Monday, September 30, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Monday, Sept. 30

The Daily Numbers: 1-3 start for Chip Kelly and the Eagles after a ‘Chip Wreck’ 52-20 loss in Denver.

52 points for the Broncos, most they have scored in thier franchise history.

1 point, what Eagles trailed by at one point in the 1st quarter, before the roof caved in on them.

28 of 34 for 327 yards for Peyton Manning.

0 interceptions.

4 TD passes thrown by Manning. That gives him 16 in the Broncos’ first 4 games as Denver stayed a perfect 4-0.

14 of 27 for Michael Vick, who was lifted for Nick Foles when the game was out of reach in the 4th quarter. 73 yards rushing for LeSean McCoy.

105 yard kickoff return for a touchdown suffered by Eagles special teams, which struggled.

9 players who have now scored TDs for the Broncos, including linebacker Steven Johnson, a product of Strath Haven High.

1 sack of Manning, recorded by Cedrick Thornton.

7 for 10 this year by kicker Alex Henery, who missed another 40-some yarder yesterday.

73-89 final record for the Phillies.

20-22 mark for Ryne Sandberg after taking over for the fired Charlie Manuel.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. So how much longer to you think the Chip Kelly honeymoon lasts?

I Don’t Get It: Can someone explain to me what he was thinking kicking a field goal down by 36 points?

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Strath Haven High grad Steven Johnson. The Broncos linebacker blocked an Eagles punt and returned it for a TD.

Quote Box: “We just got a good, old--fashioned butt-whipping.” - Eagles cornerback Cary Williams.

The Monday morning quarterback - the Eagles post-mortem

I wasn't surprised that the Eagles defense had no answers to the riddle of Peyton Manning and the high-flying Denver Broncos.

The Birds went into the Mile High City and suffered a Rocky Mountain low, getting thrashed, 52-20. It wasn't that close.

I knew the defense was going to struggle. They didn't disappoint. Mediocre would be a vast improvement for this unit. They don't put any pressure on the quarterback, and they don't cover particularly well. That's not a good combination.

Has the Eagles defense been able to cover a tight end in this decade?

But as I said, we knew all about the defense's shortcomings before the season started. They're not 1-3 and the defense has played just about the way everyone expected.

What was unexpected has been the play of the offense.

They put on a stunning, electric performance in that opening night showstopper in Washington. That was surprise No. 1.

Surprise No. 2 is that they haven't been seen since.

Once again yesterday the Eagles offense struggled to put points on the board. I expected the Broncos to put up a lot of points. But I also expected the Birds' and Michael Vick to make a game of it. That never happened.

Their special teams didn't help, suffering a kickoff return for a TD and also a blocked punt that was taken to the house.

But this offense bears little resemblance to what we saw in D.C.

Where is the frenetic pace that was supposed to be Chip Kelly's calling card?

Where is the gambler who goes for it on 4th down and always goes for the two-point conversion.

Yesterday there was even the ultimate ignominy, a forced timeout because of indecision and a player not lined up in the right spot, one of the trademarks of the Andy Reid era.

Oh, and the Andy Reid Era in Kansas City? It's off to a 4-0 start after the Chiefs blew away the Giants yesterday.

The only thing salvaging this season for the Eagles likely will be the fact that 8-8 just might win this lousy division.

But Chip Kelly needs to reinstall the offense we all saw on opening night. Unless, of course, you want to think the unthinkable: That it took the NFL all of two weeks to figure Kelly's system out.

It might be another long year.

The good and the bad in Chester

I used my print column today to talk about the way this newspaper covers the city of Chester.

If you have been away, there has been a lot going on in the city.

Just this weekend, they broke free of the label 'food desert' when Philabundance opened the city's first full-service supermarket - and the first one in the nation run by a nonprofit - in more than a decade.

There also was a huge celebration in Deshong Park.

We covered all of that.

It's part of a responsibility I take pretty seriously, that being noting the good along with the bad that occurs in Chester.

It doesn't mean we are going to start shying away from those stories. We'll cover them just as aggressively as we always have.

But I recognize there are other important stories in the city as well. Some people tend to think we downplay those. I disagree.

Read my print column and decide for yourself.

Forty years goes by faster than you think

I didn't make it to my high school reunion Saturday night.

It's been 40 years since I roamed the halls of Oxford Area High School.

I was reminded of just how long it was by a photo that was posted on an old classmate's Facebook page. He didn't make it either, and I guess he was reminiscing about the way we were.

I couldn't believe it when I saw the photo on Facebook.

It's the exact same photo that has been hanging in my son's room since the day he was born.

It shows his father sitting cross-legged on the ground, surrounded by a very special group of friends. Meet the Oxford High football team of 1970. That's me, No. 12, in the front row.

This was not just any football team. It was the first team in OAHS history.

Yes, we took our lumps.

The truth is we weren't very good. Actually, in our first two years, we had a couple of guys who could really play, one in particular. Chuck Peterson could play for anybody.

When his class graduated, that left us a little on the lean side

. We were small and inexperienced. How small? In my senior year, I was the starting quarterback. If you had soaked me even with all my equipment on, I would have been hard pressed to top 120 pounds. (I haven't gotten a lot bigger in the four decades since).

We went 0-10 my senior year. I can only take credit for four of the losses, however, courtesy of a broken collarbone, which I guess matched the wrecked shoulder that ended my junior year.

I tell people all the time that I very likely learned more from that group of guys, and about life, than I did in any classroom. Before the season, we would go to a camp in Downingtown for a week. It was the first time I had ever been away from home.

There's a bond among those guys that remains today.

This year the Oxford Hornets are off to a 5-0 start. They beat rival Octorara in a barn-burner Friday night. I hope they appreciate the efforts of a bunch of ragtag guys who went before them, laying the foundation for what the program is today.

I will be forever grateful for the opportunities I got at Oxford High, and being part of that football program. I'm guessing I likely would not have been able to make many other high school football teams, let alone the first one.

Every time I look at that photo, a flood of memories comes back.

Funny, despite suffering two serious injuries and going 0-10 in our senior year, I wouldn't trade them for the world.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

Everything about this game tell you the Eagles should get smoked.

Which is exactly why I think they have a real chance to steal one.

The Birds go West a couple of time zones for a mile-high date with the 3-0 Broncos in Denver. The altitude will be the least of their worries. Grounding Peyton Manning and his high-flying offense will be a huge task for their struggling defense.

Most teams would attack the Broncos with the time-tested adage of keeping Manning and his offense off the field. The problem for the Eagles is that’s not the way Chip Kelly’s offense is constructed. It’s meant to strike quick. Besides, long methodical drives give Michael Vick too many opportunities to divert back into the turnover machine who revisited the Birds in their last game against the Chiefs.

After a scintillating debut vs. the Redskins, the Eagles have gone backward, struggling in a loss to the Chargers and just flat-out not playing well against their old boss Andy Reid and the Chiefs.

I lean toward throwing out that Thursday night game. No one seems to play well on Thursday. The NFL might want to reconsider it altogether.

This one is simple. The Eagles’ defense is not going to defuse Manning. He has not thrown an interception yet, and has connected for 12 TDs.

The Birds will have to outscore them. They have the firepower to do it, with Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson making up as potent a trifecta as you’ll find in the NFL.

I think the Eagles will score plenty on Sunday. Just not enough.

The Pick: Make it Broncos 41, Eagles 27. Too much Manning against a Birds’ defense that is still susceptible to making big mistakes. If Philip Rivers could stand at the line and see what they were going to do, what do you think Manning will do?

Last Week: I was very disappointed in both the team and Chip Kelly in that matchup vs. the Chiefs. The team needs to play better. And Kelly needs this kind of signature win to let people know this system will work in the NFL.

Season Record: I’m still looking for my first win, sitting on an 0-for-3 schneid. The Eagles have cooled off after that explosive opener and now sit at a fairly pedestrian 1-3. 1-4 is not the way Chip Kelly wants to start this season.

Game by Game: Eagles 33, Redskins 27 (My Pick: Redskins 31, Eagles 23)

Chargers 33, Eagles 30 (My Pick: Eagles 33, Chargers 17)

Chiefs 26, Eagles 16 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Chiefs 23)

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Sept. 27

The Daily Numbers: 100 people who gathered in the parking lot of the Rite Aid in Chester, exactly 1 week after the murder of store manager Jason Scott McClay.

2 hours later, a man was gunned down on the 100 block of East 23rd Street.

75, age of the Rev. Robert Brennan, who is charged with raping an altar boy at a Philadelphia parish.

20 abuse complaints that had been filed against Brennan, most of which beyond the statute of limitations.

1962, when they opened the doors to the Riddle Ale House. The owner says he has no intention of selling despite big changes coming to the Granite Run Mall that sits right behind his pub on Baltimore Pike.

8 to 15 years in prison for an Aston man convicted of arson in a house fire in January.

1 nonprofit supermarket in the United State, as of Saturday. It will be located in Chester. Welcome Fair & Square.

