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Updated: 2 hours 17 min ago

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, July 2

Thu, 2015-07-02 07:38
The Daily Numbers: 2 anchor stores with exterior entrances all that remains of the iconic Granite Run Mall. They locked the doors for the last time.

41 years, how long the shopping mecca stood at Baltimore Pike and Route 352 in Middletown.

125 retail spaces in the mall in its heyday.

24 million dollars, what the mall sold for, going to BET Investments. Most of the existing mall will be razed and replaced with a town center development of residential and retail.

20 million dollar renovation planned for the 58 acres site.

25 bucks, what it will cost you if you want to pick up a Pope Francis bobblehead ahead of his visit to the region in September.

4th suspect in Marple home invasion captured in North Carolina.

95 mph winds in a confirmed EF-1 tornado that touched down in Honey Brook, Chester County, on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

190,000 dollar salary for the new super in Springfield.

2.18 percent tax hike coming in Marple Newtown.

14 nursing homes operated by Golden Living being sued by the state attorney general.

138 point uptick for the stock market yesterday.

9-5 loss for the hapless Phillies to the Brewers.

8 straight losses for Aaron Harang.

8 runs on 14 hits given up by the Phils’ starter.

6.94 ERA for Harang.

27-53 record for the Phils, worst in baseball.

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

The Phillies are the worst team in baseball. And it’s not really close.

I Don’t Get It: Still trying to figure out why anyone is surprised by the budget stalemate in Harrisburg.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the new top cop in Ridley Township. That would be Scott Willoughby, new police captain.

Quote Box: “I remember when Granite Run first opened. It was a destination. It’s sad to see it close.”

- Krby Rhodes, on the end of the line for the iconic mall.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Wawa makes its case for beer sales

Thu, 2015-07-02 07:02
UPDATE: Gov. Tom Wolf Thursday afternoon vetoed the bill that would privatize sales of wine and alcohol in Pa. * You have to love Wawa's sense of timing.

Or, I guess, you might say: Gottahava sense of timing.

That is the sentiment we delivered on our front page Wednesday, with a lead headline exclaiming, ‘Gottahava Brewski,’ when our very own iconic Delco convenience store chain went in front of the folks out in Concord and made their case to sell beer in their store on Naamans Creek Road.

It is the first time Wawa has considered beer sales in the ever-changing landscape of booze sales in Pa.

While they sell beer in stores in Virginia and Florida, it marks the first such effort in Pennsylvania.

And it comes on the same day that the state Senate also for the first time in history passed legislation privatizing the sale of alcohol in Pa. Right now that bill is sitting on Gov. Tom Wolf's desk, no doubt likely to wind up part of the ongoing budget talks that have blown past the July 1 deadline.

For now, Wawa is saying this is a single-store consideration, but if you read between the lines, it's not hard to see this quickly expanding to other stores. The company says similar beer sales at other locations would depend on the success of the new facility in Concord. What does that tell you?

Make no mistake. This is still not going to be quite the experience you get in other states. Wawa is literally planning to build a completely separate part of the state to handle beer sales.

And you have to love the name. They're calling it the Wild Goose Cafe. No doubt after the company's namesake Canadian goose, which is indigenous to the section of Delaware County where it was founded, out in Chester Heights and Middletown.

Wawa is planning to construct a 400-square-foot space within the store for beer sales, as well as seating for 30. It will have its own register, separate from purchase in the rest of the store.

That's also the practice at several local supermarkets that have entered the fray in beer sales, such as Wegmans. You can't just snag a case of beer, put it in your cart with the rest of your groceries and pay for it all at the same register before exiting. Beer sales are confined to a separate section for the store, and you must pay for them at a separate register. You also are confined to buying two six-packs at a time, the same as will hold for this Wawa plan.

If you want a case, you will still have to head to your local beer distributor. Or simply make another trip back into the Wawa or supermarket and grab two more six-packs.

Under the Senate bill, beer distributors and supermarkets would be able to buy a license to sell wine and booze. I guess the problem for the mom-and-pop operators would be where they would put all this stuff. If the plan is signed by Gov. Wolf, I'll be interested to see just how many beer distributors enter the wine and spirits biz.

I'm also very interested to see if any of the huge discount liquor operations such as Total Wine just over the line in Claymont try to stick their toes in the Pa. waters.

This is about as close as Pennsylvania has ever gotten to blowing up the LCB and getting the state out of the booze business. It's not hard to see a day when beer sales at Wawa will be commonplace, just as they are in convenience stores in most other states. After all, isn't that part of the 'convenience?'
Categories: Pennsylvania

The Phillies hit bottom

Thu, 2015-07-02 06:31
Phillies fans got a glimpse of cold, hard reality this week.

