Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, May 31

The Daily Numbers: 41 years in law enforcement for longtime Yeadon Police Chief Don Molineux, whose last day on the job is today.

100th anniversary for Blessed Virgin Mary School in Darby Borough.

11 to 24 years in prison for a man charged in a series of break-ins and robberies.

2.99 percent tax hike coming in the Penn-Delco School District.

675 people who work at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant outside Harrisburg. Owner Exelon is now threatening to shut it down.

10 years! It’s a reason for an anniversary party for Philly Beer Week.

83, age of former Panama strongman Manuel Noriega. He died this week.

3.25 million dollars being paid by a New Jersey township to a mosque that they blocked from setting up in the township.

1st flight for Icelandair from Philly to Iceland, with Mayor Jim Kenney on board, had to turn back and land at Boston for unknown reason.

1,000 dollars a share, what Amazon stock hit yesterday. It closed just under the mark.

1,000 dollars invested on first day Amazon stock traded would be worth $500,000 today.

7-2 win for Marple Newtown to take the District 1 baseball crown.

7-2 loss for Phillies to the Marlins

2-5 record for Phils’ starter Vince Velasquez, who left game in the 2nd inning with right elbow flexor strain.

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

Fletcher Cox did not exactly sound apologetic yesterday on his return to ‘voluntary’ organized team activity.

I Don’t Get It: Tiger Woods was one of my favorite athletes. I still would love to see him make a comeback. I’m not sure who that guy in the mug shot is.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Don Molineux, who today winds up a career in law enforcement, most of it as chief in Yeadon Borough.

Quote Box: “I have to try to convince my wife not to add anything to the ‘honey-do list.’”

- Yeadon Police Chief Don Molineux, who retires today.

The true meaning of Memorial Day

You've heard it many times.

It's not a three-day holiday.

It's not the unofficial start of summer.

It's not a reason to sell cars, or anything else for that matter.

So what is Memorial Day supposed to be.

Just ask the people of Springfield, and the family and friends of Michael J. Smith.

It's on our editorial page today.

God give me patience - please

Patience is not a trait I have in abundance.

Just ask anyone in the building who run and cover their ears during one of my regularly scheduled 'eruptions.'

One of the very few things I can recommend about the insane schedule I work is that during my early-morning commute I pretty much have the roads to myself.

That's a good thing.

This morning I was running late.

All I can say is that if I had to deal with drivers like this first thing in the morning every day, it would not be pretty. Start with the weather. It remains miserable. I ran out of the house in a light drizzle. Once I got out on the road I realized I would have a bigger problem - fog.

The closer I got to Delaware County, the heavier it got.

But even that was not the bane of my existence this morning.

As I got over into the right-hand lane to make the turn onto Route 352 out in Westtown, I noticed a trash truck getting ready to pull into the same lane up ahead. For a minute I considered gunning it and trying to pull around him. I wish I had.

This is not the trash truck driver's fault. It's mine.

Let's just say I was doing a slow boil all the way to the intersection with Route 452. He was probably doing the speed limit on the road, which of course almost no one else does.

Hey, at least I had company. A quick glance in the rear-view mirror showed a long line of cars also creeping along, probably doing the same burn I was experiencing.

I made it to the office. Yes, I'm late. But I'm intact. Life goes on.

Someday I will learn the art of patience.

I wouldn't be on it being anytime soon.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, May 30

The Daily Numbers: 22, age of Michael Smith of Springfield, who was killed in action in Iraq. He was honored during Memorial Day events in the township.

1 person from Springfield lost in the Iraq war.

13, age of Tavia Isaac, the chef from Chester who won a competition on the Food Network. She’s back for an encore tonight.

2.9 percent tax hike in the Upper Darby School District budget.

3.4 percent tax hike in the Interboro budget.

7 million dollar being used from the district’s reserve fund.

2,400 Navy and Marines buried in Mount Moriah Cemetery in Yeadon.

200 acres included in the cemetery site.

1.7 cent increase in cost of gas at the pumps in the region last week.

2.61 average price.

2.36 a gallon nationally. That’s actually down 0.6 cents a gallon from last week.

100, how old President John F. Kennedy would have been this week.

1 last meal at Little Pete’s restaurant in Philly yesterday. They are closing their doors at the 17th and Chancellor location.

40 years, how long the eatery held fort at that corner.

4-1 loss for the Phillies as they kicked off a series in Miami.

23 losses in their last 29 games for the Phils.

7-19 road record.

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

Out of the race before Memorial Day. Going to be a long summer, fans. When do the Eagles report for training camp?

I Don’t Get It: Nice weather. This is like living in a sponge. Maybe this is how they feel in Seattle.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to state Rep. Jamie Santora, who is pushing legislation to extend criminal background checks in gun purchases.

Quote Box: “I think about him every day ... I miss everything about him.”

- James Smith, father of Michael Smith, killed in action in Iraq.

Trials & tribulations: The decisions I make every day

This is the part they don't teach in journalism school.

About an hour or so after a Delaware County jury returned a verdict Friday, acquitting home health nurse Melissa Deal of all charges that had been lodged against her in connection with the alleged theft of money from dying neighbor who was in her care, I received an email.

I had been expecting it.

It was from Melissa Deal.

It was not the first email I had received from her.

And it certainly was not the first time her photo and story had appeared in the paper

. Her name was splashed all over Page One, along with her photo, when she was first arrested.

When she was held for trial after her preliminary hearing, her picture again appeared on Page One, along with a snarky headline that played off her last name.

That's when she emailed me and asked that we not continue to put her photo on the front page. She also asked that we not try to spin her last name into cute headlines. She explained that it was having a negative effect on her kids. I assured her that we would continue to follow the case and that if she was found innocent, we would give equal treatment to that.

Melissa Deal never wavered in her belief that she was innocent of the charges.

She didn't take a deal. She wanted her day in court.

Last week she got it. And the jury declared her innocent of all charges.

That is when she emailed me to remind me of that earlier conversation about the media coverage of her case. She wanted to know if I remembered that I had told her of my pledge that I would put her picture back on the front page if she was acquitted.

I told I planned to do exactly that. In fact, we already had updated the story on our website, noting the not guilty verdict, and had posted it on our Facebook page.

She seemed genuinely surprised that I immediately responded to her email. Not only that, but I asked her if she wanted to comment or offer a few quotes for the next day's story.

She sent me another email asking if we could use a different photo than the admittedly less than complimentary photo that had been running with her story.

I told her we would be happy to do it.

I actually have these kinds of conversations all the time.

Every time a verdict comes in from a high-profile court case in Delaware County, in particular when a person is acquitted of the charges lodged against them, I go back and review what we did and how we played the story when the person was initially charged.

If their story was plastered all over Page One when they were charged, I try to offer equal treatment when they are acquitted. Yes, I can also admit that's not always possible. Sometimes news dictates that another story is in our lead spot.

It does not mean I don't think about what happens to people as they make their way through the legal system.

I have thought a lot about Melissa Deal as her case slowly made its way through the system.

"I'm just happy to get back to doing what I love, nursing," she said in Saturday's story.

Yes, Melissa Deal was back on the front page.

But under different circumstances, and with a different picture.

I think it's the least we could do.

Tavia's back!

She's back!

One of my all-time favorite stories is back in the paper today.

There are a lot of reasons I love the story of Tavia Isaac.

First and foremost, she's a great kid.

The pint-sized chef who rocketed to fame last September in winning a competition for kid cooks on the Food Network's "Chopped Junior" show.

Tavia beat out a slew of other talented young chefs to take the crown.

It turns out we're not the only ones charmed by Miss Tavia. She got an invite for an encore performance on the show. It will air tonight on the Food Network.

