Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You must pay before leaving the store!

West Hempfield Township Police have charged Stephen Fedula, 50, of Landisville, with retail theft as the result of an incident at the Kmart, 3975 Columbia Ave., at 9:57 a.m., March 30.

He attempted to leave the store with DVDs and food valued at $45.

April events at the Columbia Public Library

The Columbia Public Library, 24 South Sixth St., has announced its schedule of events for April.

The library will be closed on Friday, April 2 and Saturday, April 3.

Wednesday, April 7, at 6 p.m., the library will hold Family Film Night, featuring "A Bug's Life."

Thursday, April 8, at 11 a.m., "Two Weeks Around South America: Buenos Aires to Chile," a travel presentation, will be hosted by Dave and Linda Burrichter. People of all ages are welcome to attend.

Children who participated with the Disney on Ice reading program can take their stamped reading logs to the Giant Center to exchange for tickets to "Princess Classics," which will be offered at two different times for reading program ticket holders. The shows will be held on Thursday, April 8, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 11, at 5 p.m.

Saturday, April 10, at 10 a.m., the Saturday morning story time program will feature a special guest appearance by Peter Rabbit.

National Library Week will run from Sunday, April 11, through Saturday, April 17, and the theme will be "Communities Thrive @ Your Library." The library is committed to helping Columbia by providing Internet access for online courses and job applications, books for people of all ages and interests, computer instruction, and programs for both children and adults. A photo ID with a current address is the only item necessary to register for a library card, and there is no charge.

Wednesday, April 14, at 6 p.m., the library will present Family Film Night, featuring the live-action version of "Charlotte's Web."

Thursday, April 15, at 7 p.m., there will be a home buyers seminar with Katie Reed in the library’s conference room. Topics covered will include buying versus renting, credit scores, buying "For Sale by Owner" properties, types of mortgages, closing costs, how to budget, and more. Attendees are encouraged to come prepared with questions. There will be no charge for the seminar.

Friday, April 16, at 3 p.m., State Senator. Mike Brubaker will visit the library to read aloud the book “What a Treasure!” which is this year’s selection for the One Book, Every Young Child campaign. This event will be held outside in the Locust Street Park gazebo, weather permitting. In the event of rain, Brubaker will read aloud in the Children's Room of the library. The read-aloud was scheduled to coincide with dismissal from Park Elementary. People of all ages are welcome to come and meet the senator and share in the fun of reading aloud.

The official kickoff date for the 2010 One Book, Every Young Child program is Tuesday, April 13. Now in its fifth year, this program emphasizes the importance of reading early and reading often to children, including preschoolers.

Saturday, April 17, at 10 a.m., the library will offer the Saturday morning story time with Dottie Johnson. The topic will be "Do You Have a Pet?"

Wednesday, April 21, at 6 p.m., the library will host Family Film Night, featuring the live-action version of "101 Dalmatians."

Saturday, April 24, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Lisa Greybill, library director, will read Earth Day stories at the Sahd's Salvage Earth Day Celebration, which will feature a variety of activities for people of all ages. The story time will be a station on the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle passport program.

April 24, at 10 a.m., the library will offer its Saturday morning story time with Dottie Johnson. The topic will be "Mmmmm….Pretzels!"

Wednesday, April 28, at 6 p.m., the library will hold Family Film Night, featuring "Happy Feet."

The Census Questionnaire Assistance Center, which is staffed by a census professional, will continue to be open Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Individuals who did not receive a census form via the postal service for any reason may stop in during the center’s open hours.

The library’s Web master Samuel Edmond will help interested readers with their income taxes. An appointment must be made in advance, and readers may call 684-2255 to set one up. The library has most federal tax forms and can print out specialized forms from the IRS Web site. There is no charge for forms or assistance. The deadline to file taxes is Thursday, April 15.

Edmond is also taking registrations for his one-on-one computer classes now. Readers may call 435-2039 to register throughout the month.

Read With the Barnstormers reading log bookmarks will continue to be available at the library for children and teenagers ages 5 through 18. After students write the titles and authors of four books they have read on their reading log bookmarks, a library staff member will stamp the bookmarks. The bookmarks then become tickets for lawn seating at a Barnstormers game on Saturday, May 1, at 6:30 p.m.; Friday, May 14, at 7 p.m.; or Saturday, May 15, at 6:30 p.m. Fireworks and a post-game party will be held on May 14 and 15. For more information about the Read With the Barnstormers program, readers may call 509-4487 or go to

Rivertownes PA USA plans trip

Columbia Police reports

Felix Luis Sanchez, 38, of Columbia, was charged with driving while operating privilege is suspended or revoked as the result of an incident at Third and Locust streets at 8:10 p.m., March 24.

Anthony Cortes, 24, of York, was charged with criminal mischief and public drunkenness as the result of an incident on Laurel Hill Road at 1:36 a.m., March 22.

Emily Rodriquez, 26, of Columbia, was charged with operating a vehicle without official certificate of inspection as the result of an incident on Plane Street at 5:58 p.m., March 25.

Randy Lewis Delinger, 54, of Conestoga, was charged with obedience to traffic control devices as the result of an incident at Third and Linden streets st 5:18 p.m., March 25.

Kayla Sue Yarnall, 20, of Lancaster was charged with operating a vehicle without official certificate of inspection and driving while operating privilege is suspended or revoked as the result of an incident at 12th Street and Lancaster Avenue at 5:15 p.m., March 25.

Kathy D. Miller, 33, of Columbia, was charged with registration and certificate of title required as the result of an incident on South Second Street at 3:31 p.m., March 25.

Patrick O’Neil Foust, 28, of Brogue was charged with public drunkenness as the result of an incident on South Fifth Street at 1:44 a.m., March 26.

Lindsey Crowl, 21, of Columbia, was charged with operating a vehicle without official certificate of inspection as the result of an incident on Walnut Street at 4:05 p.m., March 28.

Travis J. Masten, 21, of Lancaster, was charged with operating a vehicle without official certificate of inspection as the result of an incident on Route 441 at Route 30 at 4:55 p.m., March 27.

Jeankite Joseph, 39, of Maryland, was charged with registration and certificate of title required as the result of an incident on Route 30 at Route 441 at 8:06 p.m., March 27.

David H. Landis, 63, of Columbia, was charged with operating a vehicle without official certificate of inspection as the result of an incident as the result of an incident in the 500 block of Locust Street at 12:43 p.m., March 30.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Shop lifter is busted

West Hempfield Township Police have charged Clifford Pryear, 34, of Harrisburg, with retail theft as the result of an incident at 3975 Columbia Ave., at 4:51 p.m., March 29.
He was later turned over to the parole office in Harrisburg because there was an active parole warrant out for him.