0 supermarkets in the city of 33,000 for the last 12 years.

36.9 percent of city resident living in poverty.

13.2 percent unemployment rate in the city.

70 jobs being created at the new store.

13 cemeteries owned by the archdiocese that will now be privately managed in an outsourcing deal.

89 million over 35 years, how much the archdiocese will be paid under the deal.

4 days to go before a potential government shutdown.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Can we end the Tyler Cloyd audition now?

I Don’t Get It: Just hours after a vigil to honor the memory of slain Rite Aid manager Jason Scott McClay, a man was gunned down on another Chester street.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those who came together last night calling for an end to violence in Chester. Some people obviously did not get the message.

Quote Box: “If I could have been there, I would have held him, even if he was already gone. - Bruce McClay, father of Rite Aid murder victim Jason Scott McClay.

Chester's dilemma, food for thought in the city

Tomorrow will be a very special day in the city of Chester. A historic day.

They will throw open the doors at Fair & Square, the nation's first nonprofit supermarket. It's the work of Philabundance, which has made getting food into the hands of people who desperately need it something of an art form.

When the doors swing open on Saturday, it will officially end more than a decade of wandering in what the federal government calls a "food desert." The city earned that tag because it did not have a full-service supermarket within its borders.

The city has lots of corner stores, but until Saturday not a single supermarket.

Fair & Square is not only bringing food to the city, but desperately needed jobs.

Sixty-nine people will be employed there, 82 percent of them Chester residents.

Amazingly, Fair & Square will soon have competition. The city that for more than a decade had no supermarkets will have two when Bottom Dollar opens a store in 2014.

It is a monumental day in the city, one that comes at a particularly tough moment.

There is a sign on the wall inside the supermarket that states, "This is Chester."

This was Chester, too, last night in the parking lot of the Rite Aid, where they gathered to honor the memory of store manager Jason Scott McClay, who was gunned down in the store a week ago.

His homicide marked the 22 in the county this year. Of those, 15 have occurred in Chester.

Just an hour after the vigil broke up, gunfire again sounded on a Chester street. A man was shot several times in the chest on the unit block of East 23rd Street. He was rushed to Crozer-Chester Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Chester continues to have its challenges.

It will have one less today, when Fair & Square puts an end to more than a decade of wandering in the desert for city residents looking for groceries.

They can't open the doors fast enough.

Another tough day for the archdiocese

There was bad news, worse news, and even a silver lining in yesterday's announcement by Philadelphia D.A. Seth Williams that a former archdiocese priest was being charged with the rape of an altar boy.

The Rev. Robert Brennan was picked up in Perryville, Md., where he had been living since being banished from the priesthood after his name was littered through the historic 2005 grand jury report in priest child sex abuse in the archdiocese.

Brennan, now 75, who served several parishes in Delaware County, is believed to have abused as many as 20 boys over a span of 15 years. Most of those offenses came to light too late for Brennan to be charged. But when a new victim came forward, Brennan once again found himself in the crosshairs.

What could possibly be construed as good news in this sordid affair?

In making the announcement, Williams lauded the archdiocese for they way they handled this new complaint, immediately notifying authorities.

Unfortunately, Williams also pointed out that this was even further indictment of past practices in the archdiocese, the kind of behavior that sent Monsignor William Lynn to jail, the first high-ranking church official ever convicted of endangering the welfare of a child.

Williams made it clear that, if he could, he would have charged Lynn with endangerment in this case as well, laying out a timeline showing that the archdiocese was well aware of problems with Brennan's behavior, yet continuing to move him from one parish to another.

He wound up at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish in the Rhawnhurst section of Philadelphia. That's where it is now alleged Brennan abused an altar boy for years, from the time the boy was 11 to 14. Lynn's defense lawyers angrily denounced Williams' proclamations. The monsignor is seeking a new trial. This likely won't help his case.

Big Piece back, Cloyd leaves in pieces as Phils shellacked in Atlanta

Can we end the Tyler Cloyd experiment now? Thankfully, the young right hander's season likely ended last night.

The Phils rolled him out to face the Braves in the first game of the final series of this ugly season. It did not get any prettier.

Cloyd put up more offense than Peyton Manning. Unfortunately, all the offense belonged to the Braves. Atlanta pounded Cloyd for 7 runs on 8 hits. He failed to get anyone out in the 2nd inning, getting an early shower. At that point, the game was pretty much over. The Phils didn't exactly show a lot of interest in a comeback, putting up just one run in the 7-1 rout.

If the Phillies were looking for an answer in September as to whether Cloyd could be part of their plans for next season, I think he answered them.

With a thud.

If you're looking for silver linings, and don't ask me if I think the Eagles have a shot in Denver, there was a familiar face in the dugout for the Phils last night.

Yes, that was Ryan Howard. The slugger is with the team for this final soiree in Hot-Lanta. No, he's not going to be in the lineup. But he is looking forward to a full comeback after a couple of injury-riddled seasons.

Dennis Deitch checked in with the Big Piece.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Thursday Sept. 26

The Daily Numbers: 224 years old, happy birthday, Delaware County, celebrating a big day today!

81 bags of heroin and $700 in cash found on teen drug suspect outside Upper Darby High School, but he was allowed to go free awaiting adjudication, raising the hackles of police and the D.A.

20 years, how long the man who heads BET Investments says he’s had his eye on Granite Run Mall, which his form bought for $24 million.

75 people who gathered at the Memorial Gardens in Upper Chichester last night to take part in the annual vigil of Parents Or Murdered Children.

1 more name added to their list, after Jason Scott McClay was gunned down last week in the Rite Aid store where he was manager in Chester.

94, age of longtime Delco lawman John Taylor, who died at age 94.

7 year extension given to the Keystone Opportunity Zone designation for some undeveloped properties in Chester.

1,000 foot long bridge over Crum Creek shut down by SEPTA.

25, age of daughter of former Pa. Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, who is facing insurance fraud charges.

21 same-sex couples who are challenging Pa.’s ban on gay marriage.

41, age of Michael Moses Ward, also known as ‘Birdie Africa,’ the only child and 1 of 2 people to escape the MOVE conflagration that destroyed an entire city block in 1985 in West Philly.

5 straight days of decline for the stock market. The Dow was off 61 yesterday.

286 dollars a month, the average cost in Pa. for a mid-range plan under the Affordable Care Act.

328 a month, the national average.

8-14 mark for Cole Hamels after he got a no-decision last night in Phils’ 3-2 loss to the Marlins. 202 strikeouts for the lefty, after he whiffed 6 more last night.

75 consecutive starts in which Hamels has gone at least 5 innings.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. While we’re all whining about the fact that Cole Hamels finished the year with a 8-14 mark, here’s something else to mull over. The left-hander has now gone at least 5 innings in 74 consecutive starts. Pretty impressive.

I Don’t Get It: I said it yesterday. I’ll say it again today. Can someone please explain to me what exactly those two so-called executives were thinking of when they texted those revolting, racist messages.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the memory of one of the true icons of Delaware County. John Taylor will be missed.

Quote Box: “We want to create a population there that would enjoy walking to the retail options.” - Michael Markman, head of BET Investments, talking about the future of his newest purchase, the Granite Run Mall.

Happy 224th Birthday, Delco!

Happy Birthday, Delaware County!

That's right, the county is celebrating its 224th birthday today. Delaware County was officially established by the Pennsylvania Legislature on Sept. 26, 1789, separated from Chester County.

Delco was one of the three original counties founded by William Penn when he established his government upon his arrival in Chester in 1682.

I was reminded of this historic date last night by Linda Houldin, executive director of the Delaware County Historical Society, during our live-stream Internet broadcast, 'Live From the Newsroom.'

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

Actually this has been a pretty big month for Delco. September has been branded Delaware County History Month, and they will be pulling out all the stops in a huge celebration Sunday at Rose Tree Park.

Joining Linda and I last night were Beverlee Barnes, head historic preservationist of the Delaware County Planning Department; Bill Henderson, of the Tri-State Hogg Club; local historian Keith Lockhart; and David Belanger from the Delaware County Library System.

Henderson and his pals from Tri-State Hogg will actually kick off Sunday's celebration with a great idea called the Ride For History. Bikers will set off from Hannum's Harley Davidson out in Chadds Ford and drive by a host of historic sites before arriving at Rose Tree Park for the party.

Once at the park, they are expected to join several thousand people who will be reveling in a day of history, antique cars, a host of food vendors, and top-shelf entertainment.

And it's all free!

The Delaware County History Celebration will run from noon to 5 p.m. at Rose Tree Park, on Providence Road (Route 252) in Upper Providence.

Geez, Delco is 224 years old. I think that's just a couple of years older than how I feel these days. Q

Another Delco icon gone - John Taylor dies

John Taylor was once described as 'the most popular man in Delaware County.'

It was an understatement.

I have met tons of public officials in the three decades and change that I have been working in Delaware County. My line of work, the newspaper racket, brings me into fairly regular interactions with public officials. Those are not always pleasant. There was nothing unpleasant about John Taylor.

