Friday, February 28, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Feb. 28

The Daily Numbers: 8 degrees out there this morning.

9, previous record low, recorded in 1934.

250 jobs slashed in cost-cutting move by Crozer-Keystone Health Systems.

6,800 employees in the Crozer system.

16 million dollar loss posted by the health care giant.

60 heroin-related deaths between 2011 and 2013, what a seminar on drug abuse in Ridley was told last night.

2 counts of endangering the welfare of children for an Upper Chi couple who entered guilty pleas.

2 members of the Garnet Valley School Board who resigned their seats.

29, age of man indicted by the feds in a series of Delco bank robberies.

21 billion dollars in benefits for veterans that is bottled up in the Senate.

81, age of ‘The Dating Game’ host Jim Lange, who died on Tuesday.

136,476 potholes filled in New York City so far this year.

37.5 million dollar deal for Eagles wide center Jason Kelce

25 million dollar deal for wide receiver Riley Cooper.

7-3 blowout loss for the Flyers at the hands of the Sharks as they came back from their Olympics break.

4-game win streak from before the break that went out the window.

2 strong innings from Cliff Lee in Phillies’ 7-5 loss in Grapefruit League play.

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

Well, I hope the Flyers enjoyed their Olympic break. Unfortunately, no one apparently told them it was over. They failed to show up last night and got blown out, snapping what had been a 4-game win streak.

I Don’t Get It: Some people are talking about a foot of snow in the region on Monday. Say it ain’t snow.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to D.A. Jack Whelan and Ridley and Ridley Park police who continued to push the message of the dangers of heroin last night at another seminar.

Quote Box: “It can touch any family, it can touch any race, any ethinic group.” - Ridley Park Police Cpl. Robert Frazier, at last night’s seminar on heroin use.

A simple act warms up a brutally cold morning

Yes, I am tired of this brrrrrr-utal weather.

So this morning I decided to do something about it. With the temperatures descending to single digits, I did something that gave me a nice, warm feeling.

I first noticed this guy a couple of weeks ago.

I would usually catch him as he walked down Oak Avenue. From his bright orange vest, I could tell he was headed to work at the Waste Management plant that is just up the block from our office.

This morning I was sitting at the light at Baltimore Pike getting ready to take a right on Oak when I noticed him getting ready to cross the street.

I thought to myself, 'Nobody should be walking in this God-awful weather.'

So instead of driving on when the light changed, I rolled down my window as he approached.

I get the feeling he thought I was simply going to wave him through the intersection.

He seemed a bit startled when I asked a simple question:

"Would you like a lift?"

The look on his face melted away the cold.

He was only in the car for a minute or two. He did not stop smiling the entire time.

I'm not sure where he lives, or how far he walks to work. Hell, I don't even know his name.

But I know this. Nobody should be walking in this kind of weather.

I told him that I have been seeing him walking to work for some time now. I don't know if he recognized my car or knew who I was, but he seemed genuinely appreciative. It's only a couple of blocks from Baltimore and Oak to the Waste Management plant.

We talked about how miserable this winter has been and how we both couldn't wait for spring. And of course I couldn't help but add that they are calling for more snow Sunday night.

He said he had heard, and that he couldn't wait for spring. I know how he feels.

It was a genuine human interaction. Not an email. Not a Tweet. Not a Facebook posting.

We were face to face, a little bit of human interaction in an increasingly impersonal world.

We shook hands as he got out of the car.

He was still smiling.

Warms me up just thinking of it.

These road conditions might drive me to drink

Dear Officer:

I am not drunk. I have not been drinking. Yet.

I usually don't imbibe before 5 a.m.

I know that you often encounter people at this early hour whose driving indicates that maybe they have been out celebrating a wee bit too much.

That is not the case with me. I am actually on my way to work.

However, I will plead guilty to some fairly erratic driving. I can't really blame you for being suspicious. After all, you no doubt witnessed me swerving from lane to lane.

I was in fact doing exactly that.

But I have what I think is a legitimate explanation.

I was avoiding potholes.

Believe me, it's not as easy as I was making it look.

That's one of the very few good things about driving at that ungodly hour of the morning. I literally can go from lane to lane without fear of hitting anything.

Usually I'm just trying to avoid deer.

These days, those four-legged obstacles are the least of my worries.

Have you driven on these roads lately? They're like the surface of the moon.

I think a family actually moved into one of the craters I swerved to void this afternoon.

I have several ways I can get to work.

For some reason, I insist on taking Providence Road from Route 3 out in Edgmont across to the Media Bypass. I am nominating it for the worst road in Delaware County.

I know they are in the process of redoing the intersection of Route 252 and the Bypass. I wish they would just back up a bit and go ahead and blow up Providence Road from the Y where it intersects with 252 at Rose Tree Park, all the way out to West Chester Pike.

It is beyond bad. It is like nothing I have ever seen before.

So far I have been lucky. I have not yet descended into any of these massive craters. My guess is that when traffic builds up later in the morning, many drivers don't have the luxury of veering over into the other lane to avoid some of these amazing potholes.

They say we are getting as much as a foot of new snow Sunday night.

Luckily, when we get major storms, I don't bother with the hills of Providence Road. Instead, I take West Chester Pike all the way down to Springfield Road, then cross back over through Marple and Springfield from there.

I won't miss Providence Road in the least.

Maybe the snow will fill in some of the potholes.

For some reason, I doubt it.

If I go missing in the next week or so, you'll know where to look for me. I'll be at the bottom of a pothole on Providence Road.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Feb. 27

The Daily Numbers: 13 degrees this morning in Drexel Hill.

10-20 below real reel temperatures out there this morning and Friday morning as well.

2.9 million, how much authorities believe former Collingdale Councilman James Bryan stole from his employer.

2 days a week that the Crozer Library will now be closed in Chester. The library will go dark Sunday and Monday.

150 to 175 people who get served by the Crozer Library every Monday.

12, age of Mikayla Dittbrenner, of Upper Darby, who was honored by the township this week for her quick decision to dial 911 when she discovered her ill mother.

99 more parking spaces coming to the Rocky Run YMCA after getting the OK from Middletown Council.

5 million dollar endowment given to Swarthmore College by an alum.

8.7 million dollar tab for dealing with this horrific winter weather by the folks at SEPTA. That’s about $3 million more than budgeted.

52-33 edge for Democratic challenger Tom Wolf over Republican Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett, according to a new Quinnipiac poll.

5 other Dem candidates also are outpolling the embattled governor.

2,000 cases of witness intimidation recorded in Philadelphia since 2011.

588 soldiers removed from duty for a variety of incidents such as sexual assault, child abuse and DUI.

1,300 candidates who turned out to apply for 50 jobs at a job fair at an Atlantic city casino.

18 point gain for the stock market yesterday.

46 percent plunge for profits suffered by Target after that holiday beach of sensitive info in customers’ accounts.

1,000 dollars of baby formula stolen from a South Jersey supermarket.

24, where Philadelphia ranks in terms of brain power.

33.4 percent of Philadelphia’s adult population of 4 million who have a college degree.

13.1 percent who have a graduate degree.

42 million dollars being paid for the Astra Zeneca campus on Route 202 in Delaware by JPMorgan Chase.

0-11 mark for the Sixers in February.

1973, last time the failed to record a win in a calendar month.

11 straight losses on their home floor at the Wells Fargo Center.

1 road win for the Magic since Dec. 16. Yep, they beat the Sixers last night 101-90.

22 losses in their last 25 games for the Sixers

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Cole Hamels has been pronounced 100 percent healthy and is likely to miss only a couple of starts in April. So we have that going for us.

I Don’t Get It: Hard to believe the city of Chester would allow their public library to close down for a day. If there’s any town that needs all the alternatives for young people and others it can get, it’s Chester.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to 12-year-old Mikayla Dittbrenner, who was honored by Upper Darby council this week for her quick actions in saving her mom’s life.

Quote Box: “You are our eyes and ears on the street ... and this is a chance for us to recognize community members who make, in particular Upper Darby, a great place to live.

Who says young people never do anything good?

I've been told that if you really want to scare a young person, you shouldn't bother threatening to take away their cell phone, although that certainly will get their attention.

Instead, tell them they are going to have to stand in front of a group and speak in public.

Not text. Not Tweet. Not e-mail.

Speak publicly.

That's one of the reasons I'm even more impressed by the four young Delaware County students I met last night.

We took our 'Live From the Newsroom' show back to Widener University last night, once again setting up shop in their gorgeous new TV facility in Freedom Hall.

Our special guests were four students who are among the 134 high school juniors from across the region named winners of the Widener University High School Leadership Awards.

It's a unique program in conjunction with the Oskin Leadership Institute to recognize young people who go above and beyond the usual classroom activities in trying to create a better community.

