Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday July 30

The Daily Numbers: 2 woman who complained about the actions of a part-time Darby Township officer, leading to charges of kidnapping and stalking being filed against the cop.

10 percent of $50,000 bail for Officer Christopher Scott.

1.2 million calls expected to go to the Delco 911 Center this year.

42 percent of 911 calls in the suburban Philly region that emanate from here in Delco.

68 percent of Delco's calls that come from cell phones, 32 percent from land lines.

13 million dollars, how much Delco spends every year to operate its 911 Center.

3 children who perished in that horrific fire in Chester last week. It has been ruled accidental, and officials believe it started in the kitchen, on the stove.

77.8 million dollars, how much an Upper Darby woman will collect after coming forward yesterday to claim the Powerball jackpot from June 22. She bought the ticket at Federal Beer in South Philly. The jackpot was worth $131 million, but she's opted for the lump sum cash payout.

5,900 in fines for the Marcus Hook attorney and animal rescue shelter operator who pleaded guilty to several cruelty to animals counts.

34 same-sex marriage licenses that had been issued by Montco before the state went to court to block such actions yesterday.

23.2 seconds, how often Kelly's teams ran a play at Oregon.

3 people hurt in a drive-by shooting in North Philadelphia.

1 person killed in an accident involving 3 motorcycles and an SUV last night in Montgomery County.

15 bikes used in the Tour De Shore charity fundraiser stolen from outside a downtown Philly pub.

4 p.m. trade deadline for Major League Baseball today. So far the Phillies have been standing pat.

8-game losing streak snapped last night by the Phils in 7-3 win over the Giants.

3 runs on 7 hits over 7 innings for starter John Lannan.

1 home run for Carlos Ruiz, who hit his 1st last night.

8 home runs for Michael Young, who may be gone by today's trade deadline. The Phils called up third baseman Cody Asche.

36,492 who went through the turnstiles at Citizens Bank Park last night.

23.2 seconds, how often Chip Kelly's offense ran a play at Oregon. The NFL officials may balk at that kind of temp in the pros.

78.5 percent of his plays at Oregon that went off without a huddle.

12.8 percent, number of plays in NFL last year that used the no-huddle.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Just when you started to get excited about the possibilities of Chip Kelly's up-temp offense, the NFL just might have different ideas. Sounds to me like they want to knock the hot-shot college coach off his newfound pedestal. Jeff Lurie should be reading Roger Goodell the riot act.

I Don’t Get It: Wonder where all this controversy over same-sex marrage came from? You can point the finger directly at Pa. Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Patricia Chandler, she's the Upper Darby woman who today is $77 million dollars richer after claiming that record Powerball jackpot.

Quote Box: “Officer Scott would still be on the street targeting young women." - DA Jack Whelan, on what would have happened if charges were not filed against Darby Township part-time cop.

'Live From the Newsroom' tackles same-sex marriage

The state has now returned fire in the great same-sex marriage debate.

Pennsylvania yesterday filed suit against Montgomery County and Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes, seeking to put a halt to the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Hanes last week made headlines by following up  on Attorney General Kathleen Kane's announcement that she would not defend the state's ban on same-sex marriage from a legal challenge from the ACLU. Kane said she found the ban morally indefensible and "wholly unconstitutional."

Obviously, Gov. Tom Corbett disagrees. Yesterday he sicced his Health Department, which is in charge of issuing records in the state, to go after Montco in court.

And so it turns.

Tonight, our live-stream Internet show, 'Live From the Newsroom,' will join the conversation and tackle the divisive issue of same-sex marriage. I'll be joined by the Delaware County Register of Wills Hugh Donaghue, who has said the county intends to follow the law and has no intention of issuing licenses to same-sex couples. Also on hand will be state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, of Haverford, one of the state's leading gay rights advocates. Leach actually this week officiated at a ceremony of a same-sex couple who had gotten their license from Montgomery County. And we'll also have the strong voice of our featured Sunday columnist Christine Flowers to join the fray.

Now I want to know what you think. Email me your observations or questions for our panel. Do you think Hanes is right. Or are he and Kane flouting Pennsylvania law? Where do we go from here? Should Delco start issuing licenses.

Why not join the conversation? Then tune in tonight at 7 on DelcoTimes.com and take part in our live chat during the show.

It's the hottest issue in the state. Make your opinion known.

Not so fast, Eagles fans

Attention Eagles fans! Before you get too carried away with all this talk about Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense, there's something you might want to know.

The NFL officials might have other ideas.

In a Wall Street Journal story, the NFL's vice president of officiating Dean Blandino makes clear his belief that it's the referees - not the coaches or players - who dictate the pace of the game.

"We have to make sure teams understand that they don't control the tempo, our officials do," Blandino said.

Can you say fly in the ointment?

Much of the interest sparked by the arrival of Chip Kelly from Oregon is the notion of how his up-tempo, frenetic pace that steamrolled college opponents during his reign at Oregon would fly in the NFL.

Turns it might never get off the ground.

If I'm Jeff Lurie, I'm on the horn with Roger Goodell asking exactly what Blandino means. I don't think Lurie is depositing $6 million bucks in Kelly's bank account just to see him run the same offense everyone else in the league features.

Kelly pretty much wants to be running a play every 23 seconds or so. That's what he averaged at Oregon. Last year the Patriots featured a version of this offense.

The Eagles and Patriots kick off the exhibition season in a couple of weeks. Maybe they should have a backup officiating crew on standby to give the regulars a blow.

Or maybe we'll find out the league is serious about the officials sticking a pin in Kelly's trial balloon.

And if that's the case, Lurie, Kelly and Eagles fans should waste little time in crying foul.

 

Why Philly is a great sports town

4 p.m.

That's the witching hour for the Phillies and the rest of baseball as the trade deadline dominates the conversation. After all that talk yesterday, and after calling up third baseman Cody Asche, fueling speculation that Michael Young would be dealt, the Phils stood pat. Young even homered.

But 4 is not the number that most interested me from last night's 7-3 win by the Phils.

It's not 8 either, the number of consecutive losses the Phils snapped by beating the Giants.

Nor 1, celebrating the 1st home run of the year from Carlos Ruiz, who is on the lips of many of those talking trades.

And not even 8, that would be the number of home runs for the guy at the top of all the trade speculation, third baseman Young.

The number that most interests me is 36,492. No, that's not the number of trade offers GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has received in the past week.

That's the number of people who went through the turnstiles at Citizens Bank Park last night.

This for a team coming off one of its worst road trips in recent memory, losers of 8 straight, pretty much slamming the door on any playoff hopes,  swept by both the Cardinals and Tigers, and playing even worse than that record appeared.

Remember that number when people start talking about great sports towns. More than 36,000 people filed into that little gem of a stadium in South Philly last night to watch this fatally flawed team.

Maybe they were just glad to have baseball back in town.

More likely, it tells you everything you need to know about Philly as a sports town.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday July 30

The Daily Numbers: 150 Brookhaven residents who packed a meeting last night on a proposed development for one of the few remaining vacant lots in the borough.

55 acre tract at Edgmont Avenue and Coebourn Boulevard that is being considered for shopping center.

2 young men who are accusing an Upper Providence man they considered a mentor of sexual abuse. He now faces charges.

62, age of woman who went missing from an assisted living facility in Middletown. Her body was found about a half mile away.

460,250 dollars raised by "Friends of Joe Sestak." The Federal Elections Commission now is saying Sestak needs to declare himself a candidate or cease raising funds.

8 hurt in gas last that leveld two row homes in South Philly.

12 percent hike in tolls looming next year for those using the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

2 percent increase for those using EZ-Pass.

136 million dollars in jewels ripped off in massive jewel heist in hotel in Cannes, France. Can you say "It Takes a Thief." Yes, the caper happened at the same hotel as the famous Cary Grant flick.

7,000 jobs in 13 states that Amazon.com is looking to fill.

2.4 billion dollar price tag for Saks, which is being acquired by parent company of Lord & Taylor.

51, age of El Wingador, also known as Bill Simmons. The Wing Bowl champ yesterday pleaded guilty to cocaine distribution charges.

5, as in No. 5, the jersey of Donovan McNabb, which will be retired by the Eagles.

2,801 completions for McNabb, tops on the Eagles.

32,873 yards passing.

216 touchdowns.

100 wins, including 9 in the playoffs.

1 of 4 NFL QBs to have 30,000 yards passing, 200 TDs passing, 3,000 rushing yards and 20 TDs rushing.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Can we now stop arguing the merits of Donovan McNabb and just appreciate him as the greatest quarterback in Eagles history?