Friends, we are fans of the worst team in baseball.

After all the hoopla surrounding the emergence of the new face of ownership in John Middletown; and the new boss of operations, Andy MacPhail; and the new interim manager for the rest of the season, Pete Mackanin; unfortunately they still have to play the games. The Phils entered this series within spitting distance of the equally inept Milwaukee Brewers.

It has not gone well.

The Phils have dropped three straight to the Brewers. They now sit at an atrocious 27-53, 17 1/2 games in back of the NL East-leading Nationals, who toyed with the Phils last weekend.

In the meantime, the Brewers have put some daylight between themselves and the bottom rung in baseball, where the Phils currently reside.

After three straight wins at Citizens Bank Park, the Brew Crew are at 32-48.

Milwaukee bludgeoned troubled Phils' starter Aaron Harang last night. After a promising start to the season, Harang has gone off a cliff. It was his eighth straight loss, and clearly his worst outing of the season. Harang surrendered eight runs on 14 hits in five-plus innings.

The Phillies .338 winning percentage puts them at the bottom of the baseball heap.

And deservedly so.

There is really only one interesting thing left about this team. That would be who Cole Hamels will be dealt to, and for whom.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, July 1

Wed, 2015-07-01 08:10
The Daily Numbers: 1 Wawa store where the Delco convenience store icon wants to sell beer.

400 square foot addition to the store that would be created for beer sales.

4-foot-high wall that would separate the area, known as the Wild Goose Cafe, from the rest of the store.

2 6-packs, how much customers can purchase at 1 time.

7 a.m.-2 a.m. sales Monday-Saturday; 9 a.m.-2 a.m. on Sunday.

690 Wawa stores in 6 states.

0 in Pa. that currently sell beer. The Naamans Creek Road store, at the intersection with Route 202, would be the 1st. 100 Wawa locations in Virginia and Florida that sell beer.

113-82 vote in Pa. House to privatize sale of alcohol in the state.

27-22 vote in the Senate.

0 Democrats who voted for the plan.

40 years, how long it’s been since a Pa. governor has vetoed an entire budget plan, as Gov. Tom Wolf did last night.

16 percent hike in taxes being sought by Gov. Wolf.

1 man found fatally shot in a car in Chester.

15 homicides recorded so far in Delaware County.

10 of those have been in Chester.

85 years, how long the Mar-Win Market has been in operation in Lansdowne. They are closing their doors forever.

2.45 percent tax hike given the OK by Springfield School Board.

10.56 inches of rain recorded in June back in 2013. That’s all-time record.

7 inches, how much rain we had this June, approximately.

1 possible tornado that touched down yesterday in Honey Brook, Chester County. The National Weather Service is investigating.

10,000 without power at height of storm last night in Lehigh Valley.

23 point spike for the Dow Jones, 1 day after a 350-point plunge.

2-0 win for the USA woman over Germany to advance to championship game in World Cup on Sunday.

2-1 win for the Union over D.C. United.

46 minute weather delay as rain and lightning pounded PPL Park in Chester.

4-3 loss for Phils to the Brewers.

27-52 mark for the Phils, worst in MLB.

0 wins for Cole Hamels in the month of June. He has not won since May 23.

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

The USA woman will go for the World Cup title on the July 4 weekend. Get used to hearing chants of ‘USA, USA!’

I Don’t Get It: Raise your hand if you’re surprised that the budget talks have hit a stalemate in Harrisburg. Thought so.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Pa. Senate for voting for the 1st time ever to get the state out of the booze business.

Quote Box: “This is a budget that doesn’t work. It simply doesn’t work. The math doesn’t work. It’s not balanced and it doesn’t address the challenges that Pennsylvanians face.”

- Gov. Tom Wolf, as he vetoed GOP spending plan.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Pa. inches closer to getting out of booze business

Wed, 2015-07-01 07:22
Something happened in Harrisburg yesterday that has never happened before.

No, not Gov. Tom Wolf vetoing the GOP budget plan. Nothing new about that, even if it hasn't in about 40 years.

Folks, raise your glasses.

The Senate voted to get Pennsylvania out of the booze business.

Yes, both the Senate and House passed legislation to privatize the sale of wine and alcohol in Pennsylvania.

So what does it all mean?

Well, for right now, it doesn't mean a thing. That's in part because Wolf opposes privatization. But last night he said he would not immediately veto the privatization plan, along with a GOP-backed pension bill.

