Thursday, August 31, 2017

Get ready to pay more at the pumps

Here is the number of the day:

2.79.

That's the price of gas at the Wawa out on West Chester Pike in Westtown.

Get used to it.

One of the fallouts from Harvey is going to be a serious uptick in gas prices.

Locally, the price has jumped as much as 20 cents per gallon in just the past few days.

Several major refineries in Texas have been forced to shut down, and explosions are being heard coming from some facilities there this morning.

Bottom line: They are not likely going to be back online any time soon.

Yes, prices are skyrocketing just in time for the Labor Day holiday.

Delco, nation rallies behind Houston

It's always the one thing you can count on in times of crisis.

People opening their hearts - and wallets - to help out.

Today's paper is full of their stories.

Kathleen Carey talked to Mike McIntyre, owner of Proaction Restoration Inc. in Ridley. He and a team of workers are headed to Texas to help in any way they can. On our editorial page, we review how you can help, and the other things the county is doing if they call comes seeking help. Even Chris Christie is getting into the act.

We'll never be accused of being the biggest Christie booster.

But while the New Jersey governor was reminded that Sen. Ted Cruz and others blocked an aid package for victims of Hurricane Sandy back in 2012, he is not looking for revenge now.

He is urging Congress members from New Jersey and New York not to block any aid efforts targeting the devastation in Houston.

"I now help that the people of New Jersey and New York are willing to let bygones be bygones and vote for relief for Texas.

That does not mean he does not remember the actions of Cruz and others.

Christie called the Texas senator a hypocrite and mocked Cruz's claim that too much of that aid bill back in the aftermath of Sandy was loaded with pork that had nothing to do with emergency aid.

"The disgraceful part of that, the truly disgraceful part of what we just saw was that he (Cruz) is not telling the truth, standing in a recovery center, where people are suffering," Christie said.

"He should just stand up now and say, 'You know, I was wrong. I was wrong in 2012. It was the wrong thing to do." Good for Christie.

And good for all those who are rallying behind the effort to help those devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

RIP, 'Daddy Mass'

It is the one word that was always synonymous with Rollie Massimino.

Family.

The Villanova Family today is mourning the loss of 'Daddy Mass,' the man who led one of the most improbably sports stories in Philadelphia history when his Wildcats, the tiny school from the Main Line, slew the giant, Patrick Ewing, John Thompson and the Georgetown Hoyas, to capture the 1985 national championship.

Massimino died at age 82 in Florida.

Eventually Massimino would leave Villanova; but he would never leave his family.

Rollie was there in 2016 when his one-time assistant, Jay Wright, led the 'Cats to their second national championship.

After leaving Villanova, Massimino had coaching stints at UNLV, Stony Brook and Cleveland State. His last stop was at Keiser University in Florida.

Many in the Philadelphia hoops scene continue to hold a grudge against Massimino and Villanova, blaming him for Villanova's focus shifting away from the Big 5 and on to bigger things in the Big East.

But Massimino remained part of the "family."

"He's going to live in all the players he coached, all the coaches that coached with him," Jay Wright said. "We are all products of him."

No one has covered the Villanova story as closely as Terry Toohey over the past couple of decades. Make sure you read Terry's remembrance of the man they called 'Daddy Mass.'

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Delco responds to Harvey

Never let it be said that Delco does not respond in a crisis - even when it's halfway across the country in Texas.

Delaware County officials yesterday gave us a look at some of the equipment they say is ready to roll to help in the Hurricane Harvey relief effort in Houston as soon as they get the call.

You can read about it here.

And, as we've been warned, prices at the pump are starting to creep up because so much refinery production in the Houston area is shut down.

I went past a Wawa on the drive in this morning where gas already had zoomed to $2.69 a gallon.

Nick-ed up QB spurring talk of Kaepernick with Birds

Never has so much been written - and talked about - for a guy who hopefully does not take one snap for the Eagles this year.

No, not Jon Dorenbos.

We're talking about the guy who is always the most popular guy in town - the Eagles backup quarterback.

This year that would be Nick Foles, the one-time prodigy - anyone else remember 27 and 2- that would be touchdown passes vs. interceptions in his eye-popping season with the Eagles back in 2013.

Foles was dispatched to the Rams in a deal that brought Sam Bradford to the Birds.

This year Foles is back, expected to stand on the sideline and hold the clipboard while Carson Wentz hopefully blossoms into an NFL superstar.

But there's problem with that - actually a couple of them.

First, and of course we hope this never happens, quarterbacks in in the NFL have a tendency to get hurt and miss time. They are the focus of every team's defense, and Wentz certainly will draw the attention of every Eagles opponent. Stop him, you stop the Eagles.

But more problematic is the fact that Foles has yet to play a down in the preseason.

He's been nursing a sore elbow that team officials insist is no big deal. As always, they say they're simply being cautious.

Maybe a little too cautious for fans' liking. Foles missed practice again yesterday.

His status for the final exhibition game Thursday up the N.J. Turnpike vs. the Jets is not clear.

Yesterday's illness is not supposed to be related to the elbow problem.

All of this has people talking about a certain unemployed quarterback and wondering if he would be a good fit for the Eagles.

That, of course, would be social activist Colin Kaepernick.

Keep an eye on this one.

If Foles does not play, and perhaps starts the season on injured reserve, look for the Kaepernick chants to get louder.

A great way to kick off school year in Upper Darby

On our editorial page, we lament the end of summer.

Yes, for many Delco students, school is back in session.

Upper Darby led the charge this week - and in the process they did something very special.

Stonehurst Hills Elementary School took part in a national project called the Million Father March.

