Friday, May 29, 2015

Daily Numbers for Friday, May 29

The Daily Numbers: 1 person killed, 3 wounded in Chester last night.

30 shots fired in the incident.

7 homicides in the city so far in 2015

2 twin homes damaged in fire in Clifton Heights.

1 business and 1 apartment damaged in fire in Radnor.

2 women groped in 2 days in Radnor and Media; police have a man in custody.

1 body found in a suitcase in a lot in Tinicum yesterday afternoon.

250 law enforcement and school officials who gathered yesterday to talk about how to keep kids safe during the massive crowds expected this fall for the visit by Pope Francis.

3.65 acres that will be developed for the new Secane Station.

16.4 million dollar pricetag for the project.

72 hours to 6 months in jail for a Drexel Hill woman for a DUI hit-run accident.

3 Philly men indicted for heists at cell phone stores, including 1 in Haverford.

80 years in Delco being celebrated by Charlie’s Hamburgers.

0.4125 mill tax hike in Radnor School District.

1 person killed by train in Devon. It’s been ruled a suicide.

1-0 heartbreaking loss for the Chi girls to Villa Maria in PIAA District 1 softball championship game.

36-7 win for East squad in last night’s Hero Bowl football classic.

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

Chip Kelly spoke yesterday. He said LeSean McCoy was wrong when he accused the Eagles coach of a racial bias in letting players go. Now let’s put this to rest.

I Don’t Get It: Kelly says McCoy has not returned his calls to talk about the situation. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Charlie’s Hamburgers, a Delco institution that is celebrating 80 years in business.

Quote Box: “In that situation, I think he’s wrong.”

- Chip Kelly, talking about LeSean McCoy’s claim that he has a racial bias.

Welcome to the world of breaking news online

There are days that I love the Internet and days that I loathe the Internet.

This morning I am experiencing both.

Let me explain.

You want to be a newspaper editor who also is manning a daily website? This is what greeted me when I arrived in the office in the pre-dawn hours this morning:

* A fatal shooting in Chester in which several other people were wounded in a hail of at least 30 bullets fire.

* A fire that damaged an apartment and business in Radnor.

* Flames that roared through a twin home in Clifton Heights. Luckily, it appears as if everyone escaped the inferno.

* The arrest of a man for two incidents in which women were groped in Radnor and Media.

And here I thought the only news this morning would be our lead story in the print edition, the discovery of a body in a suitcase late Thursday afternoon in Tinicum.

Obviously, the Chester shooting and two fires occurred too late for our print edition. You won't find them in the paper you may be caressing over your morning coffee.

There was a time - not that long ago - when we would not have been able to deliver this news for 24 hours - our next print edition. Ovbviously, those days are gone.

Thanks to the Internet, I quickly managed to cobble information together on all these incidents and quickly post them to our website. Our busy photographer Tom Kelly IV managed to get us photos from both fires as well as the Chester shooting.

In a manner of minutes I assembled the basic information and posted the stories and photos.

Speed is now an important part of the business of delivering news. It's essential to get this information to readers as quickly as possible, and on as many platforms as possible.

Boom! We delivered the news to our readers on Twitter, Facebook as well as

We will update those stories throughout the day, and then compile all that information again for our print edition tomorrow.

Yep, I love all this technology.

I think.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Daily Numbers for Thursday, May 28

The Daily Numbers: 488,000 square feet in what is commonly known as International Plaza in Tinicum being eyed by the city of Philadelphia as part of the airport expansion plan.

27 acres of the site between Route 291 and the airport may be used as a new home for UPS, which needs to be moved for construction of a new runway.

27, age of Tyaina Finch, who waived her arraignment and will face trial in the fatal shooting of Darby Borough Officer Mark Hudson.

40 age of Upper Darby mom who faces endangerment charges after a 2-year-old child was spotted hanging out of a 2nd floor window.

2 Delco athletes - Kip Taviano and Dante DeSimone, taken far too soon being remembered by loved ones.

70th anniversary about to be celebrated in Brookhaven.

2 parents arraigned yesterday on misdemeanor charges connected to ferret mauling of one of their children in their Darby Borough home.

3 principles in 2 years for Cardinal O’Hara. Eileen Vice takes the post as of July 1.

154 million dollars being spent by SEPTA for 18 new locomotives for their regional rail lines.

900,000 dollar contract at heart of charges filed against school official in Philly.

2nd White House run announced by former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.

19 people now feared dead in Texas flooding.

121 point jump for the Dow yesterday, 1 day after 100-point plunge.

14 people charged in widespread corruption probe into FIFA, the governing body of international soccer.

4 home runs surrendered by Phils’ starter Sean O’Sullivan in brutal 7-0 loss to Mets.

4th consecutive loss for Phils.

7 straight losses for the Phils at CitiField in New York.

14-10 win for Garnet Valley girls over Carroll in PIAA lacrosse playoffs.

39th annual Hero Bowl to be played tonight at Cardinal O’Hara.

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

Yes, I know Aaron Nola likely needs more seasoning in the minors. But are you telling me he would do worse than the horrific outing put up by Phils’ starter Sean O’Sullivan vs. the Mets yesterday. The result was an embarrassing 7-0 loss. I think I understand that, Ruben.

I Don’t Get It: ‘Dining Under the Stars’ in Media is one of the best summer events in the county. So of course the LCB has to become a stickler on licenses. The restaurants are now scrambling to comply. Last night went on without a hitch, other than the threat of storms.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to those who were out in force on State Street supporting local establishments.

Quote Box: “It’s the whole vibe of being outside with other people. It’s one thing that separates Media from other towns.”

- Chriss Sacharok, while enjoying Dining Under the Stars last night in the county seat.

Safe Schools Summit will focus on children & pope's visit

The upcoming visit of Pope Francis to Philly for the World Meeting of Families in September continues to have ripple effects across the region.

Add Delaware County's Safe Schools Summit to the list.

Today at the annual event focusing on keeping kids safe, leaders of the county public schools and law enforcement agencies will gather at Neumann University to learn what kind of effect having two million people flooding into the region will have on the greater metropolitan area.

Children and schoolkids are expected to be a major focus of the pope's visit, and experts will detail the measures being taken as well as what families and parents can do to remain safe amid the throngs gathering to welcome the popular pontiff.

Guest speakers will include members of the Secret Service and U.S. Homeland Security, along with medical emergency expert Jeremiah Lester, deputy commissioner of the Philadelphia Fire Department.

The Safe Schools Summit was initiated several years ago in response to the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado. In the years since it has covered a variety of topics key to young people, including bullying and online dangers, and the rise in the use of heroin and opioid abuse.

A very special visit to the Delaware County Veterans Memorial

I visited a very special place last night - and met some very special people.

We took our 'Live From the Newsroom' show back out on the road to the sparkling Delaware County Veterans Memorial along West Chester Pike in Newtown Square.

If you have not visited, I suggest you do so. It really is a special place. Thanks to the work of Guy Fizzano, Linda Houldin and the other members of the Delaware County Veterans Memorial Association, and the largesse of developer Claude DeBotton, who donated the land on which the memorial sits, the county has a truly remarkable honor for those who paid the ultimate price for their country.

And what better time could there be to pay a visit than two days after Memorial Day?

Joining us last night were four very special guests. Gene Guarnere and his daughter Debi Rafferty detailed the 7-foot sculpture of their father and grandfather, the legendary 'Wild Bill' Guarnere, which will soon call the memorial home.

They will be on hand on June 6 as part of Newtown Square Days with a bust from the statue, which is expected to be completed and installed at the site in the fall.

Of course 'Wild Bill' Guarnere was the South Philly native who gained acclaim as one of the focuses of the HBO series 'Band of Brothers.' Guarnere's exploits as part of Easy Company in the 101st Airborne Division in World War II were the backbone of the book and TV series.

Also joining us last night was Janice Arty Hamilton, daughter of the late state representative and County Council chairman Mary Ann Arty. Hamilton detailed a very special event that will be part of the continuing mission of the memorial. It's called a Casket Flag Raising Ceremony. Mary Ann Arty, who served in the Army as a nurse, was one of the first to be so honored, along with Marine Sgt. James Fordyce, who was killed in action in a helicopter crash off the North Africa coast as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. His father, James Fordyce, joined us last night to talk about what the honor meant to him and his family.

When you listen to Hamilton and James Fordyce speak, you get a feel for just what a special place the memorial is.

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

The plan now is to have these Casket Flag Raising events each month on the second Sunday.

In June, two more soldiers will be honored, appropriately enough on Flag Day, June 14.

