17512 Columbia

Archive for the ‘Opportunities’ Category

RE-POST OF AN EARLIER ARTICLE: Code enforcement … na-a-a-h!

In Everyday Living, Government, In Columbia, Opinions, Opportunities on July 16, 2015 at 8:44 am

PERHAPS because there’s no enforcement – there are now even more flashing signs!

Seemingly, the flashing or animated signs are everywhere and Columbia’s taking on a (south of the) border-town appearance.


Back in 2011, Columbia news, views & reviews posted this:

“Someone asked us about businesses with “flashing signs” in their windows.”

Guess what? According to the Borough code, those signs are not allowed.

§ 220-53 Prohibited signs. The following signs are prohibited in all zoning districts: Flashing, blinking, twinkling, animated or moving signs of any type, except time and temperature signs may flash. In addition, flashing lights visible from a street shall not be used to attract attention to a business. This restriction specifically includes window signs …”  

Funny thing is that (in 2011) we counted nearly a dozen of them around town (that includes more than a half dozen on one block of a main street.

Today, there are more signs.

If it’s a code or a law, enforce it. If you do not want to enforce it, get it off the books. 

Film making in Columbia soon to be a reality

In Everyday Living, Government, In Columbia, Opportunities, People, Treasures on July 14, 2015 at 11:36 am

Beth Troxell made a presentation to the council last night.

Troxell, a Columbia resident, is also a teacher at the Milton Hershey School. According to a bio at zoomInfo, she “has dedicated her professional life to turning children on to theatre. Teaching full time at The Milton Hershey School since 1996, she previously founded CHAOS Camp Hill Actors on Stage, an after school program dedicated to young children performing the classics. Beth has a Masters in Theatre Arts from The Pennsylvania State University, has directed numerous productions with children including Julius Caesar, Moby Dick, Cyrano de Bergerac, A Thousand Paper Cranes, Beauty and the Beast, and Taming of the Shrew.”

Last night, she raved about the potential that Columbia as a creative incubator; she cited the current phenomenon of creative and artistic resurgence that’s happening in Detroit.

sushi 1

She pointed to a current initiative, her husband’s film project, Sushi Cop,  at kickstarter.com.

She asked the council to consider allowing the Susquehanna Center for the Creative Arts to place signage in downtown Columbia pointing visitors to its location at 224 Locust Street.

York County’s got great parks and recreation areas

In Everyday Living, Opportunities on July 11, 2015 at 10:46 am

york parks

York County really does a great job with its parks. At the Website (http://yorkcountypa.gov/parks-recreation/the-parks.html), visitors can find out all the information about each park including the parks’ regulations, the charges for pavilion rentals and more. It’s even possible to rent a pavilion online.

changes and no changes

In Everyday Living, Government, In Columbia, Lists, Opinions, Opportunities on July 8, 2015 at 6:14 am


NO CHANGES … An armed robbery attempt on one side of town gets no police mention on its facebook page.

Another robbery attempt just outside of the other side of town gets police mention on its facebook page.

But … shortly after 2:00 pm todaythere’s this.

WAIT A MINUTEIsn’t this the Website that the mayor told everyone that the borough police department would be partnered with soon? Didn’t he say that months ago?

MANOR TOWNSHIP and WEST HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP are on the Website already!

TIME TO TAKE THIS NOTICE OFF THE BOROUGH WEBSITE: “Special Joint Meeting of Columbia Municipal Authority and Borough Council, Monday, July 6, 2015 6 pm to consider approval of an Alternative and Clean Energy Program Digester Project .” [NOTE: the notice has been removed, 6:03, 7/10/15]

WRIGHTSVILLE’s Police Department updates its citizens with facebook posts!

2 CHANGES … There’s a new face coming to Columbia soon. Look for this logo to replace the downtown bank: Susquehanna Bank. NEW LOGO

BB&T Corp. announced Tuesday that state and federal regulators have signed off on the Winston-Salem-based bank’s plans to purchase Susquehanna Bank.

