Saturday, May 19, 2018

Goodman, Michael David - Attempted Escape and 4 additional charges | Columbia Borough Police Department

Michael David Goodman
On 05-17-18 at 10:27AM an officer from the Columbia Borough Police Department observed Michael Goodman (39) of Marietta at the river park. Goodman was known to police to have an outstanding warrant and was taken into custody. During the arrest Goodman did attempt to escape and caused minor injuries to another officer. Goodman was found to be in possession of numerous drug paraphernalia items as well as two (2) different controlled substances. Goodman was charged with an attempted escape charge, resisting arrest, two (2) counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal mischief. Goodman was turned over to the Lancaster City Police Department for warrants that their department had on Goodman. Goodman was later transferred to the Lancaster County Prison on his warrant through the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office.
Arrest Date: 
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Case Number: 


Another one bites the dust: Crumbling buildings, crumbling tax base

The house at 1350 Lancaster Avenue being demolished to make room for an expanded parking lot.

Columbia Borough lost a little more of its crumbling tax base this week as a house at 1350 Lancaster Avenue was demolished to make room for an expanded parking lot for a used car dealer. By several accounts, the house, formerly the offices of Dr. Eugene Romano, was structurally sound. The walls came crumbling, tumbling down as the excavator did its work.

Several properties in the borough have been "demoed" over the past few years, some deservedly so, some not. Either way, a loss for the borough.

On Thursday morning, demolition was in full swing.

By Friday morning, it had been reduced to a pile of rubble.

Google Maps shows this image of the house from October of last year.

Axe, Benard S Jr. - (1) Count Indirect Criminal Contempt (Protection From Abuse Order) | Columbia Borough Police Department

Bernard S. Axe, Jr.

On May 18, 2018 at approximately 10:18 pm the Columbia Borough Police Department arrested 34 year old Bernard S Axe Jr for a violation of a Protection from Abuse Order which was issued on the same date earlier in the day.  The Order evicted Axe from a residence in the 300 Blk of S Second Street where he lived with his girlfriend in Columbia Borough, Lancaster County, PA.  The Order also protected his girlfriend from any contact with Axe.  He was served the Protection Order earlier in the day by Columbia Borough Police.  His girlfriend called 911 and reported that Axe was there trying to speak with her.  He was located in the rear yard on the porch.  Axe possessed a substance which was suspected to be synthetic marijuana and a handmade smoking device.  The substance was collected and sent to the laboratory for analysis.  More charges are possible pending laboratory results.  Axe was sent to Lancaster County Central Arraignment awaiting arraignment.  He will be committed on a probation violation.  All parties are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Arrest Date: 
Friday, May 18, 2018
Case Number: 


Columbia Borough Police Department

Friday, May 18, 2018

Locust Street Park concert canceled, but movie will be held at Park School gym

The following information is from the Columbia Borough Office:

For Friday, May 18, 2018:
The concert in Locust Street Park is cancelled tonight due to the weather.

However, the movie Little Big League will be held at the Park School Gym at 7:30 p.m. Please enter through the playground and bring drinks in sealed containers.

Thank you and we hope you enjoy the movie!

Columbia Public Library Summer Reading Calendar and Events

Even though the library is still under construction, Summer Reading Programs are ON!!

We are very grateful to Tom Strickler and John Black, for graciously allowing us the use of Park Elementary school gym for the summer.

Children will be getting their flyers in the schools this year, if your child attends Our Lady of the Angels, Park Elementary, Head Start, or Luthercare

Sign Ups will be held AT ANY PROGRAM this year so as not to interrupt the construction site.

Children will be bringing their flyers home the last week of school. A bright colored sticker is attached to remind you of the sign up procedure. Reading logs will also be distributed at the programs.

Attached is our calendar for the summer of 2018. Still programs twice a week, but now they are occurring on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays AND Fridays. This allows use of the new Fresh Foods pantry and also accommodates caregivers who may have Fridays off.

Our programs begin on Monday June 11 at 10 a.m. with Corduroy the Bear and continue on Tuesday the 12th at 10 a.m. with Ryan Bridge, the “Bugman."

Looking forward to seeing you all this summer!

(Feel your little one is too young to enjoy an entire program? You may leave at any time their attention span ends! There is also a playground outside the gym).

Columbia Public Library Summer Reading 2018 Calendar 24 South Sixth St., Columbia
(717) 684-2255

All programs are free of charge

Some of our programs this year are THURSDAYS and FRIDAYS so that families may enjoy the fresh food pantry. Wholesome fun and wholesome food!

Monday Morning Pre-School Pals discontinues over the summer. Preschool Pals resumes the first Monday after Labor Day, September 10, at 10:30 AM

Movie Nights –Be sure to enjoy Columbia Borough’s “Movies Under the Stars” shown at various locations in the borough. Visit for details.

As construction winds up, many Summer Reading events will continue to be held in Park Elementary gymnasium. School administrators WANT these programs held there. Our Reading Terrace may POSSIBLY open August 1. Programs begin Monday, June 11 and end on Thursday, August 16 with Forgotten Friends Reptiles End-of-Summer Bash.

