Saturday, April 30, 2016

About Town

Columbia Plaza parking lot this morning.

 Words of wisdom

 Out for a walk

 This starling was sitting on a fence in Avenue H.

 Unafraid of the camera, he started to sing.

 He may have thought he was auditioning for American Idol.

 Afterward, he stopped and looked, as if to ask, "How'd I do, folks?"

 Yardwork at the former Cookman Church at Sixth and Chestnut

 He's been metal-detecting around town a lot lately.
Here he is in Locust Street Park.

 Hangin' with the goyles. The gargoyles, that is.
(Global Time Wizard, 500 block of Locust)

 Pit lovers assure us that it's not the breed, it's how they're raised.

 Door numbers - well, that's a start.  Now fix the rest of the building.
(North Second and Locust)

 Lined up and ready to go.  Yard waste pickup began April 4.

Delusions of grandeur

Then the king had one more question of the child: "How many seconds are there in eternity?"

And the boy replied: "In the hinterlands of Pomerania, there is a mountain made of the hardest diamond. It's one hour deep into the earth, one hour up toward the sky, one hour long and one hour wide. To this mountain comes a little bird, once every hundred years, to sharpen its beak."

"And when the bird has worn away the whole mountain, the first second of eternity will have passed."

2 charged with stealing guns, home break-in in Columbia

Columbia Borough police have charged a Columbia man and a Marietta man for breaking into a home in the borough and stealing four guns and other items on the morning of April 29.


Friday, April 29, 2016

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Officer attacked by aggressive dogs - one dog is shot

According to Columbia Borough Police, on April 28, 2016 at approximately 10 a.m. the Columbia Borough Police Department was dispatched to a rear yard of a residence in the 100 block of South Fifth Street for a report of two aggressive dogs running at large in the area. The caller told the dispatcher that he had attempted to exit a vehicle several times and the dogs "chased" him back into the vehicle.

A Columbia Officer arrived on scene and walked towards the caller's vehicle when two dogs ran at the officer as he approached. The officer attempted to retreat, and the dogs chased the officer. When the dogs closed in on the officer, he pulled his service weapon and fired at the first dog as it was lunging at him. Both dogs stopped and retreated. The uninjured dog returned a short time later and started to approach the officer again. The dog then ran into a break in a fence a few yards down. 

Several officers responded to canvass the area. The owner of the dog was located. The injured dog was located in the 100 block of South Third Street on a porch. It had suffered multiple gunshot wounds. 

The injured dog was taken to a local veterinarian by the owner and did not survive the incident. Columbia Police are completing their investigation into any PA Dog Law violations.

Columbia man jailed up to 40 years for sex abuse of young girl

                     Nickalaus Stoutzenberger
A Columbia man will serve up to 40 years in prison for sex abuse of a young girl.

Columbia man charged in DUI related hit and run crash

Gerard Wright

Columbia man charged in DUI related hit and run crash:

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mother’s Day Painting Party at SCCA

Bring your Mom for a pre-Mother’s Day celebration.
Paint from Van Gogh’s beautiful vase of flowers and take home a masterpiece.

If your Mom can’t make it, come and create a master piece for her. You know she will treasure it. This is a class that is rewarding, easy and fun. The process of making art will fill you with a new confidence in yourself.

No prior Art training needed

May 3 6:00PM- 8:00 PM

Sign-up through Eventbrite:

Susquehanna Center for the Creative Arts
224 Locust Street
Columbia, PA 17512

717-576-9628 or 717-580-9031

Attachments area

Spaces still open for April 30 painting class at SCCA

Ange Bentivegna's April 23rd painting class at the SCCA.

Spaces are available in Ange's April 30 class. Go to Eventbrite to sign-up:
Click HERE.

Asplundh trims trees - without mercy

 Asplundh was around town trimming trees today.

Here's an example of butchery perpetrated on a tree at Fifth and Mill.

Man arrested for sexual assault charged in previous offenses

Michael Paul Geib of Columbia was arrested yesterday for sexual assault. He was also charged in previous offenses.

Michael Paul Geib

Here's the docket sheet for yesterday's incident:

Geib was scheduled to go to trial on May 16 on felony and misdemeanor charges of indecent assault of a person under 13 years. The charges stem from an incident that occurred last year:

In 2012, Geib pled guilty to harassment:

Doggone, that van is gone!

The van is gone! Up until a few days ago, a white van with expired registration had sat unattended for a considerable time in the area of the 500 block of Locust Street shown above.  (A previous report on the van is HERE.)  A commenter informed the Spy that the van had been moved.

News crews leave scene after locals kick up a fuss

Columbia Spy and WGAL News 8 arrived on the 200 block of Walnut Street at the same time early this afternoon to report from 215 Walnut, the residence of Michael Paul Geib.  Geib was arrested for an alleged sexual assault of a woman on the 300 block of North Second Street on Tuesday afternoon. While a News 8 cameraman was setting up a camera and tripod, several women arrived in a vehicle and parked in front of the residence. One of the women exited the vehicle and shouted at the cameraman to leave. The Spy spoke to the cameraman as he walked away from the residence. Although he was aware of his right to photograph in public, he decided to leave the scene anyway, most likely to avoid further conflict. Two of the women shouted and gestured at Columbia Spy to leave as they entered the residence.

