Thursday, September 29, 2016

Mariner East 2 not going away anytime soon

There is no bye week for the most important story in Delaware County.

Middletown Council's meeting Monday night was packed by residents who wanted to air their increasing concerns about Sunoco Logistics' plans for Mariner East 2, a 350-mile-long series of pipeline the company wants to use to ferry ethane, butane and propane to the former refinery in Marcus Hook.

To get there they have to traverse a little more than 11 miles in Delaware County, including a chunk of Middletown, in addition to Thornbury, Edgmont, Middletown, Aston and Upper Chichester.

Council eventually signed off on the easements needed by the company including a parcel that will take the new pipelines within 800 feet of Glenwood Elementary School on Pennell Road, something that drew a lot of attention from concerned residents and parents.

A couple of things are certain after Middletown's vote.

One, the residents who are opposed are not going away. Members of the grassroots organization Middletown Coalition for Community Safety that has sprung up in efforts to halt the pipeline said they will continue the fight.

“We will pursue each and every legal and constitutional option available to us to stop the pipeline,” said coalition member Eve Miari.

It was good to see that several of those who have been vocal in their opposition have been invited to work with council in keeping tabs on the project. Council joined neighboring Thornbury in firing off a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf outlining their concerns over the project.

The other important element is something that was made pretty clear during the presentation by a Sunoco Logistics spokesman at the meeting Monday night.

I can't say I'm terribly surprised.

This pipeline project is going to happen.

If the company had not gotten the OK for the easements they were seeking to cross township-owned property, they simply would have rerouted around it.

“If you vote no, we will still put the pipeline in,” Sunoco Logistics Land Project Manager Bart Mitchell said. “This project will be completed."

There is a lot at stake in Mariner East 2.

The economic upside is huge, both for Marcus Hook and the rest of the county.

The concerns about safety along the pipeline are equally important.

Don't expect this issue to go away anytime soon.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Battle of Mariner East 2

Much of the country was riveted to their TV sets last night, watching history unfold.

Not in Middletown Township.

They were making some headlines of their own.

More than 150 people packed the township council chambers to hear the board vote on whether to grant a series of easements to Sunoco Logistics for their Mariner East 2 pipeline plan.

Those two pipelines are slated to ferry ethane, butane and propane - as much as 450,000 barrels a day - to the former Sunoco refinery in Marcus Hook.

To get there those pipelines have to traverse 11 miles of western Delaware County, through Middletown, Aston and Upper Chichester.

Residents opposed to the plan, who have galvanized into the grassroots organization Middletown Coalition for Safety, actually went to court Monday afternoon seeking an injunction blocking the vote. The effort failed.

After hearing from residents and Sunoco - including the company's statement that if they did not get the OK to traverse the public parcels they simply would re-route the path around them - the board voted to approve the deal.

I said Monday this is the most important story in Delaware County.

Nothing that happened last night changed my mind.

This fight is not over. Not by a long shot.

Presidential politics turns into the WWF

Well, can’t say I’ve ever wondered whether a 400-pound person lying on a bed somewhere was hacking into our computer systems.

Or that it's 'smart' not pay any federal income tax.

This, and a lot more, is all part of the Donald factor.

Was that a debate or an SNL skit?

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump want mano a mano last night, steamrolling moderator Lester Holt, and going for the jugular.

The debate started out pretty much as you would expect, and it was fairly tame for the first hour. Things started to heat up later, however.

I am guessing that, as in most debates, this one did not change anyone's mind. If you loved Trump before, you likely were equally as enthused by what your heard on that Hofstra University stage last night. The same holds for Hillary.

My concern is if this is the best we can do, lobbing personal insults at each other.

It also reinforces something else that has been on my mind for awhile now.

This is not supposed to be reality TV. This is about electing the next president of the United States.

Donald Trump has changed the groundrules of political elections.

To him and his backers, everything is a reality TV show, so why would seeking the presidency be any different. He has branded himself as a different type of candidate, and zeroes in on the angst of middle America, which is tired of getting the short end of the stick as political insiders deliver more of the same in Washington, D.C.

That's why he immediately focused on the fact that Hillary Clinton has had 30 years to do some of the things she's talking about now and has failed to get them done.

He vows to be the change agent Washington needs, and he's not above tossing a few personal insults at those standing in his way.

Of course, Clinton's allies remind us that this is not a reality TV show, that the stakes are high, and Trump is eminently unqualified to sit in the Oval Office.

I'll leave that for others to decide.

Trump is a very different candidate, one who is not above constantly dropping his own business ventures into his run for the highest office in the land.

Expect more of the same in the next two debates.

I have to think we can do better than this.

That other 3-0 quarterback

Leave it to the NFL schedule makers to throw cold water on the serious case of Wentz Mania that is gripping the Philly region.

The Eagles are not going to win and extend their brilliant start to 4-0 this weekend.

But it's not because they are going to lose, either.

They don't play. It's their bye week.

No doubt this will prove just as popular as playing four preseason games.

The timing of the bye is always debatable, and almost always hated by fans.

That will be even more so as the break pulls the plug on the magic that head coach Doug Pederson, Wentz and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz are accomplishing.

In the meantime, there is another story line that should interest Eagles fans, and a date they should circle on their calendars.

Oct. 23.

That's when the Minnesota Vikings come to town. They're also sporting a perfect, 3-0 mark, despite losing their starting quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, to a season-ending knee injury, then watching their All-Pro running back, Adrian Peterson, go down with an ankle sprain.

Oh, and you might recognize the guy now leading the Vikings. That would be none other than Sam Bradford. Yes, the same Bradford who was expected to be leading the Eagles this year, right up until the time Bridgewater's knee exploded.

In an unprecedented move, Eagles GM Howie Roseman traded his starting QB a week before the season opener. Then he and Pederson doubled down by announcing they would go with Wentz as their starter, despite the fact that he had played only a quarter of a preseason game, before being shunted off to the sidelines with cracked ribs.

It is almost impossible to realize now that the initial plan was not even going to play this year. Bradford was penciled in as the starter, with veteran Chase Daniel as the backup. Wentz would watch and learn. He must be a quick learner.

Now the entire league is talking about Wentz after three straight dazzling weeks, including Sunday's eye-popping domination of the vaunted Steelers.

Beat writer Bob Grotz offers a few thoughts on our old pal Bradford.

How cool would it be if both teams went into that Oct. 23 clash undefeated.

I always liked Bradford. The guy can make all the throws. He just had a lot of horrible luck with his knees. I said after the trade I thought there was a chance Bradford could lead a very good Vikings team to the Super Bowl.

But, once the trade was made, I also said I had no interest in watching Daniel play. Wentz had to play. The Eagles concurred.

The rest is history.

In the meantime, Carson Mania will have to cool its jets for a week.

Monday, September 26, 2016

'Next year' arrives in Philly

This doesn't happen here. This doesn't happen to long-suffering Eagles fans. This is something that happens in other towns.

Other teams find "the one" in the draft.

Other teams mine the next coaching genius.

Other teams come out of nowhere to become the surprise team of the year.

Eagles fans have waited a long time to be that town. We haven't won a championship since 1960. We had some success with Dick Vermeil, Ron Jaworski, Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb.

But for most of those years, it's always been other teams, other players, other draft picks that have been the talk of the NFL.

Not this morning.

The NFL is talking about the Eagles, who now stand at 3-0 after dominating the Steelers yesterday on a sun-splashed late Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field.

This was not the Cleveland Browns.

Or the Chicago Bears.

The lament was, after the Eagles bolted out of the gate 2-0 with wins against two of the worst teams in the NFL, "they haven't played anybody."

They played somebody yesterday.

And took them apart.

Everyone pointed to yesterday's matchup with the Steelers as a statement game for the Eagles.

This is the statement the Birds made: This Eagles team is for real.

The Birds dismantled their cross-state rival, a team many included among the NFL's elite and one of the favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

You can get all the details here.

It struck me while watching the game that Eagles fans very well may have hit the Trifecta.

Carson Wentz. Doug Pederson. Jim Schwartz.

Win, place and show.

Wentz continues to confound the experts. Yesterday he unfurled his first 300-yard passing day against a very good Steelers defense.

Pederson, who has yet to lose as Eagles head coach, continues to dazzle with his play-calling and his ability to get this team ready to play. In short, they look like a very well-coached team, something they have often not done in their long, frustrating history.

