Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A day to hail the upside of Mariner East 2

Residents have not exactly been shy about their opposition to Sunoco Logistics' plans to build a massive new pipeline through their neighborhood. Last week they were successful in getting Middletown Council to spent $45,000 on an outside study to gauge any risks associated with the Mariner East 2 project.

Today we'll hear about the other side.

Jobs.

Lots of good-paying jobs.

Sunoco Logistics and county officials will gather on the Marcus Hook waterfront to tout what they are calling a $16 million economic blockbuster, with the promise of more to come.

At an afternoon press conference, officials will update the push for job creation along the Delaware River waterfront, totaling over $16 million as well as the continued growth and rebirth of the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex and its impact on the county’s economic growth. Sunoco officials indicate they will soon be adding 20 new jobs to their operations at the former iconic Marcus Hook refinery. That will bring total workforce at the site to about 200 permanent jobs. And that does not count the more than 2,000 construction workers involved in various parts of the process.

Mariner East 2 will traverse the state, bringing hundreds of thousands of barrels of Marcellus Shale byproducts such as butane, ethane and propane to the Marcus Hook waterfront, where it will be shipped to both domestic and international destinations. It holds the potential of converting Marcus Hook - hard hit when Sunoco decided to get out of the refinery business and shutter their refinery, into an energy hub for the entire Northeast.

But it is not without concerns, as those opposing the project are all too willing to point out.

Today will be a day to look at the flip side, and the obvious economic possibilities.

We'll be there to bring you all the details of what could be the most important economic story in the county and region.

Honoring Dennis McNamara

It was most fitting that the first car to travel on the newly minted Officer Dennis McNamara Memorial Highway Monday was the very patrol car the Upper Darby patrolman was driving 15 years ago.

McNamara was responding to a report of a suspicious car on Cardington Road. As he investigated, he was approached by a career criminal and outlaw biker who opened fire on the officer. McNamara was left to die in the street, while the suspect fled.

Yesterday, township and county officials, as well as McNamara's widow again converged on a township street, but this time it was to honor the slain officer, as well as mourn his passing.

A portion of Lansdowne Avenue was officially renamed the Officer Dennis McNamara Memorial Highway. Signs will note the importance of the stretch of road, which runs next to McNamara's final resting spot in Arlington Cemetery.

You can read our complete coverage of the event here.

It's a reminder of something police officers stress all the time. There really is no such thing as a routine call. Danger lurks around every corner.

State Rep. Jamie Santora, R-163, of Upper Darby, and Sen. Tom McGarrigle, R-26, worked to get the measure approved. Fifteen years can slip by in the blink of an eye.

Unless, of course, you are mourning a husband, a father, a valued colleague.

Dennis McNamara had much to offer.

It was snatched away in a moment of terror by a craven, unthinking career criminal who was thinking only of not returning jail. Instead, he sentenced those who knew McNamara to a lifetime of wondering why.

We salute the effort to honor Dennis McNamara, and continue to mourn his absence.

'You're fired!' Unfortunately, this is not reality TV

The reality TV show host is back.

'You're fired!'

That's what Donald Trump informed his acting Attorney General Sally Yates last night, after she indicated she would tell her employees not to enforce Trump's controversial ban on immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries from entering the country.

Unfortunately, this is not a reality TV show.

At least I don't think it is.

Trump is president of the United States.

And that's part of the problem.

Trump's frenetic first week in office shows a man who too often acts first and thinks later.

Many have speculated that regardless of what you think of the merits of the travel ban, its announcement and implementation left a lot to be desired.

We talk about Trump's first week in office on our editorial page.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Monday, Jan. 30

The Daily Numbers: 4,000 to 6,000 people who gathered at Philadelphia International Airport yesterday to protest the travel ban put in place by President Trump.

17, how old Ja’Miyah Butler would have been today. The toddler was cut down by gunfire in Chester in 2004.

4.5 cent per gallon dip in prices at gas pumps over the last week in Philly region.

2.56 per gallon average price per gallon.

55.9 cents per gallon higher than this time last year.

5.8 cents per gallon higher than a month ago.

6 people killed in shooting rampage at a mosque in Quebec City.

121-108 loss for the Sixers last night in Chicago, as Joel Embiid once again sat the game out.

37 points for Paul Milsap, yep that same Atlanta Hawk who beat out Embiid for NBA All-Star team.

61-59 buzzer-beater win for Villanova over Virginia on tip-in of last-second shot.

2 points, all Donte DeVincenzo scored in the game, but his put-back was the game-winner.

20,907 packed into the Wells Fargo Center, a record to watch a college basketball game in Pa.

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

Kudos to Wayne Simmonds, the Flyers was named MVP of the NHL All-Star game

I Don’t Get It: Not sure why anyone is surprised at the start of the Trump Era. He’s doing exactly what he said he would do.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Patriots’ wide receiver Chris Hogan, who is backing the Ridley group HEADStrong, founded by star athlete Nick Colleluori before he lost his fight with cancer. Hogan is expected to wear a HEADStrong bracelet in Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Quote Box: “Nobody should be illegal. All the Muslims should not be banned.

- Upper Darby Councilman Sheik Siddiqui, at protest at Philly International Sunday.

Remembering Officer Dennis McNamara

In more than three decades of working here at the Daily Times, it's still one of those nights that stays with me.

It does a couple of other things as well.

It provides a stark reminder why police snicker whenever they hear a reference to a routine car stop. There is no such thing. And it again jogs the memory, wondering how can it possibly be 15 years.

On a cold January night in 2002, Upper Darby Officer Dennis McNamara was investigating a parked car. It cost him his life when he was ambushed and fatally shot by an outlaw biker and lifelong criminal.

Today they will gather in Upper Darby to honor McNamara by renaming a portion of Lansdowne Avenue in his honor.

State Rep. James Santora, R-163, of Upper Darby, and Sen.Tom McGarrigle, R-26, of Springfield will host the ceremony this morning across the street from Upper Darby High School, 601 N. Lansdowne Ave., Drexel Hill.

Santora drafted Act. No. 121 of 2016 to designate a portion of Lansdowne Avenue, from State Road to School Lane, as the Officer Dennis McNamara Memorial Highway in honor of the only police officer in Upper Darby Township to be murdered in the line of duty.

“The ceremony will be a celebration of Officer McNamara’s dedication to the important job of maintaining safety in our communities. We will reflect on his career of serving others without fear,” Santora said.

The portion of the road to honor McNamara runs in front of Upper Darby High School and Arlington Cemetery, where the officer’s body rests.

At the time of his death, McNamara was an eight-year veteran of the Upper Darby Police Department and one of its most decorated officers. While he spent his career as a patrolman, he was also an Air Force veteran who remained active in the Reserve. He is survived by his wife and two children.

We'll be there to cover the event this morning.

Farewell to a newspaperman

I used my print column today to remember my friend Tom Murray.

In this job we cover all sorts of sad stories every day. But it almost always involves covering other people's heartache. Last week it was our turn. We lost Tom, my counterpart at the Daily Local in West Chester.

There are a lot of reasons why I have been having trouble getting my hands around Tom's death.

But in pure stark terms, there is simply this: I'm still trying to come to grips with the fact that Tom was seven years younger than I am.

To be taken so young, and with so much still to offer, seems incredibly cruel.

Tom and I shared a lot of things. Our love of newspapers, the way we approach the job, our appreciation of the written word. They all seem even more important now, even if they do not fairly pay homage to the guy we lost.

I guess, like me, Tom was simply old-school.

And I will miss him terribly.

You can read my column here.

The early morning report from the roads

Here's an early morning report from the roads.

The truth is there is no report, because there is now snow.

I didn't see one flake.

So pay no attention to all that breathless talk from the TV and radio folks.

Is it snowing in south Delaware or New Jersey? It might be, but I can tell you it is now snowing anywhere around Delaware or Chester County.

