Heron's Nest

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Heron's Nesthttp://www.blogger.com/profile/14660975576038978211noreply@blogger.comBlogger8715125
Updated: 5 hours 33 min ago

Not the time to be cutting heroin funding

Fri, 2017-06-23 06:09
It's a little hard to conceive, especially in light of what has been happening here in Delaware County the past few weeks, but you would think most people would agree this is not the time to be cutting the funding and programs used to treat heroin addiction.

Apparently not everyone agrees.

Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., believes the Republican health care plan rolled out in the Senate, which includes cuts in Medicaid coverage, will do just that.

You can read our editorial here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Some thoughts on attacking the heroin problem

Fri, 2017-06-23 05:58
After spending much of the last week writing and talking to people about the heroin epidemic that is ravaging so many communities, here's what I think I know.

We're not going to arrest our way out of this crisis.

The key is going to be prevention, and that includes much closer monitoring on how doctors dole out prescription painkillers. We hear again and again about how people with serious injuries and pain start taking pills like Vicodin and Oxycontin with legitimate doctor's prescriptions. But too often the prescription lapses, but the patient's needs do not.

They keep looking for a solution, and too often it takes them out on the street in the hunt for a cheaper alternative - heroin. I also am convinced that we still are barely scratching the surface when it comes to serious treatment for heroin issues. That's one of the things Upper Darby police Superintendent Mike Chitwood has focused on.

And I also had a conversation with someone who knows - who's been through it. He also points at the over-prescribing of pain meds, claiming a majority of these people became addicted to prescribed opiates they received from their doctors as a form of pain relief for injuries such as back, neck, arthritis ailments and others.

More than that, he concurs with Chitwood that the 30-day treatment covered under most insurance plans is woefully inadequate. He says it takes months if not for years to kick the opioid addiction. The standard of 5-7 days of detox, followed by 21 days of outpatient help will not get the job done. Instead, he suggests opioid addicts need a minimum of three months of controlled intensive outpatient treatment in order to re-wire their brain. That needs to be followed up by at least six months at a sober living or halfway house.

Something to think about, especially now that Washington seems hell-bent on slashing Medicaid coverage.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The importance of medical marijuana

Thu, 2017-06-22 07:30
In noting that Delaware County got shut out of the medical marijuana bonanza - at least at this point - it's easy to lose track of the fact that this is still a very important program that is going to help a lot of people.

The two licenses for medical marijuana growing-cultivating facilities were both awarded to Berks County operations. The MedGarden LLC application from the McKee family came in third place. It's likely they could get a license in the next round.

In the meantime, let's hope they get this program up and running as soon as possible.

Keep in mind this is not 'weed' that you smoke. These leaves will be made into creams, tinctures and ointments to treat people with serious illnesses.

Let's hope they get it up and running as soon as possible.

You can read our editorial here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The first rule of baseball

Thu, 2017-06-22 07:03
A lifetime ago, I considered myself something of a baseball player.

The truth is I probably had a modicum of talent. But I loved the game. I would play morning, noon and night. I was a very good fielder, could man any position in the infield, and considered myself a fair hitter.

But what I prided myself on was what players refer to as "knowing the game."

It's also part of the respect the game demands.

Any time I am dealing with kids playing ball, I offer this one piece of advice.

If you're in the field, before every pitch ask yourself this question: If this ball is hit to me, what am I going to do with it. Who's on base? How fast are they? How many outs are there? What's the count? Do I have a force-out somewhere.

If you're on base, ask yourself the same question: What am I going to do in this situation? How many outs? The count?

That's why watching this Phillies team is making me so miserable.

They managed to do it again last night. The classic, come-from-ahead loss.

And of course it featured another incredible bone-headed play from a guy who seems to specialize in them. That would be Odubel Herrera.

He ran through a stop sign from third base coach Juan Samuel on a double by Freddy Galvis with two outs in the bottom of the ninth with the score tied. It wasn't even close. Herrera was out by 10 feet. So instead of having runners at second and third with two outs, the Phils were headed to extra innings.

Of course, they managed to lose to the Cardinals, 7-6. Hard to believe that at one point in the game they led, 5-0.

Herrera was pulled from the game in a double-switch.

The loss dropped the Phils to 22-48, 26 games under .500.