Schwartz's defense frustrated one of the best quarterbacks in the league, Ben Roethlisberger.

The three of them combined to deliver one of the worst beatings Mike Tomlin has every endured during his time at the helm of the Steelers.

"Next year" has finally arrived for Eagles fans.

They have the best young QB in the league.

They have a coach who has yet to lose in his first stint as an NFL boss.

And they have a defensive coordinator who is taking no prisoners in shutting down every offense they encounter.

Can we postpone the bye week?

The biggest story in Delco

As usual, my timing could be better.

You might have heard they are having a little debate tonight.

And in case you missed it, the Eagles looked pretty good yesterday.

Neither of those, however, in my opinion, is the biggest story in Delaware County.

What is?

You'll have to check out my Monday print column.

The King

In sports, they sometimes refer to horse racing as "the sport of kings."

But there was only one "King."

I have been playing golf for more than 30 years, introduced to the game by my future father-in-law (much to my future wife's lament), hooked from the very first time one of those tiny white spheres rocketed off the club face and went dead straight, instead of my normal nasty dead left trajectory, the snap hook that has been my nemesis for every one of those three-plus decades.

I was what you would call a "publinx" golfer. No country clubs for me, unless maybe I was attending a wedding reception.

I fell hard for golf, devouring every instruction book and video, spending at least as much time on the driving range as I ever spent on the course, convinced the elusive secret to the golf swing was in that next bucket of balls.

The truth is I was never going to be the next Jack Nicklaus. He was a virtuoso, reminding me of a great sports quote: He plays a game with which I am not familiar.

I admired Nicklaus.

But I loved Arnold Palmer.

This was not a country club golfer. He was one of us. Arnold Palmer's swing was not a thing of beauty. Unless you happened to be a duffer looking for inspiration.

Palmer actually charged onto the golf scene before I got interested in the game. He would take a drag on his cigarette, toss it aside, hitch up his pants, then walk up to the tee and lash the ball with the signature swing, his arms eventually windmilling around his head.

One look at Palmer and I knew I had found my hero.

Lay up? Not the King. Arnold always went for it. And we who did the same - if only on the driving range - loved him for it.

Then there was something else. Most golfers were stoic, cold, calculating warriors. Then along came the pride of Latrobe. Palmer had an electric personality, and was not afraid to show it on the course. Again, just like we did on our public course rounds, thrilling at the occasion good shots, and cursing the mishits.

Palmer's winning personality was made for TV, and he put the sport on his back - and that mix of guts, passion, wit and laughter, and took it out of the country clubs and to the masses. We had found our hero.

Golf had plenty of superstars - Hogan, Nelson, Snead, Nicklaus.

But it only had one King.

Palmer, the pride of Latrobe, Pa., learned the game at the side of his father, the greenskeeper at Latrobe County Club. Yes, his dad worked at the club. But this was no aristocrat. This was one of us.

That appeal burned through the TV, bringing a sport that had been relegated to the "haves" to the "have-nots."

It turns out commoners could be just as frustrated by this maddening game as our wealthy peers.

Once you step onto that first tee, there is no pedigree, no preferred status, no class system among golfers.

There is only you and the course, and the knowledge that the course is almost always going to win.

Public golfers needed someone to bring the game to our level.

That's what Arnold Palmer did.

'The King' died yesterday at age 87.

But he will live forever. Arnold Palmer took a game that was too often reserved for the masses and brought it to the masses. I'm not sure if I should praise him or thank him for that curse.

RIP, Arnold Palmer.

The King is gone, but what he did for the game - and those poor souls doomed to chase that little white ball - will live forever.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

It's the battle of Wentzylvania.

Yes, those are your 2-0 Philadelphia Eagles who will be taking the field Sunday for another national TV game, this time against cross-state rival the Pittsburgh Steelers. Or, as the Associated Press has dubbed the game, the Keystone Konfrontation.

Go ahead, admit. No one saw this coming.

Carson Wentz has been a revelation in leading the Eagles to two straight victories, albeit over the Browns and Bears, two of the lesser lights of the NFL.

The road gets decidedly bumpier now.

Ben Roethlisberger is the real deal.

And that defense that Wentz will be looking at is stout, especially against the run. The Steelers come into this game with the No. 2 ranked defense in the league against the run.

If the Eagles have a chance, it likely will reside on Wentz's right arm, as opposed to their running back by committee.

That might not be such a bad thing. Wentz has proven more than capable as a field general. That was evident in the very first series against Chicago. Wentz was unfazed by the glare of Monday Night Football, and calmly dissected the Bears with a no-huddle offense on the Birds' first drive. Wentz came to the line, examined the defense, and then adjusted his blocking schemes. He even checked out of plays that looked like they would not work against the Bears' defensive formation. This is stuff some veteran QBs struggle with.

Wentz was doing it in Game 2.

He's also proved extremely accurate, as well as extremely stingy. Wentz has yet to throw an interception.

One troublesome thing Wentz does need to learn - sooner rather than later - is how to either get out of bounds or get down, so as to avoid some of the hellacious hits he's been absorbing.

Is it enough to pull out a win and run the Birds' mark to 3-0. Possible, yes. Likely, no.

The Pick: Make it Steelers 26, Eagles 23. Nobody is perfect. Neither are Doug Pederson and Wentz. Pederson has been just as big a revelation as his rookie QB. The Eagles have looked extremely well-coached on both sides of the ball. But the Steeler just have more talent.

Last Week: It was the second straight eye-opening performance from Wentz. I liked them to rattle Bears' QB Jay Cutler and force a few turnovers. Cutler and the Bears did just that on successive possessions early in the third quarter, pushing the tide to the Eagles. They never looked back. I'm sitting at an equally pretty 2-0 along with the Eagles. One of us is going to remain perfect Sunday at 4:25. My heart says Eagles; my head says Steelers.

Game by Game: Eagles 29, Browns 10 (My Pick: Eagles 19, Browns 13).

Eagles 29, Bears 14 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Bears 16)

Friday, September 23, 2016

An apology to our readers

There is a belief by a lot of people who live in this county and read this newspaper that the Daily Times is inherently biased in its political coverage.

We are members of the liberal elite, and take every opportunity to lift the Democratic Party and downgrade their GOP foes.

In short, they believe we stack the deck against them, that we blatantly favor the Dems and their liberal positions.

We gave them every reason to believe exactly that this morning.

Readers might have noticed something odd about our print coverage of the Donald Trump rally held at the Sun Center in Chester Township last night.

We featured Trump as he strolled onto the Sun Center stage before a packed house of 5,000 supporters. We used the headline, "He's Back," to signify this was his second foray into Delaware County in a little more than a week, underscoring just how important the Philly suburbs are in the presidential derby.

So far, so good.

But readers might have noticed something odd once they turned to our coverage of the event inside on Pages 4-5.

We had planned two stories, one covering Trump and his speech, and another on the inevitable protest by Dem supporters outside.

Unfortunately, only one of them got into the print edition.

Guess which one?

Because of a communication problem (imagine that, people in the communications industry failing to communicate), the story on Trump's speech did not run in print.

I wish I could give you a good reason why it did not. I can't. We simply fouled up.

It is posted on our website. You can read it here. It will run in print in tomorrow's edition.

I know that people are going to believe we actually planned it this way, that we deliberately decided to focus on the Democrats and the protesters outside while giving short shrift to Trump and the 5,000 supporters who showed up to hear what he had to say.

I've already talked to one longtime GOP official in the county who read me a text he received from a friend that indicated exactly that. He suggested it was classic Daily Times and their liberal bent, only taken to extremes.

I listened carefully to what he said. And I then I offered this explanation. There is none. We made a mistake. That falls on me. This notion of our "bias" against Republicans is something I've dealt with in every election since I became editor of this newspaper 17 years ago. It's something I guard against zealously. Some days I feel like Sisyphus, from Greek mythology, pushing a boulder up a hill only to see it roll right back down to the bottom, leaving me to start all over again.

This morning I'm back at the bottom of the hill. Through no one's fault other than my own. I'll field the calls. I'll take the hit. But I want people to know - for the millionth time - how hard I struggle to avoid exactly the appearance we gave to our readers today.

For that, those who see it as validation of their belief when it comes to the Daily Times our faults no doubt are enraged at what they are reading in print this morning.

I can't say I blame them.