The whole idea is to get dads - or at least a father figure - more intimately involved in their children's education.

It's a great way to start the year.

Even if it does mean summer is over.

You can read our editorial here.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The staggering numbers from Harvey

As you dodge raindrops around here today, try to come to grips with the devastation that is raining down on Texas.

It started raining last Friday.

It is still raining.

Now they are saying Harvey may actually be coming back for a second shot at the Houston area.

The numbers are staggering.

Experts say before it's over, Harvey may dump as much as 50 inches of rain on the region.

Everything is under water.

At least 10 people have lost their lives. More than 2,000 people have been rescued. There are more than 30,000 people being housed in makeshift shelters.

And it is still raining.

If you want to help, the best way is always cash.

You can read our editorial for the info you need to know on how to help those devastated by Harvey.

Our shared experiences

I guess you never know how people are going to react to something you've written.

Or maybe we really are a community of shared experiences.

I've been somewhat taken aback at the reaction to my Monday print column. I wrote about one of the rites of parenthood, taking your kids off to college. It was on my mind all week while we covered many local 'move-in' days at local colleges. But I couldn't shake the notion that Michelle Roberson was supposed to be doing the exact same thing this week.

She was supposed to be taking her precious daughter Bianca off to start college at Jacksonville University in Florida.

She will never get that chance, because Bianca was gunned down in a moment of madness on Route 100 in Chester County.

I still really can't quite grasp the fact that you can now lose your life over a traffic incident.

A lot of people called, commented on social media and emailed me to say that this particular column struck home.

I know all about the trauma of watching your child walk into a dorm - and in a way out of your life. It's one of those moments when you realize that your children are no longer children - that they are adults and no longer under your protective wing. That can be an unsettling experience.

But it's one Michelle Roberson had taken away from her in a moment of madness.

Let's all keep Michelle Roberson and her family in our thoughts and prayers this week.

Poof!

Just like that Jon Dorenbos has disappeared.

But this magic act has nothing to do with the world's most popular long-snapper's off-the-field act as a magician.

Last night the Eagles traded Dorenbos to the New Orleans Saints for a draft pick.

Dorenbos, whose greatest magic act may just be surviving 15 years in the NFL as a special teams specialist, is probably as well known for his work off the field as his performance in the green and white.

Dorenbos used his magic skills to make it to the finals of the reality TV show 'America's Got Talent.'

He was a regular on many TV talk shows.

How unique was Dorenbos' ability?

Well, ask yourself this question: Name another long snapper in the NFL?

Thought so.

We wish Dorenbos well in New Orleans.

You can read about the trade here.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Summer is over

Summer is over.

Don't pay any attention to the calendar, which tells us that Labor Day is still a week away. Or that summer actually will be with us until Sept. 22.

Summer is over.

Don't believe it? Ask any of the kids or families in the Upper Darby School District. They are heading back to school today for the first day of classes.

This year Upper Darby supplants Ridley School District, which traditionally is the first district to return to school in the county.

There are several special events set in Upper Darby to mark the beginning of another school year.

At Stonehurst Hills Elementary School, dads and others will take part in the Million Father March, taking part with their kids in delivering them to school and committing themselves to their child's education.

A trip Michelle Roberson will never make

It is one of those rites that mark the end of summer.

Parents pack up their kids - along with all their offspring's earthly possessions - and haul them all off to college.

It is a rite I cherished for many years hustling my kids up the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike to their schools.

But this year as we marked another round of 'move-in' days, I have not been able to get someone else out of my head.

I have been thinking about a woman who will not be taking part in this cherished rite as she expected.

My heart breaks for Michelle Roberson.

It's in my weekly Letter from the Editor.

A 'Sirius' problem & a new sports hero

How can a team with 81 losses suddenly become popular again?

That's easy. I can answer that query with two words:

Rhys Hoskins.

The Phillies are on pace to lose more than 100 games.

But when Hoskins comes up to bat, it's still an 'electric' moment.

That's what happens when you homer in five straight games, and hit 11 homers in your first 18 major league games. The guy is on fire.

When Hoskins comes up to bat, it's now an event.

I discovered this the hard way while soaking up some sunshine on the deck on a glorious Sunday afternoon.

As most people know, I am a radio guy. But this summer I have updated my technology. Yep, I'm going all geek on you. While my old reliable battery-powered radio still stands at the ready, I now often pick up the Phillies broadcast on the Sirius app on my phone.

I was listening yesterday as Hoskins came up in the eighth inning and deposited a rocket into the left-field seats. I raced inside to catch the replay, only to discover a 'Sirius' problem. The broadcast on the app runs about a half-inning behind the real time of the game. I was too late for the replay.

Not only did Hoskins homer again, he was at the center of a rare triple play in the fifth inning.

Philly has a new sports hero.

Forget Babe Ruth, we have Rhys Hoskins.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Yes, we still have a race problem

Imagine that.

America has a race problem.

Still.

Don't believe it? Forget Charlottesville. Look what happened in Coatesville out in Chester County this week.

Racial slurs and white supremacy figures were spray-painted on cars, garage doors, streets signs and pavements.

Police made a quick arrest, and the suspect has known affiliations with white supremacy groups.

Yes, we still have a problem.

You can read the editorial here.

Brady: Shut down SEPTA's Norristown line until we get safety answers

Bob Brady wasn't kidding.

The powerful Philly Democratic congressman fired off an angry letter hours after the latest SEPTA crash at 69th street early Tuesday that left more than 30 people injured.

Thursday, in a tour of 69th Street Terminal with Upper Darby Mayor Tom Micozzie, the U.S. rep said the Norristown High Speed Line should be "shut down" unless the feds can provide some more information as to safety on the line. Brady and Micozzie said shuttle buses should be put in place as a precaution for the safety of riders until the investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board is complete.

