The Daily Numbers for Monday, March 2

Heron's Nest - 4 hours 39 min ago
The Daily Numbers: 1 year since Tim McCaughan was struck and killed as he crossed a street in Collingdale. No arrest has been made in the case.

1.3 inches of snow in Garnet Valley Sunday.

0.30 inches of ice accumulated during the storm.

103.9 inches of snow recorded this winter in Boston.

3.7 inches needed to break all-time record set in 1995-96, with more snow predicted in Beantown today.

10.9 degrees aferage temperature in Buffalo in February, shattering the previous mark.

15 refineries across the nation that are dealing with strikes by union workers. The contract for workers at the Monroe Energy Plant in Trainer expires this weekend.

31 consecutive days on which the national average price for regular gas has gone up, according to AAA.

34 cents per gallon increase during that time span.

2.37 a gallon, average price for gas nationally.

2.52 a gallon here in Pa.

2.44 last week

3.64 last year.

6-2 loss for the Phillies to the University of Tampa has they kicked off Grapefruit League play in Florida Sunday.

5,154 fans who showed up at Bright House Field for the game.

94-74 loss for the Sixers last night in Indianapolis.

1 goal this year for Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn. He was dealt by Ron Hextall overnight.

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

Don’t panic at that loss by the Phils to the University of Tampa yesterday. There were not a lot of regulars in that lineup. The regular Grapefruit League schedule kicks off on Tuesday.

I Don’t Get It: A guy drove his truck out onto a frozen pond in New Jersey, apparently to do “donuts” on the ice. It sank through the ice. He escaped. His dog did not.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the family of Tim McCaughan, who was struck and killed a year ago in Collingdale. They continue to push to learn who the driver was that took his life.

Quote Box: “It’s hard to believe. It ruined my world. It ruined a lot of people’s worlds.”

- Tim McCaughan, on the loss of his brother Chris in a hit-run accident.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Another step toward the end of the state stores

Heron's Nest - 5 hours 13 min ago
I don't think it's exactly a trade secret that I'm one of the state's foremost proponents of privatizing the sales of alcohol.

I once had a deal with Ron Raymond, the former longtime Delco state rep who sat on the state Liquor Control Committee. I would always joke with him that I wanted to be there, with my hands on the plunger, when they blew up the state store system.

Having said that, I don't necessarily like the idea of anyone losing their job. And make no mistake, under the plan currently being pushed again by Republican House speaker Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, some people likely will wind up out of work.

I also am willing to concede another key point made by union leader Wendell Young IV and other anti-privatization forces. I'm not sure that once you get past the up-front revenue from the sale of licenses to private entities, that these numbers add up.

But that's not my point.

None of that is why I am against privatization.

Rather, it's because I've lived in other states. I see how they handle alcohol sales.

And I think it's time for Pennsylvania to escape from the Dark Ages.

It's the focus of my print column this week.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The 6 o-clock news on ice

Heron's Nest - 5 hours 37 min ago
I think by now I have made my opinion of the way our local TV news handles the weather pretty clear.

I know why they do it. It's about eyeballs.

It's the same reason people say I put certain stories - and headlines - on our front page. There is truth to that statement. Our front page is a billboard we use every day to entice people to buy the newspaper. In one way, that is the front page's job.

But we deliver a product every day that includes all kinds of information, from local news, obituaries, state, national and international reports, opinions, editorials and letters to the editor, and of course our sports report.

It's all part of the package.

That's not what I saw last night on the 6 o'clock news.

In fact, I'm still not sure I saw what I saw.

I am usually a Channel 6 guy. I flip on the TV at 6 and catch the weekend crew, Walter Perez and Sarah Bloomquist, along with Melissa Magee doing the weather.

But last night the NBA game went to overtime, so the local news was delayed.

I flipped over to Channel 10.

What I saw was a bit of an eye-opener.

Everyone knew weather was going to be a big story Sunday. It started with snow (earlier than what most of the folks had predicted by the way). It shifted over to freezing rain and then rain in the afternoon, turning just about every surface into an icy mess.

Still, I was not prepared for the weather assault provided by Channel 10 at 6.

What I saw was 30 minutes of weather.

That's right, it was the only story they did. Instead, we got a full dose of Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz with the forecast, and an array of reporters standing out in the elements reporting on the icy mess they were encountering, all of this as traffic seemed to be moving right along in the background. Good thing most people don't drive on the sidewalks. They do, however, have to navigate parking lots, which were pretty dicey.

I kept waiting and looking at my watch waiting for them to get of the weather and move on to other local stories.

It never happened.

Then I figured we'd get the sports.

Nope, unless you count some video of folks making their way through the weather to head into the Flyers Wives Fight for Lives Carnival down at the Wells Fargo Center. Or a mention of folks again dealing with the elements as they tried to get to the Philadelphia Flower Show. You can always count on the Flower Show to deliver the worst weather of the winter.