I can, however, apologize, and strive to start pushing that rock back up the hill again. I

Our salute to a champion

Tavia Isaac is a champion.

For lots of reasons.

We talk about a few of them on today's editorial page.

Nothing good in the city of Chester?

We beg to differ?

You probably have never met Tavia.

Read our editorial salute to a champion here.

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Sept. 23

The Daily Numbers: 5,000 supporters who packed the Sun Center in Chester Township Thursday night to hear speech by Donald Trump.

32, age of Natasha Gibson, brutally stabbed to death in Yeadon.

35, age of Mark Epps, person of interest police are seeking in the case.

5 hours, how long the northbound lanes of the Blue Route above Villanova were closed overnight by a bad accident.

1st day of Autumn. Raise your hand if you miss summer already.

5 years in jail for Aldan man on tax fraud rap

21 percent dip in SEPTA regional rail ridership in July.

10 percent decline in August from last year.

107,000 daily riders, 14.8 percent fewer than their normal ridership.

120 railcars that were sidelined by structural defect.

7 million dollars less in revenue.

500 million Yahoo accounts that were hacked.

3rd night of protests stayed peaceful in Charlotte.

2 late leads blown by Phils in falling to the Mets in 11 innings.

3 run homer by Astrubal Cabrera that erased lead and led to walkoff win for Mets.

27 players used by the Mets, including 10 pitchers.

4 hours, 23 minutes, how long it took to play this one

4:25 kickoff Sunday for clash between Eagles and Steelers.

2-0 records being sported by both teams.

Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan. Let’s just call Sunday’s Eagles clash the Battle of Wentzylvania.

I Don’t Get It: Looting. Just never got it, never will. What does that accomplish?

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those who peaceably assembled on both sides of the political spectrum Thursday night for the Trump rally at the Sun Center in Chester Township.

Quote Box: ““We are here to see our next president.”

-Parkside resident Ronnie Klekota at the Trump rally.

Keystone Konfrontation

Credit where credit is due.

This is how the Associated Press characterized Sunday's clash between two undefeated teams, both of which just happen to reside in Pennsylvania:

Keystone Konfrontation.

I like it. It's the lead on their roundup of this weekend's games.

OK, now raise your hand if you saw this one coming. Thought so.

I certainly didn't expect this. Not with a rookie head coach. Not with a rookie QB with just one year of college football at North Dakota State on his resume. Not with a signal caller who saw one quarter of action in the preseason before taking a spot on the sidelines with cracked ribs. Not with a guy who was not expected to play at all this year until Teddy Bridgewater's knee exploded, touching off a series of dominoes that resulted in Carson Wentz being installed as the Eagles starting quarterback.

Wentz has been all that and a bag of chips.

He's literally the biggest story in the NFL right now.

But let's face it, he has not exactly been facing Lawrence Taylor out there. The Eagles have beaten a bad Browns team and a mediocre Bears squad.

Things get decidedly tougher Sunday when Mike Tomlin brings Ben Roethlisberger and his equally undefeated Steelers to the Linc for a 4:25 national TV game.

From what I've seen so far, I don't really expect Wentz to be fazed by the hoopla. He stared down the bright lights of Monday Night Football without blinking.

But can he and the Eagles knock the Steelers from the unbeaten ranks while pushing their own record to a hard-to-believe 3-0? For that you'll have to check back tomorrow for the Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Sept. 22

10,000 dollar first prize for Tavia Isaac, who took top prize in the Food Network’s ‘Chopped Jr.’ show.

12, the age of our precocious chef from Chester.

8-foot snake found sunning itself on a Springfield driveway.

32, age of woman found fatally slashed early this morning in Yeadon.

740,220 dollars in federal grant money for East Lansdowne Fire Co., which they will use to hire 12 part-time firefighters.

300 dollars, what a masked gunman got in a hest at the Upper Chichester Walgreens.

2nd stop in 2 weeks her in Delco for Donald Trump. He will hold a public rally at the Sun Center in Chester Township tonight.

40 people who showed up at Nether Providence zoners Monday night as they dealt with controversial sober living facility that has been operating on Providence Road.

30 of October, when professors at the 14 state-owned universities say they will strike if they don’t have a new contract.

6 months ago, when a freshman state legislator pleaded guilty to a felony charge. Now she is resisting calls to resign her office.

2 statewide debates agreed to by Dem U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty.

4, how many incumbent Republican Pat Toomey wanted.

43-38 lead for McGinty, according to new Muhlenberg College poll.

608 dollars, how much it costs for a 2-pack of the EpiPen life-saving device needed by those who suffer severe allergic reaction.

500 percent increase in the cost since 2007.

11 billion dollars in sales for Mylan, the company that makes the device.

1 person wounded in shooting during 2nd night of protests in Charlotte, N.C., after shooting of man by police.

8-3 win for the Phils over the White Sox last night.

21 home runs for Tommy Joseph.

6 hits, including 3 solo home runs, given up by Phils starter Jerad Eickhoff over 7 innings.

7 homers give up by Eickhoff in his last 2 starts.

Congratulations, Tavia!

I have a confession to make.

I still get a kick out of a great front page.

Yes, I know, print is not 'hip.' We're supposed to be all about online these days. And I am. I spend an inordinate amount of time shoveling information onto our website, as well as social media such as Twitter and Facebook, feeding the beast that is the 24-hour news cycle.

But I still love the feel of print. And a dynamite front page.

And today's is one of my favorite front pages of the year.

For a couple of reasons.

The second I heard yesterday morning that our little dynamo, 12 year-old chef Tavia Isaac had won the top prize on the Food Network show 'Chopped Jr.,' I knew I wanted that beautiful, smiling countenance on our front page.

But I'm also willing to admit there was another reason as well.

Tavia Isaac resides in Chester.

I think it's fair to say there are more than a few people who believe part of Chester's image problem stems from the way it is often presented in the county's daily newspaper.

I certainly understand their concerns. I'm the guy who answers the phones when they call to complain about our coverage.

I'm hoping I get a few calls today.

But the truth is I don't really care if I do or not.

Tavia Isaac is a great story. She is proof that a lot of good things are happening in the city of Chester. And that some of those good things are being done by young people. It's a great front page.

And we're proud of it. And Tavia.

You go, girl.

Delco at center of Campaign 2016

Delaware County continues to be in the crosshairs for Campaign 2016.

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump will spend his second night in Delco in two weeks tonight when he holds a rally at the Sun Center in Chester Township.

We will have live coverage as the race for the White House rolls through Delaware County again.

Then tomorrow the crucial U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Pat Toomey and Democratic challenger Katie McGinty will bring the GOPer to Delco, along with a very special guest.

Toomey will pay a visit to the Herbert W. Best VFW Post 928 in the Folsom section of Ridley Township, and he's bringing Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, with him.

McCain carried the GOP's banner in the 2012 presidential race, losing to Barack Obama, who rolled to re-election.

You can get all the details on the Toomey-McCain visit here.

Somewhere, the 'Summer Wind' is blowing

Excuse my depression this morning.

I am wallowing in the worst day of the year.

As I write this there are a little more than four hours left in summer.

Autumn arrives officially at 10:21 a.m.

I should be past this. For all intent and purpose, summer really ends for me with the arrival of the Labor Day weekend.

Still, with it becoming "official," this morning, the sting is a little more acute.

Luckily, Mother Nature has decided to take mercy on me.

She is going to offer a few more warm, humid days to soothe this old soul who pines for the "lazy, crazy, hazy" days of summer.

Unfortunately, the forecast says there is a change coming, and we will have trouble breaking 70 degrees on Sunday. Good thing I'll be camped in front of the TV watching the Eagles game.

I have just one question this morning.

How many days until Memorial Day?

Goodbye, summer. Somewhere, a beach is calling my name.

Of course, I can always turn to this classic:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Sept 21

The Daily Numbers: 1947, the House Bill on child sexual abuse that will be debated again this fall in Harrisburg.

12 years after turning 18, age 30, how long a victim of child sexual abuse has file a civil action against their abuser.

32 years after turning 18, or age 50, how long a victim would have under House Bill 1947. Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, wants to make that language retroactive.

6 Catholic archdioceses in Pennsylvania now being looked at by a grand jury in Harrisburg for potential child sex abuse.

41, age of woman in Ridley who faces charges of failing to disclose that she owned 2 homes and had money in a bank account on her annual housing and utility assistance forms.

