Friday, June 28, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Friday June 29

The Daily Numbers: 52, age of woman whose decomposing body was found in her Chester apartment yesterday.

28, age of her son, who was taken into custody on charges not related to his mother's death.

2 Upper Darby police officers on leave during an investigation of an incident that occurred with a suspect being detained in a holding cell.

2 brain tumors being battled by former All-Star Phillies catcher Darren Daulton. He'll undergo surgery next week.

20 million dollar shortfall in the Chester Upland School District budget. They say they will have to furlough teachers and close a school if more funding is not coming from the state.

30 to 60 years in jail for a Wallingford man who pleaded no contest to charges he beat his 6-year-old nephew to death.

71, age of Haverford man who pleaded guilty to child porn charges.

0, how much city wage taxes the 2 demolition contractors handling site of fatal building collapse were apparently paying.

2 billion dollar transportation play OK'd by the state House yesterday.

1.5 billion for state and local highways and bridges.

312 million for mass transit.

1 month, $97 million budget OK'd by SEPTA as it awaits the final state budget.

25 cent hike in base fare for SEPTA starting Monday, up to $2.25 from $2.

1.80 instead of $1.55 for tokens.

2 dollar hike for weekly pass for bus and subway riders, up to $24 from $22.

91 bucks for a monthly pass, up from $83.

6-4 loss for the Phils to the Dodgers last night, despite homers by Chase Utley and Dom Brown.

21 homers for Brown.

3-0 deficit for Jonathon Pettibone after just 17 pitches.

17.7 points per game average for Jrue Holiday, who was traded to New Orleans by the Sixers on a blockbuster NBA Draft night deal.

1st round pick next year and rights to Nerlans Noel, from Kentucky, what Sixers got in return.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. The news on Darren Daulton battling brain tumors is a kick in the gut. And it makes you wonder, since both former coach John Vukovich and closer Tug McGraw also succumbed to brain tumors.

I Don’t Get It: I see they're getting a lot accomplished in Harrisburg. All together now, "Pennsylvania, Land of Giants."

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Ernest Mariani, a decorated World War II veterand from Swarthmore who will be honored today during the Military All-Stars baseball game at Glen Mills.

Quote Box: “I'm unaware of any senators who voted no last time who have changed their mind." - Sen. Pat Toomey, on any effort to hold another vote on bill to boost gun background checks.

Crying in my beer

I plan to spend the weekend crying in my beer.

Specifically, the six-pack I bought at Wegmans. Which I had to go through a separate part of the store to buy, and pay for at a separate register. That's right, you can't put it in your cart and do the rest of your grocery shopping. And you can't buy a case, just a six- or 12-pack. If you want more than that, you have to take the 12 out to your car, then go back in and buy more.

I'm not making this up.

This is what Pennsylvania calls convenience, when it comes to sale of beer and alcohol.

And it's beginning to look like we're going to have to live with it.

That's because the great privatization push to get Pennsylvania out of the booze business appears headed to the same place so many other similar efforts wound up - nowhere.

The state stores don't appear to be going away anytime soon. If you want alcohol, you'll still have to go there, somewhere else for a six-pack of beer and a third place for a case. Swell!

There actually is a new plan to liberalize sales of beer and wine that was unveiled in the state Senate yesterday. The problem is Majority Leader Delco Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-9, of Chester, despite a week's worth of arm twisting, still doesn't appear to  have the votes to get it passed.

Anything that does pass most certainly will not resemble the version that made history in the House, which would for the most part privatize alcohol sales in the state.

Gov. Corbett has made privatization one of his core issues - along with pension reform and a new transportation budget. Oh, and they have to do all this while putting in place a $28 billion budget by midnight on Sunday.

Pileggi remains optimistic that something can be done. The bill actually might be debated on the Senate floor Friday afternoon.

What would the Senate version do? Keep the LCB and state stores in business, at least for a while. Beer distributors, which are now limited to selling beer by the case, would be allowed to sell six-packs. Some supermarkets, taverns and delis with a restaurant license would also be allowed to sell wine. Alcohol sales would remain solely the province of state stores.

Attention Wawa! Convenience stores that sell gas would also be allowed to sell beer.

I'll believe it when I see it.

It should be a fascinating weekend in Harrisburg.

My guess is that the stormy weather we've been having could move inside the Capitol as well.

 

A new battle for 'Dutch'

Jim Fregosi was the manager of that ragtag, down and dirty team that stole our hearts while rumbling to the '93 NL crown and a spot in the World Series.

But Darren Daulton was its heart and soul.

Daulton was the guy Fregosi trusted to keep that ornery bunch focused. And he was a master at it. They played hard - on and off the field. He was their unquestioned leader, not an easy job when you think of trying to get Lenny Dykstra, John Kruk, Pete Incaviglia and others to toe the line.

Now Daulton has an equally daunting task. He's battling brain tumors. The former All-Star catcher who played 14 seasons in red pinstripes went public with his fight yesterday. He had been feeling ill for a couple of weeks. Now he's hospitalized and will undergo surgery next week.

Ironically, both former coach John Vukovich and All-Star closer Tug McGraw, both icons from that same Phillies era, also battled brain tumors. Both eventually succumbed.

Daulton was hosting a nightly radio show on 97.5 The Fanatic, "Talking Baseball with Dutch."

We wish him the best.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Thursday June 27

The Daily Numbers: 2 key rulings on gay rights from U.S. Supreme Court.

5-4 votes by the high court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, and also cleared the way for gay weddings to resume in California.

84, age of woman who brought the lawsuit against DOMA.

15 percent of woman who own a gun in U.S., as compared to 44 percent of men.

4-0 vote by Chester City Council to again consider a new tax on parking revenue.

25 bicycle cops who were training in Naylor's Run Park in Upper Darby when they came upon a couple having sex in public. They now face charges.

2 more people shot in drive-by in Chester Tuesday.

3 shootings in 2 days in the city

85 years, how long the husband of Splendora DiMarino has been a member of Immaculate Conception Church in Marcus Hook. The church is due to be closed and merged with St. John Fisher.

1.6 million dollar bail for man charged in the deadly building collapse in Philadelphia.

149.83 point gain for stock market yesterday, the 2nd straight day of gains.

11, where Sixers will be picking in NBA Draft tonight.

7-5 win in 13 innings for the Phillies over the Padres last night.

2 of 3 the Phils took in San Diego. They now head to L.A. for 4 against the Dodgers.

5 runs on 7 hits in 6 innings, who left trailing 5-2 but was not tagged with his 12th loss of the season.

40 million dollar deal signed last year by Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez, who yesterday was charged with murdering a friend.

23, how old Hernandez is. What a waste.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Not only did the Phils manage to pull out a win last night to take 2 of 3 in San Diego, in the process they bailed Cole Hamels, who was in line for his 12th loss when he left the game trailing 5-2 after 6.

I Don’t Get It: I wish I could figure out what the hell Aaron Hernandez was thinking. He had everything. And apparently just threw it all away because he didn't like the fact that his friend was talking to some people in a bar that he had issues with. Think he has some issues now?

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the high court for their rulings on gay rights yesterday. But with that precedent, I'm still trying to figure out their ruling Monday to knock down a crucial part of the Voting Rights Act.

Quote Box: “I have two sons, and right now, at least in the state of Pennsylvania, they don't have equal rights." - Brian Bortnicker of Marple, after yesterday's high court rulings, which do not affect the band on gay marriage in Pa.

The first-hand hell of gun violence in Delco

I get to write a lot about gun violence.

Jack Whelan gets to talk about it.

Valerie Maxwell has lived it. The Chester resident lost her oldest son, Emil Smith, to gun violence in 2008. His murder remains unsolved.

Maxwell was our very special guest last night on 'Live From the Newsroom,' where we focused on the issue of guns as part of our weeklong series, "Warning Shots: The Fight Over Gun Control."

As she did in her Sunday profile, Maxwell again appealed for those who know to come forward and offer information to authorities that could lead to her son's killer being brought to justice.

District Attorney Whelan announced that he had pulled the cold case and would review it.

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

My thanks to Whelan, CID boss Joe Ryan, George Dawson, head of the county's Anti-Violence Task Force, and Andrew Wellbrock, an assistant D.A. in Philly and member of the Gun Violence Task Force.

Gun violence in Delaware County is a street problem. And that is likely where the answer lies as well. Our editorial on topic tells why.

 

Remembering Don Seeley

In more than three decades in this business, I've met a lot of people.

Don Seeley was one of the best.

