Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Daily Numbers for Wednesday, April 30

The Daily Numbers: 7, as in Game 7 tonight for the Flyers and Rangers. Winner moves on, loser goes home.

5-2 win last night for the orange and black.

3 goals in the hat trick for Wayne Simmonds.

639 hats that littered the ice in the tradition of honoring the three-goal effort.

18, age of Ridley teen cited in connection with her pit bull, which has been getting loose and terrorizing a neighborhood.

2.1 percent tax hike looming in Rose Tree Media School District.

2.1 percent hike also being looked at in Garnet Valley.

17 homicides in the county so far this year.

10 of them have occurred in the city of Chester.

40,000 dollars raised last weekend by the Relay for Life event at Wallingford Swarthmore.

1 billion dollar deficit that is hanging like a dark cloud over Harrisburg.

595 million dollars less tax than expected collected by the state in April.

35 now dead as a deadly series of tornadoes rampaged across the Midwest and South.

6 people wounded by a gunman at a FedEx plant in Georgia.

86 point spike for the stock market yesterday.

6-1 loss for Cole Hamels and the Phillies in a rain-delayed game last night vs. the Mets.

6 runs on 8 hits, with 5 walks a 1 hit batter for Hamels.

1 hour, 28 minute delay at the start of the game.

46 degrees and misting at the first pitch.

34 saves for Flyers goalie Steve Mason last night.

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

There is nothing better in sports than the Stanley Cup playoffs. And a Game 7 pitting the Flyers vs. Rangers? 7th Heaven!

I Don’t Get It: Donald Sterling. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who literally brought the ‘Silver Hammer’ down on this racist.

Quote Box: “We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling’s views. They simply have no place in the NBA.”

- Commissioner Adam Silver.

'Live From the Newsroom' tackles violence in Chester

The voices continue to be raised in Chester.

Residents are sick and tired of being held captive inside their homes by the random gunfire that is becoming part and parcel of their daily lives. I asked them to tell me what it's like, and they have not let me down.

"I won't even walk two blocks to the nearest store with my children," one person posted on a previous blog item.

And as for city officials who claim the city is in fact safe?

"They don't tell the truth," said one woman who has lived on Lamokin Street for 35 years and says she has never seen the kind of violence that is occurring in the city now.

So what is causing it? Drugs? Lack of jobs? A breakdown of the family structure? All of the above.

I want this newspaper to be part of the solution in Chester, not just reporting the latest shooting.

Tonight we'll use our live-stream Internet broadcast, 'Live From the Newsroom,' to talk about what is going on in the city, and how best to attack the problem.

Joining me will be longtime police chaplain the Rev. Rocky Brown III. This week he has made his feelings clear, calling for a lockdown similar to the one initiated by former Mayor Wendell Butler several years ago. Brown also would like to see more police on the streets, even if that means bringing in outside help.

Also on the show will be community activist and city liaison Jonathan Abdur-Rahim King. He know the streets, and the problems that lurk there. He's been active with the Brothers of Concern in attacking Chester's youth problems.

I'm also hoping to have Mayor John Linder and Commissioner Joe Bail on the show, but as of right now I have not heard back from them.

Do you have a question you'd like answered? Or maybe a possible solution. Email it to me at editor@delcotimes.com. Then tune in tonight at 7 on DelcoTimes.com when we go 'live' on the biggest issue in Chester: Is the city safe, and if not, what is causing it and what can be done about it.

Delco's own Audra McLaughlin stays alive on 'The Voice'

Glenolden's own Audra McLaughlin is doing her best Flyers' imitation, stayin' alive on 'The Voice.'

She advanced last night to the next round. Two other competitors were eliminated.

Check out an update on Audra here, as well as a great look into the thrill ride she is providing for the entire McLaughlin family.

Flyers-Rangers Game 7: Nothing better

I have said many times there is nothing in sports that quite compares to the drama of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

For my money, they are the best ticket in town.

And if that is the case, then we are in store for a treat tonight.

That's because last night, a gutty Flyers team trampled all over the Rangers, posting a convincing 5-2 win, and in the process forcing a deciding Game 7 tonight back at Madison Square Garden in the Big Apple.

That's correct. That's not a misprint. After going four days before games last week, the Flyers and Rangers will get about 18 hours off before they tee it up again tonight.

That, of course, is because in today's sports world, they play the games when TV tells them to. Monday talks, and all that.

None of that will steal the glory from one of sports truly special events, Game 7 of a Stanley Cup playoff series.

Overtime, anyone?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, April 29

The Daily Numbers: 1 more young person shot and killed last night in Chester.

16 homicides in the county so far this year, 9 of them in Chester. If last night’s shooting is ruled a homicide those numbers would change to 17 and 10.

50 people who came to City Hall yesterday seeking solutions to the city’s violence.

13 people left homeless after fire roared through a twin home in Nether Providence.

218 million assessment for Harrah’s Casino in Chester now that it is no longer a tax-exempt entity under the Keystone Opportunity Zone designation. It is appealing the ruling.

25 dollar per day fine under new regulation on bamboo in Upper Darby.

3.75 a gallon, price of gas at local Wawa as prices spike again.

1 million dollars stolen from a Main Line company by a West Chester woman, police claim. She made more than $200,000 a year in salary, but was still ripping off the firm to fund her luxurious lifestyle, authorities said.

6 bucks, how much a widow in Beaver, Pa., owed in back taxes. Her home is going up for a tax auction because of it.

4,500 employees for Century 21, the hot clothing retailer that will open its 9th store in Philly.

100,000 square feet on 2nd floor of old Strawbridge & Clothier store at Eighth and Market streets.

1.8 billion deal for Energy Transfer Partners, which last year bought Sunoco, to purchase Texas gas station owner Susser Holdings.

80 percent of high school students who are graduating, according to new survey.

87 point gain for stock market yesterday.

3.9 million subscribers to be shed by Comcast in deal with Charter Communications Inc.

89, age of local hoops icon Dr. Jack Ramsay, who died yesterday.

3-2 deficit facing Flyers, who must win tonight to continue their series vs. Rangers.

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

Damn shame that the death of Dr. Jack Ramsay was overshadowed by the controversy surrounding the racial comments of Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

I Don’t Get It: People seem surprised by Sterling’s comments. I invite them to check out the public comments section of their favorite online news sites most days.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to those who gathered yesterday at Chester City Hall to seek solutions to the violence that is wracking the city. Quote Box: “We want everybody’s voice to be present tonight. Feel free to say what you want, but one thing we want tonight are solutions.”

- Nicole Cogdell, Chester city liaison, on moves to quell violence.

Seeking a solution in Chester

The talking continues in Chester.

Unfortunately, so does the gunfire.

Many residents determined to end the random street violence and gunfire that is becoming a part of their everyday lives spent much of yesterday huddling in Chester City Hall seeking solutions.

But just after 9 p.m. last night gunfire rang out again. This time it was the Martin Luther King homes. A young man was fatally shot at least twice, including one in the neck. At least one high-profile resident, the Rev. William 'Rocky' Brown III has had enough.

He went on Facebook last night to advocate for putting the city back on lockdown, a tactic used by former Mayor Wendell Butler several years ago when the city was in the grips of an unprecedented spate of fatal shootings.

It's a move that does not sit well with current Mayor John Linder and police Commissioner Joe Bail. They note it's not really a solution. Clearly, Brown does not agree.

"It's time to put the city on lockdown," Brown posted on Facebook last night. "We are and have been in a state of emergency. "Let's call it like it is. The people are not safe. Mr. Mayor, please call a state of emergency and bring the state troopers in now. Too many deaths. We need more than a rally, we need state and federal support like last year. Call it now please. How many more must die?" He's not the only one who feels that way.

Yesterday I had a heart-breaking phone call from a woman who had just read my Monday print column, which asked the simple question, "Is Chester safe?"

The resounding response I heard all day yesterday - despite the belief of Linder and Bail - is that it is not.

The woman, who lives on Lamokin Street, said gunfire can be heard on her street every night. Specifically, she said she was woken up Sunday night by gunshots at 9:25 p.m. And this comes after she had a window and mirror in her home broken by stray bullets. Her car also was damaged by a round fired on Chester's streets.

She said she has lived on Lamokin for 35 years, and she's never seen it this bad.

"People need to wake up and realize that we are prisoners in our own homes," she told me.

Another woman who lives on West Ninth Street said her street also had encountered gunshots the night before. "I'm afraid to death to live here," the 73-year-old confided.