I Don’t Get It: Is every house under construction or rehab in Philly blowing up or falling down, or does it just seem that way.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Pope Fracis, who capped off a huge weekend at the World Catholic Youth Summit in Rio with word that he will not stand in judgment of gay priests.

Quote Box: “Last but not least, I want to thank Big Red for taking the chance and sticking with mee in '99. We made history, big fella." - Donovan McNabb talking about his former coach Andy Reid yesterday.

Sorting through the rubble at Penn State

Here's what I am left with after hearing some of the testimony against three former Penn State executives yesterday on charges connected to the Jerry Sandusky fallout.

It has nothing to do with Graham Spanier, the school's former president who now faces charges that he covered up the whole thing, along with two key aides.

It has nothing to do with Mike McQueary, the former assistant football coach who lit match to this powderkeg when he witnessed something involving Sandusky and a young boy in a shower.

And hard to believe, it does not even have anything to do with the legendary Joe Paterno, the coach whose role in this mess led to his firing and ugly downfall. He died just a few months later.

Instead I am thinking about this: How long do you think it will take Penn State to get past this? Will the school ever recover. For years, when you heard the words Penn State, you thought of football, of blue and white, and their legendary coach.

Now when I hear the words Penn State, I am just as likely to think of Jerry Sandusky and all the sordid detail that entails.

Maybe it's just me. I certainly hope so.

So my question is this? Will Penn State ever get past Jerry Sandusky?

Sen. Leach presides over same-sex marriage

At least one person is taking full advantage of Montgomery County's decision to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, is adding to his resume.

The senator, who represents a slice of Delco in Haverford, yesterday presided over a same-sex marriage ceremony at the Talamore Golf Club. Leach is a registered officiant with the Universal LIfe Church. He presided over the marriage of Sarah and Marcia Martinez-Helfman, a local couple who received their license from the Montgomery County Register of Wills last week.

"I am thrilled to have had the opprotunity to officiate the marrage of a wonderful, loving couple," Leach said. "Today's ceremony proves that little by little, we are making strides toward full equality here in Pennsylvania. Each court ruling and each supportive decision made by elected officials puts another crack in the armor of discrimination. Today's ceremony shows that love can indeed conquer all."

Maybe.

Actually it likely will not conquer the controversy that has erupted in Pennsylvania ever since Attorney General Kathleen Kane indicated she would not defend the state's same-sex marriage ban from a legal challenge filed by the ACLU.

Kane's stance followed a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that knocked down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

In the wake of Kane's stance, Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes decided to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Only one problem with that. Same-sex marriage is not legal in Pennsylvania. And will not be until the Legislature rewrites the law or a judge overturns the ban.

I have an invitation to Sen. Leach to join us Wednesday night for our 'Live From the Newsroom' show. Delaware County Register of Wills Hugh Donaghue, who has indicated he will follow state law and not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, will be on hand. We'll also will be joined by one of our featured columnists, Christine Flowers.

In case you have not noticed, there is a political overtone to this entire discussion. Kane and Hanes are Democrats. So is Leach. Donaghue and Gov. Tom Corbett, who now has been left holding the bag by his attorney general about who will defend the state position, are Republicans.

Should be an interesting conversation. I hope Leach joins us. Why not take part in the conversation? What is your take on this whole same-sex marriage situation? What question would you have for Leach? Or for Hanes and Donaghue for that matter? Email them to me at editor@delcotimes.com. Then tune in Wednesday night at 7.

Honoring No. 5

No one else will ever wear No. 5 again for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Good.

That should not be construed to mean no one will ever again debate the merits of Donovan McNabb. There's end in sight to that.

McNabb was back yesterday for a press conference held by the Eagles to announce his number will be retired with a ceremony during the Birds' Sept. 19 home game vs. the Kansas City Chiefs. They just happen to be coached these days by a certain red-haired big guy.

Yes, that would be the very same Andy Reid who put his imprint on the Eagles franchise 14 years ago by making McNabb his very first draft pick, the second pick overall in the 1999 draft.

The Eagles selected the quarterback from Syracuse, one of a cadre of highly touted signal callers coming out that year. But it was not comparisons to any of the quarterbacks that set the stage for the persistent drama that formed the backdrop of McNabb's excellent career in Philly. Instead, it was a running back the Eagles did not take, much to the chagrin of a busload of fans who made the trek to New York, as well as the booming voice of the city's sports-loving mayor.

Ricky Williams had only middling success in the NFL. Donovan McNabb was a superstar. And probably one of the most misunderstood ones at that.

McNabb now owns most of the passing records for the Philadelphia Eagles. Over 11 years, he led the team to a tradition of excellence that included a couple of NFC title games and one ill-fated Super Bowl appearance.

The playoffs - something Eagles fans only dreamed about for years - became the norm in the Reid-McNabb Era.

Then a funny thing happened. The playoffs were no longer good enough. Fans demanded the team win in the playoffs. McNabb did that.

There is only one thing he did not do. And I am not talking about regurgitating in the Super Bowl.

I'm talking about winning one.

The Eagles fell to the Patriots in their only 'Super' appearance. The fans will never forgive Reid and McNabb for the way the Eagles played in the final quarter of that game, taking their time and consuming huge chunks of clock even though they were down by two scores. They came up five points short. The fans have never forgotten.

Yesterday, McNabb for some reason saw the need to apologize for not delivering on his promise to bring a Super Bowl championship - and the subsequent parade - to Broad Street.

He needn't have.

Maybe I'm mellowing in my old age. Or maybe I'm just not the rabid lunatic Eagles fan I once was. Donovan McNabb has nothing to apologize for. He is without question the best quarterback in Eagles history. Sorry, Jaws. It's not really even close.

Was he at times erratic? Sure. Did he throw an occasional ball at people's feet? Yes, and I was among those who cursed every time he did. But the truth is that stat is hugely over-inflated. Here's a few other things Donovan McNabb did during his career: In 2004 he set an NFL record with 24 consecutive completions. He now stands 12th in all-time wins; 17th in career passing yards; 22nd in career passing touchdowns; and ranks 24th in passer rating.

McNabb led the Eagles to five NFC championship games, including a remarkable four in a row. Granted, they lost two of those - to Tampa Bay in 2003 and Carolina in 2004 - in games most picked them to win.

I've made my peace with McNabb. Was he my favorite Eagle? Probably not.

Was he the best QB in Eagles history? Without question.

And there is one other thing that does not get said about McNabb nearly enough. He was a class act. Never once was his name linked to any kind of scandal. After every one of those tough losses, he stood and faced the questions.

In today's world of professional athletics, there is something to be said for that.

I can also now say this. I'm damn glad the Eagles did not take Ricky Williams with that draft pick,

Congratulations, Donovan. Thanks for the memories.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Monday July 29

The Daily Numbers: 7 inches of rain that deluged some parts of the region yesterday. 7.99 inches officially at Philadelphia International Airport.

2 straight months we have now broken the record for rainfall.

1 woman from Darby killed when her car plunged into the Schuylkill River last night. A male passenger in her car survived.

30,000
fans who packed into Lincoln Financial Field for the Eagles 1st public practice of training camp.

1 huge injury already for the Birds. Starting wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is out for the season after blowing out an ACL in his knee on Saturday, the 2nd day of workouts.

6 prior DUI convictions for the man charged with pulling out directly into the path of a woman riding her motorcycle.

13, age of teen working the cash register who is credited with scaring off a would-be robber in an attempted heist in an Upper Darby convenience store.

28 goats munching on the invasive species and controlling other weeds on the campsu of Haverford College.

62, age of woman missing from a Middletown assisted living center.

24, age of a Chester County Prison guard from Springfield who now faces charges of smuggling drugs and other items into the jail.

2 same-sex couples who had received marriage licenses from Montgomery County last week who tied the knot over the weekend.

3 former Penn State execs who will be in court today to face new charges in the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

1 police officer from South Jersey killed when he lost control of his motorcycle, was thrown off it, and then struck by another vehicle.

3.75 a gallon, average price for gas in the Philly region.

3.65 a gallon, the national average.

11 cents more expensive than a month ago, 16 cents higher than this time last year.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Time for Ruben Amaro Jr. and Charlie Manuel to quit. Their team already has.

I Don’t Get It: How can they get almost 8 inches of rain at the airport and only a trace a few miles away in some parts of Delco. Weird.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Donovan McNabb, who will officially retire today as an Eagle.

Quote Box: “How do you get that many 'get-out-of-jail-free cards? That was his car. How do you get a car with no license and no insurance?" - Kyla Possinger-Glantz, victim of suspected serial drunk driver.

News in an instant

Think you'd like to be a newspaper editor? Keep tabs on a website like DelcoTimes.com? Be able to publish news in an instant with a click of a mouse?