“The $2.5 billion cash-and-stock deal is now expected to be completed on Aug. 1, with the conversion of Susquehanna’s (NASDAQ: SUSQ) accounts, operations and facilities to BB&T (NYSE: BBT) to be completed during the fourth quarter.”

Columbia will back away from $300K grant this time

In Everyday Living, Government, In Columbia, Lists, Opportunities, People on July 6, 2015 at 9:57 pm


Assembled in the Columbia Borough council chambers for the joint meeting of the Columbia borough council and the Municipal Authority were the seven councillors and four Authority members – Ray McCarty was absent. Council president Mike Buery convened the meeting at 6:02 pm; the meeting was convened at 8:12 pm.

Others in attendance for the presentation of information were representatives from Tetra Tech, Columbia Borough’s Wastewater Manager, John Bender, the mayor, the acting borough manager (newly returned from medical leave), the assistant secretary/treasurer and fewer than five citizens. Tetra Tech is worldwide provider of consulting, engineering, and technical services with over 13,000 employees and revenues exceeding $2.5 billion.

After a presentation from three TetraTech employees followed by comments and questions from citizens, councillors, municipal authority members, the mayor, the acting borough manager and the wastewater manager, in separate balloting, the Municipal Authority members and the councillors voted to not pursue the $300,000 grant agreement with the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Finance Agency.

On the separate issue of transferring the proceeds from the sale of the Sewer Collection System, each entity voted to transfer the $8.6 million to the Borough’s Capital Fund.

During the two hour meeting, a broad array of topics relevant to the proposed “pre-preliminary” presentation about using the current wastewater treatment facility as an anerobic digester system prompted numerous suppositions, claims, questions, suggestions and … well, more questions.

Among the statements, questions and comments heard at tonight’s meeting were these:

  • There was an observation made that a LNP – Always Lancaster reporter had inaccurately reported what was said in this article.
  • The payback period on the estimated $2,327,275 digester system was put at 16 years. This report states, “The typical simple payback for a biogas plant may be about seven years as long as the existing government incentive program is available and biogas energy is produced continuously without interruption except for scheduled regular maintenance. Some experiences in North America show that biogas energy production is often interrupted due to unforeseen maintenance and process related issues.”
  • The anerobic digester would generate an estimated 92 kW per day.
  • Among the benefits of constructing the system: retention of quality jobs
  • The proposed $300,000 grant from the Alternative and Clean Energy Program Digester Project requires a matching $300,000 of borough funds.
  • The feedstock chain for the proposed site was unclear. “Feedstocks refer to the crops or products, like waste vegetable oil, that can be used as or converted into biofuels and bioenergy. Each feedstock has advantages and disadvantages in terms of how much usable material they yield, where they can grow and how energy and water-intensive they are.”
  • Is the anerobic digester program dead? Not yet, more details will have to be provided.

This British Website claims, “The key to a viable and sustainable anerobic digester project is a secure supply of quality feedstock. Common feedstock streams are described below and include:

Columbia news, views & reviews consistently and regularly encourages citizens to attend meetings so they can hear, see and question what’s being said during transactions. Reading reports or listening to second-hand information from someone who may have been at the meeting provides, at best, superficial and selective accounts of what actually transpired or was said.

Columbia news, views & reviews does record all public meetings and offers copies of the meetings. If you want a copy of the audio recording, send an email to 17512@mail.com.

When bad stuff happens in Ephrata, people know it

In Everyday Living, Government, In Columbia, Opportunities on July 6, 2015 at 12:37 pm

This Lancaster Online article begins, “More than a dozen vehicles were broken into in Ephrata Borough overnight Thursday, police said.

Gee, the Police Department even posts notices on its facebook page.

And the department’s Website.

So unlike another place we know, it’s likely to presume Ephrata would have released information if a bunch of cars had slashed tires.

Meanwhile, in Lancaster, citizens actually get to see the council meeting agenda hours before the meeting.

And how about adding an agenda item for an upcoming council meeting? Reinstate the four parking meeters in the spaces that were removed on Fourth Street when the diagnostic center came on the scene. Let’s get that meter revenue reinstated.


And let’s get back those four parking spaces.

