Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Welcome to the 5th!

Welcome to the 5th.

Say goodbye to the 7th and 1st.

Two different courts yesterday turned thumb's down to Republican appeals of the new Congressional map for Pennsylvania enacted by the state Supreme Court.v You know, the one that puts all of Delaware County into one district - the 5th - along with a sliver of Montgomery County on the Main Line and a bit of South Philly.

The court acted after their earlier ruling that the Congressional district map in use since 2011, done by the Republican state Legislature, was unconstitutionally gerrymandered to favor Republicans.

Republicans filed a number of appeals during just about every step of the process.

All of them failed.

The result? The new map will be in effect for the May 15 primary. Even most Republican officials who fought against the new map seem resigned to the new shape, which most experts believe will make it easier for Democrats to regain some of the seats they have consistently been losing to Republicans. The GOP holds a 13-5 edge in the state's Congressional delegation.

We have reaction from both party leaders in Delaware County.

And we note that Delco Republicans have offered an endorsement in the 5th District race. They're standing behind Pearl Kim, a former assistant district attorney here in Delco and also a former senior deputy attorney general of Pennsylvania. Several other Republicans have dropped out of the race. What we don't know yet is whether any of the remaining Republicans will challenge Kim in the GOP Primary, in particular Clare Putnam Pozos, a former assistant U.S. attorney.

Democrats still have as many as 15 candidates seeking the nod. Party leader David Landau said Democrats likely will try to unite behind a candidate and offer an endorsement sometime after today's filing deadline.

Today is the last day for Congressional hopefuls to file their nominating petitions. We'll be back with a full update on who's running and who's not.

In the meantime, here is our editorial. The new map is a clear improvement over the old one. Most of all, yesterday's court rulings clear up at least some of the confusion that has shrouded the race.

Read it here.

So how much snow do you think we're going to get?

Are you ready to 'Spring Backward.'

No, we're not ending Daylight Saving Time early.

Today is the first day of Spring. Hope you enjoy your free Rita's Water Ice.

But it's not going to feel much like spring. And it won't for several days.

That's because we are staring into the teeth of Nor'easter No. 4, which has been chewing up the South and is now rumbling up the East Coast.

This is expected to start later this morning, the first part of a two-part storm that is expected to slam the region with rain, freezing rain and even some sleet before turning to mostly snow tomorrow.

The National Weather Service has already issued a Winter Storm Warning, starting at 6 p.m. and lasting right through the day tomorrow.

Today likely won't be a problem, although it's not going to feel much like spring.

We're actually at our high for the day right now at 34. Rain will arrive mid-morning and be on and off most of the day. The ride home tonight is likely to be wet, with just the chance of some freezing rain.

Tomorrow is likely going to be another story.

Snow is expected to start in the morning and heavy snow is being forecast for the afternoon.

The forecasts on this one vary anywhere from a few inches to up to a foot of snow.

So let's have some fun with this, if that is possible.

How many inches of snow do you think we're going to get?

I say we get 4 inches. An accumulation on grassy surfaces and a slushy mess on the roads.

Offer your prediction now.

Here's what the National Weather Service is saying:

Today: Rain, snow and sleet, possibly mixed with freezing rain before 1 pm, then rain and sleet between 1 pm and 4 pm, then rain and sleet, possibly mixed with freezing rain after 4 pm. High near 36. Northeast wind 10 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Little or no ice accumulation expected. Total daytime snow and sleet accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Tonight: Rain, snow and sleet, possibly mixed with freezing rain before midnight, then snow, possibly mixed with freezing rain between midnight and 3 am, then snow and sleet, possibly mixed with freezing rain after 3 am. Low around 29. Northeast wind 15 to 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New ice accumulation of less than a 0.1 of an inch possible. New snow and sleet accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Wednesday: Snow. The snow could be heavy at times. Some thunder is also possible. High near 33. North wind around 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 5 to 9 inches possible.

Wednesday Night: Snow likely, mainly before 8 pm. The snow could be heavy at times. Cloudy, with a low around 29. Northwest wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

Thursday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 42. Northwest wind 11 to 14 mph.

Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 28.

Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 43.

Get the full forecast here.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Can we get a ruling on the congressional map, please?

Candidates interested in running for Congress have until 5 p.m. Tuesday to file their nominating petitions, with the required 1,000 signatures.

Now all they need is confirmation of what district - and what constituents - they are running to represent.

That's because the Pennsylvania Congressional map - redrawn by the state Supreme Court after a lawsuit ruled the old one was unconstitutionally gerrymandered, is still being debated in court.

Republicans challenged the new map enacted by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which basically obliterated the old 1st and 7th Districts that used to represent Delaware County.

The new map puts all of Delaware County into one district - the 5th - along with a sliver of Montgomery County along the Main Line and a portion of South Philadelphia. Gone are the old 7th and 1st Districts.

Making all this ever more interesting is the fact that the region's two incumbent congressmen, Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7 of Chadds Ford, and Rep. Bob Brady, D-1 of Philadelphia, have decided not to seek re-election.

A horde of candidates from both parties are seeking the nomination.

The period to gather signatures on nominating petitions for Congress was extended because of the legal battles. The deadline is Tuesday, but the eventual fate of the map is still up in the air.

What is not is the Delco Republicans' choice. They met Sunday night and endorsed Pearl Kim, of Radnor, a former county assistant attorney general and former senior deputy attorney general of Pennsylvania. It will be interesting to see if she faces a primary challenge from one of the other Republicans interested in the seat, including a former assistant U.S. attorney, Clare Putnam Pozos, who is also from Radnor. Other Republicans who are seeking the nod include U.S. Navy veteran and volunteer firefighter Joe Billie, of Aston; attorney Jeremy H. Gonzalez Ibrahim of Chester County; tax attorney Greg McCauley of Chadds Ford; Haverford developer Wally Smerconish; and Radnor Commissioner Richard Booker.

On the Democratic side of the ledger, no less than a dozen candidates are seeking to "take the 5th."

That includes two latecomers who have raised a few eyebrows with their intentions to seek the seat. They would be state Reps. Greg Vitali, D-166 of Haverford, and Margo Davidson, D-164 of Upper Darby. Vitali first announced a few weeks ago, then changed his mind, then just last week decided to get back into the race. He's also rubbed more than a few people in Haverford the wrong way with his decision. Vitali plans to run both seats.

Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland is seeking the seat, as is former Philadelphia Deputy Mayor Rich Lazer, who has the backing of Mayor Jim Kenney, as well as the financial might of John Dougherty's union clout.

Other Democrats running for the 5th Congressional District include attorney Mary Gay Scanlon of Swarthmore; former Morgan Stanley wealth manager Lindy Li of Malvern; attorney Dan Muroff of Media; scientist Dr. Molly Sheehan of South Philadelphia; former CIA officer Shelly Chauncey of Glen Mills; entrepreneur and journalist David Wertine of Haverford; attorney and consultant Dan Boyle; political science professor Mary Ellen Balchunis of Ardmore; and George Badey, chairman of Radnor Township’s Democratic Committee.

This race could well be one for the record books.

Now all we need is confirmation on what the district actually will look like.

Confessions of a Toys R Us parent & newspaper editor

It was when we were writing the obit for Toys R Us last week that I realized the newspaper industry - at least our print editions - have a lot in common with the struggling, iconic toy store.

And it's not just the fact that so many of us who toil in this industry don't what to grow up.

I guess at some point, I will have to figure out what I want to do when I actually do grow up.

I wasn't a Toys R Us kid. I was a Toys R Us parent.

And I have the scars to prove it.

Now, my industry is dealing with some of the same enemies.

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

Anyone else never want to hear the word Nor'easter again?

Raise your hand if you never want to hear the word Nor'easter again.

