Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Fake, biased news? Not at Bonner & Prendie

It is one of the very few things in this job I know I can count on.

Every time we run a story about a Catholic school, or the archdiocese, that paints the church in less than a glowing light, I get accused of being anti-Catholic.

No, this isn't fake news. This, according to the readers I talk to, is us (me, actually) for some reason delighting in taking every opportunity to bash the church.

I heard it again and again during the priest abuse scandal, the numerous grand jury reports noting the failings of the church in dealing with it. Any time a story involving a Catholic school makes the front page, I get the same phone calls from people who insist that I did it only to make the church look bad. They say we never publish anything good about the church, and that when similar stories involving public schools hit the paper, they get pushed inside.

So of course I knew what the reaction would be Monday when we devoted our entire front page to what many simply refer to as the "Miracle in Drexel Hill." That would be the gargantuan effort by the faithful of Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast to save their schools.

That would be crickets.

Nada. Zip.

Not one phone call or email from those critics who insist I have it on for their beloved church.

I'm not complaining. That goes with the job, too. The truth is no one calls about good news. But write something bad, and the people come out of the woodwork to declare that we are biased. It was five years ago that the Archdiocese's blue ribbon commission delivered what many thought was going to be the death knell for Boner & Prendie. Instead of what most had grudgingly resigned themselves to, that the schools' long tradition of separate schools for boys and girls likely was going to be a thing of the past, instead they were stunned to learn both schools were being targeted for closure. What happened next was fairly extraordinary.

And this newspaper covered every inch of it.

We were there about a month later when word was received that not only had Bonner & Prendie been saved, but three other Catholic high schools as well.

The looks on those kids' faces as they celebrated that day was one of the highlights of my journalism career.

The next day our front page delivered the news of the celebration with a single word: Amen.

The news is not always going to be good.

Just ask the folks at Upper Darby High, who found themselves splashed all over the front page when a student was stopped heading to school with a loaded gun.

Or ask any of the other schools who have been featured in a less-than-flattering way.

But on Monday, when we reviewed the momentous past five years, and the effort to turn Bonner & Prendie around, I didn't receive a single phone call from my critics who insist that I use the newspaper to bash the Catholic church at every turn.

Fake news? Hardly. What we do here every day is not always popular. I happen to make a lot of people made every day. I understand that. What I don't understand is people who insist on calling me "fake," let alone "an enemy of the people."

I love the fact that this newspaper was able to play a role in saving two very important institutions in this county.

That will not stop me from printing negative stories if the circumstances call for it.

That's not being biased. Or fake.

That's being real.

And it's what I do every day.

How they saved Bonner & Prendie

What a difference five years makes.

Five years ago, Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast high schools were given a death threat - by their own archdiocese. A blue ribbon commission tasked with reviewing archdiocesan schools and making recommendations did the unthinkable - not what everyone expected, merging the two schools, but instead recommending both be closed.

It was a punch to the gut to those who loved the twin schools on the hill in the Drexel Hill section of Upper Darby.

Five years later, the merged school is thriving once again.

What happened?

Some call it the Miracle on the Hill.

Actually, it was a lot of hard work. And, of course, a lot of money.

You can read about how they managed to save Bonner & Prendie in today's editorial.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Monday, Feb. 27

The Daily Numbers: 5 years, how long it’s been since the recommendation of a blue ribbon panel that both Monsignor Bonner & Archbishop Prendergast high schools be closed.

8,850 basic tuition for a year at the schools.

800 kids who attend the two schools.

5 public hearings on their budget being held by Rose Tree Media School District in conjunction with Penn Project for Civic Engagement.

3.5 percent tax hike included in preliminary spending plan for next year.

47,000 dollars raised for Coopertown Elementary School playground in Haverford.

317 homes now being considered for the Crebilly Farm on Route 926 in Westtown. That’s down from the original plan of 397 homes on the 322-acre farm.

100 gravestones toppled in vandalism incident at Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia.

80 languages spoken at Upper Darby High School.

1,000 people who gathered at memorial service Sunday for retailer Al Boscov.

61, age of actor Bill Paxton, who starred in ‘Apollo 13’ and ‘Titanic.’ He died from complications after surgery.

97, age of TV’s Judge Wapner, who also died this weekend.

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

2.49 average price in Philly region.

60.2 cents a gallon higher than one year ago.

8.4 cents per gallon lower that a month ago.

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

Well, it certainly looks like the Sixers season is over. Flyers going nowhere fast. Bring on baseball.

I Don’t Get It: Still trying to get my head around that flub of the Best Picture announcement last night. Steve Harvey is the happiest man in America today.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to everyone at Monsignor Bonner & Archbishop Prendergast High Schools, still going strong 5 years after the archdiocese wanted to shut them down.

Quote Box: “I’m not in favor of anything that affects students. I’m willing to pay higher taxes to support them.”

- person at Saturday session on Rose Tree Media School District budget.

Paying for state police coverage, & listening to voices of constituents

A couple of things to note from over the weekend.

I hope you saw our Sunday editorial - especially if you live in the western part of the county.

Many towns out there do not have their own police force, relying instead on state police patrols. It saves them a boatload of money, but it makes the rest of the state basically underwrite those savings.

Now Gov. Tom Wolf wants to change that. Looking for revenue anyplace he can find it to battle the sea of red ink the state continues to swim in, the governor is proposing a $25 per person fee for those municipalities that rely solely on state police for their patrols.

We think it's time, and it's the right thing to do.

You can read the editorial here.

Then on today's editorial page, we talk a little more about this whole notion of "representative" government and what that means for those who hold these offices.

We noted on Friday that both U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, and Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey were taking a fair amount of hear for their failure to hold a town hall-style meeting with constituents to discuss the crucial issues that have bubbled to the surface since President Donald Trump took office.

Citizens want to talk about the Affordable Care Act, the travel ban, and they want to know where their representatives stand on these key issues.

On Friday they held another protest outside of the West Chester office of U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6. This time Costello surprised them by meeting protesters, inviting them into his office, and discussing the issues with them for 45 minutes.

On Saturday, another town hall was slated for Phoenixville. Costello indicatdd he would not attend, and at what point slammed the event as a "political stunt" set up by those who oppose the president's policies.

It's something that has been hinted at by Meehan and Toomey as well.

There is a hint of truth in what they say.

We don't think Costello should be condemned for failing to show up in Phoenixville a day after he sat down and listened to constituents for 45 minutes.

At the same time, we don't think all these people are politically motivated. People are legitimately scared at some of the things that are happening in Washington.

And they are making their voices heard.

Our elected representatives better get used to hearing it. It doesn't sound like it's going away any time soon.

Fake news, the Oscars, and shining a 'Spotlight' on government

Steve Harvey is off the hook.

Lampooned for one of the biggest mistakes announcing mistake in history when he declared the wrong woman the winner of the Miss Universe Pageant, Harvey's mixup now looks like small potatoes.

Welcome to some real fake news, folks.

If you clicked off your TV seconds after hearing 'La La Land' declared the winner of Sunday night's Academy Awards, I've got some news for you.

It didn't.

'Moonlight' did.

But not before Faye Dunaway announced 'La La Land' as the winner and the cast of the move gathered on the stage.

Only then did the awkward mistake become clear, and 'Moonlight' declared the real winner.

Only in La La Land could this be big news.

Actually, I full expected to wake this morning and see a timeline full of rants against Donald Trump. All of that went by the boards with the epic ending that not even a Hollywood screewriter could conjure up.

So how did it happen.

Here's an explanation.

And now a confession.

As usual, I have not seen any of the nominated movies this year. In fact, I have not been in a movie theatre since I watched 'Spotlight,' which won best picture for its depiction of the Boston Globe investigative team that blew the lid off the child abuse scandal in the Boston Archdiocese.

