Friday, November 30, 2018

Healthy Columbia to Hold Christmas Pancake Breakfast for Community, Saturday, Dec. 1

Local families from Columbia, Pennsylvania
Kelsey Miller, program manager of Healthy Columbia
Philip Goropoulos, president of CHI St. Joseph Children's Health (a Lancaster-based nonprofit)

Healthy Columbia – CHI St. Joseph Children's Health's community-driven initiative dedicated to providing and coordinating services and the investments necessary to create a thriving community in Columbia Borough – will host a pancake breakfast for families from the Columbia community. The FREE pancake breakfast is open to the public and will feature Santa and children's activities.

Our Lady of Angels, 404 Cherry St.

Saturday, Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

About CHI St. Joseph Children's Health and Healthy Columbia
Healthy Columbia is CHI St. Joseph Children's Health's community-driven initiative dedicated to providing and coordinating services and the investments necessary to create a thriving community in Columbia Borough. A location of Catholic Health Initiatives, CHI St. Joseph Children's Health is a community-based organization dedicated to the health and well-being of children and families in the Lancaster community. The organization works in collaboration with community partners to assure access to appropriate, quality health services and benefits for every child in the Lancaster community. This mission in children's health includes multiple efforts, programs and services committed to improving the health of children and families throughout the Lancaster community. Most recently, the nonprofit announced plans to open the St. John Neumann School for Children and Families in Columbia, Pennsylvania in 2020. To learn more about CHI St. Joseph Children's Health, visit

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Jordan J. Yost Captured! Wanted For Kidnapping & Robbery | Manheim Township Police Department

Jordan J. Yost, M/24, homeless, who was wanted on outstanding charges of Kidnapping, Criminal Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping, Aggravated Assault, Robbery of Motor Vehicle, Theft By Unlawful Taking, Unlawful Restraint, and Terroristic Threats has been located and arrested.  He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge David P. Miller who set bail at $1,000,000.00 which he could not post.  He was remanded to Lancaster County Prison.

 For more information, click HERE.

Borough engineer updates committee on troubled Walnut Street project

The 600 block of Walnut Street has been closed at various times this week for remedial work.

Contractors are currently scrambling to finish remedial work on several Walnut Street sidewalks. The sidewalks are part of an overall road project on the 500 and 600 blocks that includes road paving, curbs, and ramps. As Columbia Spy reported HERE, property owners on the two blocks complained to borough council recently about various problems with the project.

C.S. Davidson's Derek Rinaldo (second from left) reports on the Walnut Street road project.

In response, engineering firm C.S. Davidson provided information and updates on the project at the borough’s November Public Works and Property Committee meeting. The firm’s representative, Derek Rinaldo, who serves as the borough’s Engineer of Record, told the committee, “We’re aware of several issues on that street right now.” He named cracking concrete, blocked drains, and overspray as a few of those issues. Rinaldo said he developed a punch list of over 20 items after walking the site several times with the borough’s Ron Miller and Jake Graham. [Miller is Public Works Director, and Graham is Highway Department Manager.]

Regarding concrete cracking, Rinaldo said, "We're not concerned with the integrity of the concrete." He pointed out that the concrete used for the job is rated at 4,000 psi and must meet borough standards based on PennDOT 408 specifications that govern various aspects of construction.

Two sinkholes opened up on the 600 block.

During sidewalk installation, another problem became apparent: a sinkhole that opened near 647 Walnut. Rinaldo said a urethane injection method is typically used to fill in any voids and spaces associated with a sinkhole. In the process, a spray foam is injected underneath the road and curb, which expands to fill the affected area. A second sinkhole opened this past Sunday, near 651 Walnut.

Contractors are also filling in the so-called "beauty strips" with concrete.

Rinaldo noted that water was flowing over the curb and onto the sidewalk during high-intensity rains. He explained that the problem stems from the fact that the 600 block of Walnut takes drainage from the three blocks further up as well as from several side streets. To help resolve the problem, drains will be added in the 700 and 800 blocks during next year’s planned road project. Contractors are also filling in the so-called "beauty strips" with concrete to control water. 