Tell me about it.

If that's the case, you're out of luck. This is not going to be a good week.

Yes, spring arrives tomorrow.

So does the next threat of a Nor'easter.

Is it just me, or do our local weather people seem just a tad too excited by all this Nor'easter mania.

Today actually will be nice, with lots of sun and a high near 50 for the last full day of winter.

It goes downhill pretty quickly tomorrow and we'll be dealing with our next Nor'easter right through Thursday.

Here's what I can tell you.

It will certainly douse your spring fever. It's going to be a mix of cold and wet.

Just what will it do?

I have no clue - and I'm beginning to wonder if our local weather folks do either.

I've heard people saying anything from mostly rain, to some sloppy wet snow, to one station saying some parts of the area could get 6 inches of snow before this is over.

This is actually two storms that will hit the area starting tomorrow, all day Wednesday and even into Thursday.

I'm putting my money on a slight accumulation on grassy surfaces and roads that are merely wet.

Don't blame me if I'm wrong.

After all, no one seems to blame the local forecasters when their breathless Nor'easter forecasts don't exactly pan out.

Get the full forecast here.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Toohil vs. Miccarelli

I guess this is what you might call a win-win situation.

If you listen to the participants, both state Rep. Tarah Toohil and Rep. Nick Miccarelli got what they wanted when they went to court yesterday in Luzerne County.

Toohil, R-116 of Butler Township, got an extension of the Protection From Abuse order she got against Miccarelli last week.

Miccarelli, R-162 of Ridley Park, did not admit any wrongdoing. He can return to work at the state Capitol. The Delco Republican says he feels 'vindicated.' As you might expect, Toohil's camp doesn't see it quite the same way.

All of this stems from a private complaint filed with House leaders by Toohil and another woman, a Harrisburg consultant, that claimed physical and sexual assault by the Delco rep.

In Toohil's case, she says she feared for her life and that Miccarelli once pointed a gun at her head.

The consultant alleges that Miccarelli came to her home after their relationship ended and forced her to have sex.

Both women were at one time in consensual relationship with Miccarelli.

The final word on this saga might just come from the Dauphin County D.A.'s office. They continue to investigate the allegations and now have in their possession a report filed by House Republican leaders. The GOP brass have declined to talk about what was in the report, citing confidentiality agreements.

In the meantime, Miccarelli says that if simply staying away from Toohil puts this issue behind him, he's "OK" with that and that he just wants to go back to work for his constituents.

He insists he has no intention of stepping down and plans to stay on the ballot and seek re-election.

You can get all the details here.

Hear this Lamb roar

The silence of the Lamb?


The roar from Tuesday's special election in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District special election is being heard across the country.

The stunning upset by Conor Lamb might just offer a blueprint for Democrats to return to their roots, and the blue-collar, labor vote that deserted them in favor of President Trump in 2016.

It also no doubt set off alarm bells for Republicans who fear a blue tidal wave in the November mid-terms.

We talk about it on today's editorial page.

A St. Paddy's salute to the Quiet Man

It is that time of year.

But since St. Paddy's Day falls on Saturday this year, and it's not likely that I will be wearing a tie tomorrow, I decided to wear this very special item today.

I wear this tie exactly one time every year, on St. Patrick's Day.

It belonged to my father, one of the few items of his I still have, along with his Navy dogtags and his Lincoln University police ID card, which still sit on my dresser.

This tie belonged to his father, and I am told came straight from the old country.

Among some of the Heron lore, we were always told that our relatives in Ireland were named O'Heron, but that they dropped the O when they came to America.

That's a shame. I really like the idea of O'Heron.

My father picked up the nickname The Quiet Man, not so much for the great John Wayne movie, but for the fact that he was a man of very few words.

It's still one of my favorite flicks. I just might sit down and watch it again tonight.

Here's to you, dad.

Happy St. Paddy's Day, Quiet Man.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

A bloody nose, courtesy of a trip to Toys R Us

Dear Geoffrey: Beware the Ides of March.

They're killing off Toys R Us.

America's funland is about to land on the growing trash heap of retailers done in by competition from online outlets, as well as superstores such as Walmart and Target.

The 70-year-old toy retailer announced that it will close all 740 of its U.S. stores, leaving 30,000 workers in the unemployment line.

I will always remember Toys R Us for two things: A Cabbage Patch Doll and a bloody nose.

No, I didn't get into a fight over the last prized doll in the store.

Let me explain.

This had to be the early '90's. I had been dispatched to hit the Toys R Us across from Granite Run Mall on my way to work.

Back then I was doing a later shift, usually getting into the office about noon. I actually had time to do something other than write blogs, blast away on Twitter and post on Facebook.

My mission? Acquire the seemingly impossible-to-find Cabbage Patch doll, the only thing my young daughter wanted for Christmas. I had been just about everywhere and come up empty. No one had them.

Then I heard that the Toys R Us at the mall was getting a new shipment.

I managed to get there just in time as a horde descended on the remaining dolls.

It was as I was leaving the store, carefully going over the remaining items on my "wish list," that disaster struck.

As I recall, right in front of the store they used to have a metal rack where shoppers would return their carts after loading their goodies into the car.

I never saw it. But I certainly felt it.

Yep, I walked directly into it - nose first, opening up a nice size gash on the top of my nose. I'm still surprised I didn't black out. I'm a fast walker. And I was not wasting any time getting to my car - right up until the time I hit that metal bar.

I managed to drive the rest of the way down Baltimore Pike with a tissue trying to stop the flow of blood.

I still remember the looks on the faces of the women in Classified as I raced into the office with blood continuing to flow from the gash. I think they all thought I had been shot.

Luckily, managing editor Linda DeMeglio managed to do a little quick first aid, stop the flow, and bandage my nose. Hell, it was probably an improvement.

But it was a happy Christmas for my daughter.

And the reason I will always remember Toys R Us.

See you around, Geoffrey.

You'll be missed

Young guns: They're not beholden to NRA

Seem like there are more people "petrified" of the National Rifle Association in Washington, D.C. than it first appeared.

Remember a few weeks ago when President Trump criticized Pa. Republican Sen. Pat Toomey and others who had convened at the White House to talk about gun violence in the wake of the latest mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Trump wanted to know why the bill Toomey had proposed along with Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., did not address something Trump was suggesting, hiking the age to buy a semi-automatic weapon from 18 to 21.

Trump cut off Toomey in mid-sentence to announce that too many people in the room were "afraid" of the NRA.

He vowed he was not.

But just a few weeks after the wild scene where the president seemed to be spouting off Democratic talking points on gun control, the president seems to have had a change of heart - after he sat down with NRA officials.

He said there does seem like there is much political support for increasing the age to buy a semi-automatic. His push to arm some teachers? He'll leave that to state and local governments to decide.

Yesterday the House passed a school safety package. It did not contain any major gun control measures.

It looks increasingly like the only way gun laws in this country are going to change are if young people force the adults' hand.

They got a good start yesterday in the National School Walkout.

Kids all over Delaware County took part.

They seemed to have one word on their minds.


You can read our coverage here.

And check out our editorial on the president's change of heart here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Join our live coverage of Delco kids taking part in the National School Walkout

17 minutes.

14 days after the latest mass carnage in a school in America, students in Delaware County and across the nation will walk out of class today to honor those we lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The National School Walkout is expected to last one minute for each of the victims of the deadly rampage in Parkland, Fla.

But rest assured, this is more than a hollow protest. Young people are raising their voices, intent on seeing real change in the nation's gun laws.

Students are organizing and protesting in ways not seen since their grandparents took to the streets in the '60's to demonstrate against the Vietnam War.

And they are getting results. The Florida Legislature already has passed sweeping gun legislation.

