Friday, August 29, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Aug. 29

The Daily Numbers: 12-3 win for the Broomall-Newtown 13-15 Babe Ruth team to take the national title last night.

2 Babe Ruth Little League championships coming home to Broomall-Newtown. Their 13 team won a title last week.

11 walks, 7 errors, 3 wild pitches and 1 hit batter by team from Lumber River, N.C., that helped paved the way for Broomall-Newtown last night.

300 residents who packed a meeting in Brookhaven last night to discuss a proposed development for the last piece of open space in the borough.

25 acres of the 55-acre Chester Water Authority ground at Coebourn and Edgmont that is targeted for a new shopping center.

15 years with the Springfield School District coming to end as Superintendent James Capolupo is planning to leave. He will not accept a contract extension.

9 years as leader of Marple Newtown School District Merle Horowitz, who announced she is retiring.

42, age of Concord man nailed on child porn charges by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

3.5 million dollar renovation of the Neumann University Library that was officially unveiled this week.

1 year of probation for former Interboro High athlete who pleaded guilty in an attack on a Ridley football player.

330 volunteers who showed up recently to help create a new playground at Evans Elementary School in Yeadon.

500,000 more low-income residents of Pennsylvania who will get health care after the feds accepted the state’s plan to accept Medicaid expansion money.

20,000, how many cases of Ebola virus outbreak are being predicted.

42 point dip for the stock market yesterday.

298,000 people who filed for unemployment benefits last week, that’s down 1,000 from the week before.

3 field goals booted by Eagles kicker Cody Parkey last night in his bid to unseat Alex Henery as the team’s kicker.

54, 53 and 25 yarders converted by Parkey.

22 of 34 for backup QB Matt Barkley as the Birds rolled over the Jets, 37-7.

1 play for Michael Vick to start the game in front of the Philly fans before he was lifted from game by Jets.

37-7 win for Temple over Venderbilt to open the season. Hoot, Owls!

1, where Garnet Valley is sitting on the 1st edition of Matt Smith’s Delco Football Super 7.

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

If I was Alex Henery, I might start packing my bags. It will be hard for Chip Kelly not to go with Cody Parkey after his performance last night.

I Don’t Get It: We apparently set some kind of record for a cooler than normal summer. So much for global warming.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Broomall-Newtown Babe Ruth. They took not 1 but 2 Babe Ruth World Series crowns.

Quote Box: “The attraction and charm of Brookhaven will be lost.”

- Resident Jesse Walker, speaking against development of large tract of open space.

Score one for those looking to stop straw gun purchases

Staci Dawson, meet Brad Fox.

If only she could.

Fox is the Montgomery County police officer who was shot with a gun he acquired via a straw purchase.

Dawson this week became the first person convicted under the new law enacted in Fox's name, enacting a mandatory minimum five-year prison sentence for anyone who engages in the practice of straw gun purchases.

Delco District Attorney Jack Whelan sounded a warning for others, if you engage in this practice, you are looking at serious jail time.

If the Brad Fox Law keeps even one person from considering buying a gun for someone who is not legally allowed to possess one, it will be well worth it, and a tribute to the legacy of Brad Fox.

Here is our editorial.

Title Town! Broomall-Newtown takes 2nd Babe Ruth World Series crown

Forget Broomall. And Newtown.

Just call them Title Town.

They did it! The Broomall-Newtown 13-15 Babe Ruth team captured an amazing second national title Thursday by beating a team from Lumber River, N.C., 12-3 out in Longview, Washington.

You can read all the details here. Unfortunately the game ended too late to make it into our print edition.

It caps off an amazing run for Broomall-Newtown Babe Ruth. Last week their 13 team took a World Series crown.

Scott Hahn was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.

They will celebrate with a parade and a party on Sunday. We'll be there.

It's Football Friday!

Fall starts today.

That's because it's Football Friday - the first big day of the Delco high school football season.

And we have our game face on already. Make sure you pick up a copy of the print edition today for our special high school football preview, including a weekly schedule that has the entire season for every team at a glance.

Our popular Football Friday package is back today as well, including the first edition of Matt Smith's Super 7. Want to guess who's sitting on top of the heap as we kick off the high school football season. You'll find that and a lot more at our home for high school sports, GameTimePa.

Harry Chaykun has his popular Instant Replay package, with snippets from games 10, 20, 30 and 40 years ago. And our intrepid staff will hold forth with their first round of predictions for Week 1.

If all that's not enough, we have Bob Grotz and Jack McCaffery weighing in from last night's Eagles exhibition finale. Has Chip Kelly found a new kicker. All eyes were on Cody Parkey - and he delivered with three field goals - including two from more than 50 yards out. Alex Henery's days might be numbered. We'll find out soon. The Birds and other NFL teams have to be down to 53 players by Saturday at 4 p.m.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Aug. 28

The Daily Numbers: 5 years in prison, what a 22-year-old Chester woman is facing after becoming the 1st person convicted under new law named for slain Officer Brad Fox to beef up penalties for those involved in straw gun purchases.

2 guns Staci Dawson is believed to have purchased for her ex-boyfriend.

3 hours, how long it took jury to convict Dawson, this after and earlier jury failed to reach a verdict on these charges while acquitting Dawson on lesser offenses.

2 days of picketing at Crozer-Chester Medical Center planned for next week by nurses who continue to seek a new contract.

600 Crozer nurses who are members of Pennsylvania Association of Nurses and Allied Professionals.

103,000 dollar average annual salary for the Crozer nurses.

51 months in prison for a Brookhaven man convicted on federal ID theft charges.

100 counts of rape filed against Folcroft man suspected in sexual attacks on a teen girl.

3 Delco GOP powers who took Dem gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf to task for not releasing his tax returns.

49-24 edge for Wolf over Gov. Tom Corbett, according to new F&M Poll.

25 percent of voters remain undecided.

2 men whose bodies were found bound and tied and then dumped in Schuylkill River in Philly. A 3rd was stabbed but escaped. Police believe the case is drug-related.

193,000 phony invoice issued by former aide to U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, who pleaded guilty yesterday.

17,122,01 close for the Dow Jones yesterday.

3rd straight record high for S&P.

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

How sweep it is. The Phillies just took 3 from the 1st place Washington Nationals.

I Don’t Get It: Tom Wolf should put an end to this game of hide-and-seek and release his tax returns, as a series of GOP leaders, including several in Delaware County, are urging him to do.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Broomall-Newtown Babe Ruth 13-15 team. They won last night and now are just 1 win away - tonight - from a national title. The Broomall-Newtown 13 team already win their Babe Ruth World Series. What’s in the water out there in Broomall-Newtown? Well done!

Quote Box: “There are no negotiations by this office with regards to these cases. If you’re going to engage in the illegal exchange of firearms in this county, we are going to prosecute you and you are going to spend a substantial amount of time in a penitentiary.”

- Delco D.A. Jack Whelan, after 1st conviction in county under new Brad Fox Law, which enacts 5-year mandatory minimum sentence for straw gun sales.

A heated discussion about Covanta in Chester

Shelia Hyland does not mince words when she talks about the Covanta trash-burning facility in Chester.

"You're killing us," she stated matter-of-factly.

John Waffenschmidt doesn't see it that way. He believes the plant, which recently won approval from Chester City Council to erect two buildings that will allow it to bring in trash shipments from New York City, operates safely and is not responsible for many of the health maladies that afflict the residents of Chester.

That was the 'heated' debate last night as our live-stream Internet broadcast, 'Live From the Newsroom,' examined the hottest story in Chester. Literally.

We also were joined by Mike Ewall of the Energy Justice Network, an environmental group that disputes Covanta's contention that they are not increasing the amount of trash coming into the Chester facility.

They think otherwise, and vow to continue the fight to shut the plant down.

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

My thanks for Waffenschmidt, Ewall, Hyland and her daughter Hope for a great discussion.

I especially like the way the show ended, with Waffenschmidt offering to meet Hyland and any other concerned residents to talk about the plant, safety and health conditions in Chester.

Hyland's ire was not solely directed at Covanta, however.

She also made clear she and Chester residents are irate at the way Chester City Council handled the matter.

"They sold us out," she said. "We don't want this."

Why do I get the feeling these groups might wind up meeting again - in a courtroom?

In memory of Brad Fox

Somewhere, Officer Brad Fox is looking down and smiling today.

Fox, a policeman in Plymouth Township, Montgomery County, was gunned down in the line of duty - by a man who had acquired the gun in an illegal straw purchase.

