Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Vehicle accident on Purples Lane

Emergency crews were called to a a stretch of Purples Lane between Seventh and Ninth Streets this evening at about 6 o'clock for a report of a vehicle accident with entrapment and possible rollover. According to scanner chatter, vehicle occupants were able to escape the vehicle - a Ford Ranger pickup - unharmed as crews arrived. The vehicle sustained a flat tire after hitting a fence along Purples Lane and spinning out of control. 

About Town

Some pics from around town today . . .

 The Department of Homeland Security must have been snooping around our town today.

 The DHS van was parked in the parking lot of a local business.

Clean . . . right?

 Signage on South Ninth

 Water Company employees at work on North Fifth

 Adding trim to the Dollar General sign at Columbia Plaza

LASA checking our pipes on North Sixth, near CVS

Christmas tree collection next week

Brazen theft at Musser's Market

A reader from Columbia asked for this notice to be posted:

A purse belonging to her grandmother was stolen from a grocery cart at Musser's Market in the Columbia Plaza recently.

A witness reported seeing a man with something under his jacket run out of the store and ride away on a bicycle. The thief got away with $600 and credit cards, as well as house and car keys, identification cards and a social security card.

Columbia Borough Police have been notified. Anyone with additional information is asked to call police at 684-7735.

Local effects of Wolf's partial budget veto still uncertain

In Lancaster County, School District of Lancaster and Columbia Borough School District said in recent months they were looking at loans and considering other options.

Columbia school board president Tom Strickler said Tuesday he did not yet have enough information to say whether the district would hold off on using a loan they already applied for.


Two vehicle accidents minutes apart

Emergency personnel were kept busy this morning with two separate vehicle accidents that occurred within several minutes of each other. The first accident, reported just before 6:30 a.m., occurred near the intersection of North Third and Avenue G. A 2005 Toyota Camry LE traveling southeast on North Third crossed the center line and hit a parked Mini Cooper head-on, pushing it into another parked Mini Cooper. The impact pushed both parked cars partially onto the sidewalk.

A second accident was reported just after 6:30 a.m., in which a white Volkswagen Jetta TDI traveling east on Route 30, just beyond the Route 441 overpass, broke through the end of a guard rail near the Columbia exit. The vehicle then slid down an embankment and came to rest on its side near the Columbia Visitors Center parking lot. The occupant, who was initially trapped, was freed from the vehicle and found to be uninjured.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Tonight's meeting is cancelled

Tonight's Meeting of the Whole scheduled for 6 p.m. at the borough hall has been cancelled.

A re-organizational meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on January 4.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

About Town

Some photos from around town today . . .

Some say the town is going to the dogs . . .

But actually it may be going to the arts. These paintings were being unloaded at The Arts @ Hinkle's along Locust Street this afternoon . . .

Meanwhile, at Front and Walnut . . .

Things were malfunctioning again. The railroad barricades activated randomly and interfered with the traffic signals, causing them to stay red in both directions simultaneously for about 30 seconds at a time.  A pedestrian warned motorists of the malfunctions and helped direct traffic through the intersection.  Finally, a Norfolk Southern employee arrived and fixed the glitch.

And finally, out along 462 just beyond the Columbia Plaza (heading east): This van, which is still parked along the highway, was sideswiped by another vehicle last night at about 3:30 a.m., according to a witness who lives nearby. 
The takeaway is: Don't park along the highway.

Seen in a local store window

Vote for members to serve on the Old Columbia Public Grounds Company.

Injury reported in two-car collision in Columbia

Thursday, December 24, 2015

More bugs on 441

There were more problems with the traffic signals and railroad barricades at Front and Walnut this afternoon at about four o'clock. A Norfolk Southern worker reset the barricades, but as of this posting, the traffic signals are still not functioning properly. The lights on Front Street (Route 441) are flashing yellow, while those on Walnut Street are flashing red.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The disappearing stop sign mystery solved - sort of

As reported previously on this site, the stop sign on Route 441 South at the Locust Street intersection was removed to facilitate traffic flow when the new bypass opened last week. Then on Monday, a stop sign reappeared at this intersection, only to disappear again the next day.

Currently, drivers stopped at the bottom of Locust Street are having trouble seeing traffic on 441 South due to the setback of the stop sign; the building beside the sign obscures the view. Borough officials are aware of the problem.

According to a borough representative, PennDOT will meet with the borough next week to hammer out a solution for this troublesome intersection.

ADA to nowhere now goes somewhere

The ADA access near the intersection of Front and Walnut is apparently now complete. This access point is part of the recent Route 441 bypass project. Previously, this ADA terminated at the rear egress. In other words, it didn't go anywhere.

 Now, however, asphalt has been applied, as shown above, creating a wheelchair accessible walkway running parallel to the railroad tracks, allowing entrance to Columbia River Park.

Here's a view from across the street at the Eastern Drillers building (the old railroad station).

PA House Republican Caucus - Budget Heads to Governor’s Desk: Includes Record School Funding, Fully Supports Human Service Agencies and Keeps Government Operating


Ring in the New Year at NAWCC

Baby New Year - Cora Knaub of Gordonville all ready to party!!