He served as deputy police chief in Chester before handling three terms as county sheriff.

Taylor died on Wednesday at age 94. We didn't have him long enough.

You can read more about his amazing life here.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Sept. 25

The Daily Numbers: 2 former Coatesville School District executives who were allowed to resign rather than be fired in the fallout from a series of racist texts.

6-1 vote by the board to accept their resignations.

1,000 residents who packed the meeting asking the board to reject the resignations and fire the former execs.

1 million square feet of retail space that is now in the hands of new owners at the Granite Run Mall.

1974, when the mall opened, and Margaret Kuo opened her renowned Peking Restaurant there. It remains the lone tenant still at the mall from opening day.

10,000 member Suburban Realtors Alliance, which gave its backing to GOP County Council candidates Mario Civera and Dave White yesterday.

12 local and federal law enforcement officials who took part in a drug raid in a house in Collingdale. 22, age of Brookhaven man who police say performed sex acts on a minor and had a video of the encounter on his cell phone.

377, 529 allegedly stolen from Aldan Borough by its former tax collector. The borough is expecting to get the money back from its bonding company.

10 million dollars in general obligation bonds issued by Haverford Township.

17 hours, how long Sen. Ted Cruz and his allies spoke on the Senate floor in an attempt to block vote on spending bill that will fund Obamacare.

66 point dip for the stock market yesterday.

45,000 seasonal hires being planned for Christmas shopping at Toys R Us

40,000 wedding being given away to a deserving military couple by the Clarion Hotel in Tinicum.

2 runs scored by Phillies in the 1st inning. It held up in a 2-1 win.

5 innings of shutout ball for the Phillies bullpen to preserve the win and snap a 5-game losing streak.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Chip Kelly is not terribly worried about the Eagles playing in the mile-high altitude in Denver. Facing Peyton Manning? That might be another matter.

I Don’t Get It: Gutless move by the Coatesville School Board to accept the resignations of two execs who exchanged a long series of racist emails. They should have been fired.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the two Coatesville School District employees who came forward at last night’s meeting to say they had leaked the texts to the Daily Local News. A courageous decision - and the right one - in a district that has shown all too little of either.

Quote Box: “Anything can bring rejuvenation to the mall. Any changes will be helpful for the tenants, I just want to see something happen because there’s nothing worse that can happen.” - Margaret Kuo, owner of Peking Restaurant in Granite Run Mall, on the ownership change at the mall.

'Live from the Newsroom' tackles Delco history

Did you know that September is Delaware County History Month?

More importantly, did you know that on Sunday there is a huge event at Rose Tree Park to celebrate Delaware County's rich legacy.

All month long, Delaware County has been holding a series of events spotlighting county history. On Sunday they will add the crowning touch with a huge celebration.

We're going to offer a preview of what will be available tonight on our 'Live From the Newsroom' live-stream broadcast. You can tune in at 7 p.m. on DelcoTimes.com. If you have a question about Delco history you'd like to see our panel address, email it to me at editor@delcotimes.com.

I'll be joined by Linda Houldin, the executive director of the Delaware County Historical Society; Beverlee Barnes, head historic preservationist of the Delaware County Planning Department; Bill Henderson, of the Tri-State Hogg Club, which is planning a special motorcycle 'Ride to History' on Sunday morning to kick off the day; and local historian Keith Lockhart, owner of one of the largest collections of historical photos in the county.

The 'Ride For History' for cars and motorcycles will start at 9 a.m. Sunday at Hannum's Harley Davidson, 1241 Baltimore Pike out in Chadds Ford, and end in Rose Tree Park. Participants will tour historic sites in the county.

The celebration will run noon to 5 p.m. in Rose Tree Park, featuring antique cars and motorcycles, a children's fun area, a diverse collection of food vendors, and art shows and events all tied into Delco history.

Join us tonight at 7 for a 'history-making' 'Live From the Newsroom.'

Parents of Murdered Children vigil tonight

It is the one club nobody wants to join.

That's how I started my talk a couple of years back when I had the honor of addressing the Parents of Murdered Children.

The Delaware County Chapter will hold their annual vigil tonight at 7 p.m. at the Living Memorial Gardens, located on Furey Road and Chichester Avenue, across the street from the township municipal building. Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan and state Rep. Joe Hackett, R-161, will be the featured speakers.

If you've never been to the Memorial Gardens, I highly recommend it. Walking along the trail that winds through the path, stopping and taking the time to read the remembrances at each site, is a moving experience, and a somber reminder of the horrific toll murder continues to take.

We write and read the headlines for a few days. The families who lose loved ones are left to deal with the sadness and incredible loss for the rest of their lives.

Tonight's service will take on added meaning for the McClay family. Their son, Jason Scott McClay, became the latest murder victim in the county when he was gunned down last Thursday during a robbery attempt at the Rite Aid store in Chester where he worked as the manager.

An ugly turn for race relations in Coatesville

When I got out of college and came back east, the first job I got in the newspaper business was at The Record in Coatesville.

That paper, like all too many in my profession, no longer exists. A lot of the issues that swirled around the city back then are still around today, however. That's unfortunate as well.

I am still trying to come to grips with what I have read concerning a series of text messages that have caused a conflagration in the town where I once worked.

I could tell you I'm surprised, but I'd be lying.

People are always talking about how far this nation has come in terms of race relations. I'm not so sure. What is stunning in the Coatesville is not that two adults would exchange a series of texts dripping with racial venom, in which they joked about referring to students, staff and parents with the N-word.

If you doubt that kind of blatant racism still is all too commonplace, I invite you to read the comments readers often attach to stories on DelcoTimes.com, in particular any story coming out of Chester. The truth is we can't monitor the comments, and take down some of the filth, fast enough.

What is truly stunning in Coatesville is who was making these comments.

The man casually joking about substituting the N-word for surnames was the superintendent of schools. His partner in hate was the district's athletic director.

I'm just at a loss.

What were they thinking? For people in charge of schools - of molding and shaping our children - to hold these kinds of thoughts is ugly enough. To casually share them on district-owned cell phones strains credulity.

Make no mistake, this was not a Riley Cooper-style outburst in which the worst racial invective was blurted out in a moment of rage. This was a long series of texts that provide a look into these two school leaders' souls. Funny? Hardly. A joke, only if you believe this kind of racial hate speech is acceptable.

And that's the point. They obviously were comfortable sharing this information in a public setting, on district cell phones. I have to assume they never believed their exchanges would be made public. In the process, they held a mirror up to society and reflected an ugly truth: Racism continues to be all around us, lingering in private, shocking only when it is made public, and comes from a most unexpected source. Last night the Coatesville School Board made matters worse. In attempting to avoid a long legal battle, they instead voted to accept the resignations of their superintendent and athletic director. You can read the entire saga from the emotional, four-hour meeting here.

Richard Como and Jim Donato should have been fired. If only to send a message that this kind of hate, regardless of where it comes from, will not be tolerated.

The truth is too many people continue to think that way.

They may not be superintendents, but they're smart enough not to do it in public.

How far have we come in race relations? A long way, no doubt.

And with an equally long way to go.

As anyone in Coatesville could tell you today.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Sept. 24

The Daily Numbers: 24 million dollar bid that closed the deal on the sale of the Granite Run Mall.

1974, when the iconic shopping mecca was built on Baltimore Pike in Middletown.

58,000, number of cars that go by the mall every day. Lately, not many of them have been pulling in.

3 anchor stores at the mall - Boscov’s, JC Penney and Sears.

2 free-standing sites - Kohl’s and AMC Theater.

85 percent occupied these days at the mall, which has fallen on hard times.

2 people in custody in murder of store manager at Rite Aid store in Chester, and word that police are actively seeking more suspects.

2 carjackers being sought in Radnor.

14 million dollars in debt for Cheyney University, where alumni are threatening to sue the state to rectify what they believe are funding inequities between Cheyney and the other state universities.

5 stab wounds an Upper Darby man who is confined to a wheelchair is now charged with delivering to a man he was arguing with over an XBox.

49 point dip for the stock market yesterday.

9 million iPhones sold since the new model was rolled out on Friday.

55,000 seasonal workers being hired by Wal-Mart, and 70,000 being pushed up from part-time to full-time. 4.7 billion dollar deal in which BlackBerry will be sold.

16 pitches, how long Roy Halladay lasted in last night’s 4-0 loss. He’s done for the season, battling what he calls a stomach ailment.

5 of the 16 pitches were strikes.

83 mph, top speed he hit on the radar gun.

55-29 mark for Halladay in his 4 seasons with Phils, with an ERA of 3.25

32 of 37 for Peyton Manning last night in leading Broncos over Raiders on Monday Night Football. The Eagles head to Denver on Sunday.

12 TDs thrown by Manning so far this year.

0 interceptions. Nate Allen, you’ve been warned.

21 years, how long it’s been since the Pittsburgh Pirates made the playoffs. They clinched a spot last night.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. A sad final appearance by a clearly stricken Roy Halladay last night. Probably not the way he wanted to go out.