You can read Tavia's story here.

Of course, I have other reasons for loving Tavia's story as well.

The truth is, I am always looking for ways to present the city of Chester - in particular its young people - in a positive light.

I can't think of a better way to do that than by focusing on Tavia.

You go, girl!

So much for the unofficial start of summer

I guess it could have been worse.

I could have been at the beach.

Don't get me wrong, I still love the beach.

I just don't like clouds, drizzle and temperatures that struggle to reach the mid-60s.

That's correct, the unofficial start of the summer season remains just that - very unofficial.

No, the weekend was not a total washout. It did not rain constantly. It just seemed that way.

Actually, in a way it kind of reminded me of the Memorial Day weekends of my youth, when it always seemed to rain on the first big three-day weekend of the summer season.

None of that managed to stop us from trekking out to the community pool that was outside of town, and getting into the freezing water at Bicknell's Pool.

We would stop at the house before heading down to the pool and give Mrs. Bicknell a "down payment" on our summer membership. And seemingly every year on Labor Day weekend she would remind us that we still had, errr, a "balance."

Nothing would keep us from that ceremonial start of summer, and plunging into that frigid water, if only in hopes of warmer weather to come.

So no, I was happy that I was not at the beach this weekend. Everyone knows that when it's raining at the beach, that is the time you start spending money. You don't spend all that much when you're comatose in a sand chair. Add kids and rain to the mix, and you have the prescription for a very expensive afternoon.

Rehoboth will have to wait.

In a way, there is another reason why this miserable weather was not that bad a thing. It actually gives you the opportunity to remember the real reason for day.

It's not a ceremonial trip to open the pool. It's not about a day at the beach. It's not about a sale or even barbecues with the family.

It's about stories like that of Army Specialist Michael J. Smith of Springfield.

You can read our story here.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Yeah, the heroin problem is that bad

How bad is the heroin problem in the region?

All you have to do is look at what happened last weekend at a recovery facility in Chester County.

They had two people die of heroin overdoses.

But these weren't clients seeking to shake up the tentacles of addiction.

These were counselors.

So where do we start in attacking this fiend.

Well they're getting a start in Springfield.

It's on our editorial page today.

Why I love & respect Memorial Day weekend


We survived another winter.

Hell, we might even survive another spring; I"m not really which is worse.

After another night of pounding rain, it's time to commence my favorite weekend of the year.

Happy Memorial Day!

Why do I love this annual three-day holiday.

Let me list the ways.

First and foremost, I suffer from a guilty conscience.

I never served in the military, and I always feel terribly insecure when these kinds of issues come up. That's why you will wait a long time for me to start sounding off about anyone's military service, or who is qualified to make military decisions. That's not me. I wasn't there. I didn't serve. I'm not going to judge. I'm just going to take the time this weekend to offer a humble 'thank you' to those that did, and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for me to have the kind of life I have.

Secondly, it means summer is just around the corner, even if no one has bothered to let Mother Nature know.

At some point on Saturday, the sun is actually supposed to make an appearance, and the temperature is expected to head back toward 80. Now if we could just crank up the humidity, that would be just fine with me.

Sunday night is perhaps my favorite night of the year.

I usually lie in bed, hopefully with the windows open on a warm night, listen to the creatures chirping outside, and revel in the knowledge that I don't have to work Monday (aside from my usual web work; the Internet demands to be fed and it does not respect holidays), but also that the entire summer lies ahead.

Finally, I'm a sucker for a parade.

That is why I will be there Monday in my town standing and watching the bands and floats with veterans pass by. Do yourself a favor. Try to take in the festivities in your town. We have a full list of holiday events in Delco here.

I guarantee you that you will feel better for it. A little patriotism can go a long way.

On with the summer!

See you at the parade!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Dems confirm they are swapping county council candidates

We told you so.

It's now official.

Delaware County Democrats are shuffling the

ir ticket for the fall County Council race.

Jennifer Leith is out, Kevin Madden is in.
Leith, who garnered more than 17,000 votes in the May 16 Primary Election, issued a statement saying she realized during the campaign that she did not have the time to the race. She added she did not make her decision until after the deadline to have her name removed from the ballot.

County Dem leaders appeared to go back and forth about making it official yesterday, not finally releasing statements and confirming our earlier reports until just before 5 p.m.

Until that point, they were sticking to their "official" stance that Leith was still the candidate. This despite the fact that Madden was being listed on their official website as the County Council candidate, and a Madden/Zidnik Facebook page had been posted.

Democratic Chairman David Landau said that although he was sad that Leith would not remain on the ticket, he was excited about the prospect of adding Madden to the ticket with Brian Zidnik.

"Candidates for local office are real people with families and jobs and campaigns are a huge time commitment," Landau said. As you might expect, county Republicans are dubious about the timing of the switch.

County GOP Chairman Andy Reilly went so far as to accuse county Democrats of deceiving voters.

Or at lest the 17,000-plus who cast a ballot for Leith.

"The county Democratic Party formed a joint fundraising committee with Madden six weeks ago, so it is difficult to fathom why the party's leadership would intentionally keeps this a secret from voters before the primary election," Reilly said.

He wasn't done.

"Deceiving voters by not telling them that a person on the ballot is no longer running is the height of hypocrisy for a slate of candidates claiming to run on the platform of transparency," he added.

You can read our full story here.

Looks like it should be an interesting fall.

The sound of your taxes going up

It may not be the sound of summer, but it is the sound of spring.


It's the sound of local school boards raising your taxes.

In Rose Tree Media this year, they decided to take a new approach. They borrowed a page from something Upper Darby tried, bringing in the Penn Center for Civic Engagement and holding a series of public hearings on the budget process.

It was a different route, but it wound up in the same place.

Taxes are going up. Again.

At this point, hearings are not going to help local school districts.

They need help from Harrisburg.

And soon.

You can read our editorial here.

When did we move to Seattle?

When did we move to Seattle?

If you can, just pull the covers up over your head and stay there.

Believe me, I just drove into the office. It's miserable out there. Pouring down rain.

And it's not going to get a lot better - either today or for much of the Memorial Day weekend.

You can get the full forecast here.

Sounds like Saturday is the day if you are planning to do anything outside.

There is a chance of showers both Sunday and it also will threaten the parades and other traditional activities tied to Memorial Day.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, May 24

The Daily Numbers: 600 gallons of bentonite that spilled into Chester Creek during work on the Mariner East 2 pipeline project.

2 dozen people who showed up at Brookhaven council

3 separate spills that occurred in town.

190,000 square foot shopping center that could add to traffic woes at intersection of Routes 202 and 1.

1,000 parking spots in the plans.

150,000 dollar boost for Lansdowne Theatre in grant from Presser Foundation.

283-278 edge for Helen Thomas over Paula Brown in Dem race for Darby mayor. Brown says she will run in November on GOP ballot.

31 percent cut for EPA in President Trump’s budget plan.

15,416 employees would be chopped to 11,611.

3,800 jobs on the block.

89, age of Roger Moore, star of James Bond films, who died Tuesday.

48, age of NFL Hall of Famer Cortez Kennedy, who was found dead.

4 Eagles who did not show up for OTAs, the biggest of which would be Fletcher Cox.

8-2 loss for the Phils to the Rockies.

11 losses in last 13 for the Phils.

17,109 who showed up at Citizens Bank Park last night.

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

Fletcher Cox basically showed up Doug Pederson by taking a powder on these “voluntary” workouts. He was MIA last year as well while he waited for a new deal. He got it, and still did not show up.

I Don’t Get It: Fletcher Cox. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to those who sat down at SCI-Chester yesterday as part of the “On the Table” series, looking to discuss possible solutions to our problems.