After the game he said he was playing "aggressive."

"I wanted to win the game, I put my head down and kept running," Herrera said."

Playing hard is admirable. It's something this Phillies team doesn't too enough.

But you also have to play smart. Herrera has to know the situation, and know that he can't make the last out at the plate.

I know that. A lot of people do.

My question is why doesn't Herrera, and so many other Phillies, and I guess a lot of major leaguers.

I learned it on the sandlot.

Herrera is learning it at Citizens Bank Park, while being paid millions.

What's wrong with this picture?
Categories: Pennsylvania

Delco shut out in 1st round of medical marijuana licenses

Wed, 2017-06-21 07:24
Hope you weren't already banking on an economic bonanza from the arrival of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

Delaware County got shut out yesterday as the state doled out the first 12 licenses for medical marijuana growing and processing licenses.

There were two entities in the county who submitted applications, including one fronted by the McKee family, well-known builders, from Aston Township.

That does not mean Delco will be shut out entirely.

There will be another round of licenses handed out next year.

And in a couple of weeks, the state will be awarding licenses for the dispensaries that will actually sell the medical marijuana.

You can read our full story here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Keeping guns away from those who hate

Wed, 2017-06-21 07:07
We seem to be swimming in hate.

That seemed evident in the screeds and rantings left behind by James Hodgkinson. He's the Left-leaning zealot who professed hatred for Donald Trump and Republicans before opening fire on a group of GOP congressmen as they held baseball practice on a field in Alexandra, Va.

How to attack this kind of hate is debatable.

What should not be - again - is that people with that kind of hair-trigger temperament probably should not have access to guns. Sen. Robert Casey was in the area this week to again push legislation, the Disarm Hate Act, that would ban anyone convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime from buying or possessing a gun.

Would it have prevented Hodgkinson from going over the edge and deciding to use Republicans as target practice. Maybe not.

But we still feel it's a good idea.

Dealing with hate is likely going to take a little longer.

You can read our editorial here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Summer is over for Phillies fans

Wed, 2017-06-21 06:49
Welcome to the first day of summer.

Congratulations, you survived another winter. And another wet, cool spring.

Bring on those lazy, hazy crazy, days of summer.

Unless, of course, you're a Phillies fan.

For you, summer is over.

Yes, even before it began.

This morning, on the first day of summer, your Fightin' Phils find themselves 25 games under .500, 20 games back in the National League East.

This comes after another of their special collapses last night, giving up 7 runs in the 11th to fall to the Cardinals, 8-1. You want to declare a moral victory in that the Phils managed to hang dead even with the Redbirds for 9 innings, be my guest. Me? I'm taking this personally.

These Phillies have robbed me of one of my most prized rites of summer. Oh, I still retreat to the deck when I get home at night, hoping to squeeze out the last few drops of sunlight.

But I am hard-pressed to take my little radio with me so as to listen to the Phils.

They don't seem to care, why should I.

Well, I guess it still beats listening to Chris Matthews talk over his guests on 'Hardball.'

The Phillies are now 22-47. They have won one game in two weeks.

A week ago young GM Matt Klentak was telling us Michael Saunders could heat up and "carry this team on his back for a month." Yesterday Saunders, given a guaranteed $9 million deal by Klentak as one of his big off-season acquisitions, was carrying his bags to the door, designated for assignment by the team. Saunders hit .205 with six home runs and 20 RBIs in 61 games. He struck out 51 times. He was joined by struggling reliever Jeanmar Gomez.

But Klentak did not call up any of his high-profile young players for a shot at 'The Show.'

Instead he tapped outfielder Cam Perkins and left-hander Hoby Milner from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Those IronPigs, by the way, continue to be red-hot, leading the minors.

Maybe we should adopt them for the summer.

Because aside from that, for Phillies fans, summer is over.

Even before it began.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The Grad Tab: Our annual salute to the graduates

Tue, 2017-06-20 06:30
It's one of life's milestones - and one that certainly should be noted by your local newspaper.

Every year around this time I get calls complaining about the way we cover high school graduations.

Once again this year, we decided to focus for the most part on photos and picture galleries - both in print and on our website. Unfortunately, we were not able to get to every high school commencement. We did offer to readers that they submit their own photos that we added to our online galleries.