That move connected with me for a lot of reasons, not the least of which it reminded me, as the Washington Post is now pointing out in its masthead, what can happen in darkness.

It's not just in Washington. Or on big national stories.

It happens in every local town and school district, when the local newspaper is no longer there to shine a 'spotlight' on what is happening.

That is why what we do every day is important.

Forget all the talk about fake news. What should concern all of us is the notion of "no news." That's what is happening in too many towns. It's a dangerous thing.

And it has a lot more impact than a simple mistake in announcing who won the best picture.

I don't know when or if I will see any of this year's nominated pictures. My guess is probably when they finally make it to TV or cable.

I do know that I can watch 'Spotlight' every day and still not see it enough.

It's a reminder of what I do every day.

And what we are in danger of losing.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Make way for Mariner East 2

Sunoco Logistics wasn't kidding.

They're not wasting any time getting to work building that massive pipeline that will ferry Marcellus Shale products all the way across Pennsylvania to Marcus Hook.

After getting the green light from the state Department of Environmental Protection for several key permits, then hearing a judge decline appeals to that order, they are already at work here in Delaware County clearing the way for the pipeline. And they had a little other news as well.

Their plan, as they had indicated, is actually to build two pipelines simultaneously. That will produce a huge infusion of ethane, butane and propane rushing through those pipes to the former Sunoco refinery in Marcus Hook.

You can get all the details in our lead story here.

As our front page, indicates: HERE IT COMES!

Welcome back, Jodine

One of the things I hear all the time is that our featured columnists lean heavily to the right.

It's true. No one is ever going to accuse Chris Freind or Christine Flowers of being a liberal.

Despite Republicans' belief that we still tilt overwhelmingly to the left, the fact is that we have lacked a liberal voice in our columnist position since Jodine Mayberry stepped aside when I first introduced our three new columnists to replace Gil Spencer.

Jodine had some health issues, as well as increased work duties that made producing her weekly column a little more than she wanted on her plate.

Well, I've got news: She's back.

We welcome back Jodine as the third member of her troika. Her column will appear on Page Six every Friday.

She jumps back into the fray today after attending that meeting on the Affordable Care Act in Media Wednesday night. And not surprisingly, she is wondering where U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan was. You can read her column here.

As it turns out, we also are addressing that issue on today's editorial page. Sooner or later, both Meehan and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey are going to have to face their constituents. You can read the editorial here.

80 degrees in February?

All together now:


Did you manage to get outside yesterday? If not, you're in luck. Mother Nature is planning an instant replay today as our weird February weather continues.

It's not exactly a secret that I hate winter. But even I have to admit that if this is winter, I'll take it.

After hitting 73 yesterday, falling 2 degrees short of the record set back in 1874, our friends at AccuWeather actually are saying we could hit 80 degrees today.

That's right, 80 degrees.

80 degrees on a Friday in February.

Gee, I wonder how absenteeism will stack up at offices across the region today.

Probably some correlation with fact that golf course will be mobbed.

Get the full forecast here.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Feb. 23

The Daily Numbers: 71, expected high temperature today.

10 a.m., how long dense fog advisory is in effect.

2 women charged in strong-arm robbery of Harrah’s players in the parking garage of the Chester casino.

2 day strike March 5-6 being threatened by nurses at DCMH if they don’t get a new contract.

10,000 dollar fine slapped on Chester funeral home and director by state board for operating without a license.

200 people who showed up at town forum in Media on the Affordable Care Act last night.

8 million dollar line of credit for Cheyney University put up by the state.

48-game home win streak for Villanova at the Pavilion snapped last night.

74-66 loss to Butler, 2nd time this year Butler has gotten better of ‘Cats.

7 point lead for ‘Nova with 10:30 remaining.

18 point run that powered Butler to win.

4-1 loss for Flyers last night vs. the Caps.

33 saves for Caps goalie Brayden Holtby

59-39 loss for Interboro boys to Shanahan in District 1 hoops.

74-59 win for Chester Clippers.

102 straight wins for UConn women.

90-45 rout of Temple women.

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

Kind of a tough night. Losses for Flyers, Villanova, Saint Joe and Temple.

I Don’t Get It: At some point I think the Pa. Pats - Meehan and Toomey - will have to sit down in a town hall style meeting with constituents.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the latest member of the Lansdowne Police Force. Welcome to Chapek, a K-9 officer.

Quote Box: “For our patients, we must win a fair contract that will ensure safety for the Delco community.”

- Angela Neopolitano, nurse at DCMH, where unionized workers are threatening 2-day strike if they don’t get a new deal.

Voices raised with ACA concerns are not going away

The debate over the Affordable Care Act - and Republicans’ vow to repeal it - rages on.

Town hall meetings are being held across the country as citizens realize what is at stake.

Last night several hundreds people turned out for a discussion of the ACA in Media sponsored by a group called Organizing for Action.

They wanted to hear from U.S. Rep. Pat. Meehan. He was invited - they even had a chair for him - but he did not attend. Some Republicans are trying to pass off these events as blatant political events being organized by progressive groups opposed to Republican policy.

I don’t doubt that some of those in attendance were in fact political operatives.

But not all of them. Probably not even most of them.

Instead what you are hearing is citizens, many of whom dealing with life-threatening illnesses, who are scared to death that they are going to lose their health benefits.

Meehan, like many moderate Republicans, has toned down the rhetoric on the health care debate. He’s now talking about ,”rescue and repair,” as opposed to “repeal and replace” when it comes to Obamacare.

But Republicans have yet to put forth their idea for a replacement plan.

Those voices out there wondering about the future of their healthcare are only going to get louder.

You can read our coverage of last night’s hearing here.


Speaking of Rep. Meehan, have you looked at a map of the 7th District lately.

It looks like one of your kids was turned loose with the fingerpaints.

The 7th District, which includes most of Delaware County, now also zigs and zags its way into Montgomery, Berks and even Lancaster counties. It spans parts of five counties altogether.

Yes, it’s a mess.

Two Pennsylvania legislators - one Democrat and one Republican - want to fix it before the next census is due in 2020. You can read our editorial on the issue here.

Roundtable on abortion bills today at Swarthmore

The heated debate over a controversial abortion bill making its way through the state Legislature is headed to Delaware County today.

State Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-161, of Swarthmore will host a roundtable discussion on Senate Bill 3 at Swarthmore college at 2 p.m. Among those attending will be Gov. Tom Wolf.

Senate Bill 3 would change the existing abortion laws in the state, banning elective procedures after 20 weeks, instead of the 24-week limit now in place. It passed the Senate, with both Delco senators splitting along party lines. Sen. Tom McGarrigle, R-26, and Sen. Tom Killion, R-9, voted in favor; Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, and Sen. Anthony Williams, D-1, voted against.

State Rep. Kathy Rapp, R-Warren/Crawford/Forest, introduced a companion bill in the House on Tuesday. House Bill 77 mirrors SB 3 in being one of the most restrictive abortion ban in the country.

Krueger-Braneky and Wolf will hear testimony from medical professionals, midwives, high-risk OBGYNs and individuals with personal stories relating to abortion from Delaware County.

The roundtable is slated for 2 p.m. in Bond Memorial Hall at Swarthmore College, 500 College Ave.

We'll be there to cover it.

Heavy fog hits region overnight

You will need extra time for the morning commute.

I just drove into the office and I can tell you there is a heavy fog out there.

The National Weather Service has issued a dense fog advisory for the entire region until 10 a.m.

The roads also are wet, meaning the morning commute should be fairly eventful.

Plan on it taking longer to get where you are going.

