Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, April 30

The Daily Numbers: 21 count federal indictment against former volunteer firefighter now charged with child abuse in Delco.

161 state charges already lodged against 20-year-old John Corcoran.

2 Dems seeking nod for mayor in Chester. This one is the highlight of the Delco ballot as longtime state Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, D-159, tries to oust incumbent Mayor John Linder. The winner will face former Mayor Wendell Butler in the fall general election.

1 person being sought for a wave of graffiti in Collingdale.

2 men being sought for armed heist of the McDonald’s in Upper Chichester.

2 parents of 1-month-old girl mauled by family’s pet ferret held for trial on several charges.

4 other counts of endangering welfare of child were tossed out.

1,410 drivers cited for texting while driving in Pa. in 2014.

70 more than 2013 and 220 more than 2013.

50 dollar fine in Pa. for those convicted of driving while texting.

12 hours from the NFL Draft.

20, where the Eagles are due to pick in the 1st round.

0 fans who went through turrnstiles at Camden Yards in Baltimore yesterday. The Orioles and White Sox played in an empty stadium because of safety concerns in the wake of riots in the city.

5-2 loss for the Phillies in St. Louis.

2-2 record now for Phils’ starter Aaron Harang.

5 runs in 6 innings given up by Harang.

4th home run for Ryan Howard.

20 homers he’s hit against Cards in his career.

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

I will preference this by reminding you it’s what I’ve been saying for months about the Eagles and Chip Kelly. “He’d better be right.”

I Don’t Get It: The knucklehead who is spreading graffiti all over Collingdale. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Rose Tree Media teacher Anthony Grisillo. He was honored at the White House yesterday as a runner-up in the national Teacher of the Year contest.

Quote Box: “While other cities have a police commissioner that is visible in their community, ours is not. I call him, in this community, the Invisible Man.”

- State Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, on Chester Police Commissioner Joe Bail.

Kirkland comes out swinging in Chester mayoral race

The gloves are off in the Chester mayoral race.

After a particularly violent weekend, state Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland came out swinging yesterday in his challenge to incumbent Mayor John Linder in the Democratic Primary.

Kirkland vowed he would go right to the top in attacking the problem of crime and violence in Chester - by replacing Police Commissioner Joe Bail.

You can get all the details here. Kirkland says Bail is out of touch with the community. Obviously, Linder does not see it that way. In the meantime, if you were waiting for a debate between the two sides, forget it. They have been unable to decide on the parameters for such a meeting, to the whole idea has been scrapped.

Full confession here: I was approached to be the moderator of such a debate by the Linder team. I told them I would be happy to do it, so long as both sides came to an agreement on the logistics, such as a location, format, etc. That didn't happen, so I can scratch that one off my schedule.

On our editorial page today, I take the time to note that, while certainly not at the same level, Baltimore is not the only town dealing with violence. It continues to plague cities such as Chester as well. You can read it here.

Draft Day for Kelly, Eagles; join the conversation by using hashtag #EaglesDraft

"With the first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft ..."

Only 14 more hours until Eagles Nation can go from delirium to foaming at the mouth as we will learn once and for all whether Eagles Coach Chip Kelly can land the quarterback he covets, Oregon's Marcus Mariota.

Last night we talked about Kelly, the Eagles and specifically what the Birds are likely to do in the draft on our live Internet broadcast, 'Live From the Newsroom.' If you missed the show, you can catch the replay here.

I'm the only person on the panel who believes Kelly can pull this off.

Eagles beat writer Bob Grotz is not on the Mariota bandwagon. He believes the Birds will wind up with a Duck, just not Mariota. He seems them taking offensive tackle Jake Fisher.

Columnist Jack McCaffery today is calling on Eagles owner Jeff Lurie to get involved to be sure Kelly does not 'mortgage the future' in his efforts to reel in Mariota.

Today Grotz points out that Kelly's offseason moves have put him in the spotlight. Now he has to deliver.

Here's my thought. The Eagles were sitting at 9-3 and had the NFC East in the palm of their hand last season. They promptly swallowed a softball, losing three straight - yes, to good teams - to fall out of the playoffs.

I think it was that stretch, plus those two agonizing losses earlier in Arizona and San Franciso, in which they would have won both games if they had been able to punch the ball in from inside the 3-yard-line.

Kelly's been in the process of reshaping the roster ever since.

He won an in-house Civil War for total control over personnel, deposing GM Howie Roseman. If you're going to give him the keys to the Eagles' kingdom, don't you have to let him get the guy he wants to run the show. That would be Mariota. Is it going to be cheap? No. It likely will take years worth of first-round draft picks and some players.

But here's my point. The Eagles have avoided doing that for years. And exactly how many Super Bowl trophies has that philosophy brought to Philadelphia? Uh, that would be zero.

Kelly is on the record as saying he belives Mariota will win "multiple" Super Bowls. I just can't believe he's going to allow him to do that somewhere other than Philly.

So what do you think? We'll have a live Scribble blog set up later today to allow fans to follow our writers' live coverage from the Eagles war room.

You can take part in the conversation by using the hashtag #EaglesDraft.

In the meantime, try to take a breath. I have a feeling it's going to be a fairly exhilirating ride.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, April 29

The Daily Numbers: 200 teachers and parents who marched before the Garnet Valley School Board meeting last night as they seek a new contract.

30 of June 2014, when the Garnet Valley teachers’ last contract expired. They have been working all year without a new deal.

6 years probation for a former Darby Township police officer on 2 counts of false imprisonment and official oppression.

10,000 cases involving per year handled by the county D.A.’s office.

1 of 1,000 students named a Gates Millennium Scholar is from Chester High. Kudos to Shamyra Woods-Elliot.

94,000 dollar grant to Bethel Hose Co. No. 1

5,000 people now feared dead in massive earthquake that rocked Nepal.

0 times in baseball history that no fans have been allowed into a game. That will end today when the Orioles and White Sox will play in an empty Camden Yards after rioting rocked Baltimore.

1 time that a Panama native has pitched and a Panama native has caught as the battery mates in a major league baseball game. That’s what happened last night when Severino Gonazlez made his Phillies’ debut throwing to Carlos Ruiz.

7 runs on 10 hits given up by the rookie in a less than sterling debut.

2 2/3 innings, all Gonazlez lasted.

5 for 42 in rehab assignment for Dom Brown. That earned him ticket to Lehigh Valley instead of with big club.

2 days until the NFL Draft.

20, where the Eagles still sit.

1, where Eagles beat writer Bob Grotz thinks Marcus Mariota goes, to the Tampa Bay Bucs.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Anybody have a Marcus Mariota rumor they want to float out there?

I Don’t Get It: Amazing what 3,000 National Guard troops can do for security. Mostly peaceful night in Baltimore.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Chester STEM Academy student Shamyra Woods-Elliott. She won a Gates Millennium Scholars award that will give her free college tution. Bravo!

Quote Box: “It painted a picture of the teachers as villains. It was infuriating and very disappointing in trying to turn the community against the teachers.”

- Garnet Valley, ripping previous statement by Garnet Valley School Board chief Rosemary Fiumara.

Chester mayoral primary heating up

The Democratic Primary race for mayor of Chester is about to heat up.

Longtime state Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, D-159, is challenging incumbent Democratic Mayor John Linder. The winner of that Democratic tilt will then face off in November against former Republican Mayor Wendell Butler.

This morning Kirkland will hold a press conference to talk about the city's persistent problem with random street violence and gunfire.

It was not a good weekend in Chester, with one person shot to death, several others wounded, and another stabbed.

Kirkland has not been a fan of the way Linder has approached the violence issue in his first term. He has been especially critical of the move to oust Chief Darren Alston and replace him with longtime Chester police fixture Joe Bail.

Kirkland in the past also has advocated for using the National Guard to help patrol Chester streets.

We'll tell you what he has to say.

'Live From the Newsroom' tackles the Eagles, NFL Draft

Marcus Mariota. Marcus Mariota. Marcus Mariota. Marcus Mariota. Marcus Mariota.

There, got that out of our system.

If only it were that easy.

We are still two days away from the NFL Draft and 'Marcus Mariota Mania' continues to spread across the region as Eagles fans are on the edge of their seats waiting to see if Chip Kelly can wheel and deal his way from the 20th pick in the NFL Draft Thursday night into a position where he can land the QB he clearly covets.

Kelly brought Mariota to Oregon and has already said he believes he will win 'multiple' Super Bowls.

Why not here?