I'm interested in what exactly the privatization bill does.

In short, if you're waiting for super stores to rush into Pennsylvania, you might be disappointed.

I know that I have been the state's primary proponent of getting Pa. out of the booze business for years. I used to joke with former state Rep. Ron Raymond, who headed the liquor control committee, that I would volunteer to push the plunger to blow up the hated LCB system and the idea of state stores.

What I have always wanted is simply what consumers in other states have - convenience. I want to be able to go to one place - preferably at the same time I am buying my groceries - and buy my beer, wine or spirits.

I want to be able to duck into the local Wawa on the way home and grab a cold six-pack.

I'd like to see stores such as Total Wine just over the border in Claymont offer their spectacular variety here in Pa.

I'm still not sure this bill will do that.

Here are some of the things it will do:

* If they so desire, beer distributors can add wine and liquor to their offerings, making the idea of one-stop shopping a possibility. But they won't be able to sell six-packs. Instead they will still be limited to selling cases and the recently won right to sell 12-packs. For a six-pack you will still have to go to a bar or deli, or a supermarket that sells beer.

* Speaking of those supermarkets, those that have beer licenses now would be able to add liquor and wine to their offerings.

* The bars and taverns that sell takeout would be able to add liquor and wine.

* The current state stores won't necessarily go out of business. They likely will remain until the state determines that an area is being adequately served by private enterprise. Profitability of the state stores also will be taken into consideration.

* Also, state stores will not start selling beer, which in a way would also have resulted in one-stop shopping.

I am guessing that, in terms of the supermarkets, some of the current problematic logistics would stay in place. You will still have to visit a separate part of the store and pay for your items there, as opposed to simply putting the items in your cart and paying for them with the rest of your groceries.

The ball is now in Gov. Wolf's court.

I am guessing all of this becomes a pawn in the state's budget war. I find it interesting that Wolf - who has long opposed privatization - did not immediately veto it last night.

That tells me he might be willing to give in on something the GOP clearly wants, perhaps in return for them giving in on some of his budget plans.

I'll hold off on a toast for now, but it's closer than Pennsylvania has ever gotten to getting out of the booze business.

Sip, Sip, Hooray!
Categories: Pennsylvania

We told you so: Stalemate in Harrisburg

Wed, 2015-07-01 06:48
You had to see this one coming.

The only thing missing in Harrisburg is the distinctive voice of Michael Buffer:

"Let's get ready to RUMMMMMMBLEEEE!"

You can call this one the main event, and it was set in motion last winter when newly minted Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf rolled out a budget that called for a massive hike in spending, funded by hikes in the personal income and sales taxes, along with a new levy on natural gas extraction in the state.

Republicans who control both the state House and Senate warned him his budget had no chance.

He fired back that he would veto any GOP budget that did not address what he considered the crucial problems facing the state, including finding more money for education.

So what happened?

Pretty much exactly what I figured would take place.

The Republicans passed their own spending plan, crowing that it was on time - just as former Republican Gov. Tom Corbett had done for four straight years - and that it contained no tax hikes.

Wolf didn't blink. Late last night he announced he would veto the entire spending plan.

The deadline for the state to have a spending plan in place was midnight last night.

Guess what? The deadline came and went.

So what happens now.

Well, Wolf at least is inviting legislative leaders to meet today.

This is now a heavyweight bout. The lack of a fiscal plan won't really have an effect right away, although a stalemate could wreak havoc with our elected representatives' July 4th plans.

Stay tuned. This one could get very interesting.
Categories: Pennsylvania

That was one wet June

Wed, 2015-07-01 06:21
I think we can safely say we won't be dealing with the word drought this summer.

June went out with a bang - and more rain.

Exactly one week after a wicked combination of storms and straight-line winds pummeled the region and cut off power to hundreds of thousands across the region, the skies again turned an ominous black over the region yesterday afternoon.

For the most part, Delco simply got hammered with heavy rain.

Out in Chester County, they are trying to determine if a tornado touched down in Honey Brook.

Here in Delco, there was flooding reported on I-95 from the airport to Route 420, turning the afternoon rush hour into a crawl.

And it was even more unfortunate for some drivers who tempted the fast-rising waters on Route 420 in Prospect Park. Several vehicles became trapped in the water about 5 p.m., as you can see in this photo. No serious injuries were reported.

If you thought June was wet, you weren't wrong.

Yesterday's downpour topped off the more than 6 inches that had already fallen in June, making it tied for the 14th wettest June since they started keeping tabs on these things back in 1872.

