Friday, August 30, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Friday Aug. 30

The Daily Numbers: 1.3 million dollar believed stolen from Aldan Borough and the William Penn School District by the former tax collector.

77, age of Robert Park, who now faces charges in the case. He served as tax collector for 22 years.

18, age of Villanova University sophomore who was found dead in her dorm room.

30, age of Latin teacher at Interboro High School who faces charges in fatal DUI crash on the Main Line.

2, age of her son, who was in the car with her at the time.

14, age of girl that police say a former employee at a comics store is now charged with having a sexual relationship with. He's 25.

4, age of child allegedly left home alone by her father in Upper Darby. He now faces charges.

76 toll takers whose jobs will be eliminated in a plan to make the entire Pennsylvania Turnpike EZ-Pass mandatory. In other words, no tolls.

16 point gain for the Dow Jones Average yesterday.

15 dollars an hour, that's the demand of fast-food workers who protested yesterday. Most of them currently make $7.25 an hour.

1.8 cent uptick in price of gas as the Labor Day holiday approaches. Why am I not surprised. The national average is $3.58 a gallon.

0 for his first 6 passes for Eagles starter Nick Foles. He wound up 6 for 17.

13 of 27 and 1 interception for Matt Barkley.

23 players who must be cut by Saturday to get down to the NFL mandated 53-man roster.

9 strikeouts for Phillies rookie Ethan Martin. But he only lasted 4 innings as the Phils got blown out by the Mets, 11-3.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. I was driving home last night between 6 and 7, listening to the Eagles pre-game show on WIP. With its incessant ad pitches, it is almost unlistenable. I actually felt bad for Merrill Reese.

I Don’t Get It: So much for the $1 million mystery in Aldan. Their former tax collector is basically admitting he was using borough and school district funds to play the market, trying to regain his stock losses. Yesterday he was charged with theft.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those trying to help out the Penn Wood football team as they deal with the theft of some of their equipment.

Quote Box: “This is the only thing he's ever done in his life that is even remotely wrong." - Attorney Art Donato, talking about his client Robert Park, who is charged with stealing from Aldan Borough and William Penn School District.

Community rallies around Penn Wood

There's an old saying in sports journalism: There's no cheering in the press box.

I'm going to make an exception to that standard today.

I will be openly cheering for the Penn Wood Patriots when they take the field today to kick off their football season at Kerr Field against West Chester East.

I don't have anything against East. It's just that these kids from Penn Wood have been through so much - and the school year hasn't even begun.

The football team is attempting to overcome the theft of much of their equipment - including helmets and shoulder pads. You can click here to see how much of Delaware County is rallying to help them out.

Among those offering to help out are District Attorney Jack Whelan, and Springfield Superintendent Jim Capolupo. There is word that the Kennett School District out in Chester County also is offering some of their equipment.

It just proves how many good people there are out there. Much more than the few who continue to poke a stick in the eye of the Penn Wood community.

Check out our new home for high school sports!

Don't panic if you can't find all of the great content from our annual high school football guide on DelcoTimes.com.

That's because our high school content now resides on GameTimePa.com, where you will get everything you've always wanted in a high school sports site.

Not only will you be able to get all the great coverage you've come to expect from the Daily Times (after all, they don't call us Delaware County's Sports Authority for nothing), but you'll also be able to follow teams from all across the region, including Chester and Montgomery counties, as well as Berks, Lancaster and York counties.

Make sure you follow us on Twitter tonight as we offer live updates from the first big Friday night of action. Use the hashtag #delcofootball. If you're at a game, feel free to join the conversation and add your own photos and videos.

And to get ready for the game, check out our new online home for high school sports. You can find our award-winning coverage of Delco high schools at our new home at GameTimePa. In fact, if you go to the high school sports link on DelcoTimes.com, you'll automatically be routed to GameTime. We're kicking off our coverage today and tomorrow with previews of every Delco high school football team.

All of our coverage of high schools will now be on GameTimePa, where readers also will be able to check out coverage of teams from Montgomery, Chester, Berks, Lancaster and York counties. It's your one-stop home for Pa. high school sports coverage.

GameTimePa only affects our online coverage. Come Saturday morning, you will still be able to find coverage of all the Friday night games in the print edition of the Daily Times.

We hope you enjoy GameTimePa. We think it's going to be a huge addition to our award-winning high school sports coverage, complete with standings, boscores, videos and lots of other features.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Thursday Aug. 29

The Daily Numbers: 10,000 dollars in musical instruments stolen from Penn Wood High classroom.

14 helmets and shoulder pads used by Penn Wood High football team stolen from a storage locker. They're worth another $1,200.

22,000 dollar reward still in place for unsolved arson fire that caused the high school to be shut down last spring.

1,000 dollar reward posted by the Marple Newtown School board for information on the theft of several letters from the sign on Marple Newtown High School. Thieves ripped loose the M, N and C. That leaves the sign to read 'arple ewtown High Shool.'

300 student who will report next week for 1st day at the new Community Charter in Upland, being run by the Chester Community Charter School.

15 employees set at the new offices for CareLink, which will housed in the former Stratford Friends School in Haverford. The site will be used for administrative purposes only.

103 million dollars in savings being sought by the Philadelphia School District. A move by the teachers union to forgo a pay raise falls short, according to the district. They want salary reductions.

2 more months extension given by Gov. Tom Corbett in his efforts to privatize management of the state lottery.

19, age of Philly man now charged in brutal murder of his childhood friend. Police believe he was shot because the man stole a Playstation and failed to share the money he got when he sold it.

48 point gain by the Down Jones Average yesterday.

4th and final preseason game for the Eagles vs. the Jets tonight.

6-13 record for Cole Hamels, who got the win against the Mets last night.

2 runs on 9 hits given up by Hamels.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Don't look for any starters tonight as the Eagles wrap up the preseason vs. the Jets. But a lot of backups will be playing for their jobs.

I Don’t Get It: What kind of thrill do people get out of doing damage to Penn Wood High? Enough, already!

Today’s Upper: Kudos to those who gathered last night in Chester to honor the 50th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' speech. Only fitting, since King spent several years in Chester studying at Crozer Theological Seminary.

Quote Box: “These kids deserve better, and it's just not fair to them." - William Penn School Board member Diane Leahan, on the latest vandalism to strike Penn Wood High.

More unwanted problems at Penn Wood High

If you know Diane Leahan, you know she doesn't mince words. That's one of the reasons I like her.

She didn't disappoint when we contacted her about the latest vandalism to hit Penn Wood High. The William Penn School Board member was blunt:

"What the hell is going on?"

It's a good question. I don't envy her and her fellow board members in William Penn. They face an almost impossible job.

The last thing they need is something they have to spend all too much time dealing with - mindless vandalism.

Last spring it was bomb threats and an arson fire that forced them to close the Green Avenue high school. Now, just days before their opener, the football team is dealing with knuckleheads who broke into a storage shed and stole about $10,000 in equipment. A lot of the high school's band instruments also were  ripped off.

Sometimes you just shake your head.

Here's our editorial on the issue.

 

Who's the boss?

Around our offices here in beautiful downtown Primos, I'm sometimes referred to as the boss.

That doesn't make me Bruce Springsteen.

It doesn't make me a bad guy, either. At least I don't think so.

I don't belive the word 'boss' necessarily carries a negative connotation. Apparently not everyone agrees. Especially if they're Republicans. Delaware County Republicans, in particular.

Earlier this week we sort of kicked off the fall campaign season a little early, with some updated figures that show voter registration in the county almost dead even. Actually, Republicans are still clinging to a 19-voter edge, a far cry from the days when they enjoyed nearly a 3-1 edge. They are quick to point out that the margin is actually much larger when you consider only active voters.

We ran down the updated numbers, got comments from both parties, and also noted the first email of the campaign, with Delco Republicans taking great umbrage with a recent Democratic voter push poll.

Since we talked to both Andy Reilly and David Landau, the two respective head honchos (there's another one of those nasty descriptions, although I have to admit I reallly like that word) of the dueling Delco political parties, we ran both of their pictures with the story.

That's where we ran into a slight problem, at least with some folks.

Under the picture of David Landau, we tagged him 'Democratic leader.' With Andy Reilly's pic, we noted he was the 'Republican boss.'

Some Republicans didn't like it. They believe our use of the word 'boss' carries a negative connotation, harkening back to the party's past here in the county, the days when the legendary War Board ran the county with an iron fist.

Those days are gone. Republicans still control the county courthouse, but several towns now trend Democratic. In fact, in presidential races, the county now consistently votes Democratic.