They'll get no argument from me after meeting these four outstanding kids last night:

Taylor Sforza, of Havertown, a junior at the Woodlynde School.

Iman Elkhashab of Broomall, a junior at Marple Newtown High School.

Dave McCann of Springfield, a junior at Springfield High School.

Megan Bevilacqua of Havertown, a junior at Merion Mercy Academy.

All four showed an impressive commitment to bettering both their schools and their communities. They were articulate and not fazed a bit about appearing on a live Internet broadcast.

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

Elkashab spoke eloquently of her work with young people and adults struggling with English as a second language.

McCann has been involved in a group at Springfield High called the Peers Facilitators Club, a group of students that serve those in need of emotional, social or academic support.

Bevilacqua is involved with the Kinny Center for Autism Education and Support, where she serves as a mentor and instructor for several social skills groups.

Sforza talked openly about her struggle with dyslexia and helping others dealing with similar issues.

I get beat up - and rightly so - often about the image of young people created by the newspaper's coverage.

I could not be happier having met these four outstanding young people.v They are in fact the next generation of leaders.

I think we're in very good hands.

And a reminder, if you have an idea for a future 'Live From the Newsroom' show, feel free to shoot me an email to with your idea.

I'm always looking for new ways to connect and engage with readers.

I'm also available to speak to your groups. Just give me a call at 610-622-8818 and we'll set something up.

Read it & weep in Chester

We're using our editorial page today to visit an old problem in Chester.

No, not the latest fatal shooting, although we certainly join those mourning another young life lost.

Instead we again speak of the deafening silence that greeted police officers when they arrived on the scene.

Read it and weep.

Misery index? They came to the right place

Maybe it's because I just can't stomach one more picture of the Phillies working out under that gleaming sun in Clearwater.

Or maybe it's because of that short-lived two-day respite we got last weekend from this unending cold.

Then again, it just might have something to do with the fact that I just read a story defining something called the winter 'misery index.' Guess what? They decided it's been pretty miserable around here this winter. Wonder how much they paid to come to that determination.

This stopped being fun a long time ago. Don't hold your breath waiting for me to come up with much in the way of positives when it comes to cold weather. It's something I would like to remove from my life. Unfortunately, I can't afford Key West, so it doesn't look like I'll be relocating anytime soon.

Aren't temperatures supposed to be moderating by now?

Last night and this morning seemed as cold to me as just about any night this winter. And I've hated every one of them. Well, guess what? It's not going away anytime soon.

After a brisk 13-degree reading this morning, temperatures are expected to dip even more Friday morning, possibly into the single digits.

That doesn't do much for you? Wait for Sunday night and Monday morning. Just in time for another work week, a new storm is expected to deliver a messy glop of snow, rain and maybe a little more ice. As if that wasn't enough fun the last time we went through this, when 750,000 people wound up without power across the region.

This apparently is all the work of the now-legendary 'polar vortex,' which has swooped down out of the north and held us in her icy mitts since early January.

The wind chill factor Friday morning will descend into the brutal neighborhood of 10-20 below zero.

I surrender.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Feb. 26

The Daily Numbers: 1 inch of snow coming in areas of southern Delaware or South Jersey. Most of us will get only a dusting.

15, overnight low tomorrow morning. Spring remains merely a rumor.

15,000 tons of salt already put down on Pa. streets in anticipation of another bad winter.

20,000 more tons being brought back to Pa. from Delaware to help PennDOT refurbish its supplies.

50,000 dollars, how much the fired ex-principal at Cardinal O’Hara is seeking in her lawsuit against the archdiocese.

40 acres of the Franklin Mint site in Middletown that is getting a revised plan.

150 more residential units set for the site, on top of the 200 already in the plan.

2 less ‘big box’ stores planned for the site.

50 percent less traffic in 66,000 square feet of retail space.

4-1 vote by the township council for the ordinance the developers need to move forward with their plan.

24 townhouses being planned for a parcel once owned by Har Jehuda Cemetery in Upper Darby.

42, age of woman who entered a plea to setting a fire in her Market Street apartment in Millbourne.

120 rail cars that are expected to soon be hauling crude oil from North Dakota to a site in Eddystone. It will then be pumped into barges and delivered to refineries up and down the Delaware.

14,000 feet of track that has been turned into a facility to unload Bakken crude oil on a plot of land owned by Exelon Energy Corp.

6 gas pumps being proposed for a new Wawa that is causing concern for residents in Highland Park section of Upper Darby.

2 former speakers of the Pa. House about to be cut loose from prison after time on corruption convictions.

27 point dip for stock market yesterday.

40-14 gap for Tom Wolf over Alysson Schwartz in the Dem race for Pa. governor, according to Harper Poll.

36-9 bulge for Wolf in poll released today from F&M.

1,800 TV commercials aired by the York millionaire who is largely bankrolling his own campaign.

48 percent of Dems do not have choice yet in primary.

23 percent say education is top issue in Pa.

10,000 dollar reward for info on string of attacks on women in Overbrook section of Philly.

72-56 win for Chester High over Rustin to advance to District 1 AAAA final Friday night.

47-37 win for Haverford High over Wissahickon in AAAA playback game.

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

One intrasquad game, one homer for Ryan Howard - and off a left-hander to boot. So far, so good.

I Don’t Get It: Wonder what the reaction is going to be like out in Middletown with the latest proposal for the old Franklin Mint site - which includes a lot more residential units.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Upper Darby officials, who honored their cops and citizens last night.

Quote Box: “I can live with 350 units to reduce traffic, but if it’s residential, I want it done right.”

- Middletown Councilwoman Lorraine Bradshaw

The Dems who cried Wolf

Never doubt the power of money - and TV advertising - in politics.

Don't believe it? I give you Exhibit A - Tom Wolf.

I'm guessing a month ago if I asked you who Tom Wolf is you might have responded, "Isn't he the guy who wrote 'The Right Stuff' and 'Bonfire of the Vanities?'

No, not that guy. He spells his name with an 'e.'

Today, in Pennsylvania, everyone knows who Tom Wolf is. Especially Democrats.

Tom Wolf is the millionaire businessman and former state Secretary of Revenue from York County. He was one of the first to announce for the Democratic nomination for governor, the race to oppose embattled Republican incumbent Tom Corbett. Nobody in the state knew who Tom Wolf is.

Then he sunk $10 million of his own money into his campaign and was the first candidate to hit TV with a wave of ads. Voila! Today Tom Wolf is the Democratic front-runner, crushing better known names such as Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz. Wolf pulled off a miraculous worst-to-first showing on the strength of those folksy TV ads he used to introduce himself to the state.

Two different polls showing him not just leapfrogging the others in the crowded Democratic pack, but leaving them behind. First out Tuesday was the Harper poll, which showed Wolf at 40 percent and a huge chasm between him and runner-up Schwartz at 14 percent. The news was even worse for state Treasurer Rob McCord at 8 percent, followed by former Auditor General Jack Wagner, who got 7 percent even though he only officially got into the race last week. Two former DEP secretaries, John Hanger and Katie McGinty, were dead last at 6 percent. Another 19 percent are undecided.

Then this morning more confirmation for the Wolf surge came from the better known Franklin & Marshall poll, which showed Wolf now with a bulging 25-point cushion, 36-9 over Schwartz.

One other very interesting aspect of the F&M poll: 48 percent of Dems indicate they do not yet have a choice in the primary.

Which can only mean one thing, you can expect a lot more political advertising from all sides.

'Live From the Newsroom' shines a light on outstanding young people

If there is one thing I can count on in this job, it is that you cannot do enough good stories about young people.
There's some truth in the argument that kids only make the news when they are doing something wrong. That is what makes headlines. I'll put it in even more simple terms. That's what people read.

But that does not mean there is not another side to that equation - and a responsibility to show the other side of young people, the one that rarely if ever gets attention.

That's why I'm excited to be taking out weekly live-stream Internet broadcast, 'Live From the Newsroom' back out on the road tonight at our home away from home via our partnership with Widener University in Chester.

We'll be joined by several outstanding young people who have been named winners of the pretigious Widener University High School Leadership Awards. The school takes part in this special program to honor the achievements of young people in conjunction with the Oskin Leaderhip Institute.

Widener University President Dr. James Harris rightly calls these winners "the next generation of leaders in our area." Joining us tonight will be:

· Taylor Sforza of Havertown, a junior at the Woodlynde School. Sforza was nominated for demonstrating unwavering integrity and commitment to do what is right. As a result of her reputation of loyalty and unwavering commitment, she was voted class president and contributes to positive changes at her school.

· Iman Elkhashab of Broomall, a junior at Marple Newtown High School. Elkhashab was nominated for recognizing the struggles of learning a foreign language when helping to teach her brothers Arabic when her family moved to Egypt. Elkhashab wanted to make sure no one had to face this difficulty alone and make her mission to help her aunt learn how to speak English.