Tonight’s joint “special meeting”

In Everyday Living, Government, In Columbia, Lists, Opinions, Opportunities on July 6, 2015 at 7:01 am

It’s right there on the borough Website: “Special Joint Meeting of Columbia Municipal Authority and Borough Council, Monday, July 6, 2015 6 pm to consider approval of an Alternative and Clean Energy Program Digester Project .”

The published legal notice says a bit more: “Notice is hereby given that a Joint Special Meeting of Columbia Borough Council and Columbia Municipal Authority will be held on Monday, July 6, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. in the Borough Hall, 308 Locust Street, Columbia, PA to consider approval of an Alternative and Clean Energy Program Digester Project and any other necessary Borough and/or Authority business. If you are a person with a disability wishing to attend and require an accommodation to participate in the meeting, please contact the Borough Office at 717-684-2467. Georgianna Schreck Assistant Secretary/ Treasurer.”

A couple months ago, a Lancaster Online article  noted that Columbia Borough would be the first in the state to have one like this and would be eligible for a “$1,449,952 loan and a $300,000 grant” to build an “anaerobic digester at its wastewater treatment plant that would use food waste, delivered by truck from area food-processing plants and other sources.”

This Website, though, shows three Pennsylvania municipalities operating “Biogas Conditioning Systems.”

What is a Digester? The American Biogas Council explains “How bio-gas systems work.”

Well, digesters are big with dairy farmers, especially since the commonwealth rolled out a grant and low-interest loan program. Dairies, too, have readily available raw materials needed to digest. Cow poop, and pig poop, it appears produce significant amounts of methane, and “Methane is both a potent greenhouse gas and a valuable source of energy,” according to this federal government report.

digesterPennsylvania has 30 dairy digesters, including the one shown at Oregon Dairy, as well as around 5 swine digesters. About 10 of those have been installed since 2010.” – biocycle.net

According to a 2011 Department of Community and Economic Development news release, “These projects also will have a positive effect on the communities surrounding them by diverting waste from landfills to be used as organic fertilizers, and reducing the consumption of electricity from the power grid.” DCED’s Alternative and Clean Energy Program details are listed here.

The same news release revealed, “Yippee Farms will receive $1.1 million in grants and loans from the Alternative and Clean Energy program for the purchase and installation of an anaerobic digester that will produce biogas from manure and food waste to generate electricity at its dairy farm in Rapho Township, Lancaster County.  The digester will provide annual energy production of 3,354,762 kWh, exceeding the farm’s current electrical consumption of approximately 1,200,000 kWh. The total project cost is $2.2 million.”

Obstacles to Further Development or Deployment of Anaerobic Digesters


“Controlled anaerobic digestion requires sustaining somewhat delicate microbial ecosystems. Digesters must be kept at certain temperatures to produce biogas, and the introduction of inorganic or non-digestible waste can damage systems. Performance issues with agricultural digesters in the 1980’s stalled their development and damaged their reputation amongst farmers. Improvements have been made to the current generation of digesters, but questions about long-term reliability still remain.”

Investment uncertainty

“Installation, siting, and the operation of digesters remain costly. When biogas is utilized for energy, agricultural digesters have a payback period of around 3 to 7 years; WWTP digesters have a payback period of less than 3 years, and less if food wastes are also accepted as co-digestion fuel. Financial incentives have helped to catalyze the development of digesters with longer payback periods, but uncertainty about long-term support for digester projects, in the form of tax incentives or subsidies, has impeded development.”

Interconnection with the electricity grid

“While the Energy Policy Act of 2005 required net metering (the ability for electricity consumers to sell electricity generated on-site back to a utility) to be offered to consumers upon request in every state, disparate policy implementation and electricity rates have hindered wide-scale adoption of anaerobic digesters for electricity generation from agricultural sources. California, for example, does not allow utility providers to apply standby charges, minimum monthly charges, or interconnection fees, but utility providers do not buy back excess electricity, leading many farmers to burn-off excess gas rather than to provide the utilities with free energy to the grid. Further hindering adoption are varying limits on the amount of electricity that may be sold back to the grid under net metering rules. The situation should improve as electricity providers gain experience in incorporating anaerobic digesters into the electrical grid.”

