Thursday, June 30, 2016

Kids rally behind Officer Dorman

There are a couple of important developments in the story of wounded Folcroft Officer Chris Dorman today.

First, on our editorial page, we review the outage that occurred at the county 911 Center at the time of the shooting, when a dispatcher did not hear the frantic plea from Dorman after he was shot during a violent encounter with a drug suspect. For four crucial minutes, the 911 center dispatchers were in the dark. Luckily, it only affected communication on the dispatchers' end. Dorman's fellow officers heard his pleas and responded.

Both the county and the company that put the new system in are working to find out what went wrong and make sure it does not happen again. The county also is bringing in an outside, independent agency to review the operations.

You can read our editorial here.

The other story we covered today shows you exactly what Folcroft - and Delaware County - is made of, in particular in the way they reacted to Officer Dorman's shooting.

In her Thursday Cop Shop column, staffer Rose Quinn details the efforts of a group of kids on the Folcroft Swim Club to raise money to help the fund drive to benefit Dorman.

It wasn't that long ago that Dorman was a regular at the swim club himself. The team's nickname is the Stingrays.

The kids talk about what Dorman means to them and their desire to one day meet him and offer a high-five.

They didn't hesitate when they got the chance to help out.

Support for the officer is growing by the day. You can get a full rundown of the fund-raising efforts - and how you can help - in today's Cop Shop column.

House Bill 1947 & the constitutional question

It's always nice to know what you write is actually being read.

Or, in the case of my new Heron's Nest Podcast, being listened to.

Yesterday I wrote about the fate of House Bill 1947.

That's the measure that would open a window for past victims of child sexual abuse - including those abused by priests - to file civil suits. The measure would allow victims to seek action in civil court until age 50 - and also make it retroactive, meaning victims abused decades ago could seek redress.

But the Pa. Senate Judiciary Committee stripped out the retroactive language. In other words, if the bill is passed in its current form and signed into law, from that point forward victims would have until age 50 to sue their molesters and the institutions that employed them.

The fear is that the bill would not pass constitutional muster. That's the feeling of a lot of experts, including new Solicitor General Bruce Castor, who testified before the committee that he believed the retroactive language was unconstitutional.

I suggested in yesterday's blog that maybe that wasn't the Legislature's job, that maybe, as many experts have suggested, they should pass the legislation and let the courts decide the constitutional question.

That caught the attention of Steve Hoenstine.

He's the spokesman for state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, of Haverford. Leach happens to be the minority chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and he also voted in favor of taking the retroactive language out.

Hoenstine disagreed with my suggestion, and he wanted to tell me why.

He noted that Leach "took an oath" when he was sworn in as a senator, and because of that, it is indeed his job to question whether or not a bill is constitutional.

"Ignoring that question (letting the courts decide), as you suggested this morning, is a dereliction of that duty," Hoenstine wrote. This is where it gets interesting.

Leach actually supports the retroactivity language in the bill. He wants to see justice delivered to the victims of sexual abuse. But he can't because he thinks the bill will not pass constitutional muster.

Hoenstine noted that the senator also supports raising the retirement age for state judges, but he has sued to stop exactly that from happening, and again he cites the fact that the way it was done is clearly unconstitutional.

"If he wins his lawsuit, he'll stop a proposal he supports from becoming law," Hoenstine said. "He's that dedicated to upholding his oath."

Well, at least I know one person is listening to the podcast.

Good morning, Steve.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, June 29

The Daily Numbers: 4 minutes, how long a computer was down at the county 911 Center during Friday’s shooting incident in Folcroft.

800,000 dollars, how much the county paid for the new system from Zetron just last May.

1, as in the No. 1 man at the Secret Service. Joseph Clancy, a Havertown native, paid a visit to wounded Folcroft Officer Chris Dorman yesterday.

22.5 to 45 years in prison for a Folcroft man for the murder of his girlfriend in Philly.

43, age of Upper Darby man, a former guard at Graterford Prison, convicted of sexual assault on a prisoner. But he will not be labeled a predator.

1947, the key bill that would allow more time for victims of child sexual abuse to bring legal action, that saw some important changes yesterday.

9-4 vote by Senate Judiciary Committee took out the retroactive language that would allow those abused decades ago to bring legal action now. The bill now would only affect future victims after the law is in effect.

30 years old, age at when victims have to bring an action in Pa. The new measure would expand that to 50 or possible remove it altogether. It also lifts the criminal statute of limitations for abuse cases.

50,000 in legal fees being racked up by Pa. House subcommittee that will now seek subpoenas in the investigation of Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

132-68 vote in the House to pass a GOP spending plan for Pa. Gov. Wolf said he is not backing the spending plan because it’s not balanced.

31.6 billion dollar spending plan, that’s a 5 percent boost, but less than what Wolf was seeking.

200 million dollars more for education, a 3 percent boost

250 million, what Wolf was seeking.

34 million to fight the opioid epidemic

114-85 vote by the Pa. House to allow online casino-style gaming in airports and websites.

8 million dollars, what a license for an online gaming site will cost.

23 cent hike in gas at the pumps in New Jersey that could arrive as early as Friday.

50 new stores that are coming to King of Prussia Mall.

700 new workers at the mall, which already boasts a workforce of 7,000

40-39 percent razor-thin edge for Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey over Dem challenger Katie McGinty in latest poll.

36 dead, more than 140 wounded and the death toll likely will rise in wake of terrorist attack at Istanbul airport.

2 straight wins for the Phils.

4-3 comeback win over the D-Backs.

1 time all season - last night - that the Phils rallied for a win after trailing in the 8th inning.

16-18 of May, the last time the Phillies won a series.

85, age of Eagles coaching icon Buddy Ryan, who passed away yesterday.

46, the groundbreaking defense for which he was known.

45-35-1 record as coach of the Eagles.

0 playoff wins for Ryan.

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

No, he didn’t win a playoff game. But Buddy Ryan will always be a Philly sports icon. That’s because Buddy was one of us. RIP, Coach Ryan.

I Don’t Get It: The county 911 system went down at the precise 4 minutes that Officer Chris Dorman was in a life-or-death struggle in Folcroft. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Joe Clancy, a Havertown native who rose to head the Secret Service. He paid a visit to Officer Dorman in Folcroft yesterday.

Quote Box: “This can never happen again.”

- County Council Chairman Mario Civera on the 911 glitch.

It's chilling tale of the tape at county 911 Center

The audio is chilling.

"I'm shot. I'm shot. I'm shot."

The voice belongs to Folcroft Police Officer Chris Dorman, involved in a life-and-death struggle with a drug suspect last Friday morning.

Perhaps almost as chilling is the knowledge that while Dorman was fighting for his life after being shot seven times, no one at the county 911 Center heard his plea for help.

That's because a computer glitch in the new system installed at the County Emergency Communications Center in Lima had failed, leaving dispatchers in the dark, unaware of the violent struggle playing out on the streets of Folcroft.

Luckily, his fellow officers heard his plea, and were able to respond.

But for four crucial minutes, that was not the case for the county's 911 dispatchers.

A severely wounded Officer Dorman staggered into the arms of another officer, who rushed him to nearby Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. But Folcroft Sgt. Bill Bair indicates his efforts to reach the 911 Center were unsuccessful.

A second officer was fired upon after arriving on the scene and confronting the suspect, and again the 911 Center initially was unaware. Luckily, he was not by any bullets.

Obviously, the same cannot be said of Dorman. He was hit seven times in the violence encounter, taking bullets in his face - including one that entered one cheek and exited the other - neck, groin and shoulder. Three other bullets, two in his chest and one in his back, were stopped by his bulletproof vest. Doctors later indicated that vest likely saved his life.

Now it's essential that the county figure out why another essential lifeline for police and firefighters in the field failed at an essential time when they were needed most.

The outage last only four minutes. But they were four crucial minutes when the heartbeat of emergency communications in the county was unaware of what was happening in Folcroft and unable to deliver assistance.

"In this situation, four minutes is really like four hours," said County Council Chairman Mario Civera Monday as officials began to review what happened.

The county recently plunked down $800,000 to upgrade the county 911 radio system. Wednesday representatives of the firm that installed the system, Zetron, planned to have a representative here in Delco to investigate the glitch.

