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Latest News in Chester Borough, NJ

4th-Quarter Field Goal Lifts West Chester Past Bentley, 17-16

WEST CHESTER, Pa. – After missing two field goals earlier in the game, sophomore Sean Henry (Reading, Pa.) booted a 34-yarder with 4:34 left in the fourth to erase a two-point Falcon lead and give West Chester University a 17-16 win over Bentley University in non-conference football action Friday night at Farrell Stadium.Bentley, down 14-0 at the half, scored 16 unanswered points in the first 12 minutes of the third quarter to turn the game around.After amassing only 56 yards in the first half, Bentley moved the ball 75 y...

WEST CHESTER, Pa. – After missing two field goals earlier in the game, sophomore Sean Henry (Reading, Pa.) booted a 34-yarder with 4:34 left in the fourth to erase a two-point Falcon lead and give West Chester University a 17-16 win over Bentley University in non-conference football action Friday night at Farrell Stadium.

Bentley, down 14-0 at the half, scored 16 unanswered points in the first 12 minutes of the third quarter to turn the game around.

After amassing only 56 yards in the first half, Bentley moved the ball 75 yards on nine plays to start the third quarter with a touchdown. The drive was capped by an eight-yard pass from graduate QB Mark Waid (Cortland, Ohio./Girard HS) to sophomore Rashon Bradford (Rahway, N.J./Rahway HS) and featured a 47-yard completion to senior Noah Neville (Boston/Newton North HS).

Two plays after an interception by sophomore Rene Nunez (Secaucus, N.J./Bergen Catholic HS), Bentley drew within one, 14-13, on a 10-yard run by Waid.

West Chester's next possession also resulted in a Bentley interception, this one by senior Joseph Howshan (Lawrence/Central Catholic HS). He returned it 11 yards to the Golden Rams 18 , and the Falcon drive culminated with a go-ahead 25-yard field goal by junior Mason Campbell (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS). That made it 16-14 with 3:14 left on the third-quarter clock.

Henry's field goal was the only scoring in a fourth quarter that saw Bentley limited to three first downs and 56 total yards. The Falcons had two possessions after West Chester reclaimed the lead, but was unable to capitalize. The contest ended when a Hail Mary by Waid from the West Chester 45 was knocked down in the end zone.

West Chester outgained the Falcons, 315-269, and had an 18-12 advantage in first downs. Penalties hurt the Falcons in the opener, including an ineligible man downfield call that erased a TD pass two plays after Howshan's INT.

Waid completed 9 of 25 passes for 168 yards and also led the Falcons in rushing with 53 yards. Neville was the team's top receiver with three form 73 yards.

For West Chester, sophomore QB Shane Dooley (Philadelphia, Pa.) completed 10 of 16 passes for 152 yards and two scorers, and senior Phil Poquie (Philadelphia, Pa.) rushed for 92 yards.

Defensively for Bentley, junior Salvatore Lupoli Jr. (Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford HS) made 13 tackles and senior d-end Cedie Dashiell II (Buena Park, Calif./Buena Park HS) had two sacks.

Bentley will look to give first-year head coach Alvin Reynolds his first career win next Saturday when the Falcons host Pace in the home opener (4 pm).

Northern lights forecast: Aurora borealis could be visible in Pennsylvania and New Jersey next two nights

The northern lights could appear in the skies of Pennsylvania and New Jersey on Wednesda...

The northern lights could appear in the skies of Pennsylvania and New Jersey on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

A series of plasma bursts from the sun, known as coronal mass ejections, will cause the aurora borealis to be seen farther south than usual, at least down through New England and the Great Lakes — and, if the events are strong enough, as far as the Lehigh Valley.

“I certainly wouldn’t rule it out,” Bill Murtagh, a program coordinator with the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center, told lehighvalleylive.com. The center has issued a G3 watch — the third of five levels of geomagnetic storms — for Wednesday through Friday.

The best opportunity for viewing locally will likely be early Thursday morning and again on Thursday night from places with dark skies and a view to the north.

But don’t expect the dramatic, dancing northern lights you see in photos from far-north places. To us, any aurora will likely appear as a faint green light in the northern sky, Murtagh said.

There are a few caveats in the complicated forecast, however.

First, since it’s not one single event but a series, it is difficult to project exactly how strong the overall storm will be, and when. The stronger it is, the better the chance it can be seen in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A typical G3 event can cause aurora as far south as Illinois and Oregon, as well as generally minor disruptions to satellite navigation and radio. (The Space Weather Prediction Center’s primary purpose is to protect critical infrastructure like the power grid from cosmic harm — nothing major is currently expected.)

