Friday, January 19, 2018

Get your Nick Foles keepsake centerspread Friday!

The beat goes on for our Eagles celebration, with the second of four consecutive Eagles centerspread keepsake posters.

Yesterday it was defensive stalwart Fletcher Cox. Today it's quarterback Nick Foles.

You can get yours in the center of Friday's print edition.

And at the same time you can read beat Bob Grotz's continuing coverage as we lead up to Sunday's huge NFC Championship game pitting the Birds vs. the Vikings at Lincoln Financial Field.

It was a big night in Philly sports. Make sure you read columnist Jack McCaffery's take on a very special night for the Flyers, as they retired the No. 88 of none other than the Big E, Eric Lindros.

We continue our Eagles celebration Saturday and Sunday with more keepsake pages.

Look for running back Jay Ajayi Saturday and tight end Zach Ertz Sunday.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Make sure you get our special Eagles centerspread keepsake pages

It's not just the kids at Haverford Middle School.

Yes, they got psyched up yesterday for the Eagles pep rally held at the school. Kids, students and staff all got decked out in green. We're also coming down with a serious case of Eagles Fever.

That's why today we're rolling out the first of a series of four full-color Eagles keepsake pages.

Today it's stalwart defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.

Here's the lineup for the rest of the week:

Friday: Quarterback Nick Foles.

Saturday: Running back Jay Ajayi.

Sunday: Tight end Zach Ertz.

Make sure you pick up a copy of the print edition of the Daily Times each day and collect all four Eagles centerspreads. Go Birds!

Another 'Chester story'

There are a lot of 'stories' in Chester.

Not all of them are bad, despite the impression that many media outlets - including this newspaper - sometimes offer.

Chester has a glorious past, years of struggle, and a bedding renaissance rooted in a vibrant arts scene.

That's one of those stories that was unveiled, appropriately enough on the holiday honoring the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday, was so important.

It is a Chester story.

Literally.

'A Chester Story' is a documentary detailing the city's efforts to reverse years of decline, as well as paying homage to its past and taking a critical look at the issues that led to its current predicament.

It is 'A Chester Story' that needs to be told.

You can read our editorial on the doc here.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The next battle in the gerrymandering war

Brace yourself for the next battle in the gerrymandering wars.

You might remember a few weeks back a state Commonwealth Court judge ruled that the plan enacted by the Republican Legislature in 2011 clearly was partisan and tilted to favor Republicans.

But he also ruled that fact did not necessarily make it unconstitutional.

And that was his recommendation to the state Supreme Court.

Today the high court will hear oral arguments in the case.

The hope is that the court, which carries a 5-2 Democratic majority, will order those boundaries - including one in the 7th District here in Delaware County that is usually pointed to as one of the worst instances of gerrymandering in the nation - should be tossed out.

You can read our editorial on the issue here.

The new D.A. calling

I received a phone call I had kind of been expecting yesterday.

It was from the new Delaware County D.A.

What I didn't know was what kind of mood Katayoun 'Kat' Copeland would be in.

That's because I was wondering what her reaction was going to be after our front page announced the county Board of Judges' decision to name her to fill the unexpired term of Jack Whelan with this front page headline:

TOP

'KAT'

Some background here. Everyone refers to her as 'Kat.' Even the county's official press release made not of her nickname. Still, I wanted to be sure no one would take it the wrong way, or that we were somehow trying to demean Copeland or her ascension to being the county's top law enforcer.

No worries.

She liked it.

In fact, she actually showed it to her mother, who also enjoyed it.

Copeland gave me a courtesy call to introduce herself. As we said in our editorial. She's a great choice.

But more than that, Copeland wanted to thank me - and the newspaper - for what we do, covering a lot of stories here in Delaware County that no one else covers. That's sort of the idea behind being a community newspaper, even in these most difficult times for our industry. She scored points with me.

She will be sworn in Friday.

Go get 'em, Kat!

Some days you just shake your head

In this racket, you tend to build up a fairly crusty - some would say hardened - exterior.

It's either that you find another line of work.

And pretty quickly.

It's not because we don't care.

It's because we toil in so much misery that you have to develop a fairly strong defense mechanism.

Then you read a story like this, and your heart just breaks.

Some days you just have to shake your head.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Living the Dream

We have concluded the annual 24 hours that we reserve to honor the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

But what about the other 364 days of the year.

That is the challenge we define on today's editorial page.

Dr. King's Dream is not something to be taken down off the shelf and celebrated once a year.

It needs to be how we live our lives every day - and too often do not.

That is the challenge.

You can read our editorial here.

Yep, we have more snow coming

Here we go again. We have snow in the forecast, with flurries off and on most of the day today and then maybe a more significant coating coming overnight.

Swell.

There actually is snow falling right now in some parts of Chester and Berks counties, as well as areas farther north.

This is for the most part going to be a nuisance storm.

We'll have more snow - maybe an inch or two - moving in overnight just in time to make a mess of the Wednesday morning commute.

Looking for a silver lining?

After that we are in store for a warming trend, with temps rising into the 40s by Friday and then the 50s for the weekend.

Of course, that might not be exactly what we wanted as those indoor-loving Minnesota Vikings arrive for Sunday night's NFC Championship game at the Linc.

Game time is 6:30 Sunday night. But conditions should be perfect for tailgating much of the day Sunday.

Get all the details here.

Underdog Eagles: That dog will hunt

All together now:

"Here he comes to save the day."

If you're of a certain age, which I certainly am, you will recognize that as the lyrics to the kids' cartoon show 'Underdog' that we loved back in the '60's.

Underdog is back.

And he's wearing green.

The Eagles and coach Doug Pederson have embraced their role as underdogs in their mission to make it to the Super Bowl.

As per Coach Pederson, this has been going on since potential MVP Carson Wentz went down with a knee injury.

Pederson went out of his way after the game to note that the Eagles have not been getting any respect, that everyone has been picking them to lose.

The oddsmakers jumped on the underdog bandwagon, making the Birds the first team in NFL history to hold the distinction of being the No. 1 seed, yet being the underdog while playing on their home turf.

That win over the Falcons Saturday still has not convinced Vegas. They've installed the Vikings as 3 and a half point favorites for Sunday night's NFC Championship game, which is also being played at the Linc.

Lane Johnson and a couple of Eagles got in the spirit, donning dog masks as they walked off the field after the defense turned away Matt Ryan and the Falcons at the 2-yard line to seal the victory.

