Updated: 33 min 17 sec ago
The Daily Numbers: 35 feet, how far a Swarthmore student fell to his death from an embankment in woods at the rear of the campus over the weekend. 9 a.m. Wednesday, when Delco Judge Chad Kenney will hold the next hearing on the latest plan to save the Chester Upland School District.5.5 to 11 years in state prison for an East Lansdowne man for his role in a couple of robberies.1 dead, 3 injured in Chester shooting.14, age of child Chester County authorities allege was given heroin by her mother.5 men busted in a heroin and cocaine ring that targeted addicts in Berks and Montgomery counties.100 days of the Pa. budget impasse looming this week.2 billion dollars in one-time cash reserves used in the last Pa. budget. Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf believes the state needs tax hikes to put it on an even fiscal keel.40 years in jail for Christina Regusters, convicted in the kidnapping and sexual assault of a child from a day care center in Philly.65, age of Jerry Modesire, former head of the NAACP in Philadelphia, who died over the weekend.2 Philly police officers injured when their SUV slammed into a tree near Philadelphia International Airport.1 dead, 20 injured when an SUV slammed into a SEPTA bus in Frankford section of Philly.3, age of boy struck by car and in critical condition last night in North Philly.12 now dead in 1,000-year flooding in South Carolina.1,000 people sent to shelters across the state.40,000 without drinkable water in S.C.50 percent of the sand on some New Jersey beaches that was replaced after Hurricane Sandy washed away in the storm.7 people injured when 3 cars on an Amtrak train derailed in Vermont Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Chip Kelly keeps talking about how this Eagles team needs to ‘execute’ better. Reminds us of the legendary John McKay, when asked about his expansion Tampa Bay Bucs team’s execution he quipped: “I’m in favor of it.” I Don’t Get It: A mother faces charges for injection her 14-year-old daughter with heroin. I don’t get it. Today’s Upper: Kudos to Upper Darby cops, who once again today are sitting down with residents to talk about issues in the community. Quote Box: “We just need to execute the plays better.”- Eagles Coach Chip Kelly
Still wondering about how bad the heroin/opioid epidemic really is? Maybe this will change your mind.Yesterday authorities in Chester County arrested a woman for injecting her 14-year-old daughter, as well as her young friend, with heroin.You can get the details here.Ironically, news of the arrest came on the same day U.S. Sen. Robert Casey was in the region calling for more money for treatment programs.Just in time.
It is something I am constantly preaching to my staff. Every time there is a big national or international story, I always quip to them, "Don't worry, it will somehow work its way back to Delaware County."It happened again this week.Twice, actually.Reporter Rose Quinn detailed the story of longtime Delco resident Ed 'Rusty' Allen. What are the odds that he would wind up living across the street from Umpqa Community College in Oregon, where a troubled young man went on a killing spree last week, killing nine and wounding nine others.Then over the weekend we were monitoring the damage and fallout from Hurricane Joaquin. Several callers pointed out to us that the ship El Faro that went down in the storm off the Bahamas was built at the legendary Sun Ship yards in Chester.Like I said, there's always a Delco connection.
Chip Kelly, meet John McKay. And you might want to consider adopting his sense of humor. Like Kelly, McKay was a legendary college coach, the faces of excellence at USC. He got lured to the NFL by the thought of taking over an expansion team, the Tampa Bay Bucs.Unlike Kelly, McKay had a sense of humor.When asked what he thought of his pathetic team's execution, McKay famously shot back: "I'm in favor of it."Kelly is not nearly as clever.Execution is Chip's new favorite word. He insists that's what at the root of the Eagles' problems, and their 1-3 record.Every time he's asked about what is ailing the Birds' offense, which has a penchant for not showing up at the start of games, he insists it's all about "execution."Not talent. Not play-calling. Not desire.It's execution.The smartest guy in the room isn't budging."I think we have the right guys, and we're doing the right things," a defiant Kelly informed the media after Sunday's game in which the Eagles' offense again was pretty much non-existent in the first half. "We need to execute the plays better. That's what we need to do."Kelly insists his team is merely a couple of plays - and kicks - away from being 3-1 and leading the division, instead of 1-3 and at the bottom looking up at three other mediocre teams all deadlocked at 2-2.Chip Kelly put this team together. He won a power struggle in the offseason, deposing GM Howie Roseman. All personnel and roster decisions are now in Kelly's hands.How's that working out for you, Eagles fans?The least Kelly could do would be to emulate McKay, and develop a sense of humor.Instead, he seems to bristle at anyone who questions his thinking. That now might include star running back DeMarco Murray, who made it pretty clear after Sunday's brutal loss to the Redskins that he didn't think he was getting the ball enough. It will be interesting to see what if anything happens between Kelly and his star back.In Kelly's world, it's all about culture. It beats scheme. It even trumps talent.If only it worked that way on the field as well.
