Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Dec. 31

The Daily Numbers: 365th day of the year. Happy New Year’s Eve!

2014 has just a few hours left before we ring in 2015.

1 man shot and killed after using his vehicle to threaten cops in Drexel Hill.

5 officers who fired at the suspect - 2 from Upper Darby, 2 from Clifton Heights, 1 from Haverford.

30, age of inmate who was found hanged to death in his cell at the Delaware County prison.

12 million dollar budget that holds the line on taxes in Media Borough.

25, age of man from Chester who has been identified as driver killed in fiery crash following a police stop in Glenolden.

42, age of woman who waived her preliminary hearing yesterday on charges she had sex in a car with a 17-year-old in a Montco park.

10 cent hike in gas expected to hit with the new year under that state transportation package.

2.3 billion dollars a year raised for roads and bridges in Pa. under the plan.

2.58, average price of gas in Pa. on Tuesday.

90 cents less than the same time last year.

180,000 Pennsylvania residents who have signed up for health care in the 2nd round of enrollment under the Affordable Care Act.

8 people killed and 255 injured on Pa. highways over the Christmas holiday period.

728 crashes investigated by state police.

172 fewer crashes than last year.

327 arrests for driving under the influence.

3,953 speeding citations.

357 citations for failing to wear seat belts.

40 point loss for the Sixers last night at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.

23 points for former Sixer Mareese Speights to lead the Warriors.

31-28 win for Notre Dame over LSU in the Music City Bowl.

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

Let’s go Wildcats! That might be the rallying cry in this barren winter for Philly sports fans. Villanova is ranked No. 6 in the nation and kick off their Big East schedule today.

I Don’t Get It: Making online threats against police. I don't get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the officers who responded to yesterday’s deadly situation in Drexel Hill. A very tough situation.

Quote Box: “The suspect was making threats on YouTube to kill police and FBI.”

- Upper Darby Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood, on suspect killed by officers in Drexel Hill.

Raising a voice in support of police

It's been pretty popular to point fingers at police the past few months. And very often with good reason.

There was the shooting of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Mo. Then the chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York. Grand juries looked at both cases and decided not to bring charges.

Those decisions sparked widespread protests and a backlash against police officers that was felt across the nation.

I don't doubt that this country still faces serious issues when it comes to race relations. And yes, those are often highlighted in the interactions between police and citizens. If these tragic incidents and the emotions surrounding them spark a better dialog on the relations between police and the community, that's a good thing.

Unfortunately, it also can incite violence, as seen in the assassination of two officers for no good reason in New York City.

This isn't about any of those things.

This is about the overwhelming majority of cops who just doing their job, a job that puts them in harm's way every day. Consider what happened yesterday in Drexel Hill.

Police attempting to serve a warrant on a man who had been posting threats against police and FBI agents online came face to face with the kind of life-and-death situation that too often comes with the badge.

The suspect first rammed his car into the SUV of the Clifton Heights police chief. He then tried to run down several other officers. Police then opened fire on the suspect, killing him.

Miraculously, no one else was injured.

We can thank the officers from Upper Darby, Haverford and Clifton Heights for that.

We're quick to point blame at them when their actions are questioned.

The opposite is a little more rare.

Maybe we can start this conversation for thanking them for what they do every day.

Make sure you fill up your gas tank today!

Here's an early New Year's resolution.

Actually, consider it a tip from the Heron's Nest.

Make sure you fill up your car's gas tank today. That's because that same gas is going to cost you more tomorrow.

The next phase of that massive transportation package that was passed by the Legislature last fall kicks in with the new year.

Bottom line? Prices at the pump are likely to go up by as much as a dime.

Here's all the details.

You've been warned.

Sight for sore Philly sports fans' eyes: Villanova

How 'bout those Flyers!

Let's go Sixers!

Uh, never mind.

Welcome to the winter of your discontent, Philly sports fans.

With the Eagles now in the rear-view mirror and watching the playoffs along with the rest of us, what do we do with ourselves while we wait for pitchers and catchers to report to Clearwater.

Well, I for one have no intention of investing any time with the Sixers. In case you missed it, late last night your 76ers paid a visit to one of the better teams in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors.

It was about as ugly as you might imagine. The Sixers got waxed, losing by 40 points.

So what is a Philly sports fan to do?

Here's a suggestion. Let's get behind the Villanova Wildcats.

Jay Wright's crew is ranked No. 6 in the nation and kick off their Big East schedule today with a date with Butler at the Pavilion on the Main Line.

This team should be a contender for a Final Four date.

Beats the hell out of waiting for Chip Kelly to "evaluate" his roster.

If you need a hand with that coach, give us a call.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Dec. 30

The Daily Numbers: 1 person killed, 1 injured in fiery crash that occurred when a driver fled from a police stop in Folcroft and crashed on Chester Pike in Glenolden.

1 person killed in a crash Friday night in Springfield that has resulted in DUI charges filed against the driver.

500,000 dollars cash bail for the driver, who lost his close friend, a passenger in the car, in the crash.

2 strutters, a father and son from Prospect Park, who will be leading the Avalon String Band in the Mummers Parade in Philly on Thursday.

11 p.m. Wednesday, when the fun starts with the official New Year’s party in Media Borough.

2 men whose preliminary hearing was continued in connection with brutal beating of person at 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby. A 3rd suspect is being sought.

1962, when Hofffman’s Candle Corner II opened in Morton. It will close its doors forever on New Year’s Eve.

54, age of woman charged with DUI in fatal crash that took the life of her husband in Montco.

10, age of boy who was struck and killed by police cruiser in South Jersey.

675 families left in lurch after charter school in Philly abruptly closed its doors.

15.48 dip for the Dow yesterday.

4-2 loss for the Flyers to the Coyotes in Phoenix last night.

5-2 start for Eagles with Nick Foles as starter before he got hurt.

4-4 mark in games started by Mark Sanchez.

3 NFL coaches fired on what is coined ‘Black Monday,’ the day after the final Sunday of the regular season.

1 game suspension for Ndamukong Suh of the Lions for stomping on left of Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers. Yes, that is a playoff game.

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

Chip Kelly needs to realize that ‘smartest guy in the room’ attitude goes down a lot easier with the fans when you make the playoffs.

I Don’t Get It: If we needed a reminder of the dangers of drinking and driving, we got it over the weekend.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Urzillo father-son team from Prospect Park. They’ll be leading the Avalon String Band in Thursday’s Mummers Parade in Philly.

Quote Box: “He’s devastated, he’s scared and he’s distraught.”

- Keith Garrity, on his client who now faces DUI charges in fatal crash that took the life of his close friend.

Holiday tragedy on Delco roads

There has been no respite from tragedy on Delco highways.

It's hard to imageine the tragedy that is now enveloping two families after a crash Friday night in Springfield. In effect, two lives have been destroyed.

A Springfield man now faces charges of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence. He lost his longtime friend, who was a passenger in the car, in the crash, which occurred on State Road just after 9:30 Friday night.

You can read all the details here.

There is no good way to present this kind of story. It is heart-wrenching for all involved. One man's life was snuffed out; another (a close friend) has been forever altered.

I am always stunned at the visceral reaction that even the smallest story about a fatal crash sparks. They are routinely the most-viewed story on our website. They also produce no small amount of emotional comment, not all of it offered in the nicest way, and some of it directed at this newspaper.

That goes along with the job. I will tell you, however, that I received several emails and phone calls wondering if we were going to follow up on the original story on the crash that appeared in the Sunday paper. Obviously, we did just that.

We didn't do it to inflict any more pain on two families suffering incredible losses. But that is what we do, it's part of the public record.

It just seems especially tough at this time of year.

Yesterday the process repeated itself with a fatal crash that followed a routine police stop. A police officer in Folcroft attempted to stop a vehicle for a traffic violation. Instead, the driver sped away at a high rate of speed. He didn't get far.

Police say the car collided head-on with another car in front of Glenolden Fire Co. on Chester Pike. The driver of the car that fled the police stop was killed. The other driver is hospitalized.

The story produced a visceral reaction from the very first time alert I posted on our Facebook page.

I'm not sure what that says about us, or the business I'm engaged in. I assure you it doesn't get any easier the longer you do it. I know I will receive phone calls today to complain about the way we covered these two stories.

I will listen patiently, knowing the kind of distress these families are enduring.

That's also part of the job.

Some Chips show up in Kelly's armor

Chip Kelly is learning something it took Andy Reid a little longer to grasp.

That smug, 'smartest guy in the room' persona works a lot better when you're in the playoffs.

Yes, Kelly's Eagles again put up 10 wins, same as last year. But they failed to make the playoffs. That means the team took a step backward, regardless of what the team's record is.

Yesterday, at an early-morning press conference to wrap up the season, Kelly was his usual smart-alecky self in jousting with reporters who were seeking answers in terms of what lies ahead.