The good news? Not only is it not snow, but it's not even all that cold. The warm temps are what is responsible for the heavy layer of fog that descended on the region overnight.

Later this morning the fog is expected to burn off and we're actually headed for a spring-like 71 degrees later today.

Get the full forecast here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Feb. 22

The Daily Numbers: 4 people hurt in collision, derailment of Frankford Market El trains at 69th St. Station in Upper Darby.

1 SEPTA train operator in critical condition

7 cars partially derailed.

6 countywide offices on spring primary ballot. Both parties have full slates running.

58 warnings and 4 citations issued by Brookhaven fire safety officers for people parking in fire lanes.

35 citations and 9 parking tickets issued by borough police.

35, age of Nether Providence man charged with posting child porn on Pinterest.

4 public forums being held by Rose Tree Media to discuss this year’s budget.

30 to 50 percent decline in soda sales in Philly since city enacted new tax on sugary drinks.

2.6 million dollars projected to be collected through Tuesday.

7.6 million dollars, what was expected to meet city’s goals.

20 percent cut in workforce seen by major soda distributor.

300 workers facing pink slips because of revenue dip at ShopRite supermarkets.

5 cities targeted by American Airlines for cheaper ‘basic economy’ fares for flights out of Philly starting March 1.

400 daily flights by American out of Philly every day.

71-55 win for Penn Wood boys in District 1 hoops action

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

We’re about to find out what the Flyers are made of, they face the Caps tonight, Penguins up next.

I Don’t Get It: Another day, another mess for SEPTA, this time a collision and derailment at 69th Street Station.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Luis Canales, the Villanova Law student who tells a compelling tale of achieving his dream - and gaining U.S. citizenship

Quote Box: “Tear down this wall.”

- Sen. Tom Killion, at last week’s opening of a new Wawa featuring beer sales, on the wall that divides that section from the rest of the store.

Where Meehan stands on Trump's tax returns

After this week's print column in which I noted a couple of the reasons I think played a part in U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan's decision to stand "Pat," and not challenge U.S. Sen. Robert Casey, I got an interesting reader question.

While I noted that Meehan might not be all that enthralled about a statewide race while defending President Donald Trump's controversial stances on repealing the Affordable Care Act and placing a travel ban on immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the country, a reader wanted to know Meehan's stance on Trump's tax returns.

Turns out we didn't have to wait long.

Yesterday Meehan voted against a Democratic effort in the House to make those tax returns public.

But there is an asterisk, as there usually is on things happening in Washington.

Meehan spokesman John Elizandro says Meehan actually believes Trump should have released his tax returns during the campaign, and continues to think so.

He just does not believe this effort, through the House Ways and Means Committee, is the way to go about it.

You can read the full story here.

The quote of the week on beer in Wawa

It's not exactly a secret that I am not the biggest fan of the way Pennsylvania goes about selling booze.

In fact, I have been at times described as one of the state's leading proponents of privatizing the whole system, blowing up the LCB and getting Pa. out of the booze business, turning it over to private enterprise, which can do it better, cheaper and with a lot more convenience for consumers.

That likely is still somewhere in the future.

For now, we have to be satisfied with taking baby steps.

So, yes, I was among those cheering last week when Wawa entered the beer market - at least at one store, their newly renovated site at Naamans Creek Road and Route 202 out in Concord.

But the quote of the week goes to Delco state Sen. Tom Killion, R-9, also a vocal proponent of privatization.

Something I wrote about last week did not escape Killion's notice either.

That is the idea of just how "convenient" this new age of beer in a convenience store actually is.

That's because state regulations required for this type of restaurant license mandate the establishment have a seating area for 30 people. There is actually a wall that separates the area selling beer from the rest of the store. You have to get your beer - and pay for it - there, separate from your other purchases. Real convenient, huh?

Wawa incorporated this space into this redesign of their Concord store and probably why they are not rushing to put beer coolers in more of their stores. For now, they are only saying this is the only store where they plan to have beer sales.

Killion is vowing to continue the push for full privatization in the state.

In his remarks, the senator thanked Wawa for "helping drag Pennsylvania into the 21st century when it comes to alcohol sales." He noted that both he and state Rep. Steve Barrar, R-160, who represents Concord, voted for a privatization bill that actually passed the state House before dying in the Senate.

Then came the line of the week:

"I do think it's crazy that you have to go to a separate register, have a wall and 30 seats in order to serve alcohol. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, LCB, let's tear down this wall."

Couldn't have said it any better myself, senator.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

40 years later, thinking of my father

I guess being the youngest of five children, I’ve always considered myself young.

Life keeps conspiring to prove me wrong.

But never more so than one day last week.

My father died 40 years ago last Tuesday.

He was 63 years old. In other words, about a year and a half older than I am right now.

Talk about a cold slap in the face.

He never had a chance to retire. He spent his life trying to provide for his family, first by running two soda fountain/luncheonettes, one in North East, Md., the other in the small town where we lived, Oxford, Pa., in southern Chester County.

Later in life, he became a security guard and eventually a police officer at Lincoln University just outside town.

My father was a man of very few words. We did not call him ‘The Quiet Man’ for nothing. That attribute rubbed off on his youngest son. He had simple values, treasuring his family, his faith, and his friends.

Like so many in The Greatest Generation, he rarely ever spoke about it. He just did it.

I find it terribly unfair that a man would work his entire life, then be denied the opportunity to enjoy his retirement.

I don’t think my dad would have seen it that way, at least he never would have talked about it.

He simply went about his business.

He was a man of routine, which is what took him to the small store he still owned in Oxford, run by my mom that fateful day. Later she would always detail what happened exactly the same way.

Dad was standing at the end of the long counter in the store, and he mentioned that he did not feel well. Mom said she had just made a fresh pot of coffee. She turned to get him a cup. That’s when she heard the sound. When she turned around again, dad was on the floor. He was rushed to the hospital, but my guess is he likely was gone before he ever hit the floor.

I was half a country away, attending class at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

If you’ve ever been there, you’ll understand when I say that calling it ‘idyllic’ is an understatement.

Not that day.

I was sitting in class when a woman knocked on the door, itself somewhat unusual. What happened next was even more so.

‘Is there a Philip Heron in the class?’ the woman asked the professor. I nearly fell off the chair. She said I needed to call my brother right away. He lived outside Denver, and was the reason I was out there in the first place. I called. His wife answered and that’s how I learned dad had suffered a heart attack.

I had to meet my brother at the airport and I didn’t have much time to spare. I really don’t remember packing anything at all, but I do remember how I literally went knocking on doors to see if anyone could give me a ride to the airport. I met my brother and we basically flew to Philly in silence, not knowing the details of dad’s condition.

Remember, this was a different world, one without cell phones, texting, and social media.

Two quiet men on a plane. Just like our father. I think we both knew what awaited us once we got home.

Today I will go to work, much as I do every day.

But it will be with a reminder that time is precious. There are no guarantees.

I like to think I acquired a lot of traits from my father - his love of sports, his passion for a good, simple meal. Meat and potatoes. Is there another kind?

I also took on his mantra of being a man of few words – aside from when I’m sitting at this keyboard. Conversation is not exactly my thing, just ask my wife.

My dad also gave me perhaps the greatest gift of all, one that has served me well.

He loved newspapers.

He would devour several of them every day.

For the life of me, I could not figure out why a store in North East, Md., sold the New York papers every day. It did not take me long to find out. Working at the store, I would watch the parade of men come in and check that day’s horse racing entries, then kibbutz with my dad about who he ‘liked’ at the track that day.

Yes, my father loved the pones.

I have him to thank for my ability to read The Racing Form. He’s still the only man I’ve ever met who took a vacation from his job so he could work the parimutuel window at Delaware Park.

