Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Shots fired - One person wounded, one deceased; suspect flees scene


Coroner called to reported shooting in Columbia

The Lancaster County coroner's office was called the the scene of a medical emergency, reportedly a shooting involving two people, late Wednesday morning in Columbia. 

Coroner Stephen Diamantoni confirmed his office was called to the scene but said he could not provide further details. Scanner broadcast communications indicated at least two people were shot, one fatally.

According to Lancaster Countywide Communications, emergency crews responded to the 200 block of North Second Street near Bridge Street around 10:48 a.m. The area is residential, near the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated. 

Monday, November 28, 2022

Deeds Recorded - Columbia Borough - November 28, 2022

Nay A. Carrillo conveyed property on North Fifth Street to Michele Lanoue Spicher for $260,000.

Jason P. Waldo and Rachel E. Waldo conveyed property on South Fourth Street to Brian A. Ortega-Paniagua for $165,000.

Kay D. Johnson conveyed 731 Plane St. to Liz & Gabe Trucking LLC for $110,000.

Kassandra B. Miller and Stacey Miller conveyed 145 S. Eighth St. to Ary 786 LLC for $194,000.

Eugenie J. Simmons and Eugenie J. Matthews conveyed property on Chestnut Street to Ronnell Simmons and Eugenie J. Simmons for $1.

Tiny Tales Story Time at the Library - Monday, November 28


Sunday, November 27, 2022

About Town - November 27, 2022

Recent photos of Columbia

(Click/tap on photos to see larger, sharper images.) 

"The Returned Soldier" at night

St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church

CVS is still having problems with its "p."



Jess the Computer Guy parked his horse outside.

A long way from home

A skid of blocks

Harvest leftovers

Borough council just voted to buy this property at 700 Franklin Street for $229,900. The borough manager wants someone to buy the house and move it off the property. Otherwise, it will be demolished.

Here's an empty lot right up the street where the house could go - right across from the proposed innovation park. Otherwise, you'll have to move it through town.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign . . .


Dig it.

Stirring up the dust.

Warming up


What could go wrong?


Stepladder to nowhere

Datestone at the former Manor School, now apartments

New roof on the Holy Trinity Cemetery chapel

Meanwhile, in York County . . .
Sheepdog protecting the herd

Sign designating where a Lincoln Highway marker used to be
(Also in York County)

A closer look

Lone heron
Spirits to raise your spirits...
With all the alcohol, the whole town will be lit, which is the only way to live with the high taxes, especially the hefty hike coming soon.

'Tis the season . . .

Friday, November 25, 2022

Storytime with Mrs. Claus - at the Library Saturday, November 26


3 properties slated for demolition, another one's going to the Land Bank

700 Franklin Street

The house at 700 Franklin Street: Will it be demolished or relocated?

Columbia Borough had its hands full with several properties around town this week. At Tuesday's Columbia Borough Council meeting, council voted 6-1 to purchase a property at 700 Franklin Street to add it to its 58-acre tract formerly known as the McGinness airfield. The borough wants the land as part of its plan to develop the tract into an innovation park, a project estimated to cost $12 million.

Borough Manager Mark Stivers said the hope is that someone will purchase and relocate the house off the property so that the borough can extend Franklin Street directly into the park. If the house is not sold and relocated, the borough plans to demolish it. The house is currently unoccupied.

The purchase price of $229,900 will be funded through a grant. Sharon Lintner voted no on the purchase.

1020 Manor Street

The old McGinness house will be demolished at a cost of $120,750.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, council voted unanimously to authorize demolition of 1020 Manor Street, which sits on the former McGinness airfield lot.

A.T.O. Excavating, Inc. was awarded the contract for the low bid of $120,750. The high cost of demolition is attributed to the amount of asbestos found in the house. According to the bid, asbestos abatement alone will cost $40,000. At the August 16, 2022 Columbia Borough Planning Commission meeting, borough engineer Derek Rinaldo said, "There is a ton of asbestos in the property - a ton." The demolition will be funded through a grant, according to borough manager Mark Stivers.

3 Shawnee Avenue

3 Shawnee Avenue: recently purchased, now to be demolished

Council also voted unanimously to authorize demolition of a two-family dwelling, pole barn, and septic tank at 3 Shawnee Avenue.

Public records show the property is assessed at $190,600 and sold for $180,000 this year to R. Christopher Smiley, who also owns Mountville Motor Sales. The applicant for the demolition is listed as Dumkopf LLC.

Photos of the house that were submitted to council show mold in various areas of the interior. The property is located near the rear of Mountville Motors.

Resident Frank Doutrich asked the assessed value of the property, but council did not know, and Alyssa Shultz, a representative of the property who was present at the meeting, did not reply. He asked what the future plans are for the property and Shultz said there are none. However, letters from owner Chris Smiley to utility companies state that the goal is for a garage to be built there. Doutrich told council he was concerned that so many properties were being torn down in the borough.

318 Poplar Street

Council voted unanimously for the Lancaster County Land Bank to acquire 318 Poplar Street. The Columbia Borough School Board has already authorized the acquisition. Back taxes are owed on the property in the amount of $11,760.23.

The Lancaster County Redevelopment Authority initially attempted to put the owners through its Home Repair Program but found they were ineligible due to the significant scope of work involved. Recently, the owners found an apartment and agreed to allow the Land Bank to acquire the property.

Borough manager sidesteps council on the way to a grant

Stivers: "I don't think council ever approved it. We discussed it."
[Columbia Spy file photo]

Columbia Borough Manager Mark Stivers failed to get council approval before applying for a grant, it was revealed at last Tuesday's council meeting. Stivers requested the grant from Lancaster County's ARPA funds in the amount of $28,000 to purchase and outfit an emergency operations center. 

Councilwoman Sharon Lintner noted that council normally approves applications for grants and said the proposed purchase was not brought to council for discussion, or listed as an agenda item.

"I don't remember it actually coming to council as an agenda item for discussion," Lintner said.

Stivers admitted he didn't formally bring it forward. "I don't think council ever approved it. We discussed it," he said. "That was my fault."

Lintner said that according to information she was given, the borough will need to pay for maintenance of equipment that could quickly become outdated. Stivers agreed, adding it will be outdated in five years.

In addition to the $28,000 from the county, the borough's ARPA funds will kick in $12,000, for a total of $40,000 for the purchase of the EOC which includes a trailer and technical equipment. (Columbia Spy reported on the purchase HERE.)

Lintner noted that in the past, the borough has used borough hall and a room at the borough maintenance building for emergencies. Stivers countered that the maintenance room has no cell phone reception and personnel have had to stand outside to receive a signal.

Mayor Leo Lutz added that the maintenance building was not a viable location due to regulations governing emergency operations within so many feet of railroads because of potentially hazardous materials being transported by train.

(ARPA stands for American Rescue Plan Act which provides relief funds for governments and other entities impacted by the pandemic.)