Monday, May 31, 2010

E-town celebrates Memorial Day with parade, ceremony

Here are some photos that I took with my BlackBerry before and during the Elizabethtown Memorial Day parade and ceremony. Today is one of my favorite things about being an elected official. It is a great honor to walk in the parade and be part of the ceremonies to commemorate the nation's fallen soldiers.

Elizabethtown has 35 soldiers going back to World War I who have given their lives in service to the United States. Of those, 18 died during World War II.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Resident faces charges after barricading self in house

An Elizabethtown man faces charges after he barricaded himself in his residence in the 300 block of Park Street Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

Matthew Shull, 31, was charged after the incident with third-degree felony making terroristic threats, second-degree misdemeanor recklessly endangering another person and a third-degree misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

The charges stem from an incident that begain at 9:23 p.m. Saturday when Elizabethtown Police were dispatched to the 300 block of East Park Street for a 31-year-old male who had threatened to barricade himself in his residence and potentially harm himself and the police. The male, identified as Shull, was armed with a 9mm handgun.

In a news release, Police Chief Jack Mentzer reported that police officers responded to the scene and observed Shull discharge the handgun inside the residence. Officers from the borough, Northwest Regional Police Department and Mount Joy Police Department surrounded the residence and evacuated neighbors. The police requested assistance from the Lancaster County Special Emergency Response Team (SERT).

SERT arrived to the scene and attempted to make contact with Shull. Those attempts were unsuccessful. Eventually tear gas was deployed into the residence which caused Shull to exit the residence. Shull was taken into custody at 1:30 a.m. Sunday and treated by medical personnel.

Shull was arraigned in front of District Justice William Rueter on Tuesday and committed to Lancaster County Prison in lieu of $250,000 bail.

Census workers go door to door

Teams of U.S. Census enumerators are going door to door to interview people who did not return their census forms. Nationwide, the response rate is 72 percent; in the Elizabethtown area, the response rates range between 76 percent and 81 percent, according to the Census' Take 10 Map that lets you search by ZIP code and displays a Google map.

A friend of mine is working as an enumerator, and I thought I would relay what he told me about his experience. He asked me not to identify him because Census workers are sworn to protect the confidentiality of the Census information.

"We must take that very seriously. I can't tell even tell my family where I will be going on my assignments. ...

"Everything is kept confidential, and it generally takes 10 minutes for a person to either fill out his form or complete an interview with an enumerator. Personal information is kept confidential under federal law for 72 years. The general statistics are used to determine how billions of dollars are spent because Census data helps Congress make decisions on where to spend money based on population density throughout each state.

"It's quite simple to comply with federal law and assist a Census worker who comes knocking on your door. You have nothing to be afraid of, and it really doesn't take that much of your time. Of course, it also can help your community qualify for government funding."

Census data is also used to help determine representation in the U.S. House of Representatives. By filling out your form and/or answering an enumerator's questions, you are helping Elizabethtown and Pennsylvania by ensuring a stronger representation in Congress and giving the Commonwealth a voice nationally.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Suspect arrested at 1:30 this morning after standoff with police

Elizabethtown police arrested a man early this morning after a four-hour standoff with him in the 300 block of East Park Street.

Police were dispatched to the residence at 9:23 p.m. Saturday for a man who had threatened to barricade himself in his residence and potentially harm himself and the police, according to a news release issued by Police Chief Jack Mentzer. The suspect was armed with a 9mm handgun, and other weapons were in the residence.
Police responded to the scene and observed the man discharge the handgun inside the residence, the news release reported. Elizabethtown Police Department, with the assistance officers from Northwest Regional and Mount Joy, surrounded the residence and evacuated neighbors. Police requested assistance from the Lancaster County Special Emergency Response Team (SERT). 

SERT arrived to the scene and attempted to make contact with the male. Those attempts were unsuccessful.  Eventually tear gas was deployed into the residence which caused the male to exit the residence. The male was taken into custody at 1:30 a.m. and treated by medical personnel. 

The male is facing several criminal charges that are expected to be filed in the near future. 

The identity of the male is being withheld until criminal charges are filed.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Work on train station parking lot to begin; lot will be closed for 2 months

Word came last week that the parking lot at the Elizabethtown Train Station will be closed for two months starting May 17. The lot will be closed so curbing and electrical components can be installed. Eventually, the lot will be paved.

"It's something they (the contractor) wanted to do in warm weather months, and the time has come," Elizabethtown Borough Manager Roni Ryan told Borough Council last week.

Amtrak will distribute fliers to train riders and post signs at the train station to notify train riders about the lot closure. Riders also can use the 90 parking spaces at nearby Sycamore Square. The borough has an agreement with the owners there to allow parking during the train station construction.

Ryan added that the entire project is "moving along beautifully." She said canopies on the train platform are starting to take shape, and a portion of the slate roof on the old train station building has been completed. In addition, an opening has been cut for one of two elevators that will be installed. Riders can plan on some intermittent track outages through June.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A little self-promotion

Let me take a break from the newsy version of Chronicling Elizabethtown and do a little self-promotion, for what's a politician worth if he doesn't promote himself a little. Right?

First, here's the backstory:

On March 29, Daniel Klotz and David Moulton were interviewing Karlo Gessner on their podcast called The Lancast, when the conversation veered in the direction of Elizabethtown and the great potential of our community. There's lots happening here in E-town especially with Folklore Coffee, the conversation went, and with lots of open store fronts there's plenty of possibility for new businesses.

Cool, I thought as I listened. But then Daniel started talking about the Fractured Prune, which left its spot on West High Street and successfully reopened on Queen Street in Lancaster. Daniel said that it would be great if businesses could follow a similar model by basically getting their legs here in our fine town and then move to Lancaster. I couldn't believe what I was hearing!

All of us in Elizabethtown know about the downtown struggles and trying to find businesses that are going to thrive. And the last thing we want is to become an incubator for Lancaster. We not only want our own business community -- we need it to serve our residents and to maintain a stable tax base.

So I called The Lancast guys out in the comment section of their website and defended our community.And as any self-respecting interviewers would do, they invited me to appear on their podcast this week to respond in person.

I have to say, they did a great job -- and especially Daniel, who made the comment -- and took everything with a sense of humor. They also asked some good questions about what it takes to run a community like E-town.

It was a great experience, and I would encourage you to follow the links above and listen not just to my interview but others as well. David and Daniel put some quality time into  covering issues, topics and people that are of interest to people in Lancaster and Lancaster County. Sometimes, we just have to remind that that E-town is out here, too.

One side note: None of this would have happened had I not gotten involved with Twitter and Facebook. I met both Daniel and David in person a couple of times before appearing on their podcast thanks to get-togethers organized via those two social media outlets. Because I work in Lancaster, I wanted to connect with others there, and attending those "tweetups," as they're called, has proved to be a fantastic way to expand my network.