Get the full forecast here.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Reinforcements arrive in Chester

On our editorial page today, we applaud the arrival of eight new police officers in the city of Chester.

And we stress that they can't get to work soon enough.

Or, as we referred to them on our front page, the city's police force is getting some 'Reinforcements.'

The officers arrived just a few hours after an city policeman was forced to fire on a suspect who pointed a gun at him. Yesterday morning city officers were involved in a standoff with a man who barricaded himself inside a house after allegedly shooting a woman. Then last night, officers responded to several more shooting incidents, including another gunshot victim on a city street, and a troubling incident where several gunshots were apparently fired at a home in the city.

Finally, we could not wonder about another tidbit coming out of the city this week.

Chester has received a $1 million grant from the state to attack its stormwater problem.

No doubt it is much-needed. Like many older cities, the city is plagued with old, failing infrastructure. But here's a thought: How many cops do you think they could hire and deploy on the streets with that $1 million?

Turnabout is fair play when it comes to marches in D.C.

Got an interesting email yesterday.

That's not all that unusual.

Neither was the fact that the woman had a question concerning our coverage.

She said it had not escaped her notice that we offered extensive coverage last weekend to the Women's March on D.C.

She inquired if we planned to do the same for the annual March for Life, which takes place today in the nation's capital, as abortion foes mark the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade high court decision that made abortion legal in this country.

I asked her if she had happened to see Thursday's newspaper - and the large story and photo we did advancing the groups from Delaware County who will be boarding buses early this morning to take part in the march.

We hope to be able to follow up and talk with some of them later today. Plus we will have coverage from Associated Press of the march.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Jan. 26

The Daily Numbers: 8 new police officers joining the Chester Police Force.

20, age of man charged after he allegedly pointed gun at Chester officer, sparking the officer to fire on him. No injuries were reported.

1 additional police officer hired by the borough of Media.

1,008 square feet, size of the new Nazz Mariani Veterans Center at Delaware County Community College.

3,000 Catholics from the Philadelphia area, including busloads leaving from Cardinal O’Hara, who will head to Washington, D.C., Friday for the annual March for Life.

20,000 mark, where the Dow Jones Industrials roared past yesterday.

20,068.52, where the Dow closed, an all-time record high.

80, age of TV icon Mary Tyler Moore, who died of complications from diabetes.

10 year stint in federal prison started yesterday by disgraced former U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah of Philadelphia.

400 people who packed a meeting in West Philadelphia in a show of support for Planned Parenthood.

96, age of woman mauled by 2 pit bulls in Philadelphia.

20, age of man charged in brutal home invasion and sex assault in Chestnut Hill.

9.5 million dollars stolen from a Pittsburgh firm by a former cashier over 16 years.

114-109 win for the Sixers over the Bucks on the road last night.

2 straight wins without Joel Embiid in the lineup.

5 wins in 6 games for the Sixers.

10 wins in their last 13 tries.

72 points in the first half for Sixers.

2-0 win for Flyers over the Rangers

34 saves for Steve Mason for his 1st shutout of season.

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

Go ahead and say it: The Sixers could make the playoffs. Jim Mora will just have to understand. #Raisethecat!

I Don’t Get It: Another tough day on the Celebrity Watch. We lost “the girl who turned the world on with her smile” - Mary Tyler Moore. While she was doing that, she was blazing a trail for women in the business world as well. And the music world again is in mourning, with Allman Brother band co-founder and drummer Butch Trucks passing away.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Pam Mariani. The former longtime GM of the Edgmont Country Club has been working toward creating a new veterans center at Delaware County Community College in honor of her father. They recently opened the Nazz Mariani Veterans Center. We salute the effort, Pam!

Quote Box: “I couldn’t think of a better way to honor my father.

- Pam Mariani, at the opening of the Nazz Mariani Veterans Center at DCCC.

Yo, Mr. President: Welcome to Philly

Batten down the hatches, folks.

Congressional Republicans are camping at the Loews Hotel at 12th and Market streets in downtown Philly for a two-day strategy session.

They will be greeting a special guest today at noon. President Donald Trump is coming for lunch.

And that means one thing. Actually, several thousand of them.

Protesters are vowing to converge on the GOP confab to be sure their voices are heard.

In the meantime, travel in center city is likely to be a bit of a nightmare most of the day.

Here's what you need to know to get around.

And stay with DelcoTimes.com for live coverage all day. Rick Kauffman, fresh off his jaunt to Washington, D.C., to cover the inaugural, once again will be in the middle of the action all day. You can follow our live coverage here.

Yo, Mr. President. We're ready for you.

A short-lived victory for Delco pipeline opponents?

Score one for Middletown residents.

They were successful in their push to have an outside agency perform a quantitative risk assessment to gauge the possible risks tied to Sunoco Logistics' plan for the Mariner East 2 pipeline.

Residents have consistently been raising their voices against the plan, airing concerns about safety, maintenance and property values. In particular they are less than enamored about the path of the pipeline, which would take it just several hundred feet from Glenwood Elementary School on Pennell Road.

The company stands by its record, and believes residents' concerns are already covered by federal regulations.

Nonetheless, residents pushed their township council for an outside, independent look, and they got their wish, this despite a last-second pitch from the new director of Delaware County Emergency Services, who urged them to join in the county efforts to study the risk. Middletown will do that, but will also go ahead with the outside study, which will cost them $44,000. It probably galls Sunoco just a bit that the township plans to pay for the study from the revenue they received from giving them rights-of-way through several township properties for the pipeline.

On our editorial page today, we back the residents in their push for this outside study, while we continue to note the obvious economic upside of this project.

But residents probably should not celebrate too much.

Just in case they missed it, the guy who just moved into the White House is making it pretty clear that he a pipeline proponent. President Donald Trump this week signed executive orders breathing new life into both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, both of which had been sidetracked by the Obama Administration.

Trump said he will now renegotiate deals for both pipelines.

The guess here is that while Sunoco will continue to be forced to jump through various hoops, they eventually will get what they want, and Mariner East 2 will become a reality.

Go ahead and say it: The Sixers could make the playoffs

With all due respect to Jim Mora, Sixers fans are thinking playoffs.

If you don't
get the Mora reference, Google it.

PLAYOFFS? Are you kidding me?

Actually, no I'm not.

Yes, this might have been ludicrous a month ago.

But that was before Joel Embiid took the town by storm. Now they're even winning when he's not in the lineup.

They did it again last night, winning on the road against a good Milwaukee Bucks team. The Sixers won despite forfeiting an early double-digit lead, topping the Bucks, 114-109.

It was the team's fifth win in the last six games. And it marks back-to-back wins with Embiid not on the floor. The rookie standout is still nursing a banged-up knee, while also refraining from back-to-back games. When he's in the game, his minutes remain restricted. That has not stopped him from almost single-handedly turning around the fortunes of Brett Brown's team. Now it looks like the rest of the lineup is buying in. That is particularly true on the defensive side of the ball, which was again key to last night's win.

Once looking up at every team in the NBA, there are now a cluster of teams with worse records than the Sixers.

They are just four and a half games out of the final playoff spot, with more than three dozen games to play in the marathon NBA season.

They now stand at 17-27. And all four teams that stand between them and that final playoff spot sports a record below .500.

Playoffs? PLAYOFFS? Yeah, why not.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Jan. 25

The Daily Numbers: 44,500 dollars being spent by Middletown Township on a risk assessment study by a private firm on Sunoco Logistics proposed Mariner East 2 pipeline plans.

1.8 million dollars, how much the township received from Sunoco Logistics for rights-of-way in the township for the pipeline.

100,000 dollars of that will be allocated for the study

0, how much the county was asking from the township to hold off and join a county study. They declined in favor of the private study.

2 men wounded in separate shooting incidents on Chester streets.

1 Chester officer who was fired on by a fleeing suspect last night. The officer returned fire. No injuries were reported.