In many ways, it’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years.

The trips to the cemetery are few and far between these days.

Work - and life - usually gets in the way.

Today I am again shocked at some of the things I did not realize about my father. We all knew that he as born on Nov. 23. Yes, he was celebrating a birthday on that day in 1963 when our world changed with the news of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. What I didn’t realize until a few years ago was that dad was actually celebrating his 50th birthday that fateful day.

I was thinking about that again over the weekend, when I realized that this year would mark four decades since that awful day. But something about the numbers wasn’t adding up. For some reason I always thought dad was 66 or 67 when he passed.

Some quick work with the calculator - math was not one of the gifts dad bestowed on his youngest son - left me with the unavoidable conclusion that dad was only 63.

About a year and a half older than I am right now.

I wish I could sit at that table just one more time, patiently waiting for him to finish with the sports section of the newspaper, always creased neatly to that day’s horse racing entries, and inevitably marked with his signature butter and jelly stains.

The industry I work in was at its peak serving the members of this greatest generation.

Today we sadly note the passing of all too many of them every day on our obituary pages.

They are a dying breed, in more ways than one.

I get the feeling dad would not have cared much for the Internet, cell phones, or social media.

Unless you could somehow deliver the horse racing results in 140 characters.

40 years. Four decades.

For some reason, it doesn’t seem that long.

I guess it never does.

Rest well, Quiet Man.


The photo shows dad with my sister Kate, standing in the back yard of our home in Oxford, in the mid'60s.

The legal fight over Mariner East 2 heat sup

The Mariner East Pipeline 2 project is coming.

And that means the lawyers can't be far behind.

Sunoco Logistics is already in the western part of the state, laying down the pipe that will eventually reach 350 miles across Pennsylvania, linking the Marcellus Shale regions to Marcus Hook.

The company got the green light for key permits they need to start work in our neck of the woods last week, and an appeal by environmental groups to block the company from starting construction was rejected by a judge.

The two sides are likely headed to court.

In the meantime, Sunoco Logistics says they are ready to start construction on the 11.5-mile stretch of the pipeline that traverses several municipalities in western Delaware County.

Disappointed community groups who oppose the pipeline are vowing they will go to court to fight the company.

You can read our editorial on this important economic project here.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Daily Numbers: 70 degrees, yesterday’s high temperature, at 5 p.m. That’s a new record high for the date.

45, the normal high for Feb. 19

71, forecast high for this Thursday.

20 inch pipeline that will deliver as much as 275,000 barrels a day of gases to Marcus Hook in Sunoco Logistics Mariner East 2 plan.

2nd 16-inch line that could deliver another 250,000 barrels a day.

1909, when the Barnstormers Theater first opened its doors in Ridley Park.

39, age of Linwood man who faces pot-dealing charges.

2,570 dollars coming to Interboro from PennDOT for an easement for a traffic signal improvement project.

5 years of partnership between Kendall-Crosslands in Kennett Square and the Chester Charter School for the Arts.

97 overdose deaths recorded in Chester County last year.

5 dogs perish in fire in Honey Brook.

10 million dollars raised by Penn State students in their annual THON fundraiser.

4 teens shot in West Philly.

1 cent decline in cost of gas at the pumps last week.

2.51 average price per gallon.

2.27, the national average.

59.2 cents per gallon higher than this time last year.

10.5 cents per gallon lower than this time last month.

4 candidates being interviewed by President Trump for his national security adviser.

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

Who needs Clearwater? Could have held some baseball workouts here yesterday.

I Don’t Get It: Still haven’t quite figured out what the Sixers are doing.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Barnstormers Theater in Ridley Park, still going strong after more than 100 years.

Quote Box: “Sunoco intends to wreak immediate and irreparable harm in Delaware County.”

- statement from Middletown Coalition for Community Safety, after judge rejected plea to halt work on Mariner East 2 pipeline.

Why is Meehan standing Pat?

I used my print column today to talk about Pat Meehan.

The 7th District Congressman recently announced that he would not seek the GOP nod to challenge incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr.

The interesting question is why?

I have a couple of theories.

It has to do with BT and AT. That stands for Before Trump and After Trump.

It's a new political landscape out there.

I'm not sure Meehan wanted to put his neck on the line in a dicey statewide contest when he routinely rolls to victory in the 7th District, which has been made almost a GOP lock through the wonders of redistricting.

An off-year election in which Americans might still be steamed at the policies of Donald Trump, and looking to take it out on Republicans up and down the ballot? No wonder Meehan took a pass.

You can read the column here.

If this is global warming, I'll take it

Happy Presidents Day.

Yes, check your calendar. It really is Presidents Day. Feb. 20. I know that might seem a little hard to fathom after the weekend we just enjoyed.

It never ceases to amaze me what a little sunshine and warm temperatures - we actually hit 70 degrees about 4 p.m. - can do for your outlook.

Usually about this time of the year, I am bundled up on the sofa, watching golf on TV from some beautiful location, and wondering why I put up with this three months of misery every year.

Here's what I did yesterday: Took a nice long walk with my wife, sat outside and read the Sunday paper, then actually finished a book I have been trying to finish off since last summer.

Then, I chipped a few golf balls around the back yard.

The the Mrs. and I did some nature walking, actually hiking along some open space that runs through our development that neither of us had ever explored, despite living there for more than 30 years.

In other words, I wanted to spend every glorious minute I could outside, and that's exactly what I did.

It's chilly this morning, but certainly not the bone-numbing cold we expect at this time of the year.

And there is more good news in the forecast. We're heading back to the 60s later this week and could even break back into the 70s on Thursday.

The best part? No snow on the horizon.

If this is global warming, I'll take it.

Get the full forecast for the week here.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The tall task facing Chester police, officials

This pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the challenges facing police and officials in Chester as they try to quell the spike in violence that is plaguing the city.

Yesterday they spent the entire day meeting with law enforcement officials from across the region and state, along with citizens, in the hunt for solutions.

In the morning Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland and his police brass sat down with county District Attorney Jack Whelan, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro and others. Then at 7 p.m. they held a town hall meeting to get input and ideas from the community.

An hour or so after that meeting broke up, police were called to the 2100 block of Edgmont Avenue.

The reason? Shots fired. Police found several shell casings at the site. It is not yet clear if anyone was hit. The person who fired the shots was last seen fleeing the scene in a black SUV.

You can read our story on an eventful day in Chester here.

Punxsutawney Pat? Toomey talks on teleconference

Don't call him 'Punxsutawney Pat.'

Our U.S. Senator says he has not been hiding out in his burrow, contrary to many media reports.

Republican Pat Toomey yesterday held a hastily called teleconference after fielding a barrage of criticism that he was unavailable and constituents were unable to get through to his office.

Toomey insists it was simply a matter of volume and staffing, that his office phones were swamped and staffers struggled to keep up. In the meantime, he said he wanted President Trump to take a harder line on Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, while standing behind some of the president's more controversial policies.

You can read the story here.

Another baby step forward for Pa.

You can now have a beer with that Shorti.

Pass out the party hats!

Wawa through a party yesterday as they re-opened their store on Naamans Creek Road in Concord, the first in Pennsylvania to feature beer sales. So what's the problem?


But let me make this clear. This is not Wawa's fault. This is on Pennsylvania - and the byzantine laws when it comes to the sale of alcohol. In order to feature beer sales, Wawa had to satisfy a state requirement that it do so in a separate, 'restaurant'-style part of the store. You get your beer there, either a single beer to go with your sandwich, or two six-packs to go. But you can't pay for it along with your sandwich and other items. You have to do that in the regular part of the store.