I also featured some submitted photos from schools that we did not get to on our Page Two daily photo feature.

But there is one thing we remain committed to - and it appears in print.

It is our annual salute to graduating high school seniors - the completion of the 12-year journey through our education system. We call it the Grad Tab.

It is our salute to the Class of 2017.

It contains - we hope - the name of every graduating senior in Delaware County.

But to get it you have to buy a copy of the print edition.

It is included in today's newspaper.

Our best to the Class of 2017!
Categories: Pennsylvania

Time for new ideas in heroin war

Tue, 2017-06-20 05:58
It's a depressing question.

But I think it's one that needs to be asked.

It came to me after reading our latest update on the heroin battle here in Delaware County. Let's just say the numbers aren't good. In fact, they are so bad I was left with this question:

Are we losing the war on heroin?

Mike Chitwood has seen a few things in his five careers in law enforcement. But even this grizzled, veteran cop says he's never seen anything like this new heroin epidemic.

One thing you can count on with Chitwood is that he's going to speak his mind.

This is no exception.

He thinks it's time for a new approach in battling this issue, a three-pronged attack that includes education, enforcement and treatment. It's in the area of treatment that he believes is especially lacking in the current climate.

It's on today's editorial page.

It's a fight the county - and really the region and much of the nation - can't afford to lose.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Are we losing the war against heroin?

Mon, 2017-06-19 07:40
It's hard not to listen to Upper Darby top cop Mike Chitwood and not wonder if we're losing the war against heroin.

Chitwood has seen just about everything in a long, illustrious career that has spanned more than five decades and struggled with some of the worst society has to offer.

And even he's taken aback by what is going on in so many communities - not just Upper Darby - when it comes to opioids and heroin today.

"I've never seen anything like it," Chitwood said. "I've been doing this for 53 years and I've never seen anything like it. And I don't see an end in sight. I don's see even an out for the near future."

You can read our latest update in the battle against heroin here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

35 years in one place? Yep, it's a rarity

Mon, 2017-06-19 07:24
Maybe it's a generational thing.

My kids are always fascinated by the fact that I have worked at the same place for 35 years.

In fact, before we moved our offices last summer, they were astounded that I literally walked into the same building every day for 34 years.

Young people today don't have any such expectation. Not only do they not expect to stay in one place all that long (both of my children already have had several jobs, even if in the same field), unlike their elders they see nothing wrong with it.

Maybe that's why I've stayed at one place for 35 years.

That's one of many things that came rushing back to me last week as I tallied up 35 years in the news racket.

I talk a bit about what I do for a living - and the earth-shaking changes that have rattled the industry, and those who work in it - in today's print column, my weekly Letter From the Editor.

Oh, and there's a bonus. You can hear the story of the best headline I've ever written - and one that never appeared in the Daily Times.
Categories: Pennsylvania

What does Danny Ainge know?

Mon, 2017-06-19 07:05
It is the classic nagging doubt that every Philly fan knows is a permanent resident deep in their gut.

It is that thing that, even when things are going right, makes you wonder how this could be.

Or, in other words, what does Danny Ainge know that the rest of us don't?

Why is the Boston G.M. willing to make a deal with the Sixers, in essence allowing them to move up from the No. 3 pick in Thursday night's NBA Draft to the No. 1 slot, thus being able to take top pick Markelle Fultz.

The deal is expected to be formally announced today, after a weekend that had Sam Hinkie-ites seriously saluting "The Process."

With Fultz in tow, the Sixers suddenly could have the underpinnings of a dynasty - at least on paper.

Too bad they still play these things on the court, which is where Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons don't seem to be able to spend that much time as they continue to nurse injuries.

Maybe their luck is about to change.

Or maybe Danny Ainge knows something the rest of us don't.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Another anniversary

Fri, 2017-06-16 07:05
As I mentioned earlier this week, it's a pretty heady week here at the Heron's Nest.

Not only this one, but the "nest" at home as well.

Yes, I first stepped foot in the Daily Times on June 14, 1982. Flag Day.

Almost exactly one year later, I made the best decision of my life.

I married the woman who had waited - probably a lot longer than she should have - for me to pop the question.

Little did she know what she was getting herself into.

Ask anyone who has been in this business for any amount of time. This racket is very tough on personal relationships. I can't count the number of fractured lives I have seen over the course of these past three decades.