Initial indications are that for some reason the computer being used by the dispatcher rebooted while he was talking to officers in the field. The dispatcher was forced to move to another computer.

Zetron noted they are in the initial stages of their investigation, reviewing the computer-based logs of Friday morning's radio communications.

It appears the county also will seek an independent review of the 911 system. County Executive Director Marianne Grace said the county was contracting with an industry expert to conduct a separate investigation of the incident.

Civera sounded the single note that everyone has in the aftermath of this kind of glitch.

"This can't happen again," he said.

You can say that again.

The hunt for the suspect who shot Folcroft Officer Chris Dorman was concluded quickly.

We hope the same can be said for the investigation into why a glitch knocked down crucial communications at the county 911 Center at the same time.

Retroactivity in sex abuse cases isn't going to happen

To the surprise of absolutely no one, it does not appear as if the victims of child sexual abuse from decades ago are going to get justice.

Or at least their day in court.

Opponents of House Bill 1947, which would extend the window to victims to file legal actions from age 30 to age 50 - and more importantly allow those abused decades ago to seek civil redress now - have been successful in derailing the measure.

A state Senate committee yesterday moved the bill forward - they even lifted any time restraint on when a sex abuse victim could file suit - but they stripped out the crucial language that would allow victims to do so retroactively.

Again the key aspect was a fear among many, including Delco Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Haverford, the minority chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that the measure was unconstitutional.

The Judiciary Committee voted 9-4, with four other Philly area senators dissenting, to send the revised bill to the full Senate. It's a clear victory for the opponents of the retroactive language, the Catholic Conference, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the insurance industry. All feared a tidal wave of costly lawsuits if the retroactive measure had become law.

The bill had passed the House, 180-15, with the support of several Delco state reps. Several of them, including Rep. Nick Miccarelli, R-162, and Rep. James Santora, R-163, said they took heat from the archdiocese for their votes in favor. Miccarelli even had his name casually dropped into the church bulletin at his home parish, St. Rose of Lima in Eddystone, as a reminder to parishioners that he had voted in favor of 1947.

Leach said he struggled with the issue.

"This has been a very difficult issue for me," the senator said. "I really want to keep retroactivity in there. I just don't feel I can," the lawyer said.

If approved by the full Senate, the bill would allow victims to bring action until they reach the age of 50, but only for future cases after the bill is signed into law.

One of the House's biggest backers of the retroactivity language, Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, himself a victim of abuse years ago, said it was merely one more time that "pedophiles and the institutions … they have gotten another free pass.”

Gov. Tom Wolf had indicated he would have signed the original bill. It has long been supported by the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association.

You could make the argument that the question of whether or not the bill is constitutional is not the Legislature's job. They should vote on the measure and then let the courts determine whether it's constitutional or not.

It doesn't appear as if that's going to happen.

And it looks like those Delco state reps put their necks on the line for nothing.

Why we loved Buddy Ryan

Buddy Ryan never took the Eagles to the Super Bowl, the way Dick Vermeil did.

He didn't win as many games as Andy Reid.

In fact, Ryan never won a single playoff game.

Yet he remains among the most beloved coaches every to step foot in Philly, let alone sit in the hottest seat in town, head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

The answer is pretty simple.

Buddy Ryan, the master defensive innovator and the man who created the '46'defense, was one of us. He likely would have been just as much at home in the 700 Level of the Vet as pacing the Birds' sideline on that frozen, nasty turf that opposing teams hated.

It's at least in part because his teams - in particular his defense - matched that plastic surface. They were nasty, unforgiving and took no prisoners.

Ryan was a brash swaggart, but he connected with fans because he knew what made us tick.

He referred to his boss, the man who hired him and signed his checks, as "the guy in France." Norman Braman bristled at the reference, but the fans loved it.

Buddy disparaged the replacements brought in when the NFL regulars went on strike, and even belittled front office workers who put the squad together.

That move won him the undying loyalty of his players, and also the fans, working-class, blue collar union folks who lived and died with the Birds.

Buddy Ball was a hit in the neighborhoods.

Perhaps never more so than on Oct. 25, 1987. Two weeks earlier, the hated Dallas Cowboys and their equally hated head coach, Tom Landry, had pummeled the Eagles replacement players during the NFL strike with a squad that contained a lot of regulars. Ryan clearly thought Landry had left his stars in the one-side affair too long, running up the score in the 41-22 blowout.

Buddy Ryan did not forget. Two weeks later he got his revenge in a bizarre situation that was classic Buddy Ryan.

To me, it is the single moment when Buddy Ryan cemented his beloved status with Philly and Eagles fans. The Eagles, with the strike settled and their regulars back in the lineup, were beating the Cowboys as the clock counted down.

But Buddy was not done. He had one final flair in mind, an in-your-face retort to Landry and the Cowboys.

It will forever be known simply as the fake kneel-down.

Instead of running out the clock, Ryan ordered quarterback Randall Cunningham to fake the usual end-of-game maneuver and instead throw a long pass to wideout Mike Quick. Pass interference was called on the play, which caught the Cowboys unaware. On the next play, again instead of running out the clock, Ryan sent Keith Byars crashing into the end zone.

It was Buddy Ryan's personal message to Landry and the Cowboys.

In that moment, Buddy became a Philadelphian. He hated Dallas as much as we did.

RIP, Buddy. Philly still loves you.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, June 28

The Daily Numbers: 4 days after being shot, Officer Chris Dorman returned home to Folcroft to hero’s welcome.

7 bullets he took in confrontation with a drug suspect.

17.50 an hour, how much Dorman makes as a part-time officer in Folcroft.

33,261 dollars, who much had been pledged to a GoFundMe account to benefit Dorman’s medical expenses Monday afternoon.

4 minutes, how long dispatchers at the county 911 center were cut off from communicating with officers during the shooting ordeal in Folcroft. Officers could still talk to each other, they just couldn’t be heard at the 911 center.

800,000 dollars, how much the county spent installing a new system at the 911 center.

48, age of longtime Upper Darby firefighter and 911 dispatcher Mike Morgan, who died this weekend.

1.5 to 3 years for a California man for his role in a scam that targeted Toys R Us stores, including one in Middletown.

2 workers in Philly burned in a flash fire.

31 billion dollar GOP spending plan that got an OK from the Pa. House Appropriations Committee yesterday.

23 cents a gallon increase in gas in N.J. set to go into effect this Friday.

5-3 ruling by which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas abortion law.

29 million dresser units being recalled by Ikea after the deaths of 3 children when the units tipped over.

260 point decline for the Dow yesterday, on top of the 600 point plunge on Friday. Futures are looking better today, however.

14 billion dollar settlement for Volkswagen for diesel vehicle emissions scandal.

7-0 win for the Phils over Arizona late last night.

5 strong innings for Vince Velasquez in his 1st start since coming off the DL.

6 years, how long Flyers great Eric Lindros waited to get into the NHL Hall of Fame. He got the nod yesterday.

64, age of Tennessee coaching legend Pat Summitt, who died of Alzheimer’s overnight.

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

Our salute to another round of All-Delco selections that start today, with Sam Tomasetti of Garnet Valley kicking things off with the All-Delco softball team.

I Don’t Get It: The county 911 radio system went down at the exact time Folcroft Officer Chris Dorman was being attacked. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the hundreds who showed up Monday in Folcroft to welcome wounded Officer Dorman home.

Quote Box: “Chris is 100 percent Folcroft.”

- Folcroft Officer Thomas Kesser, who has known Dorman for 10 years.

Welcome home, Officer Dorman

We used our editorial page today to talk about a Delco legend.

Actually, THE #DelcoLegend.

That, of course, would be Chris Dorman. He's the Folcroft cop who was shot seven times after responding to a report of drug activity.

It's still hard to believe that three days later, Dorman was headed home again.

Chris Dorman's story tells you a lot about Delaware County. But it also tells you the value of community service.

That's all Dorman has ever wanted to do. He was a volunteer firefighter and was seeing his dream of being a policeman come true.

We almost lost that in a hail of bullet last Friday.

But at the same time we gained something we too often lose sight of, an honest-to-god hero.

Welcome home, Officer Dorman.

You can read our editorial here.

