Today we relinquish the column to AP for a recap on the visit to Philadelphia by Pope Francis, by the numbers: The Daily Numbers: 850,000 the popular number being cited for attendance at the Sunday Mass on the Parkway. Organizers were predicting more than 500,000 for Saturday’s concert celebration and more than 1 million for Sunday’s Mass. Official figures haven’t been released.$45 million was the fundraising goal for the event’s organizers at the Vatican-sponsored World Meeting of Families conference. $12 million will go to the city for policing, traffic and crowd control, fire and emergency medical response, emergency management, streets and sanitation. 9 million spent by the state in federal funding on National Guard personnel. 9,900 of downtown’s 11,200 hotel rooms were booked.62,946 rose SEPTA’s regional rails on the weekend. 28,575 Saturday 34,371 Sunday.65,000 people head into the city on an average weekday. 123,000 of 328,000 of those special papal passes for use on the rails sold by SEPTA.51,922 (about 23,000 on Saturday, 29,000 on Sunday) on the PATCO High Speed Line from southern New Jersey compared to 12,000 riders on an average Saturday. 17,000 of 75,000 weekend passes sold by PATCO while also accepting regular passes.40,000 passengers rode SEPTA’s Broad Street line to South Philadelphia after Sunday’s Mass, compared to about 125,000 for all trips on the line on an average weekday.13,000 trips on the city’s Indego bike-sharing service (2,900 Friday, 4,900 Saturday and 5,300 Sunday). Usual ridership over those three days of the week is about 6,000.25 miles of highways closed in the Philadelphia area.4.7 square mile area of the city where vehicles were restricted from entering. 591 vehicles towed out of the vehicle-free zone.71 local, state and federal law enforcement and public safety agencies involved in weekend security.300 pieces of heavy equipment.6,000 National Guard soldiers and thousands of Philadelphia police officers and firefighters on duty.423 medical cases treated at 10 first-aid stations, 129 of them resulted in hospitalization.100 ambulances and more than 1,000 emergency medical personnel brought in; lower-than-average volume at city emergency rooms.3 arrests, including “one complete idiot” who allegedly tried bringing a large bag of illegal drugs through a security checkpoint.69,000 meals served to first responders.250,000 bottles of water given out to pilgrims by Philadelphia-area convenience store chain Wawa.0 Philly signatured cheesesteaks eaten by Pope Francis, according to Archbishop Charles Chaput, who noted the pontiff’s room was stocked with other Philadelphia treats, but it’s unclear if he ate them.12 babies kissed by Pope Francis, and likely even more, including one dressed like Pope Francis. Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.Who is this guy masquerading as Sam Bradford? Where is the guy who looked so good in the preseason? I Don’t Get It: The Monday morning quarterbacking concerning the Sunday outdoor Mass and all the security personnel is in overdrive. Today’s Upper: Kudos to all the law enforcement personnel who offered for the most part courteous reminders all weekend to be safe. Quote Box: “I’ll more than likely get a very timely and terse email from my mother.”- Mayor Michael Nutter, after using the S-word in describing some media reporting as scaring people away from the city for the pope weekend.
I write headlines for a living. It's the way I'm wired. I hear a story and immediately the tumblers start clicking in my head. I've spent years breaking down the most complex stories imaginable into four words or less. Sometimes it's only one word. One of the best headlines I've ever written was not even a word, it was a play off an acronym. When Pennsylvania executed the first inmate in decades a few years back, this is the headline that appeared on the front page of the Daily Times the next day:R.I.Pa.
So when I heard Mayor Nutter drop an expletive yesterday in describing some of the reporting that he blamed for scaring people away from the city during the momentous World Meeting of Families and the historic visit by Pope Francis, my mind immediately started thinking of a headline.Nutter was looking to put a different spin on what some were interpreting at numbers that didn't match the hype and businesses complaining of a lack of customers."I think that in some instances you people scared the s--- out of people," Nutter told the assembled ink-stained wretches yesterday at the perfunctory day-after press conference.The headline came to me immediately. The mayor drops the S-word at a post-papal press conference. This one's too easy:Holy S#%&!
So much for the "family-friendly" review of the World Meeting of Families week.I don't agree with what Mayor Nutter said. It was the mayor and other officials who for weeks warned people of long walks, traffic boxes, security perimeters and all other kinds of warnings. It was only when a backlash started that city officials and World Meeting of Families execs tried to put a softer, friendlier face on the event. They dropped all references to the security zone and traffic box and started referring to the Francis Festival Grounds.I'm going to give Mayor Nutter the benefit of the doubt. He even revisited what he apologetically referred to as his "intemperate" remark and admitted he was expecting a note of admonishment from his mother.Maybe Nutter was channeling his inner Mike Schmidt. The Phillies icon and all-time home run king was fond of describing playing in Philadelphia as "the thrill of victory and the agony of reading about it the next day."Mayor Nutter and World Meeting of Families officials deserve credit for a fantastic week. No one seems to be exactly sure how many people packed the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the Mass celebrated by Pope Francis on Sunday. Does it really matter? The event, and the entire week, put the city on an international stage. And it's fair to say the place was radiant. Yes, there were issues with what some refer to as "overkill" in terms of preparation and road closures. Long lines snarled thousands trying to get through security checkpoints on Sunday. Some businesses report that instead of a bonanza they took a bath because of all the street closures.We prefer to look at the positive. The city is likely to bask in the spotlight of a massive, incident-free extravaganza for years. Even Pope Francis noted that all families have their issues.So did this one.Or, as Mayor Nutter might say, spit happens.