Get used to it. We're going to the dogs this week.

* * *

Want tickets to see the NFC title game in person? Bring your wallet. Ducats go on sale at 10 a.m. and they won't be cheap. Get the details here.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Putting the Pa. Legislature on a diet

On our editorial page Sunday, we dealt with the notion of something all of us do: New Year's resolutions.

But this one is a little different.

Some state representatives believe the Legislature needs to do something a lot of us are trying to do at this time of the year, after the reality of our festive holiday mood shows up around our waist.

They are looking the shed a few pounds.

Actually, they are looking to downsize.

It's an idea we agree with.

It's on our editorial page.

Today, of all days, a plea for civil conversation

I wrote last week about taking a more civil tone in our social conversation.

That means for all you who post comments on our website, who respond on Twitter and who take to Facebook to engage in a dialog with me, the humble editor of your local newspaper.

But on this day - of all days - coming after the week we just endured, I find the task looming larger than ever.

I have written many times in the past year of my single hope for President Donald Trump, that he simply act presidential.

I know we are not going to agree in policy. That's OK. It's healthy and part of the process.

But what we endured last week was not.

It was ugly, base, representing the worst of us.

That is why, on this day, I appeal to our better angels.

And I use some of the words of the man whose ideals we celebrate today.

It's in my weekly Letter From the Editor.

Bring on the Vikings

Going into Saturday's NFC Divisional playoff game, Eagles fans seemed split on the question of which Nick Foles would show up. The quarterback who looked like an All-Pro a couple of years ago, when he threw 27 touchdown passes and just two interceptions, then stepped in this year when Carson Wentz went down and beat the Giants by throwing four TD passes, or the guy who struggled mightily and looked fairly inept in successive weeks against the Raiders and Cowboys. It turns out we got both.

Foles was not especially sharp in the first half Saturday against the Falcons. He started the game on the very first play by heaving a deep ball quail into the wind that fluttered far short of its intended target. But the Falcons were called for pass interference on the play. Foles missed on a swing pass and then later in the half missed badly on a wide open Trey Burton that might have been a touchdown. He got another huge break toward the end of the first half when another heave bounced off a Falcons defensive back's knee into the hands of Torrey Smith. That set up a glorious 53-yard field goal by Jake Elliott.

But Foles rallied in the second half. Bolstered by Doug Pederson's decision to feature more of the "Run-Option Offense, Foles moved the Eagles efficiently.

That and a ferocious Eagles defense led the underdog Birds to a 15-10 win. They will host the Minnesota Vikings next Sunday night in the NFC title game for the rights to head to Minneapolis for the Super Bowl. That comes after one of the wildest endings of a game you will ever see as the Vikes beat Drew Brees and the Saints on the last play of the game.

The Eagles will be looking to prevent the first-ever appearance of a "home" team in the big game by preventing the Vikings from hosting the game on their home turf.

It's obvious by now that both the Eagles and Pederson have embraced this underdog thing.

They'll get another chance this week.

The oddsmakers have installed Minnesota as a three and a half point pick.

Lane Johnson and some of his pals have actually gone so far as to don German Shepherd masks to embrace the underdog theme. I picked against them - based largely on the belief that Foles would struggle, much as he did in the first half.

But if Foles can manage to continue to play as he did in the second half, all bets are off.

Bring on the Vikings.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick (Playoff Edition)

This is a game the Eagles are supposed to win.

This is the game that the best NFL teams get as a reward for a great season.

The Eagles have had two weeks to rest up, having earned a bye while the Falcons had to slug it out in a Wild Card game last week. So why so much angst about the Birds.

Why have they turned into the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL, the first time in league history that the No. 1 seed has been an underdog at home in the divisional round of the playoffs?

That's easy. This is not Carson Wentz's team anymore.

It belongs to Nick Foles.

And his last two games have not exactly instilled confidence in Eagles Nation, managing just 10 points against the Raiders and then getting shut out by the Raiders in a meaningless finale in which Foles only played a quarter.

So which Nick Foles shows up today?

The answer to that question likely will decide this game.

Eagles fans believe they have the answer. The Birds should load up on Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount and try to run the ball down the Falcon's throats.

But the feeling here is that the Falcons' No. 1 goal today will be to take away the Eagles running attack and stake their chances on Nick Foles beating them.

Foles will need to make big plays, in particular on third down, which was the magic of Carson Wentz.

Maybe this will be the game when Fletcher Cox puts this team on his back and delivers a win by being a constant menace, and harassing Exton native Matt Ryan into a couple of turnovers.

They also will need to be aware of Julio Jones, the Falcons' outstanding wide receiver. No, Jones did not have a stellar season. This is not the time for him to have a breakout game.

The X-Factor will be the atmosphere in the Linc. With temperatures plunging as much as 30 degrees during the day, it will be cold out there for the dome team Falcons.

But a couple of quick 3-and-outs or an early turnover could turn the home crowd against Foles.

I still think this game comes down to Nick Foles.

If the Eagles win, it will be because of him.

And the flip side? Well, you know how that goes.

THE PICK: Make it Falcons 23, Eagles 13. Yes, it kills me to do this. Maybe Foles will flip a switch and look more like that "27-2" legend from a few years back. Or maybe the Birds' defense will harass home boy Matt Ryan into a couple of key mistakes, maybe even a Pick 6, But I'm not banking on it. It's just a shame. This was our year. Everything was lined up. Then Wentz's knee exploded. Nothing has been the same since.

LAST WEEK: That ugly shutout at the hands of the Cowboys did not keep the Eagles from amassing a 13-3 record, best in the NFL and the top seed going into the playoffs. But it left most seeing them as a deeply wounded team. For me, I thought the prospect of 14 wins - something no Eagles team has done in franchise history - would be enough to inspire a win. Hard to win when you don't score. And that's part of the unease going into this playoff week. The loss left me with a 12-4 mark on the season. Not a bad year. I just hope I get one more week in an NFC Championship game at the Linc next week. I'm not optimistic.

