Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Nov. 30

The Daily Numbers: 1,500 emails a day for Delco GOP leader Andy Reilly, who is an official elector for Pennsylvania.

They are asking him to vote for someone other than Donald Trump for president.

20 electors in Pennsylvania, who will cast their ballots for president Dec. 19.

2,900,785 votes for Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, to 2,825,767 for Hillary Clinton.

132,000 dollar annual salary for Tim Boyce, who will take over the lead spot at the Delco Emergency Services Center.

35 year career in public service for the Upper Darby native.

125 police and fire dispatchers who work at the 911 Center in Middletown.

5-16 years in prison on child porn charges for father of 9 from Upper Darby.

125 dollars in gifts that arrived for the Merry Christmas Fund yesterday.

9 percent boost in Black Friday sales from last year.

12.1 percent increase in Cyber Monday sales.

45,000 reward being offered for info on driver in fatal hit-run in Philly that killed 8-year-old girl.

10 bucks, what police say was at center of dispute that led to fatal stabbing in Philly.

500 million mark for the Temple University endowment, 1st time it’s ever hit that plateau.

3 year extension for UPenn boss Amy Guttman.

300 million dollar renovation on tap for the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton.

5 December, when Jill Stein and her backers will get their day in court to seek recount of Pa. election results.

3 people killed in tornadoes in Alabama.

14,000 people who have fled wildfires in Tennessee.

3 fatalities reported.

150 building burned by the fires.

3-2 win for Flyers in shootout over the Bruins.

45 saves for Steve Mason, including 8 of 9 in the shootout.

2-0 lead that evaporated in Bruins’ comeback.

82-57 win for No. 2 Villanova over Penn last night.

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

Doug Pederson believes the Eagles are still headed in the right direction. Yeah, so did the captain of the Titanic.

I Don’t Get It: Have to admit I’m having some trouble getting my head around the efforts of some neighbors in Swarthmore to block a plan to use a home in the borough by the HEADstrong group to house cancer patients and their families.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Cheryl Colleluori and HEADstrong for the fantastic work they do. It’s a fitting legacy for Nick Colleluori.

Quote Box: “No one has advanced an argument yet that would overcome the argument that I should vote the will of the people.”

- Andy Reilly, who is an elector in Pennsylvania.

About Swarthmore and HEADstrong

Very little we have written recently has generated the kind of reaction as the situation that is playing out in Swarthmore.

That is where HEADstrong, the organization founded by former start Ridley athlete Nick Colleluori to help cancer victims and their families, is seeking the OK to use a house in the borough as a temporary residence for some of those patients. Cancer eventually took Colleluori's life, but the foundation he founded continues to help cancer victims and their families every day.

But they've encountered some opposition to their plans from a few neighbors. They have concerns about traffic, safety, parking and the effect on their neighborhood.

The reaction on social media is about what you'd expect. They are being attacked relentlessly.

On today's editorial page, we weighed in on the subject, urging Swarthmore Borough Council to reject the neighbors' request and approve HEADstrong's plans for the house.

But first I would like to point a few things out.

One thing many people have wondered about is why the story only included the negative reactions from some neighbors. They wondered if no one spoke in favor of the plan. The truth is that this was not the first hearing on the proposal, and not the first time we've written about it. HEADstrong made their case at a previous hearing, which we covered, while this one was to give those opposed the floor.

Also my thanks to Christine Reuther. She is the local attorney who is representing HEADstrong in this matter. She pointed out that the objections are being raised by just a few people, while most of the borough has been most receptive and helpful to HEADstrong's plans.

One longtime reader and Swarthmore resident who is very active on social media despaired at the way the town was being savaged on Facebook and the comments section of DelcoTimes.com. It's a legitimate point. This is not the view of the majority of residents.

As usual when we report on this kind of local controversy, the Philly TV stations beat a path to these folks' doors. You can check out a couple of them here and here.

You can read our editorial here.

All of this prompted a great quip from a co-worker here at the Daily Times. He wondered that if people were upset by HEADstrong's plan, why was there no outpouring of emotion when they learned we would be moving our offices to South Chester Road? Of course, technically we're actually located in Springfield Township, but you get the drift.

Those rascally, unsavory newspaper types sullying the fine environs of Swarthmore? There goes the neighborhood.

The most dangerous places in Delco

A recent incident that made its way onto our front page only reinforced something I've been convinced of now for a long time.

Is there a more dangerous place than Wawa parking lots?

That's even more so with the Delco convenience store icon's new super stores that feature gas pumps. Between people jockeying to get in and out of parking spots, as people try to maneuver into the gas pumps, it's a jungle out there.

I can't tell you how many times I've see people blithely walk to their cars with their 'Gottahavva' cup of Wawa coffee and shorti, jump behind the wheel, and back out of a parking spot without so much as glance at what is behind them.

Now I have to admit that I got spoiled all those years in Primos. We could walk the block to what we always considered our very own personal Wawa for our nourishment.

Now that we are in Swarthmore (yes, technically it's in Springfield!) I sometimes get in the car and make a short jaunt to the Wawa on Fairview Road, just a block away from MacDade. Yes, it's one of the old-style Wawas that I dearly love. But I have an issue with it. It might just be the most dangerous parking lot I've ever encountered. I literally hold my breath some days trying to get in and out of the place in one piece.

Of course I've been thinking of this because of an incident that occurred in the Wawa parking lot at Baltimore Pike near Bishop Avenue in Upper Darby. An altercation there between two drivers quickly escalated into something very ugly, including ethnic slurs, according to police. One driver now actually faces charges of ethnic intimidation.

Making this even more bizarre is another habit I've noticed at Wawas. People are always more than willing to hold the door for you as you enter and exit. I always hold the door, and people always seem very appreciative.

Then they climb back behind the wheel of their SUVS and turn into monsters again.

Let me know if you agree, post a comment if you had a particularly harrowing experience.

I'm now ready to start a new holiday campaign.

Let there be peace ... in Wawa parking lots.

How your house can be featured in 'Homes for the Holidays'

Make sure you check out the return of a popular feature today on Page Two.

Yes, it's time once again for our annual holiday feature, "Homes For The Holidays." Every day from now through New Year's we hope to show off one Delaware County house festooned in its holiday finest.

To some people that means a single white light in every weekend. To others it means those new-fangled projections that can fill the entire front of your house with illuminated stars. And still others lean toward those large, inflatable Santas, elves or reindeers.

This year we're adding a new wrinkle. We want you to submit your own pictures. Always wanted to have your house featured in "Homes for the Holidays?" This year is your chance. Just remember, we don't make guarantees.

Email your pix to me at editor@delcotimes.com. Please remember to give us the basic information, such as the street and town where the house is located. If you want your family name used, please feel free to include that as well.

There is no prize, only a little joy and good cheer on what can at times be an overwhelming daily dose of bad news.

Join us this year in celebrating "Homes for the Holidays."

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Nov. 29 (Eagles Edition)

The Daily Numbers: 27-13 loss for the Birds to the Packers on Monday Night Football. Hope you didn’t stay up to watch that dreck.

5-6 record for both the Eagles and Packers. Which do you think has a better shot of making the playoffs?

2-6 record for Eagles after starting the season 3-0.

30 of 39 for 313 yards for Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers.

24 of 36 for 254 yards for Carson Wentz, plus 1 interception.

0 sacks for Eagles defense.

0 turnovers created by Birds’ D.

3 times now Fletcher Cox has been called for crucial roughing the passer penalty. All 3 times it extended opponents drives and all 3 times led to TD.

.5 tackles for Cox last night.

30 points surrendered by Green Bay in each of its previous 4 games.

89 points given up in their last 2 games.

10 of 14 for the Packers on 3rd down.

2 yard catch in the 3rd quarter that for some reason Doug Pederson decided to challenge. It left him with no challenges for the rest of the game.

0 times the Eagles targeted Paul Turner, who was activated and playing in place of the benched Nelson Agholor.

4 scrambles for 33 yards for Wentz

6 for 6 passing for Wentz on Eagles 1st drive, capping it off with 1-yard TD run, diving into the end zone.

5 offensive starters missing for Eagles.