Well, there are a lot of reasons, not the least of which is how much the Eagles would have to give up to get into position to land Mariota.

We'll talk about all of that tonight on our livestream Internet broadcast, 'Live From the Newsroom.'

I'll be joined by our Eagles beat writer Bob Grotz, columnist Jack McCaffery and local sports radio personality Bill Werndl to talk about Kelly, Mariota, the Eagles and the NFL Draft.

Do you have a question about the Eagles or the draft that you'd like answered?

Email it to me at editor@delcotimes.com.

Then tune in tonight at 7 on DelcoTimes.com.

By the way, Bob's Mock NFL Draft is in the paper today. He does not have the Birds landing Mariota.

A totally Un-'Natural' baseball game in Baltimore

There is a classic movie sound in the Robert Redford baseball epic 'The Natural.'

It depicts the immortal Roy Hobbs, finally making the big leagues after life "threw him a curve," and getting a chance to show off his stuff in batting practice in an empty Knights stadium.

As manager Wilford Brimley looks on, Hobbs rockets one ball after another into the empty outfield bleachers.

That sound of Hobbs' majestic 'Wonderboy' bat crushing the ball and the baseball clattering around in those empty seats has always stuck with me.

We might be hearing it again today in Baltimore.

They will do something down I-95 today that has never been done before in the history of Major League Baseball.

What if they held a baseball game and nobody came? We'll find out today.

After a night of violence on the streets of Baltimore, team and MLB officials decided to play today's Orioles-White Sox game in an empty Camden Yards. No fans will be allowed inside.

The game also has been moved to an afternoon date, with first pitch coming about 2:05.

It's ironic that this is occurring in Camden Yards, where the Orioles set attendance records after it first opened and kicked off Major League Baseball's love affair with 'retro' parks. Citizens Bank Park would follow a few years later.

Orioles Manager Buck Showalter calls in 'unchartered territory.'

I think Roy Hobbs would understand.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, April 28

The Daily Numbers: 3 violent incidents in City of Chester, all in the same neighborhood.

1 man shot to death in the city over the weekend; 2 others wounded.

5 homicides so far this year in Chester.

8 homicides in Delaware County.

6 to 23 months in jail for a Glenolden man involved in a mortgage scam.

0 students injured in a stabbing that involved a former employee of Barrack Hebrew Academy on the Main Line.

1 of 5 defendants who entered a guilty plea in a horrific child abuse case. The 22-year-old entered a plea to 1 count of corruption of minors.

1 man killed in motorcycle crash in Upland yesterday.

8 people - including a prison guard and an inmate from Brookhaven - charged in scheme to smuggle drugs into Chester County Prison.

10,000 volunteers being sought to help with the visit by Pope Francis for the World Meeting of Families in September.

4.5 minutes, how long it takes to register to be a volunteer at worldmeeting2015.volunteerhub.com.

4-1 ruling by Pa. Supreme Court overturning ruling by Superior Court and reinstating conviction of Monsignor William Lynn on child endangerment charges.

3-6 year sentence for the monsignor, the first church official prosecuted over his handling of sexual abuse of minors. He served half the sentence.

4,000 people now feared dead in massive earthquake that rocked Nepal.

7 police officers injured in violence that broke out after funeral for Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody. A state of emergency is now in place in the city.

4-1 win for the Phillies and Cole Hamels over the Cardinals as they kicked off a road trip in St. Louis last night. 7 starts, how long it had been since Hamels hit the win column.

114 pitches for Hamels, who gave up 1 run on 4 hits and struck out 9, retiring the last 7 batters he faced in order.

4 hits for Carlos Ruiz.

15-5 mark for the red-hot Mets.

3 more days we have to wait for the end to the Marcus Mariota watch.

20th pick in the NFL Draft on Thursday night for the Eagles.

5th year option picked up by Eagles on DE Fletcher Coz

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

If I hear the name Marcus Mariota uttered one more time I think my head might explode.

I Don’t Get It: Baltimore erupts in violence. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those who plan to volunteer for the upcoming visit by Pope Francis for the World Meeting of Families. They will need at least 10,000 of them.

Quote Box:
“The testimony of Attorney General Kathleen Kane was not an honest account of the events, and she mischaracterized events to cover up activities undertaken at her direction to unlawfully release documents subject to grand jury secrecy.”

- Grand jury report on Kane’s action.

2 big education issues at stake tonight in Delco

Two very interesting situations will play out today in education circles here in Delaware County.

Teachers out in Garnet Valley, who have been working all year without a contract, will make their feelings known when they protest before a meeting of the Garnet Valley School Board.

More than 200 teachers are expected to take part in the informational picketing. They will be joined by parents. The guess here is that they will not be joined by residents of the area's burgeoning 55-and-up communities. They've been pretty vocal in urging the school board to hold the line on taxes.

Talks between the two sides, which started in January 2014, have failed to reach a new accord. The teachers' contract expired on June 30, at the end of last school year.

State-mediated fact-finding, marathon bargaining sessions and off-the-record meetings have failed to reach a new deal. The protest will take place at 6:15 at Concord Elementary School, on Station Road in Glen Mills, prior to the Garnet Valley School Board meeting.

In the meantime, in Rose Tree Media, a huge showing of parents is expected at tonight's Rose Tree Media School Board session to back embattled Indian Lane School Principal Bill Bennett.

Parents have engaged in a letter-writing campaign to back Bennett, who could face termination for what is being termed "persistent and willful violations" of school law. The parents don't see it that way, and say that does not describe the man they've dealt with at Indian Lane.

Here's a look at what's at stake.

The Mariota watch

Three days and counting.

What do you think is the over-under on the number of times the name Marcus Mariota comes up in conversations around Philly this week. I'm setting the line at about 1,000. I'm taking the over.

I really don't have any idea what Chip Kelly is thinking. I think that's the way the Eagles coach likes it. He does not appear to be a big fan of the media. He does the absolute minimum in terms of getting information out to the public.

I guess I have a bias in that regard. I'm in the business of digging out information. He's in the business of winning football games.

Those desires are not always compatible.

For now we will simply sit and wait. And talk, of course.

Kelly has praised Mariota, the quarterback he brought to the University of Oregon to run his souped-up offense. Kelly has indicated that he expects Mariota to win 'multiple' Super Bowls. He also has indicated he has no plans to 'mortgage the future' of the Eagles in his efforts to trade up to put the Eagles in position to draft the QB he clearly covets.

But I wouldn't put it past him.

Here's one way to look at it. The Eagles have spent a lifetime - mine - doing things the standard, by the book way. That has resulted in exactly zero Super Bowl trophies making their way to Philly. Parades? Nada.

Maybe it's time to mortgage the future. If Kelly really thinks Mariota is the perfect guy to run his offense, and fully expects him to win 'multiple' Super Bowls, why not do it here.

Go ahead, Chip.

Pull the trigger.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Monday, April 27

The Daily Numbers: 4 more days until the NFL Draft. We can hardly stand the suspense.

19 teachers who snagged Excellence in Teaching Awards. They’re featured on Page One today.

21 students named to the All-Delco Hi-Q team as well.

3 people shot over the weekend in Chester, 1 of them fatally.

1 million dollar TV ad campaign that will be rolled out to push school choice.

4 kids police discovered locked in basement of a home in Philadelphia.

3,600, how many now believed dead in powerful quake that rocked Nepal.

5 billion dollars, what it will cost to rebuild.

2 home runs in 2 days for Ryan Howard.

3 more hits for Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis.

.361 batting average now for the red-hot Galvis.

10 day road trip for Phils starts tonight in St. Louis.

329th career save for Jonathan Papelbon.

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

Don’t look now but Freddy Galvis might be the real deal. Funny no one is talking about Jimmy Rollins anymore.

I Don’t Get It: Four kids were found locked in the basement of a home in Philly. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to both our All-Delco Hi-Q students and the teachers who won Excellence in Teaching Awards. They will both be honored Thursday night at the Partners in Education Celebration at the Drexelbrook.

Quote Box: “I’m a really tough teacher. The reality is they need something jkore than just teaching.”

Eric Sparacio, one of this years winners of the Excellence in Teaching Awards.

The good and the bad in Chester

It's ironic that I picked today to sing the praises of Chester in my print column.

I've been in the city twice in the last month to take note of some good things that are happening there. The first night we took our 'Live From the Newsroom' to Open Mike's Internet Cafe on Avenue of the States. It's part of the buzz surrounding the city's culture and arts.

