Sunday, March 7, 2010

Another warning

Now that the weather is getting better and the white stuff is mostly gone or discolored, Columbia Borough is issuing a warning to those residents who used anything from chairs to furniture to the kitchen sink (okay just kidding there) to save parking spaces during the February snow.
They need to be removed from the streets or residents could be fined up to $600.
For more, here's the link

Tri-County all-stars are announced

Just one Columbia football player -- senior Brandon Felus, will participate in the Tri-County all-star game at Manheim in May. Here is the link

Columbia Market visit

I went to the Columbia Market House on Friday for the first time since my accident in July. Probably the last time I visited there may have been June.

I did follow the changes with the market manager late last year when I was covering borough council meetings and also the million dollar renovations.

With those renovations and even before that, the market house is a nice structure. Plenty of history.

Again, let me preface this that this was my first visit in a while to the market and I only heard from the old word of mouth that things were going well and also that things weren’t going well.

Well, Friday when I was in there, there weren’t a lot of people – probably less than 10. Been told that Thursdays are better than Friday, so I will have to go on a Thursday to compare.

In case you are like me and haven’t been there in a while – there are two produce stands, a lunch meat stand, a couple of baked good places, a butcher and places to get lunch.

There was one entire area neat the back doors in the middle that had no stands.

I had a reason not to support the market, but I do have to wonder if business will pick up as the weather gets better or having a two-day market is not right for Columbia Borough.

And I also have to wonder what is being done to recruit stand holders for those empty spaces?

Columbia Borough through a series of grants just pumped some big time bucks into the facility so they must think it works.

Again, it might just be me going in on a Friday and not Thursday, or, it could be the time of the year and the weather.

Even with that, I’d be kind of concerned with what is going on or not going on down there.

New coach

Columbia High School is close to getting a new football coach.

The school board at its Committee of the Whole meeting on Thursday night will consider Michael Burke III as its new football coach, replacing Jason Shoff, who resigned after six seasons.

Burke was recommended to the full board at last week’s extra-curricular committee meeting.

The COW meeting is an agenda setting meeting for the regular meeting the following week.

Beware of possible new regulations

It’s something I read each Sunday in the Sunday News – the county and state inspections of restaurants. Some pass and others have a long list of needed repairs or get shutdown until the repairs are made.

But you never see anything from Columbia Borough in those inspections. That’s because Columbia does its own inspections and doesn’t publish the results. That can be good or bad depending upon your view points. I’m the kind of person who wants to know if there is a problem at a place I eat.

But that could be changing and its something everyone in Columbia that owns a restaurant, club, non-profit or has a stand at community events needs to be aware of.

The borough either is, or will be changing how its Code Enforcement office works, taking those type inspections away from the locals and giving the county and state free reign to work.

So now, instead of perhaps getting a call from the borough saying, “hey, we’ll be around next week,” there will be no call. The inspectors will show up unannounced and go to work.

So, if there is a problem or a complaint filed against a local restaurant/eatery, there probably won’t be no more Mr. Nice Guy warnings.

I’m not sure how many people realize this change is going to happen, so I am writing this as a public service/warning. If you are not up to par, you better get up to par.

I’m not so much concerned about the big places in our town, because I would suspect they are all up to snuff when it cones to food codes, etc. If they are not, look out.

What does concern me and something I’ve read those inspections of are the smaller groups and organizations who are not up to snuff on the laws. You know the ones run by volunteers.

That could be bad news for them as well. You’re gonna see an inspector coming around and it might be costly to make repairs.

The same goes for those non-profits and others who have stands at the various events in town. You’re gonna be inspected as well.

I have a problem with some of this because many use these events as major fund-raisers and if they can’t meet the code, they won’t be able to sell anything.

This information doesn’t appear to be top secret stuff like some things in our town, but perhaps instead of spreading the word via “word of mouth” when inspections are done and say “oh by the way,” Columbia Borough needs to let all these people know what they are planning. Some of places might not be able to afford bringing their places up to code. Perhaps a letter or a town meeting might be in order. But then again, people might tend to ignore letters and invites to a meeting, so, that move is up to Columbia Borough.

The end result might be good for the town, but getting to the end result might/will cause some hardship and money.

PIAA brackets

If you are interested in looking at the PIAA brackets for both basketball and wrestling, I can recommed a few sites such as,,, or

The PIAA basketball sites aren't available yet. Teams are filled out. There are a couple of play in games on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The PIAA wrestling tournament begins Thursday at the Giant Center.

My thoughts on the playoffs

For obvious reasons, I only got to one basketball playoff game this year and really don’t see my seeing anymore games this season, which is something I’m not use to. But I am adapting.