The Daily Numbers: 1-3 record for Eagles after yesterday’s come-from-ahead 23-20 loss. 13-0 halftime deficit for Birds as they struggled mightily again in 1st half.20-3 they outscored Redskins in 2nd half to take 20-16 lead.90 yard drive led by Redskins QB Kirk Cousins for the win.6 of 10 for 44 yards for Cousins on the game-winning drive.31 of 46 for 290 yards overall for Cousins.30 yard run for Eagles running back DeMarco Murray on his 1st carry.6 yards on 7 carries the rest of the game.47 yards on 29 carries for last year’s NFL rushing leader.5 sacks of Sam Bradford by the Redskins’ defense.6 sacks in 4 games for the Eagles.9 of 17 conversions for the Redskins on 3rd down. 4 points missed by the Eagles on 2 missed kicks by newly signed kicker Caleb Sturgis.33 yard field goal and 33 yard PAT both of which were off the mark.3 point difference in the game. Sturgis’ 2 kicks give the Eagles a win.2 games now in which the kicker has cost the Eagles possible wins.15 of 28 for 270 yards and 3 TDs for Sam Bradford, who finally threw some deep balls in the 2nd half.14 first downs for the Eagles in the entire game yesterday.14 Redskins first downs in the 2nd half.2-6 record for Chip Kelly in last 9 games stretching back to last season.1-4 mark for Kelly in his last 5 NFC East contests.And if that’s not enough pain for Philly sports fans, we offer these morsels.10 straight starts by Cole Hamels that have turned into wins for the Rangers.9-2 complete game win for Hamels and Rangers last night to take the AL West title.8 games out of 1st place, where Rangers sat when they made deal for Hamels.7-1 record for Hamels in Texas; 13-8 overall on the season.99 losses for the Phillies, who averted the century mark with a 7-2 win over the Marlins.63-99 mark for the Phils.1, as in the No. 1 pick in next years’ draft for the Phillies.1961, last time the Phillies lost 100 games. Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.This is all about Chip Kelly. He won the war for total control over personnel. This is the team he constructed. I Don’t Get It: Still not sure exactly why people are calling for Mark Sanchez. We know what he is. At least Sam Bradford offers a glimmer of what could be. And he proved that in the 2nd half yesterday. Kelly also gets a big thumb’s down for completely mismanaging the kicking situation. Cody Parkey was having issues back in the summer and didn’t kick in 2 games. That was the time to bring someone in, not Caleb Sturgis,who cost the Eagles the game yesterday. Today’s Upper: Kudos to Bradford. He hung in there despite taking a physical beating from the Redskins and threw 3 TD passes for the win. Quote Box: “We can’t delay the season. We’ve got to make plays.”- Chip Kelly after another rough loss.