Don was the longtime sports editor of our sister paper, the Mercury in Pottstown. He died suddenly on Wednesday at the one place he would rather be other than a high school sporting event - the golf course.

Don personified what community journalism - what at its core all of us strive to do every day - really is.

Most people that I know who get into the sports writing racket, dream of one day covering a pro beat.

Don was a pro whose beat was at the heart of what we do - high school sports. He did something we look to do here at the Daily Times every day. Yes, we staff the Phillies, Eagles, Sixers and Flyers. But we strive to offer the same style coverage - albeit likely without the same criticism - to high school athletes.

That's why the loss of Don is being felt so deeply in the Pottstown community. It's because Don, and the sports pages he edited at the Merc, exalted in local kids and what they did on the athletic fields.

It's a bond that community newspapers make with their readers. We put your kids' names and pictures in the newspaper. We exalt in their victories, and suffer along with the losses.

You might say Don Seeley was Pottstown sports. There wasn't a key football or wrestling match held where he was not holding vigil.

It's no secret that our business is struggling mightily these days. Losing Don is another punch to the gut.

He will be missed. By those who read him every day, by the kids and their parents whose moments of glory - and anguish - he captured for decades.

And he will most especially be missed by those in the business who knew him and admired him. Don Seeley understood what a community newspaper means to its readers.

It literally leaped off every page.

You don't replace guys like Don Seeley. You mourn their passing and redouble your efforts to do your job the way he did.

That's what newspaper people do.

And Don Seeley was the ultimate newspaper guy.

Rest well, friend.

 

Can someone explain the Aaron Hernandez case to me?

I usually save this for my Daily Numbers package.

But I have to get this one off my chest now.

Aaron Hernandez. I Don't Get It.

Really, can someone explain this one to me?

In case you're not a sports fan or have not heard about it, Hernandez was one of the budding superstars in the NFL. The tight end had just signed a $40 million new deal with the New England Patriots.

Today he's sitting in jail, charged with murder.

You can catch all the sleazy details here.

Police say this was your basic macho stuff. Hernandez apparently believed the NFL player was ticked at a friend because the guy was talking to the wrong group of people at a local nightclub.

A prosecutor alleged that Hernandez orchestrated the murder, driving semi-pro player Odin Lloyd to a remote spot with some buddies, where he was shot repeatedly in the back and chest.

Aaron Hernandez is 23 years old. The 2011 Pro Bowl selection had signed a five-year contract last summer with the Patriots worth $40 million.

This guy had everything, and he just threw it all away over what seems like a minor disagreement.

I just don't get it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday June 26

The Daily Numbers: 19 of April, last time Melissa Rodriguez was seen in public.

3 holes dug in the yard of her Collingdale home. Nothing was found.

4 cadaver dogs used at the scene as well.

19,392 suicides committed with a gun in the U.S. in 2010, compared to 11,078 homicides.

20 suicides by gun in Delaware County the same year, as compared to 26 homicides by gun.

2 people shot on streets of Chester Monday night.

3,800 people being laid off by the school district of Philadelphia. Hundreds trooped to Harrisburg yesterday to seek more education funding.

2 billion in revenue for Harrah's casino in Philadelphia since it opened in 2006.

1.2 billion of that is tax revenue.

100 point gain for the Dow Jones yesterday.

23 million dollars, how much the Flyers will pay Ilya Bryzgalov to go away after buying out the remaining years of his contract.

34 million dollar, 9-year deal signed by Bryz 2 years ago.

2.61 goals against average for Bryz in 99 regular season games as Flyers goaltender.

6-2 win for the Phillies over the Padres last night.

20 home runs for Dom Brown after he went yard last night.

8 strong innings for Kyle Kendrick, who picked up his 7th win against 4 losses. He gave up 2 runs on 7 hits with 6 strikeouts, 0 walks.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Some day someone will offer all of us $23 million not to go to work. I'm not going to hold my breath.

I Don’t Get It: Nothing is as difficult for newspaper editors as the issue of suicide. But there's no denying it's a growing problem. As we point out in today's segment of our weeklong series looking at gun issues in Delaware County, just as many people take their own lives with a gun as kill someone else. And nationally, a lot more people use guns to commit suicide then take another life.

Today’s Upper: Kudos toall those who made the trek to Harrisburg on a broiling day yesterday to seek more funding for education in order to escape a brutal new round of cuts.

Quote Box: “Melissa's body is not anywhere on this property." - Collingdale Police Chief Bob Adams, after a search and digging on the property of missing Collindale mother Melissa Rodriguez.

Another battle in Marcus Hook

We've talked a lot about the issue of church closings and mergers in Delaware County. The days are numbered for five Delco parishes.

An archdiocese ruling means that nine Delco parishes will be merged pared down to four by merging several parishes. Five parishes will disappear.

Not everyone is happy about the decision, especially in the lower end of the county, where Holy Saviour in Lower Chichester and Immaculate Conception in Marcus Hook are due to disappear after this weekend, merged into St. John Fisher in Upper Chi.

An appeal filed by parishioners of Holy Saviour has been denied. They are planning to take their case to the Vatican.

Parishioners at Immaculate Conception aren't happy either. And they also plan to have their voices heard. Their appeal also was denied by the archdiocese.

It's interesting that the two parishes actually sought to be able to merge themselves to form a separate parish. That also was rejected. It's pretty clear there is some bad blood in the lower end, and that these two parishes want little to do with St. John Fisher.

Tonight parishioners at Immaculate Conception will meet at the church in Marcus Hook at 7 p.m. to talk about their plans.

We hope to be there to let you know what they will do next as they wage war to survive.

'Live From the Newsroom' tackles the gun issue in Delco tonight

If you've been following our weeklong series, "Warning Shots, the Fight Over Gun Control," you won't want to miss tonight's live-stream broadcast "Live From the Newsroom."

We'll be joined by a special panel to discuss gun issues here in the county.

 

 

Among our guests will be District Attorney Jack Whelan and CID boss Joe Ryan, who will detail the county's efforts to attack the gun problem.

Also on hand will be Valerie Maxwell of Chester. We profiled her on Sunday and her battle to come to grips with the shooting death of her son in 2008. The case remains unsolved.

Andrew Wellbrock, an assistant district attorney and member of the Gun Violence Task Force, will also join the panel, and maybe a citizen and gun rights supporter.

Don't miss this week's show live on DelcoTimes.com at 7 p.m. Wednesday. If you have a gun-related issue or question you'd like to see addressed, email it to me at editor@delcotimes.com and I will put it to our panel.

Join the conversation, and follow the series all week in the Daily Times and DelcoTimes.com.

  

Bye, bye Bryz

The search for Ron Hextall's successor continues.

Hextall last played for the Flyers in the 1998-99 season. Here are some of the names that have stood between the pipes since then: Cechmanek, Esche, Hackett, Niittymaki, Biron,  Boucher, Emery, Bobrovsky.

Two years ago the Flyers once again tried to solve the riddle of their goaltending curse by going out and signing Ilya Bryzgalov.

Yesterday they told him to go away, and offered him a nice little parting gift - $23 million left on his nine-year deal.

Just once I'd like someone to offer me that kind of money NOT to go to work. Bryzgalov now becomes a free agent.

For the two wildly entertaining, if not terribly successful years he spent in Philadelphia, the Bryz will have earned a little more than $39 million.

Paul Holmgren might want to consider that the next time he mulls the idea of offering anybody a nine-year deal.

Bryzgalov was not a bad goaltender, he just wasn't the game-changer the Flyers expected, and for whom they have now been seeking for more than a decade. He went 52-33-10 with a 2.61 goals against average and .905 save percentage in 99 regular season games with the orange and black. Last year, his numbers sagged in the playoffs, a 3.46 goals against and .887 save percentage. Of course, the Flyers didn't have that problem this year, they watched the Stanley Cup playoffs on TV after failing to make the post-season.

There were a lot of familiar names, former Flyers who did make the playoffs, including several whose names will now be etched on the Stanley Cup for their work with the Chicago Blackhawks.

But there is another name that likely will remain stuck in the craw of the Flyers' rabid fans. I already mentioned it here once.

That would be Sergei Bobrovsky. He manned the pipes for the Flyers for parts of the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, serving as the backup for Bryzgalov that last year. After that he was dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets. This year he won the Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender in the NHL.

In the meantime, Holmgren will continue the great goalie hunt. Steve Mason looks like the leader in the clubhouse.

Where have you gone, Ron Hextall?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday June 25

The Daily Numbers: 5 Delco parishes that will disappear after this weekend.