I got married on June 18, 1983.

So I will mark 34 years of wedded bliss this weekend.

Or, as my wife presciently always points out, "I'm always trying to catch up with the newspaper."

She's not kidding.

I have often joked that my wife has shared me all these years with my "mistress," the Daily Times.

I was only half-joking.

The truth is, she pretty much was a solo act on the home front. She took care of things there, while I was here. She kept the books, managed the house, and - most importantly - took the lead in raising two fantastic kids.

In short, I worked, she did everything else.

I don't doubt that many times in all those moments she spent alone - when I was not there - that she pondered kicking my sorry behind to the curb and starting over.

She never did.

For a long time I worked nights and weekends. We would be like ships in the night. After the kids were born, I would try to get up to see them off to school. I didn't always get there, just as I was so often not there during so many family events. Where was I? Work, of course.

She stayed with me through promotions, and has been at my side the last 18 years as I've sat in the editor's chair.

I don't think either one of us was quite prepared for what the Internet would do to this business - and the job.

Those long hours suddenly became a 24-hour, non-stop news cycle. These days we're a threesome. No, it's not what you might think. It's me, my wife, and the laptop. She is not always amused.

Try living with that for awhile.

But she persevered.

And for that I likely will never be able to repay her.

But it's probably about time I start.

Maybe I can start here: Happy anniversary.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Taking a stand against politics of hate

Fri, 2017-06-16 06:46
It was nice - at least for a couple of hours - to see the 'united' return to the United State last night.

Democrats and Republicans gathered on the baseball field to play a charity baseball game - but also to make a statement.

We will not be cowed by those who resort to violence.

I hope it will continue.

My fear is that it will not.

On our editorial page today, we talk about the politics of hate.

It is what happens when partisan bickering goes on steroids.

This is not a Democratic issue, nor a Republican issue.

It's not left or right.

Both sides have resorted to these kinds of attacks.

We're better than this.

At least I hope we are.

You can read our editorial here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

A whole new ballgame

Thu, 2017-06-15 07:32
There's no crying in baseball.

Except for yesterday.

What happened on a ballfield in Alexandria, Va., negated the famous line uttered by Tom Hanks' grizzled manager in the Hollywood tome, "A League of Their Own."

What happened outside the nation's capital was enough to leave the nation in tears. This is what it's come to.

An early-morning baseball practice was interrupted by something that should be foreign to us, but is becoming all too commonplace.

It is the ugly "pop-pop-pop" of gunfire. And it is tearing this country apart.

What makes what happened yesterday even more troubling is that this was just not any baseball practice.

These were Republican members of Congress and some of their aides, sharpening their skills for the annual charity game that pits GOP legislators vs. their Dem counterparts.

The fact that these were Republicans was not happenstance. It appears the gunman who opened fire on the field - critically wounding House GOP Whip Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana and wounding four others - was targeting them.

It is believed he held a longtime grudge against President Trump and Republicans in general.

It was only the heroic action of Capitol police, part of the security detail assigned to Scalise, in confronting and taking down the gunman, that averted a massacre.

Healing the wounds will take a little longer.

Not just the physical wounds inflicted on those hit by gunfire, but the psychological wounds of the nation as we mull just how far our political rancor has descended.

Ironically, two congressmen from our area were supposed to be on that field, but by happenstance were not, perhaps saving them from the gunman's wrath as well.

Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Chadds Ford, a pitcher for the GOP team, was supposed to be at the practice. In fact he was on the field the morning before, but on this day he had a breakfast engagement on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6, of West Goshen, simply missed his ride by a few minutes. He likely would have been at shortstop, aside from Scalise, who was at second base when the gunfire broke out.

I have been concerned for some time about the partisan rancor that is consuming the country.

I have no interest in pointing fingers. Both sides of the political aisle are at fault. This is not a Republican fault, nor a Democratic rant.

This is an American problem.

An American tragedy if you will.

I was heartened yesterday to see many in Washington reach across the aisle and embrace each other. Some prayed. Others offered hugs.

Civility reigned. At least for a few hours.

House Speaker Paul Ryan led the charge, noting that "an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us."

In fact, it is an attack on the roots of democracy, the underpinning of our great experiment in government. Will it last?