For our complete coverage of the way Folcroft turned out to welcome Dorman home, including videos and a slideshow of images, click here. You can read our editorial here.

Sam Tomasetti leads charge for another round of All-Delcos

My wife will probably be miffed.

I happen to be married to the world's biggest Eric Lindros fan.

Yesterday was a big day for the guy Flyers' faithful used to call 'Big E.'

After a six-year wait, Eric Lindros is headed to the NHL Hall of Fame. But that did not land him as the lead on today's Back Page. No, today he got trumped by Sam Tomasetti.

She happens to be a standout softball player at Garnet Valley High School.

And today she is gracing our lead sports package as we kick off another round of All-Delco selections.

Sam Tomasetti is the All-Delco Softball Player of the Year.

After every high school sports season, our sports staff, in conjunction with high school coaches, select an All-Delco team. The spring teams will run this week, with Sam Tomasetti leading the charge.

You can read all about Sam's exploits here. The rest of the All-Delco Softball Team is highlighted here.

I hope Eric understands. I kind of doubt my wife will.

We covered Eric as well. You'll find Rob Parent's report here.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Monday, June 27

The Daily Numbers: 7 bullets that hit Folcroft police Officer Christopher Dorman.

2 attempted murder charges against the suspect, who also opened fire on a 2nd officer.

6 minutes, how long the county emergency radio system was having problems at the time of the shooting.

2 dozen residents who strolled the woods of the site of Don Guanella School in Marple Saturday morning. Their fear is that the area is going to be developed.

30 years, how long Deputy Chief Michael Morgan served Upper Darby in various capacities, including a long stint with Garretford-Drexel Hill Fire Co. He passed away over the weekend.

6 regional rail lines that were out of service for about an hour Sunday afternoon.

4 working days for our representatives in Harrisburg to come up with a new budget deal.

31.9 billion dollar spending plan being pushed by Democrats.

31.5 billion dollar plan suggested by Republicans.

1.2 cent per gallon dip in price of gas at the pumps last week.

2.41 a gallon, average price of gas on Philly region.

7 people stabbed at a political rally in California.

3 times the Phillies rallied from deficits, only to fall on walk-off hit by the Giants in bottom of the 9th.

8-7 loss for the Phils.

28 hits combined for the 2 teams.

800th win for Giants manager Bruce Bochy.

9 of June, last time Vince Velasquez pitched. He’ll be back on the hill tonight in Arizona to start a new series.

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

Maybe we should all rally around the Union and MLS play until the Eagles head to training camp. Going to be a long summer.

I Don’t Get It: Christopher Dorman took 7 bullets and today is being released from the hospital. The guy is a walking miracle.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those who rallied around the injured Folcroft officer. The best of Delco.

Quote Box: “It just has to be the power of prayer, that and his bulletproof vest.”

- Jeanne Dorman, mother of Officer Chris Dorman.

About that front page photo

That is a very special photo that appears on the front page of today's print edition of the Daily Times.

But I have a confession to make.

It wasn't supposed to appear today. It actually was supposed to be on Sunday's front page.

It depicts wounded Folcroft Officer Chris Dorman offering a thumb's up from his hospital room in Penn Presbyterian Hospital in Philly, where he continues to recover after being hit by seven bullets when he was ambushed after responding to a call about drug activity in the borough.

The photo was given to us by Folcroft police. I had planned for it to grace Sunday's front page as the county continued to offer relief that Officer Dorman was going to make a full recovery.

Why it did not is one of those editor's nightmares that take place in the news business today that never would have happened a few years ago. Let me just say it was a combination of technology and communications issues that led to the snafu.

My heart sank early Sunday when I fired up the laptop and checked the electronic version of the paper, only to see that another photo had been used on the front page.

I was not the only one disappointed. A lot of people around Folcroft were expecting to see that photo on the front page. That's only one of the reasons we decided to use it today.

First and foremost, we're also happy that Dorman is not only recovering, but actually is expected to be released from the hospital today. We'll offer full coverage if and when he does, including the special homecoming they have planned to welcome him back on his home turf in Folcroft.

All you need to know about Delaware County and the people who live and work here was on display in the hours following Dorman's shooting. Saturday night, several hundreds people gathered at the Folcroft Municipal Building for a vigil to honor Dorman.

Let me be the first to say, 'Welcome home, Chris.'

Delco could not be prouder.

And the Daily Times is proud of the photo of you on today's front page.

Even if it took us a day longer than we originally planned.

I know how you feel, Kenny Chesney

It's one of those things that maybe only a newspaper editor can understand.

It's something you simply can't get wrong.

It's why my hair long ago took on a fretful shade of gray.

It's why - yes even after three decades doing this - you still occasionally wake up at 3 a.m. in a cold sweat.

We all make mistakes. Maybe that's why I'm always reluctant to jump on someone who has just made one.

Kenny Chesney made a pretty big one Saturday night.

It's the one - especially now when we deliver news in a heartbeat via Twitter and Facebook - that I'm still very leery about.

The country superstar gave a shout-out to wounded Folcroft Police Officer Chris Dorman during his sold-out show at Lincoln Financial Field Saturday night.

Dorman is a huge fan who actually was supposed to be at the show. But that was before he was hit by seven bullets in an ambush attack after he responded to a call for drug activity behind a Folcroft apartment complex Friday morning.

Saturday morning Dorman reached out to Chesney via social media, asking the country star 'not to forget me.'

It started trending as people all over the area urged Chesney to remember Dorman at the show.

Chesney did just that, but he made a critical error.

He told the crowd that Dorman had passed away.

Folcroft officers quickly jumped on social media to indicate that was not the case, that Dorman was still very much alive.

Chesney explained that he simply got caught up in the moment and misspoke. I know how he feels. Hey, Kenny, it's even worse when it winds up in print and lasts forever.

"I think the emotions got the best of me, and I wasn't as clear as I could've been," Chesney said in a statement. "The idea that a hero like that, with seven bullets in him, would even think about me ... I heard about right before I hit the stage and it stopped me in my tracks."

A lot of people reacted with outrage over Chesney's error. Granted, it's not something you want to do. I know that better than anyone. I also know how easy - especially today - it is for something like that to happen.

I'm inclined to give Chesney the benefit of the doubt, especially after what he did Sunday morning.

Chesney personally called Dorman in his hospital room to apologize for the error, and to extend an offer to take in an Eagles game and share a beer with the wounded officer.

Dorman and his family members actually joked about it. "It didn't bother man," Dorman told our Rose Quinn in a brief phone interview Sunday. "All things considered it could have been a lot worse."

Kenny Chesney and Christopher Dorman.

A couple of class acts.

Our annual salute to grads

It is one of life's seminal moments.

More importantly - at least to me because of what I do - it could be the only time a young person's name appears in the newspaper.

Graduation from high school is one of those special moments that defines much of what our communities are about, the conclusion of a 12-year journey, and in many ways the end of one part of a young person's life and the start of another.

That's one of the reasons we treat the occasion in a very special manner.

We call it the Grad Tab.

It's something we do every year for as long as I can remember.

We don't make a lot of money on it. There isn't all that much advertising in it.

But it's something I hope families will keep for years as part of their family histories.

I talk about why this is important in my weekly print column this week.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Friday, June 24

The Daily Numbers: 2.9 percent tax given the OK by Interboro School Board.

20 jobs being furloughed.

5-4 vote by the board.

89 dollar hike in average tax bill.

3,141
dollars, what average homeowner will pay.

6.5 million dollar shortfall in Upper Darby.

0 tax hike enacted by the board.

100 years being celebrated this year by St. Andrew the Apostle parish in Drexel Hill.

1 as in Uno, and also the 1st ever national chain restaurant that opened its doors in Chester.

24, age of Chester man convicted of an assault on a police officer.

3 people indicted for a home invasion in Marple.

4, age of girl shot and killed in a home in Philly.

1, as in the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. That would be Ben Simmons, taken by the Sixers.

0 trades pulled by the Sixers after taking Simmons.

24 and 26 picks, they took two shooters.

5 RBI for Freddy Galvis to help the Phils snap their skid and prevent the team from losing 10 in a row for the first time in decades.

