Wednesday, November 22, 2017

RIP David Cassidy: Hair's looking at you

I was never much of a Partridge Family fan.

A bit too 'sugary' for me.

I was a Motown guy, before I became a rock fan.

The Partridge Family was what we used to call 'bubble gum.'

All except for one thing.

I would have killed for David Cassidy's hair.

It was perfect.

And as a kid trying to let his own hair grew, which resulted for the most part in a frizzy mess, a mop sitting on top of a face that usually resembled a pepperoni pizza, I can tell you I would some times watch 'The Partridge Family' TV show. It wasn't for mom Shirley Jones. Or to check out daughter Susan Dey. Or to laugh at Danny Bonaduce. It was simply to get a glimpse of that perfect mane.

All of this is a way of saying that David Cassidy died Tuesday night.

He was 67 and suffering organ failure.

Wait a minute, David Cassidy was 67? That can't be, can it?

That means I'm ... uh, never mind.

Yes, time marches on.

RIP, David.

More grim news from Barclay Friends fire: Human remains found

The grim news announced by Chester County D.A. Tom Hogan Monday afternoon concerning the inferno at the Barclay Friends Senior Living Center just got worse.

Everyone knew it was coming. That doesn't make it any easier to comprehend.

ATF agents who have been scouring the site of Thursday night's massive fire have indicated that human remains have been found in the rubble. The identities of the remains have not yet been released.

At his Monday briefing, Hogan said four people were unaccounted for, an elderly man and his wife, and two other elderly women. All were residents at Barclay Friends.

ATF issued the following statement late Tuesday night:

Special Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Response Team, Pennsylvania State Police, and Chester County Fire Marshal’s office have located the remains of two individuals inside the Barclay Friends Senior Center at 700 North Franklin Street in West Chester. Investigators initially located the remains of the first victim in the late morning hours and then the second victim later in the afternoon on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. The remains were transported from the scene by the Chester County Coroner and the families of the four missing residents were notified.

Investigators are still in the process of conducting an origin and cause investigation of the fire and it is expected to continue throughout the Thanksgiving holiday. A large crane and other excavating equipment has been brought to the scene and begun removing large sections of fire debris early this morning. Efforts to locate the two remaining missing residents will continue tomorrow morning.

“The thoughts and prayers of the men and women of ATF are with the families of the victims during this difficult time. Their losses only strengthen our resolve to provide answers to them as a result of our investigation of this tragedy” said Special Agent in Charge Donald Robinson.

ATF’s NRT, along with Special Agents from the ATF Philadelphia Field Division, were activated to respond to the five-alarm fire at the Barclay Friends Senior Assisted Living Center located at 700 N. Franklin Street in West Chester, Pennsylvania. The fire occurred at approximately 10:45 p.m., Nov. 16, 2017. First responders from West Chester and surrounding fire departments in the area arrived on scene shortly after the first call was made to 911 assisting with the evacuation of approximately 160 residents and staff members. The NRT arrived on scene Saturday morning to start processing the fire scene and determine the origin and cause once the building was secured and hot spots extinguished. The fire investigation is being worked in coordination with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office, Chester County Fire Marshal’s Office, Pennsylvania State Police, West Chester Police Department, Chester County Sheriff’s Office and Chester County Department of Emergency Services.

It's back! Time for Homes for the Holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

And once again we’d like to share some of that holiday spirit with our readers.

To that end, we once again will be rolling out one of our holiday favorites - Homes for the Holidays - in our feature Page Two photo spot. And we’d like you, our readers, to once again get involved.

If you spend hours on your holiday decorations and would like to see them featured in the paper, send us some photos and we’ll share the spirit.

Email your photos to editor@delcotimes.com.

There are a few ground rules.

One - and the most important - there are no guarantees.

We will run a photo each day from this Sunday, Nov. 26 through Monday, Jan. 1. A quick use of our questionable math skills tells us that we likely will not be able to get every house in the county into the paper.

What we will try to do is at least cover every section of the county.

Join us in sharing the holiday spirit.

‘Tis the season.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A community shows its best when things appear worst

Yes, there was grim news from West Chester yesterday on the investigation into the inferno that consumed the Barclay Friends Senior Living Center Thursday night.

Four residents are still unaccounted for and feared lost in the fire.

But amid this dire news, amid the heartache that started with the first glance of those towering flames licking the sky over the senior center, we were reminded of what is good.

The community came together in the face of heartache to help those displaced by the fire.

Neighbors descended on the Barclay to help rescue residents. They brought blankets and hot drinks to comfort those routed from their homes, now sitting outside in 40-degree chill.

Then on Sunday an overwhelming show of support formed in the long line of cars cued up at the Good Will Fire Co. to drop off donations to help those displaced. These were critical items such as toiletries, clothes, even wheelchairs, walkers and canes.

It showed the essence of what we are: a community.

We talk about it on today's editorial page.

The grim news from West Chester

It was the news everyone had been fearing since late Thursday night, when an inferno roared through the Barclay Friends Senior Living Center in West Chester.

The first thing officials had to do was try to account for all the residents.

More than 130 residents and 15 staff were heroically evacuated as the blaze raged through the structure.

But not all the residents.

Yesterday Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan gave the news we feared: Four residents remain unaccounted for. Officials are not expecting a miracle.

ATF teams will now be brought in to sift through the rubble.

Hogan said that with high winds whipping the flames quickly through the structure, it's conceivable in a fire of this sort that the toll could have been much worse, that maybe as many as 40 to 50 people could have been lost.

You can get all the latest details on this tragedy here.

Monday, November 20, 2017

This Eagles team is ready for prime time - even if I'm not

That will teach me to drift off to sleep at halftime.

Have I mentioned recently how much I hate these night, prime time games?

When you work my schedule, they are a killer.

Which kind of describes what the Eagles did to the Cowboys in the second half last night, literally imposing their will on Jerry Jones' 'Boys and pulling away to a 37-9 victory.

Remember, this one was 9-7 at halftime, when I slipped off to La-La land.

That means the Eagles ran off 30 points in the second half while holding Dallas scoreless. The Cowboys did not score a touchdown. The first half was nothing to write home about.

The Eagles looked like they were still on their bye week. Doug Pederson's play calling seemed off. After a dazzling first drive that saw Carson Wentz march the Birds down the field to erase a Dallas 3-0 lead, the Birds spun their wheels the rest of the half. Passes were dropped. Wentz missed receivers. The ground game was stalled.

And adding to the mix was an injury to kicker Jake Elliott, suffered on a big Cowboys return on the opening kickoff. Elliott suffered a head injury and missed the entire second half.

That jolting news must have woke up the Eagles.

At halftime, Pederson informed his troops that the Eagles would not be doing a lot of kicking in the second half. They would go for it on every fourth down when they were not punting and would got for two after every score.

Then they went out and rammed the ball down the Cowboys' throats in the second half.