6 homicides in the county so far in 2017. All 5 have occurred in the city of Chester.

8 new police recruits who will be added to the city police force this morning.

.292 blood-alcohol level for woman who slammed into CVS store in Springfield.

3rd DUI offense for the woman.

1-5 years in state prison for the latest incident.

700 students who took part in the Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation’s 19th annual gala.

2 new hotels coming to Upper Darby.

14 Oscar nominations for ‘La La Land.’

17 point lead blown by Villanova in dropping their 2nd game of year last night, to Marquette.

212-110 win for the Sixers over the Clippers.

19 points for Nerlens Noel; 18 for Richaun Holmes.

13 point lead blown by Saint Joe’s in loss to Saint Bonaventure.

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

Now the Sixers are even winning on nights when Joel Embiid is not in the lineup. Look out, NBA!

I Don’t Get It: Being behind the wheel with a .292 blood-alcohol level. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Middletown Township Council for listening to their citizens and spending $45,000 on new risk assessment study for Sunoco Logistics’ Mariner East 2 pipeline plan.

Quote Box: “We would not be asking for any money, just your input.”

- Tim Boyce, Delaware County’s Emergency Services boss, to Middletown Council, in pitching a study of pipeline safety.

These numbers might leave your crying in your beer in Pa. booze battle

It might be said that the true mark of an editorial writer might be penning a piece with which her fervently disagrees.

I have some experience at that.

And it happened again today.

I can't tell you how much it pained me to write today's editorial.

You happen to be reading the state's foremost proponent of getting Pennsylvania out of the booze business, selling off the state stores and turning the sale of alcohol over to those who are best at it - private enterprise.

However, I have made it clear that my reasons for that have nothing really to do with the economics of the issue and everything to do with convenience.

I simply no longer want to make several trips - to different locations - to buy beer, wine and spirits.

Yes, the state is slowly but surely dragging its laws governing the sale of alcohol out of the dark ages. We now have beer and wine sales in supermarkets. Although you can argue how convenient it is since you have to enter a separate part of the store and pay for your purchases there, rather than merely tossing them in the car and paying for it along with all your other groceries.

Some convenience stores are getting into the act. Even Wawa is experimenting with beer sales at one of its stores here in Delco.

And just recently, beer distributors got the green light to sell six packs and even singles, long a point of contention with them. For years they were saddled with selling only beer by the case and kegs, putting them at a significant disadvantage to the big supermarkets that were siphoning off their business.

With the state again looking at a massive budget deficit that is approaching $600 million.

No doubt Republicans in Harrisburg will once again broach the topic of privatizing booze sales, noting the bonanza the state could reap in selling off licenses to private enterprise to replace all those state stores.

But there is one thing they leave out.

Yes, there could be an economic bonanza on the front end.

But they usually fail to mention the annual revenue all those state stores produce.

The numbers were brought into a little better focus this week when the state Liquor Control Board announced it had a record one-day sale on Christmas Eve, and also set a record for revenue from state stores for the month of December as well.

Like I said, I'm no fan of the state continuing doing something I really don't feel they have any "business" doing - running this monopoly on the distribution and sales of booze.

Gov. Wolf has steadfastly opposed privatization, pushing instead for updating and "modernization" of the current system. No doubt he will mention some of these new LCB numbers as this discussion heats up again.

You can read the editorial here

. It might leave you crying in your beer.

Chester adds 8 to police force - just in time

Today the city of Chester will welcome eight new officers to the police force.

They can't get here soon enough.

Last night an officer investigating a report of shots fired found himself dodging bullets. Luckily, the officer was not injured.

The incident occurred in the 900 block of Clover Lane just before 11 p.m. The officer was pursuing three suspects when he reported shots were fired at him, according to police radio reports. The officer returned fire. It's not known if any of the suspects was hit.

Police took one suspect into custody and recovered a weapon.

This morning at the 10 a.m. City Council session, eight new police recruits from the Philadelphia Police Academy will be sworn in as members of the Chester Police Force.

Staffing has been an issue for Chester police, with a string of retirements at the end of the year leaving the city force below its full complement of officers.

In addition to the new recruits, two city patrolmen will be promoted to detective.

"Our job is to protect our citizens and hire individuals who embody traits that are reflective of our duties and purpose as officers," said Police Commissioner Otis Blair.

The city has for years struggled with the issue of random gunfire on its streets. So far in 2017, the county has recorded five homicides. All of them have taken place in Chester.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The new enemy in the opioid wars

There's a new enemy in the opioid wars.

It's called Fentanyl.

It's a synthetic drug that is quickly rivaling heroin as a huge problem for those on the front lines of the addiction wars in the county and region.

It is often added to heroin, or sometimes even sold separately in place of heroin. The problem is that Fentanyl is much more powerful than heroin, making overdoses an even greater danger.

And those who are selling this stuff on our streets are not always bothering to tell their customers of this new, lethal aspect. All of which led Upper Darby top cop Mike Chitwood to brand those peddling this poison as no less than 'purveyors of death.'

It's on our editorial page today.

Miserable day? Yeah, but it could have been snow

One look at each disheveled person who trudged into the office yesterday pretty much told you everything you knew about the weather.

Yes, it was miserable.

Wet. Raw. Windy.

The wind - gusting to as much as 50 mph - made those rain drops feel like tiny razors as they pricked your skin. Delaware County was hard hit by the wind. A huge tree was toppled out in Aston, slamming into a house. Thank God, the family was not home at the time. There were no injuries.

Things were still a mess as I drove home last night. The trip through Media on Baltimore Pike was detoured out in the west end by a tree that had fallen across the pike.

Trees were down all over the place, traffic signals were knocked out, and power outages affected thousands.

You can read our coverage of the storm here. But it could have been a lot worse. And it was in several places.

Out in Chester County, a driver was killed when a tree slammed into his car as he was driving.

In Philadelphia, strong winds ripped a sign off a building at a car dealer's lot, striking and killing a man nearby.

Throughout all of this, I was struck by a single thought that usually dominates my psyche at this time of the year.

What if this had been snow?

No, I didn't like yesterday's weather.

I'll take Key West any day.

But I'll take it over snow any day.

Ironically, yesterday's storm arrived exactly one year after we got slammed with 20 inches of snow the year before.

Farewell to a friend

The tributes continue to pour in for our colleague and friend Tom Murray.

Tom headed operations out at our sister paper, the Daily Local News. But his heart never wandered far from Delco.

He grew up here and was a proud St. James High grad.

I had forgotten that Tom actually got his start in the business covering some high school sports events as a stringer for the Daily Times. I had to smile at the thought.

It was exactly how I got into the business. After arriving back on the East Coast with my freshly minted journalism degree from the University of Colorado (if you have a couple of hours I'll try to explain how I wound up out there), I got my first journalism gig as a "correspondent" for the Record in Coatesville.

Don't let the title fool you. There wasn't a lot of prestige in it. I was covering some high school contests, while also doing some night meetings for news.

You got paid by the story. There were no benefits, other than the strange thrill of seeing your name in print. In the business we call them bylines.

Once you're hooked, there is no going back.

Tom Murray knew that better than most. He understood how that kind of coverage, having a face at all those municipal meetings, contributed to a newspaper's "brand." Those stringers in many instances became the eyes and ears - as well as the face - of the newspaper in the community. That's just one of the reasons I will dearly miss my friend.

Rest well, Tom.

You can read more about the life of an old-time newsman who never shied away from changing with the times here.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Monday, Jan. 23

The Daily Numbers: 2 suspects - 1 alleged buyer and 1 alleged dealer - in custody in a big fentanyl bust in Upper Darby.

2 fentanyl-related deaths over the weekend in Upper Darby. They are not believed to be connected to this case.

28 opioid related deaths in Upper Darby last year.

183 lives saved by Naloxone, the drug that can reverse symptoms from an opioid overdose.