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

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

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)

Eagles 37, Cowboys 9 (My Pick: Eagles 29, Cowboys 17)

Eagles 31, Bears 3 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Bears 13)

Seahawks 24, Eagles 10 (My Pick: Seahawks 23, Eagles 17)

Eagles 43, Rams 35 (My Pick: Rams 33, Eagles 29)

Eagles 24, Giants 29 (My Pick: Eagles 23, Giants 19)

Eagles 19, Raiders 10 (My Pick: Eagles 27, Raiders 17)

Cowboys 6, Eagles 0 (My Pick: Eagles 23, Cowboys 16)

Friday, January 12, 2018

A final salute to Lt. Matt LeTourneau

Today we offer the first of what will be several 'Final Salutes' to fallen firefighter Lt. Matt LeTourneau.

You can read about last night's first of two viewings, where thousands stood in line for hours to honor him at the Cathedral Basilica SS Peter & Paul in downtown Philadelphia, here.

LeTourneau, a Springfield resident and longtime member of Springfield Fire Co., was killed in the line of duty while battling a row house blaze in North Philadelphia last weekend.

A second viewing will be followed by a funeral Mass this morning, and then a procession to his final resting spot, with burial in SS. Peter & Paul Cemetery in Marple, across the street from his alma mater, Cardinal O'Hara High School.

There will be a live-stream for first responders who want to pay their respects but can't make it into the city at the high school today.

We also will air the live-stream on our website, DelcoTimes, starting at 10:30 a.m.

You also should know there will be some major road closures around 1:30 this afternoon as the funeral procession makes its way from the city, south on I-95, north on the Blue Route to the cemetery.

Get those details here.

We will have full coverage of the funeral honoring LeTourneau today online and tomorrow in print.

RIP, Matt LeTourneau.

Presidential? Uh, not today

For the past year, I have asked for very little from President Trump.

I have not been disappointed.

I have repeatedly used this forum to plead with him to act presidential.

I guess this is not the morning to have that conversation again.

All night I kept waiting for a denial from the White House of the deplorable comments about Haiti, African nations and other developing areas.

Had the president been misquoted? Had his comments been taken out of context? No such explanation was forthcoming.

I won't repeat the comments here.

I think most people have heard them.

I don't get it.

The saddest part? I am sure that there are no shortage of people willing to embrace what the president said.

They are his "base."

Yep, that's the right word.

A balmy day, then a quick plunge back to winter

One day last week I gritted my teeth and shivered as I settled into the driver's seat for the ride to work and was greeted by a dashboard thermometer that read 9 degrees.

It would get worse. I was not far into the drive when the reading started dropping. It finally bottomed out at single, measly 1 degree. It's the first time in my life I've ever seen a reading that low in the car.

This morning I knew things had changed the second I opened the front door.

It felt absolutely balmy.

When I got in the car, the gauge told me it was exactly 58 degrees warmer than that point just last week.

Yes, it was drizzling. Yes, there was some very thick fog on the ride to work. Be careful about that.

But I will take it.

Unfortunately, it's not going to last long.

We will have some heavy rain this afternoon, as temperatures climb into the 60s.

But if you're headed for that Eagles playoff game tomorrow, better be prepared for a little bit of everything along the way.

They are talking about temperatures going off a cliff literally during the game. You tailgate may start mild, but could end up freezing.

Temperatures are expected to drop as much as 30 degrees during the day tomorrow, cooling off just in time for those Dome-folks from Atlanta to take the field against the Birds.

Get all the details on the forecast here.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A mistake, an apology & a correction

I do a lot of things here at the newspaper every day.

Unfortunately, I often try to do them all at the same time.

That's never a good idea.

And almost always brings with it some fairly disastrous results.

One of the tasks I perform here each day is to write our editorial. It is the one item I write that does not specifically have my name on it. The editorials are not bylined. They are supposed to represent the position of the newspaper. But the truth is I write most of them.

I like to write positions that reflect what is happening here in Delaware County, the more local the better. That includes regional and state issues, and yes, I have been known to weigh in on a national issue from time to time.

But people buy this newspaper for local news. And they expect us to be attuned to what is going on their neighborhoods.

Often we use the editorial page to honor a deserving local subject.

That was my objective last Monday when I sat down to write the editorial saluting the legacy of community service left by Lt. Matt LeTourneau.

If you do not know by now, he was the Philadelphia fireman killed in action while battling a row house blaze last weekend. He was trapped in debris during a structural collapse inside the burning home.

It was our lead story both Sunday and Monday.

But LeTourneau was much more than that. He was a Springfield native who still lived there. And he was a longtime member of the Springfield Fire Co. He was hailed by everyone who knew him as an expert trainer who molded many future firefighters. I certainly wanted to convey the sense of loss involved in his tragic death.

And that's what I did on Tuesday's editorial page.

All except for one thing.

In my haste I managed to misspell his name. Actually, I got it right the first time, then repeated it several times after that without the r.

That should not happen. There is no excuse for it. I take the blame. I could say it was a spell-check malfunction or some other technology glitch and none of it would change the outcome, I made a crucial mistake.

I offer my deepest apology to his family and friends.

I didn't even realize it until it was pointed out to me by a reader Wednesday afternoon. He noted something that often happens with newspaper clippings. He said he could only imagine the reaction of the family who might want to frame this salute only to find out their loved one's name had been misspelled.

He was right.

That is something I am always harping on.

Social media and so much of the online world is fleeting.

Print is forever.

That is why I am doing something I don't think I have ever done before as editor of this newspaper.

I am going to re-run that editorial tomorrow - with Matt LeTourneau's name spelled correctly.

Fittingly, it will appear on the day LeTourneau is honored by his family, friends and fellow firefighters, with a second viewing at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, followed by a funeral Mass and burial at SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery in Marple.

It will not erase the error. But it will offer our fitting final salute to Lt. Matt LeTourneau.

Pushing the envelope on Page One

As you might have heard me say from time to time, one of the most important jobs I have here each day is putting together the front page of our print edition.

Yes, we still create one every day. Thank God.

To do that we usually focus on one story and present it in a way to get the reader's attention.

Some of our critics call this 'sensationalism.'

These days we refer to it as survival.

Yes, that front page is meant to deliver the top story of the day. It also is meant to reach out, grab readers by the throat and scream, 'Buy this newspaper.'

To do that, we sometimes have to push the envelope just a bit.

For instance, today we noted that Gov. Wolf is declaring war on the opioid crisis. Of course, what he actually did was announce a state of emergency, but I think the war image likely got more readers' attention.

Last Saturday, we were tasked with presenting the news of the county Board of Judges' choice for the new district attorney.

They named an eminently qualified former deputy district attorney and federal prosecutor to the post.

