Friday, January 31, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Jan. 31

The Daily Numbers: 80 demonstrators on both sides of the gun issue who converged on the office of state Rep. Steve Barrar, R-160, yesterday.

10 minutes, how long the truce on Colwyn Council lasted at last night’s meeting before the fighting broke out again.

400 dollars, how much an East Lansdowne man charged in a series of robberies spent on a mask police believe he used in the heists.

2 parked cars, a house and an apartment building, what police charge an Upper Chichester man slammed his SUV into yesterday morning. He faces DUI charges.

500,000 dollars in Automated Red Light Enforcement that will help solve some traffic problems in Delaware County.

18, age of Upper Darby teen who was accepted into the county’s special ARD probationary program for slugging a staffer at Upper Darby High.

0 chance that Chester High will close because of its recent heating problems, according to state Receiver Joe Watkins.

36 pound cat being held at a shelter in Phoenix.

2 teens in Philly charged in brutal beating that was videotaped and posted on Facebook.

1 in 4 Pa. voters who believe Gov. Corbett should get a 2nd term, according to a new poll.

300 million dollars more in education funding being proposed by Philadelphia Democrats.

18 people charged in a prostitution ring in New York.

109 point gain for Dow Jones yesterday.

65 percent of people who say they use a cell phone several times a day.

15 percent who say they use their cell phone every hour.

25 percent say they read and send text messages while they are driving. Sad.

13,000 dollars in net earnings last year for Dover Downs casino, down from $4.8 million in 2012.

197 million dollars in revenue for the Del. casino, down from $225 million.

500 million dollar project being planned by SEPTA for its King of Prussia rail project.

181 million people expected to watch Super Bowl XLVIII on TV.

4 million dollar, cost of a 30-second ad on the telecast.

5-3 loss for the Flyers in Anaheim last night.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Who needs the Super Bowl when you have Wing Bowl. It’s pure Philly.

I Don’t Get It: People complaining about Wing Bowl. It’s one day a year. Deal with it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Rep. Steve Barrar for confronting those who showed up to protest his vote on a gun bill and discuss the issue. More pols should follow his lead.

Quote Box: “I’m not going to let you lie.”

- Rep. Steve Barrar, to protest leader Terry Rumsey.

Coming Sunday: A special editorial series on education funding and property taxes

Starting this Sunday, the newspapers and websites of Digital First Media in Pennsylvania will be debuting a yearlong editorial series focusing on what we believe to be one of the core issues facing the state: education funding and property taxes.

In advance of Gov. Tom Corbett's budget address on Tuesday, we'll set the table for our mission, to bring about constructive change in education funding - including a move away from the property tax as the basic building block of funding in the state.

We'll be looking for readers to offer ideas as well as we seek engagement with educators, our elected representatives and taxpayers in resolving a problem that has plagued homeowners in this state for decades.

At the same time, we will take up the call of those who for years have bemoaned what is clearly an uneven playing field when it comes to education funding in the state, with kids in areas with eroding tax bases facing a built-in hurdle to the same education as kids in areas with stable economies receive.

It starts on Sunday. We're calling this special series "The Keystones: Education Funding & Property Taxes." Don't miss it in the Sunday Times as well as DelcoTimes.com.

Even better, after you've read the editorial, why not take part in the conversation. We await to hear what the governor has to say on this topic, as well as readers.

It all starts on Sunday.

Enjoy this weekend, worry about the next one

Anyone remember what 40 degrees feels like? We're about to find out.

I don't know about you, but yesterday morning just going from the car to the office is about as cold as I can remember feeling in a long, long time.

Relief is on the way today, with temperatures expected to moderate and hit the 40-degree mark. And it's not going to stop there. There is a distinct possibility that we could hit 50 degrees on Sunday.

Break out the sunscreen.

So much for all those worries about a blizzard arriving just in time for the Super Bowl in North Jersey. Game time temperature for the Broncos and Seahawks Sunday night is expected to be in the 40s.

So much for the good news. Now for a bit more ominous developments.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but social media has been ablaze now for a day or so with prognostications of some kind of superstorm to rock the area next weekend.

Most of the experts are downplaying the notion, saying it's simply too early to get any kind of feel for what is going to arrive 10 days out.

But I have to tell you I don't like the sound of it.

We'll keep an eye on it for you. After all, it's not like anyone around here to panic about the weather, right?

We'll (hopefully) always have Wing Bowl

There are really only a few things that fairly scream 'Philly!'

The Mummers would be one of them. You don't really explain the Mummers to outsiders. You simply tell them it's something you have to experience.

Same can be said for 'Rocky,' and why every visitor simply must run up the steps of the Art Museum, then raise their hands in victory with the city skyline in the background.

Then, of course, there is Wing Bowl.

No, we did not make the Super Bowl again this year. That honor goes to Denver and Seattle, which will meet Sunday in balmy 40-degree weather in North Jersey.

Once again this year here in the Philadelphia area must ease our pain by chomping on wings, swilling beer at 5 a.m. and leering at scantily clad women.

Yep, must be time for Wing Bowl.

What started 22 years ago with a couple of plates of wings in the lobby of the Wyndham Franklin Plaza has now grown into a monster event that packs the Wells Fargo Center.

Really, name me one other city that you think could pull this thing off.

It's becoming increasingly popular to badmouth this decidedly debauched event.

I have to admit I've never actually been to Wing Bowl. I also can admit it looks like a blast.

Uncouth? Absolutely.

Low-class? Speak for yourself.

Me? I think it screams Philly, and I will war the badge proudly.

It also tells me something else. It tells me we have survived another January. That now all we have to do is gut out February, and we may be out of the woods.

And one other thing. The minute Wing Bowl is over, the countdown can begin for pitchers and catchers. That's what we do in Philly.

Wear it proud, folks.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Jan. 30

The Daily Numbers: 2.9 million dollars believed ripped off from an Aston business by a former Collingdale businessman.

20 percent of $100,000 bail for James Bryan.

13,219 one-year dog licenses issued by the county last year, as well as 1.010 lifetime licenses. 6.45 fee for an annual license.

3 new members of Colwyn Council who will remain after a judge tossed a move to seek an injunction to prevent them from taking office.

3 thieves being sought in Media for a series of pickpocket incidents.

11,982 confirmed cases of flu so far this winter in Pa.

272 cases in Delaware County.

10 a.m. to 1 p.m., fee flu shots at clinic at Penn State Brandywine.

1 million dollars found in the backyard of a Philly home that has been tied to a gambling ring. The operators of the ring are now entering plea deals.

1.863 mill increase in the proposed budget for Upper Darby School District.

10.10 an hour, what President Obama wants as the minimum wage.

3 inches of snow that paralyzed the Atlanta area, trapping drivers in their cars for hours. Guess they’re not used to that kind of weather down there.

16 hours, how long it took one woman to make her 12-mile commute

189 point dip for Dow Jones yesterday.

5 percent dip in Boeing stock after the airplane maker said its profit and revenue would be down.

2 new video boards coming for the Eagles home at Lincoln Financial Field.

25 million dollar price tag.

95-94 buzzer-beater win for the Sixers over the Celtics.

64-58 loss for Archbishop Carroll at hands of Neumann-Goretti last night.

8 game losing skid snapped by Temple last night with win over Rutgers.

60-57 win for Saint Joe’s over Dayton.

69-47 loss for La Salle at hands of George Washington.

77-74 win for Drexel over Hofstra

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

The Eagles are spending $25 million dollars on new video boards for Lincoln Financial Field. How much are you spending on your TV for Super Bowl Sunday?

I Don’t Get It: They don’t talk much about the downside of legalized gambling. They should talk to James Bryan or the folks at Westcott Electric.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those who will take part in the Souper Sunday charity drive this weekend.

Quote Box: “He took advantage of his position of authority and employer’s trust.”

- D>A. Jack Whelan, on the arrest of James Bryan for stealing $2.9 million from his employer.

The down side of legalized gambling

Pennsylvania is now considering adding keno to its lottery arsenal.

There also are rumblings of the state getting its foot in the door of online gaming, if only to keep pace with New Jersey in the ever-cutthroat battle for every last gambling dollar out there.

One after another, the bidders for the second and final casino license in the city of Philadelphia tout what they can do for the city.

Increasingly, gambling is seen by state and municipal officials as a cure-all for the ever-present financial squeeze they find themselves mired in these days.

What they don't often talk about is the down side to all this gaming.

Oh, they always manage to include it, perhaps a blip in their presentations. Some social studies expert usually shows up at public hearings on expanded gaming and warns of the dangers that lurk within this booming business.

It's a little different when you put a face with those issues.

Meet James Bryan.

He was once a respected Collingdale councilman. Yesterday he was arrested for stealing almost $3 million dollars from his employer, Wescott Electric in Aston.

