pony up for hat wars

Chester County Ramblings - Fri, 2017-05-26 11:19

It’s here! The sport of kings everyone heralds Memorial Day and the first minutes of summer in with: hat wars at Devon Horse Show.  “Ladies” Day is May 31, and I am certain it won’t disappoint.

“Buy your reservation now”? Seriously are they paying someone to write this stuff? What happened to “make your reservations now, purchase tickets today?”

But please note The Devon Horse Show category of “Best Jewels of Devon” – I shudder to think about that bedazzling that will be done…can’t you just see bedazzled Lilly LOL?

Sigh….remember the genteel days gone by that once was Ladies’ Day? It used to be so civilized and nice. Today’s Ladies’ Day is just not for me.

I have lovely friends who are still stalwarts of this event.  But even they do not care for the element of Nouveau Devon it attracts.  It’s that whole faux society of it all.   Some of these women think that because they can throw a few fake flowers on the wrong color straw hat and layer on fake pearls that are so cheap they look like pop beads, and buy new Lilly dresses that they are instant society. And the irony is how many of them have ever ridden a horse, how many of them are in fact afraid of horses?  How many of them actually know what is going on at equestrian events?  (I do not pretend to be an expert, but I rode a little as a child and I have a general idea of what’s going on because I have a lot of friends who are horse people for lack of a better description.)

I have always loved horses. And I used to love going to the Devon Horse Show.  But what Devon has evolved into in recent years makes me wish and hope it returns one day to what it was. 

In my mind’s eye I see the Devon I personally remember best. The Devon of the mid 1970s through the 1990s. That was the Devon where you still saw the real Lilly Pulitzer and Vested Gentress dresses and spring/summer ladies pants outfits, and gentlemen had their khacki pants (lots of “Nantucket Reds”) and boaters.

What always sets the vintage Lilly apart from the modern Lilly are not the patterns, but the fabrics.  Today’s fabrics are cheap looking and feeling for the most part.  The fabrics of vintage Lilly and vintage Vested Gentress had weight to them and body. The cotton material was of such a high-quality and weave that it would hold up to heat and humidity.  Modern Lilly has fine patterns but the actual quality of the fabric cheapens the whole deal.

What will be interesting to watch this season at Devon is the society coverage. My money is on Caroline O’Halloran and her Savvy Main Line society glam squad and what will be their coverage.  

Caroline has added a real society column to her super popular website. Caroline’s columns feature a team of ladies who actually used to work for the society pages, and real coverage of events. And with their photos and Caroline’s columns you don’t just have people lined up for well-dressed society mugshots, you have well styled photos, an actual description of the event, what it’s benefiting, and so on and so forth.   It’s old-school and delightful in a modern website format and for those who chose to advetise it is a superior platform and I am not compensated to say that, it’s my opinion.  I find Savvy a much more polished and comprehensive a product when compared to what Susan Scovill puts out, unfortunately for Susan. While Susan pioneered the idea of a local website with event photos when she and the Main Line papers got their divorce a few years ago, her website in my opinion needs to evolve.  

Here is hoping people are better behaved at Devon this year, right? Last year and the police stuff wasn’t very Devon was it? And here is hoping that the people who attend Devon Horse  Show behave better than the people who attended Radnor Hunt, right?  People who are members of Radnor Hunt have been chattering about those who were guests at this season’s event which is at a private club who behaved liked early Animal House Frat House and if this is true, how could they show such casual disregard for Radnor Hunt?

It’s a lovely day for Devon today, however, so go buy a hat, see the horses and have a lemon stick!

Categories: Pennsylvania

Yeah, the heroin problem is that bad

Heron's Nest - Fri, 2017-05-26 06:09
How bad is the heroin problem in the region?

All you have to do is look at what happened last weekend at a recovery facility in Chester County.

They had two people die of heroin overdoses.

But these weren't clients seeking to shake up the tentacles of addiction.

These were counselors.

So where do we start in attacking this fiend.

Well they're getting a start in Springfield.

It's on our editorial page today.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Why I love & respect Memorial Day weekend

Heron's Nest - Fri, 2017-05-26 06:00

We survived another winter.