10 dollars a bag, what heroin and fentanyl are going for on township streets.

2 people facing fentanyl charges in Tinicum.

2.8 mile section of Chester Creek Trail that recently opened in Middletown and Aston.

2 more homicides in Chester over the weekend.

5 homicides so far in 2017 in Delaware County. All 5 have taken place in Chester.

2 people killed in an accidental fire in Chester Friday.

4 killed in shootings in Philly over the weekend.

18 dead as severe weather rumbles across the South.

39 possible tornadoes reported across the Southeast this weekend.

500,000 women who converged on Washington, D.C., this weekend.

50,000 who jammed the Parkway in Philadelphia.

3-2 overtime win for the Flyers over the Islanders last night.

36-17 win for Tom Brady and Patriots over the Steelers in AFC title game.

44-21 win for Matt Ryan and Falcons over the Packers in the NFC title game.

27 of 38 for 392 yards and 4 TDs, along with 1 rushing for the Exton and Penn Charter product.

384 yards passing for Brady.

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

Serious kudos to local kid Matty Ice Ryan, who is starting to look like he’s ready to enter the ‘elite’ conversation when it comes to NFL QBs.

I Don’t Get It: Heroin in not going away. Neither is fentanyl. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper:
Kudos to all those who worked to make the Chester Creek Trail a reality. Well done.

Quote Box: “This guy ... is truly a purveyor of death.”

- Upper Darby top cop Mike Chitwood, on arrest of suspected fentanyl dealer.

RIP, Tom Murray

These are very dark, tough times for the newspaper business.

We need all the warriors we can get.

We lost a great one over the weekend.

One of the very first things I do at the ungodly hour I get up every day is check my email. It's a bad habit. Just ask my wife.

That is how I learned early Sunday morning that something had happened to my friend, Tom Murray.

A quick hunt on Facebook confirmed my worst fears. Tom was gone.

I am lesser because of it.

This business is lesser because of it.

In this racket we need a lot more people like Tom Murray, not fewer.

Tom was my compatriot at our sister paper, the Daily Local News in West Chester.

I can sum up Tom in two words, ironically words that are often used to describe me.

Old school.

Tom was from my era, a time when print was king, a time before we became slaves to the 24-hour news cycle, a time before 'fake news,' a time before a story wasn't really a story unless it could be delivered in 140 characters, or draw a ton of eyeballs on Facebook.

There was nothing fake about Tom Murray.

I sometimes joked that he and I were like ships in the night. He was a Delco guy who drove out to Chester County every day. I was a Chesco native who made the trek here to Delco daily.

Tom had a voice like gravel, a tone reminiscent of a time gone by, what we at one time used to refer to as "print guys." And yet he was immensely adaptable, moving seamlessly into what we refer today as the "new media."

That's because Tom was, in a word, a newsman.

He lived it, breathed it, and delivered it every day.

It's an art, really, one we are fast losing. In discussing a story, I could always count on Tom to know what, in our parlance, constituted a great "read."

Tom made stops in Burlington County, as well as our weekly papers out on the Main Line. Then he ran a site for Patch.com. For a while he even got out of the business, before being lured back.

He started working in our production hub creating pages. About a year he was named editor of the Daily Local.

Yeah, once that ink gets in your blood, it's hard to get out. I know. So what will be do today? Of course we will mourn Tom. But we'll also cele

brate him. We'll do that by doing what we do every day. We'll report the news.

But we'll do it with heavy hearts.

Tom Murray will not be with us.

And we're all the lesser for it.

Rest well, friend.

I'll put a -30- on it for you.

The downside to all this social media

Yes, I'm a dinosaur. I freely admit it.

Call me old-school. It's a badge I wear proudly.

So here I am every day, up to my eyeballs in all this social media frenzy.

I Tweet, I post on Facebook, I wade through an ocean of email every day.

So why do I worry so much about the effect this is having on all of us?

Don't ask me. Ask Antonio Williams. Who's he?

It's in my weekly print Letter From the Editor.

Don't think all this social media is problematic? Take it from someone who is hip deep in it every day. I'm as guilty as the next party.

Bottom line? Think before you hit that send key.

You can read the column here.

'Alternative Facts'

On our editorial page Sunday, we talked about the Trump Presidency.

We noted how he rode a strident stream of discord in middle America all the way to the White House.

But that was the campaign.

Now Trump must assume the title - and dignity - of the presidency.

He's not off to a particularly auspicious start.

Saturday, in one of his first public appearances, he spoke to the Intelligence community at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., perhaps in an effort to soothe some ill will created by his comments about the conclusions of the nation's intel experts in terms of Russian hacking into the U.S. election.

But Trump decided that was the venue to once again go on the attack against one of his favorite targets - the media.

Trump ripped into the media for reports downplaying attendance numbers at Friday's inaugural in Washington. Despite pictures that clearly showed fewer people attending than had arrived in town for the Obama inaugurals, Trump instead mocked the media's numbers and basically made up some of his version of crowds on the National Mall "stretching all the way back to the Washington Monument."

Then he dispatched his spokesman, Sean Spicer, to again blast the "dishonest media" for playing fast and loose with the numbers. Spicer held a late Saturday briefing and went after the media, in effect accusing them of trying to "lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration."

When the situation erupted into a full-blown fury, it was left to key Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway to offer this explanation of how Spicer and his boss could get the numbers wrong.

Alternative Facts.

She was confronted by 'Meet the Press' host Chuck Todd about the ongoing debate about the size of the crowds in Washington, in particular Spicer's version, which seemed to ignore the facts. Todd put it a bit more bluntly, suggesting Spicer was simply not telling the truth.

This was her response:

"You're saying it's a falsehood, and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that."

OK.

So much for acting presidential.

Welcome to monsoon season

Welcome to Monsoon Season.

Brace yourself for what should be a wet & wild day.

We're about to be slapped with rain and high winds that could gust up to 50 mph, and might bring down trees and power lines. Power outages could be an issue.

Yes, it's a Nor'easter, a remnant of the storms that have wreaked havoc and death across much of the country.

Now it's our turn.

I just drove into the office and it was really just misting.

I just stuck me head out the door at 5:15 looking for the papers - which still aren't here by the way - and I could barely push the door open against that stiffening wind.

There is a high-wind advisory in effect for much of the region, from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. for Delaware County, as well as Philadelphia, Delaware, lower Bucks, Burlington, Gloucester and Camden counties with wind gusts up to 50 mph and isolated to scattered power outages expected.

The winds will be at their strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday.

Want some good news? All of this precipitation could have been snow if it were a little colder.

I'll take the wind and rain any day.

It's expected to rain much of the day, with the heaviest precipitation falling late this afternoon and into early evening. But there's no mention of snow in the forecast for the rest of the week. I'll take it.

You can get the full forecast here.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Jan. 20

The Daily Numbers: 45th president of the United States. Donald Trump takes the oath of office today.

58th inaugural day in nation’s history

11,000 people expected to take part in the inaugural parade.

1809, first parade, which feted new President James Madison

1.7 mile route down Pennsylvania for the parade.

2 people from Collingdale facing charges in cruelty case involving horrific abuse of a dog.

40 years of service at Delaware County Community College for Dr. Jerry Parker, who will retire at the end of the school.

year. He will be replaced by longtime Texas educator Dr. L. Joy Gates Black.

26, age of Darby Township man now facing charges that he delivered drugs that ended in fatal overdose.

14,000 stolen from man attempting to make deposit at ATM in Media.

4 generations of 1 Delco family that will take part in Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington.

4 more months for Pa. to comply with federal Real ID Law.

11 Pennsylvanians who had drug, weapons sentences commuted by President Obama.

3rd in All-Star voting for Joel Embiid. He was not named to starters.

64-53 win for Glen Mills over Chichester in high school hoops.

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

Joel Embiid is not an NBA All-Star, at least not yet. He likely will be added to the team when reserves are named next week.