U.S. Army veteran Anthony 'Tony' Fizzano and Paul Edwin White, the father of County Councilman Dave White, will have their flags raised at the site.

My thanks to all who took part in last night's show, including Barbara Ann Zippi, who as always was invaluable in setting things up.

Barb even managed to get the storms to clear just in time for us to go on the air.

It was an honor to be able to use the show for one of the best projects in Delaware County.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, May 27

The Daily Numbers: 1,000 people who regularly pack State Street in Media for Dining Under the Stars on Wednesday nights in the summer. Borough eateries are now scrambling to get the license needed to sell alcohol outdoors.

220 dollar application fee that must accompany each application.

76, age of former Marple Newtown school bus driver who faces charges of indecent assault on minor.

13, age of his alleged victim.

3 men, including a West Chester University quarterback and 2 Delco men, wavied their preliminary hearings yesterday in connection with an altercation at a West Chester eatery.

2 people hospitalized yesterday after a crash during the morning rush hour at Routes 1 and 202.

2 parking lots in Millbourne at center of dispute over parking tied to visit of Pope Francis for the World Meeting of Families.

4.1 million dollar project to renovate intersection of Baltimore Pike and Springfield Road that has ground to halt in Clifton Heights.

3 million scam being alleged by feds against 2 Main Line men in a plot that targeted the University of Penn.

718 crashes responded to by state police over the Memorial Day weekend.

13 fatalities recorded.

62 of the crashes alcohol-related.

20 to 40 years in prison for a Philadelphia man who admitted he attacked and strangled his wife as she walked in a park. They had argued about text messages on his phone from another woman.

13 people still missing in massive flooding in Houston, Texas.

14 people killed in storms over the holiday weekend.

11 inches of rain that his deluged the region.

103 million dollars in new funding being sought from City Council by the Philadelphia School District.

55 billion dollars, what Charter Communications will pay to acquire Time Warner Cable.

156 million dollars, pay of Discovery Communications boss David Zaslav, highest paid CEO.

6 of 10 highest paid CEOs in nation are in the media. I don’t think any of them are newspaper editors.

3 year suspension for Penn State frat tied to nude pictures of women posted on private Facebook page.

5-4 come-from-ahead loss for the Phils against the Mets.

19 losses in last 24 tries vs. Mets for the Phillies.

40 years ago tonight that the Flyers won their 2nd consecutive Stanley Cup.

0, the number of Cups the team has won since.

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

Ruben Amaro Jr. says he probably used his words incorrectly or poorly. Ya think, Rube?

I Don’t Get It: Sounds like the LCB is sniffing around the great Dining Under the Stars event in Media for some possible lack of licenses by some eateries for outdoor booze sales. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Amaro for realizing how his words sounded and quickly making the rounds of local media to apologize to the fans.

Quote Box: “I don’t think the comments were meant to disparage our fans by any stretch of the imagination. I probably used my words incorrectly or poorly. So I want to apologize for that.”

- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. after his comments on fans blew up yesterday.

'Live From the Newsroom' updates some special events at Delaware County Veterans Memorial

The location for tonight's 'Live From the Newsroom,' our weekly live-stream Internet broadcast, could not be more appropriate.

Two days after we marked Memorial Day, the holiday we set aside to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country, we will be at the sparkling Delaware County Veterans Memorial in Newtown Square.

We'll get an update on the work of the Delaware County Veterans Memorial Association, including plans for a statue to honor 'Wild Bill' Guarnere, one of the local soldiers who inspired the 'Band of Brothers' HBO special. The statue will be unveiled during a special flag-raising at the memorial on June 6 as part of Newtown Square Days.

We'll also get the details on a special Flag Day event at the memorial. Several very special flags will be used in a casket flag-raising ceremony as part of the National Flag Day celebration.

Joining us will be local businessman Guy Fizzano, president of DCVMA Board of Directors; Linda Houldin, founding member of DCVM; and Debi Rafferty and Gene Guarnere, the granddaughter and son on Bill Guarnere.

I'm also hoping to be joined by Wes Mullen, the D-Day veteran who we featured in Tuesday's Daily Times and who was the special guest speaker at the Ridley Park Memorial Day celebration. If you missed the great story from staff writer Rose Quinn, you can read it here.

Mullen, a reserved man who is not one to boast of his own accomplishments, is now taking it on as his mission to stress the true heroes, those that we left behind on the beaches of Normandy as part of the D-Day Invasion.

The man is living history, but as is his nature, he wants to stress that he was just one of the many soldiers who served.

Actually, what they did was save the world.

It is a debt we can never repay.

Maybe in some small way we can by paying attention when they speak.

They will all speak tonight at 7 on, when 'Live From the Newsroom' comes to you live from the Delaware County Veterans Memorial on West Chester Pike in Newtown Square.

Feel free to join us for a very special show.

Amaro's ill-timed comments spark an apology

The Phillies have their hands full with the New York Mets.

They did not need their general manager to throw a little gas on the fire.

But hours before his team blew a late lead and lost for the 19th time in their last 24 tries vs. the Gothams, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was in serious damage control.

He was backpedaling furiously from some comments he had made about Philly fans in an interview with's Jim Salisbury.

Basically, Amaro buried the fans, saying they didn't really understand the process and the plan the Phils are using when it comes to developing some of their younger talent. Fans want some of the Phils' young talent promoted from the minors. Amaro doesn't want to rush them.

I think I understand what Amaro was trying to say. That didn't make it sound any better when he said the fans "don't understand the game" and that they "bitch and complain that we don't have a plan."

How do you really feel, Ruben?

It became pretty clear very quickly how the fans felt.

Naturally, they were outraged.

After being pilloried on sports talk radio and social media most of the day, Amaro came forward before last night's game to apologize. "I'd like to apologize to the fan because I'm a fan myself and I understand," Amaro said. "I understand the passion and the knowledge that our fans have for our game and the other major sports - all the sports in Philly. So, I don't think the comments were meant to disparage our fans by any stretch of the imagination. I probably used my words incorrectly or poorly. So I want to apologize for that." Ya think?

All of this blurs what is really happening with the Phils. After putting together a fairly impressive six-game winning streak, they have hit the skids again. And this is with Ryan Howard wielding a hot bat.

The Phils are what they are - a mediocre at best major league ballclub.

But fans probably can't be blamed when they see the dramatic turnaround pulled off by the Houston Astros. Last year they were one of the worst teams in baseball. One year later, they have the best record in the league at a sizzling 30-17.

Phillies' fans can only dream about that kind of turnaround. And you can bet they will be vocal about their belief that Ruben Amaro Jr. is not the man to guide a similar turnaround here in Philly.

There's no doubt they 'understand' that.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, May 26

The Daily Numbers: 90, age of World War II veteran West Mullen, who was keynote speaker at the Ridley Park Memorial Day celebration. Mullen is a survivor of the Normandy Invasion, hitting Omaha Beach on D-Day and living to tell his story.

100, age of Margaret Gleason, who pays a visit to Arlington Cemetery every Memorial Day. This year was no exception.

2013, when the contract with the Interboro School District support staff expired. They’ve been working without a deal since.

4,234 new residents of Delco since the last census was taken in 2010.

425 new residents in Haverford, tops among growth spots in the county.

4.1 percent growth spurt for Chester Township.

5,000 rollercoaster rides being celebrated by a man out in West Mifflin, Pa., over the holiday.

12 people missing in Texas after heavy rains caused record-setting flooding.

6-3 loss to the Mets for the Phils.

6 strikeouts for the Phils, 5 of them looking, including Ben Revere, Freddy Galvis and Chase Utley all in a row.

5 losses in last 7 games for the Phils after they won 6 in a row.

18 losses in last 23 games vs. the Mets for the Phils.

2 straight wins for the Union.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Just when you thought the Phils might be turning this thing around, they go right back into the tank again. Let’s face it, this team is what it is: Thoroughly mediocre.

I Don’t Get It: Still not sure where all those flag-waving patriots who celebrated Memorial Day were a few days earlier when the polls were empty on election day.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Wes Mullen, who is a piece of living history, telling his tale of survival from D-Day.

Quote Box: “They’re the only heroes I know, the heroes that gave up their lives so that we could be here.”

- West Mullen, talking about his World War II compatriots who did not survive the D-Day invasion.

Some like it hot

Go ahead and hate me.

Bring on the heat.

I actually like this kind of weather.

The hotter the better.

Humidity? Where have you been, my old friend.