32, age of woman in Philadelphia who pleaded guilty to conspiring to join Islamic State.

5,500 faculty members at Pa.’s 14 state universities who continue to be in contract standoff. The state now is seeking a fact finder to be appointed.

21-6 vote in Pa. House Judiciary Committee for a bill that would allow the National Rifle Association to challenge local gun laws.

36 years in solitary confinement for convicted murdered. A judge says the harsh term should now end for 64-yeare-old Arthur Johnson.

15 years in prison for a former volunteer photographer for WXPN radio on child porn charges.

9 month closure set for key ramp from I-95 at Aramingo Avenue in Philly.

2 officers shot in Philly over the weekend who are now out of the hospital.

43, age of Philly police officer now charged with pot possession.

7-6 win for Phillies over the White Sox.

3 hits, including homer, for Odubel Herrera, who is heating up again after a slump.

3-run homer surrendered by closer Jeanmar Gomes in the 9th.

3 runs on 4 hits surrendered by Phils starter Jake Thompson over 5 innings.

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

Yes, Carson Wentz has been an eye-opener. But we should not overlook the job done by Doug Pederson as well. Don’t look now, but he still has not lost as Eagles head coach - 6 straight wins.

I Don’t Get It:
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are splitting. I dont care.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Tavia Isaac. The precocious 12-year-old from Chester got some national exposure this week when she competed on the Food Network’s ‘Chopped Jr.’ show.

Quote Box: “The statute of limitations hurts no one but victims.”

- Jeff Dion, director of the National Crime Victim Bar Association.

The Battle of 1947 is about to heat up again

As he promised, Rep. Mark Rozzi is not going away.

Neither is the controversy surrounding his push to open a window that would allow victims of sexual abuse from decades ago to file civil actions against their abusers today.

As the Pennsylvania slowly comes back to life in Harrisburg following their summer slumber (yes, I know sometimes it's hard to tell the difference from the other times of the year in the Capitol), House Bill 1947 will be back on the front burner.

That is the legislation that passed the House last year that would eliminate the criminal statute of limitations in child sex abuse allegations, and expand the time a victim has to file a civil action. Currently under Pennsylvania law, a victim has 12 years after they turn 18 to seek civil redress or until they reach the age of 30. House Bill 1947 would extend that window another 32 years, until a victim reaches age 50. But it would only apply to cases going forward, if the bill ever becomes law, unless Rozzi gets his way.

Rozzi is vowing to re-introduce his controversial amendment that would in effect make the added time retroactive, meaning victims from decades ago could now come forward and file civil actions.

As you might expect, the measure is bitterly opposed by the insurance industry, national Catholic groups and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput sent a letter that was read or distributed in ever parish in the region after the bill was passed by the House asking the faithful to contact their senator and urge them to oppose what he termed the anti-Catholic measure.

The measure had passed the House, 180-15, with the backing of many in the Delco delegation, before becoming bogged down in the Senate, thanks in part due to the opposition of the archdiocese.

Several state reps, including Rep. Nick Miccarelli, R-162, of Ridley Park, and Jamie Santora, R-163, of Upper Darby, took some heat from the archdiocese for their backing of House Bill 1947, including Rozzi's amendment.

Miccarelli actually had his name casually dropped into the parish bulletin as a reminder to parishioners that he had supported the measure. Santora said the archdiocese's actions came very close to "electioneering."

There will a very interesting side story when House Bill 1947 comes up for debate again this fall.

Every one of these state reps will be running for re-election in November. No doubt the archdiocese will be more than willing to remind the faithful of just where these elected officials stand when it comes to House Bill 1947.

We'll be keeping a very close watch on this one.

In the meantime, you can read our update on Rep. Rozzi's press conference here.

Why Trump is coming back to Delco

Donald Trump is coming to Delco again.

A week after his private, invitation-only event at the Aston Community Center, he is set to appear before about 5,000 people at the Sun Center in Chester Township Thursday night.

Why is he coming back to Delco so soon?

Does the Donald have a hankering for a shorti from Delco's own iconic convenience store, Wawa?

Actually, what Trump really covets is not so much Wawa, but Wawa's customers.

Check out today's editorial here.

Pederson has been perfect as Birds' boss

Carson Wentz is the toast of the town.

That's what happens when you are a rookie quarterback who goes 2-0 without an interception. In case you're wondering, the last time that happened was 1970.

But as magical as Wentz's run has been, something else should be noted about the 2016 Eagles.

Doug Pederson has yet to lose a game as the Eagles head coach.

Through four preseason games and two regular season contests, Pederson has nary an 'L' next to his name.

The guess here is that Pederson is not going to run the board. The road gets decidedly tougher this Sunday when the similarly undefeated cross-state rival Pittsburgh Steelers come to the Linc for a 4:25 clash.

But don't gloss over what Pederson has accomplished.

After the high-profile Chip Kelly, many fans slumped when owner Jeff Lurie reached back into his Andy Reid connections to unearth Pederson, who fans had not forgotten was the stand-in at the beginning of that 1999 season while Donovan McNabb prepared to take over the reins of QB.

Pederson was expected to be Andy Reid Lite, in more ways than the obvious.

One of the first questions he fielded on taking command of the Birds was how he, Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs again mangled the clock management at the end of a playoff game last year. To Eagles' fans, it had all the markings of a certain Super Bowl, when Patriots head coach Bill Belichick stared across the field at Andy Reid and wondered if the scoreboard was correct, if Reid believed his team was winning as the Birds used up precious minutes in a methodical scoring drive.

Pederson's explanation of the Chiefs' travails did not sit well with the fans. He said the team did not want to give the back back to Tom Brady and the Patriots. Belichick must have been having flashbacks to Andy Reid's Eagles squad.

But Pederson has been nothing short of a revelation in his stint as the Birds' boss so far.

This team looks eminently well-coached, prepared for every situation. There is no mangling of the time management. There are few stupid penalties.

Will that pattern continue when the weather - and the schedule - gets decidedly tougher.

We will see.

For now, Carson Wentz is the early leader in the Rookie of the Year race.

The same can be said for his first-year coach. * Check out Jack McCaffery's take on Pederson here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Sept. 20 (Eagles Edition)

The Daily Numbers: 2-0 mark for the Birds after beating the Bears in prime time on Monday Night Football.

29-14 win for the Eagles.

21 of 34 for 190 yards for wunderkind rookie QB Carson Wentz.

0 interceptions.

1970, last time a rookie QB in the NFL won his 1st 2 games without tossing an interception.

2 key drops by Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor, both of which could have been TDs.

100 yards rushing for the Eagles.

64 yards rushing for the Bears.

1 TD surrendered by the Eagles defense.

3 turnovers created by the Eagles defense.

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

Whatever “it” is, Carson Wentz has it.

I Don’t Get It: One thing Carson, please learn how to slide. You’re not going to last in this league taking those kinds of shots every week

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Doug Pederson as well. The guy remains undefeated through 4 preseason games and 2 regular season contests. Can’t get much better than that.

Quote Box: “It was a cool stage, Monday Night Football. Everything’s sweet. But again, it was a football game and we came out with a win.”

- Carson Wentz, after beating the Bears in prime time to go 2-0

Wentzylvania: Carson & the 'it' factor: He has 'it'

Welcome to Wentzylvania.

Bring on the Steelers and battle of the Keystone State undefeateds.

Whatever "it" is, Carson Wentz has "it." Lots of "it."

Don't take it from me, all you had to do was listen to NFL quarterback guru Jon Gruden, the lead analyst on ESPN's Monday night telecast, as he gushed over the Eagles rookie QB wunderkind.

Wentz continued his eye-popping NFL debut last night, seizing the spotlight of the national stage in leading the Eagles to a 2-0 mark with a solid, 29-14 win over the Bears on Monday Night Football.

Here's what I - yes, the president of the Sam Bradford Fan Club - kept thinking as I watched the first half of that game last night. This isn't supposed to happen to us.

Eagles fans are use to the team getting it wrong.

This time Howie Roseman and the Birds brain trust got it right.

How do you think Cleveland Browns fans felt watching that game last night. The Browns not only decided Wentz was not worthy of the No. 2 pick in the draft, they doubled down leading up to last week's opener against the Birds by intimating they did not consider the kid from North Dakota State to be a Top 20 quarterback. Yes, they actually said that.