Then it was back to Glenn for a final look at the forecast.

There you have it, 30 minutes of weather.

Someone please tell me spring is not far away.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Your early morning report from the roads

Heron's Nest - 7 hours 15 min ago
There is no truth to the rumor that the Flyers are scheduling a practice session in your driveway this morning - but they probably could.

Yes, we have not only entered March - we also are back in the Ice Age.

Yesterday's snow shifted over to freezing rain and rain, meaning that almost all surfaces outside are coated in ice.

Here's what you need to know for your drive this morning. The major roads really are not that bad. However, the big challenge will be just getting to your car. Walkways, sidewalks and driveways are a sheet of ice. Trying to get your standing while chipping your way into your car will be your biggest challenge this morning.

I didn't want to do it yesterday afternoon, but I certainly am glad that I went out yesterday afternoon, chipped out the cars, and most importantly lifted the windshield wipers up off the windshield.

I always try to ignore the conditions in my development, because it always looks like the end of the world.

But once out on the main roads, I had no real problems. West Chester Pike was smooth sailing. Probably the worst conditions I hit were on Providence Road from Route 3 over to the Media Bypass. It was still covered with a slushy, snowy mess. But even that wasn't all that bad.

The Media Bypass was just wet, as was Springfield Road.

Maybe my biggest challenge was getting from my car to the office. It was a skating rink, with a heavy coating of ice everywhere.

Most schools in the region are on a two-hour delays. I guess that was a good call. You always want to err on the side of safety when dealing with children.

Look, we survived February, which turned out to be the coldest in the last 36 years.

I think if we can get through this week - we're supposed to have another couple of passing storms - we might be out of the woods.

It's even supposed to

hit 50 degrees on Wednesday - even though it will be raining.

I'll take it. Spring can't be far behind.

Here's the latest forecast from AccuWeather.
Categories: Pennsylvania

chorizo black bean chili

Chester County Ramblings - Sun, 2015-03-01 14:15

 2 – 1 pound packages of chorizo sausage sliced into bite-size pieces 1 – 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes 1 – 14 1/2 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes 1 – 6 ounce can of tomato paste 1 – 1 lb. 13 oz. can of goya black beans (drained) One large red onion and one small white onion Six cloves of garlic One cup of Ricatito cilantro cooking base Goya adobo or salt and pepper to taste Three carrots sliced or diced small Three medium size potatoes sliced or diced small 6 ounces of frozen corn kernels  One cup roasted red peppers (drained and cut into uniform pieces – not too small or it will disintegrate. If I don’t have time to make fresh roasted peppers I will buy roasted bell pepper strips “deli sliced”) 1 teaspoon ground oregano 1 teaspoon basil Salt and pepper to taste 4 teaspoons Mexican style chili powder 3 teaspoons dark chili powder (I have to get this via mail order from Whole Spice ) You want a large Dutch oven for this or pasta sauce pot – which in my house are basically one and the same. I use a stainless steel pot for this because black beans can stain enamelware. Start by browning your sausage in a few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil,and then add onion and garlic .  When onion and garlic is starting to turn translucent add potatoes and carrots. Add the black beans followed by the crushed tomatoes and Ricatito Add spices, and tomato paste. Allow to cook for about an hour on a very low flame and then toss in  frozen corn kernels and roasted red pepper strips. Allowed to cook down on low lid cracked off with a splatter guard over your pot and then the lid on top of splatter guard.  After a couple of hours of burbling away on low burner, check your chili for spices and salt and pepper or add Goya adobo. I don’t cook with a lot of added salt because so much of our food has sodium content. Turn off the stove and let this come to room temperature and refrigerate overnight. The next day skim off any fat that may be on the top and bring to room temperature and heat thoroughly.  You can serve over rice or just eat plain with a little shredded cheese or even plain Greek  yogurt  or sour cream on top. You can get a few meals out of this and it freezes well.

Categories: Pennsylvania

coming soon

Chester County Ramblings - Fri, 2015-02-27 13:49

So….a little news: yours truly will be an exhibiting photography artist at Christopher’s in Malvern for June 2015!  

It has been a long time since I have done any kind of a show so I will spend the next few months agonizing over what I am going to frame and mount. 

This past month David Campli has had his photography hanging in the restaurant. It’s marvelous and wow what a tough act to follow! I am in particular enamored of the giant photo he has mounted on the rear brick wall of the restaurant that is of two little old Italian ladies sitting outside. One is dressed to the nines and one is wearing sneakers. I just love it! 

Anyway, I hope when the time comes you’ll go in and have a meal at Christopher’s and take a look at my photography. What I frame and mount for the show will be for sale in the restaurant at that time. 

I’m really excited to do this and can’t wait for June!!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Categories: Pennsylvania

The Daily Numbers for Friday, Feb. 27

Heron's Nest - Fri, 2015-02-27 09:00
The Daily Numbers: 150,000 dollars being sought in suit filed against Marcus Hook, former Mayor Jay Schiliro by man who says the ex-pol held him hostage.

10 percent of 25,000 dollars, why Schiliro is currently sitting in jail on a new charge of theft.

400 people who packed the recent Garnet Valley School Board meeting to air their feelings.

11,000 hotels rooms in Philly, and another 65,000 in a 60-mile radius, all of which are expected to be filled when the pope visits in September. The archdiocese wants local families to host pilgrims coming for the World Meeting of Families.

250 foot telecommunications tower that is expected to get the OK in Middletown.

57, age of California man who entered guilty plea to supplying pot for drug ring run by 2 brother from Drexel Hill.

100 jobs filled at the Victory Brewing Co. eatery that will open soon in Kennett Square.

1,000 customers a day expected to hit the popular brew pub.

114-87 vote in the Pa. House in favor of privatizing liquor sales in the state.

2,500 wine of liquor outlets would replace 600 state stores.

4,300 state store workers who could lose their jobs.

20 years, how long the ‘Black Madam’ says she’s been doing body sculpting. She’s now on trial after one of her clients died from complications.

21 years, how long the students at Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades have been showing off their work at the Philadelphia Flower Show, which opens tomorrow.

10 acres, how much area inside the Pa. Convention Center is covered by the Flower Show.

240,000 people expected to attend the annual harbinger of spring.

32 bucks for an adult ticket to the show; children are $15.

109 million dollars, how much Gov. Tom Wolf says his new GO-TIME panel has found in savings in the state budget already.

3-2 loss for the Flyers in Toronto last night. A bad loss.

3-2 win for Haverford over Ridley in high school hockey.

10 years, how long Todd Herremans has been an Eagle. He’s being released by the team.

54.47 seconds, how long it took Haverford High’s Maddie Hart to cover the 100 butterfly, to set a new Delco record.

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

These Flyers are one of the more frustrating teams of recent years. It’s almost as if they don’t want to catch the Bruins for that final playoff spot.

I Don’t Get It: Last day of February is expected to go out tomorrow with near-record low temperatures. What a lousy month this has been.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to D.A. Jack Whelan, who is getting the heroin overdose drug Naloxone into state police cruisers.

Quote Box: “We’re looking at it as a statewide distribution.”

- a state police spokesman.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Senate now up to bat in great Pa. Booze Battle

Heron's Nest - Fri, 2015-02-27 07:59
Now batting, No. 26 (as in 26th District), Tom McGarrigle.

And on deck are Messrs. Pileggi, Leach and Williams.

No, Ruben Amaro hasn't gone completely around the bend and signed a bunch of Delco politicos to fix his ailing lineup.

That's just my way of saying that the ball is now once again in the Senate's court when it comes to the great Pennsylvania Booze Battle.

As it turns out, one of the very first votes Tom McGarrigle will make as the newly elected state senator in the 26th District will be on the highly contention question of whether Pennsylvania should blow up its antiquated state store system and turn the sale of alcohol over to private enterprise.

Yesterday the measure being pushed by Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, passed the House by a 114-87 margin.

Every Democrat, including Delco Reps. Thaddeus Kirkland, D-159, and Greg Vitali, D-166, voted against it. All but four Republicans - none from Delco - voted in favor.

Turzai's bill is similar to the one that passed the House last fall. Here are the details. Basically it would sell 1,200 licenses and slowly phase out the state stores. Beer distributors would get first show at the licenses. Supermarkets would focus on wine sales. It's a convoluted thing and still not a true privatization, but it certainly would make things more convenient than they are now. The problem with the bill is the same as last fall - with one large addition.

The Republican-controlled Senate let this plan die without a vote last fall. And that was with Republican Tom Corbett inhabiting the governor's mansion. Now Democrat Tom Wolf holds the reins, and he opposes privatization. He wants to modernize the existing system.

Then there are the numbers. Once the state blows through the expected $1 billion windfall from selling the licenses, a lot of people wonder how they will make up for the revenue currently provided by the state store system. There also is heated debate on two other matters crucial to consumers - prices, convenience and selection.

While state stores would slowly die off - along with a couple of thousand jobs - beer distributors would not. In fact, they would get first shot at being able to buy a license to add wine sales to their businesses. They'd also be able to sell six- or 12-packs of beer. Currently they're limited to selling by the case.

But the real monster in the room would be large-scale outlets such as Total Wine, which you would have to think would be interested in entering the Pennsylvania market, instead of continuing to lure customers a stone's throw over the state line in Claymont.

For now, we await the vote in the Senate.

What say you, Mr. McGarrigle?

As for Sen. Pileggi, it has not gone unnoticed in the current debate this week that the failure of the Turzai bill last fall came when the Delco pol was the Senate majority leader. He's since been ousted from that post by members of his own party, some of whom believe he was not backing Gov. Corbett's agenda. Liquor privatization was one of the governor's big three issues.

The Senate should at least vote on the current plan, instead of simply letting it die again.

It can probably do that once it hits Wolf's desk, where it could face a veto.

That is, unless a little political horse-trading ensues.

Such as Republicans telling the new governor they just might look a bit more enthusiastically at some of his tax plans if he were to relent on liquor privatization.
Categories: Pennsylvania

February going out with a flurry: Good riddance

Heron's Nest - Fri, 2015-02-27 06:21
I don't know if March is planning to come in like a lion.

Right now I still have my hands full with February.

Yes, those are flurries you may be seeing as you peek out the window this a.m.

I first noticed it when I got in the car and noticed a dusting on my windshield. It was flurrying just about all the way in. Don't panic, it wasn't causing any issues on the roads. Actually, the drive in was fairly pleasant.

Unfortunately, that's about as good as it's going to get. We will struggle to hit 30 degrees this afternoon, then the thermometer will plunge once again tonight.

The record low for tomorrow is 9 degrees, set back in 1934. We could break that mark.

We will get a dose of sun Saturday and a high in the mid 30s as we exit February.

I think I can speak for most when I say, 'Good riddance.' This has been one of the coldest, most miserable Februarys I can remember, even if we didn't get all that much snow.

Speaking of which, March is in fact planning to come in like a lion. A snowy one.

That's right, there is some snow and rain in the forecast for Sunday night into Monday morning. The perfect way to start another work week.

Want some good news? Accu-Weather says temperatures will ease later next week and we could threaten 50 degrees by mid-week.

For now, here's the weekend forecast from the National Weather Service:

Friday: Partly sunny, with a high near 26. Northwest wind 6 to 10 mph.

Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 9. Northwest wind 6 to 8 mph.

Saturday: Sunny, with a high near 26. Wind chill values as low as -1. Northwest wind around 6 mph.

Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 14. Calm wind.

Sunday: A chance of snow after 2 p.m. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 34. Calm wind becoming southwest around 5 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent. Little or no snow accumulation expected.

Sunday Night: A chance of snow before 8 p.m, then rain and snow likely between 8 p.m.and 2 a.m., then rain or freezing rain likely after 2 am. Cloudy, with a low around 31. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Monday: Rain or freezing rain likely before 8 a.m. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 41. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent.
Categories: Pennsylvania

the yearlings

Chester County Ramblings - Thu, 2015-02-26 20:23

Categories: Pennsylvania

hanging out

Chester County Ramblings - Thu, 2015-02-26 20:04

Categories: Pennsylvania

reaching for sun

Chester County Ramblings - Thu, 2015-02-26 19:53

Categories: Pennsylvania

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Feb. 26

Heron's Nest - Thu, 2015-02-26 08:50
The Daily Numbers: 3 female fire cadets who could become the first female firefighters in the history of the Chester Fire Department.

4 Chester city cops promoted to rank of sergeant.

15 dollar fine for an expired parking meter in Media starting on Monday. That’s up from $5.

24 hours, how long you have to pay the $15, then it goes to $20 for 24 and 72 hours.

25 dollars after 72 hours.

35 for parking in an illegal space.

50 dollars for illegally parking in a handicapped space.

275 acre property targeted for development at the site of the old Sleighton School in Edgmont.

3 people arraigned on theft, credit card fraud charges.

32 people busted in a heroin and meth ring operating out of Norristown that also sold drugs in Delco.

3 gun ordinances in Harrisburg that the courts have ordered the city to stop enforcing.

12 nominees of Gov. Tom Wolf that got OK by state Senate yesterday.

50 percent cut in corporate tax rate being sought by Wolf.

3 people nabbed in a plot to join Islamic state group; 1 of them ran kiosks in an unnamed Philly area mall.

4 people shot, 3 of them killed in violent night in Philadelphia.

7 points for Michael Carter-Williams as his new team, the Bucks, put away the Sixers last night.

104-88 loss for the Sixers.

44-41 loss for Ridley to Plymouth-Whitemarsh in District One semifinal game last night.

55-52 win for Glen Mills over Lower Moreland in District One AAA play.

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

Cliff Lee threw to live batters and looked good yesterday. Lee and Hamels at the top of the rotation. I can live with that.

I Don’t Get It: Yeah, that snow is going to get here any minute now. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the Delaware County Veterans Memorial Foundation and their Education Committee, who are bringing invaluable lessons to schoolkids across the county.

Quote Box: “Listen, let me tell you what. I’m running around all day, I’m like the Domino’s guy. Thirty minutes or less or it’s free.”

- Drug suspect rounded up during sweep in Norristown yesterday.
Categories: Pennsylvania

'Soldiers' Stories' come to 'Live From the Newsroom'

Heron's Nest - Thu, 2015-02-26 07:49
Just call them 'Soldiers' Stories.'

Last night we used out 'Live From the Newsroom' show to profile one of the best aspects of the county's newest landmark, the Delaware County Veterans Memorial.

That is where you will find the name of every man and woman who gave their life in service to their country.

It is hallowed ground, carved out of a parcel along busy West Chester Pike in Newtown.

But because of the work of the Delaware County Veterans Memorial Education Committee, we're learning more about the lives behind those names.

Call it living history.

Under the auspices of Education Committee Chairman Linda Houldin, a longtime Newtown supervisor and key figure at the Delaware County Historical Society, each of the names on the memorial is being researched and profiled.

Last night I got a chance to meet some of the people involved in this project.

If you missed the show, you can catch the replay here.

Houldin reached out to Professor Robert Kodosky, who specializes in military history classes at West Chester University. Together they enlisted students to tell the stories of these Delaware County heroes.

One of his graduates, Gabby Weiss, of Radnor, told us about her experience in working on the project.

And it's not just college students who are learning about the men and women from Delaware County who so ably served when called. The Education Committee has a curriculum for kids in grades K-12.

Marisa Sankey, a home schooler from Morton, was so moved by her experience with the project that she penned an emotional poem dedicated to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. You can see her recite it on the video.

Karen Confer, the education coordinator for the Delaware County Historical Society, told us how this program is quickly spreading through schools across the county.

Maybe the best thing about this project is that, once completed, the soldiers' stories are being archived by the Delaware County Historical Society.

So far Kodosky's classes have told the stories of 30 soldiers. His next class will pick up the ball in the spring.

If you haven't been there, I highly recommend a visit. The memorial is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Telling the story of our true Delaware County heroes.
Categories: Pennsylvania

A big day for liquor privatization in Pa.

Heron's Nest - Thu, 2015-02-26 07:21
It's crunch time in Harrisburg.

Or maybe that would be better referred to as 'post time.'

Since when did 10 a.m. become 'happy hour?'

Well, since today the full House of Representatives is expected to vote on Speaker Mike Turzai's bill to get Pennsylvania out of the booze business.

This is very similar to the measure that passed the House last fall - the only time in history a privatization package has passed in Pennsylvania.

There are a lot of new faces in this Legislature, but with his fellow Republicans solidly in control of the House, the Speaker's measure is expected to pass.

Its future in the Senate, where it died last fall, is a lot murkier. Despite the fact that the GOP also controls the Senate.

Turzai's complicated bill would do all kinds of things, but essentially would phase out state stores while selling licenses to private entrepreneurs, with the state's beer distributors getting first shot at them.

You can get all the details of the Turzai plan, House Bill 466 here.

We'll update you on the vote, but remember, new Gov. Tom Wolf is not a proponent of privatization. Instead he would like to see the state store system modernized. He says he would veto a privatization bill. But I get the feeling if they can get this measure through the Senate, Turzai and fellow Republicans might be able to do some horse trading with the governor, especially in the area of tax changes Wolf desperately needs for his budget plan.

Stay tuned.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Snow or Cold, which would you rather?

Heron's Nest - Thu, 2015-02-26 05:29
I have said many times that one of the very few perks of the bizarre hours I work is that I usually have the road to myself - aside from my four-legged Bambi friends, that is.

We are supposed to get some snow this morning.

It sounds like we once again will miss the brunt of the flakes, which could rack up 3-6 inches in southern Delaware and South Jersey. Here in the Philly region, we're looking at probably only a coating to at most an inch.

The problem is the timing - not for me, for you.

The snow is expected to arrive here just in time for the morning rush hour, likely starting around 7 a.m. and continuing through the morning commute.

Here's the latest forecast:

Which leads me to a question that struck me last night when I heard the news that Boston has officially cleared the 100-inch mark for snow this brutal winter.

The truth is we haven't had it that bad this year in terms of snow, at least compared to last year. It has, however, been much colder.

So here's my question, I guess you could call it the lesser of two evils, at least if you hate winter as much as I do.

What would you rather, all that snow from last year, or the brutal cold that has had us in its icy tentacles all month?

I think you know where I stand. I'll take the cold over the snow any day.

Want some even better news?

Our friends at AccuWeather say March will bring with it some milder temperatures next week.

Categories: Pennsylvania

growing up pumpkin bread

Chester County Ramblings - Wed, 2015-02-25 18:13

I love pumpkin bread, it is probably my favorite of the quick breads.  I wanted to do something different with it and have worked on a quick  bread recipe that was without nuts and raisins, but not boring. The other day I decided to make it with molasses and not just sugar. I think that made all the difference. I have a very moist quick bread that has some depth to it. Molasses is definitely something fun to experiment with.

New Pumpkin Bread Recipe 2 cups canned pumpkin 1 cup oil (canola of olive) 2 cups sugar ( can use all white or half white, half brown) 1 cup molasses at room temperature 4 eggs beaten in a small bowl 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 3 1/2 cups flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice  1 teaspoon nutmeg 1 teaspoon cardamom 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger 1 teaspoon table salt 

Mix together with  mixer the following: pumpkin, oil, molasses, and sugar. Add eggs. Mix really well. Add vanilla mix a little more.

  1. Add remaining ingredients and mix just until all dry ingredients are well incorporated and there are no flour lumps.
  1. Pour into 2 well greased and floured 8 or 9 inch loaf pans. Use butter or oil or Crisco as the grease, not a baking spray.  Baking spray just doesn’t work as well as the traditional grease and flour for baking pans. Dust the batter in the top of the pans with sugar – either turbinado or plain white – it gives you a nice little crust.
  1. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean, and depending upon your oven it may take slightly longer than an hour to cook. I found they cooked perfectly in an hour.

When you remove the loves to cool on a rack let them sit in their pans for about 20 minutes to half an hour, then remove them from the pans and allow to cool completely. These loaves freeze nicely. 

* you can serve this pumpkin bread plain or for breakfast with  a little almond butter or whipped cream cheese or Greek Cream Cheese which has lower fat and calories.
Categories: Pennsylvania

girl power

Chester County Ramblings - Wed, 2015-02-25 12:19

If only childhood and girlhood was as simple and idyllic as the photo above depicts.

A friend of mine and I were speaking yesterday of a pint sized terrorist in one of her daughters’ classes at school.  This is a kid, who as an elementary school student decides that when she wants her friends to come over, she (as in the child) is the one who emails and texts the other child’s parents. As in she decides and initiates without going to her parents and saying “mom can Annabelle come over and play?”  And no matter how often the parents are asked to be the ones to connect since it could be considered wildly inappropriate for an adult to make plans with a 10 or 11 year old they aren’t related to…it never happens.

This child is also a bit of a bully.  When she goes to birthday parties of other children, the parties become about her and not the birthday kid of honor. This kid has this drive to be leader of the pack, but not in a positive way.

But this is mild compared to often what other kids experience.  People often immediately think of boys when it comes to younger and middle school age bullying, but the girls are often worse.

A woman in a parenting group posted about the heartbreaking situation her daughter is in.  The girl is either 10 or 11 and finally in a pool of tears broke down to her mother to tell her what was going on in school. This girl is being teased, bullied, ignored, and ostracized all at one time.  She tries to eat with other kids her age and play at recess and they tease her, laugh at her, whisper about her right in front of her.  She is so tormented by some of these kids that for months she has not only been eating all by herself, but she takes recess in the library. Why? Because in the library she can escape into a book to get away from these kids.

The worst part of this is the teacher knows there is a problem and has been aware there is a problem for a very long time.

Someone wisely said to her  “with girls at this age, the Queen Bee mob mentality is really difficult. I hope the situation improves. As a parent, it is heartbreaking.”

I agree. It is.  As parents we want to protect our kids and slay their dragons, but it’s so darn hard when the dragons are part of their peer group, isn’t it?

This mother is going to the school and going to the guidance counselor. I think she should add principal to the mix and if that doesn’t work, the school board.

Bullying in all forms is in my opinion even more pervasive than it was when we were all growing up.  A lot of that has to do with social media and the political correctness police. No one wants to upset the little bullies and their parents. And then there is the age-old dilemma of the parents of the little bullies are often bullies themselves and/or  might write lovely supportive checks to the school and so on.

But where do we draw the line? All schools have some form of anti-bullying policies for cyber issues and real time, but getting them to keep policies updated and to even act on them often takes almost an act of Congress doesn’t it?

This particular child being bullied is outgoing and pleasant by nature. It’s like some mean girls are jealous and want to break her spirit because of it, but when you are that age, it just hurts.  There is no adult capability of looking at the situation and assessing it for what it is.  That is our job.

But the thing about bullying in our schools today, sometimes the only solution is to switch schools. And is that fair to the child? Sometimes the only alternative is to give your child a fresh start and they deserve as much, don’t they?

The reality is a lot of schools do not hold children who bully or their parents accountable for anything. They are afraid to a lot of the time and they also don’t really look at why the kid is bullying.  I have noticed that a lot of the kids who bully might very well just be acting out because of whatever is going on in their homes. Schools talk a good game, they all have a purported “policy” in place, but when push comes to shove not much happens.

If changing schools ends up being a viable alternative I don’t think any of us should discourage a parent from seeking what is best for their child in their home. However, not everyone has that luxury, so why shouldn’t we as parents do whatever we have to do to encourage our schools, to demand our schools do better? After all whether private, parochial, charter, or public we are paying for our kids’ education.

Now people will argue against moving a kid to a different school. They will say without learning appropriate assertiveness skills, these problems are likely to follow from one school to the next. BUT these are kids and well they often have to grow up too quickly as it is, so if we are teaching them the emotional equivalent of defensive driving at a young age, what are we doing to the magic of childhood?

And on a personal level, the mean girls I encountered between grades six and eight generally speaking grew up to be quite miserable adult women. I actually feel sorry for them now,  but as an adult it’s a lot easier ignoring them isn’t it?

Sixth grade was a pivotal year for me. It was the first time I experienced mean girls. It  was the year that the meanest of the mean girls in my class at a private day school decided to take a shine to me and among other things chipped my front tooth (the tooth is still chipped today).

My mother went down on that school like a Valkyrie. I remember that in and of itself gave me some empowerment feeling as a girl – that someone would care enough about me to go to bat for me like that. The school took it all seriously to a point and I was able to get through the rest of the year intact. But I never, ever forgot it.

The summer between sixth and seventh grades my parents moved us from the city to suburbia.  To the Main Line and the purportedly fabulous Lower Merion School District. Seventh through ninth grades were varying degrees of hell for any girl who wasn’t a cookie cutter image of certain cliques of girls. It was the emotional equivalent of the wild, wild west. I for the most part kept my head down and my mouth shut.

I found a core group of friends, many of whom I am still connected to today. I internalized a lot of what I probably should have told my parents in retrospect. But fortunately for me, my parents decided to move my sister and I to private school.

Private school had it’s own squadron of mean girls and bullies. They were just more well spoken and better pedigreed in some cases.  But for the most part they left me alone. And in high school you have a few more coping skills if you are lucky.  I didn’t have enough apparent weaknesses for the high school mean girls to practice their perverse social Darwinism on me. But others were not so fortunate. We had girls with varying eating disorders and other issues, and even an attempted suicide.  And in those days there wasn’t any counseling for heavy issues like attempted suicide, it just was.

Some people I went to high school with were left with such a bad taste in their mouths that as 50 years old  they still don’t attend any reunion activities ever. They refuse. Part of the reason I got involved with high school reunions was to give those who often did not feel included in those days a place to feel included today and recognized for the cool men and  women they became. Bullying can leave a mark for decades and a lot of people do not realize that.

The thing that always amuses me about mean girls and bullies is how they translate into adulthood. I look at a lot of them with pity and sadness because where the rest of us have grown, a lot of them are still adult versions of the tween and teen mean girls/bullies that they were. And their behavior patterns are often just adult versions of what they were when they were growing up.  Some of them have clawed their way into marriages to wealthy men that gave them stature and plenty of expendable income and stuff, but when you see them they don’t look happy; they don’t act happy. I think that is sad. And then there are the ones whose own children are more ill behaved than they were, or even more sadly, become police headlines in local newspapers. That is a particularly cruel form of Karma.

But the nice thing about being a grown up is when you see these mean girl and bully people again as adults you realize how sad they are and you turn and walk away feeling blessed for who you are and for not being like them then, now, or ever. That is a very powerful feeling. When I finally realized how much luckier and better off I was then a lot of them on so many levels, it was very freeing. In retrospect, I wish I had had the emotional maturity to grasp that years earlier than I did.

We are responsible for the future of our children and life is a balancing act.  We want to teach our kids to stand on their own two feet and stick up for themselves but we also want for them to be happy.  For girls teen and tween years can be extraordinarily difficult, boys too. And while we are trying to instill the best ethics and values and standards into our children as much as humanly possible we have to let them grow on their own.

But I am sorry, kids that are mean and destructive need to be held accountable, and their parents as well. No one wants to punish or reprimand a child, it is simply not fun on any level. But we are the adults and we have to teach the difference between right and wrong.

And as to the teaching, that is where our schools come in.  They need to be active partners in this. They need to teach kids bullying is wrong and how to be kind. They can’t just do lip service with half-assed anti-bullying policies.

Here are some great ideas I read from a stay at home mom who also happens to be a therapist:

1) make sure she knows it’s not her fault and it’s common. It can happen to anyone. (There’s a website called “It Gets Better” (I believe) where celebrities & regular successful adults talk about being bullied in the past. ) I also think it’s important she knows that it will come to an end and that she has many great experiences to look forward to. (My parents used to say – “These are the best years of your life” about high school – well intentioned but not helpful, also not true in my case.

2) tell the guidance counselor (or someone at the school she trusts and that you trust to keep an eye on it). If she’s seemed fine to you, it’s likely none of the adults at school can even see it.

3) try to help her find somewhere she can go at lunch. (Perhaps with a teacher or volunteering to help a teacher or something (and I would add that both you and she should be proud that she was resourceful enough to think of going to the library).

4) see if she wants to talk to a therapist. Therapy can be really helpful. A lot of smart, sensitive, introspective kids are afraid to talk to their parents about these issues because they don’t want their parents to be sad.

5) Maybe have her start a new activity separate from school (a clean slate if you will) where she can meet some new people and get some evidence that she is, in fact, likeable worthy of friendship.


If we as parents take consistent stands against bullying behavior in as positive a way as possible I think we can make a difference. Also, when you are dealing with bullying and mean girls don’t assume that the parents of these kids will be your ally here or even behave in an adult manner.  Often they are part of the problem.