I Don’t Get It: Hard to read what happened to Dolly, a put bull puppy that was victim of abuse in Collingdale.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Donald Trump. It’s his day. Enjoy it, then get to work.

Quote Box: “She’s scared but she’s not shown any bit of aggression. She just wants you to love and per her.”

- Russ ‘Wolf’ Harper, on rescued pit bull Dolly.

We'll have live coverage of the Trump Inauguration

This is the day almost no one - in particular those of us in the media - even thought would actually happen.

Donald Trump will be sworn in today as the 45th president of the United States.

Yes, we elected a billionaire real estate mogul and erstwhile reality TV show host as the commander-in-chief.

I don't know why anyone should be surprised.

This is who we are as a country. We post all of our most intimate moments on social media, clamoring for what Andy Warhol warned us about a few decades back - our 15 minutes of fame.

Trump himself is a social media czar, blasting out 140-character updates on Twitter at all hours of the morning.

Yesterday Trump pledged, for the umpteenth time, to make America Great Again.

I hope he does.

In the meantime, we will be offering all-day live coverage of what is going on in D.C., as well as who from Delco is making the trip.

One of those will be state Rep. Nick Miccarelli, R-162, of Ridley Park. The state legislator is a member of the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry, which will be taking part in the inaugural parade.

Reporter Rick Kauffman will spend the day in D.C., capturing the day in words and photos, and looking for anyone from Delco who has made the jaunt down I-95.

We also will be getting live Tweets from two Delaware County college students who are in D.C. for the day. Blaine King, from Upper Darby,a nd Justin Miller, from Springfield, will be live-Tweeting all day. In addition, state Rep. Steve Barrar, R-160, of Concord, providing reports from the ground as well as one of tonight's big Inaugural Balls. You can follow our live coverage on DelcoTimes.com starting at 7 a.m. here.

A new start for two troubled Harrisburg offices

All eyes no doubt will be on Washington today as Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.

But there are a couple of key new faces taking over in Harrisburg as well.

Both Joe Torsella and Josh Shapiro are facing the problem of restoring the public's faith in their offices after they were rocked by scandal.

Shapiro is the new attorney general, trying to restore the luster scarred by the tempestuous reign of Kathleen Kane.

Likewise, Torsella, as the new state treasurer, is trying to wipe away the shadows of his predecessor, Rob McCord.

Both are off to impressive starts.

Torsella in particular this week did something a bit out of the ordinary for a Capitol inauguration day.

What did he do?

You can read the editorial here.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Jan. 19

The Daily Numbers: 24 to 48 years in prison for Shannon Matthews in murder of 2-year-old Mason Hunt.

1 year less a day and immediate parole for her boyfriend, Daniel Grafton.

3 years probation and 300 hours of community service for him as well.

227-198 vote last week in the House to repeal the Affordable Care Act, with Delco Rep. Pat Meehan joining Republicans in pushing for repeal.

900 dollar deductibles that are now increasing to $1,500 before insurance kicks in, according to Meehan.

13 ACA programs in Pa. at one point. Meehan now says those have dwindled to just 8.

79, age of Clifton Heights man who had guilty verdict against him in child sex abuse case vacated.

5 Chester officers promoted to rank of detective.

8 cadets from Philadelphia Academy will be joining city patrols.

182 deaths in the county linked to opioid abuse.

94 heroin-related deaths.

121 heroin/fentanyl related deaths.

28 deaths in which the case is still pending but could be linked to opioids.

3.2 billion dollars in revenue at Pa. casinos in 2016.

1.25 percent boost from the casinos’ take in 2015.

4.30 percent dip in table game revenue at Harrah’s for the year.

16.53 percent plunge in table games play in December.

65,296,774 dollars taken in via slots at Harrah’s in 2016. That’s down from $68,233,315 in 2015.

12 percent gain in table games play at Parx in Bucks County.

22.95 percent increase shown at Sugar House in Philly.

230,151,256 dollars in table games at Sands Bethlehem, tops in revenue in the state.

2nd location opening for popular Upper Darby pizza joint Pica’s. They are opening restaurant on West Chester Pike in West Goshen.

7 wins in 9 games for the Sixers.

94-89 win last night over first-place Raptors.

26 points for Joel Embiid

3 new members of Baseball Hall of Fame: Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez.

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

Another day, another win for the Sixers, this time knocking off the best team in the Atlantic Division.

I Don’t Get It: Still mourning the death of little Mason Hunt. His mother was sentenced to a long prison term in connection with his murder.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Pat Meehan for offering his rationale for making changes to the Affordable Care Act.

Quote Box: “I wake up on the mornings that I can sleep with a heartache that no medication can take away. I have a hole in my heart that will never heal.”

- Paul Hunt, father of Mason Hunt, at sentencing of the boy’s mother in connection with his death.

Meehan: Think 'rescue & repair' for Affordable Care Act

Rep. Pat Meehan has heard you.

The Delaware County congressman was the target of more than 150 protesters Sunday who took to the streets outside his district office in Springfield to voice their displeasure with his vote in the House to start the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Yesterday Meehan, R-7, of Chadds Ford, was doing an event in Upper Darby to talk to senior citizens about Medicare eligibility - and he used the occasion to address the protests - and where he stands on Obamacare.

Meehan is no stranger to the opposition to the new federal health care program. He has often voiced his displeasure with several parts of the plan. But he stressed Wednesday that the latest repeal push is only part of a process, and it is his hope that several key parts of the program will remain.

In particular, he noted that he supports the measure allowing dependent children to stay on their parents' coverage until age 26, and also assurances for people with pre-existing conditions.

"It's an authorization. It allows us to begin the process," Meehan stated of his vote in joining Republicans in the 227-198 push to repeal Obamacare last week. "It changes nothing unto itself but it allows the committees the begin the process of looking at what I call the rescue and repair of the issues that have been affected from the Affordable Care Act."

He also stressed that the escalating costs of the program have to be addressed.

Meehan said deductibles have increased in some cases from $900 to $1,500 annually before the insurance kicks in. He also lamented that more and more insurers are getting out of the program. At one point there were 13 ACA programs in Pennsylvania; now there will only be eight, according to the congressman.

So it's not repeal and replace.

Think rescue and repair.

You can read the full story here.

Taming the social media beast

Call it the dinosaur in me.

I am becoming increasingly distrustful of technology and social media.

This has nothing to do with "Fake News."

It has everything to do with "Too Much Information."

In short, I think we're all overloaded. We're all plugged in entirely too much. We all feel free to divulge even our most private thoughts, thinking that people are interested in these intimate details.

Hey, it worked for the Kardashians.

And Donald Trump rode this "reality" train all the way to the White House.

In less lives, such as mine and a lot of other people, it can be a bit more problematic.

I think Antonio Brown might understand.

The star wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers apparently was not content to bask in the glow of last weekend's big divisional playoff victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Instead - of course - he took to social media and used Facebook live to literally broadcast live the Steelers' post-game locker room celebration.

In doing so he fractured a long-held sports maxim: what happens in the locker room, stays in the locker room.

He also did something else once considered a 'No-No' in sports: He provided billboard material for this weekend's opponent, Bill Belechick and the New England Patriots. That's because Brown's insistence on being a social media star broadcast to the world some less than complimentary comments about the Pats made by none other than his head coach, Mike Tomlin.

As you might imagine, Tomlin was less than pleased.

Wednesday, Brown apologized.

Yeah, right. Until the next time.

To be honest, I know how he feels. I know how easy it is to think that you are the center of the universe, that you - and what you have to say - are important.

Social media is a big part of my job these days. For the most part, I spend inordinate amounts of time every day posting material on Twitter and Facebook, sharing both personal and business items.

I would be lying to you if I said I did not post things that I later regretted.

It is now part of what I do every day. And it's one I'm becoming increasingly uncomfortable with.