7-3 win for the Phils to avoid being swept in Minnesota. Now they head for the West Coast

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

We got Ben Simmons, but the Sixers did not make any other moves. They still need a point guard.

I Don’t Get It: After all that talk in D.C., still no action on gun control in D.C.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Upper Darby School Board, for holding the line on taxes and giving taxpayers a much-needed lift.

Quote Box: “These are not easy decisions to make, but we have a responsibility, fiscally.”

- Interboro Superintendent Bernadette Rieley, on budget that calls for tax hike and job cuts.

A tale of two school districts

Call this one "A Tale of Two School Districts."

Actually, that's exactly what we did on today's front page.

Like most school districts across Pennsylvania, both Upper Darby and Interboro found themselves facing a budget crunch. You might say it's just one more argument why our system of funding education is in need of a massive shakeup.

What is interesting is the tack taken by these two school boards to address their fiscal problems.

In Interboro, the board reluctantly decided to hike taxes and cut a few jobs.

Taxes will increase 2.9 percent. Twenty jobs also will be slashed.

In Upper Darby, they are instead tightening their belt and dipping into their fund balance instead of taxpayers' wallets.

As legislators struggle with their own budget woes in Harrisburg as the clock ticks toward a July 1 deadline to have a new budget in place, we hope our representatives keep Upper Darby and Interboro in mind.

A conversation with Gov. Tom Wolf

It must be budget time.

What else could explain the phone call I got yesterday.

Yes, that was Gov. Wolf calling to say hello and talk Pennsylvania dollars and cents. Always nice to chat with the governor, who makes it a habit to reach out to newspaper editors.

I started the conversation by joking about something that I noted on our editorial page, wondering if they were putting something in the water out there in Harrisburg.

The Legislature, after a torturous nine-month budget standoff last year, actually is getting a few things done.

They delivered much-needed changes to the state's archaic laws regulating the sale of alcohol to the governor's desk, and he signed it. They are working on pension relief.

And most indications are that the two sides are quietly making progress in budget talks taking part for the most part behind closed doors.

I asked Wolf about his seeming change of heart in abandoning another push for hefty tax hikes to pay for a new spending push, and he admitted he wasn't sure if he had been completely understood. He stressed that he was never married to those increases in both the sales and personal income taxes. When he was convinced that he could achieve his budget goals without the tax hikes, he decided to move on.

That's no doubt music to the ears of Republicans in the Legislature, who immediately turn up their nose at even the slightest hint of a tax hike.

The governor also sought to assuage the belief by some that this means he is abandoning his call for a steep increase in basic education funding. The governor noted that with the last budget and the one he is now proposing, education funding would be up $450 million.

Wolf also said he was certainly willing to entertain the notion passed by the House this week, a push for legalizing online gaming, as a source of new revenue. But the governor insisted he'd only do it as part of a wider budget agreement.

Finally, I asked him if he thought he and the Legislature would be able to meet the July 1 deadline to have a new spending plan in place. We all know how that worked out last year. We were still asking where the budget was at Christmas time.

Wolf seemed optimistic, but also cautioned it could go a few days past the deadline.

"Nobody wants another nine-month impasse," the governor said, clearly indicating that the process he and the Legislature endured last year might be "a lesson learned."

But he also took clear pride in noting some of the things that both he and the Legislature have been able to accomplish in the past few months.

Call anytime, governor.

Now that I will be able to buy a bottle of wine in the supermarket, how about privatizing the whole system?

Maybe I shouldn't push my luck.

Big Ben the new face of Sixers

Ben there, but will he be able to do that?

The Sixers surprised no one last night when they wasted little time in making LSU stud Ben Simmons the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. What happened next did raise a few eyebrows, however.

What happened next was - nothing.

The Sixers, sitting with two more late 1st round picks at No. 24 and No. 26, could not move back up into the Top 10 to get another player they wanted.

There was rumbling all day about a deal with the Celtics, with both late first-round picks, Nerlens Noel and Robert Covington all going to Boston for the No. 3 pick in the draft, but it never happened.

Were the Celtics asking for too much? Did the Sixers want to do the deal? Or did they pull out at the last moment.

Here's one theory. The Sixers were reluctant to part with Noel because the truth of the matter is no one knows if center Joelle Embiid, who has yet to play a single minute for this franchise, is full recovered from his foot woes.

But at least for now, the much talked about "Process" is over for the Sixers.

There is a new face on the franchise. His name is Ben Simmons.

Check out how Terry Toohey saw the action last night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

And columnist Jack McCaffery notes the Sixers still have a problem. As usual, Jack gets right to the "point."

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, June 23

The Daily Numbers: 5 million dollars, how much the feds say a Havertown podiatrist pocketed in a scheme to defraud Medicare, Medicaid and several insurance companies.

301 individuals snagged by the feds across the nation in what they are calling the biggest Medicare fraud bust in history.

900 million dollars in fraudulent payments alleged.

2 people shot - a father and his son - in 2 separate incidents in Chester. The father was killed, his son wounded.

13 people chased from their homes in Chester by a fire.

50 firefighters who responded to the blaze at Third and Yarnall streets.

23 minutes apart for the 2 shootings, which police believe may be related.

20 homicides in 2016 in Delco.

14 of them in Chester.

30 counts of child porn lodged against a Haverford man.

17, age of teen in North Penn who was sentenced to a year in a residential treatment center for setting a fire that damaged North Penn High School.

700,000 dollars in damages to the school in the fire.

36, age of Philly man who faces charges for supplying the Fentanyl that led to the death of a Pottstown woman.

29 bullets fired in wild shootout in Philadelphia early this morning.

115-80 vote to allow internet gambling in Pa. But reps stood against pushing gaming into local bars.

11 term Congressman Chaka Fattah offered his resignation after his conviction on racketeering charges, but in October. House Speaker Paul Ryan wants it now.

1, as in the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft tonight for the Sixers. They’re taking Ben Simmons out of LSU.

24 and 26, Sixers other picks in the 1st round, unless they swing a trade.

9 straight losses for the Phils.

6-5 come-from-ahead loss to Twin last night.

5-2 the Phils actually led this game in the 5th inning.

4-17 mark for the Phils in June.

13 losses in their last 14 games.

4-2 win for the Union last night in Chester in MLS action.

3 goals for Roland Alberg.

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

You kind of have to feel bad today for Sam Hinkie. He’s the man behind ‘The Process,’ which comes to fruition tonight. But Hinkie will be nowhere to be found, banished by the team a few months ago. Jerry Colangelo is at the helm for the 76ers tonight.

I Don’t Get It: Two more shootings in Chester. This time a father is dead and his son wounded - in separate incidents. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, D-1, who represents a chunk of Delco, and his Democratic colleagues as they took over the House yesterday in an effort to push for a vote on gun control legislation.

Quote Box:
“We are blind to a crisis. Where is our courage?”

- Congressman John Lewis, D-Georgia, on the House action.

Another roll of the dice in Harrisburg

Maybe we spoke too soon about that serious case of fiscal sanity breaking out in Harrisburg.

After all, Pennsylvania is still staring a a deficit that most experts now say is north of a cool billion dollars. And the red ink continues to flow at the state's two large public employee pension plans, a crisis that continues to threaten every school in the Commonwealth.

So how are our elected leaders looking to remedy this "dicey" situation?

Yep, you guess it.

They're rolling the dice on more legalized gambling.

This is almost predictable as the Phils' offense.

Yesterday the House backed a measure that would push legal gaming onto the internet as well as airports. For you modest folks out there, you will be happy to know they rejected a move to also alow casino-style gaming in local taverns. No doubt that will be music to the ears of the folks down at Harrah's in Chester, as well as county officials.

When this proposal first aired a couple of weeks ago, they called a press conference to condemn the proposal, saying the city of Chester and county would lose money - rooted in legal gaming inside the Chester gambling mecca.

You can get all the details here.

All of this is part of that annual summer tradition - the mad dash to put a state spending plan in place in Harrisburg. The measure could come up for a vote in the Senate as early as today.

So what are the chances that Pennsylvania actually gets a spending plan in place by the July 1 deadline?

Maybe the state should be taking bets on that.

Fiscal reality in Harrisburg

On our editorial page today, we're wondering what they are putting in the water out in Harrisburg.