The Browns traded the rights to that No. 2 pick to the Eagles for a boatload of draft picks. Next week, in Week 3, the Browns will be starting their third different quarterback this year.

Probably not feeling a lot better are the Los Angeles Rams. They compared Wentz and Jared Goff and decided to cast their lot with Goff. He is currently holding a clipboard on the sideline as their third-string QB.

And unless you get too carried away with the acumen of the Eagles brain trust, there is this.

None of this likely happened if Teddy Bridgewater's knee had not exploded, ending his season and setting off a panic in the Vikings' front office. That laid the ground work for the trade of the Eagles starting quarterback, Sam Bradford, to Minnesota a week before opening day.

Remember, if not for the Bridgewater injury, the plan was that Wentz would not play at all this year.

Yes, I know, that's a little hard to fathom at this point.

You could tell five minutes into last night's game that Wentz is different, he has "it."

With all of one game of college football and one quarter of NFL preseason under his belt, he has "arrived."

Wentz exudes leadership, a field general. When the Eagles offense takes the field, there is no doubt who is in charge.

Doug Pederson - who has yet to lose as Eagles head coach - opened the game with the Birds in a no-back offense. Wentz approached the line of scrimmage and carefully examined the Bears defense, doing his best Peyton Manning imitation in adjusting the formation and play. The only thing missing was Wentz calling out "Omaha."

His numbers are not glittering. Wentz wound up 21 of 34 for 190 yards. That does not tell the two potential TDs dropped by Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor. It also does not account for the turnstile center Jason Kelce turned into most of the night.

None of that matters.

Once again the most important number for Wentz is zero. That's the number of interceptions he threw.

In the process, Wentz became the first rookie NFL QB since 1970 to go 2-0 without throwing an interception. That's 46 years.

It's been even longer since the Eagles won a title. That would be 1960.

Every year since, long-suffering Eagles fans have watched as other teams got it right, while the Birds wound up with draft picks like Marcus Smith.

Give credit here to Roseman, who was left to put a franchise back together that had been decimated by Chip Kelly. What Roseman has accomplished is almost as breath-taking as the play of Wentz.

This wasn't plastic surgery. Roseman took a blow torch to the Birds' locker room. He boldly maneuvered to get the Birds from No. 13 in the draft to No. 2. He hired an unknown in Andy Reid protege Doug Pederson. They zeroed in on Wentz as their guy and then they went and got him.

And finally, there was the final piece of the puzzle. That would be Teddy Bridgewater's knee. That changed everything. Gone was the notion of Wentz caddying for a season behind Bradford.

Bradford was shipped off to Minnesota, which allowed Roseman to get back the No. 1 pick he dealt in order to move up and snag Wentz.

Finally, there was the decision, against the usual grain of NFL thought, to throw Wentz in as the Eagles starter.

It's something that's just not done.

So is what Wentz has done in these first two weeks.

Rejoice, Eagles fans. Some day in the not too distant future, there is every chance that the Eagles - yes, the NFL team that resides here in Philly - will feature the best quarterback in the NFL.

And other teams - and their fans - will be saying about possible draft picks, "Maybe he could be the next Carson Wentz."

Are we overreacting? After all, it's just two games, and nobody is predicting much for the Browns and Bears. The Steelers should provide a much sterner test for "Wentzylvania."

But no one can now simply list the game as an automatic loss.

We have Carson Wentz

And he has "it." Lots of it.

Cooking up a great story out of Chester: Go, Tavia!

It's going to be a pretty big night Isaac family of Chester, especially 12-year-old Tavia.

She will be competing for a $10,000 prize on the Food Network reality TV show, 'Chopped Jr.'

Tavia will be competing against other young chefs in whipping up something delectable with some ingredients they don't know until the filming of the show.

All the young chefs on 'Chopped Jr.' are between the ages of 9 and 15.

I'll be honest with you.

All of that is nice, but it's not really the reason I was so interested in this story.

The truth is there are stories just about every day that paint the city of Chester in a less than complimentary manner. I am always asked why we never show anything positive coming out of the city.

Well, meet Tavia Isaac.

You can read her story here.

More on the Mariner East 2 debate

We used our editorial page today to address that rumbling you hear rolling across Delaware County.

No, it is not the Carson Wentz bandwagon. We'll get to that in a minute.

It is the growing concern being raised about Sunoco Logistics' plans for the massive Mariner East 2 pipeline. A huge crowd showed up at Middletown Council recently to urge them not to take final action to give Sunoco the easements they need to put the pipeline through several township neighborhoods, including within a stone's throw of Glenwood Elementary School.

Council signed off on the deal, but a final vote is set for next Monday night.

Tomorrow, a group that is upset with another Sunoco Logistics project, the Dakota Access Pipeline, will hold a protest outside the company headquarters in Newtown Square.

It's being organized by the Sierra Club chapters from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, the Delaware Indian Lenape Indian Tribe and environmental groups across the region in opposition to the pipeline, and in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The Dakota Access Pipeline would carry 450,000 barrels of oil through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois, including crossing under the Missouri River just upstream from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe's drinking water supply.

"We are united with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in their fight against this destructive and damaging pipeline cutting through their lands," the Sierra groups said in a statement.

We'll be there to cover it, and we'll be at the Middletown Council meeting Monday night.

Again I have to stress this is a very tough call. Not surprisingly, the Chamber of Commerce and labor unions are lined up in in support of the Mariner East 2 plan.

It has a huge economic upside.

But don't kid yourself that there aren't concerns.

Just ask anyone who lives in its path in Middletown, or who has kids in Glenwood Elementary.

Read the editorial here.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Monday, Sept. 19

The Daily Numbers: 2 hour public meeting last night in Middletown during which residents aired concerns about the Mariner East 2 pipeline that, if approved, could come through their neighborhoods. The council gave an initial OK despite residents’ objections.

2.5 billion dollar plan by Sunoco Logistics to bring ethane, butane and other chemicals, offshoots from the Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling, to the former Sunoco refinery in Marcus Hook.

450,000 barrels a day that could be moved through Mariner East 2.

17 counties through which the pipeline will snake from southwestern Pa. to here in Delco.

800 feet, how close the pipeline could come to Glenwood Elementary School.

350,000 dollar payment to Media Borough as part of the easements needed for the pipeline.

3 percent of the Delco population currently made up of Hispanics, according to latest data. The number of Hispanics in the region actually is going down.

2 straight nights that Philadelphia police officers have been fired on by suspects.

2 officers shot by a gunman who went on a rampage Friday night.

4 other people wounded in the rampage, 1 fatally.

4 people wounded in shooting in parking lot of club in Port Richmond early Sunday.

18 people shot in little more than 48 hours in the city.

1.1 cent boost in price of gas at the pumps last week

29 people injured in bombing in New York City Saturday night.

1 other pipe bomb discovered in town in New Jersey.

38th Emmy Award for Game of Thrones

1-0 record put on line by Eagles tonight in prime time Monday night game in Soldier Field in Chicago vs. Bears.

2-0 record for next week’s foes, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

22 of 31 for 286 yards for Same Bradford in leading the Vikings to 2-0 mark with a win over Aaron Rodgers and the Packers Sunday night

5-4 come from ahead loss for the Phils, after Hector Neris coughed up home run in the 8th inning.

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

Brace yourself for the Eagles version of some kind of National Anthem statement tonight.

I Don’t Get It: Those who want to silence such protests. Everyone has that constitutional right. Even millionaire athletes.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to residents in Middletown who are being increasingly vocal in their concerns bout the Mariner East 2 pipeline that will come through their neighborhood if it is built.

Quote Box: “Even if everything is installed perfectly, the risk is still significant.”

- Seth Kovnat, speaking out against proposed pipeline plan in Middletown.

A prime-time stage for Eagles

The Eagles will make an appearance on national TV tonight.

Which of course means something a prime-time spotlight on Carson Wentz and the Birds.

I know a lot of people enjoy this kind of national prominence.

I hate it.

And this year there is a new reason for me to dislike the Eagles' latest foray onto the national stage.

First, in case you haven't noticed, these games wreak havoc with deadlines. They usually are wrapping up just as our nightly deadline looms.

Second, and for me this is especially painful to admit, the truth is my days of watching prime time football have been over for quite awhile. My best hope tonight is to catch maybe a quarter of the action before I slide off into that coma that awaits me most nights.