Contractors are working to correct problems on the 600 block of Walnut Street

Another possible factor contributing to drainage problems, according to Rinaldo, is the street’s high crown. Unfortunately, lowering the crown would require tearing up and totally reconstructing the street, potentially adding several hundred thousand dollars to the cost. Rinaldo said testing and core samples of the street did not show a need for reconstruction, because the base is strong. Profile milling was done instead; that is, taking a very small amount of material off the top and replacing it with petromat, a fiber-containing paving material that provides an extra layer of strength over trench cuts and divots.

Problems on the 500 block are also being addressed.

Rinaldo explained that other jobs he's been involved with in the borough did not have these kinds of problems and that this is the third or fourth project he's done with Pennsy Supply. Pennsy installed the sidewalks on the 600 block, while a subcontractor, Sauder Brothers Concrete, did the 500 block. The total project cost for the two blocks was a little over $432,000. Rinaldo said no contractors have been paid so far. 
[UPDATE 11/30/18: According to a source, contractors have been paid, except for the final 5%.]

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Final Agenda - Planning Commission Meeting, November 27, 2018

Columbia's art & music coordinator is guest on WITF's Smart Talk

This edition of WITF's Smart Talk features Dr. John Gerdy, founder and executive director of Music for Everyone and Lisa Sempsey, music teacher and K-12 art and music curriculum coordinator for Columbia Borough School District.

The discussion starts at 27:48 HERE.

Déjà Vu 2016: Borough officials disgruntled over cost of advertising

July 17, 2016 article in LNP's Sunday News

A previously settled issue was raised again at the borough's November Finance Committee meeting: whether or not the borough is required to publish advertisements and notices in Lancaster Newspapers (LNP) as opposed to other cheaper publications, such as the Central Penn Business Journal (CPBJ) or the Merchandiser. The issue had been decided and closed in 2016 after a borough survey showed residents overwhelming preferred LNP, and LNP's legal representative sent a letter to council explaining that a state law requires local governments to publish notices in a newspaper of general circulation. At the July 2016 borough council meeting, President Kelly Murphy announced the borough's decision to stay with LNP, according to an article (shown above) by LNP correspondent Sharon Lintner.

However, the issue surfaced again at Monday's meeting, when committee member John Novak questioned an $800 charge for the publication of a borough bid notice. "I'm continually in awe at the cost of advertising in LNP," Novak said. His comment set off a discussion among committee members and other officials present. Finance Manager Georgianna Schreck said that some other municipalities publish their advertisements only on their websites. Committee member Cleon Berntheizel requested more information about which municipalities and any consequences they may have experienced. Berntheizel also asked if the notices could be placed in publications in another county, prompting a response from Borough Manager Rebecca Denlinger. "You advertise to give your residents notice, so it has to be a publication that your residents typically have access to," she said. Berntheizel then claimed that more residents see the Merchandiser than LNP because it's free and is delivered to every household. 

According to state law, however, a newspaper of general circulation must be sold at fixed prices per copy per week, per month or per year, to subscribers and readers without regard to business, trade, profession or class. Also, free newspapers are not considered "newspapers of general circulation"; therefore, legal advertising cannot be done in free newspapers, as stated below. In addition, LNP's circulation numbers far outweigh those of CPBJ, as stated in Lintner's article.

According to, the Legal Definition of a Newspaper is as follows:

Newspapers of General Circulation (45 Pa. C.S.A. § 101)

A "newspaper of general circulation” is a newspaper that is:

  • issued at least once a week (daily newspapers are included in this description);
  • intended for general distribution and circulation; and
  • sold at fixed prices per copy per week, per month or per year, to subscribers and readers without regard to business, trade, profession or class.

Basically, any daily or weekly newspaper that is sold to the public in general is a "newspaper of general circulation."