Wawa renovated this store specifically to have this 30-seat sit-down restaurant area, also the first time they've done that in these parts. That's the only way they can sell beer.

For now the Delco convenience store icon says this is the only store they plan to offer beer, no doubt in part because of the state regulations.

It obviously would be hard, if not impossible, for them to fulfill that requirement as most of their existing stores. But take that silly law away, and I'd be willing to bet Wawa would have a beer cooler in every store.

Kind of like the way most states do.

Only in Pennsylvania. No wonder they call us the Land of Giants.

We also editorialized on the topic today. Read it here.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Feb. 16

The Daily Numbers: 1 Wawa store in Pennsylvania that is selling beer, as of today.

721 Naamans Creek Road in Concord, location of the store.

2 6-packs at a time, how much you can buy there and take with you.

1 million dollars, how much Radnor School District is considering spending to replace bleachers at its football field

190,000 dollar salary for Dan Nerelli, voted as the new superintendent of Upper Darby schools.

146,000 dollar salary for John Council as assistant super.

6 hour standoff in Aston yesterday morning that ended with a man being taken into custody without incident.

3, age of alleged victim of Yeadon man, charged with sexual assault of girl at early learning center in Norristown.

136 acre tract next to Philadelphia International Airport in Tinicum that could be condemned by Philadelphia City Council.

2 applications for charter schools in Upper Darby that have now been withdrawn.

2 terms on County Council for Mario Civera. He now plans to run this fall for a seat on Upper Darby Council, where he started his political career.

3,000 production workers at a Boeing plant in South Carolina who have rejected an offer to form a union.

116-108 loss for Sixers in Boston last night.

70 dollar average hike in season ticket prices enacted by the Eagles.

3-1 loss for the Flyers last night in Calgary.

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

The Flyers and Sixers appear once again to be going nowhere. The Phillies are “hoping” to be mediocre. The Eagles are raising season ticket prices after going 6-10 and missing the playoffs again. Not good.

I Don’t Get It: Jeff Lurie is using the lure of a potential franchise quarterback Carson Wentz to pick your pocket again. Ever wonder what the total cost of a day at an Eagles game adds up to. I’m thinking we’re talking $250 easy.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those meeting in Chester today seeking a solution to the violence that plagues the city’s streets.

Quote Box: “The war against fighting crime in inner cities and across the country should be viewed with the same level of passion the nation currently has when addressing the opioid epidemic.”

- Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland.

How about a beer with that Shorti?

Gottahavva Brewski?

You're in luck, if you happen to be out in Concord Township.

Our favorite Delaware County-based convenience store chain is taking the plunge today and kicking off its first store to offer beer sales in Pennsylvania.

The store, at 721 Naamans Creek Road near Route 202, has been completely renovated to add a 30-seat restaurant to satisfy the new Pennsylvania regarding beer sales at supermarkets and convenience stores. They also added a beer cooler, where you can grab a single to have with your Shorti in the restaurant, or as much as two six-packs to go.

While Wawa has sold beer at its 109 stores in Florida and Virginia, this is its first foray into the sale of suds in Pa.

It's taken nearly 18 months for Wawa to navigate through a minefield of state regulations and some opposition in the community.

But beer sales arrive at the Concord Wawa today at 9 a.m. They're throwing something of a party there with local brewers such as Victory and Dogfish Head on hand to match some of their craft brews with your favorite Wawa sandwiches.

We'll be there for the grand opening. You can get all the details here.

A day to fight violence in Chester

It will be all hands on deck today as the city of Chester tries to come to grips with the wave of violence afflicting the city.

And that means citizens, city, county and state officials.

The day will start this morning with a session for law enforcement officials.

Here's a look at some of the people will be in attendance:

· Attorney General Josh Shapiro (Pennsylvania)

· Sen. Tom Killion (Pennsylvania)

· Rick Tutak (Office of Senator Killion – Pennsylvania)

· Executive Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Selber (Pennsylvania)

· District Attorney Jack Whelan (Delaware County)

· Deputy District Attorney George Dawson (Delaware County)

· Police Commissioner Otis Blair (Chester, PA)

· Police Chief James Nolan (Chester, PA)

· Major Steven Gretsky (Chester, PA)

· Police Chief Bobby Cummings (Wilmington, DE)

· Police Chief Mark Talbot (Norristown, PA)

· Police Chief Michael Irey (Upland, PA)

· State Representative Brian Kirkland (D-159)

· Re-entry Coordinator Charla Plaines (Harrisburg)

· Executive Director Steven Fischer (Chester Housing Authority)

· Police Chief Rodney O’Neill (Chester Housing Authority).

Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland believes it's time for all entities to use the same tactics to fight violence as are currently being deployed to battle the heroin epidemic affecting so many towns.

"The war against fighting crime in inner cities and across the country should be viewed with the same level of passion the nation currently has when addressing the opioid epidemic,” said Kirkland. “The issue of crime and violence is not isolated to Chester. There are many towns near and far that face similar battles—perhaps if we come together to brainstorm and strategize we can all learn new methods of suppressing crime within our respective communities.”

The morning panel discussion is closed to the public.

The public will get their chance to offer their ideas at a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. in the Community Room at Chester City Hall.

We used our editorial page today to note that part of Chester's crime problem - and the lack of an increased police presence - is tied to the city's chronic financial woes. Read it here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Feb. 15

The Daily Numbers: 300 miles across Pennsylvania, how far Mariner East 2 pipeline will travel.

11.5 miles across western Delaware County, where it rolls through Delco.

3 environmental groups that are now appealing the state DEP ruling giving the green light for Sunoco Logistics to start construction on the line.

30,000 direct and indirect jobs associated with the plan, according to a business study.

7,000 construction jobs.

300 to 400 permanent jobs at Sunoco Logistics’ Marcus Hook facility.

85 police officers currently in the Chester Police Department.

106 officers funded in the city’s 2017 budget.

16.3 million dollar deficit facing the city.

37.3 million, where it could go by 2020 if unchecked.

1 Wawa store in Delco that will feature beers sales, starting Thursday.

2 six-packs at a time, what you can buy at the Naamans Creek Road store.

10.55 acre parcel in Marple being considered for new fire house.

7.7 million dollar cost for the new facility.

82-60 win for Lower Merion over Strath Haven to take boys Central League crown.

4 straight titles for Garnet Valley girls hoops.

60 million dollars being spent by Villanova on upgrades to The Pavilion.

70 dollars more, what it will cost you to buy your Eagles season tickets next year.

7-9 record for the Birds.

2013, last time the team made the playoffs.

2008, last time they won a playoff game.

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

If anyone has a clue what the hell the Sixers are doing, can you please give me a call??

I Don’t Get It: A Chief Tattoo Officer. That’s what the Philadelphia Union is looking for. Putting the ink in Inc. no doubt.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Flyer Brayden Schenn, who dropped in on a practice session of the Springfield High ice hockey club to show his support for their rallying cry, ‘Shennergy.’

Quote Box: “Sunoco’s permit applications were woefully incomplete, inaccurate and contradictory and DEP’s review and approval was utterly inadequate.”

- Joseph O. Minott, on the DEP approval of the Mariner East 2 pipeline plan.

Wawa enters the beer market

Want a beer to go with your Shorti?

Yes, Wawa lovers, beer is coming to our favorite convenience store.

The Delco-based icon Thursday will roll out beer sales as they reopen their renovated store on Naamans Creek Road out in Concord Township.

Right now, it's just for this one store.

Wawa says they have no plans to expand beer sales to others store, but will monitor the situation.

I bet they will.

I also bet you'll be seeing beer sales popping up in other Wawa stores.

For now, you can get all the details on the new feature, which kicks off at 9 a.m. Thursday, here.