"We're going to evaluate everything," the coach maintained. But when you listen to the entire press conference, it's pretty clear Kelly had no intention of offering anything of use to the assembled media - or to the fans for that matter.

None of that will change the fact the Kelly, the Eagles and the fans all will share one trait this weekend. They'll all be watching the NFL playoffs on TV.

Kelly refused to address the Birds' clear issues in the defensive secondary, nor his plan for the quarterback position. And he clearly wanted no part of revisiting his off-season decision to release DeSean Jackson and what effect that had on the team's offense.

For now, Kelly continues to get the benefit of the doubt.

But it wouldn't kill him to at least give the appearance that he shares the fans' pain.

Instead, now we can all look forward to a winter consisting of Flyers and Sixers games. Spring training anyone? Oh, never mind.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Monday, Dec. 29 (Eagles Edition)

The Daily Numbers: 10-6 record for the Eagles, same as last year, but no playoffs for the Birds.

34-26 win over the Giants yesterday at the Meadowlands.

7-8-1 mark for the Panthers, who win the NFC South and make the playoffs.

9-3 record for Eagles on Thanksgiving night, before 3 straight losses sealed their fate.

6-10 record for the Giants.

7 touchdowns for the Eagles dynamite special teams. They blocked a punt yesterday.

3 blocked punt returns for TDs for the Eagles this year.

474 points scored for the Birds this year, setting a new team record.

32 more points than they scored last year.

54 touchdowns, 390 completions, 4,581 gross passing yards, 8 300-yard passing days and 356 first downs. Those are all team records.

23 of 36 and 2 TD passes for Mark Sanchez.

1 interception, of course.

34:37 time of possession for the Giants, just 25-23 for the Eagles.

99 yards on 17 carries for LeSean McCoy.

1,319 rushing yards this season for Shady McCoy.

3-0 record for Eagles this year in games in which they did not throw an interception.

20th, where Eagles will pick in the NFL Draft.

185 yards on 12 catches and TD for Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

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

10-6 usually makes the playoffs. Not this year. The Birds are outside looking in.

I Don’t Get It: Jeff Lurie says the Eagles are on an ‘upward’ movement. They made the playoffs last year. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Eagles fans, who remain the most loyal in sports, while still waiting for that ever elusive Super Bowl title.

Quote Box: “I think we are pretty close.”

- Eagles owner Jeff Lurie, after yesterday’s win.

The Eagles produce their own version of '64

It is one of those events that is seared into the psyche of Philly sports fans.

Today it has company.

To those of us of a certain age, the '64 Phillies pretty much encapsulate a lifetime of frustration that comes with rooting for teams in this era.

Well, move over Chico Ruiz. Say hello to the 2014 Eagles, who will be watching the NFL playoffs along with the rest of us after a colossal collapse that would make Gene Mauch proud.

This dawned on me Sunday afternoon as I tried to figure out exactly why I was spending the day watching a game that meant absolutely nothing.

Sure, we've done a lot of that over the years.

This one felt different.

It was just a month ago, on Thanksgiving night, that the Eagles looked like a potential Super Bowl contender as they routed the Cowboys in Dallas in front of a national TV audience. The Birds were 9-3 and held the NFC East firmly in their talons.

Not for long.

That high was followed by three consecutive defeats - a domination by the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks got this ball rolling downhill, seemingly shaking these Birds, making them wonder just how good they were. They found out the next two weeks, when they dropped the rematch to the Cowboys at the Linc, then inexplicably failed to show up for a crucial game in Washington.

They ended the season yesterday with a less-than-convincing 34-26 win vs. the Giants in the Meadowlands.

Bob Grotz has all the details here.

The win gives the Eagles a 10-6 mark for the 2014 campaign, but leaves them out of the playoffs. Yes, it's especially galling considering that the Carolina Panthers won the NFC South and will stride into the playoffs sporting a 7-8-1 record.

That's the way the system works. The Eagles simply were not that good, much more resembling the team that finished 10-6 than the team that looked so high and mighty at 9-3.

They still have a huge question mark at quarterback. Mark Sanchez proved he is not the answer. He seem unable to avoid making a terrible decision and heaving the ball into coverage at the most inopportune time, creating a killer turnover. The jury is still out on Nick Foles, who barring a major draft day deal will likely enter next season as the Eagles starting QB.

The secondary is in dire need of a makeover. Even with some new faces playing yesterday, the Eagles showed the same propensity to giving up huge plays, and being unable to get off the field on third down.

After the game, owner Jeff Lurie gushed about the team's nucleus and how he sees the Eagles on an 'upward path.'

That's a bit of an odd statement since the team made the playoffs last year and will be home watching on TV this time around.

Columnist Jack McCaffery offers a sobering look at the golden opportunity that was squandered by this team.

I think fans of the '64 Phillies would understand.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

Well, this is depressing.

Chip Kelly and the Eagles have gone Grinch on us, stealing Christmas from Eagles fans, who now must slog their way through a meaningless season finale in North Jersey against the Giants.

That’s because Kelly’s Eagles have collapsed.

It’s hard to believe it was just a month ago that the Birds strode into Dallas on Thanksgiving and dismantled the Cowboys. They sat at 9-3 and were thinking about a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Now they’re outside looking in, and the view is not pretty.

The Eagles failed to address an inadequate secondary and it burned them.

They thought their hurry-up dink and dunk offense would be able to compensate for Chip Kelly’s decision to let DeSean Jackson walk. Didn’t quite turn out that way.

And they are slowly coming around to the likelihood that Chip Kelly’s franchise quarterback is not on this roster. The Eagles have lost three in a row, getting dominated by the Seahawks in a cold, slap in the face that they still have not shaken off, falling to the Cowboys at home, and then inexplicably failing to show up and losing a game to the lowly Redskins.

Now the party’s over. People are starting to grumble, about the loss of Jackson, the secondary and some other decisions Kelly has made.

That’s what happens when 9-3 turns into 9-6.

Kelly has insisted all week he will play his starters Sunday against the Giants. I don’t know why. They aren’t going to learn whether or not they have a possible cornerback who can actually stay with an NFL receiver. They aren’t going to find out if Matt Barkley can be a suitable NFL backup QB.

I say the Eagles tailspin continues, and they end what was a most promising season with an ugly four-game losing stream that would make the ‘64 Phillies proud.

Bring on the Flyers and Sixers. On second thought ...

Spring training? Not much to look forward to there.

Welcome to the winter of our discontent.

The Pick: Make it Giants 27, Eagles 26. Raise your hand if you saw this coming back on Thanksgiving? Thought so.

Season Record: Bottom line on the 2014 Eagles? They just weren’t that good. I believe this team is closer to the one that has now lost three straight than that bunch that stood 9-3. That disturbing loss to the Redskins dropped the Eagles to 9-6,. They fooled me as well. I didn’t think there was any way they would lost that game. One thing we’ve been able to count on with Chip Kelly. He beats the teams he’s supposed to beat. Not any more. My season record now sits just a game over .500 at 8-7.

Game by Game: Redskins 27 Eagles 24 (My Pick: Eagles 26, Redskins 13)

Cowboys 38, Eagles 27 (My Pick: Eagles 30, Cowboys 26)

Seahawks 24, Eagles 14 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Seahawks 23)

Eagles 33, Cowboys 10 (My Pick: Cowboys 29, Eagles 26)

Eagles 43, Titans 24 (My Pick: Eagles 34, Titans 23)

Packers 53, Eagles 20, 21 (My Pick: Packers 33, Eagles 24)

Eagles 45, Panthers 21 (My Pick: Eagles 33, Panthers 17)

Eagles 31, Texans 21 (My Pick: Eagles 29, Texans 19)

Cardinals 24, Eagles 20 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Cardinals 23)

Eagles 27, Giants 0 (My Pick: Giants 31, Eagles 26)

Eagles 34, Rams 28 (My Pick: Eagles 35, Rams 19)

49ers 26, Eagles 21 (My Pick: 49ers 33, Eagles 29)

Eagles 34, Jaguars 17 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Jags 16)

Eagles 30, Colts 27 (My Pick: Colts 29, Eagles 23)

Eagles 37, Redskins 34 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Redskins 23)

Monday, December 22, 2014

The honeymoon is over for Chip Kelly

Not good enough.

Those three words sum up the Eagles after a thoroughly disheartening third consecutive defeat for the Eagles, which dropped them out of the playoffs.

Chip Kelly was not good enough.

The quarterbacks were not good enough.

The defensive secondary was not good enough.

The truth? This team is very likely closer to the team that just lost three straight games than the group that was puffing up its chest with a 9-3 mark less than a month ago.

The Eagles never shook off the physical - and psychological - beating put on them by the Seahawks, who now look like they are streaking toward a second straight Super Bowl.

Up until Saturday, Chip Kelly specialized in winning games against inferior foes. But the Seattle game, much as the Green Bay game did earlier in the year, showed just how far away the Eagles are from being an elite team, one that can seriously be mentioned in the same breath as the words Super Bowl.