2 parishes that had appeals against merger plans denied by the archdiocese. Holy Saviour in Lower Chi and Immaculate Conception in Marcus Hook both saw their pleas fall on deaf ears.

30 parishes in the archdiocese to close or merge since the Parish Pastoral Planning Area Initiative began in 2011.

136 weapons recovered from the streets of Chester in 2012.

739,682 submissions to Pennsylvania Instant Check System for a firearms purchase in 2011.

95 percent of those were approved.

100 fugitives nabbed by PICS checks in 2011.

1,475 fugitives nailed since the program started in 1998.

33, age of Ridley Park man who faces charges after he started waving a Confederate flag and yelling racial slurs at people in a residential community near a Toby Keith concert in Camden.

26, age of Upper Chi man facing charges in a series of home break-ins in lower end of county as well as Delaware.

8 days, how long some activists have been taking part in hunger strike to protest education cuts in Philly.

139 point dip for the Dow yesterday amid new fears of problems in China.

5.7 percent decline in the market from its all-time high last month.

6-5 vote yesterday by Senate committee to OK plan to make major changes in plan to privatize sale of booze in Pa.

100,000 dollar bonus for owner of South Philly beer distributor who sold a winning $131.5 million Powerball ticket. The winner has not yet come forward.

3-0 lead blown by Phils in bottom of 9th as the Padres rallied to tie it and then win it in the 10th.

4 of last 5 save opportunities blown by closer Jonathan Papelbon, after he converted all 13 of his save appearances before last week.

3 hits each for Carlos Ruiz and John Mayberry Jr.

8 strong innings for Cliff Lee, who left with 3-0 lead after giving up hits to first 2 batters in 9th.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Charlie Manuel just can't win. Last night he decided to leave Cliff Lee in to start the 9th, even letting him hit with a runner in scoring position in the top of the inning. Lee struck out, then allowed first two batters to get base hits, then gave way to Papelbon. Can you imagine the reaction if Charlie had pulled Lee and then Papelbon had blown the game?

I Don’t Get It: I'm not the least bit surprised that the archdiocese rejected appeals from two churches in the lower end who are fighting an order that they be merged with another parish. The writing is on the wall for this one.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Kenny Covert and Brothers of Concern, the Chester grass roots group that is taking the battle against drugs and gun violence to the streets. The city could use a lot more like them.

Quote Box: “The bigger the gun, the bigger you are." - Kenny Covert, of Brothers of Concern, on the problems dealing with guns on the streets of Chester.

'Live From the Newsroom' talks guns in Delco

If you've been following our weeklong series, "Warning Shots, the Fight Over Gun Control," you won't want to miss this week's live-stream broadcast "Live From the Newsroom."

We'll be joined by a special panel to discuss gun issues here in the county.

Among our guests will be District Attorney Jack Whelan and CID boss Joe Ryan, who will detail the county's efforts to attack the gun problem.

Also on hand will be Valerie Maxwell of Chester. We profiled her on Sunday and her battle to come to grips with the shooting death of her son in 2008. The case remains unsolved.

We're also hoping for a representative from the U.S. Attorney's office in Philly, as well as a citizen and gun rights supporter.

Don't miss this week's show live on DelcoTimes.com at 7 p.m. Wednesday. If you have a gun-related issue or question you'd like to see addressed, email it to me at editor@delcotimes.com and I will put it to our panel.

Join the conversation, and follow the series all week in the Daily Times and DelcoTimes.com.

 

Holy Saviour eyes help from higher authority

File this one under, Not Exactly a Surprise.

The archdiocese has rejected an appeal by the parishioners of Holy Saviour Church in Lower Chichester objecting to the decision to close their parish and merge them with St. John Fisher in Upper Chi.

You can read all the details here.

Now parishioners may be ready to go to a higher authority. Longtime parishioner Joe DiMarco says the group is ready to take their fight to the Vatican.

I wish them luck. They're going to need it.

Immaculate Conception in Marcus Hook similarly had their appeal denied. Also nixed was a plea to allow Holy Saviour and Immaculate Conception merge to form a single parish. It seems neither parish wants much to do with joining St. John Fisher.

To say there are some bruised feelings among Catholics in the lower end of the county would be an understatement.

The decisions were part of the Archdiocese's ongoing Pastoral Planning Initiative. In Delaware County, nine parishes will be merged into four.

St. Louis Parish in Yeadon will merge into Blessed Virgin Mary in Darby Borough; St. Alice in Upper Darby will merge with St. Laurence; and St. Cyril's in East Lansdowne will merge with St. Philomena in Clifton Heights.

The last Mass to be celebrated at Holy Saviour is set for 11 a.m. Sunday. We'll be there.

 

Not exactly by the Manuel

Not much has gone right for Charlie Manuel and the Phillies this season.

That didn't change as they opened a 10-game road trip in San Diego last night. Thankfully, this all happened well after midnight, sparing most fans the agony of watching it. The game ended too late for our print edition, but we have full coverage online here.

You want to be  a Major League manager? Here's your chance. Join the rest of us in second-guessing Manuel. Just don't ask who's right in this one. Sometimes things just don't work out. Take last night for instance.

The Phils were cruising along with a 3-0 lead behind Cliff Lee, who was tossing a gem. But Lee was due to bat in the ninth inning with a runner in scoring position. Manuel decided to let Lee bat and go back out to the hill for the ninth. Hard to argue with him. Lee was dominating the Padres and closer Jonathan Papelbon has suddenly developed a case of blown save-itis.

So of course Lee strikes out, then promptly allows two base hits to start the ninth. Exit Lee, enter Papelbon.

Stop me if you see what's coming. Papelbon promptly gave up a two-run single. Then he hit a batter, got a ground ball double-play and seemed ready to get out of the inning. But catcher Carlos Ruiz failed to catch a swing-and-a-miss by pinch hitter Mark Kotsay, the ball went to the backstop, and the Padres got the gift tying run on a close play at the plate.

Of course they then won it in the 10th inning. Papelbon has now blown four of his last five save attempts.

If Manuel had hit for Lee in the ninth, you can imagine what might have happened if the Phils had blown the game in the bottom of the inning. But leaving him in didn't work out any better.

I think I would have send Lee back out there, just as Manuel did last night.

Charlie just can't seem to win these days.

Neither can his team.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Monday June 24

The Daily Numbers: 186, number of concealed carry permits issued in Delco from Dec. 17, 2011 and Jan. 4, 2012.

439, number issued from Dec. 17, 2012, and Jan. 4, 2013, after Newtown school shootings.

14 homicides so far this year in Delaware County. All of them but 1 have been committed with firearms.

32 homicides in the county last year, 23 of them in Chester.

3 new police officers hired in Darby Borough.

1 percent tax hike looking in Chichester School District, that's down from 1.5 percent first eyed.

150 years of history being celebrated at Gettysburg.

8-0 ugly loss for the Phils to the Mets at Citizens Bank Park yesterday.

44,951 shoehorned into the Bank for this ugly little episode.

10 game road trip starts tonight in San Diego.

20 minute rain delay during yesterday's game.

17 home runs at Citizens Bank Park for Mets star third baseman David Wright, who also tripled while going 4-for-5.

15 day disabled list for Michael Stutes.

12-game hitting streak snapped for Ben Revere.

3-0 win for Union over the New York Red Bull in MLS action at PPL Park in Chester.

19,013 sellout at PPL Park.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. The Phillies are 4 games under .500 and going nowhere. They celebrated the official start of summer by falling 7.5 games behind the Braves.

I Don’t Get It: How long has it been since the Flyers played a game? Forever? Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals between the Blackhawks and Bruins is tonight.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the legacy of Wilbur Henderson, whose name became synonymous with the idea of a corporate park, an idea he originated right here in Delco.

Quote Box: “Sandy Hook is 26 people killed in one day. In Chester, it is 23 people killed in one year. So in Chester, it's cumulative and developmental. but it's not any less traumatic in Chester than it is in Sandy Hook. - Chester Mayor John Linder, on the problem of gun violence in his city.

We're talking about guns again

We're talking about guns again.

This week, the Daily Times and DelcoTimes.com is presenting a six-part 'conversation' on gun issues here in Delaware County. We're calling it: WARNING SHOTS, The Fight Over Gun Control.' It will run through Friday.

Not surprisingly, like much of the country, guns have been much on our mind since last Dec. 14, when a crazed gunman walked into a school in Newtown, Conn., and killed 20 first-graders and six adults.

Thankfully, there has been no repeat of such carnage, here or anywhere else. That doesn't mean it is not on everyone's mind.

It's certainly been on the mind of Valerie Maxwell. The Chester woman lost her son to gun violence in 2008. No one has been arrested. We presented her story on Sunday.