We could easily push close to the top five wettest Junes on record.

In case you're wondering, the wettest June ever occurred back in 2013, when we racked up 2013 inches of rain.

Just call me Noah.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The Daily Numbers for Tuesday, June 30

Tue, 2015-06-30 07:37
The Daily Numbers: 1 single DUI charge, the only charge a jury convicted Jonathan Vanderhorst on in the fatal crash the took the life of popular college athlete Dante DeSimone outside the Clifton Heights McDonald’s.

6 months in prison, maximum penalty for the charge.

4 hours, how long the jury deliberated before reaching their verdict.

5 million bucks, what Delaware County wants from Pennsylvania to offset storm damage from last week’s wild winds and rain.

2.5 million dollars in damage in Chester alone.

280,000 Atlantic Electric customers in Jersey who lost power in last week’s storm.

220,000, how many lost power during Hurricane Sandy.

568 cutstomers in Gloucester County still without power Monday night.

5,000 dollars to a Delco entrepreneur HeadRoom from PECO.

15 hours until the deadline for a new budget to be in place in Pa. It doesn’t look promising.

30.2 billion dollar budget plan that will be put on governor’s desk by Republicans. Gov. Wolf is vowing to veto it.

800 million dollars in new education funding being sought by Wolf.

11 billion dollars, how much state actuaries say a GOP plan to shave pension costs would save.

95,000 dollar fine for Sunoco Logistics to settle a civil complaint over a spills tied to drilling in western Pa.

350 point nosedive for the stock market yesterday.

3 months, how long Andy MacPhail says he will simply observe the Phillies operation before taking over as president in October.

7-4 loss for the Phils a few hours after the official MacPhail arrival.

18,423 rattling around in Citizens Bank Park for last night’s game on a gorgeous summer night.

3rd round draft pick, what Ron Hextall and the Flyers for for Zac Rinaldo in dealing him to the Bruins.

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

The Phillies have a new face. It’s not Andy MacPhail. It’s John Middleton, who stepped out of the shadows as the man in charge of Phillies ownership yesterday.

I Don’t Get It: Does every disagreement have to be rooted in race? Just wondering.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to Bo Ryan. The Chester native and former Chester High standout announced the upcoming season will be his last as head coach at Wisconsin. He will retire after the season. Chester Proud.

Quote Box: “How do you get political when people are hungry?”

- Chester Township Councilwoman Angela Prattis, on disagreement with Brookhaven officials over use of a storm shelter.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The Vanderhorst verdict: Looking for answers

Tue, 2015-06-30 06:59
Here's what we know about the accident that took the life of Dante DeSimone on Jan 12, 2014.

Jonathan Vanderhorst was driving east on Baltimore Pike and attempted to turn left into the McDonald's. His Ford Taurus collided with a pickup truck operated by Mark Greenslade, who was heading west on the Pike.

The impact sent the truck up onto the sidewalk outside the McDonald's, where DeSimone and some friends were walking. The truck struck DeSimone, as well as one of his friends, Tim Robison.

DeSimone, a very popular athlete who had graduated from Upper Darby HIgh, where he played ice hockey and lacrosse for four years and was captain of the lacrosse team, died of his injuries. He had been home for the Christmas break after completing his first semester at Neumann University.

Eventually Vanderhorst was charged with a host of charges, including homicide by vehicle while DUI, aggravated assault while DUI and DUI rendering him incapable of operating a motor vehicle.

But yesterday a Delaware County jury, after hearing conflicting testimony in terms of whether Vanderhorst was impaired, acquitted him of all but a single charge of DUI.

The prosecution had argued that medical tests showed Vanderhorst was under the influence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, as well as the anti-anxiety drug Clonazepam, for which he had a prescription. The defense's witnesses disputed findings that Vanderhorst was impaired at the time of the accident.

The jury agreed.

Moments after I posted the initial verdict on our website, it exploded with comments of outrage at the verdict.

I understand their feelings.

We want to know why a great kid like Dante DeSimone was taken so young, and we want to blame someone for it. I don't question those who trash the system and rant about justice in Delaware County.

At the same time, I also feel a bit for Vanderhorst. His face has appeared on the front page of this newspaper any number of times in connection with this incident. I wonder how many people will remember that he was acquitted of most of the serious charges. That's one of the reasons it was our lead story today, and not simply tucked inside.

Is it possible this tragic incident was something else altogether, simply an accident. Two cars collided. One went out of control and took a young man's life.

It is natural to look to assign blame.