I Don’t Get It: Hard to think of Baltimore Pike without the Granite Run Mall.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Margaret Kuo. The owner of Peking Restaurant was there on Day 1 when Granite Run Mall opened in 1974, and she’s been there every day since.

Quote Box: “I think some people just go to the King of Prussia Mall or the Christiana Mall. I wouldn’t mind if they knocked it down.” - Kevin Dengler, on troubles of Granite Run Mall.

The rumors come true at Granite Run Mall

I have gotten at least one phone call every week for the last couple of years to ask me if I've heard the rumor that the Granite Run Mall had been sold.

It's not longer a rumor. Yesterday it became reality.

The sprawling shopping mecca built on an old stone quarry out on Baltimore Pike at Route 352 in Middletown was sold in a competitive bidding process for $24 million.

Almost an interesting is who bought it. That would be Bruce Toll, through a company he owns called BET Investments. The selling price was $24 million.

Here's what we know: The group is planning what they're calling a "walkable mixed-use project" that would include both retail and residential.

Here's what we don't know, at least not yet: What does this mean to the mall and the current stores that are there, including anchor stores such as Boscov's, JC Penney and Sears. There is also a free-standing Kohl's and an AMC Theater on the site.

My first thought when I heard the news yesterday was my friend Margaret Kuo, whose outstanding Peking Restaurant was there on Day One in 1974 when the mall opened. It has been an icon on the Delaware County dining scene ever since, and Kuo has expanded her dining empire with restaurants in Media and Wayne. Her son operates a restaurant in Frazer, Chester County.

We'll be looking to get answers to some of these questions today.

Another shooting in Chester

Just days after the manager of a Rite Aid store in the city was gunned down, shots rang out again in Chester.

This one is equally troubling. It happened at 7 o'clock in the morning, just a block away from the high school.

The drive-by shooting left two 15-year-old high school students and another man wounded. You can get all the details here.

A lot of people in the city were not terribly happy with the way we covered the killing of Jason Scott McClay. I doubt they will be any happier with today's story.

None of which will provide the answer to the only question that really matters: How can Chester stop this kind of random street gun violence.

Two scary thoughts for Philly fans

Here are two scary thoughts for Philly sports fans in this summer turned autumn of our discontent: Roy Halladay and Peyton Manning.

Halladay's season-long struggle likely ended last night when he lasted just 16 pitches. The former ace failed to get out of the first inning in what would eventually become a dispiriting 4-0 loss to the Marlins. It marked the Phils' fifth straight loss. They have not won since the interim tag was lifted manger Ryne Sandberg's title.

Halladay didn't help matters last night. Of his 16 pitches, only five of them were strikes. And none of them registered higher than 83 mph on the gun.

That's when the trainers when and got him. The story is that Halladay's arm is not the only thing bothering him. He's been having gastrointestinal issues for months, something that apparently runs in his family. The only question left now is if those 16 pitches are the last ones he ever throws for the Phillies. Halladay will be a free agent at the end of the season.

One arm not in question is that of Peyton Manning. Hopefully, not many Eagles fans stayed up last night to watch the Broncos' QB eviscerate the Oakland Raiders on the nationally televised Monday night game. It was enough to give Chip Kelly and Billy Davis nightmares.

The Eagles are next on the radar screen for the unbeaten Broncos. And they have to fly across the country before tangling with Peyton in the Mile High City Sunday afternoon at 4:25.

All Manning did last night was go 32-for-37, throwing for 374 yards and 3 TDs in the process. He now has 12 TDs this year, and has yet to throw an interception.

What do you think he's going to do against Nate Allen and the guys.

This one could get ugly.

The saying in the NFL is, of course, "any given Sunday." It means that at this level, any team is capable of beating another one on any given Sunday.

Bookmakers make a fortune from suckers trying to prove that theory wrong.

Now it's Chip Kelly's turn.

It's his first game in the pros where all of the experts are giving his team little or no chance to win. Yeah, you're not in Oregon anymore, Chip.

You didn't get the chance to pull off many "upsets" while dominating in the college ranks. You could shock everybody and likely validate your frenetic style of play by winning on Sunday.

I'll believe it when I see it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Monday Sept. 23

The Daily Numbers: 2 people now in custody, charged in the murder of Chester Rite Aid store manager Jason Scott McClay.

23 and 24, ages of Rita Pultro and David Wiggins, both of whom are now in Delaware County Prison on murder charges.

1st, 2nd and 3rd degree murder charges filed against both suspects.

20,000 dollar reward that was offered in the case.

22 homicides in Delaware County so far this year.

14 of them have taken place in Chester.

12 years, how long Chester has been without a supermarket. That will end on Saturday, when Philabundance opens its Fair and Square facility.

10,000 people who flocked to the city for the Riverfront Ramble on Saturday.

2 suspects referred to as a ‘terror team’ charged in a series of attacks in the Highland Park section of Upper Darby.

9,000 dollars raised for a scholarship in the name of the late singer-songwriter Jim Croce at concert at Upper Darby High Saturday night.

100 million dollars being sought for Cheyney to put it on an even keel with other state universities. If they don’t get it, a group says they will revive a lawsuit against the state.

3.56 a gallon, what we’re paying on average at

the gas pumps in Philly region.

3.63, what we were paying a week ago. 3.93, what we were paying last year.

3.48 average price nationally.

3.35, average price in New Jersey. Almost worth paying the toll to fill up across the Commodore Barry.

68 people killed in terrorist attack and standoff in shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Ryan Sandberg yesterday had the interim dropped from his title. He will be the Phillies manager after going 18-16 since taking over for Charlie Manuel. Too bad he doesn’t coach in the NFC East. That would put him in first place in the NFC ‘Least.’

I Don’t Get It: Still hard to fathom how little people value life in the wake of the murder of Jason Scott McClay, the manager of the Rite Aid store at Ninth and Highland in Chester.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Philabundance for bringing the first supermarket into Chester in 12 years. A food desert? No long.

Quote Box: “We’re glad they got her off the streets before she can do any more harm. We’re thankful to the police and detectives working the case.” Sherry McClay, stepmother of fatal shooting victim Jason McClay, on learning that woman 2nd suspect was in custody.

A long weekend of the good and bad in Chester

I spent a lot of time thinking about the city of Chester this weekend. Our lead story on three consecutive days was tied to the murder of Rite Aid store manager Jason Scott McClay during an attempted robbery at the store at Ninth and Highland late Thursday night.
As usual, some people did not particularly care for the way we were presenting another negative story about the city. Saturday morning, some Facebook posts started to question the way we handled the story, including the normal references to us as the ‘Daily Trash’ and the ‘Daily Rag.’ I was sort of expecting it. That’s why I penned the editorial that appeared in the Sunday newspaper. In it I talked about the great strides the city is making, as well its continuing problem in dealing with violent crime. A lot of people in this county still believe Chester is not safe, a place to be avoided. You’d be hard-pressed to convince the thousands who turned out Saturday for the annual Riverfront Ramble of that. Our critics didn’t mention that we devoted two full pages in the Sunday newspaper to the Ramble, as well as the Plein Air Competition, hosted by Art on Avenue of the States. It’s just the latest event dreamed up by Linda Braceland, president of the Chester Business Authority, as well as Art on Avenue of the States. Earlier in the week, we had written a story on Chester Photo Day, which also was Saturday. Residents were encouraged to take a picture of Chester somewhere in the city during a single 24-hour period on Saturday. The pictures will be displayed by Braceland in her galleries. A few weeks ago, I got a visit from Braceland, Jackie Parker, head of the Chester Economic Development Authority, and a group of others to talk about the things going on in Chester. There are a lot of good things going on in the city of Chester. And we’re covering them. But we won’t ignore the problems the city has, in particular the drug and street violence that remains the scourge of the city. Does our coverage of crime issues in the city offer a skewed vision of the city? I’ll let you be the judge. Would you like to talk about it? I responded to my critic on Facebook that I would be willing to attend a town hall style in the city and talk about our coverage of Chester. If some civic leaders, including my friend Joe Kane, or possibly Mayor John Linder, want to put something together, all they have to do is tell me where and when, and I will be there. My friend and former co-worker Stefan Roots, who writes the popular Chester City Blog that we host on DelcoTimes.com, posted an item that said the editor of the Daily Times was “threatening” the city of Chester. Actually the “threat” consisted of me actually coming to a town hall meeting. Now I know how people feel when they think they have been misrepresented by the media. Actually, I know exactly what Stefan was doing. I do it all the time. He was trying to drum up interest. At a minimum, I would like to have Joe Kane and anyone else who would like to attend sit in for a session on our weekly live-stream broadcast, “Live From the Newsroom,” to talk about Chester, and the issues the city faces. One of those issues is the fact that the city hasn’t had a supermarket in more than a decade. That will change this weekend when Philabundance opens its Fair and Square store. We also devoted two pages in today’s paper to that story as well. My guess is that’s not the only people will be talking about. But by all means, let’s talk. My offers stands.

