Updated: 3 hours 48 min ago
Repeat after me: 4-8 inches ... 4-8 inches ... 4-8 inches.It's still coming, we are assured. It's just late arriving.Swell, just what we needed. A finicky Old Man Winter, apparently waiting until the last minute to make his most unwelcome arrival.Unfortunately, this is not my normal early morning report from the roads. After being bombarded for days with forecasts that assure me that it would start snowing around 1 a.m., I foolishly believed them, and expected to see a coating of white when I peered out the window this morning.Of course, what I saw was a lot of ... wet.Nothing.It rained much of the overnight.That was then, this is now. Actually, as I write this at 5:30, the snow is just starting to arrive at the Heron abode.The good folks on TV are backpedaling furiously, although they insist we are still going to get 4-8 inches. I've been a little dubious about this storm now for days. I really think the heaviest snow is going to remain south of the Philly region.We'll see if I'm right.In the meantime, I would like to thank Mother Nature for a thoroughly miserable night, getting out of bed ever half hour to peer out the window.I'll likely head into the office later this morning.Unless the snow actually does arrive, that is.One of the very few good things I can say about this technology is that it affords me the ability to work from home. Then again, that also means that there is no escaping work.It's kind of a love-hate relationship.Kind of like my relationship with the weather.If you are interested, this is the latest call from AccuWeather.And if you want some really good news, the forecast is calling for warmer temperatures starting this weekend and into next week.It can't come soon enough for me. I hate winter. If I'm never cold again, if I never have to worry about snow again, it would be too soon.
The Daily Numbers: 2 women busted in what Upper Darby Police describe as a mobile meth lab. They had it set up in their trunk. Sounds like ‘Breaking Bad’ does Delco. 47-40-33 margin of victory for Penncrest High as they topped Haverford and Garnet Valley to capture this year’s Hi-Q crown.1 week delay on vote by Concord supervisors on controversial Vineyard Commons development on Beaver Valley tract.31, age of woman who was shot while walking to catch a SEPTA train in Chester last night.160,000 dollars, how much Delco officials believe a former boss in the Register of Wills office stole. Now she is facing new theft charges, a retail theft at a local Target store. 143 dollars worth of merchandise police say the woman had stuffed in her purse.20 percent of flights in and out of Philly International cancelled yesterday in the wake of the latest storm.4-8 inches of snow expected to hit the region starting in the early-morning hours on Thursday.4 billion dollars in new taxes proposed by in his budget address by new Gov. Tom Wolf.29.9 billion budget plan.3.2 million in property tax relief.3.7 percent income tax, up from the current 3 percent. That would raise an additional $2.4 billion.6.6 percent sales tax, up from current 6 percent. That would generate $1.6 billion.5 percent tax on natural gas extraction operations in the state.1 dollar hike in cigarette tax, from $1.60 to $2.60400 million dollar boost to public school funding, a 7 percent hike, to $6.1 billion.160 million dollar cut to cyber charter school operations.120 million dollars in additional early-childhood funding.0, number of games played last year by Bills linebacker Kiko Alonso, who Chip Kelly is acquiring by sending All-Pro running back LeSean Mccoy to the Bills.9.75 million dollars, how much McCoy was slated to make in 2015.6,792 rushing yards for McCoy in his 6 seasons with the team.6-3, 238 pounds, how Alonzo stacks up. He’ll play inside linebacker.1, as in the No. 1 rusher in Eagles history. That would be the guy who now will be lugging the ball for the Bills.8 million dollar salary cap hit axed when the Eagles released cornerback Cary Williams.3-2 loss in OT for the Flyers to the Flames last night.2 hits for Ryan Howard yesterday as Phils tied Yankees 5-5 in Grapefruit League opener.5-1 lead blown by Phils late. Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Here’s a bit of wisdom for Chip Kelly, who has not cut DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy in successive offseasons. You’d better be right. And you’d better win. I Don’t Get It: Why do I get the feeling that more and more, sports is about the cap. Doesn’t what you do on the field actually matter anymore? Today’s Upper: Kudos to the kids from Penncrest High, who captured this year’s Hi-Q championship by besting teams from Haverford High and Garnet Valley. Quote Box: “There have been discussions but nothing is finalized.”- Drew Rosenhaus, agent for LeSean McCoy.