KEY: GYM (Park Gym) GAZEBO (park gazebo)

“Corduroy the Bear” Stories and photo-ops with life-size character. Monday, June 11, at 10 AM. Ages 2-8 with caregiver. GYM

Ryan Bridge, the Bug Guy The bugs are back! Tuesday, June 12, at 10 AM. (Family) GYM

“Be Creative and Rock the Library” with Miss Maggie Sings! Singing and Dancing! Monday, June 18 at 10 AM (Family) GAZEBO

“Toolbox Kidz Show” with the Giggle Magic gang. Kindness matters! Tuesday, June 19, at 10 AM. (Family) GYM

“Science Matters” with the Science Explorers. Spud launcher, leaf blower, and basketball! Friday, June 22, at 10 AM. (Family) GYM

“Songs and Stories of Rock and Roll” with Matthew Dodd. The Beatles to Bruno Mars. Thursday, June 28, at 10 AM. (Family) GAZEBO

Library closed on Wednesday, July 4. Happy Independence Day!

Fire Safety with the Columbia Borough Fire Department. Columbia’s Bravest! Friday, July 6, at 10 AM (Family) GYM

Magician “Ran’D Shine”. He already knows what you’re thinking! Monday, July 9, at 10 AM. (Family) GYM

Rocks Are a Blast from the Past! with Jeri Jones of Jones Geological Services. Make toothpaste from rocks! Thursday, July 12, at 10 AM. (Family) GYM

“Break Dancing” with Heads Up! Learn some moves with Mr. John! Monday, July 16, at 10 AM (ages 6 through teens) GYM

“Swamp Songs and Marsh Melodies”. Live amphibians and crabs! Thursday, July 19, at 10 AM. (Family) GYM

“Magician John Andrews” Friday, July 20, at 10 AM. (Family) GYM

Together we are Music – bongo drums, egg shakers and a xylophone – we’ll have a parade! Thursday, July 26, at 10 AM (Family) GAZEBO

“Peter and the Wolf” with Lancaster County Parks and Recreation. Predators and prey, furs and skulls! Friday, July 27, at 10 AM (Family) GYM

Tour of Sahd’s Metal Recycling. Must wear sneakers or closed toe shoes. Tuesday, July 31, at 10 AM (Family)

ON SITE at SAHD’s, 1044 Lancaster Avenue

“Phredd” McNaughton C-O-F-F-E-E! – Thursday, August 2, at 1 PM (Family) GAZEBO

Red Rose Search and Rescue K-9 Unit. Gonna find ya! Friday, August 3, at 10 AM. (Family) GAZEBO

Mark DeRose – Sing and enjoy life to its fullest! Monday, August 6, at 10 AM (Family) TERR or GAZEBO

Character Juggler Chris Ivey! AMAZING performance. Tuesday, August 7, at 10 AM. (Family) GYM

National Night Out - Glatfelter Field next to Anvil Corp. Tues., Aug. 7, from 5 to 8:00 pm (Family) Sponsored by Columbia Borough Police Department

National Watch & Clock Museum’s Clockworks - Noel Porier demonstrates clockwork technology in our daily lives! Thursday, August 9, at 10 AM. (Family) GYM

Columbia Borough Police Department – Columbia’s finest! Monday, August 13, at 10 AM (Family) TERR or GAZEBO

Fred Nell and Sadie - a Columbia native and his drug-sniffing dog. Tuesday, August 14, at 10 AM (Family) TERR or GAZEBO

“Rockin’ Reptiles” with Jesse Rothacker and Forgotten Friends Reptiles.

This interactive animal show allows time to pet the animals, if you so choose. Thursday, August 16, at 6:30 PM NOTE TIME CHANGE! (Family) TERR or GAZEBO

Parking Laws and Abandoned Vehicles | Columbia Borough Police Department

Recently there has been some questions brought up about the laws regarding parking in Columbia Borough. Below is information from the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code that deals with parking in specified places as well as abandoned vehicle. These laws can be enforced in any town in Pennsylvania. For more information you can visit the following website and learn more.

3353.  Prohibitions in specified places.

(a)  General rule.--Except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or to protect the safety of any person or vehicle or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or official traffic-control device, no person shall:

(1)  Stop, stand or park a vehicle:

(i)  On the roadway side of any vehicle stopped or parked at the edge or curb of a street except that:

(A)  A pedalcycle may be parked as provided in section 3509(b)(2) (relating to parking).

(B)  Standing or parking for the purpose of loading or unloading persons or property may be authorized by local ordinance, but the ordinance shall not authorize standing or parking on State designated highways except during off-peak traffic-flow hours as determined by department regulations.

(ii)  On a sidewalk except that a pedalcycle may be parked as provided in section 3509(b)(2).

(iii)  Within an intersection.

(iv)  On a crosswalk.

(v)  Between a safety zone and the adjacent curb within 30 feet of points on the curb immediately opposite the ends of a safety zone, unless a different length is indicated by official traffic-control devices.

(vi)  Alongside or opposite any street excavation or obstruction when stopping, standing or parking would obstruct traffic.

