Monday, March 14, 2011

Who I am

About a month ago, I attended what appeared to be the monthly meeting of the Columbia Area Democratic Committee/Club.

There were only a handful of people there, split pretty equally between Columbians and people from the county committee. The one question asked that night was “what were you involved in.” Since the Colunbians at the meeting each knew each other and what all we were involved in, I thought the question was interesting. So, I gave a little information about myself and the reaction when all of us got done speaking was, “so you are all involved in Columbia.”

And only knowing one of the people from the county, I was a little stunned by the remark because when it comes to the election, it’s not the people of the county who will be electing council and school board members in May and November.

It wasn’t until a few weeks later, someone in town asked me a similar question. And I thought, wow, most people probably only know me as a staff writer/sports editor from the old Columbia News and for close to 20 years as editor of the former Columbia Ledger. So, when I started telling the person some of the things I was involved in, they were surprised.

Now that I am officially on the ballot as one of three people seeking one of the four four-year Democratic seats on borough council, I thought it might be a good idea to put my resume and other information out there. So, here goes.

Prior to joining the former Columbia News, I worked in the newsroom at WSBA Radio in York from my senior year at Columbia High School through 1984. One of the big stories during that time was the Three Mile Island accident.

At the Columbia News, I was responsible at first for covering Columbia sports and school board meetings. Later, it was a little bit of everything until the newspaper closed.

Then I moved onto the Columbia Ledger, which first debut as the Columbia Press and I was there until the paper closed in 2009.

Not only did I cover the local meetings in Columbia, West Hempfield and Wrightsville, I also gained experience covering meetings in other locations.

To say I have a good understanding of municipal governments is an understatement. I’ve covered town meetings in places smaller than Columbia and a lot larger. Seen a lot of different issues, a lot of ideas and a lot of community and government leaders come and go.

My last newspaper experience and I am being honest was not a good one, one I took for two reasons, because I needed a job and two, I did it for the town of Columbia.

So there is my work history.

As for some honors, I’ve received plaques and certificates from fire companies and other organizations in town. Four special awards I received were two from the Columbia Boy’s Athletic Association back in the 1990s and 2000; the Jimmy Sheckard Award, presented by the Susquehanna Valley Sports Hall of Fame and a Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Keystone Award for newspaper coverage of a fire many years ago of a fire on Perry Street here in town.

As for memberships, if you don’t know, I was president, coach, tournament director, commissioner and umpire for the Columbia Boy’s Athletic Association from the time I graduated high school until about eight or nine years ago. I loved working with a great group of adults, loved working with the young people of our town and meeting new people and organizing the former Kratzer Tournament.

I was also a member at one time of the Columbia Rotary Club, served a term on the Columbia Civil Service Commission and was a member of the Columbia School District’s strategic plan committee when Jon Rednak was superintendent. I am a board member for the Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce.

With the high school sports programs, I’ve kept statistics for the football team for 30 years or so; kept time at track meets for the last three or four years and have been running the clock for football games at the junior high/junior varsity football games for a handful of years; been scorekeeper for wrestling for more than 10 years and basketball for a handful of years.

I am also a former member of the Hershey Hockeywriters Association and Lancaster Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association, the Susquehanna Valley Sports Hall of Fame and charter member of the Columbia High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame Committee and was also a member of the 100th anniversary of Columbia High School football program; the closing and opening ceremony committee for the high school football stadium and the 50th anniversary committee of Columbia wrestling.

I think that is it.

Crimestoppers needs help

The Best of Columbia

I can hear the "nay sayers" of our town now, "there's nothing good about Columbia," "our town isn't worth the dirt its built on." Well, some of us see Columbia differently. So, here goes. From time to time, newspapers and magazines do their "best of" lists.
I tried this a few times before at the Columbia Ledger. One that was particularly effective was a special section I produced on the 100 Years of Columbia High School football. Another, was like a "Best Of" list, in combination with other newspapers in our chain.
So, even though there are no prizes involved, I'd like to try it now. Between now and April 1, let's fill out the following lists and on April 2, I'll announce Columbia Talk's Best of Columbia.
"The Best of Columbia"
1. Best Community Event?
2. Best Place to watch a parade at?
3. Best Place to relax?
4. Best Park?
5. Best place to watch a sporting event?
6. Best place to get a cup of coffee?
7. Best place to view the Susquehanna?
8. Best place to get wings?
9. Best place to get a sub?
10. Best place to get a cheesesteak?
11. Best place to get ice cream?
12., Best soft pretzel (current or "back in the day")
13. Best street in Columbia?
14. Please place to get breakfast?
15. Best place to get a haircut or perm?
16. Best stylist or barber?
17. Best place to get an adult beverage?
18. Best place to get a soda?
19. Best pizza place?
20. Best sporting event?
21. Best place to walk?
22. Best burger?
23. Best tourist attraction?
24. Best place to get gas?
25. Best fast food restaurant?
26. Best place to go for entertainment?
27. Best service station?
28. Best club?
29. Best market stand?
30. Best teacher (present)?
31. Best teacher (back in the day)?
32. Best church?
33. Best police officer?
34. Best place to purchase a lottery ticket?

