Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Few More Winter Shots

 Snow garland around the post

 Snow-capped Jesus #1

 Snow-capped Jesus #2

 Shiny stuff at Trin's

 Snowman in the window

Lights in the snow

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Round 3

Even though Columbia got 3-4 inches of snow today, holiday lights (like this one) on the posts along Locust Street held their own against the winter weather.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

What I Saw - Christmas Day 2012

Some people say this town don't look good in snow.
"Ventura Highway" - America

Actually, this town does look pretty good in snow . . . 

Strange graffiti on the Barber Street railroad cars . . . 

Buzzards overseeing the tower . . .

Support the local economy.

Columbia High School Webcam


Monday, December 24, 2012

Track Santa on His Journey Tonight

The Microsoft-sponsored NORAD tracking site is HERE.

The Google-sponsored tracking site is HERE.

A word of warning: The sites do not agree on Santa's precise location at any given time.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Holidays - Jonal Gallery

  653 Locust Street - Columbia, Pennsylvania 17512
Open: Thursday - Friday - Saturday  10:00a.m.-5:00p.m.
          Fourth Friday Celebrations: 5:00-9:00p.m*
         *Jonal Gallery/Alverta Arts Shop will open Fourth Friday, December 28, 2012 10am-5pm only.
                "Angels Bright - Angels Dark"
     Exhibit continues through January 5, 2012

        Seven local and regional artist share their interpretations of the angels that surround us!
                                                 Mixed medium wall art creations by:
         Dale Weibley                       Diana Thomas                        Becky Shiley                Scott Gore
                               Dean Graham                 George Debronsky                  David Carver

Don't miss this one! If you have not seen the talents of these artist on this very special themed exhibit stop by soon! If you have seen this exhibit, stop by again to enjoy the beauty, excitement and diversity that is "Angels Bright - Angels Dark"! 

Don't You Know We're on the Eve of Destruction?

And Don't Forget the End of the World - Tomorrow!

Celebrate it at Weavings, INK
208 Hellam Street
Wrightsville, PA
Friday, December 21, 5-8 p.m.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


This morning, I received the following email thread relating to former Columbia Market House Manager Carmen Swinehart's ongoing attempts to receive severance pay from the borough. In the email dated July 18, 2012, Councilman Kelly Murphy states that the borough is responsible for paying Carmen's "requested cost." So far, this has not been done. 
Today is December 19.  It is almost the end of the year.  I would hope the council would want to pay this bill and get it off their books (especially since it's almost Christmas and it would be the decent, Christian thing to do). 
Council, you can easily make this matter go away with a few strokes of the pen. 
Please do the right thing. 

(Some of the following email addresses have been redacted to protect the privacy of the correspondents.) 

On Dec 19, 2012 8:45 AM, <Carmen Swinehart> wrote:
Norm,  Mr. Pfannebecker,Esq
Please find the letter below. I would like to close this matter. I can no longer afford law fees and it would exceed the amount owed to me. I would like to provide a Christmas to my family. I have been patient and have been told it would be handled, but I have yet to see my contract acknowledged. All during my employment with both the Borough then later with the Trust, I never received any negative feedback on my job performance and completed every task that was asked of me.

No one should have to endure the ignorance that I have as if my contract was never that important. I recently attended a council meeting where the trust was disband and later found they were reinstated due to contracts... Therefore, I would like to be acknowledged as well. I am only seeking what is entitled to me.  I have stressed long enough and it is NOT healthy. 

I have also been told by employment that I am seeking... when they call for a reference, the words given is??? do not know her or no return calls??  Employment is important and I have a right to peaceful enjoyment. I understand the law and I understandfriendship. I also understand that I am just as important and need to be seen as such. 
I have made several attempts to contact the Trust and NOTHING!  NOT ONCE have they returned a call. I was employed with the Trust, but the Borough paid my salary. Can you please find time in your busy schedule to discuss ME! I would like to pick the check up by the weeks end. So, I can buy Christmas for my kids and put food on the table!

