Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, March 31

The Daily Numbers: 33-5 mark compiled by the Villanova Wildcats as they embark for the Final Four in Houston.

23 point loss to the Oklahoma Sooners for Villanova back in December.

13 of April, when a group of condos at Willowbrook in Upper Chi is set to go to auction. The condo owners are trying to get the auction blocked and alleging fraud on the part of the new owners of the complex.

40, age of Upper Darby man who will spend rest of his life in jail for the murder of ex-girlfriend, 38.

40, age of Media man who will face trial for a fatal stabbing during a confrontation in Rittenhouse Square.

24, age of Bucks County man who died. Police say there was an argument over a New Jersey Devils cap.

2-year associate degree from DCCC that will now guarantee you acceptance to Cheyney University, under a new deal announced by the 2 schools.

3 candidates remain on ballot for Dem nomination in Pa. U.S. Senate race. Little-known Joe Vodvarka was booted off ballot in successful challenge by former Delco congressman Joe Sestak.

2 big backers for Katie McGinty. Those would be President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

61 drug offenders, including 1 from Philly, getting commutations from President Obama from their long sentences.

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

Another big win for the Flyers last night - and in the dreaded shootout, no less.

I Don’t Get It: A Delco man will face trial in the fatal stabbing of a man during a confrontation in Rittenhouse Square in Philly. Police believe they argued over a New Jersey Devils cap. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Hannah Nihill, the star O’Hara girls hoops player kicks off another round of our All-Delco selections.

Quote Box: “This is incredible.”

- Villanova men’s hoops coach Jay Wright, on seeing the huge throng that turned out to see the Wildcats off for the Final Four.

The war on heroin in Delco continues

One look at our obit pages will tell you the horrific toll heroin and opioid addiction is taking on Delaware County every day.

I've been struck in recent days by the number of families who are deciding to go public with their loved ones struggles by noting it in their obituaries.

Today the county will step up the war on heroin addiction. They will hold a press conference to announce a grant for the county Office of Behavioral Health that will allow them to hire a certified recovery specialist to work with overdose survivors.

It's the question that many - including Upper Darby Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood - has been asking in the wake of the widespread use of Narcan to reverse the symptoms of a heroin overdose.

"What happens after Narcan?"

Today the county will offer some answers to that question.

We'll be there to bring you all the details.

It's all in the 'Pipeline'

We used our editorial page today to weigh in on what is being called "A Pipeline for Growth."

That's the title of the 64-page report promoting the region as an energy hub for the entire Northeast part of the country. But to do that, the report stress, civic leaders and the community need to get behind a plan to construct a new pipeline to feed byproducts from the state's Marcellus Shale region.

Make no mistake: This has a huge economic upside for the region. But there are also concerns.

Just getting regulatory approval to build the pipeline is a long process.

It's one everyone should be involved in.

Here's our editorial.

Stick with us for wire-to-wire Villanova coverage

We continue to be all over Villanova as the Wildcats head to Houston and their date with Oklahoma in the Final Four Saturday night.

First things first - make sure you pick up a copy of the print edition of the Daily Times today to snag this great team photo of the 2015-16 Wildcats. It includes the full roster and the complete listing of every game as the Wildcats compiled a 33-5 record this year, inlcuding a three-week stint as the No. 1-ranked team in the AP college hoops poll.

We also were all over the big sendoff on the Main Line campus as hundreds gathered to wish the team well as they headed to Houston. Bob Grotz has great video of the event here.

Anne Neborak also has a story and photos here.

Sports columnist Jack McCaffery said this Villanova team is much better than the one that fell to Oklahoma by 23 points back in December.

Our Villanova beat writer Terry Toohey, who will be in Houston all weekend to provide live coverage, says coach Jay Wright is preaching focus to his young charges as they prepare to enter all the hype of Final Four weekend.

Finally, on our Business page we note that the success of the Wildcats also has been a boon for the local economy, especially those sporting goods shops that can't keep Villanova gear on their shelves.

And make sure you pick up a copy of the print edition again tomorrow, for another full-page poster of the Villanova starting five, along with a great statistical matchup of the Wildcats vs. Oklahoma.

We're all Wildcats, all the time!

It's All-Delco time again: Here's the best girls hoops players in county

Yes, we continue to be all over the Villanova Wildcats on The Road to Houston for the Final Four.

But this morning we also have another hoops team on our minds.

That, of course, would be the All-Delco Girls Basketball Team, highlighted by our Player of the Year Hannah Nihill of Cardinal O'Hara High School.

Yes, we once again are wading into our tradition of selecting, in conjunction with Delaware County coaches, the best high school athletes in each winter sport.

You can get all the details on the best girls hoops players in the county here.

And the details on the rest of the team are here.

And stay with us as we honor the best high school athletes from winter sports.

Here's the schedule:

Friday: Boys Basketball.

April 6: Ice Hockey.

April 7: Swimming.

April 8: Wrestling.

Make sure you grab a paper every day as we salute the best high school athletes in Delaware County.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, March 30

The Daily Numbers: 33 degrees this morning. What happened to spring. And it’s supposed to get even colder next week.

64 page report, ‘A Pipeline for Growth,’ rolled out yesterday to support bringing more Marcellus Shale products to the region.

890 million dollar economic impact for the region predicted by pushing the pipeline proposals.

5,320 jobs connected to the projects.

393 million dollars in earnings tied to construction projects.

250 full-time workers at the complex eventually.

230 correlated jobs.

350 million dollar pricetag to build the facilities.

3 billion dollar investment being made by Sunoco Logistics tied to their Mariner East projects, which will use an existing pipeline as well as an additional one the company wants to build to bring materials to the former Sunoco refinery in Marcus Hook.

4.2 billion dollar in benefits during construction.

300 to 400 permanent jobs supported either directly or indirectly by the project.

800,000 to $1.2 million dollars in annual tax revenue.

1985, when Villanova last won the NCAA men’s hoops title. And now a popular T-shirt on the Main Line campus: Party Like it’s 1985!

7-23 months in prison for a Haverford man on child porn charges.

254 students who will be housed in the first-ever dorm being built at the Penn State Brandywine campus in Middletown. Ground was broken for the project yesterday.

1,500 undergraduate students on the campus.

19.6 million dollar pricetag for the dorm and student union building.

650 unit active adult community proposed on 44.6-acre tract in Marple that is being opposed by township planners.

100-85 loss for the Sixers to Hornets last night.

4 times this season the Sixers have lost at least 10 games in a row.

2 games in hand for Flyers, who got break last night when the Red Wings lost.

87 points apiece for Flyers and Red Wings in race for final wildcard playoff spot.

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

Villanova Mania is eclipsing a pretty good run at the playoffs by the Flyers and a decent spring showing by the Phillies.

I Don’t Get It: Kids, as young as 5 and 6 years old, cursing and spitting on other passengers on a SEPTA subway. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the folks at Penn State Brandywine (and yes, we still want to call it Penn State Delco, for breaking ground yesterday on the school’s first residence hall.

Quote Box: “Here you have all the things that you need. We are already an energy hub.”

- Philadelphia Energy Solutions boss Phil Rinaldi, on new report trumpeting possibilities of new pipeline projects in the region.

Our Villanova coverage has all the Wright stuff

Villanova Wildcat fans are doing their part to boost the local economy - as a serious case of Final Four madness has enguulfed the Main Line campus.

We were there yesterday afternoon when the much-anticipated official Final Four merchandise went on sale at the campus bookstore. You can see the story and photos here.

And that's just one part of our expanded Villanova coverage as we continue to follow the 'Cats on The Road to Houston.'

Here's a few of the other things we have on tap:

* Our Villanova beat writer Terry Toohey explains why Jay Wright has earned a spot at the very top of the list of college hoops coaching greats.

* Check out a great photo gallery of images of the Villanova Wildats through the years, including some gems of the celebration when the 'Cats upset Georgetown for the national title back in 1985.

* And make sure you pick up a copy of the print edition of the Daily Times both Thursday and Friday for full-page color poster pages commemorating this great Villanova team. Thursday we'll have a full-color team photo, and on Friday we'll feature some of the Wildcat stars.