Not only don't Republicans like the use of the word 'boss,' especially when we describe Landau as a 'leader,' but they think we do it on purpose. I suppose they have a point. If we had described both men as 'bosses,' they wouldn't have much of a point.

They believe it is just one more effort to paint the Republican Party here in Delco in a negative light.

Of course, I don't happen to agree.

I'm a boss myself.

But I'd like to hear what readers have to say. Do you believe there is a negative spin to the word 'boss,' especially when it is used in a political setting? And do you really think we do this on purpose? Post a comment on the blog, or shoot me an email at editor@delcotimes.com.

After all, the real boss around here is you, our readers.

Let me know how you feel.

We're not abandoning high school sports in print - GameTimePa is our new online home

Since this is my blog, I think I can safely surmise that you are reading this online.

Of course, many of our most loyal, longtime readers continue to pick us up every day in print. Which  is why I found something that happened yesterday so interesting.

Today we unveil our new online home for high school sports. You can find our award-winning coverage of Delco high schools at our new home at GameTimePa. In fact, if you go to the high school sports link on DelcoTimes.com, you'll automatically be routed to GameTime. We're kicking off our coverage today and tomorrow with previews of every Delco high school football team.

All of our coverage of high schools will now be on GameTimePa, where readers also will be able to check out coverage of teams from Montgomery, Chester, Berks, Lancaster and York counties. It's your one-stop home for Pa. high school sports coverage.

What I was surprised by yesterday was the number of calls I received from panic-stricken print readers who somehow got the impression that we were no longer going to offer our usual high school coverage in print.

I assure you that's not the case. When you pick up Friday's paper, rest assured you will find our Football Tab inside, complete with previews of every Delco team.

GameTimePa only affects our online coverage. Come Saturday morning, you will still be able to find coverage of all the Friday night games in the print edition of the Daily Times.

We hope you enjoy GameTimePa. We think it's going to be a huge addition to our award-winning high school sports coverage, complete with standings, boscores, videos and lots of other features.

But we're not abandoning print.

Consider it the best of both worlds.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Aug. 28

The Daily Numbers: 7 month old Hamza Ali still remains missing, almost a month after first disappearing.

1st, 2nd and 3rd degree murder charges filed against the boyfriend of the tot's mother.

$250,000 bail on kidnapping charges, now changed to zero bail for Ummad Rushdi in the crime.

6 months in Children's Hospital that ended yesterday when Sarah Murnaghan went home with her family to Newtown Square.

2 double lung transplants for the 11-year-old.

5th grade, what Sarah will start in a few weeks.

46, age of Clifton Heights man who admitted trying to lure a young girl into his car.

29, age of man who threatened to cut the baby out of his pregnant girlfriend. He's now charged with beating her up.

38,000 users, how many Facebook users various government agencies in 74 countries demanded information on the first half of the year.

4 percent increase in traffic across the Philadelphia region expected for the Labor Day weekend, according to AAA.

460,000 Philadelphia area residents expected to hit the roads this weekend, up 4.2 percent from last year.

170 point dip for the Down Jones Average yesterday as fears of conflict in Syria grip the markets.

50 years ago today that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous 'I Have a Dream' speech in Washington, D.C.

270 days in jail for 'Girls Gone Wild' creator Joe Francis for assaulting a woman.

3 cornerbacks on the injured list for the Eagles, causing concern for new coach Chip Kelly.

0 runs and just 3 hits all the Phils managed off Mets starter Jonathan Niese last night.

6 innings for Phils starter Kyle Kendrick, who gave up 5 runs - but just 1 earned - on 5 hits.

2 more errors proved costly again for the Phillies.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. I continue to be amazed at how often I see professional baseball players unable to make routine plays,

I Don’t Get It: Can someone explain Twerking to me. I know all about trying to shock an audience. What Miley Cyrus did the other night at the MTV Video Music Awards was not shocking. It was just sad.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to little Sarah Murnaghan, who is now back home in Newtown Square after getting two double-lung transplants at Children's Hospital.

Quote Box: “This is a barbaric act committed by a barbarian. (Ummad) Rushdi is a barbarian to take this 7-month-old baby and to kill him." - Upper Darby Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood, on the case of missing 7-month-old Hamza Ali.

Upper Darby police dive into social media

It only makes sense that a department headed by Mike Chitwood would take the lead when it comes to social media.

They don't call Chitwood 'Media Mike' for nothing.

The man who warned 'scumbags' to stay out of his town, then had it emblazoned on T-shirts, and yesterday referred to the suspect in the disappearance of little 7-month-old Hamza Ali a 'barbarian,' is now using Twitter to get the word out about crime to township residents.

You can follow them @UDPolice.

No one knows who is actually manning the keyboard, but whoever it is at least has a sense of humor. The officer is engaging with the community and exchanging barbs with those who follow on social media.

Yesterday, when we got word that Upper Darby police had called a morning press conference to discuss the Ummad Rushdi case, I tweeted it out as I normally do. I noticed that it got retweeted by @UDPolice.

I jokingly replied and asked if they wanted to share any information about what the press conference was going to be about.

They replied, 'Are you TRYING to get me in trouble?' and stressed that no information would be forthcoming until the 11 a.m. presser.

I've been saying for a couple of yeas now that the Internet and social media is fundamentally changing the business I work in. Social media is part of that equation. Today everyone with a laptop or phone is a publisher. That now includes your local police department.

There was a time when police were often resistant to release any information about crimes. Of course, Mike Chitwood has never subscribed to that method of community policing. He's loud, brash and out front. The guy never met a camera or microphone that he didn't like.

In other words, he's perfect for today's changing media landscape and the world of social media.

Welcome to Twitter, @UDPolice, whoever you are.

50 years later, the words still ring true

I have now been writing professionally for more than three decades.

Just once, I'd like to pen something this perfect.

Our nation in many ways remains less than perfect, the dream still outside our reach.

But 50 years later, the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. still ring true.

 

Welcome to GameTimePa, your new home for high school sports

As we prepare to bid adieu to summer, we say hello to another high school sports season.

And we have a special treat for those who have come to depend on us as "Delaware County's Sports Authority." It's called GameTimePa. Take our word for it. You're going to love it.

Meet our new partner, GameTimePa.

We take seriously our reputation as "Delaware County's Sports Authority." And this season, which kicks off Friday night, we're upping the ante.

We'll start it all on Friday with our annual high school pigskin preview section. Make sure you look for it in the print edition of Friday's Daily Times. Then starting with Friday night's full slate of football games, you'll be able to keep tabs not only on all the action here in Delaware County, but across the southeastern Pennsylvania region as well.

And you'll be able to do it online, on your phone, or your tablet.

For the 2013-14 high school sports season, The Daily Times and DelcoTimes.com will join forces with GameTimePA.com, a high school sports-specific website that first put down roots in District 3 through the efforts of the York Daily Record and is now expanding to District 1 and the greater Philadelphia area.

While the Daily Times sports staff will continue to offer our unmatched coverage of high school action here in Delco, through GameTimePa we'll also be able to give readers an in-depth look at all the action in neighboring Montgomery and Chester counties, as well as in Lancaster and York counties.

Here's what you can expect:

Delaware County: Leagues covered include the Central League and the Del Val League plus schools in the Inter-Academic League and Philadelphia Catholic League.

Montgomery/Bucks Counties: Leagues covered include the Pac-10, Suburban One, plus schools in the Philadelphia Catholic League, Bicentennial Athletic League, Inter-Academic, the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies, the Friends School League and the ACCAC.

Chester County: Leagues covered include the Ches-Mont, plus schools in the Pac-10, Central League, Catholic Academy and Bicentennial Athletic League.

Berks County: Leagues covered include the BCIAA, plus schools in the Pac-10, Inter-AC and Bicentennial Athletic League.

GameTimePA will be a one-stop shop for coverage from the schools throughout the entire region. GameTimePA.com will simply be the most comprehensive place for District 1 sports coverage.

GameTimePA will also house our increased amount of video reporting and will be the home of our live high school football scoreboard on game nights, which was a hit last season.

An added benefit on GameTimePA is the availability of standings and box scores, previously unavailable on DelcoTimes.com.

Starting this week, GameTimePA.com will become the place to be for every local sports fan with more local scholastic sports coverage than ever before.

What I don't want is for our loyal local sports fans to panic when they go to the high school sports tab on DelcoTimes.com. Starting later this week, you will be relayed to our new high school home on GameTimePa.com.

While we are ready to fan out and cover all the action in Delco, we also want our readers to engage with us in a truly interactive experience.