This job has changed dramatically over the last five years. We've gone from delivering news via one platform - namely print - once a day, to giving our readers information updated by the second, 24 hours a day, across several platforms.

The explosion of social media has opened the floodgates when it comes to the dissemination of information. We are no longer alone when it comes to publishing. Sure, you can make the argument that we bring a certain expertise to the job at hand, but the business has been fundamentally altered.

It's hard to explain just how the changes in journalism have affected what I do for a living, the decisions I have to make every day, now seemingly every second, in terms of breaking news.

No one story in the past five years has driven that point home to me more than the sad saga of Sunil Tripathi. You might remember the name. He was the Radnor High grad and Brown University student who went missing - seemingly without a trace - earlier this spring.

But for several hours in the early-morning hours of April 18-19, he became the unfortunate focus of the biggest story in the universe.

And for a few hours, I was wrestling with the idea that this story was about to fall right into my lap.

So you want to know what it's like to sit in this chair, to make the decisions I make every day? First I would like you to read this story on the Sunil Tripathi situation.

Then read this story that appeared on our website later in the morning of April 19.

And finally my blog, which appeared a few days later.

I'm revisiting the topic today because it has been on my mind all weekend. I've shared this New York Times piece with as many people in the business as I can. 

 

To me it defines the new world we all now live – and work – in.

 

I won't ever forget those hours of Thursday night, April 18, and even more importantly the early-morning of April 19.  

 

Just thinking about it again gives me that horrible knot in the pit of my stomach that seems to go hand in hand with my job on the bad days. 

 

I won't ever forget that drive into the office, all the while hearing a talk show host clearly identify the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing as being the missing student from Radnor, right here in Delaware County.

 

Of course the report, stemming initially from some chatter on a Boston police scanner, was incorrect. Sunil Tripathi was not connected to the Boston tragedy.

 

But in a business that now operates second to second, that would not be known for several hours.

 

At least one Radnor cop also had heard the radio report – they dispatched a squad car to the Tripathi house, where the media already was descending. 

 

Social media, Twitter and Facebook, had been ablaze with the possible connection for hours. But I didn't have any confirmation, so I waited.

 

I can tell you that in other circumstances, I have cited other media reports on breaking stories. This time, I didn't. It was too big. Too important. I wanted to wait until I had someone in authority telling me that. It's what we have always done, and it's what we still do, even when delivering news instantaneously. 

 

I am proud that we never posted or obviously printed anything naming Tripathi as a suspect. But I can tell you it was close, and we had staffers on social media following all the “chatter.”

 

This story, maybe more than any other I’ve dealt with, showed me that we now live – and most importantly work – in a different world.

 

My job has changed. We're not going back. And I don't want to. We will continue to deliver news 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

 

That is now what our readers expect. They also want something else from us, I think in part because of what we do, and what we have done for years. They turn to us more than ever for context and meaning in a world that bombards them with information, in particular when it comes to breaking news, sometimes unfiltered, and not always accurate. 

 

I love being able to deliver news to readers when they want – and as soon as we can get it – on the device the readers want to receive it. 

 

Anyone who thinks we should be going back to the old ways is a fool.  

 

But I also am aware of the immense power that we continue to wield, the notion of sharing and transmitting news in an instant. 

 

I have to tell you sometimes it can be a humbling, scary experience. The early-morning hours of April 19 was one of those times.

 

And why I'll never forget the name of Sunil Trapathi.

 

The news isn't always good, folks

I always offer a caveat to business people who want to know how they can get their news in the paper or on our website.

I tell them we'd be happy to do it, while reminding them that it's likely some day we'll be contacting them under distinctly different circumstances. Meaning when bad news hits.

Don't believe me? Just ask Grant Gegwich. It's in my print column today.

 

One era begins, another ends in Philly sports

It was the start of one era - and the end of another - for Philly sports fans yesterday.

More than 30,000 fans entered Lincoln Financial Field to witness the first public workout for the Eagles under new head coach Chip Kelly.

Halfway across the country, the Phillies were busy putting the first few shovels full of dirt on the grave of a great team, a rotting shell of the vehicle that captured a World Weries title just a few years ago.

After winning their first game after the All-Star break in New York, the Phillies promptly dropped eight straight. And just when you thought things couldn't get any uglier after the team got shellacked 10-0 Saturday night, the Phils took their slapstick act to new depths yesterday in getting dusted again in Detroit, 12-4.

This team can't hit, can't field and only pitches in fits and starts. Reliever Jake Diekman was his own worst nightmare after he entered the game in the sixth. He botched two plays in the field, opening the door to another blowout loss.

Rookie outfielder Steve Susdorf, in his first game in the big leagues, somehow managed to bollix a routine fly ball. Darin Ruf contributed to the hijinks by fielding a ground ball, then firing high in an attempt to gun down a runner at the plate.

This looks like a team that has quit, particularly after they sent Raul Valdes to the mound Saturday and watched him get torched.

There's not a lot Manager Charlie Manuel can do about it, even if he is the one who is likely to pay the price.

The Phillies' play has for the most part made the decisions Ruben Amaro Jr. needs to make this week as the trade deadline approaches an after-thought. It doesn't really matter now. Baseball season is over.

Football season has begun in earnest, and the Eagles already have suffered a big loss.

Starting wide receiver Jeremy Maclin crumped to the grass in the team's second workout Saturday. He'll miss the season with a torn ACL. It's the same one he ripped up in college.

Not the best start for the Chip Kelly Era. But nowhere near as ugly as the end of an era for this core group of Phillies.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Friday July 26

The Daily Numbers: 0, how many marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples in Delaware County.

2, how many couples sought one. Both were denied.

5 million loss at Delta's Monroe Energy Refinery in Trainre.

300 billion jet fuel expense for the airline thanks to the refinery.

0 charges that will stick against Colwyn Public Safety Director Rochelle Bilal. The Delco D.A. withdrew the charges, saying there was no probable cause for arrest.

2.5 million dollar grant that is the key to a new shopping center being proposed for Wellington Ridge in Chester. It would include a supermarket.

995,000 dollars gained by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by selling off some more properties.

13.37 uptick in the stock market yesterday.

4.31 percent rate on 30-year mortgages, that's down slightly.

1st practice in full pads set for Eagles in public date at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.

45,000 tickets that have been given away for the practice by the Eagles.

5 straight losses for the Phils, who fell to the Cards again last night, 3-1.

7 hits, all the Phils could muster.

9-7 mark for Kyle Kendrick, who also hit into a killer inning-ending double-play on a sacrifice bunt attempt.

9-4 win for Ridley in the state Little League semifinal. They play Lionville tonight for the state crown and the right to go on to nationals in Bristol, Conn.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Forget the Phillies. How 'bout those kids from Ridley! One more win and they are state Little League champs!

I Don’t Get It: So much for the charges against Director of Public Safety Rochelle Bilal in Colwyn. They were tossed by the D.A. yesterday. Last night the officer who brought the charges was fired by borough council.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the kids from Ridley Area Little League. They are doing us proud!

Quote Box: “The reason being that we are going to follow the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania." - Delco Register of Wills Hugh Donaghue, noting the county will not offer marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Delco's stand on same-sex marriage

There's no need for same-sex couples to line up at the Delaware County Courthouse hoping to get their hands on a marriage license.

They'll come away empty-handed.

Delco Register of Wills Hugh Donaghue yesterday said he had no intention of following the trail blazed by his counterpart in Montgomery County, D. Bruce Hanes.

Hanes, no doubt inspired by word from our esteemed Attorney General Kathleen Kane that her office would not defend the state's ban on same-sex marriage against a challenge by the ACLU, and a recent Supreme Court knocking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, started handing out licenses to gay couples this week.

Donaghue has no intention of following suit.

Good for him. It's the right call.

That should not be interpreted as an endorsement for the state ban. It's a relic from another time. People's opinions on same-sex marriage are changing rapidly. Statewide polls now indicate support for such unions.

My problem with both Kane and Hanes - aside from what seems to be some real political grandstanding - is not in arguing the merits of the law. I agree. It needs to be changed. But that's not their call.

Personal beliefs don't change this fact: Pennsylvania has a law on the books right now that defines marriage as essentially a contract between one man and one woman as husban and wife. It does not recognize same-sex marriage.

Is it constitutional? I am guessing probably not.

But that is not a determination to be made by a register of wills, or even an attorney general. That's what we have judges for, to interpret and rule on challenges to the law. The ACLU lawsuit will get a full hearing in court. Unfortunately, the state will not get a defense from its elected attorney general. The Kane Mutiny has taken care of that.