The offense simply imposed their will on Dallas, while the defense harassed Dak Prescott into a slew of turnovers.

Three field goals is all the Cowboys mustered - and nothing in the second half.

Too bad I didn't see any of it.

9-1. Best team in the NFL.

Unreal.

All the game details are here.

Check out beat writer Bob Grotz's observations on the game here.

From the worst, proof of the best of our community

There is still much about the horrific fire that destroyed the Barclay Friends Senior Living Center in West Chester Thursday night.

We don't know the cause.

We don't yet know if there were any fatalities.

But what we do know is that when faced with the absolute worst, it somehow managed to bring out the absolute best.

As flames consumed the structure, neighbors already were converging on the site to see what they could do to help.

They brought blankets. They brought hot coffee. They brought soothing words to their elderly neighbors, many of them still in their beds and wheelchairs, who had been evacated from their homes and now were huddling outside in chilly 40-degree temperatures.

The neighbors joined the more than 400 first responders who battled the blaze.

The help continued Friday. West Chester University opened its gym as a temporary shelter for those displaced by the fire. A row of wheelchairs was neatly lined up outside the facility.

Then Sunday, the outpouring of support in the community continued. Hundreds of residents descended on Good Will Fire Co. to donate needed items such as toiletries, clothes, blankets, even canes and walkers.

Today we may learn more about preliminary findings, as well as whether any residents remain unaccounted for.

What we know now is that, once again, when the very worst strikes, this region is capable of uniting and showing its very best.

I wrote about it in my weekly Letter From the Editor.

Taming the 'gerrymandering' beast

We have become known for something other than the Eagles.

We have been saddled as the poster boy for the evils of what is called 'gerrymandering.'

Every time the issue comes up, the 7th District, home of U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, goes front and center.

It was not that long ago that the 7th pretty much covered Delaware County.

It still does. But it has been twisted and turned to cover a few more areas.

Meehan now represents constituents in four other suburban Philadelphia counties.

That was the handiwork of the the last time the boundaries were redrawn via the magic of 'redistricting.'

The danger in all this is that in the process of this blatant political calculation - one which by the way is practiced by both parties - is that your vote can be made meaningless. The party in power stacks the deck even before a vote is cast, recarving political boundaries to include those who back them, and cut out those who might vote another way.

Now the matter is headed into the courts.

That might be the best bet in correcting this problem.

You can read our Sunday editorial on the issue here.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

They are the two most important words in Eagles land.

Dallas Week.

The question this week is whether Andy Reid protege Doug Pederson will be able to mimic his old boss' excellence in coming off the bye week, or if the Birds' will be rusty from the week off as they invade Dallas for a prime time Sunday night matchup with the hated Cowboys. So far this season Pederson has displayed the kind of magic touch that Jon Dorenbos could appreciate.

The Eagles roll into Dallas with the best record in the NFL at 8-1. The Cowboys are fighting for their lives at 5-4 and coming off a spanking by the Falcons.

They will be without their offensive stud, running back Ezekiel Elliott. Offensive left tackle Tyron Smith, whose absence last week almost got QB Dak Prescott killed, is questionable. On defense, Eagles killer Sean Lee is out.

For the Eagles, only receiver Alshon Jeffery is banged up, with a sore ankle, but he's expected to play. Cornerback Ronald Darby is expected to get back on the field.

Everything points to an Eagles' win.

So why am I a bit antsy? A loss here could just about doom the Cowboys' post-season hopes. Desperate teams are often dangerous teams. It will be up to Carson Wentz and the Eagles' offense to set the tone early, hog the ball, step on the Cowboys' necks and not let up. The biggest challenge the Eagles face this week is regaining the precision they displayed in sprinting out to a 8-1 start.

This one could come down to a duel between two young stud QBs, Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott. Last year Prescott was everyone's darling. But without Elliott, and with his offensive line ailing, this year has been a struggle. Wentz has better weapons this year, and the Eagles should be able to move the ball on the ground and exploit the Cowboys with tight end Zach Ertz without Sean Lee to defend him.

I think they get the win, but I don't think it will be easy.

THE PICK: Make it Eagles 29, Cowboys 17. A late Eagles TD will make this one look easier than it actually will be. It won't be pretty. But right now the Eagles are just a better team than the Cowboys. A loss would have all kinds of negative repercussions for the Birds. While they will remain comfortably ahead in the NFC East, they are in a duel with several teams with best record in the NFC and possible home field advantage in the playoffs. That should be their motivation.

LAST WEEK: Actually you have to go back two weeks. I expected the Eagles to beat Denver in large part because it was the Broncos third straight road game and came on a short week after they had to go to Kansas City on a Monday night, back to Denver, and then across the country to face the Eagles. But I never saw the offensive explosion the Birds dropped on the Broncos highly rated defense, and the total domination of the Birds on defense. The win has the rest of the NFL looking up at Doug Pederson's Birds, sitting pretty at 8-1 mark. I was on board with another win and raised my personal mark on the year to 7-2.

GAME BY GAME: Chiefs 27, Eagles 20. (My Pick: Chiefs 33, Eagles 17)

Eagles 30, Redskins 17. (My Pick: Eagles 26, Redskins 13)

Eagles 27, Giants 24. (My Pick: Eagles 23, Giants 17)

Eagles 26, Chargers 24. (My Pick: Chargers 27, Eagles 17)

Eagles 34, Cardinals 7. (My Pick: Eagles 29, Cardinals 24)

Eagles 28, Panthers 23. (My Pick: Panthers 26, Eagles 17)

Eagles 34, Redskins 24. (My Pick: Eagles 31, Redskins 19)

Eagles 33, 49ers 10. (My Pick: Eagles 24, 49ers 10)

Eagles 51, Broncos 23 (My Pick: Eagles 23- Broncos 19)

Friday, November 17, 2017

A late-night phone call is never good

A late-night phone call never brings good news.

Every time the phone goes off at that hour, that softball-size knot that seems to have taken up permanent residence in my stomach gets a little bigger.

That was no different last night, when the phone ran about 20 after 11. It was my ace photographer Pete Bannan, who gave me the news of the devastating fire at the Barclay Friends assisted living center in West Chester.

That started a combination of events that resulted in tearing up a perfectly good front page of the Daily Local News in West Chester to get in news of the fire.

I usually spend a lot of time cursing technology, but I have to admit that when it comes to breaking news, I am glad we're still not operating in this dinosaur days of the newspaper racket.

Of course, that does not mean we ignored print. We had just enough time to get a short story and photos in the print edition. Then we went to work updating the story online in the overnight hours.

The fire was devastating, sending elderly residents out into the cold, many of them still being wheeled out in their beds and wheelchairs.

You can get the update here.

At this point, officials are saying about 20 people were injured. Another 100-plus were evacuated.

One of the great things that happened is how the community rallied.