Police issue warning on traveling shows

During the past several months the prices of precious metals (gold, silver, platinum) have soared to new record levels. Associated with this phenomenon, precious metals buyers have popped up everywhere, some as “traveling road shows,” urging consumers to clean out their drawers of old or unused gold and silver and bring it to them for “top dollar” prices. Many of these buyers are from out of town or even out of state and are set up in motels and hotels for just a day or two and then they leave town with their purchases.
Before you decide to sell your valued possessions, you should arm yourself with some basic guidelines detailed in Chapter 501 (Purchase and Sale of Precious Metals) of The Pennsylvania Code:
1. When you walk into a gold dealers premises ask the person in charge if they are currently licensed with their county sheriff. Present law requires any person who purchases precious metals to be licensed with their county sheriff’s department. If they say no or don’t know, walk away.
2. Ask them where their current prices are posted for gold, silver or platinum. Present law requires the dealer to clearly post these prices for the customer to see. If they aren’t posted, walk away.
3. If they are going to weigh your products, make sure the scale is visible so you can observe the weighing operation and make sure the scale bears a current seal of approval from weights and measures. If either of these requirements is not met, walk away.
4. Most consumers are not very familiar with the metric or troy systems of weights and measures. Therefore dealers are required to post a conversion chart so the consumer has a chance to understand exactly how much their product weighs and how much they are being offered for it. If the conversion chart is not posted, walk away.
5. Should all the previous requirements be met and you decide to proceed with the sale, make sure you receive a complete and descriptive receipt. The law requires the dealer to provide a receipt that includes; (1) the name, age, address of the seller. (2) An accurate description of the product including its weight. (3) Records are to be maintained by the dealer for a period of one year and be available for inspection. (4) A copy of all receipts must be submitted to the county District Attorney within 24 hours of the transaction.
6. All precious metals purchased by a dealer shall be kept in “unaltered condition” for a minimum of five days and be available for inspection upon request.
7. If possible, have your items examined and weighed by a local jeweler to establish a baseline weight and value.
8. It is never advisable for you to send your precious metals off by mail to an unknown metals dealer.
Please note that the registration requirements and other regulations do not apply to financial institutions that are licensed under state or federal laws, or individuals purchasing precious metals for their personal use (not for resale or refining). In addition, these requirements are for Pennsylvania dealers only.
Should you have a problem or need to lodge a complaint, contact your local district attorney, sheriff or the local police. You can also lodge a complaint with the state attorney general’s office at 717-787-3391 or with weights and measures at 1-877-837-8007.

CBAA to hold flea market

Looking for bargains?
The Columbia Boy's Athletic Association will hold their second annual Flea Market from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, April 16 at Glatfelter Field.
The cost per space is $20,
For more information, call Robin Ortman at 342-2658.

Let's play a game

I saw this on ESPN the other week during their spring training trip from Arizona to Florida. John Kruk, one of my favorite Phillies and former Baltimore Sun writer, now ESPN Insider Tim Kurkjan, were playing the ABC's of spring training. They were using all the letters of the alphabet to come up with a word or phrase or team that would be key to the 2011 season.
So, I got to thinking (which is sometimes dangerous) how to adapt this to Columbia. So here goes. Since recently there was a newspaper article written about Columbia's nicknames, I decided to do one for Columbia sports. At each letter listed below, add a name that begins with that letter of someone who participated in Columbia High School sports. They can be current athletes, coaches, or athletes or coaches back in the day, as us old timers like to say.
But to make it a little more difficult, it can't be any name. They have to be either an all-star in their sport; 1,000 point scorer or 100 win wrestler; champion; championship coach, Hall of Fame member or member of a championship team.
I will continue to take names for the next two weeks and on April 1 post the winners. So for example, the letter A could stand for Anspach or Afari; B could be Burke or Beaston, etc.