There is really no excuse for the way the Eagles played on Saturday. For the third straight week, they gave every appearance of being unprepared to play.

And they showed the same reckless, undisciplined style of play - including a recurring theme of costly penalties - that has become their hallmark. All of that sits at the feet of Chip Kelly.

He may very well be an offensive genius. His 'hair on fire' offense was a novelty that seemed to catch the league off guard. But it is dependent on acquiring first downs. Denied that, this team week after week got exposed by an offense that was unable to sustain drives and a defense that was unable to get off the field.

For some unknown reason, Chip Kelly decided to put his team's chances on the right shoulder of Mark Sanchez when this team's success is dependent on being able to run the ball.

Chip Kelly's quarterback likely is not on this roster right now.

Kelly and Roseman will have to retool. They might want to start with their defensive coordinator, especially if it turns out that it was Billy Davis's call the last couple of weeks to not have a safety offer 'over the top' help for torched cornerback Bradley Fletcher.

The Eagles were the only ray of hope on what is increasingly a bleak Philly sports landscape.

Pat Gillick has already warned us that the Phillies will not contend for several years.

The Sixers are a national embarrassment.

The Flyers likely will not make the playoffs.

How many days until training camp? And how many guys on this roster will be back next year?

Every year I spit out the same prediction when it comes to the Eagles. 10-6 and a spot in the playoffs. They are not going to the post-season this year. There is no guarantee they will next year either.

Chip Kelly has led something of a charmed existence in his two seasons as the man in the brightest spotlight in Philly sports.

The honeymoon is over. Chip Kelly will learn that in the next few weeks and months.

Hopefully, he will react to that better than he did to the last three weeks.

Three simple words: Not good enough.

Keeping a Christmas tradition

Every year since I assumed the editorship of the Daily Times in 1999, I have presented a Christmas column.

I wrote it as a salute to my mother, whose sense of how to celebrate the holiday is deeply ingrained in her son.

You can read it here.

I am always amazed at the reaction it gets each year. I actually have people calling in the weeks leading up to Christmas with people wondering when it is going to appear.

I think my mom's sense of the holiday strikes a chord with many families, at least I hope so.

Merry Christmas, readers.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

Chip Kelly’s high-speed offense suddenly has turned into the fastest three-and-out machine in the NFL.

For the second straight week, the Eagles offense was sluggish at the start, allowing the Cowboys to break out to a big lead. Even at that, the Birds still clawed back and held a 24-21 lead early in the second half before the roof caved in on them.

After losing two straight at home, the Eagles hit the road to the nation’s capital in a game they simply have to win. The loss to the Cowboys took the Eagles’ fate out of their hands. They now will need help to make the playoffs. The most likely scenario is a win in D.C., followed tomorrow by a loss by the Cowboys to Andrew Luck and the Colts.

The immediate problem for the Eagles will remain the guy standing behind center. Mark Sanchez spent much of last week missing wide-open receivers. The Redskins, while they have struggled mightily, still play pretty good defense. It’s incumbent for the Eagles to get LeSean McCoy and the ground game going early. They do not want to fall behind again and put the game on the right arm of Sanchez. He’s proven so far to be every bit the erratic turnover machine that frustrated the Jets.

One interesting subplot to this game will be Robert Griffin III starting for the Redskins because of injury. He and Jay Gruden likely will not be exchanging Christmas cards. Is there a chance Chip Kelly will be using this game to determine if he wants to take a shot on the often-injured signal-caller who would seem a perfect fit for his offense.

Look for the Eagles offense to sputter again under Sanchez, but they will get another special teams score and survive by the skin of their teeth. Then we all become huge Andrew Luck fans.

The Pick: Make it Eagles 26, Redskins 13. It would be inconceivable that the Eagles could get caught looking ahead. They have to win this game. I think they will.

Season Record: I once again was fooled by the Eagles. I expected them to rebound and play well vs. the Cowboys. Instead, all they showed was that there are some noticeable cracks in the aura surrounding Chip Kelly. Not making the playoffs would be a huge disappointment for a team that could finish 11-5 and still be on the outside looking in at the NFL’s postseason. The loss dropped the Eagles mark to 9-5, while I continued to slide, now sitting at a fairly mediocre 8-6. Of course, in the NFC South, that would make me a world-beater.

Game by Game: Cowboys 38, Eagles 27 (My Pick: Eagles 30, Cowboys 26)

Seahawks 24, Eagles 14 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Seahawks 23)

Eagles 33, Cowboys 10 (My Pick: Cowboys 29, Eagles 26)

Eagles 43, Titans 24 (My Pick: Eagles 34, Titans 23)

Packers 53, Eagles 20, 21 (My Pick: Packers 33, Eagles 24)

Eagles 45, Panthers 21 (My Pick: Eagles 33, Panthers 17)

Eagles 31, Texans 21 (My Pick: Eagles 29, Texans 19)

Cardinals 24, Eagles 20 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Cardinals 23)

Eagles 27, Giants 0 (My Pick: Giants 31, Eagles 26)

Eagles 34, Rams 28 (My Pick: Eagles 35, Rams 19)

49ers 26, Eagles 21 (My Pick: 49ers 33, Eagles 29)

Eagles 34, Jaguars 17 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Jags 16)

Eagles 30, Colts 27 (My Pick: Colts 29, Eagles 23)

Eagles 37, Redskins 34 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Redskins 23)

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Dec. 19

The Daily Numbers: 400 students to 850 attending the Delaware County Intermediate Unit campus in Aston under an expansion plan. The township planners rejected the proposal.

21, age of victim struck and killed by train in Darby Borough.

25, age of man charged with 1st-degree murder in fatal stabbing in Yeadon.

23, of Upper Darby man charged with groping a fast-food worker at the drive-thru window.

4 percent tax hike in Rose Valley.

0 tax hike in Edgmont and Middletown.

3 weeks since Shane Montgomery disappeared after he left a Manayunk bar.

55 million dollar price tag for SEPTA to replace the Crum creek bridge on the Media-Elwyn train line.

925 foot span that connects Swarthmore and Nether Providence needs to be replaced.

3 suspects who waived their hearings yesterday in the beating death of 3-year-old Scotty McMillan in Chester County.

421 point boost for the Dow Jones yesterday.

2.4 percent hike, closing at 17,778.15

20 million dollars from Carl Icahn that will keep the Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City open for now.

309 million dollars being sought for the school district.

30 million dollar deficit, what they are facing next year.

2-1 shootout loss for the Flyers to the Panthers.

2-1-1 record for Flyers on their homestand.

8 games on the road now. Flyers do not return home until Jan. 6

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

Eagles will need Luck to reach the playoffs. Namely Andrew Luck, who will lead the Colts vs. the Cowboys on sunday. Of course, first the Eagles need to beat the Redskins on Saturday.

I Don’t Get It: There is a sex tape circulating in Bucks County. It involves middle school students. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, who is at the forefront of the Sony hacking story through his position as chairman of the House Subcommitee on Cybersecurity.

Quote Box: “We Mc-locked him up and Mc-photoed him for the offense.”

- Upper Darby top cop Mike Chitwood, after a man was charged with groping a fast-food worker at a drive-thru window.

The agony continues for family of Shane Montgomery

There is no end to the agony for the family of Shane Montgomery.

It has now been three weeks since the 21-year-old West Chester University student walked out of Kildare's Irish Pub in Manayunk after a night out with friends - and vanished off the face of the earth. He has not been seen since.

These cases have a tendency to make headlines for a few days or maybe a week, then fade away.

But the horror does not stop for his family.

Less than a week before Christmas, Montgomery's family continues to press the search, looking for any clue of their loved one.

This weekend there is a run/walk to raise money to help the hunt for Montgomery.

It is heartbreaking to listen to Montgomery's mother talk about the situation. Here's hoping they get some kind of resolution soon.

126 hours of shopping: On your marks ....

Every day in my Daily Numbers portion of the blog, I list an "I Don't Get It" item.

Today I decided it needed a blog post all its own.

Kohl's stores opened their doors this morning at 6 a.m. They will not close until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

That's right. They will be open for business for 126 consecutive hours. I suppose there are some advantages to shopping at 3 in the morning. It's certainly likely that you will be the crowds.

I just hope my wife has not yet heard of this new shopping fad.

She's a Kohl's junkie.

Then again, if she's shopping for me.....

Luck-y Day for Eagles fans?

There are actually two big games for Eagles fans this weekend.

First, of course, the Birds must take care of business on Saturday when they visit the nation's capital to tangle with the Redskins and what appears to be a newly rejuvenated Robert Griffin III.

If they take care of business, then Eagles fans will need to gather around the tube at 4:30 Sunday, when the Cowboys play the Colts.