I feel for the DeSimone family. I also feel for the plight of Vanderhorst.

We report the news; we don't have all the answers. Certainly we don't in this sad case.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Budget & Booze on tap in Harrisburg

Tue, 2015-06-30 06:31
We're about to find out what Tom Wolf is made of.

Remember those four years of on-time - if austere - budgets delivered by former Republican Gov. Tom Corbett? They're history. There's a new sheriff in town. Unfortunately, his posse is controlled by Republicans.

The Democrat Wolf has made clear he wants a huge spike in spending, with much of the money going to education, which suffered under the Corbett administration. In order to get them, he wants to increase the state income and sales taxes, as well as slapping a new extraction tax on natural gas drilling in the state.

That is not exactly music to Republicans' ears.

They're ready to put their own spending plan, which very much resembles the kind of fiscal blueprint Corbett delivered for four years, on the governor's desk.

That's when we'll find out just how serious Wolf is about his new vision for Pennsylvania.

So far he's given no indication that he would sign such a measure. If he vetoes it, it's very likely that the state could be looking at some kind of at least partial shutdown when the clock hits midnight tonight, the deadline for the state to have a spending plan in place.

Yesterday Wolf went so far as to send a letter to state workers and some contractors warning them of a possible shutdown. Adding to the intrigue in Harrisburg is two other measures being pushed by Republicans - both of which are opposed by Wolf. One would privatize the sale of wine and liquor in the state, the other would change pension benefits for future state and public school employees.

It's ironic that the privatization battle - which has been talked about for years but consistently gone nowhere - comes on the same day that Wawa is entering the fray. The Delco-based convenience store giant will go before the powers that be in Concord tonight, looking to get the OK to sell beer at their store on Naamans Creek Road. It would be the first time Wawa has sold beer in Pa., although they already sell suds in other states.

Full confession here: Yes, I am the state's foremost proponent of getting Pennsylvania out of the booze business. I have said many times that my position has nothing to do with what I know are some very important factors - whether or not the numbers add up. I know the LCB operations add a ton of revenue to the state's coffers every year, to say nothing of providing a lot of good jobs. My point has always been that the state has no business being in the sale of booze, and that our archaic laws make buying beer and wine ridiculously difficult.

There is a chance that Wolf, who has been clear in his opposition to privatization, may have to bend a bit in order to get what he wants from Republicans who control the Legislature.

If that means privatization arrives in Pennsylvania, I'm all for it.

But I'll also say something else I've said a million times. I'll believe it when I see it.

It's 6:30 a.m. Do you know where your state budget is?

When the clock strikes midnight tonight, will Tom Wolf or Republicans turn into pumpkins.

Or perhaps pumpkin ales.

Stay tuned.
Categories: Pennsylvania

A new face for the Phillies - 2 of them

Tue, 2015-06-30 05:58
The Phillies rolled out a new face of the organization yesterday.

Actually, two of them.

Sure, everyone was expecting the announcement that longtime baseball exec Andy MacPhail would replace Pat Gillick as team president.

MacPhail plans to spend three months analyzing the entire Phillies organization before he takes the reins from Gillick in October. One of his biggest decisions will be the fate of embattled General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr.

But maybe just as important was the other guy who dominated yesterday's afternoon press conference.

That would be John Middleton, the cigar biz baron who clearly stepped out of the shadows to take a much bigger role with the team.

For years the Phillies' ownership has been for the most part anonymous, preferring to stay out of the limelight - and headlines. But times have changed. So has ownership. For the most part, the team is now controlled by Middleton and the Buck family.

Now Middleton appears ready to put his stamp on the team.

Yesterday's announcement of MacPhail, the first time the team has gone outside the organization in anyone's memory, was step one.

Here's columnist Jack McCaffery's take on a very interesting day for the Phillies.

Oh, and other thing. Some things don't change. The Phillies and Sean O'Sullivan blew a lead last night and lost their series opener to the Brewers.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The Daily Numbers for Monday, June 29

Mon, 2015-06-29 08:07
The Daily Numbers: 5 people arrested in major meth bust in Upper Darby.

10,000 dollar reward offered for information in the fatal shooting of Thomas Childs at a Yeadon trucking business.

83 million dollar pricetag for Burman’s Specialty Pharmacy.

1896, when singing icon Ethel Waters was born - in Chester. Yesterday the city unveiled a marker to honor the songstress.

1 escaped prisoner shot and killed in New York; the other was later shot and captured.

67, age of Chris Squire, who played bass for the classic rock band Yes. He died over the weekend.