Chip Kelly has a problem. He's learning something it took Andy Reid almost a decade to understand.That pompous, arrogant, 'smarter than everyone else in the room' act flies when you're 10-06 and making the playoffs.When you 1-3 and struggling, it's a lot tougher sell.Kelly won the offseason war for total control of the Eagles' roster and personnel. After watching his team hack up a lead and blow the NFC East title and a trip to the playoffs by losing three straight at the end of last year, Kelly clearly decided his team was not good enough.He was offered one caveat as he started shedding players that took the Eagles to the playoffs: You'd better be right.So far, Kelly the coach has been betrayed by Kelly the general manager.This team, which ofered a bogus vision of Super Bowl off their preseason play, just isn't that good.They have two fatal flaws.Their porous offensive line can't protect new QB Sam Bradford, and on the other side of the ball, they get absolutely no pressure on the opposing quarterback. That's why Kirk Cousins was able to sit back in the pocket and pick the Eagles apart on an agonizing, 90-yard drive to stick a dagger in the Eagles' hearts after the Birds had recovered from still another miserable first-half showing to take a lead over the 'Skins.Add in a kicker who can't kick and you have the recipe for a disastrous 1-3 start for Kelly's team.After Cody Parkey blew up what was left of his groin and was lost for the season, Kelly held tryouts and signed Caleb Sturgis, who last kicked - and not all that well - for the Dolphins.Yesterday Sturgis missed identical 33-yard kicks, one field goal and one point-after attempt.The Eagles lost by three. You do the math.Don't let Sturgis fool you, however.This team's troubles lie on their lines, an offensive line that was lessened by the offseason departure of Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis, and now rocked by injuries, including All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters.Their defensive line, stout against the run, is a non-factor vs. the pass. If the Eagles don't blitz, they don't get pressure on opposing QBs.Chip Kelly does not need any pithy replies about his rosters moves. He needs answers. Right now he does not appear to have any. And he doesn't have much time to find them. Interested in other views: Here's columnist Jack McCaffery's take on Kelly's 1-3 team.Bob Grotz reviews the game here.
I used my print column to talk about cops and journalists. We are more alike than you might think. When the worst kind of incidents happen - a crime scene, fire or natural disaster - we share something in common. While everyone else is running away from the danger, we're running toward it.Last weekend, as Pope Francis graced the region with a glorious two-day visit, we formed an odd alliance with Upper Darby police here in Primos.We offered them our front parking lot and offices so they could set up a command center.No, we weren't at each others' throats all weekend.It went swimmingly.You can read it here.
If the Eagles don't have Philly fans singing the blues today, there is this from the baseball world. Yes, Phillies fans, some places they are still playing baseball. They even get more than 10,000 at their games. The Texas Rangers were eight games out of first place when they made the trade deadline deal for Phillies' ace left-hander Cole Hamels. He started his first game for Texas on Aug.1. He left the game with a three-run lead, but the Rangers fell to the Giants in 11 innings. Alln the Rangers have done since then is win the last 10 games started by Hamels. Last night Hamels threw a complete game as the Rangers beat the Angels to win the AL West crown. From eight games out to a title in two months. Not bad.Hamels went 7-1 with Texas and raised his overall record this season to 13-8.He'll lead the Rangers into the playoffs, where he will be joined by some other former Phillies - Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins with the Dodgers, and Ben Revere with the Blue Jays.And here in Philly.Hey, how 'bout those Sixers!Uh, never mind.
We survived the Pope. Now we have to tangle with Joaquin. Actually, the Eagles are facing the Redskins, and the game is on after Joaquin decided he wanted to go out to se as opposed to slamming into the East Coast. So the game is on for 1 o’clock at Fed Ex Field.Regardless what path the storm takes, the weather will be key to this game. And that’s why I like the Eagles.It’s not because Sam Bradford is playing lights out. The fact is, despite a win over the Jets last week, Sam still appears to be a bit of a sham and the Birds’ offense is dinking and dunking, spitting and sputtering like one of my old cars.The Eagles nearly non-existent passing game is not likely to be resurrected in a quagmire in D.C. But with DeMarco Murray back and putting the three-headed monster back in the Birds’ ground game, I think that should be enough for a win. Even bigger is the other side of the ball, where they Eagles stout front seven on defense should be able to smother the Redskins.In a clash of 1-2 not-exactly titans, I still like the Eagles to right the ship at 2-2. One reason not to downplay this game. It’s both a divisional game against an opponent that also sports a 1-2 mark. One thing the Eagles will need to do in this game is put together two decent