Hell, we might even survive another spring; I"m not really which is worse.

After another night of pounding rain, it's time to commence my favorite weekend of the year.

Happy Memorial Day!

Why do I love this annual three-day holiday.

Let me list the ways.

First and foremost, I suffer from a guilty conscience.

I never served in the military, and I always feel terribly insecure when these kinds of issues come up. That's why you will wait a long time for me to start sounding off about anyone's military service, or who is qualified to make military decisions. That's not me. I wasn't there. I didn't serve. I'm not going to judge. I'm just going to take the time this weekend to offer a humble 'thank you' to those that did, and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for me to have the kind of life I have.

Secondly, it means summer is just around the corner, even if no one has bothered to let Mother Nature know.

At some point on Saturday, the sun is actually supposed to make an appearance, and the temperature is expected to head back toward 80. Now if we could just crank up the humidity, that would be just fine with me.

Sunday night is perhaps my favorite night of the year.

I usually lie in bed, hopefully with the windows open on a warm night, listen to the creatures chirping outside, and revel in the knowledge that I don't have to work Monday (aside from my usual web work; the Internet demands to be fed and it does not respect holidays), but also that the entire summer lies ahead.

Finally, I'm a sucker for a parade.

That is why I will be there Monday in my town standing and watching the bands and floats with veterans pass by. Do yourself a favor. Try to take in the festivities in your town. We have a full list of holiday events in Delco here.

I guarantee you that you will feel better for it. A little patriotism can go a long way.

On with the summer!

See you at the parade!
Categories: Pennsylvania

Conestoga High School Hazing Fallout: Football Coach Sues T/E School District Administrators

Fourteen months ago in March 2016, the TE School District fired five Conestoga High School football coaches and head coach John Vogan resigned after Chester County DA Tom Hogan charged three football players with sexual assault of a younger player. The investigation stemmed from a freshman football player’s allegations that three senior players held him […]
Categories: Pennsylvania

Dems confirm they are swapping county council candidates

Heron's Nest - Thu, 2017-05-25 07:24
We told you so.

It's now official.

Delaware County Democrats are shuffling the

ir ticket for the fall County Council race.

Jennifer Leith is out, Kevin Madden is in. Leith, who garnered more than 17,000 votes in the May 16 Primary Election, issued a statement saying she realized during the campaign that she did not have the time to the race. She added she did not make her decision until after the deadline to have her name removed from the ballot.

County Dem leaders appeared to go back and forth about making it official yesterday, not finally releasing statements and confirming our earlier reports until just before 5 p.m.

Until that point, they were sticking to their "official" stance that Leith was still the candidate. This despite the fact that Madden was being listed on their official website as the County Council candidate, and a Madden/Zidnik Facebook page had been posted.

Democratic Chairman David Landau said that although he was sad that Leith would not remain on the ticket, he was excited about the prospect of adding Madden to the ticket with Brian Zidnik.

"Candidates for local office are real people with families and jobs and campaigns are a huge time commitment," Landau said. As you might expect, county Republicans are dubious about the timing of the switch.

County GOP Chairman Andy Reilly went so far as to accuse county Democrats of deceiving voters.

Or at lest the 17,000-plus who cast a ballot for Leith.

"The county Democratic Party formed a joint fundraising committee with Madden six weeks ago, so it is difficult to fathom why the party's leadership would intentionally keeps this a secret from voters before the primary election," Reilly said.

He wasn't done.

"Deceiving voters by not telling them that a person on the ballot is no longer running is the height of hypocrisy for a slate of candidates claiming to run on the platform of transparency," he added.

You can read our full story here.

Looks like it should be an interesting fall.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The sound of your taxes going up

Heron's Nest - Thu, 2017-05-25 07:04
It may not be the sound of summer, but it is the sound of spring.


It's the sound of local school boards raising your taxes.

In Rose Tree Media this year, they decided to take a new approach. They borrowed a page from something Upper Darby tried, bringing in the Penn Center for Civic Engagement and holding a series of public hearings on the budget process.

It was a different route, but it wound up in the same place.

Taxes are going up. Again.

At this point, hearings are not going to help local school districts.

They need help from Harrisburg.

