Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Daily Numbers (Sandy Edition) for Oct. 31

The Daily Numbers (Sandy Edition): 50,000 Delco residents without power on Tuesday afternoon.

1.2 million customers without power in Pa.

2.5 million without power in New Jersey.

412,000 without power as of this morning, according to PECO.

20 billion dollars, estimated damages caused on East Coast by Hurricane Sandy.

20 percent chance of rain this afternoon.

3,200 people in 112 Red Cross shelters in 9 states.

21 people who sought shelter at Ridley Middle School.

68 mph wind gusts in Delaware County at the height of the storm.

0 deaths or major injuries during the storm in Delco.

7 people killed in Hurricane Sandy across Pennsylvania.

66, age of woman who died of carbon monoxide poisoning from fumes from a generator running in garage of her home.

8, age of boy in Susquehanna County killed when tree limb fell on him.

2 day extension for delivery of absentee ballots to most county courthouses, including here in Delco.

80 percent of SEPTA bus routes resumed on Tuesday.

60 percent of suburban bus service back up and running.

340 trees brought down in Philadelphia.

75 foot tree toppled in back yard of house on Briarhill Road in Springfield.

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Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Boo or cheer for the return of Andre Iguodala as a Nugget tonight?

 

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I Don’t Get It: The people who drive around the cones noting that a street is closed. Uh, they are there for a reason.

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Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those out working in the elements to restore power in the wake of Sandy.

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Quote Box: “I think people cooperated really well. No one was on the streets. It was like a ghost town.”

- Darby Police Chief Bob Smythe, on cooperatin from public during Hurricane Sandy.

 

The Sixers are back, a centerspread full-color schedule, and the return of Iguodala

Enough about the storm. It’s almost enough to make you forget about sports. And the way the Eagles are playing, that might be just as well. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team fall apart so quickly. They’re in freefall and I don’t expect things to change much in New Orleans Monday night. Look for Nick Foles at QB, maybe sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, how ‘bout those Sixers!!!

The NBA season kicked off last night, and the Sixers will open tonight at the Wells Fargo Center.

And to get you in the mood, we have a very special offer in the print edition today. Make sure you pick up a copy to get our special full-color centerspread with the complete 2012-13 season schedule. It features Andrew Bynum, who of course will not be in the lineup tonight as he continues to nurse a sore knee.

But it is someone who will be out on the court that is generating most of the talk. The Sixers are facing the Denver Nuggets, and it will be an opportnity for fans to welcome back Andre Iguodala for the first time since the deal that sent him packing.

Fans here never really warmed up to Iguodala, a very good defensive player who probably was miscast as a superstar who could carry a team on his back. For some reason, Iguodala never assumed that mantle.

He never really endeared himself to the fans either, in part because of his penchant for bricking last-second shots. It got to the point where fans did not want the ball in Iguodala’s hands at the end of a game.

So how would you greet Iggy on a Halloween opener? A trick or a treat? Some cheers, or a ghoulish boooooooo?

Typical of his stay here, when asked about his thoughts about the Philly fans and what might happen tonight, Iguodala matter of factly blew the whole thing off with a cavalier, “I don’t care about the fans.”

We know, Andre. We know. We got that impression a long time ago.

Train whistle means life returning to normal

I just heard a sure sign that things are returning to normal in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

A train whistle.

Yes, SEPTA’s regional rail lines are rumbling to life once again. Our plant in Primos is located directly next to the Media-Elwyn line and the trains are up and running this morning. Transit officials, however, are cautioning that riders should expect delays as the system returns to service.

SEPTA started service on most of its subway, bus and trolley lines yesterday at noon. The Market-Frankford El, which ferries tons of suburban commuters into the city from 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, also is back up and running.

And, sorry kids, most Delaware County schools are open for business again today after being closed for two days.

Happy Halloween.

One thing we have not been able to get a feel for is whether or not Delco towns are making any changes in their Trick-or-Treat plans. Post a comment on this blog or email me at editor@delcotimes.com.

When it comes to Sandy, we got lucky

We got lucky.

We lost a couple of trees. At least one car, evidenced on our front page, got crushed by a tree.

There were some power outages.

But the truth is, in general, we got lucky when it comes to Hurricane Sandy, the so-called monster or “Franken-storm.”

It’s hard to imagine the kind of devastation heaped on the Jersey shore.

In short, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the shore has been altered forever.

Gov. Chris Christie, a man of no small bombast, seemed particularly taken aback by what happened along the shore. In a word, he called it 'unthinkable.' You can read that full story here.

We also have full photo coverage of the damage in our Media Center. Click here for most striking images in the wake of Sandy.

Even though there is serious damage, the destruction at the Delaware beaches does not seem to rival the situation at the Jersey shore.

A lot of people in Delaware County spend their summers at the Jersey shore. We’d like to hear from you so we can tell your stories. Email me at editor@delcotimes.

While life starts to return to normal here in Delaware County, the same can’t be said for the Jersey shore. The towns are dark. Sand and water are everywhere. Boardwalks and amusement piers have been destroyed.

Most importantly, lives were lost.

If you have property at the Jersey shore, help us tell your story.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We survived Sandy, now for the aftermath

Well, it looks like we survived the wrath of  Sandy.

But it's going to take us a while to get back to normal.

At the Jersey and Delaware shores, that process is going to take a lot normal.

Sandy roared over the region Monday, pummeling Delaware County with rain and high wind.

Here are some things you need to know this morning:

The interstates - I-95, I-476 and the Schuylkill - around Philadelphia, which had been closed last night, reopened this morning at 4 a.m. The bridges connecting Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including the Commodore Barry Bridge in Chester, also were reopened after being shut down to all traffic.

The big concern today is going to be power. There are still a million people without power across the region. It's going to take a while to get that all back.

In Darby Borough, some good news. It appears Darby Creek did not go over its banks as feared. But in Chester, there was flooding reported in the usual trouble spots.

All Delaware County schools remain closed today, as does the Delaware County Courthouse.

Stay with DelcoTimes.com and we'll give you the latest updates.

Oh, and one other thing. It's likely that there will be some major problems with delivery of the newspaper. Please be patient. We'll get you your paper as soon as we can.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Interstates around Philly shut down; bridges closed

7:15 p.m. Interstates around Philadelphia, including I-95, I-476 and Schuylkill are now closed to traffic until 2 a.m.. And DRPA indicates it will close traffic on four bridges between Pa. and N.J. Here's the official release:

Harrisburg – With tropical-force winds creating dangerous traveling conditions in the Philadelphia area, Governor Tom Corbett is closing the full length of Interstates 95 and 676; I-476 (non-toll portion); I-76 from the Pa. Turnpike to Passyunk Avenue and the U.S. Route 1 Extension in Philadelphia to all traffic except emergency vehicles from 7 p.m. through 2 a.m.

The Governor reiterated that motorists should not travel during the storm to ensure their safety and the safety of emergency responders who may be assisting in storm operations.

It is important that people only call 911 in an emergency. Do not call for any other reason.

The Governor said PennDOT and emergency management personnel are closely monitoring the storm’s impact and may implement similar restrictions in other areas if conditions warrant.

Motorists can check road conditions on more than 2,900 miles of state roads by calling 5-1-1 or visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, average traffic speeds on urban interstates and access to more than 670 traffic cameras. Regional Twitter pages and personal alerts are also available on the 511PA website. Detailed travel information for the Pennsylvania Turnpike is also available at 1-866-976-8747.

Travelers who must be on the roadways should be sure that they have an emergency kit packed in their vehicles. A basic kit should include non-perishable food, water, blanket, small shovel and warm clothes. When preparing an emergency kit, motorists should take into account special needs of passengers such as baby food, pet supplies or medications and pack accordingly.

PennDOT also reminds citizens that information such as checklists for emergency kits and templates for emergency plans, as well as other information and volunteer opportunities, is available at www.ReadyPA.org or by calling 1-888-9-READYPA (1-888-973-2397).

The Numbers at 5: 74,000 without power across region

5 p.m.: Here's some of the latest numbers from Hurricane Sandy, as of 5 p.m. More than 74,000 customers are without power in eastern and southern Pennsylvania, according to utilities FirstEnergy, PECO and PPL.

More more than 100 residences evacuated Monday in bensalem, Bucks County; here in Darby Borough, 150-200 people were evacuated.

Officials say 300 people are in 15 Philadelphia-area shelters, according to the Red Cross; 58 Red Cross evacuation centers are on standby with a capacity for 31,000.

Press conference from Delco officials

2 p.m.: Delaware County Council presser, with emergency services boss Ed Truitt: State of emergency in the county. Courthouse will be closed again tomorrow. Extended shifts for all prison and Fair Acres employees. Delco residents urged not to drive if possible, stay home and stay safe.

New English Style Pizza in Marcus Hook rescues guys at Monroe Refinery

1:45: You have to eat in a storm. Especially if you're manning the fort at a local refinery and you have to stay on the job for the duration of your shift. We got an email from the good folks at New English Style Pizza in Marcus Hook. They tell us they're cooking up 38 pies for the guys who are working at the Monroe refinery in Trainer. Enjoy, guys, and stay safe!