The resulting uproar resulted in passage of the Brad Fox Law in 2013. It mandates a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for anyone convicted of engaging in a straw gun purchase.

Yesterday, a Chester woman became one of the first people to feel the wrath of those still mourning the loss of Brad Fox. Staci Dawson was the first person charged - and convicted - in Delaware County under the law.

Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan made his office's position clear.

"There are no negotiations by this office with regards to these cases," he said after the verdict, which came after an earlier trial in which the jury failed to reach a verdict and acquitted Dawson of lesser charges. "If you're going to engage in the illegal exchange of firearms in this county, we are going to prosecute you and you are going to spend a substantial amount of time in a penitentiary."

No doubt Brad Fox would concur.

The return of Michael Vick; & a special Eagles preview section

There will be a familiar face at Lincoln Financial Field tonight.

Even if he is wearing an unfamiliar name.

Michael Vick will return to the turf where he resurrected his career. Vick was a pariah when he arrived, fresh off a two-year stint in federal prison for his role in bankrolling a vicious dog-fighting ring.

But from the day he appeared at a press conference with then-Coach Andy Reid and his mentor Tony Dungy, Vick said and did all the right things.

In a word, he was impressive.

That didn't change even when he was released by the Eagles, and he has not sounded a sour note since learning he will be a backup to Geno Smith with the Jets.

I for one will cheer Vick when he takes the field tonight.

I hope I'm not alone.

*

For Eagles fans, this is a very special day.

Not because it marks the end of the preseason, but because today's Daily Times includes a spectacular, 48-page Eagles preview section.

In it you'll find everything you need to get ready for the opener vs. Jacksonville on Sept. 7.

Eagles beat writer Bob Grotz offers is view of the season, along with his predictions.

Columnist Jack McCaffery gives you a very special look at the Birds A-Z.

And we'll also have a great retrospective look at the history of this proud franchise.

Of course in the centerspread we feature a full-color 2014 Eagles schedule that you can hang on your fridge and plot the Birds' progress week by week.

Make sure you get one today.

Broomall-Newtown 1 win away from 2nd Babe Ruth crown

You know something big is brewing when a come-from-behind 8-4 win by the Phillies - capping off a sweep of the 1st-place Washington Nationals - is not the biggest baseball story in Delaware County.

The Taney Dragons and their parade down Broad Street?

Nah! Meet the kids from Broomall-Newtown.

Yes, they did it again.

The Broomall-Newtown 13-15 won again last night, and now stand just one win away from a Babe Ruth World Series title. Amazingly enough, they won't be the first. That's because the brothers-in-arms, the Broomall-Newtown 13 team, has already captured a national Babe Ruth crown.

Unfortunately, the 13-15 kids are competing on the West Coast, in Washington state. Tonight's title game starts at 10:05 our time, meaning it will end too late for our print edition.

Check back to DelcoTimes.com first thing tomorrow for the result.

If you want to follow along live with the game tonight, you can do so at www.longviewworldseries.com.

The town is planning a huge parade and celebration for the two teams on Sunday. Here are all the details. We'll be there for full coverage.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

'Live From the Newsroom' tackles the Covanta project in Chester

Tonight on 'Live From the Newsroom' we will tackle one of the hottest issues in the county.

Literally.

The Covanta Company is looking to build two buidlings at their Delaware Valley Resource Recovery Facility on Highland River on the Delaware River in the city. They want to import as much as 500,000 tons of trash a day from New York City.

They insist this is not an expansion of burning in the city.

Some city residents are not convinced.

The land development application for the buildings recently was approved by City Council, much to the chagrin of some of those same residents.

Tonight we'll talk about this burning controversy. We'll be joined by someone who knows the system inside and out. That would be John Waffenschmidt, vice president for Environmental Science and Community Affaris for Covanta.

On the other side of the fence will be Mike Ewall, founder and director of Energy Justice Network, and community activist Shelia Hyland.

If you have a question you'd like to see issed to our panel, email it to me at editor@delcotimescom. Then tune in to DelcoTimes.com tonight at 7 for our live show.

Don't sit on the sidelines. Join the conversation.

2 big days on tap for Delco football fans - don't miss them

Attention Delco Football fans.

We know you're just itching to kick off another season.

Well, you're in luck. We've got two special sections coming on successive days that will satisfy the cravings of every football fanatic.

On Thursday, make sure you pick up a copy of the print edition for a special, 48-page Eagles preview section. In addition to a color, centerspread schedule that you can hang on the fridge to keep track of the Birds record week by week, we'll offer season previews and predictions from Eagles beat writer Bob Grotz and columnist Jack McCaffery.

In addition, we'll have some very special coverage of the history of the Eagles franchise.

That's Thursday.

On Friday we hit the streets with our annual high school football guide. We'll give you previews of every school in the county, and also have another special centerspread, this one with the entire Delco high school 2014 football schedule. It's a must for every Delco football fan.

Two days, two football specials.

We're ready for kickoff!

Broomall-Newtown has eyes on Babe Ruth prize - another one!

While the Taney Dragons enjoy a parade down Broad Street today, two other local youth baseball teams are winning big - but with much less fanfare.

It's a shame that the Broomall-Newtown Babe Ruth 13-15 team is competing in their World Series all the way out in Washington state. The time difference means their games end too late to make it into our print edition.

But you can get all the details on their huge win last night here on our website, DelcoTimes.com.

Broomall-Newtown's bats came to life and pounded out 17 hits as they rolled over a team from Longview, Washington. That puts them into the semifinals tonight, just two wins away from a national World Series crown.

If they are able to run the table, they will join the Broomall-Newtown Babe Ruth 13 team as national champions.

That's right, Broomall-Newtown has already captured one national title and has their eyes on a second.

Make sure you check DelcoTimes.com late tonight for updates as they face Tri-County, Texas, in the semifinals. A win tonight propels them into Thursday's national title game.

Game time here on the East Coast is 8:05 p.m. You can follow live coverage of the game online at www.longviewworldseries.com.

Then on Sunday the community is planning a huge parade and party to welcome the two teams home. You can get all the details on the party here.

Phillies showing no respect for their skipper Sandberg

Even when he wins, Ryne Sandberg can't win.

Last night his Phillies took their second straight from the first place Washington Nationals, in the process assuring their third consecutive series win.

So of course after the game all anyone wanted to talk about was Cole Hamels' reaction to getting lifted from the game in the eighth.

The starter had gone six strong innings before suffering some hiccups in the seventh before giving up two runs in the seventh and then seeing the game knotted 3-3 when Asdrubal Cabrera took him yard.

Sandberg headed to the mound. Hamels made it clear he was not pleased.

Actually, he's lucky he got that far. The manager actually gave him a vote of confidence by not pinch-hitting for him in the seventh and allowing him to go back out for the eighth, even though the Phils' 3-0 lead was now a razor-thin 3-2 margin.

This is getting to be a habit for Phillies who seem to have no problem second-guessing their rookie skipper. This started with Kyle Kendrick storming off the mound after getting an early hook.

Then this week it was both Dominic Brown and rookie David Buchanan appearing peeved at the manager. Buchanan is a rookie pitcher. Brown has been butchering everything that comes his way in left field to earn split playing time.

Sandberg is a Hall of Famer.

You figure it out.

Somebody on the Phillies, if not G.M. Ruben Amaro Jr., then maybe a veteran like Jimmy Rollins, needs to read this team the riot act.

Sandberg is the manager.

He doesn't need to be shown up by his team every day in what is an already tough year that they are only making tougher, even as the team shows some signs of life by posting a few wins.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Aug. 26

The Daily Numbers: 2 gunmen who exchanged half a dozen shots in Darby Borough Sunday night.

1 stray bullet that came within inches of a sleeping toddler a block away.

1, as in ‘We’re No. 1.’ That’s the chant in Ridley this morning as kids uphold the district’s tradition of being the first to return to school in Delco.

58, age of man in Upper Darby charged with letting 8-year-old sit on his lap and steer car. He faces DUI charges. Police found him holding 25-ounce can of beer. A 9-year-old was in the back seat.

59, age of man doused with gas and set on fire after he tried to intervene in an altercation in Chester.

1.2 million dollars in stolen funds that was the basis of charges filed against the president of NP Precision. Kenneth Narzikul pleaded guilty in fed court yesterday.

9, as in the No. 9 ranking when it comes to bad drivers. That is the dubious honor awarded to Philly drivers in a study done by Allstate.

6.2 years, how often a Philly driver can expect to be involved in a crash.

