Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Columbia Spy endorses Mary Auker-Endres for State Representative

It's fall 2018, the leaves are falling, and it's time for Columbians to choose a candidate who will best represent them in Pennsylvania's 98th legislative district, of which we are a part. Right at the outset, we at Columbia Spy are announcing our support for candidate Mary Auker-Endres, and here’s why:

The 98th is currently represented by 8-term Republican Dave Hickernell. Or at least that's the rumor. Hickernell has been keeping a notoriously low profile. Very low. Virtually non-existent, in fact. If he is trying to be conspicuous by his absence he has succeeded. He has all but abandoned his Locust Street office and has not maintained a public presence in Columbia for quite some time.

In addition, Hickernell has routinely refused to inform voters of his positions on the issues. According to the non-partisan site, he has failed the Political Courage Test. The site states: “David Hickernell has refused to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2018 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests from Vote Smart and voters like you.”

In 2014, Columbia Spy noted that Hickernell refused to state whether or not he supports a natural gas extraction tax. And either by ignorance or inaction, he allowed Columbia to miss out on a portion of an extra $30.3 million in state funding. When questioned on the oversight, he replied, "Most representatives were unaware of the 'carve out.'" He added that it was clear "most of us were in the dark."

In a recent letter sent to Columbia residents, Mayor Leo Lutz touts Hickernell’s purported achievements, claiming he has added money for projects in Columbia that would create jobs and add parking for our downtown. Note the use of the subjunctive; no jobs have appeared and no parking has appeared due to Hickernell’s initiatives. The mayor also claims, “Representative Hickernell doesn’t just say he will do something, he does it.” Well, mayor… NO, that’s not the case, as we noted above.

Hickernell has kept his seat for 16 years, largely because he has rarely been challenged since taking office. 16 years – twice the duration for a two-term United States president – is enough for any legislator. And we believe it’s time for Hickernell to go.

Mary Auker-Endres at Columbia's 2018 Mardi Gras Parade

In contrast, Democratic candidate Mary Auker-Endres, has been quite visible in Columbia over the last few months, talking with residents, stating her positions, and explaining how she will work for them in Harrisburg. We believe she will focus more on the needs of working people and small business owners rather than large capital projects that continue to drain their tax money and provide them little benefit.

Auker-Endres, an Elizabethtown resident, promises to support initiatives that help working families such as increasing the minimum wage, ensuring healthcare coverage, and providing for quality education. In addition, Auker-Endres says she will turn down perks and will refuse a government pension until every Pennsylvanian’s retirement is secure. She also won’t take a paycheck if the budget isn’t done on time.

“Harrisburg isn’t listening, but I am. And I’m ready to act,” she said in a statement.

Columbia Spy believes Columbia needs more than a representative who is only rumored to be representing us. We need more than a representative who takes Columbia for granted to the degree that he doesn't even bother campaigning here. We need a candidate with our shared values who will work for us in Harrisburg.

Therefore, Columbia Spy unreservedly endorses Mary Auker-Endres for State Representative in Pennsylvania’s 98th District.

Here are a few links for additional information:

Sunday, October 28, 2018

About Town - 10/28/18

This week's photos from around Columbia...
(Tap/click on photos for larger, sharper images.)

Town crier, right on time

 Speaking of time, here's the clock at the small plaza at 5th and Chestnut under an autumn sky.

 A close-up of the same

 Here's the old clock tower at NAWCC.

And yet another timepiece - at NAWCC.


This dragon landed on the 400 block of Poplar.

Here are a few nightlights that popped up on Chestnut Street recently...


These lions (?) watch from the doorway at 401 Walnut.
They should be rehabilitated and repainted.
Looks like there are several layers of old paint on the wood surfaces.

 Here's the one on the right.

 And the one on the left.

 There's also some ornate filigree on the arch above the door.

 Here 's a longer view of the door and doorway - looking quite historic.


 The Easter Bunny is late - or early - but definitely out of season.

 Another of Columbia's majestic old mansions
(South 2nd)

 Here's the datestone.

Considering the next move at the Art Printing building


Looks like the railroad artist is at it again down at the tracks...


 Norfolk Southern's open door policy

 Public housing

 Filling in at River Park

 Not everyone's will fit.

 At one time, this may have said, "ZAPPA IS . . . "(?)

 What's that scrawled on the garage door on Bridge Street?

 Could this be the day the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper?

 Apparently, yellow is the new orange - which by extension is the new black.

 Here's another way to recycle your old bottles.

 Church window at 6th and Chestnut

 This was.
(Burning Bridge Antiques)

 Tis the season.

 In amongst the autumn leaves


 Lying down on the job?

 No, taking out the dock railings at Columbia River Park

 Here's one getting carried away.

 An observer contemplating the railing-less dock

 And here's the dock, being pulled upstream.

 The dock was tethered to this rescue boat.

 It was then pulled to shore by a worker at the boat ramp.

 This huge log (utility pole?) was found caught underneath.

 The log was removed using the backhoe.

 The backhoe's front forks were then placed under a section of the dock.

 Like so.

The section, weighted down for stability, was taken away.

The remaining section was then prepared for the same maneuver.


 Star spangled shirt - and a LEFT TURN sign.
An omen?

Over across the river, someone was stirring up the dust.

 This truck's "track wheels" were in the "down" position at the River Park railroad crossing. It had been riding the rails.

 They were adjusted to the "up" position to allow the truck to travel on paved surfaces.

 The truck even has adjustable steps on the back that descend as needed.

 A boatload of branches and leaves crossed at the crossing.

 Here's another of those architectural features - not aging well.
(2nd & Walnut)


 Crews were out again painting traffic lines this week.

 They drove along North 5th.

 This truck uses the Stripe Hog Waterblasting System with 40,000 psi.

 And there it goes.

 Here's a line painting truck -with reverse lettering.

 Despite the new lines, tractor-trailers still can't successfully negotiate this turn at 5th and Chestnut without entering the opposing lane. Sometimes, the back wheels run over the curb.


 Self-guided tour of Columbia Crossing

 Troweling at 6th and Walnut

 "If you meet the Buddha among the leaves..."

 The back deck at the American Legion is coming along nicely.

 All things come to those who wait.
(320-322 South 2nd)


 Progress at the animal shelter-to-be

 Group shot of a mixed bag
(North 2nd)

 Chipping the stump next to Mount Bethel

 Possibly a miracle has occurred.

 The "Have a Nice Day' guy isn't having such a nice day.

The lady on the mural is waving "Hi" with her stovepipe arm.

 A reader sent this old photo of the historic Wright Mansion on South 2nd.

And another person submitted this great photo of the old tunnel under the railroad tracks at Shawnee Run (near Front and Mill).