What Chester Makes

Heron's Nest - Mon, 2017-10-16 05:56
Chester was back on the front page of the newspaper in the last couple of days.

Last Friday we took note of an especially violent 24-hour stretch in the city. Police were investigating three separate shooting incidents, one of which police described as a shootout between two men. Both lost their lives.

A victim from one of the other two shooting incidents died the following day. It brought the city's homicide total to 27 for the year. That equals the 27 recorded in the city all of all of last year.

But it's the Sunday story - which dominated the front page - that I want to bring to your attention.

In that story we detailed one of the city's most famous sayings: What Chester Makes Makes Chester.

That saying hung on the old Philadelphia Electric Co. building at Sixth and Crosby streets for nearly half a century. It came down in the 1970s. Not everyone has forgotten, however.

On Saturday city residents gathered for a special presentation celebrating the city's heritage, and its roots as an industrial icon. You can read the story here.

It's easy to take shots at Chester these days.

We get accused of doing it all the time.

Yes, we pay attention to the problem of crime and random gun violence that continues to afflict the city. But we don't ignore the other - positive - stories either.

A lot of people are working hard to return Chester to its grand past. There is a vibrant arts community that is revitalizing center city. We take note of all these stories.

Not because we feel compelled to counterbalance the negative news that comes out of the city.

But because it's the right thing to do.

There was a time when "What Chester Makes Makes Chester" was a way of life.

A lot of people have not forgotten.

Neither have we.
Categories: Pennsylvania

The problem with 'fake news'

Heron's Nest - Mon, 2017-10-16 05:37
It's amazing what a nice guy I am anytime I run something people like or agree with.

At those times I'm lauded as a journalist.

But run something negative, in particular something people don't necessarily agree with, and all of a sudden I'm fake news. This just in - I run both kinds of stories.

And just because you don't happen to agree with a story, or don't particularly care for it, doesn't make it "fake news." This is now part of the media sea I swim in every day.

Of course this is the trickle-down from President Trump's war with the media and his penchant for blasting anything he disagrees with or paints him in a negative light as "fake news."

Let me be clear. That does not mean we don't get things wrong once in awhile.

We have a clear process for that and are careful to correct the misinformation.

But even something that is incorrect is not the same thing as being "fake."

If you don't think that President Trump's battle with the media and his perception of "fake news" is not having an effect on local journalism, I suggest maybe you come in and answer my phone for a couple of hours.

Or you could just check out my Facebook page or Twitter posts.

That's where I'm routinely vilified for peddling "fake news."

It's not part of the media landscape.

It's a dangerous thing, but I don't think people realize just how dangerous.

I talk about it in today's print column, my Monday Letter From the Editor."
Categories: Pennsylvania

A Sunday without the 5-1 Eagles

Heron's Nest - Mon, 2017-10-16 05:23
There is something oddly therapeutic about a fall Sunday without the Eagles.

Thanks to that eye-opening win over the Carolina Panthers Thursday night, Eagles fans were looking at a rare Birds-free weekend.

For one thing, it reminds you of all the things you could be doing every Sunday instead of sitting in front of the TV.

Luckily, yesterday was cloudy and damp, so it provided the perfect time to just sit around, read, watch some TV, and breathe in all those things that you miss out on most Sundays when you are instead glued to the TV.

It also doesn't hurt as you check out some other games to realize that the Eagles are now tied for the best record in the NFL.

That's right, thanks for losses by our old pal Andy Reid and the Chiefs, who fell to the Steelers, and a stunning loss by the Broncos last night to the previously winless Giants, the Eagles now are tied at the top of the NFL heap with a 5-1 mark. That puts them neck and neck with the Chiefs.

I liked everything about yesterday so much I just might repeat it next week.

I'm already looking forward to another lazy Sunday.

Of course, that also is because the Eagles don't play until Monday night.

Yeah, some habits are harder to break than others.
Categories: Pennsylvania

letters home (continued)

Chester County Ramblings - Sun, 2017-10-15 11:33

My post yesterday letters home has sparked interest in Chester County genealogy buffs and thanks to Tina S. of West Chester, we have some pieces to the puzzle of my soldier letter writer, William Rapp of New Tripoli, Lehigh Couny PA.

But before then a note: I got them from a friend who purchased them at auction.

