Thursday, January 30, 2014

What happened at the Lazy K?

This afternoon several State Police officers loaded cases of beer onto a truck outside the Lazy K Lounge (as it was formerly known).
Was it a raid?
According to a Facebook page for PJ's Lounge, this bar went out of business last year:
(Unconfirmed reports suggest that a "speakeasy" was operating there.)

Can't wait for that bypass to be built

Seemingly lost, these drivers drove their big rigs across Third Street this afternoon after barely making the turn from Cherry Street.

Yes, it's frozen

I took this pic today, when the temperatures were more, well, temperate. It must have been all of 25° out.
But try taking pics on a single-digit day, and you'll find that the term "bone-chilling" is not just metaphorical. After a few minutes, your finger bones - phalanges, as they're known - actually become chilled (or at least that's how it feels), due to the exceedingly thin layers of skin, fat, and muscle covering them.


I haven't seen this done in a while.  It's illegal, but I understand the motivation to do it.  After shoveling out a parking space, you don't want to just give it away.  On the other hand, how can you justify keeping the space unavailable the whole time you're not there?

"Some people say this town don't look good in snow"

Nah, it looks OK.

Police officer's heroic efforts save 7 from Columbia fire

Officer Austin Miller 

A Columbia Borough police officer is being credited with saving the lives of seven people, including an infant, after he evacuated them from a burning home Tuesday night.

Austin Miller, an 11-year veteran of the department, was on routine patrol around 11 p.m. when smoke drifted into his vehicle near 9th and Manor streets.

He got out to investigate but was unable to find the source of the smoke.

Miller then saw two men who yelled there was a fire. One of the men was on the phone. As he ran toward the men, he saw flames shooting from the rear of a home at 631 Manor St.

Miller said he banged on the door of the house and quickly evacuated the occupants — including a woman holding a baby — none of whom knew the home was on fire.

Seeing that the flames were moving toward a neighboring home, he entered the unlocked structure and roused two people sleeping there.

The occupants of both homes were uninjured. One man was checked at the scene for smoke inhalation but didn't require hospitalization, officials said.

"Things couldn't have ended any better. Everyone got out alive," Miller said Wednesday.

Columbia Borough police Chief Jack Brommer on Wednesday called Miller's actions "heroic."

Columbia Borough Fire Chief Scott Ryno said there were no working smoke detectors in the home where the blaze started.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Warning: In Bitter Cold, Beware The 'Umbles'

First we lose some fine motor skills, and we start to fumble. And tumble. And stumble.
Then our cognitive abilities are compromised. "We mumble and we grumble."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hood up, pants down

Makes no sense, but gives new meaning to "freezing your ass off."

Pitts tops Americans United for Change Tea Party scorecard

"Tea Party Pitts" tops the list.

Results show that Congressman Joe Pitts, who represents most of Lancaster County, leads all other Pennsylvania members in moderate districts when it comes to his "loyalty to the Tea Party."

'Hearts and Souls' at Weavings Ink. in Wrightsville is a show of creativity and romance

Wrightsville art gallery Weavings, Ink. will present a show of romance and relationships in time for Valentine's Day.
Hearts and Souls will feature the pen and ink drawings of Robert Oughton, weavings by Phyllis Koster and antiques from the collection of Mary Beth Sloat. The show opens with a reception during Wrightsville's Fourth Friday.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Susquehanna river study featured in new DEP video

DEP has been fighting with the Fish and Boat Commission and environmental groups over whether or not to list the main branch of the Susquehanna as an impaired waterway. The agency has refused to make the designation, citing a lack of solid evidence - but it has also committed a team of scientists to gather information that eventually might support such a designation.

Judge strikes down Pa. voter ID; high court challenge likely

In his 103-page ruling, Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley concluded the 2012 voter identification law places an unreasonable burden on the fundamental right to vote, creating insurmountable obstacles for hundreds of thousands of people, many of them elderly and disabled.

Route 441 Project: Just The Beginning For Columbia

Basically, the plan will re-route 18-wheeler traffic out of the downtown historic and commercial district. Truck traffic has been an issue in the borough due to exhaust, and vibrations caused by heavy vehicles, which are shaking historic buildings, cracking foundations, and rendering plaster to dust.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Up in smoke

This driver was having problems with her car this afternoon as she drove across Sixth Street.  The smoke was so thick that it obliterated the view of drivers in the oncoming lane (and probably behind).

New bridge plaza lights

This afternoon, new lights were being installed at the entrance to the Veterans Memorial Bridge. According to a spokesman on the scene, the lights cost $6,000 each (installed) and were paid for by a federal grant.  They are illuminated by LED lamps.  Lights were also installed on the Wrightsville side.  Eventually, new lights will span the entire bridge.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It was a little foggy yesterday afternoon

At 3:30, the fog was quite thick down by the bridge.

About 12 minutes later, it had cleared (?) a bit.

Here's How Long Unemployment Benefits Now Last In Each State

On December 28, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program (EUC) expired causing 1.3 million Americans to lose their unemployment benefits.
Since then Senate Democrats have attempted to pass another extension, but have not been able to come to an agreement with Republicans on how to pay for it. Yesterday, Republicans filibustered two procedural votes on legislation to extend benefits.