The Eagles will not make the playoffs unless they win their final two games, and the Cowboys lose at least once. Dallas ends their regular season with Washington, while the Eagles have to go up the Jersey Turnpike to face the Giants.

DeMarco Murray continues to be questionable for the 'Boys with a broken bone in his hand.

The Eagles beat the Colts early in this season. They need to hope Andrew Luck and company can rise to the occasion.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Dec. 18

The Daily Numbers: 27 years, how long Dr. Lawrence Wean has been practicing medicine in Media. Yesterday he was busted for selling prescriptions for painkillers to undercover police officers.

14 counts of administering controlled substance and 3 counts of insurance fraud filed against the doctor.

12.5 percent dip in finances at Cheyney University between 2009 and 2013. The state is warning the historic school faces a ‘dire future’ if finances are not reversed.

348 percent increase in bad debt at the school during the same period.

1,471 students enrolled at the school in 2008-09. That dipped to 1,248 in 2012-13 and expected to fall to 1,053 this year.

12.3 million dollar deficit at the school.

10 people, including 1 from Delco, charged in a scheme to cheat PennDOT out of $1.2 million.

8 people busted in a sting operation in Radnor after they answered a bogus letter indicating they were due unclaimed cash.

0 tax hike in Morton budget.

3.9 percent tax hike in works in Marple.

0 tax hike in Aldan.

0 tax hike in Swarthmore

0 tax hike in Upper Chichester.

4:30 Saturday, when the Eagles teen it up against the Redskins in D.C. Remember the Birds play Saturday, not Sunday. On Sunday all Eagles fans will be watching the Cowboys in the 4:30 game to see if they falter.

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

Why do I get the feeling DeSean Jackson would like nothing more than to ruin the playoff chances of Chip Kelly and the Eagles.

I Don’t Get It: Another doctor facing charges of illegally doling out painkillers. No wonder the county has an opioid problem.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Betty Subashi. The Ridley woman is donating $100 to the Daily Times Merry Christmas Fund to honor the anonymous ‘angel’ who returned her fanny pack that she had left in a shopping cart at the local Acme.

Quote Box: “This is all wrong, all wrong.”

- Dr. Lawrence Wean, after being charged in a sting operation with illegally dispensing painkillers.

The men who run Chester Upland

There is nothing wrong with the Chester Upland School District that $20 million wouldn't cure.

That's the word from the man who should know. Joe Watkins is the embattled state-appointed receiver of the struggling district. He managed to survive an attempt by his boss at the state Department of Education to boot him from his job. But he's not out of the woods yet. Neither is the district.

Chester Upland continues to face fiscal calamity, staring at a $20 million deficit. Watkins says that shortfall could be wiped out if the state went back to disbursing money as it did after a costing-out study done in 2011 that delivered more state aid to those districts in the greatest need.

He's hopeful that a new administration taking over in Harrisburg - namely Democratic Gov.-elect Tom Wolf - will restore the Act 88 funds nixed by the Corbett Administration.

In the meantime, he maintains the district is making progress, both in luring students back to the public schools from charters, in maintaining a safe atmosphere, and increasing test scores.

He has a secret weapon in this daunting task.

His name is Gregory Shannon, the superintendent Watkins hired to help turn around the district.

Watkins and Shannon were my guests last night on our live-stream Internet show, 'Live From the Newsroom.' If you missed the show, you can catch the replay here.

I have to admit I was surprised at the move by the state to bounce Watkins, which came just a few weeks after his announcement that he planned to visit China to entice a charter school operator there to invest - perhaps as much as a billion dollars - in Chester Upland.

That trip is now off, but Watkins stands by the move, and hopes officials may still be willing to come here instead.

But if you're looking for a reason for hope in Chester Upland, Shannon is your man.

He speaks passionately about his mission, and creating a safe atmosphere for Chester students.

Shannon did not mince words about his first task when he and Watkins literally went door-to-door in a much-needed attempt to convince families to pull their kids out of the charters and put them back in Chester Upland district schools. They did it. Enrollment at Chester Upland schools is up.

"They didn't think the schools were safe," Shannon frankly admitted last night.

He's changed that.

He's also pushing basics - reading, writing and public speaking - as the cornerstone to give Chester Upland kids a fighting chance. Watkins and Shannon still face a huge task in turning around Chester Upland.

I almost said "insurmountable," but if you ever get the chance to meet them, in particular Shannon, you'll know that's not the case.

Think DeSean Jackson would like to ruin the Eagles' playoff chances?

Here's a random thought while waiting for the Eagles to continue their desperate hunt for a playoff spot.

Much has been made of the Eagles' inability to throw deep balls this year. Many believe there is a simple reason for that. He will be lining up across the line of scrimmage Saturday in D.C.

How much do you think DeSean Jackson would like to stick a pin in Chip Kelly and the Eagles' playoff hopes.

With Robert Griffin III back as the starting QB due to still another injury to a Redskins quarterback, look for him to try to get Jackson deep on the Eagles vulnerable secondary.

And how nervous are you at the thought of Jackson going up against what has been a persistent problem this year. That would be the Eagles much-maligned corners, Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams.

Buckle your seat belts, Eagles fans, what was thought to be an easy game in the nation's capital may turn out to be one more finger-biting affair.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Dec. 17

The Daily Numbers: 1st degree murder charge filed against former Colwyn police officer Stephen Rozniakowski in the shooting death of a woman in Glenolden.

3 people shot in the ordeal.

40, age of woman who was killed in the shooting. Police indicated she had broken off a relationship with Rozniakowski.

15, age of her daughter, who also was wounded by the former cop.

1 person fatally stabbed in Yeadon last night.

8,750 dollar bribe, what Philly D.A. alleges state Rep. Ron Waters, who represents a portion of Delaware County, pocketed.

2 state pols who face charges stemming from a sting operation.

19, age of Upper Darby man charged with allegedly raping a 16-year-old girl in Arlington Cemetery.

33, age of man who faces new charges after allegedly lighting up a marijuana cigarette while inside the Upper Darby police station.

40 dollar hike in taxes for Prospect Park residents under their proposed budget.

9 percent pay hike for police officers in Springfield Township.

.5 mile from his home, where authorities found the body of Bradley Stone, wanted in connection with killing 6 people in Montgomery County.

141 people killed when Taliban fighters invaded a school in Pakistan.

3-1 loss for the Flyers to Tampa Bay last night at the Wells Fargo.

23 saves in his NHL debut for Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevsky.

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

Robert Griffin III will be running the Redskins’ offense Saturday vs. the Eagles. Anyone else wonder how he would look running Chip Kelly’s offense?

I Don’t Get It: Stephen Rozniakowski’s track record gave a harrowing foreshadowing of what eventually happened Monday night in Glenolden. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the volunteers who were saluted at a recent meeting of Chester City Council. They do the city proud.

Quote Box: “His intent was to arm himself with a gun, with a bullet-proof vest, and to execute all three people and take down all who got in his way, including police.”

- D.A. Jack Whelan, describing the actions of Stephan Rozniakowski, who now faces murder charges.

An 'execution' in Glenolden

It's hard to imagine the terror that unfolded inside a home in Glenolden Monday night.

Valerie Morrow was all too familiar with the volatile nature of Stephen Rozniakowski. She had obtained a protection from abuse order against him earlier in the day.

But as is too often the case in domestic incidents, it did her little good.

Rozniakowski, with whom she had broken off a relationship, showed up at the Morrow home Monday night wearing a bulletproof vest and packing a gun.

He didn't go there to talk.

Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said Rozniakowski, a cop with a bad history of harassing women, went there to "execute" the Morrow family.

He was only stopped when Valerie Morrow's husband, Thomas, himself a police officer in Morton, returned fire, wounding Rozniakowski. You can read all the details of the horrific incident here.

Earlier in the day, Rozniakowski had resigned his position on the Colwyn police department. He had been on desk duty while awaiting trial in Montgomery County for stalking and harassing another woman. He was due in court for a pre-trial conference.

Rozniakowski now faces first-degree murder and a slew of other charges. Whelan said his office will consider the death penalty in the case.

Actually, the death penalty has already been used.

Stephen Rozniakowksi, a spurned suitor, used it on Valerie Morrow.

Chester Upland's top brass visits 'Live From the Newsroom'

Do you have a question you'd like to ask the top brass of the Chester Upland School District?

This is your night.

After surviving an attempt by Gov. Tom Corbett to remove him from his job, Chester Upland receiver Joe Watkins will pay a visit to our live-stream Internet show, 'Live From the Newsroom,' tonight. Joining us will be Chester Upland Superintendent Gregory Shannon.

Watkins was targeted in a surprise move by acting state Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq, who filed a petition in Delaware County Court to have Watkins ousted. But Delco Judge Chad Kenney decided Watkins deserves more time to turn things around in the seemingly forever troubled school district.

We'll talk about the reasons why Watkins may have been targeted, why he believes it was the wrong move, and the things he's done to reverse course in Chester Upland.