You can follow all the GameTimePa action on Twitter and Facebook.

Please like GameTimePA-Southeast on Facebook and follow @GameTimePA_SE on Twitter.

It's almost time for kick off another high school sports season.

We're ready, are you?

If not, we have just what you need.

Welcome to GameTimePa.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday Aug. 27

The Daily Numbers: 1010, the House bill that would revamp Pa.'s backtround check to include long-barreled rifles. Dozens held a rally to boost the bill in Chester yesterday.

4 Delco towns - Collingdale, Rutledge, Morton and Ridley - will spray for mosquitoes on Wednesday.

5,540 students head back to school in Ridley School District today, the first district in the county to head back to school.

1 charge dropped against Marcus Hook Mayor Jay Schiliro.

4 'total morons' busted for going on a spree in Upper Darby, shooting at people with a pellet gun from a car.

1, as in Darby Fire Co. No. 1, which recently broke ground on a new home at Chester Pike and Quarry Home, next to the existing fire house.

2 sheds and 1 home damaged in an early morning fire in Brookhaven.

200,000 dollars pledged to state Rep. Joe Hackett if he decides to run for the state Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Ted Erickson. At least 3 other Republicans are interested in the seat.

2 education bosses ousted in 3 months by Gov. Tom Corbett. The latest to go is William Harner, who was dumped because of an undisclosed personnel matter.

10 year old Sarah Murnaghan is heading home today after months at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, including 2 lung transplant operations.

100 liquor stores, including 1 in Delco, getting expanded hours.

64 point decline in the Dow Jones Average yesterday.

8 strong innings from Cliff Lee to lead the Phillies to a 2-1 win over the Mets.

11-6 mark for the Phils left-hand, who picked up his 1st win since early July.

2 run triple for Cody Asche, all the offense the Phillies needed.

15 day DL stint for Casper Wells for vision problems, 2 days after his debut on the mound in that wild 18-inning affair Saturday night.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. How many people coveted Mets' ace Matt Harvey after he blew away the Phils a few weeks ago. Yesterday Harvey went on the DL and may face Tommy John surgery. Sports is weird.

I Don’t Get It: Do you think the word 'boss' has a negative connotation. Some in the Delco GOP do. They don't want us to use it in referring to their chairman.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Sarah Murnaghan, who heads home today after months at Children's Hospital in Philadelhpia, including getting 2 lung transplants.

Quote Box: “Mayors Against Illegal Guns wou'dnlt know which end of the gun the bullet comes out of." - Kim Stolfer, chairman of Firearms Owners Against Crime, in criticizing yesterday's rally for increased background checks held in Chester.

Meet your new spot for high school sports - GameTimePa

Can you feel it? Football is in the air.

And we're not talking Eagles. We're talking high schools.

Yes, another fall sports season is upon us. And we have something special in line for Delco high school sports junkies.

Meet our new partner, GameTimePa.

We take seriously our reputation as "Delaware County's Sports Authority." And this season, which kicks off Friday night, we're upping the ante.

We'll start it all on Friday with our annual high school pigskin preview section. Make sure you look for it in the print edition of Friday's Daily Times. Then starting with Friday night's full slate of football games, you'll be able to keep tabs not only on all the action here in Delaware County, but across the southeastern Pennsylvania region as well.

And you'll be able to do it online, on your phone, or your tablet.

For the 2013-14 high school sports season, The Daily Times and DelcoTimes.com will join forces with GameTimePA.com, a high school sports-specific website that first put down roots in District 3 through the efforts of the York Daily Record and is now expanding to District 1 and the greater Philadelphia area.

While the Daily Times sports staff will continue to offer our unmatched coverage of high school action here in Delco, through GameTimePa we'll also be able to give readers an in-depth look at all the action in neighboring Montgomery and Chester counties, as well as in Lancaster and York counties.

Here's what you can expect:

Delaware County: Leagues covered include the Central League and the Del Val League plus schools in the Inter-Academic League and Philadelphia Catholic League.

Montgomery/Bucks Counties: Leagues covered include the Pac-10, Suburban One, plus schools in the Philadelphia Catholic League, Bicentennial Athletic League, Inter-Academic, the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies, the Friends School League and the ACCAC.

Chester County: Leagues covered include the Ches-Mont, plus schools in the Pac-10, Central League, Catholic Academy and Bicentennial Athletic League.

Berks County: Leagues covered include the BCIAA, plus schools in the Pac-10, Inter-AC and Bicentennial Athletic League.

GameTimePA will be a one-stop shop for coverage from the schools throughout the entire region. GameTimePA.com will simply be the most comprehensive place for District 1 sports coverage.

GameTimePA will also house our increased amount of video reporting and will be the home of our live high school football scoreboard on game nights, which was a hit last season.

An added benefit on GameTimePA is the availability of standings and box scores, previously unavailable on DelcoTimes.com.

Starting this week, GameTimePA.com will become the place to be for every local sports fan with more local scholastic sports coverage than ever before.

What I don't want is for our loyal local sports fans to panic when they go to the high school sports tab on DelcoTimes.com. Starting later this week, you will be relayed to our new high school home on GameTimePa.com.

While we are ready to fan out and cover all the action in Delco, we also want our readers to engage with us in a truly interactive experience.

You can follow all the GameTimePa action on Twitter and Facebook.

Please like GameTimePA-Southeast on Facebook and follow @GameTimePA_SE on Twitter.

It's almost time for kick off another high school sports season.

We're ready, are you?

If not, we have just what you need.

Welcome to GameTimePa.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Monday Aug. 26

The Daily Numbers: 400 applications for 4 job openings, in the Garnet Valley School District.

60 new teachers hired in Upper Darby.

23 hired in Springfield.

384,772 registered voters in Delaware County. Let the fall campaign season begin.

169,719 registered Republicans.

169,700 registered Democrats.

19 voter difference in the county.

10, age of little Sarah Murnaghan of Newtown Square, who continues to improve after getting 2 lung transplants. She is now off oxygen and is expecting to go home this week.

540 students who got free backpacks as part of the festivities yesterday at the Chester Community Fair.

3 more bottlenose dolphins that washed up on shore on New Jersey beaches over weekend.

71 dead dolphins since July 9.

5 alarm fire that gutted a historic Ukrainian church in Philadelphia Sunday.

5-1 loss for the Union Sunday to New England Revolution.

6 strong inning for Roy Halladay as Phillies beat the Diamondbacks, 9-5.

2 runs on 4 hits surrendered by the right-hander, with 2 strikeouts and 2 walks.

2 straight series the Phils have now won.

18 inning marathon the two teams played Saturday night, ending after 2 a.m. They were back on the field for Sunday's 1:30 start.

7:06, that's as in 7 hours 6 minutes, how long it took to play the game.

2:12 a.m., when the game ended.

712 total pitches thrown.

2 position players used by the Phillies. both outfielder Casper Wells and John McDonald took the mound.

67.50 ERA for Wells, who took the loss when he gave up 5 runs in the 18th.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. I have to admit I was leery of Roy Halladay getting that start yesterday, but he didn't look bad. The big question now is jus thow much of his old velocity will return.

I Don’t Get It: Good to see people still leaving hate message on the stories dealing with the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. King's 'dream' in some ways remains just that.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to state Sen. Ted Erickson, R-26, of Newtown Square, who announced on Friday that he will not seek another term. Erickson is the model on which all public elected officials would do well to model their careers.

Quote Box: “It's history. If you don't watch what's going on, it will probably repeat." - Thaddeus Adams, deacon at Second Baptist Church in Media, at Saturday's commemoration of the March on Washington.

50 years after the dream, where do we stand?

We spent much of this weekend mulling the legacy of the March on Washington from 50 years ago and the status of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'dream.'

We sent reporter Kathleen Carey along with a busload of Delaware County residents. You can see her reports here.

Last week I talked about a meeting I had with a group of Chester residents who were looking for stories that showed the city in a more positive light. It went so well that I invited them onto my Wednesday night 'Live From the Newsroom' show. Of course, all of that was before two more shootings in the city left three people dead and a fourth wounded.

I explain in today's print column.

Here's a suggestion. Do you want to know just how far we've come in terms of race relations in the last half-century, with the stirring words of Dr. King still reverberating around Washington, D.C.?

Try this. Go to any story on DelcoTimes.com that invovles the city of Chester. For that matter, wait an hour or two and go to the bottom of this blog. Check out the comments posted by readers. How far have really come? Obviously, a long way. And still so far to go.

Erickson will not be easy to replace

In this line of work, I get to meet a lot of elected officials.

