” is now over. Ours continues.

This morning our daughter is taking the Bar Exam in downtown Philly. She and her mother camped out in a downtown hotel so that she would not have the hassle of getting in and out of the city.

They left me to fend for myself on the home front.

It was a very odd feeling to go home to an empty house last night.

Earlier this week our son left for West Virginia, where he is starting his teaching career.

It gave me time to think about everything that has happened in the last 29 years.

Good luck, Rachel. And to you, Sean.

Thanks for the memories, Sally.

And to my wife? What can I say. It’s been a great “ride."

Phillies not dead yet

The Phillies apparently are not ready to relinquish the sports pages to their neighbors across the street.

It happens every year, but there’s a difference this year to the friendly joust between the Phillies and Eagles to dominate the Back Page.

For the last few years the Phillies have been one of the best teams in baseball.

This year they are looking up at everyone else in the National League East.

But last night they showed they’re not dead yet. They did something they have not done all year.

They staged what at one time was a regular feature at Citizens Bank Park. They electrified another packed house with a ninth-inning comeback, rallying from three runs down to beat the Brewers, 7-6.

And they did it on another night when ace right-hander Roy Halladay was fairly pedestrian.

Jack McCaffery has all the details here.

Football season will have to wait, at least for a few more days.


Monday, July 23, 2012

NCAA knocks JoePa from his pedestal

UPDATE: The NCAA has spoken.

Yesterday they took down the statue of Paterno that sat outside Beaver Stadium.

This morning the NCAA knocked Paterno completely off his pedestal as the winningest coach in NCAA Division 1 history. Among the sanctions the NCAA dropped on the Nittany Lions is stripping the school of all its victories from 1998-2011.

This is from someone who was never really a big fan of either Joe Paterno or Penn State. I don't get it. It's pretty clear this was structured specifically as a way to take a shot at Paterno, and to take his name off from the top of that list with the most victories.

It strikes me as vindictive.

At least that's my initial reaction. If you disagree, by all means post a comment.

The Daily Numbers for June 23

The Daily Numbers: 900 pounds, how much the statue of Joe Paterno outside Beaver Stadium in State College weighed. It was taken down Sunday morning.

409 victories in 46 seasons as head coach at Penn State for Paterno.

30-60 million, how much many people believe the NCAA will fine Penn State in connection with the Sandusky scandal.

9 a.m., when the NCAA will hold their press conference to announce sanctions against Penn State.

83 tons of trash strewn on 26 illegal dumping sites in Delaware County, according to the environmental group Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.

5 people shot at a party in Philadelphia.

1 bear that walked into a mall in western Pa., forcing an evacuation.

12 killed, 56 wounded, the final tally from the rampage at the midnight showing of the new Batman movie in Aurora, Colo.

160 million dollars, how much the movie is expected to make this weekend.

3 straight weeks of rising gas prices, with no relief in sight until after Labor Day. Why am I not surprised.

3.62 a gallon, average price at the pump in Philly region; that’s a 10-cent hike in a week.

3.79 a gallon, what we were paying last year.

1 suspect dead in home invasion at home of off-duty Warminster police officer in Philly.

8 people injured in a multi-vehicle crash in the Hunting Park section of Philly.

4-3 win for the Phillies over the Giants in 12 innings on Sunday.

2 straight extra-inning affairs for the Phils & Giants.

3 runs on 7 hits for Phils starter Joe Blanton, who gave up a game-tying homer in the eighth.

17-5, Blanton’s record after the All-Star break sine 2008.

22 home runs allowed this year by Blanton, 2nd most in the majors.

1 as in Day 1 of practice for the Eagles at training camp at Lehigh this morning.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Summer is over. Eagles training camp starts this morning. Are you ready for some football?


*: It’s not about a statue, it’s about those kids..

I Don’t Get It


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Penn State administration for getting one right. The move to take down the statue of JoePa is the right one, if only to stop the anguish every time it’s shown.


Quote Box: “He’s done so much for this university. It’s sad.”

- Cloressa Turner, on seeing that statue of Joe Paterno had been removed from its spot outside Beaver Stadium yesterday.


The other shoe drops at Penn State

The other shoe falls at Penn State this morning.

Yesterday it was the statue of legendary coach Joe Paterno.

This morning the NCAA will announce sanctions against the football program for the school’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky child-sex scandal.

Most reports indicate the school will be slapped with a huge fine, in the millions of dollars, and also likely be hit with a ban on bowl game appearances, and maybe the loss of some scholarships.

But they apparently will play football at Happy Valley this fall.

The NCAA will make their announcement at 9 a.m.

I understand the argument that this coaching staff and these players should not be punished for the misdeeds of others.

I agree with that.

