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Trial against alleged Upper Merion baby killer Yandamuri is underway

Main Line Times - Fri, 2014-09-26 08:41
COURTHOUSE >> After eight days of jury selection, attorneys have been able to agree on six men, six women and a group of four alternates to hear evidence in the case against Raghunandan Yandamuri who is accused of killing a 10-month-old baby and her 61-year-old grandmother in Upper Merion in 2012.
Categories: Lower Merion

Chris Abruzzo and Kevin Harley in the Corbett AG Office Porno Ring

Keystone Politics - Fri, 2014-09-26 07:14
It does seem mighty weird for a bunch of high-level, probably straight-identifying Republican graybeards in the Corbett Attorney General’s office to be sharing their favorite pornos with...
Categories: Pennsylvania, Politics

Lower Merion Seeks Shade Tree Commission Candidates

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Thu, 2014-09-25 16:08
Nine township residents serve five-year terms on the commission.
Categories: Lower Merion

Expert Parenting and Character Education Consultant Will Speak at The Shipley School

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Thu, 2014-09-25 15:57
Shipley welcomes renowned educational consultant to speak on building character in our children
Categories: Lower Merion

Man sentenced to jail for domestic abuse, threatening to blow up Ardmore home

Main Line Times - Thu, 2014-09-25 14:36
NORRISTOWN – A Philadelphia man has jail in his future after he admitted to endangering his onetime girlfriend during a domestic-related incident in Lower Merion and to threatening police who responded to the scene.
Categories: Lower Merion

PECO: Power restored after over 1,000 impacted by Lower Merion outage

Main Line Times - Thu, 2014-09-25 14:34
PECO crews have restored power after an outage impacted 1,170 customers Thursday in Lower Merion.
Categories: Lower Merion

Philadelphia man charged with retail theft, arrested over 30 times in 25 years

Main Line Times - Thu, 2014-09-25 14:34
Lower Merion police have charged a man with felony retail theft after he police say he entered the Acme Market on City Avenue in Bala Cynwyd three times and stuffed merchandise down his pants over a two day period. Authorities say the man has been arrested more than 30 times for retail theft over the past 25 years.
Categories: Lower Merion

End of an Era: October Howl-O-Ween will be final event for First Friday Main Line

Main Line Times - Thu, 2014-09-25 14:34
If there is one thing people love more than dogs, it’s dogs in costume. No wonder the annual Howl-O-Ween dog pageant and contest has been one of the most popular themes on the calendar for First Friday Main Line.
Categories: Lower Merion

Montco man admits role in Malvern murder

Main Line Times - Thu, 2014-09-25 14:34
WEST CHESTER -- A Montgomery County man admitted on Friday to shooting and killing a close friend he had grown up next door to in Malvern, but was unable to explain to the judge who accepted his plea what motive he had for the murder.
Categories: Lower Merion

War in Gaza: Through the eyes of an Israeli father

Main Line Times - Thu, 2014-09-25 14:34
This past July Ari Shavit went into the bedroom where his 5-year-old and 10-year-old sons sleep in their Jerusalem home to explain to them what they should do when the warning sirens sound.
Categories: Lower Merion

A response to columnist Christine Flowers from @FanSince09

Heron's Nest - Thu, 2014-09-25 14:06
I get accused of doing a lot of bad things here every day.

Only some of them are true.

We're in the midst of election season, so both Delaware County Republicans and Democrats are convinced that we are in bed with the enemy, plotting against them. I always figure if both sides are complaining, we probably have it just about right.

Readers call every day to complain about the way we handle stories, insisting we sensationalize the news "just so we can sell more copies of that rag of a newspaper." I should confess that now includes drawing eyeballs to our website. I also can admit there is a grain of truth to their complaint.

Officials and residents of Chester believe we never miss an opportunity to portray the struggling city in a poor light, that we never feature any of the good things happening in the city.

And some readers are even convinced stories get different treatment depending on the color of the skin of the people involved. They lament that we never miss a chance to splash a story about an African-American doing something wrong all over Page One, while we bury a similar saga about a white person. I guess they missed this week's story on the teacher at Garnet Valley Middle School charged with having sex with a 15-year-old student.

I do not, however, very often field complaints for withholding the news. Or, even worse, censoring one person's opinion over another. That's a fairly serious charge to make against someone who has made his living practicing journalism for more than three decades. In this racket, we take the Second Amendment and Freedom of the Press pretty seriously.

Every day in this newspaper, you will find opinions that I disagree with. That does not mean I do not run them. In fact, just the opposite is true. I always encourage readers who disagree with something we have written to do likewise, put their beliefs in writing, by penning a letter to the editor. They very often seem surprised that I would - 1) make the offer, and 2) actually run something critical of the newspaper or in direct opposition to a position or story we have presented.

I sometimes wonder if they ever look at our editorial pages. There every day they will find Letters to the Editor that routinely take me and this newspaper to task for something we've done.