There can be personal safety hazards, too. This Penn State report states, “Anaerobic digestion systems and associated manure storage and handling present many safety hazards.”

Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Website has a great deal more about Anaerobic Digestion Basics.

Guess you’ll have to come to tonight’s joint meeting to get all the poop and more answers about the $1,449,952 loan and a $300,000 grant and the intended particulars.


just as the councillor said it would be

In Everyday Living, Government, History and Heritage, In Columbia, Opportunities, The Susquehanna on July 5, 2015 at 9:50 pm

One of the councillors has been railing against the unseen maintenance expenses that would be coming at the River Park. Appears the councillor’s sometime tirades may have some accuracy. Or maybe not.

The beautiful new Columbia Crossings building is loaded with unattractive spider webs loaded with victims. Visitors to the structure will not be impressed with the lack of attention and maintenance.



So if the borough doesn’t maintain the building and allows visitors to see the lack of attention to periodic eradication of spider webs in the structure and on the light and spy camera standards, the borough will will not spend money. If the borough does decide to keep up the building, it will add to labor costs, so the councillor will have been on target.


The flotsam that’s accumulated by one of the floating docks, too, presents the same issue. Clean it or let it go. It depends on the message that the borough wants to present to park visitors.

Noticed these visitors at the Park on Sunday afternoon. But they did not use any of the very scarce parking spaces in the park.


Nice to see the pavilion being used; but a pressing issue turns up when Columbia Crossing visitors, pavilion guests and others look for parking.


Parking on the grassy area is for overflow parking vehicles with trailers. The reality of having your cake and eating it too is that the majority of parking spaces at the River Park, aka boat launch or marina, are for vehicles with trailers. Visitors to the park, well, you’re on your own.


Visitors may have to exercise their creative expertise and park along the access road to the grassy area behind the gated access point to the huge grassy area just beyond the kayak rental place. But once they find a parking space, the majesty of the River or the breathtaking splendor of the Bridge provides truly awesome photo opportunities.


Fish-for-Free Day (tomorrow) is great way for families to “catch” the fun of fishing!

In Everyday Living, Government, In Columbia, Opportunities on July 3, 2015 at 7:26 am


Tomorrow is one of Pennsylvania’s Fish-For-Free days: “Fish-for-Free Days allow anyone (resident or non-resident) to legally fish on Pennsylvania waterways on the designated days with NO FISHING LICENSE REQUIRED (Trout/Salmon and Lake Erie permits are also NOT required). All other fishing regulations still apply.

Have you noticed? Daylight hours are getting shorter; sigh, winter’s coming.

“Don’t Let Fun with Fireworks Turn Tragic”

In Education, Everyday Living, In Columbia, Opportunities on July 3, 2015 at 7:06 am

You see the fireworks-selling tents springing up in parking lots along the roads and streets in Pennsylvania this time of the year … but is the stuff for sale there legal? Well, it depends … the legal products include: sparklers, fire crackers, fountains, bottle rockets, and Roman candles … (SOURCE: Columbia news, views & reviews)

fireworks two

“Americans have a longstanding tradition of enjoying hot dogs, hamburgers and apple pie at family gatherings to celebrate Independence Day. Some festivities also include fireworks. Unfortunately, what may seem like harmless fun with fireworks, can quickly turn into a tragedy.

“In 2014, this became a reality for thousands of families. According to our most recent fireworks report, 11 consumers were killed (up from eight in the previous year) and more than 10,000 (down from more than 11,000) were injured by fireworks.

“Here’s a particularly troubling aspect of these incidents: three of the victims who died were not even present where fireworks devices were being used. Our report describes:

  • a 19-year-old female died from smoke inhalation after a sparkler was thrown into a second floor window and ignited a fire inside her home; and
  • an elderly couple killed in a house fire when debris from the neighbor’s fireworks ignited their home.

“These reports remind us that improper fireworks use can be deadly to the user and also harmful to friends, loved ones and neighbors. Other fireworks incidents have become deadly when banned, professional or homemade devices are involved.”

Read this article in full at the Consumer Product Safety Commission blogsite.


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