Tina first messaged me when she found more on William’s mother, Florence. This is what she said:

Hi. I have found that Florence divorced her husband and raised her son herself before 1940. …lHer parents were John A Kuntz 1854-1938 and Mary Alice Rex 1858-1945.

Florence must have been one plucky lady. Divorce for women at that time was extraordinarily difficult.

Here is her obituary:

She was a teacher, and obviously a very independent lady for her time. She lived with her son until her passing at 92. She was a teacher for 43 years!

Tina is looking for relatives we can contact. Much like Finding Your Roots on PBS. What Tina has learned via is no one seems to be looking for William. Perhaps his descendants and relatives did not know he existed? Only more research will tell.

Tina discovered an article written about William in 2006 in the Morning Call.

Man’s lifetime home dates to a 1770s log cabin


April 30, 2006|By Frank Whelan Of The Morning Call

There is a house on the edge of New Tripoli out on Decatur Road about a stone’s throw from the 19th century brick Ebenezer UCC church. A simple white shingled little place, it began its life as a log cabin. There is history here and that is my beat. They call me the house detective.

On a certain bright April morning I found myself bouncing west with the home’s owner, Jayson Boushell, 28 year old real estate guy who works with his wife, Jessica, at Countrywide Home Loans.

As the country opens up before us Boushell is telling me about the house and the unique fellow who lives there.

His name is William Rapp, and it is his story about the house I had come to hear. Although he has purchased the house, Boushell says that it was part of the agreement that Rapp would live there as long as he wanted to.

History is made rich by the people who occupy the buildings, so I was pleased for the opportunity to learn about Rapp’s life while he was an occupant of the house.

We pull up to the house and Rapp is there to greet us. He is 83 and does not get around as much as he use to. But his mind is sharp.

Rapp has lived here almost all of his life, at least since the early 1930s, in this old building. Most of that time was spent living with his mother, a school teacher who once taught him in a one room schoolhouse….Rapp had been in the service in World War II in both Europe and Asia, crossing the Rhine and waiting for that invasion of Japan that never to happened. He went to Muhlenberg College, later got a degree in industrial engineering and worked at Bethlehem Steel…..

William’s father’s name was Louis Rapp. He is a bit of a mystery.

Tina through her genealogy research discovered Louis Rapp (William’s father) was born in 1888 but was living with an Aunt & Uncle in 1900 at age 15 in Brooklyn, NY and in 1910 he is with a different family member of his mother’s. He is 22 and still in Brooklyn.

Tina is looking for 1920 to see what turns up.

Tina also through her genealogy research has NOT found the divorce of William’s parents Florence and Louis Rapp yet but they were together in 1923.

Florence then reportedly gets ill in January 1928 through April 1929. It says an attack of jaundice. We don’t see him with her after that time in 1923.

In 1930 Louis Rapp is living in Philadelphia- or Chester Pa (not sure). The WWII registration says he’s staying in Washington DC in 1942.

Louis , like the son he seems to have abandoned, also apparently signs up for WWII. Were they in Washington DC and surrounding area at the same time we wonder?

Stay tuned! I will also post more when I get through more of the letters! Initial research indicates that family members may have the surname Rex, and some quite possibly either live or used to live in Chester County.

Categories: Pennsylvania

letters home

Chester County Ramblings - Sat, 2017-10-14 16:52

Sometimes I am inexplicably drawn to things. That happened today when I bought a pack of letters a son wrote to his mother throughout World War II.

His name was William Rapp. The letters are from him to his mother. Her name was Florence Rapp and she lived in New Tripoli Lehigh County.

The letters start in November of 1942 when he is at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland.

The first letter I read he is telling his mother about a Veronica Lake movie he saw called “I Married a Witch”. That made me smile because I remember watching it as a little girl on the black-and-white television in my parents’ breakfast room – I loved that movie!

I have not read all the letters yet, although I have sat here obsessively reading them since I got home a little while ago.

The letters progress from being hand written on stationary to War Department V-Mail Service letters.

The V-Mail letters are like photo copies of the original letters and shrunk and mailed in tiny envelopes.

From Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum:

V-Mail or Victory mail, was a valuable tool for the military during World War II. The process, which originated in England, was the microfilming of specially designed letter sheets. Instead of using valuable cargo space to ship whole letters overseas, microfilmed copies were sent in their stead and then “blown up” at an overseas destination before being delivered to military personnel

I never knew about this mail process until I bought these letters. It’s fascinating.

William, or Billy as he sometimes signs his letters, is a prolific writer. And the letters stretch well into 1945. They go from London to France to I’m not sure where – I will learn that as I finish reading the letters.

But in these letters the soldier writes home to his mom, we learn about life in wartime Europe although I daresay it seems he sanitized the conditions somewhat to spare her feelings and keep her from worrying.

He speaks about seeing a play in London with, and a vacation pass of sorts where he went on a trip to Scotland.

We have a glimpse into a soldier’s life in France during World War II when he speaks about learning to sleep in a sleeping bag on the ground covered with pine needles.

One letter that really got to me so far was writing to his mother after he learned his grandmother had died.

Another letter, I learned he had been at Muhlenberg before war broke out.

I found his obituary. He passed away in 2007:

The Morning Call: William R. Rapp Obituary

William R. Rapp, 85, of New Tripoli, passed away on Tuesday, September 11 in his home, where he enjoyed gardening and chess. Born in Allentown, he was a son of the late Louis and Florence M. (Kuntz) Rapp. He was a 1938 graduate of Slatington High School with honors, fourth in his class and a member of the National Honor Society. Graduating with senior honors from Muhlenberg College in 1942, he was admitted to the A.S.T.P. at Ft. Bragg, N.C., and subsequently attended the Georgia Institute of Technology for one year studying mathematics and engineering. Bill served active military duty overseas in both the European and Pacific theaters of War during World War II in the Army attaining the rank of T/4 with the 3186 Signal Service Battalion. He attained a military specialty in that capacity although he saw no combat in the Pacific because the war ended before he reached Manila, Philippines.

Once he returned to the Lehigh Valley, Bill was employed by PP&L for four years being given a special training program. He was a commercial representative in Lancaster County and wrote ad copy. He was employed by Bethlehem Steel Corp. for 26 years dividing his time between industrial engineering and computer science. He was a member of Chapter 77 of the Industrial Engineering Society while employed as an industrial engineer. In computer science, he wrote FORTRAN programs for mainframes, principally I.B.M. Bill also wrote several in-house papers for Bethlehem Steel for maintenance, and also for providing for the combination mill at Saucon Mills as well as multiple machine interference factors.

He owns a copyright in a development of Ellipse Odyssey written in basic language of an Apple Computer. He was a member of New Life Evangelical Lutheran Church, New Tripoli. Survivors: There are no immediate survivors.

Services: Graveside services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday, September 14, Ebenezer Cemetery, New Tripoli. No calling hours. Arrangements by Keller Funeral Homes, New Tripoli. Contributions: To be made to the church, c/o the funeral home, P.O. Box 75, New Tripoli, PA 18066.

Published in Morning Call on Sept. 12, 2007

And now I, a perfect stranger, have some of his letters home. I don’t know their journey on their way to reach me since the obituary states he died without survivors. I’m not sure that he ever married.

There are so few of the greatest generation left. And when we speak about honoring veterans, these are the small stories we should remember. The stories of good men who throughout our history, have fought for our freedoms.

Thanks for stopping by.

Categories: Pennsylvania

The 5-1 Eagles stake their claim to be among NFL's best

Heron's Nest - Fri, 2017-10-13 06:22
Usually, it is the loser's lament.

The refs cost us the game.

Not last night.

Against all odds - including Pete Morelli's officiating crew - the Eagles went into Carolina last night and beat Cam Newton and the Panthers, 28-23.

The Eagles are 5-1, sitting atop the NFC East and rightfully staking a claim to being one of the best teams in the NFL.

They played without their crucial cog, right guard Lane Johnson. And it showed early as backup Halapoulivaati Vaitai struggled early, giving up a key sack to Julius Peppers that led to a Carson Wentz fumble. But Vaitai settled down and played well in the second half.

It is this mantra of "next man up" that has become the calling card of this team. And it just happens to be the trait of good teams. And make no mistake, Doug Pederson's club is a very good team.

Starting middle linebacker Jordan Hicks went down with a turned ankle in the first half. No problem. Joe Woods stepped up and filled the bill.