halves. After a strong first half in North Jersey last week, the Birds went into the fetal position in the second half, barely holding on for the win. The offense barely made it across midfield and specialized in the three-and-out in the second half. Part of that stems from Bradford’s struggles, and he didn’t get much help from his receivers, who would have trouble catching a cold. The Pick: Make it Eagles 26, Redskins 13. The Eagles literally will grind this one out on the ground. The stars of this game likely will be the offensive lines. Whichever won controls the line of scrimmage will likely win the game. I like the Birds. Last Week: Not one you want to save on your DVR. But it was essential for the Eagles to get off the ‘schneid’ after an “oh-and-2” start. With DeMarco Murray on the sidelines with a bum hamstring, Ryan Mathews took the rock and got the ground game going. It will be interesting to see how Kelly utilizes his backs this week after Mathews’ strong performance vs. the Jets. Season Record: We both desperately needed a win. The Birds played a decent first half, then held on for dear life. That makes them 1-2. I sport an identical record. Game by Game: Cowboys 20, Eagles 10 (My Pick: Eagles 31, Cowboys 26.Falcons 26, Eagles 24. (My Pick: Eagles 37, Falcons 26)Eagles 24, Jets 17. (My Pick: Eagles 27, Jets 23)
The Daily Numbers: 9 people dead, 20 injured in latest mass shooting, this time at a community college in Oregon. 26, age of the suspect, who died in a gun battle with police.175,000 dollars, how much Upper Darby wants to be reimbursed for its costs from security and police for the pope events last weekend.240,000 dollars seen being incurred by towns in Montgomery County.1.6 million tab for SEPTA services during the pope weekend.43, age of Chester youth football coach and mentor Shawn Atkins, who will be buried today after dying unexpectedly at a team practice last week.1st dorm set to be added to the Penn State Brandywine campus.250 bed residence hall on the Middletown campus.250 seat dining hall included in the new dorm.16 conditions of approval placed on the plan by Middletown council.2nd perjury charge slapped on Pa. Attorney General Kathleen Kane.1,500 more pornographic emails released by Kane, which she claims are the reason behind more charges being filed against her. Some of those emails came from the office of a sitting Supreme Court justice.4 inches of rain that has deluged South Carolina.1 person killed in the flooding.4 as in Category 4 storm for Hurricane Joaquin, which now appears as if it will veer out to sea rather than slamming the East Coast. It’s still going to be a wet, raw weekend.10 strikeouts over 7 dominant innings for Jerad Eickhoff as the Phillies swept the Mets, 3-0.97 losses for the Phils. 1 more win in final 3-game series vs. the Marlins needed to avoid a 100-loss season.2-run homer for Darin Ruf.33 straight road games in which the Mets had scored 3 runs or more. That streak was snapped by Eickoff and Phils. 1 p.m. Sunday, Eagles vs. Redskins is still on for FedEx Field in Landover. Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Add Cole Hamels to the parade of former Phillies headed to the playoffs. The Rangers clinched a Wild Card slot yesterday and could still win the AL West. Jerad Eickhoff is not a bad consolation prize. I Don’t Get It: I realize they moved up the Phils’ game from 7:10 to 12 noon, but there was nobody in Citizens Bank Park yesterday. Embarrassing. Today’s Upper: Kudos to Upper Darby Mayor Tom Micozzie for seeking reimbursement for the township for expenses incurred for pope weekend. Quote Box: “We’ve become numb to it.”- President Obama, talking about latest mass shooting, this time at community college in Oregon.
They apparently just released a photo of the suspect in the latest mass shooting, one that claimed nine lives on the campus of a community college in a sleepy, rural Oregon town. Don't hold your breath waiting to see it there.I don't want to see his face.I don't want to know his name.I want it to stop.I don't know the answer to this country's gun problem. I just know we have one. It involves guns getting into the hands of people who should not have them.I understand we are never going to resolve the Second Amendment argument. I don't think we're ever going to ban guns, nor do I necessarily think we should.But I know guns routinely get into the hands of people who don't have them.It happened again yesterday. I don't know how this troubled young man got his guns. At this point I'm not sure it makes much difference. He died in a gun battle with police.President Obama last night lamented that this has become routine, the act, all the reporting, all the hand-wringing. We've become numb to it, he said.That's maybe the scariest thought of what was a terrible day in another idyllic small American town.Right up there with the knowledge that it will happen again. The only question is when and where.
We were not about to let the passing of another Delco icon go by without a final salute. We used our editorial page today to talk about the passing of the Towne House, the iconic eatery started by the legendary Silvio "Babe" D'Ignazio in Media decades ago.There are some names and things that simply scream Delco.Seems like we've been losing a lot of them.Add the Towne House to the list.It will be missed.