From: Kelly Murphy
To: Carmen Swinehart
Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 1:33:07 PM
Subject: Re: 60 Day Obligation


I have forwarded this information to Don Haines, Trust Chairman.  I am also checking into this as well since the borough was responsible for paying all market bills up to July 1, 2012, wchih would thus make us responsible for this requested cost.

Would you prefer to receive a response from me (for the borough) or from Don Haines (for the Trust)?

Thank you.

Kelly Murphy

also you will see below another letter from an earlier date:  Which I am willing to collect on the contract amount. You will see here is where not just my word, but he spoke about the pay to others.......
Dave Rupp is going to give us a written approval, and you need to give us a bill.

From: R.m.swinehart Home improvements
Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2012 8:02 AM
Subject: Re:

I appreciate this. How do I get the severance etc that he (rupp) told me that I can have.

Night Lights

From around town . . .
 Along Chestnut Street, near the Elks

 Gazebo in the park

Angel at Sahd Salvage

Tragedy on the Tracks

Go HERE for the story.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ephrata man struck and killed by train in Columbia

Go HERE for the details.

"Linus and Lucy"

Time for some cheering up.
Interesting how the producers of this special were afraid it was going to bomb - and then it became an American classic.  Ask anyone if they know what a Charlie Brown tree is. They'll know.
Great music by Vince Guaraldi.

The Missing Cow Caper

 The big cow that was formerly in front of the Turkey Hill Experience is gone.

It disappeared sometime between Friday and Saturday, leaving only these marks behind.
The creamery left.  The cow left.  What else is left?

This cow stands in front of the Visitors Center.  
Is it the one that was at the THE?  If so, why was it moved?  Liability issues?  Better promotion?  Who moved it?  And exactly what time was it moved?

Melt the Guns

A song from the early 80s by one of my favorite bands.
The lyrics seem relevant today.

Pat Oliphant Cartoon - © 2012 UCLICK, L.L.C. Copyright; ©2009 Universal Press Syndicate
I like Punk the penguin's comment in the lower left corner.

Something's burning . . .

down around the Canoe Club 12-16-12.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

SNL “Silent Night”: Saturday Night Live has New York Children's chorus honor the victims of Newtown. (VIDEO)

A Few Thoughts

What I see is insanity
Whatever happened to humanity?
Whatever happened to humanity?
Whatever happened to humanity?
"The Power of Equality" - Red Hot Chili Peppers

I don't feel safe in this town anymore. I don't feel safe anywhere, really, in light of yet another senseless, mass killing. There is no shelter from this tragedy, nor is there relief from the sorrow, anger, frustration, and helplessness we feel. We search for meaning and find none. We look for solace that can't be found. There is no balm in Gilead. We find we can't run away and hide our heads this time. We have to look at our starkly violent society staring us directly in the face and decide who we are as a people.

I had a college philosophy professor named Dr. Winter, who described himself as a "flaming liberal" and would go on the occasional - but fascinating - rant about how dysfunctional our society has become. "We live in a sick society!" he'd exclaim before expounding upon the reasons. From this latest event, we can see the truth of his assertion.

Although I'm not a flaming liberal, I am left-leaning in most matters political, on some issues radically to the left.  I do, however, believe gun ownership is a Constitutional right. I also wonder where that right ends. Is it unlimited? If so, then we have the right to own any type of weapon we can afford, including tanks, cannons, 50-caliber machine guns, Apache helicopters. Do we have the right to own RPG's, flame throwers, and hand grenades? After all, the Second Amendment says the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed. That certainly sounds as if this right has no limits, but does any reasonable person believe that to be the case? 

If the Second Amendment is not unlimited, then we have the right (and the moral obligation) to control and curtail ownership of certain types of weapons, and that means instituting a sane, rational gun control policy. I don't mean a gun ban; that would be ridiculous, unrealistic, and unconstitutional. Responsible gun ownership should not be curtailed. I support the right to own rifles and handguns for hunting and self-defense. Anyone needing assault weapons, though, might be suffering from paranoia or masculinity issues. Otherwise, why have them? Are we in imminent danger of attack? 