I have followed the playoffs with other venues and two of the best have been Jeff Reinhart and Keith Schweigert from Lancasteronline. The others don’t like taking comments from fans and are slow to give you the action.

With that in mind (this is the second attempt to write this because I hit the wrong button during the first attempt), there needs to be some changes in the playoffs from the formats, to the sites, perhaps how you seed teams and how the teas get into the playoffs.

When I was younger in this business and even when I was a student at Columbia High School, you had to win a certain percentage of games to get in the playoffs. Back then, the Catholic schools had their own tournament and there weren’t the glut of private schools. There also wasn’t all of the classes.

So, it changed from having to win a certain percentage of games to letting everyone in to teams with wining records and to fill out the brackets, teams with under .500 records. Most of those teams are in the lower two classes, AA and A. Yes, there are some mis-matches, but those teams are only following the rules.

Should there be changes in how teams qualify for the playoffs? That’s a tough question because I’ve seen teams with losing records do well. Take the Columbia boys team this year. They won six or seven games, yet they battled three teams – Lancaster Catholic, Lancaster Mennonite and Reading Central Catholic, all teams that played in the finals tough. I also feel they were a couple of baskets away from wining 10-12 games.

I don’t want to turn this into a Catholic, public and private school debate, but certain ones should be playing up and others should be playing down.

Even with power rating system, some teams because they don’t play that tough of a schedule and get rewarded for that. So, there are no easy answers to changing that, but perhaps the “big” or “real” leagues like the L-L, York, Mid-Penn and Berks should be guaranteed berths, while the others, who still have trouble walking and chewing gum so to speak, must actually qualify. I don’t know.

I thought this was a down year for the L-L League, yet they ended up with three boys and a girls team in the finals, but didn’t win a title.

Of those teams from the L-L that played in the finals or will advance to the state playoffs (okay, I still can’t figure out why there is a week off), three could do well in the tournament – Mennonite girls, Catholic boys, who come out of the week and Hempfield. I would suspect the Eastern boys will go a long way too.

I did look at the PIAA pairings this a.m. Tough break for the Trinity boys – they win a district title and draw Strawberry Mansion. Mennonite boys fall in the finals and they get the winner of a play-in game. What’s wrong with that?

Also read a lot about the sites for the game. There’s something with that. I saw a consi game where Delone and Hanover had to go to Carlisle to play. Wow.

It appears schools aren’t allowing the games to be played at their schools. Did not see any games at L-L schools with huge gyms such as Garden Spot, CV, Warwick or McCaskey. Here’s a thought and they do it in other sports, why not through at least through the first two rounds award the higher seeds with a home game. It would be a reward and it would also help District Three with a problem of finding schools. Okay, you wouldn’t be able to play doubleheaders, but would be something to consider.

I like playing games in the big venues such as the Giant Center, but, why not save that arena for the finals. I saw a crowd shot the other night and I could count the fans on my hands and one foot. And if they want to use the big arena in Hershey, why not use the old arena as well.

But District Three has to be losing its shirts on playing so many games at the Giant Center, but I don’t know.

But I do think its time to tweak things a little and make the tournament that much better.

Wrestlers end season

There will be no Columbia wrestlers in this week's PIAA championships.

Seniors Joey Ronca and Jake Sentz were eliminated from the regional tournaent Friday night at Wilson High School.

Both lost two matches.

Ronca suffered a heartbreaking loss to Lehighton's Anthony Farole in the 135-pound prelims, 6-5, in a match he led until the final second. Ronca led the match 5-4 with 10 seconds left, when Farole shot and scored the takedown with 1 second left on the clock.

Ronca scored a takedown to lead 2-0 in the first period, went up 3-2 in the second period and appeared on his way to advancement scoring an escape with 47econds left and holding a 5-4 lead. But Farole went on an attack and got the takedown to win the match.

That put Ronca into the consolation round against Boiling Springs’ Tylyer Thumma, who had beaten Ronca twice in the district championship the week before. Thumma ended Ronca’s career with a 16-0 tech fall in 3:35.

Sentz also had a cruel end to his wrestling career, especially in his preliminary match at 285.

After several attempts to bring Springfield Township's Dylan Evans to the mat with upper-body holds, Sentz appeared to have gained the upper hand, taking Evans to the mat with Evans' back exposed.

But before Sentz could gain control, and earn points, Evans rolled out of trouble and rolled Sentz onto his back. Gaining the takedown, Evans soon secured the fall, finishing the match in 1:37.

Next up was a District Three rematch with Milton Hershey's Cris Ramirez won with a pin in 27 seconds, 14 seconds longer than their district match,