Katayoun Copeland has the chops for the job.

She also has something else.

Almost everyone refers to her by 'Kat.' It even was noted in the county's official press release.

When I saw that, the tumblers in my head immediately started clicking.

What I came up with appeared on the front page of Saturday's edition.

TOP

'KAT'

It is my hope that no one thought we were trying to lessen or demean Copeland's ascension to the job. She's a first-rate choice.

We happen to like the choice.

In fact, we said so in today's editorial.

The grim numbers from the opioid war

Our front page today pretty much says it all.

The opioid war is getting worse. The numbers tell us that.

Now Gov. Tom Wolf is doing something that has never happened before in Philadelphia to attack the problem.

Yesterday the governor declared a state of emergency - something never done before to combat a health problem. That kind of action is usually reserved for weather emergencies or other natural disasters.

It's not hard to see why.

According to the most recent numbers from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, Pennsylvania recorded 4,642 drug overdose deaths in 2016. That puts it in the grim position of fourth highest rate in the country. Of those the majority of them, 3,900 involved opioids.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that means Pennsylvania has the fourth-highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the nation.

The news is equally grim here in Delaware County.

The county recorded at least 18 more opioid death in 2017 than the year before. According to date from the Delaware County Medical Examiner's Office, there were 247 drug-related deaths in the county in 2017. Of those, 219 were opioid-related. That compares to 2016 numbers that listed 227 drug-related deaths, with 201 opioid-related. And officials in the M.E.'s Office caution that there are still 47 cases from 2017 pending more tests.

To fight the problem, Gov. Wolf announced 13 specific initiatives as part of his declaration, which will be in effect for 90 days.

You can read them here.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The two sides of the Battle of Mariner East 2

There are two sides to every story.

I try to remind people of that little fact all the time.

Take the burning debate raging around construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline.

I'm not the most popular guy these days with opponents of Sunoco's plan transport hundreds of thousands of barrels of volatile gases such as ethane, butane and propane across the width of Pennsylvania - and Delaware County and Chester counties - to the old Sunoco refinery complex in Marcus Hook.

I have heard their concerns. In fact, I have sided with them a number of times on our editorial page when it comes to this project.

But, as always, there is another side to the story.

Sunoco has always countered the arguments against the pipeline with assurances that it is being constructed, and will be operated to the highest standards and safety concerns of the industry.

And they always add something else. There is a potential huge economic upside to this project.

This week, just a few days after seeing construction on the project shut down across the state by the Department of Environmental Protection because of a series of problems, they issued a new report that doubled down on those economic issues. Literally.

The report by the Philly group Econsult Solutions Inc. - paid for, by the way, by Sunoco - doubles the economic impact of Mariner East 2, to a cool $9 billion. That's up from the projected $4.2 billion a few years ago.

Our front page yesterday - which screamed $9 Billion Baby!' did not enthrall those who oppose the project, who see what construction has done in their neighborhoods, and who question the sanity of putting this pipeline in densely populated neighborhoods, even close to schools.

They are right. The economic benefits do not necessarily outweigh the economic benefits.

In fact, we point that out in today's editorial.

Two sides to every story, right?

You can read our editorial here.

Our cult of celebrity marches on

I like Oprah Winfrey.

I think she's a fabulous entertainer, talk show host and interviewer.

I don't think she should run for president.

Her crackling speech at the Golden Globes on the issue of sexual harassment and where we go from here catapulted her to the top of the list of possible presidential candidates.

It was a dynamite speech. Really Oprah doing what Oprah does best.

"A new day is on the horizon."

But an Oprah presidential candidacy would not be a new day. It would be a repeat of something we've seen before. And not that long ago.

Didn't we just go through this? And aren't we neck-deep in the results?

This is the fallout of the celebrity culture we worship - and crave - in this country.

If we have learned anything in the past 11 months, it should have been to value the qualifications of the person we elect to sit in the Oval Office.

Do I think Oprah Winfrey would be an improvement over Donald Trump?

Without question.

But it's a low bar. I still don't think Trump is qualified to be president. Neither am I. Nor Oprah for that matter.

I realize there area lot of people who would disagree, who would insist that is precisely why they got on the Trump bandwagon, to change things in Washington, to "drain the swamp."

How's that working out for you?

The Trump candidacy should set off serious warning alarms for the media and how we go about covering campaigns.

Trump became the runaway leader for the Republican on the backs of non-stop, 24-hour coverage of everything outrageous thing he said, every mocking nickname he hurled at one GOP opponent after another, his non-stop attack on "Crooked Hillary." Getting elected didn't change Trump a bit. He's still at war with Hillary and anything he can do to erase the legacy of President Barack Obama. You know, the guy Trump insisted was not born in the USA and thus should have been disqualified as presidential timber.

We're not electing a reality TV show host, folks. Though I admit at times it's hard to tell.

Nor should we be ready to get behind another media heavyweight and talk show host.

Looking for the most popular person in the U.S.? Oprah just might be your candidate.

President? I don't think so.

The Rodney Dangerfields of the NFL

The Rodney Dangerfields of the NFL went back to practice yesterday.

That's right, your Philadelphia Eagles are not getting much respect these days.

Without potential MVP candidate quarterback Carson Wentz, they limped into the playoffs with Nick Foles at the helm of the offense.

Do you think the Vegas oddsmakers watched any of those last two regular season games?

Maybe that's why they knocked the Birds, who now have the dubious distinction of being the first team in history to enter the playoffs as the No. 1 seed, and yet being listed as an underdog at home.

The game opened in Vegas with the Falcons listed as a 3-point favorite. It went down to 2.5 and is holding steady.

The Eagles - in particular head coach Doug Pederson - seem more than a bit peeved by this distinction. Pederson gave a series of short, clipped answers at his Tuesday press briefing.

Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe the Birds can parlay that massive chip on their shoulder into a rallying cry.

People have doubted them all season.

But make not mistake, this is not the same team that sprinted to a 13-3 mark, best in the NFL.

It's pretty simple really. Nick Foles is not Carson Wentz.

So of course all the experts and fans are saying that the Eagles should merely load up on the run, feed Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount and play smash-mouth football, literally trying to run the ball down the Falcons' throats.

But everyone else knows this, too.

The Falcons No. 1 objective in this game is to stop the Eagles' ground game and force Nick Foles to beat them.

It comes down to Nick Foles vs. Matt Ryan.

If the Eagles win, it will be because Foles outplayed the Exton native.

If they lose, it likely will simply be the reverse.

I remain hopeful that the weather iced Foles these past two weeks. That won't be an issue Saturday. It should be in the 40s by kickoff at the Linc.

The fan in me desperately wants Foles to play well and the Birds to post a big win.

The realist in me tells me otherwise.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A salute to Lt. Matt LeTourneau

There is a single word that kept coming up among the people who knew and worked with Lt. Matt LeTourneau every day. Trainer.

LeTourneau, the Springfield resident and Philly firefighter who was killed battling a row house blaze in North Philadelphia Saturday, never stopped learning about the science of fighting fires. And the longtime member of Springfield Fire Co. was intent on passing that knowledge along.

He was a fixture at the Delaware County Emergency Services Training Center, both as a student and instructor. It's hard to gauge the immeasurable loss LeTourneau's tragic death represents.

It's not hard at all to recount his legacy. LeTourneau's passion for service and training will live on in those he molded and mentored every day.

You can read our editorial honoring that legacy here.

And services now have been set for the Springfield resident's funeral.

There will be two viewings at the Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia Thursday night and Friday morning. A Mass will be celebrated at the Basilica after the viewing Friday morning, before LeTourneau's body is returned home for interment in SS. Peter & Paul Cemetery in Marple.

A change of pace: Rational online conversation

I asked; you delivered.

Well, at least some of you.

In my Monday Letter From the Editor, my weekly print column, I once again lamented the state of online commentary, and called for a new civility in our online conversations.

Yes, that means all of you who troll our DelcoTimes.com website, or zing us on Twitter and Facebook.

I actually enjoy the give and take, but I urged those taking part to keep it above the belt. Too often what I see online quickly descends into partisan drivel. What's even worse is the racial invective that is so casually tossed about online.

It did not take long for me to see results.

Actually, I probably should have mentioned this earlier.

There is a group that is pushing their message online - and doing so in a most reasonable manner.

Those who for months now have opposed Sunoco's Mariner East 2 pipeline have certainly raised their voices again and again to protest the project and question the wisdom of putting this pipeline in densely populated areas and within a couple of hundreds feet of elementary schools such as Glenwood Elementary in Middletown.

In general, I have agreed with them.

But I also have indicated I do not think any of these issues is likely to stop the project, which actually is now on hold after the state Department of Environmental Protection halted all construction on the pipeline across the state because of persistent problems. I think those issues will be resolved. And I think this project is going to be completed.

That does not mean I do not understand the issues being raised by those who oppose it. I certainly would not want it running through my back yard.

They have disagreed with me, but we've had a rational conversation about the project. I actually think some of them have been surprised to see me respond directly to them on Facebook, where they have their own community opposed to the pipeline.

Of couse, that was before they saw today's front page, which leads with a new report - paid for by Sunoco - touting the economic benefits of Mariner East 2, something they have been casting doubt on now for years.

And so the debate will rage on.

That's as it should be.

We can have rational conversations that don't descend into ugly partisanship, name-calling and vulgar depictions.

And the opponents of the pipeline project are proof of it.

Getting to the car will be a challenge this a.m.

I would love to be able to give you my normal early-morning report from the roads.

It looks like the major roads are OK.

Which would be nice if I could get to my car.

Right now it's encased in ice, sitting there tempting me.

Of course to get there I would have to put my life in jeopardy trying to navigate the walkway, which appears as if the zamboni just put a nice coating of ice on it.

Everything is encased in ice.

The car is frozen solid.

And if I did get in the car, I'm not sure it would negotiate the slight incline in the driveway.

There is good news in all this, however.

The coated surfaces such as the major roads are in good shape.

And that much-promised warmup is on the way. We're going to push close to 40 later today with lots of sunshine. On Friday they're actually talking about temperatures getting close to the 60-degree mark.

Welcome, April.

But for now just be very careful on those first few steps outside the house this morning.

They might be the most dangerous ones you take this morning, long before you ever reach the road. Get the full forecast here.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Honoring Matt LeTourneau

The thing about this job is that there really aren't any off days.

Any more it seems like there aren't any off hours.

That's what I was thinking Saturday morning when I started to write a brief on a very bad fire in North Philadelphia.

I was in the middle of writing it when the story changed drastically - in a most tragic way.

A Philadelphia firefighter was killed battling the row home fire. He had been trapped when there was a structure collapse inside the house and he was trapped in the debris.

But I was barely done writing those words when the story took another major shift - and made it a different animal altogether for the Daily Times.

I started noticing on social media condolences being offered to Springfield Fire Co.

It did not take long to find out why.

Matt LeTourneau, the Philly fire lieutenant who was killed in the blaze, was a Springfield native and longtime Springfield Fire Co. volunteer.

I quickly started making plans to cover the story, dispatching reporter Kathleen Carey late Saturday afternoon to pay a visit to the Springfield Fire House, where members were starting the grim process of placing black bunting over the front bay doors.

We actually juggled some of our planned coverage so we could lead the paper with the tragic news of LeTourneau's death.

It's part of what we do. It's not unusual for news to dictate changes in our coverage, and things that you have carefully planned all week can change in a heartbeat.

When I woke up Sunday morning, the LeTourneau story was still on my mind.

This kind of story resonates with our readers, and I wanted to make sure we did right by LeTourneau - and the firefighting community - by getting more reaction to his sudden passing.

I again decided to lead Monday's paper with the story.

But getting there involved some details I had not taken into account. Let's just say that there were a number of phone calls made and that I talked to several people in attempts to move ahead with the story.

The one thing I did not want to do was simply ignore the story. That kind of action gives the impression that we somehow are downplaying the loss of LeTourneau, or showing disrespect to the firefighting community. And that is something I fight against almost every day.

In many of these instances, I understand there is a natural bit of distrust of the media. It's a time of intense emotions, feeling laid bare, broken hearts and intense grief.

It is into that morass we trudge in order to do our job. It is not unusual for people to be reluctant to talk. Some are more open than others.

But I want people to know that in pushing for this story today, I did not do so to take advantage of another tragedy.

I did it to honor the life and work of Matt LeTourneau - and in fact all of our first responders.

I hope that today's front page and story did just that.

The Year of Civility? It's your choice

I deal with technology all day, every day. It is now an integral part of the newspaper racket.

Yes, we still create our beloved print edition every day - and no shortage of people still lovingly hold it in their mitts each morning, along with their coffee.

But increasingly we exist in an online world.

And guess what?

It's not always pretty out there.

There was a time when the newspaper had an outsized voice in the community. Some say we still do.

But that dynamic is changing, a result of the technology we swim in every day.

The truth is today every person with a phone, tablet or laptop is a publisher, able to push their message out to the public.

The result sometimes is a cacophony of voices, this one included.

But there is a difference in what I do and what so much of what goes down on the Internet. Every item I pen - blog, column, Tweet or Facebook post - has my name beside it.

That is not always the case online. And too many people use that veil of anonymity to engage in conduct they would never consider for a second if they knew they would be identified and tied at the hip to such ugly commentary.

I talk about it today in my first Letter From the Editor weekly print column of the new year.

I am calling for a Year of Civility.

I'm not going to hold my breath.

You can read the full column here.

Arctic freeze moves out, winter mess moves in this afternoon

Congratulations, you survived the Deep Freeze of 2018.

But we aren't out of the woods yet.

That's because while we are set for a bit of a thaw in terms of the temperatures, it will be followed by a messy mix of snow, sleet and ice that is threatening to turn the entire area into a skating rink this afternoon - just in time for the afternoon rush.

You won't have any problems getting to work or school this morning. Getting home might be a different matter altogether.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for the entire region for a mix of sleet and snow Monday, the National Weather Service said.

“Ice will likely create hazardous conditions on area roads and walkways. Icy conditions are expected to continue on Monday night and Tuesday morning as temperatures remain below freezing at most locations,” the National Weather Service said in its advisory.

Some local school districts are already making plans for the afternoon mess. Upper Darby School District will have early dismissal, with kids being sent home just before lunch.

My dashboard thermometer read 12 degrees this morning. That comes after we shattered records for the cold Sunday. But we will finally break free of the icy tentacles of that massive Nor'easter, with temperatures peaking right about the freezing mark this afternoon.

If we can get through this afternoon, there is some relief on the way.

And if you can believe it, we might actually come close to hitting 60 degrees later in the week.

You can get all those details here.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Record - dangerous - cold is on the way

It's not exactly a secret that I don't like cold weather.

Actually that's not quite correct. I despise cold weather.

So you can guess what kind of mood I'm in today.

And it looks like I'm going to be that way all weekend.

This is not just cold. If you haven't been outside yet - and you don't have to - here's a tip.

Don't.

This is dangerous cold.

This is the kind of cold that takes your breath away.

And it's going to get worse.

We survived Bombogenesis. Actually we kind of lucked out. We only got a couple of inches of snow.

Areas at the Delaware and Jersey shores got a foot of snow and more.

Now what we're going to be dealing with is just brutal cold.

Howling winds will put wind chills below zero today.

And Saturday is likely to set record for low temperatures.

The record low for tomorrow is 4. We are expecting to break that.

That is the actual temperature. Not the wind chill

Real Feel? Don't even think about it.

It won't be until Sunday when the temperatures moderate a bit.

You can get all the details here.

Who's up for a trip to Key West?

More on the Battle of Mariner East 2

Rack up a big win for the opponents of Mariner East 2.

Yes, they won a big battle. But can they win the war.

Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19, of West Whiteland, one of the fiercest critics of the way the state has handled oversight of this project, is vowing to turn up the heat just a day after the state Department of Environmental Protection shut down all construction on the project across the state until Sunoco officials can satisfy the state that they have a plan to abide by all permitting procedures.

And we also heard from two of our state senators, Republicans Tom Killion, R-9, of Middletown, and Tom McGarrigle, R-26, of Springfield. They sounded a lot like Republican U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan did the day before. They're in a tough spot on this thing. They love the jobs and the economic boost this project represents, but they also need to listen to residents who continue to voice their complaints about the way the plan was handled and the safety problems they insist it represents. You can get all the latest details here.

Meanwhile, on our editorial page, I offered an opinion I am sure is not going to be especially popular with those who want to shut this thing down.

It is not that I don't see their point.

Do I think it's a good idea to put Mariner East 2 - carrying hundreds of thousands of barrels of ethane, propane, and butane at high pressure just a few hundred feet from local schools, such as Glenwood Elementary in Middletown? Absolutely not.

Would I want it in my backyard? Again the answer is no.

But I still don't think this thing is going to be stopped.

First off, it's almost completed.

Second, there is just way too much money involved in this project.

I could be wrong. Won't be the first time - or the last. Hell, I'm still trying to believe that two Democrats actually were elected to Delaware County Council.

But my guess is that Sunoco Pipeline L.P. will quietly go about complying with whatever conditions the state insists on, and this project will be completed, even if several months later than the company had hoped.

Pipelines - including one already carrying the very same materials as Mariner East 2, albeit in smaller amounts, have been part of Delaware County forever.

Is Mariner East 2 a bit of a different animal because of the materials involved? Yes.

Is there a better, safer way to transport these materials? Probably not.

I look for Mariner East 2 to continue.

And the protests to do the same.

You can read our editorial here.

Here's your early a.m. report from the roads

Here's your early a.m. report from the roads for the morning after Bombogenesis (God, I hate that word!).

The main roads are fine, except for a few spots that have drifted over from the howling wind.

The side roads are a bit more dicey.

I came down Route 352 from West Chester to Granite Run, and there were several spots, especially around Penn State Brandywine, where snow blew back across the road. Luckily there is next to no one when I'm on the road, just the way I like it.

Baltimore Pike was in pretty good shape, until I got into Media. There the lanes get much narrower because people have parked cars on the side of the street and they are plowed in.

Also Route 252 from Media down to Ridley was not in all that great shape.

Bottom line: Take your time and you will be fine. Or leave early as I do and skip the hassles of dealing with other drivers.

Also, it is seriously cold out there, and the wind is howling.

Should be a beautiful couple of days.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The battle of Mariner East 2

For Sunoco and its controversial Mariner East 2 pipeline plan, this is the equivalent of getting your knuckles rapped.

For more than a year now critics of the massive, $2.5 billion project that will ferry ethane, butane and propane across the full width of Pennsylvania, from the Marcellus Shale regions to the former Sunoco refinery in Marcus Hook have complained.

They have complained to their local officials. As it turns out, it was a little too late for that. Many school districts and municipalities had already sold easements to Sunoco and construction had begun when the protests began to pick up speed.

They have complained to their elected state officials.

