Saturday, April 29, 2017

Air Force One over Columbia?

Columbia Spy caught these pics of a plane flying over Columbia on Saturday at about 5:48 p.m. We believe it to be Air Force One carrying President Trump to HIA for a rally in Harrisburg.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Columbia trolley "Spyed" at Columbia Crossing

Columbia Spy happened upon Columbia's new trolley at Columbia Crossing this afternoon.

Columbia's newly purchased trolley was a topic of discussion at last month's borough council meeting. Mayor Leo Lutz praised the purchase saying, "I hesitate to say you bought it, I think you kinda stole it. It was a gift."

A contract between Columbia Borough and SVCC for management of the trolley has been under discussion. At issue in writing the draft contract was determining which entity should hire the drivers and provide the liability insurance for the trolley. Insurance carriers require that the drivers be hired by the entity holding the policy. An insurance representative at the meeting addressed council about the issue.

Kathleen Hohenadel of the SVCC presented the anticipated operating expense figures, including the cost of trolley drivers.  Most likely, two or three part-time drivers will be hired.

Hohenadel stated that the 2016 hourly cost to run the Rivertowne Trolley was $85 and predicted the 2017 hourly cost to operate (Columbia's) trolley to be $31.73. Based on figures presented to council there will be negative net of $2,567.45 the first year of operation.

In addition, children rode free last year but will pay a dollar each this year. The cost for adult riders will increase a dollar as well - to $3.

A new projected use for 2017 is "special uses" for the trolley. No details were presented, since the idea is still under discussion.

Councilwoman Dr. Sherry Welsh questioned why (on the sheet listing items for inclusion in the contract) the borough will not share equally in the profits, but share 50/50 in the losses. The 2017 profits are listed as SVCC 75% and the Borough 25%.

Borough Manager Greg Sahd emphasized that many of the issues are still open for discussion.

The Borough is accepting applications until Friday, May 5, 2017 for a Seasonal Part-time Trolley/Bus Driver. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED, valid Class A or B CDL license with passenger endorsement, and a clean driving record. Experience as a school bus driver or public transit operator preferred. The successful candidate(s) will be required to obtain a CDL medical examination/certification every two years by a specified physician. Current pay rate is $12-15/hour after 90-day probation period.

Applications and job descriptions are available at the Columbia Borough Municipal Building, 308 Locust Street, Columbia.

Borough council voted to buy a trolley at its December 2016 meeting.  The trolley is provided by Elite Coach of Ephrata for $39,900. Voting was unanimous among the five councillors present.

The trolley is a 1993 model with 53,000 miles and was used previously by the borough during the Columbia lantern tour. Public Works Director Ron Miller took a test drive/ride for several miles recently and described the vehicle's engine and transmission as "excellent" and presented council with an extensive written report. He called the venture "not a frivolous investment whatsoever." The trolley is air-conditioned and comes with a lifetime supply of vehicle filters. Councillor John Novak said the same trolley in today's dollars would cost $200-250,000 new.

Council had originally planned to employ the services of Rivertowne Trolley Company again in 2017 until a sudden opportunity surfaced to buy its own trolley. The issue normally would have gone through committee before being presented to council, but councillors felt the matter warranted quick action due to other parties interested in acquiring the vehicle. Columbia paid $30,600 last year to rent Rivertowne's trolley.

Councillor Cleon Berntheizel said, "I look at this as an investment in the borough."

Columbia woman pleads guilty to aiding boyfriend in husband's killing

A Columbia woman who aided a boyfriend in the 2016 stabbing death of her husband has pleaded guilty to felony charges that she provided false information to law enforcement officers.

Lancaster County woman, injured by distracted driver, pushes for harsher laws for texting behind the wheel

Thursday's meet-and-greet event begins at 6 p.m. at the municipal building, 308 Locust St., with members of Columbia Borough and Northern Lancaster County Regional police departments, Columbia Fire Department, Columbia Emergency Medical Services and Susquehanna Valley EMS.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Construction of storage units continues apace

Columbia Spy shot the following photos today showing the progress of construction for the planned storage units along Front Street. Excavation continues and drainage lines are beginning to be installed. The next step will most likely be pouring concrete slabs.

The multi-unit self-storage facility is being constructed by Associates Properties PA, LP. The facility will contain 10 x 20, 10 x 25, and 10 x 30 units, for a total of 40,000 square feet of storage space, according to Jeff Seibert of Associates Properties. Construction is expected to be completed by late July.

More inane graffiti from the talentless and bored

More graffiti has been noted recently, this time on Jersey barriers along Front Street (under the Veterans Memorial Bridge), and along the Route 441 bypass. Trailers parked near Bootleg Antiques, and the concrete wall leading to the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail were also spray-painted. This incident is believed to have occurred this past Tuesday evening, according to sources.

The two photos below show graffiti on the Veterans Memorial Bridge that was painted during the incident a few weeks ago that Columbia Spy reported on HERE.

2.3 magnitude earthquake shakes Lancaster County; no reports of damage

A 2.3 magnitude earthquake shook Lancaster County Sunday afternoon.