Several people posted comments on my column and recent blogs on the question.

Not one challenged my belief that the city is not nearly as safe as city officials portray it to be.

"Absolutely not," is the way one person responded to my "Is Chester Safe?" question. "Born & raised all my life in Chester and now I won't even walk two blocks to the nearest store with my children. It's happening morning, noon & night. Summer, spring, fall & winter. It has nothing to do with warmer weather approaching. My 7-year-old begged me one day not to stop at a nearby store because of a murder that happened a few months back in front of the store. I had a shirt made for the city council meeting last week. 19 family members, close friends & classmates is number of people on my R.I.P. shirt. Smh... Our children should not have to live in fear! No, it is not safe."

It was a common thread among those who responded. As was this. Chester was not always this way. Many residents mourn what the city has turned into and long for a return to what was.

"I am also a lifelong resident of Chester," one person wrote. "I grew up in a wonderful environment; loved my childhood days. I now have to look for another place to live because of the unstable neighborhoods. I lost my husband about four years ago, and my family is very concerned for my safety. My house is perfect for me now, but I’ll be looking for another home, which will cost a considerable amount more. So, how sad is that! My feeling is, somehow, find out where the guns are coming from. No guns, no shooting!

"When I was growing up, there wasn’t any gun violence! Also, the government in Chester needs to let these criminals know that there will be no tolerance for law-breakers! Set up check points to see who is coming in and out of the city (license plates. On weekends, I notice some out-of-state plates. Curfew again in the city for the summer would be a good thing also. Good luck to all in Chester, I feel for you!"

Another person urged a bigger police presence in the city, even if it means bringing in officers from outside the city.

We are planning to focus on the city in our Wednesday night live-stream broadcast, "Live From the Newsroom."

I am hoping to have Brown, city officials, as well as some city residents on to talk about the situation in Chester and what can be done about it. If you'd like to join us, email me at editor@delcotimes.com.

For now, please keep your calls, Facebook posts and emails coming. We also are planning a story for Sunday on what it's like to life in some of Chester's neighborhoods. If you'd like to speak to a reporter, call me at 610-622-8818, or email me at editor@delcotimes.com.

Monday, April 28, 2014

TheDaily Numbers for Monday, April 28

The Daily Numbers: 21 students named to the All-Delco HiQ team.

17 teachers named winners of the Excellence in Teaching awards.

2 popes elevated to sainthood in ceremony celebrated by 2 living popes.

800,000 people who attended the ceremony in St. Peter’s Square

10 pounds of marijuana seized in traffic stop in Upper Darby.

2.47 percent tax hike looming in Marple Newtown School District.

8.4 percent of Delco residents without health insurance.

7.6 percent in Chester County.

6.2 percent in Bucks, which is tops in Pa.

50th anniversary of the Holocaust Memorial in Philadelphia.

3-2 deficit for the Flyers in their 1st round Stanley Cup series vs. the Rangers. They must win Tuesday night or start making tee times.

4-2 loss yesterday at Madison Square Garden.

6-4 mark for the Phillies on the West Coast trip.

0.83 ERA for A.J. Burnett since being diagnosed with a hernia.

13-12 overall mark for the Phillies.

8 saves in as many tries for Jonathan Papelbon.

4 strikeouts for Cody Asche.

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

The Philly basketball world this morning mourns a local legend, Dr. Jack Ramsay. He was the longtime coach at Saint Joe’s as well as coaching in the NBA, including the Portland Trail Blazers team that beat the Sixers. He served as the Sixers GM in their world title year of 1967.

I Don’t Get It: Is Chester safe? Or not. It depends on who you ask.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to this year’s winners of the All-Delco Hi-Q designation as well as the Excellence in Teaching Awards. Quote Box: “He was a great man, adored not by millions of people, but by billions of people.”

- St. Hedwig’s parishioner Stan Zoltak, on the canonization of fellow pole Pope John Paul II.

Is Chester safe?

I used my print column today to pose a fairly simple question.

Is Chester safe?

Every time I ask Mayor Linder that question, he is quick to respond that it is. But I'm hearing from city residents who are tired of being held captive in their homes by what is becoming all too routine - random gunfire. They fear for their safety, and that of their children.

More than 250 people packed a City Council meeting last week to demonstrate their concerns. Just a few hours later, at 11 a.m. Thursday, another man was gunned down. Still another man was shot a few hours later.

Today a group will meet at City Hall and talk about what can be done to stop the violence.

I also am planning to have some city officials on our 'Live From the Newsroom' show Wednesday night to talk about the situation.

It's a city on the brink. I hope to put this newspaper at the forefront of those seeking an answer.

The good things kids - and teachers - do

I get asked all the time, by parents and school officials, "How can we get our kids' names in the newspaper?"

Funny, I didn't hear that kind of request from the good folks at the Haverford School last week.

It's unfortunate, but true. Want your kids to make the paper? Let them do something wrong. We'll be all over it.

The reverse, and I freely admit this, is not always true. Kids doing good things do some for the most part in anonymity. Not this week.

That's because on Thursday night I will take part in the Partners in Excellence dinner at the Drexelbrook.

As part of the festivities, this year's All-Delco Hi-Q team will be honored. One team member from each of the 21 schools that take part in the nation's oldest academy quiz competition will be honored.

On Sunday those kids' were splashed all over the front page of this newspaper.

Today, we gave the same treatment to this year's winners of the Excellence in Teaching Awards. You can read their story here.

By the way, one of those teachers just happens to share the same last name as the editor of this newspaper. To the best of my knowledge, I am not related to Michael Heron. I am, however, proud of what he does. I hope to meet him Thursday night.

We don't often have good things to say about teachers. At least not enough.

The truth is students and teachers who are doing outstanding work don't make headlines.

Except for this week.

I think I like that.

Deer me

I set a personal record on this morning's ride into work.

I had to weave my way through no less than five deer.

One actually simply stood in the middle of the road and mocked me as I slowed down and carefully maneuvered around it. I'm also seeing something I never used to see - deer going solo.

One of the lessons I've learned in three decades of early-morning near-misses with Bambi is that there is almost never just one deer.

If one darts out in front of you, you can pretty much count on two or three others following right behind - and right into your path.

But recently I'm seeing deer on their own, not that it makes them any less dangerous.

You've been warned. Be careful out there. The deer are everywhere.

Flyers on the brink of elimination

Here's an ugly truth in the wake of another tough loss for the Flyers to the Rangers yesterday, putting them on the brink of elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Has anyone considered the distinct possibility that the Flyers just aren't as good as the Rangers?

Heresy to those who bleed orange and black, I know.

But it's the distinct feeling I get after watching the Flyers get off to still another slow start, then come up short in their comeback attempt.

Yesterday's game had the same theme that's played out in this series, with the Flyers unable to get the puck through the Rangers' defense and create much in the way of problems for Henrik Lundqvist.

And once again the Flyers dug themselves an early hole, falling behind early and then staging a furious late rally.

Actually you could say the Flyers might now be able to relax, now that they are in their familiar spot with their backs to the wall. They face the prospect of elimination Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. If they hold true to form, they should come up with their best effort of the series, sending this one back to Madison Square Garden.

Here's beat writer Rob Parent's view of the game.

Columnist Jack McCaffery says captain Claude Giroux and the Flyers are fast running out of time to be patient.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Friday, April 25

The Daily Numbers: 2 more shootings in the city of Chester, 1 of them fatal.

22, age of man shot as he drove his Dodge Durango in Sun Village.

21, age of man critically wounded in shooting in West End Thursday afternoon.

200 people who showed up at the City Council session Wednesday night to protest violence in the city.

16 homicides in the county so far in 2014.

9 of them have occurred in Chester; and all of those have been committed with a gun.

4 incidents of sexual assault probed on campus of West Chester University.

2 dugouts at DCCC named for Denny Ryan and Rick Armes, 2 members of original baseball team from 1971.

0 change in the stock market yesterday. It closed at the exact same number, 16,501.65.

480 million dollar profit posted by American Airlines.

329,000 people now receiving jobless benefits.

2 popes who will be canonized on Sunday.

3 of 4 wins in Los Angeles for the Phillies.

7-3 win last night for Phils, who again rallied in 9th inning for win.

2 run double by Carlos Ruiz the key hit.

11-11 mark for the Phils, who scratched back to .500 mark.

2 runs on 10 hits given up by Kyle Kendrick, who went 5 and 2/3 innings.