Quote Box: “I apologize for not contacting you immediately. It’s our mistake.”

- Sunoco Logistics official Jeff Shields, to Brookhaven officials and residents.

Who are the Dem candidates for County Council?

Yesterday I used this space to talk about some of the gains made by Democrats in the May 16 Primary Election.

Yes, I know that only about 13 percent of eligible voters made their way to the polls here in Delco.

But it was hard to ignore the fact that for one of the first times in memory, Democrats actually got as many or in some instances more people to the polls than the vaunted Delco GOP.

In the statewide judicial races, Democrats outpolled Republicans here in Delco.

And in the county row offices, Dems were running neck and neck with the votes tallied by their Republican counterparts.

In the County Council race, the results were not quite as close.

The Republican tandem of incumbent Councilman Dave White and John Perfetti clearly drew more voters than their Democrat counterparts, Brian Zidek and Jennifer Leith.

White led all vote getters in the unofficial tally, with 23,481 votes. He was followed by his running mate John Perfetti, with 23,115. Dems trailed, with Zidek getting 20,028 Democratic votes and Jennifer Leith tallying 17,387.

The race now moves to the general election in November.

At least some of them will.

More than 17,000 Democrats cast a ballot for Leith in the Primary. There's only one problem with that. She may not be one of the two Dems on the ballot in November.

According to the Democrats' own website, Kevin Madden, a successful businessman and Media native, is now Zidek's running mate. He now lives in Haverford.

There's also a Facebook page that proclaims "Zidek-Madden: Democrats for Delaware County Council."

When exactly this change took place no one is saying.

When we asked Democratic Chairman David Landau about it, he would say only that officially Leith is still the Dems' candidate. Apparently no one bothered to tell the person handling the party's website.

The deadline to make a change and have Leith taken off the ballot was March 22. The primary was May 16. I think people would be interested in knowing when this change of heart took place, if in fact it actually did.

I'm not exactly sure of the political process involved in how you go about making a change to a listed candidate. Usually it involves a party vacancy board meeting and selecting a new candidate once a candidate withdraws. It's not clear if Leith has officially withdrawn as yet.

What I know is that 17,387 people voted for her as their Democratic candidate for County Council. And it's becoming increasingly clear that she likely will not be on the November ballot.

So how about it, Dems? Who are your candidates for County Council?

Memories of Manchester - & concerts past

I can't count the number of times my friends and I piled into a car, made the trek from our little town of Oxford, and found our way to the Spectrum for a rock show.

I don't think my parents ever once wondered if I would return home safely.

We'd make that hour-long trek, all the way up Route 1, down Route 322 (yes, I survived the killer Conchester), up I-95 before hopping off at the Broad Street exit and finding our way into the Spectrum. Yes, I am old. The Spectrum no longer is there. But the memories are.

And it was those memories that went through my mind when I first heard of the bomb blast that killed 22 young people and injured scores more at a concert by pop star Ariana Grande in Manchester, England.

I have to admit I would not recognize an Ariana Grande tune if I fell over it.

But I know why those kids were there. They love her music. It's what kids do. It's certainly what I and my friends did. I saw them all, Bruce, Yes, Chicago, Grand Funk, Dave Mason, the Allman Brothers. Is it just me, or did Foghat open every show back then.

One thing we did not worry about was a terrorist blast. About the closest we ever came was the guy in the row behind us puking all over our back.

It's a different world today. I'm guessing there are probably a couple of those nights when my mother wasn't even aware that I was going to a concert.

All I can think about now is the pictures of those mothers in England, still waiting for their loved one to come home, not knowing if they are dead or alive.

As a parent, and as someone who did all those things and more as a kid, my heart breaks for them.

I'm glad I grew up when I did.

World's worst weather, 365 days a year

I used to joke about creating a new slogan for Pennsylvania:

"Welcome to Pennsylvania, world's worst weather, 365 days a year!"

I'm not joking anymore.

Look, I know I'm a bit of an oddity. I like it hot - and humid. In fact, the thicker, the warmer the air, the more I like it. I managed to survive another winter.

I'm not so sure about this spring.

Yes, we did get one three-day burst of heat and humidity.

But ever since we've been in the dark - literally. Sunshine has been pretty much a rumor. Clouds and showers are the rule of the day.

Don't look at the five-day forecast. It's more of the same.

There's a chance of showers just about every day right. The only bright spot looks like Saturday, when we might get a full dose of sun.

Better get your holiday activities and barbecues in then, because it looks like we're back to clouds and a chance of showers again Sunday and the holiday on Monday.

And not a sniff of 80-degree temperatures until Monday, when we might squeak by at 81.

Like I said, world's worst weather, 365 days a year.

Anyone disagree?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The real challenge for Delco Dems

It's getting pretty crowded as Democrats line up to challenge U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan.

No less than five candidates are looking to tangle with the Republican incumbent.

Now comes word that state Rep. Daylin Leach, D-17, who represents parts of Radnor and Haverford here in Delco, is considering getting into the race. Leach, who has a penchant for making headlines, such as his bombastic social media outbursts in which he took on President Trump, has been down this road once before. He finished a distant third in a four-way primary for the Demo nod in Montgomery County's 13th Congressional District in 2014.

Last week Gov. Ed Rendell endorsed Philly ward leader Dan Muroff for the Dems candidate to face Meehan. Drew McGinty, also of Philly, and Elizabeth Moro, of Kennett Square in Chester County, also are in the race.

This is all part of the Trump Effect, looking to capitalize on the resistance that has sprung up in the wake of Trump's election and growing outrage at some of the Republican actions since, including the push to repeal the Affordable Care Act and some very controversial immigration measures.

Meehan's office was the target of weekly protests in the lead-up to the crucial vote to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the GOP's version, the American Health Care Act.

And although he indicated he would have opposed the initial Republican plan, and actually did vote against the final version, he was blasted by Democrats for voting in favor of moving the original bill out of the House Ways and Means Committee.

We indicated in our Sunday editorial that the Trump Effect did not exactly push overwhelming numbers of voters to the poll in last week's off-year municipal primary. Only about 13 percent of eligible voters took part.

But there were some numbers that stood out. In particular, for one of the first times in memory, Democrats managed to get as many, and in some cases more voters to the polls in Delaware County than their GOP counterparts.

It was not that long ago that turnout along those lines would have been unheard of.

Democratic Party Chairman David Landau sees it as part of the county's changing landscape. Republican leader Andy Reilly doesn't seem terribly concerned, noting this happens in most off-year elections.

What Delco Democrats really need to do to make some waves is capture one of the jobs in the county courthouse.

It's too bad Leach does not live in Delco. His name recognition is something Democrats desperately need in the race for two seats on county council, let alone a judgeship or row offices.

Quick, name me one of the Dem candidates for County Council. Thought so.

Besides, I'm hearing the Dems might find themselves in need of a council candidate.

Democrats have made great strides in the county. They are now the dominant party in terms of voter registration. They have gotten used to the taste of victory in statewide and national races. They proved last week they can match the GOP turnout, even if only in a decidedly low-wattage municipal primary. The challenge now is to pierce the iron grip the local GOP continues to hold on the County Courthouse.

I'll believe it when I see it.

Music Man of Upper Darby's legacy continues

There is an old saying that reminds us that "music is the universal language."

No one had to remind Brad Schoener of that.

Schoener was a beloved music teacher in the Upper Darby School District. He was so deeply entrenched in the school and community music scenes that he picked up the moniker "the Music Man of Upper Darby."

Schoener lost his battle vs. cancer back in 2009.

But his love of music - and the Upper Darby community - continues.

Last weekend more than 5,000 people gathered for the annual festival that now bears his name.