The lawsuit almost assuredly will wind up in front of the state Supreme Court.

It's a safe bet the case will not be argued in the register of wills office, aside from at the water cooler.

The correct - and fastest - way to remedy this problem is through the Legislature. Remember them? They're the people who write the laws. The courts interpret them, and the attorney general enforces them. All of them. Not the ones she agrees with, or does not find "wholly unconstitutional" or morally indefensible.

Hugh Donaghue made perfect sense yesterday when he indicated Delaware County would not be offering marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

"The reason being that we are going to follow the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," Donaghue said in response to a query from this newspaper.

They in fact have received requests from two same-sex couples and rejected both requests.

Donaghue made it clear that should the law be changed, his office would be more than happy to issue the licenses.

At least one newspaper editor agrees with him. Hold the presses!

As the world turns ... in Colwyn

My how the tables have turned down in tiny Colwyn.

It was just Sunday that Director of Public Safety Rochelle Bilal was being hauled into court to answer charges of theft and receiving stolen property filed against her and a police clerk by one of her own borough officers.

That didn't last long. Yesterday District Attorney Jack Whelan withdrew the charges, saying his office found no probable cause for the case filed by Officer Trevor Parham. You can read all those details here.

Last night borough council moved to fire Parham.

It's not Parham's first legal dustup. You might remember he was at the center of a case in which he was charged with using a Taser on a teen in a borough holding cell. He was acquitted of those charges.

Yesterday, after Whelan's ruling, Parham alleged the D.A. has a vendetta against him.

Funny, that's exactly what Bilal and her attorney were saying abour Parham.

What a town. We'll have an update with the latest from the Colwyn soap opera, including all the action at last night's council meeting.

All hail the kids from Ridley!

Forget the Phillies. How about those kids from Ridley?

While the Phillies were losing their fifth straight last night, the young stars from Ridley Area Little League won again, putting them on the brink of a state title.

Ridley's 9-4 win over West Point means they play for the state Little League title tonight in Bradford, Pa. And who might they be facing for the state crown? That would be next-door neighbors Lionville, from Chester County.

Matt Chandik has all the details and video from last night big win for Ridley.

Make sure you follow Matt for live updates tonight on Twitter at @mattchandik, then pick up a copy of the Saturday Daily Times for complete coverage.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Thursday July 25

The Daily Numbers: 2 children killed when fire swept through a Chester home early Wednesday.

1 other child badly burned and hospitalized in critical condition.

2 adults and 2 other children rescued from the inferno.

4 firefighters who suffered minor injuries.

4-8 years in the slammer for a man convicted of setting several fires in Folcroft.

1 magnet high school in the works for Chester Upland School District. It will be a collaborative effort between the school district and two local charter schools and will be managed by the Chester Charter School for the Arts.

180,000 dollars a year salary for Dr. Richard F. Dunlap, named last night the new superintendent of Upper Darby School District.

29 applicants who were among the finalists for the job. Dunlap is now principal of West Chester East.

4, age of child left alone by an Upper Darby mom. Police say she went out to South Philadelphia to smoke pot.

5 marriage licenses issued for same-sex couples yesterday in Montgomery County.

0, how many of them are legally recognized by the state of Pennsylvania, which has a statue banning same-sex marriage.

22.50 dip for the Dow Jones yesterday.

6 percent decline in earnings for USAir.

11 chihuahuas killed in a house fire in Shickshinny, Pa.

11-3 drubbing of the Phils in St. Louis last night.

4 straight losses for the Phillies.

4 runs on 8 hits surrendered by starter John Lannan in just 4 innings.

18th sellout of the year for the Cards, with 44,317 packed into the stadium.

6-3 win for Ridley Area Little League as they advance to state tourney semifinals.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. It's over for the Phillies. Last night they lost their 4th straight game, and looked fairly disinterested in the process. Time to sell, Ruben.

I Don’t Get It: So much for the law. Montgomery County is now flouting the state law and handing out marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the kids from Ridley Area Little League, who have now advanced to the semifinals in the state tourney tonight.

Quote Box: “In a matter of minutes, it was just a wall of flames." - Donald Dodds, neighbor of home where two children perished and a third was badly burned in a fire early Wednesday morning.

What Kathleen Kane has wrought

This is what Kathleen Kane has wrought.

A couple of weeks ago, the aspiring Democratic political star decided to make a stand on the contentious issue of gay marriage.

Standing before an adoring crowd at the Constitution Center, she decided to raise a little Kane, announcing she would not defend the state's gay marriage ban in a legal challenge from the ACLU.

Kane deemed the law 'wholly unconstitutional' and morally indefensible.

Which is fine and dandy for Citizen Kane. But it's a problem for Attorney General Kane. The first woman elected to the post apparently is of the belief that she can pick and choose which laws she will enforce.

That flies in the face of the traditional separation of powers. To review, the attorney general's job is to enforce the laws, not interpret them. That's why we have judges. Our esteemed Legislature actually writes them, as they did the same-sex marriage ban.

Those who disagree with the ban (which by the way includes this newspaper editor) should take that path in changing them. Pressure legislators to reverse the ban. I believe Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, of the Main Line is working to do just that.

Instead, Kane did an end-around, deciding apparently to let her own personal beliefs be judge and jury in deciding to bail on enforcing the law.

Now others are following her lead.

Yesterday the Montgomery County Register of Wills started issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. The line formed early. Five couples got licenses, including a Pottstown couple who decided to marry right away. I wish them the best.

But I wish the Montco official had not done what he did. Pennsylvania law does not recognize gay marriage. That's something else I believe needs to be changed. But the fact is that it has not been changed, it still recognizes marriage in this state as a civil contract between a man and a woman.

Of course there is a flavor of politics hanging over this whole issue.

Kane is a Democrat. Montgomery County is increasingly leaning Democratic. Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes is a Democrat. Stuck in the middle now is Gov. Tom Corbett, who opposes same-sex marriage.

Yesterday a Corbett spokesman remiinded Kane of her duty, that office holds are "constitutionally required to administer and enforce the laws." That would include the attorney general, although you wouldn't think she would have to be reminded of that.

Yesterday Hanes said he wanted to come down "on the right side of history and the law."

History is still to be decided. But there's no question he's on the wrong side of the law.

Until the law is changed, the licenses he issued yesterday are invalid.

I guess that doesn't really matter any more.

And that is what Kathleen Kane has wrought.

Kane Mutiny, indeed.

Some like it hot

Here's my dilemma: As anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows, I like it hot.

Real hot. And humid. Like cut the air with a knife humid.

But I have a problem with that kind of weather. Actually, my wife does. She hates it. So she flips on the air-conditioning.

I hate air-conditioning. It might as well be winter. I'm trapped inside with the curtains drawn to keep the sun out. Might as well be February.

So I usually sit outside while she's inside.

Having said that, I was all smiles when I pulled around the corner and saw the old homestead last night. First thing I noticed was the fact that all the windows were open.

It got better. Last night was gorgeous. I actually slept with the covers on.

And this morning was just stupendous. There was another huge moon that made everything look almost like dusk, even if it was 4 a.m.

Just beautiful.

OK, that's enough. Bring back the heat and humidity. Or at least a winning Phillies team.

 

It's over, Ruben

If you listened hard enough, you could almost hear old Dandy Don Meredith warbling his favorite tune during last night's disastrous Phillies effort in St. Louis last night.

"Turn out the lights, the party's over."

Attention Ruben Amaro Jr.: It's not just the fans, bloggers and media that are imploring you to sell. Listen to your players. They sent you a resounding message with their play last night.

It's over. This team is not going anywhere. It's time to pull the plug and see what you can get for the few valued pieces left on this sinking ship.

The Phillies were overmatched again last night against a good team, getting blown out by the Redbirds, 11-3. and it wasn't that close.

The Phillies dropped their fourth straight game, and did it in sloppy fashion. Get all the details here from Dennis Deitch.

Making matters worse, the Phils learned before the game they would be without the services of their lone offensive threat, All-Star outfielder Dom Brown. He is dealing with concussion symptoms after falling hard while diving for a line drive Tuesday night.

The Phils looked like they were ready to raise the white flag early. Manuel had to go to a pinch hitter for starter John Lannan in the fifth inning, looking for a spark with his team down only 4-1. Didn't work out. He sent up John McDonald and his less than lusty .103 batting average. He promptly hit into a double-play to kill any hope of a rally.

I'm not sure how long Amaro can afford to wait to get value for the players that likely would draw serious interest. Other teams are making moves. The Phils are sitting in idle. And putting their fans to sleep.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday July 24

The Daily Numbers: 2 children killed in raging house fire in Chester this morning. A 3rd is believed to have died on the way to the hospital.