A short time later, news crews set up on the 300 block of North Second, close to the site of the assault. CBS 21's Kyle Rogers, shown above, interviewed a witness.

Simultaneously, News 8's Ed Weinstock set up shop and conducted a report from the other side of the street.

Lancaster Sierra Club awards 5 "green" grants

One of the grants will go to Friends of the Osprey, developing a Susquehanna River bank site to view osprey nesting and interacting on a platform placed along the growing Northwest Lancaster County River Trail.

Stranger sexually assaults female along Columbia street Tuesday afternoon, police say

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Biglers ask Columbia for waiver of bill

At Monday night's Finance Committee meeting, Cindy Bigler of Millersville appealed a $600 invoice from a Columbia Borough engineer regarding a condemned property she owns with husband Sam Bigler at 421-423 Avenue G. The property was condemned in June 2015, and a fire caused major damage to the structure on September 4, 2015.  (Columbia Spy reported on the fire HERE.) Bigler adamantly insisted that the borough engineer made the "wrong diagnosis" and that she should not pay for it. She accused the borough of jumping to condemnation. Bigler claimed that the borough code officer did not enter the building prior to the decision to condemn and that the borough's actions caused her, her husband, and tenants "a lot of problems."

Bigler also accused the code department of being unprofessional and said that she and her husband were not notified that the building would be condemned. She told the committee that they have a business line with an answering machine. "No one called us," she said. 

Code Enforcement Officer/Supervisor Jeff Helm said the decision was initially prompted by Code Officer Robert Osborne's inspection, in order to protect the borough from liability. (Osborne has since been terminated from employment with the borough code department.)

Helm told the committee that he inspected the exterior of the building on June 15, 2015, accompanied by Osborne and engineer William Sauers, who was then employed by the borough. Helm said that he and the others walked around the building and found exterior bulging walls and concluded that the building should be condemned and vacated in a timely fashion.

Helm further explained that on June 26, 2015, Sauers and Sam Bigler entered the property and conducted a room-by-room and floor-by-floor inspection, looking especially for separations of interior/exterior walls. Sauers found unsupported areas on the second floor that required remediation, and his opinion was to vacate. Bigler opted for a third-party inspection by Sanchez & Associates of Millersville.

The borough subsequently suggested that the Biglers select an engineer with knowledge of older structures. The Biglers hired engineer Dan Fichtner, who determined that the building could remain occupied if the interior were re-supported. Fichtner did not believe it was structurally unsound.

Bigler requested that the committee waive the $600 bill for the borough engineer. Councillor Mary Barninger said that she agreed with Bigler's request and made a motion to send the issue to council at its May 9 meeting. Council President Kelly Murphy seconded the motion. Councillor Sherry Welsh, who was substituting for Councillor Cleon Berntheizel, opposed it.

Notice of Condemnation at the Avenue G property, prior to the September 4, 2015 fire.

Columbia School District, borough hire school resource office

In a joint meeting April 18, Columbia's borough council and school board voted unanimously to hire a school resource officer.

Monday, April 25, 2016

4th Friday features ribbon-cuttings, Arbor Day Celebration

April's Fourth Friday celebration featured a variety of attractions and events, including the following:

Mayor Leo Lutz and Borough Council President Kelly Murphy helped out with a ribbon-cutting on Friday at Beauty in the Beast pet grooming service at 18 South Third Street.

Owner Britini Tollinger cut the ribbon, aided by co-owner Mike Whelan.

Inside the building is this painting, purportedly by artist Edward B. Black, who painted watercolors and oils of the Susquehanna River in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Clay from the Susquehanna River shore served as the basis for the paints used in this work which is painted directly on the wall. (Could it be a type of fresco painting?)

Black was a founder of the Harrisburg Art Association, and his works are in the collection of the State Museum of Pennsylvania and the Historical Society of Dauphin County.

An hour later and a few steps up the street, Doreen Fabulian - surrounded by family and friends - cut the ribbon for her shop, Aha Sweets, at 8 South Third Street. The shop bakes with organic and natural ingredients (not 100% organic, not gluten-free).  The shop also uses alternative flours (white organic spelt, oat flour, almond flour) in its variety of cakes, cookies, and cupcakes.

A little later, a caricature artist set up shop at the Columbia Market House.

On the grounds of the Columbia Borough School District admin building, members of Cub Scout Pack 35 recited the pledge as an introduction to the 25th Annual Arbor Day Celebration.

Rick Jensen, Columbia High School music director, led the Columbia High School Chorus in performances of various songs.

School Board President Tom Strickler served as master of ceremonies.

Amy Evans, chairwoman of the Columbia Borough Shade Tree Commission, offered welcoming remarks.

Mayor Lutz spoke about the value of trees in reducing pollution.

Council President Kelly Murphy expressed his thoughts about the importance of Arbor Day.

Amanda Hawn, a new member of the Shade Tree Commission, introduced herself.

Rick Hartlieb of the DCNR Bureau of Forestry spoke and presented a banner to the commission.

Columbia High School Senior Austin Combs read Joyce Kilmer's poem "Trees."

Rich Gerfin, Honorary Chairman of the 2016 Membership Drive, planted a tree.

Afterward, he was accompanied by a young audience member. Columbia Spy previously published a profile of Gerfin HERE.

A full array of proud award winners - including members of Frontier Girls Troop 191 and 202 - posed for the cameras after the event's conclusion.