Neighbors who live in the area where the Barclay is located showed up with blanket, water, and coffee.

These are people they consider neighbors.

We'll be updating the story today and through the weekend.

But as awful as it looked, it also showed a community that rallies together in the worst of circumstances.

What is a hellbender?

Do you have any idea what a hellbender is?

No it's not some teen tough guy out rampaging around the neighborhood.

It's an amphibian. It's about to become the official state amphibian, if the state Senate gets its way.

Yep, that's what our elected leaders are up to these days.

Compare that to what just went down with the state budget and you get the idea why they call Pennsylvania, Land of Giants.

You can read our editorial here.

It's time for All Christmas music, all the time

And so it begins.

Forget Thanksgiving.

We're ushering in the Christmas season today.

At least they are over at Today’s 101.1 MORE-FM/WBEB.

That's right. At 9 a.m. they will flip the switch and go to all Christmas music, all the time.

They will be all-Christmas all the time through Christmas Day highlighting favorite holiday songs from Andy Williams, Nat King Cole, Mariah Carey and the rest.

They also once again will be doing their popular Christmas Choir Competition.

Ho, ho, ho!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Missing money mystery in Upper Darby

There is a mystery this morning in Upper Darby.

There is apparently money missing from the tax collector's office.

A lot of money.

No one is saying how much, but it's apparently a couple hundred thousand dollars.

The Delaware County District Attorney's office is investigating. No charges have been filed.

The township called in the D.A.'s office after the situation was first discovered.

“We are aware of the allegations. When these allegations were first brought to our attention, we notified the District Attorney’s Office and asked them to investigate the matter. The township has been fully cooperating with the district attorney’s investigation.”

We'll keep you updated on how the investigation is going.

And a tip of the hat to Joe Holden of CBS3 who was the first to report on the investigation.

Tax vote showdown today in D.C.

Looks like you can count the region's two moderate Republicans as yes votes on the GOP tax plan that is headed for a vote this afternoon in Washington.

Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6, of West Goshen, tells us he's voting yes.

Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, while not definitive, says the move will help his constituents.

Note there is a very important difference between the House measure and that being developed in the Senate.

Yesterday a last-second addition to the Senate plan would kill off the mandatory participation under Obamacare. The House version does not touch the Affordable Care Act.

Democratic Pa. U.S. Sen. Robert Casey blasted the new language, calling it a double-barrel blow to the middle class, hurting them tax-wise and also endangering their health care. Republican Sen. Pat Toomey supports the language eliminating the Obamacare mandate.

You can get all the details on where Costello and Meehan stand here.

Welcome to the Joel Embiid Era

Forget Dallas Week.

Joel Embiid just stole the show from Eagles-Cowboys - even if not many people actually saw it.

Do yourself a favor. Make sure you check out the highlights of last night's Sixers' win over the Lakers. The game did not start until 10:30 so it's a pretty good bet most people did not see it.

Take a gander at Embiid's line from the game:

46 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, seven blocked shots.

The 46 points is the most by a Sixer in 11 years.

You can get all the details here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Politics never sleeps; it's on to the next campaigns

Politics does not take time off.

Yes, we just put one election to bed.

But the next is right around the corner.

Lots of interesting scenarios already are popping up.

There is the state lieutenant governor's race, where John Fetterman, the hulking progressive mayor of Braddock, Pa., out near Pittsburgh, is taking aim at Mike Stack. He's not the only one. Chester County Commissioner Kathi Cozzone and activist Aryanna Berringer, also are in the race.

House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, made official what most people already know. He wants to be governor. But before he faces off against Tom Wolf, he will need to tangle with York County Republican state Sen. Scott Wagner.

Then there is the 7th District Congressional. It might take less time at this point to list the people who are not seeking the Democratic nod to face U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan.

Here in Delaware County, there also is an interesting situation forming when it comes to the next county district attorney. Remember, current D.A. Jack Whelan was one of the very few GOP winners on Election Day, capturing a seat on the county Court of Common Pleas. That means the county is in the market for a new D.A.

A lot of people seem to think that job will end up going to County Councilman John McBlain.

But there is another Republican who is making it clear he would like the job.

If the name W. Craig Williams is familiar, it should be. He carried the GOP banner in challenging Joe Sestak in the first race after the Democrat stunned Curt Weldon and ending his 20-year stint in D.C.

Williams was not successful.

Right now he's a corporate attorney with Peco.

But he has a dazzling background as a Marine, former federal prosecutor.

Williams is on the record, having sent a letter to county Republican Party leader Andy Reilly indicating he would like to be considered for the job.

The appointment to fill the remainder of Whelan's term will be made by the county's Board of Judges. The post will then be on the 2019 November ballot.

What is tantalizing is what might happen should the nod go to McBlain to fill the interim spot. Presumably, the current County Council member would run for election in 2019. Williams has indicated he also would seek election.

Is it possible that Williams would challenge McBlain in the GOP Primary?

First things first. We'll have to see who gets the appointment from the judges.

A chilling indictment of Amtrak safety standards

The words are haunting.

"The accident may have been prevented."

Those are the words of Joe Gordon. He's an investigator with the National Transportation Board. He was talking about the lax safety standards that infected the culture at Amtrak and played a role in the fatal April 2016 crash that claimed the lives of two workers and injured dozens of others in Chester.

A southbound Amtrak train slammed into a backhoe that was doing maintenance work on the tracks.

Two Amtrak employees who were on the backhoe were killed.

The NTSB Tuesday released their findings on the cause of the crash - and they did not mince words.

They concluded that years of cutting corners, bending the rules and otherwise putting safety concerns in the back seat created the atmosphere in which the deadly collision occurred.

The feds made clear where Amtrak's priorities stood. The federal agency that runs the nation's passenger rail lines was overly concerned with punctuality, and less so with safety.

The feds pointed to no less than 20 separate safety lapses.v Two veteran Amtrak workers, Joe Carter, who was operating the backhoe, and Peter Adamovich, a supervisor, were killed.

There were seven crew members and 337 passengers on board the Amtrak train 89, which was zipping along on its trip from New York City to Savannah, Ga.

It's a bit of a miracle that more weren't killed or injured.

You can get all the details here.

In the season of thanks, a special act of kindness

As we enter into the season of thanks, we have a story for which we can all be grateful.

It was tucked into Monday's paper so I hope you didn't miss it.

And just in case you did, I reprised it today on our editorial page.

It's that good.

It started as a routine response to an accident for members of the Springfield Fire Co.

But because of the circumstances of the family involved, it quickly became anything but routine.

Luckily, there were no serious injuries. The Blackburn family, from North Carolina, were not sightseeing when they were involved in a car accident after a stop at the Target in Springfield Mall. They were here so their young daughter could continue her treatment for eye cancer at Children's Hospital.

What happened next forms a great story. Clearly their interaction with the Blackburns touched the Springfield firemen who responded to the scene.