Today we look at the issue through the eyes of local law enforcement, people who see the damage guns do every day and who have some ideas what we can do about it. Find out what D.A. Jack Whelan, Chester Mayor John Linder and Upper Darby top cop Mike Chitwood think here.

I'm hoping to have a panel discussion on the issue Wednesday night on our 'Live From the Newsroom' live-stream show.

I need someone to take up the mantle of gun rights. Look, I know that guns are not going away. And I know that law-abiding people are not the issue here. That does not mean we don't have a gun problem. We do, even if it is criminals who are causing the problem.

If you have an idea about this problem, or would like to take up the side of gun rights, send me an email to editor@delcotimes.com.

Join the coversation.

We'll be talking about it all week.

 

Crunch time in Harrisburg

Forget the Battle of Gettysburg, which just happens to be celebrating its 150th anniversary as the defining moment of the Civil War.

The real action this week - as it is every year in the last week of June - will be in Harrisburg, where our elected representatives will hold their very own un-civil war.

They call it a state budget.

State law mandates it has to be in place by midnight on July 1. That gives the politicos about six days. I would take the over on that one.

The guy with the biggest stake in all this just might be Gov. Tom Corbett. He has challenged the Legislature to include action on privatizing the state liquor system, as well as a massive upgrade in transportation spending, and fixing that 'tapeworm' known as the public employee pension crisis, all as part of the budget.

I'd be surprised if any of them happens. And remember, I just happen to be the state's leading proponent of blowing up the LCB and turning the whole process of alcohol sales over to private enterprise.  As happens with almost everything in the state Capitol, the amendments are flying. Anything that does get passed when it comes to getting out of the booze biz is likely to fall far short of what Corbett initially sought. But that won't stop him from taking credit if by some chance legislation actually passes.

Corbett desperately needs a win. His poll numbers continue to tank, and he has a re-election campaign on the horizon. A recent poll puts him well behind the front-running Democrat, U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, by a 46-34 margin.

Of those who responded to the poll, 65 percent said the governor did not deserve another term. Making matters worse for Corbett, 44 percent of them identified themselves as Republicans.

The guess here is that some kind of a watered-down booze bill gets passed, one that expands beer and wine sales but does not blow up the LCB.

Pensions? Transit? I wouldn't hold my breath.

Neither should the governor. And that is not good news for a guy in desperate need of a life raft.

 

Crucial road trip looms for Phils, & that's a fact, Jack

I'm blaming Jack McCaffery.

Two weeks ago, the best sports columnist in Philly suggested it was time for Ruben Amaro Jr. to back up the truck and start selling off the remnants of this once-great Phillies team.

And Jack meant everyone. That includes star pitchers like Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, and, yes, outfielder Domonic Brown.

At the time Brown was hotter than the Colorado wildfires. He had been named National League Player of the Week two consecutive weeks and the Player of the Month for May.

Since then Brown has come back to Earth. He looks a lot more like the guy who has disappointed so often in the past. Jack said Brown's value would never be higher, a stance that earned him a fair bit of derision in several media outlets.

As for the rest of the Phils? They continue to muddle along, four games under .500 and seven and a half back of the first-place Braves.

In other words, they're going nowhere.

Actually, right now they're headed to the West Coast, where they will start a 10-game road trip tonight in San Diego.

Yesterday they got walloped by the lowly Mets, 8-0. They looked overmatched against Mets starter Matt Harvey. As he always seems to do, David Wright tortured the Phils and used Citizens Bank Park as his own personal playpen.

The Phils covered all the same ground again yesterday that has been the hallmark of this team, inept hitting, poor decisions and spotty defense. Did I mishear it, or wasn't Ben Revere supposed to be a standout centerfielder? Yesterday his miscue in juggling a fly ball (which admittedly still should have been ruled an out) opened the door for a big inning for the Mets. They never looked back.

And the disinterested Phils never seemed to look up.

The Phillies need to use this road trip to put it together, instead of their recent penchant for pointing fingers. If they can scratch their way back to the .500 mark when they get back after spending the the July 4 holiday in Pittsburgh, they might have a shred of hope.

If not, if they continue to linger several games under .500 or sink even farther, it will be time for Amaro to pull the trigger.

Just as Jack said a couple of weeks ago.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band

I've never actually seen the Rolling Stones. I did hear them once.

It was the summer of '78. Yes, that was a lifetime ago. At least.

The bad boys of rock were in the midst of a stadium tour after the release of their Some Girls album.

They didn't do Denver, instead they came to the Folsom Field on the campus of the University of Colorado in Boulder.

As it happens, I was finishing my last semester in college and was about to graduate and try to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

I didn't have the money for Stones tix, so I did the next best thing. I decided to hang out outside the stadium. I'm glad I did. No, I did not see Mick prancing, Keef grinding or any of the other Stones' antics.

But I heard everything, including what is clearly the best introduction in rock music history: Ladies and gentlemen, the world's great rock 'n' roll band, The Rolling Stones. Usually followed by a thunderous roar and the most famous guitar notes in music history, Keith Richards pounding out the intro to 'Satisfaction.'

I didn't see any of if. All I heard was the music. That was enough. On that summer afternoon, they just might have been the world's greatest rock band, at least this side of the E Street Band.

I'm not sure laid-back Boulder was completely prepared for the Stones. Part of the fun of the day was seeing the people stream into town. The Stones attracted - how would you describe them? - an interesting crowd. Heavy on the bikers.

Everywhere you looked around the stadium there seemed to be a Harley.

A few weeks later, I put all my earthly belongings in the back of a pickup truck, pointed it east on I-70, and headed back East - and home. I'm embarrarssed to say I've never been back. I can't exactly explain why. I guess life got in the way.

A few weeks after that I started working as a stringer for the Record in Coatesville. It shares something in common with all too many newspapers these days. It no longer exists.

But I was there long enough to meet my wife. She worked in advertising. I was in the newsroom.

Today, June 18, we are marking 30 years of wedded bliss. We're still going. So, amazingly, are the Stones.

As fate would have it, the Stones are in Philly tonight. When I saw the dates announced, I joked with my wife that we should celebrate our anniversary by going to the Stones show at the Wells Fargo Center tonight.

She passed. So I've still never actually seen the Stones.

But I did hear them once. Before I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Before I met my wife. Before spending 30 years walking into the same building here in Primos to work. Before the 30th anniversary of saying I do.

Satisfaction? Yeah, I've had my share.

 

Ryan Howard heating up just in time

Looks like maybe Ryan Howard got the message.

Then again, maybe it's just Howard's normal cycle - he starts to heat up when the weather does.

Before last night's game, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. again lamented the lack of production from the middle of the Phils' lineup. It wasn't hard to figure out who he was referring to.

Howard has been battling pain in his knee and continues to recover from surgery on his Achilles.

Last night he took out a little of his frustration on the Nationals. Howard had three hits, including snapping a long homer-less streak, as the Phils beat D.C. at Citizens Bank Park.

Even with Howard heating up, it was left to Dom Brown and a dramatic 9th inning homer to make winners out of the Phils after another bullpen hiccup coughed up a late lead.

Here's all the details from Rob Parent.

Face it, regardless of how hot Howard gets, nothing is going to be easy for this team.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Merion beat them all

First they said it was too small, that the circus-like atmosphere, a corporate monster known as the U.S. Open had outgrown tiny, venerable Merion.

They said it would be a logistical nightmare.

Then they wondered if the course was too short, that it would be eviscerated by today's golfers.

Then the rains came, and they wondered if players simply would fire away and stick darts in Merion's fairways and greens, leading to unheard of low scores.

They were wrong. About it all.

Merion beat them all. In the process, so did Haverford Township and the region.

We showed how to put on a world-class event.

Merion shone through the early storms and then drove the greatest golfers in the world to their knees.

It tameed Tiger. Humbled Phil. And finally watched as a Rose bloomed.

The winning score was 1 over.

That's right, not one golfer broke par.

Merion beat them all.

Can't wait for The Open to come back.

 

The trifecta of golf and anniversaries

It's a big week for golf, and anniversaries. At least it is for me.

All three of them converged for me this week at the Daily Times. I explain it in my weekly print column.

You can read that one here.

Now back to the Phillies

The biggest winner of the weekend was not Justin Rose, or even venerable Merion. It might have been the Phillies. Or at least the luckiest.

The arrival of the U.S. Open at Merion for the week took the Phils out of the spotlight - and it's a good thing.