· Dave McCann of Springfield, a junior at Springfield High School. McCann was nominated for crossing social boundaries to make his school a better place. He is one of the four leaders of the Peers Facilitators Club, a group of students that serve those in need of emotional, social or academic support.

· Megan Bevilacqua of Havertown, a junior at Merion Mercy Academy. Bevilacqua was nominated for her work with the Kinny Center for Autism Education and Support, where she has served as a mentor and instructor for several social skills groups.

We'll also be joined by Jon Peterson, associate director of the Oskin Leaderhip Institute, to explain the program.

We'll be back in Widener's gorgeous new Freedom Hall, home of its Communications Department, with its state-of-the-art TV studio. As usual Widener students will be manning the cameras, assisting us in the show.

Don't miss this chance to see young people who are involved in their communities in a good way. Join us tonight at 7 on Even better, take part in our live chat.

And if you have an idea for a future 'Live From the Newsroom' show, feel free to shoot me an email to with your idea.

I'm always looking for new ways to connect and engage with readers.

I'm also available to speak to your groups. Just give me a call at 610-622-8818 and we'll set something up.

Sounds like spring - even if more snow is falling

There is nothing quite as soothing to a psyche battered by one of the worst winters on record than the sound of Ryan Howard crushing a baseball.

Of course, this year that has even more meaning. Simply put, this Phillies season is likely to rise or fall on Howard's shoulders.

After missing big chunks of the last two seasons, the slugger looks healthy and yesterday he made it official by crushing a pitch over the centerfield wall in the Phils' first intrasquad game of the spring. And, it should be noted, it came off a left-handed pitcher. His critics are always quick to point out Howard's failings against southpaws. Grapefruit League play officially gets underway today.

For his part, Howard is downplaying yesterday's events. He's calling it just part of his spring preparations. To a heart battered by the winter of our discontent, he provided hope that spring eventually will come, despite this morning's rush hour snow.

Let's call it Ryan's Hope.

Dennis Deitch has all the details on Howard's day.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday Feb. 23

The Daily Numbers: 45, age of Jonathan Vanderhorst, now facing charges of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence in connection with fatal crash that took the life of 18-year-old Dante DeSimone.

14, age of young man gunned down in Chester Sunday night.

7 homicides to date in Chester.

5 of them committed in Chester.

1 homicide so far this year in Upper Darby.

59, age of man found bludgeoned to death in his Ruskin Lane home on Monday.

21, age of Danny Hammond, whose battle against cancer inspired thousands across the region. Danny lost his battle last week.

0 tolerance for smokers at Main Line Health. The health care giant yesterday said they would not longer hire people who use tobacco products.

169,259 dollars in grants for local schools to battle violence.

95,000 dollars scammed from elderly man in Philly by a man claiming to be D.A. Seth Williams.

100 years of TastyKakes being celebrated today.

1,000 dollars bid for item in storage lockers owned by former broadcaster Don Tollefson, who now faces fraud charges.

69, age of movie comedy writer and star Harold Ramis. The ‘Ghostbusters’ star has died at the age of 69.

103 point spike for the Dow Jones yesterday.

1.78 billion dollar offer by Men’s Wearhouse in attempt to buy out Jos. A. Bank.

11 a.m., how long breakfast will be available at Taco Bell as it rolls out new menu items in attempts to capture lucrative fast-food breakfast folks.

2 sports saved at Temple.

5 others will still be cut, including baseball.

3 million dollars being donated by philanthropist H.F. Gerry Lenfest to build a new Temple boathouse on Boathouse Row. 2.5 million dollars being put up by city.

44 million dollar sports budget at Temple; 3 million dollars in savings through the cuts, which will be used for other sports programs.

440,000 to 450,000 troops under cuts proposed by Defense Department back to levels not seen in 74 years.

570,000 troops at the high point of the active-duty Army.

130 points surrendered by the Sixers to the lowly Bucks last night.

130-110 loss for the Sixers to the only team in the league that has a worse record than they do.

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

Here’s an idea for the Sixers: Make admission free, but people have to pay to get out.

I Don’t Get It: In all the talk about legalizing pot, no one mentions cases like the one brought yesterday by the D.A. against a driver in a fatal crash. He is believed to have been under the influence of marijuana and a prescription drug at the time.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to those who paid homage to the all-too-short life of Danny Hammond. Cancer stopped Danny. But he continues to inspire.

Quote Box: “People know who’s fighting. They need to tell us who’s fighting.”

- Chester Police Chief Joe Bail, on the latest fatal shooting in the city.

A taste of Philadelphia

"Nobody bakes a cake as tasty as a TastyKake."

If you grew up in this region, you know doubt are now humming the above jingle.

It was the iconic calling card of one those edible delights that simply scream "Philadelphia."

If you've ever spent time away from this region after growing up here, you know there are some things that just can't be duplicated.

You can't find a decent roll to make a good hoagie or cheese steak.

You can't wash it down with a Frank's Black Cherry Wishniak.

Your friends don't understand when you bluntly inform them that Auntie Anne's is not really a soft pretzel.

And you lust for TastyKakes.

For me, it always was - and always will be - the Butterscotch Krimpet. The weird thing is that I really don't especially like butterscotch. But damn I love those Krimpets.

I'm old enough to know when these came three in a pack, with a piece of cardboard inserted in it to keep the scrumptious icing from peeling off when you unwrapped it.

Today TastyKake is celebrating 100 years in business.

How many times has a national sporting event come to Philly and given us that quintessential Philly piece of video, sizzling, thin-sliced beef on the grill, the basics of a cheese steak.

But I'll be the first to raise a Krimpet to the real taste of Philly.

Happy Birthday, TastyKake.

One of those days: RIP Dante

I can't remember how many times I've written in the past few years about how much this job has changed.

I often write about the conflict that exists between the two worlds I operate in - the 24-hour non-stop delivery of news online, and our old reliable print product that we still create every day and deliver to our longtime, loyal customers.

Those worlds are becoming increasingly blurred as we move quickly to take full advantage of the new digital world we all live - and work - in every day.

One thing has not changed.

Every day I get to make a very important decision. That would be which story will be our Page One lead. I sometimes refer to the front page of the Daily Times as some of the most important real estate in Delaware County, even if it less than one square foot.

Some days it's a pretty easy call. One story clearly dominates - and thus dominates our front page as well. Those are the easy days. The opposite is when we don't have a single big story. That doesn't change my task. We're still going to have a print product (that's something else that hasn't changed). So I sit here like Solomon and make the decision.

Then there are days like yesterday, when we likely could have led the paper with any of four or five stories.

In the end, I decided to lead with the story on the arrest in the fatal crash that took the life of an Upper Darby teen. Dante DeSimone was a recent Upper Darby High grad and freshman at Neumann College. He was a popular athlete.

On a Sunday night in January, just a few days before he would return for his second semester at Neumann, he was doing what kids do. He was hanging out with friends.

DeSimone was walking along Baltimore Pike in Clifton Heights, in front of the McDonald's. That's when the unthinkable happened.

A car and truck collided. One careened up onto the sidewalk and struck DeSimone and a friend. DeSimone was killed. The friend was badly injured.

Yesterday, the driver of one of those cars was charged with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence. As a newspaper editor, I know the value of that kind of story.

As a father, I can't get past the idea that one second Dante DeSimone was doing what all young people do, and the next moment he was gone. Just like that. Literally in a heartbeat.

It's every parent's worst nightmare. And it's today's front page news. Just incredibly sad.

Fired principal fires back at O'Hara, archdiocese

The silence has been broken at Cardinal O'Hara High School.

Ever since Principal Marie Rogai was dismissed last November, just months into the school year, people have been waiting for the other shoe to fall.

It fell yesterday.

Rogai filed suit against the archdiocese on Monday. Also named in the action are a host of familiar names in archdiocesan education, including the Faith in the Future Foundation, the group that supervises fundraising for 17 high schools, as well as its CEO Samuel Casey Carter. Also named are Archdiocese Superintendent of Education Carol Carey; Pete Balzano, the associate superintendent; Christopher Mominey, secretary of the Office of Catholic Education; and the Cardinal O'Hara Advisory Board.

In the lawsuit, Rogai and her attorney Daniel McElhatton paint a picture of a distinguished educator who for some reason fell out of favor at the school. They make the point that Rogai was axed just a few months after she was considered for the associate superintendent position in the arhcdiocese. You can get all the details here.

I've talked to people at O'Hara who firmly believe Rogai was railroaded, and who were waiting for this day.

I've also talked to people who paint a picture of a woman who was very hard to work with.

Rogai's problems seem to stem with the somewhat controversial advisory board at O'Hara. The suit contends they are the ones who sought her ouster, despite her winning plaudits for her work.