There are more than 70 languages spoken in the Upper Darby School District.

Brad Schoener united all of them with the power of music.

On our editorial page today, we offer a salute to Schoener's legacy, which continues to make sweet music in Upper Darby.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Monday, May 22

The Daily Numbers: 3 percent tax hike coming in Rose Tree Media School District.

2.4 percent tax hike looming in Garnet Valley.

374 graduates picked up diplomas at Swarthmore College Sunday

0 injuries in plane crash outside West Chester Sunday afternoon.

700 degrees awarded to Widener grads Saturday.

5,000 residents who took part in Saturday’s annual Brad Schoener Music Festival in Upper Darby.

10th anniversary of the Walk for the Wounded drew hundreds to Rose Tree Park Saturday.

3 dead, 1 injured in Philly fire Sunday.

11 people injured in deck collapse in Philly over weekend.

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

2.57 a gallon average price

2.35 average price nationally.

1-0 loss for the Phils in Pittsburgh.

17 losses in last 21 games for Phils.

7 straight series the team has now lost.

15-26 mark for the Phils.

10 game back in the NL East.

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

Pete Mackanin is getting his wish - almost. The Phillies manager set as a goal a team that would play .500 before the season. They’re looking up at that now.

I Don’t Get It: I’m getting increasingly tired of the lack of civility that rules on social media. Some days you need a shower after being online.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those who took part in the Brad Schoener Festival in Upper Darby and the Walk for the Wounded in Rose Tree Park.

Quote Box: “Life begins at 30.”

- Steve Gillon, to Widener graduates.

When social media goes over the line

It is increasingly becoming one of my least favorite things about this job.

As part of my duties, I spend a lot of time on social media.

I'm finding it an increasingly difficult, even depressing situation.

I don't expect everyone to agree with me, the opinions I express online - in my columns, blogs and editorials. Far from it, a robust discussion is part of the essential role of the newspaper.

But there are limits, and too often on social media, the conversation quickly veers away from anything that can be considered robust. Disrespectful? Oh, yeah, there's plenty of that. Hurtful? Why not. Pile it on.

I have a pretty thick skin. You spend any time in this business, and you expect to take some heat.

But the people who engage with me online don't necessarily always comport with those same rules.

Over the weekend, during another raging discussion on a blog item and editorial I penned again urging President Trump to be just that - more presidential - the argument got personal.

The barbs were not directed at me, but rather one of the people taking part in the discussion.

No, he was not agreeing with me. Far from it. I have no problem with that.

What I have a problem with is another commenter who decided to make this personal, and attacked both the man and his business. That's where I draw the line.

I rarely delete material that appears online. But I have to tell you that I am considering it.

I think social media has an important role to play in delivering the news. At least I hope so. I'd hate to think I am wasting all this time every day.

But I loathe how quickly the conversation too often descends into personal attacks, crude references and name-calling.

I think we're better that.

I hope my readers agree. If not, I suggest they move on and offer their small-minded opinions elsewhere.

I'm playing favorites: Farewell, Dr. Mirenda

In this job I'm not supposed to play favorites.

Today I am making an exception.

In my Monday Letter From the Editor print column, I talk about one of the very best people in Delaware County.

Dr. Rosalie Mirenda, the longtime president of Neumann University, will be missed for many reasons as she retires from the post she has held for more than four decades.

Me? I'll miss the hugs from one of my favorite people.

You can read the column here.

This is what happens when you have low expectations

This is what happens when the manager starts the season with low expectations.

I didn't like it back in the winter when Phillies skipper Pete Mackanin said his hope for the season was that his team could maybe play .500 baseball.

This is the result.

Talk about low expectations.

The Phillies are in free-fall, threatening to return to the ugly days when the team routinely would be out of the race before Memorial Day.

Well, Memorial Day arrives next weekend, and the Phillies arrive back home after a horrendous road trip.

Yesterday, they got a boost with a great start by Aaron Nola on his return after a stint on the disabled list, only to see their bats again fall silent. They got shut out, 1-0, by the Pirates.

And of course they got to witness still another blatant lack of effort by Odubel Herrera, who for some reason again decided against running on a dribbler that he no doubt thought was a foul ball. Doesn't matter. It's all part of the tone of this team.

Mackanin's staff isn't helping him much either.

Pitching coach Bob McClure for some reason decided to take apart catcher Cameron Rupp, thus putting question marks into the heads of his starting pitchers.

This comes after one of his relievers expressed dissatisfaction at the way they are being used.

Struggling starter Vince Velasquez admitted he's lost out there on the mound.

The loss yesterday left the Phils with 17 losses in their last 21 games. They've now dropped seven straight series.

Something needs to be done.

Then again, when your goal is to play .500 ball, this is about what you might expect.

The Phillies are playing down to the level of their manager's expectations.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Where that water from the Chester Water Authority comes from

I think they say what "goes around, comes around."

I think that also applies to your roots. You can't escape them.

I happen to have grown up in a small town out in the furthermost edges of southern Chester County.

It's called Oxford. It's a stone's throw from Maryland. And Lancaster County.

But sitting right there between Chester and Lancaster counties is a link to Delaware County that brought a smile - and some old memories - flooding back to me this week.

You may have noticed that we have been covering a fairly big development on the Delaware County business scene.

Aqua America was making a $250 million bid to buy one of the icons of Delco industry, the Chester Water Authority.

The Chester Water Authority provides water to more than 42,000 customers in 17 of Delaware County's 49 municipalities, including Chester, Aston, Glen Mills and more than 30 other towns.

But here's the thing that I always delighted in telling people whenever I learned that they got their water from the Chester Water Authority. I always ask them if they know, when they turn on their spigot, where that beautiful, sparkling water comes from. It does not come from Chester.

It does come from Chester County.

Actually, much of it comes from the Octoraro Reservoir, which is right outside of good, old Oxford, Pa.

It runs in a pipeline that pretty much snakes along the path of Route 1 all the way into Delaware County.

I then proceed to "confess" to people all the things I have done in that water. Yes, I have been chased out of the reservoir more times than I care to remember.

I have gone swimming in that water; I have fished in that water. And, in truth, I've done a few other things in that water that don't need to be mentioned in this blog.

Route 472 was the two-lane strip that went across the reservoir and connected Chester and Lancaster counties. It was a flat stretch that turned out to be a nearly perfect drag strip for teen racers.

Yes, we did that, too.

Today we are reporting that Chester Water Authority rejected that $250 million bid from Aqua America. I am glad. I don't have anything against Aqua, I just like the idea of telling people where the water that feeds the Chester Water Authority comes from.

Like I said, goes around, comes around ...

The ability - or inability - to be presidential

When Mitch McConnell starts saying we could use "less drama" in the White House, you know you have a problem.

It's becoming increasingly clear - even to some in the GOP - that there is a problem with Donald Trump.

The problem is that he seems incapable of acting presidential.

Maybe that's the new normal. Maybe we're all just going to have to adjust, get used to this new style of leadership. The problem is that this is not leadership. It's reality TV.

And that's unfortunate when instead of dismissing hopeful apprentices, you are dismissing the director of the FBI, and the man who is heading one of the probes into your administration.

President Trump remained true to his track record early yesterday, lashing out on his favorite method of communication - Twitter - to bash the appointment of a special counsel to head the various probes into Russian meddling in the U.S. elections.

Trump ranted that it is a "witch hunt."

Yeah, that's real presidential.

Read our editorial here.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The witching hour for the White House

We're going to have to start calling it the witching hour for the Trump Administration.

Every day this week, right on schedule about 5:30 p.m., a new bombshell has landed on the White House.