But I just can’t reconcile myself with seeing that team wearing those familiar blue and white uniforms come running out of the tunnel to the cheers of 100,000 fans.

I don’t think Penn State should play football this fall. They certainly will play football again, but not this year.

I know that seems harsh.

But it’s nothing compared to the pain inflicted on all those kids and the blind eye the school, its top administrators and Paterno turned to them.

It’s just a horrible situation.

Now a lot more innocent people will be affected by the Sandusky affair.

It’s probably not going to end there.


The fallout surrounding the Paterno statue

Sometimes timing is everything.

Last week when I was writing my weekly print column, I decided to focus on the fallout at Penn State in the wake of the scathing report by former FBI director Louis Freeh.

A lot of talk in the days since the report – and its damning picture of the Penn State administration including the late legendary Coach Joe Paterno - was made public focused on the statue of Paterno that sits outside Beaver Stadium.

I don’t really care the statue.

As it turns out, the school ordered it taken down early Sunday morning.

Here’s my print column on the whole situation.


A fast, hectic summer

Where the hell did summer go? A glance at the calendar shows it is July 23. July 23? Wasn’t last week Memorial Day? And wasn’t yesterday July 4. Why is the Sunday paper full of circulars hawking ‘Back to School’ sales?

I love summer. I love the heat. I love the humidity.

You would think given my affecttion for this kind of soupy weather, this summer would have been the best in memory. Not so.

There’s been too much going on. It started with two commencements in May and has not stopped since.

We’ve moved our son to West Virginia, where he will begin teaching high school English in the fall.

It seems like my daughter has been locked down in the basement all summer, prepping for the Bar Exam. She will finally take in Tuesday and Wednesday in Philly. The we will try to get her set up in D.C. where she will start her career in law.

Along the way, my father-in-law, who had been in failing health for months, passed away.

Vacation has been pretty much a rumor.

There’s a part of me that would like nothing more than to just go sit on the beach for the month of August, then get back on the merry-go-round that we call life after Labor Day. That’s not going to happen.

Eagles training camp starts today.

Yeah, that cements it. Summer is almost over.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Memories of Aurora, Colo.

It's been a long time since I've been in Colorado. I still hold some very special memories of the place. The names of the towns stay with you. I lived in Littleton for a year.

Yes, that Littleton. The home of Columbine High School. Of course when I was there in the mid-'70s Columbine was not even built yet.

It's the names of the towns that stick with you. Cherry Hills. Englewood. I went to school in Boulder. Longmont. Arvada. Broomfield.

And Aurora. It's a typical suburban town, lying safely outside a major city. Or so it always seems. It's just a few miles away from Littleton.

Aurora is in the news this morning. There has been a mass shooting. Yes, another mass shooting in Colorado.

Aurora sits just east of Denver, the first community as you head toward the plains. It's kind of like what Upper Darby would be to Philadelphia, only in the other direction. It's where the airport used to be, before they built a new one farther to the east on the plains.

Last night, during a midnight showing of the new Batman move, 'The Dark Knight Rises,' a gunman apparently opened fire.

At this point the death count is at 14, with another 50 wounded.

And once again I am reminded of how beautiful Colorado was in the mid-'70s. And wonder why such ugly things keep happening there.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Daily Numbers for July 19

The Daily Numbers: 2 men in custody in connection with a violent carjacking and car chase that started in Collingdale and ended in a crash in Chester.

1 woman facing charges after a wild chase yesterday morning through several towns, that ended with her driving at a high rate of speed down South Avenue before colliding with a box truck at the intersection of MacDade Boulevard.

15, age of Chester teen shot in leg last night.

5 shots that hit a Darby Township resident after an altercation erupted in gunfire Tuesday night.

2 people, a son and his mother, who are fighting evidence against them in the murder of the father. Parth Ingle and Bhavnaben Ingle face trial on murder charges.

2 BB gun shootings that are under investigation in Upper Providence.

6 break-ins under investigation in the Penn Pines section of Upper Darby.

100 degrees, record high for the date yesterday, shattering the old mark of 99 degrees set in 1953.

2 people under arrest in slaying of limo driver in Philly.

10,000 dollar reward posted for info in the attempted abduction of a girl, 10, in Philly.

4 year extension between the Phillies and their Triple A affiliate at Lehigh Valley.

1-0 loss for the Union in a friendly last night vs. Aston Villa at PPL Park.

100 million dollar, 14 year offer sheet made by Flyers for Predators All-Star defenseman Shea Weber. The Predators now have a week to match it.

19 goals and 30 assists for Weber last year.

5-3 loss for Phils in L.A. yesterday, snapping 4-game winning streak.

3-1 lead that closer Jonathan Papelbon could not hold in the 10th inning.