Ring in the New Year with Father Time and Baby New Year at the place that is the center of time—The National Watch and Clock Museum. The Museum’s New Years at Noon event on December 31 is the only local New Year’s Eve party designed specifically for children during daylight hours.

Children will learn about the passage of time using traditional adult activities presented in a child-friendly manner. As part of the traditional celebration, the Museum will host a countdown with Father Time, complete with a balloon drop at the strike of noon. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Father Time will lead guests in a dance party full of fun and swinging music.

Activities include time to:

Make New Year’s hats out of recycled materials with the Lancaster Creative Reuse center booth

Pose in the Museum’s New Year’s photo booth while you show off your party hat

Play a New Year’s trivia game testing your knowledge of New Year’s traditions and history

Participate in family challenges like Minute to Win It as you race against the clock

Meet and greet with Dutch Wonderland’s Princess Brooke during story time

Create a time capsule to remember 2015

Write your resolutions for 2015 on Resolution Wall

Decorate a cookie like a clock face with Rivertownes PA, USA and enjoy it as a snack afterward

Accessorize with glitter tattoos and face painting by Mimzy’s Face Painting

Advanced registration is not necessary and all activities are included with regular paid admission of adults $9, senior citizens $8, children age 5-16 $5, children younger than 5 free, and a family rate of $23. For additional information, contact 717.684.8261, ext. 237.

The National Watch and Clock Museum is operated by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) association with more than14,000 members, representing 52 countries. April through November the Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. December through March hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. From Memorial Day through Labor Day the Museum is also open on Mondays. Discounts are available to seniors, students, AAA members, and groups of 10 or more. Groups of 10 or more are encouraged to call ahead. For more program information, directions, or general Museum information, call 717.684.8261 or visit our website at

How high could school property taxes go in 2016-17?

Columbia Borough School District has the most flexibility in raising taxes: up to 3.6 percent.

Schools begin 2016-17 planning even as this year's funding is six months late

From a financial standpoint, Columbia Borough School District would be better off staying closed after the holiday break.

"If it wasn't for the kids, we wouldn't come back," board president Tom Strickler said in a phone interview Tuesday.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

School board accepts superintendent's resignation

The Columbia School Board voted unanimously to accept the resignation of Superintendent Dr. Carol Powell at a special board meeting Tuesday night. Dr. Powell's resignation is effective at the close of the business day on Wednesday, December 23, 2015. Powell, who was present at the abbreviated meeting, wished the district well and offered a quote from Aristotle: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

Powell has accepted a position with the School District of Lancaster as Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction at a salary of $135,000 (to be pro-rated). There was no public discussion of the particulars of Dr. Powell's contract which was to run until 2017.

The board also approved the appointment of Dr. Kenneth Klawitter as acting superintendent, effective Tuesday December 22, 2015 at 6:30 p.m., at a salary of $115,000 for the 2015-2016 school year. His salary will be prorated beginning on December 23rd. Dr. Klawitter will receive the full complement of sick, personal, and vacation days given to administrators.

Christmas lights set to music at 15th & Manor

Drivers traveling past a residence at 15th and Manor Streets will be treated to a flashing Christmas light display set to music.  Listeners are invited to tune their car radios to 107.5 FM to hear the music that triggers the lights. The music can also be heard from speakers at the house.


As shown in the photo above, the stop sign at Route 441 South at the Locust Street intersection has been removed again. As we reported in previous posts, the original stop sign was removed when the Route 441 bypass was opened last week. Sometime yesterday, a stop sign was placed at the same location at this intersection. Today, the stop sign is missing again.

This photo was taken just before 4 o'clock this afternoon.

Columbia Superintendent Carol Powell to leave in middle of contract; Plans to take job in city district

It's official:

Monday, December 21, 2015


UPDATE: Sometime this afternoon - without warning - a stop sign was placed - or rather, replaced - on Route 441 South at the intersection with Locust Street.  Originally, there was a stop sign at this location, but it was removed when the Route 441 bypass was opened last week. (Columbia Spy reported on it HERE.) Now, this "new" stop sign has appeared there.

Please note: There is no stop sign on Route 441 North at Locust Street, but the one at the bottom of Locust is still there.

So, to be clear: There are two stop signs at the intersection of Route 441 and Locust - one on 441 South and one at the bottom of Locust.

A few other issues: The "new" stop sign on 441 South is merely sand-bagged in place. Also, there's no Stop Ahead sign on the road to alert drivers of the stop sign itself. There's no flasher on the sign. In short, there's nothing to warn drivers that a stop sign has been placed there.

As we said previously, proceed with caution at this intersection. If this re-appearing stop sign is any indication, there's no telling what might pop up - or disappear - next.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Is Columbia's superintendent jumping ship?

Is Carol Powell leaving Columbia? Signs point to "yes." Currently, she is the superintendent of Columbia Borough School District, having assumed that position on July 1, 2014 for a three-year term at a starting salary of $115,000.

Shown below is a screen shot of Personnel Recommendations from the December 15, 2015 school board meeting agenda of the School District of Lancaster:

As shown above, a Carol Powell is slated to fill the position of Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction for SDL at a salary of $135,000 (to be pro-rated). Hire date and effective date are to be determined.

No mention of her resignation from Columbia Borough School District could be found on its website.