Then last week we were back at Widener University for a special show with departing Widener President Dr. James Harris. He has been good to his word and the school's mission, making it much more a part of the city.

But that is not to say that Chester does not still have issues.

Gun violence is prime among them.

Oddly enough, there were several shootings in the city over the weekend.

The first, a fatal shooting, was reported Friday night in the 900 block of McDowell Avenue in the Sun Village section.

Saturday night two more people were shot about 10:30 in the 2700 block of West Third Street.

But you'd be hard-pressed to find out about it.

We tried all weekend. First with police, then with the mayor. No one was talking.

I have no idea why. Maybe it's because a contentious mayoral primary is going on in the city. Mayor John Linder is being challenged in the Democratic Primary by longtime state Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland.

On thing is certain.

Chester's gun violence problem is not going to go away by ignoring it.

We'll get the details today.

And we'll also try to find out why it was impossible to report this news over the weekend.

Honoring excellence - for both students and teachers

There are two things I can count on every time I write about young people and teachers.

One, people always ask me why we always portray young people in a bad light. Well, that sort of goes with the territory. It's news when people do something they're not supposed to do. That includes young people. When they are doing what they are supposed to do, no one notices. Including the media.

The same often goes for teachers. We're often accused of ripping them, especially when it comes to contract talks with strapped local school boards.

That's why I love this weekend.

It's when we present two packages of stories that almost no one complains about.

The first appeared Sunday with our annual All-Delco Hi-Q team. For those who do not know, Hi-Q is the nation's oldest academic quiz competition.

A few years ago, I was approached by John Unangst of Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union and Harry Jamison of the Delaware County Intermediate Unit. They were intrigued by our All-Delco teams, which we select for every high school sports team in the county. They were interested in doing something similar for kids who take part in the academic contest. I could not say 'Yes' fast enough. I've always wanted to offer kids who excel in something other than athletics the same kind of acclaim that we bestow on athletes.

Sunday was their day.

Today we come right back with the teachers who snagged prestigious Excellence in Teaching Awards. You can read all about them here. I am the father of a high school English teacher. I know how tough the job can be. And I'm glad we can be a part of a program honoring their great work.

Time to get involved in education funding discussion

We used our so-called bully pulpit again on Sunday to lament something we've talked about many times.

Pennsylvania's system of funding education is broken, fundamentally flawed that has created an uneven playing field.

It's especially dangerous for kids in distressed school districts, kids like those who live in the William Penn School District. They are the ones who get penalized for no other reason than their zip code.

There are very few people who know this topic better than Larry Feinberg. He's been a member of the Haverford School Board for 16 years. He's also chairman of the Delaware County School Boards Legislative Council and a Circuit Rider for Pa. Schools, part of the Basic Education Funding Commission set up by the Legislature to study the problem and make recommendations. Feinberg offered some of his thoughts in education funding in Pa. in a letter to the editor today. He's also letting people know how they can have their say.

There will be a regional forum on the topic Wednesday night at 7 at the Springfield High School Auditorium, 49 W. Leamy Avenue in Springfield.

It's time to get involved. This is your chance.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Friday, April 24

The Daily Numbers: 45,000 to 60,000 people expected to attend the Democratic National Convention in Philly. A forum on preparations was held yesterday at Neumann University.

6,000 to 10,000 ‘Philly Friends’ needed as volunteers for the event.

13,500 to 14,000 hotel rooms in the region expected to be booked for the event.

8 to 14 years in prison for a Folcroft woman on a burglary rap.

1-2 tourism punch for the region, starting with this year’s visit by Pope Francis for the World Meeting of Families, followed the next summer by Democrats.

29, age of man taken into custody after a shooting that left an Upper Darby man shot several times.

55, age of Drexel Hill woman who entered plea in DUI hit-run case.

21,618 signatures on petition for ALS treatment being sought by Aston family.

100,000 signatures needed to get it in front of the president.

13 million dollars in projects targeting bridge repairs in Chester.

3.3 percent pay hikes for teachers in Rose Tree Media School District. In exchange the district will get extra days from teachers.

600 bikes and 70 docking stations rolled out as part of city of Philadelphia new bike-sharing program.

56-43 vote to confirm Loretta Lynch as 1st black woman to serve at Attorney General.

2 years probation and $100,000 fine for former CIA boss David Petraeus for giving classified material to his biographer, with whom he was having an affair.

17,097 fans who bought tickets for yesterday’s Phillies afternoon game, smallest crowd since a 2003 game at Veterans Stadium.

9-1 loss for the Phils that dropped their record to 5-11, tied for last place with the Marlins.

2 more errors for the Phils yesterday.

17 errors in 16 games, tops in baseball. Hey, at least we’re leading in something.

.213 batting average for the Phils.

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

Good thing for the Penn Relays. Anything to avoid having to watch the Phillies.

I Don’t Get It: What happened to spring? Mother Nature, I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Fulginiti family of Aston. They continue to battle to get a new medicine approved to treat ALS, despite falling short in their petition drive.

Quote Box: “It’s wonderful for us to have this 1-2 punch.”

- Meryl Levitz, president and chief executive officer of Visit Philadelphia, on the back-to-back events of the World Meeting of Families with a visit by Pope Francis, and the Democratic National Convention the following summer.

Sestak's walk turning into uphill struggle

After announcing he would seek the Democratic nomination for a rematch against U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, Joe Sestak went for a walk. Actually the Democrat hiked 422 miles across the state.

I'm beginning to wonder if it was uphill all the way.

The admiral and former congressman who defied his own party, beat Sen. Arlen Specter in a rough primary and then lost a close race to Toomey in 2010, has been on a bit of a bumpy road since his announcement.

Sestak made the trek across Pa. because he said he wanted to "walk in the shoes" of voters. He said he wanted to earn the voters' trust.

He's still working on his party leaders.

Reports indicate they would like just about anybody to run against Sestak in the primary. The former congressman did not make a lot of allies when he rebuffed requests to step aside and let Specter run as a Democrat vs. Toomey. And he has rubbed a lot of Democratic leaders the wrong way with his "go-it-alone" lone wolf attitude.

That's likely why party leaders have approached Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro and urged him to run against Sestak. Last week Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski jumped into the race.

Sestak's campaign took another hit this week when the first round of campaign finance figures came out. The admiral raised only $312,000 in the first three months of 2015. He has $1.7 million on hand as of the end of March. That is dwarfed by the numbers put up by the incumbent. Toomey raised just over $2 million in the first quarter and had $7.2 million in his war chest.

This is going to be one of the most competitive, high-profile Senate races in the nation in 2016. Sestak will need to raise a lot more money.

The next time he goes for a walk, he better have his hat in his hand.

A new low for the Phillies

Try to let these two things sink in, it's entirely likely they are not unrelated.

For the first time since treating us to a parade in 2008, the Phillies yesterday fielded a starting lineup that did not contain a single member of their World Series champion team.

At the same time, the announced crowd for yesterday's afternoon game was 17,097. That's the number of tickets sold. It looked decidedly like a lot fewer people actually went through the turnstiles on a gray, cold day.

The weather matched the mood, as the Phils' fill-ins put on a clinic on how not to play the game.

The Phillies sloppy play in the field continued. They have now committed 17 errors through just 16 games.

We knew this team wasn't going to hit. We didn't realize they couldn't catch the ball either.

They are the worst-hitting team in baseball, with a lowly .211 team batting average.

Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg decided to sit Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz and Freddie Galvis after the Thursday night game.

Meanwhile, columnist Jack McCaffery caught up with Phils GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who said he was disappointed in the team's rought start.

The 17,097 attendance broke the previous low-water mark of 16,232 who showed up for a game at Veterans Stadium back on June 4, 2003. There was a time when Citizens Bank Park would be overflowing for one of these Businessperson's Special afternoon games. It was the place to be. A happening. A party.

Not anymore.

Get used to these kinds of crowds.

Citizens Bank Park is likely going to be like a tomb many nights this summer.

If you listen closely, you might still be able to hear some of the roars from 2008.

You just won't be able to see any evidence of it on the field.

Some chilling thoughts for Spring

So much for spring.

And at this point I guess about the best thing you can say about summer is that it's a rumor.

When I walked out of the office last night, I knew my decision to eschew a coat for one of the first times this spring was a mistake. So I kind of knew what to expect this morning.

But 35 degrees?

That's what my odometer was reading when I climbed into the car this morning.