First the Legislature signed off on bringing our archaic laws concerning the sale of alcohol at least partially out of the Dark Ages.

No, it's not privatization. But at least you'll be able to buy a bottle of wine in some supermarkets.

Gov. Tom Wolf, not exactly a fan of doing away with the LCB, quickly signed this measure into law.

Then the governor did a reverse on his latest budget projections.

Wolf now is saying he will abandon the huge round of tax hikes he is seeking to bankroll a planned boost in spending. The governor now says he can accomplish much of what he wants without increasing the sales and personal income tax.

Will that lead to an on-time budget next week.

That remains to be seen.

In the meantime, let's call this a fiscal reality check.

You can read our editorial here.

'The Process' pays off for Sixers tonight

'The Process' is about to come to fruition.

But Sam Hinkie will not be around to see the fruits of his labor.

Hinkie, the man behind 'The Process' that saw the once-proud Sixers franchise reverse course and tank a couple of seasons in hopes of increasing their odds in the NBA Draft Lottery and getting a high draft pick, got bounced in a power shuffle a couple of months ago. Now a very familiar NBA name is calling the shot.

Jerry Colangelo is holding all the cards as he and the Sixers will be in the spotlight tonight for the made-for-TV spectacular otherwise known as the NBA Draft.

They hold the No. 1 pick, and almost assuredly will select LSU standout Ben Simmons. This time last year, everyone was pointing to Simmons as the sure-fire top pick and the next great franchise player. Then an odd thing happened. LSU played its basketball season. They turned out to be fairly mediocre, and questions started to be asked about just how good Simmons was if he could not put his college team on his back and drag them into the NCAA Tournament.

Most of those questions seem to have ebbed.

Simmons will go No. 1 to the Sixers.

But that's when the real intrigue of this draft will kick in.

The Sixers have two more picks in the first round, sitting at No. 24 and 26.

A lot of people believe they will parlay at least one of those picks, along with a player - maybe Nerlens Noel, or Jahlil Okafor? - in an attempt to move up again in the first round.

Here's how our Terry Toohey sees the first round playing out.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Grad Tab correction

It's time once again to step into the confessional.

Bless me father ....

Oh, wait, that's a different pew.

One of the things I get to do every day as the editor of the newspaper is deal with the ticklish area of mistakes. Yes, we make them. You're shocked, I know.

Yesterday I mentioned our efforts in one of my favorite projects of the year. It's called the Grad Tab, in which we tackle the arduous task of attempting to list the names of every high school graduate in Delaware County.

Inevitably we run into problems.

Some schools take forever to get us the lists. Yes, these are the very same people who always complain that we never run any good news about young people.

Others note the disparity in coverage, why some schools' photos ran bigger than theirs, or why their list was confined to a black-and-white page.

Of course, sometimes we create our own problems.

And that brings me to this fairly public correction.

One of the very first emails (of the several hundreds I receive every day) was from a representative of Sun Valley High School. She pointed out to me a problem with their list and photos. Yeah, you might say that.

We flipped the names under the two photos, so they wound up being misidentified.

We ran a correction on Page Two today, but did not have room for the two photos, which does not seem to correct the error.

So I am running the two photos here in my blog, along with an apology to the two great young men.

Above is Nicholas Garvey, the Sun Valley valedictorian. Below is Michael Costigan.

As I said yesterday, we take a great amount of pride in delivering this annual salute to the Delco's graduating high school seniors. This seminal moment in their lives may just be the only time their names appear in the newspaper.

Once again, kudos to the Class of 2016. We're proud of you, and proud to list your name and photos in the newspaper.

Even when we flip the IDs on your names.

Yes, we covered the Carpenter Cup

One of the things I love about our readers is that they are not exactly shy about sharing their opinions.

That is especially true when it comes to sports parents.

Yes, you know who you are.

Earlier this week I got a phone call from a gentleman with a gentle reminder.

He wanted to remind me that the Carpenter Cup would be getting under way Monday. That's the tournament that features the best baseball and softball players pitted against each other in an All-Star format, with kids from the suburbs facing squads made up of kids from the city.

Actually, this dad had something else in mind.

He correctly figured that we'd be all over the Carpenter Cup with our coverage. He was correct.

But he wanted to remind me that there was a group of Delco girls from Catholic League teams who were actually competing with the Philadelphia Catholic League squad.

We indeed did have a story noting their accomplishments the next day.

He didn't call back to offer his thanks for the story.

They usually don't, and that's OK. I'm always happy when readers take the time to remind me of something important going on in the county, in particular when it gives us the opportunity to give some good ink to kids doing good things.

That is almost always the case in sports.

Make sure you check out our Carpenter Cup coverage today, which dominates the Back Page of the print edition, as well as our sports section online and our high school sports page, PaPrepLive.com.

It sure beats talking about the Phillies!

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, June 22

The Daily Numbers: 2 women who now face charges in the brutal torture and murder of a Chester woman whose body was found in Fairmount Park handcuffed, stabbed and shot in the head.

800 dollars, the debt that police believe sparked the killing.

2 incidents involving gunfire being probed in Ridley.

1 teen wounded in a drive-by shooting yesterday afternoon.

17, age of juvenile charged in a home invasion who pleaded guilty yesterday.

300 fans being haded out by Delco officials to help senior citizens deal with the heat.

1 case of Zika virus now confirmed in Chester County.

210 extra minutes added to the commute for riders on the Media-Elwyn line west of Swarthmore Station who are now using shuttle buses in both directions to get to points west.

29 counts on which U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah was convicted at his racketeering trial.

1 million dollar loan illegal campaign contribution at the heart of the matter.

132-65 vote in the Pa. House to expand restrictions on abortion.

50-foot hole that swallowed up woman working in her yard in Wilkes-Barre.

14-10 loss for the Phils on the road in Minnesota last night.

3 straight poor starts for Aaron Nola.

4 RBI for Maikel Franco, including a home run.

4 homers for the Phils in the loss.

12 games under .500 now for the Phils, who have lost 8 straight games and 12 of their last 13.

4-21 in their last 25 games.

1 more day until the 76ers make Ben Simmons the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.

4-0 loss for the USA to Argentina in the Copa America series.

3-1 win for Philadelphia Catholic League boys baseball team over suburban foes.

5-4 loss for the Delco boys’ team.

12-12 softball win for the Delco girls.

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

The Phillies broke out of their slump big time last night, hitting 4 homers and scoring 10 runs. One problem: The Twins scored 14.

I Don’t Get It: Killing someone over an unpaid debt. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Delco for getting fans into the hands of senior citizens during this heat wave. They gave out 300 of them yesterday.

Quote Box: “A check on your elderly neighbors or those who are vulnerable is something we encourage all Delaware County residents to do.”

- John McBlain, Delco Councilman.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, June 21

The Daily Numbers: 12 months of supervision in an ARD probationary program and 32 hours of community service for a Ridley woman accused in the theft of funds from the Ridley School District.

4,000 dollars believed stolen.

17,500 raised by Philadelphia police officer and Delco native Anthony Case on a bike ride from coast to coast.

3,000 miles from Venice Beach, Calif., to Atlantic City, N.J. racked up by Case and a pal.

130, number of times authorities said a horse was hit with paintballs. Lily died, who was adopted by comedian Jon Stewart and his wife, died Monday.

9 days and counting for state legislators and Gov. Tom Wolf to agree on a new Pa. budget.

1.5 cent per ounce tax on sugary drinks now the law in Philadelphia after it was signed by Mayor Jim Kenney yesterday.

5th Made in America Festival planned for Ben Franklin Parkway for Labor Day weekend, with Rihanna and Coldplay topping the bill.

2 Philadelphia men charged by state A.G.’s office with selling heroin.

4 gun control measures that were rejected by the U.S. Senate last night.

121 degrees yesterday in Palm Springs, Calif.

7 straight losses for the Phils.

0-6 for the homestand.

3-0 deficit yesterday before Jeremy Hellickson was able to record his 1st out.

3-1 loss, as Phils continue to struggle at the plate.

3 runs were all that Hellickson surrendered.

6 hits over 7 innings

6 strikeouts and 0 walks for the Phils’ starter, who could be a key trade piece later this summer.