I've had people tell me they were not even aware there was such a board. Rogai at the time of her firing maintained that she was not hired by the advisory board, but rather by the archdiocese.

The suit does not paint a pretty picture of O'Hara. Rogai flatly believes and states in the suit that the only reason she was given for the abrupt firing was that she didn't "smile enough" and was "too direct."

Rogai claims she was told during a meeting with Cary and Balzano that she was an "ineffective leader" and that Mominey wanted her to resign. She refused to do so and was fired a few days later.

If it goes to trial, the lawsuit could provide an eye-opening look at O'Hara's operations, and starkly differing views of Rogai's term at the helm.

One thing is sure. This is about the last thing the embattled archdiocese needed.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Monday Feb. 24

The Daily Numbers: 3 people expected to go on trial today in the murder of Chester Rite Aid store manager Jason McClay.

1 other person who will go on trial later this week.

1 person shot and killed in Chester Sunday.

2 other shootings recorded in the city, 1 Sunday and 1 Saturday.

4,000 dollars in fees needed upfront for local bar owners to get in on the new law allowing small games of chance in taverns.

2 more priests deemed unsuitable for ministry by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for substantiated claims of sex abuse. 40 years ago, when the alleged abuses took place.

25 percent reduction in energy usage by Garnet Valley School District, along with 22 percent reduction in demand.

13 million dollars raised by Penn State students at their annual THON fundraiser at Happy Valley.

44 million Netflix members in U.S. and global markets. They have a new deal with Comcast for better streaming services.

19 million Comcast residential Internet customers.

1 student at Temple University injured Saturday night when hit by a stray bullet from a confrontation outside a club several blocks away.

110, age of oldest living survivor of the Holocaust. She died over the weekend in London.

99, age of Maria von Trapp, last remaining family member who served as the basis for the movie ‘The Sound of Music.’

11 cent jump in price of gas since Feb. 1.

3.62 a gallon, average price at pump in Philly region.

3.57 a week ago; it was $3.78 this time last year.

3.41 average price nationally.

3-0 win for Canada over Sweden to take the gold medal in ice hockey in the Winter Olympics at Sochi.

28 medals, including 9 gold for the U.S. in the Games. That put them in 2nd place behind host Russia.

33 medals for Russia, including 13 golds.

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

Cheer for tonight’s Sixers game as they face lowly Milwaukee in matchup of two worst teams in NBA both looking for more ping-pong and the No. 1 pick in the draft: The Bucks dont’ stop here.

I Don’t Get It: I knew it was too good to be true. The weekend was just a tease. Cold and snow is back in the forecast.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to local tavern owners who clearly were smart enough to figure out that the state’s new push to allow small games of chance in local watering holes was a bad deal.

Quote Box: “For those people, having to pay $4,000 in upfront fees is a little too steep. Others don’t want to get involved in all the paperwork.”

- Tavern owner Jerry McArdle, on why there has been a dearth of applications for small games of chance in local bars.

Trial delayed in murder of Chester Rite Aid manager

The family and friends of Jason Scott McClay will have to wait a bit longer for justice.

The trial for the suspects in his murder, due to start today, has been delayed.

McClay was the manager of the Chester Rite Aid store who was gunned down during a holdup last September.

Three of the suspects in the deadly holdup are expected to go on trial this morning at the Media Courthouse.

David Wiggins, Tariq Mahmud and Christopher Parks, all of Philadelphia, are facing second-degree murder charges.

Another suspect, Rita Pultro, will go on trial separately later this week.

Police believe Pultro and Wiggins entered the store about 10 p.m. on a Friday night and asked McClay for help in the diaper aisle. They then allegedly announced the robbery. A struggle ensued and McClay, a Navy veteran, was shot in the head.

Police believe Parks was the getaway driver. Mahmud was a former Rite Aid employee who gave inside information on the workings of the store.


Why your local newspaper - and website - still matters

These days it's pretty fashionable to say journalism - especially the kind practiced at the local level - doesn't really matter.

People say the quaint notion of printing ink on paper is a relic of the past, and those of us who proudly still declare ourselves ink-stained wretches are branded as dinosaurs.

Consider me a proud one.

Yes, we now deliver content on a wide variety of platgorms: social media, online, video and, yes, print. What has not changed is our essential role, maybe more important now than ever. Before start throwing dirt on the grave of your local newspaper, you might want to check in with the good people out in Aston.

They might have a different view of the importance of the core role of local journalism, acting as a watchdog and keeping an eye on local government.

I use my print column today to explain.

Call it the ping-pong ball bowl

There very well may be a rare occurrence tonight at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philly.

The few die-hards who show up at the sports mecca to view the true dregs of the NBA may rise as one to cheer on ... the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Sixers and the Bucks are the two worst teams in the NBA. The Sixers, who held something of a yard sale at the trade deadline, dealing away Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen, have compiled a record of 15-41.

The Bucks are even worse, sitting at the bottom of the league with a laughable 10-45 mark.

They are in competition for what is usually about the only path to salvation in the NBA, the No. 1 draft pick.

But even treating your fans to the worst brand of hoops is not an ironclad guarantee of getting the top selection from the college crop of potential superstars.

That's because the NBA weights the selections. Right now Milwaukee would have more ping-pong balls in that weird NBA ritual due to their league-worst record.

The idea is to prevent teams from tanking the season in order to get the top pick.

How's that been working out for you, Sixers fans?

The NBA would have a hard time proving that the Bucks and Sixers are doing anything but trying to increase their chances for the No. 1 pick.

Which brings us to tonight's class of the titans in South Philly.

Rarely has Philly sports stooped to this level.

All of which is to say: Go Bucks!

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Feb. 22

The Daily Numbers: 11 days, how long Nadia Malik was missing. The Broomall mother of 2 was found dead in her Nissan Altima on a Philadelphia street yesterday.

8 parking tickets had been placed on the car, at several Philadelphia locations.

25, age of Bhupinder Singh, Malik’s boyfriend, who Marple police want to talk to as part of their investigation. He is in jail in Ohio awaiting extradition back to Delaware County on probation violations.

3 Dem candidates in the 164th race, but the Party gave its endorsement last night to incumbent state Rep. Margo Davidson. 3.12 percent tax hike looking in Springfield.

2 big new faces in the state political races. Jay Paterno, son of the legendary Penn State coach, said he will run for lieutenant governor. Former Auditor General Jack Wagner indicated he will enter the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

8.5 million dollars to be paid by the owners of the popular Chickie’s and Pete’s restaurant chain. That’s a lot of crab fries.

19 billion dollars paid for mobile messaging service WhatsApp by Facebook.

92 point spike for the Dow Jones yesterday.

4th hottest January ever recorded on Earth. In Australia maybe, pretty clear they didn’t spend much time around these parts.

3-2 heart-breaking OT loss for the American woman, who lost a 2-0 late 3rd period lead and the gold medal to the Canadian women.

3 Sixers traded by GM Sam Hinkie yesterday. They would be Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen.

5 players and 6 2nd-round draft picks acquired by the Sixers.

4 different transactions pulled off in some serious wheeling and dealing by Hinkie.

56-49 loss for the girls from O’Hara to Archbishop Wood.

62-45 loss for Prendie to Neumann-Goretti

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

I guess this is what the Sixers mean by ‘Together We Build.’ But first we blow it up!

I Don’t Get It: I still find it amazing that a body can sit in a car for 11 days and not be noticed. RIP, Nadia Malik.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to temperatures near 60 today and in the upper 50s Saturday. I think we earned a nice weekend.

Quote Box: “Unless we get evidence suggesting her death occurred in Delaware County, it’s a Philadelphia case.”

- Delco DA Jack Whelan, on the death of Broomall mother of 2 Nadia Malik.

The Nadia Malik Mystery: Hidden in plain sight

The first thing you wonder is, "How could something like this happen." The answer, unfortunately, is easier than you might think.

Nadia Malik had been missing for 11 days. She was known to be driving a black Nissan Altima.

Yesterday her body was found inside that same vehicle as it sat on a Philly street near 30th Street Station. It was adorned with several parking tickets.

An inspection of the tickets indicate several of them were issued to the car in other locations in the city. At least one of them was issued for it at the 30th Street location, which is near Market, behind the IRS building.

The car had been covered with snow, and it also has dark tinted windows, making it difficult to see inside.

Malik's body was found lying in the reclined passenger seat, with a diffel bag over her head.

Now the mystery of Nadia Malik shifts to how the Broomall mother died.

Rose Quinn provides the details of the investigation so far.

Nadia Malik was the mother of two.

It's just incredibly sad.

A slew of new faces in Delco politics

You're going to need a scorecard if you're going to the polls in the spring primary. And you all are going to vote, correct? I'll hold you to that.