Animal control solution proves elusive in Delco

We used our editorial page today to take note of the continuing issue of animal control in Delaware County.

It is not going away, but the county's deal with a Chester County agency for animal control is.

The county's Animal Protection Board is terminating its agreement with the Brandywine Valley SPCA out in Chester County, which was brokered after the Delaware County SPCA got out of the animal control business several years ago, leaving the county in a lurch.

A proposal to build and operate a new shelter here in Delaware County proved too costly.

It's still being talked about in some circles, but come June 1 municipalities will be on their own in terms of contracting for animal control, although Brandywine makes it clear they will be happy to deal with Delco towns for animal control.

Here's our editorial.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Daily Numbers: 8 a.m., when book store opens at Villanova. It’s expected to be swamped when it opens today with kids back on campus after spring break. They’ll be looking to get their hands on Final Four merchandise.

1st degree murder charge against Ummad Rushdi. He was in court yesterday for a hearing.

7 month old Hamza Ali, believed killed by Rushdi. His body has never been recovered.

275 dollars per animal, what Delaware County is currently charging municipalities for each stray animal delivered to Brandywine SPCA in Chester County.

250 dollars per animal, under new deal being offered to municipalities directly by the SPCA. The county is terminating its contract with the agency.

120 animals minimum per month, what Delco guaranteed the SPCA under the old deal.

30,000 monthly tab.

20 Delco municipalities that currently work with the SPCA.

3 knifepoint holdups in Upper Darby believed to be the work of a Philly man. He’s suspected in several other incidents.

4 men injured in series of weekend shooting incidents in Chester.

52, age of Gregory Stanczuk, the Ridley High teacher charged with sexual assault of a student. He waived his preliminary hearing yesterday.

2
men busted in an alleged Upper Darby meth ring.

3-2 win for Flyers over Jets last night in South Philly.

13 seconds left in OT when Claude Giroux lit the lamp for the game winner.

87 points for Flyers, tied with Red Wings for the final playoff spot.

1 game in hand for the Flyers.

5th starter job for Phillies goes to Vince Velasquez.

78-55 drubbing of Villanova by Oklahoma back in December in Pearl Harbor Classic in Hawaii. Wildcats will be looking for revenge Saturday night in Final Four.

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

Brace yourself. Wildcat Fever is about to engulf the Delaware Valley. Villanova is headed to the Final Four.

I Don’t Get It: A lot of people are questioning the charges and the coverage of that hazing incident involving the Conestoga High School football team. Do they think the D.A. just made it up?

Today’s Upper:
Kudos to the Delco law enforcement community, which turned out in force yesterday to honor slain Officer Jacai Colson as he was laid to rest in his home in Delco.

Quote Box: “No matter who you were, he touched your life somehow.”

- Beth Moore, paying respects to Officer Colson.

Animal control issues continue in Delco

Delaware County's problems with animal control are not going away.

The county's Animal Protection Board has notified the Brandywine SPCA that they are terminating their agreement with what used to be the Chester County SPCA as of June 1.

That does not mean, however, that there will be no animal control services in the county as of June 1. What it means is that the county no longer wants to be the go-between working with its municipalities and the SPCA. The hope is that the municipalities now will work directly with the SPCA for services.

Part of the issue seems to be unpaid bills on the part of the municipalities.

The Brandywine SPCA is notifying Delco towns that they will still be available for animal control - and the rate actually will be going down.

Right now the Chesco SPCA charges Delco $275 for every animal delivered to their facility in West Goshen. The county Animal Protection Board then passes that cost along to the local municipalities. Now the local towns can work directly with the SPCA at a cost of $250 per animal.

All of this, of course, stems from the move a few years back by the Delaware County SPCA to get out of the animal control business and embrace their mission of being a no-kill facility.

A plan to built a new county-operated shelter in Darby Township proved to be too expensive. The county has been working with the folks in Chester County ever since.

It was never believed to be a permanent solution.

It's still not.

You can read the details here.

A common-sense move against problem DUI drivers

We used our editorial page today to tell the horror of the Hannagan family of Chester County.

They know all too well the tragedy that can ensue when someone drinks and then climbs behind the wheel of an automobile.

They lost two children to an impaired driver, who as it turns out was from Media here in Delaware County.

Now the Hannagans are getting behind an effort to stiffen the laws in Pennsylvania to attack drunk driving. Specifically, the measure sponsored by Sen. John Rafferty, a Republican who represents parts of both Chester and Montgomery counties, would require even a first-time DUI offender who registered a blood-alcohol level of more than 0.10 to use an ignition interlock device. It would require the driver to blow into it before being able to operate the car. Any trace of alcohol use would make the car inoperable. It's a common-sense way to attack one of the biggest problems on our roads - the driver who is well over the 0.08 th

reshold to be considered under the influence, as well as the repeat DUI offender.

We support the legislation. We believe you should too.

Read our editorial here.

All 'Nova all the time

Yes, the Flyers had a huge win last night, avoiding a shootout vs the Jets, getting the game winner from Claude Giroux with just 13 ticks left in OT.

Make sure you read all about it from Rob Parent here.

But make no mistake. This week will belong to Jay Wright and the Villanova Wildcats.

And we plan to be there every step of the way. Our Villanova beat writer Terry Toohey was back from Louisville and out on the Main Line yesterday as Wright reflected on how the 'Cats are a different team than the one that got smoked by Oklahoma in the Pearl Harbor Classic back in early December.

Of course the Wildcats will face the Sooners at 6:10 Saturday night as the Final Four kicks off in Houston. And yes, Terry will be there to cover the 'Cats every step of the way.

We also have lots of special things planned for this week to boost our Villanova coverage, including a special Throwback Thursday gallery of images that will look back at Villanova's 1985 NCAA champion team that stunned the world with their upset win over Georgetown.

Today, we'll be on the Villanova campus as students return from Spring Break and Wildcat Fever hits full stride. The bookstore will be ground zero for people looking to score Villanova gear for the big week. They apparently have already sold thousands of dollars in 'Nova merchandise in online sales.

Stick with us all week as follow the 'Cats on the Road to Houston.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Monday, March 28

The Daily Numbers: 4, as in Final Four appearance for Villavova.

2009, last time the Wildcats made the Final Four.

64-59 win over Kansas that punched the ‘Cats’ ticket to Houston.

6:09 tipoff Saturday night for Villanova vs. Oklahoma in 1st of 2 Final Four games.

2 houses raided in Chester as part of new push to crack down on heroin trade in the city.

5 suspected heroin dealers taken into custody.

1963, when Edgmont Country Club was built. It is now set to be developed into a new housing development.

190 acres of the course, which nestles right up against Ridley Creek State Park.

1 man crime wave busted in series of knifepoint robberies in Upper Darby.

27, age of suspect.

5,000 new jobs being added by Wawa.

9 cent boost in price of gallon of gas in Pa. last week.

2.12 average price per gallon in Pa.

5.6 cent hike in price nationally in last week.

2.04 average price across the nation

1.82 average price in New Jersey.

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

Sixers fans might have an added reason to tune in as Villanova faces Oklahoma Saturday night in the Final Four. Buddy Hield, the Sooners’ star, would look great as the shooting guard the Sixers desperately need.

I Don’t Get It: They paved paradise and put up a .... another housing development will soon sprout where Edgmont Country Club once sat.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Pam Mariani and the staff at Edgmont Country Club for a great run.

Quote Box: “It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later.”

- Pam Mariani from Edgmont Country Club.

End of the line for Edgmont Country Club

The Delco icons continue to fall.

Granite Run Mall soon will join the memories of the Bazaar of All Nations, shopping meccas that are no longer there.

This weekend the faithful gathered to say goodbye to another remarkable Delco locale.

Every day for 34 years, I have driven to work past the gorgeous vista of Edgmont Country Club.

Nestled right up against Ridley Creek State Park, it is the perfect spot for a golf course.

And for more than half a century, those 190 acres have made my drive to work just a little nicer.