I'm not sure why I enjoy thick, steamy weather. Maybe it's because I'm always cold. I have an extreme dislike for air-conditioning. Don't hold your breath waiting for me to turn it on at home.

I'm always the one sitting outside on the deck sweltering while my family sits inside in air-conditioned comfort. Every once in awhile they would peek out the door to see if I'm still upright.

This is going to be my kind of week.

The forecast calls for it to be hot, humid, with highs in the 90s all week.

Now if only we can keep those pesky thunderstorms away.

Marcus Belgrave, pride of Chester

A shout-out today to my friend and longtime, loyal reader Eleanor Nealy of Trainer.

She left me a voice-mail to alert me to something that was in the paper on Monday.

Since it was the Memorial Day holiday, many people might have missed it. I'll repeat it here for a couple of reasons. One, we always take note when a prominent person passes away.

And Marcus Belgrave certainly was that.

But the famed trumpeter also was a native of Chester. You can read his full obit here.

Eleanor reminded me of something that happens all the time in this crazy business:

Just how many things revert back to Chester.

Even this newspaper, the Daily Times, can trace its roots back to the Chester Times.

Eleanor told me Belgrave was a protege and student of the great Robert E. Vaughan, the legendary Chester music teacher who spent 35 years in the music programs in Chester schools.

Eleanor also pointed out that Belgrave also played with her sister in the band that performed at the Salvation Army.

She also noted something else that is too often forgotten, the common theme that runs through all of these stories:


It's that important, and that's why is remains at the heart of so many of Chester's problems.

"This is just another case of education coming through," Nealy said.

I think Marcus Belgrave and Robert Vaughan would agree.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Friday, May 22

The Daily Numbers: 19 guns stolen from the Suburban Armory gun shop in Collingdale.

3 or 4 men being sought. Police say they smashed out a front window and ripped off the guns.

8.3 million dollars in cuts to support staff in recent years in the Upper Darby School District. Officials yesterday made a pitch to Gov. Tom Wolf to restore funding.

1.7 million dollar deficit in the latest budget, which will mean a tax hike.

70 different languages spoken in the diverse Upper Darby School District.

13,000 dollars spent per student in Upper Darby, one of the lowest rates in the county.

8,000 to $10,000 annual school property tax tab for the average homeowner.

1,400 students who picked up diplomas at Delaware County Community College yesterday.

8,800 feet of trolley tracks being replaced in Aldan Borough.

591 bags of heroin seized during drug sting in Dover, Del.

6 Baltimore police officers indicted in the death of Freddie Gray.

7,700 gallons of oil now sullying the beaches in California after a pipeline ruptured.

loss for the Phillies in Colorado to wrap up their road trip.

.395, what Ryan Howard is hitting over the last 9 games played at Coors Field.

2 home runs in 2 games for Howard.

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

Just 2 losses for the Phils in their last 9 games. They will get a bit sterner test starting tonight at Citizens Bank Park when the Nats show up to kick off a weekend series.

I Don’t Get It: 19 guns in the hands of people who should not have them after a heist at the Suburban Armory in Collingdale. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to former Rep. Nick Micozzie, honored for getting the legislation passed that led to the way for improvements at Secane Station. Deservedly so.

Quote Box: “There are 18 weapons that are now on the street, that weren’t on the street yesterday.

- Collingdale Chief Bob Adams, after heist at local gun shop.

A fitting tribute to Nick Micozzie

If you're one of those harried folks who scramble every morning to arrive early and snag a precious parking spot at the Secane Station to start your commute into the city on the Media/Elwyn line, you owe a debt of gratitude.

There are 60 brand new parking spots at the transit stop this week.

They are there for one reason: Act 89. That is the massive transportation package that was passed by the Legislature. It is providing critical funding for infrastructure and transit work across the Commonwealth.

Act 89 happened in large part because of one man.

That would be former state Rep. Nick Micozzie. The longtime Upper Darby Republican, who retired last fall after representing Upper Darby in Harrisburg for more than three decades, deftly shepherded this crucial piece of legislation through the mine field known as Harrisburg.

Make no mistake, Act 89 was not a particularly popular piece of legislation, especially among Republicans. The GOP folks from the middle of the state very often turn a deaf ear to packages they believe are tilted to giving aid to the southeaster portion of the state. Add in what many believe were thinly disguised tax hikes, and they consider it something akin to anathema.

It was left to Micozzie to pick up the ball and run with it for Gov. Tom Corbett.

Few people know the intricacies of how Harrisburg works - and how legislation gets passed - better than Mizozzie. He not only managed to get the crucial funding through his Transportation Committee, he got it passed and onto to Corbett's desk.

The result is a lot of critically important projects such as the one unveiled at Secane Station this week.

That's why it was particularly poignant to see a phalanx of local and SEPTA officials gather at the station this week to cut the ribbon and show off their new toy.

And to honor the man who made it possible.

There will be a road sign at the station marking it 'Nick Micozzie Way.'

It was a nice gesture for a nice man.

A guy who was not afraid to reach across the aisle to get something done, whether it be more funding for local schools, or important infrastructure projects.

The moment also comes with a tinge of sadness.

Delaware County has no idea how much they will miss Nick Micozzie looking after their interests in Harrisburg.

That's a lot of clout that just left town.

But Act 89 - and the projects it will fund - will remind us just how important Nick Micozzie was.

Welcome to the Memorial Day Weekend - & summer!

Congratulations! You made it. We have survived another winter.

Despite some very chilly weather this morning, there is no doubt about it. We have made it to the unofficial start of summer - the Memorial Day Weekend.

It's my favorite weekend of the year, if only because it opens the door to another summer.

Here's some info for you in terms of what you need to know this Memorial Day Weekend.


If you’re heading to the beach and want to check the traffic, CLICK HERE.

For a full look at the forecast, CLICK HERE.

If you’re looking for something to do or a way to commemorate the holiday, CLICK HERE.

Mother Nature looks like she is ready to cooperate.

After a cool start this morning, we’ll warm into the 70s with lots of sunshine. It will be a tad on the cool side Saturday morning, then heat will gradually build through the weekend and by the holiday on Monday, it will actually feel like mid-summer.

Here’s the latest on the holiday weekend forecast from the National Weather Service:

Friday: Increasing clouds, with a high near 75. Breezy, with a west wind 9 to 14 mph increasing to 16 to 21 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 31 mph.

Friday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 48. Northwest wind 9 to 17 mph.

Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 69. North wind 7 to 10 mph becoming west in the afternoon.

Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 52. Southwest wind 3 to 6 mph.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 79. West wind 5 to 10 mph.

Sunday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 61.

Memorial Day: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 86. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

Monday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 67.

Tuesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 91.

Don’t forget the real reason for the holiday. This is the weekend we set aside to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country. Thank a veteran this weekend.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, May 21

The Daily Numbers: 4 million dollars, how much the Delco SPCA is spending to improve its facilities. They got the ball rolling yesterday by unveiling a new shelter services building.

1,279-214 margin by which voters in Lansdowne backed a push to OK sale of alcohol at the historic Lansdowne Theatre.

70 percent of registered Democrats who skipped the hotly contest mayoral Primary in Philadelphia.

85 percent of those eligible to vote across the suburbs failed to show up.

300 million dollars, how much SEPTA is spending on improvements to the Media-Elwyn regional rail line, including yesterday’s unveiling of the new parking lot at Secane Station.

60 added parking spots at the station.

16.2 million dollar renovation of the entire station that is in the works.

5,000 dollar reward still out there for information on the suspect who held up an employee of Chickie’s and Pete’s in Drexel Hill and fled with $2,300.

3,000 dollars, how much authorities say former Marcus Hook Mayor Jay Schiliro pockets from an account of the Knights of Columbus.

25 years of experience, what Debra Brillante brings to her new job as superintendent of elementary schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

9 miles of fouled beach after oil spill off the California coast.

33 years as host of the Late Show for David Letterman, who did his last show last night.

6,028 broadcasts for the comic.

7 wins in 8 games for the Phillies.

8 home runs for Ryan Howard, that puts him on pace for 30-homer season.

3 hits for Howard in leading Phils to 4-2 win over Rockies.

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

Did we throw dirt on Ryan Howard too soon? He’s heating up, and is a big reason Phils are turning this thing around.

I Don’t Get It: Still astounded at the turnout numbers from the Primary Election. Just shameful.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those involved in the new ‘Chester Made’ video. It’s a story that needs to be told.

Quote Box: “When we met in the Rose Tree Firehouse last August, I got a lot of skeptical looks we could build this. But here we are.”