2 firefighters injured battling the fire on East 15th Street.

2 adults and several other children rescued from the fire.

160,000 dollars stolen from the county Register of Wills. An ex-employee entered a guilty plea in court yesterday.

93 percent on-time performance record for SEPTA regional rails in the past year.

1,700 dollars a year, how much one commuter said he saves a year by parking at the Primos train station and taking the train into his job in Center City.

1 additional year tacked on to the new contract for teachers in the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District.

3rd largest county in Pa., Montgomery County, which is now ready to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

15,567.74 closing for the Dow Jones yesterday, an all-time high.

191,000 jobs added in Pa, but the unemployment rate remains steady at 7.5 percent.

5 solid innings last night from Phillies starter Jonathan Pettibone, not that it mattered all that much.

4-1 loss for the Phils in the 1st of 3 in St. Louis.

14 of 17 starts in which Pettibone has allowed 3 runs or less.

3 hits for Chase Utley, who is now 8 for his last 16.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Stop me if you've heard this before. This Phillies team is going nowhere. It's time to sell.

I Don’t Get It: Still don't understand the thought process that makes people post the most vile, racist comments under the veil of anonymity online.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to expected of not one but two food markets in the city of Chester.

Quote Box:
“They're our own Trayvon Martins." - Jamila Shareef, organizer of last night's vigil in Chester to honor the teen gunned down in Florida, and victims of violence right here in Chester.

What Ryan Braun cost us

I was never going to be much of a football player. At 5 feet, 11 inches tall and maybe 110 pounds soaking wet, I wasn't going to scare anyone. Didn't stop me from foolishly leaving parts of both my shoulders out on those fields.

I was a decent basketball player, but I was never going to be a starter on our high school team. One of our assistant coaches on the high school football team also happened to be the wrestling coach. He wanted me to try out for the team, but I foolishly stuck to my hoop dreams.

I probably could have been a decent cross-country runner. Dabbled a bit with ice hockey. Didn't discover golf until later in life.

Then there was baseball. Before I ever noticed there were girls in this world - complete with cute pigtails and freckles on their nose - there was baseball. It was my first love.

And I was good. I could really play. No wonder. It's about all I did all summer. How much did we play? Ask yourself this question: When's the last time you saw a group of guys in a field playing a game of pickup baseball. No adults, no uniforms, not even complete teams. Just guys - boys really - playing the game they loved.

We played from sun up to sun down. Until lumpy baseballs actually unraveled. With bats that usually had nails in them to repair breaks. No, we never once considered throwing away a perfectly good broken bat.

I don't know what happened to that scene. People tell me that there are actually fewer big families these days, thus fewer kids needed to choose sides in pick-up baseball. Maybe.

I never even needed other kids to play. I would often play an imaginary game of my own out in the yard, playing every position, and stepping up as every guy in the great lineups of those days, both right- and left-handed batters.

They say parents today are afraid to let their kids go out unsupervised. I was guilty of that. The truth is we darted out of the house first thing in the morning. I think my mother figured that when I got hungry enough, I'd be back. Either that or it got dark. She didn't know where we were, aside from the fact that we were in town somewhere. She never had to worry that we were in danger, aside from the occasion beaning with a pitched ball or disagreement among guys that ended in fisticuffs.

We didn't need adults, nor umpires. We settled our own disputes. We didn't have uniforms, unless you count dungarees with holes in the knees. We ruled the games ourselves.

Most of all, we respected the game. And we loved it. We played for nothing. And were much richer for it.

All of which is a roundabout way of bringing me to Ryan Braun.

The former American League MVP has now been suspended for the rest of the season after he admitted "mistakes" in using PEDs, performance enhancing drugs.

The Brewers are mired a million games out of the playoff race. Braun is struggling with a series of injuries. After his extended vacation, next year once again he will be eligible to play and collect his new $100 million contract.

So who loses? The game does. And the kids - and former kids - who love it.

Today kids don't seem to play because they love the game. They often seem to play because their parents want them to. Or they get nice uniforms. And play in organized leagues with umpires. And, of course, everyone gets a trophy.

We didn't get trophies when we were kids. We knew on any given day there were winners and losers. You didn't always win. You didn't get paid.

Back then, professional baseball players were just another part of society, of your neighborhood. Now they exist in another world, one light years removed from fans - and the kids who will grow up to be the next fan base.

They play for money. Unbelievable gobs of money.

I guess that's why they cheat.

But it doesn't explain why they lie. Ryan Braun did both. He looked in the cameras and insisted he did not use any performance-enhancing drugs. He even attacked a UPS driver who was just doing his job and managed to skirt punishment the first time he got caught.

There will be others in the days to come.

It is being called baseball's Steroid Era.

Actually it is the end of an era. All the numbers - the lifeblood that courses through the game's veins and are handed down from one era to another - are now suspect.

It's the end of innocence.

The end of a game played by kids.

Now it's played by cheats and liars. In fancy uniforms. In front of adoring crowds. For millions of dollars.

That's what Ryan Braun, and all the rest of his ilk, have cost us.

Chase is over for this Phillies team

The Phillies took another stop closer to being "sellers" last night, looking fairly lifeless in a 4-1 loss to open a key road trip in St. Louis.

Chase Utley seems to be at the top of the possible shopping list. Utley offered a punctuation mark on his value last night  by banging out three hits and raising his batting average to .286.

GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has just about a week to decide if the Phillies are going to be "buyers" or "sellers" at the trade deadline. Any more performances like last night might make it an easier decision, both for the team and for Utley.

This team is not going anywhere. It is fatally flawed, with gaping holes in both their bullpen and outfield.

They owe closer Jonathan Papelbon another $26 million, along with another $13 million in a vesting option for 2016.

A team struggling to keep its head over the .500 mark does not need a $26 million closer, especially not one who has developed velocity problems, as Papelbon has the past few weeks.

But they do need a second baseman. And it will not make Amaro's job any easier that Utley just happens to be very likely the most popular player on the team.

Still, these two guys likely represent their best bet when it comes to acquiring the kind of prospects they so desperately need to rebuild this squad.

Columnist Jack McCaffery weighs in on the decision here.

This team is not likely to make the playoffs with Utley. Moving him might improve their chances in years to come.

And that's a fact, Jack.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday July 23

The Daily Numbers: 8 shootings that rocked the city of Chester over the weekend.

1 person killed.

7,000 square foot Patient First medical facility to be constructed on the site of the Springfield Inn, including an additional 40 parking spaces.

2 teens charged in armed robbery in Nether Providence.

2.2 percent hike in ridership for SEPTA, now at an all-time high.

3.69 per gallon at the local Wawa. That might have something to do with SEPTA ridership increases.

36 million people rode the SEPTA system last year.

337.3 million trips on trains, buses and trolleys.

6,900 people without power because of overnight storms in Chester County.

1,852 without power in Delco.

50 percent increase in regional rail line ridership over the past 15 years.

2 food stores set to open in the city of Chester, which has gone years without a real supermarket.

70 people who showed up at City Hall yesterday for food service training in hopes of finding a position at the new Philabundance store.

1 dead, 1 injured in shootout with police in northwest Philadelphia.

1 as in Day 1 of the Chip Kelly Era. Rookies and some vets reported for Eagles camp yesterday. Workouts begin today.

5-3 record for Jonathon Pettibone, who goes to hill for Phillies tonight as they kick off a three-game set in St. Louis.

65 game suspension, basically the rest of the season, for Ryan Braun, first of the big names to fall in baseball's latest doping scandal.

6-4 loss for Ridley in the Little League state tourney.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Let the Chip Kelly Era begin. Now who is your starting quarterback going to be? Not sure who will start the season, but don't be surprised if Matt Barkley winds up as this team's starter before Year One is over.

I Don’t Get It: Hey, we have a royal baby. Now what do we do?

Today’s Upper: Kudos toword that not one but two full-service food favcilities are coming to the city of Chester.

Quote Box: “I don't like all this shooting in my community, as I always say." - Chester Mayor John Linder, after 8 shootings were reported in the city over the weekend, including one fatality.

Some Frank talk about the royal baby

OK, I might as well admit it up front.

The royal baby? I don't get it.

It's apparently supposed to be a big deal. I wish I knew why. Look, I am very happy for Prince William and Princess Kate, or the Duchess of Cambridge or whatever she is being referred to these days.

If you look at our front page today, you will find a mention of the royal baby up in the top right corner. No, it is not our lead. To be honest, the thought of leading the paper with the royal baby never crossed my mind.