And unless I was hallucinating - and that's always a distinct possibility - I believe I spotted a few snow flakes on the ride into the office.

Sure the trees are starting to bloom. And slowly but surely, my lawn is looking distinctly like it's time to break out the mower. But I refuse to cut the grass while my teeth are chattering.

Enough already. Didn't we suffer enough this winter with this miserable weather?

I kind of know what's going to happen. As usual we won't have a spring, instead leap-frogging right into temperatures in the 90s.

I won't complain about that, but I know a lot of people will be less than thrilled.

I'd settle for a day when I could don a T-shirt. Doesn't look like it's happening anytime soon.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, April 23

The Daily Numbers: 72 homes in Tinicum that will not be seized to make room for the expansion plan at Philadelphia International Airport.

300 residents who will not have to start looking for new homes.

1.86 million dollars a year that will be shared equally among Delaware County, Tinicum and Interboro School Board.

1 million dollars a year for 20 years, how much the airport deal will pay to Tinicum.

500,000 dollars 1-time payment for Interboro.

1,500 foot extension of a runway that will allow larger planes to utilize the airport.

3 GOP candidates who kicked off their campaign for County Council yesterday.

42,000 workers in Delaware County who would be affected by an increase in the minimum wage.

10.10 minimum wage being pushed by Gov. Tom Wolf.

2.8 million dollars being paid by SEPTA to consultants.

8 million callers who report being cut off in conversations with IRS this tax season.

1 layman to ever head Saint Joseph’s University. Mark C. Reed was named to head the school yesterday.

121 years of the Penn Relays that kicks off today.

765 million dollar settlement of lawsuit against NFL by players who suffer from concussion symptoms

5 million dollar maximum award for a player.

4 million dollar maximum payout to family of deceased player.

190,000 dollar average payment for player affected by concussion symptoms.

3 errors by Phils in mistake-filled loss to the lowly Marlins last night.

1 unearned run on 5 hits over 6 innings for Cole Hamels, who did not get the loss and who has yet to record a win this season.

1 key error by Hamels that led to Marlins’ first run.

5 hits for the Phils offense.

10 straight wins for the Mets. They’re now 12-3, while the Phils are looking up from 5-11.

10 game suspension - without pay - for new Cowboys’ defensive end Greg Hardy in domestic violence crackdown.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. It’s one thing that the Phils can’t hit. That was pretty much expected. What wasn’t is that they can’t catch the ball either. Not a good competition.

I Don’t Get It: There’s another sexting investigation at a local high school. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Lesley Lane and Regina Ubaldi-Rosen, two longtime victims advocates who were lauded by County Council. Much deserved.

Quote Box: “This airport is the economic engine of southeast Pennsylvania.”

- Philly Mayor Michael Nutter on airport deal signed yesterday.

A sigh of relief for 72 homes in Tinicum

There are 72 families in Tinicum breathing a sigh of relief today.

They are not losing their homes.

That was just one of the important offshoots of the deal that was finalized yesterday to get the Capacity Enhancement Program expansion plan off the ground at Philadelphia International Airport.

They will still have the airport for a neighbor. They will still have the noise and other issues with its neighbor. But at least they will still be neighbors.

An earlier plan that raised the hackles of both residents and local officials called for the airport to acquire 72 homes in Tinicum, displacing 300 residents in the process.

Delaware County, Tinicum and the Interboro School District will see an influx of revenue. They will share an annual payment of $1.86 million. That money was cut off back in 2007 when the dispute over airport expansion first hit the fan.

Tinicum is in line for a $1 million payment a year for 20 years, or until the project is completed.

Interboro also will get a one-time payment of $500,000.

The airport can now move forward with plans to extend a runway by 1,500 feet, as well as modernizing infrastructure and creating additional parking. The runway work is needed to accommodate larger planes that currently can't use the airport.

Philadelphia Michael Nutter indicated the project will bring thousands of construction jobs, as well as permanent positions once the expansion is completed.

Joe Hackett's two jobs

Joe Hackett says he's following his heart.

Apparently all the way to the bank.

Last fall Hackett won re-election to the state Legislature, turning back a vigorous challenge from Democrat Leanne Krueger-Braneky to represent the people of the 161st District in Harrisburg.

But just a couple of months after being sworn in, Hackett had a change of heart. He heard his true calling urging him to leave Harrisburg and return to Delco and his first love - police work.

Hackett stunned most folks by announcing he would resign his seat and return to his old job with the county Criminal Investigation Division.

You can't really fault him for that. But as I've said before, his timing was lousy.

If he was having these kind of leanings, it sure would have been nice if he had come to that conclusion last fall, before he won re-election to another two-year term.

And if that was not the case, at least he could have gone public with his decision in time to have the election to fill the seat aligned with the primary on May 19.

That's not what happened. Now the state will have to hold a special election to fill Hackett's 161st District position, likely sometime this summer, and at a considerable cost, maybe as much as $70,000.

Now something else odd has popped up in the strange odyssey.

Hackett has already returned to his job as a county detective. District Attorney Jack Whelan said he went back on the payroll April 13. The position pays $85,290 a year.

But until the end of the month, Hackett also will continue to collect his salary as a state rep, $85,338 a year. I believe they refer to that as double-dipping.

Look, I know Hackett is not the first to do it. It's not terribly uncommon for legislators to hold outside employment. After all, it's supposed to be a part-time job.

And the truth is that the 18 days that he's on both payrolls does not amount to a lot of money.

But it looks lousy.

Hackett could have done a couple of things. He could have simply rejected his state rep's salary, or waited until he was officially off the state payroll to go back to work at the county level.

I guess Hackett could make the argument that he is doing both jobs. He's not talking about his jobs. I'm not saying he's not entitled to both salaries. Other people are doing that. I'm just saying it looks bad.

The people who voted for him did so expecting he was going to be their full-time legislator. I think it's safe to say they did not do so believing he would bail on the position and go back to police work.

They have to wonder what kind of bang they're getting for their buck. Or bucks. It's not clear how Hackett is splitting his time between Harrisburg and Media.

The only thing certain is this: He's getting paid for both.

'Live From Newsroom' offers a fond farewell for Widener President Dr. Jim Harris

We returned to our home away from home at the Communications Department at Widener University in Chester last night for a very special evening on 'Live From the Newsroom.'

It was our final show of the year at Widener, with whom we have partnered the past two years. We visit the campus once a month and utilize the state-of-the-art TV studio in Freedom Hall to tape our show.

We owe a special debt of gratitude to Widener public relations boss Dan Hanson for all his help with the show, and in particular to Professor Tim Scepansky and his students for putting on a first-class show.

But last night was even more special because of our guest.

We were honored to spend a half-hour with Widener President Dr. Jim Harris. We talked about his 13-year tenure at the school and the huge change that has taken place under his tutelage. Dr. Harris will depart the Chester campus this summer to accept a similar post at the University of San Diego.

Harris stressed again and again the mission of the school, that he wanted it - and its students - to become an integral part of the Chester community.

He leaves a huge legacy in Chester, indelibly linking the school with the city it calls home.

He will be greatly missed.

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

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

'Live From the Newsroom' goes 1-on-1 with Widener President Dr. James Harris

We're taking our livestream Internet broadcast, 'Live From the Newsroom,' back to our home away from home at Widner University tonight for a very special show.

We'll be in the school's glittering new TV studio in Freedom Hall for a special conversation with Widener President Dr. James Harris.

After 13 years at the helm of the school, Harris will depart this summer. He's accepted the position as president at San Diego University. I'm sure the weather had nothing to do with his decision.

We'll talk about the massive change that Widener has undergone during his leadership, in particular its relationship with the city it calls home.

If you have a question you'd like to ask about Widener and its role in the city of Chester, or something else you'd like to know from Dr. Harris, email it to me at editor@delcotimes.com, and I will put him to the school boss.

Then tune in to DelcoTimes.com tonight at 7 for a very special live half-hour with one of the leading forces in education in the county.

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, April 22

The Daily Numbers: 15 to 50 years in state prison for 2 more people for their roles in the holdup and murder of a Rite Aid in Chester in which store manager Jason McClay was slain.

3 residents in Concord who are appealing township ruling clearing way for development on the Beaver Valley tract.

14 of July, when Richard Plotts now will go on trial in connection with fatal shooting at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital last summer.

38, age of Darby Borough man now being sought in a murder in Philadelphia.

85,338 salary for Joe Hackett as representative in the 161st District in the Pa. House.