Their road trip was a disaster. They fell again yesterday in Colorado, with Cole Hamels repeating his sad story from this lamentable season. He pitched well - just not well enough - and got almost no support.

Summer starts this week, and Ruben Amaro needs to take a serious look at this roster and determine if he wants to be a buyer or seller. Based on that road trip, count me as a vote for backing up the truck and starting over.

Dennis Deitch has all the details.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Friday June 14 - Happy Flag Day!

The Daily Numbers: 14, as in June 14. Happy Flag Day!

31 years I've been coming to work at the Daily Times. 1st day on job June 14, 1982.

30 percent of showers again today after we got nailed with several more inches of rain yesterday.

6 inches of rain dumped on the region in the last 6 days.

10.03, record rainfall for June, set in 1938.

5,000 customers in Delco who lost power during yesterday morning's storms, according to PECO.

3.5 hour rain delay at yesterday's U.S. Open. They are finishing the 1st round this morning and then will get on with Round 2.

371 graduates from Penn Wood High School who got their diplomas yesterday.

283 graduates from Chichester High School.

279 graduates from Marple Newtown High School.

19 people rounded up in Upper Darby in a sting called "Operation Start Your Summer."

52, age of Philadelphia building inspector who took his own life. He had been involved in the inspection of the demolition project that ended with the deaths of 6 people.

4 under, low score at the U.S. Open, although Luke Donald still has to finish his round.

3 under in the clubhouse for Phil Mickelson.

2 over for Tiger Woods, who also is already back on the course finishing his 1st round.

3-2 win for Phils in Minnesota last night to snap a 5-game losing streak.

8-2 mark for Cliff Lee, who got the win when the Phils rallied for 2 runs in the 8th inning.

16 hits pounded out by the Phils.

2-2 series now in the NBA Finals after the Heat beat the the Spurs last night.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. The Phillies rapped out 16 hits last night, and only scored 2 runs.

I Don’t Get It: When did we move to Seattle? Enough rain, already.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the seniors from Penn Wood High, who persevered over a very tough year to get their diplomas yesterday.

Quote Box: “He's had a crazy 24 hours." - Keegan Bradley, who played 1st round yesterday at U.S. Open with Phil Mickelson, who had to take a cross-country red-eye flight to get back in time for an early tee time.

A salute to Flag Day

Know how I know that today is Flag Day.

Other than the fact that it coincides with the very first day I walked into the Daily Times.

I distinctly remember hearing the classic 'I Am Your Flag,' penned by Bob Nelson on KYW as I drove here to Primos that day.

I look forward to hearing it every year.

For the last three decades, KYW has sort of been the soundtrack to my life. And 'I Am Your Flag' to me has become synonymous with Flag Day.

CLICK HERE to hear it.

31 years? That's a lot of front pages

31 years at the Daily Times. That's a lot of front pages. Welcome to the inner sanctum here in beautiful downtown Primos. Some people refer to this as the fall of fame. I haven't updated it that much in recent years. I have to admit it, I still love print. And I still get a special feeling when I see a great headline splashed all over Page 1

Flag Day 1982, 31 years and counting at the Daily Times

June 14.

To a lot of people, it's Friday.

Not me.

I know this is a very special day - for a couple of reasons.

For one, it's Flag Day, the one day a year we set aside to honor Old Glory, the Stars and Stripes. Fly it proud!

But for me, Flag Day always has another special reason to reflect.

It was on June 14, 1982, that I walked into the Delaware County Daily Times for my very first day of work in beautiful downtown Primos. Hard to believe I've been walking in these doors now for more than three decades.

I've seen a lot of things happen in this county. I've written a lof of headlines, put together a lot of front pages, and of course today also oversee a website and technology that allows us to deliver news 24 hours a day, to say nothing of writing blogs like this one.

Happy Flag Day, Delco. And happy anniversary to me.

Someone please tell me I'm not this old.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Thursday June 13

The Daily Numbers: 6 hours of surgery for 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan, who received a double-lung transplant yesterday.

0 parking again today at Rose Tree Park for the U.S. Open at Merion. They moved it to Granite Run Mall.

6:45 a.m., when the first group went off, starting play at the U.S. Open.

1-3 inches of rain expected to deluge the region again today.

11 a.m., how long a severe thunderstorm watch is in effect.

20, age of man gunned down on Chester street Tuesday night.

3 people chased from a Springfield home by fire early Wednesday morning,

313 graduates who picked up their diplomas from Radnor High School last night.

292 grads from Interboro High School.

28 billion dollar budget plan that got the OK from the Pa. House yesterday.

6-12 years in abuse case for a former priest and ex-teacher in Philly abuse case.

1,000 images of child porn police say they found on computer of township supervisor in New Garden, Chester County.

18 inch alligator found on street in Philadelphia yesterday.

5 straight losses for the Phils, who fell 4-3 in Minnesota last night.

5 innings for Tyler Cloyd, who gave up just 1 run on 6 hits.

1 run surrendered by reliever Joe Savery and 2 by Antonion Bastardo as the Phils' bullpen woes and middle relief continue to get banged around.

3-1 win for the Union over D.C. United in U.S. Open Cup play last night.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. That's 5straight losses for the Phils, matching their 5-game win streak last week. That's just about what they are, a .500 team.

I Don’t Get It: Enough with the rain, already. What? Is Mother Nature not a golf fan?

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the family that donated the lungs transplanted into little Sarah Murnaghan yesterday. Their loss could mean a new life for the Newtown Square girl.

Quote Box: “We expect it will be a long road, but we're not going for easy, we're going for possible. And an organ donor has made this possible for her." - Janet Murnaghan, mother of transplant recipient Sarah Murnaghan.

I'll be narrating 'Death on the 16h Fairway' at Media Theatre tonight

For an old newspaper guy, I've been getting my share of face time.

It all started Monday when I taped Dom Giordano's cable TV show, 'Dom Time.' That one aired on cable last night. Hope your TVs are still working. Believe me, this is a face that was made for the newspaper.

Then last night, we used our foray into live-streaming on the Internet, our weekly community affairs show, 'Live From the Newsroom,' to preview the U.S. Open from the Lamplighter Tavern in Haverford. Here's the replay.

And tonight I will be in Media, which is looking to capitalize on the Open madness with a special series of events. They may have lost the parking at Rose Tree Park, which has been moved to Granite Run Mall because of all the rain, but they are still doing their Dining Under the Stars promotions, which was going great guns.

And they also have the special offering at the Media Theatre, which is putting on local businessman Art Leahy's show "Death on the 16th Fairway." They use a series of guest "celebrity" narrators and I will be filling the role tonight.

Hopefully they will spare you my face. You'll have to settle for my somewhat less than mellifluous voice.

If you're at the show, make sure you say hello.

 

'Live From the Newsroom' previews the U.S. Open

We took out 'Live From the Newsroom' out on the road last night to preview the U.S. Open.

I'm guessing we were about a couple of solid 4-irons from Merion at the Lamplighter Tavern. Owner Jack Quinn regaled us with some of the local lore surrounding the tournament, in particular how much it has changed since Jack first opened the doors about a month before the 1971 Open was contested on Merion's hallowed turf.

This morning the Open is back in Haverford for the first time since 1981. Quinn notes it's a much bigger extravaganza than it was back then, and that local businesses are hoping to cash in as well. The tournament is expected to push somewhere around $100 million in the local economy.

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

Our lead golf writer Tom McNichol and reporter Vince Sullivan gave us updates on everything both inside and outside the course.

McNichol likely holds the distinction of being the only journalist covering the Open who has been inside the ropes for an Open at Merion. That's because he's a former Merion caddy who actually had a bag in the 1981 Open. You can read that great yarn here.

Tom makes his predictions today. You can catch them here. Here's a hint. He likes Graham McDowell. I'm leaning toward Rory McIlroy, although I also hope my man Tiger is at least on the leaderboard come Sunday afternoon. Like him or not, it is simpy a different vibe when Tigers is lurking on Sunday afternoon.

Our thanks to Jack Quinn for hosting us last night. Stick with DelcoTimes.com for live Open coverage all weekend.

 

Parking alert for U.S. Open at Merion

Have your heard the news? It might rain today.

All eyes remain on the skies as the U.S. Open officially kicks off play this morning at Merion Golf Club in Haverford.

But there is an important bit of news for anyone who is heading to the Open and planning to park at one of the remote off-site lots.

Forget Rose Tree Park. With another deluge expected today and the lots already closed in the aftermath of Monday's heavy rains, the USGA is abandoning its plans to park there and instead planning to utilize the lots at Granite Run Mall in Middletown. That's a little farther out, where Route 1 meets Route 352.