Mandatory evacuations start in Darby Borough

1:15 p.m.: Sandy being felt here in Delco and rest of state with start of mandatory evacuations in Darby Borough.

Update from PECO: 3,000 workers ready to do battle

12:35 p.m.: We have an update from PECO, where they have mobilized 3,000 employees and outside contractors to do battle with Hurricane Sandy: PHILADELPHIA (October 29, 2012) –Forecasted to bring upwards of 10 inches of torrential rain and 50 mph winds (with gusts of up to 80 mph) to the region, Hurricane Sandy is expected to result in historic flooding and severe damage to electric lines and equipment. In response, PECO has mobilized more than 3,000 employees, contractors and out-of-state crews to respond to the devastating effects of this potentially record-breaking storm. This massive effort includes more than 1,500 field personnel from utilities as far away as Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as field personnel from PECO’s Chicago-based sister utility ComEd. Crews stand ready to repair storm damage and restore service to customers as quickly and safely as possible. Depending on the severity of this storm, there is the potential that PECO may not be able to immediately provide estimated restoration times until we are able to more fully assess damage to our system. Customers who experience an outage or issue with their natural gas service should call the company immediately at 1-800-841-4141. The more customers who call to report an outage, the more effectively PECO can dispatch crews and restore service. PECO reminds customers to stay safe during the storm. With saturated ground and high winds, customers may encounter tree damage and downed power lines as the storm intensifies. Customers should always assume that downed lines and equipment are energized and extremely dangerous. Customers also should never enter basements that are flooded until power is de-energized. Stay away from any flood-covered electric equipment in neighborhoods, even if electricity has been terminated in the area. PECO’s Emergency Response Organization has been activated since Thursday morning, Oct. 25. Field crews and personnel will work to repair damage and safely restore service to customers as quickly as possible. If an outage occurs: • Customers without power should contact the company at 1-800-841-4141. The more customers who call to report an outage, the more effectively PECO can dispatch crews and restore service. • Stay away from downed wires, damaged electric equipment and tree limbs or branches contacting electrical equipment. Always assume PECO’s equipment is energized – even if there is an outage in your neighborhood. Report these dangerous conditions to PECO immediately. • Turn off and unplug appliances and other devices to prevent possible damage. Remember to keep one light on so you will know when service has been restored. • Customers with generators should never connect them directly to home wiring or plug them into household outlets. Generators connected to home wiring can ‘backfeed” into PECO’s electric delivery system, risking serious injury or death to PECO crews. Generators should always be placed outside to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

PennDOT urges motorists to stay off Pa. roads

12:15 p.m.: Kind of wondered when this was coming. PennDOT is now urging all Pennsylvania residents to stay off the road. And they are indicated they might make it mandatory if winds continue to get worse. Chester Mayor John Linder also is urging residents to stay off the road

Here's their full release:

Harrisburg – PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) are strongly urging motorists to avoid all unnecessary travel in eastern Pennsylvania including the area from Harrisburg north to the New York border, east to the New Jersey border and south to the Maryland border.

PennDOT and the PTC are carefully monitoring forecasts and motorists need to be alert that discussions are currently under way to consider banning all travel with the exception of emergency vehicles if wind speeds continue to increase.

Most roads are currently open and experiencing extremely high traffic volumes. For your safety as well as the safety of other motorists and emergency responders, motorists are urged to avoid unnecessary travel until conditions improve.

Motorists can check road conditions on more than 2,900 miles of state roads by calling 5-1-1 or by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, average traffic speeds on urban interstates and access to more than 670 traffic cameras.

Follow PennDOT on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PennDOTNews.

Delaware County Council sets 2 p.m. press conference on Sandy

11:45 a.m. Delaware County Council sets 2 p.m. press conference to detail response to Hurricane Sandy. We'll be there for the presser at the Emergency Services Center in Lima.

We made it to this point, now what?

11:45 a.m. Delaware County Council sets 2 p.m. press conference to detail response to Hurricane Sandy. We'll be there for the presser at the Emergency Services Center in Lima.

10:25 a.m. OK, we've made it this far, but keep in mind that the bulk of the storm is still coming at us. Here's what we can expect as we head into the teeth of the storm. We will have continued rain and wind this morning, winds will be at 35 mph. This afternoon winds will get worse with gusts up to mph. The peak of the storm will slam us later this afternoon, from 2-7. We could have gusts of 70 mph. Power outages are likely. Rain will continue and likely not start to taper off until around 11 p.m. Wind will continue through Tuesday morning.

Press conference in Darby Borough

10:15 a.m. Press conference in Darby Borough with Police Chief Bob Smythe, state Sen. Anthony Williams, Mayor Helen Thomas. Mandatory evaucations will be in place by 1 or 2 this afternoon. Urging residents to get out now if they're in flood-prone areas. Closely monitoring Darby Creek. Not over its banks yet. Mayor Helen Thomas: We bounce back hard.

Live coverage from Darby Borough and Media

9:25 a.m.: Report from staffer Vince Sullivan from Darby Borough, no stranger to flooding. Darby Creek is rising but not over its banks yet. Check it out here. And you can click here for a look at conditions in Media from blogger Tedman O'Hara. Again if you have information, photos or video, let us know. Email me at editor@delcotimes.com.

Wicked reports from Delaware

9 a.m.: Some reports from Delaware: Wind gusts of 53 mph in Lewes, 24-foot waves off of Fenwick Island. Batten down the hatches, folks. This is what's coming here.

1st tree down courtesy of Sandy in Drexel Hill

8:40 a.m.: First tree to be casualty of Sandy might be in 400 block of School Lane in Drexel Hill section of Upper Darby. Slammed into house and broke the gas meter. Reports that child suffered minor scrapes when tree branches slammed into nursery in the home. Taken to hospital as a precaution.

Sandy speeding up, may get here earlier than predicted

8 a.m.: Here's the update from National Weather Service. Hurricane Sandy is speeding up and changing course slightly. Now 265 miles southeast of Atlantic City, now it is moving to the Northwest. It also is speeding up, may arrive earlier than first thought.

What would happen if this were next week, & Sandy hit on Election Day?

7:30 a.m.: Here's something I've been wondering about all morning. What would happen if this happened next week? If the entire East Coast were being inundated by Hurricane Sandy on the day when most of us would be trying to get to the polls to cast our vote in a historic presidential election pitting President Obama vs. Republican Mitt Romney. I'll admit I don't have an anwer. Anyone else?

President Obama OKs emergency declaration for Pennsyylvania

7:10 a.m.: President Obama declares an emergency in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and orders federal aid to supplement commonwealth and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Sandy.

Direct Hit looms for Atlantic City

7:05: Here's two words I didn't need to hear: Direct Hit. That's what they're now saying as Hurricane Sandy will slam into the New Jersey shore near Atlantic City sometime in the overnight hours into early Tuesday. That's the thing about conditions right now. Keep in mind that Sandy is still 300 miles away. Here in Delaware County we are going to get high winds and rain - lots of it.

In addition to flooding, we'll be dealing with trees coming down, which means downed wires and power outags. We could be seeing winds over 50 mph later today and as much as 60-80 mph later tonight.

Tonight into tomorrow looks like the worst of it. Tuesday things will start to improve.

The latest forecast

Sometimes you forget the basics. Here's the latest forecast for Delaware County from the National Weather Service at 5:30 a.m. Monday:

• FLOOD WATCH:  SANDY WILL PRODUCE EXCESSIVE RAINFALL ACROSS PORTIONS OF OUR

REGION TODAY AND TONIGHT WITH THE RUNOFF STILL SWELLING RIVERS

TUESDAY AND BEYOND.

SANDY WILL SLAM INTO THE NEW JERSEY COAST THIS EVENING WITH FLOOD

PRODUCING RAINFALL FROM SOUTHEAST PENNSYLVANIA...INCLUDING THE

PHILADELPHIA METROPOLITAN AREA...ACROSS SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY...ALL

OF DELAWARE AND MARYLAND'S EASTERN SHORE.

FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON FOR

 PORTIONS OF DELAWARE.... IN PENNSYLVANIA...BERKS...BUCKS...

CARBON...CHESTER...DELAWARE...LEHIGH...MONROE...MONTGOMERY...

NORTHAMPTON AND PHILADELPHIA.  THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON.

RAINFALL:  FOUR TO 10 INCHES OF RAIN IS FORECAST ACROSS MOST OF THE REGION

BY DAYBREAK TUESDAY WITH THE HIGHEST AMOUNTS FROM THE

PHILADELPHIA METROPOLITAN AREA ON SOUTHWARD. RAINFALL OVER THE

POCONOS INTO FAR NORTHWEST NEW JERSEY WILL BEGIN IN EARNEST

LATER TODAY AND TOTALS BY TOMORROW MORNING SHOULD RANGE BETWEEN

2 AND 4 INCHES.

 THIS IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SITUATION FOR THE PHILADELPHIA...

