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Archive for the ‘Opinions’ Category

Friday – 11/17/17 – EXTRAordinaryGIVEday!

In Education, Everyday Living, Government, In Columbia, Lists, Opinions, Opportunities, People on November 17, 2017 at 6:31 am


Click here to support the agencies and organizations that are important to you.

While Columbia Borough and Lancaster County have modified property tax millage rates to account for reassessment, there was no mention of the topic at last night’s Columbia Borough School District board of directors’ meeting.

“Here’s how to check if your county property tax bill is changing under reassessment”Lancaster Online


This Thanksgiving, free holiday meals will be served at 18 locations around Lancaster County. Some locations will offer transportation and/or home delivery. Meals are available throughout the county, from Elizabethtown to New Holland.

Click here, courtesy of United Way of Lancaster County’s 2-1-1 service, for a list of locations, dates and times people can celebrate Thanksgiving with a hot meal and warm fellowship. Please note that some locations require advance reservations.

school board meeting photosSeen at last night’s school board of directors’ meeting: clockwise from top – November Students of the Month recognized for their achievements. Vickie Anspach, board of director was recognized and thanked for her service on the school board. Her term is completed. A PowerPoint slide from Dr. McGough’s presentation about his views and direction concerning the District’s Curriculum Plan. There was some contentious discussion among some of the board members about “this curriculum stuff” (according to one director).

“‘Intentional’ teaching has big impact on preschoolers”Futurity

Bon-Ton will shutter stores –  WFMZ-TV

bathrooms closed

Ah, those trusted staffers at the social club | “Former midstate police chief pleads guilty to theft from social club”WITF

Tusks and guns (or let’s let rich guys kill ’em into extinction) | Trump sons’ hunting in focus as US lifts import ban on African elephant trophiesThe Guardian

beeDr. Einstein, we are on that path!

Do pipelines leak? | “Keystone pipeline shut down after spilling 5,000 barrels of oil in South Dakota”TheHill

vent du nord

good point len.jpgWhat’s “visioning” you ask | ‘Instead of having a picture in your mind of what you want to see manifest in your life, you get internally still and quiet so that you are able to see the vision that comes to you.” – Huffington Post


Thursday – 11/16/17 – Part II

In Education, Everyday Living, Government, In Columbia, Lists, Opinions, People on November 16, 2017 at 6:55 am

Congratulations to the Columbia folks who participated in the Semper Fi 5K last Saturday – Here’s the list of the finishers’ times.

  • Jordan Haberstroh – First in group
  • Charles Leader – First in group
  • Jay Rhoads – First in group
  • Emily Gambler – First in group

market page one

Columbia’s got another LNP – Always Lancaster page one news item. With quotes from the usual suspects.

The County’s commissioners “voted to lower the rate from 3.735 mills to 2.911 mills” and not to increase taxes for 2018, according to an article in today’s LNP – Always Lancaster. The reduction in millage is in response to the countywide recent property reassessment.

At the same time, the hospital formerly known as Saint Joseph’s and Lancaster Regional Medical Center is now owned by UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) and it’s proposing to pay less “in lieu of taxes” money to the city of Lancaster.

hands acrossLook for this Columbia agency ad in today’s LNP – Always Lancaster.

POLICE LOG: Manheim Township: Gregory R. Butzer, 36, of Columbia, was charged with the theft of $29.98 worth of items Nov. 5 from Walmart, 2030 Fruitville Pike, police said.

Those smarmy overpaid “elected public servants” | “Audit shows the PA legislature has a $95 million surplus” WITF

“Change in Parking Tickets and Quick Tickets payment” Columbia Borough Website

From a letter-to-the editor in today’s LNP – Always Lancaster, “By a vote of 54 percent for and 46 percent against, Pennsylvania voters approved a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would allow the General Assembly to pass a law to authorize school boards to decide whether to exempt residents from property taxes. Greedy, moneyhungry school boards?”

The Great American Smokeout – Thursday – You can do this!


Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout event. Encourage someone you know to use the date to make a plan to quit, or plan in advance and then quit smoking that day. By quitting – even for 1 day – smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk.

“About 36.5 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world. While cigarette smoking rates have dropped (from 42% in 1965 to 15.1% in 2015), cigar, pipe, and hookah – other dangerous and addictive ways to smoke tobacco – are very much on the rise. Smoking kills people – there’s no ‘safe’ way to smoke tobacco.

“Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits at any age. Quitting is hard, but you can increase your chances of success with help. Getting help through counseling or medications can double or triple the chances of quitting successfully.” –

“Almost 70 percent of adult smokers want to quit smoking, according to a U.S. national survey. Conventional quit-smoking treatments, including counseling and medication, can double or triple the chances that a smoker will quit successfully. Some people also try complementary health approaches to help them kick the smoking habit. In one survey of people who visited a tobacco cessation clinic, two-thirds said that they were interested in trying complementary approaches.” – Learn more about QUITTING NOW here.



interesting post at Columbia Spy | about the borough’s spy cameras

In Everyday Living, Government, In Columbia, Opinions on November 14, 2017 at 9:42 pm

Here’s what’s Columbia Spy shared from last night’s council meeting about Columbia’s Spy cameras:

“Fisher asked if he could get a list of camera locations in the borough, and the mayor replied, ‘No.’ Later in the meeting, the mayor said the borough has ‘exactly 50 cameras’ but ‘there is no list.’ According to him, if the borough had a list of cameras, it would be considered public property and would have to be made available through ‘Right-to-Know,’ He said the borough does not have to create a list just to satisfy such a request. He said no list exists because of covert cameras being used in investigations.”

Interesting that there’s a investment in spy cameras but there’s no inventory of them. What kind of entity/business/government keeps acquiring things but doesn’t keep track of the resources purchased?

It’s even worse when that entity is a government entity spending citizen money.

In Lancaster, everyone knows where the surveillance cameras are positioned.


At the Website, it states: “Camera Map -Did you ever wonder where our cameras are? Would you like to know if there are safety cameras in your neighborhood? Find out now by clicking Here

In Lancaster, “The Lancaster Safety Coalition is non-profit, 501(c)3 organization that is ‘owned’ by the community. To ensure our future existence we rely on the generous support of the residents and businesses of the City of Lancaster.”

In Columbia, the cameras were purchased with funds from grants or taxpayer funds. Either way, people outside government provided the funds for government to use to protect citizens.

Elected public servants who are paid by citizens are not dictators, though some act like dictators. (See NOTE below.) They are responsible to the citizens they are elected to “protect and serve” … transparently!

Citizen requests to know where the 50 cameras are are valid requests that should be granted … without a right-to-know submission.

That’s just more arrogant disdain for the citizens served.

NOTE: All dictators come to the end and their citizens do not remember them kindly!


Tuesday – 11/14/17

In Everyday Living, Government, In Columbia, Lists, Opinions, Opportunities on November 14, 2017 at 6:48 am

thought bubbleThoughts …

about last night’s council meetingColumbia news, views & reviews was unable to attend last night’s council meeting due to a previous engagement. So we have no definitive account of what transpired. Citizens will be able to get reporting about some of what transpired by visiting Columbia Spy; watching for reports in upcoming issues of LNP – Always Lancaster; waiting a month or so to read the “official minutes” from the meeting; getting secondary accounts from persons who attended the meeting or tertiary accounts from those who “heard” about what may or may not have happened from someone who “heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend … .”

Here are the official minutes from the October council meeting.

About “write-in” candidates …


All the ballots for local offices in Columbia in last Tuesday’s election are now officially recorded at the Lancaster County Board of Elections. In spite of social media clatter about write-in campaigns and the dislike of local politics, there was no “write-in” wave of candidates strong enough to “throw the rascals out.”

Mounting a “write-in” challenge is more than just an announcement post at a social media site – it really does take concerted effort. To defeat the two-party machine that controls all politics, it takes hard work and a real plan.

Here’s one strategy that shows a blueprint: “The health of our communities depends on the leadership of politicians and business owners. The more voices that participate, the better our communities are. This blueprint shows how to run a successful campaign to help you move your ideas into action.

“By voting for a write-in … candidate … , you will send a message. Your vote will be a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the current electoral system and in conventional candidates, demonstrating that the two-party system does not give Americans enough options.” – This is from an out-of-date Website about national elections,

If you’re a voter … it’s a real good idea to become engaged in community.

