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Archive for March, 2012|Monthly archive page

today’s news … Saturday, March 31

In Uncategorized on March 31, 2012 at 6:00 am

today’s news and information gleanings from here and there! 

Quote for today“I urge all drivers and cyclists to learn the rules of the road to better share our highways and make travel safer for all.” – PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch

  • Winning numbers: 2-4-23-38-46, Mega Ball 23 – “At least one ticket matched those numbers following Friday night’s drawing – purchased in Maryland’s Baltimore County, lottery officials said early Saturday.” – USAToday
  • Stephen Schober, former OLA student, is Lancaster Newspapers’ teen-of-the-week – MyColumbiaNews

(PHOTO SOURCE: Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/New Era – Stephen Schober poses outside Lancaster Catholic High School. [Justin David Graybill / Staff])

  • Medic consolidation:Philadelphia’s two largest newspapers could trade hands Monday for the fifth time in six years. Several powerful local businessmen are trying to close a deal to buy The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News from New York hedge funds.” – The Washington Post
  • “MasterCard Inc. and Visa Inc. warned that some of the data in their cardholder accounts may have been breached. MasterCard said that it had notified banks, as well as law enforcement, of a potential problem with a third party “U.S.-based entity.” – Los Angeles Times
  • POLICE LOG:MANOR TWP.: Bryce Doerrer, 22, of Lancaster, was charged with possessing a small amount of marijuana after he was found unsteady and apparently intoxicated at the Sundance Car Wash in the 2100 block of Columbia Avenue on Feb. 18, police said. – MANOR TWP.: Charges are pending against Adam Sweigart, 23, of Lititz, Read the rest of this entry »

Pennsylvania’s new bike safety law to take effect April 2

In Education, Everyday Living on March 31, 2012 at 5:35 am

PennDOT announced that the law that sets new rules for Pennsylvania motorists to follow when encountering a bicyclist will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, April 2. Governor Tom Corbett signed the law, designed to improve safety and traffic flow, on February 2, 2012.

The new law requires motorists to leave a 4-foot “cushion of safety” when passing a bicyclist. To achieve this cushion, drivers may cross a roadway’s center-line when passing a bicycle on the left, but only when opposing traffic allows. Drivers attempting to turn left must also yield the right of way to bicycle riders traveling in the opposite direction.

“The differential in speed is the biggest safety challenge with motor vehicles and bicycles sharing our state’s roadways,” said PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch. “I urge all drivers and cyclists to learn the rules of the road to better share our highways and make travel safer for all.”

The new law also calls for bicycle riders to use all reasonable efforts to avoid impeding the normal flow of traffic. When there is only one travel lane, bicyclists may use any portion of the lane to avoid hazards on the roadway, including maintaining a safe distance from stopped and parked cars.

As always, bicyclists and motorists should obey all traffic signs and signals. PennDOT also recommends bicyclists always ride predictably and signal their intentions before proceeding so that motorists have a chance to react.

Bicycle Laws

1. Before passing, you must first assess if you can maneuver around the bicyclist. Be sure to check for oncoming traffic. Important! When passing, you must allow at least four feet between your vehicle and a bicycle for the vehicle to safely pass the bicycle. When safe to do so, it is legal to cross the center double yellow line if necessary to provide the required four feet when passing a bicycle.

2. Unless making a Left turn, bicyclists traveling at less than normal speed must keep to the right side of the roadway when there is more than one lane marked for travel in that direction, and must travel in the same direction as the rest of traffic. Bicyclists may keep to the left on ONE WAY roadways.

3. When there is only one travel lane, bicyclists may use any portion of the lane to Read the rest of this entry »

Your library is a bright asset for Columbia’s residents … it’s a busy April!

In Education, Everyday Living, In Columbia, Lists, Opportunities, People on March 31, 2012 at 5:25 am

Put a visit to The Columbia Public Library into your calendar this month.  You’ll find a broad array of events that will appeal to all members of your household.

Click here to read the April newsletter.