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

The Phils now hit the road after going 0-for-6 at Citizens Bank Park. Ouch!

I Don’t Get It: Four more gun control measures voted down by the U.S. Senate. Raise your hand if you’re surprised.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Anthony Case. The Philly police officer and Delco native raised money for the Survivors Fund of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police by biking from coast to coast.

Quote Box: “If I could raise money for the Survivors Fund, there is nothing I wouldn’t do.”

- Anthony Case.

Our salute to the Class of 2016

At first glance it probably doesn't seem like all that much.

Just a collection of names.

But they're not just any names.

They are the Class of 2016.

Today in the print edition of the Daily Times, we present our annual Grad Tab. In it we list the names of just about every high school graduate in Delaware County.

How many names is that?

Well, here's an indication of what we were up against.

Upper Darby High School bestowed diplomas on 850 graduates. There are 14 other public high schools in the county, not to mention three archdiocesan high schools and a smattering of private schools.

In other words, it's a pretty tall task.

I am sure not everyone will be happy with the presentation.

We'll take those complaints with a grain of salt. It goes with the territory.

It will not diminish our zeal to offer a final salute to kids on one of life's seminal moments.

For many, it may very well be the last time their name appears in the paper. At least until we run their obituary. We of course hope that is decades away.

For others, no doubt the wait won't be nearly as long. They will do something - perhaps something notorious - that will merit them once again gracing our pages.

It is the nature of news. People doing what they are supposed to do is not really news.

Except for today.

Kudos to the Class of 2016. We're proud of you, and proud to list your name in today's paper.

Another setback on gun control

In Orlando, they continue to bury the dead.

In Washington, they are burying gun control legislation.

I'm not the least bit surprised.

We lost 49 lives when a madman armed with a semi-automatic rifle and handgun invaded the Pulse nightclub.

It was horror, in the flesh.

But it still was not enough to move our elected leaders to take action on reasonable gun control legislation.

Last night four different measures got voted down in the Senate, for the most part along party lines.

Our Pennsylvania senators, Democrat Bob Casey and Republican Pat Toomey, voted on party lines.

Toomey, who finds himself increasingly in the spotlight as he faces a tough re-election fight in November in a state that has increasingly tilted Democratic in statewide races, was not surprised at the result.

He believes the measures are flawed and is preparing his own legislation.

I'm inclined to give Toomey some leeway on the issue of guns. In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, he put his backside on the line by reaching across the aisle and joining West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin in a proposal to beef up background checks.

It failed.

Yes, after the slaughter of innocents, it failed.

I'm not surprised that the same fate befell those bills Monday night.

I don't know why anyone would.

That is what we do in this country.

We are horrified at another mass shooting.

We beg for action on guns.

We watch as nothing gets done.

Then we wait for it all to happen again.

Phillies usher in dog days of summer

Ignore the calendar. Yes, I realize summer officially arrived last night with the summer solstice.

But the Phillies are jumping ahead to the dog days.

The Phils suffered their seventh straight defeat yesterday as their limp offense once again proved for the most part impotent against the Arizona Diamondbacks in a 3-1 loss.

The makes the Phils 0-for-the-homestand. And most of the games were not close.

Yesterday, fans (the trickle that showed up for the afternoon Businessperson's Special) had barely reached their seats when the Phils were staring up from another hole.

Starter Jeremy Hellickson started the game by giving up a double, single and homer for a 3-0 deficit in a heartbeat.

Ironically, Hellickson pitched well from that point, giving up six hits in total, but no more runs after that rocky start.

But with the Phils' offense, a 3-0 deficit would take this team a week to climb out of.

Now here's the bad news.

There is no relief in sight.

Sure, the Sixers will take over the Back Page as we await Thursday night's NBA Draft and whether they will select LSU's Ben Simmons or Duke's Brandon Ingram. But in terms of games and results, we're stuck with the Phillies.

For those wondering, the Eagles don't report for training camp until the last week in July.

Pass the sunscreen.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Monday, June 20

The Daily Numbers: 52 years since the city of Cleveland has celebrated a major sports title. The Cavs and LeBron James ended that drought last night.

3-1 deficit, what Cavs rebounded from to win the title.

1 and only time that has ever happened. Kudos to LeBron and the Cavs.

9 games, what Golden State lost all season, before losing 3 straight to the Cavs to see their attempt to defend their title go by the boards.

31, age of Jimmy Koons, of the Secane section of Upper Darby. A man will go on trial today in Philly in connection with the beating outside a strip club that took Koons’ life.

1 chain restaurant located in the city of Chester. Welcome to Pizzeria Uno.

150 jobs arriving along with the new eatery.

1, as in Day 1 for shuttle buses being in place on Media-Elwyn regional rail line. Trains will start and stop only as far west as Swarthmore station as the transit agency replaces the deteriorating Crum Creek Viaduct.

2.5 cent per gallon dip in prices we paid at the pump for gas last week.

10 days for the Pa. Legislature and Gov. Wolf to get a new budget deal in place.

3.3 billion dollar spending boost being sought by Wolf. That’s an increase of 10 percent

2.7 billion in new taxes being proposed by Wolf to pay for it all.

1.8 billion dollar deficit looming over Pa.

51, age of man now facing charges in Bucks County after group of young girls was found in his home.

14, age of one of the girls, who apparently had been “gifted” to Kaplan by an Amish couple to pay a debt.

6 straight losses for the Phils, who fell to the Diamondbacks yesterday.

2 runs and 4 hits on 5 and 2/3 innings of work for Phils’ rookie Zach Eflin.

1.8 runs per game for the Phils during this skid.

3 runs or fewer they have scored in 44 of their 70 games.

0-for-4 for Maikel Franco as he continues to struggle.

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

Well, rack up a title for Cleveland. When will Philly win another title, and which team will it be?

I Don’t Get It: Still not sure why it took so long for authorities to get to the bottom of that bizarre case in Bucks County where the man was found living with several young girls who apparently had been “gifted” to him by an Amish couple.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the city of Chester, which now has its first-ever chain restaurant. Welcome to Pizzeria Uno.

Quote Box:
“There’s a tremendous amount of pride in Chester.”

- Dan Hanson, spokesman for Widener University, on the new restaurant.

The great House Bill 1947 debate

Welcome to summer! And it is going to feel like it today as we break into the 90s. Don't look for me to complain, remember I'm that odd duck who actually likes this kind of steamy, soupy weather.

Speaking of heat, here in Pennsylvania House Bill 1947 continues to put heat on legislators in Harrisburg.

If you're not aware, House Bill 1947 is the legislation that would extend the window for victims of child sexual abuse to file civil actions against their abusers. Right now victims have until age 30 to bring action. House Bill 1947 would extend that to age 50. It also would lift the statute of limitations to bring criminal charges in such cases.

As you might expect, the law is being vigorously opposed by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

I spent part of my Father's Day on the radio with my lead Sunday columnist, Christine Flowers, debating the issue as well as the reaction of several Delaware County state reps who are feeling the heat after voting in favor of the measure.

There are two major problems with the bill as it is proposed. One, because of the state constitution and the nation of "sovereign immunity," it does not treat victims of abuse in public institutions the same way as it does those in private ones, such as the church or parochial schools.

There also is the question of whether it is even constitutional to go back today and make a statute applicable to someone when they were not subject to it at the time of the alleged offense.

This week Bruce Castor, the new solicitor general in Kathleen Kane’s attorney general office, testified before the state Senate Judiciary Committee that he believed the “retroactivity” language in the bill, going back and making people liable now for something they were not liable for at the time, is clearly unconstitutional.

Just as clearly, Christine and I come at this from different perspectives, in particular when it comes to the complaints by some reps that they have been singled out by the church.

Rep. Nick Miccarelli, R-162, actually had his name dropped casually into the church bulletin at St. Rose of Lima in Eddystone with a reminder for parishioners that he voted in favor of the legislation. There is no vote scheduled as yet in the Senate.

This one is only going to get hotter, and we'll keep tabs on it.

The Grad Tab: An Annual Tradition

With Friday's ceremonies for both Chester and Springfield high schools, we brought down the curtain on the 2016 graduation season.

But we're not done.

There is still one more very special item that we will deliver tomorrow.

We call it, simply, the Grad Tab.