  • Go to public meetings at the borough and school district.
  • Volunteer for open positions in government.
  • Walk about the community and see what is happening and what isn’t.
  • Make suggestions to and ask questions of the persons who are serving as elected public servants.
  • Be informed about who is seeking office; check them out here: https://ujsportal.pacourts.us/DocketSheets.aspx 

Lowered tax millage in ColumbiaColumbia Spy reports that the millage rate for Columbia property owned will be reduced to account for the county wide reassessment. Remember that the County’s reassessment guide stated: “The taxing bodies will have to adjust their millage rates down in proportion to the increase in taxable assessment in each individual district when they set their new budgets, beginning with the 2018 County/Muni taxes and the 2018-2019 School taxes.”

In a Columbia news, views & reviews article from last April, this is posted:

“But there are many who are quite concerned and perplexed about the inconsistencies they’ve heard in reassessment numbers. Anyone can access the County’s Property Tax Inquiry website (http://lancasterpa.devnetwedge.com/) to look at the current property tax assessment and compare it to the 2018 reassessment rate.

“Columbia news, views & reviews looked at a sampling of several properties in the borough and found the reassessment percentages quite inconsistent.

reassessment“Click here to download the above graphic as a .pdf to enlarge, share and or print.”

“chickenhawk” talk

In Everyday Living, Opinions, Opportunities, People, Uncategorized on November 12, 2017 at 9:57 am

no chickenhawkNOTE: The above quote is from a column in today’s LNP – Always Lancaster; not a letter-to-the-editor. We apologize for this error.

There’s lots of “chickenhawk” talk spewed by the RWNJ radio radicals – Hannity, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Savage, Beck et al – none of whom ever wore any uniform of any of the military branches of the United States.

Chickenhawk talkers spout jingoistic rhetoric and fake patriotism yet they actively avoided military service when they had the chance to enlist.

Former US Senator (and a US Army veteran) Frank Lautenberg said, “They talk tough on national defense and military issues and cast aspersions on others. When it was their turn to serve where were they? AWOL, that’s where they were … ”

This column from this column: “retired US Army officer reflects on anthem protests”LNP – Always Lancaster

sanity argumentAn argument for sanity and civil discourse in this column: “The Flag, the Military, and Patriotism.”


Sunday – 11/12/17

In Everyday Living, Government, History and Heritage, In Columbia, Lists, Opinions, Opportunities, People on November 12, 2017 at 6:57 am

comp II

EMPLOY A VETERAN | Here are “a few sobering statistics from the Labor Department and some reasons for hope. The unemployment rate for veterans is at an all-time low of 2.7 percent. But the data behind the numbers tells a slightly different story. The labor force participation for U.S. veterans is 49.7 percent, which means that more than 10 million veterans are currently not working or actively looking for work. Some of these veterans may be in school or on disability, but others have given up on job prospects. Nearly a third of veterans are underemployed, meaning they are working low-wage jobs that they are overqualified for.” –  MarketPlace

who are the veterans

Increasingly, there’s a deeping divide between the American population and it’s shrinking military – because “Americans know fewer veterans than ever before.  After World War II, just about all Americans knew veterans, but today many don’t. The misunderstanding and distrust of America’s modern day legionaires has concerns.

“This disconnect between civilians and the military weakens our democracy,” says the author of this article, “It’s lonely being a veteran.”

What America Looks Like After Military Service | Veterans reflect on shootings and ever-changing definitions of patriotism.”The Atlantic [NOTE: This is a website with a pay gate. The article states that veterans demonstrate hypervigilance – sense of being on alert, always!

More than a few Vietnam veterans were told by “multiple recruiters that it was a shame that I had wasted three years in the service because it made me a less desirable candidate for jobs.” It is a shameful world that rewards those who don’s serve with employment advantage.

Another veteran theme recurs: ” If I was to fight for a right, I’d fight to make sure we had our opinions heard, especially opinions that are different from our own.”

Another is: “My own version of patriotism, which is more about civic duty and shared American values of civil liberty is often discounted as un-American.”


“Americans agree about what makes them feel loved” Futurity

Where the Small-Town American Dream Lives On | Home should not be idolized — only loved.”The New Yorker

the spotJust over a week ago, Yvette Whitfield cut the ribbon opening her new business, The Spot, a new dining opportunity in Columbia at 438 Locust Street. It’s open for business 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. A facebook fan says, “The SPOT on LOCUST ST. Best deli this side of the river. They even DELIVER! Food is bangin.”