Take a close look at this photo. No, this is not some minor league stadium. This is Citizens Bank Park.How far we've fallen from the Phillies' glory days.Granted, the weather was not great yesterday. It was raw and rainy. But there were entire sections of the park that had no one sitting in them. The game was moved up to a noon start from 7:05 because of the bad weather.More rain is expected tonight and over the weekend.Here's an unsolicited suggestion for the Phillies as they close out the season with three more home games against the Marlins. With rain looking like a factor for all three games, why not just open the turnstiles and say anyone who wants to come can get in free? It's the least they can do after one God-awful summer of baseball. After playing dead for too much of the season, NOW the Phillies decide to put up a fight. * I have to admit, I admire the trait, even if they are in the process of blowing the No. 1 pick in the draft.The Phillies completed a sweep of the Mets at a soggy, solitary Citizens Bank Park yesterday. And for those of you bemoaning the fact that for Phillies Chase Utley, Jimmmy Rollins and Cole Hamels are headed for the playoffs while the Phils play for pride, there is a silver lining.His name is Jerad Eickhoff. He's the righthander the Phillies got in the deal that sent former ace Hamels to the Texas Rangers. (And oh by the way, the Rangers clinched a Wild Card spot yesterday and are taking aim at the AL West title). Eickhoff is looking more and more like a gem.Yesterday he struck out 10 Mets and did not give up a run over seven innings. The right-hander has now evened his record at 3-3, while lowering his ERA to an impressive 2.65.It is not hard to envision him as a solid No. 2 starter behind Aaron Nola as the Phils continue the rebuilding process. Rob Parent has all the details from yesterday's game, which apparently was attended by lots of people dressed up as blue seats. I've never seen Citizens Bank Park that empty. Where have you gone Jimmy, Chase and Cole? Oh, that's right. They're going to the playoffs.
The Daily Numbers: 65 years, how long the Towne House has sat on Baltimore Pike in Media. The D’Ignazio family will close the doors and sell the business. 90, the age that both the Towne House founder, Babe D’Ignazio, and his wife, ‘Libby,’ died.144 jobs on the line as Garnet Valley School District considers outsourcing some services.100 people who showed up at the school board meeting to discuss the issue.1 person dead after he was struck by 2 cars last night in Chester.1 of the cars fled the scene.25, age of man gunned down in East Lansdowne.2 Upper Darby cops who have snagged prestigious Awards of Valor from the National Liberty Museum.15th president of Swarthmore College who will be inaugurated on Saturday.45 million dollar gift for Drexel University from Dana Dornsife and her husband, David. Their name will adorn the new School of Public Health.75 years old for the Pa. Turnpike. We thought that was how much the toll is to cross it.3, as in Category 3 Hurricane now for Joaquin, which is pounding the Bahamas and will rumble up the East Coast this weekend.115 mph winds.10 inches of rain expected in some areas of the East Coast.12 noon start for the Phillies game, moved up from 7:05 tonight because of expected wet weather.5-0 deficit wiped out by Phillies as they rallied for 7-5 win over Mets.97 losses and standing, with 4 games to go.2 wins, what Phils need to avoid 100-loss season. Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.If the Eagles-Redskins game is not moved or rescheduled by Joaquin, it will be a mudfest. That means the Eagles will need to rely on their run game. That might not be a bad thing considering the way Sam Bradford is throwing the ball. I Don’t Get It: Good thing this weather is arriving this weekend instead of last, when the pope was in town. Today’s Upper: Kudos to the D’Ignazio family for a great run at one of the county’s true icons, the Towne House in Media. Quote Box: “Everybody came to Media to go to the Towne House.”- Media Mayor Bob McMahon, on word that the institution will close its doors and be sold.
There are some things that just scream Delco. They are our icons. Businesses like Boeing and Sun Oil.Places like the MacDade Mall and the old Bazaar of All Nations.I guess that is why every time we post a story on our website about the end of the line for the Granite Run Mall, traffic takes a big spike, and comments surge on the story, as well as on social media.In Media, the county seat, there is one place that carried that kind of clout.That's why it was big news yesterday when I got the tip that they were closing the doors at the Towne House. After 65 years, the D'Ignazio family is going to sell the business founded by the one and only Silvio 'Babe' D'Ignazio.It did not take long for the memories to start pouring out.It was more than a popular meeting place. It was where people held the most special occasions of their lives. Family gatherings, Christmas parties, weddings, funerals.The memories poured out of Delco readers after we posted the story online, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.I suppose the new owners will likely take the Santa and his sleigh off the roof, the 365-day-a-year telltale sign that you were looking at the family business of Babe D'Ignazio.Now it's time to write the obit.Kathleen Carey got the honor.Media, and Delaware County, won't be the same. The D'Ignazio family is closing the doors of the Towne House.