First it was DeSean. Now it's LeSean.Both are Le-Gone!No, Sam Hinkie is not running the Eagles. But make no mistake - Chip Kelly is. This is his decision, his move and his gamble. It's only been a couple of weeks since Jeff Lurie handed the reins to the Eagles over to his brash, young coach. A day after General Manager Howie Roseman jettisoned Chip Kelly's guy in the front office, Lurie clearly sided with his coach, giving him full control over the roster and personnel.Today, LeSean McCoy is on his way to becoming a Buffalo Bill.Most reports indicate Kelly is swinging a deal in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso. A couple of things to note: Alonso had a standout rookie season, but missed all of last year with a knee injury. And yes, he's an Oregon Duck, a guy Kelly recruited.That was not the only move Kelly made yesterday. He cut ties with the often burned defensive back Cary Williams, who also had the temerity to question Kelly's practice routine, saying he was tired and that the grueling weekday pace was affecting the team on Sunday.Also expected to be cut loose are linebacker Trent Cole and defensive lineman Brandon Graham.But clearly the blockbuster news is the trade of McCoy, considered one of the premier running backs in the NFL.Suddenly the Eagles have cleared a ton of money off their cap.My take on what is going on with the Eagles?This is all about Marcus Mariota. I think Kelly wants the Oregon quarterback he recruited and believes is the perfect signal caller to run Kelly's offense.With the cap space, Kelly can now focus on fixing his defense in the free agent market, and also sign his own free agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.Then he can put all this draft picks in a mega-package to move up to get his guy, Mariota.Still, going from No. 20 to a spot, which would have to be in the top five, to get Mariota, is going to take some doing.With first the move to shed DeSean Jackson, and now his divorce from one of the best running backs in the NFL, Kelly also is sending a message to his locker room. It's all about culture, guys. Specifically, my culture. Get on board or get on board the bus out of town.Just one thing, coach.It's something every Eagles coach has learned eventually. Just ask Andy Reid.This arrogant, dismissive attitude that wreaks of "I'm smarter than you are" only works when the team does.In other words, you better win.Start losing and the grumbling will grow louder every week.But first Kelly has to devise a way to reel in his prize catch, Mariota.If he can't, I'm not really sure what all this is about.And what about Nick Foles, the guy who just two years ago threw 27 touchdown passes and only 2 picks, before struggling and then getting hurt this season.I would refer to DeSean and LeSean.No one on this roster is safe.
Here's a little over/under action for a wet, miserable Wednesday as we wait for the snow to arrive. How many times do you think we'll hear the following phrases today: "First Alert" or "Double-Scan Radar." Or "Ultimate Doppler." Or "Eyewitness Weather." I'm setting the line at 50. And I'm taking the over. Yes, I'm getting a little punchy - and more than a little tired of winter.Look, I know that is is likely to snow overnight. The morning commute on Thursday looks like a nightmare. But I don't need to be reminded all day long by TV stations constantly reminding me of their latest high-tech gadgets - which by the way were less than stellar in tracking most of these winter storms the past couple of months.I have a kind of a novel way of checking on the weather. I usually look out the window. Maybe I should patent it, call it the 'First Eyeball' alert. Someone please tell me this is Mother Nature's last shot, that after tomorrow, and a cold day on Friday, there is some hope on the horizon.Now that would be news that could be branded "First Alert."
For those of you who survived that long, slow, slog of a ride home last night, here's what you can expect for the ride into the office this morning. Relax, it's really not that bad.Once again, your biggest impediment will be getting to your car, chipping it out and then getting out onto the main road.Last night's icy, gloppy mess is for the most part gone on the main roads, less so on the secondary and side routes.The main roads I traveled - West Chester Pike, the Route 1 Bypass, and Springfield Road, were for the most part just wet.Providence Road was a little sloppy.My development, of course, looked like Armageddon, which it always does every time it snows.Speaking of snow, get ready. This time tomorrow we're going to be dealing with what most forecasters are calling likely the biggest snow storm of the winter.Most are calling for anywhere from 4-8 inches, with the snow starting around 1 a.m. and continuing through late Thursday morning.Here's the latest forecast from AccuWeather.