Also, police said, Yadiran Gonzalez of the 2100 block of Oak Hollow Drive reported at 3:14 p.m., March 26, his living room window was sashed out and several hundred dollars in electronic equipment and jewelry was taken from his apartment.
And 1:08 a.m., March 30, Louis C. Gibbs, 41, was taken to Lancaster County Prison as the result of a traffic stop on Route 441.
Police said Gibbs was detained after it was determined he had four outstanding warrants issued against him from Berks County.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Columbia opens track season

With some drizzle falling and cloudy skies over head, Columbia opened its track season today with a Section 3 meet at home with Northern Lebanon.
The visiting Vikings swept the meet  (108-26) in girls and 129-21 in boys.
The numbers are up in track, but it appeared today that the numbers from Thursday's non-league meet with Lebanon were down a little bit.
Here are the Columbia finishers in the girls' meet vs. Northern Lebanon:
100 -- Shaday Fraizer, second and Becca Kuhn, third.
1,600 -- Rachael Knighton, second.
800 -- Knighton, second.
200 -- Fraizer, first and Kuhn, second.
Shot Put -- Ulrich, third.
Discus -- Ulrich, second.
Javelin -- Ulrich, third.
Boys vs. Northern Lebanon
100 -- Jeremy Daise  second.
1,600  -- Derek Zercher, third.
300 Hurdles -- DJ Wells, second.
3,200 -- Tony Barton, second a nd Zercher, third.
Shot put -- Brandon Felus, second.
Discus -- Johnay, second and Felus, third.
Javelin -- Felus, second.

Police charge one

West Hempfield Township Police have charged Jason S. Beaner, 27, of Landisville, with theft of leased property as the result of an incident at Rent-A Center, March 26.
Police said Beaner rented an X-Box system and failed to make payments.

Police probe burglary

West Hempfield Township Police saud Mandy Sowder of the 200 block of Indian Head Road reported at 9:32 a.m., March 26, someone entered her home by use of force and took several hundred dollars in electronics.

Police report vandalism

West Hempfield Township Police are investigating several incidents in the 600 and 700 block of South 16th Street where locks were cut off sheds and the sheds were entered between March 22 and 24.
During the evening hours, one victim reported the theft of a Stihl chain saw and another had several gallons of gas taken.
Police said most were just rummaged through.
Anyone with any information is asked to call Township Police at 285-5191.

Jazz Ensemble to perform

The Columbia High School Jazz Ensemble will be performing at 7 p.m., Friday, April 9 at Cocalico High School’s Jazz Festival.
Selections from the 18 member group will include ‘Double Play’ by Carl Strommen, ‘Satin Doll’ by Duke Ellington and ‘Living in America’ by James Brown – the ‘Godfather of Soul’. Tickets can be purchased the night of the festival.

The group will also be performing at the annual Spring Band Concert to be held at Columbia High School on Thursday, May 6 alongside the Junior and Senior High Concert Bands.

Rivertownes PA USA newletter


For anyone who travels the Veterans’ Memorial Bridge on a regular basis, it is very apparent that the present lighting system is failing. These failures could be detrimental to the safety of both pedestrians and vehicular traffic alike. The cobra lights have been on the bridge since a 1970’s modernization project. Originally, cast iron lanterns adorned the bridge and were complementary to the historic nature of the structure.
In 2006 a feasibility study, sponsored by Rivertownes, was completed and indicated that it was indeed possible to restore historic lights on the Veterans’ Memorial Bridge. Since that time we have been working with Brinjac Engineering developing the design phase of the project. Progress, although painstakingly slow, has been made towards this goal, but we still have several hurdles to clear before the project can move ahead. The design phase and construction documents are about 80 percent complete. We are working closely with PennDOT to meet their lighting requirements. Additionally, we will need the cooperation of the local municipalities to move ahead with construction.

Fourth Friday in Columbia
Experience Columbia's art galleries, antique shops, participating specialty shops and local eateries from 5-9.m. on the fourth Friday of the month. This at-your-own pace tour provides the opportunity to view exhibits from local & visiting artists, enjoy refreshments and discover the uniqueness of Columbia. More info: Chris Davis of Modest Gallery 717-405-0604

Celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 24, 2010, sponsored by Sahd's Salvage Center, Lancaster Avenue in Columbia. Earth Day stories by Columbia Library.

The annual Arbor Day Ceremony will be held on April 30, 2010, in the Locust Street Park, Columbia, beginning at 6 p.m..

If you haven’t had an opportunity to visit the John Wright Store & Restaurant lately, venture in and see the new glass-enclosed patio area. The view is breathtaking! Sit inside where it is toasty warm and enjoy some delicious food with a view of the Susquehanna River. Restaurant hours are: Monday-Wednesday 8 a.m.-3 p.m,, Thurs-Sat 8 a.m.-9.m., Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m..

In preparation for the Blue Rock Heritage Center Open House on June 13, 2010, the Washington Boro Society for Susquehanna River Heritage is sponsoring a spring clean. Bring your rake and gloves on Saturday, April 3, from 8:30 a.m. until noon and lend a hand sprucing up the grounds and the interior of the mill that is located on River Road just south of Washington Boro. Rain date is April 10, 2010.

Don’t miss Marietta Day on Saturday, May 15! Market Street will be filled with food and craft stands from 9 a,m.-3 p.m. Please enjoy the best French fries in Lancaster County in front of the Marietta Restoration Bank and Gift Shop. Profits from the stand are used for the restoration of the Musselman/Vesta Iron Furnace Office Building.

Due to the overwhelming response from our Fall walking tour, a waiting list was generated for the spring tours. Due to that fact, the spring walking tours are SOLD OUT! Dr. June Evans, retired Millersville University Professor, is an expert on the iron furnaces and has conducted the tours for the last several years. They have grown in popularity, and since we limit the tour to 25 persons, they fill up quickly. So, watch for the fall date, and if you are interested, make your reservation without delay.

The monthly meetings of Rivertownes PA USA are held on the first Wednesday of the month at the Wrightsville House, Front and Locust Streets, Wrightsville, beginning at 7 p.m. All meetings are open to the public.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tide 9 drops opener

The high school baseball season is under way -- Friday, the Tide lost at Conestoga Valley, 8-2.
Columbia                        000   001     1    2-2-3
Conestoga Valley            000  026      X   8-7-2
Jimmy Lee, Johnny Vazquez (6), Brandon Aukamp (6) and Cain Warfel; Moyer and Engle, O'Shea. WP -  Moyer. LP - Lee. SO-BB: Lee 4-6, Vazquez 0-0, Aukamp 0-0; Moyer 2-0.
J.V. Score: CV 7, Columbia 2.

Back in May 1958 -- Part One!

This is the banner from the Thursday, May 18,1958 edition of the former COLUMBIA NEWS.
Among the items on Page 1 -- The Columbia Nurses and Allied Arts Club were announcing their Nurse of the Year during a program at the First English Lutheran Church. Mrs. Audrey Lockard was the speaker and Mrs. Ruth Gilbert, director of nursing at the hospital, was scheduled to announce the winner.
The Columbia Hospital Auxiliary was honoring volunteers.
The Auxiliary of St. Paul's P.E. Church was holding a special service to recognize Mother's Day.
Hubcaps were taken from two vehicles on Wright Street and Ninth and Locust Sts.
Teddy Johnson, 13, of 219 S. Fifth St., fractured his left arm while playing baseball.
Two new service stations were under construction in the 300 block of Chestnut Street.
April will be a  big month on the national sports scene for two people with ties from Columbia.
 Saturday when West Virgina takes on either Duke or Baylor in the Final Four, Billy Hahn is an assistant coach to West Virginia's Bob Huggins.Hahn, a former assistant coach at Maryland and head coach at LaSalle, is married to the former Kati Sheehy of Columbia.
Later in April, the eyes of Columbia might be focussed on the NFL Draft in New York City where Georgia Tech defense end Derrick Morgan is expected to be a top first round pick.
Morgan is leaving GA Tech after his junior season.
He started his football career as a youngster in the CBAA program and played on the hll as a seventh grader before moving to Coatesville, where he starred for the Red Raiders.