2 hits, all Phils starter Cliff Lee gave up over 8 innings. He once again got no decision.

9 no decision for Lee this year.

3 days until Eagles report to Lehigh for training camp.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.The Phillies really needed to win that game. And they had their $50 million closer in place to slam the door. Didn’t work out that way.



I Don’t Get It: What is this, Demolition Derby, Delco-style. Lots of car chases out there.

*: Kudos to those who quickly put up $10,000 for the reward for info on the man suspected of trying to abduct a 10-year-old girl in Philly. The whole episode was captured on video.

Today’s Upper


Quote Box: “Here’s a young guy, trying to make a living in these tough times, working as a pizza delivery guy.”

- Collingdale Police Chief Bob Adams, on victim of violent carjacking.

Demolition Derby, Delco-style

If you didn’t know better, you’d think they were holding auditions for Demolition Derby in Delco yesterday.

Come to think of it, that might not be a bad reality TV show.

This all started late Tuesday night in Collingdale, where police say a guy delivering sandwiches was carjacked. You can read the whole yarn here.

They took off in the delivery guy’s car, and a chase ensued that went into Philly and eventually down I-95 into Chester, where the suspects ran the car down an embankment.

Just a few hours later, another wild chase ensued, this going through several towns with police in pursuit of a woman in a Subaru who was driving at a high rate of speed. Read about that one here.

She wound up on South Avenue and eventually slammed into a box truck in a fiery crash at the intersection of MacDade Boulevard.

It must be the heat.

Or maybe it’s the humidity.


Any questions for the D.A.?

I know fans of “Live From the Newsroom” are terribly disappointed that their favorite live-stream Internet broadcast was missing in action last night. It was a victim of vacation season.

But that doesn’t mean we’re through dabbling in lots of new media.

In case you missed it, we now also have a new monthly radio show. It’s called “Eye on Delco, with the Daily Times.” It airs Sunday morning once a month on WPWA 1590-AM.

We’ll be taping it this afternoon. It will air on Sunday morning. But as usual I want to get the audience involved.

Today I’ll be sitting down with District Attorney Jack Whelan, Joe Ryan, head of county detectives, and George Dawson, head of the county’s Anti-Violence Task Force.

We’ll obviously be talking a lot about community policing, in Chester and other county locations, as well as the role of the Anti-Violence Task Force in those efforts.

Do you have a question you’d like to see answered by the panel? Email it to me at editor@delcotimes.com, then tune in Sunday morning from 7-8 a.m. for the radio show.

We’re offering you more and more vehicles to join the conversation. Don’t be bashful. Get engaged. Give me your questions.

By the way, ‘Live From the Newsroom’ will be back in its normal spot Wednesday night as we visit with local United Steelworkers Union leaders fresh off their success in breathing new life into the South Philly Sunoco refinery, as well as the move to bring a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines in to run the former Conoco Phillips refinery in Trainer.

See you on the radio! And the Internet!

Today's Penn State Facebook question

We’re getting a great response to our Facebook questions on the Penn State saga. Yesterday more than 40 people commented on our question about whether Penn State should play football this year. We ran a sampling of them on our print op-ed page today.

Today we’ll focus on the famous statue of Joe Paterno. Should it stay or be taken down?

Join the conversation. CLICK HERE to post your comment.

Thumb's up for Flyers, down for Phils

Two sports headlines are attracting attention this morning.

You want the good news first?

How ‘bout dem Flyers?

They’ve done it again. This time they have signed All-Star defenseman Shea Weber of the Predators to a $100 milllion offer sheet. The Predators now have a week to decide if they want to match the offer. That’s not likely, because the Flyers have front-loaded it with a ton of signing bonuses that would strain the small-market Preds’ wallets.

Weber would immediately step into the role of Chris Pronger on the Flyers’ blue line.

You can read the full, breaking story here.

Now the bad news.

The Phillies.

Yes, they were on a roll, winning four straight and looking like they had the fifth in their sights, right up until Jonathan Papelbon entered yesterday’s game against the Dodgers in the 10th inning.

This is why they showered him with a $50 million contract. This was a big moment, a chance to cement the team’s recent roll and head back home with momentum, not to mention a five-game road winning streak.

It didn’t happen. That’s because Papelbon coughed up a 3-1 lead. He gave up a leadoff double, then a couple of dink hits. Doesn’t matter, the Dodgers tied the game 3-3, then won it in the 11th on a walkoff homer by Matt Kemp off Jake Diekman.

Don’t blame the kid.

This was Papelbon’s game. Even Charlie Manuel played the script perfectly, matching up his pitchers in a wild ninth inning.

But Papelbon couldn’t slam the door.