Shannon will be on hand to talk about the current state of affairs in Chester Upland, and where the district goes from here. Do you have a question you'd like to ask either Watkins or Shannon? Email it to me at editor@delcotimes.com, and I will ask them tomorrow night.

Then tune in to DelcoTimes.com tonight at 7
night as we go live with Joe Watkins and Gregory Shannon. Join the conversation!

How would RGIII look running Chip Kelly's offense?

The Eagles just might get a glimpse of their future Saturday when they travel down I-95 for a crucial game against the Redskins.

The Eagles need to keep winning - and hope for a Dallas loss - to have any hope of winning the division and making the playoffs. The odds of making it as a Wild Card team are even longer.

But they might be looking at the ghost of Christmas future across the line of scrimmage.

Robert Griffin III will be back as the starting quarterback for the 'Skins, thanks to a neck injury that has put Colt McCoy on the shelf for the rest of the season.

RGIII, once heralded as the face of the Washington franchise, clearly has fallen out of favor with new coach Jay Gruden. Most people believe he will be playing somewhere else next year.

Could that spot be Philadelphia.

Griffin ran an offense similar to that employed by Chip Kelly when he was a college standout at Baylor. He's mobile, which most people believe is something Kelly desperately wants - and does not really have with Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez - in his QB.

The down side? RGIII has proven to be brittle, reeling from a string of injuries since he's been in Washington. Part of that comes with the exposure that the run-option demands of a signal caller.

But it's still an intriguing option.

It is unlikely that the Eagles will be able to pull off any kind of blockbuster that would put them in position to draft Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, who Kelly also coached at Oregon.

I happen to think that Kelly's franchise quarterback is not on this roster.

He just might be staring at them from across the line of scrimmage on Saturday.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Dec. 16

The Daily Numbers: 6 people slain by a man in 3 different towns in Montgomery County in an early-morning rampage.

1 more person was wounded. The gunman is still on the loose.

35, age of suspect Bradley Michael Stone, whose ex-wife told friends she feared he was going to kill her.

2 people shot - 1 fatally - in a home in Glenolden Monday night.

14 and 17, ages of niece and nephew among the victims.

3 suspects facing charges in connection with stolen credit cards in Upper Chichester.

26, age of Philly man facing charges for allegedly dealing heroin in Upper Darby.

8 people homeless following a fire in Chester.

6 people out of their homes following a blaze in Yeadon.

7,500 dollar grant coming to Eddystone to study its recycling program.

1,107 tax bill for average resident in Colwyn after borough council OK’d a budget that actually cuts taxes.

22 months in prison for former Kutztown University football player in connection with the beating of a student

98.6 million Americans who will travel 50 miles from home this Christmas holiday season, according to AAA.

4 percent increase over last year.

2.53 a gallon, national average price at pump for gas.

70 cents less than last year.

50,000 dollars left by a secret Santa at a Wal-mart in Mechanicsburg, Pa., to pay off layaway bills.

3 dead after siege ends in Sydney, Australia.

0 wins for the Sixers at home this year, to go with 13 straight losses.

105-87 loss to the Celtics last night.

19 points, a career high, for Nerlens Noel in the loss.

1 Dallas loss and 2 Eagles wins, what Birds need to still win the division.

2 Eagles wins and 2 losses by either Green Bay, Detroit or Seattle would give them a wild card.

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

The Eagles will need help if they are going to get to the playoffs. They no longer control their own destiny.

I Don’t Get It: Just a horrific day of violence on Monday, and we still need an answer to guns.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Villanova QB John Robertson, who won the Walter Payton Award as the best college football player in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Quote Box: “The community has been very kind. A man I didn’t know offered to give us a house to live in.

- Fire victim Joe McCullough, of Morton.

A horrific Monday

As Mondays go, that was just God-awful.

It started early in Montgomery County, where police now believe a man killed six people and injured another.

It appers Bradley William Stone, 35, was involved in a bitter custody dispute.

He is believed to have fatally shot his ex-wife, her mother and her grandmother and the ex-wife's sister. The shootings took place in three different locations, in Lower Salford, Lansdale and Souderton.

Despite a day-long manhunt, Stone remains on the loose. It is possible that he attempted to carjack someone in Bucks County.

You can get all the details here.

Then last night, gunshots ran out again, this time here in Delaware County.

Two females were shot inside a Glenolden home, one of them fatally.

Police believe the suspected triggerman is a former Colwyn police officer.

He was in turn shot by one of the women's husband, who also is a part-time police officer.

I get phone calls just about every day slamming the newspaper for our stance looking to get guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.

I don't pretend to know what the answer is.

What I know is that Bradley Stone, an Iraq war veteran, likely had serious issues. He also had guns. And yesterday he used them in a deadly shooting spree.

We are now two years removed from the shock of the carnage at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 innocent children lost their lives when another clearly troubled young man walked into their school armed to the teeth.

There is a common theme that runs through these stories.

Guns in the hands of people who should not have them.

I have said many times I have no interest in taking away anyone's Second Amendment rights. I did not want to penalize hunters. But I am tired of writing these kinds of stories.

And guns remain at the center of every one of them.

Chester Upland officials talk about district on 'Live From the Newsroom'

He survived an attempt by Gov. Tom Corbett to remove him from his job, now Joe Watkins is ready to tangle with 'Live From the Newsroom.'

We'll have the embattled receiver of the Chester Upland School District as our guest Wednesday night, along with CU Superintendent Gregory Shannon.

Watkins was targeted in a surprise move by acting state Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq, who filed a petition in Delaware County Court to have Watkins ousted. But Delco Judge Chad Kenney decided Watkins deserves more time to turn things around in the seemingly forever troubled school district.

We'll talk about the reasons why Watkins may have been targeted, why he believes it was the wrong move, and the things he's done to reverse course in Chester Upland.

Shannon will be on hand to talk about the current state of affairs in Chester Upland, and where the district goes from here. Do you have a question you'd like to ask either Watkins or Shannon? Email it to me at editor@delcotimes.com, and I will ask them tomorrow night.

Then tune in to DelcoTimes.com at 7 Wednesay night as we go live with Joe Watkins and Gregory Shannon. Join the conversation!

How the Eagles make - or don't make - the playoffs

If the Eagles are going to make the playoffs, they will need help.

That is the penalty for losing that game against the Cowboys. The Birds no longer control their own destiny.

Even more, they better plan to win the division. Getting in as a wild card is a long shot at best.

The Eagles may very well finish 11-5 - a better record than the 10-6 they put together last year - and still miss the playoffs.

Chip Kelly's team will go to D.C. in a Saturday game to face Robert Griffin III, who has been installed as the starter again for the 'Skins. If they win, they can then sit back with their fingers crossed hoping the Cowboys trip at home against Andrew Luck and the Colts.

And the Eagles might have gotten a break - because of a broken bone suffered by Dallas star running back DeMarcus Murray. He broke a bone in his left hand in that game vs. the Eagles and likely will miss Sunday's match.

If Dallas prevails Sunday, it will all come down to the final week, when the Eagles travel up the Jersey Turnpike to play the Giants in the Meadowlands, while the Cowboys finish the season with the Redskins.

Reaching the playoffs via a wild card is very much a long shot for the Birds. They would need to win both of their final two games, while hoping that either the Packers, Lions or Seahawks lose both of their remaining games. That isn't likely to happen.

For now, will see if the Eagles can be in 'Luck,' as in the Colts starting QB.

He just gained a lot of fans in Philly.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Eagles come up short on all fronts

Mark Sanchez is not the answer.

I'm not sure Nick Foles is either.

Now for the really bad news. Is anyone else wondering if Chip Kelly is the answer as well.

All of this is stewing in the rubble of a thoroughly disheartening loss Sunday night before a national TV audience to the hated Dallas Cowboys.

In effect, the Cowboys simply returned the favor after the Eagles tattooed them on Thanksgiving. Dallas, and their creaking quarterback Tony Romo, played that game on a very short rest after playing on Sunday night. It was a different Romo last night, who clearly decided early on that Bradley Fletcher and the rest of the Eagles' secondary was no match for Dez Bryant, who hauled in three TD passes.

The game got off to an ominous start when, for some reason, the Eagles return men decided to let the short kickoff drop between them, giving the Cowboys the ball inside the Eagles 20-yard line.

They cashed that into a TD and the trouble mounted from there.

Chip Kelly's uptempo offense hurried into a 3 and out, putting the Eagles defense right back on the field.

Mark Sanchez reinforced last night that he is not the Eagles' answer at quarterback. He was off-target right from the start, constantly throwing high in the first half, then just flat missing wide-open receivers in the second half.

The Eagles found themselves down 21-0 and on the verge of being blown out of Lincoln Financial Field when an odd thing. Suddenly the Birds reeled off 24 unanswered points to take the lead, and raise the specter of another epic December collapse by Romo and the Cowboys.

But the 'Boys had a secret weapon - the Eagles secondary.