They wanted to do something to help the family.

What happened next reminds us, once again, why first responders are such special people.

Well done, folks.

You can read our editorial here.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Murky waters for Chester Water Authority

There is a lot of intrigue swirling around the Chester Water Authority.

It's one of those old line Delaware County Business icons.

It's been around for more than 150 years, pumping all that sparkling, pristine water from the Octoraro Reservoir on the Chester County-Lancaster County border back to Delaware County, where it services 19 municipalities.

But the water is becoming decidedly murky for the private entity.

First there was an unsolicited offer from water company giant Aqua America to buy the company for $250 million. That was rejected by the board.

But worries about a sale have not gone away, and now seem to be intertwined with the longtime fiscal woes of the city of Chester.

We delve into what is going on in today's editorial.

Hope the judge doesn't throw the book at me

Time for me to fall on my sword again. I seem to be doing that a lot lately.

You might remember that on Election Day, there was a bit of controversy in Philadelphia when it was discovered that voting machines were incorrectly displaying the name of one of the candidates for state Commonwealth Court.

That was of interest to us because the candidate was none other than Delaware County Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon. Somehow, between the time the ballot in Philly was proofed and the time it was loaded onto the machines, her name was shortened to just Christine Fizzano.

Republicans were not amused. They noted the importance of the judge's full name, which is how she campaigned, and went to court to get the City Commissioners to issue a public statement.

Fizzano Cannon's spokesperson, Pete Peterson, called it a "colossal screwup."

Well, I guess he can add me to the list.

Fast-forward a few days.

I wrote Sunday's editorial reviewing what happened on Election Day, and the tide of Democratic wins that rolled across the country. I noted that the only two bright spots for local Republicans were the Delco Court of Common Pleas race, which was won by Republican D.A. Jack Whelan, and the Commonwealth Court win for Fizzano Cannon.

All except for one thing.

I made the same mistake that had been made in Philly.

Yes, I referred to her only as Judge Christine Fizzano.

Luckily, this was after the vote and didn't have any effect on the election. Despite the voting machine snafu, Judge Fizzano Cannon still won one of two seats on the state appeals court. The other went to Democrat Judge Ellen Ceisler.

In fact, Fizzano Cannon was the top vote-getter.

Still doesn't make me feel any better for making that silly mistake.

My thanks to local activist Nancy Day, who posted a note on my Facebook page to let me know about the mistake.

"Imagine my dismay to see her name appear in Sunday’s Editorial as “Delco Judge Christine Fizzano,” Day wrote. "What’s a woman got to do to get accurate billing?"

Good question, Nancy.

More careful editing would help, I suppose.

My apologies to Judge Fizzano Cannon. And congratulations on your win.

Why Lane Johnson is my new favorite Eagle

Lane Johnson is quickly becoming my favorite Philadelphia Eagle.

Yes, I know all about that hiccup last year with the drug test that cost him a big chunk of the season - and likely helped the Eagles' season go down the drain.

But Johnson is back and has reasserted himself as one of the NFL's best offensive linemen.

None of that has anything to do with why I suddenly find myself offering a huge thumb's up to Johnson.

This is Dallas week.

Yes, I still enjoy watching the Cowboys lose almost as much as watching the Birds win.

Almost.

It's a Philly thing.

Johnson is from Texas, grew up rooting for those helmets with the stars on them.

But he's in Philly now - and he knows the importance this week takes on.

That was probably best explained by Johnson in talking about a family holiday get-together in which he noticed some family members still pulling for Jerry Jones' guys, not the Birds.

He said family members pull for him, but not necessarily the Eagles.

This didn't sit all that well with the Birds' outstanding right tackle.

To kick off Dallas week, Johnson told reporters of a family encounter when he had to lay down the law - to his grandma, a diehard Cowboys fan.

"Just pretty much all my family is from Texas and a lot of them say they’re Eagles fans, but I think deep down they root — like even last year, the Cowboys going to the playoffs," Johnson said. "I heard my grandma in there rooting for Dallas. I said, 'If you want to live to see 75 you better shut your a-- up.'"

Johnson assured everyone he was joking.

I think.

Gotta love Eagles-Cowboys week.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Cracker Barrel: Today's the day

Brace yourself!

It's time.

The Cracker Barrel Era arrives for real in Delco this morning.

Friday we were there for the special preview at the county's first Cracker Barrel, located in the suddenly booming Stewart Avenue area across from the Boeing plant in Ridley Township.

Today the restaurant opens to the public.

There probably won't be many people sitting on those classic white rockers on the front porch of the eatery as a cold drizzle continues to fall on the region.

But the coffee and the other classic American fare will be going strong inside.

We'll be there to detail opening day, and delve a little deeper into why Delaware County is so revved up about the newest entry on the casual dining scene.

Get 'Crackin', Delco !

A few more thoughts on those election results

A little more fallout from the election today with two more political posts:

First, on our editorial page Sunday, we took a look at the resounding message that was sent to the White House from every corner of the country. This was not just a Democratic message in Delco.

This was heard in Virginia, and New Jersey, and elsewhere.

Now all eyes turn to next year's mid-term elections.

It will be a huge one in Pennsylvania, with Gov. Tom Wolf and U.S. Sen. Robert Case both seeking re-election. It also will see Republican moderate Congressmen Pat Meehan, R-7, and Ryan Costello, R-6, on the ballot.

The message that was delivered by voters Tuesday should scare them to death.

You can read the editorial here.

Today, in my weekly print column, I fall on my sword - at least politically. I'll be honest. I did not expect Democrats to win any of the countywide races here in Delaware County, let along sweep two County Council seats and all three row offices. Last week I said I'll believe it when I see it.

I saw it - and I'm still not sure I believe.

I talk a little bit about what those huge Democratic wins might mean down the line.

You can read my Letter From the Editor here.

Even when they don't play, the Eagles win

How great are things breaking for the Eagles this year?

Even when they don't play they win.

Yesterday all three other NFC East teams lost.

Start with the Cowboys. They got hammered by the Falcons.

Without Ezekiel Elliott, they had to lean on Dak Prescott. But there was a problem with that. Jerry Jones' 'Boys also were without starting left tackle Tyron Smith. It does not appear that the Cowboys embrace the 'next man up' philosophy that the Birds have used to their advantage. Chaz Green was overwhelmed. Falcons' defensive end Adrian Clayborn turned him into a human turnstile, recording six sacks. The Cowboys running game went nowhere without Elliott.

They fell 27-7 to fall three games behind the Eagles, who now will head to Dallas with a week's rest for next Sunday night's nationally televised prime time matchup.

In the meantime, the Redskins also were having their problems. After a big win last week out in Seattle, they came up short vs. the Vikings. And the hapless Giants lost to the even lowlier 49ers, who recorded their first win of the year vs. New York. Ben McAdoo's head might be on the chopping block today in the Big Apple

Friday, November 10, 2017

Brace yourself, Delco: Cracker Barrel is here

You asked for it, Delco.