I work a very early schedule, something that is not conducive to late night football, or any other kind of TV event.

A lifetime ago, back when I was a proud Eagles season ticket holder and loyal resident of the 700 Level at The Vet, I once remember going straight to work after a Monday night game. Suffice it to say those days are over.

Finally, there is another reason for me to be turned off by tonight's game.

Given that the national spotlight will fall on Soldier Field as the Birds prepare to play the Bears, of course that means what has become the calling card of the NFL this year.

Some Eagles are planning some kind of demonstration before the game during the playing of the National Anthem.

It's been in vogue to do this kind of thing ever since 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to sit down during the Star Spangled Banner in the preseason. Now he's taking to kneeling, often joined by other players.

Apparently the Eagles will join the list of those making a statement tonight.

Safety Malcolm Jenkins has said the team is planning to do something. Coach Doug Pederson supports the effort and says he may even join in if the entire team is involved.

I have no problem with it. That is entirely within their rights of freedom of speech and expression.

But I don't need to be bombarded the entire pregame about it, nor treated to photos and video of the players sitting, kneeling, holding hands or anything else.

I come to these games to escape life's other struggles, not be engulfed in them.

If that makes me short-sighted, or if you want to say I am turning a blind eye to the problems of society. There are not shortage of avenues to get your point across.

Players have decided to make a point. Fine. Knock yourselves out.

Just one note of caution.

As any Philly fan will tell you, that plays a lot better when you win.

If the Eagles falter, they will get torched for that and any type of protest they take part in. But if they win, no one will care about the protest.

One other thing, if they do happen to beat Da Bears, running their record to 2-0, look for Wentz Mania to hit a fever pitch tomorrow, leading the Birds into a cross-state showdown with the 2-0 Steelers. Wentzylvania will reign supreme.

By the way, The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick thinks the Eagles are going to be 2-0 when this games ends, hopefully before midnight.

One last bite out of summer

There's no longer any way to avoid it.

We say farewell to summer this week.

Actually, I've already bid adieu to my favorite time of the year. It's a mindset that comes over me as soon as we hit Labor Day weekend. I suddenly notice that I can barely make it home before it gets dark.

Officially, we exit summer on Thursday.

But before we go, I decided to use my Monday print column to revisit something I brought up here in the blog last week.

It is my belief that every town no doubt had a very special summer place, the local swim club.

For anyone who grew up in Oxford, Pa., there was no doubt.

Heaven in the summer had a name.

It was called Bicknell's Pool.

You can read my column here.

A tale of two school districts

I could not help but be fascinated by the juxtaposition of two local school districts last week.

In fact, I decided to write an editorial based on the "tale of two school districts."

That would be William Penn here in Delco, and Lower Merion.

The folks at William Penn were part of a rally before they and other plaintiffs got a chance to make their argument that Pennsylvania's system of funding public education was unconstitutional, creating a patently unfair, unlevel playing field in which a lot of kids in struggling districts such as William Penn are penalized for no other reason than their zip code.

How stark is the difference between the two districts? Just a few miles away, Lower Merion School Board members were meeting the public for the first time since they were excoriate by a Montgomery County judge who agreed with local lawyer Arthur Wolk, who sued the district, saying they basically had been cooking the books and being dishonest in seeking tax hikes for years when they actually were amassing large surpluses.

Obviously, the school board members don't see it that way, and they took their argument to the public. Many members of the public actually agree with the board, saying they are willing to pay the extra taxes to keep the level of education in Lower Merion at the standard to which they have become accustomed.

Sadly, the folks in William Penn don't have that choice.

I can admit to having a soft spot in my heart for everyone in William Penn, from school board members, to educators, to students and families. There is no nothing fair about what is happening to them.

I hope they get a chance to prove it in court.

You can read the editorial here.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

Welcome to Wentzylvania.

Raise your hand if you saw that coming. Thought so.

There's a new kid in town. Sure, I know it was only one game, and it was against the Cleveland Browns, but it's hard not to be impressed by the debut of Carson Wentz.

All he did was go 22 of 37 for 278 yards and two TDs in leading the Eagles over the lowly Browns. Yes, that would be the same Browns team who decided he was not worth taking with the No. 2 pick in the draft. Ouch!

But it wasn't just the numbers. Wentz seems like a leader, a guy who walks onto the field and takes command. He made all the throws; both of his touchdowns were perfect touch passes dropped in over the outside shoulder of receivers in a spot where only they could catch them. That's one of the reasons for the other number that stood out in his Sunday body of work. Zero. That would be zero interceptions. That's not supposed to happen with a rookie QB making his NFL debut.

Now he gets to show off on a national stage, with a prime time date in Chicago vs. the Bears on Monday Night Football. The Bears certainly will be a tougher test than the dreadful Browns, but they aren't the Monsters of the Midway. They looked less than stellar in dropping their opener to the Titans last week.

I don't expect Mr. Wentz to be as good as he was last week. I'm thinking he won't have to be. I see the Eagles defense rattling Jay Cutler into another rough night, coming up with some key turnovers and shortening the field for Wentz and his offensive mates.

Last week I said the Eagles would beat the Browns, but not necessarily because of Wentz. I was wrong. I should have waited a week. Look for the Eagles' defense to be the stars of Monday night, and for Wentz and the offense to do enough to pick up another win.

One thing that got lost in the all the hoopla was the solid performance of rookie head coach Doug Pederson. The Eagles looked well-coached and prepared on both sides of the ball. There were no silly penalties, no mangled time management. Wentz calmly leading the Eagles into field goal position in a two-minute drill at the end of the first half was an eye opener.

The Pick: Make it Eagles 24, Bears 16. Doug Pederson remains perfect. Wentz turns in another solid performance. More than anything, he doesn't get his team beat. If he's lights out again, this time on a national stage, get ready for some serious Wentz mania, if we're not there already.

Last Week: It's a good start. I liked the Birds a lot and they did not disappoint. I also was impressed with Doug Pederson and his staff. The ante gets upped a bit this week and they will be under a prime-time microscope. Don't look now but Pederson has now won all five games he's coached the Birds. In terms of the regular season, we're both sitting at 1-0.

Game by Game: Eagles 29, Browns 10 (My Pick: Eagles 19, Browns 13).

Friday, September 16, 2016

Beer comes to Wawa, at least one of them

That's one small step for Pennsylvania, one giant leap for beer lovers.

Gottahavva brewski? You bet.

Pennsylvania beer lovers will now see a little more 'convenience.' You'll now be able to snag a six-pack of your favorite suds at your local Wawa. Well, at least one of them.

The Delco-based convenience store giant finally got the green light to sell beer at their store out on Naamans Creek Road in Concord.

Don't get too overjoyed. This will work the same way it does now at supermarkets. You will still have to visit a separate part of the store and pay for your beer there. You won't be able to grab a Shorti and pay for it and your beer at the same time. Or reach into a cold case at the cash register and 'tap' some brew on your way out.

And you're still limited to two six-packs at a time.

But at lest it's progress.

For now, this only applies to this one Wawa store.

The company is not yet talking about its future plans and whether it will look to expand beer sales

. One problem it will face is trying to do this in existing stores. The as usual byzantine Pa. laws still require this notion of a separate part of the store.

Actually they have to create a separate restaurant space inside the store to qualify for the restaurant license.

Right now there are more than 250 supermarkets across the state that sell beer. Many of them now have the ability to sell wine as well.

Add one Wawa to the list.

It's one more step for Pennsylvania out of the Dark Ages when it comes to the sale of alcohol.

The Pride of Swarthmore

If you only read one story today, make sure you don't miss the saga of Patrick Houston.

Who's he?

Well, for starters, he's a student at Swarthmore College.

You may have seen him on TV this week. That was him introducing President Barack Obama during that big rally for Hillary Clinton on the Parkway in Philadelphia.

But that's not even half the story.

Read about his amazing journey here.

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Sept. 16

The Daily Numbers: 7.2 percent spike in personal income for Delco households from 2014-2015, tops in the Philly suburbs.

24 percent boost in Chester County.

67,584, median income for Delco households.

3 Upper Darby officers injured in wild melee with suspect.

2 6-packs at a time, what you will now be able to buy at one local Wawa, out on Naamans Creek Road in Concord.

110 degrees, heat reading in an upstairs classroom at Walter Senkow School in Upper Darby during last week’s heat wave, according to union.