And the Phils had all night – and a cross-country flight – to stew. They have three with the Giants starting Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.

But instead of being halfway up the hill, that boulder they’re pushing rolled all the way back down to the bottom. That’s what it feels like when you’re 14 games back, 11 games under .500.

And they can thank Papelbon for that.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Daily Numbers for July 18

The Daily Numbers: 1 person shot late last night in Darby Township.

2 suspects being sought in a carjacking that started in Collingdale late last night and ended in a crash in Chester.

1 person struck by a hit-run driver in Chester last night.

2 cars involved in fiery crash that ended a high-speed police chase through several towns this morning that ended at intersection of MacDade and South in Glenolden. Must be the heat.

7,000 dollars taken in a case in which a restaurant manager was followed from her store and then held up after a car bumped hers from behind.

1 shooting, 1 stabbing in Darby and Colwyn area that has Darby top cop Bob Smythe concerned.

4 people charged for an attack on a group of girls in Upper Darby, stealing their cell phones, a handbag and the sneaker off one girls’ feet.

1:39 a.m., when the incident took place on the 7100 block of Marshall Road.

12,000 donation and probation, what former Montco pol Jim Matthews is getting for some political shenanigans there.

31 percent increase in revenue from table games in 2012 in Pa.

663.9 million dollar raked in from the last fiscal year.

5,845,083 taken in on table games at Harrah’s, but that’s down from last year.

16 million dollar donation being made by Phillies owners to education programs in Philly.

1945, when the Muzikar family opened Rudy’s Tavern in Upper Darby. They’re selling the tavern, which will continue to operate.

35 Olympians from Pennsylvania that will be headed to London, including several from Delco.

2 people faced prostitution charges from a case on the Main Line in Devon.

1 Philly police officer injured when he was dragged by a hit-run driver who ran over his foot.

105, where our heat index will be hovering today, before storms break up the heat wave tonight.

5 innings out of Roy Halladay, who returned to the mound last night for first time since May 27.

4 straight wins for the Phillies.

4 days until Eagles report to Lehigh for training camp.


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

Don’t count the Phils out yet. That’s four in a row.

*: Must be the heat. The county seemed to be coming apart at the seams overnight.

I Don’t Get It


Today’s Upper: When I find it I’ll let you know.


Quote Box: “There’s no doubt in my mind that this was a setup.”

- Ridley Police Lt. Scott Willoughby, on heist in which woman was followed from her job at a restaurant and held up after her car was bumped from behind.


All in a day's work - before 8 a.m.

So you think you want to be a reporter or newspaper editor in this world of 24-hour, non-stop news we are swimming in?

Here’s what we’ve been tracking since I got in the office at 5 a.m.

There was a hit-run late last night in Chester.

There was a carjacking that started in Collingdale that sparked a chase that ended in Chester.

There was a shooting with one person wounded in Darby Township.

This morning there was another police chase, this time down South Avenue that ended in a fiery collision in Glenolden.

And it’s not 8 a.m. yet.

Just another day in beautiful downtown Primos.

Take part in our Penn State poll

Don’t expect the furor over what Joe Paterno knew and when to die down anytime soon.

Today’s question is simple. And we want you to join the conversation.

Ready? Here goes: Should Penn State play football this year?

Go to our Facebook page and tell us why or why not.

Click here.


The truth sets Michael Vick 'Free'

Forget the Freeh Report.

Brace yourself, Eagles fans, for the “Free” report.

Michael Vick has written an autobiography. It’s called “Michael Vick: Finally Free.”

His timing could have been better.

Most people seem to have come to grips with Vick’s sordid past and stint in a federal prison for running a vicious dog-fighting operation.

For some reason the man on whose shoulders the Eagles success will undoubtedly rest has decided to dredge up the whole issue with this tome.

Yesterday he was making the rounds of media outlets, including the “Today” show (which somehow managed to show a video clip of Vince Young instead of Vick), and last night on CNN’s Piers Morgan Show.

Vick gets credit for being candid. He talks openly in the book about his involvement with the dog ring.

“I may have become more dedicated to the deep study of dogs than I was to my Falcons’ playbook,” Vick wrote.

You can read Bob Grotz’s piece on the book, which will not hit shelves until September, here.

Last night on CNN Vick upped the ante, talking candidly about the enjoyment he took from the dogfighting operation.

Not exactly what the Eagles needed as they head to camp.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Daily Numbers for June 17

The Daily Numbers: 1,978,480 dollars raised by incumbent U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan.

315,603 raised by his opponent, Democrat George Badey III

642 individual donations to the Meehan campaign.

78 doing likewise for Badey.

965,371 dollars raised by Meehan from PACs.

41,250 dollars from the same for Badey.