The Norristown High Speed Line is used by 11,000 riders every day.

Brady, D-1, is his letter to the NTSB chairman urged a quick resolution in finding a cause, but he also pointed out that local officials are still waiting for the results of the investigation into an earlier crash on the Market-Frankford Line at 69th Street back in February.

Brady says that's not good enough and he wants the Norristown line shut down until he gets answers.

"What happens if tomorrow or God forbid tonight it happens again," the congressman asked during the tour of the facility. The NTSB has stressed that these kind of investigations take time. They already said they did not expect to know the cause of this week's crash while their team is on site doing their investigation this week.

An incoming Norristown High Speed Line train slammed into a car that was sitting on the tracks just after midnight Tuesday, injuring more than 30 riders and the conductor.

One rider already has filed a lawsuit against SEPTA in connection with the crash.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

A Power-ful bit of good news in Chester

Chester gets more than its share of negative coverage.

Hey, like I have said many times. We follow the news where it happens. That often takes us into the city of Chester.

But it's important that we not ignore positive stories emanating from the city - or anywhere else for that matter.

That's what took us back into the city yesterday - for the official opening of Power Home Remodeling's new corporate headquarters.

It is located right there on the waterfront in the Wharf at Rivertown.

Gov. Tom Wolf was in town for the occasion.

So were we.

It's all over today's front page.

Read the story here.

A salute to first responders & questions about the cause of train crashes

On our editorial page today, we talk about what we know and what we don't know about that latest SEPTA rail crash early Tuesday at 69th Street Terminal.

Start with what we don't know. That would be the cause. That gives it something in common with the crash back in February on the Market-Frankford line. That one is still under investigation by the NTSB. The feds had a team in Upper Darby Tuesday afternoon probing the latest crash. They also were in receipt of a letter from U.S. Rep. Bob Brady urging them to expedite the search for the cause of the crashes.

In the meantime, one thing we do know is that Upper Darby police and the small army of first responders who converged on 69th Street Terminal minutes after the crash are up to the task of handling this kind of mass casualty event.

We just hope they never have to put it into action again.

Here's our editorial.

Who will have a better career, Wentz or Hoskins?

Here's a poll for Philly sports fans.

Who do you think is going to have a bigger career in Philly, Carson Wentz or Rhys Hoskins.

The Phillies young slugger has put this team on his back since his call-up from Lehigh Valley. Hoskins hit another home run and drove in five runs last night as the Phils also got a great outing from Mark Leiter Jr. in an 8-0 blowout of the Marlins.

For Hoskins, that makes seven home runs in his 14 games since the call-up. He's also driven in 16 runs.

All eyes will be on Wentz and the Eagles offense tonight in the pivotal third pre-season game against the Dolphins, who have been in town for several joint practices this week.

The Eagles offense has not exactly been lights out this summer, and if they struggle again tonight - in particular the inability to run the ball - expect to hear it all day tomorrow.

Wentz is expected to see extended duty, likely a couple of series into the third quarter.

So, who will have a better career, Hoskins or Went?

Let the debate begin!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

This is President Trump's idea of unity?

With the nation still licking its wounds from Charlottesville, President Trump decided now was a good time for a campaign-style rally in Arizona.

It's a return to his roots, where he held one of the first rallies of his presidential campaign, and an appeal to his base.

It could have been an opportunity to unite the nation.

That's not exactly what the president had in mind.

He instead went on the attack, again condemning the "fake media," defending his comments that caused so much consternation in the wake of the Virginia protests, vowing again to build that southern wall, hinting he just might pardon Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and attacking Arizona's senators.

Does that sound like a unifying message?

For some reason, every time the president delivers one of these speeches, he insists on shouting.

Mr. President (yes, I insist on giving the office the respect it commands):

I am a member of this "fake news media" you insist is out to get you, and is twisting your message.

Again, as I did last week, I disagree.

Here's a news flash: I don't think you're a racist.

I did think you took too long to initially condemn the violence in Virginia, especially in light of how fast you react to some other events.

I understand your belief that there was blame on both sides.

And while I was heartened by your specific repudiation of the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists, I was equally disheartened when less than 24 hours later you doubled-down on your initial belief that both sides were to blame, and that there were some "fine people" on both sides.

My problem, as it has always been, is not in your decision to spread the blame. It is that your comments give credence and lend support to something most Americans loathe. In fact, we went to war to stop Nazi Germany.

There is no moral equivalency here.

There are no "fine people" involved in that movement.

Are there troublemakers among what you call the "alt-left," Antifa and others? Undoubtedly.

But they pale (if you'll pardon the expression) in comparison to these far right fringe groups.

I'm not sure why that is all that difficult to understand.

This is becoming an eerie routine in Upper Darby

In Upper Darby, they're getting used to the drill.

Actually, they never do, but they're getting lots of practice.

That is the irony of yesterday's train crash that left dozens injured, luckily none of them life-threatening.

Most of the time when we do these stories, it is with the caveat: THIS IS ONLY A DRILL.

But now, for the second time this year, it has been anything but.

But that is why they have these drills.

Under the direction of Upper Darby Police Capt. Tom Johnson, the emergency responders went into what they call a mass casualty response.

Now the question seems to be why is this happening.

The National Transportation Safety Board had a team on the scene poring over the wreckage Tuesday afternoon. U.S. Rep. Bob Brady is responding to a request from Upper Darby Mayor Tom Micozzie and will seek some quick answers.