Bryan's downfall? Delco District Attorney Jack Whelan said Bryan suffered from a gambling addiction and threw away most of the stolen loot at Harrah's casino in Chester.

Whelan detailed Bryan's penchant for the card tables at Harrah's, along with sports betting and buying lottery tickets as something akin to a full-time job.

That's not something you usually hear in the pitches about all the great things Pennsylvania can do with the booty from legalized gambling.

We've run any number of stories on people charged with fleecing relatives, youth orgnizations, charity groups and employers out of millions of dollars. Inevitably there is a common theme. A lot of the money went to feed a gambling habit.

In the business, I think they call that crapping out.

It's one thing to hear from an expert in sociology. It's another thing altogether to see it walking out of a courtroom in handcuffs.

Just ask James Bryan. Or the people at Wescott Electric who saw $3 million dollars from their business go down the drain.

'Live From the Newsroom' partners with Widener, talks politics

Our weekly live-stream Internet show, 'Live From the Newsroom,' has a new home - at least one week every month.

We were on the campus of Widener University in Chester last night to kick off a new partnership with the Communications Department at the school.

Once every month, we'll take our 'Live From the Newsroom' show to the Widener campus. We got a close-up view of their sparkling new TV studio in Freedom Hall.

If you missed the show, you can catch the replay here. Notice the increased production values we got from using their set.

There are a lot of people to thank, starting with Tim Scepansky, who provided a lot of technical expertise to get the show off the ground.

One of the best things about this arrangement - aside from being a great setting for the show - is that we get to utilize the talents of Widener Communications students. They ran the cameras and the sound production. We had several political science students on with us to offer their opinions on President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Special thanks to Dwight DeWerth-Pallmeyer, head of the Widener Communications Department, who joined us at the start of the show to tell us about their new home in Freedom Hall, as well as the growing department, which is now training students in all phases of communications.

Finally, political science professor Wes Leckrone once again joined me and columnist Chris Freind as we talked about the State of the Union, as well as the State of Pennsylvania, and Gov. Tom Corbett's re-election chances.

I could not be happier with our new partnership with Widener, even if it does mean a whole lot better picture of this ugly mug all over the Internet. Not even the whiz kids at Widener can improve this visage.

If you have an idea for a 'Live From the Newsroom' show, or would like to form a partnership with us, don't be a stranger. I'd much rather come out to visit your site than be sitting here in the office.

We're looking for new material and shows all the time.

If you'd like a visit from the editor of the Daily Times and DelcoTimes.com, and our 'Live From the Newsroom' show, shoot me an email at editor@delcotimes.com and we'll see if we can add you to our planned shows. •

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Jan. 29

The Daily Numbers: 5 inches of snow this morning across some parts of south Delaware and New Jersey. We got just a dusting to an inch here in Delco.

1,000 gallons of oil that spilled into Delaware River during accident at Monroe Energy refinery.

30 minutes, how long a 3-year-old child was left in a car Monday night while the mother went inside a store to do grocery shopping.

28 degrees, temperature outside at the time.

1 killed, 1 hurt in fatal crash on Providence Road at State Street in Media yesterday.

1,400 stolen from youth football team in Chester. The woman, who is a prison guard at SCI Chester, pleaded guilty in the case yesterday.

6-12 years in prison for a Philadelphia man in a 2012 shooting in Upper Darby.

3.59 percent tax hike being eyed in Haverford School District.

1 extra day of class tacked onto the school year in Wallingford-Swarthmore because of all the time lost to snow.

500,000 dollar grant for Rose Tree Media School District to upgrade its transportation unit to run busess on compressed gas.

2 trial that failed to win a conviction against reputed Philly mob boss Joseph Ligambi. Yesterday he walked out of jail a free man.

10.10, what President Obama wants to see as the new minimum wage.

7.25, the current minimum wage.

15,000 schools the president wants to team with businesses in order to get access to latest broadband and wireless tech.

2 million dollars a year for Philly schools, the pledge by Penn National Gaming, which is seeking 2nd casino license in the city. It’s one of 5 bids seeking the lucrative deal.

480 million plan would put a casino close to Citizens Bank Park in South Philly.

94, age of folk legend and rights activist Pete Seeger, who died on Monday.

59-54 win for Chester High over Penn Wood in boys hoops last night, avenging an earlier defeat.

12-3 mark for the Clippers overall, 4-1 in Del-Val League play.

11-4 and 5-1 for the Patriots.

5-0 thrashing of the Red Wings in a huge win for the Flyers last night.

2-5-2 slide for the Flyers heading into last night’s game.

33 saves for Steve Mason.

21 careers shutouts for the Flyers’ netminder.

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

Marshawn Lynch of the Seahawks does not want to talk as part of the Super Bowl hoopla. Fine.

I Don’t Get It: When is the last time you actually heard one of these guys say something anyhow?

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the crews who reacted quickly to clean up the mess after 1,000 gallons of oil leaked into the Delaware River at the Monroe Energy Refinery in Trainer.

Quote Box: “America does not stand still - and neither will I.”

- President Obama in last night’s State of the Union Address.

'Live From the Newsroom' talks politics at Widener

President Obama says America does not stand still - and neither will he.

The president last night took a "vow to action" during his State of the Union Address.

Republicans have a different view. They believe he is flouting the Constitution and setting up an "imperial" presidency.

One of the things he is vowing to do is raise the minimum wage - with or without the cooperation of Congress. Obama wants to bump it up to $10.10 an hour, from its present $7.25.

We'll be talking politics tonight when our live-stream Internet broadcast, 'Live From the Newsroom,' kicks off a special partnership with Widener University.

We'll be taking advantage of the gorgeous new TV and communications facility on the Chester campus, as well as tapping into the rich faculty and students for a special series of show.

Tonight we'll be joined by political science professor Wesley Leckrode and columnist Chris Freind. We'll also be joined by Widener students.

We'll be on the Chester campus once a month while school is in session.

Tonight we also will tackle the looming Pennsylvania gubernatorial race, as well as two key legislative races in Delaware County, both created by the retirements of two longtime public servants.

County Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle will be facing union guy John Kane of Ridley Park, business manager of Plumbers Union Local 690, for the 26th District state Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Ted Erickson.

Then this week came the stunner from veteran Upper Darby state rep. Nick Micozzie, R-163, who announced he would be hanging it up after 36 years in Harrisburg.

Vince Rongione already has indicated he will seek the Dem nod in the race. The GOP has yet to name their candidate in the race to replace Micozzie.

We'll be talking all things politics tonight.

But I'd liek to know what questions you have? What's on your mind when it comes to the remainder of President Obama's second term? What do you of Tom Corbett's chances of being re-elected? Who do you like in the 26th State Senate and 163rd Pa. House races?

If you have a question, email it to me at editor@delcotimes.com. Then tune in tonight at 7 as 'Live From the Newsroom' tackles politics in Pa. Take part in our live chat at DelcoTimes.com.

Be involved. Engage! Take part in the conversation!

Your morning report from the roads

Remember that forecast of the snow hittins south Delaware and Jersey, pretty much missing us altogether?

Forget it.

We got hit again.

But don't panic. It's not that bad out. Basically we got a light dusting of snow.

Here's my report on the morning commute.

Careful going out the door, the walkways and driveways are likely snow-coated. Again this is a very light snow and brushed off the car fairly easily.

Side roads are likely snow-covered, but the main roads are for the most part just we or a bit slushy.

The overpasses and on and off ramps are still a bit dicey.

It's a lot easier to traverse when there is no one on the roads.

Just take it easy. You'll be fine.

I travel West Chester Pike, which was for the most part just wet.

Feeling a little adventurous, I decided to give Providence Road a shot. It was snow-covered in parts, but not really much of a problem.

The Media Bypass and Springfield Road also were not a problem.

Keep one thing in mind. You can't control what other people are going to do. Once everyone gets out there, I'm sure things will start going downhill pretty quickly, even as the roads get a better.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Jan. 28

The Daily Numbers: 9 degrees out there this morning. Bundle up before you head out.

-6, what it feels like with the wind chill.

36 years, how long Nick Micozzie spent representing the 163rd District in Harrisburg.

18 times he put on his name on the ballot and was successful.

19 years before that he spent as an Upper Darby councilman.

100,000 dollars spent by Sun Valley High School to get laptop computers into the hands of every senior.

360 students envisioned by Choices Charter School for their proposed school in William Penn.

50,000 dollar reward for information in the one-man crime spree that hit 2 local post offices and a bank last week.

1,500 dollar reward offered for info in 3 burglaries in Upper Darby.

23 victims of ID theft tied to a Folcroft man and his wife.

9 months in prison followed by electronic home monitoring in that case.

2 hours late opening again today for Chester High School, which continues to have heating problems.

1 state rep from Philadelphia charged yesterday with adding his sister as a ghost employee.