You will also still be able to use the PPL Park lots in Chester.

Both remain free. Shuttle buses will whisk you to and from Merion.

SEPTA remains the best option, and people seem to be getting the message. The transit authority yesterday indicated ridership on the regional rail lines as well as the Norristown High-Speed Line was up by 13,000 riders on Wednesday.

Both lines will drop you a short walk from the course. Maybe the best bet is to get to 69th Street and then take the Norristown line to the Merion stop.

Now about that weather....

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Wedneday June 12

The Daily Numbers: 10 billion dollar contract for Boeing in Ridley to produce more Chinook and V-22 helicopters.

800 million dollars in savings for taxpayers because of the deals, according to Rep. Pat Meehan.

41 jobs still being eliminated at the plant.

1-3 inches of rain expected to deluge the region again tomorrow, just in time for the 1st day of actual competition at the U.S. Open at Merion.

0 parking again today at the Rose Tree Park lot for the Open. They are hoping to be able to reopen tomorrow, weather permitting.

267 grads who picked up diplomas from Sun Valley High School last night.

1963, the Sun Valley class from 50 years ago that was honored last night.

490 graduates from Ridley High School.

3 men facing drug charges after a sting operation in Upper Darby.

2 vehicles, 1 garage crushed by a large tree that came down in Aldan.

500,000 dollars that will be paid by Keystone Sports, parent company of the Philadelphia Union, to the city of Chester to settle dispute over parking at PPL Park.

1,500 ripped off from a man at an Upper Darby car wash by a grifter.

5 story fall that was fatal to 18-month-old toddler in Philly.

28.3 billion dollar state budge that is still awaiting action in the Pa. House.

4 straight losses for the Phils, who fell 3-2 last night in Minnesota.

2 runs on 7 hits over 6 innings for Cole Hamels, who did not get the loss.

7 hits, all the Phils could muster against the Twins.

2-1 edge for the surprising San Antonio Spurs, who beat LeBron James and the Heat again last night in the NBA Finals.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Raise your hand if you're worried about the forecast for tomorrow's first round of the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club. That includes all you USGA guys.

I Don’t Get It: They probably could have done a better job of letting people know that Rose Tree Park lot was going to be closed yesterday. When I went past a little after 9 yesterday morning headed for West Chester, there was a line all the way down to the Bypass. There was a sign before the exit telling them to go to PPL Park, but that was after people had already passed the Blue Route exit.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Sun Valley High, where last night they started a new tradition of honoring the class from 50 years before. Last night the Class of 1963 walked with the Class of 2013. Nice.

Quote Box: “Don't blink." - Dr. Paul Cass, Class of 1963, to this year's graduates from Sun Valley High School.

'Live From the Newsroom' previews the U.S. Open from the Lamplighter in Haverford

On the eve of the U.S. Open kicking off for real tomorrow at Merion Golf Club, we'll head to Haverford tonight for a special preview edition of our live-stream 'Live From the Newsroom' show.

We'll be setting up shop at the Lamplighter Tavern, and have assembled a glittering list of pundits to talk about Merion, the Open and of course the weather!

Lamplighter owner Jack Quinn will join us, along with several local business owners who will talk about the economic advantages of having the golf world arrive at your doorstep.

Meanwhile, our lead golf writers for the tournament, Tom McNichol and Neil Geoghegan, will offer their insights on the tournament, what effect the weather is likely to have, and some predictions.

If you have a prediction you'd like to get on the record or another question you'd like us to ask, email it to me at editor@delcotimes.com. Then tune in tonight at 7 for our live chat on DelcoTimes.com.

Fore!

One more reminder: No parking again today for U.S. Open at Rose Tree Park

One more reminder: No parking again today at Rose Tree Park

The good news for people trying to get to Merion Golf Club for for the U.S. Open is that the second off-site parking lot at Rose Tree Park is expected to reopen tomorrow.

Unfortunately, that won't help much today. Rose Tree remains closed. You have to drive down to PPL Park in Chester and then take the bus back to Merion. And it's suggested you get there early. Yesterday the PPL Park lot was packed.

Your best bet remains SEPTA. Drive to 69th Street and then take the Norristown Hi-Speed Line, which has a stop almost right at the country club. Regional rail also will get you there.

The plan now is for Rose Tree to reopen tomorrow. But the problem with that is that heavy rain is expected to move back into the region tomorrow. The reason they stopped parking at Rose Tree is because most of the cars are parking in the fields, not on the paved surface of the lot. Those fields have been turned to a sea of mud by traffic and cars. The fear is that a lot of cars would not be able to get out of all that slop. They might end up shutting down again tomorrow if the monsoons move in again.

Stay tuned right here to DelcoTimes.com for all the latest updates on parking and commuting right through the weekend as the golf world comes to Delco.

All eyes on the skies at Merion

The Phillies are all wet. So, unfortunately, is Merion Golf Club. At least it was Monday.  And while today looks to be glorious, there is an ominous forecast for tomorrow, the first day of play at the U.S. Open.

First, the Phillies. Don't look now, but they might be cooked. They lost again last night in Minnesota. Thats four straight losses.

Our lead sports columnist, Jack McCaffery, wrote a column yesterday in which he urged Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. to back up the truck and blow this team up. Jack believes the time has come. The Phillies should be sellers. And that includes Cole Hamels and Dom Brown. Yep, that's what he wrote. It certainly got tongues wagging in the region. Jack took some serious heat from some media outlets. That's what makes him the best sports columnist in the region. He has something to say.

Speaking of heat, it's about to get turned up at Merion, for a couple of reasons. Heavy rain turned the place into a quagmire on Monday. I'd like to see an over-under on the number of shoes ruined by people slopping through the muck.

Today promises to be glorious. That's not the problem, tomorrow is. Thursday is the first day of the tournament. And the forecast is not good.

There is no truth to the rumor that some players are considering building an ark. But it's a pretty good bet that venerable Merion is going to get wet. Real wet. There is a flood watch already in effect for the entire region through Thurday night.

The USGA and Merion gurus continue to say that the course drains extremely well. It better, it is about to be put to the test.

The National Weather Service says storms will rumble across the region during the day on Thursday, including every golfer's worst nightmare, thunder and lightning. It's actually supposed to start raining later tonight, and then be on and off tomorrow, with a chance for some downpours. The forecast is for 1-3 inches of rain.

Two-time Open champion Ernie Els has already indicated the Merion has been weakened, or better stated "softened," by Monday's heavy rain. Thursday's precipitation will only make that more of an issue.

The fear is that the rain will strip Merion of its best defense, those hard, fast fairways that are very tough to hold as balls roll into the brutal rough, and the lightning fast, tricky, undulating greens. The course already does not play as long as most Open courses. Some experts believe if players can simply fire away and stick the ball in the fairways and greens, Merion will be at the mercy of the best golfers in the world.

They always say that the usually brutal U.S. Open layouts are not designed to embarrass the world's best golfers, but instead identify them.

Now there is some fear that Merion will not be able to to that.

Our lead golf writer, Tom McNichol, has his eyes on the skies at Merion. You can check out his column here.

The national media also is chiming in.

If there's a silver lining here, it's that once we make it through Thursday, the weekend forecast looks great. But by then, as Els points out, will Merion be too soft to fight back?

We're about to find out.

 

Don't forget it's me and Dom Giordano 1-on-1 tonight

Just a reminder that I will be the featured guest tonight with local talk radio host Dom Giordano, on his half-hour show on WMCN. "Dom Time" airs tonight at 7 on Channel 19 here in Delco on Comcast.

I first thought it was going to be a panel discussion, but when I arrived I soon learned it would be just me and Dom for the entire half hour. The show is taped on Monday afternoon, then airs Wednesday night.

We covered all the big stories in Delaware County, including this week's U.S. Open at Merion, the heart-breaking case of little Sarah Murnaghan, the Newtown Square girl who desperately needs a lung transplant, and the bitter feelings of some local parishioners after the decision by the archdiocese to close their parishes and merge them with others.

There's only one problem. Dom's show airs at the same time as our live-stream Internet broadcast, "Live From the Newsroom." This week we're doing a special show from the Lamplighter Tavern in Havertown, just a stone's throw from Merion Golf Club, to preview the U.S. Open.

I guess I'll have my wife crank up the old DVR. I know all our fans will be tuning in to the live-stream. Right? Right?

Just in case, Dom's show also will be available on You Tube. Here's a link.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday June 11

The Daily Numbers: 4 inches of rain that pelted the hallowed grounds of Merion Golf Club, site of this week's U.S. Open, yesterday.