Less than a week they will follow up on today's walkout with a massive march on Washington, D.C., to push for changes in the nation's gun laws.

It is being called the March For Our Lives.

Students across Delaware County will be taking part, and we will be out there covering them.

We invite students to take part in our coverage as well.

Post updates and pictures on Twitter with the hashtag #delcostudents to be part of our live coverage. You can follow our live coverage here.

Silence of the Lamb? Hardly

Much of the nation spent a big part of yesterday focusing on Pennsylvania.

This had nothing to do with the Eagles.

This was not the 'Philly Special.' It was the 'Pa. Special,' a special election in the 18th Congressional district.

It's a district that President Trump won by 20 points in 2016.

That's what makes the result even more stunning.

Upstart Democrat Conor Lamb has apparently won a razor-thin victory.

While many are saying the outcome is still too close to come, with absentee ballots still being counted, Lamb is claiming victory and NBC News is now agreeing, calling the election for the Democrat.

Get all the details here.

President Trump and a parade of GOP power hitters hit the region in the final days trying to prop up Republican Rick Saccone's flagging campaign.

Trump of course could not resist slapping a nickname on the Democrat, mocking him as 'Lamb the sham.'

This morning it's hardly the Silence of the Lamb.

Instead, his roar is being heard across the country.

We talk about what this means - is it the first ripple in a Democratic wave in the November mid-terms? - on our editorial page.

A tribute to Brent Celek

What happened at last night's Sixers game tells you everything you need to know about Philly sports fans.

No, not the fact that the Sixers kept turning the ball over in a disappointing loss to the Pacers.

I'm talking about something that happened before the game.

Brent Celek was in the house.

The longest-tenured athlete in Philadelphia had been released earlier in the day by the Eagles, who continue to retool their Super Bowl-winning roster.

Fans rose to their feet and offered the veteran tight end a lengthy standing ovation.

You could see on Celek's face how much it meant to him.

I hope he understands how much he meant to Eagles fans.

There was nothing Celek would not do for this team. Over his 11-year career, Celek always put the team above his personal interests, in the process probably sacrificing his own personal stats - and the ability to turn those stats into a more lucrative contract.

When the Birds' offensive line was a shambles, Celek never made a peep when he was asked to do more blocking than receiving.

He never raised his voice when asked to share time with other tight ends. When Zach Ertz arrived and had "the future" stamped all over him, no dissent was ever voiced by Celek.

His veteran presence in the locker room was part of the foundation of a very special team that had a very special year. But it was something Celek said before the season that always stuck with me.

He told his young teammates about how the team made it to the NFC Conference Championship early in his career. He just assumed they would get back for years to come. Never happened. There are no guarantees.

The team played that way this year.

I'm glad Celek was able to get a ring, a fitting end to a stellar career with the Eagles.

And I'm even more happy that Philly fans showed him just how much he meant to them before the Sixers game last night.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Don't hold your breath waiting for 'presidential'

For more than a year now, I have asked only for one thing from President Donald Trump.

Act presidential.

I understood what we were getting. Trump is all about Trump. Always has been. Likely always will be. He was a real estate magnate turned reality TV show host. He parlayed a groundswell of unease among middle America - those who believed they were no longer being heard, or especially cared about - by Washington into a run for the White House.

Along the way, he proved adept at knocking off one adversary after another. First came all those GOP wannabes. Then he polished off Hillary Clinton in the general election.

He did it in his own inimitable way - usually by attacking and mocking his opponents.

Little Marco.

Lyin' Ted.

Boring Jeb.

Crooked Hillary.

But I also remember Trump specifically saying this was his campaign mode, that if he were to win the White House, his demeanor would change, would, in a word, be more presidential.

I'm still waiting.

Friday night the president was in southwestern Pennsylvania trying to pump up the flagging candidacy of Republican Rick Saccone, who is trailing Democratic challenger Conor Lamb in a district Trump won by 20 points just two years ago. True to form, Trump fell back on his tried-and-true campaign gambit.

He started calling people names.

He blasted the Democrat as "Lamb the Sham," voicing the Republican mantra that sending Lamb to Washington would be just one more puppet in the flock of Nancy Pelosi.

Trump barely mentioned Saccone.

Instead he focused on his favorite topics - himself and those who oppose him.

It was classic Trump, the Narcissist-in-Chief.

He mocked Lamb's good looks, insisting "I think I'm better looking."

This was Trump unleashed, off the script. He rambled for more than an hour, lashing out at his perceived enemies.

He attacked "Meet the Press" and MSNBC anchor Chuck Todd as a "sleeping son of a bitch." Yes, this is the president of the United States speaking.

Of course, no Trump appearance would be complete without a shot at Hillary Clinton. And "Pocahontas," his mocking reference to Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

He took credit for "saving" the Winter Olympics in South Korea, said they "wouldn't have happened" without Trump.

And finally he attacked Rep. Maxine Waters, a black Democrat from California, as a "low-IQ individual."

The crowd roared its approval.

I did not.

Lastly, the president defended his this act, ripping those - including me I guess - who wish for him to be presidential. He said that he could act presidential, but then nobody would be there.

You see, that's the point. Not that he is presidential. But that he is popular and draws large crowds.

This isn't going to change. Neither is Trump. This is what he is. It is what we elected.



More like a carnival barker.

And about as sincere.

All eyes on Pennsylvania

The eyes of the nation will be riveted on Pennsylvania today.

Specifically on a slice of the southwestern part of the state near Pittsburgh.

That's the home of the 18th Congressional District, which will hold a special election today to send a new representative to Washington.

Of course that means that not only will voters be electing a new congressman, they also will be taking part in a referendum on the presidency of Donald Trump.

The election was created when longtime incumbent Republican Rep. Tim Murphy resigned after the staunch abortion foe allegedly urged the woman he was having an affair with - and who he thought may have been pregnant - to consider getting an abortion.

Yeah, it's that kind of election.

Republicans are pulling out all the stops trying to lift Rick Saccone to victory over Democrat challenger Conor Lamb.

What's stirring the nation's interest in this race is just that - it's a race many are now saying Lamb is likely to win. In a district that sits in the shadow of shuttered steel mills and coal mines - that Trump dominated in the 2016 race.

There are some people who believe the 18th race may have been the deciding factor in Trump's push to announce new tariffs on imported steel.

The president showed up in person Friday night at a campaign rally in Moon Township. Unfortunately, he barely mentioned Saccone. Instead he talked for the most part about his favorite topic - himself, while attacking all his perceived foes, including, of course, the press. The president went after "Meet the Press" host and MSNBC anchor Chuck Todd as that "sleepy-eyed son of a bitch."

Yep, real presidential.

Vice President Mike Pence has admitted this election is "about a whole lot more than the two candidates on the ballot." The VP told Fox News that "the only thing at stake is everything."

Donald Trump Jr. also spent the day in the district Monday. He said Saccone would help his father's fight to bring jobs back to the U.S. from overseas.

Republicans in recent days have stepped up their attacks on Lamb, a former Marine and federal prosecutor. They are saying he would be a puppet for House Dem leader Nancy Pelosi. The president pulled out his old tried-and-true tactic. During his rally Friday night he slapped a nickname on the Dem, mocking him as "Lamb the sham."

Lamb has specifically distanced himself from national Democrats, in particular Pelosi.

Polls continue to show the upstart Lamb with a slim lead in a region that Republicans have dominated for years. Look for Trump to take all the credit should Saccone pull out a win. And if he loses? It will be Saccone's fault, not a sign of erosion amid the white, middle-class voters who drove the Trump train to the White House.

The belief is that if Lamb wins, it will be the first ripples of a Democratic tidal wave in the November mid-terms. It could also spell more trouble in the Philly suburbs for Republicans, people like Ryan Costello in Chester County, and whoever winds up as the GOP choice in the newly created 5th Congressional District. Remember, Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, is not seeking re-election after his problems with using taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment suit filed by a former staff member.