7 percent dip in sales of new homes in December.

41 point decline for the Dow Jones yesterday.

124-113 loss for the Sixers as they get burned by Phoenix Suns.

65-60 win for Villanova at Georgetown.

5 more days until we can actually see some football in the Super Bowl. Until then, it’s all hot air, which might not be a bad thing considering the temperature out there.

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

I’ve never been a fan of the week off between the NFC and AFC championship games and the Super Bowl. This year is no different, even if there is the oddity of playing it in cold weather.

I Don’t Get It: Hard to believe no one was come forward with the ID on the “one-man crime wave” that hit 2 post offices and a local bank last week, in light of the very good pix of the suspect caught by surveillance cameras. Maybe he’s not local.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to state Rep. Nick Micozzie. He has devoted his life - including the last 36 years - to serving the people of Upper Darby.

Quote Box: “He returns every phone call if somebody wants to talk to him, every day, no matter what the time.”

- Upper Darby Mayor Tom Micozzie, on his dad Nick, who announced he was retiring from the state House after representing Upper Darby for 36 years.

The changing politics of Upper Darby

Upper Darby politics will never be quite the same.

Nick Micozzie won't be a part of it.

The longtime Republican state rep announced Monday he would retire at the end of the current term. His decision brings to an end 36 years representing Upper Darby and surrounding towns in Harrisburg. That means 18 campaigns. I think Nick has earned a little time off.

You can read our coverage on his decision here.

Our editorial delves into what the region has lost.

In this space today, I'd like to talk about what is to come.

Micozzie's exit completes something that had not been seen much in Upper Darby for more than three decades: Change.

A few years back Mario Civera read the writing on the wall in terms of the township's changing demographic and decided to get out. He gave up his 164th District seat and then ran for and won a seat on County Council. Last November he won another term.

Likewise, Micozzie had represented the 163rd District for more than 30 years. He served 18 years on the township council before that.

Now new faces will represent Upper Darby interests in Harrisburg.

Ironically, it's not just Republicans facing change.

Democrat Margo Davidson won the 164th District seat that Civera gave up. But this spring she will face a serious primary challenge from local attorney Billy Smith, as well as Dafan Zhang.

In the 163rd, Democrat Vince Rongione is the frontrunner for the Democratic nod.

Republicans have not yet tabbed a candidate. It's entirely possible that while the face representing the 163rd may change, the name may not.

Nick Micozzie's son, Tom, the mayor of Upper Darby, likely will be considered for the post.

For more than three decades, the same two dominant personalities represented Upper Darby in Harrisburg. It's a new era in Upper Darby politics.

Buckle your seat belts, folks. This one is going to be very interesting - on both sides of the aisle.

Taking the time to thank a special teacher on her special day

I often joke with my son that what he does dwarfs the accomplishments of his old man.

I tried this tact last year as he struggled in his first year out in the 'real world.' My son is a teacher. He's teaching high school English in Martinsburg, W. Va.

I think even he will admit it was a tough year. Ironically, every person I talked to about this, including lots of teachers, all said the same thing. The first year being a teacher is hell. I don't think my son would argue that point.

But I believe there are some kids in Martinsburg who are glad he made the decision to stick it out. He's back this year, and, as I had hoped, reports things are going better.

Some people are made to teach. I believe my son is one of them. His father is not. My wife is a teacher's aide. She has the patience of Job. I think she imparted that trait in her son. I know he did not get it from me. Just ask anyone in the newsroom, or the women in the Classified Department who sometimes have to cover their ears because of the latest volcanic eruption emanating from my office.

I took a different path, but ironically it has some things in common with my son's work.

There is no question in my mind that I am who I am - and do what I do - primarily because of the home I grew up in, the traits engrained in me by my mother and father, emblems they passed on lovingly to their son.

Those habits were polished by eight years under the firm tutelage of the good sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Yes, I can diagram a sentence like nobody's business. They imparted in me a love of language and writing. Formal writing. Thankfully, LOL and OMG had not yet become part of the everyday vernacular.

After eight years of parochial school, I entered the halls of a public school for the first time when I walked into Oxford Area High School and faced one of the great decisions of my life. What exactly do you wear to school? Up to that point in my life, I never bothered with such haberdashery queries. I knew precisely what I would wear: White shirt, blue slacks and blue ABVM clip-on tie, most likely with yesterday's lunch still splattered on it.

It was in those hallowed halls that I had the extreme good fortune to come under the tutelage of a great teacher. Ann Nelson taught the advanced English course for seniors. She was likely better known as the director of the school plays. She excelled at both.

Somehow, she managed to see through a kid who spent entirely too much time trying to be cool and recognized a talent he probably didn't even realize he had, or at least was too cool to admit. She even stomached the epitome of cool, his habit of arriving late for class almost every day. For some reason, she only kicked him out once, and relented the next day.

Forty years later, it's pretty simple. Every time I sit at the keyboard, a little bit of my mom and dad, those precious nuns, and Ann Nelson pours out of my fingers.

Today is her 80th birthday.

My wish is that for my son to one day look back and realize he has touched as many people as she did. She taught us well.

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Nelson.

Defining courage

We have a tendency to toss around the word courage pretty cavalierly these days.

Then there is Jack Foley.

Foley is a trainer at Lehigh University. Last night he was honored by the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association as the Most Courageous Athlete for 2014.

And what did this trainer do to merit such acclaim.

As he usually does, Foley was tending to injuries.

Only these came at a very special athletic event. No, not a basketball or fooball game on his school's Allentown campus.

Foley was part of the medical team that was on hand to assist runners at the Boston Marathon. In the blink of an eye, his job took on a whole new meaning.

It defines courage.

Read his story here.

Monday, January 27, 2014

End of era as Nick Micozzie decides to step down

Delaware County is losing another icon.

Nick Micozzie is retiring. Upper Darby will never be quite the same.

Micozzie has represented the 163rd District in the state House for more than three decades.

The Republican last year was named to head the majority chairman of the powerful House Transportation Committee, and was crucial in the battle to get that massive $2.3 billion transportation package through the Legislature.

Just last Friday Micozzie was at Secane Train Station with Gov. Tom Corbett again delivering the goods - the OK for a massive expansion of the station.

The Republican is probably best known as a guy who was not in the least bit shy about delivering for his constituents. Simply put, Nick Micozzie brought home the bacon. Whether it was WAMS or redevelopment money, Upper Darby, Aldan and William Penn School District always got their fair share. And Micozzie is the reason why.

A few years back when the Upper Darby School District was up in arms over a proposal to make drastic changes in the curriculum - cutting art, music and library in addtion to staff cuts - it was Micozzie who found the money needed to stave off disaster.

The move means the end of an era in Upper Darby politics at the state level.

Longtime state Rep. Mario Civea, who likewise represented the 164th district in the township for decades, stepped down a few years ago and won a seat on County Council.

Civera could see the handwriting on the wall, in a changing demographic in the district.

Now Micozzie is hanging up his hat as well.

That's a lot of clout that benefited the citizens of Upper Darby and Delaware County in Harrisburg.

It will be very tough to replace.

The Daily Numbers for Monday, Jan. 26

The Daily Numbers: 234,000 carloads of crude oil transported by trains in the U.S. in 2012, up from 9,500 carloads in 2008.

400,000 believed hauled by rail in 2013.

2 people stabbed during altercation early Sunday at a Morton bar.

1 mobile home damaged in a fire in Aston Sunday.

100 homes that got fire safety kits from the American Red Cross on Sunday in the Upper Darby neighborhood where a man perished in a blaze on Friday.

3 Democrats who are now going to court to get 3 Republicans booted from the seats they won in the recent election.

101 burglaries in Haverford in 2013. That’s up 26 percent. Police met with neighbors Sunday to talk about a recent uptick in crime.

2.1 percent cap on tax hike for Rose Tree Media School District.

235,000 dollar price tag for a parcel at Route 420 and MacDade Boulevard in Ridley that will make way for a new Walgreen’s store.

5 applicants for the final casino license in Philadelphia will make their final pitches to state gaming authorities this week.

19, age of teen who killed 2 people before killing himself at a Maryland mall.

42, today’s expected high temperature, first time we’ve been in the 40s for weeks.

7 overnight low tonight as we plunge right back into the polar vortex.

15, tomorrow’s expected high temperature.

1 quarterback in last night’s Pro Bowl who did not throw an interception. That’s right, that would be Nick Foles.

81, age of Philly and La Salle basketball legend Tom Gola, who died on Sunday.

4, as in No. 4 Villanova, which has a date in Georgetown today.

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

Both the Broncos and Seahawks have arrived in North Jersey for the Super Bowl. Let the hype begin.