100 counts of child porn to which a Marple man entered an open guilty plea to in county court.

23 dollars worth of diapers, what police say a woman shoplifted from the Pathmark on 69th Street. When she was detained by security, she allegedly wiggled out of her top and fled.

2,184 miles of the Appalachian Trail being traversed by a Garnet Valley grad.

150 dollars round trip, what Spirit Airlines is planning to charge for flights to Dallas-Fort Worth when it starts in April.

18-27 miles a day, what Steven Baruti is averaging.

22, age of paratrooper from Kinnelon, N.J., killed in action in Afghanistan 12, age of girl who claims she was sexually assaulted by 4 teen boys in a Philly rec center last night. Police are investigating.

3 suspects being sought in the fatal shooting of a limo driver last night.

10 million in heroin and other drugs seized in a raid by police in Bensalem.

99 degrees, are expected high temperature today. It will actually feel like it is 105.

1 home run for Ryan Howard, who went yard last night against the Dodgers.

3 straight wins for the Phils.

2 runs on 6 hits surrendered by Joe Blanton, who got the win.

4-5 record for Roy Halladay, who returns to mound tonight for first time since May 27.

5 days until Eagles open training camp at Lehigh.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Howard homers, Phils win, Halladay back tonight. It ain’t over, folks. Now about that Hamels contract….



I Don’t Get It: The Paterno Family. Let me know when you find the truth.


Today’s Upper: Kudos to Cindy Bevilacqua. The Penncrest grad has been picked to head the U.S. Archery squad at the London Olympics.


Quote Box: “It’s a measure of how much Pat has touched people.”

- Delco GOP boss Andy Reilly, on the nearly $2 million raised by incumbent Republican 7th District Congressman Pat Meehan.


Badey 'buck'-ing long odds in 7th District race

Anyone know who George Badey is?

He’s the Democrat running against incumbent U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan for the 7th District seat in Congress.

Badey, a Radnor lawyer, has raised more than $315,000 in his uphill campaign.

It just got a lot steeper.

The latest campaign finance report numbers indicate Meehan has raised almost $2 million.

You can read the full story here.

Badey has received contributions from 78 individuals; Meehan has gotten money from 642.

I wish Badey luck; he’s going to need it.


The Paterno family fights back

The truth – at least as Louis Freeh sees it – did not set the Paterno family “Freeh.”

They’re not buying the scathing report on the way that officials at Penn State, including the legendary late head coach of the Nittany Lions, handled the Jerry Sandusky affair.

Freeh’s report paints a fairly sinister picture of the saintly JoePa, strongly suggesting he participated in a cover-up of Sandusky’s action, in effect allowing his one-time defensive coordinator to prey on other kids.

The report also had scathing remarks for Paterno and other Penn State brass, castigating them for never at any point showing any concern for the young victims of Sandusky.

Yesterday the Paterno family fired back.

They disputed the conclusions reached by Freeh that Paterno took part in any kind of cover-up. And they vowed to do their own investigation of the matter.

You can read their entire statement here.

“Our interest has been and remains the uncovering of the truth,” they said.

They’re looking for a way to get their father off the hook for his actions – or inactions – in the Sandusky case.

I don’t think they’re going to find it.


When did $120M become 'low-balling'

Ryan Howard hit his first homer of the year. Joe Blanton pitched another strong game, giving up just two runs on six hits as the Phils won their third in a row. Roy Halladay returns to the mound tonight for the first time since going on the DL in May 27.

Things are looking up for the Phils, right?

Well, maybe not quite “up” enough.

That’s because a couple of reports indicate Phillies G.M. Ruben Amaro Jr. is ready to offer soon-to-be free agent pitcher Cole Hamels a contract worth $120 million.

That’s not going to get it done. Most people think Hamels likely will get at least $150 million.

And when did you ever think that offering a player $120 million would qualify as getting “low-balled.”

Welcome to big-time pro sports.

Amaro is walking a high-wire in this case. With Halladay returning tonight and the Phils starting to play better, no doubt there will be those who believe they can still scratch their way back into playoff contention.

I have my doubts.

But I still think they should sign Hamels.

The trade deadline is July 29. This one will take plenty of twists and turns before then.


Monday, July 16, 2012

The Daily Numbers - July 16

The Daily Numbers: 11-month-old baby’s death under investigation in Collingdale.

1 firefighter hurt in fire at home in Lansdowne on Sunday.

1 Philly police officer riding a bicycle who was run down and killed.

30 people chased from homes and 3 firefighters injured in blaze at Bucks County apartment complex.

1 more archdiocese priest who has been found unsuitable for ministry in findings by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput.

100 million dollars, how much liability Penn State may have in wake of Sandusky cover-up.