(vii)  Upon any bridge or other elevated structure upon a highway or within a highway tunnel.

(viii)  On any railroad tracks.

(ix)  In the area between roadways of a divided highway, including crossovers.

(x)  At any place where official signs prohibit stopping.

(2)  Stand or park a vehicle:

(i)  In front of a public or private driveway.

(ii)  Within 15 feet of a fire hydrant.

(iii)  Within 20 feet of a crosswalk at an intersection.

(iv)  Within 30 feet upon the approach to any flashing signal, stop sign, yield sign or traffic-control signal located at the site of a roadway.

(v)  Within 20 feet of the driveway entrance to any fire station or, when properly sign posted, on the side of a street opposite the entrance to any fire station within 75 feet of the entrance.

(vi)  Where the vehicle would prevent the free movement of a streetcar.

(vii)  On a limited access highway unless authorized by official traffic-control devices.

(viii)  At any place where official signs prohibit standing.

(ix)  Within 30 feet upon the approach to a sign warning of the possible presence of a person with a disability in the vicinity of a roadway adjacent to the person's residence or the possible presence of a person with a disability frequently traversing the roadway at that location. This subparagraph shall not apply unless an enabling local ordinance has been passed. The ordinance may apply generally throughout the municipality or be site specific. The ordinance may specify the height of vehicles prohibited from parking in these locations. The enforcement of this subparagraph requires that a sign indicating the violation and amount of fine be posted at each applicable location. For purposes of this section, the term "disability" shall mean a hearing impairment or total or partial blindness.

(3)  Park a vehicle:

(i)  Within 50 feet of the nearest rail of a railroad crossing.

(ii)  At any place where official signs prohibit parking.

(b)  Unattended vehicle on private property.--

(1)  No person shall park or leave unattended a vehicle on private property without the consent of the owner or other person in control or possession of the property except in the case of emergency or disablement of the vehicle, in which case the operator shall arrange for the removal of the vehicle as soon as possible.

(2)  The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to private parking lots unless such lots are posted to notify the public of any parking restrictions and the operator of the vehicle violates such posted restrictions. For the purposes of this section "private parking lot" means a parking lot open to the public or used for parking without charge; or a parking lot used for parking with charge. The department shall define by regulation what constitutes adequate posting for public notice.

(c)  Property owner may remove vehicle.--The owner or other person in charge or possession of any property on which a vehicle is parked or left unattended in violation of the provisions of subsection (b) may remove or have removed the vehicle at the reasonable expense of the owner of the vehicle. Such person who removes or has removed a vehicle left parked or unattended in violation of the provisions of subsection (b) shall have a lien against the owner of the vehicle, in the amount of the reasonable value of the costs of removing the vehicle plus the costs of storage. Any city, borough, incorporated town or township may, by ordinance, provide for rates to be charged for removal of vehicles and for municipal regulation of authorized towing services. If storage charges are not set by the municipality, a maximum of $25 per day may be charged for storage.

(d)  Restrictions by appropriate authorities.--The department on State-designated highways and local authorities on any highway within their boundaries may by erection of official traffic-control devices prohibit, limit or restrict stopping, standing or parking of vehicles on any highway where engineering and traffic studies indicate that stopping, standing or parking would constitute a safety hazard or where the stopping, standing or parking of vehicles would unduly interfere with the free movement of traffic.

(e)  Penalty.--Any person violating any provision of this section is guilty of a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $50.

3712.  Abandonment of vehicles.

(a)  Abandonment on highway.--No person shall abandon a vehicle upon any highway.

(b)  Abandonment on public or private property.--No person shall abandon a vehicle upon any public or private property without the express or implied consent of the owner or person in lawful possession or control of the property.

(c)  Stripping abandoned vehicle.--(Deleted by amendment).

(d)  Penalties.--

(1)  Any person violating subsection (a) or (b):

(i)  For a first offense, commits a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $500 plus all costs of disposing of the vehicle under the provisions of Chapter 73 (relating to abandoned vehicles and cargos).

(ii)  For a second offense, commits a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $1,000 plus all costs of disposing of the vehicle under the provisions of Chapter 73.

(iii)  For a third or subsequent offense, commits a misdemeanor of the third degree and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay all costs of disposing of the vehicle under the provisions of Chapter 73.

(2)  In a case involving a violation of this section, the municipality in which the vehicle is located may file the complaint with the appropriate issuing authority.

Some definitions from the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code that deal with the above laws are listed below.

"Abandoned vehicle."

(1)  A vehicle (other than a pedalcycle) shall be presumed to be abandoned under any of the following circumstances, but the presumption is rebuttable by a preponderance of the evidence:

(i)  The vehicle is physically inoperable and is left unattended on a highway or other public property for more than 48 hours.

(ii)  The vehicle has remained illegally on a highway or other public property for a period of more than 48 hours.

(iii)  The vehicle is left unattended on or along a highway or other public property for more than 48 hours and does not bear all of the following:

(A)  A valid registration plate.

(B)  A current certificate of inspection.

(C)  An ascertainable vehicle identification number.