"We need answers now," Brady said in a letter to NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt. "It's been six months since a train on SEPTA's Market Frankford Line derailed when it crashed into a stopped/stalled train. That investigation is still going on. Are we supposed to wait another six months to find out what led to this latest crash? We need answers now so the problems can be corrected and the riding public is safe."

We salute another great effort by all those first responders who took part in the efforts in the aftermath of another crash. And we fully support Micozzie and Brady in their efforts to get answers as to why these things keep happening at 69th Street.

A question for Eagles fans

Thursday night is the much-ballyhooed and all-important third preseason game for the Eagles.

But before the Birds take Lincoln Financial Field for real after a couple of spirited days of practice vs. the Dolphins, I will put forth this question:

Tell me one thing you remember from last preseason.

Thought so.

The most important thing tonight is again making sure no one gets hurt.

The only thing I really go on in preseason games is that once during these glorified practice sessions, you'd like to see the offense and defense look as if they're in mid-season form.

I think the defense is ready; the Birds' offense needs some work.

But it still doesn't mean a whole lot.

Not until the Redskins for real on Sept. 10.

I seem them at 9-7, on the bubble for a playoff spot.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Eclipse darkened skies, but brightened our mood

Don't go by me because I'm a noted grouch who did not put much stock in the Great Eclipse of 2017.

But is it just me or did yesterday's spectacular event - with the moon blotting out the sun - turning day into night, cause us to come together and lift our mood.

After a week spent ruminating the fallout from Charlottesville and race relations in America, it was a welcome respite.

I hope you take the time to read our coverage of the many events held across Delaware County.

And make sure you notice one thing in particular.

All the smiles on those faces.

Nice to see

The perfect legacy for Bianca Roberson

On our editorial page today, we again try to make sense, to explain, what is basically unexplainable.

What happened on Route 100 in West Goshen on June 28 defies any kind of common sense.

The life of Bianca Roberson, a recent Rustin High School graduate, was snuffed out in a moment of madness.

Perhaps it is fitting that her lasting legacy will be an initiative started in her memory at Jacksonville University, where she would have started classes as part of the Class of 2021 this week.

It is a simple idea, really.

Doing kind deeds. It's called Just Be Kind.

That sums up Bianca perfectly.

You can read our editorial here.

Monday, August 21, 2017

How far have we come on race?

You don't have to go to Charlottesville to realize this country still faces serious problems when it comes to race.

All you have to do is visit DelcoTimes.com

I explain it today in my weekly Letter From the Editor print column.

I also detail one of the best experiences of my life, one that taught me lessons I have tried to live up the past five decades.

It has to do with how you treat people and how you would like to be treated.

And I learned them on the campus of Lincoln University.

Why was that experience so important? I explain it here, and I wish that every person could have just a small sliver of this type of minority experience.

I think we'd be light years ahead of where we are today, instead of still confronting this same old demons.

It's time to talk about race

On our editorial page today, we continue the discussion we've had for much of last week about race relations in America.

We salute the many community rallies held across the region, in towns like Media, Swarthmore, Phoenixville and Pottstown.

Many elected officials chimed in, rejecting hate and bigotry.

That is where the change this country needs is going to happen.

Don't look to the White House.

Look to your own house.

Look across the kitchen table.

Yes, it's time to have that talk.

One of the things clearly noticeable in the troubling scenes emanating from Charlottesville was the age of those involved.

Racism and bigotry is no longer something your "crazy uncle" displays.

More likely it is your son.

You can read our editorial here.

It's Sun-Day

Just in case you were wondering, yes, it's Eclipse Day.

Or, as our front page gently reminds us - Sun-Day!

I have to admit I don't really get this. I don't have any special glasses. I am not planning to go outside to check this thing out. I realize I'm in the minority here.

So by all means, don't let me ruin your fun.

And if you can't get out - or if you're like me and you're not really that into it, you can check out live feed of the official NASA video of the eclipse here.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Fighting fire with fire in Delco

On our editorial page today, we take a look at the many ways that the echoes from Charlottesville are reverberating hundreds of miles away here in Delaware County.

It started with people carrying tiki torches and marching through the streets of that Virginia college town chanting racist slogans such as 'Blood and Soil.'

Some folks here in Delaware County decided to fight fire with fire.

They lit candles in a prayer service for unity to to stop the hate.

They were not the only ones taking action.

You can read our editorial here.

A new era at Penn State Brandywine - 1st dorm opens

If your son or daughter went off for their first day at Penn State Brandywine yesterday and didn't come home - don't panic. They made a little history at the Middletown campus yesterday.

The first group of students who will live on campus moved into a brand, spanking new dorm, the first on-campus residence in the school's history.

Nearly 250 students took part in that annual rite of heading off to college - move-in day - yesterday, hauling their prized earthly possessions into their new digs.

You can get all the details here.

Which brings back this memory. I am guessing not many massive stereos, complete with receiver, turntable and massive speakers, along with several crates full of albums, were being carried into that dorm.

Kids today have no idea what they're missing.

Is it just me, or does it just not seem the same when all that sound is coming from your phone and a tiny wireless speaker.

Try putting that up in the window of your dorm to entertain the party in the quad down below.

Yes, I'm old.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Echoes of Charlottesville heard in Delco

The echoes from Charlottesville are reverberating across Delaware County.

First, hundreds gathered Sunday at the Media Courthouse to take a stand against hate.

Then the Haverford Board of Commissioners became the first local municipal ruling body to take official action condemning the actions that unfolded in Virginia. The board voted unanimously to issue a proclamation "strongly condemning the violence, neo-Nazi, racist and anti-Semitic symbols and language used by some of the participants in a white supremacist rally.