1 woman found dead in a car that was submerged in the Schuylkill River on Sunday.

50 percent of new Pa. teacher evaluations that will come from classroom observation.

95, age of Oscar-winning actress Celeste Holm, who died on Sunday.

3.52 a gallon, average price at pump in Philly region.

7 cent increase from the week before.

3.74, what we were paying this time last year.

8 strong innings for Cole Hamels in Phillies’ 5-1 win over the Rockies in Denver yesterday.

11 wins against just 4 losses now for Hamels.

6 hits and 7 strikeouts for Hamels.

17 home runs for Hunter Pence.

6 days until Eagles open training camp at Lehigh.


Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Cole Hamels made himself a ton of money with that gem yesterday. I just hope it comes from the Phillies.



I Don’t Get It: Who cares about the Joe Paterno statue. What about the kids?


Today’s Upper: Kudos to the memory of a Marine from Marcus Hook. His pals want people to know what kind of person John Stockman was. Well done.


Quote Box: “He was very professional in his nature. We felt confident with him when we went on patrol because he had a lot of experience. He was a natural leader, too.”

- Fellow soldier talking about John Stockman, a Marine from Marcus Hook killed in Vietnam.

Now what at Penn State?

Now what?

That’s the question that continues to hang in the air over the smoldering embers of the Penn State football program in the wake of the withering report from former FBI boss Louis Freeh.

The blistering package laid bare what a lot of people had suspected, that key university officials actively tried to keep the Jerry Sandusky scandal under wraps. Those officials include former President Graham Spanier, and legendary head football coach Joe Paterno.

I don’t particularly care about what happens to the statue of JoePa that sits outside Beaver Stadium. Or whether or not a mural in town of the winningest coach in college football history has a halo over his head.

I do care about what happens to the football program. That’s because I think the “football culture,” specifically at Penn State where that program reigns supreme, is at the root of this scandal.

Some powerful people decided that the program – and protecting it from any tarnish – was more important than protecting children from a sick pedophile monster.

That’s why I just can’t imagine a football team in those familiar blue and white uniforms running out onto the Beaver Stadium field this September.

I would think the university would do the right thing and shut the program down for a year. If they don’t, the NCAA should do it for them.

I’m not really sure it will happen. Football is that big a deal at Penn State.

And the reason this story wound up as big as it is. A tremendous amount of damage has been done to a very good public institution.

Allowing a Penn State team to take the field this year will only compound it.

Pols take issue with Daily Times coverage

State Rep. Bill Adolph and Sen. Dominic Pileggi are not happy with me – or the newspaper.

They were upset with the front page of last week’s Sunday Times and the story inside that described the possibility that the new state budget could wind up costing taxpayers more for our elected representatives' benefits plan, as well as a cost-of-living increase in their salaries.

They believe the story was sensationalized and tilted to give readers the impression that they voted to increase pay and benefits. I disagree.

Adolph, R-165, of Springfield, heads the House Appropriations Committee. No one knows more about the budget than he does. Pileggi, R-9, of Chester, is the majority leader in the Senate.

They asked to come in and talk about the story and that front page last week. I was more than happy to talk to them. Adolph laid out his case. He’s right in that there was no specific vote by legislators to increase pay or benefits. They were simply part of the huge budget package. Furthermore, most of the numbers admittedly were based on estimates. Once the real numbers start coming in when we hit November, there may or may not be increases. There was no vote on a pay hike, it’s just a standard cost of living increase. As you might expect, legislators are a bit sensitive to pay hike stories after the fiasco of the middle-of-the-night pay raise saga seven years ago.

The two powerful legislators also made a point of reviewing all the important aspects accomplished in this budget, none of which made their way onto our front page.

I guess they missed our coverage of the Upper Darby education funding issue, and the work of local reps to find additional funding.

We also did an extensive story on the increases in the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program, listing how much local schools might see under the program. Was it on Page 1? No.

I asked them if they wanted to write an op-ed piece on the story and the state budget. They did. You can read it here. It ran on Sunday, the same day the story did. I also pushed it our on our Twitter and Facebook accounts.

In it they refer to the front page as “the most glaring example of sensationalism to stain the pages of this well-respected newspaper in a long time.”

Again, I disagree. About the sensationalism, not the part about the well-respected newspaper.

The story clearly indicates that no specific vote took place. They argue the perception – as they are hearing it in phone calls from constituents – is that they did.

I can tell you this. If in fact those numbers come in this fall and there is no increases, we will do another story.

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t get phone calls from people criticizing something we’ve done or written. It goes with the territory.

The key thing I want to stress is that I am always willing to listen, whether it’s an elected official or a local citizen and reader. And I will always offer a person the opportunity to respond – in print and online.