WILMINGTON METROPOLITAN AREAS AS WELL AS MARYLAND'S EASTERN SHORE

AND THE REMAINDER OF DELAWARE.

* BANDS OF SQUALLY DOWNPOURS WILL PRODUCE HOURLY RAINFALL RATES

NEAR 1 INCH FOR SEVERAL HOURS...FORCING VERY FAST RISES OF SMALL

STREAMS...AS WELL AS WIDESPREAD URBAN AND POOR DRAINAGE STREET

FLOODING. BASEMENT FLOODING IS ALSO POSSIBLE. LEAVES WILL TEND

TO GET WASHED INTO STORM DRAINS, WHICH WILL LOCALLY ENHANCE THE

FLOODING. PLAN ON SOME ROAD CLOSURES AND PROBABLE DELAYS

REACHING YOUR DESTINATION.

SOME OF THE LARGER MAIN STEM RIVER FLOODING MAY BE DELAYED UNTIL

TUESDAY OR BEYOND...HOWEVER THIS DEPENDS ON WHERE THE HEAVIEST

RAIN ACTUALLY OCCURS.

: A FLOOD WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR FLOODING BASED ON CURRENT FORECASTS.

• PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS

YOU SHOULD MONITOR LATER FORECASTS AND BE ALERT FOR POSSIBLE

FLOOD WARNINGS. THOSE LIVING IN AREAS PRONE TO FLOODING SHOULD BE

PREPARED TO TAKE ACTION SHOULD FLOODING DEVELOP... INCLUDING

FOLLOWING DETOURS AND LIVING COMFORTABLY WITH SUBSTANTIAL TRAVEL

INCONVENIENCE DUE TO FLOODED ROADWAYS.

 

Evacuations, all roads closed in Delaware

6:25 a.m. 60,000 people along coast in Delaware now under mandatory evaucation. All roads in Delaware now closed by Gov. Jack Markell.

Yes, we'll be out on the street

6:10 a.m.: Yes, we delivered the Daily Times this morning. And we will do everything in our power to do so tomorrow as well. You may have heard that in the state of Delaware, Gov. Jack Markell issued an order declaring that all cars except emergency vehicles be off the road at 5 a.m. Monday. We go through this every time there is a big storm. Media members are exempted from these edicts. So we will make every effort to not only cover the storm, but also to get the newspaper detailing the effects of the monster storm Sandy on the region as well.

PECO reporting some scattered power outages already

5:50 a.m.: PECO is starting to report some scattered power outages in Chester, Montgomery and Delaware Counties. That is not a good thing. How about a little game. Let's put an over/under on the number of outages in the county. I'll set the line at 100,000 Will you go over or under?

No SEPTA, airport service today

5:25 a.m.: Two things you should know. If you depend on SEPTA or the airport this morning, you're out of luck. SEPTA has closed down all service on the system today. That means no buses, no trains, no trolleys, no 69th Street El. There also will be no service in our out of Philadelphia International Airport today. Here's the release from the airport: We have been advised by our airlines that all flight operations have been canceled for Monday, Oct. 29. This is a dangerous storm and safety is our main concern. We and the airlines will be monitoring/assessing the situation throughout the day tomorrow to determine when flight activity can resume. We ask individuals not to come to the airport and strongly urge all travelers to contact their airlines for flight status, call our toll-free flight information number 1-800-PHL-GATE (1-800-745-4283) or visit www.phl.org for updated information.

Welcome to Sandy Central

Welcome to Sandy Central.

My idea for the next few days is to turn the blog over to a quick information center for folks battling the elements as the monster storm Hurricane Sandy bears down on the area.

Here's the key. We want your help. If you hear news, email it to us at editor@delcotimes.com, or vcarey@delcotimes.com.

In particular we want photos and video. Be like Sandy, folks. Hit us with your best shot.

Now, we're off and running:

5 a.m.: First things first. Evacuation notices are starting to come in. Darby Borough indicated they will order people out of low-lyign areas of the borough, which is usually one of the first trouble spots when it comes to water and flooding from Darby Creek. You can get all the details on Darby here.

Chester City also is ordering residents to evacuate some areas of the city. Officials have ordered all residents out of the following streets:

1400 block of Kerlin Street;

1300 block of Parker Street;

600 block of West 13th Street

600 block of West 14th Street.

The city says residents can take shelter at Showalter School, 10th and Lloyd Streets, starting at 90 a.m.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

Forget Sandy, let's talk about Andy.

Andy, there won't be much in the way of fireworks hailin' over the Linc on Sunday. With a nod of the head to my man Bruce Springsteen, I'm hoping Reid takes his advice, and quits this scene, too.

That scene would be Andy's propensity to throw the ball all over the place. That might not be the best plan for Sunday's game against the unbeaten Falcond. That's because Hurricane Sandy is expected to just be starting to flex her muscles on Sunday. The weather is going to be fairly miserable, wet and windy. That's not conducive to an aerial attack.

So Reid and his brother in arms, Marty Mornhinweg, have the perfect excuse to feed the rock to the forgotten man for the Eagles, running back LeSean 'Shady' McCoy.

Will Reid do it? I kind of doubt it. Remember, Andy is smarter than all the rest of us. My guess is he doesn't veer far from his plan for every game, which is to focus heavily on the pass.

Much has been made of the fact that Reid is 13-0 coming off the bye in his stint as boss of the Birds. The Falcons are also coming off the bye week, and are equally good on this week.

In a homecoming for Exton native Matt Ryan, the Eagles will likely show him a few new looks under new defensive coordinator after the sacking of Juan Castillo. What the Eagles have been unable to do is collect much in the way of sacks and pressure on the quarterback. Getting in Ryan's face would go a long way to increasing their fortunes on Sunday.

One thing's for certain: This game will be for the Birds, at least one variety of them will get a huge win. I'll stick with the Eagles to make Reid a perfect 14-0 and push the Birds back into the playoff hunt.

The Pick: Make it Eagles 29, Falcons 17. With a big dose of McCoy, the Eagles offense comes alive just in time to rumble over Atlanta as the first effects of Hurricane Sandy wash over the Linc.

Last Week: I should have stuck with my gut. As I pointed out, Reid's team never play well going into the bye week, and the feeble effort against the Lions was proof of that as they blew a 10-point lead with 5 minutes left. It was the second straight week they had coughed up a late lead, and it cost Castillo his job. I thought the Eagles would struggle mightily but still prevail. They came within five minutes of doing just that.

Season Record: The Eagles are now a thoroughly mediocre 3-3, while my stumble leaves me at  4-2. The Birds still have not comfortably put a team away. Their three wins have come by a total of less than five points. I think they'll end that streak Sunday. To lose this game would only light a fire under the Nick Foles bandwagon.

Game by Game: Eagles 17, Browns 16 (My Pick: Eagles 27, Browns 13)

Eagles 24, Ravens 23 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Ravens 23 - On the Money!)

Cardinals 27, Eagles 6 (My Pick: Eagles 29, Cardinals 13)

Eagles 19, Giants 17 (My Pick: Eagles 19, Giants 17 - On the Money!)

Steelers 16, Eagles 14 (My Pick: Steelers 24, Eagles 16.)

Lions 26, Eagles 23 (My pick: Eagles 19, Lions 17

Friday, October 26, 2012

Brace yourself for 'Sandy,' the storm, not the Springsteen tune

Brace yourself.

'Sandy' is coming. And bringing with it tons of hot air. Mostly from the local TV stations.

There will be no other news for the next four days. Election? What election? There will only be Sandy.

Raise your hand if, like me, every time you hear someone mention 'Sandy,' you think of the Bruce Springsteen song.

I only wish the the TV crews would quit that boardwalk scene too.

Look, it's likely going to be pretty ugly starting Saturday night. Sunday's Eagles game could be a mud bowl. Then it gets really nasty on Monday and Tuesday.

So, as a public service, I give you the lyrics to Bruce Springsteen's epic beach tune, 'Sandy.' You can hum along with me.

Sandy, the fireworks are hailin' over Little Eden tonight

Forcin' a light into all those stony faces left stranded on this warm July

Down in town the circuit's full of switchblade lovers, so fast, so shiny, so sharp

As the wizards play down on Pinball Way on the boardwalk way past dark

And the boys from the casino dance with their shirts open like Latin lovers on the shore

Chasin' all them silly New York virgins by the score

Sandy, the aurora is risin' behind us

Those pier lights, our carnival life forever

Oh, love me tonight, for I may never see you again

Hey, Sandy girl... my baby

Now the greasers, they tramp the streets or get busted for sleepin' on the beach all night

Them boys in their high heels, ah Sandy, their skins are so white

And me, I just got tired of hangin' in them dusty arcades, bangin' them pleasure machines

Chasin' the factory girls underneath the boardwalk, where they all promised to unsnap their jeans

And you know that Tilt-a-Whirl down on the south beach drag? I got on it last night and my shirt got caught

And it kept me spinnin', they didn't think I'd ever get off

Sandy, the aurora is risin' behind us

Those pier lights, our carnival life on the water

Runnin', laughin' underneath the boardwalk with the boss's daughter

I remember, Sandy girl... my baby

Sandy, the waitress I was seein' lost her desire for me

I spoke with her last night, she said she won't set herself on fire for me anymore

She worked that joint under the boardwalk, she was always the girl you saw boppin' down the beach with the radio

Kids say last night she was dressed like a star in one of the cheap little seaside bars, and I saw her parked with her lover boy out on the Kokomo

Did you hear, the cops finally busted Madame Marie for tellin' fortunes better than they do?