They run beside our editorials, the unsigned collaborative work of our editorial board, which formulates the position of the newspaper on important issues.

Maybe they just call Sound Off, where we allow people to get a quick thought off their chest without attribution. These days, a lot of these people dwell on our website, DelcoTimes.com, where people can comment to their heart's content, for the most part in complete anonymity.

On Page 6 of the newspaper, we run our featured columnists, Christine Flowers and Chris Freind. I assure you I do not agree with many of the stances they take. But I never for a second consider censoring what they have to say. They have picked up the torch for the man who filled that spot for many years. I can't begin to count the number of times a conversation with longtime columnist Gil Spencer ended in a full-throated shouting match. But I never killed one of his columns. All three of these scribes fulfill the primary role of a columnist - they have something to say. I don't care if people love them or hate, so long as they read them, so long as they can't wait to get to the Wawa to pick up the Daily Times because their column is in that day's paper. I don't want readers to yawn and turn the page. They can do that when my column appears on Monday.

Last Sunday Christine Flowers wrote a column on hate-crime laws in the wake of the furor surrounding the attack on a gay couple on a Philadelphia street. Let's just say she's not a fan - of those kinds of laws, nor of anyone resorting to physical assault to settle a difference.

In the column, she also had a few things to say about the social media buzz that turned the focus of the investigation on a group believed to be connected to the attack.

Philadelphia police credited Twitter followers, in particular the work of a person going by the handle of @FanSince09, with being very helpful in their investigation. It is the way a lot of journalism is being done these days. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and a host of other social media tools are now part of the toolbox journalists turn to every day in the digital age that many of us old, ink-stained wretches now toil in. We carried several Associated Press stories detailing the investigation, which included references to the online sleuthing of @FanSince09. I have to admit I was impressed.

As it turns out, @FanSince09 wanted to reply to Flowers' column. He could have simply gone online and posted a comment on her opus. He could have ripped her anonymously in Sound Off. He didn't want to do any of those things. He wanted to write a Letter to the Editor. I had no problem with that. Right up until the point where the writer indicated he wanted his letter signed @FanSince09.

Now we have a problem.

It has long been the policy of this newspaper that we do not run anonymous letters to the editor. We require the letter writer provide us with a name, town where they live, and a phone number that we use for verification. The phone number is not printed. The name and town are - on every letter we run.

Yes, we at times will quote an anonymous source in a news story. Yes, we allow anonymous commenting online. Yes, we run anonymous items in Sound Off. No, we do not run anonymous letters, nor ones that merely carry a pseudonym.

It is a policy I firmly believe in; I have no interest in even considering the kinds of ethical problems I would face if I suddenly opened up our editorial pages to anonymous letter writers.

@FanSince09 was not especially happy with my decision. He made clear his belief that he wanted to retain his anonymity, in no small part because he feared problems with his employment, and possible retaliation given the volatile nature of the charges now filed in this case.

I have no problem with what he wanted to say. He clearly disagrees with Flowers' position. That happens pretty much every time she writes. But Christine's name is right there beside everything she pens. His would not, instead he would be veiled behind the moniker @FanSince09.

After we exchanged a few emails and Tweets, a funny thing happened. Or maybe not so funny, depending on where you stand. I became a very popular guy on Twitter. My account, @philheron, was deluged with people taking up @FanSince09's side, and castigating me at every turn. And of course, what self-righteous Twitter-verse discussion would be complete without it devolving into vulgar name-calling, almost all of it directed at me.

Get in line, Twitter folks. You have to take a number to do that around these parts.

It did do one thing. It gave me a new appreciation - if only for a brief time - of what it is like to have the Internet turn against you. It can be a fairly intimidating experience. Some supporters of @FanSince09 even resorted to calling the newsroom and ranting at whoever had the misfortune of picking up the phone.

I think I'll survive.

None of which solves my problem.

The truth is I'd like to see @FanSince09's opinion get out there. I think what he has to say can be an important part of the discussion, and enlighten some of those who are so quick to belittle what is being done on social media.

For that reason, I'm presenting it there. I realize some people will believe in doing so I am compromising my stance. I can live with that, too.

Here is the letter penned to the Daily Times by @FanSince09.

To whom it may concern:

I may not be a highfalutin' big city lawyer, but I do take exception to several of the statements that Christine Flowers made in her last column. While Ms. Flowers is certainly entitled to her conservative beliefs, she was completely off-base in her description of Philadelphia’s social media communities.

Social media has long been a scapegoat and boogeyman for those who don’t understand it. It’s something bad, or dangerous, that always wants to be starting something that ruins lives anonymously and catches innocents in a irresponsible crossfire due to social media detectives looking to serve as the police. Remember the time when names were thrown out to the public during the Boston Bombing manhunt? You are not alone. That issue is always brought up as an example of the dangers of online sleuthing. That being said, this incident was the antithesis of those off-the-wall situations. To call this issue “trial by twitter” makes me want to scream.