Carson Wentz was money again, throwing three more TD passes and showing he is quickly becoming one of the elite signal callers in the NFL, far beyond what is usually expected of second-year players. Wentz's ability to come to the line of scrimmage and quickly dissect a defense - including switching out of a play when he sees something he can exploit - is the mark of a savvy veteran like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.

The Eagles faced the uphill challenge of a short week and traveling to Carolina.

But it wasn't just the Panthers that seemed to be providing the opposition.

They had to deal with Pete Morelli's officiating crew.

The trend showed up early, a bunch of ticky-tack calls, in particular on the Eagles defense. There was an unnecessary roughness call on running back LeGarrette Blount for what appeared to be routine blocking. That was followed a few minutes later by no call when Blount was thrown to the ground by a Panther clearly after the whistle.

The Eagles were called for 10 penalties for 126 yards; the Panthers just one infraction for 1 yard.

Sound lopsided? Actually, it continued a trend.

In the last four Eagles games done by Morelli's crew - all on the road - the Birds have been flagged 40 times for 396 yards, while the home team has been hit just eight times for 74 yards.

And none of it matters at this point.

What matters is this: The Eagles are 5-1, staking a claim to be among the NFL's elite.

The only downside: We now have to wait more than a week for the Birds to get back on the field, a Monday night matchup vs. the Redskins.

Can't wait.
Categories: Pennsylvania

No tax hike for Delco - for 4th straight year

Heron's Nest - Fri, 2017-10-13 06:01
Delaware County Council has a pre-holiday - and pre-election - present for county residents.

Taxes will not be going up next year.

That makes four straight years without a tax hike.

As you might expect, with two seats on County Council up for grabs on the Nov. 7 ballot, news of a fourth straight year with increasing taxes is viewed differently according to your political persuasion.

Dave White, the Republican incumbent who is running for another term along with John Perfetti, said "Delaware County is on the move," touting growth in the county that has resulted in 25,000 new jobs and 500 new business startups.

The Democratic challengers, Kevin Madden and Brian Zidek, are less impressed.

Click here for the full story.
Categories: Pennsylvania

More violence on the streets of Chester

Heron's Nest - Fri, 2017-10-13 05:47
It has not been a good week on the streets of Chester.

Police are investigating the latest wave of violence on city streets.

In a 24-hour period, two men were killed and two others wounded in three separate shooting incidents.

You can get all the details here.

The two fatal shootings brings the city's homicide total to 26 for the year. There were only 27 all of last year. There have been 33 homicides in the county.

The city has boosted a reward fund for information on gun violence in the city, beefed up the number of officers on patrol and added state police to try to quell the violence on city streets.

Nothing has worked.

Police Chief James Nolan feels the frustration, both from residents and his own police force.

"What we can't correct is the lack of concern for human life," Nolan told a local TV station.

So what is the answer for the city.

It's one residents and officials need to address now, before the next round of gunfire breaks out.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Saturday, October 14 — Antiquing & Planting Trees in Tredyffrin’s Great Valley

If you are looking for something to do this Saturday, October 14th there’s a couple of events in the Great Valley section of Tredyffrin Township that you may find of interest. Polly Hagan Antiques will hold its annual Fall Barn Sale (9 AM – 3 PM) on Saturday and will feature primitives, collectibles and antiques. The […]
Categories: Pennsylvania

The Dreaded Saturday Eagles Pick (Thursday Edition)

Heron's Nest - Thu, 2017-10-12 06:17
How about that Joel Embiid!

Oops, wrong sport.

But it's telling that on a day when the 4-1 Eagles are rolling into a prime-time matchup against another 4-1 team, Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, Philly remains abuzz about Embiid's series debut last night against the Nets on on Long Island.

If he stays healthy, the Eagles just might have serious competition atop the Philly sports talk topics.

But on to the matter at hand.

I was on the money last week, thinking the Eagles would handle a struggling Cardinals team that had to fly across the country.

Now it's the Eagles turn to hit the orad, and on a short practice week to play on a Thursday night.

That does not bode well for them.

I don't like this short week and trip to Carolina even a little bit.

Making matters worse, the Eagles will find themselves without right guard Lane Johnson, who just might be the key to their offensive success.