This time tomorrow we'll know if Trump's act is wearing thin, or he's basking in the glow of pulling a failing candidate out of the mire.

Then it will be on to the mid-terms.

Buckle your seat belt. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

Snore'easter: The early morning report from the roads

You can call this one a Snore'easter.

At least around here.

This is your early-morning report from the roads.

Sorry, kids, doesn't look like a snow day. Probably not even a two-hour delay.

Yes, there is some snow coming down out there.

The roads are just wet at this point.

No, it is not affecting driving, at least not now when there are very few drivers on the roads.

The roads are wet. I did not encounter any slick spots, despite what you will hear on the TV and radio.

Now if you are headed north, expect things to get worse the farther north you go.

And don't even consider heading to Boston or New England today. They're getting hammered.

Bring on spring.

Here's the full forecast.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Tiger is back - & golf is must-see TV again

Yes, I know it was Selection Sunday.

I know that is a big thing - especially for those of us who from time to time don't mind having some money on the line when it comes to our sports events.

But it was not the sports event I was riveted to yesterday.

No, not Jake Arrieta either. Hey, don't get me wrong. I'm excited to see the Phillies add a serious top-of-the-rotation arm to their starting rotation.

It will certainly make for a more interesting summer on the deck with my trusty radio.

But that's still a month away.

Yesterday, my eyes were riveted on an old friend.

The red shirt is back. Tiger Woods was back on the leaderboard on Sunday afternoon.

Let me try to explain.

I love golf. It kind of consumes me. The funny thing is that the past couple years, as this insane job has become something of a 24-hour gig, I don't actually play that much.

There was a time - before the Internet, before Twitter, before Facebook, before we could deliver information 24 hours a day and could put the paper out from the surface of the moon - so long as we Internet access - that I was a regular once-a-week player.

Back then I was just happened to be off every Friday. And every Friday morning at dawn, I would try to be the first person out on the course. There really is nothing better than a muggy, warm summer morning, walking down the first fairway with nothing - and no one - in front of you but green.

I now look forward to the time when I can again devote that kind of time to golf. Hell, I'd just like a few hours away from my damn laptop and phone.

Today I'm more likely to bang out a quick bucket at the range than actually play 18. It's a time thing.

But I remain a certified golf nut.

That includes golf on TV.

Go ahead. Snicker if you want.

That's especially true in this winter stretch from the time the Super Bowl concludes (and we all had special reason to tune in this year, didn't we?), and the start of the baseball season.

Every Sunday afternoon you can usually catch me in front of the tube watching the early tournaments of the year, in California, Arizona and now the Florida swing.

Yes, all these guys look and play pretty much the same. They all hit it a million miles and can putt the lights out. When they do hit in the trees they always magically seem to have a path out, whereas I am much more likely to hit one solidly off the trunk of a tree trying to escape, only to see the ball career deeper into the woods.

Speaking of Woods, he's back. And that's another reason I was glued to the TV yesterday.

I've always been a Tiger Woods fan. In part because - back then - he did things and hit shots that no one else did, or would even attempt.

Tiger has had his share of issues. Dogged by some personal problems, and a series of injuries, he has not won in years.

But in recent weeks he has given notice that his career is not over, as many have predicted.

Yesterday, he started the day on the leaderboard, one shot off the lead.

It would also be where he finished.

No, he did not win the Valspar Championship.

Here's the deal. Golf on TV is usually just golf on TV.

But when Tiger is on the leaderboard on Sunday, golf becomes an event.

Don't believe it. Just check out the crowds that followed him this weekend in Florida. Listen to the roars as he drained a spectacular chip shot from the rough just off the green, or as he drained another long putt.

All of this is a buildup to the first major of the year.

All eyes will be on Tiger as he hunts another green jacket. I know I will. And I will be rooting for him.

But first he will try again for his first win since August 2013 at Bay Hill in Orlando. It's his home turf. He has won there eight times.

If he had won yesterday, it would have been his 80th win on the PGA Tour. Think about that for a minute. When he tees it up at Augusta, he will be seeking his 15th major as he chases Jack Nicklaus' record of 19.

It's been awhile since we've seen this Tiger.

As I said, golf is golf. I'll always be a fan.

But a Sunday with Tiger on the leaderboard. That's an event. And it's impossible not to look.

I hope Tiger wins this year. In fact, I hope he wins my favorite tournament of the year, the Masters. If he is on the leaderboard heading to Amen Corner, buckle your seat belts. This is bigger than sports.

As I said, this is an event.

Welcome back, Tiger.

You've been missed.

Is every storm now a Nor'easter?

It is quickly making its way up the list of my least favorite words.

It is, of course, the new darling of our TV weather folks.

Suddenly, we're up to our necks in Nor'easters.

Is every storm that approaches us now referred to as a Nor'easter.

Storm No. 3 is bearing down on us. It's expected to arrive just in time for this evening's rush hour.

This is not going to be a monster storm. It won't approach its two predecessors that battered the region and left hundreds of thousands without power the last two weeks.

But that is not going to keep our weather friends from beating the drums for the "third Nor'easter in less than two weeks."

I always thought these Nor'easters were storms that formed in the south and then slowly rumbled up the East Coast.

But what do I know. I'm not a meteorologist. I don't even play one on TV.

Maybe I'm just cranky because I lost an hour sleep this weekend. When you get as little sleep as I do, believe me, that's a big thing.

I guess it will be worth it when I get to drive home in daylight tonight.

To be honest I didn't really notice it that much last night. It was still too damn cold to do me any good.

Spring is out there somewhere.

And no amount of Nor'easters will be able to stop it.

My prediction? Roads will be wet, some additional accumulation on grassy surfaces.

Get the full forecast here.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Dinniman: Pull plug on Mariner East 2 work

Andy Dinniman is not done with Mariner East.

Not by a long shot.

The day after the state Public Utility Commission ordered Mariner East 1 shut down in the wake of several sinkholes that popped up in the yards of homes out in West Whiteland, exposing the old pipeline and creating what some described as the potential for a 'catastrophic' incident, the state senator continues to beat the drum against the massive pipeline project.

Dinniman, D-19 of West Whiteland, now is again asking that the $2.5 billion Mariner East 2 project be shut down.

To review, Mariner East 1 is the old Sunoco oil pipeline, installed back in the 1930's, that originally shuttled oil products from Marcus Hook across the state. Sunoco Pipeline reversed the flow and reformatted the pipeline to carry volatile gases such as ethane, butane and propane from the Marcellus Shale regions to the former refinery at Marcus Hook, where it will be stored, then shipped to customers, most of them overseas.

Mariner East 1 was carrying about 70,000 barrels of gases a day.

Mariner East 2 will up the ante considerable. It's a much bigger pipe, capable of delivering as much as 250,000 barrels a day. It is believed that drilling and digging for the Mariner East 2 line, which is running pretty much parallel to Mariner East 1, may have disturbed the ground, leading to sinkholes and exposing the old pipeline.

Compounding the problem is something called karst. It's a geologic formation that is common in this area. It involves ground that sits on old limestone formations that has been weakened over years, making it susceptible to sinkholes and fissures.

It's bad enough that people are dealing with these kinds of problems literally in their back yards. But last weekend's sinkholes also were very close to Amtrak's rail line.

Dinniman visited the site of the sinkholes Thursday. He's worried - and angry.

“As more sinkholes develop, we need to not only make doubly sure about safety of this pipeline and whether the construction of Mariner East 2 is having on the integrity of Mariner East 1,” Dinniman said. “You can’t move forward with the construction of Mariner East 2 unless you understand the geology of this area.