3 nailed in a Chester drug sting.

3,000 dollars in cash seized during the bust.

0, what it will cost some seniors to use SEPTA services once they get the SEPTA key card.

100! And Happy Birthday wishes to Edith Hebble of Ridley.

23, age of Swarthmore College student Ken Houston, who introduced President Barack Obama during rally in Philly this week.

13, age of youth wielding BB-gun who was killed by police in Columbus, Ohio.

1 million Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones recalled.

15-2 shellacking of Phils by the Pirates last night.

4 homers surrendered by Phils starter Jerad Eickhoff.

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

Get ready for the Ryan Howard farewell. The Phillies brass say the slugger will get most of the starts at home as he prepares for the end of his stellar career with the team.

I Don’t Get It: Not many people are volunteering these days. That could prove to be a costly problem for Delco towns.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to those still willing to answer the alarm.

Quote Box: “We’re talking about business that actually wants to expand their footprint and purchase other businesses to make something even better.”

- County Councilman John McBlain on riverfront development.

The dwindling volunteers

They are one of our most valuable resources.

Volunteer firefighters not only save lives - they save untold amounts of money for every town in Delaware County.
But there is a problem.

There is not nearly enough of them. And that need grows every day.

Simply put, people are not volunteering today the way they did in days past. There are a lot of reasons for that, chief among them two-income families that don't leave a lot of free time for volunteering.

Springfield Township this week joined Tinicum in utilizing federal grant money to do something the township has never done before. That would be hire professional firefighters to supplement the dwindling number of volunteers.

It's something a lot of towns in Delco will likely have to consider.

Unless, of course, they want to consider merging fire services.

Don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen. It's a very controversial topic.

In the meantime, read our editorial on the latest "Cause for Alarm."

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Sept. 15

The Daily Numbers: 4 new paid firefighter positions coming to Springfield Township, the first in the township’s history.

458,237 dollar federal grant that will be used to pay for the new positions.

746,816 dollar federal grant used to hire 8 professionals in Tinicum 2 years ago.

350,000 volunteer firefighters in Pennsylvania 20 years ago.

70,000 today.

45 active volunteers in Springfield, half of what there was a few years ago.

75 active volunteers in Tinicum; 150 at the company’s peek membership.

150,000 dollars a year salary for Nafis Nichols as Chester’s new Chief Financial Officer.

35,000 dollars a year, how much he was making in his part-time role as city councilman.

16 million dollar deficit the city is facing this year.

37 million, what it could be if the city does not take ‘drastic’ action, as recommended in a recent state report.

2.5 hours, how long the southbound Blue Route was shut down yesterday afternoon by a brush fire between the Media-Swarthmore and MacDade Boulevard exits.

7 million dollars, how much developer Bruce Goodman wants from Marple Township, which he says misled him in his Cardinal Crossing development plans. The township is denying his claims.

5 years in state prison for man convicted in West Chester sexual assault.

95,000 seasonal workers being hired by UPS.

10 million dollars spent by the soda industry to block a new soda tax in Philly. They’re now suing the city.

92 million dollars, how much the revenue for the city the tax is expected to generate.

95 jobs lost as Pepsi will close plant in Reading.

4.9 percent dip in revenue for Atlantic City casinos in August, as opposed to year ago.

3rd place finish for Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos and his magic act on ‘America’s Got Talent.’

19 home runs for Freddy Galvis.

6-2 win for Phils over the Pirates.

10 homers in last 32 games for the shortstop.

.239 batting average, .271 on-base percentage.

19 home runs for Tommy Joseph as well.

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

Serious kudos for Carlos Ruiz. The longtime Phillies catcher who was recently traded to the Dodgers paid for a billboard on I-95 near the stadium complex that reads: “I loved playing for you. You will always be in my heart. Thank you, Philly! - Chooch. The feeling is mutual, friend.

I Don’t Get It: At some point more and more Delco towns are going to have consider merging fire services or hiring professionals.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Delaware County for their new program to bring companion dogs into the courthouse to ease tensions for kids who will be appearing in court.

Quote Box
: “Volunteerism has gone by the wayside, sad to say.”

- Tinicum Fire Company President Tom Giancristoforo, on the dwindling number of volunteer firefighters.

Cause for Alarm

Call it a sign of the times.

Literally.

Take a close look at today's front page. It ushers in a new era in firefighting in Springfield.

Paid firefighters will soon be manning the fire house in the township, and the reason for it should be a cause for alarm for every Delco resident.

In fact, this newspaper did a weeklong series back in 2000 detailing what many in the firefighting community already knew: Volunteers are a dying breed. We called it "Cause for Alarm."

Springfield will use A $458,237 federal grant to hire four new paid firefighters. They will be used to man the station during daytime hours, when it is particularly hard for the dwindling number of volunteers to answer the call.

In doing so they will join Tinicum, which has been using a similar federal grant to hire professionals to man the station the last couple of years.

Volunteer firefighters are an institution here in Delaware County. They take immense pride in what they do, and their individual fire companies. They also zealously protect their turf.

The problem is that there no longer is enough of them.

Upper Darby and Chester long have employed professional firefighters.

It's something every town in Delco likely will be facing soon.

The numbers don't lie.

"Volunteerism has gone by the wayside," said longtime Tinicum Fire Co. President Tom Giancristoforo. His comments are echoed by Lee Fulton, Springfield Township manager who has 50 years experience in the firefighting business.

Springfield has about 45 active volunteers, about half the complement it had just a few years ago. It's the same story in Tinicum, where Giancristoforo said they now have about 75 active volunteers, down from 150 at its peak.

The reasons are exactly what you might expect. Today's families, depending on two incomes with both parents in the workplace, don't leave a lot of time for volunteering. And make no mistake, becoming a volunteer has its demands, with minimum training quickly becoming a drain on candidates. The result? Fewer and fewer volunteers are answering those calls.

"It's a new era for the township," Fulton said of the move in Springfield to bring in some paid firefighters to supplement volunteers, especially during the daytime hours.

It's one lots of Delco towns likely soon will be facing.

What's the answer? Professional firefighters are one way to go. But very few towns could afford it without this kind of federal help. The other possibility is consolidation. It's not easy, and almost always controversial, creating rifts in long-established community institutions. Just ask the folks who just went through such a process out in Aston.

But it's one a lot of Delco towns soon will be facing.

Unless a lot more people suddenly start answering when that siren goes off. Until then, it will continue to be "cause for alarm."

Two crucial issues in Delaware County

We tackled two very important issues here in Delaware County on our editorial page this week.

As you might expect, they are not the sexiest stories to come down the pike. They don't leap off the page at you. They don't qualify as 'click bait' online.

All they do is have the power to fundamentally alter life here in Delaware County.

Wednesday we dealt with power - and the pitfalls - inherent in Sunoco Logistics' Mariner East 2 pipeline plan. Make no mistake, this easily could be the most important economic story in the county.

Sunoco wants to construct new pipelines to ferry byproducts from the state's Marcellus Shale regions, chemicals like butane and ethane, to Marcus Hook. They in fact already are doing that, using the existing pipeline network that is a relic from the company's old refinery days. But construction of two new pipelines that would run for the most part parallel to the original line would great increase the capacity, delivering as much as 450,000 barrels of chemicals a day to Marcus Hook.

In the process, there is the possibility of Marcus Hook, which was rocked to its core when Sunoco decided to get out of the refining business and shutter its iconic plant in the waterfront borough, into an energy hub for the entire Northeast.

But there is a downside, especially if you happen to live in the path of the proposed pipelines. Would you want one running through your back yard, or next to your kids' school.

Therein lies the dilemma.

This is an issue that will affect every resident of Delaware County. Make sure your voice is heard on this crucial project. You can read the editorial here.

Today, we tackle an equally important topic. It's again one that has flown under the radar - unless you happen to live in one of the areas most affected by it.

For years many school districts in Delaware County - and the rest of the state for that matter - have struggled with a funding system that is patently unfair.

Bottom line is some kids have the deck stacked against them in terms of their education simply because of their zip code, where they live.

The state took steps to correct the situation last spring by signing off on a new funding formula that would direct more state aid to the districts that need it most.

But it's still a long way from perfect.

The William Penn School District knows all about the problems inherent on Pennsylvania's education funding inequities, built into the system because of its reliance on local property taxes. It's pretty simple. Districts in areas that are struggling economically, with an eroded tax base, simply can't raise the same revenue through taxes as their more well-off neighbors just a few miles away.