85,300 dollars for his 2nd job now with county detectives. Hackett will resign the state House seat at the end of the month.

6 school districts, including William Penn, that saw their lawsuit against the state Department of Education over school funding tossed by Commonwealth Court.

3.5 million dollars a year in savings, what Gov. Tom Wolf says Pa. will reap by killing off an asset test for those receiving food stamps.

45,000 members of the biggest union representing state employees who are seeking extension on their contract.

67 counties in Pa. that are now seeing evidence of Lyme disease.

5 prime time games for the Eagles this year.

2nd straight year the Birds will play on Thanksgiving Day.

3 road games in the first 4 weeks of season, in part because of Pope Francis’ visit.

3 straight prime time encounters from Oct. 19-Nov. 8.

14 of September, Eagles kick off the season on Monday Night Football vs. the Falcons in Atlanta.

10 of September, when the season kicks off on Thursday night with the Patriots vs. the Steelers.

1 home run on the season for Ryan Howard as he went yard last night in Phils’ 7-3 win over the Marlins.

8 home runs in 14 games for the Phillies.

3 runs on 8 hits & 6 strikeouts for Phils’ starter Jerome Williams.

5 straight losses for the Marlins.

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

Circle these two dates, Eagles fans: Sept. 20, Week 2, when DeMarco Murray will go up against his old team the Cowboys at the Linc. The Birds go to Dallas on Nov. 8. And on Dec. 13 LeSean McCoy will lead the Bills back into the Linc to face off with Chip Kelly.

I Don’t Get It: Is there anything about the NFL that is not hyped? We know all about the Eagles schedule. Too bad we don’t know who their quarterback will be.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those taking part in Earth Day activities today. They are planting an urban garden in Chester, and planting trees in Glen Providence Park in Media.

Quote Box: “He was a hero in this twisted society where guns and drugs rob us all of our sense of security.”

- Margie Reiley, mother of slain Rite Aid store manager Jason McClay.

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

In our family, this is a pretty big deal.

That's because our daughter, the hot shot attorney, has taken up environmental law.

So I suppose I should stifle my usual response to environmental matters:

"Blacktop it."

If you're in a mood to celebrate today, there are several events taking place here in Delaware County.

In Chester the Chester Housing Authority staff and residents will kick off the newly expanded urban farm at the Ruth L. Bennett Farms from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Earlier this month local students joined with CHA staff and the Urban Tree Connection to build the final of 50 raised planting beds in the community garden at the housing project.

Upper Darby native Terrance Topping-Brown, a 2013 biology graduate from Shippensburg State University, has been hired to oversee the urban agriculture program as well as health and wellness programs at CHA. He will be on hand directing activities and can explain why promoting healthy lifestyles is so important, particularly among low-income residents.

The event is part of a long-term plan to encourage families to garden, produce food right in the community, to eat health and even market fresh produce.

The Ruth L. Bennett Homes Community Garden is located at 1208 W. Carla’s Lane in Chester.

In the meantime, Delaware County Council will hold an event to recognize the 80th anniversary of Glen Providence Park, the county's oldest park, established in 1935.

Students from Media Providence Friends will help plant trees as part of the celebration, which will take place after County Council adopts its new Open Space, Recreation and Greenway Plan at the public meeting at 10 a.m. in the Government Center.

Glen Providence Park is located at 500 W. State St., Media.

Airport deal will be finalized today - but we told you that on Sunday

You read it here first.

I love it when we report the news first. It's kind of what we live for in this business. We always want to get it first.

That's why we will of course be there today when officials from Delaware County, Tinicum Township, Interboro School District, the city of Philadelphia and Philadelphia International Airport gather at the airport to announce finalization of the long-anticipated Capacity Enhancement Plan.

But then if you read the Sunday Times, you'd already know that.

It's a very important story that will allow for the crucial expansion at the facility, which is one of the most important cogs in the region's economy.

At the same time, it will avoid the need to take as many as 75 homes in Tinicum Township.

The deal will also mean a huge influx of money for the three elements in Delco - the county, township and school district.

NFL thinks Eagles are ready for prime time

Chip Kelly and the Eagles may not have made the playoffs last year, but the NFL certainly considers them ready for prime time.

The Birds will play no less than five prime time games this year. The league released the schedule last night, and newspaper editors all across the Delaware Valley spent a sleepless night knowing they will be racing deadline with five night games built into the schedule.

And you will have a healthy helping of another kind of bird in Thanksgiving as well. The Eagles will class with the Lions in the annual Turkey Day game in Detroit. It's the second straight year the Birds will play on Thanksgiving.

DeMarco Murray will not have to wait long to band shoulder pads with his old team. The Eagles will host the Cowboys on Week 2, and will visit Dallas on Nov. 8, after their bye week.

The season opens with the first Monday night game of the year, in Atlanta against the Falcons.

Another highlight? Circle Dec. 23. That's when Shady McCoy will try to make like the Grinch and ruin the Eagles holiday season when he returns to the Linc on Dec. 13 for a 1 p.m. game.

Beat writer Bob Grotz says the early part of the schedule is kind to the Eagles, giving them a chance to get off to a solid start. Me? I'd just settle for knowing who the quarterback will be. We'll probably get a better feel for that next week when we can finally put the speculation surrounding Kelly's pursuit of Oregon QB Marcus Mariota to bed when the NFL Draft is held Thursday, April 30. The Eagles have the 20th pick.

Here is the complete 2015 Eagles schedule: Philadelphia Eagles

Sept. 14 at Atlanta, 7:10p

Sept. 20 Dallas, 4:25 p.m.

Sept. 27 at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Washington, 1 p.m.

Oct. 11 New Orleans, 1 p.m.

Oct. 19 N.Y. Giants, 8:30 p.m.

Oct. 25 at Carolina-x, 8:30 p.m.

Nov. 1 BYE

Nov. 8 at Dallas-x, 8:30 p.m.

Nov. 15 Miami, 1 p.m.

Nov. 22 Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

Nov. 26 at Detroit, 12:30 p.m.

Dec. 6 at New England, 4:25 p.m.

Dec. 13 Buffalo, 1 p.m.

Dec. 20 Arizona, 1 p.m.

Dec. 26 Washington, 8:25 p.m.

Jan. 3 at N.Y. Giants, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, April 21

The Daily Numbers: 11 lives of heroin OD victims saved by use of overdose-reversing drug Narcan by Upper Darby police.

3 overdose victims saved by Upper Darby Officer Matt Lynch, a veteran who served a tour in Afghanistan.

276 bucks in costs and restitution, along with time served to 23 months for a former Sharon Hill committeeman who pleaded guilty to pot charges.

400 marijuana plants that were seized in a raid on the man’s home.

4-3 vote by Colwyn Borough Council to name borough recording secretary Sarita Jackson the new Right-to-Know Officer.

3 signatures that now will be required on all Colwyn Borough checks.

5 years probation for Philly woman who pleaded guilty in a stabbing and hit-run case in Darby Borough.

160 million dollars in additional funding for the Philadelphia School District under Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget plan. School officials yesterday said they could not make any more cuts.

6 police officers in Baltimore suspended in another incident that led to the death of a 23-year-old man who suffered a severe spinal cord injury.

6 people in Minnesota charged with trying to join the terrorist group Islamic State.

208.63 point jump for the Dow Jones yesterday.

1-6 mark compiles by Phillies on their recent road trip.

2 of the 3 worst records in baseball collide tonight when Phils host the Miami Marlins.

4-9 mark for the Phils; just 3-10 for the Marlins.

2-10 record for Milwaukee, only team in MLB that is worse.

2 hours, 19 minutes, 17 seconds for men’s Boston Marathon winner Lelisa Desisa.

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

Raise your hand if you don’t think Tim Tebow will ever take a snap in a regular season NFL game with the Eagles. I’m with you. Do the same if you’d answer the same way about Sam Bradford.

I Don’t Get It: They are making progress in Colwyn. There was only minor yelling at last night’s meeting.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Upper Darby Officer Matt Lynch. He has now saved the lives of three people suffering from a heroin overdose by administering Narcan.

Quote Box: “Narcan is a great tool to save lives, but it doesn't stop addiction.”

- Upper Darby Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood.

Chitwood makes good point when it comes to saving lives with Narcan

No one has been a bigger booster of David's Law than us.

That's the measure that does two very important things in the war on the ever-increasing problem of heroin overdoses. First, it allows someone who is in the company of a person suffering an overdose to call 911 without fear of prosecution. Second, it has put the overdose-reversing drug Naloxone in the hands of police who are often the first to respond or encounter someone suffering an overdose.