I'll let you know when I find a better, more decent one than Ted Erickson.

On Friday Erickson, 74, announced that he would not seek another term in the state Senate. He did it with the kind of humility that was his trademark.

"It's time to let somebody else take over the seat," Erickson humbly stated. "I'm grateful to the residents of the 26th Senatorial district for the confidence and trust that they placed in me by electing me to the Senate during my tneture, and I thank them for that trust."

It's us who should be thanking him.

Edwin B. 'Ted' Erickson was exactly what you would want in a public official, and exactly what we all too often do not get.

Here's our Sunday editorial on Erickson's legacy.

Ted and I did not always agree on issues. In fact, many readers will probably recall that this newspaper endorsed Melissa Maxman in the special election that was called to fill the seat vacated by longtime Delco powerbroker Sen. Joe Loeper.

Some politicians would have held a grudge. Not Ted. He was always gracious. That was his hallmark, that of a good, decent man.

He will be missed in Harrisburg, where his kind of moderate, common sense style of legislating is sorely lacking in today's partisan stalemate that passes for governing.

 

'Atta boy, Roy

It was just like old times yesterday at Citizens Bank Park.

Yes, that was Roy Halladay on the mound. The Phils former right-handed ace was expected to make another rehab start in Double-A Reading as he continued to work his way back from shoulder surgery in May.

But that was before the Phils used their expected Sunday starter, Tyler Cloyd, for five innings in that marathon, 18-inning affair that stretched into the wee hours of Sunday morning.

So yes, that was Halladay standing out on the hill just a few hours later on Sunday afternoon.

Make no mistake, this was not the Roy Halladay old. His velocity is still not there. But it was more than enough to baffle the Diamondbacks. Halladay went six pretty strong innings, surrendering two runs on four hits, walking two and striking out two.

The question now is just how much velocity Halladay can expect to regain.

"I felt good and feel like each time out it's getting better," Halladay said after pitching at Citizens Bank park, rather than in Reading. Halladay was resting Saturday night in a Reading hotel room when his room phone and cell phone started ringing. Instead of a minor league rehab setting, he was soon in a car making the 70-mile commute to South Philly. "I'm getting stronger and looking forward to continuing to build."

It was Halladay's first victory since April 19 against the Cardinals.

Halladay belives the surgery has allowed him to regain movement in his arm and lets him get his arm in the correct slot. He said doctors told him his velocity will be the last thing to return.

For now, the Phillies likely will take what they got yesterday, with Halladay using a slow curveball and cutter that was registering in the high 80s on the radar gun.

After watching outfielder Casper Wells close out that bizarre game Saturday night, Halladay was a sight for sore eyes.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Friday Aug. 23

The Daily Numbers: 27, age of Lana Trotter, former softball coach at Delaware County Christian School, who faces charges connected to a sexual relationship with one of her players.

3rd degree felony charge of institutional rape filed against Trotter.

1,000 bridges across Pennsylvania that will get new weight restrictions as a safety precaution because repairs are being delayed because of a lack of funding.

9 bridges affected here in Delaware County.

47th annual convocation held yesterday at Penn State Brandywine.

2 cent fee state Sen. Daylin Leach wants slapped on use of those plastic bags we get from just about every store these days.

700,000 dollar winning lottery ticket sold at Westmont Beverage in Collingdale.

2 minor maintenance issues found during a surprise inspection by state officials at the Chester County SPCA, which has been target of complaints because of conditions there.

5 stories, how far a window washer fell from a building on Rittenhouse Square yesterday. Amazingly, he's in stable condition in the hospital.

46,000 dollars, how much a former Coatesville detective is now charged with stealing from the Police Benevolent Association.

45 percent plunge for earnings at Atlantic City casinos in the 2nd quarter.

3 hour halt on Nasdaq trading yesterday after a computer glitch.

2 consecutive come-from-behind walk-off wins for the Phils, who beat the Rockies against last night, 5-4.

4-1 deficit before the Phils scored 2 in the 8th and 2 more in the 9th for the victory.

4 wins in last 5 games for the Phillies.

4-3 mark for new skipper Ryne Sandberg since taking over for fired Charlie Manuel.

.625 batting average for Carlos Ruiz in his last 5 games. He's 10 for 16.

2 run homer for Darin Ruf, his 9th of the year.

2 quarters, how much time starter Michael Vick is expected to get Saturday night vs. the Jags in the Eagles 3rd preseason game.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Yes, I liked Charlie Manuel. But there's no doubt this team now looks better, more engaged, under Ryne Sandberg.

I Don’t Get It: I have no idea why it would take the entire summer, and cost Charlie Manuel his job, before these guys got the message.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those who will be making the trip to Washington, D.C., tomorrow on the 50th anniversary of the famous March on Washington.

Quote Box: “It's every parent's fear - you send your kids to school or to athletics, and someone in a position of trust takes advantage of them. Now that trust is betrayed and your confidence as a parent shattered." - Delco D.A. Jack Whelan, on charges being diled against the former softball coach at Delaware County Christian School.

Follow us on Saturday for live coverage from D.C.

As folks from all across Delaware County prepare to retrace their steps 50 years after the famous March on Washington, the Daily Times will be with them - and you - every step of the way.

Reporter Kathleen Carey will ride along with groups from Delaware County who will be taking the bus trip commemorating the march for freedom, highlighted by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous 'I Have a Dream' speech.

The Media Area NAACP, headed by President Joan Duvall-Flynn, of Concord, is leading the bus ride.

In addition, we learned that former Chester pastor the Rev. LeRoy H. Carter is planning a prayer service next Wednesday at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial. You can read that story here.

You can follow Kathleen's reports tomorrow on Twitter with the hashtag #delcodc. And of course we'll have full coverage in the Sunday edition of the Daily Times.

A tough back to school story at DCCS

This is probably not the Back to School story the Delware County Christian School had in mind.

Their former softball coach has been charged with having a sexual relationship with one of her players. Lana Trotter turned herself in to face charges yesterday.

As you can expect, the media beat a path to the school's Newtown campus yesterday, and were greeted with a brusque request to leave.

A letter posted on the school's website said that the school had been made aware of the charges against the former part-time employee and that they were cooperating with authorities. Head of School Timothy Wiens noted that an internal investigation had been launched.

In his letter Wiens stressed that the school does not tolerate behavior that violates the law or school policy. He asked the school community to "pray that God will protect everyone involved."

Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan had a slightly different view of what went on, calling it "every parent's fear." Trotter now faces felony charges including institutional sexual assault, something that came out of the Jerry Sandusky case. The statute applies to teachers, coaches and other professionals.

In the meantime, the school has to deal with the harsh headlines and actions of their former coach.

 

Suddenly days of Ryne and Roses for Phillies

We interrupt the Charlie Manuel farewell tour for this breaking news bulletin: Has anyone noticed that the Phillies are playing better?

Don't get me wrong. I loved Charlie as much as anyone. But this team was dead men walking for much of this summer under Charlie's watch. Basically, too many of these guys looked like they were going through the motions. When you make basic base-running mistakes - again and again - that tells me a team has checked out.

Apparently they've checked back in with the change in managers. Last night the Phils looked pretty engaged in staging their second straight come-from-behind walkoff victory over the Rockies.

The night after Michael Young did the honors, Domonic Brown took the spotlight last night, with a game-winning single. After trailing 4-1, the Phils scored two runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth. They've now won four of their last five, in the process boosting Ryne Sandberg's record over .500 at 4-3.

Sandberg also seems to have gotten Jimmy Rollins' attention, something Manuel was unable to do. Rollins doubled with two outs in the ninth to kickstart the game-winning rally. With the Rockies not seeming to pay much attention, Rollins helped himself to third. He scored on a slow roller to third to tie the game.

Look, I still don't think this team is very good. But it was obvious they needed an attitude adjustment. The departure of the beloved Manuel might have done it.

It's just a shame it had to come to that to get their attention.

 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Thursday Aug. 22

The Daily Numbers: 10 days of freedom for Snakey, the 7-foot boa constrictor who had been on the loose in Swarthmore. He was found safe and sound yesterday.

1.3 million dollar lease agreement done by Chester Community Charter School that is drawing fire in an audit by the state auditor general.

2 police officers who work on the Temple police force who helped with the delivery of a woman's baby in a car on Broad Street.

2 billion miles every year driven on the Blue Route (I-476), according to the Federal Highway Administration. And it's not even No. 1 in the state.

4.3 billion miles for the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76).

1.8 billion miles for I-95.

2 cents a bag, the charge state Sen. Daylin Leach wants to slap on those plastic shopping bags.