1,500 line crews who responded to Delco to help PECO restore power.

2 days until the deadline for a new state budget to be in place in Harrisburg. It does not look promising.

112-77 House vote to pass a GOP version of the budget on Saturday.

1 woman struck and killed by train near Ambler on Sunday.

1 dead, 2 injured in shooting incident in Philly.

3 people killed when small plane that took off from Lancaster slammed into a house near Boston.

8-5 win for the Phils in the nightcap to split Sunday double-header with the Nats.

3-2 win for Stephen Strasburg and D.C. in the opener.

4 hits for Cesar Hernandez in the win.

26-48 mark for Ryne Sandberg with Phils this year. He stepped down on Friday.

119-159 record for Sandberg in his two years with the team

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

Ryne Sandberg deserved better.

I Don’t Get It: There are still a lot of people in South Jersey who do not have power - six days after that storm hit. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the move yesterday in Chester to erect a marker to denote the birthplace of Ethel Waters, a Chester native.

Quote Box: “Ethel Waters was a star.”

- Chester Mayor John Linder.
Categories: Pennsylvania

An 'Amazing' week for the president - & the nation

Mon, 2015-06-29 07:19
I was dumbstruck by something I saw online on Saturday.

There is actually nothing all that unusual about hearing someone singing 'Amazing Grace' at a funeral service.

Except this was not just anyone.

This was the president of the United States.

I posted a video clip of President Obama's impromptu version of the old spiritual, which he delivered while offering the eulogy for one of the victims of the mass shooting inside the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.

I prefaced that post with something I will repeat here. I understand that some people will call Obama's performance calculated, or a political stunt, or playing to the audience. You are welcome to that opinion. Be my guest.

I will disagree.

In fact, I will go so far as to ask if anyone can tell me when a president had a week as astounding as the one President Obama delivered last week.

First, he had to console the nation in the immediate aftermath of the Charleston shooting. To be honest, I thought he was too quick to draw a link to the battle over gun control in this nation.

A few days later, he was handed a second major victory on his health care bill when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal subsidies that are crucial to the Affordable Care Act are constitutional.

Then, on Friday morning, the high court followed that ruling with another, declaring that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right in all 50 states.

In each instance, the president's words perfectly framed the debate. He talked about freedom, and how when one of us becomes more free, we are all better for it.

Then on Friday he went to Charleston. He talked about grace, and how this tragic event still had the power to infuse us with grace.

And that's when he broke into song.

As I watched it, I could think of only one word. Wow, just wow.

Then I thought back to the front page I created for Obama's first inauguration. It was led with a simple, two-word hed: Mr. President. I know this is not going to change the minds of anyone. But the man has a knack for rising to the occasion.

I can think of no president who has had to endure the kind of divisive - even hate-filled - rhetoric that has been hurled at this leader. And I think we all know why.

This comes from someone who thought too many did a huge disservice to then-President George W. Bush. I can see why Republicans and conservatives developed a true dislike for the media in those years. We gave them them plenty of ammunition.

But nothing comes close to what has been heaped on President Obama.

All of which makes a week like last week only that much more meaningful.

The guy had a helluva week.

"Amazing," you might say.

Categories: Pennsylvania

New meets old

Mon, 2015-06-29 06:54
New meets old. It happened today in my weekly print column.

\As you might have guessed, I'm the old.

So is something we did last week. It's our annual salute to high school grads. We call it the Grad Tab.

But it got a bit of a new spin when I decided to tease it before it actually came out in print on Twitter and Facebook.

Corinne Blair took it from there.

She's the Interboro grad who appears on our cover.

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Ryne Sandberg deserved better

Mon, 2015-06-29 06:37
Ryne Sandberg deserved better.

From Pat Gillick.

From Ruben Amaro Jr.

And from his team, in particular Chase Utley.

Sandberg fell on his sword Friday, announcing he was resigning as manager of the Phillies. No doubt before the team had a chance to fire him.

Sandberg had a Hall of Fame career, one that could have been spent as a Phillie but instead came in the uniform of the Chicago Cubs after one of the most infamous trades in team history.

Let's just say no one is reserving a spot on Cooperstown for him for his short-lived stint as skipper of the Phillies.

That does not excuse what the Phillies did to him.

Saddled with a lineup that was as dour as Sandberg's demeanor, the team quickly sank to the bottom of the standings.

The losing - and likely the way the team was losing - became too much for a proud baseball guy like Sandberg.

Rumors are flying that the Phillies this week will bring in Andy MacPhail to take over baseball operations. It's likely Sandberg decided to step down before the team could fire him.