Who will be 'accountable' for Mariner East 2

Accountability is a good, solid word.

It's a sturdy word that means exactly what you might think.

I get reminded of it every day, when readers call to hold me accountable for what appears in the pages of our print edition and on our website.

They're right. I'm accountable.

And accountable is now what foes of Sunoco Logistics' grandiose plans for the Mariner East 2 pipeline vow to hold both the company and the state's environmental overlords to in the wake of the state Department of Environmental Protection giving the company the green light to move ahead with the project.

Yes, several environmental groups, headed by the Clean Air Council, immediately moved to appeal the ruling on the $2.5 billion project that will ferry hundreds of thousands of barrels of butane, ethane and propane all the way across the state from the Marcellus Shale regions to Marcus Hook.

They believe the DEP acted too quickly, without enough input from the community, and without a serious look at the potential problems and risks associated with the project.

Don't kid yourself.

Mariner East 2 is going to happen.

It's a huge economic shot in the arm for Delaware County, and the region. It holds the potential of turning Marcus Hook into an 'energy hub' for the entire Northeast.

It also has a downside, the risk of a potential leak or worse.

That's where that word accountable comes in again.

Don't expect it to go away anytime soon.

Sunoco Logistics and the state DEP are now responsible for what happens during and - probably more importantly - after construction of the pipeline that will traverse 11.5 miles through several towns in the western end of the county as it meanders toward Marcus Hook.

But don't expect that word accountable to go away anytime soon.

You can read our editorial on it here.

Union looking to ink deal with a CTO; a what?

Forget the fact that Jahlil is not only back with the Sixers, he's apparently going to play tonight in Boston. So much for him being on the trade block. Or is he?

Forget Joel Embiid's knee, as well as the Sixers embarrassing problems with simply telling their fans the truth about their star players, and whether they are playing.

Just keep telling yourself, "it's the Sixers." That explains a lot.

No, the weirdest sports story this week comes from, of all places, Chester and the Philadelphia Union.

They are creating a new executive position, one you probably have not heard of before.

The Union is in the market for a CTO.

No, not a CEO, a CFO, or COO.

They'r not hunting for a suit to handle the chief executive, chief financial or even the chief operating officer duties. In fact, a 'suit' might be the farthest thing from their minds.

So what does the 'T' stand for?

The union is looking for a Chief Tattoo Officer.

We're not making this up.

With so many players and even some front office types now getting inked up, the MSL team says it wants to find its own in-house tattoo artist.

Resumes and portfolios are now being accepted by the team. You can get the details here.

We in the news business have long been referred to as ink-stained wretches.

The Union is looking to take that in the other direction.

They are planning to put the Ink in Inc.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Battle of Mariner East 2: Sunoco Logistics wins

What very well could be the most important economic story in Delaware County - if not the region - just took a huge step forward. The state Department of Environmental Protection gave the green light for Sunoco Logistics to being construction on their massive Mariner East 2 pipeline plans.

The company will build a pipeline that will span the state, from the border with West Virginia and spanning the width of the state, ending with the final 11.7 miles across western Delaware County. The new pipeline will transport hundreds of thousands of barrels of byproducts from the state's Marcellus Shale regions, ethane, butane and propane.

Its final destination will be the iconic former Sunoco refinery in Marcus Hook, which the company is converting into what many hope will be the energy hub for the entire Northeast. The material will be stored at the site, then loaded onto ships for delivery to both domestic and international customers.

Sunoco Logistics already has more than 200 workers at the site, with the promise of more, along with a couple thousand construction workers. The economic importance of the project cannot be understated. Maybe that's why business and political leaders were doing cartwheels late yesterday afternoon when word came in that DEP had signed off on the plan.

Not nearly as enthused, as you might expect, are the opponents of the plan, including the grassroots organization Middletown Coalition for Community Safety, which issued a statement last night expressing disappointment with state approval and what they claim is a lack of opportunity for public comment on the project. They have voiced concerns for property values and safety. They are especially outraged that the path of the new pipeline will take it within a few hundred feet of the Glenwood Elementary School in Middletown.

There is a key phrase noted in the DEP announcement of their ruling. They vowed to hold Sunoco Logistics accountable for the pipeline operation and safety.

My guess is that citizens will be doing the same.

You can read our story on the DEP ruling here.

Mayor wants 'spiritual state of emergency' in Chester

Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland is looking for a 'spiritual state of emergency' in the wake of a serious uptick in gun violence on city streets and a string of homicides.

The mayor held a press conference yesterday to offer some initial solutions to the crime wave afflicting the city, including doubling the reward posted for information in several of the still-unsolved homicides.

At last Thursday's City Council meeting, the mayor and other city officials got an earful from residents who want action against violence now, including a bigger police presence on city streets.

Later this week Kirkland will meet with law enforcement officials from across the county to formulate plans to attack crime in the city, and then later in the day will hold a town hall meeting for residents.

You can get all the details on yesterday's press conference here.

The next step in the war on heroin

It's become the silent murmur of many in law enforcement as they wage a daily battle in the war on heroin.

Yes, they like the idea of being able to revive overdose victims with the miracle drug Naloxone, at times literally bringing a victim back to life from death's door.

But many police and first responders show frustration and ask a pretty simple question in the wake of such heroics: What happens next. Too often, without much needed treatment, addicts simply revert to the same behaviors that put them in peril in the first place. That's why something that happened last week is so important.

You might call it the next "steps" in the war on heroin.

We hail the arrival of the First Steps Treatment Center, a 52-bed facility located at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland.

You can read about this crucial push in the war on opioid abuse on today's editorial page.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Monday, Feb. 13

The Daily Numbers: 46.7 acres off West Chester Pike in Newtown, home to the Olde Masters golf course and driving range that is being targeted for development. The course is expected to survive, at least for now.

8 3-story buildings with condos and apartments eyed for the site.

44 units in each building.

3 story multi-use building also planned on the site.

11 a.m. presser in Chester at which Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland will talk about a spike in gun violence in the city.

35 mph wind gusts that will hit area today.

25 dollar fee per residents for towns that rely on state police, what Gov. Tom Wolf wants.

87, age of retail giant Al Boscov, who died Friday.

2 more feet of snow possible in New England today, after they got hit with 19 inches in last Thursday’s storm.

5 Grammys for Adele.

2 Grammys for Beyonce

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

Phillies pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater this morning. Aaaaahhhhhhhhh!

I Don’t Get It: They are upping the ante in Chester violence. Police responded to report of shooting involving an AK-47 over the weekend.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Rep. Pat Meehan, who sat down with several constituents to talk about his position on the Affordable Care Act. Now if only Sen. Pat Toomey would do likewise.

Quote Box: “In my mind, we won’t be going anywhere for the next two-three years.”

- Bruce Thatcher, vice president at Olde Masters Golf Club.

Kirkland will talk about crime in Chester today

We expect to hear today from Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland on the spike in violence that is afflicting the city. Good idea.

A police radio report over the weekend noted a report of shots fired on the 100 block of 22nd Street, with an advisory that an AK-47 was used.

That was preceded by another shooting report just a few blocks away.

Kirkland is expected to be joined by Police Commissioner Otis Blair and their police leadership team to detail how the department plans to attack the problems.

Kirkland will follow today's session with two roundtable discussions on Thursday to discuss violence in the city. The first will be closed to the public, and will include local, county and state law enforcement officials. Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan is expected to attend. Then a second discussion for the public will be held at 6 p.m in the Community Room of Chester City Hall. The session will be open to all residents of the city and other community stakeholders. City officials indicate they want to use that session to convey to the public what was discussed at the earlier meeting, and also as a platform for resident to air their specific concerns related to crime in Chester.