Yesterday Delaware County Council joined the chorus, voting to send President Donald Trump a resolution condemning Nazism and racism as an assault, an evil that needs to be decried.

"The promotion of Nazism and racism in the United State of America is an assault on the truth and rights that we, as Ameircans, cherish and for which truths and the rights of millions of Americans fought for during World War II," the resolution states.

Last night nearly 200 hundred people gathered at a Swarthmore church in a show of unity and prayer. They responded to the tiki torch-carrying white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville with fire of their own, lighting candles here in Delco. The message also is being heard in Harrisburg.

State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, of Lower Merion and Haverford, is asking his 49 fellow state senators to sign on to a resolution condemning "bigotry, violence, and the warped philosophy of neo-Nazis and white supremacists."

Leach is running for the Democratic nomination to face Republican incumbent 7th District congressman U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan.

Both of Delaware County's Republican state senators, Sen. Tom McGarrigle, R-26, of Springfield, and Sen. Tom Killion, R-9, of Middletown, indicated they will back the resolution.

"The hatred and bigotry perpetrated by white supremacists in Charlottesville was atrocious and cannot be tolerated," Killion said. "I condemn such repulsive behavior. The diversity of the people of this country is what makes us great."

Finally, last night in Philadelphia, thousands hit the streets in what they vowed was a response to white supremacy.

The continuing discussion about Charlottesville

Almost nothing I've ever written has elicited the kind of response as my blogs and editorials the past few days in the aftermath of the tragic events that took place last weekend in Charlottesville.

I see that as a good thing.

No, not all the comments on Facebook have been especially complimentary.

That's OK, too.

People always seem to think that because I am a newspaper editor, I hold some type of special status when it comes to offering my opinion.

That's the thing about social media. It has become the great equalizer. Yes, I have a voice, but it is only one of many. While that voice appears on our editorial page, once we enter the online world it becomes just one of the chorus of voices that have been heard since Saturday.

Let's keep the conversation going.

That is the only way we're going to resolve the lingering, nagging problems with race that continue to plague this country. I have only one request - which I of course know will be roundly ignored.

Please be civil.

I can handle the name-calling. It goes with the job.

But some of the people who follow me and join in these conversations don't deserve to be attacked simply for stating their beliefs.

And that goes for both sides.

By the way, in case you were wondering, I penned another editorial today on the president's reaction to what happened in Charlottesville. I am guessing a lot of people are going to disagree with me.

You can read it here.

See you on Facebook.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Meet the real Donald Trump

Forget everything that came out of President Donald Trump's mouth Monday.

The real Donald Trump showed up 24 hours later, apparently spoiling for a fight.

Trump, who had been severely criticized for his weak comments Saturday in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Va., noting that there were problems "on many sides," had tried to make amends Monday when he called out several groups by name, including the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white nationalists.

But 24 hours later, the president apparently had a change of heart.

Trump descended from the gilded upper floors of Trump Towers in Manhattan, purportedly to brief the press on his infrastructure plans.

But the president quickly moved back to the events at Charlottesville, in the process stunning his staff by "going rogue," according to some insiders, veering off script and doubling down on his belief that "both sides" were at fault for the violence that culminated in a man driving his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring 19 others.

Who knows what his stance is going to be today.

Once again his remarks were met with immediate revulsion. House Speaker Paul Ryan led the Republican charge, stating unequivocally that 'white supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.'

That's what the president doesn't get.

Is it likely that there was some fault on both sides? Absolutely. Video and eyewitnesses appear to show two sides that were itching for a fight - and that's what they got.

What the president fails to understand is that his comments give validation to something most people in this country find abhorrent.

There simply is no place for acceptance of the beliefs espoused by those in the KKK, neo-Nazi or any other white supremacy group.

We demonstrate how great this country is by guaranteeing them the right to peaceably assemble and spout their ugly rhetoric. And we back it up by repudiating them, by noting we are repulse by their presence and find everything they stand for repugnant.

It is why our brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers fought Hitler and obliterated his dream of an so-called superior Aryan society.

They were not called the Greatest Generation for nothing. All they did was save the world.

Now this country is being called to do it again.

To save ourselves from those, including the president, who would again empower such hateful, dangerous rhetoric.

The Mariner East 2 discussion goes on

We'll take a quick break from President Trump and Charlottesville to talk about the biggest economic story in the region.

Yes, on our editorial page today we are revisiting the great Mariner East 2 debate.

Last week's agreement between Sunoco Pipeline LP and environmental groups had a little something for everyone.

Residents got assurances of more safeguards and transparency connected to the drilling process. The company got the green light to resume work on the 350-mile span that cuts through wide swaths of western Delaware County and Chester County as it delivers as much as 350,000 barrels a day of ethane, propane and butane to Marcus Hook.

One thing the agreement did not resolve.

That would be the sense of unease and fear many residents have concerning this project.

More than 50 of them showed up at a meeting in Middletown to talk about it.

Don't expect the conversation to end anytime soon.

You can read our editorial here.

President Obama chimes in & manages to sound presidential

Anyone remember Barack Obama?

He used to be president.

Yes, he was an American citizen, though we might want to check with the current inhabitant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue just to be sure. You never know. That guy seems to change his mind on things every 24 hours.

Obama passed legislation setting up a national health care program. It now bears his name, and has driven Republicans crazy for seven years in their efforts to repeal and replace it. They failed to do so.

Obama has not gone away, it just seems like years - not months - since he was president.

It seems even longer that anything emanating out of Washington, D.C., seemed presidential.

On Saturday, after the violence in Charlottesville, Va., the former president did something that his successor has become somewhat adept at - he took to Twitter to post his thoughts.