I have attended many events at Edgmont Country Club, but never actually played the course. When I'm not thinking about news and newspapers, it's a pretty good bet I'm thinking about golf. I am what they call an addict. Given that you'd think I play a lot more than I actually do. I don't. Golf takes time, something I don't have a lot of these days.

Oddly enough, much like newspapers, these are not the best of days for golf courses and country clubs either.

Many are going out of business, or going public in an attempt to lure new members.

Edgmont won't be that lucky.

It will soon be turned into a housing development.

But not before the faithful turned out this weekend to say goodbye, share memories and swap stories on this legendary track along Route 3.

We decided to stop by and talk to those who will miss the course, the club, and the wonderful people who worked there.

You can read the story here.

A different kind of Easter

It was a decidedly different Easter for the Perley family.

My wife's siblings and their spouses gathered. We shared Easter bread and the classic Italian Easter egg dishes. No, didn't eat any. I still can't stand eggs.

But something was missing.

'Mom-Mom' was not there.

Days after saying goodbye to the matriarch of the family, her daughters, son, sons-in-law, grandkids and great-grandkids gathered a raised a glass one more time in her honor.

I used my print column today to reprise the blog post I wrote last week on what the loss of Josephine Perley meant to me.

You can read it here.

Villanova comes to rescue of winter of our discontent

Villanova is single-handedly trying to salvage a fairly dismal winter sports scene for Philly faithful.

Yes, I know that the Main Liners are not exactly every Philly fan's cup of team.

There are still bruised feelings over that whole Big East thing, with many locals still clinging to a feeling that 'Nova Nation 'big timed' them.

And lots of local fans still hold a grudge against former Villanova coach Rollie Massimino, blaming him for pulling the Wildcats out of those traditional Palestra dates while looking to play in bigger venues - with, of course, a bigger gate.

Fingers were pointed at Villanova for the tattered edges around the friges of the tradition of the Big 5 in the city.

But all that is past history.

Current history says Jay Wright's squad is playing phenomenal basketball, capped by a tense showdown with Kansas Saturday night. The Wildcats, led by senior point guard Ryan Arcidianico's nerves of steel in draining four foul shots at the end, then instigating a turnover on the defensive end, now have a date in the Final Four.

The Wildcats will face Oklahoma in the first game Saturday night.

You can be thankful for whatever you want. Me? I'm glad the Wildcats drew the early game, which will give us a lot fewer deadline headaches than that 9:30 second game would have created.

These two teams have already met once this year, and it didn't go so well for Wildcats. Oklahoma beat them, 78-55, back on Dec. 7 in Hawaii at the Pearl Harbor Classic.

Villanova will be seeking revenge.

Sixers fans might be seeking something else. They will get a full game to focus on Oklahoma star Buddy Hield, who would look great shooting the lights out for the Sixers next year.

For now, we're all Villanova fans.

Come on all you Temple and Saint Joe backers. Grit your teeth and say it:

Let's go, 'Nova.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Friday, March 25

The Daily Numbers: 8, as in Elite Eight for Villanova, which won again last night to advance in NCAA Tourney.

92-69 romp for the Wildcats over Miami.

62.6 percent shooting for the red-hot Wildcats.

8:50 tip-off time for the ‘Cats next game Saturday night.

1, as in No. 1 seed Kansas, who will provide another stern test for the Main Line guys.

4 or 5 55-gallon drums of chemicals removed from site of massive inferno in Colwyn. Agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency are now joining the investigation.

63,000 dollars, how much police say a “dedicated” longtime employee stole from an Upper Darby firm.

3 people charged with embezzlement from a Radnor firm.

17 months, how long Francis Barnes has served as the state receiver for Chester Upland School District. He is leaving on May 1.

50,000 dollar fine slapped on ex-Pa. high court Justice Michael Eakin.

153,000 annual pension, what Eakin will be allowed to keep.

85 million dollars in federal aid for Pa. and N.J. for costs tied to the January blizzard.

4 new lemur babies that have arrived at Philadelphia Zoo.

31-14 edge for Joe Sestak over Katie McGinty in his bid for Dem nomination to oppose Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.

21 percent, what Sestak was polling a month ago.

7 percent for Braddock Mayor John Fetterman.

16, age of girl shot as she stood on porch of her house last night in Philly.

66, age of comic Gary Shandling, who has died of an apparent heart attack.

4-2 win for the Flyers over the Colorado Avalanche.

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

Old grudges die hard. Is it just me, or does it seem like the city just does not warm up to Villanova?

I Don’t Get It: Moody’s has weighed in on the Pa. budget. It’s a mess. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Wildcats from the Main Line, who are giving us a reason to cheer in what has been a fairly bleak sports landscape.

Quote Box: “Wow! That was incredible.”

- Fan overheard after Villanova’s impressive dismantling of a good Miami team last night.

Pennsylvania's budget follies

We used our editorial page today to point out that Gov. Tom Wolf's move to allow that GOP budget plan to become law does not exactly get Pennsylvania out of the woods when it comes to its fiscal health.

And we're not the only ones.

This morning Moody's is out with a report that says the budget deal does little to solve the state's two pressing issues - a growing deficit and mounting problems with its two large public employee pension plans.

In other words, the clock is now ticking toward the next Pennsylvania budget drama. The deadline for the state to have its spending plan in place is July 1.

Anyone else think they won't meet the deadline?

Yeah, I thought so.

Villanova exorcising some NCAA demons

Villanova seems intent on exorcising all those demons of early exits from the NCAA Tournament all in one fell swoop this year.

Jay Wright's Wildcats Thursday night dismantled another solid foe, blowing out Miami, 92-69.

Our man on the Villanova beat, Terry Toohey, is in Louisville and has all the details on the Wildcats' big win here.

The win propels the Wildcats into the Elite Eight for the first time since 2009. Villanova's seniors, including their leader Ryan Arcidiacano know all about the frustration of March Madness after a series of early exits in recent years.

Not this time.

The Wildcats now have a huge match with South Region No. 1 seed Kansas in the late game Saturday night. Tip-off is not until 8:50 - and that is if the first game runs on time.

For Villanova and their fans, it's worth the wait. They've heard all the razzing about failing to advance in the NCAA Tournament.

This team spent three weeks sitting atop the AP hoops pool. And now they are making their mark with a deep rin in the "dance."

For the Wildcats, it is certainly not the same old "song and dance."

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, March 24

The Daily Numbers: 1,451.68 a month, how much Colwyn will pay Darby Borough for workers comp and liability insurance to co ntinue fire service.

42, age of Glenolden man lauded as Carnegie Hero for his efforts to tackle gunman in shooting incident at Fitzgerald Mercy Hospital.

12.5 thousand dollars for improvements at Ridley Park Lake.

3 appointments made by Media Borough Council.

9 month budget impasse over in Pa. New budget will go into effect on Sunday.

6.6 billion dollar GOP budget plan will take effect Sunday.

0 tax hike in the Republican plan.

30.9 billion dollars in tax collections needed to make the budget work and be balanced.

50 million dollar casino license fee.

260 million in carried-over money and 200 million in unused program money to balance the budget.

305 million dollars in school construction projects being delayed by the state.

200 million dollars in payments for Social Security taxes by the state also being delayed.

6 percent spending increase and $1 billion in new taxes that had been sought by Gov. Wolf.

578 million dollars in aid to Pa. universities under the deal.

3.1 billion dollars for public school instruction and operations.

71, age of actor Ken ‘The White Shadow’ Howard. He died Wednesday.

16, as in Sweet 16, which starts play in NCAA Tournament tonight.

2 seed Villanova vs. 3 seed Miami in South Region.

4 games in Philly for the East Region. They plan Friday.

1 year deal for ex-Giants wideout Rueben Randle, who signed with the Eagles.

35 footer at the buzzer for Emmanuel Mudiay to beat the Sixers in Denver last night.

20 inches of snow that socked the Denver region yesterday.

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

Villanova has a shot to seize the city by the throat if they can get a win vs. Miami tonight in Sweet 16.

I Don’t Get It: Nine months of a Pa. budget standoff, and this is what we get for it?