I know, that's my problem. Not yours.

But I think we will continue to see instances like the one Antonio Brown found himself snarled in this week pop up more and more often.

As a person who edits material every day, I can tell you every writer, every person who puts information out to the general public, needs a good editor. They are the writer's best friend - another set of eyes. Not just to catch the more than occasional typo that can ruin a good piece. But to operate as a filter, someone who might question what you are about to lay bare before the rest of the world.

The problem with social media is that in all too many instances, there are no editors. Everyone with a phone, tablet or laptop is a publisher.

That's a powerful title.

I know. I perform those dual duties almost every morning.

Today, too often not much of anything that happens in any of our live stays private. We have social media to blame for much of that, and what I will simply refer to as the 'Kardashian' effect.

Starting tomorrow, the nation will be led by a commander-in-chief whose preferred method of communication comes in burst of 140 characters.

Yes, the Donald is a Twitter master.

But I wish every once in awhile he would take a deep breath before hitting that send button.

The same breath I sometimes wish I had employed before firing off that email, before posting on Facebook.

Look for less of me online in the near future.

And feel free to do likewise if you feel the same way.

The world will continue to spin, even if the 'spin' on social media declines.

At least I think it will.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, Jan. 17

The Daily Numbers: 1st ever district-wide day of service held yesterday in Radnor School District to mark the Martin Luther King Jr. day of service.

10,000 dollars raised in the ‘Hoops From the Heart’ annual fundraiser held by Community Action Agency. The money goes to the Life Center for Eastern Delaware County.

10,000 meals packed to help the needy during an event held at Haverford Middle School.

20 people evacuated from their homes for a short time yesterday by a natural gas leak in Brookhaven.

4 crosses proposed for new pedestrian bridge over Lancaster Avenue at Villanova University that are being questioned by some in the community.

4 feet, 7 inch tall crosses slated for the bridge.

25 percent cut in tuition for students at Immaculata University in Chester County.

6-packs, what you can now buy at Pa. beer distributors.

4 local Democratic members of Congress who indicate they will boycott the inauguration of Donald Trump as 45th president.

14, age of Grace Packer, the Montco teen who was brutally tortured, raped and killed, allegedly at the hands of her adoptive mother and her boyfriend. The teen’s troubled life was memorialized yesterday by friends.

82, age of astronaut Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon. He died this week.

6 wins in their last 8 games for the Sixers.

113-104 win over the Bucks yesterday.

22 points for Joel Embiid.

28 minutes per game, all Embiid is being allowed to play as the team monitors his recovery from several injuries. 9 game losing streak to the Bucks snapped by the Sixers.

9 million dollar, 1-year deal between the Phillies and slugging outfielder Michael Saunders.

24 homers, 57 RBI and .253 batting average last year for Saunders with the Blue Jays.

48 million people, number of viewers watching the Packers-Cowboys NFC Divisional Playoff game.

37.4 million watching the Steelers-Chiefs. Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.

Six of eight for the Sixers and Joel Embiid. He is the man.

I Don’t Get It: Still not sure I am ready for a president who likes to Tweet, usually bashing those who criticize him, at all hours of the night.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those who took part in MLK activities yesterday. Now the key is to put those sentiments into action every day, not just the one day that marks his holiday.

Quote Box: “As we celebrate Dr. King, let’s celebrate him by passing it on.”

- Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland.

The Affordable Care Act discussion

On our editorial page today, we delve into the topic of the suddenly endangered Affordable Care Act, the signature piece of legislation of the Obama Administration.

Republicans have made it clear "Job 1" on their "To Do" list is the repeal of what they have for years ridiculed as Obamacare. They reinforced that last week with votes in both the House and Senate to do just that.

Voting in favor of those measures were Republican Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Chadds Ford, and Sen. Pat Toomey.

This weekend a few of their constituents gathered outside Meehan's office to remind him they do not necessarily agree with this stance, especially since Republicans do not have a replacement plan ready to take its place.

In short, it appears Republicans are in a rush to judgment, one that 20 million Americans who now have health insurance thanks to the ACA can ill afford.

Read the editorial here.

This is Joel Embiid's town now

There's a new sheriff in town.

Forget Carson Wentz.

Wentzylvania? Left town for the offseason.

Claude Giroux? Looks like another case of next year.

This town now belongs to Joel Embiid.

The Sixers big man now has shown he can recover from a bad start.

He had nothing working yesterday in Milwaukee, but he kept banging and once again dominated in the second half, leading the Sixers to a 113-104 win.

That makes 6 wins in their last eight games for Brett Brown's squad.

Last week Embiid joked about the possibility of the Sixers making the playoffs.

No one is laughing now.

Here is the game story.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Monday, Jan. 16

The Daily Numbers: 150 people who took part in a protest outside Rep. Pat Meehan’s office Sunday to vent about his vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

100 people who took part in similar protest outside Temple University Hospital in Philly.

6-pack of beer, which you’ll be able to buy at your local beer distributor this week.

87, age of former Philly mob boss Nicodemo Scarfo, who died in prison

70, age of Philly singer Richie Ingui, a founding member of the Soul Survivors.

2.63 a gallon average price for gas at the pumps last week. No change from week before.

2.5 cent per gallon decline nationally.

2.34, average national price.

52 cents per gallon higher here than this time last year.

21.6 cents per gallon higher than a month ago.

34-31 win for Packers over Cowboys in a classic NFL playoff game.

18-16 win for the Steelers over Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs.

51-yard field goal by Mason Crosby to win it for Packers.

2 times, he had to kick it, since the Cowboys tried to ice him by calling time out just before the snap on the 1st attempt.

36-yard pass to Jared Cook from Rodgers to set up the game-winning kick.

356 yards passing for Rodgers, along with 2 TDs.

302 yards passing for Dak Prescott.

6 field goals for Steelers kicker Chris Boswell, who scored all Pittsburgh’s points.

12 straight wins by home teams in playoffs snapped by the Packers’ win.

2 point conversion that would have tied the game for the Chiefs that was called back by holding penalty.

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

Eagles fans should not gloat too much with the Cowboys’ loss. They are light years ahead of the Birds.

I Don’t Get It: Andy Reid didn’t have any timeouts left at the end of the game? Yeah, we’ve seen that before.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Aaron Rodgers. What a pass!

Quote Box: “You fight all year, you fight all game, for it to end like that with the ref literally taking it out of our hands, that hurts. You try to play the game with integrity, to the end of the whistle, and when the refs want to take over the game and make it their own platform, there’s nothing you can do about it. That wasn’t a hold on my guy.”

- Chiefs Travis Kelce, complaining about crucial holding call that negated 2-point conversion that would have tied game.

Still chasing King's dream

Today is the day we set aside every year to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

As we all know, King spent considerable time right here in Delaware County, attending Crozer Theological Seminary in Upland.
King had a dream for America, one rooted in the simple belief that the country would some day rise up and embrace the notion of judging a person not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

We thought maybe that day had arrived eight years ago, when the nation elected Barack Obama as the first African-American president of the United State. We re-elected him four years ago.

But it's clear that eight years of Obama have not cured the racial divide in this country. In some ways you could make the argument that things today are worse.

In our editorial today, we talk about Dr. King, his dream, and the reality of race in today's America.

A tale of 2 men: Obama & Trump

In a matter of a few hours last week we got a chance to see the way we were, and the way we are about to become.

President Barack Obama offered his farewell address in Chicago Monday night. Tuesday morning, President-elect Donald Trump met the media
.

The juxtaposition could not be more glaring.

None of this is going to change what happened.

On Friday, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.

I hope he's a terrific president. I really do.

That would make me different than the way Republicans reacted eight years ago to the notion of President Obama. They did everything in their power to simply block him - and his agenda - at every turn. They did not care about the country, or the people who could be helped. They only saw politics, and stopping a second term. Yes, I have my doubts about Mr. Trump.

His performance in that press conference, just hours after watching Obama offer some final thoughts on his presidency, as well as some advice for the man about to pick up the mantle, did not ease my concerns.

I am taking bets on the number of times the president-elect proclaims something as "great" in the next week.

I'll set the line at 50. I'm taking the over.

I talk about the glaring differences between the two men in my print column.

Yes, my man - er, woman - lost the election.

Call it sour grapes if you so choose.

I hold no ill will against Trump.

I just find him really aggravating.

Someone needs to tell him that in a few days he will be the most powerful man in the world. I suppose he probably think he already is. Most narcissists feel that way.

It's not all about you, Mr. Trump.

It's about the country. And the people. Especially those people who are not as well off as you or I. That is the true backbone of our government. That we take care of those who have fallen on hard times.

I hope you remember that as you take the oath of office.

You can read my print column here.

How 'bout dem Cowboys!

I know this is going to make me appear incredibly small, but "How 'bout dem Cowboys!"

There is a proud tradition among Eagles fans.

We root for the Birds - and whoever is playing the Cowboys.

Dallas, led by two rookies - QB Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott - rolled to a 13-3 regular season record.

But they were one and done in the playoffs, falling Sunday in the divisional game in a classic to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, 34-31.

Rodgers connected on an other worldly 36 yard pass to Jared Cook along the sidelines with seconds remaining. Somehow, Cooke managed to drag his feet inbounds while hauling in a perfect pass from Rodgers.

That put the Packers in field goal range, and Mason Crosby did not miss, even though he had to actually kick it twice when the Cowboys called time out to freeze him just before the initial snap.

There was only one thing missing from this glorious scene.

I wanted to see Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones' face as that fall sailed through the uprights. Unfortunately, the Fox TV crew failed to deliver the good, although they did have a shot seconds earlier when the Cowboys kicked a field goal to tie the game.

Yes, I know it seems petty, especially given the year the Cowboys had, as opposed to the Birds. Hey, I'll take my satisfaction where I can get it in the NFL these days.

Speaking of satisfaction, did someone say that Andy Reid was out of timeouts at the end of the Chiefs' excruciating 18-16 loss to the Steelers.

Yeah, some things don't change.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Jan. 13

The Daily Numbers: 13, as in Friday the 13th. Be careful out there today.

3 big stars who could be at the Sun Center Studios in Chester Township to film some scenes for a major motion picture.

1980 murder of ‘Avon Lady’ Emily Leo. The conviction of the man charged in the crime is now being reviewed.

37 years, how long Leroy Evans has been in jail for the crime.

2 DUI charges in 2 years for a Lansdowne councilman.

40, age of dad who will face a minor charge in connection with leaving his 1-year-old little girl unattended in his running SUV, which was then stolen.

28, age of one of Delaware County’s Most Wanted, who was picked up in Chester.

52, of Tennessee man charged with sexual assault with an alleged incident that took place in Upland back in 1999.

42 million dollar loss for Delta’s Monroe Energy refinery in Trainer.

125 million dollar loss for all of 2016.

1.5 percent uptick in revenue for Atlantic City casinos last year, their 1st increase in a decade.

2.6 billion dollars in revenue for casinos in 2016.

2006, the last time revenue in A.C. went up, just before Pa. entered the casino craze.

47 million in revenue for the Borgata, tops in A.C.

3 rate hikes predicted in 2017 by the boss of the Philadelphia Fed.

8 people shot, 2 of them fatally, overnight in Philly.

4 writers laid off by Philadelphia Magazine.

5-4 shootout win for the Flyers over the Canucks.

4.35 million dollar deal for Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis

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

The Sixers & Joel Embiid are the talk of the town. Who’d a thunk it?

I Don’t Get It: Leaving a toddler in the back of a running car while you duck into a store, even for just a few minutes. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Sun Center Studios, which will have us seeing “stars” with the arrival of some A-listers to shoot scenes for a major new flick.

Quote Box
: “We’ll have a fresh set of eyes and if we see anything that deserves a second look, we’ll do so.”

- Acting Chester Police Commissioner Otis Blair, on review of ‘Avon Lady’ murder case and conviction of Leroy Evans.

About that Mariner East 2 coverage

Well I guess we must have our coverage of the Mariner East 2 debate just about right.

Both sides are unhappy with us.

As you might expect, the company is not especially thrilled with how much coverage we've given the concerns raised in the community about the pipeline that will run from Ohio, through West Virginia, and finally span Pennsylvania, including 11.7 miles across Delaware County. It will deliver hundreds of thousands of barrels of Marcellus Shale byproducts such as ethane, butane and propane to Marcus Hook.

In short, I get the impression the company believes all this unrest in the community is being trumped up by a few fairly vocal opponents. They point out that the company's old original Sunoco pipeline system already is delivering the same materials to Marcus Hook now. And they are pushing a study that was done after concerns were raised out in West Goshen that supports the company's claims.

Now the local activists are ticked because we ran a story detailing the company's side of the issue - after we had run a dozen or more stories detailing the community opposition. They believe it was little more than a puff piece of good PR for the company.

Today we also weighed in on our editorial page.

I will make the same statement I have been making now for months. I think Mariner East 2 easily could be the most important economic story in the region.

The proposal has a huge upside, with the potential for hundreds of good-paying jobs. It could make Marcus Hook, which was on its death bed when Sunoco shut down its refinery, the energy hub for the entire Northeast.

That said, I don't think I'd want it running through my back yard, or within a stone's throw of my kid's elementary school.

If you think that's middle of the road, there's a reason for that. It is.

Middeltown Township council likely next week will approve a new study to look at the impact of the pipeline. I think it's a good bet some public hearings will be held as well.

Get used to hearing about it. This story is not going away anytime soon.

Read the editorial here.

My kind of winter

If this is winter, I'll take it.

It was 51 degrees when I got in the car this morning.

And it actually went up a few ticks in the last couple of hours.

I post the weather report on social media at 6 a.m. most mornings. I just posted our AccuWeather pic that shows it being 56 degrees at 6 a.m.

Here's the weird part. That's also going to be the high for the day. Temperatures actually will drop through the afternoon, and our high later today will only be 48. Compare that with the 66 degrees we reached yesterday.

Now brace yourself, we could see some scattered snow showers around the region Saturday. And it will be a lot more seasonable - in other words, cold!

But after a chilly weekend we could be back in the mid-50s next week.

When did we move to North Carolina?

Cursing linked to honesty

Here's the best news I've heard all week.

A new study suggests people who curse are more honest, an expression that they are expressing their genuine feelings.

If that's the case, as anyone who works with me in the newsroom can attest, I must be the most honest guy around.

Honestly (pardon the reference), it's not something I'm especially proud of; actually it's merely the lazy man's way out.

Instead of offering some more refined thought or bit of writing, it's so much easier to simply unload a few F-Bombs and be on your merry way.

You can read about the study here.

What do you think?

Is this study on the money. Or do they not have a blanking clue?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Jan. 12

The Daily Numbers: 100,000 dollars earmarked by Middletown Council for a new study on the Mariner East 2 Pipeline plan.

0 deaths and 2 injuries connected to liquid pipelines in Pa. in the last 20 years, according to Sunoco Logistics.

70 percent of releases from the pipeline have occurred on company property, not the public right-of-way.

100 years of selling Girl Scout Cookies about to kick off here in Delco and across the nation.

123-54 vote by Chester teachers union members to reject tentative contract offer.

3 years since the last deal expired.

5 years since teachers in Chester Upland have had a pay increase.

100 years young and going strong for Catherine Basile, who was feted on her special day with a celebration at Interboro High School.

6 VW employees indicted in that emissions testing scandal.

4.3 billion dollar fine slapped on the company.

1.8 million dollar settlement between Pa. Attorney General’s office and lawyers who handled probe into porn emails.

4.2 percent spike in rent costs in Philadelphia . That’s 2nd highest spike in nation.