April Calendar of Events

Thursday, April 1
April Fool’s Day
9 a.m., Columbia Market House opens
6 p.m., Columbia Parks and Recreation Commission meeting

Friday, April 2
Good Friday
9 a.m., Columbia Market House opens

Saturday, April 3
1 p.m., Impact Ministries Easter Egg Hunt at Glatfelter Field

Sunday, April 4

Monday, April 5
6:30 p.m., Borough Council Safety Committee meeting

Tuesday, April 6
6 p.m., Borough Council Legislation Committee meeting
6:30 p.m., School Board Property Committee meeting
7 p.m., Columbia Board of Health meeting
7:30 p.m., Borough Council Property Committee meeting

Wednesday, April 7
7:30 a.m., Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast at Columbia United Methodist Church
6 p.m., School Board Curriculum Committee meeting
6 p.m., Movie Night, Columbia Public Library
7 p.m., School Board Extra-Curricular Committee meeting

Thursday, April 8
9 a.m., Columbia Market House opens
11 a.m., Adult program at the Columbia Public Library
6:30 p.m., Borough Council Market Committee meeting
7 p.m., School Board Committee of the Whole meeting

Friday, April 9
9 a.m., Columbia Market House opens
2 p.m., Railroad Grand Opening at Fourth Street Crossing

Saturday, April 10
8 a.m., yard waste drop off for Columbia Borough residents at Borough Farm
10 a.m., CBAA Parent’s meeting and walk-a-thon, Glatfelter Field
10 a.m., Story Time, Columbia Public Library

Sunday, April 11
5:30 p.m., CBAA Board of Directors meeting, Glatfelter Field

Monday, April 12
PSSA Math and Reading tests, Columbia School District
6:30 p.m., Parent-Teacher Partnership meeting at Taylor Elementary School
7 p.m., Borough Council meeting

Tuesday, April 13
PSSA Math and Reading tests, Columbia School District
6 p.m., Movie Night, Columbia Public Library
6:30 p.m., Columbia Shade Tree Commission meeting

Wednesday, April 14
PSSA Math and Reading tests, Columbia School District
10:30 a.m., AARP Chapter 5020 16th anniversary brunch at the Susquehanna Fire Department
6:30 p.m., Borough Council Finance Committee meeting

Thursday, April 15
PSSA Math and Reading tests, Columbia School District
9 a.m., Columbia Market House opens
4:30 p.m., Columbia Municipal Authority meeting
6 p.m., Borough Council Waste Water Committee meeting
7 p.m., Columbia School Board meeting

Friday, April 16
PSSA Math and Reading tests, Columbia School District
7 a..m., Spring Clean-Up, Columbia Borough
9 a.m., Columbia Market House opens
3 p.m., Traveling Trunks program with Senator Mike Brubaker at Columbia Public Library
6 p.m., Taste of Rivertownes, Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce event

Saturday, April 17
6 a.m., Columbia QRS Breakfast, Columbia Consolidated Fire Department
7 a.m., CBAA Yard Sale and Flea Market, Glatfelter Field
8 a.m., Columbia Spring Clean-Up drop off at River Valley Disposal
10 a.m., Story Time, Columbia Public Library

Saturday, April 18
1 p.m., VFW Band Concert, Columbia High School

Monday, April 19
PSSA Writing tests, Columbia School District
National Volunteer Week
9 a.m., Columbia Civil Service Commission meeting
7 p.m., Columbia Planning Commission meeting
7 p.m., Columbia Education Foundation meeting

Tuesday, April 20
PSSA Writing tests, Columbia School District
National Volunteer Week
Yard waste pick-up, Columbia Borough

Wednesday, April 21
PSSA Writing tests, Columbia School District
National Volunteer Week
2 p.m., Park Elementary School honors program
6 p.m., Movie Night, Columbia Public Library
7 p.m., Susquehanna Valley Sports Hall of Fame meeting, Knights of Columbus
7 p.m., HARB meeting

Thursday, April 22
PSSA Writing tests, Columbia School District
National Volunteer Week
Earth Day
9 a.m., Columbia Market House opens
6:30 p.m., River Park Steering Committee meeting

Friday, April 23
PSSA Writing tests, Columbia School District
National Volunteer Week
9 a.m., Columbia Market House opens

Saturday April 24
Sahd’s Salvage Earth Day celebration
10 a.m., Story Time, Columbia Public Library
11 a.m., Celebration of the Century, Susquehanna Glass
11 a.m., Chicken Barbeque, Susquehanna Fire Company

Sunday, April 25
No events listed

Monday, April 26
PSSA Science tests, Columbia School District
6 p.m., Borough Council Highway Committee meeting

Tuesday, April 27
PSSA Science tests, Columbia School District
6:30 p.m., Borough Council Community Development Committee meeting

Wednesday, April 28
PSSA Science tests, Columbia School District
8 a.m., Columbia Elementary Band rehearsal
6 p.m., Movie Night, Columbia Public Library
6:30 p.m., Tide Pride meeting
7 p.m., Zoning Hearing Board meeting

Thursday April 29
PSSA Science tests, Columbia School District
9 a.m., Columbia Market House opens

Friday, April 30
9 a.m., Columbia Market House opens
6 p.m., Arbor Day celebration, Locust Street Park

Arbor Day is scheduled

Columbia's 19th annual Arbor Day will be held on Friday April 30 in the Locust St. Park beginning at 6 p.m. Music will be provided by the Columbia High School Chorus and other student musicians. CHS Senior Hillary Glenn will recite Joyce Kilmer's poem "Trees."
Citizens will receive recognition awards for their efforts to plant trees in the borough.

Enter to win a $25 gift card by submitting a photo of your favorite tree growing in Columbia. Entries must be sent to the Columbia Borough Shade Tree Commission by April 27. One entry per person. Gift Card sponsored by Susquehanna Bank.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Found on Craig's List

The other day someone in passing told me to check out Craig's List for an interesting post involving a property in downtown that is suppose to be turned into a hotel at Fourth and Locust streets. It is the old CAP and American Bank building that has been vacant for sometime.

So this morning, I punched in Craig's List, went under our great state of Pennsylvania and the real estate section and found the post.