Today’s Upper:
Kudos to John D’Alonzo, of Glenolden, who is being awarded the Carnegie Medal for his actions in helping to disarm a gunman at Fitzgerald Mercy Hospital.

Quote Box: “It could have definitely caused some serious injury. We need to do something before that happens.” - Haverford resident on drone that crashed on playground.

No reason to celebrate Pa. budget

Tom Wolf blinked.

For more than eight months, Pennsylvania's Democratic governor had jousted with the Republican leaders in the Legislature over spending and taxes.

He wanted more of both of them.

Republicans took one look at this plans and took a trip from Donald Trump. They built a wall. They control both the House and Senate. For eight months the two sides took turns firing volleys over that wall.

In the meantime, a lot of people got hurt.

Counties, including Delaware County, were left holding the tab for services normally paid for by the state. Several showed their dissatisfaction by "neglecting" to remit taxes to the state.

Social programs were curtailed.

Early learning and Pre-K programs took a big hit.

Back before Christmas, Wolf allowed some money to flow to schools, after several indicated that they might not open their doors after the holiday if a budget plan was not in place.

That money was about to expire, and once again schools were talking about the possibility of closing.

And they weren't alone.

This week we chronicled the saga of 4-H programs across the state, which were in danger of also shutting down.

No one should be proud now that the governor has indicated that while he will not veto the GOP budget, he also will not sign it. But in doing so he will allow it to go into effect on Sunday.

The clock is now ticking toward the July 1 deadline for the next spending deadline.

Anyone who is expecting anything other that a repeat performance hasn't been paying attention to the way Harrisburg works.

Or, you might say, doesn't work.

You can get the details on the new budget plan here.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Daily Numbers: 1 of 3 Big 5 teams still alive in the NCAA Tournament.

87-68 rout of Iowa for Villanova.

2009, last time the Wildcats made it to the Sweet 16.

69-64 loss for the Saint Joe Hawks to No. 1 seed Oregon.

7 point lead for the Hawks with 5 minutes to go.

200 people who took part in annual charity walk in the name of Nicole Gallo yesterday in Upper Darby.

25,000 raised at the event.

2,600 youngsters in Delco who take part in 4-H programs.

92,000 across Pennsylvania.

2 people shot dead by former Pa trooper, who then was fatally shot in Fort Littleton, Pa.

3-0 win for Union in their home opener in Chester yesterday.

2-1 record for Union in the early MLS going.

5 hitless innings tossed by Phillies pitcher Jeremy Hellickson yesterday.

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

Villanova has heard all about their problems with early exits from the NCAA Tournament. They exorcised those demons in a big way yesterday with a lopsided win over Iowa.

I Don’t Get It: Still not budget deal in Harrisburg. Now kids’ 4-H programs are endangered.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Jay Wright and the Villanova Wildcats.

Quote Box: “The governor claims he was for it and zeroed it out. The money was there.”

- Republican House Appropriations chief Rep. Bill Adolph, of Springfield, on the budget impasse that now endangers 4-H programs.

A salute to 'Mom-Mom'

Guys have a way of kidding each other when talking about their girlfriends and spouses, especially when trying to figure out how one of their buddies could possibly have landed such a gem.

They are said to have “outkicked their coverage.” It’s a football term. Ask your husband.

It is one I have heard many times.

It applies to in-laws as well, in particular mothers-in-law.

I know, the stories of husbands and wives who don’t get along with their spouse’s parents are many.

Don’t expect to hear one from me.

Josephine Perley was a gem. How much did I love her? It was not until her daughter and I were about to be married after – how should I put it? – an “extended” engagement that I realized her name actually was Josephine. Most people called her Jesse. Aside from her beloved husband. They lovingly always referred to each other as “Sam.” I liked that.

Once her children started having children of their own, she was forever hence simply "Mom-Mom.'

That is how almost everyone – in particular her adoring grandchildren – referred to my mother-in-law.

She passed away Friday with her children at her side. She was 87.

The first time I walked into my future wife’s home, I got the distinct impression I was being judged. The truth is they had tired of hearing about me from my future wife, and wanted to see what all the hype was about. But not Jesse. Her smile immediately made me feel welcome.

Then she did something else I would appreciate, something she would repeat thousands of times in the years to come. She fed me.

She was of another generation, one I always saw in my own mother. They were steeled by surviving the Great Depression. After that, life’s other challenges seemed eminently manageable. Nothing that could not be handled – after a good meal.

It did not take long for this most Irish man to understand the importance of food to a very Italian family.

My wife’s grandmother, her father’s mom, who lived with the family, would always greet my arrival the same way. “Get your man something to eat,” she would command her granddaughter, my date. I was never quite sure if they really liked me, or was afraid I was dying of malnutrition. I was - and remain - rail thin. This concerned them greatly. Maybe that's why every time I walked in the house, a plate of food was soon placed in front of me. It took me awhile to realize that was 'Mom-Mom's' way of showing love.

She loved a lot.

I soon learned the only thing Italians like to do more than eat great food is talk about great food. It became something of a standing joke that I would start to turn a tad green while sitting at that huge kitchen table listening to the conversation.

I’ve never been a food guy.

My future wife probably realized this the first time she peeked in my refrigerator and recoiled.

“I don't think those hot dogs are supposed to have that white film on them," she said.

The truth is, in those years before we married, if it wasn’t for my mother-in-law I probably wouldn’t have eaten at all. I didn't have 10 cents to my name, which, oddly enough, never seemed to enter into the conversation about their daughter's future.

I would stop at the Perley house every Thursday night for dinner, and usually leave with enough leftovers to feed an army.

These people loved to eat. Me? Not so much. I did, however, like a beer from time to time. My mother-in-law never drank, my father-in-law only rarely. But they always made sure there was beer in the house. I always appreciated that.

I also came to appreciate something else. Tradition is important. And there is no Sunday tradition more important to an Italian family than Sunday dinner.

Every Sunday at 1 p.m. the extended family would gather at the large table in the downstairs kitchen of the Perley house. Yes, the house had two kitchens. They tell that's another Italian thing. I never saw them use the upstairs kitchen. The downstairs "working" kitchen is where Jesse performed her magic.

There was never an invitation for Sunday dinner. You simply showed up, and Jesse fed you. Massive amounts of food, and, of course, always a pasta.

For a longtime Eagles season ticket holder and still die-hard Eagles fan, that 1 p.m. weekly date was a bit of a problem. My father-in-law, himself a lifelong devoted Birds' fan and season ticket holder, understood. I think that's one of the reasons he liked me. I would always hustle down to the house as soon as the game was over. And Jesse would always provide a hot meal, regardless of the fact that she had just finished cleaning up from the earlier dinner. Actually, she was about to put out 'round two' anyhow. Like I said, these people liked to eat.

It's ironic that my mother-in-law should pass away just as we enter Easter week. It was a special time for her, and of course it involved food.

There will be no trademark Easter bread this year. Don't ask me how it's made or what goes into it, all I know is that is came to signify Easter. And it was delicious. She literally made hundreds of loaves of Easter bread and distributed them to people all over town.

It was not the only one.

I will never forget the first Easter I spent at the Perley house. It was my introduction to something called a 'fritatta.' It's an egg dish. And that is a bit of a problem. I don't eat eggs, in fact can barely tolerate the smell of them. The 'fritatta' is an Italian egg dish. Jesse made about dozen of them, some with sausage, some with ham, some with bacon. Think of a rectangular pie, only made with eggs. We're talking about hundreds of eggs.

Jesse, knowing that none of it would get past my lips, always made me another dish of bacon and home fries. Imagine that, an Irish guy eating potatoes.

I don't know how many hours Jesse spent in that kitchen, creating her special dishes. I do know this. Every one of them was made with love. And they were made without a single recipe ever being written down, and without the use of a measuring cup. Jesse eschewed such formalities. Like a great athlete or musician, she played purely by sense of feel, a pinch of this or a dash of that. She made beautiful music in that kitchen.

She also made something else. She made a great family, and a lifetime of tradition.

When her health started to fail, Jesse left her house and lived for a while with each of her children. She spent last summer with my wife and I. It was a great summer. Every night I would come home and she would greet me the same way: "You look great." She liked the idea that I wore a tie to work every day.