You got it.

It's time to get 'Crackin.'

Yep, Cracker Barrel arrives today.

Sort of.

Actually they are holding a soft opening of the iconic eatery this morning. The first Cracker Barrel in Delaware County will host dignitaries and celebrities for a special ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning at the new restaurant and country store on Stewart Avenue in Ridley across from the Boeing plant.

Then they will throw open the doors to the public Monday morning.

We'll be there for all the festivities.

And explore what it is about this chain restaurant that sparks such loyalty and passion in its customers.

A salute to the 'perfect' Phillie

We used our editorial page today to offer a salute to the 'perfect' Phillie.

By that we mean Roy Halladay - who we lost in a plane crash this week at the age of 40 - was perfect on the field, and just as good off it.

Halladay was the 'perfect' guy for Philly.

You can read our editorial here.

This morning there are a couple of Halladay updates.

His family has scheduled a public memorial service Tuesday in Clearwater, spring home of the Phillies.

And finally there is this one, which is kind of hard to believe.

Philly police say they nabbed a guy who ripped off a Roy Halladay jersey that was left at the memorial shrine that is forming outside Citizens Bank Park.

You can't make this stuff up.

Unreal.

Things just keep going right for Eagles

Things just continue to break right for the Eagles.

They're not even playing this week - and they still got two huge things go in their favor.

Yesterday Ezekiel Elliott lost his appeal against that six-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.

That means he will not be in the lineup for the Cowboys Sunday tilt vs. the Atlanta Falcons.

More important, he also will miss the prime time Sunday matchup a week from now when the Eagles invade Dallas.

Then, last night, while the Seahawks were holding off the Arizona Cardinals, they lost All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman for the rest of the season to a ruptured Achilles.

The Eagles are in Seattle Dec. 3 for another Sunday night game vs. the Seahawks.

Get ready for the deep freeze

Don't be fooled when you walk out the door this morning.

It doesn't feel all that bad, certainly not the deep freeze we've been hearing about.

Don't worry, it's on the way.

The high later today will actually be lower than the mid-40s we're seeing right now.

The high today will be 40 degrees - and then the temps will go off a cliff overnight into tomorrow morning.

There is a freeze warning for the entire region in place and we'll be dealing with temperatures in the 20s Saturday morning.

Bundle up if you are going out tonight and especially tomorrow morning.

Get the full forecast here.

Best wishes to all the Special Olympians who will be taking part in the annual Fall Festival at Villanova University tomorrow morning. We're the official print sponsor of the games.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

A historic Election Day in Delco

After another marathon Election Day in Delco, I went to bed Tuesday night (actually early Wednesday morning) still trying to come to grips with what just happened.

When I opened my eyes Wednesday morning, I was wondering if what unfolded Tuesday night actually happened.

It didn't take long to receive confirmation.

I flipped on the TV. There were Joe and Mika on 'Morning Joe' talking about Delaware County.v When I walked back into the house Wednesday night, the first thing I heard was Chris Matthews talking - about Delaware County. Yes, it was a historic election.

Delaware County Democrats won two seats on County Council, the first time that's ever happened.

They also swept all three county row offices. That's never happened either.

Democrats had never won a single county office - before Tuesday.

Then they won five of them in one day.

Stunning.

You can read our editorial on the importance of what happened Tuesday.

'The Five People You Meet in Wawa'

Everybody has a Wawa story.

For me, it's two seemingly opposing behaviors.

The parking lots at Wawas - especially the new super Wawas with gas pumps - just might be the most dangerous places in the region.

Navigating in and out of the parking lot takes a certain finesse, skill - and a lot of patience.

Finger salutes are not encouraged.

And yet, while voices - and horns - often are raised, we then promptly take part in another Wawa tradition. We routinely hold the door for those coming and going as we walk into our favorite convenience store.

We're pretty parochial when it comes to Wawa. After all, they were born right here in Delaware County, based on a farm in Chester Heights and with their very first store on MacDade Boulevard in Ridley.

Now local comedian Nick Kupsey has gathered some of the characters we all know so well into an e-book.

It's called "The Five People You Meet In Wawa."

No names here, but I think you will recognize every one of these people.

At just 40 pages, it is just like your favorite Wawa sandwich - a Shorti!

You can get all the details here.

Delco American Legion Post responds to NFL protest with one of their own

No doubt you've heard about the controversy surrounding NFL players offering various forms of protest while the National Anthem is played before games.

This started last year with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick taking a knee.

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins has taken to raising a fist.

The protests popped up in response to a series of violent confrontations between police and minority citizens. Kaepernick and others used the protests to shine a light on the issue and perhaps spark some changes.

One thing it sparked is Kaepernick being out of work.

He parted ways with the Niners and has yet to be signed by another team, despite any number of quarterbacks going down with an injury. He recently filed a grievance against league owners, claiming they are "collusion" against him.

It's just one of the many issues NFL owners are dealing with.

Television ratings, the golden goose that feeds their mammoth revenue stream, are down. Some are pointing to the protests. Advertisers have noticed.

The league continues to be buffeted by reports linking the violent collisions that are at the core of the sport to brain disease.

They've also been feeling a backlash from fans who disagree with the players' actions during the Anthem.

This weekend that kind of protest will arrive in Delco.

The American Legion Post 951 in Boothwyn this weekend is planning a "blackout" of NFL games. They will not air any NFL games, instead opting to show a replay of the Phillies 1980 World Series Championship.

Of course, the cynic in me will point this just happens to coincide with the Eagles Bye Week. The Birds don't play this weekend. But there won't be any other NFL games aired at the post either.

You can get all the details here.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A stunning, historic night for Delco Democrats

Nov. 7, 2017.

Write down the date.

It's the day Delaware County Democrats made history by bringing two-party rule back to a county that has been lorded over by Republicans for four decades.

For the GOP, it is their very own day of infamy, the day when Democrats finally put some teeth into those registration figures. Republicans found themselves in a position they have not been in since the Home Rule Charter was adopted in the mid-'70's: The loser's bracket.

Democrats stunned their Republican counterparts and reversed history by taking both seats for County Council that were up for grabs. They also ran the board on the three county row offices, posting wins in the sheriff, register of wills and controller races.

The only Republican to come up a winner was Jack Whelan, the district attorney who managed to hold off Democrat Kelly Eckel for a seat on the county Court of Common Pleas.

Stunning does not seem to quite capture what happened on Tuesday.

History comes a little closer.

Simply put, this has never happened before.

Democrats Kevin Madden and Brian Zidek become the first Democrats ever elected to Delaware County Council, besting incumbent Republican Dave White and his running mate, former longtime magisterial district judge John Perfetti. In the process, Zidek and Madden will be the first Dems to sit on the county's ruling body since the Home Rule Charter was adopted, eliminating the mandated minority representation.

Republicans will retain a 3-2 majority on the board, but it seems clear that the days of the perfunctory 5-0 votes are over. And the Dems were not done. They also swept all three county row offices. Jerry Sanders beat incumbent Mary McFall Hopper for the sheriff's post. Joanne Phillips knocked off Republican Robert Kane in the controller's race. And Democrat Mary Walker defeated Republican Beth Naughton-Beck to be the next register of wills.

Turnout was stronger than expected at 32 percent, despite a cold rain that started at mid-day and continued through the evening until after the polls closed.

Democrats also made gains in several municipalities, taking control of ruling bodies in Brookhaven, Nether Providence and Rutledge.

The Dem wave extended into Upper Darby, where a very familiar race wound up on the short end of the vote count. Current County Council Chairman Mario Civera, who could not seek another term on council, lost in his run for Upper Darby Council. Before running for the county post, Civera served the 164th District in the state Legislature for three decades. When he gave up his seat, it also went to a Democrat, state Rep. Margo Davidson.

Count me among those who find themselves flabbergasted at the results.

The question now becomes why.

I think I know part of it.

It wasn't just here in Delaware County. Chester County also saw historic wins by Democrats - something simply unheard of in one of the state's most reliable GOP power sources

It was in New Jersey and Virginia, where Democrats captured governor's seats.

His name was not on the ballot, but make not mistake, a lot of this was about Donald Trump.

But that is for another day.

Right now it's time to give the Delco Democrats their due.

"It's been a long time coming, let me tell you," said county Democratic Party leader David Landau.

Tell me about it, Dave.

There is nothing normal about it

Before all the political madness hit yesterday, I was trying to come to grips with another kind of madness.

I was thinking about what happened in that church in Texas.

And it struck me that there is a danger we may not even realize inherent in the evil that happened there. It's tied into the fact that this seems to be happening with increasing frequency.

Almost as if it's becoming part of our routine.

And that is the danger.

We can never allow this kind of heinous act to be considered the new "normal."

There is nothing normal about it.

It's on our editorial page.

Remembering Roy Halladay

Perfect.

It was a word that described Roy Halladay on and off the field.

It was also one of the first words that came to mind when our worst fears were confirmed yesterday afternoon.

It started with eerie word that a plane that he owned had gone down in the Gulf Of Mexico off Tampa, Fla. Then, about 4:30 came confirmation from police. And just like that Roy Halladay was gone.

The two-time Cy Young winner only spent four seasons with the Phillies, but it seemed longer.

"Doc" seemed like one of us.

He made history by hurling the second perfect game in team history. He followed that up with another bit of history on Oct. 6, 2010.

He tossed a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds in the first game of the National League Division Series.

That is the other word that came to mind when I thought about Halladay.

Of course, I have a bias. I write headlines for a living.

I immediately thought about the special commemorative page we designed to note Halladay's no-hit playoff gem.

It's a play off his name.

Histo-Roy!

I thought it was a fitting salute.

It still is.

RIP, Roy.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Citizenship demands participation

Citizenship is not free.

It comes with a price.

It is called participation.

That is why it is essential that voters not sit out today's election.

No, there is no race between Donald and Hillary today.

Instead the focus will be on local races.

There are two seats on Delaware County Council up for grabs, along with a seat on the county Court of Common Please bench, and three row offices.

There is a very important ballot question on property taxes.

A slew of statewide judicial positions are on the ballot.

As well as numerous local municipal and school board seats.

This is not the time to take the day off.

Citizenship demands participation.

And that starts today.

Read our editorial here.

Bye Week cools off the red-hot Eagles

Go ahead, Eagles fans.

Pinch yourselves.

Yes, the Birds are really 8-1.

Yes, they very well might be the best team in the NFL.

Yes, they dismantled a pretty good Denver Broncos team Sunday at the Linc.

Yes, they ran the ball down the throat of that vaunted No. 1 defense. Call it a reverse Orange Crush.

Sunday it was the Eagles defense that shined, imposing their will on Brock Osweiler and the scuffling Denver offense.

The Eagles put their foot on the Broncos' neck and never let up.

So what is their for dedicated Eagles fans to complain about?

How about this? Raise your hand if you hate the Bye Week.

Yes, that's right. The red-hot Birds will be cooled off this week by the NFL schedule makers.

After winning seven straight games, the green and white get a week off, courtesy of the Bye Week.

They now will not play again Nov. 19 when they tee it up in prime time in a nationally televised Sunday night prime time matchup vs. the Cowboys in Dallas.

Doug Pederson has been masterful in handling every issue confronting this team so far this year. So there is no reason to think the Birds will lose their edge on the bye week.

And remember, he served at the side of a coach who was expert in having his team ready to roll after the bue. That would be Andy Reid.

Bring on the Cowboys.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Yes, again. So how do we make it stop?

Again.

Just one word. That's really all I have to say this morning.

Again.

It happened again.

To be honest. I don't want to hear any explanations. I don't want to argue about gun rights. I don't care if it's terrorism or not. I don't care what the suspect looks like.

I just want it to stop.

This morning 26 people are dead, and another couple of dozen are injured after a man walked into a church in a small Texas town and started shooting.

That's what we know.

It is becoming what once would have been unthinkable. It's become routine. Expected. We now wait for the inevitable next one.

That's what we know.

What we don't know is how to make it stop.

Any ideas?

One more day

One more day.

That's the theme I used in my print column, my weekly Letter From the Editor.

As usual, these local elections can be bruising affairs.

That certainly was true this year.

And I have the lumps to prove it.

Nobody seemed especially happy with our coverage as Democrats attempt to end four decades of complete Republican control in the Media Courthouse.

The prize up for grabs tomorrow is two seats on County Council.

Republicans have not exactly been enamored of our coverage of the Democrats' claims against incumbent Councilman Dave White. They think we would like nothing more than to knock them off their perch.

On the flip side, those long-trodden county Democrats no doubt consider us little more than a tool of the Republican Party. Those ads that litter the front page of the paper as well as our website - which I don't control by the way - probably don't help.

For all this talk, my guess here is that maybe a quarter of those eligible to vote will actually make it to the polls tomorrow. The numbers tell us if both parties get their people to the voting booth, this long run of Republican supremacy should end. Democrats have a 16,000-vote edge in voter registration. They actually passed the GOP a few years back, ending decades of what was at one time a 3-1 Republican domination in voter registration.

But that's the thing. Registration is one thing. Voting is another.

Will this be the year the Dems finally break through?

I'll believe it when I see it.

Eagles have their fans feeling 'Super'

He is now 'The Show.'

Forget Brady vs. Manning.

It's now Carson Wentz vs. the rest of the NFL.

Yes, he is that good.

And the rest of the team was not bad yesterday either in dismantling a Broncos team at the Linc.

Much was made before the game of Denver arriving with the No. 1-ranked defense in the NFL. Things got even more interesting before the game when the Eagles announced tight end Zach Ertz, Wentz's favorite target and red zone security blanket, would miss the game with a sore hamstring.

Didn't much matter.

Again, the Eagles and Wentz simply imposed their will on the Broncos.

Wentz again was spectacular, looking more like a 10-year veteran than a kid in his second season in the NFL. He went Wentz 15 for 27 and threw four TD passes. That's becoming his calling card. It's the third time in recent weeks he has tossed four TDs in a game. On the other side of the ball, the defense simply dominated - again.

Brock Osweiler, getting the start as the Broncos tried to inject some life into their struggling offense, was simply overmatched. And don't forget Doug Pederson. The Eagles head coach again drew up a masterful, creating game plan. This is what we all thought Chip Kelly was going to be.

Pederson rotates his running backs - including newly acquired Jay Ajayi - in waves.

He's expertly mixing the run and pass to keep defenses off balance.

And Wentz is simply sparkling.

The Eagles are now 8-1, the class of the NFL.

It almost makes you wish they were not heading into their bye week. No one wants to see this streak stop.

Looming head is a matchup with the Cowboys in two weeks. Who knows what Ezekiel Elliott's status will be.

The road in the second half gets tougher. There are two trips to the West Coast, to play Jared Goff (yes, the guy who was picked ahead of Wentz who also is playing very well) and the Rams, as well as a trip to Seattle the next week. The Eagles likely will stay on the West Coast for that week.

You'll have to forgive us if most fans are thinking instead of Minneapolis. That's where they're playing the Super Bowl this year. No, that is not a joke.

Don't take it from me. Listen to columnist Jack McCaffery.

This Eagles team is that good.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick

7-1

Go ahead, Eagles fans. Pinch yourselves.

So far this team has blown away all expectations, lifting Carson Wentz into the MVP-talk atmosphere and shattering all those questions about Doug Pederson's abilities.

But the road gets decidedly tougher in the second half. And that will start Sunday at the Linc.

Yes, I know the Broncos come in 3-4 and are making a quarterback switch, going back to Brock Osweiler in attempts to get some kind of offense going.

That won't be the Eagles problem.

This just might be the biggest test of Carson Wentz's young career.

Led by Von Miller, the Denver defense might be the best he's faced. They are the No. 1 ranked defense in the league. Yeah, I know, you haven't heard that much about that this week. The Broncos are No. 2 against the rush, and No. 6 against the pass.

Don't look for a lot of offensive fireworks in this one. Wentz's No. 1 job will be to protect the ball, not turn it over, and not hold on to it forever and take sacks. This could be a big day for kicker Jake Elliott. Good thing, too. So far he's been more dependable on 50-yard field goals than extra points. He missed two more last week.

There's also the karma thing. Will the mid-season addition of Dolphins All-Pro back Jay Ajayi upset the Eagles apple car. That will be another test of Doug Pederson's coaching skills.

I see the Eagles getting a win, if only because of the schedule. The Broncos had to go on the road to play Monday night in Kansas City. Then they went back to Denver and now fly across the country for a date in Philly. That's a big advantage for the Birds.

THE PICK: Make it Eagles 23, Broncos 19. Look for a nasty, smash-mouth affair with once again the Eagles swarming defense providing the difference. We'll get a feel for just how good Carson Wentz is going against one of the NFL's best defenses. But with Brock Osweiler back in at QB for the Broncos, I see a couple of key turnovers turning the game the Eagles way.

LAST WEEK: This was exactly the kind of game so many Eagles have lost in the past. A winless team comes in on a miserable, rainy day. Yes, the Birds struggled at the start, but Doug Pederson managed to get his team back on track and the Eagles' defense completely shutdown C.J. Beathard and the Niners. Another impressive win puts Doug Pederson's Birds at a stunning, NFL-best 7-1 mark. I was on board with another win and raised my personal mark on the year to 6-2.

GAME BY GAME: Chiefs 27, Eagles 20. (My Pick: Chiefs 33, Eagles 17)

Eagles 30, Redskins 17. (My Pick: Eagles 26, Redskins 13)

Eagles 27, Giants 24. (My Pick: Eagles 23, Giants 17)

Eagles 26, Chargers 24. (My Pick: Chargers 27, Eagles 17)

Eagles 34, Cardinals 7. (My Pick: Eagles 29, Cardinals 24)

Eagles 28, Panthers 23. (My Pick: Panthers 26, Eagles 17)

Eagles 34, Redskins 24. (My Pick: Eagles 31, Redskins 19)

Eagles 33, 49ers 10. (My Pick: Eagles 24, 49ers 10)

Friday, November 3, 2017

More intrigue over Chester Water Authority

You kind of knew this wasn't going to go away.

The sharks are circling in the waters of the Chester Water Authority again.

The private entity that supplies all that glorious water from the Octoraro Reservoir outside my old home town of Oxford once again will have to fend off those looking to sell the entity.

There is a special meeting of the board of the utility this afternoon at Neumann University.

This time it sounds like the fate of another of the icons of Delco industry might be more tied to the fiscal status of the city of Chester than necessarily being swallowed up by a mega firm like Aqua America, which has already made a $250 million bid for the firm. You can get all the details here.

That bid was rejected back in May, as town after town here in Delco, as well as the Chester County Commissioners all weighed in, urging CWA to reject the bid.

But you just knew this was not going away.

Not it looks like the city of Chester and their financial overseers might be interested in revenue from a possible sale of the company to help them climb out of the Act 47 distressed city status they've been mired in for years.

Sounds like everyone might put their cards - or water bottles on the table - this afternoon as the future of Chester Water Authority hangs in the balance.

We'll be there to tell you what happens.

Helping cops, and hearing all voices

A lot has been made about Narcan and the effort to save those in the midst of an opioid overdose.

Not nearly as much has been made about the increasing danger police and first responders find themselves in trying to handle these cases. The drugs out there on the street are increasingly cut with dangerous materials such as the powerful painkiller fentanyl and even the elephant tranquilizer carfentanil.

Even getting a little bit on their skin or inhaling it puts cops and first responders in danger of an overdose.

This week the county took action to protect these public servants.

You can read about it on our editorial page.

You can read something else on our op-ed page.

I have come under pretty unrelenting criticism this campaign season of supposedly "favoring" Democrats. That will no doubt come as news to the person who sent me an email last night complaining that our letters to the editor have tilted toward the Republicans.

Today we present one of each.

One is written by former Congressman Joe Sestak.

The other was penned by one of my most vociferous critics.

Yes, we allow all voices to heard here.

Despite what some readers believe.

2 memorable events

Couple of notes this morning:

First, don't forget to "fall back" this weekend. Turn the clocks back an hour before you go to bed Saturday night. We return to Standard Time at 2 a.m.