Nowhere is change more visible than in Upper Darby. Their two seats in the state Legislature hadn't changed in more than 30 years, now both are getting new faces.

First Mario Civera, the longtime Republican in the 164th District, saw the writing on the wall in the changing demographics of his turf and gave up his seat to run for County Council. The 164th seat fell to the Democrats with Margo Davidson leading the changing tide in the township.

Then a few weeks back the other veteran of Harrisburg from Upper Darby decided to call it quits. Rep. Nick Micozzie, R-163, had won 18 straight elections. That's 36 years representing his constituents in Harrisburg.

No matter who wins, there's going to be a lot of new faces.

Here's the rundown on the nominations by the Democrats last night.

Former Joe Sestak aide Vince Rongione will try to capture the 163rd seat held so long by Micozzie.

Upper Darby. He'll face off against Republican Upper Darby Councilman Jamie Santora.

In the 164th, the Republicans nominated Saud Siddiqui, an Upper Darby resident and COO of the Upper Darby Caring Foundation.

One of the most interesting races will be the Democratic battle for the 164th seat. That's right, before they tangle with Republican Siddiqui, the Democrats are looking at a battle royal in their own party.

Last night the party endorsed Davidson, but is being challenged in the primary by Billy Smith of Lansdowne and Dafan Zhang of East Lansdowne.

Keep an eye on this one. It could be bruising.

The Democrats also have a candidate to challenge U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7. Mary Ellen Balchunis, a political science professor at La Salle, will take up that stiff challenge.

Heavy fog settles in across region

First it was bitter cold.

Then unrelenting snow.

Followed by a pulverizing ice storm that knocked out power to more than 700,000.

Yesterday morning, following a thaw that melted some of the snow, an overnight refreeze caused nasty conditions on the roads, and contributed to a crash on the Blue Route that shut down the northbound lanes for three hours during the morning rush.

This morning it's fog.

Warm temperatures are making it look like old London town out there.

Might not be a bad idea to leave some extra time for your morning commute.

The good news? We are going to take a run at the 60s this afternoon.

The bad news? It will be accompanied by driving rain and gusty winds. There is a flood watch in effect for the region from 10 a.m. through Friday night.

Here's the latest forecast from the National Weather Service:

Today: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm before 4pm, then scattered showers. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Areas of dense fog before 10am. High near 50. East wind 5 to 15 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 35. West wind 7 to 9 mph.

Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 57. Light south wind becoming southwest 11 to 16 mph in the morning.

Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 38. Southwest wind 5 to 9 mph.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Feb. 20

The Daily Numbers: 1 box truck and several cars involved in collision that has shut down the northbound lanes of the Blue Route for hours this morning.

12 noon on Feb. 9, last time missing Nadia Malik was seen, at a traffic light in Upper Darby.

260 acres owned by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at the Don Guanella facility off Sproul Road in Marple. It might give way to new development.

4-8 years in prison for a former comic book store worker on 1 count of deviate sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl.

55, age of Chester man struck and killed by a bus in Chester.

1 man injured in a shooting near 20th and Providence in Chester Tuesday afternoon.

220,000 dollars a year, how much John McNichol stands to make now that he has been named the CEO of the Philadelphia Convention Center Authority.

800 students, double the current 400, who would attend consolidated functions at the Delco IU’s tech center in Aston under a proposal that is not exactly popular with neighbors.

3 million dollars a year, how much the Delco IU says it could save under the plan.

39, age of man shot inside a Sharon Hill home after a confrontation with a group of people who came to the door.

2 Philly parents who believe in faith-healing who were sentenced to serious jail time after they let 2 of their children die rather than seek medical care.

720 million dollars that will be paid by Archdiocese of Los Angeles to victims of clergy sex abuse.

89 point dip for the Dow Jones yesterday.

16 percent decline in housing construction in January. Yep, you can blame the weather.

56-46 setback for Archbishop Carroll to Neumann Goretti in Catholic League playoffs.

55-49 loss for the Penn Wood girls.

1 loss for Syracuse after they got knocked from unbeaten perch last night by Boston College.

5-2 for USA over Czechs to advance and face Canada Friday in Olympics ice hockey semifinal. Russia was eliminated by losing to Finland

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

OK, the Phillies can start playing Grapefruit League games any day now. You can only say it all depends on Ryan Howard’s health so many times.

I Don’t Get It: Even when we get a break in the weather, with warmer temps, the overnight chill turns the roads into skating rinks.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all the new faces popping up in Upper Darby politics. Things certainly are going to look different around these parts.

Quote Box: “Find something worth dying for. That spirit of martyrdom, I believe, has left many of us today.”

- Rev. Norman Keith, speaking at Riddle Hospital yesterday in a special Black History Month event.

A very special night with Margaret Kuo

As someone who worked in a lot of restaurants in his younger years (I probably either bused your table or was your waiter if you used to dine out at places like the Red Fox, Fireside Inn or Mendenhall Inn in Chester County) I have a tremendous respect for those who toil in the restaurant business.

It's not easy work. For starters, your schedule gets turned upside down. You are going to work as most people are heading home. You work nights and weekends, holidays, too. Kind of like newspapers, when you think of it.

Restaurants come and go, with the landscape littered with discarded menus of eateries that have come - and gone.

That's why it's remarkable to note a restaurant that has excelled for 40 years.

That's part of the reason I found myself at one of the iconic restaurants on the Delco scene last night.

We took our 'Live From the Newsroom' show to Margaret Kuo's Peking Restaurant last night to celebrate the Chinese New Year and Year of the Horse.

Margaret and Chef Huang walked us through the traditions of the celebration, as well as a classic Chinese New Year banquet featuring four courses, including her signature Peking duck.

But that's not the only reason we were there.

While Peking is marking its 40th year in operation, it's also a bit bittersweet because it may very well be the last. That's because the rumors are no longer rumors.

Peking's home, Granite Run Mall, has been sold, and big plans are in the works for the mall, which may or may not include Peking. The plan calls for keeping the mall's three anchor stores, then demolish the rest for a combination of retail and residential development. Whether or not that includes a new Peking is yet to be seen.

If it does not, it will be the first time since the mall opened its doors in 1974 that Peking has not been part of the mall's operation. While Chik Fil-A also was there on Day One and every day since, Peking remains the only privately owned entity that has been with the mall through thick and thin over the last four decades.

Kuo of course has expanded her restaurant empire well beyond Granite Run, with restaurants now operating on State Street in Media, as well as in Wayne and Frazer. It's now a family operation, with her son and grandchildren now in the business as well.

It was a night to celebrate - both the Chinese New Year, with Kuo offering some fascinating background into the traditions of the celebration, as well as the tips and secrets to success that she has used over the past 40 years. Our deep thanks for a great night to Margaret Kuo, Chef Huang, and Barbara Zippi of Artemis Productions, who put the evening together.

If you missed the live broadcast, you can catch the replay here.

Crash shuts down NB Blue Route

Well, that didn't take long.

Ice is already taking a toll on morning commuters.

Northbound lanes of the Blue Route have been shut down since about 5:15 a.m. because of a multi-vehicle crash near the Broomall exit.

All northbound traffic on I-476 is now being forced to exit at the Route 1 Springfield exit.

It looks like the morning drive is going to be a mess. Be careful out there. Keep an eye out for icy patches.

One winning Powerball ticket - in California!

Bad news for all you local Powerball players with visions of millions dancing in your heads.

There was only one winning ticket that correctly picked all six numbers - but it was sold in California.

But all is not lost. There also are 17 winning tickets that correctly got the five numbers - but not the Powerball number. They're worth a million bucks on their own. Here's the AP report:

MILPITAS, Calif. (AP) — The lone winning ticket for the $425 million Powerball jackpot was sold at a convenience store in central California, but there was no immediate word on who may have won one of the largest lottery jackpots in U.S. history.

The winning numbers drawn Wednesday night were: 1, 17, 35, 49, 54 and a Powerball of 34.