I'm glad that I was able, in a very small way, to repay Jesse for the years that she took care of me, and her extended family. In all those years, I never heard a cross word come out of her mouth.

I never once heard her complain.

She never once questioned her son-in-law, despite any number of times when it was probably warranted.

We've lost a great woman, part of a generation that will never be repeated. She was old school. She wrote cards. Hundreds of them, always hand-written. It is one of the things I have heard again and again this weekend. Jesse never forgot a special occasion, and always sent a card.

I often tell people I think I grew up at the wrong time. I much would have preferred to have grown up when my mother and mother-in-law did.

Life was simpler, less complicated. Family was important. So were traditions.

Yesterday I picked up a piece of palm as I left church. I thought maybe her kids might want to place it in Jesse's casket. She would like that, I think. After all, she and her husband attended daily Mass most of their married life.

They didn't brag about it. It was just the way they started their day.

Like I said, they were a different breed.

One I was fortunate enough to marry into.

And one I will miss dearly.

The challenge for Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland

I used my weekly print column to talk about what is going on in Chester.

I don't envy the job of new Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland.

The longtime state rep was often a critic of the city administration, police department and how they reacted to the violent crime that continues to plague the city.

Now the shoe's on the other foot. Kirkland is now the mayor.

Crime is still a problem.

He's meeting the challenge head-on.

Thaddeus is not shy about voicing his opinion on our coverage, anything from the photo we use of him, to at times leaving his comments out of a story. So when we were not notified of a press conference following another police-involved fatal shooting in the city, I decided to turn the tables on him.

I don't envy the job. I wonder if sometimes he does not feel the same way about mine.

Here's my column.

Somehow we managed to survive the 'storm'

So did you manage to survive that first day of spring snowstorm?

What snow, you might ask?

What's the matter, didn't you catch the TV news over the weekend. First they told toward the middle of last week that we might be getting 4-8 inches of snow to greet the first day of spring.

Then on Saturday they started to revise, with it looking more like a glancing blow and likely only a coating on grassy surfaces.

But it was still the lead story when I turned on the 6 o'clock local news yesterday. The roads weren't even wet, but we were assured crews were prepared to handle this "storm." I almost felt bad for the reporter standing under an umbrella with a little bit of rain falling.

As I write this I just glanced at the TV and yes, a reporter is confirming once again that the roads are wet. Riveting stuff. They apparently got more snow over in Jersey.

We just didn't get it here.

What we did get was a really cold, raw first day of Spring. But that did not stop a huge line form forming at the local Rita's to score their annual tradition - free water ice on the first day of spring.

Who eats water ice when it the thermometer reads in the upper 30s?

A lot of people, I guess.

I suppose they didn't see the TV forecast either.

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Friday, March 18

The Daily Numbers: 88,000 dollars, how much the D.A. says a nurse from Aston stole from a dying man. She denies it.

3 locations that were considered in Aston for new fire station. They will stay at the current site, Green Ridge on Dutton’s Mill Road.

2 more Delco men now facing child porn charges.

18 inches long and 6 pounds. Meet Jason Logue, who was born in the bathtub after mom was sent home from the hospital.

140,000 dollar a year pension it appears ex-Pa. Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin may be allowed to keep, despite stepping down in porn email scandal.

3 Big 5 teams who will be in action in today’s NCAA Tournament. Villanova, Temple and Saint Joe’s all play.

28-3 record for Cumberland Valley, opponent for the O’Hara girls tonight as they clash for PIAA AAAA girls hoops title.

26-3 mark for O’Hara.

99-94 loss for the Sixers to the Wizards.

1 point out of playoffs now for Flyers after the Red Wings won last night to leapfrog them.

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

Not sure any other city can match Philly when it comes to hoops, with 3 teams all playing 1st round games in the NCAA Tourney today. First up is ‘Nova at noon, followed by Temple at 2:30, the a nice break before Saint Joe’s does that late game at 9:30 tonight.

I Don’t Get It: Pat Toomey and fellow Republicans’ stance on the Supreme Court pick. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to those who rushed in to help after a nasty accident in Ridley yesterday.

Quote Box
: “With the U.S. Supreme Court’s balance at stake, and with the presidential election fewer than eight months away, it is wise to give the American people a more direct voice in the selection and confirmation of the next justice. Should Merrick Garland be nominated again by the next president, I would be happy to carefully consider his nomination, as I have done with dozens of judges submitted by President Obama.”

- Pat Toomey.

He's standing Pat on Supreme Court stance

Pat Toomey always struck me as a very bright guy.

That's why I'm having trouble understanding why he is doing something so dumb.

I liked Toomey, in particular his expertise, that being economics. I know, a lot of people rapped his connection with Wall Street groups. But when he talks numbers, there's no questioning he knows his stuff. When talking about budgets, spending and deficits, he speaks with an ease that comes from a clear understanding of the issues.

He edged Delaware County Congressman Joe Sestak to become the junior senator from Pennsylvania back in 2010.

One of his most admirable acts was reaching across the aisle to partner with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia on some common-sense gun control legislation that would beef up background checks.

He took a lot of heat from conservative groups over that stand, but stuck to his guns, in a way of speaking. It's hard to believe that Toomey, of all people, would be taking fire for not being conservative enough.

Maybe that's why he's standing with fellow Republicans on their head-scratching obstructionism when it comes to President Obama's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Not hours after the death of conservative icon Justice Antonin Scalia, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was saying that the president should not make a nomination in the last year of his term, instead leaving that to the new president after the November election to "give the people a voice" in the process.

Toomey concurred.

Unfortunately, that's not the way the Constitution is framed. Obama is president for eight years, not seven years and two months. The fear, I suppose, was Republicans' belief that Obama would use his pick to tilt the 4-4 ideological split on the court after Scalia's death to the left with a liberal choice.

That went out the window this week when Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland, from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, who has garnered praise from both sides of the aisle and is widely respected as a "centrist."

That didn't matter much to Republicans.

McConnell said not only would Garland not get a hearing, he would not even meet with him.

Minutes after the Rose Garden ceremony at which Garland was introduced, Toomey put out this fairly incredible statement:

"With the U.S. Supreme Court’s balance at stake, and with the presidential election fewer than eight months away, it is wise to give the American people a more direct voice in the selection and confirmation of the next justice. Should Merrick Garland be nominated again by the next president, I would be happy to carefully consider his nomination, as I have done with dozens of judges submitted by President Obama.”

In other words, the nominee and his qualifications don't matter. What matters is that I'm not considering a nomination from this president.

It's that kind of thinking that the country is tired of, regardless of the fact that both Vice President Joe Biden and Obama could fairly be accused of using the same tactics.

I thought Pat Toomey was a lock to win another term, regardless who emerged from the Dem camp to oppose him.

Not anymore.

Like I said, he's a bright guy. I hope he's bright enough to reconsider this decision.

It just might cost him his seat, and Republicans control of the Senate.

Here's our editorial on the topic.

Snow on the 1st day of spring

This is probably not what the folks at Rita's had in mind.

Every year the local water ice icon celebrates the first day of spring by giving away free water ice.

But while their employees will be shoveling out water ice, their customers might be shoveling something else entirely.

That dirty four-letter word is back in the forecast.

Yes, they are talking about snow for the first day of spring. And not a dusting. Some forecasts are calling for several inches, which is due to arrive sometime Sunday morning.

My guess is that despite the local TV stations attempts to scare us to death, what we wind up with is something that covers grassy surfaces but leaves roads for the most part just wet.

This is not going to be a paralyzing storm, and it's entirely possible that we get mostly rain.

Just don't blame me if we have to break out those shovels one more time.

You can get the full forecast here.

Oh, by the way, for the folks at Rita's: Make mine root beer. Any chance I can get a rain check, or I guess we could call it a snow check.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, March 17

The Daily Numbers: 17, as in March 17. Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

650 people who jammed the Connelly Center at Villanova for a town hall rally with Republican presidential hopeful Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

200 more watching via video in an adjoining room.