(iv)  The vehicle has remained on private property without the consent of the owner or person in control of the property for more than 24 hours.

(v)  The vehicle has remained on the private property of a salvor for 20 days.

(2)  Vehicles and equipment used or to be used in construction or in the operation or maintenance of highways or public utility facilities, which are left in a manner which does not interfere with the normal movement of traffic, shall not be considered to be abandoned.


(1)  That part of a roadway at an intersection included within the connections of the lateral lines of the sidewalks on opposite sides of the highway, measured from the curbs or, in the absence of curbs, from the edges of the traversable roadway; and, in the absence of a sidewalk on one side of the roadway, that part of a roadway included within the extension of the lateral lines of the existing sidewalk.

(2)  Any portion of a roadway at an intersection or elsewhere distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface.

"Highway."  The entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel. The term includes a roadway open to the use of the public for vehicular travel on grounds of a college or university or public or private school or public or historical park.


(1)  The area embraced within the prolongation or connection of the lateral curb lines, or, if none, then the lateral boundary lines of the roadways of two highways which join one another at, or approximately at, right angles, or the area within which vehicles traveling upon different highways joining at any other angle may come in conflict.

(2)  Where a highway includes two roadways 30 feet or more apart, then every crossing of each roadway of the divided highway by an intersecting highway shall be regarded as a separate intersection. In the event the intersecting highway also includes two roadways 30 feet or more apart, then every crossing of two roadways of the highways shall be regarded as a separate intersection.

"Official traffic-control devices."  Signs, signals, markings and devices not inconsistent with this title placed or erected by authority of a public body or official having jurisdiction, for the purpose of regulating, warning or guiding traffic.

"Park" or "parking."

(1)  When permitted, means the temporary storing of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, off the roadway.

(2)  When prohibited, means the halting of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, except momentarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in loading or unloading property or passengers.

"Roadway."  That portion of a highway improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the sidewalk, berm or shoulder even though such sidewalk, berm or shoulder is used by pedalcycles. In the event a highway includes two or more separate roadways the term "roadway" refers to each roadway separately but not to all such roadways collectively.

"Stand" or "standing."  When prohibited, means the halting of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, except momentarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in receiving or discharging passengers.

"Stop" or "stopping."

(1)  When required, means complete cessation from movement.

(2)  When prohibited, means any halting even momentarily of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a police officer or traffic-control sign or signal.

"Traffic-control signal."  A device, whether manually, electrically or mechanically operated, by which traffic is alternately directed to stop and permitted to proceed.

For information on Codes that the Borough has regarding traffic please see the following link.

Please note that the yellow lines and white triangles painted at some intersections are not 20' or 30' in length. Most of these were painted years ago.

Columbia Borough currently holding online auction

Notice is hereby given that the Borough of Columbia, 308 Locust St, Columbia, PA, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, will be holding an on-line auction of surplus items. A complete list of items can be found on our website, or a copy may be obtained at the front desk between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:30pm. All items may be inspected at the Borough of Columbia. The auction begins May 9, 2018 and ends on May 23, 2018.

If you are a person interested in bidding please log on to create an account, follow the instructions and bid on any of our items listed under Pennsylvania, Columbia Borough. At the end of the auction the item will be awarded to the highest bidder. The Borough of Columbia expressly reserves the right to reject any and all bids.

Columbia Borough removed vehicles from its streets in 2014

At last Monday's meeting, borough council discussed the legality of removing abandoned vehicles from its streets. The consensus was that it could not, because doing so would violate Pennsylvania law. However, on February 16, 2014, borough police removed vehicles from the snow emergency route to make way for snow plows, as shown in the photos below:

The following information currently appears on the borough's website:

§ 207-32. Parking of unlicensed or abandoned vehicles prohibited.
Unlicensed vehicles or abandoned vehicles are prohibited from parking on any street or avenue in the Borough of Columbia for any period longer than 48 hours.

§ 207-33. Violations and penalties.
The police of the Borough of Columbia are authorized to arrest upon view and without warrant any person or persons violating this article, and the person or persons so violating shall be subject to a penalty as set forth in the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code.

§ 207-35. Authority of Chief of Police.
The Chief of Police is hereby authorized to remove and impound or to order the removal and impounding of any vehicle parked on any of the streets, highways or public property of the Borough in violation of the provisions of this article or the provisions of law or any ordinance of the Borough.

We secretly dined at Columbia Kettle Works: Here's a review for our IncognEATo series | Food |

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Columbia woman charged with public drunkenness in Manor Township | Manor Township Police Department

Tina Marie Thomas, age 51, of the 900 block of Plane Street, Columbia, PA was cited with Public Drunkenness for an incident that occurred on Sunday, April 29, 2018 at 0212 hours in the area of Monticello Lane and Manor Boulevard.  Manor Township Police were called to the area after an off duty police officer observed a suspicious person in the area.  Officer Patrick     O' Rourke located Thomas who was highly intoxicated.  Thomas indicated she was trying to walk to Lancaster City after she had an argument with her old son who was staying at a residence in the 1000 block of Tom Paine Drive.  Her son, Charles Thomas, age 37, of the 400 block of Manor Street, Lancaster, PA was located outside at his friend's home.  He was also highly intoxicated and extremely loud.  Charles was told several times to keep his voice down and refused.  He was cited for Disorderly Conduct and left the scene in a cab.  Both citations were filed at MDJ Joshua Keller's office.