61.2 percent more likely to be in a crash than any other place in the country.

1 billion dollar in damages racked up by that 6.0 earthquake that rocked the Napa Valley in California early Sunday.

6 Emmy Awards for ‘Breaking Bad,’ including best actor again for Bryan Cranston.

7 Emmys for “Sherlock: His Last Vow.”

5 times ‘Modern Family has been named Best Comedy.

3.47, average price for gas at the pump in Philly region. That’s the lowest price of the year.

3.79, the high prices set on June 28.

5 cent dip in the price for gas here in the past week.

755 new hotel rooms coming to Philly with opening of 2 new hotels.

500 jobs being added by Xerox in Cherry Hill, N.J.

72 percent of Pennsylvanians who underestimate how much money is spent on education, according to a new poll done by the Commonwealth Foundation.

82 percent underestimate teacher salaries.

12 strikeouts for A.J. Burnett as the Phillies took down the Nats, 3-2.

1 run on 3 hits.

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

The Taney Dragons are getting their parade, just don’t ask me to attend. I love the team and everything they did, but you don’t get a parade unless you win the whole thing.

I Don’t Get It: I know it’s tradition but something still just rubs me wrong about kids going back to school before Labor Day.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Michael Vick. He just keeps on saying all the right things. Quote Box: “If he’d have been standing up, we’d probably have a murder.”

- Darby Borough Police Chief Bob Smythe, on stray bullet that just missed sleeping child.

One vote against the parade for Taney Dragons

So much for the clout of the Heron's Nest.

As readers of this blog - yeah, both of them, not counting my wife - know, in this space yesterday I indicated I did not think it was a great idea for the city of Philadelphia to throw a parade for the kids from the Taney Dragons Little League team.

Of course, city officials yesterday promptly announced they would do just that.

Guess what? I still don't think it's a good idea.

Again, let me stress this. I love the Taney Dragons story. Mo'ne Davis and her teammates provided the perfect tonic at a time when the region and nation were beset with bad news.

I even editorialized on the lesson that could be learned from this racially diverse group of kids in light of the unrest that seized Ferguson, Missouri, and the national spotlight.

But the fact is that after Mo'ne appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated for doing something no other girl has ever done, namely throw a shutout in the Little League World Series, they didn't win another game.

Now I know that this is not just about winning. That's why I was all in favor of the nice homecoming celebration the city threw for the team on Sunday.

That apparently was not enough.

This smacks of the kind of thinking that demands every kid get a trophy. They don't. That's not the way the world works. That's why we keep score, why there are winners and losers.

The sooner kids learn that lesson, the better off they'll be.

The tradition of a parade should be reserved for a championship. That doesn't mean we're not enormously proud of what the Taney kids accomplished. We are.

After rushing up the Jersey Turnpike for an appearance on the 'Today' show Monday morning, the kids will be back in Philly and feted with a parade from Center City to a park in South Philly on Wednesday. They also will be honored before that night's Phillies game.

In the meantime, the kids from Broomall-Newtown have been going about their business in relative anonymity on the way to capturing the national Babe Ruth 3 Prep World Series. They took the title last week in Glen Allen, Va. Here's some background on their amazing trek to a national title.

And they're not alone. The Broomall-Newtown 13-14 Babe Ruth team is also seeking a national title out in Washington state.

Summer's over - at least in Ridley

It's official.

Summer is over.

At least it is if you live in Ridley Township.

That's because kids who live in Ridley head back to class today.

The district continues its tradition of being the first public school district to go back to class.

I have to admit I'm not a big fan of this trend. And I am guessing most kids would agree with me. There's just something about going back to school before Labor Day that seems wrong. Of course, there isn't much I won't do to cling to those final days of summer.

Emmy? I think I dated her once

I do not watch a lot of TV. If you rule out an occasional movie on Friday or Saturday night, sports and the news, I probably would never turn the damn thing on.

That puts me at odds with my wife, who uses the TV for company. She turns it on when she wakes up, and if she's in the house, it's a pretty good guess the TV is on.

Her tastes run toward old black-and-white movies on TCM, and westerns such as 'Bonanza' and 'The Big Valley.'

That usually translate to her sitting in the kitchen watching the tube, and me outside on the deck listening to music and reading.

Have I mentioned recently that Spotify and Pandora might be the world's greatest invention? Of course, that probably does not bode well for local FM music stations. I might never tune in again.

Now all I have to do is fire up my iPhone and I can hear a Playlist of my favorite tunes. Sure, I have to listen to an occasional ad (I'm too damn cheap to pay for the premium service).

I'm wondering if Spotify is going to do to radio what the Internet did to print newspapers. In other words, steal a lot of customers.

But that's another blog item. This one is about TV, and the fact that they handed out the Emmys again last night. It got me to thinking about my life, or what passes for it these days.

As I went down the list of winners, it dawned on my that I have never seen one minute of 'Breaking Bad.' Is that possible.

Not only possible, but it has a lot of company.

I also have never been exposed to the night's other big winner, the comedy 'Modern Family.' Ditto for 'The Big Bang Theory.' The Good Wife? Well, I married one, but I've never seen the show.

Every night when I trudge into the house, I collapse at the kitchen table, swallow something that passes for dinner and then head to bed.

My wife usually is entranced with the reruns of 'MASH.' She just might follow that up with 'Bewitched.'

I can tell you all about Hawkeye, Col. Potter, Radar and Houlihan.

Bryan Cranston? No clue.

I guess I could go on one of those binge sessions that you can get On Demand.

About the only thing I'm demanding these days is better movies on HBO.

Just in case you're wondering, here's the rundown on who won what.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Monday, Aug. 25

The Daily Numbers: 3 more group homes for residents of Don Guanella being proposed for the Notre Dame de Lourdes grounds in Ridley.

230 acres in Concord Township known as Beaver Valley that is at center of dispute between those looking to develop the tract and those seeking to retain it as open space.

5,500 signatures on petition that opposed the original plan. The number of houses has not been reduced and it is being submitted.

16.9 acre parcel in Concord known as the Hall property that also is looking at changes.

12 residents who protested in Brookhaven Sunday. They’re also upset about the loss of open space and the possible development of 30 acres of the 55-acre Chester Water Authority property at Edgmont and Coebourn Boulevard in the borough.

83 pounds of pot worth $360,000 along with $8,473 in cash seized in a raid on a home in Upper Darby.

460,250 in contributions accepted in 2013 by Joe Sestak without filing a needed statement of candidacy, according to the Federal Elections Commission.

1 person killed in motorcycle accident on I-95 in Ridley Sunday morning.

2 women found shot to death in home in Holmesburg section of Philly Saturday.

6.0 earthquake that rattle the Napa Valley outside San Francisco early Sunday morning.

30 aftershocks reported, with the biggest weighing in at 3.6 on Richter Scale.

3 people who suffered serious injuries in the quake.

4-2 win for the Union over Earthquakes at PPL Park Sunday.

7-1 win for Phillies over Cardinals.

8 strong innings for starter Jerome Williams, scattering 5 hits and giving up just 1 run.

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

Maybe it’s just me. I agree that it was nice to have that homecoming yesterday for the Taney Dragons. But that’s it. Why exactly are they getting a parade, usually reserved for teams that have championships. Time to leave these great kids alone and just let them be kids.

I Don’t Get It: Must be nice living in the San Francisco area, rocked by a 6.0 earthquake early Sunday, and wondering when exactly the ‘Big One’ will arrive.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the kids from Broomall-Newtown Babe Ruth. Their 13 team won a national title and the 13-15 team is seeking one this week. Kudos to all involved!

Quote Box: “We feel for the men of Don Guanella, but we feel that we have done our part.”

- Ridley Commission Tom Donovan, on word that three more group homes are being proposed for the Notre Dame de Lourdes parish site in the township.

A community rallies around softball

Never underestimate the resolve of the people of Delaware County.

That would be particularly true to those devotees of that summer tradition in these parts - softball.

Our annual Champs 'N' Charity softball tournament was in danger of taking a sabbatical this year. For a lot of reasons, the tourney we've run for more than a quarter century to benefit the American Cancer Society was in danger. That's when the community got involved.

It's not the first time the people in the lower end of the county have rallied to preserve something that is at the essence of their lives.

It's in today's print column.

The Taney celebration continues; Broomall-Newtown has champions as well

The Taney Dragons bandwagon marches on.

Good for them.