Seems the building is now available to rent for office spaces. Here is the post on Craig's List and also the link at the end.  One has to wonder if the hotel deal is dead or if this is a bridge project until the hotel plans and financing are in place? Here is the link to the information below :

$250 Flexi-Offices (Columbia, PA) (map)

Date: 2010-03-15, 2:57PM EDT

Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

Flexi-office space for rent.
➢ Premium business address 401 Locust Street
➢ Furnished first floor offices
➢ Free Wi-Fi
➢ Off-street parking
➢ Access to conference room
➢ No up-front capital investment
➢ Monthly lease
➢ Heat and air conditioning included
➢ Leases starting at $250.00
➢ Don't hesitate...this deal won't last long.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Work detail at the park

The Old Columbia Public Grounds Co. Board of Directors is having a “Locust Street Park” clean-up on April 24. On thay date, the community is welcome to come out and help us with our spring clean-up.

The work detail will start at 8 a.m. and continue until Noon. The Columbia Park Rangers will be helping to supply some manpower and tools. Bring a Rake.
Also Arbor Day will held held in the park at 6 p.., April 30.


Is this what we want for downtown?

Have you been downtown lately, when its been nice?
If you have been and been in the area of Fourth and Locust streets, you probably have seen it at the vacant lot at Fourth and Locust streets.
It's the lot where a building was torn down maybe two years ago, in not longer now, turned into a vacant lot/parking lot.
Since the weather has turned nice, its been the scene of what many are calling an "outdoor yard sale or flea market" on an almost daily basis -- right in the heart od our downtown.
It has also been a problem the last few years when it came time for the Antique, Art and Craft Show, sponsored by the Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce as well. Seems the property owner of the lot is allowing yard sales on the property, the day of that event, making the vendors coming to Columbia for that big day in June unhappy campers. They are paying a fee to be there and those on the lot are not.
Is Columbia has a yard sale ordinance, it is not being enforced. Several years ago there was a proposal before council to limit the number of yard sales a property owner could have, but may not have been acted on.
But is this what we want people coming to town to see every day? Filling up a lot with let's call it what it is -- junk.
Okay, it could be the business that operates at 403 Locust St. moving items outside, but they shouldn't be allowed to do it every day.
Columbia Borough should step in and stop this or control this before it gets out of hand. It just doesn't give off a good impression of our town.

Upcoming activities at the Susquehanna Fire Company

The Susquehanna Fire Conpany, 10th and Manor streets, has announced two upcoming events.
A Chicken Barbecue will be held on Saturday, April 24 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
The cost is $7.50 for a dinner or $4 for a half chicken.
A Mother's Day Cash Bingo Bonanza will be held Sunday, May 9.
Tickets cost $30 for a full set-up and meal if purchased by May 2 and $35 after that date.
Tickets and information for both events can be obtained by calling 684-6297.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Myer resigns at Elco's Jeff Reinhart has posted a story about the resignation of one of the longest serving girls' basketball coaches in the L-L League, Dave Myer of Elco.
I can remember back in the late 1990s, there were some pretty good wars between Columbia and Elco.
Jeff's View from the Pressbox can be accessed from COLUMBIA TALK, by using the link to the right.

Jeff will also be blogging live starting tomorrow from the Penn State University's Bryce Jordan Center.

TMI generators won't move until April

Check out the story on the planned move of the old generators from Three Mile Island through the area. It was suppose to happen this weekend, but now has been delayed.
When the story originally broke back earlier this year, it sounded like a pretty easy move. Now after reading the story, it doesn't sound so easy.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Does Columbia have "Fish Gate?"

When you are downtown, one of the first things you normally do once you get out your vehicle is put a quarter in your meter. That is unless you are cheap and think you can get away with it and not get a ticket or move your car up or back a space because you don't have 25 cents because another meter has time on it.
Oh, you haven't seen that one yet where a person pulls or backs up their car looking for a meter with money in it? Then you must not be downtown that much.

Okay, enough with the comedy routine. If you look closely at the meters, which few do -- the times they are monitored or you have to place a quarter for 60 minutes of parking in them are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday and Saturday and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. on Friday.

You didn't know that? Shame on you.

Well, now the borough is enforcing those meter times, much to the chagrin of many people who visit or work dowtown. Since the "retirement" earlier this year or late last year by veteran meter maid Linda Colin, who is everyone will admit to it,  knew her schedule and knew when they had to plug their meters, things have changed.

Seems the borough has replaced Colin with as many as three, possibly four meter maids or traffic enforcement officers, because one is a guy. You can usually spot one person doing meters in the morning, one early in the afternoon and one much later, well after the meters use to be checked. And many people haven't caught on yet.

Seems this past Saturday night, in the first block of South Fourth Street, where there are meters, a number of people who were attending early church at the church at Fourth and Cherry streets had to dish out more money than what they put in the collection plate. Seems while they were taking money out of their one pocket and placing it into the church's bank bags, the borough was reaching into the other pocket taking some more money out. Seems when the church goers came out to leave and were parked on South Fourth Street, they all got meter violation ticlets. So, as they were giving you see, someone was taking it away (sorry bad pun).

Seems the church mass starfted at 5 p.m. and you have to slug the good old black boxes until 6 p.m., which again, no one reads. The borough following the rules said "got ya."

Some outraged by this, visited the police station and got no answer. Others began calling their elected officials. And over the last two days, word spread like a wild fire, one high ranking elected official told some of those who got tickets, "don't worry about it, it will be taken care of."

So the answer from others, who are now getting ticketed because the laws are now apparently being enforced "is wait a minute, why not me too?"

This is not a good move on Columbia's part, especially because of the high number of tickets that are apparently being written and  certain ones possibly are getting excused.

So with "Fish Gate" now on the front burner, what should have been done? Well, since Columbia has no newspaper or any newspapers who will publish anything about Columbia, perhaps the borough could have done one of two things. First, send letters out to businesses telling them that the meters will be enforced to the letter, so they could warn their customers. Two, perhaps they could have put notices on the sewer bills of residents, alerting them to the policy. A third thing could have been a warning also, not only to the church goers, but others. That apparently didn't happen.

So since that didn't happen and many Columbians seem to be checking COLUMBIA TALK daily, here is your warning. Take time to put a quarter in the meter no matter the time of day, or it will cost you $5 or $10 if you don't and if you don't pay it right away, it will cost you a lot more and maybe even result in one of those yellow things put on your front wheel.

So, now we have "Fish Gate."

State Police investigating fatal crash

State police are investigating that led to the death of a Columbia man along River Road in Conoy Township, Tuesday afternoon around 5 p.m.
The man, Albert Meiskey Jr., 49, of Perry Street, Columbia, was killed when he crashed his vehicle into a utility pole.
Meiskey had been reported missing as an "endangered person," yesterday by his family. Shortly before the crash, a vehicle registered to Meiskey was spotted by Susquehanna Regional Police in the area of Riverfront Park, north of Marietta.
Police attempted to stop vehicle, but Meiskey continued driving, heading north into Bainbridge on River Road (Route 441). He then turned and headed south on River Road and sped his vehicle up while cresting a hill and the vehicle left the west side of the road, went down an embankment a nd struck a utility pole in the 2000 block of River Road near the Bainbridge Scuba Center.
Meiskey was pronounced dead at the scene of the 5:15 p.m. crash by Lancaster County Deputy Coroner Eric Bieber.
Police were attempting to check on the welfare Meiskey because he was "potentially suicidal."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Truck leased. police cars put on hold

After sitting through a public hearing on proposed changes to its zoning ordinance and related maps, borough council had just four items on its regular agenda that looked as though they could be rubber stamped.