Forget the pope.
Wawa is the patron saint of journalists, at least those of us always Jones-ing for a cup of coffee.Our favorite Delco convenience store is celebrating National Coffee Day by offering free coffee all day.That's right, you can get a free coffee, any size, all day today at Wawa. Why do I get the feeling they should stock up on jumbo cups? I visit our local Wawa here in Primos every day at lunchtime for a 12-ounce cup to go with lunch. I think I will upsize today.Raise your hand if you plan to visit more than one Wawa today? Thought so.
Now that we have all recovered from Pope-mania, it's time to return to the serious issues of the day.Like the Eagles.
They managed to scratch out a win against the Jets, thanks in large part to Darren Sproles. His electrifying punt return might just have provided the spark this team needs to reverse its fortunes after a disappointing 0-2 start.But this team still has problems, not helped by news reports that they may have lost their starting kicker and right guard to injury. Cody Parkey and Andrew Gardner may be lost for the season.But I don't think that's their biggest problem.This team is only going to go as far as Sam Bradford takes them. And right now, it appears he can only take them 5-10 yards at a time. Bradford is quickly becoming the king of the dink and dunk.He looks tentative, unsure of himself and rattled in the pocket. He's not getting a lot of help from his receivers, who continue to drop balls at an alarming rate. More importantly, none of them seem particularly adept at shedding press coverage. And they lack the sheer speed to provide much of a deep threat.The result. Teams are packing the line of scrimmage and daring the Eagles to run the ball, seemingly not concerned in the least at a deep threat.Bradford does not appear to be the same QB who looked so supremely confident in the preseason, leading the Eagles offense to touchdown in all four of the series in which he appeared. Which I guess tells you exactly how much stock you can put in preseason games.Part of this is rust; Bradford has not played in almost two full years. Part of it is all the new faces that coach Chip Kelly brought in during a tumultuous offseason. Part of it likely is the group not getting enough snaps together in the preseason.Of course, this has led to calls for Mark Sanchez to take over the struggling offense.Here's what we know. Sanchez is not the answer. Bradford might be, but he's not right now.For this team to make a playoff run, that has to change. Not by inserting Sanchez. By building Bradford's confidence and getting him back to the player who looked so sharp in the preseason.
No word yet on status of Wynnewood location
Tuesday is National Coffee Day and Dunkin Donuts, Wawa and others are participating
Apple fans lined up outside the Suburban Square Apple Store to wait for the new smartphones
Narberth Borough’s call for artists to share their vision on a new Narberth Avenue Bridge has had a wide reach.
BRYN MAWR >> With a slight adjustment to the calendar for the area’s visitor from the Vatican, Clover Market returns to the Main Line in October for a full fall season.
NARBERTH >> How a roadway marker from Narberth made its way to Vietnam in wartime is a mystery that may never be fully explained; much less so how it ended up with what appears to be a bullet hole next to the letter “R” in “Borough.”
ROSEMONT >> In 1975, Gene Johnson and his restaurant partner were looking to expand from their base in State College.
Temperatures are expected to get cooler this week, with rain in the forecast for several different days
No one was harmed Saturday night when the minor fire was reported at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood
The Daily Numbers: 800,000 who packed the Ben Franklin Parkway for yesterday’s Mass by Pope Francis. Several thousand people were unable to get in through long lines at security checkpoints. 100,000 Communion wafers distributed during the Mass.7:47 p.m., when the pope’s jet lifted off from Philadelphia International Airport.1 more surprise stop for the pope, this time at St. Joseph’s University, to bless a new statue commemorating relations between Catholics and Jews.100 inmates at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Center who got the opportunity to meet the pope.5 adult victims of priest sexual abuse who got the opportunity to meet with Pope Francis.328,000 passes for the regional rail lines that SEPTA put on sale.123,295 actually sold.28,575 regional rail riders on Saturday.34,371 on Sunday.700 Saturday from Primos Station.850 on Sunday.3 a.m., when the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, which had been closed all weekend, finally reopened.8 p.m., when Schuylkill Expressway westbound reopened from I-95 to Route 1.11:05, when eastbouind I-76 reopened from the Blue Route I-476 to I-953 hours, how long some waited in lines to get through the checkpoints.78-year-old pontiff spent 6 days in the U.S. after 4-day visit in Cuba.400 leaders of the World Meeting of Families gathered at the airport after the Mass to bid Pope Francis Farewell.2018, next World Meeting of Families, set for Dublin, Ireland.13,000 mile trip made by a family from Argentina in an old VW van to see the pope. They got the chance to meet him.19, age of female student from Penn State killed in crash while driving back to State College after taking part in THON charity work in Philly area.6 other Penn State students injured in the crash.1-2 record for the Eagles after yesterday’s win.24-17 win for the Birds over the Jets up at the Meadowlands. Call me a Phanatic: A look at the ups and downs of being a Philadelphia sports fan.It wasn’t pretty, but I’ll take it. No, not the security lines to get in to see the pope. The Eagles, of course. I Don’t Get It: Everyone can now nitpick the preparations for the pope. Seemed to go off pretty well to me. Today’s Upper: Kudos to quickly getting roads reopened and transit back to normal across the region. Quote Box: “Pray for me. Don’t forget.”- Pope Francis
It was an epic weekend, full of moments that filled our hearts with joy - and our eyes with tears.