Lancaster County-Wide Communications was flooded with calls from various parts of the county after the brief rumble just before 5 p.m.

PA Education Secretary Rivera Brings Schools That Teach Tour to Columbia Borough School District

On Friday,  PA Education Secretary Pedro A. Rivera visited Columbia Borough School District on Governor Wolf's "Schools That Teach" tour, sharing with educators and administrators information about several initiatives the Wolf Administration and PDE are currently advancing.

Rivera has traveled the state talking to educators, administrators, students, and families about how the Department can best serve communities across Pennsylvania. Improving access to quality and innovative programs through enhanced funding is a hallmark of the Schools That Teach initiative.
"As budget talks are ongoing in the halls of the Capitol building and staff at the Department of Education is hard at work developing plans that will greatly impact public education, it is important to gain insight and feedback from constituents in all corners of the commonwealth," Rivera said. "This statewide tour enables me to discuss ideas and strategies with experts in the field who have valuable input and unique perspectives to share."

This year, Governor Wolf has proposed an additional $100 million for basic education, $75 million for high quality early childhood education, and $25 million in special education, adding to the historic $640 million in education funding the governor has already secured since taking office. 
During the visit, Rivera also discussed recommendations the Department of Education (PDE) made to introduce the Future Ready PA Index, which would replace the School Performance Profile (SPP) as the outward facing state school evaluation measure. Under the governor's guidance, PDE solicited input from a variety of stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, parents, students, policy makers, advocates, industry and higher education leaders, to develop a more holistic tool to measure school success.

To date, the Schools That Teach tour has made stops at more than three dozen schools across Pennsylvania.
For more information about Pennsylvania's education policies and programs, or to read Rivera's budget testimony, visit the Department of Education's website at or follow PDE on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.  

Source: PA Dept. of Education

Meet and Greet First Responders Thursday night

Man allegedly defecates in alleyway, gets arrested

Eziukwu Umachi

On 04-23-17 at approx. 12:04 AM the Columbia Borough Police were notified that a male had just defecated in person's alley way in the 200 blk. of Lawrence St. Police were able to locate the male in the area of 2nd St. and Mill St. a short time later. The male had a strong odor of feces on his person and had feces smeared on his shoes as well as his jeans. The male told police his name was Simon Umachi and was taken into custody.

Once arrested police found and ID card that showed that his name was Eziukwu Umachi B/M/36 years of age.

Umachi was charged with False ID to Law Enforcement, two (2) counts of Trespassing as well as Public Drunkenness. Umachi was taken to Central booking for arraignment.

Source: Columbia Borough Police Department

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Workers clean up River Park on Earth Day

It rained intermittently while Columbia Park Rangers and others cleaned up Columbia River Park this morning, but we won't say "The rain didn't dampen their spirits" or any other such cliche. Instead, we'll just say they worked for several hours removing trees, weeds, and debris, and Columbia owes them a lot of thanks.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Fourth Friday Passport Program

The public is invited to travel to the river town area of Columbia, Marietta, and Wrightsville to shop, dine, and visit during the Fourth Friday Passport program. Quaint antique shops, specialty food shops, and small businesses are among the venues highlighted in this initiative coordinated by the Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce. A variety of local businesses have signed on as program vendors and are busy designing program benefits for the participating public. This program, which showcases participating Fourth  Friday venues in the region, will begin on Fourth Friday, April 28, and end Fourth Friday, August 25. Venues will be open various days and hours throughout the week, as well as each Fourth Friday from 5-8pm.

Paperwork which accompanies the passport will verify hours of operation for each venue.

This Fourth Friday Passport program offers participants specially-designed discounts or promotions awarded only to holders of a program passport. When visiting participating venues, simply show the passport document, get a destination “stamp”, and enjoy the program benefit offered at that locale. 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 5 of the 6 participating businesses may enter their completed passport in a prize drawing. The drawing for this prize will be held at the SVCC Visitors Center on Wednesday, August 30. Completed passports must be submitted by the Monday 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 $5.00, the Fourth Friday Passport program 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 Geltz Götz Goodeze, Mustard Seed Creations, Keagy’s Produce,

Rebellious Rose Wax Co, and Half Nuts Popcorn. Passports will remain available for sale until the end of the program.

As this program coincides with Fourth Friday, there will be various other happenings each month. Check our website for the Fourth Friday event page that contains details each month.

For more information on Fourth Friday and the passport program, contact the Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center at 684-5249.

Neighborhood yard sale Saturday, April 22

Artist Bob Hammer will be participating in a neighborhood yard sale on Saturday, April 22, from 7am to 2pm. (See map above.) There will be a variety of items for sale including books, glassware, kitchenware, puzzles, and collectibles.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Columbia anglers, fishing guides praise state proposal to ease bass-fishing restrictions

Tuesday at the Columbia Crossing River Trails Center, PFBC officials told the eight anglers present that hard data shows bass populations are indeed on the rise, and it's safe to tentatively allow catch-and-release fishing for bass during the spawn as many anglers apparently want.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tribute at Mount Bethel to Lillian Evans, First Daughter in PA

Special Recognition Tribute
Miss Lillian Evans, First Daughter in Pennsylvania

    Donegal Chapter DAR Organizer

    Friday, April 21, 2017

    10:30 AM  Mount Bethel Cemetery

    11:00 AM  Caretakers Cottage

Memorabilia Display
As the first woman in the Commonwealth to join the NSDAR in 1890, Miss Lillian Slaymaker Evans zealously walked into history. “She has served our Society faithfully, efficiently and wholeheartedly; her ceaseless, conscientious work and successful accomplishments and her quiet, gracious personality winning the admiration and affectionate regard of all who knew her,” wrote the resolution committee of the Donegal Chapter at the time of her death in 1943. Miss Lilly never hesitated to align her patriotic interests with those of her ancestors whom she wished to follow proudly.

Patriotic Roots
Born in Columbia, Pennsylvania, November 5, 1861, she was the daughter of attorney Samuel Evans, a Captain in the War Between the States, Justice of the Peace, Commissary of Subsistence, and contributing founder of the initial Lancaster Historical Society. Her mother was Mary Shoch whom together with her daughter was very active in the Iris Club of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Her paternal grandmother was the daughter of Congressman Amos Slaymaker of Old Leacock Township, a member of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Congress. Additional distinguished personages include Colonel Evan Evans, commanding the Chester County Militia at the Battle of Brandywine, his son Samuel Evans, major of the 6th Battalion, also from Chester County, member of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania, and judge of the Chester County Courts, his wife Frances Lowrey, daughter of Alexander Lowrey of Donegal, one of the framers of the Constitution, colonel of several battalions from 1776 to 1783, State Senator, and Indian Commissioner.

NSDAR Charter Member
Once the NSDAR was founded at our nation’s capital by four far-sighted women in 1890, Miss Lilly stepped up to serve becoming the 41st of the 818 charter members enrolled during that first year. Within two years, Pennsylvania had its first State Regent, Mrs. Julia K. Hogg, of Pittsburgh, who directed Miss Lilly to organize a Lancaster chapter. It was called DONEGAL and became the fourth chapter in the state and the 15th in the United States. Starting with a membership of 13, the chapter grew to 212 within 5 years! Miss Lilly had served continuously as its regent and after stepping down, she was made honorary regent.

Founding Witness Tree Chapter
Miss Lilly had more on her mind than a good rest, however. She resigned from Donegal Chapter along with 13 other members and in mid-December 1897 met at a member’s home in Columbia to organize a new chapter! Adopting the name Witness Tree Chapter, the chapter was chartered in January 1898 with plans to meet on the 3rd Wednesday of each month.

Monument to Those that Served
The Witness Tree Chapter's first project was to raise money for a battle monument to commemorate those who served during the Revolutionary War. With a jubilant response, the new Witness Tree Chapter, DAR, made plans to dedicate the monument less than one year later on October 4, 1899, on the grounds of the Donegal Presbyterian Church. True to Lillian Evans' word, the monument honored all of those who served, including those who gave their lives.

Good Citizenship
Apart from this tangible structure that is a formidable reminder of Miss Lilly’s legacy, she also put just as much energy into a different pursuit of patriotic development in the minds and hearts of citizens - especially the young. While still at Donegal, she started a prize essay contest for high school seniors which is still carried out. A student loan program was also instituted. Once she was in the Witness Tree Chapter, she founded and financed the annual chapter Essay Contest on Good Citizenship in the Columbia and Marietta schools. She also provided a commencement award at the Columbia High School in the name of the Witness Tree Chapter. To the chapter's surprise, Miss Lilly bequeathed a sum of money to enable the DAR essay contest to continue indefinitely - which it has!

Until the End
Miss Lilly remained active with the Witness Tree Chapter until her death at her home, May 4, 1943. She was cared about and enjoyed by individuals throughout the community. Telegrams, tributes and eulogies hailed her for her “lofty ideals” and said, “such an influence continues to live for all time.” A chair was placed in her honor in Constitution Hall at National Headquarters in Washington, DC and the Witness Tree Chapter placed a bronze DAR insignia at her grave in Mount Bethel Cemetery, Columbia.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Little lost ducklings at River Park - No mother duck in sight!

 Two ducklings were hiding in the weeds at Columbia River Park this afternoon.

 They looked like they'd lost their way and didn't know what to do.

 Mother duck was nowhere to be found. They were all alone.

But there's a happy ending!
Columbia Spy corralled the young 'uns and then called ORCA, the Organization for the Responsible Care of Animals. An employee drove from Lancaster and placed the ducklings in a carrier. He said he was expecting such a call, because pet owners often dump ducklings near the water around Easter, thinking they will adapt to the environment. He identified these two as Khaki Campbells and said they instead would have died slowly from starvation - or quickly from predators. He said these two were literally "sitting ducks" at the mercy of this kind of environment. 
It's possible they will be taken to Chloe's Creek in Mount Joy, a domestic water fowl rescue, to live out their lives in safety and tranquility.