900 fatal ODs recorded in Philly in 2016.

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

Raise your hand if you’re having fun watching this Sixers team.

I Don’t Get It: 900 opioid overdoses in Philadelphia in 2016. Yep, might be time to do something about that heroin problem.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Girl Scouts as they prepare to kick off their 100th year of Girl Scout cookie sales.

Quote Box: “Sunoco Pipeline understands our responsibility to protect the public.”

- Jeff Shields, Sunoco Logistics

The Great Mariner East 2 Debate

It now appears the battle lines are drawn.

Call it the Battle of Mariner East 2.

For weeks we have been detailing the grumbling in the community over Sunoco Logistics' plans to build a new pipeline to carry hundreds of thousands of Marcellus Shale byproducts such as ethane, propane and butane across the state, through an 11-mile swath of Delaware County, to the former Sunoco refinery in Marcus Hook.

The plan has a huge economic upside, including the prospect of hundreds of good-paying jobs, as well as reversing the economic fortunes of the lower end of the county, which was driven to its knees when the company decided to get out of the refinery business and shutter its iconic refinery.

On the other side there is a clear distress among some in the community on a number of factors, including safety and property values. They also are less than thrilled that some municipalities and school districts entered into agreements with Sunoco Logistics without much in the way of public comment, or at least what they would have liked.

They mobilized, even forming a grassroots group to oppose the plan, in particular the idea of allowing a new pipeline to be built just a stone's throw away from Glenwood Elementary School off Pennell Road in Middletown.

The township now seems poised to spend a good chunk of money on a new quantitative risk assessment study of the proposal.

Today, the company responded.

They discounted many of the concerns and defended their plan - and Sunoco Logistics' record.

I've said it before, and I will say it again here.

This is the most important economic story in Delaware County - and maybe the entire region.

It has a huge economic upside.

But it also has sparked legitimate concerns.

Don't look for this discussion to end anytime soon.

Welcome back, Juan Baughn

We used our editorial page today to welcome back a very familiar face to the Chester Upland School District.

Juan Baughn was named interim superintendent, taking over for the departing Gregory Shannon.

Baughn will be staring at some familiar problems: the district is still plagued by poor test scores; teachers are still waiting for a new contract and their first raise in five years - they rejected the district's latest offer.

But without question the biggest hurdle he faces is the same one every Chester Upland boss has faced in recent memory. The district continues to swim in a sea of red ink.

We welcome back Juan Baughn. And wish him luck.

He's going to need it.

You can read the editorial here.

Three days later, & 43 degrees warmer? Deer me!

43 degrees.

That's the difference between what my dashboard thermometer registered when I climbed in Monday morning, vs. the spring-like conditions that greeted me this morning.

It was a bone chilling 7 degrees Monday. This morning? Hello, April! The car checked in at a balmy 50 degrees.

Of course, that means only thing.

Deer. Lots of them.

It didn't take me long to encounter my early-morning pals. I was barely out of the driveway when I noticed two full-grown adult deer standing in my neighbor's front yard. They looked as perplexed as to what I was doing up at that hour as I was to see them casually munching on the shrubbery.

There were more to come.

I usually to swerve around the deer on my morning commute. I almost always encounter a couple along the sides of the road.

Not this morning. I was forced to slam on the brakes and come to a complete stop while a full family of deer slowly ambled across the road. They did not seem terribly worried that I might slam into them, leaving one of them the latest carcass to decorate the side of our roads. They didn't clamber out of the way. They merely continued to slowly walk across the road directly in front of me, seemingly content in my decision to stop. Several followed along from the side of the road once they saw I had no intention of tangling with them. They eyed me warily as they traversed the highway.

Actually, I consider myself lucky. There are not a lot of good things I can say about the hours I keep. But without question one of them is that for the most part I have the road to myself, along with my four-legged friends.

Yesterday I blogged that I encountered only a single slick spot on my morning commute. Of course, a couple of hours later, all hell was breaking loose on the roads as the morning commute kicked in. Unfortunately, especially out in Chester County, those crashes claimed a couple of lives.

In the meantime, we're looking at a bizarrely warm day for Jan. 12.

You can get the full forecast here.

And keep an eye out for those deer.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, Jan. 11

The Daily Numbers: 150 new jobs coming to SAP HQ in Newtown Square.

2,800 employees for SAP in the county.

242 new jobs for a new facility being developed by SAP in Pittsburgh.

1.7 million dollars in funding assistance and tax cuts for the Pittsburgh project.

122,274 square foot facility in the works in the Burgh.

137 vests being purchased for Upper Darby police to protect them in ‘active shooter’ situations vs. gunmen with rifles.

37,000 dollars, how much the vests will cost.

3 officers across the nation killed so far in 2017.

140 on-duty deaths in 2016.

38, age of Rodney Shelton, who was held for trial yesterday after preliminary hearing on charges he fatally shot trucker Thomas Childs in Yeadon.

36, age of man who died after being struck by car in Upper Darby.

1.8 million received by Middletown for easements for proposed Sunoco Logistics pipeline.

40-60,000 dollars, expected costs of a proposed safety study on the matter being sought by some residents.

7, age of youth left on school bus by his driver in Philly while the man went shopping.

46 straight wins for Villanova at the Pavilion, tying school record.

79-54 win over No. 15 Xavier.

20 points for Kris Jenkins in the rout.

13-3 mark for Wildcats in games involving Top 25 teams in 30-year history of their building.

4-1 loss for Flyers in Buffalo.

899-68 loss for No. 1 Baylor last night.

75-67 loss for Saint Joe to George Mason.

61-53 win for Chester over Penn Wood.

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

Joel Embiid is almost as much fun off the court as he is on the hardwood.

I Don’t Get It: Still trying to get my arms around the fact that Donald Trump is going to be president of the United States in a week.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to SAP, which is emphasizing its commitment to Delco with 150 new jobs at their Newtown Square HQ.

Quote Box: “This just shows more of their commitment to Delaware County.”

- Trish McFarland, president of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, on news that SAP is adding jobs.

Trump, Obama & big economic news for Delco

It was quite the night for news.

President Obama was bidding us adieu after eight years in the Oval Office with an emotion farewell address in Chicago.

Meanwhile, the man who will be moving into the Oval Office in a week was fending off an explosive new report that suggests the Russians have some compromising information on him. Donald Trump is dismissing the reports as 'fakes news." Of course, he did so on his preferred method of communication, Twitter. The government of Vladimir Putin also is denying they have any such files.

As it turns out, Trump is scheduled to hold his first formal press conference in weeks today. That should be interesting.

Back here in Delco, the region got a jolt of good economic news yesterday.

It was just a few months ago when there was some concern about the future of SAP in Delaware County.

The world's largest software maker makes its North American headquarters right here in Newtown Square. Yesterday they announced they will be adding jobs here in Delco - and making a huge economic commitment o

n the other side of the state as well.

SAP will add 150 new jobs in Newtown Square, while also building a new facility in Pittsburgh that will employ another 242 people.

Get all the details here.

Let's protect cops - and help them out as well

Police in Upper Darby are getting some extra protection.

On our editorial page today we note they also could use something else: Some information and cooperation.

Township officers are going to be outfitted with special, heavy duty vests for instances when they are dealing with an "active shooterk" type situation. The vests have special front and back plating made to withstand blasts from rifles and automatic weapons.

But there is another problem they are dealing with that needs a bit more human touch.

In our editorial today, we note how two recent incidents show what police officers all too often deal with: A lack of cooperation from the public.

In one incident, a township teen was wounded in a shooting that occurred near a crowded intersection with lots of witnesses. But no one - not even the victim - is willing to talk to police.

The other is even more exasperating. After making an arrest of a Philadelphia man in a series of thefts from cars, police in both Upper Darby and Haverford lamented that this was made possible by the fact that in almost every instance the cars were not locked.

You can read the editorial here.