- SPCA Project Manager Bob Linn

Gov. Wolf brings education funding push to Upper Darby

It's no secret that Gov. Tom Wolf wants to make big changes in the way education is funded in Pennsylvania.

He's pushing for a new severance tax on gas drilling in the state, as well as a major budget shakeup that would swap a break in property taxes with hikes in both the income and sales taxes.

It's a tough sell.

The governor will bring his message to Delco this morning, making a stop at Stonehurst Hills Elementary School in Upper Darby.

The governor will discuss the impact increasing funding for education can have as part of his "Schools That Teach" roundtable and tour. We'll be there for full coverage.

You can follow reporter Kristina Scala on Twitter @Scala_Kris for live updates from the school.

What is 'Chester Made?'

A few weeks ago we took our live-stream Internet broadcast, 'Live From the Newsroom,' down to Open Mike's Internet Cafe on Avenue of the States in Chester to talk about the hot new vibe surrounding the city's arts scene.

A big part of it is something called 'Chester Made.'

It's a huge push to focus on things created in the city, by Chester residents.

Don Newton is one of the people at the heart of this movement. He's connected with a program called Chester Arts Alive. They're putting the arts at the center of the renaissance going on in the city.

This video explains it a lot better:

The voters have spoken - at least a few of them

I am still astounded at the numbers surrounding Tuesday's Primary Election.

No, not the winners and losers, but rather how few people actually made those decisions.

Take a look around you in the Wawa or at your workplace today.

If there are four people there, it's likely three of them did not vote.

Making it even more galling is the holiday we are fast approaching.

I brought that up in today's editorial.

We need to do better.

We complain all the time about our elected officials. But they are the ones who are making the effort to get involved.

If you don't take the time to exercise your constitutional rights, you should also forfeit your right to whine.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, May 20

The Daily Numbers: 10 percent voter turnout in Delaware County for Primary Election. Shameful.

15 percent of Republicans got to the polls.

8 percent of Democrats.

27 percent turnout in Philly, where Democrats were essentially electing the next mayor.

1 term and done for Chester Mayor John Linder.

1,000 vote margin for state Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, who now will face former Republican Mayor Wendell Butler in the fall.

6,829 write-in votes cast in Delco, where Dems are looking to get on the fall ballot for County Council.

250 votes, what they need to acquire. We should know today.

5 candidates will battle for 3 seats on County Court of Common Pleas in the fall.

4 Dems who got the nod in the troubled Colwyn Borough Council races.

2 incumbents who lost in Colwyn.

3,500 Phillies games for longtime employee Tony Valerio of Ridley.

2 engineers in every Amtrak train, what the union wants after the deadly Philly rail derailment.

3, where the Sixers will pick in the NBA Draft.

6-game winning streak snapped for the Phillies last night in Denver, where they lost 6-5.

3 more hits for Maikel Franco.

1 crucial error for the third baseman that led to 3 1st inning runs.

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

OK, Sam Hinkie. It would appear the tanking worked. You are in line to draft Deangelo Russel. Now you need to win.

I Don’t Get It: People stayed away from the polls in drove. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to those who made the effort and exercised their constitutional rights. You are patriots

Quote Box: “We’re going to get things done. We’re going to bring our city back and we’re going to do it with experience.”

- Thaddeus Kirkland, claiming victory in the Chester Dem Mayor’s race.

Chester voters show Linder the door

It's one and done for John Linder.

The incumbent Democratic mayor of Chester will not be getting a second term.

He wasn't toppled by Republicans, but instead by his own party.

The fractured Chester Democratic Party is now solidly standing behind longtime state Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, D-159, who rolled to a big win over Linder in yesterday's Primary vote.

Unofficials results show Kirkland leading Linder by 1,000 votes.

The Dem feud split the city, with both Linder and Kirkland fieling their own slate of candidates for City Council and other city positions. Kirkland's team, which includes incumbent city council members Nafis Nichols and Elizabeth Williams, won big.

Kirkland will now tangle with a very familiar face in November.

Former Mayor Wendell Butler will top the Republican ticket as he seeks his old job.

Kirkland served 12 terms in Harrisburg, but it's not exactly been a secret that he's had his eyes on the mayor's office for some time. His differences with Linder focused on the police department. Kirkland was critical of one of Linder's first moves, demoting Darren Alston and bringing in veteran Joe Bail. Kirkland ripped the move and said Linder and Bail were out of touch with the community. As usual, Linder was a class act in accepting defeat.

"If this is what the citizens want, then so be it," he said. "I'm all right with that."

I liked John Linder.

But I'm not sure he was cut out for politics.

For one thing, he always told you exactly what was on his mind. Believe me when I tell you that's not something that happens all the time.

Linder was a longtime educator. He likely just learned a fairly tough political lesson.

I hope he stays involved.

Chester needs more people like John Linder.

So much for Mayor Anthony Williams

Forget that call for a new state senator for eastern Delaware County.

Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, D-8, isn't going anywhere.

He got waxed yesterday in his bid to become the next mayor of Philadelphia. Williams, despite doing well in in his West Philly stronghold, lost just about every other section of the city as he got walloped by former city councilman Jim Kenney in the Democratic Primary.

Kenney held a 2-1 margin over Williams with almost all city votes counted.

Of course, with the Dems' 7-1 voter registration edge in the city, that pretty much means Kenney will be the next mayor. That's not a slap at newcomer Republican Melissa Murray Bailey. To say she will be a longshot is aking to saying the Phillies will win the World Series. A Republican has not been elected mayor in Philadelphia since the 1940s.

Instead of heading east to City Hall, Williams will continue to go west, back to serving his constituents - including a lot of Delco folks - in Harrisburg.

Williams' 8th District Senate seat includes parts of Collingdale, Colwyn, Darby Borough, Darby Township, Folcroft, Lansdowne, Norwood, Sharon Hill and Yeadon.

Williams became the front-runner early in the race, pushing for changes in education and backed by some serious big-buck benefactors, suburban guys who were pushing school choice and charter schools.

But Williams seemed to back away from that stance during the campaign and never really identified who he is or what he stands for. In the meantime, he got lost in the backwash of a very smart campaign run by Kenney, who stunned a lot of people by winning the backing of several influential leaders in the African-American community.

It might herald the start of a new era of post-racial voting in the city. A white candidate had never topped a black candidate in as many minority communities as Kenney managed to do on Tuesday.

Kenney took 55 percent of the vote, compared to just 26 percent for Williams.

Former D.A. Lynne Abraham, Nelson Diaz, Doug Oliver and Milton Street lagged far behind in single digits.

Williams expected to roll up huge wins in African-American neighborhoods. It didn't happen. Kenney won almost every neighborhood in the city.

Perhaps the fatal flaw in the Williams' campaign came late, when the senator announced he would dump Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who just happens to be the most popular figure in the city.

Now Williams will limp back to Harrisburg. He's already lost a bid for the Democratic nomination for governor. Now he can add a failed mayoral run to his resume.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, May 19 (Primary Election Day Edition)

The Daily Numbers: 15 to 20 percent turnout expected today in Delco for Primary Election. Just shameful.

3 seats up for grabs on Delaware County Council. 3 Republicans are on ballot; 3 Democrats will try to get on November ballot by write-ins after their nominating petitions were tossed out.

2 Democrats in race for Chester mayor. Incumbent Mayor John Linder is being challenged by longtime state Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland.

3 seats available on the state Supreme Court.

6 Democrats and 6 Republicans seeking nominations for those seats.

1 seat being contested for state Commonwealth Court.

1 seat on state Superior Court.

6 Democrats battling for Democratic nomination for mayor in Philadelphia.

2.5 million dollars pumped into campaign of Jim Kenney by labor groups.

6.8 million dollars poured into Anthony Williams’ coffers by group backing school choice and charter schools.

1 Republican for mayor on the ballot.

36, age of the GOP standard bearer Melissa Murray Bailey, who will face an uphill quest in the fall with the huge Dem majority in the city.

7-1 Dem voter edge in the city.

169,376 registered Dems in Delco, to 164,649 registered Republicans.

7 a.m.-8 p.m. hours that polls will be open in Pa.

610-344-6410, number for Delaware County Election Bureau to report any problems at the polls.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. We pack sports stadiums and yet we can’t manage to get out and vote. It doesn’t add up.

I Don’t Get It: Almost 43 of every 4 registered voters in Delco will fail to get out to the polls. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to those who exercise their constitutional rights today.

Quote Box: No more campaign quotes. It’s time to vote.

Welcome to Primary Election Day 2015

Welcome to Primary Election Day 2015.

No, they haven't transferred voting to London.