In it we attempt a really mammoth task. We will list the name of every high school graduate in the county.

Unless you've done it from this side, it's really kind of hard to detail just how big a challenge this is.

But we think it's important. For some of these kids, it may very well be the only time their names appear in the paper.

It is our honor to offer our salute as they head off to college, work or other endeavors.

Make sure you grab a copy of Tuesday's Daily Times for our annual Grad Tab.

Marking 34 years at the Daily Times

As those who are loyal readers of this blog know by now, last week I managed to mark a couple of milestones.

I clicked off one more year of coming to work here in beautiful downtown Primos. If you're counting that is now 34 years I've worked at the Daily Times.

I used my print column this week to look at this job and how it's changed over the last three decades.

The technology has revolutionized the industry, and rocked my world. I'll be the first to admit it's not always easy to keep up with the pace of delivering information 24 hours a day, while at the same time trying to remain devoted to our print product.

Check out my column here and see if you agree.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Talking about House Bill 1947 at 4

Happy Father's Day!

I will celebrate today by joining my lead Sunday columnist, Christine Flowers, on the radio to talk about, in a way, the "sins of the father."

In other words, we again will be talking about the Catholic church, the priest child sexual abuse scandal, and specifically a piece of legislation that continues to make waves here in Pennsylvania.

House Bill 1947 - the measure that would extend the window for victims of child sexual abuse to file civil actions against their abusers - continues to make news.

It continues to be opposed by the Catholic church, among others, while shining a spotlight on many local state representatives who are supporting it.

This week Bruce Castor, the new solicitor general in Kathleen Kane's attorney general office, testified before the state Senate Judiciary Committee that he believed the "retroactivity" language in the bill, going back and making people liable now for something they were not liable for at the time, is clearly unconstitutional.

I'll join Christine on her WPHT Big Talker 1210-AM radio show at 4 p.m. to talk about this very controversial piece of legislation.

If you haven't listened in to my new podcasts and are dying to hear what I sound like, this is your chance. Luckily, I have a face that was made for radio, just as in the newspaper.

Talk to you at 4.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Friday, June 17

The Daily Numbers: 1, as in Wawa Store No. 1 on MacDade Boulevard in the Folsom section of Ridley Township, which will close its doors today.

420, as in Route 420, just a couple of blocks away, where Wawa will open a new super store today.

2 graduates from Chester High who have a little extra to celebrate. They recently tied the knot.

12 Chester residents who took advantage of a public hearing last night with the federal Department of Justice to convey their concerns over the Chester Police Department.

27,000 calls to Chester police in just 5 months so far in 2016

13 homicides so far this year in the city.

121 years of education coming to an end as they close the doors for the last time at St. Francis de Sales School in Aston.

15 people who plan to walk in the woods around the Don Guanella School in Marple Saturday. A disagreement with the archdiocese, which is in the process of selling the site to a developer, seems to be smoothed over.

6:30 p.m. Sunday, time of Mass at Basilica SS. Peter and Paul downtown in memory of the victims of the Orlando shooting.

23 months in jail for man who operated auto tag business in Chester that scammed hundreds of people.

314 graduates of Marple Newtown High School who received diplomas last night.

1 major American city with a soda tax. That would be Philly, which gave the OK to new tax yesterday.

1.5-cent-per-gallon levy on sugary drinks.

33 cats removed from house in Frankford section of Philly.

27 to 54 years in jail for Chester County man who ran cocaine operation out of his home.

5 A.C. casinos that could face a labor strike by workers just in time for the July 4 holiday.

1 year since 9 people were gunned down in Charleston, S.C., church.

13-2 loss for the Phils to Blue Jays last night.

7 games under .500 now at 30-37.

7 games over .500 just a few weeks ago.

4 errors committed by the Phils last night.

8 runs on 8 hits given up by Aaron Nola in just 2 innings and change.

2nd straight rough outing for Nola.

17 hits, 5 home runs for the Blue Jays.

11 home runs over last 3 games for Toronto.

7, as in Game 7, Sunday night after LeBron James and the Cavs beat Golden State last night.

41 points for 2nd straight game for James.

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

Pete Mackanin held a team meeting after a brutal effort by the Phils last night, committing 4 errors in another blowout loss to the Blue Jays.

I Don’t Get It: Still can’t quite get my head around the idea of that gator snatching a 2-year-old boy in shallow water at the lagoon down at Disney World and then hauling him off into the water. Just horrible.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the students, staff and families of St. Francis de Sales School in Aston, which closed its doors for the last time yesterday.

Quote Box: “I hate to see the other one close but it’s progress.”

- William Wasson, at old original Wawa Store No. 1 in Ridley yesterday.

Farewell to Wawa No. 1

Some things literally just scream Delco.

Anyone else remember the Bazaar of All Nations?

I am always surprised at the intense reaction we get every time we publish a story or photo about the Granite Run Mall. Do yourself a favor. Don't drive by there today. It's depressing as hell. Who knew you could actually see Riddle Hospital from Route 352. That's because you are looking directly through what used to be the center court of the mall. Now it's been reduced to rubble, with the garish sight of the remaining stores huling on either side, a stark reminder of time gone by.

Today, Delco will lose one more icon.

We take great pride in these parts in our very own, home-grown convenience store. I don't care what some survey says. Sheetz will never be Wawa. The Delco business icon started on the family farm out in Chester Heights. When the family was looking for a place to sell some of their dairy products, they decided to open a store.

In April 1964, they opened what we now sentimentally refer to as Wawa Store No. 1, on MacDade Boulevard in the Folsom section of Ridley Township.

Today they will close the doors forever, when the store moves a few blocks away at the intersection with Route 420. Wawa, as usual, is doing this right, with a parade to note the closure of old No. 1 to the new facility.

Of course, the new Wawa stores don't look much like the quaint, old original stores.

We now refer to these creatures as 'super' Wawas.

That might be, but I will always prefer the old style.

That was pretty super to me.

Farewell, No. 1.

You'll always be Delco proud.

Seeking the answer to gun violence

We used our editorial page today to note that Orlando is not the only place looking for answers to gun violence.

In fact, they've been searching for an answer to that riddle for a long time in Chester.

This week two things happened that could help in that hunt.

Make sure you read our editorial here.

Marking another anniversary

I mentioned earlier this week that I was marking an important anniversary.

It was not the only one. It was not even the most important one.

I arrived in beautiful downtown Primos on June 14, 1982. I thought that I had died and gone to heaven. I came to the Daily Times from the Record in Coatesville. Let's just say things were a bit different here. It was a union shop. And the wages proved it. I sometimes had to pinch myself to be sure this was all real.

But I brought a little bit of Coatesville with me to Delco. Or actually, Downingtown.

I met my future wife at the Record. She worked in advertising; I was in news.

She always said the first time she saw me walk through the advertising department, she knew I was the man she was going to marry. It took me a little longer.

We dated forever, at least to hear her tell it. I was just getting comfortable.

Almost one year to the day after I arrived in Delco, I walked down the aisle with my bride.

We will celebrate 33 years together tomorrow.

She jokes that she is always trying to catch up to the Daily Times.

At least I think she's joking.

Unless you work in or have connections to the news business, it's hard to explain just how hard this racket can be on your personal life.

So many newsrooms are littered with the remains of relationships that could not hold up under that strain.

I can't list the number of family events I missed, kids' night at school, parties, nights out.

For some reason she has not kicked this sorry visage to the curb.

And for that I will be forever grateful

A great Father's Day weekend, the Phils not withstanding

Don't look now but that great start by the Phillies is starting to disappear in the rear-view window.

Remember when the Phils were stunningly seven games over .500? This morning they've reversed course. They now sit seven games under .500 at 30-37. That matches their season low-point.

Last night they got hammered again by the Blue Jays. But it wasn't just the numbers that were ugly in the 13-2 loss. The Phillies for one of the few times looked like a team that had lost interest. They committed four errors, including the sight of Odubel Herrera flinging a ball into the seats under the mistaken belief that he had just recorded the third out of the inning. Unfortunately, that was only the second out.

Maybe that's one manager Pete Mackanin decided to hold a team meeting after the game.

This is where everyone expected the rebuilding Phillies to be this season.