Romo went back to work, finding receivers again and again, leading the Cowboys to two scoring drives to put the game away.

Looking for something - anything - to vent their wrath at, many Eagles fans were left to contemplate the sight of New Jersey Governor and Presidential hopeful Chris Christie high-fiving folks in the box of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

The governor has never made it a secret that he likes Dallas, but I'm not sure who told him it would be a good idea to be seen yukking it up with Jones and his cronies.

That's not the Eagles' real problem this morning.

This is: There are in imminent danger of not making the playoffs. If the Cowboys can beat the Colts next weekend in Dallas, the Birds' odds will nosedive.

But there is also this: Chip Kelly does something very well. He rarely gets beat by a team he is expected to defeat.

The Eagles feast on lesser opponents. The problem occurs when Kelly and the Eagles play winning teams. That's when Chip Kelly fails to get it done. Take away the Thanksgiving game vs. the Cowboys. The Birds went to Arizona and San Francisco and lost both. They got blown out in Green Bay. Then, last night they came up short in a crucial game with first place on the line in the rematch with Dallas.

Not helping matters is Sanchez. He's just not good enough. The problem is I'm not sure Nick Foles is either.

The real quarterback for Chip Kelly and this team likely is not even on this roster.

That's where we sit this morning.

Just not good enough.

On a lot of fronts.

Holiday traditions carry on at Daily Times

The holidays cometh.

Christmas is exactly 10 days away.

As usual I am having my usual issues getting into the holiday spirit.

That is why I am glad we have been able to continue two special projects we do here at the Daily Times each Christmas season.

It's in my print column today.

And if you have any ideas to get into the holiday spirit (the Eagles are not exactly spreading holiday cheer) I am all ears.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

Just call it The Rematch.

Every great game needs a nickname, and the Sunday night showdown on national TV between the Eagles and Cowboys just two weeks after the Birds blew out Jerry Jones’ minions on Thanksgiving Day should be a classic.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of reasons not to like the Eagles this week.

First there is the standard NFL axiom that it is very difficult to beat a team twice in the same season.

Dallas has the revenge factor going, looking to avenge the humiliating beatdown on their own turf that soured their Thanksgiving.

Dallas - and most importantly QB Tony Romo - comes into this game well-rested. Part of their problem on Thanksgiving is that they had just played Sunday night. Romo usually does not even practice until Thursday because of his cranky back. He also was nursing sore ribs in that game. This time he’ll be ready to roll.

Then there is the weird Seattle factor. The last seven teams that have played the Seahawks have lost the following week.

All of that adds up to a much closer game than Round One, a 33-10 Eagles romp.

I still like the Birds.

Why? Because these days Dallas lives and dies with DeMarco Murray and their running game. The Eagles front seven on defense is playing some of their best ball of the year. I think they can contain Murray, than go after Romo with a vengeance.

On offense, once again the Eagles will merely ask Mark Sanchez not to lose the game, not make any careless throws that lead to turnovers.

Same goes for LeSean McCoy. He will have extra motivation going into this game, looking to get back on track after what he admitted was his worst game of the year vs. the Seattle, including a killer fumble on the first play of the second half. A huge game from McCoy, mirroring the 159-yard effort he put up in the first go-round with Dallas, will pave the way to an Eagles victory.

One other thing. This Eagles team is not built to come from behind. With Sanchez at quarterback, you want them to get a quick start, build an early lead, allow their up tempo offense to unsettle Dallas, and control the game. If they fall behind, that means more emphasis on Sanchez and the throwing game, which usually means trouble.

How important is this game? It’s entirely possible the loser does not make the playoffs.

The Pick: Make it Eagles 30, Cowboys 26. The Birds get the early lead and hold off the Cowboys. Cody Parkey is your MVP, with three field goals.

Season Record: I was very disappointed in the Eagles effort last week, and the fault lies on offense, and that puts it in the lap of Chip Kelly. Basically, the Eagles were no match for the vaunted Seattle defense. So far Kelly has shown a clear ability to beat the teams the Eagles are supposed to beat. But he’s consistently come up short in matches with the better teams in the league. That needs to change. The Eagles now sit at 9-4, but a win vs. the Cowboys is crucial to them controlling their own destiny in terms of the playoffs. A loss likely means they will need help. I’m now sliding toward mediocrity, with an 8-5 mark after wrongly thinking the Eagles would handle Seattle at home.

Game by Game: Seahawks 24, Eagles 14 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Seahawks 23)

Eagles 33, Cowboys 10 (My Pick: Cowboys 29, Eagles 26)

Eagles 43, Titans 24 (My Pick: Eagles 34, Titans 23)

Packers 53, Eagles 20, 21 (My Pick: Packers 33, Eagles 24)

Eagles 45, Panthers 21 (My Pick: Eagles 33, Panthers 17)

Eagles 31, Texans 21 (My Pick: Eagles 29, Texans 19)

Cardinals 24, Eagles 20 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Cardinals 23)

Eagles 27, Giants 0 (My Pick: Giants 31, Eagles 26)

Eagles 34, Rams 28 (My Pick: Eagles 35, Rams 19)

49ers 26, Eagles 21 (My Pick: 49ers 33, Eagles 29)

Eagles 34, Jaguars 17 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Jags 16)

Eagles 30, Colts 27 (My Pick: Colts 29, Eagles 23)

Eagles 37, Redskins 34 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Redskins 23)

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Dec. 12

The Daily Numbers: 3.62, 3.67 and 5.2 percent raises in proposed contract for Garnet Valley teachers. They rejected a fact-finder’s report on the deal.

126,958,952, what the new 3-year deal would wind up costing the district.

98 percent of union that rejected the deal.

8-1 vote in favor by the school board.

26 victims of the Sandy Hook shooting remembered at candlelight vigil in Aston last night on 2-year anniversary of the school shooting.

100,000 dollars in rare artifacts believed ripped off by a man working for an elderly Haverford woman.

0 tax hike in the East Lansdowne proposed budget.

5,000 salary as township councilman being donated to Primos Elementary School for their new playground push by Jamie Santora. Nice move.

0.99 tax hike included in the Upper Darby budget.

140 mph wind gusts recorded in some mountain passed in California during massive storm sparked by the ‘Pineapple Express.’

60 dollars a barrel, where oil prices have now hit.

1,000 bags of heroin seized during traffic stop in Delaware.

6.6 percent unemployment rate in the Philadelphia region, down 3.3 percent from October 2013.

8,500 jobs added during October.

1.7 billion in savings for Delta Air Lines.

75 million dollar profit now being forecast for Delta’s Monroe Energy Refinery in Trainer.

400 truckloads of concrete that will be poured to form the foundation of the new Comcast building at 18th and Arch in Philly.

15 million pounds of concrete involved.

4-1 win for Flyers over the Devils.

17 saves for Ray Emery in an easy win.

7 straight teams who have played the Seahawks who have lost the following week. Eagles need to break that streak.

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

Forecast calls for a fairly mild night Sunday for the rematch of Eagles and Dallas. Fans will have all day to tailgate and get fired up.

I Don’t Get It: A woman working part-time in Chester delivering pizzas to help pay her school bills was shot in what police believe was a set-up. She was called to a site for a delivery, then shot. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Upper Darby Councilman Jamie Santora. He recently won election to the state House, replacing legendary Nick Micozzie in the 163rd District. He will donate his council salary to Primos Elementary for their playground project. Nice move.

Quote Box: “The feeling of the membership is that the district’s School Performance Profile is first in the county and 11th in the state, but teachers are paid in the middle of the pack in Delaware County.”

- Zeel Weil, of the PSEA, talking about contract talks in Garnet Valley.

A Dem on County Council? Don't bet on it

It's been a long time since a Democrat has had a seat on Delaware County Council.

You have to go back to the mid-'70s, when the county passed the Home Rule Charter, which mandated that all five council seats be filled at-large. Bill Spingler is the last Democrat to sit on the council.

That's in the news again because there is a vacancy on Delco's ruling body. It was created when Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle won election to the state Senate, to fill the 26th District seat being vacated by the retiring Sen. Ted Erickson.

Three Democrats have thrown their hat into the ring for the seat: Former Lansdowne Mayor Jayne Young, Media borough tax collector Bob Dimond, and the Rev. Keith Collins, from the Church of the Overcomer in Trainer.

Democratic Party boss David Landau sounded a familiar tune when it comes to hopes that a Democrat would be tapped to fill the position. "The members of the Delaware County Council have a responsibility to serve all of their constituents regardless of party affiliation," he said. "I hope that they will seriously consider adding a much-needed minority voice to their ranks."

I hope he's not holding his breath.

I seriously doubt that's going to happen.

Republican Party Chairman Andy Reilly makes a good point. Since the people elected a Republican, McGarrigle, to the post, shouldn't his replacement also come from the GOP.

It certainly wouldn't hurt to have another voice at the table.

