Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Petition started to investigate the death of Ibram Hanna

Ibram Hanna

From change.org :

15-year-old Ibram Hanna was shot dead in Mountville, PA on the morning of Friday, August 12th. In under 11 hours, the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office under Craig Stedman issued a press release that it was accidental and the 17-year-old shooter would be tried as a juvenile.

There are several erroneous statements in the DA's press release which implied these were the only two boys in the home where he was shot and that they were friends and were "looking at the gun" when it went off.

The gun was stolen by the 17-year-old from a car but the public was not told when or the circumstances of the theft. There were reportedly a number of other teens in the home at the time. The 17-year-old has a troubling history of drinking and drugs.

It is impossible that a thorough investigation of this murder could have been completed within 11 hours. It borders on ridiculous.

The U.S. Department of Justice needs to investigate this murder and review the actions of the West Hempfield Township Police Department and the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office.

Go HERE to sign the petition.

Becky Holzinger started this petition.

Library Happenings - Wednesday, August 24, 2016 - "Finding Nemo"

Monday, August 22, 2016

Hall of Fame to honor Class of 2016 on Sept. 16

Honoring Columbia High School's rich athletic tradition, the Columbia High School Athletic Hall of Fame is pleased to announce its Hall of Fame Class of 2016, which will be honored on Friday, September 16. The induction ceremony will be held at halftime of the varsity football game with York Suburban. Kickoff for the game is 7 p.m. A reception will be held in the high school cafeteria featuring the Class of 2016 and past inductees from 5-6:30 p.m.

Past inductees and the public is invited to attend the reception and ceremonies.

The Class of 2016 includes:

1956 Boys' Basketball team
(Team members pictured are front row:: Albert Stanton, Elwood Pickell, John Betrone (Captain) Jerry Raifsnider and Steve Wisler. Back row, Coach Elmer Kreiser, Earl “Nook” Shive, Cliff Fox, Don Aston, Don Murray and Gordon Eck Sr.)

Dave Mountz, Class of 1963

Jim Leddy, Class of 1969

Renee Groft Aston, Class of 1987

Kelly McCarty Brommer, Class of 1993

Andy Swingler, Class of 1997

Here are brief biographies of the Class of 2016:

Mountz: Earned seven varsity letters in baseball, football and basketball. He was honorable mention All-County Quarterback in 1963. In basketball, he scored 460 points and was a member of the county championship team and captain in 1963. He was first team All-County in basketball in 1963. In baseball, he was a pitcher an catcher. Mountz also served as an assistant junior high boys' basketball coach for six years and tennis coach for two years.

Leddy: Earned nine varsity letters in baseball, football and basketball. Was quarterback of the 1967 and 1968 football teams and served as co-captain in 1968. Passed for 2,409 yards and 27 touchdown passes. In 1968, he was named first team All-County quarterback. On the basketball court, Leddy scored 409 points, grabbed 254 rebounds and dished out 195 assists. He was a four-year starter in baseball as a pitcher and shortstop and was co-captain of the team ijn 1969. He also is a former boys' basketball coach.

Groft Aston: Currently a teacher in the Columbia School Disitrict, Groft Aston is being inducted for her exploits on the basketball court, which ended in a scholarship to Villanova University. She scored 1,250 career points for the Crimson Tide and was one of three players on her team to reach the 1,000 career point mark. The others were Kim Brown Storm and Rindy Bachman. She was a member of the 1986 Eastern Regional championship team that lost to Linesvlle in the state finals.

McCarty Brommer: Earned six varsity letters, four in basketball an two in tennis. She was a four-year starter in basketball and served as team captain She finished her career with 1,684 points an was a first team Lancaster-Lebanon League Section II all-star from 1990 through 1993. She participated in the Mid-State Roundball Classic in 1993. In tennis, she was the number one singles and doubles player and team captain in 1992.

Swingler: Won six varsity letters in basketball and baseball, with four of them in basketball. He was a four-year starter and the scoring champion for the Lancaster-Lebanon League in 1996 and finished his career with 1,407 career points for a 20.1 average and 183 three-point baskets. He was a first team all-league honoree in 1996 and 1997 and a member of the 1994 District Three championship team and participated in the Pennsylvania-Maryland Classic. His sister, Emily was previously inducted into the Hall of Fame. He was also awarded the Danny Monk Memorial Award in 1996 and 1997.

The 1956 Boys' Basketball team: Coached by the Legendary Elmer Kreiser, the team won the Lancaster County championship and the District Three Class B championship before falling to Fountain Hill, 55-51 in the Eastern semi-finals. Kreiser was named Coach of the Year. Team members honored were Jerry Raifsnider (first team All County and All State), John Betrone (First team All County and honorable mention All State); Albert Stanton (second team All County and honorable mention All State); Woody Pickell (second team All County) and Steve Wisler (honorable mention All County).