All I can think of is that's it's a good thing this didn't happen last weekend. You might remember we had a certain visitor in the area. And while there were plenty of clouds accompanying Pope Francis on his historic two-day visit, the rain for the most part stayed away. We're not going to be that lucky - or 'blessed - this weekend. In other words, we're going to get wet. Real wet.They're calling this a double-whammy. First we're supposed to get drenched. It's going to start as showers today, then pick up tomorrow when several inches of rain is expected.And that's all before we have to deal with Hurricane Joaquin, which has now grown into a Category 3 hurricane, which gets it a "major" designation from the National Hurricane Center. Right now it's packing winds of up to 115 mph.It's going to rumble up the East Coast during the weekend. What direction it takes then, and if and where it slams on shore, is the key question. Right now it looks like it could hit the Chesapeake Bay Monday night.You know things are getting serious when sports teams start paying attention.Today's Phillies-Mets series finale, which was originally scheduled for a 7:05 start, has been bumped up to noon.The NFL says it is "mulling its options" in terms of the Eagles-Redskins game, which is set to kick off in Landover, Md., outside the nation's capital at 1:05 Sunday.You can get all your weather info here. Here's what our friends at Accuweather are saying about the storm's possible effect here.
The Daily Numbers: 20 million dollar makeover on tap for the old Granite Run Mall. Brace yourself for the “Promenade at Granite Run.” 58 acres that will become a town center style development of retail sites, restaurants and residential use.2 anchor stores, Sears and Bosvov’s, will remain as part of the site.2 4-story apartment buildings that will be part of the plan.172 unit apartment building that will sit where the old Chi-Chi’s restaurant was on Route 352.210 unit apartment building on Oriole Avenue side of the tract.15, age of student who brought toy gun into Chester High yesterday.1 hour lockdown as a result.400 to 800 students if the Delaware County Intermediate Unit gets the OK for an expansion of their Aston campus.31 percentage point drop for Pa students on the math portion of standardized testing.9 point drop on the English test.7 area schools that were awarded Blue Ribbon status by the U.S. Department of Education, including Radnor Middle School.5,300 bike rides recorded by bike-sharing service Indego on Sunday when many streets in Center City Philadelphia were closed.4,900 shared rides on Saturday.2 Eagles whose seasons are now over after being placed on injured reserve. Kicker Cody Parkey and right guard Andrew Gardner are on the shelf.4-3 win for the Phils over the division-winning Mets last night.3-run home for Darin Ruf. That’s No. 12 on the season for Ruf.11-game road winning streak for the Mets snapped in the loss.97 losses and holding for Phils as they try to avoid a 100-loss season.5 games left in the season. Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Yes, it’s hard to swallow the fact that Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins are headed back to the playoffs wearing Dodger blue while the Phillies struggle to avoid a 100-loss season. The Dodgers won the NL West for the 3rd straight year. I Don’t Get It: Taking a toy gun to school. I don’t get it. Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Cardinal O’Hara Band, who provided the music for Pope Francis’ farewell and exit at Philadelphia International Airport. Quote Box: “This is a horrendous message to send to this community.”- Chester Police Superintendent Joe Bail, or minimal charges police can bring against teen who brought toy gun to Chester High.