It's just hurts a little more after that surprising start.

But there is salvation, especially is you are, like me a golf nut.

Father's Day weekend always means one thing.

It's time for the U.S. Open Golf Championship.

Most of yesterday's Round One at Oakmont Country Club outside Pittsburgh got rained out.

But the weekend forecast is looking good for one of the great sports events of the year. And this Sunday you'll probably be able to go straight from watching the Open to the opening tip of what should be a riveting Game Seven of the NBA Finals pitting Steph Curry and Golden State vs. LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, June 16

The Daily Numbers: 49 people who laid down on the steps of the Media Courthouse last night to mark the mass shooting deaths in Orlando.

640 Catholic teachers who have a new contract with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

1,100 dollar pay boost for every teacher.

3 Delco schools covered by those teachers - Bonner-Prendie in Upper Darby; O’Hara in Marple; Carroll in Radnor 14,000 students enrolled in archdiocesan high schools in the 5-county region.

1, as in Wawa’s original store No. 1, which will close on Friday when a new store opens just up the street on MacDade Boulevard in Ridley.

5 Upper Darby officers who received promotions.

6,000 dollars given by Dunkin Donuts to the Philadelphia Union’s Soccer for Success program in Chester.

26, age of the victim found handcuffed, stabbed and shot in the head in Fairmount Park. She’s from Chester.

284 graduates from Interboro High School.

265 graduates from Sun Valley High School.

2, age of child snatched by alligator and drowned in lagoon at Disney World in Orlando.

1.5 cent per ounce soda tax that will be up for final vote by Philadelphia City Council today.

7-2 loss for the Phils to the Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park last night.

3 hits, including a home run, for Cody Asche.

3 hits by the rest of the Phils.

19 losses in 25 games for the Phils.

4 runs on 5 hits over 6 innings for starter Jeremy Hellickson.

0 for 4 last night and 0 for his last 16 for slumping Tommy Joseph.

3-2 win for Union over City Islanders FC in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play.

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

All of a sudden, this Philllies team is turning into the team everyone expected to see this year.

I Don’t Get It
: Why our elected officials in Washington can’t even bring the gumption to at least vote on some common sense gun control measures.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the five Upper Darby police officers who earned promotions this week

Quote Box: “The sheer volume of lives cut down shook me to my core.”

- Rev. Peter A Friedrichs, at last night’s ‘die-in’ at Media Courthouse

Public's chance to talk about Chester 'COPS' tonight

Orlando is not the only place looking for answers.

They have been seeking them in Chester for a long time.

The problem in Chester, thankfully, has never been a mass shooting of the likes that rocked Orlando - and the nation - over the weekend.

Instead, in this city that sits along the Delaware River rocked by hard times, it's more of a dull pain. And that's part of the danger.

It would be all too easy to simply roll your eyes and look the other way when hearing of a shooting in Chester. For many city residents, gunfire has become a part of everyday life.

And there are those in the city who have become distrustful of their police department. That comes in the wake of several police-involved shootings, including one in which a hundreds bullets were fired at a suspect who police say brandished a weapon.

That is part of the reason the city is partnering with the federal Department of Justice on a complete review of its police department. Tonight a very important step in that process will be held, when the public will be able to offer their thoughts on the department and violence in the city.

The session is the product of the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS. The COPS Office developed the Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance in 2011 as an independent and objective way to transform a law enforcement agency through an analysis of policies, practices, training, tactics and accountability methods around key issues facing law enforcement today.

Tonight it is Chester's turn to go under the COPS' spotlight. And the public is being invited to offer their thoughts. The session is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. The goal of the listening session is to elicit feedback from the community on how the Chester Police Department can improve trust and build relationships within the community.

IT will take place in Alumni Auditorum on the campus of Widener University in the city.

The COPS Office stresses this session is crucial to their independent assessment team and its review of the Chester Police Department. They want to hear what the community has to say about their police department.

Tonight is that opportunity.

I hope the place is packed.

We'll be there to cover it.

Time for action is now

We used our editorial page today to talk about what is going to happen in the wake of Orlando.

In short, our fear is that it will be the same thing that happened after Sandy Hook. Or Aurora. Or San Bernardino.

In effect, not much.

If the slaughter of innocent babies in what had always been a safe cocoon, their elementary school classrooms, was not enough to shake the nation to action, I'm not sure that another 50 lives lost in Orlando will do it either.

In Washington, several Democratic congressmen from Connecticut, who represent the Sandy Hook area, are holding a filibuster, demanding Congress take up, or at least vote, on gun control measures.

In Media last night, they held a "die-in" on the steps of the Media Courthouse in an attempt to shed some light on the issue and increase pressure on our elected representatives to take action.

Our own Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., has a measure aimed at keeping those on the FBI 'watch list' from being able to buy guns.

You can read our editorial here.

How we got those Sun Valley pictures

I hope a lot of people from Sun Valley High School and the Penn-Delco School District pick up the paper today.

I hope they are pleased to find one of their graduates featured on our front page and a full page of photos inside.

Of course, they might be wondering why this display was not in the Wednesday paper, since the Sun Valley graduation ceremonies took place Tuesday night.

Let me try to explain.

As most readers know, we make ever effort to cover all of the major public and parochial high school graduation ceremonies. This year we approached that task a little differently. Instead of stories, we compiled info boxes on each ceremony and did photo packages.

Everything was going smoothly - at least as smoothly as anything goes in this business - until Tuesday night, when we had a scheduling snafu. In short, a person who was supposed to be taking the photos at the Sun Valley graduation never got the word. Bottom line? We dropped the ball. No photos from Sun Valley appeared in the Daily Times or on DelcoTimes.com Wednesday.

The first thing I did Wednesday morning was email Christa Fazio, the public relations coordinator at Penn-Delco and offer my apologies. Christa and I had gone over the procedures and I assured her we would have a photographer there.

Then I did something else, something we find ourselves doing quite a bit these days in the news business. I asked her if the school had photos we could use.

That is how we got the display that appears on Page 19 of the newspaper today.

My thanks to Christa for saving the day.

And again my apologies to the graduates at Sun Valley.

And a reminder. Our grad tab, listing the names of local high school graduates, will appear next Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, June 15

The Daily Numbers: 30,000 dollars, how much a Chester auto tag dealer is believed to have ripped off from customers.

1,800 counts that were originally lodged against the owner of the business and his clerk.

200 customers whose money they are believed to have pocketed.

5:30 p.m., time of vigil on the steps of the Media Courthouse to honor the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando.

100 people who attended a prayer service at Trinity Episcopal Church in Swarthmore Monday night.

372 graduates of Penn Wood High.

418 graduates of Ridley High.

14, age of teen who is missing in Aldan.

26, age of Chester woman whose body was found in Fairmount Park in Philly. She had been handcuffed, stabbed and shot in the head.

30 of June now deadline for closing deal between Archdiocese and developer for the old Don Guanella property along Sproul Road.

213 acres on the site that Goodman Properties wants to use to build Cardinal Crossing, a mix of residential, retail and business.

136-59 vote in Pa. House to change the rules of state pension for future Pa. workers.

5 people shot during disturbance in Wilmington last night.

20, age of Patience Carter, a Philadelphia woman who told a harrowing tale of her ordeal after being shot inside Pulse nightclub during the Orlando mass shooting.

1, as in No. 1, that title goes to Sheetz, over No. 2 Wawa, in poll of Pa. residents and their favorite convenience store.

200 dollar fine for man who threw beer bottle at Phillies slugger Ryan Howard.

11-3 loss for Phils as they got routed by the Blue Jays.

9 runs, 8 earned, off Phils starter Zach Eflin, making his major league debut.

5 losses in last 6 games for the Phils, 14 of their last 18.

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

There were a lot of calls for the guy who threw that bottle at Ryan Howard to be banned from all Philly sporting events. He’s paying a $200 fine and through a probationary program could have his record expunged.

I Don’t Get It Still waiting for someone to take action in the wake of another mass shooting.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the woman in Upper Darby who scoured the township after her car was ripped off and actually helped police find it.

Quote Box
: “Love is the only way through. To the families and friends of all those that were killed and wounded, our love is grace and nurturing.”

- Denise Yocco, in mourning Orlando victims.