5.64 ERA for Phils bullpen going into last night’s game. Not good.

7:15, that is the last 7 minutes, 15 seconds of Game 3 played by Flyers goalie Steve Mason. He’ll be between the pipes tonight for Game 4.

2-1 Rangers advantage in the series.

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

No, it’s not a must game tonight for the Flyers. But if they lose and go down 3-1, the next game will be. I Don’t Get It: Just hours after a huge public demonstration again violence in city, 2 more shootings rocked the city, one of them fatal.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Villanova women, who captured the women’s distance medley at the Penn Relays yesterday.

Quote Box:
“We are in turmoil. We need leadership to come in here to help curb the violence.” - George Benson, father of a murder victim in Chester whose case remains unsolved.

Chester: A city at the breaking point

Last week, hours after a violent home invasion in a normally quiet Chester neighborhood, law enforcement authorities swept into the city and arrested two men for .... selling knockoff designer merchandise.

This at a time when many in the city are begging for help in dealing with what is fast becoming a daily occurrence - random gunfire that is keeping many residents prisoners in their homes.

"Are you kidding me?" one city resident complained in a phone call. "This is what they are concentrating on?" It's a legitimate point.

This week things came to a head.

Hundreds of people packed a City Council meeting Wednesday night to complaint about violence on city streets, and their lack of faith that city officials - and a troubled police department - are capable of doing anything about it.

In addition to the gunfire that some now say is a routine part of Chester life, they are upset at a recent incident in which a city police officer was seen on videotape punching a woman he was taking into custody, as well as the recently announced probe by the D.A.'s office into the troubles in the police evidence room, including a scope to a rifle that had gone missing for a time. Right up until it became known that questions were being asked, when it suddenly reappeared.

The echoes from those concerned voices at the council meeting had barely drifted off when a familiar sound rang out again on city streets. A 22-year-old man drove for a block before getting out of his vehicle, then collapsing on the campus of Widener University. He was pronouced dead at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.

A man was shot and killed - at 11 a.m. - as he drove his Dodge Durango in the Sun Village section of the city.

A few hours later, more gunshots, this time in the West End, critically wounding a 21-year-odl man.

I've been told by any number of residents that the streets are not nearly as safe as Mayor John Linder and Police Commissioner Joe Bail insist.

They also don't know why city officials are so reluctant to ask for help in restoring order on city streets, either from the D.A. or state.

What they do know is this: It's not going to make city streets a whole lot safer by arresting people for selling counterfeit goods.

Here's our editorial on the situation.

The city needs an answer. It needs to bring the gunfire to a halt. And it needs to happen soon.

2 good men honored at DCCC

They honored a good man yesterday at Delaware County Community College.

Actually, two of them.

The dugouts at the DCCC baseball field were named for Denny Ryan and Rick Armes. I knew Denny; I don't think I ever had the pleasure of meeting Rick.

Both played on the first baseball team at DCCC back in the early '70s.

Denny Ryan was my sister-in-law's brother. We would cross paths at family functions. He was always the quietest guy in the room. Except when it came to sports.

Spend 10 minutes around Denny, and you quickly understood that sports was his passion.

He was a standout basketball and baseball player. His name was routinely sprinkled in the sports pages of this newspaper during his high school and college career.

He played pickup basketball right up until the time he got sick. Those who played with him said he could shoot the lights out. I don't doubt that for a minute.

We lost Denny to cancer way too young.

His spirit - and his love of sports - will now live on at Delaware County Community College.

Phillies continue to win on Left Coast

Usually, a Phillies trip to the West Coast is something akin to a Bataan Death March. The Left Coast has not treated the Phils well in recent years.

That's why I expected this team to slide into oblivion with this early-season road trip to Denver, L.A. and Phoenix. But that's not the way it has played out.

The Phillies won again last night, 7-3, with Carlos Ruiz again playing the hero.

The win allows the Phils to climb back to .500 again at 11-11.

The Phils took three of four from the Dodgers, rallying last night in the 9th inning.

With the return of Cole Hamels to a starting rotation that already features Cliff Lee and A.J. Burnett, the Phils will have the ability to be competitive.

The problem is two-fold. Their starters have a tendency not to run deep in games, Lee being the exception to that rule. Last night they got just 5 and 2-3 innings from Kyle Kendricl. That leaves them at the mercy of their bullpen. And that's going to be a problem.

The Phillies entered last night's game with a bullpen ERA of 5.64. That's the worst in the majors.

Beat writer Dennis Deitch notes that right now, the Phillies bullpen just isn't good enough.

But I'd be lying if I told you I expected them to play this well, and sit at .500, on the current West Coast Trip. On to Arizona.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, April 24

The Daily Numbers: 200 people who showed up for a rally in Chester last night to protest violence in the city and problems in the police department.

7 homicides in Chester so far this year.

41 million dollar loss for Delta at their Trainer refinery being operated by Monroe Energy, but they expect to turn a profit next quarter and note the refinery is helping them save big bucks on jet fuel.

20 pot plants seized from the home of a opthalmologist in Haverford.

30,000 dollar street value of the drugs seized in the home.

1,200 dollars in cash found in the home.

77 special needs students who will get a special playground being built at Primos Elementary School.

2 Philadelphia plainclothes officers who shot and wounded a pizza delivery man from Upper Darby. He was not armed.

10 million dollar fake ID scam being run by 5 people in western Pennsylvania.

359,000 dollars collected in a welfare fraud scheme that earned a Philly man jail time.

45 people nailed in a slip-and-fall scam in Philadelphia. The attorney who represented them took his own life last week.

1 teacher at Devon Prep high school arrested on child porn charges.

21 hit-run charges filed against woman who went on something of a demolition derby in Coatesville, slamming into a series of cars

4th assault report on the West Chester University campus. The latest, when a man allegedly touched a woman’s leg, occurred in a library.

4 prime time games for the Eagles next season.

6 games that will be nationally televised, including Turkey Day in Dallas.

21 of September, when DeSean Jackson returns to the Linc with the Redskins.

86 pitches for Cole Hamels last night.

2 runs on 6 hits over 6 innings of work.

5-2 loss for the Phils stopped their 3-game win streak.

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

Gobble, gobble, Eagles fans. No, that’s not a reference to DeSean Jackson. The Birds are in Dallas for the traditional Thanksgiving Day game.

I Don’t Get It: There are gunshots seemingly every day on the streets of Chester. So why bust two guys for selling knockoff goods? Maybe it’s time to attack violent crime in the city.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those citizens who showed up last night to make their feelings about life in the city known.

Quote Box: “You say you’re fighting for our future, but they’re killing our kids.”

- Citizen speaking to Chester City Council at rally last night.

The Voices of Chester

I've been writing for the past week of the increasing calls I've been getting from people in the Chester community who are sick and tired of being "sick and tired."

They're fed up with what is becoming part of their daily life - gunfire.

Last night they took their concerns about violence - as well as some issues in the Chester Police Department - to City Hall for a rally before the City Council meeting.

Do you think people are concerned? Several hundred showed up. They had to move the meeting from council chambers to the much larger community meeting room.

I'm being told by people in the community that they would like more outside help brought in to try to quell the gunfire that is keeping them prisoners inside their homes. They believe such a move is being stalled by the mayor and police chief.

Last night some of those sentiments bubbled to the surface, with several residents demanding the ouster of Police Commissioner Joe Bail, who was not at the meeting.

Here's our full report.

Corbett courts women's vote in Delco

Apparently Tom Corbett wasn't kidding when he said he planned to have a much more visible presence in southeastern Pennsylvania, in particular Delco, in his uphill re-election battle.

The governor will be back in Delaware County today, this time targeting the women's vote.

The Republican whose poll numbers continue to lag will be joined by his wife, First Lady Susan Corbett, at the Towne House in Media to kick off Women for Corbett-Cawley at 10:30 a.m.

The governor faces a primary foe in Main Line conservative Bob Guzzardi, who is painting the governor in somewhat of a novel light - as not being conservative enough.

Corbett no doubt will survive that challenge, even if it is a tad embarrassing for the incumbent to face a challenge from within his own party. But the general election should prove to be a different matter.

A series of Democrats, headed by York millionaire Tom Wolfe, are lining up to knock him off.

Corbett is banking on his message of "less taxes, more jobs."

Certainly one key area in the argument about less taxes is the area of Marcellus Shale extraction levies. The governor has been a steadfast opponent of a tax on Marcellus Shale, even as support for such measures grows, including among some Republicans.