67, age of man now facing charges in the unprovoked stabbing of a teenager on a SEPTA bus on Baltimore Pike in Springfield.

1 female police chief in Delaware County’s history. That will be the case when Regina Price takes the helm of the Darby Township force in April.

73,965 square foot hotel at Lawrence and Langford Run roads in Marple that got the OK from commissioners.

60 foot drop in the property means it’s 5 stories in the front toward the road, 4 stories in the back facing adjacent homes.

18, age of Villanova student who is latest to face LSD charges on the Main Line campus.

70 mph speed limit for most sections of the Pa. Turnpike, bumped up from the current 65.

200,000 dollars stolen from Visit Philly tourism group in Philly by their former chief financial officer, according to charges filed by Philly D.A.

800 teachers being hired by the Philadelphia School District.

149-43 vote in the Pa. House to legalize medical marijuana.

8 month budget fight in Harrisburg that shows no signs of easing, with Gov. Tom Wolf saying he will veto the latest GOP proposal.

31-18 vote in favor of the Republican plan in Senate.

128-63 vote in the House.

14 Democrats in the House who backed the GOP spending plan.

72, age of Frank Sinatra Jr., who died or cardiac arrest while on tour in Florida yesterday.

3-2 win for the Flyers in Chicago vs. Blackhawks last night.

1 point ahead of Red Wings for the last Eastern Conference playoff spot, where Flyers sit right now.

8-1-1 mark for Flyers in their last 10 games.

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

We interrupt March Madness to bring you the hockey season. How ‘bout those Flyers!

I Don’t Get It: As if the death of Jacai Olson, the Upper Chichester native and Prince Georges County, Md., officer who was gunned down in a gun battle with a suicidal suspect was not tragic enough, yesterday we learned this. Apparently Colson was deliberately shot by a fellow officer, who mistook him for part of the armed threat. Olson was not in uniform and not wearing body armor at the time.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Regina Price. She’s in line to become the first female police chief in Delco history when she takes command of the Darby Township force in April.

Quote Box:
“I am not going to take the low road to the White House.”

- John Kasich, during town hall meeting at Villanova University yesterday.

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

I've never been a green beer kind of guy.

Blame my mother.

She would always remind us that to the "real" Irish, the day reserved for the Emerald Isle's patron saint was as much a religious event as a reason for revelry.

Of course, back then, it never stopped me from seeking a party.

These days, I'm strictly a weekend tippler.

But I'm full-time Irish. One look at this face pretty much tells you that. That nose? Yeah, it's no accident.

I will today continue one tradition. I am again wearing my father's tie, which he said belonged to his father and came with him from the "old country." I wear this tie only once every year. That would be today, St. Paddy's Day. And yes, it is Paddy, not Patty. My very Italian wife's name is Patty. It's not Pat. It's not Patty. It's Paddy, stemming from the Irish form of Patrick, which is Padraig. I've had a running argument for years with my friend, County Councilman John McBlain, who thinks use of the word 'Paddy' conjures up the image of the raucous Irishman who winds up in the "Paddy Wagon."

My tie says otherwise.

Happy St. Paddy's Day, dad.

Another hit for music world, RIP Frank Sinatra Jr.

The hits just keep coming for the music business.

No, not hit records.

Deaths.

Frank Sinatra Jr. died Wednesday after suffering cardiac arrest while touring in Florida. He was 72.

Don't snicker.

Is he in the same stratosphere as David Bowie, Don Henley and the seemingly unending string of deaths that have "rocked" - if you'll pardon the expression - the music world? No.

But let me ask you a question: Did you ever hear his band? I have. And it's a sound you never forget.

Frank Sinatra Jr. was directing the orchestra on his father's Diamond Jubilee Tour.

A longtime Sinatra fan, I got tickets for the Chairman of the Board for my wife as an anniversary present. At our wedding, we danced to "All The Way."

At my daughter's wedding two summers ago, the bride, knowing her old man's affinity for Frank, chose one of my favorite songs, "The Summer Wind," for our dance.

I was wiping away the tears for most of our stroll on the dance floor.

Just as I was back on Nov. 9, 1991, when Sinatra hit the stage at the Spectrum.

It is simply one of those moments you don't ever forget.

After seeing dozens of rock shows there, I wasn't quite sure what to expect from a Sinatra concert. Yes, the crowd was a little older, and a little dressier. But I was disappointed as the time of the show drew near that it looked like the place was only about half full. Silly me, of course those who follow the king of cool would arrive fashionably late. Or maybe they were all just catching a smoke out in the corridor.

The lights went down, a spotlight hit the walkway where Francis Albert, resplendent in a black tux, walked toward the stage, and the place exploded. Suddenly, the joint was packed. To this day I have no idea how all those people got in their seats that fast. When Sinatra hit the stage, it likely was one of the single most electric moments I have ever witnessed. The hair on my neck actually stood up.

Frank Sinatra Jr. was manning the orchestra that night. And if you know anything about Sinatra music, you know that the orchestra is almost as powerful as that voice. There is one point in each song where the band takes the lead, and one member usually stands up for a solo. Powerful stuff.

Today I salute Frank Sinatra Jr. Yes, he toiled a lifetime in his famous father's shadow.

But I thank him for carrying on the tradition. And for providing one of the truly great musical nights I've ever had the pleasure to experience.

Right now, the Flyers are in the playoffs!

We interrupt March Madness to bring you ... the hockey season.

Don't look now, but those red-hot Flyers would be in the playoffs if the season ended today.

Last night's huge 3-2 win on the road over the Chicago Blackhawks actually vaulted the Flyers over the Detroit Red Wings for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Not even playing on the road and on back-to-back nights could not cool off Dave Hakstol's red-hot club.

Of course, there are still a lot of games to go, starting Saturday at home with a crucial match with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are also battling for a playoff spot. The Pens are currently two points ahead of the Flyers.

Consider this an early vote for Hakstol as NHL Coach of the Year.

You can get all the details on last night's huge road win in Chicago here.

2 early morning road warnings: Fog & Deer

Two things you need to be aware of this morning: Fog and deer.

There are heavy pockets of fog out there, and the deer population seems to have doubled overnight.

I hit some spots on my early-morning commute where thick fog made it hard to see more than a few feet in front of the car. But it was not so thick as to prevent the telltale sign of road trouble. That, of course, would be the glare of the eyes that serve as a warning that deer are milling about the area.

I carefully navigated my way past no less than four different 'herds' of several deer. They all seemed preoccupied munching on whatever they were snacking on at the side of the road. Luckily, none of them decided to dart in front of the car.

Finally, there is a certain four-letter word in the forecast for the weekend. Yes, there is a chance of snow on Sunday, the first day of spring.

That certainly should be a chill on all that free water ice they traditionally give out at Rita's to mark the official return of spring to the calendar.

Here's your full forecast.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, March 16

The Daily Numbers: 10, age of boy seen being repeatedly slapped in a bullying incident on a Chester Upland school bus.

144 jobs in the Garnet Valley School District, including bus drivers, that could be outsourced.

1,500 signatures on petitions opposing the moves delivered to the school board last night.

24, age of suspect who was shot and killed in gun battle with Chester police last weekend.

7, age of boy who was home alone cooking when a fire broke out in his Collingdale home.

120 bed new dorm for Swarthmore College that got the OK from borough council.

130 times, how many times a horse was shot with a paintball gun in Lancaster County. It is now recovering at the New Bolton Center in Chester County.

2nd justice of the Pa. Supreme Court who has resigned in the wake of the porn email scandal. Michael Eakin resigned his post yesterday.

3 members of Franciscan friars who face charges for allegedly allowing a priest to sexually abuse dozens of children for years.

1.6 billion, the deficit Gov. Tom Wolf said the latest GOP budget plan will leave the state facing.

1 big win for John Kasich, who took the 66 delegates from Ohio.

656 delegates for Trump. He needs 1,237 to win nomination

5 wins for Hillary Clinton in a sweep of Dem contests. She needs 2,382.

700-delegate lead for her over Bernie Sanders.

47-41 win for the O’Hara girls over North Penn. They now play Cumberland Valley for state title Friday night.