Second, the light of the waning moon could overpower any weak aurora seen from our area. The moon will be out from around 11 p.m. through the dawn both nights.

Third, as always, is the weather itself. This factor, at least, appears to be cooperative. Clouds on Wednesday are expected to clear after midnight and stay away through Thursday night, said Matt Brudy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service regional office in Mount Holly, New Jersey.

If any of these factors spoil your aurora observations, don’t worry. Murtagh, of the Space Weather Prediction Center, said the sun is approaching a period of maximum activity in 2024-25, so there will be an increase of events producing the northern lights for our area over the next few years.

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Downpours erased the Philly region’s 30-day rain deficits, but drought watches remain

The drought watches remain in effect, but this week’s rains all but wiped out the short-term precipitation deficits that had been growing disturbingly on both sides of the river in the last month.“Definitely, everybody in the area got something,” said Brad Carlberg, meteorologist at the Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center in State College, which tracks countywide rain totals using a sam...

The drought watches remain in effect, but this week’s rains all but wiped out the short-term precipitation deficits that had been growing disturbingly on both sides of the river in the last month.

“Definitely, everybody in the area got something,” said Brad Carlberg, meteorologist at the Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center in State College, which tracks countywide rain totals using a sampling of reporting stations.

A big winner was Montgomery County, which started the week with rainfall that was a third of normal during the previous 30 days. After widespread rain Tuesday and Wednesday, the 30-day total jumped to nearly 4.6 inches, 115% of normal, according to the river center.

The Jersey Shore counties, which had been as dry as sand dunes, also prospered. Cape May County went from 22% of average to 98% for the 30-day period, with 3.5 inches of rain.

It was quite a turnaround. Several individual stations reported more than 4.5 inches on Tuesday alone, when the heaviest rain fell, and the downpours had an element of summer caprice, with totals varying wildly within counties.

However, smoothing out the differences suggests that that soils and streams throughout the region received a beneficial recharge, while avoiding major flooding. Through Wednesday every county was at or well above 30-day normal rainfalls.

Big rain gainers

Here are the counties that recorded the most rainfall Tuesday and Wednesday, and where they stand in terms of 30-day normal precipitation.

Still, officially the region’s “abnormally dry” zones on the U.S. Drought Monitor map expanded significantly with Thursday’s update. However, that analysis is performed on Tuesdays.

Based on Thursday’s precipitation, groundwater, and surface-water indicators, Chester County would no longer qualify for the drought-watch party. Its 30-day total through Wednesday was 138% of normal. But any decision to drop counties would be made at next week’s Drought Task Force meeting, said Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson Deborah Klenotic.

No end to New Jersey’s watch is imminent, said state Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson Larry Hajna. Any determination would be made based on a variety of indicators, including reservoir levels and water demands.

“While this week’s rainfall certainly helps,” he said, “we really need a number of rainfall events.”

For the 30-day period from Aug. 6 to Sept. 4, rainfall in most of the region's counties was well below normal. The most recent 30-day period, which ended Wednesday, shows that the region has mostly caught up to average rainfall totals, thanks to the storms on Monday and Tuesday.

Average 30-day rainfall totals by county as a percentage of normal

Drought conditions have been scarce in Philly this century as rainfall generally has increased, which may well be related to the planet’s rising temperatures, as warmer air can hold more moisture.

Pennsylvania hasn’t declared a regionwide drought “emergency” for the city and the four neighboring counties in 20 years. The two most recent watches, in 2017 and 2011, were short-lived. The watch issued on Aug. 5, 2011, was followed by Irene’s record rains that pushed the monthly rain total in Philly to an incredible 19.11 inches.

It is unclear whether this week’s rains were harbingers of a pattern change, but it is all but certain that they have given way to a splendid run of September weather likely to persist through the weekend.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are expected to be brilliantly sunny with highs in the mid-80s and comfortably cool nights in the 60s.

With no Irenes or other tropical threats on the horizon.

2022 PLL Semifinals Preview: Quint Kessenich

The Sunday PLL Semifinals storylines are clear. The Archers (7-4) have lost to Chaos (3-8) in each of their last two playoff semifinals. Is the third time a charm? Or do the Chaos continue to show their mastery of the post season?Meanwhile the Waterdogs (6-5) are the only team to beat Whipsnakes (9-1) this summer. Can they do it again?Sunday will be special at Audi Field, an elite venue. The PLL Semifinals doubleheader in the nations capital on 9/11. The league will be honoring former BC lacrosse player and 9/11 hero, Welles Cr...

The Sunday PLL Semifinals storylines are clear. The Archers (7-4) have lost to Chaos (3-8) in each of their last two playoff semifinals. Is the third time a charm? Or do the Chaos continue to show their mastery of the post season?