'Passports' mean discounts in Columbia, Marietta, Wrightsville

The public is invited to travel to the river town area of Columbia, Marietta, and Wrightsville to shop, dine, and visit during the Passport to River Towns program.
Quaint antique shops, interactive museums, cozy eateries, and shops located off the beaten path are among the venues highlighted in the initiative coordinated by the Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce.
A variety of local businesses have signed on as program vendors and are busy designing Passport to River Towns benefits for the participating public. This program, which showcases participating businesses in the region by designating each as a travel destination for passport holders, will run on weekends beginning Friday, Jan. 17, and ending Sunday, Feb. 16.
Paperwork accompanying the passport will verify hours of operation for each venue. Some businesses may be closed on Sundays, while others may extend their offers throughout the week.
Passport to River Towns offers participants specially designed discounts or promotions awarded only to holders of an SVCC program passport. When visiting participating venues, simply show the Passport to River Towns document, get a destination "stamp," and enjoy the program benefit offered at that location.
Program benefits will vary by location. Discover some hidden gems of the region when you visit.
Program benefits extend beyond the on-site promotions. Those who manage to receive an approved vendor stamp from each participating business may enter their completed passport in a prize drawing.
The drawing for prizes will be held at the SVCC Visitors Center on Monday, Feb. 24,. Completed passports must be submitted by the Friday before the drawing to qualify for entry.
The price for each passport is easily recouped in the discounts and benefits of the program. At a cost of $5, Passport to River Towns is an affordable opportunity to enjoy a day out with family or friends.
Passports are currently available for sale at the Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center and many participating businesses, including Columbia Market House, Geltz Götz Goodeze, Gramma's Home Accents, Half Nuts Popcorn, Hinkle's Pharmacy, Rivertowne Antique Center, Sister's Treasures, Trin's Beans Café, and Watermelon Rind.
Other participating businesses include Keagy's Produce, National Watch & Clock Museum, Old State Theatre Antique Mall, Shank's Tavern, and The Turkey Hill Experience.
Passports will remain available for sale until the end of the Passport to River Towns program.
For more information on the Passport to River Towns promotion, contact the Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center at 684-5249. Proceeds benefit the Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center.

East Petersburg woman helped man flee to New York after shooting in Columbia, police allege

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Columbia's grant aimed at boosting health insurance enrollment

Columbia Borough and Dallas aren't usually mentioned in the same breath. Now both are among the 12 cities receiving grants from the National League of Cities as part of its initiative to expand health care access.

In addition to a $22,600 grant, Columbia will get practical guidance from the NLC to develop a plan to reach out and enroll children and families in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Police: Before crashing into police cruiser, man carjacked vehicle in Lititz during crime spree

Before crashing a car into a police cruiser in Columbia Borough early New Year's Day, a young man had carjacked the vehicle from a pizza deliveryman in Lititz, police said Tuesday.

William Gustafson, Jr., 20, of Sheri Lane, Lititz, is responsible for a crime spree through three municipalities, Lititz Borough police Detective Sgt. John Schofield reported Tuesday.

Columbia police tried to stop Gustafson for an unrelated traffic violation in that borough, not knowing he had been involved in a prior incident, investigators said.

Gustafson fled and then crashed the vehicle into another Columbia officer's cruiser at South Third and Union streets.

Police removed Gustafson from the car after it caught fire in the collision, state police said. He was taken to Lancaster General Hospital for treatment of severe injuries.

The officer in the struck cruiser was treated for minor injuries at the hospital and released.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Lititz man who crashed into police cruiser is identified

State police have identified the driver who led police on a chase and then crashed into a police cruiser Wednesday morning in Columbia.
William Owen Gustafson Jr., 20, of Sheri Lane, Lititz, was extricated from his car by responding police after his vehicle caught fire, state police Trooper Stefanie Trzaska reported Thursday.

Why the Amish Don't Get Sick: Things You Can Learn From Them

Two surprising points that stand out are that they don't get vaccinated, and they eat a high-fat diet.

Columbia Tree Society accepting memberships

Membership donations and other contributions will help to continue the planting and maintenance of trees within the Columbia area.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

At the crash site

Oxygen tubing and neck brace brochures at the site of this morning's two-vehicle crash at 3rd & Union.
For more on the story, go HERE.

What I Saw - New Year's Day 2014

At 3rd & Union: 
A newspaper vending machine - that doubles as a trash receptacle?
(Incidentally, the first one of these used in the United States was on March 20, 1954 in Columbia, Pennsylvania.  Go HERE and HERE for sources.)

New Year's Experience at Turkey Hill

The Cone Drop

Apparently, a splendid time was had by all at Tuesday's New Year's event at the Turkey Hill Experience, which featured the Cone Drop and its accompanying countdown, as well as free coffee and hot chocolate (courtesy of Mike's Diner), free cartons of eggnog (courtesy of Turkey Hill), and a variety of entertainment.  Although the event was well attended by the public, there was a scarcity of vendors representing local businesses.  I was chatting with someone "on the inside" who said that each year every effort is made to extend invitations to local businesses to attend the event and promote their enterprise for free, sponsored by Turkey Hill.  Many businesses decline the invitation.  I don't understand why any business would turn down an opportunity to advertise itself - and possibly even promote the town, in the process.  Speaking of which, I wonder why was there no contingent representing Columbia Borough.  You know, maybe a "Welcome to Columbia" table - or at least a sign.

Officer, fleeing motorist injured after chase and crash

A police officer and a motorist who led police on a chase through Columbia Borough Wednesday morning were taken to the hospital after a vehicle accident.

Columbia Borough police Sgt. Marc Y. Tremblay was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries and released.

The motorist, who police said is a suspect in a crime elsewhere, also was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Columbia police.

Officers attempted to stop the suspect's vehicle at Third and Locust streets in the borough after the driver failed to stop for a red light at 1:18 a.m.

The suspect's car later crashed into Tremblay's cruiser at nearby Third and Union streets. Both cars had severe damage.

It's here