His laid-back, reserved personality was not a great fit for this team - nor this passionate fan base.

But it still does not excuse what happened to him.

Chase Utley showed up his manager by going ballistic on the mound when outfield Jeff Francoeur was hung out to dry as an emergency pitcher. Then a couple of days later, Sandberg clearly was taken by surprise with the news that Utley was going on the disabled list with a balky ankle.

It was pretty clear Sandberg had lost Utley, and thus the locker room.

That on a team that could win less than 50 games.

No one likely will shed a tear over Sandberg's exit, as opposed to the reaction when Charlie Manuel packed his Wawa bag and was seen sadly sauntering out of Citizens Bank Park.

Sandberg deserved better.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The Daily Numbers for Friday, June 26

Fri, 2015-06-26 08:02
The Daily Numbers: 14,033 customers in Delco still without power as of 10:15 last night, according to PECO.

33 of 49 municipalities in the county still reporting outages.

6 major roads in Delco still closed.

11 p.m., when Route 1 southbound in Concord is expected to reopen.

31,000 people without power across the entire region.

13,275 in Chester County.

1,500 local contractors and additional field help brought in by PECO to help restore power.

770 workers focusing directly on Delco.

4 DUI offenses for a Haverford man.

80 years, how long the Tori family has been running their butcher shop on West Chester Pike in Drexel Hill. Joe Tori is hanging up his apron on Saturday.

1 year contract for high school teachers in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

625 teachers covered in the deal, at 17 high schools, including 3 here in Delco.

1,350 pay hike included in the deal.

1.5 percent increase in pension fees being paid by management personnel at SEPTA. That’s up to 2.5 percent from the current 1 percent.

15 years in prison for a Lansdowne man on fed charges that he tried to shoot a federal agent.

9 of July, how long Joe Watkins will remain in his post as the appointed receiver of Chester Upland School District.

30 million of the $45 million fundraising goal hit by the Philadelphia Archdiocese for the World Meeting of Families and visit by Pope Francis.

6,000 of 10,000 volunteers have already signed up.

1.65 fee on cell phone bills, up from $1, to operate 911 centers, according to bill passed and sent to Gov. Wolf.

292 million a year, what it costs to run the state’s 911 centers, including one in Delco.

5 people arrested in videotaped vicious attack on a Philly high school student.

3 pick used by Sixers on Duke center Jahil Okafor.

2, where Ohio State point guard D’Angel Russell went.

23rd pick in draft, where Chester High’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson went, to the Trail Blazers, who then traded him to Brooklyn.

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

Raise your hand if you winced when the Lakers snagged D’Angelo Russell at No. 2, 1 pick in front of the Sixers? But Jahlil Okafor is not a bad consolation prize. A lot of people think he’s the best player in the draft. Unfortunately, it now gives the Sixers three big men, and still looking for a point guard to run the show.

I Don’t Get It: Route 1 SB in Concord is still shut down by downed trees. Kind of hard to believe.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the pride of Chester, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. He was the 23rd pick in the NBA Draft last night, following in the proud footprints of another Chester legend, Jameer Nelson.

Quote Box: “It’s pretty rough, but we’re surviving.”

- Len Cerami of Aston, who has been without power since the storm hit Tuesday night.
Categories: Pennsylvania

When things are at their worst, Delco is often at its best

Fri, 2015-06-26 06:49
Slowly but surely, Delco is getting back to normal in the wake of the powerful storm that walloped the county Tuesday night.

That does not mean is has been easy, nor without more than a little frustration.

A lot of people in Aston and Brookhaven have now struggled through a second full day without power. Southbound Route 1 Baltimore Pike remains closed because a string of trees toppled over on power lines.

Tim Logue has a full update on the round-the-clock effort to restore power.

As of 10:30 p.m. last night, there were still 19,000 customers in the county without power. PECO has pulled in 1,500 additional staffers to help in the herculean effort to get everyone back online.

In the meantime, something else has been restored in Delaware County. It's the powerful sense of community that this place shows in exactly these kinds of circumstances.

In short, when things are at their worst, we're often at our best.

We used our editorial page today to address the issue.
Categories: Pennsylvania

A big night for the pride of Chester

Fri, 2015-06-26 06:39
All-Delco and Chester High standout Rondae Hollis-Jefferson didn't last long in Portland.

The Clipper was selected by the Trail Blazers with the 23rd pick in the draft. The Portland promptly shipped him off to the Brooklyn Nets.

Staff writer Terry Toohey was in the Barclays Center last night and has the details.