Locally, County Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle, who is looking to succeed Sen. Ted Erickson in the 26th District state Senate seat, is pushing a 4 percent tax.

Other Republicans in Harrisburg are warming to the idea as well.

Corbett continues to oppose such measures. He got the Republican Legislature to go along with his idea of an impact fee on drillers.

McGarrigle and others say that left way too much money on the table.

No word on whether McGarrigle will attend today's event in Media.

'Live From the Newsroom' tackles kids and money

Young people today have a lot more financial decisions to make than I did.

My biggest question most days was whether to buy regular or chocolate milk, or if I could con my buddy to let me trade in my carton of Pennsupreme orange drink that my mom packed for me - and which by lunch time was room temperature - for a cold one.

Today kids are learning how to keep a budget, balance a checkbook and take part in the family finances.

Last night we took our 'Live From the Newsroom' show to a very special place that is in the forefront of making sure young people today are financially literate.

We were at the one and only Bear Country Credit Union at the Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union in Marple. That's right, it's a credit union - the only one in the country - fashioned after the famous children's book characters The Berenstain Bears.

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

My thanks for Rick Durante from the Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union, who gave me a tour and joined me on the show to tell us about the growth of the credit union's branches in local high schools.

Since the first branch opened in Interboro High School almost 10 years ago, Franklin Mint has spread to the Penn Wood, Upper Darby and Springfield campuses. The branches are staffed by students.

In the fall they will open their newest branch at the renovated Marple Newtown High School. Marple Newtown Superintendent Dr. Merle Horowitz joined us to talk about how the district is integrating financial literacy into its curriculum, starting with kids as early as the third grade.

And we also were graced with the presence of Lexi Galantino, a Springfield High senior who works at the Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union branch in her school. Lexi is a 2014 National Merit Scholar finalist, and member of the National Honor Society who is headed for Tufts University in the fall. She put together a great video project along with other kids on the credit union branches in local high schools.

Both Galantino and Dr. Horowitz will be among those honored next week at one of the best education events of the year. It's the annual Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union Foundation's Partners in Learning Celebration. Horowitz has been named the 2014 Financial Literacy Advocate. Galantino is one of the youth scholarship winners.

The All-Delco Hi-Q team, which will be featured in this Sunday's newspaper, also will be honored. So will this year winners of the Excellence in Teaching awards. They will be featured on Monday.

Birds vs. Dallas on Turkey Day

Eagles fans have a reason for 'thanks' this morning.

The NFL schedule is out, rolled out in prime time last night by a league that is fully confident that they rule the sports roost.

So while Cole Hamels is pitching well in his debut, but not well enough to get the win against the Dodgers, and the Flyers are plotting their strategy while waiting for the marathon playoff series to renew Friday night vs. the Rangers, all talk today will focus on the Birds.

Here's a tip. They are prime time players.

The Eagles will play four times in prime time, and have six national TV games on the schedule.

Two of them stand out.

Yes, for all of you who want to circle the date on your calendars, DeSean Jackson will make his return to Lincoln Financial Field with the Redskins in Week 3 on Sept. 21 at 1 p.m.

But maybe the most interesting game is on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27, when the Birds will provide the dessert after fans devour their holiday bird with the Cowboys' traditional Turkey Day game at 4:30 p.m.

Bob Grotz has all the details here.

It's OK to start plotting out your W's and L's now.

Me? I automatically spit out the same thing every year.

10-6.

That won't be as easy for Chip Kelly as it was in Year One. This is a much tougher schedule. And you can make the argument that without Jackson this is not as talented a squad.

But September is still a long way off.

That won't stop anyone from talking about it all day.

Here's the full schedule:

REGULAR SEASON

• Sunday, September 7, Jacksonville, 1 p.m., CBS

• Monday, September 15, at Indianapolis, 8:30 p.m., ESPN*

• Sunday, September 21, Washington, 1 p.m., FOX

• Sunday, September 28, at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m., FOX

• Sunday, October 5, St. Louis, 1:00 p.m.+, FOX

• Sunday, October 12, New York Giants, 8:30 p.m.+, NBC*

• BYE

• Sunday, October 26, at Arizona, 4:05 p.m.+, FOX

• Sunday, November 2, at Houston, 1 p.m.+, FOX

• Monday, November 10, Carolina, 8:30 p.m.+, ESPN*

• Sunday, November 16, at Green Bay, 1 p.m.+, FOX

• Sunday, November 23, Tennessee, 1 p.m.+, CBS

• Thursday, November 27, at Dallas, 4:30 p.m., NBC*

• Sunday, December 7, Seattle, 4:25 p.m.+, FOX

• Sunday, December 14, Dallas, 8:30 p.m.+, NBC*

• Saturday, December 20, at Washington, TBD, NFLN or CBS*

• Sunday, December 28, at New York Giants, 1 p.m.+, FOX

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Wednsday, April 23

The Daily Numbers: 4-1 loss by the Flyers in a poor showing at the Wells Fargo Center against the Rangers.

2-1 series lead now for the New Yorkers. If they want to advance, the Flyers now face the task of having to win another game in New York.

1,000 dollars, value of a rifle scope what apparently was missing from the evidence room of the Chester Police Department, and subject of search warrants issued yesterday.

37, age of Conroy Williams, who has been charged with running down man in Collingdale. He’s still at large.

18, age of teen bicyclist who was struck and critically injured in Ridley Park. Police are seeking the driver of a pickup truck.

80,000 barrels of crude oil that is set to start arriving in Eddystone, and the focus of safety sessions in the borough.

250 people who showed up at a meeting in West Goshen last night to ask questions and complain about a pumping station that Sunoco Logistics needs to get Marcellus Shale materials to the former Sunoco refinery in Marcus Hook. They don’t much care for the idea.

100,000 dollars in scholarships doled out to Delco high schoolers by the Taylor Foundation.

0 liquor licenses in Swarthmore. That could change under a plan by Swarthmore College, which is being opposed by some in the borough.

40 room inn and bar at center of legal dispute pitting the school against some residents.

15 applications that have been received by the state from taverns for small games of chance. State officials initially thought they’d get 2,000.

3 people shot during funeral for shooting victim in Trenton yesterday.

700 homes at the Jersey shore that will be targeted for post-Sandy buyouts.

15 cities still in the running to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, including Philly.

65 point spike in stock market yesterday.

30 percent boost in profits for Comcast.

3 straight wins for the Phillies.

6 consecutive saves for Jonathan Papelbon, preserving 3-2 win for the Phils

22 errors committed by the Dodgers in 21 games. An dropped ball in the outfield led to the Phils’ winning run in the 10th inning.

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

So much for home-ice advantage. Flyers now must win another game in NYC to win this series.

I Don’t Get It: Gunshots broke out yesterday at a funeral in Trenton. The funeral was for a teen who was shot and killed last week.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to those who plan to take a stand against violence in Chester at a rally tonight.

Quote Box: “The Haverford School obviously does not tolerate such activities and is cooperating with authorities.”

- Headmaster John Nagl, in wake of drug probe centering on two graduates.

Chester is back in the headlines again

It's going to be a big news day in Chester again today.

First, there will be the fallout from yesterday's raid on the Chester Police Department. Officers from the Special Prosecution Unit of the county CID showed up at police HQ on Seventh Street armed with search warrants.

According to our Rose Quinn, the probe centers on a missing scope from a rifle that was part of a federal ATF investigation. CID officers were seen carrying items out of police headquarters.

It's not the first time there have been issues in the evidence room. We've written about it before. Chester Mayor John Linder is expected to speak about the issue at tonight's city council meeting.

The investigation by the D.A.'s office is believed to have been sparked by a complaint from an officer. One of the issues the department is dealing with is divided loyalties. Commissioner Joe Bail was brought in under Linder. He was out of town yesterday and unavailable to comment.

Linder and D.A. Jack Whelan both confirmed the probe and search warrants, but declined to divulge any other information. But the missing scope and how it came to be missing - and quickly returned - is not the only issue in the city. Tonight a group of ministers is planning a rally before the City Council meeting to protest the continuing violence in the city, as well as an unsolved murder.

They are inviting the city to come together to show their resolve and take a stand against violence at 7 p.m. at the City Council Room in City Hall.

I wrote last week about the growing exasperation of many city residents about what they now say is becoming a daily part of life in Chester - routine random gunfire.