It is absolutely saving lives.

More proof of that comes from Upper Darby, where police now say they already have saved their 11th person suffering a heroin overdose. But Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood asks a very good question: What happens after the person is revived. Chitwood wants more money and effort put into treatment of addiction. This week Chitwood noted that police saved a man from an OD, only to learn the man suffered another fatal overdose three days later. "Narcan (the generic form of Naloxone) is a great tool to save lives, but it doesn't stop addiction," Chitwood said. Good point.

Stirring the 'pot' in Delco

It did not occur to me when I first heard the story from our court reporter Alex Rose.

It was not until I was prepping for our final 5 p.m. news meeting yesterday that the oddity of today's lead story hit me.

Former Sharon Hill committeeman Kenneth Soderland was in court yesterday to enter a guilty plea on drug charges. Police had raided his home and found a cache of pot plants.

But Soderland insisted there was nothing criminal in his intent, that he used the marijuana if not for 'holistic' reasons, but to help people who were suffering and in pain.

"I never charged anybody anything," he told the judge.

I believe him.

And the oddity in this story taking place yesterday.

It was Aril 20. Yes, 4-20, the day many folks take time to celebrate the wonders of pot.

Maybe Phils should jump in on Tebow mania

Something for Philly sports fans to ponder while we try to figure out exactly how - or maybe if - Chip Kelly actually plans to use Tim Tebow.

Across the street, it will be fascinating to see how many fans show up tonight to see two of the three worst teams in Major League Baseball.

The Phillies, at a less than sparkling 4-10, host the Miami Marlins, who actually are one game worse at 3-10.

The only team with a worse record is the lowly Milwaukee Brewers, who check in at a less than lusty 2-10.

I'll put the over/under on tonight's attendance at 15,000.

I'm taking the under.

Maybe the Phils should have Tim Tebow throw out the first pitch. Or better yet give out Tim Tebow bobbleheads. I have to admit I am not sure what Chip Kelly has in mind with the former Heisman Trophy winner. A part of me actually thinks he does some of this just to keep people off guard.

Then again, he knows as well as anyone how much his team struggled in short-yardage situations and the Red Zone last year. The failure to punch the ball into the end zone from the 1-yard-line cost him two games against Arizona and San Francisco. And it's likely a part of the reason LeSean McCoy no longer plays in Philadelphia.

But I will be surprised if Tebow ever takes a snap for the Eagles in a regular season game.

Then again, I'm still not sure you can't say the same thing about Sam Bradford.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Monday, April 20

The Daily Numbers: 1 year deal for Tim Tebow likely to be signed with the Eagles today.

3rd string quarterback. Tebow is a longshot to make the team.

60 families and neighbors in the Rose Tree Media School District who have tied purple ribbons on their mail boxes to support embattled school Principal Bill Bennett.

4,000 dollars, what it cost to go through the process of obtaining a license to do small games of chance for local bard owner Jerry McArdle.

40 licenses issued across the state.

1 in Delco, held by McArdle, owner of Jack’s Tavern in Upper Providence.

102 million, how much former Gov. Tom Corbett envisioned from sale of the licenses.

410,000 dollars, how much the state has realized so far.

262.50 dollars for every 4,000 tickets he sells for McArdle.

3,500 dollars, how much he spent on the machine the distributes the punch tickets.

3 people shot at cookout at Delaware State University in Dover over the weekend.

20 years since the terrorist bombing of the U.S. federal building in Oklahoma City killed 168 people.

2 years since the terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon.

1.9 million dollars being spent on TV ads by state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams by the independent group American Cities. They’re boosting school choice.

700 to 950 people on board a boat full of migrants that sank off the Libya coast on Sunday.

4-1 loss for the Phils to Stephen Strasburg and the Nats yesterday.

.175 batting average for Ryan Howard.

.116 batting average for Chase Utley.

.212 batting average for the team.

2-1 loss for the Union at home vs. the Revolution.

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

It’s Tebow Time in Philly. And yes, this has all the makings of a media circus as the former Heisman Trophy Award winner arrives today to sign a 1-year deal with the Eagles.

I Don’t Get It: Anyone else get the feeling that this is going to be one of the longest summers in Phillies history. How far they have fallen.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Dove Meir. You might have known him as Dov Benari when he attended Penncrest High School. Now he’s starring in a USA Network reality show.

Quote Box: “It’s a small but powerful sign of our support for Bill Bennett and the Indian Lane community.”

- Rekha Sankaran-Kutty, head of the parent-teacher group that is rallying behind the embattled principal by placing purple ribbons on mail boxes.

Yes, regarding this principal, it's a matter of principle

Before all you English teachers - as well as the good nuns of the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary - throw up their hands and ask if I've forgotten all that they so lovingly - and at times not so lovingly - drilled into me, I am aware that some might think our front page today contains a huge error.

Yes, I am aware that some people might be getting a chuckle in thinking that the editor of the Daily Times once again displayed his ignorance of the human language by using the wrong word in huge type as part of our lead headline.

It's right there in print for all to see. Hey, Mr. Editor, you knucklehead, don't you know you used the wrong 'principal' there.

Well, actually I did. And didn't.

I understand that most times when making that kind of statement, the correct word would be principle, a bedrock belief.

But remember what this is story is about, an embattled school official in Rose Tree Media School District.

That's why I used the sound alike word principal.

That's called a homonym, a word that sounds the same, but has a different meaning. And if it's been awhile since you've heard anyone use the word homonym, you've probably forgotten more English usage than I have.

End of the line for a family home

I have now been through the painful, emotional process of watching a family home first emptied, then sold.

The first time it was the house where I grew up. My mother did not go willingly.

This time it was my wife's turn, as the house where she grew up became too much for her mom. This time, however, she was ready to go. That did not make the process any less emotional. I used my print column today to talk about it.

Our new phone system goes live today

The intrepid staff of the Daily Times once again will temp the technology gods today.

We're rolling out a new phone system.

Please be patient.

Yeah, I know. More technology. What can possibly go wrong?

A couple of things you need to know.

If you want to reach me, to tell me exactly what you think of that day's front page or lead story, use this number: 484-521-3147. Our two main numbers, both for the front desk and the newsroom, will remain the same. You can still dial 610-622-8810 to reach the newsroom. The general number for the newspaper also will remain the same, 610-622-8800.

Every reporter will now have a direct line, so make sure you contact them and get their direct line.

And most important, our popular Sound Off column will have a new phone number for those looking to get something off their chest. Call 484-521-3180 for Sound Off.

Should be a piece of cake.

It's Tebow Time in Philly

Thank you, Chip Kelly.

I don't have any idea if Tim Tebow will ever take a single snap for the Philadelphia Eagles. For that matter, I'm not totally convinced Sam Bradford will either.

What I do know is this. I can't remember a time when the Philly sports landscape looked this bleak.

So, yes, I had to crack a smile last night when I checked my phone and found that Tebow was blowing up the Twitter-sphere when word leaked that the Eagles would sign the Heisman Trophy winner to a one-year deal today.

Let's face it. The Phillies are giving every indication of being as bad as advertised.

The Flyers? They only make news these days when they dump their latest head coach. On Friday they canned longtime Flyers fixture Craig Berube. Then of course they failed to get lucky in the NHL Draft on Saturday, missing a chance to draft the next "one," Connor McDavid. Instead the Flyers will draft seventh, as expected.

The Sixers are waiting for the NBA Draft, and trying to determine exactly when Joel Embiid will join their lineup.

So Kelly decided to throw us - or at least talk radio - a bone with the Tebow news. You have to believe Anthony Gargano is happy. The timing is perfect as he kicks off his morning show on WFAN, and offers a challenge the morning supremacy of Angelo Cataldi and the morning gang on WIP.

Before anyone rushes to anoint Tebow, remember he has not played in an NFL game since 2012, when he backed up another current Eagles QB, March Sanchez, with the Jets.

Tebow, the former Heisman Trophy winner who led Florida to two national championships, has made as much news for his religious beliefs as his exploits on the field. He makes no bones about his Christianity. His unique method of celebrating a score, taking a knee and placing his hand on his forehead in prayer, became something of a sensation known as "Tebowing."

But he hasn't been on the field since the 2013 preseason with the Patriots.