Yesterday the champion Philly Little League team were welcomed home with a huge block party at LOVE Park in the city as they returned from Williamsport.

This morning they're in the Big Apple for an appearance on the 'Today' Show.

All of that is well and good.

But Mayor Michael Nutter has now gone once step further, saying the city will throw a parade for the Taney kids on Wednesday.

Am I the only one who believes this is now teetering on the brink of overkill?

Perhaps saddled with the Sports Illustrated curse after star pitcher Mo'ne Davis became the first Little Leaguer to appear on the cover of the sports mag, the Dragons promptly fell to Vegas, and then were elminated in a gut-wrenching loss to another urban team, from Chicago.

The Jackie Robinson team from Chicago in turn fell to South Korea in the championship game on Sunday.

I'm all for Taney. They were the feel-good sports story of the summer at a time when we direly need some good news.

I'm just not sure I'd be throwing them a parade.

In the meantime, overlooked in all this focus on Little League is the fact that the region does in fact have a national champion youth baseball team.

That would be the Broomall-Newtown team that captured the Babe Ruth 13 Prep World Series last weekend in Glen Allen, Va. And Broomall-Newtown is not done.

They'll be going for a twin-killing this week when their Babe Ruth 13-15 team looks to capture a second national title this week. They're playing on the left coast, out in Longview, Washington. You can read about their exploits here.

The town is planning a celebration for both teams next weekend.

You can bet we'll be there.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Aug. 22

The Daily Numbers: 6-5 loss for the Taney Dragons to kids from Chicago, ending their run at the Little League World Series.

3 women who have come forward with complaints of harassment against a Community Services supervisor.

15,000 dollars in debt that threatens the future of the oldest public library in the country, right here in Darby Borough.

7,000 dollars in electrical work that the building also needs.

271 years, how long the Darby Library has been in operation after setting up shop in 1743.

1.292 million, how much the Ridley School District spent to replace the bleachers at Phil Marion Field.

1972, when a Broomall woman was told she would not be allowed to compete in the Little League World Series with her team of all boys. Yes, we’ve come a long way.

200 freshmen who arrived on the Widener University campus to start their college careers with a day of service. 60 point hike for the stock market yesterday to close at 17,039.49.

4 straight months that existing home sales have risen.

67.9 million dollars in gifts for Temple University in the fiscal year ending June 30. It’s the 2nd straight year the North Philly school has shattered its own record.

19 of 29 for Nick Foles in the crucial Game 3 of the exhibition season vs. the Steelers last night.

31-21 win for the Birds as both the 1st team defense and offense looked to be firing on all cylinders.

17-0 lead for the Birds at halftime.

31 yard field goal missed by Alex Henery, after he made a 36-yarder. That’s not a good sign.

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

That giant hissing sound you heard last night was a huge sigh of relief from Eagles fans. Nick Foles and the first-team offense were sharp in dominating Steelers. So was the defense. Bring on the regular season.

I Don’t Get It: Why do we still have to sit through another pre-season game?

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Mo’ne Davis and the Taney Dragons. Hold your heads high. You’re winners in our book.

Quote Box: “He used his position to take sexual advantage of these women. That type of conducts is outrageous and intolerable.”

- D.A. Jack Whelan, on charges filed against supervisor at Delaware County Community Services.

Extraction tax fight making for strange bedfellows here in Delco

There will be a delicious bit of political irony on display here in Delaware County today.

A group of Democrats - including unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate Katie McGinty - will gather in Norwood to turn up the heat on Gov. Tom Corbett to enact a severance tax on the state's Marcellus Shale gas drilling operations, with the revenue being funneled into Pennsylvania schools.

McGinty is heading the Campaign For a Fresh Start for Democratic standard bearer Tom Wolf. She'll be joined by several other Democratic candidates, including Vince Rongione, who is seeking the seat held forever by state Rep. Nick Micozzie, R-163, in Upper Darby, and John Kane, who is running for the open state Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Sen. Ted Erickson, R-26.

To the best of my knowledge, Tom McGarrigle will not be there.

That's too bad. McGarrigle would fit right in - at least when it comes to the push for an extraction tax. McGarrigle, the chairman of Delaware County Council, is the Republican looking to keep Erickson's seat in GOP hands, and in the process helping them keep control of the state Senate. His race again Kane is expected to be one of the most high-profile state Senate races in the state. Half of the seats in the Senate will be up for grabs on the November ballot.

McGarrigle actually has beaten the Dems to the punch.

He's already on the record as saying he wants to see a 4 percent levy slapped on gas drilling, with all that revenue ticketed for education funding.

I have an op-ed piece from him that likely will run this weekend. In it he laments what he calls "a summer of missed opportnity in Harrisburg."

It's interesting because the guy at the top of the GOP ticket in Pa. this fall, incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett, has made it clear he is not in favor of an extraction tax. He is standing by his push for an impact fee instead, noting that the often-heard claim that Pa. is the only state not to do so rings hollow because other states don't have the high business taxes that the Keystone State inflicts on business.

Corbett rode to office four years ago on a pledge not to raise taxes - or put any new ones in place either for that matter.

This week he gave an interview saying he likely would not make that same pledge as he runs a decidedly uphill re-election fight.

Maybe both he and McGarrigle will show up this morning to talk to their Democratic brethren about the idea of a gas tax.

For some reason, I don't think that's going to happen.

I now how you feel, Mo'ne & Taney Dragons

Mo'ne Davis and the Taney Dragons are not going to win the Little League World Series.

Their thrilling run came to a screeching halt in Williamsport this week, when they got walloped by the kids from Las Vegas, and then last night lost a heartbreaker to Chicago.

The Dragons actually sprinted to quick 2-0 lead before the kids from the Windy City erupted to take a commanding 6-2 lead. The Philly faithful watched as their kids scratched their way as close as 6-5, but that was as close as they got. You know what? There are greater tragedies in life.

I know a little about losing. I did a lot of it as a kid. I was the losing pitcher in a Little League championship game. I was the quarterback of a high school football team that sported a perfect record. We were 0-10. The QB did not exactly help. I was promoted to the varsity baseball team from the J.V. as a sophomore, not necessarily because I was that good, but because our team was not great. Yes, we lost a lot.

I like the way Mo'ne and her teammates reacted to last night's dispiriting loss. They held their heads high. Davis, who rocketed to fame and the cover of Sports Illustrated by becoming the first girl to toss a shutout in the Little League World Series, was incredibly poised as she talked after the loss.

It will serve her - and her teammates - well in the future.

Here's a tip I always tell young people.

Life is hard.

You don't always win.

One of things I detest about youth sports today is the growing movement that everyone should get a trophy. That's not the way life works, and I don't think we're preparing our kids for what lies ahead by constantly telling them otherwise. That's why we keep score.

Every time we select an All-Delco team for our local high school athletes, I know that I will field any number of phone calls from angry parents who want to argue about our selection, incredulous that their son or daughter was not named to the team, or selected as the Player of the Year.

I hope the Taney kids are allowed to return to their everyday lives now.

They don't need a parade.

They didn't reach their ultimate goal.

But they're still winners. The way they reacted and handled themselves after a heart-breaking loss should tell us that.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Daily Numbers for Thursday, Aug. 21

The Daily Numbers: 8-1 loss for Mo’ne Davis and the Taney Dragons to Las Vegas last night in Little League World Series. They’re not done yet. If they win tonight they will get a rematch.

3 runs and 6 hits given up by Davis in just 2 1/3 innings of work. She would be eligible to pitch again on Saturday.

34,128 fans who jammed all the seats and the grassy outfield slope to watch the Taney Dragons.

25,157 people who went through turnstiles yesterday afternoon at Citizens Bank park to watch Phillies.

29, age of man busted in ‘Ninja’ attack on his former boss in Upper Providence.

19, age of volunteer firefighter who waived his preliminary hearing on arson charges yesterday. He’s charged in connection with 3 fires.

2 brothers charged in different slayings in Darby Borough and Chester.

15, age of teen a 57-year-old Del. man thought he was going to meet in Delco. Instead he wound up being stung by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

2 year minimum prison term being sought by local DAs for possession of illegal guns.

75,000 dollar fine for theft of $200 in casino chips tossed out by court in Pittsburgh.

17 billion dollars to be paid by Bank of America in connection with mortgage fraud.

51 UPS stores that say their computers were breached by malware, making some customers’ information vulnerable.

4.5 million patients of hospital in Community Health Systems, including 20 hospitals in Pa., that were breached by computer hackers.

59 point boost for the stock market yesterday.