Yesterday I had a call from a person very active in the city who said he believes both Mayor Linder and Commissioner Bail have been reluctant to bring in outside help, something that county officials said they would consider. We'll see if that comes up tonight.

For his part, when he was a guest with me two weeks ago on our 'Live From the Newsroom'show, Linder did not hesitage when I asked him flat-out, "Is Chester safe?"

"Yes," he quickly responded.

He might have a more difficult time selling that to city residents.

About that front page

I hope all those who insist that this newspaper never misses an opportunity to portray certain people from certain areas of the county in a negative light noticed yesterday's front page.

It featured a major drug bust.

Not in Chester. Or Collingdale. Or Darby. Or Marcus Hook.

This one happened on the Main Line.

And it involved young people from some of the best schools in the region. The two ringleaders were graduates of the prestigious Haverford School, where they starred on the lacrosse team.

Some of their "employees," according to police, were pushing pot and other stuff in Radnor, Conestoga, Lower Merion and Harriton high schools.

They also had folks in local colleges, including Lafayette, Haverford and Gettysburg.

As we often do when we have an arrest that features a large group of people, we displayed their faces on our front page. Usually this is met with complaints that we are picking on minorities and disadvantaged people.

Inevitably someone will call me and complain that we always portray minorities in this fashion, but when it involves a non-minority, it goes not get the same treatment.

They say we routinely try to 'hide' those stories inside the paper.

I offer yesterday's front page as Exhibit A in my argument against that accusation.

Funny, I didn't receive one call about it yesterday.

'Live From the Newsroom' talks student financial literacy

We're taking our live-stream Internet broadcast, 'Live From the Newsroom,' back on the road tonight when we tackle the issue of financial literacy among young people with the good folks at the Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union.

Financial literacy among young people is becoming a big issue.

The Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union has been pushing this issue for years, starting with the opening of several branches inside high schools, and staffed by students.

They also use the famous Berenstain Bears to spread the message of financial literacy among young people.

Tonight I will be joined by Rick Durante and Mike Magnavita, from the credit union, to talk about their work, and I'll also have two very special guests.

Lexi Galantino carries the No. 1 ranking in her class at Springfield High School. She also just happens to be an intern at the Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union's branch inside Springfield High as well as co-chairing the Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union's Youth Advisory Board. Lexi is this year's scholarship winner. She's headed to Tufts Univesity next year.

Also with is will be Marple Newtown School District Superintendent Dr. Merle Horowitz. She's been named the credit union's 2014 Financial Literacy Advocate, given to a leader in education each year who demonstrates strong support for financial literacy.

We'll also use the show to preview next week's big Partners in Learning Celebration dinner, featuring the awards for the All-Delco Hi-Q team as well as the Delaware County Excellence in Teaching Awards.

Each year we are honored to feature the All-Delco Hi-Q team. Much as we do for each high school sport, each year we name an All-Delco team tied to the nation's oldest academic quiz competition. One team member is selected from each competing school.

Make sure you look for complete write-ups on the All-Delco Hi-Q team this Sunday in the Daily Times. On Monday we will do likewise with this year's winners of the Excellence in Teaching Awards.

Make sure you tune in to DelcoTimes.com tonight at 7 for a very special 'Live From the Newsroom' on financial literacy among young people.

Flyers throw away home-ice advantage

So much for home-ice advantage.

It did not take the Flyers long to relinquish what they had worked so hard to achieve. After wresting the advantage away from the New York Rangers Sunday in the Big Apple, the orange and black failed to show up last night at the Wells Fargo Center, falling 4-1 in a troubling, listless effort.

Ray Emery was not sharp. He had lots of company. The Flyers fell behind quickly 2-0 in the first period and never recovered.

Steve Mason, still suffering from the ever-mysterious "upper body injury" apparently was healthy enough to be on the bench as Emery's backup. He actually saw some mop-up duty late in the third period after the Rangers went up 4-1.

All of that is the bad news. The worse news is that Flyers fans will have an extra day to wallow in the bad vibe. No doubt thanks to the vagaries of TV, Game 3 is not being played in South Philly until Friday night.

No word yet on who will be in goal. Look for Mason to get that start.

Regardless, the Flyers now will have to win another game in New York. Before winning on Sunday, they had dropped eight straight there.

Rob Parent has the details on the Flyers' shaky effort.

And columnist Jack McCaffery notes coach Craig Berube is in a familiar pickle for a Flyers coach, a goaltending dilemma.

On the bright side, how 'bout dem Phillies. They won their 3rd straight last night to even their record at 10-10. And tonight they get Cole Hamels back as he takes the hill in a battle with Dodgers ace Zack Greinke.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, April 22

The Daily Numbers: 2 grads of the prestigious Haverford School charged with running a huge drug ring with the aim of taking over the illegal drug trade in high schools on the Main Line as well as several local colleges.

25 and 18, age of the suspected kingpins, both of whom were lacrosse players at Haverford and then dropped out of college.

9 others, including 2 juveniles, busted as their sub-dealers, who would push drugs in the high schools.

35,000 a year, how much it costs to attend Haverford School.

8 pounds of marijuana found during a search of the suspects’ homes.

3 grams of hash oil.

23 grams of cocaine.

11 grams of MDMA.

11,000 dollars in cash.

3 guns, including an AR-15 rifle.

0 rate hike being sought by SEPTA in their general operating budget for next year.

20 percent increase in ridership on Media/Elwyn regional rail line, one of the reasons it’s being targeted for upgrades by SEPTA.

11,000 passengers who use the line every day.

75 counts of harassment filed against a part-time Colwyn police officer charged in connection with stalking his ex-fiancee.

3.85 million dollar sale price for the landmark Upper Darby Professional Center on Market Street.

25,000 dollars in damages done by vandals on the Penn State York campus.

40.71 point hike for the stock market yesterday.

1 or 2 dollars a month fee hike being considered by Netflix.

3 straight starts for Ray Emery, who will be back between pipes tonight for Flyers, subbing for injured starter Steve Mason.

7-0 win for the Phillies behind Cliff Lee last night vs. Dodgers.

10 strikeouts recorded by Lee, who retired 21 of last 22 batters he faced through 8 innings of work.

38 strikeouts so far this year for Lee, with just 2 walks.

5 home runs for Ryan Howard, who went yard again last night.

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

Anyone know exactly what an “upper body injury” is. Whatever it is, it is keeping Steve Mason on the sidelines for the Flyers. It’s up to Ray Emery now.

I Don’t Get It: Not exactly sure what these Main Line hotshots were thinking in terms of running this drug enterprise. What? They didn’t think anyone would notice?

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Montco D.A. and law enforcement for taking down this preppie drug magnates.

Quote Box: “We will crush it. Once you go tax free it’s hard to go back.”

- Suspected Main Line drug ring leader Tim Brooks, in text to his partner.

A Delco guy meets the president

One of the things I like the most about social media is the ability to make connections I otherwise would miss. It also allows me to 'connect' with people and places from my past.

That's how I 'connected' with Tina Zuzek. It turns out she grew up in the same little town I did out in Chester County. But she now lives here in Delco. Her son, a football player, attends the Naval Academy. We connected last year when she alerted me to her son's appearance in the Army-Navy game. Joe is a standout offensive lineman.

Here is a small confession. One of my great laments in my life is that I did not pursue the chance to go to the Naval Academy. We had a congressman, John Ware, who actually lived in our town and likely would have written a letter of recommendation. But I was a young knucklehead, and didn't think it was 'cool' to be a midshipman. What a dunce.

But I've always been a Navy fan, at least in part out of that missed opportunity, and the fact that my dad was a sailor.

Tina noticed that I was often wrote about Oxford in my column and blog, and we connected. That's how we wound up doing a story on her son.

Last week she contacted me again.

Joe was making news again.

That's him with President Obama in the picture accompanying this blog.

The Naval Academy team visited the White House and met with President Obama on Friday to accept the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy for the ninth time in 11 seasons.

A couple of other Delco guys, Mike Huf from Drexel Hill, and Lonnie Richardson from Chester, also were on hand for the event. His family and friends apparently call Joe 'Jake.'

I hope he doesn't mind if I do as well.

He did Delco proud.

As well as his mom's - and a certain newspaper editor's - home town.

Well done, Jake.

The Flyers, Steve Mason & dreaded "upper body injury"

What exactly is an "upper body injury?"

Inquiring minds - probably belonging to Flyers fans - want to know.