2 different times golfers were chased off the course, first by lightning in the morning, then later in the day by another downpour.

20 feet, length of bridge that was built to get golf fans over the SEPTA tracks from Haverford College to Merion Golf Club.

2 hours in the middle of the night, how long it took to build the bridge.

31, age of Jennifer Corrado, slain in her Prospect Parkhome by her ex-husband, who police say then took his own life.

2 Delco parishes, Holy Saviour in Lower Chichester, and Immaculat Conception in Marcus Hook, are appealing ruling from archdiocese that would see them merged with St. John Fisher in Upper Chi.

6 month old baby left in car in Upper Darby. Police say the tot's father was watching a T-ball game.

25,000 dollars being donated to Soccer for Success program through Chester Upland schools by the Philadelphia Union.

508 graduates of Haverford High School who picked up their diplomas last night.

3 year contract OK'd between Delco IU and union for 300 employees.

28.3 billion dollar budget now being debated in the Pa. House.

0 parking spaces available at the Rose Tree Park lot. It's been shut down for now because of heavy rain.

21 U.S. Opens for Ernie Els, who has won 2 U.S. titles.

33, age of Erik Kratz, the Phils' backup catcher who is now on the shelf and will need surgery on his knee.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. The Phillies did not play last night. That's a good thing. They open a three-game series tonight in Minneapolis. Any time this team wants to turn things around will be fine by me.

I Don’t Get It
: I didn't think anyone was more powerful than the USGA, the golf gods who rule over the U.S. Open. I guess Mother Nature did not get that bulletin.

Today’s Upper: Kudos toall those hearty golf fans who trudged through the quagmire in an attempt to get a look at their golf heroes yesterday at a thoroughly drenched Merion Golf Club.

Quote Box: “The sooner it's all out of here, as far as I'm concerned, the better. I didn't ask them to come here and do this." - Suzanne Goodwin, who lives just down the street from Merion Golf Club and all the hoopla surrounding this week's U.S. Open.

Dom and Me

Here's a little TV viewing tip. If you can't get enough of me in print via my Monday "Letter from the Editor," online via my Heron's Nest blog, or being live-streamed with our "Live From the Newsroom" show, you have another rare opportunity Wednesday night.

I'll be the guest of local talk radio host Dom Giordano, who does his own half-hour show on WMCN. "Dom Time" airs Wednesday night at 7 on Channel 19 here in Delco on Comcast.

I first thought it was going to be a panel discussion, but when I arrived I soon learned it would be just me and Dom for the entire half hour. The show is taped on Monday afternoon, then airs Wednesday night.

We covered all the big stories in Delaware County, including this week's U.S. Open at Merion, the heart-breaking case of little Sarah Murnaghan, the Newtown Square girl who desperately needs a lung transplant, and the bitter feelings of some local parishioners after the decision by the archdiocese to close their parishes and merge them with others.

There's only one problem. Dom's show airs at the same time as our live-stream Internet broadcast, "Live From the Newsroom." This week we're doing a special show from the Lamplighter Tavern in Havertown, just a stone's throw from Merion Golf Club, to preview the U.S. Open.

I guess I'll have my wife crank up the old DVR. I know all our fans will be tuning in to the live-stream. Right? Right?

Just in case, Dom's show also will be available on You Tube. Here's a link.

Parking & commuting to U.S. Open just got a lot trickier

The deluge that fell on the region yesterday is having ripple effects for golf fans and anyone headed to the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Haverford.

Heavy rain turned Rose Tree Park, one of the two key off-location spots for parking for U.S. Open fans, into a quagmire. Yesterday afternoon, officials decided to close the lot. That means all fans now looking to use the free shuttles will have to go to PPL Park in Chester.

The parking and the shuttle buses are still free, you just can't do it from Rose Tree Park, off Route 252 and the Route 1 Bypass in Upper Providence.

I drove past Rose Tree Park early this morning and the No Parking signs were still up. We'll let you know if that changes during the day.

For now, all that planning for parking and getting people to and from Merion have taken a big hit.

By the way, do not construe that to mean you should still try to drive into the neighborhood of Merion Golf Club in the Ardmore section of Haverford Township and test your fate finding parking there. Residents yesterday reported getting around was pretty hectic.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Monday June 10

The Daily Numbers: 2 dead after man shoots his ex-girlfriend in Prospect Park, then kills himself, according to police.

41 jobs being axed at Boeing in Ridley Township, tied to the federal sequester cuts.

375 graduates who picked up diplomas yesterday as Garnet Valley High School celebrated graduation, with Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, looking on. His nephew was among the grads.

8 arrest warrants issued in theft case in Upper Darby.

1 million dollar bail for police officer in New Jersey charged in road rage incident.

29, age of leaker who spilled beans on National Security Agency surveillance program.

9-1 loss for the sagging Phillies yesterday in Milwaukee.

3 of 4 dropped by the Phils to the equally lowly Brewers.

6 runs surrendered by rookie Jonathon Pettibone in just 5 innings and change, his first real struggle since being called up.

125 million dollars in improvements for Lincoln Financial Field being done by Eagles.

1-1 all tied in the NBA Finals after the Heat scorched the Spurs yesterday.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Good thing for the U.S. Open arriving here this week. Maybe it will take our minds off the Phillies.

I Don’t Get It: It is coming down in buckets out there. Some parts of Merion Golf Club under water. Luckily, the course drains very well. We'll get an update on the effect on the course later today.

Today’s Upper
: Kudos to Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, who tried to blend in as unobtrusively as possible as they attended Garnet Valley graduation to see their nephew collect his diploma.

Quote Box: “Everybody's working a litttle harder to make our town look bettter for the Open. We're going to be on national TV for four days." - Haverford Commissioner Larry Holmes, talking about the U.S. Open arriving this week at Merion Golf Club in the Ardmore section of the township.

The golf world comes to Delco - and so is the rain!

It is finally here. After years of preparation, the U.S. Open arrives at Merion, with practice rounds starting today.

Unfortunately, so has the rain.

Right now it is absolutely teeming at Merion Golf Club. Online Editor Vince Carey is on the scene, setting up our base for coverage all week, and has posted some Tout videos of the downpour.

Today's practice rounds are on hold right now.

Stay with DelcoTimes.com all week for special live coverage from the Open. We'll have live blogs and Tweets to keep you on top of everything that is going on, both on the course as well as in the Haverford neighborhood that will find itself under siege this week as Delco becomes the epicenter of the golf world.

Click here for our U.S. Open blog.

We'll have writers inside and out Merion Golf Club, as well as our normal outstanding sports writers chronicling all the action.

First things first, and that means the weather. One of the things people wondered about is what would happen to Merion, which is a shorter than most courses held for U.S. Opens in recent years, if it got softenened up by rain.

There also is the danger of flooding.

We'll have a full update later today on the effect of today's monsoon-like downpours.

Stick with us for all the coverage you can handle from Merion and the U.S. Open.

 

Class of 2013, kudos to Bonner-Prendie!

It was the class that a lot of people did not think was going to happen.

Instead it's the start of a new tradition, built on the old one, of love, faith and respect.

It's the Class of 2013 at Monsignor Bonnre-Archbishop Prendergast High School. I got a chance to pay a visit there last week for their senior awards night, and was surprised by an award for the Daily Times and our coverage of their struggle to keep the school open.

It's in my print column today.

 

The Boys of Simmer: Phils have serious problems

It's a good thing the U.S. Open is coming to town this week.

Maybe - at least for those golf nuts among us - it will help us forget about the Phillies.

This team is dead in the water.

With a chance to follow up on their success at home against some weak teams, the Phils had the chance to build on it with a visit to Milwaukee, another bad baseball team. Things started out OK, but went downhilll quick.

After taking the opener of the series, the Phillies proceeded to drop three in a row. To the Brewers. The exclamation point was delivered yesterday as the Phils got pounded, 9-1. This was embarrassing.

Rookie Jonathan Pettibone did what kids sometimes do - he had a bat outing. That happens from time to time. But the Phils showed absolutely no inclination to fight back.

Granted they are now without both their No. 1 and No. 2 catchers. Erik Kratz has now joined Carlos Ruiz on the disabled list.

Still, this was unacceptable.

You can read Dennis Deitch's account of the carnage here.

Now it's on to Minnesota. Ruben Amaro Jr. has some tough decisions to make in the next few days. But first and foremost might just be a move to shake up this dead team. Forget blowing up the core. This might take more than that.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Friday June 7

The Daily Numbers: 2 victims from the building collapse in Center City Philadelphia from Delaware County. Borbor Davis was a Darby resident. Mary Simpson was a Haverford High grad.