Yes, it is foggy out there. We're looking at a moist, muggy day for voting here in Delaware County.

So have you cast your ballot yet? Well, if you have, unless you cast an absentee ballot, I'd like to know how, since the polls don't open for another hour.

It does not look like people will be breaking down the doors to vote, despite the fact that three seats on Delaware County Council are up for grabs and both parties are fielding trios of candidates.

There also is a big race in Chester, where incumbent Mayor John Linder is being challenged in the Democratic primary by longtime state Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland.

Still, both party leaders are expecting voters to stay away in droves.

We will have a live Election Day blog up and running later this morning - and we want you to join our coverage.

We want to know if you voted and why. How many people were at the polls when you showed up. Any problems? Shoot a photo. Take a video. Then Tweet it with the hashtag #Delcovote. We'll collect all those items in our live Election Day blog.

Start the countdown.

Polls open in about 55 minutes.

Make sure you vote. Then tell is about it.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Monday, May 18

The Daily Numbers: 5:53 a.m., when 1st train left 30th Street Station in Philly for New York City, after last week’s fatal Amtrak derailment.

8 people killed, 200 injured in the horrific crash.

20 victims remain in local hospitals with injuries suffered in the crash.

200 million dollar cap on damages that Amtrak will have to pay stemming from lawsuits tied to the crash.

2 seats on Chester City Council where incumbents are facing challenges.

5 seats up for grabs on the Southeast Delco School District.

6 Democrats and 6 Republicans seeking nominations for three seats on the state Supreme Court

6 Democrats seeking Dem nomination for mayor in Philadelphia.

1 Republican who will face that Democrat.

7 a.m. Tuesday, when polls open. They close at 8 p.m.

55th commencement exercises held Sunday at Cabrini College.

5,000 reward posted in armed holdup of employee from Chickie’s and Pete’s.

13,000 dollars swiped from a casino patron after he was followed home from SugarHouse Casino in Philly.

2,300 dollars taken in the holdup.

2nd time the female employee has been the target of robbers.

9 bikers killed in a shootout between rival motorcycle gangs in Waco, Texas, on Sunday.

5 straight wins for the Phillies.

6-0 win over the Diamondbacks to close out the home stand yesterday.

2 hits - including triple and his 1st homer - for Maikel Franco.

6 shutout innings from Sean O’Sullivan.

who went through turnstiles at Citizens Bank Park.

3-1 deficit wiped out by the Houston Rockets, who came all the way back and eliminated the L.A. Clippers yesterday.

1-0 win for the Union over D.C. United

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

Five straight wins? Break up the Phillies. Maybe the summer won’t be total loss after all!

I Don’t Get It: Gunfire erupted between 2 motorcycle gangs in Waco, Texas, Sunday, leaving 9 people dead. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the feds for ordering Positive Train Control installed on the northbound tracks where a train derailed last week, killing 8, before it could reopen this morning.

Quote Box: “Though you are about to graduate, you aren’t done fulfilling your commitment to Cabrini College. You have a promise to keep.”

- Cabrini President Donald B. Taylor to graduates.

Darby comes together to stop violence tonight

In Darby Borough, they will start the process of reclaiming their streets tonight.

Actually, that work started last week, when police made an arrest in a recent homicide.

The tiny borough has been rocked by another uptick in violence, at one point suffering four shootings in five days.

It was after an altercation on a crowded playground escalated into gunfire - with children playing - that the community decided 'enough is enough.'

Officials will convene a public meeting tonight at 7 o'clock in the Community Center to address the increase in violent crime and outline the borough's plans to quell the incidents.

Police Chief Bob Smythe has made it clear that his department needs the support of the community to eradicate the problem. A good sign came last week when the public provided information that led to the arrest of a 17-year-old on murder charges after a man was gunned down outside his apartment.

That's the kind of thing Smythe stresses will be needed to take back the streets.

"You can't have it both ways here," the chief said. "If you want your street back, we'll be happy to take it back for you, but we need people to come forward.

That process starts tonight.

Trains resume on Northeast Corridor

5:53 a.m.

That's when life returned to normal on the Northeast Corridor, or at least the stretch between Philadelphia and New York City. Six days after a horrific derailment that claimed eight lives and injured more than 200, Amtrak resumed service on the busiest stretch of rail in the world.

An Amtrak train just rumbled through the curve at Frankford Junction at 6:25 a.m., accompanied by a throng of media and overhead cameras capturing every move.

Clearly the train this morning was going much slower than the ill-fated Train 188 that was going more than 100 mph as it approached the curve.

There was something else different this morning.

Amtrak has installed the Positive Train Control software on the stretch, which gives the ability to slow down a train that is going too fast, overriding the engineer of some kind of mechanical error.

That system was not in place last week.

It was supposed to be in place across all passenger and freight rail lines by the end of the year.

It's a hell of a price to pay for not getting installed in time.

We still don't know why Train 188 was going that fast.

We do know it took a horrible toll to get those safety features installed on the train.

Maybe we should be asking why on that question as well.

Break up the Phillies

Maybe the summer won't be a total loss after all.

Take heart, Phillies fans.

You're team is hot.

The Phils - led by newcomer Maikel Franco - won their fifth straight game yesterday, blanking the Arizona Diamondbacks, 6-0.

Franco had two hits - a triple and a homer - and actually came inches away from two homers.

Franco tripled to the deepest part of Citizens Bank Park, rattling a ball off the wall near the 409-foot sign in left-center. His next at-bat he reached the seats in left.

It's good to see Franco put up some numbers after being recalled from his very hot start at Triple A at Lehigh Valley. He hasn't cooled off any on the trip down the Northeast Extension. That's a good sign, because in previous end-of-season callups, as well as in spring training, Franco has struggled against big league pitching.

In the meantime, is this five-game stretch a mirage or the seeds of good things to come.

Unfortunately, the Phils have dug themselves a huge hole.

Winning five straight games still only lifts their miserable slate to 16-23. They're still six and a half games back of the Mets in the NL East.

But there are good signs surrounding Ryne Sandberg's team. Columnist Jack McCaffery lists some of them.

In the meantime, the popular opinion here was that the Phillies might be out of it before Memorial Day.

As the Phillies head to Colorado to start a road trip tonight, and with Memorial Day weekend lurking at the end of the week, it's pretty clear that won't be the case.

It's not much. But for now it will do.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Friday, May 15

The Daily Numbers: 8 victims now ID’d from derailment of Amtrak Train 188.

243 on board the train now accounted for.

150 patients treated at 7 local hospitals.

44 people admitted.

25 still in hospital.

7 in critical condition.

70 mph to 100 mph surge by the train in the seconds before the derailment.

17, age of teen charged in Darby homicide last week.

46, age of Haverford man facing child sexual abuse charges.

3rd of 5 defendants in brutal Darby child abuse case who copped a plea.

5 seats on the Penn-Delco School Board up for grabs.

7 candidates seeking 2 seats on the Millbourne Borough Council.

6 Philadelphia narcotics officers acquitted on all charges in a corruption case.

4-2 win for the Phillies over the Pirates.

.353 batting average for shortstop Freddy Galvis.

3 for 3 with 2 runs scored for Galvis in yesterday’s win.

6 strikeouts for Aaron Harang, who gave up just 5 hits and 0 runs in a strong 8 innings.

10-8 win for Ganet Valley in boys lacrosse.

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

Anyone starting to believe in Freddy Galvis? He’s now over 100 at-bats and is batting over .350.

I Don’t Get It: Another teen charged as an adult in a homicide. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those biking to work this morning. You are lean, clean green machines.

Quote Box: “This guy at 17 is a cold-blooded murderer. He shot and killeda a 60-year-old handicapped man.

- Darby Police Chief Bob Smythe, after arrest of teen on murder charges.

Send us your Bike to Work pictures

Today is National Bike to Work Day.

There is a big contingent that will two-wheel it to the courthouse in Media. They are due to arrive at Front and Olive streets at 8:30 a.m. and will be able to get all kinds of goodies like free refreshments, giveaways, bike trail maps and safety info, and even instruction on how to mount their bikes on SEPTA buses.

Bicycling commuters and residents, along with a sprinkling of local celebs, business owners, and fitness enthusiasts will come together for the 14th Annual Bike to Work Day in the county.

The event is hosted by the Delaware County Transportation Management Association (DCTMA) and the Delaware County Planning Department. If you're biking, you can also score some light breakfast treats and refreshments, dozens of raffle prizes, freegiveaways, and more. New this year - an out-of-service SEPTA bus will be on location for live demonstrations on 'how to' mount a bike on the front of the vehicle!