Columbia students go back to school today; they're first in Lancaster County



Sunday, August 21, 2016

Citizens speak out about ELANCO contract at August 18 school board meeting

Residents spoke out at Thursday night's Columbia School Board meeting about the hiring of a director of operations through a joint venture between the Columbia and ELANCO districts. Selected comments are shown below.

Don Groom

1) Don Groom, resident, took the podium first during public comments: "Regarding [agenda items] D 8, 9, 10 "I'd like someone to explain to me the purpose of these job title changes."

Business Manager Amy Light:"During public comment, it's really not appropriate for a board to respond. The reason for the job title changes is to better reflect a more accurate picture of what those duties entail. There were some changes in food service department, and so they requested to change job titles and modify job descriptions a little bit to better reflect what is actually occurring in the food service department."

Groom: "Have their responsibilities changed?"

Light: "There were no major changes to job responsibilities. There were minor changes to job duties.

Groom: "Were there pay increases?"

Light: "No, there were no salary changes."

Frank Doutrich

2) Frank Doutrich, resident: "I'd like you to elaborate on [agenda item] D3, executive service contract, so I understand it."

Attorney Michael Grab: "The purpose of that is to simply conform the existing statement that was approved by the board at the previous meeting to the actual start dates that the superintendent began, so the original start dates of the SOW [Statement of Work] didn't reflect what the actual dates were, which is August 9."

Vernon Detz

 3) Former board member Vernon Detz: " I want to get some clarification on the executive order, to clarify the timeline here, in my own mind.

"On 6-14-16 at the committee of the whole meeting, the ELANCO contract was approved. So it brings me to June 16...If we are entering into this contract with ELANCO, why did we approve to the continuation of Dr. Klawitter as an acting superintendent, from July 1 at an annual salary of $115,000? Klawitter's position will end on the first day that a permanent superintendent officially takes office or December 21, 2016, whichever is first. To receive a full complement of sick, personal, and vacation days given to administrators. Were we paying $115,000 for a six-month contract?"

Light: "That was an annual salary - $115,000 and pro-rated by the number of days he actually worked."

Detz: "Was his last day August 8, 9 or is he actually still employed?"

Dr. Robert Hollister

ELANCO Superintendent Dr. Robert Hollister: "Everything took a little longer than we thought, so we had to keep Dr. Klawitter on past his original agreement of July 1. Technically, I am the superintendent of record as of last week. So, he is now officially gone."

Detz: "Did the board have a statement of the SOW when they entered into this agreement?

Grab: "The process was actually a Master of Service Agreement executed with ELANCO... the first document in connection with the shared technology services project, and so there was a separate statement of work that was prepared for the tech services. The next proposal was for 'shared executive services,' and there was a statement of work prepared for that and then that was provided to the board.  The board had that full review in advance of it's action on it and in fact I had reviewed as well and prepared a memorandum for the board outlining any issues or concerns I had with it and after review of that, the board acted on it at the June meeting."

Detz: "In the paper last week . . . Dr. Hollister does in fact have a job description, but board members haven't been given the final job description or the organizational chart. To me that sounds like they didn't have the job description prior to entering into this, so how you can vote on something you don't know what's contained in it?"

Grab: "Just to clarify, the statement of work actually contained for both Doctor Hollister and for the director of operations contained the Schedule A and the Schedule B that listed what those duties would be, so they actually were flushed out. Now whether it included every potential, possible duty that each one might engage in, I don't think that that was anybody's understanding. The idea was to outline as fully and as clearly as both districts could what the vision was, but there certainly was an outline of what those duties would be for both the superintendent and for the director of operations and that was in that SOW."

Detz: "The $165,000... I'm a little concerned that it is more than that. What ELANCO can bill Columbia for says all reasonable travel, communications including cell phones, administrative and other out-of-pocket expenses incurred by ELANCO. Is that in addition to the $165,000 or is that incorporated in that $165,000?"

Grab: "That's scheduled to be in addition to."

Detz: "I see some board members that have a confused look."

Board member Kathy Hohenadel: "That is not what I thought that we agreed to. I thought we agreed to a maximum of $165,000 that was not to exceed $165,000 and to be billed in monthly installments."

Detz: "I'd like to have clarification on that."

Grab: "The invoices are subject to approval by CBSD board."

Detz: "Will internet charges be billed back to Columbia?"

Hollister: "None of that, none of that, will be a part, that's all part of the contracted service. And I'm being very careful about not using my folks paid from Lancaster County as part of this. I'm trying to determine as accurate as possible what the cost is and what the savings is to both school districts. I'm trying to be very careful with every expenditure. The milage is going to be very minimal."