Well, this was the message I received in a voice mail about an hour after the news of the shooting first broke:

"What happened in Washington where only by chance two Capitol police were on hand because Scalise was there otherwise it would have been a slaughter of Republican senators and House members and I can only blame left-wing local newspapers like the Daily Times who regularly dump on the Republicans ... all the way up to Hillary who says resist, resist, resist and then we get those stupid people who think they're a comedian like Kathy Griffin who runs around with decapitated head of President Trump and then the deplorable play in Central Park depicting the death of the president.

"You guys, you keep revving up the crazies and there's going to be hell to pay and I'd like to see you guys - you particularly Phil Heron - write an editorial about that.

"The Daily Times is deplorable because you guys always dump on the Republicans. I'm just ashamed of you."

Looks like this might take awhile.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The heroin scourge just keeps getting worse

Thu, 2017-06-15 06:41
We already used our editorial page once this week to address the raging heroin-opioid epidemic that is taking a horrific toll on our communities.

We're back to it today.

That's because after dealing with six overdoses in a 24-hour period last week, things continue to spiral out of control in Upper Darby over the weekend.

Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood noted that in the first 12 days of June, his officers responded to 35 overdoses, much of it tied to heroin that had 'Bull Dog' stamped on the wrappers.

We returned to the topic on today's editorial page. The problem, despite constant pressure from local communities and the county, is not getting better; it's getting worse.

You can read the editorial here.

Looking for some good news? Upper Darby police report that have arrested six people they believe are behind the 'Bull Dog' heroin ring.

You can read that story here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

35 years: Marking a milestone in the news racket

Wed, 2017-06-14 07:10
June 14, 1982.

It doesn't seem like that long ago, but I guess it is.

That was the very first day I reported to work at the Daily Times.

35 years.

Seems like the blink of an eye.

I've seen a lot of changes in those three and a half decades. The industry has been turned upside down. The technology we use today wasn't even a figment of Al Gore's imagination when I first arrived in Primos.

My kids always snicker when I used to mention that I went to work in the same building for that long.

Of course, now I can no longer make that claim. We moved to new digs in Swarthmore (actually it's the part of South Chester Road that is technically in Springfield.)

One thing has remained the same after all these years.

The readers. They care deeply about this newspaper. Yes, I said newspaper. If that makes me a dinosaur, so be it.

I can hear it in their voices when they call.

They care.

And that's more than enough reason to keep going.

It's been a great ride.

And it's not over yet.

Thanks for allowing me to come into your homes and offices all these years.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The heroin scourge just got worse

Wed, 2017-06-14 06:45
It's worse than we thought.

We thought the heroin crisis hit a new low last week when Upper Darby police responded to no less than six overdose victims in one day, including a mother and father whose plight became known when their children, age 1 and 4, went to a window and screamed for help.

It got worse over the weekend.

Upper Darby police say they responded to six more overdoses.

Here's a quick recap of what the township has faced in just the first six days of June: 35 overdose victims have been revived by police and first responders using Narcan. Unfortunately, the township also recorded two fatalities.

Top Cop Mike Chitwood has seen a lot in his long police career.

But he says he's never seen anything like this current heroin scourge.

"This is the worst I've seen and it's just a snapshot of how bad the problem is," Chitwood said.

You can read our full story on the epidemic here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Let's put united back in United States for Flag Day

Wed, 2017-06-14 06:32
Check the calendar.

It's June 14.

That happens to be a special day.

It's the day we set aside to honor Old Glory.

Yes, it's Flag Day.

Funny, but it seems like the United States has never been more divided.

On our editorial page, we offer homage to that piece of cloth first woven by Betsy Ross.

And we hope that for one day, we can put the 'united' back in the United State.

You can read our editorial here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

No end to the heroin scourge

Tue, 2017-06-13 07:56
On our editorial page today, we again are talking about the opioid heroin scourge that is taking a horrific toll on not just Delaware County, but the nation.

It came into acute view last week when word was received that Upper Darby police responded to no less than six OD cases in one 24-hour period, including a mother and father who likely were saved when their children screamed for help.

The problem did not go away over the weekend.

In fact, today Upper Darby police will report they administered Narcan, the overdose-reversing drug, to six more victims. They also registered another overdose fatality.

You can read our editorial here.
Categories: Pennsylvania