Don’t believe me? Ask Bill Adolph or Dominic Pileggi.

Nothing convenient about Pa. alcohol sales

Wendell Young IV obviously did not convince me. The head of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1776, who represents state store workers, was a guest on our ‘Live From the Newsroom’ show last week.

He made a passionate defense of keeping the system as is.

I happened to be in West Virginia a couple of weeks ago. Almost heaven? Well it is if you’re looking to buy beer. It’s one of the reasons they’re called “convenience” stores. And why no one will ever refer to the way Pennsylvania deals with beer and alcohol sales as anything even remotely “convenient.”

I explain in my print column.

All eyes on Hamels

Cole Hamels likely made himself a ton of money on Sunday.

The big question now is who will be picking up the check.

With scouts from several teams in attendance, Hamels was dazzling as the Phillies beat the Rockies, 5-1, in the Mile High City. The same description could be used for Hamels’ value. Mile High, that is.

Hamels’ performance also puts the Phillies in a tough spot. The trade deadline is two weeks away. Hamels will be a free agent after this season.

Phillies G.M. Ruben Amaro Jr. does not have a lot of wiggle room here. He must either sign Hamels to a megadeal, or trade him for a boatload of prospects.

It is believed the team is in the process of putting together a substantial offer to the ace left-hander.

Jack McCaffery offers his take on the Hamels talks here.

Here’s mine: The Phillies should sign him. Name me the other home-grown pitchers drafted and developed by this team that have gone on to become legitimate Cy Young contenders/ Yeah, thought so.

Hamels put the Phillies on his back and delivered a World Series championship a few years back. It’s easy to forget that rotation did not include Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.

Allowing Hamels to walk, or even trading him with the hope of then resigning him in the off-season, would be a PR disaster for a team that is looking for a lifeline.

Having said that, there’s no way the Phillies are simply going to allow Hamels to walk away.

I expect the team to resign him, then make a last-ditch effort to claw their way back into the NL East race and that second Wild Card spot.

And even if they don’t a rotation that includes Hamels, Halladay and Lee makes them one of the favorites again next year.


Friday, July 13, 2012

A crushing defeat for Paterno, Penn State

He knew.

They all knew.

They knew they had a monster in their midst. And they looked the other way.

They placed a football program and and institution above little kids. And their actions - or better said inactions - led to even more little kids being abused.

Those are the inescapable conclusions of the Freeh Report into the Jerry Sandusky matter and how Penn State University officials, including the late legendary coach Joe Paterno, handled the matter.

The way they handled it was not to go to the authorities, to handle it in-house, to do the "humane" thing for Sandusky, who we now know is a serial pedophile.

And his victims? The kids? They apparently were not as important in the pecking order at Happy Valley.

The Freeh Report makes it clear that Paterno, athletic director Tim Curley, and school President Graham Spanier never made any effort to learn the identity of Sandusky's victims. It concludes Paterno and Spanier concealed information of Sandusky's activities from authorities and the public to avoid bad publicity.

They usually refer to that as a cover-up.

And the report also makes it clear that more kids likely fell into Sandusky's clutches because of their inactions.

They usually call that "empowering."

From the very first days of this ugly scandal, the questions have always been - as they almost always are in these cases - who knew what and when.

Now we know.

To me it doesn't make much difference. I'll say the same thing now that I did then. Joe Paterno had some inkling that there was a problem with Jerry Sandusky. And he passed the buck.

This was not just some win-crazed, second-rate coach at another college football factory. This was Joe Paterno. JoePa. The saintly patron of Happy Valley.

I said it then and I will repeat it now. I believe very little happened at Penn State or even State College that Paterno was not aware of.

Now we know he was aware as early as 1998 of a troubling report involving Sandusky and a child. No charges were brought against Sandusky in that case. About a year later, Sandusky retired. In his mid-50s. And he never gets another coaching job. He gets a sweetheart retirement deal and continues access to the campus. A few years later more reports surface, including the now-infamous incident in a shower witnessed by assistant coach Mike McQueary. When McQueary (who did himself no honor by not going in there and getting that child out of harm's way and maybe punching Sandusky's lights out) goes home and tells his father and a family friend. The next day he tells Paterno. Paterno alerts the AD Curley. And nothing else hapens. Ironically, that was one of the few charges on which Sandusky was acquitted. He was convicted on 45 of 48 counts.

That is now Paterno's legacy. He did nothing, or at the minimum not enough.

This is what happens when an institution becomes more important than people. Especially when those people are innocent, defenseless kids.

See Archdiocese. Philadelphia.

The cases are eerily similar. Archdiocese officials decided to protect the church, not the kids. At Happy Valey, they put their priorities on the university and a powerhouse football team instead of children being victimized by a monster.