Detz: If, after the one year agreement, we hire Mr. Strickler on, we need to pay ELANCO a Finders fee of 25 % of his final contract or $30,000. Is $30,000 the top, the max that we would pay?"

Grab: Clarified that "It is the greater of, 25% or $30,000." The only time Columbia would have to pay that is if it wants to keep the DOO on as an employee, but ELANCO also had work for the DOO and basically offered the DOO a position. Under those circumstances then Columbia Borough School District would have to reimburse ELANCO for those costs."

Detz: "There is talk of a $200,000 grant being available for this, who will write and apply for that grant? Whoever writes it are they get the majority of funds for that grant or are we going to see a recoup of the $165,000?"

Hollister: "We haven't seen the grant, so I really don't know what the requirements will be or how that money will be allocated. In my mind's eye, it would be shared, but I can't promise you that until I see what the requirements are."

Detz: "Is there a timeline?"

Hollister: "It's on my to-do list. I'm going to find out,because we could sure use it. This is a lot of work to navigate, because there was no road map. I'm optimistic that we'll see that before Christmas, but it's the general assembly we're talking about."

Detz: "If CBSD has to hire someone to do additional work that cannot be done by DOO or superintendent...how high could that cost go?"

Grab: "The idea was to create a safety valve provision in the agreement that says if something else needs to be provided that neither the superintendent nor the DOO can provide, there's a mechanism in the agreement that provides for that, but of course all that would have to be approved by both boards, including any additional expenditure."

Detz: "We won't have a true cost of this position.

"Dr. Hollister if you could speak to this, one of you're things is to evaluate the administration of Columbia Borough. I'm wondering where you'll get that input since you are only contracted to be here four days a month."

Hollister: "I would get that input from from multiple sources, including the DOO, as well as other folks and interact with the principals. But ultimately, the meeting times I have with them, I will articulate very clear goals and we will measure against those goals."

Detz: "Will the DOO be evaluating teachers?"

Hollister: "No. He cannot."

Detz: "When you say he would be giving input, I was wondering like, what would kind of input he would be giving?"

Hollister: "For example, I'm shooting from the hip, 'How quickly do principals respond to parent requests? I mean, that's something he can give me. How adept are principals at solving problems related to the scope of that? Communication.' Now we've got to be very careful in fact, getting back to the job description, one of the things that's delaying the publication, I actually went to vet our job description with PDE to make sure that certification doesn't have a problem with what were doing. There's a lot of folks who have to check on that job description again because this position doesn't exist anywhere in the commonwealth, so were trying to make sure we cover all the bases."

Fran Resch

4) Former board member Fran Resch: "As important as this meeting was this evening, I think that it seems like everybody is very ill-prepared for the questions that were going to be asked this evening. I hope you didn't jump the gun thinking that you were just going to come to a meeting and not have questions asked of you. I don't want things to be hurried along a month from now we're asking the same questions, a month after that the same questions."

Vickie Kronenwetter, resident and retired teacher with administrative certification: "Dr. Hollister, in your agreement you said that your goal was to have same level of service in CBSD as we would have with a seated superintendent. You, ELANCO, has hired someone without certification. A few minutes ago you just said we should have checked with PDE what impact "lacking certification" is going to have on his position as DOO. When you have a school district where everyone has levels of certification and you bring in someone without certification and you have them communicate with your administrative team and carry that back to you or you have them communicate with teachers who are members of a union. You needed to check. the person you hired, I dont see them being capable of doing the job that you are going to put upon them. There had to be an applicant out there who had certification. And the fact that few minutes ago you were answering questions and you said we have to check with PDE what impact the lack of certification is going to have on this position, is really bad coming at this point.

Hollister: "That's not what I said. I said, that I need to vet our job description to ensure that we are not violating anything that PDE would have us do. The job description doesn't include observations of educational personnel evaluations, so I think we're splitting hairs.

Kronenwetter: Didn't [unintelligible] just say "It includes communication between those certified instructional people and administration and yourself?"

Hollister: "I did."

Kronenwetter: Thats a little scary.

Hollister: "Scary?"

Kronenwetter: "A little scary. I'm a thirty-year educator with an administrative certification, and that just - it threw red flags up."

Sharon Lintner, resident: "The other evening at ELANCO, Dr. Hollister, you told us that you had furloughed 15 teachers and outsourced. Do you anticipate that could happen in Columbia?"

Hollister: "I have no idea. That was five years ago. Things are a little different here now. That was some time ago. We've since hired most of those teachers back, and we've saved a lot. Most of them are back with us."

***This ends the first round of public comments.***


Blue ribbons line Locust

Blue ribbons have cropped up on posts on the 300 and 400 blocks of Locust. Attached are cards bearing the message, "We support our police."