The Daily Numbers: 86 counts of invasion of privacy lodged against a Penn Valley man for videotaping women on Main Line and in dressing rooms of several stores at the King of Prussia Mall. 450 counts in total filed against 37-year-old Sean Moses.4 year deal for the Ridley School District with its teachers.1.94 percent pay hike each year.3 percent increase in health benefits to be paid by teachers.1 year contract between Rose Tree Media School District and its support personnel.2 percent increase in salary for support personnel.32, age of Main Line woman and former teacher at Interboro High who goes on trial in a fatal DUI accident this week.23, age of mother who was in Delco court to admit she fired a gun near her baby and his father last year.3.07 percent, current Pa. income tax. Gov. Tom Wolf wants to hike it to 3.7 percent.3.92 percent wage tax for Philly residents would go to 3.48 percent.3.49 percent to 3.11 for non-residents.6.6 percent sales tax, up from current 6 percent.5 percent tax on natural gas drilling operations in the state. 50 percent cut in corporate income tax, to 4.99 percent, over 3 years.2 draft picks and a defenseman, what Flyers GM ron Hextall got for Bradon Coburn, who was shipped to Tampa Bay.114-103 loss for the Sixers to the Raptors.4, as in No. 4 in the nation, for the Villanova Wildcats, up from No. 6.Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.The Flyers are joining the Sixers and Phillies on the dung heap. GM Ron Hextall turned seller at the trade deadline. Don’t look for this team to make the playoffs I Don’t Get It: Tom Wolf apparently plans to tax his way to prosperity. I wish him luck. Today’s Upper: Kudos to Tinicum School Principal, Tim Fanning, who planted his lips on a pig as part of a Dr. Seuss Day fundrasier at the school. Quote Box: “You know what, I have the best kids in the world and would do anything for them. And if that means kissing a pig, I’ll do it. Just don’t tell my wife.”- Tim Fanning, principal at Tinicum School.
The battle lines are drawn out in Concord Township. At stake is something called the Beaver Valley, a pristine tract that sits partly in Delaware (the state) and partly here in Delaware County. It is 230 acres of pristine open space in an area that is quickly becoming one of the most congested areas in the county.As you might expect, those who want to see that open space preserved are not exactly in love with the idea of a developer plopping down 163 homes on the tract.But that's what is at stake in Concord, and supervisors could vote on the plan tonight. Last week the township planners gave the green light to the plan put forth by Eastern States Development, of Wilmington, Del., and Springfield-based McKee-Concord Homes LP. Actually this is their second go-round. An initial plan which called for more development on more land was scrapped. The builder now are hoping to win approval by trying to save more open space.Opponents to the plan are unbowed - and unabashed in their opposition to the loss of this open space.More than 200 of them turned out for the planning commission vote last night. They likely will be out in force again tonight.Township supervisors will meet at 6 p.m. at Garnet Valley Middle School, 6-01 Smithbridge Road.Forget the Battle of the Brandywine. That might look tame compared to the Battle of Concord.
Tom Wolf is ready for his close-up. The rest of the state? Well, that is to be determined. The new governor has been busy making news in his first month in the job. He's been good to his word, that being that he would be an unconventional leader.He sacked a bunch of last-minute appointees by his predecessor, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, including a very well-qualified guy to head the state Office of Open Records. Erik Arneson, a former aide to Delco Sen. Dominic Pileggi, is going to court to get his job back.He could soon have company. Late Sunday, Wolf jettisoned the head of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission. Bill Green also believes he's been done wrong and is vowing to battle the governor to keep his title.Today Wolf ups the ante.He will deliver his first-ever budget address, and "unconventional" may be an understatement. You can watch the governor's budget address live here. This is Wolf's dilemma. He wants a lot more money to rectify what he believes is woefully underfunded education funding in the state. Unfortunately, he wants to do it at the same time the state is staring at $3 billion in red ink.So Wolf will be doing the unthinkable when he rolls out his fiscal blueprint this morning. He's going to hike taxes.Not just that much talked about severance tax on natural gas drilling in the state. After all, most citizens wouldn't really be affected by a new 5 percent levy on big business that most people in the state believe are making big bucks on the state's massive reseres of natural gas without paying their fair share along the way.No, the Pennsylvania budget debate is about to get up close and personal.Wolf is going to reach into your wallet. His proposals likely will affect every Pennsylvania resident in the one place guaranteed to evoke an emotional response - their pocket.Wolf likely will call for an increase in the state sales tax, which currently sits at 6 percent. It could go as high as 6.6 percent. Ditto for the personal income tax. Right now the state takes a 3.07 percent bite out of every paycheck. That could go to 3.7 percent.There is some good news for people who live or work in Philadelphia. Wolf is actually calling for a decrease in the hated city wage tax.While Wolf taketh away with one hand, he is promising to give back with the other. The Democrat wants to take much of this new revenue and target it for property tax relief across the state. But none of this is going to happen unless Wolf can get it through the Legislature, which just happens to be controlled by Republicans, many of whom have never met a tax they did not hate.Wolf will need to be more than "unconventional" to get this budget plan through the minefield that is the GOP-controlled House and Senate. He'll need to be political, a horse trader, someone who can work with Republicans. He'll no doubt have to give them something in return for backing on his spending plans. Can you say liquor privatization?One thing is sure. This will not be Tom Corbett's budget. The Republican rode an anti-tax pledge into the governor's mansion, then chafed for four years with that millstone around his neck.Wolf is making no such claims. He will be pushing hikes in several taxes in exchange for relief on property taxes and more money for education.Brace yourself for the "Unconventional" era in Pennsylvania politics.