“It seems like Sunoco doesn’t want the public to see or to know what is going on here and just how badly its ongoing failures have potentially jeopardized the health, safety, and well-being of this community,” Dinniman said. “Well, they can’t hide it anymore.” For their part, Sunoco Pipeline said they will abide by the PUC order, and do the testing the agency ordered on the Mariner East 1 line. Jeff Shields, Sunoco Pipeline communications manager, said Thursday that the pipeline builder was working with the Public Utilities Commission by taking “proactive measures to reaffirm for regulators the safety of the Mariner East 1 pipeline.”

Those measures include:

• Running an inline inspection tool in the area of Lisa Drive in West Whiteland to reconfirm the integrity of the pipeline;

• Suspending operation of the Mariner East 1 pipeline after those tests to allow for a 10 to 14-day “study period” involving completion of integrity and geophysical investigations in the area;

• Sharing all findings with the Pennsylvania PUC and taking any corrective actions, if necessary.

“This period should allow us to share what our professional geologist has established to date – that the Mariner East 1 pipeline is stable, is located in suitably safe geology, and will continue to operate safely as it has done for decades,” Shields said. “The safe operation of our pipelines is of critical importance to us, and we believe the study period will reaffirm the safety of the pipeline.

You can get all the details here.

Sunoco Pipeline has indicated it expects to see Mariner East 2 up and running by the end of June.

Not if Dinniman has anything to say about it.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

PUC pulls plug on Mariner East 1 - for now


Get used to hearing that word.

I'm pretty sure Sunoco Pipeline is already tired of hearing it.

Karst refers to a geologic formation where the ground is situated on old limestone formations that have been weakened by moisture over decades.

It turns out it's a pretty common occurrence in this area - particularly across a swath of Chester County.

Exactly in many of the same spots where Sunoco Pipeline is now running gases through its Mariner East 1 pipeline and is constructing Mariner East 2.

Mariner East 1 is Sunoco's old, original oil pipeline, which has been retrofitted and for the last couple of years has been delivering ethane, butane and propane from the state's Marcellus Shale regions to the company's old terminal site in Marcus Hook, where it is stored and then shipped to customers, many of them being overseas destinations.

Think of Mariner East 2 as Mariner East 1 on steroids. It's a much bigger pipe, capable of delivering several hundred thousands of barrels of gases every day. It is being constructed in basically the same areas as Mariner East 1.

That's where some of the problem is occurring.

These weakened karst areas are susceptible to sinkholes, fissures and other ground settling, in particular when the ground is disturbed, such as when drilling trenches for a new pipeline.

That's what happened last weekend when several sinkholes popped up in a neighborhood out in West Whiteland. The sinkholes are believed to have exposed the old Mariner East 1 pipe.

Yesterday, the state Public Utility Commission ordered Sunoco Pipeline to immediately shut down Mariner East 1 until the company can conduct tests on the line.

They didn't mince words, saying the sinkholes and exposed pipe could lead to a 'catastrophic' result.

You can get all the details here.

And read our editorial here.

March Madness: It's called snow

It is one of the pitfalls of the job.

I spend an inordinate amount of time every day staring at a computer screen, with my trusty radio (my mom's old reliable Sony tabletop in the office, my Soundesign portable at home) in one ear, and the TV in the other.

Yes, I know I now have the ability to actually listen to radio through my laptop or my phone. Hey, call me a throwback. Actually, I just like the idea of thinking of mom every time I turn that radio on in the office. It's usually the first thing I do when I get into the office, and the last thing I do, turning that old dial to shut it off, before I leave.

That dial setting never changes. It sits on KYW-1060 in perpetuity. It's kind of the soundtrack of my life. I've spent more than four decades in the newspaper racket, and 90 percent of my morning start the exact same way.

KYW, and coffee. In that order.

But I also have a rather large TV that looms over my other shoulder in the office.

The cacophony drives some people insane. They wonder what's wrong with me and can't understand how I ever get anything done - let alone write anything - with all that racket going on in the background.

Clearly they have never been in a newsroom during the industry's heyday, when the sound of reporters banging out copy on typewriters (yes, I can tell you I started in this biz working on a manual typewriter. Ask your parents, kids) and the teletype clattering out the latest updates from around the world. KYW, God bless 'em, still uses that teletype as their background audio. It's an acquired comfort. But all this noise does have its pitfalls. One in particular.

Snow days.

I am pretty much on the record as not being a big fan of TV weather. I would be fine with 30 seconds - here's the current temperature, today's high, sunny, cloudy or rainy, and tonight's low. Anything outside of that is more than I need.

Let alone should there be that most magical word in the local TV news biz. That, of course, would be snow.

That is why I spent so much time yesterday screaming profanities at the TV and radio.

It's snowing out. I can see that. I don't need a bunch of smiling people telling me that.

I don't enjoy snow. Or cold. I'm a summer guy. So I grit my teeth and battle through. But the TV talk drives me insane.

Early yesterday morning, I saw one TV reporter after another standing glumly on what clearly appeared to be simply wet roads trying to get me to believe that there was some slush on the road and some slippery spots.

So we got hit with another Nor'easter. The snow eventually did show up. Looks like most places around Delco got anywhere from 6-8 inches. Most schools were closed. A lot of people lost power again.

You can get all the details here.

This morning many school districts are again operating on a two-hour delay.

I did, however, learn one valuable bit of information.

For years, I have been wondering exactly where those nebulous 'northern and western' suburbs are. They're always the ones the TV folks tell us will be getting more snow than anywhere else.

Now I think I know where that is.

Richboro, Bucks County.

Somehow those folks managed to get socked with 16 inches of snow.

So there you have it.

And don't forget, the forecasters are tracking still one more Nor'easter that is looming for Sunday night into Monday.

No doubt our TV friends will be on early to bring us expanded coverage.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The story behind the T-shirt

This one is personal.

I have been a die-hard Eagles fan my whole life.

I am 62 (don't remind me!). I was five years old when the Eagles won a world championship by beating the vaunted Green Bay Packers and Vince Lombardi. I revered Tommy McDonald, Norm Van Brocklin and 'Concrete Charlie' Chuck Bednarik, but the truth is I was a little young to understand what winning a title really means.

I was a longtime denizen of the 700 Level at Veterans Stadium. Still don't believe some of the things I saw up there. At the time, I experienced one of the happiest moments of my life when Wilbert Montgomery burst off right tackle and saw nothing but frozen Astroturf in front of him. It was at that moment that 70,000 fans who had been waiting a long time realized that our beloved Iggles were going to beat the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC title game and advance to the Super Bowl.

I had no idea you could be that happy and that cold at the same time.

Of course Dick Vermeil's team went into New Orleans tighter than violin strings and fell to the Oakland Raiders. Wasn't really much of a game.

Who knew it would be awhile before they got back, and when they did, Andy Reid, Donovan McNabb and the gang would again come up short, falling to the New England Patriots.

I've been in the newspaper racket for four decades. Over the last 30-some years, it has been my distinct honor to do the bulk of the front pages of the Delaware County Daily Times.

In that time, I've done a few special front pages when our teams won titles.

There was Villanova. Twice. The first time I put a simple 'NOVA WINS head on a blue background.

In 1983 the Sixers won a world championship. I had our graphic arts (yes, we used to have one of those, too), affix a crown to the Sixers logo.

And of course there was that magical 2008 Phillies team. When they won I designed a page that appeared to look like the Phillies uniform in red pinstripes with another World Champs lead hed.

But in all that time, I never got to design the one page I had always hoped for: the Eagles winning a Super Bowl. Until Feb. 5, 2018.

Yep, just about a month ago.

I knew exactly what I was going to say on that front page. After all, I had been waiting all my life to do it.