There's a lot of talk about how Kelly continues to seek a quarterback with the ability to run, especially in his red zone offense. It's an area where the Eagles have struggled during his two seasons at the helm.

Is Tebow the answer? I doubt it.

But it will be fun to watch. And talk about.

And really, what else do we have to look forward to?

Friday, April 17, 2015

About that front page

One of the questions I get asked all the time is why the Daily Times never puts any good news on its front page.

Folks, today is your day.

Actually, I like putting an 'upper' on the front page on Friday. Maybe it's the whole TGIF thing. Let's face it, a lot of the news we deliver every day is pretty depressing. I mean, how many days can you hammer Colwyn? It's nice every once in awhile to end the week on a little lighter note and head into the weekend with a smile.

Today's front page story certainly should spark smiles all across Delaware County.

When reporter Rose Quinn first reached out to me early Thursday (she knows I get in the office long before dawn) she wanted to let me know about the story and urged me to consider it for Page One.

She wasn't wrong.

This is a great story about a good kid battling some serious health issues who finally got his wish. I hope no one is offended by the headline. If you are, you know where to file your complaint. I wrote it. It's a takeoff on the slang saying for something that is pretty cool.

You see, David Gibson's wish was not what a lot of good kids would be seeking. He did not want to go to Disney World. Or meet a famous athlete.

The Marple 12-year-old wanted to meet the bomb squad - and the robot that is sent in to defuse explosive situations.

David, consider your wish granted.

And thanks for the Friday upper!

Sestak gets a challenge

Joe Sestak is getting some company.

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski today is expected to announce he will join Sestak in seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.

That sigh you just heard is a lot of Pennsylvania Democratic leaders exhaling.

For some reason, they're not in love with the Delco Democrat.

That has something to do with the bridges Sestak burned when he ignored their pleas and challenged - and defeated - party-switcher Arlen Specter back in 2010.

He's also been known to ignore the advice of party leaders.

It worked for him when he knocked off 20-year Republican incumbent Congressman Curt Weldon in a wild 7th District Congressional race. But he lost to Toomey.

Now Sestak wants a rematch.

But first he'll have to get the nomination.

And maybe win back the hearts of his own party in the process.

Want to talk to the editor? Sound Off? We're getting new phone numbers

I you are of a religious bent, say a prayer for me and the rest of us here at the Daily Times over the weekend.

We're rolling out a new phone system on Monday.

Yeah, I know. More technology. What can possibly go wrong?

A couple of things you need to know.

If you want to reach me, to tell me exactly what you think of that day's front page or lead story, use this number: 484-521-3147.

Our two main numbers, both for the front desk and the newsroom, will remain the same. You can still dial 610-622-8810 to reach the newsroom. The general number for the newspaper also will remain the same, 610-622-8800.

Every reporter will now have a direct line, so make sure you contact them and get their direct line.

And most important, our popular Sound Off column will have a new phone number for those looking to get something off their chest. Call 484-521-3180 for Sound Off.

Should be a piece of cake.

Phillies, Howard going down

The Phillies lost again last night. Cole Hamels gave up another couple of homers, giving him an astounding seven gopher balls after just three starts.

But Hamels and the Phils' fifth straight loss was not even the headline on what is quickly becoming the dismal start every Phillies fan feared.

The real story happened before the game.

Manager Ryne Sandberg rolled out a lineup that looked distinctly different - for one big reason.

The Big Piece is now a big afterthought.

Sandberg dropped struggling Ryan Howard to the No. 7 spot in his batting lineup. It was the first time Howard, a fixture in the cleanup spot for the Phils for much of the last decade, has hit that low in the lineup since April 21, 2006. Jeff Francoeur manned the cleanup spot vs. the Nationals.

It didn't make a lot of difference. Howard, who came into the game hitting a lowly .148 on 4-for-27 at the plate, went 1-for-3. Francoeus also was 1-for-3.

After the game, Howard seemed to take the demotion in stride.

"Do I think I can hit fourth? Yeah, I know I can," Howard said. "But I think that's one of the things where youjust kind of look at it as an internal challenge to get back to where you know you are."

It's going to be a long season.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, April 16

The Daily Numbers: 0, how much you’ll pay for coffee at Wawa today. It’s free all day as the Delco-based convenience store celebrates its 61st anniversary.

1.5 million cups, how much Wawa officials estimate they will give away today.

1964, when the company opened its 1st store on MacDade Boulevard in the Folsom section of Ridley.

680 stores in the Wawa chain.

22,000 employees.

45,000 dollars a year, how much Paula Brown was making as borough manager in Colwyn. Her job was eliminated.

40, age of Rashon Mitchell, who police say held up the TD Bank in Springfield.

2,500 in cash, how much he made off with.

44, age of another bank robbery suspect who was tracked down at Harrah’s Casino in Chester.

6.7 billion dollars, how much the state university system says it contributes to the Pa. economy.

783 million dollars in gambling revenue for property tax rebates from Pa. casinos.

2-year-old hit-run victim who succumbed to his injuries early this morning in Philadelphia.

2 toddlers killed in hit-run incidents so far this week.

300,000 dollars in heroin seized during raid in Norristown; 2 people were arrested.

500 pills a month, how many painkillers the wife of a Chester County dentists was using. They now both face drug charges.

70,000 dollars, minimum wage set for all workers at credit card processing center Gravity Payments. Dan Price, the owner, will cut his own pay so his workers can get pay increases.

31,000 inquiries from veterans that languished for a year at the Philly VA Center, according to a scathing federal report.

22,000 pieces of returned mail that had not been processed.

1 worker who would doctor benefit forms to cover up mistakes by coworkers.

86 million dollar profit in 1st quarter for Delta Air Lines at its Monroe Energy refinery in Trainer.

2.2 billion dollars in savings for the airlines on jet fuel costs.

7 million dollars to be paid to family of beating victim in Philly by 2 local taverns.

10 straight losses to end the season for the Sixers.

18-64 mark for the 76ers on this 2nd season of tanking.

3 straight losses for the Phils to the Mets.

3-6 mark for them in this young season.

2 for 16 with runners in scoring position for the Phils’ woeful offense.

3 hits for Cody Asche in the No. 6 spot. Think maybe we can move him up a bit?

.500 batting average for Asche on 12 for 24 hitting, including 11 for his last 16.

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

The Sixers season has come to a merciful end. Tanks for the memories, guys.

I Don’t Get It: How exactly does someone fly a small gyrocopter into the Washington, D.C., air space and land it on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol?

Today’s Upper: Kudos to our friends at Wawa. They are giving away free coffee all day in honor of their 61st anniversary.

Quote Box:
“We’ve got enough money left on a state grant that we can get a borough manager in here for 12 weeks. It’s a temporary position and they’ll come in and train everybody to operate this town.”

- Colwyn Council President Fred Lesher.

It's free coffee all day at Wawa

Our very own Wawa - founded and headquartered right here in Delaware County - is celebrating a birthday today.

But instead of us showering them with gifts on their 51st anniversary, they've decided to turn the tables, taking up the old adage that it is better to give than to receive.

That's especially true if you're a coffee drinker.

The convenience store chain is celebrating by offering free coffee all day at all of its stores.

Wawa says it's just their way of saying thanks to all of its amazing customers. How thankful are they? The company estimates they will give away about a million and a half free coffees today.

Every once in awhile I take a shot at Wawa. For instance, I still believe there is no more dangerous place in Delco than a Wawa parking lot. That's espcially true for the new "super" Wawas that feature gas stations. You sometimes need eyes in the back of your head to keep from being drilled by cars pulling in and out of those lots.

But woe be to the outsider who takes a shot at our beloved Wawa. Sheetz? Forget it. 7-Eleven? Get real.

Wawa is part of who we are here in Delco.

It was 61 years ago when the Wood family was trying to figure out how to market the milk and dairy products produced at their family farm in Middletown. They opened their first store, on MacDade Boulevard in the Folsom section of Ridley Township, on April 16, 1964. Today they have nearly 700 outlets across the Delaware Valley. They continue to expand, the most recent being an ambitious plan to have the famous goose fly into Florida for a big expansion. Their birthday is being noticed down there as well. For you outsiders, here's the secret behind the Wawa mascot. Wawa is the name of the neighborhood in Middletown Township where the company was founded. The town's name is derived from the native American word for the goose that was indigenous to the area.

They may be branching out to the Sunshine State, but Wawa will always be Delco at heart.

Thanks for the coffee, folks.

And yes, we still "gotta havva Wawa."