For me this carnival life's through-- you ought to quit this scene too

Sandy, the aurora is risin' behind us

Those pier lights, our carnival life forever

Oh, love me tonight and I promise I'll love you forever

Oh, I mean it, Sandy girl


A good week for cops, depending on your point of view

It's been a a pretty good week for police in Delaware County.

First, 15 officers who lost their jobs when they got caught up in a cheating scandal on a state certification test might get a shot at getting their jobs back.

That's because the state Legislature, helped by two Delco reps, pushed through a measure that would give the state agency some leeway when it comes to the punishment meted out in these instances.

If you have trouble with that, with a police officer who is supposed to be upholding the law getting that kind of second chance after getting caught cheating, you're not the only one.

But state Reps. Joe Hackett, R-162, of Ridley, and Tom Killion, R-168, of Middletown, defend the measure. Hackett is a fomer longtime Ridley officer.

You can read all the details here.

Then there is Trevor Parham. He's the former Colwyn officer who was charged with assault after he used a stun gun on a teenager who was handcuffed in a borough holding cell.

This week Parham was acquitted of all charges after a bench trial in front of Delco Judge Kevin Kelly.

Parham feels vindicated, saying the case against him was one more part of the political turmoil that has roiled the borough for years.

Still, it's a little tough to think that you do what Parham did. Of course, he did lose his job. While Parham said he will continue his law enforcement career, he likely will have to do it somewhere other than Colwyn.

Read that story here.


Forget Sandy, give us Shady

Forget all this talk about Sandy.

We want to talk about Shady. There's a part of me that would almost like to see it pouring on Sunday at the Linc as both the Eagles and Falcons come off the bye week to a huge clash.

Of course, I'll be parked in the comfort of my family room, tweeting all the action from the comfor of my favorite game-day chair.

But my interest in the weather - and the possible arrival of rain - is what effect it could have on the pass-happy habits of Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg.

Think maybe if there are monsoon-like conditions at the Linc it might finally convince these guys to feature the best back in the NFL. That would be LeSean 'Shady' McCoy.

It just might be the key to an Eagles' win over the unbeaten Falcons.

Then again, it would not surprise me in the least to see Reid et al do his best Bowie Kuhn impersonation, stand their with his laminated (rain-proof) chart and dial up pass after pass.

Remember, Andy is smarter than all the rest of us.

Just ask Juan Castillo.

CLICK HERE for beat writer Bob Grotz's thoughts on the weather Sunday.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Daily Numbers - Oct. 25

The Daily Numbers: 30,000 dollar reward now posted in case of missing 10-month-old Saanvi Venna in King of Prussia.

4 vehicle fire in the last month in Folcroft. Residents are getting antsy – and angry. Hard to blame them.

17, age of teen who was hit with stun gun while handcuffed in a holding cell by former Colwyn borough police officer Trevor Parham. Yesterday Parham was acquitted of all charges filed against him in the case.

1, as in the 1st of November, when 7th District Congressional candidates Pat Meehan and George Badey will hold a debate at Neumann University.

16 months in prison for a Chadds Ford man who drove his SUV onto a runway at Philadelphia International Airport last March.

14th annual Delaware County Safe Schools Summit held yesterday at the Drexelbrook. This year it focused on the growing heroin and painkiller problem in the county.

33 heroin-related deaths in Delco in the first 6 months of 2012.

62 heroin-related deaths in 2011; 50 in 2010..

32 years of service to Middletown for community volunteer Dave Irving.

1 billion dollar suit filed by the feds against Bank of America for mortgage fraud.

25.19 decline for Wall Street Wednesday, 1 day after it plunged more than 200 points.

12 billion in revenue reported by Boeing in the quarter, a 28 percent increase.

4th highest tuition for in-state students, that’s where Pa. stands.

17,200 dollars in tuition and fees for Penn State’s main campus.

47-45 lead for Mitt Romney now in the latest Associated Press poll. Romney is being buoyed by erasing Obama’s 16 point lead among women.

0 practices so far for new Sixers acquisition Andrew Bynum, who continues to be bothered by pain in his knees.

18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds, what Bynum averaged last year for the Lakers, his best year as a pro.

3 home runs for the Giants Pablo Sandoval, leading San Fran to a huge win in Game 1 of the World Series.

*: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Andrew Bynum = Jeff Ruland? Say it ain’t so.

Call me a Phanatic

 

*

I Don’t Get It: The parents of slain 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale are starting to grumble about the investigation into her death. Kind of expected, but still sad.

*

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Pat Meehan and George Badey. The candidates for Meehan’s 7th District Congressional seat will hold that rarest of animals here in Delco - a debate – on Nov. 1 at Neumann University.

*

Quote Box: “The verdict is exactly what I expected and what I thought would happen all along.”

- Thomas Fitzpatrick, attorney for former Colwyn officer Trevor Parham, after he was acquitted on all charges in case involving use of stun gun on handcuffed teen in a borough holding cell.

Chester's hidden secret: A visit to Widener

I spent some time last night on one of the best-kept secrets in Delaware County.

That would be the absolutely stunning campus of Widener University, located smack dab in the middle of Chester. If you haven’t been there in awhile, you owe it to yourself to check it out. The place is not exactly the old Pennsylvania Military College, which it proudly points out as its predecessor.

Now the campus is a glittering gem in a city that continues to struggle to turn around its fortunes.

We took our livestream Internet show, ‘Live From the Newsroom’ to Widener last night to get a feel for what is going on there and the role of the university in the city’s turnaround efforts.

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

Our thanks for Widener President Dr. James Harris, who was a most gracious host as we set up shop in the gorgeous conference room in Old Main on the campus.

Paula Silver, dean of the School of Human Service Professions, talked about one of the great success stories in Chester. That would be Widener Partnership Charter School. She is the chair of their Board of Trustees. The school has responded to requests from parents to expand their offerings. It was pretty simple really. They love the charter school and were worried about what would happen to their children after they finished the fifth grade. The school heard their plea and now will offer classes through eighth grade. I get the feeling that when these kids reach eighth grade, the talk will turn to a high school, and I think Widener will likely again step up to the plate.

This is a tricky slope for the university. Clearly one of the biggest issues in the city is the perenially struggling Chester Upland School District. Almost half of the district’s students are now enrolled in charter schools, including Widener Partnership. Critics believe eventually the district will be folded and all students funneled into a series of charters.

There are now more than 380 children attending Widener Partnership. It is exactly that in every sense of the word, a partnership between the university and the school district. It is pointed to as the way a charter school should operate to help a struggling school district.

We also heard from Julie Dietrich, who is director of special projects and initiatives, and her work with city officials in a unique federal program called Strong Cities, Strong Communities, or SC2 for short. It again proves the cooperation being undertaken between Widener and the city it calls home.

Finally, graduate student Anna Miller, the pride of York, Pa., talked about what first lured her to the Chester campus and her work coordinating community service programs in the Presidential Service Corps/Bonner Leaders Program.

It was a great night. I hope to be back soon. Especially when they get their new TV studio done. ‘Live From the Newsroom’ could use a nice new home. Being on the campus of Widener, in the middle of Chester, would suit me just fine.

Maybe they could even make me look a tad less ancient on camera.

Ghost of Jeff Ruland haunts Sixers fans

Here is the one name Sixers fans are trying not to think about today.

No, it’s not Andrew Bynum, who continues to be bothered by pain in his knees and has yet to partake in a single practice for the team.

It’s Jeff Ruland.

If you’re a young fan and the name doesn’t ring a bell, you can Google it.

Older fans wince every time they hear the name. Back in 1986, the Sixers traded Moses Malone, Terry Catledge and a couple fo first-round draft choices in 1986 and 1988. In return they acquired Ruland and Cliff Robinson.

It was a stunning swap of centers. At the time, most experts liked the deal. Malone was past his peak, and the team decided to start a new era anchored by Ruland in the middle. The trick was Ruland’s propensity for injury.

He had battled persistent foot and knee problems.

It didn’t take long for the problem to rear its ugly head.

Ruland played all of five games for the Sixers before retiring because he of chronic knee problems.

Now some are wondering if Bynum, acquired with much fanfare from the Lakers in a three-way deal that punched Andre Iguodala’s ticket out of town, is not Ruland, The Sequel.

