Friday, February 28, 2014

From the Police Log

Amvets, 28 N. 2nd St., Columbia, for: improperly operating small games of chance; failing to maintain proceeds from games of chance in a bank account separate from other funds; selling alcoholic beverages to nonmembers; failing to maintain records confirming with the liquor code; possessing or operating gambling devices or paraphernalia or permitted gambling or lotteries, pool selling and or bookmaking on licensed premises.

Union Station Grill, 171-173 S. 4th St., Columbia, for loudspeaker operated in a noisy and/or disorderly manner.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Found on the Columbia Borough website

This excerpt is from the Columbia Borough website. All the codes officers need to do now is get out of the office and out of the truck and enforce the code.

Think the Arizona gay ban is ridiculous? It's already legal to discriminate against gays in Pa and a legislator from Lancaster County is pushing further

The GOP has gone off crazier than usual. A PA state representative has proposed a constitutional amendment allowing discrimination as long as it is based on sincerely held beliefs.
PA State Rep. Gordon Denlinger, a Republican from Lancaster County, is looking for cosponsors to a proposed constitutional amendment that some say would allow Arizona-style discrimination right here in Pennsylvania.
“I plan to propose a new section in Article I — the Pennsylvania ‘Bill of Rights’ — that will prohibit government from punishing an individual or entity if the individual or entity makes hiring or other employment decisions, or provide services, accommodations (including housing accommodations), advantages, facilities, goods or privileges based on sincerely held beliefs,” Denlinger wrote in a Jan. 8 memorandum to his House colleagues.
Under Denlinger’s proposed amendment, “an individual or entity may not be found to have discriminated in making employment related decisions or providing services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges if the action was based on the sincerely held beliefs of the individual or entity,” he wrote.

And they can keep it!

Turkey Hill re-opens its remodeled Prospect Road store

The Turkey Hill Minit Markets store at 1199 Prospect Road, Columbia, re-opened its doors Thursday after a renovation and expansion that took more than 12 weeks.
Now 4,500 square feet, the store has an updated d├ęcor and broader selection of products.
New offerings include hot pizza, available in 14-inch pies or by the slice,  and an upgraded coffee brewing system.
The cost and other details of the renovation and expansion, which began Dec. 1, were not immediately available.
Open 24 hours a day, the Prospect Road store employs 25 people.
Turkey Hill will hold a grand re-opening for the store on Friday, March 14, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Lancaster-based Turkey Hill has 61 convenience stores in Lancaster County. The first opened in 1967.

No donuts for you!

Recorded message says they're all sold out!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Meanwhile, inside 855 Chestnut

More on fastnachts


Holy Trinity fasnacht hotline is open

Holy Trinity's 90th annual fasnacht bake requires pre-orders, which can be made by calling 681-2505.

Columbia K-9 program 'on hold' amid heated conflict; Mayor Lutz on the hot seat

Columbia Borough Mayor Leo Lutz said Monday the plan to have a new K-9 officer and handler in place by spring is "on hold."

His statement prompted outbursts from members of both council and the Columbia K-9 Committee, a nonprofit organization that defrays the cost of the borough's K-9 officer.

Mike Beury, council president, told Lutz that it was time to "tell the truth."

Lutz said the reason for the decision was personal, and based on Keyser's concern about having a dog trained to bite in his home.

Council vice president Barry Ford said that he spoke with Keyser last week, and that the mayor's statement about the reason for the officer's decision was incorrect.

Under heated questions from council and residents alike about the timing of communications and the way in which decisions were being made, Lutz appeared to lose his temper, countering that the K-9 program is a police program and, therefore, not officially the business of the council.

Council member Jim Smith said that Lutz had "drawn a line in the sand. I always felt you felt we don't exist."

Still waiting for a monument to Wrightsville's unknown defender

Last year, a group gathered to dedicate a new grave marker for an unknown Rebel soldier who died on the banks of the Susquehanna.
Why has it not enacted any monument to an unknown man who died helping to preserve that union?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A few snow-related thoughts

Just a few snow-related thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head:

There's been a lot of discussion lately by school district administrators and others about alternatives to making up "snow days," from excusing the days entirely to cyber-schooling to calculating hours instead of days, all in the interest of preventing school from extending too far into June.  As a taxpaying citizen, I hereby call BS on the whole enterprise. I believe in public education, and I believe it's my duty to support it financially. I also believe it's the duty of teachers and administrators to educate our children and prepare them for the future, even if that entails making up every school day that was lost to bad weather. Their priority is supposed to be education, not whether they'll miss out on non refundable vacation trips or their summer will be too short.