Winter of (sports) discontent is over: Tanks for the memories, guys

The winter of our (sports) discontent is over.

The Sixers finished Round 2 of their tank-a-palooza campaign by losing at home to the Miami Heat.

You're stunned, I'm sure.

Owner Josh Harris isn't. He spoke before the game and said he sees some progress, if not success. Here's columnist Jack McCaffery's take on what he heard from Harris.

I have a suggestion for the video on the 2014-15 season: Tanks for the Memories.

Coach Brett Brown finally seemed to get something off his chest, noting the difficulty of all the roster changes, referring to them as "gypsies."

"At the end of the day, to coach gypsies, to have to coach a revolving door, that's now what I'm looking for."

Good for him.

We're still not sure exactly what Ron Hextall is looking for in a coach.

The Flyers GM met the media yesterday after the team failed to make the playoffs and said he is not yet ready to make a decision on coach Craig Berube.

If it didn't exactly sound like an endorsement, it wasn't supposed to be.

So we move on to spring. Oh, by the way, the Phillies got swept by the Mets last night. The only consistent thing about this team the last couple of years is that they are incapable of timely hitting. They went 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position.

No wonder all anyone wants to talk about around here is Chip Kelly.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, April 15

The Daily Numbers: 15, as in April 15. Happy Tax Day!

318 townhouses and carriage houses proposed in the Cardinal Crossing Towne Center on the site of the former Don Guanella Village in Marple.

500,000 to $625,000 pricetag on those homes.

750,000 square feet of retail space.

100,000 square feet of office space.

80,000-square-foot rec center.

65,000-square-foot hotel.

2,500 short-term construction jobs to build the town centre.

2,300 full time jobs eventually housed there.

78 million dollars in disposable income from the center.

3.5 million impace for the township and school district.

1.65 flat monthly fee on cell phone bill that will go toward 911 operations, under bill being proposed in Harrisburg.

326 million dollars, how much is expected to be generated by the measure.

7 million dollars, how much Delaware County spent last year on 911 services.

11.5 to 23 months in county prison for an Upper Darby man charged with witness intimidation.

2 million dollar budget gap that has been whittled down to about $800,000 by Radnor School Board.

4-1 vote by West Goshen supervisors to table any vote on Sunoco Logistics pipeline plans in the township.

100,000 dollars a year in savings, what Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades hopes to realize from building its own power plant.

2.3 percent uptick in revenue for the casinos that have survived in Atlantic City.

4 home runs for the Phils last night against the Mets.

6-5 loss for the Phils despite the power surge.

2 homers for Chase Utley, who also singled, raising his average to .200.

5 runs on 9 hits surrendered by Phils starter David Buchanan.

3 runs on 5 hits the Phils managed vs. Mets ace Matt Harvey.

3 homers surrendered by Harvey.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. I think we can put away the Chase Utley watch for awhile. Utley snapped out of his season-opening slump big time last night.

I Don’t Get It: Hit-and-run incidents. We seem to be up to our neck in them all of a sudden. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the school board in Radnor. Faced with a $2 million budget gap, they got busy and slashed it down to $800,000.

Quote Box: “We know traffic is a major concern of the township, their engineers and the residents. The burden is on us to demonstrate we can mitigate that and improve the situation once the development is built.”

- Bruce Goodman, on his proposed Cardinal Crossing Towne Center in Marple.

Another town center enters the fray

It is one of those buzz words bound to get attention.

It didn't work out so well in Middletown, we're about to see how it fares in Marple.

It's that sure sigh of suburban sprawl, the Town Center.

When they rolled out that notion for the long-vacant former Franklin Mint site out on Baltimore Pike in Middletown, residents went ballistic. They dubbed the massive development 'The City' and successfully forced developers to alter their plans.

More recently a plan to convert the struggling Granite Run Mall to a town center is being greeted with much less protest, perhaps in part because of the fact that the mall is already there, it is in its death throes and it will not cost the township any open space. That was not the case at the Mint site, one of last big open parcels in the township.

The notion of the town center, or more correctly Town Centre, is back on the front page today. We preview what the developer has in mind for the Don Guanella site on Sproul Road in Marple, next to Cardinal O'Hara High School.

That is the reason for the wording on our front page today, which declares Sproul Sprawl.

There is no getting around the scope of this development, dubbed Cardinal Crossing Town Centre. It is huge, with plans for 318 townhouses and carriage houses, a 65,000-square-foot hotel, 80,000-square-foot recreation facility, 100,000 square feet of office space, and 650,000 square feet of retail space.

You can get all the details here.

One thing is certain. Densely populated Marple Township, where infrastructure already is strained by traffic, is about to get even more crowded.

Another great journalist gone: RIP Sandy Grady

It's been a tough week for Philly journalism icons.

Last week we lost the great Stan Hochman.

Today there is news that another towering voice has fallen silent. Sandy Grady died. He was 87.

When I was a kid, I delivered the Evening Bulletin, and every day someone could count on getting a rumpled copy, the one I had already rummaged through to read Grady's renderings.

Grady covered sports and later politics.

After the Bulletin's demise, he landed at the Daily News and became a force covering politics. His column was a must read for political junkies.

The newspapers in heaven have had a helluva week. For the rest of us, especially those of us who toil in this wacky business, there is a sense of unease, of things lost that can't be recovered, of a changing journalism landscape that will never be the same.

That landscape was created by the likes of Hochman and Grady. We will all be lessened by their absence.

Phils, Utley did everything but win

So much for the Chase Utley funk.

The Phillies' second baseman, who had been mired in a horrific slump to start the season, snapped out of it big time last night in a wildly entertaining game against the Mets.

Unfortunately, despite two homers from Utley, the Phils still managed to lose to the Gothams, 6-5. This despite the fact that they roughed up Mets' ace Matt Harvey for three runs on five hits in his six innings of work.

Cody Asche and Jeff Francoeur also went deep as the Phils put up one of the best offensive performances of the young season. But David Buchanan struggled, giving up five runs on nine hits in just 5 2/3 innings of work.

And while Utley heated up, the same cannot be said for Ryan Howard, who again left the Phils in the lurch with runners in scoring position. Howard went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

All of this was accompanied by a palpable edge to the game, as Buchanan hit two Mets, and Harvey plunking Utley in the behind in return.

Mets manager Terry Collins was tossed arguing a catcher interference call, there was a great bang-bang play at the plate, and a host of questionable umpiring calls.

In short, just about everything you could want in an early-season game - except a Phillies win.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, April 14

The Daily Numbers: 200 dollars a month, how much Colwyn wants to pay a receptionist to perform the duties of treasurer.

2 million dollar bank acccount in the borough.

1 million dollars in red ink as well.

1 of 3 Democratic candidates for County Council who will not take part in write-in campaign after they were tossed off ballot.

2 people held inside a Chester home, sparking a standoff with police. They were freed and the man taken into custody.

1 year on probation for the former chief deputy in the office of the County Register of Wills on a new retail theft charge.

160,000 dollars she ripped off from the county office prior to her latest arrest.

34, age of Chester woman found stabbed on a city street early Sunday.

19.6 million dollar reconstruction project for 69th Street Terminal that kicked off yesterday in Upper Darby.

35,000 passengers who use the terminal every day.

5th DUI offense for a woman from Phoenixville. She faces 3 years in state prison.

3 workers at a construction site at King of Prussia Mall injured when they hit an electrical cable.

3.7 percent state sales tax, up from current 3.07, under GOP tax plan that will be rolled out in Pa. House today.

1 percent hike in sales tax from 6 to 7 percent.

30 points for Michael Carter Williams as the Bucks rolled over his old team the Sixers last night.

1 more game in this miserable season for the 76ers, who finish the season at home vs. Miami Wednesday night.

6 strong innings for Aaron Harang that went for naught as the Phils got shut out by the Mets.

1 run on 4 hits given up by Harang.

7 hits - all singles - for the Phillies.

2 times they’ve been shut out already this year.

1 for 7 with a walk for the combo of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. I don’t boo Ryan Howard. Or Chase Utley either for that matter. Why? Because they gave us a parade.

I Don’t Get It: Colwyn Borough. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the folks out at the new Veterans Memorial on West Chester Pike in Edgmont. They will house a statue there to honor local legend Wild Bill Guarnere. An announcement was made at the site yesterday.

Quote Box: “This is a shame, taxpayers’ money getting wasted like this.”

- Colwyn resident John Ritchie, after last night’s council session.