Call it the NFC Least

Cheer up, Eagles fans. Things could be a lot worse. You could be a Giants fan, for instance. Or live in the nation’s capital and be a Redskins booster. They’re both 0-3. That’s right, after three weeks on this young NFL season, the mighty NFC East has turned into the NFC Least.

The Cowboys won yesterday; they lead the division at 2-1. The Eagles are next at 1-2, and staring at a road date in Denver that seems to assure they will fall to 1-3. The Giants and Redskins are sharing the basement, both still looking for their first win.

The Giants in particular have been laid low. Yesterday Eli Manning was sacked seven times as the G-Men got pummeled by the Carolina Panthers, 38-0. It was the worst loss of Tom Coughlin’s coaching career.

Seems like a lot of things are upside-down in this NFL season. Pennsylvania in general is not faring well.

Anyone else notice that the Steelers also are 0-3? The Steelers! Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw must be aghast. Maybe it’s the sports gods’ idea of payback for a good season for the long-suffering Pirates. They got good, and the Steelers went into the tank.

I don’t expect the Eagles to beat Peyton Manning the Broncos in the Mile High City next Sunday. Most years, three losses in your first four games would mean calling for the coach’s head and dreaming of first-round draft picks.

This isn’t most years.

An 8-8 mark might just win this division. Hell, 7-9 might do it.

The Eagles started the season with a made dash of three games in 11 days. Now things will settle down just a bit.

It they can scratch their way back to the .500 mark, they just might be able to steal a division title.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Sept. 20

The Daily Numbers: 1 person shot and killed during apparent robbery of Rite Aid drug store last night in Chester.

2 people seen in a video surveillance tape being sought.

7 of October, deadline to register vote in the November election.

10 years to the day, term served by Sheriff Joe McGinn. Because he had served part of an interim term, the Home Rule Charter mandated that he resign his office on Sept. 18.

312, as in Teamsters Local 312 in Chester, which is no longer going to allow the city to use per diem non-union workers.

150 dollar inspection fee for rental properties in Tinicum. Commissioners decided against a $250 fee. Right now it is $75.

23 deer culled in a bow hunt in Rose Valley last year. Officials have set another hunt to try to keep the deer population under control.

1 ticket that hit the $400 million Powerball drawing. It was sold in a South Carolina gas station.

200 people still missing in the flooding that hit Colorado.

6 people died in the nasty weather.

40 point dip for the stock market yesterday.

5 Eagles turnovers that doomed them in last night’s 26-16 loss to the Chiefs.

2 INTs thrown by Michael Vick, including one returned for a TD.

13 of 30 for 201 yards for Vick.

158 yards rushing on 20 carries for LeSean McCoy, despite exiting just before the half with a leg injury. 41 yard TD run for McCoy in the 4th quarter.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Class move by Philly fans last night, offering standing ovations for both Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb.

I Don’t Get It: Another fatal shooting in Chester. A Rite Aid store manager gunned down. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those who will gather Saturday for the Riverfront Ramble in Chester. There are good things happening in the city.

Quote Box: “I didn’t get the temp going ... I wasn’t caught in the hype. - Michael Vick, saying he wasn’t thrown off by all the hoopla surrounding the return of his former Coach Andy Reid.

Troubling start to a big weekend in Chester

This is a very big weekend in the city of Chester.

What happened Thursday night is probably not the way they wanted it to start. The manager of the Rite-Aid drug store at Ninth and Highland was gunned down during what appears to be a robbery.

Police are now looking for a man and woman that were captured on video surveillance.

Drug stores and pharmacies are increasingly becoming targets. Either for the cash, or for the powerful painkillers inside.

Unfortunately today no one likely will be talking about Chester Photo Day, a great promotion being pushed by Linda Braceland, head of the Chester Business Authority and Art at Avenue of the States. They are asking people to take a single photo someplace in the city on Saturday, and they will display them in their gallery.

Saturday also is the hugely successful Riverfront Ramble, when thousands of people will come into the city and flock to its gorgeous waterfront for a day of fun, food, crafts and music.

It reminds me of something former Mayor Wendell Butler always used to say when he talked about the image Chester has in the eyes of most people in Delaware County.

He would always say that until people are convinced they can come into the city, go about their business, and return home without thinking about their safety, the city would have issues.

Thousands will do that Saturday. Just as 20,000 often do to take in Union soccer games at PPL Park. No one likely will be talking about that.

What they’ll be talking about is a store manager gunned down in cold blood while just trying to do his job. Nope, not the way the city wanted to start this weekend.

Kelly's Zeroes

Eagles fans entered Lincoln Financial Field last night conflicted about whether to cheer or boo Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb.

A few hours later they exited with bigger problems. This current edition of the of the Birds isn’t very good.

In their first two weeks, at least the Eagles were exciting. Last night they were just sloppy in dropping a 26-16 game to their old boss and the Kansas City Chiefs.

The tone was set for this game on the opening kickoff, when their up to this point solid special teams were gashed for a 50-plus yards return. After their beleaguered defense bailed them out, the special teams conspired against them again, when Damaris Johnson muffed the punt, setting up the Chiefs inside the Eagles 10 yard line.

It was pretty much down hill from there.

The Eagles turned the ball over five times. Michael Vick looked very much like the guy who got benched in favor of Nick Foles last year. The QB was a very pedestrian 13 of 30 for 201 yards. He also reverted to a problem that has always been part of his repertoire - batted balls. Last night of those in the 1st quarter was returned for a touchdown. It was one of his two interceptions on the night.

The Chiefs’ offense wasn’t a lot better, even with the gifts bestowed on them by the Birds.

Among the many problems the Eagles exhibited was an inability of Vick and center Jason Kelce to get together on snaps in the shotgun formation, with Kelce bouncing one off his behind that was recovered by the Chiefs, and one that sailed over Vick’s head.

So far as the subplot, Eagles fans showed a bit of class by offering both Reid and Donovan McNabb a warm return home.

Too bad the team decided to play very much like a team on a short week of practice. So were the Chiefs, who also had to travel across half the country. The Eagles must have felt bad because they decided to give them the game.

The Eagles have now lost eight straight games at Lincoln Financial Field. Whatever shred of home-field advantage they may have once held there is long gone, just a memory of the visceral fear most teams had of coming into Veterans Stadium.

Now this team, like its swanky, corporate-themed home, is soft. It relies on guile and trickery. And now Chip Kelly’s souped-up offense.

Last night Vick and the offense unfortunately were running like an old VW, coughing and sputtering. The defense played better, for the most part bailing out the offense after the early turnovers, but it didn’t much matter. If the Eagles offense is not humming, this team doesn’t have much chance of winning. Chip Kelly now has nine days to figure this thing out and determine if there are any changes he could make to right the ship. That includes his quarterback. Vick last night looked exactly like the turnover machine he has become in recent years.

In the meantime, Andy Reid is 3-0.

All together now: Hail to the Chief.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick (Thursday Edition)

Forget Andy Reid. Donovan McNabb? Thanks for the memories.

While the fans are foaming at the mouth over the thought of greeting Big Red, all decked in the red of his Kansas City Chiefs, back to the Linc, there remains a football game to play.

Here’s what I know. It will be incredibly entertaining.

The Eagles are one of the early hits of the NFL season in large part because of Chip Kelly’s offense. This team looks like it is going to consistently put up 30 points a game.

The problem is that they are going to give up at least as many.

Week 1 they scored 33 points and hung on for a win over the Redskins. Last week they put up 30 on the Chargers and lost.

Get used to it. The Eagles have a space shuttle offense. But they’re the Hindenburg on defense. Somehow, Chip Kelly, and more likely his defensive coordinator Billy Davis, have to figure out a way to occasionally make a third-down stop, get their defense off the field, and allow the Eagles’ electrifying offense to strut it stuff.

Look for the Birds to come up with some new blitz packages in an effort to put the heat on Chiefs’ new QB Alex Smith, the guy who was cast aside by the 49ers for Colin Kaepernick, despite leading them to the playoffs.

I don’t expect Kelly’s offense to miss a beat. He has two of the best offensive weapons in the league. Last week the Chargers obviously decided they were not going to get beat by LeSean McCoy. They stacked the box, and Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson had a field day. If opponents look to shut down Jackson, they make themselves vulnerable to McCoy, both in the air on the ground.

Here’s a couple of things you can count on: Reid will open the game with some type of gadget play. The guy always thought he was smarter than everyone else. He’s not. Chip Kelly is.

It would be poetic justice if Reid burned all his timeouts in the first half, and had Smith throw a ball in the middle of the field as they’re driving for a score before halftime, only to watch helplessly as the seconds expire. Funny, haven’t seen that act since Kelly got there.

Reid comes in with a 2-0 team. Anyone else remember the Eagles also were 2-0 last year? And then went to 3-1 with a win over the eventual Super Bowl champion.

Welcome back, Andy. Bravo, Donovan. There’s a new sheriff in town. Chip Kelly won’t make the same kind of mistakes that so often doomed the two of you.