Well, March is turning out to be quite the adventure. It didn't take long after the sun went down last night for all that melting snow and ice to start refreezing. As I got closer to home, the roads got increasingly slippery.This morning was a breeze. That's not what concerns me. It's getting home tonight that could be a challenge. In fact, the next few days look like they will put some teeth in that old adage about "March coming in like a lion."Here's what we have to look forward to: First, we're expecting some snow to start this afternoon, just in time for the evening rush hour. Then will quickly change over to rain as the temperatures rise. Timing will be the key in terms of whether or not this turns into an icy nightmare.Rain will continue overnight and into Wednesday, as temperatures actually threaten to 50-degree mark.But don't get your hopes up that spring is about to arrive. Thursday should pretty much put that notion to rest.That's because we're expecting snow on Thursday - possibly accumulating snow.Here's the latest call from AccuWeather.And here is what the National Weather Service says is in store for the next few days.TUESDAY: Snow and sleet likely before 4 p.M., then sleet. High near 31. Calm wind becoming south 5 to 8 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent. Total daytime snow and sleet accumulation of less than a half inch possible. TUESDAY NIGHT: Freezing rain and sleet before 8 p.m., then freezing rain between 8 p.m. and 9p.m., then rain after 9 p.m. Temperature rising to around 37 by 3 a.m. Southwest wind around 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent. Little or no ice accumulation expected. New sleet accumulation of less than a half inch possible. WEDNESDAY: Rain. High near 45. Southwest wind 6 to 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90 percent. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible. WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Rain, snow, and sleet before midnight, then snow and sleet between midnight and 2 a.m., then snow after 2 a.m. Low around 27. Northwest wind 7 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90 percent. New snow and sleet accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.THURSDAY: Snow, mainly before 1 p.m. High near 30. North wind around 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible. THURSDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, with a low around 7. Cheer up, the Phillies start their official Grapefruit League play this afternoon in Clearwater with a date against the Yankees.Think it's too late to hop a plane to Florida?
The Daily Numbers: 1 year since Tim McCaughan was struck and killed as he crossed a street in Collingdale. No arrest has been made in the case. 1.3 inches of snow in Garnet Valley Sunday.0.30 inches of ice accumulated during the storm.103.9 inches of snow recorded this winter in Boston.3.7 inches needed to break all-time record set in 1995-96, with more snow predicted in Beantown today.10.9 degrees aferage temperature in Buffalo in February, shattering the previous mark.15 refineries across the nation that are dealing with strikes by union workers. The contract for workers at the Monroe Energy Plant in Trainer expires this weekend.31 consecutive days on which the national average price for regular gas has gone up, according to AAA.34 cents per gallon increase during that time span. 2.37 a gallon, average price for gas nationally.2.52 a gallon here in Pa. 2.44 last week3.64 last year.6-2 loss for the Phillies to the University of Tampa has they kicked off Grapefruit League play in Florida Sunday.5,154 fans who showed up at Bright House Field for the game.94-74 loss for the Sixers last night in Indianapolis.1 goal this year for Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn. He was dealt by Ron Hextall overnight. Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Don’t panic at that loss by the Phils to the University of Tampa yesterday. There were not a lot of regulars in that lineup. The regular Grapefruit League schedule kicks off on Tuesday. I Don’t Get It: A guy drove his truck out onto a frozen pond in New Jersey, apparently to do “donuts” on the ice. It sank through the ice. He escaped. His dog did not. Today’s Upper: Kudos to the family of Tim McCaughan, who was struck and killed a year ago in Collingdale. They continue to push to learn who the driver was that took his life. Quote Box: “It’s hard to believe. It ruined my world. It ruined a lot of people’s worlds.”- Tim McCaughan, on the loss of his brother Chris in a hit-run accident.
