Friday, February 12, 2010

Do you know this man?

West Hempfield Township Police are looking for a black male with a heavy build, in his 30s or 40s with a beard and mustache after passing counterfeit $100 bills during the purchase of more than $800 in merchandise from the Kmart store in the 3900 block of Columbia Avenue.
Police said the incident happened Jan. 20.
The suspect, pictured, is wanted for similar incidents in York and Lancaster counties.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 285-5191


A tough one to write

NOTE: There will be a follow up on this in the next few days.

About a year ago this time, I started this, wrote a few paragraphs and stopped. Now, its time to start this again, as for the second time in a year, our great town is losing its newspaper as the Columbia Register ends its nine month run.

It’s no surprise at least to me and others, newspapers are dying at an alarming rate across the nation, I’m kind of surprised that local community papers aren’t making it. They have the ability to deliver what the major papers can’t and that is local news and sports. But this is the third time I have had a newspaper close on me and will probably be the last time. As much as I enjoy reporting on the events of our great town, I just don’t see anyone coming into a tough market. But despite the doom and gloom forecasts, I still think a local newspaper dedicated to the Columbia area can still make it.

For many, there is a lot more to do today than there was when I was younger and many have found ways, other than a newspaper to get their news, Still, I always hoped Columbia would newspaper till the end of time.

Last year when I sat down to pen this going away column, there was so much I wanted to write that I may have forgotten stuff.

This is the start of my 26th year of newspaper writing in Columbia. Along the way, I made many great friends,.met a lot of great people, covered a lot of outstanding events, worked with some good people and attended a lot of meetings and events.

Before coming to the Columbia News back in 1984, I got some pretty good training when I worked at WSBA and a good work ethic from the likes of Ed Wickenheiser, Ron Corbin and the late Phil Eberly. They also taught me a lot of professionalism and the right way to do things.

Then came the Columbia News, where I learned much from “Teedy” Aston and not so much from those who followed him.

Within a week after that publication closed, Columbia got rescued by the Ledger Newspaper group, which had a slew of owners during 19 years. It really helped me learn the community more than I ever knew. I learned the people, who I could trust and who I could not.

I learned a lot about running a newspaper, There were some great times and long hours.

I can’t really tell you what the best story I ever covered was, because there were so many. The Homecoming, May Days, parades, craft shows and Bridge Busts may have all run together, but they were unique events to our town.

I think in 26 years, I’ve been to thousands of meetings and I can honestly say there were times I wanted to stand up at meetings and tell people to shit down and shut up and there were times I just wanted to get up and leave. But I didn’t because it was my job to be there.

In 26 years, I can’t remember being late for too many events. I believed on being at places early and not walking in late and creating a scene like some.

There were the tragedies in our town. Many of them hit home because we are a small town and ade for some tough writing.

If there is one thing I was always proud of was the ability to write about the greatest high school of all times and its athletic programs. I’ll always be a fan.

As for the people, I can tell you, I like most of them. But there are a few, probably less than five over 26 years that I knew just weren’t right for Columbia. I could see through their images they presented.

I’ll never forget the 1987 state championship run. That will always remain special.

As I said earlier, I had plan to write this about a year ago. I stopped, but I did start writing something back in July when I had my accident. That took a lot more out of me than I first thought. I’m not the same person I was and will never be the same person. I’m strong because I have to be, but...

I’d like to list a number of people who have greatly helped me over the many years, but I don’t want to miss anyone.

I’m gonna be here. I’m not leaving town, I’ll just be in a different role. Perhaps trying a Columbia blog, because there might not be another way to get the news out to our town.

Thanks Columbia for many great memories and for allowing me to come into your homes each week.

I hope I made a difference.

Just in case you didn't get the last edition

Sometime this week, perhaps its already done, there will be interviews for the vacant Columbia High School football coaching position. Next week, Columbia High School is expected to have a new leader for its football program, which went 0-10 this year and 3-18 over the previous two seasons.

Perhaps as many as six people have been interviewed, unfortunately, I won’t be able to tell you before everyone else in the local media who the Tide’s next boss will be.

This is the last time, perhaps only for a while, or maybe forever, I will write a column for a newspaper. I’m trying to re-discover blog writing, which I did about a year ago ( to let the people know what is happening in our town.

This was one of the stories I was actually looking forward to writing. See by the time, Columbia had a new coach, there would only be the Tide boys in the district playoffs and the wrestlers would be getting ready for sectionals.

But, there won’t be that “home town” feeling in stories about our new coach.

I’ve asked and many of who that have attended basketball games or wrestling matches in recent weeks have probably seen me talking with CHS AD Jim Rhoads.

He did tell me he got 15 applicants for the position, which I found amazing and shared with me who some of the names were. I’m not going to share them, other than one, the person I think and some other I’ve talked with can do the job and that would be current Tide assistant Mike Burke III.

Outside of being away from the game for a couple of years and returning this year as defensive coordinator, Burke has given most of his post-high school life to the program, from junior high coach to coaching at the varsity level.

Of the names I’ve been told, there’s no one there that jumps out at me and says hire him.

I know MB3 had a meeting last month shortly after the rumors were confirmed of Jason Shoff’s departure with prospective players in grades 7-11 and close to 90 kids showed up. There have been a couple of Sunday workouts with around 40 kids showing up.

That’s a positive. I’ve talked with some of the prospective players and those I’ve talked with at basketball or wrestling, all favor MB3.

Since my days as a student at Columbia High School, then as a reporter, Columbia hasn‘t had much success with outsiders coming in and trying to coach our teams.

Basketball tried it three in the last 30 plus years. I remember when I was a student, George Hanna coached the Tide for one year and left and then there was Gary Sutton. He’s the only one who enjoyed success. Then there was John Larkin and many couldn’t wait for him to ride out of town.

There are a few in other sports, but two current ones that come to mind are Bob Pederson, who will be in his second year with the Tide in baseball and appears to have the Tide headed in the right direction and new softball coach Brad Brubaker, who many are looking for good things out of.

But Columbia has never enjoyed the success in those sports that they have in football and basketball.

And for that reason I was surprised there were 15 applicants for the position, knowing the school usually stays within the Columbia family.

Okay, sure, you can say bringing someone in from the outside might revive the program. They might, but it will take them a few months to learn the kids, set up the off-season and learn the L-L League. And there probably won’t be 90 kids at a meeting either. There’s also the need to get a staff in place along with the schemes the Tide will use. Right now, I here there’s a pretty good staff in place and the schemes are already there, they just need tweaking.

I hope the powers to be up on the hill realize this is one position to keep “in house” and keep it “within the family.”