And here is more information about two of the events:

today’s news … Friday, March 30

In Uncategorized on March 30, 2012 at 6:25 am

today’s news and information gleanings from here and there! 

Quote for today… The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. – Albert Einstein

  • “A California-based company co-founded by Chris Anderson, a 2003 Eastern York High School grad, played a role in designing the user experience for the popular social media story-telling platform that has given journalists — and really anyone — the power to produce digital news by threading together online commentary to natural disasters, protests and other events across the world.” – York Daily Record
  • “Officials at the seven Lancaster County districts said they’ll closely follow the Solanco case but don’t currently plan to change or curtail their drug-testing programs. Columbia plans to review its policy, Superintendent Barry Clippinger said, but the district ‘anticipates that no actions will be recommended until the facts in Solanco’s case are resolved in court.’”- Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/New Era
  • “If someone calls you with a pitch to buy Hempfield school construction bonds, it’s probably a hoax, school district officials say. Hempfield posted a warning on its website Thursday about an unknown individual or individuals who apparently are attempting to sell bogus bonds to residents over the phone.” – Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/New Era
  • “Donald E. Armold was third on the list of Vietnam War veterans whose names were included on a bronze plaque at a Mount Joy memorial when it was unveiled in 2010. There is only one problem, and it’s a big one. Armold, 68, of Manheim Township, isn’t a Vietnam War veteran.” – Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/New Era
  • “The following area residents were named to the dean’s list for the fall semester at Penn State University: ColumbiaDerrick Armold, Emily Detz, Elizabeth Edkin, Samantha Gaud, Victoria Grice, Luke Grice, Brandon Houck, Joshua Miller, Read the rest of this entry »

$540,000,000 – What will you do when you win half-a-billion bucks?

In Everyday Living, Opportunities on March 30, 2012 at 6:07 am

“A $540 million jackpot, if taken as a $390 million lump sum and after federal tax withholding, works out to about $293 million. With the jackpot odds at 1 in 176 million, it would cost $176 million to buy up every combination. Under that scenario, the strategy would win $117 million — less if your state also withholds taxes.

“But there are too many limitations. First, if it takes five seconds to fill out each card, you’d need almost 28 years just to mark the bubbles on the game tickets. You’d also use up the national supply of special lottery paper and lottery-machine printing ink well before all your tickets could be printed out.” (Source: mail.com)

AP Photo, people in line for tickets

AP photo, more tickets – better chance?

Here are the wish lists of some Lancaster Countians as reported in this Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/New Era article:

Record lottery jackpot fuels fantasies – Cash option is $389 million!

“James Witherspoon of Lancaster once served with the U.S. Army in Germany, and he would gladly pull up stakes and go back.

“And in his hands Thursday was his “plane ticket” back to Europe — a Mega Millions lottery ticket.

“‘I’m just going to live!’ Witherspoon, 59, said when asked what he would do if he wins the lottery, which was at $540 million Thursday night but is sure to grow. ‘I don’t want to think about it, I just want to win it!’

“He also would buy a yacht and a jet, Witherspoon said.

“Lynda Lefever said she would go on a trip Read the rest of this entry »

Those “Walking River Rats” want your support

In Everyday Living, In Columbia, Opportunities, Treasures on March 30, 2012 at 4:10 am

For our Third year in a row, The Walking River Rats will be attending the American Diabetes ” Step Out” Walk.

This year the event will be held in Middletown on October 7th.

We are seeking Members to walk with us and to donate for our fund-raisers such as Gift Certificates, Baked goods, Items for our auctions. There’s also a Virtual walk for people who might not be able to attend in person but would still like to walk.

All team members who wish to walk must register at our teams site and must get their own personal donations outside the fund-raisers. We are looking to make this year even better than last year.

Anyone who would be interested in helping our team in any way, please contact:

Lora Pennington, Team Captain, PO Box 29, Wahington Boro, Pa 17582

I can also be found at Walkingriverrats@aol.com – Walkingriverrats are also found on Facebook, along with my personal page.