A “Newspaper” is defined as:

  • a printed paper or publication;
  • bearing a title or name;
  • reporting local or general news;
  • printing editorial comment, announcements, miscellaneous reading matter, commercial advertising, classified advertising, legal advertising, and other notices;
  • must be at least four or more pages long per publication;
  • published continuously during a period of at least six (6) months, or as the successor of such a printed paper or publication issued during an immediate prior period of at least six (6) months;
  • is circulated and distributed from an established place of business to subscribers or readers;
  • is sold for a definite price;
  • either entered or entitled to be entered under the Postal Rules and Regulations as periodical matter (formerly second class mail); and
  • subscribed for by readers at a fixed price for each copy, or at a price fixed per year.

Free Newspapers: Free newspapers are not considered "newspapers of general circulation." Legal advertising cannot be done in free newspapers even if they meet all of the above requirements.

Internet Publishing: The law does not specifically address including legal advertisements on internet versions of a newspaper. It is the position of the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association that "printed" legal advertisements can remain in an on-line reproduction of a newspaper, but such an advertisement cannot be considered a paid legal advertisement. The actual legal advertisement itself must be in a printed newspaper of general circulation and the advertising fee must reflect the publication in this newspaper only.

Unauthorized Advertisements: Only government advertisements authorized by law may be published. In addition, advertisements may not be published in more newspapers than the law authorizes (45 Pa. C.S.A. § 310).

York County DA clears police officer in shooting death of Columbia man

The York County district attorney has ruled that a West Manchester Township police officer was justified in fatally shooting Logan James Montgomery of Columbia, who fired at him first in a Manchester Township motel room last summer.

A news release from the DA's office is shown below:

Monday, November 26, 2018

Borough looks at personnel changes, retirement

Borough officials considered several tentative personnel changes and accepted a notice of retirement at Monday night's Finance Committee meeting.

Borough Manager Rebecca Denlinger announced the retirement of Public Works Director Ron Miller, effective February 1, 2019. Miller has been with the borough most recently since 2011. Current Highway Department Manager Jake Graham and an administrative assistant will take over most of the responsibilities of the position, with remaining duties to be covered by Denlinger and the borough engineer.

Two personnel moves were also announced: Current Finance Manager Georgianna Schreck will become Assistant Borough Manager, and accountant Kyle Watts will fill the Finance Manager position. Schreck will stay at her current salary, but Watts will see an increase to $55,000 annually.  Watts has been with the borough for about a year. The vacated accountant position will be advertised publicly if it cannot be filled in-house.  The three-member committee approved motions for the transitions, which will be placed on Borough Council's December meeting agenda for a final vote. According to Denlinger, an updated organizational chart will be presented at the meeting.

DOCKET: Commonwealth of PA v. Jordan J. Yost

SPECIAL NEWS RELEASE - Kidnapping & Robbery Incident - Monday 11/26/2018 | Manheim Township Police Department

Jordan J. Yost wanted for alleged assault on Columbia man
At 11:22 a.m., Wednesday, November 14, 2018, a 40-year-old male from Columbia, PA, was voluntarily with Jordan J. Yost, M/24, homeless, at the Walmart at 2030 Fruitville Pike in Manheim Township.  At that time, the 40-year-old male and Yost got into a dispute over Yost's use of the victim's vehicle.  Yost pulled a handgun on the male victim and forced the victim into his vehicle, holding him against his will.  Yost then drove the victim to a location in Lancaster City, where Yost met an acquaintance, Paul Howard Stauffer, III, M/32, homeless.
Yost and Stauffer repeatedly beat and pistol-whipped the victim, while videotaping the incident.  A third person known to police, but yet to be charged, also participated in the beatings of the victim.  After several hours, Yost took the victim's cell phone, various pieces of jewelry, and the victim's vehicle.  Yost left the victim with Stauffer.
During the daylight hours of Thursday, November 15, 2018, Stauffer forced the victim to meet up with two acquaintances of Stauffer, Steven Earl Cornelius, M/30, and Kieffer Shayla Napolitan, F/27, both homeless.  Stauffer, Cornelius, and Napolitan then forced the victim to walk to various stores throughout Lancaster City and forced him to use his PA electronic benefits transfer access card to obtain food and money for illegal drugs.
During the evening hours of Thursday, November 15, 2018, Stauffer, Cornelius, and Napolitan forced the victim to board a Red Rose Transit Bus from Lancaster City to Columbia Borough, PA.  Upon arrival, they forced the victim back to his apartment where they continued to hold him against his will.  Inside the apartment, Stauffer, Cornelius, and Napolitan began to steal items from the victim.  They also made a recording of them beating the victim, threatening him by holding a knife to his face, and pointing a paintball gun at his head. 
During the morning hours of Friday, November 16, 2018, Stauffer, Cornelius, and Napolitan attempted extortion with the victim's family, by demanding they pay money for his release.  While doing so, they were seated in a vehicle near the victim's house.  At the same time, Stauffer, Cornelius, Napolitan, and the victim were observed sitting in the car, by Columbia Borough Police on routine patrol in the area.  The three suspects and the victim then returned to the victim's apartment.  Moments later, the Columbia Borough Police responded to the apartment to check on the victim's welfare and determined that he had been kidnapped days before, held against his will, robbed, and assaulted. 
Stauffer, Cornelius, and Napolitan were taken into custody.  The victim was taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and later released.  Stauffer, Cornelius, and Napolitan were taken to Central Arraignment where they failed to post bail and were remanded to Lancaster County Prison.  A warrant was obtained for Yost's arrest and he remains a wanted person at this time.  There are additional charges pending at this time against the acquaintance of Yost's who assaulted him on Wednesday, November 14, 2018.
Any person knowing the whereabouts of Yost should call the Manheim Township Police Department at 717-569-6401 or provide information anonymously by clicking "Submit a Tip."