1 point out of the playoffs for the Flyers after a huge 4-3 win over the Red Wings.

0 times this year that the Sixers have managed to win 2 games in a row. Not sure that's ever been done in the NBA before.

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

The Flyers are on the cusp of a playoff spot after their win over the Red Wings last night. Very tough chore tonight as they go right back out on the road for game vs. the Blackhawks in Chicago.

I Don’t Get It: Bullying, especially when it comes to kids. I just don’t get it.

Today’s Upper
: Kudos to members of the Delco state House delegation, who are united in a push for legalization of medical marijuana. It’s the right thing to do.

Quote Box: “Bullying is cruel, unacceptable conduct.”

- Statement from Chester Upland School District in wake of videotaped incident on school bus.

A startling case of bullying

My heart breaks today for Brahim Caldwell.

He's the 10-year-old child who rocketed to fame yesterday for something he never wanted. He stars in a video that shows him being bullied and repeatedly slapped while riding on his Chester Upland School District bus.

The video was all over Facebook yesterday. It's hard to watch. Even worse is the knowledge from Brahim and his mother that this has been going on for weeks.

We reached out to his mom, Rhonda McMillan Fayall, after we saw the video. His story is here.

We also reached out to the Chester Upland School District to see what they were doing about it.

Late in the day, we finally got some answers.

The student shown in the video slapping Brahim is being suspended. Brahim will get his wish for a transfer to another school, one that will mean using a different bus. An investigation into the incident continues, including what the bus driver and an aide did - or did not do - to intervene in the situation.

The district offered this statement:

"Bullying is cruel, unacceptable conduct, and we will not tolerate it anywhere within the jurisdiction of the district schools, including - by extension - our school buses," said Superintendent Gregory Shannon.

We don't normally identify youths involved in these kinds of incidents. We are not identifying the student who was slapping Brahim. We talked to Rhonda McMillan Fayall and took a photo of her and her son in an attempt to bring this story to light.

Bullying, both physical assaults and actions on social media, is becoming a huge issue among young people. No one knows that better than Claudio Cerullo. He's the founder of the non-profit group Teach Anti-Bullying Inc., which works with local school districts to address the issue. Yesterday he also met with Brahim and his mother.

I am glad that Brahim is getting help.

But I fear for all the similar instances we never hear about.

Kasich will be in Delco today after his win in Ohio

Hillary vs. The Donald.

Increasingly, that is where the 2016 Presidential Sweepstakes appears to be headed.

Republican front-runner Donald Trump had another big showing yesterday, winning in four states, while Ohio Gov. John Kasich pocketed 66 delegates from his home state.

Marco Rubio dropped out of the race after losing in his home state of Florida.

The top Dem Hillary Clinton had a big day, sweeping most of the states in her mano a mano battle with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Kasich might be the Republicans' only hope to keep Trump from getting the 1,237 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination, and instead take the battle to the convention floor.

As it turns out, Kasich will be in Delaware County today. He will be holding a town hall meeting on the Villanova campus this afternoon. We'll be there for live coverage.

Here's the latest on what went down on what is being referred to as Super Tuesday 3.

Tough commute? It could be worse, you could be in D.C.

Imagine what the Philadelphia region would be like during the morning commute without the regional rail system.

No, SEPTA is not going out on strike.

But if you're having a tough morning commute, remember this, it could be worse. It could be much worse.

You could be commuting to work today in Washington, D.C.

The nation's capital today will deal with a total shutdown of their Metro rail system, which ferries 700,000 people - including my daughter - into work in the city every day.

It is the second busiest transit system in the nation. But today it will be silent.

The system was shut down at midnight last night for a system-wide safety inspection prompted by a series of electrical fires. It will not reopen until 5 a.m. Thursday - unless more problems are found.

Luckily, most federal workers have the option of working from home.

I certainly hope that's the option my daughter takes. Here's the coverage from the Washington Post.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, March 15

The Daily Numbers: 15, as in March 15. Happy Ides of March. Not sure there’s all that much to beware of today.

29, what Jacai Colson would have turned in a few days. The Chichester native and former star QB was killed in an ambush attack on his police department in Prince Georges County, Md.

2 alarm fire that damaged Grape Leaves Diner in Chester early this morning.

40, age of Media man charged in the fatal stabbing of another man in Philly’s Rittenhouse Square neighborhood. Police say it may have started over comments about the man’s New Jersey Devils cap.

24, age of Bucks County man killed in the fight.

26-year veteran of the Chester Police Force. Capt. Alan Davis remains in stable condition after being shot over the weekend after a car stop in a stolen car case.

35, age of Jermaine Crosley, the Upper Darby man who faces murder charges in connection with a fatal shooting.

4-1 win for Rustin over Springfield High in the Flyers Cup A Championship that was marred by a huge brawl among fans after the game at Ice Line in West Goshen.

152-38 state House vote to OK an amendment that moves Pa. closer to legalizing medical marijuana. It still faces a vote on the full measure by the House.

92, age of legendary personal finance columnist Harry Gross, who died yesterday.

2.02 average price of gas in Philly region Monday.

11 cents higher than the week before.

5-10 month prison sentence for Kathryn Knott in attack on gay couple in Philly that will stick. A judge yesterday rejected her plea for a new sentence.

2 state House seats in Philly that will be filled in special elections today.

255,000 people attended the Philadelphia Flower Show this year, largest crowds in years.

3 for all as 3 Big Five teams prepare for 1st round games in the NCAA men’s hoops tourney.

1 win away from state final for the O’Hara girls hoops team. They face North Penn tonight.

2 more home runs yesterday in spring training for Phils’ Maikel Franco.

6 home runs for him this spring, tops in baseball.

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

Before joining the police force in Prince Georges County in Maryland, Jacai Olson starred on the football field for Chichester High School. We salute him.

I Don’t Get It: An argument over a New Jersey Devils cap sparked a fatal stabbing in Philly, according to police. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the O’Hara girls, who are one win away from a spot in state title game.

Quote Box: “He had a way of making you calm and dropping barriers. He never raised his voice. He talked through his smile.”

- Joe La Rose, on his former start QB Jacai Colson.

Chi mourns one of its own

We spent much of the day yesterday tracking down people who knew Jacai Colson, the Upper Chichester native who was gunned down during an ambush attack on police headquarters in Prince Georges County, Md.

Not one person had a bad thing to say about Colson, who grew up in Boothwyn and was a star athlete and student at Chichester High. Colson was the quarterback on the Chichester football team. One of the wonders of the Internet allowed us to go back, find some of the stories and photos we ran of his exploits as the Eagles' QB, and post them on our site.

Everybody praised Colson.

Then around 5 p.m. this tragedy took still one more terribly sad twist.

Police officials in Maryland announced that Colson very likely did not die as a result of a bullet fired by a gunman with a death wish. Instead, police theorized, the undercover narcotics officer likely was felled by "friendly fire" as his fellow officers returned fire. Colson was in street clothes and was not wearing a bulletproof vest.

It does not lessen what he did, nor make him any less heroic.

Colson took action when he saw the attack and tried to intervene, to save his fellow officers. It likely cost him his life.

Colson was in street clothes, not wearing body armor, when he arrived at the station and immediately leaped out of an unmarked car to confront the attackers.

What kind of guy was Jacai Colson? The folks down in Chi who knew him best showered him with praise yesterday.

But former Chi High football coach Joe LaRose tells one especially compelling story that pretty much tells you everything you need to know about Jacai Colson.

In these parts, the name of Billy "White Shoes" Johnson is revered. The Chichester great went on to star at Widener and then enjoyed a long, sterling career in the NFL.

But one of his records - for most touchdowns scored in a game - was in jeopardy of falling as Colson's Eagles faced Academy Park back in 2004.

With the Eagles at the Knights' 2-yard line and Colson just 1 TD away from tying Johnson's record of 6, the Eagles' QB instead calmly handed the ball off to a teammate.

That's the kind of person Jacai Colson was.

You can read about other memories of Colson from his friends and colleagues in Chichester here.