And soon.

You can read our editorial here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

When did we move to Seattle?

Heron's Nest - Thu, 2017-05-25 06:34
When did we move to Seattle?

If you can, just pull the covers up over your head and stay there.

Believe me, I just drove into the office. It's miserable out there. Pouring down rain.

And it's not going to get a lot better - either today or for much of the Memorial Day weekend.

You can get the full forecast here.

Sounds like Saturday is the day if you are planning to do anything outside.

There is a chance of showers both Sunday and it also will threaten the parades and other traditional activities tied to Memorial Day.
Categories: Pennsylvania

modern family

Chester County Ramblings - Wed, 2017-05-24 10:31

The concept of family is a sacred thing. When you are little they are that group of people bought together by blood that all look like you.

As you grow up you realize as you form your own family units the concept of family can be redefined. I have a lot of friends who don’t have much family by related blood per se, so the friends fill the family shoes.

When my sister and I were little there were a lot more of us. Not in our immediate family, we were just four people- but through aunts and uncles and cousins and great aunts and great uncles and grandparents and great grandparents there were more of us.  As we grew up, the numbers thinned. But we still had both of our parents.

In 2005 our father died. He had fought prostate cancer valiantly and on his own terms.

For me, the death of my father is still somewhat of a surreal event. My memories from that time are a lot like flashes of  Kaleidoscope images.  Lots of bits separated by flashes of color.

I remember my mother and my sister being so instantly devastated and falling apart around me that I was almost afraid to grieve for a very long time.  I remember looking out across the church which was standing room only giving one of  my father’s eulogies .  In order to get through that and not embarrass myself by dissolving into tears I found two of my friends Stevie and Barb, and focused on them.

Other things I remember from the day of my father’s funeral were two people who weren’t there. One was my father’s brother, his only brother. Even as a child I never thought much of him and I pretty much wrote him off after that. He was like a selfish caricature version of my father. Truthfully, and without guilt and reservation, I can say with a clean conscience I don’t care if I ever see him again.

The other person who wasn’t there that day was my godfather.  That was a more bitter pill to swallow, especially since he lived down the street from the church. He was literally two or three blocks away.

My late godfather was a great disappointment to me on that day.  He had known my father (and mother) since high school and he gave the toast at their wedding.  So I let my godfather go. I was sad for a moment when I heard he had died, but I did not attend his funeral which was at the church a block away from where my father’s funeral had been held. I saw no need to open that door one last time.

We all moved on. It took a while, but we found our way and it was OK but it was different.

Then in 2010, we also lost my brother-in-law quite suddenly.   Our little family unit was devastated all over again. It nearly broke me to watch my sister and her children grieve because there was nothing anyone could do other than to be there for them. It was also so incredibly hard to watch my mother grieve this new loss as well.

Eventually the clouds lifted and we all moved on. One day our mother finally ‘fessed up and told us she was seeing someone. (We had suspected this, incidentally.) Mother seemed almost scared to tell us like we would be upset.  But we weren’t upset, we were very and truly happy for her. We also felt that our father would not have wanted her to be alone because he loved her that much. Our mother was truly happy and alive again, and we loved it.

So for the past few years we have watched a rather remarkable love story develop and unfold. At a time in life where a lot of people tend to wind down and accept a more solitary existence, my mother once again found love.

And my sister and I grew to love her gentlemen as a surrogate father. We felt so lucky and so blessed to have him.

I am especially personally grateful for him as he really gets me as an individual . He has this uncanny intuition with people and capacity to listen to, understand, and love that is just lovely. I don’t know how else to describe it.  And on Monday, 22 May, 2017 he officially became our stepfather.

It was a quiet and intimate occasion, just the children and the couple whose dinner party inadvertently introduced them. Yes, this was something that happened quite literally by fate.

My mother and new stepfather were married by a judge they knew. After the ceremony was complete, the judge asked the children if they had anything to say. My sister spoke, but I didn’t have my words at that time. So I did not speak.

It has taken a couple of days for my wandering thoughts to come together. And among those thoughts I marvel at the modern family we all have become.