Were you on Second Life? Way back when we were; “Looking back, the future didn’t last long.” “The Digital Ruins of a Forgotten Future”The Atlantic


Lancaster County’s Inspections at Lancaster Online. Tobias S. Frogg’s parking is always overflowing. It must be the booze, because if people are going there to eat, they should be liquored up first. Check out the food preparation violations. And Mount Joy’s Sonic’s is equally bad. Both their inspections included this tip off phrase: “The person in charge does not have adequate knowledge of food safety in this food facility as evidenced by this noncompliant inspection.”

York County’s Inspections

Click here to go to the state’s Website of inspections … and the listing of the violations at each location. The statewide directory lists inspections for all municipalities in York County and Lancaster County.

… except those in Columbia – Columbia persists in having its own inspection system with its own forms and inspection items – rather than the one used statewide.

Friday – 11/10/17

In Everyday Living, Government, In Columbia, Lists, Opinions, Opportunities, People on November 10, 2017 at 5:29 am

“Texas shooting a reminder to some that churches should be more secure”CatholicPhilly.com

“In Lancaster County, 43 percent of renters are shelling out more than 35 percent of their income to cover rent, the highest share in Central Pennsylvania. The median gross rent is $908 in Lancaster County.” – Central Penn Business Journal

Several properties in the Borough remain on the Sheriff’s Sale Listing for the November 29 sale.

OK – lay that pipeline | Appeals court now says pipeline construction can continue and “In a statement, Williams said it was pleased by the court’s action.” – Lancaster Online

electric vehicles“Inside BYD: the Chinese carmaker sells more electric vehicles than any other brand in the world © Bloomberg”

China leads the world in electric vehicle production – meanwhile the US POTUS and the courts are enamored with fossil fuels. Ford and others will make electric vehicles in China. Which nation is on the right track?

Bring on the beer | “Beer sales begin at Rutter’s convenience store in Mountville”Lancaster Online


The October Community Development committee minutes are posted at the Borough Website. Included in the minutes is the above map of the proposed Downtown Business District and discussion of several other topics including the trolley, the Bid Process for Borough Owned Properties (Market House and 137 S. Front Street), the Veterans Memorial Bridge Island Gateway Project Update, the borough newsletter and more.

Not yet posted are the minutes for October for the Property Committee – though the Property Committee is an agenda item on the Preliminary Borough Council Meeting agenda for the Monday night meeting. (note this link has been corrected.)



scary stuff

In Everyday Living, Opinions, Uncategorized on November 9, 2017 at 1:17 pm

scary stuff

Like this: “Energy undersecretary wants nuclear safety reports hidden from public”The Center for Public Integrity

or this: “Bounce House Regulations, Enforcement Lacking as Injuries Soar”StateLine

or this: “Report: 2 docs approved for Pennsylvania medical marijuana program have suspended licenses”Lancaster Online




Wednesday – 11/8/17

In Everyday Living, Government, In Columbia, Lists, Opinions, People on November 8, 2017 at 5:16 am

crimewatch citizens

“2 teen boys charged with gunpoint robbery in Columbia”Lancaster Online [Can’t find that info on the CrimeWatch page  … h-m-m-m! Wonder why?]

“Pa. ballot question on property taxes passed. Here’s what it means”Philly.com

Manheim Township will get its new school – in a GOP dominant area, they lose.Lancaster Online

Yesterday’s (unofficial) election returns point to a new face on the Columbia Borough Council in January: Todd Burgard garnered 469 votes.

Love it! | “Communicreation fosters loyalty.”

Wrightsville fires its police chief The York Daily Record

docSOURCE: Philly.com

Good bye, Doc. Phillies’ fans and baseball is stunned and saddened by Roy Halladay’s death. – Philly.com

corporate tax

Not everyone agrees with the GOP stance that corporate taxes are too high. In a column in today’s LNP – Always Lancaster, a retired engineer from Armstrong World Industries tells what many already know: too many large American corporations pay very little in taxes.

The GOP tax boondoggle is just that. A murky plan to add more to the piles of cash of the “uber wealthy.” This Fortune Magazine article is on target: “Why 70% Of Companies Paid Zero In Corporate Taxes: They Had Zero Profits.”

Columbia’s median household income is $41,799 according to the United States Census Bureau – half of Columbia’s households are below that number and half are above. Want to see how the new tax bill will apply to you, have at it read the 429 page bill here?



Did you vote today?

In Everyday Living, Government, Opinions, Opportunities on November 7, 2017 at 3:03 pm

There’s still time for you to get to the polling place and vote!

vot yet

The polls close at 8:00 pm.