700,000 decline in the sales of Penn State merchandise last year. Not surprisingly, officials are saying it's one more casualty of the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal.

1, as in No. 1, that would be the Philadelphia region, which is the top-ranked area for the thefts and loss of smartphones.

19,150 dollar deal handed out by Media Borough for devices to help with parking enforcement in the borough.

39 bronze vases believed stolen from Edgewood Memorial Park in Concord. A Chester County man now faces charges.

27, age of Upper Darby man who now faces charges of DUI after he allegedly slammed his car into a township police cruiser.

2 bullets that pierced the home of a family in the Sun Village section of Chester, just a day after 2 other shootings claimed 3 lives in the city.

12 overdose deaths from heroin in Marple in a little more than 6 years. Police are again warning of the dangers of heroin.

130 dead in latest attack by Syrian forces on their own people.

35 years in prison for Wikileaks leaker Bradley Manning. This morning he said he wants to live the rest of his life as a woman.

6 straight days of declines for the stock market. Don't look at your 401K.

3-2 deficit that the Phillies turned into a 4-3 walk-off win last night over the Rockies.

3rd rehab start on Sunday for Roy Halladay, this one out in Reading.

36,578 in Citizens Bank Park last night.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. It's been a miserable summer. But there is still somethign special about a walk-off win. Go Phils!

I Don’t Get It: Thanks for all the folks who responded with the usual racist drivel when I asked for questions for our panel on the positives in Chester for last night's Live From the Newsroom show. I don't get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Justin Busam, left, and Chris DeRose, two Delco guys and Temple University police officers who came to the aid of a woman who was having a baby in her car on Broad Street.

Quote Box: “It was just amazing. As police officers, we always see the bad. This was definitely the good." - Officer Chris DeRose, a Marple guy who works on the Temple Police force, who along with partner Justin Busam of Upper Chi, helped deliver a woman's baby.

'Live From the Newsroom' focuses on positive in Chester

There are a lot of good things happening in the city of Chester.

There, I've said it. There are a lot of good, positive stories in the story of Chester. Yes, I know all about the shootings, including the horrific fatalities that graced yesterday's front page. But I also know there are other stories in the city. I am hoping to find them.

I know this because I had the opportunity to talk to several people last night who are intimately involved in some of the good things that are happening in the city.

This started last week when I met with a group of entrepreneurs and members of the Chester Overtown Business District. The meeting went so well I decided to invite them to appear on last night's 'Live From the Newsroom' show, our live-stream Internet community affairs broadcast.

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

Of course, I didn't know then that our front-page story would be about the latest deadly shootings in the city.

That wasn't the purpose of last night's show. What is happening behind the scenes - some would say under the radar - in the city is what we were focusing on.

Reha London, a longtime city landlord, talked about her decision years ago to move from the Main Line into Chester. She's never looked back and never regretted it. Antoinette Trueheart, who heads Entrepreneur Works, talked about the problems she encountered while working in downtown Philly, something she says she's never faced in Chester. Linda Braceland, head of the Chester Business Association who also heads Art on Avenue of the States, reviewed the rebirth of arts in the city, as did Don Newton, who is with Chester Arts Alive. And Mario Cimino, a councilman from Morton Borough who works closely with the city as the Eastern Regional Director of the Pennsylvania Resources Council, talked about a visible change in the city.

I also posted a message on Facebook asking people for their reactions and questions for the panel. The responses were about what you might expect. Some people simply are never going to give Chester a chance.

But I'm here to tell you that we are. The Daily Times has its roots in the city. Yes, we were once called The Chester Times. It's still a very important place for us. We know better than most what is at stake in the city. And we refuse to abandon it.

If you know of a  great story in the city of Chester, feel free to let me know. You can email your idea to me at editor@delcotimes.com

Delco still has an animal control problem

Delaware County still has an animal control problem.

They've just moved it a few miles to the west.

Here's our editorial on the lingering problem that stems from the Delaware County SPCA's decision to get out of the animal control business a few years ago.

A plan to build a new shelter here in Delco proved to be too costly. Instead, the county through its Animal Protection Board now contracts with the Chester County SPCA to handle our strays.

Now many of the same complaints that were routinely hurled at the Delco SPCA are being lodged against the Chesco facility.

I'm not surprised.

Bottom line? Too many people still consider animals something that can be dumped. They can't. They are still a problem, both here in Delaware County and in Chester County as well.

And that means it's everyone's problem. Delco is still looking for a permanent solution.

In search of walk-off wins, and Grotto pizza

Granted, it's been a pretty miserable season for Phillies fans.

On top of that, the weather has been lousy. If the non-stop rain did not keep me off the deck, then the skeeters were chasing me back inside the house.

Suffice it to say this has been a bit of an odd summer. I haven't even made it to Rehoboth, for God's sake. A summer without Grotto? Kind of looks that way. And yes, I know there is an outlet down on Route 202. Believe me, it doesn't taste the same without that salt air. I'm convinced that's part of the charm. My kids think I've gone "around the bend." They might be right.

But I had a reason to smile last night.

Even with the Phils out of the playoff hunt, trying to put things back together under Ryne Sandberg now that our old pal Charlie Manuel has been jettisoned, there is something special about a 9th inning rally and surprise walk-off win.

The Phils entered the 9th inning last night against the Rockies staring down the barrel of a 3-2 deficit and what certainly appeared to be loss No. 71.

Then a little of the magic that has been missing so often from Citizens Bank Park this summer was rekindled. Erik Kratz and Carlos Ruiz doubled to tie the game at 3. Michael Young followed that with a line single to left, chasing Ruiz home for an unexpected 4-3 win. Dennis Deitch has all the details here.

Now if I could just figure out a way to chase away these skeeters. And get my hands on some Grotto!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday Aug. 21

The Daily Numbers: 3 people killed, a 4th wounded in 2 separate shootings that rocked the city of Chester.

21 homicides recorded so far this year in Delaware County.

14 of them have occurred in Chester.

30 minutes between the two shootings, which occurred at 11:19 Monday night and a half hour later.

3 men facing charges in a violent home invasion in Upper Darby in which they terrorized a 13-year-old who was inside at the time.

6 year veteran Upper Darby cop slightly injured when his cruiser was struck by a suspected drunken driver.

600 dollars put up by Brookhaven to join the Delaware County SPCA's spay neuter program.

7 foot boa constrictor who has now been on the loose in Swarthmore for 8 days. No sightings of 'Snakey' have been reported.

6 nursing homes, including St. Francis Country House in Darby, that are being put on the market by the archdiocese of Philadelphia.

11 cemeteries and 2 other parcels that could be used as cemeteries that the archdiocese is looking to outsource in terms of management. Those include Holy Cross in Yeadon and SS. Peter and Paul in Marple.

3 teens charged in Oklahoma in the shooting death of a baseball player "for the fun of it."

800 students inside an Atlanta elementary school when a teen with an assault rifle exchanged gunfire with police. No injuries were reported.

87, age of best-selling author Elmore Leonard, who died yesterday. He penned classics such as 'Get Shorty.'

5 straight days of losses for the Dow Jones.

4,800 dollars in funds missing from Montgomery County Law Library. The former head of the program is charged with mishandling funds.

5 runs in 6 innings for Phillies starter Tyley Cloyd.

1 error this season for Todd Helton, who was charged with one in the 3rd inning.

13.3 yards per pass average for Michael Vick in the preseason, as opposed to 6.9 yards for Nick Foles.

86.7 percent completion rate for Vick for 119 yards, 1 TD, 113.2 passer rating.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Call me a pessimist. I'll set the over-under on games before Michael Vick gets hurt at 6. I'm taking the under.

I Don’t Get It: More gunfire and death on the streets of Chester. I don't get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos tothe neighbor who noticed a man climbing into a house in Upper Darby and quickly alerted police. Three suspects are now in custody in the home invasion in which a teen was terrorized.

Quote Box:
“He just got caught up with the wrong people." - David Color Sr., on the shooting death of his son in Chester.

Live From the Newsroom will be talking about Chester tonight at 7!

As usual, my sense of timing is less than perfect.

Last week, I met with a group of Chester business people. They had requested the meeting because of a recent editorial I penned lamenting - again - the spate of street violence that continues to plague the city.

They wanted to stress the fact that there are good stories - positive ones - happening in the city that they believed get overshadowed by what often appears on the front page.

It was a great meeting that I ended with a couple of them espousing the city's emerging new business and arts environment on video.

In fact, it went so well, I decided to invite a few of them in for tonight's episode of our live-stream Internet show, 'Live From the Newsroom.'