Remember last year when the Birds sprinted out to a 3-0 record? Then they lost Johnson to a 10-game suspension and their season went off a cliff.

So far head coach Doug Pederson has pushed all the right buttons this season. He'll need another gem tonight, devising a way to control the ball on the ground, protecting QB Carson Wentz in front of that line that will be without its star right tackle, and maybe most importantly keeping Panthers QB Cam Newton on the sidelines.

On defense, it appears the Birds might get their All-Pro defensive tackle Fletcher Cox back, though it will technically be a game-time decision.

The Eagles have been on a run, with Pederson pushing all the right buttons. A win tonight on the national stage in front of a prime-time audience would put them among the elite of the NFL.

One other thing to note. This is an important game for Carson Wentz. The Eagles second-year QB is slowly starting to build a lot of buzz for his success in leading the Eagles. Tonight everyone will be tuning in to see a prime-time matchup of elite young QBs. Wentz vs. Newtown. It's a very important game for Carson.

I'll be rooting for a win, but my heart tells me Newton and the Panthers come out on top.

THE PICK: Make it Panthers 26, Eagles 17. Look for Carson Wentz and the Birds offense to sputter without key cog Lane Johnson. That means lots of time on the field for Cam Newton, and that will spell big problems for the Eagles defense.

LAST WEEK: Maybe the most impressive poerformance of the Doug Pederson Era. The Birds simply dominated the Cardinals in every facet of the game, racing out to a 21-0 bulge in the first quarter, with Wentz tossing TD passes on the team's first three possessions. The win lifted the Eagles to a 4-1 record, alone atop the NFC East. I had them winning as well, so I now sport an identicial 4-1 mark. This might be one of the tougher tasks of the season. A win could be a defining moment for Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz. A loss won't be the end of the world.

GAME BY GAME: Chiefs 27, Eagles 20. (My Pick: Chiefs 33, Eagles 17)

Eagles 30, Redskins 17. (My Pick: Eagles 26, Redskins 13)

Eagles 27, Giants 24. (My Pick: Eagles 23, Giants 17)

Eagles 26, Chargers 24. (My Pick: Chargers 27, Eagles 17)

Eagles 34, Cardinals 7. (My Pick: Eagles 29, Cardinals 24)
Categories: Pennsylvania


Chester County Ramblings - Wed, 2017-10-11 19:45

From Radnor Democrats Public Facebook Page. It had as a caption “Radnor Democrats
June 11, 2016 at 4:41pm · We always say that the Radnor Democrats have a big, diverse tent and to “join the Party.” Well, today, at the Wayne Music Festival, the Radnor Democrats LITERALLY have a big tent!”

Where to begin? Let’s start at the bitter end of September when news broke that there had been a not-local (as in NOT Radnor PD) law enforcement raid had occurred in Radnor Township.  The target? Phil Ahr, newly minted as of this summer President of the Radnor Board of Commissioners. 

News has swirled when he missed the regular meeting shortly after the raid and  then and this past Monday, some commissioners had wanted Ahr to resign. But the Democrat commissioners (Nagle, Higgins, Schaeffer) blocked the efforts.  I will admit that while they were speaking the truth about guilty until proven innocent, BUT this is the second scandal to rock Radnor Democrats with a Board of Commissioners president given the fact that in June former Commissioner and Board of Commissioners President Bill Spingler was found guilty by a Delaware County jury  of “indecent assault on a person with a mental disability.” (His 100+ year old former mother-in-law.) Ironically, Mr. Spingler is to be sentenced or something tomorrow a lot of newscasters in Philadelphia were stating today after Phil Ahr turned himself in to police.

See NBC10 Philadelphia’s reporter Deanna Durante’s 6PM report on Mr. Ahr goes to court. Also see a pretty comprehensive article by the Philadelphia Inquirer and Main Line Media News.

It’s child porn and lots of it.  It’s horrible. Truly horrible. Almost inconceivable.

Earlier this evening, Radnor Township itself held a press conference.  I contacted the township and they provided me with what they had handed out except for the PDF of the court docket – I found that myself. Today was the preliminary arraignment. 

