Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What happens when you pit a middle-aged man against his teenage son in a 5K

My 13-year-old son, right, finished the Arm of Hope 5K in 20:15.
It was a personal record for him.
(Photo courtesey of Hope Community Church)
This is a story that starts a couple of years back, when my son expressed interest in running one of the Frozen Foot 5K races here in Elizabethtown.

Nat and I lined up together that March afternoon, and I coached him through the 3.1 miles. At times, he complained that "it hurts," but he kept running. And as much as I had wanted to run my own race (Nat had even said I didn't have to run with him), it was one of the most rewarding experiences to run with him.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What has happened in four months?

First, let me apologize for the lengthy delay in writing about our great community. My last post was in May, and the former newspaper reporter in me feels irresponsible for not keeping up. As I write this post, I realize that it contains some borough-related news and some personal stuff. Initially, I intended Chronicling Elizabethtown to be a replacement for the disappearance of the Elizabethtown Chronicle weekly newspaper. Given that the Elizabethtown Advocate has opened and is covering news, the blog has evolved over time to include posts about things over than Borough Council.

Noteworthy borough news

That's not to say nothing has happened in Elizabethtown. In fact, my last post was about the downtown Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance program that the Elizabethtown Chamber of Commerce proposed. In July, the school board approved the LERTA program. The Lancaster County Commissioners followed suit in August.

This means three iconic properties in the downtown -- the Moose Lodge, the Elizabethtown Hotel, the former Roth's Furniture (now home of the Shoppes on Market) -- can undergo renovations without bearing the entire weight of taxes on the improvements over 10 years. I'm excited to see how property owners take advantage of the opportunity that can help the business district for many years to come.

Borough Council has also discussed feral cats and skunks. In fact, an episode of the PBS program Nature on skunks makes the argument that there's a connection between skunks and feral cats. It says that people who feed cats could inadvertently be feeding skunks and making the skunk problem worse. The Pennsylvania Game Commission reports residents are able to trap animals on their own property and transport them for release on game lands.

Obviously, that's not something many of us might want to try, in which case the only other option is to hire a licensed/permitted contractor. The costs to set up the trap and for one follow-up visit range from $200 to $400. The Game Commission reports it would be difficult to contract for these services now as it is a very busy time for these professionals.

On the feral cat front, Susan Martin, executive director of the Lancaster County SPCA did a presentation and said wherever there's a problem with feral cats someone is feeding them. And she said unequivocally that "if you feed it, you own it. You're responsible now." The only option for controlling the feral cat population is trapping them and euthanizing or trapping and spaying or neutering and returning the cats to the wild. The SPCA charges $30 to euthanize or sterilize one cat.

About all that running ...

As I've mentioned before, I make no secret about my hobby as a runner. After completing three half marathons and a number of other races, I applied for the job as the cross country coach at the Elizabethtown Area Middle School. I was hired in July. It has been a great experience to pass on my love of running to the next generation. If all goes according to plan -- and we are half way through the XC season -- both the boys and girls will have winning seasons.

Warning: Gratuitous Self Promotion

Finally, in July I started working from home after I launched my own public relations company called McCloud Strategic Communications, LLC. If your organization or business is in need of public relations strategy, planning and execution, I can help.