Bynum has been unable to take part in one practice because of pain in his knees. He has had several procedures, but still has not been able to get on the court.

You can read all the details on yesterday's medical update on Bynum here.

It now seems unlikely that he will be on the floor when the Sixers open the season next Wednesday against, of all people, Iguodala and the Nuggets.

The shround of Jeff Ruland has hung over this franchise for a long time. A repeat performance in the Bynum deal would be a killer blow to an organization that appears to finally be righting the ship.

 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Daily Numbers - Oct. 25

The Daily Numbers: 12-inch knife used to fatally stab a man in a fight among roommates in Upper Darby.

300 dollars, how much the victim apparently owed the man now charged with stabbing him to death.

12 stab wounds suffered by the victim.

5 days of testimony that has now wrapped up in case of strip club employee charged in death of a Delco man in brawl outside the club. It’s not in the hands of the jury.

20, age of Wayne man who waived his preliminary hearing on charges he took several high school girls’ pictures from Facebook and turned them into porn and then posting them on the Internet.

200,000 dollars, how much a Yeadon tax preparer ripped off from the IRS via bogus returns. He was convicted yesterday.

4 firefighters injured when 2 fire trucks collided last night on the Conchester Highway in Upper Chi. The injuries are not believed to be serious.

4 suspicious fires that are under investigation in Folcroft. Another car was set on fire early this morning.

6 years, how long Madeline Bialecki has been the leader of the Delaware County Literacy Council. She is going back to Michigan to care for her ailing mother. She will be deeply missed.

19 Upper Darby employees who do not live in the township who have been told they must move in or lose their jobs.

2 teen boys charged in the strangulation murder of 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale in Clayton, N.J.

10 month old Saanvi Venna remains missing after she was taken from an apartment in King of Prussia where her grandmother was killed.

329 dollars, starting price for the new iPad mini rolled out by Apple yesterday.

7.9 inch diagonal screen on the mini.

0.68 pounds, what the new ‘must-have’ gadget weighs.

13-0 record for Andy Reid coming off the bye week in his career with the Eagles.

4-0 record for the Birds’ boss against the Falcons, this Sunday’s opponent.

1, as in Game 1 of the World Series between the Giants and Tigers. Remember when the Phils used to be part of the Fall Classic. Seems like months since they played.

*

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.I make it Tigers in 6. No World Series ring for Hunter Pence.

 

*

I Don’t Get It: I’m still shaking my head trying to figure out what could motivate 2 teen boys to kill a 12-year-old neighbor girl for her bike. Too sad.

*: Kudos to Madeline Bialecki for her years of service as head of the Delaware County Literacy Council. She is heading home to Michigan to care for her ailing mother.

Today’s Upper

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Quote Box: “When people are hired they are told and know they have to live in the township. I’m not blinking on this.”

- Upper Darby Mayor Tom Micozzie, on fight with union over residency rule that could cost 19 workers their jobs.

 

A 12-year-old killed for bike parts? This is what we've come to

Bicycle parts.

That’s apparently what cost 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale her life.

Police in Clayton, N.J., not far over the Commodore Barry Bridge in Gloucester County, yesterday arrested two teen boys - ages 15 and 17 - and charged them in the stangulation death of the little girl who had been missing since Saturday. They lived a few doors down.

She was last seen leaving her house on her white BMX bicycle, headed for a friend’s house.

She was not the only one who prized that bike. It might have cost Autumn her life.

Police theorize the two teens, who live just down the street in the normally quiet, tidy town, had their eyes on it as well. They wanted it for the parts. They were known to refurbish similar bikes.

Police believe they lured little Autumn to their house, then strangled her. All so they could cannibalize her bike for the parts.

You can read the whole story here.

There is a rage that rises up within you when you read stories like this. You force yourself to swallow the bile, to not lash out, to wonder what kind of society we live in that can produce kids willing to do this without batting an eye.

It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to do.

Instead, you just shake your head and wonder.

And, of course, hug your kids just a little tighter each day.

'Live From the Newsroom' pays a visit to Widener University

We’ll be on the road tonight for a special edition of our ‘Live From the Newsroom’ live-stream community affairs broadcast.

Tonight we’ll pay a visit to one of the true gems of Delaware County.

We’ll be on the campus of Widener University, the guests of university President James Harris. Widener is a very special oasis in what is very often a troubled city. Harris will speak to the civic mission of the university, and its push to play an increasingly big part in the city’s turnaround.

One of the ways the university is doing that is offering a valid choice to parents frustrated with the struggling Chester Upland School District. The Widener Partnership Charter School is often held up as a model for what charter schools can accomplish in downtrodden areas. Paula T. Silver, deah of the School of Human Service Professions and chair of Widener Partnership, will tell us how they are making a difference in the city.

We’ll also be joined by several Widener students, including Anna Miller, a graduate business student who is coordinator for the Presidential Service Corps/Bonner Leaders Program.

Julie Dietrich, director of special projects and initiatives, has been instrumental in coordinating Widener’s interactions with the Strong Cities, Strong Communities team. She’ll talk about that key city program.

Do you have something you’ve always wanted to know about Widener? Why not join the conversation? You can log on to DelcoTimes.com and take part in our live chat, or simply email me your question at editor@delcotimes.com and I will put your question to our panel.

Join us tonight at 7. We’ll be ‘Live From the Newsroom,’ only this time from the campus of Widener University in Chester.

Catch us talking Upper Darby education this morning at IQ106.9-FM

We continue to expand our multi-platform empire of delivering news about Delaware County.

Yesterday I had a chance to chat with Al Gardner from radio station IQ-106.9 FM. The new voice in Philly talk radio is looking to get a toe-hold in the suburbs, and I volunteered to be one of their guinea pigs.

If there's one thing I know in this news racket that is literally shifting under our feet, it's that you have to deliver the message on as many platforms as you can.

That's why we do our 'Live From the Newsroom' program. Tonight we'll be down at Widener. Tomorrow I will be hosting our monthly radio show on WPWA 1490-AM in Chester. It airs on Sunday morning.

Al wanted to talk about one of the crucial issues in Delaware County, the recent education funding crisis in Upper Darby and the continuing fears of some residents that arts education will be cut.

You can listen in here. The piece will air at 5:40 a.m. Wedndesday! Listen in! If you're not quite the earlybird that I am, the piece is supposed to be re-aired in the 7 a.m. hour. My thanks to Al and his team for offering another outlet.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Daily Numbers for Oct. 23

The Daily Numbers: 15 Delco police officers caught cheating on a state certification test who could get a shot at getting jobs back under new legislation.

2 Delco state reps who are co-sponsoring the bill, Rep. Joe Hackett, R-162, of Ridley, and Rep. Tom Killion, R-168, of Middletown.

9 p.m. curfew for those under 18 through Oct. 31 in Aston to cut down on Halloween mischief.

10 dollar per capita tax killed off in Upland Borough.

1 employee of the Pennsylvania Turnpike killed in a crash early Monday morning.

8 hours, how long a 7-mile stretch of the eastbound lanes of the turnpike were shut down.

10 months, age of baby taken during a homicide in King of Prussia.

12, age of Autumn Pasquale, girl missing in Clayton, N.J., since Saturday. Police believe a body found in a recycling bin late last night is the missing girl.

1 tire that came off a truck on the Schuylkill Expressway yesterday, slamming into a car, then going airborne and through the roof of a nearby building.

1.5 percent dip in price of crude oil yesterday, to $88.73 a gallon.

7 of every tables sold in the U.S. are made by Apple and its dominant iPad.

40-28 lead for Democrat Kathleen Kane over David Freed in the race for Pa. attorney general.

3 presidential debates now in the books.

6-1 mark for the Sixers in the preseason, after they beat the Knicks last night at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.

9-0 romp for the Giants over the Cardinals in Game 7 of the NLCS.

6 outs, all former Phil Kyle Lohse could deliver for the Cards. He didn’t get anyone out in the 3rd before being lifted.

2 run double for our pal Hunter Pence to open the flood gates for the Giants.

*

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Hunter Pence is going to the World Series. Try not to be bitter.

 

*

I Don’t Get It: Someone is responsible for the death of 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale in Clayton, N.J. I hope the cops find the person before her family does.

*

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Greg Vitali and Bill Toal for taking part in the spirited debate in the race for state rep in the 166th District in Haverford last night. Too many entrenched veteran pols simply ignore their foes, content in the knowledge they likely will be re-elected.

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Quote Box: “Accountants, doctors, lawyers and other professionals have a licensing system hat allows for suspensions and revocations, with a procedure for reinstatement.”

- Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-9, of Chester, on bill now awaiting signature of Gov. Tom Corbett that would do the same for police officers.

One debate too many

They should have quit while they were ahead.

The third and final presidential debate last night between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney was not exactly riveting. It was supposed to focus on foreign policy. It did, even if both men seemed more interested in returning to the overriding issue in this race, the economy.

