Friday, January 31, 2020

Agenda - Columbia Borough Council Work Session - February 4, 2020

Land bank takes over Columbia house damaged by fire

EMILY JONES | LNP Correspondent

- When: Council meeting, Jan. 28.

- What happened: Council voted unanimously for the Lancaster County Land Bank to acquire property at 521 Locust St.

- Background: The Lancaster County Land Bank deals with real estate problems such as abandoned, blighted or tax-delinquent properties. If the municipality and school district agree to turn over the property to the land bank, the property will be taken off the tax rolls while it is rehabilitated for sale.

- Why it matters: 521 Locust St. was recently damaged in a fire. Council reported the owner has no intention to restore the damage, and the property is tax delinquent. The property, currently worth an estimated $36,600, is in a residential area between Route 462 and North Sixth Street, near the Columbia Public Library and Park Elementary School. Council President Heather Zink and Mayor Leo S. Lutz speculated that when rehabilitated, the property could be sold for at least twice its current value, generating property tax revenue for the borough. The Columbia school board also approved the acquisition of the property by the land bank.

- Quotable: "If we don't take it, it's just going to sit there, because the owner has indicated that they are basically going to walk away. They want nothing to do with the property," Zink said.

- Termination of contract: Council voted to renegotiate with a human resources consultant who terminated her contract with the borough in a letter dated Jan. 21. The original contract, awarded last year to consultant Kathy McCool, was the subject of a Sunshine Act complaint made against the borough by Zink, who was then running for her current seat. Zink had accused council of awarding McCool the contract without discussion in a public meeting. Zink said after the Jan. 28 meeting McCool's termination was unrelated to last year's Sunshine complaint. Instead it had to do with a misunderstanding on the part of council regarding the amount of work McCool still needed to complete.

- Columbia Crossing: Mark Platts, the president of Susquehanna National Heritage Area, which manages Columbia Crossing River Trails Center, announced the center will receive a new $10,000 grant from the National Park Service. 

Police: Columbia man had bottles of Fireball in his pockets when he was pulled over for suspected DUI

A Columbia man is facing DUI and related charges after he was found with two mini-bottles of Fireball Whiskey in his pocket during a traffic stop early Sunday morning in Manor Township, police say.

Diego Gonzalez-Colon, 34, was arrested at about 2:15 a.m. after Manor Township Police pulled him over in the area of Whitechapel Road and Sutherland Road, according to police. Because it is his third DUI offense in 10 years, police say, the DUI charge from Sunday's incident is a felony offense.


Columbia woman receives birthday transformation on 'Ambush Makeover'

Denise Keyser is a big fan of the "Today" show and its "Ambush Makeover" segment — so much so, she often works from home on Thursdays so she can watch the segment live, she said.

And now, Keyser can call herself not only a longtime fan of the show, but also a guest. 
Keyser appeared on the Thursday, Jan. 30 episode of "Ambush Makeover" where she was chosen, along with another woman, among many football fans in the "Today" show plaza to receive a new "game-changing" look for the Superbowl this Sunday.


Coming: an event barn in Columbia – Columbia news, views & reviews

A event barn | In a hearing that lasted just over two hours, last night, Columbia's zoning hearing board conditionally approved Douglas and Lori Ressler's application to operate an event barn on their property at 1145 Ridge Avenue.


Columbia names Distinguished Alumni: Hilary Hershey and Glenn Vogel

The Columbia Education Foundation honored Hilary Hershey and Glenn C. Vogel as Distinguished Alumni in November.


Scam Alert: Caller Claiming to be a Deputy Sheriff, Demanding Payment of Fine | Lancaster County District Attorney's Office

Residents are warned to beware of an active scam involving a caller identifying himself as a member of the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office while demanding payment for fines. Multiple incidents were reported to the Sheriff's Office on Tuesday. 

At least two similar incidents were reported earlier this month. In one recent report, a female received a call Tuesday from a person who claimed to be "Deputy Simmons" with the Sheriff's Office. There is no Deputy Simmons with the Sheriff's Office; however, the name of an actual deputy was used in the previous attempts. The caller told the female target that she missed a court date and there would be a warrant issued for her arrest - if a "fine" was not paid. Beware of this scam. 