4-3 come-from-behind win for Phils on day when Cole Hamels was not at his best.

3 runs on 9 hits in just 5 innings for Hamels.

1.75 million dollar value put on the Philadelphia Eagles franchise by Forbes magazine.

185 million, what Jeff Lurie paid for the team 20 years ago.

7th, where Birds rank in terms of NFL franchises.

11 million dollar deal for Bimbo Bakeries to continue as jersey sponsor of the Philadelphia Union.

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

The kids from Taney Dragons are not perfect. They lost last night. But they’re not done. It’s a double-elimination tourney and they get another shot to stay alive by winning tonight. If they do they will get a rematch with those kids from Vegas.

I Don’t Get It: Yes, those are the school openings we are listing in the paper today. Summer is coming to an end. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Upper Darby police and Mayor Tom Micozzie for throwing a party for local kids with free water ice and a movie. Well done.

Quote Box: “This was a targeted attack. He was lying in wait for this man.”

- Upper Providence Det. Michael Langdale, on ‘Ninja’ attack on township resident.

Yes, the editor is all wet! 'Live From the Newsroom' takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

It was a dream come true last night for County Councilman John McBlain.

The Republican pol could not resist the opportunity to confirm what local Republicans have suspected for some time - the editor of the Daily Times is all wet.

Actually I was a lot wetter after McBlain joined Upper Darby Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood and former Lansdowne Mayor Jayne Young soak me as 'Live From the Newsroom' took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

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

Before we got to the chilly finale - yes, folks, even on a muggy August night, buckets of ice water are indeed cold - I wanted to take the opportunity to shed some light on this dreaded disease, and the people who are involved in the fight against it, especially here in the Philadelphia area.

It was my honor to be joined on the show by Lauren Stevenson, a board member with the ALS Association, Greater Philadelphia Chapter.

Lauren shed some light on the astounding success of the Ice Bucket Challenge, which has already raised over $31 million. She was also able to explain to our viewers just what ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is and how it attacks the body's muscles, incapacitating its victims in a slow downward spiral.

Stevenson noted that it's ironic how this summer, amid the astounding success of the Ice Bucket Challenge, we also are marking the 75th anniversary of baseball great Lou Gehrig's famous retirement speech, in which he called himself "the luckiest man on the face of the Earth." ALS is now often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, after one of its most famous victims. Three-quarters of a century later, the search for a cure to this killer goes on.

We also got a very special look at the face of ALS. We were joined by Nina Kelly, and her husband, Mark, who is battling the disease. Nina and Mark provided a moving look at the devastating effects ALS has on families, and the lift provided this summer by the publicity surrounding the Ice Bucket Challenge.

The whole thing got Young, who saw first-hand the issues some of our local school districts have every year amid crushing budget constraints, to suggest maybe an Ice Bucket Challenge for Schools.

Sign me up.

My thanks to all involved last night.

If it would mean a cure, and a light at end of the tunnel for families like the Kellys and hundreds of others, I would let every Republican in Delaware County line up and dump ice water on my head.

Don't take that literally, John!

P.S.: By the way, if you want to join in the fun, you can make a donation to the ALS Association, Greater Philadelphia Chapter, by going to their website here. And the person who makes the biggest donation and mentions the Daily Times and ‘Live From the Newsroom’ will win four great tickets to an upcoming Philadelphia Union game at PPL Park in Chester, along with a parking pass, courtesy of Delaware County Council!

Some good news out of Upper Darby

There are not many days that you can't pick up the newspaper and find all manner of bizarre crime stories emanating out of Upper Darby.

Part of that is because the superintendent of police, Mike Chitwood, is probably about as media friendly a guy with a badge as you'll find.

Last night he even found the time time to join me as I took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

But the day before, he had called me with a different kind of request.

He was looking for some coverage of an event the township was doing for local kids. What it amounted to was free water ice and a movie, offered by Chitwood and Mayor Tom Micozzie.

I get requests like this all the time. The truth is we often are unable to cover them.

But I can admit that I wanted to cover this story. You'll find it here today.

It would be easy to get the wrong impression about Upper Darby from all the crime stories we run out of there. The same thing often happens with our coverage of Chester.

I know I have an obligation to show that there is another side to these towns, and in fact every town in Delaware County.

It's not easy.

Did these smiling kids make Page 1? No. But they are right there today in all their glory on Page 4.

It was a nice thing for the township to do. And it deserved to be covered by the local paper.

I was glad we were there.

A setback for Taney Dragons, but a big step forward on race relations

So Mo'ne Davis and the Taney Dragons are not perfect.

Actually, these Philly kids who have rocketed to fame - and the cover of Sports Illustrated (yep, rack up another one for the jinx) - have taught us something very important in the process.

Mo'ne did not have her best stuff last night, and the Dragons hit into some tough luck and great defense as they fell Vegas, 8-1.

It's the things that Mo'ne and her teammates do off the field that we will most remember.

In fact, we'd go so far as to say we could learn a lot about race relations from the Taney Dragons.

We're doing so today on our editorial page.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Aug. 20

The Daily Numbers: 100,000 dollars cash bail for man charged in Upper Darby bank heist. He was caught in traffic counting his money.

100 educators who worked on a technology-based new education program that was rolled out by state officials at Garnet Valley .

6, age of boy who took stand at start of trial for Philadelphia man in connection with an attempted luring in Upper Darby.

20, age of man charged with slashing another patron at the library in Ridley Township.

1, as in No. 1, ranking for Radnor School District in statewide testing.

22 children who heard all about the advantages of early education services yesterday in Upper Darby.

70 percent of kids in Delco ages 3 and 4 do not have access to early education programs.

1 graze wound suffered by a Philly officer in a street confrontation early Tuesday. The suspect was shot dead.

1,200, death toll now from Ebola virus in West Africa.

96, age of longtime Saturday Night Live announcer Don Pardo, who died this week.

80 point jump for the Dow yesterday, closing at 16,919.59

31 of August, when Showboat Casino in Atlantic City will close its doors.

3 A.C. casinos that either have closed or soon will be.

2,133 people out of work from the Showboat move.

3,100 more getting pink slips from the nearby Revel Casino, which is closing the same week.

65,000 dollars divided among 6 youth groups in settlement of bias claims against the now-closed Valley Swim Club in Huntingdon Valley.

0, total number of losses of both Taney Dragons and Las Vegas, who collide tonight in Little League World Series.

13, age of female phenom Mo’Ne Davis, who will be on the hill tonight for Taney. She also just happens to be on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated.

5-2 loss for the Phillies to the Mariners last night.

5 runs on 6 hits over 7 2/3 innings surrendered by A.J. Burnett.

4 hits, 0 runs surrendered by Mariners’ starter Hisashi Iwakuma.

0 for 4 to cool off Ben Revere, dropping his batting average to .313.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Ruben Amaro Jr. yesterday actually placed Dom Brown in the same sentence with Mike Schmidt. Enough said.

I Don’t Get It: ‘Outside agitators.’ It’s the same old story being played out in Ferguson, Mo. They are not helping the situation.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Taney Dragons as they seek to move forward tonight in the Little League World Series.

Quote Box: “I don’t think he’ll ever play again."

- A joking Chip Kelly, when asked about the turf toe injury LeSean McCoy is dealing with. He was joking, right?

Your chance to prove the editor is all wet: 'Live From Newsroom' takes ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The guess here is that there are more than a few people who believe the editor of this newspaper and website is all wet. Their wish will come true tonight.

And there probably is no shortage of people who would like nothing better than to dump a bucket of ice cold water over me head.

Again, tonight is your night!

That's my way of saying that I will be offering myself up to that social media phenomenon, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, tonight on our live-stream Internet broadcast, 'Live From the Newsroom.'
It's all a fundraiser for the war on ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, probably better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

It's a debilitating disease that robs the body of its muscle control. Unfortunately, it always ends the same way.

First we'll talk to some folks from the ALS Association of Greater Philadelphia. They'll tell us how this wildly popular event got started, and just how much money has been raised so far.

Philly ALS Board Member Lauren Stevenson as well as staffer Patti Lake Quinn will join us for the show to talk about their efforts in battling this killer disease.

Then it will be on to the main event.

Yes, I will be standing outside the Daily Times building tonight about 7:30 having a bucket of ice cold water dumped on my head.

If you would like to get involved and get in line to soak the editor, all you have to do is pony up $25 for the ALS Society of Philadelphia. You can make a donation by going to their website here.