Anyway, here it is and I will warn you it is truly disturbing:


View this document on Scribd


So back to the three commissioners in Radnor who blocked a motion to have Ahr resign. Earlier this evening, they fell back behind the cloak of the Home Rule Charter of Radnor Township.  So while they perhaps could not have made Ahr resign as of Monday, given the scandal their township and political party has endured in recent months, shouldn’t they have convinced him to resign?  Or how about perhaps they should have NOT played politics at all and lived up to their oaths of office and convinced him to resign because they are supposed to look out for the best interests of the residents?

Once again, deeply troubling times for a township where I have many close friends….including those with children.

I am going to say, however, that no matter what your opinion is here, please allow law enforcement and those in the legal system do their jobs here.  Please respect the terribly difficult jobs they have, especially with this case.  Also respect the residents of Radnor Township who have to deal with this, especially the residents of Ward 7, Garrett Hill. Garrett Hill is a tight knit community that is suffering greatly.  And pray for Phil Ahr’s family.  He has now given them a terrible burden they will carry always.

Here’s a question for all of you: should local elected officials have to submit to comprehensive background checks including criminal in order to hold elected office?

Thanks for stopping by.

Categories: Pennsylvania

I am 'Fake News'

Heron's Nest - Wed, 2017-10-11 07:03
I am Fake News.

Or so my critics would have you believe.

This is what it's like working in the social drenched atmosphere of journalism these days.

Yesterday we posted on our website a story on the Temple student who was fatally shot after an altercation with police in Miami.

AP puts a headline on its stories that very often gets copied over when the story isposted on

This is what the headline on the story said:

Temple University student killed by police after car crashes.

Technically, it's accurate. But after reviewing the story it's pretty clear there was a lot more going on here than that headline portrays. The woman, Cariann Hithon, of Bowie, Md., had crashed her car into several cars along Miami's famous South Beach area. Hithon apparently was in South Florida to celebrate her 22nd birthday. When a crowd gathered around the car, it took off again, striking a police officer. That's when another officer fired three shots into the car.

The entire incident is now under invetigation.

When the story got posted to our DelcoTimes Facebook page, the reaction was immediate - and harsh.

But it was the tone of many of the comments that struck me.

It did not take long for several people to accuse us of practicing "fake news."

Yes, this is what it is like working in journalism today.

Every person with a phone or tablet is a publisher.

That is now part and parcel of what we do. And I have no problem with that. I say the more the merrier.

But if you think that President Trump's insistence on anything that does not portray him in a positive light is "fake news" does not trickle down to your local newspaper, I am here to tell you different.

Let's get this straight.

That initial report was not "fake news."

Was the headline not nearly as accurate as it should have been?

You bet.

That's why I changed it.

You read it right.

As it turns out, I was not in the office yesterday.

But being the glutton for punishment that I am, I still manage email and check our social media accounts.

When I saw that the story on the Temple student was blowing up on our Facebook page, I reviewed the story - and the headline.

I changed it - and I posted a note on the Facebook page.

That did not stop the torrent of negative comments, all with the same tenet: We shape the news to fit our liberal agenda. We purposely crafted that headline to emphasize the actions of police in using deadly force, instead of the actions of the woman that precipitated the incident. We are looking as we always do to foment racial strife. We are anti-police.

"Please stop writing misleading headlines."

"Slanted and misleading headlines are just one of the multitude of reasons no one buys your paper anymore." In short, we are practicing "fake news."

I noticed something else in the stream of invective aimed at the newspaper. People took us to task for not summarizing all the facts of the case, but had no issue with jumping to conclusions as to what was happening on that Miami street. The fact is we don't know - and may never know why that woman did what she did.

"Temple student runs over officer," is how one reader believes the story should have been headlined. I suppose that is accurate as well.

"Not your twisted words of hate. All you are doing is causing more hate towards our police officers."

"Daily Times trying to be like the big anti-police papers and put out headlines that make cops the bad guys."

Funny, I thought we have been going out of our way the past few years to do stories that put cops in a positive light.

I consistently offer them support with our Saturday "Laurels" as well as on our editorial page.

Doesn't matter.

We're anti-police.

And "Fake News." There's a big difference between a story you don't like, or even one you don't agree with, and "fake news."

I don't practice fake news.

That headline was not as accurate as it should have been. I corrected it.

Didn't seem to change many people's minds.

It's all fake news to them.

Thanks, President Trump.

