Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Underground Railroad to be topic of Millersville history talk

Hazel Deming, former teacher and history buff, will discuss The Underground Railroad during the Millersville Area Historical Society meeting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct.11, in Millersville's Municipal Center, 100 Municipal Drive.

Random Thoughts

I felt a little like Rip Van Winkle this morning. I went to bed in the summer and woke up in the fall. There were a lot of stray thoughts in my head, what might be termed the detritus of dreams.

I suggest that the borough council retire the catchphrases "kicking the can down the road" and "day of reckoning." I've heard both of them used at the last few council meetings. "Day of reckoning" is particularly melodramatic - almost biblical - as if God is about to rain his wrath upon us for a few bad political decisions. At last night's meeting, each expression was used about half a dozen times by various councillors - to the point of hilarity. Council, please strike these phrases from your repertoire. They are empty cliches.  Chanting mantras is not the same as seeking positive solutions. Using catchphrases is a way of avoiding issues, of removing ourselves from the reality of a situation.

Of course, trendy catchphrases are the order of the day, even on a larger scale. "Boots on the ground," for example, is a recent favorite of political pundits. The phrase demeans and diminishes the service and sacrifice of our military personnel, because it commodifies and dehumanizes them. If we're willing to commit personnel, we should call them what they are: soldiers, troops, warriors, human beings. And we're all too anxious to commit troops.  Now there is talk of sending more soldiers to the Middle East.  In the meantime, we simply drop bombs while pundits tell us it's the right thing for all involved.

Speaking of pundits, can Lancaster Newspapers get through an article on local politics without quoting G. Terry Madonna, the self-appointed authority on all things political? Doctor G. Terry runs the F&M poll and is routinely trotted out for show and tell, giving us the latest polling on dignitaries and politicos trying to hold on to their careers.

Last Friday, lots of folks turned out for the bridge light ceremony - including dignitaries. Supporters of the project got due public credit for their efforts. It was a great photo op for local officials trying to hold on. Some critics complained about the scheduling - 3 o'clock on a Friday afternoon - because the bridge had to be shut down at a time of heavy traffic, and most working people and school children were unable to attend. I was told off the record by someone "in the know" that the event was scheduled to accommodate the dignitaries. How unfortunate that they couldn't have come on a Sunday. How unfortunate that students couldn't have been dismissed early to attend the ceremony. What a missed opportunity to teach young people about our heritage and possibly spark a love of local history. Education is not always about books and classrooms.
Unfortunately for the dignitaries, local media practically ignored the event (except for the posting on this blog, slight WGAL coverage, and an anemic writeup in Lancaster Newspapers.)

Earlier in the day, those two military jets had flown over again, the ones we see daily; A-10 Warthogs out of Syracus, NY. They loop to Maryland and back to patrol the skies and to allow pilots to get their hours in. They flew over the bridge - the Veterans Memorial Bridge.
In this time of impending war, it would be prudent to remember that they're flown by pilots - human beings - not "boots in the sky" or any other mere catchphrase, and that they are sent to war by those chasing photo ops and political influence.

Wires down at South 4th

Shortly before 3 o'clock this afternoon, a train on the line from Sahd Salvage pulled down cable wires on South Fourth Street, near Mill. Cable service in the immediate area - as well as phone service to a local business - was knocked out.

Mysterious, mythical albatwitch at the heart of new paranormal, historical festival in Columbia


Monday, September 22, 2014

Agenda - Committee of the Whole Meeting 9-22-14

Details to follow

Borough official admits "oversight"

At the September 22 Columbia Borough Council Committee of the Whole meeting, the approval of construction of an outbuilding on the 600 block of 13th Street was characterized as an "oversight" by a borough official. The official used the term in response to a question from a resident as to why the building was approved for construction in a residential neighborhood.  The structure has been a source of concern for neighbors due its appearance, size, proposed use, and potential impact on neighborhood property values. Currently, a "stop work" order is in effect to halt further construction.

More details to follow.

Two views of the structure in question

Committee of the Whole meeting tonight

The Columbia Borough Council Committee of the Whole meeting will be held tonight at 6 o'clock at Borough Hall, 308 Locust Street.
The meeting is open to the public.