I don't think it's exactly a trade secret that I'm one of the state's foremost proponents of privatizing the sales of alcohol. I once had a deal with Ron Raymond, the former longtime Delco state rep who sat on the state Liquor Control Committee. I would always joke with him that I wanted to be there, with my hands on the plunger, when they blew up the state store system.Having said that, I don't necessarily like the idea of anyone losing their job. And make no mistake, under the plan currently being pushed again by Republican House speaker Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, some people likely will wind up out of work.I also am willing to concede another key point made by union leader Wendell Young IV and other anti-privatization forces. I'm not sure that once you get past the up-front revenue from the sale of licenses to private entities, that these numbers add up.But that's not my point.None of that is why I am against privatization.Rather, it's because I've lived in other states. I see how they handle alcohol sales.And I think it's time for Pennsylvania to escape from the Dark Ages.It's the focus of my print column this week.
I think by now I have made my opinion of the way our local TV news handles the weather pretty clear. I know why they do it. It's about eyeballs.It's the same reason people say I put certain stories - and headlines - on our front page. There is truth to that statement. Our front page is a billboard we use every day to entice people to buy the newspaper. In one way, that is the front page's job.But we deliver a product every day that includes all kinds of information, from local news, obituaries, state, national and international reports, opinions, editorials and letters to the editor, and of course our sports report.It's all part of the package.That's not what I saw last night on the 6 o'clock news.In fact, I'm still not sure I saw what I saw.I am usually a Channel 6 guy. I flip on the TV at 6 and catch the weekend crew, Walter Perez and Sarah Bloomquist, along with Melissa Magee doing the weather. But last night the NBA game went to overtime, so the local news was delayed.I flipped over to Channel 10.What I saw was a bit of an eye-opener.Everyone knew weather was going to be a big story Sunday. It started with snow (earlier than what most of the folks had predicted by the way). It shifted over to freezing rain and then rain in the afternoon, turning just about every surface into an icy mess.Still, I was not prepared for the weather assault provided by Channel 10 at 6.What I saw was 30 minutes of weather.That's right, it was the only story they did. Instead, we got a full dose of Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz with the forecast, and an array of reporters standing out in the elements reporting on the icy mess they were encountering, all of this as traffic seemed to be moving right along in the background. Good thing most people don't drive on the sidewalks. They do, however, have to navigate parking lots, which were pretty dicey.I kept waiting and looking at my watch waiting for them to get of the weather and move on to other local stories.It never happened.Then I figured we'd get the sports.Nope, unless you count some video of folks making their way through the weather to head into the Flyers Wives Fight for Lives Carnival down at the Wells Fargo Center. Or a mention of folks again dealing with the elements as they tried to get to the Philadelphia Flower Show. You can always count on the Flower Show to deliver the worst weather of the winter.Then it was back to Glenn for a final look at the forecast.There you have it, 30 minutes of weather.Someone please tell me spring is not far away.
There is no truth to the rumor that the Flyers are scheduling a practice session in your driveway this morning - but they probably could. Yes, we have not only entered March - we also are back in the Ice Age.Yesterday's snow shifted over to freezing rain and rain, meaning that almost all surfaces outside are coated in ice.Here's what you need to know for your drive this morning. The major roads really are not that bad. However, the big challenge will be just getting to your car. Walkways, sidewalks and driveways are a sheet of ice. Trying to get your standing while chipping your way into your car will be your biggest challenge this morning.I didn't want to do it yesterday afternoon, but I certainly am glad that I went out yesterday afternoon, chipped out the cars, and most importantly lifted the windshield wipers up off the windshield.I always try to ignore the conditions in my development, because it always looks like the end of the world.But once out on the main roads, I had no real problems. West Chester Pike was smooth sailing. Probably the worst conditions I hit were on Providence Road from Route 3 over to the Media Bypass. It was still covered with a slushy, snowy mess. But even that wasn't all that bad.The Media Bypass was just wet, as was Springfield Road.Maybe my biggest challenge was getting from my car to the office. It was a skating rink, with a heavy coating of ice everywhere.Most schools in the region are on a two-hour delays. I guess that was a good call. You always want to err on the side of safety when dealing with children.Look, we survived February, which turned out to be the coldest in the last 36 years.I think if we can get through this week - we're supposed to have another couple of passing storms - we might be out of the woods.It's even supposed to hit 50 degrees on Wednesday - even though it will be raining.I'll take it. Spring can't be far behind. Here's the latest forecast from AccuWeather.