The Pick: Make it Eagles 31, Chiefs 23. Another huge dose of the best triple threat in the league - Vick, McCoy and Jackson. The only question is if the Birds’ defense can hold down the fort. They can’t be as bad as they were last week. Can they?

Last Week: I didn’t think the Eagles defense was this bad. As I tweeted during the game, all that secondary is missing is a Big Top. It’s a short week, and I think that always works in the home team’s advantage. It’s on Billy Davis to come up with some kind of plan to shut down Alex Smith. Season Record: I’m taking an 0-fer so far. Looking back, both teams probably had a chance to win easily last week, but both made crucial mistakes that kept the game in nail-biter mode. So I sit at 0-2 while the Birds are 1-1. They are staring at a trip to Peyton Manning in Denver, so it is not recommended that they lose this game. I don’t think they will. Game by Game: Eagles 33, Redskins 27 (My Pick: Redskins 31, Eagles 23) Chargers 33, Eagles 30 (My pick Eagles 33, Chargers 17)

How Eagles fans can prove all those national pundits wrong

It’s 2-fer night for nostalgia fans down at Lincoln Financial Field tonight.

The Eagles welcome back Big Red - literally - as Andy Reid returns decked out in the red colors of the Kansas City Chiefs.

And the man whose career was tied at the hip to Reid, quarterback Donovan McNabb, also will be honored and have his jersey No. 5 retired at halftime.

The Thursday night game is a national TV game. Cue the obvious, tired, old rap on Philly fans. This is a chance to prove all those national pundits wrong. They are no doubt all salivating over the prospect of Eagles fans showering these two recent icons of the franchise with our signature vocal element - lusty crescendo of boos.

I say we prove them all wrong. We show the world that not only are we the best, most passionate fans in the world, we are also first class. I say we offer a standing ovation for one of the greatest periods of Eagles football any of us have ever known.

It won’t be easy. I know.

I was never much of an Andy Reid. His gruff act of “Time’s yours,” and belittlement of those who dared question him - in the process thumbing his nose at the fans, got old real quick.

I always said Reid could get away with that act when he was 11-5. When he was 8-8 or worse, it wouldn’t fly. That’s why he was flying to K.C. a few days after being relieved of his duties last winter.

Reid, who got the job on the basis of his detailed preparation, never really seemed prepared on Game Day. Simply put, he wasn’t much of a Game-Day coach. In-game adjustments never seemed to materialize. Time management? Forget it.

Two weeks into the Chip Kelly Era, I’m flabbergasted at how Reid managed to misuse two of the best offensive weapons in the league, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson.

As for McNabb, this one is real simple. He never got over the fact that a small group of zealots who desperately wanted the Birds to draft running back Ricky Williams instead took the QB out of Syracuse. Reid got that one right. McNabb was a very good quarterback, certainly the best of that very talented college crop.

But 14 years later, McNabb, who was paid millions to play a kids’ game, was still talking about being booed on draft day. Get over it, pal.

It’s emblematic of a goofy side of the quarterback that never connected with Philly fans. Anyone else remember the infamous “air guitar” session in the tunnel heading out for a playoff game in Dallas in which the Eagles would get massacred and thinking that was not a good sign? McNabb was traded a few years later. The highs? We’ll always have 4th and 26. And the sight of McNabb being the Cardinals while playing on a broken leg.

The lows? Do I have to say it? Did he or didn’t he? Did Donovan lose his lunch during the drive against the Patriots in the Super Bowl that seemed to take forever.

But there is one thing I have always said - and admired about McNabb. There was never a single whiff of trouble around him. He always showed up. He always played. And he never made headlines off the field. Tonight none of that will matter.

Let’s offer cheers for both Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb.

Let’s remember the highs from the last 14 years. Did they win a Super Bowl? No. Are they the greatest coach and quarterback in Eagles history. I don’t think you can argue that they are not.

This isn’t some sad-sack Santa. These are two of the biggest names in franchise history. They gave us everything they had. Was it enough? No. Did they win a Super Bowl? They did not.

That should not diminish what they accomplished, and what they gave us.

Tonight is the chance for Eagles fans to prove all the national pundits who think they know us just how wrong they are.

Booing won’t accomplish that. Cheering will.

On your feet, folks.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Sept. 18

The Daily Numbers: 23, age of man who now faces charges of attacking a witness after a court appearance in Upper Darby.

10 year economic plan rolled out by County Council yesterday.

6 objectives identified in the study

100,000 dollars, cost of the study.

46 million people who live in a 200-mile radius of Delco.

30, age of Latin teacher at Interboro High who waived her preliminary hearing on charges connected to a fatal DUI crash on the Main Line. She is seeking to keep her driving privileges.

2 Chester teen girls whose plea to be moved to juvenile court was rejected. They are charged in the videotaped beating of a city woman that was posted to the Internet.

6 members of the Upper Darby Mountain Bike Unit honored tonight as ‘Everyday Heroes’ at the Constitution Center in Philly.

28 years of teaching at BVM School in Darby that will be honored today with a special celebration for retired teacher Helen Gracie.

20 million dollar development kicked off yesterday in Ridley, where officials hope to see a hotel and retail stores at Stewart, Sellers and I-95.

2 suspects granted the ARD probationary program in connection with that wild ‘I’m Schmacked’ party at West Chester University last spring. A similar blast at the University of Delaware a couple of weeks ago ended in similar mayhem.

5 years in jail for a Lansdowne man who threatened to kill CBS-3 meteorologist Kate Bilo. 400 million dollars up for grabs in the Powerball drawing tonight.

174 marriage licenses granted to same-sex couples in Montgomery County. They are appealing a judge’s order that they stop handing them out.

34 point spike for stock market yesterday.

2 teens now facing charges in connection with the beating and rape of 2 women while a group of teens watched in a Wilmington park.

18 percent of people in a poll who said that Philadelphia’s schools are good or excellent.

31 percent blame the problems on the city; 31 percent on state officials.

48 percent said the problems with the district’s would cause families to seek other education alternatives.

1 run on 4 hits surrendered by Roy Halladay. He also walked 3 and hit 1 batter.

88 mph, top speed hit by the former ace last night.

8 for 12 for the Phils’ top 3 hitters in the lineup, with 3 run homer for Chase Utley and 4 RBI total on the night.

2,215 career hits for Marlin and former Phil Juan Pierre, putting him ahead of Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio. That puts him in 175th place all-time.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. That very well could be the last time we see Roy Halladay pitch in Phillies uniform at Citizens Bank Park. I Don’t Get It: Threatening a witness is never a good idea. Attacking one outside court and calling him a ‘snitch’ is ever worse.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Upper Darby mountain bike unit, who tonight will be honored as ‘Everyday Heroes’ by a group in Philly.

Quote Box: “I have zero tolerance for attacking a witness. We cannot allow witnesses to be attacked.” - Upper Darby Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood.

In the Nick of time, a possible answer to the problem of bullying

A lot of experts are looking for a solution to the growing issue of bullying, in particular among young people.

I met part of the answer last night.

Nick Grandizio is a senior at Monsignor Bonner-Archbishop Prendergast High School. Instead of waiting for the administration or parents to address the growing menace of bullying, and before it reaches the tragic end we saw earlier this week when a young Florida girl who had been tormented by months by a group of young girls took her own life, Nick decided to do something on his own.

He’s started an anti-bullying group for students to confront the issue where it is exploding - among young people.

Last night I had a chance to talk to Nick, along with Bonner-Prendie President Bill Brannick and Dr. Claudio Cerullo, the head of the local advocacy group Teach Anti-Bullying Inc., on our live-stream broadcast, ‘Live From the Newsroom.’ If you missed the show you can catch the replay here. Nick explained that part of his motivation was his own personal experience, as well as what he increasingly sees among young people. He knows how it feels to be picked on, he knows what happens when kidding around - the kind of stuff guys have always done - goes over the line.

Most importantly, he is keenly aware of the way social media and technology has forever changed this issue, making it much more prevalent and much tougher to stop.

It’s amazing what people are willing to say and do given the cloak of anonymity that the Internet and much of social media offers them.

Nick Grandizio knows that, and he’s decided to attack the problem head-on.

The first meeting of his anti-bullying group will be held at the school today.

When he first announced his intention to form the group at a school assembly to kick off the school year, he was greeted with a standing ovation.

Nick Grandizio is on the right path. I think kids will pay much more attention to the message when it is delivered by one of their peers, as opposed to a member of the media or even parents or an advocacy group. Nick Grandizio walks in their shoes. He know how it feels.

Now he’s going to use that knowledge to be part of the solution.

Bullying may just have met its match.

Pardon me, Roy, is that the last time we see you?

Forget Andy Reid and Chip Kelly. I know, I know, it’s hard. We’ll get to them tomorrow.

For today let’s stop and mark another potential sea change in Philly sports.