I'll be kicking in $25 of my own - as opposed to the $100 you're on the hook for if you chicken out and don't take the challenge.

Upper Darby top cop Mike Chitwood is already committed to being first in line. County Councilman John McBlain also will be on tap to douse this grizzled scribe.

I'm sure there are a few more local police chiefs out there who don't think quite as highly of what we do here at the Daily Times. Line up for your shot at the editor, folks.

Maybe McBlain will bring GOP chief Andy Reilly with him. I'm sure Andy would love to get some revenge for all those times we've referred to him as the GOP 'boss,' which he hates. If you want in on the fun, shoot me an email.

Or if you'd just like to be part of the spectacle, drop by for our live show Wednesday night at 7. We'll be right in front of the building in beautiful downtown Primos.

Mo'Ne Davis and Taney Dragons: Feel-good sports story of the year

I need to make a correction.

Yesterday in this space I asked if sports fans would be tuned to the Phillies or the Taney Dragons as they continue to seek the crown in the Little League World Series.

A reader reminded me that fans actually don't have that dilemma, not that it was much of a problem.

The Phillies play this afternoon, and will then clear the stage for the feel-good story of the year so far in sports.

I am trying to remember what I was like as a 13-year-old Little Leaguer.

I assure you I was a knucklehead, full of myself and thinking I was all that and a bag of chips as a baseball player. I made our all-star teams and went on to play varsity baseball in college.

And I am here to tell you I could not carry Mo'Ne Davis' j---, uh, never mind. That metaphor won't work.

Let's just say I am in awe of this young woman's poise as she has exploded on a national stage.

Yes, that is Mo'Ne Davis gracing the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated.

She done and said just about everything right.

And that is before she steps on the field.

Tonight she will once again rear back and unleash that nasty 70 mph fastball on a very good team, undefeated team from Las Vegas.

I will be rooting for her and the rest of the Taney Dragons.

We certainly could use a winner.

Mo'Ne and the Dragons have delivered.

Go get 'em, guys.

And girl!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Aug. 19

The Daily Numbers: 5 years probation for an Upper Darby mom who was charged with beating her 11-year-old son with a belt.

3 people injured in a nasty accident outside Delaware County Memorial Hospital Sunday. One of the drivers faces charges of driving under the influence.

230 acres of a 318-acre tract in Concord Township that is known as the Beaver Valley that is targeted for development.

5,500 people who signed a petition opposing the original plan to develop the tract, which called for 314 single-family homes, 120 active adult residences and 180,000 square feet of open commercial space.

171 homes in the new plan

117 acres of land would remain undeveloped.

19.9 acre site of the Penns Woods Winery would not be involved in the development.

2 years, how long Edward Mokshefsky has been serving as interim chief in Eddystone. Last night council gave him the title on a full-time basis.

6.8 acre home of the Delaware County SPCA that is targeted for a total redesign.

35 mph speed limit put in place for a portion of busy Route 252 in Upper Providence.

31 years, how long we’ve been running the Champs ‘N’ Charity Classic. Our thanks to Sunoco Logistics in helping us keep the (soft)ball rolling.

2 crowns handed out in the Hook last night. Kudos to the women from Guaranteed Plumbing and the men from E.J. Hosbach/UBBIBC, who proved to be the ‘Best by Test.’

4-1 win for the Phils over the Seattle Mariners last night

1 run on 3 hits surrendered by Phils starter Jerome Williams in his 2nd start with the team. That opened a few eyes.

2.19 ERA for Williams in 12 and a third innings with Phils.

3 run homer for Andres Blanco, getting a start at shortstop for the slumping Jimmy Rollins.

29th save in 32 tries for Jonathan Papelbon.

2 for 5 night for Ben Revere, raising his batting average to .315

.323 for Justin Morneau, who leads the NL.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Has anyone considered the possibility that Ben Revere just might win the NL batting crown? Then what do the Phillies do with him?

I Don’t Get It: I don’t get all this dumping ice water on yourself for charity. But that does not mean I won’t step up to the challenge Wednesday night on our ‘Live From the Newsroom’ show.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to everyone who helped us raise money in the fight against cancer at the 31st annual Champs ‘N’ Charity Classic.

Quote Box: “It’s been an honor to serve the borough as a police officer and I am looking forward to serving the residents as police chief.”

- Edward Mokshefsky, after being named police chief by Eddystone Council.

'Live From the Newsroom' takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

I had a bad feeling this was going to happen.

You can't move these days without tripping over someone doing the Ice Bucket Challenge. It has literally taken over the Internet.

People everywhere are dumping a bucket of ice cold water over their heads - and for a very good reason.

It's all a fundraiser for the war on ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, probably better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

It's a debilitating disease that robs the body of its muscle control. Unfortunately, it always ends the same way.

To be honest, I'm not a big fan of these kind of social media stunts. However, I would like to help the war in ALS in any way I can.

And thanks to my intrepid courthouse reporter and science columnist Alex Rose, I am getting in on the Ice Bucket Challenge.

I've decided to make it part of our weekly live-stream Internet show, 'Live From the Newsroom.' So yes, I will be standing outside the Daily Times building tomorrow night about 7:30 having a bucket of ice cold water dumped on my head.

Once I thought about it a bit, it dawned on me that there's probably a lot of people in Delaware County who would just love the chance to dump a bucket of water on the head of the editor of the Daily Times.

Well, this is your chance.

Looking to get back at the editor? All you have to do is pony up $25 for the ALS Society of Philadelphia. You can make a donation by going to their website here.

I'll be kicking in $25 of my own - as opposed to the $100 you're on the hook for if you chicken out and don't take the challenge.

Upper Darby top cop Mike Chitwood is already committed to being first in line. 'Media Mike' was an easy choice. But I'm sure there are a few more chiefs out there who don't think quite as highly of what we do here at the Daily Times. Line up for your shot at the editor, folks. I also have a pitch out to County Councilman John McBlain. Maybe he can bring GOP chief Andy Reilly with him. I'm sure Andy would love to get some revenge for all those times we've referred to him as the GOP 'boss,' which he hates. If you want in on the fun, shoot me an email.

Or if you'd just like to be part of the spectacle, drop by for our live show Wednesday night at 7. We'll be right in front of the building in beautiful downtown Primos.

I'm also hoping to have someone on from ALS Association, Greater Philadelphia Chapter to talk about the success of this phenomenal fundraiser and how it all got started.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Why do I think this was a bad idea?

The tradition continues in Marcus Hook

I didn't make it down to Marcus Hook last night. But, thankfully, the Daily Times did.

I'm not talking about the newspaper. We always deliver the goods to the Hook, which is in the heart of our circulation area.

I'm talking about softball.

For the last quarter century, it has been one of the unshakable signs that summer was drawing to an end. That's when the boys - and girls - of summer would arrive in the Hook to settle the burning question of just who the best softball teams in the county were.

Or, as we used to call it, "The Best by Test."

For the 31st consecutive year, we delivered the Champs 'N' Charity Classic. This year we were joined by Sunoco Logistics. They're the people who are trying to breathe new life into the old Sunoco refinery which now sits as forlorn in the borough it once defined. Sunoco Logistics is looking to bring a number of offshoots from the state's Marcellus Shale boom to the old refinery.

Along the way they managed to breathe new life into our charity softball tournament as well. The key word in that sentence is charity.

That's been the heart of our endeavors since we started this little shindig more than 25 years ago. It almost didn't happen.

In fact, we announced earlier this summer that the tournament would be taking a sabbatical. There were a lot of reasons for that decision. Let's just say these are challenging times for the newspaper industry and leave it at that.

To say the news was not well received would be an understatement.

It wasn't that people were upset that there would be no tournament. They could live with that. They were ticked that a charity close to their heart - the battle against cancer - would miss out.

As one reader informed me in a Facebook post: The battle against cancer doesn't take a year off.

He was right. That same sentiment was echoed for several days.

That's when a lot of people put their heads together and managed to salvage a very important event in this county. It's one of the rites of summer.

And even though a family commitment kept me from my annual trek to the Hook, I'm glad the Daily Times - and the Champs 'N' Charity Classic - made it one more time.

By the way, kudos to E.J. Hosbach/UBBIBC, which pulled off a sweep of Dolan's to rise from the loser's bracket to take the men's crown. You can read all about it here.

And also to the ladies from Guaranteed Plumbing, which took the women's title.

I promise to be back next summer.

Phillies or Taney Dragons?

Here's an interesting question.