I Don’t Get It: We’re getting a one-day reprieve from the cold today. Tomorrow it’s right back to single digits.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the American Red Cross, whose workers fanned out in the neighborhood where they had a fatal fire on Friday and handed out fire safety kits.

Quote Box: “These trains go through some densely populated areas and we need to review the situation and make sure that they are following all the rules.”

- State Rep. Steve Barrar, R-160, on increasing use of rail to deliver crude oil to refineries.

Cold, snow, ice can't stop Carl

I'm not used to fielding compliments at the newspaper, especially when it comes to delivery.

When people call the newspaper to talk about delivery, it's not usually good news. In general, not that many people need to talk to us when things are going good. It's when things are bad that the phone lines usually light up.

Maybe we've had a problem with the press and deliveries are late.

Maybe it's a driving rain and many of the deliveries are sitting soaked out on someone's lawn.

Each day we get calls from someone who did not get their paper.

In this winter of our discontent, I get calls just about every day from readers who lament that they must wander out into the elements - including this thing called the "polar vortex" - to retrieve their paper.

One thing you must realize about our local, longtime readers. You need to put an accent over that word "longtime."

The truth is our demographic when it comes to our print audience is an older person. Most have been reading the paper for decades, or as they inevitably remind me, "since it was the Chester Times."

Like me, they don't have much use for this cold weather.

Add in snow and ice, and many of them don't want to venture out of the house, and that includes to get their daily dose of Delco news in the Daily Times.

All of which is why I've been delighted in the past two weeks of this brutal cold to hear from several customers who wanted to sing the praises of one of our carriers.

His name is Carl Bartholomew.

Phyllis Raymond lives in Swarthmore. She's been reading the Daily Times for decades. In short, it is part of her morning ritual. She wouldn't consider starting her day without it.

Unless Mother Nature intercedes.

Phyllis is in her 80s. She doesn't want to go outside and risk life and limb in this weather, even to get her treasured Daily Times.

Enter Carl Bartholomew.

"He's just wonderful," Phyllis told me this morning.

A lot of carries simply drop the paper on the sidewalk or driveway. Not Carl. He knows his customers, and he knows many of them are unable to deal with snow and ice.

So he puts their coveted newspaper in their front door, or someplace they can get it without having to venture out in the elements.

We are going to get a slight break today, with the temperature going above 40 for the first time in weeks. But temperatures are going to go right back off the cliff overnight, and we are due to be back in the single digits tomorrow.

These days we don't spent that much time talking about our print product.

The buzz in the industry is about digital, as it should be. That's where our future is.

People like Phyllis Raymond are part of our past. So is Carl Bartholomew.

As we careen toward our future, here's to noting a couple of very important parts of our present - and past. Thanks for reading, Phyllis.

Thanks for caring, Carl.

Corbett and Delco

I used my print column today to talk politics.

Specifically, it is shaping up to be a fascinating election season here in Delaware County and across Pennsylvania.

That's in no small part due to the guy who will be sitting at the top of the Republican ticket. That would be Gov. Tom Corbett, whose poll ratings are in the basement.

What is interesting is how the local GOP will react to the governor, who has indicated he intends to spend a lot more time here in the crucial Philly suburbs.

Just Friday he made a stop at the Secane Train Station to announce a major improvement project, the result of one of the very few sucesses of his first-term agenda, that massive $2.3 billion transportation package.

There is a guy here in Delco that Corbett should become best friends with. That would be County Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle, who is the GOP endorsed candidate for the open 26th District state Senate seat created by the retirement of longtime Sen. Ted Erickson.

I explain it all in my print column.

Remembering Tom Gola

Before there was "in again, out again Finnegan," before a "ring-tailed howitzer," there was this common refrain in Philly hoops.

It wasn't a basket, it was a "Gola goal."

Today there is a huge hole in the Philly hoops world. Tom Gola is gone.

From his sterling career at La Salle, where he was an MVP on teams that won both the NCAA and NIT titles, to leading the Philadelphia Warriors to an NBA title, to a distinguished career in city government, Tom Gola was a Philadelphia treasurer.

Gola died on Sunday.

How good was Gola? In his four years at La Salle, his team won 102 of 121 games.

He also still holds the NCAA career mark for rebounds at 2,201. Despite the advances in the game - and the athletes - no one has approached Gola's mark.

After his sterling college and NBA career, Gola returns to his alma mater as head basketball coach. In 1968-69, he led the Explorers to a 23-1 mark with a squad featuring Kenny Durrett. It is believed by man to be the best team in city history, but it was ineligble to take part in the NCAA tourney because of sanctions imposed on the school during the reign of former coach Jim Harding. They still wound up ranked No. 2 in the nation.

Staff writer Terry Toohey tracked down some Delco folks to memories of Gola.

Tom Gola was everything you imagine when you think of Philly basketball. He leaves a void, not only in sports, but in the city in general.

He was of another time, made of different material.

We are all the worse for his passing.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Jan. 24

The Daily Numbers: 3 people believed victims of the cold and snow in Delaware County.

10 degrees out there this morning.

-1 degree wind chill.

3 robberies, a bank and 2 post offices, believed to be the work of the same man.

90 minute shutdown on the Media-Elway regional rail line yesterday morning.

320 SEPTA vehicle operators who did not report for work on Wednesday, forcing cancellations of some train and bus routes.

420 million dollars that will be spent to finally connect I-95 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

4 miles of the Turnpike in Bristol, where the connection with I-95 will be built.

5 to 10 years in prison for a Delaware man who fired shots into the home of a former female acquaintance in Delco.

21, age of Chester man who was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the murder of a West Chester man in a drug deal gone bad.

5 men, all from Chester, who were charged in the case.

175 point plunge for the Dow Jones markets yesterday.

4.39 percent average interest rate on home mortgages.

1 percent uptick for sale of existing homes in December.

5-2 loss for the Flyers over the Blue Jackets.

10 day contract for Dewayne Dedmon with the Sixers.

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

Guess we can start calling the Phillies the latest edition of the Wheeze Kids.

I Don’t Get It: Enough with this weather already. Snow is in the forecast for both Saturday and again Monday.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Rep. Nick Micozzie, who will be on hand today to see his push for improvements at the Secane Train Station with an appearance by Gov. Tom Corbett.

Quote Box: “It’s important to make sure if you live with someone who is prone to wandering, that extra attentionm is paid to keeping the doors locked.”

- Dr. Michael Goodyear, on keeping elderly safe during extreme cold weather.

Gov. Corbett coming to Delco today

Gov. Tom Corbett is making good on his pledge to be more visible - in particular here in the Philadelphia suburbs, as he cranks up his re-election campaign.

The governor will be in Delaware County this morning.

And if you're wondering what we're getting for that hit we're taking at the gas pump after the state Legislature passed that $2.3 billion transportation bill, the governor has an answer for you.

Corbett will be at the Secane train station this morning to talk about the renovations there and surrounding stops on the Media-Elwyn line.

Corbett is expcted to detail a big expansion of the Secane station parking lot, something that is being funded in part with money coming from the transportation bill.

Corbett will be joined by Republican state Reps. Bill Adolph, R-165, of Springfield, and Nick Micozzie, R-163, of Upper Darby. Adolph is head of the Appropriations Committee; Micozzie heads the Transportation Committee.

It's hard to underestimate the kind of pull these guys have. It's called clout, and it usually means money flowing back into Delaware County.

In this instance, you might call it the "rail deal."

'Pump'-ing up the electric bill

Anyone else heat their home with an electric heat pump?

I do.

I'm dreading my next electric bill. I actually live in a house that is all-electric. I've been getting dizzy standing outside next to the meter watching that damn thing spin around.

I have to admit that after growing up in a home that had hot-air gas heat, living in a home with a heat pump was a bit of an adjustment.

First off, there's the way it feels. The first winter we spent in our house, when I put my hand over the heat register to feel what was coming out, I actually thought there was some mistake. It felt like the air-conditioner was on. No, I was assured, that's actually the way it is supposed to feel.

We've sort of adjusted. We wear lots of layers in the Heron house.

In addition, the upstairs of the house has always been warmer than the downstairs. Again we've managed to adjust.

But the past couple of weeks, I've noticed something different going on. It's actually been hot upstairs, while the downstairs has stayed at about the same temperature.

And I think I know why. And my wallet is already wincing.

You see once the outside temperature goes down to a certain level, the heat pump switches off and something called "emergency heat" comes on.

I don't know how best to explain it, other than this. It is much more expensive to run that way than the regular heat pump.

The forecast calls for these frigid conditions to continue right into next week, along with snow showers both Saturday and Monday.

Excuse me while I pull the covers back up over my head.

'If' is all you need to know about these aging Phillies

What's next for the Phillies, bringing back those hideous powder blue road uniforms?

The Fightins are planning to go old school this year, a remake of the Wheeze Kids of days gone by.