The Daily Numbers: 150,000 dollars being sought in suit filed against Marcus Hook, former Mayor Jay Schiliro by man who says the ex-pol held him hostage. 10 percent of 25,000 dollars, why Schiliro is currently sitting in jail on a new charge of theft.400 people who packed the recent Garnet Valley School Board meeting to air their feelings.11,000 hotels rooms in Philly, and another 65,000 in a 60-mile radius, all of which are expected to be filled when the pope visits in September. The archdiocese wants local families to host pilgrims coming for the World Meeting of Families.250 foot telecommunications tower that is expected to get the OK in Middletown.57, age of California man who entered guilty plea to supplying pot for drug ring run by 2 brother from Drexel Hill. 100 jobs filled at the Victory Brewing Co. eatery that will open soon in Kennett Square.1,000 customers a day expected to hit the popular brew pub.114-87 vote in the Pa. House in favor of privatizing liquor sales in the state.2,500 wine of liquor outlets would replace 600 state stores. 4,300 state store workers who could lose their jobs.20 years, how long the ‘Black Madam’ says she’s been doing body sculpting. She’s now on trial after one of her clients died from complications.21 years, how long the students at Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades have been showing off their work at the Philadelphia Flower Show, which opens tomorrow.10 acres, how much area inside the Pa. Convention Center is covered by the Flower Show.240,000 people expected to attend the annual harbinger of spring.32 bucks for an adult ticket to the show; children are $15.109 million dollars, how much Gov. Tom Wolf says his new GO-TIME panel has found in savings in the state budget already.3-2 loss for the Flyers in Toronto last night. A bad loss.3-2 win for Haverford over Ridley in high school hockey. 10 years, how long Todd Herremans has been an Eagle. He’s being released by the team.54.47 seconds, how long it took Haverford High’s Maddie Hart to cover the 100 butterfly, to set a new Delco record. Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.These Flyers are one of the more frustrating teams of recent years. It’s almost as if they don’t want to catch the Bruins for that final playoff spot. I Don’t Get It: Last day of February is expected to go out tomorrow with near-record low temperatures. What a lousy month this has been. Today’s Upper: Kudos to D.A. Jack Whelan, who is getting the heroin overdose drug Naloxone into state police cruisers. Quote Box: “We’re looking at it as a statewide distribution.”- a state police spokesman.
Now batting, No. 26 (as in 26th District), Tom McGarrigle. And on deck are Messrs. Pileggi, Leach and Williams.No, Ruben Amaro hasn't gone completely around the bend and signed a bunch of Delco politicos to fix his ailing lineup.That's just my way of saying that the ball is now once again in the Senate's court when it comes to the great Pennsylvania Booze Battle.As it turns out, one of the very first votes Tom McGarrigle will make as the newly elected state senator in the 26th District will be on the highly contention question of whether Pennsylvania should blow up its antiquated state store system and turn the sale of alcohol over to private enterprise.Yesterday the measure being pushed by Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, passed the House by a 114-87 margin.Every Democrat, including Delco Reps. Thaddeus Kirkland, D-159, and Greg Vitali, D-166, voted against it. All but four Republicans - none from Delco - voted in favor.Turzai's bill is similar to the one that passed the House last fall. Here are the details. Basically it would sell 1,200 licenses and slowly phase out the state stores. Beer distributors would get first show at the licenses. Supermarkets would focus on wine sales. It's a convoluted thing and still not a true privatization, but it certainly would make things more convenient than they are now. The problem with the bill is the same as last fall - with one large addition.The Republican-controlled Senate let this plan die without a vote last fall. And that was with Republican Tom Corbett inhabiting the governor's mansion. Now Democrat Tom Wolf holds the reins, and he opposes privatization. He wants to modernize the existing system.Then there are the numbers. Once the state blows through the expected $1 billion windfall from selling the licenses, a lot of people wonder how they will make up for the revenue currently provided by the state store system. There also is heated debate on two other matters crucial to consumers - prices, convenience and selection.While state stores would slowly die off - along with a couple of thousand jobs - beer distributors would not. In fact, they would get first shot at being able to buy a license to add wine sales to their businesses. They'd also be able to sell six- or 12-packs of beer. Currently they're limited to selling by the case.But the real monster in the room would be large-scale outlets such as Total Wine, which you would have to think would be interested in entering the Pennsylvania market, instead of continuing to lure customers a stone's throw over the state line in Claymont.For now, we await the vote in the Senate.What say you, Mr. McGarrigle?As for Sen. Pileggi, it has not gone unnoticed in the current debate this week that the failure of the Turzai bill last fall came when the Delco pol was the Senate majority leader. He's since been ousted from that post by members of his own party, some of whom believe he was not backing Gov. Corbett's agenda. Liquor privatization was one of the governor's big three issues.The Senate should at least vote on the current plan, instead of simply letting it die again.It can probably do that once it hits Wolf's desk, where it could face a veto.That is, unless a little political horse-trading ensues.Such as Republicans telling the new governor they just might look a bit more enthusiastically at some of his tax plans if he were to relent on liquor privatization.