However, the one issue that took up most of the discussion on the agenda was a proposal to approve a lease with the Wells Fargo Bank not to exceed $95,000 over a four-year period for a Ford F-350 Super Duty truck for the highway department and two new Ford Expedition police vehicles.

The motion was questioned by citizens and members of the borough council.

Vern Detz, a former member of the council, asked if all members of the council had reviewed the documents and bids that were reviewed recently by the council’s finance committee.

Council President Mary Wickenheiser said the lenders wouldn’t consider separate bids for the leases and the truck was needed immediately for use by the highway department.

Another former member of the council asked which vehicles would be replaced. The new truck would replace a 1993 truck and the two police vehicles would replace the two SUV vehicles.

Just as the council was prepared to vote on the motion, Mayor Leo Lutz threw a monkey wrench so to speak in the vote.

He said he wanted the purchase for the police department to be, an Expedition and a Dodge Charger and it would save about $6,000 on the lease agreement.

“Having four wheel drive vehicles wold not be beneficial to the department and not make policing easier,” Lutz said.

Lutz said he’d settle for one SUV and a car, a Crown Vic or a Charger.

“This was recommended out of committee that because of the condition of our roads and its intended use, we stick with what we proposed,” said Kelly Murphy, a member of the council.

“If we change, we have to go back to the banks and get new quotes,” he said.

“There is a need for this highway vehicle. With the police vehicles, there is no documentation as to the need. I am not in a position here tonight to vote on these police vehicles because there appears to be a conflict between the police and administration on this,” said Mary Barninger, council woman.

However, another member of the council, Sandy Duncan, didn’t see any problems because the items were budgeted.

“Right away,” Barninger said, “just because it is budgeted that is the justification.”

Another member of the council, Mike Buery, said the last time police vehicles were purchased, the department got their way.

“The police want another race car,” he said.

Lutz defended the move, saying that twice in his eight years as mayor, council failed to purchase or replace police cruisers on an yearly basis and ended up the following year making two purchases.

“Police vehicles are never an easy discussion for us,” Wickenheiser said.

The vote to lease all three vehicles failed by a 5-2 vote. A vote to lease just the truck passed 7-0.

Voting for the three vehicle lease were Duncan and Beury, while the remaining members voted against that lease.

The police vehicle lease will be reviewed at the committee level and could be voted on at the April meeting of the council.

The state needs to get moving

It sits there idle. It’s been cleaned up and somewhere down the road, the idle property owned by Columbia Borough at Third and Linden streets is expected to become the Turkey Hill Experience.

The inter-active museum, designed something like Hershey’s Chocolate World and a multi-million dollar project for those involved was suppose to open sometime this year, perhaps as early as spring.

Well, as you can see when you drive past it, there is no Turkey Hill Experience, just a neatly cleaned up plot of land with a shell of a building.

So what gives?

At Wednesday’s special meeting of Columbia Borough Council, it was explained that all of the T’s have been crossed and I’s dotted on the borough’s end, that of its broker for the sale, the Columbia Economic Development Corporation, Turkey Hill and Museum Partners, who will purchase the site and develop it.

So, who hasn’t dotted its I’s and crossed its T’s? Apparently the state of Pennsylvania.

At the meeting, council approved extending its deadline with CEDC and Museum Partners until at least, if not before, April 30, to complete the deal. The property was suppose to be settled by the end of the month.

The state or at least the Department of Environmental Protection’s approval is needed because of some soil contamination at the site.

“It is the same problem we have been dealing with since last July,” said Council President Mary Wickenheiser.

The borough has been told the project should get its needed DEP approvals, but, state budget cutbacks at the DEP office, have delayed the approval process.

The approval process is expected to take at least another four weeks, Wickenheiser said.

“We are very frustrated about it,” she said.

“Columbia Borough wants to settle this and sell this property. The developer wants this and Turkey Hill is very anxious because they need to purchase the equipment that goes into the facility,” said Mayor Leo Lutz.

“They are all under the gun and pushing Columbia Borough to entice the state to sign the documents. There is no dragging the feet on this because everyone involved in the process wants to get this done,” Lutz said.

Did a council member swear at a citizen?

At the last few borough council meetings, there has been plenty of discussion on issues of respect.

Respect in how members of the borough council treat its citizens, who attend the meeting and others and vice-versa.

This was all prompted by a change in how meetings were run by the use of Roberts Rules of Order. Earlier this month, there was some lively debate about the change from a couple of citizens and members of borough council.

Wednesday night, the issue came up again at a special meeting of the borough’s governing body.

A citizen, who is a former member of the borough council, Vern Detz, said an unnamed member of the council showed “a lack of respect toward a resident” at a recent committee meeting.

Detz, who did not name the council member, but promised too release more details of the alleged incident at council’s April meeting, said a profanity was used toward a citizen at a meeting.

“I would like to see a public apology tonight or that person resign,” Detz said.

There was no comment from borough council on the issue.

Stormers-Revs game to benefit chamber

Baseball fans mark Saturday, Aug. 14 on your calendar. That's when the Lancaster Barnstormers play host to the York Revolution at Clipper Magazine Stadium.
A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales that night will benefit the Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce and its Visitor's Center.
Tickets are $10 for the game and they are available by calling the chamber at 684-5249.
Tickets can also be ordered on line by following these steps:
1. Go to
2. Click on the fund-raising log-in button.
3. Click on the SVCC logo at the top of the page.
4. Enter SVCC when prompted to enter a group fund-raising code.
5. Click "buy."
6. A schematic of available seats will be shown in green. Select the seats you want by clicking on the individual locations.
7. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete your order.

Fourth Friday upon us again

Downtown art galleries and shops will be open this Friday from 5-9 p..m. as Columbia celebrates another Fourth Friday event.
For more information, follow this link:

A Night of Jazz

Perfect Settings, 200 Locust St., Columbia will host Another Night of Jazz, Friday, March 26 from 8 p.m. to midnight.
Featured will be Mitch Cooper, Jeanne Cooper, Chris Cooper, Tom Witmer and Bruce Campbell.
Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
For more information, call 684-2347.

Antique Appraisal Faire reminder

Treasures in Your Attic, an antique appraisal fair, hosted by the Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce will be held Saturday, March 27 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at 116-118 North Third St., the site of the former Revival Skate Shop.

Local antique dealers and appraisers Dave Dickson, Ron Madar and Harold Keller will be on hand to lend their assistance in appraising family heirlooms and treasures. No stamps, coins or military items are allowed and all items must be hand carried to the event.

Tickets are available at two prices – $5 for a verbal appraisal for one item and $10 covers the verbal appraisal of three items.

Tickets can be purchased at the chamber’s visitor center, 445 Linden St., or at the door the day of the event.
Sponsors for the event are the Rivertowne Antique Center, Burning Bridge Antiques Market and Partners and Friends.

For more information, call the chamber at 684-5249.