They must get tired of all those 5-0 votes. They don't even have maverick Andy Lewis around any more to cast the rarest of Delco Council items - a no vote.

So far there is no timetable for naming a replacement. Council Vice Chairman Mario Civera says they have received nine applications. No Republicans have gone public with a desire to be named to council. Civera says council will interview the candidates and make an appointment in early January.

Since McGarrigle came from Springfield, you might see a replacement also come from the township or the central part of the county.

Rocco Polidoro anyone? Nah, that's probably not going to happen either.

She's got the scoop on good things in Upper Darby schools

You might remember a few weeks ago I visited Upper Darby High School at the invitation of the Home and School Association to learn about things that don't often make the newspaper.

It's a lament I hear from just about every school district.

But Upper Darby senior Maggie Ho had a solution.

I mentioned to her that she could create a blog to note all the great things that are happening in her district.

Maggie is rightly proud of Upper Darby - as are lots of folks. It is a pretty amazing place, where more than 70 languages are spoken every day.

The next morning I arrived at the office to find an email from Maggie. Done. She had created "Voices of Royalty."

That's when the tech demons - which I do battle with every day - got involved.

It took longer than I wanted it to, but I'm proud to say that "Voices of Royalty" now appears on DelcoTimes.com. You can find it here on our community blog page. Scroll down to the bottom and click on the link.

The lead item on the blog right now just happens to proclaim the fact that the blog is now featured on our site as well.

This doesn't have to be limited to Upper Darby. I think every district would like to have all the good things their students are involved in get the kind of attention we often simply cannot do in the print edition of the Daily Times.

Here's my offer. You create the blog, I'll host it on DelcoTimes.com.

I'm expecting big things from Maggie. She's a go-getter and a great example of the kind of story that too often does not get told when it comes to Upper Darby kids.

She's 'Royalty' in my book any day.

An ugly trend for Seahawks' foes

Here's a sobering thought for frothing Eagles fans as they await the rematch with the hated Cowboys in a national, prime time game on Sunday night.

And it has nothing to do with the Cowboys.

It has to do with the Seahawks. Still.

There is a trend that should concern the Birds - and their fans - as they prepare for Tony Romo and the 'Boys. The last seven teams to play the Seahawks have lost the following week.

Seattle's bruising defense certainly put the lid on the Eagles' offense last week. The Eagles will need to shake off that hangover if they want to beat the 'Boys Sunday night.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Dec. 11 (Jimmy Rollins Edititon)

The Daily Numbers: 2,306 hits for Jimmy Rollins, tops in franchise history.

1,325 runs scored.

479 doubles.

1,325 runs scored.

453 stolen bases.

887 RBI.

216 home runs.

.267 lifetime batting average

14 seasons with the Phillies.

.243 batting average last season for Rollins.

17 home runs and 28 stolen bases in 138 games.

5 straight division titles for the Phils with Rollins in the leadoff spot.

2 consecutive 89-loss seasons to finish off his career as a Phillie.

11 million, how much Rollins was guaranteed for next season.

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

Jimmy Rollins made us winners. Simple as that. And he brought us a parade.

I Don’t Get It: No, Jimmy Rollins was not the ideal leadoff guy. I’ve gotten over it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Rollins for one of the truly great careers ever seen in Philly. He’ll be missed.

Quote Box: “I think we are the team to beat in the NL East.”

- Jimmy Rollins, on Jan. 23, 2007.

A salute to Jimmy Rollins

With a single quote, Jimmy Rollins changed Philadelphia forever.

He made us winners. Forget being the underdog. Forget all the heartbreak. Forget the years of losing. Forget, if we possibly could, the nightmare of 1964.

On Jan. 23, 2007, Rollins pronounced the Phillies as the team to beat.

It set tongues wagging in New York, where the defending NL East champion Mets sniffed haughtily at Rollins' boast. But the man affectionately known as "J-Roll" backed it up. He was the National League's Most Valuable Player in leading the long-downtrodden Phillies to the NL East crown.

The next year he and the Phillies were back for more - capturing the team's first World Series titles in a generation and setting off one of those "I was there" Philadelphia moments, a parade down Broad Street accompanied by a couple million fans.

Rollins has not been without his detractors. No, he was not the perfect leadoff hitter. He was not terribly interested in working the count. He did not always run out every ground ball. He sometimes said things that rubbed fans the wrong way.

But he also did this: He snared more base hits than anyone else who has ever donned a Phillies uniform. That would amount to 2,306 hits over 15 glorious seasons with the Phils. Rollins made it clear he was interested in both breaking that record, held by the beloved Rich Ashburn, and finishing his career in Philadelphia.

One of those won't happen. Late yesterday afternoon word started to leak that Rollins was headed west, closer to his home turf in Oakland, traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The deal likely will be finalized today.

Rollins very well may don Dodger blue, but he will always belong in red pinstripes.

The longtime shortstop and leadoff hitter exits with a lifetime batting average of .267, 216 home runs and 887 RBI.

Last year the switching-shortstop hit .243, with 17 homers and 55 RBI.

I know it is popular these days to blast Ruben Amaro Jr. for allowing the Phillies' lineup to get too old.

Don't wait for me to join that chorus. I will never complain about Rollins, and the two other anchors of the Phils' lineup, second baseman Chase Utley and first baseman Ryan Howard.

They did something very few athletes in Philadelphia can say they did.

They gave us a parade.

And remember, it was Rollins who 'stirred the drink.'

He did more than that.

He made us winners.

* CLICK HERE for a column from longtime Phillies beat writer Dennis Deitch on the end of the Jimmy Rollins Era.

New clue in hunt for Shane Montgomery

There may be some crucial new information in the hunt for missing college student Shane Montgomery.

Yesterday word surfaced that the 21-year-old West Chester University student was captured on surveillance video from a nearby store as he left Kildare's Irish Pub in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving after a night out with friends.

Montgomery has not been seen since.

There is a daunting aspect to this news, however. The video apparently shows Montgomery heading toward a footbridge that goes over the Manayunk Canal. That sparked a new search on the water there and also on the Schuylkill yesterday by FBI and Philadelphia police crews. The search in the area will continue today.

In the meantime, Montgomery's family continues to wait and wonder about the fate of their loved one.

Get the latest details here.

Your early morning roads report

Surprise!

Yes, those showers turned white overnight. In other words, depending on where you live, there is a coating of snow, at least on the ground.

If you have not dug out your brush and scraper yet, you'll need it this morning. You likely will be greeted by a dusting of snow on your car.

That's the bad news - unless you are one of those people who enjoy this weather and all the talk of a white Christmas.

The good news is that road conditions are not affected all that much, at least the ones I just traveled.

The majors, such as West Chester Pike and the Route 1 Bypass, are for the most part just wet.

That does not go for your driveway, your development and some side roads. I found some slush and some roads that were actually covered. Again I am always thankful that I don't have to travel during rush hour. I am guessing it will likely be a mess, simply because people panic at the sight of even a trace of snow.

Take my word for it. The roads are fine, for the most part just wet with a few slushy spots on the side roads.

Your biggest job this morning will be brushing off the windshield, and of course brushing aside the hyperventilating TV folks who are delighted with this latest turn of the weather.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Dec. 10

The Daily Numbers: 49, age of Richard Plotts, who entered not guilty plea yesterday in connection to shooting that killed his caseworkers at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, and also wounded a psychologist.

3 men being sought after an armed home invasion in Darby Borough late last night.

338.5 million dollar budget that will get the OK from Delaware County Council today.

0 tax hike for Delco residents

805 dollars that rolled into the Daily Times Merry Christmas fund yesterday.

3,535 dollars in the bucket as we head toward our goal of $60,000 for the Chester Salvation Army.

51, age of man whose body was discovered in the bed of his pickup truck in the parking lot of a Clifton Heights apartment complex. He died of crushing injuries.

54, age of Marie Reyes Garcia-Pellon, who was found guilty but mentally ill by a Delaware County judge yesterday in the stabbing death of her husband, a former Penn hoops star.

0 tax hike in the budget for Rutledge borough.

1 female firefighter who has been killed in the line of duty.

11 year veteran Joyce Craig Lewis was killed in a blaze in the Mount Airy section of the city yesterday.

16 and 16 months, ages of children she leaves behind.

65,000 dollars, how much is now being offered for information on the whereabouts of missing college student Shane Montgomery.

3.5 cents per gallon dip in gas prices at pump in Philly region in last week.

2.89 a gallon, average price for gas in survey of 979 outlets.

6.7 cent dip in prices nationwide, with $2.69 the average price.

158 million dollars in tax breaks to lure Subaru and Cooper Medicine back into Camden.

9,900 jobs lost in Atlantic City in the 12 months ending Oct. 31.

190 million dollar library being planned for the Temple campus

73-59 win for No. 7 Villanova over Illinois last night.

18 points for Dylan Ennis.