Basically, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is rolling the dice that his big-dollar veteran nucleus will somehow discover a miracle elixir that will restore their youth.

"If" seems to be the key word for the Phillies this year.

"If" Ryan Howard can come back from another year short-circuited by injury and reclaim the power stroke he has not displayed consistently now for years.

"If" Chase Utley continues to be healthy.

"If" Jimmy Rollins will ever learn the discipline needed to be a leadoff hitter.

To his mix Amaro has added a couple of familiar names.

Marlon Byrd will likely be manning the right field spot. He is 36.

Also getting an invite to training camp will be Bobby Abreu. It's amazing that a team just a few years from a World Championship and back-to-back appearances in the World Series could make a move that, when first announced, most fans were sure was some kind of practical joke.

It's not joke, unless you find some humor in a 39-year-old Abreu, who last played in the majors for the Dodgers in 2012, as a legitimate bench weapon.

Forget the variety of craft beers at Citizens Bank Park. What was once the most happening joint in town in the summmer should have Geritol on tap this year.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Jan. 23

The Daily Numbers: 14.8 inches of snow in Brookhaven, making the borough the snow king of our recent storm.

3 deaths in the county that are now being linked to the cold and snow.

89 and 93, ages of man and woman who wandered out of their home in Ridley and perished in the cold.

67, age of Swarthmore man who was found unresponsive outside his house.

10 degrees, our low temperature this morning.

20, our expected high this afternoon.

3 hours, how long some people sat on Baltimore Pike in Middletown and Chester Heights, stuck during Tuesday’s snow storm.

6 county burglary spree believed to be the work of a 42-year-old Coatesville man.

10 people laying claim to the 7 seats on borough council. Yep, it’s in Colwyn.

3,500 square foot office building that got the OK for the new Quarry Center in Haverford.

32.8 million dollar award to a Pottstown family in a medical malpractice case against Phoenixville Hospital and several nurses.

2.2 million dollar increase in state funding for education being sought by Gov. Tom Corbett, who also wants a change in the basic school funding formula.

30,000 low-income Pennsylvanians covered by the state’s CHIP program who will have to switch to Medicaid by 2015.

500 to $2,500 lump sum pay hikes for administrators in Upper Darby School District.

407,868 ‘millenials’ who now reside in Philadelphia. That’s those age 20 to 34. The number is up from 292,837 in 2006. That’s up 6 percent.

3-2 loss for the Flyers to the Hurricanes.

34 points for Evan Turner in leading the Sixers to a 110-106 win over the Knicks.

155 million dollar deal for Masahiro Tanaka with the Yankees.

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

Snow delay didn’t help Flyers much. They still fell to the Hurricanes.

I Don’t Get It: Justin Bieber apparently has been arrested in Miami for DUI and drag racing. I’m shocked

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the roads crews who worked long and hard to get the roads back into shape.

Quote Box: “It’s not fair right now, OK? So we need to address that.”

- Gov. Tom Corbett, on calling for changes to state education funding formula.

Brookhaven is No. 1

Ask anybody around Brookhaven and they will tell you their little town is No. 1.

Now they have another crown to brag about as well.

Brookhaven took the title of snow champ during Tuesday's storm, when 14.8 inches fell in their little town. That allowed them to edge Media, which registered 14.2 inches of snow, and Clifton Heights, at 13.9.

Unfortunately, the snow and cold also took a deadly toll. At least three deaths here in the county are being blamed on the weather. You can get the details here.

Now for even more bad news.

This time the "polar vortex" has decided to stick around.

The bitter cold is expected to be here through Saturday, when we will get a brief respite with temperatures in the 30s. The down side to that is that they're also calling for snow flurries. Bitter cold will kick right back in on Sunday and our next snow storm is due sometime on Monday.

The National Weather Service actually is calling for this nasty weather to hang around for a couple of weeks. We have now seen 33 inches of snow fall on the region. The average for an entire winter season is only 22. 2 inches. For the first time in history, we've now recorded three snow storms of more than 6 inches before Feb. 1.

That's right, we still have all of February to go, And there are no guarantees in March either.

Cold remnant from the past provides warm memory

It's not exactly a secret that I loathe winter and cold weather.

After all, I rant about it in this space almost every day from Halloween to Easter.

But I have to admit that every year something happens related to my cold-weather travails that brings a smile to my face. Every time we get a big snow storm, I break out my winter shoes. A moderate snow calls for my low-cut work shoes that I picked up years ago at Kmart. They are your basic steel-toed work shoe. Really heavy storms means I break out the boots.

But before I don any winter-weather footwear, I have to do something else. I dig through the closet every fall in order to find the blue thermal socks I utilize every winter. This is not just any pair of socks.

To me they hold a special meaning, reminding me of a time and a place - really a life - far, far away. That's because I bought them in 1976.

As a newly minted resident of Colorado, I purchased those socks at the same time I plunked down my hard-earned dollars for a pair of Lange skis and yellow Caber ski boots.

Here's where the story gets weird, or maybe I should say weirder.

I had never skied in my life before I went to Colorado. During the three and a half years I spent in the Rockies, I skied religiously every week in the winter. Usually a gang of us headed for the hills every Monday. We all worked in a restaurant, actually the Denver Mariott. We were off on Monday, which also happens to be the best day of the week to ski. There were no crowds. You would ski down the hill and right back onto the lift for your next run.

How long ago was this? Well, I'm about to break the heart of skiing fans around here. We used to ski Copper Mountain, Winter Park and Breckinridge for $10.

Yeah, times have changed.

Something else has changed as well.

When I packed all my wordly belongings into the back of a pickup truck and pointed it east on I-70 to head home in August 1978, I did not realize I was leaving something else behind as well.

I have not been on skis since I got back.

Don't ask me why. I'm not really sure. For some reason, skiing here in Pennsylvania is just not the same as it is in Colorado. I have no desire to ski on ice. People don't believe me when I tell them that one of the worst sunburns I ever received was during a weekend spent at Vail. Or that we would take part in a spring fling at the A-Basin ski resort each year. Now you have to realize that the parking lot at A-Basin is above the tree line. It is usually the first hill to open and the last to close. Each spring, they throw a shindig where guys ski in cut-offs and girls hit the hills in bikinis.

And I did all that while sporting those old blue thermal socks.

Now every winter, while I curse this weather, I have to admit I crack a smile every time I don those warm old standbys. They now have holes in them, but I don't dare throw them out. So they're more then three decades old. They have plenty of life left.

Even as they remind their owner of a life long ago.

Kicking the extra point to the sidelines

There is a lot of buzz about the possibility that the NFL is considering dumping the extra point.

Good, it's the most boring play in sports. Right up there with the intentional walk in baseball.

It seems Roger Goodell and the boys have started thinking out of the box. Next thing you know someone's going to tell me they are considering playing the Super Bowl outside in North Jersey in February. Oh. Never mind.

The question is what to do instead of the drudgery of kicking the extra point, which has become routine. It's so routine that of the 1,191 extra point attempts this past season, teams missed only four times, and all of those were blocked, not actually misses by the kicker.

The NFL is looking to put some sizzle into this dead spot in the game. They would like to see more teams attempt two-point conversions. Are you listening, Chip Kelly. The Eagles coach came into the league with a reputation of constantly eschewing the point-after and instead going for two while he was the head man at Oregon. Once in the NFL, not surprisingly, he got a bit more conservative.

I don't think the league is ever going to completely ban the extra point. So what do they do?

Here's my idea.

Give the teams an incentive to go for two, without resorting to some kind of scoring gimmick that changes the essential basics of the game. This isn't the NHL, guys. There's no need to resort to 'shootout' style nonsense.

How's this: When a team scores a TD, if the kick the extra point, they then must make the ensuing kickoff from 10 yards farther back, the 25 instead of the 35. But if they go for the two-point conversion, they can then kick off from the 35, as they do now.

What say you, NFL fanatics. It might lead to a lot more two-point tries, and a lot fewer opportunities for fans to grab another beer from the fridge, or make a bathroom run.

The NFL wants excitement. If that's the case, kicking the extra point to the sidelines should be at the top of their lists.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Jan. 22

The Daily Numbers: 14.8 inches of snow in Brookhaven, leader of the pack for this storm.

14.2 inches in Media.

13.9 in Clifton Heights

12.5 in Drexel Hill.

4 degrees this morning at 7 a.m.

-16 wind chill temperature

14, our expected high temperature today.

5, our low overnight into Thursday morning.

1 person being shot in the shooting of a Widener University student.

22,500 salary for 6 months work as borough manager in Colwyn for former Darby Mayor Paula Brown.

700,000 Pennsylvanians who would benefit from a hike in minimum wage, according to Sen. Robert Casey.

10.10 minimum wage, which Casey is pushing, and he would get there by 95 cent increments over 3 years.