2 for 2 on field goals for Caleb Sturgis, including another 50-yarder.

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

Doug Pederson insists the Eagles are still moving in the right direction. Could have fooled us.

I Don’t Get It: Challenging a 2-yard pass gain. Pederson won the battle but lost the war, leaving himself with no more challenges.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Caleb Sturgis. Two more field goals last night, including another 50-yarder. Sturgis has to be listed among top kickers in game.

Quote Box: “A lot of self-inflicted wounds.”

- Doug Pederson after the game.

Two great holiday traditions

Here at the Daily Times, we like to think we have a sense of tradition.

That's especially true around the holiday season.

That's one of the reasons why for more than four decades we have partnered with the Salvation Army in Chester on The Merry Christmas Fund.

The concept is simple. We ask readers to forego maybe greeting cards or one gift and instead make a donation to the great work done in the city by the Salvation Army.

In return we allow readers to post a short message. We list the donations - and the messages - in the paper every day.

This is the 45th year we've run the Merry Christmas Fund. Last year we did not hit our goal of $50,000. We remain undeterred, and again this year have set the bar at $50,000.

Here's an important part. Please don't mail your check or money order to us us here at the Daily Times. Mail it instead directly to the Salvation Army at Chester Salvation Army, P.O. Box 1032, Brookhaven PA 19015.

You can read the first list of those who donated here.

Our other tradition is something we've now been doing for the past few years and has proved wildly popular with our readers. So this year we've decided to enlist their help.

Each holiday season, we've been turning over our feature photo spot on Page Two to something we've dubbed "Homes for the Holidays."

Pretty simple, really. We run photos of some of the great holiday displays people erect at their homes.

Now remember, there are some ground rules. First and foremost, we don't make guarantees. Second, this is not a contest. There is no prize for best decoration or the most lights. We don't judge. We simply present.

But there is a problem. Imagine that, a newspaper with a problem.

We are dealing with some serious staffing issues, especially when it comes to our photographers.

So this year we're looking for a little help. And we think our readers are more than ready to step up and answer the call.

If you'd like to see your house featured on Page Two of the Daily Times, email me your photos to editor@delcotimes.com.

Just remember, I'm not in the business of making guarantees, except for being perpetually frustrated by the Eagles, but then I've already written about the Birds this morning.

One thing we will try to do is use something from every part of the county.

Join us in this great holiday tradition.

Share your best shots for our Homes for the Holidays Page Two feature.

Help us share a little holiday cheer, especially since so much of the paper every day deals with what can kindly be described as not the best of circumstances.

We really do love the holidays. And we want you to join in our efforts.

Joy to the World. At least our little corner of it.

The Eagles are what we thought they would be - mediocre

If only the Eagles had not started out 3-0.

Three months later, Doug Pederson, Carson Wentz and the boys are 5-6 and the playoffs are a fading dream.

The truth is, take away those initial three wins and this team is about where we expected them to be.

Last night for the second straight week they got exposed, this time in front of a national TV audience for Monday Night Football, losing to the Packers, 27-13.

They are a team that has no weapons on offense, and a defense that too often does not come up big in crucial situations. On offense, rookie Wentz has been tossed into a near-impossible situation. He entered last night's game with one troubled wide receiver, Nelson Agholor, on the bench. He would soon lose his top target, Jordan Matthews, to an ankle injury. The Birds' top running back, Ryan Mathews, was already scratched for the game with an injury, and the offensive line, already being juggled due to injury, had to be shuffled again when right guard Ron Brooks came up sick before the game.

The result was about what you would expect. Wentz and the Eagles only managed to put up 13 points against a Packers defense that had been torched in recent weeks, giving up 40 points in both of its last two games.

But even more troubling might be this defense.

And it is hard not to point a finger at defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. The guy who signed a huge contract extension in the offseason and was consistently ballyhooed as one of the league's best defensive linemen once again came up small. He recorded only a half of a tackle on the night, whatever that means. And he once again was slapped with a crucial roughing the passer penalty in the third period. It's the third time he's picked up that kind of call this year. All three times it was on third down and led to key conversions, extending drives, and all three times the opposing team went on to score a touchdown. That can't happen.

The Eagles'defense again simply could not get off the field, as All-Pro Aaron Rodgers carved them up at will. The Packers were 10 for 14 on third down conversions.

The Eagles recorded 0 sacks and 0 turnovers.

Plus Pederson decided again to start the game on defense, taking the ball at the start of the second half. But in doing so he set the stage for Rodgers, who methodically dissected the Birds' defense. He marched the Pack down the field and immediately put the Eagles in a 7-0 hole. Actually, Wentz responded and brought the Eagles back to tie the score at 7-all.

And, much like his predecessor Andy Reid, Pederson is proving himself to be in love with the forward pass. This despite the fact that you are again playing an elite quarterback and you might want to consider keeping him off the field. You do that by running the ball, but Pederson eschewed that in favor of the forward pass.

So much for the home-field advantage. That four-game win streak is now history. The Eagles actually have now gone 2-6 since that 3-0 start.

After the game Pederson insisted the Eagles were still moving in the right direction.

Does this sound like the Eagles' very own version of the Sixers' vaunted 'Process.'

No they aren't tanking. But they aren't moving forward either.

They're regressing.

I'll blame that 3-0 start. It was a mirage.

The Eagles are about what we expected them to be. Rookie coach, rookie QB, questionable skill levels across the key positions, no weapons on offense, critical errors on defense.

Yep, sounds like 5-6 to me.

Here's what our columnist Jack McCaffery thinks. And our beat writer Bob Grotz.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Monday, Nov. 28

The Daily Numbers: 8:30 kickoff in South Philly tonight. Yes, the Eagles are back on Monday Night Football vs. the Packers.

240 acres of the pristine Beaver Valley in Concord that has been spared from the developer’s bulldozers.

11 a.m. press conference to make the official announcement.

0 tax hike being planned in the preliminary budget for Brookhaven.

3 counts of arson, what former volunteer firefighter John Corcoran pleaded guilty to last week.

28 years in prison, what he’s already been sentenced to for child sex assault and related crimes.

7 new names that now appear on the Upper Darby High School Wall of Fame.

5 million dollar project to replace College Avenue bridge in Haverford, which will start Tuesday, according to PennDOT.

42 feet wide and 58 feet long, size of the new span.

2 11-foot travel lanes.

5 foot shoulder on west side; 2 foot shoulder on east side.

1931
, when the existing span was constructed.

4,637 vehicles that use the span every day.

1 winning ticket drawn in that $421 million Powerball jackpot Saturday night.

1 ticket worth $1 million sold in Pa.

1.3 cent dip in price of gas at the pumps in Pa. last week.

2.31 average price we’re paying.

4 straight losses for the Packers coming in tonight’s game vs. Eagles.

4-0 record for the Eagles at home this year.

5-3 win for the Flyers over the Flames last night.

29 saves for rookie goaltender 22-year-old Anthony Stolarz.

112-108 win for the Cavs vs. the Sixers last night.

39 points for Kyrie Irving.

22 points for Joel Embiid

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

Huge thumb’s up for Merrill Reese. The longtime Eagles announcer will be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame tonight. Well done, Merill.

I Don’t Get It: Anyone else think Wawa parking lots just might be the most dangerous places in Delco?

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Avery Graham, the Trainer youth who is raising money to help a borough officer battling cancer.

Quote Box: “Ethnic intimidation is unacceptable. It’s not going to happen in Upper Darby.”

- Top Cop Mike Chitwood, after an arrest in a road-rage incident that escalated.

Make no mistake - the people saved the Beaver Valley

They will gather today to make official something we told you last week:

They have saved the Beaver Valley.

This morning Delaware County Council will join Concord officials and local officials toannounce the county’s involvement in the recent purchase of the 240-acre Beaver Valley property in Concord Township and discuss its ongoing commitment and plans for open space throughout the county.

These 240 acres, just west of the nightmare of suburban planning that is otherwise referred to as Route 202, now will be preserved as open space. Originally acquired by William Penn from the Duke of York in 1682, Beaver Valley lies near the banks of the Brandywine River in Concord Township. Nearby, in 1777 General George Washington’s troops fought the British in the American Revolution.