I'm probably not the person who should be making these decisions. I don't get most things involving the royal family. Although I can admit I dropped everything yesterday to push out word that the latest royal had arrived. I sent the text alert, Tweeted and posted on Facebook to push the news, along with posting it quickly on our website.

Now that the baby has arrived, the betting is going fast and furious on what name they will bestow on the young man, who is now third in line as heir to the royal throne.

If it had been a girl, most were suggesting the young couple would somehow have to work William's mother, Princess Diana, into the name. But since it's a boy, honoring the memory of Diana becomes a bit more tricky.

Since Diana's middle name was Frances, how about calling the little guy Francis.

The rest of us could just refer to him as Frank.

A violent weekend in Chester

There is a vigil and protest planned tonight in Chester to mark the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, and to honor the memory of Trayvon Martin.

They really didn't have to look that far to find victims of street violence.

This weekend there were eight separate shootings in the city of Chester. One of them was fatal. One life was lost, another man is in critical condition and several others were wounded.

You can get all the details here.

The shootings occurred between 11:48 p.m. Saturday and 10:26 p.m. Sunday. They were't limited to any one neighborhood.

Much has been made of the verdict that acquitted George Zimmerman of all charges in the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla.

But you don't have to look that far to find victims of gun violence. People are being shot - killed or wounded - all too often in Chester.

I wish I had the answer. I'm sure Chester Mayor John Linder does, too. I hope when they gather tonight to remember Martin, they decide to take action to take back their neighborhoods from the gun-toting toughs who too often rule them now.

Life Without Electricity

It's amazing what we take for granted every day.

When I open my eyes in the morning (usually long before the alarm goes off), I expect to be able to look at the clock on my nightstand and see how  many more precious minutes I have until I have to get up and start the day. I have long ago lost the ability to "sleep in." I usually am in a dead sleep for a couple of hours early, then I'm pretty much up for a couple of fitful final hours.

My usual habit is to keep glancing at the clock to keep tabs on the time.

Not last night.

Nothing.

Just black.

That's because we had lost power at some point in the night, courtesy of the deluge that dumped several more inches of rain on the region, along with a pretty impressive thunder and lightning show.

Apparently, at least according to my kids, the alarm clock is pretty much a thing of the past. They use their phone for that duty these days. Is there anything you can't use your phone for today? And if there is, I am sure it will only be a few minutes before someone designs "an app for that."

I'm old school. I wear an Indiglo watch to bed, so I didn't need to look for the phone to determine what time it was. Luckily, I still had an hour to lie in bed and ponder the day ahead.

That's about the extent of the good news. Ever try to exist in your house without electric? It's not as easy as you might think, as I learned this morning.

Luckily, I am pretty much used to getting up and around in the dark. My wife doesn't get up until later, so my normal early-morning routine is to pretty much function in the dark. Yes, there are a lot of people who insist I do that pretty much all day.

I can maneuver around the room, grab my radio and head downstairs. Yes, I still have an old AM/FM portable radio. It - along with KYW Newsradio - has been my faithful morning companion for years. That old battery-operated radio has been stronger than any storm to hit us for 30 years.

It is the first thing I do every morning. Once I'm on the stairs (and out of earshot for my wife) I flip on the radio to see if the world has survived since I slid into my coma-like state the night before.

Having successfully navigated the stairs I glanced outside. Yep, looked like the whole neighborhood was in the dark.

But as I strode toward the kitchen, panic set in. Not when I flipped on the light switch only to be reminded that was a luxury I was now living without. I'm talking something much more important than that. I'm talking coffee.

I realized the second thing I do every morning was going to be a problem. No, not the bathroom. That's third on my list.

No electric, no java. For a second, I was panic-stricken. I actually considered getting in my car and making a quick Wawa run, but I didn't know if they would have power either.

I glumly headed back up the steps, and wondered how I was supposed to get ready for work without lights. My wife informed me that the battery-powered lantern she acquired from her mother during one of last winter's storm was downstairs in the laundry room.

I manged to wash my face and hair, then realized there would be no blow-dry this morning. I think I will survive.

I carried the lantern into the closet and grabbed a shirt, tie and pants. I hope the hell they match.

When I finally stepped outside and was walking to the car, a weird thing happened. At first I thought the power came back on. It almost seemed like it was getting light out. Then I looked up. There in the sky (which had obviously cleared) was one of the most amazing moons I have ever seen, able to clearly light up the darkened neighborhood.

I got into the car, turned the key, and smiled as the dash lights came on. Amazing what a little light can do.

From there I made a beeline to the Wawa. This morning it was 24 ounces. After all I had some catching up to do. I usually polish off two large mugs before I leave the house, and have my commuter mug with me for the ride into the office.

I rail a lot about the technology I have to deal with every day.

Electricity would not be one of them. It comes in pretty handy.

I can survive without a lot of things. Coffee is not one of them.

The day can only get better from here.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Monday July 22

The Daily Numbers: 2 Colwyn officials facing charges in the latest controversy to hit the tiny borough.

500 students who have enrolled in the Chester Upland School District, enough to keep Main Street Elementary School open.

2,700 students now enrolled in Chester Upland, up from 2,200, as Receivery Joe Watkins and school officials press their attempts to lure kids back from charter schools.

3 million dollars in escrow charges released last week in the latest skirmish between township residents and a project at the airport complex.

11,000 dollars in Kitchen Aid mixers that police say were stolen from a local Kohl's stores by a Media couple.

5 houses destroyed by fire in Kensington.

9 people struck when an SUV slammed into a group of people outside a Philly nightclub.

87, age of Delaware woman who succumbed to heat, the 2nd heat-related death reported in Delaware.

3 bodies found amid probe of possible serial killer in Cleveland.

1 woman killed when she fell from a roller coaster ride at Six Flags in Arlington, Texas.

3 home runsgiven up by Cliff Lee as the Phils fell the Mets yesterday, 5-0.

7 home runs served up by Lee in his last 2 starts.

0 runs on 3 hits for the Phils against Mets ace Matt Harvey.

10 strikeouts for Harvey.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. The Phils won the first game of the series against the Mets Friday night, then had Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee lined up for the weekend. They promptly lost both games.

I Don’t Get It: How can a town that is barely a mile across have the consisten kinds of problems that plague Colwyn Borough.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to pope star Taylor Swift, who made a dream come true for a Marple girl this weekend. Aimee Hurlock, who is battling leukemia, got to meet the start backstage before her concert at Lincoln Financial Field Friday night.

Quote Box: “This individual (Parham) has a vendetta, and as a result of this vendetta and understanding that his insurbordination was going to lead to him being fired, decided to take some type of action." - Tariq El-Shabazz, attorney for Rochelle Bilal, the Public Safety Director in Colwyn, who was hit with charges by a local cop yesterday.

Weekends will never be the same

Weekends will never be the same.

When you do what I do for a living, the people who deliver the news get to almost like family. For more than three decades, my news highlights every Saturday and Sunday were delivered by the same face.

That would be the perpetually congenial Rob Jennings.

Not anymore. After 36 years, Jennings is hanging up his mike. His last shows were Sunday night.

Jennings had a soothing delivery that could make even the worst story seem comfortable, and of course he had perfected the Channel 6 trademark - delivering the "Big Story," very often an update on the weather.

There was something reassuring on the weekends, when lots of people are off, in seeing Jennings week after week on the job getting us through another Saturday and Sunday. And to think that he did it for more than three decades in a business that chews up talen and spits it out one ratings period at a time, is special.

The really big story on Action News this weekend? A very familiar part of our lives is gone.

All the best, Rob.

This time, Chitwood not embracing limelight

There's not a lot of gray area when it comes to Mike Chitwood.

The Upper Darby top cop known to many as "Media Mike" shoots from the lip. In the process he rubs some folks the wrong way.

But Chitwood has been somewhat muffled when it comes to an investigation that led to the termination of two township police officers. I explain in this week's print column.

 

Royalty in the UK - Mickelson of course

There's big news out of the UK!

No, not the expected birth of their first child for Princess Kate and Prince William. In case you  haven't heard, the Duchess of Cambridge is in labor and has been taken to the hospital.

Yeah, I'm on the edge of my seat, too.

I have never quite gotten the whole Royal Family thing. Pretty good gig, if you can get it though.

I was much more interested in the other royalty from the UK this weekend. That would be golf royalty, and another bauble in the crown of Phil Mickelson.

This comes from a decided non-Mickelson fan. The final round 66 he put together Sunday to come from five strokes back and win the British Open at Muirfield is one of the great rounds of golf in the history of the Majors.

My guy Tiger once again never got it going on Sunday.