For some I guess it means an extra hour of sleep, or perhaps carousing (by the way, is carousing not a great word?), but to me it means something else.

It's the dread of it getting dark at 5 p.m.

Yes, I hate it. I now get to drive to work in the dark, and return home after sundown as well.

The other note is a bit of nostalgia, at least if you're of an age to remember. I certainly am.

Something momentous happened on this date, Nov. 3, in 1956.

It marked the first broadcast of "The Wizard of Oz" on commercial TV.

I remember when it was televised once a year, and it was an event on par with the Super Bowl.

They even used to have a disclaimer on before the movie, warning people not to try to adjust their color TVs, that the first 20 minutes of the movie were in black and white, before Dorothy touched down in Oz and was so memorably greeted by the Munchkins grateful that she had landed on the Wicked Witch.

We would sit mesmerized in front of the TV.

It was a time before Netflix, before VCRs, before VHS tapes, before DVDs, before On Demand.

Hell, you had to actually get up and walk over to the TV if you wanted to change the channel.

I think I liked things better back then.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Groundhog Day, Harrisburg-style

Remember "Groundhog Day?"

No, not the day in February when he party with the state's famous prognosticating rodent.

I'm talking about the move starring Bill Murray as a hapless TV weather man who is sent to Punxsutawney to report on the hoopla.

Murray winds up in a nightmare in which he repeats the same day - Groundhog Day - over and over again.

Welcome to "Groundhog Day" - the Harrisburg edition.

Yes, our esteemed elected representatives have finally come up with a funding plan for the $32 billion budget they passed four months ago.

Gov. Wolf doesn't like it, but he signed it. Most people seem to think it will solve the state's current $2 billion deficit. Where's the money coming from?

That's easy. Where it always comes from.

The state will borrow big bucks and expand legal gaming in the state.

But it won't resolve the state's ongoing fiscal woes. There is not much in the way of recurring revenue. Expect another budget crunch next summer.

The same thing over and over again.

Like we said, Groundhog Day.

You can read our editorial here.

RIP, Jimmy Tayoun - pol, power broker - & journalist

I met Jimmy Tayoun exactly one time in my life.

And I still remember it.

The legendary Philly pol died this week at 87.

Most will remember the longtime dealmaker and Democratic powerbroker - he served in the state House of Representatives as well as Philadelphia City Council - for the fact that he went to prison on a corruption probe. He even wrote a book about it, chock full of advice to other pols who might find themselves staring at a stint behind bars. Given the city's penchant for elected officials running afoul of the law, it's a wonder his tome, aptly titled "Going to Prison?", wasn't a best-seller.

If there was a big political deal being made in the city, Jimmy Tayoun's fingerprints were all over it. He was one of those larger than life, Philly originals.

But that's not why I will remember him.

Besides being a raconteur, politico and consumate dealmaker, Tayoun was something else.

A journalist.

He had a journalism degree from Temple and actually worked at the Daily News.

After he got out of prison, he did something every journalist dreams of - but very few actually do.

He started his own newspaper, The Philadelphia Record.

That's what brought him to the event I was attending at Widener University.

It was a seminar for business people on how best to use the media.

Tayoun was there and actually sought me out. He told me he was familiar with my work and admired what I did.

I was flabbergasted.

He also was fascinated by my plunge into new aspects of the media, including social media, and in particular the new-fangled thing I had been dabbling.

That would be this blog, the Heron's Nest.

As a newly minted publisher, he wanted to pick my brain on the business and the struggles we all faced. I ate it up.

I told him to feel free to reach out if there was every anything I could do.

I'm doing that now, honoring a true Philly original.

RIP, Jimmy Tayoun.

Good for the Astros

Good for Houston.

After being deluged by Hurricane Harvey, the Texas city has spent the last two months trying to get back on its feet. As usual, sports helps, taking the mind away from some of life's other problems.

Last night they put a crown on the city's comeback - a World Series crown.

The Astros beat the Dodgers in Los Angeles to take the deciding Game Seven.

There is a lesson here for Phillies fans.

No, I don't think we're going to be hit by a hurricane.

But it was just a few years ago that the Astros lost 100 games three years in a row.

The Phils have never been that bad, but it was close.

And don't forget that there is a Phillies connection to this Astros team.

Anyone remember Ed Wade?

Yeah, the same guy who got run out of town here in Philly wound up in Houston, where first he broke down the Astros, then started the job of rebuilding them.

Make no mistake. A lot of those guys celebrating last night had Wade's fingerprints on them.

Too bad he did not get to stick around to see his early work come to fruition.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The worst assignment I can give a reporter

I'm always astounded by the way people react when they are in the midst of the worst circumstances life can deliver.

Yesterday we reached out to the widow of Brad Hayes, the man who was found beaten to death in his car on a Darby street last week.

I asked reporter Rose Quinn to look up Vanessa Hayes after I saw her speaking on TV. It's one of the worst assignments I can give a reporter. Literally you knock on a person's door, identify yourself, and ask if you can talk to them or if there is anything they would like to say.

In this instance, Vanessa Hayes was still trying to get her arms around what happened to her husband, Brad.

I think the reason I am so often surprised by what happens is because I think I know how I would react in the same situation.

At least I think it's the way I would react. I would mutter something about "how heartless can you be?" and then likely slam the door in the person's face.

Instead, again yesterday, Vanessa invited Rose into her home to talk about the man she lost.

She brought out the family photos.v One of them appears on our front page.

She has a simple request.

"Somebody had to see something," she said.

Now she wants those people to come forward.

Ironically, this is not the first time tragedy has visited Vanessa Hayes. Her first husband also was killed.

You begin to wonder how much one woman can take.

And you admire the way she holds up in the face of the worst life can dish out.

Here's hoping police quickly find those responsible for Brad Hayes' death.

You can read the story here.

A heartfelt thank you for a second chance

They are the lucky ones.

They are some of the 921 lives saved - brought back from the brink of an overdose death - by the miracle drug Narcan.

Last week they gathered for a very special luncheon. They were able to thank the officers and first responders who literally saved their lives with this overdose-reversing drug. But they also stood testament to just how bad the opioid crisis is - both here in Delaware County and across the nation.

More than anything else, they represented the value of a second chance.

You can read our editorial here.

Two magic words: Game Seven

They are the two most magical words in sports.

Game Seven.

Doesn't matter if it's hockey, basketball, or in this case baseball.

The Dodgers beat the Astros last night to force a Game 7 in L.A. tonight.

And of course Chase Utley, on the ninth anniversary of his "World Bleeping Champions' moment during the Phils' 2008 World Series championship celebration, was right in the middle of it.

Utley did what he always seems to do - took one for the team.

Utley stood still as Justin Verlander bounced a pitch that hit him in the foot. It was the 200th time in his career that Utley was HBP. He scored a run and made a great play in the field.

Now it comes down to one night. Why do I get the feeling Utley will be right in the middle of things again tonight?