Columbia athletes are honored

A number of Columbia winter sports’ athletes were recognized in the annual supplement of Winter Sports All-Stars published by the Lancaster Newspapers earlier this week.

In boys’ basketball, senior Brandon Arnold and junior Tre Simms were named honorable mention all-stars in Section 4,

Named Wrestling Academic All-Stars, for maintaining an A-B average throughout wrestling season were Joey Charles, Brandon Felus, Ben Hank and Rachel Knighton.

Named first team Section 3 All-Stars were Nate Warner (160), tied with Pequea Valley’s Mitch Ball and Brandon Felus (215).

Named to the second team were Jordan Halter (135), Joe Ronca (140) and Marcus Fischer (189).

Named honorable mention were Derek Zercher (125) and John Markley (130).

Sports Hall announces inductees

The Susquehanna Valley Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame has announced its 2010 class of inductees.

The induction banquet will take place on Saturday, May 1, at the Susquehanna Fire Company.

Tickets for the banquet are available by contacting Rich Gerfin at 684-4772 after 6 p.m.

The inductees are:

Ron Caulwell, former athletic director at Columbia High School.

Gayne Deshler, former football coach and athletic director at Donegal High School.

Glenn Robinson, basketball coach at F&M.

John Thomas, former Columbia wrestler.

Leslie Bair Vink, former gymnast at Hempfield.

Jon Witman, former Eastern football player and Pittsburgh Steeler.

Mike Wolfgang, former Columbia football player will be honored as the deceased inductee.

The hall holds its monthly meetings on the third Wednesday of each month at the Knights of Columbus, Fourth and Maple streets at 7 p.m.

For more information on the hall, contact George Seibert at 684-6739.

Wrightsville not too excited over police plan

Here is a link to a story that appears in the York Dispatch about regionalization of police services in York and Lancaster counties. By this and a recent article in the Intell, it appears the regionalization effort is failing.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chamber to host legislative breakfast

The Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce will host a legislative breakfast at the Fellowship Hall at the Columbia United Methodist Church, 510 Walnut St., April 7.

The breakfast, featuring Senator Mike Brubaker and State Representatice Dave Hickernell will update those attending on legislation in Harrisburg and the challenges that lie ahead. The session will end with a question and answer session.

The registration will be held from 7:30-7:45 a.m., when the program begins.

The cost is $5 for chamber members and $10 for non-members.

Deadline for reservations is April 5.

For more information, contact the chamber at 684-5249.

National Watch and Clock Museum News

The National Watch and Clock Museum, Fifth and Poplar streets, has announced two exhibits.
Grand Complications: Art of the Watchmaker will open April 23.

The exhibit combine technical and artistic qualities in watchmaking

A Sense of Time exhibit will be on display through April, 30.
It is a special look at Asian timekeeping.
The exhibits are included in the cost of admission.

Art exhibit part of Fourth Fridays

The Jonal Gallery, 653 Locust St., will celebrate the arrival of the Spring and the Easter Holiday Season by sharing the artistic talents of Tom Babec.

The artist carves intricate designs into eggs of all sizes, from tiny Quail eggs to large Ostrich eggs! He will show you his skills Friday night from 5-9 p.m. in the Main Gallery.

The current show, "Flowers of the Garden" will be available for viewing through April 25.

This is all a part of our "Fourth Friday" Celebrations in Columbia,.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Columbia seeks part-time help



1. Perform inspections of properties within the Borough Limits and buildings/structures in all stages of construction, alteration, and repair to insure compliance with standard construction practices, Borough policies and procedures, Borough ordinances, and other local, state, and federal laws and regulations.
2. Investigate safety and health complaints and take necessary and appropriate enforcement action to establish and maintain safe and healthy conditions in the Borough.
3. Review permit and license applications and participate in projects involving outside contractors and their employees ensuring compliance to Borough ordinances, contracts, and safety requirements.
4. Explain code or ordinance requirements to builders, architects, contractors, permit applicants, and the public.
5. Prepare detailed reports, notices of violations, citations, prosecutions, depositions, and testimony for court cases and complete necessary follow-up actions.
6. Compile, file, and retrieve computerized reports and other documents on a Borough computer.
7. Operate and maintain Borough vehicles in a safe, efficient, and orderly manner.
8. Interact well with the public, public officials, fellow employees, and contractor personnel.
9. Perform other duties as assigned.

1. A.S. in a technical curriculum w/2-years direct experience, or high/technical school graduate/GED with 5-years building construction experience and with home inspector certifications from one of the following: Commonwealth of Pa., National Association of Home Inspectors, or American Society of Home Inspectors.
2. Current and valid Pennsylvania Drivers License.

1. Knowledge of building construction and related health and safety requirements.
2. Knowledge and skill in the proper and safe use/operation of a motor vehicle and inspection tools.
3. Ability to communicate effectively both in writing and verbally; listen effectively; and to read and understand laws, ordinances, codes, written instructions, technical manuals, contracts and detailed engineering drawings.
4. Knowledge and proficiency in using a computer with Windows XP operating system and allied Windows software.

1. Excellent hand and eye coordination, color distinction, and depth perception.
2. Ability to lift up to 50 pounds and; agility and stamina to climb in and out of vehicles; standing or sitting to perform lengthy inspections, investigations and reports; climb up and down steps; climb over and around debris in burned out or dilapidated buildings; erect and remove signs and barricades; etc.
3. Ability to work in extreme weather conditions.
4. Ability to successfully pass pre-employment and post employment drug and alcohol testing and post employment physical examination.
5. Maintain physical condition to comply with state requirements to be licensed and safely operate Borough and leased motor vehicles.

Columbia needs crossing guards

Here is information from the Columbia Borough website as the borough is looking for crossing guards.


1. Assists school-age children to cross public streets safely by directing and/or regulating vehicular and pedestrian traffic at specified intersections throughout the Borough.
2. Performs special assignments for traffic control and pedestrian safety at events in the Borough.
3. Observes vehicle movements and safety permitting, records license numbers of vehicles whose drivers are jeopardizing safe street crossing by operating their vehicles in an unsafe manner and reports them to the Police Department.
4. Reports students who do not adhere to safe street crossing procedures to appropriate school officials.
5. Watches for suspicious persons and/or vehicles that may prey upon young children.
6. Use and maintain designated crossing guard equipment provided by the transportation department, wear appropriate attire for weather conditions such as raincoat, gloves, etc.


1. High school graduate or equivalent knowledge and experience sufficient to successfully perform the essential duties of the job as noted above.
2. Must successfully attain Pennsylvania ACT 34 clearance
3. Must not currently or have been with the last ten (10) years on court-ordered community supervision or probation for any criminal offense of the grade of a Class B misdemeanor. May not have been convicted of an offense of the grade of a Class B misdemeanor or above within the last ten (10) years. May not have been at any time, convicted of felony offense or any family violence offense.


1. Ability to exercise sound judgment in evaluating situations and in making decision.
2. Ability to work independently, with a minimum of supervision and utilizing good time management skills.
3. Ability to use a hand-held stop sign, flashlight, narrowcades and sandbags.
4. Basic safe driving rules and procedures as described in the PA Vehicle operators manual
5. Techniques for communicating with children and adults.