Jordan J. Yost
White, Non-Hispanic Male, 24 years old, homeless
Charges: Kidnapping, Criminal Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping, Aggravated Assault, Robbery of Motor Vehicle, Theft By Unlawful Taking, Unlawful Restraint, Terroristic Threats
Paul Howard Stauffer, III
White, Non-Hispanic Male, 32 years old, homeless
Charges: Kidnapping, Criminal Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping, Aggravated Assault, Robbery, Receiving Stolen Property, Terroristic Threats, Unlawful Restraint
Bail: $1,000,000.00
Steven Earl Cornelius
White, Non-Hispanic Male, 30 years old, homeless
Charges: Robbery, Criminal Conspiracy to Commit Robbery, Terroristic Threats, Simple Assault, Unlawful Restraint
Bail: $500,000.00
Kieffer Shayla Napolitan
White, Non-Hispanic Female, 27 years old, homeless
Charges: Robbery, Criminal Conspiracy to Commit Robbery, Terroristic Threats, Simple Assault, Unlawful Restraint
Bail: $500,000.00

MEDIA CONTACT: Sergeant Michael T. Piacentino, W: 717-569-6401 Ext: 1583, C: 717-340-2130,
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
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Sunday, November 25, 2018

About Town - 11/25/18

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

 A few more clues that you're in Columbia:

The COLUMBIA sign at Locust Street Park

And here's another sign you're in Columbia: a brand new sinkhole.

 According to a resident of the 600 block of Walnut Street, this sinkhole appeared today (Sunday, November 25) on the sidewalk near 651 Walnut.

 Another sinkhole had been noted a few weeks ago near the same spot. This most recent one measures 3 to 4 feet long by about 2-1/2 feet wide by 3 to 4 feet deep. 

Columbia Borough Police and at least one member of the borough's highway department arrived on-scene late afternoon and placed barricades around the affected area.

And yet another hint you're in Columbia: a new Knox Box. 

 Unfortunately, this one was hanging open as of this morning, Sunday, November 25. A controversial lock box ordinance was passed this year. Businesses have until December 31 to comply.

The open Knox Box is located on the 400 block of Locust Street. Has anyone else noticed? By the way, the pawn shop is for sale.

Anyway, here a few more clues, basically self-explanatory:

Down on South 2nd: ventilation - old school
(A new window was recently installed.)

Tires, cut through, keep appearing along the railroad tracks right off Union Street.

This guy is shoveling the street at 6th and Poplar.

Construction vehicles left a trail of mud from the construction site.

And here's the site: the Columbia Outpatient Center - LGH.

And here's the documentation, apparently properly done. (Some businesses are allowed to renovate without the proper documentation.)