Beaver Valley, often referred to as “The Valley” by locals is used by hikers, bikers, horseback riders, and runners throughout the region. For centuries the scenic property has inspired generations of artists, including acclaimed painter Andrew Wyeth.

Yes, the politicians will be falling all over themselves patting themselves on the back for saving one of the last remaining open, pristine tracts in what is quickly being overrun - the once tranquil, rural western edge of the county.

But just know this: This is a win for the people.

It's a win for all those who were outraged at the possibility of losing this gorgeous tract, of really and truly seeing 'Paradise Lost."

It's a win for the people who bonded together into a group called Save the Valley, who packed local town meetings and held their officials feet to the fire to get this done.

If it were not for them, you can count on one thing. Instead of a press conference today noting that this open space has been saved, the bulldozers would soon be rolling over the Beaver Valley.

We'll be there to bring you the details in the press conference anyhow.

But don't be fooled.

This was accomplished by citizens who decided you can fight city hall.

Good for them.

Lessons from my father

I used my print column today to revisit - hopefully for the last time - some of the things I've written about the presidential election.

So of course the headlines today are full of the talk of recounts. Now Hillary Clinton is joining forces with third party candidate Jill Stein in challenging the results in Michigan.

Did I miss something, or were these not the same people who were complaining bitterly about the prospect of Donald Trump not accepting the results of the election.

At any rate, what I eventually got to in today's column is something more important that any election.

I'm talking about family.

Specifically, my father.

He taught me the value of silence.

Unfortunately, that is not always a good thing.

This photo that you see is a picture of my dad in what certainly was one of his favorite spots on earth, seated at the bar at the old Oxford Hotel in the little town where he grew up. Behind the bar is my uncle, Pete Watterson.

My dad would stop at the hotel literally every night for a beer on his way home.

I'm guessing there was not that much talk there at the bar - no politics, no fights, no feuding.

Just they way the "Quiet Man" would like it.

I didn't learn a lot of things from my father. He didn't pick up that moniker for nothing. We called him 'The Quiet Man' for a reason. I guess maybe I learned more than I thought.

You can read my print column here.

Forget the Eagles - how 'bout those Colorado Buffaloes!

No, you did not sleep through the Eagles game yesterday after gorging on all that tryptophan-engorged turkey. You'll need the extra sleep because the Eagles are in prime time tonight.

The Birds bring Monday Night Football back to South Philly, going prime time against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

In case you missed it, I don't like the Birds in this game. I made that clear in my Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick. Yes, I am aware the Birds have been playing very well at home this year, sporting a perfect 4-0 record at the Linc. I also know that the Packers cannot possibly be as bad as they have looked the past few weeks, and I certainly do not see them losing five games in a row.

But none of this is the big football news from the weekend.

How 'bout those No. 9 Colorado Buffaloes!

Yes, Ralphie et al won again Saturday night, beating Utah to capture the Pac-12 South crown and run their record to 10-2 (8-1 in the Pac-12).

The Buffs will play No. 4 Washington Friday night for the Pac-12 title. It's not inconceivable that they could get into the national playoff.

Now, I should put out that this sudden resurgence is not a coincidence.

I believe in karma, and a visit by a certain alum who made it back to Boulder for the first time in 40 years no doubt played a big part in this Buffalo stampede.

One of my stops on my day-long visit to the campus was Folsom Field. I literally walked almost the entire circumference of the field looking for an open gate. Every one of them was locked up tight - until the very last gate. With my wife warning that we probably were not supposed to be in there, we entered the gate to the place where I spent Saturday afternoon four decades ago.

There is really no more spectacular site in sports, sitting in those stands on a glorious, sunny day, with the majestic Flatirons looming over the town in the distance.

We already have the best mascot in all of sports.

Now it's time to kick down the door to that national playoff.

Go Buffs! Beat Washington!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

Ah, home sweet home.

After being savaged on the road in Seattle last week, the Eagles return to the Linc in South Philly for a prime-time matchup Monday night with the Green Bay Packers.

That means this game is all about whether or not the Eagles' defense can keep the lid on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers defense. Green Bay has been in a serious funk, and it would be nice if the Eagles' defense could harass him into another poor effort.

Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense should be able to put some points on the board against Green Bay, but I'm not sure they score enough to get the win.

The Eagles have turned the Linc into a fairly distinct home field advantage this year. They are 4-0 in South Philly, while sporting an ugly 1-5 mark on the road.

Doug Pederson somehow needs to find someone to help out his quarterback, like making a big catch. It appears as if Nelson Agholor might take a seat in favor of preseason standout Paul Turner.

I'm not sure that's enough to flip the switch on this offense.

The Pick: Make it Packers 27, Eagles 23. Something tells me Aaron Rodgers is not as bad as the Packers have looked the last couple of weeks. It would be nice if he waited one more week to turn things around. I don't think that's going to happen.

Last Week: I kind of saw this one coming. The Eagles offense vs. the Seahawks defense was a major mismatch. They just don't have anyone who scares you. What was maybe most disappointing in this game was how the Eagles' defense was handled physically by the Seahawks. That should not happen. The win got me back to the .500 mark on the season at 5-5, while the Birds sit at an identical 5-5 mark, with their season in the balance. If they want to make a playoff run, they need to start it Monday night in South Philly.

Game by Game: Seahawks 26, Eagles 15 (My Pick: Seahawks 24, Eagles 13) Eagles 24, Falcons 15 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Falcons 29)

Giants 28, Eagles 23 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Giants 17)

Cowboys 29, Eagles 23 (My Pick: Cowboys 29, Eagles 24)

Eagles 21, Vikings 10 (My Pick: Vikings 26, Eagles 13)

Redskins 27, Eagles 20 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Redskins 23)

Lions 24, Eagles 23 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Lions 10)

Eagles 34, Steelers 3 (My Pick: Steelers, 26, Eagles 23)

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

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

Friday, November 25, 2016

Join our live Black Friday coverage!

The turkey is being digested.

Almost.

Now it's time for that other holiday tradition.

Black Friday Shopping.

We want you to take part in our coverage of the annual shopping frenzy on the day after Thanksgiving. Hell, even the night of Thanksgiving.

This year some stores decided to revert to tradition and remain closed on Thanksgiving Day.

Others opened their doors to try to reel in those early-bird shoppers.

For a quick review of what's on tap today in Delco, you can click here.

Here's what it looks like across the nation.

Our reporter Kathleen Carey will be out there amid the shopping madness. You can follow her on Twitter at @dtbusiness.

And we want you to take part in our live coverage. Tell us what you are seeing out there. How long are the lines. What are the most popular items? Where are the best deals. Use the Twitter hashtag #PaBlackFriday. and you can be part of our live coverage.

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

They saved the Beaver Valley

Who says you can't fight city hall?

Not out in Concord Township.

You might remember people were less then enchanted with the notion of losing perhaps the tract of open space in the wildly developing western end of the county. That would be the 240 acres known lovingly to locals as the Beaver Valley.

When plans first aired to develop the site, one more swath of townhouses and other residential development, concerned citizens took action. They jammed township meetings to announce their displeasure.

They formed a group called Save the Valley.

It worked.

This week conservation groups announced a plan to buy the tract and preserve it as open space.

A press conference to formally announce the deal is set for Monday.

You can read all the details here.

Remembering Jacai Colson

In "Chi," they don't forget.

Jacai Colson was a star athlete at Chichester High School. He excelled on the football field.

But he was equally impressive off the field.

That was never more apparent than last March when three brothers with evil intentions showed up at the Landover, Md., police station where Colson, now an undercover police officer, worked.

Colson immediately took action to confront the men. In the mayhem that ensued, he was killed by friendly fire.

Last Saturday, they gathered on the same football field where Colson starred to remember the man they knew, loved and respected.

And his legacy will live on in the form of a scholarship to a Chi student seeking a career in law enforcement of public service.

Because in Chi, they don't forget.

It's on today's editorial page.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Happy Birthday, Quiet Man

Every week when I prepare to pen my weekly Letter From the Editor column, which I usually try to compose on Tuesday, I take a glance at the calendar to see if there is something the following Monday or that week that I should take notice of in my piece.