1. Must possess stamina to stand for long periods of time
2. Ability to work out of doors in all weather conditions and with exposure to traffic
3. Visual acuity to include 20/20 vision with corrective lenses as necessary to read printed materials and license plates and color acuity to accurately differentiate colors.
4. Must be able to pass pre-employment drug testing and post employment physical and hearing examinations.

A little something, something for Eastern fans

Just pulled this little nugget off about Neumann-Gorreti, Tuesday's opponent....

For N-G, the signees are guards Tony Chennault (Wake Forest, named yesterday as Gatorade's Player of the Year for Pennsylvania), Tyreek Duren (La Salle), Mustafaa Jones (Hartford) and forward-center Danny Stewart (Rider). N-G's Lamin Fulton, a junior guard, is also on assorted D-1's get lists.

PIAA sites are up

With the exception of a couple of games, the PIAA has announced its game sites and times for the Eastern and Western finals.
Check out:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Final Four in PIAA hoop championships

Here are the Final 4 pairings for the state semi-finals in the PIAA basketball playoffs for Tuesday. First number is district and district finish and then record. Sites and Times will be announced probably tomorrow of Monday.
The state finals are Friday and Saturday at the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State.

Boys A: Reading Central Catholic (3-1, 28-1) vs. Greenwood (3-2, 26-3); Sewickly Academy (7-1, 25-2) vs. Lincoln Park (7-2, 21-7).
Boys 3-A: Eastern (3-1, 31-0) vs. Neumann-Gorreti (12-1, 28-1); Chartiers Valley (7-1, 27-1) vs. Hampton (7-2, 24-3).
Girls 2-A: Delone Catholic (3-3, 23-7) vs. York Catholic (3-1, 27-3); Avonworth (7-4, 25-2) vs. Villa Maria Academy (10-1, 25-2).
Girls 4-A: Red Lion (3-6, 27-4) vs. Archbishop Ryan (12-1, 21-7); Central Dauphin (3-1, 26-6) vs. Mount Lebanon (7-1, 27-2).

Boys 2-A: Imhotep (12-1, 25-5) vs. Strawberry Mansion (12-4, 27-1); South Fayette (7-3, 22-5) vs. Mercyhurst Prep (10-1, 25-5).
Boys 4-A: Liberty (11-1, 25-5) vs. Penn Wood (1-1, 26-3); Plymouth-Whitemarsh (1-2, 27-2) vs. No. Allegheny (7-4, 23-5).
Girls 1-A: Tri-Valley (11-1, 23-8) vs. No. Cambria (6-2, 23-5); Vincentian Academy (7-1, 19-7) vs. Bishop Guilfoyle (6-1, 27-0).
Girls 3-A: Villa Maria (1-2, 18-11) vs. Archbishop Wood  (12-3, 24-5); Indiana (7-3, 24-4) vs. Chartiers Valley (7-4, 23-5).

Traveling Trunks coming to Columbia

One Book Every Young Child Campaign will bring What A Treasure “Traveling Trunks” to public libraries in Lancaster County!

This spring public libraries around the county will host programs featuring “Traveling Trunks” with activities that relate to this year’s One Book Every Young Child selection, What A Treasure! by Jane and Will Hillenbrand.
On March 27 and during the month of April and May, public libraries around the county are hosting special What A Treasure! storytime & family night programs that will incorporate reading the selected book along with themed-related activities from a “What A Treasure Traveling Trunk." The Traveling Trunks were created by museum partners, The Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. The Traveling Trunks provide library staff with story time extensions such as book-related puppets, games and toys to bring the museum experience to children who otherwise could not visit one. Storytime activities are aligned with the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards: Language and Literacy; Approach to Learning; Social Studies; Science; and Creative Arts.
The event will come to the Columbia Public Library at 3 p.m., Friday, April 16, with a special storytime led by Senator Mike Brubaker.

Friday, March 19, 2010

For more information

For Eastern basketball fans, who are not getting ready to play the biggest basketball game in school history since 1988, may I recommend a website to you for information on Neumann-Gorretti, your opponent in Tuesday's Class AAA Eastern final:

He's a writer with the Philadelphia Daily News and has covered the Public League and Catholic League in the city for decades. Site is a little busy with content, but one should find out everything you need to know about N-G and the teams that they played.

You can also check

TMI generator update

In an earlier post on COLUMBIA TALK, it was reported the generators from the inactive Unit Two reactor at Three Mile Island would be passing through the area on Route 441 and over Route 30 in the next two weeks.

The move of the generators through the area will take place next Saturday, causing traffic delays and temporary closings of Route 441.

The convoy will most likely pass through the Columbia area during the evening hours.

Eastern advances to Eastern finals

The Eastern Golden Knights remained unbeaten tonight with a 57-43 win over Abington Heights in a game played at the mecca of high school basketball, Martz Hall.
The Knights will now play Neuman-Gorretti in the Eastern finals on Tuesday at a site and time to be announced.

For more on that game, check out

For mre on games involving Lebanon Catholic boys and Lancaster Mennonite girls, check out,,

Hempfield boys play tomorrow at 1 p.m. For a live blog from that game check out

May Day will be held

For those worried that a longstanding Columbia High School tradition would end or take a year off because of construction at the school, relax.

The school’s annual May Day celebration will be held this year on Saturday, May 1 at the Park Elementary School.

The senior court will be Katrina Russell, Sarah Leader, Emily Nobile, Sara Burke, Julia Melbert, Cami Kronenwetter, Allison Michener and Victoria Kuhn.

The event is sponsored by Student Council.

The Student Council will also be holding a Spring King Contest next week. The candidates for that honor are Alex Beckley, Brandon Felus and Joey Charles.

Construction moves forward

Construction is moving forward at the Columbia Junior-Senior High School campus.

At Thursday’s school board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Barry Clippinger reported the renovations are on schedule.

“We are not anticipating any hiccups,” Clippinger said. “So, we are pleased.”

If you travel Route 30, evidence of the construction progress is visible. The roof of the large group instruction area is now visible. The windows need to be installed and when complete, it will offer an outstanding view of the Susquehanna River.

Clippinger said that renovations to the gym lobby area have begun, along with extensions onto the cafeteria and improvements to the main lobby area.

“The new floor is being completed in the media center and that should be ready to occupancy inlate April or by May 1.

This week, the eighth grade wing at the middle school will be relocated to rooms 105 through 109.

Also at its meeting Thursday night, the board awarded a contract for asbestos removal at the high school complex to Plymouth Environmental for $29,800.

Small amounts of asbestos that were never removed during previous renovations were found in some classrooms being renovated around bulletin boards and blackboards.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Meet Columbia's new football coach

Michael Burke remembers the first time he coached football and the passion Columbia has for its athletic programs.

That was back after he graduated from Columbia High School in 1989.

“I started coaching a midget team right out of high school. We had a lot of success too. I modeled my program after my dad’s (Mike Burke II, who coached Columbia football from 1985 through 2004) at the high school level. That was a lot of fun watching eight and nine-year-olds run a no huddle offense and be so well prepared at such a young age,” Burke said Thursday afternoon.

