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Archive for April, 2012|Monthly archive page

today’s news … Monday, April 30, 2012

In Uncategorized on April 30, 2012 at 6:00 am

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

Quote for today“The world’s favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.” – Edwin Way Teale

  • Published at Columbia news, views & reviews on April 11, 2012: “The Mount Joy Area Historical Society will meet Monday at 7 p.m. at the society building, 120 Fairview St. Guest speaker will be Ken McCrea, who will discuss “The Planning and Building of the Reading and Columbia Railroad.” Refreshments will be served after the program. The meeting is free.” – Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/New Era  [NOTE: Today, there is an operating business known as the  Columbia and Reading Railway Company located at  197 Dock Street, Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972. There is “chatter” about it at the Railway Preservation News Website. There may be more chatter in the future.]

National Emergency Alert System Goes Live

In Everyday Living, Government, Opportunities on April 30, 2012 at 5:39 am

“After much anticipation, the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) went live last weekend, a first-of-its-kind national alert system in the U.S. that allows the public to receive major emergency alert notifications on their mobile phones without having to sign up or pay for them.

“CMAS is the interface to the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) service that wireless phone carriers will roll out in the U.S. this year. The system was developed through a partnership between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the FCC and wireless phone carriers to increase public safety nationwide, according to FEMA.

“Through the CMAS system, authorized public safety authorities will be able to use FEMA’s Open Platform for Emergency Networks (IPAWS-OPEN) to send geographically specific emergency alert notifications similar to text messages to the public.

“Alerts can be a maximum of 90 characters, and in most cases, will only contain basic information such as the type of emergency, when the alert will expire and a recommended course of action. Cellphone carriers will sell mobile phones with the capability to receive CMAS notifications, said Rick Wimberly, president of Galain Solutions Inc., and blogger for Emergency Management magazine, Government Technology’s sister publication. Carriers like AT&T have already provided a list of models that can receive CMAS notifications.

“Free Service

“Individuals will not be charged to receive the messages, and alerting authorities will not pay wireless phone carriers for sending out the notifications, according to FEMA. The alerts will be sent to mobile phones via broadcast technology to avoid the delay that typically happens during an emergency when wireless voice and data services are ‘highly congested.’

“Three types of messages will be sent to mobile phones: imminent threats, Amber alerts and presidential messages, but according to FEMA, most alerts will be issued by the National Weather Service.

“Imminent threats include tornado, tsunami, hurricane, flood and other types of severe weather warnings, all of which will come from the National Weather Service, Wimberly said. For other imminent threats — hazardous materials incidents, for example — alerts may be issued by state and local officials, who must complete a four-step authorization process.

“Wimberly said that for officials to get Read the rest of this entry »

today’s news … Sunday, April 29

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

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

Quote for today“A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running.” – Groucho Marx

  • “Who’s challenging their assessments? Everybody.” A listing of the 764 properties filed for reduced assessments is included with the linked article. “BHI Properties LLC, of Mifflintown, challenged assessments on 17 separate properties, most of them single-family dwellings in Columbia. The firm got four reductions; 13 other appeals were denied.”- Lancaster Sunday News
  • Gulp; 24% unemployment rate. “(Spain’s) government reported Friday that unemployment rose to 24.4 percent in the first quarter — compared with 22.9 percent in the fourth quarter — and that more than half of Spaniards under 25 are now without jobs.” – The Boston Globe
  • “Graham Packaging, York, Pa., has been assigned a patent (8,162,655) developed by Gregory Trude, Seven Valleys, Pa., and Paul Kelley, Wrightsville, Pa., for a “system and method for forming a container having a grip region.” – TargetedNews
  • There’s an interesting newcomer, Columbia & Reading Railway, LLC, to Columbia in the Property Transfers listing: “Paul H. Meisenbach and Cleona E. Meisenbach conveyed property on a public road to Columbia & Reading Railway LLC for $145,000.” – Lancaster Sunday News

That’ll never happen: $30 million theft in a small town

In Everyday Living, Government, History and Heritage, People on April 29, 2012 at 5:43 am

There was a syndicated article in yesterday’s Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/New Era about an embezzlement of more than $30,000,000 of municipal money in a small town in Illinois.

The town is Dixon, Illinois.

A decade or so ago, we spent some time in this town of about 14,000 people. While playing golf at the Dixon Country Club one day, our host pointed out President Ronald Reagan’s one-time home was in Dixon. This is middle-America. This is the fertile ground which embraced the ideology of the newly founded Republican Party.

Then in mid-April, The Chicago Tribune and the Sauk Valley Press broke the news that the small town’s “trusted employee” allegedly had robbed ’em to the tune of over $30 million.

It’s a fascinating story and you can read lots about it in the Sauk Valley Press; the newspaper carries seven days of active articles, then readers are asked to pay for archived articles. If you click here now, you’ll be able to read the aftermath and chronicle of events. The Huffington Post carried this article.