Emblazoned on a photo of Super Backup and Super Bowl MVP clutching the Lombardi Trophy.

It was perfect. It encapsulated the long wait, along with the special Philly flavor of the event.

It turned out just the way I had hoped.

I liked it so much, in fact, that I asked our bosses if they would have it emblazoned on T-shirts for the staff as a memento of what certainly was a very special moment in Philly sports.

They arrived yesterday. I had some of the staff put them on so we could take a picture. We ran it today on our Page 2 Focus on Delco. I posted an image of the T-shirt on social media. I kind of knew what was going to happen next.

Everybody wants one.

We probably could have sold lots of them.

I'm not even sure I will wear it. It likely will sit in a drawer next to the "Cardiac Kids" T-shirt I bought in downtown Philly at the 1980 Phillies World Series parade. I've never had that one on either.

I waited my whole life to do that front page.

It sums up everything I wanted to say.

The Eagles are Super Bowl Champions.


The stadium story in Chester: Is that all there is?

Funny, doesn't seem like it's been 10 years.

It never does.

I'm guessing it probably does not seem like 10 years has gone by to Andy Lewis and many of the others who warned of the folly of sinking public funds into construction of a stadium on the Chester waterfront.

Lewis' insistence on seeing the books of Major League Soccer before signing off on the push to float a $30 million bond led to what at the time was the rarest of occurrences: a non-unanimous vote by the all-Republican Delaware County Council.

The bond issue passed.

More than $85 million of the $115 price tag on what would become PPL Park (now Talen Energy Stadium) was picked up by taxpayers, with the state, Delaware River Port Authority, and city of Chester also kicking in funds.

We supported the idea, but it was contingent on the word of developers Buccini/Polling Group that this was not going to be just a stadium. They had grandiose visions of a $500 million development on the Chester waterfront that would include townhouses and apartments, retail and restaurants, even a hotel and convention center.

Ten years later, there is a stadium in the shadow of the Commodore Barry Bridge.

And not much else.

We talk about it on today's editorial page.

Heron's Nest: Round 2 is already here

Here's the good news for Wednesday (and there isn't going to be much of it!).

You likely made it into the office just fine.

The bad news? Getting home is going to be a different story. Luckily, it looks like a lot of people stayed home.

Yes, it is snowing.


That mix of snow and rain we were supposed to get overnight? Right now (at 5:30 a.m.), it's snowing like mad. It's a wet, heavy snow. That does not bode well for trees and power lines, even as the county has yet to see power restored to all residents in the wake of Friday's ferocious Nor'easter.

Join our live coverage all day by using the hashtag #delcosnow on Twitter. Check our live feed here. Post photos to let us know what it’s like in your neighborhood. Most Delaware County schools are closed.

You can get the latest forecast here.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the region until 3 a.m. Thursday.

This has the feel of 6-10 inches to me. I'm hoping for less.

Do yourself a favor. Turn off the radio. Shut off the TV. At some point today bundle up and take a nice, long walk out in the winter glory of Mother Nature. Then let's kiss this nasty winter goodbye.

And hope to God we don't lose power.

You can get all the latest storm info here.

Repeat after me: 13 days until spring!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Are your ready for Round 2?

Stop me if you've heard this before.

Yes, we are staring down the barrel of another Nor'easter.

No, we have not fully recovered from the last one yet.

About 15,000 PECO customers in Delaware County remain without power.

And while PECO is working furiously to get everyone back on the grid, they are now staring at a new problem.

A winter storm warning has been posted, starting tonight at 7 and running right through early Thursday morning.

This storm is promising to be more of a snow event, as opposed to the wind that caused so much havoc Friday. But the concern is that this is going to be a heavy, wet snow that could bring down even more trees.

So how much snow are we going to get? As usual, that depends on where you are.

Early bets are for 3-6 inches in the immediately Philly suburbs, with more as you go farther north and west.

You likely won't have any issues getting to work Wednesday morning, but getting home might be a different animal.

The storm is expected to kick off tonight as rain, eventually mixing with snow Tuesday morning. Then a heavy period of snow is expected from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Yes, it should make for quite an interesting commute home.

You can get the full forecast here.

There's nothing fake about the news surrounding this storm

Yes, there are still pockets of Delaware County in the dark.

Three days after a ferocious Nor'easter slammed into the area, with rain, wind-driven snow and gusts up to 60 mph, trees came down all across the county.

Particularly hard hit were sections of Havertown, as well as Nether Providence, Springfield and Swarthmore.

As of late Monday afternoon, PECO was still working furiously to restore power to 42,000 customers, 15,000 of them in Delaware County.

At its peak, more than 630,000 of PECO's 1.6 million customers were in the dark.

One of the many oddities I have encountered in traveling the county.

I told yesterday of my near-miss with a falling tree just a few blocks from our office on South Chester Road, just after you cross the Blue Route overpass.

I thought it a little odd when I drove in Monday morning to discover it was still there.

And even odder that it had not been removed this morning. There are stop signs in place, and southbound traffic is still weaving around the tree.

At least some people have kept their sense of humor.

Photographer Pete Bannan caught this shot of a prankster adding his own message to a truss blocking Gulph Creek Road in Radnor Township.

Yep, there has been nothing fake about this weather.

Powerless? Think about Puerto Rico

The thought struck me as I weaved my way through debris, tree branches and even some larger trees that were still down across some of the roads on my morning commute.

I thought about what the weekend was like for thousands across the region who have been without power since Friday.

It was a cold, wet, miserable weekend.

Then I thought about something else.

How do you think the people of Puerto Rico feel?

It's on our editorial page.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Another commute from hell

Snow is not supposed to come down sideways.

But that is what I was watching as I peered out the window from our Swarthmore office Friday afternoon.

Not a good sign.

The wind was howling and the mild temperatures and rain that led me to joke that March was coming in like a lamb - a wet one at that - were fast disappearing.

It would only get worse from there.

I should have had some inkling of what was coming when I pulled out of the parking lot, took a left on Chester Road and made it all of a couple hundred yards down the road, just across the bridge over the Blue Route, when I witnessed a huge tree come crashing down across the right-hand lane. If I had left the office a few minutes earlier, I might still be sitting under that tree.

That was the start of another nightmare two-hour ride home.

I barely managed to squeeze around the downed tree on Chester Road. It was good practice. I would be doing it a lot on the ride home.

Once I took a right on Providence Road, the real adventure began. There were limbs and debris everywhere.

But it was not until I reached Brookhaven Road that I hit a roadblock. I had hoped to be able to take Providence all the way into Media, then get on Baltimore Pike to head out toward Granite Run.

I wanted no part of my usual route, taking Rose Valley Road down past Hedgerow Theater, then cutting back through Ridley Creek Road to skirt Media and come out near Elwyn.

But Providence was blocked at Brookhaven Road, so I swung a left and inches my way out to Route 352, which is quickly becoming my least favorite winter road.

It took me about 40 minutes just to creep from Brookhaven out past Granite Run Mall. The combination of traffic lights, Fair Acres, the Juvenile Detention Center and Penn State Brandywine, along with a couple of new lights, has turned this strip into a slog on good days. In bad weather, it turns into an instant bottleneck.

Traffic was creeping all the way out to Gradyville Road. With nothing but a sea of red lights in front of me, I decided to be daring and hung a right on Gradyville and take my chances going through Ridley Creek State Park. I didn't have to get that far. I got onto Delchester Road, and managed to actually make pretty good time snaking along out to West Chester Pike.

Amazingly for the way it had been snowing for hours, the roads were for the most part just wet.

Once I got to West Chester Pike it seemed like I had entered a completely different weather pattern.

Chester County did not get hit nearly as hard as Delco.

I managed to make it home with just the usual rush-hour complaints.