This is what he posted:

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion ... People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love ... For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite," he said, quoting former South African President Nelson Mandela.

That message was retweeted 1.2 million times and liked 3 million times as of this morning, in the process becoming the most liked Tweet of all time. Wonder how that will sit with President Trump.

I'm guessing probably about as well as the evidence that the crowd in Washington for the Trump inaugural was smaller than those who arrived to see Obama sworn in as the nation's first African-American president.

More than anything else, the Tweet from President Obama seemed eminently presidential.

How refreshing.

Delco to gather for service in Swarthmore in response to Charlottesville

While we wait to see what President Trump's stance on what took place in Charlottesville is today, residents in Delaware County will gather tonight to stand against hate.

The Interfaith Council of Southern Delaware County is organizing a prayer service at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Trinity Episcopal Church, College Avenue and Chester Road, in Swarthmore.

The group is seeking the participation of the Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Quaker and Muslim faith communities in this service, which aims to unite us in prayer and in building peace in our community in the wake of Saturday's violence in Charlottesville. Swarthmore College’s Interfaith Center is also expected to participate.

The Interfaith Council of Southern Delaware County is a recent name change of the group long known as the Swarthmore-Wallingford Interfaith Ministerium (SWIM). The group decided to recast the name to reflect alarger geographical reach and the fact that the organization now includes lay religious leaders.

The Rev. Joyce Shin, pastor of Swarthmore Presbyterian, and Dr. Joyce Tompkins of Swarthmore College are taking the lead on planning Wednesday’s service.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Trump changes his tune

Monday morning it took just a couple of hours for President Trump to jump on Twitter and fire back at a business executive who resigned his post on the White House American Manufacturing Council, citing his concern over the actions in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend and the president's tepid response to it.

It took the president nearly 48 hours to finally condemn by name the white nationalists and other groups involved in the Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally.

That tells you pretty much everything you need to know about Trump, and about the problems this country continues to have when it comes to race.

Kenneth Frazier is CEO at Merck, one of the biggest drug manufacturers in the world.

While Trump remained conspicuously absent from this favorite social media after violence broke out at the rally in Charlottesville, including an incident in which a 20-year-old man rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman, it didn't take him long to take aim at Frazier.

Trump jumped on Twitter and unloaded on Frazier, saying on Twitter that he will now "have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!" In the meantime, it was not until later Monday afternoon that Trump read a statement and condemned the hate groups - the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other white national groups by name.

I'm glad the president finally saw the light.

But I wish he had done it Saturday.

That would have been presidential.

The act yesterday afternoon in which he read his carefully crafted statement from a teleprompter had the lok and feel of a man caving to immense pressure - some of it coming from his own staff and fellow Republicans.

Monday afternoon two more executives resigned from the business council.

On our editorial page today, we talk about the president's actions - or rather his 48 hours of inaction - and the problems this country continues to grapple with when it comes to race.

You can read it here.

Lingering concerns about pipeline

The recent deal announced between several environmental groups and Sunoco Pipeline LP - which was approved by the state Environmental Hearing Board and a judge - cleared the path for horizontal directional drilling to resume along the controversial Mariner East 2 project.

It did not totally ease residents' concerns.

Last night the Middletown Coalition for Community Safety held an information session for residents. It stood in lieu of the regular council meeting, since there wasn't a quorum available.

More than 50 people showed up to get information and details on what could happen in the event of a leak or worse along the line.

Make no mistake, Sunoco Pipeline believes they are building the pipeline to the highest safety specs and believe fears in the community are greatly exaggerated.

That is not making them go away.

You can read our story here.

Monday, August 14, 2017

A sad, shameful weekend

It was with an overwhelming sense of sadness that I sat glumly at the kitchen table Saturday and watched what was unfolding Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia.

It reminded me of something I often state - sometimes much to the chagrin of those around me.

I wonder exactly how far we've come in this country when it comes to race relations.

Yes, I know we have made great strides. But no one who watched the tension slowly ratchet up - and then explode in violence when a man rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters at a rally of white nationalists, killing one person, can now say race problems do not continue to perplex this country.

What was on display in Virginia is just hate, pure and simple.

They have been emboldened by a man who has consistently mouthed similar sentiments - and who now just happens to reside in the White House.

They see people they identify with in the inner circle of President Donald Trump.

They see the man who championed the groundless "birther" movement that demeaned and belittle the nation's first African-American president.

They see the misogyny.

They see the war on immigrants.

They see the cheers for building the border wall.

They see the president seemingly telling police officers not to be so nice in locking up criminal suspects.

It would have been nice to see police take a little more active role in getting between these two factions Saturday, perhaps trying to defuse the situation before it exploded.

And I was struck by this thought. Reverse the situation. Make those marching in the streets black, or perhaps wearing Muslim garb. What do you think the police presence would have been then?

If a Muslim had driven his car into a group of people, what do you think the reaction would have been?

And how long would it have taken the president to chime in?

Instead, we got hours of silence from the president.

The man who loves Twitter could not bring himself to expend 140 characters on an American tragedy.

Eventually, President Trump emerged to read a statement, but he could not have looked more disinterested. And he could not resist using a phrase that left many enraged, saying the violence was shared "by many sides."

Do you think the president would have been so reserved if this had involved a Muslim?

Trump's aides are now scrambling to define the message. The White House put out a statement condemning the violence, but it did not carry Trump's name.

Many of the white nationalists, KKK members and others on the alt-right seemed merely emboldened by the lack of condemnation from Trump. They boasted on social media that the president was not specifically blaming them.

This is America in 2017.

What happened Saturday in Virginia was shameful.