Then, as usual, news got in the way. Today's front page is probably not what they had in mind in terms of stories emanating from the city.

It details an especially violent night in Chester. Two different shooting incidents left three young men dead and a fourth wounded.

It doesn't affect my belief that the city is making great strides, and that there are other stories to tell there. I plan to tell them.

Tonight you can hear from people who are making some of those stories happen. I'll be joined by Linda Braceland, head of the Chester Business Association who also heads Art on Avenue of the States; Reha London, a city resident and longtime activist in landlord issues; Antoinette Trueheart, from Entrepreneur Works, and Mario Cimino, who is active in environmental issues in the city as the Eastern Regional Director fo the Pennsylvania Resources Council.

More importantly, I'd be interested in what readers have to say. Does the newspaper give a false impression of what is happening in Chester? Are there other stories to tell, and if so what are they? If you have a question you'd like our panel to answer, email it to me at editor@delcotimes.com. Then tune in tonight at 7 on DelcoTimes.com and take part in our live chat.

I want to talk about what is going on in Chester, both the good and the bad. Why not be a part of the conversation?

 

50 years later, some still seeking the 'Dream'

This week we mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream' speech.

King eloquently made the argument that the dream remains unfulfilled for too many in America.

Fifty years later, we've made great strides.

But we still have a ways to go.

Don't believe me. Consider the case of Krista Devonshire of Norwood. Her mixed-race family has been getting threatening messages. You can read the story here.

And our editorial here.

Yes, we still have a ways to go.

 

A promotion to die for? Unfortunately, yes

At first glance it was just another wacky promotion by a minor league baseball team that is quickly becoming know for just such stunts.

Remember, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Phillies top Triple-A affiliate, are the team that brought you the urinal game to keep fans entertained while relieving themselves.

So I can't say I was surprised when I heard of their latest giveaway night. On Tuesday night the team was giving away a $10,000 funeral package.

You might say it was do die for.

Yeah, it sparked any number of jokes.

Right up until last night when they announced the winner.

The prize went to Steve Paul, 64, of Freemansburg, who got a standing ovation as he accepted his prize at Coca-Cole Park.

Why? Well, Paul was wheeled out onto the field to accept his prize in a wheelchair. That's because Paul has been diagnosed with ALS, the disease probably better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease for its most famous victim. It is a progressive nerve disease that typically leads to paralysis and death.

You can read the full story here.

Good for him. And good for the IronPigs.

 

Vick is the Eagles starting QB - but for how long?

Michael Vick is the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles.

I am not surprised.

The same cannot be said for the timing of yesterday's announcement from new Birds' boss Chip Kelly.

After insisting since he arrived in Philly that jobs would be decided on the practice field as well as in exhibition games, Kelly apparently has seen enough. Yesterday he anointed Vick as his starter. Bob Grotz has all the details as well as some video reaction.

What's interesting to me is that a lot of people believe that Kelly was actually getting the best out of Vick by doing the exact opposite - not declaring a starter and making Vick feel like he was playing for his job.

It seemed to be working. Vick has clearly been engaged and excelling in Kelly's new lightning-fast offense that requires the QB to make very quick reads and get rid of the ball, something Vick has not been known for in the past.

Both Vick and Foles have been camp standouts, but the edge clearly goes to Vick. Still, how big a part of that was Vick playing like his career was on the line, and will that desire ebb now that Vick is the man again. Yesterday the QB was vowing that won't be the case, that he's been rejevenated by Kelly.

Vick has to do two things to stand out in this offense. Avoid the turnovers that have plagued him the past two years, and stay on the field. The former may be easier than the latter. Vick has been dogged by injuries that have caused him to miss time. His style of play has left him susceptible to hits, and he hasn't helped himself by failing to master the 'slide' to avoid contact with defenders.

Kelly made it clear this was not exactly a demotion for Foles. That part is true. Foles should not get too comfortable with that clipboard on the sideline. If there is one thing that you could count on the past few years, it's that Vick will get hurt and miss games. I'm not entirely convinced that's not going to happen again this year. I set the over/under on games played by Vick at 10, and I'd be tempted to take the under.

For right now, Vick is the man. The offense seems to fit his game. He has a vast array of weapons, including maybe the league's premier back in LeSean McCoy, and Desean Jackson at wideout.

This offense has the chance to be something special. In the process, they could put up some staggering numbers.

But only if Vick can stay on the field. Right now, that just might be the biggest "if" in Chip Kelly's first year in Philly.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday Aug. 20

The Daily Numbers: 3 people shot and killed in 2 different shootings in Chester last night.

9 of September, next time Ummad Rushdi will be in court. He's charged in kidnapping of missing 7-month-old Hamza Ali. He could face murder charges and the death penalty.

22,000 dollar reward still sitting out there for information on who set arson fire that severely damged Penn Wood High last spring. The school has been repaired and is set to welcome students backk.

53,692 loss for Ridley School District in reassessment of property at Route 291 and Stewart Avenue.

40, age of Upper Darby man convicted of sexual assault of 2 juvenile girls in his care.

129 emission stickers and 119 inspection stickers ripped off from auto repair shop in Norwood.

364,336 cut in funds for Delco programs under Head Start. That's a 5.27 hit stemming from federal sequester cuts.

1995, when Chester Eastside Ministries started serving community. It is being forced to scale back operations in a budget crunch.

129.5 million dollar contract for its automated payment technology that is getting ready to be rolled out by SEPTA.

43, age of state trooper from Chester charged in fed indictment with beating handcuffed suspect.

10,000 gallon fuel tank that exploded at Pa. plant, killing 1 person.

135 same-sex marriage licenses handed out so far by Montgomery County.

6.30 in unpaid interest that led to auction sale of woman's $280,000 home in western Pa.

6 and a third strong innings from Phils rookie Ethan Martin.

2 runs is all he gave up, while striking out 6.

21 saves for closer Jonathan Papelbon.

10-6 win for UBBIBC to take the Champs 'n' Charity Classic in the Hook last night.

365 feet, length of majestic home run off bat of UBBIBC's Ryan Ferguson.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Two straight wins for Ryne Sandberg. Who thinks the Phils will be able to make it 3 tonight?

I Don’t Get It: Think Delaware County solved its animal control issue? Think again.

Today’s Upper: Kudos toall those who bought raffle tickets at the Champs 'n' Charity Classic, in the process helping us raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Quote Box: “We're evaluating as to whether or not this is a death penalty case." - Deputy D.A. Stephanie Wills, at yesterday's hearing for Ummad Rushdi in disappearance of 7-month-old Hamza Ali.

A voice unlike any other

Here's today's confession. It's good for the soul, you know.

I was never much of a Led Zeppelin fan. Sure, I loved 'Stairway to Heaven' as much as anyone. It certainly has a spot on my Top 10 list.

But there is something about that band that remains unparalelled. If there is a signature voice in rock 'n' roll, it just might be Robert Plant. Sure, Jimmy Page's guitar work gave the band its edge, and John Bonham's drums its backbone, but it was Plant's voice that was its signature

All of this comes to mind with word today that Robert Plant is 65. I repeat, Robert Plant is 65. God, we are getting old.

A whole lotta luv to one of the great voices of rock.

Delco has not solved its animal control issue

Anyone who thinks Delaware County has solved its animal control program better read this story that first appeared Monday.

We didn't solve our problem. We just relocated it a little to the west.

When the Delaware County SPCA announced it was getting out of the animal control business, the county scrambled to come up with a new plan.

An ambitious project to build a new shelter in Darby Township was scuttled by ballooning costs. Eventually, the county decided to contract with the Chester County SPCA to take in our stray animals.

Now many of the same complaints that were long lodged against the Delco SPCA are being lobbed at the Chesco facility. I feel for Chesco SPCA spokesman Rich Britton, who is in a no-win situation. The region is simply being overrun with unwanted animals.

In the meantime, the plan to send our stray animals to Chester County is proving expensive for Delco or lucrative for the Chesco SPCA, depending on your outlook. Delaware County pays a minimum monthly payment of $30,000 for 120 animals. Anything over that number comes with a surcharge of $250 per animal. In June and July, Delco sent 164 and 161 animals to the Chester County SPCA, at an additional cost of $21,250.

Now volunteers are pointing fingers at the Chester County facility, saying they are simply becoming a 'kill' destination where unwanted animals are euthanized.

Britton puts it in pretty simple terms.

"Animal rescue is not glorious and it sure isn't lucrative. You just wish they all had homes."

And for unwanted animals in Delaware County, that home is next door, at our neighbors in Chester County.