3-2 win in OT for Blue Jackets over the Flyers.

2 goals for Brayden Shenn

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

Don’t look now, but this could be a very big year for Villanova basketball. The ‘Cats are undefeated, ranked No. 7 in the nation and last night rolled over Illinois in the Big Apple

I Don’t Get It: Still no clues to the mystery of Shane Montgomery.

Today’s Upper: No tax hike in the Delaware County budget.

Quote Box: “I think it’s an appropriate verdict under the circumstances.”

- Attorney Tom Bergstrom, on the guilty but mentally ill decision for his client in the stabbing death of her husband.

Where is Shane Montgomery?

There is no end to the agony being endured by the family of Shane Montgomery.

By now you know his name. And his face.

What we don't know is where he is.

The 21-year-old West Chester University student stepped out of Kildare's Irish Pub in Manayunk just before closing time early after a night out with friends on the traditional gathering night on Thanksgiving Eve.

He has not been seen since.

Now a reward fund seeking information in the case has reached $65,000.

But there remains no sign of Shane.

I can't imagine the ordeal his family is going through.

Get the latest update on the investigation and his family and friends' attempts to learn what happened to Shane here.

An early gift from Delco Council

Merry Christmas, Delaware County.

Your County Council is going to give you an early present today, approving a $338.5 million dollar budget that holds the line on taxes. You can get all the details here.

A taxpayer with an average home assessed at $135,000 would continue to pay a tax tab of $725.05.

Council meets at 10 a.m.

It also will mark the swansong for Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle. The Springfield Republican won the election for the 26th District state Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Ted Erickson.

There is some irony that one of McGarrigle's last acts will be signing off on this no-tax-hike budget.

It's the first time in several years the county has avoided a tax increase.

They got an earful about it every election from Democrats.

To his credit, McGarrigle never ducked the issue. To those who questioned previous tax hikes, he would always respond, "What do you want to cut?"

He maintained he did not want to slash spending at Fair Acres, the county retirement home, nor the county 911 Emergency Communications center.

Let's hope McGarrigle is as successful in holding the line in Harrisburg.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Dec. 9

The Daily Numbers: 1 firefighter killed battling blaze in West Oak Lane section of Philly this morning.

1 female firefighter in the history of the Philly department killed in line of duty after this morning’s tragic loss.

5-2 vote to rename a borough park in Brookhaven for a deceased councilman that is causing a rift in the borough.

80 people who gathered on steps of courthouse in Media last night to protest against the deaths of two unarmed black men in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City, and lack of charges delivered by investigating grand juries in the case.

2 Delco educators - from Ridley and Rose Tree Media School Districts - who were finalists for the state Teacher of the Year Award.

23 months in prison and $36 in restitution for man caught stealing packages from front porches in Upper Darby.

14 terms as Ridley School Boad president for Michael Cappozoli.

37 Broadway World nominations for Media Theatre.

45 mph wind gusts that will accompany Nor’easter that will make much of the East Coast wet and miserable today.

11,000 dollars a month in pension for former Pa. Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery, who retired in the wake of a porn email scandal.

389 million dollar fine for company that ripped off government on contract to supply food and water for troops in Afghanistan. 6 dead after plane slammed into house in suburban D.C.

200 people who took part in “die-in” outside Lincoln Financial Field after Eagles game Sunday.

59, age of actor Ken Weatherwax, who died. He was most famous for playing Pugsley in ‘The Addams Family’ TV show.

106 point decline for the Dow Jones yesterday.

6,700 workers involved in merger of American and USAirways.

339 destinations and 54 countries served.

1 vote short for Dick Allen in his quest to get into baseball Hall of Fame. He got 11 votes. He needed 12.

9-4 marks for both the Cowboys and Eagles as they face rematch Sunday night at the Linc.

8:30 kickoff for the national TV Sunday night game.

41-28 win for Cowboys over Bears, who have extra rest after playing last Thursday.

37 points scored by the Falcons against the Packers last night in Monday Night Football.

43 put up by Aaron Rodgers and the Pack

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

If the Falcons can put up 37 points against the Packers, why can’t Chip Kelly and his vaunted offense. Kelly has yet to prove his system will work in beating upper echelon teams.

I Don’t Get It: The Facebook account of a guidance counselor at Central Bucks West High School carried a post threatening the “die-in” protesters outside the stadium complex on Sunday. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Delco’s two finalists for the Pa. Teacher of the Year Award. They would be Crystal Brooks, an Eddystone Elementary teacher in Ridley School District, and James Ciccarelli, of Rose Tree Media School District. And of course also to the winner, Mairi Cooper of the Fox Chapel School District in Allegheny County. Quote Box: “This is not a protest against police.”

- Fran Shelon, taking part in vigil last night at the Media Courthouse.

We still need to talk about Ferguson, NYC

I blogged yesterday on my concerns after I heard early Sunday of plans for a "die-in" protest outside Lincoln Financial Field after the Eagles game.

Having spent a lot of years in the 700 level of the Vet, I know what kind of mayhem can ensue as fans pour out of the stadium and jostle to get out of those parking lots.

Fueled by lots of beer, I've seen things turn ugly pretty quickly.

Luckily, those who held the protest at Broad and Pattison, lying down in the street for four minutes, 39 seconds, to commemorate the time that Michael Brown lay in the streets of Ferguson, Mo., after he was fatally shot by a policeman, went off pretty much without incident.

It looks like there were a few words exchanged, but that's about it.

Cooler heads prevailed.

At least there on the ground.

In the cyberworld, that apparently was not the case.

A guidance counselor at Central Bucks West High School, or at least someone using her Facebook account, posted this item on the social media site early Sunday:

"If my child cannot get to the Eagles game due to protesters, I will personally SHOOT every one of them. You've been warned, idiots."

The 37-year-old guidance counselor has been placed on paid administrative leave, and the school district contacted the district attorney's office, which has opened an investigation.

No charges have been filed in the case. It's not entirely clear who made the post.

It's been quite the year so far at CBW, where the final two games of the football season were scrapped in the wake of a hazing scandal involving the team.

I questioned the wisdom of having the "die-in" outside the stadium following the Eagles game. I feared an ugly scene. I'm glad that did not happen.

But I believe in what the message the protesters were trying to deliver.

Reading the Facebook post only reinforces that belief.

America no doubt has come a long way in terms of race relations.

We still have a ways to go.

Your early morning roads report

Here's your early morning roads report after a very wet ride into the office:

The bad news is that they were not lying about the Nor'easter. It's on us and making for fairly miserable conditions, with gusting winds and driving rain. You can get the full forecast here.

The good news is that I saw no evidence of any snow or icing condition. Speeds likely will be down because the roads are wet and there is some ponding.

There likely will be lots of debris on the road as the winds start to pick up and bring down branches and blow trash cans and anything else on their path out into the roads.

As I've always said, it is one of the very few 'perks' of hitting the roads when I do, you basically have the road to yourself. But as traffic picks up during the morning, I would expect conditions to deteriorate.

Could be worse. I just saw a remote with my friend Jesse Gary from NBC-10 down at the shore, where the wind is howling. Looks like the shore is going to be battered by this storm. Just what they don't need.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Daily Numbers for Monday, Dec. 8 (Eagles Edition)

The Daily Numbers: 9-4 record for the Eagles after a tough loss to Seattle at the Linc.

139 yards in total offense for the Birds.

9 first downs recorded by the Eagles offense.

9 of 11 third downs where the Eagles failed to convert.

440 yards compiled by the Seahawks.

10 of 20 passing for 96 yards for Mark Sanchez.

1 interception, of course.

50 yards on 17 carries for LeSean McCoy.

4 times this year McCoy has been held to 50 or fewer yards.

26 yard TD carry for Seattle QB Russell Wilson

48 yards, how much he needed to become the Eagles all-time leading rusher.

41:56 time of possession for the Seahawks.

18:04 all the time the Eagles had the ball.

45 offensive plays for the Eagles vs. the ‘Legion of Boom’ Seattle defense.

10 game regular season winning streak at Linc snapped for Eagles.

86 yards for Marshawn Lynch, plus a 15-yard TD catch.

1-4 record for Eagles vs. potential playoff teams.

10 TD catches for Jeremy Maclin.

13.5 sacks for Connor Barwin.

6 for 17 in the red zone for Eagles in their last 4 games.

6 days until the Eagles and Cowboys meet in a crucial rematch at the Linc Sunday night.

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

The Eagles seem intent on proving that they simply are not among the elite teams in the NFL. They’ve been dominated by Green Bay and Seattle, and also lost on road to Arizona and San Francisco.

I Don’t Get It: Yes, the refs were atrocious. No, I don’t think that was difference in the game.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those involved in the post-game ‘die-in’ protest at Broad and Pattison, for not creating what could have been a very ugly scene.

Quote Box: “We have played them all close except this and the Packers.”

- Eagles tight end Zach Ertz.