Columbia to get recovery house. Who knew? Just a few!

747-749 Walnut Street, soon to be a recovery house

The notice alerting residents to the proposed facility at 747-749 Walnut Street

Columbia will be getting a recovery house at 747-749 Walnut Street, to the surprise and dismay of many neighbors and borough officials. According to several councillors, the borough first caught wind of the project last Tuesday or Wednesday, and neighbors found out Thursday morning when they received an anonymous typed notice that was later posted on Facebook. Columbia Spy first heard about the project at last Wednesday's safety committee meeting when Police Chief Jack Brommer asked Zoning and Planning Officer Jeff Helm about it.

Chris Dreisbach, founder and CEO of "Blueprints for Addiction Recovery"

According to the Lancaster County Office of the Recorder of Deeds, a deed for the property was recorded on April 10, 2018 under the name "Blueprints for Addiction Recovery" of which Christopher Dreisbach is the founder of CEO. At Monday's council meeting, Dreisbach stated that he discussed the property with Helm "the second I bought the building." Assuming Dreisbach is correct, residents and borough officials were kept in the dark for about a month.

747 Walnut, currently under renovation

It wasn't just lack of notification that many found disturbing, however. Residents of the 700 block of Walnut Street were also concerned about potential problems with occupants of the recovery house. A dozen or so residents attended Monday's borough council meeting to voice their concerns.

One resident was perturbed about the lack of information available, among other issues. “We came here blind tonight,” she said. She also told council that pushers in the area will try to get occupants hooked again and that the facility would decrease property values and possibly increase crime in the neighborhood. Another resident concurred: “You are setting these people up to fail. We have dealers on our street.” She said dealers operating in the alley behind the house are going to "hit them."

Still another resident said, “We were never informed that this was coming into our neighborhood. We had no say.  As a taxpayer, I feel that we should have had some input into agreeing to have this into our block. We already have two facilities for this. I understand there’s one up on 14th Street. Why do we need a third?” She cited a recent WGAL report on the opioid crisis which stated that Lancaster is the number one area of concern, with Columbia being number two.  Residents were also concerned about the safety of children in the area, noting that the neighborhood is close to an elementary school, and high school students walk that block on their way home. Councillor Todd Burgard added that, according to the organization "American Addiction Centers," 40-60% of those who have completed some kind of addiction program relapse.

Despite the concerns, Dreisbach defended his program by pointing out its value to those in need. “This will be the next step back towards living life,” he said. Although he couldn't guarantee there won’t be any relapses, he said, “These people are people who are going to be trying to better their lives.”

Dreisbach explained that his organization is associated with "A New Life LLC," which houses residents at a building at 228-230 Cherry Street. He described "Blueprints" as apartment-style living for people with disabilities, those being drug addiction and alcoholism. Specifically, the facility is for people who have already completed a treatment program, to afford them more tools and advantages as they move forward. He said the program is licensed through the PA Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

He noted that the typical turnover for residents is 30 to 60 days, although some have stayed longer. He also told those present that the Cherry Street facility has operated for four and a half years without any issues. He added that Columbia is the only municipality where his organization has buildings.

The Walnut Street facility will be strictly for women. Dreisbach said the rent ($125 a week, everything included) will be paid for out-of-pocket or with scholarships from non profits. Dreisbach said he is funding costs of the building and the program himself and is taking nothing from taxpayers.

Dumpster permit, dated April 23, 2018

Unfortunately, three current tenants of the building will be displaced to accommodate the needs of the program. Dreisbach said that on May 1, he gave them a 90-day notice, more than the 30 days stipulated in the lease from the previous landlord. He promised help for them to relocate, if needed. He said the Federal Fair Housing Act allows his organization to provide for people with disabilities.

Dreisbach explained that residents must adhere to a “pre-comprehensive 64-point plan,” which includes getting involved with a recovery program outside of treatment, going to meetings, and working on obtaining employment.

The building's layout will include a common area, to be made from an existing apartment, leaving five efficiency apartments, with two residents per unit. The facility will also include recovery support staff, typically those who have been sober for awhile. Support staff won’t live on site but will be available there 16 hours a day and will provide transportation. From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., residents will be out of the building, since they will be bused to a treatment site. There will be a strict curfew of 10 p.m. He plans to build a privacy fence so that neighbors won’t be disturbed.

Earlier in the meeting, Helm had explained that the building will not include treatment or counseling facilities, or any other on-site mentoring. “This is purely a residential apartment building similar to what it was in the past 20 years,” Helm said, and that there will be no zoning regulation changes.  Nothing will change other than the individuals occupying the building, Helm asserted.

Despite several concerns, three borough residents defended the program. One, a neighbor of the Cherry Street facility, said he has had no problems with residents there and that he has found no paraphernalia such as liquor bottles and needles. Another resident, who lives on Plane Street, said she had lived in the Cherry Street house and that through the program she had "learned how to better her life." She asked residents to “open their minds about it.” A Perry Street resident said she would welcome the facility in her neighborhood.