Tomorrow night, at almost the exact same time as the Phillies are facing off against the Seattle Mariners at Citizens Bank Park, the Taney Dragons will be back on the field at the Little League World Series.

Both games are on the tube. So which game are you watching?

Thought so. Go Dragons.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Daily Numbers for Monday, Aug. 18

The Daily Numbers: 140 T-shirts, each bearing the name of someone who had died from gun violence, moved from Chester to Ohev Shalom Synagogue in Nether Providence.

9 more people who have died from gun violence in Delco since June 22.

35 gun homicides in Delco so far this year.

25 of those due to gun violence.

1.2 million tons of waste burned every year at the Covanta plant in Chester.

500,000 tons of waste a year coming to the plant for the next 20 years under a new deal.

2017, when the early work on reconstruction of Route 322 could get underway.

7.1 mile stretch of Route 322 from I-95 to Route 1 dubbed the “Killer Conchester.”

255 million dollar price tag, much of it included in the recent $2.7 billion transportation bill passed by the state Legislature.

45 beds from the maternity and orthopedic wings of Riddle Hospital that will be headed for relief efforts in Africa.

51 months in prison for a Claymont woman in a $1.7 million tax fraud scam.

6.5 million dollar legal tab rung up so far by N.J. Gov. Chris Christie for Bridgegate.

10 days earlier than expected, when Revel Casino will close its doors in Atlantic City on Sept. 1, instead of Sept. 10.

7-6 win for the Taney Dragons to advance in the Little League World Series.

3 people being sought in connection with vicious beating of a ranger in Love Park in Philly.

7-6 win for the Taney Dagons from Philly to advance in the Little League World Series.

3 hits for Ben Revere in Phils’ 5-2 loss to the Giants yesterday.

7 hits in his last 10 plate appearances for the leadoff man.

.314 batting average for Revere, 2nd in the NL behind the .314 mark put up by Colorado’s Justin Morneau.

16 games under .500 for the Phillies, at 54-70. That’s their low point for the season.

16 games out of 1st place in the NL East as well.

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

Suddenly baseball is cool again. Thank you Mo’Ne Davis and the Taney Dragons. They play again Wednesday night.

I Don’t Get It: Attacking a park ranger who was just doing his job while telling some skateboarders they were not allowed to play their craft in Philly LOVE park. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to - who else - the Taney Dragons. Bring it home, kids.

Quote Box: “This has been a terrible year.”

- Fran Siter, who coordinated move of T-shirt memorial from Chester to Nether Providence to remember those lost to gun violence.

You can go home again: Happy birthday, mom

I've been thinking a lot lately about the idea of going "home." I wrote about it in today's print column.

Part of it was because I recently spent a day in a couple of towns from my youth, Oxford, Pa., where I grew up, and North East, Md., where my dad operated the first of his two sub shop/soda fountains.

The other part was because we spent a lot of time the past week detailing the return of mega-star Tina Fey to the place where she got her start - the Upper Darby Summer Stage.

Saturday night Fey, the star of 'Saturday Night Live' and '30 Rock,' was back in Upper Darby raising money for Summer Stage. Here's a look at what was a very special night, and a slideshow of images of homegirl Fey back on stage in Upper Darby.

But it was while I was writing my Monday print column that I discovered something that jolted me. I realized that today is my mother's birthday.

And not just any birthday. My mother would have turned 100 today.

We lost her in 2003.

My mother and father, as well as their extended families, all the brothers and sisters, cousins and others, were cut from a different cloth.

They survived both the Great Depression and World War II.

They worked hard - and played even harder. I always wonder how they were able to get up and start another day after some of the "festivities" from the night before, but they never missed a beat.

We live in a different world today, one I am not convinced is better than the one I grew up in.

Maybe I'm just getting old myself.

I think society is fundamentally different now. And not for the better.

Half the time we don't even acknowledge each other on the street. We're too busy checking our email on our phones. Or posting an update on Twitter.

My mother would never understand today's world.

She taught her son well.

Happy 100th, mom.

Fixing the Conchester

We're using our editorial page today to do something we don't always do.

Remember that controversial $2.7 billion transportation package passed by the state Legislature last November. I lot of people ripped it - and Gov. Tom Corbett, who was pushing for it - as a hidden tax hike, boosting the cost of gas at the pump.

Guess what?

It was the right thing to do.

Case in point? The measure will fund the long-delayed reconstruction of Route 322, which over the years has richly earned the grisly moniker "Killer Conchester."

Here's our editorial.

Making baseball cool again

Mo'Ne Davis and the Taney Dragons are doing something I didn't think was possible.

They're making Little League cool again.

Actually they're doing even more than that. They're making baseball cool again, appealing to a new wave of city kids I thought had pretty much given up on the game.

When I was a kid, there was nothing I liked more than baseball.

We played as long as there was daylight, and sometimes beyond.

That is one of the differences I see today.

I'm not even talking about Little League.

Ask yourself this question. When was the last time you saw a group of guys - or girls for that matter - in a field playing baseball.

No uniforms. No adults. No umpires. Just kids playing a game they loved.

I actually would play by myself alone in the yard for hours - recreating entire Phillies games and take the role of each batter, both on the Phillies and the opposing team. I would bat both right- and left-handed depending on who was up, then I'd determine hit or out, depending on where I hit the ball.

That's how much I loved the game.

Somewhere along the line, that love - especially involving kids - dimmed.

There are a lot of reasons.

The game was too slow. Families got smaller, making it much more difficult to field two sides, the notion of kids playing alone - unsupervised - fell out of favor.

When I got home from school, or on a weekend, I would get changed or dressed, then head out the door. My mom figured I was in town - somewhere, but the reality is she had no idea where I actually was.

Those days are over. We watch over our kids incessantly. We arm them with cell phones and tell them to check in wherever they are going. I'm not sure it's as much for their safety as our own harried state of mind as parents.

Kids starting staying in more, sitting in front of the TV.

Then came the tidal change in American society. Computers & the Internet changed our lives forever. Suddenly kids didn't need anyone else to play baseball. They didn't even have to leave the house. All they had to do was fire up the laptop. I'm rooting for Mo-Ne Davis and the Dragons from South Philly for a lot of reasons.

But making baseball cool again among young people has to be at the top of the list.

Go Dragons!

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Aug. 15

The Daily Numbers: 7.1 mile stretch of highway known as the Conchester Highway, Route 322, that runs from Route 1 in Concord to I-95 in Chester.

21 billion dollars being generated by the recently enacted Act 89 Transportation Plan that includes funding to fix the so-called ‘Killer Conchester.’

2.3 billion dollars in additional funding generated each year by the plan.

63.2 billion available over the next 12 years.

430 crashes reported on Route 322 from 2008 through 2012.

251 rear-end crashes.

6 fatalities, 5 major injuries; 20 moderate injuries.

25 cent increase in the cost of gasoline at the pump under Act 89.

140 veterans honored by the county yesterday at the Fair Acres Geriatric Center.

8 men, including 1 man busted at his job in Delco, now facing charges in connection with a heist at an Atlantic City casino.

6 gunshot wounds to the let, what an Upper Darby man suffered in a street altercation on Radbourne Road.

5 year tentative deal between SEPTA and electrical workers on its regional rail lines. Both sides still need to ratify the deal. SEPTA continues talks with 1 other union.

20 million dollar mortgage scheme that earned a Yeadon man more than 12 years in prison.

79, age of man facing peeping Tom charges after he allegedly used a mirror to peek at a man in the stall next to him in an Upper Darby Home Depot restroom.

311,000 people filing for unemployment compensation last week.

61 point jump for the stock market.

6,000 workers getting pink slips from Cisco, which makes routers and software for computers.

4.12 percent, average rate for 30 -year mortgage.

3 p.m., when the Taney Dragons from Philly see action in the Little League World Series.

2 teams from Broomall-Newtown in the Babe Ruth World Series.

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

So what do you think will draw bigger ratings, the Taney Dragons Little League World Series game at 3 on ESPN, or the Phillies at Giants late night from San Francisco?

I Don’t Get It: The financial guru from the state LCB wants the agency to hike the markup on booze. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Taney Dragons. They are doing us proud. And all those kids from two teams in the Broomall-Newtown Babe Ruth program. They’re all winners

Quote Box: “These improvements will dramatically improve mobility for people across the state.”

- Gov . Tom Corbett on the new 12-year Transportation plan.

Finally! Fixing the Conchester

Stop me if you've heard this before.

They are going to fix Route 322.

