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."