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.