Starting goaltender Steve Mason will not be between the pipes again tonight when the Flyers return home to face the Rangers in Game 3 of their opening Stanley Cup playoff series. The Flyers, behind Ray Emery, evened the series and wrested home-ice advantage from the Rangers with a gutty come-from-behind 4-2 win on Sunday.

Immediately after the game the talk turned to who would be in goal when the series resumed tonight at the Wells Fargo Center.

We didn't have to wait long. Mason announced Monday that he would not be able to go. Here's Rob Parent's report.

But exactly what is ailing the goaltender is not exactly clear.

As is their custom, the Flyers are keeping this kind of information top secret, announcing only that Mason is in fact suffering from the aforementioned "upper body injury."

Mason got involved in a pileup and banged his head on the ice during the last week of the regular season.

Is he suffering a concussion?

We don't know. No one is saying. Not the Flyers. Certainly not Mason.

There is the temptation to simply say that he is, then let the team deny it if they want.

Flyers fans are among the most passionate around. They simply live and die with this team. Year in and year out they fill the Wells Fargo Center, playoffs or no playoffs.

Seems like a lousy way to treat them when it comes to injuries.

The truth is they deserve better than what the Flyers are giving them.

For now, they will be to settle for the dreaded "upper body injury."

Monday, April 21, 2014

Daily Numbers for Monday, April 21

The Daily Numbers: 1-1 deadlock between the Rangers and Flyers after the Orange & Black rallied for 4-2 win yesterday.

2-0 deficit for Flyers early in 2nd period. Raise your hand if you turned the game off and focused on the Easter ham at that point?

3 people, a woman and two juveniles, charged in last week’s home invasion in Chester.

36, age of man intentionally run down early Saturday in Collingdale.

2nd hit-run case to make headlines in Collingdale in last month. An earlier fatal hit-run remains unsolved. 1 person of interest police want to talk to in connection with the latest incident.

2 suspects charged in rash of car-break-ins at Planet Fitness in Upper Darby.

1 year, how long Melissa Rodriguez has been missing. Her family continues to wait for answers.

76, age of former prizefighter Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter, who died this weekend. He became famous for being wrongly convicted of murder.

10 percent tax on natural gas extraction being proposed by Pa. Dem guv candidate Rob McCord.

5 percent levy backed by GOP Senate candidate Tom McGarrigle.

5 million dollar tax bill now for Harrah’s in Chester now that it no longer enjoys tax-free status as part of Keystone Opportunity Zone.

218 million dollar assessment on their property on the Chester waterfront.

10 million dollars, how much Harrah’s gave to city of Chester last year under their licensing deal.

5 million to Delaware County.

2.9 cent increase in price of gallon of gas across the region last week.

22.9 cents per gallon higher than this week last year.

4/20, yes that was yesterday’s date. It’s also the date many celebrate the benefits of marijuana.

3 killed, 260 injured in last year’s Boston Marathon bombing.

100 video cameras now installed along the marathon route.

36,000 runners signed up for today’s race.

10-9 win for the Phillies yesterday.

4 hits for Ryan Howard.

5 saves in 6 chances now for Jonathan Papelbon.

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

Raise your hand in you had written off the Flyers after they fell behind 2-0 yesterday? Yeah, me too.

I Don’t Get It: Police now have a person of interest in a Collingdale case in which they say a driver was lying in wait, then ran down a man when he exited his home early Saturday.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Boston today. Still Boston strong.

Quote Box: “But we also don’t want to have it, you know, kind of a race through a militarized zone. So it’s about striking a balance, and I think we have struck that balance.”

- Mass. Gov. Delval Patrick, on preparations for today’s Boston Marathon.

All eyes on Boston

The nation will focus its eyes on Boston today.

As one public official stated yesterday, it likely will be the safest city in the world today. And with good reason.

It was one year ago that we were reminded that terror is in fact an every-day thing, something we now live with on a daily basis.

It's something I now think of when I'm in crowds, or when a I see someone carrying a backpack.

I don't live my life looking over my shoulder, but I am certainly aware of my surroundings in ways that I never used to be.

It's now part of our lives.

Confessions of a bad high school athlete

A lifetime ago, I was a high school athlete.

I have often said that I learned as much about life from my teammates and experiences on a bad football team than I did in any of my classes.

My thoughts on that topic haven't changed, although my aching body, including the fact that I can no longer throw a ball overhand due to one specific football injury, now questions the wisdom of playing football at 115 pounds soaking wet.

I collected more X-rays than victories in high school.

But I would love to be able to go back and revisit some of those games.

Luckily, kids here in Delco don't have that dilemma.

The reason why is revealed in today's print column. That's me, No. 12, seated front center.

Cast your vote now, Flyers fans: Ray Emery or Steve Mason

Raise your hand if you had written the Flyers. C'mon, you know who you are.

The losers of eight straight games in Madison Square Garden, the Flyers were looking up from a 2-0 hole early in Sunday's Game Two of their opening Stanley Cup playoff tilt vs. the Rangers.

Fans already were saying, 'See you Tuesday night' and preparing to tackle the Easter ham when a wondrous thing happened. The Flyers looked deep inside themselves and rallied for an improbably 4-2 win to even the series at one game apiece and swipe the home-ice advantage.

They play again Tuesday night.

You can get all the details on Game Two from Rob Parent here and columnist Jack McCaffery here.

The Flyers now face a most interesting dilemma. Steve Mason was held out of Game Two with lingering issues from the infamous "upper body injury," according to the Flyers, who keep their injury reports a lot more secure than all that data gathered by the NSA.

Ray Emery played well in Thursday night's Game One loss, but was outstanding in stopping 31 Rangers shots yesterday. So is there a goalie controversy? Mason may be ready to roll Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center. But do the Flyers interrupt the mojo they are building behind Emery.

For Emery, this is a bit of deja vu, all over again, but in reverse.

Last year he went 17-0-1 for the Blackhawks but found himself on the bench in favor of Corey Crawford, who led Chicago to a Stanley Cup crown.

So let's see a show of hands. Emery or Mason? Post a comment with your vote.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, April 17

The Daily Numbers: 32, our low temperature overnight. Nice sense of humor, Mother Nature.

2 different fires that struck homes in Ridley and Folcroft yesterday.

1 hour of deliberations, how long it took a jury to acquit a Chester man charged in a gun incident outside Crozer-Chester Medical Center.

7,661 in additional funding set in Middletown Township to attack pothole-scarred roads.

58 percent increase in cost of college education, target of hearing yesterday at Cheyney University.

77 million dollars, price placed on auction block for Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News. 67.9 million dollars brought in on table games at Pa. casinos last month. That’s up 1 percent from the same month last year.

6,964,862 in slots play at Harrah’s in March. That’s down from last year’s number of $7,265,244. And that’s with more tables in play this year, 126 as opposed to 121 last year.

4.2 percent overall decline in revenue at casinos in March because of a continuing slide in slots play.

3 children in her car when a New Jersey woman drover her van into the Delaware River. She now faces attempted murder charges. All 4 were rescued.

1,500 dollars worth of vandalism being investigated at Rowan University.

60 age of Montgomery County man who faces charges of supplying booze for a Sweet 16 party.

7.5 million in upgrades being given the OK by the PATCO transit board.

8 arrests on weapons and other charges for a woman who now faces charges in connection with death of her son. She left a loaded gun in her home that was used in shooting death of 2-year-old.v 290 still missing after a ferry packed with students capsized off Korea

162 point spike for the stock market yesterday.

2 wins to end the season for the Sixers. They started the season going 3-0.

20 points for Thaddeus Young.

13 strikeouts for Cliff Lee last night. He still go the loss despite tossing a complete game.

1-0 loss as Lee was outdueled by Braves pitcher Julio Teheran.

3 hits for the feeble Phils lineup.

1 as in Game 1 tonight as the Flyers face the Rangers in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. 8 straight losses for the Flyers in Big Apple.

28 appearances for Ray Emery, who will get the start for the Flyers with Steve Mason on the shelf. 9-12-2 mark for Emery, with a 2.96 goals against average.

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

Cliff Lee was mediocre on opening day and escaped with a win in a slugfest. He was great last night, striking out 13 Braves, and lost, 1-0. That’s baseball.

I Don’t Get It: What is with all the random gunfire in Chester. People are telling us it is now an everyday occurrence?

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the good people at Apple Pie Day Care Center in Chester. They are raising money for the funeral of little Karder Hardy, who was struck and killed by a car last weekend.

Quote Box: “I couldn’t imagine losing a child like that.”