I've been in State College exactly once in my life. It struck me how isolated the place is. I guess that's why they call it Happy Valley. They take an immense amount of pride - and rightly so - in the school, and their football team.

Paterno, who spent his lifetime building both the school and his football team, did a lot of good things. He gave millions that were poured into the school and campus, making it a powerhouse off the field as well as on.

None of that should be taken away. But it is now stained by what he did not do in the wake of the allegations against Sandusky.

He was Joe Paterno, the archbishop, the cardinal of Happy Valley.

We all just expected so much more.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

All eyes on Penn State

I don't claim to "know" what happened at Penn State during the time allegations started to surface about former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

But, like just about everyone else, I have my theories.

In a couple of hours, the investigative report put together by former FBI boss Louis Freeh into how the university handled the Sandusky scandal - including who knew what and when - will be released.

This week we already have heard from the family of  late, legendary football coach Joe Paterno, defending his legacy and denying he was part of any coverup connected to Sandusky.

What do I take from that? They are getting out in front of the story, that they likely have been informed that the report is critical of both JoePa and other Penn State administrators.

I keep going back to my initial reaction to this story, and Paterno's role at Penn State. I don't believe a lot happened on that campus - or even in that town - that JoePa was not aware of.

I don't want to see his legacy besmirched. He was a good man who is largely responsible for Penn State being what it is today, one of the premier public universities in the country.

But, like most of us, he was not perfect.

Just how imperfect I think we are about to find out.

The great privatization debate

I got a chance to indulge my pet peeve last night.

I got to talk about one of my favorite topics. I have always indicated that I want to be there with my hands on the plunger when this state finally exits the dark ages and decides to blow up its state store system for handling sales of alcohol.

Unfortunately, I don't think it's going to happen anytime soon. Last night I met one of the big reasons why.

Wendell Young IV is the head of Local 1776 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. He represents all the people who work in those state stores.

Young is very good at his job.

Young and Katrina Currie, from the Commonwealth Foundation, joined us for our live-stream Internet show, 'Live From the Newsroom.'

If you missed it, you can catch the replay here.

Including myself and columnist Gil Spencer, it was 3-1 in favor of the privatization camp. Young was more than up for the challenge.

The man is a non-stop walking, talking tour de force against privatization. I think I know how legislators feel now in dealing with the effervescent Young. It's hard to get a word in edgewise. I had to break in several times to offer Currie a chance to counter Young's persuasive case.

Young can counter every argument for privatization, from revenue to protecting jobs, to keeping alcohol out of the hands of underage drinkers.

But there's one argument I believe he's still vulnerable to - and it's the one I happen to adhere to. Look, I realize that revenue and jobs are a crucial component to the argument for getting Pennsylvania out of the booze business.

But it's not the one that tops my list. And I think a lot of people agree with me. I hate the system. I hate that it forces me to go to three different places to make similar purchases, depending on whether I'm looking to buy a six-pack of beer, a case, or a bottle of wine or spirits.

It's all about convenience. What I would love is to walk into my local supermarket and find everything I want in a couple of brightly lit aisles. I want to be able to tuck those items in my cart, then do the rest of the grocery shopping.

What I don't want to do is stop at a deli or tavern if I'm looking to grab a six-pack, the local beer distributor for a case, and the friendly state store for a bottle of wine. That's what we do now. Our idea of 'modernization' is being able to buy two six-packs in Wegmans, but not as a separate purchase from your groceries, which means going through a separate checkout line. Real convenient.

A cold six-pack in your local convenience store? Silly, that would actually be "convenient," which has nothing in common with the system in place in Pennsylvania.

The issue, brought to the fore by state Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, and supposedly with the backing of Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, got shoved onto the back burner when Harrisburg was debating the state budget. It's supposed to get another look in the fall.

The key just may be exactly how much the public cares about this issue and demands change. The belief is that they care, but not all that much.

And with Young leading the opposition, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for privatization to happen anytime soon.

Phillies last stand

How bad was the Phillies first half?

Hey, how 'bout that Union!

Uh, they lost last night in the U.S. Open Cup, 2-0 to Sporting Kansas City at PPL Park.

Back to the Phils. Can they right their sinking ship. Will the return of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard solidify their lineup? Can Roy Halladay, who will be making a rehab start today in Clearwater and is expected to rejoin the team on the West Coast next week, ease their pitching woes?

Last time I looked, Utley and Howard were not exactly setting the world on fire. And Halladay does not come out of the bullpen.

The guess here is that this troika will not be enough to salvage this sorry season. The team has some big issues.

Yes, even bigger than the big three of Utley, Howard and Halladay.