Meanwhile the Waterdogs (6-5) are the only team to beat Whipsnakes (9-1) this summer. Can they do it again?

Sunday will be special at Audi Field, an elite venue. The PLL Semifinals doubleheader in the nations capital on 9/11. The league will be honoring former BC lacrosse player and 9/11 hero, Welles Crowther, along with his family.

Waterdogs vs Whipsnakes

: ABC

: 1:00pm

As the top seed, the Whipsnakes had a bye last week week and haven’t played since August 21 in Tacoma. Time off isn’t ideal. A change of routine can shudder momentum, so Instead of taking the weekend off and going to the beach, the Whips asked the league permission to get together.

“The League allowed us to hold a practice in Princeton, NJ in conjunction with quarterfinals,” said coach Jim Stagnitta. “We had practice and a team dinner at Contes in Princeton.”

Structure and order, practice and pizza, some things never change. Contes is an old-school pizza house, a well known social spot where patrons can build their own pies using Pepperoni, Sausage, Onions, Mushrooms, Peppers, Garlic, Black Olives, and Anchovies. Don’t confuse this place with Sammy’s in Hunt Valley. Who the heck puts anchovies on pizza? How many slices did Rambo consume? Setting the over/under at 4.5.

The Whipsnakes staff and players held zooms and ScoreBreak sessions. The players are holding training challenges through endurance tests like running a timed mile or doing a certain amount of sprints. Staying in peak condition while outside the framework of daily team interaction requires discipline and every bit of peer pressure helps. Being in shape matters at all levels. Lacrosse is a running game. The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.

The Waterdogs quarterfinal win over the Atlas was made possible by transition offense through Zach Currier and Ryan Conrad owning the middle of the field. “The difference was wing play on the faceoffs,” said ESPN’s Jay Alter. “Currier (8 GB) and Ryland Rees (6GB) were dominant and set the tone in groundballs and getting goals straight from the faceoff.”

The Waterdogs (+350 to win the championship) scored a season-high 19 goals on the extra possessions that Currier and Rees dug out.

A staple for the Waterdogs this summer has been setting effective picks for catalyst Michael Sowers. Goalie Dillon Ward will creep forward off his arc, up-field, crushing angles. This team caught my eye in Connecticut, when they gutted out a win while short staffed. They found joy in the struggle. I respect their toughness. Guys like Kieran McCardle , Connor Kelly, Chris Sabia, and Liam Byrnes are high production yet low maintenance.

Sunday, the first five minutes will be critical. If the Waterdogs can capitalize on Whips rust, that may set a tone. Can Whips FOGO Joe Nardella win clamps to create quick exits thereby avoiding Currier and Rees? It’ll be tough for the Waterdogs to run on the Whips, who prefer a grind-it-out style of six-on-six.

To beat the Whips, you must have defensive hammers on each side of the field for lefty Matt Rambo and righty Zed Williams. You have to deal with LSM Michael Ehrhardt, to match wits with Mike Chanenchuk and Brad Smith. You have to face guard Jay Carlson and be willing to run through checks from Bryce Young, Matt Dunn, and Timmy Mueller.

The Whips (+160 to win the championship) brilliance is their consistency, and unwavering fundamentals. Some call them dull. Seven of their nine wins are by two goals or less. They don’t give up bad goals. They don’t beat themselves. They stay in the moment understanding that they have control over their attitude, effort, behavior, and actions. They love the close shave. They are the professional version of the Maryland Terrapins and their fans will show up in red.

Chaos vs Archers

: ESPN+

: 3:30pm

The Chaos have won this identical PLL Semifinals game in 2020 and 2021 yet are a 1.5 goal underdogs to the high scoring Archers. Go figure.

“With all the focus on Marcus Holman, Will Manny, Grant Ament, and Tom Schreiber, it’s Connor Fields who has emerged as the ‘tone setter’ and ‘difference maker’ for the Archers,” explained ESPN voice Jay Alter.

Schreiber’s rollback is nasty and he’s a two-way go, able to shoot it or dish it off from the dodge. Coach Chris Bates has an offense with weapons. If they get their feet set for clean looks, they’ll ring corners. If their shots are on the run or contested, Chaos stopper Blaze Riorden may have a field day.

Meanwhile the Chaos (+500 to win the championship) triggered its annual transformation from regular season scrubs to playoff superheroes. It’s like the kale worms in my garden becoming butterflies, the metamorphism defies belief.

“Delete the regular season. It didn’t matter. Using nothing but the eye test, they were the best team at Gillette Stadium,” said Alter. “The intensity and ferocity in which they attacked every facet of the game was breathtaking.”