The 2015 Bike to Work Day is sponsored by Boeing and Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union. It's kind of early for us night owl journalists to be out and about. I'm the only lunatic who gets in there at this hour. If you're taking part in the ride, let us know.

Send me a photo of you and your group and I will post it to

Send it to and include information on who is in the photo and where it was taken.

Couldn't ask for a nicer morning for a bike ride.

Me? Uh, my commute would be a tad far for a bicycle.

Restoring law & order in Darby Borough

There's not a lot of polish to Darby Police Chief Bob Smythe.

Rough around the edges would be a good way to describe him, in a good way.

Smythe usually doesn't mince words.

I know, I've been on the end of some of those conversations.

It takes a tough guy to keep order - or at least try to - in a tough town. They've got the right guy for the job.

This week Smythe was incensed at another outbreak of street violence. This time it was gunfire that erupted after a brawl in a playground crowded with children. It came just days after a fatal shooting in the borough. Darby was jolted by four shootings in five days.

Smythe had seen enough.

"Morons," the top cop said of those responsible. "There's no other word for them - they're morons - that come in here and are shooting their guns and are shooting in the street, over what? We still don't know."

Smythe vowed a crackdown to restore order.

Yesterday he showed some results, arresting a 17-year-old in last Friday's fatal shooting.

Again Smythe made his feelings pretty clear.

"This guy at 17 is a cold-blooded murdered," the chief said of Rashon Sargent. "He shot and killed a 60-year-odl handicapped man."

Want to make trouble in Darby? You've been warned.

What happened to Anthony Williams?

Maybe Delco won't be looking for a new state senator after all.

Last week I theorized the towns along the eastern edge of the county might be getting a new face to represent them in Harrisburg.

That's because Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, D-8, is running for the Democratic nomination for mayor in Philadelphia.

Williams represents parts of Collingdale, Colwyn, Darby Borough, Darby Township, Folcroft, Lansdowne, Norwood, Sharon Hill and Yeadon. He doesn't have to give up his Senate seat to run for mayor.

Looks like that's a good thing.

Williams, believed by many to be the clear front-runner, has for some reason run aground.

A new poll out this week was a stunner. Williams is being blown out in the Dem race by City Councilman Jim Kenney.

The poll, conducted for NBC-10, the Inquirer, Daily News, and, could not show a bleaker picture for Williams.

Kenney was favored by 42 percent of those polled. Williams was a distance second, tied with former D.A. Lynne Abraham with just 15 percent.

The big question is why? How did Williams go from the favorite to outcast.

It was widely believed Williams would roll up big numbers with black voters in a town that is known to vote according to skin color. But the poll shows Kenney actually is beating Williams among black voters, 33-25.

Williams, a huge proponent of school choice whose campaign is largely being bankrolled by suburban businessmen who are choice backers, made education the centerpiece of his campaign.

But he's getting beat on that very issue by Kenney.

Part of the reason stems from Williams - who in the past was very vocal in his stance on choice - seemingly moving away from it. It was hard to tell just where he stood.

Of course this is only a poll. Williams could still rally, especially if Kenney's troops fall asleep at the switch with what looks like a huge lead. But that's not likely to happen to the guy who is John Dougherty's candidate. His election-day machine should be humming.

Which means Anthony Williams won't be saying goodbye to Harrisburg any time soon.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, May 14

The Daily Numbers: 106 mph, that’s how fast investigators believe Northeast Region Train 188 was going just before it derailed.

102 mph, how fast train was still going after engineer applied emergency brakes seconds before it derailed.

50 mph, the suggested speed limit going into what is known as Frankford Junction.

7 people killed

200 injured.

8 still in critical condition.

12 remain listed as missing.

1987, the last deadly accident on Northeast Corridor tracks, in Baltimore, when 16 people were killed.

1943, date of another deadly crash on the same stretch in Frankford, when the Congressional Limited went off the tracks, killing 79 and injuring 116.

20, age of Justin Zemser, a Naval Academy midshipman who was killed in the crash.

48, age of Jim Gaines, a tech for the Associated Press, also killed.

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

Kudos to the Phillies for taking a moment of silence last night to honor those lost in the Amtrak derailment.

I Don’t Get It: It’s hard to hear that a safety device that is used elsewhere in the country is not yet in use on the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the first responders who waded into what looked like a war zone in Frankford after the derailment. As always they never blink about putting themselves in danger to help others.

Quote Box: “There’s no way in the world he should have been going that fast into the curve.”

- Mayor Michael Nutter, on the Amtrak derailment.

106 mph

So much of our lives can be boiled down to numbers.

That's one of the reasons I compile a listing in this blog every day I call 'The Daily Numbers.' It doesn't have anything to do with the lottery, although if you have some winning numbers I'm all ears.

For someone who is - and always has been - horrible at math, I seem to spend an in ordinate amount of time fascinated by numbers. Today is no exception.

One glimpse at our front page proves that.

It is dominated by three numbers.


As in 106 mile per hour.

That's how fast investigators believe Northeast Region Train 188 (another now familiar three numbers) was going shortly before it veered off the tracks at Frankford Junction in Philadelphia Tuesday night.

The suggested speed limit heading into that curve is 50 mph.

That now becomes the perplexing question in the aftermath of a horrific derailment that left seven dead and more than 200 injured, eight of them critically. Several people remain missing in the aftermath of the crash.

It is believed that the train's engineer applied the emergency brakes moments before the crash. It was too late.

That question now lies at the heart of the investigation - why was the train going so fast? Was there a mechanical malfunction? W as the engineer distracted? Were there other factors involved?

For now seven families are mourning. Others are recovering. Still others anxiously await answers.

And all of us are haunted by three simple numbers.


Imparting some lessons learned at Lincoln University

I got a another glimpse of the future yesterday.

And I can report that great things are in store for Delaware County.

I never miss a chance to take part in the annual Delaware County Youth Leadership Academy.

It gives me the chance to sit down with several small groups of Delco high school sophomores who are selected to take part in the program.

These kids are among the best and brightest in their school. I try to impart on them some of the life lessons and events that shaped who I am and what I do, things like the house I grew up in, my parents, who could not imagine starting a day without consuming at least one daily newspaper. Then there were the eight years I spent under the firm right hand of the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

But one of the favorite things I tell them is of my experience in my first two years at college - at Lincoln University. I always ask them why, when I tell some people that I attended Lincoln, I sometimes get quizzical looks. Most of them have no idea.

Lincoln University is one of the nation's oldest, most prestigious and renowned black schools.

I always ask the kids to look around the table and tell me what they see.

"You see what I saw just about every day growing up in Oxford, Pa. You see a lot of faces that look just like yours."

That's when it starts to dawn on them what I mean.

"Then I walked into a classroom at Lincoln University and looked around, and realized this was the only face in the room that looked that way."

I urge them that if they ever get the opportunity for that kind of minority experience, to grab it with both hands. Either in a social setting, school or work, it's an eye-opening experience. The way I was treated at Lincoln reminded me of the dignity all people deserve, regardless of whether their skin color puts them in the 'minority.'

I use the lessons I learned at Lincoln every day. And I believe the nation would be light years better off in terms of the struggles we deal with every day if everyone had even a small taste of that minority experience.

If nothing else, I hope the kids absorbed that message.

They are interested in being leaders. They are already leaders in their own right, outstanding in their individual school settings. We hardly need evidence that the country continues to struggle with issues of race.

The first step in improving those relations is simply talking about it. That's what I wanted to accomplish yesterday.

My thanks to Catherine Judge-Cardillo for the invitation. I've been doing this for several years now.

I can't wait until next year.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, May 13 (Amtrak Derailment by the Numbers)

The Daily Numbers: 188, as in Amtrak Train 188 from Washington to New York City, which derailed in the Frankford section of Philadelphia last night.

6 people confirmed killed in the derailment.

140 injured and sent to local hospitals

6 people believed in critical condition.

9:30 p.m., when the train went off the tracks in an area known as Frankford Junction.

238 passengers on Train 188.

5 crew members.

7 cars in the train, all of which went off the tracks.

5 hospitals that received injured passengers.

0 service on Amtrak today between Philadelphia and New York. There is no word when service will be restarted.

2 SEPTA lines affected by the derailment. Both the Trenton line and Chestnut Hill West line were shut down. The Chestnut Hill Line has since been started up again.

1 senator, Tom Carper of Delaware, who was on train when if left D.C. He got off in Wilmington.

1 former congressman on board. Patrick Murphy of Bucks County tweeted photos from inside the wreckage.