You can read all about how this “small town” municipal trusted employee carried out a scheme that financed her extravagant lifestyle and how the townspeople are in disbelief.

An oft-repeated phrase comes into play: “I never thought that could happen here.”

Really! Come on; if it can happen it can happen anywhere.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: There’s an article in today’s Reading Eagle that has close kinship to “trusted employee theft.” The article identifies the financial mismanagement and a “spending plan shocking for its lack of details.”)

“Debt Collector Is Faulted for Tough Tactics in Hospitals” – New York Times article

In Everyday Living on April 29, 2012 at 5:20 am

“Having a medical crisis that lands you in the hospital is stressful enough, but there’s a disturbing new trend that’s so bad, it makes the indignity of wearing a hospital gown pale in comparison. Debt collectors are masquerading as hospital workers and demanding that sick people cough up payments for old medical bills before receiving treatment — even in emergency rooms. ” (SOURCE: Time Moneyland

Janie Airey / Getty Images
New York Times – by Jessica Silver-Greenberg
“Hospital patients waiting in an emergency room or convalescing after surgery are being confronted by an unexpected visitor: a debt collector at bedside.

“This and other aggressive tactics by one of the nation’s largest collectors of medical debts, Accretive Health, were revealed on Tuesday by the Minnesota attorney general, raising concerns that such practices have become common at hospitals across the country.

“The tactics, like embedding debt collectors as employees in emergency rooms and demanding that patients pay before receiving treatment, were outlined in hundreds of company documents released by the attorney general. And they cast a spotlight on the increasingly desperate strategies among hospitals to recoup payments as their unpaid debts mount.

“To patients, the debt collectors may look indistinguishable from hospital employees, may demand they pay outstanding bills and may discourage them from seeking emergency care at all, even using scripts like those in collection boiler rooms, according to the documents and employees interviewed by The New York Times.

“In some cases, the company’s workers had access to health information while persuading patients to pay overdue bills, possibly in violation of federal privacy laws, the documents indicate.

“The attorney general, Lori Swanson, also said that Accretive employees may have broken the law by not clearly identifying themselves as debt collectors.

“Accretive Health has contracts not only with two hospitals cited in Minnesota but also with some of the largest hospital systems in the country, including Henry Ford Health System in Michigan and Intermountain Healthcare in Utah. Company executives declined to comment on Tuesday.

“Although Ms. Swanson did not bring action against the company on Tuesday, she said she was in discussions with state and federal regulators about a coordinated response to Accretive Health’s practices across the country. Regulators in Illinois, where Accretive is based, are watching the developments closely, according to Sue Hofer, a spokeswoman with the State Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.”

To continue reading this New York Times article, click here.

today’s news … Saturday, April 28

In Uncategorized on April 28, 2012 at 6:00 am

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

Quote for today … The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.” –Hanna Rion

  • “Today is the day to get rid of prescription drugs you no longer need. State police will accept unwanted, expired and unused prescription drugs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its Lancaster station at 2099 Lincoln Highway East.The service is free and anonymous. No questions are asked.The local effort is part of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.” – Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/New Era
  • LEGAL NOTICE, published in the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/New Era on April 28, 2012: “LEGAL NOTICE Columbia Borough is seeking sealed bids for a surplus 2005 Crown Victoria Police Cruiser. The vehicle has 99,808 miles and is operable. The vehicle will be sold “as-is” with no warranty and the sale will be final. The car will be located at 430 South Front Street for viewing between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. If interested in bidding for this vehicle, please provide a sealed bid to Columbia Borough, 308 Locust Street, Columbia PA 17512 by Thursday May 10, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. Bids will be opened and read aloud at that time. The bid will be awarded to the highest responsible bidder at Borough Council’s public meeting on May 14, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. at 308 Locust Street, Columbia PA 17512. The Borough has the right to reject any and all bids. Any questions, please contact Ron Miller, Public Works, 717-684-2654 X29 Norman B. Meiskey III Borough Manager.”

Columbia Public Library Newsletter – May 2012

In Education, Everyday Living, In Columbia, Opportunities, Treasures on April 28, 2012 at 5:30 am

Lisa Greybill invites everyone to discover the delights waiting at the Columbia Public Library with the “chock-full” May Newsletter.

The birds are singing, the grass is growing, the flowers are blooming … and lots of happenings for all ages are going on at the Columbia Public Library!

Some of our new books arriving in the month of May:

  • The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts (Boonesboro Trilogy)
  • Linspired: the Remarkable Rise of Jeremy Lin by Mike Yorkey
  • Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow
  • The Road To Grace by Richard Paul Evans
  • The 11th Hour (Women’s Murder Club) by James Patterson
  • Stolen Prey by John Sandford
  • The Storm by Clive Cussler
  • Robert B. Parker’s Lullaby by Ace Atkins
  • Breaking News by Fern Michaels

We are excited to welcome TWO new children’s storytellers: Mrs. Susan Kalas and Miss Becky Wright!