Monday it was word that the president had revealed highly classified information to Russian officials during a visit in the Oval Office at which the U.S. media was banned, but Russian media was not.

Tuesday right on schedule was the report from the New York Times that ousted FBI Director James Comey had a memo in which he suggested Trump had asked him to end the investigation into fired national security adviser Michael Flynn and his connections to the Russians.

And just like clockwork, Wednesday saw word arrive that a special counsel has been appointed to lead the investigation into possible Russian tampering with the U.S. election.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was named to the post, and was greeted with near unanimous praise from both sides of the aisle.

Delaware County U.S. Rep. Michael Meehan offered the following statement after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the appointment of Mueller:

“Bob Mueller is a man of integrity and I have every confidence he will pursue this investigation and follow the facts, wherever they lead him,” Meehan said. “His appointment as special counsel should give the American people confidence that the investigation into Russia’s activities surrounding the 2016 election will be conducted thoroughly and free of political influence. I applaud Deputy Attorney Rosenstein’s decision,” said Meehan.

Meehan is very familiar with Mueller. Both are former U.S. attorneys. And Meehan worked closely with Mueller in the Justice Department during Mueller’s tenure as Director of the FBI.

You just wonder what will be coming today?

Something else to take note of: The gleam from Wall Street may be coming off Trump. Yesterday the markets were in a freefall, plunging 370 points.

The fear is that Trump may be so preoccupied with the Russian investigation that his policies - including that major reform of the tax structure, which the business world loves - is going nowhere.

Keep an eye on that 401k today.

Delco voters will have choices in November

Even if you did not cast a ballot Tuesday - and a whole lot of you did not - voters still earned a small victory.

You will still have a choice come the general election in November.

That is because that bizarre political animal we deal with here in Pennsylvania known as cross-filing failed to deliver the hoped-for results.

In cross-filing a candidate gains enough signatures to appear on the ballot under both parties. You are allowed to cross-file in races for county judgeships, magisterial district judges and school boards.

Here in Delaware County, District Attorney Jack Whelan cannot seek another term as the county's top lawman. So he is running for an open seat on the county bench. He cross-filed in the hopes of winning on both the Republican and Democratic ballots. He won on his own GOP ballot, but fell to Kelly Eckel on the Democratic ballot.

That's a good thing.

That is not an endorsement of Eckel. We like Whelan, appreciate his work as D.A. and think he'll make a fine judge. But we think voters deserve a choice, so we're encouraged by the fact that Eckel rolled to a fairly impressive victory on the Democratic ledger.

Likewise in three contested races for magisterial district judge - including the contentious affair in Norwood-Glenolden - none of the candidates won on both tickets, although all six cross-filed. That again means there will be both a Democrat and Republican on the November ballot.

Choice is good.

You can read our editorial here.

Welcome summer!

They are three of my favorite words.

Hazy, hot & humid.

Go ahead and hate me.

Yes, I am the odd bird that loves this kind of weather.

When I walked out of the office yesterday for my afternoon stroll yesterday, I could not resist the broad smile as that blast of heat greeted me on my first steps out into the parking lot.

But the best was yet to come. As soon as I got home last night, I shed my clothes as fast as I could, threw on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt and retreated to the deck. There I sat and luxuriated in temperatures that remained in the 80s.

And there is more to come.

The high today is expected to soar back into the lower 90s, though it likely will not crest the record of 94. Wouldn't bother me a bit if it did.

It's not expected to quite get into the 90s tomorrow, with a high of about 88, so that means we won't officially be able to refer to it as a heat wave.

You can get the full forecast here.

I'm sure the local TV weather folks, who are beseeching us to drink lots of water and only exercise in the early-morning hours, will be disappointed.

To me it means only one thing: Summer.

Even if Memorial Day is still a week away.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Time to clear the name of Alexander McClay Williams

Justice delayed is justice denied.

That may be the case, but even denied, justice is sweet for the friends, family and supporters of Alexander McClay Williams.

In what can only be described as a rush to judgment, the Delaware County teen was arrested, tried and convicted eight decades ago in the murder of a matron at Glen Mills School.

He quickly became the youngest person in Pennsylvania ever executed.

Eighty-six years later, his arrest record has been expunged, thanks to the tireless work of his supporters.

There remains work to do.

Alexander McClay Williams' record now has been cleared.

Now it's time to clear his name as well.

You can read about it on today's editorial page.

Another day, another Trump bombshell

I ended yesterday's blog with a somewhat prophetic comment.

After duly noting yesterday's Trump bombshell, with news that the president had apparently discussed some highly classified material with his Russian visitors, I openly wondered - and shuddered - at what today would bring.

Well, right on time about 5:30 Tuesday afternoon, the latest Trump thunderclap arrived.

The New York Times is reporting that the ousted FBI Director James Comey wrote a memo that suggests Trump asked him to shut down the FBI investigation into fired national security adviser Michael Flynn.

These are interesting times in Washington.

The nation's capital rumbles every day with the latest on Trump.

They are interesting here in Delco as well. I posted a note on Facebook after hearing the news last night and immediately the conversation exploded.

But that does not necessarily translate into getting involved in the democratic process at the ground level. Just months after standing in long lines to cast their ballots for president, voters here in Delaware County stayed away in droves for yesterday's municipal primary, just as expected.

Maybe there is a connection.

Maybe people are so turned off that they are turning their backs on the process as well.

The sun just came back up again.

We'll see what happens in Washington today.

It can't get worse than this, right?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Today's Trump update: He still doesn't get it

Yesterday I wrote in this space about my increasing concerns about President Trump, his seeming unfamiliarity with some of the basic tenets of the presidency.

This is no longer about who won the Electoral College, who got more votes, who drew a larger crowd to the streets of the nation's capital for the inauguration, or even who is going to pay for that wall on the Mexican border.

Donald Trump won. He's the 45th president. I want him - and the country - to do well.

I know most people will disagree with that. They will say I am merely parroting the liberal line against anything Republican and anything Trump.

Yesterday morning I used an old sport analogy to describe the rocky Trump presidency: He doesn't know what he doesn't know. A few hours later, the Washington Post reported that Trump had revealed highly classified information about a terror plot in the Mideast while chatting with Russian diplomats in the Oval Office last week.

You remember this session. It was the one where Trump barred all U.S. media, but allowed some Russian media types, only to learn one of the photographers was with Tass and be faced with photos of a beaming president making nice with the Russians, yes those folks about whom so much is being conjectured in terms of the Trump campaign. The president's people said they were misled about the Russian media members. Of course all of that could have been avoided if Trump had merely allowed the U.S. media in as well.

Last night Trump sent out his National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster to read a terse statement in which the administration denied the report. But they did it in an odd way. They denied something the story did not say - that the president shared sources and methods of intelligence gathering.

Just more fake news, right?

The story merely indicated he talked about classified information concerning a terror plot involving the Islamic State.

Not that it matters anyhow. The president has the right to unclassify information any time he wants.

But it's ironic considering how much time Trump spent on the campaign trail blistering Hillary Clinton for being "careless" with the so-called classified information contained in those much-talked about emails.

You almost shudder as to what the disclosure about this White House will be today.

Why should you vote?

You know the drill.

Today is Election Day. Try to stay awake.

Once again we almost surely will prove again today just how much stake we put in this notion of citizenship.

It was just a few months ago when the nation was on fire as the debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump pushed people to stand in line for hours just so they could cast their votes.

Fast-forward a few months. We've seen a push to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with the GOP version, the American Health Care Act.

We've had vigorous debate over immigration, and whether the travel bans issued by the president are constitutional. We've held weekly protests at the offices of our congressmen.

So what will happen today?

People will stay away in droves, of course.