My own little family unit is a blended family, and now my larger family unit is a blended family. My sister and I have five stepsiblings! We gained four brothers and one sister…and that does not include spouses and children!

The thing about my newly blended family is how marvelous they are. Seriously, they are awesome.

We (the children) have all gotten to know each other over these past few years as our parents came together from being widowed.  So this is actually a really happy time for all of us. We all have had our bittersweet moments as we remember the parents who are no longer with us, but we are so fortunate that our parents have found such a wonderful love together and bought all of us together.

The power of love and happiness is a powerful thing indeed.  We are all stronger and better together. A true case of  Yours, Mine, and Ours — which incidentally is one of my favorite movies.  (The 1968 version starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda.)

Believe in love. It takes you on the most unexpected journeys in life.

Thanks for stopping by.

Categories: Pennsylvania

The Daily Numbers for Wednesday, May 24

Heron's Nest - Wed, 2017-05-24 08:28
The Daily Numbers: 600 gallons of bentonite that spilled into Chester Creek during work on the Mariner East 2 pipeline project.

2 dozen people who showed up at Brookhaven council

3 separate spills that occurred in town.

190,000 square foot shopping center that could add to traffic woes at intersection of Routes 202 and 1.

1,000 parking spots in the plans.

150,000 dollar boost for Lansdowne Theatre in grant from Presser Foundation.

283-278 edge for Helen Thomas over Paula Brown in Dem race for Darby mayor. Brown says she will run in November on GOP ballot.

31 percent cut for EPA in President Trump’s budget plan.

15,416 employees would be chopped to 11,611.

3,800 jobs on the block.

89, age of Roger Moore, star of James Bond films, who died Tuesday.

48, age of NFL Hall of Famer Cortez Kennedy, who was found dead.

4 Eagles who did not show up for OTAs, the biggest of which would be Fletcher Cox.

8-2 loss for the Phils to the Rockies.

11 losses in last 13 for the Phils.

17,109 who showed up at Citizens Bank Park last night.

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

Fletcher Cox basically showed up Doug Pederson by taking a powder on these “voluntary” workouts. He was MIA last year as well while he waited for a new deal. He got it, and still did not show up.

I Don’t Get It: Fletcher Cox. I don’t get it.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to those who sat down at SCI-Chester yesterday as part of the “On the Table” series, looking to discuss possible solutions to our problems.

Quote Box: “I apologize for not contacting you immediately. It’s our mistake.”

- Sunoco Logistics official Jeff Shields, to Brookhaven officials and residents.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Who are the Dem candidates for County Council?

Heron's Nest - Wed, 2017-05-24 07:39
Yesterday I used this space to talk about some of the gains made by Democrats in the May 16 Primary Election.

Yes, I know that only about 13 percent of eligible voters made their way to the polls here in Delco.

But it was hard to ignore the fact that for one of the first times in memory, Democrats actually got as many or in some instances more people to the polls than the vaunted Delco GOP.

In the statewide judicial races, Democrats outpolled Republicans here in Delco.

And in the county row offices, Dems were running neck and neck with the votes tallied by their Republican counterparts.

In the County Council race, the results were not quite as close.

The Republican tandem of incumbent Councilman Dave White and John Perfetti clearly drew more voters than their Democrat counterparts, Brian Zidek and Jennifer Leith.

White led all vote getters in the unofficial tally, with 23,481 votes. He was followed by his running mate John Perfetti, with 23,115. Dems trailed, with Zidek getting 20,028 Democratic votes and Jennifer Leith tallying 17,387.

The race now moves to the general election in November.

At least some of them will.

More than 17,000 Democrats cast a ballot for Leith in the Primary. There's only one problem with that. She may not be one of the two Dems on the ballot in November.

According to the Democrats' own website, Kevin Madden, a successful businessman and Media native, is now Zidek's running mate. He now lives in Haverford.

There's also a Facebook page that proclaims "Zidek-Madden: Democrats for Delaware County Council."

When exactly this change took place no one is saying.

When we asked Democratic Chairman David Landau about it, he would say only that officially Leith is still the Dems' candidate. Apparently no one bothered to tell the person handling the party's website.