What happened afterward was even more troubling.

This is where we are.

Race continues to be at the center of unrest in this nation.

Have we come a long way on race relations? Absolutely? Do we have a long way to go? What happened this weekend in Charlottesville, and what happened afterward, suggests we do.

Some thoughts on the 'Summer of the Pipeline'

I am referring to this summer as the "Summer of the Pipeline."

Yes, we have covered the story involving the construction of Mariner East 2 extensively.

In fact, today we're back on the story, detailing concerns of local parents whose kids will be going back to school in a few weeks at schools that are in the path of the pipeline.

That includes Glenwood Elementary in Middletown.

But even with the amount of coverage we have devoted to this story, I was somewhat taken aback by some of the comments made at a recent meeting in Middletown.

Residents there seemed genuinely surprised that the pipeline plan had advanced to this point - literally taking them by surprise.

I wondered about that during a recent trip to one of my favorite places on earth, Rehoboth Beach.

It was there, with my behind planted firmly in the sand, that I had a chance to think about what I do for a living, and what it would mean for many local communities if the traditional watchdog purpose of local newspapers disappeared.

You can read my weekly Letter From the Editor here.

Friday, August 11, 2017

A nagging question for DEP about Mariner East 2

On our editorial page today, we're asking a question a lot of people seem to be asking.

It's about the Mariner East 2 pipeline that has caused so much controversy in both Delaware and Chester counties.

The agreement that will put much more scrutiny on Sunoco Pipeline while offering a much strong measure of security for residents is a good step.

The agreement, approved by the state Environmental Hearing Board, will allow Sunoco to continue their controversial horizontal directional drilling that caused some problems, but with more precautions and much more in the way of notice when drilling is to commence in residents' neighborhoods.

But here is the question: Why did it fall on residents and environmental groups to push these questions and demand answers. Isn't the job of the state Department of Environmental Protection?

State Sen. Andy Dinniman believes the DEP has mismanaged this project and wants them to take another look at the permitting process. It's hard to disagree with him.

You can read our editorial here.

Wentz looks sharp, doesn't get hurt

Here is everything you need to know about the Eagles pre-season opener, a 24-9 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Carson Wentz looked sharp.

And he didn't get hurt.

That's it. Not much else really matters.

Don't believe it? Take this test. Tell me one thing you remember from last year's pre-season. Or any pre-season, for that matter, aside from a major injury. And no, that spectacular burst by Sam Bradford against the Packers doesn't count. We all know how that worked out.

Wentz did what he needed to do, completing all four of his passes and connecting with rookie Mack Hollins for a TD toss.

That's enough.

You can get the rest of the details here.

And Birds beat writer Bob Grotz checks in here.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

More competition coming for Harrah's

At a time when Harrah's in Chester already is struggling with declining revenue - and the possibility of a wave of video gaming terminals being placed in local taverns and restaurants - this is probably not the news they wanted to hear.

There is more competition looming - and it's just a stone's throw up I-95.

The proposal for a new casino at the South Philly sports complex is back in the news. Yesterday the state Gaming Control Board approved the plan for Stadium Casino LLC's 'Live' casino and hotel in South Philadelphia. Yep, just about 15 minutes up I-95 from Harrah's.

Both city and county officials argued against granting the license to the South Philly spot.

They didn't win that war.

Now the state board has removed another obstacle, an appeal based on the fact that part owner Bob Manoukian will not own more than a third of the project. Manoukian plans to put the money into a trust fund for his sons, who will actually own the portion of the casino. Manoukian already owns 85 percent of Parx Casino in Bensalem. State law says that the primary owner of a casino cannot own more than 33.3 percent of another facility.

The gaming board originally picked the South Philly site back in November 2014, much to the chagrin of Delaware County and Chester officials who lined up against the plan, arguing it posed a serious threat to Harrah's in Chester. The casino bankrolls nearly a quarter of Chester's budget.

The folks at Sugar House Casino, on the water just a little farther up I-95 in the city, don't like the idea of a new gambling parlor at the sports complex either. They've been pushing the legal appeals.

The gaming board now will write what is referred to as an "adjudication" to explain their decision. At that point the matter could be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

A warning on straw gun purchases

On our editorial page today, we're talking about guns and the violence that is reaching epidemic levels on the streets of too many of our towns.

Everyone agrees there are too many guns in the hands of people who should not possess them.

Likewise, a key part of that problems is just how these people, who by law are not able to buy or possess a gun, still get their hands on firearms.

One way is through what is called a "straw purchase." That's when a person who is able to buy a gun legally does so with the intent of turning it over to someone who is not legally able to do so.

A new state law, named after Montgomery County officer Brad Fox, who was cut down in the line of duty by a man who got his hands on a gun in a "straw" purchase, is attacking the problem head-on.

This week a mother from Chester found herself looking at serious jail time after being sentenced under the mandatory minimums put in place by the Brad Fox Law.

We hope others considering taking part in these illegal transactions that are fueling the violence in our streets took notice.

You can read the editorial here.

A look at Daulton from one who knew him well

No one know the Phillies better than former Daily Times sportswriter and longtime Philly sports scribe Rich Westcott.

The Delco writer today offers his own special insight into why the Philly sports world was so shaken by the loss of All-Star catcher Darren Daulton.

Don't miss this special insider's perspective at a very special Phillie on today's op-ed page.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A salute to Darren Daulton

Too often we focus intently on big stories and then quickly move on.

Darren Daulton should be remembered a bit more.

Yes, he was that big a figure in Philly sports.

But not just sports, really.

Daulton is one of those rare figures who transcended sports, who reached out into all facets of society.