Recently on WGAL-TV, Hempfield School District Superintendent Dr. Brenda Becker said, in effect, that it's pointless to try to teach students in June, because they're not engaged. Is that the real reason, or is it because teachers just don't want to teach in June, for the reasons listed above? Why blame students? Plus, who is at fault if they're not engaged? And if the push for year-round school ever comes around again, that comment just might come back to haunt the good doctor.

Teachers are compensated handsomely, and deservedly so, and must therefore fulfill their obligations to students and taxpayers instead of trying to sidestep them. I hear a lot of talk about alternatives, but little or nothing about staying the course and completing the days.

The banner headline on Friday's Intell/New Era was "Another Nor'easter?" The article stated that local meteorologist Eric Horst said that, based on computer models, there's a one in four chance of another major storm for the middle of this week. One in four? That's only a 25% chance. Is that newsworthy, especially considering the forecast was for almost a week in advance? So, there's a 75% chance we won't get a major storm, but the local paper runs a headline ostensibly portraying the opposite. Talk about sensationalism.  Disingenuous at best, irresponsible at worst. I can give better odds than one in four, however. I can predict, with 50% accuracy whether we'll get another nor'easter this week, simply by saying this: Either we will or we won't.

Local artist Bob Hammer to display his work

Local artist Bob Hammer will be displaying his work at the Hammer Art Studio Booth at the PA Garden Show of York. The show will be held next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the York Expo Center-Memorial Hall, 334 Carlisle Avenue, York, PA.
Go HERE for more information.

What I saw recently

 A dog making a deposit at River Park on Sunday afternoon.  And no, the deposit did not get picked up.

 An outside cat at Second and Walnut

 A cardboard box that serves as an outside cat shelter at Second and Walnut.  The porch also contains cat dishes for feeding.  A recent commenter complained about being cited by the borough for feeding outside cats.  I wonder if this homeowner was, also.  I hope our codes are enforced uniformly and not arbitrarily.

A heron flying past some lazy seagulls to show how it's done.

At Second and Mill.
This used to be the Riverview Tavern.

Winter was hard (and still is)

This music captures the brooding melancholy that has been this winter (and it's not over yet).
Go HERE if the video does not appear on your device.

Drone by the river

On Saturday afternoon, a group of men arrived at Columbia River Park to test-fly a drone and use it to film a kayaker (one of the group) in the Susquehanna.  The endeavor lasted about an hour and drew a small crowd.  The drone operators were somewhat tight-lipped about their enterprise, except to say they didn't need FAA approval as long as they kept the drone below 400 feet.  (That information was in answer to a question from one of the onlookers.)

The kayaker paddles out, in preparation for the filming.

 An operator checks the drone before take-off.  The camera can be seen here, hanging from the bottom of the drone.

 Monitor - it sees what the drone camera sees.

 The drone and two remotes

Some video clips are shown below.  (My camera mike picked up a lot of wind noise, and the drone motors were a bit loud, so you may want to turn down your computer volume before playing the clips.)

Drone take-off #1

Drone take-off #2

Drone pursuing and filming kayaker from above

Drone landing

Friday, February 21, 2014

A comment from an aggrieved citizen

On February 19, 2014, I received a "Courtesy Notice" from Columbia Borough Code Compliance Department.  This was taped to my front door.  The handwritten part was difficult to decipher, but appears to say, "Feeding of cats see sect. 403 D 9 keeping of pets Col Boro ordinance".  The printed section, animal waste/outdoor feeding of animals, was check-marked.  Also on the form it states that I must comply by February 20, 2014.

My work with the feral cat spay/neuter program began in the summer of 2012.  With the help of the Lancaster County Cat Rescue organization, I successfully trapped 4 cats and drove them to the Humane League of Lancaster County.  This was done on my day off from work, using my own time, vehicle, gas, and money to accomplish the task.  I was able to spay 3 females and neuter one male.  They all were given rabies shots and the male was treated for fleas.  I signed a paper stating that I was their caregiver and detailing the importance of caring for the cats after the surgery.  Lancaster County Cat Rescue also prefers that the colony continue to be cared for which includes feeding.  I was able to immediately find a home for the youngest one of the four cats, leaving me with only three.  Within a year another one was killed, I found her body in a gutter about a block from my home.  I do not know if she was hit by a car or if someone deliberately killed her.  That left me with 2 cats.  