They have complained to state agencies and even Gov. Tom Wolf. They actually got a sit-down with the governor, urging him to shut down the project until a new safety study on the pipeline plan could be done.

Some homeowners and municipalities went to court in attempts to stop the plan.

Not much has worked.

Despite being behind schedule, much of the pipeline is already in place, traversing about 11 miles across Delaware County and another 25 as it snakes its way across Chester County.

The problems have not gone away.

The pipeline incurred several incidents with spills, runoffs and problems with private water wells.

Finally, the state apparently had heard enough.

Wednesday the state Department of Environmental Protection halted all construction on Mariner East 2 across the state until Sunoco Pipeline Ltd., which is building the pipeline, can fix the problems that have plagued the project and sparked all those complaints from citizens and lawmakers.

DEP specifically blasted Sunoco for what it called "repeated violations" of the permitting process and failing to notify the agency of discharges of drilling fluid. It also nailed Sunoco, now a spinoff of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, for unauthorized drilling. This stems from work out near Harrisburg, where the company decided to use a controversial process known as horizontal directional drilling even though it was not permitted for that type of work. The company insists it was the environmentally preferred way to go about the work. DEP obviously did not agree.

"Until Sunoco can demonstrate that the permit conditions can and will be followed, DEP has no alternative but to suspend the permits," said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. "WE are living up to our promise to hold this project accountable to the strong protections in the permits."

Gov. Wolf, who has been under siege by opponents of the project, and who just happens to be facing a difficult re-election campaign, sounded a similar note.

"Governor Wolf has made clear from the onset that he expects DEP to hold all permittees accountable to the conditions and requirements of Pennsylvania law which are implemented in all permits that are issued," a statement from his office said. "DEP today is doing just that. This suspension will remain in place until the operator demonstrates compliance with the administrative order that DEP issued. This provides assurance that going forward it will uphold all obligations under the strict permits issued for this project.

"It is incredibly important that operators adhere to the terms of their permit. A failure to do so puts jobs for the citizens of our commonwealth and investment in our communities at risk."

Yesterday's announcement sparked a tsunami of hosannas from local elected representatives, citizen and environmental groups who have been leading the charge against the pipeline.

But don't make the mistake of thinking this is going to stop Mariner East 2. I don't think it is.

And I'm not alone.

Both Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19 of West Whiteland, one of the region's fiercest pipeline critics, and the citizen group Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety, tempered their enthusiasm for the DEP ruling with their ongoing concerns about the safety of the plan. Del-Chesco went so far as to call it a 'token bow to pressure' from Gov. Wolf.

Dinniman continued to express serious doubts about the wisdom of putting a pipeline carrying these materials in close proximity to schools, day care facilities, parks, libraries and senior living centers."

No doubt Sunoco will ready a plan for DEP showing how they plan to adhere to all permitting process and other regulations. They have consistently rejected claims that the project is not safe, or endangers the local water supply. They insist it is being constructed to the highest standards of the industry. They reassure that they have residents' safety at heart.

Bottom line?

The critics of Mariner East 2 have won a battle.

It remains to be seen if they will win the war.

Shore enough, it's a snow day

There are not many days that I do not wake up and wish I was in Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Today is not one of them.

Yes, I love me some Grotto Pizza. And yes, don't ask me why, but it tastes better at the beach. Maybe it's the salt air.

But today is not the day to be at the shore. Not in Delaware, not in Maryland, not in New Jersey either.

Why?

Well, how do the terms 'bombogenesis' or 'bomb cyclone' strike you?

Yes, we are having a snow event.

Swell.

I got up at my normal insane hour this morning and started my morning ritual. KYW. Coffee. In that order. I also made the mistake of turning on the TV. Within minutes I heard the term 'treacherous' at least four times.

Most schools across the region are closed.

Delaware County government also is shut down, as well as the courthouse. Guess we're going to have to wait to learn who the new district attorney is going to be. The county Board of Judges was supposed to vote today.

It did not look all that bad early, but I decided I would at least start the day working from home.

Probably a good idea, the snow is picking up. This is likely going to get worse before it gets better.

Make sure you let us know what conditions are like in your neighborhood. Tweet us pictures using the hashtag #delcosnow. We'll be updating conditions all day.

If this is not bad enough, once the snow stops, howling winds and the coldest temperatures of the winter so far will be moving in. Gusts will be up to 50 mph. Wind chills will be below zero.

By the way, if you're wondering what the hell 'bombogenesis' or 'bomb cyclone' actually is, you're not alone. It blew up the internet last night. You can read about it here.

Me, I'll be thinking of Rehoboth. In August.

Want Eagles' tickets? You'll need lots of green

Forget all that white out there today.

It's a day for green - Eagles green.

You'll also need a lot of green it you are looking to score tickets for the Eagles first playoff game a week from Saturday. Remember, the Birds have the week off while the Wild Card teams battle it out.

On Saturday, Jan. 13 they will face either the Falcons, Saints or Panthers.

If you want to be at the Linc in person, it's not going to be cheap.

Get all the details here.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A day of firsts at the Media Courthouse

It was a day of firsts at the Delaware County Courthouse yesterday.

Two-party government arrived in Delaware County.

Democrats Kevin Madden and Brian Zidek took the oath of office and were sworn in as members of Delaware County Council.

They are the first Democrats to sit on the county's ruling body since the Home Rule Charter was adopted back in the mid-70's, in effect ending mandatory minority party representation.

And it wasn't just Council that saw a shakeup.

Three new county row officers also were sworn in. All three were Democrats. That would include new county Sheriff Jerry Sanders, thus becoming the first African-American to hold a county row office.

Madden and Zidek led the charge in the November election, when Democrats finally put their newfound voter registration to work and muscled their way past incumbent Republican County Councilman Dave White and his running mate, longtime Magisterial District Judge John Perfetti.

It did not take long for something else that could be considered fairly historic to occur.

County Council held its reorganization meeting, and the vote was not unanimous.

Incumbent Councilman John McBlain was named the new chairman, and Colleen Morrone vice chairman. But on a 3-2 vote.

You have to go back to Andy Lewis voting against the bond issue to build that soccer stadium in Chester to find the last time a no vote was cast by what for decades has been the all-Republican Council.

Madden questioned why Morrone, who had been serving as vice chairman, was not elevated to the top spot.

Both he and Zidek voted against the nominations.

But both also talked about a spirit of bipartisan government they hoped to instill in the county courthouse.

We wish them good luck.

That would indeed be historic.

Continuing the Kudrick tradition - and the Mummers bond

They say the Mummers are a family thing.

A brotherhood.

A tradition that is passed down through generations of many families.

Don't believe it?

Just ask the member of the Duffy String Band.

They lost their longtime captain, Teddy Kudrick, who died suddenly from a massive heart attack last October in his Nether Providence home.

Kudrick had served as Duffy's captain for three decades. It's a position he inherited from his father.

When the members recovered from the shock of losing Kudrick, they had to tackle the task of picking a new captain.

They didn't have to look far.

The members of Duffy String Band wanted Kudrick's son Jake to take his spot.

What's unusual about that?

Jake Kudrick is 12.

Jake has been marching with Duffy - sometimes in his father's arms - for years.

The Delco youth stepped right in and never missed a beat.

No doubt Teddy Kudrick was smiling Monday.

And strutting!

We honor the Kudricks - and the family bond - that is at the heart of the Mummers on today's editorial page.

The post-holiday funk

My wife is worried about me again.

With good reason.

She thinks I am sliding off into my annual post-holiday funk.

You see, I don't wait for the Epiphany (Jan. 6), which is the traditional end of the Christmas season. My holidays usually end sometime on Dec. 26.

That's right, I'm not much of a New Year's guy. This year I worked most of the weekend. At least now I can manage to do most of that from home.

That meant spending nearly the entire day Monday (New Year's Day) wrapped in my official University of Colorado snuggie, trying desperately to stay warm.

OK, I can admit it.

I hate this next 90 days.

You might call it January, February and March.

I call it hell. Only I wish it was that warm.

I ride to work in the dark. I ride home in the dark. With my teeth chattering the whole way.

This morning something happened I have never encountered before.

When I climbed into the car, the dashboard temperature read a brisk 7 degrees, same as yesterday.

But once I got out on the road, I noticed a weird thing. It started going down.

It finally bottomed out at 1 degree.

A single digit, and not the one I was flashing at the dashboard.

Now we get to be regaled all day with the hype and bluster of a Nor'easter rumbling up the Atlantic coast. By all accounts, this is not going to produce a lot of snow for us, while there might be some accumulating snow down at the shore.

That will not stop the doom-sayers on TV from beating the drum for Armageddon all day.

What is coming behind this storm might be even worse.

You might find it hard to believe, but apparently it can get colder.

And it will on Friday.

We might finally start to pull out of this Ice Age on Sunday.

Wake me when April arrives.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

History will be made at the Delaware County Courthouse today

They will make a little history today at the Delaware County Courthouse.

Something will happen there that has not happened since the mid-1970's.

Democrats will join the process of governing Delaware County.

Democrats Kevin Madden and Brian Zidek, who were victorious at the polls in November, will be sworn into office.

They will be followed by three county row officers taking the oath of office. All three also are Democrats. Jerry Sanders will become the new sheriff; Mary J. Walk will assume duties of register of wills; and Joanne Phillipps will become the new county controller.

All of this will take place amid some pomp in the Honorable John V. Diggins Ceremonial Courtroom in the Delaware County Courthouse.

Immediately following the ceremonies, County Council will holds its annual reorganization meeting. Despite the win by two Democrats in November, Republicans continue to hold a 3-2 edge on the county's ruling body.

Why do I get the feeling neither Madden or Zidek are in line to be the new chairman or vice chairman.

We'll be there to bring you all the latest developments in a fairly historic day at the courthouse.

A look back at the year that was: Pipes, Gripes & Abusers in Pinstripes

Just in case you missed it, I used my Monday Letter From the Editor weekly print column to take a look back at 2017. Wow, what a year.

I called it Pipes, Gripes and Abusers in Pinstripes.

It details the big stories of the year.

The first of course is the Mariner East 2 pipeline. It's also the one that got the most feedback after I posted my column. I understand people's concerns about this project, about the idea of running these kinds of highly volatile elements through densely populated neighborhoods and even right past elementary schools. But this battle is over. This pipeline is not going to be stopped. Not now. Oh, it may be adjusted. But if you think Gov. Tom Wolf is going to step on the toes of the PUC in an election year and put a halt to construction, I suggest you think again.

This battle was largely lost a couple of years ago, when the plans first quietly won approval from local municipalities, when Sunoco won the right in court to be recognized as a public utility, thus allowing it to use eminent domain to acquire property where needed for their plans.

The Gripes were about some of our political coverage. Nothing new there. I know that regardless how we cover these races, we are going to make a lot of people unhappy. I wasn't disappointed this year either, when Democrats made a little history by winning two seats on Delaware County Council and sweeping the three county row offices.

Finally, there is this matter of Abusers in Pinstripes.

Yes, the #MeToo movement reverberated here as well.

Two women legislators from Delaware County are taking the lead in pushing a package of bills to address the issue, in particular this nasty habit of elected officials using confidential settlements - and taxpayer dollars - to make complaints go away quietly.

You can check it out here.

'Super Moon,' not so super temperatures

I don't think it's a stretch to say that I am not a fan of this weather.

Yet I was fascinated by something when I walked out the door this morning.

No, it was not the 7-degree reading on the dashboard thermometer. The same one that dropped to 6 and even 5 before rallying a bit to 9 degrees on the ride into the office.

This happened before that.

I walked out the door and was stopped dead in my tracks by something I had not seen before.

It was almost like dusk.

They are calling this a "super moon."

Take my word for it. It's worth getting up to check it out. OK, maybe not at the hour I get up, but it's still pretty cool. That light coating of snow we got Saturday morning reflected the moonlight to make it appears as if it was just getting dark, instead of being the early a.m. hours.

It reminded me of something I once did a lifetime ago when I was a student in Colorado.

When we would get one of these full moons, especially after a snow, we'd go cross-country skiiing at midnight. The brightness of the moon made is easy to navigate.

I got that same feeling this morning.

Right up until the moment my bottom hit that front seat in the car.

Another reason I'm not sure I will ever own another car that does not have heated seats.

Get used to it.

This cold is not going away anytime soon. We will moderate a bit on Wednesday, maybe even threatening the 32-degree freezing mark. But we'll pay for it Thursday with a chance of some snow from a Nor'easter that will rumble up the East Coast. Then it's right back into the deep freeze for the weekend.

You can get the full forecast here.