A young life lost - over a hat

Having spent more than a few Sunday afternoons in the upper reaches of the 700 level of Veterans Stadium, I have always cautioned people that it is not a great idea to sport the opposing team's gear here in Philly.

But I never thought it could cost a life.

That's apparently what transpired over the weekend in a bizarre fight and fatal stabbing - all of which police believe may have been sparked by a comment about one man's New Jersey Devils cap.

According to police, a comment from a group of young revelers in the wee hours of Sunday morning in Philadelphia's tony Rittenhouse Square neighborhood didn't sit well with a Delaware County man.

The comment apparently was directed at Steven Simminger, who has an address in Media, about his New Jersey Devils baseball hat.

Simminger apparently did not care for it and confronted the group. A fight ensued, and police say it ended with Simminger fatally stabbing a 24-year-old Bucks County man.

All over a hat.

Backing a call for calm heads in Chester

We used our editorial page today to talk about the simmering tensions in the city of Chester.

In a span of about a month, police have been involved in two fatal shootings.

Caught in the middle of all this is new Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland. It's a bit ironic because Kirkland campaigned against former Mayor John Linder in large part on what he perceived as a police and administration that was out of touch with the community.

Kirkland is trying desperately to keep a lid on a very volatile situation.

We think it's the right course of action.

Here's our editorial.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Kirkland urges calm in Chester

For the second time in a month, new Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland is trying to keep the lid on his simmering city in the wake of a fatal, police-involved shooting.

Saturday afternoon police responding to a report of a stolen vehicle wound up in a shootout with suspects at Union and Parker streets in the city. City police Sgt. Alan Davis was hit in the arm and torso. He was rushed to Crozer Chester Medical Center with wound to his shoulder and torso. One person in the car, believed to be stolen in Darby Borough, was killed. Another was wounded. He now faces charges.

The fatal police-involved shooting is the second in a month and increased the already tense relationship between city residents and the police force.

Back on Feb. 8, police opened fire on a car after they say a man inside pointed a gun at them. Shalamar Longer, 33 was killed. County District Attorney Jack Whelan said the initial investigation showed the shooting to be justified. That did not stop questions from being raised about the circumstances surrounding the incident - and the amount of force that was used. Dozens of bullets were fired at the car.

Those same questions are being asked again after the Saturday incident.

Things grew tense at the scene Saturday night, as residents scuffled with police.

Sunday morning, Mayor Kirkland again was asking for calm as police and investigators collect information in the case.

He praised his officers for exercising restraint while dealing with a hostile crowd.

He also took the time to once again urge citizens- in particular the city's young residents - to make "good choices."

"Let us get through this," Kirkland said. "We will be very transparent and honest with our findings."

It's ironic that Kirkland finds himself in this position.

He campaigned against the incumbent Democratic Mayor John Linder for what he said was a police department - and a top cop Joe Bail - that was out of touch with the community.

Now Kirkland is trying to make sure those feelings don't bubble over into more violence on his watch.

Just how much has politics changed? Read this

I used my print column this week to talk about Nancy Reagan.

The first lady - and her husband - would not exactly exchange Christmas cards with my mother, a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat. She was fairly rigid in her beliefs.

But the passing of the former first lady also got me to thinking about how much has changed in politics, in particular how coarse and ugly today's political climate is.

That's not a good thing.

You can read my print column here.

Welcome to Daylight Savings!

I've always thought the problem with "springing forward" was not Sunday, but Monday when you head to work with an hour less sleep.

It was not a great Sunday to have an extra hour of daylight, courtesy of the annual move to push the clocks forward an hour at 2 a.m. Sunday morning. It was not much of a day and showers had started to move in, so one of the thing I really look forward to each year did not exactly thrill me. I barely noticed that it was still light as we approached 7 o'clock.

I'm already in the office so I also won't notice that it won't get light until almost 7 a.m.

The fact that it was pouring out when I left the house didn't help much. Then I was once again realized after I got in the car that I never remember how to change the clock, and that Honda nicely disables that system so you can't change it while the car is moving. So I rode to work off kilter staring at a clock that was showing the wrong time.

It's today that you really start to feel the hour of sleep we lost Saturday night.

The move pushes everything ahead by an hour. When you went to bed Sunday night, you had already lost an hour of sleep.

I guess the upside of all this is that I might actually leave the office tonight amid some daylight. That is if it stops raining by then. It's supposed to be a soggy week. I guess that's the payback we get for those 80-degree days we enjoyed last week.

Welcome to Daylight Savings Time.

Temple will see familiar face in NCAA tourney

Philadelphia will be well-represented in the NCAA men's hoops tournament commonly known as March Madness.

That's right, employers. Expect productivity to plummet today as even occasional fans go over their tourney brackets.

The Philly region will have three teams competing, with Villanova, Saint Joe's and Temple all getting in.

But it's the fourth Philly connection that I find most intriguing.

First off, Villanova, which was ranked No. 1 for several weeks this year, fell to a No. 2 seed after falling to Seton Hall in the Big East tournament title game. The Wildcats will face UNC Nashville Friday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Saint Joe was an automatic entry after winning the Atlantic 10 crown. Phil Martelli's Hawks will face Cincinnati in the West Region out in Spokane, Wash.

But it's Temple that has the intriguing draw. The Owls were considered on the bubble, but still got in and will be seeing a familiar face in their first-round game, also at the Barclays Center.

The Owls face Iowa, coached by Philly native Fran McCaffery. Yes, he's the brother of Daily Times columnist Jack McCaffery.

And if both Temple and Villanova win, they will face off in the second round.

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Friday, March 11

The Daily Numbers: 3 female prisons who allege a Chester cop coerced them to give him sexual favors.

37, age of Roosevelt Turner, who now faces criminal charges in the case.

33, age of Philly police officer and Delco native Jesse Hartnett, who testified yesterday at preliminary hearing of man charged with opening fire on him in an ambush attack.

30, age of Edward Archer, who said he was acting in the name of Islam. He was held for trial without bail.

1 Delco man and a woman from Newark., Del., who pleaded guilty in a string of burglaries and arsons.

50 percent, how much Pa.’s overdose fatality rate exceeds national average.

5 percent of prescription drug users who are believed to move on to heroin.

6 people killed by 2 gunmen who sprayed bullets in a cookout in Wilkinsburg, Pa.

4 million dollars award to 2 families in upstate Pa. who claimed their wells were contaminated by fracking operations.

81-67 win for Villanova in Big East Tourney opener vs. Georgetown.

3 new Eagles, including backup QB Chase Daniel, who met the media yesterday.

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

Here’s one early vote for Howie Roseman for NFL Executive of the Year. He had a great week.

I Don’t Get It: A cop is charged with using his position and influence to get sexual favors from female inmates. Nice.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Philly Officer and Delco native Jesse Hartnett. He took the stand yesterday at the preliminary hearing for the man

charged in the ambush attack and calmly detailed what happened. Guy has nerves of steel. Quote Box: “I want the process to play out in court.”

- Chester Police boss Darren Alston, on charges filed against an officer yesterday.

Upper Darby takes big step in war on heroin

We used our editorial page today to laud the next step in the war on heroin.

That would be the "Change is Possible" safe haven program unveiled this week by Upper Darby Township Police.

It's one thing to revive those in the midst of a heroin overdose with the miracle drug Narcan. We've been a huge proponent of such actions, especially since the emphasis for the law that got Narcan into the hands of law enforcement is named for an OD victim from right here in Delaware County.

But increasingly, people - including Upper Darby top cop Mike Chitwood - are asking what happens after Narcan.

It's a great question.

This week Upper Darby started to provide some answers.

Here's our editorial.

Did gas just go up 10 cents?

Is it just me or did I notice that somehow gas managed to jump by a dime a gallon seemingly overnight.

I could have swore that at the beginning of the week I was seeing gas going for $1.85 a gallon. But when I went to fill up this morning, it was a dime more, checking in at $1.95.

How does that happen?

I understand we've been getting a huge break at the pumps, and I'm not complaining. But it does seem to me that spikes happen much quicker than the gradual decline.

But I was just wondering if anyone else noticed this or am I delusional, which is not entirely out of the question.