I didn’t really get a feel for one man taking a clear victory, which I suppose works in the president’s favor.

There was no clear buzzword to come from this debate, such as Big Bird in the first, or “binders full of women,” which came out of the second.

We’re left only with Obama talking about horses and bayonets in describing why the military is necessarily smaller. That seems like the phrase that took off on Twitter.

Maybe two debates, as well as the entertaining showdown between Vice President Joe Biden and GOP hopeful Congressman Paul Ryan, were enough.

I noticed there was much less buzz last night on Twitter.

I also think there are very few people out there who remain undecided.

So who do you think won? And why?

And are you ready to vote already?

2 kids, 2 sad stories

It was a brutally tough day yesterday for news involving kids. It didn’t get any better last night.

First, in South Jersey, there was the all-out search for 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale. She was last seen on Saturday around noon as she took off on her bike for a friend’s house. She never got there.

You sort of got that sinking feeling with every hour that passed - 12-year-old girls usually don’t just disappear.

The worst news was confirmed late last night, when police said a body found dumped in a recycling bin appeared to be that of the missing girl. You can read all the sad details here.

Meanwhile, in King of Prussia, a toddler was snatched during a bizarre homicide. Saavni Venna was taken from the scene where her grandmother was murdered in a King of Prussia apartment complex. Saavni is just 10 months old. Last night her father went public with a plea for the tot’s safe return. You can read that one here.

There’s nothing sadder than stories about missing children. And nothing I hate worse than delivering the sad news that these cases turned out as we feared.


Hunter Pence is going to the World Series

Hunter Pence is going to the World Series. Kyle Lohse is not.

Both Phils played key parts in last night’s winner-take-all Game 7 of the National League Championship Series between the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals.

Lohse, who spent some time with the Phils, took the hill for the Cards, who were looking to stem the bleeding from blowing a 3-1 series advantage. All they had to do was win one more game. They failed to do so, and Lohse didn’t exactly help matters. He lasted just six outs, was lifted and then watched as one of the key hits was delivered by Pence, who was dealt to San Fran at the trade deadline. He doubled in the third to open the flood gates. The final score was 9-0.

After falling behind 3-1 in the series, the Giants outscored the Cardinals 20-1 to win three straight and advance to the Fall Classic, where they will face the Tigers starting Wednesday night.

Pence, who was popular during his first year here, but not nearly as much as he struggled much of this year without Ryan Howard’s bat in front of him, was lucky last night. He broke his bat on his double, but that imparted a weird spin on the ball.

Lohse did not get anyone out in the third, and was lifted after walking Buster Posey to load the bases.

That leaves Phillies fans with a predicament. Do you root for Hunter Pence to collect a World Series ring, or would you rather see him fall to the Tigers?

Forget ‘Let’s Go Eat,’ the saying he made popular while in Phillies pinstripes. Hunter Pence is going to the World Series.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Daily Numbers - Oct. 22

The Daily Numbers: 60,000 dollars in cash taken during home invasion in Upper Darby.

1 suspect in custody and 1 still being sought in the heist.

28, age of mom and her 4-year-old son who were home at the time.

1 person killed in fatal crash late Saturday night in Bethel.

16, age of pedestrian struck by a car Saturday night at State and Lansdowne roads in Upper Darby.

5, age of Upper Darby girl with special needs who had her special stroller taken from outside her home. Luckily, she was reunited with it on Sunday.

3 slain in shooting rampage at a beauty salon in Wisconsin.

16 million dollars of his own money being plunked down by GOP U.S. Senate hopeful Tom Smith in attempts to beat incumbent Bob Casey.

600 dollars bail for suspected drunk driver in Newark, Del., incident that left college student critically injured after she was struck by his car.

9 cent dip in gas prices across the nation reported by AAA.

3.83, average price per gallon at the pump in Philly region.

3.52, what we were paying last year.

20 points for Dorell Wright as Sixers beat the Celtics, 88-79 in the final exhibition game last night.

5-1 mark for the Sixers in the preseason.

3-3 mark deadlock in the NLCS after the Giants won again last night. Game 7 is on tap tonight in San Francisco.

*

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Let’s hear it for Ryan Vogelsong, the pride of Octorara High School and Chester County, after he was very sharp in getting the win for the Giants last night as they evened their NLCS with the Cardinals.

 

*

I Don’t Get It: How could someone steal a stroller that was so obviously being used by a special needs child. Luckily, they must have thought better and returned it to the Upper Darby girl who depends on it to get around.

*

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Delco D.A. for focusing on the growing heroin and painkiller epidemic at this year Safe Schools Summit.

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Quote Box: “He’s not battling demons any more.”

- Lisa Pecora, on the heroin overdose death of her son Michael. She’s working to spread the word as the problem grows.

Safe Schools Summit targets heroin, pill problems in Delco

Lisa Pecora knows what Andy Reid and his family are going through. She lost her son Michael to a heroin overdose last year.

The family of the Eagles coach issued a statement last week after findings were released concerning the death of their eldest son Garrett. Sadly, they noted, the findings confirmed what they had feared, that Garrett had lost his battle against heroin addiction.

Pecora knows all about that fight, how insidious it is, and how tough it is to beat.

“He’s not battling demons anymore,” Pecora said about her son.

Stories like Garrett’s and Michael’s are becoming more and more common in Delaware County as an epidemic of heroin and painkillers rolls across the county.

It’s why heroin and drug use by young people will be one of the focuses of this week’s annual Safe Schools Summit held by the county District Attorney’s Office. It will take place on Wednesday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Drexelbrook in Drexel Hill.

Adults can attend the summit, but you have to register. Send an email to D.A.’s office spokesperson Emily Harris at harrise@co.delaware.pa.us.

Drug use is a serious issue in this county. It does not respect town borders, or any other demographic. It affects the famous - including the sons of NFL coaches - and the folks who live next door. It can also affect your family.

This year’s Safe Schools Summit, and getting this message out to young kids - yes, kids in elementary and middle schools, is a key part in the war on this insidious menace.


Get a clue: Yes, there were problems with the Sunday crossword

I’ve said it many times. I am not a crossword puzzle or comics guy. They’re not my thing.

But I’m aware that they are very important to a lot of people, including lots of  longtime loyal readers of this newspaper. It’s part of their morning routine, especially on Sunday.

So it is not a good idea to foul these crucial items up.

But that’s just what we did yesterday.

Yes, we heard from many of you who sharpened up your No. 2 pencils, poured yourself a nice, fresh cup of coffee, and prepared to do battle with the Sunday Crossword.

It usually helps if we provide all the clues. We did not do that yesterday. Actually, the syndicate we buy the Crossword from was at fault, but it still falls on us, and me in particular. Unfortunately it’s another example of us falling victim to the technology we are swimming in these days. These items are now downloaded directly from the syndicate. We never actually see them until they are in print.

Yesterday that process blew up in our face. A lot of the clues were not listed.

What I hope to do is run a corrected version of the Crossword in the paper next Sunday, along with the one that is due to run on that day.

I apologize to our readers for the inconvenience.

A simply perfect Sunday without the Eagles

I’m not a big fan of the NFL’s bye week. I kind of like my Sunday routine parked in front of the tube enjoying the agony & ecstasy we otherwise refer to as Eagles football.

But I have to admit I didn’t mind not having to spend all day yesterday inside watching the game.

That’s because it was absolutely gorgeous out, and the Mrs. and I spent most of the day outside.

We did something we haven’t done in a long time. No, not that.

We decided during our morning walk that a day like this one merited spending as much time outside as we could. So we piled in the car and took a nice long ride. Now, with gas going for $3.80 a gallon, we've been trying to keep close tabs on our car use. That's not as easy as it sounds. One of the banes of my existence is the suburban lifestyle we've built for ourselves. In other words, aside from taking our walk through the development, there is absolutely nothing we do that does not require us to get into the car.

I hate it. It's one of the reasons I cannot wait to sell the house and move into a "town" where we can walk to do most of the things we need to do each day.

On this Sunday, we wound up in Valley Forge, where we of course took another walk.

In a word, it was just about perfect. The trees are starting to turn and we simply took in all the colors, both as we drove along country roads, and once again when we got to the park.

Not even Andy Reid could ruin an afternoon as sparkling as this one. No wasted timeouts. No passing on third-and-one. No stupid penalties.

The Eagles return to practice this week. The unbeaten Atlanta Falcons are due at the Linc on Sunday.

Something tells me it won’t be as pretty as it was yesterday.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Garrett Reid and the heroin scourge

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli told us what we already knew. It’s what he didn’t tell us that is much more interesting.

Tragically, Garrett Reid, the oldest son of Eagles head coach Andy Reid, died of an accidental, self-administered heroin overdose at Eagles training camp at Lehigh University last August. Even the Reid family admitted as much.

What remains unexplained is some of the other things investigators found in that room, and how they got there.

Police found 47 syringes and 64 needles in Garrett Reid’s gym bag. Morganelli also noted cops found 19 vials of an unknown liquid.