But Phil hit some shots late in the round, including a three-wood from 300 yards out that he ran onto the green and set up a birdie on 17, that were just exquisite. Maybe even royal. He followed that up with a gorgeous iron approach to  10 feet on 18.

Mickelson birdied four of the final six holes.

I'm not really sure why I've never warmed up Mickelson. But I'm starting to come around. He seems like a really nice guy. And right now, he is indisputably the best golfer on the planet.

Yes, Tiger is still ranked No. 1. Phil checks in at No. 2. I didn't realize until I heard driving in this morning that Mickelson has never been ranked No. 1. I guess that is what happens when you hit your peak at the same time as the best golfer of all time.

But make no mistake. There was new royalty crowned in Scotland this weekend. And it wasn't Tiger.

Cheerio, Phil!

Not the second half start the Phillies wanted

The Phillies exploded out of the blocks Friday night to kick off the "second half,"  erupting for 15 hits en route to a 13-8 blowout win over the Mets.

They had Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee line up to pitch Saturday and Sunday.

Rack up another series win, right?

Ugh, not exactly.

Hamels struggled on Saturday, going just five innings, and getting knocked around for four runs on seven hits.

It didn't get any better on Sunday, when Cliff Lee again was serving up home run balls. For the second straight game, Lee surrendered back-to-back homers and the  Phils' streak of winning series was snapped.

Lee gave up three homers in total. If you're counting, that's seven homers in his last two starts, after he got shelled for four dingers by the Nats on July 10.

On the flip side, the Phil's bats were totally overmatched going against Mets' ace Matt Harvey. He didn't allow a hit until the fourth and struck out 10, twice striking out the side.

Looking for silver linings? Both the Braves and Nationals lost, which means the Phils remain six and a half out in the NL East.

Hey, how about that Phil Mickelson?

Or, a little closer to home, football season starts today as Chip Kelly opens his first training camp in South Philly.

If the Phillies want to remain on the radar screen, they better figure out a way to take the upcomign series in St. Louis in Atlanta, or they almost assuredly will be steamrolled by the Eagles Express.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Friday July 19

The Daily Numbers: 4 roofers overcome by the heat while working on the roof of the Chichester Middle School.

98 degrees, yesterday's high. We're expecting to hit 97 today and 93 tomorrow, before it finally breaks up with storms expected to roll in Saturday night.

105, what today's Heat Index says it will actually feel like out there.

86, forecast high for Sunday. Almost arctic.

15.8 cases of of Legionella, the bacteria that can cause Legionnaires' Disease, annually in Delaware County. Pa. health authorities are saying there is a higher level of infections being reported in the state this year.

1,000 dollar bail revoked for man accused in his 11th DUI case.

1.5 million boost in funding to break up a backlog in DNA testing acquired by Sen. Dominic Pileggi.

100 counts of child porn lodged against a 44-year-old Folcroft man.

21, age of cleaner trying to steal a computer from Stonehurst Hills Elementary School in Upper Darby.

2 men now facing charges in that horrific crash on Roosevelt Blvd. in Philly in which a mother and 3 of her sons were struck and killed. Police say they were drag racing.

60 million dollars, how much Penn State has spent so far on settlements with victims of Jerry Sandusky.

16 month high for oil prices, as the price at the pump continues to rise.

3.65 a gallon, the going rate at your local Wawa gas station.

78 point gain for the Dow yesterday, closing at a new record high of 15,548.54

66 games left for the Phillies, who kick off the 2nd half tonight in New York vs. the Mets with a 48-48 mark.

9
wins in their last 13 games for Phillies.

6 RBI in 40 games for Carlos Ruiz. Ouch!

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Bring on the second half - and the Mets. Remember where you heard it: The Phillies will give the Braves a run for their money for 1st place in the NL East.

I Don’t Get It: Still don't know what to do about gun violence. Last night it was East Lansdowne, where police say a man opened fire into a group of people - including children - about 11:30. Luckily, none of the injuries appears to be life-threatening.

Today’s Upper: Kudos tothe emergency responders who were quick to act when a group of roofers were overcome by the heat on the roof of the Chichester Middle School yesterday. That's what you would call some tough working conditions.

Quote Box: “There's no good reason to allow a DNA backlog to exist." - State Sen. Dominic Pileggi, who yesterday announced an additional $1.5 million to break the logjam.

Heat takes a nasty turn for roofers

I was actually considering rolling out one of my old summer favorites for today's front page. The days of the week and Mother Nature were combining for the perfect "Fry-Day" Page One hammer.

That all changed early yesterday afternoon when this brutal heat wave took a very serious turn. Several roofers doing a job on the roof of the Chichester Middle School were overcome. Emergency responders were doing a rescue. You can get all the details here.

Think you were hot yesterday? Imagine being on a roof working with tar that can reach upwards of 400 degrees.

Thankfully, all the workers appear to be OK.

In the meantime, make sure you're contributing to our live blog as the heat wave rolls on. Give us your pictures and videos. The heat wave is not expected to break until Saturday night.

How hot is it? Well, if you read this column at all, you'll know that I am not a big fan of air-conditioning. I tolerate it at work, but I actually like this kind of weather. The hotter and more humid, the better I like it.

But when I left the office last night, I have to admit that even I considered switching on the air in the car. Somehow, I managed to make it home with the windows open.

Amazingly, when I got back in the car to head in this morning, it felt even worse. You know it's summer when you open the front door and the air hits you like a warm, wet rag.

Hey, look on the bright side, we get the Phillies back tonight. I'll be the guy sitting out on the deck listening to the game. Now if I could just keep those pesky skeeters away.

 

Can you say pennant race?

Buckle your seat belts, Phillies fans. The second half has been cleared for takeoff.

And it looks like it might be a bumpy ride.

For some reason, I'm optimistic about the second half.

And I can tell you why in one word: Pitching.

The Phils have the best starting rotation in the National League East.

Add to that the fact that they were playing their best baseball headed into the break and I think you have the makings of a pennant race. Yes, I know losing Ben Revere is a huge loss. He'll be out six-eight weeks after taking a nasty foul ball off his foot. The leadoff man had hiked his average over .300 and was becoming the perfect table-setter, base stealer and general on-base pest the Phils have sorely needed. He joins Ryan Howard on the shelf.

But the pennant race is all about pitching, and I like the Phils' starters. Cole Hamels looks like he's rounding into form, and Cliff Lee has been a horse again this summer.

The Phils open the second half dead even at 48-48. They have 66 games to play, starting tonight with a weekend sting in what will be an oven-like CitiField in New York City against the Mets.

They are six and a half games back of the Braves, and only a half-game behind of the Nationals. Neither one of those teams scare me.

The key to these 66 games likely resides in the bullpen, and that could be a problem for the Phillies. They've struggled to find the right combination there, although Antonio Bastardo looks like he's finally becoming a viable option as an eighth-inning guy. But closer Jonathan Papelbon has had issues of his own, and could be on the trading block if that continues.

The Phils' best path to the playoffs would be by winning the division. Both Wild Card winners could wind up coming out of the Central Division, where both the Pirates and Reds are well over .500 as they chase the first-place Cardinals.

Beat writer Dennis Deitch takes a look at what G.M. Ruben Amaro Jr. is thinking as the days tick off toward the trade deadline. If the Phils don't get off to a good second half start, it could be time to man the lifeboats.

Dennis also offers his first-half grades for the team here.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Thursday July 18

The Daily Numbers: 8 inch fish resembling a piranha that was hooked by angler in Ridley Park Lake. Turns out it's a pacu, which is closely related to a piranha.

1 acre minimum lot requirement now in Haverford Township if you want to keep fowl such as roosters.

300 dollar fine in Radnor if you get caught feeding feral cats.

40,000 dollars in fines racked up by the pediatrician who is charged in the shooting of her former life partner. She got hit with another $5,000 fine for failing to turn over a writing sample.

210,000 dollars raised by Joe Sestak as he sets up another run vs. Sen. Pat Toomey.

946,000 dollars raised by Toomey in the quarter. He now has $3.1 million in his campaign warchest, compared to $618,000 for Sestak.

357,590 dollars raised by Democrat Pa. Sen. Daylin Leach, who is running for the 13th District U.S. House seat. That puts him atop the heap of a crowded slate of Dems.

185,345 raised by Marjorie Margolies, who is seeking to reclaim the seat she once held.

3 more Delco soldiers added to the Armed Services Tribute Board at the Media Courthouse.

40 room inn with 115 seat restaurant at center of Town Center West plan of Swarthmore College.

98 degrees, expected high temp today. The Heat Index will make it feel like 105, whatever that means.

38 year township resident David Splain recently took the oath as their new top cop. He previously served in Yeadon Borough.