79 people killed when the Congressional Limited derailed in the same spot back in 1943.

26 hours, how long it took to resume rail service back then.

1-800-523-9101, hotline to call for information about family and friends who may have been on board.

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

No sports today. There are more important things in life.

I Don’t Get It: Ironically, the oil industry yesterday indicated they would oppose new measures to make oil trains safer. Not the best timing.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the first responders and others who responded to the derailment scene described by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter as ‘a disastrous mess.’

Quote Box: “It is an absolute disastrous mess. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life.”

- Mayor Michael Nutter, at the derailment scene last night.

Thinking about a daughter and Amtrak

My daughter, the hotshot D.C. lawyer, is coming home this weekend to attend the wedding shower of a college friend.

She always rides Amtrak to Philly.

She would have switched trains at 30th Street - but I still shudder when I think of it.

Last night a train from D.C. to New York derailed in Philly, leaving a scene called by Mayor Michael Nutter a ‘disastrous mess.’

As I watched the horrific images of people walking away from the wreckage, all I could see was my daughter’s face.

She does not drive. She is committed to mass transit.

I got the same feeling a few months ago when there was a fire in the Metro in downtown D.C. She takes the Metro every day.

I don’t know if Amtrak will be back up and running by the weekend after last night’s deadly derailment in Philadelphia.

Train 188 going from Washington to New York carrying 238 passengers veered off the tracks in Frankford, killing six and sending 140 to local hospitals.

She is an environmental lawyer. She is committed to all things ‘green.’

I wish she would start driving.

At this point I don’t know if she will get home this weekend or not.

Things like this don’t see to faze her. I guess that is the courage of youth.

I wish she could share some of it with her scared-to-death dad.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, May 12

The Daily Numbers: 1 person in custody and 1 person - believed to be the gunman - still being sought in connection with that wild brawl that ended in gunfire no crowded playground in Darby Borough Sunday night.

6 shots believed fired during the melee.

100 moms and dads who showed up again last night to support embattled Indian Lane Principal Bill Bennett, who is in danger of losing his job in Rose Tree Media.

20, age of mentally challenged man from Upper Darby who was missing but has contacted his family and is now believed safe.

3,200 fine slapped on Delaware County Solid Waste Authority for a paperwork snafu.

4 of August, that is when the special election will be held to fill the seat vacated by state Rep. Joe Hackett in the 161st District. Hackett decided to go back to being a county detective just weeks into his 2nd term.

160 one- and two-bedroom apartments proposed for the West End Flats development on the western edge of Media Borough.

1 woman burned in car fire in Upper Darby Monday night.

2 people in Drexel Hill sued by feds for allegedly submitting bogus health care claims to Medicare.

1 million dollar fine slapped on Montco firm for ignoring repeated warnings about dangerous equipment.

7.3 new quake that jolted Nepal overnight.

19 people killed in latest tremor, another 981 injured.

11 games under .500 for the Phillies, as they sit at 11-22 after last night’s 4-3 loss to the Pirates.

.245 average for Cody Asche, who is being sent down to Lehigh Valley to get some time in left field. That will make room for Maikel Franco at third base.

.336 average for Franco for the IronPigs.

4 game suspension for Patriots QB Tom Brady in ‘Deflategate.’

1 million dollar fine for New England.

2 draft picks lost.

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

Cody Asche will learn to play left field. That will make room for Maikel Franco at third. Ben Revere will move to right. What does that leave for Dom Brown?

I Don’t Get It: Why do I get the feeling that if the NFL had not been battling one PR nightmare after another, they would not have come down nearly as hard on Tom Brady and the Patriots?

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Darby Chief Bob Smythe, who is vowing a crackdown to take back the streets after a violent stretch.

Quote Box: “He was arrested by us for dealing drugs, and now he’s dealing drugs again.”

- Darby Police Chief Bob Smythe, on suspect in shooting on crowded playground.

'The Edge' is coming to Delco

No, U2 is not coming to Delaware County.

But 'The Edge' is.

Delaware County Council today will roll out the county's new public relations campaign.

The county poobahs will gather at SAP, out on West Chester Pike in Newtown, to roll out their new push to let everyone know what Delco has to offer.

Council is convinced the county has 'The Edge' over the competition, and they will be using a campaign dubbed 'Get the Edge in Delaware County' to push that message to businesses, municipalities and non-profits.

The new blitz comes just in time to capitalize on the millions who will be visiting the region in September for the World Meeting of Families and the visit by Pope Francis in Philadelphia.

Expect a full-court press in one of Delco's high-tech heartbeats - the glittering cafeteria of SAP America, the German-based software icon that has made Delaware County home for years.

What do you think the chances that front and center will be Council members John McBlain, Colleen Morrone and Michael Culp? Only a cynic like me would point out that the three Republicans are running for re-election in next week's primary.

Nice timing.

Make sure you follow reporter Kristina Scala on Twitter @Scala_Kris for live updates.

It's easy to dislike Tom Brady

It's easy to dislike Tom Brady.

He's got enough Super Bowl rings to start a high-end jewelry store.

He's the reigning Super Bowl MVP.

He's got chiseled good looks.

And then there's his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen.

Pretty nice life.

But now Brady is being called something else - cheater.

And by no less a source than the NFL itself.

The league came down hard on Brady yesterday, suspending him for the first four games of next season for his role in what is infamously known as 'Deflategate.' The NFL believes Brady knew about the plan to use under-inflated footballs in last season's AFC championship game.

The Patriots also were fined $1 million and will lose two draft picks.

The team is rallying around its leader, rejecting the findings of the NFL's report and vowing that Brady will appeal. He has three days to do so.

Even if his penalty is reduced, it's unlikely Brady will be behind center for the glamourous NFL opener, a prime time Thursday contest vs. the Steelers. No doubt the TV folks are thrilled about that.

Here's what I think about Brady:

When God cut the mold for NFL quarterbacks, he used Brady as the mold. Tall, lean, rocket arm, able to read the most complex defenses. Maybe even leap over tall buildings in a single bound.

I don't think any of this taints Brady's legacy. I still think he's the best quarterback in NFL history. The numbers - and those rings - tell me that.

The Patriots are pretty well-known for pushing the envelope. There was Spy-Gate, in which the team was accused of stealing other teams' signals. Some Eagles fans still wonder if the Birds lost that Super Bowl to the Patriots fair and square. But we'd give our right arm for one of the those rings.

In the meantime, we're left to discuss the merits of Cody Asche being sent down to Lehigh Valley to learn how to play left field and make way for Maikel Franco at third base.

Yeah, I know.

Not exactly "Super."

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Daily Numbers for Monday, May 11

The Daily Numbers: 12 hour meeting on Friday in which a new tentative contract was hammered out between Garnet Valley teachers and the district.

6 shots fired during a large brawl in Darby Borough Sunday night.

0 serious injuries in the incident.

3 men who are believed to have approached a Drexel Hill middle schooler while walking to school.

20, age of mentally challenged man in Upper Darby who has been missing since Wednesday.

2 people shot in Chester on Sunday.

29, age of Ridley woman who is charged with leading police on a wild chase, including tossing beer bottles out of the car along the way.

17, age of 10th grade student in Upper Darby who was tragically struck and killed by his father in the driveway of their home.

2 candidates seeking Dem nod for mayor in Chester.

12 candidates seeking 6 seats on Rose Tree Media School Board.

4,727 more registered Democrats in Delaware County than Republicans.

169,376 registered Democrats.

164,649 registered with the GOP.

11-21 record for the Phillies, tied for worst in baseball with the Brewers.

loss for the Phils to the Mets yesterday at Citizens Bank Park.

.116 batting average for Chase Utley. That’s up from .099 where he was on Friday.

6 wins for Mets starter Bartolo Colon.

40 1/3 innings for Colon without a walk.

5 runs on 8 hits over 5-plus innings for Phils starter Chad Billingsley.

3 career home runs for Billingsley, who went yard again yesterday.

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

This might be the longest summer in recent Philly sports history. How many days until Eagles report to training camp?

I Don’t Get It: A brawl ends in gunfire on a crowded playground in Darby Borough. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the grads from Penn State Brandywine, who picked up their diplomas on Saturday.

Quote Box: “Morons.”

- Darby Police Chief Bob Smythe on the person who opened fire during a brawl in the borough.

Garnet Valley teachers get tentative deal

It took a year, but they have a deal in Garnet Valley.

Now we have to find out what it will cost.

Teachers in Garnet Valley had been working without a contract since the end of last school year. It took them almost to the end of this school year to get a new deal.