Today is the basic building block of our local governments, the off-year municipal primary.

Up for grabs are party nominations for a slew of county positions, as well as your municipal ruling bodies and school boards, as well as three magisterial district judge races.

Leave it Swarthmore borough to provide the tiniest bit of "buzz" in this election. Borough voters will go to the polls to decide whether they want to end their long tradition of being a "dry" town, actually allowing people to buy an alcoholic drink at someplace other than the Inn at Swarthmore, the new hotel built by Swarthmore College.

So why should you vote?

We explain it on our editorial page.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Justice for Alexander McClay Williams

It took a lot longer than it should have, but justice has finally been meted out in the case of Alexander McClay Williams.

Last week Delaware County Judge John Capuzzi vacated the conviction of the 16-year-old who was put to death back in 1931 for the stabbing death of a matron at Glen Mills School.

McClay Williams became the youngest person ever executed in Pennsylvania, a seeming rush to judgment in a case that continues to confound - and sadden - more than eight decades later.

Importantly, while Judge Capuzzi's ruling vacated the criminal record of McClay Williams, it keeps the court file and administrative docket intact.

Why is that so important?

So that this kind of injustice might never happen again.

Longtime Delco educator Sam Lemon teamed with defense attorney Robert Keller in championing the cause of McClay Williams.

"We wanted the criminal record expunged and at the same time we wanted the court file and docket to remain so that we have a historical record of the case," Keller said. "We want the public to be aware of the trial and for them to be able to view the timeline from the date of conviction, and the time of arrest, and how quickly he was put to death."

Family members remain convinced McClay was wrongly convicted, and while expungement does erase his conviction, it does not touch on the matter of his guilt or innocence.

They vow to continue the fight.

They say the wheels of justice turn slowly.

In the case of Alexander McClay Williams, they likely moved too fast - before grinding to a halt.

Those who argue that justice delayed is justice denied no doubt would take heart in the speed with which justice was meted out in the case. In less than a year, Williams was tried and convicted in less than a year, found guilty in the grisly slaying in which Glen Mills matron matron Vida Robare, 34, stabbed 47 times with an icepick in October 1930. Her body was found in the second-floor bedroom of her on-site cottage. She also suffered a fractured skull and broken ribs. The crime appeared to be one of passion.

Eighty-six years later, McClay Williams' conviction has finally been erased.

Erasing the stain on justice likely will take a little longer.

Trump doesn't seem to know what he doesn't know

There is an old saying that is usually reserved for the sports pages, but I think I am going to adapt it for President Trump.

In the first few years after Jeff Lurie bought the Eagles, when fans often complained that he and his right-hand man Joe Banner were running the team like some kind of fantasy football drill, it was often said of the Birds' dynamic duo, "They don't know what they don't know."

Welcome to the Trump Presidency.

I'm beginning to wonder if the man doesn't know what he doesn't know.

How else can you explain some of the things that happened last week in the fallout from his sudden decision to ax FBI Director James Comey.

First things first, if Trump wants to replace Comey, he is completely within his rights. Even Comey acknowledged that. He works at the pleasure of the commander-in-chief and can be replaced at any time regardless of whether he has a good reason or not.

But what the president can't do is fire someone in an attempt to subvert or thwart an investigation. That is what a lot of people believe was going on when the the president - clearly irked and tired of being dogged by questions about his campaign's ties to Russia - decided to let Comey go.

Then there was the mass confusion that followed among Trump's communications team.

And once again Vice President Mike Pence was left hung out to dry, trotted out to offer an explanation of the firing that put the onus on the recommendation from deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, even as Trump was admitting that he had already made up his mind to dump Comey regardless of the recommendation.

But all of that paled compared to what happened when Trump sat down with NBC anchor Lester Holt for an interview.

For some reason, the president decided to share the knowledge that he actually asked Comey if he was under investigation.

There are some experts who already are saying that comes dangerously close to the precipice of obstruction of justice.

The smoke from thse smoldering ruins had barely extinguished when Trump took to Twitter and started a new firestorm by suggesting that perhaps his conversations with Comey had been taped.

It's not the first time since the Comey firing exploded that Trump had taken on a Nixonian atmosphere.

The possibility of Trump taping his White House conversations took the sense of deja vu to a whole new level.

I have said it before and I'm beginning to wonder about it again.

Trump does not strike me as someone who is especially interested in the day-to-day intricacies of the White House. I wonder if he is still trying to come to grips with the fact that he actually was elected president, and just how much interest he has in being president.

His actions last week do nothing to make me re-evaluate that stance.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

'You're Fired!' Familiar territory for Trump

This is old hat for Donald Trump.

"You're Fired!."

Only one problem.

When the real estate tycoon turned reality TV host put pen to paper and delivered that trademark phrase, he wasn't dumping another hopeful from "The Apprentice."

He was dismissing the director of the FBI. James Comey, the man who just a few weeks ago testified that the agency was reviewing potential ties between the Trump campaign and the Russians is out in a move that is stirring flashbacks of Richard Nixon's infamous 'Saturday Night Massacre.'

Nixon was so incensed at Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who was demanding he turn over the tapes the president had made of conversations in the Oval Office that he fired him.

Actually, first he asked both Attorney General Elliot Richardson to do it. Richardson resigned instead of following his boss's order, as did his assistant, William Ruckelshaus.

Today, 44 years later, history is repeating itself.

Trump late Tuesday afternoon fired Comey, under the guise that he mishandled the investigation into Hillary Clinton emails. The president would have us believe - now - that Comey was somehow unfair to the woman who ran against him.

I assume Trump actually managed to keep a straight face when he did this.

Trump likely will learn that, much like Nixon, this kind of rash action does not make the problem go away. The pressure only increased on Nixon, eventually resulting him resigning from the nation's top office.

Trump might have shed an FBI boss, but he likely just bought himself a special prosecutor.

Cries went up in Washington for an independent counsel to pick up what Comey started poking around the Russian scandal.

I had to suppress a chuckle when I saw many Democrats rushing to the microphones to cry foul at the president's move.

Yes, these are the same people who have been complaining about Comey and the way he has handled the Clinton email saga for months. Hillary Clinton herself just last week fingered the FBI boss as having his fingerprints all over her Electoral College loss to Trump.

That is not to say anyone can justify what Trump did yesterday.

The Donald ran for office as a different kind of candidate, who vowed to be a different kind of president.

He's been good to his word.

That is not necessarily a good thing. Drain the swamp? Trump is up to his waist in it.

More than four decades ago, a president thought he saw a way to wiggle out of a tight spot by firing a special prosecutor.

Donald Trump, reality TV star, is now starring in the sequel.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The two sides of Chester - again

In my weekly print Letter From the Editor this week, I talked about the challenges of making sure our front page accurately represents both the good and bad things that are going on in Delaware County.

Granted, it's usually a lot easier to go negative. There are usually no shortage of candidates.

Nowhere does this dilemma come more into play that in the city of Chester.

Today's front page details a follow-up story on the sagging morale of the Chester Police Department.

These are tough times for the men in blue in the city.

Their ranks have been diminished by a wave of layoffs at the tail end of last year. That situation was exacerbated by the belief that a new contract would great reduce benefits for those on the force.

The union and city still have not reached an agreement on a new deal.

In the meantime, serious crime has taken an uptick in the city. Last week county and city officials rolled out 'Operation Safe Streets,' a push to add state police patrols to beef up the police presence on city streets, something city residents have said again and again they want.

At one point on a recent weekend, five people were injured in a drive-by shooting. At the same time, that was the exact same number of city officers on the Chester streets - and only because one officer came in on overtime.

You can read today's update here.

But that's not the only story going on in Chester.