Anyone with information (or who has received a call like this) is asked to contact the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office at 717-299-8200 or the Lancaster County District Attorney's Office, Detective Division, at 717-390-7771. 

Anyone with an existing fine would not be directed to make payment in such a manner.The calls are being placed from 717-883-0945. The incidents are under investigation. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041;; Twitter: @BrettHambright 

Source:  Lancaster County District Attorney's Office

Sourced via CRIMEWATCH®

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Columbia Creative Factory wants to buy old Heineman’s Department store, keep operating there

A nonprofit is working to purchase a building in Columbia as part of efforts to bring art to underserved communities and rejuvenate the area.

Columbia Creative Factory, an offshoot of the successful Lancaster Creative Factory, has been operating in the old Heineman's Department store building since 2016, with volunteers leading free and low-cost classes for children, veterans and others.


Monday, January 27, 2020

Columbia is #15 out of 20 of Pennsylvania's least educated towns

15. Columbia, Lancaster County

13.3% bachelor's degree or higher

3.7% graduate or professional degree

Paul Morgan, professor of education and demography at Penn State, says it’s all about location.

“The towns where the education level is higher tend to be closer to major, urban areas,” Morgan said.

People with higher levels of education sort into communities with those of similar educational backgrounds because of the access to services, networking opportunities and jobs that require their degrees.

On the flip side, the least educated communities tend to be isolated and rural where the educational opportunities are not as abundant.


Tuesday and Wednesday at the Library

Sunday, January 26, 2020

About Town 1/26/20

This week's photos of Columbia

 Something new has been added to the view at the Veterans Memorial Bridge Plaza.

 The "something new" is a several thousand-gallon liquid nitrogen tank that was delivered on Friday, shown here being filled that afternoon.

 The tank was installed on a 10' x 10' concrete pad next to the building on Bridge Street, which is being leased by Floyd's of Leadville.

The liquid nitrogen is used for freezing hemp, one of the steps in making cannabis oil.

Columbia Spy reported on the facility HERE.

Under normal atmospheric pressure, nitrogen exists as a liquid between the temperatures of -210°C and -196°C which equals -346°F and -320.44°F.

Note the ice on pipes and hoses at the back of the truck.

 Here's a zoning permit that was seen posted at the property on Friday. It states that it's for "Patch Roof - Concrete Pad w/fence - Ballards - Upgrade Elec."

 Shown here are some of the tank controls and fixtures.

 This device is mounted next to the tank.

 The top of the tank is visible above the Veterans Memorial Bridge.


 Night lights

 Looks like Christmas is still hanging around.

 Winter is too.

 A Columbia bargain

 Something used to be here along Shawnee Run, near South 4th.

 Rock face

 Good policy, because the trains always win.

 River ice

 The river freezes, thaws . . . 

and freezes.

Here's what a little determination can do over time.

 A water line that extends from under a stone archway is leaking and has been for a few years.  They archway is near or is possibly part of one of the "Civil War bridge" piers.

Also seen this week:

 Sign down at the post office

 Peeling back the surface to show what's underneath

 Down at Hotel Locust

 Back in the day, kids used to deliver Sunday newspapers for Stover's News Agency from a cart similar to this. The Stover's cart might have been a bit bigger.

 Looks like traffic cones work like this, too.

River rocks over and under

 A new kind of river rock - or someone's old seat?

 Don't worry. They'll be back here soon enough.

 Just around the corner - and in the window.

 When your pumpkin melts, it might be time to get rid of it.

 Some folks build walls.

 Someone hasn't been paying attention here.

Not no way. Not no how.

 Tunnel under the tracks to let Shawnee Run ... run

MarinePlus getting the boat wet

Crane at the former firehouse on Front Street. Columbia Borough now owns the building, currently leased to K.T. Graham.

Movement at that shop on the 400 block of Locust

Reading, step-by-step

Busted fire hydrant being consoled by a traffic cone


 Here's what came rolling through town on Saturday.

 Some sort of humongous unit on a flatbed was being transported along Route 462.

 The truck was escorted by two smaller trucks, front and back.

 Columbia Borough Police also helped out with traffic control.

 There was a high pole mounted to the front of the lead truck to measure the height of power lines.

 The entourage proceeded eastward along Route 462.