- Brookhaven resident Ray Delfera, while writing out a check to help the effort.

Focusing on gunfire in Chester

UPDATE: I'm starting to get some reaction to my call for citizens to sound off about gunfire in Chester. Here's what one resident emailed me:

"Seriously terrified. My in-laws refuse to move out of the city! My husband WORKS in the city. I pray for their safety. It makes me sick that someone can't declare Marshall Law and go in and clean house in Chester. It's always the warmer months that you see more action. The cockroaches stay indoors in the winter months."

And one more, with the often-heard response that the few give a bad impression for the rest of the city:

"I am a former city resident. I know there are many, many good people who live there. Of course I am concerned about the shootings; but I am also concerned for the good people in the city because they are getting short shrift because of these happenings. I think it's wonderful that you are doing a story on this. I read your post this morning in Heron's Nest and liked the focus of it. It sounds to me like you are also trying to make the point that many city residents are very concerned about this. That angle alone may help to change the perception of Chester's people as a whole Thank you. This is an important story."

This just in:

My mom and step dad just moved onto Clover Lane in Chester and they have heard gunshots five times in three weeks in their location. They met the man Derrick who was an innocent victim in the fatality a week prior to his wrong place wrong time. He was a barber down the street and even offered to cut their dogs hair for free because he knew they were broke and down on their luck. They heard those gun shots that unfortunately took his life, and when they found out it was the guy they met right after moving in, they felt so sorry for him and his family's loss. They visited his memorial and the day he was buried his poor 4-year-old son got hit by a van and died from his injuries. That's just one story, imagine all the thousands. They stay inside and close shade and lock windows afraid for their lives every day. You can't even walk up the street in broad daylight without fearing for your life.

"It's so sad. Broken homes, hurt families, poverty-stricken and broke. This city was once an OK place many years ago. Our local church is helping with Ninth Street youth ministry, and CitiTam but this city needs more than a few helping caring people. It needs a complete clean up and out and renovation to save these poor children from cycling the same lifestyle. It's so sad for them, they don't have any hope or a chance hardly. Get the word out. People need to help, officials, government etc."

Here's one more:

" I am 48 years old and I have lived in the City all of my life. It hasn’t been until this year that I have thought about moving out of the city. It’s just ridiculous any more, it seems like every other day there is an incident, and someone said when it gets warm the cockroaches come out?? That is not true, we have heard gun shots all winter so the cockroaches do not have a favorite season! My biggest concern used to be raising my children to be productive, thoughtful, God-fearing citizens. Now my biggest concern is my youngest making it off of the school bus stop without getting shot at or shot. Something has got to give the city cannot hold any many more teddy bear memorials.

I'll keep publishing them. Keep sending them to me!

It's easy to take potshots at the city of Chester.

Actually somebody is doing just that. Lots of people are firing guns in the city.

We're getting calls here in the newsroom that gunfire is now a routine occurrence in some parts of the city.

Earlier this week we reported on a random shooting where gunshots hit a truck driver as he drove down a city street. A recent homicide is believed by police to be a situation where an innocent victim was caught in the crossfire.

Of the 15 homicides recorded this year in Delaware County, seven of them have occurred in the city of Chester.

A Facebook post on a board hosted by a group of city residents complained about the situation in the William Penn Projects.

I have had one county law enforcement official indicate to me concern is growing about the situation.

This is the message that was delivered to me, after this person also joined a Facebook posting board for Chester residents:

"I've noticed that there are a lot of posts from Chester residents concerning people shooting guns all hours of the night in residential neighborhoods," this source said "Just reading the posts makes me afraid for the safety of the children and good people living in the city. It may be the usual break in the weather or something else going on. But, people are not safe and they are afraid.

"I know many Delco residents don't care about the people living in Chester, but I do. My organization has been trying to help as have others. We all try in our way to be a positive influence, especially for the children. Please keep reporting on Chester. I can only hope that things will change."

I'd like to think the newspaper can be part of the solution.

But first I want to detail the situation. If you'd like to go on the record and discuss the gun situation in the city, send me an email to editor@delcotimes.com.

We're planning a story focusing on the increase in gunfire in the city.

Is it just a sign of warmer weather? Is this different than other situations? Is it being blown out of proportion? I'd like to hear from the people who live there and have to deal with the 'pop-pop-pop' that sometimes seems like the soundtrack to their lives.

The secret behind the Wawa Way

Yesterday, Wawa threw itself a shindig to celebrate the 50th anniversary of opening its first store, on MacDade Boulevard in the Folsom section of Ridley Township.

The free coffee was a nice touch.

But Wawa has proved to be more than just a convenience store.

It's become part of our lives.

Ask anyone who has moved out of the area what they miss most and inevitably one of the first replies is, "Wawa." In our editorial today, I take a look at the secret behind the Wawa Way.

Another rough day for Philly sports

On opening day, the Texas Rangers knocked Cliff Lee around pretty good. The Phils' left-handed ace gave up eight earned runs on 11 hits while going just 5 innings.

And he got the win.

Last night Lee pitched a gem, hurling a complete game and giving up just one run while striking out 13. And he got the loss.

That's because the Phils' feeble lineup managed just three hits against Braves starter Julio Teheran.

Hey, at least we were not treated to another miserable showing from the Phils' bullpen. This time it was the bats that went AWOL.

You know you're in trouble when one of your three hits is Ryan Howard beating out an infield single.

The Phillies now stand at 6-8 and continue to gasp for air.

So about those Sixers! They ended their season the same way they started it, by beating the defending champion Miami Heat.

The 76ers won their first three games of the season, and their last two. It's probably best to simply forget everything in between.

And the Flyers? Those are storm clouds forming above Madison Square Garden, where the orange and black have not won in their last eight appearances.

Tonight they go into their Stanley Cup playoff opening series without their starting goaltender, Steve Mason. He's out with an upper body injury. Ray Emery will be between the pipes.

All in all, just a swell day on the Philly sports front.

Next you'll tell me the Eagles released DeSean Jackson, getting nothing in return for a Pro Bowl receiver.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, April 16 (The Wawa Edition)

The Daily Numbers: 50 years in business today at Wawa.

1, as in Store No. 1 for Wawa, on MacDade Boulevard in the Holmes section of Ridley.

640 stories today.

25 new stores per year for the next 5 years, the company’s growth goal.

6 states where you can find a fix for ‘Gotta havva Wawa,’ including new stores in Florida.

380 of them that offer gasoline.

6,000 items you can buy at the Delco-based convenience stores.

22,000 employees

400 million customers annually.

195 million cups of coffee brewed each year.

60 million hoagies made annually.

1803, when Wawa started as an iron foundry in New Jersey.

1902, when Wood family started dairy farm processing plant in Wawa, Pa.

6 core values of the chain laid out in new book, ‘The Wawa Way.’

0, what it will cost you today to get a coffee at Wawa. They are offering free java all day as part of the celebration. 3.5 minutes, the time it takes most people to get in and out of the store.

5,000 dollar donation being made today at the original Ridley store to the Ridley United Soccer Association.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Look on the bright side. The Phils got rained out last night. We didn’t have to watch through our fingers when Ryne Sandberg went to the bullpen. And even better, the Sixers play the last game of their miserable season tonight. They should have made admission free.

I Don’t Get It: All those losses and the Sixers still don’t necessarily get the top pick. They don’t have as many ping-pong balls as the Milwaukee Bucks.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Wawa on 50 years of serving Delco and the region.

Quote Box: “Wawa has become more than just a retailer, it’s become part of our community and a part of our customers’ lives.”

- Howard Stoeckel, vice chairman of the Wawa Board of Directors and author of ‘The Wawa Way.’

'Live From the Newsroom' tackles Flyers' chances in Stanley Cup Playoffs

There is good news, better news and some bad news on the sports front today.

The good news? The Phillies game vs. the Braves got rained out last night, so we were not treated to another gruesome look at what constitutes the Phils' bullpen these days.

The better news? The Sixers will play their final game in this God-forsaken season tonight at the Wells Fargo Center vs. LeBron James and the Miami Heat. If they had a conscience they'd make admission free. If they wanted to make money, they'd make the people then pay to get out.

And the bad news? Brace yourself Flyers fans.

We used our 'Live From the Newsroom' show last night to preview the Flyers first-round matchup in the Stanley Cup playoffs vs. the Rangers.

All three of our sports writers, Flyers beat writer and sports editor Rob Parent, Matt DeGeorge, who just covered the Frozen Four, and Bob Grotz like the Rangers.