3rd chief of staff now named for Gov. Tom Corbett, who continues to look for the right formula among his staff.

4 people killed - a mom and her 3 sons - when they were struck by car while trying to cross Roosevelt Blvd. in Philly.

8 years for loansharking for a man described as the 'CFO' of the Philly mob.

22 children killed in tainted school lunches in India.

300 workers who are in line to be laid off in Philly by Aramark.

0 Phillies game played until Friday night. That's when they resume the schedule in New York against the Mets.

0 members of the Union named to MLS All-Star Game rosters.

6-5 win for Springfield over Wayne to capture the Main Line Jr. Legion Championship.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Put the house on it - Tiger Woods wins the British Open. Preferably your house.

I Don’t Get It: Be careful with what you toss away. An exotic fish that is closely related to a piranha was recently bagged in Ridley Park Lake.

Today’s Upper: Kudos tothe kids from Springfield, who capured the Main Line Junior Legion crown.

Quote Box: “Now we're getting into an equal rights question. But they don't have a history of political power." - Haverford Commissioner Larry Holmes, on move to ban roosters and if it could spread to hens.

Another unwanted headline for Crozer

As fate would have it, I had a visit last week from Grant Gegwich. He's the new vice president of public relations and marketing at Crozer Keystone Health System.

Crozer just happens to be the county's largest employer, with more than 6,800 employees. That makes them pretty important in this county, and certainly very important to us.

Grant wanted to stop in and formally introduce himself, even though we've worked with him for years. He's new as the top dog. We had a great conversation, with him suggesting some items we might want to develop in terms of stories, and us letting him know of our needs in terms of information, especially at nights and on weekends, when staffing is reduced.

Of course, the linchpin of the Crozer system is Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland.

As is almost always  the case with businesses in the county, inevitably we will end up calling them under circumstances that are not the best. This happens routinely at Crozer. Their Burn Center is nationally renowned. It is not unusual for serious burn victims from all across the region to wind up there.

Toward the end of the meeting, Grant mentioned a recent story that his bosses were less than thrilled with. It involved a shooting that occurred outside the medical center in the parking lot. They believed our coverage painted Crozer unnecessarily in a bad light.

I immediately thought of that conversation as I was driving into the office early Tuesday and heard the news that a woman - a patient at Crozer - had been wounded by a stray bullet that came from outside the hospital.

If they didn't like the other shooting story, I figured they weren't going to be ecstatic about this development.

That's one of the reasons I was glad that District Attorney Jack Whelan decided to have a press conference outside the hospital later in the morning. Whelan stressed that this was a fluke, a most unusual incident for what is in fact a very safe facility.

He stressed that they had no reason to believe that either the woman or the hospital had been targeted. Instead, the most likely culprit was random gunfire that could have come from as far as a mile away.

Investigators continue to probe the surrounding neighborhoods as they try to determine where those shots came from.

Luckily, the woman who was wounded was not seriously injured. She was treated and is expected to make a full recovery.

We will continue to cover Crozer. We will tell you of the many great things that are happening there.

And, of course, when a patient is wounded by a stray bullet.

 

Political feud boils over in Sharon Hill

There's a political feud brewing in Sharon Hill, and it's likely to spill over today.

Some local Democrats are crying foul over being denied an application for a 'March of Dreams' rally at the borough's Memorial Park. They want to hold the march in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King’s “March on Washington” and the 150th Anniversary of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Borough Democrats are saying that Republicans on council have put up roadblocks to the rally, including denying an application for the march.

They're holding a press conference with county Democratic boss David Landau this afternoon to air their grievances. We'll be there, and we'll also get reaction from the town manager Brian Razzi, who turned down their application. Razzi pointed out several items that local Dems failed to provide in denying the application.

Razzi was appointed to the post by the Republican majority on council back in 2011. The move was questioned by Democrats.

That couldn't have anything to do with this little tempest, could it?

Who says there's no sports? Go Tiger!

Here's a little secret. I know this is supposed to be big news for a tabloid newspaper editor, but I don't give a hoot about the royal baby.

Other than the fact that, should William and Kat's offspring be a girl, will they name it for his mother, Princess Diana, the story does not do a thing for me.

I am much more interested in something else happening across the pond this weekend. That, of course, would be the British Open, or as the locals somewhat haughtily refer to it, The Open Championship.

And it's getting here just in time.

The Phillies haven't played in what seems like weeks. (Actually, they resume their post-All Star Game schedule Friday night in New York against the Mets). The Eagles have not yet assembled in South Philly (remember, they're not going to Lehigh this summer), and the Flyers and Sixers are doing their normal off-season tinkering. No, the Sixers have not yet hired a coach. I'm not in the running, by the way. Neither is Ron Hextall, he just signed to be assistant GM and seemingly heir-in-waiting for Paul Holmgren.

So if you're a golf nut like me, the British Open provides the perfect tonic (even better if accompanied by some Tanqueray!)

And, of course, there's an added bonus. Because of the time change, the competition is going on six hours ahead of our time. In other words, the guys are out on the course now, and finish up in the early afternoon.

It's perfect for an early-bird like me.

So who's going to win? Who else, Tiger of course. I know, he hasn't been at his best lately in the Majors. Specifically, he hasn't won one since the 2008 U.S. Open.

Take my word for it. That streak stops this weekend at Muirfield. And here's an added bonus. Tiger will follow that up by taking the final major of the year - The PGA - in a couple of weeks. You heard it here first.

Too bad we're not all across the pond. We could plunk down a few quid on my knowledge.

Put the house on it, Tiger wins the next two majors. Just make sure it's your house, not mine.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The World's Greatest Invention

As he almost always does, my early-morning pal Big Daddy Graham gave me another great trip down memory lane this morning.

Most of you are probably still in a coma-like state at that hour. But I get to the office early, and Big Daddy is my commuting pal as I listen to his overnight show on WIP 94.1.

Most nights he does a segment he calls, "Let's Go Back to Your Childhood." I almost always connect with it.

He teased it going into the break this morning, saying he was going to talk about "the greatest invention" in history.

I happen to have some strong thoughts on this topic. I personally believe the TV remote control is the single greatest invention ever, a device that fundamentally changed our society. My kids still have trouble believing that when I was a tyke, if you wanted to change the channel on the tube, you actually had to get up out of your comfy seat, walk over to the TV, and change the dial manually. I'm not making this up.

But that's not what Big Daddy had in mind, and in light of what we're dealing with weather-wise in the region this week, it's hard to argue with him.

Big Daddy wanted to praise the merits of air-conditioning.

All together now: Ahhhhhhhhhh!

Even better, he wanted to point out something else I distinctly remember: Life without air-conditioning. We had similar upbringings, although he grew up in a city rowhouse, and I did my early years in a small country town. Neither of us grew up in a house that was air-conditioned.

I mean not one room. None.

Yes, we also slept on the floor downstairs. When it got really hot, as it is around here this week, we would actually "camp out" on the screened-in porch.

The second floor of the house was like an oven, almost unbearable. Never seemed to stop my mom and dad from making the trek up the stairs every day.

There was one thing my dad refused to do, however. During one particular wicked heat wave, our mother got the idea to do dinner down in the basement, where it was decidedly cooler, but also decidedly unfinished. We're talking about a basement that often got water, that had concrete floors and more than a little assorted junk sitting just about everywhere. The washer and dryer set in one corner, along with a line where my mom used to hang clothes.

The kids all thought dinner in the basement was a fabulous idea. Hey, it was different from what we did every night. We even helped set the table. We looked at it as an adventure. Our father did not. He was not exactly the adventurous type. He was interested in meat and potatoes. He was a man who was - how should I say this? - fairly set in his ways. He took one look in the basement, shot one look at my mom, and promptly took his normal spot at the dinner table in the kitchen. That's where he ate, while the rest of us dined in the basement.

To this day I am not a big fan of air-conditioning. I'll take it in the office. But I hate using it at home. I love hot weather, and humidity. I know, that makes me more than a little weird. I look at it this way: Air-conditioning does something that I hate; it reminds me of winter, I'm trapped inside a house. That's why I so loved my screened-in porch, and why I like the sunroom that replaced it in the winter, it's not the same in the summer. Add in this year's voracious crop of mosquitoes, and I can barely get in any time out on the deck at night before I'm being eaten alive.

There's something else I noticed this week. Where I sit at our kitchen table (and does every family have assigned seats at this table? I don't think we've ever sat in any other arrangement) is right above one of the grate, which these days is pumping out the A.C. I hate it. As I sat there last night, I thought about dad, and his decision not to dinner in the basement.

I couldn't help but smile. I know how you feel, Dad.

Thanks for another great memory, Big Daddy!