It didn't take me long last week to recognize the significance of this day.

When I glanced at the calendar, I looked right past Monday being Nov. 21. I could not stop staring at the following day - Nov. 22.

It's a fairly momentous day in U.S. history, even if for some reason this year it doesn't seem like much is being made of it. I will never forget what happened on Nov. 22, 1963. It is forever emblazoned on my consciousness.

That is part of what I wrote about Monday, how the nation was in need of healing 53 years ago in the wake of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. I noted the nation survived that, we certainly will handle the unrest today in the wake of an unprecedented election.

Several people let me know they did not appreciate what they clearly perceived as my attempt to compare the election of Donald Trump with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. One caller informed he I was "sick" for trying to make such a comparison.

They missed the point. I was now comparing the two. I was simply noting that in both instances the nation was in need of healing. We manged to survive 53 years ago, I think we will today as well.

No, I was not trying to send any ulterior message about Mr. Trump, although I suppose everything I write these days will be placed under that kind of microscope.

Of course, for me there is another reason Nov. 22 will always mean something special to me.

It was my father's birthday.

As a kid, I was aware that JFK was assassinated on my father's birthday.

Here's what, incredibly, I never relaized until a few years ago.

On Nov. 22, 1963, my father turned 50.

Not exactly a happy birthday.

My father had a well-earned nickname.

We called him 'The Quiet Man,' not so much after the great John Wayne movie as to his persona.

In short, my father was a man of very few words. I think he imparted that trait to his son, at least his youngest.

I can tell you it's not always a good thing.

The words pour out of me when I sit at this keyboard, but they don't always flow so easily out of my mouth.

Today I will remember my father by doing what he always did. I will go to work.

Part of what I do for a living is writing.

It is a great honor to hold the position I've held here at the newspaper now for 17 years.

My father was a man who loved the newspaper.

I always wonder what he would think of his son who writes for a living.

It's one of those mysteries that I guess will never be solved.

A little bit like the mystery that continues to swirl around the events in Dallas 53 years ago.

And how more than half a century later, writing about it can leave people with something entirely different than what you had intended.

If you were offended by what I wrote Monday, I apologize. That was not my intention.

Maybe dad had it right. Maybe sometimes you can speak volumes by being quiet.

Lessons learned.

Happy Birthday, Quiet Man.

Break up the Sixers!

Break up the Sixers!

That's right, your 76ers are officially on a winning streak. Last night they topped the Miami Heat 101-94 at the Wells Fargo Center for their second straight win and fourth victory in a row on their home hardwood.

Joe Embiid had 22 points in 23 minutes in a duel against Miami big man Hassan Whiteside, who had 32.

Jack McCaffery says the Sixers might be on to something.

It's almost enough to make Philly fans forget Nelson Agholor.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Monday, Nov. 21

The Daily Numbers: 26-15 loss for Eagles to the Seahawks. Reality: It wasn’t that close.

5-5 record now for Eagles.

1-5 mark on the road; 4-0 at home.

23 or 45 for 218 yards and 2 INTs for Carson Wentz.

5 of 14 for 25 yards during crucial stretch in the 3rd quarter while the game was still being contested.

57 yard TD pass to Zach Ertz called back because Nelson Agholor lined up incorrectly.

20 yard that would have given Eagles a crucial 1st down on their next series that clanked off Agholor’s hands.

18 of 31 for 272 yards for Russell Wilson.

1 TD pass and 1 TD reception for the Seahawks QB, who was on receiving end of option pass for a touchdown.

1 more TD pass than Nelson Agholor or Jordan Matthews had

yesterday.

439 yards of offense rolled up by the Seahawks. 17 players missed at least one play because of injury.

2 running backs lost by Eagles, with both Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles missing much of 2nd half.

72 yard rushing TD for Seattle running back C.J. Prosise that gave the Seahawks the early lead.

73 yards rushing for Eagles in 1st half.

9 more penalties against the Eagles.

100th regular season win for Seattle coach Pete Carroll.

5 consecutive road losses for Eagles.

7 interceptions thrown by Wentz in his last 222 attempts after going 134 passes before tossing his 1st NFL INT.

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

I wanted the Eagles to send a message to the team by releasing Nelson Agholor last week. Might have meant difference in getting a win Sunday in Seattle.

I Don’t Get It: Nelson Agholor, not so much for the drop. That happens. But lining up wrong. That can’t happen.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Eagles fans, who traveled en masse and made their presence known all weekend in Seattle. No team’s fans travel quite like Eagles fans.

Quote Box: “I just have to get out of my own head.”

- Nelson Agholor after the game

Don't let politics ruin your holiday

On Sunday we offered some helpful hints on how to survive the Thanksgiving holiday.

No, we didn't offer any tips on preparing Tom Turkey. We didn't share our special recipe for stuffing. Or chime in on whether it's better to cook it inside the bird or out.

Our story focused on what could be a major pitfall to the joy of the season and the spirit of offering thanks, which of course kicks off in just a few days as we all make like the pilgrims and sit down at the table and break bread together.

We just hope we don't break any bones - aside from a few drumsticks.

That's right, we sought out a few experts to help us with what could be the biggest pitfall many families will be facing this holiday season.

Politics.

We're still trying to digest the results of that stunning election.

Many people are still chomping on Rolaids trying to figure out how Donald Trump managed to pull this off and what it means for the future.

Hillary Clinton fans are still trying to figure out what went wrong.

Don't let politics ruin your holiday.

Check out our story here.

Will the country survive? Of course, we've survived worse

The country remains a bit shellshocked over the stunning results of the presidential election.

Democrats are wondering is they simply can't wake up from an especially bad nightmare.

Republicans keep pinching themselves to see if they're not in dreamland.

Did Donald Trump really beat Hillary Clinton.

Yes, he did, at least so far as the Electoral College is concerned. Clinton won the popular vote, at last look her margin was nearly 1.5 million votes.

So the guess here is that we will continue to talk about the election and debate whether or not the Republic will survive.

I feel pretty confident it will.

We've been through crises before. Our task is to heal the wounds that threaten to tear us apart.

Like the one we will mark tomorrow.

It's in my weekly Letter From the Editor.

A statement game for Eagles, Wentz, but not the one they wanted

I mentioned in my weekly Eagles prognostication that while the Birds made a statement last week in beating they Falcons at home, they could put an exclamation point on it with a win on the road against Seattle in what is undoubtedly one of the toughest place to play in the NFL.

Well, the Eagles made a statement all right.

They're not very good.

Don't be deceived by that final score.

Seahawks 26, Eagles 15.

It wasn't that close.

The Eagles got dominated on both sides of the ball.

Everyone knew the Birds would have their hands full against one of the best defenses in the league.

But Doug Pederson's charges once again took turns beating themselves.

At the top of the heap this morning would be Nelson Agholor.

I suggested last week that Pederson, Roseman and the Eagles brass could send a message to the team that they are serious about making an unexpected playoff run by releasing the USC product.

They obviously did not to give up on the first-round pick. Too bad. He cost them dearly yesterday, including the pivotal play that changed the entire nature of the game.

In the second quarter, Carson Wentz hooked up with tight end Zach Ertz on a perfectly designed screen pass. Ertz rumbled into the end zone for a TD that would have given the Eagles the lead. Only one problem: Agholor was not lined up correctly; he was not up on the line of scrimmage to cover the left tackle. That nullified at 57-yard TD strike.

Later he dropped a crucial third-down pass that would have given the Eagles a first down deep in Seattle territory. Instead, as has been the case all too often in his Eagles career, the perfect pass clanked off his hands.

The Eagles now stand at 5-5. No, they are not out of the playoff race, and they still get a shot at the Cowboys, Giants and Redskins on their home turf at the Linc, where they are developing a distinct home field advantage.

But this time has absolutely no weapons to speak of. Yesterday for some reason Pederson decided to come out passing, instead of sticking with the ground game and controlling the clock that proved so effective in corralling the Falcons and their high-flying offense.

It didn't help that the Eagles lost both Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles to injuries.

But Wentz literally has no one to get the ball to down the field. His main targets are usually dump-offs to a running back or short routes to Ertz.

In a laughable point in yesterday's game, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson caught a TD pass off an option play. That gives him something the Eagles wide receivers did not have in the game.

The Eagles are doing Wentz a disservice sending him out there each week with little or nothing to play with.

That might be one of the reasons Wentz has cooled considerably since that hot start. Teams know what is coming at them with the Eagles.

For the most part, it is very little.

You'd like Wentz to take over one of these games, put the team on his back and will them to victory. That hasn't happened yet.

With this offense, I wouldn't look for it to happen anytime soon.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

If last week was a statement game, this week could be the exclamation point.

Most of the pundits did not think the Eagles would handle the Falcons' high-flying offense.

They were wrong. The Birds stuffed the Falcons run game and then managed to keep Matt Ryan and Julio Jones in check. And yes, Jones helped considerably with a couple of most uncharacteristic drops.

Things get a lot tougher this week. The Birds have to fly across the country to face the Seahawks in what is likely the toughest, loudest venue in the NFL.

This could be a very long day for Carson Wentz and the Eagles' pedestrian receivers. If they have a prayer in this contest, it is to build a carbon copy of last week's effort. Run the football, bang away at the Seahawks with Ryan Mathews and Wendell Smallwood. Carson Wentz is not going to be beat this defense on his own.

On the other side of the ball, the Eagles defense needs to put pressure on Russell Wilson, and also be aware of his ability to move. They will need to be disciplined, stay in their lanes and contain him. The Eagles defensive line should be able to handle their foes on the other side of the ball.

And special teams is an area where the Eagles continue to have the edge over most opponents.

I don't think the Eagles are going to get blown out by Seattle. They will be in the game. I just don't know how this offense can produce enough points to get the win. Those worries are not helped by nagging injuries for Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz, really the only two weapons Wentz has.

And one other thing: While the Eagles are starting to build a serious home-field advantage at the Linc, going 4-0 this season, they struggle on the road, with a 1-4 mark. And they also get off to very slow starts. That's not a good combination.

The Pick: Make it Seahawks 24, Eagles 13. Maybe the most difficult place to play in the NFL. That will make things very hard on Carson Wentz, let alone facing one of the top defenses in the league. If the Birds steal this one, it likely will be their defense and special teams doing the bulk of the work. I don't see Carson Wentz and these receivers doing much against this defense.

Last Week: One of my better picks of the year. As usual I was not completely sold on the Falcons, and the Eagles are starting to develop some serious karma at Lincoln Financial Field. A really good game for Doug Pederson, his decisions and play-calling. The Eagles' offense controlled the game and kept Matty Ice off the field for much of the afteroon. They need a repeat performance this week in Seattle. The win lifts me to 4-5 on the season, while the Birds sit at 5-4 and looking to continue what is a most unexpected playoff push.

Game by Game: Eagles 24, Falcons 15 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Falcons 29)

Giants 28, Eagles 23 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Giants 17)

Cowboys 29, Eagles 23 (My Pick: Cowboys 29, Eagles 24)

Eagles 21, Vikings 10 (My Pick: Vikings 26, Eagles 13)

Redskins 27, Eagles 20 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Redskins 23)

Lions 24, Eagles 23 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Lions 10)

Eagles 34, Steelers 3 (My Pick: Steelers, 26, Eagles 23)

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

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

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Nov. 18

The Daily Numbers: 1 million dollar drug bust in Darby Township.

1 person in custody and several others being sought.

2 kilograms of cocaine seized.

125 pounds of high-grade “hydro” pot.

153 pounds of high-grade organic pot.

12.5 to 50 years in jail for a Media man on child porn charges.

200 lives lost to opioid abuse in 2015 in Delaware County.

1.25 percent tax hike being eyed in Marple Township.

0 tax hike proposed in Ridley Park.

5 years, how long it’s been since teachers in Chester Upland had a pay increase.

1,200 days, how long it’s been since they had a new contract.

20, age of Drexel student charged with flying drone near copters over protest in Philly.

11 percent tax hike being proposed in Montgomery County.

400 homes being proposed by Toll Brothers on a 322-acre tract of the Crebilly Farm in Westtown.

30,000 jobs being cut by Volkswagen.

5-2 win for the Flyers over the Winnipeg Jets last night.

30 saves for Steve Mason.

0 minutes played for Shane Gostisbehere. He was a healthy scratch, coach’s decision. In other words, he was benched.

110-86 blowout loss for the Sixers in Minnesota.

35 points for Andrew Wiggins.

25 points for Karl Anthony Towns.

10 points, ,10 rebounds for Joel Embiid in just 23 minutes.

Is it time to unplug?

I have written many times about my so-called bucket list.

That, of course, is that list of things you want to do before you die.

Zooming up that list is to have one day when I do not touch a device, when I am unplugged.

No email, no Twitter, No Facebook.

Whenever I am out speaking to groups, I am always asked about the challenges of the job. Certainly there are no shortage of daunting issues facing the newspaper business and industry in general.

But one of them - one not often written about - is the horrific toll that the 24-hour news cycle and our mania for being "plugged in" is taking on us. And it's not just journalists. It's society in general.

I fear we are going to wake up one day - not nearly as far off as I once thought - and realize the price we are paying for our need to constantly be consuming information and social media.

Turns out I'm not the only one.

One of the first tweets I saw this morning was from a former co-worker who indicated she was about to "unplug" for the evening. I know, it used to be normal. Not anymore. And kudos to my college at the New Haven Register Randall Beach. He's also writing about it.

Now if you'll excuse me I have a website to update. And Tweets to push.

Life goes on. Unfortunately, it's a life I don't think any of would have recognized just a few years ago.

Time to deal with serious issues

Yesterday I joked about one of the less serious - it not less important - issues in the state.

That would be the slow drip of the state moving out of the Dark Ages when it comes to the sale of booze. Yes, we're taking baby steps. Yes, we still have a long way to go.

I'm the state's foremost proponent of privatization. Never thought I'd have that in common with House Speaker Republican Mike Turzai.

But let's not kid ourselves.

It's not exactly the most pressing issue in the state.

What is?

Well, we address it on today's editorial page.

The state is going broke.

Again.

Stop me if you're heard this before.

It's really past time for our elected leaders to get serious about the state's serious issues, and our yawning deficit should be at the top of that list.

One last gasp before winter

Looks like maybe my annual pre-winter weather challenge could be challenged this weekend.

But not today.

If you're considering calling in sick and taking a long pre-holiday weekend, this might be your day.

After a chilly start, it's expected to get close to 70 under sunny skies later this afternoon.

Not too shabby for Nov. 18.

Actually, tomorrow also is looking like a winner.

It's Sunday when we're going to be shocked back to reality.

Yes, winter is coming. And it's going to feel like it Sunday, with a fierce wind bringing much colder temperatures with the thermometer struggling to reach the high 40s.

All of which means my annual challenge not to don a winter coat until after Thanksgiving could be in jeopardy.

Yeah, that ride to work Monday might get ugly.

Here's the full forecast.

TGIF!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Nov. 17

The Daily Numbers: 9 people displaced by raging fire that hit Aston townhouse community.

2 alarms at peak of blaze.

1 firefighter injured, suffered a broken leg.

1 million dollars in drugs seized in a raid at a Darby Township business.

39 images and 11 videos of alleged child porn found on Upper Chi man’s computer.

5-8 years old, girl dressed in Lion King PJs in one image performing sex act on adult man.

223 state charges filed against former volunteer firefighter from Glenolden.

28 years in federal prison, what John Corcoran already is facing.

80 universities nationwide that held protests yesterday against immigration policies of Donald Trump, and demanding the campuses get “sanctuary” status. Hundreds marched locally at Swarthmore College.

42, age of teachers’ aide at Unionville High School charged with having sexual relations with 2 male students.

6 men who face charges of soliciting prostitutes in King of Prussia.

600 million dollars in debt, where Pa. finds itself as we look ahead to another budget season.

2.2 billion in debt to the state Treasury.

19 points for Jahlil Okafor last night as the Sixers got their 2nd win of the season.

0 minutes played for Joel Embiid, who was held out but will play tonight in Minnesota.

2-9 record now for the Sixers.