I surveyed the damage at the homestead. We lost one small tree in the back yard, but we never lost power.

Which is something so many in Delaware County could not say.

We charted the power outages all weekend.

At one point more than 600,000 people across the region were in the dark.

That includes more than 100,000 in Delco alone, nearly one in every four people in the county were in the dark.

Some people have now been without power since Friday afternoon.

At least two school districts, Haverford and Marple Newtown, cancelled classes Monday because many buildings still do not have power.

Driving, especially in Springfield, continues to be an adventure because of a number of busy intersections where traffic signals remain out, especially on Baltimore Pike.

Many side streets remain blocked by fallen trees.

This morning on the ride in, I decided to be adventurous and give Ridley Creek Road a shot. I made it. Barely.

And as I made my way onto Chester Road and headed for the office, there was my old friend, that very same tree that I watched topple right in front me was still there, blocking that lane. I squeezed around it, again thankful that there is almost no one on the road at that early hour.

I imagine the morning commute is going to be an adventure.

Get used to it. They are calling for another Nor'easter to hit Wednesday.


10 Years After: What did city, county get for Chester stadium deal?

I can remember the debate like it was yesterday.

Ten years ago, this newspaper's editorial position was to support a push by county and city officials to float a bond to help pay for construction of a soccer stadium on the Chester Waterfront.

But there was a huge asterisk on that support.

It was contingent that county taxpayers would be getting a little more bang for their buck than just a 20,000-seat soccer facility in the shadow of the Commodore Barry Bridge.

There was something starting on the Chester waterfront, and the stadium - and more importantly everything else that was being proposed - could be a huge step forward for the city.

The restoration of the old PECO Power Station served as an anchor at one end of Route 291. At the other sat Harrah's Casino.

Now developers Buccini and Pollin had visions of a $500 million renaissance that included residential units, townhouses and apartments, retail, restaurants, a hotel and even a convention center.

The debate over the $30 million bond to be taken out by the county was heated and sparked something rarely seen at the time, a note vote from a member of the then all-Republican County Council. Andy Lewis wanted to see the books for Major League Soccer before signing off on the deal. When they balked, he voted no on the bond, which passed anyhow.

Then the economy went off a cliff.

What was then called PPL Park, now Talen Energy Stadium, was built. The Union still plays their Major League Soccer home games there.

But 10 years later, many are still waiting for any sign of the much-heralded development that was promised.

Yes, it's been 10 years, a decade since Chester became a "major" league city again.

What did the city and county get for its investment?

Matt DeGeorge takes a long look at the deal.

Here we go again: Another storm bearing down on us

Did you like that mess of rain and snow that made our lives miserable Friday?

If you did, you're in luck.

We might be about to do it again.

That's right, another Nor'easter is bearing down on us, set to arrive Wednesday.

And once again this is supposed to start as rain.

Tuesday night and into early Wednesday we can expect a rain-snow mix and then a period of all snow during the day Wednesday. Sound familiar?

The Wednesday evening commute home could be another adventure.

You can get the full forecast here.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Just another Thursday

I was fairly certain that several things were going to happen yesterday.

I pretty much knew the story on Nick Miccarelli was going to blow up. It did.

I knew once it hit social media I was going to be condemned for another partisan attack by the "leftist rag" looking to take down a Republican. I was.

I guess most of those people did not see the front page coverage we afforded state Sen. Daylin Leach, who had some #Metoo problems of his own. Or the serious criminal charges filed against two other Radnor Democrats, Bill Spingler and former Commissioners President Phil Ahr. I know that didn't matter. This was just a case of the Daily Times picking on Republicans again.

Two women have accused of sexual misconduct. He denies it. Vehemently.

I figured I might hear from the representative. I did.

He came, accompanied by a lawyer, a publicist, his chief of staff and the head of the Ridley GOP. He wanted to offer some insight into his side of the story. That appears on today's front page.

He feels he has not been treated fairly, the victim of a rush to judgment. He pointed out that he doesn't even know how to respond because he has yet to see the complaint filed by the two women with House officials. He freely admitted having consensual sexual relationships with both women, but flatly denies their claims of any kind of abuse or forced sex.

"I'm not that monster," he said of the portrayal painted by the two women, one a state official, the other a political consultant in Harrisburg.

And of course I was pretty sure of much of the reaction, with seemingly every Democrat in the state calling for him to resign his seat. And yes, just as he did when questions were raised about the behavior of state Sen. Daylin Leach, that was Gov. Tom Wolf leading the charge calling for Miccarelli to step down.

There was only one thing I did not expect.

Just a couple of hours after Miccarelli left our office, I received an email that stopped me in my tracks.

It was from Steve Miskin, who represents the House Republican leaders. They also were calling for Miccarelli to step down.

That's right, his own party had now joined those calling for Miccarelli to step down.

Believe me when I tell you this is a rarity.

“The nature of the allegations raised against Rep. Nick Miccarelli are very serious and they should be thoroughly investigated by law enforcement," the statement said.

“The complainants deserve to have their allegations addressed by law enforcement and to see the legal process move forward. We recognize the right of every American to due process through our court system and to remain innocent until proven guilty. “But, what we have in front of the House right now is about the integrity of the institution, the safety of its staff and members, and the best paths forward for the individuals involved – the accusers and accused, as well as their respective families.

“With that in mind, it would be in the best interest of all involved if Rep. Miccarelli would resign.”

All of which makes me wonder what the House Republicans know - of what perhaps they have seen in the complaint - that the rest of us have not.

The Miccarelli camp responded with another statement and again questioned the rush to judgment in this case, saying he is an "innocent man" and has no plans to step down.

"Rep. Nick Miccarelli is an honorable man and a patriot who has served his district and our nation with honor and distinction," the statement issued by spokesman Frank Keel says. "A short time ago, the State Republican Caucus suggested to Rep. Miccarelli that he voluntarily resign his House seat rather than continue to fight to clear his name. Nick is currently not inclined to follow that suggestion.

"It needs to be said that the #MeToo movement is laudable, but what about the #NotMe movement? Nick Miccarelli is an innocent man. An unfortunate byproduct of the #MeToo movement has been a tendency by too many people to rush to judgment in the court of public opinion. Likewise, the suggestion that Nick resign is made before he's even seen the legal complaint, let alone been afforded the opportunity to defend himself. This entire process has been grossly unfair. Nick Miccarelli, like every other American citizen, has the right to due process. Nick fought in the Middle East to protect Americans' rights to due process. It's bitterly ironic that he's not being given the same right while he's fighting to save his reputation and career."

Before he left our office, I pressed Miccarelli on his intention to seek re-election. I asked him what he would do if Republicans asked him to step aside.

After some hesitation, he vowed "I am running for re-election. Come hell or high water."

As I look outside, the high water might be no the way.

Hell might not be far off.

Trump & Guns: The mind spins

You can get whiplash trying to keep up with President Trump.

I'm betting a lot of Republicans, including our own Sen. Pat Toomey, and the National Rifle Association feel the same way.

This was supposed to be their guy.

But it sure didn't sound like it at a White House meeting to talk about guns earlier this week.

That was Trump spouting what sounded like Democratic talking points. He pushed for boosting the age to buy a semi-automatic rifle to 21. He astoundingly said lawmen should do an end-around on due process when it comes to getting guns out of the hands of those with mental health issues.

"Take the firearms first, then go to court," the president said.

Yes, that is all those Second Amendment absolutists gripping their guns just a little tighter.

Can you even imagine the reaction if President Obama had ever uttered such a phrase?

Toomey also got zinged by the president, who said he was among GOP senators who are 'petrified' by the NRA.

Toomey was trying to explain why his previous gun bill, proposed with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., did not seek a boost in the minimum age to buy a semi-automatic rifle.