I hope that you also read yesterday's marvelous story detailing the journey of Deborah Ekwale.

The Nigerian native recently was lauded by the Chester branch of the NAACP. She will graduate from Chester High in June. What's so special about that? She's 16.

You can read the story of her marvelous journey here.

I would be remiss if I did not recognize Will Richan, the longtime Chester activist who brought Deborah's story to my attention.

Don't believe it when people tell you there are no good stories in the city of Chester.

We find them all the time.

Just ask Deborah Ekwale.

You go, girl.

In praise of 2 Republicans

Brace yourself.

We come today in praise of Republicans.

Two members of the GOP in particular.

That would be our two local congressmen, U.S. Reps. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Chadds Ford, and Ryan Costello, R-6, of West Goshen.

What did they do to garner praise.

If you'll excuse the term, both decided to stand "Pat" on their stance on the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Last week both voted against the American Health Care Plan.

Both indicated they continued to have problems with the GOP legislation, especially when it comes to the effect it would have on those with pre-existing conditions.

Now they're being targeted by both sides.

I've actually been told that Meehan was called into a meeting with Republican leaders and given the full-court press, asked to get in line and support the party legislation.

Meehan didn't budget.

Of course, that is not stopping Democrats from attacking the two members of Congress, noting correctly that both voted to move the bill out of their respective committees - Meehan on the Ways and Means Committee; Costello on the Labor and Commerce.

Technically, that is correct.

But when the money was on the table, both voted against the American Health Care Act.

We believe they made the right call.

You can read our editorial here.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Meehan, Costello stand their ground against GOP bill

Pat Meehan was good to his word.

After riding the fence during the last rodeo otherwise known as the health-care debate in this country, Meehan, R-7, of Chadds Ford, eventually said he would have voted against it - had it actually gone to a vote.

He was spared that duty when President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan were forced to pull the bill when it became apparent they did not have the votes in their own GOP caucus for passage.

Meehan had no such luck Thursday.

But he stood his ground.

He said he could not support this version of the American Health Care Act, and he voted against it.

He was joined by his compatriot from Chester County, Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6.

Both again noted they had issues with how the Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act would affect those with pre-existing conditions. In short, many could lose coverage or find it so expensive as to be the same thing.

This of course did not stop Democrats from holding both representatives' feet to the fire, saying they still contributed to the passage of the so-called American Health Care Act because of their votes in favor in moving it out of their respective committees and out to the floor for a full House vote.

Meehan explained that vote as simply a part of the legislative process to move the entire process forward.

You have to figure this is in part as case of a representative being just that - "representative" of the desires of those who live in their district.

Both Meehan and Costello got an earful from residents opposed to the repeal of Obamacare. Their offices were the site of weekly protests. None of that stopped Republicans in D.C. from getting what they wanted - some kind of victory for President Trump.

The sight of Trump and his GOP henchmen celebrating on the White House lawn a "victory" that has the potential to hurt so many people was - in the infamous words of FBI Director James Comey - enough to make you "mildly nauseous."

Don't blame Meehan for that. Or Costello either.

They both indicated they could not support this bill.

And they didn't change their minds.

Good for them.

What is the cure for violence in Chester?

Here we go again.

They are talking about cracking down on gun violence in Chester.

And they're calling in the cavalry.

State troopers will once again be patrolling city streets in an attempt to beef up the police presence in the violence-plagued city.

Bringing in the state police will not solve Chester's problems, but it surely will not hurt.

We talk about violence in Chester, and what city and county officials can do to combat it, on today's editorial page.

You can read it here.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Pat Meehan remains a 'no' vote on GOP health-care plan

Pat Meehan says he hasn't changed his mind.

We're about to find out.

The U.S. House is now expected to vote on the latest version of the Republican health care plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

GOP leaders in D.C. have been furiously tweaking the bill in an attempt to lure moderates such as Meehan - who have been opposed to the plan - back into the fold.

Meehan specifically said he had problems with provisions in the bill that would create serious problems for those with pre-existing conditions. Many believe language that would allow states to opt out of required coverage would either leave some without coverage at all, or face huge spikes in their health-care costs.

Republicans say they are putting $8 billion to set up a fund to help offset those costs.

Yesterday, those opposed to the GOP's so-called American Health Care Act, once again rallied outside Meehan's Springfield office. But this time they were there to thank him for his opposition.

So far we have not gotten any indication from the representative that the tweaks of the bill have changed his mind. He said he would vote against it.

This morning we'll find out if he - as well as Chester County Rep. Ryan Costello - will stick with that position or fall in line with President Trump and their GOP brethren.

A vote is expected this morning.

We'll bring you all the details - as well as how Meehan voted, and why.

Stay tuned.

Safe streets in Chester? Bring on the troopers

They're going to take another shot at this in Chester.

"Shot" being the operative word.

Just a couple of hours after county District Attorney Jack Whelan was joined by county and Chester officials to announce that state police patrols would be returning to the violence-plagued city, officers were called to another street shooting.

This is not the first time officials have called into reinforcements - in the form of state troopers - to quell an uptick in gun violence in Chester.

They also hit the streets back in 2016. And 2014 before that.

Again the issue here is guns. Lots of them. In the hands of people who should not have them.

Whelan indicated yesterday that 46 people have been shot in the city through just four months into the year. The county has recorded 10 homicides so far in 2017. All 10 have taken place in Chester.

The uptick in violence comes at a time when the city is struggling to get officers on the streets.

Want to know how bad the situation is.

When five people were wounded in a drive-by shooting Friday night, it matched the number of officers patrolling the city streets. And that was only because one officer agreed to come in on overtime.

The county is putting up $100,000 to get those state troopers on the streets of Chester. The money will come from casino revenues and the D.A.'s office.

It was not a good weekend in Chester. The city recorded seven more shootings.

Adding state troopers is not going to solve Chester's problems.

But it's not going to hurt either.

The city has serious financial and other woes.

Manpower among police has been an issue since a rash of retirements in the wake of fears over the status of a new contract and possible cuts toward the end of last year.

Talks between the city and police continue.

In the meantime, residents, the ones like the woman who was struck when a stray bullet went through a wall and hit her inside her house, no doubt will welcome the sight of more police on their streets.

Officials dubbed this new initiative "Operation Safe Streets."

In Chester, the streets too often have been anything but.

Bring on the troopers.

A salute to the McGonigles and Compassion United Havertown

Want some good news?

Who doesn't?

Turn to our editorial page.

There today we are saluting the McGonigle family of Havertown.

They had a run of misfortune, including multiple health-care setbacks. But instead of withdrawing into their own shell, they instead reached out - to the community.v What happened next tells you a lot about both the McGonigles - as well as the people of Havertown and Delaware County.

So great was the outpouring, that the McGonigles decided to pay it back.

They started a Facebook page called Compassion United Havertown.

We salute their effort.

You can read our editorial here.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, May 3

The Daily Numbers: 4, number of police officers believed on duty in Chester last weekend.

0, number of layoffs of police coming, according to Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland.

2 state titles won by Larry Yarbray, who has now been relieved of his duties as head basketball coach at Chester High. Community members are rallying to have him reinstated.

34, age of victim in that fatal crash on South Chester Road at Route 252 Monday.

61, age of Yeadon man who admits possession of child porn.

1 headstone that toppled at Mount Lebanon Cemetery Tuesday, injuring a child who was briefly trapped under it.

132 year old barn that went up in flames out in western Pa.

1 billion dollar shortfall in revenue in Pa. That means the budget crisis is only getting worse.

91, age of Philly real estate figure Richard Basciano, who owned building that collapsed in deadly accident. He died this week.

8-3 loss for the Phils to the Cubs last night in rare rough outing for Jeremy Hellickson.