California lottery officials said the ticket was sold at Dixon Landing Chevron in Milpitas, a city about 10 miles north of San Jose. The business will receive $1 million for selling the winning ticket. Wednesday's drawing also saw 17 tickets match enough numbers to win $1 million, and one ticket won a $2 million prize, according to a statement from Rose J. Hudson, chair of the Powerball Game Group and President of the Louisiana Lottery. Early Thursday morning, the scene was quiet with just few customers at the 24-hour store and gas station just off Interstate 880, a region of corporate office in the Silicon Valley area. The nation's biggest lottery prize was a $656 million dollar Mega Millions jackpot in 2012. The biggest Powerball jackpot was a $590.5 million last May. That ticket was the only one to match all the winning numbers, Powerball officials said late Wednesday. The jackpot was estimated at $425.3 million, with a cash payout option of $242.2 million. It's one of the largest lottery jackpots in U.S. history — but still far from the record. "Here's a bit of advice for all of those big Powerball winners: If you haven't already, sign the back of your tickets and store them in a safe place," Hudson said. "Use the claim time period to consult trusted financial and legal professionals; then you'll be prepared to bask in an amazing Powerball winning experience!" Changes to top lottery games have created bigger jackpots in shorter periods of time. More than half of the top 10 prizes in U.S. lottery history have occurred since 2012, according to statistics provided by the Multi-State Lottery Association. Powerball's game changes in January 2012 included an increase in ticket price from $1 to $2. Starting jackpots went from $20 million to $40 million, and pots increased by more money with each roll. Mega Millions also went through a revamp that included decreasing the odds of winning the top prize to 1 in about 259 million. Powerball is played in 43 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The odds of matching all six numbers in the game are 1 in about 175 million.

Your Thursday morning roads report

Here's an early warning for you before you head out: Watch your step!

All that melting snow has frozen over in many spots. Walking to your car might be an adventure this morning.

Once you're out on the road, be careful for icy patches as well as lots of 'black ice.'

I managed the drive in fairly easily, but that's in part because there is no one on the roads at this time.

My guess is that once more cars hit the roads, we're going to start to see the problems pile up - literally.

Any place that had accumulated water and slush has frozen over in the early-morning chill.

And also causing problems is the fact that many of the potholes are now filled with melting snow and water, making them almost impossible to see, until you hit one of them, when your fillings will let you know.

Consider yourself warned: Be careful of ice out there.

Hold on for one more day. Tomorrow we actually have a chance of hitting 60 degrees, although it will be tempered with lots of rain.

Saturday looks like a winner, with temperatures in the 50s and lots of sun.

I think we deserve it.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Feb. 19

The Daily Numbers: 58.4 inches of snow so far this winter.

3 inches recorded yesterday morning at the airport.

3rd snowiest winter in the region’s history.

65.5 inches for No. 2 all time, back in 1995-96. That’s definitely in range.

47 degree, expected high later today.

57 degrees on Friday!

1.3 million dollars, how much the former tax collector in Aldan admitted he stole from the borough and William Penn School District.

77, age of suspect Robert Park.

1 person shot overnight in Sharon Hill.

1 person struck and killed by a school bus yesterday in Chester.

3, age of Brayden Chandler, of Springfield, who was given a rousing welcome home by the community after his ‘Make-A-Wish’ trip to Disney World.

100 police cars and motorcycles that took part in an escort for the ailing youth.

57, age of suspect from Ridley who pleaded guilty to the sex assault on a juvenile female on a boat in Maryland. 400 million jackpot on line tonight in the Powerball lottery.

25,000 dollars bail, amount former sports broadcaster Don Tollefson could not come up with after he was charged with fraud. He’s now sitting in jail.

100,000 dollars, how much he is charged with pocketing from people who bought travel packages he never delivered.

10 members of the Ironworkers Union in Philly charged with using intimidation and threats against non-union worksites.

58-43 loss for the Penn Wood boys team to Lower Merion in District 1 hoops action.

53-34 loss for Haverford boys to Abington.

64-33 win for Chester High over Souderton.

9 straight losses for the Sixers.

114-85 blowout loss to the Cavs last night.

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

One of the best things ever done by a pro franchise, with the Sixers signing Kevin Grow, the Bensalem High kid who suffers from Down Syndrome, to a two-day contract. He was on their bench last night. Very nice act.

I Don’t Get It: People will be waiting in line today to buy tickets for the Powerball because it’s another massive jackpot. You might as well toss the money out the window as you’re driving down the Bypass, but no one dates not get into the office pool, on the odd chance that they hit. Who wants to be left behind? Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those who showed up to welcome Brayden Chandler home to Springfield last night. Just a very nice thing to do. Quote Box: “The whole idea was putting a smile on his face.”

- Folcroft Officer Dan White, on the outpouring of support for Brayden Chandler.

Wishes do come true

Some days I love this job.

Some days we get to do something special.

Yes, I know, every story is special.

But some days we get to do something nice, an uncommon experience for those who often refer to us as the Daily Crimes. It's true, we do report a lot of crime news, and a lot of bad news.

We also report stories like this one.

I hope that in some small way, we helped make Brayden Chandler's 'Wish' come true.

I know he and his family did likewise for me.

Yes, I too often tire of some of the stories we report.

My 'Wish' is that every day we could do a story like this one.

Thank you, Brayden. Thank you, Chandler family.

'Live From the Newsroom' celebrates Chinese New Year with Kuo Family at Granite Run Mall

We are in for a special treat Wednesday night when we take our live-stream Internet broadcast, 'Live From the Newsroom,' back out on the road.

We'll be at Granite Run Mall in Middletown for a very special evening with our old friends Margaret and Warren Kuo to celebrate the Chinese New Year's Year of the Horse.'

But we'll also get some insight to the glory days and the demise of the Granite Run Mall, which is due to be transformed into a very different kind of shopping experience.

We'll be at the Kuos' fabulous Peking Restaurant in the mall. If anyone know about the ups and downs of Granite Run, it's the Kuos.

After all, they were they on the day the mall opened. Along with Chik Fil-A they remain the only original tenants of the mall that remain in business.

We'll chat with the Kuos about the lore and celebration of the Year of the Horse, and also take a walk down memory lane in terms of Granite Run Mall. Don't miss out special show, or you can join us live at Peking 7 p.m. Wednesday night.

See you then.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Feb. 18

The Daily Numbers: 3 inches of snow recorded at Philly International this morning.

45 mph speed restriction on most major highways.

13 snow storms recorded so far this winter.

55.4 inches of snow before this morning’s new flakes.

26th state Senate race which is off and running with Republican County Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle facing Ridley Park union guy Democrat John Kane.

2 Democrats challening incumbent state Rep. Margo Davidson, R-164, in Upper Darby.

262,000 dollars, how much a man is believed to have fleeced from an elderly Chester County woman in a phone scam.

18 million dollar deficit being projected in Radnor Township School District.

1 million dollars a year, how much new Penn State President Eric Barron will earn.

3 key high school hoops playoff games on tap tonight.

9 and 8, as in No. 9 Lower Merion at No. 8 Penn Wood in a great District 1 matchup.

46-28 win for the Garnet Valley girls to advance in playoff hoops action last night.

84-72 win for the Cabrini men over Neumann.

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

Jonathan Papelbon is pointing a finger at manager Charlie Manuel for some of the problems in the Phillies locker room last year. Nice.

I Don’t Get It: Can someone now tell me this is the last snow for this God-awful winter? Please?

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the police escort that will see an ailing Springfield youth home today after he arrives at Philadelphia International Airport after his Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World.

Quote Box: “Tom McGarrigle has exactly the kind of background that we need up in the state Senate.” - Outgoing Sen. Ted Erickson, R-26.

'Live From the Newsroom' celebrates Chinese New Year

We are in for a special treat Wednesday night when we take our live-stream Internet broadcast, 'Live From the Newsroom,' back out on the road.

We'll be at Granite Run Mall in Middletown for a very special evening with our old friends Margaret and Warren Kuo to celebrate the Chinese New Year's Year of the Horse.'

But we'll also get some insight to the glory days and the demise of the Granite Run Mall, which is due to be transformed into a very different kind of shopping experience.

We'll be at the Kuos' fabulous Pekin Restaurant in the mall. If anyone know about the ups and downs of Granite Run, it's the Kuos.

After all, they were they on the day the mall opened. Along with Chik Fil-A they remain the only original tenants of the mall that remain in business.

We'll chat with the Kuos about the lore and celebration of the Year of the Horse, and also take a walk down memory lane in terms of Granite Run Mall. Don't miss out special show, or you can join us live at Peking 7 p.m. Wednesday night.

See you then.

Off and running in the 26th!

I have said previously that it would not be a bad idea for embattled Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett to spend a lot of time in Delaware County as he seeks a second term.

Specifically, he should take the opportunity to stand next to Tom McGarrigle every chance he gets.

Now at least we'll know they'll have something to talk about. The popular County Council chairman yesterday formally announced what everyone already knew, he will seek the 26th District state Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Ted Erickson.

The Republican will be challenged by Democrat John Kane, a union leader from Ridley Park.

Corbett desperately needs to improve his tanking poll numbers.

That's why I thought it was so interesting yesterday that one of the first things McGarrigle said was that he disagreed with the governor when it comes to taxing the Marcellus Shale boom in the state.

That's something Corbett would not do, settling instead for a "extraction fee."

McGarrigle would like to use some of that missing revenue to help in the ever-escalating education funding mess.

Should make for some interesting discussions on the campaign trail.