Was last night the last time we see Roy Halladay pitching in a Phillies uniform? The former right-handed ace went six innings in picking up his 4th win of this ugly Phillies season, to match the 4 losses also on his record. He gave up just 1 run on 4 hits to the feeble Marlins, but once again had control problems, walking 3 and hitting another batter.

Halladay continued his transition from power pitcher to one banking on veteran finesse and guile. You can read Dennis Deitch’s coverage of the game here. The question now for the Phillies is how much that is worth. How much are you willing to pay a guy who appears to be your No. 3 or 4 starter.

Halladay will be a free agent after the season. Last night might have been his final appearance at Citizens Bank Park. Will we see him in red pinstripes again? That almost certainly depends on how much money he wants - and what he’s offered.

I love Halladay and the way he attacked hitters, dominating lineups. That Halladay doesn’t pitch here anymore. If he gets a multi-year offer from another team, it’s likely Halladay will be pitching somewhere else this year.

If that’s the case, it would be kind of nice if the Phils juggled their rotation to give Halladay one final start on Sunday vs. the Mets, the final home game of the year at the Bank.

Hell, as long as we’re all sitting on the edge of our seats waiting for the return of Andy Reid, we should probably at least do the same for the farewell to Roy Halladay.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

We have a brand new way to 'Start Your Day'

We have a brand new way to ‘Start Your Day.’

It’s called ‘Start Your Day Here’ and it will be on Page 10 of our print edition of the Daily Times every day. We know you often are rushed in the morning, and may not have time to read the entire paper. That’s why we’re giving you a snap shot of what you need to know to take on the world first thing in the morning.

On Page 10 each day you’ll find a Top 5 News Feed, with the day’s top stories from the Nation and World, a quick celebrity update, some things that are trending online, as well as our Hot Shot, our photo of the day.

“Start Your Day Here” will provide readers with a quick morning update, as well as a look at the lighter side of news to start your day feeling smarter and more informed about trending topics.

And of course for those who can’t get enough celebrity news, “The Star Report” will give your the latest.

Readers also will find a new, anchored position for our Today’s Meetings listings on this page every day. We hope you like it. Let me know by emailing me at editor@delcotimes.com.

'Live From the Newsroom' tackles bullying among young people

With school back in session, that means the return of an old nemesis.

Bullying - in particular when it comes to social media and using the Internet to harass your victims, is becoming an increasing issue in local schools.

At Monsignor Bonner-Archbishop Prendergast High School, a group of students is tackling this issue head-on. So are we.

We’ll be taking our live-stream Internet broadcast, ‘Live From the Newsroom,’ to Bonner-Prendie tonight to meet the young people who are working to find a solution to this huge problem.

We’ll also be joined by Bill Brannick, principal at Bonner-Prendie, and Dr. Claudio Cerullo, the head of Teach Anti-Bullying Inc., the Delco group that has been at the forefront of the fight against bullying. If you have kids in school, you won’t want to miss this program.

If you have a question about bullying or something you would like our panel to discuss, you can email it to me at editor@delcotimes.com and I will put it to the panel.

Staying silent is not the way to stop bullying. Being pro-active is. Tonight we’ll find out how kids at Bonner-Prendie at battling a big problem for young people.

Why not take part in the conversation.

Join us tonght at 7 on DelcoTimes.com.

Another reason to like Chip Kelly

I like this Chip Kelly guy more every day.

Sure, his defense is a disaster looking for a place to happen. During the midst of the carnage Sunday vs. the Chargers, I tweeted that the only thing his secondary was missing was a Big Top.

And yes, I immediately questioned his time management at the end of the game, when he gave the Chargers way too much time to march down the field and kick the winning field goal.

But this team will be fascinating to watch, if only to see what new wrinkles Kelly’s explosive offense unleashes each week.

None of that, however, is why I have more respect for Kelly today.

This involves something that he did yesterday.

Kelly admitted he screwed up. Just like the rest of us do every day. Only he made his mistake on a bit bigger stage.

The NFL rules on injury timeouts is different than in college. At a crucial juncture at the end of Sunday’s game, with the Eagles driving for what appeared to be another touchdown, Michael Vick got body-slammed to the turf. The ref called an injury timeout, meaning that Vick would have to leave the field for one game. This despite Vick’s protestations that he was fine and ready to go.

What Kelly now admits he did not know was that he could have called a time out and then inserted Vick back in the game without sitting out a play. As it was, backup Nick Foles trotted out and tossed a fade pass that didn’t connect. Yeah, I didn’t like that play call either. Vick returned on the next play, but the Eagles wound up settling for a game-tying field goal. Not enough, as it turned out. The Chargers rolled right down the field and kicked the game-winner.

At his Monday press conference, Kelly came clean.

“That’s on me,” the Visor said. “I should have asked. I think it’s difficult to be familiar with any rule because the rule book is so thick.”

Kelly was asked a legitimate question and gave a reasoned answer, in effect throwing himself under the bus. He wasn’t belligerent. He didn’t try to belittle the question, or the questioner.

Think his predecessor, who just happens to be in town in two days, would have done the same thing, especially in the past couple of years.

“I’ve made mistakes,” Kelly continued. “I think we’ve all made mistakes. That’s what this game is all about.”

How refreshing. We know how you feel, coach. We make mistakes every day. Just don’t make any Thursday night.

Remember how Buddy Ryan used to say all the coach of the Eagles has to do is beat Dallas twice a year? All you have to do is win this game Thursday night.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Dressed to thrill

If your family is anything like mine, you see your extended relatives on two occasions. Weddings and funerals.

Saturday we said goodbye to my Aunt Marie, last of a great generation of aunts and uncles, my mother's brothers and sisters and their spouses.

As is usually the case, the sadness didn't last long. Instead, it turned into a celebration of Aunt Marie's live, and the growing respect all of us have for that generation, what they endured, and what they accomplished.

They also passed on another crucial trait to their children. They knew how to have a good time. So do we. In other words, it didn't take long for the party to start.

After the Mass, after the cemetery, and after I made a stop on the other side of the cemetery to visit with mom and dad, we gathered at a local eatery to do what our parents were expert at - having a good time. It didn't take long for the stories to flow. I was somewhat taken aback, both at Friday night's viewing and again at the funeral on Saturday, to realize how many people had read what I wrote about Aunt Marie in my blog last week. You can read it here.

That is one of my favorite things about the Internet and this blog. It has allowed me to reconnect with a lot of people in my old home town, as well as keep up with relatives I rarely get to see in person.

One of those at the funeral Saturday was my cousin Jeannie.

She came armed with a surprise for all of us, some pictures of us as kids.

That would be how I came to be in possession of the photo you see with today's blog. I have no idea what possessed me - or more likely my mom - to have me don this lovely dress.

The best explanation was that our cousins - Jeannie and her sister Dottie - were always putting on shows for kids in their basement and this was likely one of the outfits.

I especially like the shoes.

When I told a lot of people that I definitely wanted to post the picture on my blog, most didn't believe me.

Well, here you have it.

Rest well, Aunt Marie.

You can be sure that the family has not lost our sense of humor. Nor our touch when it comes to parties.

No defense for this Eagles loss

It is the one thing I did not want to hear Chip Kelly say after the Eagles’ disheartening loss to the Chargers in their home opener Sunday.

“We need to do a better job.”

Yes, he really said it. And it’s true. Especially on the defensive side of the ball. Kelly’s offense, while not running at the same warp speed it did in Week 1 in dispatching the Redskins, performed just fine.

It was the defense that lost this game. And it looks like it could be a recurring theme. If the Eagles are going to win games this year, they are going to have to outscore their opponents. And in a close game, they better make sure they don’t leave the other team much time to tie or win the game. Because their defense can’t make a stop. can’t get off the field, can’t keep the other team off the board.

The Chargers did not punt yesterday until just 5 minutes remained in the third quarter. Philip Rivers dissected the Birds’ secondary like a surgeon, exposing the Eagles’ secondary - in particular safety Nate Allen - again and again.

Now the Eagles have just three days to shake the nightmarish defensive performance against San Diego before they welcome their old pal Andy Reid back to the Linc on Thursday night in front of another national TV audience.

Michael Vick threw for 428 yards on Sunday. And it wasn’t enough. The Eagles scored 30 points. They needed 34 to win. There are the usual question marks every time the Eagles lose: several early opportunities that resulted in field goals - including a key miss by Alex Henery - instead of TDs. There was the ruling by the refs that Vick needed to leave the game for one play in that final two minutes after an injury that Vick says he did not suffer. There was the questionable fade pattern dialed up for Nick Foles, who was coming in cold off the bench. Kelly’s clock management also was questionable. With the ball inside the Chargers’ 10 with 2:09 left in the game and a tying field goal seemingly in his pocket, the Eagles failed to burn much of anything off the clock, instead giving the Chargers more than a minute and 50 seconds to cruise down the field and kick the game winner. There also was DeSean Jackson - who otherwise had a sterling afternoon - again showing the kind of questionable judgment that has been his calling card. His unsportsmanlike penalty meant the Eagles were kicking off from 15 yards farther back and set up the Chargers for the kill. All of that went into a thoroughly dispiriting 33-30 loss. And the realization that 30 points seem to be the threshold for both the Eagles and their opponents. You are going to have to score 30 points to beat the Eagles. The bad news for Birds’s fans? That doesn’t appear to be a very tall task.