On our editorial page today, we talk about why his passing hurts so much.

A great voice falls silent: RIP, Glen Campbell

First it was Motown. God, I love my Temps and Tops.

Then it was the Sound of Philly. If anyone ever asks you to explain just what TSOP is, don't bother. Just play them Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes doing "If You Don't Know Me By Now," and let Teddy Pendergrass explain it for you.

Then I decided I needed to be cool, and drifted toward rock. Is it just me or did Foghat open every show we saw at the Spectrum?

Of course, I was way too busy trying to be cool to get into much country, in particular Glen Campbell.

If only I knew what I was missing.

What a voice.

The truth is, it doesn't get much better than this.

And so the sad dirge that reminds us that we are getting older continues.

I guess we're going to have get used to this. Every so often a little bit of our youth is going to die. Maybe we should take the time to remember just how great so much of this music was.

And for, maybe admit that we wasted a lot of time trying to impress people instead of just enjoying the ride.

RIP, Glen Campbell.

From a fan who took way too long to get on board.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Searching for answers to the violence

As I sifted through the information from an especially violent weekend in Delaware County, I started to put together the idea for today's front page.

Chester police were investigating five separate shooting incidents from the weekend. Thankfully, none of them were fatal. But the thought I had pretty much is splashed across today's front page.

Chester is a city looking for answers.

Reporter Rick Kauffman talked to police, Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland, and county District Attorney Jack Whelan.

Remember Operation Safe Streets? Rolled out with much fanfare back in May, state police were added to city patrols to beef up the police presence in the city.

Reward funds have been beefed up.

One person actually did come forward with information in one case.

But the shooting has not stopped.

Neither has the search for a solution.

You can read our story here.

And on our editorial page, we join the voices of those seeking answers.

Why the loss of Darren Daulton hurts so much

It's hard to get Philly sports fans to agree on anything.

Just tune in to the city's sports talk radio stations for any amount of time if you want proof.

Except yesterday.

The Philadelphia sports community joined hands with fans yesterday to profess this:

We loved Darren Daulton.

The All-Star catcher and leader of the Phillies 1993 World Series team passed away Sunday night after battling brain cancer for several years.

Daulton beat nine surgeries on his gimpy knees. But he couldn't win this fight against cancer.

Fans, friends and teammates showered Daulton with praise yesterday, remembering a player who seemed to define the word 'leader' more than perhaps any athlete who ever donned a uniform in Philly.

Former teammate and Phils' pitcher Tommy Greene maybe said it best:

"He was a man's man ... and a woman's dream."

Yes, Daulton had more than his share of female fans. He was that ruggedly handsome.

But guys were drawn to him as well.

A lot of pro athletes let it go to their head, "big-timing" fans along the way.

Not Daulton. He never met a person he didn't like, or would not chat with, or sign an autograph for, or perhaps pose for a picture with. In our lead sports column today, Rob Parent puts it perfectly.

We lost a friend.

Monday, August 7, 2017

A violent weekend

It was not a good weekend in Delaware County.

And nowhere was that more in evidence than in the city of Chester.

In a city that deals with more than its share of random street violence and gun problems, this weekend seemed over the edge.

Police are investigating no fewer than five shootings that sent a half a dozen people to the hospital.

Thankfully, none of the shootings was fatal.

How bad was it? At one point a bullet was fired into a SEPTA bus. No one on the bus was injured.

The overwhelmed staff at Crozer Chester Medical Center instituted a Code Orange to deal with the wave of gun victims.

So much for Operation Safe Streets? Anyone remember the program rolled out amid much fanfare back in the first week of June, supposedly to stem the violence in Chester at the start of the summer. Does not seem to have had much effect. The violence was not limited to Chester.

In Colwyn, police continue to hunt for the gunman who shot three people Friday night, killing two of them.

Then a few hours later, a person was fatally stabbed about a block away in Darby Borough.

Why we loved Darren Daulton

On Macho Row, he was the king.

But to the fans, he was simply 'Dutch.'

Darren Daulton was the unquestioned leader of a tough, grimy bunch of misfits who captured our hearts back in 1993, when they owned the city in going from worst to first, capturing the National League Pennant and in the process dethroning the mighty Atlanta Braves.

Daulton was the face of the that '93 squad. He ruled herd over Macho Row, trying to corral a bunch of free spirits like Lenny Dykstra, John Kruk, Dave Hollins, Mitch Williams, Pete Incaviglia and Curt Schilling.

We liked that team because they were so much like us. They played hard - on and off the field. In other words, they would have fit right in on your beer league softball team.

Except these guys wore pinstripes and inhabited Veterans Stadium.

Daulton, a two-time National League RBI leader and All-Star catcher, lost his battle against brain cancer Sunday night. He was 55.

Daulton exuded the 'macho' persona that ruled the Phillies clubhouse.

But there was nothing fake about him. That's one of the things that made us love him.

Yes, Daulton was a tough guy. Not because of a lot of talk. But because, despite gimpy knees that could go at any minute, he never budged an inch in blocking the plate.

Daulton, like so many of those '93 Phillies, liked getting his uniform dirty.

They surprised everyone by resurrecting a team that appeared dead in the water the year before and taking the city on an expected thrill ride in the summer of '93.

They made us winners, something that had been lacking in Veterans Stadium for a long time.

Daulton spent 15 seasons in the major leagues, 14 and a half of them with the Phillies. He finished his career with a World Series championship with the Florida Marlins, hitting .389 in the seven-game series against the Cleveland Indians.

But he will always be a Phillie.

That's another reason we loved him.

Daulton never forgot Philly. He was one of us.

A little bit of us died along with him.