11.3 percent of people in Delaware County living in poverty, according to Casey.

10-1, Steelworkers union that threw its weight behind Democrat Vince Rongione, who will try to unseat longtime incumbent state Rep. Nick Micozzie, R-163.

2nd term for embattled Gov. Chris Christie, who took the oath of office yesterday.

1 dead in shooting yesterday at Purdue University

44 point dip for stock market yesterday.

5.07 billion dollar income for Verizon in 4Q.

39, age of former Phillie Bobby Abreu, who the team signed to a minor league deal yesterday.

2012, last time Abreu played in the majors, with the Dodgers

.322, what Abreu is hitting in Venezuela, with 3 homers, 28 RBIs and an .877 OPS

1 billion dollars being offered by Warren Buffett for anyone who can compile a perfect pool in the NCAA men’s hoops tourney.

0 times it has happened in the 16 years that ESPN has been doing a similar challenge.

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

Bobby Abreu? Really?

I Don’t Get It: Bobby Abreu. Really.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those stuck in the midst of the storm yesterday afternoon. Spring is coming. Promise.

Quote Box: “It looks like Saturday afternoon will be the next we are above freezing.” - National Weather Service Meteorologist Dean Iovino.

The drive home - the condensed version

Some serious kudos to my assistant city editor Jon Tuleya. Check out this video Jon did of his commute home last night.

He managed to take the trip from Garrett Road in Upper Darby to City Avenue in Haverford, and boil it down to about 37 seconds.

In real time it took him 36 minutes to traverse those 4.6 miles.

A report from the road

I'm glad to report that I am once safely ensconced in the home office in beautiful downtown Primos.

Those of you who are faithful readers of The Heron's Nest know what it coming next.

Here's my morning commuter road report.

Look, I can't shovel your sidewalk, nor dig you out from your driveway. Especially if your plow folks, like the ones where I live, insist on piling up the snow right at the end of your driveway. The roads in your development might be a bit dicey.

But I can tell you the main roads are fine. Don't yell at me, as some did the last time I made this post following our last storm.

Are there some snow-covered patches? Sure. And lots of slush. But surprisingly I also saw a lot of pavement.

If I hear one more person on TV and radio tell us "if you don't have to go out, don't" and warn us to "stay off the roads," my head just might explode.

I'm not quite sure they understand that business needs to be conducted. It's called commerce. And it involves people being able to get out, either to their offices, or to shop, eat and do other transactions.

Just take it easy.

You'll be fine.

I was even surprised during last night's ride home. It wasn't great. But at no point did I ever encounter anything that I would deem unpassable.

Treacherous, the favorite word of the TV types? I'm not so sure.

The worst stretch of road I was on this morning was Oak Avenue in Upper Darby from Baltimore Pike to Cottonwood Lane, which leads me into the office. It was still pretty much snow-packed, but still driveable. Not surprisingly, Clifton Heights was one of the hardest hit areas, with as much as 13 inches of snow.

The big issue you will face this morning is the cold, with a biting wind that goes right through you.

Bundle up if you're going out, but by all means go ahead and go out if you need to. I understand the schools are a different animal, because they are dealing with all these tiny side streets. And they are correct to err on the side of caution.

But for the rest of us, I don't think we need to bring the region to a halt because we got some snow. Agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments.

Stronger than the storm

We survived, I think.

Now it's time to dig out - and bundle up. Yesterday's massive snow storm will be followed today by the second-half of Mother Nature's 1-2 punch, brutal cold. We're expecting wind chills today below zero and it's supposed to get even colder Thursday.

Here are some things you need to know: The airport is still looking at serious delays. Call 1-800-PHL-GATE for flight information.

SEPTA says the regional rails are in good shape. Only a few bus routes in the Manayunk section of the city are out of the loop. Check their website at SEPTA.org for information.

The snow king in Delco looks like Brookhaven, where they are proclaiming some 14.8 inches of snow. They also got 12 inches in some parts of Drexel Hill.

Most of the region got hit with anywhere from 8-12 inches of snow.

Now for driving. This is my specialty, especially after bein beseiged all day by TV folks telling me to stay off the roads and that "if you don't have to go out, don't."

As usual, I beg to disagree. Now look, I'm not saying that it was a night to go out for a ride. That's not the case. But I did not see a single spot on my ride home where roads were impassable. There were some cars that were struggling with some hills, almost inevitably those with rear-wheel drive.

An admission: I was driving a Toyota Rav-4 (yes, I use the wife's car in the snow!) and I did not have a problem.

Most of the roads were snow or slush-covered. But I was surprised at how good the roads actually were in. Here is a suggestion, learned after three decades of making this commute, and reinforced yesterday by one worker after another slogging into the office. When asked how the roads were, almost every one of them muttered something about them not being that bad, "if only people knew how to drive."

That's one of the reasons I almost always wait until traffic has died down a bit to head out. Yesterday's afternoon rush hour was early, with the roads packed early in the afternoon, mostly with people not going anywhere.

I'll let you know how my morning commute goes - once I dig out the driveway.

Someone please tell me spring is coming.

Yeah, right. So is February.

For now, get ready for days of bone-chilling cold.

Swell.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Jan. 21

The Daily Numbers: 7-11 inches of snow expected in Delaware County today.

12-3 p.m., when the snow is expected to arrive today.

3-8 p.m., when the brunt of the snow is expected to fall.

6 a.m. Wednesday, when the Winter Storm Warning for the region will finally be lifted.

10 below zero wind chill expected to greet the region Wednesday morning.

0, how many times we have recorded 3 6-plus-inch snows before Feb. 1.

20.1 inches of snow so far this winter.

2 inches under the average for the entire season. That is likely to go by the boards tonight.

39, age of father in Upper Darby who is facing charges after allegedly beating his son after the teen was caught shoplifting in a local store.

1 student shot on the campus of Widener University last night.

6 a.m., when a lockdown on campus expired. Students had been asked to stay inside overnight. Classes are set to resume today. Police stress there is not active shooter on the campus. They do not believe this was an act of random violence.

500 people who gathered at the Chester Girls and Boys Clubs Monday for a project to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

2.1 percent tax hike being considered in Wallingford-Swarthmore.

2 suspects being sought in robbery at 7-Eleven in Chester.

26, age of woman gunned down in front of her mother on a Philly street by a robber who wanted her pocketbook.

21 3-pointers rained down on Villanova by Creighton last night in rolling to a 96-68 blowout win. 27 points for Ethan Wragge of Creighton

2 goal lead blown by Flyers in 3rd period yesterday as they wound up losing to the Devils in a shootout, 4-3.

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

That No. 4 ranking didn’t last long for Villanova. They’ll no doubt tumble in the rankings after getting blown out by Creighton.

I Don’t Get It: A 26-year-old woman was gunned down in front of her mother on a Philly street. Police say she was shot when she would not turn over her pocketbook to a robber. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the kids at Bywood Elementary School, who are among the best in the state in a special math program.

Quote Box: “This was a nasty beating.”

- Upper Darby Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood, after a man was arrested for beating his son, who had been picked up for shoplifting.

A date at Widener

As fate would have it, I'm due on the Widener campus Wednesday night.

We are kicking off a new partnership that will see us take our live-stream Internet broadcast, 'Live From the Newsroom,' to the campus and Widener's glittering new TV studio once every month.

If you haven't heard as yet, Widener had a little news last night.

A student was shot on campus. The student was shot as he sat in a car near the Schwartz Athletic Center on the edge of the campus. The victim is now hospitalized, and is critical but stable condition.

The campus was on lockdown until 6 a.m., but that has since lifted. Classes are expected to resume this morning.

Police do not believe there is a shooter still on campus. After the confrontation in which the student was shot, the suspect is believed to have fled into the nearby Sun Hill neighborhood that borders the campus. Police were searching the area with K-9 teams last night.

We seem to be awash in school shootings.

But we shouldn't get carried away with what certainly appears to be an isolated incident. Both police and school officials also are stressing that they do not believe this was a random act of violence.

We'll have more details and reaction from the campus on DelcoTimes.com later this morning.

And I guess I will add a couple of topics to our discussion of Pennsylvania politics when I head down to the campus Wednesday night.

Well the weather outside is going to be frightful

I have bad news. And worse news.

Welcome to the weather report.

We're going to get snow later today. By the time it's done, they're saying we could have as much as 8 inches or more on the ground, although to be honest, I still don't really trust our friendly TV folks when they try to pinpoint which areas are going to be getting the most snow.

After all, just about 24 hours ago, no one was predicting this thing to be as bad as it appears it's going to be.

That's the thing about the weather, I'm not sure you can ever be 100 percent sure about it.

Let's just leave it at this. We're going to get some snow, likely accumulating snow that is going to make getting around a mess.