Most believe the Flyers will fall in either six or seven games.

The key likely will be whether the Flyers can muster a win in Madison Square Garden, where they have dropped eight straight games.

It was left to me to stick up for the locals. I'm picking the Flyers in seven. And yes, I have my fingers and toes crossed.

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

Celebrating 50 years of 'Wawa runs'

In a lot of places, they might visit their local convenience store.

Hit the 7-Eleven.

Slurp a slurpee.

In the Philly area, we don't do that.

We make "Wawa runs."

We've been doing it for 50 years.

In fact, it was 50 years ago today, that the store with the funny name first opened the doors to their original store on MacDade Boulevard in the Folsom section of Ridley Township.

And today they're throwing a party to celebrate. And that includes free coffee at all Wawa locations.

The party will kick off at 6 a.m. at what is referred to as Wawa Store No. 1.

Visitors will step back in time - a half a century in fact - to get the feel and experience of what it was like on April 16, 1964. There will be 50th anniversary decorations, photos and the original signage for the store. Officials also will unveil the original pole sign. Store workers will be dressed in vintage store uniforms.

Former Wawa President and CEO Howard Stoeckel will pour the ceremonial first cup of coffee to kick off the day.

Wawa Chairman Dick Wood will re-enact the first-ever store transaction and unveil a special plaque dedicated to Wawa founder Grahame Wood.

Customers also will have a chance to check out a Wawa parade through the ages retrospective, showcasing visual milestones of the past 50 years.

Stoeckel also will autograph copies of his book, "The Wawa Way." In it he talks about how the business came to acquire its funny name and he lays out the six core principles that have led to its success.

The event will conclude with a special ribon-cutting to commemorate Wawa's half-century in business.

And of course all day customers will be rewarded with free coffee at all Wawa stores.

Later this morning, a similar celebration will be held in Philly at the 17th and Arch location from 8-8:30 a.m. "Wawa Day" will conclude with a special reception at the Convention Center and announcement of The Wawa Foundation, a new entity founded by Wawa to support the company charitable giving and philanthropic activities.

All of this to celebrate a story with a funny name. Yes, Wawa is the American Indian name for the Canadian goose native to this area.

That single store on MacDade Boulevard has grown into a convenience store behemoth with more than 640 stores that stretch beyond the Philadelphia region down into Maryland, Virginia and now even Florida. The company has more than 22,000 employees.

Today's "super" Wawas feature gas pumps and a dazzling array of food inside.

But it's still the people - and their interaction with loyal customers - that remains at the heart of the "Wawa Way." It also helps when you have your own personal Wawa. At the Daily Times, we've been lucky to have one of those quaint old stores withing walkin distance just a block away.

That's why today, as we've been doing for 50 years, most of the region will be making a "Wawa run."

Happy 50th, Wawa.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, April 15

The Daily Numbers: 15 of April. Happy Tax Day!

32, expected low temperature tonight into Wednesday, with a freeze warning in effect.

51, our high for tomorrow. Some places in the Poconos or Lehigh Valley could get a snow shower.

30 residents who packed a recent Chester Heights Borough Council meeting to discuss possible development of the old Chester Heights Camp Meeting property and another large parcel as well.

10 percent of 150,000 bail posted by man charged in accident that took the life of Dante DeSimone.

18, age of teen shot and killed in Chester.

15 homicides in Delco so far in 2014.

7 of them have been in Chester.

8 DUI convictions for Chester County man, the latest involving a fatal crash in which a 24-year-old motorcyclist was killed.

15.6 violations for every 100,000 licensed drivers cited for texting while driving under new law.

22.4 and 20.6, the rates in Chesco and Montco, respectively. They’re tops in the state.

1 person shot and killed overnight after an argument outside a popular bar near the Penn campus.

5 years since incident that led to abuse charges against a Chester County state trooper. Yesterday he was acquitted of the charge.

77 million dollars, how much one investor says he’s willing to spend to buy out his partners in owning the Philly Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com.

1 Pulitzer Prize captured by the Inky yesterday, to Inga Saffron for criticism for her architecture columns.

1.1 percent jump in retail sales in March.

146 point spike in the Dow Jones average yesterday.

9-6 come-from-ahead loss for the Phils to the Braves last night.

3 run homer by Dominic Brown that was wasted in the loss.

3 consecutive homers served up by Jake Diekman in relief.

2 more hits for Chase Utley, who is hitting . 489 and has a hit in all 11 games he’s played this year.

113-108 win for the Sixers last night against the Celtics.

18 wins against 63 losses for the Sixers with 1 game left in their miserable season.

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

Jonathon Papelbon was unavailable last night after pitching 3 straight nights. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the rest of the Phillies’ bullpen, leading to a disheartening come-from-ahead 9-6 loss to the Braves.

I Don’t Get It: A Chester County man was in court to plead guilty to his 8th DUI offense, this time involving a fatal crash that took the life of a 24-year-old. The judge called his record ‘absurd.’ Ya think?

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Chester County D.A. Tom Hogan and the family of Liam Crowley, who are vowing to seek harsher penalties for those involved in fatal DUI crashes who have a history of DUI charges.

Quote Box: “Mr. Landis, that’s almost to the absurdity level,isn’t it? And now it takes a life.”

- Chester County Judge Anthony Sarcione, to DUI driver Robert Landis.

Are your ready to get Flyer-ed up? Flyers playoff preview tonight on 'Live From the Newsroom'

Flyers vs. Rangers.

What else do you need to say, really?

The Flyers will kick off their quest for the Stanley Cup with a first-round matchup with the arch-rival New York Rangers Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

And to get you ready for the playoffs, we're hosting a special Flyers playoffs preview tonight on "Live From the Newsroom." We'll be back in Freedom Hall and the sparkling new TV studio of Widener University, where we borrow some communication students who work the controls on the show.

It's a special Tuesday night edition of the show, and at a special time. We'll be live at 6 p.m. I'll be joined by our Flyers beat writer Rob Parent, as well as Matt DeGeorge, who recently covered the Frozen Four national collegiate hockey championships at the Wells Fargo Center.

Do you have a question about the Flyers?

Email it to me at editor@delcotimes.com and I'll put it to our panel.

Will Steve Mason be ready to roll?

How can the Flyers get past their issues with the Big Apple, where they have not won in years?

What will Craig Berube's plan be?

For these and all the info you need to get ready for some serious Stanley Cup action, tune in 'Live From the Newsroom' tonight at 6 on DelcoTimes.com. You also will be able to take part in our live chat.

We're getting Flyer-ed up? How about you?

Education secretary, Sen. Casey do the Daily Times

We're on something of a roll when it comes to public officials paying us a visit here in the home office in beautiful downtown Primos.

Yesterday it was Pennsylvania Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq.

This morning U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey will stop by.

Dumaresq was actually in town to deliver some accolades to a couple of Springfield School District schools. E.T. Richardson Middle School and the Springfield Literacy Center both received the Governor's Award for Excellence in Academics for their performance on the state's School Performance Profile.

Of course, I took advantage of Dumaresq's visit to quiz her on the topic so near and dear to the hears of Delco home owners. That, of course, would be property taxes.

We've deemed the issue so important we've made it the focus of a year-long editorial project we're calling The Keystones: Property Taxes and Education Funding.

Dumaresq put up a spirited defense of the Corbett Administration's belief that they have been unfairly criticized for education funding, insisting that many of the recent problems have been the result of school district's dependency on federal stimulus dollars. She emphasized that districts were warned that those federal dollars were not permanent, yet they spent them on recurring projects and were left in a fiscal bind when those funds expired.v Dumaresq is no stranger to Delco. She's served in both the Interboro and Upper Darby School Districts.

She might be one of the few people to see the education riddle from both sides, having also served as the head of the teachers' union, the powerful Pennsylvania State Education Association.

Dumaresq believes the biggest threat to education in Pennsylvania is not property taxes, but rather the pension crisis that her boss has referred to as the "tapeworm" in the state budget process.

She believes that if not addressed, the pension crisis will eat up funds that otherwise could be directed to education. Sen. Casey will be here this morning at 11.

Do you have a question you'd like to ask him?

The last time he was here the senator made big news by changing his position on gun background checks in the days following the Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy.

If there is something you'd like to put to the senator, email it to me at editor@delcotimes.com.

We will try to live-stream our session with the senator. Tune in to DelcoTimes.com at 11 to see what he has to say.