Datestone at the Columbia First Church of God at 7th and Walnut

700 block of Walnut - Looks like the rehab house is being rehabbed.

It's never a good idea to leave the key in the lift - unattended.

The lift was used to enable workers to install new Christmas lights at Locust Street Park.

Here's another ventilated building - the Haitian Maranatha Church on Locust.

Wounded mirror

Heading south - The taxes are too damn high.

Gray tabby and blue rhino

Peek of sunshine

Immature Cooper's hawk on the roof of Tollbooth Antiques

Those alternating open and solid spaces along the top of the tower are called crenels and merlons. In medieval times, archers would have shot arrows from there to fend off invading hordes.

A hint of the Columbia that was

Ghost sign

Twin peaks
(At the firehouse on North 4th)

Twin pillars
(At the Edward C. Shannon Armory on Walnut Street)

Down on the first block of North 2nd

Better check that insulation.

Aches and panes

Graffiti-riddled boxcar, many of which pass through town regularly - 
We're still waiting for the next Bansky or Haring to appear.

Four Cape Cod chairs painted in two of three secondary colors

The 500 block of Walnut - what, again?
C.S. Davidson reportedly has a 20-item punch list for the Walnut Street road project.

Clogged grates - part of why residents are getting water in their basements on the 500 and 600 blocks of Walnut

There's that giant yellowjacket again.
Kill it. Kill it quick.
Yellowjackets are mean and nasty.

St. Paul's Episcopal

Thanksgiving's over.
Time for Santa

To be unveiled

A touch of Americana

More Americana: gumball machines at Andy's

Riding high down Locust to the former Number 1 Firehouse - 
The lift was picked up by Slaymaker this past Friday morning.

12th and Manor: More ghost signs. The lower one reads: CUT GLASS CO. The upper one is illegible.

Double decker: Two rows of corbels

Oh, to be a Private Drive member

Bird brains at the municipal building

This is what the tags read on those scarves used in scarf-bombing on the 300 block of Locust.

CHI might be putting a rooftop playground on this building.
The unsightly box on top hides the unsightly cell towers.

(On the 300 block of Locust)

Here's the adjoining alleyway, containing God-knows-what.

In memory of . . .

Part of Grinnell Avenue is freezing over, because the sump pump/drainage problem has not yet been addressed. Columbia Spy will report on the borough's plan shortly.

Minimalist Christmas tree atop CHS

Meter bag for Shop Small Saturday

The turkey accepted the dinner invitation but didn't understand why he was invited.
(The musket should have been the giveaway.)

Family gathering

Gimme an n...
Gimme an r...
Gimme a t...
Gimme a p...

Gimme a W...
Gimme an s...
What's that spell?

Underfed reindeer at Burning Bridge Antiques

Hooray for the rust, white, and blue!

Unforgiven . . .

Last holdout of a wrought iron fence

They want our money, just not in person.

On track

Vintage girl's bike, circa 1965

Call the SPCA. Somebody tied a bear to a sled.

There's a scarf-bombing now. See tag somewhere above on this post.

Party hardy, Columbia - but Natty Ice?

Ice feather forming in a puddle

Some of the fence is gone from the Bank Avenue project

Offerings for the Buddha, possibly 12 apples - enough to keep the doctor away for almost two weeks.
(However, the number of apples one eats per day is directly proportional to the number of doctors who will stay away that day.)

Santa's early. He just landed his chopper on Dr. Laird's rooftop.

Doug's tree service cut a tree in Locust Street Park this weekend.

Limbs in the back

Wonder who ordered this - and why.

About to be paved in the 400 block of Avenue G?

Sunday in Columbia, but not much is open...

Who would want to shop on a Sunday anyway?

But the church is open, of course.

Free Christmas tree?

What every boy wants for Christmas - a shiny red tractor (but maybe not that big).
(Tollbooth Antiques)

Some folks in town are off their rockers.
(They shall remain nameless, for now.)

Chimney fire on the 600 block of Chestnut early Sunday afternoon

And last but not least, these shots about town, self-explanatory, submitted by Todd Stahl: