Friday, December 28, 2012

Elizabethtown's singing mayor

You know, I've heard Mayor Chuck Mummert sing the National Anthem many times, and he does a wonderful job. The thing is, I think I've taken it for granted. Now, CBS21 did a great feature on the mayor and his singing.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Holiday message from mayor of Letterkenny, Ireland

The mayor of Letterkenny, Ireland, which is Elizabethtown's sister city, sent this holiday message. If you haven't seen it, our own Mayor Chuck Mummert provided his greeting in return.

No tax increase for 2013

At its final meeting for the year, Elizabethtown Borough Council adopted a $5.8 million budget for 2013 that holds the line on taxes.

The budget for next year contains some large expenditures, but they are for items that are necessary for the long-term viability of the borough and its services. They include:

  • $225,000 for the purchase of property behind Advanced Auto. A former industrial site, the borough plans to buy the property and use it to store maintenance equipment, with an eye toward eventually constructing a new maintenance building.
  • $28,000 to refurbish the softball field and dugouts at Community Park. The field is heavily used, and some players have logged complaints with the borough about the safety of the fields.
  • $30,000 to install a new roof on Borough Hall.
These are just a few of the highlights of what really is an austere budget. That said, residents of Elizabethtown will notice a few other projects in 2013, such as construction of walking and bicycle paths extending from the Amtrak train station across Market Street through the alley system and on toward the Elizabethtown Area School District campus. This project is entirely grant funded.

In addition, the borough received word in late November that it is the recipient of a $250,000 grant to construct an entrance at Community Park along Cherry Alley just off College Avenue.

Monday, November 19, 2012

What changes do you want to see in Elizabethtown?

As I've said before, I think Elizabethtown is on the verge of a renaissance. But the way some people react, you'd think the next generation will barely have a desolate wasteland. Frankly, the reactions to the state of Elizabethtown get tiresome. We've heard them all, haven't we?

There are too many pizza places. How many hair salons does this town need? You should look at Mount Joy and replicate that here. There's nothing downtown.

I'm tired of naysayers and negativity. And I get frustrated hearing people saying, "I'd like to see some changes in Elizabethtown." The problem is, the statement ends there and is less than helpful. My response: Great. Now tell me what those changes are.

So right here, let's share some ideas. Use the comments and let's start a dialog about the kinds of changes you would like to see in Elizabethtown. And I'm not asking for things like, "Elizabethtown should have a (fill in the blank)." That's great if you think that, but what are you going to do to make it happen?

So let's hear it, folks! What changes do you want to see in Elizabethtown?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lt. Ditzler set to retire at the end of November

Lt. Joe Ditzler accepts a resolution from state Rep. Dave
 Hickernell recognizing Ditzler's 30 years of service as a police 
officer in Elizabethtown.
Elizabethtown Police Lt. Joe Ditzler is set to say goodbye to a 30-year career as a police officer at the end of this month when he retires.

Last Thursday, Ditzler was recognized at Borough Council's meeting with a number of resolutions. Perhaps the highlight was a resolution from U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, presented by Ditzler's son, Jeff, who works for Toomey.

Ditzler joined the Elizabethtown Police Department in November 1982 and was appointed to detective 10 years later. In April 2002, he was promoted to the lieutenant's post.

Police Chief Jack Mentzer said Ditzler  "epitomizes the attitude 'duty before self.'"

"He has investigated and successfully prosecuted some of the most serious crimes that our community has unfortunately experienced," Mentzer said. "He has completed these duties with integrity, loyalty, professionalism and distinction."

Throughout his career, he received nearly 30 awards and recognition for his police work, including being named Office of the Year in 1989

He was instrumental in establishing the department's Youth Aid Program, which was the first of its kind in Lancaster County at the time. He also served as the department's forensic specialist, photographer and evidence technician and custodian.

Most recently, he trained staff and administrators at the Elizabethtown Area School District in Alert Lockdown Inform County Evacuate, which the district adopted as its official response for certain incidents within the schools.

It's great to know the community has people like Joe Ditzler who are sworn to serve and protect us. He has clearly done a great job, and I wish him well in his retirement. You've definitely earned it, Lieutenant.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

MoviE-Town up for sale; asking price is $2.2M

This morning, a Twitter follower tipped me off that MoviE-Town is on the market for $2.2 million.

For the local community, that's news in and of itself. And my immediate thought was, "Hopefully the new owner will pave the parking lot" because the large lot on the north side of the building is rife with potholes.

But they really could be the least of our worries. It dawned on me that small theaters are facing some dire decisions about buying and installing digital projectors. I've heard about this in the news over the past six months, and the economic impact could be great.

As this USA Today article explains, digital movie projectors cost between $50,000 and $70,000. With eight theaters at MoviE-Town, that's potentially $350,000 -- not a small investment.

My fear, and I'm sure the fear of other locals, is that this could force MoviE-Town to close. After thinking this through, I see three options:
  1. The current owners pony up the money to buy digital equipment. But I have a feeling that's why they're trying to sell the theater now.
  2. A new owner buys the theater and makes the investment in digital equipment.
  3. The theater closes because no one wants to buy digital projection and make the necessary improvements to the parking lot and upgrade the interior (because, let's be honest, MoviE-Town is showing a fair amount of wear and tear after more than a decade in business).
If No. 3 happens, Elizabethtown and economic development in town will take a step backward. I think most of us would agree that the merchants downtown are on the brink of turning Market Street and High Street into a great destination. Being able to say Elizabethtown has a multiplex adds value to a great community. Its central location means we locals don't have to drive even as far as Hershey, let alone to Harrisburg or Lititz to catch a flick.

Let's hope some local businesspeople see the same value and are willing to make the investment and keep MoviE-Town open.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Hershey Company donates $50K to E-town Area Education Foundation

At last Friday's Elizabethtown Bears football game, The Hershey Company pledged $50,000 to the Elizabethtown Area Education Foundation’s (EAEF) Investing in Our Children, Our Community, Our Future Capital Campaign.

Designed to raise funds for improvements to Elizabethtown Area School District’s Jane Hoover Field, the campaign has now raised more than $900,000. With The Hershey Company’s generous pledge, the campaign is now 54 percent toward its goal of $1.7 million.

From left, campaign honorary chairman Jack Cassebaum,
Robert Enck, Jim George, EASD Superintendent Michele Balliet.

The Hershey Company is dedicated to making a difference in the communities where we live, work and do business, with a particular focus on children at risk,” said Jim George, vice president of corporate social responsibility. “This is part of the legacy established by our founder, Milton Hershey. We strive to ensure that Mr. Hershey's legacy lives on and grows with our company through the support of initiatives such as the Elizabethtown Area Education Foundation’s Investing in Our Children, Our Community, Our Future Capital Campaign."

The EAEF launched the campaign to light and install artificial turf on Jane Hoover Field so that it is safer, can be use more often, and is more reliable for the growing number of school district and youth sport programs. In addition, increasing the number of uses of Jane Hoover Field decrease uses on Thompson Field so it will be a high quality grass field. The much needed upgrades will help to ensure the fields are safe and accessible to not only district programs but also the many community groups like GEARS, the Elizabethtown Boys Club, and Rheems Athletic Association that regularly use them. It is expected that the field improvements will be completed for the start of the 2013 fall sports season.

The foundation is spearheading the campaign so that private contributions will be used to improve school district athletic facilities with little to no impact on the district’s millage rate. Campaign chairs are Elizabethtown natives Barbara Andrews, Kevin Dolan, Robert Enck, and Joseph Murphy. Contributions to the campaign are tax deductible and will benefit E-town athletics and the community for current and future generations.

The Hershey Company is the largest producer of quality chocolate in North America and a global leader in chocolate and sugar confectionery. With revenues of more than $6 billion, Hershey offers confectionery products under more than 80 brand names. Corporate Social Responsibility is an integral part of the company’s global business strategy, which includes goals and priorities focused on fair and ethical business dealings, environmental stewardship, fostering a desirable workplace for employees, and positively impacting society and local communities.

The Elizabethtown Area Education Foundation formed in 1989 to provide scholarship opportunities for deserving Elizabethtown Area High School graduates. Over the years, the foundation has evolved to support more than just graduating seniors. The foundation now secures funding and awards monies that enrich and enhance learning in the district. Since launching its educational classroom grant program in 2009, the foundation has awarded grants totaling over $64,000 in monies to district staff for the implementation of innovative programs in the classroom.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Borough declares disaster emergency thanks to Hurricane Sandy

Elizabethtown Mayor Chuck Mummert declared a disaster emergency for the borough today as Hurrice Sandy bore down on Pennsylvania.

Mummert issued the declaration after borough officials consulted with the local Emergency Management Agency, the police department, the Elizabethtown Fire Department and the Elizabethtown Area Water Authority. A phone call with a recorded message from the Swift 911 system went out to borough residents.

"Most important we are strongly encouraging residents to stay home and shelter at home in the case of a power outage unless they are experiencing flooding or another life threatening circumstance.based on the potential for high winds, heavy rain and power outages projected with Hurricane Sandy," said one borough official.

Should emergency shelter be required, the American Red Cross shelter in Lancaster County is open at the Manheim Township Middle School. Its address is 150 School Road, Lancaster, PA 17601. For more information residents can call Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767.

In an effort to minimize flooding potential, Borough crews are out clearing storm grates and these efforts will continue as the storm progresses. Residents can assist in this process by monitoring storm grates in front of their properties and keeping them free of leaves and debris. If you live in flood-prone areas you may
want to move vehicles and other items likely to float away to higher ground if possible.

The Elizabethtown Area Water Authority has conducted its preparations for maintaining the public
water supply and has reported no issues. We appreciate your patience and cooperation during
this storm event and thank you in advance for your assistance.

2:22 p.m. Edited and updated with a few more details.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bracing for Hurricane Sandy

We are as prepared as we can be for Hurricane Sandy -- leaves cleared, patio furniture stowed, buckets of water filled in case we lose water. And now we got a phone call a short while ago from PPL with the dire warning to prepare for a possible week without power. 

Schools in Elizabethtown are closed tomorrow and Tuesday, and the school district's Facebook page says officials will monitor the situation and make a decision at Wednesday. Donegal School District is also closed. 

Gov. Corbett has already declared a state of emergency for Pennsylvania. reported that Corbett said at a news conference this afternoon that residents should "be prepared to stay in your homes for an extended period of time, a few days and possibly without power, without water."

I don't have much more to report right now, but as soon as I do, and assuming I have power, I'll update what I can as soon as possible.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Preparing for Hurricane Sandy

After last year's epic flooding from Tropical Storm Lee, we Elizabethtownians are no doubt a little skittish about the pending direct hit forcast for Hurricane Sandy.

Current projections for Hurricane Sandy indicate that Elizabethtown could see effects from high winds and heavy rain arriving by Monday.

The borough's maintenance crews spent today clearing out storm grates to prepare for the storm and control the potential for flooding. These efforts will continue next week as the storm progresses. In the past, many residents who have storm grates near their properties have monitored them and kept them free of debris. The borough is kindly asking that all of us do that again.

As for other precautions, the Weather Channel offers these tips on what to do before the storm. Don't forget to stock up on batteries and water. If you live in flood-prone areas you may want to move vehicles, wood piles, and other items likely to float away to higher ground if possible.

Please check in here at Chronicling Elizabethtown during the storm. Depending on the situation, especially if we have power, I'll provide updates as frequently as I get them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Elizabethtown Fire Department receives state recognition

Photo courtesy of Elizabethtown Fire Department
 As a resident of Elizabethtown, it is assuring to know that our first responders have our backs.

Last month, the Elizabethtown Fire Department received word from the state Fire Commissioner's office that it has a 75 percent participation rate in a voluntary state Participating Department Recognition program.

In a letter sent to Borough Council President Neil Ketchum, Fire Chief Jason Bock noted that Elizabethtown is one of four departments in Lancaster County to have a 75 percent rate (the others are Adamstown, Goodwill  in Washington Boro and Maytown/East Donegal). None of the county's 78 departments has a 100 percent rate.

The program recognizes fire departments with personnel who have been certified at one of the accredited levels of the Fire Commissioner's Certification Program. Bock said in his letter that the department has implemented increased training over the past two years to comply with national standards, which are not mandatory.

"I am proud to announce that 94% of our active firefighters have met or exceeded nationally recognized and sanctioned Professional Qualification standards!" Bock wrote.

He added that the certification will provide additional points during the review process for state grants, giving Elizabethtown increased opportunities when competing for grants from federal sources.

Moreover, for residents, "This certification provides a peace-of-mind knowing that the firefighters protecting your friends and family have been independently certified by a third party as having met or exceeded national firefighting standards. It can also have a positive affect on the community's Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating as well as other possible financial advantages."

The news about the fire department comes on the heels of news from the Elizabethtown Police Department. Last  month, two officers taking on new roles, and then a coordinated effort with state and federal agencies resulted in a large drug bust that netted 17 arrests.

I don't  know about you, but I am  grateful for the efforts that our emergency personnel put into keeping us as safe as possible.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What Elizabethtown is, and what Elizabethtown isn't

In the wake of yesterday's drug bust here in Elizabethtown, I have been doing some thinking about our community, what it is and what it isn't.

This was especially true after one of my Twitter followers, in the space of 140 characters, thanked me for updating the community on the situation but also said, "Sad what that area has become."

To be honest, the comment rubbed me the wrong way.

What does that mean? That Elizabethtown is a drug-infested haven where alleged heroin dealers run rampant?

Or is it a community that, when law enforcement recognizes the significant issues and impacts that alleged criminal activity and drugs has, calls in the cavalry and organizes what could be a logistical nightmare for officers from multiple local, state and federal jurisdictions, and patiently and quietly goes about its work to build a case for six months?

When I was a newspaper reporter in my hometown, I often heard local officials say it was so hard to combat drug dealing because the community was isolated and it was hard to build trust because everyone knew everyone. That, to me, was making excuses that it was too hard.

Our Elizabethtown Police Department is to be lauded for the work our officers did yesterday and in the months leading up to it. From the bottom of my heart, as a resident of this community and as a member of Borough Council, I say to each and every officer, "Thank you!" I can't wait to look you in the eye and congratulate you and thank you personally.

Let me be clear about another thing, and let's think logically about it. The borough has 11,000 residents. A fraction -- a minuscule fraction -- was arrested yesterday. And they allegedly were servicing a fraction of our community. So while the numbers seem big, and the related media attention great, let's remember that the vast majority of Elizabethtown residents have not, will not, do not and never will use or sell illegal drugs.

This incident must be a learning experience for all of us. First, we are not immune to drug problems. Police Chief Jack Mentzer said every community, big and small, faces this problem. It's just a matter of actively addressing it and not burying our heads in the sand.

We can also learn about organizations, such as Elizabetown Area Communities That Care (full disclosure: My wife is a board member) that is working hard in conjunction with other community organizations and individuals to develop effective programs to battle drug use. This includes our schools and our churches.

We have a great community. We have people who care deeply about Elizabethtown. We can hang our heads in shame about what happened yesterday, or we can stand proud knowing that it does not define who or what we are as a community.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Police arrest 17, seize drugs, guns and money

Guns, heroin and cash seized today.
NOTE: Initially, I reported the names of those arrested. Because I am an individual person and not representing a company that owns a media outlet, I decided to edit out the names but leave in other details. That said, all of this is a matter of public record and is reported in other media.

Police in Elizabethtown seized drugs and guns when they arrested 17 people today, the culmination of a six-month undercover investigation.

Officers, troopers and agents from the Elizabethtown Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, Lancaster County Sherriff’s Department, Berks County Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania State Parole and U.S. Marshalls Task Force executed twenty felony and misdemeanor warrants in the early morning hours Wednesday.

Seventeen of the warrants were for felony possession with intent to deliver illegal drugs and one was a felony retail theft charge. There were two misdemeanor drug related warrants and one bench warrant from Lancaster County Courts served as well. Most of the warrants were served in the greater Elizabethtown area. All of the individuals have either been picked up or have arrest warrants pending.

Police said troopers from the state police and Elizabethtown  conducted the undercover investigation, during which troopers and officers purchased illegal drugs from various street drug dealers.

There were also arrests stemming from the service of the arrest warrants. Those arrests were handled by the Pennsylvania State Police and the Elizabethtown Police Department and are outlined below.

In all, the police seized four weapons (three handguns and one shotgun), 771 bags of heroin and more than $1,400 in cash. Also seized were two vehicles which had been used by individuals who were dealing drugs.

Police said a team of law enforcement officers went to a residence on North Poplar Street in Elizabethtown to serve a Lancaster County Bench Warrant at about 5:30 this morning. The officers identified themselves and attempted to serve the warrant.

A 44-year-old woman intervened and attempted to thwart the efforts of the police, according to a police news release. She was arrested for aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer, obstructing administration of law or other governmental functions, terroristic threats, possession of marijuana and disorderly conduct. She allegedly grabbed a deputy sheriff and attempted to pull him backwards as he ascended a staircase and allegedly continued to aggressively fight law enforcement officers as they attempted to serve the warrant.

Also in the residence was a large dog who the woman threatened to have attack the police stating that she was going to have the dog “kill” the police officers, police said. She was arrested and taken into custody. She was arraigned before District Justice Jayne Duncan where she was released on $2,500 bail.

At approximately 5:50 a.m. officers served arrest warrants on 29-year-old man in the 2300 block of South Market Street, Elizabethtown. During the arrest, officers discovered over $1,400 in cash, three handguns, one shotgun and 211 bags of heroin, the news release reported. All of the weapons were loaded and two of the handguns and the shotgun were in bed with Phelps. Police also seized a 1999 Dodge Caravan belonging to the man.

He was charged with five felony counts of possession of heroin with intent to deliver. These offenses allegedly occurred within a school or other drug free zone. His bail was set at $100,000 cash bail, and he was committed to Lancaster County Prison. Police said that because of the events that occurred when Phelps was arrested, additional charges are pending.

At approximately 12 p.m. police, conducting an undercover drug investigation, arrested a 28-year-old woman from Columbia for felony possession of heroin with intent to deliver in the 2300 block of South Market Street, Elizabethtown. Police confiscated 560 bags of heroin. A Dodge Stratus belonging to the suspect was seized by police. She was committed to Lancaster County Prison in lieu of $50,000 bail.

The following individuals were sought on arrest warrants and have been charged as indicated:
  • A 20-year-old Elizabethtown man was charged with two felony counts of possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver. These offenses allegedly occurred within a school or other drug free zone. Bail was set at $10,000, and he was committed to Lancaster County Prison.
  • A 27-year-old Manheim man was charged with two felony counts of possession of heroin with intent to deliver. He was committed to Lancaster County Prison in lieu of $40,000 cash bail.
  • A 27-year-old Elizabethtown woman was charged with one felony count of possession of dihydrocodeinone and alprazolarm with intent to deliver. She was released on $10,000 cash bail.
  • A 20-year-old Elizabethtown man was charged with one felony count of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. In lieu of $5,000 bail, he was committed to Lancaster County Prison.
  • A 24-year-old Elizabethtown woman was charged with one felony count of possession of heroin with intent to deliver. She was committed to Lancaster County Prison in lieu of $25,000 bail.
  • A 23-year-old Elizabethtown man was charged with one felony count of possession of psilocybin, a Schedule I substance, with intent to deliver. These charges date back to an alleged incident from December 2009. He was released on $5,000 unsecured bail.
  • A 40-year-old Mount Joy man was charged with one felony count of possession of Oxycodone hydrochloride tablets with intent to deliver. He was committed to Lancaster County Prison in lieu of $10,000 bail.
  • A 34-year-old Elizabethtown man was charged with two misdemeanor counts, one for possession of marijuana and the other for possession of drug paraphernalia. McKnight was released on $500 unsecured bail.
  • A 24-year-old Palmyra woman was charged with one felony count of possession of cocaine with intent to deliver. In lieu of $25,000 bail, she was committed to Lancaster County Prison.
  • A 30-year-old Steelton woman was charged with one felony count of retail theft allegedly stemming from the theft of gas from a Turkey Hill Store in February. She was was taken into custody by Steelton Police Department and transported to Elizabethtown. She was released on $5,000 bail.
  • An 18-year-old Elizabethtown man was charged with one felony count of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. This offense allegedly occurred within a school or other drug free zone. He was released on $10,000 bail.
In addition, police have outstanding warrants for the following:
  • A 31-year-old Elizabethtown man for one felony count of possession of Dilaudid (hydomorphone hydrochloride) with intent to deliver. Police did not locate him today.
  • A 30-year-old Elizabethtown woman on two felony counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. One count was for Tramadol, a Schedule IV controlled substance, and the other for amphetamine tablets, a Schedule II controlled substance. She was not located and a warrant exists for her arrest.

Monday, September 24, 2012

How to get rid of unwanted prescription drugs in E-town

Area residents have two options to dispose of unused or expired prescription medications.

Since July, the Elizabethtown Police Department has been collecting prescription pills in an effort to combat the abuse of prescription medications. The effort is a collaboration with Elizabethtown Area Communities That Care. The CTC has assisted with public awareness of the program by purchasing and placing informational brochures in the pharmacies in the greater Elizabethtown area. (Full disclosure: My wife is a board member of CTC).

"We have collected about 30 pounds of pills since inception of the program," said police Chief Jack Mentzer, who has called the collection an unqualified success. "We get about 3 to 5 drop offs per week. For the first month or so of the program we were experiencing 2 or more drop offs per day. The drop offs range from a few leftover prescription pills to gallon sized plastic bags filled with pills."

Mentzer emphasized that the collection in Elizabethtown is for prescription pills only. It does not include liquids, creams or inhaler type containers. Simply empty the pills from the original container into a clear plastic bag for drop off at the police department 600 S. Hanover St., Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The effort by the Elizabethtown Police Department is part of the Nation Prescription Drug Take Back initiative. Eventually, the collected medications will be turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as part of their National Prescription Drug Take Back Program.

In addition, the Pennsylvania State Police will accept unwanted, expired and unused prescription drugs this Saturday, September 29, as part of DEA's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., unwanted prescription medications may be dropped off at select state police barracks. No personal information is required for drop-off.  To find a drop-off location, visit and click on the “Public Services’’ link on the left navigation menu.

As I mentioned above, my wife is a member of Elizabethtown CTC board, and she has said board members have discussed at length the abuse of prescription medications in Elizabethtown. A news release that Mentzer issued noted that destroying medications helps prevent “Pharming Parties.” Pharming is when individuals raid medicine cabinets (usually their parents’ or grandparents’) and take handfuls of pain medicines, anti-anxiety medicines, stimulants, anti-depressants or other drugs that may be available. Sometimes they even take heart or blood pressure medicine.

Drug abuse usually involves the quickest and cheapest way to get “high,” and nothing is cheaper or easier than stealing from a parents’ or grandparents’ drug supply.

Disposing of drugs by flushing them down the toilet or or throwing them into the trash can have adverse effects on the environment. Aside from possibly damaging the treatment facilities, sewage treatment plants are not able to remove all of the chemicals and therefore drugs may make it into our waterways which enter streams, rivers, wildlife and plant life. Additional information about the disposal of prescription drugs can be found on the Food & Drug Administration's website.

The DEA coordinated the first “National Prescription Drug Take Back” in 2010. The event was very successful when state, county, municipal and federal law enforcement partnered to collect more than 120 tons of unwanted pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medication throughout the United Sates. In 2012 the event collected a record 278 tons.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Police officers move into new positions

Lt. John Emerick
Two Elizabethtown police officers moved into new positions recently and were recognized at Borough Council's meeting on Sept. 20.

As I wrote about previously, Detective John Emerick was promoted to lieutenant. He will be replacing Lt. Joe Ditzler, who is retiring in a couple of months. Emerick joined the department in 1991 and was appointed to detective in 2006.

With his promotion, that left one detective position open. At the meeting last week, police Chief Jack Mentzer announced that Officer Shane Deardorff was appointed to the post. He joined the police department as a part-time officer in 1998 and was hired full time in 1999.

Detective Shane Deardorff's wife pins his new badge on him.
Until his appointment as detective, Deardorff coordinated and organized the Field Training Officer program for the department. This is an exhaustive program that trains newly hired police officers one on one for 8 to 16 weeks. It teaches the new employee about all the details of being a police officer and everything that is expected of him or her, including talking on the police radio, learning the names of the borough's streets and learning how to handle all situations a police officer might encounter.

Mentzer said Deardorff has done an outstanding job turning the program into a model. Having trained three new police officers recently, Deardorff was recognized as the departments Officer of the Year for 2011, the second time he had received the award.

In addition, Deardorff has received a number of other awards and recognitions over the years:

  • In October 2000, he received a Commendation of Merit for outstanding police work when he arrested a drug dealer who had a half-pound of marijuana hidden in a Doritos bag.
  • In June 2002, he received a Distinguished Unit Citation for assisting with the investigation of a missing 1-year-old child, which turned into a murder investigation. His assistance led to the arrest and conviction of the child's mother.
  • In June 2003, he received a Distinguished Unit Citation for assisting with a felony traffic stop of four burglary suspects. When two of the suspects fled, Deardorff assisted in securing two of the suspects and directly contributed to three of the felons being incarcerated. The suspects had committed burglaries in Lancaster and York counties.
These are just are highlights of the achievements that Deardorff had had in his career in Elizabethtown. I think I can speak for my fellow borough councillors that we are grateful for the commitment and dedication of our police officers. Our community is fortunate to have a great department that has produced Emerick and Deardorff. If you see them on the streets in coming days and weeks, offer your congratulations.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

11 scenes from the E-town Fair

Two more nights of the 2012 Elizabethtown Fair. The weather's supposed to be nice, so get out and enjoy it! In the meantime, enjoy these scenes from tonight.

This picture doesn't capture how exciting this ride seems. The cars bounce up and down.
Fighting Dragons demonstration
Sheep judging
My 8-year-old Max in a classic fair pose for an elementary-age boy.
It's an udderly great fair.
You've seen this view before: the end of the line for a milkshake from the Elizabethtown Grange.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Veteran E-town police officer promoted to lieutenant

Lt. John Emerick
Elizabethtown Borough Council promoted Elizabethtown Police Detective John Emerick to the position of lieutenant Thursday, Aug. 16. The promotion makes him second in command of the police department.

Emerick joined the  department in 1991 as a patrol officer and most recently served as a detective. He had been in his latest role since April 2006.

During his career, Lt. Emerick has served as an accident reconstructionist, specializing in advanced accident investigation. In September 2006, he was recognized for an outstanding investigation and subsequent handling of a fatal vehicle accident in the borough.

His expert knowledge about accident investigation also led to instructing crossing guards and the Elizabethtown Area School District's driver's education department in various safety programs and training sessions. In 1993 and again in 1997, the school district recognized Emerick for the instruction he provided to the driver's safety department.

Most recently, he was a Safety Committee representative for the police department and is one of the department's firearms instructors.

Over the years, Emerick has received a number of awards for his police work. They include:

  • A Commendation of Merit in June 1994 for assisting with a barricaded gunman
  • A Commendation of Merit in December 1995 for assisting with providing CPR and first aid to an older man who had collapsed after chasing several juveniles who had committed disorderly conduct.
  • Marksmanship Award in April 2006 for qualifying as an expert with the department handgun, shotgun and patrol rifle
  • Distinguished Unit Citation in July 2006 for assisting with an aggravated assault involving a firearm. The suspect was identified and arrested within a few hours.
  • Distinguished Unit Citation in June 2009 for assistance during a fight that involved firearms. Working with other officers, Emerick was able to identify, locate and arrest the perpetrators within a few hours.
  • Letter of Commendation in October 2009 for his investigation and arrest of an arsonist who set eight vehicles, a storage shed and several trash containers on fire, causing $60,000 in damage.
  • Police Officer of the Year for 2009
  • Letter of Commendation in September 2011 for service provided to the community during the extreme flooding that occurred during Tropical Storm Lee.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Authorities find, destroy German WWII era projectile in E-town

Police in were called to a home in the 100 block of South Poplar Street at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 2, after a company contracted to clean out the house found a suspicious device thought to be a bomb

Upon investigating, police discovered the devce was an old artillery projectile. Local officers called the Pennsylvania State Police Hazardous Device and Explosives Section, and further exmination revealed the projectile was made in Germany during the World War II era and was most likely a training or smoke round.

State police called a U.S. Army Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit, which determined that, because of the projectile's age and condition, the best course of action was to destroy the projectile rather
than transport it any distance. The projectile was safely detonated and destroyed in a remote area in the Elizabethtown area.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How you can help the E-town Food Bank

The Elizabethtown Food Bank, located to the rear of 222 S. Market St. on the ground floor, has put out the word that it is in desperate need of some hands-on assistance, particularly during the vacation months of the summer.
The Food Bank is a vital service in our community and to those who are experiencing rough times and need  assistance. Many times this assistance is just temporary until they are able to get back on their feet. Please consider assisting with this very worthwhile cause. 

Help is needed on the following dates:
  • Tuesday, July 10 (at least 1 person 
  • Wednesday, July 11 (at least 1 person) 
  • Tuesday, July 17 (at least 1 person) 
  • Wednesday, July 18 (at least 2 people) 
  • Tuesday, July 24 (at least 1 person) 
  • Wednesday, July 25 (at least 2 people) 
  • Tuesday, July 31 (at least 1 person) 
  • Wednesday, Aug. 1 (at least 1 person) 
On Tuesdays, volunteers meet at Darrenkamps at 1 p.m. It would be best if this volunteer had a vehicle that groceries could be loaded into. From Darrenkamps the volunteers will drive back to the food bank and restock the food bank with the food that was loaded into the vehicles. This will involve lifting and carrying of boxes of grocery items. You can expect to be there about 1½ hours. 

On Wednesdays, meet at the food bank by 9 a.m. to hand out food to those in need. It may require the food to be wheeled or carried to the person’s car. This shift lasts until 2:30 p.m. and can be split by two or more volunteers.

Please contact Arlene Ober at 367-2673 if you are available to help. 

The Food Bank is a ministry of the United Churches of the Elizabethtown Area.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra visits E-town

On a hot summer evening last Saturday, the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra heated up the Freemasons Cultural Center at Masonic Village with one of its free summer concerts in Central Pennsylvania this week.

Dubbed "Celebrate America, Celebrate the Keystone," the orchestra and its supporters traveled to Elizabethtown via Amtrak. Amtrak, Gannett Fleming, Hershey Entertainment, PA Trips by Train, Michael Baker and Associates, HNTB, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Trans Systems and McCormick & Smith all were sponsors of the evening.

Under the direction of Stuart Malina, the orchestra performed to a packed house, with Elizabethtown Mayor Chuck Mummert reporting afterward that more than 900 people attended.

The orchestra's program was a crowd-pleasing event and perfect for a summer night, featuring selections such as "The Barber of Seville" Overture by Rossini and the Olympic Fanfare and Theme by John Williams. The program allowed Malina and the musicians to get out of their classical skins, especially Malina who donned sunglasses and sang "You Went the Wrong Way Old King Louis."

Throughout the program, Malina was charming, funny and effacing, particularly when he "played" an old-fashioned typewriter during Anderson's "The Typewriter" with percussionist Christopher Rose sitting next to Malina playing the bell.

For a program that stretched over two hours, the orchestra's performance captured the heart of the crowd. From my perspective, the musicians seemed to feed off the energy in the room. Just prior to the Rodgers/Bennett piece "Victory at Sea, Symphonic Scenario," Malina had the crowd practice the wave -- and he and the orchestra members were duly impressed with the participation. And during the performance of the song, the crowd -- and the orchestra -- pulled off the wave under Malina's direction.

With two elementary aged sons, my wife and I were concerned that their attention would not last for a symphony performance. But the humor, the audience participation and -- most important -- the musicianship kept both of them at full attention throughout. In fact, my 8-year-old was so taken by Rose's drum solo during "Sing, Sing, Sing" that he sought out Rose after the show to ask about playing the drums. Rose was kind and generous as he spoke with my son and encouraged him to keep playing piano.

The evening started with the symphony and a few hundred supporters arriving from Harrisburg on Amtrak. After disembarking at the train station, they and some local officials ate a barbecued pork dinner at the station, braving the 90-plus degree weather and full sun.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Borough Council acts to raise parking fines for first time in decades

If you forget to feed a nickel or a dime into a parking meter in Elizabethtown, the parking ticket issued by police will run you $5 today. That's a bargain.
It has been more than 40 years since Elizabethtown Borough Council has raised the fines for parking tickets. If you take into account inflation, a parking ticket today would cost you $28.

Also consider the parking fines for a meter violation in other nearby boroughs: Lititz, $10; Manheim, $15; and Mount Joy $20.

Last week, Elizabethtown Borough Council took a first step to raising parking fines. On a unanimous vote, council approved advertising an ordinance that will increase the fines.

After the ordinance has been advertised, council can then approve it, which could happen as early as next month.

This discussion about parking fines brings to mind ongoing comments about parking in downtown Elizabethtown. I was a bit taken aback after corresponding with a resident who said she and her family rarely patronize Subway or E-Yuan, the Chinese restaurant, on Market  Street because of parking.

Since then, I have taken a number of trips downtown to check on parking. One morning at about 11:00, I found ample space on either side of Market Street from the post office to the square -- to the point one wouldn't have needed to parallel park. I also saw multiple parking spaces in all of the municipal lots. One Thursday, I attended one of the Downtown Lunch Series where there were definitely more people on the square, and I found a space in the lot off East High Street.

Then, a resident told me last Friday that he and his family ate at the new Pita Pit for dinner. It was jammed with people, and unsolicited this person told me parking in front of the restaurant was wide open.

Finally, just yesterday my wife picked up lunch at E-Yuan for her staff in an office at Elizabethtown College recently and was able to park right in front of the restaurant.

I understand these are anecdotal. And I'm not naive enough to think that other people might have difficulties at time finding parking. The fact is, it's not as big a problem as some people make it out.

Friday, June 22, 2012

E-town Boys Club hosts baseball tournaments this summer

For the first time, the Elizabethtown Boys Club is hosting baseball tournaments this summer for youth baseball under the title "Battle for the Bears Cup."

EBC is jumping in with both feet and holding four tournaments for various age groups: 8U, 9U, 10U and 11U. The first tournament, featuring 10U players, starts this weekend.

Scott Schneider, one of the directors for the 9U tournament, said teams from throughout south central Pennsylvania -- Juniata County, Chambersburg, Hershey, Palmyra -- and as far as Reading, Exton and Maryland will be traveling to Elizabethtown over four weekends.

Just this weekend alone, six teams will compete. That means dozens of players and families will be in town and will have a chance to visit local businesses.

Here's a schedule for the rest of the tournaments:
Although my son didn't make the all-star team, I had a blast watching him develop and improve his baseball skills this season. With some of the top players from the region coming to down, there's a good chance to see some great youth baseball.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Where is municipal parking in downtown Elizabethtown?

View Municipal Parking in Elizabethtown in a larger map

After my recent post about a possible downtown renaissance,  a lively discussion ensued on LinkedIn about parking in Elizabethtown. Then a resident asked me to post a map of the available municipal parking. So with the technological magic of Google Maps, I've created this map to highlight just the lots that the borough owns. I have some other thoughts about parking and plan another post in the near future, but for the time being feel free to share this map.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Bear Creek School Experience, Year 1

This school year, the Elizabethtown Area School District opened its new Bear Creek School, consolidating all fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders in one building. Now that it almost has a full school year completed, I'd like to share some thoughts from my perspective as a parent of a fifth-grader.

As with any new building, the start of the school year posed some challenges with busing and a strange odor that caused school to be canceled for one day. And, as district Superintendent Michele Balliet, likes to say, that doesn't account for epic flooding that closed school for a day in September and a freak late-October snowstorm.

After sorting through the challenges, I think Bear Creek found its legs and took off running. At least that's been our son's experience. We have found teachers and staff to be friendly and professional. More important, they have progressively provided more challenging opportunities -- in reading, math and trombone lessons and band -- for our son without our urging. He has responded well to the challenges. In my mind, that's what public school is all about.

Now, let me say that this has been one family's experience with one student. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section about your experiences -- good, bad or indifferent. Given that Bear Creek has 900-some students, I'm sure every family has a slightly different take.

During Bear Creek's planning stages, Borough Council went on record as opposing the location of the school. The primary reason was because there was no walking connection and that the vast majority of students would be bussed there. We were concerned about increased traffic from buses and the dozens of parents who would be dropping off and picking up their students each day. The school district did construct a walking path that connects Bear Creek to the E-town Fairgrounds (which the district owns).

Generally, I think everything has worked well. That said, there's one improvement I'd like to see. Mount Joy Township should widen Bear Creek Road road and install sidewalks at least on one side. Until I started dropping off my son early a few mornings a week, I never realized just how many pedestrians use the road. I've encountered dog walkers, runners, exercise walkers and bicyclists. I've run a number of times there myself. Given the sheer volume of traffic and the pedestrians, it would be a boon to safety to make these improvements.

So now I'll pose the question to you: What improvements would you like to see at Bear Creek School now that it's a year old?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

21st annual Downtown Summer Lunch Series

For reasons out of my control, I've had the chance to attend the Downtown Summer Lunch Series this year. Having worked in either Harrisburg or Lancaster, I was always bummed that I wasn't in town over lunch to attend.

If the first two weeks of this year's series is any indication, I had good reason to be bummed. On May 24, Elizabethtown College's Birdfeeder food truck served up sandwiches and french fries, and last Thursday the Pita Pit served its sandwiches. Weather has been great, and entertainment -- provided by high school students and a Tim Rinard with his acoustic guitar playing covers of hit songs.