And then there is the passion of the Columbia fans.

“When I was in high school I was lucky enough to be on a state championship, L-L League Championship, section championships in football and basketball and a District Three runner-up team in both sports,” Burke said.

“The town treated us like royalty. Every one wanted to talk to you, the youth teams wanted to be close to you and the junior high teams idolized the varsity squad. After coming back from a few years off I noticed the lack of admiration from junior high to the varsity. That is something we need to get back for our program,” Burke said.

So now, the 20-year veteran of coaching from the midget to the junior high level to the varsity level, takes the responsibility of turning around the Columbia football program, which went 0-10 last season and had its first winless season since 1958.

Michel Burke III was approved by the Columbia School Board as the new football coach at the high school at its meeting Thursday, replacing Jason Shoff.

So after the start with the midget program, MBIII continued the climb up the coaching ladder or tree at Columbia High School.

“I moved up to the junior high and assisted my Uncle Steve Burke for a several years. We did the scouting for the varsity and that is where the x’s and o’s just really intrigued me. Watching how film study changed game plans and why knowing your opponent was so important,” Burke III, said.

He then became the high junior high coach for a number of years before moving up to the varsity program as defensive coordinator.

“I have had the opportunity to be exposed to football at every level and to coach/teach athletes at every level,” Burke III said. “In high school, my Dad had coaches meetings that were held in our dining room on Sunday mornings so I know what goes into a successful program,” the new coach said.

And he’s the head coach of the Columbia football program now, because...

“Ten years ago Notre Dame couldn’t have pulled me away from Columbia. I had always thought from the time I got involved in coaching I was going to run the football program at some point. I had visions of continuing the success of the program (section titles, district playoffs) and even turning Columbia into a Berwick, Manheim Central or a Southern Columbia and hoping to make a annual appearance in the state playoffs like those teams,” Burke III said.

“ Then some good things happened for me professionally at work and the time I had to devote to the program became a issue. I had to step away for a brief time. I would love to be a full-time football coach, most of us who do coach would love that. I love the game and I love the game planning that is involved. There is nothing like Friday Nights under those lights,” he said.

Now as head coach, the Tide might take a step back in time.

When Michael Burke III played, his dad, Mike Burke II, was his coach and later he coached with his dad. Now, Michael Burke III has the opportunity to coach his son, Michael IV and stepson, Nick Williams. And it will be a lot different between the father, son and stepson, this time.

“I am different than my son. I wear my emotions on my sleeve and always have. So my Dad and I butted heads because of my emotion and his emotion. We were and are just both very competitive in everything. IV is a little calmer, it takes him a little longer to get 0 – 60 miles-an-hour,” Burke III said.

“I come at him differently than my dad came at me,” Burke III said.

“With my dad. I can remember playing at Hersheypark Arena in a District Championship with 5,000 people there and I could distinctly hear his instructions coming out on the floor to me and driving me crazy! Michael IV is much different when I give him instructions,” the coach said.

“He doesn’t like to be talked to before, during and after practice. So I make my point and let it go, he knows my expectations, if I have to say it again it isn’t as “educational” as the first time. Nick, my stepson is just coming into this year with a great attitude and he knows he is going to have it tough on him too. They both know that during supper I am going to telling them things they need to hear and should hear,” Burke III said.

“My wife Laurie does a exceptional job keeping our household together when the boys and I are disagreeing. I know it is difficult to have your father as your coach but I think I have to treat Michael and Nick as any other player and know when to knock them down and also know when to pick them up. I learned a long time ago, you have to know who you can press and who you need to back off and when,” Burke III said.

As for his dad, the Hall of Fame Coach at both Columbia and Millersville, that too will be different.

“We have already had meetings on personnel, formations, verbiage, ideas and goals. I am excited to do this with him and the rest of our staff. It will be difficult at times, but, we both know where that line begins and ends. There has been disagreements when I was his Defensive Coordinator,” Burke III said.

“It isn’t about Michael or Mike Burke. It is about Columbia Football and the pride that we both feel for the school and town. We have both been successful in athletics and he has had an amazing coaching career. I feel very lucky that he is coming aboard to help us,” Burke III said.

After sitting out for five years after the elder Burke retired as Columbia’s head coach, Mike Burke spent a year as offensive coordinator at Hempfield, but spent last season pacing the fences around the football field at Columbia and other places in Section 3, watching his son coach and his grandson play.

“He just didn’t look right in black and red while at Hempfield,” the younger Burke said.

He’s been holding informal workouts with the program for more than a month.

“We have some ideas for revitalizing the football team, town and school and the involvement of all three with each other. I am hoping to be involved with the midget program teaching them how to run a program and letting them know our coaches will be available for X’s & O’s,” Burke III said.

“We also hope to bring back some traditions that were in place when Jack Yohe was coach,” he said.

The new coach will hold his first official meeting with the team tomorrow.

“They know what our staff stands for. We won’t accept a mediocre effort. They also know we can have success this year if they buy in to our vision and structure. We want them to be successful. So leave the i-pods and cell phones at home or in the locker, dress like an athlete and work like an athlete,” Burke III said.

“I ran my own program at the junior high level. I learned so much in those years. It is a great training ground for young coaches that want to coach at the varsity level. I made some mistakes but learned from them pretty quick,” Burke III said.

“Running the varsity program is going to be different. There isn’t anyone with higher expectations for this team than me. I have surrounded myself with the best people I can all the way down to our equipment manager. There seems to be some “electricity” back and that is good. I only want positive people surrounding our program. This group needs to know they can win. They have to expect it,” Burke III said.

“There is so much outside influences for our student athletes today it can be overwhelming. I want to be a positive for them, I want our program to be a positive for them. But I do feel the pressure to succeed right away. Most of the staff has had much success playing and coaching. I told the team already, ‘Hate to lose more than you Love to win,’” Burke III said.

Right now the new staff also include Burke’s brother, Tom, along with Justin Steiner, Mike Graybill, his cousin James Burke, Ryan Strickler and Brett Frey, all former players.

Blog update

I want to thank everyone who has checked into COLUMBIA TALK, which I started on Feb. 3.
Since we no longer have a newspaper, which is truely a shame, I thought this would be a way for me to continue my passion for writing and perhaps keep the town informed of the various events.

Everyone has been pretty good about getting me information, but for the success of COLUMBIA TALK to continue, I'd like to have more news and events sent my way.

I put a counter on the home page of COLUMBIA TALK and I just checked it and the count was 3,181 hits in 43 days. That's an average of 79 hits a day, if you look at it that way.

I know it will be sometime before I hit the one million mark that my friend Jeff Reinhart recently hit with his View from the Press Box blog on lancasteronline, but I feel pretty good about the number of hits and good comments and information I have received.

I do plan soon to be running the weekly police reports from Columbia Borough and also a feature from the Columbia Police and Officer Austin Miller is doing on Columbia's Most Wanted. Those profiles are posted on the big window at the police station.

I've done polls with local questions with what I think are pretty positive results.

Again, thanks for the help and support, and keep sending me the events and stories that make up our town.