Finally some of the pregame posturing and halftime locker room ‘F bombs’ manifested into improved play and not just social media glitz. Defenders Jack Rowlett and Jared Neumann form the foundation. Goalie Blaze Riorden is Mr. September. Andy Towers is Ted Lasso.

ESPN’s Paul Carcaterra sums it up. “Blaze saved 82% and FOGO Max Adler, who struggled this season, was great Saturday…59%. When you give an offense, who has the best shooting percentage in the league, that many touches…you win.”

Simple math. Simple game.

Meanwhile, the Archers (+210 to win the championship) sent the Redwoods golfing last Saturday. The Woods never lived up to their headlines and now stare down an off-season of uncertainty with an assortment of players entering free agency.

The Woods rolled out of the playoffs. Their vaunted defense is ringless. The offense was a bad salad. The Woods will look different in 2023 and that’s a good thing.

Sunday, I think both teams will score, as neither defense is built to stop the other. The FOGO battle is an unknown quantity. Playoff games can get wonky where players tend to grip their sticks too tight and coaches pucker up at the sight of a turnover. I don’t entirely trust the Archers defense.

Elimination games are determined by execution. Who can do the simple things better? Which team can be its best at the moment of high stress? Who wins the 50/50 grounders? Who can bury their layups? Who plays team defense? Who’s aggressive and relentless? Who can own the last minute of each quarter? Who has no fear of making mistakes? Who stays true to their personality?

These PLL Semifinals won’t disappoint. You should be watching the PLL. Chris Cotter, Paul Carcaterra, Ryan Boyle and Dana Boyle have the television call on ABC and ESPN+ live from the swamp. I spoke with Dana this week about covering the PLL on my podcast.

To get yourself in the mood for the PLL Semifinals, check out “Fate of the Sport” on ESPN+. The documentary has been a top viewed film on ESPN+ through its first weeks of release. I spoke with Paul Rabil about the film.

The semifinal winners advance to the PLL Finals on Sunday, September 18 at 3:00pm, from Subaru Park in Chester, PA, which will be televised nationally on ABC.

Hearing Delayed For Backer Farm Brewery Proposal In Mendham

The Morris County Agriculture Development Board scheduled a virtual hearing on their proposal for a brewery on Aug. 11, but it was canceled.MENDHAM, NJ — The ongoing process to convert a local preserved farm into a farm-based brewer will have to wait even longer now that the public hearing has been postponed yet again.After months of waiting, the Morris County Agriculture Development Board scheduled a virtual hearing on the farm's proposal for a brewery and tasting room on Aug. 11, but it was canceled.Backer Farm...

The Morris County Agriculture Development Board scheduled a virtual hearing on their proposal for a brewery on Aug. 11, but it was canceled.

MENDHAM, NJ — The ongoing process to convert a local preserved farm into a farm-based brewer will have to wait even longer now that the public hearing has been postponed yet again.

After months of waiting, the Morris County Agriculture Development Board scheduled a virtual hearing on the farm's proposal for a brewery and tasting room on Aug. 11, but it was canceled.

Backer Farm has been seeking permission to establish a brewery operation on their property, which currently has produce and livestock. The farm's plan was approved by the Mendham Township Zoning Board of Adjustment in Feb. 2022 with a 5-2 vote.

Backer Farm has been planning the public hearing for months, and it will be used to provide an overview of the application and introduce their witnesses, Frank Pinto, Backer Farm's project manager and project spokesperson.

The reason for the delay, according to Katherine Coyle, Director of the Morris County Agriculture Development Board, is that the Morris County Agriculture Development Board needed time to review additional information that was submitted.

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Coyle stated that the board is now awaiting additional information from the applicant.

The application has caused concern within the community about potential noise, overflow parking, and the possibility of late hours. These items were all expected to be addressed during the public hearing.

"Backer Farm intends to comply with the NJDEP noise standards and has already retained an acoustical engineer to measure noise levels and assist in planning to ensure compliance with legal noise limits. We also live on the property and across the street and enjoy our peace and tranquility as much as anyone," Backer said.

Backer claims that the farm will grow crops for beer production as well as brew and package the beer on-site. Customers will be able to learn about the beer-making process, tour the farm, sample beer, and purchase beer for on- or off-site consumption in the dairy barn's indoor and outdoor public areas.

To view Backer Farm's application on the county's website, click here and here for the County Agriculture Development Board meeting agendas and schedule.

According to Coyle, the hearing will also not be rescheduled for the next meeting, which is scheduled for Sept. 1, and no new date has been set.

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