Categories: Pennsylvania

Another view on gun control

Heron's Nest - Wed, 2017-10-11 06:26
Funny thing about opinions.

They are kind of like something else you might have heard about: We all have one.

Actually we probably have several.

I have one.

But notice how I phrased that. I have one. Not the only one.

I have made my position on gun control pretty clear.

I don't harbor for a minute that we are ever going to radically alter Second Amendment rights. Nor do I necessarily think we should.

I have, however, on many occasions, wondered why a person would need a semiautomatic weapon.

A quick glance at social media will show you that is not an especially popular opinion.

But I am always willing to entertain other opinions, despite the critics who insist that I shape the news to fit my own personal - liberal - agenda.

Today columnist Chris Freind steps up to the plate to talk about gun control.

Chris believes - as many do - that a band on some weapons will not stop mass shooting incidents.

I'm glad he weighed in.

That's the whole idea. It's supposed to be a community of ideas.

You can read Chris' here.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Why do athletes make this kind of money? Because they can

Heron's Nest - Wed, 2017-10-11 05:59
I long ago stopped complaining about athletes and the money they make.

This struck me again yesterday as I tried to get my hands around the notion of the Sixers offering center Joel Embiid a max five-year deal worth an estimated $148 million.

This for a guy who has played parts of 31 games.

He missed his first two seasons for injuries.

Last year's rookie season was cut short by knee surgery.

When he did play, he was on minutes restrictions and did not play on back-to-back nights.

He is expected to be in the lineup for the first time in the preseason tonight when the Sixers play the Nets on Long Island. Sorry, the game won't be on TV.

Yes, it's a roll of the dice. But it's one the Sixers had to make. Embiid just might be that good. Or he could wind up injured again and never amount to anything more than the flashes of brilliance he offered last year.

So why do athletes command such insane amounts of money.

I get asked that question a lot. I always give the same answer.

It applies to a lot of things in life:

Because they can.

It's the same for movie stars and others who rake in obscene salaries.

They do it because they can.

It's that simple.

Fans will continue to pay huge money for tickets, be gouged for parking and ripped off for watered-down beer.

The same goes for movies. The price keeps going up because it can. We continue to pay for it.

I still love sports. It's something dear to my heart.v But I no longer grip about the money these guys make.

They make it because they can.

I - and I assume most people - can't. They have a skill set that commands that kind of money.

Is it right? Probably not. Doesn't matter. And I don't see it changing anytime soon, despite the recent outcry over protests at sporting events surrounding the National Anthem.

Anyone care to disagree?
Categories: Pennsylvania

Dealing with kidney stones

Heron's Nest - Tue, 2017-10-10 05:08
I never knew I was in such good company.

Apparently lots of people have deal with kidney stones.

And almost all of them no doubt are praying that they don't have to face a return bout.

I know I am.

I wrote about it in my Monday print column. The feedback was great. So many people reached out to tell me of their own experience and offer some tips for keeping these things at bay.

And almost every person mentioned something I learned first-hand: They have never encountered that kind of pain.

So far, so good. The X-ray indicated I have stones on both sides, but there is a chance I might have passed them.

Thanks for all the tips. Yes, I have been increasing my water intake. I always drank water all day - when I wasn't inhaling coffee. I'm trying to keep doing that. It keeps the body flushed and hydrated. It also keeps you in the bathroom.

All I know is I never want to experience that kind of pain again.

I'll keep you posted.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Joel Embiid cashes in

Heron's Nest - Tue, 2017-10-10 04:55
I'm not going to argue the move the Sixers made yesterday to lock up center Joel Embiid to a long-term deal.

The team made it clear. Embiid simply can do things on the court that not many people are able to do.

And that's part of the problem.

Embiid is all too rarely on the court.

That didn't stop the Sixers from signing him to a max contract extension, $148 million over five years.

Embiid, who missed all of his first two seasons in the league with a variety of ailments, has just started to scrimmage in 5-on-5 in training camp. He has yet to appear in the exhibition season.

He finally got on the court last year, playing in parts of 31 games before having knee surgery. He has never played without a minutes restriction because of his lengthy medical issues.