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

Not much respect for their home fans by the Sixers in holding out Joel Embiid at home last night so he can play tonight on national TV vs. Karl Anthony Townes in Minnesota.

I Don’t Get It: Another educator popped for having sex with students. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Aston township fire officials who are pushing the message that smoke detectors likely saved lives in that raging inferno that roared through a local townhouse community.

Quote Box: “I can’t stress enough how important working smoke detectors are in your home.”

- Sean Joyce, Aston Deputy Fire Marshal

Time to get serious - about serious issues - in Pa.

Here's something to ponder as you head to your local beer distributor to buy a six-pack.

No, that's not a typo. You can do that now.

You can also buy a six-pack at many local supermarkets. Even a bottle of wine.

But you can't buy beer at the Wawa or 7-Eleven. Unless you happen to live out in Concord, where Wawa is starting to dabble with beer sales at one of their wine stores.

Pennsylvania is slowly but surely crawling out of the Dark Ages.

But it still has serious problems, issues that need to be addressed by our solons in Harrisburg.

Like this little issue. Stop us if you've heard this before.

Pennsylvania is broke.

Again.

Yes, in the Keystone State version of a broken record, we are once again swimming in red ink.

The latest numbers released in a report by the nonpartisan Independent Fiscal Office pegs the state's current deficit at about $500 million. And that's just to make it through the current fiscal year.

The imbalance is expected to balloon to $1.7 billion in the next fiscal year unless the Legislature takes action.

It's not exactly a secret that I am the state's foremost proponent of privatizing liquor sales in Pennsylvania.

The state has taken some halting steps. Republicans have professed their zeal to blow up the Liquor Control Board and turn the whole process over to private enterprise. Democrats, led by Gov. Tom Wolf, have resisted such efforts, instead looking to modernize and expand state store service while adding the convenience of beer and wine sales in supermarkets, and adding variety in the form of 12- and six-pack sales at beer distributors.

But let's not kid ourselves.

It's not exactly the most critical issue facing the state.

Not when the red ink continues to rise.

Not when public schools continue to struggle under an underfunded system that still tilts away from the neediest districts. And not when that "ticking time bomb" in the budget process - the massively underfunded public employee pension plans - get closer to detonating every day.

We just had elections. We for the most part returned incumbents to Harrisburg.

Republicans retained majorities in both the House and Senate.

It's time to address the serious money issues facing the state.

Only then should we raise a glass and celebrate the tiny steps being made to bring the state into the 21st century when it comes to booze.

A new high school in Springfield

Hey, have you heard the news?

They're planning to build a new high school in Springfield.

Yeah, it's the talk of the town.

And that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Clearly, the school district administration and many residents believe this is the correct thing to do.

We've heard from many residents, fearful of whopping tax increases for years to come, who aren't so sure.

This is all part of the process.

The district is trying to be transparent in this process.

That is to be commended.

We talk about it on today's editorial page.

Sixers to fans: Tank you very much

The Sixers won a game last night. It was the second time this year they have been victorious.

But they're still losers.

That's because of something they did to their fans.

That's correct, people still pay to see this team, despite another dreadful start and the last couple years of "tanking." For those of you not familiar with it, that is the much-talked about "process," losing to increase a team's draft status and ability to acquire "assets."

Not much of which has to do with putting the biscuit in the basket.

At any rate, the Sixers announced yesterday afternoon - no doubt after most fans had already made their decision about buying tickets or attending last night's game against the Wizards - that center Joel Embiid would not play.

Embiid continues to be on restricted minutes as he slowly recovers from the foot maladies that cost him his first two seasons in the NBA.

Instead, Embiid will play tonight on the road in Minnesota against Karl Anthony Townes.

The game also just happens to be a national TV game.

Hmmm.

That middle finger you see being extended is a big thank you - or something like that - to Sixers fans from the team's management and the NBA.

Columnist Jack McCaffery has it about right.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Nov. 16

The Daily Numbers: 46 years, how long it took Anthony Brigg to return to Radnor High School to collect his diploma. Well done, soldier!

4 townhomes that suffered heavy damage when fire hit Tuesday night in Aston.

1 firefighter injured battling the blaze.

2 dozen parents who attended a luncheon-forum to talk about issues in the Springfield School District. Yes, that $131 million dollar new school came up.

10.6 million dollar loan for DCCC that got the OK in Ridley Township.

2 different protests set today, 1 on the Swarthmore College campus; 1 on the Main Line.

3 county high school marching bands that won big time at the statewide Cavalcade of Bands.

6-pack, what you can now buy at your local beer distributor. That’s in addition to a 12-pack or a case. The change was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf.

10,000 dollars needed to help fix the statue of Ben Franklin at the Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia.

5 students stabbed by a fellow student at a high school in Utah.

40 years for the Delaware County Festival of Lights, which kicks off Dec. 2.

0.8 percent jump in retail sales.

1.7 billion dollar deficit expected in Pennsylvania next fiscal year.

6 to 23 months in prison for Chesco twin brothers in a spree in which they blew up things in Chester and Lancaster counties.

5 years, how long the judge ordered them to have no contact with each other.

3-2 loss in shootout for Flyers to Senators last night.

0-for-4 on power play for Flyers.

0-for-5 in the shootout.

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

You mean you haven’t noticed that the Flyers are pretty much going nowhere. Me either.

I Don’t Get It: A protest down Lancaster Avenue on the Main Line during the middle of the afternoon. Not sure I get that one.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Pa. for one more small step forward on sales of alcohol. You can now buy a six-pack of beer at your local beer distributor.

Quote Box: “Now I don’t have to say I went to Radnor but was not a graduate of Radnor.”

- Anthony Brigg, who collected a diploma on Veterans Day, 46 years after he left school to go to Vietnam.

Walkout, protests slated at Swarthmore, Main Line

File this one under, "What Took Them So Long?"

There will be a protest today by students at Swarthmore College.

Swarthmore students and faculty will join 80 other schools and universities across the nation in protesting to support sanctuary campuses.

They're not happy with President-elect Donald Trump's immigration policies, in particular his plan to eliminate the deferred action program may undocumented students qualify for.

They're vowing to do whatever it takes to stop Trump and his immigration policies.

“Our colleges and universities, have a moral responsibility to ensure that all students and campus workers regardless of immigration status feel safe and protected in their campuses,” said Carlos Rojas Rodriguez, an organizer with Movimiento Cosecha. “We are asking our administrations what side they are on; that is what #SanctuaryCampus is all about.

“We are publicly demonstrating our discontent with the xenophobic rhetoric that has come out of this election cycle, and consequently the hate crimes that are now more than ever before plaguing communities of color. As a latinx student and a son of immigrants I will not stand for this.”

The walkout is slated for noon on Parrish Beach on the campus.

And it's not the only one.

Residents in Lower Merion also will be on the march today. They are upset with relations with the Lower Merion Police Department.

They're planning to rally at Haverford College and then march down Route 30 (Lancaster Avenue) to the Lower Merion Police Department. The rally is planned for 2:30 with the march to follow.

We'll be there to cover both of them .

Crunch time for Mariner East 2

It's getting to be crunch time for Mariner East 2.

Maybe you've heard of it. That's the plan being proposed by Sunoco Logistics to construct a new pipeline to transport hundreds of thousands of barrels of chemicals across the state to the Marcus Hook Industrial Center.

It has the potential to be an economic bonanza, making the Hook the energy hub for the entire Northeastern United States. It also has a lot of community opposition.

There will be a hearing today on pipeline safety in Harrisburg. State Rep. Steve Barrar, R-160, heads the House Emergency Preparedness Committee that will hold the hearing.

A slew of people from municipal and school officials, to first responders, to environmental and other activists who oppose the plan will testify.

We'll bring you full coverage.

In the meantime, on our editorial page today, we continue to talk about one just might be the most important economic story in the region.

You can read it here.

A welcome change on beer sales

Raise a glass, Pennsylvania.

The Keystone State continues to slowly crawl out of the Dark Ages when it comes to the sale of alcohol.

Gov. Wolf yesterday signed a bill that would allow you local beer distributor to sell your favorite brew however you want it.

That's right, you're not longer required to but a whole case, as was the case for years, or even a 12-pack, just recently given the OK.

Starting 60 days from yesterday, your local beer distributor will be able to sell you a six-pack, growler or even a 32-ounce bottle.

In a way, this is actually more convenient than buying beer at the supermarket. That's because when you go into the supermarket, you have to enter a separate part of the store to buy beer or wine, and you have to pay for it there, separate from the rest of your groceries.

Unfortunately, the LCB is not going away. The state stores will remain in business.

That most likely means you'll still be making several different trips.

But we are getting there.

Slowly but surely.

Sounds like a reason for celebration to me.

Who's buying?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Nov. 15

The Daily Numbers: 107,000 square feet in the new Springfield High School.

375 to 427 parking spaces

131 million dollar price tag.

22, age of man being sought in connection with theft of ambulance in Ridley.

1 city firefighter injured in a fire in Chester.

2 families displaced in the blaze.

4 cats perished in the fire.

29, age of woman killed in traffic crash in Chester over the weekend.

6 saluted in Haverford High’s first annual Hall of Fame class.

99, age of Ridley man who has tied the knot. His bride is 88.

61, age of PBS news host and journalist Gwen Ifill, who died of cancer yesterday.

72, age of Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who is being passed over for cardinal position in the church.

3, as in No.3 in nation Villanova. The men’s hoops teams went into No. 15 Purdue and escaped with a 79-76 win.

67 percent increase in hate crimes targeting Muslims, according to new study.

115-88 blowout loss for Sixers in Houston last night.

33 points for James Harden.

13 points for Joel Embiid.

5 of 19 shots made by the Sixers in the third quarter

1-4 mark for the Eagles on the road, as opposed to 4-0 at home. They are in Seattle next Sunday. 3 TD passes for Eli Manning as Giants posted a 21-20 win over the Bengals on Monday Night Football.

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

This Sunday the Eagles will be looking at what is sometimes referred to as a statement game in Seattle. Win and they achieve a new level of respect. Lose and they’re just another also-ran.

I Don’t Get It: Donald Trump saying he’s sorry about hate incidents, then naming Steve Bannon as a chief strategist. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Philly Mayor Jim Kenney, who denounced hate crimes in the city that have been on the uptick since the election.

Quote Box: “Every time we have change we see resistance.”

- Springfield resident, on proposal for new high school.

Who ran down Cynthia McNeil?

It seems like a pretty simple question.

But it is one that haunts the family and friends of Cynthia McNeil.

Who ran down the beloved grandmother as she got out of her car and crossed the street to her home on Ninth Street in Chester.

Actually we know the person driving the car that struck McNeil, leaving her with multiple broken bones and bleeding on the brain, was a woman.

She actually got out of the car after striking and dragging McNeil, before getting back in her car and speeding off.

The family wants the person to come forward.

After our story appeared Monday, several local TV stations followed up with stories on the McNeil family and their ordeal since Cynthia was struck Nov. 5.

I have always wondered about the anguish someone must feel who has fled the scene of this kind of accident.

Unless you have absolutely no feelings at all, it must be horrible.

Somewhere, a car is likely sitting under a tarp or in a garage with serious front-end damage.

The person who was driving that car likely has damage to their psyche as well.

But it's nowhere near the hell that the McNeil family is going through.

I hope the driver turns themselves in soon.

The continuing fallout from the Trump election

We continue to see some of the consequences to more than a year of fairly acrimonious political discussion.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney last night reacted to a week of incidents in the city to note they will not be tolerated.

Oddly enough, Kenney was speaking at the conclusion of the International Unity Cup soccer tournament, which celebrates teams made up of about as diverse lineups as you can imagine.

That has not stopped the slow drip of racial incidents that have been highlighted since Donald Trump stunned the nation by winning the presidential election a week ago.

Kenney noted many Philadelphians were feeling angry, afraid and even hopeless in the wake of a series of incidents of racial intimidation, including text messages sent to black freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania that warned it was time for lynchings.

It's not just in the city, either.

In Bucks County, the Council Rock School District held a community meeting to address the acts of vandalism, hate speech and threats that have popped up since Trump's victory.

At Villanova, they continue to investigate an incident in which a black female student says she was harassed and accosted by a group of white male students chanting Trump's name.

That is why I decided to address the issue on today's editorial page.

To his credit, during his appearance on "60 Minutes" Sunday night, Trump tried to tamp down this stubborn racial streak.

"Stop it," he told any supporters who might be taking part in such actions.

I hope his backers follow his lead.

My fear is that they already have been mimicking Trump on some of their actions.

You see, words have meaning.

And consequences.

It's on today's editorial page.

A big night for the Big E

As the husband of the world's No. 1 Eric Lindros fan, I would be remiss if I did not take note of a very special event last night.

Eric Lindros is in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Finally.

The Big E was inducted into the Hall in his home town of Toronto last night, along with a posthumous honor for former Flyers coach Pat Quinn.

Eric Lindros was a big guy.

I got a feel for that on the several occasions when I accompanied my wife to the annual Flyers Carnival fundraiser, which they started as a way to raise money in the fight against cancer after the loss of defenseman Barry Ashbee to the dreaded disease. My wife would always pay for a photo taken with her favorite player. That would be Mr. Lindros.

Eric would always be seated in a booth so you never really got a chance to see just how big he was until he stood up. He literally filled up the room.

Put him on skates and you have a condo on ice.

It was his size, coupled with his agility and speed, that allowed Lindros to revolutionize the game. Simply put, no one that size had ever been able to move like that on the ice, something akin to a runaway locomotive.

I finally got a real feel for just how big Lindros was a few years ago. When he returned to Philly for an alumni game as part of the Winter Classic, he and LeClair did an autograph signing at the Granite Run Mall. Yes, there was still such a thing as Granite Run Mall back then. I asked my wife if she wanted to go. I didn't have to wait long for an answer.

We stood on a line that snaked through the mall for almost two hours before we finally got up to the table where Lindros and LeClair was sitting.

I extended my hand to Lindros and informed him I was married to his biggest fan. He seemed to get a chuckle out of it. Then he grasped my hand - and suddenly mine disappeared. I have never encountered a hand quite like that. It was simply huge, just swallowing up my hand. That's when I realized why that wrist shot was so magical.

Unfortunately, that size also led to a very bad habit, which turned out to be his Achilles heel. Since he seemingly always towered over everyone else on the ice from the time he was a kid, Lindros got into the habit of skating full speed ahead with his head down.

That made him a target. And he has the series of concussions to prove it.

It was a hit from New Jersey Devils defenseman Scott Stevens that effectively ended Lindros' career. He never played for the Flyers again, and was only a shell of the player he once was after that.

During his acceptance speech last night, Lindros thanked his linemates, John LeClair and Mikael Renberg, who formed maybe the most feared line in the NHL, the "Legion of Doom."

He also honored his brother Brett, whose career was cut short by the same concussion maladies that dogged Eric.

Congratulations, Eric. From one solitary news editor. And, of course, his better half, your No. 1 fan.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Daily Numbers for Monday, Nov. 14 (Eagles Edition)

The Daily Numbers: 24-15 win for the Birds over the Falcons.

2-game losing streak snapped by the Eagles.

4-0 record for the Birds at the Linc this year. Can you say home-field advantage?

1st 4th quarter comeback win for Eagles with Carson Wentz at the helm.

108 yards and 2 TDs for running back Ryan Mathews.

7 rushing TDs for Mathews so far this year.

208 yards on the ground for the Eagles, as they controlled the game at the line of scrimmage, key in keeping the Falcon’s offense off the field.

48 yard field goal from Caleb Sturgis that sealed the win, after he missed earlier from 55 and 44.

1 TD given up by Eagles defense to the top-ranked offense in the NFL.

38:10 time of possession in favor of Eagles Sunday.

76 yard TD pass from Matt Ryan to Taylor Gabriel, the only TD surrendered by stingy Eagles’ D.

33.9 points per game, what the Falcons were averaging coming into the game.

2 of 11 for the Falcons on 3rd down.

0 points allowed by Eagles at home in 1st quarter so far this year.

5 times this year they Eagles have scored in their 1st possession.

7:14, length of Eagles 1st scoring drive.

25 of 36 for 231 yards for Carson Wentz.

18 of 33 for 267 for Matt Ryan, along with 1 pick.

10 catches for Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones.

2 key drops for Jones as well.

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

The Eagles are developing something that has been lacking at Lincoln Financial Field - a home-field advantage.

I Don’t Get It: Still can’t quite comprehend how the refs missed that blatant helmet-to-helmet hit on Jordan Matthews.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Doug Pederson for a great game plan, controlling the ball with the rushing game and keeping the Falcons potent offense ion the sidelines.

Quote Box: “I had confidence in Ryan to get the job done. His size and strength paid off.”

- Doug Pederson, on effort or Ryan Mathews.

Words have meaning

Words have meaning.

I learned that a long time ago.

Actually, you learn it early in this business. Or you get out.

It is my hope that President-elect Donald Trump learns that lesson as well.

Trump's scorched Earth campaign resonated with many Americans who felt they had been left behind.

But they also alienated others - minorities, Muslims, women.

Now, in the wake of his stunning Electoral College win, we're beginning to see the ugly side of some of that inflammatory Trump rhetoric.

Those with racist, hateful leanings clearly feel emboldened.

Schools across the country are dealing with a spike in racial harassment.

Immigrants are being harassed. Notes are being tucked into their bags urging them to leave the country.

One of the most hateful images on the planet, the swastika, is popping up again.

At a Bucks County high school, racial messages were scrawled on a bathroom wall.

At the University of Pennsylvania, black members of the freshman class were targeted with a racist message that suggested lynching blacks.

Ugly stuff.

At Villanova, a black female student claims she was accosted and knocked down by a group of white males chanting "Trump." All this is part of the fallout of the ugliest campaign in American history.

Trump's invective too often veered in this direction, lambasting Mexican immigrants as rapists, targeting Muslims for a ban on entry to the country, and his vulgar, vile comments concerning women.

He's no longer a candidate. He's the president-elect.

He needs to own his past rhetoric. And set a new path going forward.

He appeared ready to start that process in his interview with "60 Minutes" last night, saying he was saddened by some of the actions of those who supported him.

He stared into the camera, and issues a simple recommendation to those who would take part in such conduct: Stop it.

But he has to do more. He needs to admit his role in this, based on the type of campaign he ran and the comments he made.

That is one of the reasons why protests have sprung up in major cities across the nation since Tuesday, and show no sign of letting up.

People are scared.

They heard the words he uttered during the campaign.

And they see the actions of his supporters in the wake of Tuesday's vote.

Words have meaning.

Donald Trump is just starting to walk back some of the words he hurled during the campaign.

He no longer is a candidate. Hillary Clinton is not the enemy.

He is now the president-elect.

He needs to act - and speak - like it.

And the angels sing

I don't think it's a stretch to say I was stunned at the result of last Tuesday's election.

No, I didn't see that one coming.

I'm not alone on this island. There were a lot of people - both in and out of the media - who misread the discontent out there in Middle America.

I probably should have gotten some inkling of what was coming via the reaction to my column from the week before, when I announced I would be voting for Hillary Clinton.

The late, great Daily News columnist Chuck Stone used to take readers' comments and work them into a column.

He would always use the same lead.

"And the angels sing."

I heard from a lot of angels last week.

But my fear, my sense of unease, remains the same. It's not where we've been, or what happened on Tuesday.

It's where we go from here.

You can read today's Letter From the Editor here.

The Eagles rediscover a home-field advantage

As a longtime proud denizen of the upper reaches of the 700 Level at Veterans Stadium, something has always bothered me about Lincoln Financial Field.

It was too pretty.

The Vet, where I watched so many Eagles games, was South Philly.

The Linc was the Main Line.

There was an "atty-tood" that went with the Vet.

Maybe it was the concrete surface. Maybe (at least we always thought so) it was the snarling fans.

Opposing teams absolutely hated the place. Some of them were beaten before they walked out onto that frozen turf.

It was a huge home field advantage.

Then the Birds moved across the street to the plush Lincoln Financial Field.

Something was missing.

Maybe, just maybe, it's coming back.

The Eagles pounded the high-flying Falcons into submission yesterday. That runs their home record to a spotless 4-0 this year. Yesterday's game plan was pretty simple. The Falcons came into the game with maybe the NFL's most prolific offense.

The easiest way to control was to keep Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and company off the field.

That's what Doug Pederson did, with an offense that focused on running the ball behind a rejuvenated Ryan Mathews.

The Eagles defense smothered the Falcons, keeping them out of the end zone aside from one hiccup, a third-quarter 76-yard TD pass to a wide open Taylor Gabriel, who had slipped behind the Eagles defense.

The win also marked the first time that Rookie QB Carson Wentz led the Eagles from behind in the 4th quarter to a win.

But this one was won up front, where the Eagles physically beat the Falcons on both sides of the ball.

The Eagles needed this win badly, snapping a tough two-game loss streak after consecutive games they know they probably should have won.

The good news? After a cross-country jaunt to Seattle, the Eagles play the remainder of their games at home, with all of the NFC East rivals still due to come to South Philly.

That new home-field advantage just might deliver them a wild card spot yet.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

Forget Carson Wentz.

This will be Matt Ryan's show. If the Eagles can't slow down the Exton product and Penn Charter grad, who comes to the Linc Sunday as one of the best QB's in the NFL, it's going to be a long day.

This one will be on the Eagles defense. They need to put pressure on Ryan, something they have struggled to do most of the season, except for the Vikings game, when defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz dialed up all kinds of blitzes.

If Matty Ice has all day to sit back and wait for all-everything receiver Julio Jones to get open, the Birds could get blown out.

The Falcons' problem is their defense. In a word, they're terrible.

This should be a good day for Wentz and the Eagles struggling offense. I am hoping rookie head coach Doug Pederson, who has been under fire two straight weeks for decisions that cost his team very winnable games, remembers what made the Eagles so successful in bolting to a 3-0 start. The Birds had a great ratio of run to pass, controlled the game and the clock, keeping other teams' offenses off the field. But in recent weeks Pederson has morphed into Andy Reid Lite, abandoning the run and putting the game on Wentz's shoulders. With this receiving corps, that's not a good idea. The Birds needs to control the game and clock. That will be an imperative against Ryan, Jones and company.

Then again this could be a breakout week for Wentz and the Eagles' offense against a very porous defense. Wentz has made some of the kinds of rookie mistakes he was not making early in the season, looking especially nervous early in games. He threw two picks in the first quarter last week, leading directly to two Giants' TDs. It should be noted that Wentz has not looked nearly as comfortable in the pocket since losing his right tackle Lane Johnson. He's gone for 10 games. Wentz needs to take control again. This might be the game, even if he still lacks weapons and has seen the offense hiccup badly since their hot start. At any rate, I think there will be lots of points scored in this one.

Add in the fact that the Eagles have played very well at home, undefeated in fact, and I like their chances to harass Ryan into a couple of mistakes and steal a win.

A loss would mean the Birds have dropped three straight, and four of five since that 3-0 start.

No one wants that.

The Pick: Make it Eagles 31, Falcons 29. Is it too early to start dictating 'must' wins. Not really. The Eagles can't afford another divisional loss. And the scheduled doesn't exactly get easier from here, with a trip across the country to play the Seahawks looming, and the Packers arriving after that. The Eagles need to win this game.

Last Week: For the second straight week, Doug Pederson's decisions factored into a brutal loss. He left six points on the board by recklessly going for 1st downs when he could have kicked field goals. The Birds lost by 5 - and they had still another field goal blocked. The loss drops me to a dispiriting 3-5, while the loss has the Eagles sinking toward mediocrity at 4-4.

Game by Game: Giants 28, Eagles 23 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Giants 17)

Cowboys 29, Eagles 23 (My Pick: Cowboys 29, Eagles 24)

Eagles 21, Vikings 10 (My Pick: Vikings 26, Eagles 13) Redskins 27, Eagles 20 (My Pick: Eagles 24, Redskins 23)

Lions 24, Eagles 23 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Lions 10)

Eagles 34, Steelers 3 (My Pick: Steelers, 26, Eagles 23)

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

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