So what's the worse news? Well, that snow is going to be followed by our old pal the 'polar vortex.' In other words, that bone-chilling cold is due for an encore performance. And this time it's going to stick around for the rest of the week.

The forecast calls for single-digit temperatures to come barreling in behind this snowstorm, with wind-chill temperatures registering below zero.

Here's the likely timetable for how this thing is expected to unfold today.

If you need to get somewhere (like work, don't worry so much about school, most are already closed for the day), the morning rush hour won't be a problem.

Snow will arrive later this morning, and likely will start to accumulate on road surfaces by early afternoon. The heavy stuff is expected to move in between 3-8. Snow should be over by around midnight, replaced by a blast of arctic cold.

Here in Delaware County the call is for anywhere from 7-11 inches of snow. This is one of those odd snows where the infamous "northern and western" suburbs actually won't be getting hit as hard.

The Lehigh Valley is only going to get 4-6 inches, and even less up in the Poconos, where they actually enjoy this nonsense.

Areas in Delaware and New Jersey could be the hardest hit, with the I-95 corridor also looking like it is going to take a direct hit.

Raise your hand if you've had enough. Me, too.

Hey, we're exactly two months from the first day of spring, which arrives on March 20.

Just in case you were wondering.

No. 4 Villanova shot down

So much for being the No. 4 team in the nation.

Villanova was probably feeling pretty good when the latest AP rankings came out around noon Monday. The 'Cats bumped up two spots, going from No. 4 to No. 2.

The thrill didn't last long.

Villanova had a date with No. 18 Creighton at the Wells Fargo Center. Creighton came into the contest with some gaudy stats of their own, a 15-3 record, including 5-1 in the Big East.

You can tack one onto each of those totals.

Actually it should be more like tacking on a 'three.' A ton of threes, in fact.

Creighton shot the lights out, burying Villanova under a Big East record 21 3-point field goals.

Terry Toohey has all the details.

The question now is how far the Wildcats will fall in the rankings.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Monday, Jan. 20

The Daily Numbers: 25 years of celebrating the Dream with the Media NAACP.

70th anniversary for Media Fellowship House.

30 people who took part in an anti-violence message in Chester yesterday, at the site of the city and county’s 1st homicide of 2014.

2,000 dollar retainer and 185 dollar per hour salary for new solicitor for Interboro School District.

5-1 vote by Middletown Council to OK the Pond’s Edge development on Baltimore Pike.

57 acres on the tract that will be developed across from Thomas Chevrolet.

8 public hearings held on the plans.

17, age of teen charged in Philly school shooting. He will be charged as an adult.

2 students who suffered gunshot wounds to their arms in the incident.

200,000 members of the American Postal Workers Union that is vowing to protest a plan to put postal service centers in Staples stores.

363.42, average price of domestic round-trip airline ticket in 2013, up $7 from the prior year.

125,000 people expected to take part in the annual MLK Day of Service activities in Philadelphia.

1 or 2 inches of snow expected as a front rolls across the region Tuesday.

20s for our high temperature on Tuesday, and we’ll get into the single digits by Wednesday. Swell.

11-11 postseason record now for Peyton Manning, who led the Broncos over the Pats and into the Super Bowl yesterday.

400 yards passing for Manning in the game.

3rd Super Bowl for Manning, who has 1 ring.

2 rings for his brother, Eli, with the Giants.

55 TD passes and 5,447 yards passing for Manning this season.

0 quarterbacks who have won Super Bowls for different teams.

23-17 win for the Seattle Seahawks as they held off a last-second drive by the 49ers to take the NFC crown.

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

The Peyton Manning critics are remarkably quiet this morning.

I Don’t Get It: Maybe it’s just me, but even 50 years after Dr. King talked about “The Dream,” I still wonder how far we really have to go.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those taking part today in the annual Day of Service to honor the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Quote Box: “Lives are leaving this Earth, especially for this city and other cities around America far too soon.

- Rev. Anita Littleton, of the group Heeding God’s Call, during anti-violence rally in city of Chester Sunday.

The troubles of Tom Corbett

I'm not sure I've ever encountered a politician with a penchant for doing or saying exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time quite like Tom Corbett.

The Republican governor was at it again on Friday. Now in the final year of his first term, Corbett was preparing to make his first visit to a public school in Philadelphia.

Corbett is facing a rough re-election test, with poll numbers that indicate he's less popular than the weather.

Corbett seems to have quieted the rumble from within his own party, but has a small army of Democrats salivating at the chance to take him on. In other words, they smell blood in the water. And the sharks are circling.

Corbett probably better than most knows the challenge that lies ahead. He has restructured his staff for what seems like the umpteenth time, vowed to spend more time in the crucial southeastern part of the state, in particular the Philly suburbs, and said that he merely needs to do a better job of conveying his message of bringing fiscal sanity back to the state.

It was to that end that he planned to visit Central High School in Philadelphia Friday to congratulate staff and students on their recent test scores.

Corbett is particularly reviled in the city, with many putting a target on his back because of budget cuts that have eviscerated many city schools. Curriculums have been cut; staff has been pared, with key aides, library and office staff taking big hits.

Corbett has maintained that he's actually increased funding in the state, and that most of the cuts were due to the elimination of federal stimulus funds that districts were warned would not be permanent.

There even was word that the governor would be increasing education funding in his budget address due in a couple of weeks.

None of that deterred protesters who vowed to make their presence known during the governor's visit to Central.

It was not going to be an easy day for Corbett. He likely would have gotten an earful.

Then he managed to do something that made the situation even worse.

He canceled his visit, and instead held a press conference at his downtown office.

It was exactly the wrong thing to do, something the governor seems to do all too often.

It came off as him running from the protesters, and even worse, as a slap at the kids who he was there to honor.

Corbett tried to explain that he did not want politics and the protest to mar the day.

His actions managed to do exactly that.

The governor should have taken his lumps and dealt with the protesters head-on.

He couldn't have looked worse in simply failing to show up.

Chasing 'The Dream'

I used my print column today to talk about Dr, Martin Luther King Jr. and his 'Dream.'

It would be ludicrous to believe the country has not made great strides since Dr. King delivered his message half a century later.

But I believe it would be equally naive to believe we still don't have a long way to go.

Don't believe me. Check out the comments on most of the stories that appear on our website, DelcoTimes.com. The Dream? More like a nightmare.

Peyton's Place

I think we can put those Peyton Manning whispers to bed now.

For years critics have snickered that for all his excellence and eye-popping stats during the regular season, Manning would too often come up small in the playoffs.

No one is saying that this morning.

Manning was magnificent Sunday in leading the Broncos over longtime nemesis Tom Brady and the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

The win evens Manning's post-season record at 11-11. It probably won't silence his critics. It should. Yesterday Manning was masterful, directing the Broncos' offense on one time-consuming drive after another, keeping Brady off the field.

Manning will now get the chance to add a second Super Bowl ring in two weeks when he takes the Broncos into North Jersey to face the Seahawks.

In the process he will vie to become the first starting quarterback to lead two different teams to Lombardi Trophies.

All Manning did yesterday was go 32 of 43 for an even 400 yards.

And he's done all this after being cut loose by the Indianapolis Colts, and undergoing several neck surgeries that threatened to end his stellar career.

He will face another stern test in the Super Bowl, pitting what amounts to the league's best offense in his Broncos against the best defense in Seattle.

At this point, I wouldn't bet against Manning. Looks like North Jersey is going to be Peyton's Place.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Jan. 17

The Daily Numbers: 26 people chased from their homes after flames roared through Darby apartments.

26th District state Senate seat being sought by Tom McGarrigle, who got the backing of the Delco GOP.

4 women in a girl gang who have been targeting local Apple stores, ripping off high-tech gadgets.

24, age of man being sought in an attempted luring try in Upper Darby.

2 people accused in a wave of armed robberies targeting local convenience stores who waived their hearings yesterday. They’ll now face trial.

5 students who have now been caught with either BB or pellet guns in schools in Chester Township this year.

154 bags of heroin found on Penn-Delco school bus driver. He entered a guilty plea yesterday.

40-room inn coming to Swarthmore as part of the Town Center development.

20 minutes, how long it took to kill a convict in Ohio via lethal injection. The case is causing an uproar 20 subpoenas that have now gone out in the New Jersey Bridgegate probe.

41, age of suspect being referred to as the ‘Swiss Cheese Pervert.’ The man was arrested at his Norristown home yesterday.

730 million dollars raked in by Pa.’s 12 casinos off of table games in 2013, up 6 percent from 2012.

1.4 percent dip in overall casino revenue, down to $3.1 billion, because of a decline in slots play.

7,089,634 dollars in table games revenue for Harrah’s in Chester, down slightly from 2012.

64.93 point dip for the stock market yesterday.