Thank you for your support!

today’s news … Thursday, March 29

In Uncategorized on March 29, 2012 at 6:00 am

today’s news and information gleanings from here and there! 

Quote for today… “Violence sometimes may have cleared away obstructions quickly, but it never has proved itself creative.” – Albert Einstein

  • Citizens may think that a notice about tax collection updates would be on the Borough Website; citizens also may want to find the agenda and minutes from the February council meeting. They will be disappointed, though.
  • “Despite a number of signs telling people to wait, someone tried to pay property taxes at the Columbia Borough offices on Wednesday. But borough officials are reminding town residents that it will be Monday, April 2, until the borough resumes the collections. Columbia officials have said they can’t start collecting the taxes until after former tax collector Tom Vecchiolli closes his books with Lancaster County and they have time to learn the collection system. Columbia’s council had taken a series of steps Monday to enable the borough to collect the taxes, including appointing Borough Manager Norman Meiskey as tax collector. Residents who had tried to pay their 2012 property tax bills at Vecchiolli’s office on Cherry Street earlier this month saw a handwritten sign, notifying them he was no longer accepting payments. Anyone with questions can call the borough offices at 684-2467.” – MyColumbiaNews
  • Best Buy is closing 50 U.S. stores in fiscal 2013 and is looking to cut costs $800 million by fiscal 2015. A list of the stores to be closed was not immediately available. Best Buy said Thursday: ‘We will announce details about specific store locations and timing for closings once they are finalized.’” – USAToday
  • Who dat? featured in Pittsburgh Magazine OnLine:  “Two great collections make this village (Columbia) situated on the Susquehanna worth the visit. The National Watch & Clock Museum has a gallery commemorating the famous Hamilton Watch Co., housed in Lancaster County until 1984, with an overview of the ways humans tell time. Nearby Wright’s Ferry Mansion is the former abode of one of Pennsylvania’s most accomplished early residents, Quaker settler Susanna Wright. Her 1738 home is furnished with exquisite 18th-century American furniture and crafts. Book your room at Sheppard Mansion in Hanover. Don’t miss: Prudhomme’s Lost Cajun Kitchen. Seriously.” – Congratulations, Sharon.
  • Surveillance exoneration. At the Tuesday council meeting of the whole – part II, the mayor fessed up that the surveillance cameras recorded no substantiation to the wildly irresponsible and insidious rumor that someone spit on the window of the then “Hub” for Fourth Friday  in Columbia. It’s interesting that these cameras were installed to catch the ne’er-do-well’s. Quite a turnaround!
  • Letters to the editors in today’s Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/New Era are about hunting and guns and voting.
  • “Ah, those trusted staffers in non-profit organizations – “Democratic campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee defrauded at least 50 candidates, officeholders and political organizations out of $7 million in a scheme that dates back more than a decade, according to a court filing made Tuesday by federal prosecutors.” – USAToday

Who collects taxes across the county?

In Government, In Columbia, Lists on March 29, 2012 at 5:17 am

In a recent post about the tax collection situation in Columbia, there was a link to the Lancaster County Tax Collectors’ Listing at the County’s Website. That link listed the 2011 collecting agencies and individuals; here is a link to the 2102 listing.

Yesterday, Lancaster Newspapers, Inc. published an article (“Meiskey will collect taxes”MyColumbiaNews) announcing that the Borough would assume the role of tax collection agency for borough tax payment. In Lancaster County, five of the 18 (28%) boroughs collect their own taxes. Another 28% have a local tax collector do the task of tax collection. Eight boroughs have tax collection duties to the Lancaster County Treasurer.

Population figures, US Census 2010 and *- estimated figures from city-data.com

Curiously, Pennsylvania’s laws do provide for a tax collector for each jurisdiction; here again is the link to the Tax Collector’s Manual … in case you want to consider running for tax collector next time that office is on the ballot.

What’s the pay? You would have to get that information from the borough, but if you assume seventy-five cents per taxable property (3,772, according to the article) plus associated fees and charges, that could be in the area of $3,000 a year. Right now, that might translate into a new revenue stream for the borough.

