Saturday, February 4, 2023

Nightly lane closures next week on Route 30 Susquehanna bridge

The Route 30 bridge over the Susquehanna River will have nighttime lane restrictions next week so workers can install strain gauges.

Lane restrictions are scheduled to be in place between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. nightly from Monday through Thursday, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Workers will be installing gauges to measure how weight and movement cause stress on the bridge.

The right lane and shoulder will be closed while work takes place in both eastbound and westbound directions. The left lane will remain open. Only one direction will have lane restrictions at a time.


"This town is an open trash can": Borough officials discuss Columbia's trash problem

When: Columbia Borough Council meeting, Jan. 24.

Quotable: "This town is an open trash can," Mary Wickenheiser told council members during the public comment portion. "All I can think of is we're trying to draw visitors to this town."

What happened: Columbia's planning commission chair told council members that overflowing borough trash cans are fueling a downtown litter problem that could drive away tourists.

Borough reactions: "We all own this town," Heather Zink, council president, said during a phone conversation after the meeting. "Residents need to keep the front of their property clean." After the meeting, Mayor Leo Lutz said, "The trash cans need to be refurbished and maintained."

The problem: Some downtown borough residents put household trash into borough cans instead of depositing it in a dumpster or other place specified by a property owner. Regular street sweeping handled excess litter but sweeping has stopped for winter.

Solutions: "Our plan right now is to fine any violators, as well as educate people on the proper use of those cans," Borough Manager Mark Stivers said in an email after the meeting.

More info: Columbia has 18 open trash cans downtown. River Valley, a contractor, empties those cans on Tuesdays and Fridays. Borough workers can sort through household trash bags to find the owner, Stivers said. The violation carries a $500 fine.

Thursday, February 2, 2023


February's Take & Make at the Library




Columbia rolls past Annville-Cleona 64-44

Columbia's Brooke Droege joins 1,000-point club in Crimson Tide's win [video]: L-L League girls basketball roundup for Jan. 31 games

A NEW MEMBER IN THE GRAND CLUB: Columbia junior Brooke Droege knocked down a baseline 3-pointer in the first half Tuesday night, putting her in the 1,000-point club in the Crimson Tide's victory over Annville-Cleona. She joined her twin sister, Brie Droege, and their mom, L-L League all-time leading scorer Marjorie (Rhoads) Droege, on Columbia's coveted scoring chart. 

Columbia Public Library Calendar of Events - February 2023


Ringing out loud at St. John's


Columbia’s Dominic Lenhart getting a lot out of left-handed approach in L-L League bowling

If you closed your eyes before Dominic Lenhart rolled his ball, then opened them as the ball neared the pins, you'd think it was a nice ball — for a left-handed bowler.

But Lenhart is actually a right-hander, and his unusual delivery wouldn't be the only thing you'd notice: The Columbia senior has a 208 average, which leads Section Four of the Lancaster-Lebanon League.

"I've been doing it for like four or five years now," Lenhart said. "I'm just now getting to that level. It took me a while to practice and get better at it."

Where did that delivery come from?

"I just kind of did it one day," he added. "I didn't really see anyone do it; I kind of created it, I guess."

Crafty Cards at the Library - Thursday, February 2


Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Pennsylvania PUC launches investigation into PPL billing issues

PPL president sends letter to customers about billing issues, rate increases


Lancaster County Academy partners with Columbia Borough School District | Local News |

Columbia Borough School District recently became the 10th Lancaster County School District to partner with alternative high school Lancaster County Academy.

The district purchased five seats midway through the 2022-23 academic year, meaning up to five of its students can complete their graduation requirements at the academy. Seats this year cost $5,245 but Columbia Borough received a prorated rate for joining mid-year.

Columbia Borough students will study at the academy's West campus at Donegal Springs Road in Mount Joy Borough, expanding enrollment at the campus that opened in 2021-22. 

The academy is an alternative high school offering a flexible schedule, small class size and one-on-one support to students that need a different learning environment than the traditional classroom set-up. Teen parents, students with mental health or substance abuse issues and students with a lack of motivation to finish high school are among those served, according to an academy brochure.


Homicide and Robbery Charges Filed Regarding Columbia Shooting on November 30 | Lancaster County District Attorney's Office

James Pilgrim, Jr.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Columbia Zoning Board denies use of 732 Chestnut Street as Airbnb

732 Chestnut Street 

The Columbia Borough Zoning Hearing Board denied use of a property at 732 Chestnut as a short-term rental, known as an Airbnb, at its January 25, 2023 meeting.

The property had been operating as an Airbnb since October 2022 until the borough issued a "cease-and-desist" enforcement notification letter dated November 7, because the area in which the property is located is not zoned for such a use. The property owner also paid a $500 fine for the violation.

Dan Zecher, a principal of Awakened Properties LLC, which owns the property, subsequently appealed and applied for a use variance in a letter to the borough dated December 5, 2022 but continued operating the property as a rental despite the borough's notice.

The following legal notice regarding the appeal was posted in LNP on January 10, 2023:

"Awakened Properties LLC is requesting variance(s)/special exception(s) from the Table of Permitted Uses as referenced in Chapter 220-25 and an appeal from an enforcement notice to use the single-family dwelling at 732 Chestnut Street located in the Medium Density Residential (MDR) zoning district as a short-term rental. If you are a person with a disability wishing to attend this meeting and require an accommodation to participate in the meeting, please contact the Columbia Borough Office at 684-2467 to discuss how the Borough may accommodate your needs. Sharon Cino, Zoning Officer"

Zecher appeared before the zoning board at last week's hearing and said that since his company paid the fine and was appealing the decision, he thought it was okay to continue renting the property.