1, as in the No. 1 pick in the MLS Super Draft, for the Union. They traded up and took goalkeeper Andre Blake.

4-3 loss in a shootout for the Flyers to the Predators.

7.675 million dollar contract for Kyle Kendrick with the Phillies.

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

You read it right. The Phillies will pay Kyle Kendrick $7.65 million this year.

I Don’t Get It: Kids keep bringing BB guns or pellet guns to school in Chester Township. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to police and firefighters in Darby Borough who managed to get everyone out alive when fire broke out in borough apartments. They averted a real tragedy.

Quote Box: “If this would have happened later, at about 1 a.m., there could have been some fatalities.” - Darby Borough Fire Chief Bob Childs, on apartment fire.

Meet Tom McGarrigle; it's the other Tom that is his big problem

The worst-kept secret in Delco politics was confirmed Wednesday night.

The Delco Republican Party endorsed County Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle to run for the 26th District state Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Ted Erickson.

It's hard not to like Tom McGarrigle. He's not really a politician. He's your neighbor, an everyman who for years has run a service station in Springfield.

He likely will face off against another blue-collar guy, John Kane, the business manager of Plumbers Union Local 690.

McGarrigle's biggest obstacle in this race is likely not going to come from Kane, or the Democrats. It might come from his own party.

I'm not talking about a primary fight. The Delco GOP does not look kindly on in-party dustups. They had other people interested in this seat. They are now all united behind McGarrigle.

Unfortunately for them, they're also united behind something else - the top of their ticket.

At the top of the November ballot will be the Pennsylvania gubernatorial battle.

Saying incumbent Republican Tom Corbett has some issues as he seeks a second term is a bit like saying the Titanic faced a little bump in the North Atlantic.

Corbett's poll numbers are at historic lows.

His lean budgets, and the perception that he did a slash and burn on education funding, has made him persona non grata in much of the Commonwealth.

Today the governor is expected to make his first visit to a public school in Philadelphia, where the district is still convulsing from the latest round of cuts.

Two different groups are planning to protest Corbett's visit.

It's also leaking out this morning that the governor might be reversing course in his upcoming budget address, proposing an increase in education spending.

Corbett delivered the goods in Delaware County when the refinery industry was no the ropes and in danger of ending a way of life.

But he remains a polarizing figure, both here and in much of the state.

It will be interesting to see how McGarrigle deals with the Corbett issue. The governor has made it clear that he is going to be spending a lot more time in crucial southeastern Pennsylvania and the vote-rich Philly suburbs.

I'll be interested to see if McGarrigle is by his side.

At this point, Corbett might need McGarrigle more than McGarrigle needs him.

This is not going to be a cakewalk for the GOP. The 26th District race is going to get a lot of attention as Democrats looks to chip away at the slim GOP edge in the state Senate.

Will voters 'raise Kane'? Or will they be beating the Tom-Tom with a big GOP sweep.

I'm already on record saying I think Corbett gets re-elected. Go ahead and laugh. Just remember where you heard it.

This one is going to be interesting.

Welcome to the Palestra, the mecca of Philly sports

The rest of the world is about to discover what we already know.

The mecca of Philadelphia sports is not Citizens Bank Park. Nor is it Lincoln Financial Field. The Wells Fargo Center? Please.

You could make an argument for the dearly departed Spectrum and Veterans Stadium, but they now are merely memories.

No, any true Philly fan can tell you that the cathedral of Philly sports is a tiny gym on 33rd Street on the Penn campus.

On Saturday, the nation will get a chance to experience hoops nirvana, Philly style. ESPN "Game Day" is coming to the Palestra.

The cable sports giant will be in town to chronicle the legendary gym, and do their pregame show before the Temple-La Salle game, which will tip off at noon.

"Game Day" will air from 10-11 a.m. on ESPNU and then from 11 a.m. to noon on ESPN.

At one time they used to pack as many as 10,000 people into the Palestra for Big 5 double-headers. Now it probably maxes out at 8,700

. The memories? They're in the millions.

I'm sure ESPN will do a fine job, but they still won't convey the experience. You don't describe the Palestra. You have to experience it. You have to feel it in your bones as those old bleachers shook.

It's been said that a lot of national powers avoided a date in the Palestra like the plague. It's where national reputations went to be buried.

The Palestra wasn't pretty. It was in your face, with the fans so close to the players you could smell the sweat.

I got my first taste of the Palestra early. My oldest brother was a La Salle man. Wrote for the school paper (yeah, it must be in the blood). Those were the days of Hubie Marshall and my all-time favorite Big 5 player, Larry Cannon.

I was first introduced to Big 5 basketball when my brother came home for Christmas break. He had a weird box he said he needed to attach to our TV so he could pull in one of the new UHF stations, Channel 48. He needed it to see something called the Quaker City Tournament. I was hooked after the first two minutes.

TV is one thing? Being in that place, especially when it was pulsating with the fervor of a Big 5 double-header, was something else altogether. The truth is TV won't do the place justice. You have to be there. I think my brother knew that. That's why he convinced our dad to take me and my brothers in for a double-header. La Salle was playing Saint Joe's that day. I sat wide-eyed as the streamers poured onto the floor with the first basket. For the life of me I was trying to figure out how that many people could make that much noise. You couldn't talk to the person next to you. It was delirium. I loved it.

A few years later I would return to the Palestra. That was where the PIAA held its District One basketball championships. Tiny little Oxford High, powered by Donnie Dyer and Benny Bond, was playing for the title.

We were a little school from the middle of nowhere, country bumpkins headed into the big city. I remember warning so many of the Hornet fans what they were in for as we made that long bus ride into the city.

We won that game and the District title, only to fall in the state eastern semifinal to a team from Mansfield. They had a guy on that team who could play a little bit. Maybe you've heard of him. His name was Tom McMillen. He went on to star the University of Maryland and in the NBA, before getting really serious and winning a seat in Congress.

I'll be glued to the TV Saturday morning, remembering those halcyon days at the Palestra.

Times have changed. They don't play double-headers there anymore. A lot of the city teams now play on their home courts or at the Wells Fargo Center, where they can make more money.

That's what college sports is about these days - money.

The Palestra was never about money. It was about basketball. And the fans who loved every minute of it. And a place that exemplified everything about Philly.

Where have you gone, Stan Wlodarczyk?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Jan. 16

The Daily Numbers: 600 dollars raised by the family of Richard Patterson, victim of a hit-run driver, in memory of him and his dog Baby. They were struck and killed on Providence Road. The funds will go to the Delaware County SPCA, where Patterson got his beloved dog.

100 members of the Sons of Ben soccer fan club who will be on hand for the premiere of a movie based on their antics on Saturday.

2 counts of disseminating photos and 25 counts of sexual abuse of children filed against a man who is a former Sunday school teacher and youth coach in Brookhaven.

48, age of man whose body was found at the bottom of an elevator shaft in the Baldwin Towers office complex in Eddystone. Foul play is not suspected.

3 years probation for a Collingdale man charged with simple assault and unlawful taking.

2 streets in the city of Chester where Widener University is asking the city to vacate to accommodate a new residence hall.

1,121 foot tall technology center being planned in Center City Philadelphia by Comcast.

150 feet higher for the new structure, which will be a block away from the current Comcast Center.

59 stories high, making it the highest structure in the U.S. outside of New York City or Chicago.

1.2 billion dollar price tag for the structure.

10 million kicked in by the city of Philadelphia for the development, with the state adding another $30 million.

1,500 jobs that will be located at the site by Comcast, including new HQ for NBC-10 and its Telemundo operations.

6,300 temporary construction jobs.

1.5 million feet of rentable space.

13 “sky gardens,” 3-story atriums.

200 room hotel on the Upper floors, which will be the new home for the Four Seasons.

1.1 trillion dollar spending plan given the OK by the U.S. House yesterday, avoiding the possibility of a government shutdown next year.

359-67 vote in the House. Both Reps. Pat Meehan and Bob Brady voted in favor. It now goes to the Senate.

108 point spike for the stock market yesterday.

12 Broadway World Awards for Media Theatre.

95-92 win for Sixers over Bobcats last night.

24 turnovers for the Sixers probably made it a lot closer than it needed to be.

8 picks in the first 4 rounds of today’s MLS Draft for the Union.

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

Raise your hand if you watch the 49ers or Seawhawks defense and realize how far the Eagles still have to go to get to that level. Thought so.

I Don’t Get It: It’s pretty clear no matter what Michael Vick does, some people are never going to forgive him for his transgressions connected to a dogfighting ring.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Patterson family. They are raising money for the Delaware County SPCA to honor the memory of hit-run victim Richard Patterson and his beloved dog Baby, who he found at the SPCA. Class act.

Quote Box: “We’ve received a lot of response about what a great man he was.”

- SPCA boss Justina Calgione, on hit-run Richard Patterson.