Then again, the president had a meeting last night with the NRA.

Who know where he will stand today.

In the meantime, you can read our editorial here.

Keep telling yourself this: Better than snow, at least for now

I have three words for you today: Better than snow.

At least for now. Tonight might be another story.

Better yet, you might just want to pull the covers up over your head and stay in bed.

It's going to be a miserable day on the weather front.

We are going to be feeling the effects of one of those monster Nor'easter storms called a "Bomb Cyclone." Nothing like a little hype to go with your morning forecast.

What it means for us, for the most part is going to be a very wet, raw, windy day.

We are going to get rain on and off pretty much all day.

The big problem is going to be the wind, gusting at times up to 50-60 mph. With the ground as wet as it is, trees likely will be uprooted. Power outages could be an issue.

That's during the day.

The question for tonight will be how much snow arrives in the changeover with this storm. Temperatures are expected to dip during the day. Snow is expected to arrive late this afternoon and tonight. For the immediate area in Philly and the suburbs, this is not going to be a big storm. It likely will coat grassy surfaces, but the roads are expected to remain wet.

That will change the farther north you go, with the Poconos expected to get maybe up to a foot of heavy, wet snow.

You can get the full forecast here.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Reporting a story and trying to be fair

The name of the woman who filed a sexual harassment complaint against Delaware County U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan has never been made public.

The same cannot be said for the 7th District congressman. His name and face were all over the paper and TV. He offered a series of interviews with newspapers and TV stations to explain why he used taxpayer money - believed to be about $40,000 - to settle the complain. In the process he only dug the hole deeper.

Meehan quickly said he would not be running for re-election.

I am guessing that just about everyone in the Washington loop knows who the woman is. That is not the same thing as it being widely distributed in the media.

A lot of people don't think that is especially fair.

I think you can probably count state Rep. Nick Miccarelli in that group.

Today Miccarelli, R-162 of Ridley Park, finds himself in a similar spotlight.

A story first reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Caucus details the claims of two women who allege sexual and physical assault by the state rep several years ago.

No criminal charges have ever been filed in the case, and Miccarelli has vehemently denied the allegations.

He has asked the state House Legal Counsel for a thorough, speedy and open investigation.

Ironically, it was not Miccarelli's first appearance on our front page in recent weeks. We featured him in a Valentine's Day story in advance of his marriage, which was the following Saturday.

After the story broke Wednesday afternoon, Miccarelli issued a statement. He admitted having consensual relationships with the two women in the past, but said that "at no time was I violent or threatening to any woman I dated."

The Republican legislator vowed to continue to run for re-election and insists he will be "vindicated."

"In this case the #metoo movement has gone too far."

But he also did something else. In his statement, Miccarelli identified one of the women who is now accusing him.

We did not use it.

This newspaper's policy, like that of most news organizations, is that we do not identify victims of sex crimes or harassment and abuse claims unless that person wants to go public with their claim.

That policy is in place because most people believe were it not the case, women would not come forward with their claims. It is the backdrop of much of the recent #MeToo movement, women being emboldened to come forward. Their stories have brought down Hollywood moguls such as Harvey Weinstein, any number of politicians and even media elite such as Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose.

I think it's a good policy. We will continue to use it.

Shortly after Miccarelli released his statement, the newspaper received phone calls from lawyers for the women involved.

Both Terry Mutchler, who once headed the state's Open Records Office, and Charlie Lyons wanted to know the newspaper's policy when it comes to identifying victims claiming sexual abuse or harassment. I told them our policy was not to identify those making the allegations.

Attempting to be fair in these cases is always a slippery slope. Some people believe nothing should be reported, especially in this case when no charges were filed. But the basis for this story was a complaint against Miccarelli filed with the state House. And House leaders have confirmed they have launched an investigation.

Here is the full text of Miccarelli's statement:

Recently I received a phone call from a reporter asking me to comment on allegations that I had engaged in inappropriate conduct in regards to the #metoo movement.

In this case the #metoo movement has gone TOO far.

The facts are these:

1) I have had consensual relationships with these women before being married last week.

2) At no time was I violent or threatening to any woman I dated nor have I drugged any person.

3) After being called by a reporter, I called the House Legal Counsel and asked that a thorough, speedy, and open investigation into any allegations be completed.

4) To this point I have yet to receive the alleged complaints against me.

5) I was married a little more than a week ago, and the timing of these false allegations raise questions.

I would ask my constituents to ask themselves this: If your child was accused of something like this, would you rush to judgment, or would you wait to hear the facts?

I am absolutely appalled by these allegations and I deny them entirely.

I will fight these lies against me and my family as hard as I have fought for my constituents in Harrisburg and my country in Iraq.

Holding public officials accountable is the job of the press and public, but to be tried and convicted in the court of public opinion with no due process is simply not fair.

I will leave the decision to whether these allegations have any merit to the people of my district.

I’ve asked the journalists who contacted me to use their discretion when they informed me about these allegations. I appealed to them to do what was right and to consider the timing of this story. I told them truthfully that I was engaged in a consensual relationship with (one of the accusers) that ended in 2015, and that we had exchanged many texts and spoken after the relationship ended.

Never was I confronted with these ugly allegations until hearing from the reporters.

Unfortunately, I cannot disprove something that never happened, but I can tell you that these allegations, if true, would have been reported to the cops, the DA, or another law enforcement agency. No charges were ever filed because these are complete fabrications.

Frankly, I am shocked and dismayed by the lack of journalistic integrity displayed here.

These allegations and article appear only meant to harm my reputation and attack my new marriage. I intend to intensely fight these claims with every option available to me.

I am asking that you please judge me by the reputation I have earned as your legislator, your neighbor, a veteran, a son, a friend, and a husband. I know that the residents of my district can tell the difference between truth and fiction, and I am asking that you please exercise your best judgment in deciding the truth of this matter. As always, I appreciate your continued support and intend to continue serving you with integrity.

Thank you.

The Mariner East 2 debate just keeps rolling along

There's a new twist in the ongoing battle over the Mariner East 2 pipeline project.

A group of environmental organizations went into court yesterday to challenge the deal Sunoco Pipeline cut with the state Department of Environmental Protection and hoping to once again halt construction on the project.

The DEP announced last week that the company would pay $12 million in fines to settle a slew of "egregious" complaints tied to ongoing problems involving spills, runoff and other issues during construction of the 350-mile pipeline that will bring hundreds of thousands of barrels of ethane, butane and propane across the full width of Pennsylvania from the Marcellus Shale regions to the former refinery at Marcus Hook. In exchange Sunoco Pipeline was given the green light to resume construction.

Yesterday the Clean Air Council, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and Mountain Watershed Association filed an appeal of that ruling. They also went into Commonwealth Court seeking an injunction to halt construction again.

You can get all the details here.

In the meantime, on our editorial page, we note the somewhat surprising news that came from Sunoco Pipeline that, despite the delays and work stoppages, they still plan to have Mariner East 2 up and running by the end of June.

That's just four months away.

It seems like nothing can stop this project. Delaware County Council has given the approval for an independent risk assessment on the pipeline project. But is it too late?

Read our editorial here.

March will come in like a wet lamb

March is coming in like a lamb.

A wet one at that. At least for now.

Actually for the morning commute it likely will be dry, with a low only dipping into the mid-40s. So far, so good.

But it starts getting interesting this afternoon.

While we will push toward the 60-degree mark, rain will be moving in.

And it is going to get heavy tonight and into tomorrow. There will be flood warnings in effect.

And that's not all, our favorite four-letter word just might enter the conversation late Friday afternoon into Friday night.

Most of the forecasts see it being too warm here for much accumulation other than on some grassy surfaces.

Here is your full forecast.