Now the Eagles have a short week to get ready to face their old boss.

Time’s yours, Andy. Better bring your offense.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

Well, I have to admit I didn’t see that one coming.

The Chip Kelly – or is that Zip Kelly – Era arrived on a national stage, as the Eagles left both the Redskins and a national television audience breathless in a first half to remember. After running 43 plays in sprinting to a big lead, the Birds then held on after taking their foot off the gas, recovering an onside kick and sealing the deal on a most impressive 33-27 opening night win.

So what do we know? Well, we know Andy Reid doesn’t coach here anymore. He’ll be back in two weeks, but will both teams be undefeated?

First the Eagles need to tangle with the Chargers at the Linc in their home opener on Sunday. The Bolts are still no doubt licking their wounds after coughing up a huge second half lead last Sunday.

It’s probably not the only reason they will be a bit antsy on the cross-country flight. Hopefully the in-flight movie will not include highlights of the Eagles super-sonic debut under Chip Kelly.

The new coach masterfully ran his frenetic offense, consistently getting his key skill players – DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick – in space against overmatched defenders.

McCoy was once again a revelation, looking like a clone of Barry Sanders in cutting his way through a sea of broken ankles on the Redskins defense on the way to 184 yards rushing. Jackson caught 7 balls for 104 yards. Vick was a most efficient 15 of 25 for 203 yards, and also ran nine times for 54 yards.

The NFL has never seen anything like it.

The questions now are can the Eagles keep up this pace, and can Mike Vick stay on the field. They’ll do both for at least one more week.

The Pick: Make it Eagles 33, Chargers 17. The triple threat of Vick, McCoy and Jackson should have another field day, and the Eagles’ improved defense will hold down the Chargers.

Last Week: OK, so I missed the boat on this one. I need a win to climb back to the .500 mark. Right now I’m making like most of the national media, still trying to convince myself I saw what I saw on Monday night.

Season Record: I’m 0-1 after thinking the Birds would struggle to stop RG3 and the Skins. Turned out they pretty much stopped themselves, with Griffin showing the rust of someone who did not play at all in the preseason. The Eagles are revved up at 1-0 and looking to strut their stuff at home in front of the Lincoln Financial Field fanatics in the home opener

Game by Game: Eagles 33, Redskins 27 (My Pick: Redskins 31, Eagles 23)

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Friday Sept. 13

The Daily Numbers: 13, as in Friday the 13th. Anyone feeling superstitious.

5-year-old left in sweltering car for 3 hours, leading to criminal charges in Upper Darby.

9 and 11, ages of girls in child porn video found on computer of Broomall man.

63,000 dollars ripped off from an Aston landscaping firm by a former worker.

4 to 23 months in the county prison, what she got for her efforts.

13 rail lines SEPTA says it will shut down if the state does not come through with more funding. That includes the Media-Elwyn line here in Delco.

6.5 billion dollars over the next 10 years, what SEPTA says it needs to restore its aging infrastructure.

6 months, how long it took the Wright brothers to restore some of the bad conditions at Greenlawn Cemetery.

20 businesses damaged when fire roared through a section of the boardwalk in Seaside Park, N.J. No serious injuries were reported.

174 couples who have obtained same-sex marriage licenses in Montgomery County. Yesterday a state judge ordered Montco to stop issuing the licenses.

118 couples who have already married. The legal status of those vows are now unclear.

17 years in the slammer for the N.J. teen who admitted killing Autumn Pasquale.

11.5 billion miles away in interstellar space, where NASA’s Voyager I probe now resides. I think that’s out near Oxford.

3 killed in flooding that has ravaged areas in Colorado.

25 point dip in the stock market yesterday.

42-13 win for Garnet Valley over Ridley in football last night. Big win for the Jags.

10-5 win for the Phillies over the Padres, despite a clear setback in the comeback for Roy Halladay.

4 straight walks issued by Halladay in the top of the 5th inning.

5 runs on just 4 hits give up by Halladay.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. There’s a buzz in the air. It’s not from Roy Halladay. It’s from Chip Kelly. The whole country is talking about the new Birds’ boss.

I Don’t Get It: Kathleen Kane and Bruce Hanes yesterday got a little lesson in the law from a Commonwealth Court judge. Maybe now they understand they can’t pick and choose what laws they want to enforce.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Judge Dan Pellegrini for making the right call. Quote Box: “A clerk of courts has not been given the discretion to decide ... whether the statute he or she is charged to enforce is a good idea or bad one, constitutional or not.” - Judge Pellegrini in his ruling.

Judge raises a little Kane of his own

Take that, Kathleen Kane.

And you, Bruce Hanes.

Turns out you can’t pick and choose which laws you’re going to enforce.

At least according to Commonwealth Court President Judge Dan Pellegrini. Yesterday he rebuked the two officials who touched off this firestorm over same-sex marriage licenses here in Pennsylvania with a court order telling Montgomery County to knock it off.

Kathleen Kane should have known better. And if I didn’t think she was thinking of bigger political aspirations, that likely would have been the case.

As for Hanes, he simply picked up on Kane’s cue, looking to be on the right side of history. Too bad he wasn’t equally concerned about being on the right side of the law.

Now there are 118 couple out there who got licenses and were married who are now in something of a legal limbo.

Make no mistake, I’m no proponent of Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act. I think it should be overturned. If two men or two women want to tie the knot, I don’t have an issue with it. I wish them all the best. What I had an issue with is the attorney general of the state declaring – after the U.S. Supreme Court knocked down the federal Defense of Marriage Act – that she found a similar law here in Pennsylvania unconstitutional, and therefore she would not defend the state in a legal challenge to the law in court. One problem with that. She’s now wearing judge’s robes. And she’s not a member of the Legislature. Judge Pellegrini reminded her of that.

There is a way to change the Pennsylvania law. It is through the courts or the Legislature. Not the stunt Kane pulled.

Judge Pellegrini’s ruling was right on the money.

Unfortunately, it came about 118 marriage licenses too late.

Would SEPTA really shut down the system?

There is saber-rattling. And then there is what SEPTA is doing.
The czars at the transit agency who are locked in a death struggle with Harrisburg over money for mass transit yesterday ratcheted up the ante just a bit. How does this sound to you? If they don’t get the funding they say they need, SEPTA says it will shut down nine of its 13 rail lines – including the Media-Elwyn line here in Delaware County. You can get all the details in our transit reporter Jeff Wolfe’s story today. That line happens to run right beside our office here in beautiful downtown Primos. We kind of take that one personally. SEPTA says it is not saber-rattling. Sure. I’m not buying. Regardless what you may think of it, and despite some folks in the middle of the state seem completely averse to giving mass transit in the Philadelphia region another dime, expect this thing to get solved. The money for transportation got caught in the usual politics that accompany the budget last summer in the state Capitol. It got used as a bargaining chip in the battle over liquor privatization. In the end nothing got done. Transit funding will be back at the top of the agenda come the fall session next week. And round and round we go. But I wouldn’t start planning my alternate means of commuting into the city. At least not yet.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Daily Numbers for Thursday Sept. 12

The Daily Numbers: 15 percent tax approved by Chester City Council for events at places like PPL Park. Ouch! A kick in the gut for the Philadelphia Union.

396,000 dollars expected to be raised for the city through the tax.

100 dollar annual license fee slapped on those operating parking lots.

10,000 in equipment ripped off from a van owwned by Anthony Peabody of Peabody Construction. Police are hot on the trail of a band of thieves who are focusing on work vans.

1 man and 1 dog rescued from a home fire in Upper Darby.

5, age of Daniel Colvin, the Upper Providence boy who had wandered from his home and was found safe and sound with the help of Upper Providence Police Officer Patrick Reynolds.

20,000 dollars approved for fire and protective association in Swarthmore.

109 year old building rededicated on the campus of Cheyney University.

4.5 hours, how long it took jury to convict Chester County man of fatally shooting his neighbors' two dogs.

135 point spike for the Dow Jones Average yesterday.

3 straight days of triple digit gains in the market.

6.5 billion dollars lost to businesses by employees playing fantasy football, according to a new report.

4-2 win for the Phillies over the Padres.

8 strong innings for Cliff Lee to raise his record to 13-6.

2 home runs accounted for all the Padres runs.

199th career home run for Jimmy Rollins.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Think maybe Cliff Lee should be part of the Phillies plans.

I Don’t Get It: Hard-working guys are falling victim to thieves who are now targeting work vans. Several have lost thousands of dollars in equipment. Be careful out there.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Upper Providence Patrolman Patrick Reynolds, who scooped up Daniel Colvin after the boy, who has autism, wandered away from home.

Quote Box: “It was terrifying." - Father David Colvin, talking about the time his son was missing.