I don't know if March is planning to come in like a lion. Right now I still have my hands full with February.Yes, those are flurries you may be seeing as you peek out the window this a.m.I first noticed it when I got in the car and noticed a dusting on my windshield. It was flurrying just about all the way in. Don't panic, it wasn't causing any issues on the roads. Actually, the drive in was fairly pleasant.Unfortunately, that's about as good as it's going to get. We will struggle to hit 30 degrees this afternoon, then the thermometer will plunge once again tonight.The record low for tomorrow is 9 degrees, set back in 1934. We could break that mark. We will get a dose of sun Saturday and a high in the mid 30s as we exit February. I think I can speak for most when I say, 'Good riddance.' This has been one of the coldest, most miserable Februarys I can remember, even if we didn't get all that much snow.Speaking of which, March is in fact planning to come in like a lion. A snowy one.That's right, there is some snow and rain in the forecast for Sunday night into Monday morning. The perfect way to start another work week.Want some good news? Accu-Weather says temperatures will ease later next week and we could threaten 50 degrees by mid-week.For now, here's the weekend forecast from the National Weather Service:Friday: Partly sunny, with a high near 26. Northwest wind 6 to 10 mph.Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 9. Northwest wind 6 to 8 mph.Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 26. Wind chill values as low as -1. Northwest wind around 6 mph.Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 14. Calm wind.Sunday: A chance of snow after 2 p.m. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 34. Calm wind becoming southwest around 5 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent. Little or no snow accumulation expected.Sunday Night: A chance of snow before 8 p.m, then rain and snow likely between 8 p.m.and 2 a.m., then rain or freezing rain likely after 2 am. Cloudy, with a low around 31. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.Monday: Rain or freezing rain likely before 8 a.m. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 41. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent.
The Daily Numbers: 3 female fire cadets who could become the first female firefighters in the history of the Chester Fire Department. 4 Chester city cops promoted to rank of sergeant.15 dollar fine for an expired parking meter in Media starting on Monday. That’s up from $5.24 hours, how long you have to pay the $15, then it goes to $20 for 24 and 72 hours.25 dollars after 72 hours.35 for parking in an illegal space.50 dollars for illegally parking in a handicapped space.275 acre property targeted for development at the site of the old Sleighton School in Edgmont.3 people arraigned on theft, credit card fraud charges.32 people busted in a heroin and meth ring operating out of Norristown that also sold drugs in Delco.3 gun ordinances in Harrisburg that the courts have ordered the city to stop enforcing.12 nominees of Gov. Tom Wolf that got OK by state Senate yesterday.50 percent cut in corporate tax rate being sought by Wolf.3 people nabbed in a plot to join Islamic state group; 1 of them ran kiosks in an unnamed Philly area mall.4 people shot, 3 of them killed in violent night in Philadelphia.7 points for Michael Carter-Williams as his new team, the Bucks, put away the Sixers last night.104-88 loss for the Sixers.44-41 loss for Ridley to Plymouth-Whitemarsh in District One semifinal game last night. 55-52 win for Glen Mills over Lower Moreland in District One AAA play. Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Cliff Lee threw to live batters and looked good yesterday. Lee and Hamels at the top of the rotation. I can live with that. I Don’t Get It: Yeah, that snow is going to get here any minute now. I don’t get it. Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Delaware County Veterans Memorial Foundation and their Education Committee, who are bringing invaluable lessons to schoolkids across the county. Quote Box: “Listen, let me tell you what. I’m running around all day, I’m like the Domino’s guy. Thirty minutes or less or it’s free.”- Drug suspect rounded up during sweep in Norristown yesterday.