After the hearing, board members adjourned to executive session and emerged to unanimously approve two motions:
  1. To deny the appeal of the zoning enforcement notice dated 11/7/22 and affirm the enforcement notice in all respects.
  2. To deny the application of Awakened Properties for all use variance to convert 732 Chestnut Street to a short-term rental.

The Columbia Borough Zoning Hearing Board voted to deny the use of 732 Chestnut Street as an Airbnb at its January 25, 2023 meeting. 

Statement from Lancaster County Chiefs of Police on the death of Tyre Nichols | Columbia Borough Police Department

Statement of the Lancaster County Chiefs of Police on the Death of Tyre Nichols 

The death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of police officers is appalling, indefensible and sickening. Our thoughts go out to Mr. Nichols’ family, his friends, colleagues, and his community. 

Our Association usually doesn’t comment on matters outside our area, however, in this instance we couldn’t stay silent. 

The individuals involved have justly been fired and criminally charged with the murder of Tyre Nichols. There is no excuse for their actions either individually or collectively. Police brutality, negligence, and the failure to render aid are rejected in each of our departments and communities. These individuals betrayed their oath of office, disgraced the law enforcement profession, and brought shame on officers across the nation who work selflessly each day to protect our communities. 

Every officer in Lancaster County has undergone the most up-to-date training through MPOETC on implicit and overt bias, the appropriate use-of-force, modern de-escalation techniques, cultural diversity, and fair and impartial policing. We have promoted “A.B.L.E.” – Active Bystander Training for our leaders and their officers. 

 The Executive Board and the members of our Association join the overwhelming number of our leaders in disgust regarding what has been reported and was released in video. Locally, we are committed to continue to sacrifice our safety for our fellow citizens. We join our community with expectations that our officers will always be compassionate, caring, and professional in every encounter. 

As police leaders we remain committed to emphasizing dignity and respect for all and instilling within our agencies a fundamental commitment to the preservation of human life. We remain committed to working together in partnership with community members, advocacy organizations, churches, elected officials, and others to build a future that ensures dignity, security, and justice for all.

Deeds Recorded - Columbia Borough - January 30, 2023

Justin Shelton conveyed property on North Third Street to Awakened Properties LLC for $110,000.

The estate of Amy M. Fox conveyed 459 Cherry St. to W. Donald Fox Jr. for $1.

The estate of Anna E. Simms and The estate of Anna J. Simms conveyed property on a public road to Lancaster County Land Bank Authority for $60,000.

Edith E. Ford conveyed property on Lancaster Avenue to Gideon S. Fisher and Mary S. Fisher for $130,000.

ARY 786 LLC, Irfan Kashif and Amir M. Paracha conveyed property on a public road to ARY 786 LLC, Irfan Kashif, Mohammed A. Khan and Zafar R. Moosa for $262,395.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

About Town - January 29, 2023

Recent photos of Columbia

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

Two Eagles fans in Washington Boro
Go Eagles!

Speaking of Washington Boro, the collapsing wall along Route 441 appears to have been fixed, at least for now.

Here's some equipment that helped do the job.

Morning in America

Deteriorating datestone at North 2nd & Walnut

Free stuff on Saturday morning

All in a row

Private address on public fence

Boat Dock

Tired cross

Shadow heart for Valentine's Day

Albatwitch sighting

He was going home after a long day.

Rustic simplicity

Last Halloween's pumpkins might be around for this year's Halloween

Still life: Knox box and flag

Butts on Locust

Sofa on Locust

Throne on Locust

More Valentine's stuff

Soon to be a courtyard on the 300 block of Locust

There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear.

A 3/4-full container of floor finish sitting out unattended.

Goodbye, Clean Quarters Laundromat

Downtown mushrooms

Downtown sidewalks are like minefields.
The issue was discussed at Tuesday's borough council meeting.

Carriage stone with the Wright Family coat of arms

The stone is made of granite. Beside it is a hitching post.

It's estimated to be about 250 years old.

It sits near this plaque at 2nd & Locust.

It snowed a little on Wednesday.

Fortunately, the snow "went away" right away.


551 Avenue H is still for sale.

Mass assembly - allowed at the former State Theater

Jersey barriers were installed this week at Columbia River Park to prevent vehicles from creating ruts on the bank.

Freedom home visitors only in this part of the CVS parking lot

Coat and hat on a tree on Manor

Coat on a tree on Locust -
Is this becoming a thing?

A large object was being moved from the old homestead at 1020 Manor this week.

Here's another look.

Double rockers at Gorman Distributors

1280 Franklin Street

Flying the flag high

Textured grave marker at Mount Bethel Cemetery

Two hearts about to meet

Glowing cable on the Veterans Memorial Bridge

No, it's not part of the bridge rehab project.

It's just reflected sunlight.

These three properties on the 400 block of Cherry Street are slated for demolition. This is the view from Avenue I.

Church windows at St. Paul's Episcopal

Services from Bootleg Betty

Electric bikes are coming to 132 Locust

Here's the front entrance.

Columbia's new State House Representative Brett Miller was moving items out of Dave Hickernell's office at 236 Locust the other day.

Miller's moving into the corner office at 132 Locust. His first official day there is Monday, January 30. The office will be open five days a week.

Saturday's sunset was worth watching . . .