The deadline to make a change and have Leith taken off the ballot was March 22. The primary was May 16. I think people would be interested in knowing when this change of heart took place, if in fact it actually did.

I'm not exactly sure of the political process involved in how you go about making a change to a listed candidate. Usually it involves a party vacancy board meeting and selecting a new candidate once a candidate withdraws. It's not clear if Leith has officially withdrawn as yet.

What I know is that 17,387 people voted for her as their Democratic candidate for County Council. And it's becoming increasingly clear that she likely will not be on the November ballot.

So how about it, Dems? Who are your candidates for County Council?
Categories: Pennsylvania

Memories of Manchester - & concerts past

Heron's Nest - Wed, 2017-05-24 07:07
I can't count the number of times my friends and I piled into a car, made the trek from our little town of Oxford, and found our way to the Spectrum for a rock show.

I don't think my parents ever once wondered if I would return home safely.

We'd make that hour-long trek, all the way up Route 1, down Route 322 (yes, I survived the killer Conchester), up I-95 before hopping off at the Broad Street exit and finding our way into the Spectrum. Yes, I am old. The Spectrum no longer is there. But the memories are.

And it was those memories that went through my mind when I first heard of the bomb blast that killed 22 young people and injured scores more at a concert by pop star Ariana Grande in Manchester, England.

I have to admit I would not recognize an Ariana Grande tune if I fell over it.

But I know why those kids were there. They love her music. It's what kids do. It's certainly what I and my friends did. I saw them all, Bruce, Yes, Chicago, Grand Funk, Dave Mason, the Allman Brothers. Is it just me, or did Foghat open every show back then.

One thing we did not worry about was a terrorist blast. About the closest we ever came was the guy in the row behind us puking all over our back.

It's a different world today. I'm guessing there are probably a couple of those nights when my mother wasn't even aware that I was going to a concert.

All I can think about now is the pictures of those mothers in England, still waiting for their loved one to come home, not knowing if they are dead or alive.

As a parent, and as someone who did all those things and more as a kid, my heart breaks for them.

I'm glad I grew up when I did.
Categories: Pennsylvania

World's worst weather, 365 days a year

Heron's Nest - Wed, 2017-05-24 06:34
I used to joke about creating a new slogan for Pennsylvania:

"Welcome to Pennsylvania, world's worst weather, 365 days a year!"

I'm not joking anymore.

Look, I know I'm a bit of an oddity. I like it hot - and humid. In fact, the thicker, the warmer the air, the more I like it. I managed to survive another winter.

I'm not so sure about this spring.

Yes, we did get one three-day burst of heat and humidity.

But ever since we've been in the dark - literally. Sunshine has been pretty much a rumor. Clouds and showers are the rule of the day.

Don't look at the five-day forecast. It's more of the same.

There's a chance of showers just about every day right. The only bright spot looks like Saturday, when we might get a full dose of sun.

Better get your holiday activities and barbecues in then, because it looks like we're back to clouds and a chance of showers again Sunday and the holiday on Monday.

And not a sniff of 80-degree temperatures until Monday, when we might squeak by at 81.

Like I said, world's worst weather, 365 days a year.

Anyone disagree?
Categories: Pennsylvania

The real challenge for Delco Dems

Heron's Nest - Tue, 2017-05-23 06:16
It's getting pretty crowded as Democrats line up to challenge U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan.

No less than five candidates are looking to tangle with the Republican incumbent.

Now comes word that state Rep. Daylin Leach, D-17, who represents parts of Radnor and Haverford here in Delco, is considering getting into the race. Leach, who has a penchant for making headlines, such as his bombastic social media outbursts in which he took on President Trump, has been down this road once before. He finished a distant third in a four-way primary for the Demo nod in Montgomery County's 13th Congressional District in 2014.

Last week Gov. Ed Rendell endorsed Philly ward leader Dan Muroff for the Dems candidate to face Meehan. Drew McGinty, also of Philly, and Elizabeth Moro, of Kennett Square in Chester County, also are in the race.

This is all part of the Trump Effect, looking to capitalize on the resistance that has sprung up in the wake of Trump's election and growing outrage at some of the Republican actions since, including the push to repeal the Affordable Care Act and some very controversial immigration measures.