A function of the Elizabethtown Chamber of Commerce, the series is held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Thursday until July 26 on the southeast quadrant of Center Square (right by Game Traders). The lunch series features a local restaurant that sells some of its food. Local groups and artists, including some student groups from local schools, provide entertainment (shameless plug: My son Nat will be playing trombone this Thursday as part of a student group from Bear Creek School).

Admission is free, although if you want to eat you'll have to pony up and buy something. But it won't cost you a cent if you want to sit under the umbrellas on the square and listen to the music. Every week, you'll have a free chance to win a fruit basket donated by the Masonic Village Farm Market. The catch is that you have to be present to win!

If you're in town on Thursdays through the end of July, I strongly encourage you to come out and support the downtown (unfortunately, I have a job interview out of town this Thursday and won't be here). I'd also recommend splurging after lunch and getting some ice cream from J's Sweet Treats Ice Cream Parlor, located just around the corner on East High Street. It was well worth the extra cash and calories!

Here's the schedule for the rest of the 21st annual Downtown Summer Lunch Series:

June 7 -- Lunch: Ella's Place (former E-town Diner). Entertainment: Students from Bear Creek School.

June 14 -- Lunch: Papa John's. Entertainment: M&K Duo.

June 21 -- Lunch: Hoss's Steak & Sea House. Entertainment: Dave Wilson.

June 28 -- Lunch: Pizza Hut. Entertainment: Derek Sandstrom Jazz Sax.

July 5 -- Lunch: Elizabethtown Family Moose Center 596. Entertainment: Voxology.

July 12 -- Lunch: Darrenkamp's. Entertainment: Saxology.

July 19 -- Lunch: Giant. Entertainment: Jay Smar.

July 26 -- Lunch: Three Loaves Cafe. Entertainment: Fire in the Glen.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Is Elizabethtown experiencing a downtown renaissance?

A couple of months ago, local businessman Andrew Schoenberger came to a Borough Council meeting to discuss a new initiative he and two other businesspeople started called Market Street Improving Business.

Schoenberger, who owns Epic Photography, Lisa Clemens from the Lynden Gallery and Brad Alexander from the soon-to-open Pita Pit joined forces to start this organization focused on building up business in downtown Elizabethtown. A native of the borough, Schoenberger said he remembers as he grew up that his family didn't have to venture outside of town for lots of shopping.

"We have a feeling a lot of people want that back," he said.

The new organization, for which the organizers are seeking nonprofit status, will provide support to downtown businesses and also help bring some ideas to fruition. Schoenberger mentioned a town map of businesses, bringing a farmer's market to town and having events downtown.

In addition to Market Street Improving Business, the downtown area could be on the verge of a renaissance, with new a number of businesses having opened or planned.

Consider that J's Sweet Treats, a bakery featuring all sorts of cakes, cupcakes, cinnamon rolls and pastries that opened this spring has expanded already. Located on the southeast corner of the square, owner Jodi Stapler has moved the kitchen for the bakery into a neighboring storefront on the square. And in the past week or so, she just opened an ice cream parlor in the neighboring storefront on East High Street.

Last year, a used book store called Pages opened next to Folklore Coffee & Co. on the northeast side of the square. I ventured in for the first time in April in search of a birthday present for my wife, and I was duly impressed with the quality, condition and selection of the books. Check out this great story that WGAL's Meredith Jorgensen did about Pages last fall.

And what about Andrew Douglas Jewelers? After several years without a jeweler in downtown, this business recently opened.

This coming week, the Pita Pit is slated to open in a portion of the former Elizabethtown Hotel. The owners provided the food for last Thursday's installment of the Downtown Summer Lunch Series. They said opening is pending inspections, and they were hoping to open as early as Tuesday.

That's not all that's happening at the former hotel. Sean Cavanaugh, owner of John J. Jeffries, an upscale restaurant located at the Lancaster Arts Hotel, has plans to open a similar eatery there. Cavanaugh's approach is to prepare fresh, seasonal and organic food. To learn more, take a listen to an interview with him on the Lancast.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Borough man faces arson, other charges

Elizabethtown police charged a borough man with arson and other counts after he allegedly started a fire that destroyed a shed behind Christ Church United Church of Christ, 247 S. Market St., on May 11.

Cory Nauman, 23, was charged  with arson, a second degree felony, for starting the fire that caused $20,000 in damage and burned the shed to the ground. (Full disclosure: I am a member of Christ Church UCC.) He also was charged with burglary, which is a second degree felony; risking a catastrophe, which is a third degree felony; and two counts of criminal mischief. 

The latter charges are related to other events during the early morning hours of May 11 after police were dispatched to a domestic situation in the 100 block of East High Street. Upon arriving at the scene, officers learned that a male involved in the domestic had left the area.

While searching the area for the male, police discovered the fire in the unoccupied storage building to the rear of the church. Police immediately contacted dispatchers and requested the response of the fire department.  
At approximately 5:15 a.m., police found the male, identified as Nauman,  walking on South Cherry Alley in the immediate area of the fire. Officers determined that Nauman was intoxicated and took him into custody for public drunkenness. He was transported to the police station and later to the hospital as a precautionary measure. As the arson investigation continued, police discovered that Nauman was allegedly responsible for setting the fire to the storage building.

In addition, police found that Nauman had gone to the police station and attempted to throw a brick through a window of one of the police vehicles. Police said he is also accused of breaking a window of a house and a vehicle in the 100 block of East High Street and of breaking two windows of a business in the 900 block of South Market Street. 

On May 11, Nauman was charged by Detective Clair Martin and arraigned before District Justice Jayne Duncan. Nauman was committed to Lancaster County Prison in lieu of $2,500 bail.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Borough seeks official comments from public about train station overflow parking

Elizabethtown Borough is seeking community input on its project to construct 85 parking spaces near the Elizabethtown Train Station and move an abandoned freight station on that property to a new location.

If you would like to submit an official response to the borough's Determination of Effects Report, please email them to by May 9. The input will be submitted to to the Federal Transit Administration. Following is a summary of the project.