But for me, there was one moment that stood above the others.It involved a young man struggling with cerebral palsy, and the magnificence of a pontiff who at every step proved that he is in fact "The People's Pope."It's in my weekly print column.
We had company for the weekend. No, not at home.
I spent most of the weekend here in Primos monitoring developments tied to the visit by Pope Francis. We had a full team of reporters and editors under the direction of Vince Carey downtown covering this historic event. They were part of thousands of journalists from around the globe who found their way to Philadelphia to cover the final events of the Pope's historic week-long visit to the U.S. Here in Primos, we shared our front office and front parking lot with the good men and women of the Upper Darby police force, along with a crew of emergency services workers.They could not have been nicer.Sometimes the relationship between the press and police can get a little testy. We're naturally at odds. We're trying to uncover information. They don't always want to give it out. Sometimes we butt heads.But a few months ago, when officials from Upper Darby first reached out to me after receiving word that Primos Station would be one of only 18 stations on SEPTA's regional rail lines to be utilized to ferry the thousands of pilgrims into the city to see the pontiff, I decided to reach out.Our plant is literally right next door to the train station, which is just a block away on Oak Avenue.The point person for the Upper Darby police here in Primos, Capt. Tom Johnson, sat down with me and went over what they needed. They utilized the front parking lot as a staging point for many of their vehicles. They were able to set up a command center in our front office, which holds our Classified Advertising Department, but which is empty on weekends.I was here early both Saturday and Sunday to act as a liaison for them.I spent much of both mornings walking down Cottonwood Lane, the little street that runs from Oak Avenue back to our plant, and keeping tabs on what was going on at the Primos Train Station.I made sure to tell the many police officers, SEPTA workers and others to make the Daily Times building their home for the weekend. And yes, that meant being able to use the, ahem, facilities when nature called.Our nice neighbors at our little Wawa on Oak Avenue as well as across the street at Giant got into the act, offering "Pope-alicious" donuts and pretzels to those arriving at the train station. As you can see in the photo, it was much appreciated.The truth is that on Saturday we were underwhelmed at the number of people who boarded trains at the station. Only about 700 people got on trains at the station on Saturday, less even than the number of special regional rail passes SEPTA sold.Things picked up a bit on Sunday, but in general I would say it was still less than what was initially expected.When SEPTA first announced that they planned to use Primos Station, they estimated that 10,000 people would swarm the station both days. That didn't happen. Really didn't even come close.Upper Darby police, who first envisioned shutting down Oak Avenue, instead simply did traffic control. Both Cottonwood and Mildred, which runs back to our plant from Providence Road, were close.No, it was not the kind of numbers we expected. I still don't think it could have gone much better.And I was happy to offer a little bit of hospitality to our friends on the Upper Darby police.
What’s that proverb about a “bad penny always coming back”? After last week’s TE School Board meeting, that could be a fair description of the Valley Forge Middle School fencing project. Residents who attended the District’s June 12th Facilities Meeting expected the fencing discussion at Valley Forge Middle School to finally end. But instead, the […]
These photos were sent to me by a reader named Kathy. They came with this message:
“This eyesore in Downingtown at Boot Rd & 322 lingers on. Will it ever be cleaned up and developed or is it forever stuck in the cycle of red tape and paperwork? I thought the bicycle trail was supposed to continue on through this area but who knows if it will happen. All of the first floor windows and doors of these homes have been boarded up and an endless number of No Trespassing/Danger signs have been posted.”
So when we last spoke of the Borough of Downingtown, the rather young mayor was all gung ho over a giant development project where an RFP was put out for a garage on borough owned land, correct? Does he not see these rotting houses? And developer Eli Kahn bought HOW many acres in Downingtown from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia?
So, I have to ask: if they did not let homes like pictured in this post rot, maybe a lot of country towns would have housing that more fit the history and flavor of the area?
This is yet another reason why people in Chester County need to hold local governments and state level elected officials accountable for all the crazy development carving up communities one land parcel at a time.
The weird, the wild, and the disturbing
NARBERTH >> Even if you would never dream of donning a pair of lederhosen, even if oompah isn’t your beat in music, it’s easy to get into the spirit of Oktoberfest. One of the best ways is by joining the crowd at the annual Narberth Oktoberfest, coming up on Saturday, Oct. 3, from 5 to 9 p.m. under festival tents at Narberth Park.