The unanswered question is how Reid got the drugs? Who was supplying him?

There also is a question for the Eagles and the NFL, with this situation happening amid the confines of an NFL training camp.

One thing we know. Heroin is becoming an increasingly widespread problem in our communities. Don’t think so, or think it couldn’t happen in your family? Think again.

It happened to the Reids.

It happens everywhere. It does not respect any borders, race, or income levels. It’s everywhere, and the problem is getting worse.

Delaware County recently instituted a task force to tackle the issue. You can read our coverage here.

And this Monday we will revisit this scourge, with an advance on the annual Safe Schools Summit held by the District Attorney’s office. One of the focuses this year will be pushing the warning message to students - starting in middle school.

Don’t miss it.

We made our choice in the 7th Congressional, now we want to hear yours

We’ve made our choice in the 7th District Congressional race. We believe voters would be wise to return Congressman Pat Meehan to Washington for another two years.

You can read it here.

But it was not the slam dunk you might have thought. Democrat George Badey makes a strong case that Meehan has not exactly been the middle-of-the-road moderate that Meehan campaigned as two years ago. And he cites a lot of specific votes to back up his case.

We’ve had our say, now we want you to offer yours. Post a comment on this blog or on the editorial itself.

This is an important vote. Why not take part in the conversation? Get engaged! Join the process!

We’ve had our say, now we want to hear yours.

Why we aren't live-streaming the big Ridley-Springfield game tonight

Most people are calling it the game of the year in Delco high school football.

It’s unbeaten Ridley, sitting pretty at 7-0, vs. the upstart 6-1 Springfield for supremacy in the Central League.

If you want live updates, you can follow our reports from the game tonight on Twitter by using the hashtag #delcofootball. By all means if you’re at the game and want to chime in, please do.

What you won’t be able to do tonight, despite our best efforts, is see the game if you can’t get there on person.

At least not on DelcoTimes.com. It was our intention to do a Friday night live-stream from what most consider the biggest game in the county tonight. We live-stream a high school football game every Friday night.

But the folks at Ridley will not allow us to do so tonight. Don’t blame us. If you wonder why there is no stream, you’ll have to ask the school board and administrators at Ridley.

Their claim is that when we heavily promote and then stream a game on DelcoTimes.com, they take a hit at the gate. In other words, people stay home and watch the game online.

Look, I realize schools are looking for every penny of revenue they can get these days. But I’m not buying that this actually happens.

If anyone at Ridley would like to further explain this decision to me, I’m all ears. You can reach me at 610-622-8818, or email me at editor@delcotimes.com.

We're living in an online world. No one understands that better than newspeople folks. Our world is shifting under our feet in a seismic change. Just yesterday, Newsweek magazine indicated they would abandon the print edition at the start of the year and go digital only.

Digital is becoming an increasingly bigger part of what we do. That includes live-streaming events, in particular high school football.

In the meantime, we’ll be offering live updates on Twitter tonight, and of course we’ll have full coverage both in print and online tomorrow.

We just won’t be carrying the game live.

And that’s a shame.

Update: I've already gotten a few emails from people who would like to be able to see the game. If you'd like to see the game, send me an email or post a tweet with the hashtag #streamridley? Let me know where you'd watch the game from. I know there are proud Ridley and Springfield boosters all over, so chime in. Let's get everyone involved and let the administration know you'd like to be able to see the game.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Daily Numbers - Oct. 18

The Daily Numbers: 3 judges of the Pa. Commonwealth Court who upheld a Delco court ruling tossing a defamation suit filed against outspoken Upper Darby top cop Mike Chitwood by bar owner Robert Herdelin.

1 helicopter pilot killed in a crash yesterday morning in Bucks County. He was a retired state trooper who was friends with many in the Media Barracks.

1 bouncer at Philly strip club now on trial on murder charges in a fatal beating. He was one of 3 found not guilty the day before of beating a man from Middletown outside the club.

8 year old Rottweiler found dead of a gunshot wound in a Collingdale cemetery.

14, age of Chester teen reported missing yesterday afternoon. This morning she is back home and safe.

26 students in the Interboro High chorus who will preform with the classic rock band Foreigner Saturday night at Harrah’s in Chester.

433,000 dollar deficit looming in Glenolden.

405,882 raised this quarter by 7th District Congressman Pat Meehan.

179,898 dollars raised by his foe, Democrat George Badey.

2 men who entered guilty pleas after they were found in a Glenolden home with 2 naked teen girls.

100 dollar fine being eyed for anyone who improperly discards of cigarette butt in West Chester.

70,000 dollars a year, how much it costs to live in the Philadelphia region without government assistance.

22, age of man who is latest to come forward and sue Penn State in connection with what he says was a ‘groping’ incident with former coach Jerry Sandusky on the campus.

37,000 pounds of processed chicken that spilled on highway in western Pa. after a traffic accident yesterday.

18 percent increase in violent crimes reported in U.S. last year.

19, death toll in meningitis scare linked to contaminated steroid shots.

2 p.m., when Northampton officials are expected to release details on the death of Garrett Reid, son of Eagles coach Andy Reid.

3-0 hole, where the Yankees find themselves, on brink of elimination to the Tigers.

19 points a piece for Nick Young and Maalik Wayns in another Sixers preseason win last night.

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Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Andy Reid can’t get a break. Even as he deals with the fallout from the firing of his defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, he will have to face the findings in the investigation into death of his son Garrett this afternoon on Northampton County.

 

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I Don’t Get It: Another dog turns up dead, this time a Rottweiler found shot in a cemetery in Collingdale. I don’t get it.

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Today’s Upper: Kudos to the kids in the Interboro High chorus who will perform with the classic rock group Foreigner Saturday night at Harrah’s.

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Quote Box: “It’s just not right… like an execution.”

- Collingdale top cop Bob Adams, on dog found shot to death in local cemetery.

Our endorsements are in; now we want to hear yours

 

It’s election season, which means it’s time to make our editorial endorsements.
Today we’re offering our choices for the state House and Senate. You can read them here.

Tomorrow we’ll let you know our choice in the 7th District Congressional battle between incumbent Republican Pat Meehan and Democratic challenger George Badey.
But what I would really like is for readers to offer their own endorsements. Do you disagree with any of our choices? Let us know.
Post a comment on this blog item and we’ll highlight it. The idea here is to engage and become part of the political discussion. We have our opinion, and we know you do too. Now we are offering you a place to have it posted as part of the community discussion.
We have always held to the tradition of offering our endorsements. We think it's an important part of our role as a community newspaper.  But we also realize that we are no longer alone in this information process. Today, in a world drenched in the snark of social media and when it seems like everyone has a blog, we realize we are just one of many voices.
We want to hear yours. Don’t be bashful, although gauging by the tone of many comments on our website I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Please try to be civil. We’re not really interested in name-calling. What we would like is some meaningful discussion of the issues and why your candidate is the best choice.
These are critical jobs that will tackle some immense problems in this state. They should not be made in a vacuum.
Join the conversation. Post your endorsement now!

The Great Pumpkin pays a visit to 'Live From the Newsroom'

The Great Pumpkin paid a visit to our offices in beautiful downtown Primos last night.

Actually, it was Lorraine Ranalli and her Cucina Chatter gang, celebrating Octoberfest with everything pumpkin.

If you missed our live-stream Internet show, ‘Live From the Newsroom,’ you can catch the replay here.

Lorraine hauled in some of her usual suspects, Chef Jacqueline Peccina Kelly, Chef Domonic Condo, blogger/author Jim Vanore, and local author and TV personality Rhonda Fink-Whitman as we celebrated fall some serious pumpkin dishes.

The chefs on the show, Chef Jacquie and Chef Dom, came up with some deliciously different varieties on some classic dishes, both utilizing pumpkin for a different taste. Chef Jacquie put a twist on your standard ravioli with a pumpkin filling; Chef Dom did likewise with lasagna. Lorraine chipped in with a classic pumpkin pie, and Dom also offered some great suggestions on pumpkin beers to wash it all down.

Yes, we ate well on ‘Live From the Newsroom’ last night.

Rhonda Fink-Whitman not only chipped in some pumpkin bread, but also gave us a sneak peek at her new book. “94 Maidens” tells of her very personal journey to the Nazi death camps in Poland. You can get it

Rhonda also is partnering with the Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center of Philadelphia for a special book launch. She’s launching the book in connection with their Annual Auction and Fundraiser Gala on Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Melrose Country Club in Elkins Park, Ticketsare still available at $75.

You can contact Rhonda at www.94maidens.com or on her 94 Maidens FB page or on Twitter @94maidens.


Tough times for Andy Reid

Things just don’t get any easier for Andy Reid.

The embattled Eagles coach continues to find himself under siege for Tuesday’s decision to can his longtime friend and defensive coordinator Juan Castillo.

Even the national media, who have fawned over the coach for years and ripped Eagles fans for questioning Big Red, have taken to harpooning him over the coaching shuffle.

Reid will be back in the headlines, this time once again for his family’s personal struggles.