This effort is the last stage of extensive renovations to the Elizabethtown Train Station, which were completed last year. As part of the project, the borough has submitted an application to the FTA for approval to use its remaining federal stimulus funds awarded for the Amtrak Train Station rehabilitation for two purposes:
  • To construct an overflow and long-term parking lot at the end of Wilson Avenue
  • Relocate the former freight station building that currently occupies the lot

The Borough recognizes the need for additional parking at the Amtrak station, and it has acquired two properties at the end of Wilson Avenue for the construction of an overflow and long term parking lot specifically for the Amtrak station. Residents and train riders may recall that Elizabethtown Borough awarded a contract for the parking lot construction last year. However, as the freight station building was deemed to have historical value, federal regulations required additional review regarding its status. The Borough withdrew the construction contract in deference to this review.


The Federal Transit Administration has been presented with a report called a "Determination of Effects Report" that outlines the Borough’s proposal. The Borough expects to add approximately 85 additional parking spaces at the train station with the construction of the overflow parking lot. In addition to providing more parking spaces, design includes lighting, shade trees, and porous asphalt paving. The former freight station building currently occupying the lot was initially slated
for demolition, but the current proposal relocates it to the rear of the White Oak Mills site on West High Street, a short distance away on the same rail siding where the building currently sits. In this new location the building would be preserved and utilized by an active historic mill.

Discussions between the Borough of Elizabethtown and White Oak Mills for this project remain preliminary until approval is granted by the appropriate regulating agencies. However, the potential agreement would transfer ownership of the former freight station building to White Oak Mills. White Oak Mills is willing to abide by a covenant outlining preservation and maintenance of the historic building.

Under a related project, funded by a state grant awarded to Elizabethtown, the Borough has also been working with White Oak Mills to acquire an easement of 15 feet along the edge of an unimproved parking lot on West High Street to install stormwater facilities and a section of pedestrian and bicycle pathway connecting the Amtrak Train Station with downtown Elizabethtown. White Oak Mills would acquire a portion of an adjacent and unimproved property owned by the Borough as part of this project. These economic development improvements are demonstrated on the Master Plan for Downtown Elizabethtown and are consistent with the Regional Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2011 by the Borough and the three neighboring municipalities.

As a consulting party for historical resources, the Elizabethtown Historical Society has proposed alternatives to the Borough’s plans which are outlined in the Determination of Effects Report. The Historical Society is requesting that the former freight station building be maintained in its current location or relocated to a Borough-owned lot and be made available for public use as a train artifact museum.

The Borough is sensitive to the request to preserve the building and believes that the proposal for relocation to the White Oak Mills property exceeds expectations. This move will not only preserve the building but will allow it to be utilized and maintained in a function respectful of its history.

The Borough does not embrace the Historical Society’s proposal to maintain the building in its current location, as it would negatively impact the proposed parking lot facility. In addition, should the Borough be required to retain ownership of the building, excessive financial resources would be necessary to preserve and maintain the building and additional liability would be incurred by adding a building to its public facilities.

As a compromise, the Borough has offered an opportunity for the Historical Society to display train artifacts in the Amtrak Train Station. This arrangement could provide additional revenue for maintenance of the train station and may create the potential for extended public hours at the station.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Arts in the Park set for May 12

Elizabethtown Borough will host the ninth annual Arts in the Park from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 12. Admission is free and parking available, as well as juried arts, live music, kids’ art activities, face painting, free entertainment and delicious food. 
Original art work from regional artists will be available for purchase. Artwork will include painting, pottery, jewelry, photography, stained glass, clothing, multimedia art, printmaking, homemade purses and much more.

Debbie Dupler, the chairperson of the Arts in the Park Committee, said, “Arts in the Park will give the public a chance to enjoy superb craftwork from talented artists and experience stellar entertainment. A number of the vendors will provide demonstrations of their work to the public. Event goers will take pleasure in the various food options at this year’s event. We will have a little something for everyone.”

For more information, www.etownartsinthepark.comYou can also contact the Borough Office at 717-367-1700 or

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

4 ways to reduce traffic on South Market Street

The development of a Members 1st Credit Union could lead to the extension of Carey Lane to Spruce Street.
Over the years, Elizabethtown area residents and officials have discussed numerous ways to improve the traffic flow and safety on South Market Street, in particular the corridor from Kmart to Maytown Avenue (Route 743 that heads toward Marietta next to the Mount Tunnel Cemetery). I would add to that the backups that occur from that intersection past College Avenue during especially busy times.

The Elizabethtown Area Regional Authority, formed in the past two years to implement a regional comprehensive plan, has identified traffic in that corridor as a priority that needs to be addressed. And the comprehensive plan itself focused on traffic as a critcal issue for the region. 

As a member of the EARA board, which is composed of elected officials from Elizabethtown and Mount Joy, West Donegal and Conoy townships, we have come with a possible solution: extending Carey Lane, which runs by Union Community Bank, to South Mount Joy Street. The initial concept plan is pictured above. It is just one of four that EARA has discussed and considered:
  • Carey Lane: Least expensive option, at an estimated $260,000. With the approved development of a Members 1st Federal Credit Union branch to be built on the southwest corner where the former Hiestand Flooring used to be, it seems to be an ideal time to make this happen. Most of the development sits in Mount Joy Township, with a sliver of it in the borough. The vast majority, if not all, of Carey Lane would be in the borough. Thanks to the development in the township, Members 1st would pay impact fees of about $71,000, which could fund a significant portion of the construction.
  • Extending Maytown Avenue (Route 743) through to Spruce Street: This would require purchasing and demolishing properties. Estimated construction costs: $350,000.
  • Constructing a bridge that would connect South Mount Joy Street behind Kmart: This has been a topic on Borough Council for years and in fact was voted down by a previous council. Estimates that the borough obtained several years ago have this project costing $1 million.
  • One-way traffic option: Even at an estimated $600,000, this intially seemed like a viable option because it would have used exisiting streets and if was creative. But Borough Council put the brakes on the idea only a couple of weeks after EARA discussed it.
With Carey Lane as the least expensive option, and with the Members 1st development, it seems like the perfect situation to find a solution to the congestion on South Market Street. Last week, at a regional meeting among all elected officials -- not just EARA board members -- we discussed and began to focus on the plan.

To help reduce cosntruction costs, the consensus was to eliminate two-way traffic on Carey Lane, with drivers only permitted to come out to Market Street. Those on their way back into town would continue on Market Street and make turns at Groff Avenue, Spruce Street or continue on Market.

This plan is far from a done deal. That said, it is on Borough Council's and Mount Joy Township's radar to continue discussing it. In fact, we expect to see some revisions to the plans showing Carey Lane as a one-way street (traffic would still be two ways at the light itself to allow for traffic to exit the bank and the credit union).