At this point, there's not a lot Corbett can do about it. Bottom line is he probably needs McGarrigle more than McGarrigle needs him. Corbett is not particularly popular, in particular here in southeastern Pennsylvania, where people are still smarting from those austere budgets he put in place in his first three years.

Pothole Palooza takes off in Delco

Looks like I struck a nerve with yesterday's blog item looking for the worst roads in Delco in terms of potholes.

It sounds like it is "hole-y hell" out there on the roads.

We've been inundated with your suggestions.

In fact, we've decided to collect all your suggestions and present them on Sunday in a special package. Make sure you send us photos of the worst potholes in the county that we can include in our package.

Send your suggestions and photos to reporter Jeff Wolfe at Of if you want you can send them to me at

Here's our story and some of the first batch of suggestions for the worst potholes and roads in Delco.

Your Tuesday morning road report

I hope you didn't put that shovel away.

Yes, it is snowing again.

Do yourself a favor. Pull the covers up over your head and leave a note saying you're not coming out again until spring.

In other words, it's a mess out there.

I'm not sure if it was the timing or what, but this is one of the worst rides in I've had in this miserable winter. All the roads I traveled on were snow-covered.

The main roads are packed down, but the side roads are not. Maybe the worst thing is that the snow managed to hide the potholes. They're out there and they're deeper than ever, judging from the filling-loosening hits I was taking on the way in this morning.

When I walked into the office just before 5 a.m., it was snowing like nobody's business. The TV folks say it is actually starting to taper off, but I saw no evidence of that.

West Chester Pike and Springfield Road were both snow-covered. That's pretty unusual. Most of my rides home they have been for the most part slushy. Not this morning. They are covered.

How bad was it? Well, before I backed the car out of the driveway, I had to shovel the accumulated snow again. We had a least a fresh inch on the ground. I cleared off the car for about the thousandth time this winter, then I headed out.

I was somewhat surprised that the roads did not appear to be plowed. I saw lots of crews, so maybe they were just getting started.

The snow arrived overnight, and it's supposed to start trailing off later this morning, and the temperature actually is going to hit the 40s later this afternoon.

Here's a pleasant thought: Anyone think about where all this snow is going to go once it starts melting? That's right, probably in your basement. Of course, that is if your roof holds up.

Look, it's been a miserable winter. You know the drill. I'm guessing the morning commute is going to be a mess.

We'll get through it.

I think.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Monday, Feb. 17

The Daily Numbers: 86, age of woman who perished when flames roared through Springfield house Saturday night.

1 firefighter also suffered a minor injury battling the blaze.

98, age of man who died in West Philadelphia fire.

18 months, how lock Jackie Parker served as head of the Chester Economic Development Authority. She's leaving to take another job in Harrisburg.

12 measurable snowfalls so far this winter. We could be looking at No. 13 tonight.

3.88 percent tax hike being considered in Marple Newtown School District.

1 year of probation for a 65-year-old Chester man in the shooting of a dog.

22 murders a woman is now admitting to in Sunbury, Pa. She met most of the men on Craigslist.

200,000 visitors who made their way to the Philadelphia Auto Show, which concluded Sunday.

16 medals for the U.S. at the Sochi Olympics. That puts them in 3rd place, behind Netherlands with 17 and Russia with 16.

15 million bucks, what the Phillies spent for pitcher A.J. Burnett.

37, how old Burnett will be this year.

10-11, with a 3.30 mark in 30 starts for the Pirates last year for Burnett.

40, how old Bobby Abreu will be next month. He arrived in Phillies camp yesterday.

5-1 win for the U.S. hockey team over Slovenia. They went unbeaten in group play.

6 Olympic medals in the illustrious career of U.S. skier Bode Miller. He took a bronze in Super-G yesterday.

41 tournaments since Bubba Watson won on the PGA Tour. He ended that skid with a win at Riviera yesterday.

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

Thumb's up for Johnny Weir as an analyst for skating at the Olympics. It's not just his outfits that are outrageous.

I Don’t Get It: Yes, we are getting more snow tonight into Tuesday morning. I don't get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Jackie Parker, outgoing head of the Chester Economic Development Authority. Her steady hand has been invaluable in charting a new course for the city.

Quote Box: “When the downtown is strong, you see how it shoots off job creation and helps the economy and then people want to go there even more." - Parker, on changes in downtown Chester.

Pothole Palooza: The worst road in Delaware County

Yes, there is more snow in the forecast. We're suposed to get snow overnight tonight into Tuesday morning.

Yes, I'm as tired of it as you are.

So let's have some fun with it.

I am looking for the worst road in Delaware County, at least in terms of potholes. This winter has not been kind to our roads. They are beat up, and likely will only get worse with more snow in the forecast and a thaw later this week.

My nomination is for Providence Road, from Route 3 (West Chester Pike) in Edgmont to the Route 1 Bypass near Rose Tree Park in Upper Providence. I traverse this road every morning. It used to be I just had to dodge the deer with whom I grudgingly share the road.

Now it's potholes. Lots of them, deep enough to loosen your fillings when you hit them. To say nothing of your rims and tires.

This morning I felt like a slalom skier at Sochi as I maneuvered around the potholes. Luckily, at that hour there isn't a lot of people on the road, so I can pretty much swerve from side to side.

That's my nomination. Now I want yours. We'll make it a contest.

Tell us what you think is the worst road in Delco, at least when it comes to potholes.

We'll come up with some kind of prize for the winner.

A lesson in faith

I used my print column today for a little lesson in faith. I learned it last week as we reported on the death of 89-year-old Bruna Cossavella of Lansdowne. It was imparted to me by her son, the Rev. Anthony Cossavella, who serves at St. Andrew's in Drexel Hill, and before that was a much-beloved priest at St. Agnes in West Chester. The way he reacted to his mother's killing - and the person responsible for it - was an eye-opener, to say the least. You can read it here.

Go, Johnny, Go! This time as an analyst

It's not exactly a big secret that I have fallen out of love with the Winter Olympics this year. I'm not sure why, although I am guessing it has something to do with my overwhelming dislike for anything cold.

Yes, this is the winter of my discontent. I am ready to put winter - and the Winter Olympics - behind me.

Oh, sure, I caught the USA-Russia ice hockey game on Saturday. It was terrific. But I still think the idea of using a shootout to decide more than 60 minutes of regulation and an overtime is kind of silly. Play until someone scores, guys.

I am now ready for the Phillies and spring training.

But before I go there, I will offer one other bit of praise for the Olympics. This one is personal and it has to do with the TV coverage. No, it has nothing to do with Bob Costas' eye.

Instead, this one has everything to do with one of the real surprises from these Olympics.

Johnny Weir is a dynamite analyst.

Weir has been a breath of fresh air in what can at times best be described as somewhat sullen, reserved world of figure skating. There is nothing reserved about Johnny Weir.

He is loud, brash and upfront about his lifestyle, just as he was as a world-class skater and Olympian. His teaming with fellow former skating princess Tara Lipinsky has been spot-on.

Weir's outrageous sense of style has been on full display in Sochi, clearly a thumb in the eye to the Russian government and their hard-line, anti-gay stance.

It's almost been worth it to tune in each day just to see what kind of wild outfit Weir will come up with next.

Of course, that's not really the reason I'm such a Johnny Weir booster.

The truth is, his mom and dad are old friends. We grew up together in the tiny little town of Oxford, Pa. Went to high school together. Dad John and I played football together. Mom Patti, a cheerleader, sat a few pews away from me in church every Sunday.

Johnny is always listed as being from Quarryville, where he lived for awhile, or Coatesville, where he was born, or even in Newark, Del., where he trained.

I know better.

Johnny Weir is the pride of Oxford, Pa.

Your old hometown is proud of you, Johnny.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Gentlemen, a little Valentine's Day advice

Gentlemen, consider this a friendly reminder.

I know we've all been bush, what with shoveling out the driveway and sidewalk every other day.

However, do not - I REPEAT, DO NOT - forget what day this is.

That's right, stop right now and glance at the calendar.

It's Feb. 14.

No, it doesn't mean we're halfway through February and one day closer to spring.


Don't forget it.

Get a card - and a gift. Flowers are nice. Jewelry is better.

And a word of advice from someone who has been celebrating Valentine's Day with the same woman for the last three decades.

I would guess that for maybe the last 25 of those, we have both "agreed" not to buy each other gifts. Don't fall for it. Don't believe it for a second.

And whatever you do, don't walk through that door tonight without a little something to note your feelings. She was lying to you when she said she really doesn't want anything this year.

The same way she was lying to you when she said that last year.

Do not fall for it.

Or prepare for the kind of cold that makes all this snow and ice look positively tropical.

It's Valentine's Day. Have a heart. Show her you care.

And no, a box of Conversation Hearts does not count. Maybe if it's attached to a great card or a bouquet of flowers.