6 killed, 14 injured in the collapse.

1 lawsuit filed in connection with the collapse already.

12 specific findings from the state Auditor General slamming operations at Chester Upland School District. In effect, the state said Chester Upland was failing in its primary mission to educate students.

42 percent graduation rate in Chester Upland for the 2011-2013 school year, that's 43 percent below the state goal of 85 percent.

592 students that the district simply didn't account for in submitting data to the state, a mistake that likely cost the district millions in state aid.

30 professional employees in Chester Upland assigned to jobs for which they lacked proper accreditation.

24,000 square feet in the new merchandise pavilion that opened yesterday at the Merion Golf Club for the U.S. Open. You don't need a ticket to get in through Sunday.

350,000 items inside, including a shot glass for $6 or $27 for a U.S. Open hat, all of course carrying the official logo.

19th hole, what Media Borough is hoping to be as they look to capitalize on the thousands of people who will be parking their cars in nearby Rose Tree Park. They hope they stop in the borough for dinner on the way home.

2nd young patient at Children's Hospital who is now suing to be placed on adult transplant list after federal judge sided with Sarah Murnaghan and her family in their attempts to get her on the list. She was placed on the list yesterday. She's still waiting for a donor.

18,000 dollars in cash stolen from Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Claymont, Del., and a 25-year-old man now under arrest.

343 graduates from Penncrest High School who picked up their diplomas yesterday.

244 graduates from Archbishop Carroll.

91, age of swimming star Esther Williams, who died yesterday.

18, age of shortstop J.P. Crawford, the high schooler from California the Phillies took with the 16th overall pick in last night's MLB amateur draft.

5 straight wins for the Phils as they post a 5-1 win over the Brewers behind another strong outing from Tyler Cloyd.

3 hits for Michael Young hitting in the leadoff spot for the 1st time since 2004.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Five straight wins for the Phils. They're trying to make a believer out of me.

I Don’t Get It: Everyone who believes there was something wrong with that demolition project in Philly raise your hands. Thought so.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all the high school graduates and the Class of 2013.

Quote Box: “It really hurt." - Michelle McClain, talking about her 68-year-old father in law Borbor Davis, of Darby, who was killed in the Philly building collapse.

The bruised feelings of some local Catholics

As you can expect, not everyone is a big fan of the parish closings and mergers announced last Sunday by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

I met three of them last night.

Longtime Upper Chichester pol Joe DiMarco, his wife, Donna DiMarco, and Kathy Curley were my guests for our 'Live From the Newsroom' live-stream show. All our longtime members of Holy Saviour Parish in Lower Chichester. And all three made pretty clear their displeasure with the way the archdiocese made their decision, which was to close Holy Saviour, as well as Immaculate Conception in Marcus Hook, and merge them with St. John Fisher in Upper Chichester.

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

At first I thought bitter was a pretty strong word. Not after talking to them.

The folks at Immaculate Conception are not especially thrilled with this arrangement either. They held a meeting last night to plan their strategy.

On Sunday night, Holy Saviour parishioners will do the same at a meeting in the auditorium at 7 p.m.

It appears certain that both parishes plan to appeal the ruling to shut them down and merge with St. John Fisher.

But I was surprised at how deep the hurt - and the bitter feelings - goes. This stems all the way back to when the region that is now St. John Fisher was cut out of what was then a booming Holy Saviour parish. It was made only worse when their school was closed last year.

This might be the final straw.

One thing all three made clear. They have no intention of becoming parishioners at St. John Fisher.

I don't see what kind of choice the archdiocese has in terms of trying to lessen their costs amid all these parishes, which make for too many buildings, and too many bills, along with not nearly enough clergy to go around.

I asked a spokesman for the archdiocese if he wanted to come on the show last night. He could not make it, and indicated that when he did he would rather come on alone, not with parishioners. After meeting the passionate trio from Holy Saviour last night, I think I can understand why.

That is not going to make them go away.

If the archdiocese thinks this is over, I think they have another thing coming.

Actually, three of them.

 

TGIF? Not exactly, but it does give me a reason to 'Tout' a new video device

TGIF?

No one bothered to tell Andrea. The storm that is roaring up the East Coast is drenching us - and providing me with a chance to play around with a new video software we're using here at DelcoTimes.com.

The forecast says we're going to get 1-3 inches of rain today, and it is likely to linger into Saturday morning. So much for that celebratory beer with the Phillies game out on the deck tonight.

Our new video software is called Tout, and it allows us to shoot short video clips with out smart phones and push them immediately onto the Web via Twitter.

I've embedded one here.

As much as I like playing with all this new media, it won't make this day any better. We'll be keeping a close eye on Darby Creek, which usually roars over its banks every time someone spits in it.

As of 7 a.m., it was running pretty good, but still well inside its banks.

If you happen to see weather-related news out there, make sure you snap a shot of it and email it to editor@delcotimes.com. And if you want to do a Tout video, we'll take that as well.

It's all part of how we are expanding our community engagement. Last week I managed to get in a bit of hot water when I asked for reader-submitted pictures of a fatal crash. But remember, you can send us anything - prom shots, graduation pix. Consider us your No. 1 outlet for photos and video.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Thursday June 6

The Daily Numbers: 6 people killed in collapse of building in downtown Philadelphia yesterday.

1 victim identified as a man from Darby Borough.

14 people injured.

1 woman pulled alive from the rubble last night, 13 hours after the collapse.

10 days, how long an injunction is in place that would allow 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan can receive an adult lung transplant.

20 and 16, ages of Yeadon brother and sister charged with attempted homicide after 6 shots were fired at another man.

25,000 tickets sold for the U.S. Open at Merion starting next week.

135 to 265 dollars, what tickets were going for on eBay.

2,000 dollars for a weekly badge on StubHub.

308 members of the Class of 2013 who picked up diplomas at graduation ceremonies yestereday for Archbishop Carroll High School.

1 year of construction complete yesterday with reopening of Old Forge Road Bridge in Middletown.

4 more soldiers added to Armed Services Tribute Board in County Courthouse yesterday.

50
percent hike in spending on state transportation systems in bill OK'd by state Senate.

28 cents per gallon hike in cost of gas at pump likely under the plan.

100 dollar surcharge on speeding tickets or running red light.

$50.50 fee for driver's license for 6 years, as opposed to current $29.50 for 4 years.

104 dollars for car registration every 2 years, instead of current 36 bucks annually.

18 home runs for Dom Brown.

2 wins against 9 losses for Cole Hamels, who got win yesterday over Marlins.

4 straight wins for Phils, who managed to even their record at 30-30.

3-0 win for Union over Crew at PPL Park.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Never thought I'd be so giddy about the Phillies hitting the .500 mark. Hey, you take your celebrations where you can with this team. Now they have to move over that line, instead of falling back again.

I Don’t Get It: Don't like the sound even a little bit of some of the stories coming out of that demolition project that ended in tragedy with building collapse in downtown Philly yesterday.

Today’s Upper: Kudos toall those who bravely dove into the rubble - in some instances using their bare hands - to pull people to safety.

Quote Box: “I can't believe someone just gets up and leaves, but it does happen. I just hope she's around somewhere." - Collingdale resident Riccardo D'Ilario, on probe of missing mom Melissa Rodriguez.

Live From the Newsroom tackles Catholic parish closings tonight

Everyone knew it was coming. That did not make this week's announcement by the archdiocese that several longtime Delaware County parishes would close their doors any easier to take.

Nine parishes will be merged into four on July 1.

In Upper Darby, St. Alice will merge into St. Laurence.

St. Cyril of Alexandria in East Lansdowne will join St. Philomena in Lansdowne.

St. Louis in Yeadon will be welcomed into Blessed Virgin Mary in Darby.

And in the county's lower end, Immaculate Conception in Marcus Hook, along with Holy Saviour in Lower Chichester, will be merged into St. John Fisher.

Tonight we'll talk to some parishioners who are not hapy with the moves.

Joe DiMarco, a longtime public figure in Upper Chi and also a longtime member of Holy Saviour, will join our 'Live From the Newsroom' show to talk about the mergers and why so many people in the lower end are upset with it. He'll be joined by several other members of the affected parishes.

It is what Catholics all over the county are talking about, and we'll be talking about it tonight on our live-stream Internet broadcast.

Why not join the conversation? If you have a question concerning the mergers you'd like to see addressed, email it to me at editor@delcotimes.com. Then tune in to the live show tonight at 7 and take part in our live chat.

We'll be talking church closings and mergers live tonight at 7!