Dreisbach also defended the facility against the charge that it will hurt property values.  “I can tell you with absolute certainty that property values are only damaged here by school taxes. As a real estate agent, I know this, hands down." He said that through his program blighted properties will be  improved. "The properties that we can take are only going to add to the value of the area.”

Another view of 747-749, with dumpster out front

Councillor Cleon Berntheizel said, "Council can’t do anything about this particular place. The debate right now is whether it’s a business or still a residence. Codes will have to decide that. Council can’t decide that." Helm stated that it is a business, "a self-managed business." A Chestnut Street resident noted that at last week's safety meeting, she was told the facility will not be supervised. "Tonight I’m hearing it is going to be supervised,” she said.

Mayor Leo Lutz told Dreisbach, "Theres a place for everything, and my thoughts are this is not the place. If you choose to do this, I can say to you that you will be under the microscope, with police and code-wise.” He also explained to those in attendance why residents were kept in the dark. "We didn’t know about this," he said. "The reason for that was there’s no zoning violation, because it’s an empty building being rehabbed. Until something happens that’s contrary to borough code or zoning, we don’t have an issue, so we didn’t hear about it. Should it have happened differently? You bet your ass it should have happened differently.”

Several residents pointed blame at Helm for leaving them in the dark. One exasperated resident pointed to him and said, “I have to say something. That man knew it! That man knew it right away!” Another resident also blamed Helm. “In all due respect, and I’ve been a friend of Jeff’s for a long time, but it almost sounds like he’s dropped the ball on this to not let the rest of the council know what happened on Walnut Street," she said.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Intoxicated Columbia man arrested in NJ for reckless driving and several other charges

Arnaldo A. Arias, 39, of Columbia, Pennsylvania, was arrested April 21 on a drunk driving charge. Police said that Arias, who was driving a BMW IS250, was stopped on Route 1 north near Independence Way for erratic driving and was found to be intoxicated. He was also charged with reckless driving, careless driving, failure to maintain a lane, speeding, failure to signal a turn, failure to possess registration and not wearing a seat belt.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Unlicensed, uninspected, abandoned vehicles regulated by the state ... of confusion?

Officials offered opinions during a discussion of abandoned vehicles in the borough at Monday's council meeting. The conversation stemmed from a resident's concern about the number of such vehicles and what he sees as a lack of action by the borough. Dennis Wolpert of Manor Street told council that he recently counted about a dozen uninspected vehicles within three blocks of his home. He said the vehicles are on the street, in yards, or in alleys behind houses, with some being uninspected since 2015. Wolpert also presented photographs of two damaged vehicles sitting on borough streets.

Damaged vehicles on borough streets
[Photos: Dennis Wolpert]

"Why do we have ordinances pertaining to all this, but yet we can't enforce them? Why do we have to have vehicles like this sitting in our neighborhoods?" Wolpert asked. He said he has talked to the police, code officers, and the mayor, all of whom told him they would take care of the problem. "I don't see anything being done about it," he told council. He said he believes the problem is a nuisance and a safety issue and urged council to strengthen ordinances to allow for the removal of vehicles from yards. Lutz replied, "This is part of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code. We cannot create that ordinance that's contrary to a state law."

John Novak, chair of the borough's legislation committee, said, "On private property it can be addressed. On public streets, it is regulated by the State of Pennsylvania." The borough therefore cannot change its ordinance to allow it to remove an unregistered or uninspected vehicle from its streets, according to Novak. However, an ordinance exists addressing the issue on private property, Novak said, adding that he believed the borough could ask to have a vehicle removed.

Lutz apparently disagreed. "You can't go on private property and remove someone's property," he said, adding that towing companies will not enter private property. (In a seemingly contradictory statement, Lutz said the following at the August 9, 2017 legislation committee meeting: "The codes guy has been doing a wonderful job yanking them out of yards. George [Weis] is a specialist at yanking cars out of yards.") In addition, Lutz said the borough is not allowed to remove abandoned vehicles on its streets but is permitted to ticket them. Greg Sahd recommended contacting PA Senator Ryan Aument or Representative Dave Hickernell about the state's role.

The following information currently appears on the borough's website:

§ 207-32. Parking of unlicensed or abandoned vehicles prohibited.
Unlicensed vehicles or abandoned vehicles are prohibited from parking on any street or avenue in the Borough of Columbia for any period longer than 48 hours.

§ 207-33. Violations and penalties.
The police of the Borough of Columbia are authorized to arrest upon view and without warrant any person or persons violating this article, and the person or persons so violating shall be subject to a penalty as set forth in the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code.

§ 207-35. Authority of Chief of Police.
The Chief of Police is hereby authorized to remove and impound or to order the removal and impounding of any vehicle parked on any of the streets, highways or public property of the Borough in violation of the provisions of this article or the provisions of law or any ordinance of the Borough.

Peralta-Cruz, Andy Miguel - Fleeing and Eluding and 5 additional charges | Columbia Borough Police Department

On 05-14-18 at 10:03PM an officer with the Columbia Borough Police Department attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle at 6th St. and Maple St. The driver of the vehicle, later identified as Andy Peralta-Cruz (18) of Lancaster, fled from the officer. During the pursuit the vehicle went throughout numerous streets in Columbia Borough and West Hempfield Township. The vehicle was eventually stopped in the area of the Sheetz at Prospect Rd. and Rt. 462. Peralta-Cruz was charged with Fleeing or Eluding, DUI, Driving While Operating Privilege is Suspended or Revoked, Duties at Stop Signs (10 Counts), Traffic Control Signals (2 Counts) and Driving on the Right Side of Roadways.

Arrest Date: 
Monday, May 14, 2018
Case Number: 


Columbia Borough Police Department

Monday, May 14, 2018

Sahd steps down as borough manager, Denlinger to take over

Greg Sahd
(Columbia Spy file photo)

Greg Sahd is stepping down as Columbia Borough's manager and secretary/treasurer, effective this Friday, May 18, to take a job as parish manager at St. Philip the Apostle Church in Millersville. Sahd made the announcement at Monday's borough council meeting. The resignation came as a surprise to many, since he was originally scheduled to retire at the end of the year. Assistant Borough Manager/Economic and Community Development Manager Rebecca Denlinger will take over as interim borough manager until a new borough manager can be voted in, a move likely to occur at the June borough council meeting.

Sahd became borough manager in December 2015 after being chosen from among five candidates. He is a former investment banker and financial consultant and advisor, and was vice president for government banking at Susquehanna Bank before retiring in 2010.

Sahd was county treasurer from 1996 through 2004, and was a congressional aide to then-U.S. Rep. Robert S. Walker. He was also deputy court administrator of Lancaster County and served on the county's Government Study Commission and has worked on numerous political campaigns over the last four decades.

Rebecca Denlinger
(Columbia Spy file photo)

Rebecca Denlinger became Columbia's Assistant Borough Manager/Economic and Community Development Manager on January 1, 2018. Before Sahd's announcement, she was scheduled to become borough manager on January 1, 2019 when she would receive an increase in annual salary to $95,000, up from the current $65,000.

Denlinger previously served Columbia as an independent contractor with her company Rising Tide Collaborative, LLC, in the position of Economic Development Coordinator. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Economics from the University of Delaware, and a Master’s in Public Administration from Penn State. She has worked with the Elizabethtown Area Chamber of Commerce, Rettew Associates, Inc., and the Lancaster County Planning Commission and has also served as a consultant for Marietta Borough.

Bike Auction scheduled for June 9

This year's bike auction will take place on Saturday, June 9, at 9 a.m. The auction will take place in the alley between the police station and the market house building. There are approximately 45 bicycles and scooters, as well as a few bike parts that will also be auctioned off. One of the bikes that will be auctioned off is a Trek "police" version mountain bike that was used by the bike patrol.


Columbia Borough Police Department

Click it or Ticket Enforcement | Columbia Borough Police Department

The Columbia Borough Police Department will participate in a national "Click It or Ticket" (CIOT) Seat Belt Enforcement initiative from May 14, through June 3, 2018.

The effort will focus largely on nighttime enforcement, between the hours of 9:00 PM and 4:00 AM using Traffic Enforcement Zones and Roving Patrols. Traffic Enforcement Zones combine stationary enforcement and checkpoint tactics on roadways with high numbers of unbuckled crashes. Citations will be issued to motorists who are caught unbuckled or transporting unrestrained children. 


Slave Dwelling Project to Visit Columbia and Lancaster

Events bring nationally-acclaimed program to Lancaster County for the first time, seek to share history of African-American slavery in Pennsylvania.

The Columbia (PA) Historic Preservation Society and the Ware Center of Millersville University are pleased to announce that they will host the Slave Dwelling Project in Columbia and Lancaster June 1 - 2. This marks the Slave Dwelling Project's first official visit to Lancaster County as part of its programming.

Joseph McGill

The Slave Dwelling Project, headed by Joseph McGill, is dedicated to preserving surviving African American slave dwellings and seeks to change the narrative around the history of slavery in the United States. McGill will co-host the Lancaster County events, which are open to the public. “Since 2010, the Slave Dwelling Project has spent nights in slave dwellings in 19 states and the District of Columbia. We are proud that Lancaster will be added to the portfolio in 2018,” said McGill.

The two-day program kicks off on Friday, June 1, at 3 p.m. with a lecture by McGill in the Columbia Historic Preservation Society’s Banner Hall, followed by a tour of the new museum exhibit “Underground Railroad: Destination Columbia.” At 4:30 p.m., Chris Vera, president of the Columbia Historic Preservation Society, will lead a walking tour of abolitionist Columbia. The cost for these events is $20 per person. For reservations, call (717) 572-7149.

On Friday evening, June 1, McGill will spend the night with an invited group inside the Columbia Bank & Bridge Company Building, (currently Art Printing 131 Locust Street) which once housed African Americans seeking to escape slavery. High School and College Students welcome with parental written permission.

On Saturday morning, June 2, at 11:00 am, McGill will join Lancaster city council member Ismail Smith-Wade-El and other members of the Lancaster community for a public forum in Millersville University’s Ware Center. The 90-minute event will address the history of slavery in Lancaster and its present-day legacy. Admission is free. For more information call (717) 871- 7018.

At 2:00 pm on Saturday, June 2, McGill will accompany members of the African American Historical Society of South Central Pennsylvania,, and others on a 90- minute walking tour of African American heritage sites in downtown Lancaster. The tour begins at the Lancaster City Visitor Center, 38 Penn Square, and covers 12 sites, including the grave of Thaddeus Stevens. The tour is open to the public; cost is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors (62 and older), $5 for college students, and $2 for youth (6-18). Children under 6 are free. For more information contact Randy Harris at (717) 808-2941 or Leroy Harris at (717) 224-7030.

The history of slavery and African American history in Lancaster County is not well known, and McGill’s visit provides a unique opportunity to share this story more broadly. Although Pennsylvania passed a gradual emancipation law in 1780, African Americans were not freed under the law until 1808, and many remained in bondage for years afterward. Meanwhile, African Americans fleeing slavery in the South were often imprisoned in the downtown Lancaster jail, and slave hunters regularly came to Lancaster County in search of runaways. Columbia and Lancaster were both sites of important Underground Railroad activity, and the city will soon install four permanent historical markers commemorating this history.

“Hosting the Slave Dwelling Project in Columbia and Lancaster gives us a wonderful chance to highlight the complicated history of enslaved people in Lancaster County, but beyond that, these programs will foster discussion, learning and hopefully a better understanding of this essential American story,” said Chris Vera, president of the Columbia Historic Preservation Society.

“It is our hope Mr. McGill’s visit and the Lancaster County Slave Dwelling events will serve as a catalyst to ignite interest around the unique African American history of Lancaster, and the importance of preserving the structures that tell that important story,” said Leroy Hopkins, president of the African American Historical Society of South Central Pennsylvania. “We believe these events will bring to life a history too often ignored.”

More information on The Slave Dwelling Project can be found at:

Sunday, May 13, 2018

About Town

Photos from around Columbia over the past week...

Last Tuesday, this oversized Amish buggy with many passengers traveled through town, along Route 462...


 Another painted rock - That's a big 'un.

 Men at work under Columbia Crossing

 That's one way to get it out the door.

 Spectator on the bridge

 Several trees along the shore were "strapped" to try to straighten them after they were bent by ice this past winter.

 "X" marks the spot.

 Down along Route 441 where all the commotion has been lately.


 Jesus showing his ectopic heart

 Down in a hole on 441

 Some sort of metal tag along the railroad tracks


We caught the second part of this Law Enforcement United "Road to Hope Memorial Bicycle Ride" on Route 462, on the way from Reading to Washington, D.C. 

According to their website:

"We are a group of Law Enforcement, Survivors, and Civilian supporters who have made it our mission to honor the fallen and remember the survivors."


 Hard at work

 Out for a walk

 Out for a swim

More swimmers



 A traffic-calming device along North 3rd

Incident Response Unit 1 at Columbia Crossing

 Another traffic-calming device

 That "porta-potty" is still there on South 3rd.

 Flagpoles at the plaza - The dedication ceremony is May 26.

 More "upcomings"

 Stirrin' up some dust

 Work on Heritage Drive continues.

 Waiting for another of those mile-long trains to pass

 A blast from the past?

 This old wagon was sitting at Tollbooth Antiques.

It was apparently made by The Columbia Wagon Company (which was later a tobacco warehouse and is now Wagon Werks Apartments).


A reader submitted these two old photos of residents collecting beer at Shawnee Creek after the Feds chopped open barrels at the former Columbia Brewing Company during prohibition. The beer flowed down the street to the creek.


 Here's another upcoming event.

 They're digging up 9th Street now.

 Checking one of our "50" surveillance cameras

 Heads up!

 Raising the flag

 Outside Dairy Queen...
"You scream, I scream, we all scream...etc."

 Mobile storage on the 500 block of Manor

 Down on the farm, the borough farm, that is, where all the yard waste bags end up

 Children at play

 The first block of Locust...We're told the owner of a cottage there made an agreement with the borough in which he would maintain the grounds in exchange for being permitted to erect a fence. (The area beyond the fence is still public, though.) We believe the fence should be removed.

 These WRONG WAY signs recently appeared at the bottom of Perry Street. A source told us that a tractor-trailer driver recently took his rig up Perry the WRONG WAY, because he was probably confused by the construction detours along Route 441.

 This is illegal. The outside refrigerator is an "attractive nuisance."

 475 Locust, soon to be a gallery and apartments

 Always remember: There's no "I" in "ROOFNG."

 A reader submitted this photo of a new shop on the 300 block of Locust.

So, we took a closer look.

A reader submitted this photo of a legally parked truck at the municipal building.


Police officer Dan Bell and Wilson Affeld put together this display at the police station in memory of those who served in the Armed Forces...


And last but not least: blossoms.