Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lancaster County tops poll for satisfaction

You might have seen this morning's Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era article that Lancaster County tops a nationwide poll in resident satisfaction. That's certainly great news!

I wanted to share the analysis of a social media friend, Daniel Klotz, who did an outstanding job examining what it all means not just for Lancaster City but for the entire county. As he noted, the United States has 361 Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Lancaster is defined as one MSA, but it's unusual in that it includes the entire county. By comparison, the York MSA includes Adams County.

Here's the top 10 list:

1.Lancaster, PA

2.Charlottesville, VA

3.Ann Arbor, MI

4.Provo-Orem, UT

5.Boulder, CO

6.Honolulu, HI

7.Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CA

8.San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

9.Fort Collins-Loveland, CO

10.Appleton, WI

Monday, February 20, 2012

DEP approves permit for Chestnut Street bridge

The state Department of Environmental Protection granted a permit for the borough to repair the Chestnut Street bridge, damaged in the flooding last September and closed to traffic ever since. You might remember a post late last year complaining about the delay.

Borough staff reported last Thursday night, at Borough Council's monthly business meeting, that DEP had just granted the permit that day. Construction should begin soon.

Borough Council initially had approved repairs totaling nearly $71,000 to the bridge. Because DEP told the borough the initial design was "inadequate," council approved a change order last week adding nearly $15,000 to the cost. That basically amounts to additional materials. The good news is that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse all the costs.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A new bakery is coming to Elizabethtown

A new bakery is coming to Elizabethtown. Called J's Sweet Treats, proprietors Jodi Stapler and Jamie Harris plan to open at 1 S. Market St., Suite 101, in the middle of March, according to the bakery's blog. In fact, they recently contacted the Food Network show "Cupcake Wars" at the urging of Jodi's kids. The show asked them to submit a video, which I've embedded below. The news that a new business -- and a bakery at that -- is opening in town is fantastic! And  if they can get themselves on a national television show, it will be great PR for our fair town. We wish them the best!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Convenience store owner, employee arrested

Law enforcement authorities today arrested the owner of CR Friendly's Market on East High Street and an employee there and charged them with selling illegal bath salts and synthetic marijuana and accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, as payment.

Baljeet Singh, 40, of Lancaster, and the owner of the business faces 34 counts related to the ongoing investigation, including eight counts of buying or exchanging Federal food order coupons, stamps; and eight counts of fraudulent traffic in food orders.

Jaspreet Singh, age 29, from Elizabethtown, and an employee at the store, faces the same 16 counts, among others.

Authorities served a search warrant on the business today after receiving information that illegal substances were being sold at the store, according to a news release from the Elizabethtown Police Department. The information also indicated that individuals may be using their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program SNAP card to purchase the substances.

For the past several weeks, undercover officers have been working with confidential informants to verify this information by making numerous undercover purchases of the illegal substances at the business, police said. Some of these purchases were made using a SNAP card. These purchases occurred on January 13, 20, 31, and earlier today before the search warrants were served. The substance purchased was packaged as incense but was determined to be a Schedule I narcotic commonly referred to as synthetic marijuana and/or bath salts.

Officers executing the search warrants seized computers, electronic storage media, business records, video recording devices, illegal drugs, monies and funds received or dispersed relating to the unlawful conduct and all equipment used in connection with the SNAP ACCESS card transactions.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between federal, state and local law enforcement. Those agencies include the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Office of the Inspector General, Pennsylvania State Police, U.S. Marshall’s Eastern District Violent Crimes Fugitive Task Force, Pennsylvania Department of Revenue-Bureau of Cigarette Tax Law, the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office, the Lancaster County Sherriff’s Department and the Elizabethtown Police Department.

Following is a list of the charges that Baljeet Singh faces, as outlined verbatim by in the police department's news release:

PACC 5111 Dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities (F1) 3 cts
VCSA 780-113 Possession with the intent to deliver (F1) 3 cts
PACC 7313 Buying or exchanging Federal food order coupons, stamps, authorization cards or access devices (M1) 8 cts
PACC 7314 Fraudulent traffic in food orders  (M1) 8 cts
PACC 3922 Theft by deception (M3) 6 cts
PACC 4106 Deceptive or fraudulent business practices (M2) 3 cts
PACC 3925 Receiving stolen property (M2) 3 cts

Follwing is the list of charges that Jaspreet Singh faces:
PACC 5111 Dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities (F1) 3 cts
VCSA 780-113 Possession with the intent to deliver (F1) 4 cts
PACC 7313 Buying or exchanging Federal food order coupons, stamps, authorization cards or access devices (M1) 8 cts
PACC 7314 Fraudulent traffic in food orders (M1) 8 cts
PACC 3922 Theft by deception (M3) 5 cts
PACC 4106 Deceptive or fraudulent business practices (M2) 4 cts
PACC 3925 Receiving stolen property (M2) 3 cts

Police said the investigation into continues and additional charges are pending based on the property, items and information seized as a result of the search warrants.