Reid’s son Garrett was found dead in a dorm room at Lehigh University during Eagles training camp back in August.

This afternoon the Northampton County district attorney will hold a news conference to release the details of the investigation.

It’s easy to question Reid’s actions as coach of the Eagles. It goes with the territory. But I would not wish the travails he’s struggled with as a father on anyone.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Daily Numbers - Oct. 17

The Daily Numbers: 1 more presidential debate left. President Obama and Mitt Romney will clash 1 more time on Monday night.

92 students booted out of Upper Darby schools after being found in violation of re-registration process.

3 bouncers at a Philly strip club found not guilty of beating a man from Middletown outside the club. Another man was killed.

30 days extension given to Chester Upland Recovery Officer Joe Watkins to come up with his plan. It’s now due on Nov. 15.

5,000 dollar donation given to Eddystone Fire Co. by Exelon.

15 Delaware County school superintendents who have raised objections to legislation on charter schools.

33-16 vote by Pa. Senate to OK the charter school reform bill, including some important changes from the original.

38, age of man who pleaded guilty to forgery and theft charges. Police say he was trying to rent a house he did not own. Pretty slick idea. Until you get caught.

1,000 family, officials and friends packed the Har Zion Temple to offer a warm farewell at the funeral of former Sen. Arlen Specter.

1.7 percent cost of living adjustment set for Social Security recipients next year.

1 child killed, 4 people injured in high-rise fire at Philly public housing complex.

39 feet, how far a Penn State cheerleader fell from a window ledge on the campus. She is in critical condition.

1 time in his 14 seasons as head coach that Andy Reid has fired a coach in mid-season. That would be yesterday with dismissal of Juan Castillo.

18 seasons, how long Castillo has been with the organization.

10 point lead blown by Castillo’s defense in Sunday’s brutal loss to the Lions. That on heels of last-second loss week before to Steelers in which Eagles couldn’t hold lead.

3-0 hole, where the Yankees find themselves, on brink of elimination to the Tigers.

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

Andy Reid fired the wrong coordinator. His problem on defense is small potatoes compared to the offensive philosophy that insists on ignoring the run game and the NFL’s best back, LeSean McCoy.

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I Don’t Get It: No one is talking about the issues this morning. We’re too busy discussing “binders full of women.”

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Today’s Upper: Kudos to Upper Darby School District, which continues to take hard line in protecting its citizens and taxpayers by weeding out students who are illegally enrolled.

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Quote Box: “It continues to be a battle because we are on the edge of the city. We are trying to be vigilant and at the same time take into consideration the rights of people.”

- Upper Darby Schools Superintendent Lou DeVlieger, on push to make sure students are legally enrolled.

Binders Full of Women

Forget Big Bird.

Think ‘Binders Full of Women.’

That will be the buzzword we all remember from last night’s donnybrook of a presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

The town hall-style debate, with questions posed by the audience and the dynamic duo free to wander around the stage, made for great theater - and some bruising vocal altercations.

The candidates quarrelled with each other, interrupting responses and even bickering with moderator Candy Crowley over the groundrules.

I don’t know who that guy was who showed up in Denver for the first debate, but the president was back on his game last night. And Mitt Romney was not backing down an inch.

So what will we remember?

I’m betting on “Binders Full of Women,” which Romney used as he explained his push to hire women for his cabinet as governor of Massachusetts, when it seemed only men were applying.

We’ve got everything you need to know about the debate on our Elections 2012 politics page. You’ll find analysis, the key moments from the debate, and even a complete transcript from the Hofstra hoedown.

Enjoy yourself.

'Live From the Newsroom' celebrates Octoberfest

'Live From the Newsroom' celebrates Octoberfest!

Need a break from politics and all the rest of the depressing news we seem to swim in every day?

I hear you.

But I also have a solution.

Join us tonight as ‘Live From the Newsroom,’ our half-hour live-stream Internet broadcast, celebrates Octoberfest.

We’ve invited Lorraine Ranalli and her Cucina Chatter gang to celebrate the best food and drink for autumn.

We’ll be joined by Chef Jacqueline Peccina Kelly, Chef Domonic Condo, blogger/author Jim Vanore, and Rhonda Fink-Whitman as we talk some serious pumpkin.

And you just might pick up a few tips on the best pumpkin beers, too.

I’ll drink to that. Join us live tonight at 7!

Andy knows best

Andy Reid always has to prove he’s smarter than everyone else.

Remember when he said the team did not need a No. 1 wide receiver, that his plan to spread the ball around would suffice? Eventually he went out and signed Terrell Owens. The ticking time bomb wide receiver took the Eagles to a Super Bowl before blowing up in their face the following year. But he proved beyond all doubt the value of a No. 1 wideout.

This is old hat for Reid. He's done the same thing over the years with linebacker, a position he has traditionally downplayed, much to the team’s peril. Last year, after introducing Jim Washburn’s Wide 9 defense, the Eagles threadbare linebacking corps was savaged again and again, failing to fill the gaping holes in the line. This offseason the Eagles signed DeMeco Ryans to man the middle linebacker slot and drafted Mychal Kendricks for the key outside spot.

Reid insisted Kevin Kolb was a starting quarterback in the NFL. It took him all of 24 hours to change his mind and give the job to Michael Vick. Kolb would later be traded to the Arizona Cardinals.

And in perhaps his biggest bit of hubris, Reid scoffed at those who questioned his decision to make longtime offensive line coach Juan Castillo his new defensive coordinator. The haughty Reid insisted he had no problem with turning over this key position to a guy who had not dealt with that side of the ball since his college days.

That’s because Andy knows better. He always does. Right up until the second he changes his mind.

Yesterday he fired his old pal Castillo in the smoldering fallout of two consecutive blown fourth-quarter leads, on the heels of a series of similar collapses last season.

Reid was right to make a move. But he fired the wrong coordinator.

The defense has not really been this team’s big problem.

The offense is, in no small part because Reid insists on throwing the ball the majority of the time, despite the fact that his patchwork offensive line is going to get Michael Vick killed.

Reid doesn’t put much weight in the argument that he and Marty Mornhinweg are pass-happy, ignoring the team’s true strength, which is having the league’s best running back in Shady McCoy.

That’s because Reid knows better than everyone else.

He always does.

Right up until he changes his mind.

For more on the Castillo stunner, check out beat writer Bob Grotz, who believes the move smacks of desperation, and columnist Dennis Deitch says fans should not hold their breath waiting for Nick Foles.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Daily Numbers - Oct. 16

The Daily Numbers: 6 Chester teen girls held for trial in the videotaped beating of a mentally challenged woman.

2 of the girls had their bail reduced to 10 percent of $25,000.

4 others remain at 10 percent of $50,000.

474,238 dollars coming to Delco as a result of those impact fees placed on gas drilling in the state.

204.2 million dollars raised overall.

60 percent of the funds, $108.7 million, going to the areas that host the actual drilling.

10 days on the lam for a Darby Township man who fled from his trial in Media. He was picked up in Camden.

996 winter coats handed out to kids yesterday at the YMCA in Lansdowne.

8 people routed by a fire in a home in Norwood. Thankfully, there were no injuries.

50 firefighters who responded to the scene on Chester Pike.

34,000 from the state Treasury in unclaimed money that will go to the Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals in Radnor.

1 more video out there showing a Philadelphia police officer confronting a suspect. This time the guy is from Tinicum. He is shown slapping the officer, then is put down by police. Now they’re claiming police used excessive force.

15 percent hike in table games revenue at Pa. casinos in September.

10,000 dollars worth of jewelry and other goods stolen by a man and woman charged in series of thefts in Egg Harbor Township, N.J.

1 person dead and 3 in hospital after they used heroin inside a home in the Frankford section of Philly.

1 month, age of infant badly burned in Oxford, Chester County. Police say her father became upset with her while giving her a bath and ran scalding water on the tot.

14 Supreme Court confirmations sat in on by former Sen. Arlen Specter, who died Sunday and will be buried today.

1 suspended priest reinstated by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

214 cases of fungal meningitis and 15 deaths now linked to steroid shots.

1 week off for the Eagles for the bye week.

11-11 Eagles record in their last 22 regular season games.

8,483, attendance at last night’s preseason game for the Sixers at Wells Fargo Center, which holds 20,318.

24, where Villanova is now ranked in FCS rankings after taking down No. 3. Old Dominion.

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Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Andy Reid says he’s going to “look at everything” and get this thing right. Anyone else hear that before?

 

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I Don’t Get It: How exactly do you run scalding hot water on your 1-month-old baby? I don’t get it.

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Today’s Upper: Kudos to those who helped make some kids’ winter yesterday at the Lansdowne YMCA while giving out new winter coats.

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Quote Box: “I take it back. I’m sorry. I know I can’t take it back, but everybody makes mistakes.”

- Jamie Davis, 15, of one 6 Chester teen girls charged in videotaped beating of mentally challenged women, at her hearing in court yesterday.