Meehan's office was the target of weekly protests in the lead-up to the crucial vote to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the GOP's version, the American Health Care Act.

And although he indicated he would have opposed the initial Republican plan, and actually did vote against the final version, he was blasted by Democrats for voting in favor of moving the original bill out of the House Ways and Means Committee.

We indicated in our Sunday editorial that the Trump Effect did not exactly push overwhelming numbers of voters to the poll in last week's off-year municipal primary. Only about 13 percent of eligible voters took part.

But there were some numbers that stood out. In particular, for one of the first times in memory, Democrats managed to get as many, and in some cases more voters to the polls in Delaware County than their GOP counterparts.

It was not that long ago that turnout along those lines would have been unheard of.

Democratic Party Chairman David Landau sees it as part of the county's changing landscape. Republican leader Andy Reilly doesn't seem terribly concerned, noting this happens in most off-year elections.

What Delco Democrats really need to do to make some waves is capture one of the jobs in the county courthouse.

It's too bad Leach does not live in Delco. His name recognition is something Democrats desperately need in the race for two seats on county council, let alone a judgeship or row offices.

Quick, name me one of the Dem candidates for County Council. Thought so.

Besides, I'm hearing the Dems might find themselves in need of a council candidate.

Democrats have made great strides in the county. They are now the dominant party in terms of voter registration. They have gotten used to the taste of victory in statewide and national races. They proved last week they can match the GOP turnout, even if only in a decidedly low-wattage municipal primary. The challenge now is to pierce the iron grip the local GOP continues to hold on the County Courthouse.

I'll believe it when I see it.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Music Man of Upper Darby's legacy continues

Heron's Nest - Tue, 2017-05-23 05:46
There is an old saying that reminds us that "music is the universal language."

No one had to remind Brad Schoener of that.

Schoener was a beloved music teacher in the Upper Darby School District. He was so deeply entrenched in the school and community music scenes that he picked up the moniker "the Music Man of Upper Darby."

Schoener lost his battle vs. cancer back in 2009.

But his love of music - and the Upper Darby community - continues.

Last weekend more than 5,000 people gathered for the annual festival that now bears his name.

There are more than 70 languages spoken in the Upper Darby School District.

Brad Schoener united all of them with the power of music.

On our editorial page today, we offer a salute to Schoener's legacy, which continues to make sweet music in Upper Darby.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The Daily Numbers for Monday, May 22

Heron's Nest - Mon, 2017-05-22 08:04
The Daily Numbers: 3 percent tax hike coming in Rose Tree Media School District.

2.4 percent tax hike looming in Garnet Valley.

374 graduates picked up diplomas at Swarthmore College Sunday

0 injuries in plane crash outside West Chester Sunday afternoon.

700 degrees awarded to Widener grads Saturday.

5,000 residents who took part in Saturday’s annual Brad Schoener Music Festival in Upper Darby.

10th anniversary of the Walk for the Wounded drew hundreds to Rose Tree Park Saturday.

3 dead, 1 injured in Philly fire Sunday.

11 people injured in deck collapse in Philly over weekend.

1.3 cent dip in price of gas at the pumps last week.

2.57 a gallon average price

2.35 average price nationally.

1-0 loss for the Phils in Pittsburgh.

17 losses in last 21 games for Phils.

7 straight series the team has now lost.

15-26 mark for the Phils.

10 game back in the NL East.

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

Pete Mackanin is getting his wish - almost. The Phillies manager set as a goal a team that would play .500 before the season. They’re looking up at that now.

I Don’t Get It: I’m getting increasingly tired of the lack of civility that rules on social media. Some days you need a shower after being online.

Today’s Upper: Kudos to all those who took part in the Brad Schoener Festival in Upper Darby and the Walk for the Wounded in Rose Tree Park.

Quote Box: “Life begins at 30.”

- Steve Gillon, to Widener graduates.
Categories: Pennsylvania

When social media goes over the line

Heron's Nest - Mon, 2017-05-22 07:38
It is increasingly becoming one of my least favorite things about this job.

As part of my duties, I spend a lot of time on social media.

I'm finding it an increasingly difficult, even depressing situation.