Hollis-Jefferson was not alone in the Big Apple. A huge contingent of Chester folks and Clippers fans made the hike to fete the Chester High product on his big night.

Hollis-Jefferson spent two seasons at the University of Arizona before turning pro, seeking to follow in the footsteps of Chester High guard Jameer Nelson, who followed up a sterling career at Saint Joe's with a long NBA career.

One thing you have to say about Chester athletes. They rarely forget where they came from.

We're proud of you, Rondae!
Categories: Pennsylvania

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, June 25

Thu, 2015-06-25 07:39
The Daily Numbers: 200,000 residents without power across the region as of 6 a.m.

24,000 in Delaware County.

24,000 in Chester County.

50,000 residents in Delco were without power last night. We’re making progress.

3 shelters open in Delco. PPL Park will open for residents at 11 a.m. There are also shelters at Academy Park High School and Brookhaven Borough Hall.

75 people who were at Brookhaven Borough Hall after the storm hit Tuesday night.

2:40 this morning, when some parts of Brookhaven got power back.

72 mph gust recorded at Philadelphia International Airport.

85 mph gust reported in Gloucester County, N.J.

1985, when Bill Bennett started his career as an educator. He now faces firing. The Rose Tree Media School Board could vote tonight on his fate as principal of Indian Lane Elementary.

1 more key aide fired by Pa. Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

2 local universities, West Chester and Cheyney, who are announcing a collaborative.

61 feet high and weighing 11 tons. Meet the duck that will hail the tall ships when they arrive in Philly today for the Tall Ships Festival.

3 Philly election officials facing fraud charges.

3, where Sixers pick in tonight’s NBA Draft.

5 selections in the 2nd round for the Sixers.

23, number worn by Chester product Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who is expected to be drafted in the 1st round of the NBA Draft tonight.

2 years, how long Hollis-Jefferson played at Arizona before deciding to go pro.

10-2 loss for the Phils to New York as their bats went silent again, just in time for Cole Hamels to take the mound.

5 earned runs on 8 hits over 5 innings for Hamels.

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

Wasn’t hard to predict that: The Phillies bats go silent as Cole Hamels takes the mound. Not as easy to predict is what Sixers GM Sam Hinkie is going to do in the NBA Draft tonight.

I Don’t Get It: Am I the only one who is having trouble with the case Rose Tree Media is building against Bill Bennett, the principal at Indian Lane Elementary. He could be fired tonight, despite glowing reviews from parents.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Philadelphia Union, for opening up PPL Park for residents to use as a shelter this morning in the wake of the storm that slammed many parts of Chester.

Quote Box: “Thirty years in this business and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

- Timothy Stone, owner of Fine Tree Care, in the wake of the storm.
Categories: Pennsylvania

State of Emergency

Thu, 2015-06-25 06:55
I got an inkling that yesterday was not a normal day in Delaware County on my initial jaunt to our local Wawa at mid-morning.

Normally both sides of Cottonwood Lane, the tiny street that runs between the railroad tracks and the Wawa and leads back to our plant in Primos, are jammed with cars. They are commuters who know they need to get there early if they're going to get a spot before they scramble to catch their train at the Primos Station on the Media-Elwyn line.

The trains weren't running yesterday.

They had lots of company.

State of Emergency.

That pretty much sums up what life was like for many Delco residents yesterday.

That's especially true out in the western end of the county, where the full force of Mother Nature hit with a vengeance Tuesday night. How bad was it? Route 1 southbound is still closed this morning because of a string of downed trees in Concord.

Middletown and Brookhaven were slammed by the storm.

County officials gathered in Brookhaven last night to offer a final update on the storm.

There was a shelter set up there.

Here are a few updates:

The Philadelphia Union today will open PPL Park as a shelter at 11 a.m. Residents can shower, cool off and the team will provide food and water.

PECO this morning is saying that outages across the region have dipped below 50,000 for the first time, with 49,245 still in the dark. Last night there were still 50,000 residents in Delco without power. This morning that number has dipped to 24,000. PECO is warning that some customers may be without power until the weekend.

In addition to PPL Park, two other shelters are operating in the county, at Academy Park High School and Brookhaven Borough Hall. A couple of key closed roads are now open: Route 291 in Tinicum, and Waterville Road in Brookhaven. However, Route 1 southbound out in Concord remains closed this morning.

The Media-Elwyn line reopened at 5:30 a.m. in time for the morning rush.

If you are still without power, we'd like to talk to you and tell your story.

Contact me at editor@delcotimes.com
Categories: Pennsylvania