I'm not in cahoots with the card industry, nor the florist.

You'll have to trust me on this one.

Cross my heart.

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Feb. 14 - Happy Valentine's Day

The Daily Numbers: 9.8 inches of snow officially at the airport.

14 inches in Chadds Ford, tops in Delco.

13 inches in Upper Darby.

17 inches in Parkesburg, Chester County.

15.2 inches in Exton.

53.1 inches of snow so far this winter.

5th snowiest winter for the region.

4th snowfall of 8 inches or more.

400 flights cancelled at Philadelphia International Airport, that’s 70 percent.

10 a.m. Thursday, when SEPTA shut down all bus service because of the storm.

190 calls for assistance reported by AAA.

549,000 grant to Tinicum Fire Co. from U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

152,000 dollar winning lottery ticket for a Brookhaven man.

332 years being celebrated today in the City of Chester.

45 billion dollar deal in which Comcast will buy Time Warner Cable.

0.4 percent dip in retail sales i January. Blame the weather.

339,000 people who applied for jobless benefits last week. That’s up 8,000

63 point uptick for Dow Jones markets yesterday.

3 people shot to death execution style in Philly home.

7 hoops contests underway tonight as we kick off District 1 Tourney.

16 million dollar deal for pitcher A.J. Burnett to join the Phillies.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. RIP Jim Fregosi. He led that scruffy bunch of over-achievers in 1993 to a National League crown.

I Don’t Get It: Why is it exactly the plow guys insist on blocking the end of your driveway every time it snow?

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Archbishop Prendergast-Monsignor Bonner High, which is using cyberschool classes instead of snow days. A great idea.

Quote Box: “This winter snow has become a four-letter word.”

_ Delco Council boss Tom McGarrigle.

Your Friday Morning road report

Mother Nature won't be getting a Valentine from me this year.

The forecasters weren't lying. After nailing us with a foot of snow overnight Wednesday into Thursday, she just couldn't resist another shot last night.

Yes, if you have not looked out this morning, it snowed again last night.

You will need to clear the car again and shovel out.

I just did.

The good news is that roads are not all that bad.

That is not to say they are clear, especially the side roads and neighborhoods.

My development always looks like the end of the world, so I try not to make any rash decisions until I get out on the main roads.

Getting there this morning was a bit of an adventure.

Luckily, schools were closed and I was again able to use my wife's Rav-4. It blew through what looked like at least another 3 inches of new snow.

From there on, it was a mix of snow-covered spots, slush and some simply wet roads.

The problem is that you can go from a wet road to a spot that is snow-covered with little notice. Be careful of that out there.

Also be careful as you approach intersections. That's where snow has been piled up from plows and is just waiting to ensnare your car.

I'm not sure I'd want to tangle with what was out there this morning in a car, but most small SUVs will sail through.

The award for best road this morning goes to Marple Township, which had Springfield Road neat as a whistle.

That ended when I got to the Springfield line. But even there it was very much passable.

West Chester Pike was in decent shape, as was Baltimore Pike in Springfield.

As usual, Oak Avenue was still snow-covered, but even that was doable.

The really bad news?

They are calling for even more snow tonight, maybe as much as a couple of inches.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The word of the day is 'treacherous'

And now for a little fun. We could all use it as we suffer through the Winter of Our Discontent.

As we sit here enduring our 11th major snow storm of this insufferable winter, I find myself doing what I always do during these storms. I sit here and grit my teeth at these equally insufferable TV reporters standing out in the snow.

So here's today's contest.

What is the over/under on the number of times you hear the word 'treacherous' on TV today. You know, as in the roads are just 'treacherous.'

I'll set the line at 50.

I'm taking the over.

Hang in there. The Phillies put single-game tickets on sale today.

Spring is coming. I promise.

Affairs of the heart - and stomach - on 'Live From the Newsroom'

We had a dynamite 'Live From the Newsroom last night as we paid a visit to Antonella's Italian Kitchen in Villanova and talked affairs of the heart.

It was the perfect place to talk food and Valentine's. If you missed the show you can catch the replay here. My thanks to our dynamite team, our host Antonella Santacroce, Lorraine Ranalli, Chef Jacquie Peccina-Kelly and Chef Dom Condo. Dom brought some super appetizers, the perfect starter to any Valentine's dinner; Jacquie served up some exquisite strawberries filled with cheese cake filling, while Antonella had a perfect, hearty main course of lasagna.

It was left to Lorraine, head of the Cucina Chatter crew, to go over the dicey do's and don'ts of Valentine's.

It was a great night, proving once again the the way to your Valentine's heart is very often through the stomach.

Don't forget next week we'll be taking 'Live From the Newsroom' on the road again, with a visit to Margaret Kuo's Peking restaurant at the granite Run Mall, where we will celebrate the Chinese New Year and the Year of the Horse. We'll also talk about the end of the road for the mall. The Kuo family and Peking were one of the original tenants.

See you next Wednesday at 7 at Peking Restaurant. Why not join us, or at least tune in

The morning road report: Do I look insane?

Punxsutawney wasn't lying.

Neither was the forecaster.

The snow started coming down around 8 last night and as I write this on the home front, it is snowing like nobody's business.

I'm not a technology guy. Oh, I tolerate it. In my line of work, these days I don't have much choice.

But I have to admit I have found one thing about all this tech that I really appreciate. On days like this one promises to be, it gives us the option of working from home. There is really nothing I would be doing in the office that I can't do at home, just as long as I have access to the Internet.

In other words, pray that we don't lose power again.

From what I have seen, most of the main roads are still passable but snow-covered.

Maybe I'll give it a go later on.

In the meantime, I have an offer for you. Take part in our live coverage. Let us know what conditions are like in your neighborhood.

We have a live blog covering the storm. You can add your pictures and video by using the Twitter hashtag #delcosnow.

In the meantime, let's blame it on Punxsutawney.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

'Live From the Newsroom' tackles affairs of the heart

We're going on the road tonight with our live-stream Internet broadcast, 'Live From the Newsroom,' to tackle affairs of the heart.

And we all know that the only path to the heart is through the stomach.

In other words, we'll be dealing with food and Valentine's Day.

We'll be hooking up with our old friends from Cucina Chatter, host Lorraine Ranalli, Check Jackie Peccina-Kelly and Chef Dom Condo who have whipped up some culinary delights with Valentine's Day in mind. We'll hold forth at Antonella's Italian Kitchen in Villanova. Our host Antonell Santacroce will join out special panel.

Lorraine will tell us what you should - and should not - do in terms of food for your sweetheart on Valentine's Day. Jacquie is preparing an array of chocolate covered strawberries. Dom will tell you some appetizers to "get you in the mood."

We are live at 7 p.m. on Join us for affairs of the heart - and stomach!

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Feb. 12

The Daily Numbers: 6-10 inches, what the forecasters are calling for in terms of snow overnight into Thursday.

4-7 inches right here in Delaware County, likely more out in Chesco.

11 measurable snow storms so far this winter.

6 snow days for Delco schools since Feb. 6.

7th likely to come on Thursday with this forecast. That means most districts will be adding days. Those decisions will be made by the 15 local school districts.

7 shelters that were set up by the Red Cross in response to last week’s ice storm.

701 people who sought refuge at the shelters.

618 people who helped out at the sites.

1,650 total meals served.

12 towns in Chester County that are facing a critical shortage of road salt.

9 winters that have seen us get hit with more than the 43.3 inches of snow we’ve had so far this winter.

50,000 dollars, how much a former Glen Mills teacher wants from the school in a lawsuit contesting his firing.

2 Chester men convicted in a 2012 robbery.

15 years ago, when the notion of a Town Center was first proposed. It’s now been granted the final OK by the borough.

1.7 million dollars to be paid by Haverford Township as part of a suit filed over the old Swell bubble gum factory, which is now home to the YMCA.

58, age of Pa. House Speaker Sam Smith, who indicated he will not seek re-election.

85, age of former child star Shirley Temple, who died yesterday.

20 years of the Media Theatre being celebrated with a gala.

192 point surge for the Dow Jones markets yesterday.

54-46 win for Penn Wood over Glen Mills to capture the Del Val League title.

50-22 win for Interboro wrestling.

2 new faces for Phillies in the broadcast booth: Welcome to Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs.

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

What does it say about your team when your biggest off-season news was changes in the broadcast booth. Yep, these are your 2014 Phillies.

I Don’t Get It: Still no word on what kind of heartless killer fatally beat and stabbed an 89-year-old woman in her Lansdowne home. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Penn Wood Patriots for capturing the Del Val Boys hoops title last night with their win over Glen Mills.

Quote Box: “I want everyone to know that I am moving on from this event.”

- Damon Feldman, announcing he was cutting ties with a proposed fight featuring George Zimmerman.