I don't expect everyone to agree with me, the opinions I express online - in my columns, blogs and editorials. Far from it, a robust discussion is part of the essential role of the newspaper.

But there are limits, and too often on social media, the conversation quickly veers away from anything that can be considered robust. Disrespectful? Oh, yeah, there's plenty of that. Hurtful? Why not. Pile it on.

I have a pretty thick skin. You spend any time in this business, and you expect to take some heat.

But the people who engage with me online don't necessarily always comport with those same rules.

Over the weekend, during another raging discussion on a blog item and editorial I penned again urging President Trump to be just that - more presidential - the argument got personal.

The barbs were not directed at me, but rather one of the people taking part in the discussion.

No, he was not agreeing with me. Far from it. I have no problem with that.

What I have a problem with is another commenter who decided to make this personal, and attacked both the man and his business. That's where I draw the line.

I rarely delete material that appears online. But I have to tell you that I am considering it.

I think social media has an important role to play in delivering the news. At least I hope so. I'd hate to think I am wasting all this time every day.

But I loathe how quickly the conversation too often descends into personal attacks, crude references and name-calling.

I think we're better that.

I hope my readers agree. If not, I suggest they move on and offer their small-minded opinions elsewhere.
Categories: Pennsylvania

I'm playing favorites: Farewell, Dr. Mirenda

Heron's Nest - Mon, 2017-05-22 07:18
In this job I'm not supposed to play favorites.

Today I am making an exception.

In my Monday Letter From the Editor print column, I talk about one of the very best people in Delaware County.

Dr. Rosalie Mirenda, the longtime president of Neumann University, will be missed for many reasons as she retires from the post she has held for more than four decades.

Me? I'll miss the hugs from one of my favorite people.

You can read the column here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

This is what happens when you have low expectations

Heron's Nest - Mon, 2017-05-22 07:01
This is what happens when the manager starts the season with low expectations.

I didn't like it back in the winter when Phillies skipper Pete Mackanin said his hope for the season was that his team could maybe play .500 baseball.

This is the result.

Talk about low expectations.

The Phillies are in free-fall, threatening to return to the ugly days when the team routinely would be out of the race before Memorial Day.

Well, Memorial Day arrives next weekend, and the Phillies arrive back home after a horrendous road trip.

Yesterday, they got a boost with a great start by Aaron Nola on his return after a stint on the disabled list, only to see their bats again fall silent. They got shut out, 1-0, by the Pirates.

And of course they got to witness still another blatant lack of effort by Odubel Herrera, who for some reason again decided against running on a dribbler that he no doubt thought was a foul ball. Doesn't matter. It's all part of the tone of this team.

Mackanin's staff isn't helping him much either.

Pitching coach Bob McClure for some reason decided to take apart catcher Cameron Rupp, thus putting question marks into the heads of his starting pitchers.

This comes after one of his relievers expressed dissatisfaction at the way they are being used.

Struggling starter Vince Velasquez admitted he's lost out there on the mound.

The loss yesterday left the Phils with 17 losses in their last 21 games. They've now dropped seven straight series.

Something needs to be done.

Then again, when your goal is to play .500 ball, this is about what you might expect.

The Phillies are playing down to the level of their manager's expectations.
Categories: Pennsylvania

when gardening, know your mail order grower

Chester County Ramblings - Sun, 2017-05-21 19:16

The photo above (and the next photo below this paragraph) were both  taken on a garden tour last spring. I love hostas! I really generally speaking have a hosta disease! I am always looking for interesting cultivars and growers who might have hostas I want to try but never have been able to find locally.

But I learned a valuable lesson recently about knowing your grower. And knowing your grower especially when it comes to mail order plants.

I have been ordering plants from reputable growers up and down the eastern seaboard and as far away as Washington state for years.

I was searching out particular hosta cultivars and decided to check eBay.  Believe it or not I have had wonderful luck with some small plant growers on eBay in the past. For example, I received wonderful woodland ferns from a small nursery outfit in Tennessee.

So there is this grower who is a dually listed on eBay and Amazon. I figured since they were on two sites that generally try to police their sellers I was OK ordering plants. I didn’t stop to pay attention to the reviews. I should have. If I had paid attention to the reviews I would’ve saved myself a lot of trouble.