6 runs on 8 hits over 4 innings for the Phils starter.

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

Anyone else tired of talking about the Eagles draft picks. Call me when these get on the field, and in the case of 2nd round pick Sidney Jones, that might not be until next year as he nurses Achilles injury.

I Don’t Get It: The GOP is taking another swing at health care reform, and they don’t even seem to agree if those with pre-existing conditions will be covered.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the McGonigle family of Havertown, who have started Compassion United Havertown, as a way to lend a hand for those facing life’s usual struggles. Well done.

Quote Box: “We want him to be reinstated. We want some kind of public showing of support for him from within the school where he worked and trained with the kids.”

- The Rev. Horace Strand, talking about fired Chester High hoops coach Larry Yarbray.

Push on again to take back Chester streets

It's going to be an interesting day in the city of Chester.

Once again the city finds itself swimming upstream in its war on random street violence and the wave of guns on city streets.

This comes at the same time more and more residents are concerned about a perceived lack of manpower and police patrols.

Making matters even worse were rumors this week that the city's precarious finances might spark a new round of layoffs in the police department.

Yeah, I know, it's kind of hard to even reconcile the notion of laying off police in a city with the kinds of problems Chester faces every day.

Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland tried to put those rumors to bed yesterday, declaring there would be no layoffs. A series of day-long meetings between city officials and police officers. Kirkland said layoffs are not on the table and instead the meetings were a way to try to get more cops on the streets after a weekend when it appeared that only four officers were on duty.

The good news is that help is on the way.

District Attorney Jack Whelan is expected to join city officials for a press conference this afternoon. Most people believe they will announce an agreement to expand the use of Pennsylvania State Police in patrolling city streets.

We'll give you the details as soon as we get them.

It's of Primary importance in Delco

We know you've heard it before.

Brace yourself, you're going to hear it again.

Delaware County goes to the polls in a little less than two weeks.

No, there is no presidential race, no "sizzle" of a real estate tycoon turned realty TV host turned Republican frontrunner.

Donald Trump is not on the ballot this time. I think. You never know how far the Donald's sway holds forth these days.

But the county will decide on their party's slates for a slew of important county row offices, as well as municipal and school boards. You know, the people who actually set your taxes.

And if you live in Swarthmore, there is even more reason to get to the polls.

In fact, let us be the first to raise a glass to the referendum on the borough ballot. What are we talking about.

It's in today's editorial.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Is Delco ready for Cracker Barrel?

What is it about Cracker Barrel?

This staple of American roadsides is coming to Delaware County, and people can't wait.

The old-style eatery with tons of Americana plastered all over the walls will be arriving in the mini-boom taking place down on Stewart Avenue in Ridley Township near the Boeing plant this fall. It's in the same neighborhood as two new hotels, a Wendy's and a Royal Farms store. None of them has caused the stir as news that Cracker Barrel is coming to town.

You can get all the details here.

People in Ridley have been eagerly awaiting yesterday's official announcement about the much-rumored arrival of the restaurant chain. The doors will open in November on a 10,000-square-foot restaurant that also will bring with it 175 new jobs.

But what is the draw?

Actualy, I should have checked in with my wife. She informs me that their blueberry pancakes are fantastic. Maybe it's because I'm not really that much of a breakfast person. I've been in my share of Cracker Barrels. They're nice. But I have to admit I don't go out of my way to find one.

What's the draw, what's the mystique that has Ridley and Delco in such a tizzy?

Alert the crowd control teams. Cracker Barrel is coming to Ridley.

The numbers tell the story in Eddystone

There have been some staggering numbers recently as we chronicle the toll of heroin and opioids on Delaware County, the region and nation.

Yes, we trumpeted news about a week ago that Delaware County is No. 1 in lives saved by use of the overdose-reversing drug Naloxone.

Since David's Law - named for Delaware County resident David Massi and which helped put the life-saving drug in the hands of police and first responders - the drug has been used to save 545 lives.

But those aren't the most impressive numbers we encountered this weekend when it comes to the heroin battle.

That would instead be the nearly 7,000 people who descended on Eddystone to take part in the annual heroin awareness walk.

That is not a typo. That's how many showed up in the tiny burg.

Everyone there had a story to tell, some of them incredibly sad, all of them brave.

It unfortunately tells you just how big a toll this issue is actually taking on society.

It also offers hope that people are finally becoming fully aware of the dangers of opioids and heroin.

You can read the editorial here.

Philly is the real winner of NFL Draft

The results are in.

Forget Derek Barnett.

Don't worry about the fact that the Eagles' 2nd round pick, standout cornerback Sidney Jones, can't walk, courtesy of a bum Achilles tendon. The grades are in for this draft - and the winner is us.

Philly fans showed the world what passion means.

The Eagles have not gotten a sniff of the playoffs in years, haven't won a playoff game for even longer.

But bring the NFL Draft to town and the fans turn out in throngs.

NFL officials say the 250,000 people who took part in that little party on the Parkway set an all-time mark. Boosted by beautiful weather, fans soaked up what was referred to as "NFL Experience."

Yes, we booed NFL boss Roger Goodell.

Yes, we booed every pick or mention of the Dallas Cowboys.

You were expecting something else?

But an interesting thing popped up in the aftermath of the draft, as city crews started the monster process of tearing down the stage and cleaning up the area.

It came from Philly police and may have been the most impressive stat of the entire weekend.

Officers did not make a single arrest tied to the draft.

Zero. None.

It matches the Eagles' playoff presence in the last few years.

But this one we'll gladly accept as the latest proof that no city handles big, world-class events quite like Philly.

The pope? No problem.

A throng of Democrats? Bring it on.

Now the NFL Draft.

Can the Super Bowl be far behind? Don't laugh. That idea, along with a Major League Baseball All-Star game, actually is being talked about by none other than former governor, mayor and Philly super fan Ed Rendell.

For now, we'll take a winning record and a trip to the playofffs.

Are you listening, Howie?

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Monday, May 1

The Daily Numbers: 1, as in May 1. May Day! May Day!

6,000 people who took to the streets of Eddystone Saturday to bring awareness to the crushing issue of heroin and opioid abuse in the county.

100 days for President Trump. He celebrated with a rally in Harrisburg; opponents rallied outside and also at Media Courthouse.

2 fallen Delaware County law enforcement officers honored at Blue Mass at St. Mary Magdalen yesterday.

27 minutes, how long the kids at Grace Park Elementary School in Ridley walked around the school perimeter to honor Ridley native Nick Colleluori and help his HEADStrong Foundation.

3 races for magisterial district judge races on the spring primary ballot in Delco.

1 place in Swarthmore where you can buy an alcoholic drink. That could change if referendum on primary ballot gets the OK.

670,000 they are spending on new athletic field in Marple Newtown.

0 goals for the Union in a 0-0 draw with the L.A. Galaxy.

5-3 loss for the Phillies to the Dodgers as they get swept in L.A.

6 for 6 for the Nats’ Anthony Rendon vs. Mets yesterday.

3 HRs and 10 RBI for the third baseman

23-5 pasting of the Mets by the Nats.

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

Odubel Herrera failed to run out a dribbler yesterday in Phillies loss to Dodgers. He hit a home run in his next at-bat, complete with bat flip. These guys are going to drive me crazy.

I Don’t Get It: Does Donald Trump realize he’s no longer a candidate. He won. He’s the president. Act like it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to James Sharkey and the boxing program that is bringing life back to Eastside Rec in Chester. It is giving kids a fighting chance.

Quote Box: “People like Sharkey kept us out of trouble. They were teaching us skill and competition.”

- Chester Police Chief James Nolan IV, on his time at the gym.