Senior citizens groups - a powerful new force in the district with the explosion of senior-restricted housing communities, had been urging the school board to hold the line.

No details are being released until after the deal is ratified by both the teachers union and the school board.

As usual, the taxpayers, the folks who will pick up the tab for the new deal, will be the last to know.

The Phils hit bottom

The Phillies have hit bottom.

Now the only question is how low can they go.

With yesterday's come-from-ahead 7-4 loss to the Mets, the Phils are now tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for the worst record in Major League Baseball.

The Phils are sitting at a lowly 11-21, double digits under .500, and a cool 9.5 game in back of the Mets, who took two of three in the weekend set in South Philly.

Is it time to start the Ryne Sandberg watch?

I always liked Sandberg and could never figure out why he was constantly passed over by the Cubs. Maybe now we know. It's bad enough to watch this team, but listening to Sandberg's deadpan recaps after the game is almost cruel and unusual punishment.

No wonder the team has no life. They're taking a clue from the skipper.

On Friday, after he grounded into an inning-ending double-play, Utley's batting average officially slid under the almost unbelievable .100 mark.

Yesterday Utley doubled - his first of the season - and raised his average to .116.

Looking for a silver lining to this miserable season?

Check out young phenom Aaron Nola. The top draft pick from Louisiana State has been overpowering hitters with the Reading Phils. He went eight innings Sunday, in the process overpowering the Erie Sea Wolves. He threw 101 pitches, 66 of them for strikes. He gave up just four hits and struck out eight. More importnatly, he did not walk a batter, in the process lowering his ERA to 2.04.

We know all about the Phils todays. They are on course to lose as many as 100 games.

It's probably time to start thinking about the future, and what this lineup may look like then.

Whether or not Ryne Sandberg will be around is likely going to be talked about a lot this summer.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Dems have numbers in Delco, but do they have the voters?

It's hard to think of Delaware County as a Democratic stronghold.

OK, you can stop snickering now.

I'm serious. The numbers tell us that Dems are now the majority party in Delco. Just don't tell anyone in the Media Courthouse.

As has been the case now for the past few years, there are more registered Democrats in the county than GOP loyalists.

According to the latest registration figures from the county Bureau of Elections, there are almost 5,000 more Democrats than Republicans registered to vote in Delco.

Just don't look for them to be packing the polls on May 19 for the primary election.

Here's the scoreboard:

169,376 registered Democrats.

164,649 registered Republicans.

That gives the Democrats a 4,727 edge. You can get all the details here.

So all the Dems have to do to reverse their fortune is get their voters to the polls, right? It's not that easy, and no one knows that better than David Landau. He's the head of the county Democratic Party, and he knows that turnout is the key.

And for good reason. Delco Democrats may now be the majority party, but they have yet to crack the GOP fortress knows as the County Courthouse.

There is a reason for that. And Andy Reilly knows it. The county GOP chairman notes that while the raw numbers in the county now tilt to the Democrats, the fact is that more Republicans still go to the polls.

That is especially true in the primary and non-presidential year elections.

There are three seats on County Council up for grabs, along with several seats on the County Court of Common Pleas. Democrats have been reduced to running write-in campaigns to get their trio of County Council candidates on the ballot after their nominating petitions were found to be flawed.

It's pretty likely they will manage to get the 250 votes needed to get on the general election ballot in November. Winning is another thing.

Democrats have made some strides in recent years. They now routinely take the county in presidential races. They also have snagged some seats in the state Legislature. But they have had no luck in getting their candidates elected to county office.

That's because the county Republicans do more than register, they actually vote. That's especially true in off-year elections such as the one looming in the fall.

Don't look for Democrats to use their voter majority to capture a seat on the all-Republican County Council. I'll believe that when I see it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Could Delco be looking for a new state senator? Or two?

There's an interesting angle for Delaware County residents in the Democratic Philadelphia mayoral primary.

It could cost us a state senator.

That's because one of the front-runners, state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, actually represents a slice of Delaware County.

Williams' Eighth District state Senate seat includes parts of Collingdale, Colwyn, Darby Borough, Darby Township, Folcroft, Lansdowne, Norwood, Sharon Hill and Yeadon.

Williams is locked in a tight battle with Philadelphia City Councilman Jim Kenney and former longtime Philly D.A. Lynne Abraham for the Democratic nomination.

Of course with the overwhelming Dem voter majority in the city, the party's nomination is akin to being elected mayor.

I've had the chance to interview Williams several times. He's sat down with our editorial board for endorsement interviews as well as on some key issues in eastern Delaware County.

One of the issues that always surrounds Williams is his unabashed push for school choice.

You should note that Williams' Delco turf includes much of William Penn School District, one of the districts that has sued the state Department of Education, claiming the way the state doles out education funding is fundamentally flawed. That suit was tossed by Commonwealth Court, but is being appealed.

Williams raises eyebrows because of the amount of money that comes into his campaign from some heavy hitters in the school choice push. These guys are big bucks folks from the suburbs.

Williams never bats an eye when he's asked about it.

He wants every kid to have an equal opportunity when it comes to education, and is firmly committed to something other than the public schools if that's what is needed.

Williams picked up an endorsement from the Philadelphia Inquirer last weekend, although you could say it was lukewarm at best.

And guess why? Yep, concerns over that all that school choice money.

This race is likely going to come down to Williams vs. Kenney.

Voters in the city probably should be reminded that they do themselves no favors if they sit out this primary election. For all intent and purpose, this IS the Philly mayoral race. The winner of the Democratic primary will be the de facto mayor, unless there is some kind of a miracle third party candidate.

In the meantime, it also could mean a lot of people in eastern Delaware County may be looking for a new state senator.

Actually, there very likely will be two jobs in the state Senate up for grabs. Republican Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-9, of Chester, who was ousted from his powerful position as the Senate Majority Leader, is seeking a job on the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. He doesn't have to give up his Senate seat to run, but he does if he wins, which you can pretty much bet the house on.

With newcomer Sen. Tom McGarrigle, R-26, just settling into his first term, that's a lot of Delco clout that could be missing in Harrisburg.

Great teachers, great students

I used my print column this week to talk about teachers. And also about young people. I used to think teaching was a piece of cake. Then my son became a high school English teacher. It certainly opened my eyes. I had been told by any number of teachers that their first year was brutal. They weren't kidding.

I also touched on the idea of "good news,: especially when it comes to young people.

I am always asked why there is some much bad news in the Daily Times, in particular when it comes to young people. The answer is really pretty simple. That's what people read. And that is what's news. People doing what they are supposed to do is not necessarily news.

A lot of people don't understand that. They all clamor for more "good" stories. Then they ignore them. Want to get news about your kids in the paper, I often respond when asked by people how to get their kids' names and faces in the paper?

Let them do something wrong.

Having said that, I also know it's very easy to give a skewed view of young people. Most of them are doing good things. That often doesn't make the paper.

That's why last Thursday night was so important to me. It was the annual Partners in Education gala at the Drexelbrook, where we join with Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union in honoring the All-Delco Hi-Q team, as well as this year's winners of the Excellence in Teaching Awards.

Great news about teachers and young people.

It allows me to tackle two very sensitive topics in a positive way.

We will have endless stories on the so-called "School of Hard Knocks." This was a look at all those positive things that often fail to make the paper.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The best night of the year

Last night was the best night of the year.

No, not because of the NFL Draft.

Unless you do what I do for a living, you have no idea what it means to stand in a room full of 600 people, all of whom are saying nice things about the newspaper.

Making it even rarer, most of these people were educators. They are not always our biggest fans.

Last night it was my honor once again to attend the Partners in Education gala at the Drexelbrook. I was there to help hand out awards to this year's All-Delco Hi-Q team and the winners of the Excellence in Teaching Awards. You can read about it here.

What it won't tell you is the struggle I deal with every day, trying not to offer a skewed image of young people - and education in Delco.

It is the same thing I talk about all the time. Good news vs. bad news, and how to balance the two.

It was an honor for me to take part in this great night. We awarded 21 great kids with placques commemorating their selection as part of this year's All-Delco Hi-Q team. I will be forever grateful to Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union boss John Unangst and former Delaware County Intermediate Unit chief Harry Jamison for approaching me with the idea of using our awards for kids who excel in high school sports and expanding it to those who do likewise in the classroom.I still find it hard to believe it was 10 years ago. Hi-Q is the nation's oldest academic quiz competition. These kids literally are our best and brightest.

We also handed out awards to 19 teachers who received the Excellence in Teaching Awards.

I can't wait until next year.