A way of life in the Hook

The first person I ran into as I ambled into Mickey Vernon Park down in Marcus Hook last night was a familiar face.

Boog Laird is the longtime tournament director of the Champs 'n' Charity Classic, the annual end-of-summer softball shindig we've been throwing now for 30 years to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Boog was struck by something that I had mentioned in my Monday column. If you missed it you can read it here. I wrote how summer softball was a "way of life" here in Delaware County. Boog is hard at work on that way of life these days. While he's spent the last week back in his old haunt in Marcus Hook, the rest of the time he can be found in his new digs in Dewey Beach, Del.

It's always good to see Boog. No one is more responsible for this longtime charity endeavor than him.

There was one other "way of life" that is always much on my mind whenver I visit the Hook these days. I couldn't help but notice that on this glorious late-summer night, the borough's longtime icon was once again vacant. There was no flame proudly spotlighting the Sunoco refinery. The legacy of the Pew family is now confined to the history books, as the plant is reconfigured to take advantage of possible opportunities in the booming Marcellus natural gas biz.

But for one night, a "way of life" once again was celebrated in Mickey Vernon Park. We hope to be back again next year, our 31st year, and Laird is already promising a bigger, better coed division, a new wrinkly we added to the tourney this year.

See you next summer!

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Monday Aug. 19

The Daily Numbers: 4 months ago, the last time missing Collingdale mom Melissa Rodriguez was seen.

7, number of bodies of missing women found in the eastern U.S. since Rodriquez went missing.

18 months ago, when the Delco SPCA became a "no-kill" shelter and the county started contracting with the Chester County SPCA for animal control. Kill rates have soared at the Chesco facility since that time.

30,000 dollars a month for 120 animals, how much Delco is paying the Chester County SPCA to hand strays from the county.

250 dollars extra for each animal over the 120-limit.

164 animals taken to Chesco in June; 161 in July.

21,250, how much more Delco paid for these placements.

25 million dollar loan being sought by Delaware County Council for various capital improvement projects.

35 million dollars in capital upgrades slated for 30th Street Station.

365,880 contract handed out by Morton Borough for street paving.

25, age of victim of Jerry Sandusky who became 1st to reach legal settlement with Penn State University.

26 of 31 claims against the university that are believed to be close to being settled.

36, age of disabled woman found tied to a bed in the basement of a Philadelphia home. Another woman now faces charges in the case.

50 years ago this week marks the March on Washington and the famous 'Dream' speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

1 win for Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg.

1,000 wins for former manager Charlie Manuel.

780 wins for Manuel with the Phillies.

5 consecutive NL East crowns, from 2007-2011.

1 World Series title in 2008.

400 fans who showed up at Granite Run Mall to thank Charlie and stand in line for autographs.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Charlie Manuel deserved better from the Phillies, at least the chance to be honored by the home fans for recording his 1,000th win as a manager earlier in the week.

I Don’t Get It: A Norwood family is battling an ugly case of racial harassment. I dont' get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the fans who jammed Granite Run Mall on Saturday to thank Charlie Manuel. Some got in line at 8 a.m. for the 11:30 a.m. event.

Quote Box: “There are 9 million unwanted animals in the United State every year. Where do they go? - SPCA spokesman Rich Britton, on complaints that the death rate at the facility is rising since it started taking in animals from Delaware County.

30 years of softball

 30 years of softball

If we're heading toward the end of August, it can only mean one thing. No, not Back to School. And not the Eagles, either.

We'll get to both of those eventually.

I'm talking about softball. The Best by Test.

For 30 years, it has been our distinct honor to gather the best softball teams in Delco for this little party down in Marcus Hook to determine the best softball teams in the county.

I talk about it in today's print column.

 


A changing of the guard for Phillies

Ryne Sandberg now has exactly 999 fewer victories as a Major League manager than his predecessor, Charlie Manuel.

After failing to score a run in their first two games after Manuel was dumped and Sandberg was put in the hot seat on an interim basis, the Phillies finally managed to not only triple their previous output, but also get a win over the Dodgers on Sunday.

And they did it without getting more than two hits in an inning, something they have now failed to do in ages. The  Phils got a solo home run from Darin Ruf, his 8th of the year, and were handed the game via two Hanley Ramirez errors in the 9th for the 3-2 win. They managed 7 hits total and struck out 9 times.

Sandberg again juggled his lineup, sitting Jimmy Rollins one day after he gave Chase Utley a seat on the pine. Putting light-hitting Michael Martinez did not exactly jump-start the offense; he went 0-for-4 and the last 3 times failed to do anything with runners on base.

All of this comes, of course, in the rubble of Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. bringing the curtain down on the greatest era in Phillies history when he dismissed Manuel at an emotional press conference on Friday.

Everything you need to know about how sad the whole thing was is captured on our front page Saturday with the great AP photo of Manuel, his head stooped and pink shirt tail out, carrying a Wawa bag as he walked out of Citizens Bank Park.

Wonder just how strong a connection Manuel had with Philly fans? All you had to do was be at Granite Run Mall on Saturday. One day after he was fired, the exiled skipper showed up for a previously scheduled engagement and patiently signed items for more than 400 fans who stood in line for hours to thank the man most just called "Cholly."

I understand that the Phillies needed change. But I'm not convinced the right guy went. Ruben Amaro Jr. put this out-of-balance team together, with its nuclear bullpen and non-existent bench.

But it was Charlie who got it in the back.

Manuel did not get the courtesy of finishing out this season. Hell, he didn't even get the opportunity to be cheered one last time by the home fans after getting his 1,000th win on the road.

Manuel deserved better.

I was glad to see the turnout for him at Granite Run Mall. The man brought us a World Series championship in 2008. He will forever be synonymous with the best, longest period of sustained excellence with a franchise that has done a lot more losing than winning.

You'll always be a World Champion in our book, Charlie.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Friday August 16

The Daily Numbers: 853,000 dollars, how much police say an Aston woman stole from the home-building firm where she was the bookkeeper.

2 Aston brothers who got life in prison for the brutal killing of a Lancaster County man in a home invasion.

211,000 dollars stolen in the case, the money from a settlement reached by the victim's widow, who died of mesothelioma.

750,000 dollars cash bail for Ummad Rushdi, who remains in Delco Prison on kidnapping charges in the case of missing 7-month-old baby Hamza Ali.

130 children who showed off their talen yesterday at a spelling and math bee hosted by Chester Councilwoman Elizabeth Williams.

5 people injured in an car crash in Upper Darby.

56, age of Clifton Heights mailman who was held for trial on charges he was stealing mail.

19 years, how long Carol Goertzel has headed the Pathways PA program, which offers mentoring and aid to women in need. She's retiring. She will be greatly missed.

50 million dollars being borrowed by the city of Philadelphia to assure city schools open on time.

2 Trenton police officers injured in a shootout with a suspect yesterday. The suspect was fatally shot.

630 now believed dead in the current unrest rolling across Egypt. The toll is expected to go higher.

225 point decline in the Dow Jones average yesterday.

4.4 percent, average rate on a 30-year mortgage.

9 of 10 for Michael Vick last night vs. Panthers. His only miss was a 'Hail Mary' that was picked off at the end of the first half.

6 of 8 for Nick Foles, including an INT in the end zone after he drove the team down the field on their 1st possession.

30-42 record for the Dodgers on June 22.

40-8, what they've gone since then. They arrive at Citizens Bank Park tonight with 7.5 game led in the NL West.

6 innings for Roy Halladay in rehab start in Florida.

3 runs, 6 hits surrendered by the former ace.

86-88 mph, what his fastball was registering on the gun.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. This Kelly guy just might know something about offense.

I Don’t Get It: Still find it hard to believe the NFL owners are allowed to charge the full price for these glorified practices. Nick Foles and Mike Vick both played maybe a couple of series each. It was all subs in the second half.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the kids who took part in the spelling and math bee in Chester yesterday. Yep, there are lots of good stories in the city.

Quote Box: “The one person that knows where that baby is is the scumbag that killed that baby, pure and simple." - Upper Darby top cop Mike Chitwood, referring to Ummad Rushdi, who is charged in the kidnapping of Hamza Ali. The 7-month-old baby is believed dead but authorities have not been able to recover the body despite exhaustive searches both here and in York County.

The good things that are happening in Chester

There are a lot of people who believe that there are a lot of good things happening in the city of Chester.

They also firmly believe that too often those things get ignored in favor of crime stories that wind up splashed all over the front page.

Yesterday I met a group of them. You'll meet two of them below.

