October 31, 2014 |
THE FREE-AGENT season opens for business with the conclusion of the World Series but doesn't begin to pick up until the first 2 weeks of November. Teams have until 5 days after the conclusion of the World Series - which means Monday night - to make qualifying offers to their own free agents. Those players have another week to mull over accepting those offers; players almost never accept, since the free-agent market is very often far more fruitful. The Phillies will know a little bit more about their own free-agent pursuits - their needs and their budget - when another deadline arrives on Monday.
October 26, 2014 |
Someone suggested that I write the annual getting-ready-for-winter column early this year because the last time I did, we had a mild one. There's so much to say about winter preparation that it will likely take more than one column, so we'll start with something from last season that still brings nightmares to many. I'm referring to the ice storm of early February that interrupted electrical service to huge swaths of Philadelphia's western and northern suburbs for days. Let's talk here about how to prevent pipes from freezing and then bursting as the temperature rises.
October 24, 2014 |
Basketball, wrestling, and indoor track teams in the Colonial Conference and Cape-Atlantic League will be able to start practice on Nov. 24. The same likely will be true for many teams in the Burlington County Scholastic League. But teams in the Olympic Conference will have to wait a week and won't be able to start the winter season until Dec. 1. That staggered start is a result of a decision made by the Olympic Conference to overrule a pilot program established by the NJSIAA in September to allow boys' and girls' basketball teams to start practice on the Monday before Thanksgiving.
September 28, 2014 |
With fall here and winter on its way, it might be time to straighten out the garage, so you can at least find the snow shovels when you need them. "Will it be another bad winter, Al?" you ask. I'll tell you when it's over. In the meantime, the Lehigh Group, maker of Crawford brand garage and home-workshop organization products, recommends cleaning out the space originally designed for cars, suggesting that clutter there might mask hidden dangers. "Seventy percent of Americans use the garage to store potentially dangerous equipment such as saws and power tools, while nearly 60 percent store flammable liquids, such as oil, gasoline, propane and kerosene, as well as other dangerous chemicals, including pesticides and other lawn-care products in their garage space," the company says.
September 12, 2014 |
FROM SWEDEN comes news of a zoo ape that hoards rocks in the morning to throw at human gawkers later in the day. And while the rock-hoarding is cited as exciting evidence of the animal's higher intelligence, it does not improve his current and apparently unhappy situation. He'd be better off waving a copy of "Blackfish," the influential documentary about captive whales that turned public opinion against commercial theme-park exploitation of meant-to-be-wild creatures. Which brings us to "Dolphin Tale 2," which dutifully ponders the ethical fine points of providing a man-made home for bottle-nose dolphins that cannot survive in the open sea. Its celebrated real-life case study, told in "Dolphin Tale," is that of Winter, a dolphin that needed a prosthetic tail.
September 4, 2014 |
Outerwear is reclaiming its role as cold weather's chicest statement piece with cozy capes, edgy leathers, and colorful furs dressing up the season's trendy yet plain silhouettes. "The novelty is in the coat this fall," said Susan Ahn of Eaves, a women's boutique in Wayne. "There are a lot of luxurious combinations, mixed media and textures . . . there is so much texture. " Well before the end of August, coats dominated front-of-store displays at apparel retailers from J.C. Penney to Saks.
August 25, 2014 |
COME SEPT. 1, there's going to plenty of foot-stomping, hand-wringing and pouting in the city. No, the outbursts won't be coming from dejected kids who are headed back to school. The adults will be the ones pitching a fit - because the curtains are scheduled to fall that day on the Spruce Street Harbor Park. (It's OK. We feel your pain. Go ahead, kick something.) The wildly popular, partially floating park at the Penn's Landing Marina has drawn about 35,000 visitors a week since opening on July 21, said Emma Fried-Cassorla, spokeswoman for the Delaware River Waterfront Corp., the nonprofit behind the newfound destination spot.
August 24, 2014 |
Summer is coming to a close, but some of the region's road crews might be wondering if last winter is ever going to end. "We're still in the midst of treating roads that suffered extensive damage during the winter," said Eugene Blaum, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. From Dec. 1 through Aug. 14, he said, PennDot used 15,922 tons of patching material on the region's roads - about double what it used during the comparable periods in the previous two years combined.
August 22, 2014 |
A.J. BURNETT'S answer wasn't definitive, but it did reinforce the widely held belief that the veteran pitcher would lean toward retirement when the 2014 season ends. After taking the mound for his 27th start of the season on Tuesday night, Burnett earned himself a half-million dollars (a performance bonus in his contract) and set himself up to make $1.5 million more for next year, too. Burnett's player option for the 2015 season can increase twice more this season if and when he reaches 30 and 32 starts on the season.
August 8, 2014 |
In a tucked-away corner of West Mount Airy, officials of a longtime cultural center have been concerned that the sound of bagpipes and the rhythmic clatter of Irish dancing could go silent. Citing financial concerns, leaders of the Commodore John Barry Irish Center, a focal point in the region for all things Irish, from music and dancing to art and history, said it had come close to being forced to shut down. Sean McMenamin, a board member at the center at 6815 Emlen St., said the convergence this winter of increased city taxes, higher-than-usual heating bills, and required upgrades to its 10,000-square-foot, two-story building had put the center in a precarious financial situation.