According to Wikipedia, early American settlers viewed the right to bear arms as important for deterring tyrannical government; repelling invasion; suppressing insurrection; facilitating a natural right of self-defense; participating in law enforcement; and enabling the people to organize a militia system.  I don't think our founders could have foreseen the types of modern weapons we have today. Would they have approved of such ownership? In the present day, England is not going to attack us anytime soon. We have the most powerful military in the world, so there's no chance of any nation sending troops to invade our soil. So what's the rationale for owning assault weapons?  

The problem is not merely the proliferation of guns. In our sick society, mental illness also plays a role. Not all of the mentally ill are violent, but I'll venture to say that most violent people are mentally ill to some degree. Here in Columbia,  Andrew Moyer and Brianna Michael tortured and murdered their infant son Andrew Moyer, Jr. Obviously they were violent, but does anyone believe they're not also mentally ill? Would any sane person commit such a heinous act?

We've endured events like this before, but this one was a game changer. The murder of so many innocents has shocked us all into the realization that something must be done. These crimes simply cannot continue. We cannot allow Congress to continue to be influenced by the NRA's blood money.  We as a society must focus our moral outrage into definitive action.

I know I don't have all the answers. All I know is we cannot allow another of these tragedies and still maintain the right to call ourselves civilized.  No sane society would allow this to continue.

For now at least, we live in a sick society. Dr. Winter was never more right.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Celebrate the End of the World at Weavings, INK

Celebrate the Mayan End of the World in a unique art gallery setting. Survivors of the last day of the Mayan Calendar can enjoy drink and refreshments of a Mexican flavor. For those waiting out possible extinction before doing their holiday shopping, Weavings, INK is a perfect place to begin and end your purchasing. The gallery is filled with gift ideas for everyone who is left... on your list.  
(Celebrate 5-8 p.m. on Friday, December 21, 2012.)

Weavings, INK is located at 208 Hellam Street, Wrightsville, PA.
Check out the Holiday Open House 1-5 p.m. this coming Sunday, December 16.

Nifty Mayan hex signs like this one will be on sale at the gallery for $12.00, with half the proceeds going to the Red Cross.  The hex sign was designed by artist Bob Hammer.

'Tis the Season

A worker finishes decorating a lamp post.  Three blocks of posts along Locust Street are now draped with lights and topped off with ribbons.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Council Meeting Monday, December 10

A meeting of the Columbia Borough Council will be held on Monday, December 10 at 7 p.m. at the Borough Office, 308 Locust Street.
Several commenters to this blog have questioned the council's recent decision to hire a Sewer Enforcement Officer at an annual salary of $45,000 to inspect 60 in-ground tanks, when cheaper options are available.
This meeting will provide an opportunity for concerned citizens to have these questions answered.

Volunteers Clean Up Mount Bethel Cemetery

Go here for the story:

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Thanks, Boys, for Putting Columbians in a Bad Light

Go here:

Truck Driver Turns Left from Right Lane at 3rd & Chestnut

As I was in the left turn lane at 3rd & Chestnut waiting to turn north on route 441, a truck driver turned left in front of me, from the right lane (December 5, 2012).  Another reason to have a truck bypass.

And here is the license number.

Truck Driver Turns Left from Right Lane Again

The truck driver turned left from right lane at eastbound exit on route 441 (December 5, 2012).

Friday, December 7, 2012

Corruption Perceptions Index

On this, the 71st anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, consider that the United States is now ranked lower than Germany and Japan (the two main Axis powers) on the Corruption Perceptions Index 2102, recently presented by Transparency International.  The index measures perceived levels of public sector corruption.  The US is number 19 on the list of 176 countries/territories, and has a score of 73 out of 100.  Germany is 13th, with a score of 79, and Japan is 17th, with a score of 74.
Our ranking should be a powerful incentive to start paying attention to what our government is up to.

Otherwise, we may as well just watch the bright, red choo-choo going by (on its way back to Sahd's (December 5, 2012)).
[That was an awkward segue, but I wanted to get the train pics in there somehow.]