Please pay it forward and encourage anti-bullying campaigns and programs and policies no matter where your kids are in school. Check out Signe Whitson and others.

Thanks for stopping by.


Categories: Pennsylvania

The Daily Numbers for Thursday, Feb. 25

Heron's Nest - Wed, 2015-02-25 08:35
The Daily Numbers: 2 hours, how long it took a jury in Texas to convict the former Marine in the shooting death of ‘American Sniper’ Chris Kyle and a friend.

6 to 23 months in prison for a former supervisor of Community Services who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two female clients.

5 to 10 more years tacked onto his sentence for a Chester man who was already in jail for the stabbing death of his mother.

3,240 jars of peanut butter and 100 loaves of bread donated by the Giant supermarket in Havertown to Philabundance for their food efforts in the region.

29,160 sandwiches that are expected to be created for the hungry through the donation.

204,000 dollars authorities allege was ‘churned’ from two elderly sisters by an insurance man from Drexel Hill.

50 years of Neumann University lauded by Aston Township commissioners.

13 million dollars in donations to THON mocked by ESPN commentator Keith Olbermann in another Twitter war with Penn State backers. He’s now going to be off the air for the rest of the week.

2 billion dollar deficit that is on the mind of new Gov. Tom Wolf as he readies his budget message to be delivered next Tuesday. He still wants to get more money for education and is hinting at tax hikes, as well as that severance tax on natural gas drillers.

375,000 broadband customers added by Comcast in the last quarter.

1.93 billion dollars in earnings for Comcast in the quarter, up slightly from last year.

4-1 loss for the Flyers to the Hurricanes last night. Bad one since the Bruins also lost.

4 points behind Bruins, where Flyers still sit in race for last playoff spot.

31 saves for backup goalie Rob Zepp.

89-61 win for Villanova over Providence.

25, where the Friars were ranked before getting blown out by the No. 6 Wildcats.

48-37 win for Penncrest boys over Academy Park in playback game to win spot in PIAA tourney.

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

Providence had scratched their way into the Top 25 before arriving on the Main Line last night. But they were no match for the No. 6 Wildcats.

I Don’t Get It: Keith Olbermann’s latest Twitter war with Penn State students and alums. He’s way over the line on this one.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to the folks at Giant supermarket in Havertown. They’re donating a ton of peanut butter for the region’s effort to help feed the needy by Philabundance.

Quote Box: “I apologize for that. I have no excuse for it.”

- Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald, on misrepresenting his service record.
Categories: Pennsylvania

'Live From the Newsroom' takes a look at the lives behind those names on the Delco Veterans Memorial

Heron's Nest - Wed, 2015-02-25 07:15
On a windy, frigid corner just off bustling West Chester Pike in Newtown Square, there stands a testament to the backbone of Delaware County.

It is the county's newest monument and a fitting salute to those who served, and who often paid dearly for that service. It is the Delaware County Veterans Memorial.

It contains the names - etched in stone - of every Delaware County resident who died in the line of duty, offering up his life in service to his country.

Having been there several times, I can tell you it's a moving experience.

But something else has been happening behind the scenes of the memorial. As you gaze at each of the names carved into the surface, you begin to ask yourself who they were.

Where did this young man or woman come from? Did he have brothers and sisters? Was he from a long line of family members who served. It turns out I'm not the only one to ask such questions.

While doing the research to gather the names of those wh

o fell on the battlefields, several people who have been at the center of the push to have the monument built had similar feelings. Among them was longtime Newtown Supervisor Linda Houldin, a founding member of the monument committee and head of the Delaware County Veterans Memorial Education Committee. That was the genesis of one of the very special parts of the memorial.

Houldin approached West Chester University History Professor Robert Kodosky. The collaborative project that was hatched involved using college students to bring the names on the memorial wall to life.

Tonight our live-stream Internet broadcast, 'Live From the Newsroom' will visit with Kodosky and Houldin and hopefully some of the young students to talk about the project.

The memorial's Education Committee is now working with kids from first grade through the university level, in effect passing the torch of knowledge of those who served their country from one generation to another.

They'll talk about the digging it took, the research to first just get the names of those whose names appear on the memorial, let alone the background that makes every one of them such a compelling story. Even before construction on the memorial began, a team was deeply involved in the research stage, going through county, university and historical records to pull together these deserving names for the Wall of Honor.

But the researchers faced the same haunting question after tracking down the names. Who were these heroes?

Professor Kodosky's class turned out to be the perfect pilot tie-in.

Students researched the names and developed their stories. Their work is now an intricate part of one of the guiding principle's of the memorial effort: Using it as a living living history monument for students of all schools (public, private, charter, cyber) from grades 1 through 12 in conjunction with the Delco Historical Society.

Join us tonight at 7 at for a very special look at the lives of some true Delaware County heroes.

If you have a question about the memorial - or any of the names that are displayed on it - email it to me at and I will bring it up during our discussion.
Categories: Pennsylvania