Susan Kalas is recently retired from the Somerset County Library System in New Jersey. She worked at the Bridgewater Library as programming coordinator and the North Plainfield Library as library assistant for storytelling/arts and crafts. Since moving to Lancaster, Susan would like to continue her storytelling and craft expertise on a few hours a week basis in order to allow her to enjoy the relaxation and travel that comes with retirement.

“Mrs. K” will be offering a Family Story Time and a You and Me craft time (child and adult caregiver) on alternating Mondays at 1 PM beginning May 7. May 7 will be a Mother’s Day craft. May 14 will be a Family Story Time on the topic of gardening and planting and May 21 will be a Memorial Day craft.

Susan will continue to offer alternating story times and craft times throughout our 2012 summer reading season. Dates and times may be adjusted depending on the needs of those attending.

Becky Wright is a freshman student at Harrisburg Area Community College majoring in Early Childhood Education. She graduated from Columbia High School in 2011. She is a Cadet Leader for a local girl scout troop, a member of the Columbia High School Drama Boosters, and an actress for the yearly Haunted Lantern Tour.

“Miss Becky” will begin her story and craft times on Saturday, May 5, at 10 AM. This Read the rest of this entry »

The Conversation: “Blueberries and strawberries could slow cognitive decline”

In Everyday Living, Opinions, Opportunities on April 28, 2012 at 5:30 am

The flavanoids in strawberries and blueberries could help delay dementia. EPA/Bilawal Arbab

“People who eat greater amounts of blueberries and strawberries could delay their cognitive ageing by years, according to data from a large-scale study conducted over more than three decades.

“In a paper published in the journal Annals of Neurology, German and US researchers report that cognitive decline could be delayed by up to 2½ years in elderly people who eat more of the flavonoid-rich berries.

“Flavonoids are compounds found in fruits, nuts and vegetables that have been linked to disease prevention through their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Berries are particularly high in a type of flavonoid called anthocyanidins, which can cross the blood–brain barrier to areas of learning and memory.

“The research team used data from the Nurses’ Health Study, which has collected information about the diet of 121,700 female, registered nurses since 1980. Between 1995 and 2001, the team measured cognitive function in 16,010 women over the age of 70, at two-year intervals.

“Those who ate more berries experienced a delayed cognitive decline by up to 2½ years. But the authors stressed that while they did control for health factors in the modelling, they could not exclude the possibility that participants with preserved cognition may also have been affected by lifestyle choices, such as exercise.

“Study leader Elizabeth Devore, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, said that because the US population was ageing, understanding Read the rest of this entry »

today’s news … Friday, April 27

In Uncategorized on April 27, 2012 at 6:00 am

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

Quote for today … I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.
” –
Edna St. Vincent Millay

  • Two firefighters taken to hospital;  “two adults and seven children were displaced” as a result of a fire on Union Street yesterday. – MyColumbiaNews

  • The COLUMBIA ROTARY CLUB CHICKEN BBQ will be held on Saturday, April 28 from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm at Columbia Animal Hospital, 4081 Columbia Avenue. For only $7.50 per dinner you will enjoy 1/2 chicken, potato, roll, and applesauce. Support the Rotary Club; the Columbia Rotary Club contributed $16,500 towards the renovation of Columbia’s Rotary Park.
  • “Columbia’s Frank Sahd Salvage Center will hold its annual Earth Day celebration Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at its facility at 1045 Lancaster Ave. The free family-friendly event will showcase dozens of local organizations and their “green” innovations, as well as give participants an opportunity to earn extra money by recycling aluminum cans and other metals.” – Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/New Era
  • “Harrisburg International Airport on Wednesday reported a 5.2 percent increase in passenger traffic for March;” the busiest quarter since 2005. – York Dispatch

  • Baltimore Sun columnist, Susan Reimer’s column about “The $822,000 Vegas bash and the $47 prostitute” hits the nail dead on … these people in government just do not care that they are spending someone else’s money. And the hell of it is it happens at all levels of government … local, state, federal.
  • Letter writers praise Titanic events in Columbia; address climate change and communists in Congress in letters to the editors in today’s Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/New Era

Thinking about starting a business? Need help?

In Education, Government, Opportunities on April 27, 2012 at 5:29 am

If you are one person who is considering starting your own business, it can be really difficult to get information about how to proceed … specifically at the local level. There are no “open doors” here for you to get information unless you are a major corporation.

There is, however, this Pennsylvania-prepared comprehensive guide to help you.

“Each year thousands of Pennsylvanians begin the journey toward entrepreneur ship. Some travel alone with nothing more
than a good idea for a business and money they have saved from their own paycheck. Other potential entrepreneurs need to
develop a detailed plan, secure financing and investigate industry, state and federal regulations.

“Whether your journey from concept to opening day is months or years, you will discover that starting a business requires answers to numerous questions. You will also find that once the business is started, the need for quick, concise information continues throughout corporate life. This guide (above) is intended to direct you toward the people, agencies, and sources of information that can provide answers to both business development and growth questions.”