This is for those citizens who vote.

In Everyday Living, Government, Opinions, Opportunities on March 29, 2012 at 4:23 am

Pennsylvania Voter Identification Bill

House Bill 934, also known as the Photo Voter ID bill, which requires Pennsylvanians to produce photo identification when they vote, has now been signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett.


  1. The law goes into effect immediately
  2. Photo ID will not be required for the primary election on April 24
  3. Voters will be reminded that the a photo ID will be required for the election on November 6

For the General Election in November and forward:

All photos must be current and include an expiration date, unless noted otherwise. Acceptable IDs include:

  • Photo IDs issued by the U.S. Federal Government or the Commonwealth of PA Pennsylvania driver’s license or non-driver’s license photo ID (Please note: IDs are valid for voting purposes 12 months past the expiration date)
  • Valid U.S. passport (not expired)
  • U.S. military ID – active duty and retired military (a military or veteran’s ID must designate an expiration date or designate that the expiration date is indefinite). Military dependents’ ID must contain an expiration date
  • Employee photo ID issued by Federal, PA, County or Municipal government (not expired)
  • Photo ID cards from an accredited public or private Pennsylvania college or university (not expired)
  • Photo ID cards issued by a Pennsylvania care facility, including long-term care facilities, assisted living residences or personal care homes (not expired)

If you do not have one of the IDs listed above and require one for voting purposes, you may be entitled to get one free of charge at a PennDOT Driver License Center.

To find the Driver License Center nearest you, and learn what identification and residency documentation you will need to get a photo ID, visit www.VotesPA.com or call 1-877-VotesPA (1-877-868-3772). Also, you can learn how to vote if you have a religious exemption to having your photograph taken.

Please note: NO ONE legally entitled to vote will be denied the right to do so. If you do not have a photo ID or are indigent and unable to obtain one without payment of a fee, you may cast a provisional ballot, and will have six days to provide your photo ID and/or an affirmation to your county elections office to have your ballot count.

EDITOR’S NOTE #1: This is particularly applicable for those elected “public servants” and others with very irregular voting records.

EDITOR’S NOTE #2: This is particularly important for those who want to change to an improved and ethical governing body in Columbia!

today’s news … Wednesday, March 28, 2012

In Uncategorized on March 28, 2012 at 5:25 am

today’s news and information gleanings from here and there! 

Quote for today“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” – Gustave Flaubert

  • “Thanks to a quick-acting neighbor, two Columbia men were arrested Tuesday night after allegedly burglarizing two homes in Bainbridge, police said. Susquehanna Regional police Officer Laurel Maryot quickly apprehended Scott R. Gaenzle, 33, of 305 Walnut St., Columbia, Englert said. The other occupant, later identified as Cody A. Campbell, 21, of 38 S. 8th St., Columbia, got away.” – LancasterOnLine
  • Yep there was a council “meeting of the whole” on Monday night. As stated before, in order to find out what is on the agenda and what’s happening and proposed, you have to attend the meetings. The borough’s postings of  minutes and agendas from previous meetings appear to be at least two months in arrears at the borough Website at this time. – Columbia Borough Website
  • “Thirteen Lancaster County school districts (including Columbia) have won permission from the state to boost property taxes next year by more than their state-mandated limits. The districts qualified for waivers, called exceptions, to fund nearly $11 million in expenses that are rising faster than the rate of inflation. That means residents in those districts could see their property tax bills rise in 2012-13 by an average of 4.1 percent, twice the limit districts were to adhere to under Act 1.”When schools have higher expenditures and state funding is stagnant, local taxpayers suffer,” said Laura Cowburn, assistant superintendent for business at Columbia School District. Columbia won exceptions that will enable it to raise taxes by as much as 7.6 percent — three times its index — next year to pay for $419,567 in pension and special-ed costs. Despite that extra taxing ability, Cowburn said, the district will seek to limit any increase in next year’s budget to its Act 1 index of 2.5 percent or less.” – Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/New Era