Over the next year, I found two kittens and surrendered both to the Humane League.  They were too young for shots and too young to be neutered/spayed, so no doubt were euthanized.  In November of 2013, I captured and surrendered a female cat to the SPCA of Lancaster at a cost to me of 45.00 dollars.  This time I had purchased my own live trap (from Tractor Supply) in order to continue this program.  All of the cat surrenders are documented, so there is a record of the transactions.  

I had written to Mayor Lutz about the efforts and the feral cat problem within this Borough.  I even went as far as to offer my assistance with beginning a local program.  Columbia could recruit the help of local veterinarians in an effort to keep all the money in Columbia.  Careful documentation could be used to track the progress of such a program.  I remain willing to help spearhead a program for the borough. 

My personal feelings about being issued a notice to stop feeding the cats are as follows:
My husband and I were both born in Columbia, giving us a right to be here.  We both have paid property taxes here for many years.  Even though our mortgage is paid, we continue to "rent" our property from Columbia Borough through property taxes.  Now Columbia wants to be my landlord, telling me that I cannot put a dish of cat food out on my own property.  

I walked on Walnut Street yesterday afternoon and I counted 9 separate piles of dog feces.  On any given day there are that many piles at the River Park.  Is there an ordinance about this, yes…is anyone enforcing that…apparently not.  The deadly Parvo Virus was found on Perry Street in recent months, so one would think that citing those leaving dog feces behind would be imperative.  But the time and effort is better spent on citing someone feeding 2 cats.

What I Saw - February 20, 2014

 If you don't clear your sidewalk . . . 

 you might get a notice on your door.

 Snow in the boat - for ballast

 Looking for artifacts

Rooftop chat

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

From the Columbia Borough Fall/Winter 2013 Newsletter

There it is in black and white:  
Shovel your sidewalk.  At least three feet in width.  Don't throw the snow into the street after the street has been plowed.  
Up to $600 fine plus costs possible for non-compliance.

No parking at designated times, even if the sweeper is not running.

What I Saw - February 19, 2014

Warmer temperatures produced the beginning of a thaw.  Soon, we'll be back to where we started before all the recent snow, which leads me to believe the whole episode was nothing more than an exercise in futility by whoever perpetrated it.

 Three geese went sailing by . . .

 but this laggard chose to walk.

 Actually, I use Bing quite a bit.

High on (the) pot

Sunday, February 16, 2014


I took a walk this afternoon, because the sun was shining, and I wanted to escape impending cabin fever. Also, because my back hurt from shoveling snow, and I thought a jaunt around town would alleviate aches and pains.  Along the way, I helped a woman with a walker get across an icy sidewalk that hadn't been properly cleared. Good deed done.

Later, on Locust Street, I was walking behind a young woman of about 20 and a boy I assumed to be her son, who appeared to be about five. The kid was lagging a bit, as kids do, but "Mom" wasn't pleased and told him, "I'm not gonna keep f**kin' stoppin' dude. You're gonna walk. You're gonna shut the hell up." She didn't say it angrily, just matter-of-factly, in a normal, conversational tone. I hadn't noticed the kid saying anything. I wondered how many times he must have heard similar language at home at his young age for some small infraction, real or perceived. And we wonder where kids get this stuff and why they grow up dysfunctional and disaffected.

After you dig out a parking space, is it appropriate to claim it? |

The controversy also exists elsewhere, namely Harrisburg. Click on the link below for more info and residents' opinions on the matter.

What I Saw - February 16, 2014

 A casualty along Barber Street

 A uniquely designed snowman that's also . . . if not anatomically correct, at least anatomically explicit, thus the censored photo.  This is a family blog, after all.  There's a time and place for such expression.  But in one's backyard, facing the sidewalk where children play, isn't appropriate.

 We got a lot of snow recently.

Well, at least they cleared the snow off their car, even if they can't get out of their parking space.

Sunday morning snow removal on Locust Street

On Sunday morning, work crews were busy clearing excess snow from Locust Street.

 Although notices had been posted along the street last Wednesday, some vehicles had not been moved. Those remaining were ticketed and towed.

 This lady in white moved her car at the last minute.

 Snow was blown into dump trucks and hauled away.

 Vehicles continued to be towed.

 Here's a closer view of the humongous snow blower that was used.

 Further down the street

 A side view of the giant snow blower

 More vehicles being towed

 The morning's work yielded some good results . . . 

 here . . . 

and here.
Our borough workers deserve thanks for working hard on a Sunday morning to make our streets clear and safe.