After a glorious weekend of events swirling around the historic two-day visit by Pope Francis to Philadelphia, there was one item that left a bad taste in my mouth. It didn't have anything to do with security, a "traffic box," lower than expected attendance, or a bust for business.At the end of the day on Sunday, as Pope Francis prepared to board his plane and depart for Rome, I have to admit I felt bad for the Cardinal O'Hara Band.Maybe I'm making too much of this, but it seems to be they got short-shrift during the farewell ceremonies at the airport.For some reason, officials felt the need to hold still one more reception and long line of well-wishers to see the pope off. Mayor Michael Nutter was there, as was Vice President Joe Biden and his wife. U.S. Rep. Bob Brady was on hand, and even managed to "confess" to the pontiff that, yes indeed it was him who absconded with the pope's water glass after his historic address to a joint meeting of Congress. There were various and sundry World Meeting of Families folks and a bunch of other VIPs.In the meantime, the kids from Cardinal O'Hara were out on the tarmac, providing the musical backdrop for the occasion. As darkness descended on the airport, they seemed relegated to obscurity.Compare this to the role played by the Bishop Shanahan Band for the pope's arrival. They had the good fortune of getting the morning shift. They were on hand when Pope Francis arrived from New York City bright and early Saturday morning. The moment was made even more dramatic when the pope stopped his Fiat so he could get out and embrace the son of the Shanahan band director, who is confined to a wheelchair as he struggles with cerebral palsy. I still think it was the single best highlight of the weekend.There was no such papal interaction for the kids from O'Hara. After the reception in the hangar, Pope Francis made his way out to his plane, where still one more greeting line formed to see him off.That's one of the reasons I wanted to have a reporter check back with the O'Hara kids to get their reaction to the honor of playing for the pontiff. You can read the story here.As you might expect, they took it in stride."They were so happy to just be there and be part of the atmosphere, to get all the attention and have their friends and family see them on TV," said O'Hara band director Nick Corvino.They did get a visit from Donna Crilley Farrell, the executive director of the World Meeting of Families, and herself a Springfield reisdent and O'Hara alum."It was such an honor to even be invited," Corvino added.I admire that attitude. Maybe I'm just more in tune to it since they are all Delco kids. I just wanted to be surer the band members from O'Hara were not an afterthought.Well done, kids.
It's the popular thing to do after a major event. They continue to count the winners and losers from the historic week in Philadelphia with the World Meeting of Families, culminating in the two-day visit by Pope Francis.Our columnist Chris Freind weighs in here.On our editorial page, we take note of Mayor Nutter's now-infamous use of an expletive as he pointed a finger at the media for scaring people away. Really, Mr. Mayor? We're not buying it, not when you and others spent weeks issuing dire warnings about long walks and other security precautions.Even with that, we're wiling to give the mayor a pass for dropping the S-word. Hey, it was a long week. He was probably tired. Stuff happens.But there is one element of the lockdown that we found appealing, and worthy of further experimenting. Yes, it causes some inconveniences, but the look and feel of some streets with no traffic on them is very appealing.One of the neatest things about the entire week was seeing those big chunks of Center City with no vehicular traffic. Suddenly, this is what a truly walkable environment looks like. One of my goals in life (aside from breaking 80 on the golf course) is to live somewhere that does not require me to get into my car for just about everything.I would have loved to have been able to walk all those empty city streets, or even take a leisurely stroll over the Ben Franklin Bridge.Are we that married to our cars? Is there any reason why, maybe once a month, a certain street or bridge is closed down to vehicle traffic. I think it was one of the best parts of the weekend, and one not only Philly but lots of municipalities across the region should consider.Look how successful Dining Under the Stars has been here in Media. Every Wednesday night all summer, they completely shut down State Street, including SEPTA's trolley line, and let the town's many fine eateries set up tables in the middle of the street. It's a unique look and feel that plays a huge part in the "hip" image Media always projects.I think it's one more towns should consider.
Here's something to ease the pain for Phillies fans as they come to grip with the news from last night that the Dodgers wrapped up the NL West crown. Yes, that means Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins are going back to the playoffs, only this time wearing Dodger blue. Still, I have to tip my cap to Pete Mackanin and this reconstructed Phillies lineup. No, it has not been a great season. Far from it.But they're not laying down in the last week of this putrid season.The Phillies are sitting at 97 losses, and it's pretty clear that they've made it their mission to avoid hitting the dubious century mark for L's.Last night Darin Ruf hit a three-run bomb in the first inning to stake the Phils to an early lead, and they hung on to beat the division-winning Mets, 403. Odubel Herrera continues to open eyes, going 4-for-4 to raise his average to .293. David Buchanan gave another respectable outing.The Phillies have five games remaining on their schedule, all right here in the comfy confines of Citizens Bank Park. They need to win three of them to avert 100 losses. They also are neck-and-neck with the Braves for the worst record in Major League Baseball. Any combination of three Phils' losses and Braves' wins will lock up the cellar for the Phillies.Of course, the consolation prize is the No. 1 pick in next year's draft.