There have been seven homicides recorded in Delaware County so far in 2017. All seven have occurred in Chester.

We'll be there to tell you what the mayor has to say.

A reflection of our communities, but is it accurate?

I spend a lot of time in this job wondering about the image we present to our readers every day.

I know many of you will be snickering uncontrollably when you read that. You are convinced we do no such thing, that we simply take every opportunity to sensationalize stories in an effort to sell newspapers.

Here's something that may surprise you. There is an element of truth in that. Look, I am in the business of selling newspapers, among other things. I want to sell as many as I can every day, along with attracting as many eyeballs to our website as we can.

It's part of what we do every day. It's why TV stations go insane every time we are looking at a dusting of snow and instead predicting Armageddon.

But there is a danger in that. I know it as well as anyone.

The danger is in presenting a skewed image of the communities we live and work in every day.

I'm very cognizant of how easy it is to offer an image that doesn't really reflect the reality of the situation.

Take, for instance, the recent arrest of a student on the grounds of Upper Darby High School with a loaded handgun.

I knew as soon as I heard about it, that it was going to be a big story, one that no doubt would play on our front page.

But I also knew it again carried with it the danger of overlooking several other aspects of the story, namely that it unfairly represents the students and staff of Upper Darby High School.

I talked about just such difficulties in doing this job both in my blog as well as out editorial page.

Our coverage did in fact draw responses from the community, including one I had not expected.

I talk about it a bit more in today's Letter From the Editor.

Brace yourself to be blown away today

Batten down the hatches.

Or maybe just pull the covers up over your head.

That roar you heat outside this morning is not a lonely nocturnal critter wandering your neighborhood. It's the wind. Serious wind. Gusts running up to 35 mph.

That means driving this morning is a bit like driving in a grand prix.

There is debris everywhere, including tree limbs scattered everywhere. I spent most of my morning zigging and zagging trying to avoid all kinds of debris.

If you did not secure your trash cans and they happened to be empty, you might find them down the street. I was taking evasive action all along Baltimore Pike through Media as trash cans were whipped across the Pike.

One person on my street actually lost one of those portable basketball hoops, which went down right across the street. Luckily there was still enough room to get by.

Winds are expected to gust like this right through the morning before finally tapering off this afternoon.

Hey, it could be worse. Up in New England they are expecting another 2 feet of snow today after getting hammered with 18 inches by that storm that left us with just a few inches last week.

You can get the full forecast here. There is a high wind watch in effect for the entire region.

And if you'd like some musical accompaniment this morning, this oldie but goodie from The Association seems appropriate.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Another snow job

Did your survive the storm?

Yes, that's a joke.

No, I'm not laughing.

Hopefully, that's the last time we'll have to go through that silly exercise this season.

First off, it's not exactly a secret that I hate winter. I'm a T-shirt and shorts guy.

But much more important, I again will make the case that what we do with the weather borders on a public disservice.

The drums start beating days before the "storm," and it kicks off a domino effect of us being paralyzed by the looming snowflakes - and of course glued to our TV.

Making this non-storm even weirder was Wednesday's spring-like weather, with temperatures in the mid-60s. It made me think that it was just too warm for us to get as much snow as everyone was predicting for Wednesday night into Thursday, just a few hours later.

But what do I know, I'm not a meteorologist, and I don't have "double-scan radar" to help me out.

When I wonder about the weather, I usually look out the window or walk outside.

Of course, by late afternoon Wednesday, we were in full weather mania mode. Part of this I guess can be explained by the fact that we really have not had any measurable snow. So I guess we should excuse all the hyperventilating about the storm.

The National Weather Service soon got in on the act, posting a Winter Weather Warning and predicting we could get hit by as much as 8 inches of snow.

But it's really no longer funny. This has economic consequences.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced all its city schools would be closed Thursday - late Wednesday afternoon, long before a single flake had fallen.

It did not take long for almost all other schools across the region to do the same.

The problem became evident overnight. The snow did not arrive nearly as early as everyone thought. In didn't actually start snowing until about 4:30 a.m. in the western suburbs and even later farther east. Yes, it snowed hard for about an hour. But I don't think the major roads were ever actually impassable. Snow started tapering off by 10 a.m. and most roads at that point were just wet.

Then we get the frivolity of interviews with kids playing and sledding on their "snow day."

And we get snickers and chuckles about why the forecast was off, how the snow did not start until much later than expected and didn't last as long either. That's how 4-8 inches of snow or even 8-12 inches (of course reserved for those nebulous northern and western suburbs, wherever the hell they are) became more like 3 or 4 inches. In Philadelphia, snow plows were dispatched to clear roads that appeared to be simply wet. The forecasters stress how inexact all this is, and how a slight shift in conditions can make a big difference.

Here's my question. Why don't they stress that the day before. Why don't they tell us they just can't be sure what is going to happen, instead of whipping the region into a snow frenzy.

I understand what this is all about - eyeballs.

I suppose some could accuse me of doing the same thing.

But I would really like to see someone do a study that measures what the economic cost of one of these non-storms is. Anyone agree? Disagree?

Just call it the winter of my discontent.


Meehan decides to stand Pat

That 2018 election just got a little less interesting.

At least for voters here in Delaware County.

Looks like we won't have a horse in the U.S. Senate race after all.

Our Congressman is standing 'Pat.'

U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan has decided to pass on making a run against incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr.

Meehan said he wants to focus on his 7th District Congressional seat, in particular his work on the House Ways and Means Committee. No doubt.

On our editorial page, we talk about some of the other reasons that might have gone into his decision.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Chester residents want action against violence

On yesterday's editorial page, we asked when the city of Chester would do something in terms of the violence that continues to plague the city.

Apparently, we weren't the only ones.

At yesterday's City Council sesssion, residents turned out in force to ask Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland and council members the same thing. What can be done to stop the violence?

The city is planning two meetings next week, one with law enforcement officials, and another town hall meeting for the public. You can get all the details here.

Sandy Cornelius & making a difference

We're always looking for people who make a difference.

You can find one on today's editorial page.

Dr. Sandra Cornelius has led the Elwyn organization for nearly three decades. During that time she has transformed the agency, which specializes in dealing with people with intellectual disabilities.

Under her guidance, Elwyn has transformed from a place where residents were put away to a place where they can be trained and prepared to return to their families and communities.

"Sandy," as almost everyone knows her, has touched countless lives and changed the way we look at people with disabilities. I've taken to calling here the Lion of Elwyn. She made a difference.

You can read our editorial here.

Why do I hate winter? Let me count the ways

Have I told you lately how much I hate winter?

Yes, I know it was 65 degrees yesterday afternoon.

Yes, I enjoyed walking for my afternoon cup of coffee without a coat.

Yes, I had this bad feeling in the pit of my stomach that we were going to pay for it.

Welcome to Thursday.

If you're still in bed, do yourself a favor, pull the covers over your head and stay there until this afternoon. This morning is going to be a mess.

Rain shifted over to a heavy, wet snow just about 4:30 a.m. We're expecting anywhere from 4-8 inches in the Philly suburbs, as usual more the farther north and west you go.

You want good news (that is if you are like me and despise winter)? This is a fast-moving storm. In fact, if we're lucky the snow should be moving out by noon and there is no more snow in the immediate forecast.

School closings? Yes, kids, you're in luck. Most everything is close. Check for your school here.

Get the general news story on what things are like here.

And go here for our full Accu-Weather forecast.

TGIF will have special meaning this week.

Hell, we might even want to change it to 'Thank God It's Thursday Afternoon,' and we survived Thursday morning.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Feb. 8

The Daily Numbers: 60 degrees at 4 a.m.

63 degrees, today’s expected high

30 degree dip in temperatures overnight.

4-8 inches of snow tomorrow

12 people toting a petition with 60 signatures who protested proposed new Pa. abortion restrictions in front of Sen. Tom McGarrigle’s office yesterday.

2018, when Pat Meehan will not be a candidate for U.S. Senate. He’s decided not to get in race for GOP nod to oppose U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr.

50-50 vote in U.S. Senate on nomination of Betsy DeVos as education secretary.

1 vote in favor from Sen. Pat Toomey

1 opposed from Sen. Bob Casey.

1 tie-breaking vote in favor from Vice President Mike Pence.,

3 billion dollar budget gap in Pa.

32.3 billion spending plan.

0 broadbased tax increase

0 increase in sales or personal income tax.

1 billion dollars in other tax levies.

200 million dollars more for education

12 dollar an hour proposed minimum wage, up from current $7.25

75-64 win for Villanova over Georgetown.

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

Serious kudos to Patriots’ wide receiver Chris Hogan for wearing that HEADStrong bracelet in the Super Bowl.

I Don’t Get It: When it someone going to step up and do something about violence in Chester. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to SEPTA riders on the Market-Frankford El who are for the most part simply shrugging their shoulders and going about their business amid the latest equipment problems to dog the transit agency.

Quote Box: “Champion of school choice. Great pick for education secretary.”

- Sen. Pat Toomey, on new Educations Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Time for action against violence in Chester

We used our editorial page today to raise our voices against the rising tide of violence in the city of Chester.


There have been seven homicides in Delaware County so far in 2017. All seven have occurred in Chester.

We'd like to see more people raise their voices.

Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland has not had much to say about the situation since taking office. Ironically, he once advocated bringing the National Guard into the city to try to keep order.

Legal considerations scuttled that idea.

But it might be time to have the state police become a presence in the city, backing up and supplementing city officers.

Something has to be done.

You can read our editorial here.

My problem with Wawa

Let me say this upfront first: I love Wawa.

I love their coffee, in fact prefer it to either Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks.

I love their Shortis and other items.

I even love the goose, which is their corporate logo. Yes, I know that Wawa is the native American word for the goose that was indigenous to these parts.

And, of course, it does not hurt that the company is a Delaware County icon, with its roots firmly planted in what was once pretty much farmland out there on Baltimore Pike in Chester Heights.

But I do have a couple of bones to pick with my favorite convenience store.

First, I will continue to say that Wawa parking lots just may be the most dangerous places in the region. Still have not quite figured out how we can hold the door for each other one second, then climb into our cars and turn into maniacs the other. But that's not my beef this morning.

For some time I have been perplexed at the variety of prices featured at the gas pumps at these new so-called "super" Wawas. But this morning took the cake.

Realizing snow was in the forecast for late tonight and into tomorrow, and seeing my gas gauge veer toward a quarter tank, I decided to fill up on the way into work this morning.

No problem, although I was a little taken aback when I looked at the pump at the Wawa on West Chester Pike in West Goshen, near Route 202, and noticed I was paying $2.59 a gallon.

That was nothing compared to the "gas" pains I experienced a few minutes later.

I traveled exactly 2.8 miles down West Chester Pike when I passed the Wawa out in Westtown. And what did I see there. I saw gas being advertised for $2.51 a gallon.

Can someone explain to me how that can be.

How I paid 8 cents a gallon more just a couple of miles away.

Do Wawa stores set their own prices, or do corporate managers handle that. Was I just unlucky enough to hit this Wawa before they hiked the price at the other store.

I'd like an answer, if you have one, let me know.

Lori Bruce, are you listening?

Spring & winter, all in a 24-hour period

Brace yourself. We're about to enter the Winter Weather Twilight Zone. We're going to go from a balmy 63 degrees this afternoon to as much as 4-8 inches of snow just a few hours later.

No, you did not go to sleep last night and wake up two months from now.

Yes, it is 60 degrees out.

I had one of those "What the...." moments when I walked out the door in the pre-dawn darkness this morning. It absolutely felt like April.

Don't worry. It's not going to last. In fact, this time tomorrow we are expecting snow - likely accumulating snow on cars, yards and other surfaces.

Call it a case of winter weather whiplash.

We'll be pushing record highs today - maybe as high as 63 degrees.

Then tonight we'll have showers, then a rush of cold air moving in and changing the rain to snow.

The National Weather Service has posted a Winter Storm Warning for most of the region, from 4 a.m.to 4 p.m.

Snow will be falling heavily in the a.m. hours, making the morning rush a mess.

Here's the key: I'm hoping maybe all that warm air sticks around longer than expected, and most of this wet, sloppy snow does not stick to the roads. I don't like it, but if we have to deal with it, I'd rather it be on my car and the lawn than on the roads.

Temperatures will be plunging tonight, dropping as much as 30 degrees into the low 30s. That is what is going to trigger the snow. Most forecasts are calling for anywhere from 4-8 inches, with as usual more snow falling north and west.

Which reminds me, can someone tell me exactly where those mysterious "northern and western suburbs" are?

My advice. Go outside and enjoy today.

Then go to bed, pull the covers up over your head, and don't come out again until Friday morning.

Just pretend Thursday does not exist this week.

You can get our full forecast here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Pennsylvania's $2B budget riddle

You don't happen to have $2 billion sitting around the house, do you?

Maybe stuffed under the mattress?

If you do, please give Gov. Tom Wolf a call.

He'd like you to cover the state's ballooning deficit.

Wolf will give his annual budget address this morning, and everyone is wondering how he's going to pull off this magic trick: Ease the state's mounting deficit, which is expected to soar into the billions in the next couple of years, without resorting to a big boost in revenue. That means tax hikes.

Wolf has been down this road twice before. He's proposed big increases in taxes his first two years, only to see that path turn into a dead end when Republicans who control both the House and Senate dug in their heels to oppose any big new tax increases.

This year, Wolf has backed away from talk of a tax hike. That probably has more than a little to do with the fact that he has a re-election campaign looming in the future and a conservative Republican in Sen. Scott Wagner of York County waiting to take him on.

So how is he going to resolve the budget mess.

We talk about it on today's editorial page.

It's going to be a wild weather week

Brace yourself for a wild weather week.

First we're going to get a preview of spring, with temperatures pushing close to 60 both today and Wednesday.

Then, just to prove the Punxsutawney wasn't lying, things are going to take a turn for the more wintry Wednesday night into Thursday.

This will start as snow Wednesday night, then forecasters are talking about the possibility that the rain will turn to snow Thursday morning.

In the meantime, enjoy today and tomorrow, as temperatures continue to run as much as 15 degrees above normal. And while we'll have to deal with showers today, tomorrow the sun will return, at least for the bulk of the day.

They're saying the high tomorrow could hit 62.

I think I feel a cold coming on. Now where did I put my golf clubs.

You can get the full forecast here.

Did you notice the green bracelet?

The Matt Ryan story did not have a happy ending.

While the local product, Exton native and Penn Charter grad built a 28-3 lead over the Patriots in the Super Bowl, he could do little more than watch as Tom Brady and the Patriots pulled off a comeback for the ages to snatch away the Lombardi Trophy.

But there was a silver lining for local fans.

Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan followed through on his promise to wear one of those distinctive green HEADStrong bracelets during the big game.

You can see it clearly in this picture of Hogan in action Sunday.

HEADStrong is the foundation dreamed up by late Ridley star athlete Nick Colleluori as he battled cancer. The organization, now carried on by his family, offers help, including a free place to stay, to families who are in the are getting treatment for cancer. We hope Matty Ice gets another shot at the Super Bowl down the line.

In the meantime, we salute Hogan for standing with the Colleluoris and HEADStrong.