When the Sixers finally got him on the court, it was only with minutes restrictions that limited his effectiveness. He also did not play back-to-back games. None of that stopped him from showing signs of being a dominant player. When he was on the court, it was obvious he could be a difference maker, averaging 20.2 points and 7.8 rebounds last season.

"He's a difference maker," coach Brett Brown said. "He has a chance to be great. There's still lots of work to be done. When you look at his body of work ... he's really only been playing basketball for six years, he's just scratching the surface."

No argument from me.

Embiid is the key to the Sixers season. With him, they have a chance to be a playoff team. Without him, even with the addition of Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz, they are still in rebuilding mode.

But the flashes of brilliance have convinced team president Bryan Colangelo and ownership that Embiid was worth the risk. "In the time that he has been on the floor, we have seen him change completely the gym," Brown. "He does it with just his physical presence. He does it with a defensive mindset. And he does it with an offensive target that's different than anything else we have."

Now all they have to do is get him - and keep him - on the floor.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Third down magic

Heron's Nest - Mon, 2017-10-09 05:48
The NFL is all about third down.

And Carson Wentz is all about third down.

All the Eagles second-year quarterback did Sunday was go 11 for 12 on third down as the Eagles scorched the Cardinals. Wentz is dialed in. So is his head coach, Doug Pederson.

Wentz threw four touchdown passes Sunday as the Eagles raced out to an early lead over the Cardinals and never looked back. Final score: Eagles 34, Cardinals 7.

And it wasn't that close.

Wentz doesn't look like a second-year NFL QB. This isn't what young signal callers are supposed to be doing. Especially not on third down. But it's pretty clear Wentz is not just any second-year QB.

He has a varied skill set that allows him to adjust on the fly, and when all else fails, he has the physical ability to make something out of nothing.

Yesterday, in the battle of Carsons, Carson Wentz was stellar, while Carson Palmer looked very much like the beleaguered leader of a team that is coming apart at the seams.

Part of that is the frustration of Wentz's third-down magic. There is nothing more deflating to a defense than to surrender a first down on third down, thus preventing them from getting off the field.

Went tossed TD passes on three consecutive possessions in the first quarter to basically decide this contest.

It was the kind of "step on the throat" performance when you get a team down that the Eagles too often have failed to do in the past, instead letting teams crawl back into the game.

Overall the Eagles were went 9 for 14 on third down. Wentz went 11 for 12 for 225 yards and three TDs on third down. Wentz already has six TDs on third downs in five games.

This team has risen to the occasion each week, overcoming whatever obstacles lie in their path.

Injuries? They've had their share. The loss of Darren Sproles has not stopped the offense. Playing their second week without All-Pro defensive tackle Fletcher Cox has not stopped the flow on defense.

Yesterday they lost right tackle Lane Johnson to a head injury. Ironically, it was Johnson's suspension last year after the Eagles sprinted to a 3-0 record that seemed to pull the plug on the season. Yesterday, they simply buckled their chin straps and soldiered on. Now they may face their biggest challenge.

They are looking at a short week before going on the road to face Cam Newton and a very good Carolina Panthers team. They also are 4-1. Don't be against the Eagles. And Carson Wentz.

Especially on third down.
Categories: Pennsylvania

Taking aim at bump stocks

Heron's Nest - Mon, 2017-10-09 05:25
Yes, we went there Sunday.

We waded back into the gun debate.

On our editorial page, we noted the national conversation. You know, the one we have every time there is a mass shooting.

But this time, in the wake of 59 people killed and 500 more wounded by a madman raining heavy firepower down from his sniper's lair on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Ban resort onto a crowd enjoying a country music festival in Las Vegas, there appears to be something different.

Stephen Paddock was able to modify several of his semiautomatic rifles to fire as an automatic. In other words, instead of having to squeeze the trigger on every shot, he was able to simply hold the trigger down and unleash his version of hell.

Both the guns Paddock used and the device he used to alter his weapons were perfectly legal.

The device is called a bump stock.

And it quickly became the target of those seeking to limit the damage in these heinous events.

But there was something different this time.

After the normal outrage was offered, agreement came in from two places where that kind of talk is not usually offered. Several Republican members of Congress said they would consider banning bump stocks. Even the National Rifle Association indicated it's something that should be considered.

Yes, it just might be time.

You can read our Sunday editorial here.

Categories: Pennsylvania