Yeah, sure. Any day now.

I have lost count how many front pages I have constructed that dealt either with another fatality on what is darkly referred to as the 'Killer Conchester' or that the long-delayed project to fix the road is taking another step forward. This time it might actually be different.

Remember that controversial $2 billion Transportation package passed by the state Legislature last spring? As part of that a state Transportation Committee was formed to determine the best way to spend the expected additional $2.3 billion a year in revenue should be spent.

Guess what is right there on the of the list? That's right, our very own Conchester Highway.

The committee rolled out their revised 12-year transportation plan, and Route 322 is one of the projects singled out for funding.

Do I believe it will happen?

Actually, this time I do.

The problem with this proposal has always been how to pay for it. No one has ever argued that Route 322 is a very dangerous road that was never meant to handle the amount of traffic that rumbles from I-95 in Chester to Route 1 in Concord every day.

Yes, I know an argument can me made that a big part of the Conchester's problem is the people driving on it. Yes, people go too fast. That is likely not going to change.

But a horribly outdated design can - and apparently will.

Now the money is there.

Let's get those shovels in the ground soon, folks.

Just what we don't need - higher prices at state stores

Those of us who desperately want Pennsylvania to get out of the booze business picked up a little more ammo this week.

That, of course, would mean blowing up the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the folks who control sales of wine and spirits in the Keystone State.

It's been debated forever in Harrisburg - and of course gone exactly nowhere.

Earlier this week, we had a sit-down with perhaps the top proponent of privatization in Harrisburg. That would be House Majority Leader Rep. Mike Turzai, R-26, of Allegheny County. He took great pride in noting that he and his colleagues in the House did something that has never been done before. They actually passed privatization legislation. Of course, at that point it went to the Senate, where it quickly became a victim in the normal political tug of war that amounts to a way of life in Harrisburg. It got deep-sixed in the battle over that $2 billion Transportation package.

Turzai is vowing to give it another shot in the fall.

Here's something he might want to throw out there.

This week the finance director at the LCB recommended the agency increase its markup on wine and spirits.

That's right. Prices would wind up being even higher than they are now, which, as anyone who frequents Delaware, New Jersey or Maryland to buy booze can tell you is pretty much the biggest reason they cross the border to buy booze.

That and the convenience of buying everything you need in one store.

Turzai still thinks privatization is going to happen.

If so, I suggest they start at the beginning. The latest version of privatization floating around the capital is a watered-down version that doesn't really accomplish what most people want - the ability to buy beer (a single, six-pack or a case), a bottle of wine or a bottle of whiskey in one place.

Preferably, that place would be your local supermarket, where you could simply toss your beer choices into the cart with the rest of your groceries, instead of having to go to a special part of the store and pay for your beer separately. It's time for Pennsylvania to get out of the dark ages when it comes to the sale of alcohol.

Without knowing it, the guys at the LCB may have actually helped that push this week.

More questions for Eagles

Don't expect to learn a lot about Nick Foles or the Eagles wide receivers tonight when they face off with the Patriots in Game 2 of the exhibition season.

That's because Foles will be throwing to a lot of unfamiliar faces. Hopefully, they'll be wearing green uniforms.

Both Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper will be sitting out this week. Maclin, who is trying to get back into form after missing all of last season with a knee injury, will be on the sidelines courtesy of a tweaked hamstring. Everybody keeps saying it's no big thing, but it's enough to keep him out of action tonight.

Cooper is nursing a sore foot that forced him to miss last week's adventures vs. the Bears in the exhibition opener. At least Cooper was blunt in addressing the Birds' wide receiver situation.

"It looks bad when your two starters aren't out there practicing," he said while missing another practice yesterday in New England. "It definitely looks bad."

He'll get no argument from me.

One of the biggest question marks heading into this highly anticipated season was wide receiver, especially after Chip Kelly decided to jettison the enigmatic DeSean Jackson in the off-season.

How would the Birds replace Jackson's big-play capability.

Could they count on Maclin to pick up the slack?

We still don't know, and we likely won't until this team lines up for the regular season opener on Sept. 7.

Cooper says he hopes to get back on the practic field Sunday. The Eagles are looking at a short week before they crucial Game 3 - when the starters see their most extended time. It's not a sure bet that either of these guys will be in uniform next Thursday.

Regulars don't usually play in the exhibition finale. That means Foles will have very limited time throwing to his starters.

The QB who dazzled last season didn't look especially comfortable in the pocket last week. Tonight could be another adventure.

It's mid-August. Way too early to start worrying. Right?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Aug. 14

The Daily Numbers: 12 million dollar deal with Covanta given the green light yesterday by Chester City Council.

2 buildings that will be added to their 31 acre site on Highland Avenue.

2 hours of discussion and public comment on the plan before the vote was taken.

500,000 tons of trash a year that will be brought to the Chester site to be burned.

649 bags of heroin discovered during a car stop in Claymont, Del.

3 family members slain by Joseph McAndrew of Upper Merion. Yesterday he was found guilty but mentally ill.

3,600 square foot restaurant set for the Acme supermarket in Concord that will offer beer sales.

23, age of Trainer man ID’d as latest homicide victim in Chester.

35 homicides in Chester so far this year.

20 of them have occurred in Chester.

77, age of West Goshen supervisor who was killed when he was struck by a pickup truck in a freak accident in parking lot of ShopRite supermarket on West Chester Pike Wednesday afternoon.

3 year deal for trash pick that got the OK in Middletown

80 cent a pack increase in cigarette tax in Pa. being eyed by a Chesco state rep for help with property tax bills.

1 union with which SEPTA has reached a tentative deal for its regional rail lines.

215 electrical workers with IBEW 744 need to ratify the deal, as does the SEPTA board.

2 people busted in attempted break-in at home of murdered woman in Philly.

65 and older with income of less than $35,000 a year, who would be eligible for the aid.

19, age of suspect in fatal carjacking who blurted out in court yesterday that he wants to seek forgiveness from the victims’ families.

3 gubernatorial debates set for the fall between Gov. Tom Corbett and Dem challenger Tom Wolf.

1.15 million people who attended the weeklong Musikfest shows in Bethlehem

91 point jump for the stock market yesterday.

4-3 loss for the Phillies to Angels last night.

0 for 4 for Millville’s Mike Trout, capping a homestand in which he went 4-for-29.

.294 batting average now for Trout, down from .305

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

Anyone else getting antsy about the injury bug that keeps biting Eagles’ expected No. 1 receiver Jeremy Maclin?

I Don’t Get It: A man was shot last night in Philadelphia outside an anti-violence concert. I don’t’ get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Upper Darby Summer Stage as they prepare to welcome home Tina Fey this weekend.

Quote Box: “I’m feeling happy. It’s the right thing to occur from a standpoint of law. I commend council because I think they conducted themselves well.”

- John Waffenschmidt, president of Covanta, after vote by Chester Council yesterday to OK their building plan.

'Live From the Newsroom' learns the secrets of Tina Fey and Upper Darby Summer Stage

I learned a couple of things about Tina Fey last night.

She remains revered in Upper Darby.

Nowhere is that more true than with the folks who run the Upper Darby Summer Stage.

We took our live-stream show, 'Live From the Internet,' to Upper Darby High last night to talk to some of the people who knew Fey was she was still an admitted 'nerd.' If you missed the show, you can catch the replay here.

This weekend Fey will be back in her hometown, doing a special fundraiser at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center to raise money for a new sound system for the Summer Stage program where she got her start.

My thanks to Harry Dietzler, who started the program back in 1976 and still runs the operation, as well as the Performing Arts Center.

We also were joined by two people who had first-hand experience working with Fey back when she directed a couple of shows there in the early '90s. Brian Dietzler and Bethany Paxson spoke glowingly about both Fey and the program, and how Summer Stage managed to make "nerdy" cool.

That was a theme also sounded by Devon Fields, a Penn State student and Summer Stage alum who just finished up as the lead in their production of "Shrek the Musical."v In the melting pot that is Upper Darby, where more than 70 languages are spoken in the school district, Upper Darby Summer Stage is part of the proud heritage and glue that holds this community together.

Just how strong is that bond. Local and state officials learned that first-hand a few years back when budget cuts threatened the prize music and arts programs in the schools. The community rallied, galvanized in their opposition to the cuts. The money was found and the programs remain unscathed.

Upper Darby Summer Stage is a a Delaware County treasure, just as one its brightest alums - none other than Tina Fey - is as well.

Here's our editorial on what this treasure really means to the community.