A few weeks back, I got a phone call from Jackie Parker. She's the executive director of the Chster Economic Development Authority. She had concerns about a recent editorial lamenting the latest spike in violence in the city.

She wanted to stress some of the positives taking root in the city and suggested a meeting. I said I would welcome one.

Yesterday she arrived at the Daily Times offices here in beautiful downtown Primos. Actually the first to get here was Reha London, a longtime Chester resident, business owner and property owner, and former head of the city's landlord association. She had a fascinating story to tell me about her decision years ago to leave the Main Line and move into Chester.

Antoinette Trueheart is managing director of Entrepreneur Works of Delaware County. It's her job to try to find money for people  who are looking to set up businesses in the city. She told me of her former experiences in Philadelphia, including being a victim of crime, and never - not once - ever having even a hint of trouble at her job in downtown Chester.

Linda Braceland is the president of the Chester Business Association and a downtown Chester property owner. She's active in the arts, including Art of Avenue of the States. She told me of a push to open a gallery in both Harrah's Casino as well as getting some art displayed at PPL Park.

She also relayed information on what is being touted as Chester Photo Day. On Sept. 21, people are being encouraged to take a photo in the city of Chester. The idea is to catalog a single day in the city in pictures. The shots can be dropped off at 504 Avenue of the States.

Braceland lives in Chester County. She related a story I've heard before. She was in a store out in Chesco buying supplies for an art show, when the clerk asked her what all the stuff was for. When she explained the upcoming show, the clerk wondered where it was. When Braceland replied Chester, the clerk recoiled in horror. "My husband would never let me go there," she said.

It's a common refrain.

There are a lot of people who believe the image problem the city of Chester deals with is caused in part by the way the city is often portrayed in the pages of its daily newspaper.

I guess they haven't yet read today's story on the kids Spelling Bee. You can read it here. Or the many festivals in the city we cover. Or the religion news that runs "religiously" every Friday.

I understand their complaints. There is some merit in what they say.

Don Newton understands better than most the issues in Chester. He knows it is something the entire community has to deal with. Don heads Chester Arts Alive, a group dedicated to bringing arts and culture into the city. He knows it's something that involves the schools, families and administration in Chester. He also understands better than most the issues I deal with every day as a newspaper editor.

I'd like nothing more than to tell a lot of good stories from Chester. Enough from me. Here's two people who can tell you in their own words what is happening in the city of Chester:

 

York County gets the Mike Chitwood treatment

York County, meet Mike Chitwood.

The loquacious top cop from Upper Darby took a road trip yesterday, going to York County to hold a press conference to update everyone on the hunt for missing 7-month-old Hamza Ali. Police believe the tot was snatched by the boyfriend of his mother. He has not been seen since. Authorities theorize Ummad Rushdi kidnapped the baby, likely killed him and then buried the body, probably somewhere in Lancaster or York counties.

Chitwood thanked local police for all their help and then got down to business. He said the search out in York and Lancaster counties likely would be shut down today since their exhaustive hunt has turned up nothing.

And Chitwood did not mince words when it came to their predicament. He made it clear little Hamza's body might never be found if Rushdi does not come forward with information. Chitwood described how Hamza's mother begged Rushdi "at least 50 times" to tell authorities where the baby was, only to have him remain stone-faced.

And of course Chitwood dropped his favorite nickname on Rushdi, saying that the "one person that knows where that baby is is the scumbag that killed that baby, pure and simple."

But I was struck by something else Chitwood had to say.

It's not exactly a secret that the gruff cop has not always seen eye to eye with the Delaware County District Attorney's Office. At his press conference yesterday, Chitwood made it clear he believed he had more than enough evidence to charge Rushdi with murder.

"Personally, I'd lock him up for murder tomorrow," Chitwood said, while adding, "That's up to the D.A."

Last night District Attorney Jack Whelan said his office is still in the process of gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses.

Just another day in the legend of Mike Chitwood.

 

What we learned from Game 2 of the Chip Kelly Era

Here's a few things we learned from Game 2 of the Chip Kelly Era, otherwise known as a meaningless exhibition game between the Eagles and Carolina Panthers:

• This guy might know something about offense. Once again the Eagles first-team offense moved the ball at will. And it didn't make much difference who was quarterbacking. Both starter Nick Foles and Mike Vick looked sharp. I'm still giving Vick a slight edge here. Take away a meaningless 'Hail Mary' at the end of the first half that got picked off and Vick was a perfect 9-for-9 for 105 yards after taking over in the second quarter.

After smartly marching the Eagles down the field on his opening drive, Foles made a bad mistake when he failed to get a throwaway out of the end zone and instead had it picked off, costing the Birds a scoring opportunity.

But here's the really big news: LeSean McCoy is going to have a monster year. Chip Kelly's offense is a perfect fit for McCoy, who performed some eye-popping cuts in his limited duty in the first half. In one run that featured several cutbacks, McCoy looked like the second coming of Barry Sanders. If he stays healthy (and did anyone else notice that McCoy seemed to take an awkward step at the end of one of those runs, and hold your breath the way I did) McCoy could light up the league this year.

• Second, the Eagles much-malinged defense might not be as bad as they looked against the Patriots. Let's face it, Tom Brady is going to make a lot of defenses look silly. Billy Davis' troops looked much better last night, bottling up Cam Newtown and keeping the Panthers out of the end zone.

• And one other thing that not many people are talking about. The Eagles' special teams, in particular their kick coverage teams, which have been a sore point the last couple of years, look to be much improved.

In his two games Vick is now 13 of 15 for 199 yards. He seems to be quickly developing an understanding of Kelly's offense, including the ability to make quick decisions and get the ball out of his hand, something he did not always do the last couple of years.

And don't discount that whoever is behind center for the Eagles, he will do so behind a vastly improved offensive line, one that was ravaged by injuries last year. And Jayson Peters hasn't even gotten on the field in the preseason yet.

Things are looking up for Eagles fans. And just in time, too. Tonight we get to watch the Dodgers come to town across the street vs. the Phillies. They've only won about 1,000 games in a row.

The Eagles regular season can't start soon enough.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Thursday Aug. 15

The Daily Numbers: 7 foot boa constrictor on the loose in Swarthmore. It's the pet of a local veterinarian, who was let out to get some sun on Sunday and slithered off.

18 years, how long its owner has had 23-year-old Snakey. The snake is not considered especially dangerous.

2 more locations, a landfill and a local park, searched out in York in the hunt for the body of 7-month-old Hamza Ali.

137,000 dollars, how much a Marple woman is believed to have stolen from an 86-year-old family friend. Now she faces new charges in connection to a bad check she allegedly wrote to pay for her mother's burial.

9, age of girl who was target in an alleged abduction try Monday night in Clifton Heights.

40,000 dollars a year, how much Delco stands to save with changes in a billing agreement connected to the 911 Center.

12 people who showed up for a public program on the dangers of opiates, which are reaching epidemic levels here in the county.

700,000 people in the U.S. need heroin addition treatment, according to the program.

41, age of Philly Officer Edward Davies, who may lose a kidney after being shot in an altercation with a suspect during a traffic stop.

2 and a half years in jail for Jesse Jackson Jr. for illegally spending $750,000 in campaign funds.

1 year in the slammer for his wife on similar charges.

2 pilots killed when a UPS jet crashed on approach to airport in Birmingham, Ala.

525 people now reported dead as violence continues to escalate in Egypt. Look for the number to go even higher.

113 point dip on Wall Street yesterday.

52, age of new Sixers coach Brett Brown.

39-8, Dodgers record sine June 21. They're in town for the weekend.

.261 batting average for Delmon Young, who was released by the Phils yesterday.

6-3 loss for the Phils to the Braves.

1-5 mark for the Phils on their road trip.

1 and one-third innings for John Lannan, who left the game early with knee problems again.

2nd preseason game tonight for the Eagles, vs. the Carolina Panthers at the Linc.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Delmon Young is gone. Michael Martinez is still here. You figure it out.

I Don’t Get It: There's no need to panic over reports of that 7-foot boa constrictor who slithered away from its owner's home in Swarthmore. It's not considered dangerous.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Brian Corson. He's the Chester man who put on a program warning of the dangers of opiates last night in conjunction with the Delaware County Sheriff's Department. Corson had his problems and is now leading the fight on the new scourge that is taking a big toll on the county and region.

Quote Box: “This is not a poor thing, a city thing, a race thing or a socioeconomic thing. This is everybody's problem and we have to face it." - Brian Corson, in his program, 'The Opiate Epidemic, Why So Serious,' delivered last night.