Just call them 'Soldiers' Stories.' Last night we used out 'Live From the Newsroom' show to profile one of the best aspects of the county's newest landmark, the Delaware County Veterans Memorial.That is where you will find the name of every man and woman who gave their life in service to their country.It is hallowed ground, carved out of a parcel along busy West Chester Pike in Newtown.But because of the work of the Delaware County Veterans Memorial Education Committee, we're learning more about the lives behind those names.Call it living history.Under the auspices of Education Committee Chairman Linda Houldin, a longtime Newtown supervisor and key figure at the Delaware County Historical Society, each of the names on the memorial is being researched and profiled.Last night I got a chance to meet some of the people involved in this project.If you missed the show, you can catch the replay here.Houldin reached out to Professor Robert Kodosky, who specializes in military history classes at West Chester University. Together they enlisted students to tell the stories of these Delaware County heroes.One of his graduates, Gabby Weiss, of Radnor, told us about her experience in working on the project.And it's not just college students who are learning about the men and women from Delaware County who so ably served when called. The Education Committee has a curriculum for kids in grades K-12.Marisa Sankey, a home schooler from Morton, was so moved by her experience with the project that she penned an emotional poem dedicated to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. You can see her recite it on the video.Karen Confer, the education coordinator for the Delaware County Historical Society, told us how this program is quickly spreading through schools across the county.Maybe the best thing about this project is that, once completed, the soldiers' stories are being archived by the Delaware County Historical Society.So far Kodosky's classes have told the stories of 30 soldiers. His next class will pick up the ball in the spring.If you haven't been there, I highly recommend a visit. The memorial is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.Telling the story of our true Delaware County heroes.
It's crunch time in Harrisburg. Or maybe that would be better referred to as 'post time.'Since when did 10 a.m. become 'happy hour?'Well, since today the full House of Representatives is expected to vote on Speaker Mike Turzai's bill to get Pennsylvania out of the booze business.This is very similar to the measure that passed the House last fall - the only time in history a privatization package has passed in Pennsylvania.There are a lot of new faces in this Legislature, but with his fellow Republicans solidly in control of the House, the Speaker's measure is expected to pass. Its future in the Senate, where it died last fall, is a lot murkier. Despite the fact that the GOP also controls the Senate.Turzai's complicated bill would do all kinds of things, but essentially would phase out state stores while selling licenses to private entrepreneurs, with the state's beer distributors getting first shot at them.You can get all the details of the Turzai plan, House Bill 466 here.We'll update you on the vote, but remember, new Gov. Tom Wolf is not a proponent of privatization. Instead he would like to see the state store system modernized. He says he would veto a privatization bill. But I get the feeling if they can get this measure through the Senate, Turzai and fellow Republicans might be able to do some horse trading with the governor, especially in the area of tax changes Wolf desperately needs for his budget plan.Stay tuned.
I have said many times that one of the very few perks of the bizarre hours I work is that I usually have the road to myself - aside from my four-legged Bambi friends, that is. We are supposed to get some snow this morning.It sounds like we once again will miss the brunt of the flakes, which could rack up 3-6 inches in southern Delaware and South Jersey. Here in the Philly region, we're looking at probably only a coating to at most an inch.The problem is the timing - not for me, for you.The snow is expected to arrive here just in time for the morning rush hour, likely starting around 7 a.m. and continuing through the morning commute.Here's the latest forecast:Which leads me to a question that struck me last night when I heard the news that Boston has officially cleared the 100-inch mark for snow this brutal winter.The truth is we haven't had it that bad this year in terms of snow, at least compared to last year. It has, however, been much colder.So here's my question, I guess you could call it the lesser of two evils, at least if you hate winter as much as I do.What would you rather, all that snow from last year, or the brutal cold that has had us in its icy tentacles all month?I think you know where I stand. I'll take the cold over the snow any day.Want some even better news?Our friends at AccuWeather say March will bring with it some milder temperatures next week.