I ordered the plants and then I waited. And waited. When I received no tracking number to track my package from the seller after over a week I messaged the grower to ask if the plants had shipped and if I could have a tracking number.

I also at that time asked if I was getting bare root or if they were coming in pots. The seller said they always ship bare root.

I am not a novice gardener and I am fine with bare root plants. I figured all would be fine.

Boy was I mistaken.

The plants arrived Saturday. Poorly packaged in a small square box, they arrived mostly dead. I literally had thrown my money away.

For all of the plants I have ordered over the years mail order, never had I received any in such poor condition. And what was described as a “starter” plant (for example) looked like a piece of wilted micro lettuce.

The plants were shipped in dry newspaper in little sandwich baggies with the hosta cultivars scribbled illegibly on the outside of the baggies. There was no ventilation in the little square box and the plants were dried out, wilted, and mostly dead. And so small. I am used to mail order plants but these were puny, so not as described in my humble opinion.

I took a deep breath and contacted the “grower” to see what they would do. I gave them the opportunity to do the right thing. I wanted healthy plants, not a refund. And I was not seeking free plants. I would have been satisfied with an “I am so sorry.” Or even an intelligent conversation in the hopes of achieving an amicable resolution. After all, who likes wasting money?

The response from the “grower” was swift and nasty to be honest.  They accused me of “blackmail” and demanded (not requested) I mail back “their” plants (even though I had paid $70+ for “their” plants.

I will be honest, I was taken aback by the sheer nastiness of their attitude, and I said calmly that I was not going to put myself out MORE money to mail back sub par mostly dead plants.  

I have learned a valuable lesson. And if I had read the reviews posted online I probably would not have purchased a thing from them. If they need my hard earned money so badly, hey they can keep it.

Know your grower. And if you do not, check them out. (And yes, another case made for buying local.)

On a certain level I am disappointed, because people who are true nursery men and women are generally speaking some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

Do not be afraid of ordering plants via mail order, just check out the grower ahead of time. Again, lesson learned for me. I broke my rule of checking them out.

Good customer service matters.  

Categories: Pennsylvania

Where that water from the Chester Water Authority comes from

Heron's Nest - Fri, 2017-05-19 06:21
I think they say what "goes around, comes around."

I think that also applies to your roots. You can't escape them.

I happen to have grown up in a small town out in the furthermost edges of southern Chester County.

It's called Oxford. It's a stone's throw from Maryland. And Lancaster County.

But sitting right there between Chester and Lancaster counties is a link to Delaware County that brought a smile - and some old memories - flooding back to me this week.

You may have noticed that we have been covering a fairly big development on the Delaware County business scene.

Aqua America was making a $250 million bid to buy one of the icons of Delco industry, the Chester Water Authority.

The Chester Water Authority provides water to more than 42,000 customers in 17 of Delaware County's 49 municipalities, including Chester, Aston, Glen Mills and more than 30 other towns.

But here's the thing that I always delighted in telling people whenever I learned that they got their water from the Chester Water Authority. I always ask them if they know, when they turn on their spigot, where that beautiful, sparkling water comes from. It does not come from Chester.

It does come from Chester County.

Actually, much of it comes from the Octoraro Reservoir, which is right outside of good, old Oxford, Pa.

It runs in a pipeline that pretty much snakes along the path of Route 1 all the way into Delaware County.

I then proceed to "confess" to people all the things I have done in that water. Yes, I have been chased out of the reservoir more times than I care to remember.

I have gone swimming in that water; I have fished in that water. And, in truth, I've done a few other things in that water that don't need to be mentioned in this blog.

Route 472 was the two-lane strip that went across the reservoir and connected Chester and Lancaster counties. It was a flat stretch that turned out to be a nearly perfect drag strip for teen racers.

Yes, we did that, too.

Today we are reporting that Chester Water Authority rejected that $250 million bid from Aqua America. I am glad. I don't have anything against Aqua, I just like the idea of telling people where the water that feeds the Chester Water Authority comes from.

Like I said, goes around, comes around ...
Categories: Pennsylvania