The social media uproar started when the Philadelphia Police Department posted an entry to their blog entitled Wanted: Suspects for Hate Crime/Assault And Robbery in the 9th District. Please notice the wording. In this call for information, the Philadelphia Police Department was the first to identify these folks as suspects and to identify the crime as a hate crime. Twitter users did not concoct this. Twitter users did not introduce this wording. This was the official wording by the police department.

What happened next was not an angry online mob seeking to punish a hate crime but a group of people feeling sympathy for the victims of a brutal attack, whether a hate crime or not, and decided to listen to their human nature and assist the police. I’d like Ms. Flowers to know that during the social media investigation that not one suspect’s name given out publicly. These suspects weren’t smooth criminals, they were clear as day in a video (please get your eyes checked, counselor) and left a trail of breadcrumbs that even Hansel and Gretel would shake their heads at, yet we wanted to be absolutely sure they were indeed the people in the video before going public with any information. When the large group picture was released, the restaurant was identified but nobody in the photo was called out, harassed or named to the media. Whether the tips we gave the PPD were the right people or not, it was kept private and handed directly to the police. If there is any collateral damage in this case, it is certainly not because of Twitter.

The reason feel I must reply to Ms. Flowers is because I am extremely proud of how calmly and professionally this situation was handled, and I feel as though we've created an example for future social media investigations. A lot of credit must go to the PPD, who did an outstanding job of keeping everyone in the loop and letting us know our information was received. Not once was there a sense that we were working our own investigation, or competition with the PD. Nobody was trying to be a hero, we were just trying to do the right thing in the right way. A vigilant citizenry willing to work with the government to solve problems is a must for all successful societies. If Ms. Flowers is to be the judge of what is American, surely she must realize there is nothing more American than cooperation between private citizens and their civil servants.

I am very proud of everyone who assisted the police, and happy that so many Philadelphians, unlike Ms. Flowers, are willing to take a stand against hatred.

- Twitter User @FanSince09.

PS: Please send all responses to @EvanMathis69
Categories: Pennsylvania

Lower Merion police arrest 3 after Suburban Square Apple store scuffle

Main Line Times - Thu, 2014-09-25 14:04
Three men are facing charges for their alleged role in a disturbance at the Suburban Square Apple store Sept. 20 after they were told to leave and refused because they couldn’t purchase all of the phones they wanted, Lower Merion police reported.
Categories: Lower Merion

How Do You Feel About Medical Marijuana?

Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch - Thu, 2014-09-25 13:22
A bill that would allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes was passed Wednesday by the Pennsylvania State Senate.
Categories: Lower Merion

(Recap) Catch up on today's local news with the Main Line Morning Briefing

Main Line Times - Thu, 2014-09-25 12:55
Good morning and welcome to your Main Line Morning Briefing.
Categories: Lower Merion

Rock Hill Road in Lower Merion to see partial closure through mid-December

Main Line Times - Thu, 2014-09-25 12:18
Rock Hill Road in Lower Merion Township is scheduled to be partially closed through Dec. 12, 2014, township officials announced Thursday.
Categories: Lower Merion

The Daily Salvo for September 25, 2014 - "House of Worship"

The Daily Salvo - Thu, 2014-09-25 12:05
The Daily Salvo for September 25, 2014 - "House of Worship"
The Jewish holy season is a time of discernment, atonement and self-improvement for all families of faith. From: The Daily Salvo Views: 0 0 ratings Time: 01:01 More in News & Politics

LIVE: Trial against alleged Upper Merion baby killer Yandamuri is underway

Main Line Times - Thu, 2014-09-25 11:50
COURTHOUSE >> After eight days of jury selection, attorneys have been able to agree on six men, six women and a group of four alternates to hear evidence in the case against Raghunandan Yandamuri who is accused of killing a 10-month-old baby and her 61-year-old grandmother in Upper Merion in 2012.
Categories: Lower Merion

The Daily Salvo for September 24, 2014 - "Walking On Sunshine"

The Daily Salvo - Thu, 2014-09-25 11:42
The Daily Salvo for September 24, 2014 - "Walking On Sunshine"
On Sunday, September 28th you're invited to go walking in whatever type of weather God has in store - should it be rain, wind, snow or sunshine. From: The Daily Salvo Views: 2 0 ratings Time: 01:01 More in News & Politics

(Recap) Catch up on today's local news with the Main Line Morning Briefing

Main Line Times - Thu, 2014-09-25 11:21
Good morning and welcome to your Main Line Morning Briefing.
Categories: Lower Merion

PECO: Power restored after over 1,000 impacted by Lower Merion outage

Main Line Times - Thu, 2014-09-25 11:01
PECO crews have restored power after an outage impacted 1,170 customers Thursday in Lower Merion.
Categories: Lower Merion