This week William Penn was among a group arguing before the state Supreme Court that the system is 'unconscionable.'

They want the court to fix it. Gov. Wolf and the Legislature maintain this is solely the purview of the legislative and executive branches, not the judicial.

The court will now rule on whether the districts can make their argument at trial.

We hope they get that chance.

Read the editorial here.

'Magical' run comes to end for Dorenbos

It's back to the life of a long snapper for the Eagles' Jon Dorenbos.

The Birds' Magic Man's run on 'America's Got Talent' came to and end last night with a third-place finish in the finals.

Despite clearly wowing the judges, including Simon Cowell, throughout his run, Dorenbos lost out to 12-year-old ukulele player Grace VanderWaal. She takes home the $1 million top prize and the opportunity to headline a show in Las Vegas.

Dorenbos credits his love of magic with saving his life. He submersed himself in the world of magic as a way of coping as a youth after his father killed his mother.

Dorenbos will be back in prime time Monday night.

But in his role as the Birds' long snapper, a job he has held down since 2006.

The 1-0 Eagles play the Bears in Chicago on Monday Night Football.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Sept. 14

The Daily Numbers: 200 people inside the Aston Community Center last night for a private, invitation-only speech by GOP presidential contender Donald Trump.

6 weeks of paid maternity leave for employees whose employers did not offer that benefit, according to Trump plan.

1 large black bear that has been wandering around Radnor. Yesterday it caused a lockdown at Ithan Elementary School.

200-250 pounds, what the bear is believed to tip the scales at.

1 former member of the notorious Boyle Street Boys drug gang in Chester in trouble with the law again.

2 suspects being hunted in connection with a pharmacy heist in Upper Darby, and who might be linked to several other holdups in the region.

59, age of Collegeville man under arrest in West Goshen for exposing himself and masturbating in public.

1362, House bill introduced by state Sen. Tom Killion to give vape shop owners more time to pay a new tax slapped on them last summer.

10 billion dollars in state aid to the state’s 501 school districts at the heart of a lawsuit heard by Pa. Supreme Court yesterday saying the system in unfair to poorer districts.

1.8 million dollars stolen from shopping giant QVC by a former employee

7,000 dollars in cigarettes swiped from a delivery truck outside a Philly convenience store.

9 people shot yesterday in Philly.

3 of those were fatal.

3-2 lead turned into 5-3 loss after closer Jeanmar Gomez gave up 3-run homer in 9th inning to Pirates last night.

2 runs on 4 hits over 6 1/3 innings by Phils starter Alec Asher.

15 strikeouts for Phils’ hitters vs. the Bucs pitching.

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

President Obama is a Bears fan. He admitted as much in his campaign stop in Philly yesterday. But he did give a shout-out to Eagles rookie QB Carson Wentz.

I Don’t Get It: First it was bubble wrap, now it’s a bear wandering around the Main Line.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Aston Township for hosting Donald Trump and getting a night in the national spotlight.

Quote Box: “It’s not another welfare program that incentivizes us to do nothing, but instead it’s a tax break.”

- Kathy Barnette, at last night’s Trump appearance in Aston .

The race for president comes to Delco

The race for president made a pit stop in Delaware County Wednesday night.

Hours after President Obama appeared before a crowd at an outdoor rally on the Parkway in Philly to boost Hillary Clinton, all eyes turned a few miles to the west, to Aston of all places.

GOP standard bearer Donald Trump chose Delco and a private, invitation-only audience at the Aston Community Center as the backdrop to roll out one of his very first policy positions. Introduced by his daughter Ivanka - who he credited for pushing him on the issue - Trump unveiled a plan to make child care more affordable, and mandate new mothers six weeks of maternity leave.

It was quite the scene for most of the day out in Aston as preparation and security moved in early in the afternoon to get the community center ready.

Of course, Democrats had plenty to say about Trump's plan.

We covered all angles of the Trump visit - both inside and outside the community center.

You can get the details on the Trump speech and plan here.

The Dems' protest and response is here.

If you're wondering why Aston, here is my belief.

Trump is trailing badly among women, in particular suburban, college-educated women. A recent USA Today story focused on the troubles the GOP candidate is facing in the Philadelphia suburbs. You can read that one here.

Trump managed to address all those factions with his visit to Aston.

Killion goes to bat for vape shops

Who knew Sen. Tom Killion was such a party animal!

Long a supporter of privatizing the sale of alcohol in Pennsylvania, the newly minted 9th District senator was one of the first to raise a glass when the Legislature passed, and Gov. Tom Wolf signed, Act 39, which takes some big steps toward bringing the Keystone Srate out of the Dark Ages of alcohol control.

The Republican visited a winery out in Glen Mills to celebrate something that had long been sought, the ability for state residents to order directly from the source when it comes to their wine choices, thus averting the state Liquor Control Board altogether.

Then he went to bat for local beer distributors, who were crying foul when supermarket were allowed to add wine sale to their beer offerings. Killion's bill will do the same for beer distributors.

Now he's trying to cut through the haze to help state vape shops.

This has to do with new taxes that were enacted last summer, and which are hitting vape shops particularly hard.

This was a new tax, one the businesses did not face before, and many are having trouble coming up with the revenue, in part because of the way the tax is structured.

Killion is offering legislation to extend the window in which these small businesses have to pay the tax. You can read all the details here.

Give this guy some time. I just know he's going to find a way to get Pa. out of the booze business once and for all.

The commander-in-chief - and Bears fan

Give President Obama credit - he didn't duck the big issue on his campaign swing into Philly yesterday afternoon for a stump speech for Hillary Clinton.

He's a Bears fan.

His timing could be better.

The Eagles - with wunderkind Carson Wentz at the helm - will literally be loaded for Bears when they hit Chicago for a prime time appearance on Monday Night Football in a couple of weeks.

Obama told the crowed gathered on the Parkway in Philly for the outdoor event that they may have noticed Vice President Joe Biden was at Sunday's Eagles opener at Linc, in which Wentz sparkled in his debut, leading the Birds to a big win over the Browns.

The commander-in-chief (of the nation, not the Eagles) said his VP urged him to get on board the Wentz Wagon.

No can do, Obama replied.

"I'm a Bears fan," the president admitted in front of a friendly audience.

Good for him. Nothing worse than a pandering pol who bends his sports allegiance, depending on what town he's in.

All the same, we hope Obama's guy get thrashed Monday night.

Go Birds!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Sept. 13

The Daily Numbers: 350 miles, length of proposed Mariner East 2 Pipeline.

30,000 jobs that could be a result of building the pipeline.

30,000 page document filed as part of the permitting process by Sunoco Logistics, which will build and operate the pipeline.

2 28-day closures slated for the Market Street Bridge in Marcus Hook, for an improvement project.

1st appearance in Delco of the campaign season tonight for Donald Trump.

3rd degree murder conviction for an Eddystone man in the shooting death of his friend.

3 people facing drug charges in arrests in Sharon Hill.

1,000 people who lost power in Sharon Hill after a truck snagged power lines and 2 power poles.

150 new workers being hired by Domino’s Pizza.

600,000 square foot facility being built as their new HQ by Aramark at 2400 Market St.

370 workers idled by Progresso, which is shuttering a plant in Vineland, N.J.

14 Pa. universities, including West Chester and Cheyney, closer to professor strike after their union OK’d strike authorization.

2, age of boy who accidentally shot himself in Bucks County.

9 people killed in Memphis house fire

5-0 record for new Eagles coach Doug Pederson, if you include those 4 preseason games.

60 of 77 plays for Zach Ertz Sunday. Turns out he played many of them with rib displacement.

28-0 win for Chip Kelly in his debut with 49ers, a blowout over the Rams.

1 loss for the Redskins, who got smoked by the Steelers in the other MNF game.

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

Lots of talk about Carson Wentz. Not as much about Doug Pederson, who also had a stellar debut.

I Don’t Get It: Bubble wrap popping was mistaken for gunfire, causing a stir last night at Valley Forge Military Academy.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to those raising legitimate questions about the proposed Mariner East 2 Pipeline.

Quote Box: “Some of the cars are traveling 50 miles per hour through our neighborhood.”

- Resident in Upper Chichester arguing to keep Storey Road closed.